The Russians!

We hand our fall concert band concert this past Sunday– and it went really really well. Like, it surpassed my expectations and parts of it made me think “damn, now that sounded almost professional!”

As you probably gleaned from the title, it was an entire concert of Russian composers: Tchaikovsky, Rimsey-Korsakov, Shostakovich, Rachmaninov, Mussorgsky, etc. Pieces featured were Festive Overture, dance of the Tumblers, Russian Sailor Dance, Night on Bald Mountain, Folk Dances, Waltz no. 2 and others.

Festive Overture had the potential to be a real mess (especially given the tempo the conductor wanted to take), but it held together nicely and sounded good.

As a whole, I was quite happy with how it turned out. But I’m even more happy that I get a break now until the beginning of next year. I need it with the chorus holiday concerts coming up.

Oh, and here’s a pre-concert selfie I took:

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I clean up decently, I guess.

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Joy!

It’s not just the name of the TCGMC Christmas CD, but it’s also part of the season in general, the name of our holiday concert, AND my favorite pens.

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Have I mentioned yet how much I love this pen?

It’s called “InkJoy” and you know something? It really is a joy! It’s well-balanced, comfy to hold and it writes so damn smoothly. And it’s kinda pretty, for a “cheapo” pen.

And I’m not alone in my opinion. This is the most highly sought after pen in my company. The stock disappears almost as soon as it hits our supply cabinet. And these pens “grow legs” very quickly if left unattended.

I took the black version on an audit to one of our other facilities– I had the pen less than a day before it vanished.

If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up. They are so choice.

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It’s beginning to look a lot like fuck this

Oh the weather outside is frightful. Barely in the teens it is, with wind chill going toward zero. These are late December/early January temps, folks.

And I’m having none of these shenanigans.

We also have a considerable amount of snow and ice on the ground already, and with little hopes to melt it. Yet.

You would think that after taking Thursday/Friday off last week I’d be in a better mood, but alas. Five minutes at work today destroyed any semblance of calm. It is now painfully clear that I can’t take time off work because nothing gets achieved in my absence and I end up with an exponentially growing list of “must do’s”.

Le sigh.

Things in “extracurricular life” are spiraling out of control too. Because the snow cancelled rehearsal last week, we have an extra long one tonight for concert band. And. Concert this coming weekend.

Chorus is taking up a LOT of time, with recording sessions, special rehearsals, and sectional rehearsals. Plus then there’s “OutLoud”.

The OutLoud rehearsal turned into a bitchfest last night and the new director is frustrated and we had no accompanist and people were sick, etc. what a clusterfuck.

I “may” start to regret auditioning for it, if we can’t get it together.

Yeah- I’m feeling all bitchy today. And I fucking hate the holidays, because this shit always happens. Grrrr.

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Work

Work is really being, well, work recently, and it’s getting me down.

After my promotion last year, things have just been spiraling more and more out of control. My boss keeps dumping off more things that should be his responsibility, and I’m left to manage.

As this year draws to a close, the work just keeps piling on. I have to finish addressing and closing out the audit non-conformities found at out other plant (mainly because the people there are proving incompetent). I am hosting/coordinating our management team review and trying to fix years of lackadaisical attitudes from upper management.

All while prepping for the new round of audits coming right after the first of the year. And addressing customer issues. And improving internal quality. And heading up two improvement teams. And being on an international materials committee.

And managing a staff of five to keep them on their targets while helping to support our manufacturing team.

All of this has left me so busy, it has not left me any time for “personal business continuing education”. What this boils down to is that I’m going to have to let one of my professional certifications lapse this year (certified quality engineer). I just don’t have time to take classes or attend lectures to get enough CEU’s to keep it.

After the hard work it took to achieve it, I’m finally just going to have to let it go. It was mostly just résumé fodder anyway. And I have “Quality Manager” on my res now so…..

It still sucks.

And being a boss sucks. Hell, being an adult sucks.

