Welcome to Glenn's Blog!

Here I will periodically post random thoughts and stories about what's going on in my life and the world around me. As if anyone cared. But seriously, you've found your way here, so hopefully you will enjoy at least some of what I have to say, even if you aren't entirely interested in it. At the least, it should be a good way to waste time.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Gobble Gobble Kitty

Well, here we are at Sac State on the day before Thanksgiving. It's quiet. A lot of people have already checked out for the break, but there's still some classes going on. Only two more weeks before finals after this week. Honestly it hasn't been a bad semester. Even FeNAM went pretty well. Still, it's been kind of a blah semester. I didn't write music for the marching band for the first time since 2010, mostly because it's just to cumbersome and expensive to try and get publisher's rights to (legally) arrange music. I didn't even go out to rehearsals this season, and only made it to two games - homecoming and the Causeway Classic. The Classic was a pretty exciting game; we ultimately won 52-47, and led the whole way, but nearly blew a 31 point lead in the second half. But most of the marching season passed by me this year. Honestly it seems I've just had too many other things to do, yet at the same time I can't point to much of anything that I actually accomplished this semester. Just staying the course and plodding through life.

We got cats. Two to be precise. I wasn't sure if I really wanted to, after the last ones passed on. It is a lot of work, and you have to worry about having someone look after them anytime you take a trip somewhere. But now that Connor's 4 it seemed like a good time to try having pets again. So I went shopping. On Craiglist.

It's surprising how many people post available kittens on there...and yet don't really connect when you reach out and try to claim them. It was ultimately the third person that I contacted and said, "Hey, we'll take them, when can we come get them". This was a family in the outskirts of Elk Grove, who had a litter of 6 kittens. So I had a bit of a selection when I drove down there at 7:30pm on Sunday the 12th. But I think I picked good ones. They were born on August 23, so they're just about three months old. It took a few days for them to acclimate to their new surrounding and learn to trust us. The boy actually started exploring pretty quickly, whereas the girl spent most of the first night hiding in the carrier. And then the next couple nights hiding under the bed. But we've had them - Buster and Scout - for about a week and a half now, and they're enjoying running around and playing. And just like a dog, they come out to greet me when I come home.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and the start of a four day weekend. It will be nice to have a little break before returning for the last big push to finish out the semester. Actually on Sunday, the Mandarins are holding their final Academy at Sac State, so I might come down to see how their rehearsal is going on my little arrangement of 24K Magic. Aside from that, maybe I'll try and accomplish something this weekend, besides binge watching shows like Stranger Things on Netflix. Or maybe not. Well, I'm sure I'll consume lots of food...gobble gobble!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Another Day, Another Shooting

So the big story in the news this week is the Las Vegas shooting, in which a lone gunman heavily armed opened fire from an upper story room in the Mandalay Bay onto a crowd down below who were attending a country music concert. He killed 58 people, at least, with hundreds more injured. Yes, it was the worst shooting in U.S. history, beating out the Orlando one in June 2016 where 49 people died. And of course this has ignited all sorts of debates on social media and elsewhere over gun control and other things such as mental health care. I don't normally write about such pertinent issues on my personal blog, but you'll have to excuse this one aberration. Of course the online debates on this issue will probably die down shortly, as they always do, and life will go.

And nothing will change.

It's become such a regular occurrence in our society, that it's almost taken for granted when it happens. The response is not so much shock and horror anymore but rather a casual sort of "Oh no, not again." It reminds me of the falling potted plant in Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy. If you have no clue what I'm referring to, go read a book. Go on. I'll wait.

I hate to have a cynical viewpoint, but I really think nothing will change in our society, and we will just have to accept that we live in a country where you might just get randomly mowed down by a crazy gunman (domestic terrorist is the term many use). I mean let's face it, ever since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School five years ago, in which 20 or so died, what has changed? Nothing, really. And if we're okay with elementary school children being casually murdered, what hope is there for the rest of us? Apparently it's okay for ordinary citizens to be armed to the teeth with automatic weapons that serve no purpose other than to kill lots of people, and quickly.

The problem lies in the ineffectiveness of our government. Congress is supposed to answer to the people, but really they answer to the NRA. And anytime anyone proposed any meaningful gun control legislation, it quickly gets mowed down under the guise of being an attack on the 2nd Amendment. And gun nuts proclaim, "They're trying to take our guns!". So, we can't have gun safety tests prior to gun ownership (like you take a driver's test before being given a license to drive). And God forbid if we deny mentally ill people the 'right' to own weapons. ISIL sympathizers? Well, you're on the no-fly list, but you can buy all the guns you want here. These and other things should be common sense, but they're not.

