More Complaining About Winter

I went shopping for a snow blower today. I haven’t gotten one up until now because we only get enough snow to make it worthwhile a few times a year, and some years not at all. But now we have snow and I really shouldn’t be shoveling it by hand, and it’s a lot for Jeannie to do solo. So there it is. A few weeks ago we went to Sears to look at dishwashers and refrigerators and they had a whole field of different kinds of snow blowers. I went back today and it’s all lawnmowers and barbecue grills. What the heck?!? It’s still February and there’s over a foot of snow on the ground. Also looked for a new winter coat, but as usual they have nothing in my size. I hate shopping.

I started working out again yesterday. I made some adjustments to the routine. Doing more stretching and far less weights. I’m going to reintroduce the weight and reps gradually. By the time I get back to full weight it will be spring, but I think next winter I’m going to make it a policy to seasonally adjust my workout balance with less strength training and more yoga and stretching stuff.

Getting Back Into Shapes

It’s been a rough week. I had a bit of a pain in my leg which turned out be caused by a swollen or pinched nerve. I tend to have a few aches in my legs this time of year due to the cold, but this got bad enough I needed to go see a doctor. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise, since I’ve been feeling down about my work situation lately and I had a few days off, a break from that unpleasantness and drama and from commuting in the cold, and I took a few days to rest and reset. Now that I’m on the mend physically, I’m much less burned out mentally too.

I got a chance to work on some more origami ideas this week. I have a handful of polyhedra I’ve been trying to perfect for a while now. One of them is the Stellated Rhombic Dodecahedron, and I had a half-fold one I started ages ago and I thought I’d finish it off. But as I got into, I realized the layout was kind of weird and I could do better. So here is the new improved layout. As you can see, the layout is nice and symmetrical, and that makes the precreasing relatively straightforward. The forty-right triangles that make up the faces are based on the geometry of the silver ratio. There is a border that runs the whole way ‘round the paper to provide flaps at the corners to tuck in and finish the model. As luck would have it, I picked a good size for the flap to provide a reference to set up the silver ratio without having to find any other landmarks. I’ve folded a couple of these now, working out a clean way to close the model. Look for completed model in the near future.

Cold Turkey

Now that some things with the weather, work and the recording project have been sorted out, it’s time to get back to origami. My turkey has been sitting half-folded on my desk fro weeks and I finally had the chance to finish it off. Good thing too, I’m teaching it this spring, and need to get all the details worked out.

Snow Daze

Well I’m surviving the winter. I feel better about the season now that there’s snow on the ground. Last week we got a big snowfall, enough to pretty much close the entire New York City for a day. The kids had the day off from school and I helped them build a snow man amid interminable shoveling. But that was nothing compared to my friend John in D.C., who’s endured a few big snow falls, a power outage and a week of from school (He’s a teacher).

I was scheduled to another mixing session with Erik, but that got postponed. We ended up doing it a couple days later and now I have two songs done and sounding totally awesome. One of them, an R&B number with a horn section, almost sounds too clean. Once I get one more in the can I’ll post some audio files for you to hear.

The kids had off from school yesterday and we took them skiing. Another round of fresh snowfall made for a slow drive, but the best conditions I’ve skied on on the East coast in years, maybe ever. As an added bonus, we met our friend Seth on the mountain and it was his birthday. It was snowing so hard we had to stop and buy the girls goggles. It was Michelle’s first real day off the bunny hill and up to the top of the mountain. She was a little nervous abut it, but she did just great, and soon felt confident enough to try some blue trails. At one point there a was a steep spot and I skied a bit ahead, stopped and turned back to see if she could handle it. She just blew right past me going “Wheeeeeee!!!”. Now we can all ski together as a family, which is great, cuz it means we can plan a ski vacation out west in a few years.

Things have been contentious at work recently. My project is behind schedule, mainly due to the Bad Manager, not giving us requirements to work against in a timely fashion. This in turn stems from the fact that he does not have a technical background and is out of his depth trying to manage this project. Last Friday we had a meeting to work our requirements for a particular feature set and yet again he wasn’t prepared, didn’t take notes or understand what he needed to meeting, questioning obvious points but unable to contribute to the actual issues that need to be worked out. So my boss kind of lost her temper and the two of them got into a rather heated argument. Today was yet another meeting, and my boss’s boss and the Bad Manager’s boss showed up, and everyone was on their best behavior and in the end we hammered out the design of the panel resolved. Yeesh.

We’ve been watching some Olympics and been enjoying it pretty well. I like the winter sports, but I must say I haven’t watched regular TV in a long time and I find the pacing and constant interruptions and 50-50 ratio of ads to sports makes it kind of a drag, and my enthusiasm starting to wane. Most people don’t seem to mind or notice this, but TV ads have been out of my system and it’s kind of a shock.

Daylight Again

Well we’re moving into the second half of winter. It’s still plenty cold, but at least the days are getting longer and it’s the daytime again when I get up in the morning, which is helping with the seasonal blues.

We went ice skating this last weekend, which was a fun time. We had planned on going skiing but Lizzy had to have a tooth pulled on Friday (baby tooth hadn’t started to get loose yet, but the tooth under started growing and pushing up), and wasn’t feeling up to by Saturday evening, so we decided to skating instead, since it’s closer to home.

Been making progress with the music. Last week Erik and I went to do another mixing/mastering session at his studio, but his car broke down on the trip into the city, so that was kind of a bust. Still, I worked on my own on “Green Glove”, on of the two songs that still needs to be completed. This was originally supposed to be a quick, almost throwaway song, a fun little idea to round out the record. But then there were problems with the arrangement, so I’ve be brining a new level of detail and precision to it. I redid the bass part and added rhythm guitar, and then I changed the horn arrangement and retracked the vocals. One important thing I did was to pan the backing vocals to one side and the horns to the other. This gave the whole mix a lot more space and clarity. So it’s getting there. Hope to get it finished next weekend.

We watched the movie “Anvil: The Story of Anvil” over the weekend. Inspirational odyssey of a starving artist. The band is from Toronto. A couple scenes of the film took place in McKellar, Ontario, on the shores and waters of Lake Manitouwabing, where I spent I bunch of time as a kid.

As for other random tasks, I’ve even gotten back to making some progress on my origami book, although not as fast as I’d like. And now that I’m done with the updated music player, I can concentrate on the next cycle on the Foldinator. I still haven’t made any progress on the winter home improvement agenda, but then I guess getting the new appliances can count toward that and other projects deferred.

Mix Master

Last week I had the first mixdown/mastering session with Erik in his studio working on one of my songs. It was a really good experience. I never realized what a totally skilled producer he is. He pretty quickly and systematically moved thru the song, adding little bits of effects here and there, mainly EQ, compression, pan and volume, plus a bit of reverb, and sometimes something else on specific tracks. I learned alot just by watching him. He really separated the instruments, putting everything in its own space and still blending it all together well. He EQ’d the bass, piano and kick drum so everything in the bottom end is clear, distinct and strong. He also has a ton of professional grade effects, and knows them well. He did a setup for the vocals (not sure what FX exactly) to make the sound really good. In the end there are a ton of effects on the song, but it doesn’t sound effects-heavy.

The song is maybe 90 percent there, just a couple tweaks to go. I’ve listened to it on my iPod and it’s definitely better than my mix even on those cheap headphones. I can hardly wait to listen on my good stereo. We just got our new dishwasher Saturday and our new fridge today, so now the kitchen/dining/living area is free of the dreadful grinding sounds of dying appliances (really it did not sound at all good) and the way is clear.