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: (Default)
Okay, so I'm reading John Green's Looking for Alaska -- YA book, brilliant outcasts at a boarding school in Alabama, recommended by my brother -- and in the scene I just read, the narrator and his friends play a drinking game: Best Day/Worst Day, in which:
Everybody tells the story of their best day. The best storyteller doesn't have to drink. Then everybody tells the story of their worst day, and the best storyteller doesn't have to drink. Then we keep going, second best day, second worst day, until one of y'all quits.

Because it's nearly three and I get more introspective in the dead of night and I get most introspective when I spend all my time by myself all day every day (except for my parents and my cats, basically), I tried to think of my best and worst day. And plenty of terrible days leap to mind (the day my nana died, the day she fell and broke her hip coming to my band concert, breakups, failed exams, horrific awkwardness, goodbyes), but I have a really difficult time trying to think of "best days." I know I'm not sad all the time; I know I have friends and family who love me and do fun things with me and I know I have accomplished a lot of things to be proud of. But what does it say about me, that "best days" don't spring to mind with the same readiness as "worst days"? What does it say, that my memory glosses over good times into a haze of "yeah, that was all right;" that I have to unpack "best days" from boxes and dust them off before I know them for what they are, but "worst days" are poised for immediate recollection and polished to a high sheen?

And why is it that the absolute happiest memories are but fleeting moments of shining perfection (a kiss at sunset; the applause during a curtain call; a gripping performance; reaching an overlook and seeing the world spread out before me), but the worst memories and drag out and cast their pall over days, weeks, or even months? Even the "best days" that gradually drift to the surface are tempered with moderate-to-large amounts of melancholy, sorrow, or frustration.

But I guess the point of this post is that I have such difficulty thinking of my "best day," and I find that unspeakably sad.
sigmastolen: (Default)
My bassoon quartet played a gig at a senior center recently. After the performance, while we were packing up, we did some Q&A with the audience. Someone asked how we all started playing bassoon, so we went around the arc to answer, and it mostly went, “it was the biggest one!” or “my band teacher conned me into it.” My story, however, went a little like this:
I used to play clarinet, and in elementary school, I was the best one. But in middle school, I stopped being the best. I didn’t like that very much, so I decided to find something new to be the best at. One day we were watching Fantasia in class, at at the beginning of the Rite of Spring sequence — you know, the one with the dinosaurs — the teacher asked us what instrument was playing the solo. I said, “Oboe!” and I was wrong: it was a bassoon. And I decided that that was the instrument for me. And nobody else at my middle school played it, so I was automatically the best again!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also, you guys:
My Hair: ASASLKDJHFSAHD;K RAIN SWEAT WIND HUMID PRACTICE ROOM A;SDKLFJLK
Me: oh god why. what am i supposed to do with this?
Photobucket

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OH BTW

Aug. 28th, 2010 07:53 pm
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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!
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So the cable man came today and set up my TV and internet, and all afternoon I've been fighting with the wireless router -- I'm reasonably sure I set it up correctly, and the wired connection is fine, but the wireless connection isn't working: my network doesn't show up in the list my computer detects automatically, and when I try to connect to it by joining an "other network" or if it happens to be listed, my computer tells me that the connection times out, or that my password is invalid (it is not).

I'm also having a horrible allergy day, so I gave up and took a nap, and now I'm back at it. I finally called Netgear's tech support, and we've been disconnected twice. Once was my phone's fault, and the second time, it sounded like my (Indian, to perpetuate a stereotype) support agent pressed a button, then I couldn't hear anything from his end, then there were a few more button-pressing sounds, then I could hear a noisy room and his voice saying, "Oh god, what to do?" and then it disconnected. And I almost died laughing.


eta;; WIRELESS INTERNETS ARE GO!!!!!!!
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So I spent this weekend at a retreat center/convent in rural Mississippi, hanging out with nuns.

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

Okay. Anyway.

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

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

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

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

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

p.s. Let the record show that last weekend was 'Oon Mafia Camping and it was pretty great.
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Me: OMG WHY CAN'T I GET ANYTHING DONE

[livejournal.com profile] doktor_quack: Usually when I ask myself that question, I go through a list of other questions to help me figure it out.
1) Am I on Facebook?
...

