Archive for the ‘Ukulele’ Category

Two news stories you may have missed …

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

I know I did.

First, the more recent story: there is a restaurant that has a policy I can appreciate. Indeed, a policy I have fantasized about more than once.

Second, we have a record attempt that fell just a little bit short. Better luck next time.

That which is not …

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

wed … can eternal lie?

Maybe they could have had a famous author play at the wedding.

Miscellany 9

Monday, July 12th, 2010

It’s been a few weeks since my last update. I’ve been busy, but not really that busy. I went to a wedding in Missoula with my daughter, celebrated the birthdays of a couple friends, got some stuff done at work, gave my daughter one of my ukuleles which she got autographed at the Jake Shimabukuro concert, and so on. The concert was very good (which I’d expected), and Jake finished with a performance of Bohemian Rhapsody (which I hadn’t). It’s going to be on his next CD. I picked up his DVD, Play Loud Ukulele, while I was in Hawaii … I’m enjoying that, too.

In any case, I’ve been saving this link. It’s to part one of a three-part article on trying to locate the diner portrayed in an iconic painting. The painting always reminds me of the Tom Waits song (and album), Nighthawks at the Diner, although the lyrics seem to refer to a diner in San Francisco, rather than Greenwich Village. It’s a good article, and the website as a whole is worth a look. I’ve long been interested in “hidden history” and the like.

Burt Prelutsky’s essay here resonates powerfully with me.

I have an Android phone and love it, so this looks pretty interesting to me. Via Make.

It’s the Tom Swift Centennial. I started reading Tom Swift books one Christmas when my brother and I each received a Tom Swift book and a Hardy Boys book. Now it’s my other brother who collects them. In honor of the centennial, I think that some Tom Swifties are in order. If you don’t like those, you can look here for others.

And, speaking of bad writing, the results of the annual Bulwer-Lytton competition were released during my hiatus. Personally, I’m rather taken with the runner-up in the Detective Fiction category.

I’m back

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

I made no announcement when I left, but I left on vacation on the 28th, and returned home last Sunday. Unfortunately, I fell sick two days before we left Maui. I’m just now getting over it. I also sunburned the top of my head the first time we went snorkeling, which is now peeling and looks like THE WORST DANDRUFF IN THE WORLD!

In any case, we had a fine time – two nights and a day on Oahu, staying in Waikiki, followed by the rest of the week on Maui at a resort a little north of Lahaina. Major activities were snorkeling, walking around, and taking driving tours to the summit of Haleakala and along the Road to Hana.

I acquired a new (to me) ukulele on Oahu – I had wanted to visit a ukulele factory while we were there, because I figured that more of them were likely to be on Oahu than Maui (most of Hawaii has a small town/rural feel – Honolulu is the largest city in the state). I knew that several of them gave tours, but we only had Saturday on Oahu, so I figured I’d be lucky to find any factory open on the weekend. The only two factory tours I found listed in the guide books were for the Kamaka and Koaloha factories. Kamaka only provided tours during the week, which was a pity, because I own more than one Kamaka ukulele, but Koaloha was listed as having tours at 10am and 1pm on Saturday. Since it was between our hotel and Pearl Harbor, we decided to stop on our way to see the Arizona Memorial.

It took us a little while to find; some of the street signs for the side streets weren’t too noticeable. When we got there, the large sign was out by the street, but it wasn’t obvious that you had to make your way to the back of a deep parking lot between other buildings to get to the Koaloha facility. We made it, though, and we could see two men working on ukes through the screens. The guide book was wrong, though – there were no Saturday tours, and these guys were just trying to catch up a bit on the weekend. Ah, well.

So, we went on to Pearl Harbor and spent a few hours at the Memorial. The main museum there was closed for renovations, but the movie and the static displays around the area were well worth seeing. When we left, we decided (spur of the moment) to take the Likelike Highway over to Kaneohe Bay and travel back along the coast. While there, we came across this driveway display, which I couldn’t ignore:

Fresh Ukulele

That’s Kimo Tulley. His older brother, Tangi (pronounced “Tung-ee”) made the ukuleles – Tangi Ukuleles was started by him and their father, Jim. I actually wasn’t planning on buying a uke; I’m working again, but I’m not earning what I was before I was laid off. I couldn’t pass up the chance to try playing a few of them, though. I wasn’t interested in a six- or eight-string uke – I’ve got a six-string Kamaka tenor uke already. I narrowed down to the two I thought sounded best, which were on the back table … the mango concert uke on the left, and the koa tenor in the middle.

Fresh Ukulele - back table

The concert had loud and clear sound, but I decided that I liked the sound of the tenor better; it was sweeter. Marion thought that the tenor sounded best, also. I still wasn’t going to buy, but at the prices he was asking ($160 for the concert, and $280 for the tenor – I was expecting at least two or three times that), Marion told me I’d regret it if I didn’t buy it.

