Sunday, December 31, 2006
I'll say, "Say it ain't so, Bob!"
As of 5:20pm today, Sunday December 31 in the year of our Lord 2006, my Sony computer tower was sitting in a very reputable repair shop undergoing bench testing to troubleshoot my 'issues'...
All I was going to do was beef up the video card in my 4-year old tower, which necessitated the installation of a 550 watt power supply (twice the original one)...installed without too much of a problem...worked great, too...
Ever heard the expression of "let a sleeping dog lie"? Well, I was heading in this direction, anyway, of upgrading my video/audio processing program to Pinnacle 10.5 Media Suite...with each of the 4 discs I put in they prompted me asking if I wanted to reboot to the new material then and there...but I knew I could do it all at once...including the upgrade to the 3-D radar rendering I spoke of earlier....
And when I did a restart...*boom*...*kabamm*...*blurp*... *diiiiiiiiiiingzleeeeeeeep*...something somewhere went terribly wrong and awry. Hard drive? Motherboard? Software? Just the hardware? Both hard and software? That is where I am at the moment. Dead in the water without my 'puter, awaiting further tests Monday morning.
So the saga continues. The Gorgon Sisters were not aware of their half-siblings, which I have now, unfortunately, brought to life. I will most certainly keep you updated on my less-than frolicking fun here on the last day of 2006...wheee. Feel the excitement....!
Thanks for your support...but I don't think I'll be posting again until sometime next year....
Saturday, December 30, 2006
HOWEVER...typical of something like this, one step opens up one can of worms, which when itself is opened up opens up another can of worms...and so on and so forth...I'm adding this quick post to say 'stay tuned' as I have to do some real computer surgery and (hopefully) solve my myriad 'issues' that have just appeared.
And Greek mythologians said there were only 3 Gorgon sisters...
Thursday, December 28, 2006
"Gone With The Wind":
"Lawzy, we got to have a doctor. I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies!"
Me, neither. At least not the 2-legged varietals...but I did give 'birth' to my first flute since my shoulder dislocation, pictures I had to withold until after Christmas...this was a surpise gift for someone in Texas that, knowing my luck, would have run across it and spoiled the secret.
It is one of my more unusual designs...I make a series of Ugly Boy Flutes called Half-Pipes that are literally half of a round-bore, traditional flute in design...flat bottoms with a semicircle bore in the flute body. Zero loss in sound quality, just a less expensive option for those that need one.
But you can glue two bodies on either side of the flat bottom and have the makings for a dual-chambered flute called a drone...with the barrels being kinda sorta like half flutes, an over-and-under Half-Pipe drone is like a regular version of a flute, only a little fatter thanks to modified bore ratios that I will NOT venture into here.
The bottom 'drone' side has no holes, but through gentle breath manipulation will play the fundamental 'drone' note or it's overblow note one octave higher; the top bore/playing barrel is a 6-hole keyed pentatonically (standard fare on today's Native American style flutes).
This flute is a mid-range G and about 23" long overall...and each barrel has it's own blowhole so you can separate playing the two if you wish. However, given the size of this flute, the over-under mouthpiece design is just too large to be comfortable...works fine on smaller, higher key flutes, but not this puppy. So I added a section (dark brown, Walnut) that rotated the blowholes into a horizontal format, and offset the playing barrel for ease of performing.
The main wood is Quilted Maple from Oregon; the heartline is mahogany, as is the mouthpiece and fetish blocks covering the airways. The little mountain scene at the end/foot of the flute is partly aesthetic to represent western NC and partly functional as it helped to slightly drop the pitch of the playing barrel to more closely match the drone barrel pitch.
Next on the list is a very special flute that has been commissioned by Charlotte Country Day School, with a due date of February 7. A beauty this one will be, in curly maple, figured walnut (lighter sapwood, unusual), and figured cherry...sounds like another blog entry for another day!
Speaking of another day, enjoy yours!
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
After having worked long holiday hours up through Christmas Eve, the young man had planned to take a few days off of work to travel to and enjoy his sweetheart's company after Christmas. Alas, Scrooge is alive and well as his boss decided at the last minute to cancel this young man's 'off' days and reassign him work, strongly pressuring him to cancel his plans to be with his love and best friend who was hours away at this very special time of the year.
There is no more to the story at this time. But in honor of all of us who have worked for people that surely must have an address in Hades, I present to you a list of things you could enjoy saying to them, useful as well for for coworkers or clients at just the right moment....
"Things you'd love
to say at work..."
