Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Acoustic Pond Christmas Videos

Christmas Videos of people from Acoustic Pond for 2010

Acoustic Pond Christmas Special 2010

Acoustic Pond Gals 2010

Acoustic Pond Guys 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sydney - New South Wales - Australia

I've have lived all over Australia and if I had to choose a place to visit it's virtually impossible to say just one. Each State has it's own attractions and its own weather. To visit Australia you would need months if not longer to actually get in the full ambiance of the country. 

If you were planning a quick trip you would be wise to research each State first and then choose where you wish to visit to get to see as much as possible for your stay. As I would like to give at least some detail of each State I will stick to one per blog. Today's blog being Sydney.

Sydney, New South Wales is of course, one of the more popular destinations for tourists. It is also the most expensive State to live in with the cost of living being higher than other States. Sydney is well known for the being a city built on hills surrounding Sydney Harbour. The suburbs are surrounded by national parks and bays and beaches. The most publicised beach being Bondi Beach. Catch the Manly Ferry from Circular Quay for great views of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Explore the . historic North Head with breathtaking Sydney Harbour views.

You can visit Sydney Opera House, go for the climb of the Sydney Harbour Bridge or stop in to the Toronga Zoo. There is a multitude of night life and restaurants and of course plenty of places to shop. Whether it's a visit to the Sydney Aquarium or a ferry ride around the Bay. You won't be bored!

Weather in Sydney is warm summers and mild winters. Rain is spread throughout the year and of late there has been a lot of flash flooding. 

As Sydney is moderated by its proximity to the ocean the further out you go the warmer it gets. January is the warmest month with temperatures averaging between 25.8 C (78F) up to 45.3 C (113.5 F). In winter with the coldest month being July the temperatures rarely drop below 5 C (41F).

Sydney with its great climate makes outdoors living a way of life. It is like most of Australia laid back and relaxing but at the same time exciting and full of hustle and bustle.

Take some time to travel further out than the actual city and visit some of the national parks. Go see the Blue Mountains or the Three Sisters. Visit the national parks as well as the tourist destinations. Hire a car or get on a tour and enjoy what Sydney has to offer. 

Try local foods as well as the variety of international influences that have become part of cuisine in Australia. Get fresh fish from fisherman's wharf in the bay or just stop in to any of the local "fish and chip" shops and have it all cooked for you.

Most of the parks and even the beaches have bbq facilities there so you could enjoy cooking outdoors and enjoy the outdoor way of life and take in the sights at the same time. Chat with the locals and I'm sure they will direct you to good local spots that are worth a visit too.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thinking about Guitars and a Trip Down Memory Lane

It's time to take a trip down memory lane. Guitar memory lane that is. 

I was in a mood for thought and started to think of the kinds of guitars that I have owned. Which one's were my favorite to play and which have sadly gone on to the great guitar heaven in the sky or ended up at no longer being in my possession.

When I first started to play I started with a Yamaha nylon 6 string. I wasn't sure at that stage whether I would be any good at it or that it would become one of my passions. 

All I knew was that I loved to sing and if I had my own instrument (apart from my own voice) I would be able to sing anything. I didn't like being restricted in the choice of songs I could sing by the recorded music I had available. I was and still am a huge Jewel fan and after reading that she had also taught herself to play I was ready for the challenge.

I asked around people that I knew online and offline that played guitar, as to what was the best to get. I was all set in my head to turn in to a heavy metal electric guitar hair whipping rocker chick! I listened to the advice I was given and started to look for an acoustic. I was told if you can play an acoustic you can play anything. That seemed solid advice to me. I never did turn in to that heavy metal hair whipping rocker chick. Instead I fell in love with the sound of the acoustics.  I headed off to the local pawn shop as I didn't want to spend much money until I knew what I was going to be doing with it. I really didn't know anything about guitars and upon the advice of the store clerk decided on the yamaha. It came with new strings and although he did show me how to tune it I think I had forgotten by the time that I left the shop.

