Tuesday, January 17, 2017

This Time It's About The Music

When I first started this blog I titled it "Starting Life Over with Love, Music and Words". Well, to date you've heard about the love part pretty regularly as I emote about Sheila, this beautiful, soulful lady who has somehow decided to let me be a part of her life and is the primary reason for my relocation to Georgia (no, she hasn't taken a blow to the head) (no, I'm not blackmailing her). And Lord knows you've been inundated with words as I blather on & on in this blog which is read by a surprisingly large number of people, especially considering I do virtually nothing to promote it other than stick it on FB. I think I'm supposed to be more pro-active about publishing it elsewhere but to date I've been kinda lazy about that.

But what you haven't seen much of here is the "Music" part of the title, and there are some reasons for that. First, I needed to get settled in here (which was an adjustment all by itself) without letting Sheila find out that I didn't have too much to offer other than being tall ... that's not to be taken lightly by 6' tall women, BTW, who frequently get stuck with "little-'uns" ... and having a dog that is very cute but pretty stupid. For the record, it's my opinion that pretty women love stupid dogs, or at the very least that's been my experience based on the pretty women in my life (really, don't get impressed, that # is shockingly teeny-tiny) and the level of stupidity of my dogs (as I assume you can guess, the # of dumb dogs I've had is, not shockingly, large).

I also have a tendency to get side-tracked when writing, as evidenced in the paragraph above. I mean, does anyone REALLY care about how stupid my dogs are? If you know me at all, that cannot be surprising. Or does anyone REALLY care that I'm not anything at all like a "ladies man"? Again, not surprising. So when I wander off while writing I guess it would make sense to hit the "back" button periodically to eliminate some of the chatter, but then my blogs would be maybe 17 words long and even less entertaining than they are right now. And Sheila does almost all of my editing and "political correctness" checking, which means she is generally erasing about 50% of it before I ever publish, which would knock my 17 word output to almost nothing.

Okay, back to the topic at hand ... "Music".

At first I located a couple of people who seemed to be interesting, one keyboard guy and another guitar player. Now, I pretty much let everyone know that I'm a jazz player right off the bat, so there can be no confusion and the odds of me having to play "Proud Mary" or "Play That Funky Music White Boy" can be whittled down to, hopefully, ZERO. That was successful with the keyboard guy, who is a good musician AND a jazz guy - BUT - lived in the northern section of Georgia where, apparently, even cell phones refuse to go. Not convenient for rehearsals or gigs, to say the least, but still some possibilities down the road since we hit it off very well, musically.

The guitar player, also a good musician, originally lined up me and a good drummer. Turns out neither the guitar player or the drummer were "true" jazz guys but they are good players. While the first get together was promising, the 2nd time started to veer off track a little and by the time we got to the third rehearsal it had somehow become a funk band and "Cisco Kid" and "I Shot The Sheriff" were in the song rotation. And, now we were talking about playing in night clubs ...

Full disclosure, I am a musician and therefore, by very definition, not wrapped all that tight. But how "I play jazz" morphed into Cisco Kid potentially being played at 1:00 am in some night club for probably $20 happened, I have no idea. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a song snob. I don't think I'm better than Cisco Kid, I really don't. Heck, Cisco Kid could be the greatest song ever written. Cisco Kid made somebody (War performed it, but I'm not sure exactly who wrote it) good money for writing this:

The Cisco Kid was a friend of mine
The Cisco Kid was a friend of mine
He drink whiskey, Poncho drink the wine
He drink whiskey, Poncho drink the wine

We met down on the fort of Rio Grande
We met down on the fort of Rio Grande
Eat the salted peanuts out of can
Eat the salted peanuts out the can

Salted peanuts? Really?

No man, I just can't do it. I can't play Cisco Kid in a bar at 1:00 am for maybe $20 for the night. I know that many people like that song, but I just can't do it. Really, if that happens, can "Play That Funky Music White Boy" be very far behind? I don't usually play this card, but I went to Juilliard, for Heaven's sakes ... lookey here ...

I should reconsider posting this pic because when Sheila sees this she'll know, for an absolute 100% fact, that I was a dweeb even when I was a kid ... let's face it, she already knows that because she is awfully darned smart and she knows that my level of nerdy doesn't just happen overnight, it's cultivated from when you are very young. And, how is a dweeb nerd bass player supposed to convincingly pull off "Play That Funky Music White Boy"???

See, this is why y'all (did you catch that Georgia slang?  yeah, baby, I'm blending in) never get any music news, because I'm rambling on with other nonsense. So, I'm tightening down right now, here comes some music stuff ...

Sheila is a bad, bad influence ... did I ever tell you she LOVES woodworking and especially hardwoods and is pretty comfortable working with power tools (no, I have no idea why she stays with me, either) ... and openly encourages me to buy new basses. (See, you probably thought I had veered away from the music topic-at-hand again, didn't you?) (Admit it, you did, right?)  Since I moved to Georgia these basses have arrived:

No, it's not Sheila's fault, I'm the one who buys these things. And they're all 5 strings! I don't really play 5 string basses that often, as a matter of fact up until I bought these babies I didn't own a 5 string. I played 6 and 7 string basses, like these:

 And, I also have some 4 string basses:

Of course, you saw the double basses at the top of this blog post, which brings my bass collection up to ten basses. Sheila not only encourages me to buy these things, she makes room for them in her (and by some crazy miracle, now MY) house. So, can you just imagine what a therapist would do if they got hold of her? Attracted to a dweeby nerdy bassist with a dumb dog who is loaded with Jersey attitude and refuses to play Cisco Kid with waaayy too many basses and she is actively promoting more of this aberrant behavior?

