Category Archives: Link of Admiration

My Favorite Songs: Ding FeiFei’s Suanleba

This is pretty much my favorite song right now.  I just love the emotion, love the scalar guitar part, love her voice, love the lyrics…





Basically, the song is about deciding to break up.  She’s sitting on the side of the road, no lights, as it is raining, thinking about the promises they made before.

But apparently they have fought so viciously, they can’t go back to the way they were before.  So she says to herself, forget you ever loved him, forget what you said before, forget you ever belonged to him, never think of/miss him again…love is like a cup of cold tea you won’t drink but won’t throw away…never mind, let’s just go our own way.

I used to dream of having our family, where I could be safe in your embrace…I don’t know how things changed, I don’t know exactly when we deviated from the dream, and the wings of our dream were broken so we couldn’t fly to paradise anymore…let the rain wash away our dreams…actually, no one needs to apologize…

…forget you ever loved him, forget what you said before, forget you ever belonged to him, never think of/miss him again…love is like a cup of cold tea you won’t drink but won’t throw away…never mind, let’s just go our own way…


Leave a comment

Filed under Link of Admiration, Me, Music

My Favorite Songs: Journey’s Dead or Alive

It’s a great guitar feature.  It isn’t easy, to begin with.  But from there, it’s cool because it doesn’t use the normal blues pentatonic scale, and there are some cool syncopated parts that mess with timing.

When I have a band, we are definitely doing this as a cover.

Leave a comment

Filed under guitar, Link of Admiration, Me

My Evolution of Taste in Guitars (Westone, Fernandes, Jon Kammerer, Hamer, Etc)

I think I finally found the (my?) cure to GAS*.

A few months ago, I heard that Jon Kammerer Guitars** was having a big clearance sale.  In the process of doing some unpaid promotional work for Jon Kammerer Guitars back in 2004, I got the chance to play on a Jon Kammerer solid body guitar for about 3 months.

It was a great guitar.  But I was still a cheapskate.  I still believed that the Pawn Shop Find of the Century was out there somewhere for $200.  I still believed that there were some professional-quality guitars available for $300 or under.  I still believed there <i>had</i> to be some guitar company doing great work that hadn’t been discovered yet.

So at the end of the 3 months, I didn’t continue the relationship.  There was no way I was going to spend $1k or more on a guitar, no matter <i>how</i> good.

Well, in some ways, guitars are much like cars, or any other item that can range from utilitarian to luxury: you <i>can</i> find the basics for cheap, but the quality/price curve is quite steep.  At some point, you end up having to pay twice as much for something only 10% better.  The ratio can get even worse.  For instance, your average family sports sedan that you can get for under $20k now outperforms most so-called “supercars” that cost several hundred thousand dollars back in the early ’80s.  And a loaded BMW 3 series costs 3 times as much as  Mazda3…yet it can’t go 3 times as fast; it isn’t 3 times as luxurious, it can’t turn corners 3 times as tight.  Most likely, despite being 300% of the cost of a Mazda3, a BMW 3-series is probably just 20-50% better in any attribute.

So, yeah: some of the guitars I found were 70% as good as a professional.  I had a JB Player Professional w/ EMG Select pickups that was both beautiful and sounded great.  But fret wear started to catch up and I started to have fret-outs and buzzes.  And the Wilkinson Tremolo wouldn’t really stay in tune, even with a Tremsetter device installed.  I bought a couple of Carvin Bolts for $300 each.  They were very good, but not “great”.  And the newer Carvins, anything with an upgraded appearance got to be $1300 or more very quickly.  Too rich for my blood.

I heard that the Matsumoku-made Westones were great…they <i>did</i> have great necks, great action…but sometimes the tone was too harsh, and the tremolos didn’t stay in tune well.

