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things i did in 97.
a moustache-twisting journal of the few things in my life worth mentioning

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yeah

 

things I did in 98.
a desultory recollection of last year's high and low lights

the grand building of much talk.
poetry is gained in the translation

bring out the GIMPS.
how a 19-yr-old college kid wound up discovering the latest Mersenne prime, and what on earth it means

 

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learned to type using the Dvorak keyboard

an interesting assignment I gave myself. I read an article about it [it puts the letters you use the most on the keys that are easiest to hit], and I switched it the next day — very easy on the average computer. Maddening for a few weeks, then better and better. Right now my record speed is 68 words a minute. And of course there's the inner satisfaction of doing something that's not only better but very odd.

 

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did music for a bunch of commercials

including for paragon cable, taco bell, and.... furniture factory warehouse. What fun, to think that I'm having influence on millions of consumers.

 

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saw Wagner's Ring Cycle on stage at the Met

an experience — I'll be telling opera lovers when I'm an old man that I saw the Walkure with Placido Domingo and Deborah Voight — not to mention an evil dose of the dastardly Matti Salminen every night!! Amazing. He and Placido prove that you don't need a microphone to make people's ears ring — even where we were seated, in the Hubble telescope section.

 

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went an entire year and only mugged with one person

misti. Still dating, and the healthiest relationship I've ever had.

 

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saw a musical drama I wrote hit the stage

and come to life. What a great feeling, to see the fruits of someone else's vision of your vision. It was a triumph, especially after weeks of thoughtless protest and maneuvering by the AFP. [that is, Association of Frightened Parents. Ever heard of them?] I stayed away from the staging aspects of it, so that at the first performance, I was totally surprised — there were places I thought, 'man, why did they do it that way?', and places where I was bowled over because the director or actors had seen something I hadn't. an entire weekend of cloud 9. then we took it on the road.

 

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got concerned about my weight

something that had never happened. For years, I've weighed roughly the same — 150-160ish — and then several months ago I casually got on the scale and discovered that I'd gained almost 20 pounds in the last year or so. I'm not anywhere near overweight, but I thought, wow! so I just cut back a little and brought it down a bit. And in the process, discovered the feelings associated with 'watching my weight.' hmmmm — don't want to do that again. I guess I've had an unusually sedentary year.

 

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saw the dissolution of a community

again, something I'd never experienced. One of my favorite things to do was hang out in a religion/ philosophy newsgroup — real conversations that actually got somewhere sometimes, and held by a remarkable group of well-rounded, thoughtful, and in most cases open-minded people. Then one day I logged on and things were less hoppin, and a few days later were a lot less hoppin. I went there less and less, and then one day I thought I'd log on and see what was going on, and it wasn't there. Loss. I guess those people are still around, but the forum isn't, and so it will never be the same.

 

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became a sideman

For years I've played with various groups, notably the Protagonists. And of course I've always done the occasional fill-in thing. But 97 was the year I 'sat in' more than I played with the main group, and sat in for the same folks, in a number of bands, with the kind of regularity that made it so we knew each other's things, and could groove accordingly. A different experience. So now I observe a bit more differentiation between 'drummers do this' and 'some drummers do this' and 'a few drummers do this' and 'Darren does this.' I suppose that makes me a better musician.

 

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read 16 issues of the New Yorker cover to cover in 3 weeks

and vowed never to get behind again. [this doesn't count most of the fiction, which is often not up to par these days.] I'm not sure how much really stuck with me, but spending all that time in the world of ideas, with so many fascinating and well-spoken people, really fuelled me during a rough time.

 

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decided that I can't do everything

I've always thrived on being a bit overbooked — it keeps me honest. But things got completely out of hand in 96 and 97, and between writing a musical, as well as other music, playing in a few bands regularly, hosting a radio show, teaching sunday school, leading worship music, doing some pr and fundraising for the San Antonio opera, and assorted one-offs, I was going mad — not to mention giving everything less than what it deserved. So, I decided to grit my teeth and say 'no more' to some things. very good decision.

 

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paid them all off

my car loan, my student loan, and every credit card down to $0.00. yep.

 

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vowed to spend more time with my friends

but didn't. that'll be this year.

 

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upgraded my computer

from a mac se [1986] to a mac se/30 [1988]. The difference is amazing: the old one had 2 megs of memory and a 20 mb hard drive — the new one has 8 megs and a quarter of a gig. That now puts me on the low end of respectable. And of course it's one of the best computers ever made: haven't had a single problem with it. From the golden age of Mac. Still handles brand new software like a charm, ten years later. I guess I'm one of those who realize that most people get way more than they really need. The computer cost me $350 — the old one, that is: the new one I just traded for. ahh.

 

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missed fiesta

completely. San Antonio's biggest extended party, and I didn't do a dang thing. Missed the rodeo too.

 

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acquired a taste for cookies and cream ice cream

most of the time, when I get ice cream, I get sherbet. I just like it better. But a few times in 97, I walked up to the sherbet section, paused, and thought, 'hm- I'm in the mood for cookies and cream.' hm.

 

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flew a plane

yes! I flew a plane. A fellow musician who's a pilot took me up one beautiful afternoon, and I had my first experience in a small 2-seater. Very different from the average DC-10. At one point, he asked if I wanted to take the controls and fly the plane for a while. I said, 'sure!' — and suddenly I was Walter Mitty.

 

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enjoyed watching a film that I wrote the score for get a bunch of awards

that's Todd Jones's 'the Usher,' a comedy short. Got some good reviews, and first place in the Philadelphia international film festival. What a great feeling. My third film score, and so far I've never seen a one of them on the silver screen. What a great feeling anyway.

 

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turned 30

a milestone, though it didn't feel like much. Nothing changes on new year's day, as the man says. But I do think of how much life I went through in my 20s — amazing, really; maybe more so than my teens. I hope this is how life turns out to be: however old you are, you're that age plus all the other ages you've been.

 

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what a year. dedicated to the glory of God.

==============

so, what did you do?

 

 

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