Category Archives: Vera

Hello Vera, how about an update?


“Vera” of course being my trusty beginners guitar.

I was still  trying to practice my fingering and chord transitions at least an hour everyday before I met up with Girl B. But I will confess Vera got ignored pretty much that entire week, cause you know, there was something else I was finge… errr never mind 😛 (TMI? *grin*)

But learning guitar on your own is a tricky business there are a million stupid questions that you need answers to, that having someone tell you over the phone what to do or watching videos on YouTube, just really can’t answer.

This is a piano… wait wait… guitar… damn it! Fail already… 😛

For example, there are a few videos that suggest a more technical approach. You get each chord right first. Play each string to ensure that your fingers are only touching the strings they’re supposed to and that you’re applying enough force. Once you get that chord right, you move on to the next. And so on.

Another video suggested a more relaxed approach, where you don’t actually strum the guitar, but merely practice the changeover from one chord to another. This means that muscle memory will take over and you will be able to transition from one chord to another more smoothly and therefore be able to mangle  play songs faster.

What no one seemed to tell me, is that it boils down to how YOU the individual learns. It took me a couple of weeks to realise that I do a helluva lot better when I mix these two styles of learning together. I play a chord, make sure I got my fingers where they’re supposed to be, then change to another and play that (which by the way usually sounds like “do re me thunk thunk  do”) Then I try to get that right then transition back. Back and forth, back and forth. It works for me.

Another issue slash stupid question. There are some transitions that I just can’t do smoothly. E minor to F major to be exact.

This is E-minor

This is F-major

Now, separately I can play them. But every time I go from E minor to F, there’s an awkward space of seconds while I put my fingers down. No matter how much I practised, I just couldn’t get it down smoothly.

Then the music gods last night took pity on the blood offerings my fingers were making to honour them, and provided me with a revelation.

The problem was I was concentrating on getting each finger down on each string one at a time when playing F major. What I have to do is practice getting ALL fingers down at the same time! Simple right? Anyone who plays guitar would’ve been able to spot that mistake like 2 months ago, but of course my teacher is a little stupid (and here’s where I have to remind you I’m teaching my self so you get that joke…) but I am excited about working that out, even though it seems inanely obvious. I’ve been practising for a couple of hours and I can definitely hear less awkward pauses.

Hurrah for Vera!

Next step… actually learning a song…

Hello day 5 days post-break up, this is how it stands.


I’m okay.

Yes, yes I spent Thursday night and Friday night and all of Saturday in a haze of alcoholic stupor, wallowing in my own self pity and the fetidness of my own filth.

It was pretty awful.

I rolled out of bed on Friday morning still hungover, I didn’t even shower or change my shirt for that matter to get to work. I only managed to get away with it because it was casual Friday. And while my ultra casualness did raise a few eyebrows, I managed to deflect questions regarding my state of mind. On my way back home on Friday I picked up 2 bottles of port, one of which I finished that night.

On Saturday I went to a mates house, where I proceeded to whine and moan continuously for the entire day and night (I really do have awesome friends) and proceeded to pass out after consuming another 3/4 of a bottle of port and a few (okay a lot) glasses of bourbon. I finally got home around 11pm and passed out once again.

But today, Sunday, I turned a corner. Although I’m probably going to have to turn a few corners before I’m completely over this chick, since I thought I turned a corner  on Thursday, but apparently had to reverse when the big truck called “self doubt and loathing” came roaring down that particular street.

But today I got up out of bed, cleaned the apartment a little, went to the gym and ran for about 2 hours (which was probably the best thing I could’ve done considering the amount of alcohol I consumed over the weekend) sweated like a mofo, then did an hour of weights training.  Came home, ate food that wasn’t made by a potato chip company and/or salsa company (it was roast chicken). Bought a book to read, now I’m typing this entry. Later on I’ll fondle Vera for a little bit seeing that she got neglected the entire week the girl was down, and I really need to practice going from G major to E minor.

And while yes I still really want to call her. It’s like smoking, I know that I can hold out, I just need will power.

