Joie de Vivre

Ravens vs. Steelers

We attended our first NFL game! I might have been to a Commander’s game (formerly the Redskins) as a kid, but my memory on that is fuzzy.

Like most Baltimore fans, I’m interested in seeing the Ravens defeat Pittsburgh. Alas, it was not to be (17-10). Having already locked up the 1-seed and the first-round bye in the AFC, Lamar Jackson sat this game out, along with a lot of other starters. We had fun watching Tyler Huntley.

All that said, game conditions were pretty miserable. It poured rain the entire game, with the temperate around 36°. Lots of incomplete and some fumbles, not to mention freezing, soaking wet socks and jeans.

Even with the loss, I loved it, and we had a great time!

Joie de Vivre

Ceramic Dog

We went to see Ceramic Dog at Creative Alliance last night. We saw then in 2021, too. This time, they had seating, so the atmosphere was more subdued. Marc Ribot was playing his black Gibson SG, and he broke two strings during the second to last song. Ches improved a bit before the encore, and I loved it.

I love this trio – there’s a lot of energy, and a lot of improvisation. I think that’s why they always sit facing each other.

Joie de Vivre

The Dubious House guest

We have a lovely routine, where we have a date every weekend. We take turns choosing someplace to go, if we go out, or what to cook, if we stay in. This weekend, it was Beverly’s turn, and as we were driving on Perring Parkway, a pit bull ran through traffic, and narrowly missed being hit by several cars. I asked Beverly to park, and we set out to find the pit.

After about 10 minutes, I found her going up to the doors of row homes. I called out to her, and offered her treats. A neighbor in one of these houses asked if she was my dog, and I said “No.” He gave me some actual treats to lure her to me, and I managed to get her into our car, and back to the house. I called animal control, and they said they would send someone out. Counting my Goose, she’s the 3rd pit I’ve rescued, among quite a few other dogs that I have helped out of harm’s way. If I can’t figure out where they live, then I usually confine them in my yard, and Animal Control eventually picks them up.

It was damp out, but not very cold, so we left her in the yard and went to eat.

I put some food out for her, and clean water. She drank a little, and set out to explore the yard.

She was still there when we returned home.

I decided to bring some blankets out and wait with her for her ride. She settled down, and crawled into my lap. She fell asleep, too.

The temperature started to drop, and we decided to bring her inside.

It was a good thing we did, because Animal Control had not contacted us yet. She and I were in for a long night of blanket sharing on my stoop.

She seemed exhausted from her ordeal, and happily settled in Pi’s crate. We all turned in for the night, and luckily for all of us, Animal Control picked her up the next morning around 10:45 am.

She had a collar with both a recent rabies vaccination tag, and a tag for BARCS. She walked well on a leash, was used to both crates and treats, and seemed very well fed. She was very sweet, and we took to each other immediately. She knew how to sit, and when the Animal Control officer arrived, our dubious houseguest knew exactly how to get into the pen in the back of the truck.

One of my favorite things is to be able to help dogs, especially pitties. I shared her photo on Instagram, thanking BARCS for getting her, and Instagram suggested I do a fundraiser. So, I set a goal of $100 and so far we have raised $143.83. How about that?

It’s a cold, rainy night as I type this. I’m glad our sweet friend is safe, and hopefully reunited with her people.


Guitar Repairs

I found the luthier “Brooklyn Fretworks” on Instagram. Chip posted about modifying a “lawsuit” Ibanez into a black beauty 3 humbucker model, and I was impressed by his willingness to do that job. I was delighted to see it’s the Baltimore neighborhood of Brooklyn, and not NYC.

I took the Shillelagh to him for a couple of modifications, namely the volume pot had gone bad. Chip fixed this, and then I went back with my Squier Bass vi.

The Shillelagh is performing as designed!

Getting the Bass VI seaworthy was a bit more involved. I had picked it up with the hopes of having it be my main bass in Coastguard, but it’s taken me this long to complete the mods. I recorded a few things with it, and knew this model will work for me.

I had read a bunch of posts about modifications to the Squier Bass VI that could potentially bring it up to rival the Fender Bass VI.

Here’s what we did.

  • Ordered and installed a StayTrem replacement bridge from England
  • Added collars around the StayTrem posts in the body of the guitar, to make it stay put. The post collar closest to the high E string is copper, which adds grounding
  • Added copper shielding in the body
  • Replaced the pots and wiring
  • Added a bone nut
  • Swapped the factory string for round wound strings, and Chip did a complete set up with the new strings
  • Slight shim to the neck to adjust for the new bridge

What a difference! She sounds like a bass with the new strings, and plays 100% better. It will take me a little getting used to (I’m not sure I love round wounds yet).

I’m happy, and recommend Brooklyn Fretworks!

Joie de Vivre

Nate Smith at Keystone Korner

We got to see the Nate Smith Quartet (with Christian McBride, Marquis Hill and Geoffrey Keezer) at Keystone Korner in Baltimore.

I have been a fan of Nate Smith for years, he’s one of my favorite drummers. I feel so lucky that we got to see him play with these guy in such an intimate setting. It was a fantastic show, and the food was as good as when we saw John Scofield. We managed to get a high-top table for two, with a great view.

Nate played some pretty straight ahead stuff to start with, and worked his way to a super strong finish in his tight, strong style at the end. I love it. His signature snare sounded sublime, too.

It was a fantastic performance by all four.

Nate Smith Quartet
Nate Smith Quartet
Nate Smith's drums
Joie de Vivre

A Mammoth weekend of live music

On Saturday night, we ventured down the Keystone Korner for dinner and the John Scofield trio. It was a great set – I’m glad I finally got to see Sco live. The food was good, too.

I’ve heard mixed things about the sound at Keystone, and I think I know why – there is preferred seating, which he had, where you can mostly see the stage.

In other parts of the U shaped club, the stage is out of sight, and you have to watch on monitors. The stage is at the upper right part of the “U,” and the entrance is on the other side. The bar, tables and some booths line the bottom of the “U.” I don’t think the sound is great over there in other parts of the club.

On Sunday, I met an old college buddy at the Ram’s Head to see Nita Strauss and Mammoth WVH. Both bands were great, and I’m blown away by how well Wolfgang Van Halen sings. Better than Sammy Hagar, in my opinion.

nita strauss
nita strauss
Wolfgang Van Halen
Poop and Castro

What a weekend! I covered quite a range of musical genres.