My mom packed for a long stay, but my dad and I had to play things by ear and—in a move classified by leading scientists as "pretty stupid"—packed incredibly lightly. I didn't pack my retainer, which I wear every other night to keep my teeth straight after my year+ with early teen braces. I didn't even bring along another pair of pants.
And so it came to pass that the surgery meant that one (or two) of us would have to stay with her more or less constantly until her discharge. With her house ten minutes from the hospital, it became obvious that we would have to move into her house for the time being.
At 10:00, after watching the latest episode of Doctor Who on the TV in her hospital room (albeit on mute, so I'll still be avoiding spoilers until I can watch the repeat next week), my dad and I left and went back to her house, where he expressed the concern I'd been feeling all day but hadn't yet mentioned: we needed our things, and the round-trip drive would take over two hours.
Well, my parents and I are on three different shifts: my dad is first-shift, myself, second, and my mom, third—just as she was in her days as a nurse. Usually this only leads to my dad complaining about how we all need to get on better cycles, but today, it worked to our advantage.
With my dad too tired to drive and us really needing supplies from our house, we set out, driving a little over an hour up to our house, loading the car up with foodstuffs and clothes and toiletries and my electric piano (composing deadlines wait for no one), and then driving back, arriving back at my grandmother's house a little after 1:30 AM.
It was, in the words of my dad, "the dumbest thing we've ever done."
I respectfully disagree with him, but all the same, it was not the most well-thought-out plan we've ever put into action.
My activity has and will remain sparse for a while, as will (likely) my emotions. It's been a very long day in the midst of an even longer week.
This wouldn't be much to write about except for the fact that she is legally blind and she played a piece by ear that most college piano majors couldn't sight-read. In addition, she is slightly autistic, and shy around people, which made it all the more shocking to her teacher when she told her that she wanted to talk to me after the recital was over. It was there that I learned her story, including her new goal: to learn the piece I performed. (Her teacher, more familiar with the technical demands of the Concord, tried in vain to contain her enthusiasm.)
I found it a heartwarming human-interest story for many reasons, but I thought rather little of it as 2013 ended and 2014 began. But a new year brought with it another recital - this one sponsored by a different music club and featuring many of the same faces. I finished a rousing Brahms waltz and Gershwin's enigmatic Impromptu in Two Keys, but the star of the show was once again the young prodigy, who in a span of a few months taught herself to play the violin and perform a fairly technical piece complete with double stops - something she figured out how to do herself.
I congratulated her at the reception following the recital and - although she could barely see me - remembered my performance that past November and reiterated to her teacher her immense desire to learn that movement of the Concord. The conversation turned to her skill at jazz improvisation, which she and her teacher demonstrated on a rickety baby grand in the church basement the reception was held in. The next thing I know, I'm in the mix too, and we're playing a six-hand arrangement of a tune that the prodigy was improvising. It was, quite easily, some of the most fun I've ever had at the piano.
On the drive back, I thought intently about the way the recital had gone and decided to write some piano music to dedicate to the young prodigy. After wondering about structure, I decided to go with a 23-piece suite, roughly arranged by technical difficulty. With no other major compositional projects on my hands at the time, I knocked out 18 pieces between January and April. Another piece, which I wrote for my honor society's graduation ceremony, became the 19th piece (and one of my favorites).
I put it on the back burner during the third Great American Road Trip and it remained there through the summer's composition workshop (where I premiered eight of the suite's pieces) and then through the always-tiring BrickFair (#teamfarmanimals). Last month, most of my time was spent orchestrating one of my pieces for a local youth orchestra contest. If my entry wins, it'll be played and recorded - let's just hope the music director doesn't have any qualms with its difficulty. (I submitted it today - wish me luck!)
With another (much larger) orchestral piece progressing smoothly, I have returned my focus to the final movements of this suite, knocking out two more pieces over the past week.
I have two more pieces to write and edit while I'm putting all 23 into notation software, then editing all of the music so it can be compiled into a PDF, then printed and bound, all before November 2nd.
Why November 2nd?
