Friday, November 30, 2007

a new option for buying classical music online

Deutsche Grammophon has just opened an online store. They're offering their usual excellent selection of classical albums in 320 kbps MP3 files (the highest quality you can get in MP3 compression) as well as a list of out-of-print records. Most albums are $11.99, which is $2 more than iTunes, but you're getting higher-quality DRM-free files for the extra money. DG is one of the labels that I prefer when I'm shopping for classical music. They get well-known artists and they produce high-quality recordings. I've never regretted a DG album purchase. While I still prefer to get my classical music on CD so I have the physical media, for $11.99 per album I will see what I can dig up on their site.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The worst Steelers game I've ever seen

In 1989, on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the Pittsburgh Steelers played the Miami Dolphins in a rainstorm in Miami. The Steelers were not playing well and were taking on a Miami team with Dan Marino. My father lived in Washington, DC but was in Johnstown for the holiday weekend. He came over to my mom's house to visit with my brother and I for the afternoon. My mother was out for the day and I think my brother, who was not a football fan at the time, spent the afternoon in front of the computer upstairs. My dad and I watched the Steelers game in the back room (the den). Both teams were sliding all over the wet field, but Pittsburgh got all the breaks and won the game 34-14. I'd watched football with my dad before, but this is the first game that I remember watching with him and following the game closely. We had leftover turkey sandwiches for lunch and I remember my dad carving the rest of the meat off the bird, even though it wasn't technically "his" turkey to carve. Since my dad lived in DC and I lived in Johnstown, I didn't get to see him more than once or twice a month, so I remember that I really enjoyed having the afternoon to share the game, some food, and some conversation with him.

When I saw the rain at Heinz Field for last night's game, I remembered that game from 18 years ago and thought about how much fun it would be to see the Steelers dominate an inferior Dolphins squad again. Well, Pittsburgh won again, but it took 59 minutes and a field goal at the end of regulation to do it, with the final score of 3-0. It was absolutely the worst football game I've ever watched. If my team hadn't been playing I would have changed the channel by halftime. It was depressing, boring and nerve-wracking all at the same time. I could have used a hug when it was over.

Monday, November 26, 2007

What I did with my holiday weekend

I handled the roasting of the turkey (my friends brined it for us). I also made cornbread, and we made the gravy a team effort. Thanksgiving dinner was a huge success, even if we ate a bit later than we originally planned.

I made a large batch of homemade granola. It's great with plain yogurt.

I saw Beowulf (not that good, but the 3D was kind of fun) and The Mist (really scary, though Stephen King always does that for me).

I got to spend time with my friends, and endure the Mii-creation process on their Nintendo Wii. They made me a worried Mii.

I watched A LOT of football. Probably way too much.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

NYRO's non-holiday concert: Wagner, Haydn, Shostakovich on December 8

I'm really glad The New York Repertory Orchestra doesn't do "holiday" concerts. There's enough of that around. We're playing a great program of Classical, Romantic, and 20th century compositions in two weeks. Here's the whole scoop from our music director:

Dear Friends of the New York Repertory Orchestra,

I want to wish you the best for this Thanksgiving/Holiday season and invite you to our next concert on Saturday, December 8 @ 8pm.

As always, we continue our tradition of bringing you great music, fantastic soloists, and the exciting music-making of the New York Repertory Orchestra - New York's leading all-volunteer, community-based orchestra!

Our program on December 8 offers a rich and varied program with music by Wagner, Haydn, and Shostakovich. Our soloist (making her NYRO debut) is the world-renowned violinist Christina Castelli (see more below). We look forward to seeing you on the 8th!

Here is more information about the concert:

When: Saturday, December 8, 2007 – 8:00 p.m.
Where: Good Shepherd-Faith Church @ 152 West 66th St. (between B'way & Amsterdam)
Admission: FREE

  • Wagner: Prelude to Act I of “Parsifal”
  • Haydn: Symphony No. 104 in D Major (“London”)
  • Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 1 – Christina Castelli, violin


Here's more about the music we’ll be playing:

The major work on the program will be the Violin Concerto No. 1 by Dimitri Shostakovich. A monumental piece, Shostakovich himself likened it to “a symphony for solo violin and orchestra,” rather than a traditional virtuoso concerto. With its great breadth of expression and brilliantly realized structure it is an epic work of haunting beauty.