The list goes on, but in your case, the answer to that is yes.

[livejournal.com profile] doktor_quack: But for the sake of process, I'll go on.

2) Am I on wikipedia?
3) Am I on Google Maps?
4) Am I reading web comics?
5) Am I obsessively refreshing my inbox?
6) Am I obsessively refreshing my old inbox just in case?
7) Am I watching Youtube videos?
8) Am I looking at lolcats?
9) Am I looking at porn?
10) Am I staring at the wall?

If the answer to all of those are no, then you are beyond help. It's time to turn in your lifetime membership card to the Breathing Club.

[livejournal.com profile] doktor_quack: And when I say "sake of process," what I really mean is "Sake of Process," as in the Japanese rice wine.

------

haaaaaa haha ha hah. :)

In other news, I think I just decided to prioritize sleep over doing my project. It's not entirely because I'm out of coffee. Although that may be a contributing factor.

It possibly has more to do with the deadline having been... softened, if you will, from "Friday before 5!!!" to "by Sunday night." And it probably has quite a lot to do with my own ennui and lack of desire to do this anymore, despite my thinking I had been remotivated by Dr. Music Ed's pep talk this afternoon.

I'm also pretty sure it has at least a little bit to do with how very fucked I am. Because, guys, how fucked am I? 20-pages-fucked, plus video clips which I may or may not be able to cajole into a format compatible with Quicktime (or, as my brain just screamed at me, QUIKTIEM!!!). In other words, so fucked.
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So my Powerbook G4 -- you know, the one I've had for the past five years? I got it in August 2005 -- finally kicked it, and man, have I had an eventful day and a half because of that. I type this from my brand-new (no, literally, we bought it this morning and I booted it up an hour and a half ago) 13-inch Macbook Pro, and half of me wants to call it "the new hotness" in Agent J fashion, while the other half is still mourning my old computer. Also, I can't decide if I like Snow Leopard or not.

Friday I got home around 11:15 and suddenly remembered that I had to write program notes for Contempo Flux -- so I opened up a new Word document, and went to Wikipedia for the composer's dates. It took ages to load -- so long that I fell asleep waiting, and woke up at 12:30 having left the lights on. I immediately went to my e-mail to send E a message apologizing for missing the deadline, and that is when my computer froze. It froze hard.

So I turned it off. And I turned it back on. And then I tried to log into my user account, and it gave me an error message apologizing that my user account could not be accessed at this time. I tried a few more times to log in, with the same result, and then decided to try the guest account. It started to load, but very very slowly, so I went into the main room, where Flatmate had left her computer on and out on the table, and dashed off an e-mail from there. I returned to my computer, which was still. loading. I fell asleep once again, this time with the lights off.

The next morning I woke up around 6, and the guest account was ready. I researched and wrote my program notes from that account, then restarted the computer to try getting into my own stuff yet again. Still no luck. I was planning to go to Long Beach yesterday anyway, so I had breakfast, watched some telly, told my mum we needed to go to the Apple Store, and was off. The guy at the Genius Bar, cute-and-nerdy Brendan, performed some diagnostics and determined that my hard drive was, somewhat miraculously after five years, still functioning well enough. (He was careful to emphasize that all hard drives will eventually fail. Yes, sweetie, I know that moving parts inevitably wear out. I don't blame Apple.) He tried rebooting my computer, but again when I tried to log in, I was denied. Brendan hypothesized that I had a "massive software error" and advised me to, upon getting back to my parents' house, start up my computer in "target mode" and Firewire it to their iMac, transfer my files to the other computer, and reinstall the operating system.

I waited to do that for a couple hours, since my AP English teacher (and my brother's next-year AP English teacher) was giving a talk at Barnes & Noble that afternoon, so he and I went to see her and got some books and stuff. I tried to get started upon coming home around five, but then I discovered that we didn't have the right kind of Firewire cable (6-pin to 6-pin is HARD TO FIND btw) so we went first to Staples (no joy there), then to Best Buy looking for it. After the sales girl at Best Buy found it by chance (on a rack for a different kind of Firewire cable, in a previously opened package so at least we got it discounted), we went home and I tried to do this file transfer thing. I spent about 45 minutes totally baffled and panicked by the ".sparseimage" file that I found inside my user folder instead of other folders containing actual documents and things. When I tried to call Apple's tech support hotline, I almost had a breakdown because I had missed their operating hours by 30 minutes and had to wait to contact them until the next morning. I decided to recklessly transfer this ".sparseimage" thing (actually a special disk image of my user data, including all of my files) to my parents' external hard drive, which I would then (hypothetically) take home that night, reinstall OS X from the installation disks in my apartment, reload my files onto my laptop, and return the hard drive to my parents the next day.

