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November 22nd, 2009

Calm, yet surprisingly busy, weekend

After a long week of work, I tried to take it easy this weekend to regain my energy for the next three days of work ahead. I finished my antibiotics, but I'm not off the cough medicine yet. Meatloaf, green beans, ham, and string beans were on the menu this weekend, along with plenty of tea.

Today I started the day with a couple chores: writing email, installing rechargeable batteries in my handheld radio receiver and setting that up to charge for the next 12 hours, reading the instruction manual on my other battery charger, updating Windows, updating a website, installing new software for American Morse code, etc. I've never tried learning American Morse before, but I found a simple study program written for people who already know CW. I played around with that for a while, then did some CW practice at lcwo.net (Learn CW Online). I was hovering between 20-25 wpm in copying the international call signs.

After all this was done, I picked away at the mandolin for a while. Since my dad gave me some Irish Rovers music, I've been teaching myself the melody of a couple songs and playing along with the CD. The list of songs that I practice on the mandolin has grown:

Battle Cry of Freedom (Learning about the Civil War reminded me of this song)
The Wind that Shakes the Corn (The notes in this are easy to play as they shift up and down like the wind-shaken stalks of corn)
Sweet Thames Flow Softly (Beautiful melody, but I had this song stuck in my head for a whole day last week!)
Canadian Railroad Trilogy (Gotta love this one by Gordon Lightfoot)
in addition to Road to Lisdoonvarna, Red Haired Boy, Kathleen Mavourneen, and my cross-picking practice!

Mostly, I've just been picking out the melodies and playing them, but I've started experimenting with different kinds of rhythms and picking - sometimes leaving a note ring a while while playing other notes or stopping notes short or switching from single notes to double-notes at various points. I've been trying to speed up my picking - I want to tremolo! It's not as easy as it looks, but I've gotten close... :)

Well, it turned out to be a busy day, afterall. Time to put the rest of the pomegranate seeds in the refrigerator and shut down the computer.

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