martedì 24 ottobre 2017

So Robert has a snare drum.

I heard it on his post.

I'm sitting at my computer, with coffee, this morning.

He taunts me with...
RBB has developed video technology.
I must keep ahead or be overwhelmed.
What if I use his new found technology and use windows Movie Maker to edit it.
It's a race for expression.

Okay, he's taken my playing (this solo) and distorted it,


but I really only hear one thing on his video...


Curse the person who sold him that!

It's a challenge.
What can I do?

I turn around and head towards my back room.
Hey, what's that?

60s/70s Premier Jazz drum kit.


Your move Robert.


lunedì 23 ottobre 2017

Labour Day.

If today wasn't Labour Day I'd be working at NLHS, so thanks to all those women who made this holiday possible.

I haven't really got anything to tell you this morning. I deleted yesterday's post because I didn't really like it, but now I'm sitting here with nothing to say. 

There's always the video camera though.

Here's a little video I made the other day called 'Back scratcher takes a walk''.
Sit back and enjoy.


And here's something Robert will like...

domenica 22 ottobre 2017

Recording Test Run.

Just fooling around here (yesterday) with the chords to Manhã de Carnaval, more comonly known as the theme from Black Orpheus.


That's my Jim Dandy parlour guitar.

sabato 21 ottobre 2017


Oggi io parlo con Antonio al Skype. Questo è un rituale di sabato. 
Io chiederò, "Secondo te cosa... ?" o "Qual è il tuo piano per il weekend?"

It's cool for Italians to use the word weekend instead on fine settimana.

Questa settimana ho lavorato per due giorni alla mia vecchia scuola e sto dipingendo la casa. Mia casa. E` stata una settimana occupata.

Chalk boards are a thing of the past.
Yesterday I took a class in the woodword room, though it's not called woodwork anymore. The class was called Design and Technology, or something like that. Basically it was woodwork with a bit of cardboardwork thrown in. There are some big saws in that room and I had to use them - very carefully! Missing fingers don't go well with my string instruments.

Though this guy got by.
I'm back in the woodwork room for two days next week.

mercoledì 18 ottobre 2017

The new fridge - it's a cold job but some appliance has to do it.

I'm going to share something that has happened in our household. Before you judge us for our stupidity or lack of planning please remember that none of us is perfect. 'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.'
A little while ago we had to replace our aging fridge. It is always sad to lose a member of your kitchen appliance team, but no modern whiteware lasts forever. It's called built in obsolescence and I guess it was 'built in' to give newer whiteware a chance to experience being in a kitchen. Fair enough. We (my girlfriend and I) decided basically what we wanted in a fridge and headed out shopping. It didn't take too long to find something that seemed to fit our needs - I was careful to measure it to make sure that it would fit into our kitchen 'reserved for fridge' space. I had it all covered; or so I thought. Two guys came and installed the fridge into our small kitchen. Installing a fridge, once you've moved it to the designated spot is not too complicated. What the installer has to do is pick up the power plug (on the end of a cord that is attached to the fridge), push it into the three little holes in the wall and push the switch on the wall down. These guys knew what they were doing. Soon the fridge purred into action and the two technicians left.

