Posts Tagged ‘Images’

In my continuing efforts to learn more about playing guitar and making music, towards the end of last year, I began trying some  “finger-picking” styles.  Before that I was either using a “plectrum” (guitar pick) or just casually strumming with my thumb / index finger.  There is an obvious tonal difference between the two: using a pick tends to be louder and with individual notes better defined;  no pick (to me) sounds “fuller” but softer (muffled isn’t the right word to describe the sound, but it’s all I can think of).
Finger-picking is used the most extensively (exclusively) in Classical and Spanish style guitar playing and frequently in Country (“Travis Style”) and Jazz.  As these styles are all far beyond my basic skill set, I have (to date) paid little heed of the physical requirements of this / these style:  Fingernails.
As I began exploring these styles (yes, my reach exceeds my grasp), I kept stumbling on advice for how to maintain appropriate nails – length and shape.  And, in turn, I’ve tried growing my nails out…

PIMA“: P = pulgar (thumb); I = indice (index finger); M = medio (middle finger); A = anular (ring finger)

Traditional “Classical” style uses the thumb (“P”) and three fingers (“I”, “M”, “A”).  The “pinky” is unused.  Traditional “Travis” style uses only thumb and index finger, but most guitarists nowadays use at least two fingers (and usually three).

1 – 2 mm past your finger / nail join point

The traditional “strike-zone / sweet-spot” for finger-picking is the point where the nail and finger join.  This allows the guitarist to both deaden a moving string (using the finger pad) and get the most precise release point for the string (the edge of the finger nail).
Of course there are a variety of individual factors which determine how long and what shape your nails need to be, including: the shape of your fingers, the width of your nails, the shape of your nails, the distance from the join point (finger and nail) to the top of your individual fingers and the angle of “attack” you use to pluck each string.

Poorly shaped, but approaching the correct length

Bottom line?  Too much, too soon.  Yes, I can feel the difference when playing, and yes, I can hear the difference, but this is a LOT of hassle.  I have a LONG history of OCD with my fingernails.  I don’t bite them, but I keep them VERY short and just going a few weeks to grow them out this far is driving me crazy!  LoL!!
So, no, I won’t be keeping my right hand nails long…  And, so, my dreams of becoming the next Andrés Segovia / Merle Travis must fall by the wayside…  (Just kidding.  I have NEVER dreamed that!)  Now, where are my clippers?
On This Day In:
2022 Do People Know What You Stand For?
2021 The Republican Party Can Survive Trumpism (If It Wants To)
Don’t You Ever Ask Them Why
2020 Art Work
One Person (Republican) Can Make A Majority
2019 Hopefully, Closer To Noon
Can You See The Bottom?
2018 Stock Market Sets Another Record Under #DumbDonald
#LyingDonald: About That Special Prosecutor Testimony
2017 We Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet
2016 But You Have To Learn It Feels Good
2015 Never Stop
2014 Caution
2013 Treat Her Like A Lady
2012 Build New Worlds
2011 I Grok Elegance
Standing Relish

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First off:  Merry Christmas to all… !!
Second:  Hug everyone at your table and say a prayer of blessings for absent friends and family.
Third:  Please remember in your thoughts all of the first responders and essential workers who are working each day to maintain the health and the safety of our families.  The “COVID pandemic” may be over, but they remain on the job where we need them.  Police, firefighters, EMTs, health workers, PPE and vaccine manufacturers, supermarket / food-store / essential services staff, transportation (truck drivers and delivery) staff,  our military defending us around the world and our civilian government employees working to keep our water, food and air clean.
Finally:  Please, please, please… 
Keep current on your vaccine(s) / booster shot(s).
And, to those of you traveling:  drive safely (to and from wherever you roam)…
[A big shout-out to  http://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/  for providing today’s two images.  Please visit the site if you have a chance.    —    kmab]
On This Day In:
2021 Christmas Wishes For 2021
This Simple Phrase
2020 Christmas Wishes For 2020
Best Wishes For All
2019 My Thoughts About The X-mas Turkey…
2018 Merry X-mas – 2018
2017 Focus On Christmas — 2017
2016 Merry X-mas – 2016
2015 Merry X-mas – 2015
2014 Merry X-mas – 2014
2013 Merry X-mas – 2013
2012 Merry Christmas – 2012
2011 I Have Seen

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Last evening we attended the kick-off re-election gathering / party for my daughter (Rebecca), who is running to keep her seat on the Contra Costa County Community College Board.  If re-elected, this will be her second four-year term on the board.  Even though a junior member of the Board, she has already completed a year long rotation assignment as Board president and she hopes to be able to continue to bring her energy / exuberance to bear helping students achieve their life ambitions via affordable education.
Ever the proud dad, I encourage everyone reading this to make a donation at:  Rebecca Barrett for Community College Board 2022
If a donation is beyond your means, I hope you will get involved in your local politics and make your part of the world a better place for all.  Believe it or not, your limits ARE your imagination and your willingness to stand up and participate in making the future you want to see.
If nothing else, please be a part of the solution:  register for and VOTE in the upcoming election(s)!
On This Day In:
2021 Living At The Edge
A Simple Song
More Sounds (Guitar Review)
2020 Poor Proof
Right From The Start
You Voted For An Incompetent And Corrupt Business Person To Drain A Political Swamp
2019 I Wish This Were More True
2018 Used To Rejection
Day 16: Looking Ahead (Just A Little)
2017 Tonight
I Rejoice
2016 Conscientious Courage
Speaking Of Which…
2015 The Beautiful Snow
2014 Nurtured By The Voices
2013 Précis
2012 Fear And Understanding
2011 Just Being Human

