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>

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