Product recommendations- Spotify ‘Like Playlist’

So simple, but o-so effective!

So, for those who have been following me on my ‘Bass guitar’ learning journey, the last time we spoke, I was using my sister’s old Electric guitar like a ‘Treble bass’. And have been getting plenty of use out of it, due to its ease to play, racking up more hours towards my 10,000 hours of practice, before I could truly say that I’d mastered a skill.

And today’s post is to let you know how Spotify has been playing a huge part in my learning.

It’s a funny thing, when I tell people that I’ve been teaching myself the Bass guitar, the most common question I’ve been asked has been “So do you learn using an app or something?” And I quickly shake my head in the negative and let them know that I’ve just been using Spotify. And I’m sure if I could see, they probably be giving me a quizzical look. Like as if they had just learned that Spotify has introduced a series of musical tutorials. Or if it had never dawned on them that you could just listen to a song and learn it by ear, or the idea of playing an instrument along to a song on the radio could be a means to learn it for yourself.

But that’s what I’ve been doing! No, Spotify hasn’t introduced a series of tutorials teaching people musical instruments, however I’ve just been requesting songs from Spotify, picking up my guitar and plucking away at it until I eventually feel out all the bass notes for songs. Yes, it has been an arduous process at times (especially if my wife has been at home to hear it all), as sometimes it’ll take me a whole entire week to master a song (or I could cheat and just ask my wife to teach me from the sheet music), but we do eventually get there.

But what had been annoying me with this process had been this. I’d be requesting songs just by asking my Google home to play them on Spotify. And I’d learn whatever version of the song Spotify happens to bring up at the time. But as you know, Spotify has many versions of the same songs, either completely different songs by the same name, or the same song but different versions performed by the same or different bands/artists. And as you also know, Google (or it could be Spotify), they don’t always bring up the same song each time- although you might be using the exact same requesting phrase.

So, I’d be super annoyed when I’d learn a song in a particular key or a particular arrangement which I liked, and then low and behold I’d be unable to bring up again the same exact song by requesting for it through my Google home. Grrr!

And I must add, I’ve never used the Spotify Smart phone app much in the past, I just found it to be too busy- and why did I need it, when my Google Home did all the work already- being my voice activated music jukebox!?

But here is how I’ve been using the Spotify ‘Like’ button and ‘Like Playlist’ to great effect. These days, when I had located a song and the version which I liked on the Spotify app, I simply ‘Liked’ the song (flick up for more options and select ‘Like’). And hence forth it would be added to my ‘Like Playlist’. And it’ll remain there for ever and a day, until I decide to ‘Unlike’ it (if I ever wanted to conduct a clean-up of songs I rarely listened to), or until I stopped using the Spotify platform, but I can’t see that happening anytime soon.

So, these days when it comes time to practice or learn a new song, I’d simply ask Google to play Spotify on the Home, and it will pick up playing whatever I was last listening to. I’d set up my guitar and amp, and when I was ready to go, I’d pick up my phone, bring up the Spotify app, navigate to my Library tab (the Like Playlist is the very first item), tap on that, and there is my long list of songs I’ve learnt or intend to learn! And just tapping on the song that I wanted right then and now, and there you go! The song would be playing, and I’d be waiting for my cue to come in with the boom!  And if you have your songs in a particular order in your playlist, then you don’t even have to stop after songs, but you can allow the playlist to play on and you just need to keep playing your guitar along to the next and next song until you’ve completed your set- or until you can no longer feel your feet from standing too long; or until your fingertips are sore from plucking; or until your shoulder is screaming out in pain  from the guitar strap digging into your flesh. Ah! Golden!

So, if you haven’t ever tried jamming with a virtual band via Spotify!? Give it a go, all you need is the app and a liberal usage of the ‘Like’ button. Rock-on-dude!!!!

Potato Pesto Pasta Recipe

Where less is more!

Serves: 4


2 Large potatoes

1 Packet spiral pasta

1 Jar pre-made Pesto

Handful Flat leaf parsley


Step 1: Bring to a boil a pot of salted water.

Step 2: Meanwhile peel and cube potato into 1 cm by 1 cm cubes.

Step 3: When water is at a boil, add packet pasta and cubed potatoes to pot. Stir occasionally. Cook for 11 minutes in total.

Step 4: While pasta is cooking, pick leaves off parsley stalks and set aside.

Step 5: When pasta and potato has stopped cooking, drain water from pot (allow to cool slightly). Stir in Pesto and parsley. Then serve.

From start to finish less than 20 minutes; only 4 ingredients; and only one pot to wash at the end! But so full of flavour- this dish is truly less is more! Enjoy! 

