Radio Silence Ending

Life! It happens! 

There’s been a lot of it going on. Also a lot of bike riding, getting together with family, working, and getting on with things.
Instead of a long post with words, here’s some pictures.

Going back in time, these are some things I was thinking or doing.

You’ll see lots of memes, bikes, people on bikes, and our cat, Pearl. She’s the cutest!

Moving On From Picasa? WTH, Google?

Goddamit, Google, not again. You’re retiring yet another essential productivity tool!!

Since the launch of Google Photos, we’ve had a lot of questions around what this means for the future of Picasa. After much thought and consideration, we’ve decided to retire Picasa over the coming months in order to focus entirely on a single photo service in Google Photos. We believe we can create a much better experience by focusing on one service that provides more functionality and works across mobile and desktop, rather than divide our efforts across two different products.

Via Googleblog:
Moving On From Picasa”

I grumble at the way Picasa indexes things, but have based my entire blogging and online creative workflow around how Picasa organizes my images. I use plugins to make batch uploading to Flickr and Facebook easy.

Goddamit, goddamit. Whatever happened to “Don’t Be Evil?”

Am I The Last Person To Discover Google+’s Enhanced Photos Feature? Now with MOAR LOLPeacocks

I was cleaning out mail from some of my accounts and realized that even deleting almost all of the unwanted mail still left 11G of stuff stored in there. At some point, I must have enabled the photo backup feature and WHOA. It had EVERYTHING on my iPhone, everything in Picasa.

If you take a lot of pictures of a Christmas tree from the same angle, you get an animated, twinkly Tannenbaum (with people dancing around it if they’re decorating). It’s actually kind of a pretty effect – Christmas Eve 2013, singing Silent Night with guitar accompaniment, you get the lit candles sparkling, too.


There’s some settings to figure out to stop the jittering, it’s much smoother “as is” if this were uploaded to a public album on Google Photos. This way, the angels on the Angel Tree look sorta fidgety.

If you take a lot of pictures of something, like the multiple head shots we took for the infamous 3D Head birthday gift prank, you get animated… heads.

And no, I’m not going there. But the Inadvertent LOLwhale albums from many years’ worth of whale-watching cruises were entertaining (I have a lot to work with there).

If you take a lot of pictures of an animal, like a peacock at a nature reserve on Oahu’s North Shore, you get this:


I made it more bettah with lots of diva attitude.

So while playing around with that and laughing at the LOLwhales and whatnot, I figured out that the funny captions on animated GIFs have to be on each layer, not just on a transparency over the top, or you get this manic blinktag effect.

That’s all for now! I’m now the last person on the Internets who learned a stupidly easy way to make animated GIFs.

Flickr: Love The New Look But Hate The New Hook

One of the Second Life blogs I read occasionally pointed me at something I hadn’t noticed in the golly-whillikers inducing change in the look of Flickr. They’ve gotten rid of Pro accounts, and once the paid subscriptions I have for myself, my church, and my Second Life accounts run out, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to renew all of them. Why should I, with prices like these just to avoid ads? Well, at least I’m grandfathered in as a current Pro member, I can renew for another two years for the current cost of a one year “Ad Free” account.

I guess I’d like to see what a free account with ads looks like – if it’s anything like what it looks like with the redesign (huge pictures, dark background) before you log in, they’re just banner images occasionally in the stream.

What’s the difference between a Free, Ad Free, and Doublr account?

There are three kinds of accounts to choose from at Flickr, and all of them are awesome in their own way.


  • 1 Terabyte of photo and video storage
  • Upload photos of up to 200MB per photo
  • Upload 1080p HD videos of up to 1GB each
  • Video playback of up to 3 minutes each
  • Upload and download in full original quality
  • Unlimited monthly bandwidth

Ad Free:

  • $49.99 per year
  • All the benefits of a free account
  • No ads in your browsing experience


  • $499.99 per year
  • 2 Terabytes of photo and video space
  • All the benefits of a free account

(it goes on to say…)

I’ve heard that Flickr Pro is no longer being offered. How does that affect me?

