Archive for the ‘Holiday’ Category

Xmas Final.jpg

Merry Xmas to all, and to all an extremely frustrating dive into split-screen editing!

But really though, making this video was a bit of a pain. I had all these lofty ambitions of shooting B-Roll of Christmas lights and Santas Claus and my dog running through the snow, but once I started toying around with the screen-in-screen nonsense I knew that my eyes were bigger than my stomach. Plus, we have no snow for Ghost to run through. Thanks Obama (note: I don’t actually think it’s Obama’s fault).

Ever since I started making these Ukulele covers FOUR YEARS AGO (tempis fugit) I’ve wanted to release a Christmas song. I came close a while back with Auld Lang Syne, but that didn’t turn out that well.

*Tangent* about a year after shooting that video I was at a party where this woman was talking about a New Year’s Eve where she went to a pig roast and there was this guy playing crappy ukulele songs.

Me: In Sugar House?

Her: Yup.

Me: Yeah…I was that guy.

*/Tangent*

Anyway, I grew up in the 90s so Blues Traveler is a thing for me (dat harmonica doe!) . That includes “Christmas,” their pan-holiday single from 1997.

I’ve been rocking out to this song every winter since I was in junior high school, and about a month ago started entertaining the idea of recording a One Wood Uke version.

I dig any time I get to harmonize with myself (it turns out I’m the perfect duet partner…for me) and Christmas has that in spades. I actually had to dial down the number of tracks since BT goes kind of crazy toward the end of the song and my limited editing ability couldn’t match it.

Enjoy! As always it’s available at my bandcamp site for a free download. No Xmas 2015 mix is complete without it!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

DPP_18

Hey Stockers (people who read Wood’s Stock, in case you’ve forgotten) I apologize for the dearth of posts the last couple weeks but as you’ll see in these photos, I’ve been enjoying some much-needed R&R in Hawaii. So forget you.

This was my virginal voyage to the Sandwich Islands and we selected Kauai since it’s more rural and peaceful while still filled with the kind of breathtaking vistas that are often featured in swashbuckling adventure movies or anything with dinosaurs.

My goals for the trip were simple. 1) Drink from a coconut 2) Hike through the jungle 3) Sit on the beach and lose track of time and 4) Buy a new Ukulele.

Mission accomplished.

DPP_1

Our first day was spent snorkeling at the beach by our hotel and checking out the shops in Old Kaloa Town, which is where we came across The Ukulele Store, which sells Kamoa Ukuleles, a brand owned and operated on Kauai.

Kamoa’s line is elegant in its simplicity. They have their high-end Kauai-made Koa wood ukuleles that will cost you two month’s rent, but for the average Uker they carry six sizes of solid wood ukes (Vintage, Soprano, Pineapple Soprano, Concert, Grand Concert and Tenor) available in three colors (yellow, red and brown).

They also tune most of their ukes with a low-G base string, which is gangbusters for finger-picking and fills out chords with a full, deep sound. I bought a brown pineapple with low-G, and you know that means I’ll be posting a One Wood Uke video soon.

As for the snorkeling at Poipu beach, I unfortunately didn’t plan ahead for waterproof camera gear. So just take my word for it when I tell you that I was literally waist deep in fish. It was bananas.

DPP_15

Day two was our chartered boat tour of the Na Pali Coast, a.k.a Jurassic Park. “Na Pali,” I am told, means “cliffs” and the coast is so named for the staggeringly steep topography that drops into the ocean (see header photo above). Some of Hawaii’s most iconic images come from Na Pali, which is only accessible by boat or hiking trails.

DPP_12

On our way around the island we ran into a (school? I’m not sure what the collective known is) of dolphins who took advantage of our catamaran to scratch their backs. This didn’t make for particularly amazing photos, but when you come across dolphins in the wild you basically have to take pictures and when you take pictures of dolphins in the wild you basically have to post them on your blog.

We also stopped for some deep sea snorkeling, where we were yet again surrounded by exotic marine life, including a giant turtle that was close enough for me to touch (I didn’t, I controlled myself). Again, I wish I had the equipment neccessary to capture this but alas…

DPP_4

After we got back in port we took a drive up Waimea Canyon for the land-based view of the Na Pali. This is the wet side of the island and the entire time we were walking around these low-lying clouds would rush in every few minutes, mist us, then vanish. This had the repeated effect of making it nearly impossible to see five feet in front of you one second, then in the blink of an eye a 1,000-foot drop would open up in front of your eyes. It was spooky. I loved it.

DPP_7

   This is the tree tunnel on Maluhia Road, which we drove through every day to get to and from our hotel on Poipu.