Netflix recommendations- Locke & Key (Season 1

Haunting, disturbing, but O-so moreish!

See, what I do is this. Once every couple of days, I bring up my Netflix app and check-out what are the top 10 trending shows on Netflix. Don’t we all!? And a couple of weeks back ‘Locke & Key’ was on the top 10 list.

And I have to admit, it was the 30 second trailer which hooked me in! And I’m not joking when I say this, but since watching the very first episode there hasn’t gone a day since, where I haven’t thought about it at least once in my day. And we watched the first ep over a month ago.

There’s something about Locke & Key which just gets stuck in your mind, scenes which once you’ve seen, you’re unable to un-see. And plot lines which have you thinking and thinking about it, trying to work out if the chronology made sense. Or how a ‘twist’ changed everything that you thought you knew, causing you to re-live each scene in your mind now that you have this new understanding.

And if I could take a step-back, for those who are unfamiliar with Locke & Key, this Netflix original is based on the comic book series of the same name. The title refers to the Locke family, made up of Nina (the mother), Tyler (eldest son), Kinsey (middle child), and Bode (youngest son). The family has just re-located across the country to Massachusetts, after the violent death of their father Rendell Locke. Moving into the Locke family home (Key house), for a fresh start and for Nina to better understand her late husband’s past.

However as they settle in to the century old mansion, Bode while exploring the property discovers ‘Echo’, a female voice which speaks to him from the depths of the well house. Then he hears whispers, unintelligible sounds that call out to him, in attempts to catch his attention and draw him close. Where he finds magical keys, hidden away in and around ‘Key house’. These keys when inserted into the corresponding lock of a door (or object), would unlock untold powers and horrors!

For example, the Anywhere key- which enables whom possesses it to open any door, transporting them to anywhere in the world that they could picture in their mind’s eye.

The Head key- a key which allows individual(s) to enter another’s depiction of their mind, allowing them to explore stored memories and personal experiences.

The Ghost key- when inserted into a specific door, frees one’s spirit to move freely, defying gravity/solid objects, and allows them to converse with other spirits.

And the list goes on, with upwards of 10 different keys? Each with its own unique powers. And the keys find themselves into the opening title, which acts as a teaser to what we’re to expect in the episode. Thus you have the Locks, and you have the keys!

But in the midst of their discovery of these keys and learning what they each do, the Locke family navigate typical teenage angst and high school; discover secrets/truths about their late father; uncover small town mysteries which locals are trying hard to forget; and of course the presence of not-so-nice forces who work hard to possess these magical keys.

But what comes with a totally engrossing and immersive show? Are the moments when you least want to re-live a particularly disturbing scene….. Say when you’re trying to sleep on a weekday night? When you have a long day of work ahead of you the next day? Yeah, it’s then, when these disturbing scenes replay themselves in your mind. Ah! Locke & Key was so effective in this that we had to restrict our viewing to only on the weekends, and only during the day-times. And when we neared the end of season 1, we smashed out the final 4 episodes in 2 days, and paid for it when we had poor sleeps for the next 3 nights! It’s not super scary, as other horror shows can be, but there are certain scenes which stay with you, and the story-line or the way that they unfold, makes it very thought provoking. We’ve spent many hours discussing certain scenes and situations to fully understand what happened.

In my personal opinion, Locke & Key was fully worth-while watching, even if it resulted in some sleepless nights. But can we put ourselves through this again, returning back to Key house for season 2? Perhaps not right now, perhaps in the New Year?

To start your own journey with Locke & Key, click HERE! To unlock the magic and horrors for yourself! 

Product recommendations- USB Guitar Link Cable

And they say, this doesn’t exist!?

We went to JB Hi-Fi, specifically the music section of the store and asked the sales assistant: “Um, would you have a 1.4 inch jack to USB cable?” I hesitantly asked, voice muffled by my cloth face mask.

Sales assistant draws a blank, then I reframe my question: “Um, do you have a cable which goes into my guitar, which then plugs into my computer via USB?”

More looks of confusion, then leads us to a locked display case, pointing at an Audio Interface box thingy, priced at over $150.

I try to clarify again: “It’s just a cable, 1.4inch musical audio jack into USB.” Even includes hand gestures of a finger going into a hole made by my clenched fist……

“Sorry, I don’t think something like that exists.” Was his final response. To say the least, I felt pretty silly, it was like asking a pet store owner if I could buy a unicorn for my child……….

