lunedì 14 agosto 2017


Back at the decile 9 school for a few hours today and back again tomorrow.

Not much to write, so here's a good joke I read on a social media site...

A German couple has a son but, at five years, he still hasn't spoken a word. Naturally they are worried and take him to the doctor. The doctor says (obviously in German) that he appears to be in perfect health. The parents are mystified and life goes on with the child not speaking.
Suddenly one night at the dinner table, when he is past his seventh birthday, the boy says (obviously in German),
"The strudle is tempid."
The parents are delighted and ask him why he has never spoken before. 
The boy replies, "Until now everything has been satisfactory."

domenica 13 agosto 2017

Testore Trio Update.

The Testore Trio is putting together a sampler of its repertoire. As you may know, I play the three instruments that will be in the trio, so I'm going into the studio in about a week's time to put down all the parts - playing with myself. Suonare con me stesso.

I have it all planned out and I'm stepping up the practice.
1. Nightingale
Violin tune
B section A section (D7 last bar)
2. L’Addio a Napoli
Violin tune – last 9 bars
Solo A B A - violin
2nd ½ tune violin
(last bar E7)
3. Fly me to the moon
Quick swing
1st half guitar, 2nd half violin
1st time ending (last bar pause on A7)
4. Love Theme from The Godfather
A section double bass tune B section violin tune A section double bass tune
5. Bye Bye Blackbird
1x violin
6. Oh Mio Babbino Caro
1x violin
7. SGB
1x violin
8. Santa Lucia
G major – v v ch violin to A7
9. The Immigrants (feature)
Tune guitar & Bass
Tune violin & Bass with guitar chords
Solos: violin x2, guitar x2, double bass x2
Tune violin & Bass with guitar chords
Violin repeats last 8 – solo rubato
Guitar and double bass join on final chord

I've tried to combine Italian tunes with popular old time jazz standards. There will be a lot of improvising when the trio plays (on the Italian tunes as well). I've also thrown in four originals that seem to go down well at concerts. The repertoire contains 24 tunes.
When we play I hope to have il mio vecchio amico Wade sulla chitarra. Mio Figlio George is lined up suonare contrabbasso. I want all three members to have plenty of room to do their thing when we play. You'll notice that there is a lot of violin in the sampler. Think of the violin as being like a singer - it's all about getting a consistent sound for the sampler.

sabato 12 agosto 2017

Update from 'the bag'.

Welcome back to Richard's Bass Bag* where string instruments take precedence and the wine is always Chardonnay.
I relieved at a decile 9 school yesterday.

Okay, a slight exaggeration.

Remember that for the last twelve years I have worked solely at a decile 3 school.
Is there a difference?
I felt like I was on another planet!

I started off with a year 11 class. Okay, they chattered quietly to each other but everybody worked - for the entire spell.
They were all in the correct uniform, no one was eating, there was no paper or chippy packets on the floor, they were polite to the reliever (me) and the room was well heated.
I had a year 10 class second and wondered what they would be like. If you're going to get a workout, it'll be the year 10s, that's for damn sure.
They entered the room and, as they worked, you could have heard a pin drop. On the occasion that someone spoke to a partner, they whispered. I found myself whispering too. It was like being in an exam room. Unbelievable. Every child was able to learn without suffering it's all about me behaviour.
My last class for the day was a year 9. There was a group of four slightly naughty boys in this class, but really it was minor. They kept up with the work and we exchanged a bit of friendly banter.

What an experience. I'll be going back at some point - it actually got a bit boring at times, but I can handle boredom.

It made me really think. Get your kids into a good school and they'll have a much better chance to really learn without all the distractions of problem children. At morning tea the rooms were left open for form class members to use (there was no supervision). When I returned to mine it was spotless.

I'll be relieving at another high decile school in a couple of weeks. Should be interesting.

* the original bass bagging site

giovedì 10 agosto 2017

How to play tennis.

The first thing you're going to need is a couple of rackets...

...and a ball.

Then you need a reactangular space...

...and some net.

Put the net across the middle of the rectangle, starting at the middle point of both of the longest sides.

Now you need a friend.

No, a human friend.

That's better, though a smart man would have 
chosen a female.

Okay, you're ready to play.
Take a racket each and stand at opposite sides of the net. Hit the ball to each other. There is a scoring system in tennis but it has really complicated numbers. Just take one point every time the other guy misses the ball. Make it that the first person who gets to 10 (or some other number, depending on how long you want the game to last) wins.

