Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Italian Musings

Entries into this blog have been sadly absent this year. As I’ve
written before, it means that I’m busy in life.
Should I make a New Year commitment?

Is that a cliché? Is it destined to fail?

Likely, yes on both accounts. Instead, I’ll try to do some short entries. Perhaps that is better for all – those who might read and myself. I do admit that Facebook as taken a bit of the thunder out of these writings. When it is possible to jot a one or two sentence thought of your immediate feelings, it quells the necessity to ponder the last several days or week and write a tome.

Thus – today’s entry, essentially verbatim from a post to a violin makers forum about a recent trip I took to Italy. I will try to do these short paragraphs more often. Expect more from this recent journey, as well as video.

I'm back from Italy; a fantastic trip in every regard and Cremona was a real joy.

At the museum, seeing the molds, knives, clamps, etc. of Tony himself was quite awing. We also went to the town hall, where my girlfriend was quite struck by the Amati built for King Charles the 9th. We heard Andrea Mosconi (the conservator) play the Strad Ex-Bavarian there. It's on loan to them at the moment. I wish he'd have let me play it, as I would have given it a bit more of a work out. :)
In terms of playing, though time was a bit limited, I had a chance to play several violins in a few different shops. Overall, many of the shops weren't really 'open' to the public, but the luthiers I did manage to talk to were quite friendly. I played a few 'used' violins -- a 1690 C.G. Testore, for example (for the price -- eh).

Of the new violins, I noticed quite a range in quality. What I took away from the trip was the, i guess obvious, "Luthier located in Cremona" is not synonymous with "great". I realized fully that Cremona is to many Luthiers what Los Angeles is to actors. You're going to get a wide range of capability.

However, not to be mistaken -- I did also play some very concert worthy fiddles. I was most impressed by one that was made by Andrea Castellani. To the point where I asked him the price; a surprisingly low 6000 EU. It did get me thinking. In the excitement of playing violin after violin at his shop, I didn't ask him what bow I was using, which I regret. In hindsight, it was the best bow I've ever had my hands on. Hopefully an email to him will have him remembering (and hopefully it wasn't a Tourte or something. I'd really feel like an ass.)

Anyway, a great experience. I suggest everyone do it once in their life, at least.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Time to make a movie

The updates on this blog have been getting spottier than ever. That's obvious. Time is being fragmented by so many things that it becomes difficult to maintain a routine. With this blog, I make attempts to write more than just brief, unimportant updates as to what I'm doing; Facebook or Twitter, etc. are fine for that. One quick aside about that phenomenon -- why is it essentially the same people that are completely paranoid about the government tapping phones and email are also the same people that update their 'twitbook' every ten minutes? For being concerned with privacy issues, we have very happily put it all out there, haven't we? Hey, I'm obviously one of 'them'. Aside complete.

I have started thinking about the next movie. The past few years have been a series of ups and downs in terms of trying to get another feature off the ground. Like so many other people in this town, I have my stories of, "it almost happened but the deal fell apart." Unlike many in this town, that won't do for me. I have always been rather self sufficient and – as that is a strong suit – I shall, necessarily, put that self sufficiency back to work. I have begun to seriously entertain some revamped ideas about 'the next movie'.

And I do have a seriously cool idea buzzing around. The buzzing goes a little bit like this…

  1. It will no be dissimilar from, The Last Broadcast.
  2. It will be absolutely up to date with every aspect of technology and information dissemination as it exists today.
  3. The future audience of it will be involved as it is being produced; they will be a recursive element in the movie.
  4. It will work online as well as on the big screen; in fact, it will actually originate partially online, before actually becoming a story element.
  5. It will be an extreme action movie.

In accordance with the self-recursive premise of the movie, for the moment I am going to try a full-disclosure idea on what is happening.

Now, that I've laid it out there, I have to make it happen. I've dared myself.

You dare me too.



Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Why so slow?

