An old friend (Bill Grace) asks a bunch of questions, by way of catchup after some years of infrequent contact. Answering them requires some delving, backpedaling, and infilling... and probably a lot of links to other documents.

Where do you usually spend what parts of the year? and how did you choose Tenants Harbour?

We're here pretty much all the time, but Betsy spent last June and July and is spending this June and July in Lexington VA, where she's still involved/employed as co-Principal Investigator and Editor of The Alsos Digital Library on Nuclear Issues, a project funded by National Science Foundation. The rest of the year she works from home, with a couple of trips to Lexington. She also goes to Florida about once a month to see Miggs.

I'm not much inclined to travel, though I do have a weekend coming up in San Diego in mid-July (a high school reunion, sort of), and a couple of Nova Scotia trips planned this summer, and I'll drive down to Pennsylvania to spend a weekend with Betsy in early July.

Why Tenants Harbor? My octogenarian sister Alice lives about 5 miles away, and I'm able to be useful to her in various ways. And it's a part of the world that feels congenial. My standard explanation is that I understand the silences --I know what New Englanders aren't saying, something I could never figure out in Virginia.

What is relevant music?
I tried to summarize a lot of my thoughts on this subject just before I left W&L, in a Musical Rumination, and much of it still rings true a couple of years later. The music I'm actively involved with has always been a quicksilver kaleidoscope of genres, styles and performers. I've had some long-running enthusiasms, any number of brief flirtations, and occasional plunges into new territory, influenced by availability, by serendipities, and by what I happened to be teaching about. Now that I'm no longer teaching, and now that there are fewer and fewer brick-and-mortar stores, I buy fewer CDs than I used to, but still stay in touch with the lunatic fringes via CD Roots, and supply the more usual wants via Amazon.

These days the CD player isn't on constantly, but I'm playing a lot more 'Early Music': Gesualdo, Schütz, Buxtehude, Ockeghem; I haven't stayed in touch with developments in the Celtic and Scandinavian folk scenes that were important for me a while ago. I get a lot of music in bits via Web sites that put up MP3s of old blues and old timey music, and others that have digitized bits of musical fugitivia from Africa and from the American past as well. I do fall into occasional binges of Turkish and Greek musics, and my last University Scholars class at W&L was an update of Cross-Cultural Studies in Music (subtitled Ethnomusicology in the 21st century). It was a lot of fun for one and all. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the enormous resources represented in my vinyl and CD and MP3 collections --some sort of asynchronous Web radio? Something not yet invented?

My own playing waxes and wanes, and has been pretty sketchy in the last year. I still enjoy occasional bouts and binges on various instruments (e.g., Otiose Maggie, a mandocello piece for a goat of my acquaintance), but nothing serious and no active collaborations lately. Daniel Heïkalo and I have material for several CDs,and he may eventually get them produced and released, but to which publics I can't imagine. Recorder Boogie (mandocello and bass recorder) is one example, perhaps at the more conventional end of our oeuvre.

Lately I've been interested in YouTube as a source of fringe musical expression, and it's amazing how much can be found. Some examples: Mandola solo by Vladiswar Nadishana, Helen Kane IS Betty Boop, Ismail TunÁbilek, and pointers to others.

Have you had to downsize collections?
No, but I am digitizing quite a few different kinds of things, so that they can be rendered distributable. Downsizing would mean getting rid of... can't do that. And some of them continue to grow: the Nobleboro haul is an example, and here's another from Rockland
Do you have collections in various places?
No, all here... but we DO have a barn...
What do you do these days?
My stock answer: whatever I damn please. But in fact it's a bit more orderly than that. The core activity (because it happens most days) is what I might loosely call 'exercise', and it includes walking (1, 2 or 3 hours most days, generally accompanied by MP3s) and yoga, 5 classes a week and sometimes 6 for about the last 8 months or so. Yoga seems especially important in this mix because days and trips to town (half an hour away) get planned around the classes on 3 or 4 of those days. I wrote a summary of early-April thoughts about yoga practise.

I've also been a Volunteer at the Owls Head Transportation Museum, in the library, and I'm the Designated Shopper for Alice and Wick's household. I'm also a Member of the Good Tern Food Co-op in Rockland, which means 3 hours or so a month of services, mostly at closing times.

At home I spend a fair bit of time every day on computer tasks: following a couple of hundred blogs and tending my own, pursuing digitization projects of various sorts, and working on what I sometimes glorify as my Digital Legacy. Examples: Nova Scotia Faces and my own photographs. I've been using Flickr for most of that enterprise. And there's the revived genealogical project, which needs a few hundred hours.

I continue to experiment with software, as possibilities cross my horizons. WhereWhen is one such example, though there's much more to incorporate, as I'm inspired to do it.

And of course there's food. Maine is great for fish, and Vietnamese fish is one example. After quite a few years of no vegetable garden, we've started a small one for this summer.

How are John, Kate, Betsy, Miggs, Stephen and family, the extended Blackmers?
Basically just fine. Kate ( has more Web presence than the others. John lives in Santa Cruz and works for Yahoo. On the Root front, Stephen continues to work for Intel (was DEC, then Compaq, then HP, then Intel... but no change of job), and the various Rootlings are in various places: Jonathan is represented here and here; David has been doing geological somethings in Norway for the last couple of years, Meredith is just about to relocate to a tenure-track job in Memphis (teaching film), and Tory is working for the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.
I am sure you are missed at your last place of work!
A friend of mine put it this way: when you die, they give a really nice memorial service, and then in six months they've forgotten all about you. There was a very nice Retirement Citation, but I'll have been gone for two years in September, and I think I've mostly disappeared without a trace. I thought I'd be more connected and more concerned, and for a while I kept track of stuff sent to others, mostly W&L colleagues, but less and less came back from them, and they've moved on to locally-defined concerns that I simply don't care about. I did visit the campus for a few hours last summer (as a side trip from a visit to a musical event), and it was nice to see people, but I'm glad not to be entangled with liberal arts education anymore. I feel much more positive about my 13 years at W&L than about the 18 at Acadia, but I have no wish to be back there.

I do have [experimental] hyperlinked interfaces for my W&L activities and my logfiles, which provide far more information than anybody but myself could possibly want.