2006 was dominated by my music program. Last December, I signed up for a Masters Certificate program in Theory and Harmony, offered on-line by Berklee College of Music in Boston. The eight-course program filled in the music basics I missed when I dropped my decades-ago music-major program at CSU Chico.
Man, what a ride… I don’t know what attending classes formally at Berklee would have been like, but the challenge of getting through a year of never-ending weekly assignments was tough (see the previous blog post for examples). It was tremendously exciting to finally grok how harmony works, and to get introduced to new artists and styles. Am pretty stoked at the moment- the last 3-min song for the Groove Writing final went up two days ago, and it looks like I’m getting A’s in it and Arranging. Woo hoo!
I also spent several months taken bass guitar lessons in San Francisco, and joined a rehearsal rock band late summer. We named ourselves Sweatbox and played a couple gigs in SF, including the Sweetwater Saloon in Mill Valley. Pretty fun.
Going forward, I’m working with a singer (Jen Flaa) in San Rafael to start another band Urban Fiction. UF is mostly on hold while getting through the last couple classes, plus the holidays, plus Patricia’s move, but we’ve started again in January with a first-round recording session at my loft. I’m also looking for composing/arranging gigs for local theater and arts groups, and may take more classes through the CSU SF multi-media program. There’s also an interesting set of seminars at Blue Bear in SF around stage performance with an acting approach.
The year was also filled with managing Kay’s (my mom’s) trust. The first house sold in April, largely to cover estate taxes, with a second property transfer to me in early November, requiring a mortgage and all the usual real estate fooferaw. That put me in the landlord business, another new thing, though my family has been doing this for decades. It doesn’t seem much different from managing the trust.
Patricia, my girlfriend, also had a busy year. She spent several months starting late August interviewing for and accepting a position in San Diego as Chief Learning Officer for “the world’s largest CEO membership organization” Vistage International. She started 11/15, with her household stuff catching up with her on 12/15 at a cute little condo overlooking the water in Solana Beach. I’ve spent two weeks in San Diego (where I’m writing this) helping her get moved in and set up. It’s one of those situations involving excitement, reward, frustration, weariness, and cool stuff, all more-or-less simultaneously.
We’re working to figure out how to do a long-distance relationship between SF and SD. My best her-door/my-door time has been 3 1/2 hours, which seems doable. I bought a laptop in part to be productive while traveling, which has worked out great so far. Even have a little 2-octave MIDI keyboard that helped me finish classwork over the last couple weeks.
For smaller-scale things… Patricia and I did several bike trips across the GG Bridge- Tiburon and Angel Island, the Marin Headlands, and downtown Mill Valley for lunch at The Depot. She and I lead our respective classes in the Golden Gate Porsche Club regional autocross race series, in my Boxster, for the first half of the season. We planted trees with Friends of the Urban Forest in SF early in the year
I’m still serving on the HOA Board of Directors for my building, which continues to be a learning experience re different personalities and styles, some rather challenging. Have continued a small-but-regular Zen sitting practice, and have been paying attention to the book The Artists Way, which I’ve talked to some people about. No health problems to speak of, though calories have gotten bigger than they used to be.