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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Baron Dave Romm's LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016
1:32 pm
Trip to Massachusetts - Uncle Lee's 90th birthday, visiting cousin, Maritime Sampler
A brief recap of the two weeks encompassing July 8, 2016CE and July 22, 2016CE:

I had a great time in Massachusetts. I went, ostensibly, for my Uncle Lee's 90th birthday celebration. My cousin had arranged a huge party for his physics friends as well as relatives. I brought along two extra cameras, so my 9-year-old niece and 10-year-old extended niece (cousin's kid) could take photos. Which they did. Theirs are in the Facebook photostreams.

Then I rented a car and went to Springfield/Holyoke to visit my cousin Barb who I hadn't seen in at least forty years. Wandered around the area, was injured by dinosaur tracks, and returned to Cambridge. Stayed with my cousin Dean and family for a few days.

Then went an hour north to Cape Ann for a Road Scholar tour: The New England Maritime Sampler. Five boat trips plus museums and lectures.

Knowing the LJ propensity not to be on Facebook, I made a photostream of just the whale pics. Some of my best work. Especially considering that most of the pics were handheld with a 300mm lens, using an Olympus OM-D EM-10. My standard kit is an EM-1 with a 12-40mm 2.8 lens. Anyway:

20160721 Whale Watch in the Bay of Maine on Shutterfly

20160721 Two Whales Feeding a short video on YouTube

Public link to Facebook 20160708-10 Lee's 90th Birthday Celebration

Public link to 20160711-17 Visiting Massachusetts

Public link to Facebook 20160718-22 New England Maritime Sampler

Public link to Facebook 20160721 Whale Watch in the Bay of Maine (same photos as the shutterfly site)

A couple of photos, and a few more behind a cut.

My mother, Ethel, after speaking about her younger brother on his 90th birthday. Cambridge 7/9/16

A baleen whale. Baleen are instead of teeth, used to sieve seawater. Bay of Maine out of Salem, MA 7/21/16
Some more photosCollapse )
Sunday, April 17th, 2016
7:44 pm
Golden Gate Bridge: A study. March 2016
The week before Minicon, I was in the San Francisco Bay area for the memorial for my uncle Arthur Lipow. I took a lot of photos, lent a small camera to extended niece Lily, and also took touristy photos while I was there. For some reason, I was attracted to the Golden Gate Bridge and environs, and tried to get it in as many shots as possible. Here are some. Click on photo for larger version.

Me with Bay Bridge, Alcatraz and San Francisco in the background. 3/18/16. Photo by brother Dan.

Mom, with Golden Gate Bridge as backdrop. 3/18/16

Cousin Jimin, with Golden Gate Bridge as backdrop. 3/20/16

View from "The Hippy Tree" (or nearby, I never did find the tree) in Tiburon. 3/21/16

Golden Gate Bridge at night, with a two second exposure using a 150mm lens and fussing a lot. 3/21/16

My Public FB photostream of the Arthur Lipow Memorial

Extended niece (cousin's kid) Lily's photostream of the Arthur Lipow Memorial

Public FB photostream of the rest of the tip (which contains the photos above)
Wednesday, February 17th, 2016
2:49 pm
Old World Order: Restored!
After some contretemps regarding the old domain name, my listing in The Nobles of Ladonia has returned. The Old World Order has been restored. I remain a real Baron of a fake country.

I have fixed the original entry about my title, here on LiveJournal, though other links to the old domain are scattered about the net and can't be so easily repaired.
Monday, July 27th, 2015
4:54 pm
Best of Cuba Photos on Shutterfly
Territorial dog in Trinidad, Cuba 5/25/15

After two months, I'm finally done (I hope) processing the photos and videos from my trip to Cuba in May. One of the last things I did was take the 33 photos in the Potential Pulitzer gallery and post them to Shutterfly. So those of you who don't like Facebook can see them. The above is one example. The blog listing links to the FB galleries and YouTube videos. Enjoy.

Shutterfly photo stream/blog for my trip to Cuba
Thursday, July 23rd, 2015
3:08 pm
All the Cuba links from my trip May 20-29, 2015 CE

I visited Cuba as part of a Road Scholar tour from May 20 through May 29, 2015CE. The first and last days were in Miami, and the secon and penultimate days were travel, but we saw a lot, and took a lot of photos, in Havana and Trinidad. I also made notes, took video, and annotated my photos to make a travelogue more than a simple photostream. Enjoy.

I know many people don't want the travelogue, so I picked my 33 favorites photos for one gallery: Dave Romm's Cuba: Potential Pulitzers.

