Release the Music in You

Short version: Weak pitch for you to take up playing an instrument to add more fun to your life.

When I was young, I sang in the school choir. When my voice started to change, it was hard to keep an interest in choir when you sound like a frog. I wanted to do keep something musical as I love music.

I decided I would join the school band. I went to the band room, and the teacher was busy in his office with another student. I thought playing with the drums would be a fun way to kill a few minutes. Wrong! Playing with the school drum set was the end of any chance of my playing in the band for the rest of the school year.

Over the summer I bought a Harmonica. I did not know anything about Harmonicas, never heard one played, or what you would play on it. It came with a few pages of information and a few simple songs. I almost mastered Mary Had a Little Lamb, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and maybe one or two other songs before I set it down. That was the end of the Harmonica for the summer as school started.

I was admitted into the school band around October of that year. I wanted to play the Saxophone. The only seat open was Clarinet. I swallowed my pride and tried my best. The next fall I was still struggling. Playing the clarinet was not coming easily. We had a new band teacher, and when I started to play in my first lesson, he broke out laughing.

I had been playing with my hands backwards for over a year. That explained why I was finding clarinet so difficult. It was a struggle to press the right buttons to create the correct sound. It may have been the old band teachers idea punishment for touching his drum set and he never stopped his joke on me. At any rate, I never caught on to correct play, and I left the school band.

Over the years the music bug would bite me, and I would head off to wherever they sold musical instruments. All I could afford would be a Harmonica. The new Harmonica came with the same four little pages of instruction, same lack of knowing what a Harmonica could really do.

Recently the music bug bit me again. I talked with a friend of mine who is the best guitar player I know about buying and learning guitar. You know sitting around the campfire strumming and singing Kumbaya. In five minutes and five simple questions he convinced me Guitar was not for me. Not enough time to learn it, and lack of any real passion to play it.

Get a Harmonica

Harmonica’s are cheap to buy, fun to play, and put a smile on your face!

I was ready to head off to the music store for yet another Harmonica, when I thought I should check my drawers to see if I had any Harmonicas tucked away. I found one, two…a total of five harmonicas forgotten in as many different places. Finding so many Harmonicas, I decided maybe Harmonica is the instrument I should be playing.

Getting on the net, a whole world of Harmonica opened up for me. Web pages galore, videos, and so much more. So much information. I discovered that over half of my Harmonicas were little more than kids toys due to poor quality construction lending to awful tones and difficulty playing.

Once again I found myself driving to the closest music store, this time armed with a list of good harmonicas, and about forty dollars. Ten minutes and forty-two something dollars later, I was walking out of the store with a Harmonica almost any pro would play on stage if he plays that brand of harmonica.

It is worth mentioning that with Harmonicas there is no need to throw a lot of money at them. Less than sixty dollars is all you need to spend for a quality Harmonica.

A whole new world has opened up for me! A whole new way of expression, a hobby I really enjoy and laugh over. I never realized there was so much music in me waiting to get out! My music is mostly off key noise right now, but it is so much fun!

“Mary Had a Little Lamb”, and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, are pretty sorry to hear, and that is okay. This time I am approaching the Harmonica like a child does. Playing with the Harmonica. Not trying to force the Harmonica to do what I think it should do and getting frustrated in the process. What a difference in both what I am learning and how much I am enjoying the Harmonica!

Everything will come together at some point in the future, and I will be okay with someone hearing me play a blues riff, Amazing Grace, or a popular song. Right now however, I am enjoying playing around and learning proper basic technique. Playing a song and having it sound as it should is a low priority. This will happen when I am comfortable with the basics.

I am putting this out here to interest you in taking up some simple musical instrument for your own pleasure. Your voice and whistling are free. A good quality harmonica can be had for less than sixty dollars.

I put up a separate page with a few harmonica links I have found helpful. My harmonica experience is less than 21 days, so take my list for what it is, links to a few web pages and youtube videos I enjoy. I am overwhelmed by how many world class harmonica players are out there with youtube videos and web sites offering instruction for very reasonable fees.

So if you are like me, and find yourself with time to fill and a music void, I recommend you do a little reading, and decide what fits your needs for a beginning Harmonica. Your Harmonica will pay for itself in no time, rewarding you with more fun than you thought possible from something you can drop in a pocket.

You too can master, “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, in almost no time.

What New Years Resolutions

New Years resolutions we have made. So what do we go now as they are starting to slip away? Has anyone resolved there resolutions in a manner that accomplishes long term change? Somewhat typical resolutions may be:

1. Eat less sweets

2. Be more polite

3. Exercise more

We mean well when we make our resolutions. We intend to follow each and every resolution. Weeks one, two, and three go by and we are holding our own. We are keeping up with our resolutions. We are making positive difference in our life.

