All posts by mjh

I'll be your host for the next 47 seconds.

Put the message in the box, put the box into the car, drive the car around the world, ’til you’ve been heard

Gasp. Tears. My heart belonged to many bands growing up but World Party was extraordinary. I’m shaken. I wasn’t this sad for Zappa or even LCohen. “The look on their faces was ‘my god this is real!'”

World Party’s Karl Wallinger was a pick’n’mix songwriter with a total, titanic love of music | Music | The Guardian

It’s a great obit. (I always thought he was German.) Seek out his/their tunes.

Tangentially, I’m stunned to learn World Party originated “Is It Like Today?” I know that song as performed by Eliza Gilkyson. I prefer her less-pop version. “How could it come to this?” Wheels within wheels: I discovered this song at the end of the finale of The Finder, a quirky tv show you should have seen. The song blew my mind from the start. Sometimes, you don’t know who to thank for what.

That which is no more

Like many houses in Albuquerque, our old house had a niche in the hallway intended for a phone, including a slot for a thin phonebook. Even when we had a landline, we never used the niche for that purpose. Instead, it held a kachina most of the time, as well as my keys and wallet.

Years ago, our friends Ann and John sent us a stained-glass piece which happened to be exactly the size of a small window in the front door of the house. It was a natural fit. Imagine our surprise the first time we saw the sun shine through that stained glass to illuminate the niche by chance, if you believe in serendipity. This didn’t happen every day. Indeed, most of the year the blue light shone elsewhere. However, every February and October the light appeared in the hallway and over a few weeks’ time it drifted toward the niche until it full illuminated the niche a morning or two.

Twice a year, we watched this progression. Now, it is no more. The niche, the door, and the sun are as they have been for decades. But we are gone and we took the blue light and kachina with us. Now, we watch for movements of light in our new house. This will take time.

This video is 10 minutes realtime but I have sped it up 16x.

alignment of the niche sped up

My Space

We’ve lived in our new house 8 weeks now. We settled in within the first two weeks. We love the house, the neighborhood, and the location closer to the river bosque.

I spend a couple of hours at a time in the morning and the afternoon in this room sitting on the couch reading on the big screens or a tablet. In the evening, Mer and I spend another hour or two watching tv and looking at photos or videos.

The window looks out onto our deep porch. Under an evergreen at the far end, I have set up several bird feeders, a fountain, and a birdcam. I look out on bird theater all day long. Right now, it is mostly bushtits and yellow-rumped warblers, plus an occasional flicker or nuthatch. Overhead most days, we see and hear sandhill cranes and geese. The cranes will leave in a month or so.

Note the baseboard hot-water radiant heater. It is steady and nearly silent heat, not the jet engine roar of forced-air we had at Quincy. The carpet contributes to the quiet and warmth.

That door is to a closet that extends and wraps under the stairs. The door to the room is off to the left of the photo.

I’ve had that window shade for 10 years. The chair was Mer’s mom’s.

PC Training & Consulting

When I moved to Albuquerque in 1984, I found a part-time job teaching computer classes at the brand-new Sears Business Systems Center (separate from Sears, both long out of business). I interviewed with someone from out-of-state. On my way out of the store, I introduced myself to the manager. Later, when I had the job, he said I was the only interviewee who did that.

One of the classes I taught was beginning WordPerfect (remember that?). There were 3 students in one session: two were secretaries and one was a retired guy who typed badly with two fingers. We made it work. He became a client and friend.

To vent about WordPerfect: it felt like programmers who never worked with documents created it. Who thought it made sense to put left and right margins under one menu and top and bottom under another (as one small example). I was amazed I had to convince some people how much better Microsoft Word was when it came out.

It was the part-time-ness of that job that led me to become an independent contractor or self-employed. When I registered my business, I named it “PC Training & Consulting.” (See the footnote.) I did business for over 30 years. Much of the time I was teaching or writing — I’ve already written about that.

The footnote: years into this, I met a new colleague at UNM Continuing Education who presented her card with “PC Training and Consulting.” Uh-oh. What should I do? I didn’t want to be a jerk but I didn’t want to “lose the brand.” I told her as much and next day her card said “PC Consulting and Training.” Fine with me.