Saturday, 18th of September, 2004
Went with Haley and Laura to one of the coolest SLSO concerts ever tonight. Leonard Slatkin conducted, and they started out with this awesome new piece by Kevin Puts, called River's Rush. One of the best modern pieces I've ever heard. Then Emanuel Ax came on and played Mozart's 27th piano concerto. After intermission, Slatkin conducted that famous movement from the Mahler symphony as a tribute to Hans Vonk. Then they concluded the evening with an amazing performance of Shostakovich's 5th symphony that blows away any other live symphony performance I can remember attending. Wow. Everything was so precise. During one section, I really think I've never heard a section of violins play that softly, still make noise, and be absolutely together. And during the intense sections, the entire full load of brass instruments would bite each note with amazing intensity, and together like one instrument and one player. Amazing skills. And of course the percussion section's precision with intensity was just as impressive, as it always is.
Monday, 13th of September, 2004
I have always been under the impression that when a passenger vehicle rear-ends another one at 10 mph, there should be almost no damage. It's happened to me about four times, though only once was it near 10 mph, and never has it caused damage, because it was always with another car or minivan. But a new study indicates that we shouldn't count on that with all these SUVs around. The Associated Press reports than an insurance group conducted the 10 mph bump test between cars and SUVs, and all of the bumps resulted in combined damages ranging from $1256 to $6129. The test seems to indicate that the 10 mph bump test resulted in some broken radiators. That clearly indicates that the bumpers aren't even colliding in the impact, but instead the car's grill and radiator area. Remind me never to hit an XC90, or get rear-ended by a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Given how common such accidents are, we're winding up paying for all these silly slow impacts in our higher insurance rates. Argh.
Friday, 10th of September, 2004
Neon meets Goth.
Wednesday, 8th of September, 2004
Picture - It's illegal vehicles like these that make driving down I-170 so dangerous.
Sunday, 5th of September, 2004
My lack of experience with wounds this deep is pretty obvious. I tried to move my left arm as little as possible, but other than that I went on with regularly scheduled programming. Then my arm, hand, and fingers got all swollen due to the infection and by the evening I had a significant fever and a terrific headache that prevented me from standing up without being in significant pain. Oops.
Saturday, 4th of September, 2004
Life would be no fun if we could predict everything. We all like surprises, right? Well I was definitely in for a surprise biking down the bike trail at Babler State Park. It was a nice, clean, paved, smooth trail, and then we came upon a section where the trail goes under a dark bridge. I'm going down this hill, conserving momentum by going well over 20 mph, and as I get closer to the trail section under the bridge I notice that the trail abruptly turns from being paved with asphalt to being paved with big stones ranging from about 5 to 9 inches in diameter. I tap the brakes just enough to start slowing down and not abruptly shift the weight of the bike, and lift my bottom off the seat bike because this was going to be rather bumpy - but I was pretty sure the bike would make it without damage, since it is a mountain bike, though I didn't rule out the possibility of one of the rocks being missing, but at that point I didn't have much of a choice. Well, there were at least 2 rocks missing that I saw. The first one I missed, the second one I discovered by landing the front wheel of the bike into it, and I sailed over the handlebars and experienced the brief exhilaration of flying. I didn't exactly land onto the big rocks, fortunately, but there was plenty of rock and gravel after the bridge underpass for me to gash my left elbow. It was a rather dirty and jagged cut, requiring 4 stitches in the ER later today after they cleaned all the gravel from inside the wound. Jeans was the winner for my lower body. My jeans are all torn up but nothing deeper than more typical scratches and bruises all over my knees and hip. I have been spared from breaking any bones.
Thursday, 2nd of September, 2004
"Musical exercises, even if not of this kind, should be pursued only up to the point at which the pupil becomes capable of appreciating good melodies and rhythms, and not just the popular music.... We reject then as education a training in material performance which is professional and competitive. He that takes part in such performances does not do so in order to improve his own character, but to give pleasure to listeners.... Inevitable the consequences are degrading, since the end towards which it is directed - popular amusement - is a low one." - Aristotle, The Politics.
Aristotle describes very well about half of the way I view music. I don't have conservatory training in music, but I've had enough training to appreciate music and it has become one of my favourite things on earth. Even though it's one of my favourite things, I don't wish that I had majored in music and gone to conservatory - I think that the competitive environment would have been too much of a distraction to me from learning to appreciate music.
I definitely do not play music for the sole purpose of entertaining others, or gaining others' approval. The "entertainer" motivation has never been very pleasant in my head - it's fundamentally conceited. Music for me has always been played for my own enjoyment - so when people don't appreciate it, it doesn't bother me, because that it is not for the pleasure of men that I play. If others enjoy it, that is a positive side effect, and it makes me even happier.
Playing music primarily for my own enjoyment, though, is also somewhat conceited, though not to as extreme a degree - it's selfish if anything. But I've found it much more meaningful, in the last two years or so, to play music for the purpose of glorifying the Creator of music. I didn't create sounds, or the human reaction to pleasant sounds - the Creator of the Universe did. God allows us to experience some of these beautiful things here on Earth, and it provides evidence that He exists, just like a lot of things in nature.
And I'm not condemning professional musicians either. I play many "entertainment" jobs myself. But I play because I enjoy what I'm playing, and I am still learning every time I play. And those who go up on the stage every weekend at Symphony Halls across the country go up there because they enjoy it that much, many more times than I do, and they are up there appreciating the music. Same goes with those who practice 8 hours a day in conservatories. Being a professional musician requires lots of passion for music, and I'll admit that I don't have it, but that can't prevent me from enjoying it this much.