Concert concert concert!

Tomorrow, after work, I’ve got me a concert with the “new” group. My first time as first-chair since well… ever. Here’s hoping I don’t embarrass myself too badly. We could really use another two rehearsals or so as a group, but the dates are just tight for the venue. Heck, it’s a Wednesday night concert. I expect it’ll be an empty room to play to.

The college should be recording the event. Hopefully I’ll do a good job and have something to post here.

In the mean time, the flyer is over here for the truly curious.

I pulled the tux out and verified it was still black. The shirt isn’t quite as nice as I could want, but I should have had it properly laundered and pressed well before tomorrow to worry about that. Perhaps I’ll get the shoes shined at the stand down the street from work tomorrow. And I’ll be wearing my “lucky” dumbbell cufflinks.

It’s sometimes fun to reflect I’m putting on a 100-year-old designed suit and playing a 400-year-old designed horn to read sheet music based on medieval music themes that’s got directions written in italian (from a mere few hundred years of tradition) on a staff format that babylonian lute players thought up before the greeks went and misread it.

And it sounds dang good on a 1-year-old ipod.


I picked up a nice little epson photo printer from Best Buy. It’s the kind that tugrik and revar have abused at various photo things and it runs beautifully well, supports all kinds of formats, is archive safe, and just plain nifty. I hope dad will like it.

I remember dad taking a lot of pictures when I was a kid. He always had a nice german-made 35 mm camera with him wherever he went for years. I know back when he first got in the navy he was the boat photographer and one of his buddies eventually became a professional and runs a studio down in florida. I remember dad being interested when I took a photography course in high school and was messing with film development.

In the last few years dad’s old camera died. I know mom got him a digital, but the whole spark just kind of died for one reason or another. I suppose during a divorce things get set aside. I know dad wants to scan the huge backlog of slides our family has. Maybe this will restart that. Who knows?

I will also toss in a CD of recent music performances. It’s so nice to finally have recordings of the stuff I do. I’m both very interested and scared at the upcoming concert with me as concert master. Either it will be good or my mistakes will last as long as digital media can preserve them.

I’ll wrap this up tomorrow and send it out. I think I’ll include a note responding to the letter he sent. Here’s hoping it works out.

So today is Dad’s birthday.

It’s hard to pick out a gift when dad’s asking mom for a divorce after more than a few decades of marriage.

In a lot of ways I’m not sure what I know what to get. I don’t know if I really know dad anymore.

I’ve been away from home since 1996. In reality, since 1993 or so.

I’m out of touch. Bleh.

How big is that terrabyte…

I work in a downtown office building. For some odd reason, 10 of the 11 occupied floors seem to all be banks, bank offices and investment firms.

Our floor is the tech company that was the pre-dot-com startup that lived through it. A few lead engineers and sales folks who work with outsourced programmers and such.

One of these things is not like the other.

Amongst the daily culture clashes, we had a striking example when smackjackal (my sysadmin partner in crime) and I were riding the elevators down on the way to lunch.

Generic-suit-business-salesman (GSBS) got on the elevator with us. Like many of the younger males of the species he was in full plumage and had the accompanying swagger of confidence in his movements. He sized us up with what he probably thought was a concealed look.

Now, your average professional tech is usually easy to notice. Unless in a customer facing role the expected dress code is: comfortable jeans or shorts, sandals, pony-tail, goatee, t-shirt and possible a hawaiian or flannel shirt worn as a jacket.

To put it simply, we match the expected look. GSBS made the connection. His whole demeanor changed. He went into “engage” mode and looked over at us.

I’ve been in this situation before. You can see it coming. I think it happens more often in Silicon valley because tech is held in such high regard. The GSBS wants to engage us in conversation to prove to himself that he “understands” tech.

smackjackal and I had been talking about the recent arrival of a disk tray of some 20 terabyte of disk. (Actually we drove it back in my 22.75 gb/s minivan) The GSBS latched on to the technical term “terabyte” and casually engaged in the conversation:

“Yeah. Those terabytes have to be big.”

smackjackal immediately saw the opportunity for humor. I was busily thinking of some way to convey just how much data a terabyte was. He quickly prompted “Yeah. It sure is!” with an enthusiasm to encourage GSBS.

GSBS paused a moment and asked “Just how big is a terabyte afterall?”

I started to stammer out a comment of how many encyclopedias could fit on it and the GSBS looked a bit confused.

“Nonono… how BIG is it?”

smackjackal immediately appraised the change and pounced on it at once. He held his hands in about the phantom shape of a single hard drive. “About this big.”

Grasping the situation I nodded in agreement. “They fit them on single disks now.”

GSBS was gaining confidence. He had engaged the tech people and was talking to them on technical issues. He continued, “It sure is amazing isn’t it? How much does that weigh?”

I pondered a comment about the weight of the magnetic dust on the disk, but smackjackal just laid in the coup de grace. As we were all getting off the elevator he responded. “Oh. About a pound.”

The GSBS went in one direction commenting “A pound? Isn’t that amazing?” with that usual false air of interest. smackjackal and I walked the other way and stayed composed until we got out the front door and proceeded to die laughing.

I wish I could have seen the probable conversations later as GSBS told his coworkers the remarkable fact that terabytes are now down to a mere pound. Who knows where that nugget of knowledge may one day get him?

At least right now every once in a while when dealing with storage, smackjackal will ask me how big a terabyte is. The right answer is “about a pound.”

Yay! New Icon!

tommicat did a nifty little music sketch of me and Sue with a nod towards Peanuts:


So I slipped out of work tonight, hit the gym, grabbed a quick and healthy dinner, and hurried home to get some practice in.

I have roommates. Usually this means I try not to practice at home. I prefer practicing late at night when I have to and that usually doesn’t work well with roommates. It also helps that often the community music groups don’t have music that requires a lot of practice. In many cases, I can make do with only a short amount of polishing before or after the rehearsals.

But the Ohlone Concert Band has me playing some tough licks and tomorrow is dress rehearsal. I want to make sure I don’t make a complete fool of myself, so I spent an hour or so going over the toughest licks and trying not to squeal out the squeaker notes too badly. We’re playing the Duthoit arrangement of “West Side Story” and it has one of those wonderful licks you just can’t key well on the clarinet. You just have to live with some cross-fingering. And I worked on the William Byrd Suite to sort out some of the high stuff.

Now, I try very hard to not get too technical in my music posts. Really I do this for two reasons. #1 on the off chance people actually read these things I don’t want to alienate them completely and #2 it’s far too easy to hide behind tech jargon when clear communication can be had with simpler terms.

In that respect, I’m temporarily departing from the mainstream of my LJ content now. I feel I really should post a musically detailed and technical analysis of a specific passage in my music. Specifically I feel that the composer has a high expectation of even modern performance practices. For clarity for those of you who might wish to refer to the actual part, I have made the notation directly upon it:

So aside from that quibble with composition and performance expectations by the composer, I think it will go well.

The performance is on Wed Oct 17 at the Smith Center at Ohlone. I usually don’t advertise my first concert with a new group, but considering I’m first chair (and the accompanying fear that they’ll figure out I don’t belong there and will fire me 🙂 it might be fun.

The wind orchestra has their performance on Oct 28 with guest soloist trumpeter Mike Vax. The flyer can be found over here and has more details.

Twiddling the bits about

So smackjackal has been taking the lead on re-orging some storage at work. I’ve peeked in here and there to watch and help a little. It’s fun:

Compressing 1,164,984 files consuming 12,712,096,043,025 bytes with an average compression ratio of 89% should yield about 10.3TB of freed up disk space.

Removing about 2 TB of “very old” files, most of which are less than 100K. I feel like Carl Sagan. Billions and Billions of bits.

Now if we could only convince our developers that writing tiny files and leaving empty directories on a filesystem with 4K allocation is a bad thing. A few thousand empty directories removed and we’ve regained gigs of space.

And this is just the log data. The real fun is the BIG filesystem. The log slice is only 30 teranybble.

Thought for the day

The simple 3-block Rubick’s cube has 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 possible configurations.

Oh, and the winning average time to solve it this year was 12.46 seconds. No one broke the single fastest record of 9.86 seconds.

Book worming!

The most unread books meme was snagged from scs_11

These are the top 106 books most often marked as “unread” by LibraryThing’s users (as of today).

– Bold what you have read
– Italicize what you started but couldn’t finish
– Strike through what you couldn’t stand.
– Underline ones you own but haven’t read yet.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment (A bear of a book. Almost as slow as Joyce, but not as laborious as Hugo. I’m fairly sure I read it all.)
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick (I sure hope most Jr High kids read this.)
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice (Chick flick in a book. I lost track of all the he-said-she-said people and bluffed the second half of the book in tests at school. It says something that I passed those tests with an A by guessing probable resolutions.)
Jane Eyre
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked: the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (A warm-up taste of Joyce. Has the scariest description of hell I’ve ever read in print. Makes me want to read Ulysses.)
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
Frankenstein (Read it if you haven’t. It’s not what you think. It’s a weekend-read at worst.)
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables (Read the complete, unabridged version. Most verbose author ever. He includes ALL his background research as part of a story. It really highlight how much work can go into a simple historical novel.)
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
the curious incident of the dog in the night-time
The Prince (Still true today. Even with cubicles and computers.)
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Beloved (Note below)
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics: a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood
White Teeth
Treasure Island (Best trip audiobook ever! Get the B&N copy.)
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

Book rambling

BBQ info for today, Sun Sep 30

This is locked down to the roommates:

Sue and I are running out to grab a few things on the way to the BBQ. She and Lisa would like to decorate a cake on site.

The BBQ is at coyote point park from noon to 4 pm. Directions about the park, etc are here:

The full details of the original invite is below. Seeya there.

September 30th. It’s the day all summer sweepstakes end. Really. Look it up.

It’s also the day I get a little older. One year older, in fact. This September 30th, I’m officially leaving the 18-34 demographic, so I’d like to organize a little gathering of the local folks, and see how much influence I have in persuading people to drive a little bit to get a decent burger or dog. Or both.

I’ve reserved a decent picnic area at Coyote Point up in San Mateo. The park is right up against the bay, within swatting distance of the San Francisco International Airport’s landing pattern. Have some BBQ while watching the giant birds come swooping in from all over the world. Or sneak off to the Coyote Point Museum about 500 feet away and torment the wolves, foxes, and otters they’ve got in there.

I’d love it if you would show up. I’ll be there at noon manning the grill all the way up until everyone gets bored and politely bows out. If weather turns sour (unlikely, since it doesn’t start raining until late October), we’ll move the party to my favorite indoor hangout: Go-Kart Racer about two miles away and race around like maniacs.

Please let me know if you can come so I know how much/little to pick up from Costco. Feel free to bring your own goodies to grill or gnosh on. Surprise us.

In summary:
Big Green ‘roo BBQ (no kangaroos will actually be barbequed)
Sunday September 30, 2007, 12pm to 4pm (or so).
Coyote Point Park, San Mateo ( )
Bring yourself, your friends, your favorite munchables and guzzleables.

Also, there are quite a few people in the local area that I don’t know very well…so please pass this invite along to people that you know and trust. As long as you think they’re cool, they’re cool with me too!

As a side note, I’m totally all for having fursuiters show up — there are plenty of opportunities for photos and tormenting the kids (with an awesome playground just a short march away). Unfortunately, I’m still new to the fursuiting community and wouldn’t have the first idea of how to organize all the necessities…like a dressing and storage area, for one. If anyone wants to help wrangle up the suits, hey, by all means.