Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Wise Old Woman

The other evening my office mate Light Bright played with her band at an assisted living facility. She met a woman there whose mother is a resident. The mother has dementia, and when the daughter says to her, “Remember when you told me (some pearl of wisdom)?” she gets upset because she has no memory of it. Finally the daughter realized she doesn’t remember these details anymore, so she will tell her mother, “A wise old woman once told me (some pearl of wisdom),” and the mother will agree that this woman must be very wise. Light Bright said there has to be a song in that, so she and the woman are actually going to get together to write a song incorporating some of the wise sayings that the mother no longer remembers imparting. Maybe when they are finished with it, Light Bright will let me post it on this blog.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"Have a Good Day"

This morning when getting off the bus, I thanked the bus driver as usual, and he said, “Have a good day.” “You too!” I replied, then I thought of how often people say that, but in my case I really meant it, since the bus driver is awesome. Suddenly I noticed that people were gathering at the back door of the bus. People who got off at the front door like I did were going to the back door, and then the bus driver went back there too. I have no idea what was going on, but so much for the bus driver’s good day, and the good day of the rest of the people on the bus, and the people in cars behind the bus. Very likely someone near the back door of the bus was having a VERY bad day, because if the door were just stuck open (which happens all the time), people wouldn’t be rushing from the front of the bus to the back of it. If I learn more, I will let you know, but it sure made me feel like my good day wish had backfired.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Happiness for All: The Downside?

Toque McToque was thinking of the They Might Be Giants song “Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love,” and she said how cool it would be if one of us could invent bullets of pure love. When you shot people with them, they would be filled with love for humanity. “Just think how happy everyone would be,” she said. At first I thought this sounded wonderful, but then I started to wonder if there could be a down side. If people were happy, they would not see any need to strive to make things better, and would you really want that in an aviation engineer, for instance? Is there a down side to everything? Or would there be no down side to everyone being happy? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

My OTHER Choir Director's Party

Friday night, if you can believe it, Travalon and I had dinner with the president of the entire state university system. We went to a Celtic Studies dinner and another couple sat at our table and started chatting with us, and that’s who the man was! His wife was an environmental consultant. After dinner we listened to a fabulous flautist and fiddler play Celtic tunes.

Saturday morning I met the Rosary Ladies for coffee and the rosary, then I drove to Travalon’s place and we went to the new brew pub in his town, Sweet Mullets. Really great beer! I highly recommend them. Travalon has started his own blog, where he reviews restaurants and taverns around the state, so check it out. Then we went to a water park with the usual slides and Lazy River, as well as an indoor/outdoor hot tub that was very enjoyable. As Travalon said, we could pretend we were at a resort in Aspen. We finished the evening at a pizza place called Dry Docs, which was his old hangout since high school.  Delicious pizza!

Yesterday Travalon was going to come my way, but the weather was supposed to be bad, so he stayed home. Richard Bonomo, Kathbert, and I went to a party for my OTHER choir director, who has been at his current job for 35 years. Since this was a Lutheran party, there were plenty of bars and brownies for dessert after the family-style dinner. Then lots of people said really nice things about my OTHER choir director, and we gave him a trip to Leipzig, to the Bach Fest in June. He was embarrassed, since he hates being the center of attention, but I think he was touched. He did laugh really hard when we sang a song about him to the tune of “Rubber Ducky,” holding up pictures of him in front of our faces. “Every day when he plays some tunes with his fingers/He directs bells and orchestras, recorders and lots of singers,” or something like that. I failed to keep a copy so you’ll just have to imagine it.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Fun: Fabulous!

Toque McToque told me about spotted dick today. Here is how it is described on the World Market website:

Heinz Spotted Dick Pudding is the traditional British sponge pudding made with golden syrup, suet and raisins that has been a staple in pantries all over the UK for over a century. Traditionally steamed in a cloth, today it is commonly baked in the oven and served warm over custard. Hints of rum, cinnamon and nutmeg add to its warming, comfort-food appeal. And in case you're wondering - it's the currants resembling spots that lend to its name.

