Sunday, March 30, 2008

Three months

"Is everything a baited hook?
And are there locks on all doors?
If you're looking for an open book,
look no further -- I am yours.

We'll behave like animals, swing from tree to tree.
We can do anything that turns you up and sets you free.

You're an exception to the rule.
You're a bona fide rarity.
You're all I ever wanted -- Southern boy, could you want me?

So come outside and walk with me.
We'll try each other on to see if we fit.
And with our roots become a tree,
to shade what we make under it.

We'll behave like animals, swing from tree to tree.
We can do anything that turns you up and sets you free.

You're an exception to the rule.
You're a bona fide rarity.
You're all I ever wanted -- Southern boy, could you want me?
Southern boy, could you want me?
Southern boy, could you want me...?
Southern boy...?"

by Incubus, with my gender alterations

Friday, March 21, 2008

The lonely laundry room of the Twilight Zone

It is almost three months now since I was pushed forcibly through the Looking Glass and into this reality.

Lately I am not always sure if I am hallucinating this reality, or if I dreamed up the whole past ten and a half years. The old reality must have happened, otherwise why would this one feel so wrong?

I'm reminded of what it was like to wake up in the middle of the night in Paul's apartment, and get up for a glass of water. All his seven computers were there with their lights shining, and the router's lights twinkling as it kept up with the network connection. I could hear aquariums bubbling, and during the summer a low roar from the fans directing a cooling outdoor breeze from the open balcony door. It was a safe and peaceful place to walk around silently in the dark, and never more wonderful than when he was there, sleeping while I padded around.

There is no place like that here..

Only here can I read about my best friend and the love of my life in a context where many of his body parts are deemed "unremarkable" by a medical expert. Even his heart, and that's just not the case. I told him several times that I wished his heart could be on a velvet cushion behind bulletproof glass, as befitted my greatest treasure. He never did arrange for this to happen.

There was a reception at City Hall that I attended. There was a bunch of clowns there performing. A couple of them were stiltwalkers, and one of them came up to me. She was about 19, I guess. "Hey, I love your black arm band!" she said cheerfully. "What does it signify?"

"It signifies my loss," I replied. "I'm in mourning."

"Oh! Well, good luck with that!" replied the stiltwalker.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wired for performance

It's official: my duo partner Les and I, as No More Twist!, will premiere our piece, "Inquisition", on the first night of the Edgetone New Music Summit. The date is July 23, it's at the Community Music Center in San Francisco, and you better be there.

Les (who has discovered that his name is pronounced "Lez" in the UK, where he's now getting a Ph.D.) is creating the biometric interface that I'll be performing with. So far, he's got a working pulse detector and a skin covalence detector. Devices for measuring other vital signs are in development.

This means that when you, the audience, ask your probing, uncomfortable, surreal and goofy and hilarious questions, my biometric reaction will be monitored, for better or for worse. My heart rate's going to be amplified, and you'll be able to hear it speed up and slow down. (No way is it going to stay the same.) Whatever my skin does will be translated as data. And Les will turn all this information into sound and visuals that will be mixed with your questions, my answers, and his admonitions about form and content (if any).

It's a truth and falsehood light- and sound-world. Of course you want to be a part of it?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Things I have learned in 2008

So far in 2008 I have learned a lot and selected the following that may be of interest to readers.

1. There sure are a lot of dead people on TV.
2. They are not really dead people. They are actors pretending to be dead. A real dead person does not look anything like that.
3. When you suffer a catastrophic loss, lots of people will come out of the woodwork to offer sympathy and do the best they can to help you out.
4. Some of these people will say things that are patently absurd. This is OK because they don't know what to say and they feel like they have to say *something*.
5. When you suffer a catastrophic loss, some people will take the opportunity to kick you when you're down.
6. Some people will offer open-ended, unconditional support and reveal themselves to be amazing human beings. Some of these people are who you'd expect and others are not who you'd expect.
7. There is a pug named Louie who is really good at helping people forget their agony.
8. Some people will offer support for a while and then stop doing so.
9. Some people will find themselves incapable of being supportive. The identities of these people may surprise you.
10. Your catastrophic loss will feel like the first time this has ever happened, to anyone, anywhere. You will find out that it happens fairly often. Lots of people are surviving it right now.
11. Meeting your fellow survivors and being in contact with them is both reassuring and awful because it is terrible that this catastrophic loss should be happening to so many people.
12. People have been surviving this for so long that there are actually books about it, and everything that you're going through can be found in them. This is also both reassuring and awful.
13. The loss of one exceptional human being from the world makes it really really cold.
14. It is possible to learn to execute a lot of different tasks while crying. Driving while crying, however, no matter how much practice you get at it, is still unsafe.
15. It is possible to spend years and years and years doing the best you possibly could and still be up against something so horrifying you could not defeat it even with the best you had.
16. You will find your catastrophic loss made into plots on TV. These will not usually be accurately or sensitively executed. The best thing is not to watch them.

There are some things I learned before 2008 which I feel might be of interest to readers:

1. If your loved one wants to do something nice for you, do not tell them "no". When your loved one is gone you will wish you had said "yes".
2. Nobody knows when his or her number is up, therefore, make your every encounter with your loved one the best you possibly can.

Monday, March 10, 2008

In memory of Paul...what to do?

Stay up late and watch the Endeavour launch!

Or, tape it and watch it tomorrow. Mind the time change on your VCR or TiVo.

Friday, March 07, 2008

A classical detour

Last year, the Flock of Flutes ensemble of Walnut Creek, CA commissioned me to arrange two solo flute standards – “Cantabile e Presto” by Georges Enesco, and “Fantaisie” by Georges Hue – for solo flute and flute choir.

On Sunday evening, March 16th, the winner of the Flock’s Young Artist Competition, plus the whole flute choir led by director Monica Williams, will premiere the “Fantaisie” arrangement at Walnut Creek Civic Arts.

Come have a listen to this new addition to the flute choir repertoire! For tickets and information, call 925-943-5842.

March 16, 2008
7:00 p.m.
Shadelands Auditorium
111 N. Wiget Lane
Walnut Creek, CA

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Two months

The nightmare reality is now two months old. Or two months young, depending on how it relates to the total of the time I have left. 40 or 50 years, if I continue to do all those things you do to have a long life? Is that how long it will last?