Tuesday, September 29, 2020

New window art

Check it out: I made a new piece of whimsical art using mostly found objects.

It's my Hanging Marble Shelf.

I admit that I bought the chain and the cuphooks, but the jars, the wood, the marbles and even the stegosaurus were just stuff I had hanging around.

Added bonus: I wrote an Instructable so that anyone who can't tell how to make their own from just looking at it will be able to. Now that I think about it, there could be useful tips in the Instructable even for someone who doesn't need instructions.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Learning how to get more attention on Facebook

I post here, on Facebook, and on Twitter. Why? To get attention.

My preference would be to just post on this blog because I have more control over how the post looks and it's open to everyone, even my friends who will never use Facebook because Facebook is privacy-violating and democracy-destroying.

But I use Facebook because many people who have an interest in my stuff are only there. And Facebook gives me lots of information on the attention my posts are getting with the "like" icons and comments.

Because of these statistics, I've now learned the key for my posts to get lots of attention:

August 14 - A picture of Manon with her new haircut - 26 likes, 7 comments

August 15 - A video of a bagpipe concert on our street - 21 likes, 2 comments, 1 share

August 29 - An exciting post relaying what might otherwise have been a lost verse of an iconic Newfoundland song with an adorable picture of my grandfather, adding to the sum of human knowledge and enriching the lives of all Canadians - 9 likes, 10 comments

September 9A video of blackbirds sitting on wires eyeing my grapes - 19 likes, 11 comments

September 10 - a picture from Pinhey Forest of the beautiful Manon and me looking like Red Green - 72 likes, 20 comments

The lesson is clear. If I want attention on Facebook, Manon is the key.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Pappy's verse for I's the B'y

After doing a bunch of Googling this afternoon, I discovered that I know a verse to the famous Newfoundland folksong I's the B'y that apparently nobody has put on the internet.

Just about every Canadian who attended English elementary school knows at least a few verses of the song about the b'y who catches the fish and brings'em home to Lizer, doesn't want your maggoty fish, and has to take poor Lizer to a dance when every step was up to her knees in gravel.

Today, I created a sheet music version in Noteworthy Composer so I can do duets with my horn and someone else. I decided to add the lyrics. 

I had a piano score to copy that has the verses I learned in elementary school and one that they didn't teach us back in grade three:

Susan White, she's out of sight.
Her petticoat wants a border.
Old Sam Oliver in the dark,
He kissed her in the corner.

This verse is also in the Great Big Sea recording along with the elementary school verses.

And I found another verse I didn't know in a version by Shanneyganock:

Oh, me mudder, may I go out?
Yes, me darling daughter;
Tuck your petticoat under your skirt,
And don't go near the water.

But when I searched for the version Pappy taught me many years ago, not a single hit.

Stephen Scrimshaw, Albert Elms, David Scrimshaw in '64?

My grandfather, Albert James Elms, was born in Stones Cove, Newfoundland in 1903. He left school in grade two to become a fisher. Fished in dories off the Grand Banks for 23 years before getting work on the CS Cyrus Field, an Atlantic cable laying ship. He told people he was a spud barber, but his official title was probably steward's assistant.

He was a strong singer. Sang tenor in his church choir his whole life. I loved listening to his voice soar on Will Your Anchor Hold.

This is the verse of I's the B'y he taught me:

Lizer she went up the stairs,
and I went up behind her.
Then I opened up her legs
to see her coffee grinder.

If you want to check that I'm right that nobody else has put these words on the net, I suggest you use the last line of the verse and not the third line.

The sheet music I found says: "Most Newfoundlanders love to dance, and this lively ditty is one of their favourite dance tunes. It has many stanzas, some of which are hardly suitable for publication."

If you know other stanzas verses, I'd love to learn them.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Rose Roberts the Piper visits Lebreton Street

The residents of our block of Lebreton Street had a bagpipe concert last night from the talented Rose Roberts (contactable through Facebook). The concert was terrific and it was great to see all the neighbours outside smiling. The toddlers seemed to be especially delighted.

Sunday, June 07, 2020

How to play proper Euchre with friends while isolating

Two couples in different places playing Euchre together
Step 1: Using laptops, all the players link up through Skype, Zoom or another video calling App. I leave that to you to figure out what is best for your gang. You could play without video chat, but if you did that, you might as well play against robots. When you beat your opponents, you want to hear their lamentations.

