Memorize This If You Need It

It’s easy to remember 1.800.SUICIDE (1.800.784.2433). You folks that need to know it, you know who you are. Program it into your cell phone. Just fucking remember it. And then when you need it, fucking call it.
Sometimes when you look backwards, it looks barren and bleak. And sometimes when you look forwards, the emptiness seems to stretch out forever. It’s an illusion. Your life can’t seriously be like that, or you wouldn’t have made it to adulthood. Children actually raised that way die Of natural causes. By themselves. So if you’re old enough to be reading this, you life hasn’t actually been like that. Probably, the worst is behind you. If your situation was really so low, you wouldn’t have the activity level or agency to do something so drastic. People don’t get drastic like that unless they’re on the upswing. You’ve just waited until things have gotten better and now you’re thinking of it. Call the fucking hotline number.
You don’t get to adulthood without hope. You don’t get to adulthood without love. Maybe they didn’t love you enough. Maybe they’re gone now. But that love was there or you wouldn’t be. More people care about you than you think. People love you. People have loved you.


Rapture Ready folks care more about afterlife than life. Other folks are like that too. Is there a heaven? Is there a hell? Do you keep getting reborn until you reach enlightenment? Do you live this life over and over and over again infinitely? Can you come back and chat with the psychic living? Is this all there is?
I don’t fucking care about the answers to these questions. There’s no verifiable evidence for any of them aside form the “this is it” one. Maybe you’ve had a person experience with talking to the dead. I’ve known people who have. But it’s not mutually verifiable. The evidence can’t be used in a scientific sense. But, seriously, I don’t care. I’m just as happy with oblivion as I am with doing this same thing over and over again in the exact way. There are bad times. There are good times. You owe it to yourself and to folks who love you to chase the good. Go out and fucking grab it and hold on. It’s an obligation. Hope is a moral obligation.

What brought this on

Polly’s boyfriend Paul died. He was a good guy. I knew him, liked him. He read this blog. I hadn’t talked to him in a long time, but I cared about him. I don’t actually know who all reads this or what they’re thinking and maybe I’ve never met them offline or even online. But some of y’all are happy and some are sad. And if you need to memorize that number, you know it in your heart. So fucking memorize it. And call it when you need it.

New Phone Number

Today I learned that if you lose a prepaid phone, you also lose your phone number. My new number is +31 (0)6 42 83 1440

Also, losing a phone means losing all your phone numbers. Please email me back with your number or send me an SMS, if you think you will want to chat with me.

My old phone is someplace in Birmingham. Alas. I hope somebody gets some use out of it.
In other news, Polly (who is awesome) took a sign up sheet with her to the 21 Grand thing last night and got 4 more names! Hooray. Only 22 to go.
I posted to friendster and Craig’s List and haven’t gotten anything from that. I feel like I’ve lost a lot of cachet by leaving eBay. I need to start looking at banner ads or adwords with google.
I think next week, I will start going to school again. I’ve been sorta, um, not going except to lab hours. I dunno about bea 5 (the giant room of analog synth of doom). It would take me years to master it. I’m totally into the bank of sixteen oscillators (16!! 16!!! It’s obscene!) and the sequencer and the VOSIM and the third octave filter and something called the VTQ and anything that does the same thing as a module I own in my own synth. But the other things – there are just so many of them and it’s going to take a lot of experimentation to use them in a non-cliched way. Like the plate reverb is super awesome, but it only gets like one sound and that sound is full of a lot of hiss. If I want to do something really interesting with the plate, I’m going to need to de-ess it and then either do some sort of feedbacky tape delay or pitch shifting because the sound of that plate does not change ever – it’s always the same pitch. So I think I’m going to concentrate on the things I already understand and see what kind of sounds I can tease out of them. Because playing with the new thing or the splashy thing or the 200 kilo thing is a lot of fun, but the resulting recordings are really hard to work with. It’s possible to pull out a good minute from the exploratory noodling, but it’s easier and better to do something immediately interesting and record that.
Also, I want to think more about post-processing. I’ve got 178461978461 Audacity plugins and I thin I’d like to subtly apply the same fx to all my recordings, so they sound like they go together. All my MOTM recordings mostly sound right together and the bea 5 ones have their own sound, but some signature should unify them. Like if I just got the perfect impulse response to convolve everything with. The IR of the gods.

Looking Forward/Looking Backwards

Party Report

At the party were: Esperanto Ed & Sandy (who left before midnight), Sarah Dotie + cousin Kareem and Brother Bob (who had to leave before too late so Sarah could go relocate mating Salamnders to a new pool as part of an abatement program or something), and Polly and Paul. And Ellen and I, of course. It was a small group. I made a mountain of gaucamole. I told Ellen that Californians eat tons of gaucamole and that you couldn’t make too much of it for a party. So last night, I ate a bunch of leftover gauc. Anyway, we chatted and ate food and totally missed the countdown. I looked at my watch at 12:02 and ordered Sarah to call popcorn to see it was after midnight. It was. So we toasted the New Year a bit late. One of my resolutions was better time management, alas. I started the New Year late, but at least it was under five minutes late.

