My Fantastic Weekend

I awoke Saturday morning to a text message in which Paula, my closest friend here and neighbour, said that her cat had drowned in the local pond. Indy was sweet and lovely and has spent many evenings curled up in my lap purring, or lolling about hoping for a belly rub. Oh no! I said I would walk my dog and head right over.
Paula's catsMy normal dog walking route goes right past the pond where the cat had died, and I was looking at it sadly, thinking of Indy when, with some distress, I noticed that Indy’s body was still in the pond.
I went around to get a closer look, in case there had been confusion, hoping it was some other cat. I couldn’t see his most distinctive marking, but I was convinced it was him.
Cat and Christmas Tree 1I went around to Paula’s and we tried to figure out who to ring to remove poor Indy from the pond. The RSPCA is only involved with living animals. I found the non-emergency number for the police and called them, apologising for ringing the wrong number, but explaining that I thought the cat’s body constituted a public health hazard. The police woman was annoyed at first, but then sympathetic and gave me the number for animal control and the department of environmental health, both of whom were closed until Monday.
Desperate for distraction, I shaved Paula’s head. However, Jara, Paula’s flatmate, was distraught about the thought of the poor cat bobbing in the pond until Monday, so we went back with a long pole, hoping to get him. And we tried a longer pole. And we tried tying two poles together, which succeeded in reaching him, despite being incredibly heavy, but not in bringing him closer to the edge. It started to rain.
LilypadsSome of the neighbours came by and said their porter could get him out on Monday. Somebody else suggested that we just wade out and get him. I went and got my toe shoes and some latex gloves, rolled up my trouser legs and jumped down into the steep-walled pond.
It was choked with algae, which wrapped around my legs. The bottom was squishy and weird. I waded over to where poor indy was, and pulled him from the algae and walked back to the side with his stiff body. I could see his markings then, and it was definitely him. I put him into a sack and then noticed that my gloves had somehow gotten torn.
Jara pulled me up the very steep sides of the pond. I went home and took a long shower and then tried to reach my girlfriend, but couldn’t.
Instead, I went to check my email and found a conversation on an email list that had been annoying me. The thread had grown. One guy organises a lot of events around here and makes a serious and thoughtful effort to be open and inclusive and does a lot of good things for the community. However, he was going on about innate and immutable gender differences, which rubbed me the wrong way and seemed quite othering. It contained a slur, clearly used without recognising it as such. Instead of explaining why I found this troubling, I flounced from the list.
Then I went to sleep and dreamt of Indy and being hit in the head by fourbytwos (known to Americans as 2x4s).
Hal and PaulaThis morning, Sunday, I put on a shirt that my gf gave me, as I thought I would see her in the evening. But first, I went with Paula and Jara and Paula’s friend to the anti-EDL march. The EDL is a fascist organisation, which had been planning on holding an anti-muslim march in the same area, targeting the East London Mosque, which is very near where I live. The EDL had chickened out at the last second, so the rally and march were peaceful and fun. I met a lovely anarc named Hal, who works at the Freedom bookshop. We all went with Joey and another woman to get a fry up afterwards. Hal may come to Wotever next Tuesday. It was all really good, although there were signs that unrest might be brewing among some other people who had been involved with the demo.
Incidentally, while we are at the pre-march rally, my phone rang and it was a friend asking if I wanted to come along to something. This is significant, because it was the first time that anybody that I’ve met in London (but not dated) has called me with impromptu plans. I’ve lived here for two years. I couldn’t go, because I was already at the rally, but it was very nice to be invited.
I went home and checked my email again and found out that I had very deeply offended the guy to whom I had posted my flouncing and that he had said some unkind things in return. I was distressed to find burned bridges, as this guy has gotten me gigs and getting involved in a row on a public email list connected to my section of the local arts scene is really not wise, especially as I’ll be looking for a job soon. Somebody said the whole group may have imploded in the aftermath, but I really hope this is not the case.
[EDIT: Um, I seem to have gotten this guy confused with somebody else, which is also embarrassing. He hasn’t gotten me gigs, but he is active. (25 June)]
Indy Feeling dejected, I tried again to reach my girlfriend, who said that we neeeded to talk. Uhoh.
The last time I had seen her, she had come with me to my pre-op appointment, where nurses took my blood pressure (good), calculated my BMI (low) and asked me questions like am I a vegetarian (yes) and do I have a will? (I do now.) I found that last question to be rather alarming.
She came along to ask questions about aftercare and to encourage scheduling that would coincide with when she had time off and would be in the area. My operation will by 1 July.
Then she went to a conference in Bristol and I hadn’t seen her since and was starting to get the impression that she was avoiding me. ‘Needing to talk’ was not allying my fears and I didn’t think I had the stamina to bike across town for whatever serious conversation she wanted to have.
And that’s how I came to be dumped via chat.
There was no fight, she just decided she didn’t want to be my girlfriend anymore. Five months of that was enough, I guess. It seems rude to go into details, so I won’t, but she had been idly chatting about moving in together a couple of weeks earlier, so I don’t know.
I decided to check my email again and found out that my proposal to play at the SuperCollider symposium had been rejected.
So to summarise: thigh deep in nasty, urban pond water, holding the corpse of a beloved cat in my bare hands, followed by flouncing, followed by getting dumped over chat followed by yet another professional rejection, of which I’ve had a streak for years, now, I think.
HaircutAt least the march was good and I seem to have some social stability. Which I’ll need because I won’t be staying with my exgf after my operation, obviously, but it will be a couple of weeks before I can carry anything and I’m not sure how much I should be left alone in the day or two after. I’ll be staying with Paula, which is super, but I don’t feel like it’s fair to ask her for everything, even if I cut her hair in return.

