I really need longer summers

Our summers are just too short. I totally enjoyed the wonderful, super sunny, hot stretch we had. That was awesome. I just need more of it. I love long days and warm nights and I’m sad they are on the way out. It seems I’m best suited for tropical climates. I’m one of those people you will never hear complaining about the heat. I love the heat. It could be because I’m use to being in hot water. Lol

Nonetheless, what can a person do but embrace the changing seasons and appreciate what they have to offer. Or, fly somewhere else sunny and hot, or a combination of the two. I’ll take the combo please.

On the music side of things, I’ve been extremely busy  and look forward to slowing down a bit. I know one has to make hay and all that, but, one also has to have a life beyond work. So, to that end, I am looking at changing things up a bit and part of that would be to finally launch the first in my Roaming Soul Club ‘Lite’ series.

This would be smaller shows, often solo with a guest or two, playing more originals than I typically perform at my ongoing gigs but still with some of the favorite covers. The most likely venue, to start with, will be the White Rock Elks lounge. The plan is to keep the ticket price reasonable. At some point, I will do a larger production with the full band. In the meantime, the smaller shows create an environment where fans can come out and experience the music without so much of the din that is typically present at restaurant venues. Not to mention how much it ends up costing to eat and have a few drinks. The ticket price for the events will end up being much cheaper than the restaurant option.

I also want to mention that the trio will be back at the WAG (Washington Avenue Grill) this New Year’s Eve. Considering how late in life many of us are, I’m hoping to have lots of friends and fans at this year’s New Year’s Eve gig. It would be a gas. And, the WAG is awesome and always fun on NYE. We are also there Nov 26 & Dec 17.

Well, I gotta go get ready for another gig. This will be a new room for me. The London Bull on the Surrey/Langley border.

Peace to you all.

Neil

 

Regrets, I have more than a few

At this point of my journey I find myself reflecting on the choices I made and how they shaped my life story. In our culture there seems to be the romantic notion of ‘no regrets’ and ‘I wouldn’t change a thing’, which, I believe, in most cases, is nonsense.

I’m not suggesting we stew in the juices of regret, as that would not accomplish anything but misery. However, practicing acceptance of the plethora of bad choices and honouring how those choices affected the outcome, is a process which does smooth the edges of the shards of memory and move me into peace.

I can honestly say, if there was a time machine which would allow me to go back, while retaining what I know now, I would definitely make different choices. Yes, I do have regrets.

The reason I am posting this is to emphasize how important our choices are and that minimizing this reality in order to pursue bad behaviour, will almost always destroy dreams and hurt many others along the way. May we all Be mindful, Be present and Just BE.

Happy 2016

Well, here we go again. Another year has passed and I have seldom managed to find time to post updates. I’m going to push the ‘reset’ button and try again to be more selective on where I spend my time. As we all know, time is getting more valuable each moment.

The last few months of 2015 was a bumpy ride and left me bruised and confused. However, at the very end of 2015 a light was turned on and gave me a peak of what could be. I gave up drinking in November and I have to say, overall, I feel better. Sure, there are times I miss it a little, but not enough to return to the lifestyle. In fact, the more I see drunks or even just folks overly affected by alcohol, the less I miss it.

As part of the 2016 ‘reset’ I will be making a concerted effort to finally bring some focus to the Roaming Soul Club project and other musical pursuits. Keep an eye and ear out for that.

Sadly, 2016 started with yet another loss of a musical and cultural icon. David Bowie has moved on to truly be a Starman. He was one of a kind and a true artist. He made music right until the end. RIP David. The amount of folks in my generation that have been passing over is freaking me out. But, such is the circle of life.

I’m still playing most Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays at Cardero’s. You can check my gig page for updates to my schedule and any other additional gigs I may be doing. For starters, I’m playing Bistro 72 on Jan 22, 23.

Well, I gotta for for now but will get back to this soon. Wishing you all a healthy and joyful 2016.

Peace – Neil

 

It’s About Time

I keep trying to find time to update my website news feed but the days go by so fast I never seem to get to it.  So, I decided I need to find a way to be more consistent, just in case somebody actually visits my site. 😊

Speaking of how fast the days go by, I can’t believe we are already two months into 2015. Will somebody please turn the speed dial down! I mean really! Is it just me or do others feel the same way? It’s becoming more and more difficult to complete projects and check off the endless to dos. I am trying my best to not get caught up in the ‘angst’ of what is not getting done or get overwhelmed by all the work and chores. Reading and practicing Eckhart Tolle’s teachings helps to bring stillness into my life. I am very thankful for being introduced to Eckhart. 

