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One of my favorite things to do when I am bored (or procrastinating) is to look back at the titles of papers I have written, and laugh at how awesome/pretentious I am.  Some greatest hits:

How the World that Is Came to Be: Mythological Roots of Middle Earth
What do Revelling Fairies have to do with Anything?  An Analysis of the Metatheatrical Dimensions of A Midsummer Night's Dream
Bewitching Macbeth with Ambition: The Weïrd Sisters as Objective Correlative
Bushisms: Executive Neologistical Patterns
Rife with Rhetoric: Text Setting in Handel's Ode to St. Cecilia
A Sound Structure: Sonata Form in Haydn's String Quartet in G, Op. 64, No. 4
Schubert's "Gretchen am Spinnrade" vs. the Standards of Greatness, or, Nobody can ever be as good as Beethoven (this was extra sassy because I was really pissed about this class)
Bizet & Tchaikowsky, Nineteenth-Century Musical Isms, and the Panromanogermanic Bias
In Babylon, Gentle Voices Wail Their Sorrow: Schoenberg's Love Life and The Book of the Hanging Gardens
The Ceremony of Innocence is Drowned: Ambiguity, Homosexuality, and Exoticism in The Turn of the Screw (including section headings "Homosexuality in Britain" and "Homosexuality and Britten" because I like to think I'm clever)
Death and Disorder: The Sacrificial Victim in a Corrupt Community, and Why It Doesn't Work
Peter Grimes's Interludes: A Love Song
Renaissance Polyphony for the Modern Bassoonist: John Steinmetz's Sonata for Bassoon and Piano, II. Browning
sigmastolen: (WDCH)
There are a lot of ideas that have been germinating in my head for a few weeks, and so I'd just like to get them down, I guess.

Maybe it started with a conversation I had with Steinmetz when I visited UCLA? It may have started before that, in various conversations I had with various people about CMU and how different it is from UCLA and how much I miss Los Angeles's peculiar focus on new music.


So yeah. Contemporary classical music, relevance of. Guerilla chamber music. Jazz bassoon. Summer chamber music concerts. Thoughts? Because I honestly have no idea how feasible all this is, or if I would be fruitlessly fighting the tide of classical music's (already steep) descent into elitist obscurity.
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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.
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.

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1. AWKWARD STORY!!! So remember bull-like percussionist (BLP)? Okay. So, rehearsal goes from 3:30-6 with a break in the middle. The Tuesday before the concert, we had been rehearsing Mozart 39, on which I played first bassoon and he played timpani. When Maestro Z let us go to break, he released the trumpets and timpani because we would be working on the slow movement for the rest of rehearsal. So I was sitting in my chair, maybe noodling? probably just sitting, and BLP comes over and is all, "So, how about getting drinks after this concert? You're not going to space out again, right?" Which, BY THE WAY: THIS IS EXACTLY THE WRONG WAY TO APPROACH A WOMAN. Because I didn't see him coming, and he got all up in my personal space, and the wording and tone conveyed a sense of entitlement and resentment failing to pass itself off as a joke, as well as left me no way to tactfully decline.

So I did the only thing I could do: "Suuuuuuuuure," I replied. Cue awkward conversation that I don't want to be in, in which I also misunderstand about half of what he says because he mumbles. *eyeroll* Aaaaaand then he left and I spent the rest of the rehearsal having a small "OH GOD THE AWKWARD" freakout.

The rest of the week I was polite when he initiated conversation but honestly I avoided him a little and exaggerated my natural social awkardness because I really wanted him to take a hint.

(fun fact: at the next rehearsal, Maestro Z tried to correct something BLP was doing and instead of accepting it (or at least pretending to accept it, as musicians WHO WANT TO KEEP THEIR JOBS do all the time), he said, defensively, "I'm just trying to accommodate everyone else," or something to that effect. And honestly, if I had been interested before that, I definitely wouldn't have been afterwards. PROFESSIONALISM/REHEARSAL ETIQUETTE FAIL. NEGATIVE POINTS.)

So anyway, I contrived to bring Comrades K and R along and possibly some other people as well and make it clearly a JUST BUDDIES OKAY kind of outing. We played the concert (and BLP and I definitely didn't discuss this having of drinks during the intervening time) and I was chatting with the clarinets going offstage and while packing up. When we made our way out of the hall, I found my bassoon comrades, but BLP was nowhere to be found. The clarinets asked if we wanted to get frozen yogurt (I really like saying "fro-yo" but it looks so silly in writing), but Comrade K wanted booze, so we went to a nearby bar instead. Crossing the street on the way there, we saw BLP walking ahead of us with a cellist (who, hilariously, has a very similar build to mine, but she's blonde. well, I was entertained, anyway). I guess he got the hint? Which I guess also makes me a bitch, but I'm actually pretty okay with that. My Comrades and I had a beer with the grad conductors, who are all precious. BLP and I have had zero interactions since. Oops.