As of May 20, 2013, we are no longer offering Flickr Pro subscriptions to the majority of our members. Some things to be aware of (with more details below):

  • Recurring Pro members currently have the ability to continue renewing at the same price.
  • Eligible Pro members can get a prorated refund for a limited time.
  • Eligible non-recurring Pro members can purchase a recurring Pro subscription.
  • The “Gift of Pro” will no longer be available for purchase.
  • Pro users will no longer appear with a “Pro” badge beside their name or buddy icon

Your Pro pricing remains the same and your benefits have improved:

  • Those who remain Pro will retain all their original benefits.
  • The photo and video size limits will be upgraded to those offered with our new free account.
  • If you are on a recurring Pro subscription, your payments will remain as is. To see what your current subscription costs, see the previous payment on in your order history.
  • Pro members will never be automatically transitioned to an Ad Free or Doublr subscription.

If you’d like to switch to a free account:

  • Eligible Pro members who switch to a free account by August 20, 2013 can receive a prorated refund on their purchase and will lose their Pro benefits immediately.
  • Pro members who cancel Pro after August 20, 2013 will retain Pro benefits until their subscription expiration date.

If you’d like to keep your Pro membership:

  • Anyone who was Pro at 12:00 am (midnight) GMT on May 20, 2013, may be eligible to sign up for recurring Pro in order to extend their Pro membership beyond its expiration date.
  • This applies to:
    • those whose one-time or gift Pro memberships expired after 12:00 am GMT.
    • those who are on a gifted Pro account.
    • those who have purchased one-off Pro and are set to expire in the future.
  • To keep your Pro status by signing up for a recurring Pro subscription, visit the account order page.
  • If you cancel your recurring subscription or opt for the prorated refund, you will no longer have the option to sign up for a recurring subscription.
  • If your recurring subscription expires after May 20, 2013, due to a failed payment, please contact the billing team.

How to tell whether you are on a recurring payment plan:

  • Visit your account details page and look at “Your Flickr account”.
  • You are on a one-off or gift subscription if it says “It expires on [date].”
  • You are on a recurring subscription if it says “It will renew on [date].”
  • If your account has already expired you will not see a related date.


My own Flickr Pro account expires June 7 2014, so there’s a year to go. But according to the graphic, I get 2 years’ worth of “ad free” for the same cost, so I might renew…maybe. Not sure if I care enough about seeing ads or not, but it might be worth it. When I do upload to Flickr (I kind of miss the fun interactions I had when I was using it more), I upload a metric frackton at a time

My Second Life Pro account expires March 16 2014. Probably won’t renew. I don’t care if I see ads on that account, I don’t use it very often, but it’s handy for stashing photos I’ve shot “inworld.” I could probably get by with free.

The St Nicholas Episcopal church Pro account expires January 12th 2015(and I really have bunch of photos to upload, and need to take more, but we mostly use Facebook). I could probably get by for free here, too. A terabyte is upwards of 500,000 photos according to Flickr’s FAQ page, so no worries there.

Meh, I guess “hate” is too strong a word, but I’m still not used to the changes.

via Flickr: Help: Free Accounts, Upgrading and Gifts.

Yahoo Ruining Flickr? Ach! SSS!! NOOOOOO!

Really hope this is nay-saying… I have 3 Flickr accounts, don’t relish moving them all to… where? Picasa Web Albums? Meh.

This is the story of a wonderful idea. Something that had never been done before, a moment of change that shaped the Internet we know today. This is the story of Flickr. And how Yahoo bought it and murdered it and screwed itself out of relevance along the way.

via How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet

All Snorked Out

Today being our last full day on Maui (booooooooooo!! WAAAAAAAAH!!) we went for one last snorkel swim at the far end of the beach from the condo. I had been talking big like “Oh, let’s go to this place south of Ka’anapali” that I read about in the Snorkel Maui Lanai and Molokai Guide but in the end my relaxed attitude towards early rising this last week led to some pretty late starts. That’s okay, we’re still on vacation! Anyway, we got our gear out and went down the beach for what turned out to be a pretty enjoyable snorkel. No turtles sighted, which means we’ve seen NO TURTLES AT ALL this trip (drat!) but I did see some fish roe that had been tacked to a rock, and plenty of small and big fish (including the biggest unicornfish yet, and something else that was even bigger that I’ll have to look up).

