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Copious Free Time
and a million dollars
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25th-Dec-2013 09:24 am - another year is shot!
miner
KW 2013 Christmas Card by Kip W
KW 2013 Christmas Card, a photo by Kip W on Flickr.

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Well, hello. We're in a Holiday Inn Express near Cathy's family, passing the next couple of hours until Sarah can open her presents. We're being very, very patient here. It's been a year. Some details are on the card (attachment).

If you follow the link to my flickr page (the card should be a link), you can see prints I've made in the last two semesters, as well as some ancient slides I've been scanning from the family collection. Unless otherwise specified, Mom took those.

Coming up: another year! Yes! More printmaking! More slide scanning! I might be SMOF GoH at Marscon in Williamsburg, but as they have declined to tell me anything about transportation or to put me on any programming, I'm not sure how serious the offer is. I expect I'll journey to Michigan in the spring, and Colorado in the summer.

Other than that, the future's a big mystery. Well, happy Christmas, and a merry new year to you all! Except the spammers who post nonsense on my old LJs. They can stuff it.
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27th-Apr-2013 11:31 am - signing in
miner
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Mixed feelings about the end of another semester. It's like how the end of every play I'm in turns into the last episode of M*A*S*H and it suddenly becomes tragic that everybody's going their separate ways. Anyway, looks like the printmaking class has gone quite well, and I'll keep taking more of that for a while. I had two pieces in the student show, so that felt good too.

It's been a while since I tuned in at Live Journal. For that matter, I'm more or less stepping off the fast lane all over the place. I've stopped looking in on the Comics Curmudgeon each day, and that was the one basic part of my routine that never changed. I still check Google Reader and email and Twitter and newsgroups, which still takes longer to do than typing this sentence. Two of my best LJ correspondents died this past year. I haven't posted since I found out.

Have I been using the time for school? Hard to say. I have, at least, been getting up and going in and working, so that's a good thing. I haven't had a lot of freelance work, so it's just as well. Sarah and I drove up to Michigan to see Kathryn and Dad and everybody. We next had plans to go to MI in June, followed by a trip out to Colorado. All of this, however, has been complicated by my sister's stroke (the sister in Colorado, who is on LJ sometimes), which I'm told is complicating her life even more. I guess it's all about her now. (A little humor there.) No idea what the schedule will be now.

I took Sarah's bikes to the bike drop-off at Mendon HS an hour ago. Her first bike is in there, the one her friend Colin gave her in MA (he got a new one for his birthday). Her second bike, "Windstorm," which I bought for $5 at a PTSA sale, is in there, slightly larger and pinker than Colin's blue "Blast-Off." The largest of the three is a single-gear bike she paid for about half of when she decided she wanted it. She has no bicycle now. Cathy will be shopping for her belated birthday bike soon, but just now, I am marveling at the sheer fact that my daughter has no bike at all.

Normal stuff continues. Dad's health is good at the moment, and his hearing is not too horrible. My sister is recovering well from her stroke. Another sister is about to graduate from college, as is my nephew. I will be seeing many of these people in the summer, one way or another.

There's more to it than that, but I can stop now if I leave it there, and I have other stuff to do. Sorry I'm such a hermit. It's not by choice, really.

originally posted at New Pals
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10th-Jan-2013 08:59 am - what a world
miner
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Q: What can possibly make this 1978 "Dating Game" clip even creepier?


A: The winning bachelor's conviction on charges of serial killing going back to 1971. But just barely.

(Not much of a mystery, with the title proudly emblazoned in the video.)
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31st-Dec-2012 09:43 pm - some short words for new year's
miner
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A bit from the now-still "Words of One Beat" verse pile. You should know this one on sight:

  Auld Lang Syne

 Should old friends drop from out our thoughts
 And not be brought to mind?
 Should old friends drop from out our thoughts
 and days of auld lang syne?

 For auld lang syne, my dear,
 for auld lang syne,
 we'll take a cup of heart's warmth yet,
 for auld lang syne.

 And sure now ye'll be in your cups!
 And sure I'll be in mine!
 And we'll take a cup o' heart's warmth yet,
 For auld lang syne.

 For auld lang syne, my dear,
 for auld lang syne,
 we'll take a cup of heart's warmth yet,
 for auld lang syne.

 We two have run all through the hills,
 And pulled the wild blooms fine;
 But we've trod miles on worn-out feet,
 Since auld lang syne.

