Geek Squad

View from hallway in front of Nancy Valle's Studio in the Anderson Arts Building, Rochester, New York
View from hallway in front of Nancy Valle’s Studio in the Anderson Arts Building, Rochester, New York

Nancy Valle contacted me to let me know the digital slideshow I put in the Sounds & Sights show had stopped running. She was out of town for a week and someone unplugged the computer after the Thursday night figure drawing class. We stopped up there to address that problem and I took this shot.

We spent a good part of the week helping friends with a variety of computer problems. Jeff’s MacBook Pro was dropped. The track pad is cracked and unusable but he has his whole iTunes library on the laptop. We spent some time learning how to navigate sans mouse but couldn’t figure out you click on stuff without one. Return didn’t do it. We suggested he take it in.

Steve Black, our house guest, has an iPad that is completely full of photos and movies, so full he can’t do anything with it. We air dropped a bunch of his movies to one of our computers And put them on a flash drive.

Duane in Brooklyn had HomePod reception issues that we tried to help him with. But we left him hanging with the mysterious events That are showing up in his Calendar app.

The toughest problem was our neighbors’. Sue had reduced a couple of overstuffed filing cabinets in her basement to digitized folders of scans, iPhone photos and text files which she tucked away in Apple’s Notes application. At some point the 3,884 folders, which are sorted by title by default, went out of order. They went random on the phone but they were still in order on her iMac. They were in order on the cloud as well but there was no why to tell it to get organized on the phone. We called Apple for this one and they couldn’t help. They suggested we fill out a request at Apple.com/feedback.

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Young And Innocent

Paul, Ann and John standing on foundation of our new home on Hawley Drive in Webstaret, NY
Paul, Ann and John standing on foundation of our new home on Hawley Drive in Webster, NY

I came across this photo while looking for another file. It’s one of the old family slides that my sister, Amy, picked out to have scanned and shared. My sister, Ann, brother John and I are standing on the foundation our new home in Webster so I know I would have been nine years old.

What struck me about the photo is the t-shirt I am wearing. It’s from Camp Stella Maris, the Diocese of Rochester’s summer camp on Conesius Lake, the camp where my cousin was sexually abused by Rev. Albert H. Cason, then a counselor. We were so young and innocent.

And we never imagined that if we told someone about the abuse, like the bishop himself, he would cover it up and let the guy go on to abuse others.

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White On White

Small white table and chairs by the street in the snow
Small white table and chairs by the street in the snow

I had something else in mind for today. And I’m sure Peggi did too but the big trucks backing into our neighbor’s driveway while we were still reading the paper signaled a change of plans. Instead of working on my small wood panel paintings we would be collecting wood. The owners of the house across the street were taking down a huge oak, the one that snuggled up to their front door and towered over their house.

We dressed for the weather, mid twenties and just perfect for working outdoors, and Peggi walked down to Jared’s place to see if we could borrow his pickup while got the wheelbarrow out. She was ringing their doorbell when she noticed their truck was gone. We put a plastic tarp down in our CV and loaded it it up. Four times and then a fifth load load for Jared who is still getting over his chemo treatments.

We have a mountain of wood to split and a fire in the fireplace before the sun has set.

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Looking Very Strongly

Bridge over Horseshoe Road in Winter.
Bridge over Horseshoe Road in Winter.

We needed to get out early this morning as the sun and warm temperatures were ready to take a toll on the ski paths. We skied out to the lake and down Horseshoe Road, over the bridge (above) and then back up to Hoffman Road before our second cup of coffee. The only other person we saw out there was the guy that zips around like it is a matter of life and death. He doesn’t even look up as he passes.

I had Annie Wells’ version of Phil Marshall’s “Nothing Left To Lose” stuck in my head as we skied. And something Peggi said triggered Trump’s, “I’m looking at it very strongly” quote. That’s become one of my go-to phrases. There are ski tracks going in every which direction on the golf course. We’ve had five days in row of near perfect conditions with very little new accumulation. It is time For Mother Nature to cleanse the pallet.

"Fe La" by Margaret Explosion. Recorded live at the Little Theatre Café on 11.20.19. Peggi Fournier - sax, Ken Frank - bass, Phil Marshall - guitar, Bob Martin - guitar, Paul Dodd - drums.
“Fe La” by Margaret Explosion. Recorded live at the Little Theatre Café on 11.20.19. Peggi Fournier – sax, Ken Frank – bass, Phil Marshall – guitar, Bob Martin – guitar, Paul Dodd – drums.

