Monday, February 3, 2014

Sick again, 2014 edition

It's been a rough weekend up here in Vancouver.  My wife and son have had a perpetual cough for close to a week.  I finally succumbed on Friday.  I guess the combination of being around sick people at work, home and on long transit rides was finally too much.  I'm fortunate in that I don't get sick too often, but I'm pretty miserable when I do get sick.  It is a small mercy that the kids can now mostly fend for themselves when the adults get sick, and we don't have them signed up for anything where we have to drive them all over town.

Anyway, one of the VSO concerts I was really looking forward to was on Sat., so I basically napped all day and drugged myself up and grabbed a handful of cough drops.  Since the program was repeated on Monday, I probably would have just rescheduled, but I was to meet a friend from work and his girlfriend.  I had convinced them to go and given them my "buddy" tickets.  We met up for Thai beforehand.  It really was fairly mediocre, so I shan't be going there again.  I was particularly discouraged at how long the noodles were (with no knives provided).

I made it through the opening piece - Brahms' Academic Overture with no major problems.  Then they did Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto.  It was quite brilliantly played, but I have to say it seems particularly cruel to pick a piece like that -- with absolutely no breaks between movements -- for the height of cold/flu season.  I found myself in the final movement just wishing for it to end, so I could cough.  I came so close.  I ended up doing a half-cough, half-sneeze about 2-3 minutes from the end.  Anyway, it was beautiful, though I would have enjoyed it more had I not been so sick.  I have noticed that, even when I am feeling well, I find the Orpheum fairly dry and cough-inducing.  I wonder if they actually have a dehumidifier working up on stage to counteract the impact of Vancouver's climate on the woodwinds. (I usually sit in the first few rows.)

An awful lot of people cleared out at the intermission, but I was actually there primarily to see the Shostakovich symphony at the end (number 9).  Otherwise I would have gone home as well.  I found The Smile of Maud Lewis by Korndorf to be really trite serialism, which didn't fit at all with the rest of the program.  I would have been a lot happier had it ended after about 5 minutes.  I noticed a fair bit of coughing, as some others in the audience seemed to not think it worth the effort to keep it in.  Not everyone disliked the piece, however, and my colleague's girlfriend seemed quite taken with it.  I thought they did a very nice job with the Shostakovich.  I did have one coughing jag in the middle, which was unfortunate, but I think all in all, I made it through without disturbing my fellow concert-goers too much.  It is quite hard to focus on the music when you are also trying to keep it together.  It's happened to me before, but this is the worst time I've had in a couple of years.  There was one free concert in Chicago (also a Shostakovich symphony) where I really couldn't stop coughing, and had I been a bit closer to the aisle, I would have left.  And I would have left irregardless had it been a full-priced concert.  I still feel badly about that.  That was a strange outing, as I can't remember feeling particularly sick, heading into that concert, but maybe I have just suppressed that to alleviate a bit of the guilt.  This time around I knew there would be some issues, but the plans had already been made.  Anyway, not surprisingly, TransLink bus service let me down again pretty badly at the end of the evening, and I ended up waiting for the 49 in the cold for 25 minutes.  In general, going the other direction and catching the Fraser bus is better, but the supposed construction has screwed me over to many times to trust that either.

So I tried to sleep/nap a lot on Sunday to recover.  I guess it must have been a slow news day as the overdose death of Philip Seymour Hoffman totally dominated the news for what seemed like hours.  It is certainly sad and somewhat unexpected, but I just thought it was too much, and I went back to bed.  I slept through the first half of the Superbowl (as apparently the Denver offense did as well).  I thought Bruno Mars did a pretty good halftime show, though I thought the Red Hot Chili Peppers should have been allowed to play at least 2 songs!  I read a bit more and tried, for the most part, to take it easy.

I'm actually not feeling too bad at the moment, though the cough hasn't vanished.  If I can get VPN to work, I will probably work from home, but it was really being quite quirky and the system upgrade they did last week has not helped, so I may end up schlepping myself out to New West after all.

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