Saturday, November 29, 2008

Music Video Friday - Apache

Well, it'll be Saturday at the earliest by the time anybody sees this, but it was still Friday when I posted it. This week I have a guitar instrumental from 1960 called "Apache". It was originally recorded by The Shadows, but I first heard it on a Ventures LP. Thanks to Kyle for his help as a recording technician this afternoon.


Click here to comment and rate!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turkey Funnies

I got these in an email and they gave me a chuckle so I thought I'd share them. Have a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Measure Up Monday

I put on some weight while on vacation, but I took some of it back off since we've been home, leaving a net gain of 3 pounds for the past 2 weeks. We're heading into Thanksgiving weekend so continuing to lose or even maintaining is going to be a challenge. I may have to cut back on the broccoli casserole. :)

DateWeightGain/LossUpper WaistLower Waist

Friday, November 21, 2008

Maui Pictures

If you're interested, here's a link to an annotated album with about 15% of our vacation pictures.

Music Video Friday - The Hukilau Song

This is just a low quality video taken with our digital still camera while I was participating in the ukulele classes at Ka'anapali beach. The class was a lot of fun, and we learned 3 chords and 2 songs. I am trying to watch the instructors hands to see the chord changes.

The Hukilau Song

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Vacation Report

We are back from our much anticipated trip to Maui, and it was fabulous. Everything seemed to go right on this trip. Weather reports were looking a little uncertain before we left, but we arrived to sunny skies and warm temperatures that lasted through our entire stay. We enjoyed it so much that we didn't want to leave and extended our stay for 2 more days. Thanks to some of my recent business travel we were able to get confirmed upgrades to first class in both directions, even with the last minute return flight changes.

We repeated some things on this trip, and tried some new things. We stayed once again at the Ka'anapali Beach Hotel and had a beautiful oceanfront view. We returned to some of our favorite restaurants like Leilani's, the Hula Grill, and Cheeseburger in Paradise. We also tried some different restaurants including the Black Rock Steak & Seafood at the Sheraton and the Sea House restaurant at the Napili Kai. Those who know me are familiar with my "if it swims, I don't eat it" attitude toward seafood. But Janet convinced me that the fish in Hawaii is delicious, and if I was ever going to try it I should try it there. So I had some Mahimahi at the Black Rock ( I hedged my bet by ordering the combination plate that included an equal sized piece of steak, just in case), and Ahi tuna at the Sea House. I have to admit, both were 'ono, and I just may be a convert.

While we enjoyed the Sea House restaurant, our reason for driving to the Napili Kai was to attend a concert where we were delighted by the talents of slack key guitar masters, George Kahumoku and Dennis Kamakahi. We were also impressed with the ukulele and vocal talent of the young Peter deAquino.

The Ka'anapali Beach Hotel is known for its preservation of Hawaiian culture. In the past we have participated in their free hula dance and lei making classes. On this trip I had the fun of taking ukulele lessons. I'm no Peter deAquino, but tomorrow I'll offer a small sample of my skills.

We returned to the top of Haleakala, this time driving the winding road that leads to the crater. It was cloudy most of the way up, but the clouds cleared enough at the top to give us some great views. The temperature was a chilly 50°F. We continued up to the 10,023 ft summit where we met some hardy Canadian bicyclists who had ridden the 36 miles from the ocean to the summit in about 6 hours. On the way down we stopped at the Maui Winery and sampled some pineapple wine. It's not bad, similar to a spätlese Riesling.

While we had enough activity to keep from being bored, the one thing we did a lot of on this trip was simply relax. We had time for walking on the beach, sitting on the lanai reading and listening to the surf, lounging in the sun (or shade) with tropical drinks, and watching the sun slowly set. It was peaceful, refreshing, and regenerating.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Guest Post from Jennifer

Jennifer started a new job a while back and has joined the ranks of train commuters into the city. She has a story to tell about that and has offered to present it as another guest post on my blog. Thanks Jennifer. Here's your story, and Happy Birthday too.

