Old Daily Shows--April 2004

Find the archive of past entries at archive.htm. Today's entry is at daily.htm.

Friday April 2, 2004 The state of things

I should probably post this here just to remind myself that the Daily Show hasn't died the death. I've been here, and been fine, really. Times have been good, and indifferent, with spates of both. Now is a good time, though. The weather has been generally good, and last week's move to British Summer Time has filled me with joy at the close of each day. How wonderful, to have the sky bright and beautiful at eight o'clock in the evening!

I feel myself in the grip of indecision the last few weeks. Change is in the air, in more ways than just the time of day. I'll start with the less positive things, just to get them out of the way so I can move on to things nicer.

I may be moving soon. I may not. It's difficult to tell. Our landlord stopped by--unannounced and without an appointment--the other day to say that he's effectively raising our rent by about $90 a month. This is bad, partly because I feel a bit misused for a lot of reasons I won't go into here, but also because $90 is on the order of magnitude of the amount of money I pay for my piping lessons each year. With his proposed raise, housing will cost 55% of my income, and that seems like a lot. If he isn't willing to reconsider, I'm probably going to have to move. This makes me seriously unhappy.

Along with Benjamin Braddock, I'm a little worried about my future. Again. Somewhere in here, I've been here well over half my time in Scotland, and started wondering about what's going to happen when my wonderful year "outside the lockstep" ends. I'll be going home for a while, but what then? I've always generally planned on going to Philadelphia and working for a while.

But what about grad school? What about good piping teachers? What about pipe bands? Paul thinks I should either try to make it into a grade 1 band or take over a lower grade band as pipe major, and I suspect he's probably right. Where can I do that? What about playing with Susie?

Lately I've been really enjoying reading through laws and constructing arguments based on those laws. Would it be crazy for me to go to law school? I don't have any money saved up, and didn't major in polisci or government. There aren't so many full scholarships for prospective attorneys.

I've been teaching bagpipes, too. Was offered the opportunity by the National Piping Centre as a chance to hone my skills. I've never had students of my own before. It's kind of fun. I'm actually using some of that education I got--I'm trying to plan what I teach, rather than just faking it as I walk in the door. What if I like teaching too much, and get bored with working a Real Job? I don't know that I'm good enough to make a living teaching pipers, particularly not back home.

Angst is hard on the woodwork, you know.

I've got to get a new set of pipes. This falls between the good and bad sections chiefly because of the money issue. New pipes cost a lot of money that I haven't really got at the moment, chiefly thanks to the exchange rate.

On the other hand, this is what I'm here to do. The way I found out I needed a set was this: within one week, all three of my teachers, independently, told me that I was really improving as a player, and that my pipes were holding me back.

It's difficult, emotionally, being told that you've outgrown an instrument, because it's similar in a bunch of ways to being told you've outgrown a friend or a lover. You form a bond with your instrument, and that's hard to lose. Harder still when you know it's true.

I've been borrowing an old set of Henderson or Lawrie drones from Tony. Lovely set, circa 1920, with immaculate original ivory. A pity that the import regulations effectively prohibit the transport of ivory across US borders. It's time to give them back to Tony now, but what a lovely sound! The sound is, after all, what concerns us. Thick and rich, with a good bass. I will miss them.

At the moment, I'm considering Inveran and McCallum to make my pipes. Probably full silver mounting if I can find a way to afford it. We'll see. I still want to try a few more sets of pipes.

I spent a lot of time discussing different musical styles with people. Came home and caught the last half of the memorial concert for George Harrison. How amazing would it be to have made music that so many people know? They had Ravi Shankar and a truly wonderful sitar player, too. So many faces known across the world. I'd forgotten how much influence the blues had on the Beatles.

This has grown rather stream-of-consciousness, I'm afraid. It's late. What can I say? I'm reworking my finger technique on the pipes, again. Trying to get it right. How many hours a day can one practice?

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the
white table
Saturday April 3, 2004 Hyacinths -- photo

I figured it might be nice to share some photographs from Scotland from time to time. In honor of this idea, please enjoy the following. Click to view it full-size.

Late-March hyacinths in the glass house at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens.

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the
white table
Saturday April 3, 2004 Cuillins of Skye -- photo

The Cuillins of Skye on the second of January, looking back past Portree from Trotternish. This photograph always seems to me as though it's in monochrome, although it clearly has color. I do love Skye.

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the
white table
Sunday April 4, 2004 Stirling Castle -- photo

Stirling Castle, west rampart, from the Ladies Walk looking north into the highlands. This is one of the many reasons I'm very glad not to be engaged in the assault and siege of this particular castle.

It was a cold day in February when I took this shot--gloves on while I was outside, though the sun shone down for a good while. You could see nearly all the way across Scotland.

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the
white table