Then life starts to get in the way. Change happens. Change happens whether we want to change or not. Our New Year resolutions are starting to slip. Little by little different areas of focus are entering our life. Our family, friends, and work are starting to demand we pay attention to them too.

Door Number?

New Years Resolution Blues

We are entering the danger zone of New Years Resolutions. All our good intentions and hopes for the coming year are starting to fade. Are we destined to fail once again as our resolutions slowly move to the back burner of our life.

Lucky for you, it does not have to be that way. You can reactivate your fading resolutions by becoming proactive with them. The problem with resolutions is they are often made with no support net in place. Instead of holding to our resolutions, they start falling into the abyss of things ignored.

Which means it is decision time. Do you want to salvage and hold yourself to your resolutions, or do you want to let them fade away? If you want to revive and keep your resolutions alive, help is at hand.

When we resolve to do something, we are serious in the moment. Moments are pieces of time, and new moments arrive faster than we would like sometime. What is missing from our resolutions is structure. We need structure in our resolutions to be successful.

Think of your number one resolution. This resolution certainly sounded good when we made it. Now it feels a little distant, and we feel a little lost. We need a plan. A resolution without a plan is a hard thing to keep alive. Finding alternative structure and removing temptation are keys to success.

Go through your New Years Resolutions and come up with a real plan for each one. How are you going to let them succeed? How will you keep them active and alive? Make it easy to follow your resolution by not having to remember after the fact. Get proactive. Once you get proactive, you will find it easy to make more changes in your life.

American Beefcake

I watched a Lion pride documentary that was quite interesting. A small group of three Lions infringed on the hunting grounds of the Kushna(?) Pride Lions. After the second infringement, two of the local prides male lions decided the offenders needed to be taught a lesson. They chased down the invading lions, one young male and a two female lions.

One of the local male Lions raped one of the female lions. The second male lion’s action towards the offending young male lion was much more severe and disturbing. The second local male lion ran down the young male infringing lion. They started to fight, but the younger lion realized it was over powered by the much larger and experienced male lion.

If the young male lion tried to fight he would be killed by the much larger and stronger male lion. He had no choice or relinquish his bid at equality and submit to the male lion which he did. He laid down and offered no resistance to the attacking male lion.

It wasn’t obvious to me at least, but the larger male Lion did much more than show off his dominance over the younger male lion by prancing around and biting the younger lion. The older male while showing off his dominance, performed a lion version of castration on the young lion.

These two possibly disparate actions were both taken by two male lions at separate times. One male lion a rapist, the second lion performing a cruel castration. There can be no doubt these acts were not random for this pride of lions at least.

I mention these acts by the two male lions to make the point that animals, like humans think and make choices. This brings me to the meat, no pun intended of this post about Beef, Pork and Poultry. Along with the fact there are too many people who are homophobic.

Sexual preference is not contagious

Sexual preference is not contagious

People who think that gay related conversation, close proximity to a gay person(s), or social interaction with a gay person, will infect them with the much feared Gay Virus, which unlike the flu, is not recoverable from. Homophobe’s fear they will themselves become Gay. There over reaction in the presence of gay men and women is similar that of the two male lions.

Many dog owners know, some dogs are not fussy about their sexual preferences. Owners legs, anyone’s leg, inanimate objects, and of course other male dogs are fair game for sex with some dogs.

The same is true of horses, cattle, and other domesticated animals. Which brings me back to people who are Homophobic. If being in the vicinity of gay people makes a grown man quiver with fear of contamination, how much worse is it to be eating meat of an animal that may have been same sex oriented while it was alive?

Eating meat like beef and pork is our way of replenishing and rebuilding our body. The muscle of animals is converted into muscle and tissue in our body. Science supports this conversion. The technology exists to take a sample of muscle tissue from our body and identify its source, beef chicken or pork.

If you are homophobic, this should make you quite nervous. Do you really want to have gay animal muscle tissue part of your body? I mean think about it. Gay animal tissue replacing your old worn out, homophobic muscle tissue. Kind of scary isn’t it? If you are concerned about being exposed to the “Gay Virus”.

For anyone so homophobic that being in the vicinity of a LBGT could contaminate you to the point where you lose your Macho Male Self and start taking on LBGT traits, how much worse is it having your body use building blocks from a LBGT animal to replace and restore muscle and other tissue in your own body?

You may already be unknowingly contaminated. Food choices has made you fearful you may be hiding in the closet. Perhaps the years of meat consumption are overwhelming you with LBGT feelings that are not your own?  How about a nice big Steak or Pork Chop to calm down? How about a nice piece of fried Chicken?

