Fotoz 2007 Summer III

Well, it’s still January. The season of darkness and cold, fated by the alignment of cosmic entities. But at least I’ve been taking advantage of time spent inside to move into my new Mac and get my photo publishing software up and running. So here are two more galleries from last summer.

As usual, these galleries are for friends and family and are password protected. If you are friends and/or family and need a password, please send me an email.

Meanwhile, here’s a sampling of the pix:

Lego Space Ships

One day not too long ago — I believe it was the Twelfth Day of Christmas, or may be the 11th day of Boxing Day — my kids decided it was Christmas Eve for their Littlest Pet Shop pets. They made a bunch of presents out of legos and asked me to help them make a sleigh. I noticed we had a number of funny shaped orange bricks, and I thought I could do something with them. Well, one thing led to another and I ended up making a space ship instead of a sleigh. Still the pilot was a right jolly old elf and the payload was toys for all the good little girls and boys. Jeannie then started collecting purple bricks and made a cool companion starcraft. Not sure who the pilot of that one is, I think he’s from a Stranger In a Strange Land or Mission to Mars set. Making Lego spaceships is fun because the subject is fantastic, so it’s more about how cool it looks than how realistic it is. Kinda like making dragons in origami.

New Song: The Nine — Rough Mix

I have new song called The Nine. It’s actually a new incarnation of a song that I had written years ago, but I liked it enough to want to revisit it. I had previously recorded it with the duo Flip|Hippo, but we did the recording under enormous time pressure and I was never really satisfied with the sax playing. Plus I wanted to do something new with it, much like the song The Beat Is Red on the Buzzy Tonic emerged from an older demo.

The Nine is based on a nine-note ostanato played by two pianos. The pattern phases every nine bars. On top of is layered the rhythm section and melody. It is both flowing and machine-like, sort of relentless and melancholy, but my new version highlights the dramatic tension of the song across the choruses. I added a break in the middle, and a lyric. I also double track the saxophone, blending in with the synth part.

The lyric was in a way inspired by the recent Led Zeppelin reunion. There was a time when the Zep was my favorite band of all time. I haven’t listened to them in years, but was inspired to go back and play all of their records, and they still sound awesome to my ears. There’s a lot of really subtle stuff going on that sets their sound apart from other 70’s bands that I never picked up on as a kid. >Still, I don’t play guitar like Jimmy Page or sing like Robert Plant, or drum like Bonzo, so there’s not much I can take and apply to my own work. Ah yes, there’s on thing. It’s cool to pepper your songs with references to Tolkien.

Actually, I just finished reading an unpublished novel my brother Martin wrote quite a few years ago. It’s quite good. It’s set in a swords & sorcery milieu, so I might write a lyric incorporating ideas from that. No one would know what it’s about but I don’t think that would matter. Lots of traveling thru the woods in the snow.

The other thing about this song is it’s kind of heavy on the synths and effects. I mainly use software synthesizers nowadays, but there were a couple sounds on my 90’s version I really liked. So I fired up my venerable Kurzweil K2000RS synthesizer/sampler and dialed up the a patches. I haven’t used that thing in years and have forgotten what a great sounding piece of gear it is. I’ll have to remember to use it in more of my recordings. I may go back and add some pads on Angel or Alien using that.

Meanwhile, let me say what an enormous pain is to do both midi and audio simultaneously on my set up. I was getting all kinds of hum and noise on the line in when the outboard midi was hooked up. I finally figured out that the problem was my port replicator. I do all my studio work on my laptop, on the USB ports on the dock are not properly shielded, or so it seems. When I moved the jack for the midi to a port on the side of the machine, the problem went away. Fortunately, I got a new Mac a month or so ago. The idea is to use it as the center of my recording studio going forward, but I wanted to wait until I was done with this song before I switched over. Hopefully the problem with the port noise will go away. But moving into the new machine is a whole ‘nuther project and a whole ‘nuther post.

Anyway, here’s the link.

Origami Site Update

I just finished updating the Origami Page of my website. 2007 Was a pretty good year for new origami designs, and I have pictures and CP’s for a bunch of new models since I last updated the page a year ago. These include a Hot Air Balloon, Armadillo, and Butterfly, as well as several versions of a Stellated Dodecahedron and a series of polyhedra based on sliced icosahedra, with faces consisting of equilateral triangles and regular pentagons. Additionally I added a some new pictures and larger thumbnails of existing models, and reorganized the whole thing so the polyhedra are now on their own page. Of course there are more new ideas in the works, and hopefully I’ll get a bunch of them completed in 2008.

Fotoz 2007 Summer II

Well, it’s January. At least the days are getting longer and it’s twilight instead of actual nighttime when we get up in the morning again. But the holidays are over and the deep part of winter is upon us. Apart from the skiing there’s not much I enjoy about being outside this time of year. So it’s all about beating the cold.

And what better way than to flash back to the warm part of the year? I’ve been making galleries of pictures I’ve taken, but I remain about 6 months behind real time. So here are some pics from a camping trip from last July:

These galleries are for friends and family and are password protected. If you are friends and/or family and need a password, please send me an email.

Meanwhile, here’s a sampling of the pix: