Episode 1 – Why We Sing

aegean
Standard

30 July

6:30 am.  My alarm clock awakened me as it faithfully did every morning.  This was, however, no ordinary morning.  This was Monday, July 30, 2014 A.D. and I knew it.  Blearily, I silenced the jangling timepiece and paused to gaze out of the window for the last time.  Not the last time ever, but as I grabbed my suitcase and heaved it upstairs, I knew it would be over a fortnight before I slept in my own bed again.

I was about to do something incredible.  In a day, I was going to sail across the sky, through clouds and over the Atlantic, to what is nearly a whole different world.

Before I go on: my plans for this blog/vlog project went through several stages before arriving at the form I think best and most feasible for it.  I actually made one episode of the full-on vlog before deciding to meld the two forms.  I think it does any necessary introduction concisely, so I revised it some, and here ya go, peoples of the interwebs; you shall hear my voice.

Don’t you just love the ending?  Mwahaha.  And by the way, if you didn’t watch the credits, go back and watch them please.  It’s a pet peeve of mine when people don’t; staying through the credits is a gesture of respect to everyone who worked on whatever it is you are watching.  But then, in this case, that’s just me, and the amazing Kevin MacLeod, who doesn’t know I exist as far as I can tell, so I guess I’m fine with you skipping them.  They have cool music though.

There’s much more to come, folks.  Stay tuned…

-P.L.M.

[to be ignored by all]

Aside

I know this is a stupid reason to write a post, but I am writing this because I am trying to respond to someone else’s comment from my Reader, and one of the more recent posts from a blog I subscribe to has an apposite, but very brightly colored and flashing animated GIF in it, and it is possibly hurting my eyes, probably not permanently, but it’s very distracting, and if the author reads this, and I cannot remember if they follow my blog or not, it’s not your fault, don’t feel bad or anything, I’m just writing a post to push the aforementioned GIF lower on the list and therefore off my screen.

Also happy Run-On Sentence Day, which is in no way an actual holiday, I just made it up.  Do ignore this.  It’s just a placeholder.

Continue reading

An Orthepedic Limerick

Standard

They wanted to look at my spine again,
We hoped this would be the last time again,
But while there is much hope
Shall we party yet?  Nope.
Three months ’till they finally decide (again).

No official going-away party for Tal and Hal yet folks… but my spine is behaving about as expected, not regressing terribly, but not miraculously resilient.  It’s still something to be quite grateful for, right?

So what will I do with those two anyway?  Unfortunately Google has not been very helpful in finding my a place I can blow Tal up.  And Tory Belleci’s show doesn’t appear to be running any more.  Anyone have any ideas?

As for Hal, he has been signed by many of my friends, so I shall keep him.  I mean, c’mon, for a conglomeration of plastic and foam, he’s expensive.  Ain’t no way I’m just gonna throw him away.  But Tal, well, no offense, but you have caused me the most trouble as I grew out of you, so you will be blown up if at all possible.  Don’t take it personally.

Just an update.

The Slow, the Fast, and the Nettlesome

Video

I seem to be in a mood for Chopin today.  And I hope you are too, because these two pieces are simply amazing.

And really fast.  The number of notes per second must be crazy.  Here they are; something a little energetic to remind the world that yay! the weekend is almost here.

Etude No. 5 in G-flat Major – Frédéric Chopin

Op.10 No.5 (“Black Key Etude”) – performed by Ingolf Wunder

This is the best recording, IMHO, on YouTube that I could find at short notice.

Etude No. 8 in F Major – Frédéric Chopin

Op.10 No.8 – performed by Freddy Kempf

Again, best recording on YouTube, and while I haven’t heard many, also the best recording I know in general.  Enough of this “Zimerman > Kempf” nonsense.  Enough of this “Oh, he plays it too slow.”  This is already pretty darn fast, and if you go much faster, you can’t put any emotion or creative texture in it.  That’s my issue with Zimerman anyway.

Hey, I’m allowed to rant too sometimes, right?  Seriously though, after I take over the world (in a quiet and respectful but absolute fashion), I am certain what will finally drive me insane and lead me to resign will be these nettlesome YouTube commenters.  Geez Louise.

LET’S ALL BE POLITE AND SAY WHAT WE DID LIKE ABOUT MR. KEMPF’S PERFORMANCE THAT LIKELY MOST DEFINITELY TOOK HIM A GREAT DEAL OF TIME TO PERFECT AND IF YOU START SINGING KUMBAYA SARCASTICALLY OR BLATANTLY PRETEND YOUR OPINION IS FACT LET ME REMIND YOU THAT THIS IS AN ART YES MUSIC IS AN ART THAT WE EACH HAVE OUR OWN CREATIVE VOICE IN BECAUSE THE WORLD IS NOT AN EPISODE OF “AMERICA’S GOT TALENT”.

THANK YOU NETTLESOME COMMENTERS.  YOU HAVE ME WORKED UP TO THE POINT THAT I REFUSE TO DISABLE CAPS LOCK.  BUT, I SUPPOSE I FORGIVE YOU.  AND TO ALL MY READERS, I WISH YOU A CAPITAL EVENING.

Don’t tell me you didn’t see that coming.

I’m Not Dead (but Tom Might Be)

Image

Dear all,

I hope you have been doing splendoriffically!  Basically, I wanted to check in today, and seeing as I have posted nothing for two weeks, assure you that I am not dead or seriously ill.  Or that I suddenly forgot how to type or had my computer stolen or my keyboard drenched in maple syrup or any other such catastrophe.  So this post will be a mish-mash of various stuff that ought to be said.

