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The Chain of Events, or “How to spend money on things you never thought you would”. (long and boring)

It all started with Dungeons and Dragons, many, many years ago.   That lead to other games, and perhaps the tipping point into Steampunk was the Castle Falkenstein RPG.   (or perhaps Lace & Steel before that, but Falkenstein was the big one)   It stoked my interest in cinematic role-play, and of course, steampunk.

That lead me to Caledon, and on to Babbage.  This has stoked the fire for years, with the creativity and warmth of the residents.   I love this town!   At some point, I stumbled across the excellent “Cup of Brown Joy” video by MC Elemental…my appreciation for this lead someone to point out “Hip Hop History” video by Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer.

Now the instrument Mr B plays was something I hadn’t seen before, or perhaps I had and mistook it for a banjo.  But he quite clearly called it a “banjolele”.   I found it’s size silly and it’s tone harsh and plinky.   I thought it was great. :)  I looked it up on the internet, and thought whoever decided to merge a banjo and a ukulele was brilliantly demented, and filed the info away with the rest of the useless trivia in a dusty corner of my brain.

Ah, but then, circumstances in RL led to me moving halfway across the country, and settling into Chicago.   I found an apartment, and mere days after I moved in, a mailer arrived from a nearby music school (the Old Town School of Folk Music).   This promptly gathered dust on the counter for a week or two, until one day, taking a break from unpacking, I flipped through it, and there were ukulele lessons.   Suddenly I had flashbacks to the banjolele, which was pretty much played like a ukulele.

Realize, that my previous musical experience was a good three decades ago, and involved beating on a bass drum in 4/4 time for a drum & bugle corps.   But, in a fit of insanity, I called the place up and signed up for the ukulele lessons.

I have now had my first lesson this past weekend, with a happy hawaiian lady, teaching us the very, very, very basics.  I had a blast.   So much so, that I decided that I would buy a nicer ukulele than the cheap one I started with.   Then expanding on my madness….I ordered up a banjolele.

I have had one lesson.  I have spent hundreds of dollars on three instruments.

The neighbors will hate me…


I blame Dungeons & Dragons.


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  1. MichaelD Mannonen MichaelD Mannonen September 16, 2010

    Hey, you failed your saving throw….

  2. Cadmus Lupindo Cadmus Lupindo September 16, 2010

    Is that a +3 banjolele?

  3. Grendel Footman Grendel Footman September 16, 2010

    lawful evil bard armed with a +3 banjoele

  4. Tepic Harlequin Tepic Harlequin September 16, 2010

    could have been worse… could have been the bagpipes!

  5. Elilka Sieyes Elilka Sieyes September 16, 2010

    Hurrah for Dungeons & Dragons, I say ;D  Just don’t let your butler hear you playing the banjolele ;)


    (and Mister B will be playing in my town later this year. Sadly I don’t have what it takes to grow a moustache for the occasion.)

  6. Cyan Icewolf Cyan Icewolf September 16, 2010

    Welcome to Chicago.

    I haven’t been to the Old Town School as of yet but have passed by it many times.

    Congrats on the expensive purchases though hopefully you won’t be too annoying to your neighbors ;3

  7. Doctor Obolensky Doctor Obolensky September 16, 2010

    Watson: Ah, but if I had a Jeeves, I’d give up the banjolele. :P  I wish I could see Mr B in person, as except for “Hip Hop History” the quality of the rest of the videos on youtube of him are horrible.

    Cyan: You should, it’s quite a neat place…and apparently so successful that they’re going to start construction of a new building across the street soon.   I hope it doesn’t lose the charm of the old place.

    If you or any other Babbagers out there have an interest, Jake Shimabukuro is playing at the Old Town school on Nov 6.   Behold:


    • Bookworm Hienrichs Bookworm Hienrichs September 16, 2010

      ((*typist dissolves in silent laughter at that mental image*))

    • Mosseveno Tenk Mosseveno Tenk September 16, 2010

      that clip will never get old! i remember watching that when it aired…. my sister was apesh*t over tiny tim.

  8. Edward Pearse Edward Pearse September 16, 2010

    Today ukuleles, tomorrow the world!

  9. Bela Lubezki Bela Lubezki September 16, 2010

    Bela, mistress of ceremonies at Victory Hall looks into her calendar when to appoint the live stream and perfomance of “Doctor O. and the Evil Banjolele”…


    …wondering how solid the structure of the old building might be

  10. Doctor Obolensky Doctor Obolensky September 16, 2010

    Well, at the moment, it would be *very* evil, as I can manage three chords (more or less), and my singing is best appreciated when it’s being drowned out by others. :P

    • MichaelD Mannonen MichaelD Mannonen September 16, 2010

      So, you’re saying alcohol should be served before and during the performance….?

  11. Aeolus Cleanslate Aeolus Cleanslate September 17, 2010

    Three chords is all you need, Doc! Pretty much the entire canon of Hawaiian music is open to you now.

    Just remember to exercise. Where I come from, fanatic ukulele players sometimes forget, and end up simultaneously transcendent and obese:

  12. Edward Pearse Edward Pearse September 18, 2010

    Maybe you can start up the US version of these guys?


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