Category Archives: McQ

Psst… Track 8?

Not sure how many people downloaded the [HBDI]:four album, but for those that did if you were sharp eyed (eared?) you would have noticed it was missing track 8. I have since rectified this omission and the complete album can be downloaded by clicking on the album title on that page.

The missing track is called “New Dream”:

(If your browser doesn’t support in line audio. Click here to play or download it.)



It just showed up on the lot, so it will take a couple of days to do PDI, detailing, etc. I’ll let you know when I get it home.

Woo hoo!

I know, I know. I haven’t been posting.

This is yet another of those posts that starts out by apologizing for not keeping up with the blog. Believe me, I’m more frustrated than you are that it’s been so long since I last posted.

The thing is, my life has been busy, to the point where I haven’t even been finding the time to keep up with 140 character tweets, let alone full blog posts.

Anyway, here are some highlights…

New role at work

In addition to being the Eclipse Project PMC lead, I have now taken on a significant architectural role working on the “IBM DevOps Services powered by JazzHub”. This is a new property that provides project hosting, including online development (based on Orion), tracking and planning support, etc., which is intended to be the premiere environment for building applications that are part of the “IBM BlueMix” platform-as-a-service. What’s even cooler about this is that it can be used for free. Definitely check it out.

Just finished a Divertimento concert

*sigh*. Yes, it would have made more sense to talk about it ahead of time. Oh well. This was the orchestra’s 30th anniversary concert, and it was an awesome program:

  • J. Strauss — Die Fledermaus Overture
  • Mozart — Violin Concerto No. 5, K.218
  • Brahms — Symphony No. 4 Op. 98

The concert was sponsored by the Austrian Embassy including bringing in the soloist for the Mozart, one Daniel Auner, who is a truly excellent up-and-coming violinist. Even though we only had a single rehearsal with him, I felt like he helped us achieve a recognizably stronger understanding of the music.

I bought a car

A Fiat Abarth. I haven’t actually received it yet — It’s still being built — but I expect it will show up some time in the next couple of weeks. For now, here’s a shot of basically what it will look like:


It’s very small, but I verified that it will hold my cello case with the back seats folded down, so we’re good. Zero to 100 KPH in 6.9 seconds. I’m excited :-).

Divertimento Fall Concert

Just letting you know that the Divertimento 2013 Fall Concert is in just over a week:

November 8 & 9, 2013, 8pm
L’Église St. Thomas d’Aquin
1244 Kilborn Avenue

This is the orchestra that I play cello for, and I certainly hope to see you there. The pieces we are playing this time are:

  • Cardy — Kissing the Joy as it Flies
  • Wolf-Ferrari — Suite Concertino, Op. 16
  • Tchaikovsky — Symphony No. 4 Op. 26

The Cardy is a nice modern little piece built around the cycle of fifths. The Wolf-Ferrari is a bassoon concerto, with Ben Glossop as the soloist; it’s also reduced orchestra, which means I’m not playing in it, but that is fine with me given that the Tchaikovsky is definitely taking all of my energy — seriously, there are parts in it that that my cello teacher claims she would have difficulty playing.

Anyway, as usual, I can get tickets for $2 off the price at the door, but unfortunately if you want me to get you some I need to know by Thursday (i.e. tomorrow). [Apologies for leaving it so late]. The price at the door is:

  • Adults — $20
  • Seniors/Students — $10
  • Children under 13 — $5
  • Children under 6 — free

If you’ve got a printer handy, and you’d like to help us by putting up a poster, here is a PDF…

divertimento fall

First workout

In an effort to finally get back in some kind of reasonable physical condition, I’ve started going to the gym again.

Last week, my wonderful wife took care of getting me (and Dennis) signed up at Goodlife where she was already a member. Today I did my orientation and a first workout: all 9 machines of the “basic” set, twice, 12 reps on each, followed by 15 minutes on the stairmaster. Of course, all of that on settings so low that I suspect catatonics could keep up, but in any case, it’s done, in just under an hour of steady work.

Now all I have to do is keep going regularly. I could imagine getting there twice a week, but I doubt I’ll be able to do more than that. I guess we’ll see.


So here I am, sitting at the Starbucks, having just ridden my bike over.


First bike ride of the season! Ya, ok, I know I’m slow. Given the weather over the last few days it feels like everyone has been out biking already, but at least I made it. Now when it gets cold again, you’ll know who to blame. 😛

In any case, even I couldn’t pass up a day this nice. It’s 25 celsius out there and it’s coming up on 19h00. Wow!

Now let’s just all hope that we aren’t seeing 20 degrees above normal temps in July and August too.

Maker wannabee

I did do a couple of actual, for reals, hardware things while I was on vacation, which for anyone who knows me has got to be pretty surprising :-). The first was to put together a little Arduino (actually Freeduino) board:

I have vague plans to take this plus a DAC and produce a midi to CV converter, something like this.

The other project was more prosaic, but probably more useful: I replaced the lawn light outside GCW. Really, this was just removing the old bits, repainting the post, then putting in a new light sensor and headpiece. The result actually looks pretty good:

(click the link to see a closeup)

Anyway, nothing earthshaking there, but there’s nothing like a couple of successes to refuel your interest in making things again. Anybody want to help build an analog synthesizer?

A week into my vacation and I’m still not relaxed.

If anyone has been watching this site for updates, I have to apologize. It’s been (even more) hectic at work lately and by the time I get home, I haven’t had the energy to blog. In fact, the list of things I’ve been avoiding is much longer than just blogging:

  • getting exercise / biking — nope.
  • spending time with Deb — not enough, except for when we go out for dinner (but that’s mostly to avoid cooking).
  • electronic music — not even a new synth was enough to make that happen.
  • cello practice — holy mackerel the music for the fall is hard; an hour a day wouldn’t be enough to play it properly and I’m doing less than half that.
  • helping Dennis learn controllerism — bought him the hardware and a copy of Ableton; nothing since then.
  • web skills development — Deb deserves more than what I built her at Sheeps Ahoy, but it would take months of learning to get there.
  • walking the dogs — a total of twice this summer. ugh!
  • work around the house — well, I’ve done some of that this week, at least.
  • cooking — only when Deb makes me BBQ.

Whew! Even if I had the time to do all these things (i.e. I was retired) I still wouldn’t have the energy for all of them.

Anyway, I’m a week into my vacation, and I’m still not relaxed. However, I am starting to surface (as witnessed by the soul searching above). Hopefully, that’s a good sign. Last week the list looked like:

  • re-arranged the bedroom
  • got in a car accident — no one hurt; not my fault
  • started cleaning out the garage, but there’s more to do this week
  • helped Deb through a bad bout of stomach “flu”
  • spent a really fun day with her on our anniversary, including seeing the Caravaggio exhibit at the gallery
  • put her on a plane for California
  • played *way* too much of the new Deus Ex game [note: Yesterday they rolled out a patch to fix the long load times: down to 10 seconds from almost a minute before]

We’ll see how it goes this week. I’ll post if I get some new music made. Otherwise (for those I work with), see you next week.

What Canadian politics looks like to me

Canadians are going to the polls, again, on May 2nd. There is almost nothing to distinguish this time from any of the previous five, but there is one significant difference: This time my son is old enough to vote (and he intends to do so). I’ve told him that he should find out what party offers the best value to him, from his point of view. If I had to guess what that would be, I’d say tax breaks for low income earners and education assistance first, then environment and health care. Luckily, I know he doesn’t read my blog, so I’m not worried about colouring his viewpoint. :-)

In any case, I find myself once again trying to figure out how to vote. When I look at the various political parties I see effectively zero difference from where they were a couple of years ago, so I expect the same outcome as last time: a Conservative minority. After all, expecting anything else would be crazy.

Here’s what I see (and I completely respect that these views are not shared by everyone):

  • Conservatives — boorish, obnoxious, bullies who favor short term economic benefits
  • Liberals — party policy could be defined as “don’t piss anyone off”; unable to find a compelling leader
  • NDP — want to change things; have no idea how to do that without tanking the country
  • Greens — heart in the right place; would need a majority to be interesting, which won’t happen until after the environment becomes unfixable
  • … and the fringe parties that simply don’t matter.

As most of you know, I usually vote Green, but I have discovered something in their current, stated platform that I cannot abide [emphasis mine]:

We will promote complimentary health care – through support of chiropractic, naturopathic, homeopathic, and other non-western practices.

Everyone is free to make up there own minds about complimentary health care issues, but I will not vote for a party that promotes homeopathic medicine. Seldom am I given such a clear means to reduce the complexity of a decision space.

So, in the absence of that, I guess I’m leaning towards the NDP this year. Jack seems to have carried himself well in the debates. There is some alignment with my philosophical views. As I said last election:

The NDP are also close, if they could just figure out that sometimes “Environment first” is going to have to trump “People first”, so that our kids get to have a world worth living in too.

I guess we’ll see. I am very interested in your thoughts about the election. Feel free to comment.