All my Facebook photostreams/albums/galleries are public:

20150520121 Cuba Day 1 & 2 - Miami and Havana

20150522 Cuba Day 3 - Havana - Senior Center & fruit stand

20150523 Cuba Day 4am Old Havana

20150523 Cuba Day 4pm Muraleando

2015024 Cuba Day 5am Art and Dance

20150524 Cuba Day 5pm Malecon & Classic Car ride to fort

20150525 Cuba Day 6 Road To Trinidad & Trinidad

20150526 Cuba Day 7am Trinidad Plaza Mayor

20150526 Cuba Day 7pm Munoz Sugar Tower

20150527 Cuba Day 8am Munoz Trinidad

LiveJournal Blog of Cuba Notes, containing observation and commentary and some pics.

FB Videos - Some videos also on Barondave007's YouTube channel:

  • 20150521 Constelacion (band) 1:00

  • 20150522 Senior Centerin Havana, Cuba

  • 20150522 Fun With Selfie Stick and Mirrors at the Hotel Nacianoal in Havana. 0:36

  • 20150523 Percussion Rehearsal, Havana Cuba. Prep for a major event in Old Havana. 2:42

  • Dancing at the Muraleando in Havana, Cuba May 23, 2015. We Roadies inow how to party - Cuban style! 5:09

  • "Come Together" by Backspace, Muraleando, Havana Cuba May 23. 2015. A young band rocks the joint. 3:55
    Public FB link

  • 20150524 Ismael Albela of the Danza Combinatoria de Cuba. Dancing in Cuba. 6:21
    Public FB link

  • 20150524 Malecon Selfie. Just me, relaxing by the beach. 1:07

  • 20150524 Driving Through Havana, Cuba in Classic Cars. 50s cars, with horns. 2:41
    Public FB link

  • 20150526 El Zapatero - Grupo Sorpresa. A street performance in Trinidad. 3:38

  • Interview with José, sixth generation potter. Trinidad. 1:54

  • 20150526 Guitarist Junior @ Trinidad Cuba. A restaurant house musician says what he likes about his town. 2:05

  • Julio Munoz - Photographer in Trinidad, Cuba - May 26, 2015 2:43
    Public FB link
  • Thursday, July 16th, 2015
    12:48 pm
    Dhalgren: Book I Chapter I -- the radio play
    Thirty five years ago, give or take, I had this Mad Plan (tm) to adapt Dhalgren as a Shockwave Radio Theater production in three minute segments. I figured it would take 500 or so episodes, which would keep a weekly radio show going for a long time. Alas, this never came about. For the Convergence 2015 Panel “Dhalgren’s Wounded City: Bellona” 10pm Thursday 7/2/15, I finally wrote the first one. I ran it by Chip Delany, who's comment is at the end.

    Performed live by the panelists, with implied music.


    Music up

    Announcer:  Dahlgren, by Samuel R. Delany.  Adapted for Convergence by David E Romm.  Book One, Chapter One.

    In our previous episodes we followed Kid as he tried to make his way around a crippled city where time has lost its meaning and he shares his strength with a young boy and a beautiful woman, and makes notes in the margins of his plague journal.

    We now join Dhalgren, already in progress.

    Music down

    Voice 1: … to wound the autumnal city.

    Voice 2: So howled out for the world to give him a name.

    Voice 3: All you know I know; careening astronauts and bank clerks glancing at the clock before lunch; actresses cowling at light-ringed mirrors and freight elevator operators grinding a thumbful of grease on a steel handle; student riots; know that dark women in bodegas shook their heads last week because in six months prices have risen outlandishly; how coffee tastes after you’ve held it in your mouth, cold, a whole minute.

    Music Up

    Announcer: Join us next time for Dahlgren, Book One Chapter Two when we hear her say,

    Her (orgasmic): Aaah.

    Music down

    Delany reply on FB
    Carry on, Baron Dave Romm! As they used to say in another century, "Run it up the flag pole and see if anyone salutes . . ."

    Baron Dave's Public FB Gallery of Convergence 2015
    Monday, June 15th, 2015
    1:13 pm
    Cuba Notes
    Last month, my mother and I went to Cuba. I've been posting on Facebook, and have gathered together postings here. I'm still processing the photos and videos. In the meantime, let me share a couple of my favorite photos, and some observations:

    Mom and I on Pedicab, Old Havana, Cuba 5/23/5

  • Cuba Notes 1: Our Road Scholar Tour members were a good group. Seventeen tourists, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photography Instructor who was training in another Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer instructor for the increased demand in Cuba tours, and several Cuban locals as guides. Internecine conflicts were kept to a minimum and we all got on the bus on time. Mom, at 90, was the oldest of the group. I, at 60, was the second-youngest tourist (and not by much). Walking around (I averaged more than 4 miles a day) largely on cobblestone streets or barely-maintained sidewalks I lost weight.

  • Cuba Notes 2: Cuba is a socialist country. It s not really a Communist country, but after the Bay of Pigs (the CIA-funded invasion that failed due to a near-complete lack of support from the Cubans who live here), they had no choice but to get support from The Other Side in the Cold War. As of 1961, the Cuban Socialist Party changed to the Cuban Communist Party. When the Soviet Union fell, Cuba became a client state without a state. For the embargo to have continued this long hurt Cuba AND the US economically, and just made us look like whiny bullies.

