Celebrating the 12 days of Beermas! – Day 1

On the 1st day of Beermas Sue gave to me, Mt. Begbie Nasty Habit IPA…  Props to Sue for finding a local microbrew I hadn’t tried.

Ignore the audio review, except for entertainment purposes only.  This beer is actually quite good and I revisited it in the Beermas after this one (2012-2013) – listen to it here one if you want to know the real story.

Beermas 2011 - Day 1 - Mt. Begbie Nasty Habit IPA

Beermas 2011 – Day 1 – Mt. Begbie Nasty Habit IPA

Mug Up – Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Sierra Nevada makes some fine brews, this is no exception.  A mildly sweet and hoppy pale ale with medium body and carbonation.  I could be crazy or maybe it was the sweet chili heat crispy minis I had in advance of tasting this beer, but I found a slight essence of bubble gum in the sweetness of the beer.  Mug up – definitely a repeat buy.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Update – Site Changes

Hello All,

I’ve been thinking for a while on what to do with my 2 domain names and I’ve come to a decision.  deadbeatguitarist.com will now be exclusively for music and beer related topics and all technology related topics will move to stevebaer.com. My reasoning for this is twofold.

  1. It opens up deadbeatguitarist.com to people who might have stopped listening or reading due to the Linux content.
  2. It builds Google juice and makes me more visible on stevebaer.com as a technologist and acts a bit like a resume.

I also am going to be pragmatic and lose the ogg only feed which limits my audience to just fellow freedom loving geeks. At this point I’m not certain I will continue the mugcast but if I do I’d like to offer ogg and mp3 feeds.  This will likely cause me to lose my listing on oggcastplanet.org which makes me a bit sad but I feel strongly enough to do it anyways. The mugcast as we know it will change. Thanks for your patronage if you were a mugcast listener. Thank you for your support up until now.  New format coming soon.

Les Finnigan’s 13th Annual West Coast Guitar Night at the Cultch

It’s 1:00am, I’ve armed myself with a hot plate of shepherd’s pie and a pint of Irish lager. An odd sort of meal to have at this time of night I’m sure, but in my defense it was in the fridge, it’s fall, and I greatly needed the sustenance after forgoing a proper meal to secure a ticket to Vancouver’s premier showcase of talented acoustic guitarists – West Coast Guitar Night.

West Coast Guitar Night is an annual event, the brainchild of innovative Vancouver based acoustic guitarist Les Finnigan. If you haven’t attended and you appreciate solo guitar work, at the risk of not getting a ticket next year, I’m still encouraging you to go to this great event. This West Coast Guitar night like many before it was hosted at the Vancouver East Cultural Center (The Cultch) a great venue for an intimate performance. What a treat it was to be in the balcony as the lighting dimmed and the first ethereal notes began to fill the theatre.  Here is how the evening went down.

13th Annual West Coast Guitar Night Programme (art by Valeria)

13th Annual West Coast Guitar Night Programme (art by Valeria)


The first guitarist to take the stage after Les’s warm welcome was Kent Hillman – Kent played a mix of jazz standards on nylon string guitar in his own unique style. A very fine introduction to the evening.

Next up was Hanh Nguyen who played beautiful classical guitar that nearly brought me to tears. Hanh dedicated her performance to her mother who was a day away from celebrating her 86th birthday. I briefly chatted with Hanh after the show and learned she also did stained glass art and that one of her pieces was on display at the Lees olde fashioned chocolate shop which I used to stop in on occasionally for their delicious chocolate mint bars.

The last performer leading up to the intermission was Les Finnigan. I served coffee to Les for a few years and got to know him and his lovely wife Valeria. I’m a big fan of Les’s work – so much so I asked him to play at my wedding. Even though I know him I’m still a little starstruck talking to him after a performance. Les delivered a great set of his more  rhythmical pieces.  Les also announced he has been hard at work notating his compositions and many of them are now available for purchase.  So if you’ve been puzzled using only your ears – here’s the help you need – I’ve seen him play up close and I still definitely need the sheet music!

After the intermission, Edgar Avelino took the stage. Edgar is a man who professed to be working on album #0. I really enjoyed how he spoke of song history and his rendition of a composition from the Philippines a place where he spend his much of his childhood. Although not a ‘working’ musician he certainly has dedicated much of his time to attain the skill of one.

Simon Fox took the stage next. I was first made aware of Simon’s excellent guitar works by podcaster friend Rich Wielgosz (Bloodthirsty Vegetarians) and when I saw that Simon had relocated to Vancouver from Australia, I was excited to get a chance to see him play live. Simon’s effortless work on the fretboard and his gentle comedy won me over instantly. I’m not the type of person to hang out after the gig and chat with the performers – I’m usually to shy for that sort of thing but Rich said he’d kick my ass if I didn’t get a picture for him with Simon in it, I had to man up. I told this to Simon who immediately smiled at the mention of Rich and his podcast and obliged for the photo and left me with his 3 cd set which provided excellent company for my 1 hour drive back home. Look for review of these CD’s in a future post.

