Offshore Wind Power for Humboldt County. Pie in the Sky or Pie?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on August 8, 2014 by highboldtage

shortlink here:

via Bloomberg:

The University of Maine and partners  including Iberdrola SA (IBE) and  Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co. plan to launch the first U.S.  offshore wind turbine today in a pilot project that will help design a $96  million, 12-megawatt floating power system.

The 65-foot (20 meter) tower and  blades will be towed to a site off the coast of Castine, about 35 miles south of  Bangor, Maine, and is expected to be connected to the Central Maine Power Co.  grid on June 2, Elizabeth Viselli, a university spokeswoman, said today in an  interview. The VolturnUS system has 20 kilowatts of capacity and is  one-eighth the scale of turbines that are expected to be deployed in 2016, she  said.

VolturnUS is one of two floating offshore wind projects that Maine is  planning with funding from the Energy Department to supply as much as 24  megawatts of capacity in 2016. Their goal is to reduce the cost of offshore wind  to 10 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2020.

Statoil ASA  (STL), Norway’s state-controlled oil company, in January received approval  from the Maine Public Utilities Commission to build a $120 million offshore wind  farm. The deepwater demonstration facility in the Gulf of Maine will use four,  3-megawatt floating turbines.

much important info here:
I published this in 2008.   Pie in the sky, or pie?  I think much more real, and local, than any container port.

Humboldt Empowerment Project

GOAL:  Electrical energy self sufficiency (independence) for Humboldt County using a renewable source within five years.

MEANS:  A wind turbine farm placed in a ten mile square at sea twenty miles offshore on floating barge platforms with the electricity collected onshore in one or more stations..  On 500′ centers this will comprise +/- 11,100 turbines.

ECONOMIC NOTES:  Turbines and barges to be assembled locally in Humboldt County.  This project should result in 500 or more local good paying jobs for welders, assemblers and mariners.  If production starts in one year, we need to produce 10 barges per day to complete the project in 5 years.

ENGINEERING NOTES:  Barges should be plug and play, towed out to sea for production and towed to port for maintenance.  Barges, power transmission and anchors should be engineered to survive a 10,000 year tsunami. 

ENVIRONMENTAL NOTES:  Possible effect on seabirds.  Possible effect on fish and marine mammals.  Wind power production at this scale may alter global wind patterns.  Possible conflict with marine shipping routes and fishing zones.

BENEFITS:  Bountiful electric supply for Humboldt produced locally with a small carbon load, a boost to the local economy through cheaper power and good jobs, and a power plant that is very secure against disaster or attack.  Humboldt County will be a world pioneer in wind power energy production.

Bilateral Therapy for PTSD

Posted in Uncategorized on July 27, 2014 by highboldtage


Posted in Uncategorized on July 17, 2014 by highboldtage

Good afternoon!

For July’s rent (previous email below), we had to borrow $100 from a volunteer and good friend of PARC- and we need to pay it back!  We also have bills to pay:  electric and gas, phone lines, and the last payment for insurance on a van we use minimally, to haul our informational displays and music to various parts of town.

PARC just helped put on a wildly successful and fun Fair Wage Cafe in Cesar Chavez Park in Eureka on July 12th.  Now, we need to catch up on our bills.  Please donate whatever $ you can.

We are also in need of towels, natural dish soap, natural laundry soap, and socks.

If anyone knows of any places to rent in Eureka or thereabouts, please send some info.

Lastly, if you are new to PARC or know people who might want to help keep PARC going, but want more info about what we do here, send a note.  We would be happy to talk or email with folks about the special and critical role PARC plays, in this region, when it comes to organizing, empowerment, survival, resistance, care, and connection for various communities, movements, and individuals.

To donate to PARC online, click here:

(Please also “like” and “share” our donation page on your Facebook)

Other ways to donate to PARC:
Come by and drop off donations (or call & we’ll come to you!) 707-442-7465
Address Money Orders to Kimberly Starr
Address Checks to James Decker
and/or mail any of the above to:

P.O. Box 5692
Eureka, CA  95502



Peak Beatles ~ 1965 ~ Rubber Soul

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on July 14, 2014 by highboldtage

Canvass Eureka for Measure R

Posted in Uncategorized on July 12, 2014 by highboldtage

Time: 2 PM to 7PM

Where: We will meet at the
Labor Temple (9th and E, Eureka)
on Sunday, July 13 at 2 PM.

