Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Another hard of hearing pianist playing ragtime

Here's an "hearing impaired" pianist playing Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag. Don't know who this guy is but he is playing a ragtime piano piece, though.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Deaf, blind and cerebral palsy young man plays Jazz Piano

Here's something you don't see everyday. A blind, deaf man with cerebral palsy who started playing the piano last year on a new piano given to him for Christmas. He taught himself to play the piano by ear! The power of hearing your own music!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Welcome another HOH Pianist

Don't know his name yet but here's a piano playing video of this gentleman who is 21 years old and is currently attending a university in southern California. He plays a classical concert repetroire piece Chopin's Octave Etude and does it very well. He began playing the piano at the age of 3 and it was until age 5 did his parents found out he has profound hearing loss.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Gift of Sound - Deaf Girl with Cochlear Implant Plays the Piano

Here's Holly with her mother. Holly contracted meningitis at age 1 that took the world of sound away from her. By age 1 1/2 years old she was fitted with a cochlear implant. Before the menigitis Holly was exposed to a world of music in her mother's household since she is a musician. Because of the early exposure to music and sound, the quick intervention to get the implant and the continued interaction with sound, music and voice has helped shape Holly into a musically talented pianist.

In February 2001, just before her second birthday, her right ear was fitted with a cochlear implant – a surgically inserted electronic device that provides a sense of sound for people who are profoundly deaf. Seven years later, another was fitted in her left ear. The doctors played us a simulation of what music would sound like to Holly – I was horrified because it was just white noise. "Holly is going to hear music," I kept saying to myself.

I continued teaching the piano because we were short of money, but it was difficult spending time with hearing children. I was determined to try to put right what had gone wrong, to get Holly back to where she would have been had she not been ill. She had a lot of speech and music therapy as part of her rehabilitation after the meningitis and we constantly repeated words and sounds to her.

It was when Holly started entering piano competitions last year that I realised she had a very special talent. She'd been having lessons since she was seven and, although she's only just turned 10, she's already at grade five – most children get to that level only when they're much older.

She's improving all the time. I'm always surprised and shocked by just how much she can do. It's an amazing feeling to see her playing – a mixture of elation and sheer relief. Some children don't seem to have the right energy in their hands and arms to play, but she does.

The scientists who work on cochlear implants are confounded by what she has achieved musically. They are baffled by her progress and have no idea how she has done it. When she entered a national piano competition in May, the adjudicator praised the fact that she appeared to listen to the sounds she was making – her whole body, he thought, was involved in the process of making music. He didn't know that Holly was profoundly deaf – when her piano teacher told him at the end of the afternoon he was shocked.

I'm convinced that the simulation we originally heard of how music sounds with a cochlear implant is not how Holly hears it. The brain is complex and adapts to many situations; somehow, Holly has made sense of it all. She loves music and improvises at the piano, sings and composes all the time. She also plays the cello in the local string orchestra and sings in a choir.
Words of her special talent is getting around as you can see. Holly, please don't ever stop playing the piano and use your God-given talent and the gift of sound to the best of your ability. Enjoy and have fun by making the best of what you have. Since I started playing the piano at seven, I know what it was like and how fun it was to do it. Here's a picture of me at age 8 playing the piano at a piano recital. I still play the piano as you can see.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Webchat with Dr. Cherisse Miller

From the Association of Adult Musicians with Hearing Loss General Discussions forum a webchat is scheduled for on October 8 with Dr. Cherisse Miller, an avid hearing aid user and pianist.

Dr. Miller received her DMA (doctorate in musical arts) from the University of South Carolina in May 2009. An avid hearing aid user and pianist, she maintains a busy private studio in Columbia, South Carolina. Dr. Miller will discuss her dissertation on hearing-impaired musicians, which was based on a survey to AAMHL members and other musicians with hearing loss. The time listed is Eastern time and the web link to the meeting room will be provide one hour before the chat. We hope to see you there!

