Monday, January 1, 2007

This morning I finished posting GOTO photos on the website. Doing that kind of work with dialup is pretty slow going. I think I'll call the cable comapny and look into the cost of a high speed connection.


Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Didn't get much done this afternoon. I had a crown come loose during breakfast Sunday, so after work this afternoon I had to go and have it glued back in. That left only enough time to go and buy a bundle of shingles for the house.


Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Even with a pretty good breeze, it was a mild afternoon, so I started nailing up new shingles on the upstairs west wall of the house. This is a job that's been waiting since the new roof over the bathroom and west porch was finished over a year ago. It's about time to get the place looking a bit less like a tarpaper shack.


Saturday, January 6, 2007

Here's the best composer you may never have heard of. On the few radio stations that still play classical music today, his works are commonly relegated to February for Black History Month and ignored the rest of the year. Still deserves much better than that. Unlike many twentieth century composers, he wrote eminently listenable music. A distinguishing feature of his works is the use of recognizable and satisfying melodies. With Still, you don't sit through a lot of droning repetition or screeching discordance that have you thinking, "Lord, when is this going to be over?" Still wrote not only for the concert hall, but for movies and television as well. He was an unassuming guy who relaxed at home wearing overalls, leading some of his neighbors to assume he was a gardener or a janitor. This CD presents a Suite for Violin and Piano, a five-part piece called Songs of Separation, six short pieces (none over 4:56), and a work titled Ennanga, in three parts. The disk concludes with Still's arrangement of J. Rosamond Johnson's great old song, Lift Every Voice and Sing. This is good listening provided by one of our best American composers.

Today's major activities were splitting firewood and nailing up more shingles. Dinner was a burrito de chorrizo and a couple of tacos de asada at Tacos Juquila. Yummy! This evening I went and saw Night at the Museum. I had been avoiding it, based on the TV ads. After reading a couple of very positive reviews, I decided to check it out, and found that it was actually good. Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, and Robin Williams are outstanding in a very good cast, and the fantasy is delivered with heart that makes the suspension of disbelief easy.


Sunday, January 7, 2007

It was a day for catching up. I spent the afternoon sorting out the mess on my desk. I found some things I had forgotten were there. I also did a litle work on family history.


Monday, January 8, 2007

My cousin Shane came over to help .The 33-year-old Suburban's transmission was toast. I had to drag the vehicle out of the shed. The 56-year-old Dodge didn't have enough weight in the back, so it just dug a hole. The 61-year-old B didn't want to start, and I didn't have time to mess with it. So I put some gas in the 70-year-old WC, pulled the crank a couple of times, and it fired right up. Dragged the Suburban out slicker'n snot, and I drove the Chevy backwards for four miles to the transmission shop. A most entertaining afternoon.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Yesterday afternoon was pretty much shot by a dental appointment. Today, on the other hand, warm weather in the high fifties made for a perfect afternoon of cutting firewood and hauling it up to the house. The forecast is for tomorrow's high to be in the fifties again before cold weather arrives, so I guess I'd better harvest more wood. Highs for the weekend and early next week are supposed to be below freezing, which will call for a good supply of wood.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Now that's a change! As predicted, yesterday's afternoon temperature was near 60º, and I took advantage to gather more wood. By 5:00 PM the thermometer on the front porch read 64º. This afternoon, twenty-four hours later, the temperature was fifty degrees lower, at 14º, and I was using some of the wood I gathered yesterday and Wednesday. Andy really doesn't like this. When it's time to go outside, I have to carry him out of the house.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Watching Yuri on a talk show or as a judge on Cantando Por Un Sueño, her bubbly personality makes it easy to forget what a good and satisfying singer she is. It was seeing her on TV with Manuel Mijares that prompted me to get this CD. I wasn't familiar with Mijares, and wasn't paying close attention to the celebrity interview. Then the two of them got up to sing, and I became a much better audience. The previous program had ended with the pierced and tattooed pop group RBD leaping and gyrating about the stage before an arena full of screaming kids, and having not much luck at carrying a tune. The contrast was striking. Here were two grownups simply standing together and singing, both hitting all the notes and blending in smooth harmony. Perhaps because of my personal dislike for synthesizers, the songs I like best on this CD are the ones with just piano and strings, like Para Decir Adios, and the title song, Acompáñame. These are two pros with good singing voices, and with the talent, skill, and experience to use them beautifully together.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Not much going on worth noting. Spent a couple of afternoons this week splitting wood.



