Archive for ‘Music’


Ukulele Twiddles – 1 – Flamenco (inspired) Exercise

On Saturday evening I uploaded the first in an occasional series of YouTube videos which will highlight my favourite ukulele exercises. So today I bring you a link to this video, as well as a basic tabulation for the piece I play in it.

Please note that I’m not putting in time signatures, or standard notation. Just watch the video to get a rough idea of the melody, and play it at a speed which is comfortable for you. Also this was written for a standard tuned high-g ukulele.


Flamenco (Inspired) Exercise



These dreams, the ones that make me think…well fuck.

You ever have one of those glorious dreams? The ones where you wake up, angry because it wasn’t real, and you know most of it will never be real. I had one of those last night.

I was on a road trip with Tegan (one of my guardian angels), we were having a great time. But the RV I’d rented for the trip broke down…bummer. The fourth car to come up to us stopped, well I say car, FUCKING HUGE pick-up. Okay, cool, not glorious yet though is it?

Patience folks, it’s about to become so.

Well I’m relieved, Tee is relieved, the RV is dead, and the pick-up driver is Beth Orton.

Beth “so fucking beautify my heart could break just lookin’ at her” Orton.

Beth “her voice makes my spine melt every-time I hear her” Orton.

Anyway the RV is fuckered, the hire company are sending out another for us, but it doesn’t to us ’til the next day. So what to do? Turns out Miss Orton has an idea, dinner at hers, a spare bed, and my not stressing ’til I’m in tears for the whole day.

Well the dream went on. Dinner was eaten, my uke was dragged out, I ended up playing, and singing badly with our hostess. My badly, not Beth who sings like my idea of a perfect angel. And the next morning I woke up to find my uke signed by her.

Then I woke up…fuuuuuuuuuuck. It was a dream…*sigh*

All that said a road trip has been mooted in the past 12 months. I’ve started the ball rolling on actually making some money from my MANY projects. My partner in crime has made it clear that I need to learn to drive. An RV…well if it was done right would cost less than hotels, and give me something I would desperately need; instant access to a toilet anytime day or night, oh and an unchanging space that’s mine.

Yeah this could work.

Wonder if Miss Orton will appear somewhere in it all.


My Journey Towards Liking The Smashing Pumpkins.

When I was in high school there was a terrible day, an awful day I don’t think I’ll ever be able to think about without ending up in tears. I was in Transition Year, and a really special girl was in the class with me. She wanted to be a journalist (at that time, who knows what she would have ended up being. But what ever it was in the end, I know she would have excelled at it.). She was beautiful. She was smart, I mean cutting herself on herself sharp. She was easily the best student in the year.

Then she went to a concert, and died.

I can still remember the last time I saw her as if it were happening right this moment. She was laughing at the reaction of the rest of the class to her having dyed her hair. She’d used one of the then new, Schwartzkopf colours. So her hair had this almost holographic purple sheen to it. She was so excited to be going to Dublin to a concert the next day. The last words we ever spoke to one another were.

“I hope you have fun.”

“Aha, see ya Monday.”

I never saw her again.

If you’re a fan of The Smashing Pumpkins from those days you know precisely what happened next. The crowd surged at the stage. The band asked them to chill-out. The crowd ignored them. And somewhere in the crush that girl was swept from her feet, and died a horrific death. That was 17 years ago, and I still some times have nightmares where I imagine how she felt, what she thought, how it hurt her.

All I can say for sure is that they had to have a closed casket funeral. I sometimes wonder if that was a gentle blessing, or the worst curse to those of us who remember her. I know that after her funeral I refused to ever go to a funeral again. And to this day I haven’t.

If you’re wondering why this all affected me so deeply, it’s probably important to know that I had a huge crush on her. To the point where that last sentence I spoke to her had been the most words I’d managed to string together for her in weeks. I’d hoped to ask her out before the holidays, I didn’t expect a yes, but…well anyway. That’s the heart of why.

I’m not proud of what I’m about to say, but here goes.

I hated The Smashing Pumpkins after that.

Loathed them.

Every time I heard even the first bar of one of their songs, I would feel sick, then want to smash something, or someone.

I wanted them to just fail, go away.

I wished they’d never formed.

