Tuesday, February 19, 2013

February 19, 2013

Breakfast was strawberries, a black plum, orange juice, and coffee. Dinner last night was chicken parmesan. Lunch was so-called American goulash. Temperature extremes since last update 3.8 and 61.6. Music Going Through My Head as I Type This Time Will Reveal by DeBarge. Large Expenses since Last Update flights and hotel for Beff, ca. $700. Companies That Have Not Covered Themselves in Glory Whole Foods, whose CEO used fascism in reference to Obamacare.  Companies That Have Covered Themselves in Glory Amazon, as usual, who provided the volumes of Mikrokosmos I needed, among other things. Facepalm I often bring in teaching materials to school that I have many copies of at school Pointless Nostalgic Reminiscence I managed to make it to age 25 without getting a drivers license, and when we were grad students, Jody Rockmaker more or less taught me to drive with his stick shift yellow Karmann Ghia. I took the New Jersey drivers test on it on a closed path, and I don't believe I ever made it past second gear in the test. My score was "adequate" for all the thingies on the test. Later I bought a morceau de merde puke green 1975 Rabbit, on which I taught Beff to drive, with a stick shift. She took the test on the Rabbit. So there. Number of Haircuts I got last week 0. Cute Cat Things to Report They have enjoyed the various thaws this winter, but mostly like it when the catnip plants are exposed. This week's made-up word noriosalous, the numb feeling you get when you get up from a chair and one leg is asleep. Recommendation and professional letters written since last update 44. Something I did recently for the first time Did an "invent an instrument" assignment for undergraduate composition. Fun Davy Fact you won't read anywhere else I am completely OCD about shoveling the driveway and walksPhotos in my iPhoto Library 22,998.What I paid for gasoline recently $$3.45, $3.59, $3.68 and $3.88 (premium) in Maynard. Current projects 100 préludes for piano, short piano quartet for Verge Ensemble.  Stipple never looked as good as sticky gold stars, the corner of the bedroom, some wainscotting I forgot about, a head of steam.

It's about seven weeks since the last update, and, unlike about eight years ago, no one is hounding me for new updates. Part of the blame for that lies in the fact that my life is being pretty well chronicled on my mobile blog, and the reader may simply go there now to see lots of pics and imagine the glamourosity that has become my life. Or perhaps my life that has become the glamourosity. Note the British/Canadian adding of "u" in glamour.

So what has happened since that last update. Much. Not much. There was hardly any time in the vacation to get any serious work done, since it was clipped at either end by about a week. I had just finished a three-movement piano piece and was about to start a piano quartet. As to that, I am in the home stretch, and as is often the case with me, I dreamed music while I was writing it, and I incorporated it. In said dream, Tim McAllister played the lick to the right on saxophone. The lick became main material for the rockout section of the piece. So there.

There are also streams of sextuplets in the piece with pointy notes escaping, and that is because it is a Davypiece.

Meantime, five weeks of teaching have transpired, and I have done them with distinction and things that begin with "c". Except not with cats. I haven't taught them anything with cats. Yet. We have gotten as far as secondary dominants in Theory 1 — all that's left before minuet writing is other secondary chords, modulation, and simple forms — and there have been topics in undergraduate composition relating to melodic writing, rhythm, accent, and emphasis. Soon they will be writing solo flûte pieces.

I have also done service to the field of the sort that is confidential, and have ramped up service to Brandeis just a little bit, as I have joined various evaluative bodies that do things like evaluate stuff. I and my colleagues in composition have also just about completed our graduate admissions decisions, and boy does that take a long time. It also sucks your soul, but when you are done, they give it back to you.

It is not clear exactly how this winter will be remembered — especially given that I don't remember much about winters more than three years ago except what I might have said about them in saved Davyupdates. There was bitter cold for a substantial period, but not the coldest since we've been here (it missed by at least ten degrees). There was amazing warmth, and at times as warm as last winter (which will be remembered as the winter that wasn't). And on at least three occasions, there has been very strong wind — the kind that rattles the whole house.

And there was the Blizzard of 2013. Which, thanks to the dorkiness that is Them What Make, had a name: Nemo. Geoffy was here for that, and the timing around said blizzard was on the felicitous side. Geoffy was around for two gigs, one on Sunday as well as a recording session the following Tuesday, and the snow started at lunch time on Friday. Krista Reisner and Josh Gordon were at the house that Friday morning to rehearse the trio being recorded, and had the vehicle power to make it home afterwards; meanwhile, the governor instituted a travel ban starting at 4 that day, so that was fairly good timing.