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Warning:  This is LONG post…  It won’t hurt my feelings if you’re not interested in my guitar reviews and go now…  (LoL)
[Disclaimer:  I have not received as a promotion any guitar or music related product, nor am I mentioning anything in this post to secure compensation / income for myself or the manufacturer(s) of the products mentioned.  I am only posting about this / these item(s) because I personally purchased it / them and am excited to be learning about music and playing guitar.    —    kmab]
* Guitar Acquisition Syndrome
Background:  For the last 19 months, I’ve been trying to teach myself about music and playing guitar.  To date I have now purchased nine “inexpensive / cheap” guitars.  This is the review of my latest:  a Fesley “Strat” style Electric Guitar (Sunset color)…  What is a “Strat” style?  If you’ve ever seen a picture of Jimi Hendrix playing guitar, it was probably a “Strat”.  Strat is short for Stratocaster and is one of the two “main” styles of electric guitar.  It is characterized by two “cutaways” (one on either side of the neck where it attaches to the guitar body);  “horn” shapes which are more reminiscent of bulls horns than of devil’s horns;  and, the guitar body is solid (not hollow) with six steel strings.  The “horns” are usually of slightly different shape and are normally slightly offset (not mirror images) with the more forward horn on the base-string side of the guitar.  The “Strat” was created in the 1950’s by the Fender corporation.  The Strat usually comes with three single-coil pickups and may also come with a tremolo bridge.  The “pickup” is what translates the steel string vibration in front of a magnet and converts it to electrical impulses which are amplified into the sounds you hear coming from the amplifier.
Anyway, as stated in several prior reviews, I’m retired and I have a significant price point and life time (mine) limitation when making discretionary purchases.  I haven’t found my music / guitar sound or style (or hero), so I’m playing around at the bottom of the market in search of one, both or all three.  For those of you readers who are unfamiliar with the price of music instruments, a decent quality, name brand guitar “probably” runs near USD $1,000.  (If you are lucky, you can find the same model used for half that.)  At half that price (USD $500), you can also normally find the same name brand (or their subsidiary) selling a new entry-level model of substantially lower quality.  You can also go (quickly) the other direction to many times that price before you even get to custom guitars.  Specific historic guitars sell in the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars!
I now have nine “cheap / inexpensive” guitars of various style / types, and, not counting books and accessories (tools, tuners, picks, cables, gig bags, straps, etc), I’m just over the $1,000 “all-in” mark.  My wife believes I’m a hoarder and while she supports my trying to learn music / guitar, she does NOT approve of my continuing guitar purchases.  I (on the other hand) still feel the need for one last guitar before pausing to concentrate on the “right” one – which I may never find / buy.  I will probably get that “last” inexpensive one before the end of next year (2023).  I actually have my eye on two types I don’t already have.  After that, I will be playing them each, and, over time, upgrading the bits and pieces on them until I’m more or less happy with each.  Some, like my three-quarter size acoustic are so minimalist it really can’t have much changed out.  Of course, as my luthier skills improve, there is a seemingly endless pool of tools to spend (my wife would say “waste”) money on.  And, there are also amplifiers.  On the issue of amps, I only have my initial 20-watt amp from the purchase of my first electric guitar.  I’m sure it’s “crap”, but I very rarely use it, so it may be some time before I get a second / replacement amp.  At the moment, I play my acoustic guitars in the day and my electrics sans amp at night.  The main time I use my amp is when I get a new guitar and want to verify the electric bits work.  Because I just starting to gain an ear for electric sound, I still can’t tell if the electric guitars are good or not – only if they play at all.  As an aside, in my prior reviews, I mistakenly said my amp was a 10-watt amp.  It turns out it is a 20-watt.  Not that it matters, as it is NEVER turned up, and still rarely used.
Start of review:
Ordering:  I ordered the guitar on Amazon.com.  The general price on Amazon varies from $169 to $119 (depending on the color chosen), not including tax or shipping.  I have NO idea why the price varies by color!!?!  But, of the colors available, the one I wanted was the least expensive anyway.  I purchased the item via my daughter’s Amazon membership, so shipping was free.  The price ended up:  $131.54 (delivered).  I “earn” $100 gift cards for Amazon about once every six months by answering questions on a marketing / polling / survey site.  Although this is “real” money, it does not come out of my retirement money, and since I’d be answering the surveys anyway – it’s “free” money (to me, but not to the IRS).  The price of a “moderately” decent padded guitar gig bag is $20-$30 on Amazon.  So, basically, I got an electric guitar and gig bag for the price of a gig bag:  $31.54!! (LoL)
Delivery:  I ordered mine on Thursday 28 July 2022 (evening) and it arrived on 4 August, mid-afternoon.  Amazon’s delivery estimate was spot-on.  On delivery, the exterior box was slightly crumpled on several edges;  the interior box had no damage at all.  On opening the interior box, the guitar was inside the padded gig bag and there was no damage at all to the guitar.  This is the first guitar I’ve received “double-boxed”.  My only comment is the interior box was free-floating and slid around inside the larger exterior box.  All-in-all, I am very happy with the delivery.
What you get:  (Specifications)
Brand:  Fesley
Model:  Fesley ST Electric Guitar Morandi Series
Style:  “Strat” with tuners on one side of the headpiece
Price:  $119.85 — my price was $32 including tax (out of pocket).
Orientation:  Right handed
Guitar Color:  Sunset (Front and back)
Weight:  9.73lbs
Number of frets:  20
Number of strings:  6
String Material Type : Nickel Steel
Guitar Pickup Configuration:  H-S-S (humbucker / bridge, single / middle, single / neck)
Guitar Bridge System:  Cold-rolled Steel Block Bridge with tremolo system (push-in “wammy” bar)
Controls:  4 – 1 switch (5 positions), 1 x Volume, 2 x Tone;  the three knobs are black plastic with no numbers
Color – Black:  Zinc Alloy Tuners, a Single String Guide, Cold-rolled Steel Block Bridge, Wammy Bar, Volume and Tone Controls, Inlaid Fret Dots
Body Material:  Poplar
Neck Material Type:  Poplar
Fretboard Material Type:  Hard-maple
Neck Info:  C-shaped neck profile with satin finish;  20 frets, marks (dots) on the neck and top of the fingerboard help guide / play;  430mm radius
