Monday, July 13, 2009

Hot Balloons (& blah computers)

I’m back—more or less—with a version of the post that was originally intended for Sunday. As far as the computer crash news goes: I now have a new (to me) laptop to work on; it’s no frills, but should serve me nicely, especially if I can use it as a secondary machine. Whether or not that will be the case, I should know within the next day or so. The old computer is a story in itself; I’ve had it for years & it’s been almost entirely rebuilt—everything from power supplies & memory cards to new hard drives & even a motherboard. Because the latter item is pretty new, I’m hoping that’s not the problem. The other good news is that practically everything is backed up between a large external hard drive (which is going to be very crucial if I’m using this laptop as the main machine) & an online back-up service called mozy. I’ve found that getting the files from mozy is a trifle persnickety (but ultimately doable), so in the future I’ll probably back up everything on both the external & on mozy, & leave the latter as a last resort. However, it does make this situation a lot better because everything can be retrieved. Anyway, the long & the short of the computer situation as it’s relevant to Robert Frost’s Banjo is that I expect to be back on a regular posting schedule.

But on to more enjoyable topics. As I’ve mentioned in the past, Eberle & I were hired by the McCall-Donnelly Drama troupe in the fall of 2006 to create a soundtrack for their adaptation of Carl Sandburg’s Rootabaga Stories. If you haven’t read these delightful books, I recommend them highly. The song in the video clip below is one Eberle composed, & it’s really her song—my tenor banjo part is quite basic. But then I’m pretty basic when it comes to the tenor banjo; I have much more experience on the 5-string & the plectrum banjo—banjo aficionados will notice that the banjo I’m playing in the slideshow photo is in fact a plectrum banjo; tho I still own the tenor I used in the Rootabaga Stories recording, there aren’t any pix of me playing it. "Hot Balloons" is an upbeat tune that really features Eberle’s marimba playing, & we had fun recording it—as I recall we did it in one or possibly two takes. Hope you enjoy this!

The picture is the frontispiece of the 1922 edition of Rootabaga Stories by Carl Sandburg. Illustration by Maud and Miska Petersham. The image was obtained by Wikipedia, & per Wikipedia is in the public domain (since the edition was prior to January 1923)


  1. Good for you for rebuilding your computer instead of tossing it in the nearest landfill.

    Though I admire how fast the technology evolves, I hate thinking of old laptops floating around in the ocean, stacking up in India and China, etc.

    Hope it rallies!

  2. Hi Reya: Thanks! The old one's a desktop job, & it looks old. I liken it to an old car that's had all its parts replaced. We'll see how it comes back from its latest trauma!

  3. Just discovered your blog via Tony Zimnoch's. Thoroughly enjoyable - congratulations.

  4. I love the upbeat music and the pics, liked seeing you and Eberle secreted in there, too!

    I hope your laptop will do the job. You have me thinking of backing up data now. I know I should; I'd hate to lose some of my musings.

  5. Hi Alan:

    & welcome-- I'm taking a look at News From Nowhere-- looks good. I like Tony's blog a lot.


  6. Hi Karen:

    Good news-- the desktop is up & running; just needed a little something like a new processor(!!!) So with new CPU, things are good to go. Now the laptop can function as a secondary/travel item, which is as it should.

    & yes: back-up. Despite my saying that is "persnickety," you have to remember that I'm talking about retrieving well over 20 gigs of data. Many people (Eberle is one) can back up everything on mozy for free, & with smaller files to retrieve it shouldn't be quite so complicated. Also: external hard drives aren't that expensive. It's really worth it--makes the inevitable computer blips much more livable.

  7. I love the music! It really lifted me! I know some fellow banjo players I will share this link with as I know they'd love it too....In the meantime, my own beloved banjo is calling for some attention.... :-)
    Wonderful post!

  8. Hi Mad Aunt Bernard:

    Don't neglect your banjo! I'm a duffer on the tenor banjo, but thanks for the kind words. Give me either another string or a longer neck!


Thanks for stopping by & sharing your thoughts. Please do note, however, that this blog no longer accepts anonymous comments. All comments are moderated. Thanks for your patience.