raystrobel47: (Default)
The Dockers commercial during SB 44 where the pantless guys singing "I wear no pants!" song made me think of you. Fondly, even.

Hope things are going well for you in NoPantsistan.

raystrobel47: (Normal)

Happy birthday to one [livejournal.com profile] sk4p!!

In your honor, music should be played and festivities enjoyed! I present to you, then, this offering:

Have a great one, dude!
raystrobel47: (Ray vh1 08)
1) Pleasant summer nights with my sweetie out on the back deck.
2) A two-week vacation where *all* of us get to stay home, sleep in, and be together.
3) Spending time with good friends, doing things we like, and feeling home away from our house.

What a day

Jun. 27th, 2009 10:00 pm
raystrobel47: (Driving)
I'm hanging out on our deck, with my sweetie, sippin' a beer, after a day of helping a friend move in an emergency situation. We were able to get everything into her self-storage locker in an astonishing amount of time, considering what needed to be moved. And boy, those push-ups came in handy for what I needed to help schlep.

When we were done, I was hot, thirsty, and tired. So we all took ourselves to Mineo's Pizza in Squill, and damn, was that good. It's been years since I've eaten there, and I was happy to see continued awards for best restaurants in Pittsburgh. From there we traversed to Eat 'n Park for dessert (Mineo's has them now, and look scrumptious, but are waaaaay to pricey). Pookie and I split an Oreo Sundae, and (wait for it..) damn. Talk about the perfect topper for a hard day's work.

So now I continue to sit and putz around teh intarwebs, only outside with my lovely wife thanks to the our wireless connection, the 50 foot extension cord from [livejournal.com profile] evil_baron, and our new (used from freecycle) deck table. We hear deer on the hill behind us, a siren or two in the distance, and morons shooting off big fireworks. God bless summer, and this makes me even more looking forward to Pennsic.


May. 30th, 2009 12:35 am
raystrobel47: (Ray vh1 08)
Just saw Up! at the "Dependable Drive-In" in Moon township with my wife and daughter, and were able to convince [livejournal.com profile] blackpaladin and [livejournal.com profile] cassildra to join us. Great movie. Great story, with wonderful storytelling moments. No spoilers here, just recommendations. My sweetie has pronounced that we shall be owning this movie, oh yes we shall. And the drive-in experience was way cool. We were pretty far back, but still had a good enough view of the screen, and we feasted on home-popped popcorn, soda, watermelon, yummy flavored Pringles (Mexican layered dip??!?) and mini-cookies! Oh, and the rain waited until the very end to start drip-drip-dripping. Pookie did fabulously, especially for getting home at almost midnight! 'Twas a good Friday night, and a great movie experience. Now, go out and see it!!
raystrobel47: (Ray vh1 08)
...scuse me...

I had a wonderful birthday celebration. After a day yesterday with just me and Pookie, today was awash with people and fun and OH MY GOD FOOD!

Really, I wasn't thinking of having any major bruhaha or anything, I just wanted friends over. But what I got was more than just friends over. My lovely, wonderful, and talented wife cooked her ass off- she made fried chicken (in the oven), this roast that had a beautimus marinade out on the grill (dude, it had cumin, it *had* to be yummy), Hungarian rice (it involves bacon grease. no more needs be said.)(ok, I lied, green pepper and onion too), homemade bread, and chocolate cake. Now, when I say chocolate cake, y'all may think "Oh, how nice, many people love chocolate cake." No. This chocolate cake, double chocolate to be exact, was a two-layer covered with a combination of strawberries, vanilla, almond?, and thickener, all blended with a hand-mixer, and poured over each layer. The icing was really a ganache that Jenn got from Alton Brown's recipe that begins with 2 sticks of butter, dark chocolate, and heavy cream. Since the strawberry concoction turned a bit of the cake into pudding practically, it was the ganache that quite literally held the cake together. And it was ... was... oh, it was horrible. Yah. That's it. Horrible. You surely didn't miss anything. Nope. Not a thing.

This year's celebration was especially cool because of folx like [livejournal.com profile] aengus1385 and others from up Butler way, and their kids. They got along swimmingly with Pookie, who obviously had a blast. J. brought fantastic beer- Dogfish Head's Indian Brown Ale. Day-um, but this was yummy; it was dark, nutty, and smooth. I thoroughly approved. Oh, he brought homemade mead too, which was equally yummy and enjoyed by many. I got to share my Brooklyn Chocolate Stout, which many liked, so it was nice to see the beer flow. It happens so rarely at our house.

[livejournal.com profile] blackpaladin brought games (duh) and he introduced Dominion to our Butler friends, while I was in a round of Ticket To Ride. I gave two Cut Once CDs away to said Butler friends, who I think may have been surprised to know I was in a band. The laughs were many, the food was plentiful, I even got a couple of cards and gifties (thank you again), and I wouldn't've changed a thing. I know some were not able to make it, but the circumstances were completely understandable. So after all was packed up, I'm full, happy, and my sweetie outdid herself and cleaned the kitchen and dishes and prepared my lunch for tomorrow!!! Saint this woman, please.

It's a shame that I have to get up to go to work tomorrow, but this was a damn fine night. My friends rock, and my wife rocks even harder. Sweetie, you're the best. Thank you.
raystrobel47: (Ray vh1 08)
Not a long entry. I've tried posting twice and haven't been able to get through them.

I am thankful for my wonderful wife, my amazing little girl, and my family in Texas. I love them all so much. Thank you, my friends, for helping me enjoy my life so much.

I am thankful for music, for my job and my students, especially for loving my job and students, and for the opportunities I have and have yet to discover. We have a fantastic home, I live in a good city, and in a beautiful area. I am thankful for our wonderful pets, who are a joy to love. I am thankful for my church, where I've been spiritually for 19 years.

I am thankful for my country. As hard as that can be and has been recently, there's still no other place I want to live. I am thankful for the hope I feel for the future. I am thankful for the choices that we have, even when they're flawed.

I am thankful for all the cool things I have that help make life fun- football, TND, Rock Band, the SCA, LOLcats, my musical instruments, board games, teh intarwebs.

I love the time I have with my wife and Pookie- the silliness, tenderness, madness, and sheer goofiness of it all. I am very lucky to be who I am, where I am, and with all my family and friends. And you- you, reading this, I am thankful for you. Thanks for reading my words, for commenting when you do, and for your support when you've given it.

It's not always easy, but it's always worth it.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
raystrobel47: (iDiot)
I accidentally overlooked [livejournal.com profile] dagonell's request! Here are your questions:

1. How did you get your SCA name?

2. What's your favorite hiking story?

3. What do you like best about who you are?

4. What's your weirdest 'favorite' thing?

5. Aside from socializing, what do you enjoy doing at SCA events?

...and A:

Jun. 8th, 2008 04:36 pm
raystrobel47: (Driving)
From [personal profile] alaricmacconnal :
1. You play many different types of musical instruments. What was your very first one and how did you get started?
My first lessons were on piano when I was 7 or 8. My mom got a used upright for me and I took lessons from an older woman, who I remember not liking very much because she made me sing, and I didn't like to sing back then. I found out from my mom that I also was very critical of her, which of course she didn't want to put up with that, but I honest to God don't remember that.

2. What are your top three favorite musical genres?
1) Classical (Neo-classic, Prokofiev and the like)
2) Progressive and hard rock/metal (Yes, Dream Theater, Def Leppard, Queen)
3) Techno

Now, I really can't leave it at that. Funk is too dear to me, and if you consider a capella a genre, that's gotta be up there, so it's too difficult to narrow down to just three.

3. What is the thing you like best about teaching (and the worst)?
Best: Seeing kids get it, and liking it. Those joyful 'a-ha!' moments are really special.
Worst: Abject apathy. I have students who stick it in my face on a daily basis that they don't care, and *want* to fail my class, because music is not important.

4. If you had the chance to go back in time and observe, when and where would you go?
I would go back either to San Francisco in 1967 or Houston in 1972. The former because I would love to see the cultural and music revolution of the time at its source, but barely accessible to my early memories in the days of dial phones, no internet, and black-n-white TV. The latter because I have an odd desire to be where I was just a young'n so I could recognize my home town in an age past, but I'd *be* there. Just too young to understand. Yes, I'm weird. I know.

5. What superhero would you like to be, and why?
I was infatuated with the Incredible Hulk as a kid, because he had the ability to change and take control of the situation, but was not in control of the change. Then I heard of transformers, and watched the cartoon, and was hooked. They could change, when they wanted to, and do more than any one person ever could. Hell, I'd still like to be one of those if I could.
And now for [profile] alfiechat 's:
1. If you could go back in time and meet any particular musician, who would that be and why?
That's a tough one. There are so many good, interesting composers that I would love to have met and talked about music. I'm going to say Beethoven, for his use of emotion, for knowing how to break the rules, and for his finding joy amidst his pain.

