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March 2017



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phil ochs troubador

Kris Kristofferson continues to thwart me.

It's these damned E7s.

In other news, still no appreciable lack of suck on my Bmaj. I have in fact commenced to cheat, and just not strum the bottom two strings, but I really need to suck it up and practice the barre. Alas, wah, don't wanna.

I might get the truck back today or tomorrow, if I am lucky, which would mean I could hit the gym over the weekend, which would be good, because weights would help my shoulder and I want to go a few rounds with the heavy bag. Also, if I don't start working out again pronto I'm going to start dropping muscle mass, and we hate that.

And I am supposed to write my column for the next Subterranean this week. I should do my Storytellersunplugged column too, before I have to write the novella. And the short story.

Of course, I got bupkiss.

There is nothing left in the barrel but marmite, folks.

Suddenly, I'm in the position of turning down work because I just don't have time to do it. This is, I have to say, not a problem I ever expected to have. It is a nice problem to have: I'm not complaining. It's just requiring some careful prioritizing.

Theoretically, I suppose, I could find time to do more than I do. But I suspect that quality would start dropping, and I don't want to be That Guy. I mean, I am willing to work my ass off. I do pretty much work my ass off.

But I need an hour a day at the gym and an hour a day on the guitar, and time to read (research) and keep up with the online community and see friends. And I need to refill the well, lest I start writing the same book over and over and over and over.... and deadlines and unfinished work make me very anxious, frankly, so I have a tendency to work until things are done. Which means that I never stop working, and....

Also, I'm terrified that if I just started throwing schlock at the wall, it would sell better than the stuff I put my heart and soul into, and there's no way out of that situation except on the end of a gun. 

So if I seem to be dropping a lot of email correspondences and failing to return a lot of phone calls lately, I'm sorry. It's mental energy I just do not currently have. It's not that I don't like people, but I'm really a terrible introvert, and I find communication with anybody who's not a close friend incredibly tiring.

Maybe I'll finish reading Watership Down today.

At least it's archery night. That's something non brain-strainy to look forward to.

Meanwhile, back to getting my ass kicked by Mr. Kristofferson.


E7 why? Are you playing something other than the basic two-finger easy version of E7?
You and your sissy cheater chords. *g*
I remember how much barre chords hurt when I was learning. Why do one if you don't have to, unless you need it up an octave?
Because the complete chord sounds fuller. And why do something half-assed when you can learn to do it right?

Kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

E7's not a barre, anyway. It just requires training my hand to get itself into that shape without having to stop and stare at it.
Actually, I never knew there WAS a barre E7. I've only ever heard reference to the two-finger version. Probably because it is such a ubiquitous chord in certain "easy" songs...

As for the barres, a GREAT guitarist of my acquaintance had to point something out to me once, and I don't know if it naturally occurs to anyone else: When playing a barre, don't "bar" between the two frets in question. Put your finger down ACROSS THE FRET ITSELF. It gives you the sound you're looking for and makes the rest of the fingering HELLA easier. Of course, he told me this several months after I had last put down a guitar, so it never helped me much. Hope it helps you!
There is no barre E7 AFAIK.

There's the two-finger version, and the four-finger version. It's four-finger version that's kicking my ass.

But since the point of the exercise is the learning...

The "correct" version of Bmaj is the barre. (I have mostly mastered the barre Fmaj, which is only two strings, but it's a start, dammit.)
God, I wish I had time to learn guitar. I blew off the bookkeeper to make time for writing. At lest she says our records are pristine, so I don't have to bug.

I used to have awesome callouses and a nice guitar to buff them on. Now I have soft writer's hands and a shitty strat knockoff that is going out of tune for lack of playing.

Oh, Powerball! Take me away!
An alternate cheat you can try with the barre chords (instead of just not strumming the bottom strings) is to just mute your bottom strings. Just don't press hard enough for the bottom ones. Then you don't have to get fancy with your strumming.

You'll click with the barre eventually.
It is the considered opinion of a good many people in this town that Kristofferson went out of his way to be an SOB sometimes. I'm not sure it was his chord choices that led them to that conclusion, though.

I feel you on the brain death, though. For the past couple of weeks I've been feeling like one of our claimant reviews "Can handle detailed and complex tasks but will have marked difficulty interacting with the general public and co-workers. Can accept supervision with only occasional difficulty, and will have difficulty maintaining attention and concentration at times. During periods of increased mental signs and symptoms, may have difficulty maintaining acceptable standards of production."

However, I'm still remembering to bathe regularly and can get my clothes on in the correct order, so I'm meeting the basic standards of neatness and cleanliness.
You have me beat.

I bathed this morning, and then put my pajamas back on. *g*
I wish.
But I had to leave the house and be around people other than the cats. Some of my co-workers get a little weird about things like working in your nighty.
Maybe I'll finish reading Watership Down today.

Is this your first reading, or a re-read? I'm curious whether you are enjoying it or not.
It's my 26th re-read.
Another lover of Watership Down - I've got two copies of the book. My first copy, which no longer has a cover, and which is now almost thirty years old. The second copy is for when the first copy finally falls apart.
*g* I think I'm on my third copy.

It's my #1 comfort book.
Never give up the hour at the gym or the hour at the guitar unless something just as cathargic but better comes along.

you rock and don't be terrified: there is no need to loose your integrity and write schlock to get it to sell better.
I find communication with anybody who's not a close friend incredibly tiring.

I'm such an introvert that by these standards, my only close friend is my husband.

I finished Carnival yesterday and was so happy. Being Angelo and Vincent I don't suppose they'll live happily ever after, but at least they get the chance. I liked them both immensely. Found POV very interesting in this book. I found it difficult to tell who was which when they were speaking to each other, but their POVs were quite distinct. Hmm. I can't really put into words what is in my head about this. Anyway. I've recommended it to Jordin.


You are my favorite person today, because you are the first person to catch onto my clever trick.

They're an OMC. When they talk to each other, they slide into each other's metaphors.

So Angelo gets less terse, and Vincent gets more so, and Vincent gets more visual, and Angelo gets more kinesthetic. It's not absolute, of course, but--I wanted it obvious that they were speaking shorthand and finishing each other's thoughts.

That took *days* of fussing. And I'd been thinking it was a mistake, because all I heard from a few readers was "I can't tell the POVs apart." (Not that the fact that they refer to Angelo by different NAMES would be a clue, or that Angelo uses art metaphors for everything, or...)

Ahem. *g*

You know, I did wonder if the similarity was based on them having been together for a long time. My brain has been nibbling away on POV lately in that annoying non-verbal way it has.

It makes me ridiculously happy to have seen this and that it pleases you.

Perhaps this makes up for the fact that the 829 words I pulled out with pliers on Tuesday are completely the wrong thing for the characters to do and are going to have to come out. Though it's an idea I'll have to rmember for another time.

Try it with a capo? The Bmaj gets slightly easier further up the fretboard.

Still a pain in the ass, though. I've been playing for more'n ten years and my Bmaj barres still buzz if I don't concentrate.
*g* I'm way too intimidated by capos, currently.

Have some Ukelele.


Keep at it. Self-time is so SO very important.
Heads off to assemble the motorized treadmill in the basement.
There is nothing left in the barrel but marmite, folks.

It could be worse, you know. There could be nothing left in the barrel but surströmming (aka sour fermented herring, aka "Well, it's spring and there's nothing left in the fish barrel but this crap -- let's douse it with onions, potatoes and sour cream and call it a Swedish delicacy!").