Chuq Von Rospach is a Silicon Valley veteran doing Technical Community Management and amateur photographer with a strong interest in birds, wildlife and landscapes. My goal is to explore the Western states and working to tell you the stories of the special places I've found. You can find out more on the About Page.
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Monthly Archives: December 2002
Thanks to Clapton, some more musings on music….
I’m just coming off of a number of years (1…2…3…many…) where I’ve basically tuned out to music. The radio market here in the Bay Area really, really sucks (thanks to ClearChannel and their friends, that suckiness has been franchised nationwide, too). I found very little that spoke to me. About the only station I listen to is KUFX, a “classic rock” (all pink floyd, all the time) station, but even that’s spotty, and that pretty much defines where my personal tastes in contemporary music are (or more correctly, stopped).
As a kid, I was very involved in music. I picked up clarinet early, played it until the orthodontist nuked it while I got the teeth straightened. That led me to look for a suitable replacement. I played some oboe, until the tooth doctor found out and nuked that, too. Tried tuba, and for the first time in my life discovered extreme boredom while performing (blat blat, sleep ten bars, blat, up a third, blat). Switched to trumpet decided that I just don’t connect with the brasses. I don’t have the coordination to set up a drum set, much less play it. I tried guitar a few times, just never got into it.
So in junior high, I more or less dropped playing. My parental units threatened me a few times with piano lessons, but we never had that fight. High school I got involved somewhat in drama, which got me involved in musicals, which got me to the point where I’ll puke before the second act of Oklahoma! if I’m within a timezone of it (but it also introduced me to more interesting fare, such as Man of La Mancha and Gilbert and Sullivan). I quickly decided that acting wasn’t for me and went tech. I was also heavily involved in athletics, so I got to listen (whether I wanted to or not) to the music played in school locker rooms at the time — in my case, fortunately, it was headbanging metal, not country…). hence my retreat to the days of Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, I think.
I worked disneyland from 1976 to 1980, mostly offstage, mostly swing shift or graveyard. It was an interesting environment – as a corporation, it was falling apart (I was there for the first strike, which involved people I worked with, and I had to cross the picket line because I was a different union and ther were no-strike clauses), and it was very much “How did Walt do this?” at taht time. But one of the things they did every summer was run a swing series in Carnation gardens — and it was the names of the movement: Basie played there every year, and both of the travelling Glenn Miller orchestras. And others. So once a week, I got in the habit of spending an off day in the park, at the Gardens, listening to whoever was in town that week. I don’t think I realized until later just how special it was to be sitting 25′ from Count Basie for three sets every summer until much later — but I definitely innoculated with a love of swing, whether it’s Basie, Ellington, Buddy Rich, Glenn Miller or (of course) Benny Goodman.
Since that time, I’ve sort of wandered. A few groups have caught my attention (Police, Cars, Stray Cats, as have individual songs or singers. I’ve discovered new, non–mainstream music (of all things, bagpipes and steel drums, but not at the same time. Honest). I picked up an appreciation for Webber and Fosse (and if you can figure out a pair that different, bless you) in theater, but most theater today leaves me pretty cold. It’s gotten too big, too commercial, to blockbuster, and yes, I know Webber has a huge chunk of the blame for that, thank you.
When I played, I was a technical musician, the kind of musician you find doing first chair in the orchestra, not wailing out at the club. I’d practice, not rif.
Craft, not art. Story of my life, actually. And that’s not a gripe. Lots of good stuff being an honest craftsman. Much better and more honest than a lot of the self-called artists who aren’t. What’s an artist? what’s a craftsman? that’s some other piece…)
A couple of months ago, for some reason, I started shifting back into music. I don’t know why, I just did. I’m probably the last Apple employee to fire up iTunes, but now all my CD’s are burnt. After macworld, I’ll probably buy an iPod for more convenience. And I’ve been wandering through my collection, re-acquainting myself with it. And that’s giving me the playing jones again.
This journey is just beginning, but I’m looking for suggestions — I’m looking for something that’s nicely programmable and which I won’t outgrow too soon, a good keyboard, and I can connect to MIDI (and my macintoshes). Any thoughts? And what OS x tools do I want to go with it?