It took me 16 years to realise how, nuts, my reaction was. It took me sitting down and forcing myself to listen to the entirety of “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” to realise that it wasn’t their music I hated. They’re music is pretty good. I mean, to me at least, it’s pretty middle of the road, semi-maudlin, overly opinionated 90’s music. Rather typical of the era. But it’s definitely good.

Once I came to that realisation I decided to sit down and work my way through their back-catalog. And as I listened I started remembering all the times I saw her listening to them on her Walkman (Damn I’m old.) before class. How much she smiled when she listened. How happy they made her. And after 16 years it finally clicked.

I blamed the bands music for the death of someone I liked.

Not the band as such. But the music itself.

These days I rather like The Pumpkins. I don’t actively seek them out, or own any of their songs or albums. But if they come on I don’t change the channel anymore. Which is pretty big progress I guess.

Well anyway, ya, that’s my story.


HMV are rising from the grave. So they’ll now be named HZV?

A few months ago I posted about my sorrow at the passing of HMV. Well, it was with immense joy that I read yesterday morning of the return of HMV to my local shopping center, in about 6 weeks. This is huge news, immense news. I to be perfectly honest punched the air, and may have uttered the words “Fuck Yeah!” There will be only four stores opening to begin with. Three in the Dublin area, and one in Limerick. Fair enough I suppose. HMV had become something of a lumbering giant before its fall, so it only makes sense that its new owners would downsize in a huge way.

So in celebration here are my Top 5 reasons for immense joy at the return of HMV.

5. I’ll actually be able to find DVDs. Seriously, since HMV folded, Golden Discs has also downsized also. That leaves people like myself who live on, as my Miss would probably put it, the clippings of tin, with Xtravision, thrift stores, or a 90 minute round-trip in to the city if we want to add a DVD to our collections. That would be alright except that with Xtravision and thrift stores you’re talking about pre-owned/pre-viewed DVDs if you want anything for less than a tenner, with the very real possibility of a DVD that has been used at some point to spread jam on bread.

No really, I once bought a secondhand DVD in an Xtravision that had strawberry seeds stuck to it. Though in fairness they did exhange it for a different copy.

So really that just leaves a trip to town, with the costs involved with that, and either Golden Discs in the Jervis Shopping Center (Small selection, generally overpriced with a small chance of finding something interesting at an affordable price), or Tower Records (Good selection, but zero chance of an affordable price.)

Hurray for HMV!

4. Another source of secondhand Xbox 360 games. HMV is where I got my treasured copy of Bayonetta. It’s also where I had hoped to find many other games. Then it closed, leaving me with Gamestop. *Sigh* Gamestop…

Look Gamestop, we know you now have essentially a monopoly on the secondhand game market. There are a handful of plucky little shops which also sell used games, but really we all know that right now you’re the Big Kahuna. The problem is we know, you know it too. But that doesn’t make it right for you to charge 1 Euro less for a secondhand copy of Borderlands 2. ONE FUCKING EURO! Yes, I really did see this. Now, I’d have said something if was a copy of the collectors edition, with all the DLCs included. But nope, this was a secondhand copy, of vanilla B2.

So yes, competition is welcomed. And hopefully the new owners of HMV will realise that they have a chance to not only stick up for the consumer, but also twist the knife a little. (The whole Xbox One situation, is a completely different rant where I actually come down on the side of Gamestop…yes it does make me feel dirty. And not in a fun way.)

3. Shopping will be enjoyable again. My shopping center is Liffey Valley. It’s a huge, airy, air-conditioned slice of retail heaven. But when HMV closed I suddenly realised just how much of my time in Liffey Valley used to be spent flicking through DVDs, and games. I miss that, I miss walking in with nothing, and walking out with many, many movies.

Now don’t get me wrong. I like a mooch through New Look, H&M, Easons, and Dunnes as much as the next girl. But I miss buying movies, heading home, and spending a glorious evening on the couch with my puppies, and my Miss watching Liam Neeson punch the world in the face.

Shopping just hasn’t been the same.

2. Competition lowers prices. Now I’m a realist here, I never expect HMV to be as cheap as it used to be. It used to make a loss, because they were too cheap. But since they folded Golden Discs and Tower Records have basically been without competition, and frankly most of the people who go to one of those, won’t be the same people who go to the other. But EVERYONE used to go to HMV, the problem was that not everyone bought there.

