Friday, March 7, 2014

Shock Totem Issue 8.5

Hey all you people that live on the internet:

My short non-fiction piece "Unlearning to Lie" is in Shock Totem Magazine Issue 8.5 (Amazon link)

This makes me all giddy and stuff like that. Support this amazing magazine while getting a glimpse into the dark corners of my mind.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Piercing the Veil

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I give you my brand new short novella/long long story: Piercing the Veil

"She's electric, boogie woogie, oogie..."
Get yerself over to my publisher's website to grab a copy Samhain Horror
Or if you're more traditional and like the Amazon thing, go here

What's it about?

Simon, a brilliant but narcissistic grad student, will do anything to get a position at a nearby cutting-edge particle collider. So when a bitter and discredited professor offers him the chance at a secret research position on the cusp of proving an impossible theory, Simon thinks it’s a dream come true. But the math doesn’t quite add up and the other technicians working graveyard at the collider give him the creeps.
Meanwhile, students are disappearing from his university at an alarming rate. When Simon becomes the prime suspect he realizes there may be a horrible link to the erratic and impossible research at the collider. Simon is learning that his coworkers may not entirely be human after all. And the disappearances are getting closer to home.
Throw in the sci-fi paranoia of Philip K. Dick and a healthy dose of Lovecraftian cosmic horror and you're getting close.

And check out this "first-peek" review by the people over at Horror Novel Reviews:

http://horrornovelreviews.com/2014/03/01/mason-ian-bundschuh-piercing-the-veil-review/

Saturday, March 1, 2014

More Chiral Mad 2 love

Desi Writers' Lounge had insightful and good things to say about CHIRAL MAD 2, and this in particular to say about my story "Another Man's Bones" which opened up the anthology:
"...from the get-go, you are thrown headfirst into an opening story that embodies the essence of all that is to come: a spy-versus-spy style story about time-travel and the creation and destruction of the narrator’s various selves. It introduces the readers to the existential soup of time, memory, mirrors and consciousness that defines this collection."
 Awww shucks.

Now get out there and buy a copy to see for yourself. :)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Some Chiral Mad 2 Review Love

Hellnotes had this to say about my short story "Another Man's Bones" in Chiral Mad 2:

[Chiral Mad 2] opens with “Another Man’s Bones” by Mason Ian Bundschuh. The perfect piece to motivate the reader to hungrily devour the remaining 27 stories. The storyline is not only unique, but delivers the creep factor. In doing so, Bundschuh baffles and eludes, until you reach that final well-structured sentence. This essentially is a story of one man’s quest to eliminate the ultimate foe.  He is a writer this reviewer recommends you seek out beyond this anthology. What a treat, dear readers!

That is some love right there. Wow!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Rainmaker - Story up at Horror d'Oeuvres

I'm such a slacker.

My short story "Rainmaker" went up a monthish-or-so ago on Horror d'Oeuvres (a DarkFuse flash fiction site) and I TOTALLY FORGOT TO MENTION IT.

Face. Palm.

Anyhow, you needz to go to http://www.horrordoeuvres.com/rainmaker/ and get your read on.
Ok, it's a subscription-based site, but dude, it's worth it for a bi-monthly flash fiction story from some amazing authors (and me too).

Get over there and pony up.

And while you're reading that, I'll be driving off to a secret writing shindig with my writer's group, The Illiterati.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

When Procrastination is Good

Procrastination hits all of us.

It doesn't matter if you're a bohemian creative-type, or a motivated power-drive type... some days you end up burning hours on facebook, youtube, wikipedia, IMDB, or just pictures of cats.

Sure you may have learned something about the Lost Roman Legion (which bunny-trailed you to Military Use of Elephants, then to Efforts to Clone the Mammoth, then to Mitochondrial DNA), but DANGIT that really important thing you really know you ought to do didn't get done.

Whether it be that book you're writing, the songs you mean to write or record, or that shell of a car moldering in your garage (that you keep telling your spouse will someday resemble a motor vehicle with tires and engine and everything!) -- if you don't do it, it doesn't get done.

Easy, right?

And every minute you're NOT doing the thing that must be done, you beat yourself up and guilt out, then drown your guilt in a bowl of apathy-ice-cream.

Or is that just me?

But sometimes we gotta take a break to do something that is worth doing. Something that recharges you, rather than something that just eats up time.

Play with the kids. Read a book. A paper one. Remember those? Go to that durn park that's been nearby the whole time you've lived here but you've never been. Built a rocket. Learn to play ukulele.

For each of us there are different things that recharge you.

For me it's playing music. Ask my wife, I pretty much have a stringed instrument in my hands at all times.

And recently I've gotten into BUILDING guitars. Or at least modding and assembling guitars from random parts, trying out custom wiring tricks, etc, etc.