1. I can see your point, but I still think you're full of puppy poop.
2. I don't know what your problem is, but I'll bet it's hard to pronounce.
3. How about never? Is never good for you?
4. I see you've set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public.
5. I'm really easy to get along with once you people learn to see it my way.
6. I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter.
7. I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message.
8. I don't work here. I'm a consultant.
9. It sounds like English, but I can't understand a word you're saying.
10. Ahhh...I see the screw-up fairy has visited us again...
11. I like you. You remind me of myself when I was young and stupid.
12. You are validating my inherent mistrust of strangers.
13. I have plenty of talent and vision; I just don't give a rat's derriere.
14. I'm already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.
15. I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you.
16. Thank you. We're all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view.
17. The fact that no one understands you doesn't mean you're an artist.
18. Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental.
19. What am I? Flypaper for freaks???!!!
20. I'm not being rude. You're just insignificant.
21. It's a thankless job, but I've got a lot of Karma to burn off.
22. Yes, I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial.
23. And your crybaby whiny opinion would be...?
24. Do I look like a people person?
25. This isn't an office. It's Hell with fluorescent lighting.
26. I started out with nothing and still have most of it left.
27. Sarcasm is just one more service we offer.
28. If I throw a stick, will you leave?
29. Errors have been made. Others will be blamed.
30. Whatever kind of look you were going for, you missed.
31. I'm trying to imagine you with a personality.
32. A cubicle is just a padded cell without a door.
33. Can I trade this job for what's behind door #1?
34. Too many freaks, not enough circuses.
35. Nice perfume. Must you marinate in it?
36. Chaos, panic, & disorder-my work here is done.
37. How do I set a laser printer to stun?
38. I thought I wanted a career; turns out I just wanted a salary.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Knowing I don’t normally post on the weekends, and having absolutely nothing to really talk about as I pretty much unplugged my brain after work Friday, I started to have little gurgling random thoughts…I know, I know, scary, isn’t it…
So, I’ll keep this short and sweet. Just a little question-and-answer quiz on things I saw that crossed my uncharted mind. Ready? Let’s do it...
Why are these air-filled yard ornaments getting so expensive?
What is the forecast pictured?
Why does this picture remind you of a cat walking on the beach?
What would you do to quickly study up on the manger scene?
See, painless wasn’t it?
Peace to all y’all…
Friday, December 22, 2006
Winter forecasting is one tick short of full-fledged insanity here in the Southeast...while our Holiday trickery for the Triad is one of nuances in timing and temperatures, it is nonetheless a pain in the patoot when each model run wildly varies the upcoming scenario...
...systems strengthen suddenly, disappear suddenly, cold air stays north, then suddenly appears 3oo miles south, highs are over Pennsylvania, then they're over wester Illinois...all that and then some...it is simply a CYA forecast for us at News 14 as we try to peg a week's worth of weather/travel concerns down to some sense of finiteness.
"CYA" you ask? Cover your "south-end if you're facing north"...I was hoping that I would see some semblance of 'agreement' in the models, but, alas, there has been precious little. What to do? Go with intuition deep within. The ol' gut call. Honestly, we'd be better off in life if we would learn and develop a sense of trust with our Inner Nudge instead of trying to rationalize every decision we make. The real Magic in Life is not found through 'thinking' and 'doing'...rather, it is about 'being' and trusting in the Process. After all, we are human 'beings', not human 'doings'...worth some thought.
Okay, so the extended forecast into next week is crazy...I'm off duty until Wednesday morning the 27th, officially...so what should I care? I just do care, plain and simple...comes with the territory. When you live your passion, it's 24/7...and even though my passions go far beyond weather, it's always a matter of "putting your best foot forward" just for the sake of always giving your best. All a part of 'being' who you are, not just doing a list of tasks. Got Milk?
No white Christmas here in the Carolinas, though Christmas night the mountains should see their rain become some light snow before precipitation ends early Tuesday. Speaking of snow, my aunt lives in Evergreen, Colorado, up in the Front Range next to Denver...checking out the co-op observer totals from this storm there...40", 44", 39"...and that's not counting the drifting going on! "Liquid equivalents" reported with that snow have it around 2.0" of water...ouch!
And those poor people at Denver airport, built +20 miles outside of Denver in the middle of nowhere, ironically touted as 'weatherproof' in the world of airports. Pass the plate of Crow, please.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Didn't know where I was going with this post today (like most days)...and I decided that I would just add unrelated ingredients to today's entry and create my unique eclectic stew for the day, hence the above reference to my culinary arts practices while at UNC-Chapel Hill.
