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Monday, October 30, 2006

Medieval fest, and the rest of the weekend

Saturday came around, and Josh had asked me to help him move some furniture. I got there a bit late, and he and Ken had already begun. After we got as much out of the apartment as we could, Ken and Josh went to CostCo to get some pizza and drinks, so I stayed there and made sure no one stole the U-Haul. I worked on memorizing a script that I had gotten from Tremayne, so that when I went there the next day, we could just burn through the scene...

Ken and Josh got back, and we headed over to the new place, a new town home. Two minutes after I got there, I made the place dirty by wearing muddy boots inside. Way to go, Anthony. Pure genius, I know...

After unloading everything and chatting for a bit, I went to Christendom, because they had Medieval Fest over there. Within five minutes of my arrival, I was placed in the stocks, courtesy of a dollar from Dane. While in the stocks, little kids threw fruit and vegetables at me, and the ladies of the town laughed and placed flowers in my hair -- both groups knowing that neither of them could get away with it were I not in the stocks...

A moment of bragging: I was told that when the stocks owners were asked to put me in there, they decided to all come. Normally, they'd send two or three guys, but they sent the whole team of them this time. They surrounded me to prevent me from running away, picked me up off the ground, and carried me over to the stocks.

Later on, I heard that they were hoping people would fight them to get away. If I had known that, I would have put up more resistance...

Anyway, Medieval Fest was pretty well standard fare after that. I did get a chance to meet up with John E., whom I haven't seen in a little while. After that, I went back to Herndon to go to the gym, and then to Holy Transfiguration for Vespers.

The rest of the weekend played out like normal. Sunday was busy with choral stuff and that was really about it.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bragging rights

I'm now an uncle of 4. My twin sister just had her third child. Her baby girl is named Mary Clare, and she's 8 lb, 4 oz, and 20.5" long. Photos to follow...

The baby will be baptized on Sunday. Understandably so. Gotta expel the demons before the child gets too used to them. Maybe the terrible twos will be full of the child saying things like her Uncle Anthony said when he was two, "No, Mother, I insist. I'll do the dishes and vacuum," and, "Father, please relax yourself while I mow the grass. Would you like a beer?"

Feel free to pass this message on to anyone and everyone. :)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Weekend days (part 2)

Vespers last night had a new priest, Father Mark Malone, the iconographer from California (although, I didn't know that then). From Holy Transfiguration, I went to Ken and Alaina's, where Mike and Liz McG., Lizzie, Christine, and Sarah were already. I was just in time to help construct the bonfire, and then got going very nicely. Pat and Laura S. showed up, and we roasted marshmallows, sang some songs, and generally had a good time. Shortly after that, Mike and Liz left. Lizzie and Christine left shortly after that.

Pat, Ken and I stood outside talking for a while around the embers while Laura, Alaina, and Sarah went inside. We let the fire burn out for a while, and then went inside. It was already about midnight, so it was definitely time to go.

I got back to the apartment at about 1:00 AM, and went right to sleep. I had a really fun dream, but I can't remember what it was, so don't even bother checking my other blog, which stinks, because it was really good, too! Oh well...

I overslept, actually, so I was late getting to Holy Transfiguration. I missed 90% of the baptism, but I caught all of Divine Liturgy. Today, Father Mark assisted at the Liturgy. Andrew told me that I was in for a treat, because Archbishop Elias from Galilee was coming that day.

Today, the sermon was about life in Galilee, and how Christians are the voices of moderation and reason in Galilee between the Jews and the Muslims. He spoke of how the two other religions were extremely exclusive, and did not mix well, but how the Christians had an open-door policy to everyone there. He asked for prayers especially, because that helps more than money -- but money was obviously welcome.

After Liturgy, I went to work to blog. Life without a computer stinks...

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Weekend days

This weekend is fairly slow. Christendom is not in session, as are my choral obligations. I'll probably go sing at Holy Transfiguration anyway. :)

Today, I worked out at the gym for about an hour-and-a-half. It was fun and felt really good. After leaving, I picked up a large (Venti) iced chai tea from Starbucks. I have a gift card there, so it was "free", of sorts.

When I was leaving the parking lot, a black woman driver stopped her car in the middle of the intersection as the light was turning yellow. She just stopped. She looked like she was looking for something. She looked right at me. My light turned green. She was still sitting there. She then blinked like a deer caught in headlights when the guy to the left of me went behind her and turned left. I was going to follow suit, but she put her car into reverse and looked backward. She then started reversing slowly. She looked at me, and saw that I was going to pull around her, so she stopped. I motioned for her to make up her mind and go. She gave me this look like, "How rude," but she reversed. Yet another example of a person who should resort to walking, because she's a road hazard.

I honestly think she was trying to get into an accident.

Well, this has been uncharitable of me, to say the least, but that whole situation really cheesed me off. By the time that she was out of the intersection, she had used up half the time of the light, which isn't very long anyway.

God bless the idiots of the world. They keep life interesting and you on your toes.

I went to work for a while, which is where I typed this up. It's now time to run away to Vespers at Holy Transfiguration, and then out to Ken and Alaina's house in Front Royal.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

NYC, day 3

On the final day in NYC, we stopped in again at La Parisienne for breakfast, and then sauntered down twenty blocks to Penn Station, were we had about an hours wait for the train. Dr. P kept reminding Michael and me that we were in no hurry -- we had plenty of time. But all things considered, it's much more fun to stride through the streets of NYC than it is to saunter through them, although, had we sauntered, we would have had a lot more time to just take it all in.

In Penn Station, Michael wanted some coffee, and I wanted something to snack on myself. I ordered a drink called The Hulk from Smoothie King and enhanced it with an energy supplement. With as many calories as it had in it, I figured that a shot of energy booster in there would help prevent me from falling right asleep...

On the train ride back, I played a few video games. It had been a while since I had actually sat down with one, so what the hey, you know?

Lizzie called when we were back in DC. She wanted to know if we wanted dinner. We thought it sounded like a good idea, so the three of us had dinner with Lizzie and Laurel, and told them about the trip.

I went back to Herndon that night. I discovered there, in transit, that my laptop died. That's one of the reasons that these last few posts have been so long in getting up here...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

NYC, day 2

Today was fun. Dr. P. woke Michael and me up at about 10:00 AM, saying that if we wanted to do anything, we should probably get up and go. He was already done and ready to hit the road.

By 11:15 AM, we were out the door of the hotel, and we went back to La Parisienne for breakfast. Michael and Dr. P. both had the double burger plate again, but I was wanted breakfast, so I ordered the lumberjack. This had about five strips of crispy yet still "juicy" bacon, two or three scrambled eggs cooked to perfection (light and fluffy, but still with substance), and three pancakes cooked like the eggs (light and fluffy, but still with substance -- not scrambled). This was excellent. Top notch. Beat out Denny's, Christendom, IHOP -- you name it.

I should mention that it was sprinkling lightly, and therefore overcast. The skies looked rather threatening. And the only coat I brought was the velvet one. This wouldn't do. On the way to breakfast, I bought an umbrella for $10. It's fairly nice, rather like a walking stick, complete with a hook for a handle.

We hopped on the subway and rode it down to the Brooklyn Bridge, where we got off and walked across it. By now the rain had picked up significantly, so Michael also bought an umbrella -- the same style as mine -- for $5. Darn him. On the Brooklyn Bridge, the wind was really gusting, so the umbrellas came in both handy and not handy at the same time. When the wind was calmer, all of our umbrellas worked well, but when it was gusting, they were practically useless...

At the first set of beams on the Brooklyn Bridge, the three of us stopped and looked around. Manhattan Island was behind us with the huge imposing skyscrapers, and in front of us was Brooklyn, with not-so-huge buildings, but still rather impressive.

We kept going all the way across the bridge, and at the second set of supports (Brooklyn side), we stopped once again. This time, it was much easier to take in all of Manhattan Island. Still, even at a distance, it was extremely impressive.

When we crossed the bridge, we looked around for the Brooklyn subway, and took it back to Manhattan Island. Now we were on our way to the World Trade Center, or the 9/11 memorial.

After getting off the subway, we passed right in front of St. Peter's Catholic Church, the oldest Catholic Church in NYC. Being Catholic, I had to stop in. It was nice looking outside, rather like a Roman building, but inside -- WOW! The artwork, the layout, everything. I could almost smell the incense and see the bishop saying the first words of the first Mass:

Introibo ad altare Dei.

The 9/11 Memorial wasn't too far away, and we hiked over there. As we approached we looked around for it. It was easy to find. It was the open space surrounded by skyscrapers. We we walked up to it, there were large pictures of people who had been affected by this tragedy. Of all the photographs, two of them got to me. The first was a picture of a soldier in dress uniform, saluting, with tears streaming down his face. The second was a picture of a Muslim woman, also crying and praying. The second got to me, because I know a number of people who blame Muslims for the attacks, forgetting the fact that not people who profess Islam as their religion were responsible for the attacks. I'm not looking to start a war with these words: I am just stating a fact.

I looked at the new site where they were excavating for the foundation of the replacement building, which I believe will be called the "Freedom Tower". Correct me if I'm wrong, of course...

There was also a downstairs section, and once again, something got to me down there. There were four or five poster-boards filled with drawings that little kids had drawn of the tragedy. Most of them consisted of, "I miss Daddy,", "I love you, Daddy," "I'll always remember you, Daddy," or "My favorite memory of Daddy was..." One of them in particular got to me. On the left had side of the picture, there stood the World Trade Center. To the right came a plane to strike to right tower. The left tower had red crayon down the side -- I imagine that it was supposed to be fire, but it looked like blood. On the far left, were the words, "Daddy was here," with an arrow pointing at the location, what looked like outside the building. I stood there and just looked at it. I felt like a prayer was absolutely necessary, so I said a Requiem aeternam, and moved on.

After we left there, we went back to the hotel and had NY pizza. Well, Dr. P. and Michael had New York pizza. I had a NY calzone. Wow! There's something to NYC's food!

Shortly after that, we went to St. Thomas High Church Episcopal church to hear the Westminster Cathedral Choir sing. FYI, Westminster Cathedral in England is Catholic, whereas Westminster Abbey is Protestant. Ironically, the Episcopal church is the one who invited the Catholic choir, not St. Patrick's, the local Catholic Church. Anyone confuzzled by that irony?

