Predators at Casa du Glassa

Last night, I was reading out loud to Suzy some tales of raccoons killing chickens and ducks on some of the nearby chicken community sites. Usually we have more questions than answers.

  1. Were the chickens kept at night in a predator proof coop?
  2. Is the coop door closed at night?

raccoonIt was time to lock up the chickens and my dawg likes to accompany me when I do that. As I opened up the sliding glass door, there was a raccoon AND it was bigger than my dawg. Muttly is braver than smart and immediately chased it out of the yard. But we know that cornered the raccoon probably would have gutted the dawg in a new york minute. Gut check time.

The chickens were all in the rafters of our 8′ tall coop, but the raccoon could have easily reached them. Most likely Glory, our vociferous rooster would have made noise, but not likely soon enough for us to save all of them.

RaccoonPrintsWe are supposed to go to a farewell party for a good friend of mine at 6:30 PM tonight, but that is when we lock up the chickens! I am loath to trap for the raccoons because there are neighborhood dawgs who could be caught! I suppose I could enlist the aid of a neighbor, but geesh I hate to do that too. What to do, what to do …

Yup it’s research time: https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/raccoon-chicken-predators-how-to-protect-your-chickens-from-coons.47709/

Hunting, killing and trapping raccoons is permitted in most US states and most Canadian provinces, but transporting and relocating raccoons to other areas is often illegal. Please contact your local city, town, or county offices to determine what is and isn’t allowed in your specific area.

Anyone have any luck with coyote pee solutions? https://www.mypetchicken.com/…/Coyote-Pee-Repels-Rats…

Lots of solutions mentioned here, electric fence might be a way to go? Lots of ideas here, anyone try electrified fences: http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/raccoons.html

And here is a look at automatic doors:

And a nice instruction piece:

Note, pictures found on the Intrawebs. Did not want to post the graphic ones.

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Sax Quartet 2017

I am starting to put together this year’s sax quartet repertoire for our gig at Ballard Locks. It’s a labor of love that I’ve been doing for at least ten years now. My wife Suzy, Molly and I have been in all the performances and this year Taylor will be joining us on tenor sax.  Our group is called the Professor Gadget Sax Quartet.

suzymollyme

We try to mix it up with selections from the pop, classical, and jazz genres. I must admit, I do have my favorite songs that seem to make the set list every year.

Besides the pure joy of playing with such stellar musicians, I have found that playing in a small ensemble improves both soloing and sectional work in other musical endeavors such as big bands and concert wind bands. In a group this size, you really have to be in tune and listen to all the parts to make it work. Everyone is a soloist.

If you attend the performance, you can expect to see anything from a soprillo to a bass sax. That’s a lot of hornage. We split our time with a flute choir and are surrounded by a park that includes a salmon run, an arboretum, and sometimes, vintage car shows.

Our show this year is at 2 PM, Saturday, July 1st as part of the Ballard Locks Outdoor Concert Series. Hope to see you there.

Posted in My World, Sax Quartet, Saxophone | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Happy World Naked Gardening Day!

NakedGardening Okay, so truth be known I have never gardened in the nude. It is really quite dangerous to do. No, really. Just imagine the potential insect bites, thorn or itch weed disasters, and oh yeah … the sharp tools. That said it kind has a nice ring to it, if only amongst friends. I mean *really* good friends.

World Naked Gardening Day (WNGD) is an annual international event celebrated on the first Saturday of May by gardeners and non-gardeners alike.According to NBC’s Today News, WNGD “has become an annual tradition that celebrates weeding, planting flowers and trimming hedges in the buff.

While it’s linked to a movement of nudists who promote wholesome and unashamed acceptance of the human body, the day is meant to be funny, lighthearted and non-political, founders say.”

Still, it’s a brisk 45 degrees this morning in the Northwest. So unless you like goose bumps, I’m guess most of us will forgo the festivities. I’ll leave with this nice article from Today:

NakedGardeningDaySo if people choose to participate in World Naked Gardening Day on May 14, are they allowed to wear gardening gloves?

How about Naked Hiking Day on June 21: Are hiking boots acceptable?

“Oh, there are no rules!” said Mark Storey, 52, a Seattle-area resident and the co-creator of World Naked Gardening Day. “If I’m gardening naked and if I need to have a hat on or shoes on, that’s fine. People are pretty rational about that stuff. This is not a religion.”

Established in 2005, World Naked Gardening Day has become an annual tradition that celebrates weeding, planting flowers and trimming hedges in the buff. While it’s linked to a movement of nudists who promote wholesome and unashamed acceptance of the human body, the day is meant to be funny, lighthearted and non-political, founders say.

“We figured that if people tried gardening naked once, they would smile,” said Storey, who came up with the idea for the day with his friend, Daniel Johnson. “Not only would they smile, but they’d see that nudity is actually a pleasant and inherently good thing. …

“It just feels kind of nice to be outside with no clothes on. It doesn’t matter what kind of body shape you have or how old you are.”

Read more …

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The Booking the Band Scam! Be Aware!

An Attempt At An Old-school Scam

From my good friend Helen’s blog dated  April 15, 2017:

In this day of phishing; spoofing; identity theft; salami slicing, spam; trojan horses; and a Scamseemingly endless supply of Nigerians who claim that they desperately need to get their money out of their home country, there seems to be no end to the lengths that some scammers will go to bilk you out of your money. Being good at spotting a con is more important than ever, since a scam is not always as obvious as one might think.

