Friday, May 29, 2009

"Fried Fridays: Can't leave well enough alone..."

They say it's perfectly normal, among miscreants. They're proud of what they do. They plan. They execute. They 'conquer', even if it is temporary.

But perhaps more than anything they want RECOGNITION.

Ah, the proverbial thing that bites them in the butt...


Meet 27 year-old Joseph Northington of Roanoke, Virginia.

He loves his much so that he traveled to South Carolina to visit one...and during his stay he traveled south across the Georgia border and apparently had designs to rob a north Augusta, Georgia bank.

Got $4,000, he did. All caught on surveillance cameras.

That's "fried" enough, I'll admit. But this week's winner's story doesn't stop there.

His friend saw the surveillance video on the news and alerted authorities.

OK, then THAT'S kind "fried" and worthy of this week's award.

Oh no, not yet...

You see, this devil-may-care perpetrator thought it would be "really cool" to go onto his MySpace account and type in the following...

"On tha run for robbin a bank Love all of yall"


Now THAT'S "fried"! The 'Idiot Self' is alive and well!!! Nothing says "jail-time" like waving a flag and yelling, "Here I am! Come and get me!"...

Have a great weekend, all y'all!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"The Transformation"

The analogy of a Cracker Jack box comes to mind, where you get a cardboard box that is full of not only sweet things but a surprise that delighted me as a little kid. OK, point taken, I spent little of my life actually 'little'...but this particular 'kid' (as I call all my flutes) has thoroughly done that, delighted me. In case you didn't see yesterday's post, here it is in all it's fibrous glory...

(click on pics to enlarge)

...the now-Ugly-Boy when it was just a throw-away stick...

[Lest I forget, it's a high B tuned to Verdi frequencies (A432), and the overall length is ~24 inches] Once the flute was glued, then tapped for sound and voice, the careful sanding began. I wanted to remove the oxidized stuff and yet I didn't want to remove 'character' that I was seeing, and there was a lot of it. With a magical break in the weather, I quickly photographed what I now call "The Howler" I was photographing some of the wonderful intricate detailed grain patterns, this one jumped out at me as a ululating wolf...see if you can see it, too...

For those that had any trouble seeing it, I did a little key fer ya...

This flute is just loaded with interesting patterns...

As above and below, there were voids that I had to fill in...while I could have used something like Turquoise or malachite, I decided to stay 'natural' and used cedar dust. I simply would add a watery superglue and press the dust in, then 'water' the top with the watery glue. Makes a rock-hard and pretty inlay, if I do say so myself.

I mentioned in yesterday's post about avoiding sticks with pronounced splits, as such cracks are rarely singular in nature or on the same plane. Case in point for this flute as a couple of large pieces flew off when cut with the saw and also with the Kutzall bit I used to rout out the chambers. In this case it was easier to fill it in as opposed to go look for the wood or try to custom fit some odd piece in the void...all part of the 'on the fly' decisions I have to make.

The mouthpiece ended up being quite wide where I had decided to cut the instead of boring the hole and then shaping down to the opening like I would normally do, I left it as-is and had this flash to simply use a sander and make it concave. Never done it before, never seen it, but it is really easy to play and so I've given the design an appropriate monikor: "The Kisser". That's how you play it, just 'kiss' it and blow...

Here are a few views of the almost-finished flute, the High B "Howler"...

Not too bad a transformation of kindling, eh? Carpe diem, y'all!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How a branch flute begins...

(click on pics to enlarge)

Ah, even the best laid plans...

Our Carolina weather pattern of late has been the pits for getting stuff done outdoors, including putting on flute finishes indoors, thanks to the sky-high humidities. I was hoping to do a cute little 'family tree' post on my new family of 'branch flutes', but the photography I want to do isn't going to happen any day soon, so it appears...

So I thought you might find it interesting how this new little offshoot began for me, and I pulled together some pictures to put it all into perspective. To set the stage, there have been flute makers that do nothing but make natural branch flutes, so it's nothing new...what is new for me is the 'look' and 'approach' and 'technique' as well as the sheer joy of seeing and hearing the finished product.

