June 29, 2011

Bri's Kittens

My friend Bri just got new baby kittens.  They're just 11 weeks old, and SO ADORABLE!  I spent the afternoon following them around with my camera after giving them some of the toys my cats ignore.  They make me realize just how humongous my cats are.  I mean, Felix was the runt, and she's still 13 lbs.  No wonder people look at them like they're freaks of nature...

Anywho, I hope you're prepared for a cuteness onslaught.

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

June 23, 2011

Show at World Cafe Live

Here's video from the song DS and I helped out with at the show on June 17th at World Cafe Live.  Sometimes the sound doesn't match up just right, but you'll get the idea.  It was so much fun, and I hope that we get more chances to do fun things like this in the future.

If you like the music, be sure to check out the band's website for more info.

June 07, 2011

I'm With The Band

Today was a busy day.  I'm having a lot of those lately.  A good portion of this is because I've been playing with the band Designer, based in Philly.  I came along as they were finishing up recording their first CD, so I don't have a huge part yet.  They needed a second pianist for one of their songs when it's performed live, and luckily for me, piano is one of the instruments I play.

Being one of the only band members without a full time job (something I'm working on, more details on that if it pans out), I've started doing a lot of background stuff to help out.  The major thing was designing the website.  Website design is not something I have any training in, and I rely heavily on templates followed by back-end editing of html, css, and xml for those things templates won't let me do.  Thank goodness for Google.

Other things include imparting my (limited) knowledge about things like Square Up and business finances, and helping out with creating band merchandise like this poster.

Copyright 2011 Dan Bellotti, for Designer
No, I didn't design it, Dan, the drummer, did.  All I did was use my ink-free hands to move finished posters around during the screen printing process and then make sure they were dry with a blow dryer so they wouldn't smear.  The posters are going to be on sale at the CD release show on June 17th at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.  I'll be on the piano, and perhaps the flute.  We'll see about that last one.  I've been noodling around on the songs during practice, but I'm not sure anything I've done yet is worth playing at a show.

Check out some of the band's songs here (some will hopefully be on the website soon), and if you like them, pre-order the CD so we can afford to make another I'll actually be on!

What else have I been up to?  Practicing my mandolin, flute, and piano playing nearly every day.  Working out, which has actually been showing progress!  Sewing up a mobile for my friend Lisa's baby.  Lots of for real cooking;  I'm as shocked as you are.  Tonight I made DS a lentil soup from scratch for him to take in his lunches.  Of course, I've been doing the usual things, like cleaning the house, gardening, reading, etc.

What's keeping you busy?

June 01, 2011


Check out my new mandolin!
Not long after DS and I moved in together, or perhaps even before that, DS was given an old mandolin that had been found in his aunt's attic.  For a long time I dreamed about learning to play it, but it was not in great shape.  We held onto it anyway, and after I started playing with the band Designer, it was decided that my learning to play would be beneficial.

So I tuned it up with the old strings, which were rusted, to see if it was worth a shot.  It seemed to hold a tune, and I got really excited and bought new strings and a book for learning to play.  Unfortunately, when I went to restring the thing I discovered two of the tuning pegs were bent.  They would only turn so far in one direction before they would just stop moving and would only go back the other way.  This made restringing it impossible.

We took it to the repair guy at the music store who tried his best, but apparently that old thing has a weird tuning head and he couldn't find a replacement for it.  Poor me, I was forced to buy the one I had been playing with all the times DS had been shopping for a bass!

I've had it for just over a week, though it already feels like twice that.  I try to play for an 45 min to an hour everyday to help build up my calluses, because I've never played anything like this before.  I'm taking my time learning the basics, trying not to rush it.  DS keeps asking if I can play like Chris Thile yet, and I can assure you the answer is no.