We had several six packs of beer for the party. Of which four beers were consumed. Two by Ellen and two by me. Then I switched and had a glass of Compari + OJ, thus making me the heavist drinker at the party. It makes me nervous when I notice that I’m drinking more than everyone else, but fully half of the people there were non-drinkers and some folks who might normally drink were obstaining so they could go do things like interrupt salamander mating.
I thought it was oodles of fun. So did Ellen. She was impressed by the complete nerdiness of my social circle. Yes, I am a nerd. Most of my friends are nerds. I think she was worried that a bunch of really hip people were going to come over. Maybe I seem hip? That would be exciting. Do nerds suspect me of hipness?
I was very releived when Polly started talking about the decline of Santa Cruz. I had been concerned that it had always been uncool and for some reason I hadn’t noticed before. But no, Polly verifies that Herland did used to be an extremely hip hangout and the Saturn was awesome, etc. She said that less than five years ago, scruz was colonized by valley yuppies. alas. woe for the world. The homoginization of amerika is spreading even to liberal enclaves.
after the party, I played Ellen some MP3s of Polly’s flute playing. Ellen said it was the best, most interresting flute playing that she’d heard in her life. Earlier, she had been talking about how the flute was completely boring and I had argued that cool extended techniques existed. and indeed they do and Polly knows them.

A New Day, A New Year

Woke up early yesterday and full of energy and optimism. Had two cups of coffee and then felt even more energetic and optomistic. Thanks to the hard work of Ellen, I am now addicted to coffee. I woke up yesterday thinking, “If I get up now, I could have coffee!” I’m up to two cups in the morning. I think I will try to stay at that level. coffee makes me so awake and so smart and la la la. anyway.
We went to Half Moon Bay to try beachiness again. the sand there is a lovely yellow color. But it was cold, cold, cold, so I did not walk barefoot in the waves and ran up the beach a few times to keep my feet from getting wet. Ellen, however, got wet feet as she failed to successfully dodge the waves a few times. But she was laughing so much afterwards, I suspect it may have been somewhat on purpose.
the rains caused the streams that run to the ocean to swell. Torrents of muddy freshwater were rushing out to the sea. We walked down a sandy penninsula as deep, fast freshwater raced on our right and the ocean crashed to our left. I feel some sort of mystical connection to the earth and the sea when I’m surrounded by so much water. The ocean makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger than myself. I feel the presence of a mother earth when I feel the salt and hear the crashing waves. It was quite lovely
As we drove further up highway 1, I was reminded of a trip I took there in 2002 with my parents and Christi. Sometime after brain surgery, when my mother could communicate, she indicated that she wanted to go to a restaurant in Moss Landing called the Distillery. She liked fish and the restaurant is purported to be haunted. She loved ghost stories and haunting and so the Distillery was one of her favorite restaurants as far as I know. My dad and her ordered crab cakes. I remember being impressed about the discretion of the waiter. I was worried about things like that then. On the way there, we drove through the farms of Half Moon Bay. We passed the Christmas tree farms, the pumpkin farms and the horses. My mom used to ride and show horses. I had the idea that she might like to do horseback riding and was looking to get her into a program for adults with disabilities. I asked her if she was interesting in having a horse. She said, “oh yeah. Maybe someday. Not now.” Her memory wasn’t good. We told her she didn’t have time left, but she couldn’t remember or didn’t want to. The word “someday” broke my heart. There was no someday. there is no someday.
Yesterday, Ellen and I drove past the distillery and stopped at a second beach a bit north of there. We looked at the sandy cliffs and more water rushing to finally again meet the ocean. I thought of the future. There is no someday. There is no control of fate. Take things as they come. Look for opportunities. Do my best. I might die tomorrow as my life rushes back towards the sea and the earth, but I cannot know. this is a kind of optimism. I will do my best. I will accept things as they happen. I will change what I can. I will accept what I cannot change. I am a part of the universe and I belong to the world.

Jean’s ritual

We came back to the East Bay and went to Jean’s New Year Ritual. there I discovered that my attempts at serentiy and new age hippy-dippy spirituality do not extend to political discussions. I cannot change some people’s minds, but damnit, I’ll try anyway. someone there thought that Kucinich was a Nader-like spoiler who must be stopped. For the record, Nader did not lose Gore’s election. Gore lost it. Because he’s as uncompelling as Gray Davis and because of massive voting fraud in Florida and probably other states with electronic ballotting systems, the same systems that are now all over the country. Made by Diebold, the completely partison republican voting machine company who does not release their source code and runs our elections for profit.
Simply, I would not have voted for Gore. I will not vote for anyone that wants to throw queer or poor folks or people of color or the third world to the wolves to protect corporate profits. The excuse cited is that a progressive would be unacceptable to middle america. but let’s pause for a minute and think of the massive role that corporate money plays in campaigns. Are candidates that think the country ought to be run for the benfit of the people rather than profits really unacceptable to middle america or are they unacceptable to the plutocrats that pay for campaigns? Kucinich has major labor support. the majority of americans agree with his platform. If you think that that you can’t vote you’re conscience because it will lose, then you’ve already lost. there’s no hope. You might was well go to work for Haliburton.
Jean’s ritual consists of list making. this year it was three lists. This ritual is a prayer more than it is making resolutions. the first list is things you want to leave behind in the passing year. I listed angst, procrastination and war. The second list is things you want to draw to yourself in the new year. I listed self-reliance, confidence, widsom, knowledge and skills. The third list is new this year and it is things that you are grateful for. Jean says that if she focusses on what she’s grateful for, she feels better about the world.
Jean passed out envelopes, which we self addressed and then sealed in our lists of things to draw in and things we’re grateful for. In the middle of next December, she will stamp the envelopes and mail them to us. For the list of things to leave behind, we went out to a small fire pit in the back yard and burned the lists. In years past, there’s been singing at this point, but this year there was only a little singing by a few people. I am guilty of non-participation. Jean asked me to hum the MIDI thingee I posted to my blog in mid-December, but I couldn’t remember it. I had forgotten about the pice, thinking it wasn’t worth working on.
For the last few months, I’ve been noticing a dearth of music. My stereo was mostly silent in Middletown and I noticed most other people’s were as well. I was thinking this was because I was at music school. We spend all day studying music and listening to pieces to analyze them and write papers or whatever and so don’t put on background music. But now I’m wondering if this is everywhere. Have people stopped wanting to sing? If we don’t have music in our lives, if we don’t listen, if we don’t sing, how can we live? How can we resist evil? How can we fight for good? How can we remember what is beautiful? How can we call for justice if we cannot sing?
So I’m adding a resolution to sing more. My voice is out of practice. Some Californians may recall my willingness to start singing at the drop of a hat, but lately, I’ve been more restrained. This restaint is not a good thing. (well, moderation is a good thing.)
One of the things that I like Ellen is that she sings. she sings to the cats. She sings to me. We should all sing to each other.
I saw Danica at the ritual. I asked what pronoun to use and the reply was “they.” It makes me feel silly to use it, but silliness is a good thing. they seemed very together and happy. I hope to see them again while I’m in town.
We came home from the ritual and I played the MIDI file that Jean liked for Ellen. Ellen liked it too. So I’ll work on it when I get back to my desktop computer where my notation software lives.
comments appear to be working again.

More Fun

Last night I rode BART to Milbrae to go meet Polly for dinner. Milbrae is, of course, one of the new BART stops out in the penninsula and it’s the last one on the line. It’s also a Caltrains station, which could make getting to the south bay via transit much easier, although it is an hour long ride just to there. I like the new stations because they have art in them and no ads.

Polly, darling of the flute community, seems to be doing well. I used to play bass in her backup band and we played at the National Flute Association convention in Vegas last August. August may not be the best time to go to Vegas, but the flutists loved her. Anyway, she has a new bassist now (alas!) and is playing some gigs. We went out for Thai food and got caught up and discussed Liturgical Drama. Seriously. I also learned that KDFC (your radio concert hall), the Bay Area’s lone classical station, gets all of its CDs through the indie network. So if you’re on an indie label, you better have a distributor with their own indies. This sounds confusing because an “indie label” is a record company not owned by the big five record companies. But, people who are “indies” and work for the “indie network” are so-called independent folks that funnel payola from the big five to radio stations. Recall that payolla, paying a radio station for playing your record, is illegal. So many record companies have found independant contractors who give stuff to radio stations and who get stuff from record companies when those stations play the record company’s songs. The indy pockets the difference. However, the indie network has largely been purchased by Clear Channel, so how this is different than payola is completely unclear. anyway, this is part of the reason that commercial radio sucks.
So anyhow, after Thai food, Polly and I went and met Paul at Starbucks and talked more. It was groovy.
Finally, I rode BART back to the East Bay and got picked up by Ellen. The night was still somewhat young, so we went to the White Horse and did some drinking and dancing. We cavorted (this is Polly’s mom’s word for having illicit fun, but any claim of illicitness would be overstated).

Who is this Ellen of whom you speak?

She is the person living in casaninja while Christi and I are away becoming educated. Ellen Fullman is the inventor of the Long String Instrument. There are plans to install it in the first floor of casaninja. Many pieces are in place, but no strings yet! Technical issues are still being worked out, alas.
She played her newest CD, Ellen’s Songbook, for me. It’s coming out soon on Choose Records, but they don’t seem to be listing it yet. It’s awesome. All the pieces are songs except for one instrumental piece. She does the singing. All the songs are catchy and smart. The production is really slick. College radio stardom is clearly in her future. The songs remind me of the Magnetic Fields, because they are pop, but so much more is going on than in your average pop songs. Many of the songs are tuned in just intonation. Her singing voice is very similar to her talking voice: pretty and “real”. She spent time studying Indian singing and it comes through in some of the songs. Of course, the Long String Instrument is present and percussion and even cheesy 90’s techno sounds on the second to last song. It’s just cool.

Moving on Out

Other Minds’ Newest Board Member

Last Tuesday, I was elected to the board of Otherminds. I was asked to speak about myself and had no idea of what to say. I knew that I would have to, but when asked, my mind went blank. Things that I could have mentioned and didn’t were numerous. Despite being in the presence of the founder of the Just Intonation Network, I did not mention my membership nor my work on the Java Just Intionation Calculator. Nor did I talk intellgiently about the music I write. But I did talk about the history of the tuba and related brass instruments. I guess Charles must have said good things about me. anyway, it’s clear that I’m going to have to write a spiel and memorize it. I’ll need to have different versions of it depending on how long I need to speak.
Afterwards, Carl Stone showed up and he, Charles and Jim Newman were going to go out to dinner. Christi and I were waiting around to go to dinner with Mitch, so we all ended up going together to a Tapas place at 16th and Guerro where Carl Stone’s cousin’s husband is the head chef. This translated into free desserts. Charles once again impressed upon me the need to write down witty things that people say and to keep a diary so later when someone asks about what composers that I’ve met (because they are wirtting the difinite biography of witty things said by a particular famous composer), I’ll be able to regale them with facinating stories about going to restaurants after board meetings. With that in mind, it was a delightful evening. Carl Stone is very charming. I had met him once before at Charles’ Christimas or New Years party and he remembered me from then. He’s been teaching in Japan. He was talking about how terrible meetings there were, but as he cannot read or write Japanese, most of it went over his head and he spent his time in meetings by responding to email. He said they spent over an hour on one occasion discussing the locations of ashtrays around one of the buildings.
The food was great and sufficient vegan-ized things were available. It was nice to get a last visit with Mitch. after dinner, I hopped on Bart to go stay at Polly’s house. “Naiomi” also arrived. (Name changed for reasons that will become clearer as the story progesses.)

