CARPE ANNUM (fish of the year)
B A R R Y L A N D .

 

 

things i did in 02.
a moustache-twisting journal of the few things in my life worth mentioning

12  |  11  |  10  |  09  |  08  |  07  |  06  |  05  |  04  |  03  |  02  |  01  |  2000  |  99  |  98  |  97

 

 

 

 

 

yeah

 

go east.
my month in beijing

fast hannah.
a preliminary bit of blizz blazz

mad skills.
bbbbarry thRoWz U sOmE dEeP hOuSe

nineveh.
a painting i painted

the defense rests.
an original art work celebrates my dad's career

 

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entertained more

This year, I made a little better on my promises to spend more time with friends. I hosted big parties, small parties, dinners, impromptu gatherings, cigarfests, musicfests, and a slumber party. It was, in the most serious way, a piece of heaven. I'll do more. You're invited.

 

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sang

A couple of times the year before, I'd grabbed the mic at a jazz gig and sung a tune or two. But this last year, I really sang: there wasn't a riverwalk evening without singing. What fun, to branch out into something entirely new.

 

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got burglarized

I left my house, in haste, for an hour and a half; when I got back, I slowly noticed that things were not as they'd been. Burglars! Fortunately, they left the most valuable valuables alone, and stole only my mediocre TV, two VCRs, and a piece of arcane musical equipment. The real pain was my CD collection: all the jazz gone, and about half the pop, including rarities and imports that are impossible to replace. Burglars!

 

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played on a wind instrument

Joe Reyes brought a melodica to a gig one night, thinking I might be interested. I loved it and immediately bought one for myself. The mid-century instrument (picture blowing into a keyboard with harmonica reeds, a kind of mouth-accordion) brings a semi-corny, semi-hip sweetness to whatever one plays. It's Henry Mancini meets Stevie Wonder. I bring it along to almost every jazz gig now, and it always is a focus for interest. Boundaries expand.

 

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took a midnight swim

One summer night, Catherine said we should go swimming; she then took me to New Braunfels, and we swam where I'd only tubed before. The moon was near-full, the water cold, the air balmy, and the experience still brings a smile.

 

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bought my first piece of furniture

I'd vowed to go through my whole life without ever buying a piece of furniture. But, after painting my dining room in a bloody red from head to toe, and hanging a real-candle chandelier overhead, it happened: a brilliant modern oriental walnut table, simple and beautiful, with eight silk-upholstered chairs. Then I went nuts and bought a bookcase for my stemware.

 

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sat in solomon's temple

The theme for our church summer camp had to do with Solomon; one of the centerpieces was a scale recreation of the magnificent temple he built. I love kinesthetic experiences. We didn't just read and learn about the temple: we built it, and saw it and sat in it and smelled it and ate bread in it. What does that do for one's soul?

 

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upgraded

mainly because old stuff got stolen. The new midi port forced me to upgrade my computer to OS8.6, heh. Also: a new/old studio keyboard (which meant building a new custom studio desk for it), a new gig keyboard, stands, cases, cords, speaker, spiffy TV, and, as a Christmas gift, a DVD player. Man, I'm up to date. Almost.

 

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wanted to be a father

This actually started the year before, as well. But several times in 02, I found myself thinking how great it would be to have a son. Weird feeling. First things first, eh? Then a dear friend and his wife got pregnant, and I ....

 

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became an honorary uncle

for the severalth time. Other close friends have had kids, but most of them are far away. This summer, Darren and April brought forth a child, as cute as can be. It's been great to see my goofy, fart-joke-loving, nothing-sacred friend take on the mantle of fatherhood, without changing a bit.

 

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partied on the air

In September, our jazz band began a monthly radio show, the Protagonists Jazz Party. We get friends together, play whatever comes to mind, laugh and ridicule, and in general make a joyful noise. Then, it goes on the air. It's been really fun to tune in and listen to ourselves and say, "Ouch!" or "Wow," or "Noooooo!" or "Yeahhhhh."

 

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let my hair grow

For a couple of years, I'd been neo-Roman, right with late nineties fashion. One day, it looked dated to me and I decided to lengthen it to an early-seventies GQ job. I'm not sure if looking like a character in "Love Story" was really right for me, but it was a needed change, and it transformed virtually every outfit. Life had other plans for my hair this year, though, so we'll see.

 

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sliced and diced

Tired, finally, of using two utility knives for everything, I broke down and got an entire set of kitchen cutlery. And I'm here to tell you, it makes a difference. Cooking is even more a pleasure than it was before.

 

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protagonized more

After several years of more or less random gigging, the Jazz Protagonists got a house gig again, this time at the Silo, a Heights-hip place with a gently urbane cement-floor-and-modern-art atmosphere. A perfect marriage of sound and sense. During our reign (which ended in December), we reveled in the rare luxury of playing together hours and hours, working out kinks, and enjoying each other's company immensely. And the patrons loved it. How nice to be able to blend work and play this way! Be jealous.

 

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did the triple threat

Arranged, performed on, and produced an album for a great singer, Maggie Worsdale. This is the first time I've ever done all three on the same project; it's made all the difference. Finally, I get to see something from beginning to end with no compromise. It sounds great, partially due to my fellow Protagonists, partially due to engineer RB Blackstone's magic hands and a magnificent facility, and partially due to Maggie's musicianship, showmanship, and generosity. She even commissioned a new jazz song from me, and then performed it as if it were a standard. Quite an honor. I even got to write the liner notes.

 

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sat in the president's seat

again. I've been fortunate to be involved in the ongoing life of my fraternity, Phi Kappa Chi. This year, I was elected for the second time to the alumni presidency: at this point in the group's history, it's not a huge logistical duty, but it's wonderful to remain so involved in a group that fosters brotherhood even now among undergrads.

 

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was a groomsman

at my brother's wedding. After having said he'd never find love again, Paul was married last year, in a ceremony that affirmed everything that I cherish about him and our family. It was intimate, celebratory, love-filled, and family-warm. Congratulations, Paul and Kathy.

 

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stood in solid grey

On a trip to Houston, I made it a point to go by the Rothko Chapel, an icon of minimalist art. Completely grey — even the surrounding neighborhood is grey — it is full of unexpected depth: suddenly you see the difference between grey and grey, and the deep purple of the corners stands out against the black of the blocks, and the walnutty richness of the back panel. A quiet revelation.

 

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got sabbaticalled

One August day, I was notified that I'd no longer be involved with the youth division at my church, effective immediately, with no recourse or appeal. Fear not, there was no scandal at all. Instead, it was a series of pathetic botches that could have been easily avoided. Since so much of my identity revolved around my spiritual relationships with students, I've felt a bit drifty at times. How to plug in to the spiritual family? Still, it had been 12 straight years with no break; maybe a rest was timely. One would, though, like to choose these things for oneself. Meanwhile, I'm trying to set an example for how to get canned gracefully, without griping, gossiping, storming off, or brooding. Ah, the church, that great crucible of human interaction!

 

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got burglarized again

You better believe it. This time, it was my car, while I was on a road trip. I had all my musical gear (as implied above) in the trunk, and they wiped it out. The only nice thing about it is that I got to get some shiny new stuff. But it's not as if I really needed more ways to spend thousands of bucks.

 

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bought a bunch of comfort music

Paradise Theater, Pieces of Eight, Breakfast in America, Bob James and Earl Klugh's One on One, the Cars, the Carpenters — man, I'm a dork! Seriously, during a period where one rug after another got pulled out from under me, I guess I instinctively went for the musical equivalent of a favorite cheeseburger. It was nice to revisit this material, and hear what I'd heard in it the first time, and hear what I'd never heard before in it, and remember the obsessive hours of listening I did when these people helped me get into music in the first place.

 

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congratulated a dear friend

on marrying an ex-girlfriend. And I got to say something to the groom that I've always wanted to be able to say: your wife and I, through a long love affair, stayed sexually pure, utterly, and one of the reasons was out of love for our future spouses. Little did I know that that spouse would turn out to be a man whose friendship I'd treasured before they even met.

 

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discovered mexican hot chocolate

at a winter party. How can I have missed this addictive drink? It's so simple, yet utterly different from the usual hot chocolate: just a few ingredients create a beguiling alchemy. Even now, I'm experimenting with variations. Remind me to serve you the results.

 

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went through a wring-out (or five)

A innocent gift certificate to a day spa propelled me into several two-hour sessions right in a row. After walking around for a few days with a body puffed full of loosened lactin, I then felt amazingly awakened and cured. Whatever other health measures are in my future, I hope they include regular full-body workovers by strong, slightly merciless people.

 

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fell in love

Catherine and I met in January, and dated casually for most of the year. She dated other guys, I dated other girls. Then, late in the year, we had one of those perilous conversations, and by the end we had decided to allow ourselves to fall in love. She's a delight: whimsical, brilliant, curious, healthy in every way, with a fresh willowy beauty that mirrors her soul. Why did we wait so long?

 

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got cancer

In December, we discovered a dangerously elevated hormone level that could only mean one thing: a tumor. A New Year's operation, subsequent blood tests and scans, and here I am dealing with the realities of being a cancer patient. How nature groans!

 

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found the perfect studio chair

For ages, I've been itching for a good, ergonomically sound office chair, but have put up with whatever was around (and the sore back that goes with it). So I was sitting in fellow composer Jason Young's latest awesome chair, right after all those massages, and thought, "I can't afford not to have one." Instead of the latest greatest, though, I found an antique from the 1920s or 30s, ripe for Levengerization: it's comfortable, sturdy, lumbar-correct, and lovely to look at.

 

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what a year, filled with love and loss, grief and deep joy. dedicated to the glory of god.

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so, what did you do?

 

 

12  |  11  |  10  |  09  |  08  |  07  |  06  |  05  |  04  |  03  |  02  |  01  |  2000  |  99  |  98  |  97