I have another one of those double-shift duty days, so I'm feeling that excitement...NOT, once again. Being a dog lover and then some, I had run across this card on-line that I'd seen years ago in a store and thought you'd get a chuckle out of it:
In my tangential way, I thought of this card when I read an article this morning of a female Komodo Dragon about to give virgin birth in the UK...parthenogenesis, it's called, self-fertilization already known in some lizard species, but never dreamed possible in this lineage of giant reptiles.
You could retitle the above card as "Komodo Dragon Christmases" and have one lizard say, "Who knocked Flora up?", and they could all sit around saying, "Not me", "I didn't", "Never touched her", "Was that her name?", "If I could have been so lucky"...
Here is the news link: Komodo Dragon virgin birth
More on self-fertilization in nature: parthenogenesis
"Komodo" makes me think of an awe-inspiring group from Sado in Japan: KODO, precision percussionists that will knock your socks off...
The DVD "Live At The Acropolis" is WELL worth the investment. Drumming extraordinaire that will leave you glued to the screen...first saw it on a PBS fund-raiser years ago, the Acropolis show, which has been my favorite.
Time for more holiday humor...
And now back to musicians that will knock your socks off...and little musicians at that...check out this video link to "The Marimba Ponies" and try to remember what talents you were working on in elementary school...click HERE for the video (turn your speakers on!)
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
So here in December we've recently had temperatures well up into the 70s, making it feel like anything BUT Christmas...and any hopes for even a cold Christmas seemed waaaaay down the pike of Reality. That's changed a bit, thanks to a shot of cold air now timed for a Christmas Day arrival...cold rains for the Triad, but should be cold enough for a little snow to mix in with rain up in the mountains...we'll have to watch the models closely to see how far south the cold will entrench.
While out in Rapid City, South Dakota 2 Mays ago, we had a nice 10" snow on May 11th, and in looking at the pictures I thought of a weather ad I could do:
"Hey, you got your May in my December!"
"Yeah, but you got your December in my May!"
So even if we don't have a white Christmas, I'll give you some pics from that May storm and you can daydream of it being that way next Monday! Without going into too much detail right now, I used to create weekly Video Postcards for my former station there, 1-minute vignettes of my nature photography with my flute music...but there is one, and only one postcard, that I actually sang for the postcard, to the classic tune of "Camp Granada"...I'm posting the "new and improved" lyrics I wrote along with the pics...sing it to yourself, lest your family or coworkers call the men in the white suits....
"Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh,
We just got some - frozen wadduh,
Though it's May out,with leaves and flowers...
the trees and branches fell and cut our powers.
There was thunder, there was lightning,
Watching people drive - was oh-so frightening!
And my puppy loved - romping to and fro;
Thank goodness I know not to eat that yellow snow!
People shoveled - out their driveways,
While Jamie Zepp's car - spun out sideways,
So let this postcard - serve to remember:
That here in May it can look like December!"
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
It was really pretty innocent...the post was up, and around 8am I realized I wanted to change an "i" to a "y" in one word...that was all, just one word...click on it, backspace, enter "y", then "republish"...and all hell broke lose on Blogger.
Fonts changed, type shifted, colors reassigned themselves, text disappeared, spacings vanished...it was nothing short of disaster. I have had Blogger misbehave before and it usually will correct itself in a matter of minutes...but not yesterday.
I tried every trick in the book to get it to post correctly...and it all looked fine and correct in my drafting window...but when I hit "publish" it all went out the window. So back and forth I went, looks fine - won't post, looks fine - won't post, looks fine - won't post...and typical of the situation that has never happened before, I had teased it to the viewers to go read for a chuckle...and I had to keep it offline while I feverishly tried to figure it out. I put a temporary paragraph up explaining the problems and for readers to check back...one of those situations you couldn't just let sit for another time...I had to keep hammering at a solution.
The only thing I figured I could do was to rewrite a whole new entry, which I did, and while it has minor spacing glitches, I at least got it up. And it only took a little over an HOUR for all of this to transpire...was it wasted time? I don't think so, but I sure had other things I then had to catch up and take care of...and it proved to me that this blog is a labor of love...and if one person gets something out of what I pen here most days, it's worth the effort.
In backing away from my 'trouble trees' and looking at the 'regional forest' as a whole, I question how many people today, especially younger people, have that drive to excel simply on a personal level...with our widespread technical advancements that make life faster and supposedly easier, there are often ways to cut corners in accomplishing some 'marker' on some timeline. We have clearly become a Society that is, arguably, lazy in many respects, physically and ethically...and I wonder who of us really has the moxie to reach deep down into their gut when the going gets tough...or who chooses the easier way out, rolls over, and cries 'victim' while pointing fingers at any and everyone but themselves.