That just so happens to be the next recital, almost a year to the day since I performed part of the Concord Sonata. This time, I'm playing Sunset by Frank Bridge, and The Tides of Manaunaun by Henry Cowell. (My piano teacher took a class from Cowell back in the day - to quote him, "it was a counterpoint class, but he didn't teach counterpoint so much as blow his nose into a handkerchief he never washed."
At the recital, I'm also giving her (and her teacher) a copy of the finished score. I'm expecting the final total to be somewhere around seventy-five pages of music, although with double-sided printing this number would obviously be halved.
I don't know why I stayed up so late writing this when I should either be sleeping or composing.
I've always been one to really notice when other people don't use proper grammar. I blame my mother for this. To us both, seeing something grammatically incorrect is like hearing fingernails being dragged across a blackboard.
Yet over the years we've both been put into a great many positions where this has caused problems. It mortifies me when I look back at tracts of writing and find errors, and I'm one to extensively rewrite and proofread everything I write - blog posts, e-mails, even texts in the few instances where I've written them. Heck, I just rewrote the entire previous sentence out of a mix of habit and compulsion.
Part of this stems from a kind of perfectionism that I've had to overcome in order to finish any creative endeavor I've ever undertaken. Part of it is as I've recounted - a lifelong obsession with proper grammar. But truth be told, I think a lot of it has come from not wanting to look like a fool on the Internet, which is a vast, wonderful, and occasionally scary place where first impressions mean a lot more and false information travels with the same speed as fact.
Grammar is supposed to make language clear, concise, and intelligible. We may be able to understand simple language devoid of grammatical rules, but the ability to truly and deeply understand nuances in a society without grammar is tantamount to impossible. Even with the seemingly arbitrary rules which grammar provides for us, there is the possibility for misunderstanding. That's another slice of the equation for me - a fear of being misunderstood. All too often I fear as if this has worked against me, almost as if my compulsion to refine and rewrite actually decreases my overall clarity.
This is why there is nothing like talking to someone face to face. Writing is full of pitfalls of miscommunication and misunderstanding, regardless of grammar. Body language and tone of voice communicate far more than words can alone, and what would otherwise be an ambiguous sentence in text can be as clear as a midday sky with tone of voice and perhaps a few well-placed hand gestures.
That said, much of grammar is an exclusively textual thing. It's technically not right to end sentences with prepositions as much as it's technically not right to split infinitives, but this is how we talk. I do it far more than I can even keep up with because, for all my inclination for noticing these kinds of errors, they are so deeply ingrained into the way we speak that they go past my ears without That Part of my brain catching them.
I have gotten better at this, I think. Other's grammatical shortcomings don't bother me nearly as much as they used to, although I tend to squirm internally every time someone screws up the usage of "well" and "good." Grammar takes the role of guidelines rather than rules - important, to be sure, but not the be-all end-all by-the-book my-way-or-the-highway set of rigid rules that must be followed.
Part of this was my realization that the world won't change, especially since I've never been one to point out another's grammatical mistakes unless a) I've turned into a jerk after a very bad day, or b) someone says something so incontrovertibly and unbelievably stupid that pointing out typos and grammar flaws becomes a mere bullet in a round of ammunition, which I proverbially load if I so choose. Otherwise, since I wasn't trying to fix what I saw as a relatively minor (but annoying) issue, it was an internal problem.
But back to my opening point: perhaps I'm wrong about all of this. Perhaps my view of grammar, though evolved from an admitted high horse, is still too high of an expectation. Perhaps I've spent too much time on the Internet where folks don't have qualms about not capitalizing their sentences or ending them with punctuation. If my position had never evolved at all, I'd be unable to enjoy half of the things I do - heck, I'd be incapable of making up any of my status updates (despite the recent claims of a quasi-anonymous member on a popular blogging platform, I maintain that they are hilarious).
I'm not perfect and I've come to realize that many things I thought to be immutable facts all of five years ago are suddenly not. I attribute a lot to those who talk about social justice, and although I have my problems with its surrounding culture, I'd be a lot worse of a person overall if I were still in the dark about those kinds of issues.
