Monday, August 31, 2009

Violin concerto

O.K. Summer is over and it's back to biznezz!

Friday Sept. 4 in the Chapel at Good Shepard, 50th & Sunnyside, 8:00 PM
The world premier of the piano trio version of my concerto for 2 violins and orchestra.

Pianist coming today for the score.
Rehearsal Wednesday.
Performance Friday.

Wagner may have been a jerk or his opinions may have been no more than a reflection of the times, but the "Ring" is an amazing work of art, several arts, as a matter of fact. For me it is probably as close to a religious experience as I'll ever have.
But it's over for another four years, or more likely eight.
We plan on skipping the next one.
But you know what Bobby said about plans.

What was it.....?
"Plans just take the fun out of things"


Doesn't sound right somehow.

Anyway, I don't plan this and look what happens.

I didn't plan the Ophelia collision.

I didn't plan the SSO experience, and...and?

Who nose?

The "Ring"

Is over for this season.


Valhalla is built.
The Builders are cheated.
The ring is cursed.
The Hero is inconceivably conceived.
The sword is made.
The Dragon is dead.
The Hero is screwed.
The Horse is fried.
The Gods are baked.
The Nixies have their gold again.
Valhalla is toast.
The hall is closed up.
The Musicians are on their way home.
If not there already

and I'm going to bed.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bike ride

38.99 miles
3:56:39 hours
9.8 avg speed
31.3 max speed

Got a day off from dealing with the infantile antics of the Gods and the Nibelungen and the Walsings. What a bunch of idiots.
Speight Jenkins says he finds Wotans plight heartbreaking.
Speight is a God himself so I won't argue.
But I'm sure Mr Jenkins never stooped to selling off his family or committing robbery to finance his shows.
I'd believe it of the SSO, of course.
But the main thing that makes me believe in Speight's integrity is that his plans and schemes actually WORK!!!

So anyhow, tomorrow we get to see my favorite meathead, Siegfried.
Siegfried reminds me of my all time favorite product of steroid poisoning, Duke Nukem.

Anyway Siggy is describes by Anna Russel as very big, and very strong, and very brave, and very stupid.

Sound like some kind of Republican whiner, doesn't it?

Except for the "brave" part.

I mean, what is a "conservative" but a twinkletoed twit who pees his pants every time he hears the word "new"

Screw 'em all.

I love the endorphin rush you get from a good bike ride.

Different route today. Instead of turning up to Queen Anne, I waltzed my merry way along the north side of the canal and visited another of my old stomping grounds, Ballard.
And if you think that keeping up a 3/4 meter with only 2 pedal is easy, I invite you to try it sometime.
I headed up 24th to see if Larson's was still there.
It is.
Then turned south on 12th or Jones or whatever it was and looked for my first school.
Went there in '47 - '49.
From there it was a short jaunt south to the house I lived in at the time, 7020 Alonzo.
Then west again to Salmon Bay park where I spent many hours enjoying the facilities, the swings mainly, though Mommy often held my hand.
Then South again past the houses where my sister once lived, where Robin once lived and the Duplex I once owned a piece of.
There is a church on every corner!!!


Surely the world has been saved by now!
Surely the hungry have been fed.
Surely the poor have been aided.
Surely the sick have been healed.
Surely the evil have been shown the error of their ways and welcomed back into the fold.
Surely the infirm, the dazed and confused, the victims of hatred and intolerance have been tended to and shown the mercy of a loving God.

Surely the screwballs have been given right handed threads by now.

I'm alright, though, cause I'm an atheist.
God obviously wanted atheists because, we are!
The thing is, to "believe" is to stop thinking about.
So if you believe, it means you can stop thinking.
God doesn't want that.
So us atheists are the only true believers.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Past present and future

Presently; I'm listening to the chain saws of the Seattle Tree Preservation society wailing away in our back yard. They are clearing some of the overzealous silviana on the slope so it retains the root structure that keeps it all from sliding onto Rainier ave.

Pastly; All I can remember of the week is my Vespa trip to SCCC Wednesday.
Was a nice warm day and Meredith tossed me out of the house earlier than usual, so I had time to wander about a little.
After coffee and croissant at the Queen Anne Starbucks, I took a walk along Q.A. ave from Boston to the Five Spot. Many changes since I lived there.
Drug store where there once was a BP station.
A laundromat now occupies the space Where Burnies (Best hashbrowns in the city) used to be.
Burnie's has moved around the corner and is now called Queen Anne Cafe.

There are some interesting historical photographic displays on the walls of the buildings and a book store where I looked into a large expensive book on the subject of Q.A. history to see if I could find the names anybody I knew, or mine.

Didn't find any so I walked on.

On the other side of the street at the local church, there was an interesting art installation consisting of decorated eight-foot stakes delineating a path one could walk to some ethereal purpose.
I didn't walk it.
Maybe I should have.
Another missed opportunity to connect with the everlasting mysteries of life.

Moped around like a malingering teenager for the rest of the week.
Quite possible due to a headacheless migraine sort of affair.

Last night I had the pleasure of the company of my book group friends for a lively discussion of a show of puppets at the Fry museum. I haven't seen the show, so I just made arch and ironic (my h-crit level is back to spec) comments.

Anything for a laugh.

Also, I spent an inordinate amount of time last week trying to make a rosette for the mandora project. After carefully cutting and gluing together hundreds of tiny pieces of wood, the thing turned out so crappily assembled that there was nothing for it but the scrap heap.

I'll have to think of some other form of decoration, I guess.

Anyway the violin and piano trio is assembled for the performance of the piano reduction of the 2 violin concerto at the composers salon on Sept 4 taking place at the Chapel at Good Shepard (50th & Sunnyside, 8:00 pm)

Futurely; Tomorrow and the Tomorrow after that and two other tomorrows this week we will be visiting a fantastic Schwarzwald, cheating construction companies, killing dragons, burning horses and many other psychological poignant imaginary activities as we once again visit

"The Ring of the Nibelung".

Sixteen hours of heavy Opera.

We mortals may be fools, but the Gods are like totally dis-funk-shun-all.

Can you dig it?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Music humor from the desk of Ann Cummings, pianist extraordinaire

Still too lazy to do any thinking of my own.....

C, Eb, and G go into a bar. The bartender says, "Sorry, we don't serve minors". So Eb leaves, and C and G have an open fifth between them.

After a few drinks, the fifth is diminished and G is out flat. F comes in and tries to augment the situation, but is not sharp enough. D comes in and heads for the bathroom, saying...........

"excuse me, I'll just be a second". Then A comes in but the bartender is not convinced that this relative of C is not a minor. The bartender then notices Bb hiding at the end of the bar and says, "get out! You're a minor and the seventh minor I found in this bar tonight". Eb comes back in the next night in a three-piece suit. The bartender says" You're looking sharp tonight, this could be a major development" Sure enough, Eb Soon takes off his suit and everything else, and is au natural.

Eventually C sobers up and realizes in horror that he's under a rest. C is brought to trial, found guilty of contributing to the diminuation of a minor and is sentenced to 10 years of DS without a coda at an upscale correctional facility. On appeal, however, C is found innocent of any wrongdoing, even accidental

The judge rules that all contrary motions are bassless.

Friday, August 21, 2009


If this lethargic season in my head ever wanes, I shall try to post something of interest.
Until then this is all you get.

Seattle... destined to be the last place on earth to dry up and blow away.

Sorry and good bye.

Monday, August 17, 2009

More Mona

A photographic account of the entire encounter with the only camel on San Juan Island.
That I know of.
The pictures tell the story.

I posted a picture on my Facebook site and got this response from the lady I rode bikes with for awhile. She's ridden the STP (205 miles) in one day.
Run me into the ground.

I met this camel! I didn't know her name! When I saw her for the first time, I imagined the post card she sent to her family back home as reading something like this:
"This is a great place to live. Food grows right out of the ground and water falls right out of the sky."

Cindy Klettke

So anyway, I went back to the blood bank again. My iron count is back. They took a bagful out of my arm and gave me a cookie.

One of the best things to have happened to me in my recent memory is hearing that eating salami is a healthy thing. Thanks to the volunteers at the blood bank.

They call it blood "center" now for some reason that I can't quite fathom. Must everything be drained of it's poetry?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Things to see on SJI

There's more to see on San Juan Island than is dreamed of in our philosophies.

This is Mona. Mona loves blackberries. That's Meredith in the background, picking them and in the middle, hoping Mona doesn't try to eat my shirt, is me.

This is the house of a friend of Robin's. He grows bamboo, makes lovely bridges and grows a great garden.
Made the house, too.

Satchmo, will not be seen because we took not a camera on the walk we took that passed his house.
Satchmo is a bear shaped, bear sized and bear colored dog who sometimes accompanies Robin's walks.
Robin has written a poem.


He sits in the road
for I don't know how long
looking at I don't know what.

On my daily walk
I round the corner
and he's sitting there as usual.

Looking right at me,
he begins to wag his tail.
"Hey, Satchmo," I call.

Because he's eleven
it takes a few secs
to heft his 70 or so pounds.

But once up,
he comes exuberating,
full speed, toward me.

If he were a child,
I'd call it "skipping"
If a horse, "prancing".

But he's a dog,
so I say his happy paws
are "exuberating"!

Big, shaggy and black,
except for the tips of his paws,
which are shaggy and white,

he arrives at my feet and sits,
leaning his full bulk
against my right leg.

