Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It's déjà-vu all over again.

Sigh. I have mentioned in one of the fora in which I participate that music in the (American) Roman Catholic Church has been the subject of ridicule amongst non-RC's. This series of posts in one of the many list-servs that has been occupying my time only illustrates why the ridicule continues on. The names have been deleted ... frankly speaking, different people say the same thing, and I hear it from my Episcopal, Lutheran, and Methodist friends all the time.
On the subject of the music of the Roman Catholic Church in this place, here were the hymns for last night's mass for which I played.

I'll always be loving you.
Like a Shepherd
Will you love me?
Amazing Grace (as a tribute to Anzac Day)

No further comment.
Okay, Anzac tells me this person played these "songs" in a RC church in either Australia or New Zealand. But still. What has happened to the music (and the liturgy, as well) with the English language Masses?

The teasing and the ribbing continues as this was one of the responses to the above post:

(throws surplice over head, opens desk drawer, sniffs packet of incense)


That's better.
And just to add to all the fun, here is another response to the same message:
I realise this is an issue that will not be solved overnight. The RC church has had, what, ca. 45 years or so to wreckovate the music and liturgy? Other Christian denominations have had hundreds of years to get it right. Perhaps we're just too impatient?

The more I hear about it, the more I wish I could have the funds, as well as the time, to go to a Church Music Association of America (CMAA) Colloquium, as I'm sure I would learn a lot from those people. I've had friends go to these, and they report that they've had a spiritually fulfilling experience, and it gives them hope about the future of sacred music in the American RC Church. It's too bad that for me, RL will get in the way - I will have been in the middle of Summer Session at Campbell, and for the Summer term, I will be teaching both General Chemistry (for science majors) and Organic Chemistry, both very time-intensive courses.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Plot bunny, Plot bunny ...

For some strange reason, I've had E. C. Bairstow's "I sat down under His shadow" playing in my mind all day. It's a beautiful piece ... and one that the Senior Choir at Chapel of the Cross has performed many times through the years.

It's a short piece, and for some reason, little scenes play in my mind with each line of the piece. Naturally, this is related to the FanFiction that I've been so obsessed with of late. I've read mainly SS/HG pairings (but also a few Snape as mentor or older brother types as well), so naturally, my plot bunnies would be related to that pairing.

I hope I am not violating any copyright laws by writing the lyrics here. My thought is to write this little story, using each line (or a portion thereof) as a chapter title.

There really won't be much of a plot; it would probably end up reading like a series of snapshots more than anything else.
I sat down under His shadow with great delight,
and His fruit was sweet to my taste.
He brought me to the banqueting house,
and His banner over me was love.
I would just have to sit down and sketch this out, but probably not any time this week or the next as I will have to teach the Forensics course for the next couple of weeks.

If you feel inclined, let me know what you think of the idea in the combox.

27 April - Sixth Sunday of Easter

As usual ... my music lists for Sunday services.

St. Joseph's Episcopal Church - numbers are out of The Hymnal 1982.

The Sixth Sunday of Easter: Holy Eucharist: Rite II

Prelude: Laudate Dominum Omnes Gentes (Psalm 117; Howard Helvey)*
Pro: 705, As those of old their first fruits brought (FOREST GREEN)
Gloria: S-280 (Powell)
Psalm: Ps 66 (Barrett)
Seq: 514, To thee, O Comforter divine (ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S)
Off: 405, All things bright and beautiful (ROYAL OAK)
Sanctus: S-125, Community Mass (Proulx)
Lord's Prayer: chanted (S-119 in Hymnal 1982)
Fraction Anthem: S-154, New Plainsong (Hurd)
Comm: Gather Comprehensive 838, Eat This Bread (Taizé)
Re: 344, Lord, dismiss us with thy blessing (SICILIAN MARINERS)
Postlude: Allemande from Partita No. 1 in B-Flat Major (BWV 825, J. S. Bach)

*This piece was commissioned by the Senior Choir of Chapel of the Cross (I was included with this lot), and dedicated to Roberta Marchese Van Ness and Gerald Whittington (two members of the Senior Choir) on the occasion of their marriage. It received its first performance at their wedding ceremony, and to honour them, I played the "accompaniment" on soft stops as my prelude. It's a wonderful piece.

As for my, erm, postlude ... I guess I was feeling nostalgic for the days I was taking piano lessons with Greg McCallum. I ended up taking two semesters worth of lessons from him because my organ teacher, Tim Baker, had taken a sabbatical to France, and Tim didn't want me to go too long without lessons, hence I was given the opportunity to improve my (rather dismal) keyboard skills while he was gone. My lessons with Greg really made a huge difference. I was self-taught at the piano before I started organ lessons with Tim back in August, 2002.

Episcopal Centre at Duke University

The Sixth Sunday of Easter: Holy Eucharist: Rite II

Prelude: Laudate Dominum Omnes Gentes (Psalm 117; Howard Helvey)
Pro: 179, Welcome, happy morning (FORTUNATUS)
Gloria: S-280 (Powell)
Psalm: Ps 66, recited
Seq: 400, All creatures of our God and King (LASST UNS ERFREUEN)
Off: 516, Come down, O Love divine (DOWN AMPNEY)
Sanctus: S-125, Community Mass (Proulx)
Communion Hymn: 488, Be thou my vision (SLANE)
Re: 344, Lord, dismiss us with thy blessing (SICILIAN MARINERS)

I will admit - I was very tired at this point in the day. I took a nap shortly after having returned from lunch with some St. Joseph's parishioners, and woke up at 3.50 pm. Erm ... well, guess what, the service was at 4.00 pm! So I jumped out of bed, ran a comb across my tangled nest of hair, and rushed out the door. I got there a minute before 4.00 pm. (It really was just a matter of going from East Campus to West Campus, but still ...) I don't think I really woke up from my nap as I was sleepy through the entire service. After the post-service dinner, I went straight to bed, intending to nap for a bit before heading to Compline. That didn't happen, going to Compline that is ... I woke up at 3.00 am. Didn't think anyone would be in church at that hour.

However, I did have correspondence with Van and Robin, and from the sounds of it, the line-up did not change at all from previous weeks.

Compline at Chapel of the Cross.

We've been using the Order for Compline, as set by David Hurd. Our little additions:

Let my prayer come up into Thy presence (Henry Purcell; sung as introit)
Hymn 33, Christ, mighty Savior (CHRISTE, LUX MUNDI, Mode 7)
In manus tuas (Sheppard; sung in addition to "Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit ...)
S-32, Concluding Versicle and Response in Easter Season ("Let us bless the Lord, alleluia, alleluia ...")
Regina Coeli (Marian antiphon right after the Dismissal)
Ave Maria (Robert Parsons)
Organ Voluntary by the abfab David Arcus.

Here's to hoping my voice, which has been gaining in strength over the past few days, will be recovered enough for me to be able to join the choir for the last Compline service of the academic year.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

... and they lived, happily ever after ...