My sense of what people should and shouldn't do when it comes to this matter has eroded, as in the examples I mentioned above, but is it wrong of me to ever mention someone's error online if I am unaware of the poster's background? I occasionally provide helpful feedback to members in the Library about grammatical or spelling errors I find, if there is a repetition of the same error, but a) I keep it as helpful and non-confrontational as possible, and b) it is out of not wanting anyone else to be perceived poorly because of a simple mistake. If someone is consistently misspelling a certain word or typing in run-on paragraphs, I feel as if it's part of my duty - especially as a staff member - to help.
There is only one time in recent memory where I chided someone for their grammatical inadequacy, and it was in response to the same quasi-anon I mentioned earlier. In a series of four messages, each less coherent than the last, their grammar deteriorated along with the logic behind their argument. In my responses to these messages, I dedicated scant few sentences - two or three out of veritable walls of text - to examining their lack of grammatical accuracy as a tangential point to my logical deconstruction of their argument. I was not going after them solely because of this, and in fact, I would say that the vast, vast majority of what I wrote pertained to breaking apart a really weird and problematic point of view.
But even in that mere sliver which I devoted to the side-note of pointing out their lack of grammar, did I go too far? Is it a stain on my escutcheon caused by overzealousness in annihilating a harmful point of view?
I don't know, but maybe I was wrong to do so.
And if I was wrong then, perhaps I always have been.
He's the lord of all strangeness. - Ignika: Nerd of Life
How awesome is Sumiki on a scale of 1 to 10? - Waffles
42. - Black Six
[He's] the king of wierd, the prince of practicality, the duke of durr! - Daiker
Sumiki is magic. - Cholie
Sumiki says, "Do I creeeeeeep you out?" Yes, he does. - Waffles
Sumiki is a nub. He's cool, but he's still a nub. - Ran Yakumo
"What is a Sumiki?" You may ask. But the answer to that is still unknown, even to the Sumiki itself. - Daiker
LISTEN TO SUMIKI - Cholie
Sumiki is best snickerdoodle. - Takuma Nuva
BZPower = Sumiki + McSmeag + B6. And Hahli Husky. - Vorex
What's a Sumi? Does it taste good? - Janus
I would have thought Sumiki wanted to reincarnate as a farm animal. - Kraggh
EAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH - Kakaru
Sumiki: the horse_ebooks of bzp - VampireBohrok
Everything relates to Sumiki. No really, everything. - Daiker
Sumiki - hat-wearing ladies man. - Black Six
He's in worse mental condition than I thought. - Obsessionist
I'm just wondering why I'm looking at some cat dancing ... I suppose the answer would simply be "Sumiki." - Brickeens
I was like a beast, screaming through the mind of Sumiki at the speed of sound. I.. I wasn't strong enough to stop myself. What I saw was the end of infinity, through which one can see the beginning of time, and I will never be the same. - Portalfig
I imagine the 13th Doctor will be rather like Sumiki, at the rate we're going. - rahkshi guurahk
I was quite sure Sumiki had another set of arms stashed somewhere. - Bfahome
Note to future self: don’t try to predict Sumiki, he’s unpredictable. - Voltex
Let's be honest, I would totally have picked my main man Sumiki to lead my goose-stepping night killers anyway. We tight like that, yo. - Xaeraz
10/10, would Sumiki again. - Bfahome
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Every week, I post a new "Tuesday Tablescrap", a small MOC not worthy of a topic, but something to post and inspire me to build more.
