Tuesday, October 13, 2015

AAD SOCG I - Day 3

Sitting a little late, but continuing to work with the Eye of the Needle exercise.  Not as intense as yesterday morning, but that's usually the case for me when revisiting an exercise:  the first time is intense, and then the initial repeats are a little weak.  I'll certainly need to carry on with this exercise for another month.

Pauses are a little funky this morning.

Took a very good call regarding possible employment.

Monday, October 12, 2015

AAD SOCG I - Day 2

To be edited through the day.

Waking at 6:50ish from a very obvious X-Files type dream (I solved the case:  the kid was the killer). Sitting at 7:15, full relaxation circuit, followed by an exercise I haven't thought about for some time:  the Eye of the Needle.  This is not the EotN as Crafties know it, but rather an exercise from Gurdjieff, or at least from Bennett.  Completing around 8:00 am.

The rest of the day was mostly a bust.  Missed the first pause at 9:00, mostly got the rest, except for the last one at 4:00 pm.  Very little practicing:  more just playing with a riff/idea.  This is on me.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

AAD SOCG 1 - Day 1

Seeing as I am not in Holland for the SoCG course, it seemed prudent to direct my energies that way; my current status of job-searching really could use a jolt of incoming constructive energy.  There is also a Keynotes project approaching as well, and that is pulling me, but I'll wait to see about that.

For this project:
Sitting at 7:15 am, exercise TBD
90 min of guitar practice
Pauses on the hour from 9a-4p
Diarizing the process, for personal accountability

Today doesn't quite feel like a beginning.  I'd originally intended that I'd begin this project today, but on waking (in time to be showered for the sitting), I realized that arrivals are today.  So this affects the energy.

Sitting a little later, at 8:30ish.  60 pts for today.  Dropping the pauses today.  Some creative exercises fell short, but so it goes.  Personal state in some turmoil, but this isn't surprising.

Practice on the electric.  No scale work, only calisthenics.  First primary, 24 permutations, on the slower side, with a click:  speeding up has been really habitual lately.  With the thought in mind that I'll need to have the anchor in good shape soon, I came back to an exercise Victor gave me years ago to work on maintaining the correct arch in the fingers.  After a verbatim revisit, however, I looked at it with the 1st secondary in mind.

With each finger:  1st string, 2nd, 1st, 3rd, 1, 4, 1, 5, 1, 6,
2 3 2 4 2 5 2 6
3 4 3 5 3 6
4 5 4 6
5 6
6 5 6 4 6 3 6 2 6 1
5 4 5 3 5 2 5 1
4 3 4 2 4 1
3 2 3 1
2 1

Moving to each finger in turn.  And again, using each pair of fingers (12 13 14, 21 23 24, 31 32 34, 41 42 43) in conjunction with the pattern.

And to dinner.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Don't panic.

Panic is one of those states that is simply poisonous.  Almost nothing good can come of it, and certainly nothing by our own intention.

We panic, and our bodies and selves are immediately clenched by a paralysis of fear, and we are slaves to our own disjointed and fragmented reactions; even breathing becomes such a threat that we refuse to do so.  The only option becomes "aaaaaa":  tension in every movement and thought, and a racing mind is the only mind.

We panic when under an immense amount of stress.  We panic even more when that stress is kept at a steady and unrelenting pressure, for days and weeks at a time.

Some things help.  Other things only seem to do so.

And we don't even realize this happens.  Lord.

But then we see it happening as it's happening.  Tonight, I am cooking a meal that is not terribly difficult, but as I assemble it in my mind, the steps add up.  Not terribly difficult, and not even terribly involved, but a number of different steps.

And there it is!  As I'm washing a cup of rice, with pumpkin roasting in the toaster oven, and shallots and garlic and tomato and mustard sauteing on the stove, I see immediately:  I am panicking.  I am in a state of panic.  I see it.  And, like a lightning bolt. . .

Nothing happens.  I'm still rinsing this rice, and the food is still cooking, and I'm still texting back and forth with my girlfriend, and I'm still panicking.  My ambient level of stress isn't going to change, and I'm still going to have to do things that are not making me want to do anything, and I'm still locked in that systemic simmer of panic that isn't going anywhere.  I see it, but it's not going to go anywhere.

Into the pan with the rice.  At least I can do that.

