Around the house…

…on Labor Day:

the piano-tuner is tuning our ancient but newly acquired piano for the very first time. It’s like night and day; what a change!

My wife is out watering the garden.

My daughter is upstairs telling a story to herself. Later this afternoon we have a date to finish making a bed for her doll — the latest dad/kid woodworking project. With a little luck the bed will be done by the end of the day, and we can start making a mattress and bedclothes. Because a doll can’t just lie down on bare wood. That would never do.

This week everything hits the fan all at once. Private students are coming back in great numbers over the next few days, and my teaching at Tufts, Babson and New England Conservatory all begins. Major shift in activity levels.

I will be posting photos & music from our recent trip after the dust settles a bit.

Catching up…

…we are waiting for Hurricane Irene to hit. Lots of rain.

Yesterday I spent the whole day outside battening down the hatches, which mostly meant securing the garden. Wire screens, tarpaulins, rope, string, wire, weights. Later on I’ll put up some photos. The whole thing looks flimsy and rickety, but I suspect it’s more robust than it seems.

I’m going to go out into the gathering storm and do some cleanup before the winds get too heavy.

There may be power outages. Good thing I’m a couple of days ahead on letters. I’ll get to pictures later in the next couple of days if we have electricity.

True Tale Of A Tortoise (NSFW)

The following is a true story. I first posted it in a discussion on the USENET group alt.callahans; about six or seven years later it appeared under my name (WarrenS) at Daily Kos. Now I’m finally bringing it home, as it were.

It was in the mid-70s, and I was young and foolish, in the middle of what turned out to be a two-year gap between high school and college. I’d moved out of my mother’s house, and set up an apartment with two other friends whom I’ll call Simon and John. This joint was in a run-down section of Somerville, Massachusetts, and the three of us devoted as little time as possible to mundane activities like making the absurdly low rent, and as much time as possible to music-making and freelance botanical research, if you get my drift.

It was, after all, the 70s, and we were all a little too late for the 60s — so we put in quite a bit of time playing catch-up. The locality was very tough indeed. One day I accepted a ride home from a guy I met in Harvard Square, who wanted to tell me about his ‘philosophy.’ Turned out he was a Satanist — and as we peaked the hill and drove down to my street, I saw my entire neighborhood enveloped in dense, choking black smoke…turned out the *tire warehouse* next door had caught fire. *That* was interesting — sitting at home with an Alistair Crowley follower while inhaling sulfur and brimstone.

But I digress. Simon was a pet person, and had a couple of cats whom I recall only dimly. But it was the other pet which lingers yet in my memory.

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It’s My Father’s 90th Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Dad!

When I was a kid he came home from work with a 16mm projector and a reel of film. “We’re going to watch a movie,” he said.

After dinner he threaded the projector. It was film of him, carrying out an experiment on the quantification of difficulty — while driving a car down Route 128.

When people asked me or my brother what my father did for a living, it was not an easy thing to explain.

It still isn’t.

We’re off to a family get-together with a lot of people celebrating at a Chinese restaurant in Cambridge. It should be fun.