Old-time band vs. Old-school scam

I play in a big band called the Moonliters. Besides playing sax in the band, I also look after the website, and respond to the inquiries that the band gets through its contact page.

On March 20 we received an inquiry from someone with the email address twillam.au@gmail.com. This person wanted to know if we would be available to perform at a family reunion on May 5th from 2:00 – 7:00 pm. Apparently he was also going to use this medium (his word) to propose to his girlfriend Charllotte (no, I did not misspell that name). twillam.au also wanted to know where we were located.

A few things about this email niggled at my brain. The most obvious was that there was an .au in his email. I took a look, and there is an Abbotsford in Australia, so I informed him that we were in Abbotsford, Canada (about a 45 minute commute outside of Vancouver). If he was looking for a band in Australia, he couldn’t afford us, but we would be happy to talk with him further if he wanted a swing band for a Vancouver, Canada venue.

He replied that he was indeed looking for a band in Vancouver, and that he was working with an event planner. The venue he chose—which shall remain nameless—is the newest, and arguably most exclusive event venue in the city. However, it hadn’t been booked yet, and wouldn’t be until a few days prior to the event itself. Again, this niggled at my brain, since normally any event venue is of course booked months in advance.

Since the show was to be during the day, we were going to have to find many subs if we were to do the show, since a great many of the members of The Moonliters are music teachers, or have other day jobs.

Read the rest!

This reminds me of the scams I get from “travel agencies” every year inviting us to perform on a cruise and then you find out you have to pay for the cruise. And then there are the Play in DC scams where you then have to pay for travel, hotel, and food. Um yeah … no. There is so many bad things happening out there.

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Circle of Fifths Revisited

Overheard: Music has always been a bit of a mystery to me because I didn’t understand it. As a specific example, I didn’t understand why a major chord sounds nice. Why does (0,4,7) harmonize?

I’ve finally read enough to figure it out. The answer is it doesn’t on a piano so most basic music theory skips that bit and just goes to the ‘circle of fifths’ which is little more than a convenient mnemonic.

CircleOfFifths

Here is the short version for the curious scientists in the room. A major chord has three frequencies in the ratio of 4:5:6. The ‘rule of thumb’ is if the lowest common multiple of each pair of these is less than 8 times the lowest number the human ear will consider the sound pleasant. So in our case, the chord is ‘consonant’ at 20=LCM(4,5), 30=LCM(5,6), and 12=LCM(4,6). Why this rule works is still a mystery to me but I’ll live.

CircleOfFifths2The reason this doesn’t work on most pianos is because they are tuned to divide the octave into 12 evenly spaced semitones. So, for example, the three notes for E-major on a piano are E(41.20Hz), G-sharp(51.91Hz), and B(61.74Hz). As it turns out, they are close enough for the human ear to forgive the differences.

There are different tuning schemes to make chords sound ‘nicer’ but these have other shortcomings. Now you know.

So there you have it. I now lump music in with chemistry as a science where the fundamental theory is too hard to be practical so you resort to a bunch of memorization instead.

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Jack Ziegler, Cartoonist at The New Yorker, Dies at 74

Jack Ziegler, whose satirical, silly and observational style enlivened more than 1,600 cartoons at The New Yorker beginning in the mid-1970s, died on Wednesday in a hospital in Kansas City, Kan. He was 74. ~ New York Times, 2 April 2017

This cartoonist was amazing, so in honor of his passing, this is one of my many favorites from him:

ZieglerRIP2017

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/31/arts/design/jack-ziegler-dead-new-yorker-cartoonist.html

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WSJ: With Washington’s Blessing, Telecom Giants Can Mine Your Web History

From the Wall Street Journal piece: https://www.wsj.com/articles/with-washingtons-blessing-telecom-giants-can-mine-your-web-history-1490869801

What if your telecom company tracked the websites you visit, the apps you use, the TV shows you watch, the stores you shop at and the restaurants you eat at, and then sold that information to advertisers?

In theory, it’s possible, given the stance Washington is taking on online privacy.

Lawmakers on Tuesday voted to overturn privacy rules that required telecom companies to get customers’ permission before sharing their web-browsing and app usage history with third parties. The White House said Wednesday President Donald Trump intends to sign the measure into law.

This changes everything: Congress has voted to overturn Obama-era internet privacy rules. Now the path is clear for telecom giants like Verizon and AT&T to build detailed profiles of their customers’ behavior and sell that information to marketers.

In theory, routing your traffic via a secure link to an external VPN should obfuscate your activities from your ISP. You can still be tracked using web beacons, but there are things you can do to mitigate those as well (e.g., opt out on your browser, use a reputable ad blocker).

And there are downsides to using a VPN (streaming services like Amazon Video often block them as they are used to circumvent policy). I need to think about this more, but if Trump signs this I will like start looking for a solid VPN provider.

BTW, it is totally ludicrous to suggest ISPs need to be on a “even” footing with Google and Facebook. You have an option whether or not to use Google or FB. You do not have an option to not use an ISP if you want to use the Internet. And the big incumbents are there because they were granted franchises by the government, so to suggest the government should not regulate them is irony at best.

imageAre you still reading? Then you care. Here is an initiative that hopes to sway lawmakers away from enacting laws to remove more of our privacy protection.

I think I care share a few bucks to this crowdfunding effort to make this happen. Just imagine finding out how much Ryan really loves hamsters. Who knew?

Stay frosty folks, this is going to be a long battle with these folks.

Posted in Internet, Politics, privacy | Tagged , | 1 Comment