Friday, September 30, 2011

Kurt Weill: Die Dreigroschenoper: Historic Original Recordings, 1928-1944

Kurt Weill 
Die Dreigroschenoper 
Historic Original Recordings 1928-1944 

The first disc of this 2-CD collection is mostly music from the Threepenny Opera, including the original cast (1928-31) and select foreign song recordings from 1930-31. While this music by Kurt Weill and Berthold Brecht has received many performances, there has been a subtle shift in interpretation over time.

These recordings document how these songs were first performed, with the brashness and exuberance of early jazz. Listening to the original cast of Die Dreigoschenoper (Harald Paulsen, Carola, Neher, Kurt Garron, and Lotte Lenya) is a revelation. There’s a subversive undercurrent in these singers’ delivery that’s missing in modern performances.

The collection includes not only the original cast, also the first Dutch recordings of Weill’s music, along with some dance band covers of the day. Also included are 1929 recordings by the Berlin State Opera Orchestra with Otto Klemperer of the Threepenny Opera concert suite.

Disc 2 features a variety of historic and exceedingly rare recordings from 1928-1944. It includes music from Happy End, a unsuccessful comedy. The songs by Brecht and Weill from that ill-fated production were recorded in 1929, but seldom heard since.

“Six Songs” is a transcription of a box set released in 1943. These American releases feature Lotte Lenya (her voice already starting to darken) with Weill’s piano arrangements made specifically for the recordings. The collection ends with two anti-Nazi political songs Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht wrote for the Office of War during the Second World War. These were broadcast into Germany via shortwave in 1942 and 1944 sung (of course) by Lotte Lenya.

For the most part, the transfers are very good. Surface noise is minimal, and the sound isn’t over-processed. These are mono recordings, and there’s some compression, but not more than what one would expect from shellac discs almost a century old. I found this a fascinating collection of music, and one that provides historical context to Kurt Weill’s compositions.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Schnittke String Quartets: Modern Classics

Alfred Schnittke 
String Quartets Nos. 1-4

Quatuor Molinari 
ATMA Classique 

This two-CD set presents all four of Alferd Schnittke’s string quartets. The first was composed in 1966, and the remaining three over a relatively brief span in the 1980’s.

The first quartet is very tonal and contrapuntal. There’s a lyricism I find very appealing in the music, perhaps even a neo-romantic undercurrent.

It would be fourteen years later that Schnittke would return to the genre, and the second quartet attests to the changes in the composer’s style. This is a more aggressively modernist work, and I heard traces of minimalist drive coupled with the angularity of Stravinsky mixed together in an exciting fashion. (Speaking of which, also included the Canon in Memoriam Igor Stranvinsky, a short work that shows Schnittke’s deep respect and understanding of Stravinsky’s music.)

The third quartet, written just three years after the second, sounds radically different. It opens with lush modal harmonies that set the stage. As the work develops, it becomes increasingly dissonant, but never very much so. Of the four quartets, this is Schnittke’s most neo-classical work, which makes it the most accessible as well. No wonder the Quartuor Molinari chose to start the program with it!

By contrast, Schnittke’s final quartet is a much sparser work. It seems very pointilistic – often only one instrument is playing at a time. This elegiac quartet gradually building in intensity, leading to a powerful finish that seems sum up not just the composition itself, but Schnittke’s thoughts on the genre as a whole.

The Quator Molinari specializes in contemporary repertoire, and is perfectly at home with these works. As with all good chamber music, there are conversations going on between the instruments that help bring cohesion to Schnittke’s music. These were recordings I found myself returning to several times. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fundraising -- the gentle touch

As I write this, I'm getting ready to head out to the radio station. Long-time readers know I volunteer for WTJU 91.1 fm, the community radio station run by the University of Virginia. And, being a non-commercial station, it's one that relies heavily on financial support from the community.

And now a commercial word
My colleagues in commercial radio don't think much of public radio. The general perception seems to be that non-commercial radio exists on the government dole (which they often translate into "unfair competition"), and that while they have to scramble for advertising dollars, we in the pubradio sit back and just collect the money squeezed out of hard-working citizens taxed beyond their means.

It's a nice picture -- but hardly true. In the case of WTJU, for example, over half of its funding has to come directly from the listeners. The University pays a small part (the bulk of their contribution is in providing the space and the salaries for the few paid employees). An even smaller sum comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

The reality is that should the CPB funding go away, the station would be in a tough financial position, but it could still survive. Take away the University support, and it becomes more problematic. But even if those two revenue streams remain, without listener support the station is dead.

Follow the money
Commercial radio stations serve their clients -- the advertisers. There's nothing wrong with that model, but many people don't understand that for a commercial station the audience isn't the customer, it's the product. The product (a lot of ears) that's sold to the customer (the advertiser who wants a lot of ears to hear his message).

Public radio's a little different. The listener IS the customer. Don't believe me? Follow the money. Where does a commercial radio station get its money? From advertisers. Where does a public radio station get its money? Mostly from the listeners (and those other sources can be traced back to the public, too).

The gentle touch
So here's the challenge. During our fund drive, I need to make our listeners understand how important they are to the success of the station they listen to.

The station they listen to for free.

Because whether you've ever contributed to WTJU or not, you can tune in, or listen online and we're there.

We're there because others have contributed and supported the station. What I need to do is to persuade all those others who listen that they're contribution is not just helpful, but vital. Commercial radio sales teams every day have to sell businesses on the concept of radio -- and how it can help them. It's a tough job (I used to work at a commercial station and saw it first-hand).

Can you imagine the DJs having to canvas their listeners and make the case for paying for the music they here? That's what we have to do. And it's a tough job, too. Because if an advertiser doesn't pay, he doesn't get on the air (or doesn't stay on very long). But if a listener doesn't contribute, they still get to listen.

So in a few hours I'll go on the air and talk to that audience, explaining why their contribution is important. And if I can stimulate a little enlightened self-interest, the station may live to fight (or broadcast) another day.

I'll include a postscript later telling you how I did!

And if you're a listener, either to the broadcast or to our online stream, please consider contributing. It's the right thing to do.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Facebook fade

Being a long-time podcaster, I'm quite familiar with the term "podfade." Basically, it's when a podcaster starts to lose interest in his podcast.

If the podcaster maintained a schedule, then the posts start to fall behind. Weekly posts drop back to a monthly schedule, and then degenerate to an occasional post, until finally the whole thing just stops as the podcaster abandons his program.

And, recovering from a major illness, I experienced a little of it myself.

I think though, what I'm really experiencing is "Facefade." I'm not especially upset about the changes to Facebook, I just... don't care that much.

I maintain a number of social media accounts, and try to manage them all as efficiently as possible (thanks Hootsuite!). With the current iteration, I really should go in and sort all of my friends into groups, and reorganize all of the feeds. But I won't. Because some of that sorting out is already happening at the other end, as friends and family put me in the groups they want me in. And because the signal to noise ratio is still pretty good for my unfiltered feed.

And when it comes to posting and checking posts, just like with my other accounts I'm accessing Facebook through an aggregator, so I don't often see the interface that has everyone up in arms. So most of the time, I'm not even on Facebook at all -- I'm just "phoning in" my updates.

So there it is. I still try to do at least one post a day. But my actual presence on the site is shrinking. And if podfade represents a decreasing interesting in podcasting, then I think I have Facefade for sure.

Monday, September 26, 2011

DOT in the O-Gauge Zen Garden

One of the things I've wanted to do for while was add some traffic pattern lines to the main road on my layout.

Railroad Avenue needs some lane markers, that's for sure!
After all, with all those vehicles going thither and yon, it's important for one's citizens to be safe!

(We won't talk about my choice to put a road crossing directly in front of a railroad tunnel.)

Road crossing in front of a tunnel?
That's an accident waiting to happen.

 There are a number of ways to create these lines, but I found something at Michael's craft store that gave me an idea.

It's a Sharpie oil-based paint marker. It should give me the smooth line I'm after without having to construct elaborate stencils.

The next step is to do some practice line-painting and figuring out the best way to do this. I used to work a lot with technical pens, and have experience laying down lines without having ink bleed under the ruler.

I'll have those results in my next post on the subject.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Everything must go!

Nothing like a brush with death to change one’s perspective. After having survived a bout with lymphoma, I find that my priorities have shifted somewhat –- especially when it comes to collecting.

I’ve written before about the joys of collecting, and specifically the importance of discriminating collecting as opposed to simply accumulating a lot of one type of object (which can be just one step above hoarding).

Recently I’ve embarked on a project to trim down my own possessions, taking a hard look at the things I collect and refining the groupings even further. It’s actually been refreshing, as I’m playing an active role in trying to get things into the hands of others who would enjoy and appreciate them (as opposed to just having a massive yard sale after I'm gone).

I’ve taken a hard look at my collection of science fiction magazines, and decided to just concentrate on one publication – Analog. So my run of Galaxy, Amazing, Isaac Asimov’s, Omni, and a few and sundry issues of other magazines ranging from the 1950’s through the early 1980’s are leaving my attic.

And I’ve received an education in the new collecting economy. I never thought that any of these magazines are particularly valuable. In mint condition, I assumed they might be worth $2.00 - $5.00. A quick check on eBay confirmed I was in the ballpark. But when it came to selling….

Well, OK, I did do just the minimal listing (paying 60 cents to list something I was selling for 99 cents didn’t make a lot of sense – or cents, either). And there were no takers. They came, they were posted, the listings expired.

I’m still reluctant to just drop them all off at the Friends of the Library, though, so I’ll try an experiment. I’ll list them on eBay, relist them once, and them list them on Amazon. And if there are other sites folks can recommend that bibliophiles frequent, let me know and I’ll put them there, too. And I'll share my experience, which might help others hoping to get their stuff into the hands of folks who might appreciate it.

The first issue of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine; the original serialization of “Lucifer’s Hammer” by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle; mint condition covers by Wendi Pini and Steve Fabian. Seldom anthologized tales by Fred Saberhagen, Poul Anderson, John Varley, and more – surely these are worth something to someone. These magazines gave me hours of reading pleasure. I hope they can do the same for others.

We'll see!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cross stitching and circuitry

I've known some folks who cross stitch (and even tried it myself). One of the major tenants of the craft is that the back should look as neat and tidy as the front.

I thought of that the other night when I was under my train table adding a new circuit. Now the top of the layout looks nice and neat.

But underneath, it's ugly.

Really ugly.

So I'm going to do a major rewiring to get rid of all those sagging wires and  dangling connections. Aesthetic appeal isn't the sole motivator. It's a good way to recheck all the wiring and organize it for easier maintenance.

When the project's finished, I'll post some "after" pictures.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pearls before Dennis

One of the reasons I enjoy the comic strip "Pearls Before Swine" is that Steve Pastis isn't confined to the four walls of his panels. His characters know that they're comic strip drawings, and often interact with a cartoon version of Pastis.

The strip has riffed on some legacy strips, such as "Family Circus." Now most of the current generation of cartoonists treat legacy strips with contempt. "Blondie," "Beetle Bailey" and the like (according to them) have out-lasted their welcome and their tired humor and outdated art should be replaced by something more relevant.

Although Pastis pokes fun at these strips, it's clear that he does so with some affection and respect. In one case, he collaborated with Bill and Jeff Keane of the "Family Circus" to create a gag that spanned both comics.

And he's done it again with another legacy strip, "Dennis the Menace." A recent storyline had Dennis visiting "Pearls" to make it more wholesome (with not the intended results). The same day, and in many of the same papers, that this sequence appeared, so did this "Dennis the Menace" panel by Marcus Hamilton and Ron Ferdinand. Note that the cartoonist is clearly Pettis (or at least his likeness as he portrays it in his strip). ( click on images to enlarge)

Either cartoon is amusing, but put them together and you have a third gag that only those really into the comic world could appreciate.

It's for treats like this that I keep reading!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

CSO Scores Big with New American Music

American Portraits
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra  
Paavo Jarvi, conductor  
CSO Media

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra used to be one of the crown jewels of the Telarc label -- back in the day. Now they join an increasing number of orchestras who are self-releasing their material. And like their former label mates the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, they're starting off with a strong release of interesting and compelling repertoire.

American Portraits showcases works by living (and relatively young) American composers. Several of these pieces received their premier with the CSO. All are well-crafted compositions that bear up to repeated listening.

