Aurora borealis + congratulations Paul!

Let it be known right from the start that this post is being written completely because I am avoiding finishing a college application. It’ll get done. It’s almost done. I promise.

With that said, this has been a pretty cool week.

The definite highlight is that I got to see the Northern Lights (referred to by cool people as the aurora borealis) this week! Most of the time, the lights don’t get this far south, but apparently Madtown lucked out this week – they actually came out to play twice. I wasn’t able to get pictures, but other people were. This was taken from the Memorial Union on the UW campus, about a mile from my apartment. Photo credit to Kirby Wright, who, I’m guessing, is a student at UW.

The aurora borealis (Northern Lights) on Tuesday night around 1am. © 2013 all rights reserved to Kirby Wright

I went out to James Madison Park with some of my neighbors/coworkers to watch again on Wednesday – sure enough, they came out again, although not as spectacularly as in this photo. Still, it was an unexpected treat to see.

The other news of the week is that my first friend in Madison, Paul, is getting married today. In fact, he’s probably having his reception as I type this. Congrats to him, his wife, and their 8-year-old daughter. I met Paul through his uncle, who I met through my grandparents. I was bartending at a going-away party that they had been throwing for one of my grandfather’s coworkers. After talking to various people about my plans for the year, I came across John, who put me in touch with his nephew Paul. Paul is the person who got me a job at the brewpub, showed me where to look for housing, and basically reassured me that moving to Madison was the right choice when everything seemed to be pointing in the opposite direction. He’s a truly standout guy and a pleasure to work with, so the best to him and his wife today.

I got the opportunity to see his father and his uncle John at the pub when I was working Thursday. It was nice to thank them again, too.

Madison continued to be the prettiest place ever last night, with the Capitol shrouded by fog. The Capitol at night always kind of looks like an oil painting, because it’s lit up so perfectly and is so huge compared to everything else, but last night was particularly nice. I wasn’t able to get a good picture, but my friends Alex and Kiana both did:

Speaking of the brewpub, I got some good shifts next week. Working a double on Saturday, which is UW’s homecoming game vs. Northwestern, meaning it’ll be a 10-14 hour day for me, but the money will be good. The bad news there is that I work brunch the next day. I’ll be pretty burned out by Sunday night.

Oh yeah! I’ll be back in the DC/Maryland area from October 18th to October 21st. I chose that weekend because the Badgers are away, meaning I don’t stand to lose too much money by not working that weekend, and it’s Hearn Oktoberfest! It’ll be nice to be back for a weekend.

Finally, people have been asking a lot lately about how the whole jazz thing is going. Unfortunately, that’s the one thing that has been going by the wayside. I did check out a show for the first time last weekend, and the scene is certainly here – lots of great players, music almost every night, perfect mix of college kids, Chicagoland exiles, and well-established players that haven’t moved since they got their start yet. But playing itself is an issue. It’s too late to stump-purchase practice space at UW through my friend, and they wouldn’t let me do it myself, so that is out. Recording studios are an expensive option. Public storage units are also an option, and a less expensive one, so if it comes to that, I will probably be renting a storage unit.

But I’ve lived here for more than a month now, and I’ve noticed that people in my building are pretty laid back. On my floor, for instance, I’m surrounded by college kids. Below me is an artist and stenographer. Above me is a man named Chris whose profession is unspecified but signs all of his front door notes “Stay classy 529! – Ron Burgundy,” as an homage to Anchorman. You can’t go wrong with a guy who pays homage to Anchorman. So I took a gamble and left some door notes yesterday. If all goes well, nobody will object to me playing at a reasonable hour and volume every once and a while, and I won’t have to pay to practice somewhere else. We’ll see how it goes. I have Tuesday off, and I asked neighbors to let me know of objections by then – if there are none, then I should be busting out the old horn for the first time in almost 1.5 months. It’ll feel good.

Hopefully Ron Burgundy in #14 isn’t bothered by the fact that I’m practicing jazz saxophone, not jazz flute.

You stay classy, Madison.

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