Archive for December, 2009


December 27, 2009

Well, Christmas is finally over and next year, next week, a new decade begins. For New Year’s eve last year I actually made a resolution to “consume less”.  That pretty much covers everything I eat, drink and buy. It was an idea that I was able to carry with me throughout the year, non-specific enough to not fail yet all-encompassing enough to make a difference in my daily life. I don’t know that I succeeded the way I had hoped, but I think I’m on a good path. Christmas is the perfect time of year to think about all that we consume and if we need all the stuff we buy. I was hoping that the one good outcome of this economic disaster we’ve experienced in 2009 would be that we would all learn to live more simply. However, I went out shopping for my mother-in-law (she’s the only one I shop for) two days before Christmas and the parking lots were full and the roads were crowded and you would never think that Michigan’s unemployment rate is over 14%. I know we need to make and sell and buy stuff to keep the economy strong, but honestly, I think we’re just going to bury ourselves underneath all this stuff.

Piggies is a statement on corporate greed and it’s a funny song, if not a little silly. It’s easy to shake a finger at all these bankers that give each other huge bonuses after taking government money. But I wonder what any of us would do if we were in their position. I see greed everyday in small doses, from people I know, people I don’t know, myself. I see it in people I’ve worked for and people I’ve worked side by side with. It’s easy to justify when it’s effect seems small. And Christmas isn’t just a time for giving; somebody’s got to be on the receiving end. I’m going to make the same new year’s resolution again this year and hope I do better. I think 2010 will be a good year.



December 18, 2009

This is a song I’ve been looking forward to learning since I started this blog. It’s such a pretty song and when I’ve watched people play Blackbird, it looked do-able, like even a clumsy bassist (me) could pluck it out. Of course, it took Jim about 20 minutes to learn the song, then he showed me how to play it. Apparently, in his early days of playing the guitar, this one wasn’t on his radar. At age 12, his mellow acoustic jams of choice were Dust in The Wind and Stairway to Heaven. Once I got the patterns memorized, I practiced the song every day, several times a day, for about 6 days. I decided to record it on Wednesday because Thursday is dad day and I wanted to give Jim time to mix it before the Friday deadline.

So, Wednesday afternoon rolled around and I started cooking lunch, chopping up garlic and eggplant and green pepper. I wanted to add some fresh ginger to the pan, so I grabbed the potato peeler and went at the ginger with a bit too much vigor. Ever lose a layer of skin to a potato peeler? I took some photos to post, just for fun:


I’ve said before that I’m NOT a guitar player by trade, but I really loved learning this song and I can’t stop playing it! However, it was super painful to lose the tip of my index finger on my left hand, a very important finger for normal everyday activities, not to mention it’s importance in a song like Blackbird. It wasn’t like I could just reconfigure my finger placement. I’m not that competent! A harpist friend suggested this product called New-Skin liquid bandage. It’s basically super glue with antiseptic (alcohol) in it. I screamed when I painted it across my gaping wound with the plastic brush applicator. My finger screamed. It throbbed for about an hour. Later that night I recorded the song and after 26 false starts, this is what I got. I didn’t want to make any edits. I wanted to play the whole song through from beginning to end. So if you hear anything that’s kinda wonky, it’s because I didn’t “fix’ any of it. I know, it’s so old-fashioned.

I saw this link on Cute Overload this week that was quite timely. You’ll have to copy and paste it as I still haven’t figured out how to use this WordPress blog.–Injured-bird-Sisso-gets-harness-learn-fly-again.html

I’m So Tired

December 9, 2009

The first snow of the season is blowing past my window and covering the streets and sidewalks. It’s always so pretty when it first starts to snow. It’s so quiet now. Tomorrow we’ll be driving in it and dirtying it up with our car exhaust. When I finish this project next year, it will be the middle of summer here in Michigan. My niece asked me how I plan to avoid getting bored in the coming months recording these songs. For me, the process is becoming habit and I look forward to working on a new song every nine days. The only time it’s difficult is when I don’t feel well.

I enjoyed working on I’m So Tired, mostly because I felt so much better than I did last week. Last week I really was SO TIRED because it was impossible to sleep, because it was impossible to breathe! I don’t usually have trouble with insomnia. I love sleeping. I was proud of myself, figuring out all the chords on the guitar, until I played it for Jim and he kindly corrected me on a few notes. So, I’m starting to learn some cool ways to make noise with this instrument. I’m also liking the guitar, (surprise!) at least the recording part of it. I have to admit that it’s been fun to turn up the amplifier and get a crunchy, ugly sound out of the strings. I guess that’s what I’ve been missing all these years…I had to put the “egg” on this song too. The egg is right up there with whistling for me. I take every opportunity to put it in a song. Next week – Blackbird. I can’t wait!

John Lennon

December 8, 2009

I was 11 years old when John Lennon was murdered. My brother Stephen & I heard the story on the news, late at night, sitting at the kitchen table eating cold left-over roast beef with horseradish sauce. Our older sister was on a date with her musician boyfriend that she married and subsequently divorced. We wanted to stay up late for her so we could tell her the news. I don’t remember what her reaction was, but why do I remember the roast beef? John Lennon was the first person that I felt like I knew and cared about that died. It didn’t make sense to my young mind then and it still doesn’t. No matter how you look at the “right to bear arms”, guns are made to kill and nothing else. They always end up making someone feel sad.

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