Throat Singing – The Mongolian way

Throat-singing, also called overtone-singing, is a range of singing styles in which a single vocalist sounds more than one pitch simultaneously by reinforcing certain harmonics (overtones and undertones) of the fundamental pitch. In some styles, harmonic melodies are sounded above a fundamental vocal drone.

Originally called overtone-singing in Western scholarly literature, the identification by acoustical researchers of the presence of harmonics below the vocal drone in the deep, guttural styles, as well as overtones in the more melodic styles led to adoption of the term throat-singing (a translation of the Mongolian term höömei).

Throat-singing necessitates activating different combinations of muscles to manipulate the resonating chambers of the vocal tract under sustained pressurized airflow from the stomach and chest. As with operatic singing, the technique requires years of training to master.

Throat-singers usually accompany themselves on the distinctive Inner Asian fiddle, with its pegboard often carved in the shape of a horse’s head. For an epic-narrative performance, however, the fiddle is replaced with a two-stringed plucked lute or a long board-zither. In the past, throat-singing was performed by men in ritual contexts.


Picture from: NIU Mongolian Throat Singer Brings Sounds Of Nature To Retirement Center

Female performance of throat-singing was thought to cause infertility or to bring misfortune on the performers’ menfolk for seven generations. Since the late 20th century, however, a number of female musicians have begun to challenge those taboos.

Here is an example of Mongolian Throat Singing.

Tuvan Throat Singing

To start the throat singing journey they would encourage you to start with Khöömii, basic – begin by producing a long, steady note with an open, relaxed mouth and throat. By altering lip and tongue positions to say vowels, “oooo… ohhh…. ayyy…. ahhh….. eeee….”, you will hear different overtones in ascending pitch. Cupping a hand to your ear may help you to identify these initially. Maintain one tone as you tighten your throat and stomach muscles slightly. If you choke, try a lower fundamental.

If you begin coughing, go into this tightening over a period of time to avoid damage to your voice. Hard coughing is punishing to the vocal cords…

You should now be making “electronic” sounding vowels. If any of these are extended with subtle changes to the tongue, lips, or jaw (changing one element at a time as in any controlled experiment), separate overtones will gain definition. The sounds you create are feedback leading to finer mouth control.

It may be difficult to sort out the overtones created by each position. Discover them as you work out a scale above one steady fundamental. Eventually simple melodies will emerge within a limited range. As you consciously create melody, avoid the temptation to alter the fundamental. This is basic Khöömii.

By now you should have picked up that Khöömii is steeped in Mongolian culture with origins in Shamanism (Mongolia’s national religion) and many songs are dedicated to Genghis Khan himself.

Interestingly enough the kids and I are currently learning about Mongolia and Genghis Khan and one of the stories I stumbled upon is definitely worth sharing.

In The Book of Virtues (Great book btw!) I found this story about Genghis Khan, his merry party of hunters and his favorite hawk.

This hawk was a trained hunter and at a word would fly high up into the air, and look around for prey, and if found, would swoop down upon it swiftly as any arrow.

So after a very long day filled with no success, his party took the nearest way home and Genghis went searching by a longer road for a drink.
His pet hawk left his wrist and flew away, knowing how to get home on his own.
The king searched but the hot days of summer had dried up all the mountain brooks.

At last, he found some water trickling down over the edge of a rock. He knew that there was a spring farther up. In the wet season, a swift stream of water always poured down here; but now it came only one drop at a time.
The king leaped from his horse and took a little silver cup from his hunting bag. He held it so as to catch the slowly falling drops.

It took a long time to fill the cup; and the king was so thirsty that he could hardly wait. At last it was nearly full. He put the cup to his lips, and was about to drink.

All at once there was a whirring sound in the air, and the cup was knocked from his hands. The water was all spilled upon the ground.

The king looked up to see who had done this thing. It was his pet hawk. The hawk flew back and forth a few times, and then alighted among the rocks by the spring.

The king picked up the cup, and again held it to catch the trickling drops and this time he did not wait so long.
When the cup was half full, he lifted it toward his mouth but before it had touched his lips, the hawk swooped down again, and knocked it from his hands.

And now the king began to grow angry and tried again, and for the third time the hawk kept him from drinking.The king was now very angry indeed!

“How do you dare to act so?” he cried. “If I had you in my hands, I would wring your neck!”

Then he filled his cup again. But before he tried to drink, he drew his sword.
“Now, Sir Hawk,” he said, “that is the last time.”

He had hardly spoken before the hawk swooped down and knocked the cup from his hand but the king was looking for this.
With a quick sweep of the sword he struck the bird as it passed.
The next moment the poor hawk lay bleeding and dying at its master’s feet.

“That is what you get for your pains,” said Genghis Khan.
When he started looking for his cup, he couldn’t find it.

“At any rate, I will have a drink from that spring,” he said to himself.
With determination he began climbing the steep bank to the place from which the water trickled. It was hard work, and the higher he climbed, the thirstier he became.

 At last he reached the place. There indeed was a pool of water; but what was that lying in the pool, and almost filling it?
It was a huge, dead snake of the most poisonous kind!

The king stopped as he forgot his thirst. He thought only of the poor dead bird lying on the ground below him.
“The hawk saved my life!” he cried, “and how did I repay him? He was my best friend, and I have killed him.” 

He clambered down the bank. He took the bird up gently, and laid it in his hunting bag. Then he mounted his horse and rode swiftly home.
He said to himself, “I have learned a sad lesson today, and that is, never to do anything in anger.”

Rewritten: By Nadeshda
Source: The Book of Virtues

So what does this story have to do with Mongolian Throat singing? Well not much really but it’s a good story none the less and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Obviously getting angry and cutting up your friends is never a good idea and we already know that you shouldn’t shout as this will stretch and damage your vocal chords.
If you are still curious and want to learn Mongolian Throat singing, here is a fun video on how to practice throat singing in a super easy way.

I think you will enjoy watching this guy!

How to do Mongolian Throat. (Tuvan / Tibetan / Didgeridoo)

Until next time, keep the song alive and make a joyful sound!

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TheBuddha Approves #6

I don’t really have much time or energy today. I’m going to be prone for much of the day, which limits me to a tablet. I have my daughter rolling in today, and that’s going to be enjoyable.