That's basically it - you're playing tennis.

How to become a cyclist.

Cycling can be fun and will make you feel superior to other people.
You'll need a bike (official name = bicycle or cycle).
There are many different types of cycles. There are road cycles and ones with big tyres for going into paddocks and on dirt tracks. You want a road cycle. Below are three cycles. See if you can pick the one you will need.

Cycle 1

Cycle 2
Cycle 3

If you picked Cycle 1, no, no, no. Far too elaborate. Go back and pick again.
If you picked Cycle 2, so you want trainer wheels? Kid's bike. Go back and pick again.
If you picked Cycle 3. Well done! You are ready to get dressed up! Love those side on reflectors!

Okay let's get you dressed appropriately.
See if you can pick the right uniform for a cyclist.

Outfit 1
Outfit 2

Outfit 3
Outfit 4

Outfit 4 is correct. If you picked any of the others, go back and read from the start of this post again.
The correct outfit is very important for a variety of reasons:
  • Your head will be protected - remember that you have a very special brain
  • There is padding around your bum because you'll be on a hard little seat
  • There is a pocket on your bum because you don't want bulgy pockets at the sides spoiling your look
  • When you go into a cafe everyone will know you're a cyclist and feel inferior and lazy
  • Those gloves are something else 
  • You look incredibly cool (at least to other cyclists).
Okay, now you're ready to hop on that cycle.

Looking very cool!
If you're having trouble balancing the thing, go back and choose Cycle 2.

When you're on the road there is a set of Road Rules to be followed.
Don't worry about these.
There are also other types of vehicles on the road.
These include cars, vans, motorcycles, trucks and buses.


These are all vermin!

Another example of vermin.

These machines are full of fat, lazy, unfit people who are jealous of you and are
Treat them with scorn and contempt.

Always feel free to ride two abreast with a fellow cyclist. Remember that you are the one getting fit and doing something noble. Make those gas guzzling vehicles wait. 
The drivers of these vehicles have very low IQs so keep your language simple if you have to yell at them.

Okay, you are now ready to be a cyclist.
Wear your lycra with pride and remember these points:
  • You have a HUGE right to be on the road
  • You are the one getting fit
  • You are smarter than motorists
  • You have a beautiful body
  • Road Rules are only there to try to keep motor vehicles out of your way - THEY DON'T APPLY TO YOU.


The new Richard's Bass Bag* 'How To' Series.

Hi all.
We're very excited to introduce a new series of posts that will teach you how to do things.
We will look at a variety of skills and activities and guide you to the easiest ways of being able to be successful with these new endeavours.
You are then welcome to leave comments of thanks and praise.

I bet you can't wait to get going!

* the original bass bagging site

mercoledì 9 agosto 2017

The Adventure of Bill the Moth.

There are thought to be approximately 160,000 species of moth and most species of moth are nocturnal. Most species have their own dialect - a sort of put together language called Mothese, moths say 'fuck' a lot and light really messes with their navigational equipment. Moths say 'fuck' the most when a light bulb has muddled their radar and they find themselves trapped in something like a bathroom with only a small window gap as their escape route.

When moths come out at night, they fly around looking for food. This search for food and mating are the only noteable adventures that moths really have. They don't generally sing, or play instruments or read books. They don't have any hobbies.
A lot of moths die because of bright lights from houses. These lights often result in moths being trapped inside. Obviously, when you are trapped, the tendency is to panic. It's pretty well impossible to get our and home safely when some huge light is totally mucking up your navigational system. It's like coming home really pissed and hoping that no one will notice. Well, a little like that, but really quite different. Sorry, that was a bad example.
Moths basically eat healthy, mainly because things like hamburgers, fish and chips and pies are too big for them and a little hard to come by.
I will now tell the Adventure of Bill the Moth* in his own words. Sorry, but it's not really much of an adventure and has a sad ending.

