Sunday was our Advent Orchestra performance at church. Considering I only had a week to prepare, it went pretty well. Until the sermon apparently ran short in the second service and I arrived back at the sanctuary late for the last song. Kinda ruined my day. But after a day or three I got over it.
I have a plan for keeping my French horn oiled so the valves don’t freeze again (do it on laundry day). And I’m hoping I can even keep up with some practicing so my lips will be in better shape next December. There’s a lot of public domain French horn music on the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP).
I continued to be overly optimistic on my annual secret Christmas project last week. I wanted to finish it by Saturday, but it’ll still need a few more days. I’m still hoping to finish it before I leave for Texas on Thursday. But if not, I’ll just follow my usual plan of finishing it at my parents’ house. Late Christmas Eve, most likely.
(Okay, I was actually thinking of putting the last steps off on purpose just so I could do that, maybe on an earlier day. There’s something fun about staying up to get the Christmas labels done. … I never said I was normal.)
To accompany my work, I’ve been listening to playlists like this one of Victorian Christmas music, usually overlaid with soundscapes on YouTube like this one of a cottage in winter. It’s contributed to the project’s surreal atmosphere that makes me look forward to doing the work.
The last step of my project will be a retrospective where I analyze what went well and what could be improved. I’ve already learned quite a bit throughout the project, so I’m looking forward to putting all the lessons together.
My project to listen through a bunch of software development books is winding down. Last week I finished The Art of Unix Programming, which was very good, and sped through Beyond Requirements by Kent McDonald, which was good but really fit more into my conceptual modeling and business projects, so I’ll feel more like paying attention to it when I get back to those projects.
I also sped through Learning Agile by Andrew Stellman and Jennifer Greene, which I’d read most of before but only in piecemeal fashion, so I wanted to get through it properly. It was also good, especially the way it integrated the four major agile approaches (Scrum, XP, Lean, and Kanban).
One thing I liked less was that its approach of teaching through narratives and repetitive discussions made the material feel a little too spread out. I wished they’d put a summary of the principles and practices in an appendix or something. But it’s fine, since that’s what note-taking is for.
I’m taking a little break from programming books till after Christmas. In the meantime I’ll listen to a few steampunk stories. I’ve been wanting to explore that genre for a while. First is a short novel from 1868 called The Steam Man of the Prairies by Edward Ellis, which is in a genre called Edisonades that was a precursor of steampunk. After that I’ll listen to Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines, which has a movie that just came out.