Tuning Peg Material:  Metal, Kidney Bean shape
Nut Material:  Unspecified (I think it’s plastic)
Pick Guard:  None
(Package Includes)
1 x Guitar
1 x Wammy Bar (pop-in style, not screw-in style)
2 x Spanner Tool (for adjusting the neck / truss rod and one for setting intonation)
1 x Padded Gig Bag
Double boxed for delivery
First impression:  right out of the box, the guitar has a beautiful, dark, rich sunset (sunburst) front AND back.  It is thin and feels small and light.  I run my left hand up and down the neck.  The edges of the fret board are smooth and fret sprout is non-existent!  I could NOT feel the frets from the side of the neck.  I had to slightly curl my fingers around the edge.  They are not rounded on the ends – ball-bearing style – so you still have to be a bit careful running your fret hand up and down the neck, but this is among the best fret work I’ve ever gotten on any of my guitars. It remains to be seen if this continues after the guitar has had a chance to acclimate for a couple of weeks.  I don’t think it will be an issue…  The guitar was in a plastic bag with the wammy bar and tools rubber-banded to the neck.  The strings were paper bound for their protection.  There is a little card indicating the guitar was inspected and listing the action height at that time.  I will compare this info later when (if) I do a full complete setup with action and intonation.  It’s also a useful reference for future string changes…  The frets are shiny and smooth and the fretboard looks moist without being shiny.  NO crud comes off the frets on my fingers as I check them (sometimes you can get a bit of blackening on your fingertips) and there is no gritty sound on string bending at a few test points.  (I’m laughing to myself!)  This is the best looking first impression of a fretboard of any of my guitars!!
Visual checklist:
• neck – straight, flat and not visibly warped or bent;
• nut – discolored plastic.  Not white, so you almost think it’s bone.  The string groove depth seems fine to great.
• strings – strum… not in tune, but string ends are not excessively long or wrapped around the tuning pegs.  It tuned up very easily.
• body – again, beautiful color and shiny (matte NOT high gloss) finish.  I don’t see ANY dents or faults!!
• pickups – are all magnetic.  I can’t tell much else visually.  The “visual test” is to hold something metal near the pickup and feel if it is pulled to the magnetic pickup.  I would say there is an “unsightly” gap around the pickups.  My other guitars’ with single pickup slots are covered by the pick guards, so you don’t see the gaps.
• controls – the switch is responsive without being resistant, the volume and tone(s) both turn smoothly. I am able to hear the differences between the pickups on the switch (after it’s plugged in and the amp is turned on).  One slightly disconcerting thing is the knobs seem to turn past “0”.  I don’t know what that means.  All of my other guitars fully stop at “0” and “10”…
• tuning pegs – all are smooth and don’t appear to have dead spots.  They are the smallest tuners I have ever felt!  They are functional, but they feel “tiny” between my fingers and thumb.
• action and intonation – the strings seem fine (eyeball test).  I will measure them (for action) in the future.  The intonation is WEIRD!  The intonation is perfect open and at the 5th and at the 12th frets.  All up and down the neck with no dead frets on any strings, but ALL of the other frets are slightly sharp.  To me, this (probably) means Fesley took extra care to get the open, 5th and 12 frets exactly in the right place but were slightly less exact on the remaining frets.  I should point out the difference is similar (if not exact) for all of the other frets and for all of the strings AND I can’t actually hear the difference – but the electronic tuner can.  Just slightly…
Strum… the strings are all loose and there is no hope this is tuned “out of the box”.  I attach my Snark tuner and tune the guitar.  Nothing significant to report.  (Except the intonation issue mentioned just above.)  I’m a happy camper…!!!
I plug in the amplifier and plug the cable into it and into the guitar.  Both connections seem solid enough.  I turn on the amp and increase the volume on both the guitar and the amp.  All the knobs on the amp and the guitar seem to work.  The slippage on the knobs doesn’t seem to affect anything.  When the knob gets to zero (unmarked), whatever is supposed to be changing stops changing.
Strum… I play for a few minutes – chords and scales.  I spend a few minutes practicing “Ode To Joy“, “Taps” and “God Save the Queen” and then noodle a bit before deciding to pack it in for the evening.  The main thing I notice is the guitar is VERY comfortable to play.  The neck seems short, I don’t have to stretch to play open chords and the body (depth / width) seems to be made just for me.  Mainly the thinner body means it’s easier to hold the guitar body under my strumming arm and against my body.  This guitar has a slightly different cut out angle (from the Glarry) at the elbow which seems to make it even more comfortable for me.  Now, a point of clarification:  This is not a “Full Size” strat style guitar.  At least judging by my Glarry 38.6 / 39in strat style it isn’t.  Just eyeballing it, I’d say the Fesley is almost an inch (maybe only 3/4in) shorter.  FYI:  Glarry says their strat body size (38.6in) doesn’t include the strap button on the bottom of the guitar.  Standing the Glarry and Fesley face to face, the bodies are the same length, yet, the tip of the head-piece is clearly shorter than the Glarry’s.  The difference “seems” to be the bridge on the Fesley is larger than on the Glarry AND it is set farther down the body than the Glarry’s because the Glarry’s pickups are S-S-S while the Fesley’s are H-S-S.  The double thickness of the humbucker requires the bridge to be set down the body.  I also point out the Glarry is a 22 fret guitar.  The Fesley is only 20 frets. Interestingly, this (moving the bridge back) makes it easier to right-hand strum mute the strings on the Fesley than it is on ANY of my other guitars – acoustic or electric!  Go figure…
Nothing out of the ordinary…  Just tune and noodle.
Check the fret sprout for about a week and do the light maintenance on it for playability.  Then it’s add to the rotation and enjoy!!
Final Recommendation:  LoL!!  Are you kidding me?  Very Highly!  A beautiful, almost perfectly playable instrument for under $35!!!  (Okay, $135 to you…)  I’m laughing all the way to the bank.  (And, still practicing about an hour a day…)
Thanks to anybody who made it all the way through this lengthy post!!
On This Day In:
2021 Born Again
Begin Writing
2020 Nah… I’m Still Chuckling
Squeaking By With “C’s”
2019 Consider Me A Phony
2018 Last
Day 10: Double Digits
2017 Could You Repeat The Question?
2016 Still Busy?
2015 Why, Just This Morning…
2014 Just Kindness
2013 Now Shaking
2012 Absurdity, n.
2011 Minor Changes
Things I’ve Learned From Life – Nana Carter
Acting Out

