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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Sunday events

Today, I was supposed to serve Mass at the Basilica as part of my second interview. The directions I got said it would take me about half an hour to get there. Being unfamiliar with the way that it was taking me (495 to GW Parkway), I opted to take the way I knew (I-66 straight into DC). I was running a bit late, so I figured that the straight shot would be faster. So, forgetting that it takes at least ten minutes to get to 66, I took off down 28. By the time I got there, I had 20 minutes left before I was supposed to be there (11:30). So I shot along 66 as fast as I felt like I could go. I got to 495 and past it with 10 minutes to go. With luck, I wouldn’t be anything more than 10 minutes late.

As I approached Constitution, before the bridge, traffic started really slowing down, and then came to a stop. I was practically dead in the water. Traffic crawled along at a few miles per hour. I hoped (in a wierd way) that someone has simply gotten a traffic ticket, and, human nature being what it was, everyone else in the world had to drive by slowly and peer in the car, wondering if they know that person...

You know what I'm talking about! It happens every time! In all the major cities that I've been in, if a person is caught speeding, the rest of the city slows down to look at him! "Is it someone I know? It's a Honda Accord with a lightning mural on it, black undercarriage lights, and spinners. I don't know anyone with a car like that, but, still, I can visualize someone I know diriving it. Is it someone I know???" That's one of my major pet peeves. Grrrrrrrrrrrr............

ANYhow, the jam wasn't getting any better. In fact, it was getting worse. We went from crawling to inching. Then I saw the source of the problem, or what I thought was the source. There was a large white bus (school-bus style) that looked like it had spun out of control, and it was sitting perpendicular, across the exit ramp. So, naturally, everyone had to look.

Even me.

Well, I felt kind of justified. It looked like a prison bus had crashed sideways and was completely emptied of its occupants. Next to it were a couple police officers conversing. My mind may be playing tricks on me, like it does alot, but I'm sure that I remember seeing a German Shepherd, too. My first thought was, "I wonder how many prisoners are running around DC?" But then I noticed that the bus hadn't so much "crashed" as it had "been parked".

I felt like such a fool. It looked more like they were just blocking off an exit ramp. Why would they need a large white bus there? I don't know. A police car could have done the same job just as effectively. Come to think of it, there was a police car there. It was parked in front of the bus.

It made no sense to me why they would need all that, but I didn't have time to think about it. The guy in front of me pulled ahead another five feet and came to another complete stop. My main experience driving in DC is this: if you have any space in front of you in crowded driving situations, the surrounding drivers will try to take it. I guarantee it. It must be a wonderful challenge to them. But that will lead me off to another tangent, so I'll save it for another day when I have nothing to write about it.

As I approached Constitution, the two right lanes seemed to be blocked off. This must be a really big accident. Maybe there's some blood and fire to make my wait worth it. Nope. Drat. They just have Constitution blocked off. I had to use E. I had wondered if it might be faster, but then I thought to myself, "No, it wouldn't be. I don't know E." Oddly enough, now I'm forced off to it...

So I'm driving around DC after getting onto E. I can't re-trace my route that well for you, but let's just say that it took me a while to finally work my way to K Street (I think), and then took that straight east to North Capitol Drive. I knew that N. Capitol would lead me to Michigan, which was where the Basilica was.

I got to the Basilica at 12:15, just in time for the sermon. Mass continued as usual, the choir was excellent, and at the end of Mass, I went to the offices, where I expected to see Father Fisher. The office was locked up. I walked around the Basilica looking for him, with no luck. I found a security guard and I asked him if he knew his whereabouts. The guards quickly located him, and I went in that direction. Sere enough, I caught up with him in no time flat. He invited me to have breakfast with him and several others, including the rector, a few seminarians, and a monk.

Breakfast was really fun. I got asked a few questions as regards why do I want this position, why would I be a good fit, etc., the normal things one gets asked in an interview. I answered them as fully as I could without rambling (something that needs absolutely no proof). From a more social aspect, I found out that one of the seminarians there was studying for the Dallas diocese. Guess his name? Anthony. (How'd you know?)

After breakfast, Father Fisher and I walked back to his office, where he told me that I would be talking to the Director of Music (Peter???) today, and would come back for another interview with him. No problems. Peter was a few minutes, and then he showed me the kind of work that I'd be doing for him. No problems at all. It seemed very simple and straightforward.