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Y2K + 20

Red and gray building across the street from Saxon Studio near the Public Market
Red and gray building across the street from Saxon Studio near the Public Market

We walked up to Starbucks a little after noon and the place was busier than we have ever seen it. The baristas were joking that everyone had just woken up. It is a seven mile round trip so it takes some time but every bit of it is beautiful to us. Mostly just the spacing out part.

On the way back it started sprinkling and the wind picked up. Then we got an alert, Peggi’s phone and my watch, something like the Amber Alert. “Snow Squall Warning til 2 PM EST. Sudden whiteouts. Icy Roads. Slow down!” It did snow but its winter.

Twenty years ago Pete LaBonne, who sometimes came to our New Year’s party, sent us a song of his to play at midnight 1999. We did, right after Prince’s song. “Shut down your computer now baby.”

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Perambulating

Hairdresser near Abilene in downtown Rochester, New York
Hairdresser near Abilene in downtown Rochester, New York

Our Netflix dvd, Jean Renoir’s “The Rules of the Game,” has been kicking’ around the house for weeks now. We tried it one night but feel asleep. You need to be fully rested for this 1939 classic. It plays like a non stop dance with the actors and camera swirling about in a witty, fluid, fast paced, stunning display of moving pictures. Jean Renoir stars and he is as good an actor as he is a director. The dialog skewers the Bourgeois as well as Buñuel’s “Discreet Charm” and despite being eighty years old it feels completely contemporary.

We shop at the co-op once a month with our 10% member’s discount and we almost ran out of days this month to take advantage. We parked in their lot and walked over to Park Avenue looking for a cup of coffee. We stopped in to see my sister at Parkleigh but she had the day off. She was living there in the run-up to Christmas.

We had to get out early today in order to beat the rain. We walked through the Park and along the lake. We turned up Horseshoe Road and walked around the clubhouse, across the golf course and up Hoffman Road. We were temporarily perambulating and then we headed home.

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Happy As Can Be

Santa on the corner of Garson and Goodman in Rochester, New York
Santa on the corner of Garson and Goodman in Rochester, New York

I discarded this picture at first but couldn’t let it go. Peggi was driving and I saw Santa up ahead on the corner where Webster splits off of Goodman. I rolled down the widow, just like I did with anti-vexers in a post from a few days ago, but then I mis-timed the shot and failed to get Santa’s attention.

I’m always composing in the frame and and only clicking when I feel it is right but this approach misses so much, not to mention chance. Our friend, Duane, sent us up one of those beautiful Robert Frank books on Steidl. The master uses an incredible toolbox of approaches to image making and he is an inspiration.

The shot above captures quite a bit. The turquoise house on Garson that matches the utility box. The shapes of the bare trees against the deep blue sky and the curve of this intersection. The rear view mirror on our car. The yellow signal light hanging over the street and the Walk sign that caught only half of on the left. There is a convince stare in the direction Santa is facing and he probably greeting one the patrons. We take this route every trip downtown and are usually stopped by the light. I don’t think it has ever look so good.

And the shot captures my connection to Christmas at this point. I am mostly an observer. No tree and nothing under it but happy as can be.

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Another Day In Paradise

Rubino's on East Ridge Road Road in Rochester
Rubino’s on East Ridge Road Road in Rochester

Rubino’s is about eight miles round trip, a nice walk on a good day. Thursday was not not a good day in the traditional sense. It was a beautiful day with snowfall heavy enough to narrow traffic on East Ridge Road to one lane in each direction. We stomped our feet and brushed off before crossing the threshold at Starbucks where the baristas were giddy. There was hardly anyone in the place and our server congratulated us on braving the elements.

Rubino’s was packed with holiday shoppers. We bought two tubs of olives for our holiday party and gallon of olive oil for general purposes. Near the secret sidewalk that runs off Kings Highway we saw someone collecting his mail. Before we could say hi he looked up and said, “Another day in paradise.” It wasn’t even snowing when we left The house and by the time we got to the cemetery on our return trip the sky was turning blue.

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Loaves And Fishes

Lawn Street RGE building with flag in window
Lawn Street RGE building with flag in window

I got a little ahead of Peggi while skiing in the woods and ran into a guy on a curve that was too narrow for the both of us. We stopped and he said something about how nice a day it was for skiing. I replied that it was headed up into the forties tomorrow and immediately felt bad for being such a wet blanket. He said, “You’ll just have to get out early tomorrow if we want to ski.” So we plan on heading out after coffee.