I struggled but persisted with teaching myself how to play. I had help from online musicians from all over the world from what was to be come known as the "Acoustic Pond". Feel free to visit my links if you wish to know more about "Acoustic Pond". 

If I got stuck I asked for help and if it meant over a web cam to show me what to do or from a book.  One of my dear friends who was actually a great musician would also time after time come over and very patiently restring my guitar. Show me how to do it numerous times. Then get called back yet again to do it all over again. There wasn't the options there is today of lessons online and videos. It would have been a lot easier if I had the sites online there is today that you can find on searches or on youtube.

I eventually wanted to switch to a steel string guitar and did actually put steel strings on my poor yamaha and it gave the most awesome sound I liked it better that way. This is not suggested or advised as its bad for a guitar that's designed for nylon strings. I liked the sound though and as it was mine I really didn't care and that's how it stayed until it ended up being given to a friend.

My next purchase was a black Takamine. I loved this guitar. This was my first big purchase from a guitar shop and even though it was second hand it still cost me some money but it was well worth it. I would have no hesitation buying one of these again. I have so many great memories of this guitar. Just mentioning it sends my thoughts down memory lane and all the great times I had with it. This beautiful specimen of melodic joy had an very untimely and distressing ending. I had her resting on her guitar stand and she lost the fight with my vacuum cord and ended up crashing down on to a marble floor causing the head to completely snap from the neck! If anyone else had been involved in her untimely passing I would probably still not be speaking to them. 

After poor Takamine finding her way up to guitar heaven I then fell in love with a Cort electric/acoustic steel string cutaway

She has brought me many years of joy and I'm hoping to have her out of storage soon and back in to my hands. I fell in love with her the instant I played her and it was one of those "just must have it" purchases.  She can be seen in many of my older videos on youtube. Being an electric acoustic I have the option of plugging her in so I did get part way to my original rocker chick image.

I would also recommend this guitar particularly for females as the neck is great for small hands. Something a female player has to be aware of is the size of the neck of the guitar and the ease of playing on it. I like that it can be simply plugged in on the side to an amp and then you can play with the sound with the switches. 

That brings me to another favorite of mine. He is currently keeping my Cort company until its back in my hands again. I do refer to all of my guitars usually as "she". This one though by the size of the neck and by the deeper sound of the guitar than the others I have mentioned, to me is a "he".

callouses that are harder on the skin than a 6 string guitar. Double the strings also means more wear and tear on the fingers.

 I love the sound of a 12 string guitar and this has a unique sound of its own. I tend to use this for very simple songs to make them sound more intricate than they actually are. It does tend to shred the fingers with the 12 fingers but its well worth the callouses.

My current choice of musical pleasure is an Aria. She has fit very well in to my collection of lovable music makers and I would again recommend her to anyone wanting a simplistic sound and easy neck to handle. She can be seen in my more recent videos on youtube. Although she hasn't seen as much use as my other guitars we are still getting acquainted.

Having two young children that tend to like to mute my strings or climb all over me every time I attempt to play has been hindering my abilities. I do have to laugh at the antics though and hope they too will be avid guitar enthusiasts and inherit the passion for acoustic guitars. 

My now 5 year old has a few of his own videos and has appeared in many of mine since he was a baby. Some videos that I have taken of him when he is just enjoying playing and singing. His most memorable video being his "cheese" song where all the lyrics are "cheese, cheese and cheese". Other memorable ones where where he basically takes over my own video. One that particularly comes to mind is when we were both outside while I recorded a video of me doing a cover of Jewel song called "I do". 

He definitely makes his presence known and I put that particular video up mainly as it made me laugh so much. I played it back watching him kick and run through the entire thing.

He and his younger brother both have guitars of their own. I am putting my foot down at getting them a drum kit as I really don't think I would ever get them to stop.

There is also a cover of Arms of Angel where my youngest makes his own special appearance too. Both these videos feature my Aria.

