Month: September 2009

Ennui kills!

Oh my! I’ve been sat at home now for a week, scared to do much online shopping because I don’t know if I have a job or not, and getting more and more bored. I have been window shopping for jobs the last couple of days, but I can’t really commit until I am definitely sacked, as they are all crap in one way or another. There is one advertising in Manchester, Trafford Park, which is just down the motorway. He’s willing to take on new drivers, but the traffic into Manchester is a nightmare, it would involve nights out, and the pay is £7.25 and hour! So, spend five and a half grand to take a twenty percent pay cut!

Obviously if I am sacked I would have to apply.

Just now I was looking again for jobs, and, through a link to another job site, came across an advert for drivers, 19-43 years old, to go and get blown up in some godforsaken corner of the globe. So I’ve applied!

Military Driver, Royal Logistics Corps, Territorial Army.

Larf!

It says you have to be able to put in at least nineteen days a year, but as soon as they’ve got you doubtless you’ll be sent out on tours of duty. Wendy was OK with it until I suggested that it might involve active duty.

I really do have a lethally low boredom threshold. 

We’ll see, I might not even get an answer. If I’m not sacked, work would have to be cool about it as well.

My fitness is tolerable, I have the mental where-with-all to be able to take army life now, and it would be a sterling commendation on any driving CV. And if it was only for short bursts, and I don’t get blown up, could be quite fun.

Things you do!

Buck.

Sax and bugs, not even dole.

The nasty enervating illness I have been labouring through is waning. To prove that every cloud has a silver lining (and that where there’s a will there’s a platitude) it seems to have sapped my will to worry about work. If I get sacked I’ll just have to deal with it, at least I’ve got a week off, paid. And if I’m not sacked I didn’t have to work through that nasty cold. It was weird, I didn’t have a runny nose, or anything much except a little bit of a cough and tired eyes, but I just felt so weak I barely felt able to stand up. That and a temperature. Bad, but brief. Three days, and I was on the mend yesterday.

Which reminds me, I need to swab out my sax mouthpiece now, in case it’s possible to reinfect myself!

The sax is coming along apace. I have two books; "Learn as you play saxophone", and "A new tune a day for tenor saxophone." The former is the one my sax-sensei Pete teaches from, the latter is more challenging. Both want me to read music and play at the same time in chapter 1. That really is challenging! Pete asked me if I had any musical experience, I said I could play the triangle but subsequently confessed I could not read music. He said it was alright, that people often learnt as they went along, but I sensed an inward sigh.

I think I’m doing well though. In the space of a week I’ve gone from blowing like mad and being pleased I got something that sounded like a note, to expecting to hit each note of the middle (damn, lingo breakdown! Not sharp or flat, the middle bunch of notes! Damn , damn, damn!) octave, and worrying about keeping to 4/4 or 3/4 time!

(You go girl!)

Wendy, whilst appreciating the rate and degree of my improvement, is less than ecstatic about my practising. Hearing someone try over and over to get the right time and notes of ‘Chanson de nuit’ and ‘Au clair de la lune’ whilst you are trying to have a quiet chill must be irritating.

Did I mention the soundproofing was a flop? The egg-trays are apparently an urban myth, they give you wonderful acoustics, but don’t stop next-door from appreciating them. Genuine sound insulation relies on density and thickness. I briefly examined a professional soundproofing site, worked out that one wall of a soundproof box would cost around £500, then gave up. I have resorted to the old standbys of a thick pair of socks down the horn, and practising my fingering without the mouthpiece in (on top of the hour’s blowing). The socks are, at best, a token gesture. There are that many holes in a sax that the horn is just the final projecting bit.

I’ve taken to sitting in the hall upstairs, with all the bedroom doors, the bathroom door and the front-room door downstairs shut (so there is at least two walls between me and next-door, and a door and double glazing between me and the outside world) with the airing cupboard door open, playing into that!

It’s still really loud, but it’s the best I can do. I’m also trying to train next-door into realising that it is only for an hour, and at set times. This should help. The worst thing about having someone making a racket is the feeling of helplessness, not knowing how long they are going to be at it. If  you know they are going to be having a party until 1am, at least you know that it (should) be quiet after that. It’s lying in bed at 1245, music booming, grinding your teeth and whetting your axe that is detrimental to your chi.