Don't forget the core of finger pointing...and you can try this right now: point at something or someone...one finger points to your focus, and 3 curl back and point back at you. 'Nuff said.
And the Thomas Edison reference in the title? Keep in mind, he was no prince to his family and kids...quite to the contrary. Yet his accomplishments remain mind-boggling and felt in every corner of daily life. Life is a balance we all strive for while experiencing it slipping through our fingers all too often. But it takes work, and attention, and effort...for those willing to forge and succeed. I would like to think this quote of his has a place in every classroom and office around the globe:
by most people
because it is
dressed in overalls
and looks like work."
- Thomas A. Edison
Monday, December 18, 2006
Yeah, ol' Rudolph had had enough..all the other reindeer had just cut him out of what would be their last reindeer games...and they would never again call him 'Rudy-Patooty'. Discover what happened that 'other' foggy night when Santa turned his back to go home and have a piece of Mrs. Claus's Rum Raisin Pudding Cake...
A heart-felt story of a newlywed couple who, together for their first Winter Solstice realized the true magic of television news that only digital cable can cring, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from News 14 Carolina in the Triad...
Friday, December 15, 2006
"What are YOU lookin' at? I didn't write that awful joke!!!"
Yeah, I'm reaching this morning...had planned to post pics of my first flute since my shoulder dislocation 2 months ago, brand new and hot off the finishing press yesterday...but then I got to thinking this is a surprise Christmas gift for someone in Texas, and there is a chance he might read this blog before then...so I chose to play conservative ball and not take a chance on spoiling anything. I'll post it after Christmas if I remember to (famous last words!)...
So, I'm sitting here wondering what to write about today...temperatures making it feel more like Jacksonville, FL 'round these parts than December in the Carolinas...good ol' foggy mornings that take their sweet time in clearing up, but once they do you feel like singin' "Up a Lazy River" with the Mills Brothers...which leads me to now think of having a nice big porch to lounge on (I don't...), which now leads me to picturing a good ol' pup stretched out on said porch, running rabbits in its sleep...which then leads me to thinking that a great name for a southern dog would be "Magnolia"....and you can just hear someone with a voice reminiscent of Foghorn Leghorn drawling, "I say Mag-NOL-yah, come here, gurl!"...which then makes me think of other great names for dogs...like naming a black lab "Velcro"...or a little tan Cockapoo "Crouton"...
That, my friends, is the random processing my brain goes through at all times, ad nauseum. Just sitting here thinking to myself, "If folks had even a passing thought that I might be a few fries short of a Happy Meal, I've just removed all doubt..."
And all this started with the web surfers title...in poking through some file pics from last summer, I ran across some more close-up shots in line with yesterday's post of raindrops on a web...this set of a really cut little bugger of an arachnid
that I tried to get up close and personal with as much as I could up near Craggy Gardens on the Blue Ridge Parkway...and another gratuitous raindrop-on-leaf shot from that same day, which was
replete with socked-in mountains, no views, and occasional showers. There's always beauty under your nose folks, always and all ways.
Yep, I can sure get off on instant tangents with the best of 'em, so enjoy my little "left turns at Albuquerque". Have a good day, now, y'hear?
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
attention to anything, even
a blade of grass, it becomes
a mysterious, indescribably
magnificent world in itself."
- Henry Miller
And so I began this post after yesterday's serious, technical nightmares at News 14 Carolina's "command central" in Raleigh...not to mince words, it was a brutal day for any and everyone that had to surmount catastrophic systemic failure across the 3 broadcast offices in North Carolina, which lasted close to 12 hours. Supposedly, the ship has been righted...let us all hope so.
Didn't get Mercy into the woods for her overdue romp until 1pm...by then, the sun had been out, all was dry, and I was degassing as fast as possible. The woods, by now, a quilt of tans, browns, and grays, spindly branches reaching out as if to try and grab back the covering leaves that have been long gone....and as we did our little bushwhacking thing for our sense of pseudo-adventure, I was about to put my foot down and noticed the small spiderweb on the forest floor...with my camera almost always with me, I thought I'd look a closer look at it...
(Now would be a good time to re-read the above quote if it has slipped your mind...)
I constantly find some of the most wonderful, cool, beautiful, and healing things right under my very nose, even in the middle of chaos and our overly busy lives...it can help you become one of Life's Peaceful Warriors when you are able to stop, be thankful, and simply marvel at even the smallest gifts which are everywhere all of the time...to make the choice to simply stop...and enter a silent, mind-full (mindful) state and let the world temporarily whiz by.
