Monthly Archives: July 2016

Guitar Vlog 2 – Choosing an Acoustic Guitar For Percussive Playing/Tapping/Fingerstyle

My 2nd guitar based vlog, responding the question I’m often asked about whether my guitar is made specifically for percussive playing/tapping. I really enjoy my guitar and it ticks all the boxes (although I’d prefer a deeper bass drum sound, but you can’t have everything). If you’re getting started as a percussive player, please don’t be put off by thinking you can’t start until you buy a special guitar for tapping, but do make sure your guitar can do it’s job well. If your current guitar can’t say, hold it’s tuning in far out open tunings, that too is no reason to put off getting started with some drop tunings.

For those experienced percussive players watching, what do you look for in a guitar? What have I missed?

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The Result Of 4 Months Of Walking Barefoot

img_0677Just over 4 months ago, I noticed that after 45mins of exercising in my expensive running shoes, my feet ached for the rest of the day. Rather than buy a different pair, I wondered about exercising barefoot. It was a complete success and since then I’ve been barefoot for part or all of each day. I am really pleased with the results so wanted to share them with anyone wondering about trying it.

However, this does come with a disclaimer – on asking around, I’ve discovered that some people who try going barefoot have really bad results. Hopefully it’s possible to have a go, but stop if you think it’s not for you or you notice damge

I was apprehensive about barefoot exercise because I assumed that sports shoes have cushioning for a reason. So I researched the matter and found that changing the way you land on each foot, so that you don’t land on your heel, allows the muscles in the leg to engage and prevent jarring. This is naturally done barefoot, whilst the shape of shoes encourages a heel-striking stride.

I suddenly remembered that this was how I used to walk as a teenager, when I’d spend each summer barefoot. I also remember a sporty friend teaching me the “correct” way to walk by heel-striking, and subsequently losing my natural stride.

So I switched to bare feet 4 months ago, and found that my stride reverted automatically. This is because it’s hard to heel-strike without shoes because it either hurts or feels very jarring to do so.

I had to build up slowly, both to give my soles the chance to harden up, and to give the muscles in my feet, ankles and legs the chance to re-strengthen for movements they haven’t done in years.

Here are the benefits I’ve experienced.

  • Feet don’t ache or smell
  • Better grip, especially for climbing
  • Enjoying the sensations of walking on different surfaces (once soles are thick enough)
  • Stronger feet and ankles – injury less likely and can grip the ground for better balance. I actually twisted my ankle (as in landed sideways on it) the other day without injury.
  • Silent stride – great for sneaking around the house when others are asleep.
  • Smooth stride – noticeably less jarring on all joints, both when walking, running and even jumping.
  • Better circulation – I now find it too warm to wear shoes at temperatures that previously had me reaching for my boots. Will be interested to see how this pans out in winter.
  • Walking/running faster – no heavy shoes.

Yesterday I went out for my longest barefoot walk yet – 2 1/2 hours, on asphalt and gravel. I actually enjoy the sensations under my feet believe it or not. Walking barefoot feels like regaining something natural, even if many walking surfaces are man-made.

But what about the downsides? Dirty feet? Danger of injury from sharp objects? Objections from others? Yes, actually these are all quite real problems. I’m selective about products I recommend but what’s solved these problems for me is Xero Shoes. They are basically the most minimal sandals you can get – thin enough not to interfere with your natural barefoot stride, but thick enough to protect your feet from sharp objects and dirt. I leave the house barefoot, but carry these just in case. I reckon they are good for the environment too since they take less volume of materials to make than shoes and come with a 5000 mile guarantee (that’s 10 years at 10 miles per day)

Please share your experiences of walking barefoot.

Kimwei

Also check out the Symphony For Happines Vlog

… and connect with me @:

facebook.com/kimweidotcom

Music @:

kimwei.com

youtube.com/kimweidotcom

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Guitar Vlog 1 – Why I Only Play 1 Guitar

My first Guitar Vlog Video:

A topic not much talked about but that’s made a big difference to my guitar playing…

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Confessions Of A Minimalist – Getting Rid Of Stuff Hurts!

1964-Mary-Poppins-01

Powder pack – check! Carpet bag – check! Talking umbrella – check! All set!

You may be surprised to know that although I’ve been a minimalist for most of my life, I do find it really hard to get rid of stuff. Putting my sketches from school and uni in the recycle bin this morning was a real wrench (even though I’ve scanned them). Giving away books I can’t get digitally and would prefer to read again is tough too. It’s also a real pain having the feeling of wanting to play an instrument that I’m not travelling with, or don’t own anymore.

So why do it? Well, I’ve always said I prefer real books to e-books, but I prefer e-books to a mortgage. Many people say that they couldn’t do what I’m doing because they have too much stuff. Less stuff = more freedom.

Initially when I moved out of my yurt in 2013 I had no idea that I’d still be without a permanent dwelling 3.5 years later. I was not prepared for the transition. I had too much stuff, and no real way of dealing with it. It was a kicker taking furniture I’d hand made to the dump to be smashed up. 

Recently I’ve been brainstorming places to travel to after France, and some of them can only be reached van-free. I’d like to be prepared this time.

