Electric Bass arrived

I’m taking electric bass lessons from the Fender website.  It looks like I can work with their videos, so I subscribed for a year ($122 CDN).

I bought this electric bass

Yamaha Electric Bass (Amazon.ca, $250)

I started a 14-day free trial for lessons at the Fender Play website: Fender Play Bass Lessons. I also agreed to a year subscription

Then I said, hey I need a bass, so I bought one on Amazon.ca.  The price was $250CDN plus tax.  I ordered on  a Friday, it came to my door on Monday (yesterday).

I practiced for about 20-40 minutes yesterday with the online videos.

It’s the #3 top seller in bass guitars on that site, and the first one with a decent brand name.

It’s a fine bass.  I likes it, and am glad I bought it.  Yesterday, I did the first 3 lessons in the Fender series.

It surprised me I have to cut my right hand nails for it; something I reluctantly did, coz I need them for classical guitar.

I guess I’ll have to concentrate on bass, violin and piano for awhile with these short nails.


Spiritual Development of the World: Focus on the Change

I was inspired to change things. Today. Now. Maybe from now on.

It might be nice to spend my life being of genuine use to people. It might be nice to forget the day-to-day trivialities, the pettiness in the world, the news, and concentrate on helping people effect changes in their spiritual development.

Why have I been posting about computer stuff? I could be posting about real stuff.


So I have 2 stories. An inspirational web site, and my own experience jamming with friends.

1. Heather MacDonald’s Facebook page is inspiring.  I’d love to have a Facebook page just like that…  Totally oriented towards spiritual growth and growth in others; no silly postings about stuff that doesn’t matter.  Maybe I’ll start now.  Maybe.  Turns out we went to the same schools and moved to Ottawa. Here’s her post:

A year from now, everything you are stressing about won’t even matter […]

What matters is making the music, not the state of the nation

2. The other is my jam session on Saturday with some friends.  I’ve not been able to leave the house much lately, and I made the effort, but it was moving.  We did stuff that was important.  We made music with each other.  I went home and thought about how I hear from people their gripes with politics, the state of the world, and I think how little this matters.  What matters is making the music.

I don’t know why,  but it’s the same when you write, make art, sing, dance, draw.  If you can create, you really should create.  Spend less time on the trivial.  Less time on the petty.  Do it now.  Stop reading.  Write a few lines on your blog or your social media. Right now.

What would it be like if my social media from now on consisted of this formula?: If it’s not inspirational, and not helpful to others’ spiritual growth, I won’t post it; and I won’t “like” it.

Practice (music/art): accretion of time over the long run by daily practice is far better than “spurts” approach

It seems to take a huge investment in time to become even moderately good in some things.

Like piano practice, or reading a new book, we may approach it with enthusiasm, commit ourselves to spending 3 hours a day with it, but what happens?  We fizzle out.  I’ll find myself web surfing or doing some silly semi-related task, but not practicing.

Turns out that we might benefit by doing something sustainable, like 10 or 15 minutes a day.  That way, on tough days we are looking only at “I have to do this for 10 minutes, and so it’ll be over with quickly”

“binge” writers write between 2 and 12 hours in one day, but then do not return to writing for a week or more verses more regular writers who write for short periods but write every day) […] One assumption is that writers are most productive if they write when the mood hits … they can spend hours of uninterrupted time at the task, i.e. “binge writing.”. Conclusion: Daily writers are more productive than binge writers and generated more creative ideas for writing than did subjects who wrote spontaneously” Challenge Common Assumptions Against Daily Writing (2012) Dr. Sally

Ten minutes a day is sustainable, and the accretion of time over the long run by daily practice is far better than “spurts” approach.

I meditate each morning for 8 to 10 minutes.  Many days I really, really don’t want to.   But it is such a small investment.

The first two hours of the day are the most productive.  Don’t waste them.

Our TRUE Nature vs. Our Experiences

We have a higher self that’s always been there and is there right now, but it is easy to lose sight of this and be overwhelmed by current events and feelings, and go through life that seems to be run by our past experiences, and not even have an awareness of this higher self.

I think my current job in life is to become aware of my “nature”; this nature that was there before I acquired any human experience. It will always be there. My job seems to be to learn about this nature (my true/higher self), and to identify with this nature, rather than identifying with my human experiences (experential self ? ). There has been much in the 20th century that said we are the product of our experiences, but I’m challenging this.