I haven't told you about the auction ... Sheila took me to the auction over the weekend and we bought cool stuff including this little item right here:

What you can't see right here, because I cropped it out, is that Sheila is next to me questioning her judgement, looking at that snail vase and wondering "What in the world is wrong with this guy?"  Well, that little sweetie is worth some good coin, but we're not selling it. Both Sheila and I love it and we're keeping it! And, you might be interested to know, that snail vase was the real reason we went to the auction in the first place, so Sheila was already eyeballing that bad boy before we bought it, so maybe she's not as tightly wrapped as you all think! Oops, got a little off track there again, didn't I?

Okay, I guess my good intentions for a music post went into the crapper, so I'll try again next time. Here is a better pic of the suffering Sheila and me, so you can also wonder "What the heck does she see in that guy, anyhow?"

Monday, January 9, 2017

New Year, New Car, New Me??

Just like this odd little flower picture (taken at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens in late December) where you look at it and say to yourself "That's really beautiful but how the heck did that ever happen", so went the past year. Goodbye 2016, glad to see you go away. Don't get me wrong, there were a TON of super good things that happened in 2016, things that have forever changed my life for the better. But there were some really crummy things, too, that have also forever changed my life ....

Since it's the start of a new year I'm going to try to maintain a positive outlook as I move forward, 'ya know, be a little less "Jersey". In that light, anyone who has been following my blather here knows that 2016 started really, really crappy and hit bottom when Bunny passed away in the spring. But then, by miracles and blessings and luck that I can't explain, several months later Sheila came into my life after having her own really, really crappy start to 2016 (just substitute "Sheila" for "Ed" in my stories and you'll know the full story). And now we are in a new year ...

Just bought a new Lexus RX350, really a beautiful car (and I'm not a car guy at all) from THE Lexus dealer here in Atlanta. Fancy place with all of trappings of pampering and high end service ... except not. Same lousy 6+ hours (3 hrs Wed and 3+ hours Thursday) with the same lousy excuses you would get from the scummiest of car dealers. Just goes to show 'ya, car dealers are basically universally lousy ... but I REALLY like the car!

Plenty of room for basses, and dogs when necessary on those groomer and pet sitting trips, and it has heated seats (a big deal for Sheila who is perpetually cold in the winter months) (apparently sometimes in the summer, too, if the A/C is too high) (okay, maybe even the spring or fall at times) and a heated steering wheel as long as you have your hands in the 10-2 position. Most importantly, it's pretty darn comfortable for somewhat longer trips ... Sheila does a fair amount of 1&2 day traveling for her job and it'll be good for her to use when driving as well as nice when I can join her ... so we're looking forward to a lot of good times with this car.

The music has stumbled a bit over the past month. There were a couple of good (on the surface, that is) opportunities that didn't pan out ... one started out as a jazz trio gig and ended up playing Cisco Kid in night clubs ... but it's far from a losing venture. I need to get myself entrenched with the right people, then things will fall into place. In the meantime I have been getting my chops back into shape, and Lord knows my upright playing needs to get into some serious shape, so I'll be set when that right opportunity comes along.

Things between Sheila and me have been very, very good right from the beginning and continue to be wonderful. We had the family over for Christmas Eve dinner and spent Christmas morning with the grandkids ... great stuff and a really nice Christmas season for me, the first one in quite some time. Here's a family pic at the table with very little of me showing ....
And ... SNOW!!! What are we doing with snow in Georgia? Granted, it's not too much, maybe only an inch or 2 at the most, but Georgians have no idea what to do about snow. They had a State of Emergency called for all traffic to be off the roadway at 4:00 pm and it didn't start snowing until nearly 10:00 pm. I guess better safe than sorry?

To be fair, they really aren't prepared for winter weather here; no snow plows, no salt trucks, no sanding, so everything instantly turns to ice. And because there are ...oh, I don't know ... maybe a billion tall pine trees here the sun can never get to the roadways to melt down the 1"-2" of slushy goop that accumulates and re-freezes every night. And there are hills here, lots of hills and gradual slopes, unlike the generally flat terrain in NJ. As a result, that inch or so completely shuts down all travel ... I know, it sounds dumb to anyone from the North but it's a fact of life here ... 

But the kids did get a good chance to go sledding on the icy snow slush-goop ... a few pics from our backyard and a look at how little snow actually fell with a wide shot of the house ...

Yes, oh Northerly people, THAT snowfall shut down the area for at least three full days ... chortle if you will but all I can say is I'm thankful for semi-retirement and working from home with no commute. People in Georgia are not prepared to handle snow ...

So, Happy 2017 to all of you and don't worry, I'll be back to my usual snarky self for the next blog post. I mean, hey, I can say it's a new year and I'm starting with a new attitude but let's face it ... I'm a Jersey guy ...