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Below are the 16 most recent journal entries recorded in divertimento's LiveJournal:

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007
10:30 am
Seven Interests Thingie
I asked calimac to pass along a selection of seven interests from my LJ list.
Here's my explications of those. If you want to continue the chain,
reply and ask me to choose from your interests, then post your response
on your own page.



Alton Brown: Host of Food Network's Good Eats show.
He and his crew present clear and entertaining explanations
of the science behind how ingredients and cooking methods
produce delicioiusness. He's an inspiring model for effective
technical communication.

Conducting: Most of my musical activity these days is
as a conductor of concert bands, especially the
San Mateo Elks Concert Band. That's something I've
wanted to do for years, having been trained long ago
to be a school instrumental music teacher. As a player
and singer, I've long watched directors to learn what
works and doesn't work. I'm pleased to find that
I'm doing more of the former than the latter.

Kandinsky: An artist I've enjoyed for years. His
abstract paintings convey a strong sense of life
in another world. I remember in college (UCSC, see
below) wanting some of his artwork to put on my
dorm wall. I couldn't find anything I recognized
as art by Kandinsky at the campus bookstore.
But then I saw some cards with art of medieval
scenes that I enjoyed, so I gladly purchased
them to put above my desk. When I took the
cards out of the wrappers, I was surprised
to see that they were early, representational
works by Kandinsky.

Koechlin: A composer I've found of interest.
Of his varied composing styles, one appealing
aspect was the influence of medieval and
renaissance music (conveyed by his teacher, Faure).
A number of his works are unaccompanied melodies for
woodwinds.

Penguins: I've liked them for half a century,
judging from an early photo of me with a
penguin beach towel. The more I've learned about
the actual birds, the more interesting they are.
Long ago I joked about being disappointed by
the Peterson bird guide books, because they
didn't include penguins. Then I was astonished
by the issuing of a big book titled Penguins
by Peterson, who claimed them as his favorite
bird. This book was the culmination of Roger
and his brother becoming the first people to
travel the southern hemisphere to observe all
17 breeds of penguins in their own habitat.
Oddly, for all that I appreciate penguins, I don't
like cold weather.

Schwitters: Kurt Schwitters is my favorite figure
from the Data movement. Or, to use his self-created
name for what he does, the Merz movement. His
varied endeavors include innovation in collage
artwork, and sound poetry, compositions of
nonsense syllables to be spoken aloud. His
Ursonata is a half-hour work in four movements.
His Merz publications use virtuostic typography,
which he also applied in a successful advertising
career, especially in a long series of ads for
Pelikan inks. In sculpture, he created a series
of Merzbaus--assemblages that gradually took over
an apartment or barn. His final work of this sort,
the Merzbarn, was created in Little Langdale, an area
of England he fled to from Germany during World War II.

UCSC: University of California Santa Cruz, where I earned
my BA in music during 1971-1975. At the time I signed
up for Livejournal, a number of my interests from that
time were coming to mind to look into again. That's
reflected in items I listed, including some your selected
for my explanations.
Thursday, September 27th, 2007
12:29 pm
Still here
Long feared layoffs are hitting at work today.

I'm still employed.

That is all (as John Hodgman would say).
Friday, June 29th, 2007
2:08 pm
Band concert in Daly City, Saturday, June 30
I'll be conducting a free concert this Saturday. The group is the Daly City All-Stars Band, a concert band that meets every Friday. Usually the group sightreads different music every week, with rotating conductors. But two or three times a year, the group of about 30 players prepares a concert program.

The performance is in Daly City at the Dining Hall of Doelger Senior Center,
in Westlake Park at 101 Lake Merced Boulevard, just north of Westlake Shopping Center.

The free concert starts at 1:00 PM.

