Wednesday, November 21, 2012

HISTORICAL POST: December 3, 2003

DECEMBER 3. Moments ago, Beff called and began the conversation in a dry voice: "You haven't updated your website." So now the secret is out. I do this NEWS thing weekly partly for my own ego, partly for the entertainment of you, dear reader, but mostly so that calls from Beff begin, "Hi, it's me." Which is actually inaccurate: even being on the Do Not Call list, all the charities with their hands out and EVERY company with whom we've done business feel free to call at all hours, and whenever I calculate that THIS call must be Beff, I always guess wrong. No panacea, this Do Not Call list. Note to exterminator who got rid of mouse last spring: try your best not to leave scripted messages about the dangers of ladybug infestations this time of year on my valuable answering machine tape. But, oh dear, I seem to have gone rather far afield. Usually what Beff says when she calls (radiated around the house from a tinny speaker) is "Oh, Davy ..... Davy ..... DAYYYY-VEEEEE. ..... Are you there?" If I'm gone, I get to hear that all later, followed by, "...... hmmph. I guess you're not there. Well anyway."

Breakfast this morning was a big coffee from South Street Mahkit and a blueberry muffin. Lunch was a tossed salad and Buffalo wings at the brick oven pizza place in town. Dinner will be something using mesquite grilled chicken -- sandwiches, for instance. Last night's dinner was a large bowl of Trader Joe's miso soup and a bunch of pepponcinis and jalapeno-stuffed olives, as I was improvising before going into Brandeis for a concert. More on that later, if I remember. LARGE PURCHASES for the week included lunch for four at the Korean restaurant in town, MFA tickets, Norton Antivirus for Mac, and a bunch of stuff at Filene's Basement, as will be detailed below.

Last Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, I was waffling as to whether I would take a Logan Express bus in to meet Stacy and Joe at the airport, or drive in. News reports in the late afternoon spoke of amazing travel crushes going north and west from early in the day. But by 5:00, the Massport website reported smooth sailing into and through the airport, and I decided to drive -- thus spending $17 in parking and tolls instead of $44 in parking and bus tickets. The hour and a half drive I expected took 40 minutes, and the airport was virtually deserted -- leaving me plenty of time to walk from terminal to terminal and try to ignore the incredibly bad muzak coming from the speakers everywhere (oboe is the wrong instrument to play the melody in California Dreaming. I mean, really). Stacy and Joe took ATA, an airline which barely registers a blip on the Logan Airport website, and which, as it turns out, has its very own ONE gate at Logan Aiport terminal B. It was easy to find them, and the drive home was a breeze. And we had beer.

Thanksgiving went as planned, and over time the thrice chocolate cake was inhaled by our guests. We dispensed with the turkey leftovers by Saturday morning, thankfully (which means we threw them away). Stacy took a bunch of arty shots of the stove and the bushes in the backyard with the digital camera (some of which might show up below) while I was cooking. And hey, frozen Trader Joe's asparagus turns out to be pretty good. Friday we commuter railed into Boston to do Filene's basement, the MFA, and Legal Seafoods. Filene's was having a special scratch ticket promotion wherein you were given one when you entered the basement which would give you a random discount at the register if you purchased by noon. Beff and I chose a black dress shirt, a gray dress shirt, a hooded sweatshirt type of thing, and a new bathrobe for me, and our scratch ticket yielded a 25% discount. Meanwhile, Stacy bought socks. At the MFA we saw furniture, Egyptian and Asian art, and musical instruments. And at Legal Seafood I got the wood grilled tuna meal. Saturday we took a tourist type visit to the big graveyard in Concord, and then shopped a bit in West Concord, after which we dined on Korean, and I took them to the airport.

The teaching week was short and barely head hurty at all -- last day of classes was yesterday, though I went in today to teach makeup lessons. In theory, we decided on Monday as bowling and pizza day, I played some Mozart as sonata form archetypes, and then made them listen to modern music -- mine. In orchestration we watched some Looney Tunes shorts to identify the orchestration. And in case any reader thought they sensed the sky falling, yes, Maxwell came to his lesson at his scheduled time for the SECOND week in a row! Yesterday I got in early to make a full-size copy of my Dream Symphony onto good paper in order finally to send it to Mario Davidovsky, whose 70th birthday it celebrates. If "celebrates" is the appropriate word here. After three good lessons, I drove to Staples on the corner of Routes 9 and 27 in Natick to get a large size binding for the symphony, and waited rather a long time, as a very nice guy was very meticulous about lining things up. And then I mailed the score to Mario from the Stow post office, after checking with the bowling alley that they would be open next Monday afternoon. (they will be: in fact, in a composition booklet that they seem to use for scheduling, they wrote in "Rakowski. 3:30. 8-10 students" in the middle of a sea of white space)

And last night I went to the student chamber music concert, music by Poulenc, Schubert, Wolf, Schumann, and Debussy. Yes, every one of them dead, but some of them for longer than others (for instance, did you know that Schubert has been dead 1,225 dog years?). Incredibly, every performance was very good, some moreso than others. It's nice to find out that our undergraduates can actually play, and sing. I told someone that the Poulenc songs sounded like "Faure with a headache," and I had to explain what I meant by that. Whatever happened to self-congratulatory, witty repartee?

