My Back Pages

Here’s a couple more new origami to round out the back half of my book. They’re my Space Shuttle and Flying Wing. The Shuttle came out very nicely, with the color change on the nose and the 3-D shape and proportions. The Flying Wing, like the Rocket Plane was inspired by some of the experimental aircraft I saw out in Ohio this summer. That brings me up to 11 completed models with about five more to go, and I have over that number as works-in-progress.

Back in the Saddle Again

For the last few weeks Left Hook has been rehearsing with Gus on electronic drums while his arm heals. And while individually the drum sounds sound, well, electronic, when he’s playing and the band is goovin’ it sounds just fine. This last week Gus went back to playing a real kit, and man it just sounds so much better. All the time we spent during the hiatus working on parts and dynamics seems to have really paid off.

Meanwhile I’ve been trying to book us more gigs. I’ve visited a half dozen or so local bars and dropped off a CD and got the name of the guy who books bands. Unfortunately these guys tend to be hard to get a hold of, so I’m running down the list calling ‘em back every few days. So far no luck, I figure sooner or later one has to pan out.

Also been getting back to the studio in recent weeks. I have two current work-in-progress originals, Soul on Fire and To Be a Rock. I spent the last couple sessions cleaning up the rhythm section and editing up the vocals to make a complete basic track. Fro SoF I was happy to hear the vocal performance I laid down back in the spring was really killer. For TBaR not so much, so I laid down a new lead vocal over the weekend. This song has some vocal harmonies, layers and counterpoint, with a big build toward the end. I don’t know if I have everything I need for that, cuz toward the end I just sketched in the parts, but I might.

One More Time

And so the endless summer slacking comes to a close. We ended with a nice trip to the Maryland beaches. Nature hikes, water parks, swimming in the ocean, a couple fancy dinners, very nice. Jeannie and I are discovering we all have more fun if we let the kids go off on their own. The traffic was terrible both ways, but we had some good tunes. Jeannie bought some old CDs by the Canadian power trio Triumph, which I hadn’t heard in years, but still stand up quite well.

The kids are finally back to school tomorrow. Google wants to set up another phone meeting, presumably to either tell my goodbye or bring me in for round three. If it goes well I’d like to get back into doing R&D. My hope dark-horse hope is to become their in-house expert on computational origami. Trying to figure out how to pitch that they need one of those.

Endless Space

On same day as the Google interview I had a meeting with my publisher about the new origami book. Long story short, the new concept is a go. A kit book aimed at low to intermediate folders rather than intermediate to advanced. We’re also looking at adding custom paper for the models. I figure this is cool as long as the models work on their own and the paper is just an enhancement, as with John Montroll’s new DC Comics superheroes book.

So I’ve been continuing to make new designs. I’ve perfected two more in the last two days. One I’m calling the Space Pod. It’s based on the frog base and is only twelve steps or so. The other is the Space Probe. It’s a simplification of my Radio Satellite, down from 60 or more steps to maybe 20 or 25. It’s funny cuz it follows the same general pattern, with solar panels and a radar dish and a boom antenna, but with an 8×8 grid instead of 16×16 so the proportions are different, and instead of developing the radar dish from the center, which requires pulling out alot of layers, I use a corner, which in the old version I didn’t know what to do with anyway. This brings me up to ten models, with six more to go from a list of 10 or so ideas I have right now. Hopefully another tomorrow!

Endless Summer Slacking

I just got back from a fun and relaxing camping trip. Perfect weather, lots of jamming on guitars, canoeing, swimming in the lake, cooking of fire, just great. Back home again now, doing all kinds of stuff. Since Labor Day is late this year it feels like we get an extra week of summer. Still one more week until the kids go back to school.

Some happy news! Gus back playing the drums again and the Left Hook is back in full swing. We’ve had a couple rehearsals at my house now, with him on his electronic kit. Good to have the group jamming once more. Going back to the studio and real drums next week. In our hiatus the rest of band spent our time working on arrangements and vocal harmonies, so the level of playing is increasing. We also added five or six new songs to the set. We’re actively working on bookings gigs now. We have a bunch of irons in the fire, and one confirmed date – our triumphant return to the Fisherman’s Net in October. More on that as the time grows near.

I’ve integrated the bench press into my workout. This enabled me to drop some other exercises so the total length of the workout remains the same. I’ve been going up in weight rather conservatively, but I’m up to 200 pounds now, in two sets of eight reps each. I can feel it more in my elbows and my ribs than anywhere else. I’m also up to 8 pullups.

Meanwhile, a couple weeks ago I got a call from Google, trying to recruit me as a software engineer. I passed level one with the recruiter, and it was onto level two, a tech interview over the phone. They sent me a packet with stuff to prepare. Man that company has alot of attitude, alot of hubris, but not very, um, mature. Seem to take it for granted you’ll be absolutely gobsmacked knocked out that they want to talk to you. Selling points include “we have an ice cream truck on the 8th floor of our office!” Then on the topic of how to dress they say “dress however you feel comfortable, but remember hygiene is important.”

They had some advice on what you’d need to know, so I spent a week studying up on all kinds of stuff I haven’t really used much since college: directed and undirected graphs, binary search trees, heaps and stacks and hashes, matrix math, sorting algorithms, big-O notation, and a bunch of more general stuff on Java language and systems architecture. Google must be hiring alot right now because twice that week I came across someone’s post for a Google tech interview cheat sheet. I made my own notes, but they’re so dense it wouldn’t make sense to anyone but me. In the process I came across a good approach for representing the state of a piece of folded paper if ever get back to working on Foldinator.

The day before the camping trip the interview came, and they didn’t ask me about any of that stuff. Instead the topic was serialization/deserialization. The format is they ask you to write a program off the top of your head, and as you go they put in more requirements. I did well, solved the problem and had a good discussion and all. But was I knock-your-socks-off awesome enough for Google? I guess we’ll see; they’re supposed to let me know in a week or so if I advance to round three. It sounds like that’s more of the same, but on site and with five back-to-back sessions in a row.