Finally, ending off the night was the double axe attack of flamenco/jazz/metal guitarists John Gilliat & Benjamin Woods. Their percussive rasgueados and lightning fast runs up and down the neck were impressive. I’d also nominate them for most comedic song choice of the evening by covering Yngwie Malmsteen’s I am a Viking.

And so after the hall emptied and the chatter with the artists came to a close, it was time to head for home. I hopped in the car with new musical inspirations and an annual event to add to my calendar. See you all next year at the 14th Annual West Coast Guitar Night. 🙂

Oh – and here’s one of my souvenirs from the evening.  Thanks Simon and Les for being good sports – you rock my world.

Les Finnigan, Me and Simon Fox

Les Finnigan, Me and Simon Fox



Deadbeat Guitarist Mugcast #11 – Testing Debian and the discomfort of Windows lessened

Deadbeat Guitarist Mugcast #11 – Testing Debian and the discomfort of Windows lessened

Deadbeat Guitarist Mugcast #11 – Testing Debian and the pain of a windows box lessened.


Debian Stable vs Debian Testing Blog post

WordPress – and the Jetpack Plugin pack – is the special goodness.

Getting comfortable on Windows by bringing the Gnu/Linux feel

  1. Gnuwin32 tools (tar, diff, ls, du, df, grep etc).
  2. A proper terminal – brings the coolness of transparency , tabs etc… checkout the console project.  ctrl-f1 creates a tab, ctrl-1,ctrl-2 switches to it.
  3. Multiple Desktop – I really miss this under Windows and you can get them by installing VirtuaWin – ctrl-alt-left arrow or right arrow or up or down switches to that virtual desktop,  alt-windowkey left arrow or right arrow or up or down arrow moves a window from 1 virtual desktop to the one you specifcy with arrow key.


Check out – Andy Rehfeldt on his personal site or his youtube channel:  Andy takes popular songs, builds around the original vocal only and re-tracks all the instruments either jazz, metal or funk and hilarity ensues.

Dougie Dog Butterscotch Rootbeer – Tasty indeed.

A week in Debian Stable leads me back to Debian Testing

Let me just put this out there, I really wanted to like Debian stable. Lord knows I wanted to curtail my desire for new software and just enjoy a nice stable box. But a week in Debian stable proved to be less than stable and I found myself reaching for the /etc/apt/sources.list file and replacing the stable lines with testing.

Some of the issues that spurred this move were VLC media player crashing out completely when loading up the icecast directory listings, and pidgin locking randomly. I guess the responsible thing to do would have been to report these bugs and await a fix, but I was fairly confident these issues were resolved in more current versions of the software and after upgrading to testing this has indeed proven to be true.

Before closing I want to make the following observations:

  • Stable means mostly predictable rather than free of bugs.
  • The Net-Install rocks – setting up the system from the ground up the way you want it is very cool.
  • The debian wiki is awesome – full of great info.
  • XFCE and Gnome for me are more usable than KDE in terms of workflow.
  • If you encounter an issue of not being able to mount sd cards after installing from an sd card – see below for solve.

su -c ‘vim /etc/fstab’
This line below prevented me from mounting sd cards. no cdrom on netbook, commented it out and now everything detects fine.
#/dev/sdb1 /media/cdrom0 udf,iso9660 user,noauto 0 0

So a week in Debian stable leads me back to Debian testing. It wasn’t the end I expected when I embarked on this journey, but I guess moving out to a smaller town hasn’t completely changed my computing decisions. 🙂

Beer Review – Russell Brewing Blood Alley Extra Special Bitter

My co-worker Sue generously furnished me with this ESB from Russell Brewing. I took it for a taste drive this evening and posted my experience to youtube. Cheers. 🙂 And thanks again Sue – you rock!


Link to the brewery’s site: click here
Link to the beer advocate review: click here


Back in Slacktion on the Netbook and it feels so right.

Well, I’ve been away from the Slack for a while now but a slacker can only stray so far from his roots before he needs to slack again.

Slackware 13.37 is now out and ready for the installing. Here’s a quick rundown of my recent experience installing and setting up the latest Slackware Linux.

I went hunting for my IDE to USB cable and a DVD drive and got the 32 bit torrent ISO image downloading, off to bed.

Next day: Hooked everything up to the netbook, burned the ISO, inserted the burned DVD, booted and ran the installer. Ah – the familiar ncurses interface is still here, surprised – nope, put off? Not really.

Installation is finished… Awesome, KDE runs alright but wait – what gives, no wifi??

Ok, I got sbopkg rockin’ and grabbed the broadcom-sta package.. Also installed wicd (manage wifi through gui) from /extra. Hmm still no wifi – ahhh, google informs me I have to name the interface to eth1 in the wicd gui config -see screenie below:

Ok got the wifi rockin’ but I was finding it annoying to wait for KDE – it’s not that KDE is slow per se, its that on this hardware HP Mininote (earlier atom processor and 1gb ram) its a tad overkill. What to do what to do, let’s drop it down to fluxbox.


I found a nice slackware wallpaper, used sbopkg to install conky and …. now we’re talkin’ nice minmal desktop – black background, conky…  Nerds paradise.

What’s missing, AHH! keyboard shortcuts to my most used apps to limit the need for mousing – yup yup, fluxbox makes it easy – I edit the .~/.fluxbox/keys file and put in some entries to run pidgin, wicd-gtk, qtwitter, konsole,…


As an aside the fluxbox wiki makes it perfectly clear how to edit the keys file – very straight forward and kudos to them for it.

I also edited the ~/.fluxbox/startup file to auto start frequently used apps and tray icons (volume control etc) see below:

Alright now we are movin’, got a nice desktop environment that’s fast and under my control. What’s next – Install some more apps – qtractor, ardour, qjackctl, audio plugins, auteur, kdenlive – audio and video tools, Sweet. I’m feeling right at home.


So – to those that love Slackware, enjoy the new release. To those that haven’t tried Slackware, you might want to give it a look. And, to those that have been away for a while – Slackware is just as charming as it ever was – with slackpkg to maintain security updates and patches, and sbopkg to manage the extras that don’t come with slackware, including queue files to meet all the dependencies, you can get a very complete experience under Slackware – in fact there’s never been a better time to be a slacker I’d venture to say. Get your download started – pour yourself a beer, and get ready to slack.

DBGM #10 – Chimay Blue + Dolphin Mini

DBGM #10 – Chimay Blue + Dolphin Mini

Click Here for Ogg-Cast (Audio)
Chimay Peres Trappistes
Direct link to the beer itself

Beer Advocate:
Beer advocate findings on the beer

Personal findings:
Colour: Dark Brown
Aroma: Belgian yeast mild spice and fruit flavour
Summary: A very carbonated strong Belgian ale – not as sweet or flavorful as some of its peers (gulden draak and mardesous) but its nice in that regard. A pleasant beer to pair with cheeses. A beer that’s always good to have in the fridge.

Gratuitous beer shot:

Chimay Blue

Chimay Blue

Android Pick: Dolphin Mini (web browser)

DBGM #09 – Surgenor Red House Ale, Williams Bros Brewing, KXStudio, Traverso, Protrekkr, Chordbot, Winamp.

DBGM #09 – Surgenor Red House Ale, Chordbot, Beer for Dogs!

Click Here for Ogg-Cast (Audio)

Surgenor Red House Ale compliments of Paul and Penny Vroom of Aquatec Seafoods in Comox BC.

Surgenor Brewing Company
Direct link to the beer itself

Beer Advocate:
Beer advocate findings on the beer

Personal findings:
Colour: Dark amber
Aroma: Toasty malty – minimal hops
Summary: The pour yields a good amount of head that discipates quickly. Nice roasty malt flavour with minimal presence of hops and an easy drinking level of carbonation.
Letter grade: B+ Tasty indeed.

Gratuitous beer shot:

Sergenor Red House Ale

Sergenor Red House Ale

BEER #2:
Freenode IRC user rowinggolfer sent in this fantastic review of a ginger beer made by williambros brewing. rowinggolfer is an active member of the linux and free and open source software world including some podcasts and producing dental software called openmolar.

BEER UPDATE: Call out for beer reviews from the community!

Beer for Dogs?? You bet – irc user Anchakor provides us with this comedic link of the cast.

KXStudio adds TAL VST plugins – tested the reverb – sounded and looked good.

Traverso DAW – coming along, interesting keyboard shortcuts

For those interested in a free and open source Tracker style music app that runs on Windows, Linux, Amiga OS4, AROS and Mac OSX,
check out Protrekkr. It’s based off of the same original codebase Renoise was based on – which is from a app called NoiseTrekker.
To get it running under KXStudio Linux 10.04:
1. Install libjackasyn0
2. Download and unzip source unzip modules.zip file into modules dir
3. Open a terminal window in that location and issue: jacklaunch ./ptk_linux
4. Have fun. 🙂

Android pick: Comes from [lsd] in #opensourcemusicians Chordbot. Chordbot is a slick application that lets you build chord progressions and decide on styles and time signatures to play it back

Android pick: Winamp (beta) media player. Yes, the much loved player on Windows that many of us got familiar with back on Windows 98 and was the defacto player for many years is now on Android. Unlike the current Windows version, the Android version is very fast. Although it’s a ‘beta’ app, it has yet to crash on me.

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