They that make weather an inexact science are making the forecast for this weekend extremely inexact. The forecast has ranged from light rain to light wintry mix to Snow/Rain to Snow/Wind to (the current) Snow Showers for Saturday and Snow/Wind for Sunday. Problem is, that's the time of the Women Composers Festival at Brandeis, and I am obligated by duty to hear the graduate student concert on Saturday afternoon, and also the "gala" concert on Saturday evening, on which the composition contest winners' pieces are played -- and I know them both. In fact winner Ellen Harrison -- whom I know from the MacDowell Colony in 1995 -- plans to stay with us Saturday night. If there is a big storm, all bets are off. Plus, there is the issue -- rather soon in the season -- of Beff being able to drive back to Maine on Sunday. So the high temp went from upper 50s on Friday to 23 yesterday. I SO desperately want to teach in Florida until I remember there's no culture there and a Republican governor. Or in California, until I remember the government is broke, energy prices are skyrocketing, and a cartoon character who is also a Republican is governor. Or in Arizona until I remember that our house was built before it was a state.

Bly continues to act strange, weird, and pathetic. How does a cat who craves no attention deal with being the center of it? Oh my goodness, I just wrote a poem. He comes in early now, and meows pathetically about who knows what. And he is so often in SCRATCH MY CHIN OOH I LOVE THAT AAGH GET AWAY FROM ME mode. But then again, that's always been normal for him.

Beff's electric shovel arrived. We shall see if it is useful for her. I have my doubts.

Friday I take the Corolla in for the 30,000 mile service, and in the morning I see Seungah for a dissertation consultation. Then Beff gets home around lunch time. Meanwhile, I shall take the opportunity tomorrow to get the pizza ingredients. More and more, students seem to marvel that someone can make pizza from scratch -- ten years ago, I always made pizza for my undergraduate classes at Columbia, where the response was, "made from scratch? Cool!" instead of "made from scratch? You can still do that?"

REALITY CHECK my theory students were, mostly, born the year I started doing crappy work for Educational Testing Service after graduate school, and also the year I wrote the first movement of SLANGE. Oy.

Today's pictures begin with Stacy and Joe at breakfast on Saturday morning -- that is a flexitone that appears to be growing from Joe's head. Next, a stove picture and an asparagus picture, both taken by Stacy, on Thanksgiving day. Next, Bly sleeping on the couch as a prism shines on him, and a detail from a gravestone in Concord. Finally, a 360 degree pan of the Concord graveyard, flattened.

<360-degree pan not found>

Friday, November 16, 2012

November 16, 2012

Breakfast was a multigrain bagel with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and lowfat cream cheese. Dinner last night was 96% fat free cheeseburgers and salad. Lunch was Buffalo fries and some Hungarian goulash. Temperature extremes since last update 22.6 and 66.6. Music Going Through My Head as I Type This Mind the Gap Large Expenses since Last Update hôtel in Saratoga Springs, $74; Christmas gifts, $630; Pickles from PickleLicious and The Pickle Guys $129 including shippingCompanies That Have Not Covered Themselves in Glory Holiday Inn Ithaca— breakfast not included, and sl-o-o-o-ow internet.  Companies That Have Covered Themselves in Glory Max London's restaurant in Saratoga — tasty, inexpensive meal! Facepalm All incidental hotel expenses were covered by Ithaca College, and I bought my own lunch there. Pointless Nostalgic Reminiscence My sister had a killa Atala bike when she was in college, and naturally one night it got stolen. It was insured(!), so she was able to get an identical replacement bike. Meanwhile, the actual bicycle thief had been arrested for other things, and her old bike was found and returned to her. Technically, the insurance company owned the bike because they had paid an insurance claim on it, but they said the resale value was too low and the trouble to sell it too expensive, so they let her keep it. I promptly became owner of said bike, at age 12, and when the parents and I took it to a bike shop for a tuneup, the technician looked it over, looked at me, and said, "so you like skidding and doing spinouts!" I denied everything.  Number of Haircuts I got last week 0. Cute Cat Things to Report they get aggressive and start play fighting when I use the Cat Sounds iPad app (there's a sentence that made no sense ten years ago). This week's made-up word stirickage, the study of the visible knots in commercially produced baseball bats. Recommendation and professional letters written since last update 24. Something I did recently for the first time had Ithaca Amber Ale on tap. Yummy! Fun Davy Fact you won't read anywhere else In eighth grade, my allergies tested as cats, feathers, dust, mold, and peanutsPhotos in my iPhoto Library 22,465.What I paid for gasoline recently $3.89 and $3.87 in New York state, $3.69 and $3.67 in Maynard, $3.49 at BJ's. Current projects vernacular dances for piano, 100 préludes for piano, small ensemble piece for Verge Ensemble.  Est! Est! Est! sticky gold stars, the corner of the bedroom, some wainscotting I forgot about, a head of steam.

It is the Friday before Thanksgiving, which means that a mere week from today, it will be the day after Thanksgiving. I like my coffee like I like my days after Thanksgiving: black. But digressing is being done by me, and what it is being, too.

In an unusual turn of events, it is a mere two weeks since my last News post, which means I must be typing in a much more comfy chair, and contextualized by a far, far better operating system. Or is that just me? Yes, I'm in a comfy swivel chair — which means the cats occasionally jump onto the back of my chair and we rub shoulders and they leave fur behind— and I actually like the computer I am using. Especially since it doesn't spend the ten minutes after startup doing fairly loud disk access for mysterious reasons. I have gone on too long. Too long, this going on thing.