I suspect she’ll be in bed not long after getting here. It’s a dreadfully long drive. She has to stop along the way and will be getting the material needed to give me a second opinion.

She’s a pediatrician and my regular is not. She’s seen far more cases of mono than my regular doctor has, and she’s still pretty young. So, she can give me a second opinion. Mostly, I’m just glad she’s coming – even if she’s only going to be able to be here for a couple of days.

Seeing as nobody has stepped up to write an article, you’re just getting a short TheBuddha Approves article.

If you want something better, you’ll have to wait or write it yourself. I don’t really have much time and I’m not feeling that energetic.

This next one is actually not good – from my perspective. But, we don’t always have to look at things from my perspective. Instead, we can look at things with a different outlook. We can look at things with a different goal in mind.

My personal goal (and job) is 100% faithful replication. It is my task to make music that is exactly like what you heard from the original artist’s studio session. It goes beyond that. My goal is for other musicians to say, “That sounds just like the studio work!”

That’s not something everyone has to do. That’s not even something that I recommend most people do. The expense of getting the official tab and sheet music is not something everyone needs to undertake. The need to get someone to transcribe it to tab from ear is also not a task that you need to undertake.

It’s not only perfectly okay, it’s sometimes better to just play it how you want or just to use whatever tab you find that sounds good and that you can play. You don’t have to try to get perfect replication – nor should you, unless that’s your very specific goal.

My goals aren’t your goals.

This next site is not completely accurate. However, it will do. The tab is “close enough” and the results will be acceptable to even professional musicians. I’ve gone through and looked at a few songs that I know are often transposed wrong and they do have errors – and that’s okay.

It’s perfectly acceptable to use a site such as this one. You don’t have to be exact. You also don’t have to buy all the pedals. You don’t have to buy an amp profiler. You don’t have to spend a ton of money. You can do just fine without those things and you can do just fine with the tab that’s on this site.

This site also has some great features. You can play along with the audio and play it at a variety of speeds. There are a ton of different features and it’s not up to me to decide how you use them. It’s an excellent learning tool that will enable you to play ‘close enough’ to the original artists. They even include multiple tracks, so that your whole band (should you go that route) will have access to the same material.

In other words, it’s ‘good enough.’ You really don’t need more than this.

Without further ado:

Songsterr.com.

If you want an example of ‘close enough’ then you can see this link:

Songester.com’s tab for Metallica – Nothing Else Matters.

There… Now you have no excuses to not go learn a new song. There’s the music notation. It’s free. There’s a very good chance that they’ll have something there that you want to learn. The interface is easy to use, though I’d suggest they add a delay so that you can push play and then get setup and have it start playing like 10, 20, or 30 seconds later. (If they have such a delay, I have not found it. I don’t actually use the site, I just know it exists and have given it a once-over.)

Add that one to your list of resources, folks. It’s well worth looking into. No, it’s not perfect – as there are some errors in the tab. However, you don’t really need perfect and it’s good enough for the needs of most everyone. Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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TheBuddha Approves #5

I’m exhausted. I usually sleep from 4 to 6 hours per night. Last night, I slept for like 10 or 11 hours. Dunno how long I slept exactly, ’cause I was sleeping!

Yesterday’s show went went well and was productive for the eldest hoodlum. I tried to get her to write a damned article, but she was having none of it. None.

It’s hard to get good help these days!

Because I’m tired and really not feeling well, I’m just gonna do a “TheBuddha Approves.” So, you’re not getting a novella today. Nope… You can’t make me. ‘Snot like you can fire me!

Y’all do know that I have no idea how most of these are going to end, right? I just smash the keyboard and words come out. I don’t actually have a plan, no. ‘Snot like I have outlines, an editor, or even high publication standards.

Oh! I’d like to thank the folks that knew I had a show yesterday and stepped up to write today’s articles. Their names are ‘nobody’ ‘not me’ and ‘ask someone else!’ They get the TheBuddha Award of Appreciation. You’re gonna miss me when I’m dead. You’ll see!

Anyhow… You’re not even getting a damned intro today. Well, either that or you’re not getting an article. You’re just getting some stuff crammed together. Like I said, you can’t actually fire me!

I know y’all do drugs and drink. You’re fooling nobody! Well, if you’ve ever been trashed and poking around on the fretboard, you’ve probably come up with a chord you thought was brand new and didn’t know the name.

Sure, you can unpack it and figure out all the notes, or you can just cheat and look it up! Seeing as not a damned one of you is going to learn any music theory, you might just as well cheat!

Yup… Just click this here link and you’ll go to a ‘reverse chord finder.’ The whole site is pretty good, actually. If you can’t figure out how to use that layout, you can ask – but it’s really simple – so you can even figure it out when you’re stoned!

See? Told you that I’m a big helper.

You’re not getting anything better than that today. Sitting up hurts like hell and the damned opiates don’t appear to be kicking in yet. Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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Another unofficial view from the stage…

David the Tree Trimmer has received no new emails. I think they finally realized that I am not, in fact, the person they should be calling if they want to have their trees trimmed safely.

Well, not if they’re sane…

If they’re not sane, I’m pretty much exactly the person they want to have chopping down their trees! With that many skee ball tickets, I can buy the missus soooooooo many spider rings! So many! I can probably even get her some temporary tattoos and they have a much coveted switchblade comb!

I’m not sure if it’s my lack of skee ball skills or if it’s that I give most of my tickets away to any kids that happen to be in there – but I never seem to have enough for the switchblade comb. It’s one of many holes in my life and, one of these days, it’s going to be mine! And probably some snap bracelets with skulls on ’em! Gonna earn ’em with my new tree trimming business! You’ll be so jealous of my snap bracelets.

Moving on, lest we get too deep into absurdity…

I am pretty sure my spleen didn’t rupture in my sleep. I actually don’t feel too shitty today. I suspect that’s the double dose of opiates, but we’re gonna pretend that’s from keeping a healthy diet and getting lots of rest.

Man, those two or three people who wished for my untimely demise are gonna be so disappointed! That’s okay, they’ll still be sad when I’m dead!

Moving on again, lest I take that one too far into absurdity…

Today, I am in a band. Ain’t nobody even going to remember the name of the band, who I am, or even what we played. Strangely, there will be lots of people – but they’ll be there early and enjoying the day, waiting for the more popular acts to come on later. But… That’s actually a good thing. In fact, it has a great deal of potential!