And here is a picture of the can:

This is not completely apropos to spotted dick, but it was another picture Toque McToque sent me and I thought it was too awesome not to post. It was something her sister-in-law posted on Facebook.

Oh, faboo!

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Frisky Old Rabbit

When I first wanted to get Charlie my boy rabbit a friend, the Humane Society recommended that I get him fixed, because even though the girl rabbit would already be fixed so there would be no baby bunnies, his hormone levels would drive her crazy. What they neglected to tell me was that it would take several weeks for Charlie’s hormone levels to fall after the surgery, so I waited until he was healed and brought home Cashmere, and he was still hot to trot but she didn’t seem to mind. Then his hormones leveled off and he just wanted to cuddle, and she didn’t seem to mind that either.

All these years later, Charlie is suddenly feeling frisky again, and Cashmere certainly does mind. I know old men can sometimes get frisky in their twilight years, but Charlie no longer has those hormones coursing through his blood, so all I can think of is that he is remembering a time before he was fixed. Is this a sign of bunny dementia? All day long he chases poor Cashmere around, and she wants no part of it. She must always have a headache. On the plus side, they are both getting plenty of exercise.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Trivial Birthday Party

Last night was Mamastep’s birthday, so I joined her and some friends of hers (including a woman I used to be in a writing group with) at the local birthday bar. We played a trivia game, and the name of our team was “Hell Yeah, It’s Her Birthday!” My writing buddy was a HUGE help to us, and I did get a high-point question about what animal can turn its stomach inside-out. (The answer is the starfish.) Travalon joined us partway through, upping the number of males in the group to two. We were in first place going into the final question, but it was about baseball and neither male knew the answer, so we bet no points and just guessed. (We were wrong.) Another team actually knew the answer (name one of two players who played in three consecutive World Series with three different teams, and don’t ask me the answer, I don’t know either player) so we fell to second place, which meant a $20 gift certificate, which meant a free birthday dinner for Mamastep. Since it was a joint effort by all of us at the party, we felt like that was our group gift to her, at least those of us too disorganized to get an actual present before the party.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Five Month Anniversary Present

Sorry for the long silence, but yesterday I had off for Martin Luther King Day and today was so busy that I barely have time to write anything. So let me just tell you what sweet thing Travalon did for our five-month anniversary: he gave me five African violets! He knows me too well.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

The Guajeo

Since my office mate Light Bright is still gone, I can listen to whatever I want. Today it’s the flamenco station on Pandora so I can get my fix of Phrygian mode music, but they sometimes switch from flamenco to salsa. I don’t know what to do in that case, since I love salsa, but I have a whole other station devoted to salsa. Do I "dislike" the song to get it off my flamenco station or "like" it and risk turning this station into Salsa II?Anyway, that made me wonder what mode salsa music is typically in; I would guess Aeolian (the usual “minor key” we are familiar with), but I am not having any luck finding this information. However, I did find this interesting tidbit on Wikipedia: you know the piano line in salsa? It’s usually arpeggiated chords in syncopated patterns, according to Wikipedia, and is also “one of the most recognizable elements in salsa music.” There’s a name for that – it’s called the guajeo. I never knew that, even as long as I’ve been into salsa music. The problem is that I have never played it.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Priest Composers

An interesting fact I have noticed is that some of my favorite composers were priests, like Antonio Vivaldi, Tomas Victoria, and Jacob Handl, often called Gallus. Is their spirituality reflected in their music? Today I am listening to Pandora Radio, and since Light Bright is still gone, I am listening to my Monteverdi station. When I looked Claudio Monteverdi up on Wikipedia, it said he was married with children, but his wife died young, and toward the end of his life he became a priest. (Know who else became a priest toward the end? Liszt.) So the pattern seems to be holding up, except of course for the Lutheran composers like Buxtehude and Bach. They never became priests for some reason.  