It was an amazing service.

The Wedding of two of Chapel of the Cross's Senior Choristers, Roberta Van Ness and Gerald Whittington, took place Saturday afternoon. It was truly a wonderful celebration of music and fellowship.

Roberta was a very beautiful bride. I teared up when I saw her prepare to walk down the aisle. She was accompanied by her 93-year old father. The happiness emanating from the two of them was quite palpable - you can feel it many pews away.

The music they chose for the procession, which ended with the bride and her father, was an interesting choice. Unusual, but somehow fitting and is one of the Senior Choir's "signature" pieces ...

Before I go on, here is the Order of Worship. Numbers are out of The Hymnal 1982. The prelude music featured very heavily choral music. The Senior Choir was joined by members of the Bel Canto Company, and oh, what a Glorious Sound they made!

Fantasia in G Major: Très vitement / Grave / Lentement (BWV 572, J. S. Bach)
Duet from Cantata 78: Jesu, der du meine Seele (Bach)
I sat down under His shadow (E. C. Bairstow)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (S. S. Wesley)
Duet from Gloria: Laudamus te (A. Vivaldi)
Rise up, my love, my fair one (H. Willan)

I was glad when they said unto me (C. H. H. Parry)

Here I will interrupt my list. Huge fanfare at the start (and yes, the Kleuker has quite the "party horn" (a.k.a. Festival Trumpet) stop) ... crucifer and acolytes went down the aisle, followed by the person carrying the Book Containing The Word (I'm not sure exactly what that is called, hey you liturgical types - help me here!), followed by two priests, and then the best man and matron of honour went down the aisle, followed by the bridesmaids and bridgegrooms (just two pairs) ... oh, I believe the groom also walked down the aisle as well ... and in the meantime, the choir carried on singing. The bride, accompanied by her father, started walking down the aisle as the choir sang the last section ("Peace be within thy walls, and plenteousness within thy palaces"). Oh, and the text was based on Psalm 122.

Declaration of Consent
Hymn: 366 (v. 1-4), Holy God we praise Thy Name (GROSSER GOTT)
The Collect
The First Lesson: Tobit 8:5-8
Hymn: 706, In your mercy, Lord, you called me (HALTON HOLGATE)
The Second Lesson: Colossians 3:12-17
Sequence Hymn: 458, My song is love unknown (LOVE UNKNOWN; with descant by John Rutter, which was originally written for Roberta's first marriage to her late-husband. I'm not sure if it has been published, but it's been done at Chapel of the Cross since then whenever this hymn is programmed.)

The Gospel: John 15:9-12
The Homily
The Marriage
Choral Amen: from Geistliches Lied (Op. 30, J. Brahms)
The Prayers
The Blessing of the Marriage
The Peace
Offertory Anthem: Ave Maria ... virgo serena (J. des Prez)
The Great Thanksgiving
Sanctus: S-130, Deutsche Messe (F. Schubert)
The Breaking of the Bread

Open thou mine eyes (Rutter)
Hymn 653, Dear Lord and Father of Mankind (REPTON, with harmonisations and descant by David Willcocks)
Laudate Dominum omnes gentes (H. Helvey; Premiere Performance of this wonderful piece)

The Prayer after the Communion
Closing Hymn: 382, King of glory, King of peace (GENERAL SEMINARY)
The Blessing
The Dismissal
Toccata from Symphonie V (C.-M. Widor)

Yes, there was an amazing amount of choral music, and people were saying they don't remember any other wedding at Chapel of the Cross that was quite like this one. I'm really sorry that my voice wasn't healed enough for me to sing with the choir, and all except the Rutter anthem sung at Communion and Helvey's new piece, were very familiar to me - some of which I could have sung in my sleep.

But no matter - I am very glad I was able to be there for Roberta and Gerry, and it was an absolutely beautiful service.

Now the newlyweds are off to their honeymoon - London, Milan, and I'll have to admit I missed their third destination. I'm sure they'll have a smashing time.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

How Green Is Your Life?

H/T to Jason P. over at Christus Vincit. This is a little late as Earth Day was a few days ago, but I figured, why not take this quiz. I've always wondered just how "Green" I was. I'd say I fared fine.

Your Life is 60% Green

Your life is pretty green - and you know a lot about how to live an eco friendly life.

So congratulate yourself for being good to the earth. And maybe think about implementing some of the ideas from this quiz!

Give this quiz a go and see just how Green you are.

A Fairy Tale Wedding in the Making

This Saturday's wedding between two of Chapel of the Cross' Senior Choristers, Roberta Van Ness and Gerald Whittington, is promising to be quite the musical affair. I attended the rehearsal last night. Even though I received the invitation to re-join the Senior Choir for this occasion, I was saddened (as were other members of the Senior Choir) that my voice has not recovered sufficiently enough for me to be able to do so. But oh, the music that was rehearsed last night ... this is promising to be quite the musical affair!

I don't recall all the music that will be sung, but I can say there will be some of the Senior Choir's "signature pieces" that will be sung during the course of this service. Some representative composers include Purcell, Brahms, Rutter, des Prez ... and I'm blanking on others. Not to worry - I will post a complete Order of Worship after the wedding.

Here's what has me a little sad that I'm not singing with the Choir: a very lovely piece, written by the very talented Howard Helvey, will be debuted at the wedding. It was commissioned by the Senior Choir (and I count myself in that group) specifically for Roberta's and Gerry's wedding. Helvey took the words from Psalm 117 (Laudate Dominum omnes gentes or O praise the Lord, all ye nations) and set it to music, for SATB, a cappella. Oi, what a beautiful piece! I fell in love with Helvey's work after having sung his setting of O Lux Beatissima. If you ever have a chance to check out Helvey's compositions, please do. I know a lot of his stuff is published by Hinshaw Music.

The Senior Choir is being joined by members of another choir, and if I were to have my guess, it would be members of Bel Canto out of Greensboro (although I could be wrong; haven't been with the Senior Choir since January for obvious reasons, but I'll know for sure on Saturday who they are), and they have some *amazing* voices. The soprano who will be singing the solos that Roberta usually takes for some of the pieces has a breathtakingly beautiful voice. There was an alto I heard singing - beautiful voice, and she is spot on with her pitches and intonations. Yet another reason why I'm sad I'm not well enough to join this lot in singing this Saturday.

But enough with the pity party. I wish I had a digital recorder because if there is any service to be recorded, this would be one of them, if only for the music alone. With Roberta being the President of Hinshaw Music, and Gerry being in the Administration of Elon University, I'm pretty sure Chapel of the Cross will be choc-a-bloc full of people by the time the wedding starts at 4.30 pm.

I already have a sense that this is definitely a Fairy Tale Wedding in the making, and I am very much looking forward to spending a lovely Saturday afternoon and evening in the presence of such wonderful and talented people.