  • Cuba Notes 3: Prohibition was simultaneously the best and the worst thing that happened to Cuba in the last hundred years or so. The country was a part of Spain until the Spanish-American War (where we picked up the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam). Because of the disaster of Prohibition (anti-immigrant hatred mashed with Christian fundamentalist extremism attempting to solve a real problem and failing miserably), Cuba experienced a major building boom and economic expansion and the mob. Corruption was rampant and the government unresponsive to the needs of the people. We had strong unions and a post-WWII boom to build a middle class, but even after Prohibition was repealed in the US the disparity in incomes (like in the US now) led to the Batista regime and the need for a revolution like Castro's.

  • much more under the cutCollapse )
    Tuesday, March 17th, 2015
    3:15 pm
    "Who Is Your Favorite Science Fiction Author?" -- Theodore Sturgeon
    In a recent jaunt to NYC I was asked by a couple of twenty-somethings, "Who's your favorite sf author?" The answer was a bit easier than usual, since the death of Leonard Nimoy was just in the news: "Theodore Sturgeon. And I know you know one of his lines: (making the split-fingered Vulcan salute) 'Live Long and Prosper'.

    Any and all "Best of" recommendations are inherently subjective and incomplete. This will be no exception. I've divided this short list into three sections: One for Sturgeon, one for Classic SF and one for personal favorites.

    Section I: Theodore Sturgeon

    Theodore Sturgeon was quite prolific, wrote under several pseudonyms and did much work on for tv which is not reflected here. Individual novellas and short stories are in collections and I'll note the anthologies for them, though much of the other stories are good as well. So let's start:

    More Than Human, where individuals with odd powers band together to be more powerful as one entity. (This same concept would band mutants together as the X-Men.)

    Slow Sculpture: Volume XII: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, the 12th in a series collecting all his short stories, contains my favorite of his works: "The Widget, the Wadget, and Boff". And other good stuff too.

    Microcosmic God: Volume II: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon contains, among other great stories, "Microcosmic God". Sixty years later it was parodied on "The Simpsons". Between "Microcosmic God" and Monty Python's "Life of Brian", you'll have what you need to know about how religions get started.

    Section II: Classic SF
    H/LotR, SF Hall of Fame, etcCollapse )
    I'm going to stop here, and boy is it painful. There's so many great works that fall in the realm of fantasy and science fiction. These are a start, but only a start.

    Section III: Personal favorites

    Davy by Edgar Pangborn. A post-apocalyptic story set in the Catskills, where I grew up. Still hauntingly beautiful.

    True Names: And the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier by Vernor Vinge. I haven't read this edition, so can't speak to any story besides "True Names", but the 1981 novella remains one of the best computer stories around, and a seminal influence on cyberpunk and net policy.

    Nova/Babel-17/Tales of Neveryon by Samuel R. Delany. I'm cheating here by naming three books, but hey, it's my list and Delany is my favorite living author. "Nova" is a far-reaching space epic, "Babel-17" is about how language influences thought, and "Tales of Neveryon" is possibly the best science fiction novel ever written even though it's in a fantasy setting. Dive into Delany.

    Orphan of Creation, by Roger McBride Allen (Kindle Edition). Similar themes to "The Color Purple" but viewed from science fiction based on paleoanthropology.

    Briar Rose by Jane Yolen. Adapting the "Sleeping Beauty" fairy tale to the Holocaust.

    Way of the Spider by W. Michael Gear (Kindle Edition). The first of three in the trilogy. Military fiction is a major subbranch of sf and not my favorite, but these books are more than the battles and sweep of armies.

    Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chaing (Kindle Edition). I'll stop with a more recent set of award-winning stories. I interviewed him at Minicon; an interesting guy (who's a tech writer first and does sf as a sidelight) who writes interesting stories.

    I'm posting this on a LiveJournal blog so others can make comments. Who is YOUR favorite author, and which books by them would you recommend?
    Monday, December 15th, 2014
    8:27 am
    My Ride Along with the Mpls Police 12/12/14
    I went on a police ride along on Friday, Dec. 12. This was long in the making, and involved months of talking to Lieutenants, Inspectors, Sergeants and Officers. I'm on the Lyndale Neighborhood Crime and Safety Committee, which meets at the Mpls Police 5th Precinct station.

    Me in front of the 5th Precinct Station House, Mpls MN 12/12/14

    (Yes, this is the police station that wanted to look more like a police station, so I suggested they put a tardis out front.)

