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3 October, 2004

Some Answers

I see that the Ask J-Walk inbox is bursting at the seams. I guess it's time to provide some answers.

dbates: I've started learning how to play the guitar. My fingers are sore, and I'm lousy at cord progressions. How long does it take until I can play "Old McDonald"? (Or anything recognizable)

There is no answer to that question. Your guitar progress depends on a number of factors, the most important of which is probably motivation. The soreness will go away quickly if you play regularly.

I would strongly suggest that you take lessons from a good instructor -- one that will customize the lessons so you will get the most out of it. I never took lessons, but I wish that I had.

nick: what do you remember about Woodstock?

It was a real long movie, and about half of it was pretty good.

angela: What man invented the p-38 can opener?

I have no idea, but I did find this: "Information about the actual inventor of the P-38 has faded with the passing of years. So perhaps it's best to fanaticize about a "Patron Saint of Army Inventions" who's been responsible for creating devices empowering a soldier to survive in war and peacetime."

zfraile: Why don't you do consulting work anymore? When you were still doing it, did it pay reasonably well enough? Do you have any recommendations to someone who's seriously thinking about going into this field? Can a guy earn a living doing something he loves?

I get consulting offers all the time, but I guess I'm too lazy to pursue them. Or maybe they just don't interest me (most Excel apps are very boring).

My suggestions: Spend lots of time in the Excel newsgroups and answer as many questions as you can. And do it professionally -- good grammar, clear answers, etc.. And, of course, you'll need to create a high-quality Web site with lots of free material. If you're good, you will get noticed.

And yes, a guy can earn a living doing something he loves. And so can gals.

Shallow: What's your take on Microsoft as a whole? Sometimes you seem to hate and loathe them but you've made your all your book writer career based on a Microsoft product and you're also an Excel MVP. A love/hate case?

I've said this many times in the past. Somehow, Microsoft is less than the sum of its parts. I've met lots of Microsoft employees, and 95% of them are incredible people. But for some reason, the company itself doesn't reflect that. But I suspect that's true for nearly all big corporations.

John Weeks: Why do most people use a moniker instead of their real name when they go online?

I don't know. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that just about everything that you put online will be available forever.

michael c: can you tell me what you eat and what ecsercisses you do.

For the eating part, see this. Lately, I don't get much ecsercisse at all. Mostly, it's walking around the neighborhood, with occasional biking. I used to do a lot of jogging and even went to fitness centers. But not any more.

Carl: As a fellow player/collector/lover of guitars, what guitar which you currently do not own is your ultimate "dream guitar"?

I would love to own Willy Nelson's Trigger. A few years ago he was answering questions in an online chat. I told him that I'd trade him a brand new Martin for that old beat up guitar. He said that he'd get back to me on that one.

Danny: What do you think of Pete Townshend's music or guitar playing?

No opinion. I've never really been much of a Who fan.

swive: Have you read the Harry Potter series? If so, what do you think of it? If not, why?

I've read only the first Harry Potter book. I liked it, but not enough to read the subsequent ones. I have seen all of the movies, though.

Champthom: Teacher, what is the greatest commandment?

Don't forget Poland.

Toad: Have you ever served on a jury, or been called for jury duty?

I've been summoned for jury duty four times. The first time was when I had a real job, so I was glad to go. They didn't pick me. The other three times occurred when I was self-employed. All three times, I sent them a letter stating that I could not be away from my job. All three times, I never even heard back from them. I never showed up for those last three. I assume that I was excused and they simply didn't have the common courtesy to tell me so.

Steve: You've been asked a few times in the past where you find all these cool links, and your answer has always been as vague as that question. So, I'll be specific. Where did you happen upon the link to the Turd Birds you posted on September 29, 2004?

I honestly don't remember.

yogi: Why did you change my "I love jamming the guitar" to "I love jamming on the guitar? Guitar players know the difference!

It took me a while, but I figured out the yogi is referring to the 203 Things document. Yogi, I assumed that it was a typo on your part and I corrected it. I will admit that I don't know what "jamming the guitar" means.

Richard: What's the worst food you ever ate?

Probably at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. There's really nothing worse than bad Chinese food.

Richard: Chocolate, Vanilla, or Swirl?


Wendy!: Do you find it interesting that this blog has a life of it's own because of the comments?

Absolutely. This blog just wouldn't be the same without the comments. I read them all, and I'm often fascinated by them. In fact, I think the comments are what keeps me interested in doing this blog every day.

mudrock: I recently bought a new computer and I have not been able to post comments to this blog from it. Does it have anything to do with my security settings or are you blocking the IP address or something like that and if so why?

See the FAQ. It's also possible that I've blocked your IP address for one reason or another.

Posted on 3 October, 2004

Sunday Photo Caption Contest #28

Add your humorous caption as a comment.

Posted on 3 October, 2004