I have a Mandolin…and Natalie Portman’s pretty cute.

I like to consider the week after Christmas “Spend Your Gift Cards Week.”  So far, I’ve bought a few Blu-Rays (District 9, Family Guy), some clothes (pants for work, nothing exciting, calm down), a mocha at Starbucks, a TV stand/cabinet/whatever.  Oh, and a mandolin.  I almost bought a ukulele but I’m glad I didn’t.  Maybe I will during next year’s “Spend Your Gift Cards Week.”

So, first, about the mandolin.  It’s a pretty Epiphone MM-30s.  It wasn’t terribly expensive, but as a result it was poorly set up and seems like it had been sitting in the corner at Guitar Center for a while.  In that regard, I’m happy it was liberated.  On the other hand, I’ve put an hour or so of work into it and it’s still not quite up to par.  I think it needs a neck adjustment and maybe the nut needs to be filed.  I plan on doing that as soon as I’m done blabbering about it here.  I liked this mandolin because not only was it the only one in the store, but it has a solid top and a cool sunburst finish.  I also love that it says “The Epiphone” on the headstock…makes me feel like it’s a vintage instrument even though it’s not.  I tried to date it, but I can’t find info on the serial; I suspect it’s about 3-5 years old.

And now for Natalie Portman, although to get there we have to go through a few things.  When I walked out of the store with my new toy, I figured the first song I would learn would be REM’s “Losing My Religion,” because that seemed obvious.  Then I remembered Paul McCartney’s “Dance Tonight.”  I enjoy that song; it’s a lot of fun and it seemed like it would be easier to learn.  It was.  So then I traipsed over to YouTube to watch a video of McCartney playing it so I could learn the song, and I stumbled upon the video, which you can see here:

And hey!  That’s Natalie Portman!  With Paul McCartney!  And a mandolin!  YAY!

And we’ve come full circle.

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