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September 11th, 2013

The Nap Helped

Took my time getting to work because today was Company Picnic day, so from noon on there was no working. I checked on the machines, did some serious research and then went to the park. The food was plentiful and varied, but not very good. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the caterers had BBQ in their name, but not in this particular offering. Soggy salad with fruit mixed in, a fairly decent macaroni shell baked thing, chicken breast slices in some kind of lemon sauce, gristly slices of roast beef, sausage made from unidentified body parts and sawdust. The ice cream, OTOH, was excellent, 8 flavors to choose from and lots of toppings.

All the group tabes were taken so I sat at one of the couples tables, and was joined by Soon, one of the women on my team. She is from Kota Baru, Malaysia, which I visited a few times when I was living in southern Thailand. I would go there for lunch on weekends. So we have Malaysian food in common. Very different from Thai food, most of it, though they overlap some. Soon is actually Chinese-Malay, so she speaks Chinese with three of the team who are from there.

After lunch there was a short volleyball tournament, I got some good photos which I need to process, tomorrow I think.

That was over at about 4, there was softball after that but softball is not photogenic, so I went back to the office to pick up my cooler, and then home for a shower and a nap.

After the nap there was enough time, so I pulled the crystal litterboxes out of storage, cleaned out the noisy smelly leaky clumped litter ones and put the crystal ones in their place. Now that I know that nothing I can do will keep Kaan from pooping in Verboten places from time to time, the crystal litter is the easiest to deal with. They last at least a week unattended, completely deodorize, and are very quiet.

At 7 I headed to the Peninsuliers' voice lessons, about 2 miles up the road from me. They wanted us there at 7:15 to get name tags, for a 7:30 lesson.

They had a folder with my name on it, and a name tag on a lanyard inside, as well as a syllabus and sheet music for "She's A Grand Old Flag".

By 7:40 there were about 50 of us, plus the actual chorus. There was an introduction which mostly said the group was a barbershop harmony chorus, and pointed out the people in charge of the group and the lessons. They gave us a short break to grab complimentary water bottles, and when I got back my seat had been taken by a newcomer who is about 6'6" in all directions. Asshole. And he was, too.

We had three instructors. The first one had us up on risers, students and chorus, and taught us some nonsense tune/vocal exercise. He blew it, forgot a piece of it, which was pointed out by one of the regulars in the Baritone section. Next guy came in and did it the right way, but it was still pretty lame and kind of like being asked to do a math exercise at an interview because the interviewer knows the answer to that one exercise. Not a bad exercise for near the end of warmups before a concert. Totally inappropriate as the first thing to teach beginners.

The lesson was very basic, he had us do some positioning (I wouldn't call them exercises) to illustrate how to breathe from the diaphragm, and how to stand and be comfortable and relaxed. Some of them did the opposite of that for me, some of them were Standard®. We stood for about half an hour as he spouted off about singing, and there was maybe all in all 5 minutes of breathing exercises and singing tones in that half hour.

The chorus joined us at 8:45, and another instructor went to great lengths explaining the sheet music for "Grand Old Flag", which was lost on anyone who doesn't read music. He had everyone sing the first 16 bars of melody a couple of times, but it is too high for anyone except a tenor, so I sang it down an octave. Then he sang the bass part, which is bizarre barbershop harmony, and we tried it with basses singing that part and everyone else singing melody, but it was totally non-intuitive, even after three go-rounds I didn't get it.

When he was done, they invited us to stay for the last half hour of chorus rehearsals, I stayed for two run-throughs of a Sinatra tune You Make Me Feel So Young to which they had added a long introduction and changed the harmony to barbershop. It sounded great, but wrong. And this group doesn't just stand and sing, they earnestly emote and move and gesture, sometimes matching the words of the song, sometimes looking like they forgot to take their Immodium.  

Behind the cut is a quartet doing the song with that inane intro
Read more...Collapse )

Home, made a frozen dinner unfreeze, fast forwarded through the second day of America's Cup racing. Love the graphics, don't love the announcers. Love the views of huge crowds along the Embarcadero and of Alcatraz and the GG and new Bay bridges.

Watched the latest Who Do You Think You Are? with that flamer from Big Bang Theory who said "wow" 3,647 times. Yes, I counted. When shown proof that one of his ancestors in Paris hosted Benjamin Franklin and John Adams in the early 1780s before the French Revolution, he seemed to have no idea how extraordinary that was. I was also disappointed that he didn't try to follow another branch further into the past from a degreed New Orleans area doctor pre-Civil War. His ancestors must have been something special for him to be graduate #55 from the south's first medical school.

Plans for tomorrow:
Work
1-on-1
Get cash from the ATM
Costco? Starbucks?

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When's Day

Work, support person broke my machine, which is what we have been trying to do all week. Details are NDA.

Lunchtime deposited a check & got cash at the CU, then to Carl's for chicken tenders.

Afternoon, elbow is still hurting. Shoulder too. Made a doctor's appointment for tomorrow morning.

Home. Thought about going to a podcast some friends were doing, but thought about rush hour traffic and stayed home, baked some fish fillets, nuked some frozen veggies and watched some TMZ.

And watched the cats. Domino continues to make every move by Kaan in her direction into major drama.

The switch back to crystal litter and the quiet automated boxes is a win. The computer room no longer smells like durian.

Photoshopped the company picnic pix, mostly volleyball. Some good shots, most made better by severe cropping. They are on a USB drive, I'll bring those to work tomorrow.

Quicken said the DMV took my money for driver's license renewal. Yay. Mine still has a couple of months left on it. almost exactly.

Plans for tomorrow:
Doctor
Work
YOTB rehearsal

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