May 25th, 2014


Compost FTW

Stayed up too late again, but slept well. Got to the post office just after the last parking slot was filled, but a tour around the very long block got me back when several people were leaving. Before 10 there is only one clerk on duty, pretty poor for a major PO. And there are only about a dozen parking spots, horrible for a brand new main PO. Dropped off the packages after a 15-minute wait.

Before leaving I had put two big plastic storage containers and the shovel into the car. Drove straight to the "SMART Station"  which is a logical next stop after the PO from my house. The compost pile was about 20 feet high, enough volume to bury three cars. There were plenty of shovels.

I filled the larger box with compost, then took the smaller box to the straw-like filler pile. Filled that. It was a mixture of straw, wood slivers, sawdust and the occasional piece of shredded paper. Much much lighter than the compost.

Drove home, shoveled compost around the roses, then dumped the strawstuff onto the strawberries. Watered them both. It was clear I needed another trip.

So, back to the recycling center, filled the two boxes the same way again. Home, added compost to every bit of the rose garden plot, and filled in the sparse spots on the strawberry patch with strawdust.

Now I am very pooped. Heated up some precooked bacon for lunch, then took a nap for about 90 minutes.

Time for a trip to Lowe's.   Two projects. Buy some catmint plants to add to the rose garden per the local Master Gardener's suggestions. Buy a swivel aerator/spray widget for the kitchen faucet and a hand-held shower head on a long hose, plus the two-way valve and Teflon tape by which to attach it to the existing shower head.

Took all that home. Kept the plumbing stuff in the car because I don't want the remodelers' boss to see them, put the plants on the side of the carport because it was too hot to be planting.

Inside, watched some TV, hydrated, petted Domino, and set up for a project I have been planning for more than a year. I brought my music folder home from Ye Olde Towne Band (usually we leave them with the band director) and went through each piece, re-taping the ones which were coming apart. Most of our music comes with two Baritone parts, but we have 8 baritones, so we copy the extra parts. The originals are all one piece of paper, but the copies are as many as 6 taped together. Most are usually just 2. The section head who prepares the music cheats and only puts a sliver of tape top and bottom, but that comes apart soon enough. So I tape the length of the page on the reverse side.

In conjunction with that, we were asked to pull out any music which wasn't on The List. I was gone for the first 3 rehearsals so I found out about this from the guy who sits next to me. Someone else gave me The List, and while I was taping I was also weeding out. The List is ostensibly in alphabetical order, but whoever compiled it did two things wrong. First he treated words with apostrophe s ('s) as a word which ends in s, not as the word up to that point.

For instance, "That's" came after "Thatched".

The other was he put all the "Selections from" pieces under S. They belong under the name of the thing they are selections from. Such as Grease, Oklahoma and Fiddler on the Roof. Those belong under G, O and F, respectively.

I keep my music in alpha order except for the piece we always start the concert with, Join The Circus; The Star Spangled Banner; the medley we always end the concert with, and Happy Birthday.

That done, it was after 7, the wind was picking up, the sun was going down, so I went outside and started to plant catmints in that lovely compost in the rose garden. About halfway through #3, a hombre in a massive pickup truck shows up, he's here to take the junk from the remodeling job. I expected him several hours earlier. No problem, I pulled the car out of the carport and parked in front of the rose garden while he backed his massive vehicle in and got to work.

I was done way before he was. Inside, washed, fired up the PC and took care of some business.

Watched some TV, then went for a massage. I was pretty sore from the gardening, and the massage hurt more than it helped.

Denny's for dinner, then Safeway for some staples. Ice Cream, bananas, strawberries, TV dinners, blueberries were on sale so I got some of those too. And bread. And a piece of German Chocolate cake.

Home, ate half the cake after doing my best to drop it. Been having a lot of that lately - dropping things or nearly dropping them as I think about not dropping them.

And here we are.

Plans for tomorrow:

Put away the clothes which were laundered this morning
Be at the concert venue by 12:30
Concert 1:30-3:30. Janice is bringing the twins and maybe their mom.  Janice won't set me up with any of the very attractive women she knows, because she knows them through AA.
I don't know if she thinks I will drive them to drink, or if the fact that I don't care for alcohol would push their buttons.
American Flag

Memorial Day, Patriotism, And All That

I am not patriotic. I will cheer when my country does the right thing, and jeer when my country does wrong.

On Memorial Day I am not posting any memes or graphics or sayings praising all veterans for "keeping me safe" or for their "sacrifice". 

