Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thank You Google and the Internets

Score one again for Google and the internet. The wealth of information accessible on the internets or “tubes” boggles my mind.

Back when I lived in Western New York one of my favourite radio stations was CJRT: a Classical/Jazz station out of Toronto. “Off the Record” was a program I never missed. If a show was especially good, I would tape it on the rebroadcast later in the week. My cassette tape of a program from the late 1980’s is just about worn out. It is the rather obscure work “Tanzerische Suite” by the German composer Edward Kunneke.

I can’t explain my fascination with this piece of music. Sound wise it has a rather “airy” sound that was so evident in some early electrical recordings. I remember the TV play of The Glass Menagerie in the 1970’s starring Katherine Hepburn. There is a scene where the music drifts in from the dance hall nearby with that “airy, ‘echoey’, melancholy” sound. It’s like pornography: I know it when I see/hear it!

I had been researching different heart monitor watches on line to use when I’m trying to bust butt on the rowing machine. I had one all picked out to order on Amazon. Then I got the idea to see if I could find if the “Tanzerische Suite” was available on reissue. The radio program I taped had used the Telefunken 78’s which were issued in 1938.

I had no idea of the spelling of the composer or the piece. German is hard enough to pronounce, let alone to get a correct spelling using phonetics! All I knew it was a Suite for Jazz Band and Orchestra recorded by the Berlin Philharmonic in the 1930’s. Using that information I was able to track down the spellings of this elusive piece.

It was an easy search from that point to find that indeed there was a reissue available. This CD appeared like magic on Amazon when I typed in my query. It should be in the mail to my Alabama home in a day or so! Talk about progress!!!

As much as I cherish the past, I relish being able to accomplish what I do online without having to explain to those who haven’t a clue to what I’m researching.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Best Erg Time Ever!

Wednesday night was particularly frustrating for me. I try to keep up with technology, but sometimes I really get stumped. Enjoying a book in the front room, I was snuggled in the Morris Chair. Daggy was on my lap; the gas logs were ablaze which made the room toasty warm on a bitter cold night. Then I heard beeping noises from the bedroom.

I knew it was not the smoke detector; it had to be the computer tower in the bedroom. Sure enough, I heard that beeping in the bedroom from the vicinity of the computer. A Google check confirmed that a series of beeps from the computer tower was a signal of impending doom. The first recommended thing to do was to clean the dust from the tower and make sure the fan and heat sinks were clean.

The computer was shut down and all the cables were disconnected. The case was opened up and I carefully vacuumed the accumulated dust. Then I heard that damn beeping again! There is no power to this unit; there is NO way this can be happening. Then I looked to the dresser and saw my Tracfone….. it had been left on and was emitting the beeping to inform the battery was low! At least now I have a dust free computer tower! That was the first time that had ever happened to me which shows how much use I get out of a cell phone.

We did not row Thursday morning due to the frigid temperatures. I met up with Amy, Laurie and Kathleen at the AquaticCenter to erg on the Concept 2 machines. Four of the novice boys were there also. It was a nice steady relaxed work out.

Even with the biter cold we have been experiencing, the gradual arrival of spring continues. Walking to the “Y” Thursday I saw flocks of robins on the lawns searching for worms and grubs in the dead grass.

At the “Y” I was feeling pretty good and decided to try and beat my 2,000 meter time. My last best rating was for 7:57:7. I started with a racing start with a stroke rating in the mid 40 strokes a minute and my split rate in the mid 1:40 range.

This pace I can only keep up for about a minute or so. That puts my body into an anaerobic mode where by I'm not getting enough oxygen from the lungs and turns to stored energy (fat) for the nutrition it needs. At this point I would normally let up and drop my split ratings to the 2:05 range to regain some composure. For whatever reason I was in a masochistic mood and decided to really push myself. I kept my split rate in the 1:56 range for the rest of my workout. I cleared the 2,000 meter mark at 7:45:2.

That shaved 12 seconds from my best time. Pushing myself to that extreme took me the closest I’ve even been to vomiting. I’ve heard where at “inside regattas” buckets are next to the machines for when that happens.

This guy is AWESOME!

Rowing on the youtubes

Friday it warmed up. Finally I was able to get some outside work done. It appears most of my ferns and spider plants survived the winter in the garage. They look really ratty, but they are alive. The rubber plants I’ve kept going for over 10 years now did not make it. The extended sub freezing temperatures were too much for the old plants.

Friday afternoon gave us the warmest temperatures of the year. It was a perfect afternoon to row. Hunter coached, and Matt coxed. Two novice rowers from the men’s collegiate team rounded out our masters sweep.

