Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Any Hope?

Commentary by Dorothy Donegan, before her performance of the song by the same title, "Things Ain't What They Used to Be.

Sure Ain't"

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Surf's Up

I took some time off this morning to go to the beach. Beautiful day. 65°F, foggy, rainy, dripping. Just have to love New England! 'A' and I went first to Front Beach hoping to find some sea glass. We weren't very successful. Tide was still too high, and darn, people just don't use enough glass these days! Prior to heading out, I had tried to check the tide charts. I'm amazed that the Sandy Bay Yacht Club does not post the tides on their web site. Everything else but, it seems. Oh well.

After a disappointing walk along Front Beach, we decided to head over to Back Beach. (creative naming, huh?) I had put money in the meter and I wasn't about to waste all that paid for time. At Back Beach we discovered a seagull tethered out on the rocks with a long length of monofilament fishing line twisted around it's ankle. It was alternately struggling to get free, then resting in a crag of the ledge. We had no knife with us (or in the truck) and no way to distract the gull from nipping at us even if we could have got to the line to cut it. We didn't find anyone to free it, no matter where or who we talked to. Hopefully some of the divers in the area will see it and cut it free.

Our third beach adventure for the day was to Cape Hedge Beach, in the south end of town. Oops, sorry folks in that neighborhood, I guess it should read the South End. It was there that we were entertained with high waves and surfers.After watching for a while and taking some photos, we called my mother and asked if she would like us to come home to pick her up and bring her to the beach to watch. She did. The three of us then crammed in to my little truck and made a second visit to Cape Hedge Beach. By that time there were six wet-suited surfers. We stayed and watched until our growling stomachs told us to get home to have lunch.

So at least it was a somewhat interesting day. No pretty sea glass, but entertainment.

PS - thanks em and mm! and i've got the little thingies printed.

It's Debatable

Yes folks, I watched it. The first presidential debate. I'm a glutton for punishment. I have already decided which lesser of evils that I will be voting for, so why watch? Maybe it's like some people watching auto racing. You know, waiting for the crash and burn? Per the norm, evidenced by online surveys, I was wrong about the outcome. Okay, I still think that I was correct in picking the most confident, competent, eloquent, alert, professional and educated of the candidates. The candidate whose policies made the most sense and importantly, communicated those policies with clarity. However, it seems the computer survey submitters and text messagers radically disagree with me. Sigh.

Idiots, of course.

The most pleasing aspect of the presidential debate is that 'A' actually watched it. In it's entirety. And watched the follow-up commentary. This is totally amazing. And despite my apoliticality (yep, invented that word), I was ecstatic to see her interest.

So what's the next thrilling event that I am looking towards? Why, the vice-presidential debate.

Yes, I think we may have a crash and burn.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

These Days

There has been a bit of grumbling. Not many of us in our little sub-group of blogland have been keeping up with posting. Dickiebo has been very busy at it, particularly since 'B' was out of town for a little while. Some folks have been on vacations, others have computer problems, some just seem quiet. Actually, this doesn't seem to be exclusive to our corner of blogland. I am a member of six 'mailing lists' or online 'groups'. Those have been slow, too. For me there seems to be a gloom of a foggy night hanging over.

These days I seem to only work. It doesn't seem that I get much accomplished but I guess I do. It's just more stuff gets added to the list. There's still a regular stream of key work, but it's not as abundant as in June or July. Tunings trickle in. However, I'm getting more and more calls from people wanting to sell their pianos rather than maintain them. Bad economy. I work the two days at Tuck's and those really tire me. My feet ache, my shoulders ache, my wrists and neck, too. My left wrist and index finger are especially nasty lately and I'm once again trying a wrist brace. I'm working on the endless 'to-do' list around the house. Today, I trimmed some stray branches from the linden tree and one of the huge oaks. This weekend we are to have some heavy rain and wind, so I thought I'd better get that trimming off the list. Of course, trimming then meant loading the truck and hauling the debris to the dump. I've started preparing the new cabinet doors for my mom's bathroom sink base for her to paint. I need to call the plumber to fix a slowly dripping solder joint in the hot water line before it becomes a major problem. Fortunately, it just drips to the cellar floor. I'll have him take care of replacing that trap under our bathroom sink while he's here. Remember that problem from maybe a year or so ago? The trap that was 'hard' plumbed that shouldn't be? I was going to fix it myself, but quite frankly, I haven't the ambition to be scrunching myself under the sink cutting away the existing mess. Then there's the street light near our house. It had been cycling on and off for a month, then finally stayed off. Two weeks ago, I called the power company and was quite elated when the truck showed up the next night in the pitch black.(yeah, it doesn't take much to please me) The power company guy, up high in the bucket of the truck, fiddled around with the light. Then he was back in the truck and drove off. Still the light was out. After daybreak the next morning, I took a look. The entire lamp was missing. All we have now is the pathetically skinny arm with two stubs of wires hanging out there up the pole. Going to have to call the power company again. That should be good for at least a half hour of 'on hold'.

On to other things. Clustrmaps let me know that my current map will be archived on or about the 28th of this month and a new map will be started. Just thought I'd let you know.

Dickiebo lifted my spirits today with an award. You can see it in the sidebar, under my dickiebouquet!

I drove us all up to Skip's last week. It was pointed out by a reader (guess who) that I had never posted a photo of Skip's. I did post a pic of the sign a couple years ago. Anyway, it's not much to look at, building-wise, but here it is.Originally, the order and pick-up windows were outside and all dining was either in your car or at picnic tables. He's upgraded over the years and moved indoors. We still eat in our car. Tradition, you understand. The owners live upstairs. At normal mealtimes the parking lot is crammed full. This picture was taken mid afternoon. We don't like waiting in line!