Also on the program will be the Symphony No. 104 (“London”) by Franz Josef Haydn. This wonderful piece (Haydn’s final work in the genre) is a delight from beginning to end. Full of high spirits and classical elegance, the symphony was critically acclaimed at its premiere in 1795 for its ”fullness, richness, and majesty in all its parts. [It will] surpass all his other compositions.” In short, one of the masterworks of the symphonic repertoire.

The concert will begin with the Prelude to Act I from Richard Wagner’s final opera Parsifal. The magical Prelude perfectly sets the tone for this “sacred drama” - a mysterious, spiritual journey with music of the most unearthly sublimity. “The musical beauty,” according to composer Claude Debussy, “is incomparable and bewildering, splendid and strong. Parsifal is one of the loveliest monuments of sound ever raised to the serene glory of music.”

About our soloist:

Violinist Christina Castelli is one of today’s most dynamic young soloists. She has won acclaim throughout North and South America, and Europe. A Laureate of the 2001 International Violin Competition in Brussels and the Grand Prize winner of the 1997 William Primrose International Competition, Ms. Castelli has been a featured soloist with major orchestras worldwide, including those of Cleveland, Atlanta, Seattle, Colorado, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, as well as the Belgian National Orchestra and the National Orchestra of Colombia.

So...have a great Thanksgiving and we look forward to seeing you on the 8th of December.

Best regards,
David Leibowitz, Music Director
New York Repertory Orchestra


And mark your calendars for the rest of our exciting season!

February 9, 2008
Schreker: Overture to “Ekkehard”
Farberman: Concerto for Jazz Drummer – Tim Froncek, drums
Sibelius: Symphony No. 3

March 29, 2008
Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks
Ellington: Suite from “The River”
Dvorak: Cello Concerto – Eric Jacobsen, cello

May 17, 2008
D’Indy: Suite from “Karadek”
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor – Anna Polonsky, piano
Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 (“From the New World”)


All Concerts are performed at:
Good Shepherd-Faith Church (152 West 66th Street)
Admission: FREE - 8:00pm

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

A year ago tonight, "a couple of beers after work" turned into an eight-hour drinking binge and ended with me brining a turkey and making gravy while completely bombed. I'm still surprised the turkey was edible. This year, I have a cold that, while mild, is going to keep me from getting totally wasted. I'm going to see Beowulf at 10 PM tonight, so I have a hard cutoff for the drinking anyway. Tomorrow morning I will make cornbread, then take an assortment of pans and cooking implements to my friend Greg's place, where I am once again in charge of roasting the turkey. I look forward to an afternoon of watching football and trying to stay out of the tiny kitchen while everyone else works. The rest of my weekend plan involves more football and cooking things like homemade granola and jambalaya from a box. (Hey, don't hassle me: after all the cooking that will go on tomorrow, I will be glad to throw some andouille and rice in a pot and let it simmer.) After this weekend, it's a mad dash through December until Christmas, so this may be my last weekend to be lazy for a while. Oh, who am I kidding? I can always find time to be lazy.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Lord of the Rings trilogy live-blog

I promised I'd do this when I got my HDTV, and I waited until there was a cold day with nothing else going on to actually do it. I'm watching all three extended editions of the Lord of the Rings movies today. And I'm going to see if I can live-blog the whole thing.

10:30 AM: I just started Fellowship of the Ring. Enjoy Gollum now, we're not going to see him again for four hours. Also, I thought there was a scene in the beginning where Elrond and Isildur were at Mount Doom about to destroy the Ring, when Isildur turns away from the fire. Maybe that's later.

