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

 

 

things i did in 98.
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

 

things I did in 97.
another desultory recollection of an adventurous year

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

they're made out of meat.
a wonderfully clever — and famous — dialog between aliens

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

smoked a Romeo y Julieta Havana

There really is a difference. I've had the experience before, with Dom Perignon champagne, and with a Paiste Signature Series cymbal: you think, Aha ... this is what it's supposed to be like. This is what the others are trying to get at. The Cuban cigar was rich and deep and extremely spicy. Not to mention dense — it lasted about an hour and a half. Pure pleasure.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

was a best man

for a dear friend, Shawn Floyd. What interested me was how merely taking on the role made me the sort of person fit for it. I actually was best-man-like for an entire week. Weddings are really about the only time we have use for roles and rituals: I saw a soulmate pledge his life and fortune, standing close enough to smell the perfume and hear each sniff; we all reminded each other of our love, in formal language and dress; at one point we were all dancing at the reception (where dancing is at last allowed its formal, ritual power), and suddenly everything clicked — for a brief moment life was glowing and resonant and right.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

got onto the web from my house

Yep, it took me this long. I've had email for quite a long time, but my old computer just couldn't handle the web. So I either retrieved web pages by email or waited till I could get somewhere else. Speaking of which.....

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

upgraded my computer

for the second year in a row. This time I moved up to a color monitor and everything. A mac IIsi. Actually, the hard drive is no bigger than my old SE/30, and there's only a bit more memory. I essentially moved from a fantastic late 80s computer to a pretty good early 90s one. Still, the advantages are incalculable. Maybe this year I'll do something outrageous like get over 8M of RAM. But only if it's free.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

went to my first rave in about 5 years

And, despite all the talk about the scene having died, I found that it's alive and well, though different from what it was in the early 90s. Even with the current fondness for e and other drugs, it's still quite a bit cleaner now than then, and the music — disco's cooler and more rugged son — grooves, especially with the infusion of drum 'n' bass in recent years. To me, it's really the only setting in which minimalism doesn't sound effete or contrived. Better yet, the friendly, "plurry" vibe is still there. Encouraging.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

watched my brother's marriage fall apart

and felt helpless rage, on his behalf as well as his children's. We don't use the term "broken home" too much these days, but that's a perfect phrase for it. Interestingly, the fact of our extended family's strength — and especially the healthy modelling my parents have been able to provide — has made me aware that our politicians are not only hypocritical in their talk of "traditional family values" but just plain wrong: the image of a mother, father, and child or children, living in isolation in a house surrounded by nothing but other houses, with grandparents in Detroit, other grandparents in Pasadena, aunts and uncles in Topeka and cousins in Winnipeg, is simply not traditional at all in human history. Nor is it of much value. The physical availability of our extended family is just about the only ameliorative element at all in this. Pray hard.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

saw the original Ben-Hur on the big screen

not the Heston version of the 50s, but the silent one from the 20s, in newly restored condition. We saw it in a classic old movie palace, on a full-size screen, with a live orchestra doing the soundtrack. A truly powerful piece of cinema. I'm convinced that we don't feel the power of the silent-era greats because we don't see them as they were meant to be seen. The only element that wasn't right was that they used a machine projector, so it often had that inauthentic herky-jerky look. Otherwise, though, fantastic! The chariot-race scene was possibly better than in the 50s — it drew applause.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

built a work desk

The problem is that I need to be in front of the screen with my music keyboard in front of me, and my computer keyboard right in front of me, and each at the correct height from the floor, and each at the right level for my hands, and the computer at the right level for my sight. I've seen a lot of musicians' work spaces and every one of them was compromised in some way or other. So, I spent about a day with rulers, pencil, and pad; and then another day with drills, screws, and spraypaint. Problem solved. Ergonomy achieved. And it looks cool. Plus, it expresses my belief that the main purpose of life is to have your own version of everything.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

saw a section of my life destroyed by flood

Yep — that huge flood in San Antonio hit the bottom floor of my church, where I've been teaching sunday school for several years. How powerful water is: it broke through several brick walls. We do attach significance to physical things, so it was sad to see those things washed away. But God does not reside in bricks, and there is a happy ending: that floor will at last have a sensible layout.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

saw the shamu show, with music by me

I composed the score for the newly revamped show at Sea World, and I must say it was a fascinating process, unlike any other piece I've ever had to write. Since the beast is unpredictable, they wanted me to write 7 different pieces of music — from meditative/ballet to grand/orchestral to playful/humorous to neato/epcot/tech to heavily percussive, etc — all fitting the same melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic form, all going on at once, so they could switch back and forth at a moment's notice, depending on how Shamu was behaving. And since it was on a continuous loop, the piece could have no beginning and no end. A really strange exercise for a composer used to climaxes and resolutions. And what a feeling to be sitting there observing my fellow audience members as they responded to the manipulations of my score, and imagining them humming it as they do the dishes. Cool.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

deepened my closest relationship ever

Misti and I are still dating, after 800 days and more. It's a pleasure, and a relief, to know that two people can be in love without all the stupid games and communication problems and blowups that most of us have put up with way too much. We go out, we stay in, we generate sparks, we truly understand each other. We laugh till we can't stand it. When we dance it looks planned out. When we hug it feels right.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

saw the St Louis arch

We were passing through St Louis about 1 am, and I insisted that we stop and see the arch. In the drizzling rain, we got a lot wetter than we'd figured on, but it was great to see that huge, gleaming thing from right underneath it. Saarinen has possibly found a new essential form, right up there with the obelisk. A breathtaking midnight excursion.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

broke a hundred words a minute

In 97 I switched from the usual keyboard layout to the Dvorak layout, which puts all the most-used keys right under your fingers. An easy switch to make on computers, and amazingly easy to retrain the fingers. So this last year I easily passed up my old speed (somewhere in the 80s) and am now a dang quick typist.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

went for a joyride in a Lear jet

A musician/pilot friend (yet another musician who loves to fly...I'm developing a thesis) invited me up on a moment's notice, and I went. And what a joyride it was. We spent much of the flight at around .7 Mach — almost the speed of sound. And the ascent! Forgetting how fast we were going forward, we were going up at around 60 miles an hour. We eventually reached a little over 48,000 feet. That's one-and-a-half Mount Everests, and then some. It was -77 degrees outside. I could actually see the glowing rim of the atmosphere from there. An unforgettable experience.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

got recognized as a believer by random people

Two to be exact, both at parties, interestingly enough. There was no cue in the way I was dressed — no John 3:16 t-shirt or anything. Just in the course of brief conversation on two different occasions, the other person said something like, "you're a believer, aren't you?" or, "I can tell you're a Christian." Interesting!

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

got back to exercising more

For ages I walked around 5 miles a day. Not as a discipline, but just because that's what I felt like doing. But with a musical and a bunch of other sitting-around work, I'd gotten very still. In the early fall I began to get restless again, and started walking. These days it's more like a couple of miles a day. But that's getting there.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

worked on a compromised CD

I did all the arrangements and MIDI work for a really great r&b/pop/gospel singer, and a talented songwriter at that. After months of work, and after it was out of my hands, there were personality issues and communication issues — all of them easily avoidable — with the final result that they paid much more for a messy product that took longer. Frustration! Nevertheless, she's getting it promoted well, and things will turn out ok. But a few of us know it's not what it could have been.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

did a series of lectures on opera

The interesting thing for me was figuring out how to systematize all that I felt about opera and how to present it. I finally decided it should be insanely incomplete and wackily catholic (with attention to Weill, Piazzolla, and Disney, but no mention of Puccini). They loved it.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

turned 31

Last year I was thirty, but this year I'm actually In My Thirties. Hm — do I feel more mature and knowledgeable than I did in my twenties? Actually, yes. I'm far more liberal, far more conservative, more careful, more reckless. Is this how it's going to be? Aging as the opposite of refinement? I hope so.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

what a year. dedicated to the glory of God.

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

so, what did you do?

 

 

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