Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Look! Up in the Sky!

Dinah Moe did a nice job at the POC agility demo at York Days. Greg reported that when Dinah stepped into the ring, all of the kids at once whispered, "Ooooh, there's Shaggy."

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Same Boulder, Different Mountain

Maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part, but half the Twitter entries I've submitted lately have had something to do with making progress. Not that I haven't made any, but the list ahead is still so long, and the available time and energy to get stuff done seem to shrink more all the time. I'll get to it all when I get to it, but I sure wish I had a little more downtime coming to me first.

Seamus got his summer haircut...

...and he's loving it. He didn't wiggle all over the house with joy the way Charlie does when he comes home from his summer "shearing," but he seems happy and comfortable. I didn't want to clip his lovely coat, but there's no need to keep him in show coat. He'll be appropriately shaggy again by the time we start having cold weather again. In the meantime, Dinah has nothing left to pull, so she's not ripping his hair out by the mouthful at mealtime.

I feel guilty that I haven't done as much with the dogs this summer as I'd hoped. I had high hopes of working with Seamus and Dinah every day. Seamus's next rally trial isn't until the end of September, but we haven't been to a class in ages and we're probably both rusty. Dinah would be farther along with agility and obedience if I'd just take more time with her, too. It just seems that by the time I've finished with everything else, it's already dark outside and I've already blown my last wavering unit of energy.

Ta-Daaa! (Sort Of)

I actually do have some knitting news to report, but nothing one would call a huge triumph. I finished the Gigli scarf for my friend Susannah after months of just staring at the yarn and willing myself to knit. The bad news is that the scarf is barely more than an ascot, and I need to find more of that particular ribbon yarn. I'm hoping there's some left in the bargain bin at Marden's where the other two balls came from. Otherwise, I'm going to need to get imaginative with what I have.

I'm off to do a little data entry for the Seacoast Democrats this afternoon. They turned out to be better at not taking no for an answer than I was at saying no, so now I volunteer for them a couple of times a week. The work itself is easy and doesn't last long, plus I don't have to call people or knock on doors. It's not that I couldn't find more uses for the couple of hours I spend with them, but it helps everyone a little -- and a change of scenery is often helpful, too. It's not exactly a week in the mud bath at a mountaintop spa, but it'll just have to do for now.

The Long Wait: Almost Over

If you go back through my posts about Greg's Sax Quartet, you'll probably come up with a long string of dates and delays and changes and things. The recording session for his piece was first scheduled to happen over a year ago. First, the recording engineer at Town Hall came down with Lyme Disease and was too ill to do the session. Then, tragically, he was killed in a traffic accident while riding his bicycle. Richard and the folks at Capstone Records had to find a different venue, and finally settled on a recording studio in the city.

Anyway, the expected dates are now August 4-6. Greg's is the last piece on the CD to be recorded, so everything after this is production. The New Hudsons recorded Lukas Foss's piece at his home in NYC, and they had completed everybody else's pieces before then.

Still no word as to the actual release date, but I'll keep everyone posted.

More Music News

Greg just saw an announcement yesterday for 21st Century Masterworks, Volume 15. I forget whether this was the volume his Water Suite -- the one recorded in Prague last year -- was supposed to appear on, or whether he's been placed on an earlier volume -- but no matter. It's due out shortly, and I can't wait to hear it.

The CDs from the June ACA concerts have arrived, but I haven't had a chance to listen to them yet and Greg himself has probably only had time to listen once. The New York Virtuoso Singers did a brilliant job with both pieces at the performances, and Greg mentioned that the recordings are so well miked and so well balanced that you can hear the colors of the music even better than you could sitting in the hall that night.

Thouros and Phosphoros, his cantata based on a story from Ovid's Metamorphoses, is true to its source and undergoing some metamorphosis of its own. Greg said yesterday that the more he works on the piece, the less he wants there to be solos in it. I suggested that he try soli -- having a group of voices sing the various parts of the dialogue -- and he thought he'd try that. The instrumentals are compelling, at least in the fragments of the opening parts that I've heard.

