iPhone 3Gs

I am really liking the new iPhone 3Gs transfered my files from the my other iPhone, all the apps transfered over, runs quicker and I really like the voice command, movies.  So far works great and Im glad I did take advantage of the ATT early migration to the new iPhone.  Same price as a new contract or new user.  Looking forward to making some quick movies and being able to post them quickly. Picture 1

Belkin Multimedia Reader and Writer ExpressCard

Belkin Media Reader Writer ExpressBelkin Multimedia Reader and Writer ExpressCard offers the perfect solution for users who want to add a media reader to their notebook computers. The Card is designed to take advantage of the additional bandwidth and features provided by the new ExpressCard I/O interconnection standard. Now you can drag and drop files, images, and music to your computer from your digital camera, PDA, MP3 player, or other device. The ExpressCard future-proofs your computer with technology so advanced that it exceeds the processing-speed capability of many devices currently on the market.

Why ExpressCard? ExpressCard, the new standard destined to replace CardBus, effectively quadruples the amount of available computing bandwidth. This results in faster music downloads, smoother streaming video, and lightning-fast access to mass-storage devices.

Works great with my Mac Book Pro 17in 2.8 runnion OS 10.5.7  Picked this up today at the Apple Store for 30.00 it allows me to take the SD card from my camera or recorder and transfer the files with out having to attach the unit itself.  Transfer very quick as well.

Four Masters Speak on Learning the Flamenco Guitar

Four Masters Speak on Learning the Flamenco Guitar

Here are the observations of four guitarists dealing with what it takes to learn to play the flamenco guitar.

by Paco Sevilla

(From an interview by El Chileno; Jaleo, June 1981)

Rodrigo, who unfortunately passed away abruptly at a young age in 1996, had some unique and helpful insights into one approach to learning flamenco. And he certainly had the qualifications. As a teenager in California, he was obsessed with learning to accompany the cante, using recordings of Melchor de Marchena and Manuel Morao as his models. When he went to Spain he was able to accompany anything thrown at him. He chose Ronda as his home base, which, in spite of that city being off the beaten path of flamenco, turned out to be a wise decision. As the only guitarist around, he was soon much in demand among the local singers, both amateur and professional. During a two-year period he devoted thousands of hours to accompanying singers in all-night parties, gypsy fiestas, small clubs, and peñas. He appeared in small town contests ofcante, where he would accompany up to fifteen singers in a single night. He spent an additional year in the Málaga area accompanying gypsy rumba singers in bars, or in the pubs of Torremolinos. He worked in a tablaoin Nerja with the dancer Caraestaca, and in the tablao once owned by La Repompa de Málaga. He lived in Algeciras, supported by the local peña, which had him accompany their singers every night. Then he worked in a tablao in La Linea. Finally, he began to appear in festivals, accompanying such popular figures as El Turronero and Curro Lucena. With Curro Lucena he cut a record for the Belter label. Only then did he return to the USA with his Spanish wife and begin to focus on solo playing. Here’s what he had to say about learning flamenco (although he refers to an era somewhat different from today, I think there is still some relevance for today’s aspiring flamencos):

“It all depends on what you want to study. For singing, I can’t really comment on that. It is something that happens to our vocal cords when we are little. They develop in a certain way. There has to be a reason why only Andalusian people can sing flamenco. Germans, French, Italians, Americans can all sing opera in Italian, but the only people in the world who can sing flamenco are certain people from Andalucía. It might be a plumber, an ice-cream vendor, whoever—they’ll sing you a fandango that no one in the world can sing. It makes you wonder whether soleares might be more difficult than what Pavarotti sings! So for the singing I don’t know. There have been some Americans who have tried, but I think it is basically a language thing.

“As far as dancing goes, the opportunities seem to be great. You can study in Madrid. If you get good enough, there are all kinds of foreign people working in tablaos. American or Japanese people who are learning how to dance have opportunities that are much better than what the best dancers in flamenco history had. Carmen Amaya—who taught her? As they say, she watched the waves rolling in at the beach. In those days people didn’t go in and study for two or three years with a maestro like you can do nowadays. They say El Farruco was dancing on the banks of the river when he was ten years old! Who the hell taught him?

“Either you’ve got it or you don’t. If you’ve got it, you’ll get it, you will learn itcAnd if you really want to learn it, you will eventually find a way to get good at it. And you will suffer the way I did to get to work in atablao. You’ll do it for free and every day you will get better. And if you don’t give up, some day you will be a good dancer. It doesn’t work like some people say, eI’ll go to Spain for two months and I’ll get to be a good dancer.’ No, even the good people there have had to struggle to get a steady job and to keep it. The last time we were in Spain, just before coming home, dancers in the tablaos were being paid 400 pesetas [about $6], much less than they were being paid ten years ago—and those are the really good people who know how to dance!

