August 2003 Archives

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On Friday someone posted to the WXDU mailing list that all of our Prefuse 73 CDs have disappeared. This really, really pissed me off. Not only because I like Prefuse 73 -- a lot -- but because I feel in a way responsible for the RPM section now. So it upsets me to lose one of the best things in there. The station does have a periodic theft problem, but it's also possible that the CDs were just misfiled. Which is as good as stolen until somebody reshelves and finds them.

I wrote a really shrill rant to the WXDU mailing list about about how people who wanted to steal music should just bring their laptops and make copies, that way they'd be sticking it to the record labels, not the station. And if a would-be thief didn't have a laptop I'd gladly bring mine and make the copies for them, if it would prevent us from being cleaned out of artists like Prefuse 73.

But then I thought better of it. After all, it would be a bit hasty to start screeching about thieves at the station (even though, let's face it, everyone knows they exist) if the CDs were just misfiled. So I wrote a much calmer email instead, about how the RPM section is confusing so it's extra important to file correctly.

After my public plea I thought I might as well see if the Prefuse 73 had indeed been misfiled and if I could find it. So I went in with Georg, he was doing the world music show from 1 to 3, and checked the RPM section. I scanned RPM and Urban for Prefuse. Didn't find it, but I did find a heck of a lot of R&B/Soul that had been misfiled in Urban. I had been looking for a couple of those CDs so it was nice to find them. And while I was there I worked on reshelving RPM.

The section truly is confusing. It's hard to tell sometimes what is the exact name of the title and the artist, and is something a compilation or not. Sounds silly, but if you have a CD called DJ So-and-So presents Blah-de-Blah Remixes, which is all remixes of one band, Blah-de-Blah, by different people, compiled by DJ So-and-So, then is that a comp? Or is it filed under Blah-de-Blah? Or DJ So-and-So? And what's the title of this CD, is it DJ So-and-So presents... or just Blah-de-Blah Remixes?

My rule of thumb is that a comp put together by a DJ is a comp, and should go under "various," not the name of the DJ. A remix album, if it's all remixes of the same artist, should be filed with that artist rather than comps. As far as titles, I usually defer to however the CD was labeled by the music staff. Unless they obviously made a mistake (for instance, the compilation Torch: A Six Degrees Collection of Modern Torch Songs was labeled as "artist: Torch; title: A Six Degrees Collection...") But if the title is iffy, I go with however they labeled it, even if that's not how I would have done it.

I had gone through the RPM section in detail a couple of months ago, so it wasn't in as bad shape as before. Still, the comps were a mess. I guess I should be glad because it means that people are actually playing RPM. Also I found New York Lounge, which is still on the playlist but someone had accidently filed it away in RPM comps. (At least they put it in what will be the right place!) Georg told me that it was still on the playlist shelf when he did his show Thursday night, so it couldn't have been misfiled for more than a day. Whew! Anyway, I got almost all the way through reshelving RPM -- would have finished entirely except for an interruption which I'll go into below -- and didn't find the Prefuse 73.

The fact that almost all the CDs by an artist are gone tends to indicate theft, in my mind. But on the other hand, the empty spot on the shelf tends to support the "misfiled" explanation. Because our friendly neighborhood thief usually takes the CDs but leaves the empty cases, to cover his/her tracks I guess. And can I say, is there anything lower than stealing from a library? Well okay, stealing food from starving people is lower. And lying about weapons of mass destruction, that's way lower. But I've got a good head of steam worked up about the library thing, so that feels like the lowest of the low right now. I mean, what utter selfishness! "This is a great CD. I really like it! I think I'll take it so I can listen to it all the time! I could just bring my computer and make a copy, but that would take effort. Effort is no fun! Stealing is way fun!"

OK, had to take a break to watch AVS, the Indian pop culture show, with Georg. They only showed a couple of videos but they were pretty good. Most of the show (at least the part I saw) was about a big Indian Day parade in NYC.

So the interruption at the station yesterday. Around ten after two, a cople of young guys showed up, saying they were trying to find Phil for a 2 pm training meeting. They said it was supposed to be there at the station, but we'd been there since before 1 and hadn't heard a thing about it. I knew that Phil was working on new DJ training but had no idea where or when the meeting was. I took them upstairs to ask Georg if he knew about the meeting. Actually, I went upstairs to ask Georg, and the guys followed me. But still, Georg looked none too pleased about the interruption. It is hard to do a show with a bunch of people in the room talking about something else.

While we were standing around trying to figure out where this meeting was, another guy rang the bell. He said that the meeting had been rescheduled for 3:30 at the "student union." Now, I went to Duke, albeit 10+ years ago, and there's no student union building. The student union is called the Duke University Union and it's located in the Bryan Center. WXDU is part of the DUU so I thought maybe they have conference space over there that Phil was using for the meeting. So I told the guys how to find the Bryan Center ("it's that big ugly concrete building off Science Drive on West Campus") and sent them on their way.

Ten minutes later Phil showed up. With a map to the rescheduled meeting location. In the East Union building, on East campus. So I sent those poor guys completely astray. Argh! Phil called the Bryan Center info desk, in case they checked in there trying to find the meeting, but there was no one there. Double argh!

I feel terrible about misdirecting those guys. Phil was really nice about it; he kept assuring me that the fault was all his, for getting there late, and that the guys would email him to find out what the heck happened, and he would meet with them later. I hope it all works out like that.


I'm moving more slowly on my trip write-up than I had intended. I think maybe because there's too much to address in one post. So when I think about writing about the trip, I feel a little overwhelmed. And end up writing about the insanely boring MTV awards or somesuch instead.

So I'm going to try writing about just one thing per post and see if that helps. Today's post will be an ode to Keaton's Barbecue, where we had lunch last Saturday on our way to Asheville.

Georg had read about this place on It's located outside Statesville, NC, about halfway between here and Asheville. A bit off the beaten track; in fact we got off the interstate too soon and ended up driving in three counties to find it. (Which makes the detour sound a lot longer than it actually was. We must have been right near the tippy end of a county, allowing us to cross into it and then into the next one in the course of a few miles. I think the three counties were Davie, Iredell and Rowan, but don't quote me on that.)

It's funny how the most amazing food can come from the most unassuming places. Keaton's has been there for fifty years, and looked like they'd had the same sign out front most of that time. Inside it worked like most good barbecue joints I've been to: you walk up to the counter, order your food, sit down and they bring the food out when it's ready.

Roadfood described Keaton's fried chicken as so good, they wept with joy. I wasn't inclined to weep, but it was easily the best fried chicken I've ever had. Stupid good. So good we had a hard time obeying the "Absolutely No Profanity" sign posted in the dining room. According to Roadfood, the secret is they deep fry the chicken, then dip it into a pot of hot barbecue sauce. We each had the 1/4 white meat; I got mild sauce and Georg got hot. He said it wasn't as hot as he had expected from Roadfood's description, but still wonderful. And I can attest that the mild sauce was divine. We also both got the spicy vinegar cole slaw, rather than the sweet mayonnaise cole slaw. Georg also had mac and cheese, but I stopped at one side. The only let-down was the bread: the chicken came with a basic hamburger bun, no biscuits on the menu. But since I'm not eating much bread these days, that was just as well. I also wish we had split a dish of banana pudding, but at the time we felt like that would be too much food for lunch.

The staff were really nice too. The fellow behind the counter asked if we'd ever been there before, because he didn't recognize us. When we mentioned we were from Durham, he gave us a business card with Keaton's web address on it. The place would be hard to stumble onto; I think you'd really have to be looking for it. So I'm not surprised that he would notice when someone came in who wasn't a regular.

We loved the portrait of the founder, B.W. Keaton, they had hanging on the wall. There's another picture of him on the site, but the one in the restaurant had him wearing an apron, with a cigarette in his mouth that had nearly an inch of ash hanging off the end. He looked like he had turned away from the grill just long enough for them to snap the photo. It was a great portrait.

I urge anyone who's traveling on I-40 west of Greensboro to check out Keaton's. Stopping on the way is absolutely going to be one of our Asheville food rituals from now on. Also, I saw on their website that they sell bottles of the sauce. Of course I won't be able to recreate the whole Keaton's experience, but I'm going to have to order a bottle and give it a try.

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Thirteen had surgery today to have that thing taken off her leg. She's a bit groggy, but basically OK this evening. I was having a hard time stopping her from scratching at it, but she's sleeping now thank goodness. I can tell how out of it she is, because she's sleeping with her tongue sticking out.

Georg is at XDU now and I'm watching the MTV Video Music Awards. Which is just as lame as always. But I always watch, on the chance that something interesting might happen. Chris Rock hasn't been as funny as he was the first time. Maybe they made him tone down the insults to the musicians.

One thing that amuses me about the MTV awards is that, as much time as I spend listening to music and thinking about music, I've never even heard of a large percentage of the nominees. It's like this every year. They're all abasing themselves before some hot new artist and I'm like "who?" So maybe that's why I watch this show: so that once a year I'll learn the names of the people getting commercial radio play.

They did play a few seconds of Panjabi MC's Knight Rider thing as they went to commercial a little while ago. I think it's pretty safe to say that's going to be the best music of the evening. Also, a couple of nominees in the "MTV2 Award" have been playlisted at XDU: Interpol and the Roots. Neither one of them won though.

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My stitches are out! It didn't hurt, except for the first stitch (the first one he had done, but last to be removed) which he called a "weird one." The doctor said it healed really well. I don't have to keep it bandaged up anymore, or put neosporin on it. And I'm allowed to exercise again. Here's a photo of my stitch-free leg. And as always, a close-up if you want the gory details. You can see from the photos that the skin right in the point of the triangle died off like he said it would. So I guess I'm going to have a fairly big scar. Oh well, scars add character.

He said it will take a couple of months to start looking relatively normal, and even then the skin will be like baby skin so I should wear lots of sunscreen if it's exposed. A couple of months from now will be the end of October, so I think I'll be wearing pants or tights and it won't be an issue.

Anyway, what a relief to have the stitches gone, no more bandages, etc. I'm going to try a short run tomorrow morning.

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Just had a weird & somewhat disconcerting thing happen: this morning I had a comment to one of the early entries in this diary, signed with an obviously fake name, no email address provided, and the sole text of the comment was "GOOD".

That happened, weird little nonsensical comments, a couple of times in my old Greymatter diary. I shrugged it off at the time, because I do occasionally get readers who do an unusual google search and find my site, when they're actually looking for something else entirely. But then I found out that these mystery comments were from hackers who had exploited a security flaw in Greymatter's comment feature to plant executable files on my web space.

Ack! That was no fun. I couldn't even remove the files myself; I had to ask my hosting service to delete them. (I wouldn't even have known about this if they hadn't notified me of an illegal process running in my web space.) I couldn't find a patch on the Greymatter site so I ended up disabling comments until I could get it together to convert this diary and the art car one to Movable Type. Which is being actively maintained, unlike Greymatter, which gave me more confidence that security problems like that would be promptly dealt with.

So you can imagine why I'd be feeling some consternation at getting another one of those mystery comments. I deleted the comment, also checked my web space and didn't see any new files. Also I checked the Movable Type site to make sure I'm running the most current version (check) and see if there were any announcements about security problems (nope). Here's hoping it was nothing, just a random comment from a random person.


OK, so the trip. Where do I start? I guess I should start with the yurt. It was so fun! It's at a campground about 15 minutes north of downtown Asheville. Besides the yurt they had places for tents and RVs, and also a couple of cabins which we never got a look at because they were a bit off the road. It was a really easy drive, the campground was right near a main road that went straight into town. I hate navigating in unfamiliar cities, so this was a big plus for me. (Actually Georg did all the driving while we were there, so it wasn't much of an issue for me on this trip.) On the way we found a nice grocery store (Fresh Market) and a coffee shop with wireless net access. I kind of wish I'd brought my computer! But I wanted to get away from it all, not take it all with me.

The yurt was basically a big round tent, on a deck on a wooded hillside. There was a plastic dome on top that lifts up to let air circulate, and the windows opened and closed with velcro. The yurt was on a path a little bit away from the rest of the campground, and the door faced the woods away from the path, so it felt really private.

Inside it looked like a chic apartment, not a tent. (that photo came from the campground's website; the rest were taken by me.) It had hardwood floors, a comfy futon couch, cable TV, a little dining table, and in the back of the tent, behind pretty sliding glass doors made to look like shoji screens, was a kitchenette and a dressing area.

