Transport #44: Sprite

Another deaf Aussie.  Watch me not able to resist again!   I had nothing to do this weekend and it was an absolutely gorgeous weekend, perfect for a drive down to Binghamton and back.

I was hanging out this morning and got an e-mail message stating the transport was running an hour early. This is unusual.  Apparently the first person had to take off early and so it set the thing off much earlier than anticipated. It really says something about the type of people involved in these transports. Every single on of us was able to do it an hour earlier than planned. So instead of taking off around 11:15am, I left at 10:15am. I stopped for a quick lunch and arrived just a few minutes before the person I was meeting. Perfect timing!

Poor Sprite.  He's a 5 month old Aussie, all white deaf. Adorable as can be. But obviously he's been through a lot. He's super friendly but a bit skittish. He did not want to get out of the crate in the SUV.  We ended up pushing the crate back as far as we could and coaxing him out.  The person I met lifted him out and then he was ok.  He shook it off and wandered around for awhile.

Getting him into my car was difficult as well. The other person tried to lift him but had trouble with it. Finally she just swooped in to grab him and he sort of freaked out, snapped at her (but didn't make contact). I suspect the issue was that he couldn't hear her and she just grabbed him suddenly.  She went to her car to find some treats and I decided to tempt him in with my fuzzy squeaky ball.  I got him interested in it, tossed it a few times and then tossed it into the car.  He wasn't quite willing to jump up, but put his front feet up.  So I rubbed his belly and petted him and then got my arm beneath his rump and helped him up.  No problems.

We spent the first little while before we took off playing with the ball and having a ton of fun together. He was such fun puppy. We played tug with the ball, he chased it in the little space he had. He kept standing on the console between the seats and bopping me in the face with his nose.  Once he tried to grab my hair (no go there puppy!). He definitely needs to learn a bit of bite inhibition (he tried to grab the ball at the same time I did and got me instead...ouch!). No breaking of the skin but it definitely hurt!  So he's got some manners to learn but oh did I enjoy him!

He played for awhile as we set off, occasionally came to visit me, and about 30 minutes into the trip up north he fell soundly asleep. When we arrived in town and I had to drive through town, stopping at lights, he woke up briefly and then fell asleep again, this time with his nose on the "snout rest" (read: console), the same place Dahlia loves to lay on car trips.

The hand off happened easily enough. Getting him out of the car was difficult but I managed to coax him out. And he was easy to pick up for me to put into the next vehicle. I was sad to see him go!

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Transport #43: Aiden

As always, I cannot resist a transport for a deaf Australian Shepherd.  When this transport lost a driver, I volunteered to take one of the legs.  After a bit if finagling to figure out which one of the legs that came through my area, we finally settled on my driving down to Binghamton this morning.

The drive down wasn't too bad.  The worst of it was getting out of my neighborhood.  We got some snow last night (I have no idea how much; maybe 3-5 inches) and they hadn't plowed the neighborhood, as they so often don't. especially on the weekends.  But once I got out to the main roads, the going was easy.  The further south I got the better it was.  The roads about a half hour south of here were dry and there wasn't much snow on the ground (oh lake effect!).

I arrived shortly before the person I was meeting and the handoff happened quickly.  Aiden, as it turned out, was a feisty little buggar.  He wanted to play and play and explore and bite my hands and my coat.  Almost immediately he latched onto the papers I had stuck behind the seat and I had to pull over and remove them all.  With little in the back seat outside of his toys and bone, I set out again.

He spent the rest of the trip playing with stuff and finally, nearly an hour into the drive, he fell hard asleep.  He didn't even wake up when I pulled into the parking lot for the meeting place.

I arrived at nearly the same time as the person we were meeting, so we got Aiden out, gave him some water, and into their crate he went.  It was a soft-sided one.  I hope that he didn't eat it!

I adored Aiden.  He's an incredibly sweet an smart puppy.  But oh does he remind me why I want adult dogs!

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Erie Canal pictures!

So we were going to go over to Oakwood Cemetery today, which is a nice play to walk, usually has few people there, and is a wonderful place for Dahlia to run around off leash. She LOVES it there.

