Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Deus wrecks machina

I'm not exactly sure when or why I became the Goddess of Random Equipment Malfunctions.  I think it was largely a matter of "It's a dirty job, but Someone has to do it."

Or not do it, as the case may be.  If I have any divine power at all, that power consists largely of finding things to be in charge of that don't actually need My help.

Exhibit #1:  The Vernal Equinox, but only in the Northern hemisphere.  Essentially all I have to do is a ceremonial "Ta-Dah!" whenever a northbound sun crosses the equator, and then get back to playing Minesweeper or whatever the heck I was doing the moment before the Equinox.

Exhibit #2:  Chocolate.  Chocolate happens, whether or not I'm there to buy it, eat it, cook with it, or wax poetic about it.

Exhibit #3:  Punctuation.  This is mostly under control, thanks to wonderful books like The Elements of Style (Strunk & White) and Eats, Shoots and Leaves (Lynne Truss).

Now, about those random equipment malfunctions...

It's appropriate that I drive a car with an intermittent trunk latch release lever and a digital dashboard clock that only shows the time near the end of a really, really long drive.

Speaking of clocks, the digital clock on My microwave is apparently conducting some sort of relativity experiment in cahoots with the cable TV box and the stove, because it consistently sneaks a minute or two ahead of them no matter how often I adjust it.

My tenure on Earth is noteworthy for devices spontaneously breaking or un-breaking for no apparent reason, and sometimes for no reason at all.  I've had elevators stop and wait for Me when I called out "Wait wait wait!"  Street lights blink out just as I'm driving underneath them.  I've sweet-talked a photocopier into giving Me copies when everyone else thought it was broken.  I once walked into a computer lab, and the computer I had come to fix started working the moment I appeared in the doorway.  Coffee machines jam.  Printers catch fire.  Ovens regard the control panel as some sort of choose-your-own-adventure book, baking the cake at 214°F instead of 325°F.

I also get a feeling of impending doom every time I get a new day job, pay raise or other financial windfall.  That's the cue for a whole wave of Random Equipment Malfunctions as moribund machinery and ancient appliances seize the opportunity to demand divine intervention.  January 1989 was particularly bad, costing Me a water heater element and a pump for the washing machine.  I managed to fix the toaster for free, by giving it a good cleaning and bending a lever back into place, but it was a close one.

No, I have no clue how this works.  I'm not omniscient.  I do, however, know exactly where My toolbox is at all times.


Friday, December 4, 2015

You like... what?

(Springy G comes limping in with two chocolate-covered graham cookies and a hot buttered rum toddy, and slouches into Her desk chair)

I have a confession to make.

I love baroque music.  Bach, Scarlatti, Lully, Vivaldi.  Love, love, love it.

I can't stand Handel's Messiah.

Tonight, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra played the aforementioned Handel oratorio. I'm not a stranger to the piece -- In fact, back in 1973 in My last year of high school I sang in the choir, and we performed the Hallelujah Chorus at the Christmas concert.

I had no idea the whole thing was so long.

And dreary.

And monotonous.

Oh, and did I mention 'long, dreary and monotonous'?

Essentially what you've got there is a string section condemned to play a 17th century ringtone loop, soloists with bafflingly complex vocal acrobatics, and a very well-meaning chorus singing lyrics that, while purportedly in English, are mostly incomprehensible.

In fact, in Part the Second, in a choral section entitled "All we like sheep have gone astray," My brain decided it had had quite enough of that and started rewriting the lyrics of the oratorio.

From that point onward, all I could hear was an 80-member SATB chorus cheerfully proclaiming "We like sheep!"

That's when I started to laugh, stifling the giggles in the sleeve of the long overcoat I had draped around My shoulders (+3 protection against Concert Hall air conditioning system).

After that brief candle in the darkness, it was back to the baroque ringtones for a while.

Then came the Hallelujah Chorus, and to My utter amazement, virtually everyone in the hall stood up, blocking My view of the stage.  Apparently standing for the Chorus is a thing, but I was not impressed.  I also stayed seated.  (It also didn't help that My right leg adductors had gone into spasm, so for the remainder of Messiah I was alternately massaging a sore lump in the leg muscles and trying to avoid kicking the seats in the next row.)

I finally did stand for the ovation at the end of the show,  as there was some very fine musicianship this evening.  The bass soloist, the trumpet soloist, the choir and the tympanist were particularly good.  As soon as the applause died down, though, I was out of there.

Next time Messiah comes up in My season ticket package I'm swapping it for something else.  Anything else. Literally anything else -- Tuba klezmer, impressionist punk, Finnish death metal played by a chamber music ensemble.

Hallelujah indeed.