Congratulations in advance, Roberta and Gerry!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Big, Wide, Sloppy Smiles

I finally got around to listening to the CD that Kevin made of the Compline Choir. It is amazingly clear for what amounts to a homemade recording. Kevin had brought his laptop and microphone for several Sundays, covering a 4-week span between late January and mid-February.

The whole of the 17 Feb service was recorded, from the opening introit (Call to Remembrance by Farrant) all the way to David Arcus' organ improvisation. Also recorded were snippets from services on the 27 Jan, and 3, and 10 February. It all put a smile on my face. As I asserted to Van the other day, this group has completely taken the Sheppard In manus tuas and the des Prez Ave Maria ... virgo serena for their own. We've sung those two settings for the past two or three years, and I'm sure we can practically sing those in our sleep now. For me, the des Prez put a huge smile on my face - it was awesome!

Ah ... the Tallis O Nata Lux was our introit for 3 February. If memory serves me right, that was the evening David very cleverly wove both the Tallis and Lauridsen settings of O Nata Lux in his organ improvisation. Unfortunately, I don't believe that particular improv was recorded. Pity. The rest of the CD contained snippets of different other parts of the Compline service ... including a rather painful rendition of the last 3 sections of the des Prez. Oi, flat city!!! But indeed, a recording really does tell all. And I always thought Van was hearing things when he claimed we were always running on the flat side of the pitch. There was also the Marian antiphons appropriate for Christmas until Candlemas, recorded 27 Jan, as well as the Marian antiphon appropriate for Lent which was recorded on both 10 and 17 Feb.

It's a good collection of our work, and 55 minutes worth on top of that. So it would be wonderful to pull out the CD and listen to us sing, minus darkened church, candlelight, and incense. I'm sure I'll go through withdrawal as we're only going to have another couple of Compline services until the end of the academic year (I believe 4 May will be our last), and then we break until the start of the next (and we generally start up the Sunday after Labour Day).

There is talk of the group getting together sometime during the Summer, and I certainly hope that comes to fruition. More as I hear of it ...

Again - if anyone wants a copy of this recording, leave me a comment in the combox, and we'll work out the details of getting a copy out to you.

(Note: Picture comes courtesy of the Ardrey-Graves' ... who have moved on to bigger and better things in Western NC.)

Monday, April 21, 2008

20 April - Fifth Sunday of Easter

As usual ... my music lists for Sunday services. Just two lists today - I didn't play the service at the Episcopal Centre at Duke University because they had their Senior Roast, and they moved up the time of the service just enough that it conflicts with my duties at St. Joseph's.

St. Joseph's Episcopal Church - numbers are out of The Hymnal 1982.

The Fourth Sunday of Easter: Holy Eucharist: Rite II

Prelude: The Church's One Foundation (Paul Bunjes)
Pro: 525, The Church's One Foundation (AURELIA)
Gloria: S-280 (Powell)
Psalm: Ps 31 (Guimont)
Seq: 457, Thou art the Way, to thee alone (ST. JAMES)
Off: 243, When Stephen, full of power and grace (SALVATION)
Sanctus: S-125, Community Mass (Proulx)
Lord's Prayer: chanted (S-119 in Hymnal 1982)
Fraction Anthem: S-154, New Plainsong (Hurd)
Comm: On Christ the Solid Rock (SOLID ROCK); (grimace) Eight-Fold Alleluia (Pulkingham, I believe)
Re: 213, Come away to the skies (MIDDLEBURY)
Postlude: Christ ist erstanden (J. K. F. Fischer)

Compline at Chapel of the Cross.

We've been using the Order for Compline, as set by David Hurd. Our little additions:

Let my prayer come up into Thy presence (Henry Purcell; sung as introit)
Hymn 33, Christ, mighty Savior (CHRISTE, LUX MUNDI, Mode 7)
In manus tuas (Sheppard; sung in addition to "Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit ...)
S-32, Concluding Versicle and Response in Easter Season ("Let us bless the Lord, alleluia, alleluia ...")
Regina Coeli (Marian antiphon right after the Dismissal)
Ave Maria (Robert Parsons)
Organ Voluntary by the abfab David Arcus.

My voice was still too raspy to join in the singing this week. Members of the Compline Choir approached me and said how much they've missed me. It is really frustrating to me that I still can manage no more than a ragged whisper, so I've taken to parodying a Paul Simon song - I'm Still Voiceless After All These Weeks. It is unbelievably frustrating. One of the choristers quipped that perhaps I should learn American Sign Language. Well, if I continue to be mute, I might as well, can't hurt ...

... sigh ...

Anyway, happier news. One of the Compline attendees decided to record some of the services (and I believe I may have mentioned that in a previous blog entry from late January to mid-February of this year), and he brought the fruit of his labours to the service. So I got a copy. I haven't listened to it yet, but will do so soon. Oi - if there are any Compline alumni reading this (Danny K., Erik A., Jay R., Mark and Sara A.-G., etc.) and you want a copy, you should email Van ... perhaps I'll talk to him and see if we can arrange getting you guys a copy. If anyone else wants a copy, leave a message in the combox or email me, and I'll ensure a copy gets to you.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Well, it's done - the one-shot story I outlined yesterday is completed. It essentially wrote itself. That was really cool. Kind of reminded me of when I was in junior high school, when writing came so easily to me. I wrote so much back then, three novel-length stories, if memory serves me right, but I've never published them. I'm sure all that stuff is still packed away at home in San Diego, buried in a closet in my childhood bedroom.

It came out to a little under 40,000 words (according to Microsoft Word), so perhaps it's a little long, but I'm happy with it.

I won't post it just yet though as I would like to have another pair of unbiased eyes have a look at it.

This has given me a feeling of accomplishment. I'll post here to give the links of places to where I will have uploaded the story.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Nasaan CR?

Brian's bathroom question made me remember this 7-year-old story. This is too good to keep to myself. May my Tito Ver forgive me 1,000 times over for sharing this with the world (and thus rekindling the embarrassment he suffered at the hands of friends and relatives for months afterward).

Amongst my relatives scattered through Makati, Mandaluyong, Cavite City, and Baliuag, Bulacan, we refer to The Restroom as CR, short for "Comfort Room." I suspect this is how Filipinos in general (well, okay, perhaps just the Tagalogs, not sure if this is true outside of that one sphere of influence) refer to that room.

Flashback to March, 2001. My Tito El (mother's eldest brother) was in the hospital and was not in very good shape. My mum and her two younger siblings (Tito Ver and Tita Mercy) were summoned back to Makati as Tito El's health had deteriorated. (In the meantime, back in the States, my cousin Kuya Sonny, and Tito El's eldest son, was keeping tabs on the situation, and we were making plans to basically drop everything and fly to Makati ... just in case ...)

Not long after they stepped off the plane after a long 12+ hour flight from California, my mum, uncle, and aunt were keeping vigil at Tito El's bedside. My uncle, Tito Ver, was so exhausted, he was just sitting outside the room, dozing off, when someone approached him, asking him where the restroom was.

Person: "Hey Boss, nasaan (ng) CR?" (Hey, Boss, where is the restroom?)

(Note: to my sleep-deprived uncle, that came out in his mind without the ng, which kind of changes the meaning of the sentence.)

Muzzy with sleep Tito Ver: "Excuse me?" (He believed he answered back in English.)

Person: "Nasaan (ng) CR?"

Tito Ver was still rather muzzy with sleep, so he asked the man to repeat, but this time, in Tagalog.

Person, who was probably wondering what was wrong with the moron sitting in front of him, repeated his question slowly, as if speaking to an ignorant child.

Tito Ver: "R? Sinong R? Wala akong kilalang R." (R? Who is R? I don't know any R.)

Person probably thought my uncle was stark raving mad and left. Sleepy Uncle didn't even realise what was going on ... until he cleared his mind and realised, much to his chagrin, that he thought that guy was asking him where some guy named R was! In Tagalog, that would come out like: Nasaan si R? (Where is R?)

As this happened several days before I arrived in Makati, my cousin Bong related this story to me (and I insisted he tell it to me in Tagalog as I figured it would have been funnier in Tagalog rather than being translated in his halting English), and I was rolling on the floor, laughing! Tito Ver, on the other hand, slunk lower in his chair, trying his level best to hide behind the day's newspaper ...

So I realise this one was probably lost in translation, and my non-Tagalog speaking friends hadn't understood why this story has me ROTFL every time I hear it. It's just the cute play on words type of joke that Filipinos tend to favour. It's cute and corny at the same time.

The Muse has spoken ...

This morning, I finally wrote all my thoughts down on paper. Last month, I shared some thoughts about a Snape-Lily one-shot that had been percolating in my head. All I have to do is smooth things out and get someone else to give it a read before sharing it with the world. It's not a romance fic. Here is my initial Author's Note:
This idea just came to me all of a sudden: what happens to Severus Snape after the Trio left the Shrieking Shack with his memories? The ending scene where Lily and Severus are joined by other witches, wizards, and Muggles as they walk onward is influenced by an episode of M*A*S*H (Episode #224: Follies of the Living – Concerns of the Dead), where the soul of a soldier killed in action haunts Corporal Klinger until he moves on. The soldier joins other dead soldiers, walking down a dirt road to an unknown destination.
The piece's working title is "Onward." If I can figure out how to post it here without it overwhelming the page, I will do that. (I guess it's time to hit the Blogger help pages.)

It will probably be a few days before it's completely finished, however.

I say to-may-toe, you say toh-mah-toh ...

Stolen from Brian at Christus Vincit - the BLOG!. This one is an official BMP original.

The object is to reveal your everyday terminology for everyday household items and what-not. You may answer with the choices given, or use your own. Remember: you're not limited to the choices given.

TAG! Any and all readers are considered IT.

1. That shiny metal stuff that you use to wrap food with:
A. Aluminum foil / B. Tin foil / C. Reynolds Wrap

I say A, and it's spelled aluminium. (You know, rhymes with gallium, indium, thallium ... Group 13 elements, people!)

2. That clear plastic stuff that is also used to wrap food with:
A. Plastic wrap / B. Saran wrap / C. Glad wrap

I say A.

3. Those things you use for facial and nasal care:
A. Tissues / B. Kleenex / C. Snot rags

Either A or B. I've never heard of C.

4. The stringy pasta that you eat with meatballs:
A. Spaghetti / B. P'sghetti / C. Noodles

B must be a regional thing as I've never heard it. If I use spaghetti noodles, then I will say A, although I've been known to use others, like linguini, fettucine, etc. Call it by its name, I'd say.

5. Those wooden sticks you see in a chips bag:
A. Pretzel / B. Prentzel / C. Sticks

Erm, I'd say A is the only name for those things. Most of my friends would want a good beer to go along with this (and not the watery stuff that passes for it, either.)

6. That mammoth trunked animal in the zoo:
A. Elephant / B. Elly-Phahnt / C. Wooly mammoth

That's easy. None of the above - this Winnie-the-Pooh fan likes to call them Heffalumps! :-)

7. The room in the house you have to use at least once a day:
A. The bathroom / B. The rest room / C. The little boys'/girls' room / D. The can

I use A. My Canadian friends call it the Washroom. My Filipino friends call it the CR (and there is a really cute story connected with this ... I will share it in another post, despite the fact that one of my uncles will probably kill me for telling! ;-) )

8. The paper you use after using the room described in question #7:
A. Toilet paper / B. Bath (or bathroom) tissue / C. Butt wipe

I use A. C is a little crude for my taste.

9. Your classification of a passenger van (full-sized or mini), besides van:
A. Car / B. Truck / C. Bus

Erm ... pardon? What else can it be classified? Sorry Brian. This was a silly question.

10. OK, finally, something relating to liturgical music - your classification of a Hammond organ:
A. Instrument / B. Appliance / C. Furniture

A Toaster Oven. Let's be specific here! If Randy had his way, it would also have a Chiffon Stop and do bagels. I say we add the cream cheese and the lox and make a party of it!

Music at today's WDC Mass ...

... from the point of view of a non-Catholic. This comes courtesy of PIPORG-L. Frank E., who writes as a non-Catholic observer watching it over EWTN (one of those channels Time Warner Cable in Durham does not give you with their basic cable package), gave his impressions of the Mass. His comments are below.
Not quite what was expected. With the specialness one might expect at a service with the Pope presiding, the music seemed to be a mish-mash of popsey dance tunes, black gospel razzamataz along with some "songs of today" and plenty of mombo beat accompaniment ... all of this while communion was administered.

Even the EWTN commentator referred to the "Amazonian" sound of the music. To my ears it was akin to music of Mardi Gras.

There was a hint of what might be sacred music at a few points during the mass. In one "song" the sound of an organ came through, and for a few seconds I saw a 4-manual
drawknob console. A highlight was when Placido Domingo sang an abbreviated setting of the Franck "Panis Angelicus" with a small backup choir, but it seemed odd amongst the music mix before.

Altogether it was, as EWTN described it, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-racial. But musically it seemed to have no head nor tail, no continuity. For this occasion with the Pope in attendance, it might have been appropriate to have *some* traditional church music of the period before Pope John 22nd-Mozart, Palestrina, Gregorian Chant.
Now, why doesn't this surprise me? Honestly, I am not surprised at all. My Episcopal friends poke fun at the music often heard at Catholic Masses, and they loftily announce that they are the ones who are preserving the music of The Church. There are some Episcopal churches in this area where one may hear an anthem sung in Latin as often as once a week even. I've had the pleasure of chanting Gregorian chant at Compline services ... at an Episcopal church ... for the past several years.

I suppose the argument that may be given for a "multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-racial" music list is that this is a true reflection of America's society and culture - the "Melting Pot." If America can be a melting pot, surely her Catholic Masses can be reflective of that. But just as ingredients for a really good pot of stew should come together in perfect harmony to make that stew taste wonderful, is it possible for disparate styles of music to come together to make the stew that is the music of the American Catholic Mass?

