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September 24th, 2014

10:07 am - Waiting on the car
I'm at the Fiat dealer. Our car needed an oil change. The light on the dashboard came on a long time ago. Usually I get it taken care of pretty quickly, but things have been busy. It actually came on the first day of our drive to Atlanta back in August, but this is the first time both the dealer and I have been able to get to it.

I feel like the bad music playing in the showroom is on purpose. I would buy a car to get away from it. Also, I would like to see a study about the use of balloons and car sales. Do bigger balloons work better?

zinniz had to go to Inforum last week to present stuff. She flew out early Monday morning. It was in New Orleans, so on Tuesday I flew down there to meet her. Had I taken the train, I would have gotten there equally quickly. I had a connection in Houston, but due to bad weather in Houston, we landed in Austin to get fuel, and then sat and waited for the rain to go away. We finally got to Houston just in time for me to walk across the hallway to get on my flight to New Orleans. Then we sat and waited for the rain over New Orleans to go away. Once I landed there it was obvious my checked bag didn't make it, so I waited on the next Houston flight, along with several other people from St. Louis. None of our bags were on that flight either, so I just got a shuttle to the hotel and they eventually brought me my bag.

New Orleans was fun. We had some enjoyable nights out, including a couple with Rachel. We went on a quest for quality cocktails that landed us in the Hotel Monteleone which has a carousel bar where the bar rotates. We went on a boat ride on the river and visited the Zoo, the Aquarium, and the Insectarium. We also played lots of Ingress. We stayed through the weekend and got back Sunday evening.

So now it's back to work. Stacked-up projects include getting the AGO convention registration online, getting the Animal House donor database completed, a whole lot of AGO stuff to deal with the new national database, and then there's a recital on top of that. I also need to get a brush turned, because a lady that saw us last September at Strange Folk wants one. Joyce Meyer is this week, and I'm working two of the three days.

And then I have a recital on October 31. It's coming along okay, but I am more than a couple of weeks behind my planned schedule for that. I worked late Monday night and it was productive. I like being there by myself at night. I seem to get more done.

I'm still playing the piano for the choir, which includes a long weekend rehearsal this Saturday in preparation for Christmas. I should find out how long it actually is. Joyce Meyer starts early that morning, so it's going to be a long day. I gave them an amount that would be required for me to be the accompanist for the choir, and apparently that went nowhere. I don't want to be mean, but I'm going to have to pull the plug on this current arrangement at some point if they don't either cough up or find someone else. Some of this stuff I'm playing is not easy, and the rest of it is all crap. They have to pay me a lot more to practice crap.

Today I'm taking the bus to church because Carrie starts teaching at Craft Alliance tonight (speaking of jobs that don't pay well.) I wanted to go assist her, but I'll be playing for the choir. At least we'll be in the same neighborhood when dinner time finally comes around after 9:00pm. Too bad almost nothing in that neighborhood is open past 8:00.

There's also the third organ stream to be developed. There's currently a naming contest going on, and the names are awful.

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September 15th, 2014

11:08 am - Wow, it's been a while
I didn't realize almost a month had gone by since I updated anything. Part of that was because we were traveling, however.
it's been a whileCollapse )

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August 19th, 2014

04:26 pm - Copying Files
I'm copying lots of files, so I thought I would take a moment to update what's been going on. I just got back from a trip to Independence. This started out as me hitching a ride (or taking a train) over there with a microphone to record a 30-minute interview Jan Kraybill about her upcoming CD of the Helzberg Hall organ. It turned into Me and Rene Z. renting a car, filling it full of equipment, and spending an afternoon and a morning recording interviews, music, and taking lots of video of the whole process. Yesterday was Jan Kraybill, today was David Pickering. I bought studio lights to illuminate the interview today because I'd seen video from the Auditorium, and the lighting in there is not great.

So I'm copying all of that over now and I will start sorting through it. I have to have the audio from David's stuff done soon.

Soon because I have lots of other things to do before we head south on Friday afternoon. Carrie's cousin is getting married in Asheville, NC on Labor Day weekend, so we're going there by way of Atlanta for a couple of days, and then Gatlinburg for multiple days. It will be nice to get away, and I actually have 3 Sundays off, even though we'll be back that third week. The recitals start in a couple of weeks, though, so I've got to get things together for that relatively quickly. Off to do stuff...

