Keep Pants Cuffs in Your Snow Boots

If you are in the northeast US you are sick of snow right now, but still slogging your way to work somehow. I got a new pair of mid-height insulated boots, but unless I added gaiters over the top my pants cuffs kept popping out, getting wet and letting in cold air.

Untucked cuff

I found the solution in my bicycling gear: pants cuff straps!

Mine are like the above: flexible straps fastened by Velcro. Wrapping the cuff before inserting your foot into the boot keeps it nicely tucked in while walking:


Resources For Writing Grant Proposals

Artists, musicians, writers and other members of the creative community rarely “make it big” in a commercial/financial sense. That doesn’t necessarily discourage us from making art, but it would be nice to have some financial support.

While there are many local, national, and international sources of grant money for creatives, one look at some of the applications scares off many artists who are great at making art but not comfortable with figuring out budgets or writing snappy descriptions of their proposals.

A friend who was recently appointed to her city’s cultural council posted on Facebook that all of her artistic friends should really consider applying for grants even though the thought is intimidating. I posted a bunch of helpful links in the comments, which I am reposting here for future reference, and will add more as I come across them:

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Home Recording Basic Info For Windows Users

A teacher friend forwarded to me a request from one of her students who wanted information on how to do home recording with her Windows PC (the teacher is a Mac user). Here’s what I replied FYI:

It sounds like you already have [free software for Windows/Mac/Linux] Audacity, which was what I would recommend for basic Windows recording. There actually isn’t a GarageBand for PC, despite what searching would have you think – the link that came up is not a product by Apple, but something downloadable from  “Rare Software” – I can find no references for that from reliable sites, so personally I would hesitate to install it.

The other important part of making a decent-sounding home recording into a PC (or Mac) is how you get the analog sound (the waves of sound your harp makes through the air) converted to digital 1s and 0s inside your computer. Your PC may have a line in/mic in 1/8″ jack, or a built-in mic, but those are only sufficient for talking on Skype calls, etc. You want some type of external analog/digital (A/D) converter.

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Should I Take That Gig?

Negotiating is only fun for certain people, of which I am not one. But whenever I’m asked to perform, musically or otherwise, I need to decide if and under what circumstances I want to accept.

 I did write a bit about this in my infamous blog post about playing with Amanda Palmer, so here’s a bit more: when I negotiate various offers, my interior dialog/checklist goes something like this (read more in detail about each point after the cut):

  1. What are the reasons, if any, I want to do this gig?

  2. If primarily for pay, what amount is sufficient for my efforts?

  3. If primarily for a non-monetary reason, am I clear what the effort cost to me is and am I willing to donate the relative time/financial difference between that and what, if anything, I will be paid?

  4.  Is there something other than money I can request as compensation?

  5.  Am I clear what the finances of the event are, so that I can be clear I’m not the only event supplier donating my time? (e.g., if they are paying a caterer and venue rental, they don’t get a discount from me)

  6. Am I comfortable that the person who wants my participation knows what they are doing, has the authority to do it, and has realistic expectations for the event and me?

  7. If the request is from someone I know personally, will anything about the above (esp. 5 & 6) or about our relationship make it difficult for me to have a proper business relationship with them, so I should just say I’m not available?

  8. Am I prepared to turn down a “better” offer if one arrives after accepting this one?

Read more about each point:  Continue reading