Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Busy Days Begin==not so many posts--Yay for you!

Got lots of work ahead so I won't be writing 25417 posts per day after this.

Perhaps I am becoming more serious about improving my playing and versatility. Periodically, I tend to listen to great players, mostly diatonic harmonica players. For the most part I prefer the sound of the diatonic over the chromatic, especially when playing chords. And with the recent breakthroughs in technique and harp customizing, and even many out of box, you can play it close to chromatically. Maybe not you, but it can be done, and I have figured out I am capable of most of the bends it takes.

Not sure how it happened but I found myself on a page with lots of info on John Popper of the band Blues Traveller--which is no longer. Guitar player died and a new band formed and who knows.

It was a shock to me to discover that not everyone likes Popper or Blues T. But then, some people don't like me, so what can you do? Harp nerds (henceforth harp will mean harmonica) tend to rarely mention John Popper, although they do often idolize Jason Ricci. They typically talk about Little Walter and such, and some of the great players who are regulars at harp festivals and teaching workshops. Some players make their living off of harp nerds.

Harp nerds are the people who buy all the right gear, ask for tabs on things real players play, and travel from festival to festival collecting T shirts and attempting to play exactly what their idols play. Most are not that good but they have fun and manage to complicate, dissect, and analyze the simplest technique and riff.

Harp tabs are a form of written music which tells you what hole in the harp is being played and whether you blow or draw--or suck, if you prefer. Like a guitar player recently said of me, in my presence--sometimes he sucks and sometimes he blows. All in good fun.

I like Popper because he is very good, very original, not a copy, and he manages to play such upbeat flurries. He doesn't see limits. He uses effects to their max and experiments. He even makes a song, which I never liked, The Devil Went Down To Georgia, rock. His version is so much better that Charlie Daniels'. I like John Popper's cover of it. I don't care for Charlie's.

Anyway, JP is definitely one of the best and I watched a series of very short videos in which he gives a few basic tips. I did pick up something about the technique called overblows in his fifteen second discussion of them. Just the way he referred to it opened up a path to simplicity. He never actually said how to do it. Yet in a way he did.

I guess the current players I find the most inspiring and worth my serious attention are Lee Oskar, John Popper, Jason Ricci, Tim Gonzales, Mickey Raphael--Willie Nelson Band, and maybe Sugar Blue and Rod Piazza. Not necessarily in that order. There are many other super good players, but I can only pay attention to so many without getting bored. I go for unique and accomplished. Tons of bluesharp players are very good, but not as much in a style of their own. I like the ones who tend to break ground and whose style I can generally pick out of the crowd.

So, Popper deserves more notoriety among the harp nerds than they have wisdom to give. Ricci does give him mention, though, in some of his workshops.

update; just watched a video with Dan Akroyd and John Popper from the nineties. Maybe Dan got better. Judging from the comments, Akroyd is highly overrated as a harp player. So, it was the most overrated harp player sharing a stage with a guy who seems to be underrated, yet he's among the greatest.

What's Done Is Done

***Short story: I ordered the Kelty tent online

Because I have to wait to make another online deposit, because I can only deposit so much through the post at one time and one has to clear before mailing more, I spent the time on this tent obsession.
It is often easier to do deposits that way rather than drive to a full service credit union and do it. I heart my C/U, and have banked many places in many states, so don't think I'm a poor soul who is terribly inconvenienced because my financial institution of choice is in Georgia. But my great experience with them, especially as contrasted with banks, is another story and doesn't relate to sleeping in a small dome made of high tech textiles of unknown composition.

That's why I can post this rather than be doing what I was going to do.

Finally, I just bit the bullet and ordered the Kelty tent. I called it Kelly in the last post. But now I'm an expert. Filtering the reviews, anyone who was using it as I would gave it 5 stars. Those who might be going beyond often gave it 4, and for varying reasons. I tossed a couple of the naysayer reviews because they sounded as if they weren't very knowledgeable.

The big deal is that I found a place which cut REI's sale price by about 70 dollars(US)! And cut recommended retail almost in half. It was about the price of a decent Coleman.

So, later, I'll see if I find the Coleman I like at Walmart or Target. You may think those places are not good for camping stuff, but you may not be correct.

Pictured is the house without the rainfly. That rainfly gives a large vestibule deal which means you can put your baby outside the tent and it will remain relatively free from being deluged with rain or other precipitation. Just a heads up for campy parents.

On Second Thought, or fourth, fifth, etc.

I'm not sure that tent I was considering is not lacking too much in ceiling height. I may need something more commodious like this.

In reviewing and reviewing, I think I'll come out ahead by ordering one Kelly tent that is on sale which has good reviews and usually is among the expensive stuff, and one Coleman which also has good reviews and is plenty big with great headroom. Max Headroom if you get the reference.

Anyway, for the price of one minimum headroom job, I can get two tents which will serve different purposes. I found in my excursions that I was happy to have a small tent and a larger one. It just depended upon what was what which one I would use. And I expect more excursions.

The kayak is on hold. I'd love to have it, but haven't yet achieved that point in fooling myself into thinking I can wisely swing it.

That Kelly tent is wearing the rainfly all zipped. It is actually a very airy unit when not battened down this way

I think a lot of stuff is priced high because it is lighter, and because hipster camp people and hikers will pay it.

Question or 2, irrelevant to my life, but give me a chuckle

All you can do is laugh and shake your head at some of the odd things that go on in the world of humanity. Be careful, though, you can throw your neck out and have one of those kinks if you shake too hard.

What caught my attention was a blurb about how Roger Clemens was found not guilty. The crime of which he was accused was that of LYING TO CONGRESS, from what I understand. WTF? Can an individual put them on trial for lying? No. And if you polled the citizens of this country, I am sure the vast majority would say they believe that lying is standard fare for the members of that body. For the most part I had not kept apprised of this demagogic political adventure.

In keeping with irrelevance, this is the tent I'm considering--sans rainfly

The other WTF moment was when I considered that this revolved around a congressional foray into steroid use among professional athletes. Really, if you were to pass the hat, how many people would kick in money for the purpose of having those clowns stick their noses into how pro sports people conduct their private affairs?

I do not care what athletes take, smoke, snort, inject, or eat. Even if I did, how would I justify using government and tax dollars to conduct inquiries? If you are of the Bloomberg school and believe this is a proper function of government because you are looking out for the long term health of strangers who requested no such help, then I guess we part ways here.

I've never understood the rationale for congress being able to meddle in things like baseball strikes, let alone athletic conduct. I'm relieved that Roger got a pass, and I have no opinion on his culpability regarding the charge. Under such circumstances I almost feel better if he did lie. Those people had no business asking in the first place, and the majority of them do not deserve the respect of satisfying their grandstanding efforts.

I don't get it. Why is it a huge crime not to incriminate yourself when being bullied by officialdom, and why do they pry into matters such as baseball players' steroid use? If it is a bad practice, the punishment is in the act. They are not bothering others---unless, of course, it helps them hit a baseball so far that it endangers the surrounding community.

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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