Thursday, September 30, 2004

O Canada!

My wife asked me, as I mounted my bicycle before setting off to work, whether I would like to move to Canada if George Bush wins the election. Found myself humming 'O Canada' on the way in, and rather astonishingly realizing that I would have far fewer qualms about becoming a Canadian citizen that I would about becoming a U.S. - something I have never done despite 25 years of residence here. Now if Kerry wins...well, that might be another story because I would believe that people like me really do have a voice in the political life of what I can only judge currently to be an increasingly insular, uneducated, xenophobic and intolerant country. Tonight is the first Presidential debate - I have horrible fears that Bush will crush Kerry and seal his victory.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Kerry finds a voice

Thank God that John Kerry seems to be pulling himself out of shadowland and doing some straight talking concerning the Iraq debacle. Why did he not do this earlier - much earlier? He's going to get clobbered by the Bush MiniTru team waffling on about his changing message (which has not changed at all - unlike Bush he is capable of analyzing an issue), and I fear that unthinking folk might fall for the Bush flim-flam. But at least he got his own supporters energized for once. Maybe the fabled Kerry fighting spirit is surfacing. I hope so.

Sunday, September 05, 2004


My favourite rants include fundamentalists of all types who clearly embrace death more than life, Bush (such a good rant subject!), corporate culture & perfidy, people who refuse to face up to and do something about their mental health problems, and over-competitiveness. But I don't actually feel like preaching today - I'll just leave it as a list!

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Glory Be

I am having a musical day today. Now am engrossed by Robert Simpsons' 9th String Quartet - a set of 32 variations and fugue on a palindromic theme from Haydn's Piano Sonata No. 41 (also used in his Symphony No. 47). A wonderful work, this is, full of invention and feeling. Variations have always been a favourite compositional technique for me, starting with a love for Schoenberg's 'Variations For Orchestra', and taking in the 'Enigma', 'Goldberg', 'Diabelli' and Haydn's own Piano Variations in F minor amongst many others.


A validating New York Times article, read while listening to Easley Blackwood's extremely unstressful 3rd string quartet. Nice quote at the end -

Career consultants tell clients to examine the degree to which they themselves are the ones cracking the whip.

"Consider the possibility that you are colluding in your own demise," said Rayona Sharpnack, founder of the Institute for Women's Leadership in Redwood City, Calif. "Suffering," she said, "is optional."

Couldn't agree more. It is not necessary to throw your life away chasing empty materialist dreams - or to use work to shield yourself from facing up to your emotional obligations to yourself, family and friends.

Easley Blackwood

Perkins' "Caprice" was dedicated to and performed by Easley Blackwood, and that is one of the recordings that I was able to transcribe. A powerful 12-tone composition for piano that I found highly attractive. Blackwood himself has been a far more prolific composer - even if he is not exactly a household name - and my friend has lent me some of his commercial recordings. Not listened to yet - that pleasure awaits!

Transcribing John Perkins

Through a rather remarkable series of events involving a ruptured blood vessel, a house in need of extensive cleaning, and the intervention of the woman (a very good friend) who lives with John Perkins' ex-wife, I have had the pleasure of transcribing a number of Perkins' private recordings onto CD. From cassette tape, recordings of rather variable sound quality, but all of excellent artistic value. Considering John Perkins has been established as a composer and professor of music at Washington University for some decades now, it's really sad that there is so little music either composed or recorded. Almost none commercially recorded. It's a shame - he is a great composer.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

I absently followed 'The Inquirer' mystery link today and found Troutgirl. The poor woman has just been sacked for 'blogging', although I sense rather more is going on behind the scenes (doesn't it always?). She seems bright and intelligent and will doubtless find another post soon enough, but the pain she felt in such outright rejection comes through loud and clear. Clearly a devoted 'team' player - she's probably finding out just how ephemeral and shallow so many of these corporate structures are. I am very glad I work in an environment that is about as 'real' as one can get in the work world. But I felt sad for Troutgirl.

Hmmm... Seems this little story has caused quite a stir. Found out enough to realise that Troutgirl is not going to want for a job. Looks like a small PR disaster for Friendster, mind. I joined Friendster a while ago - never followed up on it at all. I shall remain happily friendsterless.

Feeling extra contented

Perhaps because it was not my bicycle that was stolen this morning, but my wife's - and that was a bummer. But more likely, simply because I feel at ease and perfectly happy with the moment as it is. It's a very smooth work day, with everything moving along at the right pace - but this is normal for here. Upset and stress are rare occurences, I am happy to say. Plus all those lovely little computer add-ons have arrived at home, been installed, and are working perfectly and to all expectations.

None of this makes for great drama does it? It much more exciting to write about disasters and pitfalls, grudges and hurts, woes and sorrows! Certainly more exciting to read about them.