In the course of cycling through gear, some guy offered me a trade involving an Eminence Cannabis Rex, and I thought, sure! I'd been tentatively thinking about replacing the speakers in both of my amps, more so to see what kind of a difference it would make than anything else, and this was one of the "good" ones on the list for the Blues Jr., so I decided to go for it. So I opened that puppy up, made the swap (which was way easier than I'd been expecting, if not a little tedious) and also messed around with my reverb tank, while I was in there. The reverb tank repair didn't take, but the new speaker sure did...
I've been using my Blues Jr. a bit more than my Valve Jr. for when I've got my big-boy electric guitar rig going, mostly because I've found that some of the things that I do to add clarity and punch also add a little bit of harshness to the signal. The combination of my buffer, compressor and BBE Sonic Stomp all make for a crystal clear clean tone, despite the endless effects pedals around, but with all of that clarity, I had to start turning my brightness and sparkle controls all the way down to keep my ears from falling off. I haven't had a chance to run my new speaker through my big rig just yet, but in plugging it in to make sure things worked, this speaker definitely delivers. It's just mellowed things out a bit. Not detracting from the high end or anything like that, but everything just sounds so much more pleasing to the ear. The speaker has also been broken in, which is good, and it's got plenty of bass, which I always appreciate. I've got some more testing and tweaking to do, obviously, but I think it's fixed the issue, which is a great feeling!
I also recently got an e-mail from a prominent cocktail blogger saying very nice things about my site, which was awesome but at the same time made me realize it's been months since I've posted about anything non-guitar-related. Not that that's the end of the world, but things have been a bit one-sided. So to update that side of my personality, I've been drinking about as much as usual, but not really anything exciting or new. I see a huge upswing in the abilities of bars to accommodate the drink snob like me, but it's still probably going to be years, if ever, before we get back to the bar, circa 1957. Not that it's the bar's fault; that lies mostly in the hands and tastebuds of my peers, who would still rather have alcohol be a means to an end, rather than an experience for the palate. Call me old-fashioned, but if I'm going to have an adult drink, I'd prefer it didn't taste like something a kindergartener would enjoy.
But to that end, my time spent drinking out almost always gravitates towards the safe choices. It's impossible to mess up a Gin and Tonic, the old liquor on the rocks takes literally no thought on the bartender's part, and the varieties of craft beer available in the St. Louis area make me wonder if I could ever make it through every beer in existence. My opportunities to drink from the comforts of my own home bar have been more limited, too, though more due to my own laziness than anything else. My liquor collection is as impressive as ever, and I now have access to 7 different bitters, orange flower-water, Allspice Dram and Falernum, but have yet to really experiment with a lot of it. Part of it is, after a night of work, I just prefer the ease of a beer or a scotch, rather than rattling up the shaker. Part of it is that I'm less than satisfied with my ice-making capabilities. I think I'm getting old and crotchety. And still only 26!
Perhaps I'll get back to a place where I'm drinking something exciting more regularly. Everything is a cycle, as they say.