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Indio (by Monoprice) Retro Classic Solid Body (“tele”-style) Electric Guitar w/ Gig Bag  —  guitar review  (Images follow the review)
[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]
Background:  I am a rank beginner guitar player (particularly when it comes to electric guitars), so please take all of my advice / opinions with a healthy grain of salt…  This is another in a series of reviews of guitars and kit I am writing as I learn how to play guitar.  All of my purchases have been at the bottom end / inexpensive side of the market.  (Obviously, this is not really a box-opening / initial receipt review like my prior ones.  I just procrastinated…)
Start of review:
Ordering / Delivery:  I ordered on a Saturday evening (11 Dec 2021), and received the guitar the following Tuesday (14 Dec 2021).  I consider this pretty phenomenal service!
Price:  $79.99  (Yes!!  This is NOT a mis-type!)  My son asked what I wanted for X-mas and agreed to go half with me.  He gave me $40, and I paid the difference (just under $90, w/ taxes, but free shipping).  So, I was all-in less than $50!  (My wife is [was] still not happy as this is [was] my sixth guitar purchase in less than 12 months.  LoL!!)
Buyer’s caution:  Indio / Monoprice sells another “tele” style model which – at first glance – looks exactly like this model.  However, it has no “through-body” strings and it has the three post / two string bridge (traditional) as opposed to a post for each string (non-traditional).  I specifically wanted the individual posts because I want to be able to set intonation on each string, not balance between two strings per post.  Does it matter?  Probably not, I’m just OCD.  (images below)
What you get:
(Specifications)
Guitar Brand:  Indio (by Monoprice)
Model:  610264
Orientation:  Right handed
Guitar Color:  Blue (Dark Royal)
Number of frets:  22
Nut width:  42mm.
Scale length:  24.75″ (“full size”)
Number of strings:  6
Pick-up Style:  Single (lipstick);  Single (standard / exposed / ceramic)
Guitar Bridge System:  tele-style modified ash-tray
Controls:  3 – 1 x switch (3 positions), 1 x Volume, 1 x Tone;  the switch and knobs are metal and mounted on a metal oval backing plate (traditional “tele” style.
Body Material:  Basswood;  NO pits, gaps or faults.  A surprisingly beautiful instrument for the price!
Neck Material:  Basswood
Fingerboard Material:  Maple
Tuning Peg Material:  Metal, Kidney Bean shape
Nut Material:  Plastic (well cut and trimmed)
Bridge Material:  Metal
Bridge Type:  Through body stringing with a modified “ash-tray” style metal piece
(Package Includes)
1 x Guitar
1 x Gig Bag
2 – 1 x Allen wrench (for adjusting the neck / truss rod);  1 x small Allen wrench (for adjusting the bridge intonation / action)
First impression:
Visual checklist:
• neck – straight, flat and not visibly warped or bent;
• nut – Plastic.  Looks perfect.  Well cut and rounded
• 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 finish.
• pickups – both magnetic.  I can’t tell much else visually.  My “visual test” is to hold something metal near the pickup and feel if it is pulled to the magnetic pickup.
• controls – the switch is responsive without being resistant, the volume and tone 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)
• tuning pegs – no loose spots on turning (tightening or loosening)
• pick (“plectrum”) – none – a missed opportunity for marketing.
• strap – none – another missed opportunity
• action and intonation – the strings are high-“ish” and the intonation is off.  Neither are “bad”, just not spot on.  The guitar did not come tuned, but this is not unexpected.
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.  I’m actually loving this at first touch…!!!  Despite the neck looking pretty unvarnished, the slide is very smooth and comfortable.  It is described as “fast satin”.  I’ve no idea what that means.  Okay, “nothing significant” ONLY means everything seems normal.  There is “normal” fret sprout and the fret ends are not rounded (“BB” style).  Both of these conditions ARE “normal” – particularly at a price point under $100.  The sharp edges are much worse than the sprout.
I plug in the amplifier and plug the cable into it and into the guitar.  Both connections are solid enough.  I turn on the amp and increase the volume on both the guitar and the amp.  Both switch and the knobs on the guitar seem to work.  As always, the tone kind of changes the sound, but I still don’t know what I’m doing or what it should sound like, so I set both back to “0”.  The volume is MORE than enough (perfect) for me to play in my bedroom or living room after everyone else goes to bed.  It is quieter than an acoustic, but no louder than any of my other electrics.  Maybe just a little “twangier” in the base strings.  Not buzzy, but not like clean strings.
Strum…  I play for a few minutes – chords and scales.  I spend a few minutes “playing” Ode To Joy and then decide to pack it in for now.  The guitar is very comfortable to play.  The neck and the body seem to be made just for me.  It is lighter than my Donner “LP” style, but heavier than the Glarry “strat” style.  Also, the single cut top end of the body does make the higher frets more comfortable to reach (compared to full / acoustic bodies).
What’s happened since then?
Mostly, I played with the action and the intonation.  I’ve set the action very low and the intonation is as close as I can get it to perfection – at least to my Snark.  I waited a week or so and then filed of a bit of the fret sprout and rounded them, too.  I also ended up raising the action back a little bit and then re-adjusting the intonation.
Next?
Check the fret sprout periodically and do the light maintenance on it / them for safe play-ability.  The guitar has (since) been added to my rotation and I’m still enjoying it.
Final Recommendation:  This is a beautiful guitar and once I sorted out the fret ends and added a strap, it’s been a pleasure to practice with.  I still don’t know enough about electric guitars to comment about that aspect (using with amps).  I am starting to tell differences in sound, but only on head to head comparison.  If I separate the instruments by any length of time (even more than a few minutes), I don’t have enough perception / memory to say if one is “better” than any other.  Please recall:  I have a VERY inexpensive ($30) starter amp.  I’m hoping to experiment more with this later in 2022 or get another “inexpensive” amp in 2023, to use for comparisons.  I am VERY grateful to my son for going half on this with me (for my X-mas present).