I stumbled across Fernandes Guitars…they had some very good guitars for very cheap, used, on eBay.  But although they had very good sound, I found myself slightly frustrated with the fit and finish: the fret edges were always rough, and the back of the necks seemed to be raw wood.  Over the course of a very short time, I had a Revolver X, a Vertigo X, a Monterey X, a Dragonfly X lavaburst, and a Dragonfly Pro (w/ sustainer).  But (with the exception of the Revolver) the Xs were all “photoflame” (a paper-thin veneer literally printed with a pattern meant to mimic quilted maple), the Dragonfly Pro got badly damaged in shipping, and the Revolver both had a slightly whiny sound (excellent vintage Les Paul sound, btw…just happened to be a tone I hate) and was purchased cheap enough that I wanted to sell it for a big profit to buy other guitars (I made about $200 off of buying/selling it).

That was when I discovered Hamer, through a Korean-import Hamer Stellar 1.

Fast foward a few years, and I currently own 7 USA Hamers: a Ted Nugent-signed Californian w/ rare maple fretboard, a set-neck Chaparral, a blueburst Centaura Deluxe, a tobacco burst Centaura w/ maple fretboard, a Diablo, a speckle/granite Centaura, and a 12-string set-neck Chaparral.  And that’s after selling another speckle/granite Centaura, another Diablo, a transparent green Californian, a flame maple-topped Special, a Studio, and an Artist.

But I have now found another company that is making me feel like dropping my entire Hamer USA collection…or, at worst, only keeping the autographed Californian and 12-string Chaparral due to rarity.

That company is Jon Kammerer Guitars.

But that’s the next post.

*GAS: Guitar Acquisition Syndrome.  Basically, a nearly-uncontrollable urge to buy a guitar you have been lusting after

** Yes, there’s a long story behind this.  I’ll talk about it someday.


Filed under guitar, Guitar Lust, Link of Admiration, Me

Great Commercial

I’m pretty much a fan of Geico’s “Rhetorical Question” series.

But my very favorite is “…does a former drill sergeant make a terrible therapist?”


Leave a comment

Filed under Link of Admiration, Me

Great Read on Retribution

Read the whole thing.  Seriously.

Leave a comment

Filed under leadership/parenting, Link of Admiration, philosophy, Politics, rant, Social Issues, Two Kinds of People...

My Ranking of Pixar Movies, In Order

Great idea that came from here.

1) Monsters, Inc — It’s got great acting, great story, more moments that make you choke up than any other Pixar movie, in my opinion
2) A Bug’s Life — Apparently quite underrated. Perhaps the most quotable of all the films. Very creative in how it retold the Magnificent Seven Samurai story
These two stories stand on their own, and would be the most enjoyable if published in a book. I watch these anytime they are on, and always encourage my kids to watch ’em again when they are hesitating to watch a movie.
3) Toy Story — The best of the rest. Started it all. Perfect cast of characters. No flaws that I can see.
4) The Incredibles — Awesome. Great humor. …just, well, they hit the “If everyone is special no one is” theme just a touch too hard, too heavy-handed. Almost made up for by the babysitter short…but not quite.
5) Toy Story II — Right in line with the first Toy Story, I just felt the Zurg storyline was a touch too sappy. The “I’m your father” could have been a nice tribute to Star Wars if it hadn’t been so overdone.
These are all movies I enjoy seeing again, once in a while.

6) Finding Nemo — Ellen Degeneres was awesome, but Albert Brooks was completely mis-cast. As a father, I found myself irritated with his parenting and his lack of patience with everyone around him. Lousy leader in stress usually = lousy parent, in my opinion,again.

I haven’t yet seen Cars, Ratatouille, Up, or Wall-E. Of those, the only one I really want to see is Up, but the only one I currently plan to skip is Wall-E.
…I’m just not that much into the stories of Cars, Ratatouille and especially not Wall-E. Wall-E strikes me too much as proselytizing. But maybe I’ll see it and change my mind.

Leave a comment

Filed under leadership/parenting, Link of Admiration, Me

Super Achievement Through Time Management

The full story here.

The key excerpt:

Super achievers don’t manage their time, they create, manage and maximize their opportunities. At any given time they know the one critical, must complete, task and they work on that task. It is the most important and therefore deserves their full attention.

Read the whole thing.

Leave a comment

Filed under leadership/parenting, Link of Admiration, Me, philosophy