Event Details
What: Webchat with Dr. Cherisse Miller
Who: Association of Adult Musicians with Hearing Loss
When: Thu Oct 8, 2009, 8:30-9:30 pm EDT
Where: online, link will be provided one hour before the chat

Link: http://www.bigtent.com/home/calendar/event/24194663

Friday, August 28, 2009

A tuned piano...

Last week I finally got my piano tuned and it certainly sounds so much better. It was tuned by a blind piano tuner named Kevin. Real nice guy and we talked briefly over the two hours it took to tune the piano to its crisp and melodic sound. The piano really needed the tuning after two moves and then subsequently across several states to its final destination after I bought it brand new back in December 2008. Now with the ragtime pieces I'm playing they sound so much better but some pianos do sound better with certain rag pieces than other pianos, even newer ones. Even my aunt's player piano sounded really great when I played several ragtime pieces for year. Another dream of mine is to get an antique player piano someday. It'd be a really great center-piece for my house (aside from a baby grand piano) and a fun one to play on. So many rags to choose from, the list just keeps growing. Ain't that great or what?

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Bag of Rags

Two weeks to go til I go to the next monthly Portland Ragtime Society get together and I'm thinking about trying "A Bag of Rags" piece by W.R. MacKanlass. I was looking at the piece today and played my fingers on my kitchen table just to get a feel of it. A doable piece to do in a short time. Maybe memorize it by then? Dunno since I continue to practice other pieces such as Kitten on the Keys which I'm improving slowly. Maybe in time for the October meet up instead? Plus I really like the toe tappin sound of A Bag of Rags piece.

Here's the YouTube version. And here's the free music sheet A Bag of Rags you can download from.

I may even do Humoresque of a Little Dog by Ron O'Dell. A new piece but more modern rag piece. The tune came from a Nintento role-playing series called "Mother" which is the Japanese title but the English title is "EarthBound." It was composed by Hirokazu Tanaka. The piano sheets can be downloaded here. Though I don't know if I will be ready by then since I'll be wanting to do A Bag of Rags first while I have time. We'll see.

And here's the original Humoresque of a Little Dog "Mother Earth" just to get the idea of what it sounds like.

And it has the same bit of rag heard in a 1928 popular guitar ragtime piece called "Dallas Rag."

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Portland Ragtime Society Meetup

Today I met up with Mark Nuismer and another older gentleman named Kurt (sorry, didn't get the last name!) at their monthly Portland Ragtime Society get together. Although I arrived late at the It's a Beautiful Pizza restaurant where the ragtime piano playing was taking place. It was well past 2 PM. At least they were happy to see that there a 3rd player show up since it was only between the two of them on the piano for four hours (from 2 to 6 pm). Next time I'll show up on time.

(Please note there has been a change in venue since last year. Visit my updated blog on the new monthly meeting location).

Mark Nuismer plays a ragtime piece.

Mark in the background. Front of restaurant (It's a Beautiful Pizza)looking from the front to back. Psychedelic wall coverings and peace signs (in another room).

The piano I played on was quite old (didn't even look what brand it was) but I'm sure it was or used to be a player piano along with some loose keys, some were exposed down to the rough wood, and some of the white keys were missing, too. It was a bit different playing that piano with such a crappy keyboard condition, though it did carry an alright tune for its age. I am so used to a piano keyboard that's smooth with all the black and white colors in place, nicely laminated. One piece of a white key covering actually flew off when I played Black and White Rag. I heard a "click" sound and then suddenly a white piece from a white keyboard flies off. It startled me enough to ruin my concentration. I introduced my piano pieces through a microphone to a listening audience. And did some short commentaries just to keep things moving. All in all I wasn't that nervous to begin with and it was enjoyable. No picture of me playing it. I completely forgot about that one. Next time, for sure, I'll put one up.

I played one new ragtime piece that neither Mark nor Kurt heard of and that was K.K. Ragtime. Kurt even asked about it and I told him where he can get an electronic copy of it. Mark laughed when I explained to him how KK Ragtime came from a tune in a Nintendo game called Animal Crossing.

