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Is this a musician thing? maybe? or am I just the worst?  idk but I really, really can't stand listening to people who speak in an aesthetically displeasing way.  Tonight, I overheard two people in rapid succession who were just the worst at speaking, which I suppose is why this is on my mind.  First there was a girl who was very guttural and very disjunct -- she didn't connect any of her words together; it was like every sound was a separate grunt.  All I wanted was for her to stop talking (or possibly use more air to support her voice).  And then on the bus there was this dude with a really low, gravelly voice -- it sounded like it was painful for him to make noise.  Dude, drink some water, get a lozenge, stop smoking, something, because that sound your voice is making is not healthy.

And I feel that as a musician, communicating primarily (ok, lbr, exclusively) with other musicians on a day-to-day basis, this is not something one encounters a lot.  We're trained to be hyper-aware of sound, especially the sounds we are making, and we're trained to be aware of how we present ourselves.  And while we certainly don't all have velvety phone-sex-hotline voices or anything, I think we are aware of the way we speak: the pitch and timbre of our voices, the flow of our words and the fluency of our phrases, sometimes even our breath support (I'm guilty of this, and I think many wind players and most singers are, also).  And, consciously or unconsciously, we try not to make sounds that are displeasing or offensive, unless we're doing it on purpose.  (Some, of course, make awful sounds on purpose more often than others: brasses, singers, I'm looking at you.)

Anyway, I'm not sure where I was going with this.  Except possibly to lament the voices and speech patterns of random strangers I encountered today.  (I mean, people, please, pay attention!  Pitch, timbre, breath support, word flow, emphases, I beg you.)
sigmastolen: (bassoonists do it with their thumbs)
In which I critical media studies it up and end up panning Puccini. Oops. )

But yeah. Sumptuous set and stunning costumes, though with a preponderance of Generic!Asian details and the colour red (BECAUSE THE ONLY WAY WE'LL KNOW IT'S IN CHINA IS IF EVERYTHING IS RED); very well performed by orchestra, singers, and dancers alike (EXCEPT YOU, CHORUS. YOU WERE NOT SO HOT.); and enormous problems re: racism, sexism, consent. THANKS BUT NO THANKS, PUCCINI.

And now I have to be done because, damn, it's late, and my cat has dandruff.
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Dear Next-Door Neighbor,

Thanks ever so for coming home at a quarter to three and being a noisy drunk girl while I'm trying to get back to a normal sleep schedule for school on Monday. STFU, h0r. Listen to your sober friend and "get in the fucking house."

Fuck you very much,
sigmastolen: (bassoonists do it with their thumbs)
Dear oboist who I don't like that much who wants to stay at my apartment when you are in town for auditions,

When I grudgingly tell you you can stay at my place and ask you, two weeks prior to your dates of travel, to send me your itinerary (including when you plan to drive your ass to a city in another state to take an audition there, while still using my apartment as your "home base"), you should probably DO THAT. You know, instead of not responding to my message in any way, whether it be to tell me your goddamn itinerary, or to tell me that I'm off the hook and you're booking a fucking hotel. You're supposed to be arriving in two days, am I supposed to house you or not? Are you even still coming??? UGHHHHHHHHHH.

Decidedly ungraciously,
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Pittsburgh is absolute hell on my heels. High-heeled shoes, that is, not my feet. So, all shoes have soles. You know the tiny little square (rounded... square... ish....) of sole that is on the heel of a high-heeled shoe?

The sidewalks here eat them.

No, I'm perfectly serious. Since moving here, this has happened to no less than three pairs of my shoes: I'll arrive at home and notice that that tiny bit of sole is just gone. Sometimes I realise it while I'm still walking, and my steps sound different, or one foot is suddenly unstable, because what I'm walking on is actually a tiny round bit of metal instead of a flat piece of what looks like plastic. And, you guys know me -- any tiny instability can be disastrous. Honestly, I'm shocked that I haven't turned an ankle each time this happens.

