Note my dad got the rabbit ears in the pic. Awesome!
I just had a benign tumor removed from my neck.
I guess the thing has been growing in there for quite a while (years) because it was huge. And that was the doc’s opinion, who has made a career out of these things. As a matter of fact, he also had to remove two of my salivary glands because the tumor had ruined them. Technically, this thing is called a fat lipoma, and it was growing in the parapharyngeal space. Yeah, apparently there’s a lot of room in there because you would’ve hardly noticed this thing on the surface. Just a little bump. I noticed it just under a year ago. I was shaving. Fast-forward thru multiple specialists and procedures, and here I am sitting on my couch hopped up on Oxycodone with stitches up one side of my face. Because of how this thing had integrated itself into my neck, the surgery took about 6 hours. Doc had to be careful to not damage anything, especially my facial nerves. And then there was the possibility that it was interfering with my throat and I’d need a temporary tracheotomy until the swelling subsided. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case. I did ask for an Otis Redding voicebox upgrade, though. Not sure it was available.
I gotta say, everyone at Georgetown University Hospital has been amazing. The level of personal care they give is something I haven’t experienced before.
You may think this odd, but I wanted to see a picture of this thing! I mean, I’ve been carrying it around for a while. It’s caused me a great deal of pain…let’s see it! So, click thru below to see this massive beast in all it’s glory. Just consider yourself warned, it is NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH!
SERIOUSLY! Don’t click thru if you don’t like the site of blood and stuff. Continue reading →
The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali
Recently, I noticed that my blog was loading slowly. It can be kind of frustrating. I thought for sure my ISP had done something to cause it. But before I complained to them, I did some research and found that the problem was actually my WordPress site itself. And that I could fix it. So lemme share what I learned.
With a fresh, new WordPress install, everything runs fast because everything is optimized. Over time, however, databases fill up and get large, we add plugins and more and more content. Things get slower. And that slowness could be costing you more than just visitors, because search engines now factor page load times in their rankings. Here’s how to get your site back to its original speedy ways. Continue reading →
We all have one: Usually they include stretching exercises, scales & arpeggios, and chord voicings. All of these technical aspects of practice are essential, but sometimes they can become…well, routine! Sometimes I need a way to push myself creatively to get out of a musical rut. At those times, I’ve found the techniques below very helpful. They force me to think past my technical abilities, and push my creative limits.
Play in the Dark: I don’t remember who first suggested this to me, but it’s one of my favorites. Put out the lights (so you can’t see your guitar) and just play. Maybe to a track or maybe just solo. It may be awkward at first, but ultimately it is very freeing. What I like about this is that when you ‘disarm’ your eyes like this, your ears become more sensitive to the music. Continue reading →
I was at Chuck Levin’s recently checking out the latest gear, and one of sales guys told me about this app he had that let him slow down tunes (without changing pitch), to help with transcribing or learning faster licks. Of course! Why didn’t I think to look for that before? I have Audacity for that on my Macbook, but you know it’s a lot more convenient to fire up an app on your phone and load a song from your music library.
So I did a little research and here’s some of the best apps for iPhone & Android I found for slowing songs down. Some of these apps offer other cool features like pitch adjustment, too. Got another app you like? Leave it in the comments. Alright, let’s get on with the apps: Continue reading →
Growing up in the DC area, I heard tales of the greatness of Danny Gatton. I was never able to see him play, but I remember getting a copy of 88 Elmira St. from a college buddy saying, “You’ve GOT to check this guy out.” And I was stunned at what I heard. But I have grown to appreciate him more over the years as my musical vocabulary has enhanced to grasp what he was really doing. This book sheds light on his amazing abilities as a guitarist and his struggles as a man.
But more than that, Unfinished Business by Ralph Heibutzki is an amazing view into the vibrant DC/MD/VA music scene in the 70s and 80s. It’s a treasure in that regard, if you recall legendary venues like the Cellar Door, Crazy Horse (where my mom once worked as manager!), the original Bayou, the Wax Museum, and Hillbilly Heaven (to name a few), this book will delight with memories of a time before synth-pop and DJs took over the local DC music scene…when Telecasters ruled! The list of people who crossed paths with Danny reads like a who’s who of DC music: Roy Buchanan, Tom Principato, Bill Kirchen, Billy Hancock, Joe Barden, Jimmy Thackery, John Previti, Pete Kennedy, Tex Rubinowitz, Joe Tass, Phil Zavarella…the list goes on.
This book is a wonderful tour through a thriving DC music scene and a portrait of an amazing guitarist and family man who struggled with the spotlight. Who loved withdrawing to work on cars as much as he loved playing his beloved ’53 Telecaster. Who was fighting many demons and, unfortunately for all of us, didn’t let anyone close enough to help him. An excellently researched and written gem.