my ukulele progress

Beautifully explained. I’ve been toyin’ with the idea of tunin’ mine to gCEA to limit my confusion, but I mostly use that tuning for singing. I dunno. As I said before, mine is kinda ‘eh anyway. I’ll ponder some more.
 
That being said the baritone is a little bit larger than my tenors so that it takes their virtues one step further in terms of gravitas, of sombre sonority, of swampiness.
I love “swampiness” as a descriptive term for what you expect from your baritone. Baz once described a ukulele as sounding “nasal,” another fabulous description.

BTW, congratulations for using the verb “gainsay.” It should be revived in common usage!
 
To test the waters I have wasted money on a cheap baritone and on a kala
Mine was an Oscar Schmidt... happily it was given to me so no money wasted.. Now looking for the next owner...
So I decided to commit to the idea and get an excellent baritone
I bought a Pono instead... sounds glorious... even when I don't.
 
Mine was an Oscar Schmidt... happily it was given to me so no money wasted.. Now looking for the next owner...

I bought a Pono instead... sounds glorious... even when I don't.
I looked into Ko'alau or however it is spelled. It wasn't as customizable as I wanted. If I'm going to spend that kind of money I basically want my "signature" uke. The Ponos sound great but I'm also striving for a look
 
My wife is away visiting her parents and, as you know, when the cat's away the mouse will...well, will do what it usually does without the cat's supervision. Actually the cats are the ones taking advantage of the situation. I have found them sitting on the dining room table or kitchen counter which my wife forbids and which the cats know I don't care about.

I made some beans. I made more of a mixture than my usual just plain beans. I did pressure cook my beans but I added a bunch of cilantro as well as a bag of vegetables (red, green, and yellow peppers, and onions). And I seasoned with the usual suspects of salt, pepper, cumin, and pimentón ahumado. And, of course, garlic powder. It is more of a central American type of beans. I also baked potato halves to have them on hand for whatever reason which may arise.

It snowed rather heavily today yielding a few inches and that is rather odd for here. Although we are over a mile above sea level we almost never get snow because of our geographical set-up. True to form we had inches of snow in the morning but by sundown it had all but melted away.

According to my co-workers, this weekend contains the Super Bowl and I, for one, will be glad that it is over. I am tired of seeing headlines about Taylor Swift. It actually offends my Weltanschauung because as high schoolers we were told to ignore the popular rich girls and the jocks because after high school they wouldn't amount to anything. Now, all those years later, we have a popular girl and a football player and everyone's obsessed with their most basic achievement: they're dating. Big deal. I'm modulating modes over here--using chords harmonized from a minor mode with a melody derived from a major mode...and no one is writing about that.

Sigh. It is just like being in high school again.
 
We recently gabbed about aromas. Gasoline, WD-40, et c. But I remembered a smell that I don't smell nowadays and it made me nostalgic. It is freshly prepared corndogs.

French fries are nice, but not enough to pique my dopamine. And a while back I was driving a fork lift for a paper company which was next to Bueno Foods. I knew dawn was approaching and my shift almost over when I could smell the roasting corn of the tortillas in the air as I passed from the plant to the warehouse. That too was nice.

But it pales in comparison to corndogs. I remember taking rides with my father on the motorbike and we'd stop to warm up at roadside eateries. Wafting through the air would be the smell of that corn batter. That I think would get me even today. If I smelled that, I'd probably stop for a corn dog. But since the food industry is so pre-fabbed today, I cannot remember the last time I smelled freshly frying corn batter.

I don't have anything to post about playing. My wife was on a week's vacation to see her parents and when that happens I sort of lose interest in life. The cats and I just existed in her absence. We just ate and slept and moped.
 
We recently gabbed about aromas. Gasoline, WD-40, et c. But I remembered a smell that I don't smell nowadays and it made me nostalgic. It is freshly prepared corndogs.

French fries are nice, but not enough to pique my dopamine. And a while back I was driving a fork lift for a paper company which was next to Bueno Foods. I knew dawn was approaching and my shift almost over when I could smell the roasting corn of the tortillas in the air as I passed from the plant to the warehouse. That too was nice.

But it pales in comparison to corndogs. I remember taking rides with my father on the motorbike and we'd stop to warm up at roadside eateries. Wafting through the air would be the smell of that corn batter. That I think would get me even today. If I smelled that, I'd probably stop for a corn dog. But since the food industry is so pre-fabbed today, I cannot remember the last time I smelled freshly frying corn batter.