Afterwards Mark told me about another place in Portland where there is an open-mic night for musicians tomorrow and he invited me to join him and play some ragtime tunes. I can't go since my mother will fly up to visit me and then her sister in The Dalles, Oregon. Told him to keep me in touch if he wants me to join him in on those open-mic night. But here's the good news. They split up the money from the tip jar and I got $10. Whoo hoo! Ok. Not that much but at least this opportunity allows me to play before an audience. Meanwhile, Sept 6 will be the next Portland Ragtime Society get together.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

KK Ragtime by Mike McConnell

This is an up and coming popular ragtime that was spurred on by a Ragtime master himself Tom Brier. Here I play slightly faster than what the Animal Crossing game character KK Slider would sing. And so I decided to throw in a bit of KK Slider's "wack wack" voice into my playing just for effect and have a bit of fun. Not perfect like Tom's nor KK Slider's voice but what the heck, I like this piece. A few blips here and there but essentially it went well.

Video's not smooth but at least the sound came through alright. I had to turn off my fan in my house, turn on my halogen light (hot!!), a house with no air conditioner, and we hit a record high of 106 degrees in the Vancouver-Portland area. I was already sweating by the time I hit the record button. And now I need a cold shower. Enjoy!

Mike McConnell's previous video piano pieces:

Black and White Rag
Maple Leaf Rag

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Humoresque of a Little Dog

Here's a ragtime piece played for the first time by the, what else, amazing Tom Brier.

If you like K.K. Ragtime you'll probably like this one. You can download the piano sheet music of this piece here.

Tom Brier sight reads a ragtime piece "Tuxedo Vegas"

Tom is one of those (extremely) rare gifted ragtime pianists that we all dreamed of being one and I couldn't help but feel feel that twinge of jealousy seeing him belt out a new piece, sight unseen and unheard, for the first time, "Tuxedo Vegas." Bravo to Tom on his well played piece!

Hattip: Keeper1st

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Black and White Rag

Here's a 1908 American ragtime piece by Botsford that I'm now playing. A few misses playing it on my Kohler and Campbell piano but that was my fault for playing it at 2 AM in the morning. But ah, but no work for me today and so I have an excuse. I'll play the piece again when I'm a bit more refreshed. Meanwhile, enjoy my playing the piano as one of the very, very few deaf/hh ragtime pianist around. Expect more videos of me playing ragtime or novelty old timey pieces in the very near future.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

July 5 - A Ragtime Piano Show in Portland

Mark Nuismer - founder of Portland Ragtime Society
Mark Nuismer - founder of Portland Ragtime Society
Picture from The Oregonian in article on the July
2, 2008 get together.

Every first Sunday of the month the Portland Ragtime Society puts on a "show" where members play ragtime pieces for the public at the "It's a Beautiful Pizza" place on 3342 SE Belmont, Portland from 2 to 6 PM. And it's open mic as well. There is a Behr Brothers upright from the 1890's and it's a little rickety but it can play a good tune. Members of PRS may bring their own musical instruments as well. Doesn't matter as long as it's ragtime.

There are about 130 members in Portland Ragtime Society. Last year on the 4th of July the pizza place was packed. They even ran out of chairs. With warm and dry weather during the month of July you can expect more people flocking to the pizza place just to hear the intoxicating tunes of ragtime. Who couldn't resist to take a spell and grab a tune or two?

But alas, I will not be there. I have plans to be up in Seattle with my in-laws and spend a couple of days with them on their new 44-foot long yacht. But I expect to show up in Portland for the ragtime montly get together on August 5, Sunday, and introduce myself to everybody during open mic and give ragtime a whirl on that old rickety piano.

The get together is on the first Sunday of each month from 2 to 6 PM located at the "It's a Beautiful Pizza" place on 3342 SE Belmont, Portland. Click here to get map directions.