Take an experience where you felt care-free or spontaneous as a child, and/or did things that were fun and joyful. And then over time, life happened. But even after life’s crises, you may have had moments, as an adult, where you felt for brief moments that child-like nature. Perhaps that is a manifestation of my timeless nature. My real self. It’s always been there.

It’s very easy for me to have my life controlled by my past experiences, if I let it. And I think I seem very willing to let it. I used to have conversations with total strangers, and within three minutes, they would hear something about the wrongs that were done to me in the past. Obviously, I was re-living these experiences again and again, and they became so deeply rooted in me, they took over my identity, with no hope whatsoever of seeing any future with anything new or changeable.

There’s a perverse pleasure from identifying with our past pain. It’s similar to the perverse pleasure I get from self-pity. Both of these, in addition, free me from the need to take responsibility for my life and take steps to effect changes.

Here’s a quote from my video of the week by Eckhart Tolle.

[There are] two things getting together. Old pain, that wants more pain, and and the mind made self that needs to be right, and therefore needs to make somebody else wrong. “He did something to me”. […] We miss the simplicity of things [such as a typical daily event that just happened,] that is there without the story. [The story is the drama we add to day-to-day events by adding in our past pain, and making the innocuous event more personalized (ie, more about me), and explaining the event in terms of our past painful experiences].

So Tolle’s suggestion was to just witness the pain we are feeling, not even need to label it, certainly don’t analyze it or add stories to it. Just witness it.

Current pains relate to this blog post because we so easily identify with our pain. This means that our real selves are once again obscured by the pain we are in right now. And for the moments of the pain, we are overwhelmed with our past experiences, including fears and hurts, and create much more misery by adding in those elements. It’s easier to just experience the pain, no need for the drama. No need to say thing like “This always happens to me”, or “well I expected as much”.

My last blog post was about living in faith, regardless of what my past experiences are leading me to believe. That is, despite me thinking certain current events are explainable because of my past (painful) experiences, and I have expectations that the future will bring certain outcomes because I’ve learned to expect these outcomes, I can choose to not let these thoughts dominate my life. And I can live without acting in ways that are controlled by my experiences. That is, I can choose to live in faith, and do things, despite what my mind is trying to tell me, and be able to do that because of a faith that things will be OK. It opens up the world for new and wonderful possibilities.

P.S. [from my bathtub reading today, just an interesting tidbit,  Jan 25th]:

The ego wants to be right, but in the dynamics of life and art we are never right, we are always changing and cycling. [Free Play, Improvisation in Life and Art, Stephen Nachmanovitch].

My recent blog posts:

Depression, Procrastination and Putting One Foot in Front of Another

High Expectations of Admired Friends

Depression Paradoxes: Isolation

Afternoon Forest Walk

Total Faith, Let Go, and Live as If

What a tall order to totally surrender control of your life, let go of your plans and your ideas of what is best for you, let go of your fears based on years of programming in which you see imaginary futures, and just live totally in the present.

How can I be present with someone, and let God’s will take place if my mind is on my fears of the future based on my own perceived inadequacies?  I’ve already determined the outcome (in my mind), because I’ve learned to have certain expectations of what has “always happened” in the past.  It probably hasn’t “always happened”, but I seem unwilling to let this notion go, and therefore I prevent any possibility of anything happening which may be different from what I’ve learned to expect.  So if I expect disappointment, I’ll behave in a way that prevents me from living fully and, therefore is a threat to anything novel, which, chances are, will not be a disappointment.

I can’t love totally if I’m planning outcomes.  Of course, the outcomes I’m speaking of are the negative outcomes that we keep telling ourselves; messages we have been telling ourselves for decades.

Did you ever talk to somebody, and be looking out the corner of your eye at someone else who, in your infinite wisdom, is necessary to talk to right now, or as soon as possible.  I did this a lot.  I don’t anymore.  I have been trying to be fully present.  Ideally, if I wasn’t supposed to be fully immersed in the person in front of me, and ideally, if I had faith, I’d know that my higher power wouldn’t have this person in front of me, and, instead, he would put the other person in front of me.  “You are always exactly where you need to be at this moment in time”.  How little faith we have.  Even if we say we have faith in that statement, our mind is thinking of a million scenarios which if we do this or do that, we can make a certain outcome happen for us.  AS IF WE KNOW BETTER WHAT’S GOOD FOR US!

My mind may be useful for some things (less and less as time goes by), but for planning and scheming my future based on what I think is best, is definitely not one of them.

