Composition update

Using my key, I entered the music school early this morning and made my way up to the teachers’ lounge, where the cleaning ladies were goofing off, standing around smoking and talking about sports* and deposited the completed notes to my composition in the cubby-hole of my composition workshop advisor, only one month late.

Next step, I guess, is recruit musicians and start rehearsals. A performance is scheduled for 14 May. I hadn’t exactly forgotten about it, it had just seemed so far off when I began.

Now I can get going on all those voice recordings people sent me. If you are still working on a recording for me, it is still not to late to mail it in.

*not really. they are industrious workers and nice people.

Beginning, middle, etc etc

About playing the cello: something I read a while ago gave me the idea that a note is not, as I had previously thought, a dot on a page with a lot of other dots, but rather that one can break it down further upon closer examination, into a beginning, a middle, and an end. Since then, when playing, I think about that occasionally.
It doesn’t actually help, or it hasn’t so far, but it does make me think about my bowing, and I find it somehow encouraging to take this micro-view of each note and have the feeling that it will end up helping.
Most of the time, though, when I play, I’m still all, For god’s sake, look at all these notes! And I’m always like that in orchestra rehearsals.
I mentioned this micro-view of notes to my cello teacher and I had the feeling he wasn’t deeply impressed by it. He seems to tend more in the other direction, seeing a piece as phrases and arcs of music instead of individual notes, which also totally makes sense to me.
I wonder whether I’m just screwing myself up with this note anatomy thing.

Do not trust his lies

Aghast at the fact that one can feel quite solid in one’s identity but, when pressed, realize one has forgotten vast sequences of the past or, if not forgotten, require a great deal of reminding before something, some sensation of recall begins to shimmer even faintly, like a word on the tip of the tongue, he drove down the freeway in his father-in-law’s Fiat Doblo, the very one he himself had complained about for so long; he drove in the traffic at night, after hurrying home from work and finishing packing and stowing everything into the back of the car and changing clothes and hurrying down the road to join his family (who had left a few days earlier to ski, since he had less vacation time) for an Easter vacation, eager to hear in greater detail about Gamma’s miraculous explosion of ski talent — having gone in just 4 hours instruction from a cautious snowplower to fearless and faster than all but her older sister — and maybe pick up a couple pointers he could use in his own life on exploding talent; he drove and enjoyed the spaciousness of the Doblo interior and how easily it handled and the smooth ride, and wondered why he had ever given it up, and what had irritated him so much about it; he wondered and drove and got out his mobile phone and called his wife and asked her to ask his father-in-law, who was with her, and who was a retired automobile mechanic, what else it might mean when the battery warning light came on on the dash besides the battery is not being charged, due to a broken alternator or bad fan belt and whether it would be wise to continue his journey to see them that night or whether it would be more prudent to turn around and try again with a different car the following morning, due to considerations like fatigue, and the battery going dead and losing headlights in the middle of nowhere and perhaps breaking down altogether and so on.

His wife said his father-in-law said it should be okay, a diesel runs fine once it’s started even with out the battery, which had not been the precise concern but whatever. Then she called back a minute later to say, turn around after all, you never know, so he did and the cats were happy to see him when he got home and he transferred luggage and took his own car the next day. His back was bad so no one skiied while he was there. Instead, they went for a walk in a nearby nature park and looked at cranes and geese and where beavers had chewed everything. Another day they went to Salzburg, a pretty town full of stuffy old robots and dedicated to shamelessly flogging the hide of Mozart to tourists, even though he (Mozart) had been happy to leave Salzburg back in the day.

They did some other stuff, and then they returned home and listened to the in-laws’ story of their own drive home, and how they had been so relieved to finally get home, after narrowly missing a 5-car pile up in the snow on the freeway, only to find the tortoise on its back in the kitchen in the center of its latest Jackson-Pollock-inspired large-format shit painting, perhaps exhausted by its burst of creativity.

The tortoise is fine now, though.

Hive mind

[Players looking for clues to The Lost Ring]
Saw on boingboing that Jane McGonigal has a new ARG going. The concept of the hive mind is fascinating, and Ms. McGonigal has some interesting things (pdf) to say about it.
This new game, The Lost Ring, sounds fun, I love the idea of the multi-lingual, world-wide stuff, as you know, but I don’t think I’ll be delving too deeply in this particular one. First of all, I’m too busy with other stuff right now, and second, McDonalds is involved. Third, although I grok the peaceful, uniting goals of the Olympic games, I hope they turn out to be an embarassment for China, and wonder how McGonigal can sleep at night, and how she justifies her involvement with that particular business partner, even indirectly, given what is presently going on in Tibet, and whether she’ll have anything to say about that at some point.

[Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao says lost ring stolen, hidden in Tibet]

Hearing things

My family is away on vacation this week. I’ll join them in a few days. Just me and the cats and the turtle tortoise right now.

My wife and my youngest daughter have had the feeling that Mr. Evil (Lio) is haunting us. I suppose it’s because it’s been hard for us to let go of him. We were more attached to him than we thought. Than I thought, anyway.

They’ve heard him making the funny meow he made, or moving his dish around downstairs like he used to do.

Last night, alone in bed in the empty house, I heard it. The dish.

Maybe it was the tortoise. Maybe we have mice.

Still, I yelled for Lio to come upstairs where I could see him. He didn’t come, though.

He never did come when you called. So it could have been him.

Left to my own devices, I’d be crazy as a shithouse rat inside of a week.

On the scientific method

I have been engaging in research these past weeks. It involves the application of the scientific method – that is, deep thought coupled with stroking one’s chin, while wearing glasses and a lab coat – to everyday life, and the improvement of the conditions thereof.

Also, I have been working on identifying specific things to change, and developing hypotheses about how best to bring about this change, and then testing the hypotheses, rather than, as previously, wishing for a lottery win, or for certain people to be struck by lightning.

I will provide an example. Problem: Subject feels, and looks, like hell. Solution: lose ten pounds, for starters. People generally look better when they lose ten pounds, unless they are already too skinny, which is not the case here. And when they look better, they feel better, as a rule.

Continue reading

RIP Mr. Evil

Our kitten died last night. He was in the street in front of our house when I got home. Now I understand what people mean when they say they didn’t believe their eyes. I could not believe what I saw, that it was him and that he was dead. I carried him into the backyard and set him down carefully by the apple tree. Then I went inside and told Alpha, then I told Gamma. Then I changed my clothes, and we went outside and put him into a shoebox. Gamma held a flashlight while I dug a hole. She put a note into the box with him, and we buried him.

Gamma is the saddest. She gave him both his names, Mr. Evil and his real name, Lio. They were close pals and she took care of him and defended him when he was naughty, and he liked to sleep on her bed. We’ll all miss him.