Friday, February 22, 2019

Customer Service...

A good example!

I saw on a guitar internet forum that the Bose PA I have may have a battery issue.  It is a nice compact PA that runs on AC power or on a built-in battery.  It is an impressive unit, especially for its compact size.  I generally use it plugged in, but I did notice that the battery loses its charge faster than I expected.  Not when using it, but when the unit sits, not being used.

I called Bose to see if it was something I should be concerned about.  After confirming the serial number, the Bose Support rep told me they would be giving me a new unit and providing a call tag for mine so there will be no cost to me to ship it back.

Impressive.  We have other Bose products, but this is the first time I have contacted their Service/Support.  I had heard they excel in customer service... I have to agree with that.

Thursday, February 21, 2019


My hair?  Well, yeah, but I was speaking of the weather.  Solid overcast and rain all day.  In fact, this morning, we had about 30 seconds of smaller than pea size hail.  It was 49º when we left to go to Steph's school just before noon, and 49º on our way home at 4:00.

The second to the last class for the Gravity Cruisers - today was all about getting as many test runs as possible in.  There were some triumphs (3 girls who couldn't get their car to go at all previously, and ran almost 7 meters today) and defeats (a couple cars that made good distance last week, couldn't match those previous runs).  Tomorrow, they will pare it down, and the top 2 or 3 contenders in each class will compete for school honors next week.

The guitar lesson was definitely more gray than sunny: they had a 4 day break (Friday through Monday), so this was the first lesson in a week.  Apparently, no one (besides me 😎) practiced at all.  The skills they acquired in the first two lessons were gone.  It was like starting at the beginning.  Fortunately, my income for this is not based on their performance... zero dollars, whether they put in the effort or not.

One kid said, "We want to learn some songs."

"I am right there with you - I was hoping to show you some songs today.  But, if no one can play the chords we learned last week, it just isn't possible to play a song."  I showed them a simple 3-chord song... "Maybe we can learn this next class if you practice the chords?"

I had to chuckle to myself... I haven't figured out a way to play songs on the guitar without actually playing the guitar.  ;-)

Back to the coach after an early BBQ supper, the local news is all about the weather: heavy snow in northern Arizona, but even parts of the Phoenix area, like Scottsdale and Cave Creek, had a dusting of snow today.  I wore my flannel-lined jeans today.  (sigh)

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Old friends...

No, they're not old - they're our age.  ;-)

We had lunch today with friends, Mark and Cindy; I've known Mark since 10th grade (different schools) when we started playing in a band together.  Years later, after we had both been in different bands, we did a duo together as the "house band" in a rowdy bar and then in an upscale hotel lounge.

Our lives have gone different directions, but we always seem to get together, even if it is every few years.  They are the kind of friends where you just pick right up again.  We talked about what we have been doing, our families... mostly just catching up.

We met at a restaurant midway between us... and over 3 hours went by while we were visiting.  Seemed like we were just getting started.

Hopefully, we will get the opportunity to get together with them again while we are here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Super Snow Moon...

Look - in the sky!  It's a bird!  It's a plane!  It's the Super Snow Moon!

The full moon tonight is the biggest full moon of 2019, putting it into the "super moon" category due to the proximity of the moon in it's current orbit.  It is not, however, wearing a cape and a big red "S" on its chest.

And, Snow Moon?  I probably don't have to explain, but... winter.

And, now the moon looks on this clear night in the desert...

Pretty bright out there, although the image above was shot on manual to see all the detail.  Really, it's bright.

It isn't going to snow here in the Phoenix area tonight, but the low is going to be around 32º.  Yeah, freezing.  In the desert.  Where it isn't always hot.

Oh, and...


Monday, February 18, 2019

Impromptu performance...

Amazing how fast folks here can put together a party.  With the music get together for today moved from a patio to the Event Center, this morphed from a jam of sorts to a performance.  Somewhere between 40 and 50 people were there.  Hugo, the 93 year old guy I mentioned earlier has a birthday coming up soon... these folks put together a party for him - cake, balloons, and him getting his "bucket list" wish of being able to play bass in front of people again.

It was Tony and me for most of the two hours we played, bringing Hugo up for a half dozen songs or so towards the end.  Musically, Tony and I were more compatible than what happened yesterday.  Yes, I played some country music, but he was totally good with some old rock 'n roll.  We took turns picking songs from our own set lists; with me sitting where I could see his left hand on the keyboard, I could pretty much follow what he was playing.  I had my iPad with OnSong pulled up, so he had chords and words to follow on my selections.  Tony has his keyboard set up for putting in the drum parts, so he is essentially a one-man band.  He has a PA and a vocal harmonizer, so he is equipped for it.  He does the music for a lot of their dances here.

