Sep 23

Starts, and ends, all classy-like

I was very classy today, which is to say I was full of class. Which is to say I was in class all day. If six hours is close enough to “all day” for you.

It was close enough for me.

It was a fun class, we discussed shot compositions and camera movements. I did this twice in different classes. And then I set the eager young people out to shoot video of some things. Next week we’ll look at all of their work, and then the class will get just a bit more technical.

My lovely bride had an afternoon full of classes, as well, similar schedule, but in a different building. So we share the Thursday drive, and this evening we had a nice sunset.

I have to grade some things for a while, so please take in the grandeur of this photograph. I call it “A Meditation On Being Near Corn.” It is a profound statement on how we let the world beyond us impact us, and the ways that, perhaps, it should and should not. It is a commentary on the environment closer to you, and the passage of time you might not see up close if you look too far afield.

It’s certainly provocative, no? I thought so, too. I hope you enjoyed that while I finished today’s grading. I got all of that in just after dinner, and now I can take a day or so and re-calibrate the ol’ noggin for a different sort of class on Monday. We won’t be talking about camera motion, but McLuhan, not composition but Kendi. I’m sure it will be a lot of fun.

We’re back to the Re-Listening project, and my trip back in time is going even farther back in time. I’m listening to all of my old CDs in the car, as you might know, and I am doing so in the order in which I acquired them. From what’s surrounding them in this particular CD book, I know we are somewhere between June of 2003 and February of 2004. What we’re looking at today, however, is older still. The product of visiting a used record store or two.

Why buy things when they are released, after all, when you can wait 10 year or so and get them much, much cheaper, when you the songs you liked might feel fresh again, or you won’t mind if you pick up something and only really like the single?

And that’s exactly what we’re dealing with here, 1991’s “Pocket Full of Kryptonite” got so out of hand that the band came to resent it for a while. They organically sold some 60,000 copies before radio ever put it on the air, but then “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” and “Two Princes” went to the top spot of the Billboard Heatseekers chart, and number three on the Billboard 200 charts. Those singles helped the record go platinum five times in the U.S. Everything got a little crazy for a while somewhere in there. Chris Barron, the Spin Doctors’ lead singer, said it got to the point where he couldn’t go to the mall to buy new socks without being swarmed by people.

And despite all of that air play and success, “Pocket Full of Kryptonite” still finished 1993 ranked number seven on the end of year Billboard 200. (Incidentally, I wrote about their third album, “You’ve Got To Believe in Something,” last year.)

How, you might ask yourself, could six other records have landed higher than that one? And what, you might naturally continue, were they? So glad you asked.

1. Whitney Houston – The Bodyguard
2. Kenny G – Breathless
3. Eric Clapton – Unplugged
4. Janet Jackson – Janet.
5. Billy Ray Cyrus – Some Gave All
6. Dr. Dre – The Chronic
7. Spin Doctors – Pocket Full of Kryptonite
8. Pearl Jam – Ten
9. Garth Brooks – The Chase
10. Stone Temple Pilots – Core

You did ask, didn’t you?

I suppose you could say it most years with the lever of time as perspective, but if you peer into that top 10 long enough, you can almost see an event horizon of our most mainstream music. Cyrus was the last male country singer, aside from Brooks, to finish a year in the top 10 of record sales for a decade. Shania Twain and The Dixie Chicks show up a few times. Rap and hip hop, having become hugely successful genres already, were clearly in an ascendancy. Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston held the door open, too. Women — solo artists, groups or groups fronted by women — would occupy almost 40 of the top spots over the coming decade.

But I digress.

“Pocket Full of Kryptonite” comes from a lyric found in the first track, “Jimmy Olsen’s Blues.” And here’s the band playing that song, via Zoom, in 2020.

And though we’re shunning the smash hits, there was a surprisingly poignant ballad that they released late in the album’s first life cycle. And dig that classic early 1990s music video style.

Spin Doctors were a jam band that enjoyed some monstrous pop success. And there’s no greater indicator than the last track, a 12-minute almost-epic that also features John Popper.

In 2011 they released a two-disc anniversary edition, marking 20 years since their debut record. And they’re touring the United States right now. It’s been a decade since they last recorded a record, but their fans still come out.