News, Plans, etc


I hope all of my American readers had a happy 4th of July. It was my cat’s 10th birthday, but she’s in California, so I didn’t bake her a cake or anything. Actually, I’m alarmed by what sort of cake a cat would like. yuck.

Here in The Hague, I went to an expat BBQ. We grilled a bunch of expats . . .. ahem. It was fun. there was a guy there with a dog also from California, but from LA. She and Xena had the north-south rivalry thing going on. Anyway, the other dog was clearly a California mutt as it was half pitbull. It’s the law that 90% of mixbreed dogs in CA are half pitbull. He said to keep it quiet because they’re outlawed in the Netherlands, but further research on wikipedia seems to indicate that this is not the case. Anyway, anti-breed laws are stupid. I started talking about how pitbulls are nice to people, and are only risky around other dogs. Nicole says that was rude. She drug me out to the grill to make tofu kabobs.
It would have been Xena’s happiest July 4th ever, as there were no fireowrks, except for two things. There was some sort of incident between the two dogs and the LA one bit through Xena’s ear. It’s just a little hole, but Xena was way freaked out. The other owner and the host pulled the dogs apart, something I tried to prevent. Folks, never stick your hands between fighting dogs! The host, Kendra, is from Alaska and says she has experience breaking up fighting dogs and knows how to do it without getting hurt. Anyway, it was probably for the best because Xena had already submit, but the other dog wasn’t backing off. Which is why pitbulls are dangerous for other dogs – once they get started in a fight, they don’t stop at the point most other dogs would stop. Most dogs just fight to establish dominance. Anyway, after being separated, the other dog reverted to being cute and friendly, but Xena was freaked. I felt kind of bad for the owner. He was really embarassed. It sucks when you beloved pet, who is almost human in your eyes, reveals their animal nature. Like barfing in a restaurant – which Xena did recently.
Then we got home and there was an incredible thunder storm. Way cooler than any fireworks. Xena tried to hide under the bed. Bad day for her. Yesterday, she barely wanted to leave the house, which was fair enough as she’s been awake and scared most of the night. Poor dog.