In our kitchen the fridge is the closest appliance to the door and could look over the dishwasher and out a kitchen window, if it had eyes. The sink is next to the dishwasher and to the left of the sink is a bit of bench space that follows the room around to the left, over some cupboards before making another left turn and meeting the cooker. We now pass the microwave and, hey presto, we have done a complete circuit of this little kitchen and are back at the fridge. Okay, let's pretend I'm cooking dinner. I can stand in the middle of our kitchen and touch each appliance and facility (sink, drawers and cupboards). So far so good. I'll begin to make a curry in this example. First thing I take the heavy casserole pot that is sitting near the electric elements above the oven. I like to bake my curries. I remove the lid and take the olive oil from the cupboard under the miccowave. I swing around and grab a cutting board that is sitting on a drying rack just to the right of the sink and above the dishwasher. The onions are stored in a basket to the left of the sink. I choose one and go to the third drawer below the bench between the sink and the onion basket. I take out my big sharp cutting knife. It's a beauty - made in Germany. I peel and chop up the onion and put it and some oil into the casserole pot. If you're a curry fan and are wondering where the spices are, don't worry they're coming last. First of all I'll need some chicken from the fridge. Our new fridge that seems to be running perfectly. I open the top door that lets me into the cooler compartment and not the freezer compartment. No I don't. This is where things start to go wrong. Okay, we all have problems in life - some bigger, some smaller. This fridge stands quite tall (1655mm - that's just over 165cm) but to some of you what I am about to share might not seem as big as some of the problems you have faced in your lives. I just ask you to remember, before you judge the size of the problem I am about to explain, that everything is relevant.
The door doesn't open and then I remember why - don't forget that I loaded food into this fridge, it didn't come with food included. No big problem though because I still had the food that was in our old fridge. We won't starve.
The door won't open because it opens from the other side.
Okay, okay, really this is a problem that we could live with. It is a little inconvenient and will definitely add to cooking times and movement around the kitchen. It also gives us a built in frustration factor. It was easy to discover that the fridge is designed so that the door can be changed over. I went back to the fridge shop (that also sells lots of other things but my focus was on fridges) and asked if I could get a door directional changing kit. The nice lady said that for $145 they could get one and the two technicians could come back and do the change over. Since they had been so capable with the initial installing I decided to go with that rather than attempting to do the job myself. Time has passed, a longer time than it takes to get double bass strings from the USA or to make an appointment and get a bow rehaired, an still no word.
The upside is that we're getting better at opening the fridge at a funny angle. The down side is that, if it takes much longer, we'll have to relearn opening from the easier angle.
Well, there's our story. I do wonder if all fridges are initially built to open from left to right or, if we had thought to ask, they had right to left ones in the shop (obviously as well as other things for sale, but we've been through that). If they don't this seems to discriminate against small kitchens that have their 'reserved for fridge' space by the door and facing the dishwasher that is just below a window that the fridge could look through if it had eyes.

martedì 17 ottobre 2017

Have paint, will cover.

I just had a beer and not a wine because, unlike my older friend The Curmudgeon, I've been doing men's work today.

First coat - the windows took forever.
This is the next wall I need to finish.

Just needs two more coats.

Here's a part I finished a little while back.

Complete with flag.

The hardest part will probably be the high strip along the top.

It's pretty bloody high!
The back of the house will be the final task (3 walls).

At least the top bits are clean now.


Buongiorno a tutti i lettori di questo blog.
Oggi è nuvoloso ma non piove.
Che significa una cosa - dipingere.
Dipingere la casa.

Thinks, "Richard (of RBB)'s painting his white."
Water based paint today, questo è maledettamente certo!

I guess The Curmudgeon won't have much time to paint, not now that he's got three blogs to maintain:
  • The Curmudgeon
  • The Curmudgeon Express
  • The Cultured Curmudgeon.
It'll be interesting to see if any get updated today. In theory The Curmudgeon Express is the easiest to update because in is supposed to contain short (quick) posts. Don't expect to hear much from The Wine Guy in tnhe coming weeks.

lunedì 16 ottobre 2017

Man at Work.

Okay, there are a lot of jobs needing to be done in and around our house. 
I have a brother, Robert, who seems to be able to fix and build anything - just like my dad.
With me it's different. Basically I win some and I lose some.
When I attempt handyman work I'm like a gambler.

"What are the odds today?"

This is particularly true when it comes to house painting because I don't do heights well.
With this fact in mind, I got a young painter in to do the worst two sides of our house. He gave us a rough quote and said it would take about two weeks. He started on New Year's Day. In August, while what he had done was very thorough, the job was over budget and still quite a way from being finished. He suffers from mental illness, so I can relate to his plight. I told him that, since I had now retired, I couldn't afford to keep throwing money at those two walls. He went off and got a full time painting job. Two months later he has not been to collect his gear - I should charge him storage, but hey.
Today I kicked off on tackling the high bits of the house. I used a ploy that I 'invented' last time painting was required. I use scrapers, sand paper and paint brushes on poles.

This works pretty well, but doesn't totally rule out the need for occasionally going up a ladder.
I have a lot of stuff in my shed, so I decided to search for a primer rather than buying one. This, I must add, happened after the prep work was done - not an easy job.
We are painting our house white. The old colour was a sort of grape colour. The job started pretty well as I applied the primer to the area up near the gutter on one wall. 
I guess, like a gambler, I got a bit over confident with my hand.

Hey, that's a lady holding those cards!
I remembered that, around by the outside table out the back, there was an exposed bit of wood. Maybe I should prime that too?


I used my paint roller thingy on a big long pole to paint something that was about a mitre metre from the ground. The pole was awkward at that height and hard to control. I got big white blobs where the paint was still grape coloured. I attacked the area with watery cloths.
No luck, just a bigger mess. I knew Shelley would probably not appreciate the aesthetics.

