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In Which Ryan Had A Long Shortest Month

March 2022 | 3:3


Goomba is so shocked and incredulous that not even the camera can focus.

What's Been Happening

It feels like perhaps February was trying to compensate for the fact that it is the shortest month. Calm down February; you already get Black History Month, and Valentine’s Day, and Mardi Gras, and TMEA, and every four years you get to show off and be longer, and probably some other stuff I’m forgetting but that just reinforces the point. On the bright side, much of the excitement was good:

I got to play a bunch of my music including some new charts out in DC with some fantastic players. Thanks to all involved but especially Billy Wolfe for being the driving force behind the gig, and by the way how great is it to make sounds with other people?

We had an in-person drum corps camp again and finished up our audition process.

My friends Scott and Heather got married!

I finally got to the dentist; I know that one doesn’t sound fun, but I like my dentist and it turns out being left unsupervised with my teeth for the whole pandemic hasn’t resulted in anything too catastrophic.

I got to judge a jazz festival again; as always suburban kids in fedoras are a sign of Spring and renewal and it was great to catch up with so many cats I hadn’t seen in at least two years. Full disclosure, I am a suburban kid and I own at least one fedora.

On the whole, it seems that despite being rather busy and some little things like apparently needing a global brush-up on that whole “sovereignty” concept it seems February was at least a net progression to where we’d like to go.

So, March. Let’s chat quick.

I know you’ve had some extra excitement the last couple times we tried you. I’m not even asking for a total “in like a lion, out like a lamb” performance. That said, I think it’s a reasonable ask that it’s not “in like a lion, out like a mutated super lion that can pass through walls” or “in like a lion, out like a hey does it look like that meteor is getting bigger to you?” No pressure, but just consider it if you don’t mind.

May your masks smell pleasant and your packages arrive without incident,


Chart O' The Month

Betrunkener Linguisten-ElfMedium Ensemble
00:00 / 00:42

As part of the gig in DC this past month, I wanted to take the opportunity to write some new music knowing it would be performed by such great players. To that end I decided to write some “interludes” that were just fun little pieces we could read down and have act as palate cleansers amidst some longer or heavier charts. It was also helpful to give myself some restrictions so I decided they all needed to be:

A minute or less in length
One page or less for each part
Something I might otherwise think was too musically risky in a long chart (i.e. if it’s stupid or fails then the failure isn’t very long at least)
A short chart with an unnecessarily long title and/or subtitle

I more or less held to my restrictions and did three that we used in the performance. This one was my favorite; the basic premise is that there is a little German elf who lives in your phone, and he manifests as your autocorrect. The problem is he’s quite drunk, so… yeah. This is his theme song, and next time your autocorrect goes awry I hope you can sigh, and smile, and think “You tried, little drunken elf. You tried.”

Epidendrum 'Pacific Sunset' x 'Pink Rabbit'.JPG

Look, Nature!

This is another picture from our trip to Starved Rock State Park.

Among the really cool aspects was getting to look up at all the things growing along the limestone cliffs, including this tree. Not only was it brightly green among all the more monochrome winter scenery, there was just something about it's stature and the fact that it set its roots down the cliff face to grab all the water streaming by that I found very appealing. Good job, tree.

Education Notes

This month has been particularly interesting from an education standpoint as we’ve started having more and more “normal” experiences. Obviously all of this is a work in progress which is frankly always true in education, but especially after the jazz festival this past weekend two things stick out that feel like they need to be heard:
1. Don’t apologize for what you’ve accomplished. Take what you’ve done with what you had and figure out what you can do next.
2. That’s always true. It’s magnified by COVID circumstances, but don’t pretend we all have the same opportunities.

The moral of the story is this; the difference between inspiration and holding yourself back is the difference between excuses and recognizing what you need to do next. It’s only positive if it helps.

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