I used my guitar direct into the Bose and ran my mic into his PA, just so the voices would be coming from the same place.  It worked fine.

Turned out to be fun.

Letter from camp...

Remember the song "Camp Granada"?

Hello Muddah, hello Faddah
Here I am at Camp Grenada
Camp is very entertaining
And they say we'll have some fun if it stops raining

If you said, "Allan Sherman, 1963," you get 200 bonus points.

The weather here has been cooler than normal.  Pretty much the same back home, too.  I wrote to friends Mike and MJ this morning:

Hi Mike and MJ,

Hope you’re having a good winter.  I see a high today of 60º and 50% chance of rain there.  High of 55º and a 40% chance of rain here today.  Rained last night.  Lows in the 30s the next couple nights.  In technical meteorology talk: this shit sucks.  Probably not much fishing for you two - we’ve had the scooters out a grand total of 3 times since we left home.  Looking at the national map, it doesn’t look good anywhere… Las Vegas had a dusting of snow overnight.  Cave Creek, just north of Scottsdale, had a few flakes.  The locals seem to enjoy this stuff, since they have hotter than the Gates of Hell about 6 months out of the year.

I am reminded of a Hawaiian saying: “Never judge a day by the weather.”  Yeah, well the people that believe that crap live in Hawaii… although on the local weather here, they mentioned that there was snow on Maui.  No shit, Shakespeare, it’s at the top of Haleakala, where the elevation is just over 10,000 feet… nice down at sea level, though.  Nobody lives at the top of Haleakala - anybody wonder why??

OK, I am better now - just needed to blow off a little steam.  Well, some steam would be nice and warm, but I digress.  Other than the “cabin fever,” it seems we have been plenty busy here.  Not sure how I got talked into doing guitar lessons after school at Steph’s school.  That just kinda happened.  The kids seem to be having some fun with it.  I’ve met some people here in the park that play music.  Country music.  Not my first choice in music genre… who am I kidding: not my 12th choice.

This is beginning to sound like a kid’s letter from camp, huh?  (Hello, Mudder; hello Fahder). I may make a wallet or see if I can get a merit badge in identifying desert spiders and scorpions.

Rufus is doing fine - I think he may have grown since you last saw him.  People walking their dogs cross to the other side of the street when they see him on his leash… I don’t know why - he is such a sweet boy.  Just because he looks like a sabertooth tiger?

We are staying busy with staring forlornly at the weather and complaining about the traffic.  On the bright side, we are right in the middle of Construction Season, so you never know what road will be closed today.

That’s about it for life in the desert.  

Jim, Joan, and Rufus

The wives of a couple of the people from yesterday came by our motorhome this morning - they are having another "music get together" today. I semi-committed to it yesterday, but it was supposed to be at someone's screened-in patio. 55º, a chance of rain, and a chilly north wind doesn't sound like my idea of fun. They got permission to use the Event Center here in the park, so it will be inside. I am going to go play music. Inside, as in: out of the weather.

Rufus was standing by my legs when I opened the door - they seemed surprised by "the big cat."  Maybe it is just me, but he seems like a normal size cat.  Yes, it is twice the weight of Izzy, but she was a long, lean supermodel cat.  Rufus looks the part of a UFC (Ultimate Fighting Cat), but he is such a sweet boy.  I kinda get how his square jaw gives him a "big cat" look, but... intimidating?  Nope, I don't see it.  Literally, they both stepped back when they saw him.

Such a good boy.  :-)

Sunday, February 17, 2019


If you said, "Bob Marley, 1978," you get 50 bonus points.  If you said, "Putting up home-made jam in jars," you don't know us at all.  ;-)

There is a guy here in the park who has been coming by to ask if we want to get together with a couple other musicians in the park.  Several times now.  I considered going to a park "jam session," but understanding that country music is the genre, I figured it wasn't my forte'.

Bill (the guy who has stopped several times) came by again this morning, and I agreed to meet with his friends after we got back from lunch out and some shopping.  He came by in his golf cart to pick me up.  He is not a musician, but is definitely a "facilitator."

Yep, country.  Not my thing, but I can play along.  When they asked what I play, "Rock 'n Roll," was met with that deer in the headlights kinda look.  I met some very nice people.  A pedal steel player, a keyboard player, a 93 year old bass player... and a bunch more who joined in singing.

It reminded me of the old George Gobel saying: "Did you ever feel like the world was a tuxedo... and you were a pair of brown shoes?"

They asked if I would play with them for a get-together tomorrow.  I'm planning on going.  I guess I'm OK with not fitting in.  ;-)