I go soon to Linz for my gig. Tickets are quite a bit more than I expected. Why are trains more expensive in the summer? They don’t cost more to run. I’ll get back around the second half of July. Then I want to bike along the coast of the Netherlands and then inland towards a small town in Friesland. Nick will probably participate. Then I will come back and meet up with Kendra and we will bike to Copenhagen, leaving around August 1st. That should take about 2 weeks. Then I get to worry a lot about moving.
Biking with clips is awesome. I feel like I have way more control over the bike and could go way faster. Also, popping in and out gets easy very quickly. when I first started on a still bike in front of my house, I thought it would be really hard, but suddenly, like a clip, it just clicked.
I tried to buy a bluetooth PDA keyboard from a shop in Rotterdam, but they’d sold out earlier in the day. However, I was able to use my GPS setup to navigate. Maemo Mapper tip: after you load the route into the program, quit it and restart. This will save the route in non-volitaile memory and if you (software) crash on the way, you won’t have to sorta head in the right direction while hoping to run into an open wifi network.
Also, I really love it when folks name their network linksys and leave it wide open. Seriously, it’s great. I kind of want to rename my network to linksys. This si the closest thing to an open citizen’s anarchist wifi net that we can reasonably hope for. So let’s all do it! Unlock your networks! Rename them to linksys! Encrypt all your data going over the wifi! If you leave your own network open, then you don’t need to feel guilty about borrowing anybody else’s connectivity. I leave mine open for that reason. But I’m not renaming it right now, because I’m not sure how to configure my remote-controlled-only media server to connect to a new network, nor even if it’s a good idea to let it potentially connect to the wrong one. So everybody except for me should rename their network, and we should leave them open. That is all.

Born on the Fourth of July


My cat, Roz, was born on the fourth of July. Christi says that the cat is six years old. Where have all those years gone? It seems like yesterday that she escaped from the carboard box I brought her home in, to under the seat of my truck. I think I had to take the seat out of my truck to retrieve her. Or maybe this story grows with the telling. But somehow, I had the idea that the cat would be a cat for Christi and not for me. When I got home, she disabused me and thus the cat was mine. I don’t know what practical effects this has had, except that ourn cats are listed seperately at the vet and that I’m expected to take Roz with me to Connecticut, but not right away.


So Thursday was flute band practice. We spent a couple of hours trying out an acoustic guitarist who revealed at the end of his audition that he couldn’t make the gig. If you know an acoustic guitarist, or better yet, you are an acoustic guitarist, I’ve got a gig for you!


And speaking of gigs, on Friday, we drove to the fourth of July party that Tennis Roberts was booked to play at. The original word was that it was in Santa Cruz and that there would be a large, permitted fireworks display. Then it was revealed that the party was near Gilroy, but a lot of Santa Cruz people would be there. So Mitch, Ed, Christi, Tiffany and I drove and drove and drove and got lost and got unlost and finally met up with Chand. when we showed up, everyone there was wearing black wifebeaters (note to my grown up relatives: this is a type of tank top shirt) covered with white images of bones, skulls and bats (mammals, not baseball). The men had shaved heads and tatoo “sleeves” up their arms and were muscular. The women also had tatoos, but fewer of them and were not so muscular. Many of the shirts said, “South Bay Hardcore.”
Hardcore is a genre of music somewhat related to Norweigan Black Metal. It is charecterized by loudness, speed, virtuosic drumming, practically abusively fast and hard guitar strumming and sometimes also bass strumming. The guitar chords are typically dissonant and may include notes like the 6th. I know this because somebody in my History of Music Past 1850 class did a report on hardcore. I can’t remember a darn thing about what constitutes a reciciative or what the fuge form looks like, but hardcore I got. Anyway, hardcore lyrics are usually angry and often mysogonistic and the followers like to be tough all the time. It’s very hardcore.
Tennis Roberts is not hardcore. We’re wusses. Ack hardcore fans! They’re going to hate us! They’re going to assault us! So we started drinking beer and the organizer started hosing down the hillside of dry grass, in between his eucalyptus groves, so that fires would not start from his fireworks. The first band began to set up. Fortunately, it turned out that all the hardcore people were in the band, Sad Boy Sinister. They started playing as it was getting dark and people at the party started setting off explosions. I put in my earplugs, more for the bombs than the band and was happy that I didn’t bring Xena, since she would have run all the way to Hollister. The band was ok. The singer explained that they were back together after a breakup, which made sence cuz some of their songs were kind of rough. During one song, he stopped the band and said, “I f—ed up, let’s start over.” So the band started the song over again and the singer sang it exactly the same way the second time and then said at the end “I f–ed it up again.” Most of there songs contained the word “bitch.” One of them was titled “The Bitches are Getting Me Down,” apparently complaining about their girlfriends who were sitting up front cheering enthusiastically. Another song had the refrain, “Die bitch, die!” Around that time, somebody launched a firework up over the crowd, but not towards the wet hillside. It landed in the Eucalyptus trees that were next to the long driveway and started a fire. It looked to be about campfire size. A large number of people got up and started running around, trying to figure out what to do because the hose was way too short to reach the fire. I asked Christi, “How do you put out a fire with a shovel?” She became very alarmed (how many people really know how to put out forest fires?) and ran towards the fire. I was looking for a shovel, but couldn’t find one because someone had already grabbed all of them and dragged them to the fire. It was extinguished. The band on stage was confused, “What’s going on?” they asked, and then, “Should we stop or keep playing?” The sound guy told them to keep playing and they did, but apoligizing because the next song in there set was entitiled “Now it’s Time for You to Die.”
Later it was overheard that “had permits for fireworks” meant that the sherrif’s wife was at the party and thus the sherrif wasn’t going to arrest us. Also, apparently, there was a seperate party going on down in the strip mine bellow where folks were watching our fireworks.
So our band was on next. During the setup, there was a massive explosion up on the grassy hill. Apparently whoever had brought the fireworks decided that launching them up into the air might be dangerous, so he had ignited them pointed at the ground. Fortunately, that was the last of them, I think. This was our first gig with amentiies like monitor speakers. Hearing your sound at high volume coming at you is way different than practicing in a basement. The levels were screwy, not because the sound guy wasn’t great, but because we weren’t sure what to tell him. Next time, I think I’ll ask for the monitors to have same mix as the audience hears. I mean, it’s not like there are acoustics dums sounds that we could rely on. It was nice to hear Ed turned up to high volume. Whenever we would play loud dissonant angry things, the hardcore folks would cheer. Halfway through our set, half the audience got up and left. It turned out that they were in the next band. Just about everyone at the party was in a band or came with a band. But it was cool
the soundguy played in the third band. I started making up for my relative sobriety. But, we wanted to go home because it was late and long drive, but we stayed to hear several songs, since we may split a future engagement at 21 Grand with them. They played some coveres and some original tunes. Their songs had some intense, complicated parts that must have taken a lot of practice. They were pretty good.


