sigmastolen: (ter'angreal)
omg i had the most traumatic dream this morning

so for whatever reason i was going to play bassoon and contra with ucla for this concert (not at the hollywood bowl but at a venue not unlike the bowl) -- the first piece was some kind of partially-staged concert version of la boheme which they didn't need me for, then, like, a strauss and a mahler? i don't actually know. anyway. because this was a dream, my parents were coming to the concert and so we were all driving together and also i think i hadn't been to any rehearsals and was going to be sightreading in the concert (which maestro generally wouldn't permit in real life).

anyway so we get to the venue and find our seats (in the second or third row, but on the end -- this was due to some complex seating algorithm involving how close to the concert date you purchased your tickets) and i take out my contrabassoon reed to soak it and realize at that point that i don't think i brought my instruments, and i start to freak out. so i take the car keys and run back to the car and, yep, they're not there. so then i run back to my parents to give back the keys and it's a few minutes after 8 (when downbeat was supposed to be) but on my run i saw "rolling hills" curtis in the audience and i might be able to borrow his instruments, so i tell that to maestro and promise to be right back. i go and find paul and ask to borrow his horns, i have my own reeds, and yeah, i can borrow his bassoon, it's right here, but he doesn't have his contra on him (because who would, honestly), and so i say thank you thank you thank you i can make it work (and i see dan a few seats away and he looks hurt that i'm not asking to borrow his bassoon but he doesn't even have a contrabassoon and two birds with one stone, man) (and i'm also mentally swearing and thinking i'll never get a gig in this town again) and i grab his case and start to run back to the stage

and then i woke up in a cold sweat
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.

Cut for EPIC RAMBLING! )

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: (Default)
This post brought to you by: Drano! (meaning, I'm typing this while I wait for the Drano to sit an hour to work on whatever is making my bathroom sink so slow)

In which I complain. Again. ) WORST PLUMBING ADVENTURE EVER.
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.

ALL I WANT TO DO IS PLAY BASSOON AND SLEEP
WTF HOW DID IT BECOME AFTER MIDNIGHT
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
sigmastolen: (Default)
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.)
sigmastolen: (Default)
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.

Q: WHY THE FUCK DO WE SPEND SO MANY YEARS LEARNING GODDAMN MLA IF EVERYONE AFTER HIGH SCHOOL WANTS US TO USE CHICAGO STYLE?

also, i appear to be allergic to my own goddamn apartment again. FUCK EVERYTHING
sigmastolen: (Default)
Tuesday was another concert (it seriously feels like concert after concert here, and I'm not even in them all) -- Beethoven 7, in which I played second bassoon and I swear to god, I've never felt so insecure about my intonation in my life. Not even when Maestro has called me out, not even on uncontrollable contrabassoons. I don't even know. But they're so exposed, the wind parts in that symphony, and playing second bassoon is a big responsibility in terms of intonation. (And I wish more bassoonists I've played with would understand this. Playing second isn't a consequence of "not being good enough to play first" and it doesn't mean you don't matter, jesus. You are the bass voice. You control the pitch.) But anyway, my sources in the audience tell me that the woodwind intonation was excellent (certainly better than the brass or the strings), so I guess I count that one as a win despite my anxiety. (but seriously there were a few chords where I just didn't even play because I had no idea where the pitch center was or where I was supposed to be. it was so upsetting.)

Anyway. Afterwards, the bull-like percussionist I mentioned the other day came up to me while I was packing up, and asked me if I was doing anything after the concert. "I don't know," I answered honestly, and at point I needed to dump my reed water, so I excused myself for a minute. He didn't really continue the conversation when I came back, and I was frazzled enough from the performance and the pressing need to go find my teacher and see what she thought of it, that I wasn't totally aware of anything except for making sure I had all my stuff (and you know me, I always have an epic amount of stuff). Anyway, after I had managed to put my coat back on, he kind of mumbled a farewell at me, and I must have looked back at him wild-eyed, because he said something about how I had a lot going on or something. I didn't realize until later that, oh, oops, he was trying to ask me out, and I was so flustered and distracted that he just kind of gave up.