A Spectrum Cable truck was parked at the end of Hoffman near where we usually park. We got out with our skies and saw someone climbing out of a snow bank. The cable guy and he had slipped on the ice while walking up a steep driveway. The first thing he said was, “I got a good hill for you.” We skirted the periphery of the golf course by following three different paths that eventually took us right up to the lake. We followed horseshoe Road for a bit. It is just as pretty in the winter as it is in the summer. When we got back to our car we saw an Enterprise delivery truck, probably something Amazon had rented, stuck in the same snowbank where the cable guy was.

We stopped a few places on First Friday before seeing the Members Show at RoCo so we missed the award announcements but learned that my entry won an award. I put a relatively low price, $200 on the large print and if it sold I planned on donating the the whole thing to RoCo and now I see this about the award. “Lumiere Photo Award Chosen by William Edwards, photographer and owner of Lumiere Photo. $200 gift certificate.”

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Beyond Hi Fi

Virgin Wood Type headquarters in Rochester, New York
Virgin Wood Type headquarters in Rochester, New York

Ossia, the Eastman School’s program of new music, starts at 7:30 tonight and that presents a conflict. Our yoga class doesn’t get out until 8. They usually do five six pieces so we should be able to catch the last half. I heard they were doing an Anthony Braxton number.

I’m secretly looking forward to tomorrow night when we have nothing on our calendar. I need some time to create mp3s from last Wednesday when Pete LaBonne joined Margaret Explosion on piano. Pete and Shelley stayed for the holiday feast and Kevin and Jeanne joined us from Nashville. Kevin Vicalvi was Bat McGrath’s long time bass player (and harmony voice) and he was in town for the tribute on Saturday.

I did my Record Store Day dj set on Friday and we had dinner at Jeff and Marry Kaye’s, tuna from Alaska and some intense homemade ginger bread. We brought home a few pieces of that for breakfast. We had a couple of couples over for dinner on Saturday. Tom and Jann own a shop and Janet and Jonathan wrote a book about Hi Fi living and before the Uber driver returned we finished the evening watching YouTube videos by the fire.

Sunday was reserved for a long walk along the lake and then a visit to Virgin Wood Type. We had hoped to to spend some time with Sam but he was asleep on the couch. Partners, Geri and Paul, showed us their newest line of type. Bill would be so proud.

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Good Packin’

Snow person in wind tunnel at RIT
Snow person in wind tunnel at RIT

I have my own system for labeling our firewood. My neighbor uses spray paint. I fold up a piece of white cardboard to 2″x2″ square, label it with the year, wrap it in clear packing tape and nail it into the end of one of the logs in the pile. This year we are burning wood we put up in 2015. While our neighbors were watching the Bills beat Miami we moved two face cords into our porch .

We will fill the space where those logs were with newly split wood. At the moment the log length sections of the big oak that came down on Hoffman are in a heap near our wood pile. They are so big Peggi and I were unable to roll them up on the splitter. So when the weather breaks I will have to swing my ax into them and follow that up with the sledge hammer to split the sections into something manageable for our Heathkit splitter. When those are split we’ll stack them where the the 2015 wood was and I’ll label it 2019. As they say, the wood warms you many times over.

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Ring My Bell

Surveillance hot of kid ringing our neighbor's doorbell
Surveillance hot of kid ringing our neighbor’s doorbell

Anita Ward had a hit with that song. We saw her opening for Bootsy Collins at the War Memorial back in the day. Our neighbor had been telling us about these incidents where kids ring their doorbell late in the evening and then run. They did it three weeks in a row and twice her husband was able to open the door, yell at them and chase them off. Why would they keep coming back? Why wouldn’t they ring our bell?

They set up a camera and caught this kid in a short video and sent us this screen shot. I was encouraging them to call the cops. The kids rang the bell again at midnight and and the neighbors did call the cops. The next day Peggi and I were having dinner on our porch when a kid rode up on his bike, rang the neighbors bell in broad daylight and apologized. The neighbors told us the kid was almost crying.

We walked up to the post office today and I found part of a letter on the ground just a few doors from our house. All religious mumbo jumbo it started with, “He took our infirmities and bore my sickness. For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them because greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world.”

