Cheese’s Festival

So, I’m vacationing in Mexico, last March.  It had just rained heavily and was now just lightly drizzling.    I’m sitting on a bench in El Centro, enjoying an Oxxo cup of café (coffee)and watching all the people running around doing whatever they’re doing.  I do that sometimes…

So, along comes this local Mexican Shoe-Shine dude, carrying a shoe-shine box.   I assume he was Mexican, because he looked like it.  I also assume he was a Shoe-Shine dude, because he was carrying a shoe-shine box.  Well, I won’t keep you in suspense.  He was a shoe-shine dude, because he asked me if I wanted my shoes shined.

Well, first off, I was wearing sneakers… And the ground was all wet and muddy.  Asking me if I wanted my shoes shined would be like asking me if I wanted my car washed… in the rain???

So, I replied, “No. gracias.”  I try to be polite, though “Mi, Espenol es crap!”  Anyway, he apparently was not so offended as to not want to sit down beside me on the bench.  I wasn’t offended either because his Ingles wasn’t much better than my Espanol, though if I had to judge, it was definitely a notch above my bilingual-ness.

So, in an attempt to make small talk, I asked him how business was doing.  I presumed it couldn’t be that good, since it was rainy and muddy!  I won’t keep you in suspense any longer, as he confirmed, business was , “No Bueno (No good).

However, he jubilantly responded, next week would be better.  So we chit-chatted some more.  I asked him, “Quanta cuesta, para shoe-shine (How much does a shoe-shine cost),” showing off my Española.  He said, “Venti pesos,” which for you Gringos, means $20 pesos, which at the time, was about $1.25.  This is the kind of invaluable stuff you really should know, when visiting a foreign country, just in case you need an emergency shoe-shine.

So anyway, we talked about his family.  He told me he had a wife and 2 ninos (kids) and he pointed out a place where I could get a Litre-sized vaso of cerveza (About a pint of beer) for $ 25 pesos… and then I curiously reverted back to what he said earlier about business being better next week.  I appreciate an optimist.  It is also, in my personal opinion, good diplomatic relations.

So, I won’t keep you in suspense any longer.  His reply was, because next week was the “Cheese’s festival.”  Now, this is where I always find it difficult… because not being very fluent in the language, I couldn’t be sure if I heard him wrong, or I just don’t understand, but hey, I’m always up for a good Fiesta.

So, hesitantly, I inquired further, “Cheese festival?”  I happen to like cheese and I know it’s a pretty popular thing, south of the border, so I was genuinely interested.  “No,” he asserted, “Cheese’s Festival.”

Perplexed, I politely replied, “Lo siento, no comprende,” which means, “I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”  I know that phrase, real well because I usually use it right after I say my other favorite phrase, “Buenas Dias,” which means, “Good Day” or Good Morning, I’m still not sure.  “Cheese Festival,” I repeated?  I do that a lot when I don’t understand.

He patiently replied, “No, Cheezus, Festival.”  I found phonetics is very important when speaking Espanol, as most of the time, even when I know the word, I’m misunderstood because my pronunciation is also “No bueno…”

In his eagerness to help me with my perplexity, My new amigo’s only response was to stick both of his arms out to the side, like a Boeing 727 about to take-off.

Now, I really feel like an idiot, but I couldn’t resist.  I asked, “I’m sorry, could you spell that?”  reverting to English now, my second language … I do that a lot when I speak Espanol.

He thought for a second, because I guess spelling in Ingles is a lot harder than speaking Ingles.  After a short pause, he replied.

“Cheezus,.  J-E-S-U-S.”

To which, I tossed my cup and said, Mucho Gracias, and left to get that beer!

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Leon Russell, (April 2, 1942 – November 13, 2016)

Leon Russell

R.P.  Thank you…

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Oh, Taxi!

You know, Tijuana Taxicab Drivers may have been mischaracterized as being aggressive, reckless, and notorious speedy drivers.  The police had to urge this bunch on…

But one thing is for certain…They sure are a noisy bunch!

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Play for me.  Play with me.  Just don’t play at me…

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Happy Columbus Day


I know it’s been a long time but hey, there is just so many hours in a day. I have been very busy. I recently returned from a tour of 21 states, with a few Music Conferences sprinkled in, during the past few months. I have also been very busy maintaining the studio, the gear, the computers and what not. All necessary and all a part of my job description. I have been recently busy preparing for a hardware upgrade.

Being a Keyboardist, I am used to having a lot of gear and now with the help of several manufactures, which I will name shortly, I have adopted as official and unofficial sponsors, I am committed to become more mobile. It is the way of the future.  Now there you go, ready to jump all over me… I am not saying having a master-class, studio is a thing of the past.  What I am saying is, for this Producer, mobility is essential and the equipment I have acquired over the years is just not practical, nor mobile enough for the task.  Were I to have the facilities to house a more permanent type studio, I would love to hook up the rack gear and loudspeakers.  Someone asked why do you need such big speakers?  Well, really the only answer I have is, “It’s all about dat bass!”  It is just another perspective of how a particular track is going to sound…  Don’t forget, once published, your track may be played on:  Home speakers, car speakers, cheap earbuds and headphones, expensive earbuds and headphones, elevator speakers, outdoors, indoors, soft, loud, and anything that may crop up in the future that doesn’t yet exist…

How so, you say? Well for one thing, software available these days has just improved so vastly, I can finally rely much less on hardware; Keyboards, Speakers, Stands, Racks, Mixing Consoles, and about a mile-and-a-half of assorted cables. It may work for Sony or Capital Records but I don’t have a quarter of a million dollars to work with. That is not to say hardware is no longer necessary, it’s just that it has changed to a much smaller and much more capable footprint.

Not only has the Music Software vastly improved but so has the myriad of Computer Software in General, making composing and producing music much more pleasurable. Thank you, Microsoft, Apple, and you too Google for making me more of a Musicologist and less of a Computer Technologist. We still have a lot to talk about but I appreciate that after 40 years of bugs, viruses, and what-not, things can work, if you have the right combination of tools…

So, with mobilization in mind, I will shortly be moving. It isn’t easy finding a place that is affordable and still has an atmosphere I can feel creative and inspired to work in. The latter being imperative. I am excited with some of the more recent investments I have made. Among those I am pleased the most with are:


(Click Here to Read More…)

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