We did have a water supply out front, which made washing dishes a lot easier. But to use the bathroom, shower or sink, we had to walk up to the bathhouse. I had some trepidation about the lack of private bathroom -- my idea of roughing it is a hotel without high speed net access -- but it turned out to be fine. The bathhouse was spartan but clean, so I can't complain. It was a bit of a trek though: down this path and then up these stairs, every time we needed to use the bathroom. We weren't able to do any hiking because of my leg, but between the bathhouse and walking all over downtown, I felt like I'd gone hiking anyway!

My only quibbles with the yurt were minor: for one, though the dressing area was nice, there wasn't any place to hang up clothes or wet towels. We ended up using the curtain tiebacks to hang up our towels, and I laid my dresses over the back of a chair. Second, there was a bit of an ant problem. It's probably inescapable at this time of year, in a structure that's not air-tight. We just made extra sure to keep food sealed up or inside the fridge. Last, I wish there was a curtain or something to cover the dome in the ceiling. There were so many tall trees around that the light wasn't too bright, but it was still enough to keep me awake the one time I tried to take a nap during the day.

But those minor things didn't detract from how happy we were at the yurt. It was such a great getaway. I highly recommend it if you want something different from a hotel; here's the Campfire Lodgings website where you can make a reservation. We're talking about going back in October of next year. The yurt has a gas fireplace to keep warm, and I think the ants wouldn't be a problem anymore that late in the year. I bet it will be incredibly beautiful up there with the fall colors.

The weather up there was fantastic, as you'd expect in the woods up on a mountain. We brought a little electric fan to keep air circulating inside the yurt during the day. It was so cool in the evenings and mornings that I ended up wearing my flannel pajamas. I didn't think I'd get another chance to wear them until November! We spent a lot of time just hanging around the yurt reading or whatever. I took this picture of Georg sitting on the deck right after breakfast one day. He's doing his "author pose" (hand to face).

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We're back from Asheville! Just got back from picking up the dogs from the kennel, and Lina has already stopped whining! She's being very good today.

We had a fabulous time. The yurt was wonderful, the weather was near perfect, we did fun things, spent plenty of time not doing anything, and (of course) ate lots of great food. I will write up the trip in detail, but for now here's a self-portrait taken on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This photo is supposed to be proof that we were in the mountains, but is actually sad proof of how infrequently I get any sun. Honestly, you can't see the mountains because of being blinded by my "so pale it's almost blue" shoulder.

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Took the dogs to the vet this morning. It was supposed to be a quick visit to have them look at a lump on Thirteen's shoulder, but it ended up taking an hour and a half. Almost half of which was spent sitting in the waiting room while Thirteen and Lina got more and more nervous. Thirteen just looks sad and scared, but Lina gets very dramatic. She whines -- a lot -- and she sheds. You can practically see the loose fur popping off her when she's nervous. It sounds crazy, but the vet told me that dogs do shed more when they're upset.

I really like the vet, St. Francis on Hillsborough Road, but they are so slow! I think it's partly because Dr. Lindeke is just so nice. She ends up chatting with everyone and running really late. I try to schedule appointments early in the day, but this time I wanted to get Thirteen in quickly and all they had this week was a mid-day appointment.

Anyway she said that the lump is probably nothing, but could possibly be melanoma. Eek! She told me to go home and watch it, see if it gets bigger. Well it has gotten bigger in the past few weeks, that's why I took her in. So we scheduled surgery next week. I'm maybe overreacting, the doctor seemed pretty unconcerned. But good grief, you can't fool around with possible melanoma.

The good news is they've both lost weight. They're both a little plump, which shortens their lifespan according to the doctor. So I've been walking them and apparently it's done them some good. (Me too probably.) Thirteen lost 7 pounds! She's still shaped like a barrel, but I guess a smaller barrel.

Okay, enough about the health of my dogs. I realize that's the most boring thing on earth to write about in your web diary. (Aside from maybe detailing what you ate every day.) There's going to be flash mob activitiy in the Triangle tomorrow. Whoop-de-doo! Actually it sounds like fun. I would go if I weren't going to be in a yurt in Asheville. If you're in the area and want to participate, add "Mob Man" as your friend in Friendster. I'm a bit bummed about missing out. Hope they do another one before the hip and trendy decide the flash mob is, like, totally over.

My leg feels pretty OK, I can even sleep on my side again (ahh! I never knew what bliss it is to sleep on my side, until I couldn't). But I still tire very easily. The trip to the vet completely wiped me out. Hope it doesn't slow me down too much in Asheville. Was hoping to do some hiking but I wouldn't try it now.

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Well after I had washed and ironed all the fabric, I couldn't stand letting it just sit there. So I went ahead and cut the pieces to lay out a sample block. I had planned to sew the block together, but it's late and I'm tired. So I just laid the pieces down in the right place so I could see how it will look. Also, just for the sake of completeness, here's my Illustrator diagram of the finished quilt. Or maybe I should say, what I hope it will end up like. After all, a lot has to happen for my stack of fabric to transform into that.

I'm not happy with the center of the block -- the light blue is too light and the dark gray is way too dark. The spiral shape holds up really well except in the center square, where it completely disappears. Luckily, I only bought 1/4 yard of those center colors. So it's no hardship to toss them and find other fabrics that work better.

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I think I have an answer to the question "am I a lunatic," and the answer is yes. I bought the fabric for the quilt. But it was on sale! I went by the fabric store yesterday to pick up one of the holiday dress patterns for Pru's kids (they have big sales on patterns all the time so if you don't need a pattern immediately it makes sense to wait for the next sale), and when I got there they were having a big sale on quilting fabric. Well, I already had a design in mind -- can't get this quilt idea out of my head, like I mentioned -- so I worked out how much fabric I'll need last night, and went back this morning. I managed to get everything I need for less than an average-quality comforter would cost.

Also I made a sundress yesterday to wear in Asheville this weekend. I guess I'm in a sewing mood lately. The sundress came together really quickly, and turned out cute if I do say so myself. Had I mentioned that we're going to Asheville this weekend? We're staying in a yurt. Neither one of us is into roughing it, so I'm crossing my fingers that this will be a fun adventure. The yurt does have cable TV so it can't be that rustic.

