Quarters and Ariel

I worry that I am incapable of relaxing. I don’t sleep that much and when awake, I seem to be in a perpetual state of jitters.

Here’s how I deal with it. For time spent at the desk, I put objects in my left hand and spin them around like Baoding balls. A handful of quarters usually does the trick.

photo Quarters in spinning position

If quarters are unavailable, I resort to an old standby, a plastic toy I found buried at the bottom of a cereal box in 2005. I was about to toss it in the trash at the time, but then the phone rang. As the call droned on, I started spinning it in my hand. It was relaxing. I decided to keep it. It’s been on my desk ever since.

Ariel, the standby

Neurotic? Guilty. Of course, reading helps too. It’s nice to wallow in the problems of others instead of your own. But the written word has its downsides too. The only time I can really get away with books is late at night, which means I sleep less, which makes me edgy. So perhaps I would be more relaxed if I only stopped trying to relax? TBD.


I just finished the latest KUHF Fundraiser CD for The Engines of Our Ingenuity (nepotism), my fourth consecutive year doing this project. Unlike previous years, I didn’t spend as much time composing music ahead of time. A large chunk of it was improvised against the dialogue tracks, which came out better than expected. Still, I did manage to compose a few things for the occasion. Here’s one such piece, the intro for an episode on color photography.


I also just finished doing a couple tracks for a new CD by NYC trumpeter Carol Morgan (excited about this one because the CD also has Mike Stern on it). Carol’s a really fine player. I’ll post a link when it comes out.



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