    Let's not bury the lede: The four-hour ride along was uneventful, involving more paperwork than crime stopping.
    full report under the cutCollapse )
    See also my public Facebook gallery on our visit to the Strategic Information Center.
    Wednesday, August 6th, 2014
    1:37 pm
    2014 Fringe Festival -- my final four shows and other finery
    I'll be out of town starting tomorrow (Thurs 8/7) and will have to miss much of the Fringe. Alas. And my last video is too big a project to do beforehand, so you'll have to make do with the information and promo video on the Fringe listing.

    Dreams of The Rarebit Fiend
    A stage show based on the surreal Windsor McCay comic strip from the early 1900s. More famous for "The Yellow Kid" and one of the first animated cartoons "Gerty the Dinosaur, McCay was a pioneer in the visual arts. Adapting it for the Fringe was only partially successful, I think. The show was odd and seemed aimed for a young audience; certainly the kids at the showing I saw liked it. But the sensibilities off 110 years ago were different, and the episodic action featured drunk people and suicides. A good attempt, and I'm glad that the Fringe allows for such experiments. Steve Schroer at the 2014 Minnesota Fringe Festival. An edited version of this interview was aired on KFAI-FM

    A Christmas Carol Seder.
    I have the video they took at a run-through, and a longer version of the interview that aired on KFAI-FM, and will work on melding them when I get back.
    The show itself is almost filk: A Passover Seder done (mostly) to the tunes of Christmas Carols. A worthy attempt to foster understanding between Jews and Christians. From "Abbie's Irish Rose" to Bridget Love Birney", love conquering religious differences has been mined for comedy. Still, if you're going to write parody, I've been spoiled by the great Luke Ski and the sepulveda of Dementia Musicians, in such filk as It's A Fanboy Christmas and X-Mas sequels. Perhaps that's why most of the reviewers on the Fringe site seemed to like it more than me.
    They're trying to take this to synagogs and churches and other places. I think it needs tweaking before it goes on the road. Still, another victory for an unjuried Fringe.

    The Tiger In the Room
    As opposed to "the elephant". A nicely written and well-acted exploration of one woman coming to grips with her life. Not really my cup of tea, but Natalie Rae Wass is excellent and the script by Sharon deMark pulls many threads together for a poignant ending.

    For Humors Does Every Show In The Fringe
    Well, one per show, anyway, meaning five different improv riffs with guest stars. As with any improv, it can be hit or miss, but Four Humors hits a great deal of the time. I had loads of fun. Something about superheroes and Walmart and zeppelins.

    A little blast from Fringes past: Scream Blue Murmur has a new EP out. When all the hoopla of #mnfringe abates, it's high on list. Music from the Upcoming Motion Picture "Ormeau" by Scream Blue Murmur

    Oh... and the bit I was encouraged to write for Speakeasy didn't happen. But here it is, for your enjoyment. The show takes place at a Prohibition-era gin joint:
    This is Hollywood reporter Irving Shmuel Zeitgeist bringing you the latest from Tinseltown USA. Your correspondent has seen motion pictures grow up from magic lantern shows to star-studded red carpet openings, but nothing -- nothing -- prepared me for Al Jolson… speaking. Yes folks, as hard as it may be to believe, sound has come to motion pictures, and I don't like it. I don't WANT to hear Charlie Chaplin because he wouldn't be as funny. I don't WANT to hear Clara Bow because she has more of "it" just from her eyes. If I want to hear Fred Astaire singing, I'll go to Broadway. If you want to hear voices, you'll listen me on to the radio. Hollywood is a major industry the way it is now. Cinemas have orchestras and even small theaters have piano players. We need our job creators. With Herbert Hoover as president and the stock market rising, the last thing we need is canned sound. This is a fad at best, as ephemeral as dance marathons or the crossword puzzle. I predict the Warner Brothers studio will burst faster messier than a frat boy eating one too many goldfish. What will they do next, transmit movies over telegraph wires? No, all good pictures are silent and always will be. This is Irving Schmuel Zeitgeist, signing off for today.

    Continued from 2014 Minnesota Fringe Festival - rehearsals and first day
    Saturday, August 2nd, 2014
    12:04 pm
    2014 Minnesota Fringe Festival - rehearsals and first day
    Just before the Minnesota Fringe Festival formally got underway, a family crisis intervened. Everyone's fine, but I spend most of Friday on the phone and will be going out of town next week. So please forgive shortened coverage and abbreviated posting on LiveJournal.

    I'm not going to add pictures to these posts, but will link to my public FB galleries and YouTube videos.

    20140727-29 Fringe Rehearsals Crime Sex Speakeasy
    20140730- Fringe from Ootiefest onward (will be added to)

    I went to three run-throughs/dress rehearsals. All were great in their own way and recommended.

    Crime and Punishment. Adapted from the novel, the performance takes place in the basement of The Soap Factory. 80 people at a time will wear masks (though not speak) and wander around as the show takes place around them. The immersive experience will be different for everyone. Creepy and unique. Probably not for everyone, but if you like your Fringe really fringy, this is the one to get to. It's already selling out, so check availability. My interview with Noah Bremer and others of "Crime and Punishment" with music and clips.

