Saturday, November 30, 2002

I didn't go to the contra dance tonight, as I found myself thoroughly engrossed in reading the diary of my great-grandfather, Jude Riddle. My uncle Jim, the Waldon family historian, just send out another batch of CDs with scanned photos and documents of various kinds, including the diary Grandpa Jude kept for two years when he was in WWI. It's really interesting to read, though it's a bit hard on the eyes to decipher his handwriting through 85 year old ink, so it's rather slow going. It's fascinating to have a little window into the past like this. I especially enjoy the language difference, how he uses words like "dandy," and expressions like "I love him like so many rattlesnakes." Here are a few excepts I liked:

"Some of the men had never seen a plane before and they nearly twisted their necks off."
- Nov. 2, 1917

"Later in the evening we had an inspection by Col. May. As he came thru, I was standing beside the aisle, at attention. He stopped in front of me and for a moment I thought he'd recognized me and was going to extend the glad hand. Instead he said 'How long since you have had a bath?' I told him, and he walked on."
- Dec. 15, 1917 (This one struck me as rather James Thurber-like.)

"Happened to ask me a bunch of technical questions and I answered them right off the reel. Made a dandy good impression."
- Apr. 15, 1918

"About six big whiz bangs landed close to us, raising particular hell with things in general, before we had a chance to move either way."
- Aug. 6, 1918

Friday, November 29, 2002

I have now read all four of the currently-existing Harry Potter books in Spanish. I had actually forgotten a lot about book 4, so it was quite exciting to read all over again. It made me want to finish the last 7 chapters all in one go, however, which took all evening. My brain is tired. I wish J. K. Rowling would spit out that next book sometime soon. It's been over two years.

In other news, I had a very nice Thanksgiving yesterday, with Mom, Monee, Pa, Paul and Curtis. I also brought home plenty of leftovers, which I will probably be eating for several days. Monee's applesauce and apple pie were the first to go, though. Wow, that stuff is good.

Thursday, November 28, 2002

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

I've been figuring out how to record myself playing mandolin on my computer. If anyone's interested, here's an mp3 (1.5 MB) of The Third of April, the tune I wrote for Quena.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Mom and I just had a wonderful weekend up in Oregon with Lacey. Pictures are here. Lacey pointed out that she and I had never gone so long (5 months) without seeing each other. Wow.

We spent yesterday afternoon at Lacey and DeMara's apartment making yummy things like corn chowder and hot crossed buns. They've got a lovely little apartment but they'll only be there for a little while longer. Then DeMara's coming back to Stanford and Lacey's finding another place.

Saturday night we went to the Portland contra dance which was absolutely awesome. KGB was down from Seattle so the music was fantastic, and there were lots of good dancers there. There were even a lot of college students. I wish we could get more students to come to contras around here.

This morning we went to see the new Harry Potter movie. That was very enjoyable, but I won't say too much for those of you who haven't seen it yet. I notice, though, that when I watch a movie of a book I know pretty well, I don't so much form an overall impression of it as I just accumulate lists of details and how they relate to what was in the book and what was in my head.

After the movie we went to Powell's bookstore, which is now one of my favorite places in the world. They have something like 1.5 million new and used books. It is absolutely amazingly enormous. You have to take a map when you go in. I could have spent all day there. Heck, I would have brought a sleeping bag and just stayed for weeks, or until they kicked me out.

In the evening we had a short visit at Hugo's new apartment, and a little bit of music time. Then Lacey drove us back to the airport and sent us home. Sleepy now....

Saturday, November 23, 2002

I'm going to see Lacey! Huzzah!

Friday, November 22, 2002

Dancing wins. I won't stay very late, though.

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Dilemma: Do I go to the Swing Kids dance tonight or do I go to bed early so I can be in San Jose at 7:30 tomorrow morning for my plane to Oregon? Hmmm.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Happy Birthday Grant!