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July 29th, 2014

09:29 am - Ripping discs
I'm waiting for a disc to rip, so I thought I'd write a post. I don't really need the whole disc, I just need the audio from one track, so I thought I'd go ahead and rip it. I need the very last track on the CD, so I have to wait before I can do anything.

This weekend I spent some time ripping one of the Aeolian-Skinner albums. Pat P. had one I was looking for. I spent more than $200 on a new cartridge and stylus for the Technics, and then cleaned the album about 14 times. Eventually I went to just ripping one track at a time, cleaning before I went. The stylus needed lots of adjustment, and I'm still not sure I got it where it really needs to be. The sound is cleaner, but there's some extra noise that showed up. I ordered yet another part that helps figure out the adjustment. It was only $20, but it's a knockoff of a $300 device that helps you with such things. I don't think I'm quite that concerned.

The weather has been excellent. I have the doors open up here. The AC has been off more than on this summer.

AJs apartment is finally occupied. There may be more window and blind work to do, but it's nothing big. We found some not-students who needed a place right away, so we rushed through the transition process.

Students are still at camp or on vacations, so I haven't had many lessons in the past few weeks.

In August I'm making a two-day trip to Independence. The original trip was to meet Jan Kraybill at the Helzberg to talk about her recording there, but then that didn't work, so now we're doing it at the Temple. She's playing a recital there that day, so I decided to open it up to the AGO to possibly help pay for the trip. I sold it as a ride there, hear the organ, hear her, then come home. The only person who took me up was Rene. That may be a long day. Then it turned into two long days because David Pickering will be there the next day, so two birds, one rental car.

CD is done. Back to stuff.

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July 2nd, 2014

01:56 pm - Wednesday
It's Wednesday, I thought it was time for an update. To pick up from last time, the carpet was eventually installed in the apartment, but not in time for me to get to the Shrine. I rescheduled that for Wednesday morning.

Tuesday I had a shorter day than expected. My usually-cancels student has canceled for several weeks ahead, now, waiting until she has more time or something. I don't think she's going to get more time.

The event at the Shrine on Thursday was fun. It was hot up there, but the kids were entertained, and we didn't have to go quite as long as I first thought. Rene was there with his camera, though, and it did yield some images like this one, though:
There's a big picture under hereCollapse )

Mom and Mike arrived that evening. They stayed in a hotel in south county, so I went down there to hang out for a while, and then we went to dinner at El Paisano in Arnold. Never thought I would take guests from out of town to dinner in Arnold. I headed back and hung out for a while waiting for zinniz, whose flight back home was no only delayed, but canceled, and then uncanceled. It was weird, and we finally got home a little after 1am.

Friday morning I took Mom and Mike over to Cahokia Mounds. As we went over the river, she said the same thing Carrie always says, as we pass the Cahokia exit: "I thought the mounds were in Cahokia." They're not, they're in Collinsville. From there we went back home, picked up Carrie and got lunch at Onesto, and then drove out to the World Bird Sanctuary, where we had to twice find shelter from sudden thunderstorms. The last time we went out there it rained on us. At least this time it was warm.

In the evening we let them go do their own thing since we needed to be at Craft Alliance for the opening of the student show. Carrie had two pieces again this year. She won the wood category, of course. In fact, one of the CA people more or less told us that not long after arriving. We didn't get to stay for the awards, however, because we had to go see our last opera of the season. It was 27, an opera about Gertrude Stein. Like many of their modern operas, it was well performed, just weird. The music wasn't weird this time, but the story, what there was of one, at least. Also, it rained on the day of every opera performance we went to this year.

Saturday we lounged a bit. Mom and Mike came over and purchased lots of wood things, or Mike purchased them for Mom. She didn't want to spend any money. After that we headed out again in the SUV, this time north towards Alton. We visited the confluence park, which was nice, except the confluency part was a bit under water because of high river levels. From there we visited Fast Eddie's for cheap shrimp, hamburgers and beer. Too bad that place is so far away. After that we drove over to Grafton and Pere Marquette. We took the ferry across at Grafton, and after a drive home, that was pretty much the day with them.

Saturday evening we went to beebers house because Rachel and her parents were there. We had a good time and ate some excellent steak.