she said, “let’s go to Vegas, man

The next morning, we got the rental van and drove it back to Polly’s house. Actually, Naomi drove it. We weren’t in a hurry, but she drove as if we were. She was a terrifying driver. I swear she alomst rolled the van. Well, I dunno how hard something has to pull to the side before it actually rolls, but it was the most sideways force I’ve yet experienced. “Oh, it doesn’t corner well.” she said. As she was driving in the fast lane down the freeway at highspeeds, she was about five feet behind the car in front of her. “Oh it doesn’t break well.” she said. We got mightily lost, but finally arrived to load the gear and set off for Vegas, and, thankfully, Polly drove the whole way.
It was my first time seeing the Mojave desert. It’s got big basins surrounded by hills. Really big, crater-like basins. And darn, is it hot! It’s hot all the way to Vegas. Really darn hot. We got to the Vegas strip just as the sun was setting. In case you have never been there (and this was my first time), It’s not nearly as glamorous as the movies make it to be. At least the end I was on was not as glamorous. I think “glamorous” means “a lot of lightbulbs.” We were staying at the Rivera Hotel. The bellhop cmae to help us with our gear and started dropping everything. Polly made a wild grab and caught her mixer as it tumbled towards the pavement. We clustered nervously around the lacsidasical belhop, on the ready in case he dropped anything else. After he left, I anxiously called Christi and asked her to repack all the boxes of dishes that I had just packed. Polly came and introduced me to Robert Dick. We chatted for a few minutes and then they went to catch up. Naiomi and I decided to go to Circus Circus. I know of this casino because of the movie Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas. In the movie, the lead charecter takes acid and then sits at a Merry-go-round themed bar while surrealist, scary clowns lurk menacingly. We found the rotating, merry go round bar, but there was nothing menacing about any part of the casino. It was crawling with children who were excitedly playing midway games. I was slightly disappointed. Vegas seems to be like american culture concentrate. Add water and you get a strip mall. they did have a short free show have fantastically talented jump rope acrobats. Naiomi dumped several quarters into the slot machines. She won all of the first several games that she played. Then she wanted to buy stuff, so we went to several gift shops. Then I was tired, so I went to bed, but we stayed up talking far later than I anticipated.
Naiomi and I slept late the next morning, although Polly got up when the clock radio, set by the previous occupant, went off at 7:00. Christi called and said that I could have Tiffany’s Bjork ticket if I could get back in time. Bjork was playing on Friday night in San Francisco. I hadn’t bought my own ticket because I was supossed to drive the van home that day and didn’t think I could make it in time and didn’t think I could make it in time. But the offer was tempting, so I approached Naomi and asked if she would be willing to leave early and drop me and my gear off in Berkeley and take the van and Polly’s gear south by heself. (Polly was planning on staying for the rest of the convention to network with flutists and try to get gigs based on our show.) As Naiomi lives in the city, I figured she would have an easy time getting back via BART. She became very excited and called someone to find out if there will still tickets to Bjork available, so she could go to the show too. She wondered if we could leave extra early. I said that 8:00 would be a good time to set out and added that I thought we could come back faster if we went throught Yosemite rather than Bakersfield. I called Christi and found out that Bakersfield really was the fastest route. Naiomi wanted to leave earlier, maybe 6:00 AM, maybe right after the show and we could drive all night? I said no, since I was anticipating staying upp all night friday night packing. I need as much sleep as I can while in Vegas. I could sleep while she drove? No, I can’t sleep in cars. She was getting agitated, wanting to leave earlier and perhaps drive as fast as possible. I was becoming increasingly concerned about becoming a traffic fatality statistic, since her driving was irratic when she wasn’t in a hurry. I told Polly about Naiomi’s driving. We had been planning on adding my name to the rental car contract anyway (they would only allow two drivers when we got the car, and I won at rock paper scissors), so we looked up the location of the closest office for our rental agency. It was only a mile and a half down the strip, so we had the very bright idea of walking. It was 3:00 in the afternoon and the heat seemed to be at least 105 F, perhaps higher. I was dying by the time we got to the parking lot to get the paperwork, but I’m on a mission to combat my whinyness and did not contest the plan to walk. Clearly, it seems, there are times when being whiny is essential.
We walked more than a mile and a half in 45 minutes in the scortching midday heat. Only mad dogs, englishmen and stupid tourists… There are vending machines on the strip that sell water for a dollar a bottle. It’s a racket. They could charge $10 a bottle. We stopped at drug store on the way and I bought cold chocolate almond milk (vegan food in vegas? arg! I was hungry hungry. All I could find for lunch was “chinese” food: boiled cabbage in sauce). We got to the car office and collapsed. We rode the bus back to the hotel. I felt like I might loose all my almond milk. We were all dizzy and sick. I stuck my head in the bathtub and ran cold water on it and then conked out for a nap and then woke and drank a lot of water. Naiomi went out, while I napped and put a lot of money into slot machines and other games of chance. She came back later and was feeling extremely ill. She was trying to “win back” the $50 she lost on her previous Vegas trip. At some point, we had a conversation about how gaming is regulated. She was surprised to hear that the amount of money the casino gets to keep and has to give away in prizes is set by state law. The odds are titled in the favor of casinos, it is not random. The slots by the door really do win more often. Seriously.