But no. The file transfer kept getting stuck at 3.86GB and freezing the other computer. (I tried this probably three times, both before and after going to Amanda's senior recital WHICH WAS AWESOME AND EPIC.) Utterly defeated, I returned to my apartment sans my computer, and eventually fell into a troubled sleep.

This morning I was unable to wake up as early as I hoped, so it was about 7:30 when I returned to my parents' house to call Apple Care and ask them what to do. The techie on the phone wasn't encouraging; after I explained all the problems to him, he thought it was something wrong with the disk, and said I would probably have to remove the hard drive from the laptop casing and put it in another enclosure to be able to recover the data. Or, rather, an Official Service Provider would. So I thanked him and conferred with my parents; it was agreed to give me my graduation present of a new laptop a month early, and my mother would take my old laptop to the Official Service Provider on her lunch hour tomorrow to see what they could do. I took a nap while my parents went grocery shopping and we waited for the Apple Store to open, then off we went.

And so now I have a new computer, and that's cool, but it's kind of bittersweet. Because I still love my old computer.

In other news, I definitely could have been trying to salvage the files for PACT that I had already e-mailed to my professors... but I spent an hour writing this instead. YAAAAY. The moral of the story? BACK UP YOUR DATA. BACK IT UP HARD. Especially if you're using a 5-year-old, tiny, limping monstrosity.
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Playing on the internets at work instead of devoting my time to the PACT... But I've been On nonstop all week, so I feel like I deserve this little brain break, such as it is.

For future use: "You'll keep a civil tongue in your head, young lady, or you'll soon find yourself with none at all."
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Easter and Christmas are the two days my mum pretends that my brother and I are still small children. Sometimes I wonder if it's some kind of self-prescribed way to deal with us growing up? Anyway, on those days, she indulges herself (and us, I suppose) by giving us candy and kiddie toys. Staples of Christmas stockings are: wind-up toys, old-fashioned games (wooden tic-tac-toe, that kind of thing), those bouncy-ball-and-paddle things, tiny toy horses or dinosaurs, Silly Putty, and Slinky Jr. Things that she usually puts in Easter Baskets are super balls, those cheeping chicks, Pez dispensers, sometimes little notepads and stuff (last year's theme was Beatrix Potter), and DVDs for the family to share, like Harry Potter. This year? Zhu Zhu Pets hamsters. No, really. I let the cats chase mine sometimes. I have no idea what my brother does with his. My mum is crazy.

This year, she also gave me Peeps. She actually forgot on Easter, and then brought them to me at my apartment when she came with my tax forms. She said she almost gave them to my younger cousins from NorCal, but decided not to because they were my Peeps and I would be sad, supposedly. (Plus they really don't need any more sugar.) Now, Peeps are kind of nasty -- they're pretty much sugar, covered in more sugar, which has been dyed unnatural colours. That said, I have a bizarre affection for them, and I can't figure out why, beyond some sort of internet myth that Peeps are the evil fluffy marshmallow armies of darkness or something, I don't even know. But I do kind of like them. Not to eat, though. Although, to not eat them seems a little bit sad, like you're denying the fulfilment of their entire reason for existence. So I just ate two of them. The nutritional information on the package says a serving is five Peeps. What I would like to know is, who can eat five Peeps in one sitting??? I certainly can't, and I don't want to. Ew. I don't think I could even when I was a small child.

