Home again

Sep. 14th, 2007 10:18 pm
jwgh: (content)
although I haven't finished getting all of my stuff out of the car yet.

It was a good vacation -- a pretty big house on the ocean. For a lot of the week it was just me, my mother, my aunt Ann, and her husband Mike -- but Mike was out fishing a lot so really it was just the three of us a lot of the time. (Mom's partner Frank also was there some of the time, and my sister and her family were there a couple of days.) This left lots of reading time, but also time to chat, play cribbage, go into town, etc. ...

Image000.jpgImage000.jpgI should have gone swimming but didn't, although I did do variable levels of wading. The house was right up on the water, so when it was high tide the water was literally about ten feet away from the deck. (The beach and sea bed had a very shallow slope, so when the tide was out the water was much farther away -- these two pictures should give you an idea of the difference.)

The house was roomy but seemed to be stocked largely with stuff left by people who had stayed there previously, leading to some odd lacunae. For instance, there were lots of nice plates of all sizes but no normal-sized bowls. There were many cooking utensils, but no measuring cups or measuring spoons. (I brought stuff to make a raspberry pie, including a pie plate and pie server since I thought they might not have those, but didn't think to bring stuff for measuring. The result was not the greatest pie ever, although it was still quite edible.)

The house is rented through tomorrow but I had a show to play in tonight, so after playing games of Cribbage against my mother and my aunt (I won both games) I loaded up the car and headed out to Tiverton, RI, where my show was. I had a hamburger and some blueberry pie, then met [livejournal.com profile] plant_geek, [livejournal.com profile] katrinkles, and [livejournal.com profile] katrinkles's fiancé Greg.

The show was for the Singing Out Against Hunger benefit and was at Evelyn's Drive-In, a clam shack in Tiverton. I was the third act, which I think was good, because by then the crowd had built up some. It's a little weird playing in a restaurant setting -- pretty much everyone is eating, a lot of people are talking to each other, and it can be hard to tell how much attention anyone's paying. But I did my 45 minute set and some people expressed their appreciation afterwards so I think it went OK. (The two songs that got the most reaction, I think, were Sam & The Sham's "Little Red Riding Hood" and Cheryl Wheeler's "Potato".)

Right now I am pretty exhausted, so I guess I will unpack my car and either go to bed, watch a movie and knit, or goof around on the Internet some more. Actually, I suppose I should make that a poll.
[Poll #1055571]
Tomorrow (Saturday) I'm playing at the Soutside Community Land Trust Annual Hoedown, and after that I plan to head back to Evelyn's in Tiverton to see Chris Monti play. I'm hoping we will get there early enough that I will see some of the earlier acts -- Chris Rosenquest is on at 6:45 pm, then the intriguingly named 'Barbara the Dancing Spirit Belly Dance' at 7:30, and the Chris Monti Acoustic Band rounds out the night from 8 to 9 -- but we will see. (I would offer rides to people interested in checking it out but unfortunately I think I will be too busy tomorrow to go and get people.)

No plans yet for Sunday, so that may be a day to recover from my week of relaxing.
jwgh: (Default)
My sister reminded me of this story from when she lived in Wisconsin.

At the time, she was one of the officers in the teaching assistant's union at University of Wisconsin. The union was enough of a presence in the community that politicians would actively try to get the union's endorsement, so she told me of an evening when the union had a candidate's night, and all the local candidates showed up to try to get some support.

One such candidate made a then topical reference to a recent popular movie. "The United States -- it's like the Titanic. The Titanic was a big ship, a great ship, a powerful ship -- just a great ship."

He paused for effect, then continued. "But there are some people who want to turn that ship around!"

humor

Oct. 24th, 2006 01:17 pm
jwgh: (bunny ears)
The other day, I was talking to [livejournal.com profile] christychristy about my wacky family, and I mentioned that my great-aunt Maria (pronounced 'muh-RYE-uh', more or less) had a very idiosyncratic way of telling jokes. Here is an authentic Maria joke told in the authentic Maria style:

Q: Have you heard the joke, the punch line to which is, 'We pronounce it "Ohio" here'?
A: Uh, no, I don't think I've heard that one.
Q: Oh! Well, a fellow from the Midwest was traveling through New England. He was traveling by train, and entered into a conversation with the other people in his compartment, one of whom asked him, 'Where are you from?' 'Iowa,' he responded. 'Oh, Ohio? I've never been there,' said the other passenger. 'Ah, no, sorry, I'm from Iowa,' he said. The other passenger smiled condescendingly and said, 'We pronounce it "Ohio" here.'

At this point, Maria would break into uproarious laughter, and her delight was so evident that you couldn't help but join in. It was an oddly effective way of telling a joke.

[livejournal.com profile] christychristy then said something about 'the Jake way of telling a joke'. It had never really occurred to me that I had a way of telling a joke, so I asked what my way was. She said that I tended towards the deadpan, and that it wasn't always obvious that I had, in fact, told a joke. That sounds about right.
jwgh: (head explode)
My grandfather sends me flong from time to time. (I have occasionally made reference to this.)

For the ones that refer to things that are theoretically real, verifiable, events, I typically look them up in Snopes, look further for primary sources if possible, and reply back with polite (I hope) corrections. (The ones that contain jokes, or lists of palindromes, or cute animated pictures of puppies, I just delete.) My grandfather has never responded to my replies, although I've occasionally gotten email from other family members about it.

This week, however, my grandfather has sent me a pair of emails saying things that Snopes actually verified to be true! I don't know what to make of this development.

[item the first] [item the second]
jwgh: (content)
A few years ago, my sister and her husband gave me a quilt for Christmas. They had assembled all of the individual squares (the pattern they were using was the log cabin pattern) and they had me decide how to arrange them. Then they sewed it together, quilted it, and gave it to me a while later. It's for a queen-sized bed, so it was quite a bit of work!

My brother-in-law wrote to me today saying that a friend is working on her own log cabin quilt and wanted to see a picture of the one they made, so he wondered if I could take a picture of it and send it to him. I thought that as long as I was doing that I might as well post the pictures here too. Be warned, they are quite large (which is why I am putting them behind a cut).

pictures )
jwgh: (Default)
I visited my father's house last weekend and while there asked him for advice on making graham cracker crust, as I had made some the week before and had thought that it didn't taste quite how I remembered it tasting when I grew up.

He said that he had recently learned a new technique which he now swore by: basically you make regular pie crust and then smush crushed graham crackers into it. (My stepmother pointed out that one of the reasons people make graham cracker crust is because it's easier to make than conventional crust.)

Over the course of this, he revealed that you can actually buy pre-crushed graham crackers specifically for making pie crust. This was quite a surprise!

So last Monday my mother came down to have dinner with me and I mentioned the existence of pre-crushed graham crackers. She made a face and said, "Never buy pre-crushed graham crackers." I asked why not, and she said, "Well, I think it's like my aunt told me when I was growing up: never buy chicken parts. You should always buy a whole chicken, because they use the chickens that have something wrong with them for that and throw away the bad parts. Although that's probably not true any more since demand is so high now. So I think it's the same thing for graham crackers."

So, anyway, I'm going to make a couple of simple graham cracker crusts (graham crackers + sugar + butter) using pre-crushed graham crackers.

I have a reputation in my family for never taking advice. I wonder why that is?
jwgh: (Default)
As previously mentioned, my mother and her boyfriend Frank came down to Providence for dinner tonight. Frank's daughter Naamah also joined us.

My first thought was to go someplace on Federal Hill, but parking was pretty nutty, so I quickly decided that plan B was to go to Julian's on Broadway. This was a good call -- parking was pretty easy and we got a table immediately. I had the crispy hot and sweet duck with bacony lentils and broccoli and for dessert the strawberry rhubarb white chocolate tart with lattice crust. It was all divine.

I chatted with my mother about various goings-on and just had a generally pleasant time. When we left Julian's the temperature was in the high 70s, which is just about perfect.

It was a good evening. I hope you all had a nice Friday night also.
While I'm thinking of it, and to annoy [livejournal.com profile] doctroid:

Tomorrow afternoon/evening there's going to be kickball in the West End. [website] The Decatur Drunksefenders will be playing at 3 and the Bike Panthers ([livejournal.com profile] margo_virago's team) will be on at 4. I think everyone who's expressed an interest in walking tomorrow evening will be there, so if we have the time and inclination we might do some strategizing and plan-changing there. (Also, let me know if you'd like a ride to see kickball.)
I have some other plans for tomorrow morning and early afternoon. We shall see if they come to fruition! Oh yes!
In less good news, I had to rip out about an inch of the baby sweater owing to doofusness. Currently I'm engaged in getting all of the stitches back on the knitting needles without dropping any. (But I am in a good mood anyway.)
jwgh: (Default)
As I was driving home from Massachusetts today I realized that I had left behind my knitting bag, which contains two completed projects (the bunny and the hat), my unfinished knitting project (the baby sweater), and most of my recently acquired reading material, and my cellphone. All of which is unfortunate, especially the baby sweater part.

