About this blog title

I cannot tell you how many times I have shown up at events with a couple of cameras around my neck, a gadget bag full of odds & ends and a lighting kit and have been asked that question. If it happened once every few years, that would be one thing. But it happens a LOT. It's like getting pulled over by the police and he's standing there with uniform, gun, flashing lights and asking him "Are you a cop?" I would love to come back with a witty reply, such as "No, I am Jesus. Don't you recognize my beard?" However, I cannot be that rude.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Photo of Snow Plow in Pulaski, N.Y.

I snapped this photo of a snow plow from the window of my car while parked on the side of the street. This is Port St. in the village of Pulaski, N.Y.
We are well into the thick of Winter here in Northern NY. For the past week temperatures have been below zero to single digits above zero. However, yesterday it began to warm some. This evening there is a bit of freezing rain. Freezing rain can be one of the most trecherous of weather conditions.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Tonight I played background music during the cocktail hour at the North Country Arts Council annaul dinner. The event was held at Maggies on the River Restaurant in Watertown, NY. My cousin Juanita & her husband Steve turned out for the event. Also, my good friend Greg Lago from Clayton was there. we sat together for dinner. Greg is a great, all around artist. His specialty is wood engraving, but he is also a consumate wood sculptor and painter, AND, an all around intellect. It was a great pleasue being with him as I have not seen him since this past August. The dinner was held in a LARGE room. I had my Fishman Solo Amp turned up high, more so than I usually use it. There were easily over 150 people there. all mof thos folks chatting made it difficult for me to hear myself play. I does not seem like that could be possible, but it is. I must get a monitor of some sort for these situations.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Open Mic Night At Aubrey's In Cape Vincent N.Y.

The photos presented here were snapped by me during an open mic night at Aubrey's Restaurant in Cape Vincent, NY.  The event was hosted by my long time friend Phil Dumond. He had been after me for a long time to come down and play, so finally, this past saturday I did just that. While there I snapped some photos. It was a really fun time. Phil is a very entertaining fellow and a terrific host. I played a few pieces and did OK. I have played better before.  If my sound were a bit louder I think I would have done better. I find that I can never get enough volume when plugged into some one elses syste. With my Fishman Solo Amp I do just fine. The problem has to do with nylong strung classical guitar. It has a piezo electric crystal pick up in that was installed back around 1987. It was one of the first of that sort available. I suppose there are newer devices I could replace it with. But, I believe all I need is a pre-amp. I have a Zoom A2 effects box that I though would work as a preamp, but that didn't really give me much more boost. So, a couple days ago I ordered an LR Baggs GigPro universal preamp. I am hoping it will be just the thing to boost me up in such situations.
Tom O'Rile, 2nd frm left on bass. Far right is Paul ferguson on keyboard. 2nd from right on guitar is Phil Dumond.

Ian Wagbone.

Otherwise, I was only mildly nervous so I don't think that affected my playing too much. It seems to me my playing is always better when I can hear myself playing loud & clear. With that in mind I have also been thinking about a wireless in ear monitor. That may be the ticket.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2002 Dodge Caravan Radiator Repair

This is me holding the worn out radiator I removed from my 2002 Dodge Caravan. My red, 2005 Caravan is in the background also.
My 2002 Dodge Caravan has had a leaky radiator for quite some time. I put some Bars leak in it a while back and it seemed to slow the leak considerably. Recently it has gotten worse. A close inspection showed I needed to replace the unit. I bought one at Auto Zone. It came to $151.00 and change, including tax. Removing the old one & installing the new on was easy. There are 5 small screws that hold a splash shield in place. The sheild spans the width of the radiator and is located on top of the radiator area. A cross member that secures the upper part of the radiator was removed by removing 4 bolts. All on top, easy to see and access. Two cooling fans held in place by a single screw each, also easy to see & get at. Unplug the electric connections to the fans. set the fans aside. Undo the upper & lower radiator hoses, lift out the old radiator. Put the new on in place & reattach everything. The entire job took me one hour and forty minutes. That time includes cleaning up and putting all of the tools away. It was a pretty nice day for working on it outdoors: 30 degrees, partly sunny, no wind. I hope all is well in your world.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

I Buy A Used Ramirez R4 Classical Guitar

I play my 1984 Guild Mark V classical guitar at a wedding December 21, 2012
A couple weeks ago I bought a used Ramirez R4 classical guitar. I have been looking for another guitar but good ones do not show up locally very often. I searched Guitar Center's web site and found four of these Ramirez guitars, one each at four different stores around the country. I bought the one from their Fairfax, Virginia store. These guitars sell new for $3,000.00. I paid $1,500.00. That was the price at all of their stores for this model used instrument. This one was made in 2007. The experience wasn't the easiest. I spent a lot of time on the phone with an inexperienced employee which resulted in a convoluted mess with my credit card. I had to call the card company and spent more time trying to get that all sorted out. All told i was a solid two weeks trying to make the purchase and get the guitar delivered to my local Guitar Center store in Syracuse, N.Y. Finally, the big day arrived. I went to the store, opened up the box took it out it inspect & play it. It was a very nice looking instrument, appeared well made. I strummed a chord & it was out of tune, in fact the strings were loose. No problem, I began to tune. The first thing I noticed was the tuning machines felt somewhat cheap. They worked OK, just had a cheap feel. The ones on my 1984 Guild Mark V are vastly superior. After it was tuned I discovered almost every fretted note rattled or buzzed. There was no way you could play this guitar with a solid rest stroke. It was horrible. A closer examination revealed that once upon a time the bridge had lifted up causing an arched shaped cavity between it & the body. This cavity had been filled with some sort of epoxy or glue, and done poorly. My suspicion is that someone left this guitar in the sun or the heat and then initiated a home repair, botched it up and left the guitar in a most unsatisfactory state of playability. The GREAT part of this story is that Guitar Center has a terrific return policy. The would have let me take it home to evaluate for 30 days. However, it only took 15 minutes in the store to discover it was flawed. So they cheerfully refunded (credited my credit card)my money. All of it. I didn't even have to pay for shipping or handling. That was terrific. My final feeling about the R4 is that they are probably a good instrument, however, I would never buy a guitar for $3,000.00 that had cheesey tuners like this one did. In fact, for $1500.00 you should get much better tuning machines.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Years Day 2013

Happy New Year everyone. Today is New Years day, the first day of 2013. I am hoping for a productive, fruitful year.
Today is also the 24th day I have been ill with a cold or infection of some sort. It will not go away. It began on Sunday, Dec. 9th when I awoke with a mild sore throat. That soreness was gone the next day, but since then I have had assorted bouts of sneezing, coughing, sinus congestion and the like. It's been mild enough that it has not detracted from me from my normal routine. Maybe more tired than normal. I simply am not myself and I am getting fed up with it. I suppose I better get the doctors.

It is 8:30pm and the temperature outside is 10 degrees.
I snapped this snowman on Leray St. in Watertown, N.Y. I used a Nikon D7000 with a 70-200mm f2.8 Nikon lens.
I have been watching episodes of Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone sporadically throughout the day on the Syfy Channel. That series was some of the all time best TV ever aired. Well written, well produced.