Learn to do something new over the course of this month. Learn it just for you. Learn it because it's frivolous, not in spite of it. Learn it because you wouldn't normally tackle this skill.
Every day, learn a little bit more about this activity, and see what you discover
about yourself.

Why:

You spent last month exploring the world outside of you by meeting new people, but now I challenge you to explore yourself a little. We're adults now, and sometimes we forget what that means- it's up to us to spend our time however we want, and enjoy it as we please. Too often we get caught up pursuing things to further our careers, to get something we want, or to impress someone. Let's see what happens when you take up something new just 'cause.

Maybe you'll get good at it, maybe not. Maybe you won't even enjoy it. If you don't, remember, you're just doing it for you.

Bonus points!

Try to keep up last month's challenge, keep meeting people! Remember, the skill is just for you, so don't think of it as a tool to meet people, just meet people on your own.

Trivia:

Did you know there are in excess of seven forty-two skills you can learn? And with two different genders, you can assume 84 possible combinations of gender-based skill approaches, assuming you are willing to get a sex change! Otherwise there are just around 42.

Resources:

www.meetup.com - Meet other people who love what you're looking to do!
www.instructables.com - Let the internet instruct you!
www.ehow.com - How to do just about everything.
www.videojug.com - Like youtube, but just for instruction. Still early in it's growth.
 

Below are two clips from February’s climactic street performance.  I promised that, no matter what shape my accordion skills were in at the end of the month, I’d do a street performance, and I delivered!  It was better than I feared it could be, but worse than I’d hoped it would turn out.  Ultimately, the performance was exactly what it should have been:  Fun.  Nothing more, and nothing less.

Read more »

Brave Newbies, I must apologize for my prolonged absence.  You can be assured that it was due to something simultaneously epic and bad-ass.  Most likely it was wrestling lions or headbutting nazis.  As far as you know, it totally was.

Anyway, on Sunday, February 27th, I mark the end of February by performing on the pier.  It may be good, it may be bad, but I can assure you it will be hilarious.  Remember, it’s at 3:33 PM!  Here’s the event page on Facebook.

I have a preferred point picked out on the pier, and also a backup point.  Here’s the map: Read more »

Fellow Brave Newbie, Angela, has joined forces with me learning a new instrument.  Look!  She has a ukulele!  And we’re kind of sort of covering my accordion hero, Jason Webley, with the song “Eleven Saints.”  Oddly enough, Jason Webley doesn’t play accordion in this song, so I’m trying to figure out a part on my squeeze box that fits.  I’ve got the bass chords figured out, but the melody’s going to take a little more creativity I guess.

Angela’s done an amazing job learning ukulele, she’s tackling this song heroicly.

Also, we were playing along with the song, and the microphone in the MacBook is apparently positioned right next to the speakers, so through much of the song the actual Jason Webley is drowning us out.

Progress slowed slightly, as today I prepared to learn a new song with Angela, so we might play a accordion/ukulele duet.  Unfortunately, after restringing her ukulele, we were not able to get it to hold it’s tuning, so, well… there was that.  I was looking forward to posting footage of the duet, but it didn’t happen, so you’ll have to make something up.  Angela’s an impressive girl, so I’m fairly sure once we figure this whole tuning thang out she’ll destroy me with her musical abilities.

We also pursued the pigeon man of Silver Lake to do an accordion/pigeon photoshoot.  He did not show up to the photoshoot, but with a good photographer, the day was not entirely a bust.

I now present what you should consider a formal invitation to see my French counterpart, lowly pigeon farmer Pierre d’Awesome, show off whatever accordion playing skills can be gained in the course of a single month.
Pierre Pier Show
Remember, regardless of how good or how awful I am at the end of this month, this show will happen.  Feel free to come, bring your family, bring your friends, and see what happens!

Also, for your edification, here’s the pigeon man of Silver Lake who, had he attended our photoshoot, may have prevented me from Photoshopping myself into this ridiculous scenario.

Well, practicing is giving me a break from the outside world.  I’m really trying to take February to stay in and explore myself, which is a new experience in and of itself.  Almost all of my past-times as an adult have been social, save painting, so this pursuit is offering me a different outlook on life.  But I digress.

In some downtime at work yesterday, I was looking at some sheet music and furrowing my brow in a vain attempt to understand the situation.  A coworker noticed, and offered his two cents on the matter.  Come to find out, he has an advanced degree in music theory, so his two cents were worth a good deal.  He taught me about solfeggio, to explain the crazy Italian words underneath the bars of my accordion arrangements.  Each two-letter word represents a chord!  Turns out that “Do, a deer, a female deer” song that my mom always used to sing from The Sound of Music is an academically viable concept.

Interesting fact:  The song was transposed down to B-flat when Julie Andrews sang it, so it’s actually incorrect in the movie.  “Do” is supposed to be a C, but is a B-flat!  Julie Andrews lied to us via song!  Isn’t that interesting?  No?  Cram it with walnuts, ugly.

The solfeggio shenanigans helped me in piecing together the bass line for the song I’m learning, as the chords for the bassline are Re min, La min, Fa, and Do…  I feel like my sheet music is putting on airs by speaking in Italian, but whatever.  Here’s the result:

In addition, I’ve been getting reports back from other Brave Newbies on their skill development.  I’ve learned some awesome things from them.  Like what a zither is.  I can’t wait to start integrating communal progress into the blog!

Brave Newbie Writers

Phil WarrenPhil Warren (81)
Founder and editor of The Brave New, Phil Warren is now an accordion player, a minister, a sonic weapons expert, a director, a photographer, a public speaker, and a bunch of other things. Mostly he's an adventurer though. An adventurer who smells nice. Except when he doesn't.
NickNick (6)
One part Burner and one part Engineer; I’ve lived through twenty-five-and-a-half winters, and aim to keep it that way. My world is a strange one, and it’s my goal to make it stranger.

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