The next album up in the Re-Listening Project is another used store find. I probably paid two or three bucks for it, thinking the single was worth it. It was and is, though the rest of Jon Secada’s “Heart, Soul & a Voice” doesn’t do much for me. It was his second English-language record, it went platinum largely on the strength of “If You Go.” The song holds up, the video feels a compelling 1994 argument for the silliness of music videos as a genre.

It peaked at number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100, Secada’s last top-10 single in the U.S. This track topped the charts in Canada. He released “Si Te Vas,” that same year, most of the same songs as this record, in Spanish. So these were his third and fourth records. He’s put out 15 records, all told, the most recent in 2017. He’s sold 20 million records, has three Grammy awards and worked Broadway and is a noted humanitarian. He’s doing the occasional “intimate evening” venues lately. Pretty great career.

And that’s a good place to finish the day.

Sep 23

Thursdays are the full days

We had a man from the electric company scheduled to come out this morning and do electric company things. You know the deal, you spend hours on the phone with people and machines and hold music and finally you get someone scheduled in a two hour window on the busiest day of your week. My lovely bride has been handling all of the phone stuff. We were both scheduled to be here to meet the fellow.

You can tell where this is going already, can’t you? Guy never showed up. She called the company again.

“What’s the deal? When is he coming out?”

The person on the other end of the line was all What did he say?

“He never showed up.”

What does the paperwork he gave you say?

“He wasn’t here. He brought no paper, or himself.”

At least the lights come on when you flip the switch. You wonder how, sometimes.

But, hey, it gave me more time to iron. No wrinkles on me for class today.

And how’s that going? I’m doing so well I have even ironed clothes for Monday night’s class.

Unless you meant class. How are my classes going? Just great. Two of them today. One was better than the other, but only because they both can’t be equally awesome. And because I probably did a better job in one than the other.

After two in a row, though, and almost six hours of prattling on, I am quite talked out by the end of the day. It’s been, probably a few decades since I’ve done continual talk and projection. At least it’s just one day a week.

We talked about pre-production, post-production, sampling rates and quantization. We also discussed frame rates and aspect ratios. In the next class, they’ll be pointing cameras at subjects and shooting video. It’ll get pretty fun from there.

What’s really fun is, after a full day of classes and dinner, you can start handling the inbox, and the grading. This will take a few minutes.

Let’s dive back into the Re-Listening project. You know this feature. I’m listening to all of my old CDs in the car, in the order in which I acquired them. It’s fun; a few trips down memory lane, some singalongs, and I get to write a little bit about it here. So let’s dive in.

It’s 2003, though this CD was released in 1998. That means I probably bought it in bulk at a used record store. I can’t say which one specifically, but I am guessing this is from a little downtown shop in New Albany, Indiana. We used to go there for the fall festival and that store sat on the corner and, every year, I’d come out with a handful of discs. That’s just a guess, because I have no memory of buying this, but it makes sense considering the discs that surround it in my little collection.

Most assuredly, though, I bought it on the strength of the moderately successful alt radio single, track one, “Pensacola.” It takes a second or two, but it builds nicely.

The contemporary Washington Post review is humorous.

Country-flavored new-wave rock would be the correct guess. As indicated by song titles like “Pensacola” and “Pull the Weight, Virginia (Innocent Lucille),” this North Carolina quintet is heavily into poetic Americana, but its “In the Gloaming” sounds less like the Band or Son Volt than REM. (Indeed, the disc’s guest musicians include ex-d.B. Peter Holsapple, who used to supplement REM’s guitar sound on tour.)

It’s not that Jolene never gets earthy or gloomy. Even when it does, though, the group retains an early-’80s-rock sense of dynamics: Songs like “16c” and “So Sleepless You” contrast brooding verses with bombastic choruses or bridges. More common are such brisk tunes as “Wave to the Worrying” and “Star Town,” which feature jaunty rhythms and rippling guitars. It’s not a style that Jolene can make sound fresh, but the band plays it with skill and assurance.

That’s a lot of styles to throw in one column, into one band, or especially one record.

This is the band’s second record, and there’s some atmosphere in the instrumentation, but for the quality mixing and mastering, there’s just … something … missing overall.

It’s pretty clear, from the liner notes alone what they’re after here. Blurry photos, oddly mismatched fonts showing snippets of whoa deep lyrics, deliberately poor kerning. These guys were trying to ride the alt movement for all they worth. And, in 1998, they were just on the backside of that wave.

By the time I got this in 2003, it was probably just something I listened to for that one single. When I played the whole thing this time through I was looking for a second song to like. Sometimes, though, it’s difficult to get past something’s texture to enjoy its taste.

