sigmastolen: (WDCH)
30 Days of Classical Music
Day 07 - A classical music piece that reminds you of a certain event

Overture to Tannhäuser | Richard Wagner
(videos above: Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Georg Solti)

Tannhäuser was the first opera I ever saw, so it occupies a very special place in my heart.  I actually saw LA Opera's rather infamous 2007 production during my second year of college -- you know the one, with the Venusberg populated by dancers wearing G-strings and nothing.  else.  Which, you know, also made the overture particularly memorable.

The entire production was really quite excellent, with a smashing cast and orchestra, LA Opera's signature minimal sets, and very striking and symbolic use of colour.  Wagner isn't my favorite in general, but Tannhäuser was such an important experience for me that hearing the overture brings me right back to that first time, sitting in the cheap seats in Dorothy Chandler Pavillion (iirc we were in the very last row of the orchestra level which sucks in so many ways but oh, the memories) and holding my breath in anticipation of finding out what's so great about this thing that we call opera.  It gives me shivers.

(my icon is the wrong part of the Music Center but w/e w/e)
sigmastolen: (bassoonists do it with their thumbs)
30 Days of Classical Music
Day 03 - A classical music piece that makes you happy:

A Midsummer Night's Dream | Benjamin Britten
(video above: countertenor David Daniels sings "Welcome Wanderer - I know a bank," which is my favourite aria from this opera.  This is the Opéra National de Lyon production, under musical director Harry Bicket.)

Yes.  The entire opera.  Benjamin Britten is my favorite.  Gorgeous, ethereal "green space" music; text painting that makes me giggle; and, if you're lucky, singers who are also gifted comedic actors (especially the Rude Mechnicals).  Oberon is a major countertenor role, and I love countertenors, especially in music from the last hundred years.  (Of course, if you don't have a countertenor (as OperaUCLA did not when I fell in love with their production and saw five of their six shows), a sexy mezzo adds a certain something to the duets with Titania, particularly if it's not played as a trouser role.)  Also, Opera Does Shakespeare is pretty much ALWAYS GOOD.

RUNNERS UP (because this was a hard day to pick just one):
La Valse | Maurice Ravel (in which Bernstein gets down with his bad self.  La Valse is fun for the whole family!)
Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity from The Planets | Gustav Holst (Jupiter brings jollity.  It's true.)
Flight | Jonathan Dove (this link goes to's Music Sampler because I am a snob and don't like any of the five clips of Flight a that exist on YouTube.  The ending of this opera makes me sad, but I fell in love with it (while playing contrabassoon in the pit for OperaUCLA) much the same way I fell in love with A Midsummer Night's Dream.  I need more people to know about this opera!)
sigmastolen: (dalek-o-lantern)
that 90s x-men cartoon, part the first )

that 90s x-men cartoon, part the second )

full disclosure time: most of my "classic" x-men knowledge probably came from this cartoon. i didn't buy the comics until middle school, and i have not by any stretch read a great deal of the "x-men canon". trufax.
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I'm expanding my cocktail repertoire to include whiskey, because after reminiscing about how wonderful the Jameson we had last year on St. Patrick's day was (and also on the goodness of whiskey in general, cheers to this summer's Bassoon Camping expedition), I finally took it upon myself to buy a bottle. That was a week or more ago; until tonight I've been sipping it straight, which is smooth and boozy and good, but hey, it's Saturday night at the beginning of spring break, and I saw an incredible concert (FIREBIRD @ THE PSO, GUH) tonight, so -- cocktail tiem!

New York Cocktail
1 1/2 oz. Whiskey (translate to: 3 parts)
1/2 oz. Lime Juice (1 part)
1 tsp sugar syrup or powdered sugar (relatively arbitrary amount of simple syrup -- easy to make at home! It's been sitting in my cabinet for months.)
dash grenadine (smallish arbitrary amount)
shake with ice
garnish with orange twist (which I did not do because who the fuck has orange twists lying around? I sure as fuck wasn't making one.)

It's pretty delicious -- sweet with a burn of whiskey, and a tart aftertaste.

