Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Raining on Thanksgiving.

As Thanksgiving is approaching, I am reminded of my Thanksgiving memories.  Namely, that the winter duck hunting season started on Thanksgiving.  It gave hunters a chance to bring home a duck for Thanksgiving dinner.

Since my Dad was a mailman he worked six days a week.  One of the few holidays he had off was Thanksgiving.  So it was the one day we could go hunting. 

We would always hope for bad weather since ducks seem to love bad weather.  Seriously, the worse the weather is, the more duck hunters show up.  It really is the opposite of good decision making. 

So a typical day would be getting up at 4 AM, head out the door at 5 AM, make it to Cockroach Bay (Yes that's it real name.  It's in Ruskin, Fl.)  by 6 AM, take the boat to our spot, and have the decoys set up by 7 AM.  Then we would sit in the rain and wind with guns on our laps hoping some ducks would fly into the decoys.

What's funny is that it was usually really active from 7:15 AM to 8 AM, and then maybe a few up until 9 AM.  Then, nothing.  It was like all the wildlife would stop from 9 until 10 AM.  Once 10 AM came around you might get a few show up until 11 AM.  But once 11 AM hit, it was over.  The ducks day was over until sunset. 

So we would then pack up at 11 AM.  We would then pick up all the decoys, and make it back to the dock at 12 Noon.  Then we would make it back to the house at 1 PM where the two of us would clean all the saltwater off of everything.  This also included making sure the guns were oiled really well.  Saltwater is really rough on guns.  And if we actually did manage to hit any ducks, this would be the point where we would clean them.

Then it would be time for Thanksgiving dinner between 3 and 4 PM.  That would be the perfect time to eat, and start watching the Detroit Lions get their butts kicked on TV. 

So you can see just how eventful Thanksgiving was for us.  And for the photographic evidence, feast your eyes upon this:

Yep, that's me in 1991 with a blue wing teal.  I was 15 at the time.  And I still use that same shotgun to this day.  In fact, I still have that same coat.  It's the coat I use when it's just a bit cool out hunting, but not overly cold.  Although, I do have better choice in headwear these days.

Monday, November 23, 2015


You may want to read this to understand this post a little better.


I've been thinking about this song I wrote this past week called, "Unwind." It's not my usual kind of song, but maybe I'm mad because it's a bit "too true" to what's been going on in my life.

Maybe I'm also mad because it actually seems to be a well crafted, and above average song to listen to. I'm just not sure I should play it out. Of course, what's the worst that could happen? People ignore it or gently clap?

I mean, I'm glad I finally wrote a song after not writing one for a long time, but this is not the song I expected to write. Maybe I just need someone to play it for. That's what was so great about Josh. He could see what was good and bad in a song. He could pick up on a song, and know where to go with it.

John C. was also like that. He was a bit more finicky, but he was kind of like my creative writing teacher, in that, he wanted to do repeated drafts, which is what you are supposed to do.

I remember reading that Professor Dumbledore once said, "People can be madder at you for being right than being wrong." Well, I think I'm madder at myself for the fact that I wrote a song calling me on all my bullshit. Which makes me think....

Lady Gaga once told Howard Stern that it was completely nerve-wracking for her to make a song public. She said (her words) that, "It was like showing my vagina to everyone." And I get that. I don't have a problem showing my giant scar on my stomach to everyone. However, showing my soul? Well, that's another story. That's a bit difficult.

Since I have been sick for the pass two months, I have basically dropped all human contact outside of the house, and that's not good for me. I don't have a realistic measuring stick of reality.
Now that I am checking this post over, I probably should have added it to my blog instead of posting here. But, oh well. It's not going to hurt anything.

Maybe I need to write a new song. The problem is I haven't been getting out, and I get my best ideas from weird things that happen to me. Maybe I need to join a support group for weird people, and ask them about things that have happened to them for song inspiration?

(Side note:  This post is kind of split into two parts.  Kind of a before and after.  What I wrote above is the "before."  And the next part is the after.)

So, I finally got to play my song "Unwind" for a person/victim. I got to play it for my friend Danielle. 

She gave me some really great feedback. Namely, people know that I do silly, "out there," songs, as well as some serious songs.

Since this is a serious song, I was not sure how it would go over. However, Danielle felt this was a personal and honest song, and she liked it better than my silly stuff.

Maybe it comes off as a more "professional" song? Maybe it "speaks" to people? Or maybe it's just honest? Either way, I'm going to have to play it out to get more feedback.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Songs In The Key Of C...anadian

Back in 1987 I was 10 years old (going for 11) when an interesting song came on the radio.  Now you have to remember this was the 1980's, and radio was probably the strictest it had ever been in what songs were actually played on the radio.  This song was about sex.  And you have to remember it was released years before George Michael's "I Want Your Sex," which was pretty darn controversial.  Some radio stations wouldn't even play it George Michael.  So imagine my surprise when I hear a song with the following lyrics, in 1987, and on radio.

Boom, Boom, Boom
Let's go back to my room
So we can do it all night
And you can make me feel right

The song was called, "Boom, Boom (Let's Go Back To My Room) by Paul Lekakis.  Have a listen to it right here:

Again at the time I was 10 and my sister was 7 when we heard this.  So, we had to ask our Father what the song was really about.  He said that he knew (he knew!) that "Boom, Boom" meant "watching TV" in Canadian. 

