They say a blog is read by one person on average, which is the blog author himself. This is probably especially true when there are very few new entries, as for my blog, but still a dozen people per day read my articles, even though the last one was published in early December last year. Which reminds me to say Happy New Year to those who read this and who I might have forgotten to send a Happy New Year message to.
I’ve been so silent for two reasons mainly:
- Sun Microsystems was acquired by Oracle on January 26.
- I bought an apartment on January 25.
Getting acquired is always stressful. I know what I’m talking about because MySQL, the company I had been working for for five years, got acquired by Sun in 2008. Now Oracle purchased Sun, but this time it was much more painful because the acquisition was announced in April 2009, but we had to wait nine months before it actually went through. For us MySQLers at Sun, this meant working under extreme uncertainty (like for everyone else at Sun), and it didn’t make it easier to know that MySQL was the very reason why it took the EU commission so long to approve the deal. Well, we’ve started joining Oracle now (Germany will do so only in July, from what we know today), but those first couple of weeks are challenging. So, it was „waiting stress“ first, followed by „integration stress“, which has had an impact on my immune system. I can’t remember having had so many colds in so few months like this winter. And it was a long and hard winter … Anyways, I’m happy to know that the MySQL Documentation Team (which I’m leading) is still relevant at/for Oracle, and that we’ll likely remain part of the MySQL engineering department, as we’ve always been. So, for us, change means things will go on the same crazy way as before. People still jump on us for this and that reason, which I consider a good sign, since it means they actually care about the stuff we’re doing. This means we’re relevant, and so is the work I’m doing.
Now we all know that life is a bitch. Rather than letting me take care of one big thing at a time, two big things happened at the same time. The other big thing here was that, after one year and four months of looking for a new home, we finally found one almost exactly at the same time when the Oracle acquisition happened. I’m certainly not the happy-go-lucky kind of guy who can make a fortune out of virtually nothing, nor have I been the lucky heir of a fortune. So I had to find a place inexpensive enough to afford it. The place we found is an apartment in an urban villa in Lichterfelde West in the south-western part of Berlin. I’d definitely love to own the whole house on the picture above, but in reality we purchased one of six apartments there, which is located on the ground floor and the basement on the left side of the main entrance. Well, I won’t complain – my home recording studio will be in the basement, much better than having neighbors above and below. We bought the apartment at a ridiculously low price, but, of course, that came at a price. The house is in good shape, but the apartment itself was a ruin. To turn it into something we can live in, we’re investing a few ten thousand Euros. Normally, in this part of town, you’d pay 2.5 times more than we did, and when we’re done with the restoration, it would still be 1.5 times more. So it’s a good deal, but at the cost of a lot of hours spent to plan and coordinate the works. If you’re interested in the gory details (and many colorful pictures of dust and debris, to whet/spoil your appetite), look here. Anyways, moving there (in April, hopefully) will be very relevant for my family and me: It’s closer to school (Finn has just been accepted at Lennart’s school, so both boys will go there) – when they’re older, they’ll be able to go there with an 8-minute bus ride and another 8 minutes of walking through a park. My home office will be in the apartment, rather than just very close to it, which both has disadvantages and advantages, but I consider the pros more significant than the cons. We won’t have more space than we currently have, but it will be distributed in a better way. And I’ll have a dedicated space for my home recording studio, which will be a five meters walk away from my office. (I currently have no home recording studio at all, in case you were wondering.) The house is located next to a busy main street, but it has a backyard which is fairly quiet. The boys already love it, and I’m confident we’ll have a lot of fun there, turning the garage into a workshop for setting up and inventing all kinds of things. Finn (almost 6) would like to invent a machine that can take us to the frontiers of spacetime, so we can create a black hole there that evolves into a big bang that creates a new universe. This sounds ambitious, but we’ll try, anyway. (Not sure what the neighbors will say, though.) Lennart (8) is a bit more realistic regarding short-term plans: He’d like us to rebuild the ebb-and-flow installation that we saw at the Waloseum in 2008. It will take some time, but we certainly can do that. So our new home is relevant in many aspects, and will become even more so once we’ve moved there.
Now for the music. This keeps driving me crazy. In my last blog post long ago, I’ve outlined the main ideas about what I’m planning to do. In the meantime, I’ve done quite some research on technical things, mostly regarding the home recording studio equipment needed. I’ve discussed various aspects in forums, via phone talks with vendors, and so forth. I think I have a pretty good idea now what to buy first to get started – if I have any money left after the restoration of our new home, that is. I also have Luminita’s mail address now, but prior to asking her for permission to use her lyrics for my songs, I’d like to be able to point her to something I’ve recorded. Maybe I should just buy a video camera and record some of my stuff just like Katie did, but then again the songs I’m writing are meant to be performed by a rock band (uhm, I think I meant to say chamber orchestra rather than rock band), and also I don’t look half a cute as Katie does. In any case, YouTube has just started featuring a channel four „house music“, so it looks like the time is right to start something here. In spite of turning 52 soon, I think my music is relevant today. I’ve been performing music since 1965, which is not an argument but a statement that there’s more behind it than just me practicing 250 years of Johann Sebastian Bach’s pieces on the piano: Whenever I play an A major chord an the guitar (which any guitar player would agree is the most basic thing you can do) it’s like 45 years of active music history popping up in my mind and my ears. Maybe that’s relevant, maybe it’s not. I’d really love Katie to sing some of my songs, because some of them are meant to be sung by a good looking female vocalist, rather than a not so good looking male one. And, of course, I need Luminita’s permission to use her lyrics. I think I can write good tunes, and I also think that some of my poems are quite good, but I’ve never been able to combine my poems and my tunes into something I liked. Using Luminita’s poems and Katie’s voice seems like exactly the right thing to do. But Luminita is in Romania, and Katie is in the U.S., so this doesn’t seem to be particularly easy to accomplish. But, as always, I’ll keep trying by implementing and improving things steps by step.
I can always fail, but so what? Building that machine that can take us to the frontiers of spacetime seems much more challenging to me than making my music successful out in the wild, and, with both projects, I think I have many alternatives at hand that might not be half as exciting or ambitious, but might still yield results that I (or Finn and Lennart, for that matter) can live with. – Lennart prefers me to perform hard rock music, for example. Lately, I’ve created music that’s slightly jazzy (although I hate Jazz music), but he makes me realize I should try harder to create rock tunes. I’ve been playing music to him since he was a baby, and have developed a habit to go by his judgement. Lennart has a good musical instinct I think, so if things fail regarding Luminita and Katie, I can stick to his judgement to help me get over that.