Going back a couple of years, a very special wooded area was 'harvested' in a very ugly manner, all due to a tiff between a local doctor and his local municipality.

I vowed to collect some of the 'trash' Cedar and Dogwood trees and incorporate them into flutes, so that they could be a part of healing music to go back out into the world in a positive way. I wasn't thinking branch flutes at the time, but I would still start at the same place regardless of what flute style I made. After the dust settled, I began to scout for good specimens...

Of course, the possibilities were almost unlimited...what was limited was a space to store selections since it would take a couple of years for 'green' wood to dry. However, this area had some 'dead standing' trees already, which is preferable to dead trees lying on the ground where they can rot more quickly over the years. I was able to use some of the dead Cedar immediately as it was already dry, and just recently began incorporating Dogwood. Now that I've started making some branch flutes, I go back to the area and still rather easily find some pretty good wannabes, which is why I carry a handsaw under Mercy's quilt in the back of the car!...

This post is about just one particular piece I began to finish up last week, a piece I could have easily argued wasn't worth looking at twice and passed over. I think it might be an old Dogwood branch, but it was so 'dead' already I couldn't tell with much confidence. It was a hardwood that was now softer inside thanks to initial drying and decay.

Today will simply be the beginning images...the finished flute (well, except for a couple of more finish coats when I can get 'em put on!) is sitting ready for pictures...and it turned out beautifully, all things considered. That last phrase is because these flutes take a LOT of handwork, especially for hole and crack filling, and then the whole unique sound 'issues' that have to be calculated and solved especially for curvy pieces like this one...

I did lightly knock off what bark was left on this dead branch so that I could get a better look at what cracks and blemishes were where; too, you have to envision which end will be the mouthpiece...which will be the foot...where the sound hole 'nest' will go...which will be the more ergonomic placement for finger holes...where the musical 'end' of the flute will be so you can drop in a tuning hole(s) to keep more of the stick for aesthetics...

Since this is all still new to me and a constant work in progress, I will be shying away from flutes with noticeable cracks, unless they are solitary ones. The process is that I cut the branch in half with a band saw, cut out the insides with various tools to specifications I draw up for a particular branch, then glue it back together. With large cracks, they are rarely straight up and down and in one plane; rather, they usually exist in groups on multiple planes, and when you make a cut with a band saw, which is one plane, or even in the hollowing stage, you risk cracked pieces flying off as you cut into the flute, many times making the wood firewood!

Here is what I came up with for this particular piece:

I'm obviously leaving a lot out about, say, how I know I need a tuning hole in that particular location, etc. That's a function of the approximate diameter of the bore I'm cutting out versus length of barrel I cut out...which has as the starting point at the 'nest' area and the TSH (true sound hole, in front of the block)...if you think there is a lot of blind trust and faith in this process, you are correct! But that's the beauty of being an artist and making unique creations: there ain't no guide book. You go within and listen to your intuition and follow your inspiration.

Last week I was adding the four new branch flutes to the 'family tree' (below), and today's 'kid' is the one closest to the anaconda-size 'trunk' flute at the bottom. I had not yet split it, only cut the mouthpiece area (which is on the right end) and sanded the rough areas off the flute

It just so happens I tuned all of these to Verdi's is a high B...the top one pictured is a high C#....followed by a lovely straight, bright mid G...and then the bottom Bahama Mama is a bass A# that would astound you by how very little breath it takes to play and still get a rich, full tone.

Not to tease you, but I'm not taking just any ol' snapshot of the finished product just to include it in this post...this was more to give you an idea of what processes I work through. I tap the 'nest' sound holes just like a regular flute, 'guess' at the tuning hole and tweak until I get a solid fundamental note, just like a regular flute. I then measure and drop the finger holes where they need to go, though it is a bit trickier with a curvy piece with uneven wall thicknesses...still, pretty close to how I do a regular flute. The difference is that when you get it all done and then add all the finishing work, I have something rather extraordinary when I compare to the old stick I found lying on the ground. This particular piece has some gorgeous coloration and patterning in it that I'll get close-ups's worth the wait, I promise!