1) Today Is a Momentous Day

First of all, happy Programmers’ Day!  And to any programmers who may be reading this, thank you.  The further we move towards the future, the more important your job seems to become.  Without you, there wouldn’t be this website, nor a thousand other things we take for granted.  So really, thanks a lot.

And happy International Chocolate Day!  Yay for chocolate, and for whatever genius discovered how to make it.  To them, the world is forever grateful.

2) I Promise

…that more Greece posts are coming soon.  Hey, the closer we get to winter, the more fun it will be to reminisce on summer, right?

3) If you are looking for Tom…

Okay, my mom was in the kitchen for several hours yesterday, having garnered a large quantity of tomatoes to be processed (or so was the general impression) into sauce.  (To her as well, we are forever grateful.  YAY MOM.)  But anyway, when I entered the kitchen at around nine in the evening, the labels on the assorted jars told a more sinister story:

IMG_2259

IMG_2256

Tom Sauce.

So if you have been looking for Tom, I regret to inform you that I may have found him.

On that cheery note, I bid you a good Saturday evening.  Enjoy it!  And have some music too.  I say, I do enjoy posting music on here, but does it ever seem like it’s just a way for me to be lazy and not have to write as much?  I hope not.  Anyway, I love this song, so here it is.  And remember, YOU ARE AWESOME, and God loves you WAY more than you could possibly imagine.  You are golden.  Don’t you forget it.

Cheers.

Double Vision

Standard

Good morning!  Afternoon!  You know what I mean; whatever time of day it is where you live.

Do you ever notice on albums that some songs just go together really well?  I mean yes, track order is quite intentional, but a lot of the time, two tracks can really be part of each other, almost one song rather than two.  I love it when that happens.  It makes listening even more of an experience.  So today I bring you six songs that really are more like three thoughts put to music, each with their own way of harmonizing with each other.

Prologue and Kettering – The Antlers

This entire album is a work of art.  That’s clear whether one is a fan or not.  But I particularly like how these two songs fit together.  “Prologue” sets the scene, a distressed instrumental track reminiscent of an ambulance siren, but it leaves the listener hanging.  The thought remains unfinished, and that’s where the next track comes in.  Brilliant.

Company Calls and Company Calls Epilogue – Death Cab for Cutie

By their titles alone these songs are named twins, but where is the common thread?  “Company Calls” is a fine song on its own, and there is a definite break between the two.  However, the lyrics of the epilogue continue the thoughts and imagery, even as those mellow and lose some of their enthusiasm, as though all available energy was put into singing its predecessor.

The World at Large and Float On – Modest Mouse

 

These two songs make use of the classic way to blend one song into another: a simple transition.  But that in no way diminishes the apposite paring of these two songs.  The words “float on” appear numerous times throughout the two, they share the same chords, and even the same key.  “The World at Large” is a worthy beginning of the thought that “Float On” completes optimistically.

So there you have it folks.  There are several ways to skin this cat, all of which work.  It all depends on the mood and the situation.  Kinda like life, eh?  If something doesn’t work one way, you’ll find another.  Things will inevitably work out as they ought to.  Forget the second law of thermodynamics!  If it were true to every situation of our existence, the whole world would be in chaos by now.  And yet we don’t just resist it, we grow.  We thrive.  And that right there is, in my opinion, proof of miracles.

Now it’s your turn to be a miracle.  God bless you all.

Prologue

aegean
Standard

18 August 2014

I’d almost call it a hole in the wall, oddly nestled between a graveyard and some abandoned warehouses, a charming place to stumble upon.  Except, we had decided not to stumble upon it; such risks do not always pan out here like they do in Greece.  You could end up with something you wouldn’t want to feed to anyone or anything.  Except a landfill.

That was the strongest it had been since we had gotten home.  That feeling of quiet yet omnipresent excitement, that something was happening, that the scenery was alive in ways you’d suddenly notice but never be able to pinpoint.  That you weren’t in Kansas any more.  Call it nostalgia, and you’re almost right.  Almost.

I guess it was the ambiance.  I don’t know why it made me feel like I was in Greece again, it just did.  It was a Greek restaurant after all, even if you can’t get the same caliber of ingredients here.  Even if there was lettuce in the Greek salad and the prices were perfectly shaved to the nearest 95 cent mark, sales tax not included.

But it made me happy.  And it made me miss Greece, because there really is no other place quite like it.  And it made me remember that I had rather promised to write about my more fascinating experiences on the Aegean, though mere words can never express anything perfectly.

I suppose when I returned to the land of my birth and citizenship, I was afraid of holding on to closely to the trip, as though it was some childish toy I would be ridiculed for keeping.  Life had to press on, to return to normal, and I knew this.  It’s simply true.  But the whole thing was meant to be fantastically unforgettable, to change our lives.  Because it wasn’t just a cruise.  It wasn’t merely the highlights of the country, compiled for tourists.  It was more than that.

It was music and laughter and fellowship.  It was meeting dozens of amazing and talented people.  It was village life, and exploring the rugged and windy coastline.  It was finding time between rehearsals and concerts to leap from a cliff into the Aegean sea.

It was noise and celebration, the band of friends, and post-concert silliness.

It was silence and the roll of the sea, and small conversations, and awe.

So this is for me, and for you, and for everyone.  Sort of like one last souvenir.  One last wave goodbye before the plane departs.  Destination: future.  Passengers: everyone.  And in some small way, I’m a different person today than I would have been if the trip had never happened.  For that, I am truly grateful.

IMG_1894

© 2014