Sunday, January 18, 2015

Worth a Look

Here are a few posts from last week's Greenpage that might be worth your time...

How Artists Can Fight Back Against Cities That Are Taking Advantage of Them by Jen Graves

The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper: If aliens from outer space landed in Belltown right now, they would probably see the huge banner on the high-rise that says "ARTHOUSE" and expect the building to be a house of art. Silly aliens. Arthouse is one of downtown Seattle's new luxury apartment towers. Arthouse calls itself "Your canvas for a creative lifestyle," "A Palette of Everything Plus," and "A Masterpiece of Form and Function" where "murals by local artists mirror the soul of the neighborhood."

Can artists Procreate Without Going Bankrupt?

Jennifer Rivera: I'm a member of two different Facebook groups that have frequent postings; one of them is a group for moms, many of whom also happen to be artists. The other one is a forum for classical singers, a few of whom happen to be parents. There isn't a lot of crossover topics between the two groups -- but this week, unrelated to one another, I read a post on my classical singer group asking whether people who had kids felt that it affected their careers as singers, and another post on my mom's page asking whether any artists that were also parents were managing to keep their artistic careers going while still staying afloat financially.

10 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Intellectual Property Law How well do you understand copyright and trademark law? When you travel about the Internet or make art, do you know what you are and aren't allowed to do, or do you have intellectual property myths stuck in your brain. We take a few claims we've seen time and again, and compare them to the law.

With Steubenville case as basis, CMU play aims to examine 'rape culture'

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: During her first trip to the United States, New Zealander Eleanor Bishop read an article about the 2012 rape case involving high school students in Steubenville, Ohio.

She was “horrified and moved and fascinated,” and it wasn’t long before she was channeling her feelings toward a theatrical work.

“I was filled with a kind of curious, furious anger about it — I wanted to find out what had happened and why,” said Ms. Bishop, 28, a self-described “feminist artist who creates documentary theater.”

How "Shahs Of Sunset" Is Changing Hollywood

Fast Company | Business + Innovation: One morning in September, the 16 editors working on the reality show Shahs of Sunset picked up their belongings and left their office in downtown Los Angeles. They were going on strike.

Hollywood remains a stronghold of private sector unions but for much of its short history, reality television has been an exception. Initially, many reality show crew members were young and came from the documentary world, said Vanessa Holtgrewe of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


I was doing better there for a while, and then, less so...  We're back to class.  This semester features MW back to backs.  3 Hours of talking is a long time...  Apparently the battery in my car hates the cold more than I do.  On the upside I now own a portable jump-starter...  The attic project came to an abrupt pause.  I should have spanked that out in October.  Oops...  I'm not sure how but the summer of 2015 appears to be filling up...  I really need to cull my RSS feeds.  There's so much there I probably see the equivalent of nothing at all...  60 Minutes really seemed to softball the CEO of UPMC from my perspective, and pretty well softballed their whole business model too...  Softballed is apparently not a word...  I wonder if there's any reasoning to why the cat becomes so much more friendly immediately after grooming...  Since the normal way structures and physics are typically taught in theatre schools involved no calculus would a book showing how you would do it with calculus have any function?  Surely it must...  Saw Into the Woods this weekend.  Liked it less than seeing it on stage.  Having to me recollection only done it twice in my career I certainly have a good deal of it committed to memory...  I am wondering what a co-written musical from Stephen Sondheim and Aaron Sorkin would sound like...  It's going to be a while until we're cord cutters, but I think I see it on the horizon more than ever before...  Seeing the nominees for the Golden Globes just drove home how little TV or Film I've seen in the past year...  Today when describing lauan I compared it to Dolphin Fish, like you do... 

Friday, January 09, 2015

Coulda Done Better

Coulda done worse...

7 out of 11 with one more day to go.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Classes This Spring

The new semester starts Monday.  I've got until then to get four courses configured.  This coming semester I am teaching (again):

  • Basic PTM
  • Scenic Fabrication & Installation
  • Entertainment Rigging
  • Studiocraft AutoCAD
I think that this is maybe the 8th time through the first two classes, something like the 6th for the rigging class, and a whopping 14th time through the CAD class.