After he showed me my job, I felt it was necessary (actually, past so) to tell him my concerns about the job. I explained to him that in spite of my current standing, I held very traditionlist views that are not held by the Basilica. I explained to him that there are certain things which I am not only not used to seeing, but simply will not cooperate with, the biggest one of these being female altar servers. I know that in the Arlington diocese, there are none, as there were none at Christendom. I told him that in my youth, the only time I was ever given the option of serving with a girl, I walked out. On an equal note, women Eucharistic ministers were another that I would not cooperate with. Extraordinary Eucharistic ministers were, in general, something I had not had to deal with in years -- I preferred seeing ordinary ministers (priests, deacons, etc.). The choir standing behind the sanctuary was something that I had never seen, but could learn to deal with. These, among a few other things, were the things that I told him that I would have a problem dealing with in this job. I told him that I had wanted to convey this personally to Father, so that all of my cards would be on the table when they were considering candidates. After all, there was no reason to consider me if I would disqualify myself.

We chatted for a few more minutes, but Father was out for the rest of the evening, so I had to leave. Sarah and Carissa had come to the Basilica for Mass, so I went to find them. I walked all over inside, and finally went outside. I didn't see them, so I was just about to call them, when this nagging feeling told me to turn around. Sure enough...

We joined MikeE, went to dinner at Chili's, and then went to see a movie. In all, it was a good day.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Goodbye to Seneca

Today is my last day at Seneca. I will miss it. It has been fun, and an awesome learning experience, but it's time to move on to other things. Farewell to all of my friends there. I hope to keep in touch with them, but one just never knows how life will pan out.

King's Singers and Sarband in Concert

Well, I had another fun time last night. Sarah, Lizzie and I went to the King's Singer's concert at GMU. I'm sure that enough people reading this know that the King's Singers are (and have been for a long time) one of my favorite groups, so, naturally, I jumped at the chance to see them in concert. Well, in the interest of saving money, we bought the cheap tickets -- well, $22 + fees. Anywho, the seating was good enough, even though it was in the very back of the auditorium. And, really, the King's Singers are not exactly know for singing too softly to be heard. Even when they sing softly, they are still audible and clear enough to be heard.

The concert was called Sacred Bridges. In it, the King’s Singer’s sang an assortment of Psalms. The thing that took me by surprise was their partner in the performing arts. The King’s Singers do not need accompaniment to sound awesome, but an Eastern band named Sarband was performing alongside them. The concert was a mix of Catholic, Jewish and Muslim arrangements of these psalms. The first one was Psalm 124:1-8 (arranged by Salamone Rossi Hebreo), and it featured the King's Singers in all their glory, with their six-part harmony and sounding really cool, as usual.

Next up was Sarband. Now, I don't know much about Jewish or Muslim music or prayer. But these guys in black robes and what looked like very large thimbles for hats came out towards the end of Psalm 124, and as Sarband began, the black robes were revealed to be only capes. The capes came off, and they were in solid white robes. They stood at the center of a couple lights, facing each other, and bowed. Sarband began playing Psalm 9:1,7,11,19 (Ali Ufki and Claude Goudimel). Then the men in white robes spread their arms, tilted their heads back and slightly off to the side and started spinning. Somewhere in the middle, the King's Singer's joined Sarband in Psalm 9. About eight minutes later, the song ended. The spinners stopped, bowed to each other, picked up their capes, put them on, bowed again, and left the stage. They stopped when the song was over. Over five minutes of just spinning. Neither drifted at all. The one on stage left was in perfect form the entire time. The one on stage right just slightly lost his form, but still did not drift.

The rest of the program was as follows: King's Singers then took over with Psalm 6:1-2 (Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck). Sarband joined them for a different rendition of Psalm 6:1-3,5 (Ali Ufki and Genevan Psalter). The King's Singer then did Psalm 113:1-9 (Traditional Sefardi) and Psalm 118:21-24,26-29 (Salamone Rossi Hebreo). [For anyone wondering, it's Psalm 117 that the Boston Byzantine Choir has immortalized, not this one. Sorry.] Sarband then took over, with an Instrumental Improvisation on Psalm 2. The King's Singers were ready to go again, and sang Psalm 7:1 (J.P. Sweelinck). Sarband backed them up on Psalm 2:1-2,5 (Ali Ufki and Genevan Psalter), and then they took a break while the King's Singers sang Psalm 2:1-2 (J.P. Sweelinck). At Psalm 5:1-3,12 (Ali Ufki and Claude Goudimel), Sarband began their final performance for the evening, accompanied by the King's Singers, and the King's Singers wrapped it all up with Psalm 128:1-6 (Salamone Rossi Hebreo).

At the beginning of (I think) Psalm 7, Paul Phoenix, the tenor for the King's Singers, came out to stage right. (A side note: the lights on stage left came on and then went off before the lights on stage right. It's good that Pat and Colin know what they're doing and have never done that, right, guys?) He did a couple minute solo and then rejoined his fellows where they took off with their piece.

Just before Psalm 5, the spinners came back out. Here was their biggest challenge: now they had to spin in place for practically 15 minutes. Quite a daunting task if you ask me, a guy who spins for 10 seconds and falls over, dizzy and giggling like a preschooler. I kid you not: 15 minutes. The guy on stage left who was perfect before was, once again, perfect. He never drifted, and his arms stayed in the same position. The poor guy on stage right was just outclassed. He kept spinning no problem, but his position and form changed. He drifted over a decent amount of the stage. Fortunately, he never collided with anyone or anything. He just drifted backwards. (It wasn't hugely noticeable that he was drifiting, unless you were higher than the stage, which we were.) Anyway, when they finished spinning, they left as they had before.

Just to "wow" about the King's Singers one more time. These guys are so awesome! No pitchpipe, no tuning fork. If they had any of that, they used them in the back and committed to memoery their perfect starting notes. Chances are, these guys all have perfect pitch. They all inhaled at the same time and began the concert in a rather loud but absolutely perfect sound. I've sing with several choirs, and these guys -- wow. No comparison. They did what I want to do: begin and continue all the way to the end perfectly on key. Even their vibrato blends! Simply amazing...

Maybe I'll write about them again later. For now, I'm sure that everyone is getting sick of me writing here, so I'll wrap up.

After the concert was over, they had a spot where they were selling CD's. I picked up a King's Singer's CD, one of their Christmas albums. Lizzie picked up "Annie Laurie". Sarah picked up both CD's, looked at them, and said that she wanted both. Crazy Sarah...

Friday, October 28, 2005

DC Improv

Last night, I met up with a few friends of mine and we went to see Pablo Francisco, live at the DC Improv. The show started at 20:30 we were all there about 20:10-ish.

The show actually started rather promptly! For all of those used to Christendom time, this would not have worked for you at all! Believe me when I say this: if you get too used to Christendom time, you'll be late for every real-world activity! ANYway, back to the story...

Paul, David and I rode together from work. Now, I fancy myself a pretty good driver, aggressive when I need to be, defensive when I need to be. HOWEVER -- directions are not my thing. Yes, I'm a male. But directions and I just don't work out well. Even with the Google Maps directions, I still would have gotten lost if it weren't for the two guys in my car who know DC quite well.

We were on Connecticut Drive, the street we needed to be on, strictly by accident. I was too busy looking for Connecticut to notice that we were actually already on it. When we figured this out, we looked around quickly, and made a judgment: we passed the Improv, and need to turn around. A second later, we realized that it's actually highly likely that we did not pass it. continued driving, and in less than 500 feet, there it was on our left. No time to turn in now, go up and make a U-Turn. With Divine Providence, we stumbled upon a perfect parking spot on the street. We parked, David and I left our coats in the car.

I've rarely ever seen DC at night, so I was rather taken with all the lights on and the hustle and the bustle and the excitement and the ... really ... cold weather... Paul was standing outside all nice and toasty, and David and I were looking like fools without coats on. We sauntered on back to the car, like, "Nothin' goin' on here! Just goin' back to the car!" {insert casual whistling for effect} We got our coats out, and all of a sudden, DC became a lot better place. :)

Alex hadn't arrived yet, so I gave him a call. He was in the area already, and should be there shortly. He had passed the Improv and was looking for parking. David and Paul went inside and saved us a table. When Alex showed up, we went downstairs into the Improv, found David and Paul, and ordered something. We all got drinks and food.

