On my secret Christmas project I got through about half of what I’d planned last week, but I’d already decided some of it made more sense to do in this week’s phase, and I can reduce other parts of it. That’s actually half of my goal for this project, to practice controlling a project’s scope, since that’s one of my characteristic hurdles.
I continued my long phase of listening to software development books with a lifesaving one by Karl Fogel called Producing Open Source Software, which he’s made available for free online. Honestly after hearing about all the pitfalls, I’m certain any open source project I tried to conduct would crash and burn without this kind of advice.
The book has inspired me to raise the idea of innersourcing at work, which is the use of open source development methods in a proprietary software setting. So at our next developer meeting we’ll see where that goes.
This week is the beginning of Advent. A few months ago I listened to Vicki Black’s Welcome to the Church Year and decided this was the year I could finally take the liturgical calendar more seriously. So starting today I’ll try some strategies for doing that, starting with using Phyllis Tickle’s The Divine Hours as a devotional.
Story time. Last week I pulled out my French horn to get ready for our church’s first Advent Orchestra rehearsal on Thursday, and immediately I got my annual reminder that leaving your horn sitting untouched for a year freezes the valves so the keys don’t move. Makes the horn a little impossible to play.
So I spent the next couple of days trying to unstick the valves. I had to go to more extreme measures than usual, even giving my horn a soak in the bathtub. I got them all unstuck except the trigger (the thumb key). So I had to find a repair shop that could give me a quick turnaround, and then I sat in the first rehearsal and listened while working on my Christmas project.
That repair shop is now my favorite music store, because they had my horn ready on Friday, and their fee was very reasonable. Okay, it’s tied with the Guitar Center where I got my keyboard.
In addition to getting ready for the orchestra performance next weekend, this weekend I was scheduled to play with my usual worship band, where I’m playing synth. We use MainStage, a Mac program for live music performances. You connect your keyboard to the computer, and instead of the keyboard directly producing the sounds as you play, MainStage produces them. In the rehearsal the music minister asked if I could use an organ for the first song. So I hunted around in the Vintage B3 patches and settled on the Bebop Organ.
Looking through patches and being confronted again with my insecurity with Gospel music got me doing some research that night. I assume it was Jazz 101 stuff, but for me it was a revelation. I found out “B3” means the Hammond B-3 model, pretty much the most popular jazz organ. Hammond organs were originally meant to be an inexpensive substitute for traditional pipe organs in churches and not for jazz at all. At some point I’ll learn about their history in jazz. I also found out “Vintage B3” is a synthesizer for Logic Pro X that is one of the most accurate replications of the original instrument, even reproducing its mechanical quirks. Armed with my new info, I found a Hammond B3 playlist on Spotify I can use to learn some jazz organ style.
I was curious about the Phyllis TIckle book, so I looked it up on Amazon. What do you think of it so far?
It seems like a great resource for someone who’s ready to take the step of fixed-hour prayer. It turns out I’m probably not there yet. One key feature of the book is it puts all the readings in place so you don’t have to flip around to get through your prayer session (I guess “office” is the official term). The only things it leaves out are the ones you should memorize anyway, the Gloria and the Lord’s Prayer. She spells those out once a month and then refers to them in each office.