Friday, July 31, 2009

July 31 - First Things Second

Blitz to the Walnut Creek Apple Store early to see what can be done about the noisy laptop fan, park in the nearest space to the site, am assisted immediately (despite being five minutes late) and given ten minutes for a quick fix, which is all the time available, anyway. Apparent remedy is to download eight updates (tried this in the early am and was not successful) which is done on the spot -- however, it takes about a half-hour, so, after completion, roar to the car and make the way back to Diablo Valley College and expectant students waiting to turn in last-minute work and have conferences, etc. All's said and done by 2:50pm, then return to the auto, quick lunch stop, and through the Caldecott Tunnel for a meeting with Harriet, Molly, and other friendly folks at Flux in Oakland, where we make arrangements to present Patrick Dailly's Solidarity in October and my Sex and the Bible: The Opera in March 2010.

Snack at a taqueria adjacent to the theatre (including a vampiro -- blood-red fruit drink of tomatos, carrots, et al.), across from Foothill Boulevard facades,

then through and over the hills to Moraga (second time on Pinehurst Road in 24 hours [after a more than 10-year hiatus], and in clearer weather than yesterday) and home and a third orchestrated page of Esther Xerxes: X. Proclamation Issued.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

July 30 - Last Day First

End of the summer Diablo Valley College semester, with music from Philip Glass and the Beatles to David Byrne, Mark Alburger, Erling Wold, and beyond (the laptop still making sonic objections, but somehow getting through all the entries at -- with Ji Su Oh and Hye Su Han respectively playing Johan Pachelbel / George Winston and a 19th-century potboiler. The Pianists take their last quiz -- Baroque harmony, the Igor Stravinsky Firebird excerpt, with varied individual selections including a Ludwig van Beethoven Fur Elise, Harold Arlen Somewhere Over the Rainbow, several Claude Debussy-inspired Ancient Temples and Aaron Coplandesque Gift to Be Simples, Tielheim Susato's Ronde, Taps, and video-game music.

Make an appointment at the Apple Store to have someone look into the noisy fan situation tomorrow, and figure, being far enough south, that it's time to walk the short remaining stretch of the Redwood Trail in the Water District lands adjacent to Moraga, from the intersection of Canyon and Pinehurst Roads to the top of the Redwood Regional Park East Ridge.

Once out of the trees, inclined to stay there, despite the reasonably mild incoming fog, and walk the trail south, which reveals views back to

Moraga, St. Mary's and Rimer Creek Ridges, Upper San Leandro Reservoir,

King Canyon Ridge,

and wild lands even further south.

Out cliffy

Pinehurst Gate onto its

viewful namesake road (featuring the distant cloven Moraga [or is it Gudde?] Ridge), a helpful clinical psychologist who commutes the road twice daily from San Leandro work to area home expresses concern (am dressed more like a distressed motorist than a hiker) -- so, gratefully accept a ride back to point of origin, just for the convenience and serendipity of it all.

A semi-Beckettian not-much-to-be-done upon returning home, save another orchestrated page of Esther Xerxes: X. ARIA E CORO - "Proclamation issued"

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

July 29 - Into Each Life

Yes, endless paper grading, and music from Pierre Boulez to Philip Glass in the History class, followed by general review and a little Joe Garland In the Mood for Piano. Quick lab time recording

Esther Xerxes: IX. Now then, Queen Esther

The Marin loop follows, with more papers at Celia's and errands as the fog moves in. At home, while beginning orchestration of X. Proclamation Issued, the fan in the laptop starts misbehaving -- very loud and erratic. A check online reveals that folks have had printer and anti-virus software issues -- neither of which seem to apply, but there is a notion of keeping the computer level -- not on a lap, for instance, which would radically alter modus. Try the old turn-it-off-and-turn-it-one routine, which seems to help a bit (the Encore program actually runs more quietly than usual, but when opening the vast picture file in Finder, there seem to be objections once more). We shall see...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

July 28 - Points on the Path

Harriet out the door early for a job in San Jose, and there are still more papers to grade (the 20th-Century I quiz), then music from Dmitri Shostakovich to Pierre Boulez for the Historians, and we finish the book in the Piano class (or at least all the standard pieces, plus a bit of the Sting Every Breath You Take). So, after more paper shuffling there's nothing for it but to go home (as H heads out again, astoundingly for a meeting in SF) and complete the orchestration (12 pages total) of Esther Xerxes:

IX. TERZETTO - "Now then, Queen Esther"

Monday, July 27, 2009

July 27 - Being Points

Up early yet again, more paper grading past Buckhorn Peak's fogs, then music from Paul Hindemith to Dmitri Shostakovich for the Historians, and an Igor Stravinsky Firebird Finale excerpt for the Pianists (plus Please Mr. Postman and a Debussy parody).