By the time I picked up “In The Gloaming” the band was spent. They’d parted ways in 2001, having produced five records on three small labels and supporting some pretty substantial bands.

This is the song I’ll play while trying to find out what’s become of the five members of the group.

One of the guys, Rodney Lanier, died young. He’d been diagnosed with cancer, and though this band hadn’t played together for years, they all came back together for one more show with their old friend.

Mike Mitschele is a front man in Alternative Champs. You might also hear his music in The Righteous Gemstones. Dave Burris played in a few other bands, and has since turned to film making and been a producer of reality television. John Crooke is doing marketing out west, released a few solo projects and is still playing, from the looks of things. Mike Kenerley was the drummer in Jolene. It looks like he continued on and played with a lot of notable bands over the years.

Up next in the Re-Listening project is Wyclef Jean’s “The Carnival.” People have written scholarly articles, more than a few, about this record. It’s difficult to say something new about such a widely well-received record that’s now 26 years old.

So I’ll just say this. With the exception of the comedy bits, so familiar in the 1990s, this album holds up better than almost anything in the Re-Listening project

It is solid, throughout. Better than “The Score” in several respects, “The Carnival” debuted at number 16 sixteen on the US Billboard 200. Certified as double platinum in the U.S. in just over a year. Funkmaster Flex is on here. Lauryn Hill and John Forté, of course, but also the Neville Brothers and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. There was a coming together on this project.

I remember we used to play this song on our campus radio station before anyone had an idea that it’d be a single.

Critics loved the record, while also writing a bit dismissively about the samples. Released in 1997, people were still trying to figure out how they felt about samples, I suppose. (Look who won, right?) It’s funny in retrospect, I suppose, but the answer to that question was always in the lead single.

The Bee Gees didn’t care for the finished product, but Jean’s audience did. It climbed to 45 on the Hot 100, number three on the Hot Rap Songs chart. This song, and the album, often landed on those “Top of the Decade/All Time” lists that people compile.

And The Fugees are still playing. Right now they’re supporting on the 25th anniversary of “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” Don’t know how long Pras Michel can be on this tour, though …

OK, back to the grading.

Sep 23

First day of school

I’d ironed yesterday. All of my things were together. The only thing left to do was wake up, check, have something for breakfast, check, get ready to go to campus, check, and, finally, have my first day of the new school year … on the third day of the new school year …

And so that was the first half of the day.

Our schedules are pretty similar on Thursdays, just like the old days, so we drove in together, just like the old days. And I mean the old days, going back a lifetime or two ago. The mid-oughts. There was a gas crunch, as I recall, so we carpooled. Some days I would drive her to Red Mountain and drop her off at WBRC. Some days she would go over the mountain and downtown to Pepper Place to put me in my office at 6 a.m. I have vague memories of that, and they’re not vague because of the early call time. This was 17, 18 years ago, I think.

And here we are today. My lovely bride had to get her newly issued computer. (Still waiting, myself.) And the place to go for that is just one building over from where I’ll spend the semester. We cruised through two full parking lots and finally found a spot behind the building. We walked around the front, said our good lucks and I went inside. She went on for hardware and to teach two classes elsewhere on campus.

I wandered most of the halls until I found my classroom, plenty of time, clock on my side. I think it would have been more direct, though, if I’d just gone in the back door. Such is life in a new place. There was a class still underway in my class, so I decided to walk the halls until I stumbled upon the offices of one of the departments I’m working with and met a few people. I sat in the copy room and checked a few emails, whiled away some time and then headed back to that class.

This is where I invoke the memory of a guy I used to work with. Chris was an MCO at a television station but, before that, he was an RN.

Chris, I said one day, if you can do that, why are you doing this?

He pointed at the screen, punched a bunch of random buttons on his panels and, with a wicked grin, cranked the chroma key, changing the color of everyone on the TV screen at that moment, and surely making people watching at home wonder if they were having a mental or physical episode. But it didn’t last long because with deft and practiced hands Chris reset everything to its proper position and the TV show continued on.

“No matter what happens here, nobody died,” he said.

I’ve repeated that to myself as a joke for all of the years hence — I mean it that way here, too — but that’s grim.

There were 15 people in my first class. A few non-traditional students, a range of people freshmen-to-seniors, and a lot of interested faces. We talked about the class and all of the usual first day things and, before I knew it, I was ready to send them on their way.