Be there or be square. It'll be fun. I promise.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ragtime Era Clothing

Currently I am in the process of looking and buying ragtime era clothings in the hope that I'll have something to wear when I begin playing piano ragtime for the public. Today I went to a very nice Goodwill store and bought a used pair of black Allen Edmonds shoes for $7 bucks and a "paperboy" cap for $3 bucks. The Allen Edmonds shoes (Sanford) is a style that I think mimic the turn of the century type of shoe wear for the well established people. Saved a pretty buck since a brand new pair of Allen Edmonds shoe it'd cost me about $265. Got mine in very good shape for $7bucks.

I'll have to do some more research on the kind of clothes during the ragtime era (from 1890s to 1920s) in the hope to mimic as closely the clothes worn during those time. It'll be an interesting little research to undertake.


I continue to research some more on clothes worn during the turn of the century (1900s) or ragtime ear.

Next, the right pair of pants, shirts, and suspenders. And maybe a tie. I'll probably find what I need at the nearby Portland store called Ray's Ragtime. It holds a collection of turn of the century clothings. I'll see what I can find over there someday soon.

Meanwhile, keep on raggin'.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Portland Ragtime Society

Well, I finally found one close to my home in Battle Ground, Washington where there's a monthly ragtime get-together located in Portland. It's the Portland Ragtime Society.
The Portland Ragtime Socieity meets on the first Sunday of every month at It's a Beautiful Pizza Come and play and/or listen and LIVE!! All instruments welcome. We were established in Jan. 2006, with Mark as our founder and president. We have no dues, no newsletter, no website and no other officers YET.
The get together is on the first Sunday of each month from 2 to 6 PM at the It's a Beautiful Pizza place on 3342 SE Belmont, Portland. (Please note there has been a change in venue since last year. Visit my updated blog on the new monthly meeting location).

I came across this in a last year's Portland review article "Live Music Preview: Portland Ragtimie Society" about the founder, Mark Nuismer, on how he discovered ragtime as a teenager hearing Maple Leaf Rag for the first time. Ragtime, as you will discover, has an intoxicating effect.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Battle Ground Ragtime Update II

Greetings all. My family and I finally left on May 23 and arrived in Vancouver, Washington on May 27 after a long drive from New Mexico to Washington for a new life in that state. My wife and I grew up in Tacoma (which is about two hours drive to the north) and so we are happy to be back in a familiar place. Exactly one week later after May 27 we finally found a house to rent for one year while we remain on a very tight budget in the hope we'll sell our house within a year in New Mexico. Meanwhile, we'll make do with what we have until the movers retrieve our stored belongings and unload our stuff as well as my piano into that house so I can finally get back into playing ragtime once again.

It'll be interesting to see what's out here in Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon since Battle Ground, Washington is about 10 to 15 miles away to the north. Any ragtimers out there nearby? Or ragtime festivals? We'll see.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Battle Ground Ragtime

Hello all. My left hand has improved considerably and I don't think I had any pain in it for 3 or 4 weeks now which is good news. Removing the cushion from my bench allowing me to sit a few inches lower makes a difference. And that my arms are better aligned and parallel with the keyboards. Plus playing in a more relaxed style also helps but certainly not easy if you're playing ragtime.

Next, a word of advice to musicians out there in ragtime land. In the spirit of having a good time whether playing in a public venue or on your website, do not mix politics with ragtime such as dedicating a song to a certain politician. In my opinion, it's simply not in good taste. Not in this political climate when you have basically a 50% chance of offending somebody. Keep politics out of ragtime. Just like in the World Championship of Old-time Piano Playing Contest's rules regardng keeping politics out of the competition when playing a piece with no political connotations. And have everybody truly enjoy what ragtime is all about. Pure fun.