So I had an amazing experience of living in faith and being totally present with someone, and even though my mind was on my inadequacies and expectations that this will soon blow up in my face because they will not be OK with me exactly as I am and at this point in time.  But I was wrong, very wrong.  And seeing this is totally foreign to me, I mean seeing that I don’t have to be anyone or do anything or plan anything or change anything whatsoever in order to be accepted totally.  I’ve learned to realize that if I’m me and not trying to be something else, not even hinting at it, and if I live in faith that I will be accepted exactly as I am, wherever I am at my journey, it’s the only way to find real love.  But it takes a huge leap of faith.  Huge.  It’s almost impossible to do it, but it is possible.  I think the key is, just behave as if you have total faith in this idea, regardless of all the messages and planned futures (of negativity) that are in your head.


Depression, Procrastination and Putting One Foot In Front of the Other

Not motivated?  Waiting to feel up to it?  Plagued by doubts? Maybe, I just have to do it anyway.  Sometimes I just have to show up, it seems, and do the task at hand, regardless of how I feel.

I’ve been plagued by depression lately, and this week has been particularly bad.  I got in my mind a few weeks ago to do the social media thing on a weekly basis; to put a few videos on YouTube and to do a blog post.  It turns out that it’s a good idea, because it adds some structure to the week, gives me something to work towards, but more importantly, I can look at the work after it is done as an accomplishment, rather than feeling I had a week with nothing done.

“Every book seems the struggle of a whole life. […] Best thing is to get the words down every day. And it is time to start now.” – John Steinbeck https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/03/02/john-steinbeck-working-days/

Yesterday morning, I did no piano practice, feeling “not up to it”.  I had this attitude as soon as I was out of bed.  And I didn’t just do it anyway.

Today, I didn’t want to get out of bed, but I did.  I certainly didn’t want to shower, but I did.  I kept hearing myself thinking “I better quit piano, I’m not enjoying it, and practicing especially the assigned pieces is really getting me down, and it’s a waste of time anyway.  Why do I even bother; I’m not talented at this at all, and I think I’m actually getting worse this year, instead of better”.  But, knowing what Steinbeck said (more quotes below), I decided to just plow on ahead and put in my time, and practice, regardless of whether I think it’s crap or not, or whether it’s pointless or not.  And afterward, I’m glad I did.

It turns out that it got better as I trudged along.  The first half hour was a lot of thoughts about it being pointless.  It was more palatable once I committed to just doing it, regardless of what I felt, or what I thought.  As time went on, I became more at peace with it, rather than fighting it and questioning why I even bother.

After my practice time, I figured I’d better make something to eat.  I didn’t feel hungry, and I didn’t want to do it, and I thought it won’t change things, but I did it.  I don’t really enjoy eating lately, and I certainly don’t enjoy taking the time to make something.  But after I ate, things seemed a little calmer.  Almost too calm, because I had planned (as I am doing now) to complete this blog post, and I wasn’t feeling miserable enough to write about the miseries of depression 😉

“In writing, habit seems to be a much stronger force than either willpower or inspiration. Consequently there must be some little quality of fierceness until the habit pattern of a certain number of words is established. There is no possibility, in me at least, of saying, “I’ll do it if I feel like it.” One never feels like awaking day after day. In fact, given the smallest excuse, one will not work at all. The rest is nonsense. Perhaps there are people who can work that way, but I cannot. I must get my words down every day whether they are any good or not” https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/03/02/john-steinbeck-working-days/

So I’ll leave you with some random quotes, pix and postings that I found this week, that in my isolation, I didn’t not want to re-post on Facebook.  Enjoy!

Love of self, in contrast, is an appreciation of our dignity and value as human beings. Love of self is an expression of self-realization, from which springs humility.  May God show me that when I can like myself, I am duly crediting Him, since every living thing is a work of God.”A Day at a Time” October 21 © 1989 by Hazelden Foundation 

“People suffering from depression are locked in their own thoughts. Everything revolves around them and they don’t connect with the external world,” said Northoff. Ottawa-led breakthrough could hold key to ‘holy grail’ of depression research


High Expectations of Admired Friends

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I spend a lot of energy on a few people in my life (not you, dear reader), and they seem almost indifferent towards me.  So, I vacillate between my idea of “stop ignoring people”, and my idea of “don’t waste time on people who wouldn’t spend time on you”.  The latter, I hope, will prevail.  As I journalled; “[with the right people…] there will be no pain, no doubts, no rejection, no wondering, no massive highs and deep lows”.  Unfortunately when I’m in “ignore mode”, there is collateral damage because I’m ignoring people who are always decent to me.

