sigmastolen: (bassoonists do it with their thumbs)
In which I critical media studies it up and end up panning Puccini. Oops. )

But yeah. Sumptuous set and stunning costumes, though with a preponderance of Generic!Asian details and the colour red (BECAUSE THE ONLY WAY WE'LL KNOW IT'S IN CHINA IS IF EVERYTHING IS RED); very well performed by orchestra, singers, and dancers alike (EXCEPT YOU, CHORUS. YOU WERE NOT SO HOT.); and enormous problems re: racism, sexism, consent. THANKS BUT NO THANKS, PUCCINI.

And now I have to be done because, damn, it's late, and my cat has dandruff.
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.
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Dear Snow,

OMG, what are you, I don't even. What. How. What. ♥.

I wish I had microscopic vision so I could see for myself how each snowflake is unique. I am still honestly amazed that it true, snowflakes have six points, and they make those cute spiky shapes like in the drawings on the Hallmark cards. (I love that water makes hexagonal crystals. I love hexagons. (See also: beehives.))

I love that it falls so slowly, slower than rain and gentler when it lands on your face. I love that it falls so silently, you don't even realise it's there until you look outside. (I do also love the rain, and the drumming of raindrops and the rumbling of thunder.)

I love that everything looks so soft and -- dare I say it -- warm (although it's really, really not) when snow blankets the world. A grass field becomes a smooth white cushion. Trees and bushes wear it like a shawl. It huddles on buildings and rounds their sharp edges. It crawls up the trunks of trees.

I can't get over how fluffy it is to the touch, how it clings to my hands and melts with their warmth. My brain expects it to be firm when I stick my hand in, like the crusty, iced-over snowdrifts of my youth, the rare times we drove up a mountain to see the snow on a sunny winter day and everyone got dehydrated and the glare gave us headaches. That it is yielding and powdery and light, mostly air, is surprising every time.

I'm just so fascinated.

Love,
Sigma

p.s. It makes me really sad to see kitty footprints in the snow, though. I want the kitties to be warm and dry, not out in the cold wet snow :c

**

I guess I should amend this to, "I love snow when I don't have to spend long periods of time standing around in it waiting for the bus." Boo. Dear Full Buses and Late Escort Shuttles, YOU SUCK.
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Pittsburgh is absolute hell on my heels. High-heeled shoes, that is, not my feet. So, all shoes have soles. You know the tiny little square (rounded... square... ish....) of sole that is on the heel of a high-heeled shoe?

The sidewalks here eat them.

No, I'm perfectly serious. Since moving here, this has happened to no less than three pairs of my shoes: I'll arrive at home and notice that that tiny bit of sole is just gone. Sometimes I realise it while I'm still walking, and my steps sound different, or one foot is suddenly unstable, because what I'm walking on is actually a tiny round bit of metal instead of a flat piece of what looks like plastic. And, you guys know me -- any tiny instability can be disastrous. Honestly, I'm shocked that I haven't turned an ankle each time this happens.

So far, it's happened to my low black Madden Girl pumps, my awesome red-grey-and-black-plaid Ann Marino Oxford heels, and, today, to my black Impo Superboots. You know the ones. The boots that I wore to all my auditions this February (and March)? The ones that I wore when I walked all over San Francisco, Winston-Salem, Philadelphia, and Manhattan's Upper West Side. Those boots. The best boots ever. Nothing bad happened to them on all those trips, but four days of walking around Pittsburgh and one loses that bit.

Is this an easy or cheap fix? Does anyone know? Because I don't want to have to retire all these shoes. Especially not the plaid Oxfords. (I should probably replace the boots, though, the toes are badly worn. Maybe I'll replace them with the exact same boots? I think I saw them when I was at DSW this fall. That would be awesome.)

UGH PITTSBURGH STOP EATING MY SHOES.

In other news, nothing I own has enough traction and warmth for the snow. YAAAAAAAY!
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I'm finally doing some homework -- no, for real! It's the partner research paper due tomorrow. Don't worry, my partner procrastinates as bad as I do, so at least I'm not totally screwing him over or anything -- but, you guys. I need to talk about my frigid apartment.

Outside, my computer tells me, it is 25° and while it is not snowing at this very moment, it has been all day -- enough for some of it to stick to the grass and sidewalks. I just declined to join my partner and some friends on a study break at a nearby diner because I could not face going out into the cold again -- and yet, sitting here in my apartment, my teeth are chattering.

My bedroom is 66°, according to my alarm clock, and it feels positively balmy. The secret to keeping it warm, it appears, is closing the door. That will be nice when I finally crawl into bed... which likely won't be for a few hours, despite having a jury at 9:10 in the morning and a master class in the afternoon.