2. Grad Conductor J is Czech, and he is conducting the Stravinsky Septet, which I am playing in, for this Contemporary Music Ensemble concert cycle. His English is not great, and he mumbles a little, and makes hilarious faces when he conducts, and for some reason thinks it's okay to wear a white bow tie and red cummerbund with his black tux when he is conducting a concert... But it's kind of awkwardly charming, mostly because of his accent (and because he's pretty sweet, and definitely well-intentioned). Anyway, I'd really only spoken with him very briefly in class, plus one awkward mumbled conversation on a crowded bus, so hearing him talk as much as he does in rehearsal is a novel thing. It fascinates me. He keeps saying the word slowlier -- as in, "we take it a little slowlier" -- which is an adorable word-formation. I don't remember my Origins & Nature of English Vocabulary as well as I would like, and I left all my old notebooks in Long Beach (how's that for cutting the cord, yo? except I didn't get rid of anything, it's all in a box in my parents' house...), so I don't know exactly what neologistic processes are going on, but it's clearly a conflation of "slowly" and "slower," yeah? Cute. Also, he says "bassoon" with a fun accent. It's a little like "bassyoon" -- not pronounced enough to be umlaut-u, maybe a little like French u? As well as "wiolin" and always "celli" (never "cello"). It's fun.

3. The Stravinsky Septet is a lot more fun (and a lot easier to read) with more than four parts accounted for. No joke, for the first rehearsal last week (at 9 a.m.), I was the first person to show up, at maybe 20 of? Grad Conductor D, the CME manager, arrived soon after, and we set up the chairs (as we were doing so, someone from the rehearsal crew, which I guess is a work-study deal? they do set-up and tear-down for all the "large ensembles" -- orchestra, wind ensemble, and CME -- poked his head in but we were all, "we got this" so he left), and then Grad Conductor J came as well, and I warmed up. The violinist and violist were also essentially on time, so Grad Conductor D covered the piano part, and we started reading (we'd only gotten the parts scores (the parts are on back-order, bah) the night before, okay? I only remembered to pick mine up that morning). The pianist arrived 45 minutes late. The clarinetist and cellist never showed up at all, and Grad Conductor D had forgotten to put a horn player on the roster. This morning's 9 a.m. rehearsal had everyone but the horn, which, eh, not cool, but it was still much easier to put things together and get shit done. Yesterday's 8:30 a.m. rehearsal of the Stravinsky Concertino for 12 players was also pretty pathetic -- four people (violin, clarinet, oboe, trumpet 1) never showed up, trumpet 2 arrived halfway through the rehearsal, trombone 1 even later, and we started about 10 or 15 minutes behind schedule because we were waiting for people to trickle in.

I understand that this is college and it's hard to get up for things that early, but we are musicians and this is rehearsal. This shit? Is how grownups get FIRED. Dammit.

4. So I'm working with Tall Composer on a project for Research Seminar (which is something that happens to All Masters Students Everywhere, I'm told), because his joined-at-the-hip roomie is working with his new bestie, the oboist from my quintet. And it turns out he's kind of a douche (so props to you for calling it, Jeff). Best of all, it's in a way that reminds me unpleasantly of DIAF. Now I'm extra glad I decided I don't actually want to date anyone.

5. I am crocheting! I am crocheting "convertible" gloves -- the fingers are full-length, but they have a slit about halfway up, so you can stick your fingers out and be dextrous while the top of the finger flops around behind, and then when you're done you can be warm again! But you guys, I have remembered why I switched over entirely to knitting: crocheting sucks. Completely aside from the fact that I had to RE-LEARN EVERYTHING (except for how to chain, I guess), it is very slow going, and I have to look at what I'm doing all the time because I can't find where I'm supposed to stick the hook through by feel, and while the left-hand glove feels warm when I try it on indoors (it's the finished one; I've only begun the cuff on the right-hand glove so far), it is rather bulky and I'm sure the wind will cut right through all the GAPING HOLES that crocheting creates. Ah, well. I'm enjoying it well enough, I guess. And I LOVE the yarn I'm using! It's Elsebeth Lavold BAMBOOL (so named because it is 80% bamboo viscose and 20% merino wool) in midnight blue, to match my corduroy blazer (that it's probably already too cold to wear YAY). AND AND AND it's only $6.99 per 50-gram ball at the AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME yarn store near my flat, Knit One. It's deliciously soft (one of the owners confided to me, while I was checking out, that she had passed it off as cashmere in a hat for a friend, because they had no cashmere yarn in the colour he wanted), and pretty, and warm (I hope). MY NEXT PROJECT: convertible mittens (this is where it's "fingerless" (properly half-fingers, here) gloves underneath and a big mitten flap over the top) in a grey tweed wool, to go with my peacoat. And my trench. And, you know, everything. (Freedom Spirit by Twilleys of Stamford, $5.95 per 50-gram ball, score! srsly some of the yarn there, like the silks or the actual cashmere, was upwards of $30)

