Quick Guide to this site…

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Howdy.  I have many hobbies and post what I can, when I can, here and on sometimes on YouTube.  Below are some quick links if you want to quickly tune into a certain hobby.

** Throughout the site you can click on images to enlarge them. **

STORM CHASING: Click Here    Lightning

ROCKHOUNDING: Click Here

MUSIC PRODUCTION / DJ: Click Here  or these external sites:

Chase: SE Colorado, May 23 2015

Did some storm chasing today.  Setup was marginal but I had the day open and been wanting to chase all year, so I committed to SE Colorado.  Left the house about noon and already storms were starting to fire.  The best storms were three cells near La Junta, one which put down a brief tornado.  These are the storms I wanted to be on, but to get there I needed to core punch the top of the line of storms, then once in front of the line head south to get the southern part of the linear cluster coming right at me.

Ended up succeeding in the plan, catching some good structure, but not great.  Nice to see the chase come together and implement the plan successfully.  I left the storm about 5pm and headed home, getting back about 7:30.  An early evening for being so far in SE Colorado.

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Castle Rock looking NW on my drive home

Quick timelapse of the storm approaching me near Eads.  6 shots a minute for 15 minutes.

Galaga Cocktail Lives Again

I grew up in a small town, Johnstown Colorado, along the Front Range in Northern Colorado.  We had one of those classic 2-block downtowns that you see on road trips!  On the far end of the downtown was an arcade.  If you ventured two blocks to the other side of downtown, there was another arcade.

I lived all the way on the other side of town; but every summer day I remember walking downtown and hitting the arcades!  So did many other kids my age and older.  This is the way we spent our summers that I’ll never forget!

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Fast forward about 15-20 years.  I end up with a Galaga cocktail of my own.  Procured from a closed mall arcade in southern Kansas.  Having it via MAME is cool and all, but nothing beats this Galaga!  I have hot-rodded it in the following ways:

  1. Rapid Fire
  2. High Score
  3. Ship Clock Tripler
Here are all the mod chips in my Galaga.  Notice the Z80s...multi-Z80 machine.  Awesome computing power!

Here are all the mod chips in my Galaga. Notice the Z80s…multi-Z80 machine. Awesome computing power!

This machine is amazing.  As fast as you can pound the button, it will fire.  The Clock Tripler makes the joystick control three times faster.  You can dodge enemy bullets and kamakazee with ease.  Challenging Levels are pretty simple to defeat.  The game gets really difficult still, and once in the high-20 level and above it is a showdown (at least with my skill; some could do it on the un-modified machines).

About 4 years ago my Galaga went bezerk (not Bezerker).  It was left on overnight and there was a lightning storm and in the morning it was dead.  Looked at the PSU and it had several components visibly fried.  I bought a Galaga replacement power supply PCB several years ago and it just showed the machine booting and then freezing.  No dice.  So assumed the worst; something on the Motherboard also got fried…

Here is the Galaga after the replacement CPU.  It was frozen; many of the colors were "twitching" so not completely frozen i guess.

Here is the Galaga after the replacement Power Supply board. It was frozen; many of the colors were “twitching” so not completely frozen I guess.

I bought a working PCB set including PSU recently and installed into the machine. Immediately I was playing Galaga again, but just the normal version, which is boring compared to my ultra-hyped out machine.  Knowing that the PSU was rock solid, I then put my original modded motherboard set back in and was playing my hot-rodded Galaga again.  I’ve been waiting for this day for a while.

Here are the Motherboards.  Notice the three connectors.

Here are the Motherboards. Notice the three connectors…very simple to change the PCBs out!  Ensure you note the polarity of these connectors; they are keyed on the PCB but not in the connector themselves so you can put it on backwards.  The power connectors (both) are keyed so no worries there…

Power Supply PCB.  Just two connectors on this one.

Power Supply PCB. Just two connectors on this one.

This is the funnest version of Galaga available that I’ve seen.  I forgot how tired my firing wrist becomes within just a single game.  There is a physical aspect of playing this game; part of the challenge of success over these lethal aliens!

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I now have my Galaga functioning again, which is worthy of me getting off of the computer blogging and playing again.  Cheers!