finally got to bed around 3:00 AM. Chand called at 9:30, very chipper, saying, “Hi! I just got home! I could totally do the gas station gig!” So I got out of bed at 9:30 and started trying to call Yakayo Biofuels. There is a new biodiesel buy-at-the-pump gas station open in Fairfax. Yakayo sais they were going to have some sort of party (originally a bbq, but changed for obvious reasons) at the gas station on the opening day to celebrate, but they didn’t get very much advance notice and put out a call at the last possible second for music, in the form of a stereo and some summertime tunes. I had volunteered the band to play, but the Chand said he couldn’t do it, but now he could, so I was awake and on the phone. When I finally reached everyone that I needed to reach, the gas station guy said that nobody had shown up so far, so we probably shouldn’t bother. But I was already awake. bleah. So we drove down to palo alto. Christi explained that she was unable to hear through her left ear.
We picked up Mitch and went to starving Musician. Ever since Peter told me that professional bassist don’t play out of combo amps, I’ve been feeling sheepish about my bass amp. The bassists in the other two bands had large, much more powerful looking bass rigs. Mine was too little and didn’t sound good. So I tried out bass heads and speaker cabinets, finally settling on a peavy 160 watt head and and 300 watt cabinet. The cabinet gives me room to grow… There were two identical cabinets, both the same brand and both 300 watt. they sounded the same. I wanted to get the bigger one, but Christi said it would be too hard to move, and she one. Size does matter, though, you know.
Bought more stuff in the south bay. Then went to dinner with my dad at a vegitarian restaurant in Palo Alto, named after the place in ancient Greece where the philosphers used to gather and discuss, uh.. philosophy.” our waiter helpfullly explained in quiet yet enthusiastic tones. The food was ok, but not great. Christi and my dad report that the non vegan dishes were very very good. You’d think that a veggie restaurant would have more than one vegan thing on the menu. But it was ok. My dad seemed to be doing ok. Apparently, he never wrote any haiku, which is too bad.


