Monday, December 24, 2012

Tragedy in New Ipswich

A Sunday morning fire at 63 Huse Road in New Ipswich has claimed the life of two people. Joshua Prince (27) perished trying to save his 2 year old nephew. His parents were airlifted to UMass Medical School in Worcester and are in intensive care.

A online donation page for the Prince Family has been established. Please considering making a donation.

Click for link to Prince Family Fund Raiser at

Friday, December 14, 2012

Tragedy in Connecticut

Statement by the President on the School Shooting in Newtown, CT
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room 
3:15 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  This afternoon, I spoke with Governor Malloy and FBI Director Mueller.  I offered Governor Malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation, and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the victims, counsel their families.
We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years.  And each time I learn the news I react not as a President, but as anybody else would -- as a parent.  And that was especially true today.  I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do. 
The majority of those who died today were children -- beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old.  They had their entire lives ahead of them -- birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.  Among the fallen were also teachers -- men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams. 
So our hearts are broken today -- for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost.  Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early, and there are no words that will ease their pain. 
As a country, we have been through this too many times.  Whether it’s an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago -- these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children.  And we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.
This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter and we’ll tell them that we love them, and we’ll remind each other how deeply we love one another.  But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight.  And they need all of us right now.  In the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans.  And I will do everything in my power as President to help.
Because while nothing can fill the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need -- to remind them that we are there for them, that we are praying for them, that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories but also in ours.
May God bless the memory of the victims and, in the words of Scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Decorating the Tree and Myself

Today was the day to put some lights on the tree. I just couldn't resist trying to create a free floating tree of light in the tradition of Jackson Pollock.

I decided I would try a bit of seasonal flair on myself. The photo is a bit disturbing.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Monadnock Mountain Music Jam

I attended a  post Thanksgiving Bluegrass and Old Timey music jam at the Temple Town Hall. It's always a great event. A group of local music enthusiasts join in to play my favorite genre of music.

Bring along a dish to share, your instruments, singing voice and a mere $5 donation and enjoy this monthly event.  The next jam will be held on December 9th from 3 to 7 PM.

Check out  Monadnock Mountain Music Jaffrey on Facebook for more photos, scheduled events and more.

A few photos of the event

 Tuning an autoharp takes some time

 Jerry, Fred and Joe

Monday, November 26, 2012

Let's see "The Insect Trust" available for download

I thought I knew of all the eclectic music of the late 60s and 70s. How did I possibly miss The Insect Trust?

I went to iTunes, Amazon and Google Play on a quest to find their albums to download but came up with nothing.

I never would have heard of them if it weren't a Fresh Air Segment on them called  Insect Trust: An American Band Deconstructed which inspired me to look for them.

Luckily I found some YouTube recordings. Much of the music from that era has faded into obscurity for good reason, but this band needs to be re-discovered and distributed.

Are you listening Google Play?

#CyberMonday and #IngressInvite, a strange conjunction

I was one of the lucky ones that received an #IngressInvite from Google. I installed it on my Nexus 7 and it never launched. I was saddened since the game is in Beta and the activation code is a hot and sought after commodity. Ingress is a role playing game of sorts. I'm not a gamer but this captured my attention. I posted the trailer on this blog posting.

I posted the code on this blog and immediately saw a spike of page viewing activity. Someone must have used it because others commented it no longer was valid. One poor soul kept asking me to send it to him, assuming I had a treasure trove of these. I'm a Google fan-boy but that only goes so far.

The next day I was fiddling with the tablet with some music software when I discovered the setting for GPS. Why did I not have this turned on? The most important thing for this game is the discovery of the portals. The program launched and asked for the code which was rendered useless by my foolish largess.

The code is useless but all is not lost. My blog received an increase of page views. I feel like a minor celebrity. Notice the peak on the day I "released" the code.

Many page views might increase clicks on my monetized widgets, so all is not lost, especially on Cyber Monday! Click away dear friends!

Now I need to beg Google for another invite code... sigh! Save up for a tablet with a front facing camera.

Here are the stats on my holiday traffic on this blog.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cyber Monday


Some may enjoy the mob scene on "Gray Thursday" or "Black Friday" fighting over a $39  DVD player that will become obsolete by summer,but honestly isn't it more relaxing to kick back with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and order your gifts online?

