2017-12-10 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- We have been heating the house with our wood stove. The flames are pleasant to watch, and the stove heats the entire house.

Currently we are burning wood that we bought 15 months ago. The wood was already seasoned (that is, dried) when we bought it. The wood dried more since we bought it, and now burns excellently. The firewood we have left might last us for a few more weeks.

We bought a new pile of wood from
Charlie the arborist, same as last year. He put the firewood on our driveway.

The wood we bought this time is not seasoned. We need to dry it for 6 to 12 months. We stacked the firewood in our backyard so that it will dry better than leaving it as a pile on the ground. I estimate the total weight of the wet wood at about 1200 kilograms. Noriko and I got a serious workout by carrying the wood!

During the months that we have no firewood to burn, we will use electric heating. We will also have the chimney inspected and cleaned by professionals.


2017-12-07 SEAL ROCK, OREGON, USA -- Terrific weather continues on the Oregon Coast. Noriko and I enjoyed 2 days of cycling so far.

We missed our tandem bicycle. We had not ridden it because we were traveling in Europe in the summer and early fall.

For our 1st ride of the season, we rode a section of the
Banks-Vernonia rail park. An old lumber railroad has been converted to a hiking and bicycling path. The park is famous for the Buxton trestle bridge, about 200 meters long and 25 meters above the ground. It is made of wood, and curves gracefully.

Gorgeous weather! The high pressure system brought sunshine and cold. Our fingers were freezing.

For our 2nd ride of the season, we rode South Beaver Creek Road, starting at a
state park 1 kilometer away from my trumpet teacher's house, and leading to Alsea bay in Waldport. I chose the route based on maps. Later we learned that I had picked a popular bike course.

Our tandem bike easily loads and unloads from our truck. The bike is too long to carry sideways so we load it lengthwise on the truck bed. I built a plywood box to carry gear and groceries.

garage door opener

2017-12-06 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- Our garage door opener started to malfunction over the Thanksgiving weekend. We had it installed in 2006. I expected the device to last much longer but digital circuitry dies sooner than old-fashioned analog. We called the same store, and replaced our old unit with a new one.

Our old unit looks brand new after 11 years. Motor and remote controls all work fine, except the machine turns itself off at random times. I need to unplug the power cord to reset the unit. Then the door opens and closes a few more cycles. We were sure the logic board will fail soon.

Jonathan from
Garage Door Sales installed our new opener. Our old opener was a screw drive. The new one is a belt drive, and it is a bit quieter.

Our new opener can be opened and closed via an internet connection. This is our 1st smart home appliance.

work out

2017-12-04 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- Noriko and I are back into our regular routine. We resumed exercise, believing that working out is an investment in our bodies. Noriko enjoys yoga, and I tag along. We lift light weights, which is as wimpy as it sounds! And after a long absence from the pool, I started swimming again. This morning was my 2nd swim in several years. Breaststroke, 1000 meters, 31 minutes. The hardest part is walking over to the gym. It's only 2 short blocks away but feels much farther. The greatest part is the sense of accomplishment afterwards.

hilltop big band

2017-12-01 CORVALLIS, OREGON, USA -- We visited the Hilltop Big Band for the 2nd time. This time we sat directly facing the stage. We had better acoustics compared to our 1st visit on 2017-11-03.

We took pictures, and emailed them to the band. They said they would add my pictures to the band's Christmas letter.

This picture was taken from left of where we were seated. Our seats had good sound but partially blocked sight lines. A column decorated with an unusual face stands in the front center of the stage. Soda fountain machines hide the view to the side.


Jim Cameron (far left, on keyboard tonight, his usual instrument is trombone) is a friend of my trumpet teacher John Bringetto. I have a Christmas music CD they made several years ago. They had a duo going on when Jim was band director at the Yachats Big Band. Noriko and I used to attend their gigs in Newport, until the restaurant (Cecil's Dirty Apron) closed, and Jim moved to Corvallis.

The band has
5 trumpet players. I would be ecstatic if I could play merely half as good as them! My favorite player is Mike Freeman (rear left, standing, playing with mute). I noticed that his section mates let him rest after strenuous playing.

friends in california

2017-11-11 to 2017-11-20 SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, CALIFORNIA, USA -- We cherish the special people who regard us as their friends. After an absence of several years, we visited our friends in the San Francisco bay area. We had a wonderful time!

Djuki and I met in 1987 as roommates at Stanford University. 30 years! His family gave us an Indonesian lunch.

Seikyee and Noriko met in college. Seikyee is trained as a professional chef. She threw an early Thanksgiving party.

Seikyee brought us to several eateries in the Inner Sunset district of San Francisco.

Ginny and Noriko met at work. Ginny thinks and verbalizes fast. Noriko is blessed to have Ginny as her mentor.

Psi and I met at work in 1988. He has the fast speech rate of anybody I know personally. We met his family for a too-brief conversation over homemade chocolate cake.

Jared was my supervisor at work. I strive to emulate his style. I'll show his picture below because he is well known in academic and industrial circles.

Mark and I met at work. Mark and June cleaned our house when we bought it in 2003. We walked and picnicked near the Point Bonita lighthouse north of Golden Gate.

California blue sky!

Mark lives within walking distance of quite a few nice eateries.

While the girls bonded in the shopping mall, Mark and I bonded by polishing the windows of his 26-year-old truck. I drove it when it was brand new. That was a fast truck!

My aging and somewhat inaccurate handheld GPS receiver says that for our entire trip we drove a total of 2435 km (1521 miles) in 27:03 (27 hours and 3 minutes) at a mean speed of 90.0 km/h. The maximum speed of 250 km/h is clearly an error. I wish our truck ran that fast!

hilltop big band

2017-11-03 CORVALLIS, OREGON, USA -- On the same day of Ken Saul's classical trumpet concert, we attended a big band concert several blocks away in downtown Corvallis. A gentleman who attended Ken's concert told us about the big band concert happening that evening. So we changed our plans for the afternoon.

Hilltop Big Band is part of the Corvallis Community Band. Tonight they played at the Old World Deli.

The deli is affordable and friendly. The audience seating area is L-shaped. Alas the band faces the edge of the shorter leg of the L, such that most members of the audience have compromised sight lines and acoustics. I would suggest that at least the loudspeakers be placed at a 45-degree angle with respect to the stage so that the sound propagates to the center of the audience.

We sat on the wings to enjoy a clear view of the 4 trumpet players in the back row. I was impressed with Mike Freeman, who stood closest to me for most songs. (The trumpet players took turns playing lead.)

During intermission, I chatted with Jim Cameron (right of photo, counting on his fingers) who plays trombone in the Hill Top Big Band. I met Jim when he and John Bringetto (my trumpet teacher) formed a duo, where Jim played keyboard and voice, while John played trumpet and flute. Jim remembered me and Noriko! How nice of him.

ken saul plays spanish trumpet

2017-11-03 CORVALLIS, OREGON, USA -- Our friend and mentor Ken Saul performed trumpet at the Oregon State University Memorial Union.

Ken carefully and meticulously warmed up before his performance.

Ken quintupled on Bb, C, Eb, and piccolo trumpets plus a Bb flugelhorn.

OSU hosts concerts every Friday at noon during term. Here's Ken's concert program.

After the concert, we met Ken's wife Lily, who comes from Sapporo. We hope to spend more time with them next time.

taft tigers

2017-11-01 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- Gabe, son of our friend Lori, is a senior at Taft High School, and captain of the soccer (association football) team.

Gabe is number 24, in the white shirt towards the right of the picture.

I got great seats next to the Taft HS Band. I learned a lot from observing their playing.

We congratulated Lori and her mother-in-law after the match. The Taft Tigers won 6-0. Actually I predicted that after the 1st goal but nobody was taking bets!

back home

2017-10-29 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- The last 10 weeks were fabulous. We learned so much during our trip to England, Flanders, and Holland. Today we're back home!

Assembled my trusty Carol Brass 6580 and played it side by side with my Carol Brass Zorro that I played during our Europe trip. My chops (brass instrument jargon for my lips, cheeks, and tongue) had assimilated to playing the Zorro, so that the 6580 (although it has warm mellow sound) feels more difficult to play, and heavier too.

We installed internet at our house. Drew, the cable person, installed new cable and connectors from the utility pole to our wall outlet. We agreed to distrust the existing old coax.

For the past 13 years we had intentionally avoided having internet at our home because we would become glued to our computers. There is so much work that we need to do online that we no longer have a choice. Besides, we get to watch the news on our big screen. Alas the top news was yet another terrorist attack.

Bokeo (whom we adopted from our sister Keiko) has become our household deity for internet.

We froggified the living room wall with pages from our frog calendar.


2017-10-26 AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS -- We returned from England to Holland, and spent a few days in Amsterdam before flying home to Portland, Oregon, USA.


All of the floating stores (shops on boats) along the right side of this canal sell tulips, both flowers and bulbs.

We almost bought tickets for trumpet jazz playing at the Bimhuis, Holland's premier jazz venue. Alas the concert starts and ends too late in the evening for us.

A free ferry crosses the river Ij from Amsterdam Central train station. The white low building on the left is the Eye museum of cinematography. The tall building with the white tower on the right is the Lookout Tower, formerly the head offices of Royal Dutch Shell.

The fantastic view from the observation deck.

sunderland air museum

2017-10-24 Sunderland, UK -- I remain infatuated with aviation, although I no longer fly. By chance, we spotted a road sign for an aviation museum.

A dense collection of aircraft and land vehicles, all in various stages of restoration.

A telegraph key caught my eye. It is called the
bathtub key, and was used by many British aircraft. It has a spring-loaded cover to hold the key down (to transmit a continuous signal) to notify that the aircraft is going down. The same with Japanese aircraft during WWII.

The museum is located immediately adjacent to the
Nissan UK plant at Sunderland. Turns out the Nissan plant was built on the old airport grounds, close to freeways, sea ports, and major commercial airport. The old map below shows runways arranged in an inverted V shape. This is where Nissan is located now.