To be more serious, Homophobia is rampant. It is also as false as the idea of eating gay meat will make you gay. If you are one of the Homophobes scarred for your sexual identity, it is time to either grow up or get help. Becoming a vegetarian couldn’t hurt either.

Faster and Simpler Sink Cleaning

Just a quick note about how to clean and rinse your kitchen and bathroom sinks easier and faster. If you are like many people and do not have a sprayer on your sink, you probably get the sides of your sink wet the standard way, pouring water from a cup or pan.

This needs to be done at the beginning such as the sink in the example, and again when done cleaning. Water needs to be used as a rinse, carrying dirt and gunk down the drain.

If you look closely at the picture you will see a method of risning totally different which you may want to try. I am holding a spoon and using the spoon to direct the water where I want it to go.

Simple Sink Rinsing

Simple way to rinse your sink

Change the spoons direction, and change where the water flow. Lift the spoon higher, and wet or rinse the highest areas of your sink. While using a spoon won’t save on elbow grease, using a spoon speeds up the clean and rinse process.

Melancholy Reminders of Family Past

A phone call from the past last evening made me realize how much I really miss my sister Lana. She was nuts, but she was always there for me. She would go off on these tangents of thought. Wasps for example. I never really thought about Wasps, but Lana was consumed by them for months on end.

She asked me during one phone call if I ever noticed how high tech Wasps were? I had to admit, I really had not given wasps a lot of thought. Lana pointed out to me how their insect body shape was different than other insects. They looked as if they wore helmets. They were streamlined, made for flying fast. Lana thought they came from a different place than most insects. Some high tech aliens introduced them to the earth was a possibility.

I listened to Lana talk for hours on end over the course of a summer about how cool and unique Wasps are. She was feeding a Wasp colony, and wrote the editor of the local paper about it. The paper published almost of her letters over the years. Humor maybe? It did not matter to Lana. Something as uniquely odd as feeding Wasps sugar water was perfectly normal in Lana’s thinking.

When Lana wore herself out about Wasps, she would get around to me. It was an expectation that I had come across or was thinking about something oddly unique. I do not remember much about my end of the conversations, it has been a while. For some conversations I would struggle to come up with a topic, thinking what I would say why she prattled away. Generally I would choose a topic Lana would relate too.

Sometimes Lana amazed me with her insights. Other times, she would go through three or four phone calls hashing over something that was important only to her. Lana made a connection between whales, dolphins, and birds one year during one of the single topic multi conversations we shared.

Lana told me that God created certain animals that performed specific duties for the earth. Sea mammals, some fish, and birds all had a specific role. Through their calls and chatter, they introduced and maintained a calmness over the earth, in the air and the sea. Without these animals, Lana told me, all animals would live in excessive fear because there would be no calming voices in the background of our hearing.

I shared her thoughts with friends at times. Frozen looks, and no response were the norm. I did not mind, her fixation was never ordinary. Often it took a leap in thinking to get to her level. I was okay with it.

Melancholy MemoriesLove and relationships were out of the question. Taboo to put it mildly. She had lost any normal feelings of love and family, thirty years ago. We traded letters and talked in person when I was in town, and over the phone for almost thirty-five years. “I love you”, was never once uttered.

Anything tribal, Native American, or low IQ people were off limits. This was the domain of the ‘nuts’ part of Lana. I would listen to her berate, lament, and attack these groups of people for what would seem hours. Then she would get it out of her system, and she would return to almost normal.

I was able to share many parts of my private life, and my private thoughts with Lana when she was connected with the idea that her brother was on the other end of the phone. I think that was the greatest thing about having a Sister whose connection with reality was fragile.

Lana was a steel trap about my innermost thoughts. Nothing I told Lana in three decades ever went from Lana to another person. All my secrets were safe with Lana. I could express my fear, frustrations, and occasionally my warped thinking with her. Lana would take each utterance of mine, dissect it, rehash it, and find some value in it for me, unless it infringed on one of her taboo topics. When I infringed on a taboo area, the phone would end shortly.

I would wonder what I was giving Lana, that she needed in return for her listening to me. After some years, it became obvious we were different sides of the same coin. I listened to Lana and she listened to me. For Lana it was enough of a connection, probably the only one she could make. For me, Lana was my repository of thoughts that would never really see the light of day.

Lana spent most of her adult life seeing counselors in one form or another. Maybe she took on that role when it was my turn to create conversation. Maybe she was really interested in what I had to say.

There are parts of all of us that should never see the light of day for various reasons. They need to remain in the cracks and crevices of our mind. I know now, how fortunate I was to have a sister like Lana. She did not mind that I too had a side of me that was not public I could share with her. Maybe we kept each balanced.