Find the archive of past entries at archive.htm. Today's entry is at daily.htm.
|Saturday June 30, 2001 Movie night|
Went to Matt Mulkin's high school graduation party today. He ships out for the Marine Corps in a couple of weeks. Oy. They're all getting old!
I cleaned some things, not that it looks like it. At all. Aargh.
Movie Night at Shye's. We watched Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Charlie's Angels, and the Rocky Horror Picture Show. We also tormented Shye's cat, George, which is always good fun. George loves me, yes she does, and she lets me hold her and squeeze her and love her and pat her and subject her to abuse that she will not stand from many others. Got a way with my hands, I guess.
Tiger deserves the hype it received. Nobody told me it was so sad, though! Kind of blindsided me, I guess. Still, it's a beautiful film, well shot, and deserves a lot of credit for little things. The dubbing was exceptionally well done--it was often difficult to tell that the actors weren't actually filmed speaking English.
Charlie's Angels was one we'd all seen before, and just enjoyed. It's fluff, but it's fluff that's darn proud of itself, knows it's fluffy, and is damn well going to have a good time. We've got some plot holes, we've got some problems with realism, but we've got Bill Murray in a scary tuxedo, Tim Curry in a sumo wrestler suit, Tom Green and his pants, and above it all, three gorgeous women kicking ass. There is a place for such things in the world.
Rocky Horror is... um... rocky horror... um. uh... it's. um. it defies explanation as well as capitalizations. Shye's statement: "it's so bad you have to throw rice at the screen to make yourself feel better about it." I... um. It's not exactly bad, but it's certainly not good. It exists in the grey area where transvestite Tim Curry lives. Um. It's truly strange. I can see why it's a cult classic. I can also see why cults are considered a deeply dangerous thing by mental health professionals. It's bloody strange.
I have emailed people with questions about instruments. I have emailed many people. And I have gone to bed. But I have not done them all at the same time, and I have not done all of them today.
Magenta: I ask for nothing!
|Friday June 29, 2001 Tent and kheer|
Today I did many errands at work. Shye and I put together most of our first salvo in the database update war. It'll get mailed tomorrow or Monday. In order to do this, I got to go to the office supplies store, where I found some nice paper and envelopes, which I bought and will convert to "personal stationery". Tired of looking, so I found something that'll work and got it.
Had to get stuff from amazing Ames, so I got some necessaries for Pinewoods, etc. More folding.
We have a tent. A big tent, with chairs in it, for the sitting in the yard without the obnoxious attentions of insect life. It is cool. Or rather, it is hot, but nice. We sat in it for a while this evening.
Dad made a spicy Indian curried dish for dinner, along with rice and dal and kheer. Yum!
|Thursday June 28, 2001 Tique-taque|
Started pulling together materials for AAS certification today. Was frustrated a lot by reels.
Kendra has, mysteriously, resurfaced. Yay Kendra.
And another night of accomplishing absolutely nothing that I'd planned to do slips by...
|Wednesday June 27, 2001 Bagger Vance|
I was feeling all happy and positive about things. Then I started thinking about Pinewoods again. You've all heard my rant about it already, so I'll spare you. Just continues to frustrate me.
I entered many statistics today. Lots of typing and reading.
We watched The Legend of Bagger Vance this evening, which I enjoyed. Don't look deep, just sit back and enjoy the movie. No analysis! I felt like a happy music geek at one point, though--just when Junuh starts to get it, they play an Amen from Gabriel Fauré's requiem. I recognized it, which made me pleased, and also detected the musical pun. What do French golfers say when they're about to hit the ball--"Fauré!", get it, ha ha.
|Tuesday June 26, 2001 Premeditated kindness|
As you can see, I have finally got around to putting in the webjournals I wrote while in New Hampshire and Vermont. So, I've had my New England debut performance, and it was fun. Susie and Viveka may let me be an apprentice pirate, on account of my manly ability to flex impressively and also because of my "aaarrrrrrrrrrr", which strikes terror into the hearts of all who hear it. Well, most of them, anyway. Okay. Fine. Anyway.
I went to Canada for my piping lesson tonight, as usual. Got some music from Brian. Got lots of practice marching and so on. John and I decided to go out for coffee after practice, and we were overheard by Dave and Scott, who picked a random coffee place to have some coffee in, since it sounded good to them. So, quite by accident, four of us had a snack in Tim Horton's after band practice. Good conversation, too.
The Canadians have just finished their school year, and were celebrating. Many, many teenagers at the Brockville St. Lawrence Park, where they were evidently having a sleepover party. I felt old. :)
So on the way home, I spent $2 to be pleased with myself. Last time I helped John move (I'm helping again on 2 July) we discussed a little book of things you can do to help the world, things that nobody will ever give you awards for doing, things that probably slip under most people's radar, but that add some sort of good to the world. Among them was the idea of paying, when crossing a toll bridge, not only for yourself but also for the next person to cross, with no concern for whether or not you know that person.
So I did it. I forked over an extra $2 to the confused bridge attendant, who didn't seem to understand that I didn't know or care who was coming across behind me, and that I'd like to pay for him/her/it too, please. I'm surprised the US customs officer didn't ask me if I was smoking something, given how much I was grinning. Maybe it's just the Canadian ones who think I import alcohol.
The problem with spending three hours playing bagpipes is that it's physically exhausting. I begin to question the thing people have told me about Pinewoods: apparently I'm supposed to play for 20 to 40 minutes every morning, and some people say it's without stopping. Now, most people in my band are deeply unhappy after playing for six minutes. 20 to 40? Gaah. Unrealistic RSCDS. I am, however, sort of beginning to drift mentally because of playing so much tonight. We spent all of our lesson time playing pipes. Three straight hours. Ugh.
Brian and I joked about the practice session with the whole band, since some other members were complaining about being asked to play the medley yet again. That which doesn't kill me breaks me down, maims me, but eventually makes me stronger.