Here is my baby. It's a 1990 "Partscaster" an old blues surfer guy in Hawaii made and sold to me. It was my first real guitar. But somewhere several years ago the electronics failed. Sad times.
1990 Partscaster, rebuilt 2014
But if I had made one, my new year's resolution would be "Learn to fix and build guitars." Because no guitar should sit in a closet unplayed.

Sometimes you need to put off doing the thing that requires huge amounts of brain energy and creative mojo... if only to have recharge time.

What's something you do to recharge?

Monday, December 30, 2013

Quick Guitar Mod: Upgrade Your Strat Tremolo Block

I’m going to digress on my blog and talk about a quick upgrade for any Stratocaster type-tremolo.

I play lots of guitar for work (and bass, and banjo, and mandolin, and ukulele, and whatever), but I’m also an inveterate tinkerer and modder. Usually I mod/upgrade small stuff like tuning keys and knobs or bridge/saddles, but I know how to fix the big stuff (like electronics) too.

I was in the market for a fun and kooky guitar so I bought one of those Fender Modern Player Marauders. They’re 25” scale (like a Stratocaster), have a Strat trem, and a nifty offset body. They’re also cheap and made in China so I wasn’t really sure what to expect quality-wise.

First of all: I really really really like it. It feels good, and better yet, what really makes it a formidable working-musician’s axe is that it has all three major pickup types on tap (P-90, single-coil & humbucker) 

I’ve already put a lot of gigging hours on it and the Marauder delivers the goods.

But, if you’ve ever bought a non-American-made Stratocaster, chances are if you look under the hood you'll find that the tremolo block is not your normal solid chunk of steel.

It probably looks more like the one on the left below: 

Cheap original on left, solid steel replacement (standard size) on right
This is called pinching-pennies. It is a lightweight piece of some sort of crappy alloy.

And you know what? I kind of got angry. I stamped my feet. I crossed my arms. I wasn’t going to take it any more. I was going to fight for my right to party. (er…)

Anyhow, I did a little research and bought a solid steel replacement tremolo block from Guitarfetish.com

I wasn’t sure how much of an actual difference it would make. But, hey, the solid steel block was only $25 bucks, so why not give it a shot? (They also offer solid brass)

IT MADE A DIFFERENCE.

I noticed first and foremost how SOLID the guitar felt even when playing it unplugged.
I always set up my trem bridges flush-mounted, so it wasn’t some sort of “play” in the tremolo. It just felt more solid when I played and bent notes all over creation. It was noticeably heavier, less “toy-like” in weight. It now weighs a fraction more than my American Strats (which if I’m not mistaken makes sense, the offset body being a little larger).

When I plugged it in, I perceived a sonic difference in the sustain (the notes decayed less quickly) and in a snappier response. Before I changed the tremolo block, the guitar had strings that were a few weeks old, so I won’t declare “Dude, it totally increased sustain by 50%!” But I perceived a difference… and I’m pretty darn skeptical about these sorts of things.

So, if you’ve got non-American Fender/Squire (or cheap knock-off) with a Synchro Tremolo, why not upgrade?

Before you get started, remember to take pictures of each step BEFORE you remove things so you know how the go back together. And consider numbering or tagging or otherwise separating/organizing each component you remove so you don’t end up with a pile of mystery screws afterwards.

Ok, here’s how you do it:

1) Start by removing the strings and the string saddles
for Pete’s sake find a little dish or jar or something to put all your parts and screws in!

2) Remove the tremolo back plate and the tremolo springs (careful not to make them snap out at you)



3) Unscrew the three flush-mount screws connecting the bridge plate to the tremolo block (not the six screws attaching the bridge plate to the body)

4) Slap in and secure the new tremolo block of super powers. 


5) Check that the hole for the tremolo arm lines up. Feel free to facepalm if it doesn’t, and reorder a different config.
misfit... boo.
6) Reattach the springs. (careful now, and put them back the way you found them. Or rearrange to your heart’s content. You’ll be adjusting the spring tension anyways)




7) Reinstall string saddles. (you’re going to adjust intonation later, right? RIGHT?)



Put on some new strings and tune up.

Adjust tremolo spring tension to taste (I like my tremolos flush mount with no backwards play) and reattach back plate.*

That’s it!

If you do it, report back whether you think it made a difference or not, and with any technical glitches, tricks, or advice from your experience.

*One strange glitch was that the claw of the springs where they attached to the new block were a half millimeter higher than the level of the guitar body, so the backplate couldn’t be mounted flush—and more importantly the end of the springs would rub/press against the tremolo block. (not the block itself, mind you, just the claw of the springs)
UNACCEPTABLE! So I got a file and grooved out the inside of the backplate to accommodate the height discrepancy. One could also, theoretically groove out the tremolo block so that the spring claws sat lower. But I didn’t want to bother filing steel.
The springs are sticking up! Drats!