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April 27, 2011

Enough Excitement

Wednesday. To bed last night at nine, to sleep not long after, up this morning at six with the alarm, back now from breakfast at eight after filling the tank with gas. Fifty bucks, a record of a sort, but nothing like what others with larger tanks are paying, so no complaints. I'm still filling it no more often than once a month, usually longer, since I don't drive all that much.

The head is clear, the attitude up, maybe we'll not take a nap today and see if I can keep it to this better schedule: to bed just after nine, up at six. A real night's sleep. Totally unrealistic, of course, we're going wherever this particular roller coaster takes us, but we should at least encourage better behavior. How did I get to sleep just after nine last night? The rest of that bottle of sake probably helped. That and there was nothing on TV and I was played out on the guitar.

My lesson is coming at ten. Be curious (as I'm always curious and a little nervous) how it will go.

Silly to be apprehensive, don't you think?

A leftover from lessons taken days long ago as a kid, my mother encouraging me to play first the piano and then the (my choice) clarinet. I was unenthusiastic then, for the piano and for the clarinet at the end, and did in fact embarrass myself for not practicing nearly enough between lessons. Guilt. For someone who doesn't think in terms of guilt I still seem to remember what otherwise seems and probably was trivial and unimportant. So there's still a little tickle of days long ago in these current lessons. Baggage.

Later. I got stuck on moving from the D chord to the B7, but that's to be expected, you need a lot more practice to get that particular one down. The sequence (from Link Wray's Rumble) requires starting to play the chord a note at a time even before all the fingers are in place and that's got me stumped at the moment, but no more so than some others I've eventually tamed with practice. So it goes.

Still feel clearer headed after the longer night's sleep. No interest in taking a nap, although I could still lie down for a while. Wouldn't hurt, never does. The sky is clear, the sun is shining as it was shining yesterday, we'll get in our walk, see if we can't find a route a little different from the ones I've been taking. Doesn't really matter I guess, on a nice day like this.

Later still. Still no urge for a nap but I had episodes of the usual double vision and a disconcerting but familiar tossed salad reality playing inside my head as I was walking. But I was out there walking, as much in total as I did yesterday, enough for a day's exercise. I can measure it in terms of exercise, but that's not why I get out and do it. I get out and walk because that's what I do and I'd have to nail myself down to the apartment if I didn't get out every day and do it. If that makes sense. Fidgety otherwise? I guess that's so.

A picture or two along the way, a group of what I'm assuming are bird watchers down below as I walked by Lake Merritt. I wonder if they were a bird watching club? They must have them here and perhaps that was one. I followed a slight detour while walking in the Grand Lake theater area, I said I wanted to do something a little different in the way of a route and this was as “little” as you can get, but still, a picture or two I wouldn't have otherwise found.

I'm going to restring the guitar later. Even I can hear how “tinny” it's sounding. I've put that off long enough. They say every month if you're practicing daily, more often if you're performing. After each gig if you're performing. How long has it been since I changed the strings? As long as I've had the guitar. I'd say how embarrassing if I felt embarrassed, but I'm obviously not. All this preaching about practice yet I've been playing the same strings now since last summer. I'd say bummer but I'd be lying. Just lazy.

Are you going to read the instructions?

I'm not sure. I have them, I have a book on maintaining a Strat, but that I suspect is most of the problem. Not wanting to open the manual, the book, making it (in my head) more complicated than it is. Not unlike cleaning the sensor in a digital camera. Takes courage, it does. At least for me.

Later, alligator. It took about an hour, but I did restring the guitar and it does sound quite a bit better. My instructor said some people will change their strings and, since over time they've gotten used to the crappy sound, they think the new and correct sound is off. The strings evidently rapidly deteriorate over time and with playing (moisture from the fingers), so I'm going to change the strings at the end of each month from now on as recommended. And maybe wipe them down after playing as suggested. (hup! hup!)

It seems to have gone well, retuning it proved interesting as it was so out of tune after I'd finished I finally just went through one of my scales to hear where the string was playing high or low and then using the electronic tuner to bring it on target. Now to practice those chords. Later, I think, for now I've had more than enough excitement.

The photograph was taken at the San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival Parade with a Nikon D3s mounted with a 70-200mm f 2.8 Nikkor VR II lens.