Sunday, April 26, 2009

Carmina Burana

The Vallejo Symphony scored again last night with a blockbuster production of one of my favorite symphonic choral works - Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. This incredible work came into my life during my first year of college. It totally blew me away at that time, and it totally blew me away last night. The work is scored for an enormous orchestra with percussion instruments up the wazoo, and features a large chorus and three soloists. Wildly syncopated rhythms, almost frantic tempos, and near-manic percussion passages, interspersed with soft, gently lyrical sections, make this work one of the most sensual and visceral in the entire concert repertoire. The lyrics... which originate in a manuscript of 12th century poetry, and written primarily in medieval Latin, with a smattering of medieval French and German, present a distinct challenge to an amateur chorus, but the combined members of the Solano and Vallejo Choral Societies, the Solano College Chamber Choir, and the St. Vincent's Children's choir covered themselves with glory, executing the strange, tongue-tying text with obviously well-trained dexterity. I'm sure some of the audience got more than they'd bargained for as Maestro Ramadannof explained the text of the poems; which were written by an itinerate, but well-educated, band of former clerics and rowdy students whose minds were clearly occupied by more worldly and carnal pleasures than the church had to offer. Many of the songs concern drinking, love, gambling, and sexual exploits, expressed in some pretty explicit language, all tied together by an unsentimental acceptance of the vagaries of fortune and the inevitability of man’s submission to his fate. Heady stuff! Overall, it was a stupendous experience - the only unfortunate aspect being that a shitload of work was involved in its preparation for only one performance. It deserved to be heard by more than just one audience.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Extraction excitement

One of my teeth had been looking like this for quite a while - wasn't hurting, so, with my usual procrastinating self, I chose to ignore it. However, I still have another $999K of dental work to be done, and my dentist said he couldn't continue until the holey tooth came out. Not that I'm dying to go into further debt to the good DDS, but he made the right side of my mouth look so good after the first $999K job last year, I decided I might as well give in, so out came the bad guy. I now have a bathtub -sided hole in the upper left quadrant of my mouth, and a shitload of pain to go with it. I am, however, beginning to feel less and less pain as the day wears on...when I got home from the oral surgeon's factory this afternoon, I slept until the anesthetic wore off, then had to make an executive decision between the Rx for pain meds and brandy. I'm happy to say the brandy won. I'll probably exchange tooth pain for a hangover tomorrow, but at this point I don't give a shit.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Love Your Mother - Earth Day 2009

April 22 marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. Those were the "bad old days". At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans; industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press; air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity, and environment was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news. Earth Day 1970 turned all that around. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values. Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Democrats and Republicans, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts.
Much has been achieved since that first Earth Day, but so much more needs to be done. Go here to find out what you can do... whether it's a lot or a little, every effort helps.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Internet sources say it's 94 right here, right now. UGH! It's bloody awful! Those same sources say it's going to be 61 by Friday. How in hell does that work???

Well, it's better than being in Michigan with Michele, where it's currently 36 with snow flurries. Not my cup of bourbon either.

Worse yet, I could be with Rekha in Kanpur, India, where they're headed for 105 later today (probably coupled with 105% humidity, to sweeten the deal.)

I guess I'll just shut up.

Bitch, bitch, bitch... never happy... that's me, as my January 29 post will attest. Did I REALLY want it to be April? What was I thinking...????

Friday, April 3, 2009

One down, four to go...

Here's Virginia's round robin block with my border added. Thank goodness for cheater cloth, and for that small "emergency" stash of fabrics I'll never use - they were a perfect match! I'll exchange Virginia's piece for someone else's at tomorrow's meeting and start all over again. Not stressing so far...