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:
- Birth Certificate
- Marriage Certificate
- Sealed Transcript from Cambridge University
Now the remaining documents include:
- Sealed Transcript from the University of Cincinnati (for my undergrad degree). Have sent away for it, but nothing yet.
- 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.
- 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).
- Passport-type photos. That should be easy.
- 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
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. MÃ¤ÃŸig schnell from the album “Harp Music by various composers ” by Andrea Steckermeier Thiele, Harp
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.
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