Step 2: Using smartphones or tablets, the four players play Euchre with the Karman Games Euchre App.

The Karman Games Euchre App

  1. Every player has to download and install, the Karman Games Euchre app onto a smart phone.
  2. And sign in. I don't remember doing this, but I think it was straight forward.


One tricky part is getting a good avatar. The app will give you a default image that looks like a Sith lord. Before opening the app, I took a picture of my face with an appropriate expression with my phone and used that for the avatar.

  1. At the opening screen, tap "Play Online"
  2. On the next screen, tap on the avatar picture. Choose one of their pictures or tap the empty square. 
  3. If you tap the empty square, you'll see pictures on your phone. Tap on one of them and use the green square to frame the part of your picture you want as your avatar.

      Play Online - click the Avatar to change
      The Play Online Screen
      Avatar picture=Get a new face. 
      The App's avatar selector
       Blank square=choose your own
      This avatar pre-dates my full pandemic beard
      Make an appropriate Euchre face

Host Sets the Rules

One person has to act as the host. If you're going to be the host, you must set the rules. Do not go with Karman's default rules. They are wrong. This is critical. It came as a surprise to me that there are enough people who play Euchre wrong that an app on the internet not only accomodates them, but sets their madness as the defaults.

The Correct Default rules:
  1. Final Score = 10 (Unless you need to be some kind of weirdo.)
  2. Benny = Off (A "Benny" is apparently a joker that is the highest trump. Common in southwestern England. If you need to play with jokers, play Kanasta don't muck up the noble game of Euchre.)
  3. Stick the Dealer = Off (Unless you want to force dealers to call trump even when they have terrible cards. It's probably fun when the dealer is not you or your partner. But it's not proper Euchre.)
  4. Go Under = Off (This seems to be some way for whiners with bad cards to exchange some of them.
  5. Canadian Loner = On (Perhaps part of why the world outside of Canada is so messed up is that Euchre players do not have to go alone when they order their partners up.)
  6. Need Suit to Call It = On (Yes, this rule is tough when you're the dealer, you turn over the Jack of Hearts and you can't pick it up even though you have the Jack of Diamonds. But that's  Euchre, not some game where the world has gone crazy.)
  7. First Lead on Alone = Left of the Dealer (You could go with the other option of "Left of the Loner" if you want to do it wrong.) 
    "Friendly Game"- "New Table"
  8. There are at least two things missing with these rules that you will have to accept:
    1. When one team loses a game and a new game starts, it doesn't seem to be the losers who get first deal. 
    2. You cannot call "ner ace, ner face, ner trump" and have an automatic misdeal. You just have to play the miserable hand.

Host starts a new game

The Table screen - no kidding turn off the Timer!
Turn off the timer!
The host goes to "Play Online", then "Friendly Game", then "New Table".

In "New Table":
  1. Type a Table name your friends will recognize.
  2. Type an easy password. This isn't your bank account.
  3. Hit "done" to remove the little keyboard.
  4. Be sure to turn the "Turn Timer" off. Seriously.
  5. Turn off "Allow Observers" if you don't want observers. Leave it on if you do. But they'll need the password.
  6. Hit "OK" when you're ready. 
  7. Wait for the other players to arrive.

Other players join

  1. The other players go to "Play Online", then "Friendly Game" and scroll to the name the host has given and tap it. They put in the password and they're in the game.
  2. When the other three players have signed in, the host will see their avatars and be asked to choose which one in their partner. With my foursome, I choose a different partner each night we play.
  3. The app will artibitraly pick who deals and will tell each player when it is their turn. 
  4. The app will only let you call trump if you have one of that suit in your hand. 
  5. If you can call trump, the app will let you go alone, even if it would be a bad idea. 
  6. Important: to go alone, you have to touch the go-alone checkbox before you touch the suit to call trump.
  7. You can only call suits in your hand
    Click "Alone" before the suit!
  8. When a game ends, a new game with the same partners will start if everyone clicks "Yes."

I'll be happy to answer questions in the comments!

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Neighbourhood Window Walk - Rainbows

Next: Thursday, April 23 - Lollipops

Monday, April 13, 2020

Neighbourhood Window Walk - Fish

I feel that my contribution to Neighbourhood Window Walk today is on topic and has a question with relevance for the young folk staying at home.

Next theme:
Saturday, April 18 - Rainbows