 For auld lang syne, my dear,
 for auld lang syne,
 we'll take a cup of heart's warmth yet,
 for auld lang syne.

 We two have swum wild in the burn,
 From morn 'til time to dine;
 But seas twixt us so broad have roared
 Since auld lang syne.

 For auld lang syne, my dear,
 for auld lang syne,
 we'll take a cup of heart's warmth yet,
 for auld lang syne.

 And here's a hand, my heart's good friend
 Give me a hand of thine
 We'll take a cup of heart's warmth yet
 For auld lang syne

 For auld lang syne, my dear,
 for auld lang syne,
 we'll take a cup of heart's warmth yet,
 for auld lang syne.

 Should our old friends drop from our thoughts
 And slip out from our mind?
 Should our old friends drop from our thoughts
 and days of auld lang syne?

 For auld lang syne, my dear,
 for auld lang syne,
 we'll take a cup of heart's warmth yet,
 for auld lang syne.

                                -- Bob Burns
                                   (done by Kip W.)

A good new year's to all of you! As you'll note, the world did not end. So on we go.
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31st-Dec-2012 09:41 pm - auld acquaintance
miner
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I've been keeping my head down recently for various reasons. We went to New Jersey for Christmas, and there's no way I could have kept up with the LJ and still show my face here and there. Then we got back, and things seem just as out-of-control busy here as they did there. (Hey, I ordered myself a Henry Mancini book with a gift card I received, and it should be here some time next year! I'll be working on March of the Cue Balls, but there are 29 other solos in the book as well, and there should literally be hours of fun.)

So we came back home a day late because of snow in New York and Pennsylvania. We got home and found an extra foot of it lying about on horizontal surfaces. The workmen who were going to be trenching in the back have sensibly held off for a while. My Christmas present arrived — a flipbook kit my cousin's husband is offering via Kickstarter — but there are some bugs in the system. The media is prone to pop out, and they packed it in a way that made popping more likely. I have offered my observations as a de facto beta tester. We'll see what happens.

The power went out this evening, during the first hour of AFTER THE THIN MAN. I laugh at such setbacks, having recently recorded all six 'Thin Man' movies and put them on disk for easy viewing, and I'm watching the whole thing now. After the power was out for 40 minutes or so, I dragged the generator out to the patio (first shoveling off the patio) and eventually got it started. The end result is that we had a lamp in the living room, and I had a feeling like the elements couldn't keep me down. Sarah and I watched the recentish Three Stooges movie on my laptop for a while, then power came back. We watched a little more.

So that's the stage of progress this fine New Year's. I'll do one more post with a special gift-like thing.
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2nd-Dec-2012 10:33 am - blink
miner
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Twitter and Usenet and the Comics Curmudgeon seem to get all my input these days. Even other blogs are mostly getting shorted from that fine Kip W/Muffaroo stuff.

First I was all busy with the play, which went swimmingly. We had a strong Captain, a tireless and very professional Maria (who has apparently been on Broadway in some capacity), and an imposing Mother Superior with a thrilling, theater-filling voice (she has sung with the Boston Symphony), plus two rather fine sets of Trapp children, who impressed me early on by being off book before anybody else. I wondered why, if we can get such great kid actors here in Pittsford, they can't do it in Hollywood. Thankfully, the production left in the three songs that are usually cut for the movie; the two Max/Elsa numbers ("How Can Love Survive," and my favorite, "No Way to Stop It"), which are the wittiest part of the score, and "An Ordinary Couple," which strikes me as the most mature and moving. It was a long show, full of costume changes. Maria and the kids spent most of their time not on stage getting out of one set of garments and into another. Our Max had one change that was uncomfortably quick for him, so I helped him with that each night. I was already done with my part by then anyway, but stayed in costume for the curtain call. For the curtain call, I modified a bit that Eric Strong used in The Mikado at CNU for his curtain call: he scowled at the audience as the stern (but mercenary) Pooh-Bah and held a fan in front of his face. When the fan came down, he was Eric, smiling broadly. I did it with my bow; the moment of unmasking. Our players now are done. I hope you liked me. A couple of people said they did, which made me feel pretty good.

