Sunday, January 30, 2005

My Guitar

A few weeks ago, I bought a Yamaha F335 guitar. Mike, a guitar playing colleague from work, helped me choose it. It's a beginner's guitar. He and I liked the sound when we played it in the store. I have been playing it every night since I bought it.

I knew last month after Mia received her guitar that I'd eventually want one of my own. I'd often tinker with her little guitar after she went to bed, playing my simple songs, reviewing my chords.

Shortly after the holidays, I bought an instructional DVD titled You Can Play Guitar! (from Homespun Tapes). The instructor on the DVD, Happy Traum, has a very welcoming and enthusiastic teaching style. I enjoy listening to him, and watching him play. He breaks down some very tricky sounding songs into simple steps. I spent a few weeks with this DVD playing on Mia's little guitar, learning different strumming styles, finger picking, and simple chord progressions. My hands felt too big on Mia's small guitar. Hence the new Yamaha.

When I stopped playing the guitar sometime in high school, I knew that I wanted to take it up again. I guess now is the time.

Friday, January 28, 2005

A Group BLOG

Wow. I'm part of a group BLOG, my very first. I enjoy experiments like these.

Sunday, January 23, 2005


I shoveled for two hours today. And my kind neighbor used his snow blower on the heaviest accumulation in my driveway. Yeah, I'm eating my words.

Friday, January 21, 2005

More Snow

Last year, it was bitter bitter cold. This year, it's just bitter. But with more snow. AccuWeather's headline for tonight is "Winter at Its Worst". "A major storm swirling out of the north-central states will disrupt the lives of millions from the Midwest to the Northeast this weekend."

I've seen estimates as high as 18" of snow. I'll believe it when I'm shoveling it. (And yes, I'll be eating these words.)

Thursday, January 20, 2005


Boy, does my knee hurt. The left one. I have pain when I flex it. So walking up and down the stairs tonight, I've been favoring the left leg, being all ginger with it. Even sitting stings a bit. On the floor, when I bend my leg to pull my knee up to my chin, there's a tension as press my leg closer to me, as if I'm approaching some breaking point.

I hope sleep takes care of it. Maybe I'll put a little ice on it.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

NFL Playoffs

Playoff football on my mind.

Tonight, I really felt bad for the New York Jets. A great friend of mine, not to mention nearly all of family, were hoping against hope for a win. And they almost got it too. How can you miss field goals at a time like this! Jets lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 20-17.

Tomorrow night, it'll be the New England Patriots versus the Indianapolis Colts. I think we all know where my rooting interests lie. This year, I'm especially fearful of the Colts because their quarterback, Peyton Manning, had such a stellar year. He was the league's MVP for crying out loud. But football is a team sport, and the Patriots have brought new meaning to team. Game on!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Best Movies Watched in 2004

I only watched 41 movies last year, four in the theater.

Out of all of these movies, I really liked Lost in Translation, the Bill Murray movie, written and directed by Sophia Coppola. Just some wonderful pacing and sentiment. I feel as if I get the Murray character. The movies captures the boredom of life, the loneliness one can feel even in a crowd, and the desire to connect, to be understood.

My other favorites from last year: Snatch, Kill Bill Vol. 1, Minority Report, Waking Life, Punch Drunk Love, and Sideways.

Some special categories:
  • Best DVD Commentaries: Comedian, The Limey

  • Favorite Male Acting: Paul Giamatti

  • Favorite Female Acting: Uma Thurman

  • Finally Glad I Watched: Narc, When We Were Kings, Paths of Glory, Donnie Darko, Solaris

  • Not So Hot: The Cooler, Heat

Saturday, January 8, 2005

Best Books Read in 2004

My Previous Best Books: 2001, 2002, 2003.

I read 32 books in 2004.

My favorite for the year was Word of Honor, by Nelson DeMille. Mr. DeMille has been writing books since 1978, but this was my first DeMille story. If they're all like this then I'm going to enjoy reading his works.

Word of Honor follows the tribulations and trials of Ben Tyson, a business executive who served in Vietnam. His good name becomes the subject of a controversial book about Vietnam, asserting that Ben Tyson's squad killed civilians in a skirmish there. The resulting publicity and military trial put him at odds with his family, his government, his community, and his own self-image. I was swept away by Ben's story, his feelings, and the way he handled himself. This is a terrific book.

I want to highlight two others from my year of serious reading. I'd consider these selections "second favorites" from 2004.

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen is incredible. It's a literary masterpiece. The Corrections contains such rich detail that you are completely encased in his narrative. There are some crazy happenings in this book about a dysfunctional family. Each family member goes under the microscope, and Mr. Franzen's prose renders the complexity of their thoughts. It's a fantastic book.

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World by Haruki Murakami was recommended by my manager, and I was so very pleased with it. It's a blend of science fiction, with a dash of psycho-analysis, all within the confines of a straight detective story. I'll point out that the book contains a map, and by the time you figure out what the map "really is", you'll be blown to bits. I love books that do that. Highly recommended.

Sunday, January 2, 2005

Resolution 2004: Only Eight

OK, I only wrote eight letters last year. Eight! My goal was fifty! The last letter that I wrote was in August. So one of my resolutions this year is to write at least eight letters. I hope the momentum of reaching my 2004 output will propel me to getting all fifty letters out.

By the way, the eighth state alphabetically? Delaware. The next state? Florida.