Greg's been so busy with music in Second Life that I don't really hear much about what he's been doing in First Life. The first virtual concert went off wonderfully, and I was relieved that my avatar (the emergency backup soprano) didn't have to get up and sing. Not that virtual people have stage fright, but I'd only had five minutes' worth of practice with the singing animations used to make my avatar look alive on stage.

Anyway, he was pleased with the reactions from that concert. Someone had mentioned to him that he'd had no idea that classical music in SL had attained that degree of professionalism. Greg means to get together with Joe and Tony (two of the other composers on that concert program) and put together another concert soon. He has also been considering doing a few piano concerts as soon as he can work out the logistics of playing from the Yamaha in the living room.

Classical music is still pretty much a wide-open frontier in SL. There are a few classical performers playing in-world, and a very few professional classical composers presenting their original works. The opportunities for growth and exposure in SL are still practically limitless -- and the startup costs to become an impresario in SL are infinitely lower than they are in RL. Someone had pointed out that unlike the real world, they are still making more land in SL -- so it's still possible to build your own concert venue and sponsor performances there.

Greg has had a MySpace page for ages, but is just now starting to get into using Facebook, Twitter, and other modern ways of keeping in touch. Drop by and visit his pages sometime! The MySpace page has music samples.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hitting the Pause Button

Some one of these fine days, I'm going to take a vacation that's really a vacation. It'll be one of those trips where everything is strictly voluntary: no deadlines, no place to drive to, and nothing else to do at sunset but open the chardonnay. Sounds sweet, doesn't it? Pardon me a second while I note that in my calendar so I'll be reminded to relax sometime in the near future.

Not that Dinah and I didn't have a good time on our last dog-show trip, but we didn't really have time to do a lot of sight-seeing, or even relaxing. I can't believe I even went past both of Mary Maxim's locations (Canadian and US) and didn't stop by to look for bargain prices on sock yarn.

Anyway, you can read about our road trip on my other blog. Let's catch up on everything else here.

Still, No Knitting

The knitting trough continues. It's hard to get up the desire to pick up needles and wool when the temperature is 87 degrees out with 97% humidity. Maybe things are looking up, though. I've started lusting after sock yarns in catalogs again.

From World's Fair to Mid-Air

The Second Life 5th Birthday (SL5B) celebration went very well for Greg, who was able to chat with musicians, music lovers, and anyone else who stopped by to visit his exhibit. When Dinah and I left for Canada, he was still running 4-5 simultaneous chat windows and muttering about streaming.

After the exhibit concluded and he left his thank-you graphic on the communal plot, he couldn't help but feel a little sad. He'd been wildly busy, sure, but he already missed the chance to hang out and talk music all day with people. He wasn't sure what to do with the exhibit building, or with any of the media he'd set up.

Marie, whom we met in real life in Portland a while back, recently gave Greg a plot of virtual land the exact size of the exhibit. (Actually, she sold it to me for $0, since I have a premium account and can own land.) The land is not situated in the right orientation for the building, so Greg made it into a skybox and stuck it 350 meters above ground. There's a teleport at ground level to take visitors up into the sky. The view of the mountaintop is lovely, as long as you shorten your draw distance to block out the ad farms and space junk. Hey, we can't gripe about the price, and the neighbors we've met are very nice people who also lament the ad farms. Giving us a plot of land was an easy way to preserve a little green space.

Frankendoggie Begone

No one is happier than Charlie that he's healed up from his last surgery. The sutures are out, he's growing some hair over the shaved parts, and now he's back in the dirt and having himself a good time. The vet reported that all but one of his lumps were cysts. The last one was what he referred to as a "spindle cell tumor," but he thinks he removed it with good enough margins so the chances of its growing back are low. Those tumors tend to be slow-growing and pretty much encapsulated, which is good news.

Now it's time to clip Seamus down. The poor little guy has a beautiful, long, thick coat, but the little princess has been systematically ripping out all the hair on the right side of his face so that he's become a semi-Beardless Collie. Maybe after a summer of having nothing to pull, she'll learn to leave him alone.