Category Archives: General

General Topics

Who still uses those C9 bulbs?

0

Posted on December 12, 2015 by

The big bulbs are out. By that, I mean the C9 sized Christmas tree lights.  The tree in this picture has 4 strings of 25 lights. That amounts to 700 watts of electricity usage. LED bulbs would be 1/5th of that in usage. Also, as these strings get older, they become more brittle. I have thrown away many over the years. Just this year, two had to go, because some bulbs huffed out leaving wisps of electrical fire smoke in the room and blowing the inline fuses.

But, I like them, and we do not light them for very long periods of time. The only time they will be on for an extended period will be Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

C9 bulb Christmas tree

Christmas tree decorated with incandescent C9 bulbs

 

The only autograph I own – John Wooden, UCLA Head Coach (emeritus)

0

Posted on February 13, 2015 by

In the 1980’s when UCLA basketball was really not so great, John Wooden was still a fixture in Pauley Pavilion for just about every home game. He sat on the North courtside, directly across from the UCLA bench.  As Thomas Bonk wrote in the LA Times the evening after the 1987 Notre Dame Game,

There was strength on both sides of the line of scrimmage Saturday. A priest sat on the Notre Dame bench, and John Wooden sat opposite the UCLA bench. No edge there.

WoodenPauley

 

In 1986, we were only a dozen years past the last UCLA National Championship from 1975, and UCLA was reduced to merely struggling to be competitive in the conference and hoping to be invited to the NCAA tournament. As a freshman that season, the team really was mediocre, but won at home, and I thought it was the greatest.  At some point I worked up the courage to approach the great man, since I was told he was very kind to UCLA student. I got one of the handiest pieces of paper and a pen, and introduced myself. I gushed over what he had accomplished, but he was very modest. He honored my request for an autograph. It is still the only one I own.

Wooden3rdTrombone

UCLA would go on to have better luck when I was a sophomore, winning a number of great games, including that ’87 Notre Dame game. Two games from that season are named in the Bruin 100 – The Greatest Games in the History of UCLA Basketball. I would have picked neither, the Louisville game, and the Wyoming game. I was at both. The two I would have picked were the Notre Dame game, and the defeat of #1 ranked North Carolina.

All through the North Carolina game, the student section was screaming, the whole place was screaming, from beginning to end. I had never before and never again seen such energy in Pauley Pavilion.  It began with the opening Frisbee chant, in which he climbed atop the newly installed courtside press tables and shouted, “IS THIS A PRESS TABLE!?! (YES THAT’S A PRESS TABLE!) WE’RE MAD AS HELL, AND WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!” At the final horn, UCLA had stunned North Carolina. This was the same Dean Smith led UNC Tarheel team that would finish #1 in the ACC, 32-4 and #1 seed in the East NCAA regionals. Dean was great, but he just was not John Wooden.

But that Notre Dame win was something else. I finally got to see the student section “Digger is a wimp” sign in action. What a hype! The Bruins fought back from 18 points down to the Fighting Irish. Reggie Miller may have scored 42 against Never Nervous Pervis Ellison and Louisville, but the clutchest of clutch shots I have ever seen score is the one he hit  against Notre Dame that day.  The Daily Bruin said Reggie put the shot up from Lot 8, but I think he could have made that shot from Lot 32, at the corner of Wilshire and Gayley. The crowd went bananas. The Band played Sons of Westwood and no one could hear themselves over the music and screaming. The building was easily in excess of 100 decibels. Digger Phelps set up David Rivers to take the ball up court. But, Rivers smacked straight into Bruin David Immel and got called for the charge. Coach Digger Phelps jumped straight into the air, curled his legs up underneath himself, and came straight back down in the manliest toddler-who-needs-a-nap-I-won’t-go tirade I ever have seen.  I still cannot see Digger on TV without remembering him make that high, straight leap. I also remember that it took John Wooden and the UCLA Bruins to build an 88 game winning streak to make Digger a great coach.
UCLA Beats the Irish, Reheats the Rivalry on Late Surge, 63-59  – January 25, 1987, Los Angeles Times
UCLA’s 89-84 Victory Stuns North Carolina – December 02, 1986, Los Angeles Times

It seemed like a good idea at the time, right? This spider had woven itself a web in the Don’t walk sign. I wonder how many bugs blundered into that?

WP_002475

WP_002474

1

Posted on October 26, 2014 by

500 and Schmier card games

1

Posted on December 7, 2013 by

18 years ago, in the Wild West of the Internet in 1996, I searched for web sites about card games to find out more about Schmier. The only one I found, was the one run is the Card Games site run by John McLeod.

http://www.pagat.com/

I ended up supplying what I knew about Schmier to John, which he added to his site.

http://www.pagat.com/allfours/schmier.html

I ended up contributing the rules for 500 as well.

http://www.pagat.com/euchre/500.html

One side effect was that, through the magic of ‘bots, my name was associated with all sorts of card game web sites that borrowed the content to drive traffic.  For a while, I was a renowned expert on Texas Hold’em, according to Google.