So far, it's happened to my low black Madden Girl pumps, my awesome red-grey-and-black-plaid Ann Marino Oxford heels, and, today, to my black Impo Superboots. You know the ones. The boots that I wore to all my auditions this February (and March)? The ones that I wore when I walked all over San Francisco, Winston-Salem, Philadelphia, and Manhattan's Upper West Side. Those boots. The best boots ever. Nothing bad happened to them on all those trips, but four days of walking around Pittsburgh and one loses that bit.

Is this an easy or cheap fix? Does anyone know? Because I don't want to have to retire all these shoes. Especially not the plaid Oxfords. (I should probably replace the boots, though, the toes are badly worn. Maybe I'll replace them with the exact same boots? I think I saw them when I was at DSW this fall. That would be awesome.)


In other news, nothing I own has enough traction and warmth for the snow. YAAAAAAAY!
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I'm finally doing some homework -- no, for real! It's the partner research paper due tomorrow. Don't worry, my partner procrastinates as bad as I do, so at least I'm not totally screwing him over or anything -- but, you guys. I need to talk about my frigid apartment.

Outside, my computer tells me, it is 25° and while it is not snowing at this very moment, it has been all day -- enough for some of it to stick to the grass and sidewalks. I just declined to join my partner and some friends on a study break at a nearby diner because I could not face going out into the cold again -- and yet, sitting here in my apartment, my teeth are chattering.

My bedroom is 66°, according to my alarm clock, and it feels positively balmy. The secret to keeping it warm, it appears, is closing the door. That will be nice when I finally crawl into bed... which likely won't be for a few hours, despite having a jury at 9:10 in the morning and a master class in the afternoon.

I have no idea what temperature it is in the rest of the flat, but rest assured, it is significantly chillier. I wish my apartment had more doors -- only the bedroom and the bathroom do, and the rest of it -- kitchen, dining room, hallway, and living room, in that order -- has open archways. The living room has two radiators but it is always freezing because it also has two windows, one of them quite large, and two exterior walls (also quite large). I don't spend time in the living room (but I really should because it's enormous and probably why the rent here is so high). The dining room is where I am camped out right now -- it is where I spend time when I am not huddled in bed. It has a radiator, but the heat it gives off is negligible unless I'm standing right next to it. My hands and feet are suffering especially, although my knees and lips and nose aren't exactly gloriously warm, either. (The cats look quite cozy, though, curled up together on my Pile Of Coats). The kitchen has no radiator, but it does have the stove, where I make tea, and the oven, which I have in desperation set to "WARM" and left the door ajar (hey, I'm not paying for my gas. *shrug*). I don't know if it's doing anything... the hot air might just be pooling at the ceiling and being re-chilled near the window. Someone suggested a couple weeks ago to "boil a pot of water on the stove and let it steam up the whole house" but I tried that and nothing happened (dammit).

I definitely need to get me a space heater. It could hang out in the dining room while I'm up, and migrate with me to the bedroom when it is bed time! I also need to get me some sweatpants and a sweatshirt that are warmer than Adidas fleece (UCLA marching band swag, oh yeah). University store, here I come!

Fuck it's cold. It is cold as balls.
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This post brought to you by: Drano! (meaning, I'm typing this while I wait for the Drano to sit an hour to work on whatever is making my bathroom sink so slow)

In which I complain. Again. ) WORST PLUMBING ADVENTURE EVER.
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Dear Tenor Who Sounds Like A Goat:

What you just sang was definitely not the same thing as the arpeggio you played on the piano. Please go warm up somewhere else. Alternatively, quit school and go work at Burger King because you fail opera forever.

With bleeding eardrums,

sigmastolen: (omgcrab)
The semester is ending at last, and now it's crunch time for real. And yet, there's no sign of my usual sudden ability to get shit done at the last second. I don't know what it is, but my ability to focus on anything (except for playing bassoon, apparently) is nonexistent. I can't even concentrate on my distractions -- it's all, let's read something! let's draw! let's do the dishes! let's check schedules! let's watch music on youtube! let's look up song lyrics! let's wiki dead actors! let's read something else! let's have some tea! let's snack! let's draw! let's check facebook! let's fix some old drawings with hairspray so they don't smear any more! let's daydream about paper topics! let's sing! let's daydream about knitting! let's hug the cats! let's post to lj!