Fuck.

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6 to 10 Inches?!??

And it ain’t even mah birthday!

Lord I wish this was a sex post, but it’s more a “fucking” post. As in we gonna get fucked.

And it has begun.

Winter 2014 has started in earnest today, with a lovely winter storm socking the upper Midwest. And yeah, the Twin Cities are right in the path.

It seems far too early for a snowstorm– I mean, it’s only November 10th! The trees still have leaves, fer cripes sake!

Naturally, because this is the first snow of the year and it’s fairly large, the hype has been— hyper. Snowmageddon, snowpocalypse, snownami, snowscape… Whatever. I decided to call it “Snowquake 2014″ as that’s about the only one that hasn’t been used yet.

The prediction is for 6-10 inches. We already have over an inch, and it’s windy and damp outside. And the temps are at 29 and falling.

And on Friday they are predicting a polar vortex low of -3. Yeah, that’s a January temperature, not a November temperature.

This sucks. And foreshadows a long, miserable winter.

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Elections. Meh.

I’m sure that everyone out there is feeling just as meh about the election results as I am today. Unless you are a republican who wants to impeach Obama, that is.

It was pretty much a given that the Republicans were going to gain some ground during this election cycle. I guess I’m just mystified as to why.

According to all the fear mongering and jingoism, the country is going in the wrong direction. and it’s all Obama’s fault! His policies are bad for Murika, and we need fixin’!

Dow over 17K. Millions of jobs created. Unemployment down to Pre-Bush levels. Automotive industry saved. Housing market rebound. GDP up. Deficit cut by 1 Trillion dollars. Osama bin Laden killed. Troop withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan. Access to healthcare for more citizens. And more!

All of this happened during the Obama presidency and is basically the exact damn opposite direction of the way things were headed during The Bush years. And yet the American public say it’s the “wrong” direction and voted accordingly.

So. What exactly is wrong here? Where is the direct negative impact? I’ve asked several republicans today to explain to me how they are worse off now than they were during the Bush presidency. Not one has answered me. Yet.

It’s all just so frustrating. Especially since I participated in the democratic process by voting and yet feel completely impotent.

Meh.

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Two-Sentence Horror Stories

I kind of like those really abbreviated teaser horror stories that are floating about the internet. They’re like one or two sentences max, yet creepy.

I came up with this one today:

“Hiring a clown was a great idea; he’s keeping the children so quiet,” John’s wife said.

“What clown?” He replied.

Or how about some of these:

When Susan got home from work, she was surprised to find her husband sitting in the living room waiting for her… especially since her husband died 20 years ago.

She asked why I was breathing so heavily. I wasn’t.

I begin tucking him into bed and he tells me, “Daddy, check for monsters under my bed.” I look underneath for his amusement and see another him, under the bed, staring back at me quivering and whispering, “Daddy, there’s somebody on my bed.”

It’s the middle of the night and someone keeps prank calling you– so you *69 them. That’s when you hear a muffled cellphone vibration coming from inside your bedroom closet.

Ok- and now it’s your turn. You have any good two sentence horror stories for me? Put them in the comments.

Oh, and happy hallowe’en.

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Voicing

This past Tuesday for the gay chorus, we did something called “voicing” during the Bass sectional.

What this entailed was having all of the lower basses line up side-by-side, and sing “You Are My Sunshine” in adjacent groups of three.

The first three would sing while the chorus director (Ben) listened. We only had to sing the first line or so, thank Buddha. After each rendition, Ben would either leave the three untouched or he would ask a couple of the guys to trade places. Then they would sing again.

This process continued down the line of basses– sometimes with an entirely new group of three, or a blended version of two from one group and then the next guy in line. He would listen, and shuffle guys as he saw fit, then listen again.

Occasionally a guy would me moved to an entirely new area of the line and tried there.

The reason I bring this up is that you would be absolutely astounded how much difference can be made just by making two guys (who are standing right next to each other) swap positions.

