Friday, March 25, 2011

Jamaica 2011 - Final Days

The family and I were getting to be experts at the buffet now and I was able to cobble together something approximating your typical breakfast meal in my work's cafeteria. The kids loved this whole "go get whatever you want whenever you want for free" concept of food procurement (it was quite the shock to the system when they came back to Canada and didn't have the Omelette guy serving them up whatever they wanted). The food at this place was awesome. A good tip the next time you;re at one of these resorts is to go to Canadian Tire and grab one of those Big Bubba Keg mugs so you can get them to fill it with whatever you want and save yourself a few trips to the bar. The drink glasses on the resort are pretty small and a large drink container comes in handy!

They had these neat birds at the resort who really liked scrambled eggs so they would clear out the last remnants and feed them all in the back so they wouldn't bother the patrons in the dining area. My wife managed to get a shot of a Heron-like bird in the bay as well. There were quite a few cats running around. These were wild cats, strays, who managed to survivine on whatevber the vacationers at the hotel fed them and my kids were all over that (they are cat crazy). I'm surprised we didn't have one living in our room. Something struck me as strange with some of the cats before I realized that I'm not used to seeing them with their junk intact.

Every day there would be different vendors in the Hotel set up so you could buy stuff. They were pretty nice and no one hounded you at all. At another hotel there was a guy who sold stuff offshore. He was not allowed to come on the beach so he had a kayak full of stuff and he would paddle in about 20 feet from shore (outside hotel property) and get to to come over and see what he had. An interesting way to circumvent the system! Apparently whatever they offer you you're supposed to go down 50% but we didn't haggle too hard. We figured they needed the money more than we needed to save any.
The gift shop on the resort was full of great stuff! You could get various Jamaican phallic symbols as well as a Beatles Yellow Submarine Jesus! I really wish I would have picked up one of those Jamaican hats with the Dreads on them. very cool. In the end I settled for a couple of t-shirts. Remember the Jamaican bobsled team? They had posters of those guys as well!

That afternoon I went out into the water again snorkling with Dan's camera this time set to widescreen 30 frames a second video. I headed over to the drop off and tried to measure how deep it was. I hung there in the water and figured that about 5 of me would fit one on top of the other so about 30 feet. That's my limit as far as going down deep, actually probably about 25 feet but that took me to the mouth of these Coral caves and wouldn't you know it, there was ZIP in there, nada. I was expecting some huge sea beast to be hunkered down in there just waiting to be videoed. That's when I noticed something was wrong with the underwater camera. I've used cameras underwater before and Ive experienced the situation with throwaway underwater cheapie cams where the pressure is wacked and you can't even press the button because the air is so compressed. I headed back up to breathe and see what was up and the camera was not doing so good. Hmm, it should be good to a certain number of meters. Oops. later i found out it was only good to 15 feet. It sprung a seal and salt water killed it good. I did the bag of rice trick but to no avail. I just killed my friend's camera. Oh well. (I bought him a better one, a Hi Def model three up from his and newer the next day I got back. OUCH!). This sucked because i was on the fence thinking about buying a Go Pro HD underwater Cam and now here I was replacing a cam I broke. I should have just bit the bullet and bought the Go PRO before my trip. Let this be a lesson to you gadget freaks. If you are thinking you should but something, GO WITH YOUR GUT AND BUY THAT THING! (hehehehehehe).

When I got back to the pool Dan informed me that he entered me and this guy Luigi from our group in a talent show at the resort that night. That's nice of you Dan! What am I supposed to do? "Do some of that guitar stuff!" I asked if they had an acoustic, because I do a version of "No Woman No cry"  slap funk fingerstyle that might go over well, but no.. They just had the house band and he had a Fender copy electric guitar. I met with him an hour before I was supposed to go on and I tried to get a high gain sound with a touch of delay like I like it but no deal man. That guitar was a reggae guitar, clean as a whistle and it did not dirty up very well through his setup. I fitzed around and went with the dirtiest sound I could get but it had absolutely NO sustain. ACK! And launched into RUSH's Limelight for the Canadian Contingent. After a few bars the drummer and bass player kicked in and I thought great! Rush, everyone knows Rush, Awesome! Until it hit that time signature switch from 4/4 to 4/ 3/4 and then it was like that scene in "Back to the Future" where they got lost, looked at each other and stopped playing... hehehehehehehe.

Still it was fun. If that ever happens again I'm bringing some Amp Models on my Iphone and plugging into that. Playing any guitar pyrotechnics when you don't have your sound (the brown sound or something like it) is like trying to make out with your head wrapped in cellophane. You can go through the motions but it's not gonna work and it gets you down just trying.

Luigi, the guy that sang the national anthem at our Jamaican hockey game turned out to be a wedding singer and he closed the show with a great rendition of "It's a wonderful world". It was definitely Canadian Entertainment night in Jamaica.

That night the "Girls Gone Wild" as we were calling the Spring Break students from Ithaca, spend part of the evening throwing up in back of our hotel room. By this point, it didn't phase us. That was one of the few weird things about the resort, the fact that they had mixed families with kids with "Girls Gone Wild" in the same area of the hotel. For the most part though, the hotel managed to keep them all on one side where the hot tub and swim up bar was.

Our kids liked to go to the hot tub, but the first few times I accompanied them there, it was to watch them sitting amongst a sea of 19 to 22 somethings. In a couple of instances, I moved the kids along because of what was going on. Now I'm not a prude, and I can take a 3 woman(girl) "Love train" chugging along poolside with the middle one grabbing the first one's boobs and the last one slapping the middle one's butt cheeks, I just don't want to explain it to my kids.When I arrived back at the waterslides some other ladies were getting ready to take their kids to the hot tub and I kind of said "Uhh, maybe not..". One of the Dad's asked "What's going on at the hot tub?" and I said: "uhh, maybe you shuld go check it out first" (grin). ZOOM! Now my kids know that it is possible for multiple people to drink booze underwater using a funnel and bong device (thank you Georgia University!).

Actually my kids enjoyed watching their antics. I myself was reminded of competing tribes of monkeys in documentaries on the Discovery channel I've seen  where male monkeys in the "Georgia" tribe would attempt to entice female monkeys from the "Ithaca" tribe over to their side. This action greatly upset the male monkeys in the "Ithaca" tribe who attempted to retaliate by trying to do the same with tribe "Georgia"'s females. This in turn had the effect of angering the females of tribe "Ithaca" who went out of their way to be receptive to the advances made by male "Georgians", and so on. Or sometimes the female "Ithaca" and female "Geogians" would turn to each other for comfort in this tense tribal situation causing all of tribe Ithaca and Tribe Georgia males to stop what they were doing and take photographs instead.

Only In Jamaica Mon!

All in  all it was a wonderful vacation and we would go back to the same resort given an opportunity. We actually had 8 days there due to our early flight and late departure. It's a great setup for kids and they had a great time. I think next time we go though we'll try and avoid the three overlapping weeks of US spring Break! Maybe the Pirate ship will be open!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Jamaica 2011 - Day 2-3

On Sunday we played ball hockey with the Jamaican kids of the staff that worked at the resort. None of these kids had ever held a hockey stick before so it was kinda fun teaching them how shoot and not high stick each other and all of that. There were other Canadian families at the resort and we let some of the other kids play. We had one of our guys sing the Canadian anthem and someone in the Jamaican group sang theirs. We provided a goalie and one Canadian kid playing forward that was put on the Jamaican team was a real ringer. He scored all of their goals and it was great to see his team congratulate him! The kids from Jamaica learned quick by watching him where you go and what you do. Pretty soon we had cherry pickers all in front of the Canadian net but that left no defenceman at the Jamaican end (led to a few 7 on none breakaways). After the kids game and the handshake lineup and group photo the adults wanted to play us. Oh man, I was not expecting that. 

Us older Canucks got together and decided that we would show them the passing game, pass 5 or 6 times before we took a shot. There were two guys from Toronto who were not part of our group and they wanted to play on team Jamaica. We didn't have enough adult sized sticks so I took the big one I had and gave it to someone on the other side and ended up with a kid's stick that came up to my waist (grin). That passing game went out the window real quick. I was at the side of the net and someone centered and I grabbed it and had two whacks at it before getting it back and hopping a lob over the pad of the downed goalie. Oops... Then it was a shooting gallery. Sorry guys, It's a Canadian thing. I'm not sure what happens when hockey sticks come out but national pride takes over and suddenly your only focus is putting that puck or ball past that line into the net as many times and as fast as humanly possible. It was a lot of fun. At one point one of our defensemen cleared and two guys on the other team sort of did a jump shot with their sticks and just about tapped the ball down from 15 feet in the air. I guess we didn't go over that rule, but no one got hurt and everyone still has the teeth they started with.They beat the hell out of us at beach volleyball afterward!

Our kids hit the waterslides and lazy river and pools after lunch and our group grabbed a big chunk of real estate at the bottom of the water slides which happened to be right outside our rooms. You could keep a great eye on the kids as they ran up the towers because eventually, depending on the lineups (sometimes there were none) they would come popping out of one of the two chutes. Our youngest daughter mostly traversed the lazy river in a tube and at 6 years old she could touch in all of the places in the water except one.

That night at the stage they had a fire eater and a guy on stilts that made balloon animals. The Balloon guy had made a pile of swords and all the kids were running around whacking each other on the heads with balloon rapiers. The Fire guy set fire to himself (including his junk at one point) and it makes you wonder how he learned to do that to himself. Being from Canada, it's not something we seem to be interested in here. Our eldest daughter wanted a bit of a break so we let her stay back in the room and we gave her an FRS radio and took one of the others and kept in contact that way (Costco man, set of three with batteries and a charger! we used those things the whole trip!). Unfortunately when she turned on the TV it was set to a Japanese sci fi channel that scared her a bit and when she couldn't figure out how to switch to the Cartoon Network she called us because it was freaking her out.

Luckily Empire strikes back was on! It was like being back at home in our own house! 

The next day I borrowed a friend's underwater camera and went snorkeling in the coral reefs for a couple of hours. It was awesome! I saw tons of fish and crabs and brain coral and sea anemones and sea urchins and star fish. I was thinking of going on a dive while there but with this set or reefs just off our beach there was no need, I could get my underwater fix right here! I took some video but found out after that I had it set to low def 15 frames per second. I'll have to take it out again and ramp up the settings. As I was leaving I found a big 40 foot drop off on the far side which I wanted to come back and check out. There were some coral caves and there had to be interesting fish down in there at the mouth of those. At that point I looked out into the deep blue sea and felt a little like the clown fish in "Finding Nemo" in that anything big coming out that that open water would make me uncomfortable. Time to get back into the coral channels!

That afternoon the first of the "Spring Breakers" arrived from the US and spiced up our trip. At 5:00pm when the water park shut down they discovered the waterslide and spend some time running down it dry, drunk and screeching and yelling and then cannon balling into the shallow water at the bottom. Thinking they were going to kill themselves, or break the equipment and ruin part of my kids vacation, I called security. The line was busy. Apparently most people there were calling security. Before I got off the phone someone from the hotel was getting them all off the slides and shooing them all over to the other side. I found out later that the pirate ship play structure in the pool was closed just because of the Spring Breakers because they try to kill themselves on it doing drunken high-dive antics. As we went to dinner that day I saw nurse Ratchet again tending to some young ladies who had drank themselves silly a few hours into their arrival (I wonder how much that costs?). 
We had dinner in the Italian restaurant that night and the waiter made up a table for the kids who ended up behaving beautifully. In the end it was the adult table that got shushed because we were getting out of hand. At the kids table once they finished eating they whipped out the Apple Itouches and Nintendo DS's and kept themselves entertained. That night Dan got dragged up on stage to be the entertainment in some kind of dance off/ drinking game. I ran up to the side of the stage and snapped a picture of him and the next thing I knew I was dragged up on stage as well (for taking a picture). Three other guys were chosen including "Mr Bacon", a portly gentleman from from the US who I recognized from the Breakfast buffet who loaded his plate up with a foot high of bacon each morning. We had to do a five step dance and at the end of the dance we had to run and get a shot of vodka from any of the nearby bars. The last guy up on stage got to drink all the shots poured into one glass. Newsflash, I don't drink so I was not gonna lose this thing. The bartenders are watching the show so they give you a bit of grief when you bolt to the table and scream at him for a shot of vodka. They take their time so you have to win it in a footrace back through a maze of chairs and then back onto the stage. The stage was pretty big and had two stairways on either side but from my former life I know that if a stage is just over waist high to me I can jump it safely. Mr Bacon went down first, followed by everyone except me and Dan so even though I made it back ahead of everyone each time, i didn't win because when it was down to just two of us they declared Dan the winner and he had to drink the Vodka. Oh well! Worked out for the best! I love how they take us vacationers and make us the entertainment! Before I go down again I have to enroll in Hip Hop Dance lessons (or maybe erotic pole dancing, it aligns more with what they make you do there BAM BAM!).

As we made our way back to our room we saw the moon. It was directly overhead. I'm talking smack dab in the middle of the sky. very cool. That night we were woken up by Spring Breakers at 3:00am returning from the bars. They kind of forgot what room they were in and were banging on doors when the key would not open. I went out to introduce myself real polite like and asked them to take it down a notch and met some lovely ladies from Ithaca University. The least drunk in her group (she was just swaying slightly side to side while her other friends needed to lean on the wall and or each other) was trying to shut her friends up because when you're that drunk in Jamaica you have a need to speak at full volume for some reason. One of the leaners looked at me and asked her friend-post "IS HE REALLY THERE?". I made a face and shushed her explaining that I have two kids and I do not want to have to deal with them waking up at 3:00am and she turned back to her friend and said "HE MUST BE REAL HE JUST SHUSHED US!" Her leaning post asked "WHERE ARE YOU FROM? WE'RE FROM ITHACA!". 

They were polite and all, just drunk and loud. I'm going to get my kids to run up and down the terrace banging pots and pans at 7:00am tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Jamaica March 2011 Day 1

This March break was a first for us when we decided to join a hockey team headed to a Jamaican resort to with sports equipment and nets to play hockey with some of the kids who lived there. We were one of 15 families from the Ottawa area that descended on the Sunset Beach Resort in Montego Bay.

We hit the Ottawa airport wearing our black Leitrim Hockey shirts (there was probably about 65 of us) to catch our 6:00am flight. The kids were very excited, ours especially since they had never been on a plane before. Check in was interesting. Many thanks to the kind family who lent us some weight to get our hockey stuff through. We all had an extra 5 kilos and had to distribute it evenly among us to get the sticks and nets on the plane.  In Canada they seem content to check for traces of bomb-making type stuff by dusting your gear with some secret powder which must show a reaction when it comes into contact with anything shady. Pretty high-tech! I didn't get the pat down but I took the longest in the x-ray line because I was packing so much tech (Iphones, netbooks, vid and still cams, media players, GPS etc.. ).

Speaking of Gps units, it's the first time I've been on the plane with one and after holding it up to the window I was excited to see how fast we were going (850km an hour) as well as our altitude (The 6791 is wrong in that pic, some barometric altimeter error due to cabin pressure? this screen shows 41,000 feet).

On the plane ride we were asked to complete a Jamaican customs paper for each family member. There was a shortage of pens but no worries, I had one in my favorite color, purple, and it took me about 30 minutes to fill them all in (what's this stuff! I'm on vacation mon!). As it turns out, this was bad as I had not noticed the note at the top indicating the use of blue or black pens only. So when we put down in Jamaica and went to customs, they told me my forms were NO GOOD, Purple ink and all that and that I had to go re-do them.

What kind of OCR software you got here Mon, Purple is the same as blue to the computers! In fact, my purple ink was better than the squeaky thin black pen I managed to scrounge from the tourist desk as me and about 30 other people spent 20 minutes refilling the forms and holding up the bus! Blue version in hand we got through customs and narrowly avoided the guys who hang out at the airport posing as hotel drivers trying to drive you to your hotel instead of your free hotel bus taking you. It helped that we were a big group and were dressed like a cult, all wearing the same black t-shirts.
The drive was pretty interesting as they drive on the left side of the road (a parting gift from the brits when they were here). Just when you think the oncoming truck will plow into you, it shoves over to the side and you barely scrape by. It's like every road here is one lane and we all "share" it. There is an awful lot of barbed wire here, the most I have seen, ever.. I'm not sure if it's for keeping people in, or out. At one point as our bus pulled up to a red light, a guy staggered into the road and dragged a dirty cloth across the windshield. He was a Squeegee guy without the squeegee!

We arrived at the hotel and because our rooms were not going to be ready for another 3 or 4 hours, the hotel arranged for us to get bracelets and go EAT right away. I was impressed with the way that went down, they even brought us kiddy drinks to tide us over as we re-filled in the Hotel paperwork we had already filled on the plane. Our fearless Leader, Dan, had arranged for this super quick check-in and he had asked us to fill in all the info on the plane but the authorities had held him up at the airport trying to get our hockey equipment through and he had everything with him. Because these sticks and nets were gifts he was planning on leaving behind, there was more paperwork to fill out! As we entered the resort there was a big banner as you came in with the hockey team's name on it, Neat-o. As the days passed, as long as you mentioned you were with the hockey team from Canada, and you wanted or needed anything, it happened fast with excellent service!

My kids wanted to swim in the ocean right away! They had never been in salt water and took to it readily, but we had one unfortunate incident. My 10 year old cut open her big toe on a rock in the water a mere 90 minutes after arrival. The beach shoes were in our luggage and since we had no room yet, we had not unpacked these. It was bleeding quite a bit when I carried her out of the water (almost slicing up my foot in the process) but the hotel staff got me the nurse who brought a wheelchair and we headed off to the medical station at the hotel. The nurse seemed very capable, and cleaned the toe up really good but she felt it needed stitches. My kid was against this, she has never had any. In Canada we have that second skin medical crazy glue stuff that doesn't involve poking holes in your skin and sticking needles through it with string on the end so she wanted that. Apparently, this technology has not made it to the island yet, or at least not our hotel.

Do you know that it costs between $500 and $600 or $700 US to get stitches in Jamaica? $150 for the doctor to come look, $150 for the stitches, $150 for the meds and $150 for anything else. When you pay the $150 he takes a look and totals up everything else and lets you know, it's a case by case thing (we are not in Canada anymore mon!). Even though we had vacation medical coverage this didn't seem right to me. The nurse asked my kid some questions and I went and answered for her and the nurse got angry with me and gave me the "talk to the hand" thing.

"Let her answer!" she barked. 

Hmm. I was starting to get pissed here. Hey nurse Ratchet, I'm the parent and this is MY kid you are talking to. This isn't a child abuse disclosure interview, how about we knock off the tude a bit eh? The whole money thing pissed me off and I'm already starting to suspect your medical opinion is driven by greenbacks. So I did the typical Canadian thing and smiled and told my kid to answer her (she didn't at first, which was funny. She must have thought if she opened her mouth the stitches were gonna be going in right then and there. In the end nurse Ratchet wrote down what I told her in the first place). Before she cleaned and wrapped it I got a good look at it and it was not as bad as I thought. I told her we had a doctor in our travel group and I was going to get a second opinion. We had packed a ton of first aid stuff and could probably get through the week keeping her beach shoes on, her toe bandaged up and the salt and chlorine would probably keep it pretty clean.