As everyone knows, there was an election since the last update. Our yard sign had made us immune from Republican canvassers, and I was glad, for once, to be on the winning side (in 1976 I voted for Ford, in 1980 for Carter, 1984 for Mondale, 1988 for Jesse Jackson and then Dukakis — I didn't vote for a winning presidential candidate until I was 34). Elizabeth Warren, you're no Martha Coakley. Given that the Scott Brown yard signs were in a greater density around here than Elizabeth Warren signs — I'll leave that as a dangling modifier. Which almost sounds like a gangrene modifier, which is much funnier, and way more tragic-sounding. I could Lully myself to sleep with it.

I did not wait up for the election results.

Meanwhile, teaching has been going mostly as it should. Species counterpoint is so two weeks ago, and four-part writing is the new me. This makes for harder grading, but I am so worth it. In orchestration, the strings have all been covered — and Emily Koh, our grad student composer who came in to demonstrate the double bass, played a harmonic with the assistance of her nose. Fun times, and then some. Tori taught the two full classes this week, for reasons soon to be revealed, and she was charged with covering "other" — harp, celesta, tromboon, farm animals, and mouse trap.

Also since the last update there was a Nor'easter, or Northeaster, depending on where you are from and how many hats you have owned in your lifetime. Them what make have now started giving alphabetical names to winter storms as if they were hurricanes, so this was Athena. More dire destruction predicted, with flooding and big gusts, and it pretty much was a non-event. There was a completely unpredicted inch of snow (which was finally predicted, instead of rain, as it was snowing, and the overnight amount upgrade to 3-5 inches, which was off by a factor of 200 to 400 percent). There was no wind of which speaking could be done by any of us, and by the afternoon of the day after — during which time more dire predicted winds failed to show up — all the frozen precip had melted.

Beff was actually at home for a more or less normal weekend — which currently means the opposite of what it means — and we did the usual frolicky stuff, so far as I can tell. Then she had to stay in Bangor for the weekend, and this weekend is a short one, indeed. Indeed, as I type this, she is in the car and on her way, and will be here for less than 24 hours. Why, pray tell, and why, pray tell, do we have the expression "Why, pray tell?"? She's going to San Diego for some sort of quick meetings related to being a music department chair at a state school, and then she'll be back late Monday night. So, and, the, instead of driving back to Maine for a half-Tuesday of teaching and driving back for T'giving with the masses, she will be staying for a six-day weekend. Zounds! Zooks!

Meanwhile, Seung-Ah was in town for a performance, and a rest stop on her way to the Netherlands, so we had lunch at the River Rock Grill, since it is what we did. Beer was ingested by both of us, as were zucchini chips and other various foody foods. Then we stopped eating and started walking. And she drove to the airport, apparently.

So after the less normal weekend, I prepared to go towards Ithaca, New York, since I was set to be the Karel Husa Visiting Professor thing at the School of Music in Ithaca College. For what would be accurately described as too much money, I am to be there twice, in November and April, giving lessons and masterclasses and talking about my music, etc. So packing was done, in the passive voice, by me, scores were put together, many redundant systems assembled (computer, iPod, CDs, etc.).

Plus, my friend Leslie, who lives in Ithaca, and whom I know from Yaddo 2010 is in Ithaca! (see "who lives in Ithaca" earlier in the sentence). Old home week, said I, not knowing what I was talking about. Well, gee it turned out that Leslie was at Yaddo again when I was to be driving Ithacawards, and James, also a homey from Yaddo 2010 was there, too. So I arranged with sis-in-law Ann for a heavily discounted hôtel room in Saratoga Springs on Monday night so the three of us could rêvêl. And rêvêl we dïd!

I looked at Leslie's current work in her studio, we went to Max London's in Saratoga Springs for a very nice dinner and drinks, and took this picture. Well, I took the picture. More pictures were taken at Yaddo, and having them is not being done by me right now. Then back hôtelwards went I, because I had to be in Ithaca by 12 on Tuesday, and rain was coming, and there was the issue of driving through Albany rush hour ...

So when I woke up in the lovely hôtel with fast wi-fi and free breakfast, I saw on the Them What Make page that lots of rain was around, and indeed, even some frozen precip between Albany and Ithaca. Woo hoo! I said, never. I made my way in the dark and in the pouring rain, and in the very thick (already!) traffic making its way headlong towards Albany, all the while white-knuckling it (dark. rain. fast.) until the turnoff for 90 and then 88, at which point nearly all traffic exited and I pretty much had the highway to myself.

At which point I noticed that it was snowing. Woo hoo! again I didn't say. So I maintained a civil speed and enjoyed the genuinely breathtaking mountain view scenery as it got lighter. I also stopped and went to the bathroom, but why am I telling you that?

The GPS was going to be taking me an inland route, so to speak, after my exit from Route 88, and still 65 miles shy of Ithaca. So just before my exit from 88, I exited from 88 in order to get some orange juice, coffee, and a hash brown at MacDonald's in Sidney, New York. They had free wi-fi! So I FaceTimed Beff, who was duly impressed. Her colleague Chip delivered coffee while we were speaking, and he was not at all duly impressed. By this time the snow was long over and there were a few breaks in the clouds.

And so did I do the back roads things to Ithaca, which included twisty roads along gorgeous rolling hills, and people in back of me that were pretty sure I could have been driving faster. I pulled over at one parking area and shaved, with the help of my mirror, and, and, and...

Suddenly the hills stopped rolling and there was a long, long downhill. The GPS said I was 3 miles from my turn, and eventually, well, there was my turn. And so I drove a long, long uphill. People had been telling me for years that Ithaca was hilly, and — not that I didn't believe them — well, they are right. Some of it even Berkeley/Woodside hilly. Eventually I found the campus, parked in Visitor Parking, and made my way to Dana Wilson's office in the fabulously gorgeous School of Music.