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Early Season Palmer Divide Lightning

Was sitting down at the computer after the kids were tucked in expecting to do some armchair chasing action with the upper air trough and severe weather digging into the plains states tonight, and started hearing some pellets hit the windows of the house–it was graupel coming down. Graupel is pellets of snow/ice that is much smaller than hail which is not unusual for this time of year. About ten minutes later the first bolt of lightning lit up the house!

Larkspur Colorado Lightning

One of the first bolts I caught, only about 8 or so bolts left in the storm before it was over…

I wasn’t prepared for this like I usually am during the monsoonal flow in late July/early August, so I jumped into high gear and grabbed the tripod and camera and got everything ready. Focus is always a problem with the DSLR but I pointed it at a neighbor’s houselight (I usually curse this light because it is on all night, every night of the year, and makes watching meteorite showers frustrating) but tonight it seemed to have a purpose to get me a good focus as I changed the lens to manual focus mode. As you may know focusing lightning can be very difficult!

I then jumped out on the porch hoping for some visible bolts not obstructed by the clouds and immediately the bolts were flying over head. Being on a porch with lightning this close is extremely dangerous (by definition overhead is very close) so I quickly put the camera on autopilot and headed back to the safety inside.

Larkspur Colorado Lightning

Mother Nature’s show lasted no more than 15 minutes and was very localized; as luck would have it many of the bolts were in the least obstructed view from my porch! Nice! Captured several good shots making me even more excited for this upcoming chase season!

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Crystal TV

Crystal TV

All Action!!! No Drama!!

 

Here’s your first source for Crystal TV!  All action with none of the drama!

I’m not sure how many of you like to watch excavations of crystals from the ground; but as an avid rockhound / picker I love to see crystals unearthed!!!  I also learn from seeing it done, so I have been seeking out likeminded folks doing likeminded things!

Here is my YouTube playlist of videos of folks digging crystals from the ground including my own videos!  If you have video(s) that should be included make sure you let me know!

Looking forward to a fun Rockhoudning Season!

Pikes Peak Batholith Colorado Amazonite Colors

I have found Amazonite now in several locations throughout the Colorado Pikes Peak Batholith.  After soaking many pieces of amazonite in acid for about 3 months to try and pull some of the iron oxide staining out of the crystals I got to wondering if finds from different locations in the Pikes Peak Batholith zone were consistent.  Regarding the iron oxide staining, I have had varied success with this winter’s cleaning; some the staining is embedded deep into the stones.

Amazonite is crystallized feldspar microcline with trace amounts of Lead (Pb) giving the green color, normally microcline is a pinkish/salmon color and up on Mt Antero is it white. There are a couple of examples of white capping and white striping (inclusion of orthoclase) shown here which I’m excited to have–the Amazonite in the Smithsonian museum is completely white capped/striped coming from the Two Point Claim–which is incidentally immediately between the Smoky Hawk and April Fools–the claims where I have gotten most of my Lake George stones. Amazonite and Smoky Quartz combos are highly sought and somewhat valuable. There are a couple of combos in the center of this picture from finds in the Lake George area.  Although I have found many smoky quartz and some Amazonite at Devils Head, only a few combos have been unearthed.  I can see why the combos are sought as they have been rare for me too.

There definitely is a different intensity of color throughout the different zones of the Pikes Peak Batholith.  You can see that the darkest (most desirable) color is from the Lake George area in Teller County, although I have found some paler color in that area, I have not found any pink microcline. The few pieces I have from the Wigwam district in Jefferson County are lighter green but have fantastic crystal formations; I have also found pink there. The Devils Head variety is more bluish and definitely paler, but many of the stones I have found have signs of the white capping/zoning in the crystals; most of the microcline at Devils Head is pink for me. I have some Amazonite from the Pine Creek area which is more green than Devils Head but still paler than Lake George.

Amazonite Colors

A comparison of amazonite color from throughout the Pikes Peak Batholith of Colorado (click for larger image)

I have not yet searched out the entire list of known locations for Amazonite throughout the Pikes Peak Batholith, so someday perhaps my color observations can be more thorough.  The following map is an arial view (courtesy Google Maps) of the areas I have searched and locations are color coded to match the above specimens.  Would love to hear your experiences, knowledge and thoughts on the topic in the comments!

