Sunday, July 26, 2015

Squee!

(Springy G reaches for jeweller's screwdriver and makes micro-adjustment to a very, very tiny screw)

*honk* *rumble* *sing*

Ah, that's better.

In the spirit of My philosophy "It never hurts to ask for what you want," it gives Me great pleasure to introduce Ada, the newest member of My family of musical instruments.  Ada is an alto clarinet (a Buescher), acquired second-hand this afternoon and already played for a couple of hours.

I've wanted an alto clarinet for... Well, for as long as I've known that there was such a thing as an alto clarinet.  I began to get suspicious that this wasn't just a passing fancy when I went "Squee!" every time I encountered one in the wild (first in a clarinet choir at International Band Camp a couple of years ago, and more recently in a community band here in town).

The search is over.  Now the hard part:  Learning how to play it.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Think Like a God Day 2015: One or Many?

Welcome to the 2015 edition of Think Like a God Day! This is an ongoing thought experiment designed to get You into a divine frame of mind and ponder the big picture from 10 gazillion feet up.

This year's question is a simple one: Would You prefer to be a monotheistic deity, or is a pantheon more Your style?

In defence of monotheism: No one to tell You what to do.

The downside: No one to snuggle up with on the couch during a cold Fimbulwinter night.

In defence of polytheism: Brainstorming with Your peers. Double- and triple-teaming Your enemies, mortal and immortal alike. Epic parties.

The downside: Not liking what Your peers have come up with. Being double- and triple-teamed by the other gods. And yes, epic parties.

So, what say You? Is it more appealing to be the only show in town, or are You willing to spread the worship and adulation around a little bit for a few perks (and epic parties)?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Gotta love the classics

I seem to have inadvertently written a children's book today, based loosely on an old Sumerian myth, Inanna's Descent to the Underworld.  In order to get through the seven gates to reach the throne of Her sister Ereshkigal, Inanna has to remove a piece of clothing or jewellery at each gate.

With that in mind, it gives Me great pleasure to introduce:

 Inanna and the Very, Very, Very Rainy Day


In this sad tale, Inanna has to walk from the bus stop through a torrent of rain and hail, while thunder mutters in the treetops and distant lightning illuminates the clouds.  Upon arriving home, She removes seven pieces of clothing and jewellery, liberally applies a blow dryer to Her drenched hair, dons much dryer vestments and sits down for a nice cup of tea.

The. End.

(Next up:  The Twelve Subcontractors of Hercules, wherein Zeus's kid bites off more than he can chew when he offers to build Athena a new sewing room.)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Winnipeg on $75 a night

Or "Springy G's Amazing 4-Hour Staycation."

It's the end of the symphony season, at least as far as My envelope full of season tickets is concerned, so I decided to give Myself a treat.  I left the car at home and took the bus to the Concert Hall --

-- Yes, I said "bus."  I know that doesn't sound like much of a treat, but work with Me on this.  I had Ulterior Motives, namely to attend the symphony this evening and enjoy a glass of champagne, and drinking and driving are Something This Goddess Simply Does Not Do.

After disembarking from one of Transit Tom's fine conveyances I stopped in at one of My usual Old Market Square haunts and had some pre-concert noms, then toddled over to the show.  Enjoyed Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii’s performance of Beethoven's Emperor Concerto.  Had a glass of sparkling white wine.  Discovered that I rather like Shostakovich's 5th Symphony.  Grabbed a cab home.

Tallying up the cost of the concert ticket, a bus ticket, a cab ride, snackies, wine and gratuities, My grand night on the town cost $74.65 all-inclusive.  Much better than driving hundreds of miles, eating at roadside chip stands, and sleeping attempting to sleep on a narrow cot in a dorm where people are coming and going at all hours and there's always someone chatting a couple of cubicles away.

Why yes, I am still miffed about that trip to band camp.  *mutter mutter grumble snark*

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Meme Factory

In order to accept, facilitate and preserve future success, I think that it's important to be able to clearly visualize what we want.

More important still:  Once we have that vision, we have to support it with thoughts and actions.

I didn't just wake up one morning with the ability to play musical instruments.  First I had to know about music, and only when I realized how much I loved it did I start paying attention to the musicians I saw on TV.  Then, and only then, I was able to say "I want to do that."

And that's when the long slog towards musicianship started.  First came an attempt to play a steel-string acoustic guitar, at age 7 (hands too small, and those steel strings hurt).  A year later, piano lessons.  Returned to guitar at age 13 and finally started to get it.  2-week summer course in flute.  Songwriting.  A Wall of Many Keyboards.  Choirs.  Violin lessons. Taiko drums.  Finally, about 11 years ago at age 46, I picked up a second-hand clarinet in a music store and found a teacher and just kept going.  I took exams.  I joined bands.  I started to get it.

I didn't just wake up this morning with the ability to play the clarinet.  I woke up on literally thousands of mornings with the intention and vision of becoming a competent player, one song, one note, one lesson, one rehearsal, one gig at a time.

Whatever we seek to become, we earn it in instalments -- Tiny, often imperceptible increments of action and vision.


Friday, April 10, 2015

Evil Geniuses Club


This portrait of Me and Frey Kittehson and Clara III is from a photo shoot done by Red last Sunday.

Ernst Blofeld, eat your heart out.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

That's not what I meant by 'spring'!

Last week it was shaping up to be a truly awesome Vernal Equinox (and, for our readers in the Southern Hemisphere, Autumnal Equinox).  After a couple of days of increased solar activity and some awesome auroras, I learned that some fortunate folks in Europe and northwest Atlantic would be seeing in the seasons with a total solar eclipse.

Little did I know that the universe had Other Plans.

I started to suspect something was up on the night of Wednesday the 18th, when the F/C key on the left side of the lower joint of My clarinet Clara III went dead.

A spring had come unsprung.

Quite obviously the universe has a sense of humour, although it isn't the kind of humour one appreciates when trying to play anything with a clarion-register E♭, as there's inevitably a left-sided C that goes along with it.  I took Clara III home that night, studied her with furrowed brow for a while, read the relevant pages in My clarinet manual, tinkered a bit with a small screwdriver (hiding the minuscule screws and pins in a suitably deep container to keep them away from the cats), and finally sighed heavily, put everything back together, and went looking for Clara II so that I would have an instrument for Thursday rehearsal.

I celebrated the equinox with a hot rum toddy, oohing and aahing at the eclipse pictures on the Internet, and then called it quits for the night.  Saturday morning I got up early -- That is, before noon -- and took Clara III in to have her repaired.  Fortunately nothing was actually broken, and I was out of there in half an hour.

And then, just as I was getting comfortable in the new season, it snowed again.

Happy spring to one and all!  I'm sure we'll get it right eventually.