I originally wanted to do the Los Angeles Cocktail -- whiskey, several dashes sweet vermouth, lemon juice, sugar syrup, and "1/2 raw egg", but (a) sweet vermouth is vile and I don't keep it at home and (b) I am leery of making cocktails with egg. I had a White Lady at a bar a little while back (gin, cream, sugar syrup, egg white) and it was pretty great, but that was an actual bartender making it and I don't really want to do it myself, eh?

Other things I have drunk at bars and restaurants recently: Pomegranate Margarita (okay, so this was at the Cheesecake Factory, it still counts); Aqua Velva (equal parts vodka, gin, and blue curaƧao, topped up with sprite) at the Harris Grill; Singapore Sling (gin, sloe gin, sour mix, soda, top with cherry brandy?) at Joe Mama's. All delicious. But what I recommend, next time you're at a Cheesecake Factory, is the blueberry mojito -- Dena got this and it is crazy delicious. Despite the fact that I haven't really been feeling rum ever since the fateful Pirate Party, years and years ago.

Mmmm, booze :)

AND ALSO!! Presents from YouTube:
The Most Overused Line In Cinema
Playing bassoon is cool. (Dan says this might be the most highbrow penis joke ever, but somehow (shockingly) I don't follow...)
Smooth Criminal covered by two BADASS cellists. Can I be this rock and roll? Pls?
Sammy Davis, Jr., does impressions of his fellow crooners
Do tigers like catnip? I WANT TO RUB ALL THEIR BELLIES. OMG.
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.
sigmastolen: (omgcrab)
This is mostly for me, so I can find it and watch it OVAR AND OVAR AND OVAR, but if any of you have not seen this, I have a PRESENT FROM THE INTERNET!!! :D

Forehead Tittaes by Janae: Make them almost look you in the eyes )

Because I could watch this allllllll dayyyyyyyyyy longggggggggggggggggg. I could also listen to Ms. Cotillard's accent allllllll dayyyyyyyyyy longggggggggggggggggg. And then I would die of LOL.
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Dear women whose pictures appear on The Sartorialist:

Can someone please explain to me the thinking behind the massive-heels-while-bicycling phenomenon? I don't understand. It seems highly impractical, and perhaps even dangerous -- like you're inviting some kind of grievous injury. I worry for your safety.

sigmastolen: (Default)
After my second viewing, I can safely say that I liked it (shut up you guys, you know it's hard for me to tell with the HP films! I'm still flip-flopping on the fourth one!).

(FYI: I am in Chicago, spending the Thanksgiving holiday with my dad's cousins who live here! They're super cool. One has a baby named Malia who is pretty much the best thing ever: 1.5 years old, adorable, loves music, and so, so smart. She blows me away. Pictures later, maybe. Also: Today the two babyless cousins took me to the Art Institute of Chicago, which. Amazing. Pictures later, definitely. But omg my feet. And all this after an extremely fruitful two-hour shopping trip this morning -- things I now have: a winter coat (OH THANK GOD); warm, fuzzy, tall boots that actually fit my calves omg)

okay now the movie )

Things for which I am hoping in HP 7.2:
-- lots of flashbacks to cover all the plot they've skipped in the films so far
-- lots of flashbacks of young Snape & other grownups <3
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In preparation for a cocktail party I'm hosting on Friday (Comrade P insists on calling it a "get-together" -- parties are for undergrads, get-togethers are for cool, low-key, responsible grad students), I have initiated what I like to call, Operation: Clean ALL The Things! (helpful explanatory link) I didn't do as much as I intended to this weekend, but it's... going well, I think.

