Friday, December 28, 2012

December 28, 2012

Breakfast was fake eggs with 2% cheese, fresh squeezed orange juice and coffee. Dinner last night was Christmas leftovers. Lunch was cheese, crackers, and olives. Temperature extremes since last update 18.7 and 53.1. Music Going Through My Head as I Type This the fifth Rückert Lied. Large Expenses since Last Update new rug for computer room, $265 with tax; mandoline, $60; panini maker, $49. Companies That Have Not Covered Themselves in Glory The MBTA, for running our train back to West Concord 2 minutes early on Christmas eve, thus making us run to catch it.  Companies That Have Covered Themselves in Glory Stop & Shop, for having Vavel Cucumbers in Brine; Whole Foods, for being the only driveable supermarket with dried cherries; amazon, for the panini maker and mandoline slicer. Facepalm Yesterday I had half my driveway shoveled, when the people we pay to do that showed up with their truck Pointless Nostalgic Reminiscence I met and interacted with Seiji Ozawa twice at Tanglewood 1982: we composers stayed in the servants quarters of the Koussevitzky mansion, where they also had Supper Clubs and Brunch Clubs with donors — one Sunday lunch our contact Naneen asked us, while we were lunching, if we could stand one more, and we said okay. In walked Ozawa, with a sandwich — who was a little weary of socializing. I gave him a beer and he thanked me. He shook my hand and his was a limp as a fish; several weeks later at a dance party at Miss Hall's School, where everyone except the composers stayed, Ozawa came up to me in mid-dance to thank me a second time for the beer. Number of Haircuts I got last week 0. Cute Cat Things to Report Sunny wreaked havoc in the garage this afternoon, but we don't know where. This week's made-up word siroioun, the lost art of making pentagonal beads from pasta. Recommendation and professional letters written since last update 4. Something I did recently for the first time Put a double bar on a three-movement piano piece. Fun Davy Fact you won't read anywhere else I use an oval-shaped plastic pouch with a slit in it for change, and I have five in waiting when this one tanksPhotos in my iPhoto Library 22,718.What I paid for gasoline recently $$3.43 in Maynard. Current projects 100 préludes for piano, short piano quartet for Verge Ensemble.  Triathletes never look at this part sticky gold stars, the corner of the bedroom, some wainscotting I forgot about, a head of steam.

And again, a mere two weeks since the last update! I'll try to keep this one short. Maybe even rude. Much of what has been transpiring has been either writing music or grading at Brandeis. Really it has. Oh yes, and Christmas and stuff. So let's get going.

Buying Smaks in 2004
First things first. While at Stop&Shop shopping for various and sundry — I had gone there on a Sunday afternoon just to shop somewhere that wasn't Shaw's, and to find some different Rosé at the wine store in the Stop&Shop shopping center. Checking in the "ethnic" foods section, as I always do, I noticed what I'd forgotten — at Stop&Shop, Polish is a valid ethnicity (think of all the grants I'll get now!). Among lots of Polish dills — many of which I've purchased only to be disappointed, were two 30 ounce jars of Vavel Cucumbers in Brine. I had dimly remembered having some of those in 2002 or 2003 after a New Year's Day party at Lee and Kate's place. I said I loved, loved, loved the pickles they served, and they showed me the Smak jar, and told me where the market in South Boston was that they'd gotten them. Naturally, next time I was in town I went to that market, and got some Smak jars — actually, I bought them out — and the next time I was there, they were out of Smak, but had Vavel and some other brand. So I got the Vavel, which were almost as good. They reminded me of the pickles that used to be free at Happy Burger in New York City when I lived there, and I went there so often and ate so many of the pickles that it seems I might have single-handedly put them out of business. So I bought Stop&Shop out. And they were as lovely as I'd remembered. I even blogged about them. Beff noted that the brand is probably pronounced Wa-wel.

Meanwhile, I looked online for spicy pickles, and amazon brought me to various sponsored links, and eventually I found Old Mill. And I scored again — particularly the hot chips. So I did the only sane thing: I ordered more of them. Meanwhile, the hot garlic dill spears — mildly disappointing.

Later, I finished the first jar of Vavels and took out the second one. They had, um, just about gone by, and while you could tell they were pickles, they kind of tasted like ass. So I had to toss them. But in the meanwhile, Tina had gotten me four more jars for Christmas, I unpacked one of them, and heavenliness was restored. Woo hoo!

