Tuesday, December 30, 2008

1st meeting of 2009 !

We had a nice turnout for our December meeting despite the weather.

We'll have our 1st meeting of the new year on Sunday Jan 11th down at the Como Park Pavillion again, 2-5pm. Add a comment or send me an email if you have songs you want to share with the group.

See you there!


Sunday, December 21, 2008

We're still on for today...

The weather is looking pretty good right now, if it takes a turn for the worse we can knock off early. Use your own judgement and stay safe.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

song choices?

Hi All,

I wanted to comment on song choices.

I threw in the song "Moonlight On The Colorado" for this month and thought some of you might be interested in how I came up with this choice.

I'd never heard of the song before Thanksgiving this year. Sometime during Thanksgiving Day I was sitting with my mom and talking about the old songs we've been playing at our uke meetings.
She started humming and then singing bits of the song "Moonlight" and asking if I remembered years ago when we had a Victrola in the basement and she played this song.

Well, I don't recall ever having a Victrola and she's been forgetting things lately so maybe it was from when SHE was young rather than when I was.

Anyway, she mentioned how she used to love the song. That was enough for me, I wanted to learn the song so I could play it for my mom.

When I got home I started searching. I didn't have too much luck at first, I found a few sound clips, just bits of the song, from websites selling CD's. I checked youtube and found one clip of a young gal singing the song but not a period clip like I was hoping for. Here it is if you want to hear it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zN_B-X6IM3Q

I finally found the sheet music for it at this website: http://sheetmusic.library.sc.edu/ and this is the version I uploaded in the blog link. I think this song would sound really cool on steel guitar... maybe I need a resonator uke to fake it.

Do any of you have stories behind song choices?

Hope to see a few of you next Sunday.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Next Meeting, DEC 21st, 2-5pm Como Pavillion

Hi everyone,

Yes, we're still planning on meeting on the 21st.

I've had 4 songs submitted and I'll add a 5th; download and print them if you're coming.
If you have any more songs to share please let me know and I'll try to post them.

I don't know all of these either, come and learn them along with us.
David has supplied links to youtube for a couple of them at the top of the pages.
If it asks for a userid/password just hit cancel and they should download.
After You've Gone
Moonlight On The Colorado
Red Roses For A Blue Lady
Shine On Harvest Moon (updated version from John)
Whispering (verses included from David)
Whispering (sheet music)

The Whispering sheet music is the same as I handed out last month, grab a copy if you want as it'll help with the melody. David's version just has chord names, plus verses mine was missing.

The changes to Shine On Harvest Moon are interesting. This is the 2nd update John sent and what he's doing is converting it to a chord melody version. I play chord melody almost all the time and can show you a few more changes to take it even farther... I'd have to TAB it out to show all of it but at the meeting I can tell/show what I mean.

Last month I think we had more fun with the "oldies" than with the Xmas tunes but we'll play whatever you bring to share, as usual.

Hope to see you there.

Keep StrumMn!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Nov 23 recap

Hi all,
We had 8 show up to play yesterday and had a good time. I hope 1st-timers will come back again.
John did a little rework on Shine on Harvest Moon and sent this to me, check it out. (Just hit cancel if it asks for a userid/password.)
If any of you are on FaceBook, I just signed up last Friday and created a "StrumMn ukulele players" page. I'm going to try using it as an addition to the blog here. Check it out and let me know if you think it would work better for sharing information.

Next meeting is Sunday Dec 21st. I know it may not work for everyone but I hope a few off you can come down to Como and play uke. I'll post here and send an email reminder a couple weeks before the 21st.

Until then, keep StrumMn!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Looking for new songs?

check out this website I ran across: http://kristinhall.org/songbook/Songbook.html
They even have a parody of Ghost Riders (Ghost Chickens in the Sky)...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Songs for the next couple meetings

I've had replies from 3 people and want to share this info so people can practice or review songs.

David sent me Shine on Harvest Moon, just click here. If it asks for a userid/password just hit cancel and it'll give you the doc anyway, let me know if you have problems.

