Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bring your guitar to work

Usually I go for a walk on my lunch break. But it's summer, so I sometimes get sweaty during my walk. And then I have to work the rest of the day all sticky; ugh.

And, we have two conference rooms at our disposal, which are only occasionally used. And I have a lockable drawer in my desk.

And at home I've been busy in the evenings of late, such that I go weeks without playing the guitar.

(Can you see where this is going...?) :)

In a lot of ways I think like an engineer: I lay out the goals of the project; the resources, limitations, constrains, and constraints; and then try to optimize the results within that framework.

In this instance, I needed to be able to play the guitar without bothering other folks; hear myself play; minimize the additional cost outlay; minimize the storage space required; and minimize the number of parts that I'd need to store or carry. I also wanted pieces that I was not particularly sentimental about, in case of theft. And I wanted to minimize the use of 9V batteries -- so, I'd like to run off A/C if possible.

-An acoustic guitar has minimal pieces to connect (just pick it up and play!). But the sound would be distracting to people (the conference rooms are not particularly soundproofed); and the guitar body would be thicker than an electric guitar, and thus harder to store.

-Thus, an electric guitar. I chose my Hannah Montana guitar because it's easily replaced, if stolen. (BTW: it's inexpensive, reasonably well-built (it's by Washburn), and has a shorter scale (if you have small hands). However, the output is lower than most electric guitars.)

-I needed a way of getting sound out of the electric guitar. You can't just plug headphones directly into the electric guitar, because the signal is too weak: you need some sort of amplifier.

-Although I have a small-ish practice amp at home, it would be too big for my drawer at work. So, that's no good.

-Then I thought about buying a super-small amplifier, about the size of a desk calendar. But I shopped around, and I could only find something for AU$40 -- and that didn't include the A/C adaptor, which would be another AU$15 or so. And I'm trying to minimize costs.

-Then I remembered a 1990s-ish multi-effects unit that I'd bought a few years ago, but never used. Perfect! It runs off A/C, and it has a headphone jack. And because I haven't really used it, I wouldn't miss it at home.

-I have an extra, 1970s-ish pair of headphones that I never use. Perfect!

-And, I needed a guitar tuner. My tuner at home only has a microphone, not a (working) input jack. At home I just put it in front of my guitar amp. I tried putting that tuner next to the headphones -- and it **kind of** works. But not well.

-But, I found an inexpensive, clip-on tuner -- the Snark SN-1. Works well! And only AU$15 or so, including shipping -- **much** cheaper than anything I could find locally.

Tried out the set-up at home. Worked well!

Brought it in to work -- to the amusement of my co-workers. Had the set-up at work for about two weeks. Due to having to run errands during my lunch break, I've only been able to use it three or four times. But, yeah -- it works!

**Really** nice to be able to play the guitar it work. It's a great change of pace -- more than reading.


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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Food dream grandma dream

Dreamed that I was squeezing out little dollops of garlic paste from the tube o' garlic paste, onto buttered toast, spreading it around, then eating it.

That's not a terribly exciting dream -- but it was specific. And tasty.

I also dreamed that I was hanging out at my paternal grandmother's house. In my dream she had out-lived my grandfather (rather than in real life, which was the reverse). She wasn't eating properly: for example, she had slices of the rye bread that she makes, in a plastic bag on the counter that had gone stale.


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Monday, February 27, 2012

Away from keyboard

Somehow I've managed to go two weeks without posting an entry.

I do have a few blog-worthy things to post; just been busy during the evenings.

I guess I'll just post them under the current date, but refer back to the day they occurred. :)



Sunday, February 12, 2012

Two great catches

Found these by accident when YouTubing for something else.

First one:

Second one:


All the better because both were so nonchalant about it.


Addendum: Turns out the ''ballgirl catch'' is a hoax (thx to Gameboy for the info).

Still a good video clip, though! :)

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Kind of a word

There's apparently a special-occasion rugby match that's Indigenous versus non-Indigenous players. Or, if you prefer, Aboriginal versus non-Aboriginal.

The Lady was explaining this to The Girl. The Girl, in her follow-up query, called the Indigenous team ''Aboriginous''.

