Opera chorus

I had a great time with the Orlando Opera chorus on a road trip to a Vero Beach concert sunday. The Vero Beach Opera Guild produced this concert, and brought in Soprano Susan Neves as the headliner. There was also a Vero opera chorale group on the program. We were about 35 singers strong, and had three songs, only one of which was with Ms. Neves.

We were lined up waiting to go on stage for our first number, and heard Ms. Neves in her opening number head into a soaring crescendo of the most dramatic operatic sort, when at the very top, her voice caught and broke briefly, in a manner that you could almost feel the collective wince of the audience. Our chorus director rolled his eyes and remarked sotto voce that she’s gonna be bitchy when she comes offstage. She exited to polite applause and came right through the door we were lined up at, strode to her waiting water bottle and declared in a loud clear voice, “well, that SUCKED”.

I’m happy to say that that was the worst of it. Everything else went terrifically, I sang well and contributed my fair share. I got to sing some 2nd tenor – which I prefer over bass or even baritone in choral arrangements. We compared very favorably against the volunteer Vero chorus, and I’ve got another item for my performing resume.

Intentional eating

This sounds like an interesting book — a close examination of the origins of our North American diet, and some recent dietary fads.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan.

Conventional nutritional wisdom holds that salmon is automatically better for us than beef, but that judgement assumes the beef has been grain-fed and the salmon crill-fed; if the steer is fattened on grass and the salmon on grain, we might actually be better off eating the beef. (Grass-finished beef has a two-to-one ratio of omega-6 to -3 compared to more than ten to one in corn-fed beef.) The species of animal you eat may matter less than what the animal you’re eating has itself eaten.

trip report

I’m back. It was a great week, despite the wind in the later half. I found a way to fish the inlet in the wind, and found a spot for flounder. I caught about 9 or 10 over a couple of days, but all of them undersized. Also caught one 15″ grouper — but the size minimum in Florida is 20″ so I had to toss him back. The big flounder run is in Nov-Dec, so I know what to do next time.

The boat ran well thanks to a pre-trip tune up and water pump service, but I made a couple of minor repairs eg. my homemade tiller extension handle which cracked and needed reinforcement.

I lost my anchor in a long drift over the windy flats, but I kept my bearings :-). It didn’t rain all week until my final day, but then the rain squalls knocked down the winds and things got glassy smooth for my last couple of hours on the water.

aggresiveI’ve not been to the campground in January, and its pretty much dominated by northern snowbirds in RV’s. Not so many fisherman as I’ve seen before, so I didn’t swap too many stories. My neighbor Hal from Illinois arrived for a 2.5 month stay and told me of his friends who rolled their 5th-wheel RV trailer in a snowy bank on their way down and he was called to help clean up and retrieve all their belongings which were scattered for hundreds of yards along the highway after the large camper split open. They searched fruitlessly for $1500 in lost medicines.

A pelican snuck up on me at the fish cleaning station and tried to take a piece of my leg. I returned with a stick and whacked him in the head. I left the stick at the cleaning table and labeled it ‘Pelican Stick”.

While I was gone, Gina’s crew squad had some personnel depletion due to poor fall grades, and Gina got promoted to the varsity practice schedule. She’s excited. Hiba will be attending a national ecumenical youth conference at Disney for 4 days in February.

I’ve checked on my work email, and things seemed to go ok in my absence. Monday’s a holiday, but then back to the grind, and helping Linda to resolve her strategy and negotiations with potential law partners. And 3 rehearsals in prep for my opera chorus gig next sunday.

more later,


Linda Greenlaw (2004)wrote:

I steered the (100 foot commercial fishing boat) Hannah Boden, holding the wheel with both hands…. Up we went. up, up, up … I waited for the crest to push us backward, but we kept going up. I pushed the throttle ahead slightly as the climb felt steeper than before. Ahhh, there it was. Finally the crest balanced the boat as if on the tip of a finger, and for a fraction of a second, the world was still. I pulled the throttle back. The bow fell sharply and the boat followed in a dive. Every loose thing in the wheelhouse was now hanging in midair. As the dive slowed slightly, the suspended articles caught up with the hull and landed like hailstones around me. The angle of descent decreased as the mountainous sea crept away, allowing our stern to drop a bit. The dive became a free fall. I waited for the impact and was not disappointed. Crash! I thought the Hannah Boden had come unglued. I pushed the throttle to full ahead and wondered if she would get back on her feet before the next waved attempted to roll us over.

Thats just what it was like today. Well, maybe not exactly, but the principle is the same, 20 knot winds, 1.5′ chop and my little 14′ boat struggling to cross the 2 miles of the inland waterway against the wind. It’s a challenge to keep the bearing and minimize the successive crash of the waves as they slam against the flat bottomed skiff. A constant hand on the tiller and the throttle is required to negotiate the heavily moguled lagoon. My hull is nothing more than a skinny set of fiberglass layers less than a quarter inch in total thickness. This fiberglass was laid over 30 years ago, and I can see the vibrations and flex in the bottom of the boat every time we slam into the chop.

Greenlaw, Linda (2004) All Fishermen are Liars. Hyperion, New York.


Here’s a camp dinner. I got totally skunked on the river this morning. I went down to the beach this afternoon and managed to land a couple of whiting. They fry up nice. Acompannied by Bombay on the rocks, roasted peanuts in the shell, almond stuffed green olives, and Bush’s baked beans.

mmm good