Boy is it ever the beginning of January

1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?
Run a half-marathon. Publish a paper. Conducted an instrumental ensemble. Got married. Drank a car bomb. Hosted a podcast. Go to Mexico. Kissed a guy.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
No. I got no personal projects out the door. I was able to do some work on music transcription, but nothing significant. But again, here are this years:
* Get one personal project out
* Manage computer time better
* Know limits in amount of activities to take on

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes. The computer science department is a fertile land.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
Someone besides Elise to go see plays with.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
April 19-25 - Half Marathon, Mets in St. Louis and Funny Thing
July 31
August 1
September 25 - Back on the stage

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Planning a wedding.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not being able to say no when I want to.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I took a nasty spill on my bike that drew blood.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Excluding wedding related purchases, I got my trombone cleaned for the first time in years. The lady and I also bulked up on things around the apartment. Wedding money ==> New Furniture.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
The official Mrs. All my parents. Dan. Bill.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The people who set the prices of open bars. The Tea Party movement. The New York Yankees.

14. Where did most of your money go?
See 13a.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Its amazing how applicable wedding is to all of these. Also, acting, directing, conducting and ROBOTS.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
Carry This Picture. In My Life. Eat at Dicks.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? happier
b) thinner or fatter? thinner (thanks running!)
c) richer or poorer? poorer

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Seeing shows in St. Louis. Hanging with friends. Being decisive.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Haggling with vendors.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Happily not sick in New Paltz, with all the Lus and Engs. Mostly playing Wii Sports Resort.

21. What was the most embarrassing thing that happened to you in 2009?
In certain contexts, kissing a guy.

22. Did you fall in love in 2009?
Officially, even.

23. How many nights of drunken debauchery?
Bachelor party, anyone?

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Glee/Dollhouse/Daily Show/Firefly

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Is it possible to hate a serial port?

26. What was the best book you read?
The Darfstellar. Frankenstien Makes a Sandwhich. Born Standing Up.
(books I hated reading: Catcher in the Rye and the Iowa Baseball Conspiracy)

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Glee, Across the Universe, In the Heights

28. What did you want and get?
A two tone wedding band. A new research field. An epic road trip. A research publication.

29. What did you want and not get?
A new apartment?

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Up. Star Trek. HP6.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I have absolutely no recollection.

32.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Making decisions sooner. A personal maid. 8 days in a week.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
Wife knows best.

34. What kept you sane?
Wife. Speed dial #8. Theatre, in multiple forms. Seeing everything come together 8/1.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Emma Watson. I always go for smart chicks.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
I don't want health insurance, I want health care. General partisanship.

37. Who did you miss?
The people who couldn't come to St. Lou in August. The people who did come to St. Lou in August, but left after the wedding.

38. Who was the best new person you met in 2009?
Dan #7.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
Do what you heart tells you. And always get written quotes on alcohol prices.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all

November into December

More backlogged things I wanted to talk aboot.

There were three other performances I went to around the OBOC weekend showtunes extravaganza. First, I saw the touring production of In the Heights at the Fox Theater. I'd been dying to see the show for some time, and was quite disappointed last winter when I went to NYC and couldn't get tickets, thus ruining my chances of seeing Lin Manuel Miranda in it. However, the show was amazing. I'm not sure what I can say about it that hasn't already been said, but the show simultaneously had a classic feel to it, while still being quite revolutionary. The book wasn't fantastic, but the music and choreography did impress. I found it very easy to empathize with the characters, and found their story lines generally intriguing and unpredictable (in a good way.)

I also saw the St Louis Symphony Orchestra play John Williams. Elise couldn't go, so I bought a single ticket, that happened to be in the third row, right smack dab in the center. It was one of the most intense musical experiences in my life. I realized that I never saw John Williams played by a real orchestra before, much less from the third row. Its hard to explain how much the music moved me. The first CD I ever owned was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. This was the music that hit me in the formative years from late middle school into high school. It inspired me to load up my iPod with all the John Williams I could cram in there. When the concert finished, one of the little old ladies who was sitting near me leaned over and said "You must have really enjoyed that." I guess I was grinning a bit.

