Site Update: 2011 Pics Part III

Finally a day to relax. Cold and rainy outside, but a good day to sleep in and catch up on some stuff. Jeannie and the girls were out a scouting event so I had the day to relax. I worked out and had a good long piano practice, and got to work on the some of the new songs I’m writing. Another thing I did was finish off my photo galleries from 2011. These are from our trip to D.C. and Delmarva at the end of last summer, and then thru the fall to the end of the year. One thing I noticed was missing was any pictures from the Cabaret show last November. Ah well, there’s video. Maybe we’ll post some of that sometime.

Site Update: 2011 Pics Part II

Here’s something to help kick those blues away and get you thinking about summer again. I published three new photo galleries from last July and August. The first two are from our trip to upstate New York and Ontario, with stops in Fort Niagara, Niagara Falls, Toronto, the Thousand Islands, and the Adirondack Mountains. The third includes pix from some camping trips as well as before-and-after pix from the hurricane that blew thru here. As always, the galleries are meant for family so if you need a password let me know.

Goings On

Lotta stuff going on with the kids lately. Friday nite Lizzy and some of her friends from school went to see The Hunger Games, along with Jeannie and some of the other moms. We’d all read the books and Lizzy in particular was very excited about it. I’m supposed to go see it with people from work this week, so meanwhile, they’re trying hard not to tell me too much.

Saturday nite was a father-daughter dance at Lizzy’s school. It was very nice. Mainly the kids danced while the fathers stood around and watched, but it was fun and I got to know Lizzy’s friends and some more parents from the school a bit better. Sunday was the Lower Hudson Honor Band concert, in which Lizzy performed. The concert was excellent and Lizzy did and excellent job. She had a few friends in it from school, and we all ended up going out for lunch after the show.

Still lots going on with my origami and music, but it’s work in progress, so nothing to say until it’s somewhere. Soon. Also I’ve been under the weather lately. Our summer preview has come and gone and now it’s back to cold and stormy.

Spring Up!

They changed the clocks and it’s back to getting up in the morning before its light. On the upside it’s light out now when we get home from work. Anyway, the days are getting longer fast this time of year. Last weekend we went ice skating, thinking that we’re almost out of winter so we better do it while we have the chance. And shaw’nuff spring has come on all at once right after that. Only two days later the weather was up in the 60’s and I went rollerblading for the first time of the season. The next day the first buds appeared on pretty much all the trees and shrubs around here. There were a few cold, rainy days, but the weekend was beautiful. We did the first round of spring yardwork, mainly raking out the winter debris and old leaves, and taking down the last of the xmas lights. Plus I went rollerblading a second time. Today it was up into the 70’s and I went staking for a third time. I’ve also gotten the Mustang out for a drive a couple times already in the last few weeks.

Site Update: Pics 2011 Part 1

My week off came and went and I got a bunch of stuff done, but not as much as I’d have liked. I did work on music and origami, and on reorganizing my studio. Finished my Walrus diagrams, started diagrams for my Elephant Seal, started recording a new song “Black Swan (Singularity)”, a heavy, sort of Steely-Crimso thing I wrote on the bass. Plus it was also a good week for hanging out and catching up with family and friends. We spent a day out on Long Island and another with Martin, and went on a fun, if brief, ski trip.

This week it was back to work, and a busy week at that. In addition I spent two evening is a row hanging in the city after work. The first was the Van Halen concert and the second was a surprise visit from my friend Larry. He’s a music teacher and was in town taking a group of kids to sing at Carnegie Hall, and we had time to meet up for some sushi. Larry had a brand new iPod with Siri, and I was very impressed when he asked it “Where is a sushi place around here?” and it returned a map with a bunch of locations. It’s like he beamed in from the future or something.

Anyway one of the things I started last week was updating my Fotoz site with galleries from the last year. I like to do this every winter, if not before, and winter’s almost over. Along with that I reorganized the gallery structure, a long-needed behind-the-scenes upgrade to my site. So here are some pics, taking us thru the end of June. As always, the galleries are meant for family and friends, and password protected. If you need a password let me know.

Van Halen Erupts

Last night I saw Van Halen at Madison Square Garden, and they were great. Played 20 or 30 Van Halen songs. All their radio hits, a bunch of deep tracks and a bunch of songs off their new record.

Performance-wise they were better than when I saw them in the ’80’s. That time they all looked totally wasted and tired, worn out from the road. This time they were sober and energetic. Plus they had David Lee Roth back in the band!

Eddie and Alex were both in top form, better than ever. Maybe even perfect. After all this time I’m amazed all over again at what an amazing guitarist Eddie is. (On my personal list he’s probably the best guitarist ever in the world, or maybe tied with Jimmy Page). He’s such an icon it’s almost easy to take his genius for granted, but to see him play live really reminds you. Just fantastic. He can sound like the whole album with just one guitar. Great use of space, voicings, and contrast in all his playing. Lots of subtle musicianship in there. And then of course all the over-the-top riffs, speed and seemingly effortless virtuosity. All the solos were spot on, and he put in little improvised embellishments all over the place. Yet somehow it all always supports the song. During his extended solo he did a one-handed tap thing while rocking the volume knob with the other. Great effect and I’ve never seen anyone do that before.

Alex is one of the most awesome and underrated drummers out there. Great sound, great time, great chops, great parts for the songs. He had an extended solo too, and the intro to Hot for Teacher alone was worth it.

David Lee Roth was good but not quite living up to the studio recordings (admittedly a near impossible task). He still has the range but is not screaming high notes all the time, and on some songs he was still finding his way towards perfecting a new delivery. I think this was the 2nd show of the tour. I’d like to see them after a month. He’s still got dancing and karate kicks, although maybe a bit less jumping. He seemed a bit stiff the first part of the show, and he was using a headset mic for some reason. (Jeannie says to me “doesn’t he know Madonna uses on of those because she lip syncs?”) Later on he switched to a handheld mic and the sound was better and he appeared more relaxed. Maybe he had trouble hearing himself. Who knows. Anyway there were definitely some great moments, especially in the second half, and often as not he really nailed it. In any event, he’s Diamond Dave!

Wolfgang held his own just fine, and his presence lent a Hot Tub Time Machine vibe to the whole show. He and Eddie hit most of the vocal harmonies spot on, but Wolfie was off once or twice.

The sound in the hall was great, and the mix was clean and clear. Eddie had ten Marshall stacks behind him, but I think most were props. Three had mics in front of them, and a couple of times he got up there and worked the feedback. Wolfgang had 8 bass cabinets but only 2 were mic’d. The only mics I could see on Alex’s kit were two overheads. If there were close mics they must’ve been underneath, or built into the drums. I’d love to know. The bass drums had closed front heads.

Opening act was Kool and the Gang, which was a pleasant surprise. Looks like they have all the original members. They sounded tight, with a big ol’ horn section, lots of solos, and all their funk-soul hits. They made a nice contrast to VH. I’ve met the trumpet player Michael Ray because back in the 90’s he led a Sun Ra influenced jazz band called the Kosmic Krew that included my friend Adam on keyboards. I’ve even been to his house in New Orleans. He had a most excellent Voodoo shrine. Very nice guy.