UAS (ukulele acquisition syndrome)

I have been told that this is an actual thing: Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome (or UAS).  Apparently I have been infected with it over the last few months.   I started this whole journey last year when on a whim at 5am (I woke up super early for whatever reason) I bought a ukulele on Google Shopping Express.   That one was a Mitchell MU70 concert at a (I thought) reasonably priced $99.

 

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It arrived.  I tinkered with it a bit, but it sounded like dinky, tinny shit.  Basically, it sounded like what one thinks a ukulele should sound like.  I wasn’t terribly impressed with it.  The build quality was fine.  The stock strings were garbage.  And, again, sound was BAD.

Moving along.  For Christmas my mom bought a Komoa Tenor as my gift.  She had recently taken up ukulele and after a trip to Kauai she was in love with these little tenors.  The Komoa is a great little uke.  The sound is loud and crisp.  The build quality is nice.  It is a pretty little instrument.

af1ea7117b62438e9e2deacc1d503b67Komoa Tenor

I would say that for a beginner uke I would definitely recommend this guy.  I recently had a Mi-si pickup installed so I could do some recordings.  Shout out to Bruddah Edgar over at Aloha Warehouse for installing that quickly.

Next up.  I started to obsess over a koa wood ukulele.  I spent hours pouring over different options and reading forums, but my teacher really insisted that I should go and try out a bunch of options at Aloha Warehouse to see what I really wanted as opposed to doing my regular purchase online.  I’m really glad that I took that advice (or really regret it because I spent so much money) because I found my true love.


Kanile’a Super Tenor Premium Gloss from Hawaii Music Supply on Vimeo.

The Kanilea Super Tenor.    Mmmn.  I’m telling you that she sings to me.  I tried a bunch of other options, but the sound of this one kept pulling me back in.  I had to have her.  The super tenor is interesting in the ukulele world.  It is a baritone body on a tenor neck which gives it a bit more resonance and sustain.  Some people think that it is ugly because the body is off proportion with what resembles a giant ass.  It has been referred to as the Nicki Minaj of the uke world.  I think it is beautiful.  The wood so silky.  Definitely a keeper for all ages.  I replaced the string with some flurocarbon Worth’s which I absolutely love.

I acquired my next uke because I was travelling to Europe for some business and was worried that I would slip up on my practice so I started looking for something slightly more portable to take with me.  Yes, I know, a uke is pretty portable to begin with, but I didn’t feel like lugging a hardcase with me and since I have trouble walking distances I thought it would be best to keep my load as light as possible.  This is how I came across the Kala concert travel uke.

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I love this little uke.  It is so incredibly thin and lightweight that it slides right into my bag.  It is really cute with a spruce top.  And the sound is surprisingly full and loud for such a tiny instrument.  After playing the tenors it is always fun to play the concert because of the thinner neck.  It makes bar chords so much easier that I feel pro.

Last up (for now) is the Les Paul epiphone concert.

41Imdh56rBLThis one is pretty much a toy that looks good.  Some people are big fans.  I bought it because I wanted an electric uke and I thought it was cute.  I changed out the strings for some Aquila’s because the stock ones were complete garbage.  I also had to file the bridge a bit to get the low G to even fit.  I still don’t like the sound of this one and since I got the pickup installed in the Komoa I don’t use this for recording either.  But it looks really good hanging on the living room wall and was reasonably priced at $99 from Amazon so why not.

That about covers it for now.  I ended up giving the Mitchell away to my nephew because I simply couldn’t stand the sound.  That has left me with four ukes in the house.  I think I’m good for now although I have been eyeing a banjolele!

The Little Lamp That Could

OxyLED Q3 Ultra-thin Portable Touch Control Smart Rechargeable LED Desk Lamp with 3-Level Adjustable Brightness

I’ve long been looking for a lamp to use at my desk for doing my makeup.   My vintage lamp didn’t quite cut the mustard and even though I do my makeup mostly in the morning before work the actual daylight isn’t quite strong enough to keep me from looking like a clown.  I had originally dreamed that the desk would be able to have some sort of lighting around the mirror, but that was a bit too difficult to pull off without some electrical plug.

My first attempt at getting lighting was with an LED flashlight that I bought at the hardware store.  This did nothing but blind me.

Then I came across this little diddy when searching around.  It was a great price at Amazon on special for $29.99 and seemed to have the features I was looking for so I bought it.

OxyLED Q3 Ultra-thin Portable Touch Control Smart Rechargeable LED Desk Lamp with 3-Level Adjustable Brightness

Introducing the OxyLED Q3.  It is an ultra-thin, portable, touch control, rechargeable, LED desk lamp.  Yeah.  That is a lot to take in all at once, isn’t it?

It really lives up to all of those claims.  The thing is crazy thin and light.