    The Sex (Ed) Show. Courtney McLean and the Dirty Curls is always a fun, raunchy show. Sort of like filking sex. This show is a combination of skits and songs that are hilarious and touching (in a good way), ranging from "Sidecar" (about wanting grandchildren but realizing that one needs children first) to "The MILF Rap" and instruction on how to use a condom.

    Speakeasy is a recreation of a Roaring 20s nightclub. A Bring-Your-Own-Venue, with comfy sofas and cafe tables, it's the dance studio of the producers. Limited to around 75 at a time, but even good for kids. The rehearsal I went to didn't have the whole cast, but the dancing was fun and energetic. They were so impressed by my photography that they asked me to write a skit for them... so it's possible I may actually be in one of the shows. My interviews with cast members of "Speakeasy" with a few dance clips.

    Existentia. Yet another Bring-Your-Own-Venue. Though downtown, it has free parking and the show itself is limited to 30 people. Indeed, calling it a "show" or "performance" isn't quite right. The audience fills out a form about their travel experiences and is divided into groups. Each group goes to a station where a cast member/travel agent guides you through various experiences, from songs to smells, to help you determine where you want to travel to. Then you move on to the next one, cycling through all five stations. I gather this isn't the first time for "Existentia" at the MN Fringe, but having their own office space helps establish the travel agency atmosphere, with couches in the waiting lounge and appropriate tables for the groups. I'm hesitant to rate this one at all, but I suspect you'll learn a little about yourself, and it's really easy to get to know your fellow travelers. A potentially valuable experience.

    Continuing at 2014 Fringe Festival -- my final four shows and other finery
    Monday, June 2nd, 2014
    9:19 am
    I Am A Convergence and So Can You -- updated for 2014

    Welcome to Convergence 2014

    A Brief Introduction For The First Time Con-Goer

    or I am a Convergence, and so can you

    By Baron Dave Romm

    Updated for 2014 CE: This is an update of I Am A Convergence And So Can You, which I created in 2012 and updated in 2013. Mostly, what I've done is update the links and add a few bits. The advice, snark and jokes are largely the same.

    Claimer: I'm Dave Romm, aka DavE or Baron Dave. I'm not on the Convergence Committee and have no direct relationship with the convention except as a member, panelist (but not this year) and, of course, as a volunteer in several capacities. I produced Shockwave Radio Theater, a science fiction program, for almost thirty years, and talked to many authors, actors, con runners and costumers, among others. I've been to all the Convergences, and to scores of other conventions of various sizes. I was Fan Guest of Honor at Minicon in 1990 and Marscon in 2004. Many people have asked about coming to Convergence: What should I see? What is there to do? Let me take you on a short guide, from a personal perspective.

    Welcome to Convergence! There is no Neofan's Guide, as such, though the con provides a What is CONvergence page, but I've provided an introduction to new fans for other conventions so have the template for this Convergence overview. Everyone is amazingly friendly and will be happy to answer any questions you have. Just be prepared to get different answers from different people.

    I'll note here that the Convergence itself likes to be spelled CONvergence, but I'm too 20th Century. The con's shorthand is CVG, good for texting or keeping things short. Unlike here.
    the rest under the foldCollapse )
    Baron Dave Romm is a real baron of a fake country. He produced Shockwave Radio Theater, for nearly thirty years. He likes being weird at science fiction conventions, and encourages others to be so. This means you.
    Thursday, May 1st, 2014
    4:04 pm
    Minicon, Myrna, Matisse
    A few things to talk about, in a longer and more narrative venue than Facebook

    Minicon 49

    Well, I had a great time. Largely because I took it easy and didn't have a lot of running around to do. Mom was at the top of her game... at age 89. I went home early every night. At least twice, mom stayed up until 3am...

    mplspunky as a sub-head for Opening and Closing Ceremonies worked out well. She was helpful and comfortable in front of an audience. The Guest of Honor were wonderful. Janny Wurts agreed to play the bagpipes and make a grand entrance at Opening Ceremonies, which she did. Toni and I spurred along the raging controversy about whether the event is "Opening Ceremony" or "Opening Ceremonies". Whee!

    Public Facebook Galleries:
    20140413-18 Minicon pre-con, Thursday and Friday"
    20140419-21 Minicon Saturday, Sunday and Monday
    20140426 Minicon 49 Post-Mortem
    Video: "Scotland the Brave/Amazing Grace" Janny Wurts April 19, 2014 (approved by Janny for the sound, not the vid)

    I only regret the pictures I didn't take, and I didn't take one of Myrna this year. We talked for a bit. and she seemed fine. I knew I'd be posting a lot of pictures and wanted to save some time. Humph.

    A pattern seems to be that men die before big events, and women die after. Myrna looked like she was having a good time at Minicon, and died a few days later.

