Friday, August 16, 2013

Car Audio Friday - Car Audio Championships & Alma Gates

So, today's post, I decided on useing some time to start planing my trip to Finals in October.

Apparently, the powers that be decided that they wanted to make the Car Audio Finals in Huntsville, Alabama this year. Kind of sucks, but it is what it is. Why Alabama? I just don't understand that. Is there anything to really do in Huntsville? Are there hotels?

Hey look! That's me in the white Team Gates Shirt!!!
It's kind of funny, because when I picture Alabama, I don't picture much! Now, my brother Dennis lives in Montgomery, and I have been there a few years ago. But, that was it.

I remember the drive going up to Montgomery... There wasn't much... as a mater of fact there was nothing but cotton fields and just a lot more of NOTHING. Want to know why the University of Alabama has a good college football team? BECAUSE THERE IS NOTHING TO DO THERE EXCEPT PLAY FOOTBALL!

So, the finals for this year, is at a place called the Von Braun Center. Which I guess is like the central area for like the local fairs or something. I decided to MapQuest it and Google Earth it to get a better idea of whats around. After mapping  it kind of looks pretty neat. A lot of local things to do. I see an art museum, and apparently there is a Space Camp there. That's pretty cool, I guess... But, we're not there to have fun... OH NO.... We're there to PARTY!!!!

This is the end of the year bash for us car audio nuts. That means it is one of the two times we ALL get together and drink some beer, have some fun, and play practical jokes with one another. What I like most about this time of year. It is one of the few times I get to see some of my mentors, jokers and closest friends. People like Markey Dietrich, Paul Pirro and Shazad Rahaman. Why these three? Well, One is my mentor, one is a great friend and one is a jokester!

The one thing I will miss most this year is Alma Gates. She was like a 2nd Mother to me when we were out at shows all over the country. She always kept us in check, she always made sure we were in the lanes when we needed to be, and she could sure out drink us! One of my greatest memories of Alma was at CES in 2002. Kicker (I competed for the KCG / TEAM KICKER back then), had thrown another WELL KNOWN ABOUT dealer party. Till this day, I usually get the name wrong, but I think it was called The Beach. It was right across from the Las Vegas Convention Center, so we could leave the North Hall, walk about 2 blocks and get right to partying!

Patrick, Alma, Me and Julie @ SBN 2001
(Kicker Competition Group)
So anyways, one of my favorite memories was Alma Gates, Patrick Gates, Dave "Fishman" Rivera, Manny "Mad Dog", my buddy James and myself all sitting at this table just talking and having a good time. Suddenly, these two shot girls come up and ask if we want shots. So, Alma, decided that she was going to pay the girls to give ME a body shot. But instead of doing what would be a traditional body shot, there involved some dancing, and I ended up on my knees while these 2 girls filled me up with liquor! Just the look on her face when I stood up was priceless! I have a picture of all of us around the table that night and if I can remember to find it, I'll post it for everyone to see. A few Car Audio legends in one picture! It was just an amazing night all together!

Alma Gates taught me a few things over the years:
1) Never be late to a meeting, or your competition time
2) Make your competitors fear you in the lanes, but love you under the tents.
3) Always respect each other, and your team mates

and my favorite


Nicole (MA AUDIO) and I @ CES 2002
Ahh the memories! As most Car Audio competitors and professionals know, Alma passed away this past year. It was a loss to all of us in the Car Audio world. I remember where I was, what I was doing, and who I was with when I received the phone call. She was a lady that taught everyone how to be a competitor, as well as how to be a leader. Her ability to comfort yet scare the hell out of competitors was like no other! If you didn't respect her, then you didn't know her. If you didn't fear her in the lanes, then you never competed with her. But if you had her on your team... You had a lot of cheesecake!!!

One of my biggest wishes as a competitor was to one day make Alma Gates proud. Both in and out of the lanes. As a competitor and a leader, that was always my drive. Even till this day, it has been the drive that has always pushed me forward. I strive now, not only for her, but for all competitors in both SQ and SPL. I try everyday, the best I can, to push our sport forward, and hope that one day, I can influence AT LEAST ONE competitor the same way Alma influenced me.