By Monday I need completed syllabi for the first two classes.  I have until Friday for the second two.  I think the Scenofab syllabus will be complete but I am dubious about the BPTM edition.  Basic PTM has something on the order of 14 guest spots and over the years it has become more and more difficult to pin those dates down before the semester actually begins; so for that class I think the written part of the syllabus will be done, but the schedule will be a mass of TBDs.  This is compounded this semester because for at least 7 of the sessions I not only need to find a date but I actually need to find someone to appear.

The Entertainment Rigging syllabus will also probably come with a bunch of TDBs on the schedule.  In this case it is built that way.  The class content is composed of student presentations.  The students pick a pool of topics which are then assigned to them randomly (although after the assignments are made they are allowed to trade) and then once the students have their topics they pick the presentation dates they want (theoretically based on the demands of their schedules).  Usually it works out that I do the early sessions and they sort of fill in from the end of the semester forward.

I could probably do a CAD syllabus with one hand tied behind my back while blindfolded.  There's good and bad parts to that.  Biggest issue there is not being stale.  Lately the class has been more difficult for me than the kids.  Every time AutoDesk revises the program and the interface they seem to make it more intuitive - so easier for the kids to pick up (since they don't know the legacy interface) and more difficult for me to learn - old dog new tricks.  I have a grad assistant that wants to teach this class this round.  That's not hard to say yes to.

Be nice if I could crank through this paperwork tomorrow.  Watch this space to find if I managed it.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

TANBI Florida Tour 2014

It was time for the boy to do a Florida swing. First off he helped us pack - that's usually Freya's job. This also hatched a Shark Tank idea: "Suitcase/Pack & Play."

He did ok on the flight down.  Passed out on the tray tables.  We lucked out and the middle seat between me and Mrs. TANBI was empty, so we had a little more room to operate.

First stop was to see his Great-Grandmother.  I never got to meet a great grandparent, so I though this was really cool.  I'm not sure the boy understood the significance.  Did you know that babies under 3 aren't allowed in public pools in Palm Beach County?  So, no swimming here, just enjoying the atmosphere.

Since there was no swimming at the pool we made a side trip to the beach.  Once we got there we decided that there was a lot of potential for swallowing sea water and/or sand, so it was a good time, but we'll have to take him back when he's older to get the whole experience.

Sandwiching the beach trip the boy got to meet his Great Aunt.  Shouldn't that really be "Grand Aunt?"  It's my mother's sister or the boy's grandmother's sister.  That sounds like Grand Aunt to me rather than Great Aunt.  Whatever the true name of the relationship she is both Great and Grand.

The logistics of taking these photos clearly preoccupied my posing for it.  Also, the odds of snapping the shutter when the baby is looking at the camera... unlikely.  Clearly I have quite a bit to work on as family photographer.

And then it was time for the trip home.  We scored an empty middle seat again and the boy was the hit of the plane.

Now he's already looking forward to his next adventure.


Didn't make any project progress today, that was probably a mistake...  I wonder if it would have come out different if instead of playing and getting hurt the Steelers and Bengals had just flipped a coin...  The temperature difference here between yesterday and today was like 50 degrees...  Fun seeing Sig on Apprentice.  Doesn't seem like he's doing much talking though...  The boy had a fussy day today.  Here's hoping it isn't a streak...  Looking for tips on travel to Israel...  Watched "Arbitrage" last night.  Pretty neat script...  Sling is starting a TV over the internet service.  Might be that much closer to cutting the cable...  The office was pretty quiet today, except for that guy pounding grommets in the shop...  I've really fallen off on the Highland Park document processing/shredding.  I should get back to that...  Six days left until classes start again.  Guess I should get my butt in gear...  My sister sent a whole box of toys for the boy for the holidays.  Really nice gesture...  I couldn't find a door swing limiter at Target, but I bet they have them - although the web site says no...  Really missing Station Street Dogs.  Might have to explore Franktuary...  My feeds are making me miss Vegas, although even if I were there I probably wouldn't be at CES...  I wish it were possible to declare a one year ban on Presidential campaigning...  Just because you say you will help to challenge racism doesn't imply that people around you are racist...  Congress is coming back.  It doesn't give me a warm feeling inside...  I don't understand why government, even school board really, have governance over curriculum - or more accurately over curricular specifics...

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Plugging Away

Got moving on the attic project a little today.  The weather was good and it just seemed like too good a chance to miss.  Pretty much all along I've thought the most difficult part of the job was going to be moving materials.  There's a flight and a half of stairs from the garage to the front door.  There's two flights of stairs from the first floor to the second.  After that there's another flight and a half's worth of attic ladder.