That would be my open-ended Question Of The Day. Chew on that for a while ... and leave your thoughts in the combox, if you care to.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Papal Visit ... The Ultimate Order of Worship!

I just received an email, courtesy of my membership of the listserv PIPORG-L. With a subject line extending congratulations to two organists, Stephen Tharp and Jennifer Pascual, naturally, I had to have a look at that message.

The message conveyed congratulations to Mr. Tharp as he will be the organist for the Papal Masses at St. Patrick's Cathedral and Yankee Stadium, and the organist for the Ecumenical Service at St. Joseph's in NYC.

The congratulations were extended to Dra. Pascual (yes, she's Filipino, squee) for being the organiser of all the music and musicians, as well as the conductor for the Masses and services.

And then ... a link. It's a long download, but is 113 pages worth of Order of Worship. For me, who collects them, I felt like I got deposited in the middle of Sweet Factory ... heh heh, or Honeydukes Sweetshop (yeah, dream on, Lyn!) ... but seriously. It was really neat to look through this document.

Click here to check out this document.

H/T to Joe Vitacco, the author of the post which led to this squee-worthy post (well, what do you expect of a hopelessly nerdy Church Organist???)

13 April - Fourth Sunday of Easter

As usual ... my music lists for Sunday services.

St. Joseph's Episcopal Church - numbers are out of The Hymnal 1982.

The Fourth Sunday of Easter: Holy Eucharist: Rite II

Prelude: Two settings of Alle Menschen müßen sterben (M. Dupré and J. Pachelbel)
Pro: 205, Good Christians all, rejoice and sing! (GELOBT SEI GOTT)
Gloria: S-280 (Powell)
Psalm: Ps 23 (Guimont)
Seq: 334, Praise the Lord, rise up rejoicing (ALLES IST AN GOTTES SEGEN)
Off: 645, The King of love my shepherd is (ST. COLUMBA)
Sanctus: S-125, Community Mass (Proulx)
Lord's Prayer: chanted (S-119 in Hymnal 1982)
Fraction Anthem: S-154, New Plainsong (Hurd)
Comm: Gather Comprehensive 31, Shepherd Me, O God (Haugen setting of Ps. 23)
Re: 208, Alleluia! The strife is o'er, the battle done (VICTORY)
Postlude: The strife is o'er, the battle done (D. Johnson, from his Easy Trios collection)

I should learn my lesson - I chose my voluntary music at the last possible minute, and I was only looking for items that would be an easy read. I really should have checked the prelude music - and I chose that blindly based on music recommendations found in the CanticaNova website. That prelude would have been more appropo when a hymn with the hymntune SALZBURG was programmed. Oh well, lesson learnt.

The choir is appreciative though - because of my lack of voice, I told them their "warmup" will consist of singing through the Gloria (S-280, Powell setting). When we finished, a couple of the choir members had huge smiles on their faces and declared it was so nice to be able to sing that accompanied by organ. So I rasped back, "And what accompanied you before?" Their answer: nothing. They sang that (or tried to), a cappella.

Also too - the Vicar approached me after the service and said how much she appreciated my ministry and especially lauded me on my musical choices. (I've been choosing all the hymns from the 4th Sunday after Epiphany onwards.) I've also been receiving similar compliments from members of the congregations.

I guess all of this shows how much they really needed someone behind the console. There are always little things coming up that awe me, and humble me, and these were a few of those things.

Episcopal Centre at Duke University

The Fourth Sunday of Easter: Holy Eucharist: Rite II

Prelude: A rather lame improvisation on Gelobt sei Gott. It's times like this when I wish I could channel David Arcus and have music flowing out of my fingertips that doesn't sound contrived or lame ...
Pro: 205, Good Christians all, rejoice and sing! (GELOBT SEI GOTT)
Gloria: S-280 (Powell)
Psalm: Ps 23, recited
Seq: 334, Praise the Lord, rise up rejoicing (ALLES IST AN GOTTES SEGEN)
Off: 645, The King of love my shepherd is (ST. COLUMBA)
Sanctus: S-125, Community Mass (Proulx)
Communion Hymn: 304, I come with joy th meet my Lord (LAND OF REST)
Re: 208, Alleluia! The strife is o'er, the battle done (VICTORY)

Compline at Chapel of the Cross.

We've been using the Order for Compline, as set by David Hurd. Our little additions:

Let my prayer come up into Thy presence (Henry Purcell; sung as introit)
Hymn 33, Christ, mighty Savior (CHRISTE, LUX MUNDI, Mode 7)
In manus tuas (Sheppard; sung in addition to "Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit ...)
S-32, Concluding Versicle and Response in Easter Season ("Let us bless the Lord, alleluia, alleluia ...")
Regina Coeli (Marian antiphon right after the Dismissal)
Ave Maria (Robert Parsons)
Organ Voluntary by the abfab David Arcus.

My voice was still too raspy to join in the singing this week. As I walked in the church, I recognised the Parsons Ave Maria, and thought, "My goodness, he's really going to have the choir sing this tonight." It sounded rather rough (not polished like the Cambridge Singers - click the link, and you'll be taken to a YouTube video featuring this exquisite piece), but then again, what's rehearsal for if not working out the kinks.

When they concluded the service with this piece, I thought they did well for the first public performance of this piece, despite the reduced numbers (there were several absences, including mine, amongst the choristers). The congregation also noticed the change, and Van indicated that many of the regulars noticed the different setting of the Ave Maria, said they really enjoyed it, and asked who composed it.

Is it possible for a 60+-year old man to squee? As Van was relating this story to Robin Arcus and me, I can just imagine him squeeing his delight at hearing these words. Honestly - that makes all of this worthwhile, and I couldn't help but smile as I heard Van gushing on and on.

Van expressed hope that my voice will be well enough to rejoin the choristers next week. David also expressed the same hope, giving me a hug and telling me how much the choir misses me. That made me feel really good, kind of warm and tingly all over. I am sick and tired of being sick, and I do, indeed, hope that my voice decides to return. I miss singing. I really do.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Straight from the mouth of babes ...

This is a cute story courtesy of Van Quinn.

Chapel of the Cross had their ABC sale this past weekend. (ABC == Attics, Basement, Closets. Think of it as a huge yard sale, with many beneficiaries. It's a big annual event at COTC.) There was a second-grade student, approximately 7-8 years old, who dragged his father over to where the used CDs and the like were sold. He said there were a whole heap of "great CDs" on sale there.

The contents of the CDs? Choral music from St. Paul's Episcopal Church (I am assuming Greenville, NC; Janette Fishell is an amazing talent, and boo hoo for us but great on her that she is moving to bigger and better things at Indiana University), organ music by Bach, Handel ... more choral music CDs ... another CD featuring some works performed by organist Peter Hurford accompanied by orchestra conducted by Charles Dutoit ... ask the boy's father his opinion on what his son considered "great CDs," and he rolled his eyes to the ceiling.

No wonder Van was rather excited - I believe he wants to recruit this kid for his Cantus Choir ...

The (Nearly) Voiceless Wonder, Part II

So much for hoping the laryngitis will pass quickly. My raspy voice is still with me, but at least it is more voice than I've had lately.

Unfortunately, given what I have to do on Sundays, I could not keep completely silent. (Sorry, Van.)

The first chatty activity was conducting choir rehearsal at St. Joseph's. I received lots of sympathy looks from my choristers. One of them, a young flautist who is a soon-to-be graduated from Duke University student, gave me a look, and asked, "Still?"

Yup. At least I had enough voice that I didn't have to resort to my ridiculous pantomiming and hand-waving that I was forced to do last Sunday. So that went relatively well, and we sang our share of Good Shepherd hymns and songs. (Music list to be posted shortly ...)

The second chatty activity was one I did not expect to have done. I agreed to sing with the Chamber Choir at Immaculate Conception Church. We're preparing for an Eastertide Evensong for 24 April at 7.30 pm. (Note to those of you in the Triangle area - come to IC for this Evensong.) As it turned out - the choir director had to play for the 1.00 pm Spanish Mass, so he was hoping one of us would conduct the choir rehearsal. As my voice is not completely back yet, I intended to attend rehearsal anyway, just to observe and look on with the music, "singing" this in my mind and figuring out how everything fits together.

I ended up conducting the choir rehearsal, going over three pieces and two hymns. This lot picked up the hymns pretty quickly (not bad for a Catholic choir, I must say), but they need to work on listening to each other and not allowing their pitches to fall as flat as a pancake. It was a challenge for me though - first of all, I was handicapped enough not having my voice at my disposal. One of the snarks in the bass section was mildly teasing me for my raspy voice, by rasping right back at me. I just made a face at him. Secondly, we're working on a Brasilian Alleluia by Jean Berger, and I admitted to the group immediately - I can't read Open Score that readily. (Yet one more skill set I need to add to my arsenal.) So we all muddled through this piece. It's not easy. The accidentals alone would be enough to scare even the most experienced singers.

Unfortunately, this task involved a lot of talking on my part. My voice was decidedly strained by the time choir rehearsal was done. At that point, I would have preferred to drag myself to my bed and nap for the rest of the afternoon. However, I still had another service to play in the afternoon, so after relieving the throat with hot tea, I dragged myself off to Duke for an afternoon with the Episcopal Campus Ministry.

At this point, sleep would be a most welcome thing, along with the hopes that my voice will come back to what it was before. (I certainly don't want to suffer permanent voice damage a la Rachael Ray once the laryngitis passes ...)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Voiceless Wonder

Somehow ... somehow, I managed through last night's class, despite my voice still not returning to me. So I walked in, holding a paper cutter and a box full of 20 x 20 cm polyester-backed TLC plates, went straight to the whiteboard, and declared that I had laryngitis and therefore won't be giving a lecture that evening, and asking the students to get started on their experiments straight away.

There were several students who approached me and said they didn't have any of the protocol sheets and such, and where can they get them. I told them everything they needed was uploaded to Blackboard last week, and that I had sent an announcement declaring that fact. (Honestly - it's a Blended Course! By Blackboard's definition, that means at least 50% of the course material is delivered on-line. Sigh.)

Roy's hypothesis of people whispering back to those whispering at them held true at least 60% of the time - I found that my students were whispering back at me for a good portion of the evening.

It is frustrating though - I felt like I left the students adrift, left to their own devices to carry out the experiment. These are not science majors, and so would have probably needed more guidance as to what to do and how to do it. But they managed, and the last person left the lab at ca. 8.30 pm. So, not bad overall.

My next go at teaching this course will come in two weeks. Let's see if I can also come up with a lab practical by then as well ...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Tar Heel Evening

Last night, I had the pleasure to meet Tyler, who I "met" through the RPInet Forums, and now are Facebook friends. He was in Raleigh for business.

Despite my raspy voice, we still agreed to meet near Duke University, and I gave him a very brief driving tour of campus, specifically driving by Duke Chapel.

Once we did that, we went on to Chapel Hill and ate dinner at Mama Dip's. I am so glad Tyler liked it - it's one of the places I like to take friends, especially those who haven't been to NC before. It's been a while since I was last there - I think the last time I was there, a professor from Campbell University in Buies Creek was visiting, and that was our lunch time venue.

Once we finished our meal, I took Tyler on a walking tour of UNC, but we also stopped by University United Methodist Church and Chapel of the Cross and spent some time with UUMC's three-manual, 50-rank Möller, and COTC's two organs, a two-manual, 17-rank Dobson, and a three-manual, 61-rank Kleuker. Tyler played all three organs, and I was happy to be able to give him the chance to do so. I can tell he was really enjoying himself. He played some, I played some, and we continued on until around 10.00 pm, when Roy came around to lock up.

It was really nice to hear him play. He was telling me about some of the organs he has access to when he's back home in Vancouver, BC. Unfortunately, because he is constantly travelling, his organ lessons aren't as frequent as he would like, but still - he's got talent, and it was nice to hear him try out a hymn or two, improvise (and he did a bit of that, especially on the Möller, and all the neat toys my organ teacher had installed on that thing) and play some of the pieces he had been working on from memory.

He'll be travelling onwards to Philadelphia before heading back to Vancouver. I'm glad we had the chance to meet, and I am glad to have given him the opportunity to unwind a bit with the walking tour and the organ playing.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Je m'appelle ....

Even though this is a meme that appears to be targeted toward LiveJournal users, I decided why not fill this one in ... H/T to JunoMagic.

1. My username is ______ because ______.

I use a couple of different ones. Once upon a time, my handle was ChemicalGrl. I came up with that one when I was a graduate student in the Chemistry Department at Clark University. I continued to use that handle all through graduate school. There are a few places where I am still known as ChemicalGrl, but at this point, those places are few and far between, indeed.

My other handle: cartilagineol. I jokingly call it my alcoholic username. Why alcoholic? The -ol suffix says it all. As one would generally learn in Organic Chemistry, the -ol suffix indicates the compound is an alcohol. (Methanol, ethanol, propanol, butanol, futanol, to borrow a quip from my friend Herb Seltzman ...)

That handle gets its origins from a compound I isolated and identified when I was a graduate student. Cartilagineol was isolated from red algae (Laurencia sp.) isolated off the coast of Taytay City (Philippines).

Of late, I've been using Lyn F. It's short, and it's easy.

2. My name is _____ because ______.

Erm ... I guess I've explained this above.

3. My journal is titled ____ because ____.

Organ-ic Chemist. It's a play on words. I am an Organic Chemist by education and training, and I also happen to be an organist.

4. My friends page is called ____ because ____.

I guess this is a LiveJournal-specific thing. I do have a Blogroll, which I suppose is Blogger's equivalent. I call it "Lyn's List O' Blogorific Sites."

5. My default userpic is ____ because ____.

Again, I suspect this is a LiveJournal-specific thing. My userpic for most of my pages (including this one, my Facebook, and MySpace pages) was taken in one of the Medicinal Chemistry labs at RTI International. You see behind me, in one of the fume hoods, a couple of dedicated stills. We had three in that lab: one for tetrahydrofuran (THF), one for diethyl ether, and one for methylene chloride. They were in constant use, so were constantly maintained.

6. My LJ name is:

Okay, definitely does not apply to me. But whenever I post on blogs that use OpenID, I've been identified as either Organ-ic Chemist, or by the URL of this blog, musical-chemist.

If anyone wants to play ... try to fill in this meme as best you can.

Monday, Monday

So it's been almost a week that I have been voiceless. Van Quinn has been making fun of me ... well, I know he's also fond of me, as well as quite concerned for me ... he said that my attempting not to talk would be akin to my making a Lenten Sacrifice! You know, how people claim they give up one thing or another for Lent? According to Van, mine would be talking.

Funny - I never thought of myself as a particularly talkative person. I guess others must perceive me differently.

I was ... well, kind of having a conversation with my friend Roy last night as he was filling up the church with incense in preparation for the Compline service. He made the observation (and I came to the realisation that he was right) that people tend to whisper in response to those with laryngitis. It's funny - I was trying to conduct choir rehearsal before my 10:30 am service at St. Joseph's by doing a lot of gesturing and the like. My choristers were whispering their responses back to me! Roy's organ teacher, Susan Moeser, has also been afflicted with laryngitis, and he said her students have also been whispering back at her as she was attempting to instruct them.

Makes me wonder how I will manage tomorrow, when I'm supposed to be lecturing at a group of Criminal Justice students as I teach them the wonders of Analytical Instrumentation Used By Forensic Scientists. The students are also scheduled to do a thin layer chromatography experiment, to observe how many different components ball point pen ink may have. It would be difficult to conduct such a class whilst mute.

Sigh ...

6 April - Third Sunday of Easter and RIP, Fenner Douglass

I found out last night that Fenner Douglass, distinguished professor of organ at Oberlin and Duke and author of books on Cavaille-Coll and also French Classical organ music, passed away. I remember he was in his 90s. At the time his wife, Jane, passed away, Van Quinn had read the choir a letter, written by Fenner, thanking us for our thoughtfulness and generosity exhibited to him. I heard many many stories about him. Both Flentrops at Duke Chapel and at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church benefitted from Fenner's influence and knowledge. I realised that a giant in the organ world has passed on, and as Keith Toth of The Brick Church in NYC put it: "Fenner now joins his beloved wife Jane in that celestial choir. May he rest from his labours."

As usual ... my music lists for Sunday services.

This time, I was the one behind the console at Immaculate Conception (RC) Church's 7.45 am Sunday Mass while my friend Jane spent the week in retreat in Massachusetts.

As usual, the numbers come out of GIA's Gather Comprehensive 1994 (green cover):

Gloria: 176 (Andrews)
Gospel Acclamation: 263 (Hughes Alleluia in C)
Sanctus, Mem. Accl., Amen, Agnus Dei: Community Mass (Proulx)

Prelude: I Know that My Redeemer Lives (Richard Wienhorst)
Pro: 430, I Know that My Redeemer Lives (DUKE STREET)
Psalm: 24, Psalm 16 - You Will Show Me the Path of Life (Haugen)
Off: 434, This Joyful Eastertide (VRUECHTEN)
Comm: 443, Alleluia, Alleluia, Give Thanks (ALLELUIA NO. 1)
Re: 442, Sing with All the Saints in Glory (HYMN TO JOY)
Postlude: Hymn to Joy (Wilbur Held)

Sigh ... I didn't get a chance to practice on IC's Zimmer, so I had to make do with a brief 15-minute session before Mass. Much to my alarm, the pedal board seemed much narrower than what I was used to (!!!) so needless to say, I kept on missing notes! It was painfully apparent when I tried to play the Offertory Hymn. Boy did I really mess that one up. Thank goodness for options - I ended up playing the accompaniment out of Hymnal 1982 for the second verse on the Swell, manuals only. The cantor was not at the microphone, and despite my stupid errors on this hymn, the people still sang, although I did notice a couple of people sitting near me looked back at me, questioningly, as if they were surprised that an organist would be making that many mistakes during the Mass!!!

St. Joseph's Episcopal Church - numbers are out of The Hymnal 1982.

The Third Sunday of Easter: Holy Eucharist: Rite II

Prelude: Now the Green Blades Rises (Paul Manz)
Pro: 296, We know that Christ is raised and dies no more (ENGELBERG)
Gloria: S-280 (Powell)
Psalm: Ps 116 (Guimont. I set the verses from the BCP to Guimont's indicated Psalm tone.)
Seq: 306, Come, risen Lord, and deign to be our guest (SURSUM CORDA)
Off: 204, Now the green blade riseth (NOEL NOUVELET)
Sanctus: S-125, Community Mass (Proulx)
Lord's Prayer: chanted (S-119 in Hymnal 1982)
Fraction Anthem: S-154, New Plainsong (Hurd)
Comm: Gather Comprehensive 798, Baptised in Water (BUNESSAN)
Re: 180, He is risen (UNSER HERRSCHER)
Postlude: Psalm XIX - The Heavens Declare the Glory of God (Benedetto Marcello)

*shrug* I have a small, but merry band of volunteers which includes a bass guitarist, a guitarist, and a flautist. They have this "St. Joseph's Hymnbook," which includes some of the schlockiest things I've ever seen (and most of which I have no clue how they go as I've never seen nor heard of them before). However, considering this group does that type of music best, I might as well take advantage of that. And they really do this type of music well, even if I am the weakest link as far as this type of music is concerned.

Episcopal Centre at Duke University

The Third Sunday of Easter: Holy Eucharist: Rite II

Prelude: Now the Green Blades Rises (Paul Manz), adapted to accommodate the 1-manual, 3-rank Holtkamp.
Pro: 296, We know that Christ is raised and dies no more (ENGELBERG)
Gloria: S-280 (Powell)
Psalm: Ps 116, recited
Seq: 306, Come, risen Lord, and deign to be our guest (SURSUM CORDA)
Off: 204, Now the green blade riseth (NOEL NOUVELET)
Sanctus: S-125, Community Mass (Proulx)
Communion Hymn: 343, Shepherd of Souls, refresh and bless (ST. AGNES)
Re: 180, He is risen (UNSER HERRSCHER)

Compline at Chapel of the Cross.

We've been using the Order for Compline, as set by David Hurd. Our little additions:

Let my prayer come up into Thy presence (Henry Purcell; sung as introit)
Hymn 33, Christ, mighty Savior (CHRISTE, LUX MUNDI, Mode 7)
In manus tuas (Sheppard; sung in addition to "Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit ...)
S-32, Concluding Versicle and Response in Easter Season ("Let us bless the Lord, alleluia, alleluia ...")
Regina Coeli (Marian antiphon right after the Dismissal)
Ave Maria ... virgo serena (des Prez)
Organ Voluntary by the abfab David Arcus. His offering was dedicated to the late Fenner Douglass.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

My personal jukebox, of sorts

Listening to Juno's favourite songs via Mixwit gave me an idea for this blog post.

Taking the cue from my friend Nick B., I had logged into Project Playlist and started "collecting" what I would consider to be "Desert Island Discs." My sole purpose was to have this jukebox of sorts embedded into my Myspace page. I started this page back in June, 2007. My song list has since grown to 95 ... !!! ... and contains everything from sappy Filipino love songs to Bengali Rabindrasangeet.

Give a listen, if you care to. You may access it either directly through my Project Playlist page, or if you want the songs randomised, through my Myspace page.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ack! More Dreamage!

I'm finally taking friends' advice and doing more resting than anything else. So I took a long nap, falling back into bed once the oven repairman left my apartment. (Yay, I can bake again! :) ) I think I've been reading too much SS/HG fan fiction. Of late, my dreams have been ... a little strange ... mainly consisting of Severus Snape, dressed as usual (black frock coat, black trousers, with the hint of the white linen shirt peeking above the high collar and the sleeves, billowing black teaching robes) pulling me by the hand, rushing through dungeon corridors. I don't know where we're going, just that he's pulling me through corridor after corridor.

It's very strange indeed!

I am still feeling coldy, congested, but at least it feels like the swelling in my throat has reduced. I still don't have a voice, but I am fervently hoping it comes back by Sunday at least. Otherwise, my plan of gently introducing a very simplified Anglican Chant to my choir would have to be postponed to a later date, when I do have a voice.

Soup, here I come. And, I think I will celebrate the return of my oven by baking some bread. I haven't done that for a while ...

Charles' List-memia

Bloody insomnia. Even though I said I'd do this tomorrow morning, inability to sleep brought me back to the computer.

I was tagged by Charles via the RPInet Forums. Naturally, I issued a "scathing" remark, but FWIW, here are my answers.

The rules are:
1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

What was I doing 10 years ago?
Erm ... I would have been in graduate school at that time. If it was during Spring Break, I would have probably been in the lab, trying to get some experiments done. If not during Spring Break, then I probably would have been TA'ing Organic Chemistry Lab.

Five things on my "to-do" list today
1. Pay the bills
2. Plan out the music for the rest of Easter
3. Upload materials to Blackboard so my students can do their experiment next Tuesday
4. Laundry (the never-ending task)
5. Hope to do all of the above whilst waiting for someone to have a look at my ailing oven.
Of course, what do I really have to do? PRACTICE! Admittedly, I don't practice enough, and I really and truly need it, especially since I'll be playing 3 services at three different churches this coming Sunday.

Snacks I enjoy
Oh gosh, it depends on my mood. Before I got afflicted with this cold, I was partaking in carrot sticks, raisins, pears, Fage Greek Yoghurt ... and small bowls of freshly steamed rice, topped with Furikake. Of late? Lots of cream of mushroom and chicken noodle soup, and hot green tea. That seems to be all I have the appetite for.

Things I would do if I were a billionaire
1. Pay all my debts
2. Help my friend replace the ruddy pipes in her house that seem to want to keep bursting at the most inconvenient times
3. Ensure my two nephews and niece are set, especially where their college funds are concerned
4. Can't think of anything else, really. Probably find a cause I believe in and donate.

Three of my bad habits
1. Procrastination
2. Procrastination
3. Oh, did I say Procrastination?

Five places I have lived
1. North Charleston, SC (I was born in the Naval Hospital there)
2. San Diego, CA
3. Waltham, MA (when I went to graduate school at Brandeis University)
4. Worcester, MA (after I transferred to Clark University)
5. Durham, NC

Five jobs I've had
1. Administrative Assistant's Intern (when I was in high school)
2. Teaching Assistant
3. Research Associate
4. Adjunct Professor of Chemistry (current)
5. Organist/Choirmaster (current)

Five people I want to tag
Do I hafta? I'll just do what my friend Brian Michael Page does and encourage the first five people who read this to complete the meme.

Enough. Now I will try to go back to sleep.

Edited to add: Unbeknownst to me, Ebeth at A Catholic Mom climbing the pillars also tagged me for this particular meme. You may read her responses here.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Catholic Carnival #166 with Bryan Murdaugh

Catholic Carnival 166 is up and running at Bryan Murdaugh's blog. Bryan made the most of the posts he received and knitted them together into what turns out to be a wonderful tribute to his late father.

My entry was Fr. Stephen Cuyos' very clever Blogger's Prayer. Right now, Fr. Stephen is in Chicago. He had spent time in Bogotá, Colombia, giving workshops on a topic that is near and dear to his heart, Web Design using free and open source software. He'll be making a stop in San Bernardino, CA before making his way back to the Philippines.

I've discerned that these Carnivals can only be as good as the entries you bring to the party. Please feel free to submit your thoughts to future Carnivals. A handy-dandy form may be found by clicking here. In addition, a list of past and future Carnivals may be obtained by clicking here.

Tuesday Thoughts

It happens yet again - every time I catch a cold, laryngitis inevitably follows. So I'm temporarily speechless ...

I went to UNC this afternoon to listen to my friend Amanda Sharko's Ph.D. Thesis Defence Seminar. She is a Ph.D. candidate in Pharmacology. She gave an excellent presentation on her work, and after her committee members grilled her post-seminar, her thesis advisor informed her that her committee members felt she did a stellar job. Well done, Amanda! Jerome and Brian, who sing tenor with the Compline Choir at Chapel of the Cross also turned up to support Amanda. I know Brian is also a graduate student, having seen him around the medical school campus when I was a post-doc at UNC, and Jerome had a bachelor's degree in biology, so at least we were not unfamiliar with what Amanda was presenting.

So now Amanda is on the job hunt; I suspect she will be after a post-doc, like most newly-minted Ph.D.'s ...

I recognised some members of the Morrow lab while at Amanda's defence. I spent some time working there, essentially borrowing equipment when I did receptor binding assays whilst still a post-doc, so I chatted briefly with Kevin and Todd ... well, at least, as much as I could while rasping along on my nearly non-existent voice. It was nice to see them again.

That's the life I left behind - that of a research scientist. I feel comfortable being around these people, and I got a curious sense of being "at home" when I was at Thurston-Bowles earlier this afternoon. And of course, when I'm spending time with some of my other research scientist friends, we fall into an easy camaraderie, able to talk about science, amongst other things.

So now I'm feeling happily sleepy ... my throat feels like it's swollen to the size of a basketball, and I've been plying myself with hot tea and soup all day. I believe my bed is beckoning to me ...