“As for the guitar, I think my advice is just like with the singing or dancing: If you want to learn to do flamenco the right way then plan on at least a good ten years of learning it little by little. That will give you plenty of time to learn it. After those ten years you’ll be playing flamenco. You’ll pick up some in the States, pick up some in Spain, at parties, get a job, and little by little it will all take form. But our mentality is to go buy a book and in six months you think you are doing it. No, it takes a good ten or fifteen years to get it all together, maybe even twenty years to put all the pieces together. If you live in Spain for a while, you’ll pick it up. A lesson here and there, practice, listen to recordings, and you’ll get it all together, you’ll learn it. There is no quick method.

“Here is what I am going to do with my two sons if they want to play the guitar. Before they get into anything, I’ll have them learn to accompany old-style records. I’ll have them learn how to imitate Melchor de Marchena or Diego del Gastor and people like that, and teach them how to accompany La Fernanda. After that they can learn from El Camarón and get ready for whatever else might happen. But you shouldn’t begin with Camarón because you’ll have missed the whole thing. You have to start from day one, from the beginning of flamencocthat’s the only way you’ll learn how to play. You see, Paco de Lucía knows how. He can sit down andcI’m sure that one day he played tientos like Manolo de Badajoz with La Niña de los Peines. He didn’t sit down and start playing Paco de Lucía falsetas when he was five years old! You have to begin with the old style and learn the compás and then work your way up. Anybody who starts with Paco de Lucía, or the Habichuelas, or someone like that will have missed a lot, because all of these new styles of playing are throwing out a lot of it, are skipping a lot of the old compás. But they know it’s there because they knew how to play it when they were little. That’s why they are able to play and understand the new so well.

“You go to Spain and you get off the plane and you are in Málaga and you walk into a bar with your guitar. You know, you could go into a bar—there are certain barrios where you can go in with your guitar and start playing if it’s not too late at night. You might get a couple of people to sing for you. And they’ll invite you over for dinner. Then you’ll get two more people to sing. That’s the way to start, that’s what I would do. I would go into a small bar in Sevilla or Málaga, pick up my guitar and start playing. I might get kicked out, or I might meet somebody who could sing and he’d take me over to his house where I’d meet another person, and another person, and then years later I might be a good flamenco player. I would have had a lot of jobs, and I would know how to accompany everything, and I would have lived in Spain as a Spaniard would, and I might even become a great flamenco player. That’s how to do it.


(From an interview by El Niño Chileno; Jaleo, April 1981)

[Sabicas was asked to elaborate on his statement that in order to be a good soloist you must first accompany dancers for twenty years and singers for another twenty. Many top guitarists have supported the essence of this assertion, from Juan Habichuela and Paco de Lucía to Tomatito and Vicente Amigo. Here is how Sabicas explained it.]

“The flamenco guitar, as I said on one of my records, represents three careers in one. The way it used to be, the guitarist never rehearsed with the dancer. If she told him, for example, to play epor alegrías,’ he could do it with his back to her if they each knew what needed to be done. Nowadays, dancing is very different. Now they tell you, here you do a falseta, here you end, and so on. That makes it different. So, your first career is playing in a cuadro flamenco for twenty years, for everyone who dances—naturally, without rehearsing! Singing may be even more difficult. You have to emeasure’ the singer’s voice, to determine at what speed he sings. There are some who sing slowly, and if you play too fast he will drown—and vice versa. You have to play exactly the way each person sings; this is very difficult. And then, of course, [when you play solo] you must play correctly, epor derecho” as we say. Each one of these phases takes twenty years. Now, there are some who take less than sixty years and think they can do it in thirty or fifteen. And there are those who play well for thecante but not for the baile, or well for the baile but not for the cante. There are those who are corto [have a small repertoire] or largo [have a larger repertoire]. To be complete and well rounded, however, is very difficult. To know all there is to know in the flamenco guitar is very difficult indeed.

“You must go to Spain. That is where it is, and you must immerse yourself in it. Otherwise, you may have good fingers, good technique, but to play the true flamenco, in compás, you must go to Spain. There is no other way. For anything that has to do with flamenco you must go to Spain and get into a good cuadro for two, three, four, or five years. In that way you can become a good artist and have the knowledge you need. Otherwise it is very hard, and I do not think you can ever make your mark.

“There are some muchachos who play very well, but as I said, without the ambiente it is very difficult. Without ambiente you cannot do flamenco. A guitarist by himself, playing only what he wants, may have the fingers and the talent, but alone he cannot do it. He needs the ambiente, the palmas, the singing and dancing. Every single day. That helps very much. Nevertheless, one must admire their dedication because it is really admirable. There are some who go to Spain. They want to work, even for free. The same for the Japanese. They go to Spain and they get into a cuadro flamenco. They want no money. They just want to learn. That is really admirable.