    I understand and respect when people ask me not to take their photo. But please, understand that a recording of an event is not just for you. I will try harder in the future to talk you into letting me take a good photo of you.

    Myrna at the Metrodome for the wedding of Laurel and Kevin 9/17/2005. This is the picture used by Gregg at the memorial, cropped just for her face.

    Myrna at Conjecture, 10/14/11

    "Smooooothing" for Myrna at the Minicon 49 Post-Mortem 4/26/14

    Also: Myrna at Minicon April 7 (I think), 2007


    The Mpls Institute of Arts has a special showing of Matisse sketches, paintings and sculptures from the Baltimore Museum of Art.

    I confess, I've never quite understood all the fuss about Matisse, and this exhibit didn't help me understand any better. He's not a particularly good draftman: His faces are usually poor, his postures uncomfortable and everyone in his paintings looks sad. There are very few smiles in his pictures

    Several people, including two docents, weighed in on this. Matisse was very demanding of his models, and frequently had them posing for up to 12 hours. This still seems iffy: Do the face first, or after a bathroom break. One docent tried to say that it was commentary on the hard life of women at the time. No, that doesn't work, as he has pictures of women watching parades or wearing fancy hats. If he wanted social commentary, he'd choose other subjects. He was all about composition.

    I like how he uses colors to make planes and add a three dimensional depth to a flat picture. But others have done the same, better. Ah well. Yet another reason I'm a reviewer, not a docent. The exhibit is worth seeing, and you might get more out of it than I did.
    Sunday, March 2nd, 2014
    5:01 pm
    NYC for Mom's Windows, Pool Party pics, etc.
    I'm a bit behind in reporting to LJ. On the plus (or at least interesting to me) side is that I now have more than 18,000 photos on Facebook. And I still get comments/likes from pics posted five years ago. So it's worth the effort to post and annotate.

    Public Facebook Gallery: 20140301 MN-StF Pool Party

    A few weeks ago, my mother was informed that her apartment, one of 365 units in a high-rise complex on Roosevelt, Island NY (technically part of Manhattan) would have her long-awaited window installation. She wasn't read, and called me in to to help. I didn't have time for fannish meet-ups, and barely made it into Manhattan proper at all, but we did clear enough space for the installers and put everything back.

    Public Facebook Gallery: 20140214-23 Visiting Mom in NYC

    A few pics under the cut, showing the effort around just one of the three windows.

    My original plan was to make an LJ report with more before and after photos and such, but I wound up with the equivalent of con crud after the ten-day trip, and Other Things have snuck up. So let me just put the list of things we donated to the Thrift Shop here, behind the cut. This is a pretty rough count, as I did a lot on the fly, but it's what we're claiming as tax deduction:

    List of items donated and a few picsCollapse )
    Tuesday, February 4th, 2014
    12:38 pm
    Why I don't like fanfic: Sherlock Holmes Edition
    I just finished reading The Complete Sherlock Holmes, and have been watching Elementary on American TV and just saw the third season of the British Sherlock. The Robert Downey Sherlock movies and the vaguely Holmesian House are in the not-too-distant past. A great deal has been written about Sherlock Holmes. Now, it's my turn. A long essay, as befitting pre-social media literature.

    First up: The new BBC "Sherlock" series, set in today's world. Quick reaction: No. It's sometimes fun to watch fanboy wet dreams, but fails as a Sherlock Holmes update.

    The Sign of the Three was both painful and hilarious. Incredibly bad fanfic, that gets the characters all wrong. Not merely outside canon, but just wrong. I don't mind expanded roles for Mary, Watson's wife, who has a medium part in the novel "The Sign of the Four" and is mentioned (sometimes by the wrong name) in several other stories. I'm not bothered by the greater shift toward Lestrade (one of several Scotland Yard detectives in the stories, and Sherlock's least respected) or Mycroft (who is very, very different physically) or an expanded role for Mrs. Hudson (who's more like Poirot's Miss. Lemon). But this British series is fanfic (which they admit in the commentaries on the DVD). I don't like fanfic. The nod to slash between Holmes and Watson is cringeworthy. Playing with the deerstalker cap is amusing, but you can't get away with such for much.

    His Last Bow, the third episode of season three, was similarly awful. Completely at odds with the Conan Doyle canon and not particularly believable outside of it. they did to Mary what they had done to Irene Adler in the second season, and it just doesn't work except as fanfic. Not particularly good fanfic.

    The original A. Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories can be divided into two groups: The stories written until he got tired of writing them, and the later stories after he brought Sherlock back from the dead.

    Here's my take: Anything after The Final Problem is not canon. I'll accept "The Hound of the Baskervilles", which was written during the interregnum and takes place before the events at Reichenbach Falls..

    much more under the cutCollapse )

    The updated Holmes stories, set in present times, always have one odd anomaly: No one seems to have read A. Conan Doyle. It's one thing to 'reboot' the series, it's another to pretend that the annals of crime do not contain century-old cases. In many of these shows, I would prefer that they aren't reimaging Sherlock Holmes but do something similar, with a nod to the originals, and just keep going from there.

    Still, credit where credit is due: "Elementary" gets a lot wrong, but gets a lot right. Sherlock Holmes sounds more like Sherlock Holmes than usual. The nods to the canon stories are fun but fleeting. Joan Watson is intelligent and adds to the investigations. To be sure, the misses are striking. Jonny Lee Miller is physically wrong for the part. The attempt to introduce Mycroft failed. But for the most part, "Elementary" doesn't try to graft the 1890's onto the 2010's, and the show is closer to "The Mentalist" or "CSI" than any fog-enshrouded Victorian recreation.

    So I'll keep watching "Elementary" and even the BBC series if it gets to a fourth year, but my disbelief suspenders are stretched. But I wish modern adaptations would pay closer attention to the canon stories than to the wet dreams of fanboys. There is a reason that people still read Sherlock Holmes and not the "more serious" works of A. Conan Doyle. Please don't throw that away.
    Saturday, January 11th, 2014
    5:16 pm
    Urban Archeology: slide show & lecture at the downtown library Jan. 18 2-3pm
    You're all invited!

    I've been taking photos of Nicollet Avenue Repaving project for more than two years. I've posted photos in chronological order. The Minneapolis Central Library has encouraged me to put a few of them in some sort of coherent order for Urban Archeology: The Nicollet Repaving Project.

    Free, at the downtown Library, 300 Nicollet Ave., Jan. 18, 2-3pm. Right before the MN-StF meeting!

    I've been pulling photos to show in sequence, and have encouraged the project supervisors to come to answer any questions I can't answer.

    This was a pretty big deal for those of us who live on Nicollet Ave between Lake and 40th, and for anyone who travels the route.

    I dug into the history of the area, and my oldest photograph is from 1879. The Lake & 31st station for the "Motor Line" steam-powered streetcars; where the bus station is today. I also have pics of the baseball stadium where my condos and the Wells Fargo bank is.

    And pics of the paving stones, streetcar rails, sewer structures, water mains, several different kinds if dirt/gravel, trees, traffic lights, etc etc etc. The hard part will be only talking for an hour. Anyone who has heard me geek out about the photos (which is many of you) know the fascinating details of the streets you don't think twice about driving over.

    Facebook Calendar: Urban Archaeology: The Nicollet Avenue Repaving Project

    The movie I made last year about the work done above and below ground at Lake & 31st:

    Our Story So Far
    Tuesday, December 10th, 2013
    2:46 pm
    One Day As An Engineer at Fresh Air Radio
    This story is for Bubo G. Gear. We were discussing Patti Smith's punk poetry and I mentioned the following incident, saying I probably shouldn't post it on Facebook. So here it is, in all its glory.

    NSFW, so the naughty bits will be under an LJ cut (not that you'll notice from the link in FB).

    One Day As An Engineer at Fresh Air Radio

    In the early days, KFAI-FM was a small, 10-watt (at best) station that was, as I used to say, "exclusive to parts of South Minneapolis". The station began broadcasting in 1978, and I joined in 1979 for Shockwave Radio. Even though non-profit and (mostly) volunteer run, we were required to have 3rd Class Broadcasting licenses, meaning we could handle the studio controls.

    One day, probably circa 1980 or so, I was asked to be the engineer for a remote broadcast. The Urban Guerillas, a local Mpls punk band, was giving a concert at nearby Powderhorn Park. I didn't have to do much, claimed the guy who recruited me, but the station needed someone in the studio for legal reasons and if anything happened to the tech during the concert. Okay, I thought, an easy gig for which I get volunteer credit.

    I sit down in the studio, alone in the station on the weekend, scan the settings, and get a little bored. Punk rock isn't my kind of music, and I'm sort of half-listening while absorbing more of the equipment and any reading material on hand. The live concert is going well and I don't need to do much but adjust the pots (volume controls) now and again.

    Suddenly, out of nowhere….Collapse )
    The rest of the concert went smoothly, at least from a technical perspective. No one else called and no one said anything afterward. One of the many reasons I remain a volunteer at KFAI to this day.
    Monday, December 9th, 2013
    2:35 pm
    Channukah Chaiku -- delivered
    Carole and I had a lovely Thanksgiving in Washington DC with family and friends.

    Public Facebook galleries:
    20131126-28 Thanksgiving in DC Part I
    20131129-1201 Thanksgiving in DC Part II

    Since I posted the Channukah Chaiku on LJ, I thought LJ would be the place for a little exposition.

    Antonia, lighting the Channukah candles for the second night. 12/28/13

    Antonia, with my two gifts. (We combined the first and second night.) First, the headlamp. She used this to proper effect while riding her scooter.