Okay, I'm heading out now to check out food. It's okay mum, I'll certainly keep away from bright lights. Especially near the human town. Yes mum, I'll try to watch my language. Remember that I am the equivalent age of a twenty year old human now. I'm not a cacoon anymore.
Wow, there are lots of insects out tonight. I wonder why a lot of them seem to be heading for that yellow thing? Wow, it's fascinating! I'm getting pretty close - better be careful.
Ouch, what did I hit? I really didn't see that coming. You can see through it, but it stops you flying. Hang on, there's a gap up there. That yellow thing is certainly worth checking out.
Oh fuck! It's a huge light bulb!
Fuck! Where am I?
There's no human toilet so I don't think it's a bathroom. Hang on, that's a human bed. Fuck, better get out quick!
I'll try to smash through the wall you can see through.
Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong! 
Maybe if I just head up to the yellow thing?
Fuck! There's a human kid in here and he's waving a magazine around. Funny looking magazine, it's getting so close that I could almost read it. Seems to have lots of pictures of female humans with no clothes on. What's he up to? He's too young to be mating.
Fuck! That was close! Got to get out of here! Will try to smash through that clear wall.
Bong! Bong! 
Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong! 
Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong! 
No way, it's too hard. Fuck! Got to find another way.
Swish! Swish!
Gotta keep flying!

* his one and only adventure

9 Agosto.

It's a wet old morning in Nuova Lazio. No big surprise really because it often is lately.
I worked yesterday, in my old room(s) at NLHS.
I had to remind myself a couple of times that I was a daily relief teacher and hadn't travelled back in time.

"Morning all. I've come back from the future to take this 
class today. Books out."

No ring yet this morning.
No ring is both a good and a bad thing.
From a selfish point of view it's a good thing and signals a day that will include quite a bit of music practice, and working on some  Italian.
7.18am and as the clock ticks by the safer I get.
This is how the early morning pans out for a daily relief teacher.
It's 7.22am now.
If this day at home eventuates I'll try to practise all three instruments today. Most of my practice these days is on the Testore Trio charts - I have this goal to be able to play all 24 charts on guitar, violin and double bass, in the keys they are written in. It's one way of pushing the playing a bit because on double bass I've learnt some of those tunes in different (more DB friendly) keys.
Almost safe.

martedì 8 agosto 2017

Happy Birthday The Curmudgeon.

I was going to ring but I've picked up relief teacher work today - in my old department, would you believe!

Have a great day old fella.

Buon compleanno. Auguri.

lunedì 7 agosto 2017

Cemetary man.


I visited two cemetaries today. 

Karori. My cross has survived.

It was twenty years ago today...

No, I'm not talking Sergeant pepper, though I do have a hankering to hear that album again.

7th August 1997 is the day that my dad died.
Now, I'm not going to get all sentimental on you, I'm just going to quote a few Bob phrases that have been kept alive by his sons and are still used regularly by the boys. I'll translate each one into common English.

Now wo ho there big Cheen.                                                        
Just stop for a minute Richard.

I think I'd better have a look at that car.                                      
I know you haven't been keeping  an eye on the water and oil and you have a warrant coming up.

I'm just going to see a man about a dog.
Wait in the car, I'm going to nip in for a quick beer.

Softly softly Ro.
Think about it Robert.

Just one minute there big Chris.
What the hell are you saying Chris?

Too much head in the clouds.
Be practical.

There are many more sayings that the boys rattle off when they are together. It's almost like a dialect at a PBs practice.
Bob was a very fair man who was, by nature, gentle towards all creatures. He would go out of his way to help people - for years he fixed all the clocks at St Mary's Convent, where the boys had their first music lessons, and he regularly mowed the lawns of quite a few elderly neighbours. For him retirement was like a full time job as a mechanic fixing all the boys' cars. He kept detailed log books on all the cars. The boys very seldom read them. He often bought expensive parts for these cars and forgot to tell the boys. His working life was spent on coastal ships and he mostly worked as chief engineer. He would often spend about two weeks at sea (really travelling around coastal ports) and it was always great when he returned home. Sometimes he used to pretend that he was strict but his bark was always worse than his bite. Bob set up a little brewery in a shed and made his own beer. Sometimes he got himself in trouble with Gloria (our mother) after tasting his own wares because he had a tendency to rave and give unwanted advice. In a pre runner to the days of the internet (Richard & Robert will understand this), Bob sometimes had to sort things out the next morning and sometimes found himself in the dog box with our mum. Gloria and Bob were above all very generous people who put their children well ahead of their own needs. I guess it's a good day to remember them both. I'll pop up to the cemetry this afternoon. To quote the movie Gladiator - What we do in life echoes in eternity.


domenica 6 agosto 2017

John and Herman sit on the couch.