- laundry (ongoing)
--- clothing
--- linens
- dishes (ongoing)
- kitchen counters
- stove top
- threw out pile of unnecessary papers

- kitchen
--- sink
--- oven??
--- coffee maker
--- wipe down toaster
- bathroom
--- sink
--- tub
--- toilet
--- mirror
- living room
--- remove (black) cat hair from (white) loveseat (yeah, that was perhaps not a good call on my part)
--- Do Something about the blind in the front window -- it's one of those roll-up ones, and the bracket is fuxxed so it falls down a lot and is currently extended all the way so it covers part of the radiator in addition to the window
--- finally figure out how to hook up DVD player so that it actually works?
- bedroom
--- tidy items on top of dresser
--- put away pile of shoes
--- put away pile of bras
--- make bed
--- relocate litterbox & cat dishes to bedroom for Friday night
- dining room
--- clear library books & random papers off table
--- clear coats & scarves off computer stand
- entire flat
--- vacuum
--- mop (well, Swiffer Wet Jet)
--- put up posters? They've been sitting rolled up on the bookshelf since they arrived. :(

..... okay, that actually looks like a fuck of a lot still to do. Uh.

addt'l prep:
- booze run (Wine & Spirits store)
- mixer/garnish/ice run (Giant Eagle, the local supermarket)
- snack run (Trader Joe's -- MUST FIGURE OUT HOW TO BUS THERE & BACK. Or draft someone to drive me I guess. Eh.)
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- Chemical Party Carbon is the hottest bear ever. (haha fucking hipster noble gases)

- An absolute gem from a site that has me screaming with laughter

- uh.... actually, that's all I got. BUT IT'S A GOOD ALL, AMIRITE?
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Music that is love:
- Sting singing John Dowland (the album is called Songs from the Labyrinth. Check it out, there's a YouTube playlist.)
- The Kronos Quartet playing John Adams: John's Book of Alleged Dances. (1) I love Kronos. (2) I love John Adams. I want John Adams to write something this wicked (and omg wicked hard, it sounds like) for woodwinds. I could maybe expand my "Woodwind Quintets That People Might Actually Want To Listen To" list to use two hands!

p.s. Have more YouTube: Kronos Quartet on Sesame Street OMG HILARIOUS UNISON SPEAKING! HILARIOUS 80s HAIR AND CLOTHES! PURPLE HAZE! ILU SESAME STREET! (duuuude this was the year I was born how cosmic is that?)

.... okay, have some more Sesame Street on YouTube:
- Geometry of Circles (and also the ending bit with higher-quality video), with music composed by Philip Glass* specifically for this segment.
- RSI: Rhyme Scene Investigation Not that I even watch CSI but, oh, Sesame Street <3 <3 I kept expecting to hear The Who during the "opening credits" bit. Also, how was I not aware that Sesame Street had carved out a niche for itself in the parody business until recently? The list goes on: Desperate Houseplants, A's Anatomy, 30 Rocks, Outrageous Makeover Home Addition, Dirtiest Jobs, Mad Men, True Mud.... Oh, so much love. A large part of me wants to go all CRITICAL MEDIA LITERACY!!!! on it.
ALSO ALSO ALSO Neil Patrick Harris is the Shoe Fairy! SESAME STREET + NPH + SHOES = EPIC EPIC WIN. Oh, NPH! Oh, Sesame Street! ILU FOREVER. (Oh, shoes...... *swoon*)

.... Dudes, I forgot what this post was originally going to be about. Happy YouTubing!

*There was a composer named Glass
Philip Glass Philip Glass Philip Glass
Philip Glass Philip Glass
Philip Glass Philip Glass
Philip Glass Philip Glass Philip Glass

edit;; While I'm showing you the internets, I just read this:
What Batman taught me about being a good dad
You guys, I'm crying. I could blame it on the martini I just finished, but I'm pretty sure it's because I'm an enormous girl. I... don't want to have children. Or at least, I don't want to raise children. Or at least, at this point in my life, I'm pretty sure I won't -- I can't even imagine having a spouse, having a sprog, having a house... It doesn't compute, for me. But I hope this guy's kid grows up to be a superhero. I really do.
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.)
sigmastolen: (omgcrab)
Last night I joined for Netflix (the 31-day free trial, but I'll likely pay them their $10 a month afterwards). I have been signed up for less than 24 hours and I have already spent several hours browsing DVDs, rated 184 movies, added over 200 DVDs to my cue, and watched one movie on Instant Watch. THIS IS GOING TO DESTROY MY LIFE YOU GUYS.

