Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Gardening Heuristic

Worked the garden: trained the snow peas & cucs to the fence, maters up the cages. All the rain we had Saturday, it has not had to be watered in 3 days. I realized what the indicator of "does the garden need to be watered?" was & tweeted it:

When the pepper plants droop, time to water the garden. #gardening #heuristic #locallex #kentucky

You could make an excellent public gardening advice system very easily with these tags. Query by #gardening #heuristic|#tips #{yourGeolocation} {search term}.

Note, #locallex tags Lexington, and @locallex will usually retweeet. Ha, he didn't, he just liked. Too bad. My meme loses. :-(

So the key to this is the query => Google. But googling "gardening tips" did not get great options? Ditto search of the apple app store. So maybe this would be a useful app.

Wednesday. more rain. The garden till hasn't had to be watered. Nice!

Harvesting ~2/3 of a gallon ziplock every other day, leaf lettuce. baby kale, and spinach. Light green, medium green, dark green, and tasty! Salad starts with a dinner plate covered 1-2" thick.

We've had 1 meal with ~1 quart of snow peas. Very sweet and tender, yay!

I have ~2 salads of radishes that I could harvest, but I still have 3-4 salads of radishes from my cross-the-street neighbor.

On another #biology #datapoint, #animal, -plant, our Cooper's Hawk is still around. Yesterday & the day before she flew at high speed out of the trees on the SW side of the back yard and into the trees on the NE. Several swoops and swerves through the latter trees.

She (most hawks are female) has been around since at least Thanksgiving 2007. So 10 years soon. Lifespan can be 20 years.

She has had the crows after her both days. Yesterday I counted 18 crows following her. Before Beaumont was developed, you could routinely see murders of 40-50, maybe even 100 over there on that farmland. Walking good old Dexter Dog, he wanted to check them out. 40 crows would make short work of lots of small dogs. Not to mention several people. Sure glad they are peaceful - I think they know not to fight stuff as big as adult humans & big dogs. Hawks, Blue Jays, Grackles are normal foes of Corvus brachyrhynchos.

I wonder now many crows now? Hunh, I guess I should start counting birds here again. So boring tho: #bleep robins, common grackles, cardinals, crows, blue jays. Smaller birds I like better: house finch, goldfinch, chickadee. I haven't seen the carolina wren in a while.

Monday, May 15, 2017


The jam scene in Lexington is mostly dead. The 1x a month late jam at Green Lantern that happened 1x got cancelled for this month. There's still a jam every other week in Danville, but that's a 45 minute drive. I have gone 2x to a 1x a month jazz jam at Manchester Music Hall run by Matthew Polashek, who I 1st met when he was playing sax for Funkability. Great musicians, and an excellent female singer named Rebecca. I went to listen and wound up singing 2 stongs each time, including 3 duets with Rebecca. 1st time I sang "Night and Day" (with Rebecca) and "Bye Bye Blackbird". 2nd time I sang "The Way You Look Tonight" and "They Can't Take That Away From Me", both with Rebecca.

I also wound up sitting in with Ronn Crowder and Friends this past Saturday from 7:30-11:45. Lindsay Olive was supposed to show up late and showed up not at all. That was fun, got to play some new songs - best I think was "Get Back" by the Beatles - but didn't get to do any singing.

But it is really slim pickings, particularly compared to Florida, where I could play 4x a week if I wanted. So, to get a chance to play, last year I started working with my favorite blues harpist in Lexington, Steve Konapka (Fuzzy), on a duo act. We've been rehearsing 2-3 hours a week. Our main song list is at 39 songs (3 hours x 13 songs/hour) plus 30 more in process or demoted. We have played maybe 10 times at Coralee Townie's Open Mic, 1st at Willie's Locally Known, then at The Burl, then at Cosmic Charlie's. We've done maybe 25 songs total, all have worked well. So we are ready for gigs.

I talked to my friend Josh Brown, who is GM at J. Render's Southern Table on Beaumont Circle, about doing an audition on a Thursday - they normally have live music on Friday and Saturday. This Thursday, they are having a Ky Ale dinner: 3 beers paired with 3 courses and the Ky Ale brewmaster commenting. It starts at 7, and Josh invited Steve and I to attend the dinner and then play from 8-10. He is expecting around 50 people, so we will have an audience, at least at the start. Their patio seats 70. Sweet!

On the music in side, after the drought in January and February, I have a ton of new music - my Unrated playlist was up close to 200. It's hard to find time to listen to it all. So some these have been somewhat rushed through processing.

  • Dirty Projectors, eponymous. I like this less than the one before. This was a breakup album, the band leader and 1 of the female vocalists, so maybe that made it a little down. Some of the synthesized vocals get uncomfortably close to Alvin & the Chipmunks at times. I will still give it 4 stars based on my overall appreciation of this band. Here's the 1st track, "Keep Your Name".

  • Father John Misty, "I Love You, Honeybear", 2015. Apparently he is the drummer from Fleet Foxes. The songs aren't bad, but some of the lyrics are ... pretentious? self-indulgent? One suspects drugs are involved. 3 stars.
  • Vagabon, "Infinite Worlds". Recommended by my daughter Erica, who likes the drumming on this album. This is the 1st album by Laetitia Tamko, who was born and lived in Cameroon until her family relocated to NYC when she was 13. Nice songs, interesting backgrounds. A little brash for my aging tastes perhaps. 3 stars.
  • Tennis, "Yours Conditionally". Perhaps not as good as their earlier albums, but I still love this woman's voice. I still put them in the genre "Girl Groups". 4 stars. Here's "My Emotions Are Blinding".

  • The Flaming Lips, "Oczy Mlody". Creative as ever. These guys are almost becoming "conceptual music" - music, in concept. 3 stars.
  • The XX, "I See You". Nice tunes, nice male/female harmony vocals. A good British indie band. 4 stars. Here's the 1st track, "Dangerous".

  • Willie Nelson, "Stardust", 2014. Willie covers old standards. I got this because I liked his version of "September Song" so much. 4 stars for that track and "Moonlight in Vermont", which I hadn't heard before, 3 stars for the rest.

  • Aimee Mann, "Mental Illness". So nice to hear Ms. Mann's voice again, it had been a while. A lot of the arrangements are very simple, almost folky. 4 stars. Here's the 1st track, "Goose Snow Cone". Odd video.

  • Jamiroquai, "Automaton". Their 1st in a while. Man, this is great dance music - but I don't dance that much. 3 stars.
That brings me up to April 1. Unrated playlist is back up to 192. :-O

Sunday, May 14, 2017


I am really, really going to read an economics book now! But 1st, more science fiction!

1st, "Luna: Wolf Moon" by Ian McDonald, 2017, 400 pages. 5 economic clans war for control of the moon. Oh boy, oligarch fight! This series began with a novelette, this is the 2nd novel. As good a job as SyFy channel has done with The Expanse, they would knock this out of the park. Tons of action, interesting characters, weird sex (it is the future), and Game of Thrones level scheming and bloodshed. Definitely a page turner.

Next up, "The Violent Century" by Lavie Tidhar, 2015, 353 pages. So we have superheroes fighting for their side in every war from WW II on. Contrast with "Bitter Seeds", by Ian Tregellis (2010) which featured Nazi superheros vs British mages in the Spanish Civil War and WW II, blogged here. As I mentioned in this post on a Wild Cards novel, I think I am getting burned out on superheroes - which is unfortunate, because this is a very good book. It jumps between several sequences of events dating back to the 1930s, and winds up being a love story. Interesting characters, lots of action, nice plot twists. The WW II portion has tie-ins with The Holocaust and the prosecution of those who were responsible for it. It was also interesting that Stan Lee (Mr. Marvel) and the creators of Superman appear in the novel, and that in real life they were all 3 Jews whose families fled Europe as Hitler came to power. So superheroes were originally created in response to the shock to morality and our psyche that the Nazis delivered.

Finally, "Everything But The Squeal" by John Scalzi, 2016, 53 pages, a novella. This was a cute short read, set in an interesting near future, in a zero-environmental-footprint New City.

I was annoyed though to find out that this novella was originally published in a shared world anthology "Metatropolis" on the future of cities, which came out in 2008. This a topic I'm interested in, so I just purchased the anthology (5 stories) for $7.99. But I have now wasted the $4.99 I spent for Scalzi's contribution.

I recently purchased for $2.99 Part 1 of a Scalzi novel that I had already read - I mean, what's up with that, you don't serialize a novel that's already been released??? Kobo did refund me the $2.99, but I don't see why they would refund me the $4.99.

I don't have a problem at all with Scalzi and The Expanse guys publishing $1.99 and $2.99 add-on short-stories or novellas to their established series. I'm sure that it helps smooth out their cash flow, and some of these have been interesting additions. But, I guess with Scalzi, I need to pay more attention and make sure I'm making the right purchase.