Monday, May 30, 2011

Mi transloĝiĝos.

Estas la tempo de la jaro kiam multe da familioj de metodistaj pastroj devas transloĝiĝi. Mia patro, metodista pastro, distriktestriĝos en julio. Ĉi tiu plialtigo estas honoro por mia patro kaj la familio, kaj ni devas transloĝiĝi Meridianon, Misisipio. Tamen, mi ankoraŭ skribas tezon, kaj efektive ne scias kie mi loĝos post la transloĝiĝa dato por skribi ĝin. Mia komputilo estas en Klevlando kaj mi havas loĝejon en Baton Rouge, sed post junio 23, mi ne havos la Klevlandon domon kaj skribos tezon en alia loko. Mia koramikino ankoraŭ loĝas en Klevlando, sed transloĝiĝos aŭguste. La komputilo malfacilas por movigi. Kia ĝeno.

Decidoj, decidoj.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ice Journey

On February 3, 2011, a Thursday, much of Mississippi and Louisiana had frozen over. This freezing didn't occur until I was halfway between Baton Rouge, LA, and Cleveland, MS. By McComb, it was a little slow going on the bridges. I-55 slowly got worse and worse. By slightly north of Brookhaven, the bridges were frozen solid. After crossing the last frozen bridge I was willing to cross that evening (the car did finally start slipping along the ice), I pulled into the first exit I saw. It was the apocalypse. Completely shaken up, I pulled into Exit 51, Wesson, which took me to Old Sylvarena Rd. Hands shaking, I passed the Baptist Church on Sylvarena, and eventually realized there wasn't civilization anywhere down this road. I pulled into the first driveway I saw, and just parked so I could fidget a bit and use my GPS and cell phone to get me to a hotel without having to cross any more bridges. I called my father, who told me to call the Highway Patrol. I called the HP, and they told me to call the Copiah County Sheriff's Office. I called the Sheriff's Office, and while talking to a woman in the office over the phone, I noticed a large pick-'em-up truck had pulled up behind me in the driveway, and nearly had touched the back of my car.

The driver eventually got out of the truck, leaving it on, and looked down to me in my car through my driver-side window. I rolled down my window so we could talk. Standing before me was a man who likely weighed about 240 pounds, was in his early 60s, and had little hair and an angry look on his face. He said in broken English, "Kanjelpja?" (or "Can I help you?"). I told him, "Yes, please! I escaped from the almost completely frozen interstate so I could pull over somewhere and figure out where the closest hotel would be. I'm talking to the Sheriff's office right now and I'm just figuring out the best way to get to Hazlehurst." He looked at me with eyes of utter not-care, and said to me, "This ain't workin'." My heart sank. I said, "I'm terribly sorry, sir. I will be on my way." I was still on the phone with the sheriff's office and she helped me get to Hazelhurst on a back road with no bridges. I eventually pulled in and saw that only one hotel was in the city, the Western Inn. I parked my car there and got out of the car, so oblivious to reality that my cell phone went crashing down onto the ground, since I had left it in my lap. I picked it up and went into the hotel lobby.

When I walked in, I said desperately, "Is there any vacancy." It didn't occur to me that out of my desperation, my accent had shifted from its normal flavor to a more English one (I said [ˈveɪ.kən.sɪ] instead of [ˈveɪ.kə]). The manager asked me, "Are you from Britain?" I told him I was not, but was on my way to my home in Mississippi. "Well, have you ever been abroad?" He asked me. I told him I had spent a week and a half in England back in 2006, but that wouldn't have much effect on my accent. I asked if he had been abroad, and he admitted that he was from abroad. He was raised in London (though was originally from India). We shared stories while he set me up for my hotel room that evening.

I spent the night trying to calm down.

The day after the apocalypse, I waited until the rain had washed most of the ice off the road before leaving Hazlehurst. I made it as far as between Jackson and Yazoo City before the only passage across the river was blocked off. I was detoured about an hour and a half to make it across.

When I made it home, I was a changed man. A four-and-a-half hour trip was turned into about 20 hours.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Delta State Alma Mater

Delta State University is one of a few regional universities with an original alma mater, I would think. The alumni have always been rather proud of the tune, which was written in 1930 by Ruth Fischer. Her original manuscript is on display at the university's alumni foundation house. I took a photograph of the manuscript and typeset it as a score in PDF. The following is what that score sounds like when generated electronically.

The 1958 alumni and alumnae sang it at the Delta Music Institute during homecoming festivities, and that session was recorded on youtube:

The Sinfonia chapter at Delta State has often been asked to sing the university's alma mater on certain occasions. When it does so, it usually reads from an arrangement done by chapter alumnus Tim Goodson, scored for men's voices. We never recorded ourselves singing it, but I can provide the Finale rendering of it into strings:

The tune is very difficult to work with, as it really does lend itself toward one particular musical style—that of early twentieth century female vocal trios and jazz big band, into which I doubt this piece was ever actually rendered.

I had tried for a very long time to come up with my own noble arrangement of this tune, when I found myself sitting at my friend Coday Anthony's house one night with Chris Hartfield there who was playing a guitar. As he was strumming and joking around, I asked him, "What can you do to the Delta State alma mater tune?" He thought for a moment and started playing it from what he knew. I fed him a few of Ruth Fischer's original chord progression (which uses a lot of extended tertian and jazz harmonies), and eventually he hammered out a new guitar version of it. He started singing along and I thought it sounded very good. Coday was inspired to record it. As a student of the university's recording technology program, he had the equipment at his disposal, and we began nailing the track down in his house, one track at a time. We started with the guitar alone, then added the guitarist singing it in an easy style. When at the repeat, we wanted to have some kind of really pleasant melodic voice of some kind, and we tried whistling the tune. I started whistling it, and they decided that that whistle would be perfect. The following file is the result of that night's labor.

I still want to try to integrate the tune into other genres, but so far, I believe this version to be the best recording I've heard. We had a great time making it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I wrote a song! // Mi verkis kanton!

I wrote a setting of "Let not your heart be troubled" earlier this month. It is a work in progress, but it is mainly written in imitation of James Horner's harmonic language, with the thematic usage style of McNeil Robinson. Hopefully it also has a little Herbert Howells in the organ part. Listen to a Finale mp3, and follow along in the PDF score.

Mi verkis kanton de la teksto "Ne maltrankviliĝu via koro" ĉi-monate. La verko estas nefinita, sed ĝi estas skribita ĉefe laŭ imitado de la harmonia lingvo de James Horner, kun la stilo de tema uzado de McNeil Robinson. Mi esperas ke ĝi havas iom Herbert Howells en la orgeno. Aŭskultu ĝin supre, kaj legu la PDF partituron.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Delta State Parking Regulations // Parkaj Reglamentoj de Delta Ŝtata Universitato

One of the old jokes I used to pull out on occasion was the Delta State University parking regulations.

As it stands, the policies have several little holes in them. The main one is the hours for zone enforcement in zones 1, 4, and 6. The other is the last section, which just says to "litter."

Interested in these anomalies, I wrote the maintainer of that page the following E-mail:

Out of curiosity, I decided to read through the published parking regulations at Delta State, and I have a few questions about them.

Firstly, the times in which zone regulations are enforced are a bit difficult to follow. You indicate here that Zone 4, for instance, is only enforced during school time on Monday through Friday, and quite strangely from Sunday to Saturday (which I believe is every day) from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m., in the wee hours. Is this correct?

Secondly, the rules appear to require littering. See the regulation marked G, which simply tells the reader to "Litter."

I thought that I would bring these inconsistencies in your department's policies to your attention, so that they can possibly be worded more accurately, so as to avoid confusion, as your name was listed as the maintainer of that page on the Delta State web site.

I wish your department luck in all its endeavors.

I have yet to receive a response since I sent the letter on June 1.

Unu el la malnovaj ŝercoj ke mi rivelis estis la parkaj reglamentoj de Delta Ŝtata Universitato.

Nun, la politikoj havas multajn truetojn en si. La ĉefa estas la horoj por diszonada efikigo en zonoj 1, 4, kaj 6. La alia estas la fina sekcio, kiu nur montras ke oni "disrubu."

Interesite en ĉi tiuj anomalioj, mi skribas al la paĝestro la sekvantan retpoŝton:

Pro scivolemo, mi tralegis la publikigitajn reglamentojn de Delta Ŝtata Universitato, kaj mi havas kelkajn demandojn pri ili.

Unue, la tempoj en kiu diszonado estas efektigita estas malfacila por kompreni. Vi montras en tio ke zono 4 ekzemple estas nur efektigita dum klasa tempo lunde ĝis vendredo, kaj tre strange dimanĉe ĝis sabato (tiu, kiu mi kredas estas ĉiutage) inter 2 atm kaj 7 atm, je la fruaj horoj. Ĉu pravas?

Due, la reglamentoj ŝajnas postuli disrubadon. Vidu la reglamenton "G," kiu simple montras al la legiston, ke oni "disrubu."

Mi pensis ke mi atentigus vin al ĉi tiujn malkonsekvencecojn, por ili povas eble teksti pli ĝuste, por eviti konfuzon, ĉar via estas la paĝesto.

Mi volas al via departemento fortunon en ĉiuj penoj.

Andreo Oŭen

Mi jam ne ricevas respondon ekde 1 de junio.

I feel like learning a language. // Mi volas lerni lingvon.

The summer has been a very relaxing one. The relaxation will no doubt make the following two semesters possible. For the most part, I have been calmly learning information and courting my girlfriend. This summer, I have learned how to use Adobe Illustrator to a reasonable degree, and I have used it and other products to develop my web sites. I started learning a few basic grammar rules and words in Turkish and of course I continue to work on my Esperanto. All is well.

La sumero trankvilas. La trankvilo ebligos la du sekvajn semestrojn. Plejparte, mi trankvile lernas informojn kaj amindumas mian koramikinon. Ĉi-sumere, mi lernis kiel uzi Adobe Illustrator modere, kaj mi uzis ĝin kaj aliajn produktojn por plibonigi miajn retpaĝojn. Mi komencis lerni kelkajn gramatikaĵojn kaj vortojn turke, kaj kompreneble mi daŭrigas lerni esperanton. Ĉiuj bonas.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

End of semester joys

As much as I love school, the weight of its responsibilities can become difficult for a little while, which makes the summer even more refreshing than sitting around doing nothing normally would. In the last couple of weeks, I have written three papers (20-page, 15-page, and 12-page), graded 120 assignments, and taken care of several other assignments along the way. By the end of the week, I need to turn in a paper, grade 60 written assignments, translate a 10-page article from French to English, grade 60 final exams, and study for finals in Baroque survey and the Burgundian court music seminar. On top of that, I have to sing four concerts in the next five days—two choral, two vocal.

I really do love the lifestyle, though. I am learning a tremendous amount of information and feeling more and more confident in my field.

This evening's concert at 6:00 at St. Alban's chapel will include 14 lovely choral pieces that the LSU chamber singers have prepared in six rehearsals, each one by a different conductor. This brings the year's total number of pieces sung in chamber singers to 80. That choir is good for the brain.