John and Herman had been friends for many years. They had done a lot together. When there was nothing much to do they would sit on Herman's couch.

It was a comfortable couch - like the one above, only green. John always sat on the right hand side. I mean his right hand side. If he was sitting on the above couch, he'd look like he was on the left to anyone reading this but, in reality, he would be on the right. 
Herman always sat on the left hand side. I mean his left hand side. If he was sitting on the above couch, he'd look like he was on the right to anyone reading this but, in reality, he would be on the left. 
I hope you're not having too much trouble imagining the above couch being green. You can make John and Herman look however you like. I'm sure they won't mind. That's if they really exist. 
Some stories are true and some are made up. I'm going to leave you to decide whether or not this story is made up. Just remember to bear in mind that, if the story is made up, it won't really be true either about what side of the couch they sat on. You will have to go back in your mind and delete that bit from your memory. It could possibly be easier just to believe that this story is true, which it could be; or maybe not.

Appliance break down time.

Our dishwasher broke down last week.

Not me or Shelley, the machine. 
I spent a day trying to fix it. I failed.

Today it was the telephone.

I checked all the plugs, et cetera, but no luck. Failed again.
I spoke to some nice chap who might have been in India. He said someone was on the job but I'd have to be home tomorrow in case he needs to call. 
Knowing my luck, I'll get a ring from a school and will have to turn it down - not good form for a reliever. It costs $139 if the fault is not at their end. Whoever put together the Universe I'll be pissed off if a school calls. At the moment I'm between jobs* and I need to start turning a buck or two.
Yes, there is the pension kicking in in about four weeks.

I've got money on the fridge going next - well, it has been playing up for a while.

Well, it could always be worse. Sorry to moan and not give you a story like John and Herman sit on the couch or The Temperature Machine.
I guess even a bass update would have been more fun - and I have a few lined up.
Anyway, I'll get on with that story about John and Herman.

* if I don't make it as a musician in these Autumn years my next real job could be cleaning the sewerage system in Heaven

sabato 5 agosto 2017

Noel the pencil.

Noel is an HB pencil with a core made of graphite mixed with a clay binder. The rest of him is made of wood.

When the author was at primary school, it was quite common to be given the instruction to write a story with the topic My Life as a Pencil.

In reality, a pencil's existence goes much deeper than what some silly little kid would think to write, and probably with bad grammar to boot.

The lifespan of a pencil can be very long. The irony is that an unloved pencil can live at the back of a drawer for just about ever. Fire is a pencil's worst enemy.

You never hear, in a house fire for instance, someone yelling out, "I've got to go back in to save the pencils!"

Pencils like to work, for that is their purpose, and what eventually renders them useless. Who wants to use a two centimetre long pencil? The sad reality is that the best pencils are the first to get too short to use.

Pencils actually like to be sharpened. It makes them feel rejuvenated and it doesn't hurt because they have no nerves. They try not to think about getting shorter.

The fast development of technology has made many things redundant - when was the last time you bought a set of encyclopaedias? The pencil has survived this.

The pencil's chief competition comes from the ball point pen and, in particular, the Biro.

The word Biro is a brand name and Biros come in several different models. Pencils accept fountain pens, even some ball point pens, but look down on Biros because they are too commercial - mass produced and all about money.

While we're on the topic, pencils with a silly little rubber on their head are often laughed at by HB pencils. The world of writing utensils is full of bigotry.

Richard (of RBB): I've invited Noel into the studio at Richard’s Bass Bag* so that we can really find out about the life of a pencil. Welcome Noel, it’s great to have you here.

Noel the pencil:

Richard (of RBB): Okay, you haven’t got a mouth, that could make this a bit tricky. Do you think that the reaction pencils have to Biros could be called racist?

Noel the pencil:

Richard (of RBB): I’ll take that as a ‘no’. Can you elaborate?

Noel the pencil:

Richard (of RBB): I know that HB pencils are happier sketching than just being used to scribble off quick notes. Is this something that pencils talk about a lot?

Noel the pencil:

Richard (of RBB): Okay, this conversation is a little one sided and obviously it’s only caused by the fact that you have no mouth. It has been great having you here and I hope we’ve been successful, in a small way, highlighting concepts that are important to pencils. If I could go back to my childhood, I’m sure that with the information I have now I could make a better fist of that story My Life as a Pencil. Thanks Noel and stay away from fires.