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* Greatest Of All Time
Today, with great sadness, I mark the passing of a childhood / personal hero of mine and the man I consider to be the greatest basketball player to ever lace up a pair of shoes:  William (“Bill”) Felton Russell
The following is partial list of his basketball / sports accomplishments:
California High School State Championship:  2X
NCAA Champion:  2X (1955 and March 1956)
NBA Champion:  11X in 13 seasons (1st in April 1957;  then 1959-1966)
Olympic Gold Medal (Basketball):  1X (Nov / Dec 1956)
The average margin of victory over eight Olympic games:  53 points.  To put that in perspective, the average margin of victory for the 1992 “Dream Team”:  43.8 points.
When there is talk of who is the “Greatest Of All Time” (“GOAT”), think about this:  in the space of thirteen (13) months – from March 1956 to April 1957, Bill Russell led teams won an NCAA Basketball Final, an Olympic Gold Medal for Basketball and an NBA Finals Championship.  To say the least:  it is extremely unlikely this particular string of achievements (in this short a period of time) will ever be duplicated.
Bill Russell could wear two NCAA championship rings, an Olympic Gold Medal AND eleven (11) NBA championship rings (eight of them won consecutively)!!!
More importantly, when I think of “personal integrity” and “lifetime of dignity” only a very few names pop into my head.  Bill Russell is one of those names…
It is difficult to compare sports figures across decades to definitively say “this one is the GOAT”.  A great deal of that is based on the personal bias of who you actually saw play during their careers or at formative time periods in your life.  I know some who would favor Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Wilt Chamberlain – and these are certainly all “Mount Rushmore” type historic players;  but, (IMHO) there is only one GOAT:  Mr. Bill Russell.
RIP, sir.  We shall not soon see your like again…
[Disclaimer:  I found the (above) image of Mr. Russell on the internet.  I make no claim to its ownership and have no knowledge of its creator / publisher / photographer / owner.  I have chosen the image simply because it represents some of the essence of Mr. Russell.  If you are the image owner and object to my use of the image, please let me know and I will remove the image from this post.    —    kmab]
On This Day In:
2021 A Democratic Republic Should Promote The Majority While Defending The Minority
Lost In My Soul
2020 In Business And In Politics
A Free Show
2019 What Is True For War Is Also True For Elections
2018 Start By Trying
Day 4: Difficult Day
2017 Outlasting Division
2016 Said The Man Who Trained To Fight For A Living
2015 Tripping On Treasure
2014 The Flower Of Light
2013 Eye Catching
2012 The Holstee Manifesto
2011 Three Crooners For The Shower
The Soldier’s Faith
Vacation, Books And Lots Of Movies