Just now I actually walked away from the computer in the middle of typing this and did something else for a minute. I'm on the verge of making myself a cocktail. Or drawing. Or something. I don't even know.

Maybe it's that the semester is so long? Maybe it's lulled me into complacency? Or am I just rationalizing my shortcomings, as usual?

let's talk about all the things that are about to screw me over! :D )

Also, today it has been pouring. It might snow later this week. WTF.



Nov. 28th, 2010 01:14 pm
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In Chicago's Midway airport. Judging from the waiting area crowd, my plane is mostly going to be full of college types. Also, full in general: they're asking for volunteers to give up their seats. Yeah, no.

Also, whoever is doing the general intercom should be shot: every time she mentions a flight to San Jose, she sings, "do you know the way to San Jose la la la la la" which, also no. I'm pretty sure what's happening there is Not Quite A Song From RENT.

Chicago Vacay was AMAZING. Can I just not go back to grad school?

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So, it has not been a good week for bassoon. I think this is about the third or fourth time that I've been trying to practice, but had a temper tantrum and had to pack it in? Which. No. No good. And the thing is, when I'm having a bad time practicing, I hate everyone else who is also practicing. For instance: the flute down the hall, doing Till Eulenspiegel excerpts? PUNCH IN THE FACE. The clarinet who just started? He's my upstairs neighbour and he came and walked into my room for a five minute chat and afterwards his cologne (BECAUSE IT BETTER NOT BE AXE OR IMMA HAVE TO CUT A BITCH) lingered and then my reed had dried out and started to suck and that was the first two time I kicked my stand over. The violist next door? Whatever 20th-century piece you're working on is REALLY UNPLEASANT and I WANT YOU TO STOP. The violin across the hall? YOU ARE MY LEAST FAVOURITE. STOP PRACTICING HAFFNER. IT'S NOT HARD FOR YOU. THE ONLY INSTRUMENT THAT MIGHT HAVE IT AS BAD AS BASSOON IS BASS. YOU DON'T GET TO PRACTICE HAFFNER. SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Tonight's stats:
Times I've done violence to the music stand: at least four
Times I've shouted "MOTHERFUCKER": at least seven
Number of etudes I'm supposed to have prepared for tomorrow: five
Number of etudes I've worked on: two
Times I've burst into frustrated tears: one

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I've done a lot of time-consuming things today...

- hand-washed a bunch of bras and stockings in the tub (still not dry bah)
- wind ensemble rehearsal (oh my god. just. oh my god. at least I got a break in the middle.)
- reeds: wired & turbaned three, profiled and folded three more, then went back to the first three and reamed, then reamed the 3 new contra reeds I got the other day
- picked apart a pomegranate (THIS TAKES FOREVER NO JOKE) (and there was a large bad spot inside, very disheartening and disgusting. boo.)
- finished bubbling in my absentee ballot, to be mailed tomorrow
- listened to Mahler 3

time-consuming things I still need to do:
- make significant progress on my Library Project so I don't have to do it all tomorrow before my meeting with my boss on Thurs.
- listen to La Mer

and, jesus, it's nearly midnight. And I have a 9 a.m. rehearsal tomorrow.