* the original bass bagging site

venerdì 4 agosto 2017

Dog Heaven.

There are three obvious down sides to being a dog. Firstly, your life span is generally a lot shorter than that creature who is sometimes referred to as your master. Secondly, there are a rather limited amount of noises you can make. Human language, be it English, Italian, Mandarin or Samoan, really just isn't something that is going to work for you. Lastly, there's the question of getting into Heaven. I'm not sure about the teachings of every religion, but there is enough evidence to suggest that there is not room for dogs in every version of that perfect place. It seems that, in most Christian versions, dogs are on the outer because they don't have a soul. Bad luck.
This little dog tale concerns Ralph, a good Catholic chap, and his dog Paganini. Ralph named Paganini after the famous violinist but had first considered giving him a more Christian name like Gabriel or Peter. However, it didn't somehow seem right to bestow a sacred name on a dog - a creature with no soul. Only later, after the name had been well and truely branded did Ralph realise that he would have to be careful not to let the dog's name be shortened to Pagan. Just for the record, Paganini did not name Ralph.

Oh, and one last thing. Just for simplicity in telling this little tale, I'm going to 'play God' and give Paganini the power of speech. 

"Morning Ralph," said Paganini in a very enthusiastic tone, "what's for breakfast?"
Ralph had just got out of bed and was on his way to the bathroom.
"Yeah, yeah, I'll get it in a second."
Paganini wasn't really listening because his head was full of ideas - food, what a nice day it was going to be, food, a walk would be great, soon would be the best time. Paganini sometimes let his enthusiasm get the better on him but, what the hell, he was a dog.
He heard the toilet flush. It wouldn't be long now.
"Come on Ralph, I'm starving!"
For the sake of peace Ralph quickly filled Paganini's bowl.
"Dog roll and two biscuits. Yum!" thought Paganini as he tucked in with a vengeance.
Ralph made coffee.
Paganini was quick with the food and Ralph let him out to take care of business.
Soon he was back at the door. Waiting.

This Sunday morning Ralph had unintentionally slept in and this was about to have an effect on both the lives of the man and the dog.

Let me take a little time out to explain the relationship between a man and a dog. It's not like a marriage - the man never has to apologise and the dog never takes anything personally. The dog is a bit like a pensioner, someone who has reached the age where he no longer goes to a  job every day. For a start, a pensioner and a dog in his prime have roughly the same amount of time ahead of them on this planet. Unless either of them is unlucky enough to be hit by a bus, they'll both spend their last few years mostly sleeping and dealing with aching joints. They both approach most days with a blank canvas. Neither knows what day it is - there is little difference between Monday, Wednesday or Saturday. No 'thank God it's Friday'. Making money is not the driver for either the pensioner or the dog. Though it's important to remember that the dog has much more energy to burn. Still, the wise pensioner tries to keep fit - use it or lose it, as they say. It's certainly not unusual to see either of them at a park.

Ralph's standard Sunday practice was to take Paganini for a quick walk to the local park, with a bit of ball fetching thrown in to tire him out. While Paganini went into dog recovery mode, Ralph would wander off to Mass - it was a three block walk to St Matthew's. Today he would need to take the dog and tie him up outside. For once Ralph was pleased that his dog had the power of speech because he could easily explain to him what was happening. Other non talking dogs wouldn't cope well with a one off event like this. As well as spending an hour this Sunday praising God, Ralph should have taken a little time to thank the author for giving his dog the ability to speak and to listen. He didn't.

Paganini always went a little bit over the top when he heard the slight tinkle as Ralph took his metal chain lead off the hook near the back door. He'd promised himself a thousand times that he'd try to be more chilled out, but he always forgot. That's a dog for you.

Ralph's plan was to walk a block before he told Paganini what was happening. He knew it would take at least a block for his dog to stop pulling on the lead and calm down a bit.
"Okay, Paganini, there's a slight change of plan today. I'm going to have to tie you up outside of my church. You'll have a bit of a wait, but you'll have to be very quiet. No calling out, it's important that you are very quiet."
Paganini realised that Ralph wasn't carrying their ball and felt a little confused.
"Why?What's happening Ralph?"
"Look I just slept a bit late and I need to go to church. You're going to need to be a good dog."
"Okay Ralph, I'll do my best."

