Air and Space Origami

At long last, my new origami book Air and Space Origami has been printed and as making its way to bookstore shelves across America and worldwide. The collection includes 14 original models of generally intermediate level, designed for broad appeal. This is a kit book that includes custom printed paper to go with the models, and even stickers for extra fun!

Look for an update to my web site soon with a new page in my origami publication sections. Meanwhile you can learn more from the publisher’s web site, and order it online.

Everybody Must Get Stoned

I finished off a longstanding project last weekend. The row of stones on the edge of my driveway had become unseated, pushed and tumbled over by the action of a nearby former tree, plus my wife and/or daughter driving over them. So I had to dig out on dirt to get at the stones, pull them out, level them up, seat them in new concrete, then re-fell and grade the topsoil and put down new grass seed.

I had actually planned on doing this last year, but was limited by injury, so the task was hanging out there for a long time. At the beginning of the summer I bought supplies and got ready, but then it turned 95 degrees for a solid three months. Finally in September it was cool enough to work outside. It ended up taking three sessions. The first one was to dig out, after which I had to stop cuz it started to rain. Then second I mixed the concrete and set the stones, and third I put back the dirt and put down new grass seed. All in all it took longer than expected cuz along the way I pulled alot of weeds out of the topsoil, and I ended up re-grading the yard so I had some leftover dirt to fill in some low spots.

Since I’ve finished we’ve had moderate temperatures and alot of rain the last few days, so I’d expect the new grass will come in nicely.

While I’m here I’ll mention we went for another great hike last weekend, this time around the Palisades in new Jersey just on the the other side of the George Washington Bridge. I had been there once before when I lived in Brooklyn. My friend Mark and I biked all the way from Park Slope. It was a long and epic ride, especially pulling back up the escarpment. This was only a few weeks before 9/11 and I got the last picture I ever took of the World Trade Center from the bridge.

This trip Jeannie and I parked at the top of the Palisades and hiked down, then walked along the shore for a while. There were some parks there that I don’t remember from before. Then it was up again further north and back to the beginning along the summit. Very nice.

G! Force Live

Here’s announcing my new rock band G! Force will be playing our debut gig Saturday September 29 and Victor’s in Hawthorne NY, starting at 9:00. Wow that’s only two weeks away!

We do a combination of rock, pop and dance music. Unlike my last band we’re doing alot of newer stuff, from the 90’s and the 21st century as well as from the 80’s and earlier. It’s a really good group, versatile and solid, and things came together pretty quickly. The lineup is Gina Gee on lead vocals, Walter O on guitar, the inimitable Ken on bass, and Andy on drums, with yours truly on vocals, piano and sax. I’ve never been in a group with a female lead singer before, and it opens up a whole new set of material we can do. I’m singing lead on about 14 out of 40 songs, plus there are few more that are essentially duets, which are probably the most fun.

Hope to see you at the show!

Also here’s a link to our facebook page:

It has few videos from a recent rehearsal, and a really sharp-looking logo. I’ll be making a proper web page for the group as soon as I get around to it.

We have more shows coming up, so look to this space for future announcement. So does my jazz group Haven Street. Between the two have six shows confirmed between now and the end of the year!

The Black Pearl

Well summer is ending and fall is coming. The kids are all back to school, and today for the first time the weather dropped down into the 60s after being pretty much solidly in the 90’s for the last three months. We ended the summer with a trip to Ocean City. We used to do this every year but haven’t been in a few years, so it was nice to go back. It’s not the same now that the kids are older. Lizzy wasn’t there at all, and the amusement park and water park isn’t really a thing anymore. Still we had a good time, swam in the ocean, walked down the boardwalk, had a couple nice dinners and hiked around Assateague National Seashore.

One bit of business left from the summer we finished up this weekend was the D&D adventure. The module is the classic The Isle of Dread, adapted to 5th edition rules. If you recall we started it on the cruise back in July. By the end of the cruise the party had reached the entrance to the dungeon on an island in a lake in a volcanic crater on a mountaintop in a jungle on an island in the far reaches of the tropical ocean. It was the setting for the final climatic chapter. We played on session in August in which the part cleared out the cannibals living in the upper level of the ancient temple and found some treasure and secret door leading to the hidden chambers underneath. It was here that the final session began.

The macguffin for the entire quest was a giant black pearl. The lower level of the dungeon was filled shoulder-deep with water, so the players knew they were getting close. They happened upon a giant flooded chamber in the temple inhabited by sharks, but were forced to turn back. A little while later they opened a secret door which drained the water from most of the corridors. They were able to return to the shark room and now stand at the top of a stairway in water up to their knees or so. The sharks attacked but the players could fight back. Meanwhile on the other side of the room the party spotted a giant oyster, which must surely hold the pearl.

Abby, a halfling rogue, attempted to scale the walls to reach the terrace with the oyster, but unfortunately failed her dexterity check and splashed into the pool. Meanwhile the sharks turned out to be tough opponents, and even standing on stairs the party was fighting at a disadvantage. They threw everything they had at the sharks: hammers, axes, maces and magic, slings and arrows. Interestingly the two front-line combatants for this melee were Lou, playing Carmine the Invincible, a dwarven fighter whose main weapon is an axe, and Michelle, playing a cleric acolyte of Thor, who usually wields a hammer but for this encounter was trying out a newfound +2 mace. No swords. Michelle has studied the rulebooks and figured out how to maximize her spells and special combat abilities, and is already pretty formidable at second level.

It took a few rounds but Michelle had killed one shark and Lou had reduced the other to a single hit point. Meanwhile Abby had swum to the giant oyster and attempted to snatch the pearl but ended up getting trapped inside the oyster and was presently trying to stab her way out with a pair of daggers. That same round, as luck would have it, both Lou and Michelle rolled a 1 on their attack, and so had to make a dexterity check or fall off the stairs into the depths of the pool. Both failed their check fell in, and both were wearing metal armor, so they couldn’t swim except at a great handicap. Lou was then attacked by the shark and reduced to zero hit points. Katie and Valerie dove into the water to attempt to rescue their drowning companions.

This left Philip, the party’s wizard, as the sole front-line warrior. He had used up all is spells and his daggers were lying in the bottom of the pool. His only remaining weapon was a triangle. Now normally a triangle is really a musical instrument, but I figured the situation was desperate and anyway it’s made of metal, so I’d allow him to attack with it for 1-2 points of damage. So Philip dives in and clocks the shark right between the eyes, finally killing the monster! Soon after Abby succeeds in escaping the oyster with the pearl. Wow, what a great combat.

I had thought about all kinds of nastiness or twists of fate the could befall the party on the home voyage, some event to launch then into the next adventure, but I sensed everyone was eager to see the story come to its resolution. So I was nice and they returned without further incident to the very harbor town seaside pub in which the quest began, again sitting face to face with the aged and grizzled pirate Rory Barbarosa. He kept his word and paid them handsomely for the pearl, and let them keep the rest of the treasure and magic items they gained.

Now Michelle wants to DM, and wants to create her own module, so we’ll see how that goes. She’s got to do a bunch of reading and design if she wants to go that way. I’ll probably end up helping her. Hopefully we’ll be ready to play sometime this fall. I’ll need a character to play. I’m thinking of using Barbara Barbarosa, a.k.a. Babs. She was an NPC in the campaign, Rory’s daughter and the captain of the ship the party sailed to Isle of Dread, recently converted by Michelle to the cult of Thor.