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Deja Vu Drug

Tile floor in Tierney Market at South Clinton and Caroline Street in Rochester, New York
Tile floor in Tierney Market at South Clinton and Caroline Street in Rochester, New York

The tile on the floor of the India House Food & Imports Store at 999 S. Clinton Avenue is so familiar. It is a deja vu drug for me. My mom used to take us shopping here when it was Tierney’s Market. The floor had sawdust on it then and for good reason. And then there was smell of the 8 o’Clock Coffee that my mom let us grind for her. My grandfather was always behind the butcher case and that is what I remember the most, him slicing a half inch thick piece off one of those white-wrapped, homemade liverwurst rolls and handing it to me.

The Tierney family picnic was today. My grandparents are long gone and all that remains of the next generation is one set of my aunts and uncles. The picture below, taken at my grandparents’ anniversary breakfast, shows most of the extended family on that side although my sister and a few other cousins were not yet born. Most now have offspring with children of their own. We wear name tags to keep each other straight. My cousin Kathleen brought a dvd of The Mission for us. I remember liking the soundtrack so much we bought the lp but I hardly remember the movie. This year’s picnic was more talkative than most and we lost track of time missing most of Scott Regan and Steve Piper’s art opening.

Ray Tierney family, Rochester, New York, mid 1950s
Ray Tierney family, Rochester, New York, mid 1950s
Ray Tierney Senior, far left, in front of his store on North Street in Rochester, NY
Ray Tierney Senior, far left, in front of his store on North Street in Rochester, NY

My grandfather’s store on South Clinton was not his first. That one was on North Street downtown and two of my grandfather’s brothers were partners in the operation. Their parents, Ma and Pa Tierney are pictured below.

Ma and Pa Tierney photographed on their fiftieth wedding anniversary
Ma and Pa Tierney photographed on their fiftieth wedding anniversary
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Version Of The Virgin

Virgin of Guadalupe pinecone
Virgin of Guadalupe pinecone

Somehow we got 8 1/2 miles in yesterday. We walked down to the lake and had a chocolate custard at Don’s Original. Today we walked through the park and up Horseshoe Road, which as you can tell by its name, comes back out where it started, on the lake. A bit of the sandy beach has come back as the lake levels have receded and there were lots of swimmers in the water. We clocked (my watch clocks everything) almost seven miles today.

We’re considering another walk, from Porto to Santiago, an alternate version of the Camino. There is one route via the coastline and another that goes inland. John Brierley has a book about it. There is some urgency as people all around us are falling apart. Our neighbor had her second hip replaced yesterday and we stopped down to visit her husband on the way home from our walk.

I found this pine flattened on our street. It looked like the setting for the Virgin de Guadalupe and I didn’t really want to carry it the whole way so I set it aside on a fence post. Peggi used her Reminder app for the first time, telling Siri to remind us to “pick up the virgin in one hour.” We we’re still down at the lake when the reminder went off. So she set it again and this time Siri heard “Pick up the version in half an hour.” That worked just as well for this version of the virgin.

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Cats And Dogs

Clouds above Eastridge High School
Clouds above Eastridge High School

Butler 8-3041. I still remember our phone number from when we were kids. If I can’t call that up someday I will know I’m starting to slip.

We thought we could beat the thunderstorm. We were inside Wegmans when the skies opened up. I had eight ears of corn from Aman’s in my backpack and one tomato (ours are are just starting to come in). The fish guy cleaned a red snapper for us. We had milk, onions, cherries, blueberries and canned beans in our buggy. At the door we saw lightning flashes. I panicked and called our next door neighbor. He came up to Wegmans and picked us up.

All the walking we’ve done and we have never done that. We could have waited it out. We had rain gear in our backpacks. We’ve walked in the rain before. I don’t know what came over me.

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Transactional

Tree roots exposed along Durand Eastman Beach
Tree roots exposed along Durand Eastman Beach

The lake level is a little higher. The beach is a little smaller. This beech tree is hanging on by a thread.

I spent some time wondering whether the high school girls across the street were just shooting baskets to kill time or whether they were actually trying to improve their game. I still couldn’t tell. Peggi came right out and asked one of them as we walked by. She said she and her sister were playing on a summer team.