First we will have a workshop on
how to canvass for Measure R. Then
we will go out on to the streets, talk
to Eureka’s residents and register

SUNDAY the 13th

For more info call: 707-442-7465

Chris Kerrigan to Speak at Fair Wage Cafe, Hammond Park, July 12

Posted in Uncategorized on July 10, 2014 by highboldtage

Supervisor Candidate and former Eureka City Council Member Chris Kerrigan will be making a short speech at our Fair Wage Café.


Chris will speak at 3 pm.   Hammond Park 14th and E, Eureka.


Free food, free music from noon til five pm!


fair wage cafe_July 12,2014-1


Posted in Uncategorized on July 3, 2014 by highboldtage

PARC Anniversary, $400 needed for Rent!

Greetings from the busiest space I know, PARC. So busy that we didn’t send anything out, much less throw an anniversary party for our 5 YEAR HERE ANNIVERSARY! As of June 26th , we’ve been in our current location at the library end of 3rd Street for 5 years.

I remember… four of us (women) first opening the door, burning sage in every corner, setting up a ceramic water holder, and hanging a special hand-tied bundle of dried leaves- setting up the space to be welcoming and healthy for everyone who would enter, a creative and comfortable place in which to cultivate community in rebellion.

We have our ups and downs here. Attempting creative, empowering, and caring ways to resist, survive, and transform through the myriad problems spawned by colonialism, neo-liberalism, sexism, capitalism… disconnection.

With help from many of you (and some who don’t use email at all!), PARC stays open about 12 hours a day, 9:30am-9:30pm. THANK YOU!!  People have come to know that they can use our dishes and cooking utensils for events, call or come by to document and strategize when police or landlords have violated or are violating their rights, plan for or attend workshops and trainings, use the phone or computer, create and copy fliers and informational handbills, get help with rescuing animals, publicize “radical” events, organize encampments and protest actions, pick up various independent newspapers and reading materials, get something to eat, acquire clean warm clothes, network to find who or what they need, pick up shampoo or blankets or a toothbrush, get involved in liberatory projects, or simply… relax.

It’s not always easy to keep toilet paper stocked in the bathroom, computers working, rain from mucking up the place, everyone in dry warm clothes, phone bills paid, and ink in the copiers. Even utilizing 12 hours a day, it’s difficult to respond and organize around the NEEDS and STRUGGLES that have been created and perpetuated by a deliberate break down of community. But, we continue on…  What else can we do?!


Please donate what you can:

PARC bills include $750 monthly rent; gas/electricity about $60- $70; two phone bills for $25 and $55 a month.

To donate to PARC online, click here:

(Please also “like” and “share” our donation page on your Facebook)

Other ways to donate to PARC:
Come by and drop off donations (or call & we’ll come to you!) 707-442-7465
Address Money Orders to Kimberly Starr
Address Checks to James Decker
and/or mail any of the above to:

P.O. Box 5692
Eureka, CA  95502

Should the City of Eureka Open a Public Owned Gas Station?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on July 2, 2014 by highboldtage

Given the obvious in your face corruption in the local fuel supply I say YES!   A small town in Kentucky just voted to open a city owned station because the people there face the same kind of corruption that we do here in Eureka.   Its time to fight back.


The town is Somerset Kentucky and they seem to be a high fuel price island just like Eureka and Arcata.


Take the poll:



Blogging the 2014 Humboldt Elections

Posted in Uncategorized on June 2, 2014 by highboldtage

Blogging the 2014 Humboldt Elections

Posted on March 3, 2014 by highboldtage

shortlink here:

mnemonic link here:

Eureka City City Council

Humboldt County Supervisor District 4

Humboldt County Supervisor District 5

Eureka City Council Ward 1

Eureka City Council Ward 3

Eureka City Council Ward 5

Humboldt County District Attorney

Eureka Mayor

Humbodlt County Clerk – Recorder

Assembly District #2

The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Footstep

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on May 7, 2014 by highboldtage

Yes Confucius said it 2,500 years ago I am just restating it.

But it’s true.  If you are of normal health and can walk ten miles a day, you could be in  Steamboat Springs, Colorado in 91 days (distance 910 miles) or Tucson, Arizona in 95 days (distance 944 miles) or Cheyenne, Wyoming in 101 days (distance a tad over 1,000 miles) (YIKES) or Colorado Springs, Colorado in 106 days (distance 1,055 miles) or  Truth or Consequences, New Mexico in 107 days (distance 1070 miles, been there its lovely.)

No worries most of Kansas is a good 300 miles further on.

I know some of this walking is going to be uphill.  Some of its going to be in heavy weather.  If you start off too weighted down, you will lose some stuff along the way.   That’s life, pilgrim.

have a peaceful day,


Have You Ever Run A Business?

Posted in Uncategorized on March 21, 2014 by highboldtage

You know as a an advocate for raising the minimum wage I get asked that a lot.

Sometimes its just some low info knucklehead repeating a phrase from Hannity and he thinks he sounds smart. He doesn’t sound smart. Sometimes its people who are sincere in their question, but their question is sometimes based on a faulty premise – that a left winger couldn’t possibly know anything about business – and correspondingly that right wingers must be naturally talented at the biz game.

Let me tell you that I have run a business. I have run a department in a big business for over 10 years, and each year I was required to show a profit or get fired. I had 50 employees. My payroll was almost $2.000,000 a year. I did all the hiring, firing, promotion, sales, marketing for my department without an assistant.

I can tell you more and I will. But I will also ask you, have YOU ever run a business? Come back soon.

I ran a department in a casino in Reno for years.   My department  was a gaming department, front line revenue generator.  In the 10 years with the company every other department manger changed at least once, (14 departments.)  The competitive environment was brutal, with 20  or more casinos vying for a limited customer pool.  I always had the highest paid employees.  Although the majority of my department jobs were entry level minimum wage jobs, I paid over minimum to start and I paid over market wages for good employees.  I had the fastest growing department of its type in the state for several years.

The secret to success in entertainment, hospitality, food, gaming, and retail  etc. etc. is in the employees!   There is very little difference between what you can offer the customer in goods and what your competitor can offer.  The difference will be in the level of service you can provide to your customers and that costs a little money.   Its worth it.   Yes I had to compete against the bottom feeders.  I did not get all of the low end trade, but I made up for it with a higher per average sale figure.   My per average sales were twice the industry standard in the market.  Why?  Because I found superstar sales people and I could hire them by paying 1 dollar over the minimum wage they were making working for a bottom feeder.

If you are running a clothing store, especially one marketing to teens, you are going to hire teens.   You can hire any teen for $8.00 an hour but you can also hire a couple of superstar teen salespeople for 11 dollars an hour and double your sales.  You are an idiot if you don’t see this.  Sorry.

Why We Must Raise Wages

Posted in Uncategorized on March 8, 2014 by highboldtage

I have had periods in my life when I was “successful”, when I made income of $60,000 plus in the early 90′s.

I am a smart guy, with a A type personality, and I used to work very hard.  I was successful but in a way also an asshole.

But then things fell apart.  Until my health left me, I worked the last 8 years of my working life in minimum wage, temp agency jobs.   I worked as much as I could.  I had to be humbled in my own life to gain empathy for these lower wage workers who I now view as my brothers and sisters.

The truth is that no one can live on what has passed for the minimum wage in the United States, at least for the last several decades.  This doesn’t mean that you die right away.  It means, if you are a minimum wage worker that your life is in a slow downward financial death spiral.  The vise tightens a little more every week.  Every week a little more in debt, a little more of your meager resources used, a couple more friendships and family relationships stressed or burned.

Hopelessness and desperation and depression.  Anxiety.

Workers making minimum wage (or close to it) are losing their lives to a downward poverty spiral.  The employers know this as do the politicians.   The truth is that we low wage workers are disposable.  When we wear out and fall in our footsteps, there are more of us to step over our bodies and keep marching……to our slave labor jobs! When something (someone let’s remember) is viewed as disposable there is no reason to maintain them!