I was thinking I would have to drive back up tonight and probably back down again tomorrow at some point, but when I called my father and his wife to make sure that the bag was in fact there as I thought they suggested that instead they come down for dinner on Tuesday and bring the bag with them.

So I get to have dinner with my dad and stepmother Tuesday, which I wouldn't have done if I had been more together. Sweet!

The weekend was quite pleasant -- I went swimming twice yesterday, did some nice hanging out with family and friends, got a bunch of knitting done (including completing the two projects mentioned above), played some trivial pursuit, had some decent Thai food, and bought some yarn (which I didn't think I needed, but now I might actually do something with it soon since I left my other stuff in Massachusetts!)

I will have to go back again soon. (But I'm glad that 'soon' doesn't mean 'tonight'.)

I think I might go take a nap now.

Telephones

Apr. 29th, 2005 09:43 am
jwgh: (Default)
When I grew up, our family was one of only two families in town who had a party line. (You could get a private line, but it cost a little extra, so we didn't bother.) I believe that if there were groups of two rings in quick succession it meant it was for us, while if there were single rings with noticeable space between them it was the other folks.

The other family was only there during the summer, which meant that we had all fall, winter, and spring to forget that we shouldn't just answer the phone as soon as it rang. I assume this was annoying to Single Ring Family, but I don't think we ever talked to them or even knew who they were.

Another value-added service that we never opted for was touch-tone dialing. For a long time we used those old rotary phones that originally were leased from Bell, but they gradually became more and more decrepit (I remember that we had one that for a while if you pushed on the dial too hard the section of the phone that the rotary dial was on would swivel into the phone) so we eventually got pushbutton phones, but we still had to flip the little switch that would make them pretend to be dialing.

I think the phone company eventually just stopped offering a party line as an option, but it's possible that it was another one of the sweeping changes introduced by my stepmother in the past five years or so. She also got my father to finally buy a toaster.
jwgh: (Default)
Yesterday my father and stepmother (Dick and Chris) came down for a visit, so I took a day of vacation and did some bumming around Providence with them. It was basically a good day, although I mishandled some stuff -- thanks to my parents' general mellowness it was still overall positive.

Details! )
jwgh: (Default)
As I was leaving the [livejournal.com profile] knitdrinkprov meetup tonight, [livejournal.com profile] grocersfreezer noticed the 'Vote for Barbara Haller' bumper sticker on my car and said, "Did I ever tell you that one of my teachers in college was named Charlotte Haller?"

"Where did you go?" I asked.

"Drake," she said.

So I called up my sister (who used to be a professor at Drake) and she remembered [livejournal.com profile] grocersfreezer too. What do you think of that?
jwgh: (Default)
When I was visiting my father the other week, I mentioned the R. Buckminster Fuller stamp to my father, which led him to speculate what horrible name the 'R' must stand for since he apparently preferred being called 'Buckminster' or 'Bucky' to being called whatever his real first name was.

So I looked it up.

His first name was 'Richard'.

Which also happens to be my father's first name. (Except he doesn't go by Richard either; his friends call him Dick.)

I feel like there's a moral here, but as usual I'm not sure what it is.

[I should note, even though it ruins the story a little, that Bucky's father's first name was also Richard, so maybe he was called Bucky by the family to distinguish him from his dad.]
jwgh: (Default)
Great-Uncle: Twenty-eight years ago. My. The time really flies by, doesn't it?

Me: Well, um, not really for me.

Great-Uncle: Really?

Me: Um, no. I was four.

I don't think he got my point. Actually, I'm not sure I had one.

Anyway, a good time was had by all.
jwgh: (Default)
This is based on memories of a story my parents told me when I was young, so I probably have a lot of it wrong.