I just opened up the underwater case my small camera was in and was mostly disappointed with what I got – clearly, something was not set right on it. But I did get a few shots (all from today’s outing except for one of the very big pipefish-thing from Olowalu) that aren’t bad, if a little random. Whatever I photograph tends to swim to the edge of the image by the time I get the shutter depressed… darn.

Goatfish and Convict Tang

But after a little color-correction this one came out okay. I’m sad that some more dramatic stuff I photographed was totally smeared due to too much motion of me in the ocean… heh.

Picasa to Flickr to Blog, Oh Boy!

I like Picasa, especially since a recent update means when you Save changes, it really Saves like you’d expect. But I also like Flickr, and the two don’t have drag-and-drop compatibility as far as I know. So I did a little searching for updates and found that I don’t have the latest version of the Flickr uploader, for one thing.

While that downloads (slow connection while on vacation here in Maui), here’s a post from Lifehacker from a couple of years ago that offers a solution towards a more efficient workflow when dealing with lots of images.

Perfect Your Picasa to Flickr Workflow – Digital Photos – Lifehacker

Desktop photo manager Picasa is a Google product, and photo-sharing web site Flickr’s owned by Yahoo, and the two companies don’t make it obvious how to get the apps to talk to one another. When I returned home from a vacation on the beaches of Thailand, I had a hard drive loaded with photos and I wanted a way to organize, caption, and publish them all at once without duplicating work. Here’s how I did it with Picasa and Flickr.

The Problem: When you’re jet-lagged and you have hundreds of photos to edit, sort, organize, and caption, you don’t want to do any more work than you must. While it’s easy to simply export or email a few photos at a time out of Picasa to upload and title, caption, and tag in Flickr itself, I wanted to caption my photos once in Picasa and send that information to Flickr. I also wanted to organize my photos into sets—or “albums” as they’re called in Picasa—and mirror those sets on the web and the desktop.

The Solution: While Picasa does have a handy “Email this” function which you can use in conjunction with Flickr’s upload by email feature, it’s not easy to make sets, set multiple privacy levels, add tags, and titles via email. For all that you want the newest version 3.0 of the Flickr Uploadr application, which works on both Windows and Mac. (But, if you’re using Picasa, you’re on Windows. Sorry, Mac peeps.) The Flickr Uploadr acts as the middleman between Picasa and Flickr.

Oh, my. I wonder if it’s worth trying to install this plugin?

  • Run Picasa
  • Select photos to import
  • Click on “Send To flickr!” button
  • A “Sending to flickr Uloadr” progress bar should appear
  • Wait until uploadr start
  • An “Import” button should appear when all the queue have been analyzed
  • Click on “Import” button to start the upload

My word, that seemed to go well so far – the button installed pretty much as detailed in the instructions, and now I have a Flickr button on Picasa… currently I only have one photo in my Maui 2010 set on Flickr, because frankly I worked on one image and got distracted by all the stuff I wanted to be doing while actually on vacation. So here goes.

Oops, first have to make sure Uploadr update has finished (slow, slow connection). There was something in yesterday’s news about ATT’s service getting screwed up, too – so we were unable to call anybody on our iPhones, had we been somewhere that actually had service. But we were off in Hana where there’s no ATT coverage to speak of, so we were unaware of the outage, tra la la.

Well, hey, that’s pretty painless! I did use the suggestion from the first link to export to a folder named “Maui 2010 to Flickr” as the only way to batch resize is to “export” images to an album or folder.

When blogging a lot of photos, I had been in the habit of uploading to my Picasa web albums, which are a bit of a mess as Picasa has this tendency to start a new album for every batch, something that I don’t necessarily want. But it’s harder to get a decent link off of them, as Picasa seems to want to put links to photos within tables. Sometimes I’d just rather work with the choices Flickr offers in “all sizes.”

So there you have it, a small batch of photos uploaded to Flickr, very easily direct from Picasa. Hurray for Sourceforge plugins!