Everyone's going to be at the traditional music festival in Joliet, QC. I hope to be there as well.
|Monday June 25, 2001 Sheet music arrives|
Sheet music arrived today from Barbara McOwen, which is good because it means I can start learning the tunes for Pinewoods. 35 tunes in 11 days... Heh. Let's hope :)
Had a Reachout shift. It was very quiet, which was good. While there, I finished my reread of Good Omens. It was, as usual, fabulous.
At lunch today, we had a birthday party for my mother and for Tonya, whose birthday was the 21st. Carvel ice cream cake :)
|Sunday June 24, 2001 Happy Birthday, Mom!|
Happy birthday, mommy!
Today, I was going to post my DS entries from the weekend, and I was going to write lots about the things I've been thinking, and etc. But then I had a good if occasionally strange conversation for four hours and then another for an hour, and there just wasn't time. Dar.
Dad took us out to the Cactus Grill for Mom's birthday. Es war ganz gut.
Played a session in Rick Klein's solarium today. I was a musician. It felt good. What felt paradoxically good was figuring out the cost of the instruments I want. If I were to get the good stuff (which I will) of the various instruments I currently want to get, it would take approximately 3 years of waiting and would cost on the order of $13286. Susie and Viveka are of the opinion that I should take a year or two after college and work a ridiculously high-paying computer job to pay for my instruments, and that I can then decide what I want to do with life. Maybe that's a good idea.
A big hello to folks from New Hampshire, some of whom may be reading this. You guys are great!
|Saturday June 23, 2001 Ice cream and kittens|
(Mostly) from Viveka Fox's house in Addison VT.
Man, I've got to spend more time doing this sort of thing. What a day. Got up at 8:15, though people first woke me at 5... had some tunes in the dining room chez Tobin. Then good breakfast, and we had to leave for Viv's gig in Vermont. It's funny how quickly bonds form--I was sad to leave the Lancasterians, and hope some of them will stay in touch.
I felt a little more in control of myself at the session this morning than I have in some other similar situations. I knew all but one of the tunes people played, which felt neat. Nice to have conversations with people through music.
Speaking of conversations, one of the people I played with is Charles Danforth's mother. His dad was also there. Charles went to Swat and is a bit of a legend in the SWIL set. Neat!
Then off to the Ben & Jerry's One World-One Heart festival at Sugarbush resort. Viv played a nice set with Atlantic Crossing, her band; Susie and I, as official semi-roadies, got backstage passes and free lunch/ice cream. It rained. A lot. People stood in front of the stage and did that funky interpretive dance. You know what I mean. It usually has at least one over-40 ex-hippy man who thinks he's in touch with the cosmic rhythms of the ley lines crossing the stage but is actually more in touch with the cosmic rhythms of not having any rhythm and looking silly. There's typically at least one youngish woman there, anywhere from 18-25, who is either waif-like or Round Like Good African Women (they're always white, incidentally). This woman will be doing African Dance, because of course they have Celtic music in Africa, too :)
And the best part is this: they look silly, people laugh at them, some even get annoyed with them, but they're having fun. The Band loves them--one of the constants in the backstage tent was that bands who had just come off stage talked about the dancers they had. The bands enjoy watching them. So hey--more power to them. Maybe I could learn to be a voluptuous African woman, too. I think I'd have to get a brightly-colored scarf and drape it halfway around my waist, though.
Susie and I headed off to Viv's house in Addison; Viv had a wedding to play, in the rain. Here, we've played tunes, made dinner (penne con aglio e olio e pesto e snow peas e I don't speak Italian; salad), and played with Viv's cats: Mercedes and Regis. They're much fun. Mercedes is tiny and a bay-bee kitty cat, and will quite happily chase a cat toy almost until I get bored with the game. Fun cats!
Good people, all. I miss them.
|Friday June 22, 2001 Playing the dance|
Written (mostly) from the home of the Tobins in Lancaster NH at 12:55 am.
What to say about today? It's been a long and interesting one, with no signs of stopping. Got up at 8:30, packed and such, and got out of town at 10:45. Good thing I left when I did--I managed to intercept every construction site known to man, follow every slow driver in the state, and ... and fail to find a third element with which to close that list. I followed a funeral procession for a while in Bangor.
Anyway, it's good that I left when I did--I guessed the trip would take something on the order of 2 hours, 40 minutes, so I allowed 3 hours 15 minutes. Even with that margin, I was still 10 minutes late meeting Viveka. Dar. She was cool about it, though. She's nice. I like Viv.
Met Viveka in Richmond VT after a short detour. We headed out to Lancaster. Got here, tuned the pipes, hung out with Susie, played some tunes, got dressed, and went to the hall--a Masonic Lodge with really good acoustics. Pot luck dinner, got to meet our hosts the Tobins, and played the dance.
Bagpipes sound good in that hall.
Met lots of people--Alexandra, Merri, Roberta, Bill, Gerry (female), Jim, Ian, Mary Ellen (not that Mary Ellen), various others. Sleep now.
Looking back on it, what were the highlights? There were lots. I was one of the people on stage. I was a Real Musician (tm). People solicited my opinion. I wore my brightly colored vest with the MacGregor tartan kilt my band issued me. I clashed horribly, and loved it. I needed to tune my bagpipes, so I stood outside the hall on Main Street of Small Town USA and watched people watching me. It was excellent.
After the dance, at around midnight, I walked home to the Tobins' house. Watched more people, looked at the pretty little river running through town. I like being out late. The world looks magic at night, sometimes.
|Thursday June 21, 2001 Preparations|
I wrote a SWAPA 'zine. It is better than good; it is done.
I spoke with Barbara McOwen on the phone. She is music director for Pinewoods Scottish. It will be all good soon, I hope.
I learned yet more tunes.
I attempted to work on my pants, but found that they were munged up and were therefore not something I could deal with tonight.
I was tired, so I went to bed.
Folks, the Daily Show is going old-fashioned for a few days. I'm going to be in New Hampshire, so I probably won't be updating the page for a few days. Rest assured that I will be writing. I bet it scared you that I might leave you without an update, and I also bet you're now breathing easier.
So it's off to Lancaster, to play with Susie and Viveka. We'll stay there tomorrow night, then go back to Viv's house in Vermont, after hanging out at the Ben & Jerry's One World festival, where Viv is playing. Dinner, tunes, sleep, pancakes with cherries, swimming, home... much driving. Peace, all.
|Wednesday June 20, 2001 Saucy streetwalkers|
Dad and Shye both win points for pointing out that my correction of the 13 June entry issue of what to call Peggy was incorrect.
It now stands that she's my paternal step-grandmother, as she is the wife of my father's father. A grandmother-in-law would be been the grandmother of whomever I marry. I knew it would end up badly when I wrote that. I can never figure out what to call Peggy and Byron, her counterpart on my grandmother's side of things. I may just call them grandparents, because it's easier, and leave my obsessive need for truth alone. Blarg.
Mom's book on tailoring came today, and I spent a while reading some of it. Cool! Nothing came for me; no Pinewoods information. I read a good bit of Good Omens. Fabulous! I learned a lot of music.
My bore oil arrived at Northern Music, and Mom picked it up for me. I have now oiled my flute, and it should be happier. Yay!
I made penne with puttanesca sauce for dinner, and Dad made excellent pie. I feel more pleased with myself as a cook than I did at the beginning of the summer, because of the last two days. Tonight I made the puttanesca, and the only things I actually measured were the red pepper flakes and capers. Last night, when I got home from Canada at 10:30, I was hungry, so I started cooking dinner at 11:40 or so. Had no idea what to do, so I decided I would try quinoa. I made a nifty Indian-style quinoa thing, with onions and garlic and vegetable bouillon and coriander and cumin and cloves and cinnamon and honey. And here's the thing--I had no recipe, and I didn't measure anything but the bouillon. I just winged it. It felt really cool to be able to think "I want my food to taste like X", and be able to translate that mentally into choices and amounts. I've been able to do that for a while with some things, but not with the spices I used last night. It was good.
|Tuesday June 19, 2001 CISM certification|
Blackflies, mosquitoes, and other assorted evil insects are eating me alive while I write, so it's going to be brief.
I'm now certified in CISM. Yay!
Bagpiping was good. I played passably well.
|Monday June 18, 2001 Boy Scout in kilt|
Shye correctly points out that Peggy is not actually my paternal mother-in-law. Make that grandmother-in-law on the 13 June entry.
Today was much critical incident stress training. Was good, but I'm not going to write about it right now. I asked a question that the instructor had trouble answering. Yay. Then the scout court of honor, for which I wore kilt and accoutrements along with a Scout uniform shirt. It looked cool.
I had fun watching the various Boy Scouts try to figure out what to make of a guy wearing a kilt being in their court of honor. They had me play a bagpipe processional for their opening. I couldn't decide what to play, so I played Battle of Waterloo followed by Dum Du--Scotland The Brave. Pipes were reasonably well in tune, so I was pleased. We had dinner, and the awarding of badges and ranks, and then it was my turn to speak as Guest Speaker. It's very important, you know, so it gets capital letters.
I winged it. There was only one thing it was important to convey, which was that I'm proud of the boys for being there and working toward Eagle Scout. The rest is all just decoration and accent. So I told them a little bit about the troop's history, and talked a bit about some of the other Scouts I'd met in college, and rambled on semicoherently for a while. And then I said what needed to be said, and it was over.
More playing outside afterwards, when the boys all wanted to see how bagpipes work. Fun stuff. I let David Meyer try to play them. Heehee. It's always fun to watch people hyperventilate whilst trying to inflate the bag. Sucks when it happens to me, though :)
Then I went to my hotline shift, where I answered the phone something like seven times, but didn't get to log any calls because they were all return contacts for another volunteer's caller. Aah well.
More CISM tomorrow, then Canadia.
|Sunday June 17, 2001 Selling baby chipmunks?|
Shock! Dismay! There are people who sell baby chipmunks as pets! Oh! I'm sure there are people who take care of them, but they're... they're... ack! Would it be any fun to be able to go to a cage to see your chipmunks? I like going to the back door and finding that they've appeared. No such fun with a cage. Sigh.
Today was good. Dad made lovely stew for dinner; we had German potato salad and sausages for lunch, an outdoor picnic. Terry and Elena came over; mom is altering a dress for Elena's graduation. I meant to talk with Terry about her yoga class, but forgot in the course of other conversation. Doh!
We watched The Sting this evening. Fine old film with Robert Redford and Paul Newman, as well as a younger Dana Elcar. Wahoo!
Tomorrow I will get up at 6:30, so as to go to a training session on CISM. CISM is an acronym you'll probably start to see more and more often, so it's best to learn it now. Critical Incident Stress Management. Theoretically, I'll have Basic certification fairly soon. Cool beans. Now, however, I must sleep.
|Saturday June 16, 2001 Pie and buying stuff|
Did way too much shopping today, followed by a lot of sewing.
We trekked it to Massena and the various stores, after stopping at Grandma's to drop off a saw and fix her computer. Things I bought include: a Discman (finally, after all these years, I succumbed. it's got a car adapter so I can listen to CDs while driving to Canada); Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (fabulous. now I have my own copy); Stardust, by Neil Gaiman; Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse; A Tolkien Bestiary, by David Day (on sale! yay Tolkien!); a rubber squash ball, for foot massage.
Also much fabric and notions and such. I'm making wild pants for Pinewoods. The current fabric includes a reddish-orange print of white Xs and Os, and a purple fabric with many self-satisfied cats of varied colors (some variegated, even!) printed on it. They will look most insane. I love it!
Dad made steak Diane and the Policeman Pie. Both are excellent. I intend to continue tormenting the Delaware Valley Branch by threatening to make this pie. It's so fabulous. Apple/cherry pie with shortbread crust that's got dried cherries baked into it. Yum!
Oh, right, the overnight. Mostly okay, though an old wingnut caller reappeared, and someone woke me up at 4:26 am.
|Friday June 15, 2001 Complete lack of paragraph structure|
What does one write?
I have my first overnight shift at Reachout tonight. Here's hoping it'll be quiet. Tonight, I cooked vegetarian chili burgers, and Dad made a lemon sponge. The burgers were good, I think, if a little different from what I expected. Kidney beans, carrots, onions, garlic, etc... I haven't gotten to try to the lemon sponge yet (I have to leave to start my shift) but it was excellent last time, so I have high hopes.
Still nothing from Pinewoods. Today at Reachout I fixed the steps, entered statistics information, and did various other things. I took my kilt belt to Luchie's shoe repair, so they could put another buckle on it--it's made for someone a little smaller than me, so I'm having them put another buckle, thus making it adjustable for anyone between 32" and probably 45" waist--I figured it would be good to do it for people a good bit larger than me, too.
|Thursday June 14, 2001 Sewing insignia|
I've been reading Circling The Square a little bit. A bunch of Swatties. Heh. Funny stuff.
I've been writing. Much writing.
I learned to sew insignia onto my uniform! I now have a Quality Unit patch for 2001 on my sleeve, and the Eagle Scout knot goes on tomorrow.
Edward de Bono's Thinking Course is a neat book. I'm going to go read some more of it now. G'night.
|Wednesday June 13, 2001 Lasagna and mice penne|
I have achieved regression. Oh yes. I listen to the Spice Girls on headphones. Yea verily, sad and pathetic am I.
Today, I was mostly not a tribute to humanity. I went to work, fully intending to be productive and get stuff done, only to find that there wasn't really anything for me to do*. I didn't want to bill for time when I wasn't doing anything, so I spent much of an afternoon not getting paid whilst sitting on a couch. Dar. My own fault, though.
However, there was something of excitement in my day. Several things, actually. First, I received a postcard from Ireland! Very exciting indeed, and with beautiful cliffs on the front. Only took it 15 days to get here, which is sort of impressive, considering. Yay! I love getting mail--it feels so... substantial. There's something about writing, I guess. I've heard lots of Swatties say that Robin Mamlet's personalized note on their acceptance letters helped them to choose Swarthmore. Now, it can't have taken more than 30 seconds of Robin's time to write those, but it meant a lot to us. Same with a postcard. Written communication is just good.
Next, Mom's car went to the car doctor. A few explanations are probably in order. It had two problems: the right turn signal was misbehaving, and the blower was acting weird. More specifically, it spat something white at me the other day when I was driving to Canada. I was more than a little wigged by the experience, especially given that I couldn't find whatever it had shot. (God, I used 'wigged' in a sentence.) Anyway, it was making a really unhappy noise if you turned the blower up anywhere near high, so we decided to have it checked. I had my suspicions as to the reason ...
... which, as it turned out, were correct. We had a similar problem a while ago. The fan system was clogged. "Clogged with what," you ask. Penne. Penne. Yes, penne, as in the small, slightly ribbed pasta from Italy. Penne.
Evidently, we've got some sort of mouse that thinks a car engine is just the best choice around when it comes to locating your pantry. Makes me remember that book of a few years ago: Manifold Destiny, all about how to cook things on your car's engine while driving it. Maybe our mouse fancied his penne toasted a bit.
The funny thing is, after the first incident, we removed all of the penne from the basement and everywhere else. Clearly, our mouse has an intermediate stash, where untold treasures are kept before their transport to the car. Perhaps someone's been running a penne laundering racket in our garage? Maybe to mice, penne are like dollars, and it's sometimes good to run it through the car to divest it of any disagreeable energy. I dunno. Anyway, the penne had teeth marks on them. Mice are weird.
Dad made Peggy's Lasagna for dinner. Peggy's Lasagna is godlike. It is fantabulous. It comes from one of the silly Junior League cookbooks that Peggy (my paternal stepmother) loves to collect. She likes to laugh at them, but occasionally they've got good recipes. This one masquerades as "Midnight Lasagna", but since time immemorial (or at least dimly remembered) it has been known solely as Peggy's Lasagna. It has yummy wonderful flavorings, and lots of cheese, and it gets all browned and gooey and crispy and fabulous and varied and oooooooooooh.
I like it.
My culinary contribution was a loaf of French bread. I was, however, lazy, and thus decided to make it in the bread machine. What came out was a thoroughly nice loaf of bread with excellent crumb and crust, flavor reminiscent of a baguette de Berd'huis, but in slices the size of normal bread. It toasts very well indeed, and goes quite nicely with jam. It wasn't done anywhere near dinner time, though :>
The mosquitoes have now taken up their occupation of tormenting me. I object to their presence. I think we need a PETA for mosquitoes. Hrm. Perhaps there already is one. A small, but diminishing minority of the mosquito world might be Vegan, choosing to live only on things which have never had anything to do with humans. Perhaps there are hordes of mosquitoes out there who joyfully suck tofu through their probosci, content to know that no humans were harmed in the creation of their meals.
I doubt it, though. I think they're all bloody parasites, out to suck the still-flowing life from my veins! Bastards! Have I told you about the bagpipes? I'm convinced that bagpipes, to the mosquito mind, sound the precise note that says "Hey guys! The damn mother lode is over here! Come and get it!" It really sucks when they land on your hands, because you can't do a damn thing about it.
I bet you're miserably itchy at this point, aren't you.
Calamine lotion or a good 2x4 to the head will help you with that.
Anyway, I'm off. Oh! The Canadian Border Patrol officer yesterday must have thought I looked suspicious. He felt compelled to ask me twice if I was carrying any beer, wine, or liquor into Canada. Heh.
*: well, I could have entered more call statistics, but I don't want to do that until we test the data miner to make sure it'll generate statistics the way we want.
|Tuesday June 12, 2001 Pipe Band uniform|
Short entry because it's late and I'm tired.
I have been issued a uniform by my band: ghillie brogues, hose, flashes, MacGregor tartan kilt, sporran, belt, coatee, Inverness cape, Glengarry bonnet. I'll look dashing, or something.
|Monday June 11, 2001 Tarry Pinewoods frustration|
Talked to a woman on the phone tonight who wanted information about Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in the area. I gave them to her; she told me that the city of Rochester has more than 700 AA meetings every week. Wow. Anyway, she's been sober for ten years. Caller, I salute you!
I came on shore in the month of May,
Then up stepped Jack as nimble as a bee, (? nimble as _could_ be?)
Her father he was a-looking on,
Now up stepped Jack, just as nimble as could be,
The old man, he was a-standing there,
That's Tarry Sailor, transcribed from Atlantic Crossing's album Full and Away. It has the most addictive music in the history of the world. At least, today it does.
I've been trying to keep a positive tone in the webjournals lately, because I've been mostly positive, and I figure it's more fun to read that way--I know I get fatigued reading journals that are always pessimistic. However, today I make a bit of an exception.
I am so frustrated about the Pinewoods thing that I almost forgot to end the 'so' clause properly. AARGH! What the hell? Is there something about me that says "please, if you're a prospective or actual employer, please do ignore anything and everything that I write to you! Please, don't tell me anything at all about my job" ? Aargh. It happened with internship applications early this semester, and now it's happening with Pinewoods. I don't have a clue how I'm getting to Boston, it's getting late (and expensive) to make hotel reservations if my parents are driving, it's getting late (and expensive) to make bus or train reservations if I'm doing that.
Leaving aside the fact that I've heard nothing formal from the camp, so I don't know if I have a cabin, a meal plan, a nametag, a whateverthehell else. And music? Music? Now there's a fun issue. If I have a couple of hours, I can probably learn a couple of tunes on bagpipes well enough that I can play them at tempo with sheet music. Unless they're reels, which are still hard for me. Meanwhile, I've got 26 days until I start playing on stage, and not a sign of any music for me to learn. I don't even have _names_ of tunes, so I could go find copies of the music on my own. Nothing. Do they assume I'm so good I can just walk onstage and play whatever? What the hell? Aargh. I'm beginning to understand why they warned me about getting burned out by working with these people.
All right. Enough of that. So, I'm playing bagpipes for a Troop 77 BSA court of honor next Monday night. This I knew. I found out tonight that they'd like me to be the Guest Speaker (does that really deserve capitals? Who knows) for the ceremony. Evidently people are worried about some of the current Scouts slacking off. Well, I'm an expert on that--I got tired of the BS in Scouting for a while, before I decided it would be worth it to finish. I guess I can find something to say that'll be inspirational.
Wow. I just sat here and wondered if I'm really an Eagle Scout. Am I? I must be. I've got the Promise and plaque and knot and medal and photographs to prove it. I guess... I just feel like the same old me, to myself, and I look at the archetype of Eagle Scout and wonder if it's really me.
Hm. So we assume that Scouting selects a certain sort of person for elevation to Eagle Scout. We'll assume that it's Scouting, whether or not it's actually personal desire, parental pushing, or anything else that does the selection. Here's a philosophy question for you: can you choose to be an Eagle Scout? Can you sit there and look at the criteria, decide you want to fit them, and mold yourself into an Eagle? Or do you have to be an Eagle Scout in personality first, and then the naming is just that: a formality recognizing what's already there?
Rather too much philosophy, I guess. I'll just tell them that being an Eagle Scout has helped me to realize the American Dream, or something. Heh.
I spent a while organizing tunes into a binder today. Got more than 120 of them in there at the moment, with several more tunesets to go through. Yay! Also practiced (silently) my pipe music for SLPB during my shift at Reachout. I've got some of the music closer to memorized, and I've started learning some of the new stuff. Yay.
|Sunday June 10, 2001 Seasoning and sewing|
And here we are, it's early June, and the bugs are coming to life.
Oh, wait, it's not early June anymore. How did that happen? Anyway, it was a day of Great Doings.
I thought I saw Cat, who's in Potsdam on an REU (or ought to be by now) walking downtown, but I didn't get a chance to check. Mom and I went to Amazing Amés Fashion Department Store (Ames to everyone else) and got an oscillating fan for the living room, some hangers, and an eggcrate foam thingy for my bed ($5.99; we'll see how it works). Dad worked on repairing and revarnishing the pole saw we have that came to us from the old days of camp. We made a strange amalgamation meal for dinner: pork tenderloin in peppercorn sauce (from the store); pyazhwale sookhe aloo (Indian mashed potatoes); salad.
That paragraph had way too many parentheticals.
I got a can of bag seasoning from Dan Whalen today, which allowed me to season my pipe bag. Now, Airtight seasoning, made by R.G. Hardie and Sons, of Scotland, is absolutely the way to go for making the ol' elkskin, well, airtight. It's guaranteed to make airtight any bag that is not actually burst. As Dan says, "It's got lots of fish guts in it to make it airtight." Well, I don't know about that, but it's got lanolin and other things that smell Right Pungent. Anyway, you stick the stuff in your bagpipes, give it a good massage for half an hour, inflate it, deflate it, massage it, neither rinse nor lather but do repeat, and then you hang the thing over the sink to drain out overnight. I rigged quite the contraption to hang it. Anyway. Hopefully the bag will be less leaky now.
Sewing lesson! I've been introduced to the mysteries of the Sewing Machine this evening. Learning to sew straight lines, curved lines, and to play with the dorky little "decorative" stitches on the sewing machine. For reference, the things to the left of the "trees" on that scrap of fabric are, theoretically, swans. Now, I don't think they look the slightest bit like swans, but I guess the folks down at Kenmore Sewing Machine Manufacturing Czar, Incorporated, didn't care too much about what I thought.
I cleverly made it look unimpressive by sewing other stuff around it, but two (visible) rows of stitching at the bottom of the scrap are actually a French seam. Be impressed. "Ooh, ahh" I hear you say.
It's a sad-looking little mouse, but that's the way the fabric was shaped. That's the way the cookie crumbled? Anyway.
Editor's note: I have now actually gone and looked at the picture I posted, and have realized that you haven't a clue what I'm talking about with the trees and swans, because, well, you can't see a damn thing in this picture. Well, you'll have to trust me on this one. The trees don't look especially treelike, and the swans are utterly non-avian. That's some pretty nice parallel line work, though, right?
|Saturday June 9, 2001 Missa Trinitatis|
Today, I got to masquerade as a Catholic.
Well, not really. But I got to go to a Catholic mass, sing their liturgical music, and hang out watching the scene. It was sort of interesting. Dad and I were there singing Missa Trinitatis, a somewhat pretentious "through-composed mass setting in the eighth mode" for the Anticipatory Mass of Holy Trinity. Mike DeVoe put together our motley band of five for the occasion: him, me, my dad, Tom and Jim Madeja. I went to school with Tom, and took the occasional trumpet lesson from Jim. They're fun.
And, somewhat to my surprise, it went well. I was pleased with us for being able to essential sightread a bizarre piece of music at something resembling performance quality. Mr. Ham was in the audience--audience? it's a church. What's the correct term for a Catholic church? Congregation? Anyway--and said afterwards "I thought I recognized Anglican voices!" He's another Episcopalian.
Mom made this amazingly good risotto tonight (I helped with some of it; stirring and adding liquid, mostly) from one of Nick Stellino's Cucina Amore cookbooks. It was much yumminess. Yay, risotto! Stellino has a slightly different method for adding liquid, and I think his works better. Add 3 cups of liquid to the rice, then cover it and let it cook undisturbed for 15 minutes. It worked very nicely.
I read yet more about feng shui this evening. We watched Top Gun. It was good. I played practice pipes for a while, and practiced music for various gigs. Life is good.
|Friday June 8, 2001 Sewing and crofters|
Today was Bob's last day of work at the office. We gave him presents (including a squeeze bottle of hot sauce), and had cake and ice cream after Chinese food. We'll miss ya, Bob.
Dad made nifty Jamaican chicken and a raita tonight. The raita is going to take me a while to get used to, but the chicken was pretty cool. Yay! And then he made a happy strawberry soufflé. It was good, even though it tried to escape and left bits of itself on the inside of the oven. Eggs are feisty little things--you never know what they'll do in the oven. We had the part that stayed in the dish, and it was very yummy indeed.
Jen and I went to the Birch Bark Bookstore (used bookstore) today, and I used the gift certificate she'd given me. I acquired a book of Scottish songs (mostly lyrics, though with some tunes); a book about The Music Of Scotland; a book about drawing, by Kimon Nicolaides; Red Branch, by Morgan Llywelyn; Wise Child, by Monica Furlong; and the Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons. Good books. Happy books.
Mom and I did a sewing lesson tonight. I discovered that I have a pattern for making a sporran; I think I may try it, since I've got a fair quantity of leather on hand that's probably suitable.
I'm somewhat perplexed to find myself genuinely angry as I write this. Not about anything that was done to me, directly; not even about anything that was first done too recently. I've been reading about the highland Clearances of Scotland, from the Scottish Highland Clearances Memorial Committee among others, and this is really disturbing stuff. I want to check some of their sources to see if they're telling the truth, but a lot of the information presented checks out with other things I've learned over the years.
It's funny. I started writing that, thinking "Not about anything that was done to me, directly; not even about anything that was done at all recently." But, if you believe the authors of that site, the Clearances are still going on, as recently as 1993. It had never occurred to me that the crofting lifestyle might still exist, let alone be prevalent. You know how you always hear about 1% of the people in this country controlling 90% of the wealth? Whatever the statistic is... try Scotland. "A 1976 study showed that 35 families or companies own one third of the Highland's 7.39 million acres of privately owned land."
I honestly don't know what to say or do about it. It surprises me that I'm so angry about it, really, but then... I don't know. You tell yourself that people did bad things in the past, that Nations were evil and bad, but that they have, as Nations, moved on into enlightenment. You spend a lot of time learning to love a music, a culture, a style of dancing. You make plans to acquire the hallmark garments of members of that society. You fall in love with an image which seems to fit well.
And then, you sometimes have to look at what undergirds all those things. I don't suppose that it diminishes the value or the importance of those other things; I will continue to love the music and the dancing along with the rest of it. It is, however, sobering to have to look at reality once in a while.
It's been a day for that, too--at work we were talking about some people who'd called for help, faced with too little money coming from working too much, and mounting medical bills for a sick child. We talked a lot about options the family might have, and ways they might try to 'stay afloat' until their next paycheck comes in.
Now, I cashed a bunch of paychecks today; they'd been sitting in my wallet for a good while at the end of the schoolyear, because I'd been working and never getting a chance to go to the bank. I'm going to send a substantial portion of that money away for membership in an organization that allows me to play bagpipes in competition. And in the same day, I can sit there and talk about how that family might try to stay afloat just a little longer. What the hell?
Now, you tell yourself that you're going to college for a reason. You say that there's something to the idea of always trying to learn new things, to master new skills, to make oneself a more knowledgeable and employable person. That is, to some degree, predicated on the belief that having certain skills will allow you to find (gainful) employment that provides money. More money is considered good.
So, you work hard, you learn more, you get paid. You get paid, sometimes less than you feel you're worth, sometimes more, but usually more than minimum wage. By rights, there's nothing wrong with working to achieve a "better station". Most people are out for that, in the end. There are times, though, when you look at money, money you've worked to earn, and just feel dirty.
One hopes that there's a way out of this, for everyone involved.
|Thursday June 7, 2001 Chipmunks, O Best Beloved|
Chipmunks, O Best Beloved, go pop-hop when they run across the lawn.
They do, really. If they're walking, they stay quite low, and walk along in quite dignified fashion, really. They happily stuff their (huge) cheeks with seeds and things--my grandmother feeds them peanuts, and they love the nuts!--and walk about, usually quite cautious. When they're running, it's a different story. If you've read Dune, you know that Muad'dib was named for muad'dib, the Teacher of Boys, the little sand mouse whose movement is pop-hop. I think they're based on chipmunks. They sort of bounce along off the ground, and it's fabulously wonderful.
And Scampi ate one chipmunk, but she didn't eat this one, at least not yet. I've seen it (him?) standing at attention twice now; both times standing on his hind feet, perfectly still, evidently trying to avoid notice. Now, I may not be a predator for them, but I've got very sharp eyes for chipmunks. I love them. So I saw him and watched him for a while. Didn't move. Dad came down the steps; didn't move. I went, and we got in the car, and left the driveway. Only then did my chipmunk come down from his pose, turn, and pop-hop his way into the safety of a foliage screen.
I like chipmunks.
I randomly made rice today, mostly just to see how it worked without complex additives. So: 2C water, 1C extra-long grain rice, 1 bouillon cube, 1tsp. salt, basil, garlic powder, oregano, and a little Parmesan cheese makes a very nice rice dish. I want to add things to it next time, though. I'm hunting for things that use dry ingredients, so I can keep them around at school. Rice goes on the list.
Dentist appointment went well today. Susan, the hygienist who cleaned my teeth, has known my family since time immemorial, and so we chatted a bit, about music and other things. Apparently my home care of my teeth is excellent; she said it didn't really matter that we'd been unable to schedule an appointment during winter break, since I've been neurotically taking care of my teeth. Well, it's good to know that the work pays off, eh?
Started learning a bit more about how to sew tonight, from mom, after long conversation about everything and nothing, and rather more about things in between. That sounds all conspiratorial and mysterious, doesn't it? It wasn't, really, just one of those fun conversations that follows a completely random path.
I reinstalled Microsoft Office 2000 tonight, after wrestling with it forever and then uninstalling it. It worketh properly now. Proof positive that any computer problem can be solved by beating your head against it until you bleed, uttering some color-saturated words in the crudest Anglo-Saxon you can muster, then removing the thing from your system and starting from scratch. Some of you will no doubt think that I should do the same with Windows and stick linux on my machine; ha, I say! I already have linux on there!
There was much reading of Walden today. Yes, I'm italics-happy today. Deal with it. Anyway, I'm nearing the end, which is cool, but is also saddening; I've found an odd sort of communion through reading the book. I keep finding things that suggest to me that much of life happens for a reason. I've held for years that friends fall into your life when you need them. I thought I'd read Walden before; I now think I was mistaken. Is it possible it's taken me this long to read it because I wasn't ready to find it before? Just odd because of how many things Thoreau writes reflect issues I've been thinking about lately, even if I don't always agree with his conclusions.
How's that Zen maxim go, again? When the student is ready, the master appears? Hm. I like Zen sometimes.
|Wednesday June 6, 2001 Moving Day for John|
I moved a lot of furniture and stuff today. I helped John, my police officer friend, to move, sort of. More of it was that I helped him move stuff out of his house, or move stuff to his house for a pre-moving garage sale.
Attempted to season my pipe bag tonight, only to find that the seasoning had gone off and was no good; Brian and Karen will send a can of it down for me with the Whalens on Friday night, after the gig they're all playing in Brockville.
Mom made this neato corn chowder thing in the slow cooker today. I was going to cook it, but the moving thing took rather longer than expected. Anyway, it was neato and yummy.
John's offered to let me come try kendo with him sometime over the summer. Sounds kind of interesting--perhaps I will, sometime.
Scampi ate a chipmunk. I fear it may have been the happy little chipmunk I've enjoyed watching for a while, the one who sat under the bird feeder eating seeds all the time. I hope she got a different one, though I suspect it's a futile hope. Ah, well. The chit-chat list has been yammering incessantly about making people have contact with animals as a Good Thing for their development; maybe it is, though for a somewhat different reason than the one they mentioned. Sometimes, you have to deal with it when creatures you love do things you wish they'd rather not. Rather better than talking about why horse-riding is better than God, better than you, better than me, and certainly better than anything that you stupid, pedestrian idiots might choose to do.
Maybe I could get into trouble again by spoofing people... start trying to pull every single list posting back to why chipmunk-watching is better than [whatever]. Probably not the best idea, though. Alas.
|Tuesday June 5, 2001 Piping, Pinewoods, and philosophy|
Every once in a while, I get it right, and I deal gracefully with things. I'd like to think tonight was one of those.
Got to Brockville for piping lessons at 6 pm. Nobody there. Okay, so I hung around. I left the high school at 6:30, and drove over to the other place we practice in Brockville; nobody there, either. Drove back to the high school, thinking that perhaps someone else would have shown up. No dice. Hung around a while anyway, wondering what was going on. Called mom on the cell phone--this is why they're sometimes a good idea--to see if she'd gotten any messages about rehearsal being cancelled. No dice. Called the instructors, to see what was up: got the kids, who said they were out, possibly playing at a graduation or something.
So, I was getting ready to leave, and found another perplexed pair of band members outside, at 7:10. They didn't know what was going on either. Soon some others showed up, and all was made clear: at a gig on Friday, it had been announced that rehearsal this week was going to start at 7:15.
I was pleased with myself for not making a fuss about it. Sure, it took me almost seven hours of time to get an hour and forty-five minutes of piping, but that wasn't anyone's fault, and now I get to feel good about having been nice about it. Yay. We practiced. My bag is in dire need of seasoning--I was getting dizzy from playing, simply because the bag is so leaky that it's taking way too much air.
That will, perhaps, happen tomorrow. I'm going over to John's house to help him move. He's an old friend, a police lieutenant with the local force, and he has to move out of his house because of a landlord who's decided he doesn't want to rent the house out anymore. Oh well. Anyway, I'm going to help him move furniture and such, and then we may have a bag-seasoning party. Yay!
I finally got to speak with Mary Ellen today, and I am employed for Pinewoods, for sure. No idea what caused the delay with contracts--she sent them, but will send new copies, and will try to get me my sheet music as soon as possible, which is what I really wanted. Can I just say that I hate public transportation? With a car, getting from Potsdam to Boston takes 6 or 7 hours and costs about $35 round trip. With public transportation, it takes a minimum of 14 hours, usually more like a couple of days (yes, I do mean days, plural; a layover somewhere of overnight and morning is often required) and costs $197. Grar.
But! All will go well, I feel. There are good tunes to be learned, there are neat people to see, there is Barenaked Ladies on the headphones, and there are friends with whom to correspond. There are pierogies at midnight, a wonderful spice rack, far too many books, and, dare I say it, my cat and my parents. Life at home is good. We like home.
