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  • August 31, 2006

    Cranky

    For some reason, I’m in a bit of a foul (not fowl) mood this afternoon. I think a big part of it is that I’m spending more and more time trying to get paid. Not generate work — just get people who owe me money to actually pay me. As a general rule, I don’t mail materials to ensembles/schools until they pay for them. Doing otherwise gets confusing, and ends up taking a lot of extra time trying to keep things straight — did they pay yet? Did I already send them materials, or do I send them when I get the check? I also find that schools are much more eager to pay quickly if they won’t get materials until I get a check. It simply avoids a whole lot of frustration for me in the future.

    The problem is that in August, schools schedule things for their first concert of the year — which is usually in September. This means they need materials rushed to them, and as a favor (and also so I don’t lose the performance), in August, I occasionally make exceptions. By the end of August, the number of “exceptions” adds up to the financial equivalent of roughly three months of rent.

    I end up driving to the post office at least three times a week to mail materials, almost none of which are paid for. Then, when the mail comes each day, I go outside, hoping to find a check, and I inevitably receive some sort of “University Vendor Information Form” or W-9 tax form to fill out instead — meaning that even when I fill this form out and mail or fax it back, I won’t see a check for several more weeks.

    Then I wonder, how long do I let it slide before I start sending, “where’s my check” emails? At this point, with the August (and even one July) rentals and purchases, there’s obviously no reason to complain; I knew what I was getting into. In general, I can expect to be paid up in another week or two. But what about schools like the one in Washington that purchased “emergency scores” last-minute for a contest in APRIL, and I printed and mailed them the same day, and they have yet to pay — and now simply ignore my emails? We’re not even talking much money in that case; this is about the principle of it. But how much time do I put into collecting $45? Do I now email the school principal? Is that tattling? Do I post the school’s name on some Osti Music Blacklist? Do I send somebody to break the guy’s legs? I think my buddy RN might “know a guy.”

    It makes me so grateful to the programs that actually pay in advance. If you pay up-front with PayPal, you get a shout-out. Why can’t we all just get along with PayPal?

    Good lord, this seems petty and bitchy. I really am grateful that I have any performances at all; it’s the bill-collecting that I hate.

    I think I need to go for a run and get some stress out. I’m sounding even more unpleasant than usual.

    2 Comments

    August 28, 2006

    By the power of Grayskull

    There’s been a small change of plans for performances this fall. Turns out that Eugene Corporon will not be doing “Turbine” in late September, as originally planned. Instead, he’s moved the performance to spring — to coincide with the recording of the work for the University of North Texas’s next commercial CD! The UNT CD series is a big deal, and this is the first time they’ve recorded any of my music, so this is pretty exciting.

    I’ve been asked to participate on a grant panel this fall. It’s a little weird to be in the position of judging other composers anyway, but when you factor in that some of these applicants are much more famous and respected than I could ever hope to be, it’s all the more daunting. The fun part is knowing that I can use this position to enact sweet revenge on any of the applicants who have ever crossed me in the past.

    I’m kidding. Really.

    4 Comments

    August 24, 2006

    The instrument of angels & Lutherans

    I just got an email asking if I’d consider writing a harp part for “Redline Tango.” The original orchestra version has a pretty prominent harp part, but I never put it in the band version because, at the time, I figured nobody would have a harp. I’ve now sat through countless performances of “Redline Tango” where there’s a perfectly fantastic harp player in the piece right before mine, and he/she (although I’ve never seen a male harp player in a wind ensemble) gets up and walks off the stage before “Redline Tango.”

    I think it’ll only take a day or so to put the harp part in. I’m not insanely busy right now, and it’s worth doing. Plus, the ensemble that asked me to do this is THE DALLAS WIND SYMPHONY. That’s right — I just yelled that. It’s now confirmed that Jerry Junkin is doing “Redline Tango” with the Dallas Wind Symphony at Midwest this year. How friggin’ sweet is that?! I also just checked their schedule, and it appears they’re doing “Redline Tango” on September 26 at the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas as well. Hot damn.

    This means, confirmed for Midwest, are “Redline Tango” with the Dallas Wind Symphony, and “Turbine” with Permian High School. I’m still holding out for a band that’s considering “Strange Humors” for their Midwest program… Cross your fingers…

    3 Comments

    August 23, 2006

    I swear, this is not about me

    Just picked up on the AP:

    No, That’s Not a Penis Pump, Mom. Really

    CHICAGO (AP) — Cook County prosecutors say a 29-year-old man traveling with his mother desperately didn’t want her to know he’d packed a sexual aid for their trip to Turkey. So he told security it was a bomb, officials said.

    Madin Azad Amin was stopped by officials on Aug. 16 after guards found an object in his baggage that resembled a grenade, prosecutors said.

    When officers asked him to identify it, Amin said it was a bomb, said Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Lorraine Scaduto.

    He later told officials he’d lied about the item because his mother was nearby and he didn’t want her to hear that it was part of a penis pump, Scaduto said.

    He’s been charged with felony disorderly conduct, said Andrew Conklin, a spokesman with the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

    Amin faces up to three years in prison if convicted.

    2 Comments

    August 22, 2006

    Bummer conflict

    I just found out this morning that Bob Reynolds is performing “Turbine” with the USC Thornton Wind Ensemble. This, of course, is fantastic news, as they, in my opinion, are the best wind ensemble in the country. The low brass can’t be beat, and they’re going to play the hell out of “Turbine.”

    The bummer with this is that I already have an engagement on that same date. I’ll be traveling to the University of Kansas for a performance of “Turbine” on that very same night. In fact, with the time difference, the performances will only be two hours apart. (It’s a shame I can’t fly quickly enough to attend both.)

    Now that I live in LA, and USC is 10 minutes away, at least I’ll be able to attend rehearsals prior to the concert. And it’s not like the Kansas performance won’t be great, too. (Just check out their Naxos recording of “Redline Tango.”) But wow — of all the performances to have to miss, this one kills me.

    I’m sending AEJ to USC in my place, and am considering having a rubber mask made of my face. That way she could bow for me. Newman suggested that AEJ just bow while holding up a portrait of me. I’m not sure which way I’ll go yet. Probably the best option is for her to bow without any picture or mask of me at all, since she’s a lot prettier than I am.

    4 Comments