In other news, I just had a glass of gin and ginger ale, which I thought would be a bad combination until I tried it. Apparently it's called a "Gin Buck"? Whatever.

damn cats

Mar. 31st, 2010 12:22 am
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So I'm sitting on my bed, just about to start casting on the reversible keyboard scarf after having gotten seven or so lines in and then realising the proportions are wrong and ripping the whole thing out, when I hear a noise like kitties (Baxter) scratching -- and tearing -- my dust ruffle (shut up, my sheet set has a dust ruffle, it came from my Nana's house, okay?). Without looking, I lean down and shoo at whoever is at the corner of the bed. The noise happens again. Again, I shoo blindly. It happens a third time.

This time, I look over the edge of the bed and there is Ducky, looking very interested, but not scratching, and Baxter is nowhere to be seen -- but the scratching continues. So I lift the dust ruffle and peer under the bed: no Baxter in evidence (although that's where my inhaler and my copy of 1984 got to!). The scratching happens again, and this time I look at the underside of the box spring, to see Baxter's face pressed against the fabric and his weight making it sag, and his claws making skritchy kitty noises.

Turns out there's a kitty-sized hole in the corner that's against the wall, and Baxter of course wriggled through it to investigate the innards of my box spring -- probably made the hole himself, and that must be why there's so many large, linty dust bunnies in my room.

So then I spent ten minutes covering the hole using packing tape and a Trader Joe's bag. Ten minutes lying on my dusty floor, partially underneath my dusty bed, after a really terrible allergy day. Jesus Christ.
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Okay, last weekend's list. I shall make a valiant effort to unpack you.

1) INT: Sunnydale Airport is NOT Long Beach. Plus, OMGBIRD!
The exterior of Sunnydale Airport is Long Beach Airport. The interior is not. Well, probably not. Because as much as I'm sure the airport has been remodeled/redecorated since season 6 of Buffy was filmed, the ceilings are just too low to accommodate a film crew. The Giles-at-the-airport scene looked a little like LAX, though -- or at least, a specific gate of LAX that I remember from my youth.
The thing about having terminals that connect directly to Outside, though (because Long Beach airport doesn't have those tunnel things that attach the gate to the plane, you actually physically walk across the tarmac to the plane and climb stairs up to the door), is that birds sometimes get in. This was just one of those random little fat brown songbirds, and it was fluttering and hopping around the waiting area eating crumbs from the floor. It was cute.

2) Midair: Animal Planet, sedimentary rock, SNOW EVERYWHERE
This was my first time flying JetBlue, and it does have its perks -- extra legroom, seatback TV screens with free DirecTV... I watched Animal Planet nearly the entire time, because it was having shows about kitties. Kitties! <3
I think we flew over the Southwest for a bit, I kept seeing these sedimentary rock structures that would start out a vibrant rusty red at ground level, then change to kind of a peachy-beige higher up (sometimes with snow on top. Eeeee!)
Also: There was snow EVERYWHERE. srsly.

3) Chicago: The Family And Their Zoo
My flight was directly to O'Hare Airport in Chicago, and Cousin Bea picked me up in her car. We met everyone for dinner at an Indian restaurant -- a bit of a celebration, because it was her mum's birthday. "Everyone" was: Me, Bea, her husband, their 6-month-old baby Malia, Bea's older sister, Bea's younger sister, her boyfriend, and their mum, Teri. Excellent food, and somehow I didn't feel awkward or overwhelmed, despite only seeing this part of the family once every few years. Afterward, Bea's hubby and I went to a bakery near their house to pick up a cake for Lola Teri while everyone else caravanned to Bea's house. He told me a bit about their pets -- two cats and two dogs. CUE MUCH RAMBLING ABOUT THE PETS )
Anyway, back at their house (they own a brownstone -- they rent out the top floor and live in the bottom two), we all congregated in the living room downstairs and had cake and talked for ages. It was super fun. And then I slept in the guest bedroom, which is on the bottom floor; the kitchen, office, and bedrooms are all on the middle floor, so I pretty much had the downstairs all to myself. I had meant to practise, but -- family time is important, too.
!!! Pics will go here!!! You know, later. Sometime.

