It occurs to me that I’m being pretty harsh on people. for instance, that poor guy who did the music for the VHS tape of the Shiek. Yeah, the music sucked, but he was probably given $300 and two days to throw it all together. It’s low budjets and tight schedule and they do the music last, almost as an afterthought. And the folks that do that are always independant contractors with home studios (i think i read this in Electronic Muscican magazine or something) working for peanuts. I’m sorry.
and also, the guys on my mailing list. A few days ago I criticized the way the were responding to a list member’s immenent demise. Many of them sent messages saying, “don’t die.” and I felt maybe they could have said something else like, “I’ve always enjoyed your posts and your music, my thoughts are with you.” Well, that still might be better, but it’s not like anything in this culture prepares us to confront death. We celebrate youth and pretend death isn’t there. People don’t die at home so much, they die in hospitals, surrounded by machines and out of our sight. Croos-generational relationships have become more rare, so young folks aren’t hanging around folks who are closer to death and thus we don’t experience that. It’s mysterious and perhaps terrible and to be avoided at all costs and not thoguht about at other times. thinking about death is a sign of mental illness in these times. That’s not right. That’s the fault of our feel-good media and the bad seven corps that run it. It’s not the fault of the guys on my list. I’m sorry.
and i harshed on my mom’s friends. being around my mom is really hard. and jean says that they will realize that they were wrong and then it will be too late. yikes. they should come visit my mom and i should be understanding if they don’t. it’s not like i don’t try to avoid her aosmetimes. so i’m sorry.
blogs can tend to be confessional. now mine is too. bless me somebody for i have sinned. I’m going to go look at getting comment features now.

I just read Christi’s blog and I’m never going skiing with her again. Not that I ever want to subject myself to anything so unpleasant, but my goodness, she lacks adequate self-preservation instincts. “Oooh! a sheer drop over had rock outcroppings with corpses littered everywhere! I think I’ll ski it!” She doesn’t realize that she’s not a Kennedy and has no buisiness killing herself on a ski slope. ou should be rich to die that way.
We just watched the Rudolph Valentino movie the Shiek. It contains elements some would describe as problematic. We’re watching silent films cuz Christi has this idea about doing new music sound tracks for them and then having a little film festival. It’s a good idea. Anyway, whoever did the score for the VHS tape of this movie certainly left a lot of room for improvement. One guy with a DX7 and very few musical skills writting whatever pops into his little head. Maybe it wasn’t like that, but the music was not compelling. It had little to do with the action or the settings or any historical connection to the sort of music that would have been played when the film was shown or even music you would want to listen to now. Bleah. So on the one hand, I think “I could do better than that!” and feel inspired to work on the shiek. On the other hand, I think I better leave this one for somebody of middle eastern descent or I’m just asking for trouble. The movie reflects the ignorances and predjudices of the times it was made, of course. A movie like wouldn’t be made now. Too many of the arabs were sympatheic charecters. The army would get sent in. camels would be killed. We’d make a more problematic movie now. Yes, we are less enlightened than we were in the 20s. History is not progress. Everything is going to hell in a handbasket.
who the heck came up with the idea of hellward-bound transportation via handbaskets? From where does this phrase originate? It is so weird.
christi says that I’ve digressed so much that I have to go to bed now. But I’ve slept all day. I woke up at 7:00 this evening. I squandered my day off. I didn’t even work on music, unless you count watching a silent film, I think I have ruled it out, because the movie is racist and sexist and besides that, I didn’t like it very much. But I think maybe it could at least be entertaining with a better soundtrack. I have no idea where we plan to find silent movies without problematic aspects. we rented another tape called Early Soviet Film that might be better and anyway, might not be copyrighted. All of this silent movie watching tho is interesting because all of them have sound. The Valentino film had all original sound composed by a modern composer. this means that if one really enjoys writing music for silent movies, one could actually do it for movie releases. Of course, I understand the budjet is exceptionally small that gets allocated for the sound. goodness, tho, i don’t get paid for sounds now. this is probably somrthing to worry about after we get some experience. But we’re barking up the wrong tree by only working on movies already out on DVD. Or not. It’s too late at night.

