Monthly Archives: January 2013

An original tune…

So, I had this sequence of chords I was messing around with on the ukulele… 2 bars of C, a bar of G7, and then two bars of A minor and F. It was just a little fun, and those basic chords are really nothing spectacular; they’re the basis of just about every tune ever.

But then I messed around some more, and started whistling a little melody. Before you know it, I had worked out an actual tune. I wanted some lyrics, so I turned to my wife and asked, “Okay, what should this song be about?” She listened to the tune and whistled melody… and said, “Something happy. Either goats running around on rocks, or you taking a motorcycle ride.”

FrankWell, not all my goat memories are fond, so I went with the motorcycle idea. I have a KLR 650, named Frank (for Frankenstein, since he’s had so many new parts added to him over the years!). Frank is an Enduro, meaning I can ride trails or roads. I mostly use Frank to commute to work, but I argue that even the worst motorcycle ride is better than any ride in a car.

I’ve ridden bikes since I was a kid on a JC Penny 5hp mini-bike. I love them. They are freeing. I’m also a Sci-Fi geek, so I figured I’d combine those two passions in this fun little tune. It’s on the Ukulele page, or you can listen to it here.

The chart (chords, lyrics, strumming patterns) is also available.


Yesterday was Boxing Day

Well, no, yesterday wasn’t actually Boxing Day… it was last week. But I thought that was a fun title for the newest two entries on the Ukulele page… Yesterday (Paul McCartney) and The Boxer (Simon & Garfunkel).

Back when I was a teenager, we had these things called cassettes… and cassette decks. I had an old office cassette deck, about the size of a big paperback. It was grey and black, and had a bright red “record” button so that you knew if you were supposed to speak cautiously. I loved it. I listened to my tapes on that stupid cassette deck’s tinny, single speaker for hours and hours and hours.

Mostly, my tape collection consisted of the Beatles, Billy Joel, and Simon & Garfunkel. Oh, and Supertramp, but I don’t discuss that in … um … well, in public. Damn. Anyway, it would be a couple of years before I discovered that classical music and Broadway tunes also came on tape, so I was stuck with what I had.

In homage, I’ve always wanted to record these two songs. Getting a melodica for Christmas seemed like the perfect excuse to lay down some tracks and give two of my most favoritest tunes a shot with the ukulele. You can listen to them here:

The Boxer:

Supreme Guacamole

For this New Year’s Eve, we decided (by “we” I mean my wife, daughter, and me) to hors d’oeuvre our way to midnight, rather than prepare a normal dinner. I went out and got us each a specific cheese (wife = garden Jack, daughter = Bergenost, me = Espresso BellaVitano) to accompany various other bits on some crackers.

The other bits included some sliced Jazz apples, some hard salami, and some Supreme Guacamole! Oh, and the wine… although not fancy, the Beringer White Zinfandel is something of an “in” joke between my wife and me, so it got the nod for the evening.

To be fair, I’m the only one who eats guac at our house. Probably, this is because I make it with a nice kick. However, since it was New Year’s Eve, my wife decided to try a bite. After I recovered from the punch she gave me, we resolved that she wouldn’t have to eat this guac anymore… but that I would eat it weekly! Take that, woman!

Is this guac that blazing hot? No, not really… I only use one jalapeno and a little crushed red pepper. Although I’ve made it with “hotter” ingredients and amounts, I find that too much more kills the other flavors. On the other hand, my wife will tell you that I’ve already killed all the flavors! So, please adjust as necessary… but try it this way, at least once!

The other thing about this particular recipe is that it lacks cilantro. I’m normally a fan of cilantro in guacamole, but not always. This is one of those cases of “not always.” I find it competes too much with the garlic. With all the flavor happening here, I don’t miss it at all with this recipe. But if you must have it, toss in a small hand full… reduce the garlic by half, and maybe toss in a Roma tomato, too.

3 ripe avocados, just the creamy bits
4 cloves garlic
1/2 medium red onion
1 jalapeno, innards removed
2 t crushed red pepper
1 T plain yogurt (or sour cream)
Juice of 1 lime

Cut everything up in rough chunks, and get the food processor out.

Couldn’t be simpler… run everything in the food processor until you’ve got a mostly creamy combination. I like to leave a few random chunks in there, just for texture. Serve on the crackers, cheese, and salami, or use (more often, for me) as a spread on burgers, or a topping for tacos.