There’s just long enough between that class and my next one to sneak a comically late lunch, so I did that, finishing a sandwich as the early arrivals for the next group trickled in.

There are 15 people in that class too, a range of college experience, but mostly freshmen. We talked about the class and syllabus. It’s the same class, and so I realized pretty quickly that I’ll live in fear, all semester, of wondering what I’ve omitted because I think I said it, and what I’m repeating because I’m afraid I’ve omitted it. Also, the very tip of my nose started itching. No idea why. But you know noses. Once you address the matter, it just gets worse. It’s hard to make a point about the exercise planned in week 10 of your course when you’re trying to scratch the first two layers of epidermis off your nose. But, before I knew it, I was tired of talking. The second class wrapped a bit earlier than the first, but it was after 5 p.m. and no one minded. All of the important information was still conveyed.

All of the brave and hearty ones, the ones who stick in the class, I’ll see next Thursday.

It’s an intro to production class, They’ll be learning about camera movements, shot composition, audio capture and a bit of light production. They’ll go into the studio and do some mock leads and tags. It’s a lot of fun. I hope they have fun. I really hope I can teach them a fair amount.

After class, waiting on my ride, I had time to run through some email, and start building a calendar. This won’t be a conventional schedule, this semester — I’m beginning to wonder if there’s ever going to be a conventional schedule — and so now I’m trying to decide what to do with my free time and when to make my free time. But first, the basics, what day is the first day of my week? Is Thursday the first day of my week? Is Thursday the last day of my week?

And that was basically my day, because almost six hours of listening to myself talk is just about enough, thank you. Except at home, there was a bit of early grading (syllabus quizzes are easy points, and it makes the diligent student hunt for details within the 12-page document) and starting to think about how to set up next week’s classes. Oh, and my third class, which will begin next Monday.

Right now, the early vote is for Thursday to be the last day of my week. Though I’m considering something innovative: making Monday both the first, and last, day of the week.

Later, I decided to change my bike tires. I’ve had three flats on my rear wheel in the last three weeks. One could be wear. Another could be anything. A third, that’s probably user error. Plus my tires were mismatched in age. I don’t remember which is the newer. And the one on the front wheel looks like it could fall apart any day now.

So, before tomorrow’s bike ride, two new tires. Here’s how that went tonight.

I took the front wheel off the bike. Struggled, in a most unusual and almost embarrassing way, to remove the tire from the wheel. Finally got that off, and then started putting this guy on.

Gatorskins are great. They’re heavy. They’re durable. You wouldn’t race them because of all of that, but I don’t race. They’ll run forever. One of these has been on my bike for two years. My receipts say I last bought a set in 2013. So tonight’s effort should serve me well for a good long while.

The downside to a Gatorskin is that they are difficult to put on the first time. (The secret, if you can’t get it completely fitted, is to heat the stubborn bit of the tire with a hair dryer.) But I’m getting better at it. (No hair dryer needed.) Tire on, tube in, tire seated. Inflate.

Take the back wheel of the bike, remove that tire. I found a little sliver of metal inside that had escaped my earlier notice. So I know what caused at least the third flat.

Speaking of, the tube on the front wheel is leaking inside the brand new tire.

And this is why you don’t immediately slap it back on the frame, I said to myself.

Which was a nice thing to say, since it was congratulatory. The wheel wasn’t back on the frame, but I did have to take the tube out. I found a tiny leak right in the seam. Maybe I damaged it. Maybe Continental tubes are the most temperamental tubes on the market. Anyway, old tube out, new tube in. Gatorskin seated. Inflate.

Back to the rear wheel then. Repeat that process. Decided I’ll keep both old tires. One can go on the trainer. The other … well, in a bit I’m going to google recycling and repurposing bike tires.

Both are inflated. Neither are mounted on the bike frame. Let’s see what they do overnight. (Update: They were fine.) And now I’ll have two new tubes and two new tires for tomorrow’s bike ride. It’ll be a great day. And this one was good, too. But I hope yours was even better.

Aug 23

Ever wonder about the standardization of screw threading?

“Can I help you with anything?”

I’d been standing in this aisle at the local hardware store for five or six minutes, waiting for someone to come by. It was 10 a.m. There was one other customer in the place. This was, I should point out, one of the two local hardware stores. One seems to have two to four people working at all time, I’ve been in there a few times and haven’t seen the same face twice. I’ve also never been there when anything was going on, which probably means nothing. Also, at that store, if you need a specific thing they have, you’re in luck. But it seems to be a small list of on-the-floor inventory.

I thought about going to the Tractor Supply. I’ve been there once. They had neither tractors, nor the supplies I needed. And that’s the sort of memory that’s hard to overcome.

So I went to the other local place. They’re all fairly equidistant, but I’ve also been to this one and I figured, for today’s obscure search, this would be the best bet.

Which led me to standing there, waiting for this guy to wander over.

I am looking for screws to mount a TV to a wall.

The guy recoiled a bit. It was physical, visceral, and you could tell. But then his customer service brain kicked in and he was happy to try to help. I had a picture of the installation manual, which showed some screws. But what I saw look like the things that go into the wall. I needed the screws that go into the wall mount. The guy said he gets this all the time. People come in, the instructions no help. These things all require precise hardware, it’s never spelled out well, and apparently never included in the box, no matter the brand you buy.

I needed these screws because, in my home office, there’s a great little mount already on the wall. And that mount is in a perfect line of sight of my Zoom angle. (Oh, the modern first world problems.) I’m going to hang a TV there and stream live webcams over my shoulder and see if I can distract anyone in a meeting using various aquarium shots and such.

So the guy helps me find the right screws. I was standing in the right place, he said. Hovering over the correct box. Inside the box are 15 little compartments, of course, of varying sizes, both diameter and length.

“These,” he said, “would be my best bet.” He said that in that way that lets you know, hey, he’s guessing too. Based on the oddly phrased material in the manual he meant.

Hey, we’re all guessing pal.

I picked four screws, noted the price and took them to the cashier. She charged me $.42 per screw, which was fair since they were listed at $.42 cents per screw on the box. On the way to the car I realized the screws I’d picked up didn’t have a flat or Phillips head, but rather a hex head. So I had to think about where all of my tools are, and which one might just maybe have a chance of fitting these little guys.

I took them to the house, wrapped up in the receipt because, it was a best bet, and also because she did not offer me anything with which to carry my four dainty little screws.

I took the screws upstairs and realized a problem: the screws are so small they slip right through the holes on the mounting arms.

Can you take back $1.68 in merchandise?

Can’t worry about that now. I had a meeting to prepare for. A Zoom meeting. There would be no TV monitor over my shoulder, just a mount.

It was a fine meeting though. A new colleague was helping me flesh out a few details of one of the classes I’ll be teaching this term. Classes start next week, this person just returned from a European vacation and she spent an hour chatting away with me. She was very generous with her time, insight and resources. It occurs to me that I need to invest in local coffee house gift cards as a thank you.

And the rest of the day was spent working on that class. In the afternoon, a whole bunch of material came my way for the other two classes I’ll be teaching. Between now and December, I’ll be fine tuning everything.

That’s an exaggeration. I hope to be caught up by Thanksgiving.

While I was having a bowl of soup as a late lunch and digesting some of the information from that meeting it occurred to me: use washers.

So I went into the garage, pulled down the Box Of Random Bits of Assembly Supplies You Must Never Throw Out and, for the first time, understood the genius of those shop workers with jugs of specific types of hardware and sizes. I don’t have a need for that, mind you, but I get it.

And I also got four washers. By some happy accident I found four the same size. (So what tool or furniture is missing four washers around here?) Happily, they all fit today’s need. And so did one of detachable screwdriver tools on the hex head screws. Four screws applied to the wall mount arms, arms and TV stress tested for weight, though the TV is light. And then I put it on the wall.

As I write this, over my shoulder there is a shot from a wildlife cam from somewhere in Europe. There’s a babbling stream in the foreground, and a giant old oak in the center background. Unseen birds are happily chirping away. This flat screen mounted to the wall, streaming a scene from halfway around the world, sits over my 1948 Silvertone radio. I like the technological juxtaposition.

(I think there’s some of this paint in the basement. I wonder if I should try to camouflage the power cord.)

I bought that radio from a retired teacher in 2017. Restoring these had become his retirement hobby.

He showed me this one, which I’d gone over to ask about, and I asked him about his process. He gave me a tour of the ones he was tinkering on in his garage, and the finished radios that held pride of place in his home. I got him to drop his price a bit on the Silvertone he’d advertised, and he helped me load it up in the car. It still powers up, you can hear the tubes hum to life. And, in the old house, you could hear the local AM station. I caught part of a football game.

