Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Well, it's Christmas Day again. Tomorrow all the crappy gifts will be exchanged for something better. ;)

Last night I visited my parents, sister, brother-in-law and two nieces (aged 4 years and 10 months, respectively) in the depths of Swampy Frog Hollow (about an 80 minute drive from my apartment). Before we ate, we tracked Santa's progress around the world as he got closer and closer to North America.

We had a fantastic dinner with turkey, stuffing (which included apples, almonds, onions and sausage), cranberry sauce (whole berry), potatoes, carrots, rye bread and Riesling (now in a twist-off cap). I'm not much of a wino, but it was good for the toast. For dessert, my father also made a fabulous carrot cake topped with almonds and a thin frosting.

As usual, my immediate family exchanges gifts on Christmas Eve, and everyone there received useful and thoughtful presents from one another. We visited a while, then I drove back home, finally ending my night by unwinding with 2+ hours of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (I'm currently exploring the Shivering Isles).

Today, I'll be visiting with some friends and then I'll probably be doing some more painting or practicing once I get back home. Below is a pic of a painting I just finished for my friend Ann. I also added it to my slideshow on the top of the page.

One last thing: a couple of comments about my first poll.

1) You have to pick one of the choices. All following polls will be structured in the same way, with no option for a write-in vote. The reason for this is to force voters to pick the lesser of several evils (much like in real-life political elections).

2) It appears that "a snail" is the most popular choice. Maybe it really is true that slow and steady wins the race.

Anyway, have a great holiday! If you have to travel, drive safe!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Last Minute Gift Idea

With the holidays just around the corner, some of you may be looking for a gift for the guitarists in your life.

Here are my two personal favorite ideas:

  • Extra Strings (ask what gauges your loved one prefers!)

This is a great way for beginner or intermediate guitarists to explore some helpful rock soloing concepts. All of the musical examples are included on CD, and you can play along with the solos from the book, or make up your own. Rock the halls!

Order now and make your rocker happy this holiday season!

Some Minor Updates

Those of you watching closely will notice that I have made a few changes on my blog.

I shuffled Mark Twain to the bottom of the page and got rid of Ribbit (my froggy friend), but most significantly, I added a slideshow of my artwork. (Thanks to Brandon for the suggestion!)

In the near future, I should be adding more images to this gallery, as I am in the process of painting several new works.

Until next time,


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Times Remembered and Anticipated

Hello again,

I recently watched a DVD entitled Bill Evans Trio: The Oslo Concerts, which showcased two concerts from 1966 and 1980. Although I have long admired Evans, watching these performances really opened my eyes and set my imagination on fire. In particular, I was impressed with his bass players (Eddie Gomez in '66, I think, and Marc Johnson in '80).

I didn't recognize Gomez because, when I saw him perform at UArts in the late '90s with Joanne Brackeen, he scatted along with all of his lines. According to the research I did after watching the Evans DVD, Gomez began working with Evans in '66, so it's not a stretch to draw the conclusion that he is the bassist on that video. I didn't notice any musician credits on the video either, which I find frustrating.

Evans was supported by Marc Johnson (bass) and Joe LaBarbera (drums) for the 1980 performance, and the interplay between them was truly exquisite. Before I attempted to learn who the sidemen were in this concert, I thought I recognized Johnson's style. In fact, a few years ago now, I helped a colleague of mine transcribe part of Johnson's solo from a recording of "Nardis" made in 1980 for an article on form. (I don't know if it was ever published or not; the last thing I heard about this project was that the article was still under review.)

Anyway, I suppose the basic point I am making is that anyone who likes Evans at all should check out this DVD if they have not already done so.

On another note, a friend of mine has finally convinced me to meet with him in the new year to have a regular jam session. Because I tend to have a tough time remembering tunes, I just asked him what tunes he wanted to play. For starters, we'll be working on:

  • "'Round Midnight"
  • "Summertime"
  • "Blue in Green"
  • "Naima"
  • "Gee, Baby Ain't I Good to You"
  • "Inner Urge"
I'm relatively familiar with the first four, and am now working on memorizing "Gee, Baby." If we record any of these meetings, I'll try to post them here.

In the meantime, more practicing for me. Perhaps a selection or two from Mel Bay's Complete Method for Modern Guitar.

Until next time...Excelsior!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Icy, Icy, Not as Nicey

Yes, that's a lame title. We're getting a wintry, freezing mix right now. At least I don't have to go back out in this mess today.

Time to enjoy some reheated coffee and raisin toast.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

This Is Not a Test

So, this is my first foray into the wild, wild world of blogging. Of course, I've posted an occasional blog on, but never have I gone whole hog and set up a blog outside of that.

Perhaps you will visit in the future for more random thoughts from the Go Go Go Go Koko Brain, the apparatus that powers this blog.

Now, a message brought to you by the Emergency Blogcast System:


Have a glorious day!