50K: Some Passings

Happy Holidays, all.

So, I got my 50,000th saved email this week. It was from my friend Paul, and the subject was:
Singer Dan Fogelberg Dies of Cancer

That's too bad, I have always liked Dan's music. "Longer", in particular, is one of my favorites. I know, it's sappy. So sue me.

And a couple other notable entertainer passings in the past couple weeks. Closest to my heart is my favorite piano player, Mr. Oscar Peterson. He was, almost without argument, the most technically proficient pianist of our time, maybe even of all time. I loved his music so much growing up - pretty much every year, that's what I wanted for Christmas, one of his albums. It taught me both that jazz could be exciting and highly structured, and that I could never actually be an amazing technical pianist (a valuable lesson to learn BEFORE practicing a zillion hours a day for your entire young adult life). Don't believe me? Watch this.

This dude was way over the top. RIP, Oscar.

And of course, the third notable one is Ike Turner. This happened (or at least, we found out about it) while we were in the studio recording Gunpowder with Black Joe Lewis. Seemed fitting. My favorite part of the whole thing, though, is the headline from some inspired journalist: "Ike Turner beats Tina to death."



OK, I'm about 40 emails away from hitting 50,000 saved emails (I hit 40k last year). Any bets on who'll be # 50,000? (Not counting spam or bacn, or work emails ...)

Man, I know I must have something better to do than this.



For those of you who carefully monitor my media appearances (hi, mom!), I've been featured in a couple news videos this week demonstrating a new musical instrument that I've had the pleasure of trying out. The instrument is called the Thummer.

It's a performance controller that uses an isomorphic 2 dimensional button layout (not unlike a concertina) and expression controllers located under the thumbs. "Isomorphic" means that no matter where you start, the spatial relationships of buttons on the keyboard represents the same musical relationships. So, it's kind of like the guitar, where you can (mostly) play the same chord or lick anywhere on the neck and get the same sound; you can learn one set of patterns on the thummer and then travel all around to different keys. It's different from the guitar, though, in that the mathenical relationships between notes are much more directly expressed, and the spatial patterns are much more apparent.

And it's strange and futuristic looking, which is points in my book.

Anyway, on Friday, an article appeared in the Wall Street Journal (link) which doesn't quote me directly, but does include me in the video:

Then, last night, a short segment aired on the Austin NBC affiliate, KXAN. Here's a transcript, and there's apparetnly video too (but since it's served in a way that doesn't support Firefox and wanted me to install some godawful drm-crippled windows malware, I didn't bother watching it). Anyway, here's a still:

The Thummer is cool and worth checking out; though, unless you're an investor, you'll probably have to wait a bit before getting your hands on one. Unless, you know, you want to come play with mine. I accept bribes in the form of burritos and / or beer.


Home Stretch

So, my finals for my first semester at UT are this Friday, and I'm in head-down mode. I've mostly cleared the decks on the day-job & music fronts for this week, so I can devote myself to studying.

... which means that my laundry is all clean and folded, the recycling is taken out, the floors are all swept, my email inbox is empty ... and basically every other thing I could possibly do to procrastinate has been done. As I've learned, GTD doesn't keep you from procrastinating; it just makes you procrastinate really efficiently.

Anyway, just 4 more days of studying, and I'll be home free.


By which I mean I'll play Nintendo until my fingers fall off.