Charles Coleman has two works on the album. "Streetscape" opens the program. It's reminiscent of Bernstein's "West Side Story" overture, but with a higher level of energy. "Deep Woods" is a very different piece. It opens in a frantic and disjointed manner that, ( to me anyway) conveys a feeling of unease and disorientation of being lost in the woods.

Jennifer Higdon's "Fanfare Ritmico" wasn't premiered by the CSO, but they turn in a rousing performance nevertheless. This is short, festive occasional work that, as the tile suggest, has a good beat. The fun continues with "Slalom" by Carter Pann. It starts out with a quick quote from Beethoven, then makes a light-hearted run through the orchestra at break-neck speed. Slalom, indeed!

"Halcyon Sun" is an amazing example of orchestral mastery. Jonathan Bailey Holland creates a work that shimmers as light through a prism. The last work, "Network," by Kevin Puts is a short, good-natured composition that ends the program on a high note. American Portraits is impeccably recorded. Even though these are live performances the sound has a good amount of detail, and the audience (with one exception) unusually quiet.

Paavo Jarvi conducts with authority and conviction, making the case for all of these works by leading the orchestra in lively and energetic performances.American Portraits makes the case that music in this country is not just alive, but full of life as well. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New music for new virtuosos

River of Light
American Short Works for Violin and Piano 
Tim Fian, violin; Pei-Yo Wang, piano 
Naxos  8.559662

Violinist Tim Fain had an interesting idea. Violin virtuosos of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries had a wealth of short, contemporary works to round out their recitals and use as encore pieces. So why not develop a similar body of music for modern violinists?

That’s the concept behind River of Light, a selection of short violin showpieces, all composed by American composers -- many at the behest of Fain. Some of the biggest names in American music are represented, such as Philip Glass, William Bolcolm, Jennifer Higdon, and Aaron Jay Kernis, but the collection is about quality, not celebrity.

The disc takes its title from an eleven minute work by Richard Danielpour, an elegiac piece that sings with neo-romantic vigor. Fain brings out the autumnal nature of the work with his sympathetic performance. Another highpoint is Patrick Zimmerli’s “The Light Guitar,” a three-movement work for solo violin that provides Fain plenty of opportunity to demonstrate not only his technical facility, but also his musicality. The work very much depends on the soloist bringing out the lyric quality of the melody, something Fain does very well.

Philip Glass’ “Knee Play 2” (from his opera Einstein on the Beach) makes an excellent moto perpetuo, that staple of the violin recital. Fain plays it with precision and unflagging energy. The oldest work on the CD is “Wistful Piece,” by Ruth Shaw Wylie (1953), a short piece that seems akin in style to Howard Hanson. While it does sound a little dates, Wylie's music still works within the context of the program.

Sometimes I find collections of violin showpieces a little wearisome to listen to, because all the works are pretty much the same. Not so with River of Light. Fain has put together a program of music that offer up variety in style, emotional depth, character, and even instrumentation (some have piano accompaniment, some are solo violin only). This is not only an enjoyable disc to listen to, but one I hope violinists will take to heart. I would love to hear some of these works in recital rather than the same old encore pieces!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A comics comic cameo

Prince Valiant is wrapping up a very exciting storyline involving a dual to the death between Prince Valiant, and Draco. Draco's star rose in the court of Camelot, while Val's (thanks in part to the sorcery of Draco's wife Maldubh), declined almost to the point of being exiled.

This long sequence was a very serious one, and every week it seems our hero was suffering yet another setback at the hands of Draco and Maldubh.

Fortunately, the current creative team of Mark Schultz and Gary Gianni decided to insert a little comic relief. And they did so in what I consider to be an absolutely brilliant fashion.

Val complains that the armory is overrun with rats, and have ruined his gear by chewing through leather bindings and cloth (it's all a ploy to buy time for his wife, Queen Aleta of the Misty Isles to try some magical counter-measures). In the following sequence, the rat catchers arrive. And they look very... familiar.

Yes, the rat catchers are Laurel and Hardy. It's a great way to inject a little humor and also employ a bit of shorthand.

Because the characters are clearly Laurel and Hardy, we know that they'll be incompetent -- as they indeed are. But there's more.