The nurse was a bit angry at that point and asked me if I was not respecting her medical opinion and I lied politely and told her that I did respect her opinion and I was simply seeking a second one. What I really wanted to say was that I don't like getting reamed out by hotel medical practitioners in a foreign country because I'm a tourist and you have me over a barrel, but I kept that particular medical opinion to myself. I may need this nurse again soon and it pays to be nice! Then she made me fill out an incident report and she got very picky over my wording and handwriting and it took about 15 minutes to fill that out. All the while there were 3 other couples out front waiting to see the nurse. Thank god we were first. For the second or third time I was starting to get a bit flustered at her demeanour. As I was trying to fill the thing out she asked me a few times if I understood what she was asking me to do. I think what she REALLY wanted to ask me was if I actually understood English and if I was quite possibly illiterate. Yup. That's the impression I got. When she huffed at my wording I crossed out a word to chose another word and she just about had a cow. "NO!!! DON"T CROSS IT OUT!" Then she reached for a new form and I told her there was no way I was filling a new one out. I've been in your damned country 2 hours and I'm spending half of that time filling out damned forms. I thanked her for wrapping my kids foot and I asked her if I could wheel my kid out and bring back the wheelchair.

Nope.. Wheelchair stays. Your kid can walk if she doesn't need stitches. YEEHA! I'm having fun now! As I left I glanced at the peopel waiting in the outer office and said:
 "Good luck folks!, you're not in Kansas anymore!".

The doctor in our group from Canada said that stitches would probably not do well in that area and just to bandage it and keep it clean. I told my kid we'll pass on the stitches and buy an IPAD 2 when we get home with the money instead, because the cost is about the same, and plus we can take pictures of her toe with the ipad! 
We got our room a few hours after and we unpacked our stuff and headed out to explore the grounds. As we left our room I went to lock the back sliding door and noticed that there WAS no lock on it. Doh! No problem man, I had to go to the front desk to get a safe key anyhow, I'll ask them to fix the room door.

The hotel was neatly laid out and you could see how they attempted to  separate the kids and families from the US spring break crowd that had also begun to arrive. All the kiddy stuff, water slides, lazy river etc was on one side, and the hot tubs, big pools and swim up bars were on the other. We caught the sun set right at 5:50/6:00 and explored the rocky outcropping that protected some of the swimming areas before hitting the evening dinner buffet. The food was very good. I will eat well over the next 8 days! We caught a bit of the night time show and turned in early to get rested up from the early start. On the way to our room we passed the water park in the night and took a picture. We'll be trying that bad boy first thing tomorrow morning! Whatever happens after today, it's all uphill!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Operation lose holiday fatness 2011

Well, it was good eatin' this Christmas. I somehow managed to pack on 10 pounds of holiday fatness this year (actually I know exactly how) before the late October Halloween chocolate frenzy and the December holiday meal eat-a-thons. What I ussually do after increasing my mass like this is turn to project Ketosis for a two week period which nets me a damned near garenteed loss of 10-12 pounds. But... It sucks. Carbohydrates, bread especially, makes you as happy as a 13 year old boy in a Hooters reasturant. On project Ketosis, which is the same thing as the first two weeks of the Atkins induction diet, one is allowed 20g of carbs a day. Welcome to unhappiness-ville population me! It's a fad diet to be sure, altering one's food intake radically for a time with fast results which do not stay in place over time. I just go back to eating chocolate and pizzas afterwards and pack it back on in 3 to 4 months (just in time for summer!). It's like, eat like a freak for three months, diet like a freak for two weeks, it takes more time to pack it on than lose it, woo hoo! It's bad though and I've known it for years but never bothered to do anything about it.

Plus, with no sugar in your bod, your system manufactures it somehow to keep your brain going and doesn't do a bang up job of it. You get kinda loopy!

So. Radical departure! This time I tried something different. My six year old was watching "Hanna Montanna" over the holidays and there was Billy Ray Cyrus, the Achy Breaky Heart guy doing pushups in his living room. The full extension part of the exercise brought his eyes in line with the top of his coffee table on which sat a chocolate cake which he talked to as he exercised. He woudl do a push up and say:

"Ah' ma coming for ya!"