And that evening as we caught up with family for the first time (this was the first weekend after the Sydney lockdown lifted), when I was telling my brother-in-law what we got up to that day, recounting this JB Hi-Fi incident. My bro-in-law also asked:

“Really? Something like that exists? I’ve never heard of one before.” And, No, I’m not still talking about the unicorn-Pet shop analogy. But it seemed that the consensus was that, this instrument to USB thingy didn’t exist!

But it was the greatest sense of vindication! The feeling of “I told you so!” when I found the product of my imaginations after some mad Googling.

The ‘USB Guitar Link Cable’

I found it on Precision Audio’s web-site, priced at $19.00 Australian before postage + handling. What it could do, and at its price!? It really seemed too good to be true!

And after a week in the hands of Australia Post, it arrived and here is my user’s review of the Unicorn of the cable world.

First impression was that it resembled an old-school computer mouse. It was larger than I had anticipated it to be, I thought it would just be a two ended cable and that was that. But no, it has a fist sized plastic body, which has 2 ports, one for audio in, and one for audio out. It has two scrolls, one for audio out volume control, the other allows you to switch between ‘high’ and ‘low’. And a LED light which illuminates (very brightly) when the USB end is plugged into your computer.

The cable is plenty long at 1.4m, and it’s literally plug and play! No power required, and no installation needed.

And the other brilliant thing is that it is both PC and Mac compatible, although the demo software which it comes with on a mini disc (Guitar Rig) is only compatible for PC users- however Apple’s GarageBand enables you similar (and probably better) functions and features of Guitar Rig. Not to mention, who has a disc drive in their PCs anyway?

So now we can plug our guitars into the USB Guitar Link Cable, and the sounds from our instruments come straight out of our computer’s speakers. Click on record in GarageBand, and in a matter of seconds you’re manipulating and editing your audio tracks.

And the cable’s use isn’t limited just for guitars, you can plug any device with a 1.4inch jack, so in went our electric piano keyboard, the Roland Hand Sonic, and on the out audio end, we plugged in DJ headphones or our Amp. It’s really that easy and versatile!

Some negatives, when the scroll is rolled to ‘High’, there is some feedback, a hum or a hiss which was kind of annoying. But if you rolled the scroll tuner to ‘Low’, the unwanted sound immediately goes away.

Is the recorded sound ‘studio quality’? I hear you ask. Yeah, unfortunately it isn’t. And at $19.00, you probably didn’t expect it to be? The result of the recorded sound, just isn’t as clear or poppin’ as it would be in person.

**Note: Since purchasing this cable, we have seen other products selling online for $50+, so if you really want a better sound/outcome, I’m sure the more expensive product will give you a better result. But for the amateur, or just to prove a point that ‘this thing really does exist!’ The $19.00 USB Guitar Link Cable serves its purpose.

So it had to take an unbranded Chinese company to produce a direct Guitar to PC cable, so thank you unnamed Chinese company for achieving the seemingly impossible!

If you want to check out the USB Guitar Link Cable, sold through Precision Audio (located in Sydney), click HERE! Strum away my friend, strum away!

Podcast Recommendations- Car Expert

Australia’s favourite motoring editorial podcast is back!

Um, well…… they’ve been back for over a year now, but I’ve only recently found them………

So do you remember Car Advice? The web-site and podcast who test drove and reviewed everyday cars heading our way to Australia? Designed to enlighten the average guy & Gal, in the pros and cons of new vehicles thus we the consumer could make an informed choice before throwing down our hard earned!

Well, if you’ve been following the highs and lows of the Car Advice brand, you’re probably aware that in 2016 Car Advice was taken over by Channel 9, and after that slowly but surely all of our favourite contributors of Car Advice slowly left. First it was Paul, then James W, then Mandy. And once Mandy left, so did the Car Advice podcast. As in they released one more episode with James Ward as host. *Shudders*. And then that was that, no more Car Advice podcast- a pod which I had been following for years and years! Not to mention, contributed a little feedback to as well. Haaha.

For 18 long months, I was in motoring podcast purgatory, trying this and that in a vain attempt to fill the car shaped void in my life. All of which were substandard motoring offerings, until several weeks ago when I stumbled upon ‘Car Expert’.

And OMG! It’s all the familiar voices again! I almost lost my SH*T when I heard the intro and the familiar voice of Mandy coming through my speakers! Mandy, Scott, James W, Mike, Al, Tony, Paul! They’re all back, sounding as good as ever! And it truly feels like coming home!

The segments are the same, the sound effects are the same as well (or lack thereof….What happened to the closing sound effect!?). And aside from all your old favourite contributors, they have some new faces or should I say new voices as well!