Words will do poorly to describe the beauty of the Neo-Gothic architecture. It was very much a man's church: solid stone, manly architecture, high ceilings, etc. If you check out the two websites that I linked into this post, you'll see what I mean. Plus it'll save you from having to read my incoherent ramblings on the subject.

As for the concert, Martin Baker directed the men and boy choir, consisting of eighteen boys (on treble, obviously), three countertenors, four tenors, and four basses, and their organist was Matthew Martin. They opened the concert with them processing around the church, with the director in the lead, the boys, the basses, the tenors, and the countertenors. Their processional, which was Te sanctum Dominum, a Gregorian chant piece, had a bass solo and a treble solo. Towards the end of the piece, they arrived at the front of the church, at which point they sung the Gloria from Missa Euge Bone by Christopher Tye, followed by Christe Iesu pastor bone by John Tavener. Up next was A New Song by James MacMillan, which was absolutely stunning.

Then the choir took a break, and the organist had a solo: Variations on Unter der Linden Grüne by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck. This was played on the back organ, which was a quieter Baroque organ. Before this piece, the organist had to walk to the choir loft in the back, so Martin Baker gave a small speech, telling the audience how this concert covered about 400 years of music, beginning with the 16th century, emphasizing the fact that these were mostly Catholic composers, and that there was a section dedicated to Our Lady. (He actually emphasized those words, perhaps to stress the irony of the entire situation, including the irony that I pointed out earlier. Oh yeah, and the organ solo was very nice. I enjoyed it immensely.

The choir got up to sing the Marian section of the program. Three pieces by William Byrd started them off: Salve Sancta Parens, the Kyrie from the Mass for five voices, and Benedicta et Venerabilis. The fourth and concluding piece was Anton Bruckner's Ave Maria, which I've sung with Christendom before. They did it much better then we did, that's for sure.

After this was intermission. Michael, Dr. P., and I ran to the back to buy some of the CDs, and then wandered around the church, looking at stuff. Dr. P. went up front and met with some friends, Scott Turkington among them.

After intermission, the modern half began. First up was Benjamin Britten's Hymn to St. Cecilia. It was so discordant. I listen to all sorts of music, but few are as bad sounding as this -- with apologies to Dr. P for the extreme difference of opinion. Also apologies to him, because he said that some of the music that he wrote early in his career was just as discordant, and I mean no offense when I say that I don't like Britten's music because of that fact that it's discordant...

After Britten, the organist began again, with the Te Deum by Jeanne Demessieux, which was an extremely impressive piece, but not too beautiful. It was impressive in how complex it was, but I'd never ask to hear that piece at Mass. After that, the choir finished strong with three pieces: Dum Completentur by Peter Maxwell Davies, O Salutaris Hostia by Marcel Dupré, and Laudate Dominum, also by Marcel Dupré.

Overall, it was an awesome concert, and I highly recommend the choir, their tours, and their CDs to everyone.

After the concert, Dr. P. met up with Scott Turkington again, and was introduced around to his friends. After introductions, we decided to go to a pub, and just socialize for a while. Of all of Scott and Dr. P's friends, only David Hughes joined us, so the five of us went to a pub and talked for a while. We got to know each other pretty well, we talked about music, technology, and life in general.

After this, Dr. P, Michael, and I went back to the hotel.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

NYC, day 1

Today, Dr. P., Michael B. and I went to New York City. We boarded the Washington Metro at Vienna at about 9:20 AM, and got to Union Station in the middle of Washington DC shortly after 10 AM. Our train for the Big Apple was scheduled to leave at 10:30 AM.

The train was an Amtrak train, and the commute was about 4 hours, counting stops in Baltimore, Delaware, and New Jersey before we arrived at New York's Penn Station.

After that, we walked about 20 blocks to our hotel, the Park Savoy Hotel. (Naturally, we didn't get the room that was in the picture...) We chilled here for a while, then went to dinner at La Parisienne, which is a really nice little restaurant. I took note of the menu as we passed it the first time on the way to TGI Friday's. The menu items there were up to a quarter of the price of Friday's, and the food was, in my opinion, well worth it, and actually better than what I remember Friday's being.

We walked around Central Park for a while, and climbed a couple rocks. Michael did the bulk of the climbing, while Dr. Poterack and I looked on at the limitless energy of youth.

After that, we went back to the hotel for a little bit, and then, shortly before 7 PM, headed over to the Metropolitan Opera House, where we caught a production of Charles Gounod's Faust. The production was very well done, and the Opera House was absolutely beautiful. If my pictures here don't do a good job of replicating it (which they probably won't, considering the low quality of camera phones), check out the link I provided, or you can do a search for the the Metropolitan Opera House and view pictures there, too.

After this, we stopped by a drug store and Starbucks. Michael needed some ibuprofen, because his hand was acting up, and I remembered that I had forgotten my toothbrush. After this, we stopped at Starbucks, then at the Christopher Columbus statue, just outside of Central Park. Then, we went back to the hotel for the night, considering it was nearly midnight...

Monday, October 16, 2006

A different weekend

On Saturday, I went to the gym early in the morning, and then to Alex's parents' house, where I borrowed their garage and tools to replace the axles and shocks in the old Sentra. Six hours later, the axles and shocks were replaced, with a lot of help from Bryan and Nathan. I didn't think it would be as easy as it was. Really. Finding the right tools took the longest time -- actually replacing the shocks and axles wasn't all that difficult. I think the actual labor took about four hours.

That night, Alex, Richard and I went to Paul's place for a coffee house. I'd never been there, so it was a new experience for me. Alex and I sang If I Had $1,000,000, as the original band B.N.L. sang it. Well, we tried to, anyway. I had my cell phone out with the order of important words on it, just so that I wouldn't get lost. Aside from that, it was loads of fun. Curt Z. was there -- it was good to see him again.

Sunday was the beginning of fall break. It just so happened that I went to Old St. Mary's for the Tridentine Latin Mass early in the morning. I was going to drive back to the Scrivener's and drive Alex back to the apartment, but as I was leaving St. Mary's, he called me and told me not to worry about it, and that he could get a ride.

As luck would have it, John E. was in town, so I headed down to Front Royal. He had a wonderful plan to change Lizzie, Emma, and Laurel's room into a convent-style room: that is, take everything out. The one catch was that everyone had to be gone. Lizzie and Laurel were the last two girls in the dorm: according to rumors, they were going to go to to the Tridentine Mass at St. John's in town at 12:30 PM. This would be perfect for John's plan. As I was driving down to Front Royal, I got a call from John, saying that Lizzie had gone to the earlier Mass and was already on her way back. That pretty much ruined our plans.

Then we got word that she was going to breakfast with her brother and JD. Hmmm... I booked it to Front Royal, and we emptied the girls' room in no time flat. Sadly, Lizzie got back to the dorm just before we put the finishing touch on the room: a kneeler (whatever the word is, pronounced "praydoo", or "Pray, do" as I thought the term was supposed to convey -- this is also an open invitation for anyone who knows how to spell that word to leave it as a comment).

Using Laurel's camera, we took many pictures of our handiwork. Lizzie suggested that we put everything back together, because Laurel would probably not be too thrilled with the condition of the room. We both really wanted to show off our handiwork to the occupants, but we knew that it would be better to not make anyone mad. In less than record time, we had everything moved back in, but sadly, I had forgotten how the desks were laid out, so they were a shambles in comparison to what they had been.

That evening, a group of us went out for a picnic. Michael B. and I got into a bit of a boxing match, just for the fun of it. I miss living in the dorms...

Dr. P., Michael, and I went back to my apartment. We watched the Hudsucker Proxy, and then went to sleep. Tomorrow begins the trip to NYC...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Departed

Starring Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Alec Baldwin, and a few other people I've been before but could not tell you their names.

The movie was not freaky. The movie was not weird. The movie was freakishly weird. Jack Nicholson is a mob boss who does his thing. Matt Damon is his cop friend, kinda like his son. Matt is in the police force, and you could say that they scratch each other's backs. He's the rat in the police force for Nicholson. Leonardo DiCaprio tried to get into the police force and failed out. He is now working undercover as a rat to expose Nicholson. The rats are detected, and this movie is about them and their tricks to stay alive and in power in their respective roles.

My comment on this movie is simply this: "Wow." Not, "Wow!" Just: "Wow." It's two-and-a-half hours long, and it's good for cool scenes. It's good for suspense.

It has one sex scene. The scene makes NO sense. I saw it coming a mile away, and I thought to myself, "How are they going to go from this to sex?" And they didn't. They were in the middle of a more-or-less normal conversation (normal for the movie), and next thing you know, they are kissing and things progress from there. I looked at Paul, who was next to me in the movie theater, and I think we both were wondering if we had just witnessed the stupidest thing ever.

I'm not exactly a fan of sex scenes, for obvious reasons. In some cases, the scene jives with the movie. In this case, I think the director just wanted it in there for the heck of it, didn't know how to bring it in, and just said, "Heck with it. Just do it."

Along the same lines, I think that's how he ended the movie. It's the second worst ending I can recall having ever seen, the worst being that in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It seemed like the last 15 minutes was him scrambling for ideas, because he made the characters too good to be caught in webs, and he just said, "Heck with it. Just end it." So, a few explosions later, the movie ends.

I wasn't impressed, although the movie is worth seeing just for the quote-able scenes. Don't expect a blockbuster.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Scott Turkington

Work has been really busy. I was going to go to choir practice on Monday with the Christendom Choir, because they had a guest director there, Scott Turkington. But I couldn't make it. Tuesday, I went in to work, and when I got back to Front Royal, I made sure that I could attend the second choir practice with him.

I wasn't sure what to make of him when I first met him, but the more that he directed and gave advice, the more I liked him. He's very cool. :)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Sunday, and the drive back

The drive back was, for me, uneventful, as I slept most of the way back. Ken and Alaina reported a story though. As we were driving through the cotton fields of Georgia, there was a vehicle on the side of the road. The passenger side door was open, and a family of four was outside the vehicle. The parents had their camera set up, and their kids were picking cotton. It's kind of understandable if you think, "They've just never seen cotton." It's possible -- I've rarely seen it growing. There was just one thing that made this episode hilarious.