Thirdly, I saw the Tin Ceiling's production of "Artemis Burn" which they adapted from a radio drama podcast they did a few years ago. The set was amazing, and the production enjoyable, but the whole thing was bittersweet since it was their last production in the physical Tin Ceiling theater. Having done two 24 hour play festivals there, plus their previous one act play set, it pained me to know that the one place I had found in St. Louis to do theatre, the place where I actually felt like I belonged, was no longer going to physically be a place. Of course, they do promise to continue the 24 hour play festival somewhere else. Let's hope that happens.

There was also stark contrast between the Tin Ceiling productions I did, and my most recent theatre excursion, a local production of A Christmas Carol. "The Tin" made me cocky, thinking that whatever theatre I found in St. Louis would be just as awesome. False. Whereas the Tin Ceiling productions were always ambitious in some way, this production really put the "community" into "community theatre." I don't want to bash it too much, but the production wasn't so much "directed" as "observed," and the direction that was given (especially in regard to makeup(!)) I generally disagreed with. There was just a general lack of organization that infuriated me. I was under the impression that this was going to be a minimal time commitment, but that turned out to be false as well. For whatever reason, I had too much "professional" integrity to quit when I realized this wasn't going to be the production I wanted it to be. Not sure why. However, the worst of it was that I kept promising myself that it would all be over on Saturday, and that if I just got to Saturday, I would be okay. Then, partway into Saturday's performance, my mood is crushed when I'm told there was a Sunday matinee that hadn't been prominently listed in the emails. Dick Wilkins begrudgingly lived another day.

I did do some performing in the end of 2009 with some groups I actually enjoyed. WU Pops continues to be a horrendously fun escape. It's the whackiness of Stingers, the scale of URSO, the student-run chaos of OBOC and the music of my CD collection. As assistant conductor this semester, I got to conduct both Return of the King and Indiana Jones, in addition to playing Jupiter, Chicago, Spiderman and Band of Brothers. Meanwhile, I formed a "chamber group" as a subset of the WUPOPS Brass section. The name for the group is "The Deciduous Brass", but at certain points we were also called the Coniferous Brass and the Arboreal Brass. Deciduous Brass just sounded right and the rest was just variations on a theme. Between the two groups, in the course of two months, we managed to have 5 different gigs.
  1. WashU Students for Israel Concert - Brass
  2. Thanksgiving Homeless Dinner I - Orchestra
  3. Thanksgiving Homeless Dinner II - Brass
  4. WU Pops Main Concert (a.k.a. ONE WUPOPS TO RULE THEM ALL) - Orchestra AND Brass
  5. Brass Caroling - Brass

The Students for Israel concert was interesting, if for nothing else than I felt supremely uncool coming out with music stands and brass instruments to play a fanfare following a freestyle rapper. It's UR Performing all over again. Having two Thanksgiving themed concerts for homeless people on two consecutive days was interesting. The funniest part was there were only a couple dozen people watching the full 60-piece orchestra, while there were a couple hundred people watching the 9 of us play Christmas songs in the brass ensemble. The real WUPOPS concert was my debut conducting the orchestra. It went relatively well, although I should have practiced what I was going to do when I was done conducting. I was quite nervous, and so I apparently looked pissed when I turned around. The brass ensemble's interlude was interesting. We played three pieces: WUPOPS Fanfare, written by Kira's boyfriend, The Doctor Is In, arranged by me waaaay too long ago, and Viva La Vida, also arranged by me. While we were getting ready for the concert, I made sure that everyone was going to have music in front of them when we played, without having to swap stands too much, HOWEVER I failed to notice that I did not have the Bass Trombone part to Doctor in front of me until we were about to play it, forcing me to wing it. Fortunately, it wasn't too noticeable from the audience.

Finally, brass caroling was awesome. I ordered a set of books for a bunch of easy Canadian Brass christmas tunes with flexible instrumentation. That is, flexible IF you have two trumpets. Turns out there's not much music arranged for 1 trumpet, 3 horns, 3 trombones and a euphonium. We faked it pretty well though. The day we decided to play was pretty cold. We thought it was going to be physically uncomfortable to play outside, but what we did not anticipate was it being physically impossible to play outside. Fortunately, after we moved to a less windy location, our valves and slides stopped freezing up. We also managed to get politely told to shut up by an RA who informed us that we couldn't play outside of the dorms during 24 hour quiet hours.

The trombone section also managed to continue our habit of dressing up each week throughout the semester (since our previous escapades). Highlights included pajama day, Christmas day, and toga day.