As Advertised…

…Delivered in Gig Bag

…Still Wrapped

Unwrapped

More traditional three post bridge

My preference… Six post bridge

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On This Day In:
2021 Allowing For Compromise
Whoa-whoa
2020 Why #LyingDonald Hurts The US
2019 Blow Between Your Ears
2018 Thinking Ahead
2017 I’d Like To Try
2016 Or Blog (And Bound)
2015 Welcome The Virtuous
2014 Closing The Gap?
2013 On Parenting
2012 What Knowledge Is
2011 The Indefinite Accumulation Of Property

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I mentioned in a post a few weeks back that the roses on either side of our front path were budding and would be blooming soon.  Well, here they are!

Roses In Bloom

It’s early May and today’s temperature is forecast for mid-80s and getting warmer through the week.  This is probably as good as they’ll get as the 90° – 100° is very hard on them.  We’ll enjoy them as long as they last…
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On This Day In:
2021 Thrive
Are You Still Here?
2020 Perceived Wisdom
Lessons Are Extra And Blondell
2019 Live It
2018 Mostly Unconsciously For Most People
Desperately Ginger Lass
2017 Explaining My Equally Meager Results
2016 Every Tool And Every Chance
2015 Something That You Love
2014 Not Really At All
2013 Listening And Deserving
2012 I’m Still Not Certain
2011 True, False And Useful

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Last year, we had our front yard converted from mostly grass to drought resistant rocks (and some plants).  Here’s a pre-change image…

Mostly grass…

And here are some shots of Spring’s colors…

Colors…

The flowers on the immediate sides of the path are miniature roses, which have a surprising amount of size variety considering they were all bought and planted at the same time…  The ones above are about mid-shin / knee height.

The Tallest…

This is the tallest and next to it (on the lower right) is the smallest.  There are probably a dozen more buds getting ready to blossom.  You can’t really tell from the photo, but there are a half-dozen bees doing their thing on this bush.

Diagonal Shot…

Here’s a better shot of the poppies…

California Poppies…

A better view of the snapdragons…

Snapdragons…

My wife spends a great deal of energy on the gardens (front and back), but it’s worth it for the up-lifting feeling you get when you see everything in the bright morning sunlight and full Spring colors…
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On This Day In:
2021 In Pursuit
The Music Of Her Laughter
2020 Close, Sustained And Careful
2019 #45: Spread The Fear
Fear The Beards
2018 Slice, Nick, Cut, Bled
2017 Like Most Blogs
2016 The Window Left Open
Free Experience
2015 Reality == Perception / (Times Reported * 10)
2014 Tear Da Roof Off Da Sucka
2013 Exposed Spirits
2012 Ow-ow
2011 Focused Relatives

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Each Christmas season, our tradition is to get our Christmas tree the first full weekend of December and to take it down the first full weekend after January 6th (aka: the “Feast of the Three Kings” or “Epiphany” or “Little Christmas”).  We have a secondary tradition of purchasing a representative decoration for each year.  Sometimes they are religious (angels, stars, etc.), sometimes they are Christmas but humorous and sometimes they are topical (StarTrek, StarWars, Harry Potter, Dr. Who, etc).  This year’s “extra” ornaments were two electric guitars my wife got me as presents.  (LOL)  Anyway, we are getting ready to take the tree down next weekend, so I thought I’d post a few pictures of this year’s tree and ornaments…  (You can click on the image to see a larger version.)

Our 2021 Christmas Tree

Our 2021 Christmas Ornament

2021 Les Paul Style Guitar Ornament

2021 Stratocaster Style Guitar Ornament

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On This Day In:
2021 2020 Tree And Ornaments
My Bag
2020 Still Looking
2019 Too True
2018 Simon Says
2017 Next Cell
2016 Important Knowledge
2015 Are You Still The Exception?
2014 In Answer
Days Are Passing
2013 Opportunity
2012 Appropriate Qualities
2011 A Place To Hang My Hat

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Firefly RE01 Resonator (acoustic) Guitar   —   guitar review
[DISCLAIMER:  This product is being reviewed without compensation of any sort by the manufacturer.  I purchased the guitar with my own personal funds.  Also, nothing I say should be taken as anything but my personal opinion / observation, as I have VERY little knowledge of music or musical instruments.    —    KMAB]
 
Background:   Since January of this year, I’ve been trying to teach myself how to play guitar – starting from scratch.  And by “scratch” I mean I have (had) little to no actual knowledge of music or of the guitar as an instrument.  Although I have owned a couple of guitars (and other instruments) in the distant past (back in my late teens / early twenties), I never learned how to tune them, let alone play them.  I “meant” to, but life got in the way, and they ended up lost in the mist of time.  I think I sold one and the other I simply left with a friend (who ended up junking it).  So, the sum of my musical “knowledge” base is what I know of radio / pop music and playing “air” guitar (again, in my distant youth).  … So next to nothing.
 
In January, I got my first (acoustic / steel string / dreadnought) guitar and began physically learning – as opposed to simply watching YouTube videos – how to play.  In (roughly) March, I purchased my second guitar (an electric guitar / stratocaster [aka: “S” type] knockoff) with a small amp.  In late May, I purchased my second acoustic (third guitar).  This one is a small (3/4 size) one with nylon strings.  The intent is to have a time and location friendly guitar.  “Time” friendly in that you can play a nylon string guitar for hours without seriously hurting your finger tips.  “Location” friendly in that I can take it most anywhere without worry about it getting knocked about (because it cost less than $50).  After this, at the very tail end of July, I got my second electric.  This one is a “Les Paul” (aka: “LP”) knockoff.  All of my guitars have been from different manufacturers and ALL are at the low end of the price range with “out of pocket” cost varying from $20 to $220.
 
I also borrowed my brother’s steel string acoustic.  It is not a dreadnought, but I’m not positive what type of guitar it is considered.  It is the same body shape and length as my dreadnought, but it is not as deep (wide).  I don’t know if dreadnoughts can have variable depth (so maybe it is).  Anyway, it came with steel strings and I swapped them out for nylon strings.  So, I now have a full-size acoustic guitar which I can practice on for extended time periods.  Having said this, my “normal” daily practice is 60 to 90 minutes.  This sounds like a lot (even to me), but it really isn’t that long.  The longest I’ve “noodled” has been about four hours while watching football on TV.
 