Sunday was Lansin's last Sunday at Third. I picked out two piano/organ duets for the Prelude and Postlude. Nancy put the Prelude at a point where people would hear it, and she asked the choir to sit back down for the Postlude. On top of that, Greg suggested everybody would want to sit down for the Postlude. For campy pieces of music that didn't require a lot of work, people were really impressed. I think it's mainly that they were just paying attention. She's gone, but we don't have a replacement, yet. I'm playing for the choir tonight, which makes it a long evening, but my lessons are all moved to the afternoon, so I've had some time to get out and ride on the bike a little bit today. I went down to the casino to find out about that trail along the river that I can see bikes on. Turns out you get onto it way down at Jefferson Barracks, and when you get up to the casino, it ends at a big barrier that says Trail Ends. They don't have a way to get over or under the railroad there. Getting on and off the trail at the casino meant doing some off-roading.

This week is Fourth of July. Yay for three-day weekend. We'll be going out to Eureka on Friday as in previous years. Maybe this time we can launch the Chinese lanterns I bought two years ago.

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June 23rd, 2014

12:21 pm - Waiting
I'm in AJs apartment. I brought a chair, a toy computer, and a phone for internet access. I'm waiting for carpet installers to get here because we're replacing the carpet in the big room. It was beyond stained and definitely needed it. I started this process more than two weeks ago, and unlike the last two times I've had carpet put down, this one has taken a long time to bring to completion. It's now noon. I've been here since 11:00, the appointed time I was told to be ready. They called me at 11:30 and said the installers would be here about now. If I'd known they were going to give me that much notice, I would have stayed home.

Although it is cooler here. AJs air conditioning is on. zinniz is in Williamsburg, VA, having left on a rare Sunday evening. The weather was cooler last night, so I turned off the AC and opened some doors and windows. It was pleasant enough, but fans were required this morning. It's much less sweaty here.

We're having trouble finding renters for this apartment. The problem is the only people that want to see it are groups of college students in 3s and 4s, and this place is really meant to be comfortable for like 2, or 2 and a kid. 3's don't work well when one of the 2 bathrooms is only accessible from one of the bedrooms, and one of the bedrooms is much tinier than the other two. I think it's time to do some tweaking to the Craigslist ad.

This week I'm doing the organ demo for some Mozart camp kids. We're doing it at the Shrine of St. Joseph so they can see a mechanical action organ and maybe pump the bellows as well. The lady coordinating it wanted me to have some Mozart organ works handy. I don't. Mozart didn't write much for the organ and what he did I don't like. I'm not sure what I'm going to do, exactly. The kids are going to be a bit young for a real in-depth discussion. Anyway, I'm supposed to meet Rene there today to familiarize myself with the organ, and I'm slightly worried that the carpet people won't be done in time for that.

Well, they've arrived and seem to think this will be a simple enough job, so that's a good sign.

Speaking of organs, I've made some progress toward getting the home organ reworked. I gutted the entire thing of all of its electronics except for the power supply and amplifier, although I'm not sure the amplifier is really worth saving. The organ is much lighter and easier to move with all those ferrite core capacitors gone. I've gotten as far as putting together a wiring jig for the manuals, although I changed my mind about the way the diode boards are going to work, so I still need to measure those out and I have some larger ones I believe waiting in the mailbox at home for me right now.

I would like to get that all wrapped up in a few days, but I don't know if I will. There's the Mozart thing on Thursday, Carrie gets back Thursday evening, I have to play for rehearsal on Wednedsay evening, which means preparing for Wednesday evening, and I have to finish making sure I know the music for Sunday. It's Lansin's last Sunday. She's been here three years, which doesn't quite seem possible, but I guess it is. We're doing two piano and organ duets, and she's planning on playing a third thing, but I have to be ready with something if she changes her mind. All that needs to be done by Wednesday afternoon.

Mom and Mike are on their way to town. They were going to take a leisurely two-week camping trip up here and stay in the casita at a campground in Cahokia, but fearing the heat, they've opted for Best Westerns. They'll get here either Thursday or Friday and probably leave on Monday.

We probably won't get to see them Friday night, though. First we have the Craft Alliance student show. Both Carrie and beebers have pieces in it. We probably won't get to stay until the awards this year because we have opera tickets that night. The last opera of our season is Friday. Last Friday we saw Dialogue of the Carmelites. It was a really good show, but I think it fell a little flat at the end, which is where its supposed to be the most dramatic. Poulenc was excellent though. I wish he wrote more organ music.

That's it for now, I'm going to go back to trying to accomplish things. One of my goals during my carpet-sitting time here was to get the new AGO site closer to completion. I need a good events listing plugin that doesn't default to a huge calendar grid. I think I may have found one, but I'm having trouble adding it. That's my next project, I guess.