Finally, after we had all recovered, it was time for our sound check. Will, Polly’s brother, was running our sound for us. He’s an actor and is perfectly and completely charming. The hotel’s sound guy did not understand how we were going to set up. I talked to him for several minutes but was unable to convey any meaning. Will explained that it was ok and started running cables. He set things up in the only way that the sound guy said would work. The drums were way too low in the monitors. I had several ideas about how they could be raised, but this was the only was it would work. We played a few songs and souldn’t hear the drums when suddenly Will had an idea about how to raise the drum level. Later, Will told me that he knew how to have a seperate monitor mix all along, but there’s a certain way that union sound guys must be approached about sound. First, they must be befriended. Polly’s idea of using her brother for sound was perfectly brilliant.
We hung around waiting for our time to go on, while Naiomi pushed me to consider leaving earlier to get the Bjork show and I became pretty certain that a traffic accident was in my future. Naiomi had a pink mohawk, which strangers would comment on. Of course, making comments to strangers about their hair is rude, even if it’s as benign as telling her that she should spike it up instead of letting it lie flat. She had confessed to me that she wanted to punch people who made comments. In my past, I had a blue mohawk and when I had it, many, many peple commented on it. People would regularly tell me to spike it up or ask how it got to be blue and generally wanted to ask questions about it. Such is life when one has a mohawk. Naiomi just got angry. She also became extremely angry when the elevator stopped for someone on the way down and the guy got on a different elevator that also stopped. “That asshole stopped our elevator and didn’t even get on it, he got on that other one first.” I suggested that it might not be his fault and perhaps it was the fault of the hotel for summoning multiple elevators on a single button push. “You think so?” she asked, quite seriously and still angry at the hapless elevator traveller.
anyway, while we were waiting to go on, the opnening act was becoming alarmed since it was time for him to go on and his bassist had not yet arrived. since folks at home keep telling me what a great bassist I am, I told the guy that I could fill in, especially if he had charts that I could read. Thank goodness that his bassist arrived. That guy was one of the finest bassists that I’ve ever heard. He was playing a five string Carvin bass with a fantastic tone. Since the band had never played togteher before, the flutist would play the bassline to him once at the start of the song and the bassist would play it perfectly, as funky as you’ve ever heard, occassionaly making appropriate and highly funky fills. In nearly every song, he also improvised extremely textured and intricate bass solos. In one of them, we was simultaneously playing an improvised bassline and tapping out a solo on the high strings. It was synchopated and perfectly in time. That is what a great bassist can do. And that guy was just another Vegas bassist, once of hundreds if not thousands of bassist in this country who make a living just playing gigs as needed or as a studio musician. The world is crawling with highly proficient, professional and completely musical bassists, of which I am not one. Not that I don’t appreciate compliments. I must not beleive my own hype.
So I spent the whole first act comparing myself to the amazing bassist and consequently, when I got on stage, I was terrified of screwing up. I normally get stage fright. My heart beats fast. My palms sweat. I act foolishly before I go on. When I play with Tennis Roberts, I calm down as soon as it becomes clear that a train wreck is not going to destory us. However, Polly had a much larger audience and I psyched myself out more than usual. I thought I must have looked terrified through the first several songs. It didn’t help that Naiomi was playing guitar very tentatively and came in late several times. She ended one song many bars too early and, of course, the drum track kept going. I felt like we were in danger of slipping from the beat. Normally, it is the repsoncibility of the bassist to keep the beat together (so says Bass Player Magazine), but it is doubly so when the drum are pre-set. Anyway, as a consequence of being highly fearful, I was also highly focussed. I knew exactly where I was in every song and exactly where the beat was to a degree that I don’t normally in practice. I realized that I was playing very solidly. I was on FIRE! And as I became confident, the break came and Polly did some solo pieces without backup and I got nervous all over again and was definitely not on fire during the second half. As the show went on, I felt like my playing was getting weaker, but it was getting later and later. We didn’t start until almost midnight, so by the time I was on the wrong beat on the last song, there were only five people in the audience. If I’m going to screw up, I’m going to do so as confidently as possible in front of only a few people. I tried to look as if the one was not ususally on the one.
afterwards, the few remaining folks, who were all friends of Polly’s talked to us and when I said that I had been pretty much terrified the entire time and been off-beat on the last song, they said that I looked “cool as a cucumber” and that it had all sounded very solid. And it was easy to tell at the start of the show that the audience was loving it (at the end of the show it was very late and everyone had gone to bed). Several people were chair dancing. There was cheering when Polly announced that she was going to play a Dead Can Dance cover. Polly was definitely on fire. She had a great stage presence throughout. The folks watching soaked up every naunce and would go anywhere that Polly lead them. she was completely fabulous.
Polly’s mother, Polly, Robert Dick, Naiomi and I went to get beers afterwards. Robert is extremely friendly and it was very nice to get to talk to him. He told me to say to Ron Kuivilla and Alvin Lucier from him. Polly’s mother is also very charming. She was extremely proud of Polly’s performance. She is really sweet. Finally, we went to go to sleep. At 3:00 AM, I was sleeping sitting up, leaning over my gear, waiting for my turn to use the bathroom. Polly went back out to do more partying and just Naiomi and I were left in the hotel room. She was setting the alarm to off earlier than our agreed-upon time. I said, “Naiomi, there’s no way I’m going to be able to get up before 8:00 tommorrow morning. I’ve got too much stuff to do this weekend. I’m moving and stuff. I’m really sorry, but this is why I didn’t buy my own ticket to the concert.” I then passed out as I said “goodnight.”
Naiomi did not say anything. She did not turn out the light. As far as I know, she didn’t move. I felt tingling at the back of my neck and finally turned to look at her. she was glaring at me with narrowed eyes and a bitter rage. She said that she wanted to leave at our agreed-upon time. I had been thinking about our schedule and had realized that there was no way we could get to an 7:00 PM concert in San Francisco if we left Vegas at 8:30 AM. There was likely to be traffic at both ends and we had to unload the gear in Berkeley and Burlingame and then return the van to the San Jose airport. I could clearly picture the trip. I would be driving, refusing to give up the drivers seat while Naiomi angrily urged me to go faster and constantly offering to drive and finally demanding that she should drive, which I could not let her do or I would end up rolled over on the side of the road. I could also picture the return trip if we left later. It would be exactly the same except she would be bitter towards me from the start. Maybe we would ride in silence the entire way. I was already counting the hours until I never had to see her again and it looked the last hours were going to be very long. So I declined leaving at the earlier time and said goodnight again and fell back asleep.
The light still did not go out. I was exhausted. The day had not been relaxing. I had heat stroke and then I had been in the grips of stage fright for more than an hour long show. It was a whole lot later than I normally go to sleep. Maybe a minute later, maybe and hour, maybe a second (certainly after I had again faded from consciousness), she yelled, “I just don’t see why we can’t leave now and you can sleep in the car!” It’s hard sleeping when one is convinced that one is about to be horribly maimed in a car wreck, even if one is already completely exhausted. And regardless, I’ve never been able to sleep in a car. (This conversation, btw, is recorded here very near verbatim)
“Naiomi, we’re not dating. Please don’t wake me up to yell at me. I can’t sleep in cars. goodnight.”
“Why can’t you?”
“Alas, I’ve never been able to. Perhaps it is an as yet untreatable physiological condition. goodnight.”
“I’ve always wanted to see Bjork and I might never again get a chnce to see her in my whole life!”
“It’s highly probable that she will survive this tour and decide to emabrk upon another one during which time you would likely be presented with an oppotrunity to see her.” I gave up on the ending goodnights as a good night was seeming to be an increasingly remote possibility.
“She’s a huge influence of mine . . .” she started into a speech which I don’t recall (and probably tuned out at the time) about how it was imperative that she go to see Bjork.
I pointed out that she had not known about the concert until I had told her about it. She argued further, hoping to wear me down rather than convince me, I think, since she was too threatening to be convicing.
“This is not my problem. Parhaps you can take a cab.” I was not going to give up.
“You can’t take a cab to the City from here, but You could fly!” she exclaimed, siezing upon a possible solution.
I considered it. Travelling seperately had never looked so attractive. I would get back much earlier, have time to do more packing, get to see the concert, etc. But how would I get my gear back? And moving expenses alone were going to hit my credit card pretty hard. And I was not going to give up. “Alas, it’s not in my budget. Perhaps you could fly”
“Well, it’s not in my budget either!” she yelled quite angrily. I think that around then she stomped out.
I lay in bed with wide open eyes and my heart racing from tremendous amounts of adrenaline. Her bitter rage plus dregs of stage fright anxiety made for a very powerful fight or flight responce. I began imagining the things that she was plotting to do to get revenge. “Fly!” my instincts ordered. But where could I go? The casinos would be open all night, but to be in there, I would have to be awake, and this entire conflict revolved around whether or not I was willing to stay awake all night. I still needed to get whatever sleep that I could if I was going to be prepared for the mvoers coming on Saturday. Tracking down Polly also seemed like a bad idea. She had her cell phone, but I doubted that she wanted to hear about squabbling in her rythm section. And due to her boy craziness and the late hour, I figured that I would probably not see her again until morning. Anyway, I was being unreasonable. Naiomi wouldn’t strike out in revenge. True, she had said she wanted to assualt someone for stopping our elevator, but . . . uh . . .. I was in the grips of creeping paranoia.
A while later she came back in. I feigned sleep, but knew extactly where she was at every moment. She started digging through a drawer. I looked up. “What are you up to?” I asked.
“I’m going to see about getting a flight,” she said holding her cell phone. She no longer looked murderous, but merely the kind of very annoyed that I had expected from trying to change our plans.
This was a wonderful idea! “Continental has a hub here. you can get up to 70% off last minute flights from them,” I told her. She brightened and returned to her normal state and thanked me genuinely and gratefully and left again to make calls.
And I lay in bed wide awake, still considering revenge schemes she might launch upon me. She came back in later and started packing up stuff. I pretended to be alseep. What if she was stealing all my stuff? My run-away paranoia promted. That would be ok, I reasoned and stayed still. she came back two or three more times, waking me one of them to ask where the rental van keys were. Still paranoid, way beyond reason as she had completely calmed down and was acting normally and anyway had never threatened me, I wondered if she might be planning on taking the rental van. That would also be ok. Finally, around 5:00 AM, she left a perfectly friendly note to Polly and I explained that she had all her stuff and wishing us good trips home.
5:00 AM, coincidentally, is about the time that people start waking up to take showers. The pipes started making loud pipe noises, which I could not identify. I had not yet slept. I wondered if one of the flute convention attendees was fighting insomnia by practicing long tones on a newly purchased bass flute. I wondered if Naiomi had somehow sabotaged the bathroom. I wondered if I was a big loser for getting in a giant argument defending my desire to sleep, only to have it result in my getting no sleep whatsoever.
Polly came back around 7:00 and started quizically looking around for Naiomi. I sat up and explained what had happened. “She’s fired.” Polly said. I said that Polly shouldn’t fire her on my account, sicne I was quitting anyway. Polly said, “As far as I’m concerned, she abandoned her band mates to have to deal with all the gear by themselves.”
I’ve never been so happy to drive alone through the boring, miserable desert. And I never have to see Naiomi again.


I’m not going to work, I’m going to reveiw the Other Minds Festival!
So I went to the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre at 1:00, to show up for the final wineglass rehersal. It was to be the only rehersal with the everyone together. I’d never met any of the choir members or soloists before. so I showed up at 1:00 and the wineglass players were sitting in the suditorium waiting while the stage hands set up the stage. There was actually complicated staging, so this was not a short wait. Also, whenever there were questions, someone needed to be able to answer them and Lentz, the composer, was in and out, mostly out. Nobody knew where he was.
So I had a long conversation about handbells. Apparently there’s a contingent of secular handbell groups looking for secular music. More such groups than you’d think. a few of the wineglass people were also handbell people and they said that they tended to play works by the same few composers over and voer again, just because they didn’t want to always play hymns. Opportunity is knocking! after i get everything else done and stop procrastinating, I need to find out about writing for handbells.
finally, after a long wait, we got on stage for a sound check and then a rehersal. We did not manage to play through the piece. I was lost most of the time. My stand partner, who is a professional singer who has sung opera and toured for years and certainly has read more music than I have, was also lost most of the time. Things were not coming together. It looked worse and worse.
One of the guys at my table was having trouble staying seated during the rehersal. He kept getting up and taking photos. then he’d go for a walk. It was just too long for him. It was too long for me too. And a complete trainwreck. When they turned us loose at a quarter to 6:00, i had not eaten since breakfast and felt doom hovering over the entire endeavor.
I went out into the lobby to tell the folks handling tickets that my dad wouldn’t be showing up until after my call, so could they tell him that I’d meet him at intermission.
then I started eating GORP. Linda bought food for the staff to snack on while working. I wasn’t working that day, but I sat in the supply closet and inhaled all the GORP, some sushi, some treck mix, a soda pop, a ton of cookies. No work, yet all the food. They told me not to feel guilty, so I didn’t.
Christi’s mom and her friend Joyce came and were in the lobby. I sat with them and said that the whole mini-opera was going to fall appart completely after the first three minutes. I felt better about it, though, from the food. Just smile and look confident and any errors will be placed at the feet of the composer, not the ensemble. So when it was time, I went back stage and waited around again for a long time and missed the composer’s talk.
I got in a long conversation with a floutist. she’s auditioning bass players to play rock and roll at the national flute convention. I got her card. I’m going to try out if the dates work. Then official people told us instructions about getting on and off stage. they cautioned us that the glasses were worth $200 each.
We got on stage and found that my fingers were dry and were not going to make sound no matetr what I did because they had gotten wrinkly and weird from rehersal. thinking quickly, I switched to my index finger. fortunately, this worked, since I opened the piece. (I’m not making this up…) So I started playing and then my solo was over and then other folks started playing their wineglasses too and then the guy who kept getting up during reheral knocked his wineglass over and broke it. wine sprayed acorss my table and we all jumped. I had been repeating as mantra to everyone, “smile and look confident and everyone will think it was on purpose.” so when he knocked over the wineglass we all looked startled for a moment and then smiled and tried to look confident. He later told me that if I hadn’t kept saying that over and over again before hand, he might have lost his cool. anyway, my dad said later that he thought it was onpurpose, since it was set up to look like a cafe and people always drop glassware at cafes.
the conductor loudly whispered measure numbers to us and we were able to stay mostly together. He had been making changed to the score (big huge changes) druing rehersal. christi was running the supertitles for the opera singers. she was following the score and projecting the lines as they came up. nobody told her the score changes, but she managed to hold it mostly together. The projectionist was impressed. apparently it takes alot of practice and training to do the supertitles at the opera. He was surprised that Christi could just pick it up and do it. Especially since she didn’t have the most recent version of the score.
Anyway, amazingly, we got through it without a trainwreck and stayed together a lot better than in rehersal, especially because of the whispering. I was amazed at how well it went. Not to say ot was perfect. Five more times, and I’d have it solid.
so afterwards i asked my dad what he thought and he said, “Actually, I liked it.” I’m glad. I don’t want him to feel like all those music lessons and that undergraduate composition degree was wasted.
In the second half was Jack Body’s Sarajevo for piano, which got a lot of people, especially, Christi, excited. Then they played Three Sentimental Songs for piano and percussion trio, which was a world premier. For that, he took three kids songs, like Daisy and set them for crazy marimba lines and celesta and fun toy-sounding percussion. the percussionists sang at one place. The last song, the audience was suppossed to sing along, but I didn’t know the song. I told my dad that he hadn’t sung enough to me as a child. He said that I complained to my mother when he tried to sing to me. Which, I did. I remember him howling the song Barney Google and me running to my mom to get him to stop. anyway, I noticed Evelyn Glennie in the audience, slapping enthusiastically. The percussion parts were fun to watch, but since she could sing along with the marimba weh she was playing it, maybe she has perfect pitch and can watch people play and know what the notes are? Her skills boggle my mind.
There was a very long pause, longer than even an intermission would be, while we waited for William Parker to set up. finally, after more than twenty minutes, he came out and played a short set. It was very low-key. There was excitement when the vocalist asked what the difference was between a soldier and a murderer. But it peaked there and didn’t ever creep above that. The audience wanted to get excited and the band tried to comply, but then, while trying to creep up in energy level, William Parker suddenly announced that he was done. It was sudden. There was polite applause. I later learned that one of the guys deliberately streched out the set-up time way beyond the allotted five minutes because he considered t part of the performance and OM was forced to cut him off to avoid thousands of dollars in overtime pay to the tech crew.
We went out to the lobby and the folks working there started dimming the lights up and down to get folks to leave. Very rushed. My dad said he had to go because it was an hour commute each way and it was late, so he took off. Then Christi went around making sure that everyone had a ride to the reception afterwards. Daniel lentz invited folks to self-hosted reception in honor of his birthday and Cafe Desire. So we gave Zeppie and Jack Body a lift to the reception. Body remarked that the Parker set never reached orgasmic intensity. Christi highly praised Sarajevo. We talked about other things that have since slipped my mind. He was extrodinarily nice and friendly, though.
There was cake at the reception. I talked to Dina, one of the wineglass players, about the New York subway. She loves it. I’m going to record her talking about it soon. I decided to buy a glass of dessert wine. Amy X Neuburg was standing at the bar also trying to get dessert wine. I accidentally tried to pay somebody else’s tab, so she asked if I was going to pay for her too. I said I would cuz all of her music was so cool. She asked some questions about wineglass playing, were we playing thw whole time? We chatted and then Lentz came by, so I gave him a CD of mine, Faux Pas. I told him it was a birthday present, but I was just kidding around. He took it seriously, though and asked me to sign it, so I did. At some point, he took off saying the party was moving to his house.
Around 1:00 or maybe 2:00, the waitstaff started encouraging us to leave. Jack wanted to go to the Lentz place and so did Amy X. I did too, but Christi wanted to go home, as did Amy’s husband. We offered to drop them both off at the Lentz place, but there were issues, for example, the bug did not have enough seatbelts.
“It’s ok,” Amy explained, “I never die in accidents.”
But then how was she going to get home? Jack’s hotel was just blocks from the party, so he said that she could dleep with him in his bed. Amy’s husband objected. Jack exclaimed, “I’m gay!!!” Anyway, none of them got a lift from us, since Amy’s husband decided they they should verify that there was actually a party before leaving her to sleep with gay Jack.
I reluctantly decided not to go, since I was going to be working at the EYH confrence in the morning. It was probably a good idea to skip, since I later heard that Jack asked Amy how she slept (apparemtly, she found a ride home afterall) and she said it had been terrible. They started tearing up the sidewalk only an hour after she went to bed, at 8:00 AM or something.
So I went home to sleep. This is my celebrity gossip, though. Maybe I should send it to the Chronicle gossip woman, Leah Garick?