Fast Cars and Rock’n’Roll

Sounds like an exciting title for a post, eh? But no, this might be the most tedious one yet. The springtime random task agenda continues. I got some repairs done on my Mustang last week. I’m hoping to get around to getting the body restored this spring, but first I had to deal with a weird and rather nasty problem. The first time I took it out this season there was a little drippage coming from under the dashboard on the passenger side. Last time I took is out it turned into a pretty good leak, and it was radiator fluid, all over the floor mat! The leak was in the heat exchanger. My mechanic told me he’d have to take apart the whole dashboard to fix it, which was a really major job. But since I don’t drive the car in the winter I don’t run the heater. So we decided a much easier fix was to reroute the radiator hose to bypass the heat exchanger. Problem solved, fast and (relatively) cheap. He also recommended a body shop, so now I have two places to go for an estimate.

Meanwhile, I’m thinking about upgrading some of my furniture to replace the hand-me-down stuff I’ve had since college. A new sofabed downstairs for next time we have houseguests, maybe some end tables, that kind of thing. After all, they say living well is the best revenge, although I’m not sure who my vanquished nemesis is, which is probably not good. Somehow this led to the realization that our house is full again, to the point were we can’t even put things away, so before we can do anything we need to get rid of a few loads of accumulated stuff.

I sifted the thru the game closet and found some minor long-lost treasures: a bunch of wind-up balsa wood airplane kits. Michelle and I had fun putting them together and trying to get them to fly. Next I got rid of a shelf’s worth of old programming books. It’s amazing how books, CD’s, and even videos have become basically obsolete these days, because they’ve become virtualized. At least for some kinds like reference and pulp fiction; I’m sure glad I never got Game of Thrones as printouts. Instant future trash.

But for other kinds it’s still very much worth having the book. The three main categories for me are sheet music, origami books, and comic books, but I suppose it goes for any book where the layout and graphics are more important than the text itself and a bigger page works better than a tiny screen. I also sorted thru my pile of old Origami USA Convention Annual Collections. These are spiral bound and easy to take apart. I got rid of more than half the pages but also came across a lot of great stuff, some of which I want to fold, and some of which gives me new ideas for a subject or an approach.

As far as the CD collection goes, that was what motivated this whole thing in the first place. Most of the music I buy these days still is on CD. You can get pretty much album for $5 or so. But my shelf space is finite, and for the last year or more they’ve been piling up on the stereo, in my studio, and on the dining room table. Somewhere along the line I got in the habit or ripping CD’s and playing the mp3’s rather then playing them directly thru the stereo, so over time a good number of them have become ripped. So I finally sorted thru all the CD’s and put my favorites on the shelf, and put the rest in a box, which I put in the closet, completing the circle of clutter.

Maybe or maybe not an interesting data point, these are the bands for whom I have ten or more records: The Beatles, John Coltrane, Billy Joel (these are Jeannie’s), King Crimson, Led Zeppelin (they only ever had nine albums back in the day, but have since put out a few more), Steely Dan (they only had seven), Rush, and Neil Young. I guess you could say that these are my favorite bands who were also prolific and enduring.

Along the way found quite a few records I haven’t listened too in a while and ripped them for my commute. Now I’m enjoying rediscovering a lot of favorite music. I’m listening alphabetically and I’m up to Jeff Beck. Such great stuff I might just stay with it a while, but next up is Walter Becker.

Back to posting stuff about origami and/or making music soon, I promise.

Lizzy Confirmation

Lots of good stuff going on these days. The weather continues to be nice, even if it’s a bit on the cool side. The yard is coming along. Everything is growing now, and it looks like I’ll have to mow this weekend. I’ve been going rollerblading every second day or so, weather permitting. Work is good these days. The VP of the platform group singled out my project for praise at a meeting last week. Sure is better than layoffs, political battles or insane deadlines.

Martin and Kathleen had their baby, a girl they named Abbie. Congratulations and looking forward to meeting my newest niece.

Last weekend was a big one for Lizzy too. She’s a teenager now, suddenly wearing contacts and standing six feet tall in high heels, towering over everyone except me. Wow. Saturday was her Honor Band concert, with kids from all over the lower Hudson valley. She played flute and piccolo. The kids sounded really good this year, and had a great selection of songs. Sunday was her Confirmation.

My parents came into town for the weekend, which was really nice. We got to spend alot of good time together talking and catching up. For the ceremony Jeannie’s folks and Mary’s all came up too. Afterwards we had dinner at a great local Italian restaurant and a party back here. Late in the evening my Dad started telling stories about growing up in Hungary and his experiences surviving the war and its aftermath. I’ve been hearing these stories my whole life, but I still find them endlessly fascinating. Every time there are new things I’ve never heard about before.

Joy Spring

I took a few days off while the kids were on spring break from school. Got a bunch of stuff done and slept in alot. Played piano every day. Naima in particular is coming along nicely. I worked on some new origami designs and diagrams. New models include some spaceship ideas and some polyhedra tessellation ideas. After all, why just tile a plane? I’ll post some pictures when I have some results. On the diagramming front I’m now midway thru my Rocketship and Zeppelin, and have started in on my Quadrose tessellation.

I did some painting around the house in the stairway, living room, kitchen and hall, and rearranged some of our art. Did a good chunk of yardwork too, and even got our on my skates for the fist time this season. I took the kids to Medieval Times for a fun family outing one night. That turned out to be a great time. Real horse stunts and staged jousting and melee combat. It was pretty cold the whole week, though. Down in the 30’s every morning. The one thing I wanted to do but didn’t get the chance was to take the Mustang around to get estimates on restoring the paintjob. I did take it out for a drive at least.

I also finished up my recording project for Lou for the time being. I have rough mixes for his songs and the next step is to have him come in and lay down the vocals. So I went back to working on my own songs, which I put aside last fall to concentrate on finishing my book. I finally worked out the middle section and ending to Black Swan, and laid down a new bass part. I also found a gem from Martin in my pile of demos. It’s called Is It Safe to Go Outside? and features a really cool loping bassline that fits neatly with an angular, intervallic melody. The song is about the feeling you get at the end of winter, hoping the first real day of spring has finally arrived.