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June 17th, 2014

09:37 am - Tuesday
It's Tuesday morning, and I'm doing a few little AGO and Organlive things here while I wait for the Tuesday texts to start arriving telling me that lessons have been cancelled. It's kind of a theme. I've got my money on one being cancelled, because it's just kind of how it goes. Another one has the possibility, but I would put the chance at low since it was cancelled last week. I'm supposed to have some kids in the evening, but their mother hasn't gotten back to me with the summer schedule, so I'm guessing I won't see them.

That's okay, I can use some practice time. I have music piling up that needs some attention. I was going to practice yesterday, but zinniz needed the car in the afternoon, so I just stayed home and practiced on the electronic organ. The electronic organ is on it's last legs electronically. The sound is getting really unpleasant as either the amp or the speakers go. A potential replacement in the form of a 2-rank Wicks Miniature has appeared, so we're looking into that. It occurs to me that I should go ahead with the dismantling of the electronic and rewiring it as a MIDI console soon, because I don't think anyone that comes to hear it would buy it based on the sound, and I'd like to sell it if we're getting pipes. Maybe that's a project for tomorrow.

We've broken down and turned the air conditioning on. We're in the 90s, and more than that, it's humid. We're getting those weather reports that say rain, but then there's never rain. The compressor that had its motor replaced recently was seized up. Apparently just a little bit of rust, because I was able to get it moving and cleaned up, so both AC units are working on the first day, this year. What a surprise.

I've been working on a Roku channel using a website that makes things easy. It was easy, but it won't do the one thing that I was having trouble with when doing it on my own, occasionally loading data from JSON files. The website people even asked to see my JSON files so they could see about making it work, but outright they say it won't. Very sad. One of the testers of the channel stated it's great, except for the lack of data. It automatically loads At The Organ episodes like a TV show, though, so that's cool. Those have started back into production again with the help of a guy in Pennsylvania.

That's all for now.

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June 13th, 2014

01:26 am - Webcam
At night, when the curtains to that window are open, the weather webcam picks up a reflection of me sitting in front of my big monitors, debugging javascript (that I wrote, therefore is buggy).

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June 4th, 2014

11:36 pm - It's almost Thursday
Here's an update to keep this thing rolling along. It's a warm, humid, night. It's been warm and humid several days in a row. We have made it to June 4 without turning on our air-conditioning, though, so that's a plus.

Tonight was our second opera night of the season. Normally they're on Friday, but we moved this one so beebers could be in a car for an extended period with her parents. Tonight was Donizetti's Elixir of Love. It was really good, I would see it again. Last week was die Zauberflöte, and while I liked all the singers, they hired a designer to rework the show. It was set on a movie lot in the 1950s and that's pretty much where it stopped making sense. There was lots of glitter, though.

I've been working on lots of music in small stages. I need to work on some bigger stages and get stuff out of the way. I've got lots of fun things in the works like the Bossi Étude Symphonique and the Bovet Hamburger Totentanz. I don't know when either of them will be played, but I'm aiming for the end of October.

I think that's all I'm going to write for now.

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May 27th, 2014

10:48 am - Tuesday already
A holiday Monday makes the week feel weird. I was just about to get up and go get ready to teach when I got a text that the student wanted to move the lesson to Thursday. The exact same thing happened last week, and then the lesson on Thursday didn't happen. I've seen this student I think twice in the past two months. I'm not sure she really has time for lessons.

zinniz had to be at the airport early this morning. The Southwest Terminal is quite a mess on a Tuesday morning after a holiday. They have to have extra cops out directing traffic. She gets back tonight, though, so no overnight trips. Last week she was gone most of the week to Canada. It felt like old times, me and the cats.

The last two recitals of the spring series went well. College students, but doctoral level. The last one was on his way to be Andrew R.'s intern in Nashville. I'm considering cutting the first one from the Fall series, mainly because we're going to Asheville, NC for Carrie's cousin's wedding, and it would be pushing things a little too close for my comfort. Looking at the calendar, however, I realize I can possibly handle a lot of the little things that need to be done a the week before we go, and then I'll just have a couple of busy days before they start up.

The weekend was fun. We went to beebers' parents' house. The pool was a little too cool for swimming, but we grilled and hung out and had a good time watching James play in the water. Sunday afternoon we met up with everybody for fun times at the Royale. Saturday was spent in Eureka for Harrison's 4th birthday party. It was super-hero themed, and there were capes and masks. The kids had a lot of fun.

So that was the weekend. Time to go find something else to do.

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