Wednesday, November 30, 2005

How much strain can a brain handle? Stay tuned and find out...

These next few days will demonstrate beyond any certain doubt that there are limits to what a brain can handle at any one given moment. And the results of exceeding those boundaries.

Okay, maybe it's not that bad.
But I'd like to think it is.

The recital looms before us. A mere five days away now. Have I been getting enough practice time? No. And who's fault is that? Probably mine.

I don't think it's practice time that I need though. I feel as though all of the work that is put forth in trying to learn better technique and become a better musician disappears the minute stress is involved. Things don't work the same way any more. All of the muscles you've trained to do one thing decide it's a brilliant time to take a vacation and stop working. OPr perhaps they declare a strike. In any case, it's marvelously frustrating trying to get good work done when all you seem capable of doing is getting through a piece, let alone sounding good! I'm not interested in just sounding okay! I know I can do better. And yet I seem to be incapable of it.

I suppose I thought I would be getting over this sort of nervous tension by this point in my life. I've been at this for a while. Actually I'm not nervous about the recital. Performing. That'll be fine.

What I'm nervous about is the fact that I can't seem to control my playing right now. It has a mind and will of its own, and its desires are not aligned with mine.

Oh well. This is the way it will be forever. At least until this existence ends. What are you learning or how are you growing unless you encounter resistance, right? If its easy, then you're not changing anything.

In any event, its the same song and dance...I'd better get back to work. I'll write again soon, I'm sure...


Monday, November 14, 2005

Chicks Dig Guys With Excessive Shoulder Hair...

Don't we look just like big teddy bears?! Huh?

Okay, those who know me know that that is not myself pictured here.
It's my brother.

But I do want to call attention to what seems to be a growing amount of body hair that has been slowly but deliberately carpeting my body.

When the whole phenomenon of chest and stomach hair began, I will confess, I was quite proud. It seemed manly. And after only one experiment in shaving it off (it's aerodynamic, baby!) I learned to stop that behavior, because the hair seemed to grow back with a vengence. Feeling spited, it called on its compatriots to take up arms in neighboring folicles, weaving a tight forest of impenetrable man hair, wrapping my torso in a coarse mane.

But that was a while ago. Shouldn't the vengence have stopped by now?

Showering the other day I realized my arms have begun to look a little like hairy hams. (Muscular hams, of course.)
This is not peach fuzz. Oh no. Peach fuzz I can handle. These are the thick black hairs that you find shooting up where you body feels the need to cover itself.

I begin to worry.

A little hair was fine. It was great to shed my clothes Tarzn-style and run around, loins clad in buckskin, knowing the tufts of fine Scandinavian-bred body hair glinted in the sunlight and rippled in the wind like the prairie grass of the serengetti.

But now...

Now it might seem more as though I were some strange half-man half-mutant monkey who's diabolical creators didn't have the decency to finish their monster, leaving him to roam the lands with his soft pink flesh only partially covered in a bewildering assortment of body hair.

I'm not wishing for more. In fact, I wish for less.
I guess I show concern for where this might stop. I am interested in knowing if I will have "chest hair" sprouting from my collar, climbing up my neck like some vine intent on choking the life from me.

Will I succumb to the male wonder of "shoulder hair"? This would undoubtedly make summer-time activities more of a challenge, as most people don't really want to go down the waterslide after the "hairy guy." The bottom of the pool looks like the shower after my sisters have used it.

Still, for now, I suppose it doesn't matter. I'm the only one who stands in front of the mirror and wonders if this hair is normal. Perhaps I'll meet a woman who will attack me with a razor and do away with all unwanted man fur. I'd like to know how we handle the impending reprisal, but I suppose we'll cross that T when we come to it...

For belly button lint and hair are getting tangled, and it's pinching me.


Sunday, November 13, 2005

How Can I Possibly Be the Only Person who has constantly confused these two actresses?

Do you know who they are?
One is infinitely more famous these days than the other.

Okay...on the right, is Jennifer Aniston, and on the left is Maura Tierney.

Both were made famous by their respective television shows on NBC during the 90's. Aniston for Friends and Tierney for ER.

Both are similar of age, hair color, facial features, blah blah blah.

So why is when I mistake one for the other, I get ridiculed?!

Someone please tell me that you've never mistaken these two?

Jim Carrey's worked with both of them. Now you can't tell me the coincidences aren't getting more and more difficult to deny!

I think it's a conspiracy.

Maura and Jennifer are cousins, seperated from each other at youth, and were intrinsically drawn back to work in the television and film.

Just think about it... I know you see it my way.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

There Will Never Be Enough Time for it All

This week is a marvelous demonstration on how time can slip by, leaving you with a handfull of projects to complete and no time left in which to do it.

I am playing with the Erie Philharmonic this weekend. Our first rehearsal is this evening. I'm carpooling with Trista, which I shall enjoy, because we haven't had much time to sit and talk in a couple of years. Yeah, it's really been that bad.

Stack on top of this my lesson. My recital. This is becoming my preiminent concern, and it's something that I've not had alot of time to worry about. Am I scared? No. Not yet. That probably happens next Thursday. Right now I'm validly concerned.

Somehow it must all be accomplished. But a better question, perhaps, is when? My typically late evenings make for later mornings (which seems logical, no? Why should I get only four hours of sleep just because I got to bed later?) and then you work the rest of the day, chasing after one project and another, never really seeing the fruits of labors. At least right now.

We shall overcome though. That's the good news. I don't know how or when, but it shall be accomplished, and everyone will be really happy. Hurrah!

For now, I have a lunch date and then to work study and then to practice and then to Erie and then to practice and then...


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I sure have been seeing alot of Baroque concerts lately... I think it's the company I keep...

Pictured here is Andrew Manze, violinist and director of the English Consort, a pre-eminent Baroque ensemble from - well, England. Duh.
Mr. Manze took over for Trevor Pinncock a few years ago, a name which I recognized and find infintely more entertaining to say.

The concert was really quite good. If there's one thing that I'm learning, its that Baroque music is seldom boring - its usually far more entertaining to listen to an entire concert, because the musicians are more engaging.

The Real Question: Is it that the music is more delightful, or does any baroque ensemble recognize the precarious state that Baroque performance find itself in right now (on the verge of a revival, but still relatively unknown) and do they find the need to engage us through humor and charm because they need to build an audiene base?

Good question.

Thank you. That's why I asked it.

I'm not sure what the answer is, but one thing is true. The recent resurgence of popularity with Baroque music has led many cities to adopt fledgling Baroque ensembles and nurse them to strength, which is what happens anytime any city is prepared to build their artistic culture. It was done with the symphony orchestra around the turn of the twentieth century, and then again in the 70's, and now perhaps it is time for a new wave of musical arts to take hold in major cities.

I for one, have no problem with it at all. As I said, the music is quite delightful, and it does require a great deal of artistry to make this music really live again.

Perhaps one reason there is a sudden interest (more so) and appetite for Baroque traditions is that its not the symphonic traditions which have become quite familiar with American audiences. Concerts don't have the same format, the performers often interact with the audience much more closely than a full symphony. The concert halls themselves are smaller, (because these instruments are not as loud) and there is an air of improvisation about the programming and performance. All of this leads to a light-hearted not-what-you-expect attitude during the concerts, where improvisation is common, and program orders can be dismissed in favor of more appropriate tunes.

Does this mean I'm ready to throw in the towel and pick up my re-strung De Salo? No, it does not. Baroque people are weird. They look like the illegitimate children of librarians and gypsies. And they kind of smell like it too.

In any event, the music does not speak to me quite the same way. However, in the rapidly changing climate of the arts, from a business standpoint, these will be good skills to have in the next forty years or so.


Friday, November 04, 2005

My Belly Button Is the World's Single Largest Producer of Belly Button Lint in America

I wonder if there's a way to market that...

And in case you're wondering, yes, that is my belly to the right. Toned, tightened and firm, I've recently gotten into wearing mid-riffs and belly chains. Just to keep the girls guessing.

I realized this morning as I pulled lint out of my belly button from my bed sheets that my stomach must somehow be spage-aged designed to attract every available fiber within a four foot radius of the black hole that is my "innie."
Every day It is possible to pull out a nice little thumbnail full of lint, (corresponding to the color of shirt I was wearing that day.) but this morning was a new one! I've never recalled culling lint from bed sheets before. Perhaps this is a gift! Perhaps I could market this! Sell this!
Perhaps I should begin to stuff pillows with the lint I find laying around my body. I could embroider them myself, spelling out niceties as "grandma's little angel" and "I love dad" and then fill them with my belly lint.

I guess you all know what you're getting for Christmas.

What strikes me as more of an oddity, however, is the fact that with each gathering of lint, there is always at least one tummy hair in there with the mix. I'm puzzling as to where I still have belly hair to lose to the belly button. Every day! It's like my stomach's balding. Or it's rejecting the hair or something.

In any event, I suppose I should start saving this lint for whatever purposes my business advisors recommends. I'll be sure to let you all in on the IPO, however. It's gonna be big. And all thanks to the all-natural cotton gin on my stomach.


Thursday, November 03, 2005

Short List of some of the Greatest Lead Singers Ever

Where would a band be with out the front man? You need to have the audacious, outrageous personality of the lead singer to really sell the band. But of course some did better than others...

David Lee Roth
Freddie Mercury
John Fogherty
Geddy Lee
Anthony Keidis
Chris Cornell
Zach De La Rocha
Robert Plant

Special competition to the first person who can tell me which bands these singers performed with. Ready, set go!!!!


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Cleveland Police Finally Receive Non-Lethal Sidearms.

Such have the headlines been in Cleveland for the past few weeks. Apparently this is a big deal since the Cleveland police really don't have anything better to do than drive around in their squad cars shooting up black ghettos. But the minute they actually hit some poor urban child of the street who is making his living by selling drugs, the whole world arupts. Never mind the fact that they could actually have been acting in self-defense.

I dunno though... I was leaving a baseball game once and drove by a police car that had a man in cuffs, and another woman was screaming at the police about brutality, about how she had witnessed it first hand and would report them. What caught my attention is that the man was a black man, possibly homeless, and the woman was a middle-aged white woman standing next to her Volkswagon. not exactly the first person who would be stepping out of line to help out the street corner bum, you know?

Anyway, I digress.

This whole taser gun fascination was prompted by the kiling of some kid a few months ago that was shot when police thought he had a gun - and it turned out he didn't.
Public outrage. A great outcrying. Blood and tears flood the streets. The cry for the heads of those responsible.

How about tasers? Every other police force in a large city has them? Oh yeah....

So what's the first incident to occur where the tasers are used? Ta-da! A Halloween shake-down involving a naked man running up to little trick-or-treaters!

Ah, Cleveland.

The police stopped him on Fairmount (those of you who know Cleveland know where that is in proximity to where I live) and had to shock the bejabbers out of him so he would stop harassing six-year olds on their way to their next cavity. He went to the hospital for the night (apparently there's some law against leaving a naked man unconcious in the street. Gives a bad image.) and then was released.

Here's the better part:

The next day police respond to a 911 call and arrive at a home to find the same guy trying to kick down a door to his own house. They taser the guy again and haul him off.

Now, not that this isn't amusing, but is this really the most interesting tale of taser-dom that this city has to offer? It does make the gun shootings sound a little bit more credible, don't you think? At least then people outside of the city took us seriously.

"Don't mess with Cleveland man, they'll gun you down!"

Now we're lucky if we get a naked man parading up and down the street to mess with...