Monday, April 14, 2008

Ad Random

You wouldn't know it to look at this page, but I'm about a week behind in virtually all my writing.

My part-time studies at the Art Institute currently involve six hours of class time per week, all on the weeknights. In addition, there are six to eight hours of homework per week expected for each class. That's up to 14 out of 112 hours per week that one is awake (excluding the 56 hours of sleep in a week), or 12.5 percent, which is one-eighth. While I enjoy the work, that one-eighth has the power to throw the other seven-eighths out of kilter. For one thing, it is inflexible. For another, this school has a knack for setting a higher standard for its students than for its faculty. Some of them must realize that there's a downside to this plan in the long run, like when an instructor begins a class and realizes the students learned very little from the prerequisite class. Guess who has to make up the difference on their own time for final portfolio. (Hint: it's not the instructor.) Amazingly, not everyone on the payroll has taken the line of reasoning that far yet. I'm confident that they will, but I intend to be gone by then. On a lighter note, and in a future installment, we'll talk about my introduction to the exciting world of PHP and MySQL, the gateway to database management.

Meanwhile, at St John the Beloved in McLean, we are starting to do weddings according to the traditional Roman Rite. Long ago in days of yore, the altar would be set back some distance from the assembly, whether freestanding, or against the wall. The reason for this, was not to isolate the liturgical action from the faithful, so much as to allow for the needs of various ceremonials and occasional services. An example of this would be a "missa solemnis" (Solemn High Mass), which can require room for three major clerics (priest, deacon, subdeacon), two masters of ceremonies, and a dozen "inferior ministers" (altar servers in supporting roles). In recent times, the altars of many churches have been moved forward to allow for celebration of the priest "versus populum" ("facing the people"). While this single requirement is met, it is often done at the expense of all the others. If the bride has an elaborate gown and train, it may be a challenge to accommodate her in the sanctuary. Parish churches in Europe often had a "choir section" to separate the sanctuary from the assembly, so the bridal couple never had to enter the inner sanctum, a concession that was eventually tolerated in the USA. I have more servers to train for the Low Mass, and our "missa cantata" (sung High Mass) is going to be a "missa solemnis" for Pentecost. The MCs have to learn how to accommodate additional major clerics. The whole entourage may need a rehearsal. Developing...

My townhouse is in need of improvements. The development was built between 1938 and 1941, to accommodate new residents for the growing War Department and related agencies. They were renovated and converted to condominiums around 1982. In my house, the tile on the bathroom floor was laid down on top of the original. This compromise is beginning to show signs of wear, so both layers have to be torn out, and a new one laid in. What's more, there is a leak from the tub down to the ceiling of the kitchen. We've determined that the grouting in the tub tile is the problem. Fortunately, "Sal" is a woman of exquisite taste, and picked out the new tile. Plus she got a guy her family uses to do this sort of thing. They'll be getting down to business this week.

My taxes were electronically filed this year. An amended form may be necessary. We're coming down to the wire to make a decision on this. I'm having to find new and exciting ways to shelter my income. I keep thinking how much simpler this would have been had I never been divorced. My mortgage would have been paid off five years from now. But it's not as if I was consulted in advance.

I haven't picked up a guitar for any serious length of time in nearly three years. That's the longest break in the action since I first learned to play in 1966. Before I hung it up, I had a great thing going with some zydeco bands that were coming up north. That was before the promoters stuck their snotty noses in my business. "People are paying to hear the authentic Louisiana experience," I was told. A bunch of middle-aged, middle-class, white women, are better judges of this, than the guys who live it every day. But I'm making my own contacts now, and we'll see who's being "authentic," right? My son is learning bass, and it would be nice if he and I were to collaborate occasionally. We'd need a third guy at least, maybe a fourth. Don't know what we would do though. I think it's one of those deals where you meet in some guy's garage and go spontaneously from one cover song to the next, until you figure out where your niche is, if you have one.

But first, I gotta see about graduating, preferably with honors.

1 comment:

iClaudius said...

Finding that garage is always a pain. Neighbors (understandably) get upset after hearing "Sunshine of Your Love" massacred for the twentieth time at midnight at full volume.

Moving equipment often means that the practice space has to be where the drummer lives.

An absolute blast, though, if you can find a place to practice, even if you never get to point of "playing out".