- C

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tank Tuesdays... A Couple New Toys!

So this weekend, I had received a couple new toys from the online retailer that I get all of my gear from. I finally ordered a Phosban Reactor 150 made by Two Little Fishies, as well the Dr. Tim Bio Pellet reactor kit with the Bashsea reactor.
Bashsea Reactor with Bio-Pellets
 So far, I'm digging them both... it kind of gives you more things to look at while relaxing in the room. Out of the two, I like the Bashsea reactor the most for its looks and simplicity of removing and adding the reactor material. However, I do like the Phosban reactor because it has a small mounting bracket to get it off the floor and onto the side of the sump. Whereas the Bashsea just kind of sits at the base of the sump and hangs out there.

Now, what is the purpose of doing this? Well here it is:

Dr. Tim's bio-pellets help remove the nitrates and phosphates from the aquarium so that nutrients are not avail to start going cyanobacteria and nuisance algae. The process is converting the nitrate and phosphates in the aquarium, and into bacteria cells that are then removed by the protein skimmer. In my aquarium, I was having a major problem with cyanobacteria. I fought and fought it for a few weeks, talked to several friends and reef heads, then finally did a lot of research and found Dr. Tim’s NP-Active Pearls. After talking to friends and trying everything they had recommended, I did not have any success. So after reading and even e-mailing Dr. Tim and having some chats with him, I had decided to try it. I will report back on the success in a few days/weeks/months.
PhosBan Reactor with GFO

Now, the Two Fishies Reactor, I decided to run another type of phosphate remover called GFO. GFO stands for Granulated Ferric Oxide, which removes phosphates from the aquarium and is one of the most commonly used medias in the aquarium industry. GFO is one of the few ways to maintain some ultra-low phosphate levels on a consistent basis. Most importantly, maintaining the ultra-low levels will help prevent algae outbreaks. And as most people know, outbreaks are one of the most common reasons for a complete tank shut down. Preventing the outbreaks is much easier to deal with than having to cure it!

Since at this point I have removed most of my algae outbreaks, I’m hoping the combined effort of Bacteria treatment with the Bio-Pearls and the GFO will help prevent any kind of outbreaks in the future. But as I said before, I will report back and let you all know how it turns out!

Have a great Tuesday!

Just a look at some of the algae on Friday.

Friday, August 9, 2013


Today is a very sad day.

I learned yesterday at 8pm that my dear friend Lauren passed away on Thursday morning @ 8:05am.

Lauren Scott left a huge impression on me, and thousands of people. She leaves behind not only her family and friends, but a huge legacy. She had taught us all how to be brave, loving, strong and most importantly, face your fears head on!!! 

As I stated on Monday's post; nothing upsets and pisses me off more than a child losing their life to something like Cancer. Lauren had carried herself for a long time with this terrible disease. Not only her, but thousands if not millions of children are effected. I do not understand why. I cannot comprehend the meaning behind it. However, I do know that all of the children in the past are now surrounding Lauren in a ceremony of love, overwhelming happiness, as God hands her her very well earned golden angel wings. 

I feel deep in my heart that Lauren, and a very select few have been given these golden wings as a sign of love, as they are the leaders of their time. They are the teachers that have left this earth so early yet have taught us all a lot about ourselves, our lives, and our family. They have taught us more than any of our grade school teachers, parents, or even grandparents combined. The simple love and affection, leadership, and bravery are what are so awe inspiring. 

Lauren has affected me in such a huge way over the past few years. Not only because of the awareness she brought to the table, but because she was so kind hearted. I remember just seeing images of all the cool things that she has done over the past year, which most people have never done in their 70 years on this earth. Lauren has been a huge inspiration. She has been a tremendous teacher. Yet, she has been one of the biggest leaders of my life. At only 16, it’s hard to believe that so much can be learned from her in such little time.

As stated before, her legacy lives on with me. She is held so high in my heart and mind that I will never forget the things she has taught me. I hope that her family realizes that she has been a huge part not only in my life, but in everyone’s lives. Team Lola is more than a group of people who shared the story and legacy of Lola, but it is a family who on this day are in mourning of one of the single greatest leader of our generation.

Lauren “Lola” Scott Chiodo’s legacy will forever live on in my heart, and the heart of Thousands. I promised her, her mother and her family that I will continue to drive the force that is Team Lola. I will continue to be involved in the awareness of Pediatric Cancer. And most importantly, we will all "Stay Strong", “love each other to the moon and back” and “Love Like Lola!”

Rest In Paradise my dear Lola, gone from us so early, but will never be forgotten!

Lauren “Lola” Scott Chiodo
1997 – 2013

-Chad V. Romano
Team Lola

Team Evilbass

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I apologize... Now eat your vitamins!!!

First off, I'd like to apologize to everyone as I had a pretty busy day at work yesterday and was so exhausted when I got home. I was not able to get online to do my Wednesday blog. But I'm back today! :o)

So, today, after working out at the gym, I kind subliminal changed my usual routine when getting ready for work. For some unknown reason, I decided to brush my teeth after taking my shower, before eating breakfast and most importantly before taking my vitamins! That was an un-godly mistake!!!

Let me explain...

I have been taking a chew-able men's one-a-day vitamin for about 5 years now. Recently, under a doctor suggestion, B12 and vitamin D supplements. This has been my routine everyday for the past year or so.

So today, I brushed my teeth, then with out thinking about it, popped in my 2 vitamins...

To say the least... it was the most god-awful taste I have ever experienced in my life!!!!

Now all of us have brushed, then tried to drink some orange juice afterwords. We all should know how bad that tastes... but with vitamins... its about 1000x worse!!! DONT TRY IT!!! JUST TRUST ME ON THIS ONE!!!

So whats the moral of today's Blog??? Take your vitamins and most importantly... BRUSH YO TEEF!!!!!

After all, you dont want to end up like this guy:

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tank Tuesdays!!!! Where is MR. LOBSTER???

So, welcome to the first installment of Tank Tuesdays! This will be a dedicated area towards my fish tanks.

Blow-pop... Medium sized Pleco.
Just so you know, Lynn and I have 2 tanks set up in our bed room. The first one is a 10 gallon fresh water tank which houses 2 Red Nose Tetra's (named Thunder and Lightening) and 1 Black Skirt Tetra (named Jeffy) as well as a medium size Plecostomus (named Blow-Pop).

The other tank is a 30 gallon saltwater FOWLR (Fish Only With Life Rock) set up which houses a Percula Clownfish (named Lovie - Female), Ocellaris clown fish (Dovie - Male), and a Yellow Watchmen Goby named Ice (aka Grumpy). Along with the fish, we have a Tiger striped snapping shrimp (Fire) and 2 cleaner shrimp named Jose and Juan. and finally, we have a Blood Shrimp named Mr. Lobster.

Fire and Ice (Tiger Pistol Shrimp and Y.W.G.)
This past weekend we noticed that Mr. Lobster has been missing and we're not sure where or why he's disappeared. My guess is he has probably died or was picked on by one of the other shrimp. Mr. Lobster was a very shy shrimp and never really came out to feed or move around the tank. I have learned over the past year, that shrimp are very territorial, and I'm thinking the few times that Mr. Lobster tried to come out, he was bullied and never left again.

Sunday afternoon, I had decided to take a nap, and while laying there watching the tank, I had noticed something move pretty quickly. Something that I hadn't seen in my tank before. I jumped out of bed and saw what looked like some kind of medium sized crab. The only thing I can come up with is that he hitch hiked from our live rock. I'm also curious to know if he's the one that has been eating some of the macro algae I have placed the the DT (Display Tank), which disappeared rather quickly.
RIP MR. Lobster!!!