Well, when the weather cooperates, the pics will come forth...I will be unable to do a video insert for a few days due to a few temporary technical issues, but I think you'd like to hear and see them being played. As I always say, "Stay tuned!"

Monday, May 25, 2009

My family tree...

I wanted to share some of my 'family tree' with you this morning, but, alas, the post isn't ready, yet. Working today and tomorrow for what is for me a more unusual shift of PM weather work at News 14 (Charlotte). Who, ME awake and functioning at 10pm???


Friday, May 22, 2009

"Fried Fridays: Food for thought..."

Sometime in the past couple of weeks I began thinking about all the products and advertisements I remember as a kid. From the Valleydale weiners, to the Super Sugar Crisp bear, to Fizzies tablets and a soft drink called Pomac.

Too, I'm sure some of them crossed ethical lines that you couldn't get away with the Hawaiin Punch commercial....

"How about a nice Hawaiin Punch?"



"How about some nice white asparagus?"


Poor lady. They call it 'edible ivory' in Germany, white asparagus. It's hard to come by and in season for only a very brief time, and like all good commerce venues supply and demand drives up the prices.

I don't know what she was asking for her white asparagus. They say it can go for as much as $10 per pound...all I do know is that one male motorist who pulled over to inquire about the veggies took issue with it.

A big issue.

Screaming at the top of his lungs, he assailed her for her ridiculously high prices and then proceeded to punch her in the ol' kisser. As if that weren't enough, he then threatened to unleash his attack guard dog on her. For good reason, she immediately ran away and reported him to the police.

And that's all the info there is. Did she run with the wares or did he get his asparagus afterall? Didn't his momma teach him never to hit anyone, especially a defenseless lady? What has gotten into people anymore?

As the old Tootsie Pop ad said in closing, "The world may never know."

Thursday, May 21, 2009


While it is one of the Carolina Capes, that's not this particular usage. I've been musing about how many people are captivated by fear in their life. I'm not talking the extreme paranoias, either; rather, the daily self-captivation of thoughts and emotions that control one's very being.

"Oh, I'm not afraid of anything," many would immediately say...but fear itself wears many hats. Maybe the more common idea is that of a boogey-man-coming-out-of-the-shadows-to-get-me fear, but fear comes in many more colors and disguises. And it directly affects our behaviors and psychological health.

I suppose I got off on this tangent after yesterday's post...when someone gets boisterous and self-righteous about something, I get the clear sense they are feeling threatened in some way. Maybe it's just their ideology, but it's like being the proverbial cougar in a box canyon, where the only way out is to turn around and attack.

It's easy to fear money woes, foreclosure, bankruptcy, especially in our current economic climate. Jobs aren't secure, and the idea of devoting your life to a company with the expectation they'll take care of you in return...well, that baby was thrown out with the bath water long ago. Day to day life and 'survival' fears make more understandable sense to me than someone that gets in a huge lather because Obama might be re-elected for a second term. The mind can and will play fanciful tricks as it runs through the myriad "what if" options, and for those that either don't recognize it or choose to control it, they take themselves down a risky path. At the very least they turn into a jerk.

I first read it in one of Neale Donald Walsch's "Conversations with God" books, though I've seen it written elsewhere since then. It's "fear" as an acronym...

F alse
E vidence
A ppearing
R eal

There's no more a simpler truth than that. The past is just that, the past. The future hasn't happened. There is only the Moment of Now. To worry about what already happened or what could happen is wasted time and energy, and there is a monumental amount of that being done every second of every day by the masses.

However, there is much more to the situation than getting all worked up over something that hasn't happened yet...and it, too, has been written about in various forms:

The Law of Attraction.