10:43 AM: Bilbo and Gandalf are having bread, cheese and tea, and I'm having oatmeal. Wow, this is shaping up to be a THRILLING live-blog. We'll see how long I keep this up.

10:51 AM: I just noticed that Gandalf wears one of those braided belts that all the white-hat guys wore at Georgetown back in the day. I'm not sure what that says about my favorite wizard.

11:09 AM: Frodo and Sam are off to Bree. Someone I know is trying to talk me into an adventure vacation. I'm not a hiking, getting dirty kind of guy. For some reason, Frodo and Sam walking off into the wilderness looks appealing. Too bad I know how this ends. They get into a lot of trouble.

11:16 AM: Better fight scene: Gandalf vs. Saruman or Count Dooku vs. Anakin Skywalker (the 2nd time)? I like anything involving lightsabers, but seeing two wizards square off is cool. It's always bothered me that a wizard apparently needs a staff to perform magic. Shouldn't Gandalf have some skills that don't require him to be holding his staff?

11:30 AM: It's the "second breakfast" joke, one of my favorites. I think it's time for coffee here.

11:47 AM: Can someone remind me how Liv Tyler got the part of Arwen? Have we heard anything from her since 2003?

11:55 AM: I watched The Matrix last night. I hadn't seen it in years. It's weird to go from scary, creepy Agent Smith Hugo Weaving to elf lord Elrond Hugo Weaving. Maybe tomorrow I'll watch Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and get really freaked out.

12:00 PM: HERE's the scene where Elrond tries to get Isildur to destroy the ring at the Cracks of Doom. Isildur tells him to piss off. Now I remember why Elrond is such a jerk in these movies.

12:12 PM: "The Ring must be cast into the fire from whence it came. One of you must do this." Don't all volunteer at once, people.

12:14 PM: Legolas: "You have my bow." Gimli: "And my axe. Well, my OTHER axe." Yes, I'm reusing jokes from the first time I saw this movie.

And that's the end of disc 1.

12:22 PM: One thing that has always bothered me about Elijah Wood in these movies is that he has a huge neck. He's not a big guy but he's got the neck of a defensive lineman.

And as they leave Rivendell, it's late October or November, but they don't close the windows or put up curtains. How temperate is that place? It must be like Miami there.

12:24 PM: We get the "Fellowship" theme for the first time. It gives me chills.

12:27 PM: Frodo slips in the snow and the Ring on its chain falls off his giant neck. If the elves can make swords that glow blue in the presence of orcs, you'd think they could give him a sturdier chain for the most powerful ring in the world.

12:35 PM: Why do the doors of Moria open to the Elvish word for "friend?" Shouldn't it be the Dwarvish word for "friend?"

This is turning into the live-blog of unanswered questions.

12:43 PM: I've got a 2 PM appointment to look at a friend's computer problems. I hope I'm done with this movie by then. I've already made it clear I've only got an hour or so to work on the computer. I don't want to be up until 3 AM with this thing.

12:48 PM: Sting is glowing blue -- orcs are nearby. Gandalf's sword should be glowing too, since he and Bilbo acquired them from the same weapons stash in The Hobbit and both are Elvish-made.

Incidental super-geeky note: my home PC's network name is Mithrandir, Gandalf's name in Elvish. My iPod is Glamdring, the name of Gandalf's sword. I've got other peripherals with Elvish LOTR names. No, I do not live in my parents' basement, and I have kissed a girl.

1:02 PM: I know Gandalf isn't really dead, but the aftermath of the battle of Moria is so good that I get a little misty anyway.

1:13 PM: In a male-centric universe, the relationship between Galadriel and Celeborn is the only one that is dominated by the female. Arwen and Eowyn, warrior-elf and shield-maiden they may be, but they end up subservient to their husbands. Galadriel wears the pants in that marriage. Cate Blanchett must be used to that, though. She did play Elizabeth I.

1:28 PM: I love Gimli. He's so shy around Galadriel. The gift scene is one of my favorites that was restored in the extended edition.

