Ukulele serenade series: “Just Say”

This is part of a daily uke notation series released in advance of Valentine’s Day 2020. I have plans to do this in advance of other holidays and sabats, so if you have recommendations please let me know.

As a native Pacific Northwesterner, I grew up aware of “The Seattle Sound.” Even though I was cast off in rural Eastern Washington and decades younger than most of the “grunge” movement’s key players, once I hit middle school, I was eager to dive in.

It’s hard liking stuff when it seems everyone else likes things.

I learned what I could through back issues of zines and blogs written by fans and soon realized that the scene was huge and included outstanding bands of all different genres. Some of the best pop and pop-punk music came out of Seattle in the 90s including a 1996 album called “New Mansions in Sound” by Fastbacks.

“Just Say” comes from “New Mansions…,” an anthemic single that made loneliness feel catchy. I pulled this song for my serenade selections because it’s fun to play and so goddamn relatable — and I thought it might bring some comfort to other folks who always seem to be the wrong number.

As usual, we’re working with a concert ukulele tuned to GCEA.

So, let’s get into the chords.

Continue reading Ukulele serenade series: “Just Say”

Ukulele serenade series: “Navigate the Seas of the Sun”

This is part of a daily uke notation series released in advance of Valentine’s Day 2020. I have plans to do this in advance of other holidays and sabats, so if you have recommendations please let me know.

If you know the name Bruce Dickinson, you’re likely either aware of his role as lead singer of the legendary heavy metal band Iron Maiden or you’ve come across the name while consuming quirky paranormal films and documentaries.

Yes, Dickinson is metal af, but the ballads on his solo albums are legendary.

Less often do I speak with folks who are actually aware of the breadth of Dickinson’s solo albums. The solo albums were less traditional NWOBHM genre-wise, granting the singer — known for his signature style of super on-key hollering — a chance to show off a softer side in ballads like “Tears of the Dragon,” “Omega,” “Man of Sorrow,” and “Arc of Space.”

My fourth serenade selection is among those masterful ballads, “Navigate the Seas of the Sun” off of 2005’s “Tyranny of Souls.”

In some respects, “Navigate…” belongs on a soundtrack to a quirky paranormal film — with lyrics exploring the idea of connections continuing across lifetimes and generations. Yet at its core, it’s a beautiful song that translates well to ukulele. So, I trimmed it up — a lot — and tried to arrange it in a way that’s manageable for a beginner ukulele player.

As usual, we’re working with a concert ukulele tuned to GCEA.

So, let’s get into the chords.

Continue reading Ukulele serenade series: “Navigate the Seas of the Sun”

Ukulele serenade series: “Call Me a Dog”

This is part of a daily uke notation series released in advance of Valentine’s Day 2020. I have plans to do this in advance of other holidays and sabats, so if you have recommendations please let me know.

Feel like you don’t measure up? I’ve got the song for you.

“Call Me a Dog” is a bluesy ballad off of Temple of the Dog’s 1991 self titled album. The lyrics flirt with feelings of inadequacy in a relationship while maintaining a bit of soft wonder toward the connection.

The song is incredibly relatable to anyone that feels at a disadvantage with someone close to their heart and it’s classic Chris Cornell vocal style so it’s rough and beautiful and absolutely amazing.

As usual, we’re working with a concert ukulele tuned to GCEA.

So, let’s get into the chords.

Continue reading Ukulele serenade series: “Call Me a Dog”

Ukulele serenade series: “Coming Right Along”

This is part of a daily uke notation series released in advance of Valentine’s Day 2020. I have plans to do this in advance of other holidays and sabats, so if you have recommendations please let me know.

Nobody takes this shit seriously.

Love is complicated and capitalism sucks. So obviously, Valentines Day can be a lot of complicated suckitude. And I’m here to give a voice to that feeling as well.

I selected this song because it’s simple, beautiful, and relatable. It’s off The Posies’ 1993 album “Frosting on the Beater.”

And while you may not be serenading a lover with this tune, it may provide you a method of catharsis over this overhyped, cash-horny holiday.