I never understood that. They would after all have at least a hundred titles available on special every single week. Outside of that even their new titles were set at roughly the same prices as anyone else, maybe a little lower.

You know what the problem with HMV was? It wasn’t movie streaming, or movie piracy, there are plenty of people like me who like to own the DVD in the case, on a shelf. It wasn’t the t-shirts, or headphones, though frankly most modern headphone sets are massively overpriced penis-extensions. No I think the problem with HMV was that you would walk in, and not be able to move in the movie sections. While in the music sections…ghost town, tumble weeds, a lonesome coyote howling at the wind. The music sections that took up roughly half of each store.

The music audience has moved on. Hell even I have an Amazon account for buying my music, I refuse to give Apple the steam off my piss much less the sight of my cash. People, more often than not I suspect, are over the whole owning a CD. Everyone has am MP3 player of some kind. Everyone has a PC or laptop. I mean I can tell you the last time I bought a CD, it was 10 years ago Transmission by Violent Delight, I bought it the day it was released.

Since then I’ve bought movies in physical form, and when legal downloading of music appeared on the scene I started doing that. I honestly can’t see myself ever buying a CD again, and I doubt I am alone.

So anyway, yeah the number 2 reason I am violently delighted by the return of HMV is that their return will push prices down, at least a little. And who knows. maybe the HMV bargain area will return too.

1. HMV, might be renamed HZV. Well no, not really. Of course it’s not going to be renamed His Zombies Voice, though HMV owners if you’re reading this have your people contact me, just saying. But I am looking forward to discovering what form its resurrection will take. Will it be a case of walking through the doors, and into last year? Nothing really changed, the bargain area, the merchandise section, the gamers corner, the really cute girl with all the tattoos. My refuge from a shopping center filled with bad fake tans, screaming kids, and people who really think that a girl who has her fingernails chewed up to her elbows, would really want a manicure.

Or maybe it’ll be some new form, with only echoes of its past glory. A new evolution of an old dear (occasionally VERY dear) friend.

Aside from the workers of Hilco who knows. And that’s kind of exciting. HMV is my favourite shop of all time. I bought my first, and my last physical albums there. I bought my first VHS tape, DVD, and superman t-shirt there. Hell, I kissed my first girl there. And I’m excited for its new future.

(Of course, I’m probably going to be horribly disappointed.)


I love your voice, just please enunciate properly darling.

I find myself in a quandary where many singers are concerned. I want to like Imelda Mays music. It’s bright, bouncy, often cheerful, and wonderfully old but new. However there is one pretty major problem. I just can’t make out half of the fecking words she sings. I mean she is singing in english, right? Because sometimes I wonder.

I feel the same way about a lot of singers, everything’s great apart from not being able to make out the words. For example, it took me 20 listens to Pinks latest song “Just give me a reason” to realise that she was saying “Just a second we’re not broken just bent”. Up until then I swear I heard “ended”, “rent”, “sent”, I mean “sent”? What the frikkin fuck? How does that even fit, and yet that was genuinely what I heard.

“But Amanda, there’s always been misheard lyrics.” Yes, I know. I can remember someone in my family really believing that the chorus from Enyas “Orinoco flow” was and I quote

“Save a whale,
Save a whale,
Save a whale.”

It happens, the sung word is admittedly not a precision musical instrument in the same way as a flute, or piano. It has near infinite variations of inflection, tonality, duration. But sometimes I wonder do singers actually belong to a secret order whose sworn goal is to drive every person on Earth in to mindless slaves via confusing lyrics? ‘Cause, damn it singers, sometimes you really do leave me scratching my head.

For a lot of my teens I was kind of in to rap for this reason. Say what you like about Technotronic, and their frontwoman Ya Kid K, but at least you can always make out what’s being said in their songs. Same goes for MC Hammer, The Fresh Prince and even *swallows bile* Vanilla Ice. I hate not being able to make out what someone is saying, much less singing.

It jars my sensibilities, irritates me beyond all belief, and it was only the discovery of Queen, Pat Benetar, and Level 42 in my mid to late teens that brought me back to being a fan of the sung word. I’m thankful for this, and that there are at least some musical artists who can sing a perfectly pronounced song that is still emotionally affecting. But dear gods, sometimes I just want to shake certain songbirds, and scream at them.


And now, Queen.

Yes, this was largely just an excuse for me to post some of my favorite songs.