Just a litte web, or remnants of one, with unevaporated raindrops still clinging to the silky threads...(you should be able to click on each picture and enlarge it to see more details)
And in moving yet closer you see wonderful mini-beams of reflected sunlight, the rounded drops of cohesive water molecules...these little guys above look like little creatures with their paired 'sun eyes' refracting through the curved lensing field of the drops...it is an easy thing, and a good thing, to detatch mentally from Life's "noise" once in a while and just lose yourself in such tiny worlds...I highly recommend it, on a daily basis...
So, go find your little pocket of beauty and enjoy it...it's always closer to you than you think it is...and because a dear friend ended an email with the following applicable quote, I'll end with some of Thoreau's far-reaching wisdom:
"As a single footstep will not
make a path on the earth,
make a pathway in the mind.
To make a deep physical path,
we walk again and again.
To make a deep mental path,
we must think over and over
the kind of thoughts we wish
to dominate our lives.
As you simplify your life, the laws
of the universe will be simpler;
solitude will not be solitude,
poverty will not be poverty,
nor weakness weakness.
Our life is frittered away by
detail... simplify, simplify."
- Henry David Thoreau
(One last little picture of water drops on a White Oak leaf from yesterday...)
During the worst of it, I remember two things:
1) how good it felt to stretch every 5 minutes and roll into a new position, and...
2) how friendly and helpful the pink-striped elephants were to me...
And like all good 4-legged souls, Mercy knew I was way out of whack and kept a close watch on me the entire time, resting with me when she wasn't drooling over squirrels out the back windows.
In my line of work, calling in sick is a major deal, given we are simply short-staffed at the best of times. Thanks to Tara Lane for filling in from the Charlotte staff and making her first weekday early morning weather appearance in the Triad! With the fever having broken early yesterday, I'm climbing back in the saddle.
-------------- NOW THE FUN STUFF! ---------------------
This is a REALLY cute link...and you thought Santa's reindeer's talent was just flying through the sky! (..besides playing reindeer games, of course...) Click HERE to watch a fun holiday number...
I hope this works...it's an audio link from a benefit concert, a group of professional musicians from New Orleans play a stirring rendition of "O Holy Night"... click HERE for just the audio file. If it fails to open, click HERE and then scroll down the left column to the circular seal for the "Tipitina's Foundation"...to the right it will say 'free download' of the song...the song and musicians were recently part of a TV episode...click HERE if you want to see the musicians and the environment in which they played the song, although it's a bit interrupted with the story line of a former cocaine addict thrown in...
Well, here I sit now at 5:37am...as my work compatriot on the Charlotte side, Jeff Crum, likes to say, the Hal 9000 has rolled over dead this morning in Raleigh...and I mean on its back with legs up in the air...so I have yet to go live for any weather...serious issues, this time, serious issues...
Ah, technology - can't live with it, can't live without it...excuse me while I go hurry up and wait...
Carpe diem, y'all!
Sunday, December 10, 2006
I had a very brief Sunday afternoon encounter with the hawks that have become quite a mainstay in my life of late...and I'm talking brief. Maybe all of 50 seconds, if that long...
but here are a few more pictures of one of the pair taking wing and making a couple of circles before climbing high on the thermals to join the other hawk and a pair of Turkey Vultures waaaaaaay up in the sky.
That was it. I still have a lot to come to terms with when shooting digitally, getting comfortable with all the parameters I can tweak at any time...so I'm still doing a lot of testing and making plenty of mistakes as I get a little better. Thankfully the winged ones are fairly patient with me!
Kinda excited this week...since my shoulder dislocation, my flute-making slammed to a definitive halt this fall. However, this week will see my first 'creation', since that fateful fall, come to life. I'm down to the final sanding stages, and then the finishing stages which in themselves take days to complete...but I'm finally there.
I intrinsically 'feel' my flute work with my right hand...it has been good to teach the left how to fill in, but my right hand touch and feel is super-sensitive to my flute making, so I use it with pain as my guide. My good ol' orbital palm sander does fine work for me, but the injured right shoulder can take only about 10 minutes of the weight and vibration before it screams at me to leave it alone. Before too long I'll post the pics of my new 'baby'...and like most of what I do it's a bit on the unusual side. 'Nuff said for now. Been a slow train a-comin', it has.
After the bitter cold snap days ago, I've been scrutinizing the model runs going out 168 hours...no other arctic outbreak from Canada appears poised to rush in; to the contrary, high pressure plays a dominant role over the Southeast-Bermuda corridor keeping wintry storminess well north up toward the Great Lakes. Yeah, some rain Tuesday night through Wednesday, but outside of a minor adjustment in temperatures, we should remain a bit above average highs this time of year, temperature wise, through early next week. Shop away!