Pikes Peak Batholith Amazonite location map

Pikes Peak Batholith Amazonite location map

Live in My Basement Series – Depeche Mode

Got to listening to my stash of early Depeche Mode and ran across several Live Concert vinyls, cassettes and CDs.  After spinning my own personal concert, I figured that some enthusiasts of early Depeche Mode would also like to listen, so I thought I’d share.

All tracks are from concerts most dating 1980 – 1982.  Note that the quality is greatly mixed — some are audience recordings, some soundboards and a couple of tv or radio broadcasts.  I love hearing early and different versions of these wonderful tracks and how the band evolved before I could witness first-hand many years later!

Enjoy, leave feedback and connect if likeminded!  I will have another basement concert or two forthcoming for DM from the mid-80s; plus some other bands that I’ve been following and collecting for the last 30+ years!  Stay tuned…

Depeche Mode – Live in My Basement by Davealex on Mixcloud

Total Time: 1 hour 14 minutes 4 seconds.
Here are the tracks and shows:

  1. Oberkorn / My Secret Garden (Hammersmith London, 10-28-1982)
  2. Leave in Silence (Hammersmith London, 11-3-1984)
  3. Now This Is Fun (Lantaren Rotterdam, 3-28-1982)
  4. Photographic (Tiffany Glasgow, 2/21/1982)
  5. Shout (Tiffany Glasgow, 2/21/1982)
  6. I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead (Technical College Southend-on-Sea, 11-14-1980)
  7. Dreaming of Me (Zeche Bochum Germany, 11-28-1982)
  8. New Life  (Croc’s Raleigh, 6-27-1981)
  9. Big Muff  (Croc’s Raleigh, 6-27-1981)
  10. Tora! Tora! Tora! (VC Last Gig, Chichester Theatre, 12-3-1981)
  11. Just Can’t Get Enough (VC Last Gig, Chichester Theatre, 12-3-1981)
  12. See You (Zeche Bochum Germany, 11-28-1982)
  13. The Sun and the Rainfall (Hammersmith London, 10-28-1982)
  14. I Like It (Tiffany Glasgow, 2/21/1982)
  15. Addiction (Technical College Southend-on-Sea, 11-14-1980)
  16. Price Of Love (Croc’s Raleigh, 6-27-1981)
  17. Tomorrow’s Dance (Bridge House London, 10-30-1980)
  18. Reason Man (Bridge House London, 10-30-1980)
  19. Television Set (Les Bains Douche Paris, 9-29-1981)

Environmental Recordings around the World

A friend (thanks Zack!) forwarded me this really interesting website that plots environmental sound recordings from all over the world onto a map–making a very neat user experience.  There are quite a lot of entries and it continues to grow.  Very interesting stuff as you use the application.

The website:  http://aporee.org/maps/.

Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum

It has been a while now that I have wanted to visit the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum in Golden, Colorado. I’ve read articles about it, heard it was awesome, and still never have ventured to the far west side of the Metro to pay a visit. Well, the time had come; my daughter had a Girl Scout event at the School of Mines earlier this year and while waiting for her event to finish the rest of the family went to the museum…and we’re glad we did! It did not disappoint; the local Colorado collections they had were outstanding!

What I liked most was the fact that they had similar specimens from popular Colorado localities that I have collected. In most all cases their examples of the mineral(s) were much better than I have, but in a few examples I have found similar quality specimens from the same localities. Because I have been to the same location as these were unearthed from; I also was able to definitively identify several specimens that I was only partially sure about!

There were also several specimens that I really like that I have not found that mineral anywhere yet; but they were so cool that I had to take a photo of it anyway. The museum is full of wonderful specimens — these pictures don’t do it justice; you have to *BE* there to truly grasp the magnitude of the beauty of these specimens, but hopefully the pictures get you itching to visit Golden on your next trip to the metro area!

Calcite and Pyrite

A person at the colosseum show a couple years ago had several of these for sale for cheap. I bought one in the same league than this!

Fluorite

Oklahoma Galena

Oklahoma Galena, this is an awesome specimen!  As a storm chaser I remember when Picher was partially destroyed by a tornado in 2008…what I didn’t realize is that it was a Superfund site and is one of the most toxic places in the US.  Picher is a modern day ghost town for a good reason!

Rhodochrosite Stalagmites

Rhodochrosite Stalagmites

NTM Zoelites

North Table Mountain Zoelites

Back in 2010 I was able to visit North Table Mountain on a field trip with the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society club.  This is on Jefferson County Open Space and there is no collecting usually allowed per their website; but the club had a permit which allowed us to collect.  We did find some great crystals as you will see in that blog post. Below are the fantastic zeolite crystal specimens they had in the museum.

NTM Thompsonite

North Table Mountain Thomsonite

North Table Mountain Chabazite

North Table Mountain Chabazite – We found an awesome vug lined with Chabazite during a NTM club fieldtrip!

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Quartz after Halite

This Quartz after Halite specimen is awesome!

Goethite after Pyrite

I love Goethite and Pyrite; this is the best of both!

Quartz after Fluorite

This Quartz after Fluorite is just amazing!

Fluorite

Fluorite. I found a similar piece at the Smoky Hawk mine during one of the club field trips.

Here is the similar (not as big but just as gemmy) fluorite I found at the Smoky Hawk mine.

Crystal Hill Amethyst

Crystal Hill Amethyst Cluster – I have yet to find Amethyst at this locality.

Bone

Petrified Spruce

Petrified Spruce

Petrified Wood

One of the various Petrified wood slabs they had on exhibit — Joshua Tree.

Petrified Wood

One of the various Petrified wood slabs they had on exhibit

 

Snowy Day Mixtape

Snowy Day Mixtape

With the snow dumping outside, and nothing really to do except sit by the warm fire, I created this Snowy Day Mixtape.  Lots of female vocals, some trip hop, downtempo, shoegaze, krautrock and electro ambient all mashed up together in a single mix.  Since I’m going nowhere, this is a 30m double-pack.  Enjoy!

Tracks:

  1. Trentemoller “Dirty Snow”
  2. How to Destroy Angels “The Space in Between”
  3. Donna Regina “Let’s Get Slow”
  4. Haujobb “X-Flow”
  5. Siouxsie and the Banshees “Red Light”
  6. Terranova “Never”
  7. Trentemoller “Even Though You’re With Another Girl”
  8. Dopplereffekt “Myon-Neutrino”
  9. Boards of Canada “Reach for the Dead”
  10. Stereolab “Harmonium”
  11. Ellen Allien and Apparat “Way Out”
  12. Portishead “Chase the Tear”

 

Snowy Day Mixtape – 30m double pack by Davealex on Mixcloud

The 30m series contains enough tunes to get you somewhere, which usually takes about 30 minutes, or in 30 minute segments (i.e. a double-pack).

EBM / Coldwave Mixtape

Coldwave EBM Mixtape

Up for your enjoyment is an EBM / Coldwave Mixtape.  I have been creating playlists on my devices and when I hit a song that would fit well on a “stylized” mixtape I bookmark it.  I have been doing this for years with the intent of throwing together mixtapes. Nothing fancy with this mixtape, just simply an old-school style of putting tracks together for my listening pleasure!

For me the styles of “Coldwave” and “Electronic Body Music” (EBM) are basically the same – cyberpunk.  The term started being used in the press during the very late 70’s with Kraftwerk’s sound and led into the darker electronic sounds in the early eighties.  I have loved this style of music since I first heard examples of it on the Denver music television show Teletunes in the early/mid 80’s.  MTV wasn’t allowed in the small rural town I grew up in, but that was okay because MTV would have never gone this alternative anyway.

Here is the track listing:

  1. Ortrotasce “At Your Last Breath” (2013)
  2. Nitzer Ebb “Let Beauty Loose” (1987)
  3. Kline Coma Xero “Left Behind” (2014)
  4. Front 242 “Body to Body” (1981)
  5. A Flock of Seagulls  “The Last Flight of Yuri Gagarin” (1983)
  6. Black Lung “Eugenics” (1994)
  7. Lassigue Bendthaus “JKTV Otaku (How Many Angels Can Dance on the Head of a Modem)” (1994)
  8. Chris & Cosey “Just Like You” (1981)
  9. Cabaret Voltaire “Automotivation” (1985)
  10. Depeche Mode “Shout” (1981)
  11. The Normal “Warm Leatherette” (1978)
  12. Lassigue Bendthaus “Velocity Life” (1991)
  13. Illustration Sonore “Flying Lights” (2013)
  14. Ministry “The Angel” (1986)

EBM Mixtape – dj davealex by Davealex on Mixcloud