1:35 PM: It's great that a filmmaker finally found a use for those two giant statues of kings beside that river in New Zealand. It's almost as good as the U.S. electing four men as president who just happened to look like those faces on Mt. Rushmore.

1:50 PM: That's a lot of dead Uruk-Hai. I'm cutting it close, but I think I'll be done by 2.

1:57 PM: Credits. I just made it. Back in an hour or so for The Two Towers.

3:55 PM: I'm back, and The Two Towers is up. By the way, these movies look incredible on my HDTV, and this is with a progressive-scan 480p normal DVD player. I wonder how they would look with an upconverting one. I'm thinking of getting one of those for the holidays, so maybe I'll try this whole event again in February.

4:04 PM: Here's Gollum!

4:06 PM: What an eccentric performance.

4:16 PM: I think employees would take their jobs more seriously if the boss made them swear obedience and cut their hands with a dirty blade in a special ceremony on the first day. It could be part of orientation.

4:25 PM: I hate to see orcs and Uruk-Hai fighting. Can't we all just get along?

4:34 PM: I never noticed until now, but there's horror movie music when Treebeard makes his first appearance.

4:47 PM: Aragorn and Legolas switch between Elvish and English so much it's like Spanglish. Or Elvglish, I suppose.

4:53 PM: The big debate for this movie: Ent poetry vs. Vogon poetry --which is more yawn-inducing?

5:03 PM: Merry and Pippin are like lazy college guys. All they want to do is have fun, smoke weed, eat, and drink. Sure, they grow up in these movies, but is that really a gain for them? I guess everyone has to graduate and become responsible sometime.

5:16 PM: I like that the scene where Gandalf and company free Theoden from Saruman's power uses much of the original dialog from the book. In particular, Wormtongue's lines are straight from the book. "'Lathspell' I name him. Ill news is an ill guest."

5:20 PM: Theodred's funeral scene is my only complaint about the material added back for any of the extended editions. I thought the original film's sequence worked much better. In that version, Theoden visits Theodred's grave, having missed the funeral entirely due to his enslavement. I thought that was far more tragic.

Also, I could do without Eowyn's song of lament.

5:34 PM: The Smeagol/Gollum debate now reminds me of the "Formidable Opponent" segment on The Colbert Report.

5:41 PM: Faramir has found Frodo and Sam, and that's the end of disc 1. I'm officially halfway through.

5:55 PM: So it's true what they say: shield-maidens can't cook. What is in that stew, gristle? All the more reason for Aragorn to take the throne of Gondor and Arwen as his wife. Then he can have a professional chef of Gondor preparing his meals, instead of Eowyn's feeble efforts.

6:09 PM: Helm's Deep, named for Helm Hammerhand. I just noticed the statue inside the fortress's gates is holding a hammer like Thor's. Nice touch.

6:21 PM: We take a break from the action so Galadriel can bring the audience up to date on why we're watching everyone on this quest.

6:36 PM: The added scenes with Boromir, Faramir, and Denethor help to explain why the writing team changed Faramir's character to make him more loyal to the misguided policies of his father. I'm not a fan of that one, but at least it makes more sense in the long version.

6:52 PM: I'm taking a quick break before the Battle of Helm's Deep to switch over to the end of the Penn State-Michigan State game. Let's see if the armies of Joe Paterno can defeat the orcs of East Lansing.

6:55 PM: The orcs will win this day. Damn. Back to Helm's Deep.

7:05 PM: I love the pacing in this movie. Just when I'm getting into the battle scene, we cut back to the Entmoot.

7:06 PM: If Merry and Pippin are growing taller as a result of drinking Ent water, how do their clothes still fit?

7:19: This always happens when I watch this movie - I'd almost forgotten about Frodo and Sam in Faramir's custody. To tell the truth, Frodo and Sam's story is my least favorite part of the book. I enjoy the battle scenes too much.

7:21 PM: I've said this several times before, so I'll say it again -- I wish Howard Shore had stayed true to the text when the Ents march on Isengard. The book says that they march to the sound of trumpets, but his score has a choir singing with drums underneath. It just doesn't work for me.

