I've been playing guitar for over 20 years now. I started taking lessons when I began but then began teaching myself after that. I began playing
bass guitar in a few bands in the early 90's. While attending Clemson University I enjoyed playing acoustic guitar with a few friends and competed
in an acoustic performance competition as a rhythm/lead guitarist along with my buddy Matt who played rhythm guitar and sang... we made it through the
first two rounds and came in second place overall during the final night of performances. During the past decade or so, I've mostly performed at coffee houses
and typically play self-written instrumentals or medleys on my classical guitar. I've been getting more involved with lead guitar and improvisation recently, and
I find that I tend to enjoy this role a bit more because it seems to take less effort yet allows me to express my music and write melodies on the fly.
More information can be found on my "guitar recordings" page at the link below including home studio and live recordings of some of the songs the I've written and
RJB Guitar Recordings
Back in 91 when I was in high school I built my first guitar. It was a classical guitar made from scratch with mahoghany sides, back and neck and
a spruce soundboard. I still play that guitar today and it sounds great although it has a bit of wear now. I think the soundboard is getting close to
reaching its peak with regards to aging and sound quality. The guitar shown above and below was a kit that I got from Stewart-MacDonald. It is
supposed to be a clone of a Martin HD-28 acoustic guitar and it sounds very nice. The guitar is not finished in the pictures shown here. After these
pictures were taken I applied several coats of guitar lacquer so they are much shinier now. I estimate that I put about $500-$600 into this guitar
between the kit, the tuning machines and the pickup and it comes close to rivaling the $2,800 Martin HD-28 although I haven't done a side to side
comparison. This guitar is very loud for an acoustic guitar and has a really crisp sound. I have several other guitars as well but these two are
my favorites and I usually play them the most as well.
I've always been a big fan of dogs since I was a kid. There is no other pet around that can provide the amount of attention and loyalty that a good
dog can. I grew up with a Sheltie/Poodle mix named Pepper and he was a great dog. We now have a 3 year old dog, P-Nutt, shown in the pictures
P-Nutt is a Sheltie (Shetland Sheepdog)/Jack Russell Terrier mix that we got back in 2002 as a puppy. He was born on 5/23/02 in North Carolina.
The pictures above were taken when he was just over 2 months old and he was tiny.
This next set of pictures was taken when P-Nutt was between 4 and 6 months old.
The picture on the right is a recent picture of P-Nutt at the age of 3 years. Despite his breed, P-Nutt is a very calm and well behaved dog.
He's actually the best behaved dog I've ever seen due to his highly submissive personality. We've trained him to stay in the yard, he
never wanders out into the street at all. Even when I play frisbee catch with him if the frisbee goes 1' into the street he stops and comes back
to me. When we walk him we don't use a leash because he stays right with us and listens very well. Even when a dog walks by he just keeps
on walking with us barely acknowledging that another dog is present. He goes with us when we go disc golfing and patiently waits as we throw.
He's also very emotional and affectionate. I don't think that we could have picked a better dog.
I've played a lot of video games over the years but nothing comes close to the excitement of pinball. Gameplay isn't strictly based on computer
algorithms but instead involves physical interactions which introduce an aspect of unpredictability where the physics of that little steel ball
determine the outcome. The problem with pinball machines is that they use a lot of mechanical parts which have a tendency to break often.
This is the main reason why you see fewer and fewer pinball machines because they are difficult to maintain and breakdown often. I've collected
three different pinball machines over the years covering three different eras of machine design from electromechanical (Humpty Dumpty, 1947) to
TTL based digital (Evel Knievel, 1976) and CPU based (Demolition Man, 1994).
I bought the Demolition Man pinball machine back in 2001 for $1,400. It was supposed to be in full working order but after some troubleshooting
we found a bad opto that needed to be replaced. We also replaced all of the flipper electronics which gave it some extra flipper power. Since then
we've replaced a few parts here and there but it has been in pretty good working shape for the past 4 years. The Demolition Man pinball machine
was made by Williams back in 1994. My favorite machines are from this era (1990's and later). Play on the Demolition Man machine is primarily
based on combos (sequential shots from one flipper to a ramp or alley to another flipper and so on). This machine has a lot of ramps which usually
lead to another flipper so if you get in a groove you can play for a long time as long as you hit the ramps. At the time when this picture was taken
I had the high score of 8 billion points but since then my dad has broken the 10 billion point barrier. For pinball machine instructions for a lot of the
machines out there including Demolition Man you can go to www.pinball.org.
We obtained the Evel Knievel pinball machine back in the mid 80's from someone who had it sitting in a warehouse because it had problems.
When we got it it was in good condition and we found the problem right away... the rechargeable batteries required for statistic memory storage
were improperly installed so it was an easy fix. The playfield has a bit of wear and a lot of cracks in the paint but it is still playable. This machine
was made in 1977 by Bally and was one of the first electronic pinball machines available. They also have a more rare electro-mechanical version
as well. Prior to this machine all older machines were electro-mechanical using gears and solenoids for everything. This machine uses mostly
TTL chips and digital electronics for the gameplay. It is a fun game to play that is much simpler than the Demolition Man machine. The key to
getting a high score is to knock down the targets on the left side of the playfield and then hit the rollover targets when they are lit for 1000 points.
This machine got a lot of play until we got the Demolition Man machine.
We got the Humpty Dumpty in the early 80's and it needed a bit of repair but the playfield was and still is in great shape. The pictures shown here
are of somebody elses machine because ours is currently in storage. The Humpty Dumpty pinball machine was made in 1947 by Gottlieb and was
the first pinball machine with flippers (six of them facing the opposite direction). It also had many other "firsts" for a pinball machine. There were
only 6.500 made and who knows how many of them are still working or haven't been stripped for parts.
This machine is featured in Microsoft's Pinball Arcade computer game. We used to play this machine quite a bit but it can get a bit dull due to the
fact that the bumpers aren't "kick-bumpers" and the only action you get is from the flippers. Also the flippers are a bit weak because there is a
single solenoid driving 3 flippers per side. So it is basically a gravity game where you try to keep the ball at the top of the playfield as long as
possible. It is still a pretty neat pinball game considering how old it is but is nowhere near as fast and fun as the Demolition Man machine.
I began playing disc golf in the late 90's after I began getting too out of shape to play Ultimate competitively. For those who haven't heard of
disc golf before it is similar to ball golf except you use frisbees (discs) for each shot and try to get them into a pole-hole (a basket with chains
above it to catch the discs. There are 1000's of disc golf courses around the world and there are even professional disc golfers (I have a friend
who is one). Disc golf is a great sport that can be played by people of all ages and gender. We currently have three courses in the Central
New York area including an 18 hole course at Oxbow Falls, an 18 hole course at Jamesville Beach and a 9 hole course at Green Lakes State Park.
I wrote a document a few years back that describes disc golf in more detail and gives a bit of my background in the sport as well here...
A Guide To Disc Golf - 2001.
Our local disc golf association has a website at www.cnydga.org which was designed and is maintained by
My parents grew up in Philadelphia, I was born in Springfield Massachusetts and now I live in Syracuse New York so you can see where I get my
sports influences from. Some of my favorite sports teams are listed below.
- Syracuse University Basketball
- Syracuse University Football
- Syracuse University Lacrosse
- Philadelphia Eagles NFL
- Philadelphia Flyers NHL
- Philadelphia 76ers NBA
- Boston Red Sox Baseball