I mentioned it later to Comrade P and the principal oboist and flautist, because we ended up going for a drink (there's a bar near my apartment with AMAZING winter drinks -- apple cider with rum, which was what I had, and some pretty excellent-sounding coffee drinks and chocolate and/or caramel flavoured things. Must remember to return), and while the girls were advising me to just accept dates if I'm undecided because, hey, free meal (I love musicians. So pragmatic about food), I realised that, completely aside from not being remotely into him, I kind of don't want a relationship. I'm quite accustomed to being totally starved for touch by now, and while it's now awesome, I'm not that desperate -- I can handle it for a while longer. Honestly, I don't want to try to make space in my life for someone else right now; I have enough going on with my bassoon and my cats and just trying to make friends, and not lose the ones that are scattered around the country. (but a hookup or two wouldn't be the worst thing ever, i mean, a girl has needs, amirite?)

So yeah. Whatever. I do feel like I should apologize to the poor dude for being such a spaz, but in one of those weird twists of kismet or something, I haven't run into him even once since Tuesday. *shrug*

(Subjects this entry has had: "Hmm," "Single McSingleton," "Perennially Single")
(Also: I am once again contemplating my singleness while baking cookies. WTF is this? I blame texting with Will, he always makes me get all romantically introspective. It's a knee-jerk reaction from high school when we were both pretentious and I wanted to impress him with how deep I am. Talking is much easier now that we both understand that he takes things at face value and means exactly what he says, and that I almost never say what I mean. Hah.)

(In other news, I think I have discovered How Not To Eat All The Cookie Dough Before It Becomes Cookies (or How Not To Eat All The Cookies You Just Baked): improvise a disturbingly sweet but still boozy cocktail from whatever is on hand (in my case, gin, dry vermouth, and creme de menthe syrup (not proper creme de menthe mind you -- just sweet minty syrup), stirred) and drink it while you're baking. It effectively removes any desire to consume anything else that is sweet. (OH MY GOD THE NESTED PARENTHESES, LET ME SHOW YOU THEM. HAVE I CLOSED THEM ALL PROPERLY? I HOPE SO, JFC.))

(In other other news, today the rice cooker arrived in the mail (yeah, mum mailed me the one I had at the apartment last year. Mum mails me a lot of things lately. I'm so glad she loves me.), so tonight was TOFU CURRY OVER RICE EXTRAVAGANZA!!!!!! Because I tried tofu curry over pasta before i found the rice at the grocery store, and it was DISGUSTING LIKE A DISGUSTING THING. I made the curry sauce myself. It was weirdly bland, though... I am not sure what it needs. The recipe is here, and I added some ground ginger because ginger is the shit, okay? Anyway, I'd appreciate thoughts on this recipe. MOAR FLAVR: WANT. HOW I CAN HAS??)

(@ 3:43 -- Cookies: finished. My sleep schedule: officially fuxx0red! :D !!!)
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)
you guys. the CIA does an information session/recruitment thingie at my school.

what.
sigmastolen: (Default)
JESUS WHY AM I STILL AWAKE

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
sigmastolen: (Default)
Last week -- two weeks ago? Er, maybe, oops -- I bought a "locally-grown" eggplant from Giant Eagle, which appears to be Pittsburgh's answer to Ralphs. Last night, I decided it was about damn time to cook it. I considered making eggplant parmesan, but then I thought, no, how cliché, and also, omg prolly way too complicated, as well as, bread crumbs? fuck that shit! So instead I went to BBC Food and searched for "eggplant."

And it returned zero hits.

And then, feeling rather idiotic, I seared for "aubergine," and lo, there were recipes! And then I narrowed it to "vegetarian" (not because I'm actually vegetarian, guys, but because I get squeamish when handling raw meat cannot be arsed to cook meat) and "main course" and "quick & easy" and decided my best option was...

