The Beat Goes On

Amazingly enough, it snowed last night. There was a good two inches on the ground and everywhere, although it mostly melted by noon.

Saturday night the Relix played a great gig at the Vintage Lounge in White Plains. This was our first gig in a while and our second gig at the Vintage since I joined the band. It’s a great place to do a show, a big room and large stage and a great bar. Also it was a good crowd, the room was full and the people were really digging it.

We’ve added a lot of new songs since our last show (eighteen I think), including Good Times Bad Times by Led Zeppelin, Burnin’ for You and Don’t Fear the Reaper by Blue Öyster Cult, Touch Me by the Doors, Domino by Van Morrison (both great sax songs), You May Be Right by Billy Joel, as well as the soul classics I Can’t Help Myself and This Old Heart of Mine. I’m feeling much more relaxed now than I was when I first joined the group. Not worried about remembering the chords anymore, more focused on listening and performing. Also my vocals have gotten alot stronger and more confident. I feel like I’m well on my way to finding my voice, as they say, both literally and figuratively. I really love singing harmony and we have quite a few really good songs for that, so that part of our sound is coming along nicely too.

You never know what’s going to go over with an audience, although we front-loaded our set with some sure-fire crowd pleasers which we know well. Midway thru the set we were hitting on all cylinders with the Zeppelin and BÖC. I was a bit surprised by the strong response to Reaper since even though it’s a great song it’s also a bit of a downer. We finished the set with a soul medley, which brought the energy up to the next level and got everyone up and dancing.

We had more soul numbers on the list for the second and third set, which also happen to be a lot of the sax tunes. We’ve been organizing our songs in to blocks of three or four of a similar mood and vibe. So we just burned thru all the soul numbers for the first half of the second set. Then it was onto 60’s psychedelic rock and an 80’s medley. By the third set the list was completely our the window and we were just calling tunes on the fly. I think I sang the first five songs in a row, to give Paul a rest after all that Motown. But it was fine, we had way more tunes than we had time to play so we just went with the best stuff for the last set. It was a great show and a really good time.

In other news the weather was beautiful and we got the major part of the spring yardwork done over weekend, at least until it’s time to start the trimming and mowing and putting in the garden. I have a few days of from work coming up and hope to get caught up on my rest and a long list of random tasks.

Forward Yardage

It hasn’t really been warm outside yet, but this weekend was finally nice enough to start in on the spring things. I scraped away all the debris and filled in the craters in my yard made by logs falling out of the sky when they cut down my elm tree over the winter. Then I covered the dirt with the blue stuff so new grass will grow. Today’s rainy so I guess that’s good news for the grass. The town told us they’d come pull up the stump with two weeks; that was three weeks ago. I also expanded the flowerbed in the back corner of my yard to run the length of my neighbor’s garage and rearranged the edging stones. This means one less awkward corner that I have to get the lawnmower into.

I also got my Mustang on the road for the first time over the season. It started right up and ran like a charm, all systems look good.

Reminder: my band THE RELIX are playing this coming Saturday at Vintage Lounge in White Plains. Lots of great new material and the sound is tighter and better than ever. Show starts at 8:30. Playing three sets. Hope to see you there.

Fotoz Update Part 1

Spring teases us with false promises and winter holds on with one final desperate gasp. Over the weekend enough snow had melted that I was finally able to clean up the debris left behind by the removal of my old elm tree. The good news is the town is supposed to come and grind out the stump and plant a new tree. We’ll see if they keep their word.

Meanwhile, as we begin to make plans to go aout and play in the coming year, can there be a better time go back thru last year’s pictures and make some albums and relive some fond memories. I put up the first two albums, which cover the period from the xmastime thru the end of the school year. Highlights include a trip upstate for the holidays, a trip the Caribbean, and Lizzy’s graduations from middle school. As always these galleries are for family and friends, so if you need a password drop me a line.

Upcoming RELIX Shows

I hope you can come out and catch my band The RELIX one of these nights. Sure to be a good time with some awesome music. We’ve learned about twenty new songs since our last show. Spread the word!

Vintage Bar and Restaurant
Saturday April 12, 2014 9pm
171 Main St, White Plains, NY 10601
914-328-5803
www.vintagebar.net

THE FEZ
Friday May 9th 9pm
227 Summer Street, Stamford, CT – 06901
203-324-3391
www.thefez1.com

For more info see nycrelix.com

Zing Man Studios – New Home Page

Take a fresh look at zingman.com. I’ve recently completed a round of enhancements, part of an ongoing set of upgrades. There are some improvements to the styles, for example better colors for the Buy Now button in the origami section, but the main thing is the home page. Zing Man Productions has been renamed Zing Man Studios. The focus is on origami and music, with everything else being deemphasized until such a time as I can put new effort into it. Most of all, the feature link on my home page is for my forthcoming book Origami Animal Sculptures, which is now available for pre-order from Amazon and directly from Tuttle the publisher. I’m close to completing a round of work music – up to mastering five songs now, which is an EP or half an album. Look for more updates to the site when that goes live.

X-C

Winter continues. After several heavy snowfalls it’s been calm the last couple weeks, but still mainly bitter cold. Even now huge snowpiles linger on. Last weekend we actually had a couple days above freezing and I spent a good chunk of time outside breaking up ice to reclaim the parking spot on the street in front of our house. The parking lot at my train station is down a good dozen spots or more, between poor snow removal and people parking all over the place in response. After two or three days of parking in very sketchy spots a couple weeks back I’ve taken into going into the office earlier until spring.

Last year I didn’t go skiing at all, and this year when the conditions were best I was too busy dealing with shoveling out even think about it. When I did think about it, I was thinking I’d be lucky to get in one day before the end of the season. It’s gotten to the point where downhilling is a lot of overhead. You have to get up way too early and drive 2+ hours to get good snow, and when you’re there you spend a lot of time riding the lifts and waiting in line, just for a few runs. Although I must say a really good run can make the whole thing worth it. Still, it feels like the last few times went it was bitter cold and/or icy and not so enjoyable. With the kids in tow the cost adds up fast and they’ve grown kinda meh about it.

So this year I thought I’d get back to cross-country. I used to do x-c before I started downhilling, and over the years had some great x-c ski trips in the Adirondacks and in Yosemite. It’s much cheaper than downhill and a more relaxing vibe. I found a place called Fahnestock Winter Park. It’s not too far away, about 45 minutes up the Taconic, just a bit past Seth. By time I got a plan together Jeannie and the kids were all busy with other stuff. So I went by myself. It was just the thing I needed, a nice peaceful day in the woods. Only thing is that the conditions were icy. But now that we know it’s there we can cruise up next year any time we there’s fresh snow.

Expanded Penrose Tessellations with Robots

Believe it or not we had two more snow days this week! On Thursday I broke my snowblower clearing out 15” or wet, heavy stuff. Thursday night was had more snow and Friday it turned to rain, and then more snow for a slushy and mess. Oy! Well the weekend came and some sunshine, and a chance to get caught up on my rest. And the Olympics are on. I never really get into the summer games very much, but I do enjoy the winter games. In any event, I’m sure everyone is looking forward to spring.

My origami friends Brian and Beth are going to be getting together at a maker event next week, where they will have access to a large cutting machine. Brian asked me if I could provide a cutter-ready file of the crease pattern for one of my Penrose tessellations. When I worked on this before, folding by hand, I did the first three expansions, creation patterns with 10, 35 and 70 cells. With the prospect of the machine doing the scoring, larger tessellations become feasible. I created CP’s for the next two expansions, which come out to 105 and 175 tiles. These numbers are really interesting, because they are all multiples of 5 and 7. 2 x 5 =10, 5 x 7 =35, 2 x 5 x 7 =70, 3 x 5 x 7 =105, and 5 x 5 x 7 =175. You’d expect five, but it’s very strange how seven figures prominently as well.

As for the CPs, I was able to dispense with all the landmarks and only include creases that appear in the final model. This ought to make the folding go much faster as well as providing a cleaner appearance. In addition, I shortened all the line segments so that the intersections don’t get scored, to avoid weakening the paper. Lastly, I color coded the creases so that the facets are blue, the ridges between the are red, and the creases for collapsing the intersections are grey. This was fairly time consuming, an unexpected but fun little project. Good for waiting for the snow to melt and watching the Olympics. Having worked the CP out to 175 I think I’m done with this for a while. If you’re an origami person with access to a cutting machine and are interested in trying one of the patterns, please feel free to contact me. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to seeing how Brian and Beth’s experiment comes out.