6. So it turns out I might be good at what I do? I always feel awkward when people compliment me. Which happened after pretty much every rehearsal for Mozart 39, be it from the clarinets, the grad conductors, or Lipstick Lesbian Horn Player (I like her, she's from NorCal and is pretty cool, even though Comrade P and Metal Oboist say she's a bitch. I suspect this is almost entirely because she does not like the cock). And now it's happened after a couple wind ensemble rehearsals as well (OH GOD WIND ENSEMBLE HERE KILLS MY SOUL. AS ANNOYING AS IT WAS AT UCLA, AT LEAST DR. DIRECTOR OF BANDS STILL LOVES HIS JOB), and Wind Ensemble Directator tossed off an awkward, "I love your playing," in rehearsal once (SO AWKWARD). And, while I am reasonably happy with the quintet I was assigned to this semester, I have been propositioned for next semester by three other groups so far: a trio wanting to become a quartet, the quintet that Comrade P is leaving, and a quintet that is trying to form (this one probably has the least chance of being graced by my presence, because the clarinetist is douchey and the oboist, though excellent and hot like burning, was one of the people who didn't show up to the Stravinsky Concertino -- although to be completely honest I really don't like the way the oboist in Comrade P's quintet plays. at all). So, uh. I seem to be in demand. Which is actually a little uncomfortable. But I really shouldn't be complaining, because, hey, the more I get to play, right?

7. Uh....... was there a 7? idek. WHATEVER, YO, IT'S 0040 AND I WANTED TO WATCH SOME BSG TONIGHT :\


sigmastolen: (mallow)
edit: so first I had this as a public entry and then i was like oh god people will freak out if they read this so i made it private but now i'm making it public again because i'm kind of on an openness kick and just, don't worry, okay? it was a really fleeting moment this morning afternoon and it freaked me the fuck out but now i'm cozy at home with the kitties and i finally think i can make headway on the paper so i'm gonna go finish that fucker all right? all right.

I feel really unhinged today. Like, anxious and moody and my stomach is weird. Last night and all this morning, I couldn't concentrate. I think I've finally figured out how I'm going to finish my paper (or at least tack another source onto it jfc), but I couldn't make myself sit down and type -- instead, I did the dishes. On my way to school today, I was waiting at a crosswalk. The cross-traffic was rushing by and, just for a moment, I imagined really vividly what it would be like to step out into the street: the way I'd be thrown through the air with the force of impact; the way my spine would be bent at an impossible angle. For that moment, I really thought about it. And then I was properly terrified and I practically ran across campus to the CFA once the walk signal turned green, and then I had to sit in convocation and listen to brass chamber music while I really just wanted to run around or sit and shake or call someone or hide. And my hands are still twitchy and I feel a little hysterical and in an hour I have to play Mozart and I've barely practiced at all this week because I keep going home early to "work on my paper" except then I don't work on my paper. And on Tuesday even though I felt like shit because of allergies and I could barely hear anything in the rehearsal hall and I could not find the place where I was in tune with the other woodwinds, all the graduate conductors were really impressed. And I just don't even know anymore. I feel a little crazy and it doesn't feel good.

But anyway Anthony Plog's "Four Sketches for Brass Quintet" is really awesome and I dig it.
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Because apparently right now I can write prodigiously on any topic... except that of the measly four-page midterm paper that is now a week late. For serious, guys, I couldn't even get that shit done sitting in the quiet study section of the library.

1. The accent. I can't get a handle on it, you guys, and you know how I am about accents. The thing is, the people I hear on the street either sound like The South, or they sound like they could be from Anytown, USA. It's freaky. And the people I see day-to-day are from, like, all over the world, so that doesn't help me get a handle on the Pittsburgh accent. I'm actually pretty disappointed by this, it's supposed to be quite distinctive. (The girl in the unit next door is from West Virginia, but when mum and I met her I would have placed her as Texan. Then again, Comrade P actually is from Texas, and he doesn't sound it at all. So I dunno, maybe it's just me. But still!)

