Walk for Hunger, 2016

[Walk for Hunger, 2002]

We have after all been asked if we want to play for the Walk for Hunger.

We have been doing this since 1999 or so, and I’d be sad to give it up, although since this is pretty late notice, we don’t really have time to
rehearse anything. Also, they have changed the route, and our usual
spot is a construction site, and the “invitation” didn’t say anything
about when or where, except that it is on May 1.

So here’s the deal:

  • We’ll be mostly playing recorders, and using tried
    and true recorder arrangements.
  • If everybody who wants to come can also rehearse on Tuesday,
    April 26, we’ll run through some stuff to see what works; otherwise,
    we’ll sight read in public.
  • There’s no requirement for signing up except that you should
    be a decent sight reader. Obviously, it doesn’t make that much sense
    to do it unless you can stay for a decent amount of time, but there’s
    no requirement to stay for the whole time, whatever that ends up
    being. (In the recent past, it’s been 10am to 3pm.)

It really can be a lot of fun, and I doubt that anyone on this
list very often gets the opportunity to play for as many 10’s of
thousands of people that this would be.

So let me know if you want to do it. If I don’t get a critical
mass by Wednesday, I’ll tell them we can’t do it this year. Also tell
me whether you’d be able and willing to come to a rehearsal from 8-10
pm on April 26.

Apps I use on my phone

A friend just got a good android phone, and I wrote her advice
about what to put on it. I thought you might like to know, too,
so here it is. The phone is currently a Google Galaxy Nexus,
which I bought in August of 2012. So it’s almost three year old
technology, but it still seems pretty functional.

Apps for using the phone

Call Filter
This one really saves me time. It lets me send all calls
where the number is hidden directly to voice mail. If a real
person I wanted to talk to did ever call from a number like
that, they would presumably leave a message, but it’s mostly
fundraisers or worse.
I thought when I started using this that it would help me
work on something on my laptop as well as my desktop. It does
do that, but even more often useful is that when I take pictures
on my phone, they automatically get uploaded to my
Prey Anti Theft
Of course, I installed this after I lost a phone. So
far it’s been tested only when I’ve changed SIM cards, which it
sees as a possible loss of the phone. But it does send you an
email and you can see on a map where the phone is.

Apps that let the phone function as lots of other small
electronic gadgets (or not)

Accupedo pedometer
Seems to be fairly accurate. Since losing the dog, I don’t
consistently do 10,000 steps a day, but if the weather ever
improves, I will start.
I never had a small gadget that did this, but it is useful.
This one works better than the other weather apps I’ve tried,
but it is a bit of a nuisance about telling me all the weather
I find the interface on this painful enough that I usually
wait until I get home to enter appointments, but it is useful to
be able to look at your calendar before you make an appointment.
I do still have a camera that’s better than this one, but
this is pretty good, and of course, the best camera is the one
you have with you.
This is what I use to read books on all my devices. It may
not work better than the competition, but it works the same way
everywhere, so I don’t need to figure out how to find the table
of contents on the new gadget.
Mobile Metronome
Has all the features any other metronome I know about does.
It’s loud enough on the phone speaker for recorder playing, but
needs an external speaker for groups or loud brass
On Track
I use this to record my blood sugar readings, but you can
use it to keep track of any number you want. I can show the
graph to my doctor when he asks how my blood sugar is doing.
Smart Voice Recorder
This is one that really doesn’t replace the special purpose
device. This app works better than the built-in one. If you
use high definition sound, your recorder will sound like a
recorder, but it will be much too noisy to listen to for any
length of time. So if you don’t have a special purpose recorder
(mine is a Zoom H2), it’s worth getting, but otherwise don’t
My latest discovery. I was using the Google Play
Music app for playing my music, but this lets you play other
people’s music, too. After my free trial is up, I may try
whether the Google All Access is as good or better about having
the music I want to listen to — they’re about the same price,
and Google or Spotify has made it impossible to use Spotify on
Google TV, so the Google thing would be easier to play through
my stereo.
This is tuning software, with all the features of even very
expensive tuners. (I haven’t tried defining my own temperament,
but they have all the temperaments I’ve wanted.)This is a
rewrite of g-strings, which has a free version that works pretty
well for recorders, but Waves isn’t very expensive, and works
better for the serpent. Again, the phone isn’t loud enough to
play a drone, and the speaker doesn’t have enough bass to play a
low drone, but you can put it through better speakers.