In other awesome low brass news, while trying to find somewhere to get my trombone cleaned up, I stumbled across the website for the St. Louis Low Brass Collective (which is almost as cool of a name as the New York Trombone Conspiracy). Unfortunately, I missed their Christmas play-in, but I'm going to look for another way into the group soon.

Other notes: I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for the first time I ever, in Columbia with Elise and her mom. I made the turkey, mashed potatoes and apple stuffing, the last of which I was most proud of. That week also marked 6 years of being together with Elise.

Professionally, a lot of stuff has been happening. I finished the architecture class here. I spent a bit of time working on writing a chip in VHDL, which was made harder because VHDL is such a cludgy language. The take-home final was also time consuming, made all the more difficult by trying to do it backstage of A Christmas Carol.

The most exciting thing going on is the fact that Bill's workshop proposal on (essentially) my research got accepted to HRI2010 (Human Robot Interaction) AND I got my first paper accepted to a workshop as a roboticist/computational dramaturg. This means in March, I'll be going to Stanford for the latter, and JAPAN for the former. Elise is kinda mad at me, because she was a double major in undergrad: East Asian history and Genetics. And by the end of the semester, I'll have gone to conferences at Cold Spring Harbor, the alleged mecca of genetics, and in Japan. Fortunately, she's coming with me. We already have plane tickets, which weren't even disgustingly expensive.

Lastly, what I've actually been doing at work: kicking Lewis until he moves. I actually successful got him to move around back in November, which Bill and other people in the lab found amazing since he had not done so since early 2008. However, right after I finally got some demos rolling along, the power supply in the computer popped, and I've been forced to fiddle with wires ever since. It's been all sorts of fun dealing with converters, going from DB9 Serial to RJ11 Serial to USB and then having to write all the appropriate drivers after that. But I plan on purchasing one more serial converter soon and THEN maybe then I'll have Lewis rolling around the lab.

But until then...More Musical Theatre! More Tromboning! More Being a Husband! More Robots in Disguise.

Next time: The Journey into the East and back. Plus, 2009 Review!

The Long Overdue OBOC Entry

And again, the months have ticked by without a blog entry, such that each time when I go to write something down, it becomes a burden to write the whole thing out. Indeed, at this point I'm not writing so much to tell you lot about my crazy months, but so that someday, when I look back and wonder what I did at the end of the decade, I'll have some proof somewhere.

We start in early November on my way to the OBOC Show, in the St. Louis Airport, which I thought I had finally gotten the hang of. Apparently, Southwest flies out of a different terminal than EVERY OTHER AIRLINE. A frenzied taxi ride and a (relatively) quick trip through security, and I walked up just in time to board my plane. AWAY TO BALTIMORE.

Turns out the OBOC show wasn't in Baltimore. So I hopped a ride with Dan Allan and Joe Bedont, who just happened to be heading for Rochester. The car ride consisted of large quantities of showtunes, old OBOC video, fast food and sharing life updates. Arriving in Rochester, we met up with Joe and Dan's ladies and bunch of other alumni. Then we eventually saw the OBOC show. It's hard to judge the quality of OBOC shows these days. Every generation of OBOC thinks that the stuff they're doing is good, but not as great as the stuff the older generation was doing when they were freshmen. And anything before that is just ancient history. I will say that I was quite entertained during many of the OBOC numbers, and some performers in particular I feel really carried the show.

After the OBOC show, there was the inevitable party at the Drama House. It was really weird to wander through D-Haus now, since I only was friends with one person living there. Time keeps moving forward I guess. The party was fun, and relatively drama free. No embarrassing pictures of me and Dan Allan have surfaced yet. Then there was the after-party in Phil and Alex's suite, which also happened to be where Dan Caylynn and I were crashing. Eventually after convincing drunk Phil to be quiet, we finally got to bed around 4.

And because I love a good challenge, at 9 I woke up to go to breakfast with Greg and Margaret. Greg is also a grad student who helps run an undergrad music ensemble. It was good to see them (and get hot cider and New York bagels), as they broke up a solid combo of OBOC people. Theatre types and computer scientists were in short supply on this visit.