In some of the trios I was singing in, the sound reaching my ears was uncomfortable and awkward. Then with a simple positional switch it was like the sun coming out on a cloudy day.

It all has to do with vocal timbres, oscillations, tonal brightness and blend. Basically it was acoustical physics in action– and the engineering side in me was jizzing all over the musician side in me!

It honestly was mind-blowing. And it was fascinating to see the upper basses go through the same exercise and hear the differences from an audience perspective. The sound was night and day!

And even more mind blowing was the fact that I have never gone through a voicing exercise before. Not once in all the years I’ve been singing. And it really impacts the overall choral blend!

Anyway- it just thought it was cool and I geeked out over it a bit.

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Damn, I’ve Been Absent!

I sure wish I had good stuff to write about, but alas. I do not. So I’ll just do some brief updates in case you are interested.

After all the traveling I’ve been doing, I’ve managed to avoid getting Ebola. So that’s good.

Chorus goes well. I feel better about singing in OutLoud! and am excited by some of our repertoire. We got the Franz Biebl “Ave Maria” which is a damn fine piece. And our Xmas repertoire prep is going decently. I am getting nervous about the Gloria “solo” as we have yet to rehearse it. The first time I have to sing it on front of the full chorus, I’ll plotz!

Erick update. Things are pretty much done, I think. The company he works for lost part of a contract they had, so his hours/responsibilities have been severely cut. Which has added tons of stress for him. He’s trying to find a new job and sort out his living situation, so he’s busy. And he’s almost stopped communicating with me entirely. I keep letting him know that I’m here and available– but… Well. You know.

It was nice while it lasted, I suppose.

My new iPhone should arrive today. It should have been in my hands yesterday, but our condo office people were gone and UPS wouldn’t deliver it. I hope I have that sorted for today.

I am NOT getting the classic, souped up Mini Cooper. It was going to be too difficult to manage parking/storage. Plus insurance and upkeep. While it would have been fun, it was completely impractical and I have better uses for my money. Like saving it.

The audit at work went well– so it looks like I’ll keep my job, it seems. At least for the time being. But the rest of my year is going to keep me quite busy.

That’s about it for now. Oh! And I’ve recently been having sex with a cute, furry, exceedingly horny 28 year old. Evidently I’ve graduated into a full-fledged daddy, and it’s attracting the young’uns. Go ME!

And how many times does 28 go into 45? As many times as it wants.

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Coveting redux

Damn my coworker.

I work with a guy who’s a “car guy”. He knows about all sorts of cars and engines, and he works and tinkers and rebuilds all things automotive. From brake jobs to performance engine modifications– you name it, he does it.

He even has helped his son build street racers (like their current mustang that has 800HP and runs the quarter mile in 9 seconds or something ridiculous.

But my coworker especially loves older cars — like rebuilding classic cars and making street rods. His particular niche is with old Fords. He’s won awards.

Anyway, he runs in the automotive circles and therefore he gets wind of occasional cars for sale. Cars that I may have mentioned to him in the past that I wouldn’t mind owning.

Like, say, a performance-modified 1976 Mini Cooper S.

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The asking price is downright cheap, and lord help me I’m honestly considering it.

My favorite shot is the ass end of the car– it looks fucking hot. Wide and low and “racey”.

Of course the interior has been completely modified for racing, not comfort. Roll cage, 5-point harness seatbelts, gauge clusters, etc. And it’s a right-hand drive.

Things I don’t know if I like: the soft, unsnap top, the air filter/intake sticking out of the hood, the exhaust pipes reported out in front of the rear tires, etc.

But I sorta like the aluminum interior and door skins. And it has a 1300cc turbocharged engine!

Could be fun as a spring/summer toy.

The only real drawback right now is parking. I don’t have a spare space at my condo and I’d have to find a garage for it somewhere. Plus then there’s insurance and other fees.

Le sigh.

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