Life This Week

Life’s been so busy lately, and I forgot my computer plug at the office last night so I actually got something approaching a decent amount of sleep. But I didn’t get to post.

So last night, I taught until 6:30pm. Then, I killed time at the office waiting to meet a student who wanted to get some help revising her speech for a speech contest. It’s not something I do everyday, but this kid is a really good student and I want to encourage that kind of thing, so I agreed to meet her. We worked until about 8pm, and then I quickly cycled home, changed out of my work clothes, and cycled downtown. I arrived at the practice room too late (again) and practice finished a little after I arrived. It seems that the structure of Myoung’s new song, “Green Leaves”, has changed, but not so radically that I couldn’t find my way through it. I think I’ll play soprano on the song, but in the studio I’ll also record some small bits on flute to thicken out the instrumentation… especially in the verses and during the third progression of the solo, where I’m playing in a high register and something new needs to be added to the accompaniment. (I thought Thai was laying back in the third progression but he wasn’t… it’s just the sparseness of the solo and thinness of my tone in the upper register on soprano sax that made the whole thing seem as if it was losing energy.)

After practice, Thai and I were on the way to catch a cab to his place, when we met a very strange man. He looked a bit like a low-level gangster, and came into the bank machine room to shake my hand and speak to me in really bad Korean. I acted like I couldn’t understand what he was saying because the grammar was all wrong, and because I kind of found it ridiculous for him to address me with a sentence that is the equivalent of “Country person?” instead of “Where do you come from?” It was quite weird, especially since I was speaking to him in proper sentences, so I told him I had to leave and then we went and caught a cab as quickly as possible.

Then I went to Thai and Kathleen’s place and watched the new Cohen, Intolerable Cruelty. I’ll probably have more to say about it once I watch it again—and I amplanning on watching it again—but I will say now that it’s a really great film. I slapped my knee while laughing hard several times, and I also really appreciated the construction of the characters and their relationships. To me there was something utterly Shakespearean about the whole story, the performances by Zeta-Jones and Clooney, and about the characters they played. The dialogue was sparkling and full of funny reversals and inversions; the characters transformed before my eyes; there are a couple of great speeches, including an impassioned speech about love, and characters do things that are completely against their better nature, but also realize it, eventually. It was extremely well done.

After the film, I took a cab back to the practice room to fetch my bicycle, and rode home, which took about 15 or 20 minutes. The hill going to downtown is horrible but the hill on the way back isn’t quite so bad. I needed my bicycle because I’m cycling to work everyday, as well as everywhere else I can. I find it unacceptable to sit on a bus for 40 minutes to an hour waiting to get home from the University when I can get through all the traffic jam and to my house in about 5 minutes on my bicycle. (I’m not exaggerating, either. The road is horribly clogged at the time when my Language Centre class finishes, at 6:20pm.)

So here I sit, four more classes ahead of me, listening to The Smiths’ “There Is A Light And It Never Goes Out” on repeat, the sad strange adolescent beauty of that song with all its obsessive sweet love and homelessness and simplicity and complexity all twining round and through this sweet high voice that sings just almost exactly how I once felt, long ago, as a kid. Ahead of me, a little farther, is an excursion out of town to a beautiful temple to see the flowers of spring… and more blossoms underfoot.

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