DPP_25

DPP_26

On Day three we hiked a little bit into the Na Pali on the Hanakapiai beach trail at the end of the road. When we first arrived, our rental car guy told us there’s two choices leaving the airport: turn left or turn right. If you turn left you eventually end up on the end of the road on Kauai’s North Shore, which is literally the end of the road at Ke’e Beach, which is also great for snorkeling (pictured below).

DPP_27

Hanakapiai Beach, on the other hand, is another beast entirely. After hiking two miles on a trail that skirts the cliff edges (and is lined with fresh-growing Guava, om-nom-nom) you end up at a wooden sign that basically says “If you swim here, you die” and includes a couple dozen hash marks chronicling the number of tourists the beach has claimed. I looked it up on Wikipedia and apparently the sign is not officially maintained and the number of dead is largely speculative.

DPP_28

The problem is that swells on the North Shore are the biggest on the island, to the point that in the winter time the waves are so strong that the sandy beaches are completely washed away only to be re-deposited when the season subsides. I looked it up on Google and found several yelp-style reviews from parents who had nearly lost their children to unseen rip currents. We decided not to swim at that particular spot, but I did stop to contribute a cairn to the rock garden.

DPP_33

From the beach its another two miles up river to the Hanakapiai waterfall. At this point it was raining fairly regularly (which I loved because I felt like Indiana Freaking Jones) but my mother was less keen to the idea of. Still, like a trooper, she made it the whole way, carefully navigating the muddy and slippery trail while clutching a pink umbrella in her hand and gathering humorous glances from the seasoned hikers that passed us on the way. Like a boss.

 DPP_30

DPP_31

The waterfall itself was a several-hundreed-foot drop that cascaded down two or three levels. I swam out underneath it but was a little scared to stay out and enjoy myself because minutes before I entered the water a shower of rather large rocks had fallen into the pool like gun fire.

DPP_32

The beach at our hotel, at dusk. Everything you’ve heard about Hawaiian beaches? They’re better.

DPP_35

Some waterfall whose name I don’t remember that we saw from the road.

DPP_42

The Hanamaulu stream, making its way to the ocean. There’s several jungle-type adventures you can have along this river, from kayak tours to zip-line exploring. When I go back I’d love to spend more time in that area.

DPP_43

Read Full Post »

For REQUIRED audio accompaniment to this post click here.


It’s not often that I get sentimental about my time in Brazil, but as I was passing through the internet today I came across a CNN article about the number of tourists at this year’s Carnival celebration in Rio De Janeiro. CNN is a good place to get your Carnival fix because they’ll give you a taste of the fun/shenanigans without throwing you in the deep end of nudity/decadence.

I love Carnival, and as I was reading a memory popped into my head that I wanted to share on Twitter or Facebook but before I could open up the page I had a second memory, and a third, and a fourth and pretty soon I was just giggling in my chair. So maybe this is more for me than for you, but here’s a list of things I miss since I had considerably less fun this weekend than my Brazilian brothers.

1. I miss the Carnival-season billboards, paid for by the city, that showed two faces looking at each other (of various gender combinations) with the caption: “Don’t Play Without a Condom” (Nao brinque sem camisinha).
1.5 I love the Brazilian word for condom, “Camisinha,” which translated literally means “little shirt.”
2.
I miss the music. Except for a small minority of cultured individuals, Brazilians mostly listen to America’s table scraps (Hanson is HUGE there) but around Carnival it’s Frevo and Samba, all day, all night, all the time baby. Do a youtube search for Frevo, it has to be seen AND heard.
3. I miss the colors. It’s as if the entire country was taking part in a pride parade.
4. I miss how giant trucks covered inch by inch in loudspeakers (carros de som) would lead random, spontaneous “parades” (blocos, really they were mobile dance parties), suddenly appearing out of nowhere and passing you on the street sweeping up bystanders in its path.
5. Let’s not kid ourselves, I miss being surrounded everywhere I went by beautiful, dancing, half-naked Brazilians.
5.5 It was not uncommon for a bloco to stop in the middle of the street, for women to climb on top of the carros de som and proceed to remove what little clothing they were still wearing amidst the roar of the cheering crowds.
6. I miss the Galo da Madrugada (Early-morning rooster). It was, in fact, a giant rooster they put in the middle of a bridge in Recife with a million people dancing around it. Google it.
7. I miss the sheer magnitude of it. I’ve been in New York for the Thanksgiving Parade, I’ve been in Los Angeles on St. Patrick’s Day, I’ve been in Salt Lake City on Pioneer Day. Drawing a crowd is child’s play. Nothing I have ever seen compares to the unhinged, ecstatic chaos of Carnaval where an entire country throws the rules out the window for an uninterrupted 5-day party.

Read Full Post »