We are the cannon fodder in capitalism’s war against us and against itself of course.  We are the infantry and the civilian collateral damage all at once.

So you reach a point where you realize that basically these folks just want you to work yourself to death, suffer for a few months before you die so these health care vampires can suck the last of the resources out of your family, and then just fuck off and die because you’ve been replaced.

That realization, that epiphany, that is the point when things change.  I reached that point myself a few years ago.  How about you?

People need to be paid more than their replacement value or its a death spiral economy that will collapse and its looking like its going to be soon.

have a peaceful day, Bill

A People’s Initiative for a
$12.00 An Hour Minimum Wage for Large Employers

Rise Up (And Raise Our Wages) – Electric Bill – Free MP3

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 10, 2014 by highboldtage

shortlink here:

mnemonic link here:

Rise Up (And Raise Our Wages) listen on

Rise Up (And Raise Our Wages)

copyright 2014 Bill Holmes


Feb . 8 2014
I can’t make it on what they pay
Get a 2nd job is what they say
I got three jobs and I’ll tell you what
I’m sick and tired I’ve had enough
Rise Up and Raise Our Wages,
Rise Up, Rise Up
Rise Up and Raise Our Wages,
Rise Up, Rise Up
40 hours don’t pay the rent
30 hours don’t make a dent
20 hours its killin me
Aint no hope for my family
They tell you to educate yourself
My degree is sittin on the shelf
These student loans are killin me
My only hope is a Jubilee.
repeat chorus and out.

Electric Bill – 2014 – Acoustic/Eclectic/Electric

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on January 23, 2014 by highboldtage

2014 – Electric Bill

shortlink here:

Bill Holmes – singer – songwriter – acoustic/electric/eclectic

I do somewhat obscure covers by great songwriters and I sing and record originals.


Rise Up (And Raise Our Wages) listen on

Rise Up (And Raise Our Wages)

copyright 2014 Bill Holmes

Feb . 8 2014
I can’t make it on what they pay
Get a 2nd job is what they say
I got three jobs and I’ll tell you what
I’m sick and tired I’ve had enough
Rise Up and Raise Our Wages,
Rise Up, Rise Up
Rise Up and Raise Our Wages,
Rise Up, Rise Up
40 hours don’t pay the rent
30 hours don’t make a dent
20 hours its killin me
Aint no hope for my family
They tell you to educate yourself
My degree is sittin on the shelf
These student loans are killin me
My only hope is a Jubilee.
repeat chorus and out.

Upcoming 2014 Appearances:


July 12 Sat Fair Wage Café Outdoors Hammond Park  noon to 5

July 17 Thurs Eureka Farmers Market Henderson Center (Henderson and F St.)  10 am til 1 pm.


Appearances this year so far:

July 5 Arts Alive Gazebo Fair Wage Concert

July 4 Foot of D St.  Fair Wage Concert

June 21 Peace Demo Humboldt Courthouse

June 19 Humboldt Street Life foot of C st. 2 pm to 5 pm with Sarah Torres

June 7 Arts Alive Eureka Gazebo

May 22 Humboldt Streetlife Henderson Center noon to 3 with Sarah Torres, Mother Vine and Turtle from Mad River Rounders.

May 21 Humboldt Streetlife with Sarah Torres, Romano Gabriel 330 pm

May 12, 13, 14, 15 Humboldt Street Life Concerts venue TBA, most likely Clarke Plaza, time noon to four pm approx.  Various performers including me.  Most likely two of the four days will be concerts and depends on weather.

May 17 Fair Wage Café, Sat. noon- 5 Free Food Free Music Electric Bill appears with Mad River Rounders, Sarah Torres, Beth Isbell, Papa Paul.

Eureka Labor Temple (Carpenters Union) corner of 9th and E Eureka.