An example of bad aesthetics.

Eventually the planned painting job was finished and I went to wash the brushes in water.

No luck.

I found the paint tin and read it, this time wearing my glasses.

It was oil based!

I attacked the grape coloured wall with turps - fortunately I'd bought a few bottles some time in the past, probably when I needed meths - I always get the two confused.*
Eventually the wall was cleaned.
Then I attacked the brushes. My mission was to leave as little mess as possible.
I sort of succeeded. 

Suddenly relief teaching at schools seems quite attractive.

* please note that I don't use meths as a drink and have never started a P lab - with drinks clearskin wines are about as low as I go


School is back, but I'm not.
That is good.
I'll continue preparing the high parts of our house for painting today.

I'm talking about the white bit up near the spouting.
The white bits around the fromt are high and need treatment with a wire brush. I'll be using a wire brush on a long pole because I don't like being up that high.

Yesterday's jam was a little slow to start. A man turned up who played flaminco, so I played with him. Another violinist turned up too. All good fun, though flamenco tunes get a bit the same after a while.

Me chatting with the other violinist in a break.
I came home to see that The Curmudgeon Express had been updated and TC had left a message on my last post saying that I wouldn't like the 'them'. I finally worked out what he meant.

For example, the 'them' here is an old train.
I think the poor old chap spent too long in Yorkshire and it has effected his grammar.

"E by gum like, I be
needing a them for this
here post."
Double bass practice needed today, so I'll be off.
Enjoy your Monday and I hope you find a way not to have to go up a high ladder.

"This 'them' is certainly about height!"

domenica 15 ottobre 2017

If you were wondering when The Curmudgeon Express was last updated...

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hardly an Express!

Jam day.

No humour seekers, I not talking about this stuff.

I'm talking about when a group of musicians get together to play unrehearsed music and some people choose stuff that they know and the rest have to follow along.

I was invited as a double bass player. The jam is in a garden, on a little stage, that may or may not be protected from the sun / rain and the location is up a fairly long and steep path. Taking a double bass to a jam like this is a mistake.

  1. You'll have a heavy amp and a big bass to carry up a steep path.
  2. No one is going to leave a convenient park for you down on the street.
  3. There's going to be a bass guitar at the gig which could mean that your double bass is not really needed.
  4. People trip over double basses that are left on or near the stage.
  5. Double basses don't like sun or rain.
  6. When you get to play, you'll be mostly backing others who are having all the fun playing solos.
So I'll be taking Signora Violina and Jim Dandy.

So, what will they be playing?
I'd suspect there could be a few jazz standards, some blues and some flamenco influenced music.
Will there be charts? (music you can read with chord symbols)
There might be and, there again, there might not be.
I can solo on my two instruments of choice without really knowing the tunes - one can always sit out if the tune called is too freaky (hard to play over). I might be required to play some bass guitar. Playing guitar chords or a bass line are two things that are the most challenging if you don't know the tune (chord changes really).
This jam, at the moment, is like a blank canvas.
Should be fun.

sabato 14 ottobre 2017

Model train guys, Tai Chi and how easily signs can be misread.

I went with Shelley to a Tai Chi event in Johnsonville this afternoon.
There were various events happening in the Community Centre complex.
We had trouble finding 'the hall' where the Tai Chi was on.
I noticed this sign, that I thought might help.

Shelley read it as, "Holland Trust Room." Evidently Tai Chi does nothing for your vision.
I got her there in plenty of time and sat back and relaxed while everyone else practised Tai Chi.
Next door there was a model train committee meeting. I kid you not - every guy who turned up looked like a character from a Larson cartoon. 

They kept turning up at the hall because, like Shelley, they couldn't find their designated room. 
They were so easy to spot as model train enthusiasts.

There we have it.
The Curmudgeon and Robert will be doing their Saturday evening posts soon, so watch out for a few sparks.


venerdì 13 ottobre 2017

Grey Old Day in Y nu eh.

Grey old day in Y nu eh,
Just done guitar practice,
Good to have a play,
Ran through many factors.

Pick and chords and melody,
That will be a hard word to rhyme,
I think I'll make a curry for tea,
I make them all the time.

Never been a huge fan of poetry,
When the rhyme takes precedence,
Will people have a go at me,
If I need to mention US presidents?

Not getting to say what's on my mind,
Though not the first time,
Because ev'ry rhyme I've got to find,
Apple, pear, orange and lime.

Now I'm getting desperate,
To wrap up this trite verse,
I'll try in the best spirit,
To end this poetic curse.

