Friday, February 29, 2008

Magic bell

I played a Catholic funeral today. When they were preparing the Eucharist, a little bell rang at the moment of transubstantiation. Magical!
I was accompanying a singer who I had worked with on the Australia trip. He knew the deceased, and said he had a subversive sense of humor. But the memorial made him sound like the most conventional man imaginable.
He was a Marine and a Knight of Columbus. There were several of the Knights at the memorial. They look like a Gilbert and Sullivan chorus in their feathered hats.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rockin' the cell phone

This is my customer's car. He works for a radio station which has an online service where you can mix your own ringtone with software similar to Fruityloops or Acid.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I'd like to thank my agent

A bunch of us returned volunteers were at the County Board of Supervisors hearing room to accept a proclamation honoring Peace Corps Week. Audrey, our president, was too shy so I accepted the framed document from Jimmy Yee.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Feminine wisdom

Vanessa, a barista at Espresso Metro, left this note on the register.
As much as I love the bleakness of Beckett and the existentialists, there's something very male about it. Almost all their heroes are men. Few women are in their world.
Beckett wrote of women, "they give birth astride a grave." Would any woman write that?

Photo album from the trip

Click here to see album

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Try it with the ice-cream scented candle

We ate lunch at Bob Evans today. They seem to be trying to turn every kind of food into a kind of pie. They even sell candles that smell like pie.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The high school down the street


My mother is going to be fine.

But like a lot of medical professionals, she is a terrible patient.

When I first saw her, she said, "Get me out of here, or I'm going to disown you."

She tried to get out of bed last night and cut her face. So they had to restrain her.

She kept asking for scissors to cut the restraints.

In fact, the last thing she said as we left after our visit was, "Don't forget to bring scissors."

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Out of town

While visiting a friend in a hospital Florida, my mom started stuttering. It happened several times so they went to the emergency room. It turns out that she had blood trapped inside her skull from an earlier head injury. She had 70cc of blood removed yesterday. I'm flying to Florida today and won't be back until Sunday. I probably won't be able to post anything until then, but I'll have lots of pictures when I come back.

Not easy being green

I sent in a proposal to tune the pianos at UC Davis Student Housing. The requirements were amazing: I had to take parts of the original Acrobat document, insert my own pages, and then print it on both sides of recycled paper and label it as such. Then I had to sign it, and then make a copy and mark it as a copy.
The irony is that in trying to make this "green" application according to their specs, I made lots of false tries and ended up using much more paper than I would have otherwise.
I wonder how many people successfully navigated these requirements. It reminds me of all the hoops you have to jump through to get a $10 rebate from a store.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Painting at A Taste of Africa

Friday night we had our monthly Peace Corps dinner — this time at Taste of Africa in Elk Grove. Really good food. They serve a lot of entrees with goat meat, which was fine. They also serve plantains the way I like them — simply, without a lot of butter or oil.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Friday, February 15, 2008

Message to Steve

I went to visit Steve and he played a phone message I'd left minutes earlier.
At the end you can hear a little bit of Peter Gabriel.

We finally matter

We got a card from the Nielsen company today saying they would be calling us about our TV watching habits. I understand they have replaced the clunky old box with a chip that is implanted at the base of the skull.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mike Musial's CD

At the last Piano Technicians Guild meeting Mike Musial, who tunes in the Vacaville area, gave me a copy of his CD. It's a collection of about a dozen instrumentals featuring some very tasty synthesizer and guitar. In his words, he "imagines the whole CD as some kind of soundtrack album," and I agree.
You can hear the whole album here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

P. Kellach Waddle

After a gap of many years, I am once again typesetting music for P. Kellach Waddle: bass player, conductor, composer, karaoke champion, music and TV critic, blackjack dealer, and two-time Pulitzer nominee. Check out his website.

Paintings at Espresso Metro

This is the postcard for my show at Espresso Metro. If you are out on Second Saturday, please come! We will have munchies and several bottles of Charles Shaw. I will also be giving away pictures and stickers.

Register deity

Jesus on the Espresso Metro cash register.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Bear Valley Music Festival

This summer I will be playing at the Bear Valley Music Festival. The event in mostly classical but they also have pops concerts. The opening event is a Jersey Boys tribute, and Ron Davis is contracting the musicians, using members of his big band.
The festival website is but they don't have the 2008 schedule up yet.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Piano at Harlow's

I was tuning a piano at the cafe/club Harlow's and asked if they could turn up the lights a bit. All they could find were some crazy rotating spotlights.

Fun time; terrible movie

Last night a few of us former (we say "returned") Peace Corps Volunteers had dinner at Brenda Waters's house and watched the old Tom Hanks movie Volunteers. This picture is notable for being 1) the only Hollywood feature about the Peace Corps and 2) the picture where Hanks first met his costar Rita Wilson, who he later married. Hanks was supposed to be a New England patrician and his accent kept coming and going.
At dinner Brenda, who knows everyone, told some wonderful gossip, which was far better than the movie.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Fågel på bil

While parked in the lot at IKEA, this bird perched on my side view mirror.

Peace Corps Week proclamation from Schwarzenegger

“When President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, he asked my father-in-law, Sargent Shriver, to become its first director and flesh out the details of the new organization. It was a tremendous challenge, but Sarge rose to the occasion and helped develop programs in fifty-five countries with more than 14,500 volunteers in less than six years. Because of the efforts of these two great men and all those who have had a role in shaping it, the Peace Corps has become one of America's most successful initiatives in advancing peace..."

Read the rest here.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Grossest piano ever

This piano had the yellowest keys I've ever seen. It also was full of cat litter. The owner had two dogs and three cats and the litter box was right next to the piano. Apparently the cats were walking in the litter box and then immediately jumping on the piano.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

New collage

"GeoFinder." The map inserts include Chicago, Madison, Sacramento, Philadelphia, and Montserrat — all places important in our lives.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Let me put on my reading glasses

My old friend Rosanne Cheeseman said of the above cartoon: "I think the last particle of youth is smaller than you drew it."

Monday, February 04, 2008

Howdy, pardner. Got a headset for that?

When Rachel is stuck in traffic she looks at the driver next to her and imagines that person (shaving, holding a drink between his/her thighs, talking on a cell phone) riding a horse.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

A great place to leave your cell phone

We went to In 'N' Out Burger today for lunch just before seeing There Will Be Blood (5 stars for ambition, 3.5 for achievement). They make our favorite burgers and fries. And I give them high marks for customer service, too; after the movie I discovered I had lost my cell phone; a short phone call to the In 'N' Out 800 number revealed that they had found it.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Sword lady

I had a customer yesterday—a very elegant old woman— who had this sword (supposedly a reproduction of Alexander the Great's) mounted on the wall. She also had Excalibur, Dartagnan's sword, and one other I forget.
She was Russian/English, had married a Frenchman, spoke English, French, and Russian, and seemingly had had a marvelous life but was jaded about everything.
After living in England, France, and San Francisco, it seemed odd that she would have ended up in West Sacramento.
"If you could live anywhere, where would you live?"
"It doesn't exist."
"You mean it doesn't exist anymore?"
"It never existed."
She asked me if I wanted anything to drink.
"I would love some tea."
"There is no good tea anymore."
"Oh. So you don't drink tea?"
"I do. But it's terrible."
She said all these things evenly, with the most perfect manners.
At one end of the room was a display case full of sea shells. On top of it was a lamp made of large shells. The light shone through one large shell that had a painting of a man on it. He was handsome in an old-fashioned way, like Leslie Howard.
She raved about the skill of the Tahitian artist who had done the painting. She brought out the original photograph and held it next to the painting on the shell to show the likeness.
"This is art! It should be in a museum!" she said. "I know what I'm talking about, and I'm never wrong."
"I noticed."