30 September, 2017

The Delivery (pianissimo, part 2)

Part one of "pianissimo" argued that moving a piano is an art. With many works of art, there is a particular scene, or moment, or passage that comes to embody the greater work. A part that symbolizes the whole. For me, the sight of a grand piano flying above a small San Francisco skyline was that moment.

Let's take a step back. "Pianissimo" is the story of how my friends' cherished piano made it from their old home to their new one. So how does this scene fit into the big picture?

12 September, 2017

Timber, Day 2: Jenga

In the first day-two post, we got the tree down to a height short enough that we could fell the remainder all at once. All that was left was to make it happen.

Because trees widen near the base, Matt planned to switch his standard saw to a longer bar and chain to get some extra reach. That plan had to change once he discovered that the longest chain he could find wasn't quite long enough for the bar he needed. Plan B was to fire up an old Husqvarna 3120XP that Mark had previously acquired for his chainsaw mill. It hadn't run in awhile, but some coaxing and old timer magic got it up and running.

31 August, 2017

Wherefore Art Thou…? Contemplations on the nature of art

A few weeks ago, I watched a performance by the Top Shelf Big Band, directed by my friend Robert. I loved it. Hearing big band music takes me back to my flute-playing days in middle school band, when a love for the music compelled our director to sprinkle a little swing into our standard diet of classical and pep band music.

During the concert, I danced my way around the venue, taking photos when the mood struck. And other members of the audience were movin' too, sometimes standing to hit the dance floor as soon as they heard Robert announce certain upcoming songs.

31 July, 2017

pianissimo: How to move a piano (part 1)

Part of the magic of a piano is that they are always surrounded by art. Designing them is an art. Playing them is an art. Recording them is an art. Tuning them is an art. And, it turns out, moving them is an art as well. Recently, I was able to watch as a grand piano was moved from a San Francisco apartment to a house. As always, it was enlightening to watch people who were experienced in the art.

As I noted in "Timber!", tools and infrastructure make jobs like this significantly easier, and provide more margin for error. For this move, the movers mounted the piano to a wooden sled (think of a dolly with no wheels), and used the sled as an interface with the world. They let the sled ride down the stairs, and not having to keep the piano off the floor allowed them to focus their efforts on staying centered in the narrow interior staircase, and keeping the descent under control.