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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First Rehearsal

Last night was the first rehearsal for OutLoud!– the small vocal ensemble in which I was selected to participate. Aaaaand? Phew! Fears allayed.

Somewhat.

I was worried going on about what our repertoire would be (legit vs campy) and was wondering if we were going to have a big show in the spring like in years past. Plus I was wondering if I’d be nervous to sing with these guys.

Everything was good on all fronts. We got five pieces of music for the Christmas season and all of it was legit repertoire. We will be doing three of them on our upcoming Xmas concert, and all are decently challenging and cool. The piece “Some Children See Him” has some wonderful chord changes and textures– like serious “ooo, that was unexpected” moments!

And another piece (not really xmas) is just for our base repertoire and it’s called “Grace”. It uses the Amazing Grace text but the tune is a different famous piece. It’s fairly simple to start (unison), then second verse is in canon. Then the third verse gets very harmonically diverse with some good crunch chords. When we get it worked up, it will be quite lovely.

We also will NOT be doing a song and dance extravaganza show thingy this spring, so that’s good too.

And I wasn’t nervous around the guys at all. We just “sang” and it was all good. However, I do feel a bit like an interloper as at least 9 of the 12 are former OutLoud! members and they all know each other very well already. So I wonder how (or if) I’ll fit in. And I hope they don’t look at me like “he took our buddy so-and-so’s spot!”

Anyway– I see lots of music practice in my future.

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Audition News

Okay. As many have already read, I was selected to sing a “solo” of sorts in our upcoming gay chorus Xmas concert. (It’s a duet and trio actually). Which I’m both excited and excited about.

But last weekend I also auditioned for a position in one of the two small ensembles that are available in the chorus: the Chamber Singers and OutLoud!

The chamber singers is like a 20-30 voice ensemble, and OutLoud! is a 12-member select group. It was one audition, and on my audition card I selected the Chamber Singers, but also mentioned I would consider OutLoud as well. Depending on if either group wanted me or where they thought I might “fit”.

Well…

I was offered an invitation to sing in OutLoud! and I accepted it.

I’m really nervous about this. OutLoud! performs at every concert and also has their own show in the spring. Or has had their own show.

But this is a transition year where the previous director of OutLoud! has stepped down and a new guy was hired. So there is a big X-factor with regard to expectations, repertoire, etc.

Not to mention that I’ve never sung in such a small ensemble before. Everything will be so exposed!

And speaking of “exposed”, this group has a bit more “outness” to it. There isn’t any hiding or the relative anonymity of being in a large ensemble. So I’ll definitely more front and gay center.

Am I ready for this? Did I make the correct decision?

This is like drum corps all over again. Whenever I commit to a musical ensemble, I seem to go all the way with it and end up with all sorts of extra responsibilities.

What have I done??? I’m freaking out a bit here.

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Day two of audit hell…

Sorry I’ve been so absent. This is the week of a big audit here where I work, and I’m sort of running the show.

It sucks.

Audits are like a tap dancing magic show and I’m the beautiful assistant. It’s just exhausting and thankless.

So another day and a half of this and I get to come home. And then work to fix all the issues that were found.

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Musical Production Awesomeness

I don’t know if y’all are watching American Horror Story, but ya should be.

Because of things like this:

Not only am I entranced by the whole “freak show” aspect of this season, but production moments like this I find ridiculously creative and they make me ever so giddy.

I mean, anachronistically taking a 70’s Bowie song, and having Jessica Lange “Dietrich” it all up in a 50’s freak show venue (replete with sideshow orchestra) while splicing in plot moment cutaways….

Brilliance.

Someone had real creative vision to put this together.

And Jessica Lange? Damn bitch! You pulled that shit OFF!!

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GLORIA!

In excelcis Deo!

So. As many of you know, there was a gay chorus retreat this past weekend where I auditioned for a “solo” of sorts. The results of the auditions were announced last night during chorus rehearsal. Aaaaaaand…

*** drum roll ***

I was selected to sing the Baritone part for the duet/trio in John Rutter’s Gloria.

This is in the second movement, toward the end. It starts with high tenor singing a solo “Miserere Nobis”. Then Tenor 2 and Bari (me) sing a duet on the “Sucipe deprecationam nostram”. Then trio on the final “miserere Nobis”.