The next crunch was, and is, school. Much cramming has been required for the quizzes in 20th-century art history, because it amounts to writing three or four papers in class, on pictures that must be recognized and ID'ed. Longhand, of course, so cramping is also involved. The 20th century involves at least ten art movements per decade, so the hardest part of all of it was remembering the isms and their dates. There was some small consolation in the end dates, which meant that each of these movements is, in some way, over. Take that, you bastards! You're HISTORY. There's still the final to go. It would be nice if the teacher would post the slides some time soon so I could be studying them, and not just the written notes.

Autumn leaves have been a challenge. I put in some eight hours of raking and blowing in brief intervals between studying and the show. The stretches and exercises, which take between one and three hours daily (depending on the day of the week) seem to be doing their job. When my back went out after a three-hour leaf orgy, it was only out for a couple of minutes, and I made it to rehearsal with no further incidents. The muscles that support my sacroiliac are helping pick up some of the slack now. (Our Captain von Trapp's back went out the week before performance, so he couldn't pick up Gretel and carry her iconically up the aisle at show's end, but they made it work anyway.)

Thanksgiving went better and more smoothly than anyone could reasonably expect. Some of the best turkey I can remember in years — when I went to harvest the carcass for leftovers, the meat was so tender all I had to do was compliment it, and it jumped off the bones and into the waiting bowls. I had at least two good leftover meals of dark meat with dressing and gravy, and Sarah had a healthy snack of the dark meat. Cathy ate some of the white meat as well. Next year, I should probably put at least one of the containers of white meat into the freezer for medium-term storage.

Cathy spent much of last week in New Jersey, helping her mom, who had had a fall. By the time she got there, the initial emergency and hospital stay were over, and Delores was no longer groggy from meds. She  mostly took her places (water aerobics, hair appointment), shopped (getting Sarah's Christmas presents in line as she did so), and watched TV with her. Sarah and I had FaceTime chats with them to keep in touch. I managed to get all the leftovers out of the fridge for hazardous waste pickup before she got back, and even cleared some liquid dregs from the downstairs fridge, which is mostly used for beverages and frozen desserts.

We'll be going to NJ for Christmas. I'll be 56 in a couple of weeks. Dad's health seems to be good (no more strokes), though his hearing is as much a problem as ever. The latest is that his body chemistry causes the tiny tubes of his hearing aids to contract and constrict, making frequent replacement necessary. Kathryn (my oldest sister, with whom he lives) says that he can be hearing okay in the audiologist's office, and be back to subnormal by the time they get to the car. I expect to see them in April, when Sarah and I will drive up for her (and my) spring vacation. We'll drive to Colorado in summer. I'm starting to enjoy driving vacations again, and Sarah has strategies to put up with them (iPod, games, movies, slumber), and we seem to get on pretty well when we're on trips or when we're batchin' it without Cathy. Father-daughter time, especially when there's a hotel pool for a warm dip. We're staying at a Holiday Inn for the NJ trip, so we'll doubtless be immersing a couple of times then.

That's mostly it. It's been a pretty poor year for paid work for me, which has made it a little easier to do a show and go to school. Last year was about the best year I've had for freelance, which makes this year more of a letdown. I've finally heard from a client who engaged me for a cover job back in August, who finally sent me all the files and a short deadline, plus the prospect of three more books, for which I'd do the whole job and not just the covers. Another previous client has dangled the prospect of another book as well, so the future looks a little better than the immediate past.

Do I have time and inclination here to wrap up this huge (and largely unread) post with an inane and faux-profound closing statement? Time will tell, readers. Time will tell.
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26th-Oct-2012 09:02 pm - leaves
tree
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I.
That wondrous moment
When one leaf, then another one
Drifts onto my tarp.

II.
I rake east to west
The wind blows it back again
To show me who's boss.

Things are getting busy. Incredibly, they are not as busy as they're going to get. My art history class (20th century) is a steady, two-day-a-week presence, with the occasional quiz (write write write write) or paper (type type type). Rehearsals are reaching a crescendo. Cathy's going away next week, leaving me to figure out how to get Sarah squared away on three nights when rehearsals go until 10:30. So today I raked leaves instead of going to the Y.

I've been pretty good about getting my exercise. Three trips to the Y a week for exercise machines. Five or six walks a week. Stretching six or seven times a week. Once in a while, though, I'll defer to the necessity of getting some particular task done, like mowing the lawn, which I may get to tomorrow, now that I've gotten about 90% of the leaves off the front. I also attacked and destroyed one of the damn bushes that wants to take over the world by the front doorway. The other will suffer the same fate, and then I'll see how much of the wretched ivy I can get rid of. And saw off the next tree branch that wants to fall when the wind blows. And hey, that'll mean fewer leaves, right? It's got to!

