BREAKING NEWS: Superceding everything I’ve just written below comes the happy news of Ella Kann’s entry into the world! Born at 4:10 PM today to Joe and Carol, Ella weighed in at 6 lbs. 14 oz. and from head to toe measured some 17.5″. Our heartfelt congratulations to the Kanns and our warmest welcome to Ella!

[And now some less interesting and less important comments about my week….]

We’ve been out and about and doing things for the last week since the Lillys arrived. On Sunday we went to the Starrs in Portland, and had one of those mighty Lilly clan get-togethers with some 19 people including four pint-size folks. It goes without saying that Jonah enjoyed this immensely (as did we). Adam and Nena’s twins, Lucy and Noor, along with Jonah’s cousin Jared provided a lot of entertainment for the assemblage.

On Monday, we toured the Washington Park Zoo in Portland. We went in the afternoon, so a lot of the bigger animals were sleeping, but good performances were turned in by the giraffes, the elephants, the monkeys, the lorikeets, and the goats. Jonah seemed equally pleased regardless of creature, indicating either that he didn’t want to play favorites or that he we wasn’t paying enough attention. I don’t think it was the latter.

Jonah also did a lot of following around Jared which proved inspiring for all of us. For the adults I think it was mainly that it meant we didn’t have to carry Jonah up the zoo’s rather steep elevation change. Truly, though, 4 year old Jared provided a wonderful example for Jonah, and probably pushed along Jonah’s development nicely. Certainly he didn’t hurt it any!

After the zoo, the group dropped me off at my soccer game then headed to Burgerville for dinner. Thus they missed the first goal of the game, a very nice header by yours truly. Happily, by the time of their return (late in the second half), they were on hand to see my break away goal which I slotted nicely in the corner. Ironically, despite my two goals I had a relatively dreadful game, a fact I’m attributing to being exhausted by all the walking at the zoo. Obviously this beats blaming myself for, you know, my own failures.

On Tuesday, our neighbors Abby and Cindy came over and made sugar cookies with Erin, Liz, and the boys while Bernard and I worked on the remodeling. Bernard deserves more praise and thanks than I’m capable of giving in this space for his hard work. The master bedroom is almost completely ready for painting and the smaller bedroom will only take me a couple hours to put it in the same state. If all goes well, we should be painting within a week’s time. After a lovely lunch at Amadeus Café—a highly recommended Salem eatery—we headed to Keizer for a Volcanoes baseball game. The home team lost by one run, but the game entertained, and the minor league baseball experience continues to be a favorite.

Today’s wait around for the train offered us just the latest example of Amtrak buffonery. I used the Internet to track the train all the way down from Seattle and at no point was the choo-choo more than 15 minutes behind schedule. Indeed, the last peek at the web site indicated an on time arrival. So we got to the very pleasant Salem Amtrak station and waited for two hours for the train to arrive. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Amtrak’s a great way to travel as long as you don’t care about time. In other words, you’ll be late at virtually every possible opportunity. Still, we had as good a time as is possible hanging out together at the station, and Jonah and Jared were plenty entertaining in the interim. Our thanks again to the Lillys and cousin Jared for their wonderful visit!

At the end of the day I pushed forward with my summer computer purchasing plans. I’ve now ordered a boatload of gear in the last few days. The stuff serves one of two purposes: First, it’s designed to make my music studio so awesome that I become an almost unessential element to my album’s success. (I know some of you are asking how that changes what’s already going on.) Second,’s production environment is about to get a huge shot in the arm.

The specifics: The Power Mac 7600, Zephyr, will add two 160 GB 7200 rpm 8 MB buffer ATA/100 drives, a Sonnet Tempo Trio PCI card (ATA hard drive controller, 2 USB, 2 FireWire), and a MOTU Fastlane 2-in 2-out USB MIDI interface. Zephyr’s already got a Sonnet G4/700, so speedwise we should be OK. After everything is upgraded for Digital Performer 3, I’ll be removing Mac OS X from the machine and taking Zephyr off the LAN and off the Internet. It will be a dedicated music station.

I’ve ordered two sound cards for my Roland XP-80 keyboard. Keyboards of the ’60s and ’70s has, among other things, a really cool set of B3 organ samples, which is a tone I just never grow tired of. I’ve also added Bass & Drums, an expansion card that has better stuff than the XP-80s built-in samples. Best of all, slapping these expansion board in the XP-80 and getting up to speed on everything should be a very small learning curve. (“Sound good? OK!”)

Finally, I’ve ordered a 15″ PowerBook G4 1.5-GHz with almost all the bells and whistles. 128 MB of video RAM. 80 GB 5400 rpm hard drive. Super Drive. Airport Extreme. Backlit keyboard. I didn’t get more than the standard 512 MB of RAM because Apple’s price on RAM frequently crosses the border of silly by several hundred dollars. I’ll be adding at least another gig of RAM by the end of the year in addition to the 3-year AppleCare warranty. Because I was feeling loose with money I also added an extra power adapter so I don’t have to plug and unplug everything just to haul the PowerBook out on assignment. It’s a small thing, and maybe not worth the extra $71 it cost, but it makes me happy so what the heck. When you’re blowing open the piggy bank you might as well make sure that you’re getting what you really want.

So along with the PowerBook I’m getting one of the new 20″ Apple Cinema Displays. I’d say that this is a monster display—and it is compared to the mediocre Compaq 15″ I’m typing this on—but Apple’s also got a 23″ and a 30″. Both of those were obviously out of the budget. I’m sure I shall be contented with the new LCD monitor’s 1680 x 1050 widescreen resolution since the current 1024 x 768 borders on tolerable for me. (Sure not easy to create web sites on though!)

While I was in Check Out at the online Apple Store I discovered that Apple and Hewlett-Packard were offering a $100 rebate (with purchase of a Mac) on some of HP’s printers. So I’m getting an HP PSC 2175 multifunction printer too. It does scanning, copying, printing (b&w, color, text, photos), and seems like it will be a good addition to the HP LaserJet 4MP I’ve had for almost 15 years. After the rebate it only cost $80, so given that the epinions and reviews were mostly excellent, I thought I’d go for it.

All this gear will begin showing up in the next few days, but if you’re curious as to what I’m most interested in seeing, check out the breaking news at the top of this entry.