I have no idea what temperature it is in the rest of the flat, but rest assured, it is significantly chillier. I wish my apartment had more doors -- only the bedroom and the bathroom do, and the rest of it -- kitchen, dining room, hallway, and living room, in that order -- has open archways. The living room has two radiators but it is always freezing because it also has two windows, one of them quite large, and two exterior walls (also quite large). I don't spend time in the living room (but I really should because it's enormous and probably why the rent here is so high). The dining room is where I am camped out right now -- it is where I spend time when I am not huddled in bed. It has a radiator, but the heat it gives off is negligible unless I'm standing right next to it. My hands and feet are suffering especially, although my knees and lips and nose aren't exactly gloriously warm, either. (The cats look quite cozy, though, curled up together on my Pile Of Coats). The kitchen has no radiator, but it does have the stove, where I make tea, and the oven, which I have in desperation set to "WARM" and left the door ajar (hey, I'm not paying for my gas. *shrug*). I don't know if it's doing anything... the hot air might just be pooling at the ceiling and being re-chilled near the window. Someone suggested a couple weeks ago to "boil a pot of water on the stove and let it steam up the whole house" but I tried that and nothing happened (dammit).

I definitely need to get me a space heater. It could hang out in the dining room while I'm up, and migrate with me to the bedroom when it is bed time! I also need to get me some sweatpants and a sweatshirt that are warmer than Adidas fleece (UCLA marching band swag, oh yeah). University store, here I come!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9. DEAR APPLE: Photobucket WTF DOES THIS MEAN??? D: YRS, SIGMA
UPDATE: Photobucket WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?
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SO REMEMBER HOW IT WAS 75° OUT THE OTHER DAY?

TODAY THE HIGH -- THE HIGH -- WAS 48°.

YEAH.
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I've done a lot of time-consuming things today...

- hand-washed a bunch of bras and stockings in the tub (still not dry bah)
- WAITED FOR THE BUS FOR HALF AN HOUR JESUS
- wind ensemble rehearsal (oh my god. just. oh my god. at least I got a break in the middle.)
- reeds: wired & turbaned three, profiled and folded three more, then went back to the first three and reamed, then reamed the 3 new contra reeds I got the other day
- picked apart a pomegranate (THIS TAKES FOREVER NO JOKE) (and there was a large bad spot inside, very disheartening and disgusting. boo.)
- finished bubbling in my absentee ballot, to be mailed tomorrow
- listened to Mahler 3

time-consuming things I still need to do:
- make significant progress on my Library Project so I don't have to do it all tomorrow before my meeting with my boss on Thurs.
- listen to La Mer

and, jesus, it's nearly midnight. And I have a 9 a.m. rehearsal tomorrow.

In other news, I still don't understand the weather here. Most of last week was bloody chilly -- in the 40s and 50s I should think. Sunday was 75° and sunny (and god damn was it ever hot onstage during the "ALL MOZART, ALL THE TIME" concert -- OH BTW I HAVE AN AWKWARD STORY FOR NEXT TIME ABOUT THIS CONCERT REMIND ME OKAY) -- which was major WTF. Yesterday was 75° and that gross muggy kind of humid, and then it RAINED WTF in the middle of the day (and my bus was super super late so then I was super super late to my lesson and I got all worked up about it so then I played super super badly yay), and then it stopped and was muggy again -- you know the kind, where your skin gets sticky and you just don't want to wear clothes because it is sticky and humid and gross. And then today was muggy again but warmer, and it didn't rain -- until about 5:20, as I was on my way to rehearsal from upstairs. Upstairs, it had suddenly become hella windy. In the 30 seconds it took for me to go downstairs into the lobby outside the rehearsal hall, it began SHEETING RAIN. I KID YOU NOT. And it's been pissing it down ever since.

WHATEVER, PITTSBURGH, REAL PLACES DON'T PULL THIS KIND OF SHIT. (they just have earthquakes.)
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Because apparently right now I can write prodigiously on any topic... except that of the measly four-page midterm paper that is now a week late. For serious, guys, I couldn't even get that shit done sitting in the quiet study section of the library.

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

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

OK GOING TO DO SRS WORK NOW I SWEARZ

edit;; OK MAYBE NOT DOING SRS WORK AT ALL OOPS
a further note on booze: Grasshoppers, which are delicious and minty and green. Equal parts cream, creme de menthe (green hell yes), and creme de cacao (wiki says white but I just used brown and the drink still ends up quite green so I have decided it makes no damn difference). Shake with ice & serve in a chilled cocktail glass. Reminiscent of mint-chocolate-chip ice cream: sweet and full of calories. TASTY!
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

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!

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