Extended lab time, finishing up the orchestration of

Esther Xerxes:

VIII. SCENA - "What Is It?" (Esther, Xerxes, and Haman)

and recording same,

then home past stone pines to begin orchestrating

IX. TERZETTO - "Now, then, Queen Esther" (The Death of Haman)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

July 26 - Sex, Truth, and iTunes

Harriet and I do a tentative casting of Sex and the Bible: The Opera, with a

Las Vegas theme, plus other relative activities, including two more orchestrated pages of Esther Xerxes: VIII "What Is It". Indeed.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

July 25 - From Sierra to Sea Air - Ah!

Like the waters of the Central Valley (whether found amongst the strange pods of vegetation in the Yolo Bypass or

the Sacramento River,

the day starts in the mountains and ends near the ocean, first stop at Bootlegger's Old Town Tavern in Auburn (seen from the never-before-visited upper overflow parking lot,

(below which, as with Celia's San Rafael two days ago, Tio Pepe's looks a bit full today) for clam chowder and Negra Modelo on a white-linened wine=glassed patio while grading Music History Papers, then up

Foresthill Road past Driver's Flat (two glossed-over walks in this vicinity still in the offing) and

down-and-up-and-down Mosquito Ridge Road, for a stroll from Division Dam intersection (above is the second shuttle parking spot beyond),

over the Duncan Canyon Bridge,

and up Red Star Ridge with views back north to Little Bald Mountain (only somewhat of an identification).

Looking ahead from Red Star Pass

are French Meadows Reservoir (with cumulo-nimbus building up beyond),

the forest-fire-ravaged-recovering Middle Fork of the American River Canyon, and

Duncan Peak Overlook on

Little Bald (which looks like it's been subjected to a just-a-little-off-the-top pyrotechnic buzz cut as well).

Time to make a Sacramento Beeline back towards the Coast, beyond bridges (including Circle, over the North Fork of the Middle Fork American River and

Foresthill, re NFAM),

taverns, and


Picking up Harriet, we head parallel to fog (one of these not atypical summer days when California is embraced east [potential thunderstorms in Nevada] and west [the marine layer] by clouds, yet remains mostly in the heart-breakingly clear blue),

San Francisco Bay

the sun,

and dinosaurian / Imperial Walker cranes,

to an Edward Hopper evening,

at Tom Dean's Oakland Opera Theater for G.F. Handel's Agrippina, in a staging and partially lyrical update (Nero's arias in G. [another one!] W. Bushese) as follows:

Nero / G.W.B.
Agrippina / Barbara Bush
Claudius / George H.W. Bush
Otho / Bill Clinton
Poppea / Monica Lowinsky
Pallas / Dick Cheney
Narcissus / Donald Rumsfeld

with an all-star cast of singers, instrumentalists, and crew, including Jennifer Ashworth as Poppea / Monica (our June years ago for the Henry Miller in Brooklyn Fresh Voices shows), keyboardist Skye Atman (one of the electric harpsichordists for Dioclesian / Diocletian), and Kristin Brown (angel, etc., in Sex and Delilah this past month o' [rather than character o' above] June)

Home thereafter, with another orchestrated page of Esther Xerxes: VIII. DUETTO - "What is it" (Esther and Xerxes).

Friday, July 24, 2009

July 24 - Some Days

Some days you get on the freeway and it's backed up for miles, and you stop for a newspaper -- any newspaper -- and they're out, and both money machines at the bank are down sorry for the inconvenience, and a two-lane road that's never jammed in the direction you're going at this time of the day suddenly is, so you say, well, at least I can take a picture, and, after a third bout of slow vehicles,

the car dealership may or may not be able to provide a loaner car in a couple of weeks -- but at least the dry cleaning's finally turned out right -- and the six-month rental for the post box is due -- but another bank machine works such that the balances look right after a few days of relative weirdness -- and a favorite Mexican restaurant is suddenly too crowded to accomodate, so

it's time to head over the water towards increasing East Bay fog,

to a long-lost Indian spot -- getting one's goat (curry) literally, and far from figuratively, with serene bansuri and sitar music against a counterpoint of Debussy First Arabesque ringtones and 93,000,000 miles sun,

heading out in the light knifing through the low stratus,

to Diablo Valley College to record instrumental version of

Esther Xerxes: VII. "If anyone"

returning home to begin the orchestration of VIII. "What is it" -- thinking yes, some days are ever with us, regardless of time and place -- no complaints...