Saturday, June 8, 2013

The question I'm pondering today

Is there any functional difference between a serious book collector and a hoarder?

I hope so, but I'm not sure. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Video game music at the symphony

Scott and I did something unusual tonight:  We went to hear the North Carolina Symphony play video game music at the Meymandi Concert Hall in downtown Raleigh.  As you might guess, the orchestra wasn't doing this show on its own; the concert was the local stop of a touring production, Video Games Live.  

The show was fun, I very much enjoyed listening to the music, and overall, I had a great time. 

Video Games Live is the brainchild of performer and video game music composer Tommy Tallarico.  Part symphony concert, always a multimedia experience, with screens playing video game snippets during each song, and part a showcase for Tallarico to play guitar and prance about, the concert is an unusual experience and one worth attending.  It's also unusual in that it packed most of the hall with people far younger than the typical symphony-orchestra crowd. 

As Scott, who's been to the symphony there before, observed, "Wow, colored hair."  He then looked at me and one other older dad and added, "And a little gray."  That's my son. 

Introducing younger folks to the symphony, even in this unusual way, is a good thing.

The show's biggest weakness was Tallarico, whose insistence on claiming center stage for almost the entire second half wore on me and on everyone whose comments I could hear.  It's his show, so he is of course entitled to do as he pleases with it, but it would be a more effective experience if he would tone down his presence by about half and let others take the limelight more. 

That said, he never reached the point of being really annoying, and the music was always enjoyable, so I certainly recommend catching this show if it comes near you.

Afterward, we headed to Chuck's for a late dinner.  The appetizer Fork and Knife Fries, which featured some quite good fries covered with three melted cheeses, red bean chili, shredded iceberg lettuce (it worked; trust me), and buttermilk herb dressing, were awesome.  Both our burgers were perfectly prepared and covered with interesting and tasty condiments.  I definitely recommend this place when you're in the mood for red meat.

Best of all, I spent an entertaining evening having a great time with my son.  That is a huge treat indeed, and one I appreciate more and more as he grows older.  I hope we go to many more shows together. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Consider supporting Levi Weaver

Levi Weaver is a musician who lives in Nashville.  I've written about him on a few occasions, most recently this piece with a very cool video in it.  He's not really a friend, though he spent the night here when we hosted a house show, and I doubt he'd recognize me.  I just like his music, and I like that he keeps on working at his art no matter what. 

Now, he's made a new album, Your Ghost Keeps Finding Me.  He says it's his best yet, a common claim but one that, in this case, I believe.  He's running a PledgeMusic project to try to raise enough money to bring it out.  (PledgeMusic is somewhat like KickStarter and other crowdfunding vehicles.)  I pledged $125 to help make the album happen and to get the associated cool merch.  You can pledge as little as $15 to get a CD. 

He doesn't know I'm writing this; as I said, I doubt he remembers me.  I get no payment for doing this.  I just believe in supporting artists whose work touches us.  I appreciate it greatly every single time someone buys one of my books, and I'm sure Levi feels the same way about his music. 

Give a listen to his music, or check out the video link I gave above, and then consider helping him along.  You'll get cool stuff, and we'll all get a new album I want to hear. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What I was doing in Florida this past weekend

Forty years ago, I graduated from St. Petersburg High School (SPHS) in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Yup, I'm old.)  This past weekend, I flew to Tampa to be the guest speaker at SPHS' Baccalaureate ceremony on Sunday. 

Part of what motivated me to do this is that forty years ago, I became, to the best of my knowledge, the first SPHS valedictorian the school refused to allow to speak at graduation.  I did mention this fact in my speech.  Yes, there's a story there, and I tell it in short form in the speech.

As I was leaving the podium after my speech Sunday, my foot caught on the edge of a step, and I fell forward down several (fortunately) carpeted steps.  I wasn't hurt, though of course I was embarrassed.  As I said to the students when I bounded up--I really wasn't hurt, though later I've been a tad sore where I took the impact, "I wish I'd meant that."

Yes, there is video. 

No, I haven't decided if I'll show it to you.

The reason is that I rate my speech and performance B-, so I was disappointed in myself.  (Family and friends watching rated it generally A-, but I think they were being too kind.)

I'll ponder the video. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tonight's random music mind walk

This song was playing at the Tampa airport early Monday morning.  It's been in my head off and on a great deal since then.

When the above entered my mind earlier as I was working, I had to play it.  From there, the only choice was to go straight from it to this one.

The only reasonable follow-up was then this.

That of course led to this.

And that's one way my mind spins through music late at night, one simple connection after another.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A book you should buy

I've promised to discuss those two deadlines I was working hard to meet.  The first (not the one related to my trip to Florida) was a project I mentioned a long time ago:  the afterword to the upcoming Baen combined edition of The Man Who Sold the Moon and Orphans of the Sky

I really wanted to write this afterword, because The Man Who Sold the Moon was a very important book to me.  I also feel a huge amount of fan-boy squee at the thought of my name, however small, on the same cover with Robert A. Heinlein. 

Come September, when the book is due, I'll get to see just such a cover. 

This essay was very hard for me to write, for reasons I explain in it.  I believe it's one of the better essays I've ever written, so I hope you buy the book and read it.

Here are the first two sentences of the piece, all that I'll show of it.

I'm going to tell you something I've never told anyone:  The Man Who Sold the Moon helped save my life.  Really.

Intrigued?  I hope so.

For the rest, pick up the book.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Still in Florida

I finished what I came here to do and otherwise have worked and enjoyed time with my brother and his family.  I have to get up at 6:15 a.m. to begin the travel process.  Anyone who knows me knows that I do not like to wake up early.  So, I'm going to put off telling you about recent activities until I'm home and dug out.  Sorry about that, but sometimes, I need to prioritize sleep. 


Blog Archive