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Busy summer

I actually really don't know if this summer is any more busy than last summer, but it sure feels that way.


Summer is usually pretty busy because I have both concert and marching band active, meaning two rehearsals per week, two concert band concerts in August, and about ten different parades/concerts throughout the summer. Somehow, though, this summer has been worse than usual. Last week, for example, I didn't have a single evening except Monday where I didn't have somewhere to be. Sunday was such a relief, not having anything scheduled -- and then the live site went down and we had to go in to work to fix it.

Of course, one of the events last week was seeing "The End of Time" in the theater. Fathom Events occasionally shows DW in the theater, and we try to hit every one of them. Interestingly, they've never shown any past Doctor episodes except Tenth Doctor and the then-newly-animated "The Power of the Daleks". No, wait, they showed some Fourth Doctor episode recently that I can't remember right now. I'm rather amazed they haven't done any Eleven or Twelve.

But I digress. I haven't been watching much DW lately (too obsessed with Good Omens and am also rewatching ST:TNG), so it was wonderful seeing it again and on the big screen. They did a good job of splicing the two episodes together so that the episode break was not obvious, and the quality of the picture and sound were better than what I remembered. Of course, it helped that I love TEoT, and I cried yet again when Wilf knocked. After the main show, they showed an exclusive interview with DT, which was lovely. Instead of having it be a conversation between him and an interviewer, they asked the questions off screen and he answered them directly to the camera. The web sites turned it into a clickbait title of "David Tennant wants to return for the 60th!" which was not at all his actual implication. He said it would be wonderful if they could bring all the modern Doctors into the 60th and he'd love to do it but doubted he could, as he gets older and looks less and less like his Doctor. But I suppose anything to get people to click on their sites.

Another unusual occurrence last week was my friend Tim's 64th birthday party. That might seem like an odd birthday to celebrate, but he was born the 8th child on 8/8 at 3:08, and was 8 lbs. 8 oz., and this was his 8th 8th birthday. The poor guy, though - he hurt his hand really bad the day before. He was cleaning up his property to host this party and was working with a pitchfork when he tripped on his shoelace. He immediately threw the pitchfork out of the way and tried to catch himself as he fell, and he fell on his hand, bending his fingers all the way back to the back of his hand, and that split the skin on his palm. Argh. It makes me sick just thinking about it.

He's the conductor of the marching band, so on the day after his birthday, he had to conduct our concert with his offhand. But that went well and we had fun. He also gave me one of the greatest compliments I could ever hope for. At this concert, I played bass drum because our usual bass drummer was absent and I usually fill in for her. At the previous concert the week before, I had played bass drum as practice and screwed up big time. Drums in general set the speed of the music, as the band tends to follow them better than they follow the conductor (at least at the skill level we play), and the bass drum really is the one that sets the pace. Well, I kind of took the piece we were playing way way way too fast. Tim signaled for me to slow it down and I tried to ease it down with mixed success as far as I could tell.

So, after last week's concert, I was chatting with Tim and two other people, and I said I was happy that that piece had gone a lot better this week and laughed about how bad it had been the previous week. One of the other people in the conversation hadn't been there, so Tim explained what had happened, saying that it had been too fast and needed to be slowed, and said, "But that was no problem. She's easy to conduct, because she's always watching me, and she slowed it down nice and gradually, instead of doing it abruptly."

You see, I'm not a particularly good musician. For me, everything is mechanical. I can read music well, because that's basically just mathematics, and if I practice, I can play what I read, but I can't do nuance or emotion, and the only way I know how to make something sound good is if it says it in the music or if the conductor tells me what to do - get louder here, get softer there, play the notes shorter here, etc. I have no musical intuition, despite having played music all my life. Kinda like my lack of visual aesthetic sense. So, one of the ways I try to compensate for this is to pay close attention to the conductor.

