orchestra matrix

The UM school of music has four orchestras with similar sounding names; it takes some digging to find the secret decoder ring:

more selective less selective
for majors USO UPO
for non-majors CSO CPO

U is for "University", C for "Campus", P for "philharmonia", and S for "symphony". You can figure out "O" for yourself. Presumably quality increases as you go northwest.

They're actually all open to everyone, so the major/non-major stuff appears to be just a suggestion, and of course they would never describe anything as "less selective", so they say "highly" and "most". Good grief.

Then of course there's the bands, and random other orchestras outside the school of music (like the "Life Sciences Orchestra").

So anyway, we saw a UPO concert last night. I could occasionally hear something a little out of tune or whatever, but not so much that it bothered me; they were really pretty good. They played a fun premiere (by someone I assume is a grad student), then a couple piano concertos, finishing with prokofiev's "Lieutenant Kije", which it turns out is one of those pieces you've heard most of before, even if you think you haven't. (And you've heard it before for good reason--it's got lots of interesting and fun stuff in it!)

The piano concertos were Prokofiev's first, and the first movement of Rachmaninoff's first. Both of them are packed with crazy loud fast technical stuff, so you can enjoy watching them played just as a sort of athletic event. I can't say I really love either of them, though.

Today I worked at home while I did laundry and some other odd chores, and then got into the office in the afternoon and stayed a little late. I rode home, and very much missed the balaklava I lost on the bus a couple weeks ago--my face and ears were in such pain that I had to just stop and walk a while at the end. Maybe tomorrow I could do some shopping for a replacement.

dancing spies

It took us a few days, but we finally made it through a particularly cheesy Bollywood movie called "The Hero: Love Story of a Spy". If we'd skipped the simple-minded politics and the silly violence and just watched the song-and-dance bits, it would have been pretty good, I think.

For some reason (budget, I suppose) the Canadian actors (or maybe they were American--anyway, the "white" folks with North American-ish accents) were sometimes really bad--lines would be delivered totally without expression, for example. Their dancing didn't seem that great either, not that I'm any judge.

I finally got my bike back from the shop this morning, but rode it just as far as work and then left it there. Maybe tomorrow I'll actually ride home.

Hm, and one of these days I need to finally get around to replacing my decrepit panniers.

hardy cyclists

Today Get Downtown held a "worst day of the year" ride as part of a program to promote year-round cycling. The weather worked out pretty well--I don't think you could say it was really *the* worst day of the year, but it was respectable by local standards--a high in the mid twenties, snow on the ground, and more snow coming down throughout the day.

I didn't ride--I'm a firm believer in riding to get from point A to point B rather than riding around in circles just for the heck of it. But it seemed like something worth supporting, so I showed up at the end to help park (and keep an eye on) people's bicycles outside the local brewpub where they were holding the post-ride celebration.

So, I stood out in the cold for a while, went in for a pint and some of the free snacks, stood out in the cold some more, then went back in for another pint. (I'm more of a one-pint-at-a-time person, but someone offered to buy me a second one, so what could I do).

I walked back home by way of the coop, bringing home a few groceries. It was quite a day for walking--I'd also walked in by way of the (not at all on the way) bike store, intending to pick up my repaired bike, but found them closed.

The new shoes I got in Arizona are holding up well.


The trees finally seem to have shedded most of their ice, only to be covered in snow now. The snowfall hasn't been that heavy yet, though.

Instead of going to the LUG meeting last night, I watched "Masculin Féminin" and made another attempt to get Debian running on my NSLU2. No luck with the latter, but I finished the movie and every last little extra interview.

bumbling incompetence

I planned to go to a nearby linux users' group meeting tonight--I usually skip it, but this time I had a few odd toys that I thought it might be fun to tinker with with other people--but I misread the bus schedule and by the time I'd realized that it stopped going to the stop I needed at night, it was too late.

For some mysterious reason I checked a couple movies out from the library while I was waiting for the bus to take me home. We already have a big stack of stuff to watch, and I don't actually spend that much time watching things, so I it's almost a foregone conclusion that I won't watch these things.

and more ice

The ice lasted all day, and yesterday morning still covered the trees, but it was also sunny and clear, so the light shining on the ice-coated trees was even more dramatic. I tried taking a few pictures on my way home, with the street lights illuminating the trees in odd ways, but it was too dark and nothing really showed up.