HMV, if only I’d known how much I’d miss you.

I spent last weekend in Cork visiting the mammy, and one of my adopted lil sisters. *waves* Hey Neads, so Bif Naked huh? I actually managed to have a pretty funky good time. A Friday afternoon was spent wandering my home city, checking out the shops, and more so the many, many gorgeous female Corkonians. Seriously, why did all the insanely beautiful Cork women decide to come out of hiding after I moved to Dublin? Is my raw sexuality, and sensuality that scary. (Yeah, I don’t believe that last part either, have ya seen me? Raw mincemeat is more like it.)

Very cheap things were bought, a laptop slip cover for my new baby. 10 Euro down from 75!

A pair of John Rocha leather gloves that were supposed to be for my Partner in Crime but which barely fit my moms barely adult sized hands…woops. 18 Euro from 40.

Three Xbox games, Gears of War 1, Golden Axe: Beastrider (cos of the very hot redheaded amazon on the front cover), and Lost something or other (you kill things and then huddle up to them to keep warm before killing more things. Basically a cross between The Lord of the Flies and the first half of Empire Strikes Back.) Should’ve been 25ish Euro, I got them for 15. *fist pump*

Noticeably absent from that list however, for anyone who knows me well, are DVD’s.  I collect movies. My house has somewhere in the region (now) of 300 movies, and probably a dozen box-sets. But the important point to be made at this stage is that I’ve never paid full price for any of those movies. None of them. I will not pay over a tenner for a movie on DVD, and I won’t pay over twenty for a box-set. Let’s put it this way, I’m still waiting to find a copy of Ironman 2 at an acceptable price to round out my Marvel collection.

So, back to Cork last Friday. I’d found gloves, games and laptop accessories. So I decided to use the last of my unassigned money for the weekend to find something cool to watch with my Mom on Saturday evening. I toddled off to the place where HMV has stood on Patricks Street for my entire life. But of course it’s closed down.

Hmm, Virgin, or whatever company own the site of the shop formerly known as Virgin. What The Hell?! Why is there a Dealz there?

Golden Disc’s? I’ll be honest here. I couldn’t remember where Golden Disc’s had shops in Cork so I gave up at that point.

Now G.D. I can take or leave. I always could, it’s never been that great a shop. Virgin, or whatever the last shop on that site was last called…meh. They never had deals that were that good. But HMV. Oh HMV come back to us! My great joys in life the past 9 years or so have been in descending order.

My Partner in Crime. (And my other girlfriend/Slavegirl at the time.) Hubba Hubba!

My friends. They kind of rock collectively, as well as rolling individually.

Video gaming, and watching movies.

The bargain sections of HMV.

My kinky toy-box.

Thrift shops.

Kari Byron.

My electric blanket.

See how high HMV is in that list? Going to Liffey Valley Shopping Center really meant “PiC you wander the clothes shops, I’m going to wander HMV and spend hardly any money on a shit load of movies, or secondhand games.” And now, Liffey Valley just means…New Look. Which is great, don’t get me wrong. Cute staff, and sort of affordable clothing, even if they own nothing what-so-ever that fit on my feet.

HMV has been the unknowing savior of this girls sanity so many times. Those days when I’m in too much pain to sit on the frikkin’ toilet, watch a movie I love, that I bought in HMV. Just finished all my creative work for the day? Reward myself by playing a game I bought in HMV. Feel down over being the only girl in sight with a hair color more commonly seen in Anime or Hentai? Wander through HMV, at least one member of staff would have nutty hair, and cute tats.  Need a birthday present in a hurry? Everyone likes music, or movies, or games, hmm gift voucher, ah HMV.

I’d known they were gone for a while now. I’d even walked past the Liffey Valley branch several times, staring wistfully at the closed shutters, wishing I could wander through it one more time. But last Friday struck home to me just how badly I’m going to miss HMV now that it’s gone. And yes, some other company will buy it, and reopen some, if not most, of those stores. But, it just won’t be the same.

So HMV this one’s for you. And me and Neads. Bif Naked, take it away.


Struggling with steel strings.

Last Christmas I was given a mandolin as my gift. For the first month I split my practice time, two hours per day usually, equally between my ukulele and my brand new precious. Yeah, that didn’t work out very well. So I came to a decision. I would practice my uke exclusively until I had played it a year. Then switch to my mandolin, and pick my uke up for an hour each week so I wouldn’t lose everything.