I’m actually surprised. Usually by this time I’ve done something crazy and insane to try and get the girl back. But I’m respecting her decision, while I spent 3 days drunk, that’s normal right? Getting over someone isn’t all that easy. But I have not written a long convoluted letter asking her to take me back. I am not considering moving all the way to the other side of the country just for her. And I am not obsessing about ways I could’ve fixed the relationship.

So either I really didn’t like her that much (doubtful); I have grown into a cold hearted bastard (possible); I’m actually acting like a grown up during this break-up rather than a little whiny bitch (we have a winner!). Although cold-hearted bastard would be a nice change 😛

On a side note, the big ex (you know the one, got into debt because I  followed her across Europe? I went all crazy-depressive for a few years after that relationship? Yeah her.) she called me out of the blue. She’s back for a month in Australia from Canada (where’ she’s migrated or migrating or something) and wanted to check up on me. She’s really keen to meet up, but that would mean having to drive 3 hours down to Sydney.

Weird huh?

A girl that I thought could be “the one” dumps me, and the girl I thought was “the one” a decade ago comes back into my life, and then she’ll be leaving too…

..

.

The universe really has an odd sense of humour when it comes to my love life.

Hello. Round-up, round-up, gather around for a round-up!


Righto, yes I know I have been completely slack with posting lately, and while things in my life have all kinda sped up recently, I shouldn’t ignore this blog since its this blog that let me get to this point of awesomeness (yes, believe it or not kids, your ol’ Uncle Sweatpants was at one time not the effervescent font of amazingness that he is now :P).

So if any of you are really truly miffed, please take up a paddle while I assume the position

If you don't know what that's for... internet more, you'll find a video clip that will feature it eventually 😛

*grin*

Okay now that I’ve covered my quota of slightly smutty commentaries on this blog, time for the roundup. Sorry it HAS to be in summary and point form cause well, this post will just get ridiculously long if I covered everything in normal detail.

– Girl B (I really should make up a new nickname for her… “Girl B” sounds like she’s some sort of  back up female, let me think on that) and I are now official, she’s changed her status on Facebook (cause you know nothing’s real unless it’s on Facebook… goddamn Gen Y’ers). Freaked me out a little, but after a little bit of thinking, it was kinda nice. We’re trying to work out a way to see each other again before the July Date. Stay tuned.

– I found out the ex was cheating on me while we were together. Not mad about it, but God I hope she used protection.

– I can now play about 30 seconds worth of Use Somebody, beyond that my fingers get all tangled up with each other. Yes I’m still much enamoured with Vera (for anyone new, Vera is the name of my guitar). But I’m not really sure where to go from here, if any musicians have any advice on what songs to learn or fingering exercises (*snicker* “fingering” *more snickering*) that would be a real help.

– I have quit smoking. And yes I know I’ve attempted this before (and failed miserably) but this time I’ve decided to do everything in my power to quit. I bought me a pack of nicotine patches and lozenges.  As I type this I have gone 47 hours without a cigarette. WOO!

– I have decided to apply for the position I posted about earlier. Actually I should be working on that instead of this entry, soooooo… Laters!

Hello, I’m wearing nothing but boxers as I write this, and a couple of other things I’m sure you’d rather not know. P.S. if you are easily insulted stop reading … now. I said stop.


Yup.

There’s nothing between you and me, but a thin slice of cotton-ish material, my monitor, the cable that connects that monitor to the desktop, the couple of metres between the desktop and the wireless router, the thousands of miles of data cabling and computers that make up the internet, the firewalls of your internet service provider, the cables that connect your internet service providers system to the wireless connection nodes, the variable distance between that connection node and your own wireless router, the virus protection program you use, and the hard plastic covering of your laptop.

Yeah, baby!

Do I? Do I Rhaaaeeeaaalllayy?

Kinky I know, but that’s what you get for subscribing 😛

Crap, I forgot about the keyboard.

Oh well.