It’s a very, very short show – but they agreed to our rates, no questions asked. A lot of times, they’ll say that they’re only paying x-amount. That’s not an option with us. My band makes x-amount, no exceptions – and it only goes up from there.

I don’t do shit for exposure and the band is no longer in a position where getting gigs is difficult. I’m pretty sure I can get a twice-a-month, maybe more frequent, show at a venue that I like.They absolutely love us in Greenville.

They’ve asked, multiple times, if we’d be interested in being much the same as what one might call a ‘house band.’ Except, we’d come in for one weekend night and cause permanent hearing loss. They really, really like us there.

Twice a month means the band can actually eat. Every weekend means they’d live very well for musicians in Maine. Twice a month and other gigs, and then doing four to six yearly shows at rented halls? That means they’d live very nicely in Maine. (Assuming we can put asses in those seats. I won’t know until next year. With the project now pushed out even longer, I get to be even more selective and careful with our image.)

So, today’s gig is just a very short one. We’re not even allowed to play an encore. As we wind down, the second stage turns on. There’s a very small chance that the band that follows us has some mishap and we’ll be asked to extend our set. The best part? If we get to play an encore, it will mean they’ve asked us to play more than what we agreed to – and the contract says they’ll give us extra money.

Damned right, I’m in it for the money. If you go way back to the very start, you’ll see this and understand why. My involvement with this project has not a damned thing to do with “art.”

Nope… My involvement with this project is so that I can mentor a younger generation and give them the tools to make their living exclusively from their musicianship. It has never been about anything else. It will never be about anything else. The rest of it is just gravy. At the end of the day, my goal is to teach them how to get paid.

The missus is not going to this one. She hates doing this work. Dunno why? It’s pretty awesome! Her reasons boil down to, “I don’t do anything but push the buttons you folks told me to push and push them on time. EH does most of the work anyhow.” She mostly drinks coffee and glares menacingly at drunks.

We really do need someone better on sound and that’s actually maybe going to happen – but, for now, it’s good for the eldest hoodlum to learn and know what’s going on out there. Sound can make or break you. A performing musician should have a good understanding of what they do and why they do it.

I’ll elaborate on that ‘maybe going to happen‘ when I know more. I’ve had one meeting with a sound engineer and he has a project he’s working on. It’s supposed to wrap up just prior to the holiday season. He’s young and works for a radio station – but he’s actually a qualified sound engineer and finished college. It’s also an old-school radio station, so he’s got his hands on the board with great frequency.

The funny thing is, he’s probably less expensive than the missus and today can actually help teach the eldest hoodlum what the hell (and the why of what) she’s doing. She does just fine – but she’s doing fine because she’s following rote directions. “Bring up mics three, four, and six at this cue.” Or, “Cue song 12 and press this button on the laptop. Move sliders two and eight …” etc…

But… See… The good news is that the missus isn’t coming. She’ll be out of the way!

I should probably elaborate! She doesn’t read the site, but she might start! It’s really actually a good thing that she’s not coming.

See, even though there are two stages, there’s only one booth for sound. Inside that tent will be a dozen people, maybe more. They’ll be doing the sound for the other bands. They will have lots of downtime and they’re probably (don’t really know) pretty good at their job.

I know some of them will be very adept and will be using similar kit. Not only that, some of them will be using much better gear and some of them will be using much older gear – which means a vast array of different understandings.

See, here’s the thing… I can’t teach her to do sound on my own. I don’t have those skills. Most of what she knows thus far comes from the band members – who are more familiar with the more modern equipment than I am. I’m 100% positive that our gear does things we don’t even know how to use. There are buttons that I don’t actually understand.

I don’t actually know how to do the sound. ‘Snot my job and I was retired for a decade. Much of our setup is digital and there are ports to hook up everything from laptops to mass storage devices. I know what most of the knobs and sliders should do but I have not so much as done more than poke at it until someone shooed me away before I broke something. (I do love me some button pushing.)

I know what they do out there in sound. I have no idea how exactly they do it. None. I can go out and listen during soundcheck, and tell them that something is off – but I don’t know how to actually fix it. ‘Snot my job to know. That’s distinctly not on the List Of Shit TheBuddha Is Obligated To Do©.

All of these things combined means she’s going to get some very, very good exposure to some very talented people. I’ve even cheated. She’s written a list of questions and she’s going to try to get answers to them from the other people doing sound. She’s not just tasked with our sound, she’s also tasked with observing and asking questions.

Ha! I didn’t even ask permission for this! She’s an attractive young lady and has already grown tits! We all know damned well they’ll be stumbling over themselves to help her. Shit, she could stand there and play dumb – and they’ll do it for her. She’s got tits. That’s how that works!

Ah, life lessons with TheBuddha… (Ed. Note: It’s not like I was actually gonna get syndicated by Rolling Stone magazine anyhow!)

However, she’s not allowed to rely on her tits and looks. She has to do the work herself and she has to learn from them. I’ll speak with them and let them know my plan and I’m 100% positive that I’ll get buy-in, ’cause we’re all in the same industry.

I’ve explored a lot of different industries, and I have to say that the subset of the entertainment industry that is performing musicians is probably one of the most helpful. You may think it unusual for me to be so confident that she’ll get help – but the truth is that she’d get help, even if she were an aging fat guy with bad teeth and body odor.

I’ve not only been the guy who had some guitarist ‘show me something, real quick’ backstage, but I’ve been the guy who did the showing. I’ve helped other bands do their setup. I’ve opened for acts and had their guitar tech come help me out in a rush. I’ve had their sound fill in for our sound. The list goes on…

I have handed someone one of my guitars and said, “Use this.” Their guitar had been in a bit of an accident and I don’t recollect the details but the result was that the neck was broken. I’ve even just let people borrow one, because they wanted to try it on stage.

It’s sometimes easier/faster to just let the next band use some of your gear – but that’s not really why we do it. We do it because we understand. We do it because we know what it’s like to have malfunctioning gear, sound that didn’t even consider showing up, or troubles due to inexperience. We do it because, at the end of the day, we’re all a part of a very small group of people with similar interests and goals.

Other than a few large acts, and those are probably for publicity, we actually are pretty helpful to each other. The number of people who make their living from their musicianship is vanishingly small. We know this. We end up having some sense of kinship. I won’t say we’re like a giant (dysfunctional) family, but we certainly have some bonds.

Anywhere I go, anywhere on the planet, I can find musicians. Everywhere I go, this is almost universally true. I’ve played guitars handed to me by people with whom I didn’t even share a spoken language. I’ve done the same in reverse. I have jammed on borrowed equipment and with people that spoke a language I don’t understand – sometimes playing music I’ve never heard before, and returning the experience by playing/showing them music that they’d never heard before. The only language we shared was music.

Which is to say, she’ll get a good education today. If I’m feeling well enough, I’ll extend our time there. I’m pretty much only obligated to be there for about two hours. I may extend our time at the venue, just so she can learn more. It depends on my physical condition and it depends on how much she appears to be learning.

If I can get her some time on other boards (unlikely, but possible) that’d be worth any physical discomfort I may have. Worst case scenario means I get a chair or leave her with one of the band members to supervise her and get her home safely.

I’m pretty excited about that. She’s pretty excited about that. She’s got a whole list of questions and a notebook. I had her write the questions out over the week and they look like good questions to me. Don’t really know if they’re good questions – because that’s not my domain. Ol’ Buddha isn’t actually an expert in everything. I have limitations and I try to know those limits.

Because the other sound folk’s (not all are actually qualified to be called sound engineers) time is valuable, I had her try to answer two questions for each question on the list. For every question she wants to ask, she must ask herself two things:

  • Have you tried to answer these questions yourself?
  • Do these questions have likely answers that will help further your understanding?

So, they’re probably good questions and worth trying to get answers to – if she’s able to answer affirmative to both. There’s no reason to not take advantage of the situation and it’s potentially a very, very educational setting. The experience has a wealth of potential.

Anyhow… That’s another view from the stage. I’d write more but I have shit to do. I think I’ll actually submit this today, as I have another few hours before I have to leave. Still, those are some of the things we think about, some of our concerns, some of our goals, and some of the experiences we have.

It’s quite different than I find most people expect and trying to share those experiences is the point of this series. This series is predicated on trying to show you what it’s really like from our eyes, what we experience, and maybe explain why we do some of the things that we do. Y’all seem to enjoy ’em and I’m happy to put them down in text. My giant ego says they’ll someday be important!

Finally, this is the last outdoor show of the year. Winter is rapidly approaching and there’s not many outdoor shows in the winter. There is one that I know of but I haven’t gotten us into it yet. I’m working on it – ’cause I can bribe them with a stage. That’s not until 2019, however.

They do it every year (it’s a winter festival) and bring in a giant rented stage and a bunch of heaters. I just so happen to have a stage, a few heaters, and know the members of the board that make such decisions! ‘Snot nepotism if we’re not related! (Ed Note: Yes, yes it is. I looked up the definition, just to be sure. Guilty as charged. Don’t care.)

I’ve been trying to get into that show, but it looks like this year’s lineup is already selected and all the contracts signed. It’s nice to be in a position where we’re selective about gigs! It’s also nice to know people who can help us get into the kinds of venues/events that we are aiming for.

I do know that said show pays exceptionally well. They have a set payment, even for the headline act, and pay absolutely no more than that – but it’s a very, very nice amount. (I know, ’cause I know the organizers! I told you, I’ve got friends in low places!)

Every music act makes exactly the same amount and only the same amount. It’s paid for by local businesses, donations, and proceeds from the year before. They have snowmobile races, snow sculpture contests, delicious food, and even have snowmobiles doing flips in the air and stuff! (No monster trucks, however.) So, I’d like to play that festival! What kinda weirdo wouldn’t want to play that festival?!?

I’ve made this article long enough. I guess I’ll submit it – ’cause I’m pretty much ready to go. I need only carry a duffel bag and garment bag to the car. The hoodlum will take care of the rest. She’s even packed her guitar saying, “Just in case I need it!”

Gotta admit, an emergency guitar is probably sound logic – though she’s not getting any stage time today. I’ll giggle if she cons her way onto another band’s stage. I could see her trying that. She really seems to love her stage time.

I doubt she’ll be able to, but I could see her trying it. In fact, I’d say that’s a very low probability event. Sure, you might scoff – but you what you should be doing is taking a lesson. See… What she’d be doing is keeping the dream alive and working towards her goals, even though the odds are against her. 😉 (I’m a horrible influence.) Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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Seeing as I’ve got a doctor’s note…

I fucking quit.

Sorta…

It has been decided. I will not be doing any vocals on Saturday. Which is nice. If I play my cards right, I might never go back to doing them!

I know damned well the rest of ’em can sing well enough. I know, ’cause I thought about that ahead and time and made sure they sang when I auditioned them.

This mono stuff just keeps getting better and better!

Let’s see… So far, I’ve been told to:

Take drugs.
Get lots of rest.
Drink fluids.

Well, that first one kinda goes without saying. Getting rest means I get to lay around all day and do nothing. Drink fluids? Holy balls! There’s gonna be a shortage of cheap whiskey around here!

Sadly, I might only be able to milk this for just a couple of weeks. They don’t actually have a specific date for me that says, “You’ll be better on the 17th.” It could last for months!

Still no idea how the hell I went this long without getting immunity to mono. On the list of things I’ve put in my mouth, something covered in a fairly common virus seems like something I’d do. I’ve put stuff in my mouth that you absolutely don’t want to hear about.

I have decided to just apply my usual perspective to it.

It’s pretty much an excuse to lay around the shanty and put a good buzz on!

Let me show you how I’m spending my time… You’ll see…

Some unsuspecting poor soul fell into my (clever, I assume) trap. I’m pretty sure I trapped ’em, ’cause there’s no way the indifferent universe would ever give me such pleasures.

Which is to say, someone emailed me – with the wrong address! I don’t know who they are or who they think I am, but I’m happy they emailed me! Oh, boy… At least one of us is gonna be happy ’cause of this.

This is what his email said.

Hello,i will like to know if you do tree trimming service for home and can i know if you are the owner kindly get back to me Asap

I’m not editing a damned thing.

Wait… Read that again. Now read it through my eyes!

Damned right, I will come trim some fucking trees! HOLY BALLS! What kind of lunatic is going to let me trim trees? Even better, who’s gonna let me do it near a house!

The game was afoot! I planned my next moves with great care. I was going to get the address, pictures, and maybe even get paid to do it! Shit, that’s the kinda stuff I’ll do for free, but not one person ever asks me to.

Instead, I decided to play nice. That’s right… I was nice about it.

This was my response:

As tempting as it is to write back to you and say, “Oh, yes! Yes, I do trim trees! I even gotta chainsaw! Give to me the address and I’ll chop down everything you want!” I’m afraid that I’m absolutely not qualified to receive such an award.

Whilst I do have a chainsaw, you probably don’t want me trimming your trees. I’d love to. You don’t even want to know how much I’d love to.

See, you have the wrong email address. Even worse, out of all the many billions of wrong email addresses that exist, you got mine.

I am way out in a little place called Maine, USA. I am also retired. And, I smoke a whole lot of pot. Tons of it.

I’d absolutely love to trim some trees! However, you really, really don’t want to let me do that. ‘Snot the kinda thing insurance is gonna cover. Hells yeah, I’ll trim some trees. Can we rent one of those cherry picker thingies? This is gonna be awesome!

If you change your mind and REALLY want me to come cut some trees for you, do get back to me! Oh, yes! I even own a tractor! We can rent some midgets and turn it into an event that makes the newspaper! If these trees are awesome enough, I might even pay for it myself!

Please do respond with pictures of the trees and your collection of midgets. I will respond with my pictures of kevlar chaps and chainsaw.

No kinky stuff!

Sincerely,
David

I was pretty gentle.

You know, if WordPress didn’t suck balls so much on a tablet, I’d probably write more. However, it sucks balls and using a laptop in a prone position also sucks balls.

But it does suck balls and I have a doctor’s note that says I’m supposed to get high and be lazy.

Oh, I forgot to mention!

They tried to fool me by saying (curiously in small print) that my spleen could explode. I looked. That’s a very, very low probability event. It also says that it is more likely if I roughhouse.

“I had sex so hard my spleen exploded.”

Alas, the universe hasn’t gifted me with such a grand gift. My spleen is not actually going to explode. That’s a line that I’ll never be able to use, which is unfortunate.

Seriously, you’re sitting at the bar and another old man comes up to you. You sit and talk about the things you’ve done in your life. He mentions that he once had sex with two women – and they even touched each other.

“Man, that’s nothing. I had sex so hard my spleen exploded.”

You win that round.

The universe is uncaring and I’m really, really unlikely to get to say such a thing. I’m hopeful! (The missus refuses to touch me, even with a stick and certainly not a whip.)

So, I’m not gonna die or anything. I should probably not be leaping off stacks and jumping up and down, but I’m 60… ‘Snot like I actually do that anymore. I do have to play. That position needs to be filled.

‘Snot a problem. I’ve got opiates. Give me any shit and I’ve already got a chair on the stage. I will sit in it the whole night and crack bad jokes. I know know to adjust mic stands. Ain’t nobody turning my mic off.

Alright, enough of this silliness. I’m going back to my tablet. You know where to find me. I’ll poke a laptop here and there, but I gotta lay down and enjoy my delicious apple juice. Hmm… I wonder if I can milk this enough to just stay in the bed? I’m gonna work on that. Until next time…

You go right ahead and play us the merry tune of your people!

It gets even better…

I want you to  provide me with the total cost for the tree trimming of the house this is my address (redacted)
 kindly get back to me asap thanks
I responded:
Enclosed you will find a copy of my estimate.

Labor: $0.00
Fuel: $2,800
Midgets: $5245.98
Bucket Truck: $500
Bail money: $100,000
Space ship: $250,000,000
Broken yard sale yo-yo: $0.50
And 375,000 skee ball tickets.

Please remit payment as soon as possible and I look forward to chopping
down your forest.
I am not actually sure how that formatting happened.
It’s already pretty much the best day ever. Thank you, universe!
It continues:
what’s your total estimate
?
My response:
$250,108,546.48 + gratuity and extra for kinky stuff.

And don't forget the skee ball tickets. You can get some at Moose Alley,
in Rangeley - but I'm pretty sure those dirty rotten bastards cheat.

David The Tree Trimmer

It did that formatting again. I wish I could do that on purpose.

They haven’t emailed me back.

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Guitarists Better than Hendrix #28½!

So… I was thinking…

I was thinking that I’d write a guitarist better than Hendrix for today and that it was going to suck, because I’m really not all that happy about sitting in one place for long.

For those that don’t know, as I’ve not been submitting the articles, Ol’ Buddha is doing poorly, health-wise. The creatures known as the General Public are diseased and have inflicted me with a mystery ailment. I have still been writing some. You can just register, you know. It’ll email you and tell you that someone published an article. That’s all it does. I don’t spam anyone. I don’t sell your address. I sure as shit don’t need your real name.

Anyhow…

I am not dead. I am not going to die from this, probably. In just a couple of hours, I’ll be going to get some tests done. They’re pretty confident that it’s mono – except there’s no way I should have mono. I also don’t have a rash. Dunno… I’m not that kinda doctor.

They tell me that my spleen is swollen. No clue. Everything hurts. I don’t see anything swollen, but it’s not like I can examine my own spleen. My anatomy doesn’t really work like that and I’m not actually sure I even have a spleen. It’s been sixty years and my spleen has never notified me of its presence. So, my spleen might actually be a myth.

I’m fine… I’m just tired, sore, obligated to stuff, and going to be uncomfortable for a while. My protestations notwithstanding, I’m told it won’t kill me. I’m pretty sure my throat is full of gasoline and I’m positive that even my hair hurts.

Fortunately, they’ve given me drugs! WOOHOO!!! I’m even going to go get more drugs! Yup… Getting high and not even breakin’ the law! You’ll never take me alive, copper!

Anyhow…

My thinking was happily interrupted by someone responding to last week’s thread about the guitarist greater than Hendrix. Not only did they respond, they did so very well! They even did so in a brilliantly timely manner!

I was like, “Umm… Can I have that?” They were gracious enough to say yes and I’m very, very grateful.

So, it’s because of @Whitemail that you’re getting what I think is a wonderful addition to the site today. It’s because of their time and effort that you’re getting this and I’m really, really grateful for their contribution.

If anyone else would like to step up and write some stuff, I’m more than happy to try to figure out how to get it into the schedule. I’m still writing every day, but I’m not submitting it.