Well the year’s up, and for the past week I’ve thrown myself gleefully in to playing the mandolin. And mostly I’ve truly been enjoying it. I mean sure, the strings buzz like crazy because I haven’t taught my fingers to fret them correctly on instinct yet. And of course having to learn a completely new set of chords, and scales is tough going sometimes. And it truly is frikkin annoying that it’s so difficult to find tabulations for grade 1 and 2 pieces of music, but that’s partly my fault as I still haven’t gotten to grips with standard notation.

But the one set of things that are completely screwing me up are those steel strings. Those painful, vicious, never to be cursed enough strings.

And what scares me most is that my mandolin, which is this deep, DEEP, red to begin with has now tasted blood. Should I be worried? Will it now hunt me in the dead of night, determined to feast on the rest?

Or is it bad enough that I now regularly have dreams about playing it. Dreams in which ever note is bum, and every fret, every pluck hurts like a hundred thousand sons of bitches?

Well regardless I do love my mandolin. And someday I hope to be this good with it. Have a great weekend folks, and see you all Tuesday with my guide to thrifty high street shopping.





Whitney Houston’s dead…Why the hell would I care?

So am I the only one who simply couldn’t give a fuck about Whitney Houston dying? Fine, she was an okay singer. But I really couldn’t give a flying fuck about her either her life, or death.

Since she died I’ve read so many Facebook comments to the tune of “It’s so sad her life ended up that way…” Yeah it’s so sad that she had a huge music, and acting career. It’s terrible that in doing so she lived what is undoubtedly the greatest dream held by millions of people around the world. It’s just awful that she was a multi-millionaire.

Now at this point someone reading this is rolling their eyes, and muttering under their breath “They mean the drugs, and the bad marriage nimrod.” Really? Did someone physically shove her face first into a pile of cocaine? I kind of doubt it. The bad marriage? Was she trapped in an abusive relationship by not having enough money to flee? Was she lacking in people she could call on to physically protect her, you know like bodyguards, hired with the millions of dollars…See where I’m going with this?

Here are the facts as I see them.

Everyday millions, probably hundreds of millions, of people live lives of quiet desperation. Lives filled with fear, filled with pain, filled with despair and hopelessness.

Everyday women with no resources to fall back on are beaten almost to death by the men (and yes sometimes the women) who they are supposed to be able to rely on the most. Their spouse.

Everyday those women despair at ever getting away from their torturous lives. Because dumb luck, stupid random chance has not bestowed upon them the means they need to be able to escape successfully.

Everyday uncountable numbers of people die of starvation, violence, disease, and neglect. They often enough die unremarked, perhaps even unnoticed.

But one rich American, who abused drugs by choice, who stayed with an abusive spouse when she could easily have just walked away dies, and the world cries.

This is not the death of a respected author who lived a normal life, then struggled for a decade with dementia before passing, all the while bringing joy to millions. Nor is it the death of an actress at a surprisingly young age, one who had only just really achieved her potential, due to a long battle with cancer. Nope this is the death of someone who had it all, and then threw it all away for some chemicals to make her brain fizz, and a man to make her ribs ache.

I guess that saying is really true, especially if the one death is someone with a global audience.

One death is a tragedy, one million is just a statistic.

So while her family has my sympathies for their loss, let’s not pretend the world has lost something extraordinary. The world lost a rich, and by some accounts a remarkably spoilt, self centered singer. That’s all.


My Top 5 songs to play EVE Online to.

I love EVE Online. Nothing beats chasing down a pirate, and giving him a hot depleted uranium enema. But just as important as having the right weapons payload is having just the right set of tunes on your media player while you do it. So here are my own personal favourites to listen to while playing, along with the situations they’re best suited to.

5. Night Ranger – The Secret of my Success.

Originally used in the soundtrack to a wonderful Micheal J. Fox movie of the same name, I find this piece of music most conducive to making vast sums of money by playing the in-game market. Though admittedly I usually get distracted by something shiny and explodable before I make much money at all.

Best listened to screaming “GREED IS GOOD…BOOMS ARE BETTER!”