It was heaven to be rowing on the river again. We did drills upstream to the steel mill, spun the boat and rowed eights pretty much the entire way back. We docked at 5:45 and the sun was still out. The days are truly getting longer. Warm weather can’t be too far behind!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Freezing in Alabama/A Busy Sunday

My Google home page had the temperature pegged at 24° this morning. The unrelenting cold is wearing me out. Our 5:30 a.m. rowing session was again canceled. I moved to Alabama from Western New York to get out of this kind of weather.

This old house of mine was not built for these temperatures. Even keeping the inside daytime temperature at 60° my furnace seems to be running constantly. My poor Camellia blossoms are a mushy brown. I’ve pretty much given up on having a beautiful showing of flowers on those old bushes.

If all the weather bitching was not bad enough…. When I checked out my hometown newspaper on line this morning, a good friend Charlie was listed in the obituaries. Charlie was our department repair man when I was running a clincher till he retired in 1989. We were good friends. He was one the few people at the factory who knew the “real me”. Charlie would laugh how the other repair guys would wonder why we were close… “That guy is crazy” they used to say about me. All Charlie would tell them back was, “He is crazy all right, crazy like a fox!” You were a good man Charlie… R.I.P.

All my tax info is just about in. My last reporting statements don’t get posted on line till the middle of March. It is just an aggravation to be dealt with; I don’t count on refunds anymore. I figure if I just break even that is enough. Hopefully I’ll get enough back to cover a Utilikilt! I was on line enjoying my first cup of coffee checking out the Black Workman’s model this a.m.!

I have an E-bay snipe in which will open up a new house project if it goes through. Once I post this, I’ll raise up my bid amount to give me a better chance at winnning.

It is funny how E-bay auctions work out. There was a very rare phonograph I was bidding on a year or so ago that I really wanted. Because of my bids the auction winner had to spend some $600.00 more for the thing. It is back on the block again with no bids. Knowing what I know now, I’m so thankful I did not win that germy machine! It is rare as Hell, but from a performance standpoint it is a real clam. (germ and clam are adjectives I learned from Billy and Dennis to describe different grades of phonographs!)

At least the sun is brightly shining which raises my spirits.

I just downloaded pictures from my camera and realized I need to do another San Francisco entry!

Sunday morning was a beautiful and clear. I had to return some things to Mark. This was perfect Utilikilt weather: Took off down Valencia Street to 24th. The thrift store was open giving me another opportunity to check out the books. Got some wonderful titles all in the $1.00 - $2.00 range.

Dropped Mark’s stuff off and continued on. The approach to the Castro district from his place is pretty dramatic. The first time I walked this route at night, I cursed myself for not having my camera: the lights on a clear winter night were amazing.

The breakfast Danish had worn off and I was hungry. I’m in the right neighborhood for a great slice of pizza. Marcello’s is a favourite spot to take the edge off an appetite.

I headed back down Market St. It was a fairly warm day, but I was not prepared to see two guys walking down the street wearing only jockstraps! There were no tan lines on their bronzed skin; I guess they do this a lot!

A rehabbed condo building across from the Safeway had an open house. The units were huge with the prices in the 700k range. I did not bother getting an information sheet so I have no idea what the monthly fees would be. The agent on duty knew the folks stopping in were just kicking tires, so he smoked and texted outside the building while I was there.

I dropped off my books back in the motel and headed to the Eagle for the Sunday Beer Bust. It is fixed so you buy a glass for $10.00 and it can be refilled till 7:00 p.m. I was not staying long so I just got a bottle of Bud.

One of the guys I met up with Friday night was there. He was pointing out different people to me and explained how things were operated. I was amazed how the food concession this day was sponsored by the American Legion!

From here I had to walk over to 8th Street to Wicked Grounds. This is a coffee house with a twist. It is like the show “Friends” only filmed in a dungeon! A photo shoot was going to be done I wanted to see.

I was not there long before the action happened. A willing victim strapped into a bondage chair was wheeled through the door! It was madness. Just go with the flow… life is good!

From here I walked down to Trader Joe's. I needed to stock up on some chocolate. I left with seven bars of pound plus chocolate. That should hold me a couple months. I also picked up a heat and serve chicken Marcella entre. I’ll nuke it up in the room to save me from going out again.

As I was checking out I made small talk to the cashier. I said how I wished they would open a Trader Joe’s in Alabama. The nearest one to me is in Atlanta. I told her I had to stock up on the chocolate as I was going back home on Tuesday. She said, “Are you flying back?” “Oh Yes, and boy do my arms ever get tired!” I replied. The people behind me in line all laughed; the cashier gave me a nasty look. “I’m sorry, but you gave me the perfect set-up! I HAD to say it!” I said. She relented and had to give a smile in spite of herself!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


About Me

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Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States
Retired auto worker who can now spend too much time restoring his 1922 Bungalow Home. I'm involved in a number of varied activities from collecting bricks to rowing with a masters rowing group. This blog is to share different aspects of my life on my Facebook page. I've kept an on-line journal for eight years.