So I did, although we had to go to an ATM first, because we didn’t have that much cash between us. I had brought my $20 pawn shop “beater” uke on the trip, but I hardly touched it after that – the Tangi tenor sounds so much better. It’s got some wear and dings, but nothing significant. I think it was built in 2005 … there’s a date branded in the wood inside, but the last digit is a little blurred.

I like having striker plates both above and below the strings; sometimes I strum pretty hard, and that has an effect on the instrument. Actually, if you look at Willie Nelson’s guitar, you can see that he’s worn through part of it after so many years.


I think this is going to become my go-to ukulele. It looks and sounds beautiful, and it’s nice to have a good ukulele that has a good story associated with it.

New Tangi

Miscellany 7

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

I’m currently clean-shaven, but, when I have a beard, it’s normally the third from the left on this diagram. I would have thought it would be considered more evil than trustworthy.

I’d seen stories about how bad Detroit is (and heard the jokes, such as the one from Kentucky Fried Movie), but I hadn’t realized that it was this bad.

I don’t care much for cilantro. Although I recognize that it’s a vital component in certain salsa recipes, too much of it makes things acquire a lemony soap flavor to me. I remember at an office Christmas dinner many years ago being offered a spoonful of (read: forced to try) a cilantro soup. Yuck! Well, it seems that there is a genetic component to whether you like the flavor of cilantro. I find that easy to believe; I’ve long thought it myself. Personally, I suspect that it’s sex-linked, because most of the people I know who like cilantro are women, and most of the people I know who dislike it are men.

The iPad is a neat toy. I don’t really want one, but I could certainly have fun with one. One of the major complaints is that you can’t print from it. Well, the user community has taken care of that limitation.

Speaking of Apple products, in this case, the iPhone, this third-party app looks interesting.

This also looks like a fun toy.

Yet another reason not to get personalized license plates.

Chords and words for songs by Tom Waits.

How safe are your passwords?

I think I’ve got some ideas for unproductively sucking up more of my free time.

I’ll finish with a few videos. First, a nice version of Moondance on uke:

Next, a trailer for a movie of obvious class and tone:

Finally, a link to the Nova presentation on fractals.


Thursday, March 11th, 2010

I’ve mentioned The Goon Show before. Here, we have a MeFi post that provides links to many videos of them, mostly episodes of The Telegoons, which I remember watching when I was a young nipper in England.

There are loads of links in the comments, too. One of them is to the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain performing the Ying-Tong Song. Wonderful, but then, they usually are.

I can see how I’ll be spending some of my time in the future.

Time for some music

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Ravel’s Bolero performed by a one-man group. Isn’t it wonderful what can be done with video overlays and compositing these days?

Miscellany 5

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Respect and courtesy can only be allowed to go in one direction.

Respect and courtesy don’t require knowledge or effort.

Hiding a relationship? Haven’t we heard that before?

Software for which to be thankful. I’ve used about a third of these applications. I use several of them daily.

I’ll have to try this when I get a little time … among other things, I’ve started my Christmas baking. I don’t do it every year, but I sometimes get a little out of hand: cookies, shortbread, rum balls, mincemeat tarts, and so on. I made mincemeat tarts and shortbread on Sunday … I’ll have to post a photo, because the cat walked on the shortbread while it was cooling. It’s a good thing I had plastic wrap covering it at the time.

Hello, I’m Capitalism …

Ummm … you know, this is not what I’d expect to see if someone meditated on me.

Pigeon: Impossible.

Some impressive card manipulations.

The first time I tried homebrewing beer, I used a recipe a friend had given me. It was a simple recipe that made about a gallon – gallon jugs from cider and such were simple to acquire and clean, and I didn’t have to worry about dealing with the quantities and equipment involved in making a “standard” five-gallon batch. It came out pretty potent, though … one bottle was sufficient to get me staggering a bit. I wonder how it would compare with this stuff.

I can remember, years ago, seeing a cat circus in a sad little building on West Colfax. Never saw a performance, just the building.

Ukulele videos (good pun in the name) and a songbook site.

This is a fun advertisement (found here):

I’ve never had a book do this for me while I was reading it:

Another hobby to occupy me

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

I’ve wanted to do luthiery for a few years. I’ve built one kit ukulele, which was fun, but didn’t come out as nicely as I’d like. I’m not doing anything currently, but I’d like to get more involved in building instruments. Among other things, I have a broken Kamaka soprano ukulele I was given by a friend that I’d like to repair.

I ran across Kathy Matsushita’s amateur luthiery page some years ago, then lost the link. I found it again recently, and there are some new things on it.

Another option is classes; at least one of the local luthiers has run classes in which you build a guitar from scratch over the course of a few months. Too bad I can’t afford to do that.

A few music links for Thursday morning

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

Learn to play an instrument online.

Folk and Celtic punk tabs.

Practice drills for music theory.

An impressive version of One Note Samba on ukulele by James Hill:

Finally, just because there are occasions when one is needed … an instant rimshot.