Habitat for Humanity came by yesterday. They took everything but the two armchairs and the bookshelf. I'm not surprised about the shelf and the one yucky chair, but the other chair is nice, I'm really surprised they didn't want it. Actually I have to admit I was feeling some remorse about giving it away. It's very well made, with that groovy Danish Modern style. All it needs is to be recovered and it would be a showpiece. It's kind of funny that the Habitat people took the junky dining table that I bought at a thrift store 8 years ago for $15, but they left the really nice armchair just because it's a little frayed. But now I have an excuse to hang onto it in hopes that someday I'll have the energy to recover it. And a place to put it.

I had a pretty good show on Tuesday, at least I think so! I tried to minimize the running around but the doorbell rang twice, which required running down the stairs and back up again. By the third hour my leg was getting pretty sore and I ended up way overusing the playlist. I try not to do that, but I just wasn't up to walking into the stacks! So I played stuff that was right in front of me for the last hour.

I had one weird request, from a guy who wasn't able to get the webcast, but he said he was upgrading his Real player, and would I play ZZ Top? Um, no I don't think so. Also a call from a guy in South Carolina who was trying to find out about "a talent show next month in Durham." No more information than that. I checked the concert calendar but it only goes a couple of weeks out. I suggested he look for information online.

Santa Salsera came by to get her house key back, and we ended up chatting for a bit. I showed her a 1970 "Vogue Sewing Book" I found on my shelf (oh like you don't also find books you forgot you had), which has tons of great retro fashion images and suggestions. In that way it's more of an idea book. We were snickering over the advice to tall women -- "you are already at a fashion advantage" -- and short women -- "Try not to treat your height as a figure flaw" -- because we're both quite short and it never occurred to either of us to see our height as a figure flaw. I mean, how silly! I think it's great to be short. I never have to stoop, never bump my head, can comfortably nap on short couches, I always save fabric when I sew, and at the thrift store I can often find great clothes that people gave away because they shrank in the wash.

Come to think of it, hanging out with Santa Salsera is probably what got me on a sewing kick this week. I did go get that sundress pattern right after seeing her. Luckily I had some good fabric on-hand. (One of the benefits of a cluttered life: I have a trunk full of fabric to go through every time I get the urge to sew.)

Right now I'm reviewing some RPM comp. It's got Sarah Jones' "Your Revolution" on it. Which is an excellent track that decries the sexually exploitative content of much hiphop. Unfortunately, in one of those moves so brilliant only the government could have come up with it, the song was declared indecent by the FCC a couple of years ago, and a community radio station in Portland was fined $7,000 for playing it. So it's okay to play a barrage of evil misogynist boys going on and on about bitches and ho's, but it's not okay to hear a woman say "Your revolution will not happen between these thighs."

So I'm trying to find out the current status of the song -- is it "indecent," meaning ok to play in the overnight safe harbor, "obscene," meaning we can't ever play it on the air, or is it OK now? I heard that Jones got a lot of media attention and was fighting the FCC ruling, but I never found out what happened. It's a great track, so I hope it's at least OK for safe harbor.

[Update: Here's a page which says the FFC revised their ruling and rescinded the fine. I wonder if that means the song is safe for airplay now.]


I had an incredibly detailed dream this morning that I had decided to make a quilt for Georg as a Christmas gift. In the dream I went through my old quilting stuff, from when I tried my hand at it about 10 years ago, and found a quilt top that I had pieced together but never finished. This is great, I thought, it will save me a lot of time. All I'll have to do is add the batting and backing and quilt it.

But when I unfolded the quilt top I found two problems: first, it was way too narrow, like a twin bed size. Second, the shape was all distorted; parts of the quilt were quite a bit wider when I laid it flat. The parts that bulged out were made of long narrow strips of the same color. When I tried to smooth them flat I saw the problem: instead of piecing separate strips together like I should have done, I had just taken large pieces of fabric and pleated them into vaguely the right shape. I must have been trying to save time, and figured that I'd quilt the pleats into place so it would look like they had been properly pieced. But since I never got around to it & the quilt top had been sitting folded up in my closet for years, the pleats were coming out.

I don't know what this dream was really about, but it's interesting because it gets right to one of my worst habits: starting major projects or hobbies that are way too much for me (either in skill or time), then giving up halfway through. For example finding a half-finished craft project of that size that I didn't even remember starting, which happened in the dream, wouldn't be that remarkable for me. On the other hand, the half-assed shortcut that seriously compromises quality is not a typical problem for me. I'm more likely to go the other way: try so hard to make the project spectacular, perfect down to every detail, that it ends up being impossible to finish.

The pathetic thing is, the dream had been so vivid that when I woke up this morning I kept thinking, OK, time to start planning Georg's quilt! I even found myself browsing online for design ideas, as if I were actually going to try and make this quilt. Which would be, what's the word. Insane. Like I mentioned I tried quilting once before, about 10 years ago. It was way too much for me. My stitching wasn't bad, but I absolutely could not handle the time committment. I had a half-finished quilt stuffed into a basket, taunting me and gradually getting more nasty and mildewed, for years and years until I finally threw it out a few months ago. And I already have a big sewing project for fall: holiday outfits for the kids of a good friend.

In short, it would be ludicrous for me to try and make a bed quilt this year. I'd be better off buying the fabric and just throwing it away immediately. That would save me a lot of time and accomplish just as much. On the other hand, it would be nice to have something to do while I watch TV. A big comfy quilt to cover my lap and keep me warm, while letting me feel productive at the same time. That would be nice. See, I'm doing it again.

After a day of rest my leg felt better today. I'm only limping a bit now, although I do still tire easily. We did manage to do some housework: cleaned the dust off some old furniture that Habitat for Humanity is going to pick up on Wednesday. It will be so nice to get that porch cleared off. I have my weight bench out there and with the old furniture gone, we'll have room to set up some chairs and sit out there this fall.

Later in the afternoon we went to an opening at Tyndall Galleries. Great stuff! It was a sculptor and a painter. The sculptor had done a bunch of ceramic river rocks, that they had scattered around the floor of the gallery. A really pretty effect and brave too, to put your art on the floor. The paintings were all nature scenes with extremely thick paint daubs, really gorgeous and energetic. The gallery was a mob scene. I got to chat briefly with Erika, who said that it had been that busy all day. But I never got to say hi to Jane, she was busy with other people the whole time we were there. I didn't want to interrupt her time with, you know, actual customers, so I just caught her eye and waved hello before we left.

Well I was feeling really proud of myself for getting 7 CDs out of my "to review stack" this weekend. (I guess there's some benefit to short-term loss of mobility.) But Georg came back from the music committee meeting with 5 full-length albums and 2 CD-singles for me, so I barely came out even for the week. (Can't really complain though, since one of the CDs is Verve Remixed 2, which at first glance looks to be just as good as the first one.) And then, I just got email from the music director, informing me that I had left one of the CDs, Jane Birken Serge Gainsbourg, in my CD player at home. I sent them the empty box! Argh, I hate when that happens. Since it's backfill, not a new playlist release, I'm going to take it with me to my show on Tuesday.

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Well I think I underestimated the effect of a bum leg on my overall ability to function. In other words, I way overdid it yesterday. I felt fine in the morning: a little sore, limping, but basically OK. Sean and Pam were coming over in the evening for mah jongg, so I did some light housework. Not as much as I had planned to do (guests are usually an excuse to tackle big housework projects that have been bothering me for a while), just some general tidying. But still probably too much walking and stooping.

Then I had to go feed Santa Salsera's cat, which involved a flight of stairs to get to her apartment. And the grocery store, where I learned how how it feels to be in a crowded place when you're moving very slowly and blocking the path of lots of other people. Some people were kind, some made it pretty plain how frustrated they were to get stuck behind me in an aisle. I felt simultaneously guilty for slowing them down, annoyed at them for not being more patient, and mortified by the realization that I've probably acted exactly the same way.

When I got home I was totally exhausted, but it was just short time before Sean and Pam were supposed to be there and Georg was outside doing yardwork. So I had to do the dishes and get started on cooking. By the time Georg came inside and took over, my leg was so stiff I was barely able to walk.

I made it through the evening OK, though keeping my leg out of the way of three happy dogs (they brought Nutty over) took some maneuvering. They only really got me once: Nutty likes to show affection by walking up and pressing his nose against your leg. Usually it's sweet, except if he catches you by surprise and then it's startling and wet. Well, at one point in the evening I didn't see him coming, and he managed to bop me right in the stitches. Ow! At least I had a bandage on. So it was just painful, not unsanitary.

We had a great dinner -- they brought the entree and dessert, we made the salad and vegetable -- but somehow never got around to playing mah jongg. We were sitting around the living room letting our stomachs settle (I made them watch the glory that is "My Name is Anthony Gonsalves"), and unanimously decided that we'd rather sit on our asses and chat for the rest of the evening. I probably would have lobbied for the mah jongg, but I just didn't feel up to clearing the dishes, taking the leaf out of the table, etc etc.

We ended up watching VH1 Classic while we talked, since Sean is just as into music as Georg and I are. Unfortunately, the videos completely sucked almost the whole time they were watching. There was a lot of old, unusual stuff, but it was old unusual bad stuff. I kept saying that the show would get good as soon as they left. Sure enough, as they were literally opening the door to leave, "Mayor of Simpleton" by XTC came on.

Today I am taking it easy. I still have to get dressed and go out at some point, Spike needs to be fed after all. But I'll think about that later. For now, I'm not walking further than the distance between the couch and my computer. Unfortunately this puts a bit of a damper on my Saturday: I had a bunch of tasks planned for today, all of which involve lots of moving around. For instance we were going to set up the stereo on the hall on top of the victrola, and I wanted to get some more work done on the bedroom carpet. Well I'm sure I can think of something useful to do on my computer instead.

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In the interest of completeness (what the heck, my whole life goes into this diary), I took a photo of my legs. You can see that almost all the damage is to the right leg, although bruises are starting to pop up on the left. Also, I can't tell from looking at the actual leg, but in this photo I can see that my right leg is a bit swollen. The doctor said that was normal and not to worry.

If you're really into gory details you can see a close-up of the stitches here. Warning: not for the faint of heart!

Or if you're squeamish, here's a photo of my leg all bandaged up. If you really can't stand blood, just look at this photo and pretend there's nothing untoward underneath the bandages. Absolutely nothing to see here.


Well I had a fun little diary entry planned for today. I was going to talk about Santa Salsera's cute cat, Spike, and how much he resembles my childhood cat Charlie. And her amazing pattern collection (which I have resisted the urge to rummage through, but I can't help but see the boxes and crates so I can tell you, it's a huge collection!), and that killjoy bastard Jonathan Abram's decision to remove phony profiles from Friendster (is he crazy? that's the best part of the site!), and the way my answering machine seems to make people's voices sound upset or angry (which gets me all apprehensive but then I talk to them and everything's fine), and an ode to the client who cancelled this morning's meeting in favor of a phone conference just as I was ironing my "client shirt," thus allowing me to stay home in my underwear instead.

But my day took a turn for the worse around 3 when I fell and landed on a concrete block. How did I manage that? Well I'll tell you, I was standing on the edge of said block. Isn't that a rather stupid thing to do? Why yes it is, thank you for noticing. The block tipped over and took me with it, putting a nasty gash into my leg in the process. Luckily I have a few friends who work at home, and one of them, the fabulous artist David Terry, came over to take me to the emergency room.

David also brought me an ice pack and a fresh towel (the one I had been pressing against my leg was pretty disgusting by the time he got there) and the very helpful suggestion that we go someplace besides the emergency room. After a few minutes in voicemail hell trying to call my health insurance company (note to self: don't ever call the insurance company during an emergency! there is no way to talk to a human being! Or to go back if you push the wrong button!) we finally called the UNC Family Practice, where my regular doctor is. They told me to come to their urgant care clinic.

By that time Georg had gotten home, so he took me to the clinic. Which I think was definitely the way to go. It only took about an hour and a half, in and out the door. If we had gone to the emergency room I might still be there.

The nurse was a real sweetheart. The look on her face when she called my name and I hobbled over, my entire right shin a bloody mess, holding my ice bag and towel, was priceless. I said "I guess you don't need to ask me why I'm here!" and she replied "Where is the war?" I remember my one trip to the emergency room, years ago, being cold and frightening, full of uncaring, unfriendly people. But she was so nice, she really set me at ease. And she was good too -- cleaning the wound hardly hurt at all, and neither did the tetanus shot. And she was even thoughtful enough to find out that I'm lefthanded and give me the shot in my right shoulder.

The doctor was also very nice. He looked really young. I wonder if urgent care is a scut job they foist off on the younger doctors? Anyway, I ended up with eight stitches. I think I landed on the corner of the block, because the gash was kind of v-shaped. There's also a pretty big scrape under it, that the nurse said will probably hurt more than the stitches tomorrow. I think she's right because the scrape is getting swollen already. And she said I'm going to have some bruises too.

I kept thinking that this should have been nothing, after just having finished eighteen hours of tattooing. The stitching and the shot weren't that bad, much less traumatic than I had expected (I think I was a teenager last time I had had stitches, so no wonder I remembered it as a horrific experience!). And the painkiller (lidacain?) hurt way less than I expected. I remember novocaine burning as it seeped in, but this just felt a little tingly. But looking at the open wound really creeped me out. Instead of watching the doctor stitch me up, I watched Georg watching. From the look on Georg's face I could tell if it was really gross right then or not.

I did notice that he used a tiny little curved needle that looked like a miniature version of my upholstery needles. Which, when I thought about it, was a "duh" moment. Of course they need curved needles.

And of course there was the obligatory tetanus shot, because I couldn't remember my last one. Years ago a doctor told me that it's actually useless to get a tetanus shot after a wound. He said that a tetanus shot takes two weeks to take effect. If they really thought there was a chance of tetanus, there's some totally different emergency treatment they would administer. He said it's a myth; they basically lie to everyone in America and tell us all that the shot is necessary after a cut, just to make sure that everyone gets their shots on a regular basis. I have no idea if it's true or not, but not getting lockjaw seems like a good thing, so I've never argued the point when offered a tetanus shot.

Right now I feel fine. It's still pretty numb, the scrape stings a bit, as does the shoulder that got the tetanus shot, but hardly anything really. I'm supposed to take it easy, keep it covered and dry for ten days until the stitches come out. And no exercise during that time either. (So much for the twelve week exercise program that I was two weeks into.) Know what the worst part is? I meant to shave my legs this morning but forgot. Now I'm going to be all gross and stubbly for days.

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I've been playing around with I don't know if it has any practical value, but it certainly is a fun way to waste time. Well actually, I have gotten one useful piece of information from Friendster: there will be flash mob activity in this area and it will happen while I'm out of town. (Darn!) Anyway, if anyone reading this is on friendster, look me up!

Yesterday started out the day from hell, but ended up merely the day from heck. My planned schedule (which happened because I didn't remember what I had scheduled, and scheduled too many other things) was to start at 8:30 at my friend Santa Salsera's place, to get instructions on feeding her cat while she's on vacation. Then to the radio station at 9 for my show. Then drive to the office as fast as possible, get there around 12:40 for a late lunch. We had to talk about a big proposal after lunch, but I also had a hair appointment at 2. So I was figuring I'd have to go back to the office after getting my hair done, and probably wouldn't get home until close to 4. And still have to fit in an hour of weightlifting after that.

I hate crazy days like that. But things got a whole lot easier when I showed up at the station just before 9, and Brad, the guy I split the show with, got there at the same time. Turns out this wasn't my week to be on the air! I had gotten confused. Since I had so much to do, and Brad had to drive all the way out from Raleigh, and it really was his show, I gladly ceded the airtime to him and went home.

That meant I could go to the office earlier, so we had enough time to discuss the proposal and the whole day felt less rushed. And I even got some work done in the morning. What a relief.

My haircut turned out great by the way. Have I mentioned how much I love my hairdresser? Well I love him and everyone in the Triangle should call him for an appointment. This time he's done it so short that I don't really need to style it if I don't want to. Just comb it down, and it dries into an interesting shape on its own.

I think we're going to put the stereo on the victrola. That will free up some much needed space in the study -- right now the stereo is on my sewing table, which means that my sewing machine is set up on the drafting table, which isn't nearly sturdy enough for a machine with moving parts, the whole table shakes whenever I run the machine -- plus we'll be able to run speakers into the rest of the house. We can run the wires under the floor so it doesn't look too junky. Best of all, the victrola is bigger than my sewing table, big enough to set up the turntable. Yay, we'll be able to play vinyl again!


The housework continues. Today I got rid of all the junk that had been collecting on top of the victrola (actually got rid or put away, not just moved to another junk-collecting space), cleaned the outside of the victrola and gave it a coat of furniture oil. It's musty inside and eventually I want to air it out and get it functioning. We don't have any records for it, but we do have a little tin of needles and records can't be too hard to come by. But in the meantime, it looks a lot nicer and now we have a nice flat surface that we need to figure out what to do with. I'd like to assign that spot some purpose before I start leaving things on it and it becomes a junk repository again.

And I called Habitat for Humanity's thrift store & left a message to arrange a pick-up of the old furniture that's filling up the front porch. Georg just spent some time moving the furniture around so I can get to it, yay! I'll need to clean everything off before they pick it up. Everything's in good condition but it's all dusty from sitting out on the porch.

The horrible smell in the bedroom seems to be dissipating. Whew! I talked to my dad about it and he said that the carpet was likely made out of some synthetic that would tend to trap odors underneath. He thought my theory (the pet of a previous owner had picked that corner as its favorite accident spot) made sense. In fact, the same thing happened in our house when I was a kid: our first cat Charlie started having problems with accidents when he got old, but we didn't find out until we pulled up the carpet in that spot. I had forgotten all about that.

And I have discovered the wonders of l-glutamine. Which means that I am no longer too sore to walk the day after exercising. Again, whew.

I'm trying to develop better dedication to reviewing CDs for the radio station. For two reasons: first, I have a big stack of unreviewed albums on my desk making me feel guilty; second, the main RPM reviewer, Stephan, just left the country (and thus, the station). Without him, Georg and I are basically the only people reviewing RPM. So it just won't do for me to go for weeks without reviewing anything.

I'm actually a little concerned about the reviewing situation because Stephan knew a lot about genres of RPM that I know nothing about, and in some cases don't even particularly like. For instance that "glitch and click" stuff, I really can't stand it. But we get a lot of it, and so we're going to have to find someone who can review it. But first I'm going to worry about maintaining a steady flow of RPM onto the playlist.

With that in mind I've managed to get 2 new RPM CDs reviewed this past weekend and the week before. Good stuff too. My favorite is New York Lounge, part of the "Lounge" series that features club music from different cities. (And I'm tickled because it tied with the Cheb i Sabbah album for #2 on last week's playlist.) Also a great drum'n'bass album from London Elektricity, the new one from Jaga Jazzist, and another downtempo album based on a Paris nightclub. There are an awful lot of those floating around, but this one (Fabrique Presents Paris-Tokyo something-or-another) is pretty good.

Plus there were a few excellent albums for backfill: L'Etonnant Serge Gainsbourg, a "best of" Sammy Davis Jr. collection, and a five CD set of early Django Reinhardt. Sammy was the biggest disappointment: he's easily my favorite male vocalist, but this album was not his best work. It was almost all him covering show tunes from the early 60s. Lots of strings, lots of schmaltz. I much prefer swinging Rat Pack Sammy over schmaltzy "I Gotta Be Me" Sammy. Could have been worse though; it could have been sad, over the hill, "Here Comes the Judge" Sammy.

So it looks like my Sundays are going to be spent reviewing CDs for a good long while. At least this week the pile got smaller rather than bigger: I got four reviews out and only one new thing came in. It's great too: a !K7 compilation to commemorate their 150th release. I think it's going to move to the top of the review pile, so I can get it out on the playlist while it's still fresh.

Here's last week's RPM chart for WXDU. I'm counting the DJ Cheb i Sabbah and Madlib releases, even though the station isn't filing either one as RPM (the former is filed as world, the latter as urban). Because the Madlib album is on CMJ's RPM chart, and I'm sure the Cheb i Sabbah will be too.

# ARTIST Recording
3 MADLIB Shades Of Blue: Madlib Invades Blue Note
4 LONDON ELEKTRICITY Billion Dollar Gravy
5 SI BEGG Director's Cut
6 FONICA Ripple
7 POLE Pole
9 SWEET TRIP Velocity: Design: Comfort
10 KARSH KALE Liberation

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I think this is the weekend of housework projects that go awry. First, last night I did some more work on the bedroom carpet. Got another decent chunk up. Which somehow unleashed a truly horrible, fetid smell in the room. We can't figure out what it is. It's so bad that Georg actually checked under the house to see if something had died under there and it was coming through the vent in the corner. There was nothing down there, so our only theory is that a previous owner had a pet prone to accidents in that corner where the smell is worst, and the smell was trapped under the rug. In any case, whatever the cause of the hideous smell, I hope it's gone soon.

Then today I gave Thirteen a bath (at least that went okay) and then tried to clean the Ikea carpet. I must have put the spray foam on way too thick, because a) the can, which is supposed to cover a 12' x 16' area, ran out halfway through this 4' x 6' rug; b) it was supposed to dry in 15 minutes, but after 2 hours it's still damp. Argh! We had to shove the ottoman in the doorway to keep the dogs off the rug until it dries. Very frustrating.

Well on the bright side, Georg got a lot of yard work done this morning with no major mishaps. I think I'm going to take a little break from housework before I really screw something up.


Well I just wrote a huge long entry about my final tattoo session, and accidently closed the browser window instead of saving it. ARGH! So here's my attempt at a rewrite.

The tattoo is complete! Just about 18 hours of work, in 3 hour sessions. Here's a photo. I'm so happy with it. In fact, I luurve it. I never thought I would get such a big tattoo, but it's so beautiful. I have to keep it out of the sun for a month but I'm already looking into the (ahem) foundation garment options for halter tops. Apparently there's this thing called a convertible bra. I never knew that.

So anyway, enough about lingerie. Back to the tattoo. This session was pretty easy until the last half hour, which was excruciating. The last bit was the vines down at the bottom. There must be more nerves the closer you get to the butt. Also that curving vine in the center goes right over the spine several times. Yeow! That was the only time since that second session that he had to hold me down with one hand and work with the other. I tried as hard as I could not to move, but it really hurt. I wondered if he only lightly colored that area because I was having such a hard time. If so, I'm grateful.

One kind of weird thing was this one spot lower down, when he hit that spot it made the top of my shoulder itch! It happened on both sides. I mentioned it to him and he laughed, like he'd heard that before. I guess there must be some kind of nerve connection there.

The session took less time than I was expecting, mainly because he left that one big flower mostly white. My first impulse is that it looks unfinished, that I'm going to want to have it filled in like the others. But I'm going to give it a little time first. The orange is already growing on me so maybe the white flower will too. And I positively love the blue and purple ones.

Since it was the last session I took a photo of Rex, the tattoo artist. The photo looks pretty blued out, but the walls of the booth (and his gloves) really are that cyan color. When I took the photo he was just getting set up, and you can see the little cups of ink and the needles on the counter next to him. The big plastic cup is water for rinsing off the needle between colors. And that shelf up on the top left corner holds trophies from tattoo conventions.

The tissues hanging on the walls behind him are all pieces he's working on. He's a busy guy! There had to be six full back pieces on that wall. There was one right in my eye-line today, so I spent a lot of time staring at it, that was actually a little weird. It was of a Japanese demon that was half tarantula, half elegant lady (like a spider centaur), being chopped by a big horned demon holding a big old sword. There were also three heads hovering around the horned demon's midsection. I wasn't sure if the heads were ghosts watching the proceedings, or a basket of heads he'd already killed. I meant to ask but I forgot. Anyway this tattoo was huge, I was kind of surprised that it would fit on someone's back. But Rex said it was a big guy.

Anyway, I can hardly believe the tattoo's finished. It's finished! He wants me to go back in a couple of weeks so we can see if it needs any touching up. And he'll take photos for his portfolio.

Well I think I wrote more in my original post, but that's all I can remember for the rewrite. Woo! The tattoo's done!


I've been doing doing doing stuff lately. On Sunday I started this new exercise program called Body for Life. It's twelve weeks of weightlifting and running on alternate days. I've been at it for four days and I'm so sore I'm having trouble walking. I'm assuming it gets easier but in the meantime I bought a supplement called l-glutamine that's supposed to help with soreness.

OK, besides becoming a weightlifting fool, I'm also getting more into housework. The Ikea rug gets dirty so fast from the dogs sleeping on it, that I've gotten in the habit of vacuuming every day. And it's getting dingy, so I bought some carpet cleaning stuff to try tomorrow. And I'm trying to whittle away at the mess in other rooms too. The house is almost presentable and I'd like to get rid of the "almost."

Also I started pulling up the nasty old carpet in the bedroom. That's the last nasty carpet left in the house, and is it ever awful. It's brown and yellow outdoor carpet that I'm guessing has been there about 25 years (I found a 1974 dime under it). The worst part is that the carpet pad has almost completely disintegrated. So there's a layer of grey dust about 1/4" thick under the carpet, that has to be scraped and/or scrubbed off the floor. Thank god we have a hepa filter, otherwise there's no way we could sleep in that room with all that dust. I'm doing the carpet in bits and pieces but have a good chunk of the room done.

(By the way, no major floor disasters yet like the big patch we found in the hall, but I did find a minor one: two floorboards that are coming apart, with a big piece of duct tape over them. Yes of course, if I had a damaged hardwood floor, I'd tape it in place and slap a cheap-ass carpet over it. And not even clean the floor well enough to keep from leaving a dime under there. That's exactly what I'd do.)

And on top of that, I got an urge and pulled out a little sweater that I had been working on last winter and had never finished. So I'm knitting while I watch TV in the evenings. I'm almost done but I need to look up a better way to cast off. The way I've been doing it has no elasticity, it's screwing up the armholes.

Maybe I'm in a manic phase or something. Here's hoping I get a lot accomplished before settling back into lethargy and aimlessness.



I noticed recently that Wachovia has a new logo. It's sort of swirly, green and blue. In contrast to the flashy new graphic, the logo typeface is extremely conservative. In fact, it's very similar to the type used on US currency. It's not so obvious in the logo I linked to on this page, but on the storefront signage the type even has an engraved look, like on money. When I saw the new logo on the sign outside their branch I took an immediate dislike to it. I couldn't put my finger on what bothered me about it, but something definitely did.

Then recently I saw a TV commercial that explained that First Union and Wachovia had merged. (I should have guessed there was some kind of corporate restructuring, because my Wachovia credit card had changed its name in the past couple of months.) The ad showed the old Wachovia logo (blue) and old First Union logo (green) sort of melting down and then flowing over each other, with swirly lines, to create the new logo. As soon as I saw the ad I knew why the logo was so off-putting:

1. It looks like a jumbled mess, created by mashing the two old logos together without any sense of unity. Which creates the impression that the corporate merge was equally chaotic. The message of the new logo is "We failed to integrate the two organizations. We're still in flux. We don't know who we are."

2. The ultra-conservative type clashes badly with the trendy, swirly graphic. I guess they were going for an image of stability but it doesn't work for me at all. Besides, I think that using the typeface found on currency for a bank's logo is way too obvious to be effective. They were trying to say "We are as trustworthy as the US Treasury," but what they end up saying is "We're so stodgy and opposed to change that our corporate merge was bound to go badly."

OK, enough ranting about corporate advertising. Just be glad I didn't talk about that TV commercial where the little toe infection goblin lifts up a big toenail and crawls inside. Eeeeew!


I got a letter a couple of days ago from someone who had bought the deck and was disappointed. She wanted to know why the cards didn't feature more famous Victorians. She specifically felt that there should have been historical figures on the trumps. I don't feel I can reprint her letter, but here's my reply:

I'm not sure quite how to answer your question. The simple truth is that there aren't more historical figures in the deck because that isn't what the deck is about. What I mean is, I was trying to make a collage deck using Victorian art, not a deck about famous Victorian people.

I have noticed in decks where all the cards (or even just all the trumps) are based on a theme of people, songs, stories or what-have-you, that at some point the system almost always breaks down. Some of the cards seem like a perfect fit, but some have to be shoehorned into place somewhat awkwardly. I also find it somewhat limiting to assign cards to people or stories: it attaches too much context, focusing the interpretation in one direction, away from other valid interpretations. I felt that using more anonymous art as source material left the cards freer to mean what the reader wants them to mean.

I did use historical figures for the court cards because I had decided to use Victoria as all the queens, so it seemed to make sense. But with the exception of Oscar Wilde as the Prince of Wands, all the courts are not so much famous icons, but people from Victoria's immediate circle. Having Wilde in there messed up the symmetry a bit, but his story was such a good fit for the Prince of Wands that I just had to.

I hope that answers your question. Thanks again for writing.

Although I was taken aback by the letter at first, in a way I'm glad she wrote because it helped me clarify my thoughts about an aspect of the deck I had never examined before. It simply never occurred to me that people would expect the deck to feature famous people on every card. And she wrote me back a very nice reply, that she had spent more time with the deck since her first email and was able to enjoy it for what it is, not what she expected it to be. Which made me feel much better about the whole exchange.

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Had my fifth tattoo session today. Here's a photo. I'm not as crazy about the orange one as I thought I would be. It's so .. orange. I do like the purple and blue ones a lot. The red one (which you can't really see in the photo) has some veiny stuff inside the petals that I think it really cool, but it was a bit unexpected so I need a little time to get used to it. And I really like the light shading on the other sides of the long leaves. Very subtle.

Next time the biggest flowers will be blue and purple, which will be good. I'm not too stressed out about the radioactive orange. I'll give it a year, and if it hasn't faded to a softer color I can always have it done over in a more muted orange.

Nothing really interesting or note-worthy happened this time. Except that at one point, he leaned over too far and gave me a shock from the needle gun. Yow! We weren't sure at first what had happened, but it hurt a lot, way up higher than where he was working. And he pointed out one part of the gun that sometimes could give a shock. Maybe there's a loose wire or something? I guess it doesn't bother him because he always wears gloves while working. Does latex protect from electric shocks?

Again, the Advil made a big difference. Most of this session was pretty easy: I could tell that it hurt, but for the most part it didn't bother me. (if that makes sense.) We're going to try and finish next time. He thinks he can get it all done but the session may run a bit long. We still have four flowers, the backs of two more long leaves, and a bit more green vines down at the bottom. It will be tough to get all that done, I usually start to lose my tolerance after about 2 1/2 hours, but I'm really excited about being done.

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