With regards to music, it’s business as usual. I’ve been very busy playing gigs and so haven’t had many opportunities to write and record but I will be making time soon. My soul really needs it. I am also looking at producing some shows. At first they will be small solo shows, likely at a restaurant after dinner time so music fans can just come out for a snack and a couple drinks. There will be a cover charge which will be based on the size of the show. For the solo shows it will likely be no more than $10.00. 

I am very grateful to all the venues that hire me and have enjoyed a lot of the gigs but based on my fan base and my personal needs it’s time to also play some shows where the focus is the music and the artist does not have to compete with the din. Some folks believe fans would not pay a cover when they can see me play a regular gig for no cover. But, most folks understand that there is a big difference between a show and a regular gig. For starters, I would be performing mostly originals. And, as mentioned the focus would be the music. In fact, many folks don’t come to my regular gigs because they prefer the concert/show experience. I will update my news page and Facebook when I have more details. For now, I gotta go get some chores done. 

Check out my gig page for some new venues I am playing. 

Be well. – Neil

Mac & iOS WireLurker Malware

For the most part, Mac users have not had to deal with a whole lot of virus and malware issues. However, there are folks out there with nothing better to do but find ways to mess up other people’s lives and add to their stress level. It boggles my mind.

The latest concern, the WireLurker Malware, is documented here. Please read the info in the link and come back to this page if you would like my assesement.

Is the concern re: the WireLurker Malware overblown? Yes & No. Yes, because there are some pretty basic things one can do to avoid and/or minimize the threat, and No, because it’s easy for many folks to miss the details and walk right into the trap, after which they will be in a world of tech ‘hurt’. Nobody needs that. So, here’s my take on this, much of which reiterates the recommendations in the linked article.

ONLY download apps to your Mac from the Apple App Store or from reputable and trusted 3rd party sites. Do NOT download apps from anywhere else. Period! That, in and of itself, should keep malware and viruses off your computer. Apple has taken a lot of heat over the years for maintaining such tight control over what gets installed on their products and this is a prime example of the wisdom behind such a closed environment. I’m the first one to agree there are many useless apps on the Apple Store, but there are also more than enough good or great apps available for all the things we need to do.  Add to that the reputable, trusted sites and there is a plethora of awesome solutions. Not that there isn’t room for improvement, because there is, but to go to a untrusted site that is flogging apps that have not been cleared by Apple or are outside the box of trusted sites is just opening a gateway for very nasty stuff.

Now here’s the next part to this. If your Mac does get infected, it seems it doesn’t actually affect your Mac itself because WireLurker is really just waiting for the opportunity to infect your iPhone or iPad. That’s it’s goal. And, the way the malware gets from your Mac to your iOS device is via USB. So, the other precaution is to NOT transfer data via the USB port. Yes, there may be times you need to transfer large video files to your computer from your iOS device or a particular iOS app does not support cloud storage (proprietary cloud, iCloud, Dropbox etc…) but, for the most part we are pretty much at the point where you don’t need to hardwire your iOS device to your computer.

With iOS8 and Yosemite we now have iCloud Drive which supports all files, including video files, so that should take care of the data in Apple Apps and most other App Store apps (and trusted apps) work with some kind of cloud service. In fact, I typically stay away from apps that don’t support iCloud, Dropbox or some other cloud service.

If, for some reason, the cloud solution is not available there is one more way to get data to your computer from your iPhone or iPad without a USB cable. The downside to this solution is that if you have not already set up your iPhone or iPad to sync wirelessly over WiFi to iTunes then you will have to risk connecting via USB long enough to toggle that preference on. The preference is in iTunes under Options. Once you have toggled this preference on for your iOS devices they will show up just as if they were connected via USB if you have the device plugged into a power source. So, if you have to do this, toggle the pref on and unplug from the computer asap.

Well, that’s about all there is at this point until a remedy is found to rid your computer of the malware and/or prevent it from getting on your computer in the first place. AntiVirus apps can certainly help but often times when a virus or malware first hits the scene the AntiVirus apps need to catch up, so still, it makes sense to follow all of the recommendations re: avoiding untrusted 3rd party app stores. An example of trusted 3rd party sites are apps like Evernote, Things, Panic, Rouge Amoeba, NCH software etc… It’s not difficult to figure out which ones are safe. Ironically, many of these apps are also available at the Apple App Store but because of restrictions related to sandboxing (google it) some companies give you the choice of downloading from the Apple App Store or as a direct download.

