into the saddle

I’ve been build­ing up a col­lec­tion of new music for France. Stuff I’m sav­ing for when I’m on the plane, or the train, or walk­ing the streets. I can tell these tracks will define my time there, as well this point in my life.

Most of it has been dri­ving. Not nec­es­sar­i­ly loud or aggres­sive, but songs that mark the time with bass and a steady beat, remind­ing me that I’m still mov­ing, and that life won’t wait for me to catch up.


Taylor NS32CE


I played around with Darren’s Seagull and imme­di­ate­ly under­stood how vis­cer­al it is to hear and hold a decent gui­tar. The tone response and res­o­nance was delight­ful­ly tac­ti­cal on the larg­er instru­ment. The log­i­cal result of this is me sav­ing up for a Taylor NS32CE six-string nylon acoustic/electric of my own. It has every­thing I’m look­ing for in a gui­tar:

  • nylon strings (for a won­der­ful­ly mel­low sound)
  • a grand con­cert shape (which is suit­ed to my small­er frame, and the pro­por­tions of clas­si­cal nylon gui­tar nev­er appealed to me)
  • a cut­away (for eas­i­er access to the high frets)
  • a 1 7/8 inch­es nut width (which is clos­er to clas­si­cal string spac­ing, and hence bet­ter suit­ed for fin­ger­pick­ing)
  • a sol­id wood body (sit­ka on top and sapele — a com­mon alter­na­tive to African mahogany — on the back and sides)
  • a non-flow­ery, non-metal­lic rosette (which I find far too com­mon on typ­i­cal nylon string gui­tars)
  • a gloss fin­ish on top (though the sides are satin, and I don’t know how I feel about that cause satin dents real­ly eas­i­ly in my expe­ri­ence)
  • bonus: a slot­ted head­stock (which I find to be more classy than reg­u­lar ones)
  • bonus: no fret­board mark­ers (cause I don’t like most, and this would help me cor­rect the bad habit of always look­ing at the fret­board)

Also, the sapele is a gor­geous dark red with light strip­ing that con­trasts allur­ing­ly with the light sit­ka on top. But mon­ey has been super tight late­ly, and I’m try­ing to hold off on all pur­chas­es until I come back from my trip, since I don’t know how much I’m going to spend over there.


My dad sent me pic­tures of his new drum set, bought for him by some women whose name and rela­tion­ship with him always seems to escape me. A full-out kit with three toms, a kick, a high-hat, a snare, a crash, and a ride. It’s prob­a­bly the last thing most peo­ple expect to see my dad play­ing, but I remem­ber when I was a young boy him men­tion­ing the fact that he likes drums. Along with a new Honda sport motor­cy­cle and a new Mercedes SUV, it’s hard to deny the fact that he’s liv­ing his dreams now. Darren jokes that he’s exact­ly where we are now — bach­e­lors, get­ting into music, no real respon­si­bil­i­ties, just try­ing to live as hap­pi­ly as pos­si­ble — only he’s almost 30 years old­er than us.

He signs his e‑mails to me as “Daddy”. It always reminds me that I’ll always be his lit­tle boy.

under warranty

My tenor uke is sit­ting in a box packed with Styrofoam, wait­ing to be picked up by couri­er. There was a defect in the neck that caused a buzzing on the 1st fret of the C string, and every string after the 12th. I was­n’t will­ing to put up with it for the price I paid, so I’m get­ting it replaced by the man­u­fac­tur­er. I’m glad I had­n’t named it yet.

I destroyed the strings on Joolie (my Mahalo Les Paul-style con­cert uke) and was too lazy to restring her. There was a length of time when I did­n’t have a playable uke, and this lead to the real­iza­tion that I’ve devel­oped the habit of pick­ing up and pluck­ing away on one impul­sive­ly every hour.

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