Today is first day of the Easter long weekend down here in Australia. Which means of course it’s a public holiday (which is the reason I’ve only been wearing boxers the whole day). Monday is also a public holiday so that means it’s a 4 day weekend! WOO!

Now for a historical lesson. The reason we have Easter Eggs is because traditionally in Roman times, they were thrown into the octagonal cage to the fighting gladiators, for the fans to show their support, and also to give them something to nibble on between rounds. Why chocolate eggs and not normal eggs? Well that’s because the Roman’s thought that “egg” came before the “chicken” and was therefore not to be eaten, since if you eat all the eggs, where would chickens come from? So Caesar Colonel Sanders (the guy on the bucket), forbade the eating of real eggs and then found the semi-religious order of the Kentucky Fried Chickeners, which was charged with the cooking of chickens with 11 different types of herbs and spices, and eating them. Which resulted in the chicken becoming extinct in most of mainland Europe, which is why the French eat frogs and snails instead. But why an Easter “Bunny”? Well that’s because when all the chickens died out in Europe, the Romans (being the clever people that they were) used rabbits to incubate the eggs. But where did the eggs come from if all the chickens had died out?? Well, duh, time travel of course, which was perfected by eminent Roman natural philosopher Martynius McFlyus. Seriously what do they teach you kids in school these days??

The reasons chickens hatched, and maybe also why they crossed the road.

True story.

😛

Now due to the long weekend (because it’s Easter – see above), I’ve had the apartment all to myself because the flatmate is interstate, whilst I’m only going back to Sydney to visit the parentals tomorrow morning.

So this morning, me and Vera had our very first turn-the-amp-all-the-way-to-11 session! If my neighbours are reading this, I am so very, very sorry.

I think I wrote somewhere in one of the comments (apologies, I forget which one) that I was learning Use Somebody – Kings of Leon.

Not the whole song of course, but just the melody bit.

I finally got the strumming pattern down, and while what’s coming out of Vera is not yet what you would call a “rendition” or an “interpretation” hell I wouldn’t even call it “something-my-3-year-old-niece-did-and-its-cute-in-that-kid-has-no-idea-what-she’s-doing” kind-of-way, but I can actually hear the song there, struggling to escape from my sausage fingered fretting. So perseverance! After a couple more hours, I’m finally getting my fingers in the right positions when playing C chord that the top E and G strings aren’t muffled by the pads of my fingers, at least 50% of the time. I’m still struggling with F, but I’ll get there.

Eventually 🙂

Now…. for the fallout…

So…. with this post I’ve either insulted or alienated the following:

– people who don’t like quasi-naked guys talking to them over the internet

– people who dislike it when other people ignore keyboards

– anyone who likes chocolate

– the Romans

– Colonel Sanders and his descendants

– people who work/used to work/contemplating working for KFC

– all of mainland Europe

– But mostly the French

– the producers and directors of the Back 2 the Future Trilogy

– Alex P. Keaton (a.k.a. Michael J. Fox)

– Michael J. Fox (again) for referring to him as a TV character that is 20 years old rather than to any of a number of great characters he’s played since then.

– My next door neighbours

– Fans of Kings of Leon

– Kings of Leon themselves

– and my 3-year old niece

If you don’t fall under any of those categories please leave a comment below, as to exactly what you would like me to say to alienate you, and I shall endeavour to include it into a following post. 🙂

So, see you all in a couple of days and have a Happy Easter everyo-

Oh wait, if you don’t celebrate Easter, happy long weeke-

Oh wait, if you’re not having a long weekend, happy Frid-

Oh wait, it’s not Friday yet for some of you… GAH!

Screw it.

Happy May-you-have-great-sex-at some-point-in-the-near-future-if-you-wish-to-have-it-and-if you-do-not-wish-to-have-it-may-you-participate-in-some-other-activity-that-brings-you-joy-also-within-the-near-future Day!

Hello music, where have you been all my life?


Note to all musicians out there:

I am not, after three days of playing, trying to play, learning, mangling chords on Vera (yes, I have already named her, and yes I realise how sad that makes me) identifying myself as one of you. Just read on for an explanation…

Now, back to the story.