.May 15 Humboldt Street Life Clarke Plaza

May 13 Humboldt Street Life Clarke Plaza

May 12 Humboldt Street Life Clarke Plaza

May 3 Arts Alive Fair Wage Tent o Gazebo

April 20 420 Boardwalk Stroll for Herbal Freedom

Mar. 23 Unitarian Church

Mar. 22 Fair Wage Cafe

Feb 1 Sat Clarke Plaza

Jan 26 Eureka Coop 10 to 1
Jan . 25 Clarke Plaza 1 to 4

Jan. 24  Storefront Tour  F St. Between 2nd and 3rd.  noon to 3

Jan 23 Clarke Plaza Lunch Outdoors Café Nooner   noon to 3

Jan. 18 Homeless Bill of Rights Demo Carson Park  2 to 5

Jan 17  Homeless Bill of Rights Demo Gazebo Old Town Eureka  noon to 2

Jan. 11 Fair Wage Café Labor Temple Eureka  noon to five

Street Music 101 – Rolling with Amplification – How It’s Done

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2013 by highboldtage

shortlink here:

mnemonic link here:

I started off the summer wanting to upgrade my simple street music rig to be amplified, battery powered and portable, since I don’t have a car.  I wanted to switch to all amplified acoustic even on the streets since I had migrated to playing lots of club gigs in an amplified context, and I just wanted to do the same show on the street that I did in the clubs onstage.   So I started searching for solutions.

At the time I was just carrying my simple acoustic rig, a guitar, a tuner and a bucket to sit on.

My first try was to use an old Roland Microcube that I had picked up at a pawn shop back in 2008.   I first started using the microcube out in the Plaza here last spring, and in a few of the other Old Town acoustic sweet spots.  (Old Town Eureka is blessed with a few GREAT acoustic music venues.   I think its to do with the old buildings reflecting sound somehow, and perhaps just the right scale but I speculate.)

Well it is plain the the Roland is underpowered for the task of producing amplified vocal/guitar mixes outdoors.  Not that it isn’t loud enough, it is.  It really is a remarkable little amp.   Great if you are busking playing lead riffs because distortion is distortion right?   So you can crank these little amps but when you do vocals and acoustic guitars start to become distorted, shrill and thin.  Its partly because of the tiny 6 in speaker, but its also just 3 watts of power.

With these little amps there are a few things you can do though, and you can make your sound pretty decent.

First of all, use a mixer or preamp in front of the Microcube.   If you dial in just enough preamp to push the little Roland a little harder from the front end, you can get a much louder and less distorted sound out of it.   I would say if you are a singer/guitarist a mixer of some kind is essential to overcome the mic/instrument impedence differential.   That’s where the problem lies because it is hard to find a battery powered mixer that will work.      Rolls makes one for about $75.   Behringer makes one (1002b) but it has 5 mic inputs it is too big really for most busking applications and it costs about $125.    What made this possible to work for me was the Zoom A3 that I have reviewed here because it is essentially a two channel mic/guitar mixer with effects that is battery powered.   So I use the Zoom for a preamp pushed into the microcube and the sound is much improved.

Then the other thing you can do, and this is true of other small low power small speaker amps is that you can find a feature of the outdoor environment and use it for a horn.   For instance I often use the inside corner of a wall or some buildings and aim the little Roland backwards (away from the audience) and angled upwards towards the sky and building corners, to get the music in the air.  The stone or brick corner “horn” seems to add sympathetic bass to the content, and smooths out the harshness of the little speakers.   Listeners have the sensation of hearing your acoustic voice and guitar followed quite quickly by an echo from the horn, a little distorted still because it is still a tiny speaker, but people seem to process distortion differently in echoes than in direct sound.  It is almost as if we humans expect a little distortion in echoes.   People seem to find it a pleasant effecd, it is almost magic.    So give it a try.   Roland cubes, don’t forget the Peavey Solo it is 10 watts battery powered you can find them used for about 50 bucks.

Then there are a few battery PAs that you can use.   They are much more powerful than the Roland,  I use the AN Mini which cost about 180 dollars US.   Now it doesn’t have any effects, but it is a real 30 watt amp and it runs on 10 AA batteries, and I use rechargeables.  Since I use the Zoom A3 with the AN Mini as well all the effects I need are in the pedal.  This is actually  a pretty powerful rig and very portable.   But since the speaker here is also small, it is best to use these PAs the same way as the cube, that is aimed back and upwards towards a stone corner.

Roland makes a couple of battery PAs but both of them are overpriced and underpowered.   Roland makes great products but this line needs to be updated they have not kept pace with tech on battery powered gear.  The whole C ube line is underpowered now and out of date.

If you google for “battery pa” or “portable pa” you can find a few other options of small battery pas.   Samson makes one,  And there are a few that are very expensive.  Sampson XP40i is 40 watts and runs about $249 street   I haven’t heard  one but based on my experience this summer, it might just stomp all over one of the Rolands.  Prob not as quality built as a Roland, and no effects, but prob quite a bit louder.   The Cubes are only 3 or 4 watts and the AC is only 2 x 15 watts.    The 30 watt AN Mini is much louder than the Cubes.   I might have gone with the Samson instead of the AN Mini but the price was the difference for me.  $249 as opposed to 175, plus the AN mini uses AA batteries which is a plus for me, since I have rechargeables already.  .   The Samson uses a proprietary battery pack.  Samson makes a wireless version also the XP40iw for about 50 bucks more.    The Samsons do have a mini mixer built in, with one XLR input and one 1/4 in instrument input, while the AN Mini has only one quarter in input.   So the price difference is mostly the mixer and the mic preamp I suppose.  The Samson will most likely have the same small speaker problem that the cubes and the an-mini have, some harshness.  Use a corner for a horn with the Samson too if you need to.

Gemini Play2go mobile pa  advertised as 50  watts , 8 in woofer, 1 in tweeter.  199 dollars, built in battery.  may be issues with European charging cord.

mipro ma100 or ma10

alesis transactive  25 w

qtx qr12pa

are a few more that I have found but I haven’t tried them.

Also consider the newer NUX MIGHTY 8, it is about 7 watts, roughly double the power of a Roland Cube, well its a virtual clone of a cube but noticeably more powerful, new for $130 street.    Or a Peavey Solo.   I don’t know if Peavey still makes the Solo (not to be confused the with the Solo Bandit 112) but it is a 15 watt portable amp sometimes called the Solo AE and it runs on AA batteries, at 10 watts output.  You can find them used for around 50 to 70 dollars.  Crate also makes a smaller 15 watt Crate Taxi, and used to make a battery bass amp the Crate Bus but they seem to be pretty rare and discontinued.

Although I had found some workable solutions to my quest to be battery powered on the street I wanted to give the best show possible so I obtained a Crate TX50D which is a battery powered 50 watt acoustic amp.   It sounds great, and I will give a full review soon.  If you are serious about playing on the street and you have $400 to spend, and you don’t want to mess with building your own rig as described below, then this is the way to go.   The Crate is the rig that many pro buskers and world traveling musicians use.  Its simple, you use it then plug it in to charge it.  You don’t need a mixer or a Zoom pedal, it has a mic channel (xlr and 1/4 jacks) and a guitar channel.  It feels like  a real 50 watt amp, you can feel your guitar and vocals “hit the back of the room” so to speak.  I have gigged all summer with a 30 watt amp in a club and its plenty loud with a mixer or Zoom pedal pushing it, so this 50 watt Crate with 10″ woofer sounds pretty good.  And with the Crate there is no need for mixer, preamp or pedal.  It just remains to be seen how durable the amp  and battery pak will be.

Once I had decided to produce the absolutely best sound I could do, then I pursued  a dual strategy.  I would buy a Crate or something equivalent (I would find the best available off the shelf solution) and I would also try to build a 12 volt battery powered system in parallel.   Well after some research I bought the Crate.  It is really the best solution I have found in off the shelf gear for portable battery busking or playing.  The little Roland acoustic amps cost the same as the Crate but they are no where near as powerful   The Roland is really a 2 x 15 watt stereo amp, not really “30 watts” as it is advertised.  The Street Cube has the same problem    All the other amp companies who make battery amps make tiny amps, the Peavey  Solo is the most powerful at 10 watts (15 when AC powered)  with the exeption of Traynor, who seems to make a 40 watt battery amp but its hard to find.  [ed  traynor tvm50 ]

Now on to 12 volt systems.  Yes you can do it and its pretty simple.   You know if you google for 12 volt battery guitar amps (or variances of such) you will find people that have tried inverter power, and they got stuck in the woods with a dead battery and never tried it again.  They were using auto batteries, which you can do if you keep your car running.   Otherwise you need a deep cycle battery.   As a matter of fact I know peeps have figured this out down in LA because this fall when I was out playing in Eureka Old Town with my battery rig I ran into a beautiful young woman from LA who had her own hand built 12 volt battery street rig, and we had the same components that I had assembled.  She had a wonderful voice, she was up here visiting her uncle and scouting locations for a music video shoot.   So this is no big secret.

