Category Archives: pictures

heksenbotar!

the new house has a slime mold in the back yard!

200806 heksenbotar
200806 heksenbotar
200806 slime-mold
200806 slime-mold
200806 slime-mold
200806 slime-mold
200806 slime-mold
200806 slime-mold
200806 slime-mold
200806 slime-mold

apparently, it is triggered by “over-watering”, among other things… which makes sense, because i have run the sprinkler in or around that location for 4 days, now, including two days ago, when i “forgot” and ran the sprinkler for two or three hours… and last night it rained, so… 😉

200806 heksenbotar
200806 heksenbotar

in dutch it’s called “heksenbotar” which means “witches butter”. in scandanavian folklore, it is referred to as the “vomit of troll cats“. in english it’s called “dog’s vomit”. scientifically, it is called Fuligo septica. more information at Fuligo septica, the dog vomit slime mold.

comet NEOWISE

200719 comet NEOWISE
200719 comet NEOWISE

comet NEOWISE, as seen from approximately 47°18’16.5″N 121°06’07.4″W. the next time we’ll see it is in 6,700 years.

it was visible with the naked eye, but this photo was taken by my wife and her awesome camera which is controlled by her phone… the camera and the phone are separate objects, linked by bluetooth. she can make adjustments to the camera without actually touching the camera, which is essential when you’re talking about extended exposure times. this particular exposure was around 15 seconds…

also, the lack of having to develop the film and make prints before discovering how awesome (or shitty) the picture is, adds A LOT to the whole experience. 😉

which reminds me…

XKCD - Slide Trombone
XKCD – Slide Trombone

a long time ago — probably mid-1970s or thereabouts — i was at the Marrowstone Music Festival at Fort Flagler State Park (which should give those people who know about such things a much clearer idea of exactly when this occurred) for a two week “intensive”, where we learned, rehearsed, an at the end of the two weeks, performed a concert of orchestral works.

a lot of the trombone parts were mostly rests, with occasional blasts of fanfare, or glissandos, or other suchlike “trombone” things. trombones in a classical orchestra have a reputation for being lazy, and jokers, but that’s only because we have nothing else to do! nobody writes for trombones in a classical orchestra setting!

it’s true! beethoven, the quintessential classical composer, wrote NINE symphonies for “full orchestra”, but he only wrote one piece that had parts for trombones, the Three Equale for Four Trombones, which is one of the most beautiful pieces in existence.

for the most part, the classical period was before what we know as the modern “trombone” existed, and, at best, the “trombone” parts that exist are usually parts for serpent or ophecleide which have been transposed.

after one morning rehearsal — where the trombones had rests and didn’t play at all for the 4½ hours of the morning rehearsal — we were all feeling a little punchy as we went to lunch. for some time, i had been warning the other trombonists that, if they left their instruments out, on the stage, when we weren’t there, something bad could happen to their instruments… i was thinking something along the lines of “someone bumped into your horn and now the horn has a disabling slide injury that will cost several hundred dollars to repair” or something like that, and i always put MY horn away, when i was not actively holding it in my hand, but, despite my almost constant, annoying reminders, the other trombonists left their horns on the stage as we went to lunch.

so, i developed a plan…

while the other trombone players were eating lunch, i attacked their horns.

trombones that have “attachments” (i.e. every trombone that is LOWER THAN a “tenor” trombone) have at least one valve, which lowers the trombone’s pitch. when that valve is not activated (most of the time), the trombone plays in B-flat, but when the valve is activated, it plays in F (or some other key, depending on other things). most trombone players that have a valve, only use it occasionally, to play notes that they would, otherwise, be unable to play reliably. the valve section of tubing is like a separate little bit of the trombone, that is only used occasionally. it has its own tuning slide, and, when the horn is being played without the valve, the extra tubing is sealed off from the main part of the instrument.

what i did was remove the tuning slides for the valve sections of their horns, and filled the valve sections with water. then, turning the horns upside down, i replaced the valve section tuning slide, and placed the horn, right side up, on the stand, so that it looked like it hadn’t been touched.

when they came back from lunch, they picked up their horns, blew a few notes, and then cycled the valve, which released the water into the main part of their horns…

BLLLOOOOP!!!

then they “emptied their spit valves”, thinking that their horns just had water that accumulates when they went to lunch… after about 5 minutes of emptying their spit valves, they gave up, and took the slides off and dumped the rest of the water out of their instruments…

all the while i was busting a gut trying NOT to laugh, which, among other things, would have disturbed the rest of the people in the rehearsal, some of whom were actually rehearsing by this time…

and, you know what?

they never left their horns out on the stage after that… 🤣

pitchers

string ball
string ball

this is my current string ball. it’s about 5 years old, and it already looks different because i’ve added string to it. i use a very loose definition of “string”: there’s some metal cable and a fair amount of plastic in there as well… it’s a “string-like” ball, in that regard, but at this point nobody would know unless they actually unwound it… which, under the worst of circumstances, is very unlikely.

in the past, i have been the owner of a couple of string balls that were considerably bigger… one was big enough that, when i was holding it in my lap, you couldn’t see my head. i’m hoping that this one will reach that size, or bigger, eventually. 😉

outside our new house
outside our new house

our new house has a whole bunch of interesting things that were left behind by the previous owners. i get the impression that i would NOT have gotten along with them in the slightest (they were #drumpf-supporters), but this is one of the things they left behind. it’s better that way.

office
office

this is my office. it’s also the music room.

office
office

music & computers
music & computers

this is the music room part. i’ve got my piano and my sythesizer set up, for the first time since i got married (which was 22 years ago), and, because of the fact that i bought a mixer in the interim, i now have it set up so that i can use the synthesizer (a yamaha DX7) as a synthesizer AND as a MIDI-controller. as a MIDI-controller, i’ve got old, familiar Reason on my laptop, and i’ve got a bunch of stuff that’s MIDI-controllable on my tablet, which i haven’t played with at all, because i haven’t had room to set it up. i got the DX7 a SuperMAX+ upgrade a couple of years ago, which was also after the battery died, so i’m going to have to learn how to use it all over again from scratch, and i’ve got to reload all of the stock noises (which i’ve got, thanks to a MIDI-controlled patch library on my laptop), but that’s part of the “fun” of COVID19 lockdown… i’ve got the time to do that sort of thing…

this is the result of the “shakedown-cruise” of the audio studio, called The Diambola Mikado Fun Pack Mix #1*. it’s made from ONE of the samples in The Diambola Mikado Fun Pack by Ergo Phizmiz, which is taken from his work, called The Diambola Mikado.

200607 National Wild Horses Monument, Quincy, WA
200607 National Wild Horses Monument, Quincy, WA

last month i was going crazy, so monique took me to see the National Wild Horses Monument in quincy.

200607 National Wild Horses Monument, Quincy, WA
200607 National Wild Horses Monument, Quincy, WA
200607 National Wild Horses Monument, Quincy, WA
200607 National Wild Horses Monument, Quincy, WA
200607 National Wild Horses Monument, Quincy, WA
200607 National Wild Horses Monument, Quincy, WA

200607 National Wild Horses Monument, Quincy, WA
200607 National Wild Horses Monument, Quincy, WA
it was on the top of a bluff overlooking the columbia river, in eastern washington.

milestones
milestones

milestones
milestones

i don’t know why this photo came out so fuzzy, compared to the other ones… but, unfortunately, it’s the only one i got of this particular milestone, so you might have to squint to see it…

200623 Celebration Park, Auburn, WA
200623 Celebration Park, Auburn, WA

the other day i had occasion to wander through Celebration Park in auburn. when i first lived in auburn, in the early 1970s, what is now celebration park was a huge, essentially vacant lot that had some abandoned businesses on it. nobody wanted it as residential property, because it was in the flight path for the airport. at some point, in the distant past (before 1960) i think the property had been an airfield, or something like that, but, by the time i got there, that was long gone, as well. in the ’90s, when i was in bellingham, the city bought the property and created celebration park, but it still has a lot of the same aspects that made it a vacant lot, including a lot of wooded areas where homeless people camp, and drug addicts shoot up…

which is where i found this… interesting… little tidbit.

200623 Celebration Park, Auburn, WA
200623 Celebration Park, Auburn, WA

200704 Ross Lake
200704 Ross Lake

on the 4th of july, we went on a road trip, so that the dogs wouldn’t freak out because of all the fireworks. we went through the Ross Lake National Recreation Area and saw this waterfall.
BOUNDED CHAOTIC MIXING PRODUCES STRANGE STABILITY!

i have been around the sun 60 times
i have been around the sun 60 times

my 60th time around the sun was celebrated on saturday. never, in my wildest imaginations did i ever think i was going to be 60 years old… in fact, my imaginings never exceeded age 40, which means that i’ve been living new and unimagined territory for 20 years now.

we celebrated by having a “gathering” in our back yard. kiki, sasha, stuart, d. barnes and jesse, his son, and hobbit and lucifer, his… partner? i’m not sure exactly what their status is, but they’ve been together for 1719 years or so… and they all brought musical instruments, and we had a “jam session” in the back yard. monique made the german chocolate cake (my favourite), and cupcakes with raspberry butter cream frosting, made with raspberries from our back yard…

it was good to see those folks, after such a long time, and it was really good to play music with them.

* i am MORTIFIED! i read the title as “The Diambola Mikado” and named my piece “The Diambola Mikado…” and then i find out that the name is actually “The Dimbola Mikado”… i’ve already released my mix, and even presented it to mr. phizmiz — who didn’t say anything, which makes me wonder whether he’s just being polite, or whether he didn’t notice… oh GAWD, whatever am i to do??? 😭