Got home late. And then up the next morning again to go watch a soccer match at Mitch’s house. Christi still can’t hear though her left ear and her throat is sore. But she wants to go out anyway, so we do. I have no idea who won the soccer matches. We brought paper and crayons so folks could draw drawing which will be the inserts to go with CDs that we’re going to sell one off. We have many drawings now. And we learned that Chand fell asleep right after calling me on Saturday and slept for the rest of the day.
Juraj was making apricot dumplings. They seemed pretty complicated. The dough was made out of taters and wheat flour and soft, german cheese and eggs and other things. then it had to be rolled out and then stuffed with apricots that had been halved, stuffed with a sugar cube abd some things. The whole thing had to be sealed, water-tight and then boiled until it floated. He made a ton of these things, switching to strawberries when he ran out of apricots. I didn’t try one cuz they weren’t vegan, but everyone who had one said they were really good. Juraj explained that he wouldn’t normally make so many of them, but there were a lot of people over. For some reason, people responded to this by making fun of him and calling him gay for the rest of the day. Euphamistically, of course. Apparently cooking desserts for your friends isn’t masculine enough? I don’t understand het boys at all.
Then many of us went for food, then I offered Mitch unwanted advice, put my foot in my mouth and made him feel bad. Ooops. So I stole my DX7 back and went home. This morning, Christi awoke with a full-scale cold, which explains her hearing problems and stuff. She’s in bed right now, a place she normally avoid when she’s sick. She’d rather run around until she gets pnemonia, than sit still for a minute to get over a minor cold.

Pictures of Chicken
Page made for the benefit of Ellen. I give her a 75% chance of deciding to stay in Seattle. She really likes chicken tho, so maybe Chicken will lure her down. She has a Dr. Doolittle sort of connection to Chicken. Chicken didn’t destroy anythign while Ellen was here, but she did eat a muffin that I left on the counter. Or maybe Roz did. Cats eating muffins are weird.
Yesterday, I fixed some bugs in the JJiCalc. You can now enter in tunings and it will know they exist. Some action-event thing was missing. I’m working on saving and reloading right now. Anyway, while I was coding, Ellen went to her friend’s memorial service and then from there to the airport. He was part of the reason she was considering moving down here. And she was sad the whole time she was here. Last time she was here was the 2002 OM festival and she was sick the whole time. The bay area may be a bad luck place for her.
So I’m basing the 25% probability (guess) of her moving down here based on Chicken’s magnetic personality. Oh, and if you know of a responcible musician (I know, oxymoron…) who might want to rent my space for two years, you should drop me a line.

Chicken was throwing up more than usual and she threw up blood twice in two days, so she went to the vet. The possible causes for this are:

  • She ate a ribbon and it’s irritating her stomach
  • She has an ulcer
  • She has a malignant tumor in her stomach

I think it’s an ulcer. Only Christi’s cat could possibly worry herself into having an ulcer. Anyway, so the vet took a lood sample to test for cancer cells in her bloodstream. We will get a call around 10:00 AM on the results of that. If it’s not a tumor, I think they want to xray her again or something; I can’t remember the exact order of possible future events. Anyway, she can’t have any food until we get an all-clear from the vet. Christi is worried because the cat is being friendly and that’s unusual for her. But I think it makes sense because she just went to the vet and is always friendly afterwards, because we’re not so bad compared to the evil needle-weilding people. And she’s out of food. Hungry cats are friendly cats.
Christi and I went over to Christi’s boss’ house after the vet, since he wote a letter for me. It’s a really good letter. He asked for a CD, so I gave him the CD I have on and another work-in-progress. Then he asked me a bunch of questions about how I got certain sounds and how to do certain FX. I’m starting to feel confident about college admissions. My writing sample is not going to matter very much unless my admission is borderline or the sample is illiterate or terrible. Still, must give them the best thing that I can.
Anyway, then we started talking about how to quickly insert track markers into audio files to burn a CD. He knows a guy who sells Pro-tools, so he called him up at home at 9:00 at night and put him on speaker phone and started asking him how to do things. The guy was totally cool about it. Tiffany saw him play last weekend at 21 Grand, so I said she had said good things about him. She said good things about the whole show and I’m sure if she knew who I am writing about, she would say good things about him in particular. How could you not have good things to say about a guy you can call at home at 9 PM and ask tech support questions? Anyway, he solved the problem and the day was saved. yay.
I hope the cat doesn’t have cancer.