The view from the hall outside Dana's office? A finger lake. We're talkin' vistas, baby.

And so. Dana and Jorge Grossmann and I did a simple lunch at a nearby cafeteria, and we talked shop. I mention to Dana that I noticed Louise Mygatt on the faculty rolls, and that I had been a grad student at Princeton with her. He then noted that he had been married to her for 20 years. Wow. The smallness of the world is a) serendipitous b) stupendous c) really round, or d) filled with chocolate. The fate of the universe depends on your answer!

So then the schedule that was scheduled was on schedule, and stuff happened. I did a talk on how I wrote Persistent Memory for the composition seminar; I taught four composition lessons (way fun, I must add), got a ride to the Holiday Inn in downtown and connected to the snail's pace wi-fi, got picked up for dinner at a Southwestern cuisine place (really good, and I got salmon. Not in evidence in much of the Southwest, but, you know), ate, drank, and gave the how I got to be me talk that everyone was expecting. This time (I'll have to do another talk in April, after all) I framed my life as a giant upbeat to writing band music, since I wanted to play band music. Then there were questions, and answers that were not necessarily related; after which there was a rehearsal of Dances in the Dark that sounded fantastic. And of course I got a ride to the hotel, where I had two Ithaca beers on draft, and paid for them myself. Because I didn't realize that Ithaca would pay for them.

Nothing was scheduled on Wednesday until 4, so around 9 I walked around downtown to find that downtown doesn't open until 10, and there are no places that do breakfast. So I was forced to use the coffee maker in my hôtel room, and that produced caterwauls of eww. Meanwhile, I then did a lunch of some really good Buffalo wings at the hôtel, and facepalmingly paid for lunch myself. And I saw, and tasted, that it was good.

For the afternoon, I did a masterclass with five very different composers, made silly jokes and all, and enjoyed that time immensely. Then off to dinner, which this time was Thai, and back for the concert of the Contemporary Ensemble. It was a nice concert, not too long, and well attended. I said a few words, notes were played, and then it was over. Back I came to hotel, facepalmingly bought myself a beer, and slept.

Yesterday I drove back. It was still lovely scenery, even moreso when it isn't snowing, and stuff. And Geoffy was at the house, because he's doing Musica Viva this week. He had been feeding the cats and scooping doodies and all, and he had a DVD of his recital at the Festival of New American Music that he hadn't had time to check out.

Thus did I check out it. It was a data DVD that had but one Windows-format video file on it that I couldn't do much with. And the video played back jerkily. Not Jamaican jerkily, which is a mixed metaphor. I got two jerky videos from it and posted them YouTubewards, and Geoffy's playing was magnificent. Not at all jerky. D'oh, I looked up some of my free video converters and one of them zoomily converted the Windows video to Mac H.264, and gas is that with which we were a-cookin'! How goodly did was having Geoff playing? Decide for yourself, homeys.

Tonight will be pesto pasta and tomorrow, a completely new thing for me. I have English muffins, Canadian bacon, Hollandaise sauce mix, and several different kinds of microwave egg poachers. Any idea? Shopping for all the ingredients was fun. I never knew how Canadian bacon was packaged (it's like lunch meat at Shaw's!).

And so. So. No more traveling for the rest of the calendar year. About three weeks of classes left, final exam for theory is already written. Teeth cleaning the day before Thanksgiving (which seems like the wrong timing, no?). All the Thanksgiving food is in the fridge and freezer, so being set is what we are doing. Hayes and Susan are coming for Thanksgiving, and Susan is making a chocolate cream pie, and apparently from ingredients. We will do the Gardner Museum the day after, and then who knows what else? Maybe I'll get some time to make my vernacular piano pieces start not sucking.

Also, the yards are clear of leaves. We pay for that to happen.

Friday, November 9, 2012

HISTORICAL POST: October 22, 2004

OCTOBER 22. Breakfast this morning is Morningside farm meatless breakfast sausages and decaf coffee. Dinner was salmonburgers with salad with an Annie Chun's cilantro dressing. Pre-dinner was reception-type junk food. Lunch was hot and sour soup from a package. LARGE EXPENSES include both 'Nard CDs from amazon, imports, $65, each trip to the gas pump, oil change at Jee-fee Loob $39. MUSIC GOING THROUGH MY HEAD AS I TYPE THIS "Bread Sandwiches" from the 'Nard album. POINTLESS NOSTALGIC REMINISCENCE In Little League tryouts, I recall trying to impress the coaches with the strength of my arm exactly the wrong way: we had to field a grounder at shortstop and throw to first. To make my impression about my arm, I made sure to throw it over the head of the first baseman. SECOND POINTLESS NOSTALGIC REMINISCENCE: Bill Buckner. TEMPERATURE EXTREMES THE PAST WEEK 36.1 and 63.3. RECOMMENDATION/PROFESSIONAL LETTERS WRITTEN THIS WEEK 1. DISCOVERY OF THE WEEK It's really funny when you say "Jiffy Lube" with a foreign accent. THIS WEEK'S COSMIC QUANDRY: Whatever happened to compassionate conservatism? RECENT GASTRONOMIC OBSESSIONS deli pickles (including the juice) and Altoid fruit candies. NUMBER OF FRAGILE THINGS DESTROYED BY THE CATS IN THE PREVIOUS WEEK: nothing this week. DAYS SINCE MY LAST REAL COFFEE: 5. DAYS SINCE MY LAST BEER: 1. INANIMATE OBJECTS THAT WOULD BE A BETTER PRESIDENT THAN THE CURRENT ONE a Jiffy Lube rack, a piece of spittle, the memory card in either of my cameras, the Vice President's brain.

