Sunday, October 1, 2006

After laying off most of the last three weeks after my unfortunate stumble, I went out and did my three mile jog this morning. I made it around in 32:00 even, which isn't bad considering the long period of inactivity. The knee and the ankle aren't fully recovered, but they don't feel too bad.

After a little yard work, I went to an auction in Oxford in search of more bargains. This time I picked up an engine stand for $5 and an air floor jack for $55. That pretty well used up the afternoon, so I didn't get the sink cabinet hauled home. Tomorrow is soon enough. It was unusually warm for October, with one bank sign reading 96º. It's been so dry for so long that this weekend I started watering some of the plants again to keep them going.


Monday, October 2, 2006

This afternoon I brought home the kitchen sink cabinet and put the doors on it. Later this week Mark will come over and help me put it back into the kitchen, and it should be good for another fifty years.


Tuesday, October 3, 2006

A little problem has come up. When I took the sink cabinet to town last week, I found that the battery in the truck wasn't charging. Yesterday when I went to bring the cabinet home, the ammeter showed a charge on the way into town, but coming home it was no charge again. In the morning I'll leave the truck in town and let a mechanic check it out.


Wednesday, October 4, 2006

This afternoon I transplanted peony roots behind the house. They sat outside for a week, so whether they'll survive is a question. We'll find out next spring.


Thursday, October 5, 2006

Today's activity was spraying brush killer on the little trees that have taken over the garden. I'll give it a couple of days to get down into the roots, then start cutting off everything over 1/4" wide and treating the stumps with Tordon RTU.


Friday, October 6, 2006

It's tamale night! A favorite meal is two pork tamales (real ones from the local panadería) buried in chili beans, topped with grated cheese, sliced jalapeños, and chopped onions. Yummy!


Saturday, October 7, 2006

Most people think of Duke Ellington as a band leader. Musical academics will tell you that he was one of the most important American composers of the twentieth century, whose genre was the short popular song. Even after he could have quit touring and lived off royalties, Duke kept the band as an instrument to perform his compositions. One might quibble with this disc's title, since the ten selections don't include East Saint Louis Toddle-O, Take the A Train, or Don't Get Around Much Anymore. Despite that, some of the greatest are here, including I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart, Solitude, Mood Indigo, Sophisticated Lady, and Satin Doll. A bonus is that three of the tracks have vocals by the great Rosemary Clooney.

This morning Mark helped me put the sink cabinet back in the kitchen. It looks new. With that project finished, I started on the next one. I pulled out the small cabinet next to the sink, dismantled it, and started stripping of the rust and old paint. The sink cabinet took a month and a half, but this one should should go considerably faster.


Sunday, October 8, 2006

Spent part of the day cutting little trees and treating the stumps with Tordon. A few more sessions will clear the way for some gardening next spring. After a few hours of that, I did some more paint and rust stripping on that next kitchen cabinet.


Monday, October 9, 2006

After work this afternoon I sand blasted parts of the cabinet that the stripper disc couldn't reach. I'll need to get another bag of sand to finish. It may take a few days, since the forecast calls for rain tomorrow and maybe the next day too.


Friday, October 13, 2006

Not much blogging this week. I spent a couple of afternoons and evenings scanning pictures of the big tractor show in Booneville, MO, in September. Trouble arrived when I started posting them on the website. I couldn't get some pictures as big as I wanted them without crashing the computer, so I went looking for a new web page program. Somebody recommended Nvu, which is free, but so far I haven't been able to make it work. A lot of this computer stuff seems designed to drive a person nuts.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Last week's music was from the great composer, and this week's is from the great performer. Great as Duke is, when I want to hear something that will make me feel good, I listen to Basie. Born August 21, 1904, William Basie of Red Bank, NJ, was in Kansas City when he joined Walter Page's Blue Devils in 1927. Basie stayed with the band when Benny Moten became the leader. After Moten's unexpected death, the band broke up, but Basie called on some of its former members when he formed his own band in 1936. The Basie band of the thirties included such greats as Lester Young, Buck Clayton, Sweets Edison, and Vic Dickenson. Great Basie soloists of the forties included sax men Illinois Jaquet, Paul Gonsalves, Don Byas, and Wardell Gray. The Basie "Atomic" band of the fifties continued the Basie tradition of a great rhythm section and dazzling soloists, all swinging mightily. Basie continued to tour with the band and to record prolifically until his death in April, 1984. I enjoyed the good fortune of hearing the band live on three occasions. The first was about 1978 at the Hollywood Palladium. A coworker was a member of a sorority that sponsored the band's appearance, and she had me go with her to take a picture of her with the Count. Two highlights stick with me. One was getting to shake hands with the Man. The other was a solo by the band's drummer at the time, Butch Miles, that had people gathered around the stage to watch and listen, and got a big hand. I went to hear the band again in 1980, in a club on Sunset Boulevard. The highlight on that occasion was the duet/dual between Basie and guitarist Freddy Green. I came out of that club on a high that lasted for days. I last saw the band at El Camino College in the fall of 1983. Basie still played beautifully, but he was no longer walking, instead riding a little electric cart. The following spring I was sorry but not surprised to hear that he had died. Fortunately, Basie did a lot of recording, both with the big band and even some absolute gems with a small group of great soloists. This particular CD features the big band giving the swinging Basie treatment to some popular classics, mostly from the golden age of American songwriting. They range from Ma!He's Making eyes At Me (1921) to Basie's own 1959 theme for the Lee Marvin cop series, M Squad. Some other selections include Idaho (1942), Red Roses For a Blue Lady (1948), Moonglow (1934), Ain't Misbehavin' (1929), Sweet Lorraine (1928), and I've Got the World On a String (1932). These great old songs in the timeless Basie style are a treat.

