mdlbear: (river)

It's been twenty years to the day since my father died. (And twenty years plus two weeks since my mother-in-law died; that was a devastating couple of weeks.)

Since it's FAWM, I probably ought to try to write a song. But there are two already: "The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of" and "Rainbow's Edge". Both have pretty extensive notes; I'm not going to duplicate them here.

I'm okay; it's been long enough that most of the sharp edges have worn off. (Although, I almost posted this with 10 instead of 20 -- maybe it hasn't been that long.)

The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of: [ogg] [mp3]

I still find myself wanting to call and tell him something, from time to time.

mdlbear: (rose)

It's been 19 years since my father died. He introduced me to science fiction, computers, digital filtering, electronics, and folk music, among other things. His paper on digital filtering of spectra is one of the most-cited papers in in the journal Analytical Chemistry.

Dad was as much a packrat as I am, so there was always a good supply of reading material around the house: magazines including CACM, Science, Analog (and its predecessor, Astounding), Galaxy, American Scientist, and others; plus a small collection of computer design and SF books (including a few by his grad-school classmate Isaac Asimov).

He was also the gentlest person I've ever met.

Abraham Savitzky - Wikipedia
Savitzky–Golay filter - Wikipedia
Smoothing and Differentiation of Data by Simplified Least Squares Procedures. - Analytical Chemistry (ACS Publications)
The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of
Rainbow's Edge

I guess I'm not up to saying anything more today. He died of pancreatic cancer in 1999, a little over two weeks after Colleen's mother died of breast cancer. It's a rough couple of weeks, and I never really know why until I remember.

mdlbear: (rose)

Unless the sound of silent thoughts carries up the Rainbow Bridge, I won't be saying "Happy Fathers' Day" to my Dad. He died a little over 17 years ago. He got me interested in computers, over 50 years ago -- I miss him every time I think "I'd love to call Dad and tell him about..."

Science fiction, and folk music -- he would have loved the filk community. He took me to trade shows and conventions back before they stopped allowing kids in; he would have enjoyed a filk convention. He would have loved my CD, Coffee, Computers, and Song!

Songs for Sunday:

  • The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of -- I wrote this a couple of months before Dad died, and sang it for him on my last visit.
  • Rainbow's Edge -- Mom had asked me to write a song to sing at Dad's memorial. I don't sing this one all that often.
  • The World Inside the Crystal -- Dad was a programmer (when he wasn't being a chemist). I don't think he ever said so, but I'm pretty sure this was his favorite.

Not exactly the playlist I'd planned, but...

ETA: as I hoist my glass of gin I'm reminded of the way Dad made Tanqueray martinis: straight gin -- there's a bottle of vermouth somewhere in the house. For a slightly sweeter version, open the bottle.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Dad never talked about his experiences in WWII. I found out from his obituary that he had run radar operations in England.

(eta) Thanks, Dad

mdlbear: (rose)

Abraham Savitzky (May 25, 1919 - Feb 5, 1999)

... which may explain why I've been reacting a bit weirdly to things recently. Or not.


2009-02-07 11:39 am
mdlbear: (rose)

Doing the dishes is usually rather calming for me, and gives me a sense of mild accomplishment.

Flashing vividly back to the day I wrote Rainbow's Edge is not helping much.

I'm standing here doing the morning chores
And trying hard not to cry
Remembering all of the things we did
In all of the days gone by.
And there isn't a rainbow this time,
But maybe before tonight
I'll remember enough of the words I need
For the song that I want to write. 

... or maybe not. I wrote that song already.

(11:52) Oddly enough, writing this did help a little. But only a little.


2009-02-05 10:13 pm
mdlbear: (rose)

My father died 10 years ago today. I still miss him a lot.

I don't think I have much more to say.

mdlbear: (rose)

It was a rather subdued Father's Day yesterday, as they often are these days. Partly missing Dad, of course, and partly the fact that, coming back from my walk by a different route, I passed by the little roadside memorial to a 12-year-old girl who was killed last Thursday by a careless driver, riding her bike to school. *Shudder*

We used to go out and do something with the kids; now that they're older, probably the best gift they can give me is to get out of the house and give me a lazy, contented afternoon with their Mom. We went out for a drive.

Saw the kids briefly as they were coming back from one activity (which included Burger King, so we didn't have to feed them); hung out in the living room with our lappies and ate leftovers from Saturday's party for dinner. Took the kids to their regularly-scheduled Sunday gaming session, about 6:20.

Then went to bed with the Cat. While the mice are away...

Late dinner consisted of BOAs -- bacon, onion, and avocado sandwitches. Yum. Worked on -- and discussed with the Cat -- the drafts for a couple of upcoming River posts.


Did a little work on "Waltz" -- not my best work, I'm afraid, and I'm still not happy with the middle verse, which needs to be split up and expanded. But it'll get there, even if "there" turns out to be well-deserved obscurity somewhere in my filkbook.

The real high point of the day, looking back, was reading a (locked; sorry) post by [ profile] _amethyst_fire_ and corresponding enough via comments to plan on getting together during our Seattle trip next month! Amy isn't one of my children, but it feels that way sometimes.

mdlbear: (nike)

Yesterday's party was rather low-key; more like a slightly extended Wednesday. Too many conflicts with graduations -- we'll probably want to move it back to the first weekend in June or the weekend after Baycon.

I spent almost the entire time out in the living room with laptop and guitar; the lights didn't get turned on in the office until well after 9pm. (I did retreat to the office, late in the evening, to sing QV to [ profile] dimakoi, because she was the only one who hadn't heard it at that point, and there was a loud discussion going on nearby.)

I spent some time noodling, some time checking LJ, and sang Quiet Victories four times and The River times. Almost all of the rest of the time was spent talking with whoever was in one of the chairs next to me. As with last Wednesday, these conversations tended to be a bit deeper and more personal than usual. Having QV to talk about provided a bit of focus.

Reaction to QV was favorable, of course, and occasionally fascinating. One woman (Mary, WINoLJ) who had read the lyrics online looked at me with surprise and said something to the effect of "I'm shifting gears here -- it's not sad at all!" That was the reaction I wanted. I get a lot of tears, but that song isn't meant to be tragic, but triumphant. It's a victory march, after all.

Late in the evening I spent some time working out the chords while talking to [ profile] tetralizard. It's a little unusual this time because I know the chords from having lived so long with the melody haunting me.


Woke up this morning at 4:30; gave up trying to get back to sleep about 5:30. *Sigh* Colleen wished me a happy Father's Day, and gave me a little snuggle, around 6:30 before going back to sleep.

I really miss my Dad.


2007-11-04 08:42 pm
mdlbear: (rose)

I was talking on the phone with Mom this evening; she mentioned that yesterday would have been her 65th anniversary, if Dad were still alive.

I told her that I mention her whenever the subject of breast cancer comes up -- she had her surgery in 1953 and 1966. Hang in there!

I don't suppose it's entirely a coincidence that I've been listening to a sermon on grief that I got from this post by [ profile] gmcdavid, is it?

mdlbear: (rose)

Rather than hop in the car and drive to my usual walking trail this morning, I got my hat and water bottle out of the trunk and headed over to the Rose Garden a little before 10am.

The air was cool and a little moist -- just right for walking, unlike yesterday's heat. It was a good walk. Encountered a huge crowd of people going the other way around the garden; many were wearing T-shirts that proclaimed them members of the Rose Garden Dog Walking Club. Fun!

I took two turns around the garden (about half a mile, which brings the total up to about three for the walk), then went inside to look, as always, at the Royal Amethyst blooming a little inside the front gate. Feeling a little more nostalgic than usual, I wandered around for a while and sat for a few minutes on one of the benches, content to spend a few minutes gazing at beauty and not thinking about much of anything.

Came back to find that my kids had given me a Father's Day card, and I got a truly wonderful French press/coffee mug from the [ profile] chaoswolf. Altogether a delightful Father's Day so far.

mdlbear: (space colony) Books | Back to the future
Staring out of my window in Manhattan's East Village the other day, it struck me suddenly that the street scene below did not differ in any significant way from how it would have looked in 1967. Maybe even 1947. Oh, the design of automobiles has changed a bit, but combustion-engine-propelled ground-level vehicles are still how we get around, as opposed to flying cars or teleportation. Pedestrians trudge along sidewalks rather than swooshing along high-speed moving travelators. And even in hipster-friendly New York, most people's clothes and hair don't look especially outlandish. From the trusty traffic meters and sturdy blue mailboxes to the iconic yellow taxis and occasional cop on horseback, 21st century New York looks distressingly nonfuturistic. For a former science science fiction fanatic like me, this is brutally disappointing.
(From this post by [ profile] folkmew.)

I wrote this song [mp3] in late 1998 while my father, who introduced me to science fiction, was dying of cancer, and the new millennium was looking more like a nightmare than a fantasy. Grump -- I think I need to go out for a walk.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

I spent much of the week wondering what to ask for as a Father's Day present. I don't really need much; the tendency in this family is to buy things when we need them rather than waiting for special occasions. All I really wanted was to be able to wish my Dad a happy Father's Day; he died in 1999.

So rather than asking for some stupid object to add to the household clutter, I decided somewhere around Thursday to do something with the kids. Spend Father's day being a father -- what a concept! It's complicated by the fact that the kids don't like museums much, which is one of my favorite family outings. But they still enjoy the zoo, so that's where we're going.

As soon as they wake up.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Every couple of months our lab has a Patent Review Committee meeting to determine which of the crazy brilliant ideas we researchers have come up with in the interim are worth throwing vast quantities of expensive lawyer time at in order to turn the clear, subtle prose of our technical reports into the opaque, obfuscatory ravings of patent applications. Or something like that. All the managers are on the committee, of course, along with the other higher-ups, an outside consultant, and a lawyer. Also one token guest researcher. It's a rotating position, and I was it. In part, I suppose, because I didn't have any disclosures being evaluated this time around.

This was my second time as guest committee member; the evaluation form was recently revised, and much improved. These things always put me in a difficult moral position -- I think the patent system is broken, especially in the matter of software patents (and let's not even mention business models, user interfaces, and file formats). Oh, wait. Right.

The astute reader will note that the fact that I disapprove of software patents hasn't prevented me from acquiring ten of the despicable things. (One of those isn't strictly a software patent. But it's mostly software, so I can still feel disgusted about it.) Or keep me from evaluating other peoples' patent proposals. Fairly, I hope. Some of today's batch could actually turn out to be valuable. As for the file format and user interface, well... I understand somebody recently was issued a patent for a transportation device that, when you finally fought your way through the patent verbiage, turned out to have been the wheel. I don't think he's bothered trying to enforce it -- some little problem about prior art -- but I'll bet that plaque looks great on his wall.

The plaque hanging on my office wall goes with this one.

mdlbear: (rose)

On the East Coast it is already February 5th, and pretty close to the time my father died, seven years ago. I still miss him. At first I'd reach for the phone almost every day, wanting to tell him the latest interesting news from work or home. I still, once or twice a week, find myself reading something on the web and wishing I could share it with him. Dad introduced me to folk music, science, electronics, science fiction, computers, Radio Row in New York, ...

Sorry; I can't seem to find anything suitable to say. I should put dinner in the fridge and go to bed.

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