Missing Amsterdam

Back in April, Michelle and I were in Amsterdam (and other parts of the Netherlands) for 10 days (mostly for a conference Michelle was attending, but I have family there so it was also part vacation). Back in August, I was at the O’Reilly Open Source Conference in Portland, and I had a blast.

I really miss Amsterdam – it was probably the first city I thought I could feel at home living in (not a city person), but on top of that, the Euro version of OSCON just started, and it’s being held in Amsterdam…

Really wish I was there right now…

An Evening With Fred Hersch

Michelle and I went to the first concert of the Institute for Advanced Study 2005 season (from a past association, I have friends there who can get me tickets – thanks again if you’re reading this!). These are always excellent, and this one was no exception. Fred Hersch is a jazz pianist and composer, and, even not knowing much about jazz, it’s easy to see how he pours his personal style into the interpretations of the music of the other composers he plays. The evening consisted of a rotation between the music of Thelonious Monk, Cole Porter, and his own compositions, with a conversation with Jon Magnussen, the Composer-in-Residence at the Institute, part way through.

As a virtual newbie to jazz music, I found some of the peices more accessible than others, but came away from the evening with a better appreciation, and at least some notion of where to start to listen to develop that appreciation. Fred Hersch’s repertoire, by his own admission, consists of composers whose music seems to be acting as a framework that allows for improvisation in performance (up to 90% of what’s played!), and that, to me, is what makes listening to, and watching the performance, interesting. I’m also curious to see if that interest holds when I can’t watch the performance, ie listening to a CD. This could be the start of a whole new world of music listening, and possibilities, for me…


OK, so I should have blogged this last Friday, when I saw the movie, along with half the other bloggers in the world. Oh, well. I’m blogging it now, and with good reason. First off, go see the movie, it’s amazing. I came out of there completely blown away, but a little ticked off at Joss, but gradually got to the point where I realized what he had done, and, if not exactly why he’d done it, at least a glimmer of an inkling.

Secondly, Slashdot just posted a pointer to a review by a favorite author of mine, Orson Scott Card, who pretty much nails it, and far better and more lucidly than I can (and he has a point about Seinfeld that I could never grasp before, but I always knew was there (or wasn’t), and why I never liked the show or found it funny most of the time), and it’s definitely worth a read, even if you have no idea what I’m talking about.

The link is here: Serenity – Uncle Orson Reviews Everything

Name Dropping

I’m currently attending a talk at work (Princeton Computer Science). The speaker is Andrew Tannenbaum, who wrote several of the text books I used in university, and those books (later editions, of course) are still used today. Oh, yeah, did I mention Brian Kernighan is stitting across the room?

Things like this happen quite a bit. I love this place.