Tuesday, June 9, 2009

In Brief

I was driving home yesterday, and I heard an NPR piece about how many psychologists claim that humans are hard wired to make decisions that are contrary to their own self-interest. That theory would explain a lot. Like North Korea and some of my back-in-the-day dating choices.

On the same drive -- they are long, these commutes -- I heard that Subaru was one of the sponsors for either NPR or the local NPR affiliate, and the not-quite-advertisement for the company ended with the tagline: "Love. It's what makes a Subaru a Subaru." Really? You know, when Carla on Top Chef said that she sent her food out with love, I was all for that because it's Carla, and she's fabulous (but not dull), but for my car, I'll take sound engineering and construction, thanks. Of course, I drive a Ford Taurus, so, well, draw your own conclusions. A couple of days earlier, I was on yet another commute, and I heard yet another NPR piece, this one from the owner of a Boston Terrier. She was complaining about people's willingness to tell her that her dog was ugly, and she said something like, "You wouldn't judge someone because he drove a Taurus, would you? Okay, bad example." Boston Terriers can be ugly, now that you mention it.

Recently, via a blog post on The Search for Love in Manhattan, I discovered The Legend of the Seeker, and I have been working my way through the first season on Hulu. There are days when I consider my willingness to use Hulu despite its horrible commercials as a personal failure, but mostly I don't think about it too much. I have always been a sucker for sword and sorcery TV, especially since the sword part of it usually involves a buff man who often goes shirtless. Craig Horner is very cute, but he is too often fully clothed. I remember one particular scene where he approaches a river and appears to be about to disrobe so that he can bathe, but then he sees his female companion standing, naked, next to the river. He gets flustered, she gets dressed, and he walks away, without having taken off anything. (Also without bathing, which he could have used. He was looking a bit like those dirty-haired boys in the Axe shampoo ads.) I consider this malpractice on the part of the director and writer. But perhaps Mr. Horner has a clause in his contract that prevents him showing his ass. What a world. Or maybe his ass just isn't all that, but isn't that why God created stunt doubles?

The weather has been particularly dreary here over the last couple of weeks. Between the rain and a very busy weekend choir schedule, there was no opportunity to have a picnic with the girls this past weekend. YFU was unfazed: she went to her room and read manga on the Internet. But EFU wanted to spend at least some time doing things with me, so I taught her how to make chocolate mousse. The current version was Mexican-ish: I made it with a tablespoon each of ground cinnamon and ground ancho chilis. Anchos are not very spicy, and a tablespoon of it adds just enough heat so that a pleasant warmth builds in your mouth and throat as you eat your portion of mousse. I made the recipe up a couple of weeks ago, but EFU wanted to write it down, so this time I measured everything. I think it was a touch too sweet this time, so next time I will use slightly less sugar and/or a darker chocolate.

Still, it was delicious, and while it's important to learn from your mistakes, sometimes it's more important to accentuate the positive. By way of example, the choir sang a long piece Sunday morning, and I know that I missed a few notes. But if you're singing a thousand notes, and you miss ten of them, that means you got ninety-nine percent of them right, right? That's a high A. Besides, it's not like feeling bad about missing a note will allow you to go back in time and take another shot at it. And at some point, self-deprecation becomes ingratitude. If someone compliments me on my singing (as, modesty aside, I must say happens a lot), it would be bad form to shit all over their compliment by telling them all the things I did wrong. Singers focus on details, but what listeners hear is an overall impression of your voice and the song. If you have a nice tone and good intonation, hardly anyone will notice if you sing a wrong note. And even fewer people will care.

I was already in a good mood yesterday evening, but then I went and got a haircut. I talked the stylist into cutting the top shorter than she thought she should. It's pretty thin on top, but I just don't see the point of trying to hide that. Besides, I maintain that at least ninety-five percent of all men (including me) look better with shorter hair. By the time she was finished, she'd cut the top down to about an inch, and I was beaming with happiness. It should always be so easy to buy joy.


  1. "Long piece" indeed. 67 minutes, according to provided link. Presumably you sang selected movement(s). Interesting; do you know of a link that has an audio download?

  2. We cut it down to about fifty minutes by eliminating three of the shorter movements and abridging two of the longer ones. And there are extended portions that are only instrumental, so we weren't singing for fifty minutes, but it was still a lot of singing. We were fortunate enough to be able to get a fourteen-piece orchestra, and that was a thrill.

    I don't know where to download the entire piece, but I think most or all of the movements are available on YouTube. It's a terrific piece.

  3. I love the piece as well, definetly worth the time to listen!