[You must practice]cas much as possible. The more the better. Nowadays, the way things are in the world, one does not have enough time. Normally, though, two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening should be enough, but no less than that. And you must do everything. You cannot do just one thing, because you will improve on that but the rest will suffer. You should do fifteen minutes of picado, tremolo fifteen minutes, arpeggios another fifteen minutes, thumb work another fifteen minutes. After one hour, then you should go over whatever you think you need. But never practice one thing more than others unless you have fallen behind on that. If everything is equally good, then fifteen minutes to half an hour of each should be sufficient.

“There are some guitarists who have constant fingernail problems. They break them often, and not necessarily from playing too much. I just do not know why. Maybe it is the way they strum or tap. There are others who use their fingernails too much while playing. That is not good technique, because they do not play with seguridad or strength. The fingernail should be as short as possible, almost at the level of the flesh, maybe just slightly longer. That is enough. You will have more security and perhaps your nails will not break as often.”


(Miguel Ángel Cortés is from Granada (born 1972) and the younger brother of well-known guitarist Paco Cortés; he has won awards in competition, has been accompanist for Mariquilla, Manolete, El Güito, and Carmen Linares, and he has an album, Patriarca; he was interviewed for the Spring 1997 issue of The Journal of Flamenco by Giovanni Ricciulli)

When I am on tour I don’t have time to study because of contacts with people, rehearsals, and the changes of routine. But if I am in Granada and I have to study seriously, say for a contest, I can spend a couple of months practicing for eight to ten hours each day. Under normal conditions I only study two or three hours in the morning and three or four hours in the afternoon. Then I go outside for a stroll.

Many guitarists strive to improve their picados by forcing their hand flat along the guitar top because they have seen Paco do it. It becomes somewhat of an obsession. When I was younger it caused me many problems, too, trying to force myself into that position. Fortunately, the advice of maestros such as Sabicas made me realize that if it isn’t the natural way of holding the hand, then copying Paco is a foolish thing to do.

I keep my fingers straight. My brother does, too. In fact, many guitarists keep their fingers straight and achieve speed. Take Marote. Aren’t his picados fast and powerful? Yet he kept his fingers straight because he felt natural that way.

My best advice is that the picados must be done without arrastrar [dragging the fingers from string to string]. You must alternate fingers when you switch strings. Otherwise scales will turn out messy and irregular.


(from: “Honored Traditions: Progressive Directions,” an interview with Pedro Cortés, hijo, by Greg Case in The Journal of Flamenco Artistry, Fall 1996)

“Technically, the flamenco guitar is probably the most complex in the world today. In flamenco it used to be that even mediocre guitarists could play [professionally]. Today, if you are mediocre you really cannot play. Today, to be able to play and survive you can’t just do a couple of rasgueados here and a couple of alzapúas there and get away with it. You just can’t. Today you must have the technique to play and there is nothing you can do to get around it.

“Some people who take flamenco as a hobby don’t realize how sophisticated it has become. To play well takes time and dedication. You can learn, but it takes dedication. It’s not sitting home for a half an hour practicing a rasgueado or a simple paso de bulerías or sevillanas for a dance class. Anything really advanced requires a lot more and it won’t happen without practice. If you want to play flamenco you can do it, but you have to dedicate the time and work hard at it. If you can understand something easily and play it fairly easily, that’s really cool and you accept it because you can do it. But if you are dealing with Paco de Lucía’s complex, intricate technical harmonies, then you won’t like them as much if you can’t play them in two seconds. You’ll have to spend precious hours really listening and learning them, and if you don’t understand them you won’t be able to play them and you are not going to like them. You’ve got to work! And that goes for all of us. Chuscales gets up at eight in the morning, picks up the guitar and starts practicing. And if I don’t pick up the guitar for two days, I won’t be able to play like I want to. No way! With experience you can invent ways of getting around without practicing, but your chops won’t be there. You simply have to dedicate the time.

“Today’s flamenco guitar generation takes for granted that practicing ten or fifteen hours a day is required just to be able to play. The next generation will probably lay down a minimum standard of technique like Paco de Lucia’s. When today’s kids become young men, playing with Paco’s technique and knowledge of harmony will probably be nothing unusualcFlamenco has become a very highly sophisticated art form, whether you want to admit it or not. I’m not saying it is necessarily evolving for the better. It may even be evolving for the worse. But for better or worse it has gone from a tiny little space where it was performed for a few to where it is presented on the most renowned and prestigious stages in the world.”

My Folks new Car

PSEG Not so smart!

Yesterday while driving home there was a PSEG truck stuck in the mud, why it would try to go off the road after days of rain is beyond me.  However the driver decided to and sunk the truck maybe1-2 feet into the mud.  This seemed to happen around 4:00 and the traffic came to a halt because they wanted to get the truck out during rush hour so they can get home.  Hey what about us let the commuters and tax payers Get home then you can try to get your truck out.  There were two trucks and a bunch of police officers trying to Direct traffic.  Well, I guess the boys or men still like to play in the mud.

Sonoma watches Benji


Rockaway Beach NY