January 30, 2008

My mom's recipes - I made a blog just for them

I've made a blog and moved my mom's recipes to it. Hopefully I will add lots more. For now, here it is:

http://sarasrecipes.blogspot.com/

January 21, 2008

Locust and Mulberry Conversion Chart

*Note - the Mulberry Gauge is being moved to a site upstream.  The correlations to the bridge gauge will all have to be re-done over the coming year(s).*  
Link to spreadsheet of new Mulberry correlations

I've had this in a printout on my wall for years. I don't think it is online anymore so I am going to type it in so I have it handy online. I don't know who originally compiled it. I've altered it to suit my own experiences.

Online gauge for the Mulberry:
http://waterdata.usgs.gov/al/nwis/uv/?site_no=02450000&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060

Online gauge for the Locust Fork:
http://waterdata.usgs.gov/al/nwis/uv/?site_no=02455000

This information is NOT intended as a gauge for safe water levels. Be sure to check the readings at the put-in bridges. Use your judgment and DO NOT attempt to paddle if your skills do not match the river conditions. Gauges change, and rivers change.

CFS Conversion

-->
THE
CFS Flow
LOCUST
Stage or Height
FORK
Comments
222-441
2’0” to 2’6”
Minimal flow for paddling
530.5-630
2’8” to 3’0”
Good Paddling begins at this level.
732
3’2”
Ideal technical paddling with a little push.
962.7
3’6”
House Rock rapid gets strong; ender hole is prime for tricks.
1230
4’0”
House Rock rapid needs scouting; Double Trouble rapid gets less technical; ender hole begins to wash out; surfing and wave wheel paradise.
1970
5’0”
Big Water river in trees; Powell Falls becomes grabby – scout river right.
2900
6’0”
A real flusher; Whirlpool above Ender Hole becomes very dangerous.



THE
CFS Flow
MULBERRY
Stage or Height painted on Bridge. Subtract 3.3 from the online USGS gauge to get the correct feet on the painted bridge gauge.
FORK
Comments
250-300
0”
Bump and scrape. Too low!
420
0” – 6”
Class I.
600-750
1’
Class II. At 651, bridge gauge said 1 ft with lots of little surf waves. -at bridge 1ft./700 cfs the surf spot between the islands at Glen Clark was in.
800
1’6”
Hawaii 50 begins to form and bow surfing possible.
1100
2’0”
Enjoyable run; great down river run.
3000
3’0”
Hawaii 5-0 is a surfer’s paradise; Lunchtime becomes retentive.
4000
4’0”
Pushy; rapids and eddies begin to wash out; floating debris may be present; 5.0 questionable but the hole behind is great.


January 18, 2008

Femme Avec Guitar Electric - Right Hand Assertiveness

I want to talk about right hand strumming technique with a pick this morning. One of the things that I am aware of with my right hand is that the fulcrum of strumming is not my wrist; it is my elbow.

If you take your hand and wiggle it from the wrist, you get the classic 'limp wrist' motion. Imagine slapping someone with your hand moving it this way. Or - go ahead and slap your own face with the back of your hand this way. Now wiggle your hand with the elbow as the fulcrum. Slap your own face with the back of your hand - ow!
There is a lot more power generated from your hand motion if you use the elbow as a fulcrum and keep your wrist straight.
This is not to say that your hand or wrist should be tense.
My term for this is assertiveness, because I believe that's what it sounds like. Whereas playing with a limp wrist sounds like a child's hand smearing around finger paint.
You might say, "But what if I want to sound like a child's hand smearing around finger paint?" There is nothing wrong with that, if you want to sound that way. But if you are a woman who wants to play rock and roll, you need to play with assertiveness. And that is the one thing I see and hear most lacking when I see women rock guitarists.

Exceptions to this? Well they abound, but I think it's good to get this assertiveness thing nailed first. One exception is playing a lead. I use my wrist to play leads and the palm and side of my hand to mute the strings I do not want to be heard.
Another exception - well, sometimes I do strum with my wrist, but in this instance the up strokes have as much force as the down strokes.

I'll probably amend this later. Remember, this is just my own opinions and worth every cent you paid.

