Thursday, October 30, 2014


I live in a neighborhood that veers wildly from the supremely dumb, to the frighteningly dangerous and somehow meets up seamlessly with the batshit insane. Sometimes, it's all three, like dude two blocks away who decided to see if his Hogwarts' Cloak of Invisibility still had a good warranty after his crack ho washed it, and tested it against the Tampa Police Department's finest. After making them stand around in the hot sun on a Sunday afternoon, and after making them evacuate an entire city block who was looking forward to Brunch at the Three Coins Diner after Church, but being unceremoniously kicked from house and home, couldn't get all swanned up for services, so they stood around and participated and bitched for several hours, and after someone in the TPD ranks said "the Hell with this noise" and stormed the house, dude found out the hard way, that alas, his cloak's warranty was invalidated and yes, he was in fact visible to the cops, whilst crammed beneath a bed in a back bedroom. Either that, or he was just one stupid idiot.

Fresh off that triumph, we have Sharpie Lady. This was brought to my attention by my alert neighbor and "adopted" son Alex, who is of like mind. We've spotted Moses, Jesus the Vampire Killer running around da 'hood and Sharpie Lady is actually a close neighbor; she's just a bit avaricious and her avarice makes her, well, a bit dim-mish. Or, maybe it's the other way around. She's the lady in the neighborhood who wants what everyone has, even if she doesn't need it, or particularly want it, unless you have it. We all know people like that. She doesn't seem a bad sort; just odd. 

Anyway, one of the other denizens had found two Sharpie pens, a black and red one, and he gave Sharpie Lady the black one. Here's Sharpie Lady prior to her use of the pen:

I don't draw; I don't pretend to draw. I have a motor disorder. This is what you get; live with it.

This is Sharpie Lady AFTER she used her new black Sharpie pen that neighbor guy (not Alex) gave her:

I've met Sharpie Lady; I'm pretty sure she knows what make-up is and what pens to draw on boxes are. How in the HELL you'd possibly confuse the two is beyond me. Yes, according to Alex, her eyebrow lines were all jagged and crooked. Of course, you can't wash that crap off.

What makes this even more bizarre, is she THEN went back to the neighbor who had the red Sharpie and asked him for it, so she could use the "lipstick". Now, I realize it's getting to be that time of year, but, as a woman with more than my share for tics and oddities, I've NEVER considered using materials that would be better served for construction as items for beauty enhancement. But, to each his own, I guess. Anyway, here is an "imagining" of how the red Sharpie pen would have gone down:

Kinda like Roz Russell on her downhill slide or someone equally hideous. We've seen a lot of weird stuff here on Nebraska Avenue, but this was pretty noteworthy. 

Obviously, no names are being used, and I will NEVER mention this to the woman when I "see" her face to face. I am not unkind. As I said, maybe it's the wanting, or being so poor, that has unhinged her. I really don't know. Poor people have existed throughout the history of civilization, and Beethoven was happy to be paid a commission of a suit coat with brass buttons for a towering piece of music he wrote, when he was in his forties. Poverty didn't faze him.

We had our last rehearsal before we start a cycle of concerts featuring Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. The critics of his day and now are correct; it is a terrifying piece of music; in structure, style and presentation of his material, particularly his 4-note motif. The "V" or Roman "V" for five was used as the sign for victory in WW II by the allies. The rhythm of the opening phrase "dit-dit-dit-dah" is also used for the letter V in Morse Code (thank you, Daddy). Historians claim coincidence, although I have stated throughout my life and continue to believe that there is no such thing as coincidence.

Anyway, the Fifth sounds wonderful, considering that we are also playing that horrible "La Gazza Ladra" (The Thieving Magpie) overture by Rossini, and that is one that is on EVERY audition list for all of the stringed instruments. For violas, it means a lot of playing in 1/2 or 2nd or 4th position, something violists resist. They're uncomfortable positions; the 1/2 and full steps between notes no longer lie naturally between your 1st and 2nd fingers, but between your 2nd and 3rd fingers and your mind must be agile enough to make that transition. It's more a mental trick, than a physical one. Meanwhile, you're madly trying to keep the spiccato bow going (a light bouncing, almost insouciant type of playing). Spiccato on the viola is akin to road-racing a semi. I also have a very heavy hand, and with a very heavy bow. Strength training and developing other ways to "back off" have made it easier for me, with my e. t. It will show up occasionally, especially during repetitive motion. 

So, I've practiced the HELL out of all of this music; is it the best I've ever played? No. Am I happy with the results for right now? Yes. Between, August and to right now, I've mastered everything I set out to do and then some. This is going to be a great year and they will just keep getting better. I know that in my heart.

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