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This post marks the first day of my 14th year of blogging here on WordPress.  A great deal of this post is a repetition of last year’s post…  (And, yes, it’s a long one…)
With almost no change from last year…  The number of countries who’ve visited this site continues to (slowly) grow and the number which haven’t continues to decrease.  North Korea and Cuba are still among them (the latter…)  I’m also still missing a belt across the middle of Africa (but it’s no longer coast-to-coast) and a few spots in Asia.  (Slowly, slowly…  Resistance is futile.)
On reviewing my content over the past year, I’m mostly back to one post a day.  They are almost entirely just quotes with occasional political opinions, infrequent film reviews and rarely book reviews.  I haven’t added near as many posts about learning guitar or music as I thought I would.  I’m not terribly sure why.
My blog is continuing to be part of my “normal” retired life (since 2017).  I routinely receive about 20 to 60 emails (per day) from the roughly 300 blogs I follow.  I say “roughly” because I don’t check how many I follow.  I just looked, and I (still) have fewer than 2,000 followers myself.  Every year there is a trade-off:  you pick up a few steady followers and a few drop off.  Those who actually post about leaving (their own sites) say they are simply moving on to other things.  Most, don’t bother and just stop posting.  A few come back after some period of time.  Many do not.  It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve stopped blogging.  Some just move to a hosted service to try to monetize their thoughts and don’t provide me a way to follow them.  Or maybe they did and I simply missed the link…
I do have bone to pick with some (many?) of the posts I receive.  Three bones, actually…  First, I receive a large number of posts which don’t contain “Like” options.  This means I have to click to your site and log into WordPress to give you a like.  Most of the time, I will not do this.  I’m just lazy and if you don’t want the feed back, I’m happy to not provide it.  The second is an email with a title and five or six words from your post and then a “read more”.  Again, sorry – PROBABLY 95% of the time, I no longer click through to your site.  If you don’t give me at least a paragraph to hook me, you’ve lost me for that post.  It’s different if you are running a visual / photo site, but not by much.  If you give me one (or two) image(s) per post – fine.  If you regularly have 10 – 15 – 20 images in a single post, I might view one post a week.  And, lastly, in general I only view one post a day from a single source and it’s kind of random…  Sometimes it’s the first.  Sometimes it’s the last.  Sometimes it’s just whatever…
At any rate, I easily spend an hour per day reviewing the posts I get (via email subscription) and sometimes that is simply overwhelming.  It’s not always the average blogger’s fault.  If you post something interesting, I (still) will go off and investigate it further:  authors, artists, locations, books, movies, science / math / history topics – they will all lead me off down the rabbit hole.  And that hole can be DEEP!   There are a few (a handful) of sites which I know are visual and I more frequently click through to the actual site, because I’m interested in the bits which are not offered in the smaller / limited / text based emails I tend to receive.  I apologize if my failure to click-thru affects your view stats negatively…
So, besides this blog, what am I up to?  My health has been mixed.  I’m still morbidly obese and none of my “lifestyle” changes (diets) have stuck.  The problem I have is I’ve had some changes in my meds so I’m not sure if they are affecting me or if I’m just getting older and less motivated – or a combination.  As always, one has to balance the good of the med versus the adverse (potential) effects.  The two which seem the best (for me) are the juicing / blending and the “40hr water fast twice a week”.  The former for losing and the latter for maintaining.  If I can get my meds stable, I’ll probably go on an alternating schedule of these two for a prolonged period.
In January 2021, I purchased my first guitar and I’ve been practicing most every day since. (I miss about one day every other month.)  I “know” my basic (C, A, G, E, D, F, Am, Em, Dm) open / “cowboy” chords and major / minor scales – single string and in first position.  Strumming, finger-picking (Travis style) and chord changes are coming slowly (slower), but they are getting better now that I’m practicing them more consistently.  I now own three acoustic guitars and five electrics, and I have another acoustic on loan from my brother.  I had them on a monthly rotation calendar, but shifted to three weeks at the start of the year (2022).  I’m planning to move to a weekly rotation.  I’m looking into picking up a few (three) more inexpensive guitars and I’ve dropped the idea of basses (for at least a while).  There is no time pressure.  It’s all about my ability to save (here and there) until I can justify a purchase.  [Wife:  How many guitars do you NEED?  Me:  …One more.]  At the moment, the plan is one more strat (type), one more tele (type) and a round-back acoustic.  I didn’t really even think about round-backs before.  I thought they were only over-sized guitars for Mariachi style music, but I’ve learned otherwise.  Anyway, they “tend” to be plastic / fiberglass backs, and I’m interested in what that sounds like.  I have a distinct memory of strumming an “Ovation” (round-back) guitar MANY years ago, but I don’t remember anything about it (sound or feel).  We’ll see…  I am also going to start looking into amps and pedals for the electrics.
The few things I’ve learned (mainly about myself) have truly been amazing (to me).  I do seem to have a smidgen of musical ability (although it’s still buried under layers of doubt).  I’m (still) finding the ability to concentrate on practice to be as relaxing as zoning out in computer programming used to be (in my youth).  Sixty to ninety minutes can easily seem like five or ten minutes.  There is also the complete exhaustion which results from prolonged concentration – however “relaxing” it may feel at the time.  In a strange way, it feels good to be mentally tired at the end of a practice session.
But, am I getting any better at playing?  An objective opinion would be:  Yes!  Am I any “good”?  An objective opinion would be:  No!  Does it matter a whit?  No.  Why not?  Because, like blogging, I’m doing it for the enjoyment of doing it and not for the expectation (mine or anyone else’s) of being any good at playing guitar.  Again, like blogging, as long as it’s fun and interesting and fulfilling, I’ll just keep doing it…  My not so secret goal remains to write a song (lyrics and music) for my wife.  (LoL)
I posted a while back about my guitar goals for the remainder of 2022, but I can easily see them (the goals) extending into 2023.  If I have ANY disappointments over guitars it’s that developing my luthier skills has definitely fallen by the wayside.  I’m happy being able to change strings, round fret ends and play with action and intonation, but it turns out, if you buy inexpensive instruments, the decent quality luthier tools and better quality parts are almost as (or more) expensive as (than) a new instrument.
So, it’s guitar playing and blogging to keep me occupied (and mostly out of trouble).  LoL!!
Other than that, we got one of our bathrooms remodeled back in February 2022 and we’re hoping to get our other one done in early fall.  All things in their time (LoL – and with available funds!)
Once again…  “Excelsior!!
On This Day In:
2021 Happy 12th Anniversary Of Blogging
2020 Happy 11th Anniversary Of Blogging
2019 Happy 10th Anniversary — Thoughts On My First Decade Of Blogging
2018 Happy 9th Anniversary — Three Thoughts
Day 2 – Notes On Progress
2017 Happy 8th Anniversary
2016 Happy 7th Anniversary
2015 Happy 6th Anniversary
2014 Happy 5th Anniversary
2013 I Resemble That Remark!
2012 Happy 3rd Anniversary
2011 Is America Safe Tonight?
2009 Hello world! (See how it all began…)

