Summer greetings to the world! I published a video of me playing "Pinky Rag" on YouTube. I've included the link to the YouTube video here on the videos page. I hope you like it.
They have a lot of neat stuff including a weird yellow thumbpick I really like. I've put a link to the store in the right sidebar here just under the RSS Feed link.
I just read a new witch-and-vampire book that I actually liked. It's called "A Discovery of Witches" and is by a USC history professor named Deborah Harkness. From what I've read of her life, she grew up outside of Philadelphia, as did I, but I don't think we have much else in common. She is younger than I and a much, much, much better novel writer than I could ever hope to be. I really did enjoy the fantasy world she has constructed that contains other humanoid creatures in it, far more powerful than us "clueless humans" as we're called in the book. She has included in her story a plethora of interesting factoids and human history subjects such as alchemy about which I don't know much. Since I've finished reading the novel, I've been doing some reading on Wikipedia about alchemy and it looks interesting, particularly the old book illustrations I've seen. Ms. Harkness has planned a trilogy, and since I especially love series books, I'm looking forward to the next installment.
The story starts with a romance between a witch and a vampire and grows from there. Several of her characters are very ancient vampires. They're living in the modern-day world -- reading newspapers, using computers, flying in helicopters and planes and enjoying other modern-day conveniences -- no doubt, there are microwaves in vampire kitchens, they've got new steam washers and power-saving gas dryers, and they're now getting into iPads, and of course, because they are ancient, they have what I have always wanted in this life -- vast, anonymous wealth, as well as profound knowledge about profound, ancient things. The vampire hero who has all of this, is also this incredibly nice guy. Oh, she tries to make him seem fierce and dangerous, but he's so good-looking (and smells so good), and he's so incredibly kind to his beloved that it's hard to feel that wonderful, nasty edge of danger you usually have with a vampire hero. I'm hoping that she expands his story in book 2 or 3 because she drops a lot of hints about his vampire past in book 1, but the chief theme is about the witch figuring out how to be a witch and all of the danger attached to her doing this and having a vampire lover. There's considerable detail that unfolds about the witch. The romantic stuff is highly satisfying, and I'm sure Ms. Harkness' coterie of worshipful fans will be deep indeed.
I don't have any issues with the shape and details of the fantasy, but I must say that questions came up for me . I wanted to know things like, what did these really old vampires think when telephones came along? Or telegraph? How about cars? A really old entity would have spent the bulk of his/her life making do with horse transport of one sort or another. Was getting their first car as exciting as I would imagine it to be? What was it like for them when they first went up in an airplane? Used a vacuum cleaner? Went to the movies?
What about tv? What about game shows? What about the book "Dracula?" They must have laughed themselves silly reading that one -- or seeing Bela Lugosi. Ms. Harkness' story talks about vampires' slower metabolisms. Does their hair only grow an inch every 10 years? What about their nails? Are there vampire barbers and hairdressers and dentists and doctors? Do they need vampire urologists and gynecologists (because they don't have children the traditional way)? These are all questions I've asked myself while in the shower or washing dishes or doing other mindless chores. I'll be very interested to see if any or all of them are answered in the course of volumes 2 and 3 of this trilogy. Which, by the way, is entitled "The All Souls Trilogy."
This is my retirement fund, guys, so I'm promoting it somewhat. CD Baby has a direct-link widget that I've installed so throngs of fans can access the albums and buy copies. My stuff is all download only. If I ever hit it big with any of these things, I might have hard copy CDs printed, but they are quickly becoming old-hat in the fast-and-furious digital-music world.
It's already February 20, and I'm still recovering from the Christmas holidays. It's amazing how fast the time now slips by. I'm remembering when I was 8 or 10 and a year was just forever.
I got a new guitar. It's a Caldwell 00-13, a really pretty and wonderful-sounding instrument. I have been getting used to the fingerboard, which looks deceptively wide, but is narrower and therefore really fast. Not only fast, but the strings are a little further apart. This makes me have to check fingering more often, but it makes everything I do sound crystal clear. I'll try to post a picture of it below. We had a visit last weekend from two friends who are both fabulous guitarists. There was enough guitaring to make even me happy.
Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a nice holiday season and managed to have at least a little fun. Jerry and I did not travel for Christmas this year, but we did take a short little trip to Las Vegas after New Years Day, and we stopped at the Luxor for a few nights. There is an interesting thing about staying at the Luxor. Cell phone service is erratic when you are inside the hotel. Jerry has joked that it's because the hotel is inside a pyramid. I'm willing the entertain the idea that there may be something to pyramid energy and that it affects cell phones or at least affected ours. It was the only thing annoying about our visit -- since we last were there, both of us have gotten iPhones and now iPads as well. We enjoy our electronic toys maybe not wisely but too well since we deeply felt the lack of internet connectivity. Otherwise, we had a really good time mostly by doing as little as we could decently get away with.
I've plugged in Jerry's and my holiday video in the video section. It's our holiday greeting to the world. We hope everyone has a beautiful, peaceful, happy holiday season
Jerry and I both are agreed that our new favorite movie of 2010 is a tossup between "The King's Speech" and "Get Low."
My life has interposed itself between me and this site and blog, so I am only now posting about the Rally To Restore Sanity in DC, which I attended and enjoyed many parts of very much.
The downer for me of course was the huge crowd, but I knew pretty well it would be large and only was hoping that I’d be up to standing for several hours (I was although my feet used language I’ve not heard from them ever before) and craning my neck to see anything at all. They had a large number of giant screen TVs positioned so everyone could see at least part of something, so I had partial views of most of the program.
I enjoyed most of the musical acts (I really enjoyed Mavis Staples at the end, there) and I thought Jon and Steve did a very good job with skits and jokes geared toward their fictitious conflict between political insanity and the other side of sane and civilized discourse. Personally, I thought sanity won out, but I must say there were many people, at least in my immediate vicinity, who were dressed and carrying signs to support fear. My favorite was a trio in bug suits dressed as “Bedbugs for Fear.” I also enjoyed a sign that read: “Modrats Mispel To.”
I was stunned at the turnout. I think the weather was a big contributor -- it was a brilliant sunny day, so sunny that my face got burnt. I’d expect this in California but not DC in late October. It made the day cheerful and helped to make the crowd buoyantly cheerful. There was an uncommon amount of courtesy extended by strangers to each other, and I found this truly refreshing. I probably only muttered “asshole” two or three times the whole day, and a young man behind me did steal my sanity button and pin it on his own chest. My companion was horrified, but in the spirit of the day, we didn’t challenge this kid. I didn’t think it was worth the conflict, besides which, I already had a handout towel souvenir, which I brought home and has now dried numerous dishes and already been laundered.
Kathy and I stowed PBJ sandwiches in our pockets to have for lunch and avoid the food vendors with their lines and greasy offerings. Another great thing -- there actually were enough Porto-sans so you didn’t have to wait an hour to take a whiz. God bless Jon Stewart and his people! They understood what a crowd really needs more than anything else -- a reasonably clean spot to squat.
I would probably only do something like this once. I felt I had to do it -- the message seemed tailored to my needs and intentions -- and I’m happy to have done it. It will take something really major to get me out into a crowd that size again. I don’t imagine a political rally will do it for me. The call would have to extend once again from within a philosophical construct that reaches for the better part of our human natures rather than mere titillation of rage, bigotry, hatred and all that other bad stuff.
The worst part of attending the rally was getting back to the car. We had parked at an outer rim metro station around 9 a.m. and taken the train in to DC itself. There had been a crowd, but it was orderly and everyone got on the train. It was much different coming back. Walking in a multitude is very slow -- I remember a couple next to us pushing a baby in a wheeled carrier. They had a cover over the carriage to protect the baby and in hopes of keeping it calm, but the baby was having none of that and shrieked in frustration and rage all the way up the street. Since everyone was inching forward, that poor baby had about a half hour in which to express his displeasure. We were all so thickly packed, that the mother couldn’t really take the baby out and comfort it. We all just kept plodding along. Our actual travel time in from Baltimore to DC was maybe an hour and 15 minutes. Our trip out took more than 3 hours because of waiting for trains. That night, I slept 10 solid hours and dealt with some muscle aches for the next couple of days.
I think Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert made a solid point about public attitude and behavior that of course pundits and media refuse to acknowledge because such people are paid to whip up discord and keep drama in the public dialogue. The major reason I went to the rally is because I agree with a thoughtful approach to all of this. The rally and the crowd proved you could assemble, take a stance and make a statement without packing iron or yelling at or insulting people who at least deserve respectful attention.
Here's hoping that everyone who wishes to has a great Halloween and All Souls Day.