Why am I not submitting it? Because, when I submit stuff – I feel an obligation to be there to answer in a reasonable amount of time for a reasonable amount of time. Because of my discomfort, I’m not really willing to obligate myself to answering any questions or comments.

I will submit this one, ’cause it’s Thursday and someone else wrote it! I can say, “Ask him! I didn’t write it. @Whitemail did!” But, I have some time and I have some opiates!

I do want to thank everyone for the well-wishing. That’s very appreciated. I even appreciate the dude that told me he hoped I was dead! (I’m gonna guess someone’ll tell me something similar today. They’re gonna miss me when I’m gone! Damned right.)

Anyhow, that’s about all you’re getting for an intro. On to what they wrote!
Continue reading “Guitarists Better than Hendrix #28½!”

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I do not have the plague! It’s worse…

So… I got a phone call this morning.

My doctor told me I do not, in fact, have the plague. Instead, I have a mystery! Let’s go back to the beginning!

*ring ring*

*checks Caller ID and it says it’s the doctor’s office so answers*

*some verbal sparring takes place as I test them to see if they’re telling horrible lies and not really aliens pretending to be my doctor*

“No, David. You don’t have the plague.” The doctor lied.

“How do you know I don’t have the plague?” I cleverly responded, still in test mode.

“I know you know that’s not how science works.” He feinted left.

“Something theoretical, then. I can work with that.” I said, trying to keep my options open.

“I have other patients, David.” He said, trying to find excuses to leave the arena.

“How many of them pay full price and cash?” I asked.

“David, you have mono.” He said, completely ignoring my brilliant riposte.

“Don’t you lie to me!” I coughed, cutting him completely off mid-sentence.

“… and appear to have the common cold.” He finished, completely ignoring me at this point. I’m not sure why I pay him.

*time passes while I pretty much make him read WebMD to me, at least I’m pretty sure that’s what he’s actually doing*

“I don’t have a rash and I’m old. I should not have mononucleosis!” I decided.

“The tests say you do. I need to go.” He said, admitting defeat.

“But you said you didn’t run the tests personally AND that it was just some nameless lab tech that isn’t a doctor! I don’t know who they are, or what they have for credentials.” I said into a now dead line, the dirty rotten bastard had hung up on me.

Yup… Somehow I’ve contracted mono and the common cold. I’ve collected not one, but two, viruses – minimum. Y’all are fucking a disease vector, General Public. A disease vector!

I have no idea how I got mono. I did do some meet and greet – but I didn’t actually stick my tongue in anything strange. I couldn’t. The missus was watching.

They also don’t know that with 100% confidence – I checked! They want me to go get some tests and they’ll confirm it with greater certainty.

I decided to get a second opinion. I called my daughter. She wanted no part of it and told me to stop being a baby and that mono certainly isn’t an emergency. She did tell me she loved me, before she hung up.

In fact, she was quite emphatic about telling me that she loved me. The phone went immediately dead after that, so I assume it was an emotional experience for her and I’m probably going to die.

I have to drive a long ways if I didn’t want to see a doctor that isn’t actually a witch doctor that graduated from medical school back before I even had children. I’m not sure I believe a word they say.

Trust me… I’ve inspected every inch of my body and I have no rash. Since that dirty rotten liar doctor told me that I’d have a rash, everything itches. I’m thinking this might be his subtle revenge, or it could be the mild dose of opiates. I’m not yet sure.

The fat bastard doctor didn’t even make my lab appointment for me. “Just show up during their regular business hours, at least 72 hours before your next appointment with me.”

Aside:

I should probably remind people that I live in backwater Maine. The nearest medical services are many miles away. They aren’t very good. They’re actually particularly good at thawing people out, not kidding, but I’m not actually frozen. So, while I admire that skill – it’s not actually very beneficial to me until such time as I’m frozen.

They pick up major problems with a helicopter. They don’t usually take that helicopter to Farmington. No… Farmington is where you go for medical service when you have no choice in the matter. Let’s just agree that it’s obvious these doctors couldn’t get much more remote and there’s probably a reason for that.

Thus, I don’t have the plague. At least he seemed pretty confident of that. I asked!

I have the common cold. That makes sense.

He told me my spleen was swollen. I told him I had a concoction of weed and opiates in me, and that frankly I didn’t even know I had a spleen. He told me we’d discussed this when I went to his office. I don’t recall that, but I’m gonna guess he was the more sober of the two of us.

He was recommended to me by a fairly shady character that I, of course, consider a great friend. He came with an endorsement something like, “Yeah, he is probably the better one of the lot and writes a lot of prescriptions.” (Good enough for me!)

So, the fucker could be wrong – and I could really have the plague.

I shouldn’t have mono. I’m old. Mono is not actually all that easily transferred. My whole body hurts. My whole body is not a spleen. I don’t notice anything swollen in particular, but he tells me it is. I ain’t even sure how to check for that. Nobody was willing to tell me. I’ve tried poking and prodding myself but it just kinda hurts everywhere I touch.

It’s a goddamned mystery, is what it is.

Wait until the missus gets up! Oh, she’s gonna be so mad! (‘Snot like she’s gonna have sympathy.) She’s not gonna let me kiss her for weeks.

Hmm…

Actually, I can use that to my advantage. I’ll get her a nun’s habit and our new sex game is going to be called “Catholic Sex.” There’s no reason to let a fortuitous situation go to waste.

Moving on…

I don’t fucking know. They tell me I have a pleasant blend of the common cold and mono. They want to run more tests to confirm it. They bribed me with stronger drugs, if I go into Farmington to pick up the prescription. That’s a pretty good bribe. I’ll almost certainly make that trip and stop at the lab while I’m there!

He said he’d email me and, as I write this article, I see that “he” (his damned secretary) has emailed me and it looks like they straight up cut and pasted that shit from something – probably WebMD.

He also told me that I’ll feel “somewhat better” in “probably” a “day or two.” (I forget the words between those ’cause they aren’t important.) I’m pretty sure he’s just making that up. Seems a wee bit vague and like maybe he’s assuming a few spherical cows – but I’m not the one with a medical degree.

If he wants to have a penis fight, my degree is higher than his! His lack of rigor is just not okay! Yeah, I’m probably going to die.

I’m supposed to get lots of rest, drink lots of fluids, and probably stay away from people. Fat chance of any of that happening, but the advice was nice. The dirty and diseased General Public has given me this. I will give it back to them. I will continue to perform. It’s my job.