4) Northwestern: The Audition
Okay, so as I said, the professor asked for scales, which was embarrassing. That was first thing, too... ugh. But everything after that I felt good about: my solos (even the Saint-Saëns), my excerpts (even The Marriage of Figaro), the weird ear-training thing he did... We talked a little afterwards; he explained the structure of the studios, the other professor's schedule, I asked about a couple things, he asked about contrabassoon. Anyway, I wasn't holding out too much hope, since when I checked in I saw that there were a lot of bassoon applicants auditioning that day (and there were plenty of other audition days, as well). But apparently I did something right, because the professor who wasn't there wants to talk to me on the phone.... :D

5) Evanston Is Pretty
After the audition, Bea and I went to get lunch at an awesome sandwich place and then drove around campus and the town a bit, so I could see more of the area. And it is so pretty. Evanston looks the way I imagine New England should look -- brick buildings, deciduous trees, big posh colonial-style houses... And the snow *swoon* I like snow. It also has a bunch of shops, a mix of chains and boutiquey places, like Westwood and probably similarly overpriced... but it looks so much cleaner than Westwood.
Then we went back to Bea's house for a while, and Lola Teri had cooked a couple kinds of crab (to compare and figure out which one they like better). I tried to eat it, I really did, but -- between having to pick off the shell and recalling the lobster we dissected in 8th grade? 10th? and all the parts that I was actually seeing... Ugh. I couldn't. But then it was time to go back to the airport...

6) ORD: All Airports Have Dinosaurs? How did CA miss this memo?
O'Hare has a Brachiosaurus. It's in the United terminal and it is HUUUUUUUUUUUGE. That makes DIA, PIT, and ORD with dinosaurs, but no dinosaurs at any of the California airports so far.... I'm disappointed in you, CA. Dinosaurs!!! I also stopped at the Field Museum booth and got a shot glass for my collection and a hematite necklace for mum.

OK TBC

7) Midair: Chatty Portland Man, Cities At Night, The Invention of Lying, So Many Stars
8) The City: Historical Hotels Are Posh-Looking (but not actually that posh); LA is Glamorous
9) SFCM: The Audition
10) The City: Flipper's, BART
11) SFO: hella early, Ich grolle nicht, security, Ghirardelli, sourdough, gambling antiques, outlet bar
12) Midair: Parents who don't look after their children on airplanes, holy crap SFO is right on the bay, man I wish I'd had a drink during my airport hang, lights sketch the coastline (o hai hwy 1)



P.S. BAXTER PURRS IN HIS SLEEP <3 <3 <3
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This is probably a stupid idea, because tomorrow I'll be travelling again and Mr. Stevens always impressed upon us that it's the night before the night before an event that you need to get more sleep -- 48 hour sleep cycle, whatever -- but I need to get caught up with the Pittsburgh stories before embarking on this weekend's adventure, so here goes. I'll try not to be too florid, in the interest of my sleep cycle.

To review:
-1) Library Brat Hates Me
0) Off The Deep End
1) Sunnydale Airport is Long Beach
2) Happy belated birthday, Mozart
3) Travel misadventures: delays, changes, ginger ale
4) DIA: dinosaurs in the tile, "free wifi" fail


And here we resume:
5) OMGWTFCOLD
My second airplane was pretty uneventful -- everyone seemed tired after the 1.5-hour delay. It was a little plane, only four seats per row. I played a text adventure on my computer and when the battery ran out, I drew and looked out the window (but night isn't that interesting unless it's clear enough to see stars, which it was not); the woman in the seat next to me slept. We taxi'd for a long time at PIT. Before we disembarked, the pilot did the usual announcements, including the local weather -- 12ºF. And I just had no idea what that meant. I found out, though, when I went outside to hire a cab: Pretty Damn Cold. Hat, scarf, and gloves cold. That was at about 1 am; during the day it was probably around 20ºF, maybe 15-ish with wind chill. But yeah. I have a whole new point of reference for "cold."

6) Dan's House: Dudes, Dude Loofahs, Towel Improv, omg cardinal!
I stayed at Dan's house because Dan is the man. He lives in a formerly-two-bedroom (the living room was really shoddily partitioned into a smaller living room and two more bedrooms; Dan has the front one and shares the front window with the living room. His wall doesn't actually touch the front wall or the ceiling) with three of his brothers from Theta Xi. And it's definitely the dwelling place of a bunch of Dudes: a bit grimy, dirty dishes, old pizza, empty (and partially-empty) beer cans, the works. I kind of enjoyed it, though. I definitely enjoyed the chance to observe a bunch of Dudes who weren't editing themselves because a girl was there. Dudes are funny. They also have about 6 kinds of hot sauce. Anyway, I got there maybe around 2 and it was just Dan there (well, also a sleeping roommate but as I didn't meet him until the next day it was like he wasn't there); the others came home from a bar not long after, and they (plus 2 friends) stayed up playing Mario Kart for a while. (p.s. this definitely rekindled my desire to get an N64) I slept on a couch in the (finished) basement, with throw blankets and a Heat Dish to keep me warm, and it was quite cozy. 2 things about showering the next morning: (a) it is permissible for Dudes to have Loofahs. Appropriate colours include powder blue, spring green, and black. and (b) I did not bring a towel, and I didn't think to ask for one the night before. I poked around futilely for a linen closet (I didn't actually expect there to be one, because, Dudes, but no harm in checking anyway, eh), and ultimately improvised with paper towels. It took fewer sheets than I expected, which was awesome. And during breakfast, Dan and I saw a cardinal perch in the tree outside the front window :)

7) The Audition
I think it went okay? They didn't ask me to play very much, I think because they were trying to get ahead of schedule, but then afterwards we chatted a while, about reeds and music ed and my teacher's bassoon sonata. There were four other bassoons, two undergrad and two grad. (From outside the door, it seemed like they all did a lot more playing than I did.) I'm trying not to have expectations either way.

8) And Then I Slept For A Year
Afterwards, we hung around at the music building a while -- Daniel practised and I availed myself of the table of snacks -- and then went back to his house, where his roommates were watching Kicking and Screaming, and I had no idea that this movie existed before that afternoon (Will Ferrell + youth soccer). And afterwards there was more Mario Kart, and then everyone left for dinner and Dan and I had talked about going back to the music building to practise more but he decided to make reeds and I decided to sleep. This was around 6, I think? And I woke up again circa 1 a.m., and a bit after that Dan and his came home from a party they'd gone to and we had grilled cheese (dinner, for me) at 2 in the morning. Yeeeah. And then I slept for another hour or two, and then I got up to catch the bus to the airport. Yay.

9) PIT at ass o'clock, chatty dudes on the plane, The Informant!
I don't remember what I was supposed to say about PIT, except that I was there at 7 a.m. and it wasn't light out yet. I caught the bus at 6, and let me tell you, the ten minutes I spent sitting at the bus stop were some of the coldest ever. At least it wasn't windy. I think I should have stood to wait, though, because I was not too cold except for where my ass touched the metal bench. Classic. Anyway, on the way back to Denver, I had a middle seat between two really chatty 40-something guys. I don't know, is there something about a young woman travelling alone that begs for conversation? Or do I just seem approachable? It was kind of fun, though. They talked about skiing and their kids and their pets, and we chatted about the movie -- The Informant!, and I enjoyed it, mostly, despite some gratuitous cheese -- the aisle guy was actually reading the book it's based on, and he says it reads like a spy novel.

10) DIA v. 2.0: recycling, smog, OMGBIRDS!
Back at DIA, there was smog, but I didn't really expect not-LA places to have it, so aisle guy teased me for not recognising it. DIA recycles, which is nice -- good for you, DIA! My gate for the flight to SNA was at the very end of B Concourse, and there were a bunch of little birds inside, swooping around the rafters. I wonder how they got in -- and I wonder how they get out.

11) This Is Why I'm Fat: Airport Edition (related: why no napkins, McD's?)
And I realised that I eat total crap when I'm travelling, because I feel like, oh, it's okay, it's just today except it's also a couple days after that, and two weekends after that, and the weekend after, and the weekend after after. I need to be careful, I guess. At all the airports for that trip, I had a cheese danish and a banana and water from Starbucks, a pasta bread bowl and soda from Domino's, a Sausage McMuffin and hash browns and coffee from McDonald's, a Mac Wrap and cinnamon bites and a soda from McDonald's again, and a snack box on the plane. The banana and the snack box were probably the healthiest things on that list. (And that's not including the pizza, grilled cheese, and Cheerios at Dan's.) On a related note, neither McDonald's gave me napkins, wtf?

