Category Archives: Music

Approaching Hassle-Free Enjoyment of Music

Let’s make some noise! Quietly… or not.

I now have my main computer set up with a stereo dual-output adapter on the audio output.

One signal is running to my Logitech THX-certified speakers/woofer that can greatly annoy the neighbours if turned up to even a third of their potential, and the other signal is running to the dock for my relatively new Sony wireless headphones.

No more plugging and unplugging. The Logitech speaker setup has a remote volume/on-off switch, and the headphones have their own built-in on/off and volume controls.

Happy boy!

Kodo Delivers Superb Concert Again

Yumi and I went to the Kodo concert in Vancouver this evening. We’ve seen them several times, and this show was another fantastic event.

While they used to focus on the sheer stamina and physicality of extreme, marathon taiko drumming, this tour is more nuanced with more story-telling.

It worked well. Close enough to their ripped roots to satisfy hard-core fans, and different enough to demonstrate that they are not creatively stagnating.

Also a bit more humor, which is fun.

Good show!

Great Day at Burnaby Blues & Roots Festival 2014

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The main stage viewed from the Shadbolt Centre with Deer Lake in the background.

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A side view of the main stage from the shade. It was hot!

Gorgeous, hot, sunny day at Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival 2014. I saw the three acts I was most interested in — Miss Quincy and the Showdown, The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer, and Imelda May.

Miss Quincy
Miss Quincy and the Showdown. I vote for main stage next year for these powerful gals!

Paul’s Photo Tips — Tip 3 — It’s Not the Camera, It’s the Photographer

It’s not the camera, it’s the photographer.

You can take great photos with a $100 point-and-shoot or a smartphone. You can take lousy photos with a $2,000 DSLR.

OK, before someone sporting a really nice DSLR gets into a huff here, relax, Paul’s Photo Tip 4, coming up in  a few days, will be “It’s the Camera.” So the gear-obsessed need not fear, I’ll also argue the other side. There are good points for both.

But back to today’s premise that good photos can be taken with cheap gear.

Personal vision, creativity, skill, practice and more add up to great photos. I know folks who regularly post interesting photos to, say Facebook, that they take with their cell phones. And I mean truly creative shots.

To be honest, I’ve never shot a lot with any of my cell phones over the years, probably because 99% of the time I’m carrying a real camera, be it a pocket-size Elph, or a DSLR. But here are a couple of shots of Canada Place on the Vancouver waterfront taken with an Acer Liquid E (obsolete and no longer in use) back in 2011.

If you look at the history of photography, some of the pioneers took amazing, artistic photographs with very basic equipment, not much beyond a pinhole camera that a kid could make with a cardboard box.

Today we’ve gotten used to auto-everything cameras that produce decent shots most of the time without much thought on our part. But how many of those shots are great ones? Photos that you’d want to enlarge and put on the wall and live with them day after day? (Sorry, your baby or other family members don’t count : -).

The bottom line is, use whatever you have as best you can. Don’t wait until you have a “good” camera. That sort of attitude may have you sitting on the sidelines for a long time.

Think of it this way — how many blues guitar greats have you heard of who went out at the age of 12 and bought a $3,000 Gibson, practiced hard, and made it to the top? Yeah, right, none. They went to a pawn shop and for $25 they bought some beat up axe with an action so bad they could barely squeeze a chord out — and they played the hell out of it.

Go for it, with whatever you’ve got.

Sticky Notes Can Change a Life

So I’m supposed to be practicing guitar for 30 minutes  a day, on the kitchen-timer-accomplish-your-goals plan.

My wife walks into my office, looks around, and says: “Hasn’t that music book been on the same page for over a week?”

Um, I can fix that. . .

Yesterday music



Looking Forward to Burnaby Blues & Roots Fest in August

Looking forward to the Burnaby Blues and Roots Fest in August. This is steadily developing into a major music extravaganza. I’m particularly anticipating Imelda May — as I recall, she broke an ankle (?) at her last BB&R appearance a few years ago, and soldiered on like the trouper she is. Gorgeous voice and great band, eh?

I’m also eagerly awaiting the performance by Miss Quincy. I have gone head over heels for this Canadian band recently. Top of my play list!