Start of review:
So, this (Firefly Resonator) is the fifth guitar I’ve purchased this year.  It was ordered online with no “expected date” – for shipping or for delivery.  (Yeah, I know it sounds shady…)  I was hoping for delivery in less than two weeks.  It was ordered on a Saturday and delivered on the following Thursday (yesterday).  Five days:  an initial good impression.  The box had a small (two-inch) tear in the exterior, but there was no damage to the guitar.  I add that I have grown increasingly concerned about shipping as I am constantly reading about damaged guitars being received.  Knock on wood…  I’ve been lucky so far.  On YouTube, the reviewers frequently say things like:  “Firefly is a very good company for shipping. They use double boxing and the guitars are packed in Styrofoam for safety.”  Well, that may be true for guitars sent to YouTube reviewers, but neither was true for me.  NO double box. No extra packing.  The guitar did come in thicker plastic wrap (not see-thru anyway) and it did have a cardboard neck / head brace.
 
(Click on images to enlarge…)
 
Per their site (https://guitarsgarden.com/collections/acoustic-guitar), this is what I got for $216.91 all-in (including tax and shipping).  Note:  the item price on the site is $189.91;  the difference is added shipping.
 
Features / Specification:
• Spruce Top, Mahogany back and side
• Bone nut, and nickel String
• Rosewood Fretboard
The site doesn’t mention it, but you get a truss rod Allen wrench included.
 
And, that’s it…  No gig bag (dust cover).  No strap.  No courtesy (marketing) pic.  Nada…  Compared to my other “inexpensive” guitars, which came with some or all of these “extras”, this will add well over 10% to the real / final cost once they’ve been purchased.
 
First reaction:  The guitar is beautiful!
 
Second reaction:  The guitar is heavy!
 
Strum…  Sounds okay to me.  Not in tune, but definitely different to a “normal” acoustic.  The guitar is BIG and surprisingly heavy.  To my mind it feels solid, but bottom heavy.  This is not a stand-and-play instrument.  At the very least, you MUST have a strap.  All the metal in the resonator pan (I’m not sure what this is really called / named), makes the guitar look incredibly “art deco” to my eye.  I’m loving it!!
 
I extend the guitar out bow and arrow fashion and sight down from the bridge and then up from the head-stock.  The neck is visually straight (no warping).  From the side the action (string height) seems a little high, but I’ve been warned (on YouTube) this is frequently true on resonator style guitars because some players will want to use a slide.
 
Strum…  Run my left hand up and down the neck.  Absolutely no, sharp fret ends sticking out (on finger or thumb side) and they all feel well rounded / smooth.  The fretboard doesn’t look dry or in need of oiling.  The strings feel smooth and new.  The neck feels smooth, polished and maybe just a bit thick / chunky.  (Note: this is a “playing” style / round neck resonator model.  Firefly doesn’t seem to stock them, but you can get models with a square / flat-ish neck which are meant to be played on your lap or a table in front of you.)  There are no scratches anywhere on the body or neck.  The finish / polish appears smooth to the eye and to the touch.  I look around the sound holes just to see what a “resonator” looks like.  It looks and feels solid.  I feel like I’m back on my first guitar because this is SOOOO different from my others.  I do notice there is a white residue of some kind around the two screened holes nearest the neck.  I don’t know what that’s about and I’m leary to give it more than a gentle scratch to see if it comes off.  Some does.  Some doesn’t.  (see image)
 

Glue residue?

 
Strum…  Okay, attach tuner and see how close it is to “shipped ready to play“.  Result:  not very.  Half the strings require less than 360° tuner turn, two – a couple full turns, one – multiple turns.  The good news is the tuners seem very steady / responsive and there are no dead spots or slips.  I do all six strings and then go back through them a second time.  All but the last are slightly off (expected).  Total time:  a couple of minutes (15 max).
 
Strum…  Open chords time…  Sounds different, but great.  A minor scale time…  Hmmm…  Something is not quite right.  The strings don’t “feel” right.  I look at the strings again from various angles (top and then up and down the neck).  The strings are not parallel.  The “D” string runs closer to the “A” string as it approaches the bridge. Hmmm.  I thumb the string and it sounds fine, but it is definitely wrong.  I hook my index slightly in front of my thumb just in front of the bridge and press…  There is a slight “nick” sound and presto(!) the string is in place and running parallel between the “A” and the “G“.  My guess is there is some slight groove the string is supposed to rest in and it wasn’t quite there when they shipped the guitar to me.  Anyway, it’s fine now!
 