12) chatty Taiwanese businessman
On the way back to SNA (John Wayne International Airport in Orange County, I have no idea why its call letters are so unrelated), I was in another middle seat -- bleh -- and a chatty Taiwanese businessman had the aisle. We talked about music and UCLA and I think I agreed to do a refresher lesson on reading music, because he says he's forgotten in the 20 years since he last played guitar. I didn't get his name, but he has my e-mail... so... *shrug*

13) And Then I Slept For A Year (redux)
Well, I went to sleep at about 4 after getting back to LB at 2:30, and then I didn't get up until the next morning, and then I had to boogie back to my apartment to get the cats settled and go to school for rehearsal. Luckily for me, SaMoHi had the day off.

------------

And I do have three more points from this week!
1) Student Teaching Update: conducting, viola, bass, bass girls
Student teaching is fun. I'm conducting two pieces with the middle orchestra, and that's going well. I can tell that my conducting has improved a lot in just the month I've been there. That class is very chatty and they tend to helpfully suggest things we should do instead of rehearsing the way I intend to, but I like them, mostly. In the next orchestra down, I'm playing bass, and omg the girls in that bass section are a riot. Which is why I asked to play bass in that class, really. Bass itself is really fun, even though I'm not learning very fast, and I met one of my teacher's friends the other day -- the principal bass from the LA Opera orchestra is the bass coach at SaMo! He fixed my bowhold. And my hand position. I'm playing viola in the bottom group, and I'm picking it up a lot faster, but it's not as much fun. Anyway, the bass girls have decided that they're going to find me a boyfriend, or something. First they suggested the new bass helper guy, a SaMo alum who is about my age, but then they changed their minds and decided he was too retiring and needs to be more assertive. So then two days ago they decided I should date the second orchestra teacher, who is a UCLA alum and a cellist. I keep telling them, no, I can find my own dating prospects, thank you, but they won't let up.

2) UCLA Auditions: craziness, ass-saving, DIAF
Last Saturday I helped at the auditions for UCLA, and it was fun, I guess, but completely exhausting and actually a little stressful. I was in charge of the guitar, harp, and percussion table, and halfway through the day my runners both left, so I had to do the checking in and the taking to practise rooms and that was a little awful. Also, about half of the people on my lists didn't show up. I did get some of the woodwind gossip, though, because they were the next table down, and I talked to Dan a while when he came. Also, I was a great saviour and provider of piano parts. There was a kid from the bay area who I guess didn't realise there would be an accompanist provided, so he didn't bring music for said accompanist, and he ended up borrowing the Telemann Sonata (which I just bought this summer) and the Weber Hungarian Rondo (which I didn't even know I had) from me. His frantic and grateful mother gave me a Starbucks gift card, which I tried not to take, but she insisted. I guess now I don't have to use my own money at the airport Starbuckses, at least not for a few trips. Dan also didn't bring piano music for the Mozart Concerto, so he borrowed mine as well. I'm just that helpful. OH AND weirdly, Die In A Fire was there. AYS was rehearsing in the morning, so I knew he would be there in the morning, but afterwards he just kind of lurked around the string table for the rest of the day and it was really kind of gross and creepy. Thankfully strings were on a different hallway, but still. Ew. You don't belong here anymore. You should leave.

3) Deep Conversations with Paula
The lead-in to this was my discomfiture at DIAF's lurking. I'm not angry anymore, I don't really even hurt anymore, but I still really don't like it when he's around. Deeply simplified because of time, she thinks that I'm uncomfortable because I was the injured party and I didn't get payback, or the last word, and I suffered a long time while he was out living his life. Maybe. Eh. Also, she said she was talking to the principal bass of AYS about him, and he was like, "DIAF smokes weed? He doesn't seem cool enough for that." Which is, well, kind of true. Because he's an addict, and addicts just aren't cool. *shrug*
sigmastolen: (omgcrab)
-1) Library Brat Hates Me (a stupidly long story) )

0) Off The Deep End
So I my brother finally figured out how to isolate clips from the DVD recording of my senior recital, and convert them to a YouTube-friendly file format! The first piece we posted is a silly thing my teacher wrote for contrabassoon, double bass, and bass drum, because I promised the guys I played with that I'd put it up. It's a little small, so I'm not sure how well the choreography comes across, but the musical jokes are still apparent. I'm a little disappointed that we can't figure out how to synch the audio track from the CD (much higher sound quality) with the DVD image, because on the CD, you can clearly hear Will laughing -- on the DVD, it's general chuckling. Anyway, apparently I have 53 views? Which is more than I expected.


