Category Archives: Media

Our New York Trip

Husband and I returned last Monday from a week long trip to New York  City. We were there with four other members of our church handbell choir to participate in a massed handbell choir of 275 ringers. We were the opening act before a performance of Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall.

Everything that could go right on the trip did, and there were no disasters. We slipped past three major snow storms in our travels.  All our rental bells were there as ordered, hotel reservations were good, and our names were in the program. What more could a person ask for?

In addition to the Dec. 1 Carnegie Hall gig, we had the options of playing in Central Park on Saturday afternoon, and with the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall at various times during the weekend. Here are the players at the Naumberg Bandshell in Central Park.

The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular featured the Rockettes in numbers like “The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers”, during which the dancers collapsed on one another like dominoes. They also did a number called “Sleigh Ride” in which the dancers were featured as precision-stepping reindeer. In between the dance numbers were high tech visual effects and bell numbers. It ended with a tableau of the nativity complete with three live camels, a donkey, and a sheep. All the animals had been blessed by Cardinal Dolan at the start of the season. No unsanctioned animals in this production! I haven’t any photos. Photos were prohibited. This will give you an idea.

The Carnegie  Hall concert was really fun.  We entered the hall through the stage door, just like all performers do. There were a few ringers on stage with the conductor, and the rest of us were in the boxes on Tiers one and two on either side of the Hall.  The following photos were taken during dress rehearsal.

 

 

We played  well. The acoustics were good, but we had to be as precise as possible given how many of us there were.  Given the size of the hall, we couldn’t use our ears to make sure were were together. We had to watch the conductor as much as possible for the timing. The conductor was so excited as they used “the Bernstein podium” for him.

The Messiah performance was wonderful. The two male soloists were on loan from the Metropolitan Opera, and there were more than 300 singers in the chorus. Half of them sang from the boxes we had played in.  We had to vacate to the nosebleed seats in the balcony during the oratorio.

So many things could have gone wrong, but nothing did. We were all so grateful for this opportunity.

 

Tell about your best and worst vacations and trips.

The Horror!

During the day yesterday, YA called me while I was at work.

YA: Do I need a library card to use the computers at the library?
Me:   I’m not sure.  Did you call to ask them?
YA: I’m there now. I don’t think I have a library card.
Me: I’m sure you do.
(Me rustling in purse)
Me: I have your card right here.  Do you need the number?
YA: No – they gave me a temporary number.

This seemed innocuous enough until the real implications of the phone encounter hit me. I had her library card in my wallet because when she was a toddler and kindergartner, she didn’t have a place to keep her library card, so I held onto it.  After all, back then, we were usually at the library together.

But if I still have her card, that means that since we quit going together (once she hit 2nd or 3rd grade),  SHE HAS NEVER STEPPED FOOT IN A PUBLIC LIBRARY ON HER OWN.

Not having a reader for a child has been a hard pill to swallow. Obviously your children aren’t little models of yourself, but when they differ from you in a treasured part of your life, it takes some getting used to.  I thought I had long ago come to this acceptance but yesterday’s realization was like that proverbial cold bucket of water.  Ouch.  If I was still in therapy we’d have to talk about this at my next appointment!

Any epiphanies recently?  (Good or bad.)

Read It or See It?

In ye olden days, the LGMS was my radio anchor, beginning at home through my morning drive time. After the show’s demise, I did Trial Balloon at home and in the morning hours of work.  But since then, I haven’t really found a radio show that strikes my fancy and have drifted away from radio to…  I know this will be shocking for some of you… books.  The first hour or so in the morning, I listen to an audiobook and then in the car, books on CDs.  I sometimes run out of books on CDs and so spend some time browsing the audio shelves at the library.  This leads to some interesting results, sometimes fabulous, sometimes not so much.

I’ve admitted here before that I like the Hallmark Mystery Movies, so last week, while browsing, my eye was caught by the first Aurora Teagarden mystery sitting on the audio shelf. I had been a little curious about the books, especially since my favorite character left the series; I was curious if the movies were true to the books.   So I was a little surprised right off the bat that while most of the characters bear the same names, most of them did not bear the description or personalities.  The most disappointing was the main character, Ro.  In the book she doesn’t have any drive to solve the mysteries and in the final chapters is rescued by the men in the story.  This is completely different from the movies, in which Ro is rabid about solving the mystery and it is her ingenuity that not only solves the crimes but saves her life (and often the man’s) in the end.

This made me think about the few instances in which the movie better than the book.  So rare.  Princess Bride, Romancing the Stone, Julie & Julia, Clue, Bladerunner.

There might be more but for my determination not to see movies when I have adored the book. I don’t want Hollywood messing with the pictures in my mind’s eye (Wrinkle in Time, The Martian, Uprooted, ANY of the Louise Penny books).  And, of course, the number of movies much worse than their books is legend.  Including Legend!

When were you last surprised about how a book turned out when adapted to the big screen?

The Beginning of (Computer) Time

Today’s post comes to us from Barbara in Rivertown!

This morning, we had a young man named Paul come to help us with our computer – just a few little things that we might have been able to learn for ourselves with some internet searches, help links, etc. but WHO HAS THE PATIENCE FOR THAT? He was probably here a half hour, and I handed him a twenty… he thought it was a bit much, but it’s the best $20 I’ve spent in a while.

I was remembering back to the beginning of my computer use, in (I guess) the mid-nineties. The internet still didn’t really have ads (!), at least nothing I can remember. About all I did was to use an online encyclopedia, look at the library catalog, and email. There were a couple of amazing things about emailing with aol.com – which ‘most everyone had at the time. If memory serves: 

1) If you caught it in maybe half an hour, you could “delete” – remove – an email you’d just sent to another aol.com subscriber. I didn’t use this a lot, but came in handy when I’d caught a major error.

2) I hadn’t yet needed to keep any emails, and certainly not sort them into folders. Whatever emails were there in your inbox, AOL would delete after two weeks – kept you on your toes! [Who knows when I started doing folders? Now there are folders with hundreds of old emails that I should go through and delete.]

So, a couple of questions:   Am I dreaming – was aol.com really like that?

What do you remember about your very early computer days?

Despite My Better Judgment?

Photo credit:  Marko Pekić

Running with the pack has always been problematic for me. I’m not sure why, but even at a fairly young age, if everybody else was climbing on a particular band wagon, I shied away.  I remember that Elvis hit the scene in a big way when I was in 3rd grade.  I had never heard of Elvis, but because all my classmates were going on and on about him, I stated to all that I didn’t care for him.  I didn’t even know who he was! There are many examples of this in my life and it continues to this day as something I have to be aware of, so I don’t act on knee-jerk reactions.

It won’t surprise any of you then that I have never longed for an iPhone. From the beginning of my phone ownership, I have opted for androids, despite Child/Teenager/YA always clamoring for the latest iPhone iteration for herself.  No good reason – just a feeling that I could get along very well with a non-Apple product, thank you very much.  YA has tried to get me onto the Apple platform for years now.

Our two-year cell phone contract was up the beginning of October, so there have been LOTS of conversations about plans and phones at our house the last four weeks. We went to the kiosk last week and there was a new android that has a lot of motion-sensor technology so you don’t have to push as many buttons.  Playing with it, I felt like Tony Stark, but ultimately I probably wouldn’t use any of those functions.  I’m guessing that I only use about 25% of my phone capabilities – no need to purchase something that might just make me feel inadequate.

YA, in a moment of clarity over the weekend, made the most cogent argument yet. “When you have questions about your Android, I can never answer them because what I know is the iPhone.  If you had an iPhone, I could be more helpful.”  Ding, ding, ding.  As of yesterday afternoon, I am now the owner of a red iPhone (with a clear case so the red shows through, of course).  I told YA that she’d better not renege on the “helpful” promise.  So far, so good.

Have you ever cut off your nose to spite your face?

Scary Bears!

Today is the anniversary of the premiere in 1974 of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”,  It was a great plan to premiere it on the day before Halloween.  I have never been a great fan of scary movies, but I remember liking the Alfred Hitchcock show and the Twilight Zone, sometimes. I like scary books better.  The stories don’t have to be so graphic like the scenes in movies. I think that our reading and imagining  brains are better at scaring us than just gore on the screen.

The last best scary book I read was The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It is a vampire book that keeps a constant sense of suspense, but with very understated violence.  It is also a book about books. Dracula, in this one, is a real book lover with a special penchant for librarians and historians. What could be scarier?!

Tell about your favorite scary movie, story, music, or book.

Your Name Here

Our city is doing a feasibility study to see if we should  build an event center.  We don’t have any large scale venues for conventions and such.  The city manager said in a newspaper interview that the building will be paid for by donations, and that  whoever donated the most money would get naming rights.  I hope whoever does this isn’t embarrassing or somehow notorious.  There is a music hall at the University of North Dakota named after a rather unscrupulous fellow named Chester Fritz, who was a ND native who  became a leading gold trader in the post-World War II period and made several fortunes and had a very tumultuous life.   This made me think what, if anything  I would want named after me.  If it depended on how much money I could donate, I am afraid it would probably be a memorial stopwatch for future psychologists at my agency to use during test administration.   Husband paid for a paver with his family name on it for the walk way into the local library.   He paid $500 for the honor, but most of the money goes to the library.   Wasn’t it our Jim the Baboon who has a nematode named after him?

What would you want named after you?