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LoL!!  Yesterday, I reported I was shocked to find that for the first time since starting my blog a country other than the U.S. had recorded the most views for a day…
Well, it turns out I pulled a “#TrumpTheLoser” and created Fake News before the final tally…
The “next-day” / yesterday full view count is in and the “balance in the force in the universe” has been restored with the U.S. well over the view count of Australia.  No “Ashes” for the Ozzies, after all.
In my defense, I can only say nobody told ME in advance there would be a end of day surge – AND it didn’t occur to me until today.  (LoL!!  And now I’ll go back to almost never looking at meaningless blog numbers.)
On This Day In:
2021 No Profit Without Risk
And One For Me
2020 He’s Forgotten About Drugs And Rock ‘N Roll
2019 I Still Walk Daily
A Windy Monday
2018 No Religious Test, Yes Religious Ban
2017 Looking At #DumbDonald
2016 No Great Thing
2015 Happy Memory
Of Two Minds
2014 Sums
2013 Memories & Binging
Admiration Due
2012 Choices Matter
2011 Acceptance Is The Key
2010 Just A Permanent Crease…
Bodily Functions

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Shocked!  Shocked, I say.  For the first time (since starting this blog back in 2009) I’ve gotten more views from a single country which are greater than from the U.S.  Somebody pinch me…  🙂
Over the years, Canada and India have come the closest (Canada most often), but they never quite got there.  Thank you “Down Under”!
On This Day In:
2021 The Truth Shall Keep Us Free
Let Your Hair Down
2020 But What About Tomorrow’s Blog Post?
2019 Don’t Forget Obstruction Of Justice
An Honest, Unvarnished Assessment
2018 #45 And The Republicans Are Pretending (So Far)
2017 Made
2016 Halves
Accepted Fraud
2015 Even The Little Ones
2014 Who’s On First?
2013 No Equal Measure
2012 A Single Host
2011 No Exemptions
2010 Memories Of KSA – Inside The Fire

