Richard Gillmann:
Things That Interest Me

The most recent entries are first. I don't update this page often.

Toyota Prius and Highlander Programming Tips
Turn off the reverse beep, and other tips.
Setting up Windows Vista
A start at making it usable. Windows 7 is similar and doesn't hassle you so much with "Did you really want to do that?" every time you want to do something.
Ham Radio
My call sign in KI7KJ.
Wildlife on Lake Sammamish
Photographs of local birds and animals on Lake Sammamish, taken mostly from my office window with a telephoto lens.
Cryonics
Have your body frozen when you die, in hopes that future technology will be able to revive you.
Heart's Wacky "Eye Magazine"
Published in 1968-1969 only, this was the mainstream's effort to be "hip" and "with it." Funny and nostalgic, too.
Franklyn MacCormack
Franklyn MacCormack was the host of the "All Night Showcase" on WGN radio in Chicago from 1959 until his death on June 12, 1971. He interspersed moody, contemplative music with poetry that he read, including the poetry of Don Blanding. Check out my Franklyn MacCormack page for more details.
Pedal Steel Guitar
I now have a Carter S-10, replacing my old Sho-Bud LDG model that I bought from Red Rhodes in Hollywood back in the 1970s. My Carter has a single 10 string E9th neck, 3 pedals and 5 knee levers. I was concerned that it might be hard to change from a double neck body to a single neck, but no problems.
Back when I lived in LA, I used to take lessons at Valley Arts Guitars. I haven't taken any lessons up here in the Northwest, although I have leads on some possible teachers: Jack Aldrich (New Radio Cowboys) can teach E9. There's guy in the U district who teachs C6. Allen Terhune (Amelia White) took some lessons from a guy in Tacoma.
Pedal steels are funky, almost home-made instruments, very folk when you think about it, despite being all electric. B0b's Steel Guitar Forum is a great online BBS for steel players. Some Seattle and Eastside players: Dan Tyack (Toast,Buckaroosters,others), Charles Jones (Shiner), Tom Palmer (Northwest Stampede), Don Pawlak (The Souvenirs).
HDTV
I bought an high-definition TV, so I'm no longer so interested in the what-set-do-I-buy stuff on my HDTV page.
Acoustic Bass Guitar
Acoustic bass guitars (not to be confused with the mariachi band guitarron) began to appear in the 1970s. They are gaining in popularity now. None of them really have much volume unamplified, but they can hold their own in a duo with an acoustic guitar. With a group or with louder instruments, you have to plug in. I looked at quite a few acoustic basses, including Martin and other top brands, without finding one I liked. Finally, I came across a good one: the Fender BG29, which I found at the Guitar Center in Seattle. It's an acoustic-electric, with controls nicely located on the top bout. The body is the size of a slightly shallow dreadnought, with a cutaway and an unusally curved back. It has the short scale length of 30" which I like, and it frets very nicely - so many basses are hard to fret without buzzing. This one is easy and that's not with trick strings either, just the usual round wounds. I'm getting a soft case custom made for it from Blue Heron. One of the nice things about the BG29 is the price (under $600), which is less than most other acoustic basses I've seen. I got the black one with the maple top, which I preferred to the natural spruce top. I had Mike Lull do a little work on it: he replaced the rather odd saddle with a plain one and evened out the volume of the strings in the pickup. UPDATE: I tried a Tacoma CB10 and liked it a lot! It's big but it has a big sound. Ya gotta like that.
Yogi Yorgesson
"Yogi Yorgesson" was a stage name of Harry Stewart. Yogi sang comedy songs in a Swedish dialect. He was enormously popular in parts of the United States with large Swedish immigrant populations, like Minnesota and Seattle. This was part of the ethnic humor so popular in the early and middle parts of the 20th century. Yogi mostly recorded on 78rpm records. There were three LPs made of his music: "The Great Comedy Hits of Yogi Yorgesson," a combination disk with Stan Freberg "Have Yourself a Crazy Little Christmas," and "Yogi Yorgesson's Family Album," Capitol H 336 (a 10" LP from 1954). Seattle personality Stan Boreson has recorded a number of cover versions(!) of Yogi Yorgesson songs on CD and cassette.
Bringing automation to highways and cars
Richard as seen on PBS I've been interested for some time in using computers to make cars and highways more efficient and safe. This is called "Intelligent Vehicle Highway Systems" or in more complete form "Automated Highway Systems". I was interviewed on the Jim Lehrer Newshour about this 5/31/99 - check it out! I was also interviewed by the Washington Times newspaper. The article (with photo) appeared Sunday 9/5/99. I won the palmtop computer and free Internet access for a year from Smart Trek in a drawing. Lucky me!
Epinions.com
RG with garden implement I've been having fun writing Epinions, which are online reviews of consumer products. You get a few pennies for each one you write. So far I've earned more than $200 - yes they really sent checks! It's free to join, and if you write some epinions, you can earn the big bucks too. My handle is "rag47".
Epinions.com home page
Click here to read my epinions
If you're not an Epinions member yet, please allow me to sponsor you.
Picking the right physician
There's an old saw about choosing a doctor by asking your friends, neighbors and co-workers which doctor they recommend. This has a big flaw: your friends are not doctors; they're only in a position to judge as laymen and then perhaps mostly by "bedside manner." There is another approach. Start out by choosing a hospital. If you become seriously ill, you'll be admitted to a hospital. Which one you choose can be a matter of life or death, because hospitals vary widely in quality. US News & World report publishes hospital ratings as a big book (an abridged version is available online). After choosing the best hospital in your area, find a doctor who has the right to admit patients to this hospital. The hospital can probably give you a list. You can check on the credentials of physicians online at the AMA web site. A good thing to look for is being board certified.
Westclox
My great great aunt, Fannie Moeller, married Frederick W. Matthiessen in 1864 in LaSalle, Illinois. Around the turn of the century, Matthiessen (by then a wealthy industrialist) purchased a bankrupt clockmaker in nearby Peru, Illinois and renamed it the Western Clock Company (Westclox). The company became the largest clockmaker in the world, known for their Big Ben and Baby Ben alarm clocks. Notably, they employed famed industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss. F.W. Matthiessen was a progressive thinker who made Westclox a leader in factory safety and industrial relations. This happy state of affairs continued past his death in 1918 until the 1940s. The later years, however, are a sad litany of labor unrest and poor management. The brand name continues today as a division of General Time. The clock factory in Illinois closed in 1980. I collect the older clocks. My most prized Westclox timepieces are pocket watches honoring the 1929 round the world flight of the Graf Zeppelin.
Esalen, Big Sur, CA
Shelly and I have taken a few workshops at Esalen. Esalen is a hot springs resort that sponsors workshops to promote "human potential." This is not the the easist thing to define, but perhaps some examples will help make sense of it. We recently took a workshop on creative risk-taking hosted by David Schiffman. This took the form of an encounter group. Earlier, I took a workshop on Integral Transformative Practice (ITP), a program to help you set and achieve your life goals. It includes exercise and a psychological approach derived from the Japanese martial art of aikido. ITP was invented largely by Esalen's Michael Murphy and George Leonard.
The Seven Dirty Words You Can't Say On The Radio
According to comedian George Carlin, the original seven words were shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits. (KBCS adds the word "ass" to this list.) Pacifica radio played Carlin's routine on the air and got busted by the FCC. The Supreme Court decision that enshrined Carlin's seven words into law is online at the ACLU website. Decided July 3, 1978 - just in time for Independence Day. What a world.
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