Maui 2010
Maui 2010

Folk Life 2009, and a few bloggy bits

Here are some of the photos I took on our recent trip to Seattle for the Folk Life festival… there’s not really a narrative, but I wanted to give an idea of the color and sheer energy that goes on there.


We had arrived very late the night before, due to a delay on United. We went for a walk in the morning after breakfast around the neighborhood near the hotel, walking up 5th Ave. North on Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill to get to a spot where there was a nice viewpoint. Although I’ve never eaten at this particular restaurant, the color is striking in the morning light and it gives a really nice old-school feeling. After taking a few more shots, we headed up the steep street, where I quickly realized the error of my sedentary, out-of-shape ways.


This coffee place is just next door, a charming little place that sells their own roasts. And d’oh! we forgot to stop in and grab some beans before leaving town, as we did the last time. This part of the Queen Anne neighborhood isn’t as familiar to me now, as it’s changed so much over the years. Just down on the other side of the street were two big new buildings, including a brand new QFC (Quality Food Center?) and a fancy-schmancy sushi restaurant that we visited later in our stay. I kept looking around trying to get my bearings, because at one time I lived on top of the hill and rode the trolley buses right through this part of the neighborhood. The wires were still there, and I saw buses, but they didn’t seem to be running as often as I remembered. And all the tacky, run-down, but colorful little houses and former stores had been torn down to make room for the new condo/retail block with the QFC, and for the hotel that we were staying in. They look nice, but the rest of the neighborhood looks a little shabby by comparison… although with plenty of character.


This is just a bush of purple flowers… it looked pretty in the sunshine and I was looking for an excuse to stop and catch my breath, which was coming shockingly fast after only walking up 1 moderately steep block.


This is what happens when you’ve got the telephoto lens on, as I did, and do a closeup. I’m pretty happy with the way this came out. Actually, almost all of the shots I took the first day (which was Saturday) were with the long lens. Which I need to clean, as later in the trip I picked up some artifacts that need to be dealt with.


More flar peekchurrrrs, this one a light pink rhododendron. I love rhodies, mostly because they always remind me of the Northwest; they grow wild in the woods (as will be seen if I get as far as uploading my pictures from our short walk through the California redwoods). When I lived in Eugene years ago, there was a city park near one of my old homes that was an entire hilltop of rhodies. It was quite a place to be when they were all in bloom. I’d never seen rhododendrons before going to school at Eugene, and then became fond of them because a huge old treelike specimen threatened to overgrow the guys’ dorm next door to mine in freshman year. I was fascinated by the huge size of the thing and the riot of color on its many trusses of blooms, and also the variety of color was a plus. The only downside was the bees the flowers attracted; the guys that lived on that side of their dorm couldn’t open their windows in spring without getting some bee action.


Another breathing break, this time to peek into a yard and enjoy the serene bubbling/trickling sounds of their garden fountain. I will say that during the rest of our walk, I spent a lot of time pining for life in a pretty neighborhood; we live in a very ordinary Midwest suburb and part of me longs for surroundings that are more beautiful and photogenic than our current circumstances permit. David also admitted that he wished we lived somewhere worth photographing, as we always have to pack up the car and drive somewhere else to get to “scenery.” I suppose we don’t have the eye for suburban photography, but it’s hard to be inspired by lookalike housing developments and strip malls.


Obligatory picture of the Space Noodle. My first apartment (no, second, I moved within the same building) in Seattle was an overpriced little studio that had an enviable view of Elliott Bay and a great view of the Noodle, which I loved to watch in bad weather (especially fog). Sometimes I’d watch the elevators and see if one or the other would win the race to the top or the bottom. Some old clients of mine when I worked in Seattle were from somewhere in Denmark or Sweden; they were obsessed with the Space Needle and collected stuff with images of it. They had leather jackets made with 60’s era logos from the old World’s Fair… hadn’t thought of them in years until we topped out at the viewpoint (puff-puff-puff) and I caught sight of this.


Another view. You can see a bit of the Experience Music Project|Science Fiction Museum at the bottom center of the picture, also the monorail tracks that lead away toward downtown. At certain times of the year, the Space Needle is decorated with giant blow-up crabs, gorillas, or whatever nonsense the marketing people come up with. And of course, at New Years’ it’s all lit up like a futuristic Christmas tree (or shapely Festivus pole).