    Forehead light straps on
    Light emitting diodes charge
    Darkness to banish

    Here, she wears it while painting on a Buddha Board. The brush is wet with water, allowing her to "paint" what she wants. When it dries, the board goes back to serenity.

    Bright color when wet
    Free the imagination
    Live in the moment

    More under a cutCollapse )

    For the completists: The other Channukah Chaiku referred to a) a notecard collection of the only synagog designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, b) a tin plate emblazoned with various Minnesota iconography, and c) the moose poop are chocolates. (is chocolates?)
    Sunday, November 24th, 2013
    4:56 pm
    Channukah Chaiku
    This year, Channukah and Thanksgiving fall on the same day. That is, the first night of Channukah (in whatever spelling) is the evening before, and the traditional afternoon Thanksgiving feast will be on the first day.

    So Carole and I will be around to help celebrate with Antonia, my 6 1/2 year old niece. I bought her eight presents; Channukah isn't as commercial as Christmas so we exchange smaller gifts and mainly the first night or two, with the equivalent of stocking stuffers the other nights.

    Plan: Make eight envelopes, each with a note and colored dots. The colored dots match up with the real gift which will be hidden somewhere (or at least otherwise undistinguished).

    And for each gift, I have written a Channukah Chaiku. I may change these by the time we leave, but at the moment:

    Forehead light straps on
    Light emitting diodes charge
    Darkness to banish

    Bright color when wet
    Free the imagination
    Live in the moment

    Spirit wolf message
    with Love from Minnesota
    Constant reminder

    An architect's dream
    Holds Torah and Menorah
    In wingéd word

    Deal with the results
    Minnesota memories
    A trick is a treat

    Stuff from your pocket
    Pencils and coins and earrings
    All in one safe place

    An eagle soars high
    Your thoughts take wing as you write
    Let the ideas flow

    It is said moose poop
    Is not all that it may seem
    That is up to you

    I also got gifts for other family members, but haven't written their chaikus yet.
    Friday, October 25th, 2013
    10:48 am
    Les Miserables: Maybe the movie is better
    I had Les Misérables on the Kindle, so read it a bit at a time. Glad I went that route, as reading a book that thick in bed would have given me carpal tunnel syndrome. I never quite got into it, as Victor Hugo went on these long tangents about battles, French kings, slang, and "recent" French history, using classical allusions and talking about people his 1860s audience probably knew well but didn't mean anything to me.

    Amid the essays and political pronouncements, the book follows the lives of several people. With few exceptions, I didn't like them. Jean Valjean is an interesting character, but let's face it: He's an idiot. Sort of Like McTeague, he's not very smart but tries to do the right thing... and doesn't always. Javert doesn't ring true. Thénardier was too convenient as a deus ex machina. To talk more would involve spoilers, so you'll have to let me be general.

    I loved The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Didn't like Les Miserables. Ah well. I've added the most recent movie to my Netflix queue.

    -- There were good parts, and I agreed with much of his basic take on society. Some quotes I pulled (and put on FB):

    "Intellectual and moral growth is no less indispensable than material improvement. To know is a sacrament, to think is the prime necessity, truth is nourishment as well as gain. A reason which fasts from science and wisdom grows thin. Let us enter equal complain against stomachs and minds which to not eat. If there is anything more heart-breaking than a body perishing for lack of bread, it is a soul which is dying from hunger for the light." -- Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

    "Mud can never enjoy a good fame." -- Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

    "Where are your free and compulsory schools? Does every one know how to read in the land of Dante and of Michael Angelo? Have you made public schools of your barracks? Have you not, like ourselves, an opulent war-budget and a paltry budget of education? Have not you also that passive obedience which is so easily converted into soldierly obedience? military establishment which pushes the regulations to the extreme of firing upon Garibaldi; that is to say, upon the living honor of Italy? Let us subject your social order to examination, let us take it where it stands and as it stands, let us view its flagrant offences, show me the woman and the child. It is by the amount of protection with which these two feeble creatures are surrounded that the degree of civilization is to be measured." -- Victor Hugo, Letter to M. Daelli, Publisher of the Italian translation of Les Miserables, 1862

    -- If you've gotten e-mail from me, you might have encountered these in my sigfile:

    "The invention of printing was the greatest event in history. It was the parent revolution; it was the fundamental change in mankind's mode of expression, it was human thought doffing one garment to clothe itself in another; it was the complete and definitive sloughing off of the skin of a serpent, which, since the time of Adam, has symbolized intelligence." -- Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

    "If we try to form a collective picture of the combines results of printing down to modern times, does not this total picture seem to use like an immense structure, having the whole world for its foundation, a building upon which humanity has worked without cease and whose monstrous head is lost in the impenetrable mist of the future? This printed tower is the swarming ant-hill of the intelligences. It is the beehive where all the imaginations, those golden bees, arrive with their honey. The building has a thousand stories." -- Victor Hugo (predicting blogs, perhaps), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831)
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