Back in Town

Back from a vis­it to my par­ents in Bal­ti­more, and try­ing to get caught up on email and snail mail. The doc­u­ments need­ed for our immi­gra­tion to Cana­da are now start­ing to flow in. So far I’ve gotten:

  1. Birth Cer­tifi­cate
  2. Mar­riage Certificate
  3. Sealed Tran­script from Cam­bridge University

Now the remain­ing doc­u­ments include:

  1. Sealed Tran­script from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cincin­nati (for my under­grad degree). Have sent away for it, but noth­ing yet.
  2. Let­ters from the HR Depart­ments of my last 3 jobs attest­ing to the fact that I did in fact work there (on Com­pa­ny sta­tionery). I have to get mov­ing on this.
  3. A form from the Cam­bridge, Eng­land Police Depart­ment con­cern­ing my stay there as a stu­dent in 1983 (I don’t have a clue how to pro­ceed here).
  4. Pass­port-type pho­tos. That should be easy.
  5. Results of a com­plete Phys­i­cal. Have to get this sched­uled soon.

That’s most of it, I think. That’s not includ­ing the port­fo­lio of my work that I’m try­ing to put togeth­er. I’ll be back in Van­cou­ver for a Multimedia/Internet con­ven­tion at the end of the month, and hope­ful­ly should be able to deliv­er some of these doc­u­ments as well as my oth­er infor­ma­tion to the offices of our lawyer there at that time.
Slow­ly but surely.

writ­ten while lis­ten­ing to: Tubin — Sonati­na in D minor — ii. Andante sostenu­to, qua­si largo from the album “Tubin — The Com­plete Piano Music” by Var­do Rummessen

The Gates

Yes­ter­day, Pam and I took the Fung Wah bus from Boston to New York to take a look at The Gates, Chris­to and Jeanne-Claude’s instal­la­tion of 7,500 fab­ric-fes­tooned arch­ways along the path­ways of Cen­tral Park. We had a great time, even with the 4 hour ride there and back (although the price was right; $15 each way!). Have a look at all the pho­tos we took at Flickr.

I was struck by how such a sim­ple thing — fab­ric and steel arch­ways — changes the expe­ri­ence of the place. It was no longer a sim­ple walk in the park. Sud­den­ly, it’s as if the whole area were turned into an ant farm, with tun­nels going each and every direc­tion, con­verg­ing, and encir­cling. Add to that, the col­or, which was like an orange shout on the gray Feb­ru­ary land­scape. I wish that I could have sped through them on some sort of scoot­er or bicy­cle, pass­ing through the path­ways at top speed, expe­ri­enc­ing the ever-arriv­ing, ever-leav­ing at 30 or 40 mph. Still, even at a strol­l’s pace, I enjoyed the trip and the instal­la­tion. A pity that it will only be around for such a short time. But then, after it’s gone, the ghost of those gates will prob­a­bly linger a lit­tle while, like the smell of saf­fron after the meal is over and the plates are put into the dishwasher.

writ­ten while lis­ten­ing to Brahms — String Quin­tet No. 2 in G Major, Op.111 (arranged for piano, 4 hands)- i. Alle­gro ma non trop­po from the album “Brahms — Four Hand Piano Music, Vol. 12” by Matthies, Kohn, Piano


We had to change our plans for today. We were plan­ning on going to New York City for the day, leav­ing ear­ly in the morn­ing on the Fung Wah or Lucky Star Bus to Chi­na­town. Well, we woke up 40 min­utes too late because Pam had turned on the alarm, and I had unknow­ing­ly turned it right back off again (*tap-tap on, tap-tap off*). So our expe­ri­ence of ‘The Gates’ will have to wait for a few days. Good thing we had­n’t bought tick­ets already.
Took the oppor­tu­ni­ty to get some stuff done, since I was here a day I thought I would­n’t be: Got adver­tise­ments for the piano post­ed at the Longy School of Music and the New Eng­land Con­ser­va­to­ry (actu­al­ly, at NEC you can only leave the fly­er there, and hope­ful­ly some­one will post them in a good place) I take some pride in that it was a beau­ti­ful­ly designed and pro­duced poster, com­plete with pho­tos and schemat­ic in full col­or. (Here’s a PDF).

Also sent a check (or rather, a cheque) to Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty to pay for a sealed tran­script. Anoth­er require­ment of our immi­gra­tion forms are sealed tran­scripts of every col­lege I got a degree from. Which reminds me that I have to do the same with the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cincin­nati. Orig­i­nal­ly the Cam­bridge per­son said I had to send a cheque in the amount of 7 pounds. Then I found out from my bank that there is a min­i­mum $25 charge for cut­ting a check (or cheque) in any for­eign cur­ren­cy. So that’s right; the rough­ly $13 in British pounds would have also incurred a charge rough­ly twice that amount! For­tu­nate­ly I found out that Cam­bridge U. will accept US cur­ren­cy for these records (and I sent $15 rather than 13), but it’s becom­ing clear that we have to start doing some­thing about head­ing off these for­eign cur­ren­cy charges — which will hold true for cheques made out in Cana­di­an dol­lars just as well as British pounds.

