Table of Contents


Quality of life can't be measured because it doesn't exist, objectively speaking. It's one of Leela's qualities, one of the ineffable, undefinable, unmeasurable things that make life worth living.

Goldilocks. One of the ideas I heard TH talk about that stuck with me was the Buddhist principle of Ōryōki: eating just the right amount. Also known as the Goldilocks Principle. A little ironic, from a man who promoted ultrarunning and booze for everything, and who maintained a harem of devoted female disciples known as Yo's ladies. I encountered a similar principle as an adolescent in Asheville when I twigged to Greek mysticism: the pre-Socratics and the Oracle at Delphi. I read about the inscription on Apollo's temple there: μηδὲν ἄγαν, nothing in excess. I was an adolescent boy with a serious candy habit so I knew fuck all about moderation but the aphorism really struck me, so much so I made it into a sign, carefully copying the Greek letters, and pinned it up above my desk. My own private magic was at play.

Flutes and saxophones. The ebony piccolo I found in the attic of Oakley Elementary got me interested in flutes. It was not that hard to transition from saxophone to flute because the basic fingerings are similar. Years later in Melbourne I bought a beat up Bundy student flute for $50 and found a teacher for some lessons. She had me working my way through a book of flute sonatas. I was still working on my sonatas when I entered FPC, and a girl I had a crush on took pity on me, struggling to get a decent tone out of that Bundy. She brought me hers to try out, a solid silver Gemeinhardt, sort of like the holy grail of flutes to me. I was afraid to touch it. But she was sweet and encouraging, so I assembled it, warmed it up, and blew a G♯. What a tone. That flute felt vibrantly alive in my hands; I was in love with it. She was an accomplished flautist who had lost interest in playing, and she was happy to let me keep it to play on for the next four years. Oddly enough the same thing happened to me in Boulder, with saxophones. I gave my old Martin sax to one of TH's kids soon after I arrived. It was pretty beat up by then, and I hadn't played for years. A fellow Harmonizing student was a much more serious sax man than I ever got to be. He hadn't really lost interest, but gigging was, as we said, not good for his process, so his Selmer Mark VIs lay idle. I had become fixated on the soprano saxophone thanks to Paul Horn and I easily convinced him to lend me his Selmer. Like the Gemeinhardt it had an incredibly sweet tone. But I found it maddeningly hard to play. I got as many squeaks and squeals out of it as sweet tones. Still, lots of fun to goof around with, especially in my Salida days.