More rhodies. My favorites are actually the purplish ones, but none of those were handy when I had the camera set up for shots like this.


Obligatory arty depth-of-field shot with rhodies and Noodle. Onward!

We walked around the corner of the hill and since I hadn’t been on Bigelow in years, I forgot the trick it has of bearing right while you tend to bear leftward and downhill. We admired houses and yards and eventually walked past my friend Jean’s old apartment house, and the one I’d lived in that was next door. More nostalgia for times past, although that place had unhappy memories for me in that I lost a TON of my stuff in that move, because I lost access to the storage room and didn’t get back quickly enough to retrieve my things before it was cleared out. I still think bad thoughts about that old landlady. Grr.


At last!! Actual Folk Lifey stuff! On our last visit, we got down to the site much earlier than anything started, so we’d timed our walk to get us down to the Seattle Center late enough that booths were open and stages were active. This was one of many groups that performed at that particular stage. They look happy because they’re playing at the beginning of everything, they love what they do, and there’s not yet a hundred thousand people crushing their way through the site. Fortunately, the weather stayed sunny but cool all weekend. Can you imagine doing this on a hot, muggy day? Seattle don’t play dat.

The first thing about Folk Life that you need to know is that it’s a big site, with many stages, and everything’s all happening at once, so that it’s essential to grab schedules at the entrances and mark up the stuff you don’t want to miss. One of the first things that caught my eye was a choral thing with shape-note singing in what I knew would be an outdoor courtyard with good acoustics (I’ve done Folk Life a few times before). David wasn’t too interested in something that sounded sorta churchy, so he opted to head to the Northwest Court stage area and we’d meet up later. This strategy really works – if you look for something you both want to see, or every one in your group wants to see, you can all head off in different directions according to your interests, and meet up to compare notes later.

Heh. “Notes.” I was headed for the Shape Note Singing demonstration, which was to be followed by a more advanced singing. So I planned to skip out of the first one for a short time to see some people playing mbira, a traditional African instrument similar to the kalimba that I’ve owned since junior high. As I thought, the Shape Note workshop was a lot of fun. I had a good time chatting with a neighbor as we figured out the music, and she was helpful about matching the shapes to the syllables. Shape note is also called “Fa so la” singing because the four shapes are “fa sol la ti” in the octave (there’s no do re me, they just repeat the syllables). I really, really enjoyed the workshop but soon enough it was time to hand off my music to the next participant to arrive and hotfoot over to the Alki Stage, which was just below the Northwest one in an open area next to a big fountain.


I also used my cameraphone to try to bookmark things and I had noted that I’d tried to get the image of the keys being played with the big lens, except that the one musician was dancing and her butt kept getting in the way. I have about a dozen shots from this angle, but this is one of the only ones where the butt is not in play. This group sounded great, very traditional, and they were very colorfully dressed. However, I did get kind of tired of the orange pants, because I wanted a better look at the keys on the mbira. It’s enclosed in a gourd to add resonance, and the instruments are all miked inside the gourd. The decorations around the rim are actually loose bits of metal or shell, and the buzzing sound they make adds to the mbira’s texture.


::sigh:: Well, that’s a very nice purple shirt, but you can’t really see the keys, although you could argue that the soft focus is artisitic, I guess. You can just make out her thumb on the keys of the mbira. The orange discs are the noisemakers – on this one, they’re bottle caps painted orange and wired to the gourd.


This is the player on the far end – he looked sort of academic and may actually have been on a music faculty somewhere (a lot of the really interesting musical groups are often made up of enthusiasts who studied the music, in addition to people from the source culture). You can see the keys a little better, and also the mic wire looped over the top of the gourd. Also: the bottle caps are from Coke bottles.

