All quiet on the western front. It’s getting into the second half of winter and I’m starting to feel hopeful about spring. Lizzy is in Switzerland. Michelle got her braces off the other day.
I’m working from home these days, and I must say for the most part it suits me. My health is better then it’s been the last few winters. No getting up before daylight to stand out on the train platform in the bitter cold. No colds or flu, no back or leg pain.
I’m still rehabilitating my shoulder. I can do all the exercises I used to before I injured it, pushups and free weights, but on bench press I’ve plataeued, and every time I try and add weight it starts to hurt, so I go back down and wait a few weeks to try again. This last time the soreness went away faster and I’m ready to try again after only a week.
I have a pullup bar that sets up in a doorframe, and I’ve been using it in the doorway of wizard room (the closet under the stairs) for like 2 years. The other day the molding there cracked, so now I’m thinking about how to rebuild it stronger.
OTOH with working from home there’s less human contact. I’ve been getting out on the weekends, to dinner and the movies (Star Wars) for Jeannie’s birthday, to a party at Nick’s, and surprisingly saw a really good jazz group at a fundraiser at Michelle’s school. The band director is an amazing drummer, especially at Latin jazz.
For Valentine’s day I took Jeannie out to a local restaurant, Infusion, that I’ve passed by hundreds of times but never went in. But then I found out the bass player Jay from my Saturday jazz group was playing there with a guy on vibes as a duo. It turned out to be a very nice place, classy, dimly lit, with very good quasi-French food. They seated us right up near the band so I was able to suggest a few songs: My Romance, My Funny Valentine, All the Things You Are, that kind of thing. They were really good. Just the perfect thing, and a really pleasant surprise.
Before I found out about Jay’s gig the plan was to go to Burke’s bar, where LEFT HOOK is playing next week, to check the place out. So we went there afterwards for a drink of two. It’s a pretty big place, a step up from the joints we’ve been playing. The calamari is yummy and they got lots of different beers. They have a nice big stage, but we still have to bring our own PA. I don’t think they had a band that night cuz it was pretty dead. I’m sure bitter cold snap was keeping people home.
The Global Jukebox project is coming along. There was a bit of a crisis a couple weeks ago cuz they’d used up the money for my initial contract but we were only about halfway thru the projected work. By the end of the first week we were already several weeks behind schedule, as we discovered that the database needed some serious work, the codebase I was taking over was a mess, and there were lots of little things they’d need to go live that they’d never thought of. Growing pains getting from a prototype to a product. Like I said, they’re not software engineers. But they found some more cash and were able to extend the project a few more months, and they’re working on getting funding for a whole year. I hope it comes thru. They have alot of great ideas and I’d really love to be able to do it right.
I finished a major milestone build last week. Done the first major round of refactoring and getting the core features in place. Still lots of little cleanup and loose ends, but I hope to have something sharable soon.
I’ve also been learning Python and Django (the D is silent), since our database guy has limited availability and there’s lots to do on that side.
Believe it or not I’m still negotiating with my publisher about the origami airplanes and spaceships book. I thought for a while it was totally dead, but now it may happen after all. The point of contention was the graphics they want printed on the paper. I have a pretty strong idea of what I want and what I don’t. My feeling generally is that it should be pretty minimalist and not detract from the folded form. After they saw my samples they thought it’d be a useful guide, but wanted to have their staff graphics guy do the graphics, and to add insult they want to pay him out of my advance.
Then the sample graphics they sent me were a travesty. It was not my model, and not for my book, but it was a picture of a very cartoony robot slapped on a sheet of paper that didn’t look like anything like a robot to begin with. It looked like they reinvented the back cover of Mad Magazine!
So I said no way, I’ll do the book my own way and get another publisher. Then they decided they wanted to negotiate. First they agreed to pay their graphics guy out of their share. Then I said I’d only go with them if they gave me some sample graphics for my models and I approve of them. Surprisingly they agreed. So that’s where we are now, waiting for them to produce some graphics.
I’ve been thinking of buying a new synthesizer. It turns out Moog is making reissues of their classic analog synths, but with modern components and with midi and digital control/memory/recall. You can get a full-stack modular moog a la Keith Emerson for a mere $35,000, not including keyboard, ribbon controller, extra modules, etc. Or you can get a modern day MiniMoog for about a grand.
BTW, I learned the other day the original voice of R2D2 was an ARP 2600 synthesizer, one of the first “semi-modulars”. It also appears on a bunch of Rush albums beginning with 2112, and on Edgar Winter’s Free Ride, which my rock group learned and then abandoned because it was too high for our singer.
So in closing, here’s a reminder that LEFT HOOK has a gig coming up a week at Burke’s Bar. We learned 5 new (keeper) tunes including Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel and Beginnings by Chicago. Very rockin’!