Doctor Pooka

Pooka

Long day on the road tomorrow to see my neurologist.

I am nervous to hear what the doctor has to say. I am also nervous because I have seizures and bad headaches when I am in a moving car.

Thankfully, Pooka kitten is here demanding that I stop fretting and focus my attention on more important things: like keeping her entertained!

Veggie Burgers & Other Happy Things

I made myself a veggie burger with avocado for my meal of the day. Pooka wasn’t too sure about that. It was so delicious!

The I went out to watch the bees and other bugs in the apple mint. The Victorian moss rose is blooming and completely untouched by the Japanese beetles. As I was cutting zinnias for mom I met the most excellent preying mantis.

A lovely Sunday afternoon. Now for a nap with Pooka.

The Down Neck Gazette: Stan Jay

Back in the early 2000’s Pat and Patrick Costello drove the highways in a classic car filming interviews with folk musicians.

In this episode we visit Stan Jay at Mandolin Brothers!

We normally reserve episodes of The Down Neck Gazette to the Patreon sponsors who are adding support to our new projects. We are making this video available to all so that people can get a glimpse of Stan Jay and his wonderful music shop. We miss you Stan!

https://www.patreon.com/Dobro33H

Note:
This video was compressed back in 2001 in Real Player format, so the quality is less than stellar. We still have all of the tapes from this and the dozens of other interviews we filmed when we were running The Down Neck Gazette. Someday we will have to dive into those archives and save interviews like this for future pickers.

Road Trip Next Week

Dear Old Dad has to drive me up to see my neurologist in Delaware on August first. I have already received his notes through my web-based Patient Portal, so I won’t be too shocked by what he has to tell me.

Work on the book is going well. I love working away from the Internet!

Sing the Banjo! and The Daily Frail will return around the second week of August. I will also post a video filling everybody in on what the doc has to say.

Thank you all for the letters, cards, prayers and support. It means a lot to somebody cares.

God bless,
-Patrick

Chapter Six!

The sixth chapter of my book-in-progress is available for the perusal of our Patreon sponsors.

https://www.patreon.com/posts/20371103

As you probably know by now, I am writing this book entirely by hand.

I am writing in pencil on legal pads because a neurological problem has made it difficult for me to type.

This download is a first draft with a quick edit. Dear Old Dad will edit it two more times before transcribing it all into Word.

I write, Dear Old Dad edits and my mom also helps with editing. Pooka sits on my lap while I write and Precious the Chihuahua sits with Dear Old Dad while he is editing. The whole Costello family is involved in the creation of this book!

We are numbering the chapters as they are written. They will probably appear in a different order in the finished book.

Once the book is finished we will make the ebook edition available to all our Patreon sponsors.

Chapter Six is about my adventure with a man named Harmonica Joe.

Pencil and Paper

I am working on a book about my adventures learning how to play the banjo, guitar and other folk instruments.

My circumstances as a young music student were unique. I was dealing with massive hearing loss and epilepsy. I had been exposed to Eastern philosophy as a young martial arts student. My mother taught me to use the tools the good Lord gave me, so I applied concepts from Kenpo karate and Taoism into my explorations into old-time banjo and country blues guitar.

Much has changed over the ensuing years and much is still the same. I am still learning new things every day, but now I am also a teacher. I have BAHA implants to help me hear, but new problems have sprung up to make my path more interesting. Neurological issues are making it difficult for me to type, so I am writing this new book entirely by hand in pencil.

I am writing at a desk that once belonged to my grandfather. He delivered it to me tied to the roof of his Dodge Dart on my eighth birthday. My great-grandmother helped my grandfather run his electrical contractor business from this desk. I feel them both with me as I work.

I write on Amazonbasics legal pads in pencil. I start out with a large quantity of sharpened pencils point-up in mugs and jars. As they go dull I drop them point-down in an empty container.

I am mainly using Blackwing pencils now and I can’t say enough nice things about them. Some of the nicest pencils I have ever used. The Blackwing long-point sharpener actually makes a difference. It is not fast, but the slow pace adds to my Steinbeck-style morning ritual of sharpening enough pencils to get through the day.

I use a shitajiki writing board under the page as I write to keep the pencil point from making an impression on the pages below it.

MUJI erasers work really well for someone who writes with a heavy hand like I do.

Field Notes and Write notepads help me keep my thoughts in order when I have to step away from my desk.

When I finish a chapter I pass it over to Dear Old Dad. He gives it a quick edit and passes it back to me for scanning.

I scan the chapter to post for our Patreon sponsors. They get the raw unprocessed data that will eventually be organized into a complete work.

After I post the chapter I give the pages back to Dear Old Dad for transcribing to Word, editing and recording for the audio book edition.
Scanned Sample Pages:

To give you a taste of what our Patreon sponsors get, here are single-page scans taken from the first page of the first three chapters.

My father takes my handwritten draft and transcribes it into Word. Here us a sample of how that turns out.

I looked up and a middle-aged man was gawking at me like I was a geek in a sideshow. He started laughing and turned to Lefty.“Why is Pillsbury gnawing on a guitar?”

They both started laughing. He made fun of my Converse high tops. He made fun of my Miami Vice tee-shirt. He made fun of my guitar. I started to get mad.

“What’s your problem? Never heard somebody play the blues before?”

He didn’t just laugh at that. He screamed. I thought he was going to go into hysterics. He opened the shop door, leaned out and hollered to somebody, “get in here and take a look at Pillsbury. He says he can play the blues!”

The next thing I know these guys come marching in and all of them think I am the funniest thing they have ever seen. I knew that I had a lot to learn on the guitar, but this was serious ball-busting. I was being mocked and it didn’t feel good, so I mustered up my courage and said, “if you guys are so great, why don’t you teach me something?”

The guy who had started the let’s laugh at Patrick party looked at one the others. They had a silent conversation, with one pointing to his watch and signaling that they had some time. Laughing guy pulled up a stool and sat in front of me. He reached for my guitar, and while it was hard to trust him I handed it over. “Damn, this is a heavy guitar. Okay, Pillsbury, do you know any bass lines like Elmore James played?”

“Who’s Elmore James?”

“Who’s Elmore James! You want to play guitar and you’ve never heard of Elmore James?” The rest of the group voiced their disapproval. “Well, Pillsbury, this is what I’m going to show you.” He took my guitar and made the bass strings ring out in a boogie-woogie rhythm. He started simple and driving and changed the pattern each time through until he had this amazing walking bass happening.

“I want to play like that!” I said.

Several people have encouraged me to move away from my current analog approach to writing and switch to voice to text or write on a tablet computer. I appreciate the input, but I like the simplicity of working with pencil and paper – and I get to have another adventure with my father.

When I do have to type – and the keyboard is inescapable in 2018 – I just take things in very small doses. It took three days with help from Dear Old Dad to put this post together. I move a little slower, but things still get done. Life is good.

Let’s wrap this up with a complete list of my books and essays released under Creative Commons licenses.

Books:


Essays:

 

Frailing Banjo Week 18

I love that James has been sharing his progress this way, and I am so happy to see the chord changes happening with confidence as he explores the cool stuff that happens when you hit other strings.

Chapter Five!

Chapter five of my book in progress is ready to download.

https://www.patreon.com/posts/20215458

As you probably know by now, I am writing this book entirely by hand.

I am writing in pencil on legal pads because a neurological problem has made it difficult for me to type.

This download is a first draft with a quick edit. Dear Old Dad will edit it two more times before transcribing it all into Word.

We are numbering the chapters as they are written. They will probably appear in a different order in the finished book.

Once the book is finished we will make the ebook edition available to all our Patreon sponsors.

In chapter five I write about a jam session in the mountains. Every word of it is true . . . and to this day I still feel bad about the guy I clobbered at the driving range.

Chapter Blaster

Chapter five of my book in progress is handwritten, edited, scanned and converted into a .PDF document for the reading enjoyment of our Patreon sponsors.

I just can’t get Patreon to process the upload.

Patreon, we love you, but uploading files to you can be hit or miss.

I will try again in a few hours.

God bless,
-Patrick

Be Our YouTube Friends!

YouTube is changing. I may have cut my social media presence to a bare minimum, the friend button is coming to YouTube so we might as well embrace it.

Make sure you are logged in to YouTube and then click this link: https://youtu.be/addme/X-7PS1s2bJB5k4mhuWe9bf0nsExxww

Friending us on YouTube will allow you to send us instant messages while you watch our videos. There will probably be other features and benefits as well. I only noticed the button on my YouTube dashboard yesterday.

Click away! Show us some love!