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however: the last six days are the longest stretch i have gone without feeling intensely awful and crying suddenly about nothing/everything for at least two months, so there's that.

to absolutely do tomorrow: begin aldeburgh application; spend some serious quality time with contrabassoon
to maybe do tomorrow: comic shop?

idk it's still been a little rough, a little like i'm experiencing the world from a great distance, but for a few days, at least, i was feeling like i'd maybe taken a step into the light. i was feeling... galvanized? like i had Things To Do and, finally, the ability to actually do them without being overwhelmed or falling apart or being too afraid to begin. yesterday and today, i'm still trying to do the things but my burst of energy seems to have dissipated; i'm not sure how to go on from here.

also all the gratuitous boozing on bsg is making me really want a drink. or to maybe buy a secret bottle of whiskey or some such just to have on hand and also to have something to put in the flask. no no that is the worst idea ever i won't actually but man i really could use a drink.
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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
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Things Netflix Thinks, Bizarrely, I Will Like Because I Like Battlestar Galactica
- Iphigenia, about -- guess what? -- Euripides' tale of Agamemnon sacrificing his daughter, Iphigenia.
- Breaking Bad, a TV series about a chemistry teacher-cum-meth cooker.
- My Neighbor Totoro, about fantastic critters and country life.
- Howl's Moving Castle, which. Um. I'm not sure I understand what this is supposed to be about.
- John Adams, about the founding father John Adams.
- Band of Brothers, about Easy Company. This one kind of makes sense. I guess John Adams might, too.
- The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, based on a book series that my mum reads about a sassy lady detective in Botswana.

Other Bizarre Netflix Ideas:
- The Blind Side because of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
- Good Hair because of Milk
- United States of Tara because of Milk
- Twelfth Night because of The Princess Bride, Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, and Doctor Who?

Oh, Netflix. What.

Also, strangely specific genres:
- Suspenseful Space-travel TV Shows
- Gritty Suspenseful TV Dramas
- Mind-bending Supernatural Fantasy
- Critically-acclaimed Visually-striking Cerebral Movies

Good job, Netflix.
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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.

ALL I WANT TO DO IS PLAY BASSOON AND SLEEP
WTF HOW DID IT BECOME AFTER MIDNIGHT
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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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1. so my teacher was totally annoyed with me for calling her so late. and maybe also for telling her the quintet felt like we weren't ready for a coaching yesterday. ffffffffff

2. our quintet rehearsal yesterday was actually really awesome and we fixed a lot of stuff. so that's cool.

3. Operation: Clean ALL The Things! got a little rushed at the end there due to the traffic downtown on the way back from the symphony being ABSURD because of some tree-lighting things? idek. whatever. BUT at least it all happened. my apartment had never been so clean, for all of about 1 hour. and then the party fouls began.

4. i learned 2 things! a) i throw a good "get-together" and b) i mix a strong drink. (point (b) may or may not be the cause of point (a)...)

5. i'm not totally useless today i don't think, which is good because i have a lesson and a dress rehearsal and a concert... but i do wish i had kicked the last two composers out before 4 a.m.
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No, no, actually. I'm about ready to declare Operation: Clean ALL The Things! a resounding success! Yay me!

Final Final Items:
- move cat things to bedroom
- vacuum living room
- final clear-off/wipe down of food/drink surfaces
- empty ALL the trashes!
- make bed
- Do Something about the blind in the front window

And that is all. No, really. Everything else is Done now.

In other news, I called my teacher at midnight because I lost track of time whilst Cleaning ALL The Things!

Yeah, I hope she's not mad. At least she didn't pick up? Or is that worse?

Next On: research seminar. rehearsal/coaching. Happy Fun Contra Tiem with Comrade N! dress rehearsal. pittsburgh symphony (joan tower clarinet concerto; appalachian spring). cocktail party! drop dead of tired. wake up and play a concert.
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STILL TO DO:
- kitchen
--- sink
--- oven??
NAW FUCK THAT
--- coffee maker
--- 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? FUCK THAT NOISE
- 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
--- LAUNDER COMFORTERS, SOILED DUE TO HAIRBALL. >:C
- 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. :(
Also, the walls of my apartment are weirdly impenetrable. Grr.

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

addt'l prep:
- booze run (Wine & Spirits store) DUDE I FINALLY FOUND AN EMPLOYEE WHO IS NICE TO ME THERE. We chatted about Our New Old Governor Jerry Brown. Did you know he used to be involved with Linda Ronstadt?
- mixer/garnish/ice run (Giant Eagle, the local supermarket) OMG LIQUIDS ARE HEAVY
- snack run (Trader Joe's -- MUST FIGURE OUT HOW TO BUS THERE & BACK. Or draft someone to drive me I guess. Eh.) (it turns out it's pretty easy to get there, if I don't mind a 3/4 mile stroll both ways. I mean, I could do a route with less walking and more switching of buses, but I'm an able-bodied young person and it's not that cold out yet, so....) (Being at TJ's made me really happy, actually. My brain associates it with California and delicious things. And it looks like the produce is better there than at Giant Eagle... I may have to go back to buy fruit and veg. And blood orange soda.)
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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.