The family was black.

Need I say more? Does your mind reel as well?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Saturday, the wedding, and the reception

Saturday morning, we had to be at the church at 12:00 noon for practice. The wedding was at 2:00 PM. Practice started off poorly, because the tenors were a bit late, but everything worked out fine. The wedding was nice, said by Father Dan, Pat's uncle. There wasn't any Asian woman throwing peace back at anyone like at Jake's wedding... {grins}

Now comes the fun part: the reception...

Pat and Laura's reception was awesome. It was at Laura's parents' house in Pensacola, about five minutes from the church. Almost as soon as the Mass was over, Ken, Alaina, Sarah and I booked it over to their house, because I was DJ'ing and Ken was the photographer, so we both had to be there. I checked out the surroundings, and the spot that I had picked out the night before had been taken by the band, so I chose another spot near them. I found a great place, and as they were playing their music, I set up everything. Ryan O. helped me set up a wireless connection between the two laptops (Ken's and mine) so that I could have a laptop to preview songs on. Then, I noticed too late that I was missing some audio cables that I thought I had, so I borrowed MikeE's car for a few minutes and raced over to Wal-Mart to purchase them. When I got back, I "stole" a set of the band's speakers during their break, and hooked them up to the system, and began playing the music.

From here on out, this post is one great chest thump for me. Sorry, but I can't help it. It was just too much fun!

I opened with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's King of Swing, followed next by Alien Fashion Show's Detroit Swing City. I had to play some swing, since there was a live band there. I also wanted to set a tone for the evening. The band was enjoying the music, and some players even playing along with Detroit Swing City. It made for a nice piece. After that, they took over again, and I went and grabbed a quick bite to eat.

After their next session, Dane announced the Virginia Reel. Those experienced people (aka, Christendomites) came out to the dance floor and showed everyone how it was done, and within a couple minutes, everyone was out there. I began with the staples: Shamrock's Tell Me Ma and The Boy From Ballymore and Rednex's Cotton Eyed Joe. After the first song, everyone wanted to keep going, so I checked again. After the second song, some people were ready to stop. By the end of the third song, people were getting tired of it, so it was time to move on to something else.

In the middle of the third VA Reel song, someone told me about a birthday, so I took that cue and after the third song, before I got too many protesters, I announced the birthday, and asked her what her favorite song was. After thinking for a moment, she said, "Memory, from Cats." OK, I could do that. As the song fired up, she added, "Unless you have any Phantom of the Opera?" My jaw just about hit the floor, because of course I have the Phantom, and it's one of my favorites! But the song had already started, so I just let it play.

After this, some of the younger generation wanted more VA Reel, so I announced one more VA Reel song, and played Cotton Eyed Joe again. I could tell the Christendom folks were getting tired of it, but the kids loved it!

Next up were a couple standard dances. I put the swing back in, but I introduced a waltz next, with Enya's Flora's Secret. Following this, Dane asked me to prepare a fun song, and he announced the Paddle Dance. I set up the Wonders That Thing You Do. Everyone really seemed to be getting into it, and so they went through five songs in the paddle dance. I announced We Are Family as a special request from the bride, but since it was the Ultimix, Laura didn't recognize it at first...

Dane came up to me and asked me to prepare the surprise that we had discussed earlier in the day, so with much glee, I did so. At the end of We Are Family, the music quieted down, and Dane asked the bride and groom to please come out to the dance floor, because we had a special song for them, and that everyone present gather around them in a large circle. After the musical introduction, Pat and Laura recognized the song from their junior year play. They were (respectively) Liesl von Trapp and Rolf, so Sixteen Going On Seventeen was definitely their song.

After that, I spent a lot of time filling requests. When I had free time, I played songs that the bride and groom had requested, and when people came up to me and asked if I had X, Y or Z, I would add it to the playlist, assuming, of course, that I had it. There was a significant number of oldies, funk and disco that people just loved. Father Dan, Pat's uncle, by this time, was next to me with a set of headphones on, listening to music. Man, I tell you what: I'm a bad influence even on priests...

People asked for a line dance, so I announced the Electric Slide, and hopped out to the floor myself. This was the one dance that I could do without embarrassing myself too much, so I took advantage of this.

Earlier, someone had requested Walking on Sunshine, so I put the two Walking's back-to-back, just for the fun of it. I had no idea how they would actually go. Walking on Sunshine was a bit hit -- I didn't realize how literally it was until after Walking on Broken Glass had started. An instant before the song opened, I heard a glass shatter, and I just figured it was a part of the song. Turns out it wasn't, as Pat told me two seconds later. He came up to me and asked me if I had done that on purpose. Confused, I asked what he meant, and he told me about the glass that had just been broken. I burst out laughing as Ryan and Sarah came running up to me to ask me if I really was all that quick. I was rather disappointed in myself, because I would really have loved to take full credit for extremely quick reflexes, but I couldn't...

By this point, Martha, one of Laura's sisters, had come up to me and asked me for a set of swing music. I played a couple songs, and then announced (as requested by Laura's friends) that it was someone's birthday. According to the ladies, one of his favorite songs was Iris, so that's what he got.

Martha came up to me and told me that she wanted a long set of swing music, so, accepting the challenge, and presenting one of my own, we agreed to five fast swing songs, back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back. As Iris ended, I announced a small contest, between the DJ and Martha. I announced that Martha said that she could dance five swing songs in a row. Naturally, I had a couple lined up to go, and I had plans for the last three. I asked for five strapping, energetic young men who could dance quickly and well: my five volunteers were Dane, Brendan, Pat, Mike P., and Martha's brother (John?). The requirement was that they reserve their energy for their dances, because I wanted them all to be fresh. Dane danced to Zoot Suit Riot, and in the process, he discovered that she had been taking ballet for fourteen years. Dancing was in her blood. He told this to me, and I immediately began plotting my revenge...

Brendan was up next -- he burned up the concrete. He told me that he doesn't know that many moves, but the moves he does know, he can do really quickly. Perfect for me. Pat was up third, and Mike was fourth. Mike, however, had been dancing all the other dances, so he wasn't as quick as he could have been. However, credit where credit is due: he did a good job.

Last up was John. I brought him over to the DJ stand, and played him his song: Jurassic 5's Swing Set, which was, the longest of them all, upwards of five minutes. It also introduces an funky beat that keeps dancers on their toes. When John and Martha began dancing, the crowd went wild. They were simply fantastic. I've not seen swing moves like theirs in quite some time.

At the end of it all, the music went silent, and I went on the mic. I made a public apology to Martha, because I doubted her prowess. However, I then told her that if I had known about her years of ballet, I wouldn't have stopped the number at five. It was a "diriment impediment" of sorts (even though the meaning of that exact phrase is here being stretched beyond reasonable use). In the end, I got a hug from Martha. It took a while for my old heart to slow down again... :-P

After this, it was all requests. I ended the dance on What About Everything. It was nearly 1:00 AM, and I was beginning to get a little tired. Besides that, Pat and Laura were getting ready to go. I know that they had wanted to stay to the end, but the end wasn't really anywhere in sight, so they decided that it was time to leave. We sent them off with a group of people singing the Parting Glass, Red is the Rose, and other Irish songs. After they left, I assisted in cleaning up the place, or at least the part of the place that I had been using. Everything was put away, and I joined the crowd of people sitting in a circle, singing away. We left at about 3:00 AM...

+ + +

Below this is my playlist variations. You'll see what Pat and Laura wanted. I then took that playlist and built around it. What I ended up doing is the third column. I didn't have enough time to get through everything that they wanted, but I think I got about 50% of it? I haven't tallied the numbers up... Enjoy!

They wanted:I modified:What happened:
Goo Goo Dolls
Give A Little Bit
Scythian
Ashoken Farewell
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
King of Swing
Fastball
You're An Ocean
The Foundations
Build Me Up Buttercup
Alien Fashion Show
Detroit Swing City
Guster
Fa Fa
RedNex
Cotton Eye Joe (Dance Mix)
Shamrock
Tell Me Ma
Wonders
That Thing You Do
Shamrock
Tell Me Ma
Shamrock
The Boy From Ballymore
Elton John
Your Song
Shamrock
The Boy From Ballymore
RedNex
Cotton Eye Joe (Dance Mix)
Carole King
Anyone At All
Goo Goo Dolls
Give A Little Bit
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Memory
Jason Mraz
The Remedy
Fastball
You're An Ocean
RedNex
Cotton Eye Joe (Dance Mix)
Uncle Kracker
Drift Away
Wonders
That Thing You Do!
Swing Kids
Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)
Alison Krauss
When You Say Nothing At All
Guster
Fa Fa
Enya
Flora's Secret
Jimmy Buffet
Margaritaville
Elton John
Your Song
Wonders
That Thing You Do!
Natalie Merchant
These Are The Days
Carole King
Anyone at All
Guster
Fa Fa
Carbon Leaf
What About Everything?
Uncle Kracker
Drift Away
Beatles
Twist And Shout
Scythian
Ashoken Farewell
Alison Krauss
When You Say Nothing at All
Mamas & Papas
California Dreaming
ATC
Around The World
Jimmy Buffet
Margaritaville
Sister Sledge
We Are Family (Ultimix Remix)
Sister Sledge
We Are Family
Natalie Merchant
These Are The Days
Sound of Music, Dan Truhitte And Charmian Carr
Sixteen Going On Seventeen
Billy Joel
Why Should I Worry?
Carbon Leaf
What About Everything?
Shaggy
Angel
Billy Joel
River Of Dreams
ATC
Around the World
Louis Armstrong
What a Wonderful World
Billy Joel
Tell Her About It
Billy Joel
Why Should I Worry
Jet
Are You Gonna Be My Girl?
Cherry Poppin' Daddies
Zoot Suit Riot
Billy Joel
River Of Dreams (Original, Live)
Wild Cherry
Play That Funky Music
Stray cats
Rock This Town
Cherry Poppin' Daddies
Zoot Suit Riot
George Clinton & The Parliament Funkadelic
Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)
Alien Fashion Show
Crazy Moon
Alien Fashion Show
Crazy Moon
Bee Gees
Stayin Alive
Nobuo Uematsu, Junya Nakano, Masashi Hamauzu
Chocobo Jam
Nobuo Uematsu, Junya Nakano, Masashi Hamauzu
Chocobo Jam
Frankie Valli
You're Just Too Good To Be True
U2
Beautiful Day
U2
Beautiful Day
Marcia Griffiths
Electric Slide
Huey Lewis And The News
Power Of Love
Huey Lewis & The News
Power of Love
Katrina and the Waves
Walking On Sunshine
Rednex
Cotton Eyed Joe
Seal
Kiss From A Rose
Annie Lennox
Walking On Broken Glass
scythian
Virginia Reel
Frank Sinatra
I Get A Kick Out Of You (Slow)
Frank Sinatra
I Get A Kick Out Of You
Shamrock
Tell Me Ma
Katrina and the Waves
Walking On Sunshine
Glenn Miller Orchestra
In The Mood
Rednex
Cotton Eyed Joe [Dance Remix]
Lovin' Spoonful
Do You Believe in Magic
Goo Goo Dolls
Iris
Shamrock
Boy From Ballymore
Nat King Cole
L.O.V.E
Cherry Poppin' Daddies
Zoot Suit Riot
Seal
Kiss From A Rose
Frank Sinatra
The Way You Look Tonight
Alien Fashion Show
Crazy Moon
Frank Sinatra
I Get a Kick Out Of You
John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John
We Go Together
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Jumpin' Jack
Katrina and the Waves
Walkin' On Sunshine
Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
Ain't No Mountain High Enough
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Mambo Swing
Lovin' Spoonful
Do You Believe in Magic
Temptations
Ain't To Proud To Beg
Jurassic 5
Swing Set
Louis Armstrong
Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love)
Rascals
Good Lovin'
Kool & The Gang
Celebrate
Nat King Cole
L-O-V-E
Stray Cats
Rock This Town
K.C. & The Sunshine Band
Get Down Tonight
Fronk Sinatra
It Had To Be You
Harry Connick Jr.
It Had To Be You
Commodores
Brick House
Frank Sinatra
The Way You Look Tonight
Tom Cochrane
Life Is A Highway
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Born On The Bayou
The Foundations
Build Me Up Buttercup
Goo Goo Dolls
Slide
John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John
We Go Together
John Travolta/Olivia Newton John (from the Grease Soundtrack)
We Go Together
Counting Crows
Accidentally In Love
Frank Sinatra
The Way You Look Tonight
Henry Mancini
Moon River [Instrumental]
Rodgers & Hammerstein: Dan Truhitte And Charmian Carr
Sixteen Going On Seventeen
Madonna
Holiday
Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
Aint No Mountain High Enough
ESPN
Final Countdown
Styx
Lady
The Temptations
Aint Too Proud To Beg
Van Halen
Jump
Billy Idol
Mony Mony
Stevie Wonder
IsnÂ’t She Lovely
Venga Boys
We're Going To Ibiza
Green Day
Holiday
Tom Cochrane
Life Is A Highway
Shaggy
Angel
Oasis
Wonder Wall
Four Tops
IÂ’ll Be There
Marcia Griffiths
Electric Slide
Green Day
Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)
The Rascals
Good LovinÂ’
Sister Sledge
We Are Family (Ultimix Remix)
Chris De Burgh
Lady In Red
Proclaimers
500 Miles
UB40
Red Red Wine
Billy Joel
Uptown Girl
U2
Beautiful Day
Bryan Adams
Summer of '69
Carbon Leaf
What About Everything?
Donna Lewis
I Love You Always Forever
Baha Men
Who Let the Dogs Out
Proclaimers
500 Miles
Michael Jackson
Beat It
Billy Joel
Uptown Girl
Brian Setzer Orchestra
This Cat's On A Hot Tin Roof
Donna Lewis
I Love You Always Forever
Tom Cochrane
Life Is A Highway
Gnarls Barkley
Crazy
Shaun Davey
Waking Ned Devine
The Parting Glass

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Friday in Pensacola

After arriving at the cottage (our hotel was a cottage on a country club), I got checked into my room. I was sharing the room with Joe P., MikeE, and Ryan O. I was awake for a while and acting goofy, but I crashed shortly after, sleeping like a vampire, horizontal, arms at my sides.

Apparently, this is an uncommon sleeping position. I hear a rumor that people were surprised by the fact that I could actually sleep like that.

I woke up before it was time to go, around 3 PM, Eastern Time. Seeing the time, I fell back asleep.

Ryan woke me up later when it was time to go. The clock in the room was wrong -- it was reading an hour earlier than it was. We went to the church for the wedding rehearsal and choir practice.

At the church, everything was fine. The choir people needed a lot of work, but that's what practice was for. After it all, Father Dan heard confessions, and then it was back to the cottage for dinner.

Dinner was roast beef, pork, chicken, macaroni and cheese, peach cobbler, and other good stuff. After dinner, Brendan M. (Pat's best man) wanted to go to McGuire's, a local pub, for Pat. Chris L., Dane W., Ken F., Mike P., Brendan, Pat and I all went. On the way there, Pat dropped Laura and some of her siblings off at their house. I rode with them, so I got to know them a little better.

McGuire's was fun. It had a wacky feature: there was nearly half-a-million (and counting) $1 bills stapled to the ceiling. All the bills were signed or doodled on -- it apparently helps reduce theft. There was a story of a guy who actually did steal some of the money from the place, but he was caught red-handed when the police found the unique money.

In any case, there was a live band, which consisted of one guy with a foul mouth and mind, and his guitar. After a couple beers, we tried to drown him out with The Parting Glass, but it failed. After all, he had a microphone, and we were way in the back.

We left the pub, but turned back to get Pat's victory mug. Then we went back to our respective cottages. It was about 1 AM. MikeE, Carissa, Ryan, and Maria were all watching TV, but when I told them the time, they all went to bed rather quickly. I followed suit in a few moments.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Thursday, and the drive to FL

This weekend, Pat S. and Laura H. were getting married in Pensacola, FL. A large Christendom contingent was going there to celebrate with them. At the same time, Christendom College was having Homecoming weekend.

To be perfectly honest, I really wanted to go to both. I hadn't missed a Homecoming weekend yet, and I had wanted to keep that repetition. Now I had to choose: my options were either the wedding of two good friends at which I would sing and then play music at the reception when the live band wasn't playing, or a celebration involving a number of drunk alumni, a dance which, in previous years, was too packed to actually do much dancing, and a high-spirited football game, involving the original 13 states and every state touching the Atlantic (East) vs. everyone else (West).

I had hoped to leave work on Thursday by 3 PM to be beat traffic. I was so busy with reports that I couldn't leave until almost 7 PM. I had to make a stop at the apartment before we could go, because I had forgotten some stuff that was rather important for this trip. When I finally called it a day, I still had so much work to do it wasn't even funny, but if I didn't stop then, I would not have stopped until the wee hours of the morning.

Lizzie borrowed my car over the weekend, so on the way to Sarah's house where Ken, Alaina and Sarah were all waiting for me, I swung by Christendom for two reasons: #1 to give her the key to my apartment; John E. was coming down, and he wanted to stay there, and #2 to drive her to Sarah's house and then she would take the car from there.

I got to Sarah's about 9:30 PM, and we left shortly after that. I slept in the car until about 2 AM. Sometime in the middle of the night, when I couldn't sleep anymore (I think around 4 AM), Ken and Alaina got in the back seat, Sarah and I got in the front, and she drove while Ken and Alaina slept. After getting lost coming out of Atlanta, GA, we stopped for directions, and I took over after that.

We made it to Pensacola by about 11 AM, Central Time (yes, we switched from Eastern to Central)...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Blue Collar Comedy Tour, Season 1, Volume 1

This is the TV series of Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, and Larry the Cable Guy on the road with their comedy. It's really funny, but at a certain point, enough is enough. There's a reason why each episode is only thirty minutes long, and that's because the human mind can only take so much stupidity. I spent two-and-a-half hours watching this, and I feel like I need to sleep just to clear the stupidity out of my head. Of course, they advertise this comedy as not being for those looking for really intelligent comedy...

This weekend

Saturday, I started out slow. I worked late on Friday night until 02:30 AM, and I finally went to bed around 03:30 AM. I got up shortly after 10, and logged back in to work. After a couple hours, I called it a day, and went to the gym for about an hour and a half. After that, I came home, made a very large protein smoothie, showered and went to Holy Transfiguration for Vespers.

Mrs. C., the mother of Mrs. J. in TX, was at Holy Transfiguration. I talked to her for a little bit, then booked it to Front Royal for choir practice for Pat and Laura's wedding. The practice went fine, and I spent the night at Dane and Jonathan's house. Ryan came over a little later into the evening, and we chatted really late.

Today, I got up shortly after 8:00 AM, and went to choir practice. Thus, starting at about 8:45 AM, began a day of singing:
  • 8:45 AM: choir practice
  • 9:15 AM: schola practice
  • 10:00 AM: Mass at Christendom
  • 11:30 AM: schola practice for Tridentine Mass at St. John's
  • 12:30 PM: Tridentine Mass at St. John's
  • 2:30 PM: Select Choir Practice
  • 3:40 PM: outside the crypt with Jon, Draper, Lizzie, Emma, Josepha, and a couple other girls singing for fun (barbershop quartet -- it started with the girls singing "Pick-a-little, talk-a-little" from the Music Man, and Draper and I coming in with "Good Night, Ladies"
  • 4:00 PM: Vespers at Christendom


  • After that, Christendom had its annual Oktoberfest. I went for a while, but I was fairly tired. Call me a weenie, but about 7 hours of singing was quite enough for this old man...

    Plus, Oktoberfest = polka, and I can't dance polka well at all. I dance polka with the grace of Rosie O'Donnell skipping the buffet line...

    ANYway, I went back to the apartment, and I fired up some mindless comedy, Blue Collar Comedy Tour, Season 1, Volume 1. It's now almost midnight, and I'm ready to crash...