Monthly Archives: March 2012

I wrote a love poem for my wife!

I say “you’re a blessing”
and it’s true
but you are so much more:

A perfect jewel
endlessly beautiful
reflecting God’s light
in countless ways
my own dear Silmaril
delighting eyes heart mind soul

Even the flaws
(impossible to see
without a loupe)
do not detract
they merely add
detail and texture

Polished surface
prismatic depths
upon beauty
upon beauty

Non-guitar for guitarists

Rock guitarists can be a pretty insular lot. Ask one about their top ten favorite musicians, and you’ll probably get a list of ten rock guitarists. (If they’re adventurous you may get a jazz or fusion guitarist on the list.) Ask the same guitarist to talk about one of their favorite songs, and they’ll most likely talk about the guitar parts.  This makes sense – they love this instrument enough to want to play it. Then, as they’re learning, it’s one of the main things they think about, and one of the main things they’ll hear in a song.

That’s all probably fine if your goal is to be a guitarist.

But if your goal is to be a musician, there’s a lot you can learn from other instruments. (I should point out here that I consider voice to be an instrument.)  One of the reasons I specified “rock guitarists” instead of just “guitarists” here is that I’ve noticed that jazz and classical guitarists tend to be much more open to influences from other instruments. I think that’s pretty awesome, and us rockers can learn from that.

So here’s a couple of cross-training exercises for rock guitarists:

  • Learn to play the bass part from some of your favorite songs, turning it into a guitar part.
  • Do the same thing for the vocal melody. Don’t worry about this turning the song into elevator music – the goal here is just to learn how to make those vocal parts into guitar parts as a learning exercise.
  • Figure out how to do a percussion pattern based on a drum groove you like – slapping the strings, the body, etc. Make it funky, son.
  • Just listen to a great album that has no guitar parts. (You have to listen – it can’t just be background music.) I recommend Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, a fantastic jazz album. Since this advice is for rockers, guitar-less might be a little bit harder to find. (Of course, I also think it’s essential for rockers to listen to non-rock, but I can understand wanting to deal with one problem at a time. Baby steps!) Apocalyptica does metal with cellos and no guitars. If you enjoy electronic music, Crystal Method’s album Vegas has lots of food for thought for guitarists. Dig around, you’ll find something (and maybe discover some great music that you will be surprised and delighted to hear).

Two Links Tuesday: Keep Going Edition

Link One: Bloom Like an Artist

Link Two: Dunning–Kruger effect

Link one is a brilliant webcomic at Jellyvampire. Really highly recommend you read all the way through this – it’s a vertical scroller, but it’s not that long, and well worth it. It’s about pursuing your passion, even when it seems unrealistic.

Link two is the Wikipedia article about the Dunning–Kruger effect – which is a documented issue where incompetent people tend to think they’re better than they really are, and competent people tend to think that they’re worse than they really are.

Two Links Tuesday: Combat Edition!

Link One: Eye Candy: Porcelain Fighting Figures Dropped And Photographed The Moment Of Shattering

Link Two: The Rules of Sagefight

The first link is pretty well described in the title – but you have to look at the pictures to see how dang cool it looks. Very interesting photography project.

The second link is for a game that looks like fun – I haven’t played this, but it actually looks like it would be a fun challenge for a martial artist, thinking about tactics and balance, leaving strength and speed out of it.  I don’t know, maybe not, but I’d like to try this with a few of my training partners at some point.


A murder of crows
the color of void
wheeling against a white sky
black branches, barely budded
a grid to track their flight
below, all is green
with splashes of
white yellow pink red

A murder of crows
omen of battle
noisy and social
low-class cousins of
lonely and noble ravens
thinking of death and hunger
(but mostly death)
your death, mine
the dog across the street
crows dream of death
even in springtime