Anyway. That movie was G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and it was epically, hilariously bad. It was literally So Bad It's Good*. It is, in fact, the first example on the So Bad It's Good: Film* page. And if I'd known this, I would have watched it so much sooner -- except I probably wouldn't have appreciated it as much before this exact moment in my life. I mean, the hilariously improbable plot and relationships between the characters and stilted dialogue and slightly impossible action sequences, yes, but OMG THE CAST which includes: The Ninth Doctor as the Fake!Scottish Big Bad, Arthur as the Evil Disfigured Mad Scientist, Gaila as the Hero Chick, Darth Maul (or Toad if you prefer) as the Silent Masked Ninja Hero, Governor Swann as the POTUS, Sienna Miller as the Hot Mind-Controlled Villainess Who Happens To Be The Protagonist's Ex, A Wayans Brother as the Sidekick, A Victoria's Secret Angel as the Hot Secretary, and oh by the way Brendan Fraser in an uncredited cameo during the Training Montage*??? I just. What. How could I possibly resist this movie? We all know I often sort of love things that are bad. Like Torchwood. And Cheetos and Mountain Dew, together, during D&D. And John Barrowman's ACTING!!!

I guess to make amends for how hilariously bad this movie was, and for linking to TV Tropes and IMDB so much in the preceding paragraph, and because I feel obliged to counteract the potential of the G.I. Joe movie to be Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Dethroning Moment of Suck*, have a video! This may actually be JGL's Crowning Moment of Awesome*... performing "Make 'Em Laugh" while hosting SNL. Complete with pratfalls and wall kicks! AWESOME.

sigmastolen: (Default)
1) xkcd #136, "Science Fair" (i mean who doesn't like a little cunnilingus in the morning?)

2) From today's xkcd, "The Carriage", the knowledge that "Because I could not stop for Death" can be sung to the tune of the Gilligan's Island theme. NOW IT WILL HAUNT YOU FOREVER TOO HAHAHAHAHA

3) From the Department of Haunting You Forever, Pierrot Lunaire Meets the Teletubbies (link goes to Facebook sry). Pierrot Lunaire is a piece by Arnold Schoenberg, and it's a little unintentionally creepy, because somehow sprechstimme, which is a kind of "sing-song" way of speaking, always sounds creepy in atonal music. And the Teletubbies are just frightening, especially in this video. I'd recommend watching this in the daytime or with the lights on, because it's one of the sickest and wrongest things I have ever seen on the internet.

4) An effort to repair your now-fractured psyche: John Barrowman singing! Well, it always makes me smile a big goofy fangirl smile.
- "Pretty Women" from Sweeney Todd, with Geogre Hearn
- "I Know Him So Well" from Chess, with Daniel Boys. Now, I don't know this song or this show, but someone in the comments used the words "Big Gay Key Change" and that just fills me with glee.
- "Sunset Boulevard" from, well, Sunset Boulevard. This is maybe my favourite thing I've watched on YouTube. I don't know this show, either (and tbh I don't know that I want to, necessarily -- oh ALW, my CATS phase was the last time I liked you), but I've seen the movie, and there's something really raw and cynical in the way he perform this that absolutely thrills me.
- "Anything Goes" from Cole Porter's eponymous musical, from the Torchwood Season 1 DVD extras. AAAAAHHHH SO MUCH LOVE FOR THIS. The set is a 1940's Cardiff dance hall, used in an episode, and he's in his costume as Captain Jack Harkness and omg it just makes me so happy eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

5) And finally, from the Department of Awesome, ASL's Lego Page. Because he and his friend re-create Escher drawings. Using LEGOS. WIN FOREVER, Y/Y?