A month old cut and paste news article about a punk rocker that died constitutes a blog?

I check the statistics and see that there are the faithful that return to my writings, or lack thereof - with incredible patience. So why am I so slow in updating, in writing, in musing? Simply, because like much of this country, nay, this world - I am desperately looking for work. I haven't had the time to write and if I had - it would be useless, ponderous tripe. Proof is this entire previous paragraph.

So... what exactly is happening? What news is there to tell?
I am developing a new project. It's a reality show. It's for kids.

Here's a quick sneak peak.

There will be more. For now, I am leaving with that.

Oh, okay... here's some more. This is just me griping and is not of much use...

  1. This blog entry is being written on a Mac. Yes, I, the PC (as in Microsoft XP based) user is writing this entry on a thin aluminum MAC keyboard, looking at an OSX Leopard screen on a 26 inch monitor. My latest system is a screaming fast 3.0ghz quad-core monster that can do either OSX or XP. On this beast, I've been using primarily OSX Leopard. My faithful laptop is an XP Pro machine.
  2. I haven't decided that I prefer OSX. I do see that there is a certain organic user experience -- a "this is not really a computer" feeling, that doesn't exist with XP. Good Bad? Eh.
  3. I have found that I can't find certain software I need -- and that the alternatives are very expensive (and not really better). The OS is a lifestyle -- an expensive one. And therein lies the annoyance I've always had.
  4. While it is a smooth OS, I maintain that most impressive feat of Apple is their branding. They have worked hard and successfully to create the perception that they are the originator and innovator of everything. While there is absolutely something beautiful about the system - the fluidity of Leopard -- I am also continually annoyed by the "Appleness" of things that have no reason, right or rhyme to be considered such. The entire, "we are different, we are unique, we are artsy" attitude of true-blue Apple users is so misplaced as to be frightening.
  5. Here's a news flash: there are things that work and are ergonomically better on the PC than on a Mac. An example: If one wants to see how large a folder of stuff is on a PC, one only needs to hover their mouse over it to bring up a little info bubble. On a Mac you have to right (or control) click and then scroll down to the 'get info' and then click on that to bring up a window that tells you the info. Don't tell me that Apple has Microsoft beaten on everything ergonomic.
  6. Right clicking to create new stuff - like txt docs, etc. OSX - nope. not unless you get an after market product. PC does it out of the box.
  7. In the Finder, if you click on a folder - rather than tell you how much space the files within it are taking, it tell you how much space is remaining on the drive. Come on. What's that about? Once again, one must right click, blah blah...
  8. The spotlight, while wonderfully fast, is kinda sucky if you want it to do something crazy like -- find something. Sure you can launch things from it with no problem but if you want to use it to find where something is located, forget it. Why can't there be a simple right click function to actually tell you or take you to where the found item is? At least you can do that in the Finder.
okay... this blog wasn't supposed to be entirely Mac bashing. The fact of the matter is that I do this because the OS is so beautiful. I am enough of a user now that I can't imagine ever buying a computer again that isn't capable of using both OS's. There are just some things that XP does better.

Well, for anyone still with this -- I do hope to write more and of better quality. I hope your economic situation is faring fairly and that you will return.


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Lux Interior dies at 60

Founder, front man of punk band, The Cramps…

As a Teenager, I had a lot of fun playing covers of some of this band's tunes. The GOO GOO MUCK, as simple and silly a tune as it is, will always bring a smile to my face and memories of parties, guitars, amps, and summertime in high school.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I had the hiccups

Three days ago, I had a few bouts with the hiccups. I used to get them frequently when I was a child, but this was for a different reason. After ruling out a few things, I realized it was the eating of crackers, and drinking of water that was precipitating them. Of course, it wasn't really the fault of the crackers and water. It was the Vicodin that I'd been popping. Dulling physical pain as well as my mind, I guess it also dulled my muscles and their abilities slightly. So what pain was I dulling? Well, on Monday morning, I had a brief surgery. Yup – in and out in about three hours, said surgery added a nice scar about belt level, a shaved stomach and leg -- and hiccups. Lest anyone be overly concerned about my well being, it was surgery for a "lifting of heavy weights" injury – yes, a hernia. Minor, and something from which I will fully recover with no restrictions (eventually), it is currently a nuisance.

So, 'hic', I am now focusing on things that don't require much movement. I am relaxing from exercise until the good doctor says otherwise, and am exploring the wanderings of the mind when popping Vicodin. Actually, I've drastically cut back on the stuff and am using just half (or less) of what is being prescribed. While it's not a bad feeling, I am having a need for full use of my mental faculties. I'll take a bit of discomfort if I can think straight.

Of course, right now, I'm about to go to bed and with my side is hurting a bit….

Maybe half.


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Loyalty in the New Year

These meandering thoughts began with my attempt to fix the sync. No, that's not a typo; this all began when, my internet homepage for quite a few years, stopped synchronizing with MS Outlook. Follow the trail of thoughts and see where it leads.

Basically, I am an extremely loyal person. I am not one to give up or move on from something very quickly. Dogged perseverance has been one trait I've had as long as I've been around. While this is generally considered a positive trait, I also see it as a detriment. For years, I owned a British sports car. While beautiful to look at, mechanically, it was a piece of junk. That perseverance and hope for a better day only led to me being stranded countless times – betrayed, shamed, humbled. Why did I keep with it? Why did I keep working at it? Why did I think it would somehow change?

I have had similar experiences with other machines, as well as Banks, pets, stores -- and people. It's not a trait that is unique; I'm sure this is striking a nerve, right?

So, back to fixing the sync. I tried. I really did. I bet if I were to spend more time with it, I could get it to work. But it shouldn't be that hard. Not in this day and age. So, I'm looking elsewhere. That is the thing I'm going to do differently in the New Year. I won't call it a resolution; the word is too trendy around this time; it's going to be 'a thought process'. I'm simply not going to try as hard with something that is obviously broken. Already, the last few days have involved deleting, removing, and disposing of useless detritus from the past and I'm happy to say, it gets easier with practice.

  1. Yahoo, get it together or good bye. I will switch my homepage to Google entirely – and it DOES sync, with Outlook.
  2. I am writing this on a laptop which runs Windows XP Pro. I've been a Windows user for many years, happy that I didn't have to cow-tow to a company that insisted on providing hardware, software AND a state of mind. However, I now also have a Quad-core top-of-the-line computer sitting just to my left, from which the desktop of Apple's Leopard OS X has just gone to a screensaver that is … frickin' awesome. Like everyone else that experiences OS X, it has been a very nice pleasant shift. Is it better? Eh, I don't know. It's prettier. I certainly haven't been converted to an Apple-Store-Zombie, ready to kiss the ground that Steve Jobs walks. However, it is all working well (and considering that I built the computer, I'm absolutely amazed) So… from here on in I am going to allow for much less patience with software/hardware issues of any sort – on either system. Microsoft – Get it together, or good bye.
  3. I have used as an ISP for years and have a bunch of websites. However, this past year, they let me down once too often. Ipowerweb -- Good bye. I've moved to Bluehost.

You get the idea. Those are all web and computer based geek-issues, but amongst the other pruning that I've done thus far, phone numbers have been deleted from my cell phone (that felt great), a credit card was dumped (awesome), and food thrown out that I hated, that had been occupying precious shelf space for months (just good sense).

Still to come- artwork, clothes, discs of music and software that I'll never use or listen to…

I highly suggest you try it. Chuck the baggage, downsize, fire, eliminate, break-up, throw-away. And don't look back.

It's a new year. It's a great time to shift loyalties to new hopes and dreams. And hell, if someone did it to you – be it an employer, a friend, a dream, a lover, a (fill in the blank)… good riddance. It's a new year!