Next news is that I'll be moving to Battle Ground, Washington. Hence, the title
of my page Battle Ground Ragtime. Which isn't a bad name to start up a new festival "Battle Ground Ragtime Festival." What do you think? Sounds catchy, eh? I'll arrive at Battle Ground on May 28, 2009. Any ragtimers within 60 miles of the Portland, Oregon area??

Began working in earnest on "Kitten on the Keys" (see Dick Hyman play that piece in YouTube in the right column of my blog) starting last week. An hour here and hour there. I have the first page down almost pat as I get the rhythm down though not at Hyman's amazing speed...at least not yet. Two more pages to go and have just begun on the second page.

Still trying to get around to video tape myself play "Black and White" by George Botsford and "The Easy Winners" by Scott Joplin. Problem is I have a laptop with an embedded camera and that only natural lighting will ensure smooth a smooth video otherwise it'll tend to be jerky. An odd and frustrating thing for me. But it'll come. As for "The Easy Winners", the goal is to make sound lyrical as possible.

And that's it on the news. Keep on raggin'!

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Easy Winners

Still playing as I fine tune my The Easy Winners ragtime piece where I plan to videotape it soon along with Black and White rag, too. I still have to deal with a bit of nagging pain in my left hand which only requires rest from the piano for a few days or so. In fact, I play a little bit better if I don't play the piano for 3 or 4 days. But then again, it's hard to resist playing on my piano as it sits in my living room.

Meanwhile here's a great piano and violin piece on The Easy Winners. The two musical instruments go wonderfully together. Enjoy the song.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Dick Hyman

Mr. Hyman was born March 8, 1927 in New York City and today marks his 82nd birthday. Even though today is March 7 I would like to say a pre-happy birthday to Mr. Hyman right now just so that I won't forget.

Dick Hyman is a well knows jazz, ragtime and classical pianist. Wikipedia has more on the history of him. Out of my many favorite piano pieces by Hyman "Kitten on the Keys" (a novelty ragtime piece whihc is a very fun piece to listen!) and "The Finger Breaker" rank at the top for me of which I am practicing those two pieces right now (albeit too slowly). I've also put the two YouTube videos permanently over onto the right side column of my blog site.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Grandad the Rag Player

Here's an older late-deafened gentleman who is nearly deaf plays Ragtime Cowboy Joe and sings it, too. Click on the link to visit the blogsite and listen to him play.
Grandad was quite the performer on the piano, and was always happy to sit down at the piano to ham it up with a little (very little) prodding. Actually the picture I have on the post My Hero's Hero is of my grandad at his piano (relocated to Little Rock). He was almost completely deaf at the time the photo was taken, so he couldn't hear himself playing, but he knew the notes, and was picking out 'Ragtime Cowboy Joe'. Needless to say, it was a really special moment, and I'm so glad I was there to capture it.
It is a special moment when capture moments like that.It was nice listening to him play. Although you may need to crank up your volume to hear him play.

Here's the original piano song piece if you want to play it.

Here's the song's lyrics though it's not exactly in the order he sings it but you get the idea of how it goes. .

He al-ways sings rag-gy mu-sic to the cat-tle
As he swings back and for-ward in the sad-dle
On a horse that is syn-co-pat-ed, gait-ed,
And there's such a fun-ny me-ter to the roar of his re-peat-er
How they run when hear that fel-low's gun
Because the West-ern folks all know
He's a high-fa-lut-ing, scoot-ing, shoot-ing
Son-of-a-gun from ar-iz-o-na Rag-time Cow Boy Joe.

Out in Ar-iz-o-na where the bad men are
And the on-ly friend to guide you is an Eve-'ning star
The rough-est, tough-est man by far is Rag-time Cow Boy Joe
Joe got his name from sing-ing to the cows and sheep
Ev'ry night they say he sings the herd to sleep
In a bass-o rich and deep croon-in' soft and low.

He dressed up ev'ry Sun-day in his Sun-day clothes
He beats it for the vil-lage where he al-ways goes
And ev'ry girl in town is Joe's 'cause he's a rag-time bear.
When he starts a-spieling on the dance hall floor
No one but a lun-a-tic would start a war
Wise men know his fo-rty four makes men dance for fair.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

An update and slow down..