Sammy retires

Sammy on November 17, 2013.

Since Saturday (three days now), Sammy seems to have decided it isn’t any longer his job to take me on a long walk in the morning. Not that they’ve been being so very long, but now he seems to think it’s fine to just go to the park across the street and come home, and he previously always wanted to go to at least one other park, and sometimes several. He’d sometimes be reluctant to leave the comfort of his couch and go out, but once he was out, he always seemed happy to stay out for a good length of time.

Last night he was having enough trouble walking that I wondered if there was an injury, but I don’t see any other sign of that, and this morning he just seems stiff, not injured.

I’ve been sorry I didn’t record the date Sunny (my previous dog) retired as a watchdog. So I’m here recording November 16, 2013 as the date Sammy retired as a dog who likes long walks.

Garden pictures

In spite of the unusually warm weather we had most of the last
week, the garden is still only just getting started. Places
with more sun sprang into bloom some time ago, but our back yard
still thinks (correctly) that it’s March.

Here are what I think are going to be daffodils:

[daffodil buds]

Daffodil Buds, March 22, 2010

And here’s a crocus bud that pushed its way through a tough oak

[crocus and oak leaf]

Crocus Bud and Oak Leaf, March 22, 2010

Nominating the Hugos

I was surprised when I learned that having joined the
Anticipation SF Convention last year, I not only got the right
to vote on the Hugo Awards last year, but I get to vote for the
nominees this year.

For how organized the voting procedure was (they sent you a
packet of most of the nominees as ebooks), the nomination
process is surprisingly free-form.

I wasn’t able to find a list of eligible works anywhere. Some
of the blogs I read had lists of what their authors had that was
eligible, and a couple of them offered to send voters free
copies. I don’t make any pretense of following the shorter
forms. And although I would like to be aware of good new
science fiction and fantasy novels, I’m not at all sure that
always happens.

So I did my best. I nominated four novels:

  • The Price of Spring, Daniel Abraham
  • Makers, Cory Doctorow
  • Unseen Academicals, Terry Pratchett
  • The Year of the Flood, Margaret Atwood

I was cheating a bit on Makers, since I haven’t
finished reading it yet, but it’s clearly a good novel.

I also nominated The God Engines by John Scalzi, in the Best
Novella category.
I probably wouldn’t have read it if he hadn’t sent any
nominator who asked a free copy, but it is well-written,
although I hope there are other good novellas to read before I
have to vote.

I nominated District 9 and Star Trek
in the Dramatic Presentation, Long Form category, and tor.com in the Best Related Work
category. There should probably be some specific online
categories, but there aren’t yet.

New Camera

Lately, every time I wanted a picture for the blog I didn’t
have my camera, and every time I took a picture with the cell
phone, I ended up apologizing for it. So when Woot had a good price on an Casio
Exilim camera
, I bought it.

It arrived today. It’s a good size for sticking in your
pocket, and seems to take pretty good pictures:


Sunny napping

I always use Sunny for my test subject. Then I noticed the
Birthday cards, and took them too:


Birthday cards


District 9

I watched this
last night because I’m going to be nominating Hugo awards
and this seemed like a likely candidate for a nomination.

It’s a surprisingly good science fiction movie. I found it
very unpleasant to watch because of all the violence, so I only
gave it two stars at netflix, but really, Hollywood doesn’t
“get” science fiction that well at all often. It’s about first
contact with aliens, who get treated like a “lesser breed” by
the South African government. There’s lots of blowing things
up, and a creepy makup job as the main character gradually turns
into an alien.

You get to nominate 5 movies, and I’m sure this should be one
of them. Whether I’ll vote for it when the time to vote comes
is another question. I would really like there to be a movie
that’s as good that I actually enjoyed watching. The only other
candidate I’ve seen so far is Star
, and it’s certainly not as good Science Fiction,
although I really enjoyed watching it.