This made perfect sense to me as far as I knew.  Remember, that we lived in Florida and the country of Brazil was closer to us than Canada was.  Canada might as well have been on another planet.  I wasn't sure what language they spoke in Canada, but it was all starting to make sense.

So years later I was listening to the 80's station.  I'm pretty sure it was Sirius Radio's 80's channel as they play more deep cuts.  It brought back the memories of my Father telling my Sister and I what the song was about.  So I asked my Father about the whole, "Boom, Boom" thing.  He just kind of laughed, and that's when I remembered that my Father comes from a long line of smartasses. 

And here's the weird part.  Even though "Boom, Boom" on went up to #47 on the U.S. music charts, it went to #2 in, get this, Canada.  True.  Look it up.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Worst Ripoff (My Musical Failure)

I have been in a musical rut as of late.  I have to admit to myself it is an annoying kind of funk.  When I was in college, I would write my term papers deep into the night.  Well, I like doing that with music too.  However, try plugging in a guitar at 2 in the morning, and you will find out what your family really thinks of you. 

I had something neat kind of happen though.  I have a good friend Nick who shared a cheat sheet for musicians.  It showed what chords you should play if you were in a certain key.  A lot of my music is pretty simple 1-4-5 stuff, so I never really thought about music keys when playing guitar.  So when Nick posted this chart it really opened my eyes.

Anyway, so I was messing around with the chord chart, and started playing basic chords in this order:

C, G, Am, Em.  I liked where it was going.  I use those chords a lot.  Then I decided to use something that I never really did.  I went with F since that's what the chart suggested.  I felt that Em would be right after that.  I felt that I was onto something, but was having trouble deciding what to do next.  It was then I went back to F, and followed up with G.  So try that this way:

C, G, Am, Em, F, Em, F, G. 

I have having fun with it when I started to play it a certain way.  It then hit me, I had just ripped off note for note the cello part of Canon in D.  Yes.  That Canon in D.

And here's my confession.  I played cello in high school, and yes, I played Pachelbel's Canon in D.  I felt like such a heal.  Seriously, if you have a guitar by you, play those notes while listening to this:

This is really getting to me.  I had the chords and rhythm picked out for both the verses and chorus.  I had even started writing some lyrics.  However, I have just stopped.  I am just disgusted with myself.  I'm just not sure where to go from here.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Welcome Mike Nugget to the Fishtank

So yesterday I welcomed Mike Nugget to the fishtank.  He's a Gold Nugget Plecostomus.  My Sister wants to dismantle the fishtank in her room, and Mike was the last fish in there.  Actually, she always called him Nugget.  But I thought he should have a first name.  To be honest, I was watching football, and Bengals kicker Mike Nugent (not to be confused with Nugget) was mentioned.  So I saw that as the perfect sign to name Nugget, Mike Nugget.

Despite Mike's small size, he is at least eight years old.  Since he has lived most of his life in a 20 gallon tank, he never grew that big.  But the tank he is in now is 46 gallon so he has plenty of room to grow.  Not to mention he will have plenty of friends.  He will have Big Joe the 6th, (he's a common Pleco,) and a number of Loaches. 
In his old tank Mike tended to hide quite a bit.  However, he has actually spent some time in the open while eating algae in the new tank.  That's how I got all these pictures of him.
Speaking of pictures, here are a few more of Mike.  I hope he likes his new home.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Guitar Trade Day: Fender Stratocaster, Part 2

Part 1:


So here is the Stratocaster that I traded for:

I was looking for a black Stratocaster since I had a tortoiseshell pickguard with three Dimarzio pickups in it.  It has the Blue Velvet neck, FS-1 middle RW/RP, and Heavy Blues 2 in the bridge.

So last night I changed it all out, set up the guitar, and this is what she looks like now.

I was only able to play it through my Rocktron amp out in the garage, instead of one of my higher end amps, but she sounded really good.

I adjustment that I did make was to make sure the tone knob worked with the bridge pickup.  They usually don't come wired like that.  I was given some of the new D'Addario NY XL strings in a giveaway at Sam Ash.  So I put them on this guitar to see how they perform. 

So, I look forward to playing out with her when I am feeling better.  This guitar seems like she's going to be a lot of fun.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Guitar Trade Day: Fender Stratocaster

Read here to understand a bit of what's going on in this post.


So I bought the Dean Gran Sport with the intention of selling it.  Namely, I don't care for the active pickups that it comes with, not to mention it's not really my style.  So, I tried to sell it on Craigslist and Reverb.com.  However, with the economy being what it is most musicians are equipment heavy, and cash poor.  In other words, musicians are trying to sell equipment, but no one has any money to buy.  So we end up trading instead of buying/selling. 

The last time I tried to move out some guitars, I ended up trading for other musical equipment and only managed to sell one.  And the one I sold, the guy wanted to return it like I was Guitar Center or something.  Really, I can't make that up.  In the end I had put five guitars up for sale, and only sold the one. 

So this time, I put an ad on Craigslist saying that I was more than willing to trade.  I listed some specific things I was interested in.  One of them being a Black Fender Stratocaster.  Well, to make a long story short, one guy had one and offered to trade it for the Dean. 

We met at Guitar Center which was halfway between us, and we were both happy.  Now for the guitar pron.

I've had a tortoiseshell pickguard sitting in my parts drawer with three Dimarzio pickups in it.  I think they will look nice on this guitar.  So look forward to me blogging about that.