Monday, June 20, 2011

That Which Fires the Imagination

Out of the frying pan and into... oh.
As nice as it is to have a platform like this blog to pontificate and excoriate, I always have to think at least twice about what I put up -- if not more than twice.  Each day that passes brings additional people to the blog.  It's been a long time since the days when I could identify the visitors ("Visit count up by one.  Must've been mom.")  I've made a conscious decision not to blog about work, just as I made a decision that I didn't want to blog about my trombone students.  Blogging directly about acquaintances is on the same blacklist.  This is what is known as a fortuitously prescient idea.

But now my issue is mainly that I've been in an incredibly irascible mood for quite some time.  A significant portion of what people do and say around me really gets on my nerves.  I haven't figured out if it's because the world has gotten just a little bit more annoying or if a problem in me.  Generally, if you have to blame the world AND everyone else for being different, it's not actually them that are the problem.  Occam's Razor: it's not just for breakfast anymore!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dated Dating Accomidation

"But what will YOU eat?"
It's become something of a sticking point at work that when any group of greater than one person is trying to decide where to go for lunch, much precious time is lost in the deciding.  It's much the same with any group of friends: rarely is their anyone so confident in their preferences that they state that we "must" go somewhere.  Nobody wants to give the first suggestion and then be shot down.  Inevitably, we all stand around being overly accomidating, telling each other we'd happily go anywhere and that it "doesn't matter."

I had a similar experience with a woman I was joining for dinner recently.  She is a vegetarian -- I know this from previous conversations where she makes plain that she doesn't eat meat.  This isn't really a problem for me: I don't eat meat by "design", merely familiarity.  It's not a food that I particularly need to have at each meal.  My breakfasts usually never contain meat, and the other two meals depend largely on what I cooked or prepared.

In any case, I took this as an opportunity to try a restaurant in Kansas City called "FÜD", pronounced "food".  You know it's got to be good if you have to tell people how to pronounce it!  It's a restaurant that prides itself on being local and organic and vegan.  What better place to take a vegetarian date?

Thursday, June 09, 2011

WiFi? BecauseFi!

The U.N. issued a report a few days ago that asserts that -- under the umbrella of free expression -- internet access is a basic human right.  It's largely a commentary on the role that the internet has had in stirring up and organizing the populations involved in the so-called "Arab Spring" outbreak of democratic action in the Middle East.

When I traveled to Europe two weeks ago, I debated whether or not to bring some electronic gadgets.  Should I bring my netbook?  It's small and practically disposable, has good battery life, and allows the offloading of photos, checking of email, posting of blog entries, etc.  Should I bring my phone?  It won't work on the European cell systems, but it does have WIFI and could be pressed into service as a pocket portable internet gateway, should I find some Burger King that has free connections.  Should I bring my tablet, which in between the two: too large to fit in a pocket, too small to do much typing?

In the end, I brought nothing.  That allowed me to avoid bringing voltage adapters or sponging off someone else's adapters.  It made it straightforward to move through airport security, allowing them to focus on other bizarre things I was bringing, such as the two extra trombone mouthpieces in my carry-on.  This choice meant that, as with the previous FCBB tour in 2009, I had no internet connection to the world abroad.  I could still watch TV every day, still see newspapers, still hear the radio, of course.  But the personalized level of the internet (seeing MY news, seeing MY mail, seeing MY favorite sites) was impossible.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

FCBB Euro Tour 2011

Fountain City Brass Band was on tour for the end of May and the beginning of June.  We returned yesterday and I promptly went to sleep.  This morning I woke at 3am, and I'm now working my way through a pile of notes and journal entries taken.  Here are some recollections: