That didn’t take so long…

I don’t know about you, but when I get an idea in my head I tend to make it happen as quickly as possible. After my trip to the Homestead Pickin Parlour to check out some mandolins I got the mando-bug and just had to buy one. I didn’t want to make a huge investment just yet because I didn’t know how often I’d be playing it at shows, and since we got the guitar paid off my wife wasn’t too keen on the prospect of financing another instrument just yet.

So I jumped on the computer and started the tiring process of checking out online stores and review sites. I had a good idea of what kind of mandolin I wanted and what I wanted to pay. First I checked commercial retailers to get a baseline, then went to check CraigsList, EBay and Amazon to see if I could find a gem…no love there…and then to obscure online stores to price check. I called around to local music shops the next day and to my surprise they all either had crummy mandolins for $100 or super-nice ones for $2000: not much in between. Then I found it… Read More — That didn’t take so long…

Spicy Mango-Cranberry Pork Roast

Jenn and I love to cook dinner for our friends. Last night we had Phil and Val over to meet Finn for the first time and I wanted to make an easy, mess-free, meal on the grill. So like all good culinary endeavors I headed to the grocery store to make some impulsive purchases. First thing I see when I walk in the door is a big heap of corn. 27 cents an ear. Perfect, I’ll take 7. I stroll back to the meat dept. and what do I see but pork loin roast on sale! This is a great cut of meat if cooked right, and is kind of pricey at $7/lb., but when you can buy one and get one free it’s quite the deal. Lucky for me our local grocery store, Festival, has this deal rather frequently. Anyways…I move on to getting a vegetable. “But Tim…you already have corn, why do you need another vegetable?” Because corn is NOT a vegetable. It’s a grain. We’ve grown to accept corn as a substitute for real vegetables at our cookouts and barbecues beacause it’s tasty, easy to cook, plentiful, cheap, but it’s packed with carbohydrates. It belongs in the same category as pasta, bread and potatoes. So I got what’s in season…fresh green beans!

Okay, so here’s the thing about pork loin roasts…they are tender, juicy, but not terribly flavorful on their own. If you were to just pan-sear it to temperature with a little salt, pepper, and olive oil what you’d get is a hunk Read More — Spicy Mango-Cranberry Pork Roast

Mandi-something something

This week I’ve decided to broaden my musical horizons. I was inspired by how much Pat’s mando tracks pumped up the mix of the tunes on my album. It really gave it that “something different” sound I was looking for and I realized that since he won’t be able to accompany me to live shows I had better learn how to play that thing. I’ve had a cruddy Samick mandolin in my closet for many years; it was much more a decoration than an instrument. It was time to dust it off and start playing again, which took longer than expected because there was a LOT of dust and rust that had to be cleaned to get it in playing condition again.

I figured if I was going to do it I might as well jump right in…I brought it to a party at my friend, Mike Orantes’ Minnesota home. Why bring it to a party? Are you going to sit in the corner and dink around by yourself? Oh, no. In our circle of friends it is an inevitability that where there is drink and instruments there will be a jam session at some point in the evening (disclaimer: no promises are made about the musical quality of said jam sessions). Read More — Mandi-something something

What are you doing in there?

To many people, myself included, the recording process is a mystery. Musicians go into a dark room full of microphones and switchboards with a zillion dials and buttons and leave with a sweet sounding CD. There’s usually a stock cast of characters: the ultra-hip guy fiddling with buttons and offering vague compliments, usually something about “the sound”, there’s the easily distracted musician who seems half-in, half-out of consciousness with his long hair, witty t-shirts and dazed expression plinking out guitar parts, the over-controlling creative person who gets worked up over the smallest mistakes and spends most of the time shouting at people and taking cigarette breaks, and of course the sleazy producer who tries to kill any sense of artistry by homogenizing every song with the whims of popular radio trends….that’s kind of how I picture it anyways. Read More — What are you doing in there?