Open Mic Adventures XIX: “Two-Day Minuet for Left Hand”

With Bandcamp Friday rapidly approaching, I’m diving back into 2022 and pieces from my modern classical piano project, P​é​ch​é​s d​’​â​ge moyen, which I released on 4 March 2022.  This week, I’m featuring the final track from the collection, “Two-Day Minuet for Left Hand.”

The title is a bit on the nose—uh, I should write, the hand:  I wrote it across two days, and the melody is in the left hand.  See?

The first section, composed on 24 February 2022 (and in red pen, no less!) is in 3/4 time and consists of a slightly irregular seven-phrase theme.  The second section, composed (you guessed it!) on 25 February 2022, is in 4/4 time.  It’s an even more irregular five-phrase section, which shifts to 3/4 for the last two bars.

It ends with a little multimetered coda.  On the manuscript, I forgot to make the final note a dotted half note, so technically it’s an incomplete measure of 3/4 time.  D’oh!

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Portly’s Top Ten Best Films: #3: The Thing (1982)

As we get into the final three of our picks, I find myself thankful that Ponty and I are doing an “Hono[u]rable Mentions” post, because this point is where it gets hard.  How do you pick the best three films?  Ten is hard enough, but there’s some margin for error.

That said, I know my #2 and #1 picks.  But #3 was giving me a time, until Ponty mentioned this film in one of his comments.

John Carpenter is my favorite director, up there with Stanley Kubrick, Wes Anderson, and similar directors.  These are the guys that have a distinct style, even when making films in vastly different genres.  That uniqueness of directorial tone seems to be fading in Hollywood, in favor of homogenized, corporatized sameness.  That’s not an entirely fair assessment, but I have a sense that the phenomenon of the “director-as-artist” is fading.

What sets Carpenter apart for me is not just his uniqueness; his movies are fun.  They’re not dumb fun, either (for the most part)—his shots are deliberate, and make sense for whatever scene he is shooting.  He is a strong visual storyteller, in addition to being a great composer and musician.  There’s a reason his films will appear twice in my top three.

This picture is arguably his best, but for personal and sentimental reasons I’m putting another of his films higher.  That said, Carpenter’s 1982 remake of The Thing is a masterpiece of tension, horror, and suspense.

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Lazy Sunday CLXXXII: More Movies XXXV: Ponty’s Best Films, Part II

I’m back from my trip safe and sound, but I’m still a bit behind with posts.  I’ll be running my #3 pick for the best films of all time tomorrow—a week late!  That’s given good ol’ Ponty a bit of breathing room for his next review.

Of course, I must apologize to Ponts:  this retrospective of his #7-5 picks is going up fairly late in the day for a Sunday.  I like to have posts up by 6:30 AM, as it seems to help with my English readership (which is growing all the time thanks in no small part to Ponty’s promotional efforts).  Here’s hoping this short list of his picks will gain some traction regardless.

Without further ado, here are Ponty’s top picks in the lower five:

Happy Sunday!


Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Phone it in Friday XXXI: Kirby!

It’s the last full day of our family trip, and I’m still behind the proverbial eight-ball with posts.  My apologies to those who have contributed posts for publication; I’ll get them in next week.  What I have found is that posting later in the morning like I have been doing tends to result in lower views, so it’ll be best for those guest posts to go live next week when I am (hopefully!) back on schedule.

All mea culpas aside, here is a very, very brief edition of Phone it in Friday featuring everyone’s favorite little puffy pink guy, Kirby!

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TBT^2: The Joy of Romantic Music III: Hector Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique”

This week music, especially programmatic music, has surrounded me.  It’s remarkable how music so effectively conveys mood and feeling, and how a simple change in musical tone can shift one’s entire interpretation of a scene or visual.

So it seemed like an opportune time to revisit this highly imaginative and emotional work from Hector Berlioz, himself a rather tempest-tossed personality, adrift on a sea of emotions.

Also, my Middle School Music Students are listening to the fourth and fifth movements today while I am away—fun!

With that, here is 17 February 2022’s “TBT: The Joy of Romantic Music III: Hector Berlioz’s ‘Symphonie Fantastique’“:

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Midweek Magic Update

It’s been three long, full days, and yours portly is dragging, but having fun.  I’m way behind on the old blog, but that’s to be expected.  Our days have been longer than I expected—a good thing!—but it’s left me worn out in the evenings.

I have a guest post that I’d hoped to post today, but I’ll be postponing that until Friday so I can do justice to the introduction; after all, I have a reputation to uphold.

Next week I’ll be posting lots of pictures, but here’s one for the road:

Tyler and Darth Vader

Happy Wednesday!



I’m a patient man (sort of—impatience seems to be one of the fiery Scotch-Irish traits that runs through my otherwise English ancestry), but I’ve learned that waiting in lines is a major test of one’s patience.

I usually am threading a fifteen-minute-or-less needle throughout my day, so that everything hinges on the ability of myself (easy) and other people (questionable) to do their jobs efficiently, or at least in a timely manner.  I’m blessed in that God usually has an Eye out for me, and I’ve managed to pull off some spectacular feats of scheduling derring-do.

That said, I’m growing increasingly aware of the blasé attitude that is even more pervasive in the service industry, an industry that attracts either hyper-scrupulous worker bees or hyper-lazy minimum wage slaves.  There doesn’t seem to be much in-between.  Unfortunately, the wage slaves seems to be winning the day.

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