Aubergine Pizza )

You may have noticed that this only used half an eggplant. I used the other half tonight (and, note to self: if you really want to get to bed before midnight ever, you should stop cooking elaborate dinners after 9 pm) in a much more self-directed creation.

Eggplant Pasta )

GO FORTH AND FEAST!!!!

p.s. Earning my membership to the Latent Alcoholics Club here... I paired both these dishes with Barefoot Shiraz, a dry red. It's pretty good wine, on a student's budget -- usually $4.99 in CA, and a dollar or two more here in Pittsburgh (probably on account of having to send it far away, their HQ is in Modesto). You know. Because I'm a lush.
sigmastolen: (WDCH)
It is 85 degrees in my bedroom. Why? Whyyyyyy??? :C

Okay, so lately I've been reading a great deal of Inception fanfiction. (The movie made an impact, okay? We all know that fic is my biggest vice. Bigger than booze, or shoes, or possibly even sloth.) Anyway.... is it dumb that I get annoyed when things about Los Angeles are wrong? Especially things about LAX. Which does not have any sort of tram. There are shuttle buses. But no trams. (i've spent a lot of time in the airport lately, okay? lots of airports, frankly. jesus.)

One of the biggest things I loved about Iron Man was that LA was right.

(also, I seriously had paroxysms of fangirly joy when I realised that one of the promo pics for Inception had been photographed downtown -- at an intersection of Hope and something else, which looks like it might be near the Music Center, but I just spent half an hour clicking around on Google Maps street view and damn if I can figure out where the fuck that picture is.)

My mum, before she left, said maybe Pittsburgh will be good for me, I was getting a little high strung. No, ma, I think I'm just crazy. And I love LA.

OH BTW

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)
(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.


BADGES? WE DON'T NEED NO STEENKIN' BADGES )

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...... Today I had my last undergraduate final, and took my last undergraduate bassoon lesson. Friday was my last concert at UCLA, Thursday I turned in my last undergraduate paper. Saturday is commencement.

This is so weird.

After my lesson, I stood outside the door a minute, feeling completely lost. And it's not like it'll be my last lesson ever with Steinmetz; he subscribes to the "lifetime warranty" philosophy of private instruction. When I finally (finally!) trial some used Heckels, I'm definitely going to see if he's in town, so I can play them for him. I'll e-mail and visit (as much as I ever e-mail and visit anyone, at least). And of course, I have plenty of bassoon projects to keep my fingers flying this summer. But for a minute there, I didn't know what to do next. I just stood, facing the door, and felt something end.

It was a little sad.

But then I went to the library and I've been sitting here behind the desk, checking out stuff for CMU. I set up my e-mail, filled out a registration preference form and a chamber music placement form, investigated all the READ ME! stuff, checked out professors, conductors, and course descriptions... I'm pretty excited. Like, really excited.

Still, year-ends always make me sad. I guess I'm just sentimental? I'm starting to get that teary feeling... only a little, though. I have days left of student-teaching and libration.

(p.s. how about that gratuitous 90's pop reference? ahaha)
sigmastolen: (Default)
Today may have been the least productive day in the history of ever, which is embarrassing because last night i assured my advisors that, yes, i should definitely be able to finish the PACT tomorrow. but i've spent the entire day doing inconsequential things on the computer because my brain has been leaking out my nose despite taking sudafed, and i've been unable to take a nap to recharge said brain apparently because of the sudafed. man, fuck this.

but the point was, i always feel more despair after i've taken my temperature and discovered that, yes, I do have a fever, than I do when i just suspect that i have a fever. today is a low fever -- 99.2 -- but i whimpered when i read the thermometer. i'm pretty sure that, back in october when my fever was more like 103, i cried.

it's never this hard when my mom takes my temperature instead. growing up sucks.

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