Friday, February 29, 2008

new lists

2. soul music
3. rock
4. deep tracks

45 songs on each list. if you click on pop out can use it as background music as you browse other sites!

Music to your ears.

By now you are hearing some music playing through your speakers. I have 2 playlists. The one you are listening to now is a vocalist playlist. If you wanna rock, click the green button on the far right of the player ( to your right!). If you dont want to hear my handpicked tunes....hit the mute button on the bottom of the player or turn down the sound on your PC.

Hope you like....I have always wanted a way to get my music taste on here somehow. It will be a elvolving process! Like a online mixtape! ( See high fidelity pic above if you dont know what a mixtape is)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Guitar Class: Mike leads the class

I joined the advanced guitar class. This is a continuation of the 2 intro classes I wrote about previously. The class is down to 6. 6 dropped out from the into phase. We are supposed to progress from twinkle twinkle to more challenging songs and concepts.
Once again, it was sort of a train wreck. In fact, I ended up teaching the class to read tab ( see below for a example) style music notation. I have learned to play this way. The bottom staff represents the six strings on the guitar. High E to Low E. The #'s represent what fret to place your finger on. Its a common way to read music for most young learners. The teacher saw me practicing a song before class and asked what it was I was doing. I showed him. I then showed the class, for 30 minutes. :-) Add community ed teacher to my resume!

We were handed 2 songs to work on. Both are songs about addictions.

1. The wacky drug fueled tune " PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON" ( insert "dude" here)

2. The sage advice song about gambling "THE GAMBLER" pre Kenny "gets a facelift" Rogers.

One more class to go. I will probably find a better teacher to seek out. Still enjoy being around other learners. Oh, by the way...the teacher upgraded his attire with a snappy purple velvet sports coat. Same sweats....sandals.... A stunner!

PS- the pic of the guy on top. That is Carlos Santana. One of my faves. I am going to see him in concert in late April. 3rd row! Last time I saw him was waaaaaay back in 1981. One of my first concerts, probably the loudest show I have ever been to. And the first show where I was offered pot, and of course refused. ( kiddies.....uncle Mike has always been drug free!)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Very cool pictures of the day after a fire

These were taken by a co-worker friend of mine. They were taken the day after a big fire in below zero temps. Makes it look like we live at the north pole! On second thought, I think we do!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lesson 2- Cords and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

2nd night of class. Crazy teacher showed up in the typical crazy guy outfit. Sweatpants with a hole, black socks and sandals and a shirt with a big ol' mustard stain on it. ( cant make it up)

Class was a little better. We were asked to perform the song that we were supposed to learn. The toe tapper "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". 3 cords Gmajor, C major, and D7. I dont have problems with the cords, but the speed is the issue. C major can be a little stretchy, but I can get it pretty good. Anyway. Time came for the class to play one by one. I was the second best in class. There was a woman in class that was a ringer! This is the 7th time she has attempted to play guitar in her life. So....she had something on me! Mine was just a little more slow than her rendition ( I think I did a better job strumming!) :-) Maybe I was going for more of a bluesy version of Twinkle! haha!

We also spent some time letting the group share what goals they had for learning the guitar. I found that interesting, you can see the ones that are into this and the ones that will probably have the guitar in the closet in about a week. I also found it interesting that most of the people in the class were terrified to play that song "Twinkle Twinkle". Afraid to fail in front of others. I remember that feeling, maybe that is the advantage of doing this at my age. I just dont care what the other people think anymore. My goals are to play songs that I like to sing with. My audience will be my dog that loves to fall asleep when I play. If I get good enough at it...I will record a CD of the songs to have as my musical legacy! :-)

I spent about 90 minutes last night ( while watching that fake music show, American Idol) practicing my "Twinkle", and now I think I can WHUP Ms. Ringer! Ego is a good thing sometime!

I will sign up for the next level of this class, and try to learn some more cool tunes! Kumbya.....HERE I COME!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Father/Son Band

Having received Guitar Hero 3 for Christmas ( my son that is) and watching my son and I take turns trying the be the next Jimi Hendrix. I started looking at the game "Rock Band", mainly because it comes with a drum kit and and microphone in addition to the guitar like GH3. Its great because you actually get to participate together, just like a real band. I am of course the singer! My son the drummer. Its great because the drums are very much like playing real drums and it helps my son practice some skills for his real instrument.

We start as a lowly band that has no fans. As we get better we get more fans and $$$ to buy cool outfits for the lead singer! :-) There are tons of songs on this game and its about the most fun I have had with a video game. Most of the fun is that I am doing this with my son and both have huge smiles as we try to get the song right, and also its fun to just tap into your inner rock star thing!

If you get a chance to try it out....Do it!

The Moment

I have often been told about living in the "moment". I believe in it and often try to subscribe to that mindset. Its difficult to do, as we are conditioned to prepare for the future and look back at the past as source of comfort or pain. As you become older, you realize how fragile the time is that we are granted on this earth. We dont know how long we have, there are no promises.

This was brought into focus for me last week, as both of my parents were facing medical situations that were very serious and troubling for all concerned. It made me think once again about the moment. How great it is to just enjoy what is right in front of you and to not worry about the future or the past. Enjoy the loved ones you have and forget all the crap that gets in the way. I am very lucky to have relationships with both of my parents that are not complicated with grudges, anger, or frustration. But I see many that waste this precious time with those issues and never make peace with loved ones until its too late. Its very sad to me.

My father is still battling issues with his health, prayers are appreciated if thats what you like to do in your life. Kind thoughts are appreciated also.

Enjoy the gifts that are given.


Friday, February 15, 2008

March 4th, first new Crowes in 7 years

I have had an advance listen to this cd. Sounds like the best stuff they have released since the mid 90's. If you are a fan of the early Black Crowes sound, you must get this.

Click here for some 30 second clips

I will write more when I get my official copy!

My first lesson, my first taste of fame :-)

(Picture of the exact place I bought my guitar)
I decided to take a community education class. Intro to guitar. I have been holed up in my "practice space" for the last month or so, learning cords and strumming and picking. I have been encouraged by my progress, but I wanted to see if I was really doing it right.
I walked into the room with my slightly used guitar and was surrounded by students that looked really unsure as to what they were even doing. I felt pretty relaxed and confident in what I had learned as I sat there and just casually strummed the half dozen cords that I knew. I guess its what a guitar does, because within a few minutes I had a few people around me listening to me just goof around. Now, anyone that knows me, knows that I dont shy from attention. Yeah I liked it. :-) Felt like jumping up and workin the room (my Dad knows what I am talking about!)
The class itself was pretty disappointing. The teacher was a bit on the mentally ill side ( hey its community ed!) and babbled on for most of the hour. I kindly steered him toward actual guitar stuff with some creative questions ( gotta get my $$$ worth somehow).
It was a fun night though. It proved to me that my self educating is paying off, and I am on the right path. I will be back this week for part 2 of the class.
Should I bring security to hold off my fans? :-)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I'll be waiting

I like this new song from Lenny Kravitz. Lyricaly nothing mind shattering....its just one of those tunes that stick in my head and make me sing in the car!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Great Day

This morning I was greeted by frozen surroundings! Not that its actually been warm around here for the last month or so. 1 week ago it was -19 one morning when I ambled out to start the car. But this morning was actually pretty. I took my camera out and navigated through the icy backyard and grabbed this shot. Kinda gives you a idea of how nice the frost looks. I guess the best way to describe it is....its like looking at a huge black and white photo!

The super bowl just ended. Wow what a game. I am thrilled the NY Giants won. I always root for the underdog!