This morning I answered an ad in the paper and picked up a new pup. He's an Australian Shepherd/Lab mix, six weeks old. I took him to the vet for shots, bought a roll of wire fencing, then spent the rest of the day setting up a pen to keep him from wandering off. Because of his vaguely panda-like appearance, I'll call him Andy.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Again, not much blogging lately. I've been spending afternoons after work on the second kitchen cabinet. I did my own sandblasting on this one. There were some badly rusted spots, so I smeared on body filler and now have to sand it down for painting.With any luck, the project should be done within a week. In the evenings I've been trying to learn how to use the new Nvu webpage program. The old PageMill program that came with my first iMac in 1999 works OK for most things, but it won't handle pictures as large as some I want to use. I'll see if Nvu does any better.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

For anybody who grew up watching Laurel & Hardy, Charlie Chase, the Little Rascals, Zazu Pitts & Thelma Todd, and the other Hal Roach comedies, this labor of love will bring back some memories. It took real fans who also happened to be professional musicians to track down original scores to recreate the music from the old comedies, or, more impressively, to listen carefully to the orignal films and transcribe the music. Some of these fifty themes were always behind dialogue, so hearing them separately as music here will be the first time many listeners have heard them consciously. Many others will be instantly familiar, even to listeners who haven't heard them in decades. All the great themes are here. Good Old Days, the nostalgic waltz that served as the Little Rascals theme, may bring a tear to some eyes. You Are the Ideal of My Dreams, written by Herbert Ingraham in 1910, was sung by Oliver Hardy in "Beau Hunks". Here Theo Pieterse sings it accompanied by Pieter Kroon on the Wurlitzer theater organ. I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls, written in 1843, was used in the 1936 Laurel & Hardy film, "The Bohemian Girl". Joseph Emmet's 1876 Lullaby was used in "Brats" (1930); again, the singer was Ollie. Along with those highlights, there are forty-six other tracks of music mostly by Leroy Shield, with a few by T. Marvin Hatley, written specifically for the movies. There is a lot of wonderful music here, and my only complaint is that with fifty pieces on the CD, some are too short. A two-disc set would have allowed more time for some of the little gems that deserved to be longer.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Last night I heard a sound I hadn't heard since I was in the army forty years ago. When you fire a military rifle the spent shell being ejected makes a distinctive "kachink". That sound was one of the many things Clint Eastwood and his crew got exactly right in "Flags of Our Fathers". The Iwo Jima battle scenes are amazing. After the disappointment of "Pearl Harbor", which looked like a video game, this movie blew me away. Not only were the military sequences utterly convincing, the experiences of Ira Hayes and the other guys who raised that flag on Mount Suribachi were movingly portrayed. I was probably not the only old man with tears in his eyes in that theater. At the end of the movie, the whole audience sat through the credits. Nobody moved until the screen went blank. If this is your kind of movie, don't wait for the DVD. See it in a theater on the big screen, with full sound. I don't usually do this, but I'm going again.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Work on the second kitchen cabinet continues each afternoon after work. Today I went to the lumber yard and got a sheet of Formica for the top of this cabinet and the larger matching one at the other end of the sink. I think the project should be finished some time this week.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

This afternoon I did the last painting on the kitchen cabinet. I'll let it cook until tomorrow afternoon and bring it home for reassembly. The sink cabinet and this one were the worst, so having the two of them done will definitely improve the kitchen scenery.


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Here's an accidental discovery. I was shopping for something else when I spotted this two CD set of Glenn Miller recordings priced at $7.50. The twenty selections include the hits listed on the cover, plus others, and some songs not remebered as Miller standards, like Over the Rainbow and When You Wish Upon a Star. Some people scoffed at Glenn Miller and complained that his music wasn't real jazz, but the wildly popular Miller sound was the defining sound of the era.

Today was my day to do some catching up. I finished up the most recent kitchen cabinet project, reinstalling the door and drawer and top, including new ®Formica. Then I spent the rest of the day on some long neglected house cleaning. Dinner was a chorizo burrito and a couple of tacos al pastor at Tacos Juquila. Excellent! Then I went and saw Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers again. Also excellent.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sunday has been another catching up day, with more housekeeping. I took the screens out in the yard and washed them out so I won't have to do it before I put them up next spring. The other main activity was a lot of vacuuming and dusting.


Monday, October 30, 2006

Today after work I went by the "Master Tech" garage where my beetle has sat since June. The guy was actually there, and apparently working on the car, after disappearing for a month. He said he had been in the hospital with pneumonia, but he'll get really busy on the VW and have it done in a day or two. After hearing for months about how he was going to get right on it, I'll be surprised if he has it done by December. I don't see how the guy stays in business. If the car didn't have the engine and transaxle out, I'd tow it to somebody else to finish the job.