When we were kids we shot so many baskets in our driveway that we backed the nails out of the siding on the garage. So knowing the girls were serious, well, sort of serious, I felt bad that their net was in tatters and hanging on only two of the twelve hooks. There is nothing more satisfying in basketball than all net, a shot that drops through the hoop without touching the backboard or the hoop. It hangs for a second in the net and then does a controlled drop, right where you want it.

I bought a net and planned to hang it when they weren’t at home. I was up on my ladder in their driveway when a black car came down our street. The kids’ father, who is normally at work at his restaurant, had picked her up and they pulled in the driveway. The girl got out while her father sat in the car. The windows were up and the car was still running. I was almost finished. The girl got out and said, “Oh my god, where did you get the net?” I said, “Amazon. I was trying to hang it while you weren’t home.” I finished hanging the the net and left with my ladder.

I went down to Jared’s house, where we have our garden, and I picked some lettuce, basil and kale for dinner. While I was gone the girls’ mother came over, hugged Peggi, thanked her profusely and gave her two bottles of wine (from the restaurant). Peggi tried to refuse the wine but said they preferred this way because they are transactional. That’s the part I was trying to avoid.

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Handmade Pasta

Paddle Boat on Irondequoit Bay from Kathy's backyard
Paddle Boat on Irondequoit Bay from Kathy’s backyard

It was so hot today we decided to stay off the streets and take the path in the woods to our friend Kathy’s place. She has workers there constructing a deck in her backyard and we’ve been checking up on the progress. It is not your ordinary deck. This one is off her unattached garage and it is just above ground level. Tick safe.

The garage wall that meets the deck has been reworked as well with hand stained board and batten. And beams and supports for a pergola are being carefully considered. This is a work of art and it has been a joy to watch. The Harbor Town Belle was headed up to the Bay Bridge while we were there.

Peggi wore her backpack over in order to carry Kathy’s pasta maker home. We’re having handmade pasta with artichokes for dinner.

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The Livin’ Is Easy

Mutant strawberries at Aman's
Mutant strawberries at Aman’s

We bought two quarts of local strawberries at Aman’s and put one in each of our backpacks. Our Wegmans purchases were nestled below. These mutant strawberries were on display near the checkout, right next to the refrigerator magnets. The one reading, “Somedays I amaze myself and other days I put my keys in the refrigerator” caught our eye.

I hated to see England lose the the third place match today. I really, really wanted Ellen White to get another one but it was not in the cards. Sweden came out like gangbusters and scored two early goals. The rest of the match was England’s. Most of the items on our shopping list were for tomorrow’s match. We’re having a few friends over to watch it live and then a pool party to celebrate!

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Weed Whacking World

Honeysuckle bush on Hoffman Road
Honeysuckle bush on Hoffman Road

We passed a neighbor on our way out. He was completely lost in thought as he hovered over his weed whacker. Peggi identified this flowering bush as a Honeysuckle and geotagged it with the iNaturalist app. We use that everyday now, cataloging the world in some small way.

We waited out a thunderstorm and then headed into the park. The temperature had dropped ten degrees but it was still just as humid. The park was almost empty. No dog walkers parked at the entrance. At the top of Zoo Road we spotted some teenage girls standing by a car. They saw us and quickly got into the car. One kid, a guy, was still standing near the car but he turned his back to us. A small time drug deal was going down.

Up at the lake the parking lot was empty. A couple of Asian kids were playing soccer. We heard people swimming but couldn’t see them. We looked down one of those steep paths and l saw that the beach is still underwater.

On the way back through the park we saw a familiar pickup truck, a dog walker with wacky pro gun bumper stickers on his bumper A little further up the road we saw a guy standing near his car, smoking a cigar. A big branch fell in the woods behind him and we all looked in that direction. He didn’t acknowledge it but told us we were brave to be out walking without an umbrella.

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Everyone’s A Winner

Furry black guy at Rochester Contemporary 6x6
Furry black guy at Rochester Contemporary 6×6 show

Still no strawberries. The clerk behind the counter a Aman’s said they had two suppliers and both said they expected their strawberries to be ripe enough for market by the end of this week.

I finally won at horseshoes. First time this year. My neighbor keeps track of these things. We’ve played eight times, best out of three, and he had won them all until yesterday.

We may be overusing our iNaturalist app. We are stopping at every strange looking tree and ordinarily ones that we should already have in our database. Today we identified something we thought was an unusual oak as a Silver Maple, and two different Locust varieties.

We stopped in RoCO’s 6×6 show and this furry guy caught my eye.

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