2. The Booze Store. Pennsylvania has ridiculously strict liquor laws, apparently because it was settled by a bunch of Jesus freaks and, you know, Amish and Quakers and shit. Which means that booze cannot be found in the grocery store (well i guess there's some thing about each franchise being able to get liquor licenses for three stores in the entire state but whatevs). There's a Wine & Spirits store (which sells only wine and spirits -- liqueurs and hard liquor -- and no beer) a couple blocks from my apartment, so that's dandy. So far the only places I am personally certain sell beer are the zillion tiny hole-in-the-wall pizza places -- this seems to be the easiest way to get a six-pack, it seems. Supposedly there is a store in the borough north of mine that has a Beer Store where 24-packs can be had for a ridiculous price, but I haven't seen it with my own eyes yet. BUT ANYWAY the Wine & Spirits store. I'm fond of it. The selection is good, even if wines are at least a dollar more here than they would be in California (and I don't know if this is PA's fault, or the shipping distance, because Barefoot Wine should be $4.99 but it is $5.99 here and apparently this is a place where people utter the phrase "three-buck Chuck" (oh Charles Shaw what have you done to yourself :c)); it's organized and the aisles are clearly labeled and there's all sorts of fancy shit that I'd probably have to go to an actual liquor store to find in California, like white creme de menthe and shit. But the employees seem angry or unhappy or something; they're always really brusque. And I don't know why. I don't think it's me.... I'm polite, I'm clean, I'm neatly dressed, I'm of legal drinking age (and I don't look suspiciously young or anything), I say "hello" and "thank you" and "have a good $TIMEOFDAY." So... I don't get it. Maybe they are annoyed that I usually have to fish in my bookbag to find my wallet to show them my ID.


a further note on booze: Grasshoppers, which are delicious and minty and green. Equal parts cream, creme de menthe (green hell yes), and creme de cacao (wiki says white but I just used brown and the drink still ends up quite green so I have decided it makes no damn difference). Shake with ice & serve in a chilled cocktail glass. Reminiscent of mint-chocolate-chip ice cream: sweet and full of calories. TASTY!
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Q: How is it that time passes so quickly during the day and most of the night, but when it hits around 4 a.m. suddenly the minutes draaaaaaaaaaaag by?

Q: How is it even possible that I still have not written that fucking paper? Fucking fuck fuck.
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We were reviewing the pastoral and related concepts in Music & Nature the other day (no, I still haven't finished that paper.... sue me, okay?) -- related concepts being "anti-pastoral" and "post-pastoral." Comrade P on post-pastoral: 'It's when you mail somebody a sheep.' Cue me snorting with inappropriate laughter while someone else who is actually a good student took it upon himself to explain. Man, I'm gonna be so sad when he leaves to go have a job. He's pretty much my favourite person here.

Dan on my new contra reamer: 'I never thought about it, but I guess if you tried to ream a contra reed with a normal reamer the reed would be all, "is it in yet?"' omg &hearts &hearts &hearts
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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


Oct. 4th, 2010 06:45 am
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So. For whatever reason, the school doesn't give our Lit & Rep professor real roll sheets. The first couple classes, we all just passed around a sign-in sheet and he used that to make his own roll sheet, which apparently is organized by instrument (sensible). Now, the only bassoonists in the class (for whatever reason) are myself and Comrade P, who is finishing this semester and then playing contrabassoon in San Francisco.

Except apparently my handwriting is so bad that the professor gave up and just wrote "Girl" under bassoon, because he couldn't read my name. Which he then told the entire class the next time he took roll, because he had to ask my name again.

So yeah, I'm pretty much never going to hear the end of it.

sigmastolen: (omgcrab)
This story actually starts yesterday. Saturday I went to see the Pittsburgh Symphony play Beethoven 5 and some other stuff, and I was really keyed up still when I got home (OMG MOTIF! OMG SCHERZO!! OMG MY TEACHER IS SO FABUOUS!!!), so I stayed up late late. (btw, Saturday was v. busy, between practicing, having a lesson, getting an iPhone, and going to the Symphony. I pretty much spent the entire afternoon on buses, or waiting for buses. Which apparently tend not to run on time on Saturdays.) So then on Sunday I woke up about 8:30 or 9, later than I intended, and allergies were terrible so I fed the cats, had some tea and a couple spoonfuls of peanut butter (shut up, peanut butter rocks), and then napped from about 10:00 until 2:30. At that point, either the allergy meds had kicked in or the allergens had subsided, so I got up, had a shower, and made food (tea and grilled cheese and fried eggs. I ran out of Cheerios on Saturday, okay? I'm having to be creative about breakfast). I had wanted to go to DSW to find myself some closed-toed flats (because I don't have any right now and open-toed shoes are really not gonna cut it, very soon), but then the Port Authority website said there would be bus outages along the route I needed to take, so I decided that Fate was against me getting shoes, so instead I practiced for a few hours, then cooked some more (curry with tofu & egg over pasta because I can't find the goddamn rice in the grocery store, and cheesy bread allegedly for today's breakfast). And then I fucked around on the internet because, what do you know, it was midnight and I wasn't sleepy. And I wasn't sleepy. And I wasn't sleepy.