7:33 PM: I sure do enjoy it when Theoden and Aragorn ride out together from the Keep. They must be on magical horses, because real horses won't ride over or through obstacles. Although orcs don't exist, so maybe horses would ride through them. I should stop thinking about this and just enjoy the movie.

7:40 PM: Merry and Pippin get high. And when they get the munchies, they're sitting on top of the hoard of Isengard. And they WILL get the munchies. They're hobbits, after all.

7:47 PM: Credits. Time for a break. I'm a little hungry so maybe I should eat dinner now, before starting the next one. I don't think I can watch and eat and live-blog all at the same time.

8:38 PM: Time to start The Return of the King. It's going to take me about 4 1/2 hours to watch it, and I'd like to be done by 2 AM. So I will eat, watch, and try to comment all at once.

8:42 PM: Also, the Penguins gave up two goals while I was watching, and Penn State lost while I had that on. I should stick to the movies.

8:50 PM: I'm glad I have a strong stomach. I can eat and watch Gollum tearing into raw fish.

8:59 PM: In this version, Saruman gets a good death sequence. I know they cut the Scouring of the Shire for length, but I still wish it could have made the big screen. We do get closure on the Saruman storyline, though.

9:04 PM: Before beginning the drinking contest, Gimli says the rules include "no regurgitations." Do they follow IFOCE rules, or did the IFOCE get their rules from this movie?

9:14 PM: All the men are sleeping in some kind of anteroom, but Eowyn is sleeping by herself in the great hall of Edoras. That's got to be freezing at night. Doesn't she live here? Shouldn't she have her own room?

9:27 PM: Can't someone sweep up around Rivendell? There has to be an elf gardener somewhere. And re-forge that sword already! Aragorn was supposed to take it with him from Rivendell, not get it when the trip is nearly over.

9:39 PM: Hey Gandalf -- maybe all that coughing is a sign that you should cut back on your leaf-smoking habit. It must be traveling and rooming with Pippin. That guy is a bad influence on everyone around him.

9:54 PM: I love the lighting of the beacons. It's one of the things that didn't come from the book but it works so well in the film. And it's some of Shore's best music.

10:08 PM: Time out for a phone call.

10:32 PM: We're back. Frodo, Sam, and Gollum are climbing the stairs near Minas Morgul, AKA "The Emerald City." The orcs do remind me of the flying monkeys.

10:43 PM: These are some dirty hobbits. They must smell like mud and feet and ass, after months without baths.

10:54 PM: Theoden has quite a tent set up for an overnight camp. Rugs, tables, torches, and more. I think he has a satellite dish and a big-screen TV in there too. Is this a war camp or a tailgate party?

11:03 PM: I would follow Theoden into Hell itself, and he hasn't even given his best pre-battle speech yet.

11:13 PM: I forgot about the cave of the dead and how the skulls pour out like popcorn from the crumbling castle. I'm not sure what that's about, but I'm surprised our heroes can get out of the cave amid that mess.

11:21 PM: I love fightin' Gandalf.

11:22 PM: I'd love to get a "Grond!" chant going at a rock concert. What band would be appropriate for such a chant?

Time for disc 2. I'm almost done.

11:31 PM: I just remembered the fortune cookie from tonight's dinner. It was no fortune at all. The "fortune" was an ad for a Nostradamus special on The History Channel. I got one last month from a different restaurant and took that place off my list. I can't take this one off, though. It's right across the street.

Hey, my first comment! It's only taken 13 hours!

11:33 PM: It's Shelob time. Peter Jackson indulges his love of horror movies.

11:45 PM: Even if I were a soldier of Gondor, I think I'd crap my pants at what came through the gate after it was shattered by Grond.

11:57 PM: The Witch-King of Angmar shatters Gandalf's staff, but I swear he has it later in the movie. It doesn't matter. Rohan has come at last. This is my favorite moment in the entire trilogy.