Gianni didn't just stick this comedy duo in medieval garb. Their clothing is modeled on the costumes they wore in "Babes in Toyland." So for those familiar with that film, there's an additional level of humorous reference.

Gag-a-day strips are fine in the their place, but for me, the well-written and drawn adventure strip (of which there are few remaining) yield far greater reading pleasure.

(If you're interested in learning more about Prince Valiant, I recommend reading A Prince Named Valiant -- thoughtful analysis and wonderful background information from a truly knowledgeable fan).

Monday, September 19, 2011

Can't find the time

My elementary school report cards all shared the same comment: "Does not use time wisely." There were always too many interesting things going on, and assignments were less interesting, and so I often had deadline issues. In this new blogging regimen, I find that I'm in somewhat of a creative crunch.

You see, I have a day job, so that takes about eight hours out of the day (actually nine with the commute). And there there's the side business (DCD Records) which takes about an hour a day. And that leaves the rest of the day to:

Write a blog post (about a half an hour)
Write fiction (ideally at least an hour)
Compose music (ideally at least 2 hours) oh - and run (at least one hour)

Now let's add eight hours of sleep (ideal, but six will do), and that leaves about 3 hours for everything else -- meals, family time, etc. It's a pretty tight schedule -- maybe too tight. But let's see what happens. Maybe I can learn to use time wisely after all!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hiding in plain sight

Almost none of my friends read my blog. It's something that used to bother me, but now I just think it an odd fact. And not a new one. When I was on the local radio station, few people I knew in the area tuned in (they may have listened to the station, but not to hear me).

When I went to WTJU, things didn't change. After twenty+ years of producing and hosting a classical music show on the station, many of my friends are still surprised to hear I'm on the radio (some have forgotten that fact, and so are surprised twice), and -- even though the show is broadcast online and archived for on-demand listening -- never listen to the program.

Do I feel sorry for myself? Hardly. Early on, both in my radio career and in my blogging, I figured out that any type of communication will find its own audience. The reality is that most of my friends don't listen to classical music. So why would they make a point of tuning in to my program?

And many of my friends are indifferent, occasional, or sometimes begrudging Internet users. So subscribing to a blog isn't something they normally do anyway. And again, the topics I tend to write about don't appeal to everyone.

So I have an online readership that I share my thoughts with -- that my friends are never aware of.

I have an on air audience that I share music with -- that my friends never hear.

It's a strange dichotomy. Because what I say "in public" (online or on air) is in some ways more private than what I share with friends. But I don't have a public and a private persona. Whether you're reading this post, or listening to my broadcast, or chatting with me at a gathering, I'm the same person.

Too bad my friends don't get the whole picture, but that's alright. I'm not sure I'd subscribe to my sister's My Little Pony blog (if she were to write one) either.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

In praise of lesser men and women

I was watching an episode of "Have Gun Will Travel," late 1950's western starring Richard Boone. As with a lot of vintage TV shows and movies, part of the fun is seeing Famous stars back in their salad days as extras or members of the supporting cast.

In this particular episode the guest star was John Abbott, a character actor I had seen many times before. Character actors don't seem to get much attention with the general public. After all, they're never the stars of the show, and often just have a scene or two. And they basically play the same part over and over.

John Abbott was such an actor, usually appearing as an urbane villain or eccentric intellectual, always speaking with a cultured British accent. In the episode "Shot by Request," he plays a scholar who, for self-preservation, learns to handle a gun and ends up earning a reputation as a gunfighter (so this was one of those eccentric intellectual roles).

On a whim, I decided to look him up to see what other films I had seen him in. And what I got was a little surprising. Because this person who I had never really thought much about had a long and distinguished career beyond his typecast roles.

John Abbott (1905-1996) was a well-respected Shakespearean actor before coming to the United States in the 1940's and started working in films. He was as cultured in real life as he appeared on screen -- in addition to working with some of the greatest classical actors of his day (such as Laurence Olivier), Abbott served with the British Embassy in Moscow when the Second World War broke out.

He worked extensively on stage (and was to have originated the lead role in "Harvey"), and actually had a play written in verse for him -- by Tennessee Williams. And he also taught the art of acting to a rising generation of future stars (and character actors). And he also did voice over work, appearing as the wolf in Disney's "The Jungle Book."