It was good to walk around Boston today. The sun was out and it was­n’t too cold for much of the day. It also gave me a chance to stretch my legs a lit­tle. In ret­ro­spect, if I had tak­en the bus to New York and walked around Cen­tral Park for 2–3 hours, I prob­a­bly would be dead tired now; I’m real­ly out of shape!

writ­ten while lis­ten­ing to Hin­demith — Sonata for Harp — i. Mäßig schnell from the album “Harp Music by var­i­ous com­posers ” by Andrea Steck­er­meier Thiele, Harp

Why I Don’t Celebrate Valentines Day

OK. I want to get this out of the way before it hits tomor­row, but I strong­ly dis­like Valen­tines Day. Note that I don’t say ‘hate’. Hate implies some unspo­ken issue that forces strong emo­tions to the sur­face. When a teen boy or girl says they ‘hate’ some­one or some­thing, it’s usu­al­ly because they have a strong attrac­tion to it (either neg­a­tive or pos­i­tive). That’s not the case here, as I don’t have vio­lent reac­tions to Feb­ru­ary 14th, but rather am irri­tat­ed by what peo­ple have made of it, and I pre­fer to not par­tic­i­pate, thank you.

There are some obvi­ous rea­sons for my antipa­thy, such as the fact that the hol­i­day is more or less pro­mot­ed entire­ly by the Greet­ing Card and oth­er relat­ed indus­tries (as well as Con­fec­tion­ers, Hotels, Restau­rants, and Liquor Stores). I also don’t like the idea of ever fol­low­ing the herd, just on prin­ci­ple. But my biggest rea­son for dis­lik­ing Valen­tine’s Day is that it’s an oxy­moron. To me, the whole point of roman­tic love is is that it’s spon­ta­neous. You don’t pick a date to be roman­tic; it just hap­pens. An angle of the light, an oppor­tu­ni­ty to be naughty, a cel­e­bra­tion that turns into some­thing else, a good-bye that turns pas­sion­ate; It’s not a planned event on the cal­en­dar: On Feb­ru­ary 14th plan to be roman­tic. That’s ridicu­lous. You might as well say On March 2nd get curi­ous or On August 8th become bored.I also dis­like the pres­sure by peers (or the news­pa­pers or tele­vi­sion) to be roman­tic: If you aren’t on act­ing roman­tic on Valen­tine’s Day, you are either to be pitied or lec­tured to. If you don’t go through the motions, they say, you’re only miss­ing out on the fun. Your part­ner may say that he or she under­stands, but they’re real­ly secret­ly dis­ap­point­ed in you, year in and year out. Or worst of all, you have deep emo­tion­al fail­ings in the romance depart­ment if you can’t turn it on and off like a Via­gra-pow­ered light switch.
I may be exag­ger­at­ing the whole pres­sure and expec­ta­tions thing a bit; most of my friends and fam­i­ly (includ­ing my sig­nif­i­cant oth­er) accept my Valen­tine Scrooge role as a charm­ing foible, like those peo­ple who get upset about Thanks­giv­ing or rail about the com­mer­cial excess­es of our mod­ern-day Christ­mas cel­e­bra­tions (which do indeed dwarf the pro­mo­tion of flow­ers and choco­lates that the world of com­merce has imposed on this hol­i­day). Come to think of it, Jews prob­a­bly should­n’t have to feel com­pelled to cel­e­brate this hol­i­day any­way; it’s a Saint, after all, who’s name is being invoked.

Who knows, maybe some Valen­tine’s Eve I’ll be vis­it­ed by the three Dick­en­sian ghosts of Valen­tine’s Day Past, Present and Future, and we’ll all have a great orgy (com­plete with lace, choco­late and show­ers of rose petals) that con­vinces me of the error of my ways and makes me vow to pur­sue the bless­ings of Valen­tine’s Day the whole year round.
I’m not bet­ting on it.

A more up-to-date Me

Spent the day at home today, most­ly just relax­ing and answer­ing email. One thing I did get done was have Pam take a new por­trait of me. Why do this? Because it’s always handy to have a cleaned up, scal­able head-shot for online ser­vices, avatar icons, login pic­tures, etc. My old pic­ture was just too out of date. Here’s the new one:

Not bad, I hope. Well, at least it’s more hon­est about how old I look than the one I’ve had up every­where. Have to work on updat­ing my Com­cast web page, which I’m hop­ing I can inte­grate with this blog.

“So lit­tle to do, so much time… Strike that, reverse it.” — Willy Wonka