insert yourself into the world.

The latest meme that people are taking seriously is that there is a supervolcano underneath Yellowstone National Park. Online writer Ian Gurney has an interesting article about the various data points, along with this BBC transcript. The thing is pretty much guaranteed to blow: starting about 2 million years ago, it's erupted every 600,000 years, and the last eruption was 640,000 years ago.

I've been re-evaluating the place that vocal performance has in my psychological and spiritual lives, realizing what a part it plays, and what in me I express with it. I performed essentially nonstop for a long, long time, longer and with more passion than I've carried on anything else in my life: eight or nine years. That time carried me through performing with 30-80 people under a normally-benevolent tyrant of a choral director, through starting my own group of 11-17 in college and keeping it going to the point where it achieved a life of its own as an institution that other people would care for (the group is still going strong four years later, and at least for a while were better than any time that I was performing with them), to singing semi-professionally in a sextet. Along the way I got to make 3 albums, go sing in Europe twice, and have a lot of fun (and, in college, drunken) road trips.

One of the many singing stories I have that makes my eyes light up (my putative future grandchildren will hear this one several times):

In 1995 the Loomis Chaffee Chamber Singers were at Schloss Neuschwanstein. It's just what it looks like: this lunatic fantasy castle perched over a ravine in Bavaria, which Walt Disney used as a pattern for Disneyland.

King Ludwig was a huge Richard Wagner fan, and had a room in the castle where Wagner would put on his operas and music. Being fairly intense musicians, we all said "Huh" and started snapping our fingers to check out the acoustics, and eventually we started wondering if we would get booted out for singing. The tour guide looked a little perplexed--a randomly-selected group of people do not sound very good when they try to sing together--but figured it couldn't hurt. We picked something we could get a good pitch from--either Alice Parker's Sing to the Lord, or Robert Shaw's Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal--and just sang, stopping everyone in their tracks. Everything stops, if you hear the right sound. Or if you sing it.

Now is a good time.