Summer continues. Getting right into the soft soggy center of it, rainy barbeques and all.

So in lieu of anything new to present, here’s a Flash animation I did a while back featuring hypnotic geometric fishies. I came across it over the weekend while I was culling old material from my hard drive. It’s a simple, non-interactive linear animation, although at one point I had the idea of making some kind of pattern-oriented game using these visuals as a theme. In any event, I still like it and I’d say it stands the test of time.

While your at it, check out my multimedia gallery.

Interim Update: La La La La Life

Well another whole week has gone by without my updating my blog. Ah well, what can I say, it’s summertime. Time to take a break and go play outside. In addition to summertime party fun I’ve been working on my various projects: origami polyhedra galore and recording a new song “Angel Or Alien” trying to fit in an extra hour here or there at night, but both are fairly laborious mentally.  Well last Monday I kind of hit a wall, and spent the next few days feeling tired and burned out. I’ve also been nursing a knee injury which has been taking a long time to feel better. On top of that, my computer died last week.

Things were slow at the cartoon factory with lots of people out on vacation, so Tuesday I worked at home, and ended up sleeping late and going to bed early. Wednesday I woke up early as a big ol’ summer thunderstorm rolled in. I decided to wait at home until the storm calmed down and take a later train into work. I left the house 45 minutes late, and arrived to find the platform crowded with soggy commuters. As luck would have it, my usual train was there within minutes of my arriving at the station, also 45 minutes late.

Heading home on my way to Grand Central Station, I heard a huge rumbling, like thunder or maybe a plane flying overhead, but longer and louder. (Still feeling kind of beat) I didn’t really think about what it might be. I found out on the news that night that a steam pipe had broken underground one block over, and spewed a geyser of steam higher then the Chrysler Building into the sky! I found it a bit odd that they kept saying on the news that it was not the work of terrorists. Sign of the times we live in I guess. They didn’t say, however, that it wasn’t the work of bears!

Thursday work was busy again and I wound up working late to meet a deadline, pinch hitting for a colleague who was out on vacation. Toon dance party online!

Friday I was still pretty tired in the morning, but I had the day off and once I got going my energy finally picked up. Jeannie, the girls and I took a day trip to Jones Beach on Long Island with her sister Mary’s family. A perfect day for it too, 82 and sunny. The surf was pretty strong, and the beach itself is as beautiful as any on the East Coast. Afterwards we went back to their house for a barbecue. It was a great time for everyone and some much needed R&R.

So now I’m in the process of moving into my new computer, which is really not new, but up until last week had been only for running proTools, and now it’s for everything. I have a lot of data to migrate, and a lot of configs to setup and setups to config. My old computer didn’t completely die, just the screen, making it *almost* unusable. I was able to turn on remote access and file sharing on the basis of the position of the UI widgets on the screen. Yeesh. Now I can drive my old computer from my new computer, which is pretty cool actually.

My knee is also feeling better, and I literally have a spring in my step again.

I’ve also been making progress on my new song “Angel or Alien”. It”s fairly long (over 7 minutes right now, but I”m thinking of cutting a section), and is sort of a pseudo-prog number with an existential theme and scifi overtones. Structurally there’s a slow jazzy first part, a fast middle part with meter changes and churning, swooping, blazing gonzo synthesizers, and then a recapitulation and elaboration of the first part. The chords are based mainly on stacked 4ths over shifting roots, which is a pretty cool sound.

I’ve been getting the bass and drums together. The bass part involves a lot of two-note chords, and I recorded it twice but was not happy with the sound either time. Then I tried double-tracking the part, which sound much better than either part on its own. It introduces a natural chorus effect and comes out something like Joco Pastorius. Drums for me always involve a lot of editing, building up and pulling down, creating dimension like a chalk drawing, and they’re taking shape. I’m ready to get down to the piano part, which will really give some flesh to the whole song.

Bonus: More Fun With Shapes

Here are CP’s for the complete set of shapes “Icosahedra with One or More Slices Cut Out of Them, Whose Faces are Composed of Pentagons and Triangles.” I have not yet tried to fold any of these yet, but the layouts all look doable. As luck would have it, I picked a good reference point (half the distance from the edge of the paper to the center) to begin developing the CP for the three-pentagon shape, and can readily develop the other shapes with the same edge length. Four out of the five are remarkably efficient! However the smallest of them, the pentagonal pyramid, wastes a lot of paper. I ought to find a good smaller size sheet to use for that.

Double Feature: Road Trippin’ *and* Fun With Shapes

Part 2: Fun With Shapes

Now the Origami part of the trip: At the Strong Museum there was a place to play with shapes, and I discovered something interesting. An octahedron made of three regular pentagons and five equilateral triangles. I’ve never seen this shape before and don’t know if it has a name. It will make a nice addition to the Periodic Table of Polyhedra I’m compiling. The goal of that project is to identify every topologically unique combination of edges and vertices for polyhedra (mainly low polyhedra –complete up to Octahedra, as coincidence would have it, and selected interesting ones above that. Variations in angles and edge lengths don’t matter for the purpose of this enumeration.)

So I went ahead and made it out of origami. It has a pretty neat folding sequence and symmetry in the layout. I don’t use Robert Lang’s Reference Finder but instead rely on ratios incumbent in the design to to develop the layout, usually going for maximizing the size of the figure in the paper and still having enough left to make the lock. This one turned out very good in the usage department, although I may have to tweak the lock itself a bit.

This shape has the interesting property that if you replace each pentagon with five equilateral triangles you get an icosahedron. Several other shapes have this property, including pentagonal antiprism and a pentagonal pyramid, so they constitute a set. There’s another with 15 triangles and one pentagon, and yet another still with two pentagons and 10 triangles, but it’s not an antiprism because the pentagons are not parallel.

I’m thinking it’d be fun to do this whole series, especially if I can get the unit edge to be the same size across all the different models. Meanwhile, here is the CP and some pics of the a first (not too neat) version of the model.

Double Feature: Road Trippin’ *and* Fun With Shapes

Part 1: Road Trippin’

You may be wondering why it’s been over a week with no new post. Well it’s because I’ve been on vacation! I just got back from a trip to upstate New York and Canada to visit family. Lots and lots of family. Four towns, two countries.

Saw my brother-in-law and his family on the 4th. We had hoped to spend the day in his pool, but the rain gods had other ideas, so instead we visited the Strong Museum of Play in downtown Rochester. The kids had fun there, but the part that was most interesting to me was a hall of old toys from the 19th century. No plastic in anything. It was all tin and wood, glass and leather. And perhaps obviously, no electronics. Plus there was a whole gallery of obsolete household items like inkwells and oil lamps. Makes you wonder what things we all have around the house that’ll be in a museum someday. Plus there was a fun area to play with shapes. More on that later.

Visited my parents, had some barbecue, did some rollerblading. One day we took the kids and my Mum up to the Falls. Pictures below. Visited my brother Martin in his new house. Lots of very nice woodwork. In addition to remodeling the place, he’s also in the beginning phase of an internet startup company, so life is interesting for him. Perhaps the highlight of the trip was the cousin’s reunion from my grandmother’s side of the family on Sunday in Port Colborne, Ontario. Lots of people there I haven’t seen in a while, including my cousin Barb, my cousin Peter all the way from Florida, and all my motorcycle riding, building and racing second cousins. All in all very fun and relaxing. More pics to come.