I don't think the words precedence and presidents really qualify as a proper rhyme, but who gives a proverbial?

I usually get bored reading poems. Maybe I need to work on that? I mean the reading of them, not the writing!

It's a windy, bleak day here today. I've been working on cleaning the outside of our modest little castle but have decided to take today off and knock off some practice on my three instruments. It's a pretty tough job - cleaning the house.

Here's a sample of my work.
Before I started that down pipe and the white bits at the top looked black. I got soaked cleaning this. I also cleaned the spouting at the back of the house - not an easy job, questo è maledettamente certo!

I'm going to a jam on Sunday. I was asked to bring my double bass, but it's an outside jam and there will be a bass guitar available there, so I'm taking my violin and my guitar. The double bass, because of its size and ability to be knocked over or exposed to the sun (normally not a reality in Wellington), is not a good instrument to take to a jam like this. 

Well, that about wraps up my thoughts for today. Time for some violin practice.

mercoledì 11 ottobre 2017

Aunty reacts to The Curmudgeon's comment on my last post.

"I rate this post 1 star - Avoid.
It lacks interest kind of like most savings banks today, is poorly researched, is biased which suggests corruption, is dishonest and is frankly mean." said The Curmudgeon.

Aunty was still laughing when I helped 
her into the car.
I'm glad she was wearing a nappy.
I thought I was being generous giving The Curmudgeon 3 stars.
You just can't please some people.

How to write a blog.

I've just done my morning round of the blogs. I check on who has posted (recently) and whether or not their posting is interesting.
This morning I looked at four blogs:
  • Robert (the blog with the continuously changing name)
  • Bin's Bass Bag
  • The Curmudgeon
  • Angry Jesus.
There are other blogs I check out regularly, like The Wine Guy, RBB2 & RBB3, but this morning I'll just look at these four. I've given each blog a star rating.

1) Robert's Blog.

It's current name is 'time to sleep' but that will undoubtedly change. There is only one post as the rest have been deleted. The post is made up of a poem about sleep. It's not long enough to put you to sleep - there are just four lines. It's probably just a throw away post, to get something up before going to bed. That shows commitment to blogging but can't really be classified as a good read. 

3 stars: * * *

2) Bin's Bass Bag.

This is not what I'd call a substance blog. I think Bin is trying to attract more readers and some of the posts seem like he's putting out feelers. I think Bin needs to settle on a style, maybe he could write more about Bahrain? Nice set out though and full marks for trying.

4 stars: * * * *

3) The Curmudgeon.

Let me say firstly that there have definitely been some highlights, like the storm up north that was so bad it blew an outside chair over and the time the old boy upset a pregnant barmaid, but the down side is too much scenery and shots of things like windows. His latest effort, let's call it the trolley bus post, is based around a comparison joke and then tells us that the Wellington trolley buses are being taken out of commission. The population of this country is heading towards five million, most people would have already got this news from another source. Let's hope that there's another storm up north soon.

3 stars: * * * (just)

4) Angry Jesus.

Okay, he can be a bit short tempered but, this is a man (and member of the Holy Trinity) on a mission. If you want to know how to get into Heaven Angry Jesus is your man. Quite a few people go to this blog for advice and an answer is always forthcoming. Angry Jesus certainly is not afraid to tell it like it is. A vital read.

5 stars: * * * * *

martedì 10 ottobre 2017

Lucille Ball was a big fan of Richard's Bass Bag.*

Lucille says, "Are Richard of Richard's Bass Bag*?"

* the original bass bagging site

sabato 7 ottobre 2017

Saturday Morning Live at Richard's Bass Bag.*

Richard (of RBB): Welcome back to the bag and it's great to be hosting another Saturday Morning Live. I have two very special guests back today.
Our first guest is in charge of just about everything and his fans adore him. Please welcome Angry Jesus!


Angry Jesus: I hate it when I'm in a shop and the salesperson says to me 'no worries'.
Richard (of RBB): Okay Angry Jesus, maybe we'll have time to talk about what people say today. Our next guest needs no introduction. Please welcome Bin Hire!


