Sunday, January 30th, 2005
The wall unit for Sylvia's room is coming along nicely (though I expect to be done in March now, not February) -- tonight while I was cutting dovetails for the remaining section of it, Ellen and Sylvia were painting one of the completed sections.
Sylvia and I went over to Mark's house today, where Christine and Bill also came to visit. We had a great time, including watching Harold Lloyd movies and learning from Bill how to play "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues".
Thursday, January 27th, 2005
Hey, anyone want to talk about Roth? I'm reading American Pastoral right now and really enjoying it.
Wednesday, January 26th, 2005
Woo-hoo! Today I finished and sent in my application to the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University. If I measure up to their standards, I will start work on my Master's degree in Computer Science this fall.
Friday, January 14th, 2005
I sent the following note to my senator today; I'd encourage you to do likewise:
Dear Senator Corzine:
Republicans have started to indicate the possibility of defaulting on the debt owed to Social Security -- we must nip this in the bud! The most recent indication was in Senator Wayne Allen's (R-CO) comment that he does not believe the money will ever be repaid to the fund.
The time is here for a resolution reaffirming the government's intention to repay fully all outstanding Treasury bills. Note that section 4 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution states,
"The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned."
Republican lawmakers who call into question the debt owed to Social Security, are violating their oath of office and should be repudiated.
Wednesday, January 12th, 2005
My last two posts don't really make sense together, I just realized, without a key bit of information which I omitted -- on Saturday I took the cracked violin to Millburn Music Center, where the repairman quoted me a considerably lower price, $75, for a simple glue-up -- Gagliardi's estimate was for a full repair which would involve taking the violin apart and putting a patch on the inside. So that is what I meant by "my fiddle is still in the shop"; I did not go crazy and send it out for the full repair.
Sunday, January 9th, 2005
Jammed with Bob today while a sick Janis moaned in the next room. My fiddle is still in the shop but I was playing Bob's violin on a lot of songs, and switching off with him between violin and guitar, a lot of fun -- I'm definitely picking it back up very quickly, I was getting how to do double-stops and open string drones, even very haltingly up in second position on the E string. This is going to be a great thing. I ordered Alan Kaufman's Beginning Old-Time Fiddle from ALibris for book-learning, and John Salyers' "Home Recordings 1941-42" from The Appalachian Center, for ear training.
Friday, January 7th, 2005
John finished repairing the bows and I picked them up from him at lunchtime. Very nice -- but unfortunately the man he works for, Yung Chin, took one look at the crack in the violin's body and said I should not be playing it -- that tension from being in tune will destroy the instrument. So... I gave a call to Richard Gagliardi to find out how much it would cost to fix such a crack. His low-end estimate was $2000, which is not going to happen.
A bit dejected, I surfed over to E-Bay to find out how much entry-level violins are running -- turns out they are quite cheap. So, I bought a new instrument for $51. This should keep me happy for a while.
Wednesday, January 5th, 2005
First post from my new laptop -- yay! I finally have a computer I can listen to music on! I was reading Dylan's Chronicles yesterday, the section where he is recording "Oh Mercy" in New Orleans and he talked about how New Orleans has the best radio stations in the world, specifically WWOZ. And I had the thought, why not see if they broadcast over the web these days? Lo and behold, they do! So now I'm sitting here listening to New Orleans radio and writing a blog post...
Update: D'oh! that's a Z, not an R. All fixed.
I am taking up the violin again, after about 20 years of not playing at all. I had been thinking about it for a while; while we were in California at Thanksgiving I asked my mother how much she thought a lower-end playable violin would cost. Turns out, free! Mom replied that my sister Blythe had my grandfather's violin (the one I played as a kid) but was not playing it; and Blythe agreed to pass it on to me. A few months gone by, and now I have it! (Miriam brought it with her when she came back from visiting the family for Christmas.) The bows need new hair -- I am giving them tonight to John Aniano (friend from CJWA and from the Woodcentral message boards) to be repaired. But even in the current state, I played it some last night and the tone was very nice indeed -- and my fingers seem to remember their positions pretty well, 20 years later.
(By a funny coincidence, Bob got loaned a violin a few weeks ago and he is trying to learn to play too. This should open up some nice new territory for jamming.)
Thursday, December 30th, 2004
This evening I glued up the frame for a section of the wall unit I am building -- I described cutting the dovetails in my previous post. The end result is pretty good (if slightly off square); but the glueing-up process can only be described as a failure.
The plan was as follows:
- Lay the right-hand side board on the bench top, outer face down.
- Put (Elmer's white) glue on the right-hand pins of the top and bottom boards, and join them to the side board.
- Slide the backing boards into the grooves cut in the top and bottom boards.
- Put glue on the left-hand pins of the top and bottom boards, and join the left-hand side board to them.
Straightforward enough -- what I didn't realize was I needed something to hold the top and bottom boards close to each other as I was sliding in the backing boards... I see now that what I should have done, after about the first three backing boards were in place, was fix a clamp to hold everything in place. (I think but am not sure, that my longest bar clamp would be just about long enough to do the job.) Instead, when the backing boards started falling out, I ran upstairs and started screaming bloody murder for Ellen to come help me hold boards in place. And she did, and everything came out all right in the end, except I wish I could keep my head on straight when a problem comes up.
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Check out Ellen's writing at Patch.com.