Two additional points:  Action and Intonation.  Action is the height of the strings above the frets.  I’m not sure what the action is supposed to be, but it feels comfortable to me on both chords and scales.  Intonation is (as I understand it) if / does the guitar produce true notes up and down the neck – particularly at the nut and at the twelfth fret.  To my ear (and to the tuner) it is perfect – at the twelve, five and  seven frets.
 
Final thoughts:  This is a beautiful instrument and I look forward to learning its peculiarities.  I already feel like I’m playing an electric guitar instead of an acoustic because the sustain is soooo long.  And, yes, it does sound a lot like a banjo got crossbred with a guitar.  I imagine myself doing (learning) some Missouri / Louisiana style blues finger picking and sliding with this baby.  I can hardly wait!
 
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On This Day In:
2020 A Word Of Assurance They Are Not Alone
  Is #45 Still Crying?
2019 It’s Obvious
2018 Passed Too Swiftly
2017 On Our Wall (Part 1)
2016 Or The Ripples From A Good Life
2015 Titles And Reputations
2014 Unfolding
2013 Again
2012 Needs
  Damned
2011 Potter & Prejudice
  Blink, Blink
   

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Image of guard in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier2021 Veterans Day Poster
The image / poster was taken from the Veterans Administration web site:  http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/gallery.asp where you can see each of the posters since 1978.
[To all who are serving, to all who have served, and to all those who have waited patiently for their return, “Thank You!!
If you have the time, take a minute to read:  What Is A Vet?    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2020 Veterans Day – 11 November 2020
Thankful
Remembrance Day – 11 November 2020
2019 Veterans Day – 11 November 2019
2018 Veterans Day – 11 November 2018
2017 Veterans Day – 11 November 2017
2016 Veterans Day – 11 November 2016
2015 Veterans Day – 11 November 2015
2014 Veterans Day – 11 November 2014
2013 Veterans Day – 11 November 2013
2012 Monkey Business
Veterans Day – 11 November 2012
In Others
2011 Veterans Day – 11/11/11
Deeply Confused (Still)
2010 We are not from fearful men and I Am Not Afraid!!
Veterans Day – 11 November 2010
2009 Narrowly missed first weight goal, but still happy…

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Memorial Day

Monday 31 May 2021

Thank You, Veterans!

