Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Irish Language Weekend 2018



I hope my readers had a good weekend, despite the cold weather. Sorry that I didn’t blog yesterday, but Travalon and I were busy watching both games. The Brewers game seemed to be going well, and in fact they won 4-0. The Packers didn’t seem to have any defense going, and then the offense kind of stalled too, so we thought they were going to lose to the 49ers, who are not a good team this year, at Lambeau just to up the humiliation factor. However, they did that thing they always do where they come back from the dead, and it worked this time – they won by a field goal. Sometimes it doesn’t work…

This weekend I was very busy with the Irish weekend I have gone to in the past, but not for the last few years. All I can say is I’m not sure why not, because it was so much fun. We had class and then a social on Friday night, and classes all day Saturday. My class of six (Level 2) bonded so much that we all went to lunch together, and one girl even asked me to be her friend on social media. In the evening there was an Irish music concert as part of the weekend, but I went to a Baroque concert instead. Tiffy couldn’t come to town so I was planning to sit by myself, but a bandmate and her grandkids joined me. It was a wonderful concert that featured a lot of Boismortier, including a delightful choral piece. I had no idea he wrote choral works! I had always thought of him as primarily writing for the flute.

Sunday there was Irish class again, but my choir director begged me to sing, and then then my band had a gig after that, so I ended up skipping the class. After the gig, at Common Ground, Travalon and I went on a hike at Holy Wisdom monastery and discovered an incredible view, but it was so cold that we didn’t hike long. We went to the movies for the first time in a long time and saw A Star Is Born, which was really good. I have always liked Lady Gaga’s singing, and she is a great actress too. I will warn you, if you haven’t seen any of the previous iterations of this story, that it is very sad.

Famous Hat


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Day of Learning



I hope my readers had a good weekend. Sorry that I didn’t blog yesterday, but Travalon and I were watching 80’s videos. This is a fascinating thing to do; for example, did you remember that the video for “Night and Day” by Al B. Sure! features lots of shots of downtown Manhattan, including the twin towers of the late World Trade Center? And while a lot of the people in these videos had a weird look peculiar to 80’s pop stars, the video for “Waiting on a Star to Fall” by Boy Meets Girl looks like it could have been made last week, since their hair and clothing are totally normal. They even take a selfie, but with a big old Polaroid.

Friday I took the day off of work and went to a really fascinating group of lectures called the Day of Learning, sponsored by the Class of 68 so I was the youngest one there. The first talk was a panel discussion of the riots on campus back in 67-68, by people who were there. The second one was a talk by an alumnus of the Class of 68, a retired astronaut who had flown the Space Shuttle three times. The third one was a talk on ethics in journalism, and the fourth one was the most interesting of all. A professor in the School of Human Ecology talked about ancient remedies for depression that she is studying: gut flora, heat treatments (like saunas and sweat lodges) and psychedelic drugs. The crazy thing is that they work! In the evening I met Travalon at the Union for Beers and Bites, a fun time trying samples of beer with appetizers. We sat with a very cool couple, and my old nemesis hUBIE from a previous job was there, but he seemed quite friendly now that we don’t have to work together.

Saturday we met Rich and the Single B-Boy for coffee, then my band had a gig at the apple orchard as we do every year. This year it was very cold, so my fingers were freezing, and we were down a fiddler so I was also playing melody most of the time. Had I known, I could have brought the actual fiddle. Travalon went to the Badger game while I met Tiffy and Rich for dinner, then Tiffy and I went to a concert of Bach and Handel. I just love hearing that non-equal temperament! Tiffy had spent the day at Old World Wisconsin with the other Rosary Ladies, learning about old beer brewing techniques, and I had planned to go too until being reminded that we had the gig. Ah well, I got $25 of produce for playing.

Yesterday Travalon and I had a coupon for $5 off brunch at a seafood restaurant, so we went there just to discover they aren’t open on Sundays anymore. This was in the same mall with Crema CafĂ©, so we just went there, and the lemon raspberry pancakes were amazing. Since the weather was lousy, we sat inside and watched the Packer game, which was also lousy, at least in the first half. Also, their kicker who is usually so reliable missed all five of his kicks, so they lost to the Lions. We watched a little of the Brewers game at Bierock (the Cubs are out of the playoffs so I’m pulling for the Brew Crew), then Rich had a going away party for his Brazilian housemate, and a bunch of the choir people were there, so we were all keeping track of the game via the internet. Travalon was happy because he has never seen so many people who care about sports at Rich’s house. The Brewers did win, so they swept the series, and everyone was in a good mood despite the dismal Packers performance earlier that afternoon.