I don't have anything to post about playing. My wife was on a week's vacation to see her parents and when that happens I sort of lose interest in life. The cats and I just existed in her absence. We just ate and slept and moped.
Ahhhhh . . .
 
I live next door to Amy's Natural Foods' Santa Rosa production facility. Thankfully, we are upwind at least 300 days a year. But when it's blowing our way and they are cooking the beans, it smells absolutely vile.

My friend worked in an office on the downwind side of the factory for a year. She can no longer stand to eat pinto beans in any form.

They cook them in giant steam heated pressure cookers, I believe. The stench when they let off the steam is simply unbelievable.

BTW: Many baseball stadiums sell 2-foot long corn dogs shaped like baseball bats.

I'm sure eating one of those would constitute a fatal dose for most of us...

Last season, the Texas Rangers set a new precedent when the Rangers Ballpark introduced the Boomstick, a two-foot, $26 hot dog dubbed baseball's largest. But Snoke says his bat-shaped masterpiece is superior for a very simple reason: "Well, it's a corn dog, man," he says.
 
oh my goodness! The forum is a land mine today--full of threads sure to cause arguments such as the opening up myth, size preference, pronunciations. Being an ex-lexicographer I have a very definite idea of how ukulele should be pronounced but I'm not even going to fall into that trap.

I made another iteration of my wife's quiche which she uses as a back-up plan when she doesn't want to cook. I guess I'll call it quiche Elise and I will say it is definitely better than quiche Lorraine. And who the heck is Lorraine anyway?

Here's my quick methodology:

  1. make a pie crust for a 9 inch pie dish
  2. throw in a layer of Canadian cheddar, which is just 3 year aged cheddar I can get at the market
  3. throw down some fresh baby spinach with the stems pinched off lest they cause offense
  4. throw down some prosciutto. This step is new and I admit I completely screwed it up. Prosciutto comes in paper thin bacon-esque strips. I thought strips of meat would clash with the texture of the custard, so I cut up the prosciutto. But prosciutto is wet and instead of having cubes of meat it turned the prosciutto into a mush which I then pinched off bit by bit and distributed atop the spinach
  5. I made a Mornay sauce without flour and I will never roux that decision. I gently heated a cup of cream with some gorgonzola cheese until it was a smooth mixture. I also added dill just because I didn't like the color of the mixture. It was whiter than Nebraska.
  6. I added the mixture to five eggs that I had prepared with garlic, onion, and a spice blend of salt, pepper, tumeric, and citrus peel.
  7. I then poured all the wet ingredients over the dry ones and topped with Vermont cheddar cheese, and baked at 400 'til the cheese was getting golden and the pastry was starting to show signs of about to burn.
Musically, I continued my study of using B's to connect the lowest and highest regions of the fretboard. I am using minor pentatonic shapes because they are the backbone of all American music and because they are very familiar and comfortable.

On a linear tuning, the B on the 14th fret is the same as the B on the 2nd fret. To re-iterate: my plan is to start a melody which uses the B on the 2nd fret but at some point when I should play the B on the 2nd fret, play the B on the 14th fret which will satisfy the needs of the melody that preceded it but now you have much different options.

For example, if I'm playing the sub-dominant shape around the 2nd fret, I'm using notes from the 3rd and 4th octaves. When I shift to the 14th fret, I'm playing the 4th, 5th, and 6th octaves. So you can see there are a lot more options.

I realize this approach is a bit ham-fisted but it is necessary with my brain. I know I am my own master and I can play any of the 12 notes in any of 4 octaves at anywhere on the fretboard. But I don't. I need some kind of system upon which to pin my improvising lest it turn to pure wankery. I don't want to sound overly regimented because I do mix systems.

For instance I move from the minor pentatonic on the 2nd fret to the dominant shape of the minor pentatonic on the 14th. Or I mutate to the A Dorian #11 or the B Phrygian Minor. And when I get to the E on the 19th fret, I can then descend the E Hungarian minor scale in 2 octaves and reach the E on the 9th fret which puts me back in the pentatonic minor but the tonic shape.
 
Now that I am becoming more comfortable with switching positions on the fretboard something I am completely digging are big glissandi. If I'm playing between the 14th and 19th frets, I can divebomb down to the 7th or 2nd fret and pick up the melody down there.

Something else I am finding, or rather remembering, is that I love playing around the 14th fret because the nut and the bridge are so far away that you can really get some good emotional color on bends and vibrato because the strings are so loose.

Another thing I am liking is 19th fret harmonics. I can get a 7th octave B there. I suppose that's a justification for custom ukes: my intonation is excellent since it is hand-made.