Around 2 I was like, I better go be in bed, because if I stay out here in the dining room I'll never sleep. And then I was lying in bed in the dark, still awake. And still awake. And still awake. Until 5 am.

At 5 I was finally, finally, kinda tired, so I thought, "one hour of sleep is better than no sleep; I'll nap until my alarm goes off at six! Because my 9 am rep class is doing Mendelssohn 3 and Brahms 4 today!"

And then at 9:12 I woke up to Baxter clawing my arm and crying for breakfast.

So I dashed off a quick text to Bassoonist P, my stand partner, took a fast shower, discovered it was raining, dug up my rainboots and a jacket and scarf, repacked my bag (because it got very unpacked this weekend while I was running errands), and dashed out to the bus. I arrived at class around 10:12 and followed along with Brahms 4 for about 5 minutes until they packed up, and then the professor teased me a little about needing a new alarm clock. And then he teased me some more about being late when I ran into him in the cafe (OMG BTW MY SCHOOL HAS A CAFE IN THE FINE ARTS BUILDING. THIS IS HOW IT'S DONE, PEOPLE. Because musicians and artists are probably the most caffeinated people on any given college campus ever).

So I practised for perhaps an hour because hey, we have lessons again today! And then I was hurriedly packing up to go to my noon class when Bassoonist P asked if I was leaving, and so I surrendered my practice room to him. Dashing out the building, I passed a couple other people who are also in my noon class, none of them in the same hurry I was. And yet I thought nothing of it. Until I walked halfway across campus to the building the class is in, and the lecture hall was dark and empty. And finally I was like, "crap. Did I miss a memo or something?" So then I checked my e-mail, and indeed, the professor had cancelled class. At 9:00 last night. And as much as it was definitely a case of me being as big a fuck-up as ever lived, it would have been nice of someone to say, "hey, you know class is cancelled, right?" while I was boogieing out of the CFA (college of fine arts)

So then I trudged back to the CFA and got chips and a bagel in the cafe and we're finally up to now.

Also, you guys:
Me: oh god why. what am i supposed to do with this?

The picture really doesn't do it justice. It is impressively crazy.
sigmastolen: (omgcrab)
Yesterday, it was hot and sunny and dry. No, for real, my hair was all flat any everything! I didn't have to be on campus at all, so I took the opportunity to do some errands:

- to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (main branch, so the one near school, not the one near my house). I got a library card, as well as parts for the Nielsen wind quintet for my new woodwind quintet. We're going to have our first rehearsal on Friday; on Monday, we had a meeting to, well, meet each other, and talk about what music to get (the verdict: Ibert, Beethoven, D'Rivera (Aires Tropicales), Nielsen, Francaix. NO DANZI, NO REICHA, NO LIGETI. I am only sad about one of those things). GOSSIP TIEM! We're all first-year M.M. students... except the horn player. We had a second-year M.M. horn player, but she had too many other chamber groups and dropped us. (GOSSIP, SECOND LAYER: all the other double reeds call her The Bitch.) So our new horn player is.... a freshman. The clarinet player is really dissatisfied with this. ADDITIONALLY: everyone seems REALLY WHOLESOME except for me and it is AWKWARD. They also don't seem very adventurous. I mean, my quintet wish list has things like Harbison and Carter and Zappa on it, and they're all, Ibert! Beethoven! These sound excellent! Oh, UCLA, how I miss your new music scene. Or at least, I miss how all my friends were into new music. ON THE OTHER HAND I might already be the darling of the composition students, so that's cool.

