FAR BETWEEN – PLEASE DONATE!!!

Please watch this video! No, I’m not saying that because I’m in it, though I do have a video posted on the site. This project is. The. Thing. that so many of us have been waiting for, for so long. It has given me more hope for the future than I can say. Please donate. I’ll love you forever.

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Getting Dressed this Morning

Life is too short to not wear the purple shirt.


Bike Away the Grumblies

Last semester I pushed myself way too hard, what with the whole grad school commuting two hours one way working in another town thing.  When the semester got out, I realized I was depressed; I didn’t have enough energy to blog, which is saying something.  It’s gotten better since April, but I haven’t really been able to shake off the combination of depression, insomnia, tiredness, general lethargy, etc. (hereafter referred to as “the grumblies”) until today.

For whatever reason (probably better, more consistent nutrition), I suddenly gained about 20 pounds when I got married.  My weight was basically like a Heaviside function (no pun intended).  This, of course, distressed me greatly, especially when people started telling me I looked well-fed.  (No! I want to look emaciated!)

Over the past year-and-a-half-or-so I have tried with varying degrees of success to lose or keep off the weight.  I’m still not where I want to be.  Recently, I decided to rededicate myself to my exercise regimen–my friend is getting married next month, and I want to look better in his wedding pictures than I do in mine.  Thus go my thought processes.

As part of my newly renewed exercise regimen, I spent 45 minutes on a stationary bike today.  It was more intense than it sounds; I was dripping-sweat gross by the time I was done.  I set a goal to hit a certain number of calories on the machine’s screen, and upped it every time I felt like I was getting too close.  The end result was that I kept pushing myself harder and harder, until I was nearly gasping for breath by the end.

When I was almost to the end, the room suddenly got brighter.  I looked around and realized my head was clearer than it had been all day (before going to work out, I was falling asleep at my desk).  For one temerous moment I grabbed the handlebars, afraid I was about to pass out.  But I didn’t.  I just sat there, still pedaling like mad, feeling great.  And I felt great for the rest of the day.  I had the satisfaction of finishing my workout and surpassing every goal I had set for myself.  I went back upstairs and got more done in two hours than I had all morning.  I wasn’t nodding off on the train home.  And here I am, blogging, listening to Tabula Rasa by Arvo Pärt, feeling great.  I’m wondering if I actually biked my way out of the grumblies today.

Because if this is the cure for the grumblies, I’m doing it every day forever.

Results not typical.  Frühlingsblumen is not qualified to give exercise or other medical advice.  Consult with your physician before beginning this, or any other, exercise program.

 


Milk-and-a-half

commutergirl, as you may know, is a genius.

One of the lesser problems we deal with, but nevertheless a significant problem for me when I stumble out of bed in the morning, is that of not having milk, or of having too much milk.  If we don’t have enough, this happens.  If we have too much, this happens.  Either way, I am sad.

Until commutergirl started buying a whole gallon, followed by a half gallon.  I don’t know how it works, but it does.  Someday I will have to ask her how she figures these things out.

 


Enabler

The other day, my wife was out shopping.  She was looking for a pair of sunglasses.  She found a pair she really liked, but it was a little more than she wanted to spend.  But then (she later told me) she said to herself, “Eric would tell me to just buy them,” and then she bought them.

It’s official–I no longer even have to be present for my enabling tendencies to take effect.


Washing Machine!

We got our very first own washer and dryer last week!  We feel so grown up now.  We got it from one of my wife’s recently former co-workers.

We even installed it ourselves, by which I mean my wife connected the new dryer cord while I looked on approvingly.  She’s much handier than me.  But I did a lot of the carrying and maneuvering.  Because that’s the man’s job.

Image

I did not think it was possible to make our kitchen look any smaller.

 

It is really nice to have our own washer and dryer.


Shostakovich, Symphony No. 5, 2nd Movement

Though it may not sound like it to you, I think this is one of the most affecting pieces of classical music I have ever heard.

Shostakovich had, up to this point, been enjoying quite a successful career as a young composer (well, as successful as your career ever got in the Soviet Union) with a healthy amount of official approval. Until Stalin actually attended one of his concerts and hated it, whereupon a nasty article appeared in the official press and Shostakovich literally feared for his life (people were losing their heads for much less under Stalin). As what was later termed in the official press “A Soviet artist’s response to just criticism,” Shostakovich wrote his 5th symphony, which trips over itself trying to be harmonically conservative, pleasant to listen to, and concurrent with Soviet dogma. All of which it certainly is, but when I listen to it, I can hear a certain element of desperation in it, too. There are so many sudden changes of harmony, phrases that go nowhere, pretty melodies that get crushed by big loud noises; these, to me, sound like Shostakovich’s actual response to the unjust criticism leveled against him by those who had more power over him than they ever could have in a just world.
Members of the audience are reported to have wept during the third movement (which I also highly recommend)–it seems Shostakovich was not alone in his feelings toward Soviet oppression and genocide.
This recording says it is by the USSR State Symphony Orchestra in 1991, which means it was taken during the very last days of the Soviet Union. When I watch it, I wonder, what experiences did the performers have that informed their realization of the symphony for this recording? How have their lives changed since?
I confess that I almost wept the first time I heard the violin solo at 1:52. It was so fragile and beautiful, so delicate–almost as though it were a flower that knew it was about to be destroyed by a bomb, but decided to bloom anyway . . . as though it were defiant in its fragility. That’s the composer in me talking. I don’t know if Shostakovich really intended all of that. But when I hear this music, I feel it.