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Making mosaics with seniors

Mosaic project at a seniors’ residence

We just completed 5 mosaic-making sessions, working with seniors at a long-term care residence. We created the templates, prepared the materials, spread the glue and provided plenty of coaching and instruction along with way. The photo above shows the work they accomplished during the 5 sessions. None of these people had ever done any work like this before.

There were quite a few people who participated and they had a range of physical and cognitive abilities. Some of the participants worked very successfully mostly on their own, while others needed more assistance along the way. The important thing for us was getting quite a few people participating and enjoying the process.

I think they did a great job! Their work is going to be hung up at the long-term care residence for everyone to enjoy. We had a great time working with these folks

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Weekly Go

Last night, Vox and I sat down for 9 games of Go. We were quite evenly matched – I won 5 of the 9 but it could just as easily gone the other way. Here’s the final game of the evening. I played the black stones.

Early in the game, Vox established a weak group on the right side. Looking at the game today, I think I should have been more effective in splitting that group from his powerful group on the left. However, as the game developed, that right-side remained a problem for Vox, even though he was able to make the group safe easily enough.

What if I had made a 2-space jump towards the centre from my 4th line stone in the bottom centre, right away. That would have made it very difficult for Vox to connect his floating group on the right to the left side stones and I think now the attack would have been severe. If he tried to run and make shape, I could have tried to sustain an attack, then reduced his larger group on the left and taken a centre position. Instead, I let those stones off the hook in favour of gaining a position against his 3-3 point in the top corner. I was worried he was going to get too much in that corner. Maybe I should have attacked with some abandon while I had the opportunity.

The result after I took a position on the top left side of the board seems reasonably equitable. I claimed a good corner in the bottom right. Vox took some 3D territory in the bottom left, but I had a small corner on the left, taking away the possibility of making it really huge. I had started with the 4-4 in the top right. Vox approached and mitigated the corner territory a little, making a safe shape. His best corner was shaping up to be the top left, but I was claiming some space on the outside of it.

I was able to connect up my left and top right areas. Instead of Vox expanding his biggest corner, I created a wall against it and made a bit of territory on the outside of it. I wonder if achieving this was the margin of victory in this game?

Vox connected up his weak right-side group and used it to limit my territory on the right side. I grabbed a little cash on the right side. Unfortunately for Vox, his stones had no potential for additional territory.

Going into the endgame, there wasn’t a lot of potential left on the board. Vox was behind and there was no way for him to catch up. Looking at the final game, you can see that for all the moves Vox made on the right half of the board – about 60 – the best he was able to do was limit my territory. On the entire right side of the board, he was only able to grab 10 points for himself. Even with one large territory on the left, it just wasn’t going to be enough for him.

Filed under: Go
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Morning walk, Lambton Woods

The Humber River, Toronto

I met up with my friend Hobie this morning, for a nature walk at Lambton Woods. It turned out to be a great morning, with some sun and moderate temperatures. There were a lot of birds out this morning.

Blue Jay
Blue Jay

We watched some groups of blue jays in the trees and around a feeder in the woods.

Dark-eyed junco

Other birds we saw include white-throated and house sparrows, cardinals, robins, brown creepers, a brown thrasher, downy, red-headed and red-bellied woodpeckers, starlings, mallards, golden-eyes, common merganzers, and house finches.

Downey woodpecker
House finch
Common merganzer

What a fun walk – followed up by bibimbap at Tasty Korea.

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The System is Rigged

The latest episode of The Agency is up. You can listen here or find us on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Google Play, TuneIn or Spotify.

Where Candy totally avoids talking about her paper using smoke and mirrors to distract. Eugene survives a challenging week. We wonder why there are so many Popes, and we watch a movie that Bong Joon-Ho saw as a child.

Have cards, letters or packages you want to send us? We LOVE getting stuff in the mail: 
The Agency c/o Anthony Stagg, Emperor of Ephemera
PO Box 8912801,    
1859 S. Ashland Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60608 USA

Or……you can email us.

If you can’t get enough of what we’re doing and want to help us pay some bills, please visit our Patreon page:
(Don’t worry, The Agency will always be available free). There are some swell rewards up on Patreon for supporters, and there is a special gift available for our first patron.

By the way, we still have a few fashionable camo THE AGENCY trucker’s caps in the vault. If you want to be one of the cool kids and sport one of these around town, email us with your mailing address, and we’ll send one out to you (first come first served, while supplies last).

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Cabbage Magic

We don’t cook cabbage very often, but we should because it is a remarkable vegetable which can be prepared in so many ways. Last night I roasted a cabbage and it was fabulous. Here’s how I did it….

First I cut up the cabbage and roughly chopped up 3 or 4 cloves of garlic (we still have plenty of garlic from our garden last season). I added a handful of cherry tomatoes, because there they were sitting on the counter, begging to be used. I would have added an onion, but I didn’t have any. I tossed all this together with some good olive oil in a baking pan, along with salt and pepper and some Old Bay spice mix. You could use whatever herbs or spices you like. I had some stock in the fridge and poured a cup or so of it over the cabbage.

The next step is simply to slowly roast the cabbage. This has to be done at a fairly low temperature, 300F to 325F max. It’s going to take some time. Check it every half hour, and mix the cabbage about. By about an hour and a half, it’s going to begin to transform. The cabbage will begin to caramelize and change colour. At that point, I added some really excellent chunks of kielbasa to the pan. At this stage, you have to be careful not to burn the cabbage. You might want to turn the temp down a little. Check it and mix it about frequently.

Last night I cooked the cabbage until some bits were starting to stick to the pan, and some other bits were starting to crisp up a little. I served it up in bowls with the cabbage mixture and chunks of kielbasa. It was a seriously yummy dinner.

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Weekly Go

Vox and I played 9 games of Go last evening. Some were very close, tight battles. Some others were much more one-sided. I played black and tried various openings, including san-ren-sai (3 star-point) fuseki and Chinese fuseki, as well as beginning with 3-4 points. Here’s a look at some of the games.

big territories, close game

The game above was all about big territories, but it was a close one. We use a sliding komi/handicap system, which shifts based on wins and losses, and at this point, I was taking 2.5 points komi as black. For quite some time, Vox had forced me to take 2 stones handicap, but over the past few months, I’ve finally changed that dynamic, and we’ve been playing even games recently. I edged out a win in this game.

I was happy about getting a big 3D area in the upper right, but the cost was big, as I had to give up a huge right hand side. Vox also staked out a huge deep bottom, but once it was finally contained, I grabbed some territory around it and took a decent top left corner. Vox established a thin group around my top left corner. I was unable to disconnect it and catch any stones, but still, I had what I needed for a win.

A painful game for black

The game above was a painful one for me, and being way behind with no hope of catching up, I resigned. Vox was able to send stones deep into my upper right territory, reducing it to just a few points, and on top of that, he took all that territory in the lower left. I failed to put any kind of meaningful pressure on his stones. This was an easy game for Vox.

4 corners for white

Giving up 4 corners can often be fine, but in this case, Vox also wrecked my potential in the centre. His group just achieved the needed 2 eyes, but it filled centre potential I really needed. I might have withstood his large area in the lower right if successfully converted the area around his top right corner, but Vox turned it to rubble.

A big kill

In the game pictured above, I caught Vox’s group along the right side. He tried to run for his life along the side but there wasn’t enough room, and when I plopped down the eye-stealing move, his stones were dead. It’s very difficult to make up for a loss of a dozen stones. I just had to hold my own elsewhere and the game was mine.

Filed under: Go
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Read Out Loud

The latest episode of The Agency Podcast is called Read Out Loud.
New Hollywood. Punching out paintings. Can the good Dr cure what ails you?

You can listen here or find us on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Google Play, TuneIn and Spotify. Wherever you grab your podcasts, we’d really appreciate it if you would subscribe, like, rate and if you’re moved to do it, write a little review.

If are a superfan of this podcast and you’d like to help us pay some bills, please visit our Patreon page. I’ll be offering a special reward to our first Patreon supporter – the woodcut print below, which I made back in 1987. More Patreon rewards coming soon.

I’ve updated the Agency Reading List. Recommended reading for fans of The Agency Podcast.

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Salt River

Jack Antler playing Salt River

I’ve heard this tune called Salt River or Salt Creek and even as Salty River. I don’t know much about it, but it’s loads of fun to play. Ted Myerscough and I recorded this at 27th Street the other day. We just used my camera with no external mic.