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Today was exciting for me.

I started my day by having coffee with an old work colleague. We met up at a nearby cafe and chatted about our music careers, which are very different. He's in his sixties and retired. He's Hawaiian, and his main gig is playing in a Hawaiian band at events around the country. He also runs a Hawaiian radio show at a radio station in San Jose.

He plays the baritone ukelele. And, he explained that it's tuned the same as the four higher guitar strings. I've always wanted to play a ukelele, but I never wanted to actually learn the different fingerings. But, on a baritone one I wouldn't have to!

After our meeting I had an extra seven (no joke, seven) minutes of slack time. So, I stopped in the local music store and headed straight for the ukelele section of the store. Luckily, this section of the store wasn't very big. It consisted of nine ukeleles.

Ukeleles look incredibly silly. It's impossible to take this instrument seriously when you look at it. They're these clumsy micro guitars. Although they come in many different sizes, they're all different degrees of small. There's microscopic, itty-bitty, wee, and 'short person wearing tall shoes.'

Yet, they have this haunting sound—so very sad. I feel like everyone else thinks they sound festive and chipper. To me they sound far away and dark, like a sad-face clown cast out of his home town.

They're small and ridiculous and somber. And, I figured I'd be really bad at playing one because I've never really tried before. What better reasons could there be to want to go try one out?

I plunked on the two baritone 'ukes' for a while, listening to see which one sounded better. I even half-entertained the idea of buying one. But, neither jumped out at me. It turns out the larger, baritone ukelele doesn't sound as sad as the regular ultra-mega-tiny ones. In fact, it pretty much just sounds like a small guitar—pathetic instead of sad.

I wish there was a way I could play one of the little tiny ones, yet tune the strings like a normal guitar.

I'm happy I stopped and played them for the seven minutes before I rushed off to my next appointment. I needed to do something different. I've been feeling lately like I'm too familiar with my life. I wanted to hold something I knew nothing about in my hands and explore it like a child—eyes wide, fingers clumsy.

Later that day I went to check out the gallery where my next photo show will be. Turns out my alma mater asked me to have a solo exhibition of my photography in their gallery this month. It opens in a few weeks. Although the gallery wasn't ready yet, the curator unlocked the doors to let me see how everything looks so far.

All the work is hung, although there are still a few details to work out: making sure each piece is level, fixing some of the placards, pricing the art, and so on. I had a bunch of 20" x 30" prints made for this show, and those were just plain majestic.

There's nothing like walking into the gallery at my old college and seeing a giant picture of the word BALLS and then thinking, "Wait a minute. That's my giant picture of the word BALLS." I got goosebumps.

It's moments like that when I feel really happy to be alive.