Gary sent this:
Christmas songs, on Betty lou Christmas songs,
Frosty the snow man, I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus, Jingle Bells, Mele Kalikimaka, O Christmas Tree.
For the group play, how about from,
www.salemukes.com, All of me, By the light of the silvery moon, five foot two eyes of blue, I can't give you anything but love, Sentimental Journey, Yes, sir, thats my Baby. These would be some good ones to start. I think we could look for some newer ones from the 50's and early 60's. I hope this gives us a start.

And Don sent a huge list of songs used at a nursing home. No music but check it out for songs we might want to learn for our own gig. The list is here.

If you have other suggestions please leave a comment or send me an email and I'll add it here.
Print a copy of the Xmas songs mentioned to play if you'll be there next meeting. The link to Betty Lou is in the links section to the right.
And Shine On Harvest Moon too!


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Next couple meetings!

Hi all, it's time to schedule a couple meetings so all of you can make plans to attend.

Sunday November 23rd, 2-5pm, Como Park Pavillion.

Sunday December 21st, 2-5pm, Como Park Pavillion.

I'd like to suggest we each try to bring a Christmas song that we can play as a group or learn for the December meeting. If you give me a link or send a copy via email I'll try to post them for everyone to download.

Also, if you have a suggestion for simple songs we can use for a nursing home or assisted living home gig please let me know or bring them along. I'd like to start putting them together into a practice book so we can give this a go in a few months.

Hope to see you in a couple weeks, and let me know your ideas.
Keep StrumMn!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A note from Paul in Samoa with the Peace Corps

Malo to all,

Well I finally had a chance to sit down with my computer. The past week has been the busiest week of my life, as well as one of the best weeks. Add in the preparation to the endeavor and that makes the busiest month of my life. Thank you to all who helped me in the process and also for supporting me in my Samoan Peace Corps adventure.

PC Samoa (Group 81) consists of 13 members. Nine males and four females coming from all over the states two representing MN. Go MN! We all get along very well and have become very close in such a short time. I have two roommates. Joey from Iowa and Igor from Mass. Our group is training to become teachers. Mostly computer instructors, a few special needs teachers, construction and PC Samoa’s first automotive service instructor. There are a lot of cars here and a great need for auto service skills. People seem to be pretty excited about having an auto service instructor. Oh yeah, mechanics are called engineers here. I have already made one car repair to our medical officer (MO) ‘s Honda that wouldn’t start. So I’m feeling good about the whole auto situation here.

Most of our time has been spent in language and culture training. We also have a lot of medical and safety classes. Training is going well so far. The language is definitely the toughest part. Our safety classes have been the most fun so far. One afternoon was devoted to water safety, which included a boat ride to a far coral reef where we snorkeled for a couple hours and another afternoon was devoted to beach safety, which also included a few hours of snorkeling. Already about four hours of snorkeling, can’t complain about that. The entire island (Upolu) is surrounded by coral barrier reef. Which is beautiful. It’s amazing all the ocean life I have seen in just four hours.

The rest of the island is beautiful. Green foliage, bright colored flowers everywhere, several mountains and great views from every angle. Tons of cars, a lot of cats and dogs, glass bottled Coca-Cola, and the fish market (my favorite place to eat). We’ve been staying in the Apia (capital city) Central Hotel. Nice place, very nice employees, as well as the Samoan people in general are extremely kind and respectful. Making it much easier to warm up to life here.

The entire process of the PC training is really impressive. It makes me feel even better about my choice. So much valuable information and great instructors, I feel so fortunate to have this opportunity.

We have two current PC volunteers (PCV) helping with the training process, Dylan and Laura. They have been such a great source of information; they are also a lot of fun. They have brought us out to some of the local entertainment sites and also have introduced us to a lot of other volunteers in Samoa (40 total in Samoa). Haven’t met all of them yet though. I met Eric who I contacted before leaving to Samoa and thanked him for his advice on bringing a guitar here. I’m glad I did, otherwise I would be bumming. He was even nice enough to give me an hour long guitar lesson (very cool) It’s nice to be around so many nice and talented people who are eager to share their knowledge. I’ve already learned a lot of computer related knowledge from all the IT people here. Hopefully they will help me set up my blog. Which will most hopefully be up pretty soon, but no promises.

This Saturday group 81 heads to Fausaga, a village on the south side of the island for a week’s stay with individual host families, which should be really interesting. It’ll be fun to see how village life is for families. Our trainers have been preparing us for village life. Yesterday we had a lesson on how to take a bucket shower, due to the lack of running water in some homes.

Well that’s about it for me. I could tell you so much more, but that’s it for now. You probably won’t hear from me for at least a week. The village definitely won’t have internet access. If you have some time please drop me a line, via e-mail of course, it’s nice to hear from all of you and it’s also nice to hear about what’s going on with the presidential election. Everybody here has been pretty involved with the election so far and is always excited to hear about any news, although my short wave radio has come in pretty handy for that. Anyways thanks again and I hope to hear from you soon.

Tofa, Paulo

P.S. My Samoan name is Paulo, yeah it was a big change.

10/19 followup

Hi All,

We had 7 of us show up to play today and it was gorgeous down at Como. A special welcome to the 3 first timers, Steve, Jonah, and Mercedes. I hope you come back and play uke with us again.

We're talking seriously about doing a gig at an assisted living home, the first thing is to get a short repertoire of songs together. Easy songs that we can learn and play together and that residents can sing along with would be best. Please help come up with some ideas.

I'll post a date for our next meeting soon, I'll shoot for pre-Thanksgiving which will hopefully give us a shot at another meeting before Xmas as well.

I received an email from Paul in Samoa last night, I wish I'd seen it before our meeting today so I could share it. I'll put in a separate blog entry for it.

Until next time, keep StrumMn! And come up with songs for our new "gig"!


Monday, October 13, 2008

Next meetng, Sunday 10/19!

Sorry for the short notice.
Let's try for Sunday the 19th, 2-5pm, Como (Black Bear Crossing Cafe).

David sent me a couple songs and I uploaded them to my web storage, hopefully you can get to them.

If you said you wanted a StrumMn shirt, I'll have it on Sunday.

If you have more songs for us leave a comment with a link or email it to me.

If you are looking for songs to play, check this out: http://nwfolk.com/uketabs.html

Hope to see you on Sunday!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Follow-up to Sept 21 uke playing session

Hi everyone,

Once again we had 6 people show up, incuding 2 more 1st timers... welcome guys!
Lots of uke talk, playing through songs and discussion with Paul about his Peace Corps assignment to Samoa. We all wish him the best!

Of course, we met on Sunday and on Monday I got a call that the new StrumMn shirts are all done and ready to be picked up. No hurry now so I don't have them yet, maybe this weekend.
If anyone is in a hurry to get theirs (assuming you asked for one) maybe we can work something out. I drive from Lino Lakes to Eden Prairie every day and there is a lot in between there where I could meet or drop one off. Otherwise I'll have them at the October get together which will be... well, sometime in October. Either the 19th or 26th... any preference? Speak up now and I'll set the date soon.

If you have links to music for us to try just leave a comment. David has been coming up with some winners lately... got any more?

Keep StrumMn!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Next StrumMn meeting - Sunday Sept 21st

Hi everyone, hope you're all out there strumming your ukes.

I typed this up and then deleted it once already when my plans were up in the air, hopefully this plan will work for most of you even though it's short notice.

Big news! Paul was accepted for the Peace Corps and will be gone for 2 years... I'm hoping he can make the meeting... I'm willing to push it out one more week if it means he can be there. Paul?

I'm half way through 2 weeks of on-call work which will really stress me out so I'm planning our next meeting for after I'm done with that. I called down to Como to check evening hours and to my dismay they are only open until 7pm now. That means I'm switching us from our summer evening meetings to the Sunday afternoon winter schedule.

Sunday Sept 21st, 2-5pm, inside the Black Bear Crossing Cafe in the Pavillion at Como Park.

Now, what do you want to play? Attach a comment to this post with suggestions and links if you can.

I haven't been able to contact my t-shirt person yet, I lost my invoice and need to find contact info again, but will still try to get more info for those of you who expressed interest.

Keep on StrumMn!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday followup

Another nice turnout on a beautiful evening. There were 6 of us out playing uke in the park tonight. We ran through an assortment of music and it was nice that everyone brought some to share.

Sara, it was nice that you could join us for the first time and I hope you come back again. By the way, that B chord on the baritone came to me on the way home. It's what the rest of us call the dreaded E chord with a 4442 shape. (I just needed to visualize my accordian buttons to come up with it.) Check out the Sheep Entertainment chord finder, the link is off to the right and here it is too. http://www.sheep-entertainment.nl/ukulele/index.html

Our next meeting will be mid September and I think we'll move inside the cafe since we ran out of light by about 8:30 tonight. Pick some music for next time and watch this space for the next date.

Oh yeah, StrumMn t-shirts should be $15, there may be a slight extra charge for larger sizes. Let me know if you want one and I'll wait a bit before placing the order and try to deliver at the next meeting if possible.

Until then, keep StrumMn!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Music for Monday 8/18

We're planning to meet from 7-9 near the pavillion again. We'll be outside if it's nice and in the Black Bear Crossing Cafe if otherwise.

I picked 3 songs from DrUke (I stole one from David), download/print/practice if you want.

If you have a song you want to cover please leave a link in a comment here so others can grab a copy.

I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter
Till There Was You

Hope to see you on the 18th!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Windy City Uke Fest !!!

More pictures added on 8/10, take a look below... and again on 8/12! And 8/16.

I know some of you have been waiting to hear about this, the WCUF was a BLAST!

What do you want to know? Workshops daily from 9-12 and 1-4, concerts from 6-11, jamming and talking and shopping uke in between.

The lineup of performers: Kimo Hussey, Ali Lexa, Windy City Islanders, Seeso, Abe Lagrimas Jr., Gerald Ross, Tim Sweeney, Victoria Vox, Mark "Spanky" Guiterrez, Lil Rev, Barefoot Hawaiian, Jonathan Carreira, Lopaka, Keenan Kamae, Curt Sheller. Hope I didn't miss any!

If ukes can get mojo from osmosis I'm in good shape, MY uke was played by Kimo Hussey, Spanky, Gerald Ross, MGM, and others as they checked it out. It's not perfect but I think I got a few thumbs up, I even have video of Spanky playing it which I'll try to get on here somehow (I've never done that before).

Check back as I'll probably just update this blog rather than enter another one.

And remember, StrumMn will meet on Monday 8/18 down at Como.

Anyway, here's a pic of the stage at the Tiki Terrace to start things off.

And a pic of David and Paul, and Spanky playing MY uke!

And here's Mark "Spanky" Guiterrez playing MY uke... just 20 seconds worth.

I just received this next picture from Steve Matheson. He lives in Australia and attended the WCUF. Since my Sheoak wood is from Australia I thought he'd get a kick out of it, and he did!

Here Kimo Hussey teaches a class.

Part of the vendor area...

More vendor space... That's MGM (Music Guy Mike) in blue with his back to the camera and Curt Sheller walking away (his table is the one in the foreground...)

Lil' Rev performs along with Gerald Ross.

And Victoria Vox puts on a fun show.

Jamming in the hotel lobby, photo courtesy or UkuleleTonya

One more picture! I added a few t-shirts to my wardrobe. I had a couple StrumMn t-shirts embroidered for David and myself (I can get more for $15 if anyone is interested, now that the image is digitized. I'll probably change the text from "my ukulele" to "ukulele players" next time around). Then there is the official WCUF t-shirt. And David's wife surprised us by sending along the Ukulele Hero shirts for both of us; what a gal!
Can't wait until next year for the 2nd annual WCUF!

Monday, July 28, 2008

A uke is born!

I strung it up tonight with Aquila strings and strummed a couple chords. The strings are still stretching so it'll be a day or two before I do much playing. At one point as I was bringing the strings up to tension I heard a good CRACK but I think it was the neck shifting slightly as I don't see any problems. I'll need to pick up a new case for it now, maybe one of those nice tweed ones that musicguymic sells. I'll try to post a sound file in a day or two if the strings have settled a bit.

Next StrumMn meeting tentatively planned for Monday 8/18 at Como, mark your calendars!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Almost there... !

Another coat or 2 of Arrow Wood Finish and then tuners should get me to the point that I can string it up and test the results.

Today I bolted on the neck so I could work on the saddle placement.
Here I masked it off, placed it with double stick tape, then carefully cut around it and then scraped off the finish so the glue would have bare wood to stick to.

Gluing the saddle in place. I lucked out with a new clamp I bought a few weeks ago, it turned out to work perfect for this task! The 2 side clamps were just to make sure the "wings" made solid contact, although I was afraid to pull them up too tight as they clamped right on the body.

Here it is tonight. I put in a bone nut and saddle which may need a little tweaking, I think the action may be able to come down a little bit.

Hopefully the bolt on neck attachment will work ok, etc... this whole thing has been an interesting experience. I'm hoping I can have it completed mid week and maybe a sound sample at that time. Keep your fingers crossed!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Disaster! (and recovery?)

Well I got 8 frets installed this morning and then the tail of the fretboard broke off at the 12th fret slot. :-(
I thought I'd just install the frets in the broke off piece and then glue it together with that fret glued in place but when I tried putting in fret 15 it split again. That sheoak is just too brittle when not glued to backing.
I thought about gluing it all to the body and then trying to install the frets but then I'd worry about busting up the body soooo... I took the fretboard off the neck with my table saw and I'll need to fashion a new fretboard.
I have a nice piece of ebony fretboard material I bought a couple years ago, I guess it's time to put it to use!
This may blow my timetable for having it ready for the Windy City Uke Fest. :-(
Pictures later....

Here's the start of fretting, looking good and I love that fretboard!

And here it is broken... ARGH!

I thought I'd try fretting this section and glue it on but it split again at the last fret when I tried to install it. You can click on all these pics if you want to see a larger version for details...

After much thought I decided to scrap the fretboard so I pulled the frets to re-use and here I've started nibbling the fretboard off the mahogany neck with the table saw.

Here is the piece of ebony I had on hand, I printed out a new fretboard template to glue on the fretboard blank.

First fret cut, 14 more to go...

Time to taper to match my neck and put the frets in again. I'm going to put all the frets in this time before gluing it to the neck.

And here is the new fretboard being glued to the neck. I'll need to do some glue cleanup and then, hopefully, I can install the neck on the body. Then I can do some refinishing and measure for placing the bridge and saddle. Installing that will be another hair raising adventure.
Wish me luck!


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Weekend progress

It's getting closer!

Here I'm gluing on the top. Most people seem to use a bunch of spool clamps. I don't have any and anytime I use a bunch of clamps then the pieces seem to creep all over. I put the back on my radius dish and applied a bunch of weight in the form of lead!

Here is how I'll attach the neck, a bolt-on into the barrel nut. Drilling the holes was tricky.

My bridge. I was going for a "canoe" shape, also looks like a smile I guess. Still needs to be a bit thinner and sanded to the curve of the top. Also needs holes for the "string-thru top" setup.

To glue on the back I sandwiched things between the 2 radius dishes, this worked really well!

Double checking my routing instructions before trimming off the excess!

After routing the excess. It left a few marks and some extra that needed trimming with a sharp chisel but all-in-all it went very well. At least no chip-out!

Here's the body after a little sanding.

I decided to just sign, date, & number it for now. There is room for a label if I come up with something...

Fitting the neck was a bear... I need jigs!!! Here it's bolted on but I'm just holding the fretboard in place.

Fretboard still just sitting in place...

The neck is removed and the fretboard is being glued under all those clamps somewhere. Still need to sand it even and install frets.

That's enough for now... it might be ready for the Windy City Uke Fest after all!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

More progress

Ok, a couple new pictures.
This shows the rosette inlay, it's a 1/8" ring of mahogany. Somehow the inlay ring and the soundhole cutout didn't come out quite concentric (all my practice ones did!) but I was able to sand them into allignment. I think this is the "before fixing" picture, see if you even notice the problem. Sometimes I'm a bit picky...

My "go-bar deck." I'd read you could just use a table, so I did. It took 6 fiberglass bars just fine but the 7th lifted the table! Even with extra "stuff" piled on top. Ok, guess what I'll be building soon?

The joint at the tail was not perfect (what is?) so I built a jig and inlayed a mahogany tail graft. It was easier than I thought but I need to trust my jigs. I lined up on the bad joint instead and it's a hair crooked... no one else will notice but I'll always know it's there. I could have immediately recut it but decided it was close enough and a good reminder.

Got braces and a (mahogany) soundhole patch in place, ready to carve.

I carved and did some initial sanding on the braces. I did the "tap tuning" but since it's my first and I have nothing to compare to... well I'll just have to wait and see! The tone is definitely different from the front to the back. Which is better? How should I know?! :-)

Last thing I did tonight was to glue on the internal bridge patch. I looked at pictures of others to get an idea on size/shape etc... and it looks kinda big now that it's in there... it's awful thin though and maybe I'll sand taper the edges a bit more, just because I can!

Pretty soon I'll need to button up the box. First I need to think about neck attachment, I'm planning on a bolt on neck so I need to drill a hole or two. Then some final internal sanding. Oh yeah, I suppose I should sign the inside or even make up a label... first I need a "name"... any ideas? I'll probably just go the way of C.F.Martin rather than think up something "cute."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

7/14 recap and potential next meeting

We ended up with 6 of us strumming up near the waterfall at Como last night. It was a gorgeous evening weatherwise, perfect for playing outdoors. We had several onlookers stop and comment which is always fun.

Everyone seemed to agree that we need advance notice of music and they agreed to submit links to stuff they're working on... infact, how about just adding your link to music for next time in a comment here. Maybe a week before we meet I can put them all in an email as a reminder.

With the Windy City Uke fest on Aug 1-3 and my work schedule I think I'm going to plan our next meeting for Monday Aug 18th. Comments?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

a couple more build pics

1st, Come StrumMn Monday 7/14, 7-9 @ Como.

Now, pictures!
Here I'm gluing in the "mandolin" kerfing I bought from Stew-Mac. Nothing too tough here.
I had a little glue squeeze out which I wish I'd cleaned up right away, the stuff is rock hard now so will take a little more work. At the time it was soft I didn't want to mess with it because I was worried about moving things. I guess you get a choice and deal with it either way.

Here it is after the glue is dry. It's sitting on one of my radius dishes to which I've glued down sandpaper. I'm already done sanding it to the radius at this point. I need to get my top and back ready next.
I'm a little afraid of ruining my top by doing a rosette since I've never done any inlay and it seems a little like a "black art" to me. I'd also bought a 1/8" downcut router bit from Stew-Mac to give this a try. Turns out my little router circle attachment only went down to 4" so it was back to the drawing board. I built a new base for it and put several registration holes at different diameters. I only had to re-do one of the holes. Here is my second practice attempt, a 2" hole, then 1/8" from that I have a 1/8" ring. This is all in 1/8" mahogany, nothing glued. I've got another mahogany ring ready to go when I get up the guts to route my actual top, probably tomorrow. I also have braces just about ready to go in so they'll probably get glued up tomorrow too. By Monday I should be ready to start carving the braces back.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

build progress

1st, don't forget to come play uke with StrumMn on Monday 7/14, see the blog below for info.

Now! I carved my uke neck tonight! I should have taken pics right after the glue up but I didn't. I had already glued the headplate on (I bookmatched scrap cut off of my sides and I'm using it for both the headplate and the fretboard.) I slotted the fretboard a couple nights ago, it went SO much smoother and faster than last time and looks good.

On my blue uke-stick I used a zero fret, this time I'm going without and will need to learn how to setup the nut. I don't know how this "Sheoak" will hold up as a fretboard but since it's my first real uke build I'm guessing it won't matter much. I may not bind this one either... we'll see. Probably no soundhole ring either, inlay still scares me and I'll need to practice a bit.

I also finished a second radius dish over the weekend. Now I have 25' and 12' complete with patterns and material to do 15' and 8' dishes when I get bored. :-)

My order from Stew-Mac came today with brace wood and kerfing so it's time to put those radius dishes to work and see about closing up the body. I wonder if I can get it done before the Windy City Uke Fest... I'm not going to rush.

Now for pictures!

Here it is, I used the exact same pattern as I used on my blue uke-stick. The center line is just pencil used for layout purposes.

The sanding isn't complete yet. I used micro-plane rasps and 100 grit sandpaper so far.
Here I just set things in place to get a sneak preview, I can't wait to finish it up!