This time the program is "Symphonies to Swing". I've picked the following pieces:

Polaris Concert March -- George Kenny
Lucia di Lammermoor Selections -- Donizetti (arr. Moses-Tobani)
Presto (last movement of Symphony No. 6) -- Shostakovich (arr. James Curnow)
Finale from Symphony No. 1 -- Brahms (arr. Robert Nelson)

Mozart Matriculates -- Alec Templeton (arr. Joseph Paulson)
Deep River Rhapsody -- Harold L. Walters
Woody Herman In Concert -- Various (arr. Bob Lowden)
A String of Pearls -- Jerry Gray (arr. Perry Burgett)
Tribute to the Count -- Various (arr. Sammy Nestico)
That's A Plenty -- (arr. John Edmondson)
Tuesday, February 13th, 2007
2:29 pm
Technical Writer Top Ten List
To lighten up an impending meeting at work, I created this Letterman-style Top Ten List.


TOP TEN SIGNS YOU'RE READING A BAD COMPUTER MANUAL

10. Removal and replacement procedures require ice picks and Bondo

9. All text in paragraphs labeled "Caution" is printed in Zapf Dingbat font

8. Table of Contents only lists Ink, Paper, and Staples

7. Step 5 of a procedure says, "Extract the processor with your remaining fingers"

6. The system's theory of operations involves giant turtles, magic beans, and Andy Bechtolsheim transforming into a coyote

5. Service procedures include tips on selling removed parts on eBay

4. The Index only includes a T section, because every entry starts with "The"

3. Each question in the FAQ is answered with "It is not our policy to comment at this time on matters subject to an ongoing investigation"

2. Most of the books in the Related Documentation list are published by Harlequin

1. On the cover and throughout the book, the name "Sun" is misspelled

Current Mood: Multitasky
Saturday, March 25th, 2006
9:49 am
Anti-War Song Meme
The meme (to me via calimac) says, put an anti-war song in your journal.

This poem by Wilfred Owen is an anti-war song, thanks to Benjamin Britten's setting
of it in his "War Requiem".

The Parable of the Young Man and the Old

So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
And took the fire with him, and a knife.
And as they sojourned, both of them together,
Isaac the first-born spake, and said, My Father,
Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
And builded parapets the trenches there,
And stretched forth the knife to slay his son.
When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,
Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
Neither do anything to him. Behold,
A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;
Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.
But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
And half the seed of Europe, one by one.
Tuesday, September 20th, 2005
2:44 pm
Poetry Meme
When you see this, post a poem.

Here's my action, after seeing the above meme from a ladyjillian posting.

I saw a peacock with a fiery tail
I saw a blazing comet drop down hail
I saw a cloud wrapped with ivy round
I saw an oak creep on along the ground
I saw a pismire [ant] swallow up a whale
I saw the sea brim full of ale

I saw a Venice glass five fathoms deep
I saw a well full of men's tears that weep
I saw red eyes all of a flaming fire
I saw a house bigger than the moon and higher
I saw the sun at twelve o'clock at night
I saw the man that saw this wondrous sight

-Anon
Thursday, August 25th, 2005
6:30 pm
Poke the Penguin
Online amusement good for a few minutes on phone hold (I've seen
only three variations in the outcome):

http://www2.gamesville.lycos.com/html_poke/poke_penguin.htm
Tuesday, April 19th, 2005
3:34 pm
The Meme:

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your LJ with the answers to the questions and leave the answers as comments on my LJ
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions


Here's the answers to questions posed to me by deirdremoon:

1. If you could only conduct or only play from now on, which would you do?

I'd play. Conducting without some forum (even private)
to generate music your own self is an invitation to egotisim run amok.

2. What language would you pick up from scratch if you had time?

Chinese. It seems like a huge rewiring from English of how the brain
relates to words. One sign to me of that is how different English
translations of the same Chinese text turn out.

3. Do you prefer a modern tux or historical costuming for becoming a dandy?

I lean towards modern formal. When you get down to it, I'd
rather develop my sense of clothing style in the present day
rather than a historical context.

4. Favorite country you've ever visited and why?

I enjoyed Germany -- especially Munich -- a lot. In 1980
it seemed to be an effective synthesis of the old and new
in what makes up a city and its surrounding area. That
personal sense of comfort in Germany was a bit of a surprise to me.

5. Favorite comic book series-- the last one you'd ever get rid of out
of all your archives? Can be any era, any genre, from DC to
"serious graphic novel" to "Asterix".