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Back in the 1980’s I developed a “repetitive stress injury” to my wrist(s) – mainly my right wrist, as I am right handed.  It happened due to overuse of a mouse while working on computers.  Back then it was more “popularly” starting to be called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.  Of course, back then, there was no significant use of either term in the general populace.  The closest we (the public) came to it was “tennis elbow” and its cousin “golfer’s elbow / wrist”.
I was lucky and mostly got over it (RSI) by playing Aikido for a few years – where you do a number of wrist flexing exercises during warm-ups / before practice.  When I stopped Aikido, the symptoms began coming back and I went to a sports doctor (specialist) who gave me a sheet with wrist exercises to do several times a day.  He said it is more important to do a few repetitions several times during the day than it is to do a massive number in one long session.  He said he normally suggests using 1lb to 3lbs weights, but as I was muscular (back then), I should use 5lbs weights.  He added if a weight is not available, just use a book.  I’m in the process of going through some of the stuff I used to have in my work cubicle and found the exercise sheet so I’m offering the image of the exercise instructions to anyone who may have similar wrist issues.  (Click on the image for a larger and more readable version.)

Wrist Exercises for RSI Relief

[Disclaimer:  Please remember I am NOT a medical professional and the “tips” in this post are based on my positive anecdotal result(s) from a therapy recommended by a certified physician.  Consult your personal physician before starting any diet or exercise regime.
I recently drove by the location of his storefront office and it is no longer there.  He was older than me, so he’s probably long retired.  As such, I have removed his office information from the image.  I did a quick browse around the web to see if there were similar instructions / exercises available from a website I could provide attribution to.  I was not able to locate anything similar.  I am making no claim to ownership of the image and I am merely offering it up to help others in need.   —    kmab]
On This Day In:
2021 It Doesn’t Stop
I Feel Like I’m Winning
2020 #45: 14.81 Lies Per Day
2019 Less Miserable Now
So Near And Yet So Far
2018 I Doubt #45 Is Listening?
2017 Life’s Oddity
2016 Just Asking…
2015 Two Thoughts On Thinking
2014 From The Top, Please…
2013 You Are The Stars
2012 Just One??
2011 Anything But

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Here’s a photo of the front of our house today…  It’s our first day this year of 80°+ temperature.  (And, no, that’s not a rainbow ending at the tree in our front yard.  At least I didn’t find a pot of gold when I looked.)
And here is our first blooming California Poppy…
We didn’t get many daffodils this year.  We had a bit of a false spring back in February, so we got sprigs / shoots but almost no flowers.
On This Day In:
2021 I Hope Not
Diggin’ It
2020 Organized Skepticism
2019 An Interest In Life
2018 Two: A Current President With Both
2017 Watch This Space
2016 Beyond The Foundation
2015 Become An Affliction
2014 Just Setting Out
2013 Scott’s Inscription
2012 Good Knowledge
2011 Social Safety Nets

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Waaay back when I was a child, we had a dog we found as a stray puppy.  She was a little Scottish Terrier mix / mutt;  white with light brown ears.  No more that a foot high at the top of her head.
One day I took her to Golden Gate Park (in San Francisco).  At the entrance to the park is a pond named:  Alvord Lake.  Actually, it’s really more of a pond than a lake, and I didn’t even know it had a name.  Anyway, as we were coming down the rise from the park entrance, I let me dog off her leash.  My dog looked up and saw some ducks floating / swimming on the lake and she was off like a flash…
Now, at that particular time of year, the lake surface was covered with a dense cover of bright green pond scum – some kind of seasonal algae growth.
Back then, the lake did not have the palm trees or ferns which you can see in a more recent photo (below), but it did have the large rocks on the edge of the paths and around the edge of the water.
My dog was racing full bore towards the nearest ducks, intending to bound off of one of the boulders and into the middle of the her prey / victims.
Seeing her coming, the ducks were starting to move away and separate.
She hit the rock, leaping in the air more than her own full height and braced her feet to land on the dead run, pivot and continue the chase…
Yes, the predictable happened!  Splash!!  Surprised, she emerged covered in the scum / algae.  She was able to shake a good deal of the muck off once she swam back to shore.
Generally, it is wrong to anthropomorphize your pets, but I have never seen a dog / pet look more embarrassed by such an obvious mistake in judgement.
Needless to say, I was beside myself with laughter (at least until I got home and had to bathe her).  And, no, the GIF above is not of my dog 50+ years ago.  But it reminded me of the incident and made me chuckle.
[Disclaimer:  the two images are from Google and Google Maps.  The GIF was found on the net.  I don’t remember where.  I make no claim to ownership and they are being used for informational / illustrative purposes only.    —    kmab]
On This Day In:
2020 I Don’t Want To Get Any Older…
Maybe I’ll See You There
2019 Free At Last!
2018 Some Basic Virtues
Day 17: Fit In 48’s
2017 Too Soon We Part…
Rigorous And Difficult
2016 Where And Why
2015 The Beauty Of Thy Voice
2014 Faith In Men
2013 An Average Verge
2012 Dew Drop Secrets
2011 Champion Freedom

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Memorial Day

Monday 31 May 2021

Thank You, Veterans!