Arms of Angel & Son cover song - Aussieguitarprincess

On a lasting note I have my wish list. My wish list of guitars would have to be a Maton. These guitars are only made in Australia and have a truly unique sound of their own.  I hope to own one day. My wish list maton is a mini maton!!! Perfect in size for someone such as myself. There is a link to the maton site below if you wish to see what the other maton guitars look like and its full of information about Maton guitars.

 Maton Guitars Australia

Thank you to all that have been taking the time to read my blogs. That has been my trip down guitar memory lane. I intend to do more guitar blogs and in particular on the people from Acoustic Pond.

Please add yourself to follow or subscribe.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Oh No Facebook has gone down what do we do now???

Went to log in to my facebook page and OH NO IT"S BLANK!!! Time to google!

Facebook has become so much a part of our everyday lives for keeping in touch with people, meeting new people and as a form of communication what do we do without it? Working out whether it was just my connection doing this or facebook itself I quickly googled to find out what was going on. Yes facebook is down! Twitter must be going on overdrive as the real time messages coming through on the google for "facebook blank page" has all these twitters asking where has it gone! The twitters coming in are a lot of  "why am I getting a blank page" and its actually getting a few witty comments as well. is just a blank page at the moment... some sort of witty Person of the Year statement?

Is anyone else having trouble getting on FaceBook now? All I am getting is a blank page. Guess it's time to read a good book.

 o no ... is a blank page. my life is over.

Today's most popular internet pastime is refreshing a blank white page

 Is Facebook down? Only shows me a blank page.. but on the other hand...that's my life...

If this blank FB page thing goes on much longer, I think we should call it the Great Facebook White-Out of '10.

Dear new Facebook: Design's fine. Just wish you worked. Unless a blank page is part of the new design. Say, is Friendster still kicking?

OMG - Facebook is really down. blank white page...unless it's a snow blizzard theme they're creating?

Repeatedly refreshing my facebook blank page, sorry twitter but C'MON.

Someone should ask Time's person of the year why Facebook is coming up as a blank page.

Facebook was working for me until i refreshed my its jsut a white blank page BUT I NEEDED TO STALK PEOPLE
 With facebook down seems a very appropriate time to switch to something else. Like looking at the story of this Person of the Year.Person of the Year 2010 courtesy of

For connecting more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them, for creating a new system of exchanging information and for changing how we live our lives, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is TIME's 2010 Person of the Year  Facebook has merged with the social fabric of American life, and not just American but human life: nearly half of all Americans have a Facebook account, but 70% of Facebook users live outside the U.S. It's a permanent fact of our global social reality. We have entered the Facebook age, and Mark Zuckerberg is the man who brought us here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

An Aussie Christmas

An Aussie Christmas... Oprah said her final farewells and left Sydney to return back to States on her private plane or as reports have it maybe to stop over in Fiji before returning home. I am sure my BFF Dolly will be missing her already and I enjoyed her updates as to where she was and what was happening. I am sure Dolly will probably be emailing her asking her to come back and visit her from now on. With all the talk about O and her guests seeing all these amazing destinations Australia has to offer it got me thinking how would I describe an Aussie Christmas. It certainly is nothing like an American White Christmas. 

Christmas in Australia is set in Summer. Temperatures on average being 30 plus Celsius or 86 plus in Fahrenheit. It's usually very hot no matter where you are.  Christmas Dinner is usually held at midday and can be anywhere from family home to hotels or restaurants or outdoors at beach or parks. Christmas trees and decorations and lights all seem to be celebrated the same whether in Australia or in the States. 

The weather seems to set the tone and I usually have an image in my mind of a hot summer day. Lots of food usually indoors with air conditioning. Playing outside with paper Christmas hats on with the ink dripping off a sweaty face.  Eating till you basically feel you have to have a nap. Then doing it all again that night with the leftovers. 

Traditional Christmas Dinner includes ham, pork, turkey and fresh seafood. Either served cold or hot with some roasted vegetables but usually with salads. Traditional desserts or sweets would include trifle, pavlova, fruit salad. Christmas plum pudding is a desert that is served enflamed. During the Australian gold rushes these puddings often had a gold nugget baked inside them but are now usually replaced with other treats. Anyone who finds them in their plate is believed to have good luck throught the coming year. Fruit mince pies are also popular which are similar to christmas pudding made with fruit. Christmas dinner is usually a smorgasbord of that takes up at least one whole table and at least a day to eat it.
Aussie Jingle Bells lyrics...

Dashing through the bush, in a rusty Holden Ute, 
Kicking up the dust, esky in the boot,
Kelpie by my side, singing Christmas songs, 
It's Summer time and I am in my singlet, 
shorts and thongs

Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,  
Christmas in Australia on a scorching summers day, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut !,
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute.

Engine's getting hot; we dodge the kangaroos,
The swaggie climbs aboard, he is welcome too. All the family's there, sitting by the pool, Christmas Day the Aussie way, by the barbecue.

Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,

Christmas in Australia on a scorching summers day, Hey! 

Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut!,
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute.

Come the afternoon, Grandpa has a doze, The kids and Uncle Bruce, are swimming in their clothes.

The time comes 'round to go, we take the family snap,
Pack the car and all shoot through, before the washing up.

Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Christmas in Australia on a scorching summers day, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut!,
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute

Aussie Jingle Bells

Snow in Ohio - Just in time for Christmas December 2010

Homer is absent at least until more snow falls!

Snow in Ohio seems to have got itself all organized for Christmas this year. Another night of bitterly cold temperatures (0 farenheight/-17 celcius) but the snow seems to have stopped falling for now. It really is beautifully serene when there is little wind and the sun is shining. Homer the local Mr Plow has not burst my bubble of serenity so I could enjoy what winter has to offer. Even the deer are out and about enjoying the newly fallen snow.
Nothing quite like waking up to seeing everything covered in snow and I truly believe everyone should experience at least one White Christmas in a lifetime.

My first experience was magical when I was woken in the early hours to look outside at everything within view encrusted with an ice kingdom of snow. Whiter than the white clouds in the sky. The merest reflection of light giving an ambiance to everything within sight. To touch it was softer than cotton wool and melted in the hand. The smell of the dry crisp cold air. Face and hands stinging with the cold. Everything is pristine and pure. Tree tops to tree limbs,  roof tops to outdoor swings.

It really is captivating to just look at all the intricate details that nature has bestowed. Heaven on earth by the hand of mother nature.

Snow in Ohio to me is still a wonderland of nature at its finest. I enjoy its beauty and its ability to be so simple yet so detailed. From the icicles that  hang like Christmas lights to the freshly fallen untouched purity of an untouched field of snow. 

Coming from the Land Down Under Christmas is a totally new thing for me having a White Christmas. Having spent most of my life with Christmas Days in the scorching heat and in air conditioning to get away from it I truly enjoy the magic that goes along with waking up to Christmas like in the story books read to me as a child.

Here's to the countdown to Christmas and whatever anecdotes shall come with it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Snow and Homer the local Mr Plow

Homer the local Plow Dude.
This is not a blog about the intricacies of weather as I do not have the knowledge to talk about such things...I can however blog about my experiences in it...December Snow in Ohio, USA.

Sunday 12th December, 2010

This Blog is on snow...and how much effort it takes to shovel it!! It takes a lot of physical effort to get snow off the sidewalk and driveway. We had a nice constant flutter of snow today so by the time it was early evening it was time to get the shovel and salt out. The first round of me the snow and the shovel occurred about 6pm. I decided it wouldn't hurt to put a bit of salt down after shoveling the snow by hand (yes I know all about snow blowers but it was fresh snow and was quicker to just use the shovel). I was happy with the result nice clear driveway and sidewalk and porches all clear and salted.

The snow kept on falling and a friend dropped by with his truck and plow and we had a 2nd round of the driveway being cleared. The snow continued to fall and by about 9pm all my hard work was invisible underneath the freshly falling snow. So out I went again and cleared it all while it was fresh and easy to move. Peace at last and time to relax or so I thought.

