Thursday, May 8, 2008

Koa online at last

Koa, an IAL project I've been working on for about nine years, has now got a blog devoted to it here. There's also a link to it over on the right, but maybe you hadn't noticed yet...

Anyway, this new forum is incredibly exciting for me, and I've been being unusually productive now that I don't have to hold all my new ideas in my head simultaneously while I think about them. Serious kudos to Amelia for the idea.

Loa la po sisi! ...keka ta halu ko opi ti?

(or would that be Keka ta lu opi ti? Something for the blog.)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

NEVs and San Leandro living

In the unlikely event that there's anyone I haven't told yet, Amelia and I are going to be moving in together this summer. Or, more accurately, I'm going to be moving into her house in San Leandro. Yes, yes, I know, San Leandro isn't usually the first place on one's list of, say, vacation destinations, but the thing is that it's a really neat older house that she actually owns, with a huge back yard with fruit trees and oodles of garden space, and we're going to have bees and chickens and it's all going to be pretty spectacular.

However, San Leandro is still very much a suburb, and the nearest cute tea shop is in Alameda about eight miles away -- kind of too far even to bike on a daily basis, at least with my schedule. Grocery stores are also not exactly what I'd call "walkable," and though I don't personally shrink from the two-mile walk to and from the BART station, I imagine my friends would be more likely to visit me if said visit were not punctuated by said walk.

SO, if I'm going to be living in San Leandro, which I am, the conclusion is that I need a car. But I really don't want a car -- that is to say, one of those things that you pour expensive flammable substances into, the which you subsequently set fire to and dump the resultant smoke into the air in order to make it go -- so Amelia suggested that I look into Neighborhood Electric Vehicles. I'm not totally sure if she was serious, but the more research I do, the more it seems like this is exactly what I need. For longer (or faster) trips we can figure out how to trade her Camry (or maybe Prius someday soon, please please please?) back and forth, but for the vast majority of driving I would be doing, a cap of 35 mph and 40-45 miles would be absolutely fine...especially considering the fact that it would be virtually free to operate.

After a bunch of comparison shopping, it looks like the Kurrent by American Electric is my best bet. And it's nice that I would actually be able to afford it with my new job.

I don't know for sure if this is really going to happen, but I'm pretty excited about the idea. Some photos:

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Trying to record oneself playing a musical instrument is officially the most frustrating activity of any kind ever. I swear I can play Valse à Bruno with my hands tied behind my back ordinarily, but with the camera rolling I can barely get through three measures without making the kinds of mistakes that are just too bad to soldier through. After half an hour of trying, Ossie and I are spent. Arr, gah, bleah, eeeeeeee, and other noises of exasperation.

The Celtic Bandoneon

I'm trying something new here. I really want to dig in and figure out my bandoneon so I can start doing all kinds of cool complicated two-handed stuff, but I think I need to slow down and concentrate on getting a feel for the arrangement of the notes. For the moment, then, I'm going to try focusing on one hand at a time, playing all the Irish tunes I know -- they're fun, short (for the most part) and diatonic, which is the perfect combination.

So this is my first attempt to play "Scatter the Mud." It's in something like Eb Dorian because I feel like the usual A is a bit screechy on the free reeds. I'm going to try really hard here not to be apologetic (except for forgetting the repetitions on the B part -- oops) and just say that you can basically tell what I'm trying to do, and I look forward to posting another video when I've really got it figured out. Anyone interested in backing me up with guitar/bouzouki/fiddle/tin whistle/Irish flute/bodhran/kazoo?