4. Heather Alexander – March of Cambreadth.

Any one who has read John Ringo’s Legacy of the Aldenata is familiar with this one. Filled from beginning to end with crazy piping, heart pumping vocals, and one of the best choruses ever screamed by a transgirl on an exercise bike, this is the song to play when you send your destroyer screaming in for a knife range fight with a dozen pirate frigates.

Best listened to while slaughtering everything around you.


3. Bif Naked – I Love Myself Today.

Sometimes even in a computer game a girl just has to stand in front of a mirror, and consider a new look. A change of hair style, maybe a new color of lipstick…well whatever the change may turn out to be nothing helps get those “Damn I look good!” juices flowing like this gem from the delicious Bif Naked.

Best listened to naked while dancing in front of a mirror, and singing into the hilt of a sword, because you couldn’t be bothered to find a hairbrush. (yes I know that description is worryingly precise.)


2. Blue Oyster Cult – Veteran of the Psychic Wars.

For everyone the day dawns when the battle is going against them. No matter how well set up your ship is, or how quick you are getting the right commands clicked. It just so happens that the bastard in the other ship has you outgunned 3 to 1, out-masses by 10 to 1, and has reinforcements on the way. You’re screwed, you can’t escape, and your clone hasn’t been updated so you’re going to lose weeks of character building. Those are the “everything has gone to hell moments.” Those are the moments tailor-made for this treasure from the back catalogue of one of the rock greats.

Best listened to when your back’s to the wall, and you know the gods of EVE have decided you’re time to suffer has come. But don’t worry you can go out swinging and come back for vengeance later.


1. Within Temptation – Stand my Ground.

Sure for some this is a game of commerce, for others a way to make-believe exploration fantasies. For me it’s all about finding those Thermopylae moments. The one against many. Swooping in between some waste of genetic material, and the total newb he’s been torturing for hours, then opening up with everything you have. It’s like most MMO’s a way to let out that inner warrior, without winding up in prison with the nickname “Glove”. Well for those moments, when you find a set of Hot Gates to stand at, and someone worthy to protect for a few moments nothing I’ve found beats this wonderful piece of music by Within Temptation.

Best listened to while kicking some cyber bullies testicles so high that he’ll speak with a squeak for the rest of his gaming career.



The start of a new project.

As I hinted in the second of my New Year posts I have several important projects starting this year. Well last Wednesday one of them came to a surprising start. My partner in crime had found in a local thrift store an old, battered, bowl-back mandolin. So the next day we wandered, and I purchased her for the princely sum of 15 euros.

She’s in dire need of a lot of T.L.C. The neck was damaged but repaired reasonably well in the past. An internal brace has lifted, though after a huge amount of research I know now that too is a fixable issue. The finish is badly chipped, and scraped. And the inlay around the pick guard has been tortured within an inch of its life. But she’s still a beautiful instrument, and after Sunday I believe she can have an amazing second life as a mandolele. (mandolin-ukulele hybrid. Well in fairness I’m a female/male hybrid so it’s an ideal instrument for me don’t you think?)

My new baby pre-repairs.

Sunday I decided to clean the dust, grease and gunk of the ages off. Then I repaired 2 minor dings on the soundboard. Then finally I test strung her with a spare set of Aquila ukulele strings.The change to a mandolele came because when I got her she had only two steel strings left, both were under tension, and you could practically feel the mandolin getting ready to implode when you touched it. It simply can’t take steel strings anymore. A shame, as I’m sure she was a sweet sounding instrument, and a joy to play when she was in her prime.

Regardless after I fitted the strings the moment came when I plucked a true note from her. Ukulele’s have a sort of furry-ness to their sound that I adore. Each note kind of buzzes ever so slightly, and after trying out dozens of ukes in shops across the country at this stage I’m pretty sure it’s a standard feature of their sound. I do truly love that fuzzy feeling. I think that it is part of what makes music played on a ukulele feel happy. But the note that came from my new toy was pure, sharp, fresh. It was the aural equivalent of the difference between watching a movie on VHS video,  and DVD. (kids if you don’t know what a VHS was, the porn your dad has stashed in his wardrobe is the reason you still have that odd thing that doesn’t play DVD’s under the telly.)

Well the end result of all this is that before Bella’s Steampunk Night I intend to complete all the repairs, and refurbish my future mandolele as a key part of my costume. On that day a new character will rise, a new alter-ego for Amanda Harper, a steampunk luthier, uke player, and all round hottie named…well that would spoil the surprise.

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