I don't usually expect much by way of presents on my birthday. I try not to be greedy. If I get a DVD or two I've wanted for a long time and a 6-pack of some really good beer, I'm pretty happy. I'm more about the though and effort. I appreciate clever gifts that show how well a person knows me or shows how much trouble they went through to make/get it for me, rather than how much they spent (though cost can be a sign of sacrifice, so I appreciate pricey stuff on that level).
From my parents and grandfather, I usually get cash. I appreciate it a lot. It usually bails me out of some hole I dug for myself or helps me to whittle down ye olde tuition bill a bit. They usually can't afford the big stuff I want and they wish they could get me, and don't get the chance to talk with me enough to know the little things I may want. So it's usually a nice check to either get something I've been wanting or get some minor monetary monkey off my back.
This year, however, my darling, loving, considerate and wonderful parents hit the nail square on the head with two presents that synergize to become complete creative AWESOMENESS for me!
From my dad, a new laptop.
From my mom, the newest upgrade to Finale music composition software.
For those of you non-musicians or have not tried composing or arranging, the best way to articulate the compulsion to do so it this: It's like puzzle-solving, but you're making the puzzle yourself as you go, creating your own challenges to overcome, and setting your own difficulty level. In the end you not only have the satisfaction of a completed puzzle and obstacles overcome, you have MUSIC! A work of art. Same with marching drill design.
I have wanted to do some arranging of music (mostly for my barbershop quartet) for ages, but have lacked the time to do so. I'm either at work or there's stuff to do at home and tying myself to the computer in the crowded bedroom makes concentration impractical, if not impossible. Not to mention, since I lost the install disc for my old version of Finale, installing it at work for use on lunch breaks or other calm moments couldn't happen.
These gifts solve everything. The laptop and software give me the freedom to pop open my music anytime I have a spare moment or inspiration, and the ability to compose and arrange wherever I can find the peace and time to think.
I got started the day the Finale disc arrived by starting an arrangement of "Rainbow Connection", a long-time favorite of mine, which a few of you have heard by now (if you'd like an MP3 of it, I'd be more than happy to e-mail it to you for your opinions). I was so excited about these gifts that the ideas started pouring out faster than I could enter them! In the end, I have an absolutely SWEET arrangement that I'm hoping to get my quartet to do in the next month or so. (The quartet situation will be my next blog)
I'm grateful for everything I get, from a simple MySpace comment, to a card, to $1 million! In the end, especially this year, I'm grateful for the gift of loving friends and family…
…but damn, having a laptop is sweet!!
Next: More life updates, and "Coda Honor 1.5?!"