Bin Hire: Hi everyone. It's great to be back on the show. How was your trip up north Richard (of RBB)?
Richard (of RBB): It was good thanks Bin, the gig in Rotorua went really well.
Bin Hire: How did the French bow stack up against the German?
Richard (of RBB): Well the sound on stage was quite loud, so I've got to say that the German cut through better, but the French bow certainly offers a nice gently change in timbre.
Angry Jesus: Do you mean the timber it's made out of?
Richard (of RBB): No t-a-m-b-r-a [Richard (of RBB) pronounces it slowly] is the sound that something makes, like how a trumpet sounds different from a guitar.
Angry Jesus: [sounds a bit angry] I know that, it was an old joke.
Bin Hire: Very funny AJ, you had me fooled too.
Angry Jesus: [a little calmer] That's not hard. So what are we talking about today?
Richard (of RBB): I thought we could start with the topic of evolution verses creationism. It has been a popular topic around the blogs lately.
Angry Jesus: Okay, that's an easy one. Dad made everything in seven days. There is no evolution. End of topic.
Bin Hire: Were you there when he made everything?
Angry Jesus: Yeah, I've always been there. I'm a member of the Holy Trinity, Dad, Mum and yours truely.
Bin Hire: Then why do you call them Dad and Mum, I heard the capital letters in your timbre, that implies that you were born?
Angry Jesus: It's just a reference thing for you lot, to help you get a basic grasp of our relationship. We don't really trust your intelligence. Basically Dad just went in and, bam, He made everything. Me and Mum watched and clapped.
Richard (of RBB): So, for eternity, the three of you were sitting around being gods and then you decided to make our planet?
Angry Jesus: Well, it wasn't the first time. Dad has a bit of a tendency to blat things when they don't work out. Sort of like a kid kicking his toys over.
Richard (of RBB): So Adam and Eve were real people?
Angry Jesus: Yeah. Adam, what a dick!
Bin Hire: Talking about dicks, Adam and Eve would have been the first people to have sex, since you're not really a son. Who came up with the idea?
Angry Jesus: We had experimented with how to make our subjects reproduce with previous worlds, before Dad got upset and blatted them. We're still having a few teething problems. The official word from Dad is it doesn't really matter who you fancy, just go for it. We didn't quite get the who you should be attracted to thing sorted. No probs really though. There are enough people reproducing.
Richard (of RBB): Can we talk about Noah's Ark?
Angry Jesus: Can I just interrupt you there? The fact that Noah got all those animals onto the boat, and they were already in their final form, sort of disproves evolution.
Bin Hire: Not really, because evolution would have started a long time before Noah built his ark.
Angry Jesus: Look, I'm here, a member of the bloody Holy Trinity, touch me! I'm real! People always say, if God is real, why doesn't he appear on TV or something? Well, here I bloody well am. I am who bloody am! That's the bloody word!
I know, I know, next you're going to ask how Noah gathered up animals from Australia and the South Pole. Well, most of those animals could swim and they carried others on their backs. It was that bloody easy!
Richard (of RBB): Okay, things are not looking that hot for evolution. Let's move onto another subject. What are the phrases you hear that you hate the most?
Angry Jesus: No worries.
Bin Hire: Not too bad.
Richard (of RBB): Okay, well there you go. That's all we have time for today. I'd like to thank my two guests. Have a good weekend and, whatever your instrument is, please get your practice done. Ciao.

[moderately enthusiastic clapping]

* the original bass bagging site

venerdì 6 ottobre 2017

Welcome home Richard of Richard's Bag.*

It has been a busy six days. Shelley and I headed off last Saturday to my gig in Rotorua.

On Sunday I played at the Rototua Jazz club. As is often the case in jazz, the band had one rehearsal but the boys (and singer Bridget) were all in fine form and we pulled off a really good gig. The crowd was happy. I found a bit of room for some arco solos.

I used the German bow for this one.

On Monday morning (after a few celebratory wines the night before) we headed off to Tauranga to catch up with some old friends.

Not these chaps, this picture was taken
a little later.

We drove into the hills to the south east of Tauranga and spend some time catching up with old friends Christine and Neale. Then it was on to Tauranga for a couple of nights. We had dinner with Sandra and David at a restaurant called Mamma Mia - nice food.

Now one thing you have to understand about Shelley is that she doesn't like travelling in straight lines, so we came home via New Plymouth, where we stayed a night.
The up side of this is that I was able to see this iconic statue.

Disco dancing man with a ball.
It was a big trip for La Gloria and she spent quite a lot of time sleeping in the car. She was lucky that she had her own bed in Rotorua.

La Gloria in sleeping bass bag.

* the original bass bagging site

sabato 30 settembre 2017

Off to Rotorua today.


Both bows are packed.

Both German and French will feature
in the Rotorua gig.
We will travel in the Batmobile.

Angey Jesus and his assistant The Curmudgeon are in charge while I'm away.

Angry Jesus
The Curmudgeon