The thought occurred to me that Samsung may have created WireLurker to cause Apple and the users of their products grief. In a world driven by way too much greed, one never knows. :-)

Safe computing to you all. Be well. – Neil

PS

Normally I use my website for news and products related to my music. However, being as this newsfeed is essentially my WordPress blog, I figure it’s time to change things up a bit. Aside from love of music, I’ve always had a passion for technology, and over the years I’ve worked in various roles in that industry, including as a self-employed Mac computer tech. Although my busy gigging schedule prevents me from doing as much tech work as I use to, I still spend considerable time helping folks close to me and am always researching and keeping as educated as possible regarding technology and more specifically Mac related technology.

Project Maui

I’m back from Maui after a short holiday with my wife Julia and daughter Amy. I can’t say enough about the beauty and vibe of that wonderful place. Julia and I were there last year as well and I would love to just pack up and move there – NOW. In fact, Project Maui is currently underway.

I’ve been researching the non-traditional music culture and although it has proven very elusive, I have a few emails ‘out there’ in an effort to connect with folks who may be able to point me in the right direction. As a means to and end, I would be willing to play some gigs in the restaurant/lounge circuit, but that’s not my ultimate goal. I would like to be involved in the singer/songwriter, rockin’/blues/folk circuit. I am kicking around some show concepts that could help with my quest.

I know it’s a long shot and there are many hoops one needs to jump through, but at this point of my life I am ready for a change, so we’ll see where this takes me.

In the meantime, I am very grateful for all the work and support I have in White Rock & Vancouver area. For now, it’s life as usual, although I am determined to change a few things up for my local shows as well. It always seems there is not quite enough time to get around to all the goals I have set for myself, so I think I need to look at my time management. :-)

Spring seems to be on it’s way, which is awesome, as I’ve had enough drizzle for awhile. Looking forward to another hot summer.

For my ‘gig list’ please visit – http://www.neilharnett.com/html/gigs.html

Wishing you all Peace & Health.

Neil

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Happy New Year – Welcome to 2014

Well, we made it. Another year has gone by and here we are in 2014. It’s crazy how time just seems to fly by and my list of to-dos doesn’t seem to get any shorter. In fact, it just seems to get longer. It’s all good though. I’ve become pretty diligent at working my Eckhart Tolle program of present moment living and acceptance, so the stress caused by modern day life has been greatly reduced, especially in comparison to the way it use to be for me. Thank you Eckhart.

I would like to thank all those who have supported me and my music over the years, including my wonderful family. The music industry is very complex and challenging and without fans, an artist would simply be playing for themselves, and although that can be satisfying at times, the real joy of music is in the sharing. Of course, with today’s new music industry paradigm, even sharing music has become super complex and yet, regardless of that, it sill comes down to fans who support the artists and their music. So, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thank you as well to the venues who support live music. Without you, being able to make even a modest living, playing live, would be near impossible. There are far too many to list here but I will at least mention the rooms I play on a regular basis, to whom I owe much gratitude for their continued bookings.

Thank you: Washington Avenue Grill, The Vault, Bistro 72, Cardero’s, West Beach Bar & Grill and the Ox & Barrel. Thank you as well to the many senior’s homes, where I get to bring music to those who can’t otherwise get out to hear some tunes. I need to also mention Evergreen Cottages, which is a room I play for those with Acquired Brain Injuries. We’ve had a lot of fun over the years. 

I am hoping to do more self-produced shows this year and look at getting into a few new rooms. One venue that comes to mind, where many of my friends are playing, is the Fan Club in Vancouver, so, with any luck, perhaps I can play some tunes there in 2014.

Music aside, life can throw many curves, not the least of which is seeing dear friends and family move on, which is never easy. I know many of us have had to deal with such losses in 2013, and as time goes on, there will be more. So, we must enjoy life, while we have it, and be kind to one another and put judgement and intolerance aside and do our best to manifest love into this world. I have no idea what life is all about and have come to realize there is no point in driving myself crazy trying to figure it out, as knowing is not ultimately important. Having said that, there are still times when I feel tortured and get a little crazy, but as long as I can keep reasonably balanced, it’s all good. 

Here’s to some new music in 2014. I just need to find some time to finish up the plethora of ideas I have started over the last couple of years. You can find my list of gigs here. See you around. :-)

I wish you all peace, joy & health. Be safe.

– Neil