Sunday, March 28, 2010
This got my Sunday morning off to a good start. I don't have much to say here because I've been out and about in the real world. I'm going to start missing the money soon, but I don't miss my old job one little bit. Many people have said they've never seen me smile so much. I wasn't in a bad mood before, I was just too tired to work those face muscles. My health is improving. My blood sugar is essentially normal I'm losing weight. My breathing is better I haven't had anything like a real asthma attack in weeks. This is OK. I even got offered a part time job, driving a big rig to Portland and back a couple of times a month. I'm not sure about that one. I don't know if I feel like crucifying myself behind the wheel again. Then again, I could probably use the money and how many people are being offered jobs, unsolicited these days? I've got a few weeks to think about it.
I'm also being showered with ukuleles. Here I am with Gary Timmons number 001. A very successful prototype built by my friend Gary. What a jolly old bastard I'm becoming!
Posted by Your driver at 10:30 AM
Monday, March 22, 2010
Click on the picture for a look at the detail that goes into a Style O Deluxe. Why is God so good to me?
I'm feeling pretty good but I'm finding that taking care of myself is pretty demanding. My travel plans are starting to seem over ambitious. I spent two days away from home last week and damn near starved to death trying to stick to my food plan. I'm staying home and cooking for myself for a while. I'm still going to try to make it to the So Cal desert next month (Todd?). I'm hoping to make it to Seattle to pick up a banjo uke from Jere Canote in May (Mike?) and I might even make it to Indiana for the Ukulele World Congress in Needmore in June. (Anyone in Bloomington?)
In truly weird uke news, I was checking craigslist last week while having my coffee. There was a posting for a National Style O Deluxe resonator ukulele. I know I said I liked my Republic resonator better than the National I tried, but I was curious. It's hard to imagine a classier resonator uke than a style O. So I called the guy and he was asking less than half of list price. He said the ukulele was almost unplayed and in mint condition. The big hook was that he was just a couple of miles down the road.
So I saddled up the elderly Volvo and headed over to see what turned out to be, as advertised, an almost brand new Style O Deluxe.
I played it a little bit and it was apparent that it is more ukulele than I need. I'm just not that good, although I am enthusiastic. The seller turned out to be a pretty good player and he ended up letting me fart around with the uke while he got out some other ukes and gave me some tips to improve my playing.
After a while, it began to dawn on me that I would never see another Style O at that price again. I would spend the rest of my days going, "I coulda hadda Style O for cheap, but I felt that I was unworthy". It also dawned on me that I would probably never again find myself with a little bit of cash to call my own and a Style O at the same time. As to the quality of my playing, well, that's what practice is for. The Style O is sitting across from me in all it's nickel plated glory.
Much as I've loved it, The Republic resonator is for sale. Or not. There's a lot to be said for owning too many ukuleles. I mean, God forbid, what if the world ukulele supply suddenly ran out?
And you know what I did the next day? I went to Oakland and took my first ukulele lesson from the great Tippy Canoe. I think I've gotten as far as I can with the self taught thing. I need someone to correct my mistakes and push me in new directions. Tippy turns out to be, among other things, a great listener. She heard me play, she listened to what I hoped to achieve and she gave me a push in a good direction. She's got me working my way further up the neck, playing chords in more positions, and she's got me working on playing with others. I think we also had a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to going back soon. What fun!
By the way, Tippy is teaching at Acme House of Music. I was curious about Acme, I pictured a hipster haven, done up in Nuevo Retro style. I couldn't have been more wrong. Acme is a truly ratty old music store, littered with weird musical junk that, on closer examination, all turns out to be unbelievably cool. The store was recently bought by a younger couple, but the original owner is still enthroned and holding forth. I liked hanging out there. I got there early by accident the first time, next time I'll get there early on purpose. There's a good coffee shop across the street. I'm looking forward to a nice cup of coffee on Acme's sofa.
Posted by Your driver at 12:36 PM
Sunday, March 21, 2010
For some reason blogger has started making up it's own mind about things lately. I'm not allowed to post pictures or links or much of anything else because I get error messages about something called "span". I've gone to war with this damn software and won before. I don't feel like figuring it out now. I'll get around to it sometime soon.
Posted by Your driver at 8:56 PM
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Remember when I posted about my fondness for the town of Boron, out in the High Desert above Los Angeles? Boron is in the news because the folks at the Borax mine have been locked out. Management refuses to bargain with the union unless they will concede seniority and almost every workplace practice. No surprise, the union couldn't negotiate on those terms so management locked them out.
America is being turned into a nation of rats and punks. People are so thoroughly narcotized by television that their highest ambition is to someday be allowed to kiss a billionaire's ass. I'm glad somebody is willing to stand for some kind of principle rather than blaming the immigrants or the poor people or unwed mothers or whoever they think needs kicking. If things go on this way soon we'll be a nation of Walmart employees who can't afford to shop at Walmart.
The normally unreadable Mike Davis wrote a pretty good piece on the lockout- Here
Update- The miners are represented by The International Longshore and Warehouse Union. I'd love to know the history of how the longshoremen ended up organizing so far from the water, but I can say that the ILWU is everything a union should be. Over the years I've had quite a few friends and a couple of family members who were ILWU and it is a real stand up, rank and file, solidarity based union. You can read about the lockout at the union's website HERE.
This is a nice little slide show on LA Labor's support for the locked out miners.
Posted by Your driver at 11:55 PM
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Hat tip, as they used to say, to Michael Homan. This is a spectacular piece of calligraphy, and it's one of my favorite Bible books but you know I also just kinda like looking at it.
He Got Better Things For You- Memphis Sanctified Singers (Buy)
Better Things For You- Holy Modal Rounders (Buy)
Friday, March 5, 2010
Have I posted this before? I don't think so. I've been sending it around to friends. The singer has real star qualities. I'd probably hate her all done up on TV in front of a band but she knocks me out performing with her boyfriend in her living room.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
"The pure products of America/ Go crazy"- William Carlos Williams
I ain't dead yet. I am feeling pretty disoriented. I can tell you that I don't feel like I did the wrong thing. Otherwise, I'm getting my feet under me. I'll let you know if I touch ground.
Psychobilly Freakout- Reverend Horton Heat (buy)
Posted by Your driver at 10:41 AM