In my heart I have three memorial days:

1. I praise anyone who fought and died actually protecting America's freedom:
The American Revolution
The War of 1812
The Civil War union side. Confederates can suck it.
Philippine-American War

2. There is a spot in my heart for those who were conscripted, then forced to fight and die for bad foreign policy decisions:
Mexican-American War
Indian Wars
Spanish-American War
Korean Police Action
Vietnam War

3.After 1973, we have had an all-volunteer military. And  none of the actions the government has committed troops to have safeguarded my freedom. In the case of Iraq and Afghanistan, just the opposite. I don't mourn the soldiers who volunteered to blindly follow orders and were killed in the process.

Emotionally, though, I am an American. Let me tell you a short story.

In 1977, I had been working in southern Thailand for about a year, at a Thai agricultural research center in the middle of a forest of rubber trees. For the first couple of months there was a group of scientists and administrators from the UN, but no Americans other than myself. I lived on campus, ate and partied with my co-workers, and had almost no contact with anything Officially American. I had some business at the US consulate in Songkhla, a few miles from the research center, and the bus only went as far as the center of town. There was a hill between me and the consulate. As I walked up the road and started to crest the hill, I saw the huge American flag flying above the consulate. In that moment, it felt like I was home.

Last Sunday of the Month

Somehow, I could not see a reason to get out of bed until about 11 this morning. Probably because there was none.

Finished the half of the piece of German chocolate cake I'd started on last night, and called it brunch. Went to the computer to check that the backups had completed (automatic ones) but instead spent a bunch of time on FB and looking up stuff, and shut down the machine without checking.

Drove to Shoup Park, got there by 12:20, my parking spot at the top of the hill was waiting for me. There was also parking at the bottom of the hill where the concert is, but I like to leave that for the audience, many of whom are locomotively challenged. I had brought my Nexus, expecting to read some from the Kindle app, but instead chatted with people (Janice showed up early with her friend and the twins) and put my music in the order we would be playing it.

The concert went well, lots of audience members and a lot of people in the park for picnic & BBQ. At one point I choked while playing as the nearest upwind BBQ was fired up using a year's supply of lighter fluid. I was amuse to see the wind shift suddenly, causing the pyros to quickly rescue their flammables (table cloth, paper plates, etc).  My lip was still hanging in there at the end of the concert, but just barely.

Jake, the guy I sit next to who is about 200 years old** and has been in a wheelchair the past two years, showed as we were getting ready to start, using those armband crutches. He found someone to carry his baritone for him. He said the med were messing with his brain, and it showed. He was having trouble playing for about the first five numbers.

** actually he only looks that old. He started playing in the Stanford band in 1962, I think as a grad student, which would make him "only" about 73. 

At halftime, the girl twin asked me if what I was playing was a tuba. Good guess, a baritone looks like a tuba which shrunk in the wash. I took her around to the back of the stage so she could see tubas, and when I pointed out our female tuba player who was taking a break with her family on the grass nearby, she asked to meet her. So I took her and her mom and introduced them, and tuba player graciously took the twin in hand and showed her the tuba and gave her a tutorial. She's a very good teacher.

After the concert it was straight home, get out of uniform and into jeans & t-shirt and wonder what to do for the rest of the day.

Changed the litterbox, did 2 loads of laundry and put the clothes away. Some of the shirts are not permapress so I broke out the iron and the sizing and made the collars presentable.

Watched 2 episodes of TMZ, and some random TV.

Dinner was a series of snacks. Two kinds of local goat cheese with crackers. The cheeses were not a FAIL but they ended up being flushed down after I ran out of crackers. Heated up half a dozen stuffed grape leaves. Figured out why the SodaStream was not carbonating, put in a new cartridge and that fixed it. Which means I need to make a cartridge exchange run soon.

After dinner, took out the garbage and wheeled the garbage & recycle containers out to the street. There were enough others out there for me to expect the holiday will not delay collections.

Plans for tomorrow:
See Chef with Janice at matinée time, followed by chat at Starbucks
On to San Jose to see an indie movie a friend is in, and his daughter is also in. I think she's the star. I met her when she was a babe in arms, my friend was in a play in Menlo Park which I was helping with. I don't think I have seen her since. If I remember correctly, the story is he either divorced the mom or she divorced him before the baby was born. I know he has been married to someone else (whom I have met and seen on stage many times) almost ever since.