I hadn't heard from Grant for a while (my fault as much as his) but I e'mailed him today for his birthday and found out that he has a blog also (Grant's Rants) so I spent some time reading it. Very Grant-like, just like old times. (I don't recommend reading it unless you know him and know what you're getting into, though. You have been warned.) Sometimes I think he's about as different from me as it's possible to be. Sophomore year, when we roomed together, we made long lists of opposite qualities, under our names on the door. Optimist/Pessimist, Happy/Sad, Love/Hate, Morning Person/Night Person, Mac/PC and plenty of others. On the other hand, I think we're really similar in a lot of ways, too. Otherwise we wouldn't have become friends. It's as if we each just put opposite faces on our personalities, but somewhere underneath there's a core of similarity. Anyway, living with him in one room sort of drove me crazy (no offense, Grant), but I miss having him around now that he's back on the East Coast again and going to Duke.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Volunteering at the library is always more interesting when more people show up. These things always go in cycles, depending on how many people have tutors at any given time, but tonight was better. It's fun hearing some Spanish going by, too, and seeing how much of it I can understand. I don't get to practice speaking it much, though, since most of the people are there to learn English, after all. Georgina also had her little daughter there tonight. She's about 5 or 6 and we had some fun looking at a big map of the world. I had to explain to her why we couldn't see East Palo Alto on it, though. :-)

Monday, November 18, 2002

I had another temp job today. Pretty mundane stuff, but it's something at least. I'm back there again tomorrow, but probably not for much longer. Tonight I've got a lesson with one of my music theory students, which is a more interesting way to make money.

By the way, for those who haven't heard, here's the Grandpa Marsh update: He's been home from the hospital for a little while now and various friends and family have been visiting a lot. He's frustrated at being stuck in a wheel chair but he's gradually getting better and stronger, so we're glad for that.

Oh, and there's one other exciting piece of news: Mom and I are going to visit Lacey this weekend! Yay! It will be a very quick trip, up on Saturday morning, back Sunday evening. But I'll get to see my long-lost sister again! Happy happy.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Fun dancing this weekend. I realized that, as of Friday, I had gone two whole weeks without dancing at all, which is a lot for me. But maybe it was a good break. The Berkeley Friday Night Waltz was a lot of fun, and, while dances are always fun, it was the first one in a while where I danced the whole time and ended up feeling satisfied rather than saturated, and didn't feel like I stayed up too late, even though it was past my bedtime.

Last night was the Ragtime Ball at Stanford, and Quena came down from Davis for it. It was good to get to dance with her again. And Jessica came for a little bit, the first time I'd seen her at a dance in ages. I'd missed dancing with her, too (she was my partner for Opening Committee the last two years). And DeMara even came all the way down from Oregon for the weekend! Most exciting indeed! So overall, the theme of the night was getting to dance with good friends I don't see very often, and it made me very happy.

Friday, November 15, 2002

The Stanford Music library is having a book/sheet music/LP sale today outside Braun. For $4 I got books of Chopin scherzi and fantasies, "65 World Famous Waltzes," essays on piano music, and two volumes of theory lessons, to get ideas for my own teaching. Not bad.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Today I had my first temp assignment. It didn't involve doing very much, though. Basically, this small company was having a tax auditor come in, but the people who work there are never actually in the office, so they wanted someone in there to sort of hold down the fort. Not much real work. So in terms of money per hour I didn't make much, but as far as money per effort goes, it was great. I wouldn't have paid me to do it, but I'm not arguing. The job was originally going to be for three days, but the auditor didn't know if he'd actually have to come back and if he did it wouldn't be this week, so it turned out to just be a one-day thing. Oh well, it's something, and that's better than nothing. The office is in someone's home, and the most exciting part of the day was getting past their dogs, which were small but ferocious.

