An unexpected trip to spend time with my parents, and now I'm trying to recover from a week away from the horn. After a couple of days it starts to come back, but the process is painful.
Starting to think a bit about anatomy of the lips: I'm just curious what the names of the muscles are that I'm trying to train. I'm trying to develop the lips-curled-around-the-teeth thing that M advocates, rather than the just-slap-the-lips-on-the-reed-and-blow thing that I seem to do naturally. There are, unfortunately, a lot of them, and it's not so easy to figure out which ones are controlling the process, and how. Doesn't matter, anyway, you learn faster by listening and trying things.
Did realize on interesting thing, while trying to clean up some flips and junk between notes, working on Milde 4. Going between a B2 and D#3 (ie B to D# in the bass staff), I still had some junk, even when very slowly and precisely moving all fingers simultaneously. But simultaneous movement is, I now realize, wrong: you want the *holes* to change simultaneously. But the Bb key starts to open its holes as soon as you touch the key, whereas opening a hole with a finger may take more motion before it's open, and closing a hole requires completion of the motion. So cleanness requires synchronization of all the mechanical delays to get the pitch to shift cleanly. Nothing for it but more practice, I guess, and focusing on those note transitions.
Another aspect is that, as you speed up, the junk between the notes occupies more of the total time of the note. So you have to be really clean in order to play fast clean. I guess this is why everyone says to practice slowly to play fast. Still, I hope I do end up getting faster at some point.