I'd probably hold on to collections of Walt Kelly's Pogo longer
than anything else. Of more recent material, Eddie Campbell's
"Doing the Islands with Bacchus" and Dave McKean's "Cages" would
stay on my shelf until nearly the bitter end.
1:31 pm
More on words
Well, it's been a while. I'll give this LJ thing another go.

Speaking of words-and-pictures, another good example is
the Buddhist teacher Cheri Huber. Pages of first few books
were hand written, with the spacing of words and paragraphs
on the page adding a lot to the conversational flow of
her writing, and prompting space for the reader's own
thoughts in response. Newer books seem to be designed
using a font based on her handwriting. Check out
http://www.cherihuber.com.

And I rediscovered the http://www.poets.org web site.
It includes a page about the late Kenneth Koch (mentioned
in my long-ago last message), including an mp3 of him
reading his poem "One Train May Hide Another"
(probably the best poem ever inspired by a warning message):

http://www.poets.org/poems/poems.cfm?45442B7C000C07010C73
Friday, August 27th, 2004
4:25 pm
Unexpected Finds
Nice to find some unexpected publications.

First, a book by poet Kenneth Koch, a favorite
writer of mine who died two years ago. His
estate issued a book titled "The Art Of The Possible"
that were his "comics mainly without pictures", where
hand-lettered words were organized in panels for flow
around a page. I didn't even know Koch had been
interested in comics, but the preface described one
attempt to collaborate with Stan Lee and artists from
Marvel Comics in the late 1960s on an antiwar Peace comic.

Koch's work here is sort of in the vein of the Pot Shots
and Story People illustrated texts I noted a few days
ago.


Another discovery was that Orson Welles had done a
Mercury Theater dramatization of G. K. Chesterton's
novel "The Man Who Was Thursday" just a few weeks
before the history-making "War Of The Worlds" broadcast.
The recording is available from http://www.chesterton.org.
I'm curious now to hear it. (Now if I could only
find a copy of the radio perforance of Thurber's
"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" with Robert Benchley
playing Mitty. I've not spotted that offered on
Old Time Radio recording lists I've searched.)


Meanwhile, the missing Talking Heads live album,
"The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads" has finally
been reissued on CD--performances not reissued since the
1982 LPs. This set captures live performances of
the band chronologically from 1977 to 1981. The
development of their music, and they way they improved
dramatically as a live act, unfolds track by track.
Lots of songs on the second CD overlap with the
"Stop Making Sense" repertoire, but the way the songs
were played kept changing in a succession of ways
worth hearing again.
Wednesday, August 11th, 2004
5:28 pm
Made In Pescadero
The artistic glass plate I mentioned in an earlier message was
at an art and furniture gallery next to Duarte's Tavern called
Made In Pescadero. They're at this URL: http://www.madeinpescadero.com.

The boggling carved wood Tablecloth Table that we saw there is shown
on this page: http://www.madeinpescadero.com/meier.shtml

I think this is a store where Thom Filicia ought to
take straight guys to shop for furniture.
4:27 pm
Thermoplastic Mosaic Tiles
Last weekend I saw a beautiful glass decorative plate, a rectangle
with large squares of different colors flush to each other.
This reminded me of when I was traveling in Europe 24 years ago,
seeking out stained glass and other glass art. I'm not Mr. Craft Night,
by any means, but I found enough appeal in this to consider trying
to create with stained glass. I was fascinated by glass art, such as
the piece I saw recently, where glass of different colors was fused
together directly, without any leading needed to form a border between
colors.

While traveling years ago, I came across a book about crafts, which
mentioned a material called thermoplastic mosaic tiles. These were
tiles of different transparent colors that could be placed together
in a pattern, tile next to tile. Then the overall set of tiles
could be placed in a household oven, heated a short time, and the
tiles would fuse together to permanently hold the design. This
sounded like a quick-and-easy way to try this my hand at this
sort of art. I wrote down the contact information and planned
to follow up when I returned home.

However, there was no response from the company that was listed
in the book as supplying the tiles. I've searched for that material
occasionally (such as now,on Google), but with no results.
The only form of the thermoplastic I've come across for crafts
has been plastic pellets that you pour into segments of a metal mold to
make a poor man's stained glass. But this material doesn't seem to
enable the sharp, borderless color-against-color that I found appealing.

I wonder if the demand for the thermoplastic tiles wasn't enough to
sustain a market, especially with the pellets being easier to work
with for other styles of craft. Or perhaps the heated plastic gave
off harmful vapors, and the product was withdrawn.

Does anyone know of these or something similar that is available?
Monday, August 9th, 2004
4:23 pm
Words with Pictures
I came across a blog featuring the host's illustrated messages
drawn on the backs of business cards. Lots of the current
material at the site revolved around how to be creative:

http://www.gapingvoid.com

Hugh's drawings and short messages reinforcing each other made
me think of two similar (but less acid) creators:

Brian Andres http://www.storypeople.com

Ashleigh Brilliant http://www.ashleighbrilliant.com

Ashleigh "Potshots" Brilliant has a name that I somehow mix up with
Armistead "Tales Of The City" Maupin. The latter's name came up recently
in the unexpected context of his having served in the Navy and being a critic
of John Kerry's antiwar stance at that point in the 1970s. Interviewed more
recently for a book on Kerry's military background, "Tour of Duty" by Douglas
Brinkley, Maupin said, “Kerry, as it turns out, was dead right about Vietnam.
... These days, of course, I’m a lot more antiwar than Senator Kerry, so I
hope he takes a tougher stand against Bush’s invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq."
Wednesday, August 4th, 2004
1:55 pm
Animusic
A player in the band I conduct loaned me a tape
of a short filler he saw between PBS shows.
It was called Animusic, and featured music being
played by instruments suspended in space.
It took me a few seconds to realize that the
instruments were computer animations, not real,
because I'd seen some similar real-world musical
installations by someone known as Trimpin.

I've not seen more of this yet, but a series
of the Animusic animations and compositions
are available on DVD from this website:
http://www.animusic.com. I'll have to listen
and look at the samples later.
Tuesday, April 27th, 2004
11:02 am
A Real Shakespearian Rag
There's the following lines in T. S. Eliot's "The Waste Land":

O O O O that Shakespeherian Rag--
It's so elegant
So intelligent


I happend upon an web annotation reveling the source for
an actual song Eliot was quoting, which was titled with
a more conventional spelling of the playwright's name.
I haven't tracked down the sheet music for this song, though.
Any leads?


http://world.std.com/~raparker/exploring/thewasteland/exsongs.html#Shakesperian_Rag


Shakesperian Rag

Michael North1 tells us that That Shakespearian Rag was first published by Joseph W. Stern & Company in 1912 and
that the words were by Gene Buck and Herman Ruby, and the music by David Stamper. The lyrics are:

"Friends, Romans, Countrymen,
I come not here to praise,"
But lend an ear and you will hear
a rag, yes, a rag that is grand, and
Bill Shakespeare never knew
Of ragtime in his days
But the high browed rhymes,
Of his syncopated lines,
You'll admit, surely fit,
any song that's now a hit,
So this rag I submit.

Chorus:

That Shakesperian rag--
Most intelligent, very elegant,
That old classical drag
Has the proper stuff
The line, "Lay on MacDuff"3
Desdemona was the pampered pet
Romeo loves his Juliet
And they were some lovers
You can bet, and yet
I know if they were here today
They'd Grizzly Bear4 in a different way
And you'd hear old Hamlet say
"To be or not to be"
That Shakesperian rag...

"My Kingdom for a horse,
Was what they used to say;"
It's different now, you will allow,
A tune, play a tune, start to croon, soon,
"As you like it" Brutus,
We'll play a rag today.
Then old Shylock danced,
And the Moor, Othello pranced.
Feeling gay, he would say,
as he started in to sway,
"Bring the rag, right away."

[Chorus]
Wednesday, April 21st, 2004
6:35 pm
First test message
Here's a first try at posting something on my page:

In the Solomon Islands, the pidgin English for "piano"
is "bokkis yupala hittim i tok" -- "box-you-hit-him-he-talks".
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