Saturday, February 04, 2017

Red Claws versus Swarm, January 28, 2017

Maine climbed to 19-11 with an easy 111-98 victory over Greensboro (9-20) in this Saturday night game with few dramatic moments. Marcus Georges-Hunt (27 points) and Ryan Kelly (22 points) led the Claws, with the latter delivering on a late-game alley-oop that brought the evening's loudest cheer. We had a chance to see Celtics rookie Demetrius Jackson (14 points), who has bounced between Boston and Portland all season and looked a little disoriented.

Greensboro nipped Maine on Friday night, but was never close in this one. Aaron Harrison (22 points) and Mike Tobey (10 points) were scoring leaders and Xavier Munford showed above-average spark. Overall, it looked like the team needed a charge but never amped up.

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Peregrine and the Waning Gibbous

I kept my #ebird365 streak alive on Sunday morning by committing an hour to window watching. I gave most of my attention to the windows facing the feeders, alternating between the kitchen and the dining room to get good angles at all six feeders. As usual, the birds came in waves. Cardinals peaked at six, house sparrows at eight. Juncos, trees, white-throats, and chickadees were in and out in low numbers. Finches took stations when they saw openings, then stayed put. Jays roved at will, usually causing a stir wherever they went. A composed dove sat still, blending right into the dried grass where snow had receded.

On occasion, I went to the far end of the house, where a second-floor glass slider opens to a view of a broad back yard. My scans for movement in the bare branches of our looming maple revealed a downy, but not much more. By opening the door and poking my head into the cold, birding by ear, I added more jays, cardinals, and a crow.

On my last foray to the loft, I stepped up to the glass and spied a songbird flying across my view, silhouetted and quick. It was beyond reach too soon, but as I straightened my sightline, I saw another bird on the same path as the first. This one was much larger, fusiform, and beating long, tapered wings. A falcon. I managed to lift binoculars just as it passed and caught its black mask and white breast. A peregrine. With its strong and steady flight, the bird rapidly moved away.

At the improved angle, I studied the exiting rarity. I've never had such a leisurely posterior view. Against the clear blue sky, the peregrine's rolling quiver of a wingbeat was transfixing. As I kept it in binocular view, my bird entered the luminous semicircle of the setting moon for a second or two. An awesome intersection.

Happenstance is so rewarding. Hope in having the usuals punctuated by an unexpected is a potent force behind my birding. After the fact, dwelling on the surprise keeps the excitement alive.

This time, I went to Hawks in Flight to reinforce my ID and was moved by how Dunne, Sibley & Sutton described the flight of a peregrine falcon:

"The wing beat is fluid, rhythmic, elastic, and whiplike. The flap... seems to roll down the long wing in undulating pulses."


Photo: Falco peregrinus at Morro_Bay,_California by Mike Baird CC BY 2.0

Saturday, October 29, 2016

K Records Friends & Neighbors Report

Top 4 CDs in the set
A K warehouse-clearing deal put a big stack of CDs in the mailbox for less than the cost of one at retail. The friendly mail order department "miscounted," so I had 14 new discs to spin. First time through, I picked blind. Second time through, I better knew what was coming, but still had things to learn and opinions to form. As a result, I've made a keep-or-pass list that looks like this (rated against each other, not all of musicdom):

Sylvain Sylvain & The Criminal$: Bowery Butterflies (2000) Munster vogue
***** Not-too-raucous rock'n'roll straddling the boppin' '50s and punk '80s.

Various Artists: Shipwreck Day (2002) Knw*Yr*Own web
***** That original What-the-Heck-Fest musta been some kind of fun.

the Weeds: The Faraway Flying of Broken Beating (2004) independent? web (arc divers)
**** Emily Ana Zeitlyn leads. Some genre hopping. Most works.

Landing: Oceanless (2001) Strange Attractors Audio House web
**** Dark sonic ecosystem with layers of rhythmic space noise.

The Gift Machine: …don't turn me off (2002) Knw*Yr*Own web
*** Hooky rockin-pop with an uplift and a wink.

Supersnazz: The Devil Youth Blues (1996) Time Bomb info
*** Pop-punk out of Osaka. Starts strong but fades.

Sarah Dougher: Day One (1999) K web
*** Easy on the ear. Bella Abzug and a couple more rise above the neutral.

le ton mité: Tickets to Real Imaginary Places (2006) Zicmuse, Richmond County Archives, K
*** Striving, occasionally achieving. Voice straining, instruments stabler.

Bryce Panic presenta… Better Bizness Bureau (2006?) self
** Infrequent clicks in this vocab-rich hip-hop shtick.

