Day 1735

Friday, October 13, 2017

Went into work early this morning and then met with Alice and Dr. Chan at 10:45.  Dr. Chan gave Alice a complete exam and took an X-Ray to see how her hip has improved.  Her x-ray looked very good, so there was nothing to really explain why she continues to experience so much pain.  He'll write a detailed note that will override the checked box he marked last month, which will greatly help in our appeal to Alice's long term disability insurance.  I anticipate she'll be on long term disability most if not all of next year.  She's in all likelihood looking at a hip replacement.  According to nearly everyone I've talked to, these procedures are very routine these days.  Alice has a lot of anxiety about the procedure, but I think it will dramatically improve her life. 



Went to dinner with Lillian and Murry at Mona Lisa after work and that was great fun.  It's wonderful hanging out on Columbus St.  I don't do that as much as I should.  Murry had some choice Wendel stories to share that kept Lillian and me laughing nonstop.  Some things never change!  We had a nice walk back to BART and home for me by 10:15 or so.  I talked to Alice, then went straight to bed.  Tomorrow morning I'm in San Ramon for their club racquetball tournament.

Day 1734

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Tomorrow, Alice and I see her operating doctor Dr. Chan to discuss Unum denying Alice any long term disability coverage because of one checked box Dr. Chan made on a form Unum sent him.  Hopefully, the appointment will go smoothly.  I spent my lunch hour reading more Unum documents and it has been a real education seeing how these insurance companies manipulate details, omit details, and cherry pick facts to make their case to deny coverage to clients.  They will stop at nothing to make their case.  In our appeal, we will hit this unethical company with we have and scream bloody murder until Alice is properly protected and entitled to what she deserves.  If I were going through what Alice has gone through this year, there's no way in hell they'd deny me coverage.  It's another privilege that comes with being a white male.  Everything takes what you say seriously instead of minimizing and dismissing it, as Unum has with Alice.

We had our 6th league night tonight and I won the first 7 games, but ran out of gas and lost the last two.  Still, I'll take the score. I have one final regular season league night next week before the playoffs.  I played well overall and my shot selection improved.  My passing shot were accurate tonight.  I play better when I have 20-30 minutes to warm up. 

I came home at 10:30, had a quick dinner, talked to Alice, then went right to bed.

Day 1733

October 11, 2017

It was a very simple, quick birthday, my favorite kind.  I went to Alice's after dinner and we had ramon noodle before going to the movies to see the new Blade Runner film.


The tone and atmosphere were spot on in the film and Ryan Gosling is really fantastic as always.  He's consistently a great actor.  The storyline was intriguing and certainly captured the spirit of the original.  It's a long film, however, and the final third could have been trimmed a bit...it felt like an art house film in the same way The Arrival felt atmospheric and moody.  I liked the music.  All-in-all, I enjoyed the film but it did feel slow toward the end.  The conclusion was satisfying.  I need to see more films.  I don't get out as much as I used to.

Day 1732

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Tomorrow is bulky pickup day.  After work, Justin and I helped move an old TV and old rug out into the sidewalk.  The downstairs crawl space is not pretty empty.  Studying Alice's insurance documents.  The fires in Northern California are horrendous and have destroyed entire neighborhoods.  It's worse that the Berkeley Hills fire in 1991.  It's stunning how devastating these fires have been.  I still can't believe some of the images I've seen.


Day 1731

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Oh these fires are unbelievable, destroying entire neighborhoods in Santa Rosa and Sonoma.  SF was so smoky today.  I renewed my driver's license and took a written test in Pittsburg in the morning.  Glad that's behind me.  Some of the images of the barren neighborhood blocks are so heartbreaking.  These fires happened so quickly Sunday night.  Monday morning I could smell what seemed like a lingering barbecue smell even inside the racquetball courts.

The there's the Hollywood fire with more women coming out about Harvey Weinstein.  What a monster.  Talented monster, but still a monster.  His company is no more.  He was the company, so it's done. 

Day 1730

Monday, October 9, 2017

This morning when when left for racquetball, the air was so smoky I thought someone still had a barbecue going.  And at the club, the air was so bad my eyes were watering.  Steve, Kirk and Glenn also mentioned the smoky air and the fires that were going on in Napa and Sonoma.  It wasn't until later in the evening that I learned the extent of the destruction and how unmanageable these fires were.  The world is angry not letting up these days.

Came home and took care of a few things before going to bed early.

Day 1729

Sunday, October 8, 2017

I left San Francisco after getting my haircut from Ivy and spent the day organizing all my belongings underneath the crawl space.  We're doing a bulky pickup on Wednesday and getting rid of all kinds of things.  I don't have a lot of stuff down there, but it's enough.  Then in the evening, I went out for dinner at Shakewell with Howard Varinsky.  It's always great hearing his insights about the world and this country.  We spent a lot of time talking about Ken Burns's Vietnam War series.  To Howard, that war was the most profound event of his young life and it still riles him up when he talks about it.  That's when he learned never to trust the government.  We spent a couple of hours together.  It was a very enjoyable evening.

Day 1728

Saturday, October 7, 2017


The Blue Angels are in town and Alice and I watched from Bill and Vicky's porch on Green Street.  It was a great show and they flew over our heads at least three or four times.  Very loud and thrilling.  It took 30 minutes or so to find parking.  I think we located the last remaining MINI spot in the area.  After the show, we headed back to Alice's for a bit, then went to a dance performance to see one of Marissa's choreographed pieces.  It was an interesting evening featuring several dancers and choreographers.  We got home around 10 and I took a shower and fell fast asleep.

Day 1727

Friday, October 6, 2017

I love Billy Crystal.  He's so good on Bill Maher tonight.


Clearing up my iTunes tonight.  It always takes longer than I'd like.

Day 1726

Thursday, October 5, 2017

So the New York Times has a story of Harvey Weinstein and his tales of sexual harassment.  And he writes an "I'm sorry" letter in response, hoping to be a better person.  Whatever.  I don't have much faith in white men in power changing their ways.  Just like Fox News folks.  Just like Roger Ailes.  Just like Bill O'Reilly.....White males in power wanting to bully and intimidate.  This is a type of Bill Cosby predator...sick, selfish, abusive.  I'm getting real tired of these sociopaths.  Over and over, we see old white males using their power and authority to.  And we turn the other cheek.  In Silicon Valley.  In Washington D.C.  And we have this white male narcissist in the White House who's cut very much the same way.  Where are his tales of sexual harassment and do we even care anymore?  You know who's almost as bad as these sick white male fucks?  Their pathetic weak low-life enablers.

I channeled a little of my outrage on the racquetball court tonight in our AA league and went 9-2 again.  Nice.  Catching up, slowly but surely.

 

Day 1725

Wednesday, October 4, 2017



Seriously?  What an ass.  What a total loser.  Tossing paper towels into a crowd of citizens who have lost everything and are looking at $80 Billion in damage on their destroyed island?  What kind of human being does this?  I know I shouldn't watch such jaw dropping examples of boorish inhumanity, because it only depresses me.  What is wrong with this nation?  Instead of tapping the best and brightest to lead this country, we're stuck with the absolute worst.  With the gun laws as they are and no call to action from our leaders, we have to endure a sense of shame and embarrassment that this nation is broken and run by con artists, sellouts, and billionaires who lack all sense of common decency and humanity.  Paper towel toss.  What kind of ugly, empty, pathetic human does such a thing?  Anyone who supports this man is reprehensible to me. 

Day 1724

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

My feelings exactly!

If Only Stephen Paddock Were a Muslim


RIP Charlie T. Wilbury, Jr.

Day 1723

Monday, October 2, 2017

There's something wrong with this country.  Really wrong.  Profoundly wrong.  I'd heard about the Las Vegas incident last night on television, but had no idea 58 people had died and another 500 were injured.  When I read about the details I thought only in America with the gun laws the way they are.  I don't know what it will take for logic and reason to return to us.  It's as if everything's turned upside down.  It's so depressing and discouraging.  The gun laws in this country are insane.  I feel so badly for the victims of last night's evil carnage.  It's unbelievable that these sorts of events happen at all in the real world.

Day 1722

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Another morning painting the deck.  In the afternoon, I rested and watched a little football.  Pete and Carol came over with cocktails and it was fun chatting with them for an hour or so.  Alice made her famous ribs for dinner.  I spent a few hours this weekend reading through Alice's disability report from her disability insurance company.  Due to a technicality outside Alice's control, she was denied long term disability insurance.  We're appealing that horrendous decision.  It's interesting to read through all the internet memos by the insurance company.  They engaged in a very clear strategy to cherry pick details and find any reason within their arsenal to deny Alice's claim.  It's disgraceful, but unfortunately the law of the land in the business world in the year 2017. 

Day 1721

Saturday, September 30, 2017

October already?  Wow.  Went to Alice's at 6:30 and met up with her at 9th and Irving for coffee and bagel.  We then went to Home Depot for paint supplies.  We spent the morning putting a coat of solid weather stain on the back deck.  After noon, we went to the Dim Sum Club with Vicky and Bill.  Marissa was there was well!  It was nice catching up with her.  We left around 2:30 and I came home and took a long nap.  We ate so much for lunch that we just had cereal for dinner.  We watched the first hour of SNL.  Funny!  I thought the cold open was hilarious. 

Day 1720

Friday, September 29, 2017

Super sore from last night, but a good sore.  Work was slow, thankfully.  I came home after work and cleaned, did two loads of laundry, and watched Bill Maher on my iPhone will folding clothes.  I was planning to go to the City tonight, but didn't finish stuff until midnight, so I went to sleep and told Alice, I'd be in the Sunset before Sunrise.

