Monthly Archives: September 2004

Trees across cornfield

fall colors

This recently harvested cornfield is right across the road from our house and the set of swamp maples are on the other side of it and beyond them is a grove of oaks which have not started to change yet. I took two pictures, one in sun and this one in partial cloud.

The vertical bands are:

hardwood
swamp maples
grass
cornhusks in dirt

Deer on field

deer on field

I was driving to my friend Evelyn’s house for drumming practice yesterday afternoon and I had my camera with me (I carry it daily for fall color shots) and I was hoping the herd of deer would be out and they were. I have noticed as many as 30 in this herd but yesterday there were about 10. Still, once I stopped the truck to take a picture they got very interested. I took a few more shots and they ran away, leaping across the road in front of me.

Durability Test on AlphaSmart

Richard sawing AlphaSmart in halfIt’s firewood time (a bit late for me this year) and while the chain saw is fired up I figured I’d do a durability test on an old AlphaSmart 2000. Well, I dropped it onto the ground and it survived but after cutting it in half I can report that each half did not work. I mean, what a great idea for making a “regular” keyboard more ergonomic. Just kidding, I did not cut it in half but I know that if Ketan Kothari (CEO of AlphaSmart, Inc.) were here he’d have made me cut it in half, just because it seems like the right thing to do.

Victor Wooten

Victor WootenI recently bought the DVD of the Drummers Collective 25th Anniversary and Bass Day 2002 and one of the segments on it is the single most amazing musical performance I’ve ever seen.

Victor Wooten is one of the best electric bass players on earth but hey, what do I know, I’d never heard of him although I do know about Bela Fleck and the Flecktones which he is part of.

Steve Smith is considered one of the best drummers on earth and during his “set” on this DVD he brought Wooten out and they improvised. That segment is so amazing, so musical, so beautifully collaborative and illustrates so well what is great about making music with other people I watched it numerous times last night. Wooten’s expressions while he plays are priceless.

Victor Wooten and Steve Smith

This is not an inexpensive DVD and there is great stuff on it from Steve Gadd and many others but right now, for me, this one segment which is only 7 minutes long is worth the entire DVD. Amazing.

Tips on Templates and CSS

MediaTinker has a post that I’m finding quite useful, even though it refers mostly to movabletype (MT). She illustrates various concepts quite nicely and the CSS is generalizable to WordPress. I think it’s fascinating that I found her through Antipixel and that both of them are designers in Tokyo, Japan, and neither is Japanese. What a world. Check out her QuickTime video on learning Japanese and her other stuff. She’s quite interesting.

Mark Stewart

Mark StewartI know, I’m very late at getting into stuff but now that I play drums and regularly attempt to make music I have a new appreciation for professional performers. I’ve watched the Paul Simon You’re the One Paris Concert numerous times and this particular band is tight and the new arrangements of old standards are excellent. The lead guitarist is Mark Stewart who I’d not heard of before but who not only completely gets Paul Simon’s music and sound but is a spectacular musician in his own right.

I did a bit of searching and came up with Polygraph Lounge which is an act he does in New York from time to time. I also came up with a “casual” that Alec Wilkinson did for the New Yorker last year: An Instrumental Man.

I’m going to try to see Mark live in New York if I can. I have a feeling he’s good in anything he does.

Polygraph Lounge returns to Joe’s Pub in NYC on Sunday Oct. 17th at 7pm. I think I’m gonna try to make this show if I can get tickets. Yes!

A Brief History of the 9/11 Commission

Bush – There’s no need for a 9/11 commission.

Bush – Okay, we’ll have a commission, but Henry Kissinger will head it!

Bush – Okay, Hank’s out but it’s not getting full funding.

Bush – Okay, full funding but they’ve only got it til May!

Bush – Okay, two more months but Condi ain’t testifying.

Bush – Okay, Condi’ll testify but only if nobody else at the White House has to.

Bush – Okay, I will but only for an hour.

Bush – Okay, more than an hour but only if I’m with Dick.

Bush – …and not under oath.

Bush – …and not being recorded.

Richard Tee

Richard TeeI have a number of Paul Simon concerts in movie form, among them: The Concert in Central Park on videotape and Paul Simon Live at the Tower Theater (Philly) on DVD. Richard Tee played keyboards in both of these concerts and undoubtedly at many others that Simon gave.

In browsing around the “extras” that are on the Tower Theater concert, mostly to find out more about Richard Tee, I came to find that he’s been dead for 10 years (prostate cancer).

His playing, his smile, his body movement, his singing, are all so musical, so contagious, that I’m just sorry I didn’t notice him sooner. I really knew little about music performance – even though I went to and enjoyed many concerts growing up – until I started playing drums. Now I get it and I get what a genius this guy was. He was classically trained, he had depth beyond belief and he is a joy to watch on these videos.

In the link to the bio on him and his music above you’ll note that Steve Gadd, Paul Simon’s long-time lead drum set drummer and one of the best drummers on earth says that playing with Richard was one of the greatest musical experiences of his life. I’ve just seen Richard on two videos and I can appreciate what Gadd is talking about; this guy was a treasure and if his personality was anything like his smile, he was an amazing guy.

Santa Monica Sunset

sunset on the pacific from Santa Monika

I was out in LA recently and after dinner we went down to the walk along the cliff top overlooking the ocean. I’d forgotten how nice the sunsets can be there (this picture is looking north toward Malibu and Ventura). However, even with the nice warm dry weather and sunsets like this, I still think the only cultural advantage of LA over New York (or most places) is that you can turn right on a red light. Hey, I grew up there, I’m entitled not to like it.

Early Fall Color

maple leafWe have a number of swamp maples on our property and they’re the first of the maple to turn and eventually lose their leaves. The gray birches are turning as well but they’re just a pale yellow, not quite as nice as the red in maples.

maple leaf closeupI wish I had a better way to do closeups but until then, this will have to do. Sorry, it’s not great but someday I’ll do better. I do like the color and vein system in this leaf and one can easily imagine that this would look a lot better with some better focus.

Swollen Stream

rapids in stream

The stream behind our house turned into a torrent overnight as we’ve just had a lot of rain in the past 12 hours. I love it when this happens as it washes all the debris out of the streambed that’s been building up all summer and it fills our pond up nicely. Plus, the roar of this waster is audible all over our house and since it’s not winter yet we have windows open so we can hear it from every room. Feels like we’re living next to a river with a rapids, which, a few weeks out of each year we are.

Virtual Window Project

The Virtual Window Project is a step by step set of plans for building the digital electronics back-end to a set of two windows that can display any image or scene you have on your computer, as well as the window framing to hold the LCD panels that display the images. Wow, this is a fascinating project and if we didn’t have a darn good scene out our living room window already… I still wouldn’t build it; over my pea-brained head. But cool.