However in the prevailing 18 months, the motoring landscape has changed though. Electric car and hybrid car talk takes up much of the content. *Sad look*. And sadly ICE vehicles with stonking V8 engines (or even sweet V6 turbos) are becoming rarer and rarer. So the good old days of Car Advice are long gone, but long live Car E! That is Car Expert for the Electrified era!

To here about all the news and what’s new in the Australian motoring landscape, and for those old fans of Car Advice, you can hear the gang again on Car Expert! Just click HERE to begin listening! Now Channel 9, how come you didn’t work in a non-compete Clause into the Contract of sale? Pretty silly that the old Car Advice team can set-up shop as Car Expert just down the metaphorical road, and do the exact same thing again? Silly from a business point of view, but fantastic for us!

Netflix recommendations- Sex Education (Season 3

Let’s talk about sex, baby!

Ok, it’s the third season featuring those randy kids from Moordale Secondary School, and although shows can easily run into trouble in the 2nd-3rd seasons- however no risk here! As Sex Education remains just as good as previous seasons in their third go!

You would think after two (16 episodes), creator Laurie Nunn would start to run out of teenage themes to feature in episodes….. But clearly not! As Season 3 dove deeper and deeper into the lives of 2020 era youths., Which admittedly, seems to be way more and more complex than how things were when I was a teen- “back in my day…..”

So let’s just say season 3 is no-way becoming predictable just yet, still edgy, provocative, and an altogether enjoyable viewing.

And the will they? Or wont they? Continues on between Otis and Maeve that tension exists throughout Season 3. Although as viewers we love to see couples eventually getting together, however we have to admit that once they do, the show oftentimes become a little bit boring? Without that tension anymore aka Suits- the reason why I stopped watching midway through season 3. But Sex Education continues to string out this tension, and stringing us along as well! And I’ll also leave you hanging…..Will they? Or won’t they?

And what I particularly like about Sex Education, compared to all other drama series, is the fact that there aren’t any happy endings! In the 00s, people (and particularly I) was annoyed with TV dramas, because they weren’t reflective of reality. Everyone on-screen were hot, and things always worked out in the end. Which we all know, is not the case in reality! Thus the rise of Reality TV shows, and the predominant thing I used to watch back in the 00-10s.

But Sex Education, although a bit over-the-top at times, but it does reflect reality for teenagers these days, being children of the noughties. Love it or hate it, this is their reality, sexual identity, broken families, peer pressure, drug use etc. etc. This is what our young people are facing, and that is why Sex Education is relatable to its fans! And the main takeaway is that, ‘there aren’t happy endings’ in life, no one’s life is perfect, where everything works out perfectly at the end of 8 episodes- but they just accept it and get on with it. And that is what we ought to do in our lives as well, accept that there aren’t fairy-tale endings, but we just need to accept it and move on.

And although the show’s title is ‘Sex Education’, and in the first two seasons it was more evident in why the show was named as such- as Otis and Maeve ran a sex clinic for their fellow sex confused peers. But in Season 3, the clinic was closed, along with their offices (the abandoned toilet block), so not much Sex advice was prescribed this season. But if it’s Sex advice you’re looking for?

There is ‘Sex, Love, & goop’!

No Otis here to provide sage advice, but there is Gwyneth Paltrow? What the!?

Where Sex Ed is fictitious, Sex Love & goop is totally real! Real couples come to Gwyneth and Goop HQ (I still don’t know what goop means). Here couples are paired with various Sex therapist’s and alternative Sex practitioners who work with the couple in weekend long intensives, to help them achieve a better sex life and relationship, in general

The camera crew (so there for us) are invited in to these sessions, where the practitioners each from a different school of thought, help couples to unpack their problems. And thus use their unique methods to help couples over-come whatever barriers they have in stopping them from enjoying a carefree romantic relationship. And it’s not always about sex, but it could be self-identity, past hurts, repressed childhood issues etc. which is the root of the cause. And some of the methods are a bit weird, and beyond being ‘alternative’. But I think the main takeaway for me was, that if we’re honest with ourselves, is that things can always be better. And who doesn’t want better?

It’s not a blame game, “it’s you who has the problem’, but there’s two of us. And the sweet-spot is the middle ground, it’s just a case of finding the M-spot. Which I’m happy to say, all the couples ended up finding the M-spot in the show, along with other spots…….

And the main thing is that, as a society we don’t talk about sex often enough. Well, not in a useful and productive way at least. And when we get over this feeling of shame or treating it as a taboo subject, it could only get better right?

So yeah, let’s talk about sex, baby!

So if you want some entertainment, you can start binging Sex Education HERE! But if you want some real sex education, even if it’s from the helping hands of Goop!? Click HERE!