The music they played was authentic, tuneful, rhythmic with repetitive patterns, and there were vocals along with the shaker noise the dancer was playing. It was pleasant to listen to, and the crowd had a nice vibe going although the benches were placed in full sun. In the same area was a “Green Market” with demonstration products including a Smart Car, a camping trailer designed as an accessory to same, and some other “green” or “Hybrid” products. Also, they had a section on urban or suburban gardening, and some natural hair and skin care products. It was a lively area that got a lot of traffic, especially as it heated up later in the day and parents let their kids play in the (shallow) fountain next to the court. It was also kind of a bottleneck area, as there were 4 ways into it, and it was kind of on the way between venues that avoided the REALLY big crowd on the other side where the big central Fountain Lawn was.

Also in the same area: some of the food booths, plus a bunch of buskers, plus a zillion music fans and “freak the mundanes” performance art types. We spent most of our time in this area, as the acts we were most interested in seeing were all playing in the Northwest Court/Alki Court/Bagley Lawn corner of the Seattle Center site. Other years, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy walking back and forth to some of the big amplified stages on the far corner of the site; not this year. There just didn’t happen to be anybody we wanted to see all the way over there. I already had some wild photos of the Morris dancers from a few years before, and David didn’t want to sit through that again, so we were happy to orbit in the area of greatest convenience and interest.

After watching the mbira group, my plan was to walk back north to the Intiman court and rejoin the second half of the shape note singing, but on my way, as so often happens at Folk Life, I heard and saw something so amazing that I had to stop and take it in.


Yes, Electric Mbira, and these guys looks like the real deal with their hide costumes and DIY-looking instruments. The music was a lot louder, a lot more danceable and the tunes were different from the “trad” group; they almost sounded like a blend of traditional African tunes, reggae rhythms, and jazz tone clusters. It was mesmerizing!


Here you can see a bit more detail: the mbira have the metal keys fastened to boards of a kind of wood that looks like what my kalimba is made out of – there are gradations of color. You can also see that they’ve attatched the rod holding the keys down (they’re kept in tension because it’s springy steel) with wire strung through holes in the wood, rather than simply screwing a bar holder to the wood itself. According to the old, lost music book that came with my original edition Hugh Tracey Kalimba, makers in Africa used to use old bicycle spokes to attach the key assembly like self-tension screw hooks.


I don’t know if they still do that; for a while, the Hugh Tracey brand kalimbas I saw had ordinary wood screws holding the keys to the top board of the box, which in my opinion messed with the resonance. My kalimba is a treble one, and quite out of tune based on the example MP3 of a treble kalimba from the Kalimba Magic site. I would love to have an alto one, which though it has fewer keys, it has a deeper tone and is reputedly easier to play because the keys are bigger. Anyway, these guys appear to be playing homegrown versions, but the Kalimba Magic site has them with pickups and chromatic scales and weird tunings… hmm.


Here’s a shot of one of the instruments they weren’t using at the time. The keys are bent (and probably tuned and arranged in the African manner, rather than in the Westernized tuning and arrangement used by the makers of the Hugh Tracey kalimbas. Yes, I was more than a little fascinated, because at one time I took the kalimba everywhere with me, although I never made much attempt to actually learn to play anything “real” on it. I could play a bit of Bach on it as a showpiece, and I had one song that I’d made up and a lot of patterns that I could play and rearrange on the fly. Mostly I played for my own enjoyment, and sometimes other people were there (in the dorms or at school) and I’d say “Oh, I won’t bore you with this” and they’d usually say “No, it sounds relaxing, and it’s weird that we can carry on a conversation while you play.” They seemed to think it was some mastery I had, but it’s really a simple instrument that anyone with a basic grasp of the intervals in music (thirds, fourths, fifths, it’s all really math that sounds pretty) can play. It helps to have two hands and two thumbs, but some of the flat-board table models can be played by anyone with some finger control.


My poor old kalimba! It’s covered with dust and there are cracks in the back. I wrote my own name and my dorm and room numbers from my first two years at Oregon on it; with all the things I’ve lost in moves over the years, it’s a testament to the fact that I kept it by me and played it pretty constantly until several years after I moved to Seattle. Fell out of the habit when I got my first computer; guess I need to start growing out my thumbnails again (they’re pretty short now). And now I wish I’d bought one of this group’s CDs, because I really did enjoy their music.