In other news, I still don't understand the weather here. Most of last week was bloody chilly -- in the 40s and 50s I should think. Sunday was 75° and sunny (and god damn was it ever hot onstage during the "ALL MOZART, ALL THE TIME" concert -- OH BTW I HAVE AN AWKWARD STORY FOR NEXT TIME ABOUT THIS CONCERT REMIND ME OKAY) -- which was major WTF. Yesterday was 75° and that gross muggy kind of humid, and then it RAINED WTF in the middle of the day (and my bus was super super late so then I was super super late to my lesson and I got all worked up about it so then I played super super badly yay), and then it stopped and was muggy again -- you know the kind, where your skin gets sticky and you just don't want to wear clothes because it is sticky and humid and gross. And then today was muggy again but warmer, and it didn't rain -- until about 5:20, as I was on my way to rehearsal from upstairs. Upstairs, it had suddenly become hella windy. In the 30 seconds it took for me to go downstairs into the lobby outside the rehearsal hall, it began SHEETING RAIN. I KID YOU NOT. And it's been pissing it down ever since.

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So... Lady Speed Stick keeps changing their formulas, and the scents in each kind of deodorant change with them. Now, it took a while, but I had finally created a united scent front of products that smell warm but not floral or fruity, which included LSS's Pure Cashmere deodorant. Then they made a slight change to their product and suddenly Pure Cashmere smelled different, and it made me sneeze, but only a little. I didn't want to smell like fruit, flowers, baby powder, or Lever 2000, so I toughed it out and got used to the new scent.

Toward the end of the summer, they must have changed their line again, and suddenly my Pure Cashmere simply didn't exist. I had enough to last me through the move, but after arriving in Pittsburgh I found I had to try something new (quelle horreur!), so I sifted through the shelf until I found their new version of something that didn't smell like fruit, flowers, babies, or a locker room -- Daringly Fresh, it claims. After using it for a month, I am extremely dissatisfied; not only does Daringly Fresh not smell particularly pleasant (I remember it giving me headaches when the weather was still hot, even!), it simply does not perform.

That's right, boys and girls. I smell distinctly of armpit right now, and have done for several days.

Dear Lady Speed Stick,

Quit fucking with my deodorant already, you whore.

Yrs odiferously,


Also: warbly soprano across the hall is really distressingly warbly :( :( :(

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Or not, since i clearly have none.

Paper: officially late and counting...

edit: 14 Oct, 4:23
.... You guys, how am I this person? I am so distractible. I am definitely too distractible. I've been sitting here in the library for an hour, trying to git 'er done and listening to John Adams (first Grand Pianola Music and now Harmonielehre) and I still have 0 more words than I did yesterday morning when I finally decided to give up and go to class.

I didn't ask for an extension, I mean -- I definitely don't deserve one and I'll take whatever late penalty my prof dishes out as merely reaping what I sow, of course. I just -- I'm pretty sure I used to be a good student. Or at least, I'm pretty sure I used to turn in assignments on time. When did I start to play so fast and loose with deadlines? What does that say about me? I'm pretty sure it says I'm a lazy, dilatory shit. Also, I fail at the assistantship that is paying my tuition: I've logged a total of, like 5 hours on my bassoon research guide project in the last month, while I'm intended to clock 10 hours a week to earn my keep.

How am I this person, and why do other people not realize how worthless I am?

edit, 6:27
jesus. It has been another two hours, and still no words are coming. I have instead been reading feminist blogs. Because I am just that distractible. I am tempted to just pack it in for the night -- after all, I still need to practice, since I have a lesson early early tomorrow and I haven't played bassoon at all today. Tomorrow is the "semester break," which means we get a day off at the end of midterms... and I hope to god that I get this shit finished on Friday because I also need to clean my apartment, and put up the posters that my mum mailed to me weeks ago, and practice the shit out of Mozart 39 so the last movement can go as fast as Maestro Z wants it to go, and start a new batch of reeds with my new cane. And then I can reward myself with watching Whip It and more Battlestar Galactica.

Yes, okay. That sounds like a good plan. Going to practice now. (*sigh* ... I just started listening to Flight though and god, I just want to listen to this opera forever. Or possibly play this opera forever. I wish I'd been able to watch the third act of UCLA's production, because the first two were hilarious and lovely and I love this opera forever.)

edit 8:54
And then, after what was probably not much more than a scant hour of trying to play bassoon, i had a tantrum and couldn't stand to be there anymore. So now i'm sending myself the fuck home. YAY :D

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I have less than four hours to write a handful of journal entries for Eurhythmics (not a problem except for remembering what we did in each class), and a 5-page analytical paper on whether animal noises are music for Music an Nature (problematic, especially considering that I haven't read the relevant articles because I'm a lazy shit).

