skating by

Another day of no ballet class. I will again have some opportunity to rest, but I do have to give a piano lesson and do some work for my program at church.

I am seriously thinking of attacking two more big Bach (at least to me) pieces: the fugue from Fantasia and Fugue in G minor BWV 542 and another trio movement (BWV 526 in C minor mov I). I rehearsed these yesterday.  I also was delighted to notice that another organist besides Rhonda and myself (Elizabeth Claar) is playing  some William Bolcom on an upcoming recital. In fact, she is playing the on based on “What a Friend we have in Jesus” which is the one I have spent some time beginning to learn.

Today I have to submit music for a week from Sunday for the church bulletin. I have been trying to discipline myself this fall to submit music on Tuesday for the service for the Sunday following the upcoming one. This keeps me (and the secretary) a bit ahead. Also it helps me map out my organ work more coherently and consistently.

Institute of Incoherent Cinematography

I also have to choose at least one anthem to begin working on with my Kids’ Choir tomorrow evening.

I have been reading poetry by the people I met recently every morning (Jon Woodward and Oni Buchanan). This morning I bogged down a bit with Woodward because I reached “Uncanny Valley,” the long poem by Woodward that he and his wife commissioned composer John Gibson to set which I heard them perform the other night.

I asked Woodward who made up the “instructions” in the poem: “Lines notated like the previous two/Are repeated (as a pair)/As many times as the reader desires from zero to 255…”. I had just purchased the book and had overlooked them with a cursory glance. He said that he did and I verified by checking it in my new copy of his book. Sure enough.

However, in the program at the  concert there were 16 titles which were not in the poem in the book. If I had my wits about (a rare occasion admittedly), I would have asked who wrote the titles. I read the entire poem this morning and noticed that it is exactly 16 pages long. Each page has 12-15 lines on it. I have begun matching the titles in the program to the pages of the poem in the book.

I suspect (wonder if) Gibson the composer added titles. At the very least Gibson and Woodward must have talked about adding titles.

More on this (probably) when I finish my analysis. This morning I’m thinking seriously of checking out the archival Hope College recording made that evening so I can learn a bit more about how the piece works.

I have returned to reading The Pale King by David Foster Wallace. I have been reading in it on and off since the summer. I thoroughly enjoy it, but it is sitting on my netbook in an ebook and I sometimes forget I’m reading it. This happens because I usually am reading four or more books at any given time.

This review of a bio of David Foster Wallace was in the Sunday NYT Book Review last weekend:

D. T. Max’s Biography of David Foster Wallace –

The reviewer suggests that The Pale King is perhaps his best work. He also debunks Wallace’s obtuseness: “Wallace’s writing is not as difficult to read as it is famed to be, nor as pandering to entertain as he worried it was. Wallace writes in grammatically correct sentences; he tells jokes; and his work, if you are wired a certain way, will affect you emotionally.”

I relate to this take on Wallace. I confess that I tend to read footnotes in every book I read so his footnotes which annoy some readers are part of the fun for me.

Wallace himself has this to say about concentrating and reading:

“[S]itting still and concentrating on just one task for an extended length of time is, as a practical matter, impossible. If you said, ‘I spent the whole night in the library, working on some client’s sociology paper,’ you really meant that you’d spent between two and three hours working on it and the rest of the time fidgeting and sharpening and organizing pencils and doing skin-checks in the men’s room mirror and wandering around the stacks opening volumes at random

I’d always felt frustrated and embarrassed about how much reading and writing time I actually wasted, about how much I sort of blinked in and out while trying to absorb or convey large amounts of information. To put it bluntly, I had felt ashamed about how easily I got bored when trying to concentrate.

It took … entering a highly selective college to understand that the problem with stillness and concentration was more or less universal and not some unique shortcoming that was going to prevent me from ever really rising above my preterite [jupe note: preterite means Expressing a past action or state] background and achieving something. Seeing the enormous lengths that those elite, well-educated undergrads from all over the nation went to to avoid, delay, or mitigate concentrated work was an eye-opening experience for me. In fact, the school’s social structure was set up to prize and esteem students who could pass their classes and assemble a good transcript without ever working hard.

People who skated by, doing the absolute minimum required for institutional/parental approval, were regarded as cool, while people who actually applied themselves to their assignments and to the work of their own education and achievement were relegated to the status of ‘grinds’ or ‘tools,’ the lowest caste in the college’s merciless social hierarchy.”

I love this man.


How to Die –

Some good ideas used in the U.K. Impossible there to discuss how allow people to not be treated when they are dying is an economic factor, impossible here in the USA not to.


‘Skagboys,’ Irvine Welsh’s ‘Trainspotting’ Prequel –

I made it through Trainspotting (both the book and the movie). Brutal stuff. Bogged down in Filth by Welsh. This one sounds brutal as well.


‘500 Days,’ by Kurt Eichenwald –

review of Eichenwald book which documents panic by Bush and Cheney after 9/11.


Philip Glass and Beck Discuss Collaborating on ‘Rework’ –

Glass’s influence on pop music? What about pop/rock’s influence on him and all minimalists?


The Pain of Reading –

Heart rending little vignette about living on the outside in Puerto Rico.


Intelligence and the Stereotype Threat –

If people think you are weird or something it increases the chances you will behave that way. Ahem. I think I have a bit of that. No, honestly, I do.


Court Cases That Drag On Forever –

Writer actually mentions the Bleak House case by Dickens. See. People do read.


The Cancer Lobby –

Did you know formaldehyde is a carcinogenic substance? Not likely to if chemical company lobbies continue to slow down public welfare legistlation.


Emory Confronts Legacy of Bias Against Jews in Dental School –

What? Antisemitism in the US around WWII?  Go on!


Bo Xilai’s Former Wife Reveals Paranoid Side of a Once-Powerful Chinese Family –

I think this continuing story is like an opera plot.


Israeli Jets Down Drone –

And they don’t know where it came from. Right.


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