I’m still 3-6 months out on this project, but I’m always researching what’s next while implementing my current project (the woodshop…). And the nice thing of going to a keyboard synth is I can slap on headphones and only annoy myself, and it’s osmething I can work on in the evenings, which seems to be the only free time I get….
I’ve thought about going back to clarinet, but it’s been so long. I just don’t think so. But I’ve been intrigued since the 70′s with synths, so I’ve started thinking about buying one. Finally, after all those years avoiding piano lessons, learning a keyboard. Since a good synth can be programmed to do bagpipe (and steel drum. Maybe at the same time!), it gives me access to things I’d like to do, but I like my neighbors too much to actually practice here.
So, if I were to look at a high end hobby or low- to mid-range prosumer keyboard/synth, what do i want to get? What software tools do I want to get to support it? thoughts, anyone?
doesn’t seem to translate to blogging a lot. Although the link collection continues to grow. Be scared, be very scared…
On the plus side, we brought the first of the xServes to help out (and eventually replace) the Sun boxes. It’s definitely helped with some of the capacity issues I’ve been fighting, and I’m seeing 4X or better performance compared to the E250. Not bad, and there’s definitely room to tweak.
On this beast I’ve been living with (which, unfortunately, I still can’t go into detail on. soon. I hope), we’ve been having, well, I’d like to call them birthing problems, but in reality, I miscalculated some key capacity assumptions, and then our Xserves didn’t come on line quite fast enough, and we stuffed everything on a mostly-full E250. 8 pounds of stuff, five pound bag. Been interesting getting stuff to work right. And time consuming, since we’re also rolling out added functionality, while managing the holiday glut and prepping for MacWorld.
And lest you think I’m griping — I’m not… In the spring, I went to my management and said “I think I’ve had enough of doing yet another email system. I’m bored, I’m not challenged. Time to do Something Else”.
And they offered me, well, something else. It still involves email, sort of. But where my previous preference was doing the Lone Wolf project and handing stuff over when it was finished and running the machiens and servers and generally having my hands in everything, this beast and tendrils everywhere. I’m technically and administratively managing three people, doing some coding, but primarily at a much higher level, architecting, playing at DBA, working with people all over the company, trying to tie together all the details and make sure everything integrates (which it does, mostly). it is also a project I’d been trying to get built for a while now, and couldn’t get funding.
It got funded. Of course I agreed to do it. It’s been a huge mental and technical stretch, forcing me to break old habits and rethink pretty much everything I do. Which means I’m occasionally screwing up, guessing wrong, or simply wrong. There have been major, nasty deadlines, lots of stress, various moments of “it’ll never work, I’m a loser”, moments of abject fear, depression and the occasional thoughts of suicide (real, virtual, and/or professional). 60 hour weeks aren’t atypical…
I’ve been having a ball. It’s been a real stretch. Sometimes, we barely made it. but we did. When the first pieces shipped, it was about a C+ beast. Now, it’s in the B’s somewhere. I’ve always been someone who talks about the need to understand and work as an ambassador of your customer’s needs, but this is the first time since I stopped doing customer support I’ve really had to get so deep into that.
There’s really no other way to describe it, it’s been one hell of a hack. Even though maybe 5% of the code is mine. Maybe 2%.
but it hasn’t always left much time for other things. While I finished christmas shopping (as much as a self-defense out of a last minute time crunch as a preference to shop early), I’ve decided I simply don’t have time for christmas baking. the last couple of years, I’ve taken time out to do some holiday cookie and candymaking as a way to break away from the grind and get in the christmas mood. This year, I was finding trying to find the time the grind, so I nuked it. Maybe I’ll make divinity in March, or maybe not. but it made no sense to fight and be grumpy about something that’s supposed to be relaxing and fun.
My goals for between now and the first are pretty simple: get caught up on e-mail again (I was, for about two days), catch up on all those links I want to talk about “as soon as I get a free minute”, and find my desk in the piles of “stuff” I have waiting for me to do something with (a chunk of it aimed at this place; for instance, my long-delayed guide to Victoria, which I’d like to write before we make our next trip…)
And have fun. Did you know stress could be fun? well, it’s not, actually. But as part of a larger mosaic….
Time to start throwing out names. Laurie and I batted around names tonight trying to figure out where Lombardi might turn. Mid-season, getting permission to interview assistant coaches is tough, so that further limits options.
In speculating about the coaching changes, a couple of options need to be considered:
1) stay the course? or are we changing directions in coaching philosophy?
2) good cop? or bad cop? player’s coach? Or (ahem) not?
I won’t speculate on the latter, I don’t know what the players have been telling Lombardi (yet), or what he feels is needed. So I’ll avoid that. but I tend to think Lombardi is looking to stay with the basic coaching philosophy, not changing directions very much. So we should look for coaches that have similar ideas of how to play hockey as Sutter does — discipline, defense first, physical play. Someone who’s strong with veterans and good with kids (but if you can’t get both, strong with veterans).
First candidate, who wins on the “continuity of the system” basis: bring up Roy Sommers from Cleveland, let Wilson and RAeder assist, and see how the season goes. A lot of sharks know and like/respect Sommers, Sommers has been more or less mentored for this shot by the Sharks, and he knows, understands and believes in the “sharks system”. And Lombardi si loyal to those loyal to the franchise and likes to develop and promote from within. I’d give Sommers a 40% shot at this. Depends on whether or not they feel he’s ready and whether the sharks feel they want to continue the system or bring in a new voice.
Ted Nolan (won’t happen)
Barry Smith (asst. Detroit; unlikely at best)
Kevin Constantine (might actually be a good choice; could both sides find where the hatchets are buried?)
Rick Ley (leave your resume at the door. Next)
Robbie Ftorek (Dan is already called Lombardi to lobby. Intriguing choice, but…)
Bill Barber (Ha. hah hah. heh. giggle. sorry, I needed a good laugh…)
Ron Wilson (proved he could coach in Anaheim. Proved nobody can coach Jagr in Washington)
Bob Murdoch (okay, why am I mentioning HIS name?)
Herb Brooks (as mentioned by Melrose. hmm)
Cap Raeder (not likely)
jean Perron (hi, vickie! don’t choke)
Roger Neilson (asst. ottawa)
that’ll give a few names for folks who are trying to remember who they wanted to suggest….
My short list:
I wouldn’t at all mind seeing them bring in Sommers for the season and see how it works out. but if they look outside the organization. my short list is Ron wilson, Pat Burns and Roger Neilson, if we could convince him. I think Bob Gainey would be a great choice — except I don’t for a second think he’d consider it. Herb Brooks is an intriguing choice, epecially short term, especially if Lombardi wants a bad cop in there. And I think Constantine could do the job, if the, um, outstanding issues could be resolved…
I’m not holding my breath on that, for some reason…
Shows what I know. Less than 24 hours after saying I didn’t think he was the problem, Lombardi fires Darryl Sutter. that’s why Dean Lombardi is GM, and I’m writing speculation in a weblog….
From a posting from the sharks list today….
speculation here, pure speculation.
But… given that sutter threw a hard practice at the guys this morning, one has to think if the Sharks were going to make a move today, they would have made the move BEFORE practice. So it seems to me the decision to make the change was made sometime after practice started. Also, Barry Melrose said on ESPN he talked to Raeder two days ago (Friday, I guess) and Raeder had no idea anything was going to happen.
The fact that they’ve called in Wilson and Raeder to mind the store implies this is a last-second, weren’t planning for this, thing. Especially if Raeder wasn’t even in town for the change, as seems to have happened.
Which means, IMHO, that Something Happened.
here’s one thought on this.
Lombardi was clearly not happy with team performance. He wasn’t happy last night. Sutter calls practice for 10:30 and skates them hard for a couple of hours. During that time, or immediately after practice, Lombardi starts talking to the players (either that, or he saw something AT practice that made up his mind…). It evidently didn’t take long for him to decide to fire Sutter — at 10:30, he’s a coach, at 4PM, he’s an ex-coach. In the meantime, Lombardi has to find Greg jamison, make his case, get the approval, get Wilson and Raeder on the phone (and onto planes), find Sutter, let him know, and then call in the media staff and players to make the announcements. busy afternoon.
So something the players were saying made Lombardi decide to do this today. It seems to have happened so fast he couldn’t even work out having Roy Sommers come up temporarily to coach, he cobbled up something he could do immediately.
So however it happened, it seems to have happened very quickly, with no planning, and no notice. Makes one wonder, but at least Lombardi’s not being indecisive….
Now, as to coaches? Stay tuned.