Just Like Heaven

I’ve been putting in a ton of effort recently for the Global Jukebox, for an upcoming push to live and a designing and spec’ing a subsequent new feature set for education that we’re planning to deliver this summer. I’ve also finally had the time circle back and properly learn the keyboard parts for a bunch of tunes that we’ve recently added to the rock band set list, and practicing vocals too.

But the main event for this post is that I just got back from Origami Heaven in Stonybrook Long Island. This is a regional origami convention that his been more fun and interesting for me every year. Unfortunately, it sounds like this will be the last year because it’s alot of work for the organizers. Thank you Shri and Rachel for putting on a great convention all this time.

I spent most of my time hanging out with Ryan Charpentier and Paul Frasco. Plus there was a group of people from L.A. and Pennsylvania who turned out to be interesting and alot of fun and coming from the ComiCon scene.

I taught two classes. One was my blimp. This time I took a two-hour session and it worked out well. The class was smallish and there were a few non-expert level folders, but I was able to give everyone enough instruction that they all ended up folding a nice model. The other model was my Platypus, which also went over well.

Saturday night a few of us were hanging out at the hotel bar, and the chef who was preparing the dinner came out and asked us to fold a couple models for him. One was a dinner plate, for which I came up with a new, nice design.

A few of us stayed up talking and folding well into the night. I created another new model, a Catamaran, inspired by our recent sailing adventures in the Caribbean.

An aside — by coincidence, the night before Jeannie and I and Jay from my jazz group wen to see T. S. Monk at a place called the Jazz Forum in Tarrytown. They’ve been open about a year and I’ve heard it’s a great place. Jay does a better job than I do of keeping up with what music acts are coming to town, so he often invites me to shows. The T. S. Monk band was great, and featured a lineup of three horns, a tenor and alto sax, and a trumpet, plus a rhythm section, and they brought out a vocalist who could scat like Ella. T. S. himself plays the drums, and they did alot of tunes by his father famed piano genius Thelonious Monk. The piano player in the band had a very unMonklike style, smooth and lyrical rather than angular and percussive. It fit the music very well.

Anyway on the way out of the venue we ran into my friend Bob who was waiting to get in for the late show. It turns out Bob, who is big into sailing, had just got back from a trip to the Caribbean too. He was sailing for two weeks on a 40′ Catamaran that he hired with several other couples. He described it as “an RV with sails”.

So I had sailing on my mind, and was vaguely toying with the idea of making an Origami Sun and Sea book to follow up my Origami Air and Space book. I’m very happy with the way this came out. I can be folded in less than ten minutes and works with all kinds of paper.

Michelle joined us Sunday morning and at lunchtime we walked around the Stonybrook campus, to the weird torus mandala sculpture. She had a robot competition Saturday, and her team qualified for the nation finals. They would need some kind of (probably corporate) sponsorship to get there, to pay for transportation and lodging. I think I’ll ask my boss if the company is interested.

Meanwhile the ComiCon people asked me if I was interested in design an origami model for the Funco Pop figures. I guess one of them works there. That might be interesting…

Island Time

Happy that we’re now into the second half of winter. Lots going on.

First off, Jeannie and I enjoyed a long-weekend getaway to the Bahamas last week. We stayed at a little resort right on Cable Beach in Nassau, right next to where they filmed the movie Help!. This the the third time we’ve been down there, and all three times it’s been when Jeannie’s birthday falls on a Monday. Interesting to see how the place changes over the years. The big new thing this time was a giant resort popped up right down the beach. Last time it was under construction; now it’s fully operational. Luckily our cozy, sleepy stretch of beachfront remains undisturbed.

The trip was lovely, a perfect and total break from everything to shake off the winter blues and relax in the sunshine, gain back some health and enjoy the food, drink, music, pool and hot tub, and the beach and the sea. The weather couldn’t have been better. The food was yummy and interesting, with everything having a local flavor. A good example was the jerked chicken sushi roll. Also lots of fish. And unlimited open bar the whole time, with lots of frozen rum concoctions and local beer.

We went out sailing, which was super fun. The resort lets you take out a small Hobie Cat and breeze around the bay. I haven’t operated a sailboat in years, probably since the last time we were at the resort. But I got the hang of it again soon enough, and it was fun and relaxing.

We also went on a boating expedition with diving and snorkeling. Got a drive-by of a handful of local islands and saw some dolphins. Then we swam around a reef and saw some coral and colorful tropical fishes. The colors were predominantly yellow, blue and purple, very different than an above-water palette. Very cool. The last stop was another reef on the edge of the bay, beyond which was deep water. For some reason sea turtles like to come up out of the deep and hang out at this spot, so we had close encounters with several of them. Super awesome!

The night before we left my jazz group Haven Street played a gig at a place called Silvana in Harlem. This was my first gig in Manhattan since the 90’s. Things haven’t changed, there’s still five bands on the bill and you only get to play for an hour. That said, it was a cool venue and the people dug the music. We played one condensed set of our best stuff, which we know inside and out. We have no jazz gigs lined up in the next few weeks, so I think we’ll be focusing on new material. I have a couple new songs to bring in.

We’ve also played another rock gig one we got back home, this one back at Victor’s. Pete is now getting more comfortable on drums, and we introduced three new songs. I like the fact that we add several new songs every gig. Continuing to get tighter and tighter, too, refining the arrangements.

Still more news to come, must save for another post.