Except apparently they shut the place down if there's a game to stop people from parking there. Which ok, I get that. But um...shouldn't people who are going to the cemetery be allowed in? Fuck the game. I don't care about basketball! But we couldn't park there either despite the fact that we were pretty obviously NOT going to the game (hello? dog in car?). We also couldn't go to the Quarry because they let people park there for, you guessed it, THE GAME. So GAH. We drove around trying to figure out where to go instead of our usual Barry Park and ended up at a fairly quiet part of the Erie Canal park. We didn't want to go where everyone else would be (and seeing as how it's 50 degrees in January LOTS of people would be out). Thankfully the place we ended up only had a few people (and, unfortunately, a few snowmobiles...but they're not the same sort of folks as the ones up on the railroad tracks, the types who like to drive back and forth by people going really fast just to be assholes...anyway...).

Dahlia had SO MUCH FUN. It was all snowy and slushy so lots of good sniffing and running. I decided I was going to mostly use my 135mm f/2.8 lens (except for a few scenic shots) and it is SUCH a fabulous lens.

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Nelly photo shoot!

I went over to Helping Hounds today to take some photos of Nelly, a dog who has been there for WAY too long. She's a good girl, but SO high energy. Danielle (the trainer) is teaching her impulse control and working with all that energy but what she really needs is a job. She'd be a great dog for a lot of different sports. She's fast, focused, and athletic. I hope she finds a home soon!

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Anyone have any guesses on her breed mix? I finally realized who she reminds me of. rozae's Figlet.

Classical Music #19: ...and the mountains rising nowhere by Joseph Schwantner (b.1943)

SchwantnerThis is a hard one to introduce. I first heard this work sometime early on in my undergraduate college days. I can't say I fell totally in love with it at first. I still found 20th century works to be difficult to listen to, but the work quickly grew on me, especially due to one section.

But we'll get into that shortly.

Joseph Schwantner is a prolific American composer originally from Chicago. Unlike many composers, his main musical instrument was not piano but was, instead, guitar. I'm most familiar with his wind ensemble work, rather than orchestral, but he's written in both genres, as well as chamber music. His list of commissions is incredibly long. His music is known for its unique colors and his ability to draw on music from a huge variety of musical sources.

I love this quotation from him about his music: "I didn’t realize until many years later just how important the guitar was in my thinking...to get to the bottom line, when I think about my music, its absolutely clear to me the profound influence of the guitar in my music. When you look at my pieces, first of all is the preoccupation with color. The guitar is a wonderfully resonant and colorful instrument. Secondly, the guitar is a very highly articulate instrument. You don’t bow it, you pluck it and so the notes are very incisive. My musical ideas, the world I seem to inhabit, is highly articulate. Lots of percussion where everything is sharply etched, and then finally, those sharply articulated ideas often hang in the air, which is exactly what happens when you play an E major chord on the guitar. There are these sharp articulations, and then this kind of sustained resonance that you can easily do in percussion - a favorite trick of mine! I think it is right in my bone marrow. I don’t think there is any question about that. I think my music would look differently if I were a clarinet player. So it doesn’t mean I sit around thinking about the guitar when I am writing a piece. Not at all! There is something fundamental about how I think about music, that I think comes from my experiences as a young kid trying to play everything I could on the instrument."

Ok so back to the work. There I was sitting in Hosmer Hall listening to the wind ensemble perform it when somewhere in the middle of it, about 6:30 in, this brass chorale came out of nowhere and almost knocked me out of my seat. My hair stood up on my arms and I leaned forward and just GAPED. I couldn't believe it. You see, this was the warmup the brass section played before each of our marching band competitions. It was just this MOMENT out there before we went onto the field. They'd start and we'd all stop warming up, drift closer, listen intently, and then cheer when it was over. It basically worked us all up and at that moment we were ready. It was a "call to arms" of sort. I had always assumed Nick (our arranger) had written it. I was shocked to find out where it really came from and floored to have that brass chorale heard in such a different situation.

...and the mountains rising nowhere was Schnwatner's first work for wind ensemble. It was commissioned by the Eastman Wind Ensemble and premiered in 1977. The work is dedicated to children's author Carol Adler. The title comes from one of her poems.

arioso bells
an afternoon sun blanked by rain
and the mountains rising nowhere
the sound returns
the sound and the silence chimes

Schwantner said of the work: "While the work is not specifically programmatic, the poem nevertheless acted as the creative impetus for the composition and provided for me an enigmatic, complex, and powerful imagery creating a wellspring of musical ideas and feelings in sympathetic resonance with the poem."

You can listen to the work here. That brass chorale I mentioned above starts around 6:30.