Blog in Z-flat Major

Welcome to Z-flat Major, the official bPatrick blog.

Change, Rhode Island, and Vague Flashbacks to Once Upon a Time 

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy unfortunately not so far away, a fifth grade version of myself came home on the third day of school and announced he was never going back. My parents responded by doing what any concerned parents would do in that situation - they sent me to a shrink. OK, he wasn't exactly a "shrink," but was actually more of a psychologist/counselor. But "shrink" sounds more dramatic, so let's go with that. Of course, this all ended my early onset dropout days, and after a short while of…

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Grief and Hockey 

I've taken a bit of a blogging break over these past three months. Is it just me, or does time seem to fly by faster the older you get? My last post was about my dad, who passed away in March. Since then, I've been immersed in everything from helping my mom get settled, extensive recording, home improvement projects, and even a recent trip back to Rhode Island. So it seems appropriate that my re-entry into the practice of blogging would also be about Dad, who while always there with me in my thoughts, was…

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A Better Place 

My dad died last Monday, March 4th. He was 92, and had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this past summer. Due to the low success rate of treating that particular type of cancer, along with his age, he decided against chemo or radiation. He wanted to enjoy the remaining time he had left, and not spend it sick from treatments. He made it all the way through the holidays and into the new year with barely any symptoms, even as blood tests indicated the cancer was progressing. While hospitalized in…

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Breaking Bad Part II: "I Am the One Who Knocks" 

Wow! Wow! Ummmm.... wow! I've watched many television series over the years, but I have to say Breaking Bad was my favorite of all time. Vince Gilligan did a profound job of creating a story with multi-layered characters and interwoven plots that impacted viewers on so many levels. It was simultaneously entertaining, exciting, and disturbing. The messiness of humanity was masterfully portrayed, as was the reality that the line between good and evil may not be as distant or foreign as we may think. As Walter…

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Would You Like Some Truth With Your Coffee? 

Truth. Whenever I hear that word, I can't help but think of Jack Nicholson's iconic line in A Few Good Men: "You can't handle the truth!" I also think of a book I read a while ago (the name escapes me - oh boy, does that mean I'm getting to that age when that starts happening? Reserve my room at Shady Acres!). Anyhow, it was by a writer for New Yorker magazine (I think), and it chronicled his attempt to live strictly and literally according to the Old Testament for one year. In one hysterical scene, he and…

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Breaking Bad 

* The posting below was written while we were in the midst of watching Season 2 of Breaking Bad. Be sure to check out the Part II follow up to this, written after we concluded the series!

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Ok, so I realize we're about a decade behind, but Christina and I are obsessed with Breaking Bad, the AMC television series that aired from 2008 to 2013. We recently began watching it after getting Netflix. As many of you probably already know, the series gets its title…

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Hello, 2019 

In 1908, British poet Minnie Louise Haskins published a collection titled The Desert, which included a poem called God Knows, later changed to The Gate of the Year. It read: 

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: 

“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” 

And he replied: 

“Go out into the darkness and put your hand in the Hand of God.  That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.” 

So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into…

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Let It Go, Let It Go 

Have you ever wondered who the "they people" are? You know, "they say...." I wonder if they have a headquarters somewhere. Anyhow, these "they people," in their infinite wisdom, are probably responsible for the old adage, "practice makes perfect." There's also variations of that, such as "perfect practice makes perfect," which serves as a caution against losing focus while rehearsing whatever it is you're working on improving. I don't know if this will get me inducted into the Loyal Order of They People…

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bPatrick, Uncle Barry, and the Price of Tea in China 

So, as you probably figured, I haven't gone through life with the name "bPatrick." Well, actually, I sort of have. Patrick is my middle name, and B is my first initial. But it's not like I filled out the name line of my grammar school tests with "bPatrick," though that would have been funny, now that I think about it - especially with the lower case b leading the way and the certain subsequent Picasso of red pen from any number of professionals entrusted with my academic formation...  anyhow, back to the…

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Why Z-flat Major? 

Why Z-flat Major? What does that even mean? Anyone who has the slightest familiarity with music theory knows the musical alphabet only goes as far as the letter G, and then returns to A. There's no such thing as a pitch or a key designated by H, or I, or any other letter beyond G. There are such things as quarter tones that fall between the notes of the chromatic scale, which are prominent in certain cultural music, such as in the Middle East. But Z-flat? That's not something we recognize as existing. Which…

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