12:16 AM: That is the greatest battle scene ever committed to film. I have nothing else to say.

12:21 AM: I'm glad the Houses of Healing scene made it into this edition. And we get a glimpse of the Eowyn-Faramir relationship. Bear in mind, I am a hopeless romantic.

12:32 AM: Oh, Faramir, I could get lost in your eyes forever.

12:40 AM: Even in his orc armor, Sam is still carrying his pots and pans. I guess the other orcs didn't notice they had a chef in their midst. Or they didn't think anything of it.

12:47 AM: That's some mouth you got, Mouth of Sauron.
"I guess that concludes negotiations."

12:57 AM: Pippin: "The eagles are coming!" There's a Don Henley joke in there somewhere, but it's not coming to me.

1:11 AM: Why does Gandalf take the crown of Gondor from Gimli? Did the dwarves make it? And why does this movie have like six false endings? That's always annoyed me.

1:13 AM: And now, a musical selection by the King. "Eh Nooniam." (Or something like that.)

1:21 AM: Aged Bilbo looks like Emperor Palpatine.

1:30 AM: THE END.

With breaks for food, phone calls, and tech support, that took 13 hours. I thought it would take even longer. Even so, that was a great way to spend a free Saturday. I don't know if I learned anything new about the trilogy watching it this way, but I enjoyed the hell out of it. I'd do it again, but not for a while. My ass needs a break.

I think the next marathon may be all the Star Wars movies in order. That may have to wait until after football season.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

my day at the ballpark

I spent most of Tuesday at a technology seminar at Yankee Stadium. One of my vendors secured invitations for myself and a colleague, so we went to the Bronx this morning to learn about data de-duplication, get a free meal, and a tour of the stadium.

When I arrived at 10:15 AM, there was no sign of anyone outside the stadium. For those of you who have been to Yankee Stadium before, the subway lets you out in a run-down looking neighborhood, and I felt a little conspicuous walking around a deserted building looking for the employees' entrance. I eventually found it and my friend, and we went up to the club level and the "Great Moments Room" for the seminar. We watched a PowerPoint presentation, learned about the company's technology, and got a bit of a sales pitch. Then they gave us lunch (hot dogs, potato salad, grilled chicken, ribs, corn on the cob, and dessert) and gave out one free gift (apparently a gift certificate for the Yankees' team store).

Finally, around 1:30 PM, they started the tour. Our tour guide Larry (who looked like he was right out of NY Central Casting) took us down to the field and showed us the home dugout. Everyone took photos of themselves sitting where Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada spend their summers, including me. (I may not be a Yankees fan, but when else will I have a chance to get that photo?) Then they showed us the clubhouse (no photos allowed!) where we learned that Thurman Munson's locker is still there, as is Cory Lidle's, but Munson's still has his name on it while Lidle's remains unmarked. Derek Jeter has two lockers, supposedly because he gets so much fan mail. And Alex Rodriguez and a few other free agents still have lockers, even though they won't be back with the team, because as long as they haven't signed elsewhere they're still technically Yankees. After the clubhouse we walked around the warning track to see the monuments in the outfield, and then we were done with the tour and on our way back to work. Hey, it was better than spending the day in the office.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I am all grown up

It has taken me nearly two years, but slowly my apartment has become a place where I feel like it's my own space. Last year I got a new dresser and some new shelves, this year I got my HDTV, and last Friday I got a real sofa to replace the love seat I'd had since I lived in the Village. The new sofa, a queen-size sleeper sofa from Macy's, fills out the living room in ways the old one never could. And it has one significant advantage over the old one: I can stretch out on it and take a nap. On Saturday night I came back from a night out with some friends, put on some music, and promptly passed out on the sofa. I see many afternoons and evenings of TV watching on this sofa.

The old love seat went to the spare room/office, where it at least fits the space it's in. I don't think I can fold it out into a bed with the desk in there, but it's another place to sit that isn't my office chair. I haven't decided how long I'm going to keep it. The old computer desk that had been in that room went out to the street on Thursday night after rehearsal, and by Friday morning it was gone, no doubt rolled away by another Upper East Side resident.

