Friday, July 14, 2006

Byzantine Music and Ice-cream

Yesterday my wife requested some "doing-a-contract theme music" for her work. Naturally, I offered to help, leading to the following exchange:

Magda: Pistachio ice cream mode.

Me: Sounds like plagal of the first to me. I would say more, but I'll save it for tomorrow

Magda: ?? How does pistachio ice cream mode sound like plagal of the first???

Me: Well, if you must know, it is not the simple, classic goodness of chocolate ice cream (plagal fourth). Nor it is the exquisite mint-chocolate (third) [...] It is good, but it is a bit different - so therefore, plagal of the first. I think first would be something really simple and straight-forward, like vanilla.

Unfortunately, I am not much of a connoisseur of ice-cream, so my comparisons ended there. I kept thinking that second mode would have to be something that seems straight forward but has a twist, plagal second something Oriental, fourth something rather unexciting, and grave (in its "natural" form) something that takes some getting used to. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Random thoughts

I have spent a good chunk of the last month trying to learn the "dance" (as a fellow deacon described it) of the services. In the process, I have come to understand why the Church tradition has a newly ordained clergyman serve forty liturgies in a row (when possible): by the time the forty days are over, the service will most likely have become second nature. However, serving forty liturgies in a row isn't always possible.

The animals around campus make for interesting happenings. Take, for example the hawks who live around here and, by their account, probably own the place. For the better part of two years we had managed not to see them and Magda's first encounter with them was when one flew a couple of feet above her head as it was coming to land on a tree branch. A couple of nights ago we saw one of the hawks sitting on one of the arms of the cross atop the chapel surveying the territory and it was a beautiful sight - it's amazing to watch them spread their wings to take off.

Or, take for another example the four deer that were walking across the soccer field a couple of weeks ago, or the one that came out in broad daylight to admire the children's playground and was very suprised to find me walking by. And then there was the raccoon who was eating out of a paper bag near the playground. Magda did her best growling to separate it from the bag (which we threw away), but even then it only went a couple of meters away. When Magda found a little water bottle, she threw it towards the raccoon in the hope that it would make it go away. No such luck. It looked (rather bored, at that) towards the bottle; when it landed it went over to see what it was and just kept hanging around. We gave up at that point.

Finally, a World Cup thought. After the clinic of "How to defend a penalty shot" that Lehmann and Ricardo put on in their respective shoot-outs, it was rather disappointing to see the final end up with both goalkeepers chasing flies on pretty much every shot. There's always South Africa... :)