Alkahest my heroes have always died at the end

November 11, 2008

New guitar

Filed under: Guitar,Personal — cec @ 11:38 am

Over the past few months, I’ve been thinking about getting a new guitar.  I’ve been heading up to High Strung in Durham and have played with maybe a dozen different models, but the one I kept coming back to was a Blueridge BR-243.  It’s got a beautiful sound and it’s very comfortable for me to play.  The body size is “000” as opposed to the more common dreadnought size (like my first guitar) which means it’s easier to get my arms around and the shorter neck makes it easier to reach all of the chords.  The back and sides of the guitar are mahogany

Well, I’ve got a birthday coming up and Christmas is around the corner, so last Friday I went ahead and bought the BR-243 as a combo present.  Unfortunately, High Strung didn’t have the case which fits the guitar in stock, so they gave me a loaner while mine is being ordered.  I believe the case fits a dreadnought sized guitar, so that might give you some sense of the size.  I should also post a picture of my old guitar with the new one.

Anyway, I’ve been playing with the guitar for a few days now and I love it even more now than I did in the store.  I also finally went online to see what other people thought (I didn’t want to overly influence myself 🙂 ) and it got great reviews, particularly for the quality at its price point.  At this point, I think the only problem is that I’m not much in the mood to work – I would rather go home and practice the guitar 😀

January 15, 2008

Is this thing on?

Filed under: Guitar,Personal,Security — cec @ 9:25 pm

<thump> <thump> Is this thing still on?

Okay, it’s been about three weeks since I’ve blogged anything.  As I’ve stated before, this tends to happen when I’m too involved in living life to actually write about it.  Fortunately (unfortunately?) it’s nothing terribly exciting.  Let’s see:

  • Guitar: my guitar playing has been scientifically shown to have 10% less suck than it did a month ago.  However, with such a large amount of suck to begin with, we’re still not at anything that looks like good.  I’m getting more fluent with the open chords and can switch between them reasonably well.  I’m just starting to learn barre chords – the E barre chord to start with.  There are still vast tracts of untouched suck in the barre chords.  Also, I’m actually thinking of picking up some lessons – the ones at seem pretty good.
  • Work:  still going well.  There’s enough to do.  I’m still not entirely used to billing by the (tenth of an) hour.  Also, not really looking forward to flying to Ohio next week.  I’ll only be gone for a day, but, ugh – who wants a 6am flight to Dayton!
  • Break-in update:  nothing much new here.  Still looking to make it harder for someone to break in.   Had a neighborhood watch meeting last weekend – that’ll be good.  Turns out this may be neither contractors nor kids.  There are apparently some professional (stretching that word a bit) thieves working this area.  There have been some eight different break-ins near by.
  • Non-profit work: I’m convinced that whomever coined the phrase “academic politics are so sorted because the stakes are so small” never worked with a non-profit.  It’s just amazing the degree to which politics enters into the smallest damned thing.
  • New year’s resolutions: didn’t make any – never do.  That said, I am trying to exercise more and cut down on my use of vulgarities.  Profanity and cursing can wait until another year 🙂

I think that’s about it for now.

November 19, 2007

progress – such as it is

Filed under: Guitar — cec @ 11:49 am

Five years ago, I did a lot of Tai Chi.  My teacher at the time constantly related the encouraging (?) story of a tai chi student who went to his teacher and asked, “teacher, when will my knees stop hurting?”  The teacher told him that his knees would stop hurting, “when he stopped learning.”

If the guitar is anything like tai chi, then I’m definitely still learning 🙂

Observations after a week of practice:

  • The fingers on my fretting hand (pronounced, mah frettin’ hand) still hurt, but not as badly as they did after the first night.  I can practice for a good hour without too much damage
  • has a very good set of beginner’s lessons
  • Chords learned to date: G, C, D, E minor, A minor and D minor.  If I remember correctly, all you need for rock music is 4 chords and a groupie – all I need is a groupie and I’m set!
  • Scales are boring, but helpful.  I’ve got the chromatic scale down and I’m working on the E phygian scale.
  • I need for someone to explain to me why there is no B# or E# – going straight from B to C and E to F keeps screwing me up
  • I like the mathematical progressions in music.  You get a sense of why Pythagoras was both a mathematician and a mystic.

November 12, 2007

Guitar was the case

Filed under: Guitar,Personal — cec @ 11:08 pm

Maybe random Monopuff songs aren’t the best blog post titles, but what the heck.

K asked me what I wanted for my birthday (fwiw, I’m either very easy or very hard to shop for depending on whether or not you want to get me a gift certificate to a bookstore – thanks Mom!). From what I’m sure was out of the blue for her, I asked for a guitar – hey, I’ve always wanted to learn.

I went out with a friend on Saturday and found a decent guitar to learn on (relatively inexpensive, but with a good sound). I’ve been practicing for the past couple of days. A few observations:

  1. it is possible to make your fingers bleed. I haven’t gotten this far, but it’s in sight
  2. it shouldn’t be that damn hard to hold the strings to the frets, but there you go
  3. if i could just keep my fingers from touching other strings, I would be set

I’m working on tuning, scales, general fingering and a couple of chords. The chords only sound right about 1 in 10 times – I guess I’ll keep working on that 🙂

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