So, meanwhile, I had a few days to get back to the piano piece I'd been writing that I'd started back around when school was starting. It's for Nick Phillips's upcoming vernacular project, and I am one of several composers involved. I'd written a blues thing and finished it in September, and started two other movements. Both of which got backburnered as things heated up on the Davy front. (The Davy back is way prettier than the Davy front, but, you know) I returned to the toccata movement which was in limbo, and finished it in another three or four days work, woo hoo! Woo hoo! I say, woo hoo! Then I got back to what was supposed to be a funk movement, and all I had was some mod music that I remembered was supposed to — eventually — congeal into something funky or something. So in another three days, I finished that, and by that time it was time for me to go to Brandeis twice — once for a grad student review, and once to pick up the final projects and take-home exams that were due on the 19th. So thus, on the 18th, I finished and prettified my score and sent it to Nick.

I called the piece Hotfingers, and dedicated it to Gene Caprioglio for silly reasons. Then I figured out how to do a set on soundcloud, and thus you, dear reader, can play any or all of the three movements of Hotfingers right here, dontcha know!

Then of course there was the ton and ton of stuff to collect at Brandeis, and the time to grade them all, and the time to enter them onto the computer and all. And that just about took me up to when Beff got back from her two-week sojourn in Maine. And so we did lunch at the River Rock, and everything, and Beff wrapped presents, and the place got all Christmasy. Just in time for Christmas, I might add.

So then Ann arrived on Sunday, bearing, as usual, much too much food, and various kinds of things were done with it. Walks were taken, and people were used. On the day before Christmas, we started out early and got two identical microwave ovens at K-Mart — one to replace our decrepit one, and one as a Christmas gift for their brother Bob. As usual, on Christmas eve afternoon, we took the train to Porter Square — this time with microwave oven in hand, so to speak — and motored toward brother Matt's place in Cambridge. And Matt himself met us with a dolly(!) to help carry the oven all that way. Which meant we could do some meandering stuff in the area, including buying next year's Christmas cards at the Paper Source, right there in Porter Square.

And we also went into that retro place on Mass. Ave, and Crate & Barrel — where we got candles and a board with numbered glasses on it — and then swung by Bob's apartment to leave off the microwave, and then hunkered down with beer and fatty snacks to tide us through Christmas eve. Brother Jim eventually showed up, as did Bob, and Wiemannen were all around, having those Wiemanner conversations.

At the appointed time, we left to catch the 7:45 train back, and we got a little out of whack by construction on the campus of Harvard. How out of whack? Even with a fast walking pace and all, we had to run furiously to catch the train before it exited the station — two minutes early, I might add. And back at home we went bedwards.

On Christmas day itself, there was the long walk and the cooking of the feast and the brothers arriving and the opening of presents and the feast itself, and there you have it. For the second time all year, we put dishes in the dishwasher. And, without hesitation, we turned it on, after putting dishwasher soap in it.

Oh yes, and we watched some videos and all. We really loved Pitch Perfect — enough that we got the DVD. Now we can watch it, like, whenever, you know?

Yesterday was a very sloppy storm — 3 inches of wet snow followed by heavy rain, and there I was shoveling it when I really didn't need to — and meanwhile, at Crate & Barrel I got interested in a mandoline slicer, which I looked up on amazon and bought one. I think I will like it.

And we had grilled cheeses from the new panini maker. They were very, very nice, thank you. Except now I know to brush the bread with olive oil or butter. D'oh! Tonight's cuisine: leftover turkey panini. Woo hoo!

Upcoming: piano quartet, and the first of préludes book 3, on onomatopoetic titles. Woo hoo! Also, school starts up in two and a half weeks, and then it's nothing but work, work, work.

Below, thanks to the Mac program Diptic (buy it on the App Store!) is the customary monthly picture summary of 2012. And they are, as follows:
  • January. Sunny on an Adirondack chair we had brought out during one of the many, many warm spells last winter.
  • February. First crocus picture, February 22, earlier than the record by a week.
  • March. DuoSolo (Mary Fukushima and Mike Kirkendoll) and Amir rehearsing for their all-Davy concert at the Firehouse Space in Brookly.
  • April. Me and my homey Steve Sondheim on stage after Tony de Mare's Liaisons concert.
  • May. Me, Seung-Ah, Bernard, and Amy (picture taken by Gusty) at Bernard and Gusty's after I'd done a brief residency at the U of Chicago.
  • June. Me and my homey Ross at the Vermont place.
  • July. Kathy Dupuy Simpson, my Tanglewood friend, demonstrating alto sax, which she now plays in addition to clarinet and oboe.
  • August. Beff at our anniversary dinner, at 80 Thoreau restaurant.
  • September. Our new driveway being steamrolled.
  • October. A double rainbow in Provo, Utah!
  • November. Beff trying out her new melodicas, which I gave her for Christmas.
  • December. One of many foggy days, at the Ben Smith Dam.

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