Blues Forever

Back in the day my brother Martin decided to teach himself how to play guitar. Once he got the basics together it seemed that almost out of nowhere he started writing a stream of songs, all of them quite good and some of them really powerful and beautiful, and some surprisingly dark. In short order he put together a band named Shade and started gigging out with the material. Sort of an distortion-guitar-driven post-prog pop vibe. I was an instant fan. We even played a few double bills with my band and his.

Shade broke up and Martin went on to commit these songs to tape using a four-track cassette recorder, very advanced technology for the day. He recently digitized the songs and put them online as The Shade Songbook. You can hear the tracks here. The songs hold quite up well and I’m really having a blast listening to them again. (I suppose they could use some modern EQ and tape hiss removal, but Martin made no attempt at such twenty-first century revisionism). Favorites include At The Show, Blues Forever, Just Another Heart Attack, Frozen Ocean, Making Miles … well there are alot of songs. You can get Martin’s take on the project here.

Origami Site Update

I’ve made a number of updates to my Origami Site. I’ve added new photos for my Moose, Elephant, Baluchitherium and Bears. I’ve also added a few new models including my War Elephant, Castle, and accompanying explorations, and added a new section for Origami Architecture. This is a substantial step forward for my origami site. I have a few models still for which I want to fold and photograph an exhibit-quality model, and beyond that breaking the list of models down to be browsable by category and year.


Megafauna Origami

As mentioned previously I made some megafauna origami models to donate to the American Museum of Natural History for their annual origami holiday tree. I did three models this year: a moose, an elephant and a bear. All three are made out of large paper and therefore quite big. The moose is made from a 32” square of brown parcel wrap, which was the biggest usable piece I could find. I tried making an elephant out of the same stuff, but I had the idea of wrinkling and then flattening the paper first to give it an elephant hide texture. The paper ended up with a slightly strethcy, almost clothlike consistency. The model is just one layer thick over the whole back, so it came out way to floppy. A very interesting failure. I’ll have to keep the technique in mind for the future. I made another elephant out of a 24” square of Canson, which is a thick art paper and very good for making elephants. Lastly I made the bear out of 15” Tant. I’m quite pleased with how all three came out and I hope the museum will use them well.

As an bonus I am including a pic of a funny little are project Lizzy and Michelle undertook not to long ago. They started making origami boats out of Masu boxes, and then put them together on top of corks.

Fall Groove

Well it’s more of the same over here. Nonstop busy. Work work work, making Jack a dull boy. My job situation with the clueless manager seems to have sorted itself out at least. The fall has come. Leaf raking season is upon us, although I expect I’ll still have to mow the lawn one more time. It’s getting darker and colder. We have to turn the heat on every night these days. Starting to get up before the sky is fully light. Ugh. And it’s no longer light or warm enough to go skating in the evening when I get home from work. So I’ve switched to using the Nordic Track indoors, which is not as much fun but I can listen to music while I’m doing it, so it gives me a chance to listen to the mixes from my record. Continuing to chip away at that, thank you very much.

I did some cool origami stuff. I made some “megafauna” models to donate to the American Museum of Natural History for their holiday tree. More on that soon. I’ll take some pictures tomorrow in the daylight. I’ve also started diagramming my Medieval Dragon. It starts with dividing the paper into ninths, which is something I always used to eyeball, but for the diagrams I worked out how to do it the legit mathematical way, which is pretty cool.

Jeannie and celebrated out Crytsal anniversary last week (I looked it up). It was a school night and so we did laundry and helped the kids study. Ah, married life after 15 years. We did meet for lunch in the city and go to a nice Thai place called Yum Yum. Afterwards we went to Toys’R’Us in Times Square and I bought her a lego dwarven catapult.

Denis and Sarah came to visit last weekend. We all had lots of fun. Carrie and Michelle always get on great and little Anna is walking already. Saturday Mary’s all came over and Jeannie’s parents too. Jeannie made a fantastic dinner for sixteen people. Chicken parmesan, eggplant parmesan and pasta. I was surprised to discover we had enough tables and chairs for everyone to eat once.

Fall Down, Part II

Seems that this is the time of year for work in progress. Here’s an update on a bunch of project. You can skip it if you find it boring.

My job has entered a new planning cycle. I’m trying to figure out how to deal with a manager who’s making it difficult for me to accomplish what I need to do. I want to moving forward with a major new feature set of my product, and he’s not getting it together to provide me with usable requirements. I working on him to see that it’s in his best interest to let me take over some things, but he is reluctant to give up control even though he’s spread too thin.

In music, I’ve been finishing off my album Face The Heat. I updated the page, including links to the newest mixes. I’m in the final phase, really focused on the details of the mixes now. Probably one or two pass at each song remains, but I find after I do a mix I have to take a few days and listen to it.

But in the sense that I want to finish my record to make time for origami, so far it’s kinda backfired. I have a trip coming up to California next month for the Pacific Coast Origami Conference, and I’d like to have something new for that. I took the summer off from working on my book, but now I have to get back into it. Last winter I was in a groove of diagramming over a model a month, but that’s a pretty heavy pace. So far this fall I made some corrections to my Lizard and began diagramming my Medieval Dragon, which will be probably over 70 steps! I also have a bunch of models in development, including some insects: a new butterfly, a dragonfly, and maybe another crack at the ladybug. And then there’s the batch from June that need further refining: the Blimp, the Sphere and the Orb UFO. So I’ve been doing some origami, just not as much as I’d like. Ah well I still have a month.

I’ve also made progress on the Foldinator, my origami software. It is now generating the paper procedurally using the drawing API. Also I‘ve defined the various lines weights and colors the application needs. I have a bit further to go before I release the next demo, however. I want to draw the initial state of the paper based on what it says in the xml file for the model. This requires a bit of plumbing so that the paper is aware when the model is loaded. After that I will probably go on to the non-folding operations, namely flipping and rotating the paper.

I’ve realized that I am long overdue in updating my origami site with pictures of my 2009 models. The web site redesign is probably far enough along that I should shift gears and take care of this before carrying on with that. The photography and photoshop is a whole little project in itself. While I’m at it, I should update my general photo gallery with pictures from the summer before it gets too far behind.

Fall Down

Well the fall weather has arrived. We’ve passed the equinox and turned into the dark side of the year. The sun is setting sooner; not many days left for rollerblading after work. Last night it got down into the forties and we had to turn on the heat in the house. Today it’s only up to the mid fifties. Definite jacket weather. I mowed the lawn for possibly the last time this season this afternoon.

I’ve been very busy, but have had some time for family and friends. The kids have been watching more Star Wars, and I discovered episodes I – III are tolerable when you watch them in half-hour chunks. Michelle has been learning Weird Al’s “The Saga Begins” on the Ukulele and actually doing a pretty good job.

Last weekend Martin and Kathleen and their baby boy Charlie came down for a visit. I was great to see them and get caught up. We went down to Long Island for a party for our friend Nick, which was great too, and included a wider circle of friends to catch up with.

Towards the end of the night, the kids were playing scooters in the front and Lizzy fell down and hurt her arm. It turned out she has a hairline fracture in her radius and had to get a cast. So she’s out of gymnastics and swimming for the next month, but otherwise OK, and in good spirits. Everyone at school signed her cast, which made her quite happy.