Trombone playing: proper technique

1

Posted on September 8, 2013 by

In the video for Christina Aguilera’s song, Ain’t No Other Man, there is a moment around 3:40 where there are some trombone players in the shot. The video actors are doing what people tend to do when picking up a trombone for the first time: grabbing the second slide brace with a full fist.

I have attached a side by side comparison for the benefit of all those who don’t want to be caught “fisting” their trombones. The proper technique, as demonstrated here by Bill Watrous, is to use the right thumb, index, and second fingers to manipulate the slide.

Proper Trombone Technique

The slides also are reversed, so that they are being worked with the left hand (fist in this case). I am guessing, and you might too, that the whole purpose was to just show the brassy bell and not the extras’ heads, to give the impression that the synthesizer production was actually a cool brass backup combo. It probably took a few takes to establish that, and the director called for the setup. “Yea, can we have the trombone players with the bells on the other side?”

 

Can I stop the Twin Cities Values newspaper circular delivery?

5

Posted on June 15, 2013 by

If you are within the Star Tribune subscription area, but do not subscribe to the paper, then you get a weekly circular delivered to your home called “Twin Cities Values”.

They stopped putting them into the paper deliver box at the mailbox, now they are hurled at the driveway, more or less.

Twin Cities Values at the curb

Twin Cities Values at the curb

I am not that old, but I can still remember delivering papers. You did not get paid if you did that. It had to be “porched”, which was a matter of pride to be able to accurately do that from the street.

The rain on the weather map for this afternoon would have washed this away, and the flimsy plastic wrapper would not have protected it. We have neighbors that let that happen every week. One neighbor has six in their yard, engaging in a passive protest.

We have called in the past to get off the delivery route. We are told that it is up to the carrier. There also is a number on the back 612-673-7305 and an email address: tcv@startribune.com. I will see if this gets it stopped.

The City of Roseville says one can opt out using these methods:

http://www.ci.roseville.mn.us/index.aspx?NID=2294 (This link is dead as of 2016)

Message to the Star Tribune: if you want me to read the ads, put them on the web site, like is done for the Target ad. Or put them on the Local section.

Also Star Tribune, how about if you get rid of all the Flash and Javascript junk that loads up.

Another person’s view:

http://museumfatigue.org/2012/05/28/trash-values/ (“Trash Values” or “How a Local Newspaper Made Me a Customer Against My Will and Littered All Over My Neighborhood”)

 

Follow up:  I contacted a number of email addresses. All promised to stop the paper. One even followed up. The next week, we did not have a delivery at all in the neighborhood. I attribute that to power outages and strong storms all over the Twin Cities. This weekend, the TCV was in my newspaper box.

Update for 2016, we have not seen these in our neighborhood in years.

2013 Tony awards: Relevant to me for the first time

0

Posted on June 10, 2013 by

I had the chance to travel to New York as part of a school trip at the beginning of April 2013. The trip was for theater students. We managed to see three plays while we were there: “Newsies”, “Matilda”, and “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark. ”

“Newsies” had 8 Tony nominations for 2012 and won two: Best Choreography and Best Score.

“Matilda” had 13 Tony nominations for the 2013 Tony awards and won four: Best Book, Best Featured actor performance, best lighting, and Excellence in theater.

“Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark” had two Tony nominations for 2011, and is notorious for the early troubles with rigging and expenses.

The kids on the trip all liked “Newsies” the best. The adults all liked “Matilda” the best. Everyone thought “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark” was interesting, but not outstanding.

As a technical show, Spiderman had a lot going for it. It seems to be geared for a young male audience, not a typical theater crowd. The lady next to me from Connecticut said that half the thrill is to see if the rigging gets tangled. The theater group that went two years ago saw exactly that. Spiderman was stuck right above the balcony. They shouted encouragement to the actor. Afterwards he met with the group and thanked them for being so supportive. After our whirlwind tour, I was pretty tired, and almost dozed off in the first act. But the Spider-Man U2 guitar riff kept waking me up. I wonder if I could get that as a ring tone.

“Matilda” was my favorite. Miss Trunchbull  is a wicked character. Bertie Carvel put just the right bit of selfish nastiness into her. I thought for sure he would win the best leading actor in a musical award. But Billy Porter took the award for his acting in Kinky Boots.

http://theater.nytimes.com/2013/06/10/theater/theaterspecial/at-tonys-kinky-boots-and-matilda-vie-for-best-musical.html

I watched the Tony awards broadcast on CBS for the first time in my life. I felt it finally was relevant. I have watched the Academy awards broadcast for most of my life. But I never felt, up to now, any interest in the American Theater awards.

First [recovered failed] post from iPhone

0

Posted on May 31, 2013 by

I also installed the WordPress app on my iPhone. The layout is slightly better. But, I prefer the larger HTC Titan screen. I wish the iPhone keyboard showed the current typing case like the Android and Windows phones do.