Not sure how this is going to play out, but I will keep you informed! I have one life that has been lost, and hope that this mystery crab doesn't claim anymore!

Have a great night!


Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday's and a very emotional weekend...

Happy Monday everyone!!! or is it??

So my Monday has been pretty eventful. Filled with all kinds of chaos and disorder! Nothing like coming to work with an e-mail box full of requested to have equipment and computer moved TODAY, when I normal have a requirement of 15 business days! EXCELLENT!

- Artwork of Lauren - 
 Now off to some sad news. This past weekend I learned that a near and dear friend of mine is not doing well. Her name is Lauren and she's 16 years old. She was diagnosed with Metastatic Retroperitoneal Undifferentiated Soft Tissue Sarcoma on December 3rd, 2009. According to her website, she had endured five different chemotherapy protocols, 36 radiation treatments and two relapses. On June 10th, 2013, her family was told that the disease in her lungs has continued to grow in spite of the Cryoblation that was performed in order to freeze the tumors. Conventional therapies are no long an option. She had started on RSO (aka Rick Simpson Oil / Cannabis Oil) in the hopes of shrinking the tumors.

With this being said, it was brought to me this past weekend and Lauren is not doing well. Lauren's breathing has become difficult and very labored. Her family is trying to keep her as comfortable as possible.

If you have known me, there are very few things in this world that really hit me hard. Number 1 on my list is Children with any kind of health issues. Be it, cancer, any kind of mental disorder or even as small as a broken leg. It truly bothers me. Children have no reason to have any kind of disorder, let alone cancer. At 16 years old, Lola (Lauren) should be outside hanging out at the mall, chasing boys, or even learning how to drive. She should be gearing up for her SAT to get into a major university. She should be getting her parents worried about what kind of boy she's going to bring home for them to meet! Instead, this very lovely young lady, is fighting for her life...

Think about that for a few minutes...

- Lola and her Mom Cherri -
Is this fair? is this something that parents around the world should have to deal with? NO! NO ITS NOT! Cancer is something we should not have to worry about until well into our lives! Maybe 50, 60 years old. But to see a young lady like Lauren having to fight for her life, while I sit here typing this up, leaves me in tears. It is not fair. It is not something that ANY human being should have to go through, deal with or sit through.

I have met thousands and thousands of people in my life time. Through my music career, my DJing, my artwork, and even through the hospitals; but no one has ever effected me as Lauren has. The interesting and inspirations part about this entire puzzle... I have never met her in person. How is this possible? I know her mom. I have known Cherri for about 6 years now, and learned about Lauren during the time I have known Cherri. Needless to say, I have become a friend of theirs and watched this process unfold. There have been some sad times and there have been some happy times. But the fact is, I am proud to say that I know Lola. I am proud to say that Lola has effected me. I am proud to say that my outlook on children and kids in general has changed because of my affiliation with Team Lola and her family. But most importantly, I am proud to say that Lauren is my hero!

My post on Facebook to Lauren and her family this weekend:  I know that in some other place, and at some other time, we will finally meet. No matter where or when, I will be there with open arms! There are no words that can express the amount of love, respect and admiration I have for you. I want you to know, I will forever remember your fight and dedication. You will forever be memorialized in my heart, mind and soul. My contributions going forward will be in your name! Lauren, I love you and your family dearly and want you all to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

-Chad V. Romano - TEAM LOLA!!!!
You Are My Hero! "I love you to the moon and back!"

Friday, August 2, 2013

Ravage and Soundwave (Transformers.... OR ARE THEY???)

Well, the big news for today, I'm down 4 more lbs. Just thought I would share. So that makes me at 8% of my goal! Not that I'm really counting, LOL. No gym today, as my arms are pretty sore and Lynn and I both like to go together on Saturday and Sunday.

SO, what is Soundwave and Ravage; besides Transformers... Well lets touch on some history so everyone knows what I'm talking about.