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

STILL TO DO:
- 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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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

FUCK IT I'M GOING HOME OKAY
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Iron Man 2: MEH.

Scarlett Johanssen with red hair and green eyes, kicking ass and taking names VIA MUCH ANGULAR MOMENTUM: YES PLEASE. PLEASE SIR MAY I HAVE SOME MORE.

Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts: <3 FOREVER

Mickey Rourke's character's cockatoo: D'AWWWWWW

Hints at Captain Ameriva movie: HELL YEAH CAP

Hints at Avengers movie: Yeah, okay, cool.

Post-credits teaser for Thor: FUCK YEAH THOR

Netflix: CONTINUING WIN
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1. "Understated Dramas About Marriage" is an oddly specific category of movies. As are "Visually-Striking Violent Action & Adventure" and "Cerebral British Thrillers," although less so.

2. It suggest I will like Twelfth Night (yes, Shakespeare) "because I enjoyed" (wait for it): The Princess Bride, Battlestar Galactica: Season 2.0, and Doctor Who: Season 1. Yeah, I don't know either. That's not even the season of Doctor Who where they actually met Shakespeare.
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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 :\

8. OH BTW I WATCHED WHIP IT AND I LOVE LOVE LOVE ELLEN PAGE AND ALSO I WANT TO PLAY ROLLER DERBY AND BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF OTHER GIRLS IN FISHNETS AND QUAD SKATES.

9. DEAR APPLE: Photobucket WTF DOES THIS MEAN??? D: YRS, SIGMA
UPDATE: Photobucket WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?
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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)
- WAITED FOR THE BUS FOR HALF AN HOUR JESUS
- 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.

WHATEVER, PITTSBURGH, REAL PLACES DON'T PULL THIS KIND OF SHIT. (they just have earthquakes.)
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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.

OK GOING TO DO SRS WORK NOW I SWEARZ

edit;; OK MAYBE NOT DOING SRS WORK AT ALL OOPS
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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first: nature documentaries = BEST FOR REEDMAKING. I started watching The Blue Planet, and to discover I can simultaneously learn shit, be soothed by David Attenborough's dulcet tones, nerd out about how much I love the BBC's composers, and feel like I'm being a good little music major -- it's pretty damn great.

second: Tonight's feature presentation: Little Ashes, starring Javier Beltrán, Robert Pattinson (omg hahaha), Matthew McNulty, and Marina Gatell. According to IMDB, it's "About the young life and loves of artist Salvador Dalí, filmmaker Luis Buñuel and writer Federico García Lorca." Mostly it was about García Lorca being totally in love with Dalí, Dalí being crazy like a crazy jerkass fox, and Buñuel being, well, kind of a dick but ultimately not a terrible dude.

True confessions time: I put this in my queue because of RPattz's promotion of it in that GQ interview from a few years back, and because I like Dalí, and RPattz as Dalí was something not to be missed, obvs.

The jury is still out on whether I might actually have preferred to have missed it.

Okay so they're all at university in Madrid together. Federico is our protagonist, and thank god, because Javier Beltrán pretty much carried the entire film. Marina Gatell, as his fag hag lady friend & fellow writer and revolutionary, Magdalena, was also damn good. McNulty was decent but forgettable, and RPattz was of course unforgettable for all the wrong reasons. Luis calls Federico "bourgeois" and has a massive hard-on for Paris and is a big big homophobe. Salvador starts out as a dorky maladjust and then he gets a makeover and tries being a fashionable alcoholic revolutionary before apparently settling on moderately insane, moderately homosexual egotist. Federico doesn't quite fit in, at first, as tortured artist or as revolutionary student, but he hangs out with the cool kids anyway, has his Big Gay Revelation in the form of Salvador Dalí, suffers his Big Gay Heartbreak at the hands of Salvador Dalí, and then becomes a BAMF revolutionary poet/playwright Of The People! And then he stirs up a little too much trouble (which coincides, conveniently, with reunions with all the other main characters) and gets abducted by the government and shot. And his friends cry and drink to his memory, and Dalí covers himself in black paint, wears a cape, has a crazy mustache, and is a crazy motherfucker. Also, between the Castillian accents (hello, lisp!) and mumbly actors, this was one of the few things I've ever watched where I had to put on the subtitles just to understand the dialogue.

So.... what did I like?