Last night was the night Sarah had to finish her invention for school, so we stepped it up a bit. It's a sort of combination doll house and games cabinet, made of cardboard, garnished with cloth, foam slabs, duck tape, and some rope for handles. Plus bobby pins, which we finally employed as a cunning way of latching it shut. Seems to work. Anyway, it's just a prototype. She came out with Zach from next door (across the back yard), and they joined in the raking and leaf blowing. Zach never helps at home, only at other people's houses. Sarah helps out at home <i>and</i> at other houses.

The weather threatens to come in. We've had two idyllic days in a row. It was above 80 today. I'm about to go for a walk, and expect it will still feel lovely. I'll see how they're doing on filling in the hole in the street that opened up about a week ago. I'll look at the yard signs this one place has to remind myself who not to vote for. I hope for decent weather tomorrow, long enough to mow the lawn and dismantle and stack Sarah's trampoline for the winter. It would be nice if they came for the leaves and the sticks out front before the storm comes through and redistributes them.
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26th-Sep-2012 01:33 pm - free to a good home
miner
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Okay, not really. But here's the thing.

I get daily emails from the Mechanical Music Digest, which consist of the day's postings to a diverse group of hobbyists. Their delight is in player pianos, pianolas, band organs, violinolas, music boxes, and even automata. Every so often (and getting oftener) I read about another beloved member of the community who has passed on or gotten too old to keep doing the work, and the collection he or she (usually he) spent years putting together and keeping in order is looking for a home. More often, many homes, as different things go in different directions, possibly including the trash.

As they age out, they wonder where the next generation of people who appreciate this exacting craft will come from. Who will repair the machines? Who will keep the rolls rolling? Their kids, oftentimes, have bemused tolerance for their parents, but no intention of carrying on after them. The faces they see are getting older.

Now, I look around and see young people who love clockwork and gears and steel and brass and polished wood and leather cases, who are interested in the obscure and the outdated and the ingenious. Yes, steampunks and makers. Why wouldn't they want to get in on, and add to, the not-so-secret lore of the mechanical music enthusiasts? What would they bring to the table?

A recent posting at bOINGbOING on a player piano performance drew enthusiastic comments, but my attempts to post something like this message there have simply vanished into space. I used to subscribe to the steampunk community, but apparently allowed that to lapse, and rejoining just to post a glorified want ad seems sort of cheap. But hey, if anybody who reads this felt like reposting it or directing their eyes to my page, I'd love to get the word out.

Pneumatic tubes! Mainsprings! Foot pedals! Escapements! Antique mahogany finish! Burnished metal! Jewel bearings! Ebony and ivory keys! AND when you do it right, MUSIC comes out!

Here's the home page. There are links to years of postings from members, photos, movies, and sound files (midi and mp3), and you can participate by getting a free account and logging in.
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25th-Sep-2012 11:51 am - another Toon River verse
miner
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It's up now at the New Pals Club Web-Log. Amos Van Hoesen, of 9 Chickweed Lane.
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17th-Sep-2012 11:30 am - it's the same old song
miner
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Kip Asks for Help, part XVIII:

iTunes wanted to update itself, for the benefit of iOS users. Whatever. I let it do so.

Next time I synced my iPod, it only synced photos. Turns out the "synchronize music and movies manually" is now checked somehow. If I uncheck it, it wants to rebuild my iPod from scratch, which takes all day or more (120GB).

It also claims that the iTunes library on my computer isn't the one that the iPod is synced with. This is an outright lie.

I don't want to go looking for everything I've added to my iTunes library and put it in place by hand (again) every time I add something.

I called Apple, which offers to sell me a $19 service plan for one month, during which time they'll presumably tell me something that isn't "You just wasted $19. Now rebuild your iTunes library, just like you were going to have to anyway." The tech did send me a couple of links to helpful articles in the database, one of which told me how to make sure I hadn't forgotten to turn the unit on, and the other of which told me how to make sure I wasn't mistakenly trying to use a box of gum instead of an iPod.

So does anybody know what's going on here? Seems to me the problem isn't my (out of warranty) iPod, but the brand-new software they just made me install.
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