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The BIG Reason

Music, opinions, and portfolio of Mark Eagleton, musician and web developer in Northern CA.

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This is where I tell you what I really think. This website doesn’t support comments by design, that is what your blog is for!

  1. Album cover for Kassi Valazza Knows Nothing, depicting Kassi Valazza sitting in a field of wildflowers playing an acoustic guitar

    New Music Tuesday: Kassi Valazza, Kassi Valazza Knows Nothing

    Starved for live music during the pandemic, Kristyn and I stumbled upon Kassi Valazza one evening as we desperately scoured social media to find artists streaming online. We were instantly lost in the somber, delicate delivery of her songs, punctuated by the most tastefully haunting electric guitar. It would be three more years before we got the chance to catch her live.

  2. A custom-built guitar tube amp on a workbench powered on

    I Built A Guitar Amplifier From Scratch

    I’ve been studying the art of tube amplifier design for about ten years now, and actually repairing them for about five. I love analizing schematics, pouring over the inside of an amp chassis, and studying the layout choices made by the designer. It was only a matter of time before I took a crack at it myself. That time finally came.  

  3. Stygian Bough performing on stage

    Bell Witch Canceled

    Bell Witch has been one of my favorite bands since I discovered them some six years ago. Seeing them live has been a huge priority for me. They came through my area a few times prior to the pandemic, but each time, I was booked myself. And then there was the pandemic, of course.

  4. Julianna Riolino All Blue album cover
  5. Annotated aerial view of the County Fair Mall in Woodland, CA.

    The Continuing Downward Spiral of My Commute

    Longtime visitors to my website will remember that I once worked my ass off to land a job in the town where I live that was only an 8-minute bike ride from my house. That job moved to a neighboring city at the start of the pandemic, and has been the cause of much turmoil ever since.

  6. The Target Distribution Center in Woodland, CA is HUGE!

    I was looking up some directions the other day and couldn’t help but notice the footprint of our local Target Distribution Center. It’s HUGE! After a quick scan of the surrounding area, I determined that not only is it the largest building in town, but the largest in the county, and the greater Sacramento area as a whole.

  7. Pedalboard on workbench with a tuner, A/B box, boost pedal and bass preamp
  8. The True Cost of My Commute

    I got sucked into a Twitter thread this week via Madeleine Bonsma-Fisher (@mbonsma) that referenced a Mr. Money Mustache article entitled The True Cost of Commuting. I hadn’t seen this article before, but as someone who regularly sweats the details over how much of my life (and wallet) my commute costs, it found it soberingly gratifying. It’s been a while since I revisited this topic, and a lot has changed since then. We’re due for an update, I think.

  9. Rob Weychert on ProPublica’s Article Layout Framework

    Rob Weychert, a Philadelphia-based designer/web developer I’ve been following for decades goes deep on the article layout framework he put developed for ProPublica:

    Our articles are built on an underlying grid structure, which varies depending on the size of the reader’s device or browser window. On most mobile phones, the layout is based on a narrow four-column grid. On a tablet, it might be six or eight columns. And in a large desktop browser window, there’s enough room for 14 columns, the largest version of the grid.

    […]

    We’ve built all of these layout options into our content management system so they don’t require our producers to have any coding skills to use them. But for code-savvy power users who want to extend the system, it’s built with Column Setter, the open-source tool we developed for grid-based editorial design. We recently updated it with a variety of new features.

    As someone who has to revisit this exact issue periodically, it’s really cool to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how it works at one of your favorite news publications, and to hear one of your heroes go deep on fundamentals like this.

  10. Broken DC in jack on StroboStomp tuner
  11. Modded K&K preamp on top of amplifier
  12. The repaired neck heel of my double bass
  13. Crack in the heal of a double bass neck joint

    Drop

    I dropped my bass the other night. It was in its heavily-padded bag, but it took a pretty solid hit to the back of the scroll on the cement. The glue line at neck joint is cracked, and the heal cap is splintered a bit, but it still holds tension. I can’t move the neck even when the string tension off, so I don’t think it’s super bad, but I plan to have it checked out before I play it again.

  14. Tremolo effects unit
  15. Members of Floss with some close friends

    Califuerte

    I lost and old friend this week. We hadn’t been very close for quite a while—the last time I even spoke to him was a few years ago now. He was a pretty important person in my life for a good decade or so, though. Since funerals and celebrations of life aren’t really an option during a pandemic, I sort of feel the need to say a few nice things about a guy who frustrated, hurt, and offended, but also loved a lot of people. And a lot of people loved him back. To me, he was a compassionate and genuine friend.

  16. Selfie in commute mask and bike helmet
  17. Vintage G.I. Joe Cobra Officer action figure mint in box

    Masks Are Hard

    I have been sufficiently scared and socially pressured into being a militant face mask influencer. The problem is that all of the pressure is on to make your own masks, and all the how-to videos I have watch have decimated my confidence.

  18. Collage of 15 album covers