His thick, bushy tail
swishes back and forth
across my left shoe

as I skritch his ears
crooning to him about
what a good beast he is.

We are together like that
for awhile, just the two of us
along the winding road.

With perfect synchronicity,
we both tire of each other
at about the same time.

Satchmo, with a last glance
at my face and a final swoosh
of his tail, gets up and

saunters across the road
to read the signpost in the grass
and mark that we were there

I continue up the road
not outwardly skipping
but lifting my inner feet,

pleased with the moment,
the road, Satchmo, myself
and life in general.

-Robin Atkins @ 2009.

My sister's dog, Layla, wrote a poem.

I think not too many animals write poems, or if they do, it's about food, killing other species, and doing things in the neighbor's yard.

Layla was of indeterminate parentage but had the coloring, size and personality of a golden lab, as I recall.

Anyway, my sister translated it, and here it is.

by Layla

The Bitch/ Man
Took us to the
Soft ground
and big wet

We did stick
and dig
and bird go
Muppet played bark

Many smells were ours
The moving nothing was cool
and the soft ground
was warm

There were no NO's
and our tongues laughed

Muppet was another dog in the family, looked like a foot stool.
They were both getting along in years and are now ex canis.

Blogging is a snap when somebody does all the work.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

San Juan Island

We leave early tomorrow for SJI, see the fair, talk to Robin and Robert and have a good time by all.
Today was the use use use usual.
Going to have to change the ritual soon, I expect.
But it is good to have something that resembles a commitment, even if it is only being lazy in a different place.

The latest bit of music to fall out of my head is nearing completion.
six lighthearted pieces for clarinet and piano.
I'll make mp3s soon and post on Facebook.

Other than that.....

Actually I'm getting a bit full of music, and instruments, and the back yard, and computer games.

Wish my volunteering experience hadn't taken a weird turn south.

But what the hay, I'm easy to get along with.
As long as there's still chocolate chip cookies.

Got a new appointment to donate blood.
Feeling a bit more ferrous.

Nobody has ever asked me to donate sweat or tears.

I've been producing a lot of the former lately.

But not the latter.

I'm too white to sing the blues.

I'll leave that to the people know how.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I'm back!!!

O.K. I did ride hang on a sec while I log the specs...

Miles 32.86
Avg spd 10.1
Max spd 37
Time on the trail 3:13:57
Total miles on the new counter 65.1

I would not stop for the stop sign -
Tho it kindly stopped for me -
The motorcycle cop gave -
Some advice to me for free -

Do not do that again she said -
In a stern and serious voice -
Because it is a law young man -
It is not a choice -

So I saluted and capitulated -
And promised never again -
While, in my head, the words ran free -
Fat chance, cutie pie -
Fat chance.

Actually, what she said was "try stopping next time" and I waved and said "OK, I will.
You never know, there might even be some traffic there next time.

I guess I'll have to throw in a picture, jissasec

Heres a bunch of trees;


Beef stew

Be careful where you joke.
Friend of mine posted on her facebook site that she had made beef stew.
I facetiously invited myself for dinner.
The jest has turned into a road trip.
We will be traipsing northward on Thursday for as visit to Friday Harbor and the island fair.

Today, however, I have promised myself a bike trip.
Who knows how that will turn out?

I am not inspired today, I'll look through my pictures to give you all (and y'all)
something worth looking at

Ah, yes the wild days of my youth!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Summer re-runs

It has recently been discovered (by me) that bones continue to grow even after death.
The rate of growth is very small, but bones do continue to process minerals and increase in size over the millennia.
Over a span of 65 million years, bones can make incredible size changes.
What this means to paleontologists, however is significant.
What it means is that dinosaurs were really quite small creatures.
The largest of which were never larger than a medium sized dog.

I have done a large amount of research on the matter and am certain of it's veracity.

Any sore loser paleontologists will just have to learn to live with it.

Friday, August 07, 2009


Another boring day.
Ripped some vines out of the laurel and trimmed the hazelnut.
Went to the store.
Glued the neck to the Mandola (or whatever it is)
I'll go get a picture before I post this.

Ummmm....Getting anxious to ride again.
Guess my hemoglobin is coming back up. Been eating more lately.
It just seems that a day sitting at a computer and fantasizing about things shouldn't need more than a bowl of Cheerios and a couple cups of coffee.

But Whaddwhyknow?

I'll go take the picture now.

Don't go away. I'll be right back.

O.K. here I am again just a sec while I process the pic'

O.K. here we are...

I've decided to make this a 6 string instrument and tune it like a guitar so I can play it using guitar chords and what little I know about playing the thing.

Meredith is making chocolate chip cookies.

I guess I should have taken a picture of the back so you could see the laminated neck.

