If you’re ever in Guelph and hungry, do your tastebuds a favour and check out a place called With the Grain. Huge thanks go out to the guys at Folkway for suggesting it. It’s is a bit like Taloola on steroids. I didn’t try their coffee, but there’s a similar all-organic aesthetic at work, and the food is mind-boggling. They have something called a Bath Sandwich that hopefully stays on the menu forever. It’s got bacon, avocado, havarti cheese, and other things that shouldn’t make any sense together, all taking up space on bread they bake themselves. I’ve eaten an absurd amount of different sandwiches over the years, and this might be the best one I’ve ever had. Eating the fruit side dish was like a cigarette after doing the horizontal mambo, or at least what I imagine such a thing feels like, if you can mentally transpose the sensation to the general area of your stomach.
This isn’t a restaurant/cafe review corner, though. Or is it? See, that’s the fun of it all. Why steal one department store mannequin when you can get yourself a whole flock of them?
It’s taken a little longer than anticipated, but the new album should be release-ready in about a week. I just got this thing called a Dymo DiscPainter that will ensure I never have to pay a media broker to design or duplicate CDs for me again. It’s hilarious how quick and easy it is to create a CD design and print it. The results look better than anything I ever paid someone else to put together for me, and now it’ll be easier to copy and print CDs on an as-needed basis.
It’s funny. I read some mixed reviews about this CD printer. The general consensus seemed to be that it was useful for making mix CDs look cool but not something that would yield results good enough for the discriminating sausage-sniffer. I thought it was worth a shot, given the laughably reasonable price, and without even using the highest print quality settings I’ve already printed two test designs that look far better than any of the thermal ink print jobs I had done back in the day.
I don’t know why inkjet CD printing gets such a bad reputation. Maybe silkscreening looks better if you put the CD under a microscope, and it’ll probably withstand more abuse over the years, but I don’t think it’s worth spending thousands of dollars on just a printer — not for my purposes, anyway. The important thing is there are now only two things I ever need to depend on anyone else for: printing up CD inserts or making digipak-type CD cases (Minuteman Press always does a good job with inserts; I haven’t yet figured out where I’d get digipaks made if I went down that road) and cover art. I won’t ever have to sit on another new CD for more than a week or two after I’ve finished mixing and sequencing it. That’s a nice feeling.
Also, I now have a ukulele that isn’t a toy and doesn’t have intonation issues. Don’t get me wrong — the toy ukulele is a lot of fun, and after using it a bit on the new album I’m sure it’ll pop up some more in the future. But it’s nice to have a uke that’s a real instrument (with a maple neck and grover tuners, no less) and to be able to play more than three or four frets up the neck without everything sounding out of tune. The choice was between a Flea and a Fluke, both cool ukuleles that offer a lot of real ukulele for not a lot of money. It was a Flea that won out in the end. It’s a fun little thing. This is what it looks like.
There are a few other new additions to the family of instruments. I know I’ve got more than enough things to play around with here already, but when you come across stuff like this that’s so cheap-but-ridiculously-good, sometimes you just can’t say no. I mean, I found a really cool old parlour guitar for the same price as the Teisco that’s all over the new CD. And that’s really, really cheap as guitars go. If I spent the same amount of money in Windsor, the best I’d be able to do is maybe a Squier Strat.
It’s pretty strange to visit a place where for about the same amount of money it would take to get one really good new guitar at Long & McQuade you can get several instruments that have been around for several decades and have personalities no new guitars can match, no matter how well-made they are. I like sexy new guitars as much as the next person, but I’m starting to develop a real affinity for quirky old ones that have a lot of character. And according to Rich at Folkway I seem to be drawn to instruments that don’t have serial numbers. Ha!
One word of advice: don’t ever lick your thumb (or one of your fingertips if you play guitar the proper way, which you probably do if you’re not me) after playing countless stringed instruments that are several decades older than you are. It isn’t pleasant. I found that out the hard way yesterday. Not that I have a habit of licking my fingers at the best of times, but you know how it is…sometimes things just happen. One minute you’re singing a lullaby to a sparrow, the next minute you’re naked from the waist down and surrounded by angry-looking crocodiles. Or maybe that’s just me.