Some give more than others…

Some give all…

Memorial_Day_2021
[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]
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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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My “Do It Yourself” (DIY) efforts on setting up a home workout station are proceeding.  Below are some images of the yesterday’s progress…
Yesterday, I assembled my “double-double”.  Basically, it’s two striking targets attached at two ends.  The bottom target is roughly the height of a body shot (waist to lower ribs).  The top target is roughly the height for head shots (chin, front and side of the head).  You may notice a few things:
1)  the top attachment is vertical while the bottom is horizontal.  The bottom target would normally be either fixed to the flooring below or (using some type of rope or bungee) attached to a weight to stabilize the target and limit random / excessive swinging movement.  In this case, I had to work within the “command structure” of:  “I don’t want any of your weights damaging my concrete!”  So, I used a horizontal bungee (with a loop to keep the rope from sliding left and right).  The practical limitation to this setup is I cannot work around the target;  I am limited to the 180° on the front side.  Still, I can live with it…
2)  less obvious until you start hitting the targets…  They are not “fixed” within the netting.  There are gaps above and below the balls where they can move when struck.  The practical effect of this is they are not staying in the same place in the netting when you try to do a double-up punch (like two jabs to the head).  I will try to correct this by tying rope / paracord around one end of each ball / net to “lock” them into a more standard position within each net.
3)  FAR less obvious, (but which I have learned from recent experience,) is that these targets hit back at you – and from unexpected angles (at least up to now unexpected).  In my initial setup (prior to my wife’s objection), I had the bottom ball / net secured by weights.  This tended to produce reaction motion for both balls in a relatively circular motion around a vertical axis (much like an up-right cylinder).  After the modification to the bottom to include the horizontal bungee, a solid right punch to the bottom target resulted in a solid left hook by the upper ball to the right side of MY head.  My wife started laughing and said:  “It hits back!!”  (Note:  NotAre you okay, dear?“)  As near as I can tell, this is due to the back and forth (back to front) motion of the lower horizontal bungee and the circular (like a vertical cylinder) motion of the upper vertical bungee.  My response:  “I’m gonna need a head-guard.”  Her reply:  “You sure are!“, still giggling.  Fortunately (for me), there wasn’t sufficient mass / speed in the basketball to knock me out, because it certainly struck me full on the side of my head at roughly temple / cheek height.
My next brilliant (okay, obvious) idea was to attach the original horizontal double-end target (“bag”) and see what that felt like.  To my surprise, a “triple-double” and it is terrific!  I now had a target (the bottom ball) for body shots, a target (the middle ball) for upper-cuts and body jabs, and a top target (the top ball) for chin and head shots.  The only trick now is to find a way to attach the original double-end to the double-double which keeps them together (when used together), but which also easily separates so I can continue to use the single-double on its own.  The original horizontal “single-double” works as a “slip-rope”.  A “slip” is when you move your head side to side (like a metronome) to avoid an incoming punch.  It is frequently accompanied by a “bob” (up and down head movement).  Together, they are referred to as “bobbing and weaving”.  Basically, I stand next to one post and move to the other ducking under the rope with each step to the side.  When I get to the middle, I release an upper-cut.  I then continue to the opposite post.  When I reach the post, I turn around and start back, trying to time the steps so my next upper cut with be with the other hand.  (Always try to practice every punch with both hands.)  Anyway, there is still some tweaking to do…
The next image is what’s happening in the background.  I attached a “hook-screw” to the back post and then I just swing the weighted chain up to it and hook onto it.  The lat-pulley set up is then out of the way for the boxing.  It is adjustable for more clearance, but because of the angles, it (the chained weights) doesn’t have to be as far back as I initially expected.
And, finally, here’s an image of the “normal” lat-pulldown.  We timed the set up and take down and it takes under a minute to set up or take down!  It takes longer to put on a single boxing hand-wrap than it does to set up the station for boxing.
And so the adventure continues…
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On This Day In:
2020 Posting As A Continual Exercise
2019 Border Security – Yes, Border Wall – No
2018 Supporting Survival Values
2017 Inauguration Day 2017 [Sometimes, I hate it when I’m right! — KMAB]
2016 Or A Pot Of Gold After The Storm
2015 One, Two, Three…
2014 Lend Your Hand
2013 Amnesty, n.
2012 Best Resolv’d
The Clock Is Running
2011 Magic

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Some of you regular readers may recall I had a pull-up rack set up in a corner of my backyard.  Image below…

Pull-up Stand with Double-End Target

I was always intending to use the setup as a multi-function station for working out going forward.  My initial modification was the addition of two “eye-screws” to setup a horizontal double end punching bag.  As you see, I made it out of an old basketball, a basketball net and a couple of bungee cords.  This has worked out reasonably well…
The “main” goal of the setup was to have a pull-up station.  Unfortunately, it turns out I am FAR too out of shape to hang from the bar, let alone try to do a pull-up.  In my first (aborted) attempt, I nearly pulled my arms out of their sockets “trying” to hang.  I was able to hang for just long enough for me to remember my age before letting go (aka: “falling”).  Also, despite my interest in adding “DIY” boxing options, I will NOT EVER be boxing / sparring.  I have a heart condition and am on blood thinners which (technically) make me a “border-line” hemophiliac (a “bleeder”).  The boxing options are only for their fitness / exercise value.
To make a longer story short, I scavenged some parts from my old “Total-Gym” and have now set up a “Lat – pulldown” system which I can use to build up my strength until I can hang from the bar and try another pull-up.  Image below…