1) Sunnydale Airport is Long Beach
This is pretty self-explanatory. I'm finally trying to finish watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the exterior shot of Sunnydale airport in Season 6 is Long Beach Airport! I was excited. I'm also really amused when "UC Sunnydale" includes UCLA in its mash-up of southland college campuses. And I sort of wonder if any of their cemetary scenes were filmed at the one on Veteran.

2) Happy belated birthday, Mozart
Mozart's 254th birthday was on 27 January and I meant to make a post then but I got too busy. But yay Mozart! Mozart's 250th birthday celebration was kind of like Disney's 60th -- celebrations about it started a year and a half before and continued a year and a half after.
In semi-related news, the morning radio host on That Other School's classical station has a bizarre sense of humour.

3) Travel misadventures: delays, changes, ginger ale
We had planned it so that I would fly from John Wayne Airport in Orange County to San Francisco, then from there to Pittsburgh. We had taken great pains to avoid changing planes in Denver or Chicago, because we were worried about delays due to inclement weather (i.e. snow) there. So it seemed extra ironic when the gate attendant changed my itinerary to fly through Denver because San Francisco was delaying landings due to fog/rain and he didn't want me to miss my connecting flight.
Anyway, he managed to get me window seats on the flight to Denver and the flight from Denver to Pittsburgh, which bumped me earlier in the boarding sequence and made it easier to find enough overhead bin space to stow my bassoon, so that was pretty awesome. I ordered ginger ale on the first plane, as usual, and I distinctly remember thinking about spilling drinks during turbulence, just minutes before, for whateer reason, my hand went crazy and I dropped my ginger ale. The tray table got the worst of it, but then it flowed off of the tray table onto my lap and that sucked, let me tell you. Also, I felt completely moronic. My seat was wet, and they gave me a plastic bag and a blanket to put over it, which helped, but it didn't really help my jeans dry out. They're a dark enough wash, though, that by the time we landed and they were merely damp, not sopping wet, you couldn't tell -- so at least I didn't look like I had peed myself or something. Anyway, it ended up being fine.
And then my flight from Denver was delayed and my 1.5-hour layover became 3 hours.

4) DIA: dinosaurs in the tile, "free wifi" fail
The weather in Denver last weekend looked lovely -- I never actually went outside of the airport. It was clear and sunny, though, and we flew over snow on the ground, but there was none at the airport. United flies out of B Concourse, which is like a mile long! It has lots of moving walkways, though. B Concourse also has a really amazing food court, although I opted to slum it at Dominoes instead of shelling out for Wolfgang Puck Express.
One of my favourite parts was that there are metal castings of dinosaurs and fossil shapes set into the tiles. I took lots of pictures... but on my phone, and I'm still not quite sure how to get things from my phone to the internet, so... :( But it was super cool!
Because there was so much time, and several convenient outlets, I decided to get out my computer and entertain myself somehow. AirPort claimed that there was free wireless, and so I tried to check my e-mail. It made me agree to the terms of use and told me that there would be advertisements and then I would be able to surf freely, but what really happened was, the ads didn't load so I tried to go to another page and an advertisement loaded in a frame at the top, but the actual content of the webpage didn't come through -- it just stayed an empty white space. So I gave up on internet and watched Buffy instead.

TO BE CONTINUED...
5) OMGWTFCOLD
6) Dan's House: Dudes, Dude Loofahs, Towel Improv, omg cardinal!
7) The Audition
8) And Then I Slept For A Year
9) PIT at ass o'clock, chatty dudes on the plane, The Informant!
10) DIA v. 2.0: recycling, smog, OMGBIRDS!
11) This Is Why I'm Fat: Airport Edition (related: why no napkins, McD's?)
12) chatty Taiwanese businessman
13) And Then I Slept For A Year (redux)

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