July 30, 2005

Around Here, or All About Me

Although I've tried, I didn't quite manage to make daily posts this month; but there's still a lot going on around here, and my creative juices are still at low ebb. By way of--well, not precisely an apology, here's what's been going on around here over the last month of so.

I'm still deeply involved in my new project at work. We've got an ambitious schedule and a lot to get done; we're going to make it, but there's not a moment to lose (as Jack Aubrey would say). But it's also a fascinating project, and as the lead developer I'm getting to use my favorite tools to their maximum advantage in a way I've never been able to before--and it's paying off.

The chief among those tools is the Tcl programming language; and alas, things are such that I've not been able to devote much time recently to my various personal projects on that front, including Snit and Notebook. Indeed, I've not been over to the Notebook Wiki in ages, which is extremely bad form on my part. On the other hand, I'm involved in some interesting initiatives in the Tcl community, initiatives whose consummation is greatly to be wished, and for which I really don't have the time I'd like. I've planned to do some work in this area this weekend; we'll see how that goes.

And then last weekend we bought a piano--or, rather, a digital piano. It's a Yamaha, with "graded weighted keys" for that real grand piano feel; I believe it's the least expensive Yamaha piano that has all three foot pedals. We got a good price for it at one of our local music stores.

Why a piano? We've got four kids, of course, and I'm hoping that one or more of them will learn to play; but (at present) it's mostly for me. I don't play piano at all well, being a rank beginner; I took lessons for a couple of years over a decade ago, and have done nothing with it since. For the last five years I've been playing the recorder regularly with one of my friends from work; but he had a motorcycle accident last year which led to loss of function in his right hand, and he can no longer play. And frankly, recorder is much more fun to play as part of a group than it is to play on one's own.

I want our kids to grow up in a house with music in it, both recorded and home-made. The recorded part is easy, and as Jane and I have eclectic tastes our kids are being exposed to a wide variety of music. But I also want them to learn that music is something you can make yourself. Hence, the piano. I've been spending half-an-hour or more each day working through my old method books, and I plan to continue that indefinitely. I'm having an easier time of it than I did ten years ago; I've learned quite a bit about making music since then, and I have more patience for the technical details of fingering and dynamic expression than I did. On the other hand, my aspirations are higher as well, so it's likely to keep me busy for some time.

And then, we're in the middle of our summer birthday season. I turned 42 this past Thursday, an event we celebrated by taking the kids to Legoland California the day before; my eldest daughter turns four on Sunday, and had a "princess party" yesterday with a gaggle of other little princesses; and my younger boy turns six next week.

Oh, and I will have completed six full months of dieting this coming Tuesday--I was down 43 pounds as of last month. I'm curious to see
how much more I've lost this month.

So there's a lot going on. All things considered, I have to say that Jane's holding up very well--though she just walked through here in high dudgeon. She'd gone off to the local family YMCA to work out, and it seems that she couldn't get in; half of the parking lot is closed so that they can load a bunch of buses with kids going to summer camp. Ah, well.

Posted by Will Duquette at July 30, 2005 08:53 AM