Big event for the week was driving to Saratoga Springs and seeing Beff at Yaddo. Because of They That Make's prediction, I left rather earlier than I had planned, thus arriving at the Wilton Mall outside of Saratoga Springs by 12:30. Luckily, Beff had her cell phone on and I informed her of my nearness. In order to use up a bit of time before getting to Yaddo during the no-outsiders time, I had lunch at Ruby Tuesday's in the mall: it was Buffalo wings (pretty good), a salad bar (mediocre), and a Lime Rickey ice tea (which was bizarre and a lot different from what you would think). From there I arrived Yaddo-ward around 2, where I got special permission to enter Beff's studio during those hours so I could carry her bass clarinet, camcorder, and other stuff she wanted me to bring (in return, I brought the guitar back). Beff has the East House studio, an L-shaped live-in concoction in the basement of one of the buildings, and she played me her guitar and mandolin piece (the MIDI did all the bends and stuff, very cool -- who knew Finale could do that?) and her big band piece she wrote for the Edith Jones project. That indeed was very cool, and it swung (even in the MIDI). Since Edith Jones is actually the name of a dog, Beff called her piece "Winifred Goes Outside." Winifred is the little dog the Colburns own that she encountered on her way to Yaddo.

We checked in at the Super 8 motel near the Wilton Mall and across from Wal-Mart, and then walked around the downtown of Saratoga Springs, walking towards Skidmore College until we got tired of it. On the way back we encountered a fortress-type house on the Main Street, even with a guard. We couldn't tell if it was a church or a museum, but apparently it's an actual house. Hot damn. Then we played around in the big bookstore and went into the stationery and art supplies store that looks from the street like it's a hat store. It is called Soave Fair. We joined the colonists for pre-dinner wine drinks in West House, and I got to see the new Pink Room, which I had once had as a studio: it is no longer pink. We made puns on Elizabeth, the filmmaker's, "brats" project about interviewing children of various kinds of walks of life (army brats is the obvious linguistic model), coming down to Wisconsin sausagemakers' children: brat brats. After all of this intense levity, we ate at a very nice restaurant on Union Street -- not even downtown -- where Beff had made us a reservation. I recall having some rather rare encrusted tuna meal, and I forgot already what Beff had. Given the wine at drinks and the bloody Mary I ordered, I felt the need for an espresso after the meal, so that cut short my string of coffeeless days. It's now back down to five.

Then we retired to bed in the Super 8. Next morning I filled up at a Mobil Station and took Beff on a roundabout drive that used to be one of my exercise bike rides. I also promised to show her the barn where Funny Cide (last year's Derby winner) was brought up, but I apparently forgot an important turn and went around 20 miles out of our way. No biggie, since Beff made it in plenty of time for breakfast, and I could get on the road for Northampton. Where I had a nice Thai lunch with David Sanford, who is doing well both personally and professionally. Then it was on to Maynard, where two desperate kitties wanted some canned food, and they wanted it now (which in context means then, but you get the notion).

The next day, Sunday, was the beginning of this year's leaf raking odyssey. From the front yard and driveway I raked up 7 barrels of leaves and brought them to rest in my two hiding places. As of now, I and Martler have raked up 21 barrels of leaves and pine needles (at least 6 barrels are pine needles), with more to come. Beff comes back next Thursday, and her muscle is being counted on. Monday and Tuesday were a bit too wet for leafing, so Wednesday and Thursday were the next days for it. Alas, so many leaves are still on the trees that duplicate raking is in store. Hee hee. Also yesterday I brought in the hammock and the Adirondack chairs for the season. So this colder weather thing is getting pretty serious.

Martler got here on Monday night, and in record time. He had said he wouldn't get through customs until 9:30, and thus that the Framingham Express bus he was able to get wouldn't get to Framingham until 10:15 or 10:45. But then he called at 8:37 and said he was just about to get on the bus, which was just about to leave. Wow. And I got there at 9:20 and Martler was already there. Later in this update, I'll let Martler tell you what's been a-goin' on. Basically, Maynard is his personal artist colony while he is here, but he also is being put in the service of raking and clearing leaves. Mostly I've been gone during the day, but when I am around and he is working, I usually curb the impulse to call out, "did you hear that, or are you rationalizing it?" And of course, Martler helped greatly with the string of no beer being broken, rather dramatically. As of today, I am off beer again.

I had a doctor's appointment on Tuesday for several things. I had another blood test, and I wanted to find out why I have not been sleeping much later than 1 am most mornings since the beginning of August. He had a few possibilities, and right now we're working with "sublimating and internalizing chairman pressures" -- so I got a mild sedative. Option 2, should the sedative not work out, may be actual depression. Oh boy, my favorite. It runs in my family. For the record, I took a sedative last night and slept as late as 3 am. That may be better. Big, serious doings at Brandeis this week are, of course, exacerbating things, and I am within a hair's breadth of finally submitting my resignation as Chair.

21 years now since I got the 'Nard album on vinyl and Ross and I used to listen to it all the time because of the cool funky beats, and the way Ross would stick his butt out when dancing to "Chillin' Out." I spent mucho bucks to get it on CD, as it is available only as a Japanese import. I also got 'Nard's only other CD, which is mostly a real bust, being gobbled up by ridiculous '80s synth sounds. If I'd known that there was a picture of a break dancer on the cover, I would have known better.