Hang on a mo'

Here ya go...

The laminations don't show very!

Swayt goes

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

DNA song, recap.

Late last night about to have a fit
Trying to write a new musical hit
Early in the morning, about a quarter to three
Picking on my guitar till my fingers bleed
I couldn't think of what it could be
Till I finally decided I could write about me
So, by golly, I've written an ode
Here it is my own genetic code

Chanted behind and between.....Adenine, Cytocine, Taurine, Guanine,etc

It's a big long string of chemical goo
All mooshed together in a sticky brew
It makes my nose and it makes my toes
And all that gooey stuff inside, I suppose
It makes my head, up under my hat
My brains too, I'm not sure about that
It's what puts my foot in front of my heel
It's what gives me my sex appeal

Chant A,C,T,G, etc

Four basic lumps that come in pairs
Making the hip and making the squares
About a billion or so making you and me
Just a couple more than a chimpanzee
All twisted up in a great long rope
Making the mailman, making the pope
You've got some too, don't feel slighted
Just remember now mine's copyrighted.

I'm running out of new material here.

It's pathetic.

Monday, August 03, 2009


Just got called away from the computer by M who had scheduled an appointment with the blood bank.
So we drove down to Southcenter to donate a couple pints to the bad drivers and gun toters of the world.
Unfortunately for me, I seem to be a bit anemic, from the bike ride I suppose, so they didn't want the stuff.

So now I'm back and just as unfunny as ever.

What's weak this week

Temperature, Wednesday we got to 103, an all time, (since us palefaces got here anyway).


Rest of the week has hovered around 90.
Wednesday was schoolday and I rode the Vespa into town through the oven of downtown air.
At temps over 100 there is no wind chill factor. It would have been great to take off the helmet but I'm afraid the cops would beat the crap outa me for daring to take a chance with my own health.

Actually on the lake Wash bike ride near the end, in the 90 degree heat, I did manage to nod off about three blocks from home and ride into the back of a parked car.
Fortunately I was going about 3-1/2 miles per.
Fortunately also there was no car alarm.
The legally mandated helmet did nothing because my head made contact with nothing.

Whole lotta nothin' goin' on.

O baby

Anyway the clarinet-piano piece is more or less finished (as finished as these things ever get, I suppose)
Only four weeks until the next salon. Margie and Ilkka Talvi have promised to play a piano reduction of the 2 violin concerto for me at that event.
At least, I remember it that way, It could be a dream.
Could also be a dream that the conductor of the Rainier Symphony said they would play the full orchestra version.
That must have been a dream.
But it's something to live on for awhile.

I have been trying to learn how to play the clarinet (it's the instrument I play least worst) but I seem to be too physically uncoordinated, and I can't seem to keep my mind on the task at hand, as in which fingers go where and which fingers come next at the same time as I try to read the (very simple) score I wrote for myself.

Anyway the mandola project progresses. The neck is laminated and mostly carved.
Had a bit of trouble getting the joint between the body and the neck carved.
Got it all fitting nicely then noticed that the neck was not parallel to the body.
Had to shim it up.
At least it's not in a place where it will show when assembled.

The excitement of the Chamber music festival (and the many other excitements of this full month) wanes and starts to dissipate.
Rotting away into a bit of a psychological hangover.

Volatile psychotropic brain chemistry.
High and low.
Love and death.
Winning and losing.
Nobody wants you when you're down and out.
Nobody wants you when you're up and about.
Some days you eat the bear, some days the bear eats you.
Pride goeth before a fall.
Fall goeth before a winter.
The agony of victory, the thrill of defeat.
A war hero in the street with a bottle in a bag.
Agony and ecstasy.
The inevitable.
For every thing there is an anti-thing.
Turn, turn, turn...
For every anti-thing there is an Aunty Florence.
Turn, turn, turn...
For every Aunty Florence there is an antimacassar.
Hubris is on first,
Watts on second and I dunno on third.
Turn, turn, turn...
Off the computer...
Turn, turn, turn...
Off the computer....
Turn it off!


Saturday, August 01, 2009

Bike ride

I tried to ride around the lower half of Lake Washington today but was thwarted by the crowds on the east side of the I-90 bridge.
And the fact that the bridge was closed.
So I turned around making a 25 mile trip into a 32 mile trip.

Also It's hot!!! (90 degree est, it's hotter on the road than on our shaded porch. Shaded porch says 88)

Distance 31.74 miles (my mew counter has tenths of miles but no thermometer)
10.5 average speed (hard to get moving through the throngs of Blue Angel aficionados)
Top speed 34.6
Riding time 3:00:57
Odometer reading 31.8 (I'll have to add that to the old one I guess. Maybe I can set the new counter to show all the miles I've already got.


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