And finally, these days. I'm fed up with our government, the economy, the lack of values, the mess. I'm furious that I must pay for corporate and individual greed. I have no mansion, no big salary, no massive risky investments. I have lived always hoping for the best yet considering the what-if's. I haven't spent and borrowed frivolously. I shouldn't have to bail out those that have. The current economic bailout proposal for the US will cost every adult and child in this country over $2300.00 each. Yes, I understand the consequences of no government assistance, but that still doesn't mean that I have to think it is fair or reasonable to expect the average hard-working individual to accept it.

Sorry about the politics.

Now please excuse me while I run up my credit card debt, travel the world and live in high style, and let someone else worry about it. You'll be happy to pay it all off for me, won't you?

Saturday, September 13, 2008


The first in extremes is told in the story of Lang Lang, a twenty-something classical pianist from China. I just finished reading the book that I have pictured in the sidebar. I'll quote a couple paragraphs here.

"Fortunately, compared to Chinese schools, the American system felt downright lax. Students were not disciplined, and they would think nothing about not completing their homework, which was unheard of in China........In general, schoolwork was easy in America. It seemed that students got by doing very little. As a fifteen year old boy, I didn't object to this. In fact, I liked it. I welcomed being in a country where kids were more carefree about school and independent - and even defiant - of their parents,........To see kids my age question authority was a revelation."

"The more he (father) saw me acclimating to American culture and American attitudes, the stricter he became and the more resentful I became of his interference. In China, parents are in charge. In America, kids are in charge of themselves, and I was primed to assume control of my own life."

Lang Lang's story puts quite a perspective on cultural differences AND certainly illuminates the pressure that China's one child policy has created within that culture. Not to mention the evident lack of respect shown by a large proportion of American youth.


Towards the beginning of September, I began anxiously awaiting the daily mail delivery. I was hoping that September's Piano Technician's Journal would contain my "Diamonds in the Rough" story that was originally posted on this blog. The editor had emailed the draft to me for approval. It was edited and retitled, and although I felt it was a tad sterile, I approved the version. The file indicated the September issue at the top of the page. So I assumed.....

incorrectly evidently, that it be in the September issue. Very disappointing to have no "Tuner's Life" in the September issue especially since it was to be my story. Maybe next month?

However in the meantime, the editor of the Tools, Tips & Techniques section of the Journal emailed and requested that a suggestion I had made on the Pianotech List (online) be used in an upcoming Journal issue. I went ahead and gave her approval for it's usage. (Thank you 'F' for confirming that my idea would work before I actually used it on a job a while back) So, I'm waiting to see that in print, too!

Last week, the newsletter editor of the Boston Chapter of the PTG sent out an email appeal for material. I sent him a text file and pictures of technical I had written some time back and never used. Yay! A few days ago the newsletter arrived and my technical had the bottom half of the front page and half of page two!

Add to that some really super compliments on the Pianotech List, from a fellow technican, about my keywork and I'm feeling darn good!


And finally have been our weather extremes. Wet, wet summer, in general, as witnessed by the photograph below.The following photo will give you some idea of the size of this (these) fungus.Now this weekend is supposed to be rainy and miserably humid, and instead the sun is shining brightly. Still, we have Sunday for more rain and hopefully Monday, as I'll be working!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Sundays and Mondays

Those days are spent here at Tuck's Candy Factory, on the waterfront in Dock Square.The following picture is Tuck's main store that is just up the hill a block from the candy factory.Tuck's Candies began in 1929 and has been a family owned and operated business for all of it's nearly 80 years. After work either tomorrow or Monday, I will post a brief history of the business.

Afterthought: Just check out the web site www.tuckscandy.com
Only to add that Walter had a twin brother, George. Walter was the candy maker, George was a pharmacist. The pharmacy was housed in the Main Street building (larger of above) and the candy was and still is sold there. The pharmacy followed in to the second generation but is no longer a part of the business.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Been Awhile...

since I've written much of anything at all. After all, it does get a bit boring writing about work, work, work. So, I'll get that out of the way right now. I have been.

A lot. Tuck's was extraordinarily busy over the holiday weekend and I'm glad to have survived it!
Key work has been steady as have tuning jobs.
All the windows are installed and I'm now working on staining the interiors. I finally finished trimming out the windows in our house. All that's left for finish work is the woodwork in the upstairs hallway.

We've had not-so-big adventures to Skip's and done a bit of winter weather clothes shopping. Biggest disappointment was the $18 pair of Nikes that I couldn't buy. Why, you wonder? Well, actually it wasn't a pair. We couldn't find the left shoe. Nowhere to be found. Who stole ONE jogging shoe? The right one was sooo comfy. Sigh.

This weekend we are to have the remnants of tropical storm or category 1 hurricane Hannah. Maybe I'll have some fun down at the beach! I promise to take my camera, but, you know those waves just don't look as menacing in still pictures.

And finally, each morning we are held prisoner (if only temporarily) in our house. Spike, the spider, insists on building his home/trap across our porch stairs.Amanda forgot about it this morning and I had to yell STOP before she walked right in to it. She did stop a mere couple inches from Spike and his web. The entire town may have heard her shriek! Each morning I take a broom and destroy all Spike's hard work and each night he builds it again.