Later in the day, I showed everyone the fruits of my labors involving the many hours of OBOC video I'd gone through. We grabbed the cool projection room in the Library and I showed ghosts from OBOC Past. In the process of ripping the DVD images Dan provided me with and splitting them into individual videos for each number, I saw lots of cool moments. A bunch of people's first OBOC numbers/solos. People I'd always thought of as cool upperclassmen as mere freshmen. Em-dub-but in Glee Club. Classic stuff. The video watching party was followed by a move to Wilson Commons for one regulation OBOC-style sing along. All I remember is my voice killing me since I hadn't sung much in quite awhile (other than the screeching we did on the car-ride). I still enjoyed myself thorougly; especially singing the Glee arrangement of Don't Stop Believing a capella with my friends. Note to self: sing more.

The day wound down with dinner and a trip to Evan and Jessie's for some drinks. Much fun was had, despite/because of the infectiousness of Phil's creative fast food jingle, which involved a punny hook about a burger joint called "Dicks." This led to thoughts of a "Dicks" musical, and when it came to title said musical, we ended up inserting the word "Dicks" into every single musical title we could, which everyone found hilarious. It ended up being an early night however, since you can only stay up to four so many times. And coming up with the jokes was more tiring than you'd expect.

Sounds like an awesome road trip, no? Mission accomplished? Kids, we're not even close to being done. For as far as we had traveled, for as long of day as Friday was, and for all the musical theatre packed into that weekend, we weren't done. Sunday morning we packed up and shipped off on a 6 hour journey to a magical far off place called Jersey, where we met up with none other but the Heather Good, to watch a production of Guys and Dolls, featuring none other but the Rachel MW Butler. Not only were we treated to a hilarious and talented production, but afterward we all had dinner, including the infamous Andrew Butler, Rachel's husband whom I had never met up until that fateful night.

Hanging out with all these people, one song was resounding in my head. Well, actually several. But Bui Doi has very little thematic relevance to this post. I kept thinking about "Find Your Grail" from Spamalot. "Life is really up to you, you must choose what to pursue. Set your mind on what to find, and there's nothing you can't do." And all weekend, I kept thinking about how it seemed like everyone was in varying stages of actually finding their own personal grail. I'm pretty happy with the grail I've found, in this weird combination of theatre and computer science, with more theatre and music on the side. And there were more variations on this, either in hope, plan or actuality. Medicine with theatre on the side. Teaching with theatre on the side. Experimental physics with theatre on the side. I suppose its a fact of growing up that, as we amble toward adulthood, the paths of our lives can crystalize and we find what we were meant to do.

Back in Jersey, with bittersweet photos and goodbyes, Joe Dan and I left the Applebees, hitting the trail for Baltimore. That is after a fun subplot about vomit of which the details don't need repeating. Nevertheless, we hit Baltimore late, foiling my plans to see Ace of Cakes live. With an early morning flight the next day, Dan and I decided it would be best to stay up rather than sleep for 3 hours and then try to wake up again. This also gave us a chance to talk, an opportunity that had not really presented itself since we had not been alone until we dropped Joe off. After all of the conversations we had had on the phone in the past year, it was good to be in the same place to talk, at least for a little while. Then, he drove me to the airport, dropped me off, and I started mentally filming the "David tries to sleep in the airport" montage. Several hours later, I was back at work.

Topics for next time:
In The Heights
Artemis Burn
John Williams
A Christmas Carol
WU Pops Concerts
6 years
Brass Caroling
Low Brass Collective


From San Francisco Examiner in 1998

For Anthony Shafer, who is an artist as well as a computer whiz, it took more than money to lure him to his first job. After earning his bachelor's degree in computer engineering at the University of the Pacific, Shafer has signed on at a firm where the salary is a bit lower than a Silicon Valley offer, but, for him, the fascination factor is much higher - George Lucas' Industrial Light & Magic in San Rafael, which for two decades has created stunning visual effects for films such as "Twister" and "The Mask."

"This is the job I've wanted for five years," said Shafer. "In school, we were directed more toward the traditional engineering role. But all along I read all the (film industry) trade journals, newsgroups on the Internet, kept abreast of the latest technology in this industry; and all my friends thought I was a little nuts."

At graduation, he said, he turned down offers from computer and consulting firms: "When it came down to it, I had to follow my heart."

So did Masayori Oka, 23, who recently earned a bachelor's degree in computer science and mathematics at Brown University and joined Industrial Light & Magic, drawn by the firm's reputation for computer graphics, digital imaging and more. In college, he had squeezed in courses in acting, directing Shakespeare, stage design and musical theory.

"The idea was to combine the arts and science, the left side of the brain and the right, utilize both of them in harmony," said Oka.

"I would like to do feature films but also research and development," said Oka. "The rewards are immense."

I asked my advisor today if he knew Masi Oka. He said yes, but apparently did not know that he was an actor now. Note to self: invite Masi Oka to a robotics conference.

Some Day

What do Jennifer Aniston, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, John Krasinski, Jude law, Hugh Jackman, Daniel Craig, Julia Stiles, Liev Scheiber Rosario Dawson, Sam Rockwell, Rachel Dratch, and David Cross all have in common?
The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway
I swear I will see this some day.

Baseball and Politics

The Governator is a Clever Jerk. Explaining why he vetoed a particular bill, Arnold sent out the letter quoted above. But cleverly, the first letter of each line spelled out a message. Despite it being kinda dickish to do, I can appreciate the gesture because A) it's subtle B) I may have done the same thing to profess a crush in the program for one of the musicals I did in high school.

In other news, Zeke forwarded me a blog post by comedian Michael Ian Black, saying, essentially, why everyone should be Yankees fans. My response:

He makes it sound like the Orioles lose every day. They don't. They win ~40% of the time. And not against teams that they are strictly better than. They won 5 games against the Yankees in 2009. Part of the allure of baseball is following the team from spring training, where you see the team for all its disparate parts, and you don't know whether or not the team will be good or not. If they're good after spring training its a surprise. If they win against the Yankees, it's unexpected. When you get something when you expected nothing, it feels good. If they lose, then you can gripe. Meanwhile, if you're a Yankees fan, what glory do you get if they win? Self congratulatory "I was right" back pats? But if they lose, its negative karma.

Baseball ultimately is an incredibly complex game, and when you don't know what's going to happen, it's exciting. But if you expect to win all the games, and then don't, you leave disappointed.


That being said, the World Series this year is a lose-lose-lose situation for Mets fans. Oh look, there's football on!

Hey Kids!

Pop Quiz:
So let's say you're moving files around, and you want to replace directory X with identically named directory Y, but you accidentally make Y a subdirectory of X. In order to move all of the files in Y and the files in the subdirectories of Y from Y to X, what should you do? Note, these files are administrator access only.
  1. Look up the appropriate documentation of the "sudo mv" command.
  2. Repeatedly invoke "sudo mv" for each directory
  3. Use a substitution variable to move the contents of each subdirectory with minimal retyping, a la "sudo mv $DIR/* ../$DIR/"
  4. Use a substitution variable to move the contents of each subdirectory with minimal retyping AFTER defining the initial value of your variable.

If you chose C, congratulations, you're smart enough to screw up your entire system, because you just moved everything in your root directory to directory X. Now sit back and watch as little bits of your operating system drop off one by one. No icons. No "ls" "sudo" or "mv" (although surprisingly autocomplete still works). Eventually the terminal will crash.

Fortunately, you can undo the damage by booting from a Ubuntu Boot CD, and move everything back. Apparently root on the boot CD is good enough to move around important files on your main drives.

Hypothetically speaking of course.

When the Momentum and the Moment are in Line

It's about one moment, just when you're on the verge of success. You get the part of your life, you hold the ring in your hand. It's a new world.

The past month or so, I've been thinking back to the spring of 2006. I frequently bring up that semester as the time when I was most sleep deprived and busy in my college career. Defending my senior thesis, doing tech for Todd Theatre, directing a one act, doing more OBOC, and doing my first voice jury at Eastman. I often tell the story how all of the slides for my senior thesis on music transcription were made between the hours of 1am and 5am because of hell week for "The Hour." And at the time, I got really into my voice jury, singing "This is the Moment", because for me, it really was the moment when all I'd done was coming into play.

So then speed ahead to this past month. Within the scope of a couple days, I managed to act in a play, conduct an orchestra, give a talk to the entire department, direct a rehearsal, and almost write a paper. No one ever accused me of doing too little. Coincidentally, the talk I gave was on my senior thesis work (and the work that I've managed to get done on it in the past three years). The talk went over quite well. I think some people were just glad not to hear another talk on network protocols. In fact, some people told me it was one of the best student talks they had heard in the department. Not that my ego needs to hear that.

So a few words on the play I did at the Tin Ceiling. The production was a set of three one-act plays that had won the Tin's playwriting contest. They were all very different plays. One was a very Todd-like post apocalyptic exploration of "Fear Itself." The second was an old man looking back on his life and how it could have been different. And there was my play, the most realistic of the three. It featured two seniors in high school and their girlfriends. The two guys hang out on the roof and work on their science projects together. Randy is the athletic high achiever whose project is on "Opposing Exercises to Offset Damage from Repetitive Motion and Other Physical Dangers for the Baseball Pitcher." Morris ("M") is more introverted and did his project on quantum physics. Guess which one I played. Without giving the whole plot away, the play details their whole relationship, which, suffices to say, goes beyond science. "Hyphenate" was notable for featuring my first on-stage kiss, and it just happened to be with another guy. I may also have had to strip down to boxers by the end of the play. Oh, and after weeks of not having an actress to play my character's girlfriend, we finally found one, and the first thing I did after meeting her was rehearse the scene where we make out.

Despite the fact that I had to do so many things that were outside my previous comfort zone, I had a blast doing this play. Back in the spring, when I did a 24hour play with the Tin Ceiling, I complained afterward to Elise about the fact that it's been so long since I've had a real opportunity to seriously act. This definitely was that opportunity. It was tremendously hard, but I finally got to consider my character's whole arc, and make character choices, and actually get directed. It helped that I had a tremendously talented scene parter playing the other guy. I think its one of the best things about theatre when you can get up on stage with someone else, and not only completely trust them, but lose yourself in the interactions and discover new things each night in front of the audience. So yeah. That was fun.

In other news, Once Upon a Mattress (the Med school musical) is going well. I'm feeling really confident about this year's show. I finished watching Firefly and Serenity with Elise and a bunch of the med school people. Not to give anything away, but I'm a leaf in the wind. Watch how I wear hawaiianshirts. Plus, I got the new XKCD and [title of show] books. I'm also really getting used to having a bit of gold weighing down my left hand.

Last Sunday I ran a Halloween Themed 10K race in St. Louis. I dressed up as Harry Potter. It wasn't my first choice, but didn't have time to sew a Dr. Horrible lab coat (plus Home Depot doesn't sell welding goggles), and my Wall-E costume was really hard to run in. Note to Rachel: You'd be surprised how much mileage I've gotten out of that yellow tie. Despite my relatively good time, the 10K was a massive fail for me. I ran the first mile pretty quickly, passing lots of people and going relatively fast. After mile 2 I was getting tired and started thinking that I couldn't keep going at that pace for the whole time. So I scaled it back for awhile and let people pass me and plodded on. I figured I'd pick up the pace at mile eight. I was really shocked at how hard it ended up being in the middle. But I figured that was sensible, since I had taken a couple of weeks off from running, and only really trained for a week and a half before the 10K. Anyway, somewhere after mile five, I started thinking how much harder this was than the 5K I did in July. But I was getting a lot closer to downtown where the finish line was. Hmmm. Wait. Mile 5. 5K. Mile 5. 5 Kilometers. CRAP. So I picked up my pace for the last mile. METRIC FAIL.

Much like I had fun with Stingers, the WUPOPS trombone section is one of my new favorite outlets for crazy randomness. Backstory: trombonists need to keep their slides lubed up. Often, they put on some hyrdophillic compound which causes water to bead, thus making a smooth slide. So many trombonists carry little water sprayers to keep their slides wet. SOME trombonists, not naming any names, get huge plant sprayers for their slide care, which can very easily be used to spray other members of your section, and if you aim properly, the saxophones 4 rows up. So after a long rehearsal of spraying each other and the adjacent horn section, we realized one of the horns we had been shooting was in fact President of WUPOPS. Shooting the president seemed wrong, so we formulated a plan. The end result was this:

The best part was during rehearsal when we mentioned "El Presidente" and "the mission" in the same sentence, and Kira suddenly turned around with a giant moment of comprehension. Apparently we made her night/week and perhaps presidency. Stingers always was fun, but the WUPOPS trombones (aka the Decidious Brass) definitely go along with my crazy ideas more.

Finally, (finally), there's the small news tidbit that I've officially decided to switch labs and work on robots and theatre. I think its probably clear to anyone who's read this far that that's much more up my alley than bioinformatics was. And so I've made the transition from computational musician, to computational biologist, to, in the words of "The Darfstellar", a computational dramaturg. Part of the research entails helping train the actors by using robots, trying to get the human actors to be aware of their environment and respond naturally to it. And what, my theatrical friends, is this acting quality called?

Living in the moment, of course.

I'm going to let you finish.