Monday, November 11, 2002

This amused me: according to the Stanford magazine, Giancarlo Aquilanti is going to be the new musical director of the LSJUMB (the Stanford Band). The article says that he "is not responsible for policing the unpredictable ensemble, but he is attempting to teach members how to read music. 'I hope that their interest will begin to shift to music and that they will think of themselves more as a musical group than a social event,' he says. 'But that may be a few years off.' " Good luck :-) I had Prof. Aquilanti for 4 or 5 music classes over several years. One of my favorite quotes is from Music 23, when he said "Everything, once it is explained, is really pretty dumb. Think of the guy who invented the wheel...."

Sunday, November 10, 2002

I was having a pretty blah day yesterday, and I ended up not going to the contra dance in the evening because I didn't feel like dancing, though I suppose it might have cheered me up. I tried to do various other things, like reading, writing, playing music, even writing a new tune, but I couldn't concentrate on anything. So I finally just went on a long walk and then went to bed, where I had weird dreams. Blah. We'll see if I feel any better today.

Saturday, November 09, 2002

Last night I watched the first Harry Potter movie with Tina. That was fun to see again, though I had forgotten how much of the book they had to leave out. I'm looking forward to the second movie, coming out next week.

After the movie, Tina was going over to an Opening Committee party in Kimball, so I stopped by too, to pretend to be an Opener again for a little bit. Some people were experimenting with various kinds of lifts and dips for the choreography (or not). I got to try being on the lifted end of a waltz lift with Kari, and that was fun. Then George decided to do a shoulder lift with me, and Brian got an amusing picture of that. (Brian has some other pictures of the party, as well.)

Monday, November 04, 2002

My Stanford yearbook arrived today. It's nice, but I wish I had gotten one from 2001, my original year. A lot of my friends aren't in this one. I was also annoyed that they put the entire sports section in color but not the senior portraits. Oh well. My picture is pretty horrid anyway. I was not happy that day and they wouldn't let me reuse the photo from the year before. And they left out my home town and my major for some reason. At least they spelled my name right. I didn't see much about dancing in there, either. I would have thought Viennese Ball would have made it in at least, especially since it was the 25th anniversary, but no.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

I had a very good time with Quena in Davis yesterday and today. It's a wonderful place, and a very Quena-sort of place, so I'm glad she's there. We spent all Saturday afternoon walking around the UC Davis campus, which was a lot of walking but very fun. It's beautiful around there, with all sorts of wonderful trees. Unfortunately, we couldn't find any of the fistulated cows, which I really wanted to see, but I'll try again another time.

On Saturday evening we visited Quena's friend Anna at a local co-op where they were having a Day of the Dead celebration. There were 30 or 40 people there, with lots of costumes, candles, drums, noise-makers and a couple giant, decorated skulls and coffins. After dark, we all marched off in a big parade to the cemetary. Once there, we formed a large circle and made sure everyone had a candle. We had a moment of silence and then some time when everyone could take turns calling out the names of loved ones who had died. Then we resumed the festivities and paraded back to the co-op, where we had a burrito potluck and a drumming circle.

We had a nice, leisurely morning today, and made french toast and fruit compote for a very excellent breakfast. I also got to meet Quena's housemates Kristen and Naomi, and also their cat, dog and some of the snakes. All in all, it was a very nice weekend. Here are a few random photos.

Saturday, November 02, 2002

I'm off to Davis to visit Quena! I'll be back sometime Sunday afternoon or evening. I'll have my cell phone along if anyone needs to get a hold of me.

Friday, November 01, 2002

I spent some time out on the front porch last night with housemates Cheryl and Michael, distributing candy to trick-or-treaters, so that was pretty fun. I like snacking on candy and guessing what little kids are dressed up as. I severely offended a Legolas, though, by calling him Robin Hood. I suppose it's always important to remember what movies have come out in the past year when you're guessing costumes :-) I didn't see any Harry Potters, though, strangely enough.

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Friday Night Waltz tonight! Always one of my favorite dances.