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

More Quotable Quotes

I remember reading a story recently (which I cannot now find) about an online dating site someone started for people who are looking to have a no-strings-attached affair with computer geeks. Apparently – and I’m sure this will come as a huge surprise – it had plenty of male members but was having trouble finding female members. Really? They can’t find women who want to have a quick fling with men who are not exactly known for their hotness? I said to Toque McToque that those women are like unicorns, only skanky and pathetic, and she said that sentence had to appear on my blog, so here it is.

Here is another quote I said needed to go on my blog: as my regular readers know, I am an early music fan, while Travalon prefers classic rock. I said to him early music is probably the Beatles before Sgt. Pepper, and he said, “To me, early music is Buddy Holly.”  I asked if I could quote him on my blog, and he said sure. Not that I don’t like some classic rock, but my car’s radio is on the hip hop station most of the time, and sometimes on the two stations that play early music.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Plush Yeast

Here is what Hardingfele gave me for my birthday:

Isn't it cute? It's a giant fuzzy yeast, needed to make beer. As Hardingfele said, Travalon and I have this to thank for our pilgrimages to taverns.

Speaking of Travalon, he said the sweetest thing to me the other day, that my sweater was so pretty that if I entered an ugly sweater contest, it would be immediately disqualified. Aww! I love that sweater too.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

My Birthday Party (Somewhat after the Fact)

I will blog about this weekend, but it was pointed out to me that I had failed to blog about my birthday party. See? This is what being sick will do to you. I still have “virus brain” to some extent but am finally starting to feel closer to normal. My birthday party was fun, although I was so sick that I don’t remember a great deal about it.  Jilly Moose gave me a pound of coffee from my favorite coffee shop, and Cecil Markovitch gave me a book written by the Pope. I have started reading the book and drinking the coffee, and both are very good. My OTHER choir director stopped by briefly, since he had two other parties to attend that night, and I invited my Archirritant since she has not been irritating lately. Now I can’t even remember who else was there, but Richard Bonomo made spaghetti and a delicious chocolate cake, and then we watched the Packer playoff game, which they won.

This weekend the Rosary Ladies and I finally got together for a fish fry and the rosary, although I just had soup and OK Cap didn’t make it at all, since she was so sick. Everyone is so sick! Rich has been carrying a box of tissues with him for three weeks now. Saturday I actually wrote because I have inspiration for yet another novel. We’ll see if this one ever gets finished… Then Travalon and I went to the Bristled Boar for a quick drink and to Claddagh for dinner, and then we went to Cheeseburger in Paradise for the abysmal playoff game. The one before was awesome though, when the Ravens beat the Broncos in double overtime. If only the Packers could have pulled it out, or at least lost by a little! But they really fell apart in the second half. Then yesterday Travalon and I watched part of the other two playoff games at two different sports bars, including his favorite one, Pooleys. I kind of wish both those games had turned out differently too; it’s getting old seeing the Patriots go all the way, and the Seattle quarterback used to play for the Badgers so we were really pulling for him. Ah well, maybe next season.

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Rabbit Morality

Rabbits are not naturally moral creatures. I know this, and yet I find myself trying to teach them morals. For example, they both have a bad habit of taking the other one’s piece of banana, and I try to tell them this is bad. Interestingly, Cashmere has figured out that the Big Creature gets angry when she and Charlie go for the same piece of banana, so now if he takes hers, she just lets him, and she never tries to take his. She cannot figure out that it is only when she is taking his banana that I get mad; she thinks the banana is always his. She also cannot extrapolate across treat categories, so she still grabs other treats away from him. Only bananas have this special power in her mind, making the Big Creature angry if she has it and Charlie wants it. At least she learned something; Charlie is completely hopeless. I will never get him to stop grabbing things away from Cashmere.  I keep having to remind myself that they are just rabbits and will never understand the difference between right and wrong.

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Adorable Beyond Borders

In our bid to finally get a study published, Toque McToque and I have come up with yet another study we plan to do, on whether cuteness is recognized all over the world. The title of our study is "Adorable beyond Borders: Concepts of cute that transcend culture." Then we will show people pictures like this baby platypus drinking milk out of a bowl, which Hardingfele sent to me, and gauge their reactions using an awwwmeter. I am guessing you don’t have to be from Australia to find this cute!

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bleary-Eyed Office Worker

Both my office mate Light Bright and my boss are in the tropics, leaving me to hold down the fort. Normally this would not be an issue, but I am still suffering the effects of some nasty respiratory virus. The worst part is that it makes me look bad, so everyone says, “Oh, you aren’t feeling well!” Now it has moved into my eyes and made them all bleary and puffy. It is a little weird having everything look so blurry, although otherwise I am feeling better except for being hoarse. It’s hard to get any work done. Heck, it’s hard to write this blog post! Please excuse any typos I might make.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Yet Another Ode to Pizza

As promised, here is the poem that Hardingfele's cat Buddy left in the comments, rendered as an Xtranormal movie. I realize that Buddy is a striped orange cat, not a rainbow striped teddy bear, but you work with what you have in Xtranormal. Also, I have never heard Buddy speak English, but he always struck me as a lazy cat, so I have rendered him with a drawl.

My offer still stands. Toque McToque? Banjo Player? Christina Crowe? Anyone else care to write a pizza poem? I will happily animate it.

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Monday, January 7, 2013

D Phrygian Backing Groove

Being sick can make a person loopy, so it will probably come as no surprise to my readers that I did an internet search for D Phrygian the other day, wondering if I could find a backing groove. Much to my pleasant surprise, one came up right away. You really can find anything on the internet! So then I was messing around, trying to come up with a tune in D Phrygian, which starts on D and has a Bb and an Eb, and suddenly I realized – how could I never have seen this before? – that “Oh Sacred Head Surrounded” is in the Phrygian mode! A quick internet search revealed that I was correct in this hunch. How had I never noticed this before? Kathbert seconded that she had never realized this, so that made me feel a little better, since she knows a lot more about music than I do. Here I’d been stretching for a sample tune in Phrygian, and almost everyone knows this Lenten hymn. When I mentioned to Kathbert that “Michael Row the Boat Ashore” is in Lydian, she had her doubts that it has enough notes to say if it’s truly Lydian or just the basic Ionian, i.e., major key. So I put it to my readers: is “Michael Row the Boat Ashore” in the Lydian mode? It seems like I heard that once, but I am willing to concede that’s wrong. I already have a backup tune for Lydian: “Of the Father’s Love Begotten.” And I still do not have a sample tune in the Locrian, in case Tiffy is wondering.

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

More Odes to Pizza

Here is a movie of the other two poems to pizza, the one Rich, Kathbert, and I came up with together and the one Kathbert created from some random thoughts of Rich's. Please feel free to provide more pizza poems. I promise I will make every one I get into an Xtranormal movie... and if that isn't incentive, I don't know what is!

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Friday, January 4, 2013

My Exciting Vacation

I took this week off of work, and guess what? I was sick! Everything was fine on New Year's Eve, which we spent with some of Travalon's friends, but New Year's Day I was very chilled and achy. Plus the Badgers lost the Rose Bowl AGAIN. A three-peat. Travalon says maybe next year they will be invited to a lesser bowl they can actually win. So it was not the most auspicious way to start 2013.

Wednesday I did not blog because I really didn't get out of bed. Yesterday was my birthday and Travalon took me out to lunch, then we saw Django Unchained, which I would describe as a historical revenge fantasy, what you wish those slaves could have done to their masters and overseers. For my birthday I got a free dessert, a free piece of chocolate, and a free shot of Dr. McGillicutty's. We had dinner at The Bayou, which is the one place in town you can get Abita beer, and we both had crawfish etouffe. Then I felt really lousy, went to bed, and couldn't sleep anyway. Today I was miserable, and then Tiffy called and she has been miserable for the last few days too. It seems like everyone but Kathbert is sick around here - I called Light Bright at work and she was sick too! So that was my exciting vacation and the reason I hadn't blogged in days.

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