just a quick test

having issues (again) with the WordPress app.

looks like it’s saving drafts properly. let’s go for a publish.

update: seems to be working, except for pics in the preview. plus I lost a post in the fracas. oh well.

The Last Post (no Chorus)

The time has come to say goodbye to Facebook. The reasons are many and varied but, to avoid going off on a full-blown rant, I’ll just state the main ones.

  • Return on Investment: When you consider the amount of time and effort I put into FB, the payback is just miniscule.
  • Hate and Discontent: My stream got clogged with hate speech, mainly coming from the far left. Judicious blocking didn’t help, as particularly vile memes seem to get spread by more people than I could get a handle on.
  • What’s In A Name?: Despite following FB’s instructions — “just use the name most people call you” — what they really meant was “use a name that white nerd bros won’t question.” Everybody calls me Hobbit. So when the happy little douchebag turned me in to the FB name police, I suddenly found all my comments, photos, etc. tagged with the wrong name. I didn’t work so hard establishing the “Hobbit brand” (such as it is) to let it be fucked up by a bunch of greedy cube trolls.

This is not one of those drama queen (fake) exits. I’m not mad at anyone particularly. I’m not leaving in a huff, just with a sigh of relief. So I’m not looking for a bunch of “aw, please stay!” comments, because I can’t log back in to respond to them anyway. It takes two weeks before FB finally decides you’re serious about leaving, and if you log in at any time in that period they figure you didn’t really mean it, so you keep getting the spam from them.

That being said, I would appreciate if you shared this around a bit. I have no idea how many of you that FB will allow to see this, and I’d like anyone who does want to keep up with my misadventures to know where to find me.

There are many of you that I will miss interacting with but you’re all welcome to contact and/or keep track of me from my own site, www.howlinhobbit.com. I’m still on G+ and Twitter as well.

Amusing Final Note: I’ve had this post nearly done for over a week and I haven’t logged into FB for several weeks. They’ve sent me a ridiculous amount of “didja see this?” notifications in that time. They’re apparently channeling Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction or something, because it has sure felt like being stalked.

I’m going to push the button now and start cleaning FB off of my tablet, etc. Be well, all!

New Sound System + Extras!

Snake Suspenderz at Chateau Valley Center assisted living facility – 2/23/2018

The mighty Snakez have played at CVC a number of times. They hire us about twice a year. For a while we’ve been cobbling together a “sound system” that consists of two street amps and a few mikes. It has worked, but not real well.

Last December I had a surprise influx of cash. One of the things I did with it was buy a nice, portable, four channel sound system (a Yamaha StagePas 600i), suitable for use by a duo act like Hobbit & Hare (my most frequently booked act). While we have a wedding gig on the books out in mid-August, until the other day, had no chance to use the sound system “in the wild.”

Since I first bought it I had thought that it would be possible to “squeeze” enough space to hook up a simple quartet. When this recent CVC gig popped up I suggested trying it. So I pulled out a Behringer Eurorack UB1202 mixer that I’d had (and used) for a number of years and added it to the mix.

We plugged the three vocal mikes into the Eurorack and then fed that submix into one of the main channels on the Yamaha. We used two of the other main channels on the Yamaha to plug in my ukulele and Thadd’s guitar. That still left us with one main channel on each unit. Hmmm…

In a room this size we usually don’t have to plug in a mike for the tuba, as it’s pretty loud acoustically. Unfortunately, the sound system jumped the level up enough that Sketch, at the other end of the band from salamandir, was having a bit of trouble hearing said tuba. Oh well. Live and learn.

Because, in the main, it was a great success.

The picture was taken by Todd, the fella in charge of events such as this. They had decided that Mardi Gras was a month long celebration and this was a Mardi Gras party. Unfortunately, the angle of the photograph only takes in the backdrop they put up for us and misses some of the Mardi Gras specific decorations they’d put up.

You’ll only be able to spot one of the speakers from the sound system, over to the right amidst the balloons. The other speaker is just to the left of Sketch and his drums. The main and sub-mixer we used are both so small that they are entirely hidden behind me. That’s a good thing. That’s why I spent the lion’s share of the unexpected cash on the Yamaha.

Happily, it turns out I made the right decision there.

The Hobbit As Art

On a number of occasions I’ve been immortalized via someone’s art, and it warms my heart each time.

artwork of Howlin' Hobbit by Daniel T. Fleming
artwork © 2018 by Daniel T. Fleming

The latest is this wonderful impressionist image by fellow Pike Place Market artist, Dan Fleming. This is a 24″ x 18″ art print on stretched canvas and it now happily hangs in our staircase (where it’s also still viewable from the living room).

I don’t know if this will work out to be a good “for sale” item for Dan, but I’m sure happy to own one. It hits me right in my personal fantasy™.

I love it when that happens!

Schmutz In My Harp

Regular readers of this site (both of you) might recall how I had been working on bringing harmonica on the rack back into my act. In pursuit of that, I bought a sparkly fresh set of reed plates for my Lee Oskar C harp, which had gotten so old that it was all blown out of tune and, after some moderate kerfluffle, got them installed.

Only to discover that one of the reeds didn’t work well at all.

(Full disclosure: the pic is of a Hohner Blues Harp. I chose it because, unlike with the Oskar, you can see the reed plates when it’s assembled. They’re the brass bits in the picture.)

Now, taking apart and re-assembling a harmonica is a bit of a chore. The top and bottom covers are held on by wee little bolts and, in the case of the Oskar, weirdly shaped and equally tiny nuts. The bolts are sized so that when everything is tightened up, only a smidgen of the bolt comes out the other side of the nut. This is a good thing for a variety of reasons, but it makes it damned difficult to put the bolts back in. So, when I discovered that one of the reeds was only going to make odd little sounds I set the whole thing aside for later, sniffling a little bit about the $25 (+ shipping!) that I thought I’d just wasted.

Oh yeah. And the ~$6 I spent getting a stubby little #1 Phillips head screwdriver.

Then life continued happening and I didn’t get around to popping the thing open until yesterday. I thought maybe I could give recalcitrant reed a little prod and free it up. I got the bolts out and carefully placed where I wouldn’t lose them and pulled the top off.

What’s this? A little piece of brownish schmutz, maybe a bit less than twice the size of a kitchen match head. Tilting the thing made the schmutz drop off and a bit of testing (prior to messing about with the bolts again!) revealed that the reed was free to vibrate in its proper fashion.

But here’s the weird bit. When the harp is assembled properly there are no openings large enough to let mister schmutz get in. I mean, it was soft enough that if you poked it with a hairpin or something like that, you could force it in. But I certainly didn’t do that.

So I’d managed to inadvertently introduce ol’ schmutzy to the interior of the harp when I was originally re-assembling it. Without knowing I’d done so. In fact, I can’t for the life of me figure out just what the schmutz is made of, so I can’t even hazard a guess on how I managed to pick it up and secretly slip it into the works.

Oh well. I guess it’ll have to remain one of life’s little mysteries. Meanwhile I’ve got loads of practicing to catch up on.

home of Howlin' Hobbit, Ukulele Ace & Seattle Busker