As usual, we’re working with a concert ukulele tuned to GCEA.

Alright, let’s get into the chords.

Continue reading Ukulele serenade series: “Coming Right Along”

Ukulele serenade series: “Miss You In a Heartbeat”

This is part of a daily uke notation series released in advance of Valentine’s Day 2020. I have plans to do this in advance of other holidays and sabats, so if you have recommendations please let me know.

My version of romantic vibes, which is one of many reasons why I’m entirely unqualified for this.

When I made the decision to include “Miss You in a Heartbeat” in this series I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at myself. But I wanted to give potential players a sappy-ass love song they could learn quickly, and though I scoured my bookmarks for alternatives, nothing quite fit the bill like this Def Leppard ballad.

For our purposes, we’re going to cut it down a bit — you’ll find I’ll do that with a lot of these selections. I’m looking for quick, easy to practice pieces that an intro player could pick up in a few days.

As usual, we’re working with a concert ukulele tuned to GCEA.

So, let’s get into the chords.

Continue reading Ukulele serenade series: “Miss You In a Heartbeat”

Dangerick Moves: My DM debut, part one

Note: This post contains spoilers from Dungeons & Dragons vs. Rick and Morty “Lost Dungeon of Rickedness” campaign.

General explanation for my alleged social life.

I’m stoked to report that my first run as dungeon master was nowhere near as messy as I’d initially predicted.

Unsure of my off-the-cuff skillz, I took a few simple steps to mitigate likely issues:

  • I went by the book. I used “The Lost Dungeon of Rickedness: Big Rick Energy” campaign and improvised as needed. I read through the adventure ahead of time and did some advance brainstorming of where I could get weirder with it.
  • I kept the party small. I had three players pilfered from our regular bimonthly D&D group: our primary DM, a guy who has been gaming since before I was born, & a fellow relative newbie to tabletop gaming.
  • I did not drink. I’m perfectly capable of peopleing sober and I am grossly offended that you would insinuate otherwise, you fuck.

We didn’t do bad either, we cleared 8 of 39 rooms in a roughly 2 hour session and experienced only one party-member death — it was the tank and it was well fucking deserved.

After the cut is a rough narrative of the first 4 rooms. I’ll cover the second half of our adventure next week.

Continue reading Dangerick Moves: My DM debut, part one

Ukulele post: Tighter & Tighter

The first time I saw a Soundgarden video, I wasn’t supposed to see it.

It was the late ’90s & we still had a wooden box-style ’80s era TV that took up huge chunk of the living room in the drab-brown double-wide trailer I grew up in.

My parents went to bed early, so after 8 p.m. the living room was abandoned & the door to their bedroom was shut to keep our Miniature Schnauzer Doogie in & out of mischief. They had a TV in their room & slept with it on, allowing us to get away with a good amount of noise elsewhere in the house.

Later in the evening, my brother & I would sneak out of our rooms & meet in front of the TV in hopes of catching a rerun of Beavis & Butt-Head without dad’s head exploding. It was during one of those evenings when I first heard Soundgarden, drifting through the shrieking & cackling of the dumbass duo — “A black hole is like this giant bunghole in outer space…”

Continue reading Ukulele post: Tighter & Tighter

2019: Music

I’m a pro dancer, just ask anyone who has witnessed me seizing at a show.

It’s almost the end of the year & social media is full of people posting their end of the year/decade Spotify wraps.

I’ve really only used Spotify for a few months, but I’ve been using Last.fm for years (and it includes all my recent Spotify plays) so I’m going to use that data & write a bit about the old standards & new releases that got me through this flaming garbage barge of a year.

Continue reading 2019: Music

#NaNoNoGo

I’m calling it. I’m out — at least partway, but I’ll get to that.

Honestly, I first considered quitting a couple days into the month but felt a lot of emotional resistance & wanted to stick it out.

But after looking things over I realized that if I press through at this point I’m just making a shit ton more work for myself in first edit.

While that’s acceptable — and putting off the misery is a comfortable habit — I’ve decided it’s not the wisest use of my time this month.

Continue reading #NaNoNoGo