- to the AT&T store for a new phone (my current phone is slowly reaching the inevitable doom of all flip phones: the hinge is breaking). This was actually kind of a bust. FIRST it's in the Strip District (no, I haven't figured out why it's called that yet), which is like an hour-long bus ride. Then, when I got there, my AT&T Representative, Ron, said I needed to be an authorized user on the family's account in order to upgrade my phone without my mum coming in and providing identification. This was an easy enough fix -- I called my mum and gave her the customer service number and she took care of that in about 10 minutes while Ron took care of someone else on the phone and I browsed the phones on display. BUT THEN when he checked to see if I would be able to get the discounted upgrade price, it blocked him because our payment was past due. So I called mum AGAIN and as it turned out she'd written all the checks on Friday before she went to the Bay Area for the weekend (apparently my uncle in Saratoga had a brain tumor? Don't worry, they cut it out and he's fine and actually friendly for perhaps the first time ever) but then my DAD neglected to put them in the mail on Saturday without her to remind him. So the check actually got mailed on Monday and wasn't processed by Tuesday when I was actually physically standing in the store. The price difference could have been a few hundred dollars, so Ron gave me his card and I'm planning to go back on Saturday to get a new phone for real. Which is okay, because it gives me time to try to make a BIG BIG DECISION: Do I go with my usual MO these past several years and get a phone that only does what I have so far needed it to do (calls, text messages, photos, the occasional photo message)? Or do I swing to the opposite end of the spectrum and shell out for a high-functioning smart phone (an iPhone refurb or something)? TBH I'm leaning toward the iPhone, depending on how much it will cost and what monthly fees they will charge... but any input/advice is welcome.

- to the grocery store for EPIC GROCERY SHOPPING (no, seriously, I had three bags full. That's a big deal when you walk to the store)

SO ANYWAY, that was yesterday. Hot, dry, sunny, errands. TODAY started out bright and hot and muggy. By mid-afternoon it was getting a little cloudy. And then I started to practice and the clouds rolled in, it got breezy, and suddenly there was THUNDER AND LIGHTNING. So I called mum to tell her about it, because I had mentioned how hot and dry it was yesterday. And right after I hung up the phone, there was suddenly a TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR. Like, literally sheets of rain. So much rain that I couldn't see across the courtyard because of all the rain in the way. But by the time I finished practising, perhaps 40 minutes later, and went to catch a bus home, it had stopped, and as I was walking from the bus to my apartment, the sky had cleared enough for the sun to be in my eyes. My poor reeds, they just don't understand! And neither does my hair. (I'm so fluffy right now.)

BUT YEAH. WEATHERRRR!!!!!!1!!!!11!!eleven

TONIGHT: baking cookies and watching Hard Candy. Netflix: it is my new favourite thing.

ETA;; wtf lj changed the buttons on that little bar at the top of the entry. WHAT IS THIS, LIVEJOURNAL. I THOUGHT WE TALKED ABOUT HOW I HATE CHANGE.

ETA.2;; also today: my Music & Nature prof made me read an assignment out loud today (an abstract for an article we read on music as an element of sexual selection, which is pretty interesting stuff, btw) as an example of good academic writing. And then later a girl from class told me -- so sincerely! -- about how excellent it was. I might have died of embarrassment... except I'm too arrogant and self-satisfied for that. *buffs nails on shirt* Yep, still got it. HAY GUISE MAYBE I'M NOT BURNT OUT AFTER ALL
sigmastolen: (omgcrab)
you guys. the CIA does an information session/recruitment thingie at my school.

sigmastolen: (Default)

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


Aug. 28th, 2010 07:53 pm
sigmastolen: (Default)
So I'm in Pittsburgh! Yeah, I made it. My apartment is big, bigger than I was expecting, and it feels like the furniture mum and I hurriedly purchased from Ikea doesn't even come close to filling it. That said, it's old and kind of shitty, and was definitely NOT move-in ready: the place hadn't been properly cleaned and the fridge smelled like death and most of my windows are broken in some way (won't stay open, won't lock, won't lock, or both, and one of the only ones that does doesn't have its screen in). And there was no electricity for a few days, so we were indoor-camping: sleeping on an air mattress, using a battery-powered lantern for light, and eating out all the time.

My place is really close to the "main drag" of my neighbourhood, so I'm very very close to the grocery store, the liquor store, the post office, the bank, and many, many restaurants (including a tea shop and a coffee shop, both of which I enjoy, although the tea place is really hipstery and sometimes I feel too lame for it). AND! Two of the buses that I can ride to school stop right at my cross-street, so that will be totally awesome when it snows. (How weird is it that the clause when it snows is completely true and inevitable?) (I'm also still astounded by the trees. There are woods here! We flew over them. And I was like, wait, trees like this don't happen in places I live. wtf? Which I guess is what happens when I've lived practically my entire life in what would naturally be a DESERT. Or, you know, coastal scrub or something. The point is, Greater Los Angeles County does not have trees the way Pittsburgh has trees. In Southern California, trees only happen in the mountains. And sometimes not even there.)