Our country has more guns than any other in the world. It's not even close. We lead both in numbers of guns (estimated to be 280-300 million) and guns per capita (nearly one for every man, woman, and child in America. The next closest? India, with less than 50 million guns and a population 3-4 times larger than ours. But hey, we need our guns. We need to be able to kill lots of people on a whim. It's our God-given right after all.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-gun. Not really. If people own rifles or handguns for hunting, sport, or the perceived need for protection, good for them. But mentally ill? Terrorist group sympathizers? People who are heavily medicated for one reason or another? Come on now, let's have some common sense. But I guess that's too much too ask. So, we'll just sit back, let nothing change, and wait for the next mass shooting. Hey, maybe it will set a new record for number of deaths. Meanwhile, folks argue that laws and legislation don't work, because criminals aren't going to follow the law. But weren't most of these mass shooters otherwise basically law-abiding citizens before they went on their rampages? Did many of them even have prior criminal records? And didn't they obtain their guns through legal means? Who's to say what they would have got their hands on or not if it wasn't so easy - and legal - to get these high powered killing machines.

Maybe we need to try SOMETHING to make a change. And actually commit to it, instead of just waving it away by saying it won't work. It's better than doing nothing, which is what we have been doing. And it's definitely not working.

Monday, October 2, 2017

October Is Here

Well here we are in the fall of 2017 already. It's October 2, Monday, and it's hard to believe so much of the years has gone by already. When was the last time I wrote, back in May? Before the summer? Yikes.

Well we had a good family summer trip to England. Mostly we visited family in Bristol, which is quite a nice little college town along a waterway. We spent the last three days of our trip in London, in order to be touristy, but honestly I think I would have enjoyed just staying in Bristol the whole time. Not to mention, three nights of hotels in London was more expensive than six nights in Bristol. And although they were both Travelodges, the Bristol one was nicer and roomier. Plus I made the mistake of not really planning anything in London. We were just going to play by ear and see where the mood takes us. Which would have been great, except we had a 3 year old toddler along. Not a good idea to not plan anything when those are your parameters. Still, we visited the Museum of London (which I highly recommend) and saw some of the original walls of London dating back to Roman times. And I got to see Book of Mormon on our last night, so that was pretty cool. But all vacations must end, and we came back to California to melt in the 100+ degree temperatures.

Thank God it's fall now. So it's only in the mid-80s...

But our fall semester is off and running. We had a slow start concert-wise, but this week there's three student recitals, a wind ensemble concert, a jazz combos recital, and a violin studio recital. Holy crap - 6 concerts in one week! Well, story of our lives here at Sac State. News flash - we're going to try something new and experimental in the spring: Saturday student recitals. Eek! I must be crazy. You'd think after 18 years, I'd give up trying to be innovative and just focus on keeping the ship afloat. Silly me.

I went bowling yesterday on a man-date. Anyone that knows me...oh wait, who really knows me? Well what I was going to say is, it's extremely, extremely rare for me to fraternize with what could be considered 'friends'. We introverts don't do that much. Or maybe it's just me. In any case, three games plus a plethora of beer and some suspiciously good (for a bowling alley) cheese fries, and I actually did much better than I had in a long time. I bowled a 171, 163 and 212. Best three game set I've had since I used to bowl in junior leagues in high school. You know, 25 years ago. A quarter of a century.

When did I get so old??

Well anyway, it's almost time to go pick Connor up from his grandparents house, and bring him back to Sac State so he can help me setup for tonight's violin studio recital. Then it's back home to the normal clockwork pattern of a 6:30pm bath, 7pm bedtime, and then time to watch some quality programming on TV. Incidentally, I recently finished watching the series Parks & Recreation. This month's selection: A Handmaid's Tale. Really deep, dystopian drama-type stuff there. More later...if I get around to writing again...

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Winding Down

Well here we are at the end of another semester at Sac State. It's Thursday of finals week, but as all of the juries have already concluded it's already resembling a ghost town around here. All of the music majors have fled the building in search of greener pastures for the summer. I'm not sure how so many years have gone by, seemingly in the blink of an eye. This is the ned of my 18th year on staff here, and 24th overall counting my undergrad years. Next year will be the 25th year I've been on campus. Really? A quarter of a century? It boggles the mind.

I remember when I first started here - as a business major initially - in the Fall of 1993. Back then the old professors or staff members would pontificate about the 'good old days' when they started working here back in the 1970s. And of course I'd chuckle and say, "Hey I wasn't even born yet!". To which they'd sardonically reply, "Haha...you just wait, you'll get there." It seemed so far away back then. And now, next year's incoming freshman will have been born likely in the year I started working here. Most of them won't have existed when I was an undergrad. When did I get old?

These days I've noticed that I've slowed down a little. I used to move through the hallways with such purpose, always seemingly in a hurry to get to the next task. You might be tempted to think that I'm slowing down because of my age; but really, I CAN still move with that purpose, when it suits me. I think, really, I'm slowing down just because of a lack of motivation. A lack of drive. When you spend, now 36 semesters basically doing the same thing year after year after year, and fighting against the same institutional bureaucracy, I guess it wears you down. I simply just don't care to get things done as quickly as I used to. Why should I? What's the point? It's not like I can possible gain anything by doing so. You won't get recognition. You won't see a raise. So I take my time a little more. Why not?

So here I sit, Thursday of finals week, getting ready to start filling out the piles of (now electronic) paperwork to submit to Space Management for our fall events. I'm actually using my computer monitor from home, because the screen on my 2011 iMac gave out and is now just a grey screen with vertical gradations of color. Mostly pinks and purples. So we bypassed the computer screen to my Samsung monitor. It works. They say they should be able to get me a new computer. By August. In other news, we're scheduled to have a major refurbishment of our elevator this summer, which has been long overdue and will hopefully give us a product that won't be likely to break down (and usually at the most inopportune times). Oh wait, that's been delayed till next year now. Well, we are also looking at finally replacing our stage lighting with LED fixtures, as the current fixtures are so old that you can't even find the bulbs anymore. 30% of our lighting is currently inoperative. That's how bad it's gotten. Oh wait, the university bureaucracy says we have to send it out to bid, even though we have a company ready to come in and do it, and the funding is already approved in place. So that's delayed for who knows how long.

I guess there's no reason really for me to move with a purpose, to finish anything faster. After all, the university isn't.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Two More Weeks

Well the semester is humming right along, we've only got two weeks more and then finals. Whew. I'm glad it's almost over. Though I suppose I say that most semesters. It's always nice to look forward to the end, where I'll finally have time to breathe. April has been tough. Not only with the plethora of concerts and events here, but also because everyone my family has spent part of it being sick. It's my turn now; I seem to have caught a small cold. I guess it was my time. Thankfully my symptoms have been mild compared to everyone else's. I'm at work at the moment, and we have two concerts today, but I'll probably be able to steal away around 2pm and get some much needed rest.

The last time I posted I was talking a bit about our cat Minnie, whose health was in somewhat of a downward spiral. Unfortunately she passed on April 7. I actually spoke to her on the phone, more or less, just a few minutes before she died. Whitney had called and we were discussing options of having to put her down, which I was not looking forward to. She was meowing softly but persistently in the background, so Whintey picked her up onto the bed and put the phone on speaker so she could 'talk' to me. She meowed a few times to me after I said hello, and then we ended the call. Five minutes later Whitney called and said she just died. I guess in some ways I was thankful. Thankful that she was able to go on her own, and without too much suffering. That's the best I could have hoped for. It was a sad loss though. She was a part of our family for a long time, and although with the arrival of Connor she mostly stayed away, she was still our baby.

But life moves on.

Speaking of moving on, time to get some stuff done to wrap up for today, as well as for the week. Last Golden Empire this Saturday, and I just about have enough people signed up to run it. Unfortunately with so many events on Friday, I can't do much pre-setup for it then. So it will be an extra early day this Saturday. Sigh. So it goes. But hey, only two more weeks until my late nights and extra weekends will cease. Then I can start ramping up for the fall semester...does it ever end??

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Trudging Along

Well here we are in April already. I guess 2017 is going to be a fast year. It's a busy week here at school, with seven concerts over five days. A total of, I believe, 34 concerts throughout the 30 days of April. Yikes. But that's typical. It's become the norm so much that it doesn't even weigh on my mind anymore. I just trudge along on autopilot, mostly. One concert here. Another there. A festival there. Another week gone by. Repeat.

It's hasn't been on autopilot at home though, as Connor was sick, then Whitney was sick, and now Minnie is nearing her final days. So I've been kept busy trying to see things in order as best I can with the limited time I'm there due to my work schedule. Minnie's actually been slowly going downhill since early January, and she stopped eating altogether in February. In recent weeks she at least licked at her soft food, and probably ingested some bits of nutrients. It's funny how cats seem to know it's their time to go, and just stop eating. Mickey was the same way.

It's gotten pretty sad in the last week, actually. She's lost so much strength that she can barely walk, and in fact she's lost all function of her front left paw. It just dangles limply as she stumbles about. But she can only move a couple of feet before needing to rest, and though it;s hard to tell, I think she's losing feeling in the left rear paw as well. She's long lost the ability to jump up to or down from things. She still purrs appreciatively when you pet her, and at least she doesn't seem to be in any pain per se. But the quality of life is certainly going down.

Every morning I wake up and check to see if she's still with us. Every evening when I get home I do the same. I admit I always kind of hope that she's passed on when I find her, hidden under the clothes in the closet or under the bed. Which I know sounds bad, but the reality is I'd much rather have her go on her own, peacefully, than for me to have to make a decision and do something to relieve her torment. But we're running out of time on that; it's already pretty sad seeing her struggle to move around with partial paralysis. I think if she hasn't passed in the next couple of days I may have to take her in. And that would be the saddest thing. I've had to do that before.

But for today, and at least tomorrow anyway, I'm still just trudging along.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spring Break 2017

Well he we are at Spring Break 2017. Well spring break for Sac State anyway; most people have it next week or the week after. I'm at work...of course. I usually don't do a lot for spring break anyway; I'm not what you would refer to as a 'party' person, which is what the stereotypical spring breakers tend to be. But all is not bad. The campus is actually quite nice when no one is around. A bit cold today, but the foggy mist over the tips of the redwoods brings back fond memories of camping in places such as Big Basin. Really quite nice. And quiet.

I actually did get away for a little bit of the break, albeit by myself. From Sunday to Tuesday I was in San Francisco, staying near the far corner edge of Golden Gate Park near the ocean. It was nice out there, and I got to spend some time exploring Land's End on foot on Sunday and Golden Gate Park on bike on Monday. I was also close to the light rail that conveniently goes straight through Market Street all the way to the embarcadero, so I got the chance to wander around the piers and walk back up through the Union Square area. Didn't really have an agenda, just spent time wandering and watching, and enjoying some free time. On Tuesday before heading home, I drove to the marina area and biked between Golden Gate and Ghirardelli Square, then walked some more along the piers while enjoying a Nob Hill Chill and a grilled cheese and soup from Boudin. So I guess I hit all the big spots. Unfortunately Monday was my full day there, and Monday is the slowest day anywhere. No comedy clubs or cabarets or musical shows are running on Mondays. I guess I should have taken the light rail downtown Sunday evening and tried to score tickets to the 7pm Hamilton showing. Oh well, maybe next time.

But now my spring break adventure is over. I came back to work yesterday and spend the whole morning cleaning up and putting away stuff from the music festival that took place while I was gone. And the now the piano sale folks are moving in. So things move on. April will be a busy month. 35 concerts in 30 days. Typical. Guess I better get busy and start scheduling staff and mentally preparing for finishing out one more busy semester.

Oh, I guess I should post some music news; I've done a couple of arrangements for Mandarins Entertainment recently. One was already performed at a Kings game during a timeout, and the other will be used at next Monday's game. Maybe I'll go out to that one. I revisited my arrangement of Gonna Fly Now that I did for the marching band a few years ago, so it should be fun.

Now, moving on back to work.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

2017 Already??

Wow, how is it already mid-February in 2017? The days individually seem to drag on and on, but yet you turn your back and suddenly several months have gone by. Not much to report here; I'm not currently involved in any music or musical projects. Mostly I've just been going to work, raising a toddler, and washing/rinsing/repeating. Am I transitioning to something other than a musician? Is it time to sort of 'retire' from what I've been, and embrace something new? I don't know.

The local musical theatre scene has slowed a bit, most notably as Runaway Stage Productions is currently in-between homes, and doesn't have a theatre space to produce shows in. their ambitious dream is to build a theatre out of an old warehouse in West-Sac, which they are currently leasing and getting ready to at lest move all their equipment into. You can read more about it all at their website. Maybe if they get up and running again, I'll end up conducting or playing for a show again. Of course I've played in many other venues around Sacramento, but I don't really hear much from any of them anymore. It's just as well I suppose; it doesn't seem like I have much free time anymore, and I have even less inspiration. I'm in a lull I guess; music just doesn't inspire me like it used to. Sad, right? Oh well.

I am however still, at times, a consumer of musical products. This weekend in fact we're going to San Francisco and treating ourselves to a performance of the 20th Anniversary Tour of Rent. It's always been one of my favorites, just for the music. So that should be exciting, and we're staying overnight in the Union Square district to boot.

Meanwhile, I'm sitting here at work counting down the hours till lunch time. It's still a bit slow here; we're only in the fourth week of the semester. Starting next week though, we have 6 or more recitals per week, and maintain that schedule pretty much through the end of the semester. I think right before spring break, there's 'only' four concerts. The max we have in any week is twelve, and I think there's a few that have ten. So it's going to get busy here, real quick. But as for right now, I'm just at my desk and listening to random musical theatre through my iTunes. Currently selection is First Transformation from Jekyll & Hyde. Somehow that seems an appropriate analogy for my life...