- The costumes (oh god, 1920's period dress! The trilby hats, the waistcoats, the neckties, the trousers, the flapper dresses and fascinators... <3)
- The music (even though sometimes it was inappropriately prominent -- mostly when the movie was taking itself Very Seriously Indeed, you know, the high-drama scenes like Dalí and García Lorca's moonlit makeout sesh in the ocean) (and even though I wanted them to please step away from the Chopin Revolutionary Etude, because it is my favourite one and I would rather it not be tainted by memories of a meh film. I prefer to recall Raskolnikov when I hear it, thanks ever so.)
- Javier Beltrán
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

so today

Sep. 18th, 2010 09:16 pm
sigmastolen: (Default)
1) I saw a CHIPMUNK! At first I thought it was a rat, because, well, UCLA.... But then it was a CHIPMUNK and it was scurrying around getting ACORNS because my school has OAK TREES and it came REALLY CLOSE TO ME and it was ADORABLE! !!!!! :D :D !! :D !!!111!!!!ELEVEN
and then I texted like five people about it. YAAAAAAAYYYYYYY

2) I was putting my bassoon away and I noticed that it is hella tarnished. Well, I mean, it's been tarnished for a long time, and I wasn't shocked or anything, but in rehearsal this week (or maybe last week) I glanced to my right (as I was playing contrabassoon at the time) and noticed that nobody else's bassoon is as tarnished as mine. So I spent half an hour going at it with a gold-and-silver polishing cloth (mum put it in my christmas stocking once. she thought i'd use it for actual jewelery, haha) and now instead of intensely black tarnish, the tarnished parts are a kind of gleaming brown. but I asked my teacher about it anyway, and she.... didn't really have any answers. Because my instrument is only about 6 years old, which is not old enough to have tarnish like it has, and my bocal definitely shouldn't be this tarnished because Heckel uses some kind of fancy finish, right? the bocal is a little pitted, as well, which seemed to worry my teacher, and which has niggled at me for a few years, I must admit. and the weirdest part of all this? the parts that should be the first to tarnish -- where my fingers go, duh -- are spotless. FUCKIN WEIRD EH? must ask John.

3) As I was standing in the hall playing Bejeweled on my phone, a percussionist -- one of my fellow first-year MMs who I've had a few conversations with, we have a class together -- nodded hello and ducked into his practice room. And then a few minutes later, came back out and asked, "Why is it that sometimes, you look different?" Apparently there have been occasions when I just... look really different. Like today, he almost thought I was someone Not Me. Um, what? The only answer I could provide was that, today, I had my hair in a ponytail, but I usually have it down (especially since our classroom is pretty damn chilly). And my eye makeup changes from day to day, but I didn't mention that part. I think it might be my duty to wear contacts this week and see if he still recognizes me, though. ALSO FUCKIN WEIRD EH? surreal.

4) So one of the first things that happened in my lesson was my teacher profusely complimenting my contrabassoon playing. We played Mahler 6 on Wednesday and she came to the concert, and afterwards she had hugged me about my contrabassooning, so I was really awkwardly flattered that she brought it up again. She asked if a contrabassoon job was something I would consider. And... I guess I would. I really, really do enjoy playing contra, especially for things like Mahler 5 or Mahler 6 or Petrushka where the part is just SO MUCH FUN. And I like the power and playing Lower Than Thou and I even like the breathing-muscles workout, despite the inevitable consequences of a sore back, knotty shoulders, and clicky wrists. So then we talked about options for buying a contrabassoon: apparently the school sometimes gives loans for these things? But I'd still better start saving if I want to be the proud owner of a contrabassoon.
4a) And then I called my mum and she was like, "well obvs we'd help you, you don't have to save all the money yourself" and I really can't figure out why it makes me so uncomfortable for my parents to offer me contrabassoon-sized sums of money. I mean, they're my parents, it's their job to take care of me. And yet, I'm legally an adult and I should be able to be responsible for my own finances. And also, I'm a student and should therefore be living frugally? Especially as I am a student without a source of income, at the moment. And also, maybe, it's a holdover from when we lived in Davis and really didn't have much money to spend, because daddy was in med school and therefore draining money instead of earning money. But now daddy has a job, and my parents are clearly comfortable spending money... But I'm still feeling weird about it. anyway.
4b) SPEAKING OF CONTRABASSOON: Maybe this is just me, but it seems like trumpet players are super fascinated by contra. As at UCLA, I sit directly in front of them when I play it, and as at UCLA, they were all, "dude that's so cool." After our concert on Thursday (also Mahler 6: same piece, different venue), I turned around and said, "I kind of love you guys," because they have been consistently AMAZING playing all loud and high and they have a really fantastic section sound, and being awash in it is just so. good. and the principal replied, "we love you more" and I giggled. Is this an all-contrabassoonists-and-trumpet-players-everywhere kind of thing, or is it just me/the trumpets I play with, or what? I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE MORE INSIGHT ON THIS MATTER.

okay dinnertiem nao, i has a hungr

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