November 10, 2008
I have a monthly train pass. I always sit on the upper level of the train. There’s a clip near my feet for displaying the pass, so that interaction with the conductor is unnecessary should I be reading or listening to music or napping. I wouldn’t regularly use it because I was apprehensive about the possibility that I may forget it there. My fears were realized last week. It wasn’t until I was walking to the train from work that the thought passed through my brain, “Do I have my train pass? Oh sh__! Did I leave it on the train?!”

I immediately stopped and searched my bag for it even though I already knew it wasn’t going to be in there. I called Colleen just so I could think out loud. Before leaving the house that morning, I picked up some money from my dresser. Looking at it I said to myself, “You don’t need this, you never spend cash.” Then I foolishly tossed it back. I asked Colleen to confirm for me that I cannot buy a ticket with a credit card. I could get money from her, but I’d never be able to catch my train on time. I expressed my utter bewilderment as I recognized that I wouldn’t be home to pick up the boys from school and I just lost a hundred dollars.

But wait! I’ve noticed that the same conductors on my morning train are the same conductors that wait at the doors for the track of my afternoon train. If they found my pass, would they still have it, and would they give it back to me? There’s nothing written on it to indicate that it’s mine. It’s certainly worth a shot! I hung up with Colleen and soared down the steps to track number 14. As I approached the conductor I said, “Good morning. Well, it’s not morning. Uh, this morning my worst fear was realized…(deep breath)…I left my train pass on the train.”

The somewhat short and barely stout man called another, much taller guy over. This burly, 30-something man with a goatee and a hoop in each ear walked up to me and, after a brief explanation from the first guy, began to quiz me. “Which car were you in? Where were you sitting?” I was nervous at first because his height and stature were intimidating, but his tone was playful and he flashed a smile. “Where did you buy your ticket? When did you buy it?” He was holding the pass in his hand. After answering each question correctly, he turned it over and showed me the lines for writing my name and phone number and advised me to fill in those blanks. Astonished, I said, “You mean you can give this back to me?!” He replied with a grin, “For a Starbucks.”

I exhaled and exclaimed, “Of course I’ll buy you a Starbucks! What kind of coffee do you like?!” He handed me my train pass and discarded his request as a joke. I was so relieved and overwhelmed with gratitude that I told him I could hug him. Instead, I tried to insist on bringing him a drink the next morning. But, he pleasantly continued to refuse. I asked him his name, looked straight in his eyes and said, “Well, thank you Bill” as I shook his hand.

I understand that it wasn’t a big deal to him. He found a train pass; he gave it back to its owner, all in a day’s work. However, it meant so much to me. He saved me from missing the train and having to wait another 2 hours. He saved me from missing my boys at school. He saved me from having to spend another hundred dollars. I felt the need to do more to express my extreme appreciation. Therefore, since he mentioned it, I bought him a Starbucks… giftcard.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Vote Today!

I didn't have access to technology while on vacation, or I would have put this up sooner.

Holly Kirby is competing to be chosen to perform at a music festival. She's doing well in the competition, but can use your vote. The website say's voting ends Wednesday, Nov 18th. I don't know if that means Tuesday Nov 18th, or Wednesday Nov 19th, so VOTE TODAY!

Here's the link.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Vacation Update

A quick trip report...

Sun, sea, sand, tropical drinks, warm breezes, ahhhhh.....

Details in a day or two.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Music Video Friday - Pirates of the Caribbean

With being on vacation, I didn't have a chance to make a video of my own for this week, so I'm sharing a video from one of the YouTube guitarists that I really enjoy. His name is Wolfgang, and he is from Austria. His YouTube channel is here.

A couple of posts ago I mentioned that I was enjoying the Pirates of the Caribbean online game. This video has Wolfgang playing his own arrangement of the POTC theme on guitar.

Pirates of the Caribbean

Go here to comment or rate Wolfgang's video.

You might also be interested in this young prodigy playing the same arrangement.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Measure Up Monday

This is the first real progress since 9/22. However, I'm putting weight watching on hold for the trip. It's unlikely I'll be reporting a loss next Monday.