A postscript: the problem with being enigmatic in a forum intended for posterity is that you often find that, in a year or two, you've become posterity, and now have no clue what it was that seemed so important and private as to need the shroud of mystery.
This follows a general train of thought today: sure, it's good to point that out, but it doesn't mean you'll change anything. Things that need to be secret today need to be secret today, and the fact that they'll be lost in time doesn't change the fact that they're not appropriate for general consumption.
The general train of thought comes from driving and listening to a mix tape: the one I made for Kyla near the beginning of last summer, the Love From Afar mix tape. Yes, I had no shame, and Eleanor at least will probably feel free to laugh at me. I found last summer that my mix tape makes good driving music for going to Canada and back, and I still think so. Funny, though, it always makes me think back. Looking back on time past, there are lots of things I can say "you know, that was really silly of me", or "what in the name of Jed Bartlet was I thinking", but that's not really the point. I guess it goes along with the thing about posterity--things that turn out to have been mistakes or simple errors aren't necessarily those things when they happen. So I'm a dorky sentimental fool. Heh. It's part of the charm, I suppose, and I'd do most of it again.
I wrote a while ago that I thought I'd finally started to learn some of the things sophomore year was supposed to teach me, and Eileen challenged me to explain what those were. I still can't supply an answer, other than that I think it's got a lot more to do with learning how to roll with the punches and want to get up again than it does with the correct resolution of French 6th chords or the microcoded instruction set of a PIC microcontroller. Embrace your own dorkiness, be happy, and keep moving. Oh, and talk incessantly about how wise you (now) are in your webjournal, so people will understand that you now have Big Important Thoughts, Filled With Meaning And Worth.
Or don't. :>
|Monday June 4, 2001 A new hotline shift|
Tonight was my first hotline shift of the summer, with two other volunteers. I was about to put their names down but realized that maybe I shouldn't. Anyhoo. One's an old friend, parent of an almost-classmate of mine, and the other's a new friend, even if she is a bit shy. Perhaps she'll open up more next week. :)
I... did pretty much nothing today. It was stupid. Oh, sure, I arranged tunes, and wrestled with ftp, and cleaned a bit, an a', but did I really get anything done? Nae. A din', ya sassenach idjit frae Ohio.
A did learn tae gab in th Scots tongue, if ye ken my meaning. Nae, like A learn tae plagiarize frae an other websteid.
I am way, waaayy too random sometimes.
|Sunday June 3, 2001 Almost Famous|
"The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool."
Comes to us from Almost Famous, a fun movie that I saw with Shye this evening, in the summer's inaugural Movie Night. It's a pseudo-autobiography of director Cameron Crowe. Fun fun movie. We also saw Best In Show, which is a truly alarming comedy about people who do dog shows. They scare me! Ack! Funny, though. But oh, scary!
Shye and I chatted, tormented her cat (George!), watched the Tony Awards, and had interesting pizza from Pizza Hut. We put together furniture. It was good.
I have done yet more research, this time on cookbooks and bagpipe tuning. No relation. Also Scottish attire.
I was going to be all philosophical tonight. Then I forgot. Doh.
|Saturday June 2, 2001 Burying Shawn|
It was a good burial service. A sad time, but a good service--seemed meaningful for the people involved, which was good. I played a few tunes: Amazing Grace during the service, at their request, and then afterwards, a set with a bit of piobaireachd from Chris Layer, Paddy's Green Shamrock Shores, some improv, and Going Home.
Then we went to the chez Howe (Dot and Ron Howe are the relevant aunt and uncle), where we hung out, ate lots of food, and talked a lot. I demonstrated instruments. It was good. Off to Grandpa and Peggy's for a chat, a quick tour of their new things, and to pick up Dad's Wet/Dry vacuum cleaner.
Homemade pizza for dinner! Yum. I was assaulted by the most potent red onion in the world while making the pizza, though. Ack. This thing made me blind just from slicing it. Ugh.
And I have now finished the stand for the fitting dummy. It is currently set up in the living room while Mom puts the finishing touches on the dummy. Then it will move somewhere else.
I deleted at least 266 messages from my inbox tonight.
|Friday June 1, 2001 Risotto and randomness|
The dress form is done! Now I just have to build the rest of the stand for it.
Tomorrow I must get up at 7:30. Ugh. We're going to the interment (yes, it looks misspelled to me too, but it's correct) of my cousin Shawn, about whom I wrote several months ago. I've been asked to play bagpipes for it; I'm not sure it's a great idea, but who am I to refuse? We'll see how it goes. If it's really rainy I may decline.
Tonight I watched, mostly by accident, U.S. Marshals and Masterminds. I feel so... pop-culture enhanced. More Walden will put me back into a proper, upper-crust form of being... tongue firmly in cheek.
I figured out how to make GIFs out of tunes I write down today... Did so with Cathal McConnell's Scotland-Ireland, a nifty jig. (wifty? Anyone remember that thread on chit-chat?) It was fun, and I felt clever for figuring out a way to do it.
I made a neato risotto for dinner! Midsummer Risotto, from the Moosewood Low-Fat cookbook. I removed the zucchini, because I didn't want zucchini tonight, and added Parmesan cheese, because I wanted it, but otherwise it was by the book. Good! Vegetable broth, tomato juice, onions, arborio rice, basil, tomatoes, corn... yumminess. It was most excellent. I think arborio rice is neat, even if it does take bloody forever to cook. Part of that's the nature of the stove I'm using, though. I stupidly assumed the cookbook was telling the truth when it told me "medium-low". I later figured out that what it meant was "medium-high", and then everything was fine. Oh well--I'll know better next time, and it was really yummy anyway this time.
What exactly is a moosewood, anyway?
Hey, I've got a passport. This is not, in fact, news of any kind; I've had one for almost four years now... just thought I'd share.
Nori seems torn, and I... guess I can understand where she's coming from. Hope it gets easier, hon. Cheers.
Cheers... It's funny how ubiquitous that word has grown in my vocabulary. I never used to say it--now I use it as a signature most of the time. Strange. I wonder where it came from.