The snow piled up that night, and yes, the house rattled, and a little less than two feet of snow was waiting for us the next morning. I obsessively shoveled the front walk — which took about 45 minutes, since it was so deep, and Geoffy decided to do the back walk. Which, due to how the big wind piled the snow unevenly, must have been a harder task. And of course, the driveway was far too big of a task for us to undertake. I had let Geoffy know that in the President's Day storm of 2003 (that one didn't have a name. Except, well, President's Day) the depth of the snow was too great for the snowblower to handle, so Beff and I dutifully did the walks and the driveway, patiently. Each of us shoveled and hour and a half, twice each. So, six hours of shoveling? No thank you. Meanwhile, the travel ban was still on, but there were various gigs that Geoffy had lined up that had to be adhered to. And we had no idea when Steve would come by to plow the driveway, since he has a job doing the roads for the town of Stow, and he only gets to do us residential types when that job is done.

So there was great relief when his truck came by around 4 on Saturday and did the grunt work. There was still more to do so I'd have room enough to back out of the garage and turn around, and that became another 45 minutes of work for me on Sunday morning, when it was 4 degrees. See, that's me being OCD about my shoveling. And I was. And there was exactly enough room for me to do that turn. So that morning, we (I) sent Geoffy to Dunkin' Donuts for their breakfast goodies, and we confirmed that the driveway could be used, and so could the roads. Good thing, because Geoffy had a gig at the Tsai Center. And, uh, I don't know where he parked, since there was a parking ban for the city of Boston, and there was a BU hockey game happening at the same time.

But there you are. In the rest of Sunday, I shoveled the two subsidiary roofs, since rain was predicted for Monday, and collapsed roofs are bad for the value of a house. In that picture on the right, those subsidiary roofs had just been shoveled off.

Now moving away from the weather (I know it's hard. Be a grownup about it). Beff and I went to the Solomon Pond Mall on New Year's Eve Day to see Lincoln in the theater. We were not inspired to play Glow Golf (see left), which is bringing mini-golf to a whole new level (whether that direction is up or down is up to the beholder); but we did check out various stores, and we got a nice cheese board with various cutting implements stored inside, at the kitchen store there, and otherwise, the selection of stores reminded us of why we don't usually go to malls. Though I think Beff did spend her usual browseness in dress stores and shoe stores. Then the movie itself was meh, even with a great performance by Daniel Day-Lewis. The soundtrack will be a good insomnia cure, etc.

And that pretty much sums up all the fun stuff we might have done in the scant vacation time we were given. Later in January, there were some lovely thaws, and I spent one nice afternoon in the back yard, in the sun, with the cats, with leftover pizza and beer, in an Adirondack chair. Could that have been a more awkward sentence?

And when time permitted, I wrote a few notes in my piano quartet, which I had hoped to finish before school started, but which I didn't.

Meanwhile, the 2013 dissertation avalanche started. All in the same week, I got full and partial drafts of four dissertations to read, and while doing my usual teaching and grading, spent 23 hours on the dissertations. I'd like to say that was fun, but when these things get pushed closer and closer to the deadlines, I am not slow. It's hip, hip, hip, and away I go. Why is it always the hip? It can't be pelvis, pelvis, pelvis and away I go? But digressing is being done, and by me.

We also found out just before the term started that UV, the quartet's violist, and our department chair, had gone into an end-of-life care facility. The cancer was winning, and she passed away on January 29. We are all very, very sad, and are working on a memorial service for her.

At the same time, no one in the department wants to be Chair, so there were some awkward meetings talking about that very issue, mostly of people who were doing their best to become invisible. I have perfected that myself — three years on the faculty senate, and no subcommittee work writing reports that nobody reads.

And now, vacation. Back to work. But also, to South Carolina. I am doing a one-day residency at Furman University, and I leave on Thursday. And return on Saturday. Meanwhile, Beff has not been in Maynard since the beginning of the month, and won't be here until the beginning of her own academic vacation at the beginning of March. Hopefully she will come in like a lion. Indeed, as I type, Beff is in our accountant's office in Lynbrook on Long Island, waiting for our 2013 tax appointment. Then, she will be back in Manhattan doing what she's there for in the first place — running an ACA festival.

Other things upcoming: colonoscopy, dental appointment, second stint at Ithaca College with all those very cool peoples.

For more details on these last several weeks, see that mobile blog thing. You'll be glad that doing that was done by you. And I leave you with a picture of Cammy in a box.