You are what you eat. You are what you think. You are what you believe. You are what you do. We attract what we focus on, and if you think the worst of everything will happen to you, strap on for Mr. Toad's Wild Ride because it will. If you think someone is out to get you, you'll create an Oscar-winning movie about it. If you think a country has weapons of mass destruction, you'll make sure your actions are justified as you face that 'fear'...or face that emboldened lie with a hidden agenda, but I digress...

If you live and walk in love towards others, ALL others regardless of color, religion, status, your whole energy field changes. Your colors are brighter. You enjoy everything more. People enjoy you more, your overall health improves, and 'life' operates more smoothly and successfully. You don't obsess about a setback or negative experience and boil in self-pity; instead, you dust off your feet and get back to the business of walking in Love. Another of Walsch's 'conversations' deals with the very fundamental starting point of life:

Love is all there is.

If something is not Love, than it is Fear's technicolor dreamcoat, which is 100% human-derrived. Love is of the Divine, purely, simply.

It's one thing to stand up for what you believe in...but it's a whole 'nuther matter to put down other people at the same time, which is an excellent signpost for fear. Self-righteous Superiority. You can drape it with an American flag, or place a King James Bible on top of it, but you remain what you are: a fearful bully.

I guess that's what I wanted to ramble about. Fears come with daily life; it's how we deal with and process them that makes all the difference in how we "walk" our days.

May we all walk in beauty today and every day.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The ol' shell game...

You have to admit that as much as you hate all that is going on in the economy, and within our social and religious institutions, you still wonder how others make the decisions they do...

South Carolina governor, and pricey land-holder in various areas, Sanford has chosen to make his own politically voiced stand by not accepting US government bail-out the expense of education, among other 'arms'.

Which all seems to tie in with the onslaught of maddening and sickening anti-Obama email posts from the Christian conservative right-wing that perfolate my email in-box. I can tell you this: I did not vote for George W. Bush and opposed virtually all he stood for and 'did'. But NEVER would I have subscribed to mass emails with the level of hatred conservative Republican/Christian-conservative people are sending out now per Obama. I'm about to make some friends 'enemies' by standing up to their vitriol and calling a spade a spade, knowing they'll most likely chuck a spear my direction. I no longer care. The gloves are off.

We in the U.S. have become a society with plenty of whiny, self-righteous citizens who decry that they stand for ALL that is RIGHT and GOOD and JUST and HOLY...which by their own doing demonstrates they are NOT ANY of that. "We founded this country on Christian principles! Don't let them be taken away!" is the common battle cry, which proves only one thing: you are a pathetic historian. In the name of Christ and God we damn near annihilated beautiful indigenous Nations by stealing, cheating, abusing, and lying at every opportunity. That's about as anti-Christian and hypocritical as you can get. Fact is, these are desperate times trying to re-right the sinking ship from the past 8 years (and more, I'll admit) and that means stepping on some toes that have loved the attention and power up 'til now.

Like it or lump it, Shallow-minded chest-beaters. You want to keep boasting how great and perfect your ideals are? Get ready to take a return salvo, because I, for one, won't sit here and take it. When you are ready and willing to entertain discussion of what is best for the 'whole' of society instead of your narrow-minded world, let me it stands, you want to cover your own conservative butt and nothing less. So be it. You do not own any railroad, here.

Send me mass emails that assail efforts to 'make good' and I will reply to "all". After all, if you have the 'right' to forward such emails, I have the 'right' to forward my response.

The best response of all is to accept that we need to COMPROMISE and come to a center line of give and take...and if you are someone unwilling to do that, then enjoy cutting off your nose to spite your face. NO one person or ideology owns the world. Not one.

Too, in these poisonous emails are facts that have been greatly distorted to fit the agenda of the author and sender. Some are just outright lies. If one honestly seeks TRUTH, which I doubt some do, try to get the facts straight first by checking the story through


If you don't, I certainly will. Bashing only divides and offers no uniting...except of birds with similar feathers.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dustin' off the cobwebs...

