my ukulele progress

During breaks in my school days I would drive from North Carolina to southern California in 50 hours, and that included sleeping twice.

You must have been driving a 40 HP VW bus I guess...

Ever heard of the Cannon Ball run? The NYC to the L.A. coast car race?

Current record: 25:39

These people are nuts!

 
I don't know how they do it in half the time. One consideration is that I drive the speed limit. Also, from what I remember of the Burt Reynolds movies, there were two people per car so that they could drive perpetually. My fifty hours includes sleeping twice as well as stopping for meals and, at times, stopping at rest stops for peeing and for smoking my pipe to allay the road-weariness.

I just did the math and the distance was 2220 miles. If you deduct 10 hours for two 5 hour naps, then that makes my speed around 55. So I suppose my time does make sense.
 
Last edited:
then that makes my speed around 55.
These people go twice that - on average... hence it takes just half as long!

And there are sometimes as many as three people in the car... and an advance teams of spotters... and 120 gallon fuel tanks... high powered binoculars and advanced radar detectors... and funnels with tubes that go through the floor boards...

Took me 14 hours just to get to Salt Lake City!

These people refer to speeding tickets as "spirited driving awards". It was conceived as a response to those 55 mph limit laws of the past.

The race has been going on for decades and there has never been a recorded accident...

And: they go almost 2800 miles. It's farther from NYC.
 
I've learned a few things on the road. I usually drive in silence but I was driving in my wife's more technologically current car. The only amenity my jeep has is a cigarette lighter, but my wife's car is connected to my wife's telephone. She can pull up anything the heart desires. At one point I requested Led Zeppelin I and later on Neil Young's Weld. I don't know how I feel about it. It is nice to listen to anything, but as Oscar Wilde once said: getting what you want is worse than not getting what you want. Something is lost. Back in the day you just drove and scanned the gamut of frequencies and most likely found some racist country music and it was all you had and it was good for a while until you drove out of range.

Another thing I found out. I visited a friend who now has dementia. The thing I've noticed about people with dementia is that the dementia seems to strip away the mask we show the world and exposes the true self. When my wife's grandma had dementia she was a bit nasty, cursing an unseen enemy. My friend is very docile and happy. I want to be a happy demens person. I am hoping that by playing my ukes I can instantiate enough contentment and joy that that will be what exudes when the masks drops. And I do wonder if I'm really happy or am I just deluding myself as well as others. Only time will tell.
 
Another thing I found out. I visited a friend who now has dementia. The thing I've noticed about people with dementia is that the dementia seems to strip away the mask we show the world and exposes the true self. When my wife's grandma had dementia she was a bit nasty, cursing an unseen enemy. My friend is very docile and happy. I want to be a happy demens person. I am hoping that by playing my ukes I can instantiate enough contentment and joy that that will be what exudes when the masks drops. And I do wonder if I'm really happy or am I just deluding myself as well as others. Only time will tell.
I used to live in NYC where there’s lots of walking, lots happening on the street, and lots of people with mental issues walking along talking to themselves. I soon realized they generally fell into two camps: the happy ones who agreed with themselves and were simply conversing, and the angry ones who were bitterly arguing with themselves.
 
I'd rather just NOT get dementia if you don't mind!

My grandad had it and he didn't really change at all. He was always a bit aloof and distant, and stayed that way.

But he was totally out of it... couldn't tell the difference between the front window and the TV if golf was on... (he lived on a golf course).

He would ask where his wife was, and the caregiver would always answer "Oh, Elizabeth is out shopping". Which satisfied him... She had been out "shopping" for about 10 years at that point.

Sad - but manageable.

My mom and dad stayed lucid right through the bitter end... which was almost worse. They got to watch themselves slowly fall apart in full awareness of what was going on... slow miserable death getting closer by the day.

When granddad passed, I'm not even sure he noticed...
 
I'm back from vacation and I learned many things.

I learned that my jeep is obsolescent. In my wife's car we drove around 90 mph for 12 hours through rain and snow. There's no way I could have done that in the jeep because of its age, lack of aerodynamics, and high center of gravity.

