Friday, January 19, 2018

January 19

I slept OK and my back is at least "OK" so that's good. And the rain's stopped.

I read a .pdf book yesterday called "Settlers" yesterday; it was linked and recommended on and it's quite good. Basically it shows how the US has had a "settler" mentality from the beginning. Just as how "magic" fundamentally involves having a source of energy you didn't work for; being able to fly, transform things, make food appear etc., the settler mentality involves getting land you get free for the taking - from the First Nations, from blacks, from anyone not a "fellow" settler. This mentality explains the "every man for himself" mentality of WASP Americans, IE the shitheads on my father's side of my family.

I got back here at about 3:30 and was out the door at 3:45. I didn't want to bike as it was really cold and windy so I walked to the light rail. First I put the envelope with the January rent and the latest electric bill to Tom Price in the slot at the St. James post office, then it was over to the bank where I put $200 in my account and kept out $100 to spend. I'm hoping to not touch the $200 because I had a bit under $30 in my pocket already.

I walked up to Dai Thanh and got veggies and some instant coffee that's supposed to taste like coffee done in a "phin" which is a Vietnamese pour-over coffee maker, $2.50 for 15 packets. I only later realized it's got a lot of carbs, 14g per packet. I got it to take to Ken's house to see if Suzy likes it, but now for sure it's Suzy's to use.

Then good old Safeway, for a bottle of diet tonic water and other odds and ends including a little bottle of "kirschwasser" which is some kind of liquor made using sour cherries or something, it's just a weird thing I like to get occasionally because I like weird things.

Then, to stay within the 2-hour limit on one light rail fare, I rode back here and put things away and for a treat, nipped into some of that Kirschwasser... it's hard to stay motivated, aren't people supposed to have some kind of a day or night off?

I opened the box with the new trumpet case in it and it's neat-O. There are holes for two mouthpieces, the 7C that came with the horn and the Blessing 3C that's my fave. The horn sits upright, and when it's out of the case there's a nice hole for people to put money in. It's a bit heavier/larger than the other one I had, but it's still nowhere near the size/weight of carrying a sax or a guitar. The lid doesn't need to be propped up to stay up. I'm thinking of making a little sign I can put in a page protector that says something like "San Jose's Nice, Friendly Trumpet Player ... no rabbits are harmed in the making of my music".

The trouble is, Ken's supposed to meet with Chris here at 1 in the afternoon tomorrow. Then they'll start moving all kinds of stuff around and I want to make myself scarce. Ideally I'll be up in time to cook myself a breakfast and clean up and be out of here. Otherwise I'll wake up as they're making noise, get dressed and grab the trumpet case and the bike, mumble something about having a gig, ride to Denny's for a breakfast, then head downtown. Because I don't care what shit I play, I have to be out of here.

I watched the movie "5 Broken Cameras" on Youtube, standard length so a bit over an hour, while doing the "Cat Anderson soft G exercise" which consists of playing a very soft, whisper-like if you can, G in the staff, as long as you can. Then taking a breath and doing it again ... and again ... It sounds stupid, but it seems to be the parallel of dry-firing in target shooting. I found myself able to play some crazy high notes and these days I find it hard to venture to the top of the staff, normally. That's what I want to change; my "normal" which is on a par with a 3rd chair 7th grader. I'd heard of this exercise for years, really but only got interested in doing it last night when I read up on Cat Anderson. I'd had him mixed up with Al Hirt whose mouthpieces show up on the used market from time to time. Cat Anderson, like Louis Armstrong, was black and grew up in an orphanage in New Orleans. And, somehow, figured out how to be the premier high-note player at least of his time if not of all time.  The soft G exercise, like dry-firing, isn't about training brute strength, but about learning to coordinate muscles in a new way to train out the body's natural, but harmful, reactions. In shooting, the flinch; in trumpet playing tightening up the throat.

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