Saturday, January 20, 2007

Blues fans should all have Otis Spann in their collections. This CD contains ten songs recorded in NewYork City on August 23, 1960, by Otis Spann, piano and vocals, and Robert Lockwood Jr., guitar and vocals. Sometimes the term "blues" is applied to music that uses some aspect or another of real blues, but isn't. That's not the case here. This is the real deal.

This snowy day was a good time for indoor work. I started refinishing a small cabinet I bought a couple of weeks ago for the bathroom. Today I stripped the old finish off the top, then reglued the top where it had separated from the sides, and clamped it. I'll give it a couple of days for the glue to dry, then strip the rest of the cabinet.

After a very tasty meal of tacos asada and a burrito de chorizo at Tacos Juquila this evening, I braved the wintry blast to take in a moving picture show. I saw The Queen. There's been alot of talk about Helen Mirren as a likely Oscar winner for her performance in this movie. I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see her win. She's outstanding among an excellent cast. Michael Sheen as Tony Blair, James Cromwell as Prince Phillip, Sylvia Syms as Queen Mother Elizabeth, Alex Jennings as Prince Charles, Helen McCrory as Cherie Blair, and Roger Allam as Robin Janvrin, all combine under the direction of Stephen Frears for a convincing depiction of the behind-the-scenes drama surrounding the death of Princess Diana, with Mirren as the rock-solid but very human central figure.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

I started a new project today. The ceiling light fixture in the kitchen is in front of the sink, about ten feet from the dining table. Not being a fan of the "romantic" dining in the dark favored by some snooty restaurants, I want more light on the table, so I'm going to install another light above it. I'll run the wiring from the present fixture to the new one. Rather than replace all the sheetrock just to install the wiring, I've cut a hole about 3" x 5" in the ceiling next to each joist, then drilled a hole through each joist to run the wiring through.

After wimping out in the face of winter weather, this afternoon I went out for some exercise. Since the three mile course includes a road that was still full of snow and slush and mud, I settled for two and a half miles of mostly dry pavement. I took it easy and walked most of the way. Andy went along, and is big enough now that he made it all the way without having to be carried.


Monday, January 22, 2007

This afternoon I got a little more done on the kitchen light project, installing a box for the new fixture and running a piece of Romex through the joists to the vicinity of the old fixture. Tomorrow I'll take down the old fixture and hook up the new wiring.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Well, I got the wiring installed and hooked up to the old fixture, then tried to hook up the new fixture. The only problem was that I could find only one wire nut. I don't know if there was only one in the package, or if there were two and I lost one. I couldn't find any around here, so I'll get a few in town tomorrow.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

I got this after hearing one of the songs on the radio. Frank Sinatra, Natalie Cole, Vicente Fernandez, and a lot of other singers have released duet albums. Sometimes this works very well, and sometimes not. In this case you get a good variety of songs and styles. I was familiar with some of the performers here, like Ramon Ayala, Marc Anthony, Luis Fonsi, and Ricardo Montaner. Others are new to me, including Alicia Villareal, who is Jose's partner on my favorite song on the CD, Que Nadie Sepa Me Sufrir. This is an excellent song, with an infectious, energetic melody. Villareal and Feliciano perform beautifully together, and his guitar playing on this piece is especially impressive. Along with the duets, the CD contains four Feliciano solo cuts. One of these features Ramon Ayala playing accordion but not singing, which is a departure from his own releases, where he sings lead on most songs. This CD is an enjoyable collection of various songs and performers, but the unifying factor is the immense talent of Jose Feliciano as singer and instrumentalist.

Well, I got the wire nuts and finished hooking up the new kitchen light. Having a light directly over the table is a wonderful improvement. I spent Wednesday afternoon installing patches on the holes I had to cut in the ceiling. All that remains to finish the project is to spackle the cracks around the patches, and paint.