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On the other hand, things that are definitely worth keeping include:

  • Tony Barone's handwritten keyboard harmony exercises (I should probably take these out and start practicing them again.  Tony always made me transpose them into all keys, especially the ones with 5 or 6 flats and sharps.  This is something I should work on if I'm going to be serious about taking the American Guild of Organists Service Playing certification exam, which requires being able to transpose an SATB hymn up or down an interval up to a major second.)

  • John Boccio's meticulously detailed, typed notes on freshman classical mechanics, numerical methods, and quantum mechanics.

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In a word -- I've accepted a postdoc offer from Zvonimir Dogic's lab at Brandeis.  I'll be starting there in September.  I'm looking forward both to the work (very physics-y biophysics: looking at membranes assembled from filamentous fd viruses) as well as the chance to spend a few more years in the Boston area.  And in other good news, Jen and I are very hopeful that we'll both be in the Boston area this summer, and able to be in the same locale for an extended period for the first time.

Perhaps someday I'll take a page from [ profile] rose_garden and write a bit about my postdoc saga, which began in December and has taken me up and down the East Coast, from Maine to Maryland.  In fact, there are probably a half dozen or more long LJ posts (or perhaps SWAPA 'zines, when I come back to that) I could write about the past six months or year.

But I really ought to be writing about generalized Stokes-Einstein relations and diffusion tensors right now.
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I will have much more to say about it later, but right now I am looking forward to being received into the Episcopal Church by Bishop Tom Shaw in a couple of hours.
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Wow -- the service at Memorial Church tomorrow got cancelled.

This is no doubt me being an old fuddy-duddy, but back in my day I don't think anything short of a nuclear bomb going off in the middle of Harvard Yard would have given UChoir the morning off.
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I've really gotten bad about writing in this LJ. Maybe I'll write more if I use this as a semi-public organ log. I just had a productive lesson with Chris this evening, and perhaps I'll note down a few things here.

Probably meaningless unless you like organ music... )
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It's a bit late, but here's the "Te Deum Patrem colimus" traditionally sung from the tower of Magdalen College, Oxford:

There's a translation here. I've always heard this referred to as the "Hymn to the Sun," but it is a Trinitarian hymn with no reference to spring, sunshine, etc. Anyone know if the seniors actually sing this at Bryn Mawr May Day anymore?
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I started taking organ lessons with Chris Lane, the assistant organist & choirmaster at Mem Church, over the summer, starting shortly before ESS. Between his schedule and mine, we have managed to have a grand total of three lessons together. I practice pretty regularly, generally late at night after calling it a day in the lab, and have made some progress, I think. The pedalboard is no longer utterly foreign, I've gotten familiar with legato organ fingering techniques, and have started to get a feel for the non-legato touch called for in Baroque music. I am also starting to get my hands and feet coordinated enough to play pieces with non-trivial pedal parts.

I've gotten roped into playing in the Harvard Organ Society's midnight Halloween recital tomorrow. There is currently a dearth of undergraduate organists, and I'm one of two Harvard students playing. Carson Cooman, one of the Mem Church staff musicians, and Chris will also play. Chris will be playing the "Allegro" from Widor VI, one of the pieces with which he just won the Canadian International Organ Competition in Montreal, as well as Boellmann's Suite Gothique, with its exceptionally spooky closing toccata.

A busy musical week -- Wednesday I also get to make my debut at the Arlington English dance with Susie Petrov and [ profile] playfulfordian.
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I've started to think a little about what I'd like to do in the 5 full days I have (technically, Friday night to Thursday morning) I have to travel in Italy after the light scattering meeting. I'm certainly dividing my time between Florence and Rome -- indeed, while searching around, I found a steal of an air fare from Catania to Florence (significantly less expensive than the base train fare, not including a sleeper surcharge) and so I'll fly directly to Florence on Friday night (yes, I checked for flights to Pisa as well, which has the larger airport).

Right now I'm trying to decide how to apportion my time between Florence and Rome. In some sense it would be natural to spend two days in Rome and three in Florence. There's a ton I'd love to see in Florence, though -- the Uffizi by itself could easily be an all-day affair, and I don't know that I'd like to cram the rest of Florence's historical and architectural sites into one other day. Clearly there's a lot to see in Rome (easily a day in the Vatican City, not to mention the sites of Ancient Rome). But I'm kind of sensing that there's so much in Rome that spending either two or three days is going to feel a bit overwhelming regardless, whereas three full days in Florence might let take in a fair bit without having to run around like crazy.

Thoughts? The decision is complicated by a lot of places (like the Uffizi) being closed on Mondays.
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So I booked an Amtrak Guest Rewards ticket to take the overnight #66 Regional from Philly to Boston on Saturday night, as UChoir has a concert on Sunday of John Stainer's "Crucifixion." I've been on the overnight twice before; how well I sleep appears to depend on whether the other people in the car are quiet, or I'm surrounded by old ladies yammering away all night. The last few weeks have been more draining than I would like to admit, and now a night of probable bad sleep in coach is seeming less appealing.

Has anyone ever ridden Business Class on an Amtrak Regional? Anyone ever try to upgrade an AGR ticket?

[EDIT: Called AGR; because I hadn't printed the ticket yet, they were able to cancel the original coach ticket, return the points, and then redeem for a new Business Class ticket. I just found out that Ed is apparently giving all the Choral Fellow basses short solos in the Stainer (I should go look at mine before rehearsal tonight), so getting a decent night's sleep seems especially important.]
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My first first-authored paper ever got submitted for peer review yesterday.
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I know it is still very early to be thinking about this, but is anyone currently planning either to go or not to go to Delaware Valley Hogmanay this year?

I had initially been inclined to go to Hogmanay, as it's always been a great ball and a wonderful chance to see people, and this year's music (Laura Risk, David Knight, and Dave Wiesler) promises to be superb. It now appears, however, that I may have a reason to be back in Boston on January 1. Although declining the potential engagement here is on the table, part of me would like to accept it. That leaves the possibility of either skipping Hogmanay entirely, or else having the discipline to step out after the midnight tea and roundsing, get some sleep, and fly back to Boston early on the morning of the 1st. The latter option would certainly make for a long and exhausting day, and is crazy enough that it gives even me pause.
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Crazy weekend -- a concert with the Boston Camerata today that went pretty well, and sets put together for the Scottish program [ profile] tirerim is calling tomorrow. More later -- now for some sleep.
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I was up early to go sing a memorial service at the Business School Chapel for the B-School Class of '75 reunion, with most of the Choral Fellows and a couple of folks from the Sunday Choir. Upon getting back to Cambridge, however, I discovered no one could get into my lab because one of the toxic gas alarms had gone off. If only I hadn't left all my piano music on my desk in lab...
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While trying to do some long-overdue maintenance on my bike after dance tonight, and in particular while inspecting and adjusting my front brakes, I discovered that my front wheel might be slightly out of true, possibly as a result of the pothole crash. It'll have to go in to the shop eventually, as I have neither the knowledge nor the wherewithal to retrue my own wheels.

I am thinking I'll bring my bike in to the Broadway Bicycle School and use a combination of stand/tool rental and staff assistance when the time comes later this summer for a thorough tune-up. I should check with a chain measuring tool, but I would not be surprised if the chain and cassette need replacing after a year of all-weather usage. I'm not sure if bearing overhauls -- front and rear hubs, headset, and bottom bracket -- are necessary right now.

Also, I am seriously considering replacing my nylon pedals with more durable metal platforms, to which I would mount Power Grips. They're an inexpensive way to get power from the upstroke and are considerably more appealing to me than straps and toe clips, which would be nearly impossible to use optimally when riding in traffic with frequent stops. I don't want to switch to clipless pedals, used with cycling shoes that have a cleat on the bottom, as I don't want to always have to carry whatever shoes I'm going to need for the day. Shimano makes a pedal that is clipless on one side and platform on the other, but it is not cheap, and I don't envision myself using the clipless side for commuting or utility riding, the bulk of what I do. So springing for clipless capability when I'd only use it occasionally for recreational rides doesn't seem wise to me. Anyone have experience with or opinions on Power Grips, or feel strongly that I should try clipless?
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Why does Israel have to be put on the defensive internationally after its commandos use limited force in response to being attacked with potentially deadly weapons? Would anyone be complaining if the men and women of the US Navy were to use lethal force to defend themselves in the course of interdicting Somali pirates?
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A brief update -- the Hertz people at the Austin airport did recover my CD's. I'll have to pay to have the CD's shipped back to me, but I'd consider that getting off pretty easily for gross stupidity.

I should have spent some of the evening in lab, as I got in very late this morning after my late arrival at home last night, or else done some practicing at home, but I decided to go to Scottish class to see what Alex Gray would be like. I didn't really talk to him, but did dance in a set he was in during the social hour. He is a lot more jovial and friendly than what I would have expected the chairman of the RSCDS to be like. I'm glad I went, as now I'll be more at ease about Thursday, and with the amount of playing I've been doing of late it has been ages since I actually danced a full class and social hour.

On the way home, alas, I heard a clatter behind me shortly after coming through the pothole-riddled section of Main St near the Rt 16 overpass. The bracket for my bike tail-light had failed, and while the LED's are intact the unit was effectively destroyed by the fall from my bike, and by the traffic that passed before I had a chance to recover the pieces from the middle of the road. I started to walk my bike towards home as biking with fast-moving traffic without a functioning tail-light scares me a bit. Fortunately, a fellow Scottish dancer who also routinely bikes to class came by shortly after, and he kindly gave me an escort home.

This is the third tail-light I've lost in less than a year. My first one was a Cat-Eye removable clip-on; its bracket was sufficiently weakened by the crash I had in November that a few days afterwards the light fell off while I was biking, without me noticing. I replaced that light with a cheaper clip-on, but due most likely to jarring from potholes that light also fell out of its bracket several days after I installed it. I finally replaced that one with another Cat-Eye, but one that bolted on to my rear rack via an L-bracket. The bracket failed right where it was bolted on, which is also right where it bends, which in hindsight is not too surprising.

I'm not sure what I want to replace this light with. I kind of liked the bolt-on bracket; maybe it's OK if I plan on replacing the bracket every six months or so. Nothing else I have encountered stands up as well to the constant jarring of riding the pothole-riddled streets of Somerville and Medford. Any cyclists out there have any opinions?
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You know it's the end of the semester when, following your last voice lesson of the year (last week) and the Choral Fellows voice recital (last night), the stack of vocal music to be taken back to the music library makes an impressive stack on your desk in lab.
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This morning, I was biking to work down Oxford St as I usually do. Oxford has been a mess of potholes for a while, and I really don't enjoy riding it; I do primarily because it is more direct, has less traffic, and fewer lights than Mass Ave. This winter the pothole situation went from annoying to downright dangerous, and of late the situation has been exacerbated by the water main construction that has caused large portions of the street to be dug up and additional potholes to be formed by the passage of heavy construction vehicles.

So I was going down Oxford, and tried to dodge a pothole -- and the next thing I knew I was down on the ground with my bike on top of me. I got extensive scrapes on my hands and elbows, ruined the shirt I was wearing, and gave the handlebars some dings, but otherwise avoided serious damage to myself or my bike. Fortunately no one was driving behind me at the time. One of my labmates kindly helped me clean up when I got into work.

I've talked to a few people and apparently the consensus is that it's better to just go through a pothole (or, if one has sufficiently good bike handling skills and pedal clips, to jump the pothole) than to swerve around it. Lesson learned, I guess. I do hope they finish the Oxford St construction soon; I've had close calls on it before (the most serious one being a dumb failure to take the entire lane, and a subsequent pothole swerve bringing me overly close for comfort to a car that was trying to pass me) and the condition of the pavement is so bad that it really is only a matter of time before someone gets seriously injured or killed.

It was a somewhat embarrassing accident -- Ed called me over at teatime right before rehearsal this afternoon. Apparently he too had been driving down Oxford St right before my crash, and had seen me down in the middle of the road through his rear-view mirror. He had wanted to stop, but because of the construction and the police trying to wave traffic through there was nowhere to pull over.
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To wrap a few things up: I did decide to stay in the Choral Fellows for one more year. It's a privilege to be in the group, and to do what we do; I think I would like to make the most of one final year.

NEFFA is this weekend and I look forward to that.

The choir is singing a funeral at MemChurch tomorrow, for someone who was apparently a big fan of the choir. I'm not especially thrilled since tomorrow is busy enough, but fortunately choral funerals/memorial services happen at most once or twice a year. It must be a request from the family, as we don't usually sing stuff like this, but the anthem for tomorrow is an exceptionally cheesy arrangement of "O Shenandoah." If I should get hit by a bus or something, I should very much like to have the choir at my funeral -- but please not singing that piece. The Purcell "Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts," or perhaps the somewhat sentimental but potentially beautiful Virgil Thomson "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need," but dear G-d, nothing as schlocky as "O Shenandoah."

It could be worse, I suppose. The other day Chris was telling us about a funeral he had to play for a professor of economics specializing in railroads -- whose family requested his college fight song and ``I've Been Workin' on the Railroad" for his memorial service.
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