I ordered a laptop in early december to replace one that died, but it still hasn't arrived; it turns out one of the key parts (a 12.1" SXGA+ LCD) has been slow in coming. In fact, other vendors offer laptops with the same feature, but none claim those laptops are in stock--so maybe everybody's waiting on the same factory someplace....

Meanwhile I found another laptop that belonged to a student that's since graduated--it's an identical model to mine, since several of us ordered the same model together at once--and I traded some parts around and seem to have managed to get both laptops working.

So I'm wondering if I should cancel the long-delayed laptop and order something else, or keep waiting and use these two now-mostly-working laptops in the meantime. I so did have my heart set on the LCD with the ridiculous dot-pitch. Ho-hum.

I'm spending the first half of February in California, part of that time hacking and testing with other NFSv4 people, hence the particular concern for access to some nice portable computing power....

Tonight I braved the cold on my bike to take it to the bike store a few minutes from work--the chain's been skipping a bit (I'll be pedaling up a hill and suddenly--ca-chunk!--it'll feel as though it shifted itself, though it ends up in the same gear--I think the chain and/or rear sprocket thingies are worn out). Anyway, maybe with that fixed I'll start biking again a little more.


One of the perks of living in the midwest is the weather. It may not be pleasant, but it's often interesting. Today when we woke up everything was covered in ice. And by everything, I mean everything: each individual twig on each tree is individually encased in a layer of ice, so everything glistens. It's hell on the trees--walking down the sidewalk I find myself bending over to avoid underneath ice-laden branches that I didn't know were there--but it's very beautiful.


I still wasn't feeling great Monday--plenty of energy, but sniffling and coughing a lot--so I stayed home. The next couple days I took some drugs, went in for half-days, and washed my hands frequently. By the end of the week I was feeling a bit more normal.

Friday night Sara and I watched "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai", a very melodramatic Bollywood movie--cute kids! Beloved dead mothers! Childhood sweethearts reunited! Last-minute wedding antics! It had its moments, but I don't think either of us would recommend it. In particular, I didn't like the music that much.

While I was sick I picked up one of Janet Evanovich "Stephanie Plum" mysteries from Sara's stack of library books. They have some amusing characters and recurring jokes, and passed the time well while all I could think about was how yuchy I felt. And now I'm mildly addicted. It'll pass.

Yesterday I went back to juggling for the first time since returning from break. I have a trick I've been working on for a few weeks: you start a cascade with your left arm around your back, left hand pinned against your right side, then smoothly move the pattern around your back till you reach the same position on your left side, with your right arm stretched around your back and left arm free. So there's a brief time where the pattern is behind your back and you're juggling blind. Which I'm not very good at. The really hard part, though, is the transitions. Anyway, I actually managed to nail the trick once today. It was probably a freak event, though. Afterwards we had dinner at Jerusalem Garden, and Paul gave me a lift home.

Today for my geeky amusement I've been trying to install Debian on my little pocket-sized Linksys NSLU2 storage appliance. So far it's not going very well.


I was feeling pretty bad again last night, and had some trouble getting to sleep, but I think I must have finally drifted off before midnight. When I woke up it was noon. That wasn't completely uninterrupted--for example, I was awake for a while as Sara got ready to leave around 7--but still, that was a *lot* of sleep. I felt really strange.

Oh well. Hopefully it helps.

Today I did nothing in particular, while Sara went to some kind of teaching seminar, where she gave a 5-minute practice presentation on yogurt-making, which I heard her run through a few times last night. It was pretty good.

Right now our kitchen counter supports a four-liter wine jug full of foaming pitch black liquid, which will one day be beer. Sara has a thing for culinary applications of microbiology.

Pierrot Mon Ami

This flu has been tenacious, so I'm still not doing much. Yesterday I reread most of "Pierrot Mon Ami". I think the first time through I entirely missed the hints that the "poldevian prince" was actually the animal trainer. What do you know.

Though I'm not in perfect shape, I'm better, and just can't spend all my time doing nothing, so today I'm doing a little debugging. And I upgraded drupal since it seems there've been a couple security fixes.


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