Monday, May 17, 2010

Wishing on ol' 'Star light, star bright'...


"Twinkle, twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are;
Little birdie in the sky,
Why'd you do that in my eye?
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
Boy, I'm glad that cows don't fly!"


Wishing. We all do it. Positive thinking, forward-looking, picturing what we want to manifest.

Easier said than done, I'll admit.

I think I speak for a lot of us when I say I 'wish' for a lot of things. They're not greedy, selfish, mean, or lowly things...to the contrary. Times just ain't easy for the bulk of us, and it's a matter of learning to be at peace "as-is" until we can effectively create positive change.

With that said, I have not felt my 'usual' literary nudges from the Universe of late...like going to a well to draw water and getting sand. I am in no way stopping the blogs and book chapters....but until my overwhelmed plate trims back, I'm afraid I'm going to be going 'underground' and more silent for the time being.

There will be blog posts, but for a few weeks I imagine they will be sporadic...I do appreciate those of you who check in, but, honestly, I'm not one to 'track' readers and follow numbers trends. I have no idea who reads my palaverings, none at all, save for those that write comments.

As with anything I do in "Life", especially flutes, I simply "do what I do" and pass it on. I don't 'expect' things from others...as the old saying goes (paraphrased), don't walk behind me as I may not lead...don't walk in front of me as I may not follow....just be beside me and let's let the Trail of Life lead us where it so chooses...or we choose....

As an aside, my War-Horse laptop with Vista O.S. is showing signs of dying...I may well be switching to Windows 7 within 48 hours, and if/when I do there will be another reason for ol' Bob to be 'quiet' until I get things up and running again.

With that said, I'm bidding a temporary ''adieu" as I deal with an over-filled plate of s'ghetti. It's all I know to do....

Until we meet again....


Thursday, May 13, 2010


Just a 'good morning' postcard for ya! Click to enlarge if you'd like. Ebony #2 almost ready for pics, but not quite yet. May post later...after I've had more coffee!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Riddle me this, riddle me that....


What's black and black and, uh...black all over?
The answer will now be posted....

Ya know, Bill had a great idea with the oil spill....what a hiddeous Medusa that situation is becoming! No, nothing along the lines of injuries or things negative...just the production of my first Ebony flute.

Now, you may not be aware of how unusual that is, an Ebony flute. First and foremost you're talking $$$ as good Ebony starts at $75/ board-foot. Too, setting aside the expense, the sound you get from such a dense wood is in it's own little category.

And you may think Ebony is pure black, but that's not the case. Most Ebony has chocolaty ribbons in it, but when oiled and finished most of it goes very dark, indeed.

Meet "Nighthawk", named for the actual bird. This mid "A" (A4) is 20.5" long with a composite block of 3 thinner Ebony strips, with the end result being a bird silhouette that for me resembles a nighthawk.

The pictures are with the flute sanded and finished with one coat of Walnut Oil....I may re-oil and finish with wax, or may try a shiny poly coat on it, though Ebony can be fickle with finishes.

I suppose I need to qualify a 100% Ebony flute...the block actually has a 1/16" layer of Poplar on the bottom to help absorb a little moisture, as Ebony simply doesn't....should help this flute avoid super-fast 'wet-out' since Poplar will absorb some moisture. I coated the edge with a Sharpie to darken it!

The 'video' below is simply my means of attaching an MP3 file for you to hear the flute. My laptop speakers are horrid, so I will have to assume the sample sounds fine on your computer...just something I threw together and added in a little 'echo' for effect. Enjoy!

video

Sunday, May 09, 2010

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!


For all the mothers out there and ALL you DO and PUT UP WITH, here's wishing you a beautiful day!!!!!!!!!!!! We of the 'astray' variety can't apologize and thank you enough! This flower is for you...


The Mayapples are now in bloom, and when you look from above you'd never see the flower as it is pretty much hidden by a couple of gargantual leaves overhead. For this picture I stuck the camera under the plant, and shot upward at it, using my swiveling screen to orient my eye-hand coordination. Click on the picture above to enlarge it, and probably click on that image again to get even larger...

I'm working the oddest shift that can be had at News 14 for today: I'm in Charlotte, working out of the Greensboro weather center, and producing weather forecasts for the Raleigh and Wilmington/Morehead City markets. Just about anything 'odd' is a "B'rer Rabbit's Briar Patch" for me, and this qualifies.

Interesting to note some numbers...a dry cold front raced through NC yesterday. Raleigh tied an old record and hit 90...hit 94 in Fayetteville...New Bern set a new record at 93...today all those locations carve highs back some 20-22 degrees, even with full sunshine! New Bern may not get out of the upper 60s, as the cooler air is screamed in on gusty NW winds.

Hope all y'all have a wonderful day...got more stuff to take care of here on my end...

