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