Let Me Give You Some Tips for Running the Mark 7 X-J Converter  


If there’s one thing I can tell you about the Mark 7 X-J Converter is that it’s a temperamental piece of equipment. For one if you hold the main control knob like that it’s gonna jerk and you’re gonna lose your grip and possibly your thumb. Hold it with a three-finger pinch with slightly less thumb pressure. Get a good stance and get ready because it’s gonna kick.

Now when you’re pushing the capacitor multi-nodal button do it with a pattern of 3 then 4 then 4 or the machine will burn your groin. Groin burns are pretty common on the Mark 7 mainly because you have to keep the joiner pad down your pants.

Make sure to duck when your pushing the capacitor multi-nodal button or the mast will hit you in the head. I don’t know how many times you get some young jock on a Mark 7 and they’re too busy blowing into the balloon hole to notice the 300 lb. cast iron mast and then I’m having to clean brain goo out of the buckling-spring keyboard. So always wear your helmet and be prepared to duck.

That high-pitch squeal you’re hearing is the belt-tightener. The Mark 7 has a levered belt to keep the juice bottles constantly moving. I’d wear ear protection and even then you’re probably gonna get what they call the ‘ear-bleeds’. Pretty common among Mark 7 jockies.

If you let the fire go low in the chassis there’s a chance of a back draft and explosion, so always keep the heating core loaded with kittens. There’s a box in the corner and if the you see it getting low throw one immediately. Don’t worry about an acquisition form, we have a warehouse full of those things.

Really that’s about it for the Mark-7. Oh and I forgot you may occasionally need to reprogram the clapper. The equation is on the plaque above the gas pedal. It’s really simple. Flip the lever, hit 4, 3, 5 #, ! Control Shift and then wait 30 minutes. Once the throttle stops grinding against the 6-inch heated blade, calculate the new flapper speed using κ = 8πG/c4X a^2 + b^2.  You have 30 seconds to calculate the speed and input it into the clapper AVR unit. Better hurry because if you’re late or your math is wrong then all of a sudden you’ve got a 6-inch blade sticking out of your groin.

Okay I’ll be in the back room drinking. We’ll clean up the mess left by the last guy to man the Mark-7. His wife is coming to identify his remains and pick up his personal effects. Also It’s Barb in HR’s birthday so there’ll be cake later.

Tips on Learning to Play the Cat

Advice, Cultural, Music

Nothing makes an evening more enjoyable than sitting around playing the Cat. Whether with a group of friends or on stage with a band, few instruments are blessed with the unique sound like that of a well-played Cat. Here are some pointers to get you on your way to playing the Cat.

1. It’s important to have good Cat-playing form. The traditional method is the “Stomp-and-Grab” method. Grab head, lift up while pinning body to ground with your left foot. Arc arm. Get a solid grip with your left hand and remember to breath.

2. With your right arm, squeeze your Cat. Did you notice the sound? Congratulations. That’s the first step toward being an accomplished Cat player.

3. Play around first. Squeeze your Cat in different areas and explore the tonal qualities of your new instrument. Once you feel comfortable try a simple song like “Mary had a little Lamb”.

4. Remember playing a Cat won’t come easily at first. So to become a good player you must do three things: Practice, practice and wear gloves.

5. If you know of friends who play the Cat, try “jamming” with them. It’s a fun way to learn.

Remember, you’re not going to be “rocking out” at first. Playing a Cat is difficult but with practice and commitment you’ll be able to squeeze sounds out of your Cat that you never knew existed.

Written by Bob Howdin

Bob is the owner of ‘Cats and Sundries’ a small coffee shop and animal rescue clinic on the corner of Main and Hemlock.  Look for his new book ‘Meow and Stomp – History of Cat Playing in the Appalachians’.