I’m a big liar. My mom was doing terribly today. she spent an hour petting Christi and trying to say “nice doggie.”
Everytime I start Internet Explorer, my system preferences are set so that it is my default browser, even though I keep telling I want OmniWeb as my default. And it keeps changing the homepage back to that terrible home page for apple users. I hate that page. I like OmniWeb. Something is amiss.
I’ve been dividing the world into two groups, crazy and not-crazy. Toay I spent time with people who are definitely not-crazy. They’re boring. Maybe the world should be divided into crazy and boring. I’d rather be crazy than boring, although there’s a lot to be said for being functional.
there’s nothing like hanging out with people you went to highschool with to remind you why you hated highschool. Or you could just read the front page San Jose Mercury News coverage of it. Since I graduated eight years ago, three of the teachers who were there while I was there were dismissed for sexual-harrassment related complaints. And that’s just the ones I know about. My sophomore religion teacher was suddenly fired. The rumor mill said sexual harassment. At least it wasn’t in the paper. Then a few months ago, my freshman english teacher was arrested for alledgedly fondling a student. Now last week, the volleyball coach, who I never had as a teacher is front-page news. Apparently, he commented on student’s breast sizes, among his other offenses. I wish I could say that it’s not something I could see coming out of a male teacher’s mouth.
Saint Francis HS used to be two schools, Holy Cross Girl’s HighSchool and Saint Francis Boys. Then they decided to merge the new schools. they sold off the girls school, got rid of the school’s identity and fired all the nuns. the boys school legacy is very much stll present at SF. The school’s chief rival is still an all-boys school. SF lives and dies by sports and rivalries are extremely important. It shows how much girls athletics mattetred when the glaring abscence of a rivalry is pronounced. Still, apparently they mattered enough to force players with stress-fractures to play anyway. My classes were full of people with shin-splints that were playing through them.
My classes also often had clueless male teachers. SF is a private school, so accreditation is not required. A cultural legacy lingers from the all-boys days and sports are very important, which means a permissive attitude towards misbeahving jocks – especially botys. Add this to a conservative Catholic philosophy and you’ve got trouble. My sophmore english teacher told my class that it was impossible to graduate from Bellarmine (the boys school who was our sports rival) without being homophobic. He also told us that his cousin’s friend’s roomate (or some other doubtful chain of people) knew the doctor who removed a gerbil from Richard Gere’s butt. My freshman religion teacher, who was also a football coach and may have not been an accreditted teacher, tolf my class that god destroyed soddom and Gemorrah to kill the faires and fags. Yet another religion teacher spoke about aging his sperm properly to get his wife pregnant. He explained that you can’t have sex every day, you need to make sure your sperm is mature. He, a white married guy, also claimed to understand discrimination because once somebody on a bus spit on him and called him a faggot.
I wish I could say I remeber a specific sexist comment where a teacher said something about a girl, but I can’t. One of the issues was the dress code. Girls had to wear skirts that reacheed their knees. Quite often, girls would wear skirts that did not fully comply with this requirement. This created an atmosphere where the length of girls’ skirts were fair game. Teachers would talk about girls in short skirts. They would be on the lookout for dress code violations. We heard rumors of a ritual where girls with skirts that might not be long enough would be asked to kneel to see if their hem touched the floor.
Jokes were made about this. Clearly it’s impossible to learn in an enviroment where your skirt is an inch too short. I think it’s possible that this issue contributed to an enviroment where male teachers felt it their right and duty to remark upon girls skirts and thus their physical attributes in general. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it. Certainly the problem I was preoccupied with was homophobia. I do have some stories about substitutes.
My sophomore biology teacher was out sick and a substitute who knew nothing about biology was there. He was showing us slides of the Black Forrest from his vacation in Germany. At some point, he stood behind the most attractive girl in the class and started rubbing her shoulders. She stood, whirled around, and said firmly, “Do not put your hands on me!” Then when class let out, she went to the principal’s office and the substitute was promtly sent packing. another time, I had a religion sub who spent most of his time working for Catholic charities. He worked with AIDS aptients. He knew that the highschool had problems with homophobia, so he instructed us not to hate or fear gay people, instead they deserve our sympathy. I remember arguing angrily with him.
The last noteworthy substitute was a borther with the order that ran my highschool. He was just visitting the area and helping substitute. Normally, he taught at our sister school in Columbia. He was probably also a religion substitute. He told us about how in that city there were two Catholic schools. both were free, but one was for poor students and the other, our sister school, was for rich students. He also described how both schools aided the government in helping uncover leftist students and turning them in if they were abscent because of political work. I stopped paying attnetion tohim at some point because I was doign homework for another class and because I was going to argue with him. It was unsurprising to learn that my highschool was partnered with crimes against humanity.
the moral of this story is that religion classes are at best a joke and at worst a scarring experience. the other moral is to avoid schools which have strong sports programs unless you are in dire need of an athletic scholarship. the third is to beward of conservative Catholics and remeber that it’s not just priests who should be kept away from teensagers. Any male catholic may have problems with authority over youth.
this reminds me of my old youth group leader, but I’ll save that slander for a later time.
In fairness, I should relate a story told by my senior honors english teacher. He had an open-door policy where students could always come to him. Well, one time a girl came to him and said her father (or some adult male in her family) was abusing her. The teacher aided her in reporting this to the authorities and ended up participating in the trial against the abuser. The lawyer for the abuser suggested that because the teacher and the student were alone togther, the teacher had abused the student. What saved the teacher from this charge against him was his habit of always opeining his blinds when he was in the room with someone. So when she came in to talk to him, he opened the blinds. So he couldn’t have abused her with people walking right outside. Anyway she said he didn’t. So teachers from my high school have been unjustly accused. My senior English teacher was actually an intelligent guy and a goos teacher. But so was my freshman english teacher, who went to jail. I just hope that harassment and abuse was the exception and not the norm. I wonder who else will be arrested, fired suddenly or the subject of front page news.


Mitch says that I should just hold my dog over the toilet when she has to go for a walk. Or train her to pee in the toilet on command. I tried training her to pee on command, but only half heartedly and it didn’t work. One of my cats decided to use the toilet for a while, instead of the litter box. We didn’t train her to do this, we just cleaned the litterbox infrequently. It lead to hosuemate arguments about who wasn’t flushing. Since we didn’t train her to use the toilet, we didn’t train her to flush either. Then we moved and she stopped doing this trick.
Timananana says that she wants to be able to comment on my posts. I think this is a birlliant idea. I was all set to download slashdot code, when cola said that supports comments and is open source. cool. I don’t have time to check it out until monday, but I’ll definitely check it out.

I did not post yesturday because I went to see the San Francisco Opera. We bought season tickets and this was the second opera, Aidriane auf Naxos by Strauss. It’s uh, very odd. It’s a backstage opera for the first half, much like a backstage musical. the second half shows the opera that results from the first half. A bunch of cahracters from the first part don’t appear in the second, so a bunch of people bow at intermission, which is highly unusual (I think. It’s not like I’ve seen all that many operas). I notice that if you have a bunch of people on stage in the same range, it’s hard to tell who is singing what. But that might be just because we have the second worst seats in the entire house. We have four seats next to the wall in the second to last row of the highest level.
My mom was doing well yesturday. I went early because of the opera. Margie, my mom’s attendant, always tells me that mom is much better around 1:00, so I arrived around 1:00 and mom was much better. Her words made sence. She wasn’t hallucinating (which she was on wednessday). She wasn’t in pain or on pain medication. Pretty groovy.

it is time for me to go sit with my dying mother. i didn’t go yesturday. there was no good reason. i used to do six days a week and take mondays off, but my wife complained that she went to work five days a week and had to sit with my mom the other two, and she wanted a break. so now i take sundays off, which is fine except now i have no time for myself at all. i have mornings. but i’m not a morning person and i certainly can’t immerse myself in a project the way i’d like to. i’m definitely an afternoon person. it’s not like “having a life” is important to me the way it is for some teenagers who want to have a life because their parents don’t. Well, my mom has a life but just barely. the expiration date is on the horizon. every day i don’t see her is a day that i don’t see her.
one of her friends called up and told my mom’s attendant that they all already thought of her as dead because she’s doing so poorly. obviously, she’s not yet dead. but goodness, i have a hard time being there too. how can i be angry at them neglecting her death bed wehn i use the same rationalizations? when i saw her on monday, she was surprised everytime i spoke because she would forget i was there or something, even tho i was right next to her and she was looking at me. or maybe my voice was frightening, since the temporal lobe deals with fear and her temporal lobe is full of tumor. it’s easy to decide she must have forgotten i was there and therefore doesn’t benefit from my visits and anyway i have music to write.
she’s on oxygen because she breathes laboriously while sleeping and thus her sleep isn’t restful. it’s not prolonging her life. i haven’t posted it yet to her blog because i don’t know how to explain it in a way that won’t frighten away all her friends. oxygen is a harbringer of death. it doesn’t matter. they’re all frightened away anyway.
Everyone you know is going to die, including yourself. you may be next, you may not. Some of these people will go suddenly, others will be sick like my mom. this is a good place to exercize the golden rule. You can say to yourself, “oh, i wouldn’t want people to see me like that.” how very vain of you to say so, but many do. yes, i’m sure you’d rather end your life surrounded by strangers and machines. or would you rather have someone you cared about holding your hand? i thought so.
Somebody on a mailing list i’m on just died of cancer. We were informed. folks were emailing out emssages to him that were passed along. People were saying things like, “don’t die. you have a lot of music to write.” i understand where that comes from, but he’s going to die. piling on unfinished buisiness seems to be the wrong thing to do. so my mom’s friends at the museum are thinking, “don’t die, you have a lot of docent tours left to do.” and when they figure out that she has zero docent tours left, well, maybe she’s already dead. This isn’t what life is about. and as an extenstion it certainly isn’t what death is about. Yes, we all fear it and try to avoid it. Or at least, we ought to try to avoid it. but it’s going to happen. which is a better thing to say to a dying person, “don’t die! (it’s scary!)” or “i’ll miss you.”? you know the answer to this. Now go see your sick friends while you still can. It’s hard to talk to somebody with oxygen tubes, but it’s harder to talk to a headstone.
Those are strong words, aren’t they? But I still haven’t left yet. Everytime I skip a day she’s worse. She’s worse anyway, but then she’s 48 hours worse instead of 24 hours worse. There’s a noticable difference. It’s scary going to see her and knowing she’ll be worse.
People have this idea about death, where dead people get to keep their memories. My mom’s memory is clearly the result of some sort of tissue thing. Now it’s gone. even if she spontaneously went into remission tommorrow, her memories wouldn’t come back. And yet they’re suppossed to be restored after all her tissue is destroyed. Furthermore, some folks expect her to gain additonal knowledge. Dead folks know what happened to Hoffa maybe? No. they’re dead. People are the result of biological processes. when those processes cease, there’s no more person. nobody will know after death why you’re sorry you didn’t come see them. They won’t finally approve you. they won’t do anything because they will be dead.
No wonder atheists are are sad at funerals.