Image of Lower Bar & Lat Pulley Setup

Lower Bar & Lat Pulley Setup

A “Lat – pulldown” is an exercise which concentrates on the latissimus dorsi muscles.  These are the muscles used to pull something down from above your head or to pull your head and body up to something which is above your head / shoulders.  In this case, I am using four(4) ten pound weights.  At the moment I have completed day four(4) of a 30 day challenge to do five(5) sets of fifty(50) “reps” (repetitions).  After each set, I turn 45° and do a cross-body pull down Left to Right (50 reps) and then Right to Left (50 reps).  In all, 250 reps of the double and 250 reps per side.  As I get stronger (and less sore), I hope to get up to 10 sets per day.  Hopefully, by the end of the 30 days I will be able to suspend myself in a hanging position for a few seconds.  Then I can proceed to descending pull-ups, which will lead to actual “up” pull-ups.
I have an additional five(5) modifications under consideration:  1) adding a “slip bag”;  2)  adding a “heavy bag”;  3) adding a vertical “double-end, double bag”; 4) adding a “speed bag”; and, 5) adding a two-grip, low level pulley systems to create a “rower”.
So, that’s the progress.  And, that’s the future plans…  (Oh, yeah.  The posts and the rest of the back fence have to be painted / stained to help reduce / prevent weathering.)
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On This Day In:
2020 Still Crazy After All These Years…
2019 20 / 20 Foresight
He Knew Damned Well…
2018 Be Someone’s Kindling
2017 When The Moment Comes
2016 Changed Clothes Lately?
2015 Like Stone
2014 Resistance Is Futile
2013 Subtle Humor
To Look Behind Green Eyes
2012 The Path Is Endless
2011 Happy MLK, Jr Day!!!
A Factor Of Ten
Better Late Than Never?
Whoops!
Acceptable Beginnings
Slow Progress
Useful Confrontation
When Phenomena Are Different
Creative Avoidance
Thinking
Fast And Flexible
Surrender Certainty
Techniques
Vive La Difference
Destiny
Completeness
Art

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Each Christmas season, our tradition is to get our Christmas tree the first full weekend of December and to take it down the first full weekend after January 6th (aka: the “Feast of the Three Kings” or “Epiphany” or “Little Christmas”).  We have a secondary tradition of purchasing a representative decoration for each year.  Sometimes they are religious (angels, stars, etc.), sometimes they are Christmas but humorous and sometimes they are topical (StarTrek, StarWars, Harry Potter, Dr. Who, etc).  Anyway, we are getting ready to take the tree down next weekend, so I thought I’d post a few pictures of this year’s tree and ornaments…  (You can click on the image to see a larger version.)

For the X-mas movie geek (me)

Peanuts Anniversary

Doggie Ornament (will be Shiva when we can get a decent photo after the lock-down)

Our 2020 Tree

2020 Tree and our “Saudi Tree” in the right background

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On This Day In:
2020 Still Looking
2019 Too True
2018 Simon Says
2017 Next Cell
2016 Important Knowledge
2015 Are You Still The Exception?
2014 In Answer
Days Are Passing
2013 Opportunity
2012 Appropriate Qualities
2011 A Place To Hang My Hat

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Another New Year’s Resolution… ??

A responsible pet owner…

[This image is not of me or my dog.  I do not own the image or claim any rights to it.  It’s just something I found on the Net and laughed at, so I’m sharing it…    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2020 From The Mountains To The Shores
2019 Watering The Trees And Seeds
1221
2018 Take Care Of Me…
2017 Make Some Difference
2016 Still 99%
2015 Adolescent Opinion
2014 In A Big World
2013 Vacancy For God
2012 Sweat Equity
Try It… You’ll Like It
2011 Still Incomplete
2010 Happy New Year – 2010

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My wife isn’t sure if I’m having a mid-life crisis or just going into my second childhood…
This year I’ve been watching A LOT of YouTube.  Well, okay…  It started last year, but that’s just a detail.
I was viewing a bunch of videos on working out and I found myself going through reams of “30-Day Challenge” videos.  Of course, I decided to give one a shot.  My choice:  the “30-Day / 100 pushup per day challenge”.
Day One (Test):  Zero.  That’s correct.  I could not do a single pushup from the floor.  I could get into a plank position, (with effort,) and lower myself to the floor, but not get back up off the floor.
Obviously, some modifications would be necessary…  Inclined pushup from the back of the sofa.  Five.  Okay.  It’s a start.  First day:  20 sets of five, spread through-out the day (and evening).
Days 2 and 3 were more of the same.  Day 4, I was able to do 10.  So, 10 sets of 10, spread through-out the day.
To make a longer story shorter, about day 10 I was finally able to do ONE pushup from the floor.  By then, I was doing five(5) sets of 20 inclined.  At the end of 30 days, I could do 5 pushups from the floor.  (And shorter again…)  At the end of 60 days, I was able to do 15 pushups from the floor.  By way of comparison, Google says an “average” 65 year old man should be able to do between 6 and 16.  In other words, I went from abject failure to the top end of “average”.
And then I got hurt…  (But that’s another story.)
While browsing YouTube, it started feeding me boxing and martial arts videos (over and over again).  So, (of course) I started watching them…  Because I wasn’t able to do much other than walk, I started shadow-boxing in front of a mirror…  And then I bought gloves…  And then I bought hand-wraps…  And then I bought focus pads…  And then I started making home-made (read:  inexpensive) boxing targets.  It turns out YouTube has videos on how to jury rig most of the expensive kit you need to practice boxing.
Here’s some pictures of my gloves…  They are RDX F12 Training Boxing Gloves (16oz.)