It charges via USB which I totally love because I don’t have to find an electrical socket.  I haven’t actually run the battery down, but from what I’ve read it can last about 3 hours on a charge.  The light itself is very bright and has a touch control with 3 levels of brightness.  The flexible neck is great.  I bend this in different angles for different things.

As for looks it is a cute little thing.  It comes in black or white.  I got the white one.  If I didn’t already have the expensive vintage desk light I would be totally happy with this as a desk lamp.

Overall, it is super useful for any kind of crafting you might do or makeup.  I have ended up dragging this into other rooms to use when I’m doing my nails or used it for reading sheet music even.

TL; DR – Buy!  Get it at Amazon

Two Years

Came across some photos from two years ago and was kind of shocked at what a big difference between now and then so I took a pic in the same pose.

Two years ago this week I had just started chemo.  I had gotten out of the hospital after having severe brain seizures (yep, 7 days with no sleep), I was learning how to walk again and could barely make it halfway down the block and – as evidenced by the photos – I looked and felt like shit.

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Photo on 8-22-12 at 10.12 PM #2Two years ago with fat chemo hands, bad nails, swollen chemo/steroid face and short hair from it all falling out.  Boo!

IMG_20140703_140507 Today – hair is back, nails are good, face isn’t totally fat… WOOT!

IMG_20140719_004124Extreme Snelfie (that is a Stephanie selfie)

It makes me feel better looking at that original photo and remembering how bad it was then and knowing that I made it through all of that with my family and friends beside me.   My health isn’t perfect or back to the way it was before (and might not ever be again), but at least it has gotten better and hopefully will continue to get better.

Check back in two years and we’ll see!

Chef – the movie review

This was from my review on Rotten Tomatoes:

I am in shock and awe that this film has such a high Rotten Tomatoes score (88%). Chef has one of the most boring, thinly-veiled, pointless, predictable plots that I have seen in a really long time. I had such high hopes for this movie and it was such a disappointment in so many ways.

In addition to the mind-numbingly awful plot, the use of corporate sponsorships for promoting their dumb apps made me want to stab myself in the eye. Seriously, I feel like I watched a movie about how to use Twitter and Vine more than anything else.

I left this movie feeling like I had wasted 4 hours of my life that I would never get back – and then I realized it was only 2 – that felt like an eternity stuck in a stinky food truck driving across the United States suffering every painful, plotless mile with a fat Jon Favreau.  At least it gave me time to ponder how the hell his fat (yes, I said it again), sweaty, jobless ass would ever get with Sofia Vergara or Scarlett Johansson.

The only acting creds that I can give in this movie are to John Leguizamo and Robert Downey Jr (who is randomly thrown into the plot for all of 2 minutes).

Don’t waste your time on this movie. The rest of people who are raving about it are clearly wannabe Top Chef watching foodies who think if you film someone pouring sauces on a plate of pork it is artistic or entertaining. They are wrong and lacking in more than tastebuds for their food.

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After watching that trailer I realize that every possibly interesting/funny bit is in that trailer.  So my advice would be to watch the trailer and save yourself the pain of sitting through the rest of the 1 hour and 58 minutes of nothingness that happens in this shit movie.

Where is Nerdgirl?

I have been super bad at updating the site lately.

There are a few reasons for this. One of them is I tend not to write when things are going well because I am feeling so good that I don’t want to tie myself down on this blog and would prefer to enjoy the moment. And then the other reason would be that I’m feeling terrible (physically) and I fear that my whinging would be too depressing for anyone.

I grapple with how much I want to share about the ‘terrible’ stuff because I’m not entirely sure how appropriate it is (as in TMI). I’ve worked on a few posts and then I don’t end up posting them because perhaps some of that therapy is better left in my mind or amongst conversations with my friends/family.

Anyways. I hope to get back on track with feeling better and then with updating the blog about all the things I’ve been working on, thinking about, playing with, reading.. the usual.

Until then.

Nail crazed

After my lupus nail trauma I am happy to report that my nails are back in business.  I find it super relaxing to do my own nails plus it saves a ton of cash and time that I would spend having to get a manicure every week.  I have a pretty extensive selection of polishes and tools to accomplish my nail mission, but I have recently taken it to a new level of crazy by actually cataloguing the contents of my collection.

First off I swatched all the colors onto a nail fan that I bought on Amazon for a mere $2.44 w/ free shipping.  I find this helpful because with so many colors sitting in a drawer it is sometimes hard to choose what I want and also to know what the finish looks like on an actual nail.  This takes care of that.  All of the swatches have a label with the SKU of the polish on them for quickly locating them in the drawer.  They are also in order according to brand.

nail swatches

After that I made a Google Spreadsheet listing all of the different brands, colors, finishes and collections in case I run out of anything or to narrow down a color that I am interested in.

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And finally I paint the nails.   Example above of my Brazil World Cup nails from last week.