That's a lot of up.

To ease into it I started with insulation.  The moving equivalent would be boxes of pillows - leave the books for later.  Even with very little weight, eight times up and down like 40 steps I did start to feel it.

The first step in the actual work was to install the insulation on the existing wall.

It doesn't look like much but it's a start.  I have to take a half a second out to give a plug for the plastic encapsulated JM ComfortTherm insulation.  I'd been dreading the insulation part of this job (if you're keeping track that's the second dread) and this stuff is awesome.  Through all the work you basically don't ever touch the batting and the cover serves as a vapor barrier so you can skip that step.  Also, the casing has flanges on the side that ride over the studs for staples.  It was a little more expensive but for me it was 100% worth it.

Since the ball was rolling and the weather was odd (mid 50's the first week of January) I decided to move to another step.  I could have moved 2x4's up to the attic or I could go buy drywall.  I opted for drywall.

I'd been dreading moving the drywall (#3).  Partly it was because I wasn't sure how it would fit on my roof rack.  I'd danced around the job for a week trying to decide if I was going to buy a new roof rack for drywall.  Obviously I opted for a DIY solution over purchasing what I found would have been about a $300 commercial rack (although I think it might still fit inside the number the contractor quoted me).

Somewhere along the way I'd forgotten how heavy this stuff was.  I really should have brought a helper to the home center.  I think I'd talked myself into thinking it wouldn't be difficult because I'd found 1/4" drywall as opposed to 1/2".  Unfortunately the 1/4" was a dollar more per sheet than 3/8" and even after I'd talked myself into the cost I determined that the stuff was so brittle that I'd never get it moved.

So 7 @ 4x8 3/8" dual drywall sheets - 90# per pack.  I loaded it onto a dolly myself as packs.  When I got to the car I split them into individual sheets.  When I got to the very last sheet a Home Depot guy showed up to help - thanks.

Unloading at home was easier than loading at the store.  I have not one clue as to how I am going to get these things up all those stairs.  Certainly have to do some pre-cutting (I don't think a 4x8 will pass the attic access anyway).

Wish me luck.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Books 2014

It looks like I read 28 books this past year.  Some combination of buying a kindle and having the baby really upped the output.  I think I probably read less than 10 books in 2013.

Here's the top 10:

Woken Furies (Takeshi Kovacs Novels Book 3)
Richard K. Morgan
Broken Angels (Takeshi Kovacs Novels Book 2)
Richard K. Morgan
The Final Reflection (Star Trek: The Original Series)
John M. Ford
A Stitch in Time (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
Andrew J. Robinson
Saturn's Children
Charles Stross
Year Zero: A Novel
Rob Reid
Stand on Zanzibar
John Brunner
Love Minus Eighty
Will McIntosh
The Peripheral
William Gibson
Song of Spider-Man: The Inside Story of the Most..
Glen Berger

The number one book there is obviously colored by my vocation, and that I even know some of the people involved somewhat tangentially.  Number two, the latest from William Gibson continues the streak he started quite some time ago with each book being better than the last.  The biggest surprise I think is the Brunner title "Stand on Zanzibar" as it was first published in 1968 but still holds up really well.  I'm not sure I liked either of the Takeshi Kovacs books as much as the first one, but I am also fairly sure I read Altered Carbon sometime in 2013.

Here's the rest in no particular order (ok, it's alphabetical order):