Day 1719

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Finally, I had a good league night, going 9-2 in 2.5 hours, all games to 11.  I should have gone 10-1, but lost to Carlos, who came from behind and got a couple of aces to close out our game.  It felt great beating Steve, Ramon, Tyrone, and Jorge.  I have three weeks of play left before Alice and I leave for a week of R&R on the Grand Princess.  It's a week long and in and out of San Francisco, which is nice.  Alice's uncle Bill and auntie Vickie will be joining us.  Bill is fun.  We'll have a good time.  I'll exercise, eat, go in the hot tub, read, write, and watch TV with Alice.

I came home at 10:30, sore and hungry.  I went to Safeway and bought a Marie Callender chicken pot pie and Life cereal.  I gobbled it up while watching the opening of the final episode of the Vietnam War.  

Day 1718

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Alice and I went to her doctor appointment this morning at 9:15, Dr. Mayle, who's a hip replacement specialist.  He suggested waiting another four months, a full year after Alice's arthroscopic procedure, and if Alice's pain is still this strong, about the only thing that will eliminate the pain is a hip replacement.  Alice is not at all interested in surgery and fears it won't work.  She's been in pain so long that it's become part of her life.  She'd rather endure the pain than rest making things worse.  It's a normal fear, but I've had several racquetball friends, including Robbie and Barry, who's have hip replacements and they've been very successful.  But whatever Alice is comfortable with is fine with me. 

Work was steady but reasonable today.  While working on one job, I watched last night's installment of the Vietnam War.  This is such a powerful, amazing television event.  I don't think I've ever seen such a sustained series of images that illustrate a narrative.  At 18 hours, there's something overwhelming about such a colossal series of bad decisions, horrible thinking, and lies.  If this country can survive the '60s, we can survive the naked emperor.  When this country makes mistakes, it really goes big.  

Day 1717

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

If America can survive the 60s, I'd sure like to think we can survive the Trump years.  That's my big takeaway on Ken Burns' Vietnam War.  What a brutal decade and horrible example of leadership.  Why did Johnson got into that horrendous war in the first place?  Why didn't he learn from the French, who'd created their own Vietnam mess?  The blindness of leaders is ever-present.  I don't think I've ever watched 18 hours of sustained images strung together to tell a story in such an intense, stirring way, and with such a powerful soundtrack.  This is a tough series to watch, but important.  Necessary.

Day 1716

Monday, September 25, 2017

I woke up at 6:50, showered, got ready for work, then let Alice continue to sleep as I closed the gate and headed toward Judah and the N line.  Work wasn't too bad.  I took care of a few things, plowed through my emails, made it through the day, then came home to Erie, unpacked, logged in receipts, then went to bed around 10:15.  I was beat by the end of the day.

Day 1715

Sunday, September 24, 2017


I slept well, a good seven hours.  We had breakfast early, then hung out in our hotel, packing up and getting ready to go to Heather and Rick's for brunch.  Mom was ready at 11, so I checked out of the Best Western and headed over to the North side of Calgary, about 20 minutes away.  There was so much food at the brunch and it was all delicious.  Carol, Heather's friend of many years, took care of the food.  It was a wonderful spread and of course I ate way too much.  I grazed all morning and afternoon.  Jackie opened presents and cards while a few of us hung out in the living room.  I was ready to take a nap by 2 p.m.  Instead, we gathered in the TV room and talked for three hours about everything and nothing.  It was a wonderful Sunday afternoon.  Rick prepared pulled pork sandwiches for us at 4 and Alice and I had one each, then split another.  By 5, we were ready to go to catch our flight home. 

We left Calgary at 7:45 p.m. and arrived in SFO at 10.  By 10:30, we were home in the Sunset.  It was a very enjoyable, relaxing wedding in which I didn't have to babysit anyone, nor did I have any obligations other than being a guest.  It was heaven!

Day 1714

Saturday, September 24, 2017

We woke up around 7 and had breakfast downstairs.  Ross rolled into Calgary late last night and we met up with him for lunch across the street at the Vietnamese restaurant.  Really good!  Ross is such a great, easy person to be with.  I've always liked him.  After lunch, Alice went up to the room to rest, so Ross and I went over to the cafe for a latte and slice of apple strudel.  When Karen, Kari and Janet arrived, we headed back to the hotel and congregated with Uncle Steve at Karen's place for a little pre-wedding party.



Suddenly, it was 5 p.m. and I needed to get ready.  I went back to our room to shower and change.  Luckily, the wedding was only two blocks away at an old mansion called Lockheed House on 13th Ave.  We walked together as a group (me, Alice, mom, Janet, Karen, Ross, Kari, Steve) and arrived just before 6.  What a wonderful place to have a wedding!





The ceremony was touching and a bit funny with a wise-cracking justice of the peace.  There was delicious champagne and hors' d'oeuvres before dinner. 

 
We had a table full of family.  I sat next to Alice and Auntie Kathy, getting the latest from all the Evans cousins.  There's so much grief and tragedy in that family.  It's still so hard for me to believe Mandy's gone.  She died of breast cancer 15 months ago. 

with Auntie Kathy

Cousins Ross and Kari


Jackie and Tavin

Games at a wedding!

