Dueling Drumkits

Extra Drums


Dusty Electronics

I spent my Sunday cleaning the V-Drum pads. I didn’t realize they are open on the bottom. The years in the garage left a lot of dust on ’em. Thankfully easy to clean. And the white heads are washable!

Making quiet loud

I grabbed speakers out of my parents attic. I used these to practice drums back in high school. They’re a little worse for the wear, but working. Now I can make the normally quiet V-Drums loud. It’s so satisfying. 

And the kids like to have a dance party while I play. 

Triggers have arrived

The triggers arrived today. They’re super simple, and with limited testing (my son, Mason, has played more today than I have) there was no need to be worried; The triggers work perfectly. 

It took a few minutes to completely unscrew the lugs, but I think I’m going to appreciate the “permanence” of the triggers. They’re also way smaller than I was anticipating.

I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with them tonight.

So much hardware…


I’ve continued to adjust the hybrid setup. I took the Roland v-drum rack, and disassembled it down to just three legs and two spans. I added an additional arm to mount the TD-12 module—one less piece of hardware to lug around.

The Roland rack is super light, but can’t hold anything heaver than a pad. In other words, I can’t mount the real drum on this rack; Its to heavy for the rack clips to hold.

For now, I’ll have to use a wide floor stand just for the small floor tom. Thats added weight and floor space that I don’t want. My solution is going to involve converting another drum; a 16″ floor tom. Its a bigger drum, but it has its own leg stands built in — overall, I think it’ll be less floor space, and less weight.

I have a connection for one more pad. I’m not sure if I’ll use it for an additional cymbal, or just leave it empty for now.

The rest of the triggers come today. If things go well, I’ll be able to get it playing and hooked up for recording soon.

Old Becomes New


About a year ago, I bought a new drumset. That makes four kits in total; A new Tama Superstar kit, an older Tama Rockstar kit, a TD-12 v-drum kit, and a TD-9 v-drum kit.

Shortly after I bought the new Tama kit, I refinished the old one. I removed the old, beat up, wine-colored plastic wrap from the wood. This was an intense process as the wrap is glued, and has set for nearly 20 years. A hair dryer and lots of patience was involved. I then sanded. Sanded some more. And finally stained the now-raw wood drums.

The newly refinished drums came out OK — not amazing, but passable. However, they then sat, in a neatly stacked pile for about a year.

During that time, I rekindled my love for the v-drums. I combined the high-end TD-12 kit with the low-end TD-9 kit. I’ve been using this frakenkit as my daily driver. Its perfect for practicing any time without disturbing the neighbors, or waking the kids. The left over bits from the TD-9 kit have since been incorporated into the new Tama Superstar kit to create the hybrid kit I’ve been playing out with for the past 9 months.

With my newly found passion for electronic drums, I decided to bring the refinished kit back to life as an electronic kit. Its a fairly simple process that involves a set of triggers attached to each drum which are connected to a sound module, or “brain.” I purchased some triggers online, and I expect they’ll be here any day.


Since the “brain” and triggers do all the work and create the sounds, there’s no need for traditional drum heads. Instead, most electronic drums use drum heads made of a fiber mesh. These mesh heads can be tighted to feel just like a traditional drum, but are relatively silent in comparison. You can buy mesh heads online, but they cost $60 and up for each drum. I would need at least 4 of them, including a bass drum head which can cost way more. Instead of wasting money, I found that normal window/door screening available at any hardware store is a great substitue.


Making my own mesh heads wasn’t tough work. I took an old drum head and cut out the plastic from the rim. I then used a special type of window screening made for “sunshading” purposes. I chose this type of screening for its durability, and also because its really looks cool on a drum. I cut out a circle about 3″ bigger in diameter than the drum head rim. Then I got out the old sewing kit, and sewed the screening around the rim. It was a little time consuming, but made for a perfect activity to accomplish while watching some TV.


This is the first iteration of this experiment. The triggers I bought online, the Ddrum Red Shot, is a low-end trigger. However, there’s honestly not much involved in a trigger, and they’re mostly all exactly the same. The next part of this project is to build my own custom-made triggers inside of the drums. Doing so would avoid having the trigger connected to the top of the drum, where its just asking for to be hit with a stick and busted. After that, comes some more sophisticated cable management. Then, perhaps I’ll cut the drums in half to reduce the space need to haul, store, and setup the kit.


“The more we dig, the more we find.”

Old School Cell Phone


Make a Mess

A writing professor of mine in college once told me the secret to writing:

“Just start. Starting is the hardest part. You’ll be tempted to edit yourself, or obsess over details. You’ll be tempted to create a clean and polished piece of work. That’s impossible. Instead, focus on making a mess. Then, clean it up later.”

The idea of “making a mess” has stuck with me ever since. Making a mess is easy. My kids can make an impressive mess in a matter of minutes — and have fun while they do it. I approach a new design project with the same methodology; I get everything out on the page and make a giant mess of it.

And then I clean it up.

And then I’ll mess it up again.

And then I’ll clean it up, again.

Rinse. Repeat ad nauseum.

Fun Weekend

Al Gore Rhythm Gig Fliers

I’m in a 90’s cover band called Al Gore Rhythm. We’ve booked a few shows this summer and we wanted to hang a handful of fliers around town to advertise. Trapper Keeper and Saved By The Bell were huge inspirations.

Monster Blue


Band Practice



One ideal we quickly adopted was “no chickens, only pigs”. Meaning only those truly committed to the meeting were allowed. Chickens make eggs; They survive. Pigs make bacon; They’re committed.

I absolutely love this analogy. But I can’t help think that I’d prefer to survive the meeting. Maybe I’m a chicken?

Finished Yoshi


Made in Procreate in 4 hours and 5 minutes. Based on a google image search for Yoshi.

Mario, Take 2


Starting over with Mario, this time focusing on just his face.

Tonights Dinner

Pasta, clams, and garlic, with spinach and green beans. And of course lots of parmesan.

Curious George




Been practicing with the Apple Pencil by drawing some of my favorite characters. Homer came out pretty good.

The shading on his arms turned out a little weird, as did the shape of his head above his left eye. Mostly traced from an image found on Google.

Today’s sketches

Thinking a little about what happens after you signup for WordPress.com, but before you’ve verified your email address — something I don’t love (forced verification), but I can at least understand our need for it right now.


Mario in progress

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Yoshi in progress

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Poe the Crow

Here’s another video of me painting in Procreate on the iPad:

Watch me paint

I’ve fallen in love with the Apple Pencil and iPad Pro — the iPad really is massive. The pencil is super accurate, and feels great to use for hours on end. It really does remind me of traditional pencil and paper, but with all the advantages of digital. Procreate, the best drawing app I’ve found, has a great “Instant Replay” feature that lets me share videos of the paintings I’ve made. From blank canvas to finished painting.

Here’s one of the first videos I recorded recreating (with a twist at the end) a painting in found on Google: