Saturday, January 24, 2009

Try as I might to multitask, sometimes that is not possible. Often as I write my blog I either listen to radio or TV as a backdrop to my work. When I started my blog today I put on Radio 2 and there was an audio documentary airing about Frank Zappa. I ended up putting my blog aside as it captured all of my attention in this last hour.

The documentary was titled "Music of Frank Zappa". I copied the following from the CBC web site promo for your benefit: "The genre didn't matter-rhythm and blues, do-wop, jazz, classical- Frank Zappa embraced them all and folded them all into his own compositions. Frank Zappa made popular music that was challenging, and serious music that was listenable; to him there was only one type of music, good music; there was only one audience, all of us; and there was only one time, the present. "

It is mostly comprised of close friends, family and musical collaborators in conversation with the host. They recounted how he worked, interesting things about the music and personal details about the man himself. They also played a selection of his music either in whole or pieces to illustrate a discussion point that was being raised. His music is music you can't be doing anything else while it is playing - unlike other music which can be a nice backdrop. I had no idea he was such a well regarded composer of music. From listening to his songs one realizes that he was very inventive, but there are many other noteworthy qualities associated with his compositional genius. They talked about definitive "Zappa cords" and also some of the other compositions which were not recorded by him but were the result of his creative musical genius.

This is the second of a 3 part series. I think I will try and catch the other 2.
You can hear all of the Zappa documentary on the Inside The Music audio archives page at:

It's Saturday and I am so glad for the weekend! It was an adjustment getting back to work, but I will admit that I like the routine of somewhere to go each day and the challenge to my brain as I try to ensure that my client sees value in what they pay me. As a contract worker I am in a situation which holds a whole lot of uncertainty as a contract reaches an end or (in the case right now with my RBC client) if there are indications that they may not need my services too much longer. People hire me to manage IT Projects and that means a finite life for the job - each project has an end date. At that point I go hunting for something new. Usually not a big deal - my job is in demand. I have been fortunate to get quite a few longer term contracts, but that of course is the luck of the draw.

In the current environment it might not be as easy to find another job. The big project I had been managing for RBC over the last year and a half finished in November. They really want to keep me around and so they have found me something small to keep me busy and they are looking internally to find a bigger project so that they could have me fully utilized. Given the economic climate of frugal spending IT projects are being cancelled everywhere, including RBC. So it may be that in a week or two they will give me the news that they have nothing to keep me busy and I will be hitting the pavement with the rest of the unemployed until I find something. I do have a bit of a cushion put aside in case there is a layover between contracts, so it is not as catastrophic as might be for others less careful. Having said that, I would prefer to continue working without interruption as it allows retirement to stay in sight and not recede into the distance as a goal accompanied by a fear that it will not ever be in sight. Lets hope I hear good news from RBC over the next week or two.

I thought it about time I gave everyone an update on the progress of my recovery from my eye surgery. Looking not bad, if I do say so myself! With a bit of makeup you can't tell that my eyelids are still a bit bruised, particularly with my glasses on. You don't really notice that they are swollen. I am happy that they are no longer red rimmed and irritated. I look forward with great anticipation over what they might look like at the 6 week point!

I had promised another instalment of my travelogue from my December Cruise. However that is going to have to wait until tomorrow. I have a long list of "To Do's" for today, the most important of which is catching up with some bookkeeping the tax man requires I do. I have decided that if I can put in a good 4 hours on this I will reward myself with time mapping out some creative projects I have in mind. One is a submission to CBC's "Canada Writes" contest. They are seeking submissions of entries of 200 words in one of 5 categories. The contest closes on Feb 7th, so I need to figure out what categories I will enter (one is blogging and for sure Iwill send a blog entry to them). I will let you know what I can come up with.
So, onward with other stuff - time is marching!

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