Quoted from Wikipedia:

"Ravage is one of a very small number of Transformers to have featured in both the original Transformers series and its 1990s CGI successor, Beast Wars: Transformers.
A CGI rendering of Ravage in battle mode.
The stealthy, shadowy Ravage operates best alone. A creature of the night, Ravage performs most of his actions in the darkness, both literally and figuratively—there are times when he will cloak himself in such shadow and subterfuge that not even his fellow Decepticons know where he is or what he's doing ... but since whatever he's up to is sure to be bad news for the Autobots, they do not really mind. Ravage is aloof, but his craftiness and deadliness mean that his actions command respect from his comrades."

Also Quoted from Wikipedia:

"Soundwave is one of the most recognizable characters from the original Transformers line. He had an alternate mode - a microcassette recorder - and possessed a distinctive monotone, computerized voice.
A hand drawing of the Action of Soundwave.
Soundwave is able to detect and jam transmissions across the entire energy spectrum, a talent that makes him suited to his position as Decepticon Communications Officer. Additionally, he has a photographic memory thanks to the vast data storage capacity of the magnetic disks in his chest compartment, and he is armed with a shoulder-mounted radio wave sensor and hand-held concussion blaster. Soundwave is physically strong compared to most Transformers. His alternative form - which involves an apparent loss of mass - is that of an Earthly microcassette deck. Within the tape compartment, which becomes his chest in robot mode, he stores a variety of Decepticon spies, all of which take the alternative form of a microcassette. These spy characters include Ravage, Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Ratbat, Rumble, Frenzy, Slugfest, and Overkill, all of whom are under Soundwave's command in the original television series. Squawktalk, and Beastbox were additional cassette characters under Soundwave's control in the US toyline, but never appeared in animation."

Soundwave - 2009 Pontiac Solstice GXP
So why do I bring this up? Well, I'm a huge Decepticon nut. Everything, well almost everything, I own has to do with or has an attachment to the decepticons. I've even decided to name my recent competition cars after Decepticon members. IE: Soundwave & Ravage.

One of my favorite cars to drive was Soundwave. It was a pain in the ass to get into, but it was a lot of fun to drive. Unfortunately I was in a car accident in February of 2012 and totaled the car. Thus having to strip it and move on, building a new car. What I miss most about this car is the force behind the turbo. Just throwing your body into the seat as it sped up was simply amazing. I was never into street racing and never supported my friends racing on anything other then a track, but when you're on an open road like Snake Road in the everglades, its fun to bring this car up from 0 - 60 MPH in no time flat! It was a lot of fun, and it won a lot of SQ awards!

Ravage - 2012 Chevrolet Camaro
While building "Ravage", my 2012 Chevrolet Camaro, with Joe. One of our friends named Paul, came to the shop to hang out one day. This was Paul's first time seeing the Camaro. He took a small tour of what we where doing, looked at the interior, exterior and then put his arm around my shoulder and said "You know, This car is YOU! The solstice was kind of you, but this car is definitely you!" Coming from one of the car audio professionals and a legend, it was pretty cool to hear that come from him.

Anyhow, after 9 months of building the car, we finally finished the week of Spring Break Nationals. Over all, we came home with 8 trophies, including 1st place in sound, 2nd place in install and best I.C.E. It was a very successful trip and we're pleased with the outcome. A few things are being changed and modified, but come Finals in October, we should be set to go!

Photo by Phil Gordon Photography - 2013
As time goes on, I'll be sure to set at least one day a week to talk about the install, and how we're progressing with competition. As a mater of fact, I'll probably go ahead and set a schedule to do things on different days:

Tuesdays - Fish Tank Tuesdays
Fridays - Car Audio Day

Maybe something like that? We'll see! Feel free to chime in and leave some message about what you think, how you feel and any ideas you might have!

Anyhow, That's it for today and this week! Week 1 is in the books, and I'm pretty excited to see over 180 visits to the page already! Thank you all for the support and see you next week!!!

Tomorrow's Subject??? I'M OFF!!! Tomorrow beings the weekend, so everyone have a great weekend!

Weight loss total since the start : 8 lbs (311 lbs)