10/25/11 - Duplo Flower
11/1/11 - Slender Man and Masky
11/8/11 - Bizarre Black Spaceship
11/15/11 - 2001 Monolith
11/22/11 - My Little Slizer 50
11/29/11 - Punching Bag
12/6/11 - Thunder and Escorts
12/13/11 - Three Concepts
12/20/11 - Kaxium Alternate
12/27/11 - None (Christmas Break)
1/10/12 - None
1/17/12 - Volant
1/24/12 - Nidman's Chute Shoop Shop
1/31/12 - None (Brickshelf down)
2/7/12 - None
2/14/12 - Atomic Lime
2/21/12 - Spearhead
2/28/12 - Glatorian Kahi
3/6/12 - Seeker
3/13/12 - Skyscraper
3/20/12 - Microphone
3/27/12 - Toa Vultraz
4/3/12 - Flammenwerferjüngeres
4/10/12 - Umbrella
4/17/12 - Lime Beetle
4/24/12 - Special - Flame Sculpture
5/1/12 - None (BZPower down)
5/8/12 - Purple Ninja
5/15/12 - The Original Sumiki
5/22/12 - 7/24/12 - None
7/31/12 - Tahu
8/7/12 - None (BrickFair)
8/14/12 - Special - Chess Set
8/21/12 - Heavily Armored Wasp
8/28/12 - Spaceship Drill
9/4/12 - Scuba Vehicle
9/11/12 - Orange Guy
9/18/12 - Strange Flying Thing
9/25/12 - Goblet
10/2/12 - None
10/9/12 - Aim .............................. Down
10/16/12 - Gold Bot
10/23/12 - Teal Mech
10/30/12 - Special - Teal Mech (#2)
11/6/12 - Bits and Pieces
11/13/12 - Two Spaceships
11/20/12 - TARDIS Interior
11/27/12 - Christmas Creep
12/4/12 - Toaraga
12/11/12 - Fireplace
12/18/12 - Abstract Duckling
12/25/12 - None (Christmas)
1/1/13 - Black Bot
1/8/13 - 1/22/13 - None
1/29/13 - Handheld Rhotuka Launcher
2/5/13 - 8/6/13 - None
8/13/13 - The Hinklebot
8/20/13 - Special - Post-Apocalyptic Piyufi
8/27/13 - 8/5/14 - None
8/12/14 - Another Chro Original
8/19/14 - Kanohi Zatth
8/26/14 - Miniland Hatpile
9/2/14 - S. S. Starfish
9/9/14 - Special - Claude Hairgel
9/16/14 - Green Flame
9/23/14 - Avohkah Tamer
9/30/14 - Special - The Havoc Wreaker
10/7/14 - Fire Snake
Formerly known as the Bring Back Teal Club, the Unused Colors Society is a club that serves to promote colors that are little-used or discontinued, such as teal, old purple, or metallic blue.
Akuna Toa of Sonics
Popup2: The Camel
~System Of A Down~
Thunder on the Mountain
Toa of Vahi
WORT WORT WORT
Toa Kuhrii Avohkii
Toa Neya 2011 Edition
~prisma son of dawn~
.: WoLVeRINe :.
The Great Forgetter
Thomas the Tank Engine
Oh my miru
Element lord Of Milk.
Lexuk Toa Of Insanity
Michael J. Caboose
Lord Kaitan de Storms
Toa of Dancing
The Oncoming Storm
Toa of Pumpkin
Toa Zehvor Blackout
Lord of Ice
Zarayna: The Quiet Light
Vorex: Keeper of Time
Toa of Smooth Jazz
Click to join!
I Haven't Showered in a WeekArc - Oct 22 2014 08:36 AM
I Haven't Showered in a WeekEhksidian - Oct 22 2014 07:44 AM
I Haven't Showered in a WeekThe only ToaD - Oct 22 2014 01:26 AM
I Haven't Showered in a WeekZatth - Oct 22 2014 12:39 AM
I Haven't Showered in a WeekPomegranate - Oct 21 2014 11:49 PM
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If you learn one thing in life, learn this:
You should never, ever question why demons would possess a soda.
just a heads up - Cthulhu would probably eradicate mankind before bringing back Bionicle
so yeah, all I'm saying is, please think twice about this okay
nothing gets democracy flowing like erratic capitalizatION
[the NSA] couldn't say no when I offered them an ostrich farm in exchange
Sumiki -- nice try but we all know Toa Mata Nui stuffs its bra
have we mentioned hats
Shhh, I'm trying to focus on the negative to justify my dislike of history.
Also a long line of really great hats.
You have a great understanding of history, but don't forget, war, murder and other poor decisions are also huge characteristics.
To be fair, I am the one responsible for the invention of Mafia in the 1320s by seventeen bored italians locked in a mine shaft.
It's a long story.