I heard that familiar sound of a truck and looked out the window to see all my hard work ruined by an incompetent fool who has no idea on how to plow snow other than to get it done as fast as he can with as little effort as possible. Homer Simpson. Mr Plow immediately comes to mind.

The roadway gets cleared by someone that is employed and paid to do it and I have battled with this person for some years now as to why he has to plow all of everyone's snow right up on to my clear driveway and paths. I have even gone so far as to stand in his way to stop him doing it and it does no good as he just doesn't stop and I end up moving very quickly.

Last year, I did win one round where I was so mad at having all my hard work destroyed I literally blew my lid and waited in the middle of the road yelling at the guy did he have to give me everybody's snow and was he blind that it was clear before he got there. He did end up turning around and removing the snow from my driveway but I still have no clue if he did it to just shut me up or whether he listened at all. He ended up having to do another neighbors as I yelled out to them to start abusing him too!

Logically to me, if you were to clear roadways of snow that pushes all the snow in one direction in to a huge pile of snow, you would go one direction and then stop. Then go the other direction to clear the other side. Clear it up to the sidewalk and then go the opposite direction for the other side so as to not accumulate all the snow from everyone in to one big pile on one side of the road and not the other!!!

This logic seems beyond the person that does the snow plowing where we live and it drives me absolutely nuts. I could understand if it was untouched snow outside my home but it never is. I always keep it clear and it takes a lot of time and effort and frost bite to do so.

I have asked this person to please notice when its cleared already and to not bring all the snow hes gathering from the entire road to replace it but to no avail. I've tried building walls of snow to make him go around further and it ends up back where it started but ten times worse! Last year I made the mistake of doing the wall behind the sidewalk which failed as he just kept adding snow. This year I am set to yet again battle this person and will continue this battle all winter.

Yes I have gone out yet again and shoveled it all clear again!! There is quite a few elderly people close to me and I clear their paths at the same time. Another reason it makes me so angry that Plow Dude who I shall now refer to as "Homer" really does not care. He makes lives of those hes supposed to be helping more difficult with his inability to be more efficient and still get the job done.

My new tactic and we shall see if this one works is I have changed the position of my snow wall.
This years snow wall is back on the road!!! I'm building a tunnel of the sidewalk clear with the wall being on the curb of the road. I've again angled it so it should make it harder to still sweep the snow up to my driveway and paths. With a bit of luck and some light rain it should set and make it difficult to move even with a truck.

If my little wall makes it I shall attempt to make it even more solid and impenetrable. Wish me luck and I shall take some photos to keep a blog of my hard work.

Oprah Visits Australia

As I'm sure everyone is aware from the media reports that Oprah and her chosen audience have all gone on a trip to Australia. The media reports both in States and Australia all show them having a great time and they are definitely seeing a lot of the country. Australian's in return are going wild over the visit and its getting more popularity than if royalty was visiting. My best friend Dolly is daily inundating me reports of where Oprah has been and how she wished she was there too! She just can't get enough of Oprah and from her anecdotes neither can the rest of Australia. Hence my Blog on Oprah's visit.

If the O that was placed on the Sydney Harbour Bridge wasn't enough to impress, there was also a few home viewer visits from Oprah herself. Canterbury Boys School was lucky enough to get given computers (although personally giving to a public school not a private school would have been a more charitable act). She also helped out cancer patient and his family which is a great deed from the reports I read on it.

There is photos of the visit to Australia on the Oprah site of all the places they have been to and as an Australian I enjoyed looking through them all. I was particularly pleased when I saw a photo of Oprah cuddling "elvis" the koala that he was referred to as koala and not koala bear.

Celebrities such as Russell Crowe and his wife Daniel Spencer joined in with a sailing cruise around Sydney's Habour and each State seems to be bringing out their finest in honor of the visit. I had to chuckle at the many messages left for Oprah on her facebook page. There is so many from Australian's all over the country putting in their pleas for her to come and visit them personally. I am sure that she would have to stay at least a year to even get through a quarter of the people that have left messages there alone. I am sure to be updated more on the visit and wish them all a great Christmas in the Land Down Under.