My parents met in Chicago while they were in VISTA (which, if you aren't familiar with it, is sort of like the domestic Peace Corps).

This was during the Chicago riots, when parts of the city were essentially cut off from the rest of the city and essential services weren't available. VISTA took food, medical supplies, and so on into these areas. As part of this, they asked businesses to donate food and supplies.

One of the companies that they made this request to was Oscar Meyer. Oscar Meyer replied back saying that they were unable to donate any food, but they could donate a bunch of promotional sets of 45 RPM records of the Oscar Meyer Wiener song being performed in different musical styles.

The offer was declined.
jwgh: (Default)
My grandfather told me this story from when he was living in Port Washington.

He was in a glee club there, and for one concert they had prepared a song which began with a piano accompaniament, then had a long a capella section, and then had another section with piano.

The night of the performance, they began singing the piece and during the a capella section they noticed the conductor was looking more and more nervous as they got closer and closer to the point at which the piano would join in. Finally, they reached that point, the pianist started playing, and the conductor looked very relieved and blew him a kiss.

It had turned out that during the a capella section the singers had gradually gone flat, but that the pianist had detected this and on starting up again played his part transposed a half-tone, bringing him into tune with what the singers were singing at that point.

More about my grandfather, including a lot of possibly disturbing stuff )
jwgh: (Default)
On Friday I drove down to New Jersey and visited, in order:

* My uncle Tom and his wife Marcia in Manhatten (Friday night through Saturday morning)

* My grandmother Mig in Montclair, New Jersey (Saturday midday)

* My grandfather Ben in West Orange, New Jersey (Saturday afternoon)

* My friend Craig in Montclair (Saturday evening through Sunday morning)

* My aunt Kate and her husband Raul, also in Montclair (Sunday midday)

* My aunt Peg and her husband Bob in Brooklyn (Sunday afternoon)

Then I drove home.

I should go to bed but am still a bit wired so will probably post a few stories about the weekend.
jwgh: (Default)
My cousin John Scott has been working with his father, John Anthony Scott, on a revised version of A Ballad of America, a book that John A. Scott originally wrote in, I think, 1972.

The revised version includes a bunch of new songs that were collected while both Scotts were working on Folksong in the Classroom, a self-published magazine on the topic of using folk songs as a teaching material.

Each song has an introductory essay that relates it to a particular historical period or event, and the lyrics, melody line, and chords are included. One of the goals with the new edition of the book was to make it available in loose leaf form, so that teachers can easily make copies of the lyrics to distribute.

So my cousin asked me if I wanted to put together a website for this, which I readily agreed to do. Unfortunately, other stuff in my life interfered, but I finally got to spend some time on it and so here it is: Folksong in the Classroom, the website! It includes a little PHP-based table of contents listing which I'm slightly proud of (although any PHP programmer probably could have thrown together something similar in ten minutes).

We're hoping to include additional content. For instance in each of the seven main sections of the book we'll probably have an entire song, complete with essay, lyrics, melody, etc., available to be looked at and maybe downloaded as a PDF. We'd also like to have simple recordings of the first verse and chorus of each song available as a download, although some decisions have to be made about how exactly that will work.

I've submitted it to search engines, but if anyone has any suggestions for other ways of improving its placement in the search results for "Folksong in the Classroom" and "Folk Song" and such please let me know. (It is probably pretty obvious that one of the goals of this entry is to help move it up in the rankings.)

OK bye.
jwgh: (Default)

My sister gave birth to a son (Ezra) in October of this year, and shortly afterwards I got the idea for The Project: I would go around Massachusetts and Rhode Island and record family and friends singing or otherwise performing children's songs. Then I would make a bunch of CDs of the result and give them to my sister's family and also to everyone who participated in The Project.

The Project was brought to a successful conclusion the week before Christmas, with twenty-seven recorded tracks from twelve different people (some in groups, some performing alone). Huzzah! Also, it has now been played for Ezra and it didn't make him cry or anything, so that's a win.

Details on how it all came together and what I learned )
jwgh: (Default)
One of my stepsisters is currently living in Japan. She came back to the U.S. for the holidays. One of the things she gave me was a New Year's card, which I thought [livejournal.com profile] manfire and [livejournal.com profile] paracelsvs and maybe some of the rest of you might find interesting.I hope you all have a great new year!

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Jacob Haller

October 2015

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