Not that I would practice at such a time, I was thinking along the lines of 12.30 am -1.30 pm on 2-10 shift, 5-6 (pm) on 6-2.

I’ve been up nearly two hours and I’m not overcome with illness. I’ll go and get some grub and if I’m still OK I think I’ll have a workout. My next Taekwondo grading is in four weeks (if I’m not sacked/ can afford it) and I’ve been remiss through illness this last week.

Later,

Buck.

Sax

Gawd bless the internet and all who sail on her! Last time I (briefly) owned a sax I don’t think I even got a proper note out of it. I sold it to buy a motorbike. Priorities.

This time around, twenty years later, I have t’interweb! Straight on to YouTube where there are posts on how to wet and fit your reed, embouchure (how you hold your gob, if you’re not down with us saxophonists) and which buttons make which notes.

I was giving it all a go today. First impressions are: by god it’s loud! Obviously it’s a lot to take on board, and it’s really tricky, but not impossible. I was stringing together a couple of notes at a time and I’ve been practising fingering the sequence B,A,C,G,F# (never thought I’d get to use that on my keyboard) D, B (I think).

I’m loving it.

It’s been a splendid day off; Wendy’s mum and dad have been staying with us but they’ve buggered off to Wales for the weekend and it’s lovely to have the place to ourselves again. I had a good Taekwondo work-out this morning, sax in the afternoon, and chilled ‘twixt and ‘tween. Lovely.

I’m going to have to price up a soundproof mini-room tomorrow. Apparently making a big box lined with egg trays reduces the sound emissions to a whisper. (According to one source on the never-wrong internet.) I can get the requisite 140 foot square cardboard egg trays for about twenty three quid, but I will have to find the price for that much plywood/ hardboard and sixty four foot of 2"x2".

Really I suppose I should research further the efficacy of the proposed project before I commit to further spending.

I’ve re-applied to our local music shop to set up a starter of  four, hour long, lessons (after Wendy thoughtfully tidied the tutor’s name and ‘phone number into the bin).

They way I’m progressing I’ll probably have mastered it by then!

Anywho, just to say I love my sax!

I have a new obsession. In the old days that would have meant ‘flavour of the week’, but as the driving and martial arts have shown, I can stick at things now. OK, so the Russian has slid off the radar for the moment, but that is a lifetime’s commitment to learn (well, it is the way I go about it!). And it is just a whim. Hmm, better not go there with that argument, everything I do is on the basis of a whim or impractical desire. Some yuppie shop was flogging it’s elitist tat with the slogan ‘Desire, aspire, acquire’. That is how my life goes!

As I’ve said before my teen dreams were to be a black belt, play the tenor sax, and ride a really nice Harley chop. When the telly sells you these dreams they don’t mention the years of graft you have to put in to get them. Harley is pure cash, that isn’t quick or easy to come by (not legally, anyway) the black belt requires years of work, training your body to react without conscious volition in ways that are practically impossible for the untrained, and the sax is the work of an afternoon.

(I think there may be a bit more to it than that, actually.) You can see the Matrix’s  appeal, you want a skill set that requires years to learn, but can’t be arsed moving off your sofa? Just upload the programme and hey presto, "I know Kung Fu."

Reminds me of an advert where they were exhorting people to save, quoting a survey that said ‘**% of people wish they had saved’. Of course they do, so they could spend it now, but it was the spending it now, then, that means they didn’t save! Stupid bloody thing.

This is why I have issues with inane adverts and misleading ‘news’ reports. Back to me seeing further than other men, again. I refer to the quote that some Noble prize winner made ‘ If I have seen further than other men, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants’. I prefer to think of it as ‘I have seen further than other men because I am surrounded by pygmies.’

Which is doubly negative, as it says I’m no great shakes, but the common herd is bovine. Contemptuous of self and society. I may adopt that as my motto! This is not to say the people I know are morons, but the people at which this stuff (against which I rail) is aimed must be. The Jeremy Kyle crew.

Well it’s getting on, and every word I type takes me further from Buddha, time for bed.

Buck.