January 16, 2008

Friends

Well, I am having a bloggin' kind of morning, what can I say? BT is down and there's not too much else interesting online. It's kind of pitiful that the entire World Wide Web can be boring. It's not like cable channels - it's the freakin' world! But for whatever reason, it is.

Maybe, just maybe the woman I was worried about actually did find my blog and read it. If she did, she has declined to contact me. I'll never know. I DO know that I had a weird dream the other night about seeing her in a public library. I walked up and said, "Hey how are you? I was worried about you though I have no idea why. Are you OK?" She said yes, and that she is now a wiccan researching spells. (btw I didn't know they had that kind of stuff in the public library.) So I replied with something like, " O... K... cool, um, whatever" and walked off in a bit of shock that someone who was so staunchly agnostic would practice religion ever again, much less with such an esoteric choice.

I did discuss all of this with another friend who is also a former friend of the woman in question (yes that is how tangled up life becomes) and she thinks, as I do, that it very well could be that my worries were valid, in a Jungian kind of way. Well, for no reason I can ascertain I stopped worrying about her, so she must be doing better. Maybe she cast a spell of happiness, I don't know. ;-)

BTW young lady, you can still contact me. Or not. Just... be well.

Practice

In the kayak pool session last night, I thought about something a great guitarist told me about practicing guitar. He said, "You know those guys who sit in front of a TV and mindlessly play whatever without thinking while they are watching TV... well they are ruining their playing. You should be focused every time you practice and if you can't focus, put the damn thing up, it's not the right time!"
This came to my mind as I practiced rolling and trying to initiate the bow last night. I think it's pertinent. The hard thing is, rolling should become something that happens without thought. But perhaps not in the pool. The pool is a place to consider the steps and the technique of whatever it is you are trying to perfect for whitewater. At least I think so.
In the same light, practicing guitar should not be confused with jamming or having fun, not that it can't be fun, but to me these days practicing guitar should be about goals. Which necessitates having goals. ;-)
Without a goal, what are you doing? Are you practicing? Learning? Learning what?
I have a new book - Guitar Fretboard Workbook - and it is great. I can do the written exercises at work while rendering a composite, and when I get home and practice on guitar the lessons remain relevant. I even posted a little review of it on Amazon, something I never do, because I like the book so much.
I decided to count my rolls last night in the pool, and I counted 52. I did this because I want to make sure I exercise the muscles I use rolling when an opportunity like an indoor pool presents itself. I took breaks between every 15 or so - literally getting out of the boat. And my technique? Not so hot. I did come up every time though.
I guess I can get pretty meticulous.

Guitar Tuning

This is a repost from a blog I put on myspace on Jan 4th 08.

I've been reading Richard Lloyd's website a lot and in it he talks about even temperament and guitar tuning. There is a way to tune a guitar by ear that makes a nice agreeable sound. I am geeking out on it this fine morning. I thought you might like trying it so here 'tis.

"First tune the bottom E. string to a tuning fork or tuning machine. Next, fret the E. string at the tenth fret. This will give you a D. Tune the D. string to this note by ear. Next, fret the D. string at the fifth fret. Tune the G. string to the D. string at the fifth fret. Now fret the G. string at the second fret. This gives you an A. Tune the A. string from this note. Now fret the A. string at the second fret. Tune the B. string from this note. It will be an octave up. Next, fret the D. string at the second fret. This gives you E. Tune your high E from this. Again this will be an octave."

He explains why this sounds nice, and why tuning to a machine sounds off, in the rest of the lesson here:
http://www.richardlloyd.com/lessons/index.htm Click on 'Musical Q&A'. It is the second question and answer. Interesting stuff. But if you don't want to read it all and just want to hear what I mean, tune your guitar the way posted here and strum a few tunes. It's very cool!

For more on temperament go here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_temperament

and here:
http://www.users.dircon.co.uk/~oneskull/3.6.04.htm

Guitar Stuff

This is a repost of a blog I put on myspace on Christmas Day.