I say “not you, dear reader” because you are probably not indifferent to what I have to say, because you are reading this!

I think there is something to be learned about expectations.  I think maybe when I have expectations of how someone is supposed to react (to conform to my “requirements”), I set myself up for disappointment.  Surely, I know by now that expectations are premeditated resentments.  And I learned lately that sometimes we come up against people’s limitations – there are certain things they are just (socially) incapable of doing, or being, or behaving.

One thing about expectations, when I have such high expectations of someone, it may be because I think so highly of them, and I think about what I’d be willing to do for them, or how I’d react to them; such as show them a lot of attention, make them a priority, and think of what would be in their best interest.  It’s a little like putting someone on a pedestal.  I thought about this pedestal thing today; I wouldn’t want someone to put me on a pedestal, they are setting themselves up for a disappointment.  Kind of like a premeditated resentment.

However, pedestals aside, if I think that someone would behave towards me as I’m inclined to do so towards them, that’s a little unrealistic.  It’s terrible living in my head, haha.

I seem to know how to recognize when someone is paying attention to me, their eyes are not wandering on somebody who passes by because they want to be talking to the other person.  That’s a good clue.

The person in front of you is the most important thing in your life at this moment, and there is nothing else.  I like to try to be present.

I shared at a meeting that I have been feeling crappy, and as a consequence I isolate and withdraw from people.  But I don’t want to do that anymore.  The universe responded favorably to my sharing at the meeting.  It’s funny that I’m so reluctant to share my stuff.  I still am.  But then something positive like this happens.

I’ve been working  on a bigger on-line presence, starting with last week’s article on this blog, which I found out this week was my 100th blog post!  I’ve been on WordPress for 11 years, my first post was on June 29, 2005.  So this week I did a few YouTube videos of my music, and am trying to get this article out a week after the previous blog entry, before technically it’s not Monday anymore.  Tune in next Monday.  Cheers.

Depression Paradoxes: Isolation


Last night, I was reading something on the self-defeating things we do when we have depressive episodes.  Today’s topic is isolating; one of the several things we do which seem to be contradictory to our desired outcome.  I don’t know why people with depression do this, or more specifically me.  Here’s what I do know, but it barely scratches the surface.

There’s a feeling inside that it’s not OK to be down, and that I can drag other people down.  I read something yesterday where the person said, “you’re better off without me…I’m an inconvenience or nuisance to you”.  Some truth there.

There’s a sense of looking for an external cause, and maybe it’s other people, so eliminate the “problem” by eliminating the person.  Don’t take offence, I also see as potential external causes the things that used to bring joy: exercise, artistic pursuits, being in nature.  Well, part of that is that there is that thinking about “should I go do this” makes me think, well, that’s not going to help.  So I remove these things from my life too.  But partly, I think, I, in my depressed state, see those pursuits as possibly the external cause for this feeling.  A side effect of removing things that used to be pleasureful is that that it leads to further withdrawing from life, i.e. more isolation.

And having to face people who don’t understand, and can’t possibly understand, but who act as if they think they understand.  Or worse yet, there’s the potential of getting criticism, even from friends.  Criticism can take the form of a friend’s comments such as “If I have a positive attitude and take positive actions…. blah blah blah”.  Preachiness is not welcome.  At all.  At least to me.  Ever.


I know I’m excessively self-involved when in a depressive episode.  It’s the nature of the beast… living inside my head.  So a conversation with a friend may be too much about me, and really, I have a little trouble even hearing the problems of others during these times.  That makes for a crappy friend, I think…. and so I avoid talking to people because I’m just involved in my own stuff.

And sometimes I just don’t feel like talking to anyone.

That’s not the half of why I isolate.  I’m just speculating at some of this.  I don’t know why I isolate.  I think it’s just simply a symptom of depression.

The article went on to say that social support is one of the things that we MOST need in order to cope and get past this.  So, armed with that knowledge,  though my brain says, I just want to recede into the background when around people, I chose to make an effort today.  Enough pushing people away.  It’s gotta stop.  Push hard enough, and they will go.  So, despite what my depressed brain wants, I go and say hi, greet a few people.  And you know what, I’m glad I did.

I was thinking the last few days, “I may not look like I want to be around people, make no attempt to acknowledge you, and even appear to ignore you, but it’s important that you are there, and it brings me a lot of comfort that you are just present.”.    I can’t stress that enough.  I said I can’t stress that enough.

What I don’t want is anyone offering solutions, because, quite frankly, I don’t think anyone has anything that can help to the least.  People may be well-meaning but the efforts, sometimes, are not helpful.  The exception to this would be someone who has suffered from depression for decades and will continue to suffer from depression for decades.