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Well, I tried.....


Happy Cinco de Mayo, y'all! Try as I might to find some classy humor per this South of the Border occasion to party hearty, it was all politically too incorrect. About the tamest one was about the twin Mexican brothers that were on the same firefighting squad...to help tell them apart they were called Hose A and Hose B.


As I said, gave up that search pretty quickly.

Cinco de Mayo is not to be confused with Mexico's Independence Day (September 16); rather, it's a celebration of the Mexican militia's defeat of the French army at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. 4,500 beleagured Mexican militiamen took on the dressed-to-impress and drilled French soldiers numbering some 2,000 more. Mexico had gone through the social and political wringer for decades, notwithstanding the Mexican-American war in the late 1840s.

Even with the Puebla victory, celebrations were cut short as the ticked-off Napoleon III sent an additional 30,000 troops to (basically) take over Mexico for their long-running failure to repay significant debts owed. Within a year, the Mexican militia was whooped, and the French gained solid control of Mexico City, installing Maximilian as ruler of Mexico. That, too, was rather short-lived, as civil and political unrest festered and boiled. Maximilian was executed by the Mexicans a few years later.

Anyway, that's the gist of the Cinco de Mayo celebration, a more regional celebration even within Mexico and a bastardized commercialism here in the States, something we seem to be all too proficient at doing. Some people need an excuse to party, some don't.


Speaking of the Battle of Puebla in 1862, if you happened to note the previous blog (Foster's "In the Merry Merry Month of May"), that song was penned in 1862, as well. First thing I think of is the irony of it all...writing upbeat songs about dabbling in hillside springs in a carefree manner...at a time when well over 35,000 Union and Confederate troops died in the May-July Peninsular Campaign around Richmond/central Virginia...later that summer was the Second Bull Run bloodshed, followed that fall with the Battle of Antietam. Just a select few of the carnages that took place that year...

Not trying to depress ye faithful readers today, but Stephen Foster's death was most untimely and tragic...cut short at age 37. Don't need to go into all the details here, so you can read about it on Wikipedia if you wish. Interesting to note through history the renowned individuals, be they composers, artists, scientists, writers, etc., whose earthly lives ended prematurely in impoverishment and tragedy.

One of his musical legacies was played before millions last Saturday with the running of the (oh-so-muddy) Kentucky Derby. Foster published "My Old Kentucky Home" in 1853.

(chorus)
Weep no more, my lady,
Oh weep no more today!
We will sing one song
for the old Kentucky home,
For the Old Kentucky Home
far away...


Sunday, May 02, 2010

"In the Merry, Merry Month of May...."


"Our barks echo'd through the glen,
With blithe and joyful ring;
We dug our holes under mossy stones,
And we dabbled in the hillside spring."

Apologies to Stephen Foster, composer of "The Merry, Merry Month of May" way back in 1862. I altered a few words in the second verse to fit the lead-off pictures today...now that the inclement batch of heavy rains and storms is upon NC today, looks like a day to stay inside and look back on the the snaps I took this weekend.

(click on pics to enlarge)

The mellow Mercy doesn't bark, except when there's a raccoon, squirrel...or when Molly pesters her enough for a round of play. The lushness continues to unfold on the mountainside, thanks to all the moisture last winter.

Molly barks a-plenty...and loves to dig under mossy stones....and loves to get all kinds of muddy and wet knocking around the hillside spring...and stealing items not nailed down at the neighbor's house. I have noticed that ticks seem to be in good supply, a bit more than I remember for a spring.

The glades of Trillium really are a sight to behold, especially with the sprinkling of other colors...

...and I do generally prefer overcast conditions for photographing, as it is difficult in the best of times to maintain shadow/highlight definitions on bright, high-contrast days.

My little ol' warhorse Canon S2 continues to delight me with its macro capability, hand-held at that...its flip-out, rotating screen allows the camera to get in just an inch or two away while I save my back and knees from getting down to the picture at hand!

Two 'new' flowers making themselves seen are the Solomon's Seal above, with it's soon-to-be-flowers hanging down below the stem...

...to the very different flower (below) of False Solomon's Seal, a kissing cousin sans hanging bells below.

From above, the stalk and leaves look quite the same, but the False Solomon's Seal flower bunch at the tip of the stalk is the immediate give-away.

Violets of yellow, purple, and white are everywhere, including this brace of Canadian Violets.

From the land of Lilliput, so it would seem, is this diminutive of flowers now abounding, Star Chickweed, the bloom only as big as my pinkie fingernail.

Plenty of beauty in the non-flowering world, as well. Fiddlehead ferns are rosining up their frond bows; fern displays in general make a woodlands scene all the more verdant, eh?

Enjoy your day! Always good to bring a little nature into the walls of work-dom...