After walking behind these guys (noticing that they were wearing battery packs for their amps) I got over to the Intiman Court for some more shape notery, but my little friend was gone and the hymns were a lot more challenging and complex. It was a lot of fun, and there were some great leaders; it was interesting watching how the more accomplished singers were the ones making a very deliberate and authoritative time-keeping gesture that seemed full of power and grace – the kind from God as well as the kind a dancer or actor has. The less accomplished singers tried to do this too, but only the leaders gave the impression of the rocker arm on a steam engine, driving the music slowly forward towards glory. Still, I was losing my voice a bit (shape note singing calls for a very full-voiced, plain delivery) and so I wandered off to meet up with David at the Shaw Acoustic Stage for a group that had looked interesting in the schedule.


And here they are, Crescent and Shamrock. Billed as a Celtic-Middle Eastern band, they played with a great deal of verve and even had a wonderful dancer to provide spice. My pictures aren’t as good as David’s, as I stayed in the back corner the whole time. But you get the sense of the performers and of the crowd in Shaw, which is a smallish meeting room that I’d described in a previous moblog post as the default “indoor folk venue where we stick acts that don’t have enough draw for a big outdoor stage” place.


I didn’t get many full-length shots but I did love the expression on her face as she dance. She was really talented and really into the music.


Focus isn’t great but I got a kick out of the drummer’s interaction with her, and her playing to the people in the front row. The expression on the face of the tsimbalon player behind her struck me funny, too; she was getting all the butt-wiggly action up close and personal.


Just as a side note, Gypsy music and performance art seemed to be the Next Big Thing. It’s also the Next Big Thing on Second Life, as gypsy music and camps are springing up all over creatively anachronistic sims in Second Life, and gypsy-inspired fashion were everywhere in Seattle and also on Second Life when I logged in later. This person could have been an avatar downloaded into Real Life, she was so striking looking. Must have been a performer in another group, but I had to snap her picture when I spotted her. Regrettably, I couldn’t frame the pirate to her left; you can just see a tip of the tricorn. There’s a lot of cosplay that goes on at Folk Life; some people are their art, in some cases, and there were a lot of young Bohemian types wearing dreadlocks, Goth ripped stockings, corsets, and work boots. Also, a fair number of neo-punk newgrass bands. More about that later.

You can see the crowd is pretty eclectic; some older fans who’ve been around since the beginning in the 70’s, some younger people, and some people who look like they come from another planet. Note to the guy in the shorts, though – the plaid doesn’t work if your hands are in your pockets.


More peoplewatching goodness: I probably could have done nothing but take shots of people’s t-shirts and jackets. I loved this vest, I had to ensure I remembered it.

That’s as far as I’ve uploaded to now; there’s more shots of the belly dancer getting people in the crowd going before we get to some of the more colorful acts back outside.

I’ve decided that I’ve neglected the blog shockingly of late, as in at least a year or more. In fact, ever since the “no internets at work” injunction,and even more since I got the iPhone, I’ve been blogging bits of news from Google Reader, and links to stories via and now via Twitter. But there has been very little of my doings, our activities, getting together with family, my thoughts, and things that occured to me that would have made a good blog post if only I could remember what they are. My “oooh, shiny” style of information gathering doesn’t stand me in very good sense as a blogger.

In fact, we had tickets to go to Wordcamp here in Chicago, but sold them back after the agenda was announced. Why? Because it wasn’t what either David or I were interested in – it was all about marketing your blog and becoming one of the cool blogger kids.

So in fact, I’ve made a decision that instead of dinking around all evening playing Spider Solitaire or Second Life, I will try to spend 1 (one) hour a day writing about… stuff that occurs to me. Because Blogula has been very boring lately, what with all the autoposted links and things, and when I go back and look at something from a couple of years ago, I think “well, did the idiot that is me do that?”

I do have an awful lot of photos to catch up on, not only from this trip, but from a couple of trips that I never wrote up or even uploaded to Flickr, so it’s not as if I’m lacking for material. Plus there’s a ton of things stirring in my memory that were kicked up by the Seattle visit; things I missed, things that I remembered that are no longer there, things that remind me of stuff long forgotten. So we’ll see how it goes. I’ll try to get more Folk Life and road trip photos uploaded and posted here this week.