I have only myself to blame, for doing absolutely nothing the last five days except for playing bassoon and epically fucking around (oh, just one more chapter of this novel-length Inception fanfic) (oh, just one more episode of Battlestar Galactica). I still can't figure out why I do this to myself, except that I am, at the heart of things, a lazy shit.

Well at least the coffee's on now. Here goes nothing.


update - 9:40 a.m.

fuck how did the eurhythmics journals take forever? less that 1.5 hours now to hammer out 4-5 pages about animal noises, citing at least 4 articles which I have not read, using Chicago style which I have never really learned, only pretended to know.


also, i appear to be allergic to my own goddamn apartment again. FUCK EVERYTHING
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I'm thinking that it's not Pittsburgh('s plants) that I'm allergic to, but my apartment. Because it always seems to be worst on days that I don't really leave the house... like today. I stayed up too late, woke up sneezing, fed the cats, took some meds, ate some peanut butter, took a nap, sneezed some more, took another nap, and finally got up, had tea, made pancakes for tomorrow morning, and have just taken a shower.

What was I supposed to do today? Laundry, cleaning my apartment, and shopping. Not necessarily in that order. But the shopping definitely needs to happen this weekend, because I need closed-toe flats and some warmer/longer coats, and cat food. (God, I really hope the Petco closeish to me has Science Diet, because the Petsmart that for sure dies is hella far away.) The laundry also definitely needs to happen.

I plan to attempt the vacuuming and mopping (well, not proper mopping, but Swiffer Wet Jetting) tonight after I come home from the Symphony (Don Juan, Bartok's 3rd Piano Concerto, and Mozart 39, which I'm playing in a few weeks). (I hope there are student rush tix available.... There were last week, and Beethoven 5 + the first concert of the season (after the opening gala) was probably a bigger draw than any of these things, although Yefim Bronfman is in fact sort of a big deal.)

But yeah. I hate being this sneezy. It makes me tired and my eyes puffy.
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300? Yeah, I'm down with that. (Except for, you know, the uncomfortable sex and oracle scenes. And Gerard Butler's speech impediment.) I mean -- kickass fighting + epic historical setting + David Wenham + hordes of ripped, scantily-clad dudes. Duh. Granted, Zack Snyder is responsible for the movie and I have not yet read the graphic novel, but I've heard good things.

Sin City? Sure, okay. I mean, it's adapting his own graphic novel, which I liked well enough, and as much as it's not "my thing" as much as, say, superhero comic adaptations or Movies! In! SPAAAACE!, I totally dug a lot of things: how faithful it is to the look of the comic, the way the three stories aligned, via the bar and the farm, to take place in the same night (is it like that in the comic? I've only got the first one so far), the hordes of hot, kickass chicks (especially you, Rosario Dawson. You go, with your big guns and your BAMF sort-of-mohawk, and being the leader of all the awesome, deadly hookers), how utterly creepy Elijah Wood is, how we never in fact learn anything at all about Josh Hartnett's character. While I found the gratuitous violence torture porn distasteful, and I was really not all that into Bruce Willis and Jessica Alba's May-December romance, I did find myself really emotionally engaged with the movie.

But, oh god, The Spirit -- not so much. The comicification felt really stilted, instead of natural, the way it did in Sin City. And, sorry Will Eisner, but OH GOD THE NAMES WHY, WHY THE NAMES. "Silken Floss." "Sand Saref" (which I totally heard as "sans serif" for her first ten minutes in the film). Worst of all, "Plaster of Paris." GOD the Spirit sounds like such an IDIOT sensually murmuring "Plaster." I could almost go along with the hamminess -- it worked well for everyone except for the Dolans and Sand, and sometimes the Spirit started to take himself seriously and that jarred me out of it, too. Just.... oh god, it was so idiotic. Seriously, the bright spots for me were Samuel L. Jackson (because it's Samuel L Jackson, motherfucker), Scarlett Johanssen (because I will always love you, Scarlett. You complete me. The gorgeous hilarity of this role might even make me forget He's Just Not That Into You and Match Point (nope, sorry, Woody Allen, didn't like it. I think I'm just really not into infidelity. Because that was also what pissed me off about HJNTIY and Glee, although, oddly enough, I do love The Scarlet Letter)), the clones' shirts, and, most of all, that adorable tabby cat that follows the Spirit around. God, this movie was so... bizarre and nothing. It was totally a non-event. Except for Scarlett (and her phenomenal tits). Scarlett was definitely an event.

(I'd kind of like to know what real-life city Sin City's "Basin City" is a stand-in for. Because The Spirit's "Center City" is obviously Chicago, as Gotham City is obviously New York.)

To conclude: The Spirit = So mediocre it was bad.
sigmastolen: (mallow)
OMG you guys, I just softened my frozen butter by defrosting it in my microwave. I have been using this recipe for years, and have muddled through the quandary of how to soften the butter (which my family has always stored in the freezer, since forever, okay?) for just as long.

We have always had a microwave. There has always been the option to "defrost by weight." And, guys, it's so easy. It works so well.

You remember all that arrogance from a couple hours ago, about how awesomely smart I am?

I take it back.


also: I am mailing homemade cookies from scratch to a dude who I'm not even dating -- not even interested in dating. You guys, I'm seriously a really good girlfriend. What newspaper do I have to leak that to, to get some play already?

No! No, I should shut up, there is hope. Because Hot Tuba Guy is hot, and Cute Tall Composer is cute, and they're both really chatty. (Geeky Oboe Guy would be setting my standards too low, I think, and Bull-Like Percussionist is unfortunately not remotely my type...) (Am I allowed to date more bass players? Because there are a couple who are pretty attractive.) (p.s. dear cmu, where are you hiding the cute butches with fauxhawks? this is a demographic i sorely miss. yrs cordially, s.)
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no seriously. i changed into jammies and got in bed THREE HOURS AGO because i was sleepy then except NOW I'M STILL AWAKE.

also, I kind of think I maybe shouldn't be in school right now. Seriously. Since January, I have had no more than a single week of any kind of Break at a time, and either I'm too burned out from that to do my homework and the work for my grad assistantship, or I'm just a lazy worthless piece of shit who doesn't deserve to be in grad school at a fancy university that isn't even making me pay tuition. tbh all I am motivated to do lately is play bassoon, watch telly/movies on the internet, and indulge my out-of-control cravings for fanfiction (i am completely serious when i say it is my biggest vice). THIS IS A PROBLEM (well i mean the bassoon thing is good but the other things not so much). because i'm still interested in everything like the SuperStudent I used to be, but I just cannot be arsed to do anything. fml
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You guys all know that fanfiction is perhaps my biggest vice, yes? More all-consuming even than booze or shoes (which RHYME OMG :D) and much more secret.

Most of the time when I have a deep attraction to a book, movie, or television show, I seek out fic. Inception was pretty much love at first sight (after it finished breaking my brain) and clearly since it opened there has been a veritable explosion of fannish activity, very much including fic. The Inception Anonymous Kink Meme, however, is so far disappointingly vanilla. Misspelled poetry? Not very kinky. "how x met y" ? Also not kinky. Saccharine fluff? Definitely not kinky. Somnophilia, genderbending, BDSM are all go, but what is with all the schmoop? Get it out of the kink meme. I don't inherently have a problem with vanilla fluff, but it belongs in some other, vanilla, fluffy comm. GAH, HONESTLY. To see what a proper kink meme is like, check out [ profile] sizeofthatthing, [ profile] kinky_torchwood, and [ profile] touchyerwood.  Because Whoniverse fen are PRO at kink.  kthx.


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