Josh Bucci: Pan Da Mix Tape II (2005?) self-produced web
** Oddball gets B for effort, but results lag in 1991-2005 retrospective.

Wolf Colonel: The Castle (2000) K
** Messing around after a bad breakup. Keep practicing.

Various Artists: Balance (1999) Readyrock
** Short-of-middling rap, often quite.

Various Artists: Wade-free Wherever, A Schtufff... Compilation (1995)
** Speedpunkmetal of insufficient interest.

Miranda July: 10 Million Hours a Mile (1997) Kill Rock Stars
* Poemish egocentric artpunk fails.

All these someones committed something to semipermanence, suspecting sometime somewhere someone else would take it in and care. The hits reveal where I do. For those most potent, I wish I'd been there then.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Red Claws versus Drive, March 13, 2016

First-place Maine (Atlantic) took on fourth-place Grand Rapids (Central) two days after crushing them 132-107. Jordan Mickey led the Claws with 28, followed by Corey Walden with 22 and Malcolm Miller with 20. The Drive got their spark from Kelsey Barlow, who put up 32, with help from Henry Sims (28), Devin Ebanks (25), and Lorenzo Brown (24). Maine was down by 10 at the half, but came back to take the game 129-123. The win clinched a playoff spot for the Red Claws.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Tea Record

My first cup of tea came at the end of a night's work when, vague memory tells me, the cool New England air, the convenience of Dunkin Donuts, and an experimental mood led me to order a cup. I imagined it would be unpleasant, so I assented to sugar. The girl scrunched up her eyebrow when I asked for three. That hot syrup hit close enough to the mark that I brought the drink, with rapidly lessened sweetening, into my beverage routine.

At the supermarket, I managed to skip past Lipton, Tetley, Nestea, and Red Rose, instead going for Bigelow then Twinings on a friend's recommendation. Not long after, out west, I found Stash at the grocery store and discovered Market Spice's loose-leaf array. From this point, I sought tea shops for stocking up and had pretty good luck overall, but a move back east into a semirural area meant mail order would become the new order.

SpecialTeas' style, selection, and price made me a regular. I supplemented my SpecialTeas favorites, for a couple of years, with selections from Portsmouth Tea Company scooped straight from the warehouse barrel. Then that shop made a couple of missteps (leading to its demise) and SpecialTeas got absorbed by Teavana (a company for which I had already gained an aversion), so I was forced to seek out a new online source. I landed at Upton Tea Imports and have stuck there since. Gifts and random finds keep variety on the shelf.

Upton says I've ordered these. I use ***** for the best. Four stars is threshold for "would order again."

DJ70: Tindharia Estate 2nd Flush Darjeeling GFTGFOP1 (November 2016)
TA04: Season's Pick Assam FTGFOP Organic (July 2011)
TA07: Season's Pick Assam GFOP Organic (December 2015) ****
TA20: Tippy Orthodox FBOP Assam (November 2016 +) **** Good for breakfast
TA28: Mangalam Estate Assam FTGFOP (September 2017)
TA40: Tippy Orthodox GFOP Assam (April 2017) **** Anytime no nonsense
TB02: Leadenhall Street Blend (June 2016 +) **** Full and earthy
TB05: Mincing Lane Breakfast Blend *** Assam and Yunnan
TB10: Bond Street English Breakfast Blend
TB12: CTC Irish Breakfast Blend (April 2017) **** Sure, why not?
TB14: Scottish Breakfast Blend
TB20: River Shannon Breakfast Blend **** Reliable day-starter
TB51: East Frisian BOP
TB52: East Frisian TGFOP (November 2016) *** Adequate, not exemplary
TB75: Baker Street Afternoon Blend (annual) ***** Smoky but balanced
TE01: Season's Pick Earl Grey Crème Vanilla (May 2015) *** Vanilla overpowers bergamot
TE10: Original Earl Grey
TE11: Extra Bergamot English Earl Grey
TE19: Devonshire Earl Grey (June 2016) **** Straightforward
TE57: New England Harvest Blend ***
TI69: Jolotigo Estate Java Orthodox BT (December 2015) *** Meh bonus sample
ZK11: China Keemun First Grade
ZK21: Premium Keemun FOP
ZK97: Keemun Mao Feng (September 2017)
ZK98: China Keemun Mao Feng
ZP22: Panyang Congou Select
ZP76: China Panyang Congou (June 2016) ****
ZP78: China Congou Wu-Yi Golden Monkey *****
ZY24: Yunnan Black Mao Feng (April 2017)

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Sea Dogs fall to Fightin Phils, May 23, 2015

It's just about season-over for the Portland Sea Dogs. It's also clear-off-the-desk time here, which means the scorecard and program are headed to the recycle bin. Before that happens, I'll take a moment to record what we saw in the one game we attended.