Good Monday to all y'all...last week was a crazy one with schedules and to-do lists and, as you probably know, I didn't post after my mulling over the Hokey Pokey! I didn't even get a Fried Fridays entry in, though I can call the Monday post on "OCTOMOM: The Musical" the winner by default. I'll try to rectify that this week...still flip-flopping between WSOC and News14, some, which probably greatly aids my hailing from the great state of Confusion anymore. And yesterday I was working on an itty bitty branch flute that up to now has been a waste of time...I have one more 'trick' to try and see if I've learned anything from this "solution-creating" flute. The odd thing is the bottom two notes barely play and all the others play very well...usually note 'troubles' are the complete opposite where they all play but the highest note! Go figure.

Lots of topics I'd love to write about this week, and plenty of them are more serious and soul-searching...but for today I'm passing on a cute story with a wonderful lesson that's on the spam-ways. I couldn't verify if in fact a 6 year old boy said this, but the thoughts are worthy regardless of who came up with this...


A Dog's Purpose?
(from a 6-year-old).

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker 's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ''I know why.''

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

He said,''People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?''
The Six-year-old continued,''Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long.''

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you're not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.



Tuesday, May 12, 2009


What if the

really is what
it's all about?...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Strange but true...

As I say on occasion, "I can't make this stuff up."

I caught wind of this last week and had to find it out for myself, which I did yesterday. It's worthy of one of my Fried Fridays awards, but I can't wait 'til Friday to share this.

From the Great White Way to the-now Great Pregnant Way, I present to you...

Yes, folks, opening this all about it HERE.

Gotta love the "O" in her gibbous midriff...and so I wonder what else the "O" could stand for...



"OHMYGOD, somebody bothered to not only write a script but score MUSIC and LYRICS, too!"

There is a news segment video down on THIS PAGE if you want to get a 'feel' for this production...

Gotta love the promo blurbs:

"Get ready for a belly-tapping night at the theater!"

"Feel the power of babies flying...stimulus packages!"

Seemed especially odd and weird and "enough, already!" that I perused this on Mother's Day. After getting home from my WSOC shift in the early afternoon, I was tired and cut on the idiot box to see what was on as I laid down to rest some. Because I get complimentary full cable service for my Time Warner work, I went into the movie tier...and what did my eyes behold for great Mothers Day afternoon entertainment flicks but that ever-heart-warming "Schindler's List" well as "Fatal Instinct"....and that great May classic, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

Figured I'd quit while I was behind....

Friday, May 08, 2009

"Fried Friday: Common 'Sense'..."

They say one person's trash is another's treasure.

They also say one person's trash is another's breeding ground for sheer idiocy...


Trash collection is an important thing. Just look what a mess was created when years ago New York City sanitation workers went on strike and how quickly an unhealthy situation arose. Governments and private companies alike set up efficient, planned schedules so that refuse can be effectively handled and put in proper landfills. No easy task, I'm sure.

Alas, trash stinks.

And so does this week's story.

A villager in Lower Austria province did like any responsible citizen does and properly disposes of his rubbish. And like any responsible citizen he pays his bills. Or does he?

His latest bill was for 236.36 Euros, which in today's exchange rate is US $316.67. Yes, that's a whopper of a bill, but the article doesn't mention anything about how all that is calculated, the time frame reference, etc. So we'll let those particulars slide.

Unfortunately for the villager, he let something slide he shouldn't have. Something that brought the government sledge hammer down on him, hard. Something that sent a bailiff to his house with a legal summons, and threats of prosecution.

Yes, the egregious error was leaving off the 0.36 Euros and paying only the US $316.00. The miscreant forgot to add in the US $0.67, which naturally bothered SOMEbody in the sanitation division enough to send a government law official to the villager's house to collect the debt.

And charge him an additional 5 Euros ($6.70) for the 'trouble'.

The 'trouble' I see is somebody somewhere traded in their common sense for common cents.

Let that be a penny for your thoughts, today...