I've had my first week of classes, although it wasn't really the full experience, because ensemble rehearsals haven't started yet, and chamber groups haven't yet been assigned. Which was kind of nice, because then I had extra time to sleep and to practise, which I probably could have done more of, since my orchestra audition Thursday night TOTALLY BLEW. I've been feeling insufficiently prepared for quite a while now, and then I didn't really think I was nervous, but when I started to play my hands were super sweaty and kept sliding off the keys so there were a ton of wrong notes and it was just kind of crap. There are only five of us right now, though (the sixth girl arrives on Tuesday), and Mahler 6 will use all five of us, so I was at least pretty certain of playing something, and I have no great need to be FIRST ALL THE TIEM OMG. So evidently what I achieved was contrabassoon. Yes. Contrabassoon. Already. Go ahead, laugh it up. At least I brought my reeds (omg relief).

I'm making friends, gradually. I've been conversing with a handful of other first-year Master's students: two composers, two conductors, a tuba player, a clarinetist... and a handful of continuing grad students: another composer, a clarinetist, an oboist... as well as the other bassoonists -- we went out for dinner after our auditions. There's a continuing grad student (P -- he's leaving after this semester to play with the San Francisco ballet), a junior (N), another new MM student (X -- he is Chinese) and a new "PRP" student (K), which is something like a performance certificate or something -- non-degree grad student, so she doesn't have to take any academic classes. And I at least know everyone in my Eurhythmics class by name, since we've been playing name games. And, after the Bassoon Dinner (which also included two oboists, a clarinetist, and Chinese Bassoonist's wife), I watched Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country with at the grad oboist's apartment with Grad Bassoonist P, and it was good.

I have also managed four things of note:
- I am successfully navigating the bus system to travel between my apartment and campus. SHUT UP, IT'S A BIG THING FOR ME. I have historically been afraid of Public Transportation.
- Monday, the first day of classes, I did not bring my instrument to the Woodwind Literature & Repertoire class :( It wasn't the end of the world, the professor let it slide and I sang my part, but I still felt like a TOTAL ASS and possibly made a bad impression on P although he seems to have accepted me as a fellow Trekker
- Friday I played a demo for the graduate orchestration class :) Maybe they'll write music for me!
- I passed the Graduate Proficiency Exams in music theory and music history, despite my serious misgivings about how much I had forgotten since I last took a course in either of those. YAY ME!

Today I have been having TERRIBLE TERRIBLE ALLERGIES but I did work up the willpower to vacuum and mop my apartment, as well as do the dishes that have been amassing since Thursday. Things I was supposed to also do but have not: laundry (although I have just enough quarters for one load, and there are potentially three or four loads that need washing -- my building's machines are BLOODY EXPENSIVE, $1.75 to wash and $1.50 to dry WTF), empty the trash, empty the litter box (oh god my allergies cannot take litter dust right now), write thank-you notes, read the articles for Music and Nature for Monday, play bassoon (again, oh god my allergies prevent it right now). But I guess there is still time for me to do the fun online things I jotted on my to-do list, like upload my camera to iPhoto, re-download photos I lost in The Crash from Facebook and PhotoBucket, and take pictures of my apartment now that it is clean and has things in it.

So I guess that's it for now: new city, new school, new people, new allergens!
sigmastolen: (Default)
So I spent this weekend at a retreat center/convent in rural Mississippi, hanging out with nuns.

BUT FIRST: today's Writer's Block question is "Have you ever been passionate about something to the point of an obsession? If so, how did it impact the rest of your life? Did you ever (or would you want to) break free?" which is legit, but the subject line is, "Out, Out Damned Spot!" which I feel is only tenuously related to the question at hand, and the Shakespeare snob in me really just had to point that out to criticize it. WTF, livejournal. WTF.

Okay. Anyway.