Here’s what you need.   You need a 12 volt deep cycle battery.   Its the deep cycle that’s important, regular auto and truck batteries are not well suited for this task.   The good news is that these deep cycle batteries don’t cost so much.   I am using a 35 AH deep cycle battery for my first (proof of concept) rig and it cost me $65 US.   These kinds of batteries are widely used now in wheelchairs, electric carts and solar arrays so they are plentiful.  I am not sure right now how big  a battery I need.  I want to be able for myself to play 3 hour shows and then be able to reliably recharge my battery within the 24 hour cycle.  So my 35 AH (AH stands for Amp Hours, a measure of the storage capacity of the battery)  may be too big.   I am going to test a smaller battery in my next rig.   But the key is the 35 AH works fine.  Look for the newer tech like AGM or gel-cel batteries because they are seale, maintenance free and you can charge them indoors.

You need an inverter.   You will be looking (in the US) for a 12v DC to 120 V AC inverter.  You will want one with two AC outlets.  For my rig I wanted to get the best sound possible, so I decided on a pure sine wave inverter.   There are several kinds of inverters, the cheapest put out square waves, then there are modified sine wave inverters and pure sine wave inverters.   I bought a 600 watt pure sine inverter for about 150 dollars US.   Here again I may have overdone it.  I wanted to get it right on the first shot, and I did.  It sounds great.   Now for my next test rig again I will go a bit smaller.  Maybe a 400 watt modified sine inverter I think I can find for less than 50 bucks.  I think that maybe bigger inverter = more audio headroom but I could be wrong about this.  I an on a learning curve for sure.  The problem with cheap square wave inverters is that they can produce 60 cycle hum into your music.  But its not a given.  If you are assembling one of these rigs and you have a cheap inverter give it a try, it may work without excessive hum if you are lucky.

You will need a charger.   Find a smart charger, your batteries will last  a lot longer.   Find one for less than 50 bucks.

You need a small amp that you will simply plug into the inverter.  If it is an acoustic amp or keyboard amp or small pa  with low impedance mic input(s) you are good to go.   If you are using a small bass amp or guitar amp (I like bass amps better for this usually)  then you will need to use a mixer or Zoom A3.   If you use a mixer you will mostly likely need to power it (since as I pointed out above battery mixers are not common) hence the usefulness of the 2nd AC outlet on the inverter.  Happily most inverters in this class do have two outlets, its  a detail though.

I like bass amps better because they are usually simpler and not full of effects that I don’t need (and do have to pay for.)   When you use a bass amp or guitar amp for vocals you usually have to roll off the bass and push the midrange a bit.   But that makes the guitar sound a bit thin so you have to adjust the guitar too.   But you can do it.  Of course I have EQ on the zoom pedal or mixer as well.  I am just saying that a bass or guitar amp is doable for this kind of act either on the street or in a small club if you use a small mixer and take the time to dial your sound in.  I want to sound as good on the street as I do in the clubs.  On the other hand, a few bass amps and guitars amps just sound crappy when used as a small pa, it has to do with how the circuitry or the cabinet and speakers are tuned.  Find another one, these kinds of old amps are plentiful and cheap.

So    12volt deep cycle battery  + inverter  + mixer + amp and you have a workable street rig.

Mine cost $65 for the battery, $150 for the inverter, and $60 for an old Peavey keyboard amp.   I don’t need the zoom pedal or mixer.  So this rig is loud, clear, portable battery operated, and    Toss in $25 for a pawn shop mic and stand and I roll for under $300.   And its modular.  If something breaks its replaceable off the shelf.

I bought a hand cart from Ace Hardware on sale for $15 and I bungee my rig to it and  I roll.

For my next test rig I will go to a smaller battery and a less expensive inverter, and I will see how it sounds.  I  will use the same mics and amp.  I may be able to shave $100 or more of the cost of the street rig.

Its true that some of these rig options will require a small mixer.   This week I bought a used alesis for 25 bucks which works or you can go up to things like the Zoom A3 which is $200 (but worth if if you can afford it).   If you must go really cheap without a mixer be patient and find the right keyboard amp.  You won’t need the mixer.  My current thinking is to find amps for this purpose at least 30 real watts up to maybe 50 watts, which I think is a good balance between clean sound power for acoustic guitar and vocals and power (battery) consumption.   I am going to test larger amps (a peavey KB100 or maybe a KB/A 60 if I can find one) and also a Peavey Bandit.   My current favorite is an old Peavey KB/A 30, which is bi-amped 30 watts into a 10 inch woofer and 7 watts into a tweeter.  It sounds great.  I don’t think you should go below 10 in woofers outside if you are a vocalist, unless you are going to play and sing really softly.   Probably 12 in will sound even better outside, that’s why I am going to try a Bandit.  Outdoors, you need to push some air with your speakers to sound good.  I did a farmers market last year outside with a 30 watt bass amp and the zoom pedal and it sounded great, in a block long outdoor venue.

You can do it too.

Remember get your music up into the air.  Music lives in the air and dies on the ground.

have a peaceful day,


update Well thanks to a wonderful musician named Heidi Joubert, I have learned about a new kind of battery amp (at least new for me) AER Compact Mobile CPM-AKKU they are spendy but do sound good on video. They are battery powered, 60 watts, twin 8 in speakers.  Basically  a high end battery powered acoustic amp.

update: I came across this video, this is an Aussie street musician and his rig is almost identical to mine, in concept. He is using a big Roland keyboard amp (I use a 40 watt keyboard amp) and a bigger battery than I do (he uses a 66 amp hour battery, but the bigger amplifier might require it) , and I have extended the handles of my dolly with two 6 foot lengths of 1.5″ pvc pipe so I can pull my rig rickshaw style down the sidewalk. Its a lot easier. 🙂

Here’s some good advice from a busker:

Here’s  an elegant approach to battery power sound:

Here’s a link to the FlatMax Studios Karaoke Mixer, runs on 9v or 12 v battery direct.

Fair Wage Folks Meet TONIGHT Tues July 1, @Labor Temple Eureka, 6:15 PM

Posted in Uncategorized on July 1, 2014 by highboldtage

Fair Wage Folks Meet TONIGHT Tues July 1, @Labor Temple Eureka, 6:15 PM


Look for us upstairs or in the basement.

Join us for our weekly meeting!   We are planning our route to victory on November 4!
We will meet as usual at the Labor Temple, 9th and E, Eureka at 615 pm.  Look for us upstairs or in the basement.


A BIG THANKS to all who have helped us get this far!

VOLUNTEER CALL OUT! We need canvassers, phone bankers, tablers, and leafleteers,  musicians, cooks, bottle washers, clean up specialists, event personnel, drivers, your skill set is needed! Call

707 442 7465 or

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Natalie Arroyo to Challenge Liar/Teabagger Chet Albin for Eureka’s 5th Ward

Posted in Uncategorized on June 23, 2014 by highboldtage

shortlink here:

mnemonic link here:

From the brand-new Natalie Arroyo for Eureka City Council Facebook page:

I am running for City Council, and would be honored to have your support and your vote this November. There is so much to love about Eureka, and I want to help sustain what IS working now. I also want to see real progress in the following areas:

• Improving safety for all modes of transportation,
• Small business support and growth,
• Actively supporting closer-knit, safe neighborhoods,
• Improving access to resources for our residents’ health and well-being,
• Using our City’s existing resources effectively and wisely,
• Treating all our residents with dignity and respect,
• Implementing our City’s Strategic Vision fully, which includes informed planning for the future,
• Supporting a clean, healthy natural environment.


Pre File Poll (Beauty Contest) Liar/Teabagger Phony Democrat Chet Albin vs. Natalie Arroyo: