Tuesday, November 24, 2009

20-Year High School Reunion

I pack a back this evening, as I and the fam prepare to travel tomorrow morning to Large Midwestern Metropolis (LMM) for Thanksgiving. Usually we host the meal here at Chesterley, but this year my high school class decided to hold its 20th reunion on Thanksgiving Friday. I guess they assume we all still consider LMM as "home." That is definitely not the case for this researcher. In fact, I think it's odd that this assumption has been made, especially given that about 97% of my 850-person class went to college upon graduation (and most had to go out of town to do so). But who am I to skew their reality with data?

I am not always that stylish in my choice of clothing, but I do care about how I look. I have a vague idea of what the hell I'm going to wear Friday night. It's pretty vague, though. So I just ran a Web search on the question, "What does a guy wear to his 20th high school reunion?"

Most of the articles that appeared are about women pondering what "little black dress" they will wear. I didn't find much about guys. And it's funny, because the more I read blog posts about people getting nervous about their reunions, the more I realized I'm just not at all nervous about mine. I am looking forward to it, not because I plan on renewing old friendships (why?) or reliving the old HS days (why??), but because I think the experience is going to be fascinating. I plan on studying the crowd, making conclusions, and reporting the results. I am a fearless researcher.

I'm a complete nerd, I realize. And I'm damn proud of it.

Also, I will admit that there are a few people that I'm genuinely looking forward to seeing again. I actually had a good time in high school, probably because the place was so darn big (n=4,000), and this increased the chances finding others who were as odd as I was. I mean am.

I think a sweater, a button-down shirt shirt, and decent pants will suffice for the evening. I even got a haircut today, a pretty amazing feat for a bald guy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Writing the music in my head

I've had a tune pounding through my head these last couple of weeks. I actually wrote this tune a while ago...I think it was around the time Moose was born. That was a year before I started my doctoral coursework, about eight years ago.

I have no clue why the tune just popped back into my head again. I don't think I've even played this piece in like 4-5 years. I was pleased the tune came back to me again, but it happened during a very busy week where I had no time to sit at the piano.

If I'm right about when I wrote it, it was during a very content, positive time in my life. But I actually had hit a brick wall with this piece, as I couldn't finish out the first phrase. I had a good introduction, but after the first few bars it just sort of fizzled. Even so, I liked this piece a lot, so I guess I just didn't forget it. I certainly had put it on hold for a while, though.

I had yet another crazy day at work today. In the middle of a meeting, the way to resolve the phrase pounded through my head like a drill. I considered driving home immediately to get to the piano and write it down, but that wasn't realistic. I ended up not getting to the piano till after dinner, but I'm glad I remembered the song. It's funny: I first had to re-learn the piece (weird to have to re-learn a piece that I wrote!), and THEN I could play the part that was pounding through my head. I quickly grabbed my pad of blank staff paper (can't BELIEVE I actually still had some in the piano bench!) and wrote it all down.

I honestly don't know how I do it...I don't know how I write music in my head. I can't explain it. Writing music is a strange process for me...I can hardly even write about that process here. It feels like my language skills tonight seem to be all chopped up by the music in my head.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Eyes

My mother visits this weekend. Her visits are often marked by going out for Italian food. So we went to a local Italian place up the street that we discovered last weekend. I am pleased that I did not overeat this time. Not the case last weekend, but I digress.

Mom footed the bill, which was very nice. She showed me the check and asked me how much tip she should leave. I pulled out my trusty tip card from my wallet: it's a series of charts that show dollar amounts and their 15% and 20% tip amounts. To my horror, I could hardly read the little card unless I held it about TWO FEET away from my eyes. Wife laughed.

Honestly. Bifocals at age 38?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Where was I?

Time flies when balancing the various components of life sucks the energy right out of one's brain cells. I'm finishing up the re-coding process. The more I do it, the faster I get with it. This is merely an organizational step that must be done in order for me to provide evidence toward the large chunk of the results chapter I've already written. Pain in the ass, but I'm almost there.

I've taken part of this week off from work to get it all done. It's been alright. Not as productive as locking myself away in a hotel was last summer, but certainly more affordable. It is helpful, also, to anticipate going back to work and not being so behind as I was after the summer time off I took. Today I'm in the library again, and it's going well.

Actually, I'm sort of entering a "summer" season at work because I just completed a large annual report. There are a few major tasks here and there, but I'm no longer launching anything new for quite a while. This is good.

Back to it, then.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Halloween 2009

We had a nice Halloween this weekend. Wife's sister was in town. Unfortunately we didn't get any photos of her, probably because she was taking most of the ones you see here. More later.