Monday, August 19, 2019

Return to Bubbleworld

Bubbleworld is my world.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Friday, August 16, 2019

Airfare Roulette

Whew! After much dithering, I've finally purchased tickets for our February Santa Fe escape. For many days the lowest price for the dates/times we wanted had been $404 a piece. I knew from past experience that there were mysterious perturbations in the exact fare depending on what particular day of the week one flew, as well as equally mysterious drops and hikes that would sometimes occur for no apparent reason. We had already gotten our lodging (which was already filling up fast) but I figured I could wait awhile on the airfare.

Yesterday my dalliance paid off. $279 per, a savings of 31%! I know that these fares are set by a computer algorithm, but still! Is the markup on these flights that great? I do know that the non-economy seats had similar price reductions.

I always feel good when it think that I’ve avoided being a chump.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019


In the early 1970s appliance manufacturers conspired to pollute American kitchens with a limited color palate of these three colors: Avocado Green, Harvest Gold, and Poppy Red.

And they got away with it!

Fondue pots were especially popular.

At about that time I was working in receiving for Dayton’s, the preeminent Upper Midwest department store. We would get pallet after pallet of cheesy kitchen goods: pots and pans, small appliances, even tableware—all of it in these three colors. Major appliances were furnished in this chromatic triad as well, with burnt orange and a brown also available.

Where have they all gone? Even antique stores seldom have any. You can get some custom appliance colors, but not at a reasonable cost. Earlier color trends such as pink and turquoise have experienced a dramatic resurgence, but “the big three” evidently wore out their welcome by the late 70s. Dusty Rose, Lavender and other pastels were trending in the 80s, while various creams/bisques/beiges were big in the 90s (i.e., my kitchen). Now everything is black, white or stainless, in kitchens painted gray.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Monday, August 12, 2019

Package from SLM

For more Shoshanah art, go here.

For Shoshanah literature, go here.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 3 

Friday, August 09, 2019

Warmoth “Split” Jazzmaster

It was to be my retirement guitar.

I've always had a hankerin’ for an offset but was put off by the switching arrangements and the pickup sounds of Fender Jazzmasters™ or Jaguars™. Enter the Warmoth "Split" Jazzmaster: a customizable offset body, with routing options that allowed a variety of layouts.

I went with some no-name mini-humbuckers, chosen for their tendency to be somewhat microphonic. The middle pickup is actually a single coil, with phase switching that gives it a bit of a “quack” when used with the bridge pickup. The Warmoth compound neck radius of 10-16 matches the TOM bridge radius of the roller bridge.

It is a fun guitar to play, the vibrato works well and the edgy response of the mini-humbuckers makes this a versatile instrument, albeit not for traditionalists.

UPDATE: I can never leave well enough alone. I've added a hardtail bridge, and a mini-rocker switch setup, one for each pickup, two for tone, with a master volume. I also put in two faux-ricky pickups,  it didn't make much of a difference:

UPDATE II: I went back to the Vibrato tailpiece and put in a Mustang bridge. After polishing and lubing the saddles and the nut slots, it holds tune extremely well, even when using the tailpiece. I also returned to the plain Firebird-style pickups:

I put a little brass logo plate from an antique camera on the head stock, for some unknown reason:

UPDATE III: I made a new pickguard and put in a 5-way Strat switch. No volume or tone controls.

UPDATE IV: Sold in the great guitar purge of 2019.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Wednesday, August 07, 2019


Welcome to my nightmare:

It is a real place:

An alternative universe hiding in a ray of sunshine:

Bubbleworld is my world.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Monday, August 05, 2019

Girl From the North Country

In Valhalla’s Shadows

A novel by W. D. Valgardson
Douglas & McIntyre, 2019

If the Midwest of the United States is flyoverland, the Midwest of Northern Canada is almost a no man’s land.
When Tom Parsons (an ex-Mountie on a disability pension) moves to a small resort town somewhere north of Winnipeg, he immediately becomes ensnared in the mysterious death of an indigenous girl. Tom brings plenty of his own problems along, most of the townsfolk are suspicious of Tom, and those who do befriend him seem to have hidden agendas of their own.

This is an odd mystery. It is more concerned with the history of the town than the plot. W. D. Valgardson is an experienced writer who has carefully researched this book—at times it has an academic feel; there is a lot of information here. Valgardson’s writing is straight-head and I became completely swept up in it. Again, not so much for the mystery, but just the panorama of small town characters the W. D. struts across the vividly portrayed “stage” of the small town. It is a somewhat dismal book however, the denouement suggests that things won’t really change much for the better, even if the villains do receive their comeuppance. It reminded me of a Henning Mankell novel.

Valgardson has also contributed several essays to my Laxness in Translation site, I had been following his excellent blog until he stopped posting a few years ago. I had wondered what he was up to, now I know.

Many thanks to DJ Cousin Mary for making me aware of this book.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 3