I also treated myself to a new comforter and some new bedsheets. I never thought I'd get excited about home furnishings like this, but it makes me feel good to have a home that looks like an adult lives here. And my friends appreciate it too.

Monday, November 05, 2007

an up and down weekend

I had planned to spend my Friday evening playing Guitar Hero III and Halo 3. But when I got home after shlepping the new guitar through Macy's furniture department and across Manhattan, I only got as far as entering my virtual band's name before my Xbox 360 crashed. It had crashed a few times on Thursday night but I hadn't thought anything was wrong. When I rebooted the console, I got the dread "Red Ring of Death." My game console died before I could play one note or fire one round. I filled out the form on Microsoft's support site, so now I have to wait for Microsoft to ship me a box so I can return the console to them for repair. According to my Xbox-owning friends and some forum posts, I can expect to wait 4-6 weeks to get the console back, and it has a good chance of failing again. By the time I get the whole thing sorted out, I'm sure Guitar Hero IV will be on store shelves. So instead of a night of video gaming, I watched a movie and played around on my desktop PC.

Saturday night was much better. We cooked a recipe I hadn't made in years: smothered shrimp and sausage over cheese grits. I had some help in the kitchen, and everything was delicious.

On Sunday I watched the NYC Marathon from my apartment. I cheered on a few of my friends from street level, then I watched from my fire escape and took some photos. Also, in the morning, before the marathon got underway, I ordered a new sofa from Macy's (which is why I'd been in the furniture department on Friday evening). I'm moving the old love seat into the office so it can be more of a guest bedroom, throwing out the old computer desk and 19-inch monitor to make room, and getting a new queen-size sleeper sofa for the living room. At last I will have a couch large enough for three or more people to sit on it, and long enough for me to stretch out without having to put my knees up on the armrest. I should have the new sofa on Friday, so I have to figure out what to do to make room by then. Anyone want a 19-inch CRT? It's in good shape. It's just enormous.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

It's been a week already?

It's November 1, and I resolve to make an effort to finish the year strong and post more often than once a week.

I've been practicing Guitar Hero in anticipation of getting Guitar Hero III this week. My copy of the game (with wireless guitar) is scheduled for delivery tomorrow, and I've already planned my Friday night around hours of virtual shredding. If it doesn't come in for some reason, I will either a) shop for a new couch or b) try to find it at a retail store in Manhattan or c) all of the above. I have also just this afternoon received a copy of Halo III from a friend, so I've got that in my future as well. I'm going to have to make up a schedule for my free time now to accommodate my gaming habit, my TV watching, and viola practice. And let's not forget my social life.

Speaking of the viola, the best thing that's happened lately is that I got a new case. The old one was falling apart on the inside and showed the signs of 16 years of use. Also, I was tired of carrying it horizontally over my shoulder while my friends in the orchestra slung their violins on their backs. During my week off from rehearsal I shopped around online for a new case and ordered two of them, one each from two different stores. The one I really wanted arrived first, and when the viola fit perfectly inside it, I kept it. Going to rehearsal last week was a pleasure. It's so much easier to carry the viola like a backpack, and this case has feet on one end and a handle on the other, called a "subway strap," so it's easy to hold the case standing up on the train. When the other case arrived on Monday, I just shipped it right back to the vendor. It's not quite as much fun as a new gadget, but it'll do for a while.

Last night I got to play around with a Macbook Pro, and now I really want one. We were watching a slide show with a soundtrack from an iTunes playlist, and it was almost creepy the way the music lined up with the photos. One song ended just as the slideshow (a travelogue) got to the climax of the trip. And this was not a playlist that was meant for use with this particular set of photos. I'm not crazy about Safari, but if I can use Firefox on the Mac then I think I can manage. I still have a few months to wait before I will think about replacing my desktop PC, but Apple will get some major consideration from me this time around.