Still practicing though not as long as I want it to be on a daily basis (3 to 4 hours a day). Over the last 4 or 5 weeks my left hand, wrist and some in the forearm I am experiencing a bit of annoying pain after I play for an extended period (and that means like 20 minutes or so). My left hand/wrist area seems to get a bit inflamed where the tendons are getting rubbed from the repetitve action. So, I've adjusted my bench by getting rid of my cushion so I can sit a little lower that puts less awkward pressure on my left hand by changing the position some. Really, I just need to lay off for a 9 or 10 days straight and let it recuperate. But with the piano in the living room staring back at me I would just want to practice and have fun instead.

I got the Black and White Rag down to full memory and play it through without much problems. I'll tape it someday soon.

K.K. Ragtime is coming along as well as well as for a few other ragtime pieces. But with my constant injury to my left hand the practicing is slowing down and reducing my practicing hours. Kind of makes me a bit angry there. Oh well, until next time.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour and Sign Language

Not exactly sign language but it is also not exactly the American manual alphabet for the letter "F" either. But at least give some kudos to Farrell's for coming up with this unique button that I've not seen before. Does anybody know how long this kind of button been around?


And what does this button have to do with ragtime piano? Well, I did a piece last on Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour and Ragtime recently and so I thought this button was a good one to blog about.

If you're a fan of Farrell's you can join one in Facebook.

A Ragtime Update

A little update here for ya’ll.

There are many ragtime and novelty rag piano pieces I am playing/working on right now but I plan to video-tape myself over the next several months or so while I continue to practice and get up to speed on a few pieces. Some pieces I’m in the memorization process already.

It’s been a long time since I played on the piano on a regular basis practicing/playing 3 to 4 hours a day. Ever since I bought a new piano last month, I can now practice 3 to 4 hours a day without worrying keys getting stuck or hit an out of tune note.

So, in no particular order here are some of the piano pieces I plan to record:

Maple Leaf Rag
The Entertainer
The Ragtime Dance
The Easy Winners
Original Rags
The Rose-bud March
The Chrysanthemum
Black and White Rag
K.K. Ragtime
Kitten on the Keys
Dizzy Fingers
Wildfire Rag
A Breeze from Alabama
Country Club
Elite Syncopations
Magnetic Rag
Pine Apple Rag
The Strenuous Life
Sunflower Slow Rag
Peacherine Rag
Stoptime Rag

You can hear all of the Scott Joplin pieces here. Those pieces are NOT my recordings. Just something for you to listen to and see what those Joplin pieces sound like.

Other goal is to work on early Jazz pieces such as The Finger Breaker, Perfect Rag, Seattle Hunch, King Porter Stomp and Grandpa's Spells all written by Jelly Roll Morton. But first I will focus on the rags listed here plus I will be looking into more rags not by Joplin plus more novelty rags to play on. There is one novelty rag, Black and White Rag, that I pretty much got it down pat and memorized already. As for the rest of them the whole process may take me one to two years to complete depending on how much practicing I can get done and which pieces I’m aiming to master. This is especially true if I’m going to play those early jazz pieces which may take a while longer to do since they are usually everal pages long and not the typical 3 to 4 pages long for ragtime pieces. Just need to get my brain-to-fingers coordination all fired up while I sight read those piano pieces.

So, what are your plans?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Kohler and Campbell Piano

Here's a better picture of my Kohler & Campbell 46.5 inch high studio piano I bought last month.


Getting some value out of a crappy piano

A piano I got not too long ago, dirt cheap, literally so, barely worked has finally met it's demise with total destruction at the hands of a pianist. Worked out my frustration on this piano since it didn't cooperate very well with me when I played on it.


The spinet piano was made probably either late 1940s or early 1950s though I couldn't tell the make but the aluminum piano plate was made by Alcoa in a signed agreement with Winter and Company to be made for their pianos. Since my old crappy piano was destined for destruction ever since I got my new piano I wanted to tear it down and salvage some good wood and get that 45 lb aluminum piano plate inside. This dismantling and destruction took several hours as I removed the pins, piano wires, wood, screws and what not. My hands were a little sore the next day but it wasn't enough to stop me from practicing on my piano.



Nearly done with the pins and piano strings. Used vice grip, wrench, hammer, and screw drivers.

All the pins and strings removed.

All done with the plate. Saved a few good scrap wood with one being a 3/4" inch plank seen directly behind the plate against the garage wall.

Off to the dump!

Mangled hammers meet their demise.

All cleaned up except for the non-aluminum metal pins embedded that the piano wires were strung around. Tried to remove a few and were successful but most broke off leaving the rest of the pins inside the plate. Decided to leave them as they are and see what the scrap yard guy says.

Aluminum piano plate die casted by Alcoa seen stamped on the plate. If it's Alcoa, it's all aluminum.

A 1946 silver dime found beneath the piano keys during the initial dismantling. Wondered how it could've gotten there. A silver U.S. dime for that period of time weighs .0724 of an ounce. Price of silver? $11.50 an ounce. Dime value? .85 cents.

The next step this week is to take my 45 lb aluminum piano plate to a nearby scrap yard that buys aluminum scraps and soda cans. The scrap yard is located about 5 miles from my house. I'm not sure what the price is but the last time I took my aluminum cans the price was around .45 cents a pound.

I'll let you know how it goes this week as I take my aluminum piano plate and some aluminum soda cans to the recycling center.

UPDATE: Just recycled the piano plate this morning. The recycling and scrap yard was buying aluminum at .25 cents a pound. Suprised to see aluminum prices dropped so far down from .55 cents a few years back. Probably people are making ends meet right now by recycling their aluminum cans and scraps that there is an oversupply of aluminum depressing aluminum metal prices even further. Oh well, my plate weighed 48 lbs. So, I got $12.00 out of it. The yard is located about 2 miles from my house on my way to work. At least I did something useful in the recycling business.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour and Ragtime

Photobucket My earliest recollection on my exposure to ragtime music was at the Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour in Tacoma, Washington during the early to mid 1970's. It was a festive place, even for a deaf boy with a hearing aid who delighted in the sounds of loud drumbeats, bells and sirens over birthday announcements and such. And at near the entrance of Farrell's was an upright player piano that constantly played these unique and mesmerizing ragtime songs only that I didn't know it was called ragtime back then. it was simply cool to listen. I'd stand there in awe as I watched the keyboard move while invisible hands played ragtime scores.

It'd be nice if Farrell's throw in a bit of authenticity by having a ragtime pianist at the piano rather than use a piano player or somehow have them help sponsor those ragtime festivals. But sadly there are only two stores right now and Farrell's just recently in Novemember 2008 got over a 5 year lawsuit that prevented them from moving forward. They are now making plans to open more stores and recapture those novelty days when going to Farrell's means having a truly good time. Hearing the words "Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour" brings back good childhood memories of a good time. Farrell's and ragtime are synomous with each other. It brings back the feeling of good times.

Maybe it's time to make a special dedication to Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour at one of the ragtime festivals in honor of Bob Farrell and Ken McCarthy, the founders of Farrell's, for helping keep nostalgia alive and making it fun?

You can go here and review the history of Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour from the past to the present.

ADDENDUM: If you're a fan of Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour and Restaurant you can join one in Facebook where there are currently some 24,000+ fans of Farrell's.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Piano Recital

Here's a picture I dug up of me playing the piano during my recital when I was 11 years old in 1977. Dig the cool 70's blue clothes I was wearing. I don't remember what I played but I know I did well as a hard of hearing kid with a hearing aid back then ever since I started playing at age 7 years old.

Please excuse the fuzziness of my picture since it was taken directly from my laptop webcam.