I’m a little angry at these things I read that say “1 in 4 will suffer depression at some time…”.  That’s not depression.  That’s sadness.  That’s grief.  That’s loss.  Yes, even if they are on medication for 2 years, they may think they qualify.  Sorry.  Not in my book.   Different ballgame altogether.  Too bad the word “depression” is so overused.

Here’s something I found in an article “Whenever I seem to want the most space is usually when I need the most support.”.  Well support for me is a hug.  That’s all.   To me, this quote means, when I’m at my worst, that’s the time I need the feeling that people care.” I think the person who posted this said they didn’t want to hear “are you OK?”.  I probably don’t either.  But it’s important I know you are there for me, and will continue to be there, and that you are thinking about me.  Usually, that can all be accomplished without saying anything.  Sometimes less is more.

I edited the picture here, and removed some stuff that wouldn’t work for me, but I’ll leave you with what to say to someone depressed:


Brokerage Fees, GST, Duties, Customs, Taxes to Canada

Shipping Raspberry PI from Hong Kong to Canada with no Brokerage Fees

NONE!  None whatsoever.  No hidden charges, no brokerage fees, no charges asked by the post office, no GST, nothing.

I bought my PI 2 from http://stores.ebay.ca/hundredpluscom and paid $57.43CDN, exactly as it says in ebay.ca (well it’s probably cheaper by now).  When I went to check out, there were no hidden charges, and my paypal amount was $57.43.

I ordered on February 1st and it arrived February 18th.  (17 days later).  It came to my front door from the Canada Post guy who asked for a signature, then handed over the parcel.  No brokerage fees, no GST, no duties, no nothing.

The envelope it came in was postmarked Germany (I don’t know why.   The store is in Hong Kong).  The Customs Declaration affixed to the back of the envelope read:

  • Merchandise
  • Raspberry Pi 2 – Model B. 1GB RAM.  Qty: 1   Value: 25
  • Total: .198lbs USD 25

I am not affiliated with this seller.  They don’t know I’m posting this.  I just wanted to share.

If you find this useful, share the luv, and give me a comment of thanks. 🙂


1400 hours, One seventh of the way to 10,000 hours of Piano practice

I’ve been counting.  And I track my hours every day.  On average, I have practice 160 minutes per day since I started. 

Today I exceeded 1400 hours, which is 1/7th the way to 10,000.

The computer forecasted that I will finish on January 1st, 2023.  (Yes that actual date, just by coincidence).

If that’s true, I will not even be 60 yet, far from it!  I may still have brain cells left.  ( I will be be just over 58)

Deep Practice and reps of one piece; not doing it all at once

My teacher told me to find the few bars that are causing the most trouble and practice them 8 times or so, and 20 times if it is just a few finger movements you can’t seem to get. I do this a lot.

I’ve found this month when I do this, my hands hurt in the evening and on the next day. This is not good, says me. So what I do now is have seven reps of four bars, then I move onto the other difficult bars. However after my break, I don’t return to this same piece. I do something else on my agenda, which for me is the next item on my todo list for today.

This has caused the pain to go away. By the way, I practice with a timer, and I set it for 27 minutes at the start of my practice, and after several breaks, it goes down to 15 or so minutes. This is a way to give my body more rest when it’s been hammering at the keys for awhile. I take a 2 minute break between these 20-ish minute sessions, which is also sort of timed, and I don’t make tea or anything while I’m practising; that’s for when I take my main breaks after around two hours (basically when my pot of tea runs out, for me).

I’ve learned not to practice over 20-ish minutes. It really causes fatigue. When I was first playing this amount was 15 minutes MAX. Now I can do 32 minutes at the beginning of practice, most of the time, if I feel so inclined.

I tried to practice my reps with a metronome, but mostly this has caused me to spend hours on reps that I now think are wasted. When I don’t use a metronome (on the reps), I can take the needed time to see the next note, and ensure my fingers are ready and then play correctly. When I was using a metronome, I would try to fit all the notes onto the beat, and therefore had to rush my fingerings, and there were two outcomes. One was to repeat the same mistake, trying to catch up to the metronome. The other was to restart the section again and again until I got it right, and on time with the metronome. The latter took up very much time, and so now when I get reps that I can’t seem to play with a metronome yet, I dispense with it.

Dust on my keyboard is one thing, but a hair? It just has to go before I can play, otherwise I think I’ll fixate on it, lol.