Fresh out of the box and still in plastic

Palm side up

“Business” side up

And, after trying them on a few times a week for the last month or so…  Today I did my first “workout” with the gloves.
Now to be fair,  I did actually try them on and use them for a few minutes when I would set up a new target and once for a few minutes of shadow-boxing in front of a mirror, but until today, my wife had put it down to another one of my “phases”.  When approached on the possible purchase, she did insist on a $50 limit on my gloves because she was convinced they’d be gathering dust by now.  So, yes, they’re an inexpensive pair.  Not “cheap”, just inexpensive.  And, no, they are not leather.  They are “engineered” leather.  (LoL!)
Today’s workout was about 45 minutes long, sweaty and exhausting.  But, it was loads of fun and I felt terrific after my hot shower.  Tired and relaxed and starting to get sore in strange (and not so strange) places, but all things considered – terrific!
I’m really not sure if this is a “phase” or not, but I’m going to put up a post every now and then about this “journey”.  I’ll try to come up with a way to let you know in the “post” title when I’m on this topic as I have no idea how many of my blog followers have the slightest interest in this side topic.
A final note (reality check):  I am a 65 year old man, morbidly obese, with a heart condition (AFib) and on blood thinners.  So, NO, I will NEVER be in a fight or EVER sparring.  This is just a way to try to add some fun to my efforts to raise some sweat (and maybe learn a bit about the “sweet science” while I’m at it.)
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On This Day In:
2019 I Think I’m Repeating Myself
It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like X-mas!
2018 No Reason To Turn
2017 Talking Knuth
Seeing It Through
2016 Hoping For The Best Come January
2015 Adaptive Security
2014 Wants
2013 Side Effects
2012 Just Trying To Earn A Living
2011 Productive Worry

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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…   🙂
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On This Day In:
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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We remember…
The two images below are of mementos from my wife’s family side.  The medallion was given to her family for her father’s uncle who died in World War I (“The Great War“, “The War To End All Wars“).  The second image is of a Christmas card from 1917, which Hil’s grandfather (her mum’s dad) sent home while he was a prisoner of war (POW) in a German camp.
A token of service for a life given and a signal of life for continuing hope.
Sacrifice and service…  We remember…
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On This Day In:
2019 Veterans Day – 11 November 2019
2018 Veterans Day – 11 November 2018
2017 Veterans Day – 11 November 2017
2016 Veterans Day – 11 November 2016
2015 Veterans Day – 11 November 2015
2014 Veterans Day – 11 November 2014
2013 Veterans Day – 11 November 2013
2012 Monkey Business
Veterans Day – 11 November 2012
In Others
2011 Veterans Day – 11/11/11
Deeply Confused (Still)
2010 We are not from fearful men and I Am Not Afraid!!
Veterans Day – 11 November 2010
2009 Narrowly missed first weight goal, but still happy…

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Image of 2018 Veterans Day Poster

2020 Veterans Day Poster

[To all who are serving, to all who have served, and to all those who have waited patiently for their return, “Thank You!!
If you have the time, take a minute to read:  What Is A Vet?    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 Veterans Day – 11 November 2019
2018 Veterans Day – 11 November 2018
2017 Veterans Day – 11 November 2017
2016 Veterans Day – 11 November 2016
2015 Veterans Day – 11 November 2015
2014 Veterans Day – 11 November 2014
2013 Veterans Day – 11 November 2013
2012 Monkey Business
Veterans Day – 11 November 2012
In Others
2011 Veterans Day – 11/11/11
Deeply Confused (Still)
2010 We are not from fearful men and I Am Not Afraid!!
Veterans Day – 11 November 2010
2009 Narrowly missed first weight goal, but still happy…

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