Add it to the list

...the list of ukuleles to buy:

Savin' up, savin' up, savin' up.


I'm watching more and more BBC stuff and discovering links to other things that I love. When I was 12 years old I had no idea who Tom Baker was when I was watching The Silver Chair. This past week, I picked him out right away.

Now I'm watching yet another Doctor Who episode, this one a dreadful 1980's Colin Baker story of the Daleks. Not only do the 1980's fashion and the annoying companion bother me, but then I saw Alexei Sayle's big, fat, unfunny face.

Boyfriendhead tries to assume that people, no matter how nasty, have a side of them that is generous or wise. I've tried to think this of Alexei Sayle but, really, I don't care. He's the worst part of The Young Ones. He doesn't ruin it, the rest of it is so damned good, but I always take a potty break when Sayle's face comes on screen.

So I'll leave you with a scene from The Young Ones (sans Alexei)

uke review 2

My second ukulele review is of the Lanikai Curly Koa tenor ukulele. I purchased this uke for about $240 at a local music store. I bought it to replace my Flea uke because it sounded richer and instead of a banjolele--none of which could be found in Alaska.

As I said in my previous review, I'm not familiar with ukulele construction; I'm not familiar with the benefits and drawbacks of particular features. I base my decisions on two things: how it sounds and how much it costs. This means that I can't purchase online because I can't play the instruments, despite the cheaper costs. I deal.

My Lanikai sounds really good. There is a rich tone that lasts. It is a little big and I occasionally have difficulty forming chords (DAMN B-flat!) and carrying it around is more of a chore than I'd like it to be. Still, it's great for serenading my love and chilling on the balcony with a glass of lemonade.

I've never played a Lanikai soprano or concert sized uke but I'd bet that they would be just right for my mom. The smaller size would suit her petite frame, the cost (even cheaper than my tenor) would suit her thriftiness, and it would sound great based on my experience with my tenor sized uke.


Books, the Doctor, and movies.

I've been neglecting my Book-A-Month duties. Instead I've been absorbed in Doctor Who. I've been reading a lot too, though. I just find it difficult and annoying to have to limit myself to the themes laid out on the BAM blog.

I've been reading books of all sorts: poetry, plays, novels, short stories...

Right now I'm even reading a Young Adult novel, which rarely happens. I'm not a fan. I don't like vampire fiction, I don't like stories about prissy, bitchy teenage girls. I'm not a fan of nerd-fiction nor do I like stories about teens overcoming an unbelievable amount of tragedies (i.e. parents dying, drug habits, psychological problems, plus normal teenage angst--all wrapped up in one package).

Anyway, here's the list of what I've been/am currently reading:

Moliere's Comedies
Trollope's The Warden
Racine's Andromache
the poems of Horace
The Secret Twin by Denise Gosliner Orenstein
Boy Toy by Barry Lyga

I'm also trying to relearn French.

Other than reading a myriad of books, watching Doctor Who, and trying to learn French again, I'm watching the old (relatively) Chronicles of Narnia. I loved these movies as a child. I would check them out at the library over and over and over... Voyage of the Dawn Treader is on now. It was always my favorite and I had no idea why...then King Caspian came on screen. Wowie-wow-wow! My 11 year old hot-guy-detector, which by the way is still fully operational, must have been on high alert.

Otherwise, they're not that great. The danger is really mild, the battles are short and the violence is's a kids story, though. Why am I complaining? That being said, I still haven't seen the new ones. I'm waiting...but I don't know for what.

Uke Review

As an entry in UkeHunt's ukulele review/KALA ukulele contest, I submit the following:

I caught the ukulele itch when, in December of last year, I thought it would add an interesting twist to my job as a youth services librarian. I have since bought two other ukuleles and am aching for another. My enthusiasm has also inspired my mother to revisit her ukulele playing days but she’s in need of a little guidance and, of course, I’m willing to help her out.

Because I’m a beginner, I don’t know much about the instruments themselves. I’m convinced, though, that seeing the instrument, being able to pick it up, manipulate the tuning pegs, play it, this is how to best judge its quality. I want my mom to invest wisely and I have my own needs when it comes to ukuleles. So, I had been going on a quest for different brands at local music shops here in Anchorage to see what our options were. For me, I wanted to find something that I could strap on my back and take hiking and that would travel well with me on my upcoming trips to Michigan and to Nashville. For my mom, I wanted it to be at a mid-range price, and good quality.

I came across a soprano sized Mahalo for $29.95.

The sales guy said, “Hey, this thing could blow up in your face and you’d only be out thirty bucks!”


Why it’s not recommended:
--It doesn’t sound that great. I have to tune it more frequently than I should. I’ll have to invest in a pitch pipe (for some reason this low-tech option seems more fitting than my electronic one).
--There’s a slight buzzing that never seems to go away.
--It often times sounds as if it’s out of tune, even though it’s not.
--I had to file the corners of the bridge down. They were sharp and pointy and jabbing into my forearm.

Why I like it anyway:
--My storytime kids don’t tend to notice (or care about) the tone problems or the buzzing during “If You’re Happy and You Know It”.
--I’ve yet to encounter any dangerous wildlife but I’m interested in seeing if it will have the same affect on a bear that a young boy and his ukulele had on Abiyoyo.
--It’s small. While my tenor ukulele sounds much better but I often times have difficulty stretching my fingers to reach certain chords. This smaller size solves that problem.
--I can travel with it and not worry about it getting smashed in overhead bins on an airplane or having it break my fall should I take a spill off a mountain. I’d only be out thirty bucks!
--I can leave it at work overnight (or over the weekend) without fearing that it will get stolen. It’s like those people who have broken down cars, rusted farm equipment, and vinyl siding all over their yard. I bet no one steals from them. If anyone does then hey, they must be having some troubling times and deserving of a little slack.

Perhaps that’s not a glowing recommendation but it fits my needs perfectly. I’d only recommend it for my mother because it’s inexpensive and she’s thrifty.

overall review: perfect for my needs but not good enough for my mom.

The Uke:
Mahalo U-30RD

Afterthoughts: My first excursion into the Alaskan wilderness was a hike to Bird Creek and the incredibly beautiful super secret waterfall. There was a threat of bear but no sightings by us. The uke was out of tune almost immediately but I persevered. I probably wouldn't buy another Mahalo for hiking but it's still nice for storytime.