Guitar stuff. Warning I am going to ramble.
Current mood: smart

First off, Merry Christmas everyone! If you are a guitarist, and a person who, like me, 'plays by ear', I am going to give you a present that is going to annoy the everlivin' daylights out of you. But I think - jury is out - I think that it will help your playing, too. This is my latest find in the attempt to learn the fretboard, something 26 years of piddling around by myself hasn't accomplished.
My first moment of clarity came from a lesson on youtube from Richard Lloyd, whereby he plays a major scale up the fretboard to illustrate the circle of fourths. Since a guitar is tuned in fourths (except, yeah I know) this is a good way to think about moving around on the instrument.

Next moment of clarity - I read in an online guitar forum about an exercise that (legend has it) Mr. Satriani describes, which I will relate to you now. And here is the irritating part, because I am not going to lie to you - it's annoying as hell to do this exercise. But I think it will help me. Simply put, start with a note (let's do E first) and find it everywhere on the fretboard, to the beat of a metronome(lots free online). And once you get to where you find the E on every spot on the fretboard, speed up the metronome a bit and find the E's faster. And faster. And if you mess up, go back to the first E. And when you have the E down pretty damn well try another note. I'm still on E so I have not decided whether or not my next note will be F or A. I am going to stay on E for quite awhile, folks.
Days? A week? Who knows?
p.s. feel free to give me crap for being a Satch fan, because I am not, but hell if this helps me I'll buy his music in gratitude... lol

Third idea - future - t'was recommended to me to learn the fretboard via arpeggios, but seriously, can I until I know where the heck I am?

This wasn't an issue, any of it, on piano, because piano keys all look different (in context) and once you learn 'em, you got 'em. I had my last lesson at 11 and I can play 'guess the note' with you on a keyboard all day and get them right. But this fretboard... oh man, as I wrote a friend, I wander thru the fretboard forest looking for crumbs. Well, here are some crumbs!

For those of you who might murmer, "Circle of what? Fourths fifths huh? I didn't learn that in piano class", well yes you did, you just didn't realize it. The way to read key signatures on the staff illustrates the circle of fifths. I remember being a kid and learning this, because I had to in order to read music. Remember, no sharps - key of C? One sharp meant the key of G? Two sharps - key of D? Three Sharps - key of A? Four sharps - key of E? Five sharps - whew what a thing to play - key of B? I still remember seeing those 'key of B' sharps on the staff and going, Oh yeah all those black keys. Then you got into weird territory where the whole key was sharp like F sharp. BTW this blog won't let me use the symbol for sharp in it so I'm writing "sharp".

0- C
1 - G
2 - D
3 - A
4- E
5 - B


Well that is the circle of fifths.
..
And if you run that pattern backwards, it's the circle of fourths, which happens to be what guitars are tuned in (except for, yeah I know) - fourths.

I hope this information didn't make your face melt. I am all about it. Would love some feedback.
Merry Christmas!!!

January 6, 2008

Mr. Gip's Juke Joint

Last night I went to a juke joint in the west part of town. It is behind the house of a man named Mr. Gip, who turned 86, so the party was in honor of his birthday. That's Mr. Gip with the hat and cup.
My brother and sister-in-law have been going to this juke joint for a year or so, but I had never managed to go with them until last night. My sister and my cousin went with us too. My brother first found out about the juke joint because of the B'ham Blues Society becoming aware of it. I think some of the main players at the joint must have gone to a blues society jam or something.
To get there, you have to drive quite a ways west of town, under a train trestle, through some projects, and follow directions like, 'turn at the tire store sign', and follow some twisty little roads to the house.
We parked and went in and immediately I said to my brother, "I want a juke joint!" He laughed and said, "You just need a place to put it."
Mr. Gip worked for a funeral home, so many of the chairs have covers on them like you would see at a funeral. It was pretty packed and lots of people were dancing. After awhile I got up and played bass and my brother played harmonica. I wanna bring a guitar next time. ;-) I used the bass that the previous bass player brought. That's the second time I've borrowed his bass at a jam - I owe that guy a beer or three, it's a nice Fender Precision. Then a guy got up and played a cigar box slide guitar thing.
I also got to meet Mrs. Gip, and several of their kids.
I don't think I can really tell a trip report about it, it was just a cool scene. The pictures will do a better job of telling the story I think. Here is a link to the rest of the pictures.
It was a fine time, and I hope to go back soon.