Monday, June 19, 2006

The Idiot's Guide to Fitness Boxing

I'm a frequent shopper. I love them. I've always meant to opt out of their emails suggesting items I might like to buy based on my previous viewing, purchasing. Well. I'm glad I haven't done that quite yet because I might have missed Idiot's Guide to Fitness Boxing. Sure, that makes sense. And I can hardly wait for what must surely be the next title in that series----Idiots Guide to Running with Scissors or perhaps Idiot's Guide to Bathing in an Electrical Field. It just sounds like a bad idea---and something that requires, er, rather less thought than great consideration...apt title. I'm happy to report that when I deadpanned the announcement to Rob, he burst out laughing.

Father's Day

We all had a great day. Rob indulged himself with a late morning sleeping. We drove down to the Kennedy Center for the NSO's performance of Stravinsky's Firebird. Very nice; I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. But it really helped me understand something that has been troubling me for many years. I gave up pursuit of music as a career in my college years when it just became crystal clear that there was absolutely nothing to distinguish me from many many other skilled flutists. I could play virtually anything that could be written down. Essentially---a technician. Watching the NSO play I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the music and the value of sitting right there as it was being produced BUT.... those skilled musicians---they weren't creating the music. Stravinsky did. And an arranger put it together in the way that the NSO played it. And the conductor led then through it. But outside of those three people---there was no one contributing creative ideas. All of them there, turning their pages, keeping time and playing beautifully TOGETHER---it was wonderful and they are skilled people. But it remains to be discovered whether any of those musicians are actually artists. This might be the single event reinforcing my decision to switch from a music major to a clinical micro/chemistry major. Not that I haven't loved my career in the health sciences; I've just always longed to be more personally involved in creating and sharing music. I recognized immediately after yesterday's performance how frustrated I would have been with that kind of career. And I 'm happy to say that after all of these years of refusing to have my musical experience reduced to playing notes on paper that I really do feel like I might be capable of finding a way to involve myself, in one way or another, with creating or sharing music.

Oh. This is about Father's Day. One of Rob's gifts was a LogitechUniversal Programmable Remote. I'm happy with it now that I've got it programmed but man-oh-man was it a pain in the butt to get done. And not that there's anything in particular difficult about the device or the user-interface but downloading the darned software from their site was PAINFUL and I almost called them and gave them an earful. OK; I did call them but the sneaky bastards don't open till noon on Sundays so I couldn't follow through. Now that its all ready to go, I must admit its a huge improvement over our previous programmable remote which was unwieldy and required IR signal exchange between it and the manufacturer remotes for set up. What a pain. And often impossible. Yeesh. What some companies could learn from a good beta-testing program...

Summer Reading
I finished Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down on Saturday morning. I miss it. I tried to pick up Saramago's book but after a few pages of trying to switch gears (the two guys have amazingly different styles in prose; Saramago being kind of dense, wordy and weird). So for reading at the pool on Saturday I took the July/August issue of The Atlantic, which until recently had been The Atlantic Monthly Journal. I hope this doesn't mean the magazine is in trouble but I'm pretty sure it does. Anyway, there was a really fascinating article about two journalists investigating "The Monster of Florence" and all of the amazing details of the murders and investigation of the case. I don't know that I want to read the book but the article was really fascinating and exceptionally well written. It made me feel a little guilty about how much I enjoy "People" magazine.

Amazing Haley is already more than half-way through with one of her Friday library book selections Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I can't get over how easily she turned into a reader. And she clearly loves it. She's also working on a Nancy Drew mystery and loving that, too. I'll bet that makes her Aunt Tracy happy! I'll tell you, its a lot of fun exploring the magic of books with these girls. On the way down to the Kennedy Center, all three girls sat quietly reading. Too bad Rob had ESPN radio on; it could have been quite lovely.

James Taylor

"(I've Got To) Stop Thinkin' 'Bout That" - James Taylor (New Moon Shine, 1991)

I love the simple joy, and power, of memory reflected in this song. James Taylor is actually one of my heroes; I love his music: lyrics, instrumentation, relevance. And these days he's looking a lot like my maternal grandfather used to look---how can you not love someone who reminds you of your grandfather? My own Dad got to spend his Father's Day with my sister in California as they travel toward Alaska. I know he must have a had a great time out there.

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