A Fire in the Sun (The Budayeen Cycle Book 2)
George Alec Effinger

Channel Blue
Jay Martel

Heaven and Mel (Kindle Single)
Joe Eszterhas

How Much for Just the Planet? (Star Trek: The Original..
John M. Ford

Neptune's Brood
Charles Stross

Orson Scott Card

Robert B. Parker's Blind Spot (Jesse Stone Novels Book 13)
Reed Farrel Coleman

Robert B. Parker's Cheap Shot (Spenser series Book 42)
Ace Atkins

Robert B. Parker's Damned If You Do (Jesse Stone Novels Book..
Michael Brandman

Robert B. Parker's Wonderland (Spenser Book 41)
Ace Atkins

Ruins (Pathfinder Book 2)
Orson Scott Card

Scoundrels: Star Wars (Star Wars - Legends)
Timothy Zahn

The Best of All Possible Worlds: A Novel
Karen Lord

The Exile Kiss (The Budayeen Cycle Book 3)
George Alec Effinger

Torchwood: Exodus Code (Torchwood Series)
Carole E. Barrowman

Visitors (Pathfinder Book 3)
Orson Scott Card

When Gravity Fails (Budayeen Book 1) 
George Alec Effinger

Yesterday's Kin
Nancy Kress
Channel Blue had a shot at the top ten but started out much more interesting than it finished.  The internet seems crazy about "How much for just the planet" but I just don't see it.  It's a TOS Star Trek book rendered as a musical.  I think maybe the excitement is over possibly seeing it performed as opposed to the book being particularly good.

Here's hoping this year's list is even longer.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

And Another Project

Keeping a list?  You can add "build room in the attic."

We bought a new furnace a little while back.  When we did the buy the march of progress took us from a 75% efficient unit to a 90+% efficient unit.  That was swell.  But there's a wrinkle.  The new, more efficient units have a water line and a drain.  In many installations this wouldn't matter even a little bit, but in this particular case it does because the furnace is in the attic.  The attic of our house is insulated on the floor such that air can come in through the eaves to cool the roof in the summer.  This arrangement means the roofing lasts longer, but the attic is vulnerable to freezing in the winter.

Most of the time one wouldn't care if the attic froze as long as the house underneath it remains toasty warm.  That was true of our house right up until we installed a furnace in the attic that had a water line.  FWIW we complicated it a little too by adding a humidifier - I mean as long as water was going to be a problem we might as well go all in, right?

So I have to build a room in the attic.

My thought was to get a guy.  The job is mostly within my skillset, but I figured it would be nice to have someone else to blame when something comes out less than.  I had a number in my head - well a couple numbers: what I thought the materials cost would be, what I thought the bid would be, what I wanted to pay, and what I thought I'd get away with.  When the bid came in it was about 100% over the number I thought the initial bid would be.

So I have to build a room in the attic.

A couple of days ago I made a start...

When I started the job I started a spreadsheet.  Gonna be interesting to see where I come in against the number I got from the contractor.  On the first day I learned something new about my car: the roof rack on my car (having traded my truck in after the boy was born) will hold 16 2x4's on a single layer.

The loading thing has been bugging me for a while.  Somewhere along the way I am going to have to bring in some sheet-rock and the roof rack really won't accommodate it.  Suddenly I'm cruising the internet looking for rack bars that are sized to accommodate sheet goods.  Kind of a bummer.  Most of the time when I do a home project I manage to find a way to buy a new tool along the way.  This job felt right for a cordless mitre saw, but now it looks like I might have to do a roof rack.

Or I guess I could just rent a truck for the day.

Watch this space for project updates.


HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!  First year home on NYE for a decade.  Mixed drinks and cake are a reasonable substitute for surplus pizza and peanut M&M's...  Seems like there weren't any New Year's repercussions for that movie...  Please everyone send positive thoughts for Le'Veon Bell's knee...  Fixed my chair today and it didn't break because I am huge...  Well, at least we didn't lose all our fantasy football games, but probably enough to keep me from doing it again...  Mrs. TANBI has undertaken a massive photo project.  Could be really cool...  HBO ran The Wire in a marathon this week, cost me some sleep.  Good TV though...  Tuesday night came and went last night - forgot the trash, oops...  It wasn't as magical as I had hoped, but putting the sheave in the freezer did most of the job...  Already more tired of hearing about Jeb Bush than of Hilary Clinton...  I've got too many issues requiring resolutions to make resolutions...  How come none of the movie preview articles are listing Jupiter Ascending?  I hope it hasn't been pushed back...  Thinking of buying a rack to put on the rack on my car.  I hope that's not stupid...  Need to write an IFTTT recipe for welcome messages to new followers on @NFTRW_Feed...  A little bit not having work somewhat complicates parenting...  It might be time to start putting some real brainpower toward the spring classes...  What time I didn't lose to The Wire this past week was lost to Alpha Centauri...  Amazon asked me to review a book the other day and I have no recollection of reading it.  I guess that ought to be the review...  MSNBC appears to have given pretty much all their on-air talent the whole week off...  I wonder if 2015 will have as many changes for me as 2014...