Maria in NYC Music Project – Day 45

This post is auspicious in that it’s the one where I realize this blog has existed for 1 year! Happy Anniversary Blog! It was actually a few days ago, but those first entries were written on Blogger so they don’t count in my mind. It was probably around now 1 year ago that I transitioned everything over to WordPress and this domain, so I’m just going to pseudo-arbitrarily say that August 11th is the Anniversary date. Hard to believe it was 1 year ago today that this entire plan first started taking shape.

Not very much happened today. I got Maria’s Chinese names converted into a format that’s computer friendly and legible by the non-Chinese folk. It’s in a protected post simply because we haven’t figured which name we want for Maria yet. My father, who handled the translation, didn’t like most of them. They were suggestions from my grandmother and, bless her though, she probably didn’t quite understand what we wanted in a name for Maria. From what I remember she was insistent on there being some form of sound that’s similar to Maria’s last name, and wanted it to in some way sound like “Maria,” both criteria that I did not have nor want actually. I don’t Chinese names that start with Maria’s last name’s letter, and I certainly don’t want it to be phonetic. Ah well. As I said, my father didn’t like them either, so we’re going to go into round 2 of name suggestions.

I also went biking, kind of on a whim. It’s so much nicer now that I’ve repaired my bike. I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned in this blog yet, so I’m just going to again, but I hadn’t biked for close to a month because the last time I biked it was just plain difficult. The thing wouldn’t want to keep going. This was probably due to the fact that it was in such dis-repair, because one it was repaired, it biked like a dream, or rather, as close to a dream as one can get biking in China, which is difficult to say the least. I’m biking faster than anybody else, faster than the e-Bikes even, and I still can’t get above 15kph. Bah. But it’s still nice to be biking again.

While on the street on my way back, I picked up 2 big bottles of green tea because I’m short in the apartment, then I saw some mini watermelons for sale from the back of a truck. I love mini watermelons! I hope they’re good. I remember this once where I got REAL good mini watermelons from Costco, then when I tried to get more from the local supermarket they were just plain disappointing, so that kinda put me off. I’ve never had mini watermelons from China though, so it’ll be an experiment. You can’t argue with the price though: 3 mini watermelons for 5RMB, about 60-70 cents USD. I also bought some pomegranates, again from the street, for 10RMB per “bunch.” I decided to go with the 3 “larger” ones instead of the 4 “smaller” ones…

As far as music goes…today’s going to be a bit special. I have the standard song for Maria (“The Comedians” by Elvis Costello, though in my mind it’ll always be by Roy Orbison. I don’t think I’ve even heard the original version…), but I also have 3 other songs, “traditional” songs, sang acappella. These 3 songs were inspired by the fact that I used to sing “Rock of Ages” while accompanying myself on the piano for her, and though I’d like to get her a recording of that, I sadly no longer have access to a piano so acappella will have to do. The 3 songs are “Rock of Ages,” a Christian hymn most commonly heard in Methodist churches I think, “By the Sally Garden” and “Wearing of the Green,” both Irish airs, the former about a lost love and the latter about revolution against England. Not having a guitar to worry about means the recording quality’s a “little” better…

“The Comedians” – Elvis Costello/Roy Orbison:

I first heard this song watching the Roy Orbison video “A Black and White Night.” If anybody hasn’t seen it, I highly suggest it. I think it makes me an old man to like him, but I can’t help it.

“Rock of Ages” – Traditional:

I first ran into this hymn while I was the tenor section leader (a weekly professional gig) at Asbury UMC in Tuckahoe, New York. Not quite sure why it struck me in such a way.

“Wearing of the Green” – Traditional:

This is a relatively new song that I learned. It’s in this Chinese song book my grandmother owns from way back in the 1920s I think..She was educated by Methodist missionaries so I expect that’s where she got the book, but it’s got quite a random smattering of Western songs in it, ranging from the French national anthem to American slave songs.

“By the Sally Garden” – Traditional:

This song comes from my high school days. I was in an acappella group back then, and I distinctly remember 2 of the upperclassmen, who I’d like to think appreciated me at least as an acquaintance but I’ll never actually know, who loved to romp around singing Irish airs. It was kind of weird now that I think about it. Both of them incidentally had very minor roles in Donnie Darko, a movie that I have to yet to watch.

Incidentally, laptop speakers suck! I think I’m gonna stick to headphones from now on. Also…I’ve been having a devil of a time with web development sites having database issues! First the jQuery API site couldn’t connect to its DB, now the Mozilla dev. site can’t either…


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