The friendly UPS, USPS and FEDEX folks will drive to your house and bring you what you need. No crowds, no exposure to flu viruses, no traffic.

You want the Christmas feeling? Visit a Christmas Tree Farm and have a cup of hot cider. That is one thing you CAN'T recreate online.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Tis' the season for SPENDING!

We haven't even awakened from a Tryptophan coma when it was time to shuffle off for Gray Thursday, followed by Black Friday.

I have little interest in these two shopping events, I'm waiting for folks to use my shopping link on Cyber Monday (located conveniently above this posting).

However this post is about the third daily event in this shopping series, called  "Small Business Saturday".

The temperature on Saturday had dropped significantly from the previous two days and there were a few errant snow flakes. I stopped by D.J. Hussey Farm in Townsend MA to photograph their Christmas tree operation. 

What could be more iconic of a small business than a family farm. What could be more iconic of the Christmas Season than fields of Balsam and Fraser Fir?

Wonderful spot to visit and the light and weather were just right for a few photos.

  • D.J. Hussey Farm (Christmas Trees, Blueberries, Strawberries, Pumpkins)
  • 20 Burgess Road
  • Townsend, MA 01469
  • (978) 597-6891

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Rockaways give thanks

Happy Thanksgiving

Plaid Friday Shopping

Christmas is a mere month away and I'll be doing much of my Christmas shopping at the New Ipswich Green Center. However, many of you should check out your local swap shops located near your local landfill.

Reduce - Recycle and Reuse (swap shop)

Frost Heaves native  Fred Marple explains:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ingress - The Niantic Project - Fringe

I'm genetically  drawn to certain genres of fantasy and science fiction. I watched Twilight Zone when it was first aired, Outer Limits,X Files Lost. On the printed page HP Lovecraft and J.R.R. Tolkien are my idols.

X Files was interesting because it never really explained what was going on. There was this great undercurrent of shadowy conspiracy. I would have loved to be one of the Lone Gunmen team. I guess I possess a  bit  of the personality and even the profession for it (as a software Asperger type).

We are now in the fifth and final season of Fringe, a worthy companion piece to other television ministries. With the clock ticking I was wondering what would take it's place when I started noticing a a trending theme on Google+ with the hash tag #Ingress.

I'm not a gamer, I really don't have the manual dexterity to kill mutants or propel birds at green pigs, however there is something intriguing about the "Niantic Project" with it's implied secret dark knowledge.

Since I have a Nexus-7, I signed up for an invite... you have to admit it is great marketing if nothing else and truly it is nothing else.

Watch how many times an Android phone appears in this video

Fine Art America hacked!

UPDATE! (11/19/12 - 16:40)
The FineArts sites are no longer triggering a malware alert BUT since this happened before I will not be putting any FineArts links and widgets on this blog until they find away to restrict users ability to hack the site.

Details of the recent incident are available on the Stop Badware Site.

My original post below:

What's up Fine Arts America?

Your site has been hacked with Malware, or one of your users has inserted a bad link. I was unpleasantly surprised that my blog set off alarms on Chrome until I determined that my Fine Arts slideshow and RSS feed gadgets had triggered the flagging. They are removed and my blogs and website are safe again.

This comes at a horrible time, since I am hoping for some sales and referrals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

I feel sorry for the FineArts personnel which will need to track this problem down, fix it and rebuild trust with its artists and customers, a costly undertaking.

People that Hack,Spam and pollute others work are criminals and should be prosecuted as such.

Here is an example of a message that might appear on the a compromised site:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Daily photo theme #zensunday

I have created three blogs with different themes. This is the original which I intended as a personal journal. later I created Musings which was going to be a bit more about politics and rants about society. I added a third which I intended for photography topics and examples.

However this remains the most popular of the three with 271 posts, comments and a few followers. So I asked myself why not stay with the winner? I have a tendency to spread my self a little thin.

As I've written before, I participate in sharing daily photos around a theme. Today the theme is #zensunday.
It is described by the curators as follows:

Zen Sunday is Curated by Charlotte Therese BjörnströmNathan Wirth and Simon Kitcher

#ZenSunday is about simple beauty: simply beautiful, expressive and pure images which fills one, who sees them, with inner peace and spiritual energy. Contemplative, mindful and serene photos. Creative use of negative space and an artistic touch can be part of shaping that zen feeling.
Nice eh?

This is my contribution, which is garnering a fair amount of comments:

Sharing Photos with Google+ events

One underutilized feature of Google+ is the ability to create online "events". This is a useful way to create collaborative photo albums around a common theme.

I have created a few of these and invited friends, family and the public to upload photos and add their comments. When the event date arrives, they can be viewed as a running slideshow featuring all the uploaded photos. Ar random times the show stops and a credit page appears naming all the contributing photographers. It's pretty slick to watch.

My next event is going to be one to mark the End of the World on Dec 21st. That is open to all inhabitants of our home planet. I encourage all to come and share their last thoughts. You can find it at this link.

If the world is intact on Dec 22nd, I progress with a family Christmas event.

Any Google+ user can create an event and invite whoever they wish. I'm including a short video to show how to upload photos to share.

The event tab can be located on the left side of your Google+ page. Have fun!

From Help Me

Monday, November 05, 2012

Wood Heat


I've held back on the first fire of the 2012-2012 fall/winter season but today after seeing a few flakes I relented. Nothing warms you as much as a wood stove. Ahhhhh!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Banjo Boys

I finally figure out why I haven't mastered playing the 5 string banjo.

I'M TOO OLD!  These guys are amazing

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone. Let me be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas! As you know the day after Halloween marks the official start to the Christmas Holiday Season.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dreams of Kirina

The Playing For Change Foundation is building a new music school in the Village of Kirina, Mali.  Kirina is a village of musicians, some of whom can trace their musical ancestry back over 75 generations!  In this very special episode West African music legend Baaba Maal and friends perform for the village elders in honor of the new "Playing For Life" music school that is just beginning construction.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Flooring with the Dewalt DCF895

I was helping my son with his kitchen renovation. We were working with a cement type backer board which incredibly dense (and heavy).

I had taken along my Makita cordless and figured we'd work together drilling down the flooring.

My son's latest purchase was this Dewalt 895 driver. In typical fatherly fashion I  was ready to tease him about such an expensive purchase since I knew he already owned a cordless drill. My opinion changed abruptly when I actually used this powerhouse.

My poor Makita just couldn't hack driving screws through cement board. I ended up putting it back into its case. Considering each 3 foot by 5  foot board requires enough screws to be spaced 8 inches apart, it kept going and going. I finally asked when the battery was going to run flat (as they say in England).

I was intrigued by the fact that this uses a brushless motor. I couldn't fathom how you can get a direct current motor to work without brushes. I guess I haven't been paying attention to technology advances in the last few decades.

I grew up in an era where the kitchen mixer, electric drills and blenders would send out a stream of sparks as the brushes would rub against the commutator, reversing the current flow, reversing the magnetic field of the armature and creating the torque of the device. These appliances and tools used series motors which have their greatest torque when stalled. Just the thing when you are trying to mix up some thick cookie dough or drill through a brick. The brushes eventually wear out and I've actually changed a few in my time.

The brushless direct current  motors are actually being powered by alternating current produces by electronic circuitry, since all electric motors require a switching of the magnetic field.

I found a flash animation that demonstrates this.

The subfloor is down, it is not going anywhere since it is set in cement and screwed in place. My knees ache even with the knee pads and we still have the tiling to do. I wish there was a tool to make that easier.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bluegrass Jam - Oct 14, 2012

Had a great time playing and listening to music with the MMMJ crowd in Temple NH.

I have created a Facebook Page for the group which will have listings for the Jams and other music venues.

Here are a few photos:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Earthquake 7:13PM - Oct 16th 2012

Earthquake epicenter was  43.611°N 70.661°W depth=5.0km (3.1mi) (Maine)

Felt it distinctly at 7:13PM here in New Ipswich. Naturally the phones went dead as folks would call and say "Did you feel that".

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pleasure Island Wakefield, MA

Little did I think that the location of my post retirement job would be located at the site of a former theme park "Pleasure Island" in Wakefield, MA.

Remember "Freedom Land" in Bronx NY? It was built by the same folks who built this place.

It is now an office park, but a nice one with some great man-made ponds and walking paths. Thankfully I get to work from home most of the time since the commute is long.

Here it is in present day:

And here is a look back through time: