Armen Chakmakjian

Posts Tagged ‘Guitar’

2012 is almost done, 2013 is almost here…

In Random on December 31, 2012 at 10:50 pm

I think the Mayans were right. With 2012 closing, I get the feeling that the “Social Media” age, at least the bubble portion of it, is over. The consolidation of networks is almost complete, with Facebook at its acme now for social and LinkedIn for professionals. There are some upstarts and sites that are trying to add things, but its pretty much over. Twitter has sort of never gone beyond a technology and it seems more like a connector of other sites than a destination on its own (except during crises, then it seems becomes useful again to find links to other sites where the real news is). I’m still working on rebuilding my book website on Tumblr, but I never seem to have the time.

On the personal side, we’re in college application mode; the younger son is applying. The older son is in the middle of his 3rd year (of 5) in college. I’m proud of both of them. I’m down to my last class for my MBA, so if all goes well, we’ll have graduations from High School, Armenian Saturday School, Sunday school and Graduate School. And I’ll be retiring myself from Sunday School teaching also.

One interesting side effect of the Saturday School graduation is that my wife and I will not have the interesting excuse to visit Panera Bread each Saturday morning. Time for a new ritual I guess. Maybe we’ll go exercise.

I also had an operation this summer that kind of set me back on the keeping in shape front. It took a while for me to recover fully and there’s 5-7 lbs. I don’t usually do resolutions, I just set a goal and work at it, but this year, I’m going to undo the damage of last summer by the summer.

Just before that operation my wife and I went on a cruise to Bermuda out of Boston. OK so that added to the fitness issue, but I did try and exercise between the 14 meals a day. Bermuda was awesome, and I want to go again and leaving out of Boston was really convenient. Now I have this fantasy retirement dream where I fly to Bermuda and fly over everybody else driving to the cape 🙂

At work, things got real busy this year and the team under me doubled in size (actually just a little under that). I lead the development team that works on much (but not all) of the customer facing features of the email, survey and several add-on products for Constant Contact. One fun thing I did this year was visit customers in Arlington and learn how they used the product. And for those who have worked for me before, I wrote typically Armen-style reports to disseminate what I had learned back into engineering.

With on the job learning and the serendipitous timing of my marketing and human factors concentrations classes at Bentley, I was applying everything I was learning back and forth between the two experiences. As if that wasn’t enough learning, I also went to a 3 day and night seminar at Babson that my company offered to a bunch of us. As the lead instructor called it, it was an MBA overview in 3 days. After getting out of the class, I worked on a team that attached a corporate question, which was pretty cool as I got to work with people from across the company on the effort, not just in our immediate engineering team.

Technology-wise, I got an iPad, a new Sky Livescribe Pen, used Evernote more extensively for my school research than I ever did before. In the case of Evernote, I’m starting to put all kinds of other stuff in it that are not about school it is proving more and more useful. And when mobileme went away and took my Sunday School website with it, I moved all the content to Evernote which worked great for me. Dropbox and iCloud/IWork documents were also used and installed a windows 8 upgrade for my wife’s computer.

One of the newest things I’m playing with is “Paper” by 53, Inc. It’s like finger paint for adults, except it’s on my iPad. I guess the next area of investigation for me is whether I can draw ☺ And one thing I am anticipating greatly, the next generation of Apple TV.

Continuing the artistic slant here, I played guitar and sang at a family-friends rental down on the cape. It was pretty funny when kids in the next yard stuck their heads over the gate to hear the set and people walking along the street stopped to listen. Even my wife was impressed (although I probably have played all those songs too many times at home over the 22 years we have been married)

I also played 3 70’s songs at a fundraiser at my former employer for project bread. I’m playing the same set in a couple of weeks at an open mic; lets see how that goes. I just restrung my Taylor 12 string today in preparation, and I still have to restring my Martin 6 string before that event. My plan for an addition this year is to learn how to play “Limelight” by Rush on my Les Paul a little better than I muddle through it currently…and make sure I can remember all the words.

More on the fun side looking back, I went to 3 Glenlivet scotch tastings this year. The first was at Le Cordon Bleu where they showed us how to make beef tongue tacos and drink scotch at the same time. The second was a fun marketing event where we tried 4 different malts. The last was at the International Poster Company on Newbury Street. That last one was actually cooler than it sounds; I learned about how the posters were made way back when and saw some neat stuff. I know I’ll go back without the scotch at some point to pick out something.

Finally over the last 4 days we watched the extended version of the Lord of the Rings in Blu-ray. My ears are still ringing but we had a lot of fun watching it. It was a Christmas gift from the boys. They also took my wife and I to Les Miserables and that was a lot of fun. We tried to go see Lincoln and it was sold out and my older son is still trying to figure out how to get me to the Hobbit.

Anyway, a pastiche of what has been a great year and some of the things I’m looking forward to this year.

Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2013 to you all.

My Guitars…

In Music, Random on October 18, 2008 at 4:09 pm

I enjoy playing the guitar.  I do not play with the skill of Eric Clapton.  I can’t play lead for beans.  There’s a certain element of bounded creativity to play lead that I just don’t get.  It never sounds right to me, no matter what sound effects I use. I can memorize the licks, so for example Freebird or More than a feeling or name your song, I can mimic it pretty well, I just can’t go there without a tether. So I stick to rhythm and chords.

The guitar in the my blog header is a Martin 000c-1e. I bought it in 2000. It’s a pretty nice guitar and the pickup works pretty well for the few cases where I’ve had to use it for a recording or in concert.   I have an old Sigma that I used since high school that I repaired myself without the right equipment.  It’s more of a dreadnought body and it definitely resonates the bass more than the 000, but the 000 has a very pretty sound in comparison.

A picture of a firebrand I found on the internet.

A picture of a firebrand I found on the internet.

I have a Les Paul Firebrand that I haven’t used much since High School that I bought new in 1980.   It pretty much stays in the attic with my 25 watt Gorilla amp.  It’s not a bad guitar, it’s got the double humbucker pickups and when I use the foot pedals I can have some fun.  Crank up the distortion and set the flanger a certain way and play “Snowblind” by Styx or something.   I discovered that now that I’ve had it since I was 16.5 years old that I can consider it a “Classic”.  When I poke around on e-bay, it looks like it could gather a couple $k (maybe 2) but I don’t think I’ll sell it.  I’ve never had any work done on it and so just for ha’s I might get it a tune up some day and see if works any better.

If the economy recovers and I recover from my MacBook purchase, I’d like to buy a nice 12 String.   I had a friend who had a Guild 12 String that was an awesome sounding instrument.  I’ve played around at the local shop a few times with a Martin 12 string and a Takamine.   $2500 dollars for a guitar, even a 12 string is an investment.  We’ll see.