December 16th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Uncategorized

As I sit here and start typing this post I am enjoying a cup of Cuban coffee. It is one of the coffees in last batch of coffees I ordered. It is not bad but there are others I got in that order that I like better. They have so many coffees I have to keep a list of what I like and don’t like so I don’t re-order one I don’t like. I should have had a decaf but it is early enough in the day I will be able to sleep after drinking this. At least it’s not a double espresso, but I do need to order a few tubes of those and single espresso. It’s a great jolt first thing in the morning and the flavors are intense but delicious.

It’s a cold, blustery day here today and the wind has picked up this afternoon. Glad it is the exception and not the rule or I would not be hanging around here. That means today is one of those stay-in-the-house days, but I have things on the computer I am trying to do. It also means getting out for walks is only out of necessity and they are quick trips out and back in.

I am trying to organize and clean up files on my devices and on my cloud service, which I should have been doing all along but didn’t. I am also trying to get Word and Excel documents converted to their Apple counterparts. I purchased a year of Microsoft Office in August and I am really disappointed with Outlook, the main reason I spent money on the program. Microsoft just cannot make Office work on a Mac like it does on a PC. I am tired of fighting it and going back & forth between different programs so I am gonna simplify it. I don’t really need Word or Excel bad enough to pay for it and I can use the web version if I need to, but my Apple programs will open those documents and spreadsheets with decent compatibility. And I don’t need to spend money since Apple’s programs are “free” (there is that premium price on Apple products though…).

My gripe with Apple’s native programs has been that they would build a basic program and then let third-party developers do the real work on apps that you then have to buy those to get the cool features. Apple has apparently heard the complaints and is putting out some pretty decent apps for their products. Since they are doing that I find myself embedded deeper into Apple’s “walled garden” and I am fine with that. Not an Apple Fanboy; I just like technology that works; I don’t like it well enough to camp out in a line for a week in front of the Apple Store.

Other than organizing that stuff most of the day I went to town and got the new airbox for my truck. I hope this fixes it but I will still have the dealer check it Friday in case it is something else. I hate chasing problems like this with my wallet as it gets expensive fast and you may end up spending money on changing parts that were not bad. The lid on my airbox was cracked so it needed replaced anyway. I cannot really check it to see if it runs better at idle until the engine cools down. At least it is in there.

I ate the rest of my Lou Malnati’s pizza for lunch. It is odd to have room for so much food that I cooked ahead plus things like the pizza. It is convenient but cooking is SOMETHING to do during a day and on a day like today it would be a break. I took some of that chicken/broth base in the freezer and cooked up some chicken and dumplings. It is a great day for something warm and rib-sticking and it hit the spot. Another thing to make with dumplings is a recipe my mom made only once for some reason when I was a kid. Blackberry dumplings. Make the dumplings the same and drop spoonfuls into some boiling blackberries. It is sooo good and filling as well.

I don’t remember if I posted anything about my microwave or not; it is a convection oven/microwave. I bought one of these for the trailer – I had too many other things on my mind to figure it out so I never used it. When I made the Malnati’s pizza I did it in the convection mode. I am very impressed by the utility of this appliance. Two handy appliances in one! I will have to experiment with mine since it is in a tight space in the trailer so I don’t know if it will get too hot or pull too many amps. If it won’t work I have used the microwave part; next time I move into someplace I can use it for baking too.

One more eye appointment tomorrow and I think I am done with follow-ups for that. It is amazing that after 35 years of wearing glasses (and a brief couple of stints trying contacts) I no longer need glasses except to read. It is so fantastic. Everything is so clear and better looking than through glasses. I need to get laundry done tomorrow some time since I have the truck service on Friday and I also really need to wash clothes. Apparently I am back in my old habit of waking up in the mornings around 6 so I can hit the ground running to get it done and have some downtime before I have to leave.

I decided to get my guitar out and try to get back into playing now that I have room to stretch out. Having a hard time with dexterity in my hands so I don’t know how this is going to work out and for how long. I had to struggle a little working on the truck because of arthritis in my left hand and some possible nerve stuff in my right hand after tearing up my shoulder in 2019 – I kept dropping the bolts. However, a few years ago I kinda saw where my hands were headed. I thought I would play around with the keyboards and the textures and things I can do with my limited knowledge of digital music creation. I think I have come up with some interesting things for my tastes but it doesn’t mean that I would do some things a bit different here and there (I still could at some point).

As usual I loosened up a little and it was a little frustrating doing so fumbling along. I did come up with two ideas in about 30 seconds so I recorded those. Then I started some music on the computer to play along with before I started to really work on a few ideas old and new. The next song up I have talked about before. It is an instrumental by Camel (*and that is NOT Frampton’s Camel or Sopwith Camel), and the song is called “Ice”. A beautiful, emotional, heavy/melodic guitar-oriented beautifully-constructed song with a keyboard solo. I used to be able to play along with the guitar parts fairly well but I could not do it tonight. I will not go quietly into the night. I am not giving up. Then some Metallica came on and the mellow mood got moshed. It was an old one called “Escape” off of “Ride the Lightning”. Certainly picked up the mood.

Wow. Talk about some great memories. A song that John and I wrote – actually, it is the very first one we did together probably somewhere around 2006-2008 – just popped up in the shuffle on my computer. He had written the music before we met. I threw the lyrics together in about 20 minutes as I remember and then we recorded it. Those were such great times. Some good stories from those years! Hahaha.

That’s it for tonight. Be safe!

*obscure musical group references from the 60s & 70s

March 4th, 2018

Adventure, Just things, Scotty Hilander, Uncategorized

Pretty exciting stuff happening!

This weekend I started moving stuff into my newest humble abode. I have maybe one more load of stuff I can get by without left in the apartment that I can load up to take there and not be too inconvenienced. Nothing valuable yet, but I will (hopefully!) be finishing up with moving in two weeks or so anyway and I can work around that. I am not working the last two weeks of the month anyway (found that out last week) so it is actually going to help with timing finishing up the move. After that, it’s yet another road trip (weather permitting)!

I hope to get the trailer taken there next weekend if possible. If I take it next week it works out where I won’t need to pay for the storage slot this month, saving me some cash. Then, once I find a new storage unit near the new place, I will rent a trailer for one big trip to haul what I have in the storage unit. I hope to get that emptied fast so I can avoid another month with that too. It’s kind of expensive and it would be nice to not pay an extra month on that too. I gotta figure that damn canoe someplace in the mix as well since it has to go on top of the truck and on the rack in the receiver hitch.

But that damn canoe is going to be great to have since I am closer to water now. Add some crab pots to that (in storage!) and I just might be able to enjoy some fresh Dungeness crab after I get my card and license! I should learn about the clams and other shellfish as well, but that can be touchy with the chance of getting sick from PSP. It’s probably best for me if I just buy them if I want to eat them since that is some pretty nasty stuff. Some grilled oysters are pretty delicious!

I got the new (to me) futon unloaded and almost put together yesterday (didn’t have a hex key set with me to tighten it all down). It is a queen size and is not bad to sit on – I have sat on several and this one has the thickest mattress I have ever seen on a futon. It will be handy as a couch (which is the main reason why I got it) but I think it will be comfy for guests to sleep on once I get it all tightened (I’m acquiring a queen mattress for the loft where I’ll sleep). Getting that thing put together was like wrestling an octopus though. There are some large wooden parts that we didn’t take completely apart and that unwieldy mattress was, well, unwieldy. I was moving it by myself but managed to get it all taken care of.

After unloading the truck the day was mine. I got to hang with some friends last night and it was pizza and beers for supper. It was good to catch up on things since it had been a little while since I had seen them. I went back to the cabin this afternoon and took advantage of my new laundry facilities and washed some clothes, Man, that is going to be really nice not going to the laundromat anymore…saving money and time. The big thing for me is simply the convenience.

Waiting for clothes to wash and dry gave me an opportunity to really be in the place and look at some options for arranging things. It has a nice kitchen and there is really quite a bit of storage. The futon is a little big for the wall I was going to put it on and it covers up the electric heater so that won’t work. It has a lot of flexibility due to a wheeled island with storage below and a 2-3 person countertop to eat at. ┬áIt is actually pretty slick. I think I can swap it with the couch and it will be enough room.