The conductor gestures to keep the band in time and to communicate cues. I make sure I can always see him when I'm looking at my music by raising my music stand to eye level, and I am constantly looking up between notes to see him. It's a conscious effort. Most people (at the amateur level) don't do this. You'll see people who put their music stands at waist level, so they have to look down at their music and could not possibly see the conductor without a lot of effort and movement. In rehearsals, you'll see the conductor motion to stop and people will just keep playing because they're not looking. A lot of them rely on their own musicality and on listening to what's going on to know what to do (which technically is not enough, as you cannot anticipate what the conductor's going to do by listening to what other people have just done). But I can't do that, as I have no musicality, so I have to watch.

So, Tim's offhand remark was the greatest compliment I could receive. He has actually noticed that I am always watching - the one thing that a conductor really needs from his musicians - and that I respond to his cues. I honestly cannot articulate how happy this made me. And during that last concert, there was a point where he acknowledged it as well. During marches, the last phrase is usually played through twice, with the second one differing from the first by slowing down and playing for a few measures slowly then speeding back up. Every time we've practiced one of our marches, Tim has tried to do this during the last repeat to no avail - the band continues at the same speed. This is mostly due to the fact that the regular bass drummer doesn't watch him at all, so while Tim is motioning slower, she's continuing blithely along at the same speed and, as I mentioned before, the band follows the bass drum. During the concert on Friday, he slowed down and I followed him and the band followed me... and he looked up at me and gave me this huge grin.

In concert band, I somehow managed to convince the rest of the alto sax section that I know what I'm doing. Sax is very similar to clarinet so I've taken to it pretty handily, but honestly, I've only been playing it for about three months (total, over two years). Two of the long-time players refuse to take the hard parts, and the other woman is a music major but hasn't played in twenty years, so I give her a little leeway. Now that we're at the end of the season (two concerts this week), the music major is blowing us away and I get to sit back and lay out during the hard parts. :D

I've been getting more calligraphy practice, which is nice. In addition to an hour or two every few nights, I make it a point to have a broad-nib fountain pen at work and to scribe (that's the word my husband and I use now - it's a lot better to say, "I'm going to go scribe" than "I'm going to go practice calligraphy") during boring parts of meetings. It means I get on average fifteen minutes a day of practice, which has really improved my hand.

What I haven't been getting, though, is time to write. I'm still working on the same three stories that I've been working on since, well, forever. (Well, one of them's for Good Omens so I suppose that could only be as old as May 31st.) Even with Camp Nanowrimo producing ten thousand words, I'm still not done with anything.

Lastly, a couple of stupids:

Back before my trip to the Midwest in June, I ordered the Good Omens script book, and it was scheduled to arrive just before we left. It.... took a bit of time. I think it arrived just in time, but I thought you might enjoy the tracking history.

At work, the client company is obsessed with security (for good reason, mind you), and so they take a lot of extra steps to secure their property. They issued us separate computers that they control (and can reformat remotely if they think it's been compromised) that we have to do our work on - we're not allowed to use our own company's computers to do anything. They require two-factor authentication to log into anything (which means, when you log into email with your password, you're sent to an authentication site (call it site A) which sends your phone an approval request that you have to respond to). They require using complex passwords and a secure password manager that requires Google authentication (meaning, when you log into the password manager, you have to check Google Authenticator on your phone to get a code to successfully log in). It's kind of a pain, but once you've logged into something, at least it stays logged in... until tomorrow when you have to do it all over again.

Well, yesterday, they decided that they need us to have two-factor authentication to get into the two-factor authentication. Not that they told us this. We tried to log into our email, did the two-factor authentication on site A, then was prompted to go to site B to set up authentication there. But we have to do it. So this morning, my login procedure was:


  1. Go to email and find that the password manager needs to be started.
  2. Enter credentials for password manager.
  3. Authenticate password manager credentials via Google on phone. This fills in the credentials for site A.
  4. Authenticate site A via phone. This triggers needing authentication from site B.
  5. Authenticate site B via phone.
  6. Finally get into email.


I'm starting to think that Newt Pulsifer was right and that we should just create these apps using pen and paper.

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Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
dm12
Aug. 15th, 2019 06:22 pm (UTC)
Sheesh, it would be easier to just call the person! Newt Pulcifer is definitely right!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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