Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My New Toy!

Monday night I called Michael before I left work to see if I should buy bread on the way home. He said, "Nope, we have bread and milk. And a banjo!" Yippee! A banjo came in the mail for me! I ordered an Enoch Tradesman fretless banjo. It's got a scooped cherry wood neck, flush frets, and a pretty black finish on the fingerboard and pot. The flush frets show me where to put my fingers while still getting the fretless sound; kind of like banjo training wheels.

My old Deering Goodtime banjo is on the left, and my new Enoch banjo is on the right. I now have black and white, yin and yang, good and evil banjos. I will use them only for good! I've ordered a pretty black and yellow strap for it, and I'll need to get the gig bag all decorated up like my other case.

I was a little afraid of the new banjo, wondering if I'd be able to play it. Lo and behold! My fingers pretty much go in the right places! I'm very excited that I don't have to retrain myself too much. One thing I need to do is change my fretting to the point of my finger or the fingernail instead of just the flat pad of my finger. The sound is much crisper that way; otherwise the sound is a little plunky.

When I was agonizing about whether or not to get myself a new banjo, my banjo friend Jeff said I was the only person he knew with only one banjo. So now I'm real banjo player! Counting the four string Michael got me for my birthday two and half years ago (which started me on my banjo journey), I now have three! The old four string hangs on the wall as visual art, since it can no longer participate in audio art.

Well, I better go practice ...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Canoeing around the Arboretum

Today my friends Sabina and Maya and I rented a canoe from the UW Aquatics Center, and we canoed around the Arboretum. It was a beautiful day. I keep thinking this is the last one of summer, and we keep having these days! Thank the gods for friends who like to get outside. We saw ducks and geese and turtles and a Great Blue heron.

I took some footage of the heron stalking. I had my second-string camera with me (in case I dropped it in the water), so it's not so clear.

Friday, September 12, 2008

That's Moi Guy!

There's a nice new blog post out there about Michael's software MoI and his recent trip to the 2008 SIGGRAPH conference.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

New Orleans

In 2001, I went to New Orleans with my Cajun/Zydeco band Les Femmes d'Enfer. I thought it was my first time to Louisiana. Recently I've been scanning old family photos, and I found out I was wrong! Photographic evidence shows I was in fact crawling around on the New Orleans pavement in July or August of 1969! I can tell you, during my 2001 visit we started drinking Hurricanes from Pat O'Brien's at about 10am after a red eye flight which I did not sleep on. I was ready to crawl around on the pavement in 2001, too.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

End of Summer

It's a beautiful day, but summer is definitely winding up. We've had some cold nights and are snugging up with more blankets these days. I discovered our comforter is mysteriously deflated, probably by dry cleaning last spring. They're $139 at Costco, so I think maybe we'll just pile on blankets this year.

JoJo's veggie garden is mostly gone. I gave her the bolted lettuce to eat which she liked. Fresh lettuce on a stick! Two more carrots await pulling and eating.

Meanwhile, we're outside enjoying the warmth and sunshine as long as we can! You can see JoJo's wonderful bolt hole in the right corner above the clematis. It "mysteriously" gets filled in occasionally so she gets to work off some fat digging it out. She needs to do some serious digging soon ...

Laurie and Steve

Last Saturday my dear friend Laurie married Steve. Congratulations! It was a fun wedding with a beautiful bride, a teary groom, and a packed hall of friends. May your married life be as wonderful as this day was!