There were quite a few people entering St. Matthew's when they arrived. Paganini said 'hi' to a few of them, but they didn't reply. They just patted him on the head.
Ralph tied his lead to a post just below the two steps that led to the church door and told him to lie down. Paganini was an obedient dog.

Paganini listened. This was an unusual form of adventure. It was quiet inside but then a man started to speak. He was using a microphone so he was easy to hear. Sometimes lots of people seemed to be answering him, but Paganini couldn't really make sense of what they were talking about. Still, they had caught his attention.

The man talking was a priest named Father Wood. Ralph liked him and, when he got to the part where he gave a sermon, Ralph listened carefully. Father Wood evidently had a science degree and had not been at the parish long. For some reason he had abruptly left a school where he was teaching to take up parish duty. Ralph didn't know why but he liked the fact that this man could combine science with his belief in God.

Today Father Wood's speech would be about a thing called Heaven. This was something Paganini knew nothing about and he struggled to get the gist of it all. It seemed that Heaven was a place that was very nice to go to but not everyone got in. There were a set of rules that Father Wood didn't define very well.
"Maybe," wondered Paganini, "the people in the church already know the rules, so he was just giving a sketchy outline to remind them?"
It seemed that there was someone called Jesus who you had to love. This was a bit confusing because, without really defining the relationship, dogs sort of loved their owners but didn't really think much about it. Father Wood threw in a bit of what Paganini thought might be science. He talked about a thing called a soul that seemed to leave the body and float up to Heaven. Father Wood stressed that only human beings had souls. Paganini listened carefully but dogs definitely weren't mentioned. This was all very confusing.

On the walk home Paganini fired off quite a few questions.
"Who was the man talking in there?"
"That was Father Wood, he's our new parish priest."
"So, what's this thing about Heaven? How does it work?"
"If you live a good life and accept Jesus into your life, you go to a very happy place called Heaven when you die."
"Who is Jesus?"
"He's the Son of God. He came to Earth and died to save us sinners."
"What's a sinner?"
"Look Paganini, that's a lot of questions. The basic facts are these. You have to accept Jesus into your life then when you die, if you've lived a good life,  your soul goes to Heaven. Everyone has a soul. Heaven is a wonderful place and you get to spend eternity there."
"What's eternity?"
"The longest time you can think of."
"Do I have a soul?"
"No. You're a dog."
"Does that mean I can't get into Heaven?"
"I don't know. Maybe they let a few dogs in? I really don't know. Maybe there's a dog Heaven? Maybe there's a place where dogs go and they're very happy?"

Paganini was still struggling with words like 'soul' and 'Heaven'. He knew that he liked different things to Ralph. He liked smelling other dogs, peeing on trees and chasing things. He even ate some things that made Ralph look like he was feeling a bit unpleasant. Maybe a dog Heaven was not such a bad idea?
Would it be a place you could walk to? Maybe you'd have to enter it by going to the vet? Paganini didn't like that last thought because the vet always seemed to stick something up his bottom.
Also some sick looking animals didn't seem to come back out into the waiting room. He didn't trust that place.

A week passed but Paganini wasn't really aware of it. He never was. That day came when Ralph didn't go to work. He wasn't a pensioner, it happened on a regular basis. It was often the day when they went on a longer walk - right through the park and down to the river. 
This particular day was a brilliant off work day. The sun was shining and the grass at the park was a rich lime colour and as soft as Ralph's bed. He got to smell a few dogs as they passed on the path to the river. There were lots of spring flowers and plenty of trees to pee on. He chose one. The river water was like glass and he smashed it everywhere. Ralph threw in a few stones that he tried to retrieve, but they were everywhere and his attention was shooting around as he spied other things. He chased after a dragon fly that hovered over the water like a helecopter and was too fast for him. Finally he returned to the shallower water and shook himself off. Then he followed Ralph up to the lawn and Ralph threw the ball for what seemed like ages. He loved biting that ball. Once or twice he pretended to refuse to let it go and Ralph shook it in his mouth. Then it was time to go.
As Ralph clipped his lead back on Paganini said, "This is Dog Heaven."

giovedì 3 agosto 2017

Lopking good.

Sometimes errors and mistakes lead to new exciting things.
I posted this picture on Facebook.