Monday, June 10, 2013

OCG VII - Day (?) - Post-Tour

Day (?) 
Monday morning is a bit of a rough starter.  Difficult to rise.  A difficult sitting at 7:00, even though it is blessedly in the Conservatory in the main house; I know there is probably 5-7 minutes that are gone to the world of bodily sleep.  As far as I can tell, my body has just decided that the tour is over, so it can let go, now.

Breakfast at 8:00, with french toast (!) and lemon ginger honey butter (!!!).  Placemats at the table are tour posters.  The weather is absolutely beautiful, as it should always be in the spring.

A goodbye to some of the crew at 8:45ish--it's amazing how the quality of joy infuses these goodbyes.  Some of these people I may not see again for a very long time, but how could I be anything other than joyful at having seen them again?

Logistics meeting at 9:00.  Off to clean up the tent area, take care of chairs, and begin to address the Cabin That Smells Like Man and Wet Towel.  Back to the main house at 10:00 for a check-in, and then showering, finishing packing, and fully cleaning the cabin.  Camp Caravan restoration is declared essentially completed a little before noon.

Sending off the last vans around 12:30, with a bit of disagreement between Dev and I, but this is beside the point, and mostly just because I'm not bothering to raise my voice like I need to.  With this departure, my duties as Travel Coordinator have officially completed.

Alex is still loading up a couple of bits and bobs, and has been an exemplary house manager for this project.  Not that I expected less.  Waving goodbye to the outhouses for the dorm.

In John's van with Diego and Adrian, and setting off around 1:20ish, following last farewells to the remaining team.  A bit of fuzziness with the GPS.  We stop to get some gas, and then again at a convenience store to get some post-course munchies.  I get a really strong feeling of "putting something in the bank", and I stay satisfied with some lemon tea and a couple of small chocolates.  The bad music in the store is jarring.

Back in the van.  Reviewing the 60 points with Diego, at his request.  Some idle conversation, and some snoozing on my own part.  Around maybe 2:45, we arrive at Harvard Square, and let Diego back out into the world.  A quick stretch of legs, and then back in the van, helping John to navigate to my place in Jamaica Plain.  A bit of personal pride as I point out key spots on our way, especially passing by my old work neighborhood at Berklee.

Arriving at my apartment around 3:30ish, and unloading.  John gives me the chance to try out his Beaudoux GC Pro, which is an opportunity I've been looking forward to for years.  A little bummed out by the lack of resonance, though later on I'll find out that the strings were close to two months old, and we were outside as well; different conditions would certainly yield better results.  Fantastic neck.

John and Adrian depart a few minutes later, and one of my room mates arrives just as I'm getting the last of my stuff inside.  I've also been texting back and forth with Ieva since noon, and now she's on her way.

In for a quick shower, and out of the shower to find her sitting in my room.  Hurrah!

Out the door to go for a walk, which takes us very far out of the way to Brookline (stopping by the Russian grocery store).  On the T, and up into Boston for dinner at Vlora.  Back to JP to Ieva's house (my first time there), so that she can do some work.  That work doesn't happen, so back to my place.  Turning in around midnight.

Post-Tour
In the morning, a late rise for both of us.  Idle conversation and breakfast.  We missed each other.

In need of something to do, so to the Arboretum.  Lying under a tree for the better part of an hour--typical young-couple stuff.  Plenty more walking around; to the T, and up to the North End for coffee, tiramisu, and the ocean.

Another night of "I'm not going to get any work done", but we need dinner.  Back to JP and the grocery store; hommous, homefries, falafel, and pitas are constructed.  Beers are consumed.

To bed.

In the morning again.  Still another day off.  Bagels, coffee, and more hommous.  Plus a bit of Martin's chocolate.  Ieva takes off to finally address some necessary music work around 1:00.  I lollygag around for a bit, and spent part of the day just catching up.  Begin to digitize the journals.  Take a short nap.  Back awake, and more writing.

Squaring away various stuff.  Dealing with post-course whiplash.

Salad for dinner.  Writing in the paper journal to catch up on the journal as a whole, which brings this entire project up to date around 9:00 on 5/29/2013.

* * * And finally posting this last entry around 8:30 on 6/10/2013.  This completes the diary for OCG VII.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

OCG VII - Day 7

Day 7
Up at 5:00, sitting at 6:00.  Hard to rise, and a difficult sitting.

Breakfast at 7:00, and changing strings just before.  I know plenty of guitarists that advise against changing strings the day of the gig, but I know what I'm doing, and I have no desire to deal with dead strings that break in the middle of the gig after being played to death by sweaty hands.

The sunlight is incredible, and a marked difference from the rain and fog we've been dealing with, the past few days.  I really hope the pictures I've been taking will come out.  A comment/compliment from Erin on a picture I took of her at Raft Island, in the quiet after everyone else had departed from OCG II.

A brief silence falls on the group shortly before 8:15/point 2.

Loading the buses with guitars and luggage (for the people that will remain behind in NYC), and we're on the road somewhere around 8:30 or so, with Frank holding the space at Camp Caravan.  Last day of the course, and the last gig of the tour awaits us.

As we travel, I see that Friday's performance in Cambridge is a clear example of an ending that becomes a beginning.

Napping for an hour or so, maybe a bit longer.

Noodling around with the enneagram, trying to sketch and puzzle out what I'd been thinking about yesterday while waiting for the meeting that did not happen.

A stretch break around 11:00 or so.  A bit of camera talk with John, Adrian, and Christina.  I have the opportunity to buy some junk food, but realize I'd have to break the $10 in my pocket, and I take this as a sign, walking away from the vending machine.  Back on the road about 20 minutes later.

2:30ish - Arrival at the venue:  St. Mark's in the Bowery, New York City.

We file in with our guitars, and shortly after everyone is in the space, Sandra leads us in a new exercise that I haven't seen before, and it's very effective.  The team feels much more tuned.

The facility is a different ballgame than what we've had.  It's not a huge room, but the sound is beautiful:  more of the "old" sound I prefer.  There is a balcony, but that is supposedly closed off.  The green room/sanctuary is sizeable, but more importantly opens to a private courtyard, which is absolutely gorgeous. With the perfect weather we have, this is a great boon.

Blocking relatively quickly.  We explore the space for a few minutes to get the idea of the sound, and then assume the basic large circle.  This also becomes the form for the whizz; with Robert's suggestion, it becomes a 4-pole VQ whizz.  A bit more tweaking, and it becomes 4 main poles, with 4 less vicious Queens in between.  This makes the Octatonic Vicious Queen Whizz; the music theory geek in me doesn't catch this joke (4 majors and 4 minors) until the next day.

Into the green room for personal practice, with quiet time at 3:30.

4:00 - Show time.

Los Internationales
Procession
Encircle/Spiral
Explore the Space/Groups
Repertoire:  Red, Voices of Ancient Children, Berceuse, Askesis
"When Ready, Begin"
Octatonic Vicious Queen Whizz:  "Please whizz until the world becomes the place you wish it to be."
Eye of the Needle
Procession
Encore:  Schizoid Man
Encore:  Asturias

Personal notes:

Again, the ability to listen outside the Orchestra and hear the resonance of the space, hear the air of the notes and the shimmer of the trails.

The improvs have been steadily becoming more concise, but this one ends in full circle formation with quite a lot of whizzing.  The "zipper" is born.  More whizzing of Silence.

Fantastic version of Red.  I'm getting pretty exhausted at this point, and I have to let go and just enjoy the music.  When Askesis comes up, it is damn fast.  I know it's gotten faster, but I'm thinking I've just been getting tired, which is why I'm having to ghost some notes so that I can keep up.  Turns out I'm not the only one; several of my circle mates agree, later on, that it was running at least 100 bpm, so it's a combination of both.

During "When Ready, Begin", there is a fantastically chaotic moment of interaction between two groups.  I pull out just as it's starting to gel, and nod to Chris to come with me, as we're both not terribly involved.  We play "catch", and at one point I gesture to him to "go long".  Greg joins us after a bit, and we toss it around for a while.  Someone else joins us--Keith, maybe?--and I eventually lead the little group back into the main action, as I'm starting to become aware that it's going on too long.  A funny moment:  I try and lead us into the thick of the action and come out the other side, but they don't apparently get the message, or head off to do something else, so I find myself on the other side with no attachments.  Funny.

Standing next to Andrea for the OVQW.  This is one of the most incredible whizzes I've been part of; there is a moment where we're thinking as one unit, and it's shooting around the circle faster than Jaxie can send it, and she starts to flag a bit (or so it seems), and then it suddenly begins to pick up again, like it needed a breath.  Then, she stops it, grabs it, and throws it into the air.