I learned my wife is brilliant by proxy. She of course is exceptional in her own chosen fields of scholarship but she should just have honorary PhD's. I spent my leisure time sitting on the patio scouring over new research in 3rd century poetics. As I recapitulated it to my wife as we glided over the Sonoran desert, she needed no prompting to understand the significance of what I had to say...even though she was on narcotics because of the pain of driving for 12 hours at a time. Also, we were listening to music in the car. I heard a G and mentally ticked off six positions of the circle of fifths to arrive at C# and my wife said, "man, you really like your tritones." She's got music theory; she has philology. What else could you ask for in a woman?

I am currently pressure cooking some beans with blackened onions. I think of blackening as hyper-carmelizing. I wonder if there's a culinary term for it. Obviously you could use something like noircissement but I don't think it has the right feel. I remember reading some word, beginning with "m" that described blackening but I think blackening was more a form of oxidation like how apples get brown when they are exposed to air.

I didn't do any musical work over the vacation, so I'll be happy to get back into my major and minor pentatonics which I was using to hyperjump betwixt positions on the fretboard. Of course that will be after I take care of impending business: I need to go to get new glasses, I need to call my student loan gendarme, I need to call my doctor about my lipid panel results, and I need to call my clocksmith to acquiesce to the 450 in overhauling my clock and its bushings. It is kind of steep but they have me by the short and curlies. My clock is the heart and soul of the living area and not having it around is a lessening of my quality of life.
 
I take it that your clock is a grandfather. We have one too, and, yes, he is expensive when he gets very tired. We’ve had ours since 1976.

I’m glad you’re back. I missed your food talk (mostly, I don’t get much else). Glad you and your wife had a good time.
 
I take it that your clock is a grandfather. We have one too, and, yes, he is expensive when he gets very tired. We’ve had ours since 1976.

I’m glad you’re back. I missed your food talk (mostly, I don’t get much else). Glad you and your wife had a good time.
In the kitchen, I've been playing around with burnt vegetables. Specifically burnt onion. I finely cut a white onion and I fried it 'til the pieces were black. Then I added the little black cubes to a pot of boiling beans. It adds a flavor. Obviously just eating the burnt onions by themselves wouldn't be good but the char is savory when part of a larger dish. I have done the same with cabbage and green beans. I originally got the idea from cajun cookery where the meat is blackened.

I am currently also baking some upside down chicken thighs. Usually I bake chicken thighs skin side up and bake it until the skin is golden. I figured since what we all want is a crispy skin, why not attack that? I put the thighs skin side down in two cast iron lasagna pans and I've been frying the skins. They will be crunchy and the meat, exposed to the 425 heat of the oven will be cooked. I have high hopes for this. I have cooked them for 40 minutes or so while I'm boiling the Freekeh grain my wife requested as a side dish.

And for music, I am still centered around using equivalent B's in different locations. The E minor pentatonic is E G A D B. The major pentatonic is E F# G# B D#. On my fretboard of 19 frets each pentatonic variety has 7 instances (the 5 pentatonic shapes plus two at a higher octave). The B (and the E) is what unites all these shapes, so I have been playing and mixing and matching these shapes moving between them when the B allows. For example the B voices at the 7th and 11th frets are the same pitch, so I can move between them seamlessly and surround the B with the appropriate notes in each shape. This makes brand new melodies. If I stayed within one shape, there are only so many melodies that suggest themselves because of the placement of the notes. But when you combine more than one shape, the possibilities expand exponentially
 
And I have a hot take on the Beatles which I am not going to post in the hot take thread because I think the moderators should close that thread as it is nothing more than legitimizing flame wars. But here's my view. It isn't directly ukulele-related except that many ukulele players like the beatles.

1. I am highly--highly, highly--suspicious of anyone who doesn't acknowledge the historical significance of the Beatles. You don't have to like them, but you have to bow down to the contribution they made to music to progressions to arrangements, etc.

2. I am very standoffish to anyone who doesn't acknowledge that the Beatles were a boy-band. For twenty years until his death John Lennon would winge about how people didn't take him seriously. Dude, that's because you were in a boy-band and we paid you millions for your efforts. At this point, society owes you nothing.

By the way, my favorite Beatles album, which I can sing word for word, is Hard Day's Night. That's because it was real. It was about girls and dances and going steady--which is what the Beatles knew about. It was like the early Beach Boys records which was about girls and hot rods. It was authoratative.
 
I think the moderators should close that thread as it is nothing more than legitimizing flame wars.
So far... it's holding the peace pretty well. But yeah, it's definitely asking for something, lol.

You don't have to like them, but you have to bow down to the contribution they made to music to progressions to arrangements, etc.
Yup. I do like them, which is a good thing because my teacher is an advocate for this point of view of the Beatles.
I am very standoffish to anyone who doesn't acknowledge that the Beatles were a boy-band.
Well. I never thought of that. This is a very good point, which doesn't take anything away from your first point, both are true.
 
What is the essential difference between the Beach Boys and the Beatles?

I used to work at a couple of College radio stations back in the day.

All of the Beatles records had been stolen, but almost all of the Beach Boys records were there still on the shelves.

This just about sums it up!
 
I have to agree. I've never been very much impressed with the Beach Boys although my parents had some Beach Boys vinyl that we listened to as kids. It is strange but I don't know a single thing about Beach Boys composition although I do have the complete Beatles sheet music and could talk intelligently about the music.

I was obliged to eat at a restaurant while I was awaiting my new glasses. It was a Texas Bar-b-q place whose motto was we didn't claw our way to the top of the food chain to eat vegetables. I was all shrugs about it. I had a sausage sandwich which was merely a hamburger bun containing a kielbasa-type sausage cut on a bias. And that was nearly $8. I was very much more happy with my meal this morning. I had beans and eggs and avocado. It was filling and much cheaper than the sandwich.
 
There are so many types and artists and genres of music I like to follow, but it always comes back to the Beatles who are absolutely in a class by themselves. Each song of theirs is a unique gem unto itself. I remember first seeing them on Ed Sullivan back in the day, and it struck me during this—the 60th anniversary of their first US TV appearance last month—when I saw the reruns how much they really were the real deal. Young, fresh into this big new country and the mania thing just kicking in, the screaming and noise that would have been distracting to perform against, considering that stage monitor systems were not what they are today and they likely couldn’t hear themselves, and yet their vocals were still so spot on and they could just nail it. And George apparently had a 106 fever that night but who could tell?
 
Last edited:
I haven't posted much musically lately because my thoughts aren't fit for public consumption. And that's saying something when you consider how dull much of what I say is.

In a nutshell, I've been using the different B voicings on the fretboard to make new musical contexts for myself. I complicated matters by introducing the major pentatonic into the equation.

My main issue is making the pentatonic major musically relevant to me. I can think and talk about it and its major 2nd, 3rd, and 6th intervals 'til the cows come home, but that doesn't transfer to my fingers. I know I am my own master and I can play whatever notes I want, but I am taking baby steps to make it musically significant to me. I am focusing on the two notes, the E and the B, which are common to both the major and minor pentatonic. I am pivoting on those notes to the intervals of both the major and minor. At this point my goal is to internalize how the different intervals sound. The only thing which is tricky is the major and minor 3rd intervals. They don't sound good together and they impact how other intervals sound. The other intervals are much more forgiving and cooperative.
 
re-reading my last entry, a certain thought obtrudes. Why don't I just use the B.B. box which combines major and minor elements? After all, if it was good enough for B.B. King it should be good enough for me.

My answer is that it would just be another shape to learn. And at this point in my learning I have found that shapes are encumbrances to fretboard mastery. Using shapes was an essential step but I have outgrown it. You have to subscribe to a system (and it doesn't matter which one; they all triangulate to the same truth) but eventually any system breaks down because of the inherent flaw that each system has.

So I am working to unlearn the regimen that got me to this point, so that I can do what I want. And what I want is to be able to move wherever I want on the fretboard. It is coming along, but it is slow. I suppose the whole process has been slow. It was slow going to get the shapes under my belt and now it is also a slog to unlearn them.
 
Top Bottom