I’m a little surprised, very excited and a LOT nervous. My tummy went immediately all oogy with the announcement. And rather than feeling an enormous sense of pride at being chosen, I mostly felt… Exposed. Self-conscious. Even a little embarrassed.

Why was I selected? Was I the best or was it “we want to encourage new guys to audition and not just always give it to the same people”? Was it politics? Was it because the director is a bit sweet on me?

And will the other auditioners hate me now? Will they be all judgy and stabby? And will the baritones hate me because I’m a bass and i snaked one of their solos?

Sigh. I can never just enjoy something. I always have to analyze and overthink.

Now I will say that more than one person came up to me (baritones, even) and told me before the results were announced that they hoped I would be selected. And after the announcement the baritone section leader said to me, “When I heard your audition, I knew you were going to get it.”

So, there is that.

Now I just have to worry about doing myself proud and being above reproach every time I sing in front of the chorus.

No pressure.

I will say this, though. “Miserere Nobis” is my favorite liturgical Latin to sing. It feels good in the mouth and the meaning of the words always lends gravitas to the music.

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T-minus One Week

And counting before a big quality system audit at work. So things are cray-cray and not in a good way. And not for play-play.

I’m so not looking forward to it because 3-day automotive quality system certification audits suck dirty b-hole. They are mentally and physically exhausting and almost always create busywork for the quality department.

But I’m so looking forward to it because I just want it fucking done already.

Of course, since my boss dumped being in charge of these audits in my lap, I want it to go well. But a small, secret part of me wants it to go horribly awry in order to justify all the concerns I’ve been expressing to our management team for months.

But mostly I just want it over because audits are stressful because of the “unknown”. You just don’t know what path the auditor is going to go down and if they are going to be an asshole or not.

Uggh. Calgon take me away.

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Li’l B*Hole Comix

Hey hey hey! It’s fat bastard!

Time for more comix. I meant to post these on Friday, but…. Better late than never bitches!

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Gloria!

In this case I mean Joh Rutter’s Gloria!

We are singing this piece on our Christmas concert this year– an all male arrangement naturally. But with accompaniment by a brass group.

I’m actually quite excited to sing this piece. I’d sort of forgotten about it, what with the host of other, newer Rutter pieces that vie for attention. So much so, that I’d forgotten just how fantastic a piece of liturgical music it really is.

The piece is very brassy and bold, heroic even. With clever writing and rhythmic treatment of the Gloria text. And that second movement– wow. Just pure aural nougat.

My first exposure to it came back in 1989 when I marched with the Cavaliers. We performed Gloria for the majority of our show that year– and it really translates to drum corps quite well.

Anyway, over the years I’ve performed sections and played trombone in it once. But nothing for years now. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I’ve heard it performed by anyone.

And now it has been resurrected and I get to sing it for Christmas in a gay chorus. I even think I’m going to audition for the baritone solo (trio) in the second movement.

My only trepidation is that this chorus doesn’t seem to have much experience singing Latin text. I worry there will be a lot of “Day-yews” and “day-yoh”. And lotssss and lotsss of essessssssss.

We’ll see. Regardless, it will be fun to break out this oldie but goodie again.

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Sistem51

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

-Leonardo da Vinci

In honor of their 30th anniversary, Swatch has come out with a new “automatic” watch called the Sistem51. Naturally it is self-winding (i.e. no battery). 90 hour power reserve. Completely machine made. Hermetically sealed. And it only has 51 parts.

51.

And the entire movement is held together by one screw.

1.

This is a mere fraction of the number of pieces used in other automatic watches. The Sistem51 watch movement and assembly process was a synergistic effort in re-engineering from multiple teams.

It is a manufacturing feat of simplistic elegance, and I am smitten.

There are currently four versions:

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They each have sort of a “space/heavens/star” theme on the face and the backs are clear and have different patterns/colors for the movements.

My favorite is the white one:

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I think the white with the hints of color keep the design clean and uncluttered. Sort of “apple-ish” in a way.

Maybe it’s a bit girly– or douchey– to wear a white watch. Like wearing a white belt. And it’ll be damn hard to coordinate with a belt and shoes now that we are past Labor Day. And truth be told, I’ve sort of gotten out of the habit of wearing watches.

But me no carey.

I like it. I covet it. I must have it.

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