I seldom turn it on, because I don’t want to wear it out. Part of the ABCs of me.

My plan was to put a Bluetooth speaker, or an under-the-cabinet streaming radio of some sort in there and just play big band music. And one day I’ll do that!

The gentleman I bought it contacted me a few weeks later, and I gave him and his wife a little mini-tour of our new building on campus. On their way out he said he was thinking of selling one of his really, really nice radios. One of the few sorts I’d really want, an early floor radio with station presets, rich with wood and history. I could put some of my old station call letters on the buttons, maybe the buttons work and you could watch the needle slide across the dial. How neat this would be! We’d talked about them for some time in his home, and I knew better than to ask. But when he visited campus he said he was maybe thinking about selling one, one day. He seemed hesitant and nervous about it, like maybe his wife had talked him into saying that. Like maybe he wasn’t really sold on the idea of selling, but he brought it up.

I said to him, with solemnity and a sincere appreciation for the work he does on those radios, If you do, I hope you’ll consider giving me a chance to make you an offer.

I kept checking my Facebook messages for the next six years, but he never wrote me. But that’s OK. He was a nice guy, and his wife was charming and I hope they’re doing well. Which … let me check one more time … nada.

Ah well, new town, new marketplace, new opportunities.

When we moved here, when I started putting my office together, the first thing I did was turn on that Silvertone. The tubes hummed up and then I scrolled the dial. You can get a good handful of AM stations out here.

I wonder about the family that bought that radio from Sears and Roebuck in 1948. What did they listen to on it? Did they marvel at stations they could tune in to from different states? When did this stop being a central focus in their home, and then just another piece of furniture? Were there kids in that house? If they are still with us they’d be in their late 70s by now. Do you think those kids, now old, have grandchildren that some them the wonders of the Internet? Think they’ve ever shown them scenes from the woods in Poland?

You know, that old man, that old woman, they are Boomers, and children of the rocket age, young adults of the space age. Maybe they caught that bug, and never let it go. Maybe their grandchildren showed them how to find the NASA streams.

So many technologies. So surprising how we can get accustomed to them all so quickly. So many wonders. So many screws.

Aug 23

Another fine summer day

Today was a paperwork day. A small amount of important paperwork was … Worked? Papered? No matter which incorrect verb we use, it means three more things off the to-do list.

I’m also catching up on reading things. There are so many things to read. I am just under three months behind on one read, and eight years behind on another. There’s a lot of reading ahead. There’s always a lot of reading ahead. You welcome a challenge like that. And it’s all great stuff, too. No AI, no second-tier writers. Nothing I don’t want to absorb in some way. It’s a wonderful thing. There’s just … a lot of it.

The volume isn’t a problem. The problem, as ever, is what to consume next … and how in the world can you make a real dent in the stacks?

More and faster. That’s always the answer.

We had a lovely bike ride this afternoon. I titled it “One day my legs’ll surely come back.” I had four splits of 20+ mph, though. And I set three Strava segment PRs, the last one in the final moments of the ride, long after my legs had called it a day.

That was also a fair amount of time after this moment, which was the moment when my lovely bride dropped me for good.

At one point, one of the stronger parts of the ride, I thought I would need to sit up and wait for her. I’d had three big bursts in a row, over a stretch of road that favors my ride over hers. Then I looked over my shoulder and she was right behind me.

Later, on a stretch that should have favored neither of us, it was all I could do to stay on her wheel. I knew early on I was going to be way off the back. It happens from time-to-time. Just settle in and enjoy the view.

One thing I saw was on a new-to-us road. (Most of them are new to us.) On a bit of straight road that went over the freeway, there was a beautiful little side road, veering off at a 45-degree angle. It was quiet, and tree lined and tree-covered. I don’t know where it goes, but

I love all the different styles of field irrigation farmers use. I wish it was the sort of thing that I knew more about. Some of these rigs have signs, though, and I’m eventually going to look them up. Maybe I can become a Wikipedia-level expert.

There was a rainbow there, but I missed it.

Didn’t miss all of this hay, though. How could you? That’s a lot of winter food for the livestock.

Later, after my heart rate returned to normal, I picked the day’s tomatoes. We now have to bowls worth to eat. Plus all of our peaches!

I had four smaller peaches today. I lost count on the number of tomatoes.

They’re a paperwork filing super fruit!