Yesterday, my mom's college roommate took her first vows as a School Sister of Notre Dame. Yeah, people still become nuns -- wild, right? (Or totally not wild, in point of fact.) Anyway, Mum, Dad, and I (the Munchkin is somewhere in Europe on a BAND TRIP HAHAHA NERD lucky bastard I haven't been to Europe) travelled to The South this weekend to attend the ceremony. It was at the St. Mary of the Pines retreat center, in almost-Louisiana rural Mississippi, and it was really lovely. For starters, it was good to see now-Sister S again, because it's been a few years and I like her a lot. The retreat center is in the woods, and it's by a lake, and there's a lovely old cemetery, and everything was so beautiful and peaceful and I really felt a great sense of calm and goodwill there. It's also a retirement home for the Sisters, so it was full of little old lady nuns, and they were adorable -- plus, the nuns were about the sweetest, kindest, most caring people I've ever met, and they were so happy to have visitors (particularly, I think, a young person like me). And, even though I'm about as lapsed as lapsed can be, I really enjoyed going to Mass, and the vows ceremony, and even the evening prayer service and the Adoration of the Eucharist. I kind of feel like this was Catholicism done right, you know? It was all about love and caring and helping to make a better world, and I'm such a sap for that kind of thing. I don't know if there's anything out there to hear it, but I said a little prayer for love and a better world, just in case someone is listening. And to remind myself, I think, of what's important. Plus, I've always loved all the ritual of the Church, and I was so pleased when they used the "Mass of Creation" chant melodies that I remember from my childhood.

(Also, my dad, who is usually a pill when we travel, was really happy there, because he likes beautiful places with space to run (or walk because he's a little injured right now), and he adores little old ladies and talking to them and looking after them.)

The only downsides I could see were the humidity, the heat, and the mosquitoes, really. And the lack of WIRELESS INTERNET ALL THE TIME!!! to feed my addiction, but that was probably a good thing. Despite the fact that I still didn't really finish the paper I've been trying to draft all week. I started it, at least! And I'm going to finish it TONIGHT. Because my prof gave me a PROPER DEADLINE and we're going to meet tomorrow and talk about it and everything! Hah.

But on a more serious note, I guess, even though I'm not that into God and religion and even spirituality, I really loved it there. I felt a greater sense of peace, sitting there in the chapel with the nuns, than I have in years. Everything was beautiful. Everyone was kind.

I would miss sex and frivolous shoes, but really, nuns know how to live.

p.s. Let the record show that last weekend was 'Oon Mafia Camping and it was pretty great.
sigmastolen: (Default)
(What I just thought: "A meme walks into a bar..." PUNCHLINE, ANYONE?)

Basically, you enter some text and it analyses it using some unknown criteria and tells you what famous writer you write like (and gives you a badge! for badges click through cut below.)

Anyway, when I copypasta'd some of the more coherent paragraphs from recent journal entries, it told me I write like Stephen King. And when I put in the text of a homework assignment I did yesterday (a page and a half on articles about ESL and Ebonics and junk), it claimed I write like H.P. Lovecraft. And then when I entered some paragraphs from a piece of fiction I've been toying with, and that was apparently like Oscar Wilde. But other, more fragmentary paragraphs from my (appropriately titled) "collected scraps, variable origin" file seem to be written more like Chuck Palahniuk.

Anyway, I guess I think the whole thing is kind of crap. I write like me, and you write like you, and all of the authors in the meme's bag of tricks write like themselves as well. But it was an interesting experiment, kind of like the one where the program analyzes text to determine the gender of the author.


Actually, the "we don't need no stinkin' badges" quote is kind of appropriate for today's focus on vernacular dialects. Huh. (Of course, my brain also wants to turn it into the "badgers? we don't need no stinkin' badgers!" quote from Weird Al's movie, UHF. WHICH COINCIDENTALLY CAME UP IN CONVERSATION OVER DINNER TODAY)
sigmastolen: (Default)
So, I'm listening to the Savage Lovecast while OMG PACKING and I came across a scrap of paper that has apparently been languishing on my desk, folded into quarters, for a while. It says (in my unintelligible scrawl): see, the thing is our media and our society tells girls that they need to be pretty & popular & gossipy, but not necessarily smart. And it's AWFUL.

And it I guess ties into something I have been thinking about since at least December, since I came across a (privatelocked) LJ entry from when I was writing the paper for my SOCIAL JUSTICE!!! class in the fall that said:
women are not famous for being intelligent, or for high achievement, not the way men are. women are famous for being beautiful -- sometimes in combination with intelligence, achievements, or talents, but also outrageous and inappropriate behaviour, and just as often, beauty is the only trait that brings the woman fame. one of the world's great rarities is a famous woman who is not beautiful. Apparently I almost wrote that paper on girls and the media and how it tears them down.

And so this is something that's been kind of.... percolating in my mind along with a bunch of wangsty body image stuff I don't need to go into yet. And I guess I want to know, are these perceptions valid? Am I onto something here, or am I just projecting my own frustrations onto an academic facade?

And completely separate from these questions about ME ME ME, what is your take on women, fame, beauty, and the media? DISCUSS.


sigmastolen: (Default)

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