and, because of the fact that they’re there, we also had a couple of downed trees. they didn’t hit anything, and they’re not across the road, but it’s not over yet, and i haven’t been out further than the mailbox — it had come open, somehow, and was three-quarters full of snow, which was on top of the letter that i was hoping the letter carrier was going to pick up — so i don’t know what “the real world” is like… supposedly, we have a “micro-climate” around our neighbourhood, and the weather is substantially different about a mile away, on the main road.
this is the one of the… i’m not sure whether it’s an “advantage” or it’s a “danger”… of living in the remote wilderness.
at this point, it’s not an awful lot different than any other day, during COVID. 😒
i recorded the tuba part for a collaborative effort to create the panto 2020 “Welcome Song”, but since we can’t actually meet to rehearse, we’re recording the parts, which, presumably, will be together enough that they will be able to be combined together, and then emailed to the people who have come to the pantos in the past.
i experienced the clarinet part, and the “click track”, which was kiki playing the song on the ukulele and singing, along with a metronome. without the click track (which, i’m assuming is the ultimate goal), the clarinet part and the tuba part ended up staying together… mostly… and the times when it seemed like we were going to lose the beat, miraculously, found the beat again in a lot less time than it would have taken if we had been in a live rehearsal.
but it’s really weird playing the tuba part without all of the other parts, only knowing that they will be put together at a later date.
there’s a possibility that thaddeus and i are going to resurrect “Heirophany”, which is me playing the harmonic flute and twiddling with electronic gadgets, and thaddeus playing guitar, and twiddling with electronic gadgets. we released a 12 minute long single — with a fantastic cover, which is a picture of a ‘cello on fire 😉👍 — a couple of years ago, and then didn’t do anything else, but, at this point, we can do it “socially distanced”, and i’ve even been thinking of designing a mask for the harmonic flute, anyway, that will make it so that i can play when it’s windy… only, now, it’s so that i can play while i’m masked… and it’s something where we can play for other people, and, potentially, make some money at it at the same time.
#drumpf still hasn’t conceded, and his lawsuits are getting tossed out as fast as he can file ’em, but, ultimately, i think he’s going to try to make an end run around losing the popular vote and the electoral vote by “declaring” the election invalid, refusing to accept the results, and going to the supreme court (which he has stacked with sycophants) to make the final decision. he has made statements within the past 24 hours that include “just get rid of the ballots”, and “there will be no transition”, and “biden can’t enter the white house without proving that his ballots are legal”, which don’t make it sound particularly like he’s intending to go anywhere. and, while i would like nothing better than to watch as he was dragged out by his heels, kicking and screaming like a three-year-old having a tantrum (which, i have no doubt, would happen, if it came to that), i seriously doubt that any president that comes after that would have any chance of pulling the country back together again any time within my lifetime, i don’t care who he is, or how fast he impliments universal health care and universal basic income.
the guy who is (allegedly) fixing the fence has already run down a whole list of (bogus) complaints he had about the current fence — i get the impression that he’s not particularly impressed with the quality or consistency of the fence materials, despite the fact that we had the fence made by a different company than the one which made the gates, and that the whole thing was built during the peak of the first round of COVID…
but i get the very strong impression that the guy is going to do everything possible to get away with doing a halfway job and begging off, never to be heard from again, which is why i’m going to be keeping an eye on the work progress, when it happens. 😒
election day is (finally) tomorrow. in spite of the fact that he was impeached, we managed to survive (barely) four years of #drumpf, and i’m not sure, even now, that we’re going to vote him out tomorrow… and, even if we do, i’m even less sure that he’ll leave without making a BIG fuss, and/or flagrantly cheating… and even if we do manage to eject him into the sun, there’s going to be A LOT of #MAGA #chuds who will be stubbornly unwilling to accept it, and even if we are actually able to eject him into the sun, they’re not going to be so “easy” to deal with, nor will they just “go away”, once the solar ejecting has actually been accomplished.
i keep saying it’ll take us at least a hundred years to recover from #drumpf, and i’m not sure we have a hundred years left, even if we do, miraculously, make him and his cronies just vanish.
in other news, i made a new page for the Incense Of The Month Club, but i can’t figure out how to put the background image on it that i want, so it’s not linked anywhere, yet. i bought a 1½” diameter button press (because why not), and now i’ve got to round up some civic organisations which want buttons for some campaign or something.
okay, as i reported here, the HPOI arrived on friday, at 1730. i went to WFS, but was informed that i had to get the shipment cleared through US customs, before i could pick it up.
customs operates under “normal” business hours, i.e. 9-to-5, M thru F, so i figured i was going to have to wait until monday.
the “carrier certificate” that WFS gave me said that i had to pay an ISC fee, which worked out to $89 if i paid it online, or $125 if i paid it in person, so, while i was waiting — saturday and sunday — i took the opportunity to pay it online, so that i would have yet another impediment taken care of before monday.
the “carrier certificate” also, CLEARLY said that the date that storage charges started accruing was 201012, which was further impetus to get things rolling as quickly as possible.
note, that THIS ENTIRE TIME i have been getting EXTREMELY CONFLICTED messages about whether or not i would need a broker. at this point, everything i have heard leads me to believe that i would NOT need a broker to pick up my shipment of incense.
this morning, i contacted customs, got their new address (because they just moved, and nobody at WFS knew where), and went down to clear my shipment.
when i got there, i talked with a US customs agent, who told me that, because my MAWB said that the value of the shipment was more than $800, but less than $1,000, i would have to have a broker clear the shipment.
way back when i was arranging all of this, i specifically remember (backed up by email from 200824) arun giving me precise numbers: “USD 7.45 PER DOZENS”, which amounts to $357.60 for 48 dozen boxes. i also specifically remember (backed up by a different email from 200824), arun telling me “Please note Air freight is additional.”, so when he sent me a proforma invoice that said $986.40, i presumed that it meant “$357.60 for the incense, and $628.80 for shipping”… but it wasn’t itemised, and i overlooked that point.
i SHOULD HAVE gotten an itemised MAWB, but i didn’t.
so, i spent some time on the phone, talking with brokers, who quoted me around $400 just to get my foot in the door, and then i connected with lisa, from Frontier North America — a very nice, helpful lady who is going to get my business the next time around — who assured me that, because i was actually paying more for shipping than i was for the actual product, that she would clear my shipment, and provide a surety bond, for $182.22, so i said go for it, and half an hour later, my shipment was cleared through customs.
then, i went back to the airport, to WFS, who informed me, because i didn’t have a broker, who could clear my shipment on friday, after business hours (despite the fact that customs was CLOSED for “normal people” like me), that i had to pay a $110 storage fee — which was EXACTLY the thing that i was trying to AVOID by picking up the paperwork on friday, after normal business hours — and then they had a problem charging me the storage fee, because i had already paid the ISC fee, and they couldn’t charge me as a “guest” because the computer wouldn’t let them create two different accounts with the same MAWB number. finally, they told me that their web site wasn’t meant for people with iphones, which meant that i would have to go home to use my computer at home to “set up an account” so that they could charge me a storage fee, before i could pick up a shipment that i was already there to pick up… 😒
fortunately, after talking to two other managers, i finally talked the third manager into waiving the $110 storage fee, and, after scanning my drivers’ license (because my passport wouldn’t fit in their automatic scanning device 😒) they “gave me permission” to pick up my HPOI.
and i managed to get through the whole thing without swearing, losing my temper, or stomping out of various offices, as good as it would have felt.
our BRAND NEW, not even three months old yet, 6-foot security fence, has been destroyed by a falling tree.
it was a dead tree, on the neighbour’s yard, that fell… it didn’t even have the decency to fall all at once; it broke off about 20 feet up (remember, it was dead), and the broken part fell on our fence… it didn’t hit the shed, and nobody got hurt, which is a good thing, but still…
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… 😉
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. 😉
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…
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… 🤣
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. 😉
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.
this is my office. it’s also the music room.
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…
last month i was going crazy, so monique took me to see the National Wild Horses Monument in quincy.
it was on the top of a bluff overlooking the columbia river, in eastern washington.
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…
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.
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!
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??? 😭
i’ve never seen the movie “Soylent Green” (although i have read the book on which it was “loosely based”, called Make Room! Make Room!), but i’ve heard all the quotes, and seen a bunch of youtube excerpts…
so, when they first came out with a product called “soylent”, i was skeptical, to say the least.
but then, i had occasion to start drinking a “protein shake” on a regular basis, and i discovered that, while ALL the others had “sugar” as one of their first five ingredients, soylent contains NO sugar… yes, it has other sweeteners, but they are not within the first five ingredients.
and it tastes good.
then, they came out with soylent mint and chocolate, in a green bottle… “soylent green”…
i’m sure some executive, in some penthouse office somewhere, is chortling with evil glee at that one. 😼
and it tastes FANTASTIC!
seriously, i could get addicted to this stuff!
i realise it’s got a name that gives you nightmares, but it’s really good! you should try it… in part, BECAUSE of the fact that it’s name gives you nightmares! 😎👍
increasingly violent protests have been escalating globally. if we had all listened to colin kaepernick, way back when, we might have avoided this.
meanwhile, drumpf has issued an executive order making antifa a “terrorist organisation” — meaningless, as antifa isn’t an “organisation”, but convenient, because now drumpf can claim anybody is antifa, and have them arrested — and inciting violence on twitter with rhetoric recycled from the republican side of the ’60s-era race riots.
and “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” means the same thing 50 years ago as it does now.
COVID19 has facilitated increasing fascism. it’s just a matter of time before drumpf declares martial law, and/or someone assassinates him.
something that would be supremely ironic, in drumpf’s case: “assassinate” is a word that begins with not one, but two “ass”es…