2. If you hadn't become a teacher, what career path would you have taken and why?
Originally I'd gotten my degree in music composition, and wanted to get my master's degree in composition from Rice University. Not getting admitted led to my education and career as a teacher. I imagine I would've continued my quest to earn a living writing music, but I don't know how well that would've turned out.

3. Other than your family, what do you consider your greatest accomplishment to date?
As much as I'd love to name a particular work I've written, my greatest accomplishment is continuing to reach out to the kids in Wilkinsburg and trying to make a difference in their lives.

4. What particular incident in past or present United States History has had the greatest impact on you?
I'm guessing here, please forgive my ignorance. I'm going to say the passing of Act 80 in the PA legislature, necessitating professional development, and giving the opportunity for some useful music-related workshops that I've taken.

5. Is there any place that you would like to visit that you have not had the opportunity to do so?
Here's but a short list:
-New Orleans
-The Alamo


Jun. 7th, 2008 01:03 pm
raystrobel47: (Texboy)
For [livejournal.com profile] mitsukai_toori:

1. How did you pick your lj user name?

2. What form of art gets the most out of you, creatively and productively?

3. What music are you most passionate about?

4. French fries or tater tots?

5. What color would you make my hair, if given the chance?

For [livejournal.com profile] valancy17

1. Who's your favorite sci-fi character, regardless of genre? (books, tv, movies)

2. What's your favorite thing to do in Pittsburgh?

3. Who was/is your favorite house pet?

4. What's the most exciting thing you've done in the last 12 months?

5. What musical instrument would you play if you could be proficient in any?
raystrobel47: (Ray 8-07)
Next batch of questions...

For [livejournal.com profile] ariannawyn:
1. Have you ever used your calligraphy and illumination skills for non-SCA purposes? If so, which was the neatest project?
2. What superpower would you just *love* to have right now?
3. If music had worked out perfectly for you, what would you be doing right now?
4. What brand-spanking new hobby would you love to take up, given all time and resources?
5. Who's your favorite apprentice? What do you get the most enjoyment from going to events?

For [livejournal.com profile] ka3ytl:
1. What's the coolest thing about OES?
2. What's the wildest thing you've done in the last 12 months?
3. Which is more worth it- teaching where you are or staying involved in A Phi O?
4. What kind of car would you love to have?
5. If you weren't a teacher, what would you be?

And finally, for [livejournal.com profile] amynicole717:
1. What's the best part about living in Cleveland?
2. Who's your favorite classical composer? (any era)
3. Which is more rewarding to you- reading or listening to music?
4. What superpower would you just *love* to have right now?
5. What do you want to be when you grow up?
raystrobel47: (Driving)
If you would like me to ask you 5 questions, comment in this entry, then post the answers in a separate entry and do the same in your journal.
raystrobel47: (Princess)
I must start with yesterday. Not only did yesterday bring to a close the last full 5-day school week of the year, but we got to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] saiaiko in the Strip District!! Yay!!! We smartly had dinner at Big Mama's House of Soul. And other than the orders being quite a bit backed up, the food was ZOMG-yummy. I cannot adequately describe it in this forum, gentle readers. The BBQ chicken was tangy and exquisite, and I also got the seafood stuffing, which was sweet, bold, and just fishy enough. After driving to the South Side for ice cream, we got to hang with [livejournal.com profile] saiaiko back at our house until it was pumpkin time, and she headed back to the folks with whom she's staying for her trip. We were *assured* that we'll get to see her again before taking off back to Buffalo.

Today was quite alright. We got to sleep in gloriously, with both cats pinning us in our beds. The weather was picture perfect, all day. And other than being too much of a jerk to [livejournal.com profile] fiannaharpar, things went fine. (I was careless, snippy, 'n cross this morning) A zoo trip was canceled, so our attention turned too.... yard work! Stops at Home Depot and Target first, then to get gas for the car and the 5-gallon tank for the mower (for $60??!?), and it was off to mow. My sweetie mowed the first time, so it was my first time on the tractor this year. I do like how your brain just wanders while doing that kind of work. It's cleansing in a way. While I kind of wished I could think of productive things- my SCA trumpet class, music that I want to write- I mainly thought of random songs, people, and other things that floated to the top of my noggin. It felt like getting a lot of busy-ness out of the way. And I enjoy taking care of the yard. Shoot, I wish I had more time to trim limbs, get more of the fallen tree cut up and moved out, and edge around more of the bloody flower garden before our weed-whacker's electric battery dies pathetically.

I offered to make dinner, and we munched casually on soup and grilled cheese sandwiches in the front room while watching our recent Netflix- VeggieTales' "Gideon the Tuba Warrior." Ok, dude, they took a bible story and managed to work in drum and bugle corps music into it, fer cryin' out loud. I highly approved.

I am so glad that this is a 3-day weekend. Maybe I'll start to feel like I'm catching up on sleep.
raystrobel47: (Music)
A friendly reminder for those who want to hear brand new tuba music! The recital for David Yeager, Masters student of tuba performance at CMU (yes, there is such an animal) will be on:

Thursday, May 8th, beginning at 5pm, in the Alumni Concert Hall, which is in the Fine Arts building.

My piece is the very first on the list, so come early and save your seats! What makes this recital more meaningful is that it connects my earliest experiences in education. You see, Dave was a senior at Allderdice High School (along with [livejournal.com profile] cortneyofeden. *waves*) when I did my student teaching there in the spring of '96. Between then and about a year ago, I'd seen him maybe three times. I knew he attended CMU for undergrad performance, but that was it. Then, I'd seen him and his wife (also an Allderdice grad, who I taught in '96) in Squirrel Hill, and at the Greek Food Festival. That was cool, but it was seeing him perform with other brass players for a sing-fest at our church last May that I cooly offered, "Hey, if you ever need any music written, I'm your guy." He said, "You know, I may take you up on that," and by gum he did. So, it was a treat to be doing a friend a favor, and getting to write cool music on top of that.

I will repeat this reminder the week of the recital. If you really wanna come see it but don't know where, comment and I'll try to help decipher the mystery that is parking at CMU.
raystrobel47: (Conch shell)


Happy Birthday [livejournal.com profile] lordandrei!!

It's been, what, 12 years now? I remember the walk up Beacon where we were getting to know one another. Oh what a twisted web which was waiting to be woven...

Here's to more years of friendship and, most of all, comic timing.

"....BE not so!"
raystrobel47: (Conch shell)

Happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] cyano and [livejournal.com profile] c_star!!!

raystrobel47: (Whoa!!)
Whoa, I finally got in touch with my old best friend Thomas, who I haven't heard from in about five years. I've seen him twice in the last seven years, come to think about it. Well, let's hear it for re-establishing old ties for the new year! I wonder what else '08 has in store... this month...
raystrobel47: (Driving)
I finally uploaded pictures from August, when [livejournal.com profile] lordandrei, [livejournal.com profile] shimmeringjemmy, [livejournal.com profile] aiden_freeman, and [livejournal.com profile] elocinnuala came for a visit. Please for the clicky go --here--. I am afraid that sideways pictures are still sideways, and I can't fix that. Hmmpf.
raystrobel47: (Texboy)
We got back from seeing some of our favoritist Seattle folk out to the airport this afternoon- [livejournal.com profile] lordandrei, [livejournal.com profile] shimmeringjemmy, [livejournal.com profile] aiden_freeman, and newest friend [livejournal.com profile] elocinnuala. They were in town for the day yesterday, we all had a great time, and it was super special to wish them a happy 3rd wedding anniversary. The baby was cute, the company was wonderful, and we all had a great time. Pictures have been taken, and they're getting sent to Andrei when I load them up to the pooter, though I may post one or two m'self.
raystrobel47: (Music)
Wow, good thing I scrolled down my own journal! I would've missed this question from [livejournal.com profile] baronalejandro:
How come Middle-eastern music sounds different from western-style music, even when it's played on western insturments?

It's all about the scales, bro. I posted about the pattern for the major scale. Very western. Middle eastern music (and similarly Indian and Asian music) has a different basic pattern of going from one pitch to the next octave up. Many more half steps are used, and in much of middle eastern music quarter steps can be found. What's a quarter step? Well, it's a note that's halfway between two keys on the piano, like halfway from E to F, or G to G#.

In fact, there's a thing known as the "Arabesque" scale used by many western composers in the Romantic period (late 1800s to early 1900s). Think "Scheherezade" by Rimsky-Korsakov. If a C major scale is C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C, then the "arabesque" scale is this: C-Dflat-E-F-G-Aflat-B-C. If you break that down further you'll see that it's the same pattern of steps repeated. C-Dflat-E-F follows the same pattern as G-Aflat-B-C. That pattern is what sounds middle eastern, whether played on an Oud, a Turkish Baglama Saz or an accordion.

The other element that gives middle eastern music away is the embellishments to some of the notes, those dips and bumps in the melodic line you hear. They may sound random, but they are very much on purpose. That treatment of a melody can make even a western melody like Happy Birthday sound almost acceptable at a Hafla. Well, having a tabla or bendir play along wouldn't hurt.


raystrobel47: (Default)

January 2011



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