Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tony Hillerman

I need to interrupt my irregularly unscheduled blogging to remember one of my favorite authors. Tony Hillerman passed away Sunday, October 26, 2008. He wrote 18+ books. They were mystery stories for the most part, written in Navajo country. The "legendary" Leutenant Joe Leaphorn and Sargent Jim Chee were cops in the Navajo Tribal Police. Joe Leaphorn was a skeptic regarding the Navajo spiritual ways. Jim Chee was working to become a shaman.

I've read all but the last book, The Shape Shifter. One of the things I do when I go into a book store is wander to the mystery section to see if he has anything new. I didn't see this one the last time I was out. I'll really miss reading them and may just have to read them all over again.

Perhaps more movies will be made from these books. PBS produced Skinwalkers, Coyote Waits, and A Thief of Time. Adam Beach played Jim Chee; Wes Studi made a perfect Joe Leaphorn.

Good journey, Tony Hillerman. You will be missed by many.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

k. d. lang

Wow! What a concert! It was worth every penny I paid for it, and I paid several. k. d. lang has a beautiful voice and a powerful set of lungs. She has great control over volume and sings well whether it's a quiet piece or she's belting the notes out there.

With apologies to Jeri Heiden, who took the photo, I couldn't help but steal it to put here.

My first impression when ms. lang strode onstage was, she's really put on a few pounds. But then, so have I. I soon forgot about it as she began to entertain us.

She had five great guys backing her up, a fellow from Brazil, a fellow she said was French, the drummer, base player, and someone she called the "man child" who was three years old when she cut her first album. Since there was no printed program, I don't remember any of their names. They were, however, outstanding. The base player would switch between upright acoustic base and electric. I love the upright base sound.

She sang three of my favorites from Ingenue which came out in, I think she said, 1994. It was my first exposure to k. d. lang and I love every song on that album. She did a very interesting "girl dance" when she sang Miss Chatelaine. It was quite comedic but I think that was intentional. She also sang A Kiss to Build a Dream On from the album she recorded with Tony Bennett.

I can't say enough good things about this concert. O'Shaughnessy Auditorium at St. Kate's in St. Paul has great acoustics. We were smack in the center of the fifth row of the balcony. David and I had a great time.

Warning to my co-worker Duane: I'll be singing along to k. d. lang tomorrow at work and probably throughout the week. I'll try to sing softly.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008

This and that...

Sorry this photos is a little fuzzy. My cell phone doesn't take the best pictures and I left my real camera at home this week. This is a maple tree outside one of the buildings at Hoffman. I used to work on the second floor and in the fall you could watch the leaves turn from the conference room window.

When my microwave quit and exuded a decidedly acrid burnt-electronics smell, I thought I'd not be able to lift it much less put a new one in its place. I was wrong. I waited a couple more weeks and have now enough muscle power to do some lifting. This is my new GE 1.1 cubic foot nuker. I tested it. It works. Well, it makes water hot, anyway.

I decided to go to church this afternoon rather than tomorrow. Pastor Bob (Eagle Brook Church) has begun a new series on bible study and how important it is. It's called Awaken, but I guess you could tell that from the picture.

After church I went to Carbone's Ristorante in Circle Pines. I've driven past there many times but never stopped. I had shrimp alfredo and a yummy chocolate "tuxedo" cheesecake for dessert. I'd say it's worth going back again.

That's it for now.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Chinatown Tai Chi Center

This is my tai chi instructor, Sifu Phyllis Calph, of Chinatown Tai Chi Center. I've been studying under her tutelage for over 15 years and see no reason to stop. She's a great teacher who holds herself to the principles of tai chi and is always encouraging to her students. (Click to embiggen the photos.)

This is our school. When the economy is down, so is membership in the school. I guess for some people, a martial art is a luxury. Not for me. This is a necessity. I've used Sifu Calph's school to treat my occasional bouts of depression. It has kept my joints lubricated so that my artificial shoulders can regain nearly total range of motion. I have friends here that I will have for many years to come.

Now all we need to do is get more students. This is a wonderful martial art. As with any other learning experience, we all get exactly what we put into it. It's not easy but it's definitely fun.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

LEAN Practices

Where I work I am often amazed by the company's "lean" practices. For instance, consider the one-hour meeting about LEAN Office Tools, which was nothing more than telling us, repeatedly, again, that we shouldn't do things the customer isn't willing to pay for. (I should have stayed at my desk and kept working, but I didn't know that was an option.)

Then there's the United Way 2-week blitz. Last week was the auction of many donated goods. I won two things, a bottle of wine from someone's wine collection and a gift for my son, so I'm not saying what it is.

Yesterday and today (the playoffs) and again on Friday (the finals) are the tug-of-war games. At Friday's event we can "bet" on which team wins. The money goes to United Way and the winning bet gets something like a day of extra vacation time.

Waiting for the games to start

Angie is the official videographer

More waiting

Muscles and art


Anyway, it gave me an excuse to get up from my computer and do something very un-work-like.

(Shhhh. Don't tell our customers.)