And another push up.

"You'll be mine soon!"

 You get the idea. He's burning cals in order to make room for that 350 cal piece of choco cake! So this time, I tried just counting calories. Imagine that! You keep track of what's going in, create a 500 calorie deficit, and low and behold, stuff starts to happen! Burning 3500 calories will equal one pound of fat. Seven days of a 500 calories a day deficit gets you 7x500 = 3500 = a pound a week in weight loss. You calculate what you burn in a day just being alive and going to work (in my case it's like 2700 or so, -500 = 2200 a day) and I'll be darned. This approach actually works! One key is using an iPhone app called lose-it to keep track of what you're stuffing down your pie-hole. Carry it with you, plop in everything you eat that day and you're off to the races. I use it so much my wife calls my iphone my "Fat Pod" now. .

I went from like 215 Jan 01 and I'm 198.5 now mid-March. It's like a pound or two a week. When I get to where I think I should be (195, 190), I'll stop and add 500 cals to my day and I'll stay the same. Now my 2700 daily allotment is tied to my weight and that has gone down as well, (more you lose the less you burn just walking around because you're not as heavy) but not by much.

This is by far the easiest because it's slow and controlled and you get used to this way of eating and doing without food you don't need. AND YOU CAN SNACK! Just leave room or do a pile of pushups like Billy Ray Cyrus!

Friday, March 04, 2011

More Guitar Riff of the day for a year - Feb 2011

I'm still slaving away at my Guitar Riff a Day project although I'm slow in getting them off my composing rig, onto the PC, into Soundcloud and up on the blog. So far it's still fun and the next time I need some music, I cam comb through 365 of these. There's bound to be a few keepers. It's the monkeys writing Shakespeare technique!

GROTDFAY 169 2011-02-02 by zartimus

GROTDFAY 170 2011-02-03 by zartimus

GROTDFAY 171 2011-02-04 by zartimus

Using the Guitar for evil!

Funny because in a small number of cases, it's TRUE! When I was a youngster, a friend of mine was interested in learning the guitar and I had a longstanding offer to show anyone and everyone I knew how to play the wonderful things, so I started him out with the basics. Well, he met this girl shortly afterward who noticed the guitar standing in the corner at his place and she indicated strongly that she really liked the sound of an acoustic guitar. I was over a few days later and asked him how the guitar was going and he asked me if I knew how to play "More than words" by Extreme. As it turned out, GPFTPM had ran a transcription of it a few month back (this was in 1990) and I had learned it. I still remember taking the performance notes to heart. the first sentence was "Throw your pick down.. NOW! You have 10 seconds to comply!". Hehehehehe. (I still feel that way about most acoustic pieces).

So I ran through the intro and he goes "Hold that thought!" and phones up his girlfriend. She answers the phone at her place and my friend goes "Hey, check out this song I just learned.."and points the phone at me while I still have the guitar. So I get what he's trying to do and I flubbed the first few notes as a joke and he pulls the phone away and says to her "Just a sec, I'm not comfortable, let me sit down to play this." and he gives me a look and points the phone at me again.

This is going to be really funny, I thought, so I launch into Nuno Bettencourt's acoustic pop masterpiece full force embellishing all the arpeggios and full face guitar-slaps, bla bla and after about 15 seconds I can hear this girl screaming on the phone and my friend has this huge smile on his face. He starts talking to her so I stop because it's not easy to hold a conversation and play right? And she is telling him that she is coming over NOW! I wave at my friend and point at the guitar and make strumming motions and he gets the hint and says "Wait, wait, I got another one!" at which point I played the intro/chorus and verse to "Hole Hearted" (that month's GPFTPM had it). This time the scream on the phone was louder. I like girls that have an appreciation for the instrument!.

I left at that point, and I don't know how long he was able to keep his non guitar prowess a secret, but that was the last time I did that.Definitely using the guitar for evil there!