Tuesday, December 28, 2010

After the Snow

The first real snowstorm of the season was more plain "cold and windy" than snow. Less than a foot here, except where it drifted. Still, it's a reminder of wintertime.

Just Outside

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Small Engine Repair

Some guest commentary by a good friend as I lament the inability to start our 6KW Onan generator in advance of a likely blizzard. Disclaimer: This is technical satire, not technical advice.

      Today, the day of the storm of the century, is the day to open it up again and fix it. I mean, you’ve been nursing and coddling the thing for 15 years, it’s times like this when it ought to give you some payback on that already spent money, time and effort.
      Don’t even hesitate about warming it up with your space heater. Yes, it’s a good idea to do everything possible to discourage the use of the word stupid in your obituary. But don’t let that stop you from taking small chances occasionally.
      Before you have another (more liberal) go at it with the ether, it’s time to investigate whether the mice did more than just build a cozy nest. You’ve got your 2ga jumpers hooked securely to the truck battery, for nice healthy cranking, right? Pop the plug, hold it against some bare metal on the block, and turn her over. If no spark, time to wander down the mice-chewed-the-wires road. If spark, then spray a healthy dose of gumout in the carb, let evap, follow with liberal ether, and give her another good solid try.
      If the beast started for you as recently as Thanksgiving, it should definitely give at least a good solid cough from the ether. If you can only get it to run for a few seconds on the ether, pop the carb (probably only two bolts) and hose it out in upstream direction. Take off the bowl (usually just one bolt) and carefully slide off. Spread something clean below so when the float, hinge pin, and tiny needle valve fall out, you’re not digging in the dirt.
      Give the hole leading to the needle valve seat a good spray too, and eliminate a fuel delivery problem by pulling the fuel line for the carb and making sure you get good healthy flow all over your lap before scrambling to plug it back together. Or plan ahead by using the shutoff valve if you’re in a tidy and hygienic mood. As you probably know, that tiny rubber seal on the end of the needle valve (aka float valve, the alum body is often rectangular or triangular in cross section) is a common victim of ethanol in gas, but since you’ve already checked for fuel, it’s not likely to have failed and bled out all your fuel over the past month.
      Luckily, engines are pretty simple devices. You know you have compression, so when you confirm spark and fuel, and give her a good healthy crank, you’ll be warm and cozy on the hill.

Lobster Thermidor

Susan made Lobster Thermidor and we all enjoyed!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


"What is the idea behind it? Suppose you were a composer and you had the idea that you wanted to have a drum set playing expressively and intuitively, eleven-four, at a certain tempo while an electric bass player is doing exactly the same thing in another tempo in another time signature, and you want them to do this live on stage and get a good performance. You won't get it. You can't. You can ask for it, but it won't happen. There's only one way to hear that, and that's to do what I did. I put two pieces of tape together." -FZ

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

First Dusting

First dusting of snow this season. It's nice to wake up to.

Tuesday Morning 2010-12-14

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bushkill Sleigh Trip

There must have been subliminal catalysts for my churning this out last night. An inner-yelp wanting to touch the facts of the past? A mass-mailed holiday card to my childhood friends? Regardless, I hope all enjoy. West Shokan in the 1970s was indeed magic; and it was great. Forward to the truth. Holiday wishes and best to all. -S

At first I considered Zappa's Montana as the soundtrack; but decided instead on "La La La" by The Bird and the Bee, who I'm grateful to for this wholly-unauthorized use of their sonic gem.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Bearsville Ice Incident of December 1978

My "Clint Eastwood" moment, December 1978: PSG was block-booked in 'B' tracking "Wave". It was just after Christmas and I had to get to the studio. It was snowy and rainy; I had snow tires on my 1968 Ford Fairlane - and paid the weather little regard. George wanted a ride in; so I picked him up in Mt. Tremper as evening became night. Many times, I had driven along Wittenberg Road at the limits of adhesion and well beyond any limit of good sense. Nothing seemed unusual. (Historical note: This was about two years before I discovered studded Hakkapeliitta tires.) I recall purposely teasing a little fishtail as we made the left turn at the Wittenberg store. As Geo and I chatted away, we were oblivious about our transition into a textbook icing situation. I recall only glancing to my left as we rounded the corner by Maria's house, touching the brakes lightly, and realizing something was terribly wrong. I drove on snow a lot, constantly touching the brakes to test the limit of adhesion. We were going maybe 25 MPH, but I knew in an instant things were out of control: We were at the top of a 300 foot grade as Wittenberg descends to the East. I touched the brakes. No traction! None! I look at Geo and we both scream. There were cars stuck in the ditches on either side of the road; failed hopes of their doomed ascent attempts. At first I was worried of our seemingly-imminent crash; but I quickly feared more the killing of an innocent; a ditch-bound pedestrian or emergency responder. The screams aside, I stayed cool - playing an energy-management game of potential vs kinetic energy. Getting some traction by finding lumps on the margins; and at more than one point, almost broadside. I was determined to stay in control; focus and fate. By the time we got down to the hard left at the bottom, seconds that seemed like an eternity, we felt as if catastrophe had been averted. As high as I've ever been on adrenaline, and probably why I remember it so vividly, we cautiously made it to the Cafe and had a Remy. ... And much later got stuck in the Cafe's parking lot.

1968 Ford Fairlane at Manitou House (1977)