Tuesday, September 30, 2003

A nice week

Wow, what an action-packed week!

This week was absolutely crazy. Not only was work kicking my butt but Fleet Street Auditions were in full swing. Tuesday's O-Show performance was wonderful. We performed better than ever with 18 strong voices, young and old, and soloist extraordinaire Alex Camp to top it all off. Unfortunately, the reaction from the frosh was not as exciting as usual. Usually the applause is deafening, but our performance was scheduled in a weird slot and as a result, the audience was not very warmed up. Despite the lukewarm reception, O-Show and the rest of recruiting was obviously successful because three days later, after the annual ritual of nightlong deliberation and bickering, we produced an extraordinary Fleet Street 2004.

One strange side-effect of my increasing temporal distance from Fleet Street is that I've never had so much fun being an alum. More and more of my good friends are climbing the ranks and retiring from Fleet Street. As a result, I get to hang out with more and more cool people at oldfart (our word for "alum") functions. Who would have thought getting older was such an enjoyable thing?

Saturday, I had my weekly riding lesson. My horse this week was Lexus and true to her namesake, she was quite the smooth ride, but I wouldn't really know because I spent most of it getting jolted around on her back while she trotted around in circles. Right now I'm working on cantering (that's the thing that looks like a slow gallop) and for some reason, everyone else can do this just fine but I'm retarded at it or something. When I signal for canter, the horse goes, "What the hell is he saying?" and just trots faster making my life that much more painful. After three weeks of experimenting with different techniques, my instructor and I finally figured out on the very last attempt this Saturday that my lack of success was due to me sitting incorrectly. My mistake is a good example of what the learning process has been like for me over the past two and a half months. Basically, it was something really small, but apparently very critical. All I needed to do was lift my weight slightly off my inside seat bone and as soon as I did it, the horse would instantly sprung into a canter on my command. I was relieved to have discovered my mistake and exasperated at the same time that I had wasted three weeks trying to figure it out. Now only two small items remain: staying in canter once I get it, and my prime directive in riding: not falling off the horse.

After my lesson, all the Fleet Street oldfarts and I drove our way down to Carmel where the new group was staying for the weekend at retreat and commenced the traditional "oldfart crash" by busting down the doors singing "Come Join the Band." The initial meet and greet was then followed by a very short round of Fleet Street stories and lore which was truncated by the call to sing. And so we sang for the next couple hours until our voices were hoarse and the new members were yawning (it's also traditional for the oldfarts to want to sing while the current members just want to sleep). We had a jolly good time reacquainting ourselves with songs we sang "back in the day."

The next day (Sunday), I drove back down to Carmel (that's $40 of gas right there) to attend my coworker's, John and Grace's, wedding ceremony which was one of the cutest ones I'd ever been to. They had the wedding on the beach with about 20 people, a boom box, some rice, and lots of BBQ food. The Groom and Best Man (his brother) both wore suites and the Made of Honor wore a flower dress. Grace wore a beautiful red Chinese dress. Everyone else was in khakis and shirts. There is always something romantic about being dressed up on the beach. Their mutual friend had "the power vested in him" for a day and married them under the blue sky and by the rolling waves. After throwing rice and giving lots of cheers, we built a cooking fire and began a good old fashioned BBQ, eating until our hearts' content and enjoying the nice weather, comradery, and then the sunset and twilight. Overall, it was one of the neatest things I'd ever experienced and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone looking a cozy and romantic way to be wed.

And finally, tonight, the moon was just perfect. It was in the phase just after a new moon when the moon is lit just right so that you can see that it's like a giant marble hanging in the sky instead of the usual flat disc. Mars and/or Venus was nearby and for a moment, I could truly imagine all of these floating spheres and the Earth in their three dimensional arrangements, the great distances between them, and the sun lighting all of them from the center. It always makes the world seem so much smaller to see that we're floating through such empty space, just another round ball of dust spinning around a sun.

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