For supper I threw together a vegetable pie. Not being a pack-rat, I wanted to get rid of some remaining ingredients I had left over from the quiche. So I took my extra pastry shell, threw in an obscene amount of baby spinach and bell peppers, poured my remaining cream and eggs and kalamata olives, and topped with some avocado and nutritional yeast. It was an un-quiche. Quiches are custard with some cheese and vegetables. This was a bunch of vegetables with some custard.
 
And who the heck is Lorraine anyway?
It's a place in France I think... not someone you used to date...

Not sure what they do to those beans at Amys. I suspect it's super high heating that does it.

I toured a food factory once and got to watch 1200 gallons of pasta sauce being prepared. It was "cooked" in a giant pressure cooker heated by a high pressure steam jacket surrounding the cooking vessel and an agitator built into the lid to keep it stirred up. The owner said he could have it all boiling in about 90 minutes.

I'm sure it was big enough and would have cooked several giants at once, actually, depending on their size... but they used it to make Sonoma Gourmet brand sauces.
 
As the weekend approaches, I have big plans. Well, they're as big as my plans get.

I have Latin midterms to grade.

I'm going to make a batch of beans. This time I am going to add greens after the boil. At first I was thinking of collard green ribbons but I think I am going to go with kale because it will be easier to get it to spoonful size. Plus, kale's stats are always stellar.

Speaking of kale, I tried again to make stove top kale chips and I've come to the conclusion that it is a two-step process with the equipment I have to get the result I want...and I'm too lazy for that. I threw the raw kale into a wok with butter at a very low heat. Once the moisture was gone, the result was buttery but chewy kale chips. However a day later I took those chips and just put them in a sauce pan and shook them around as you do with popcorn and then they became magically light and crunchy. Just what I wanted. It is just more energy than I want to expend on kale.

I'm going to bed but I will update my experiments with my B's soon.
 
I watched some implausible cooking videos. The first was on making a beef stock. It entailed 10 hours of work. That's just silly. Being an educated person my time is worth something. Let's just say it is $20 an hour, and that's very conservative. No stock is worth $200 of my time. I am okay with throwing some bones and mirepoix into the pressure cooker and getting a cloudy stock. And I'm even okay with buying some stock off the shelf and being content with sub-par stock if it saves 10 hours.

The second video was about chicken thighs. It was just too rococo by far. Too many steps, too much effort. I bought some thighs for my wife. It will be simple: you fry the skin side, flip it and add some stock and throw it in the oven to braise the meat. Periodically I will brush on some tandoori paste I have.

I had a meal that was frankly over the top and probably could have been two meals. I made a farinata (chick pea flat bread) which I topped with nutritional yeast and a quick guacamole (two avocados, lime, salt, garlic, and green chili sauce to smooth it out). I also had two eggs with tarragon and pinto beans with red chili sauce. That was my over-indulgence.

I always get a treat when I go shopping on Friday. In the past it has been something quite caloric like a bunch of sausages or the ingredients to make many quesadillas. Nowadays it is a packet of Jaipur vegetables and paneer cheese to which I added a 1/4 cup of mung beans. But it is still a change from the routine and quite the treat. Plus, it won't sabotage my weight loss.

The reason that I am perseverating about food is that it is early morning and I cannot play my ukes lest I wake up my wife. Even though my ukes are relatively quiet because of string tension, playing style, et c., they still pierce the walls. The only thing I can play at this hour is my electric cigar box guitar without an amp. And I'm not in the mood for it; the heart wants what it wants and I want Yorkie right now.
 
One of the worst smells I ever gagged on came from the Quaker Oats factory in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
My primary sensory memories of traveling through Iowa are a myriad of horrible, food- and livestock- related smells.
One of my son’s chemical engineering internships during his 4.5 years of undergrad studies was at a paper (pulp) mill. Even after decades of EPA compliance, such mills emit a truly awful smell which travels for miles.
 
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I turned down a job in Decorah Iowa which boasts of having the Spam museum. It does make you ponder what smells emanate from a facility that actually makes the abomination which is Spam.

Speaking of Iowa and other heartland states, my biggest shock was how horribly they eat. You would think that since they are the bread basket of the United States that they would have access to many, many excellent vegetables and fresh foods. Not the case. They were morbidly obese and eating a lot of junk although they produce the best food. It is a head-scratcher. Kind of like the conundrum of how the British people, occupying an island as they do, can be so resistive to seafood. Some things are beyond reason and explanation.
 
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