It was an impressive career.

And that got me thinking:

John Abbott was but one of many actors who appear fleetingly in films, TV shows and stage dramas that never reach "stardom."

How many others are there whose creative lives were far richer than their stereotyped roles might suggest?

I'll be paying even more attention than ever to those "other" actors!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Martinu, Hindemith, Honegger
Cello Concertos
Johannes Moser, cello
Deutsche Radio Philharmonie
Christoph Poppen, conductor
Hanssler Classics, 93.276

What if classical music had taken a different turn in the mid-Twentieth century. Cellist Johannes Moser gives us a hint with his latest release of concertos. Cello Concertos - Johannes Moser presents three works by composers who all wrote in a somewhat tonal style.

Paul Hindemith wrote music that he believed to be the logical extension of the works of the great masters. His 1940 cello concerto is a brawny, intense work, meticulously constructed to work out its musical arguments. And yet there's nothing stiff or academic about the piece. The concerto present its motifs in a forthright and natural manner.

Swiss composer Arthur Honegger was more concerned about melody. From the sweeping lyricism of the opening movements to the crashing chords of the finale, the cello sings its song accompanied by the orchestra. This 1930 work occasionally betrays a hint of jazz, but it never degenerates to cliche.

Bohuslav Martinu's music sounds like no one else's. His chords shimmer, his harmonies slide about, always consonant, yet never quite settling on a particular key. The music is often propelled forward with engaging folk-based rhythms that help keep things slightly off-balance. Martinu's first cello concerto, finished in 1930 isn't a landmark composition, but it provides a solid introduction to the composer's style. 

Johannes Moser moves effortlessly through all three works, adapting his playing to the composer's styles. Regardless of the technical challenges, his playing never sounds forced, and at times his cello seems to positively sing. The Deutsche Radio Philharmonie led by Christoph Poppen gives these works a spirited reading, nicely complementing Moser's playing.

Recommended to anyone interested in unusual repertoire. And if you *hate* 20th Century music, you really should get a copy of this disc!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Saw the following video yesterday. Ira Glass talks about the creative process in a way I hadn't heard  before.

I like his concept of taste. That is, what's in my mind isn't always what I express -- but it's only the lack of technique that gets in the way. The more practice, the closer the finished product is to the ideal. It's sort of the thought behind Daniel Levitin's concept that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in an activity (as he wrote in This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession.

Anyway, it re-energized me.

So here's the deal. This blog's been a little moribund, as I haven't been very inspired to post. So my goal over the next month is to post every single day. The more I do, the better I'll get (in theory).

Let's see what happens.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Subdividing the 0-Gauge Zen Garden - Part 4. Rocking the Details

Sometimes a rock is just a rock. Although in this case
it will be representing one much larger than itself.
In the first three parts of the series, I outlined my plan to add scenery to a section of my 0-gauge tinplate layout, and how I accomplished that. At the end of part three, the houses were built (and light-proofed), the plots were ready, the wiring installed, the road laid -- but I wasn't quite done.

Right in the corner of the area I was working on, I wanted something suggest that perhaps my mountain extended higher. I only had scant inches on either side, so building up anything was out of the question. So I turned to nature.

There was a large stone that had made its way to the surface of our field. It was mostly flat on one side, and just happened to be the right size for my space. I thoroughly washed it, and when it was dry, it was ready to use.

All I had to do was set the rock in place, and I was done. Sort of. To make it look a little more integrated, I added some lichen around it,  and that seemed to do the trick.

I also used lichen to help hide the seams where the cork met the paper mache rocks. There's still some more to do.

I'd like to add some trees at some point, and little more greenery. But for now, I'm happy with the -- representational not realistic -- results.

 The subdivision on top of the mountain. It's pretty cramped -- but so are those
houses. Property values can't be very high, located next to an airplane
beacon and overlooking an industrial area.

 I'm thinking fencing might be in order. That's quite a drop-off
from the back door.

Homes sweet homes.

Subdividing the 0-Gauge Zen Garden
Part 1: The Plan
Part 2: Douse that light!
Part 3: Paving Paradise