Tag Archives: patience

Measures Of Rest

[Before reading this post, wait one minute without doing anything else.]
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Tuesday night I finished another year stint playing with the Metro State Community Concert Band. Although the band is considered a class for students who don’t make it into one of the audition-based ensembles, it is also an open opportunity for members of the community to join in, thus filling out the ranks with wind players, many of whom don’t have any other outlet for reading and performing music.

Despite the odd combination of young collegians, working age adults, middle agers, and a handful of geriatrics, it works in a charming way. Some are better than others, so the quality can be inconsistent, but we have a good time reading. Our director is a hoot to work with and picks music that is challenging and entertaining. Twice each semester we perform in the King Center on campus.

The other tuba player is an octogenarian named Virgil, the oldest tuba player in Denver as noted at a recent Tuba Christmas event, and he is a collector of rare instruments, an enthusiast of Civil War era music, leader of the Denver Ophicleide Association, a fine woodworker, and a music historian among other things. He’s a delight to play alongside, even though he’s more a tuba hobbyist than a player (he told me once his principal instrument is the clarinet).

This semester, Virgil put together an ensemble of hurdy gurdy players and commissioned an arrangement to have them play with the band at our end of year concert. It was called “Hurdy Gurdy Fantasy,” but I referred to it simply as Measures Of Rest.

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Measures Of Rest is a collection of folk tunes meant to invoke the spirit of the lirnyky buskers of 19th century Eastern Europe, so naturally our performance would have been incomplete without folk dancers, slide whistles, funny hats, wood blocks, and other silly shenanigans—not to mention the almost-but-never-quite-completely-in-tune droning of the hurdy gurdys themelves. It was an odd performance and a trial to sit through.

Perhaps I would have enjoyed it better had there actually been something to play. Instead, it was an exercise in patience as I counted out measure after measure after measure of rests.

In fact, it was customary for me to tweet about Measures Of Rest while we were in the middle of performing it, as there was not much else to do. One time, I actually worked out the finer details:

* There are 229 measures of music, none of them up-tempo.
* I actually play for 20 of them, broken up over three sections that are nowhere near each other.
* At its longest stretch, I have 116 measures of rest in a row where section G repeats three times (prime time for tweeting).
* By the end my participation equaled a staggering 8.7%, meaning I was doing nothing for 91.3% of the piece.

Measures_of_rest

[Please wait one more minute before continuing. Feel free to use this time to check your e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and catch up on the news.]
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I’d like to be able to say I used this time to ponder the mysteries of the universe and its message about patience, the importance of slowing down to smell the roses, or some such psychobabble, but the hard truth is I spent it being bored. Heck, it was all I could do to stop myself from tweeting a photo of the concert while we were in the middle of the song. I can’t even find a way to tie it into its deeper meaning and broader implications in this very intellectual blog post.

And to top it off, with Virgil playing hurdy gurdy mastermind, he wasn’t able to play tuba, which left me as the only tuba player for the entire evening. Sure, I was happy to show off my new Jupiter (for our fun finale song, the tuba section—in this case only me—had to stand and play for a minute), but it felt awfully lonely.

Still, the concert was another fun romp with the concert-band-that-could, and I hope I’m able to make it out next year, even if there are more measures of rest.

[Please wait one more minute for the rousing ending to this story.]
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Oh, there is no rousing ending to this story. Like the hurdy gurdy tune, it just sort of … ends. Oh well!

 

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How to Quit MySpace in 10 Irritating Steps!

It should come as a surprise to no one that MySpace just hasn’t been relevant for years. The best bit of professional advice I’ve heard recently regarding this social networking fossil was to either jump all in and be entirely committed to maintaining it as part of your social footprint or cancel your account outright. There was, I was told, no middle ground.

It should be needless to say, but I chose the latter.

Remarkably, it was an easy decision to make. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve logged into MySpace in the last three years, and every time I have, I’ve been disappointed. Yes, I was definitely ready to go.

Not that MySpace didn’t work hard to keep me, mind you. Here are the hoops for those of you willing to just say “no” …

How To Quit MySpace In 10 Irritating Steps:
  • Step 1: Log in to your Myspace account. If you’re like me, it could take a while to remember which e-mail address and password you used. Be patient.
  • Step 2: Upgrade your MySpace account to the new profile (otherwise you can’t even edit your account, much less cancel it). If you’ve done this already, because at one point you misguidedly considered keeping your account active, skip this step.
  • Step 3: Click on the Edit Profile button.
  • Step 4: Under the Account Settings & Privacy heading, click Cancel Account. At this point you’d think the easy end is right around the corner, wouldn’t you?
  • Step 5: Click the button that reads Cancel Account. I know you think you just did this, but keep being patient.
  • Step 6: Choose the button that best describes your reason for wanting to cancel the account. MySpace has graciously provided four options, none of which are Irrelevant or Slimy. Instead, the 4 options are Bored, Spam, Privacy, and E-Mail. According to them, by clicking one of those buttons, You can really help us improve Myspace! Once you have made your selection, it will automatically take you to the next step.
  • Step 7: In this example, I have pressed Bored, only to be met by a message from MySpace attempting to woo me back by providing links where I can discover some “cool stuff” (presumably so I would no longer be bored). I must now again press a Cancel Account button to continue.
  •  Step 8: Click the button that reads Cancel Account. I know you think you just did this, but keep being patient. Again.
  • Step 9: Read the friendly box explaining that if you cancel your account, all of your information, data, photos, videos, messages, etc. will be permanently and irretrievably removed … forever. MySpace has graciously provided a box for your comments. You must leave a comment before continuing to the next step. (I recommend leaving a funny one.)
  • Step 10: Now, once your comment has been entered, you must again press … wait for itCancel Account to continue. At this point, there’s a real sense of closure settling in. Surely, this must be the end. After all, this is Step 10, right?
  • Step 11: Wrong. Now you are informed that a confirmation e-mail is being sent to the account’s e-mail address. You must navigate to your e-mail and click that confirmation to complete the cancellation of your account. Do so. (The screen actually says “Thank you” at this point. Still, praying wouldn’t hurt.)
  • Step 12: You have finally crossed the threshold, the end is in sight! Now you have only to confirm your e-mail address and press Cancel Account for the very last time, and then you will be free!
  • Step 13: Well, free after the 48-hour waiting period, of course. Keep being patient.

Photo

Congratulations! You have now deleted your MySpace account!
Who else among us is brave enough to follow?