Heather, Steve and Karen

The Nicholls Family:  Heather, Connie, Jackie and Rick
We ate, danced, played games, and partied until midnight.  I went to the hotel twice, once to walk Alice and Janet home, then to return to Lockheed Mansion with the car and drive mom and Karen home.  No midnight night cap at Karen's room...everyone was too tired (and smashed) to continue with the festivities, so it was lights out.  What a beautiful wedding!

Day 1713

Friday, September 22, 2017

We woke up at 7 and had breakfast downstairs, which was just fine:  cereal, hard boiled egg, scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, juice, tea, yogurt.  Trump was on the TV and I really can't listen to that obnoxious pig of a human being anymore.  He completely disgusts me.  He represents the dark, evil, shallow side of this country.  Mom joined us for breakfast 30 minutes later.  It was really wonderful seeing her.  We had the whole day to relax, catch up, and do whatever we wanted to do while Jackie, Heather, and Connie prepared for tomorrow's wedding.  We went to the South Centre Mall for the afternoon and had lunch and a coffee at Analog, a local Calgary establishment (very good!).  Alice bought a couple of items at the Gap and mom found two pairs of shoes on sale.  I didn't need a thing so left empty handed.  We came home around 2 and mom and I played crib while Alice rested.  We split our crib games, then went to dinner around 6:30 at a Japanese place across the street.  Everything we ordered was delicious.  Alice and I had the Cherry blossom roll and an unagi roll, while mom ordered noodles and seafood tempura.  Very enjoyable.  After dinner, we wandered across the street to a cafe just in front of the Best Western.  It was packed, so we checked it out.  There was jazz playing, so we found a seat, ordered drinks and dessert, and had a lovely time hanging out.  We stayed 45 minutes, then went home to sleep.



Day 1712

Thursday, September 21, 2017

First day of Fall already.

Packed up this morning, then took the 7:50 B bus to SF.  Worked all day, then took BART to SFO where I met my sweet Wu in the International terminal.  We had dinner there, then went through Pre-Check to your gate.  We took a small Air Canada bombardier to Calgary, arriving at 11:30 p.m.  We rented a car at Alamo and drove twenty-five minutes south along 2 to downtown and checked into the Best Western Plus on 8th St.  Our room on the 15th floor overlooked downtown and the prairies in the distance.  Alice was hungry so we ordered a Domino's pizza at 12:15.  It was good!  We went to bed around 1:30.

Day 1711

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Here's me noodling at work, jotting down thoughts and ideas on Vivaldi and La Stravaganza.

Spent the morning jotting notes on La Stravaganza, on the prodigy in the book, Arianna Oh!

She went on another 20 minutes.  It was a YouTube that defined her new album, and in taking about her new album, she didn't talk about herself. It was her signature to deflect the attention somewhere else.  By doing this, she sounded pious, modest, a humble second tier performer unworthy of first tier attention, even though she knew full well the greatness of her powers and her sway with her audience.  She was attempting to do in song what Vivaldi had done throughout his career, energize his sound with the girls he studied.  Arianne was trying to do the same for her fan base, capture their spirit, their glee, their unfettered energy as they congregated online, mixed with each other, stirred their frivolity together.

All her interviews were different.  She told different stories, offered different details with each interview she possessed.  She was gracious and never seemed tired, even though her schedule was grueling.  The list of performers she admired seemed endless.  When she talked about a specific performer, her enthusiasm mimicked the enthusiasm her fans had for her.  She was more a fan than a performer.  She could flip in and out.  She went on for 30 minutes about the stage presence and artistry of Dolly Parton. 

"I was so broken-hearted," she confessed to Matt Simmons on This is It Australia.  "I'd never felt the weight of loss before.  He was not for me but I didn't know it at the time and my world was over. I'm not good when I'm so down.  Everything falls apart for me when I'm in that state.  So I needed to get out of it.  I needed comfort and of course the first place I go is music to lift my spirits.  I listened to everything.  I listened to Mozart, Handel, Seals & Crofts, Three Dog Night, Beonce, Snoop Dog, Brian Wilson's Smile, I tried everything I could.  I also listed to a lot of Vivaldi and it was with Vivaldi that I realized I was happy again.  Vivaldi wrote over 400 concertos so I had a lot to listen to.  There are some pieces I listened to over and over.  VR 564 is a favorite.  So is 549 and 578, oh and of course 519.  I love love love 519, the third movement is heaven!  So I listened to 564 over and over.  I thought about the orphans he taught at the Pieta. 

But it was in listening to a performance on YouTube that I burst into tears, not from sadness but from pure joy.  It was ecstacy.  It was transcendent.  I listened to a live performance of Fabio Biondi and his amazing Europa Galante ensemble play Vivaldi's 564, and I was overcome with everything that's good in the world.  I heard the girls in his music.  I heard their laughter, their naughtiness.  I heard it all.  I couldn't sleep after that.  I listened to that performance probably 20 times, then listened to everything Fabio Biondi did.  He is a baroque genius of the highest order.  He is as fine as David Oistrach.  His L'Estro Armonico recording is amazing."

She talked in another language.  Her range was stunning.  She talked like a musicologist.  And she was endlessly fascinating to listen to and look at.  She had everyone rivoted.  She was funny and love how nerdy she was, rapsing about Fabio, her new idol, her adoring fan, a man she had the hugest crush on.  He was everythign to her, the living David Oistrach with baroque bow,

"So I listened to his L'Estro Armonico Concertos, 12 different concertos that were published in _____ at Vivaldi's Op. 3.  Very popular works at the time, works Bach adored and transcribed.  I listened to this recording over and over and that's what finally mended my heart.  Then I discovered La Stravaganza, Vivaldi's Op. 4.  It was perfect.  Because this is my Opus 4, my fourth recording, it was one of those incredible situations where Vivaldi had fallen in my lap at the perfect time in my life where I'm happy and loving life and now an adult who can look back on my teenage years. 

Seriously, there is no better medicine on the planet, not better solution, no better healer of a broken heart than Vivaldi.  He heals fastest.  Faster than Handel.  Faster than another other composer.  No one else comes close.  Not Mozart.  Not the Police.  Not even Bobby McFerron.  Vivaldi is the original don't worry be happy guy.  He is the rarest of warm gifts from a cold indifferent universe. 

There was no denying Arriana's capacity to spin and sell and promote without once mentioning herself or her album.  She was a master at the stagecraft.  Promotecraft.  All she had to do was talk about Vivaldi and his genius to get La Stravaganza to become the most talked-about album of the year.  It was different.  It was not like other albums.  The roots when back to another time, and yet there were influences.  The songs were light and bouncy and popish.  It was a revalation that all along Vivaldi had a bouncy, poppy, hipness.  Vivaldi was suddenly the coolest composer on the planet.  His Four Seasons had already dominated elevators and commercials as the most popular classical pieces along with Beethoven's 5th, Eine Kliene, ___________.  But now he had taken center stage the way Mozart had in the mid-80s when Amadeus won Best Picture.  Vivaldi enthusiasts were stunned that the entire world was now at their party.  It infiltrated baroque concerts.  Tafle musik became a super hot ticket on their world tour.  All because of one super star's mended heart. 

Arianna was never a freak.  She was no Lady Gaga.  She was a princess from day one.  She was Anna Sophie Mutter times five.  She was held in awe by everyone, this insanely precocious wunderkind who was drawing comparisons to Mozart and Mendelsonn.  What they wrote of Saint Sanez at six they were describing about Arianna before ten when she performed the Beethoven Concert with the Berlin Philharmonic before her 11th birthday.  No child was supposed to play with such maturity.  It was like an optical illusion. 

For her first conducting piece, she choose something she loved, one piece that touched her above all others: Mahler's 4th Symphony with the San Francisco Symphony.  It was a surprise coup, with Michael Tilson Thomas in on the surprise.  The symphony had secretly rehearsed with her.  They had met at _______ and formed a bond.  He became her conducting mentor and together they came off with this highly unexpected surprise.  It was astounding.  The critic was flabbergasted.  No one had expected.  The symphony had secretly.  It sounded as if it was improvised, an unexpected and sudden rush.  That was the story that went out, but of course, months of rehearsal had gone into it.  The performance was cast live on Arianna's website to millions of fans who heard Mahler and symphony music for the first time.  Attendance in concert halls was up 25 percent with a new generation of music listeners.

She brought an awareness of music at a level that hadn't been seen since Beatles, Michael Jackson and Elvis.  She was becoming the world-wide phenomenon and she wasn't getting worn down. She kept going and going, as if more obligations and performances gave her more energy. 

There were rumors of her mental stability, that she was the greatest diva ever, a royal pain in the ass who acted like Queen of All Things.  They were rumors.  The long list of ex-boyfriends was a who's who of popular men, and she seemed to fuel all speculation.  When asked if she was a dark, mean person, she answered, "I'm not a mean person by nature, and love everyone, but I'm no pushover either.  Cross me and watch out. I get that from my mom, who's like the strongest person I know.  I love my family and they're so supportive. I have the most amazing brother and friends.  I'm really just a normal person who happens to play music.  I can't do anything else.  I'm not worth all the fuss, but if it's there I'll enjoy it and share it with my fans, who I love more than anything.  I love my fans as much as the music.  And it's all about the music."

She could play any instrument and was a virtuoso on all stringed instruments.  She loved experimenting and trying new things.  There were some things she wasn't as strong in.  It took energy for her to lay down a strong bass line.  Jazz improvosation was not her natural way of playing.  She was more organized and analytical, less improvosational.  She occassionaly went on tangets about Jean-Luc Ponty, whom she considered as great a composer as Debussy and Ravel.  She had what James Brown had, indefatigable energy. 


I want to be Brian Wilson. 

[Main Character]

Dedicated to Taylor Swift, Fabio Biondi, and the immortal Antonio Vivaldi

On the subject of drugs.  No.  I don't need drugs.  Music is my drug.  I can experience any emotional state I need with music.  And it lasts.  Music is ecstasy.  Music is the biggest upper on the planet.  Music is all I need.  Do I need drugs to keep going.  No.   Because I get 8 hours of sleep every night.  I love sleep.  Sleep is my favorite activity.  I'm a late night person.  I go to bed at 2 a.m. and sleep until noon every day.  It works fine.  Now some of these things start at 5 am and 6 am and I understand that.  I wake up.  I'll schedule that.  I'll break my sleep in two.  I'll go to bed at 12:30 or 1 and get up at 4 and do the promo or talk show and then at 8 I'm back in bed until 12 or 1.  I can sleep anywhere.  Sleep is never a problem wiht me.  I can turn off my mind.  I read a book on how to do that, so even if the ideas are hitting me hard, once it's time for bed, I shut things down. 

But Vivaldi.  If there were one person I could meet and talk to it would be Vivaldi.  More than David Oistrack.  More than Mozart or Bach.  No, it was absolutely be Vivaldi.  He's such a phenomenon and mysterious person.  He wrote so much brilliant music with such effortless ease.  I think the Piaza knew what they had because they always signed him back on, but I don't think anyone at the time realized they were dealing with the one person who would define that entire era.  And there couldn't have been a better ambassador for that time between the 17th and 18th century, the high baroque era that he dominates.  There is no other comparison for his particular type of music.  Bach is different and a towering genius for different reasons.  And Handel, well he's also a brilliant genius and equal to Vivaldi, but he's also different.  Vivaldi is unique in that he has no stages.  He just is.  Within his box, he invented new ways of saying the same thing.  When his style fell out of favor and he became passe, he really struggled.  I can see why his world had fallen apart.  His end was unfortunate and lonely.  He had to sell vast quantities of his manuscripts. He probably looked on his life as something that had happened and that was that. 

Vivaldi is not on a lot of top 10 composers of all time list because Bach and Handel represent the baroque composers and sure, that makes sense, I mean those two giants are giants for a reason.  Bach is like this brainiac Einstein musician who can calculate and modulate at will while creating 16 kids...I mean think about that!  And Telemann wrote 3,000 pieces and at his best is incredible, but Vivaldi has something the others don't have to the same degree, and I think it's becuase of the girls he taught and was around every day while he worked at the Piata.  The concept of teenagers didn't exist in the 1700s, but these girls were still young and newly formed and abandoned and they must have looked to this crazy wild violinist as a role model, especially when you consider the music he wrote for them.  There were hundreds of other composers in Venice at the time and some were important and famous personalities, but they didn't have what Vivaldi had.  None of them, and I bet the girls knew it, that he was by far the best.  He was Elvis.  He was the king, even though he was not at times treated that way.  And the girls were trained so well that they were the best orchestra in Europe.  They practiced and that was what they did all day without the distractions we have today.  And they gossiped and talked and carried on the way girls do.  He picked up on that.  It's more than just his compositional ability.  The girls of the Pieta are in his music.  They're there!  I can hear them.  I can see them in my dreams.  That's why I wrote this album.  It's for those girls and all the fans I have today, the girls without parents, the girls in need of warm sound and hope and dreams to live by.  That's why I'm so passionate about Vivaldi and so thankful that his spirit had truly entered my heart and soul.  My life is happier and better because of Vivaldi.  And I'll get to listen to his brilliant music for the rest of my life.  That's the great party.  He's interwoven into the soundtrack of my life.  Everyone can benefit from including a little Vivaldi into their own personal soundtrack.  We all have a person soundtrack, a constant playlist we continue to update and add to and subract from.  All of us have it, or at least I hope we all have it -- can you imagine not having music in your life. And with Vivaldi, there's that pick-me-up.  There's that bright shining 3 minutes of bouncy happy glee to pick up your step.  There's that shimmering sound that isn't too heavy and isn't too quiet.  It's just right.  Vivaldi is just right.  That's why he's my favorite composer right now.  I ususally don't do favorites, and I'm sure in another year or so I'll switch things up, but right now and for the past two years now, ever since that horrible breakup we won't go into, Vivaldi's my number one.  I love this guy.  He's the Godfather of music to me.  I'll never get tired of him.  Just like I'll never get tired of breathing. 

Day 1710

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Spent time jotting notes on La Stravaganza, a novel I must revise and send out.  It's all about Vivaldi.  The trick has been to find a way to inject him into novel immediately.  In a sometimes brutal and cruel world where want and need are in such high demand and the anxieties of life are so constant, it's comforting to know there are pockets of goodness available for the taking, ready to energize and brighten, ready to wash away the gunk and feel revitalized and happy.  Vivaldi is one of those jewels.  His music is infused with the energy of his students, the pupils he taught throughout his career, the lightness of their laugh and giggles, the cheeriness of their youth, the zest they must have had beyond their duties.  Their spirit is there in his music, in his glorious concertos, in RV 564 and the Four Seasons, in his 232, 231, 242, and La Stravaganza.  You can't listen to Vivaldi without feeling an urgent sense of happiness.  You can't listen to his music without being transported to another era long vanished. He defines Venice in the 18th century.  Even Bach adored his music.  He wrote with such passion, with such originality, with such playfulness and compelling nuance.  I could go on and on about Vivaldi.  He is the spirit of all of us at our best.  He is the happy unpredictable uncle who endlessly entertains.  He is the universal sound of vibrant glee. 