Eye of the Needle.  A very loud "Whoop!" from someone, and not well timed.

A silent procession out.  I am doing my best to not cut corners.

Loud applause as we finally pull out of the room.  Schizoid Man returns, and I can just hear it from the green room.  More applause, and then we head back out.

Asturias, all the way through.  Zithering procession chords around.  Procession back out, with procession chords.  More thunderous applause on our exit.

An unfisting in the room.  The last gig is complete.

Out to the venue, to poke around, get a couple of pictures, and maybe talk to some people.  I recognize Carl's sister from the Book of Heads, meet Peter's son, and have a longish conversation with a very nice Krimhead and his son, and a full-on prog casualty.

Cleaning up our stuff in the green room to make room for 68 chairs; Hideyo Moriya of the California Guitar Trio was in the audience, and is sitting in on our final meeting.

Immediately before the meeting begins, Chris asks me if this course has felt experientially long to me, and it hits me that I feel like I've been gone from the normal world for a year or two.

Sandra mentions a dissolution of self she experienced while looking at this church several years ago, before she had anything to do with this church.  Martin talks about how this project has been an affirmation of work he's been taking on for over 25 years.  Chris gives an observation, and is challenged by Robert to make it more concise.  I am formulating my own comments, when it becomes apparent that I won't be able to give them.  A bit of ego-killing for me, but my thought that "I need to be a more reliable leader" is powerful enough that I have it for myself.

Final remarks from Robert, and from Dev.  There is an OCG tour on the West Coast, focused around Seattle next year.  And the first official mention of a possible long course.

Rushed goodbyes.  Problems with the departure list.

A few final photos, and onto the bus.  All those remaining in NYC wave Tom and Robert goodbye, and we do the same from our bus.  I'm not quite as lumpy-throated as I was last year after the course, but it's always a little sad.  After all, this is my family, and we are all one.

On the bus, we tear into the food we have available to us.  Lots of discussion.  Some great.  Some not so great.

A longish conversation with Patricia.  I was not aware of her connection to Victor from the early years, or of her participation at Red Lion House, or of the fact that she was connected to this work before Guitar Craft existed.  It's a little amazing to speak to one of my very favorite singers, and realize that she has the same life issues that anyone else has.  It's also somewhat gratifying to talk to someone that's been involved as long as she has and find that she has some of the same issues with the language that I do.

Lots of differing opinions on what the shows were all like.  For me, as a whole, they were entirely their own process, almost separate from the rest of the course.  They also had an element of just how important the aspect of architecture is to a space; the first and last shows had a more attractive sounding space, while the middle show had a very modern and sterile-sounding space.  Needless to say, there is a bit of division on "pro-Hadley" and "not-so-pro-Hadley" among the group on the bus.

Chris reveals yet again just how funny he is.

When we arrive back at Camp Caravan around 11:45 at night, we get our stuff put back, and then return to the main house for a meal prepared for us by Frank.  Truly, if love exists on this planet, you will find it among these people, I promise you.

Some conversation, including discussion of the 2014 OCG tour, and some extra dessert, and then off to my cabin.  Some packing going on, and a full-cabin portrait for Jon, and then off to bed.

Friday, May 31, 2013

OCG VII - Day 6 - Show #2

Day 6
Slightly easier to get up this morning.  A lot of comments come up during breakfast.  The whizz of silence is a potent topic of discussion.  Another controversy is the nature of whether or not something was "music"; generally, I notice that there is a certain type that laments the place that tonality did not have in the performance last night.  One of the Seattle team--I think it's either Bill, Curt, or Jaxie, but it turns out to be Tony--makes a pertinent comment that we may need to leave our preconceptions of what "healing music" is at the door.  Personally, I revel in the fact that tonality simply does not matter in this work, or at least in the form that it is taking.

But everyone seems happy, and everyone acknowledges that the audience seemed to love it.

An announcement from the Travel Coordinator to the whole team, advising everyone to watch the board for later this morning.  Also, as the breakfast team disperses after a two-hour meal, I mention the point of seeing from last night to Sandra; it seems to light her up, which makes the idea even harder to resist.  It is a hazardous idea, but it seems potent.  Really potent.

Prepare the departures list for everyone.  This is a clear sign of the beginning of the end, for me.

Some laundry, with a long wait to put it in the dryer in the main house.  Sort out my suitcase, send a message off to Laura requesting some 35mm film if she has a chance.  I'd like to get some practice in before lunch, but Peter is sleeping, and the weather is total shit.  I'll have to pick it up after lunch.  Sigh.

2:00 - Getting grouchy.  Am a little mystified that people are napping right now.  Tonight's show will probably be a little tough.  One high mark is that I have my own departure for Monday figured out.

Heading into another middle again.

Piling into the buses at 3:00.

Arrival at Hadley around 4:15ish.  A chance to warm up, explore the space.  In the circle at shortly before 5:00 for blocking, "soundcheck".

This is a difficult space:  the acoustics are not good for a large group of any sort.  As a soloist, or even a small chamber ensemble of maybe 5 players, I could see this being a great space.  But as an ensemble member, I find it impossible to hear anything outside of my immediate vicinity, and even then it gets a little tricky.  And there are certain pockets that totally swallow the sound.  This is not to say that it's not an attractive looking space.  But that's sort of the crux of it:  there are a lot of things about this church that say "money" on it, and the feel of the building is like a really big toy, to me.  Fancy, pretty, sterile, and new.  The acoustics reflect that:  I get the feeling that I'm hearing the Orchestra through a plug-in, as opposed to the very real and 3-dimensional sound of the Cambridge venue.

Split green rooms.

Generally feel unsettled and restless, and it seems a bit like the rest of the team feels the same way:  there is more idle chatter than the night before.  Frank has observed that the attention of the team is different, and a bit shakier.  Robert brings this up as a matter of practicality.

Doors open at 7:00; at one point, I find myself talking a bit with a member of MREC.  She asks whether everyone got the kitchen enneagram she'd posted to Facebook, and mentions that she would have been available to give a presentation on this, over the course of the week.  This seems like a bit of a sticky wicket, and I duck out of the conversation pretty quickly, though my own feeling is that it would have been a bad idea, and not just because of my own aversion to jargon (though I do feel the enneagram is important, and I personally want to have a better understanding of it as well).

Performance at 8:00.

Los Internationales
Procession
Exploring the Space
Repertoire:  Red, Voices of Ancient Children, Berceuse, Askesis
Enpodulate/Whizz
"Triple Vicious Queen Whizz"
Procession
Encore:  Schizoid Man
Encore:  Asturias

Overall, it's a hard show, like I had suspected would be the case.  This is not to say that magic doesn't happen, and there is an improvised whizz that happens at the end of the second improv that is really quite amazing.  But the show itself is tough to work through.

A couple of moments stand out:

During "Enpodulate", and shortly before it becomes a whizz, there is a funny moment where there is quite a bit of activity going on behind me, and then I find myself in a quartet of circulation that becomes a twinkly little thing.  Then Bill comes over, and doesn't play a note, but does introduce movement into the moment.  I am not quite sure if he's come over to lead or if he's finding himself drawn to this little pod.  And then it dissolves, and we melt into the whizz.

Standing next to Jaxie during the TVQW, and being entirely unable to hear the whizz coming from my right.  Feeling like I'm slowing it down.

The final twinkle/procession of Asturias.  As we proceed out of the space into the other large hall, the procession chords fade out, and a zither comes up the chain from the hall back into the space.  It's really quite something.

After the performance, film!  From Laura's friend.  Greatly appreciated.  Seeing some intentional pissing of energy.  Also, seeing Frank run.  Back on the bus.

We arrive back at the house close to midnight, with strict instructions to put our stuff back at our cabins and then immediately come back to the main house.  Here, we find out that, since there is no way to have a team to make sandwiches for everyone, and since half the team will be departing after the final meeting tomorrow, we will each be making our own bag lunch (and dinner if it is appropriate).  A bit of shock and whining from the team, but it's got to get done.  My hand shoots up when Patrick says he needs help getting stuff brought out for this process.

As I'm making my hommous wrap, I notice people piling it on, with apparently no consideration for the fifteen or twenty other people that still need to finish their own food.  So my own becomes a bit smaller than I had originally intended, and it actually looks just fine.

Some very last minute consternation with last-minute travel changes.  As I finally make it back to my cabin, a text from Curt about one person needing to be on a different bus arrives--I'll have to leave it for the morning.  Decision work, and to bed around 1:25 am, with the realization that my hands really need a rest after this project.