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.

Monday, December 31, 2018

New Year’s Eve

Well, here I am on another New Year's Eve, doing pretty much the same thing I do every New Year's Eve: drinking (wine) while binge watching old TV dramas on Netflix (Grey's Anatomy). Connor is running around in his Halloween costume (Dash from Incredibles) handing out Easter eggs filled with chocolate coins and cat toys. He's an odd kid.

I was never a celebrator of New Year's Eve. I never saw the point of it. When it boils down to it, it's just another day, another night, the start of another month. True, we have to change the '8' to '9' in our dates starting tomorrow, but most of us won't remember to do that for at least another month. And why this day? Why does the calendar not run February through January? Why not use the winter solstice as your excuse to start anew and throw a party while doing it?

There was once a time when I did something fun for New Year's. In the late 90s I did a few years in a row at Disneyland. But it was more of an excuse for a vacation and some special end of year merchandise purchases than a celebration of a "holiday". The fireworks were cool though. The crowds were annoying.

I guess I'm just a cynic. People I know will be out celebrating and partying and wishing each other a Happy New Year. They'll all be having a joyously fun time. I'll see it all on Facebook I'm sure. Meanwhile I'll be sitting here watching people on TV struggle for their lives and sometimes die. Just like any other day of the week.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Mobile Presence

As I was wandering around San Francisco these past few days, it occurred to me that it would be fabulous if there was a way to post blogs while on the go, from my smartphone. You'd think there was an app for that. But alas the only ones that exist are independently created ones by persons who must not know what they're doing, for the plethora of one star reviews on these suggest that they are a worthless waste of money.

Anyways. I have long lamented to myself and sometimes publicly on here that I don't post enough. Now that I've figured out how to do this using email, maybe that will change. So here's to my first smartphone post!

San Francisco

It's Saturday, December 29, 2018, and I'm just back from 3 days and 2 nights - and 40 miles of walking, according to the Health app on my iPhone - in San Francisco. This morning I walked to Panera and Safeway, and I was struck by just how cold it was. It wasn't this cold in San Francisco. In San Francisco I could do a 7am walk without a jacket even, as it was easily 15 degrees warmer than it is here in Sacramento in the morning. I checked my Weather app. 35 degrees. Yikes.

As I strolled through the Fort Mason, Marina, and Fisherman's Wharf areas yesterday morning, I was struck by the dichotomy of San Francisco. It is at times serene and beautiful, at other times ugly and crazy. And noisy. But peaceful. And inspirational and disgustingly deplorable. It's basically a microcosm of American society, the good, the bad, and the ugly all rolled into one.

And I love it.

I love strolling through the streets lined with quaint shops and interesting architecture, narrow multi-story housing buildings that must cost millions. Every time I go to San Francisco I try and visit, or at least walk through, something or somewhere I haven't been. Or at least haven't been in a long, long time. On this trip I started at Ocean Beach and walked a few miles along the beach. I actually found several fully intact sand dollars, which is somewhat rare as they tend to all be cracked and broken by the time they see fit to show themselves amongst the sandy dunes. I also went through the Embarcadero, from the Ferry Building to the Marina, though that is pretty common for me to do. I enjoyed some clam chowder one night at Pier 39 while watching the bustling hordes of people, bouncing off of each other as they wander around like children lost in a candy story. Overwhelmed.

I walked up Columbus Ave through North Beach, which I hadn't really ever been to, through Washington Square Park and eventually through Chinatown and up on into Union Square. I treated myself to a movie (Mary Poppins Returns) at the Metreon AMC, an area I've never been in I think. I had lunch at the Italian Homemade Company, which I had never been to. It was good, fresh, homemade pasta (tortellini in my case). Not especially cheap, and an a somewhat informal and less than spacious seating area of rickety tables and barstools. But it somehow felt uniquely San Franciscan. I went to a couple of used book stores and bought some new treasures at great prices. I went to a comedy Club - Cobb's Comedy Club - which has the look of an old institution of the formal glory days of live entertainment. It was nice though, although being a 'party of 1" got me squished in between two tables of 20-30 year old couples. They had a surprisingly expansive food menu, and it all looked pretty tasty, though I had already eaten at the little cafe next door. And they have a two drink minimum; it occurred to me that I've never been anywhere that had a drink minimum. Not that I mind, except their drink prices were incredibly inflated. One block away there's an old sports bar that has a happy hour featuring $3 draughts and well drinks. I think that's the best drink special I've seen in San Francisco. I had a Stella. And also a $7 margarita that was quite excellent.

And of course what trip wouldn't end correctly without a trip to Ghirardelli Square? I had my staple of a Nob Hill Chill. The guy who made it filled it a bit short, about 3/4" from the top. When I made a remark about it being a little short, he tried to tell me that's "how they're made" and that I "could have whip cream if I want". No, sir, that's not how they're made. Not usually. But I let it go and went on my way, and enjoyed the drink whilst sitting by the bay and watching the waves lap up against the shore. And I thought to myself, in the words of Kurt Vonnegut (or rather his uncle Alex Vonnegut), "If this isn't nice, what is?"

Friday, December 14, 2018

End of the Year

Well it's not quite the end of the year yet, but it's definitely the end of the school year. Today is Friday of finals week. Normally it's fairly peaceful at the School of Music by this time of year, but today there is a lot of hubbub around the building. Partly because there's a faculty retreat today, which is the first time we've had an end of semester retreat. But also there's a lot of students still hovering around, likely because everyone got thrown behind schedule when the school closed for two weeks in November.

Oh year, the school closed for two weeks in November. Due to the now notorious Camp Fire, about 90 miles north of us in Butte County, air quality from the smoke severely impacted our region. In Sacramento it looked like we had very foggy conditions all day long. But it wasn't fog. The AQI was going into the 400s in several areas. So many colleges closed for the week before Thanksgiving, and the week of Thanksgiving. K-12 schools stayed open but without any outdoor activities, finally closing on the Friday before Thanksgiving. The fire was the worst in California history, both in destruction and in loss of life. It was unlike anything I've ever seen around here.

Anyways, due to the closure and missing two weeks of school and ensemble rehearsals, we had about a dozen concerts that were cancelled and/or rescheduled. So my work life was quite busy when we all returned to campus after Thanksgiving. Now, several weeks later, I've finally got my head above water. And now it's almost time for a nice winter break.

On the music side of things, I have not been too active this semester. I did re-arrange Gordo's Revenge for the marching band's pre-show music, and I wrote them a new arrangement of the Star Bangled Banner. But other than that I've been quietly hiding in the shadows of the music world. The last show I played in was the LOTS production of The Gondoliers in August. I haven't even updated my website since then. And I won't even get started on the last time I wrote any original music. I guess it's been hard for me to find inspiration. Not sure that will change anytime soon; I imagine I'll just idle my way through the holidays into 2019. Maybe the new year will see some new sparks of life from me...