Playing Music Live

The Recording King

I have not been playing out much.  My last show was January 2011.  But last weekend my friends the Treurs had a party and my friend Lucas I and set up our stuff in their living room and busted out a few folk ditties and I had a really nice time.  So I think it is time to book some acoustic shows.  As soon as my leg heals that is.

Also, let it be known that I bought a new guitar this week.  In preparation for camping season, I have been on the lookout for a cheap guitar that I do not have to worry about.  Right now, all I have is my beloved Martin and I do not want to put her in harms way.  So this past weekend I went to Lightning Joes Guitar Heaven in Arroyo Grande, and while Lucas was putting an acoustic PA through its paces (which he eventually bought), I hobbled to the upstairs room where they keep all their cheap acoustics.  Unfortunately, most of them had very old strings on them and sounded dreadful so I did not get one.  Undeterred, and with my singular sense of purpose still intact, I went to Blue Note Music in SLO on Monday and checked out their stock of cheap acoustics.  They didn’t have many, but at least the strings were fairly new and they sounded decent.  They had a line called “Recording King” that I had also checked out at Lightning Joes.  One particular guitar spoke to me, a simple dreadnaught with a solid spruce top and plywood back and sides.  So I bought it.  $249 plus tax.  I have been playing the hell out of it.  Now that I have one, I realize that it is essential to have a cheap guitar lying around the house, one that you don’t have to worry about the kids knocking over or about the sun beating down upon or about getting mango juice on the strings.

I once heard Robert Earl Keen say that it is important to have several guitars, because they all have different songs inside of them.  Granted, if you are Robert Earl Keen then the vast majority of them are probably very nice guitars, and if I were a rich man or a famous Texas troubadour I would surround myself with very very nice guitars.  Alas, I am a pauper and an unknown California troubadour, so plywood will have to suffice. 

Sure enough, last night I unlocked a song from inside my new guitar.  It is about crutches.  If I can spend $250 on a new guitar AND a get a good new song out of the deal, then let the guitar collecting commence…

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A Crashed Hard Drive

Something far more terrible than the tale of my broken/sprained foot happened about a month ago:  The hard drive in my fancy schmancy new iMac that was barely one year old crashed and burned.  I had been working the night before on a song and came in the next morning to hear the most dreadful sound emanating from my beloved machine.

That afternoon I took my computer into the local Apple store.  The good news is the customer service was fantastic.  The bad news is my hard drive was shot.

I was a complete dumbshit and have no one but myself to blame for what I lost.  I have an external hard drive but I had not backed up my computer for a couple months.  During those two months I had created three AMAZING new songs that were lost forever when my hard drive crashed.  Well, not forever exactly.  I had the good fortune of having put them on a CD to listen to.  But they were not quite finished yet.  They were all about 90% complete.  But that is going to have to suffice. 

Apparently, there is a company you can send your crashed hard drive to and they can recover almost anything.  But it is costly.  So I am not going to do it.  Besides, songs that are 90% complete fit right in with my lo-fi ethos.

Moral of the story:  Back your computer up!!  this was heartbreaking and totally preventable.

And now for the broken bone part…

Batman and Diego

A couple months ago I signed up for a 35+ soccer league.  Foreshadowing!!!!  I have been doing a lot of yoga and trail running these days and that can get very very boring.  But it also keeps me out of trouble.  However,  I wanted to do something that involved playing a game and running with abandon.  I had not played a soccer game for several years and, sure enough, after that first game six weeks ago, I felt destroyed.  Not to be deterred, I showed up the next week and strained my achilles tendon so badly that I could not walk for a few days.  Not to be deterred, I showed up for the next couple games as well.  But I had wizened in my old age so i played goalie and kept out of trouble.  Then came the last game of the season.  I was rested and ready.  Five minutes into the game I severely twisted my ankle on a sprinkler head.  I heard a wicked crack.  But i could still walk.  Hell, I could still RUN.  So I did.  For the rest of the first half.  Then, at halftime, I realized that something very bad had happened.  Actually, I knew when it happened that something very bad had happened, but denial is powerful.

So today I sit, 6 days after said accident, with a sprained ankle and a broken tibia.

It has not been all that bad. Sometimes we need to just chill the fuck out, and some of us only do it if we are involuntarily hobbled. Recently, I had been considering going on strike as a parent, just shutting down and letting my 3 and 5 year old fend for themselves. With my new injury I get to do that, but in a far more dignified manner.

I am on crutches. And Vicodin. Life is good.

Perhaps the bst thing to come out of my injury has been my voracious reading appetite. When something like this happens, the best antidote is a great book. I had begun Freedom by Jonathan Franzen a week or so before my accident and once i was couch-bound I devoured the rest of it. I just finished it last night and it ranks up there with the very best things I have every read. In fact, I am so smitten with Mr. Franzen that I immediately started The Corrections last night as soon as I had finished Freedom.

I must say that my kids have been great since my accident.  they have been getting along with each other better and fighting less.  They have actually been HELPING with things.   I am seriously considering feigning a broken foot for the next 9 or 10 years.

Broken Bones and Tent Trailers

New Tent Trailer

Yes, there is  reason broken bones and tent trailers have been on my mind.  The reason is because I have both.  The tent trailer came first.  It was a Saturday morning and my son Diego walked in while I was still in bed and asked if we could go camping that night.  I had no good excuse to get out of it so I said we would.  However, I was dreading it because about two months earlier I had sworn off tent camping after one particularly disastrous night at Lake Cachuma with the family.  Well, it wasn’t exactly disastrous.  It was just cold and windy and miserable and my wife and I finally reached the “I’m getting too old for this shit” point. 

We have been looking at tent trailers on Craigslist for a couple years now, but there was never a good time to pull the trigger.  But about 2 hours after my son asked if we could go camping we were in someones garage in Atascadero looking at a used tent trailer and about an hour after that we were driving away with it.  About three hours after that we were camping in it out at Morro Bay.  Hows that for proactive!

A blogging crisis!!

I have three blogs going right now.  I have this blog, which is supposed to be about music and my recording experiences.  I have a second blog about finances, which I started in the beginning of 2011 when I realized that I had a mountain of debt to dig out of, and I have a third blog about real estate.  I have barely written in this blog recently and I have barely written anything on the financial blog.  I have been doing OK with the real estate blog, but it is the least exciting one to write.  If you want to read an exciting real estate blog, check out my friend’s delightfully snarky blog about celebrity real estate http://www.realestalker.blogspot.com/    I highly suggest you bookmark it and visit it on a daily basis as it is worth at least one good guffaw per day. 

So, my dilemma is that I have too many blogs about very specific things.  The financial blog was great when I was obsessed about getting out of debt, but once my obsession waned I had little desire to keep writing about money.  The music blog occurs in fits and starts as well and, even if I am doing something involving music, I don’t necessarily want to write about it.  In fact, I am amazed at the discipline of the daily (or weekly) blogger.

So, I have come to the conclusion that it is time to morph all blogs into one, except for the real estate blog.  I will keep El Rey De Lo Fi as my main blog and it will be a catch all for whatever I, Derek Senn the human being,  feel like writing about.  Tent trailers, broken bones, debt, music, hangovers, kids, etc.  It is all fair game.  I will do my best to categorize the entries.  OK, here we go!!!