Yesterday the UDRs (Undergraduate Department Reps) held a Meet the Majors party with lots of junk food, and plenty of students and faculty came. They also held a raffle in which my new CD was a prize, as was Lunch With Davy. Lianna Levine was the winner of Lunch With Davy, to take place at The Stein as soon as is convenient. I did mention that Lunch With Davy was not the same thing as Take a Class with Davy.

The five etudes from the Martian Counterpoint album have made it in streaming form onto the artofthestates web page, and you can see for yourself by following the link under "A Little Bit of Davy on the Web" on thi Home of this site. The show itself is not up, but the repertoire for it is there and available. Sometimes it's fun listening to the streaming audio because at times it sounds like bad FM reception.

Soozie called! We talked for quite a while about various things relating to songs, a recording she's making, and the Violin Songs that she's singing at CMSLC next month. We made sure she had the correct version of those songs. And she got the brilliant idea of getting me to include "The Gardener" in a larger set of settings of sex poems, using the same ensemble. She is currently in search of such sex poems, and I relish the opportunity. Especially as it would go onto this recording. And especially as it means writing some more for Soozie. She said she was sending a picture that I was not to include in this space, and I haven't because I haven't gotten it.

The neighbor in the IUBR (Incredibly Ugly Blue Ranch) is digging a big rectangular hole in his back yard. To what end I do not know.

Now it is time for the MARTLER portion of our blog. And here he is. I'm putting him in another color, because you're worth it. 
Martler here. As before, I'll keep this brief in view of my host's habitual prolixity. (Hey, look it up.) Davy has been a fine host of course. He cooks. We've had salmon burgers, chicken burgers/sandwiches (a nice distinction) and, er, burger burgers. All nearly fat-free and delicious. MY RECENT GASTRONOMIC OBSESSIONS: Trader Joe's peppered cashews, Altoids, burgers. And, in deference to the season, THINGS WHICH WOULD MAKE A BETTER PRESIDENT THAN THE ONE YOU HAVE NOW: phosphorescence, an empty Altoids tin, a bed sore. So the deal is I'm on leave from teaching and here to write music, shamelessly using Davy (and, in her absence, Beff) as a DIY artist colony. Why Davy (and, in her absence, Beff) should have agreed to having a smoking and beer-drinking limey hang at their house for weeks on end is a mystery the key to which, I suspect, can only be found in the annals of exceptional friendship. D & B rock, for those not already aware of this truth. The week so far has been unexpectedly coloured (that's 'colored' to you) by the Red Sox playoffs against the Yankees, which Davy and I have watched since Tuesday. Well, how could I not take an interest after the pilot of my incoming plane started making update announcements as soon as we made landfall over Newfoundland? Now I have to try and resist watching the World Series, but man it's hard. Oh, and raking leaves. That's what else has been going on. Mostly by Davy, but a couple of barrels' worth by me. I gotta get a little more with the programme there. And on the beer front too - I have been leading our host astray. So when I see him delving in the fridge I'll just grab it from him and drink it myself. Oh, did I mention the kitties are every bit as cute as they appear. No? Well...
Today's pictures are a mere five. Two of the cats -- and I think one may be a repeat. And three of the two of us dealing with the leaves in the driveway on Wednesday. After this is posted, I shall shower, and -- alas -- move on to the pine needles in the side yard and in the back yard. Also, I think Martler wants to do the tour of the Orchard House in Concord (the Alcott House) and of course at some point this weekend we will to the Chicken Bone Saloon go. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

HISTORICAL POST: January 21, 2007

JANUARY 21. Today's lunch was two Boca cheeseburgers with pickles, and a salad. Breakfast was a butter bagel and a cappuccino at Starbucks around the corner from Symphony Hall. Dinner was a Mediterranean flatbread pizza and a beer at Pizzeria Uno around the corner from NEC. TEMPERATURE EXTREMES THIS LAST TEN DAYS: 7.3 and 52.5. MUSIC GOING THROUGH MY HEAD AS I TYPE THIS "Winged Contraption". I was hearing it all morning. LARGE EXPENSES this last ten days include down payments on the conversion of the pantry into a bathroom $7000, down payment on three new cellar windows $500, down payment on rebuilding of the mud room $900, 100 square feet of tile delivered $405, pedestal sink and medicine cabinet $135, two large shelving units delivered $340. POINTLESS NOSTALGIC REMINISCENCE: During one visit to Princeton in the late '80s by me and Beff to celebrate the fact that we had gotten jobs -- we stayed at Alison Carver's house on the floor -- Martin and I got into a giddy thing where we made up nonsense jokes and laughed hysterically. Examples: What do dogs have that cats don't? Credit cards. What's the difference between a deluxe pizza and the Queen of England? Pepperoni on the Queen costs extra. What will you find on Nassau Street that you won't find on a woman's back? Hoagie Haven. Bob Sadin, still at Princeton at the time, had heard that Beff and I were in town, and he called us at Alison's house -- at 2:30 am. THIS WEEK'S COSMIC QUANDARY: Since you can't see the back of your head, does it exist? THIS WEEK'S MADE-UP WORD: gastronomization. THINGS I HAVE GROWN WEARY OF coughing. RECENT GASTRONOMIC OBSESSIONS: hot and sour soup with plenty of white pepper. DISCOVERY OF THE WEEK three basement windows falling victim apparently to termites. THIS WEEK'S NUMBER BETWEEN 1 AND 10: 7. REVISIONS TO THIS SITE: This page, Performances, Compositions. NUMBER OF HAIRCUTS I GOT LAST WEEK: 0. DENTIST VISITS SINCE SEPTEMBER: 9. FRAGILE THINGS DESTROYED BY THE CATS THIS LAST WEEK is nothing, as far as I can tell, but the new rug gets covered with a lot of their hair when they play/fight in the computer room. RECOMMENDATION AND PROFESSIONAL LETTERS WRITTEN THIS LAST 3 WEEKS: 0. FUN DAVY FACT YOU WON'T READ ANYWHERE ELSE: Beff and I got engaged over the phone (in Pacific Standard Time). WHAT THE NEXT BIG TREND WOULD BE IF I WERE IN CHARGE: "Party" is no longer considered an acceptable verb. PHOTOS IN MY IPHOTO LIBRARY: 10,229. WHAT I PAID FOR GASOLINE THIS WEEK: $2.24. OTHER INANIMATE OBJECTS THAT WOULD BE A BETTER PRESIDENT THAN THE CURRENT ONE a chocolate-covered pine cone, one of the dots on any Seurat painting, a half-eaten popsicle, the pit of despair.

These updates are getting a little sporadic, and I guess that's the way it's gonna continue to be for a while. It is now SUNDAY, and I have emerged from a refreshing nap to start typing this in the middle of the afternoon. I will finish typing this in the middle of the afternoon. And tomorrow is my brother's 59th birthday.

Soon after the last update, I started piano etude #76, on the clave rhythm -- an idea suggested by Geoffy. While on the train fromWales to Glasgow, I appropriated Beff's moleskine music manuscript book to examine some poly-claves -- that is, clave rhythms notated at different speeds with respect to each other. An etude that simply used the clave rhythm (3, 3, 4, 2, 4 of eighth notes) as an accompaniment figure or melodic motive didn't seem it would be that interesting to write, play, or hear. So I strategized polyclaves getting closer and closer until a monster clave -- six of them, all at the same speed, separated by a sixteenth note each -- would come, sounding like a bizarre arpeggiation thing. Then when I got down to brass tacks, it seemed the next thing to do was start streams of sixteenths interspersed with overlapped fast claves, and then a be-bop solo over a clave accompaniment, and then, and then ... but I do go on. I linked to it in green on the left.

But before I started the etude, on Friday, Beff and I drove up to MacDowell for lunch with Stacy, and, of course, to give more weird beer to John Sieswerda of the maintenance staff. We ate healthily and stealthily at Harlow's, but not until after we helped her figure out how to get the weird DJ setup they have in the library to work. On the way UP to MacDowell, we stopped at Flooring America in Littleton (MA) to look for some nice darkish blue tile for the bathroom, and we settled on some good stuff. We were directed to get 100 square feet, and it went for $3/square foot PLUS a shipping fee from the manufacturer PLUS a delivery fee. It arrived earlier this week.

Friday night I came down with a fairly severe coughing cold, and spent most of the next week re-becoming a connoisseur of cough syrups, antihistamines and throat drops. It's been unfun. The cough persists to this day, 9 days later.

And then it took a little more than three days to crank out the Clave etude, during which Beff made her pilgrimage back to Bangor. We had had a rainstorm here that Sunday, but it turned into a snowstorm in Bangor, and an ice storm to the north and west of us (Stacy said they lost power at MacDowell, thus losing internet access, oh my). So I copied my etude, etc., and got all my stuff together to begin the teaching year. Also started thinking about the orchestral readings that Neal Hampton so generously offered the orchestra to do.

The day before classes started, I had yet another dentist appointment. This time I found out that the dentist had intended to fit a new crown to replace the one in got in 1988 while teaching at Stanford and after crunching a "Hawaiian" chip. I nixed the crown idea, so I got some worn areas built back up, another filling, and some decay removed, etc. This ended the dentist portion of the year. Then I was referred to an oral surgeon in Concord for wisdom teeth removal, and they couldn't get good X-rays of the wisdom teeth using the usual method that makes you almost gag -- so I posed in the panoramic X-ray machine, on which you bite down on something while an X-ray moves aroud your head and makes a single-pass shot of the complete mouth. I now take these to the oral surgeon. One that has to come out is growing in, um, incompletely, and the other three are impacted. The oral surgeon will let me know what has to be done. And then to end the appointment, I finally got fitted for the Nygar. We shall see if that helps things. I finish being fitted on Tuesday -- soon after, I drive to the oral surgeon's office.

I went to Lowe's in Framingham for storage cabinets for the new bathroom -- we still will store food etc. as we currently do in the pantry, but the old built-in shelves are being removed. I bought what Beff and I had decided we wanted, and they were delivered on Thursday morning.

I have nine private students (eight composition students and a senior honors thesis) that I meet weekly, plus Theory 2. I teach as many hours as last semester, but am not teaching an overload, unlike last semester, when, as you already know, I was teaching an overload. So there was the usual stuff on Wednesday, and more on Thursday, which was followed by a faculty senate meeting. During Thursday, Beff ordered a pedestal sink and a medicine cabinet for the new bathroom online for pickup locally at Lowe's, so after the faculty senate, it was on to Lowe's to bring back.