I have decided to use this to my advantage. I’d like to sing less and concentrate more on the guitar. I don’t actually like singing. I will foist such duties off on the band. They’re all very capable.

Boy, won’t they be surprised! We have a show this coming Saturday! I can’t sing! (Awesome!)

In all seriousness, I’m not gonna die. I’m just going to be tired and sore, for an indeterminate amount of time that is ‘up to six weeks.’ And, if we look at it with the right eyes, my doctor told me to get high and shitpost online! (Eat these drugs and stay in bed!) He also gave me the chance to be even lazier on stage!

Damned right. It’s pretty much the best day ever. I ain’t even gotta write anything for the site. “Oh, I can’t. I’m resting today!” Ha! That’s right, doctor’s excuse, if I miss a day!

Umm… I will probably write. I mean, this is me we’re talking about. Not saying it’s gonna be any good, but I will probably do it. You might get pure drivel, such as this article.

I will note that this goes back to my rules for performing musicians. This is a clear demonstration of why you need to keep yourself healthy. If I’d not been healthy when this hit, that’d suck even more. I have a job to do, contractual obligations. I can’t get sick and take the night off. Well, I can – but I really shouldn’t.

It does explain the energy drain and lethargy. It does explain the ague. The common cold bit explains much of it – but the mono is probably why my throat is horrible. (Side note: It’s that weird sort of horrible that makes doing Axl Rose impersonations kinda fun.)

So, you’re not getting an article today. Instead, you’re getting the most appropriate song I could think of.

Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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QUESTION: I think I have damaged vocal cords, can it be repaired?

Short answer: It depends as nerves can heal with the right energy, and nutrients and appropriate protection and use of the injured area. Probably best to discuss the specifics with a practitioner.

Longer answer will lead to more articles: Back in 2012 nearly six percent of the U.S. population had a vocal disorder, often caused by vocal cords that have stiffened due to scarring.

Vocal cords experience a LOT of TRAUMA and see more action daily than any other part of the body. In a single concert a singers vocal-cords can collide tens of thousands of times like mini-car crashes just happening over-and-over again.

Scarring can occur in a number of ways; including cancer and overuse from singing, normal wear and tear and shouting over a group.

The vocal cords, or folds, are made up of three layers: a surface layer, the middle layer (gelatinous) and the deepest layer (muscle).
When the middle gel-like layer is damaged, the top layer sticks to the bottom layer and interrupts vibration, causing hoarseness and this called vocal scarring. 

I would highly recommend seeing a voice specialist in your area to confirm this and not go on a hunch, many times rest and proper care is possibly all you need.

Firstly; I am not a Voice Specialist but you need to make an honest assessment. Do your research, understand your symptoms. A Voice specialist will work with you in understanding your current situation and help you to make progress.

If you have specific questions about:

  1. The normal structure and function of the vocal tract;
  2. Processes of voice production;
  3. Disorders of the voice such as laryngeal nodules, polyps and neoplasms;
  4. Contact ulcers, spasmodic dysphonia, vocal tremor;
  5. Vocal fold paralysis resulting in hoarseness and weakness of the voice.

Get in contact with:
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorder.
They provide free information and assistance in this area.
Here is a link:
https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice-speech-and-language

If you do have permanent damage I would suggest picking up an instrument to make beautiful sound or even consider some practiced farting.:) BUT please do it in tune !

Let me tell you a story where there was a famous flatulist
(yes, this is the correct term) who was paid handsomely for his windy tunes!
Along time ago in dreary twelfth-century England there lived a famous flatulist by the name of Rolandus le Fartere. As the court Jester he was paid handsomely with acres and acres of land to fart before King Henry II at Christmas time. Every year he was called to perform “Unum saltum et siffletum et unum bumbulum
(one jump, one whistle, and one fart).

Make a merry sound and don’t let anyone stop you! I hope this article helped you understand that there are resources available and I will be looking at some methods to prevent voice damage in the coming weeks and some home remedies!

Until then, keep the song alive !

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My symptoms have been narrowed down to the plague…

I tried rest. I tried well-wishes, ’cause I got a lot of those. I tried wine, which was a remarkably good choice for a while. I have tried juice, tea, so many showers, and maybe even a few drugs not actually prescribed by a doctor.

Because there are questions about my bowels (not kidding), I shall inform you that they have returned to normal. I appear to have just a head cold and a cough, complicated with ague and general malaise.

After reading between the lines at Wikipedia and WebMD, I’ve diagnosed myself with the plague.

The good news is that, assuming I survive, I’ll become immune to this particular plague strain. If not, I hope it leaves gnarly bone scars and archeologists dig up my bones and vindicate my theory 1000 years from now!

So, you’re not getting anything special today. Nope… Ain’t happening.

I’ll ramble for a little while. I won’t actually be submitting this one, either. You can submit ’em anywhere you want, or not at all. I give no shits. I will not be obligating myself to respond today. Ain’t happening. I’ve got the plague!

I haven’t touched a guitar, not even to bring them in the house, since Friday. Strangely, my fingers don’t itch and I’m not pissy about it. I’ve played guitar while I was sick or injured. So, it’s a wee bit odd to not feel those itchy fingers yet.

I think I’m just going to offer you a dire warning – but it’s not a warning about the plague. It’s topical…

I’ve had a few comments and questions lately that have led to me trying to explain to them that I have, in fact, lost some of the joy that I used to get when I listen to music.

Much of my music listening consists of critical evaluation of the piece. Much of my listening is with a purpose, such as to gain increased familiarity with the piece. Some of it is evaluation as a piece for replication. It’s not really fun. It’s the cost of entering the field.

It’s also kinda amazing to how many people link me to videos I already know. Yesterday, or the day before, someone linked me to a popular 50s song, as though it was a song I was unfamiliar with. It was one of the rare times I followed someone’s link! I berated them. The name would have been adequate.

So, I don’t always get the joy I used to get. I find that listening to music, most frequently if it’s new, is a chore. I often get people who ask what I think of a certain piece – which turns it into work.

I don’t mind, don’t get me wrong. It’s just not the joy that it used to be. It hasn’t been, for years.

Once upon a time, one of my favorite things to do was to get a brand new album and listen to it, end to end – and over and over. That’s pretty much torture today.

It gets worse, too! The people who live in my house ALL seem to get constant ear-worms. The missus will play a song – 100 times! She’s not doing it to learn it, she’s doing it to satisfy her ear-worm. I assume it can’t be helped and the worm must be sated, ’cause it just sorta happens to some people.

Let’s see… This is pretty short and I’ve finally gotten a call back and will be able to see a physician today. If you remember my Lessons for Performing Musicians, you’ll remember that it’s important to keep yourself healthy. The public is disease ridden – and they want to get close to you. You will get sick.

So, as this is far too short…

I bet not one person even offers to drive me to the doctor’s office. Instead, I bet they all want to come with me – and have me make a half-dozen stops along the way. They’re probably plague carriers.

Meh… I’m gonna stop at the chainsaw store. That’s right… Where I live, we have stores dedicated to stuff like chainsaws! That’s pretty much the best day ever, right there.

I can’t believe you’re still reading… Sheesh… You have no taste. None! You should actually be ashamed of yourself!

Anyhow, the next bit I was thinking about putting into words was a bit that comes from a conversation with a wonderful contributor.

No… You’re not normal…

Normal people don’t think that life would be fucking awesome if it were just like a musical.

Normal people do not, in  fact, randomly break out into song – as the moment strikes them, and often at inappropriate times.

Normal people don’t dedicate large portions of their lives to actually understanding music. They’re passive listeners – not active listeners.

Normal people only see music as a small part of their lives – even if they listen to music all the time.

Normal people don’t spend countless hours looking into the specifications of music-related gear.

Normal people don’t dedicate giant chunks of their time to learning to play an instrument with any degree of proficiency – if they do, they stop by the time they’re 20, as usually about the second year of college or life kills that for them.

Normal people don’t give up fun activities to get tones they’re not satisfied with from a musical instrument. They don’t put that work in – they’re sane!

You’re not fucking normal! None of you are.

No, there is no ‘everybody else’ that thinks like you do. You’re a tiny subset of a very large population. The numbers dwindle even faster when you decide to try to make a living from your musicianship. That’s probably ’cause it’s insane to do so.

You’re not normal. Get that nonsense right out of your head.

“I have lots of musical friends!” You might exclaim.

“I have a little something called data and your first major flaw is called selection bias!” I’d almost certainly retort, possibly with a punctuation about the sexual prowess of your mother.

You’re not even remotely normal. You’re not much more than a statistical term known as a ‘margin of error.’ There are probably more people with herpes than there are serious musicians. There are probably more full-limb amputees than there are serious musicians.

You are free to decide if that makes you special or if it makes you insane – or possibly both. Either way, it’s not normal. No. Beside, I know some of you. I’ve known lots of musicians. You’re not fucking normal. You should also probably see a damned therapist, the whole lot of you!

Alright…

I’m pretty sure that’s all your getting today. I’d like to take a moment to thank you all for stepping up and offering to write an article so that TheBuddha could die in peace. Oh, wait… That’s none of you! Ungrateful heathens. You’re gonna miss me when I’m dead, you’ll see.

Listen carefully – it’s got an organ in it! (It’s probably a Hammond! Until next time…

Don’t even think about playing me a song. No, not even quietly.

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Unofficial View From The Stage and A Video.

When you’re a performer, you’ll often interact with large numbers of people. Seeing as they are people, it’s pretty safe to assume that they carry the plague.

I’m not sure if I have the plague or cancer. Either way, I’m dying at a slightly more rapid pace than usual. Everyone keeps telling me that I’ll get better, but I’m pretty sure they’re just trying to cheer me up.

I love getting to spend time with the people, but they’re disease carriers. Sometimes, you get strange women (not necessarily attractive) who will want to hug and kiss you. They don’t know my name, or anything. I’m in a cover band. They’re just drunk. It’s probably one in a series of regrettable choices they’re going to make that evening!

In ye olden days, it was a pretty good way to get nookie. However, I’m not in a position to take advantage of that job perk. Either way, I digress and, seeing as I’m nearing the end of my life, I don’t want to waste time on trivialities! (I suspect nobody is gonna believe that trivialities bit.)

Someone, probably the drummer, has infected me with their plague.

So, there’s a view from the stage:

Humans are just the tool things like typhoid use to survive. We humans are covered in all manner of disgusting things. You will catch the plague.

I’m not even sharing this article, like I didn’t yesterday. Don’t care. Got the plague. Nobody even offered to fill in for me. Nobody. So, I’ll do it myself!

Alright, I have a video for you.

I’ve realized my attempt to turn ‘pipe organ’ into a scientific unit of measurement is not going to be effective. There’s just too many damned variations in pipe organs!

(Also, I found a pipe organ in Massachusetts! I don’t have time to visit them yet, but I’m gonna email ’em and ask if they’ll let me play their pipe organ – with supervision, of course.)

I don’t know how to play a pipe organ. Nope. Don’t care, either. I’m pretty sure playing a pipe organ, skilled or not, is just about the most awesome thing you can do. Pipe organs players have more in common with a conductor than they do a pianist.

In my effort to find more information about pipe organ air movement quantities, I found some pretty sweet pipe organs! Some of ’em have pedals that you can stomp on – and they mechanically ring bells, bang drums, and all sorts of awesome shit.

HOLY BALLS! I previously did not know about the bells! I’m pretty sure you can understand my excitement! If you can’t understand my excitement, you’re on the wrong site.

And, yeah… I have no idea how to play a pipe organ – nor do I care. I don’t even think my ineptitude will diminish the sheer joy of playing a pipe organ. An instrument of that magnitude has no choice but to be awesome.

Man, my feet would be flying like horses and my fingers would rip out somber notes that reverberated through the audience I’ll probably have had to chain into the building. I’m pretty sure at least one of us in that group of people is gonna be having the best day ever. Pretty sure…

Alright, enough nonsense. I have the damned plague and I’m going back to my couch and tablet. If you want me, you know where to find me. If I don’t answer, I’m dead.

Here’s the damned video. It’s pretty awesome!

Now, the narrator is a little stupid – but it’s not their fault. They don’t realize that they’re listening to a very complex bitchin’ solo!

Seriously… Turn your volume up and listen carefully! They’re bitchin’ solos!

Damned right – and, unless I die of the plague, until next time…

Play quietly and somewhere else.

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