edit;; oh hell, just have some embedded Barrowman. :D :D :D

Come to think of it, this might be part of my rabid I LOVE LOS ANGELES thing....
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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.
sigmastolen: (octopus)
Thursday/Friday's list:
1) LAX: Parking FAIL, people who can't drive, security is SLOW, viola security dude, Terminal 4 is SPACE!!, OMGSNAX
2) Midair: OMG MY EARS.
3) ORD: 6 a.m. and DARK, breakfast doesn't feel good at 4 a.m.
4) Midair: Teeny tiny plane!
5) DTW: silent airport! Also, ANIMAL HATS. And, alto sax cab driver
6) UM: "The goal here is not to look like I spent all night on an airplane", The Audition (why do I talk so much? JL sends greetings to JS, NS. also, oops sorry shosty 9), Music Libraries Are Good Places To Kill Time, Information Meetings Are Always Boring No Matter How Hard You Try, It Is A Beautiful Day To Be Outside, Paulo Freire is Better with Snow, I can kill a lot of time in a bathroom
7) My Cab Diver And His Cat Jeezy
8) DTW: Security Trekkies, No Dinosaurs, awesome sandwich, BEST HAT EVAR
9) Midair: slightly less tiny plane
11) Midair: being half-asleep through the descent is weird
12) Home Again, Home Again: Jiggity Jog. Also, clingy kitties.


Yesterday was kind of a BASSOONAGANZA!!! I went to two bassoon recitals and had a lesson, and then afterwards I made reeds. And went to a saxophone recital. In other news, Orch Manager appears to have a blonde girlfriend. Boo.

And then somehow My Favourite Pianist and I ended up staying in the building until closing, kind of just fooling around and chatting. I mentioned something about singing, because I have to learn a song for Awesome Music Ed Voice Class, and then she was like, "Do you want to sing with me?" because she needs to practise the voice music for her collaborative piano grad school auditions. So then she sightread my song and I sightread her songs and it was all kinds of fun! She even played Gretchen am Spinnrade because it's the only one I know, even though she doesn't need it for her remaining audition. And then [ profile] doktorquack came and sang The Vagabond and it was good (much more effective than when I sang it. haha baritones > sopranos).


While I'm linking you to videos, have some Britten: Ian Bostridge singing "Villes" from Les Illuminations, omg you guys you don't even know how much i love ian bostridge (well maybe [ profile] tubamaphone1 does)

Also, have some Stephen Colbert... with a bassoon.
sigmastolen: (Default)
1. Apparently you call this phone number and leave a message for the internet, totally anonymously, about whatever is on your mind?

2. I found that website because I typed "fuck yeah" into the search field at, which is really just Google but in a pretty skin and "deadly accurate"

3. I also found a Neil Patrick Harris fansite. Fuck yeah! That man is beautiful.

4. So I... finished? mostly?... finished one project, which was a miniature version of the PACT teacher assessment thing I'll have to do next term. There was some stuff I very deliberately chose to leave out because I am a slow worker and still ended up sending the "here's my assignment! :D" e-mail 5-8 minutes late.

a.m. until 3ish?: The other project, a paper on who succeeds at school and why. Also, DON'T FORGET: driving directions to HS and MS
4pm: meeting with my Master Teacher for the rest of the year
4:30-somewhat before 7: observe Music Ed Advisor doing an orchestra clinic at the school where I will student teach
7pm: attend middle school orchestra concert to see My Bassoon Student :DDDDD
after 7pm: get my drink on with music ed peeps? Or that might be Wednesday, I forget.

6. WEDNESDAY: study the fuck out of constitution book, have early dinner with Violist P and My Favourite Junior (hopefully at Father's Office, mmmmmmm), Music Ed Get Smashed Party?

7. Thursday OR Friday, depends on progress of constitution studying and on whether I am hungover: Drive to CSULB at fuck o'clock ayemme, take citizenship test, drive back to UCLA, work in library.


9. Gig this weekend with Proto-Doctor Grad Conductor's Korean Youth Orchestra, yay! I love earning money for playing bassoon.


p.s. 11. moar fuckyeah-related links! -- some of these are way too fresh for my taste, but mostly they look really cool. It does spook me a little when I can't tell what body part it is, though
and the rest of it is all team america, save for one unfortunate etched powerbook. :/


sigmastolen: (Default)

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