Another bonus with this wheeled island is it has enough space on top that I think I can set up my recording equipment again! I have had some new ideas for new music again after a long dry spell. I had written some lyrics but not enough music that I can use it – only some very basic ideas. Once I get things set up I think it will probably inspire me to do it.

It will be nice to do some recording again. I’ll probably have to go buy another guitar but this one will be used after my disappointment in the Fender Strat that I bought brand new. I’ll need to get some interface to record through into the computer, so I guess I’ll have to spring for a mixer and a mic. I guess I’ll be practicing on my acoustic for now, but I am a bit rusty anyway.

I discovered when I got there that cable TV is also included! How about that for a surprise! Score! Good thing I didn’t sell my big-screen yet. Guess I need to get a sound bar now that I am not in an apartment building.

This will be a good move for many reasons.

Updates – 11/27/13

Just things, Music, Outdoors, Uncategorized

I know… it has been a while since I posted so I thought I would post an update with my glass of wine. Tonight’s choice is a 2011 merlot-cab blend from Two Vines. Quite delicious.

It has been cold here lately, and some colder weather is on tap next week. The weatherman has already issued a “Brass Monkey Warning”, which means cold weather is probable so be on standby to bring in the brass monkey.

We have gotten a lot done around here lately. We did a trail reroute and closed the old entrance and did a rehab on it to restore it back to nature. It really came out nice. Signs had to be put up along with a couple of sections of split rail fence. We also worked on a couple of fences and the finished products look very nice. One was a repair/replacement from last year’s car fire in the parking lot. The other one was to block off an area to protect the vegetation.

We are out doing some bird surveys on the Spit, checking out what has migrated in and getting counts on the different species here on the refuge. It is pretty interesting to see thousands of birds at once. It really shows you the importance of places like this when you see vast numbers of a variety of wildlife species.

I am going out birding with a friend next week. He is going to show me some local birding spots and maybe see a few new birds I have not seen yet.

My training in Hawaii is back on for next year so I will be posting pics when I get them taken! I am pretty damn excited to go!

I re-upped my rec center membership and have been working out nearly every night (except for the night I had a pissed off hamstring… I think it just wanted to get in the whirlpool and took me with it). I took off last night since I forgot my gym shorts but did some walking today to make up for it. Tomorrow is just going to be written off being Thanksgiving and all, plus the rec center is closed. I may try to get out and do some walking to atone for my food sins. Friday I will be back at it again.

I might have some more music posted soon… if I would just get my ass in gear and get it done. I just wrote lyrics for one song I had already recorded a rough demo of and had some ideas for. I just started lyrics for another as soon as that one was done. I do not have the music for it yet, but I have some ideas for what to do with it. I think it might be interesting if this all comes together like I plan. What I want to do is pretty ambitious to do and it will take some time to get it put together. I do have individual bits and pieces that I have already recorded so it is just a matter of a few more lyrics, organizing, recording, and more organizing.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

A Long Weekend is Almost Over…

Just things

It has been a good week. Meghan came in for a week to hang out, went to Seattle, heard from a couple of good friends that I had not heard from in quite a while, some exciting things happened here at the refuge, and I was offered a 6-month extension on my caretaker job here. And that is just some of the excitement.

I spent most of the day Thursday working on another new song. I am not quite sure where the lyrics are headed yet; I have two distinct ideas poles apart, but as far as the music is concerned I know definitely know where it is going and it will be much different from anything else I have posted on my SoundCloud account previously (but I have worked on others similar to this latest one). I have another song in the works as well. Perhaps one of the lyric ideas will make its way over to that one – I just do not know yet. I actually started that one first, but I got the idea for the one I am arranging and recording, and it has taken on a life of its own now… I just could not stop trying various ideas for the tracks today. It felt good to get out the Strat and play some more the last few days and be creative again.

Well, it is back to work this morning. I do have a great office, however, and I am certainly looking forward to six more months of it!