DateWeightGain/LossUpper WaistLower Waist

Friday, November 7, 2008

Music Video Friday - Daylight Again/Find the Cost of Freedom

In this week's video, I'm performing the title song from Crosby, Stills, and Nash's 1982 "Daylight Again" album. CSN (& sometimes Y) are a folk/rock group that originated in the late '60s. They were known for their intricate harmonies and anti-war, counterculture themes. This song has both.

It's actually 2 songs, "Daylight Again" which was new for the 1982 album, and "Find the Cost of Freedom" which originally appeared on the 1971 "Four Way Street" and as the B side of the "Ohio" single.

For this video, I recorded 2 guitar tracks and 3 vocal tracks, then used some tricky editing tools to make a fun to watch video.

Unless you've got a decent set of stereo computer speakers, it sounds best through headphones.

Click here for the YouTube page to comment and rate.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pirates of the Caribbean

(How does one pronounce Caribbean anyway? Is it kah-RIB-ee-en or CARE-uh-BEE-en?)

My current computer compulsion is Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean" online game. It's a 3D multi-user online role playing game, where you take on the role of a pirate and participate in various pirating activities that build your reputation and your treasure, or maybe just land you in virtual jail.

The game is free* to sign up and play. You start out by designing the appearance of your pirate. Then you are immediately thrown into the quest of helping Capt Jack Sparrow recover The Black Pearl. While this is your primary quest, you are given other minor quests that reward you with new skills and weapons, or build up your reputation as a pirate.

As a non-paying member your skill advancement and available quests are limited. That's where the asterisk on free comes in. If you want to continue to advance in the game and get new quests to complete then you'll want to sign up as a paying member. They never require paid membership to continue playing, but they make it very enticing. You can still run around plundering ships or brandishing your cutlass against navy swine and monstrous creatures. But wouldn't you like that big ship with 10 cannons, or a double barrel pistol? Want to increase your sailing skills? Then sign up for unlimited access today!

I played as a basic (free) member for a week or so before I reached the point where I had completed all the quests and gained all the weapons I was allowed. I still was enjoying the game, but I wanted more challenges so I signed up for the monthly subscription just like they hoped I would. There's a discounted 6 month or annual subscription rate, but honestly I think my obsession will burn out after a couple of months and I'll drop the subscription.

Until then I'll probably be plunderin' and buckling swashes almost nightly.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

New Glasses

A bit of incidental news in my life is that I have new eyeglasses. After about 10 years of using the drugstore variety of magnifier reading glasses, I finally decided to go to an eye doctor and get fitted with a proper set of prescription lenses. When I first started to need reading glasses, the magnifiers worked fine. I didn't have to wear them all the time, just to read a menu or a book. But over time I found I was not only having trouble with near vision, but far vision as well.

The event that nudged me into getting real glasses was trying to drive in Australia. It was difficult enough trying to drive on the opposite side of the road from the opposite side of the car, and reading a speedometer marked in kilometers. But I got really frustrated because the couple of times I got lost, I couldn't read the lettering on street signs, and I couldn't read the map sitting on the front seat either.

So a couple of weeks ago I made an appointment with an eye doctor and got a medical checkup of my eyes, which came out fine, and got a prescription for tri-focals that allow me to see while driving, see the computer screen, or read a pill bottle. I picked up the glasses Monday night, and I'm amazed at how well I can see now. It's going to take a little getting used to because I need to look through the right section of the lens for the right distance. And I need to learn to look at things by moving my head instead of my eyes. I'm hoping it becomes natural after a while. It's a little tricky right now.

'See' ya later.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Measure Up Monday

I made it through the halloween party weekend with the house full of cookies and candy (I'm a pushover for halloween candy corn). I even posted a 2 lb loss for the week. Of course, all I've done is recover some of the ground I gave up a couple of weeks ago. I need to lose one more pound just to get back to the 'overweight' side of the BMI scale.

DateWeightGain/LossUpper WaistLower Waist