Some give more than others…

Some give all…

[This weekend, when you are celebrating with your family, please take a minute to think about these soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who throughout our nation’s history have made the ultimate sacrifice for us all.  Please try to think of them, not as warriors, but as sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters… as part of a “greater” American family – which all (they and us) surely are.
I know that Memorial Day is specifically set aside to honor these brave souls in uniform, but please also take an extra minute or two to remember and be thankful for the over 3,600 medical and health care staff around the country who also fought the good fight – just doing their jobs – and who gave their lives in the last year defending us from COVID.   They too have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
All five images were found on the web.  No claim of ownership is intended or implied.
    —    KMAB]
On This Day In:
2020 At Least A Lot More Gray
2019 Walking The Lonely Path
2018 The Ultimate Trial
2017 Vain Expectations
2016 Or Of One Thought
2015 What’s In Your Future?
2014 Light In Darkness
2013 How ‘Bout Just Obeying The Law?
2012 Or Maybe Not
2011 My Interval Is Too Short!

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No practice today.  I tweaked my right knee walking our dog and then aggravated it more with a LONG walk around Costco (and unloading the car).
Instead, I’m posting an image of the “precision” target I mentioned in my prior post.

Tennis balls adapted for precision punching practice.

As you can see, it’s just two tennis balls strung up on a nylon cord with a bungee cord and a weight on the bottom end and more nylon cord (and rope) tying the top end to a hook in one of my rafters.  Simple, yet effective.  There are knots tied in the cord at either side of the tennis ball to prevent the ball from moving up or down the cord.  The base weight is just so I didn’t have to make any attachment (damage) to the floor.  The weight is just a single 10lb free weight.  I tried lighter and heavier weights.  Lighter (5lbs) and when the balls were struck, the weight moved  and banged into things.  Heavier (25lbs) was just too much of a hassle to move around to set up and take down.
This type of target is sometimes called a “double-end” target (“bag” when actual punching bags are used) or a “kangaroo” target.  My modification to the basic target was to add a second tennis ball.  This gives me a target at roughly chin height and one at roughly rib / solar plexus height.  This is the target I was using when trying on my gloves every couple of days.  Although it was “safe” in this location, it wasn’t particularly useful as I could hit it without “it” hitting anything else, but I couldn’t move around much (at all).  Now that I think about it, this was probably one of my earliest lessons:  “punching” is hitting things;  “boxing” is hitting things while you move around so they don’t hit you back.  (LoL)  Yes, I still learn the hard way every time!
On This Day In:
2021 Follow Up
Still Confused
2020 Boxing: Precision Target
A Funny Red Sheet
Why #45 Is So Pitiably Small
2019 Yet We Should Keep Trying
2018 Let Us Dare
2017 Two Good To Be Real
2016 Learning Subtle Differences
2015 Dog Eat Dog World?
2014 And Sometimes Blogs About It
2013 Outside-In
2012 They Are All Perfect
2011 Delegation – The “How-To’s”
2009 Diet Update and Other Bits & Bobs…

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Image of 2020 Thanksgiving Trifle Dessert

2020 Thanksgiving Trifle Dessert

The photo above is a snap of the trifle dessert my daughter (Sarah) made to compliment our Thanksgiving day dinner.  You can’t tell from the image but it was about ten(10) healthy servings – divided among the three of us.  (LoL!!)  It lasted until Black Friday dinner afters…  And, then there was none.  😦    Trust me.  It was even better tasting than the picture looks…   🙂
On This Day In:
2021 Eye On The Prize
Everything That’s Precious
2020 And Most Adults Don’t Either
And It Burns, Burns, Burns
Just Dessert
2019 Happy Thanksgiving (2019)
2018 And Smiles…
2017 Or Savor A Little Longer…
2016 Sometimes I Just Want To Smell The Flowers
2015 One Truth – Done Well
2014 Now In Imagination, On The Other Hand…
2013 No Plan, No Map
2012 Singing About Love
2011 The Awesome Power Of Truth

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You can tell a lot about a person by the things you see laying about their house.  This item on my sister’s window sill above her kitchen sink for example…

Image of a wine glass holder...

Everyone needs a calling in life…

On This Day In:
2021 In That Moment
  Something A Little More Recent
  A Request For Help (Indian Pop Music)
2020 Above Her Sink
  In A Slower Lane Now
2019 #DullDonald
2018 And Start With Charity
2017 First Things First
2016 Why Would We Expect Truth From A Liar?
  Unknown Fear
2015 Something Pagan
2014 A Note To Self
2013 Determining Our Degree Of Freedom
2012 Journalism And Fantasy
  Known Knowns
  Jerk, n.
2011 Love Questions

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