October 08, 2005

Rainy Weekend

Posted by Scott at 10:15 PM

Saturday - Today was a day filled with rain. Steady rain all day. Crank your wipers on high kind of rain. Nonetheless, Claire and Abby got to go to gymnastics. After gymnastics Abby spent the afternoon with her friend, Kayleen, at the Pumpkin Festival. Yes, she got soaked. Claire had her friend Madison over. The boys... well, they have each other.

Francis of Assisi DVDSt. Francis - This afternoon I saw Francis of Assisi. Michelle, Claire, and Madison saw bits and pieces of it. I was glad that it showed numerous struggles that Francis and his counterpart, St. Clare of Assisi, went through. Our Claire got to see a decent dramatic representation of the saint whom she was named after. St. Clare was played by the beautiful Dolores Hart. I was glad our daughter Claire could see this because she, like many young girls, each year gets more concerned about looks. In this movie St. Clare was originally a gorgeous and affluent young lady. You got a taste of all that she gave up and the struggles therein. Most tragic for our daughter was watching St. Clare as she took her vows. As a part of the ritual St. Clare cut off her long, beautiful hair as a testament of detachment from all vain attachments of this world. It was a dramatic statement for our daughter. Ironically in real life Dolores Hart cut her Hollywood career short and became a nun at age 25. She's the only nun (now Mother Superior of a Benedictine Abbey) to be an Oscar voting member.

Dinner - We had a sitter come tonight, rather than last night as originally planned. We went to Black Forest Cafe — one of two favorites for a date night. Michelle was hoping that they had switched to their autumn menu. Yes, they did! I had what could only be informally called "The Man's Grilled Cheese", more formally known as "Grilled Vermont Cheddar Sandwich." The menu describes it as, “Vermont cheddar cheese, New Hampshire apple wood smoked bacon grilled on hearty multigrain bread with sweet apple chutney. Served with our feta orzo pasta salad.” Michelle had another seasonal special, "Pork Normandy" described as, “ Sauteed slices of pork loin topped with a classic sauce of cream, Dijon mustard, apples and brandy. Served with sweet and white mashed potatoes and vegetable of the day.” It's really hard to go wrong at the Black Forest Cafe. Once we got home, I drove Madison and the sitter home.

MIDI Geekery - You've heard a few of my recent MIDI recordings on the piano (available as MP3s). One of the things that's been bothering me is that I didn't know how to capture the 'sustain' pedal of a piano in MIDI. That's the one on the right that lets the notes linger after you release the key so that the notes flow into each other and fade over time. It turns out Yamaha doesn't describe it but you can figure it out. I originally got some idea of it on this CVP Users forum thread. I've been a member on this forum for almost as long as we've been Clavinova CVP owners. It turns out that for the pedal you don't enter in a note event, you need to enter a 'control change event'. My subsequent google searches showed the same. Once I figured out how to enter such a wombat into the digital representation of the score, I updated a few of the songs that were intended to use the pedal and it made a world of difference! When I get the chance, I have to update a few of the recent MP3 postings and also post two new songs I recorded this weekend.

Common Music - But as I was searching for info on this, I came across what had to be the ultimate geeky way to manipulate MIDI music. It's a package called Common Music. It applies the pinnacle in geeky computer languages — LISP — with a system for describing music. Trust me, ask a software guy, it doesn't get much nerdier than LISP. It's a real Berkeley/MIT diehard kind of language. A little less than a year ago, I tried creating MIDI via Perl (another computer language) but LISP is major propellor head stuff. I have to look into it just to see what the appeal is, ie. who would do such a thing and why.