If I can make my life work on a day to day basis with what can be taken on a plane, I’ll be all set for international travel. I should be able to go abroad for a few months at a time, with no van, and still live my normal life with no disruptions.

So: 

  1. Clothes
  2. Phone
  3. Laptop
  4. Guitar

Ideally the top 3 would fit in a carry on bag (I also own other music stuff and bike stuff, which I’d store because it’s too expensive to sell and buy again when I get back).

nellie_bly_book1

Originally Bly was told she would never be able to do such a trip. Why? Because a woman would need too much luggage?!? As you can see, she managed with just one hand-satchel. See: http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/bly/world/world/html

 

I’d like to get used to this early, so it becomes second nature. This means going through another purge, some aspects of which might seem extreme – learning to cut my hair with scissors and ditch the buzzer, learning to exercise barefoot and get rid of trainers, and chucking all sentimental documents (once scanned) in the bin.

 

I want to say at this point that this is tough. This purge not only includes things I actually use, it means saying goodbye to things that I psychologically depend on as constants since my surroundings change so frequently.

Down to a point, discarding can be fun and a good release. It can mean letting go of the weight of things you don’t need. However, I feel already way below that point, and it’s destabilising. Technology is on my side – all media can be digitised, but only the information content of a document can be captured in a scan. There’s no substitute for the real letters of a loved one, or the CD signed by your hero. Goodbye to those. 

Dave Bruno touches upon this theme in his 100 Thing Challenge, in which he purges some things which used often, were irreplaceable and meant a lot to him. Overall, it was worth it because of the personal developments he achieved by fulfilling his challenge. 

So, the question is, is worth it to me? Every time I come back to the same answer – I’d rather enjoy the freedoms that I have with less stuff, than reach into the recycle bin and draw out all my old letters. Every day I’m thankful for the life I lead and daydream about where I’ll travel next.

I’m part of a new generation of people who are nomads rather than holiday makers. We’re living normal lives, but moving location often. This being the nature of my life, I have to constantly let things go. In many ways that’s a good thing, and feels like a more natural way to be.  Doing so is good reminder that there’s more to life than stuff, and that nothing can truly be held onto… but this post acknowledges that it still hurts a little. 

-Kimwei

Also check out the Symphony For Happines Vlog

… and connect with me @:

facebook.com/kimweidotcom

Music @:

kimwei.com

youtube.com/kimweidotcom

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How To Sleep Well Before Travel

Still experimenting with vlogs. Here’s my latest.

Now that I think of it, this method could also be applied to exams, performances, or any other nerve wracking event. I’m still looking for some sources on NLP Sports Visualisation to link to (which is where this idea is from), but haven’t found any I like. Let me know if you see a good article to link to.

-Kimwei

Also check out the Symphony For Happines Vlog

… and connect with me @:

facebook.com/kimweidotcom

Music @:

kimwei.com

youtube.com/kimweidotcom

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What To Do If You Meet A Leave Voter

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 10.35.03After last week’s Brexit result, I didn’t know what to react to first – the UK choosing to leave a body created for peace, the divided state of the British public, or the confirmation that many leave voters had acted on misinformation. The results were a diagnosis of the morale and attitudes of the British people as well as our political figures.

Although I travelled through England that preceding week, I didn’t experience the division between Remain and Leave voters, due to a strange phenomenon – I tend to get on with people with whom I have shared values. So, pretty much everyone I spoke to was a Remain voter, keen to turn out on they day and tick their box.

Statistically speaking every third person I met should have been a Leave voter, but it just didn’t work like that. Part of this was geographical (see Guardian). My area (Exeter) was strongly remain.

The 52/48 results showed the UK to be divided (roughly in 3rds, for Leave, Remain and no-show). However it also showed me that, despite believing myself to be tolerant and open minded, like so many, I mainly mix with those who share my viewpoint. You’ll notice the title of this post assumes that if you know me and this blog, you’re probably a remain voter… which you probably are.

Since I’m currently travelling in France, I can tell you that both the French and the ex-pats I’ve met were for strongly Remain. Although not wholly representative of course, this is a more random demographic, since I don’t choose who I meet in France in the same way I can in England. My useful phrase “Quelle impression avez-vous de la situation politique et économique au Royaume-Uni?” is now well worn.

A week later, I still don’t know exactly how to respond to the referendum results. One knee jerk reaction was simply “I’m not going back to that island. I won’t be safe there.” Whilst that may have pushed me to brainstorm some travel ideas, I got over it. Ultimately, I’m a natural traveller, so my desires and choices on that front aren’t going to be based on Brexit.

But, whether we end up leaving Europe or not, what strikes me is that during this whole campaign I didn’t have a good conversation with a Leave voter. I met maybe one or two, but as soon as we realised our opinions differed, we stopped. I won’t do that anymore. It’s clear that the country is divided, and if things are to improve, more than anything, Leave and Remain voters need to talk to each other. I’d say that to both sides, regardless of whether we end up leaving Europe in the end – Not to shout at each other, not to get angry with each other, but really talk to each other.

-Kimwei

Also check out the Symphony For Happines Vlog

… and connect with me @:

facebook.com/kimweidotcom

Music @:

kimwei.com

youtube.com/kimweidotcom

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