October 14th, 2004


Mandolin Update: Cafe Jam

Cafe Jam
It's been a while since I've made a mandolin update. Alas, drmellow_mando has been been silent lately. I hope to rectify that situation soon with more frequent posts. In the mean time, while I'm working on catching up with my journal entries. One of the most exciting mandolin happenings lately happened a few weeks ago (on Tuesday, September 28) when I went to an open bluegrass jam at Cafe Jam. yarbiedoll joined me for the evening, where she snapped the photograph accompanying this journal entry. (I'm the thrid from the left, the picture is also a link to a larger version of the photograph if you'd like a better look.) She also wrote about it in her own journal.

I had a great time -- they actually had me playing up on the stage in front of a microphone. It was pretty fun. Turnout was terrible. There really was no audience except for yarbiedoll. That's a shame, 'cause the place was really cool. They had neat lighting and a great atmosphere. I think they have better attendance on the weekends, when they have Christian Rock bands playing. Every Tuesday night is bluegrass night, though.

Anyway, there were a couple of really talented folks who showed up for the jam and ended up pretty much running the show. I was not one of them -- I just hung back and chopped on chords as best as I was able, which was good enough. Pastor T, who seems to run the joint, did a great job of letting me see his left hand as he played guitar so that I could keep up with the chord changes. The jam session was pretty popular with several high school kids, a few of which I knew from church. They really put me to shame -- one of the girls tore it up on Old Joe Clark at a speed faster than I was comfortable taking a break on. She had only been playing mandolin for about 3 weeks, and hadn't had any formal lessons. I did take a break on Red Haired Boy, thanks to some prodding from Ed, who seems be becoming my jam mentor and encourager.

It was lots of fun. I've since missed two more opportunities to participate in the open jam at Cafe Jam, but I hope to be able to swing by again in the next week or so.

In more mandolin news, I've also skipped the last jam session at the Cultural Center. I should really try to go to the one next week, especially since I'm learning one of the songs that they almost always play. Yesterday, Jeff taught me a simple break for The Old Home Place, which I asked him to do after seeing him perform it at the fair last week.

I'll be writing more about the fair later.

Vote Early, Vote Often

During luch today, I wasted my vote by voting for Michael Badnarik (Libertarian) for President. I was able to do that because North Carolina has early voting -- they call it one-stop absentee voting. Today was the first day that early voting was open and beeler and I met up with reba_quate to go ahead and vote during lunch today. It was lots of fun and the voter turnout was much higher than the poll workers expected. I was the 349th person to vote today. Outside of the presidential and governor's races, I mostly voted Republican. I undervoted in 9 races where I didn't have enough information on the candidates to make a choice. I'm against all of the proposed state constitutional ammendments and bond issues.

So why did I vote for Badnarik? I'm definitely not a fan of Kerry, and I'm not really much of a fan of Bush. Given a choice for either of them, I'd rather have Bush, by my preference is only slight. I don't agree with all of the planks in the Libertarian platform, either, but I'd like the Republican party to see that they've really been moving too far to the left. Bush is not a conservative by any stretch of the imagination, and I want a conservative President. In the grand scheme of things, my vote really doens't matter much, especially since the main candidates are so similar. So I decided to vote for the candidate that most closely matches my beliefs, even though he doesn't have a prayer.

Now, if the votes in North Carolina are so close that my one vote would have really made a difference, I might regret today's vote. But I really don't think that's going to be the case.

Anyway, I voted. I can't wait for the political season (and inevitable lawsuits) to end.

[Edit: Thanks collingwest for pointing out the list of one-stop locations in North Carolina.]