Day 1709

Monday, September 18, 2017

Sluggish and lazy today.  Too lazy to write anything.

Day 1708

Sunday, September 17, 2017

I had zero energy today and did very little except watch football.  I tried to clean up but I had no motivation and energy to do much of anything.  It was frustrating, but I just dealt with it and rested.  My fantasy football team managed to build a nice lead and the Seahawks managed to win without scoring a touchdown.  The Raiders also won.

In the evening, I watched the first episode of the Ken Burns documentary The Vietnam War.


Oh boy, it's going to be really intense and hardly uplifting, but important to experience.  I was so tired by 9 I was falling in and out of sleep, but after the program and just as I was ready to go to bed, another interesting PBS show called Soundboarding started.  It's about music producers and was so interesting I ended up watching it, staying up until 11:30.  I'd pay for it tomorrow.

Day 1707

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Busy all day, starting at 6:15 a.m. with a phone call from Dorian.  He needed help moving all the meat from Delma's night club (Geofffrey's) to the party at Adonal Foyle's house.

I did my own shopping at Safeway at 8, then met Dorian at 9.  We hauled the bins of lamb and chicken to his car, then drove over to Orinda to unload.  That took longer than expected.  I then went to Costco in Concord, came home, then went back to Orinda to help D set up for our racquetball party.

Adonal has a beautiful house with a separate pool house that has a massive TV, a bunch of comfy chairs, a full bar and a pool table.  The outdoor pool just outside is also beautiful.  The party got in gear around 3 and Dorian, Steve Basham and I stayed until 3 a.m. playing poker with pieces of candy.  There was so much food it was ridiculous.  Dorian is the GMG, the Grill Master General!


His BBQ skills are off the hook.  He had six different items going: lamb, ribs, chicken, salmon, oysters, shrimp.

Adonal took everyone on a tour of his house.  He has a magnificent art collection and is extremely well read.  I really like Adonal.




The food table was so crowded with dishes we had to stack trays on top of each other.  To me, that's a sign of a winning party!


Day 1706

Friday, September 15, 2017

Listened to David Oistrach.  Magical.


Day 1705

Thursday, September 14, 2017

This is a great interpretation of Vivaldi RV 519.  Love it!


Day 1704

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Watched a great documentary on the Tuscan Strad with Fabio Biondi.  I'm a junkie for this sort of thing.


Day 1703

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Up at 6:05, work was non-stop.  Came home and continued updating my Quicken files. 


Also got a new A string for my silent violin.  I'm practicing again and will join the Oakland Civic Orchestra in November.  The first piece I'll play after my 30-year absence from orchestra life is Mahler's 4th Symphony.  I can't wait!

 

Day 1702

Monday, September 11, 2017

16 years ago today...it's hard to believe it's been 16 years.

Busy day at work.  Came home to my new Quicken Premier 2017, so nerd that I am spent hours setting up a new budget that I can apply for 2017 and beyond.  I have everything automated so that 401k funds and Roth IRA funds come out automatically.  I'm probably wasting $2k or so per year because I haven't been using a budget in a while.  When I do, it works.  Gwen interviewed for a position in San Mateo so she might be living nearby.  To bed early.  Almost at 100%

Day 1701

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Up at 3, then to bed at 5 and up again at 8.  I got my haircut, took care of a few things at Alice's then came home and took care of more tasks.  It was a quiet, enjoyable day.

Day 1700

Saturday, September 9, 2017


I spent the day organizing some stuff, looking over wedding websites, looking at pictures (lots of them), listening to songs to add to playlists, and before I knew it the day was done.  14 hours goes by so quickly.  Oh, I also spent some time catching up on the blog.

Day 1699

Friday, September 8, 2017

I was pretty sore today after the 10 games I played last night.  Work was reasonable.  I had a meeting with Howard Ashcroft and two attorneys re their IPD documents.  Donnelly and Alan B. are taking over Kym and Dan's duties.  I don't see any big issues down the road.  I came home at 6, had a sandwich for dinner, talked to Gwen at 8, then went to bed for the night.  I'm really looking forward to an easy, carefree weekend. 

Day 1698

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Tonight was our first league singles night of the season.  We have 16 players in this league, which is a lot.  Tonight, only 11 showed up.  I went 5-5, which was decent enough, considering I'd been sick all week.  There are six morning players in the league and 10 evening players.  Our goal is to have all six morning players occupy the top six playoff spots, leaving just two for the evening players.  Glenn couldn't play tonight, but the five morning players secured the top five spots.  I love it!  We'll see what happens in week two.


Day 1697

Wednesday, September 7, 2017

The Indian wedding chapter of my life feels officially closed now that Gwen has left with her belongings.  Life is good without this wedding hanging over all of us.  Now G&G can get that damned divorce and move on with their lives.  Work was fine and coming home to an empty apartment was lovely!  Life is good!

Day 1696

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

This was my first day back at work and I felt pretty good, though my stamina wasn't with me.  I came home and Gwen had accomplished a lot, getting auto insurance, health insurance, and responding to a couple of job offers in San Jose and San Mateo.  With her experience in the kitchen design industry, she'll get a job in no time.  From now on, it's all about Gwen staying focused and thinking only about her life and her work.  She's easily distracted.  We had another nice night together.  We watched The Trip to Italy tonight and it was just as enjoyable the second time.



Day 1695

Monday, September 4, 2017

I felt better this morning -- each day stronger -- and had the morning to do a load of wash and tidy up before Gwen arrived at 1:45 p.m.  It was a very quiet, low key afternoon.  We went to Whole Foods, but it was so crowded we took the party to Safeway.  We bought a bunch of vegetables, waters, Kraft Dinner, pickled artichoke hearts, anything that looked good.  That was enough fun for me for one day, so when we came home I crashed on the couch.  I re-visited The Trip and learned there's now a third film, The Trip to Spain, which I'll be seeing soon.  I can watch this film every year and not get tired of it.



Day 1694

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Gwen flew into SFO this afternoon and stayed at the SF Westin in order to give me an extra day to rest.  I really needed it.  Every day I'm feeling better and should be ready to return to work on Tuesday.  I'm glad I have tomorrow off.  I did one load of wash and cleaned the kitchen.  That was about it for me today.

Day 1693

Saturday, September 2, 2017

This was my fourth day of feeling sick.  At least my fever's gone down.  At least I can move around.  I still wasn't able to do much but watch TV.  This virus really took it out of me.

I heard updates from Gwen about the DC wedding events and she wasn't having a good experience. She never should have flown to DC on her own.  Talk about Indian wedding overload.  From all accounts, Gwen was not at her best and was done with everything.  She flies back tomorrow.  Hopefully, I'll have my place ready for her by then.

Day 1692

Friday, September 1, 2017

Still very sick, but at least I was able to watch some television.  I ended up plowing through Master of None on Netflix.  I really enjoyed this series.  I watched both seasons.  Very entertaining, well written, funny and memorable.  The characters are endearing and funny.  I can't wait for season 3!


Day 1691

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Even worse today.  Total misery.  Nothing but sleep in bed.

Day 1690

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Stayed home sick.  Did nothing.  As in absolutely nothing except sleep, or try to.  Fever, aches, a nasty virus from India.  Ugh!

Day 1689

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

I was sluggish all day and knew I wouldn't be in to work tomorrow.  I came home, bought some soup from Trader Joe's and went right to sleep.  Not good.

Day 1688

Monday, August 28, 2017

The flight home was very long.  It just never ended.  I slept a little from Chennai to Singapore, but not so much from Singapore to San Fran.  I had a two-hour layover in Singapore.  The flight was uneventful.  I just watched two Alien movies and several episodes of Westworld.





We flew into SF at 9 a.m.  Customs was a breeze and I was at work within the hour.  I plowed through the day and felt pretty good after showering.  I caught up on emails, took care of a few projects that hadn't been completed, then came home.  I unpacked, had a small bite to eat, then went to bed.  I woke up at midnight and couldn't go back to sleep.  Ugh.  I also felt a bad tingle in my throat.  Not good.  I drank some of that nasty Chinese tea, hoping it would make me feel better.  I think I could some nasty sickness in India.

Day 1687

Sunday, August 27, 2017

It was another full day of wedding stuff in Chennai, starting with the long ceremony that was scheduled to begin at 8 a.m.  It didn't actually start until past 9:30.  There were different stages to the event.  It began in the lobby of the hotel, then went up to terrace on the 8th floor, then back at the lobby where Mathew and Rathna swung on a bench while the women in the wedding party washed their feet.  Finally, we took the proceedings to the main ball room where the chanting priests did their thing again for a few hours.  It was really long and beyond anything I've ever seen, but we were all expecting it so it wasn't so bad.  By noon, I needed to check out.  I cleared out my room, took my things to Gwen and Nicole's room and checked out in ten minutes, missing nothing in the main ballroom.  The chants and ceremonies continued another 45 minutes until it was time for lunch.











After lunch, I took a short nap, then came back down to the lobby just in time to get one last picture with Mathew and Rathna.  They hadn't eaten lunch yet, so Nicole and I sat at a table with the Prince and Princess and Rathna's parents while they ate.







Nicole and I asked to leave the compound to go to the mall about 15 minutes away.  A driver was reserved for us and we left some after with Greg, who joined us.  It was a nice excursion through Channai.


We went to Starbucks and got a couple of souvenirs (I got a mocha...it was good!).  We came back to the Hilton about 90 minutes before the wedding reception.  I got dressed and hung out with Gwen and Nicole in their room.  My flight left at 11:45 p.m., but I needed to leave the hotel at 9.  The reception began at 7, so I had a good two hours to eat, hang out, watch the Prince and Princess cut the cake, then say my goodbyes.