Yeah, that works.


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Friday, February 10, 2012

Soccer son

Last weekend, Blondie Boy (i.e. B1) and I kicked the soccer ball around on the front lawn. Blondie Boy is the one who asks to ''play soccer ball'' (he's only four, so it's not **really** playing soccer -- just kicking it back and forth).

And I realized that his kicks are reasonably strong, and reasonably straight. And that when we ''play soccer ball'', it maintains his interest for a **long** time: he seems to inherently enjoy the process. Whereas his brother (same age) gets bored after a few minutes.

A future soccer player, mayhaps? We shall see.


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Thursday, February 09, 2012

The Cars cover in Cars 2

My kids have the DVD of the movie Cars 2. As I walked past the t.v. as they were watching it, I noticed that it included a cover of the song ''You Might Think'', by the '80s new wave band The Cars. Clever! I wonder how many people picked up on that.

I presume they used a cover version rather than the original because it costs less: when you use the original recording, you have to pay songwriting **and** performance royalties; if you re-make the song, you just pay for the songwriting.

For you youngsters that aren't ''up'' on The Cars, here's some examples. Note that my choices from YouTube tended towards their live performances. Sorry -- some volume differences between the clips.

"You Might Think"

"Just What I Needed"

"Tonight She Comes"

"My Best Friend's Girl"

From a musician's point of view, what I find interesting is that even though Ric Ocasek (probably misspelled) -- the tall skinny dark-haired guy -- was the main songwriter, that for some of the songs Benjamin Orr (the blond bassist) did lead vocals. Given their similar vocal timbre, I wonder why they did that.


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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

World Music has closed

Last week, for the first time in three of four months, I went for a lunchtime wander in the direction of "World Music", a small shop that sells various ''international'' musical instruments: stringed, percussion, wind. It's only two blocks away from work; I just never go in that direction.

And -- it was closed! Out of business.

They still have an online presence, the sign on the door said. And presumably they still have their branch down at Surfer's Paradise.

The sign on the door said that it was usually next-day delivery for online orders in Brisbane. But presumably they charge shipping and handling on top of the basic purchase price: no thanks.



Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Dreamed about a play

Dreamed that Old Roommate was directing a short play, and I was assistant director, as well as acting in a medium-sized part.

It was the day before the dress rehearsal -- and for some reason I had failed to arrange an understudy for the main role in the scene that I was in charge of. Old Roommate chastised me for that.

AND, even though it was the day before the dress rehearsal, I hadn't even **looked** at any of my lines. In fact, I didn't even remember what role I was!

This is probably a variation on the traditional ''I'm at school and there's a test I forgot to study for'' dreams.


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Monday, February 06, 2012

Additional fun with AutoTune

More fun with AutoTune!

1) Another infomercial, set to music:

2) Auto-Tune the News (one out of the series):


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Sunday, February 05, 2012

Informercial into a catchy song

Creative use of AutoTune: turning an infomercial into a catchy song.

Good video editing skills, as well.


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Friday, February 03, 2012

The Blue Hearts

A good punk band from Japan: The Blue Hearts.

The song "Linda Linda." Starts off slow, but it gets faster. Good melody.

And apparently good lyrics, too -- although I only know this from the CD liner notes. Something like "Nicer than a water rat // Nicer than anyone..."


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Thursday, February 02, 2012

Acappella fun

Petra Haden was in the band The Rentals, and then she released a few albums of acappella work.

This is one of hers: a cover of Journey's ''Don't Stop Believin' ".

Great song; great arrangement; great rendition.

And the video is cute, as well.

The ''embedding'' option appears to be disabled. So, here's the link to YouTube.


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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Soothing work

I accidentally knocked over my lava lamp that's on the kitchen counter -- and realized that there's not much point in having my lava lamp on the kitchen counter. I don't spend much time in the kitchen. And when I **am** there it's for short stints of time -- not long enough for the lava lamp to warm up.

Where do I spend a lot of time, fairly stationary? At my desk, at work.

So, I brought it in to work. My co-workers are amused by me, and I'm amused by it. Win-win. :)

(Tip: Click the lower-right icon in the video window for ''full-screen'' mode.)


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