Okay, those versed in the ways of the double bass might notice that there is a French bow in my bow quiver. 
A friend left a comment that simply said, "Lopking good."
Okay, it was a fair mistake, as p and o are right next to each other on the querty keyboard, but there is a little part of me that can't let a typo go by unnoticed. I blame Mrs Carr, my Standard 4 teacher who had a thing about English grammar. I remember she chastised me once for saying all of a sudden. She thought that suddenly was more efficent. I don't really know if she was right or wrong, correct or incorrect, but I've never used that phrase since.

Anyway, I thought, "What if my friend had not made a typo but was using a technical term? What if lopking is actually the term for what angle the bass bow is at when it's placed in the quiver."

People have sometimes noticed that my bow sticks out more from the bass than the bows of other players. They've asked me why on several occasions. I didn't really have an answer, except to suggest that it might be how I attached my quiver to the tailpiece.

Now I can give them a technical answer.
I like to get a good lopk of about 30% on my bow. Of course the best lopk will vary between German and French bows because it's all about ease of bow retrieval when it's time for an arco solo.

The tractor and the ant.

Jim was a tractor driver. He owned his own tractor and did contract work.

His tractor had a digger thingy at the front, like a bulldozer. His machine wasn't really big enough to do big commercial jobs so he tended to work on farms or do cash jobs for individuals who wanted a driveway tidied up or topsoil spread for a lawn.

Jim had a sign outside his house that read, "Digger tractor and driver available for hire. No job too small. 0275566832." He also ran adds in a few community newspapers. The sign didn't mention that 0275566832 was a mobile phone number because Jim reasoned that anyone who really wanted to contact him was capable of working that out. The people who rang him, and there were quite a few, had obviously understood. Sometimes Jim wondered how much business he lost because the sign didn't contain the word Mobile. Often, as he was out shifting dirt somewhere or digging away at a bank, he would think about this. Really there was no way he could ever know. If he changed the sign would the number of phone calls double or triple? He didn't think so. Probably it would only make a small difference; but he found that he couldn't stop wondering. There wasn't room on the sign to simply add the word Mobile - the series of numbers went from one side of the sign to the other. There wasn't room above either. The only available space was below the numbers but then the sign would read 0275566832 Mobile. That could make it look like the numbers represented something else and that the mobile number (after the word mobile) had somehow come off or disappeared. Not good business practice to cause confusion on an advertising sign. Jim had had the sign made by a signwriter and it had not been cheap, so he was reluctant to have a new sign made. It had also been a tricky job erecting the sign and he had almost lost his temper more than once. Okay, he could change the newspaper ads, but he liked the fact that all the ads were the same in their wording. Jim liked it when things were even. Jim was a guy who felt good when there was an order to things, even if he was the only person who could appreciate that order.

Jim started to notice that he was spending too much time thinking about the sign. One day, while moving a pile of shingle and spreading it on a spot where a man had decided to park his second car, Jim realised that he would have to deal with the sign issue once and for all. That evening, after a dinner that was preceeded by a few beers, Jim brought up the internet on his computer. His biggest problem was how to decide where to look. 
He typed in signs and lots of pictures of signs came up.

Jim studied the signs and decided that some were probably designed to be humorous.
No help there.
He found Wikipedia articles on different conditions that people suffered from. He got onto mental conditions.
He decided that he probably wasn't suffering from Schizophrenia or ADHD.
He tried to find advertisements that featured phone numbers. Most ads included a phone number and a mobile number. Both were labelled. 
Not looking good.
Then he found a Youtube clip by an American guy who preached that you can choose your thoughts.
Jim had a pee and went to bed. He woke in the night and thought some more about the Youtube clip.
Okay, all he need to do was replace his thought with something else.
What was his problem? He needed to forget about the fact that the word mobile was not on his sign.
A little problem really because he had enough work and generally life was good.
A little problem.
Like an ant.

Then Jim had an idea.
Whenever he had a thought about his sign and the missing word, he would simply think of an ant.
Thinking of this little creature would distract him and might also remind him of how little the problem with the sign really was.

Many years passed and thoughts of the sign faded. Eventually Jim sold the tractor and took on a job as a bus driver, working only day shifts. He took the sign down and stored it in his garage. Soon, like many objects that are carefully placed in a garage or shed, it was virtually lost to the world. 
An ant somewhere in its nest.
Existing but of no concern.