Famous Hat


Thursday, October 4, 2018

Why Are Creepy Places Creepy?



Here are a couple of things from this past weekend that I neglected to mention in my previous post:

On Saturday when we were in Milwaukee, we lost the satellite radio station (“Soul Town”), so I switched to the local hip hop station. Travalon noted with some surprise that the music, while still not his taste, was much better than the music our local “hip hop” station plays. I said that was because the Milwaukee station plays true hip hop, while our local station plays a lot of terrible pop music masquerading as hip hop, such as Post Malone. Maybe this is because in Milwaukee they figure there is a big enough fan base for true hip hop, while here in Madison the main market for their station is a bunch of wealthy white teens.

On Sunday Travalon stumbled across a documentary featuring Michael Palin of Monty Python fame traveling to North Korea. I was very curious, so I watched it with him. The people seemed very normal, just people going about their day, but the place seemed really creepy. The thing that weirded me out most of all was how in Pyongyang music started playing downtown at 5 am and played for several hours. You could hear it out Palin’s hotel window, and it was loud. I was trying to describe this last night to Rich and Luxuli before choir practice, and it was hard to say what exactly was so creepy. The music was aesthetically pleasing, a very Oriental-sounding tune that was instrumental but apparently had words about how great the Dear Leader is. I said the only other places that had creeped me out so much were the Temple Square in Salt Lake City, and the whole city of Seattle. So… I am going out on a limb here, but maybe what creeps me out so much is anything where someone other than God is being worshiped. In North Korea, it’s the memory of the Dear Leader. I am not sure what to say it is in Salt Lake City, but I will note that I had the opposite reaction to mosques in Istanbul, for what that’s worth. And in Seattle, it could be that they worship the individual. It seems like a place lacking in any concept of the transcendent.

Famous Hat


Monday, October 1, 2018

Milwaukee Zoo Trip



I hope my readers had a good weekend, despite the cold and the rain. Friday evening Richard Bonomo and I went to the outdoor theater to see As You Like It, which we had started to see back in June only to be rained out. There was no rain this time, but it was very cold. I couldn’t find my autumn jacket that morning (I have since located it), so I had to wear my winter one, yet even with that on it was chilly. The play was very entertaining.

Saturday Travalon and I met Rich downtown for coffee, then Rich and I went to a hymn sing led by my OTHER choir director, who is now retired but busier than ever. We ran into a bunch of other people there, like Kathbert and Pete the Sailor Man. The hymns all mentioned angels for the Feast of the Archangels, so that seemed like an appropriate way to celebrate the day. Travalon went to the Veterans’ Museum, then he and I met back up and drove to Milwaukee, where we went to the zoo. You have to pay to get into that zoo, but they have lots of exotic animals we don’t have at the free Madison zoo, like hippos and African red river hogs and these adorable things called springhaas that look like a cross between a rabbit and a kangaroo but are actually rodents. There is a baby red panda too, but when we went to the red panda exhibit, all the denizens were hiding. We went back again at the end, and one red panda peeked out at us but decided we weren’t worth coming out to see. Then we went to Cubanisma for dinner, and our plan had been to go to the China Lights show after that, but it began to rain so we just headed home.

Yesterday after Mass we went with a bunch of choir people to the Come Back In for brunch, then we went home and watched the Packer game with no guilt since it was so cold and wet out. The Packers shut out the Bills, but maybe that is because the Bills are so bad? However, they did beat the Vikings last week, so they aren’t completely hopeless. I remember reading something that said Buffalo would be the worst team in the league this year, and they sure played like they were trying to live up to that description. Even Cleveland is winning or almost winning this year, thanks to their hot new quarterback who was the top draft pick. After the game, the rain had let up so we went for a very wet hike at the Token Creek Conservation Area. I could have walked in place while watching the game, but it is so much more enjoyable to get my 10,000 steps per day outside whenever possible. Some people are inside people… and I am not one of them.

Famous Hat