The Sea Dogs lost to the Reading Fightin Phils in a 7-inning game, the first of a rain-forced double header on May 23. The early end confused me; I still don't know why the game was shortened. After all, the ticket claims a Sea Dog game is "your nine inning vacation."

The Phils' lineup was Roman Quinn, KC Serna, Aaron Altherr, Brock Stassi, Art Charles, Brodie Greene, Brian Pointer, Gabriel Lino, and Gustavo Pierre, with Tom Windle getting the start and Tyler Knigge the save. Lino and Serna had the best at bats and Windle got the win.

On the Dogs' side were Blake Tekotte, Carlos Asuaje, Jantzen Witte, Oscar Tejada, Keury de la Cruz, Luis Martinez, David Chester, and Jonathan Roof. Justin Haley was on the mound for 5-2/3 innings and Pat Light finished the game. Tejeda and De La Cruz reached base more than any teammates, but nobody really got the crowd going.

A & I liked the seats in section 201, row C.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Remembering GENERATE

My GENERATE day was cool and bright from morning to night, an adventure for edging ahead. Its true start was the bridge walk, a brisk excursion after the drive. My aim was to log a letterbox and I did. I also enjoyed a second fortuitous find, a sign left behind. Then I was off to the Andross entry.

"Accidental collisions," Adam Burk said, and my note taking began. It was TEDxDirigo Sunday and I sat self-satisfied.

The first talk was excellent: Voot Yin of MDIBL and Novo Biosciences Inc focused on tissue regeneration with ZF143 (ZF for zebra fish, which regrow a clipped tail at an astonishing rate; ZF143 for "a nontoxic drug that rescues defects in regeneration"). Might humans effectively regenerate damaged tissue with such a drug? That's what he hopes to find out. Along the way, I assume there'll be scads of "induced amputations" among sacrificial subjects: fishes, salamanders, and other lesser creatures.

Three cheers for Alicia Eggert, speaker two, who weaves subtle surprise into clever sculptures. Her videos were fun to watch, though Pulse Machine made me wonder how many parts will get replaced before the paired elements clock their last beat. I appreciated her Strunk-and-White-ish goal to "communicate as clearly and concisely as possible."

Local Maina Handmaker promoted her laudable quest to repurpose ancient freight barns into a year-round farmer's market, Jenny Ryan experimented with the TED format to press a point about design, and Rafael Grossman hyped Google Glass. Then Chas Lester vocally percussed at us up to the break.

After lunch, but before lunch was over, I went back to the presentation hall and found Apparatus Dance Company on the ropes. It was the right kind of unexpected. They opened Session Two with a performance and an explanation of how they created the back wall art while practicing, making "maps of where the dance has been" for reperformance or revision. (I had thought the art was a preschool's contribution.)

Insert #hashtag video here, followed by David Buchanan telling of Clarence Thurlow and the Fletcher Sweet, Mohamed Nur saying while living here he has "never experienced peace," Liz Neely remarking on paper while wearing a dress to start a chain reaction, Eli Mellen (the next link) pointing me at, and gkisedtanamoogk unwittingly completing the apparel trifecta. The elder draped a wampum belt over his left hand while addressing truth and reconciliation and leading me to consider "What does it mean to acknowledge we live on the homelands of Indian country?"

The tiramisu line at break didn't abate till nearly too late, but I got a tasty little bowl to take back in. I sat next to the knitter in the glow zone and started a tweet.

Adam said, "This dot is a cool elevator" and I now knew why. TED's red circle centers attention, gives a lift.

Next up on the crimson disk was Yona Belfort putting hoarder and minimalist on opposite sides of the value threshold and equating shopping with gambling. And what was it urchin eater Graham Morehead was saying about discovering simple solutions through complex systems?

Nancy Andrews kept me off balance for a bit. She was inhabiting delirium once upon a time and works out her post-ICU Syndrome in gently unsettling art. In an abrupt shift, Serena Galleshaw brightly reviewed how she and her friends created their own reasons to stay (and as their neighbor I'm grateful they did). John Coleman said do nothing. He also said stay toiling. Then Bianca Fresh (Abdalla) got us to stomp and clap and slap thighs in a 500-hand hambone. She and Chas went playfully head to head to end it.

I did a little post-intensity wandering over the old mill floor, stabbing at a couple of chats as the crowd thinned, but that was a wrap. It was five and almost night, a chilly march back to the car. After one wrong turn I just aimed at twilight to find home.