So okay, yes I’ve named my guitar “Vera” and yes there is a back-story to that but it’s pretty boring so no you’ll never get to hear it.

And yes I’ve been playing, practicing, making the neighborhood dogs howl in pain, destroying my flatmates will to live, with the guitar non-stop for the past 3 days.

And yes, this is all early days and the muso’s (that’s Aussie for “musicians”) out there will be smiling condescendingly at my puppy-esque like enthusiasm.

But you know what.

I don’t care.

I’ve always had a bit of a creative side. In my teens and my lost-early-twenties, I loved to draw and paint, then in my lost-mid-twenties I turned to dance. And all through that, I’ve always been a writer. I’ve always kept up some sort of journal. And now through blogging, writing is my main outlet for my creative side.

The one creative area that I never considered was music.

I never really had the opportunity to look into music growing up, cause well;

1) it was a bit too expensive (as a kid, while my family wasn’t what you called poor, buying a musical instrument would definitely been a luxury we could not afford. Writing involved a notebook and pen, drawing a sketchbook and some pencils, dancing only required a healthy body and a sense of rhythm. Even painting became a worrying expense to my parents after a while, as canvasses and oil paints aren’t cheap) … and;

2) it looked liked it would require far more discipline than my attention-span-of-a-goldfish-youth would have liked.

And a part of me was always a little regretful that I never gave it a go.

Now with drawing, painting and writing, for me anyway, it’s a more objective approach. You’re always an outsider looking in. Which suits the majority of my personality just fine. I’m an observer mainly. I like to see how people interact with the world. I like seeing the chaotic ballet of the falling leaves in autumn, twirling and leaping with the wind, struggling against the inevitable force of gravity. I like being able to take my impressions of the world, and put it on paper. While yes, you can get lost in the creation of something with words or paint or the pointy end of a pencil, there is always a part of you that has to be kept separate.

But sometimes you just wanna get lost.

Now dance, was something you could get lost in. I was doing street dancing. I learned first by just going out every night to clubs, and then later on started learning formally, and there were even a couple of times where I was teaching classes, when my instructor asked me to teach the younger class (when it wasn’t so blindingly obvious I was spaced-out on whatever drug I was currently on). But this was in my bad-boy early 20’s, and I was using every type of illicit substance under the sun, so that feeling of utter joy in abandoning everyone and everything, is mixed with the shame and regret of being as high as a fucking kite while doing it.

And so now, after 33 years of dodging the musical bullet. I’ve finally entered into the world of music.

And I love it.

I love the feeling of just getting lost in an instrument, in music and in trying learn and to master something totally alien from my normal everyday humdrum life.

I love the feel of the guitar nestled on my lap.

I love the pain in my fingers, after practicing chords for 2 hours straight.

I love that practicing boring chords for two hours straight feels like 5 minutes.

I love that I have something to do, when I’m feeling too energetic to sit down in front of a computer screen or the TV, but not energetic enough to actually go out and do something.

I love how I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, and I still love doing it.

I love that even with my attention span of a hamster on meth (yes, I’ve upgraded from a goldfish) that even after 3 days of struggle, frustration and knowing that I’ll never be as good as I really want to be, I still want to keep playing. This is from a guy who previously, could easily walk away from any activity that he couldn’t master in the space of 2 hours (coding in C++, I’m looking at you).

And sure this could just be the musings of puppy love, but somehow I don’t think so.

And I know I’m so far away from being “a musician” that if we take geography as a metaphor, with the space in between the respective cities representing the difference of skill level between myself and a competent musician, I would be living in Sydney, Australia and competent musicians would be living in the wonderful city of Grblxt on the planet Melmac located in the Aldente Nebula in the Andromeda Galaxy.

😉

But I’ve got a spanner, a couple of bottle rockets, a big cardboard box, some duct tape, and a hankering for the stars.

To infinity! And beyond!

I’ll never get there, and I’m going to look like an idiot for even thinking about attempting it, but damn if I’m not going to have fun trying.