Thursday night was the first accumulating snow of the season, but only about an inch. It was easy to "shovel", and the roads were in good shape, so I accepted Michael Weinstein's invitation to speak to his students at the Cambridge School of Weston. He was teaching a course in local composers (which is what he is, too), and was making them go to Saturday's BMOP concert, so I was there representing the concert as well as Boston composers. I played a bunch of stuff and did my usual spiels on those pieces, and then got a private school cafeteria lunch -- which featured slices of pepperoni pizza with ONE pepperoni per slice -- about the size of your hand, though.

And on Saturday it was BMOP day. I left the house around 11:20 and drove to NEC, as I had a dress rehearsal for my piece WINGED CONTRAPTION -- from 1991, but an actual premiere. At my usual lot, there was the sign $19 EVENT PARKING -- which I wasn't going to pay to park for an hour. So luckily, a metered space was available and I fed it two hours worth of quarters, had a quick lunch, happened into Yehudi Wyner on the street, and we both went to the rehearsal. I took the Edirol with me to record the runthrough from the back of Jordan Hall, and you can listen to it by clicking on the magenta link to the left (it is somewhat distant and very echo-y) -- later I'll have an actual concert recording, and later still an edited one from the recording session this morning. But I get ahead of myself.

The BMOP concert turned out to be a very good one. Three of the represented composers were at NEC at the same time -- 1976-78, me Mike Gandolfi and Mat Rosenblum -- and there was Mario Davidovsky's violin concerto he wrote for Orpheus and a piece by Wes Matthews, who is an enrolled NEC student. I hung around for Wes's dress -- sitting with the composer-in-residence Lisa Bielawa, who turned out to be a lot of fun (she was going to have to emcee the pre-concert thing with composers and she asked me what question I'd like her to ask me. I said, "How did you get so handsome?" I asked her what she'd like me to ask her. She said, "how about a beer?") and watching the score. His piece was very nice and very clear, and after that I rescued my car and drove to the Midtown Hotel -- a block or two away -- where I had reserved a room for the night. After parking and getting my room, I went back to the dress rehearsals.

Where I heard the last half of Mike Gandolfi's boisterous and expertly orchestrated sax concerto, Mario's really cool violin concerto (the soloist was fantastic), and Mathew's four-saxophone and orchestra piece -- a wild and fun affair with some amazing sax playing by the Rascher Quartet. All this time, a strange kind of banter developed with me and Wes and Lisa, and eventually later with Mathew. So after the rehearsal, I went to the room, did a little vegging and a lot of coughing, and at 5:30 went to Pizzeria Uno for dinner. From there it was to the hall, where Lisa and the concert's composers had to sit on stage and be entertaining. And entertaining we were.

I was drafted to do the (I am told) usual brief remark by a composer at the beginning of the program to say how much composers like BMOP (I actually used the word "duh" in my spiel -- if "duh" is an actual word) and even (unbidden) made a plea for fundage. A bunch of Brandeis composers were at the show (as well as hundreds of other people), and it ended up being a fantastic concert, yet again. My piece was last, and for whatever reason, I and Gil Rose (the conductor) got TWO curtain calls (as did Mikey and his soloist).

There was a reception in the Keller Room afterwards, where I saw lots of old friends -- such as Peter Child, Dalit Warshaw, Derek Hurst, Lou Bunk, Nathan Shields, Andrew List, Jim 'n' Willemien (who wanted to have a brief conversation about dental stuff), Ezra Sims, Lee 'n' Kate, as well as some other Brandeis students. After that reception, a bunch of us went to where Cafe Amalfi used to be for a nightcap, and at 1 am, I made it back to the hotel. Good thing, too, for ...

...the recording session for Winged Contraption was scheduled for two hours this morning beginning at 8:30. Miraculously, everybody came that was playing in the piece, and we covered it in 20 takes lasting an hour and 45 minutes. I was trying to keep track of what was clammed (fluffed) in various takes (difficult with ears that wouldn't pop), and Lisa Bielawa lent her ears to the enterprise as well, thus discovering some stuff that had to be covered, and of course earning co-producer credit. And so then I checked out and drove home, made me some Boca burgers, and took a nap. Which takes me up to ... then I retrieved the several pictures I had taken at the recording session with my phone, got them ready for this update, and started typing. Here's me: I started typing.

Beff, meanwhile, stayed in Bangor this weekend because her faculty ensemble was doing a concert at the same time as BMOP. She, meanwhile, came down with the same cold (or we presume it is the same cold). She also did some shoveling, since it snows more in Bangor than it does here. She also ordered a faucet for the new bathroom online, and that will be the last thing charged to US to procure before the new bathroom takes shape.

This week features the final fitting of the Nygar, the oral surgeon consult, a faculty senate council meeting with the Provost, Beff's Maynard homecoming, and the beginning of the tallying of the tax stuff. Oh lawdy.

Winged Contraption, by the way, got a surprisingly positive reaction. Ezra Sims, obviously noticing that it's pretty thickly scored in a lot of places, made light of my program notes where I mentioned I wanted to try to "write less thickly" for orchestra, and that reminded me of my first symphony. Which I called Symphony No. 1. And the groundwork was laid for Marilyn's appearance in my piece with them next November -- as in, "so Marilyn Nonken is playing his concerto with us in November. Cool, huh?"

This week's pictures begin with an overflow from the UK vacation, namely -- two Glasgow at night shots and a store in a mall actually called "Ravel". Then we have shots from the recording session this morning -- Gil Rose, Lisa Bielawa in the control booth, Joel Gordon setting up microphones, Bob Schultz practicing his part (note the glockenspiel to his left with an extra octave), and the orchestra ready to go -- except for the violas.

And for some reason, this line got laughs: "Oh crap, there's a tuba in my piece".