On a side note, I was the weakest person in the group when it came to drinking. I had a '57 Chevy, a mix of rum (or vodka), amaretto, orange juice, and pineapple juice. I'd never had it before, so I decided to give it a shot -- no pun intended. Alex had a Long Island Iced Tea (same size), David and Paul both had beers. I got it before my food, and it took me over an hour to get through it. It wasn't that big, I'd guess maybe 8oz total. After I finished it, I was feeling a definite kick. This is why I don't drink much... :)

Anywho, the DJ dimmed the lights and announced the program, along with the house rules. The first guy up was the M.C., obviously. He put on a show. His main method of entertainment was his antics. Don't get me wrong, he was very clever, but his antics really filled out his act. The crowd loved it when he started talking about physics, and the people who decide to play physicist by sticking their arms out of a moving vehicle and waving it through the wind. For fun, he pulls up along side someone, and pretends that the airflow in his car is so great that it's just blowing him around inside. For me to describe his motions is to not do it justice. Let's just say that he was pretty thin, and more flexible than I could ever be, if that gives you an idea of how much motion he was putting into the idea. A few of his jokes were about people, a few were one-liners. Overall, he was good. I liked him.

He introduced the first act, ??? Jokes. I can't remember his first name... He was a black dude with dreadlocks. He talked about a lot of drug use. I don't remember a lot of what it was he talked about, but I remember one of his jokes: He was driving along I-95, when a police officer quite literally stepped out into the middle of his lane, and waved him over. He pulled over, thinking, "OK, I've used weed, but I'm not doing anything illegal now, so he can't bust me. I don't have any weed or paraphenalia in the car, so I'm safe." The police officer walks over to his car, and he rolls down his window. The policeman asks him if there is anything wrong. He said, "No, why?" The officer asks him why he was only doing 15mph on the highway. His reponse {insert sheepish grin}: "I wasn't in a hurry?" Convinced that he's drunk, the officer gets him out of the car, and proceeds to give him all the tests (walking the line, alphabet backwards, etc.) -- which he passes very quickly and with much glee. The is bad for the police officer, because he can't convict him. But then he remembers something. He gets a cupcake from the back of his car and sets it on hood of the guy's car. "This cupcake has been sitting in the back of my car for two weeks -- in the heat, in the direct sunlight, upside down. Would you eat it?" "Is that chocolate frosting?” “You have the right to remain silent…”

The next guy up was very good all the way through. Don’t even bother asking me his name – I have no idea. Alex sounds right, but I don’t know. He talked about music and how rock ‘n’ roll isn’t the same since the 80’s. He talked about how old he was and how old he felt, especially when he asked this one kid how old he was. The kid said seventeen – nice carding, Improv! He talked about how music can say anything to anyone, but if he were to actually use a line in a song as a way to attract girls, he would be viewed badly – not because of copyright infringement, but because of the lyrics of the song. Lyrics of songs are so weird nowadays, but if you put weird lyrics together with an acoustic guitar, for some reason, this makes you attractive. I’d never thought about that, but it’s true…

The third and final act was Pablo Francisco. If you don’t know, his main source of humor was impressions. Thus: he did impressions of Star Wars characters, Mexicans, blacks, whites, Chris Rock, etc. He also did his famous “movie” voice and Maria, the Mexican woman. The one thing that bugged me was that the audience started asking him to do his old stuff. Yes, he's entertaining the audience -- yes, they paid to see him, but they should let him do his thing. He was on a roll! They interrupted him in the middle of it, and he had to just do the movie voice. It lost the effect that it would have had if he had worked it into the act instead of just bringing it in out of nowhere. But, hey, the audience wanted it.

Anyway, that’s about it. It was a fun night.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Happy Birthday!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM! I know I'm late again, but I figured that if I announce it publicly, it will help matters. :)

I love you very much! Thank you for your patience, love, and kindness over the years. Thank you for being a wonderful Mom! You are my favorite Mommy!

God Bless!

Much love,

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


I heard back from the Basilica. They asked me to come in this Sunday and serve the noon Mass! I'm really excited...but at the same time, the paranoid part of me is coming out, saying, "You don't know what you are getting into. You will not like the job. You will get bored with it too easily. You will dislike working on the weekends. You will dislike working on all the Holy Days."

Upon thinking all this, I realize a few things. First and foremost: is the service of the Lord in His Church really work?

Yes. I'm not going to even bother debating this. Yes, it is work to provide Holy Mother Church with the kind of service necessary, especially what would be asked of me in a Basilica. Even though it is not sacristy work, which is what I'm used to, it would require a decent amount of skill to be able to handle it -- this is what I'm questioning whether I have. After reading over the job description a few times, I believe that I can handle it...

The other thing is whether I like it or not, who am I to say this immediately? I always say that I dislike office work. Maybe this is different. Maybe I'll be up-and-about for a good part of the day. I'm sure there will be those days. I guess I'm just afraid that I'm going to screw up big-time. I'm sure it's a common thing for a person like me to worry about that.

By "like me", all I mean is a newcomer to a job -- I don't mean that as in a person with my level of skill, or a person with a wierd quirk that no one else is supposed to know about, or anything like that...

Although that last bit about a wierd quirk? It may be true. You never know... {checks mutation}

Well, I've rambled on enough. I think it's time for me to call it a night. I'm planning on getting up early to start work.

My, how the boring have fallen...

Um, wait, that doesn't work.

My how boring I've become...

Weeeell, it works, but it doesn't really flow...

How the mighty have fallen? Yes, but it's so cliche...

I guess cliche will have to do...

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Anything new?

Well, today has been an interesting day. I went to the Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, where I had a job interview. It seemed to go well. I'm a poor judge of character, though, and goodness knows how bad I am at reading people, so for all I know, it could have gone pretty badly. What I do know is that, if I get the job, as much as I may love it . . .

. . . I will hate the commute.

I hate driving in DC. This feeling of ... unpleasantness ... reared its ugly head when I pulled out of the basilica parking lot and I was already lost. Oh, heck, what am I talking about? I hadn't even left the lot. I pulled up the exit, looked at my mapquest directions, and was immediately lost. It's starting point was not the basilica. It said to take 4 south towards harewood. Aside from the fact that it was overcast, so I could not tell which way was south, I was already ON harewood. How was I supposed to take 4 to harewood?

I was on 400 Michigan Ave, in Washington DC, just in case you want to follow the path I took...

Well, looking at a map now, I went all over where I was not supposed to go, and missed the one street I was supposed to take...

OK, if you're looking at a map, and I recommend http://maps.google.com, there's a parking lot right at the northwest corner of Michigan and Harewood. Perhaps you understand my immediate dilemma. Pulling out of a parking lot onto something other that 4th (where it says to begin) was less than exciting. Anyway, I took Harewood north (I argued if that direction was actually south, which I thought it was.) It dead ends into a street, where I could not see the name of the street. I turned right, hoping it was Lincoln Road. I took it to 8th (because that was the first sign that wasn't hidden so I actually figured out that I was on the wrong street), did a U-Turn using 7th, and headed back to the basilica. When I reached the basilica, I turned right onto Michigan (because the street signs in DC are so obvious that anyone can see them) . I was immediately faced with right or left -- once again, no obvious street signs. I took Irving, finding out in a couple blocks that the street I was on was named Irving, and realizing that I was indeed, lost -- at that point, I just drove, and followed any street names I recognized.

If I ever design a city, which I will never do, I will never hire anyone but a logical person to lay out my streets. No hidden symbolism. No evil street shapes which later have to be re-designed. My city will make sense. Some of you may know what I'm talking about. Others -- do your homework. Look for an inverted pentagram in the design of the city streets. Then you'll see the obvious flaws in the design. The shape is not immediately obvious, but it's there.

Darn cult.


All I can say is that it's a good thing I had a friend in the car with me who knew how to get there. I would have gotten lost on the way over, too.

So, commute aside, all things considered, it looks like a good job. I would be eager to take it, but something is bugging me about it. It feels like the same kind of bug that I get when I'm about to do something I regret later, like turn left on this unnamed street, instead of right, or turn when I should go straight for another block or two.

Yeah, I'm probably going to be dwelling on that for a while...

Aside from that, there's nothing going on in my life. I'm still mortified about last night's post. That's just really weird... I still can't believe that I wrote that song-and-dance. How embarassing... Fortunately, I can say that I spent absolutely no time on it, so I didn't waste much time, except for that in typing it, and I spent few brain cells on that. That's the part I'm worried about though. My brain cells are few and far between, and are more valuable to me that just writing dumb stuff like that... :)

Well, it's time to call it a night. Good night, and God Bless you all!

Late again...

Have you ever felt the desire to just sit down and write something--anything--but nothing comes to mind? I'm sure you have. I just want you all to know that this is what I'm going through now. No, not the now that you're experiencing now. ... The now that is now. ... No, now for me. ... FOR ME. ... Right now. ... Yes. ... No, not that now. Stay with me. Riiiiight ... now. Darn it ... I'm trying to be Mr. Ambiguous, but you won't let me. The now that is 01:35. ... And I've just wasted about a minute of your life so far. You're probably still wondering why you even bothered to look in here today. Believe me, I wish I had something better to do.

You may ask, why not sleep? I'm not tired. I could go right to sleep of I place myself horizontally upon practically any given surface. It's one of my superpowers, as those who know me can attest. So, why don't I use my superpower? I'll be using it soon enough.

Hmph. I can't think of anything spectacular to entertain you with, so I'll end with a song-and-dance routine that was invented by me.

[dons feathered derby and begins doing the cabbage patch]
Oh, the temperature's risin' but it don't bother me none, noooo!!!! Oh, the temperature's fallin' but it still don't bother me none, noooo!!!!

What kind of wonkiness was that?! I think that was one of the dumbest things to ever come out of my brain. This is why there are filters for stuff like that. Such filters include "rational thought," something I seem to be lacking. I don't know if it is a permanent thing or temporary. I'll find out soon enough.

Don't EVER expect me to actually do this little routine for you. In fact, I'd advise that you just forget about it altogether!

Monday, October 17, 2005

What's happening to me?

You know, it's been so long since I've written anything in here. Oh, I miss it so!

Wait a second -- so long??? My gosh, it's only been four days! SNAP OUT OF IT, MAN!

Well, work is keeping me busy this week. I started work at 06:45, and got off about 12 hours later. I didn't even stop for lunch. At the end of the day, I e-mailed myself a file so that I could go back and work. Have I? Not at all. Am I procrastinating? No. But I will be getting up earlier than normal tomorrow to get to work earlier.

Well, speaking of getting sleep, I feel that my eyes are about to leave me... You know that feeling that says, "You'd be wise to get some shut eye"? Well, I'm usually good about responding to that particular urge. I don't really want to kill this habit late in the game. Good night to all, and hopefully I'll be more entertaining tomorrow.

God Bless!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

My first post

To those of you who know me, this should come as no surprise to you. I am joining the long list of bloggers, blogspot, and other various bloggy people. Why do I join now? Perhaps a certain amount of jealousy, in that people I know do not have to waste their time sending out e-mails about how their day went, or about their thoughts, but instead can post them online. If people are interested, they can always read up. If not, who cares?

What is my goal here? My goal is relatively simple: to learn to communicate my thoughts clearly. While I'm at it, if I can get you laughing, that would be a wonderful thing. I love laughing and trying to get people to laugh, whether through jokes or antics or just being dumb. (Every once in a while, I'm genuinely clever, but it's usually a mistake -- at least, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.)

In here, I plan to discuss whatever I feel like. Once I learn the way of the blogger, I will see what I can do. Hopefully, there are more options than what I think there are, or that more options will come soon. Even if not, that's OK. I don't really know how much I will be posting here anyway, considering my time is limited.

Anyway, just a brief warning to anyone who reads this post: I am not a politically correct person, nor is tact one of my strong points. If you have issues with a post, please tell me. I will apologize in a future post if I feel that an apology is necessary.

No, seriously. Let me know what you think. If it's boring you to tears, let me know, and I'll try to spice it up a bit...

God Bless you all, and I hope that I can provide some amusement to you.

No, I did not do the animation. I copied it from:
Thank you to the owner of that website for posting this stuff. I would have loved to do that particular Calvin & Hobbes sketch, but I don't have time to make animations.