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Work in progress: cane branch flute, low C#




Yesterday's PigPen pictures was of me carving out this particular flute. It is ready for sanding and finishing, and I thought I'd share it with you and try something new: shooting a video and putting it on the website. I'm sure those will get better, but at least it's a start and a nice new twist to the blogs.

Mind you, I could have held on to this post and put up scads pictures and videos and data about our swarm of weak tornadoes here in central NC yesterday....eegads it was a wild day for local meteorologists! My early morning shift was quiet, but you could see it coming for an active second half of the the day. It didn't disappoint, either.

Inbetween showers I went on the back deck to shoot the video below just once. Looking for more storms today, so not sure if and when I can get the sander outside to start finishing up. I'll start with a pic of the flute that is presently 38.5" long/tall. For my first 3 branch flutes (and next 2) I'm using relatively straight pieces of old, downed/dead cedar that I pick up on occasion when I walk Mercy. While I didn't take a picture of what it looked like before, I took a picture of it up against another potentail walking cane 'branch' flute that has already been cut in half and retaped for later carving...

"Branch" flute is a bit of a misnomer as this particular piece is not a branch but the main trunk. As a result, it has more of the white sapwood around the rich red heartwood I sand the red streaks may or may not show up, so it's always fun to 'see whatcha get' and, regardless, it's always pretty when it's been sanded and rubbed down with oil. Nothing like the texture of wood...

If you want to shoot a tricky shot, hold a cane in a left hand and stick your right hand out and blindly shoot back at yourself!

Though it doesn't show up too well, I scallopped around each finger hole using the edge of my orbital palm sander, and it makes for a very comfortable grip. May try that more in the future with the branch flutes...the flute is also surprisingly light in weight, not only because it's mostly hollow inside, but the old dry wood is light weight to begin with.

I never was sure from the start what I was going to do with this flute, so I played it safe and did not bore all the way to the end of the flute...if I do let this be a cane, the added 'beef' at the bottom would be good to have. I have the option of not going with a 'cane' idea and cutting off the solid section and it won't effect the flute as I've already established the 'musical' barrel length by putting in tuning holes. Yet another option is to use the 4" long solid area to carve something neat and let it be an ornate branch flute...things that make you go 'hmmmmm.....'

It may be that the 'red' is not far under the surface, but there is plenty of character in the wood as it is...and I definitely want to oversand and change the 'natural' look and feel of it...

Flute-making is a on-going experiment...and on the next one I think I'll 'de-shag' the bark before cutting it in half...the reason is that with these particular pieces I've picked up and used for flutes, they have numerous cracks in them. The one below just happened to run along the top of the flute, but I didn't see it until after I'd cut out the 'nest' where the block sits, establishing the 'top' of the flute. It's easily neutralized with one of 3 viscosities of professional CA glue (cyanoacrylate or 'super' glue) that I allow to soak into the fibers over a few doses, and it looks neat when done. It's just that this big 'un had a whole lot of little cracks and openings and it took some time to get them all. You would be amazed how the tiniest of air leaks, cracks, can stop or significantly alter the sound quality of a flute...

I kept the end rounded off for now...still at that experimental stage on whether to make a leather bonnet to go over it while you use it as a cane, or get fancier with a 'handle' of sorts that pops on and off...mulling all that over. Plenty of rich, purple-red heartwood in the center, for sure!

And now for your viewing pleasure, the cane flute in action. At first it was a low B, but after tapping holes the fundamental was just not comfortably solid enough for me, so i lifted it a half step to low C. And without boring you with details, it all came together as a low C# using Verdi frequencies (I'm tellin' ya, I really like the stuff!). Enjoy! (FYI, videos don't enlarge, and you have to hit the arrow in the bottom left to comes out surprisingly clear!)

If this works well enough, I'll go back and make samples of the first two Verdi flutes I blogged about, the low E and my first 'branch' flute in A. That is, as long as more tornadoes aren't whipping around close by today...!