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.
( Day 19 - A classical music piece from your favorite album )
( Day 20 - A classical music piece that you listen to when you're angry )
( Day 21 - A classical music piece that you listen to when you're happy )
( Day 22 - A classical music piece that you listen to when you're sad )
( Day 23 - A classical music piece that you want to play at your wedding )
( Day 24 - A classical music piece that you want to play at your funeral )
( Day 25 - A classical music piece that makes you laugh )
( Day 26 - A classical music piece that you can play on an instrument )
( Day 27 - A classical music piece that you wish you could play )
( Day 28 - A classical music piece that makes you feel guilty )
( Day 29 - A classical music piece from your childhood )
( Day 30 - Your favorite classical music piece at this time last year )
So! This has been a meme! I feel… very liberated, now that it's over. It's a weirdly heavy obligation, posting a specific thing every day. Next time I do one of these, I'm going to plan it out beforehand, instead of jumping in with both feet and winging it. Then again, the next time I do one of these, it will probably involve essays and/or picspams, because that's supposed to be the point of these memes, right? …. I think I'll take a while off.
Day 06 - A classical music piece that reminds you of somewhere
Last Tango in Bayreuth | Peter Schickele (yes, he did publish this one under his own name!)
(video above: Tennessee Bassoon Quartet: Keith McClelland, James Lotz, James Lasses, Michael Benjamin, bassoons)
This one was a stumper, actually. I don't strongly associate classical music to places, apparently? Or at least, not that I was able to think of. After much pondering, I decided to settle on a piece that reminds me of Idyllwild, CA, and the summer music festival. My experiences at Idyllwild are completely tied up in the friends I met there -- we were called (or perhaps called ourselves?) the Bassoon Mafia, and our pastimes included reedmaking, crossword puzzles, Scrabble, Hearts, hiking, stargazing, being inappropriate in the library, and playing quartets (and other bassoon ensemble pieces). This was one of the first pieces I heard "the guys" perform, and a couple years later I played it with the three other bassoonists I have stayed closest to. Even after we stopped attending the festival, the four of us went up to Idyllwild just to be together in that place again. I played a lot of music there, and I've played a lot of music elsewhere, but whenever I hear this quartet, I think fondly of Idyllwild and my beloved friends.
Wow, that was sappy.
In my newfound summer-break free time, I'm basically turning to Netflix to fill my brain with mush -- which is obviously completely different from what I do during the school year. I watched Dollhouse, for three main reasons: (1) I love Eliza Dushku, (2) I love Tahmoh Penikett, and (3) I wanted to see it for myself instead of letting meta discussions about Joss Whedon and feminism tell me what to think about it (yes: Echo and Adelle are both complex, strong characters. yes: it is always rape o'clock at the Dollhouse, and this is very troubling.). And I want to talk about it (though not as much as I want to talk about Angel ALL THE TIME), but the first thing I have to say is: Joss Whedon, I have Problems with Amy Acker's characters.
Okay. I don't have problems with all her characters. But I do have big big problems with the characters we're presumably supposed to like and identify with, and miss when they're gone, and because Amy Acker seems to represent Whedon's Ideal Woman (or at least her characters do) (given that he has said her face is the most beautiful thing he has ever captured on camera or something), it stands to reason these problems extend straight into Whedon himself.
( SO MANY WORDS BEHIND THE CUT. AND SO MANY SPOILERS. )
In other news, I love Adelle best, because I am predictable.
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.
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.
( The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The King's Speech, Black Swan, The Fighter, and The History Boys )
A last note: Marvel has a few movies coming up that I'm pretty excited about -- Thor and Captain America for this year, and apparently The Avengers for 2010? I'm totally down with Thor (esp. since Chris Hemsworth (AKA GEORGE KIRK YES PLEASE) is totally gorgeous), and I'm super gleeful about Cap, but I'm a little weirded out that Captain America -- you know, super-wholesome 1940's All-American super-soldier beefcake -- is being played by Chris Evans, who is also Johnny Storm, the Fantastic Four's playboy Human Torch. I'm a little worried about this whole playing-two-characters-in-the-same-
.... Man, all this is making me want to watch Iron Man II again. You know, for the Thor & Captain America teasers. And also for Scarlett a little. Okay, a lot for Scarlett. I could almost watch The Spirit again, for Scarlett. Maybe if there was a good-parts version, with just Scarlett & Samuel L. Jackson's scenes. *sighs dreamily*
In other news: although Days Where I Don't Leave The House make me feel incredibly lame after they happen, they feel so good while they last. :D
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
1. Bold the names of guys you’d definitely get with.
2. Italicize the names of guys you might get with after a little persuasion.
3. Leave the guys who don’t do anything for you alone.
4. Put a question (?) mark after the guys you’ve never heard of.
5. Strike the guys you wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole.
6. Add three guys to the list.
( This list begins with RPattz. I cannot contain my laughter. )
(Jesus, who are all those dudes up there?)
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
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: WTF DOES THIS MEAN??? D: YRS, SIGMA
So... Lady Speed Stick keeps changing their formulas, and the scents in each kind of deodorant change with them. Now, it took a while, but I had finally created a united scent front of products that smell warm but not floral or fruity, which included LSS's Pure Cashmere deodorant. Then they made a slight change to their product and suddenly Pure Cashmere smelled different, and it made me sneeze, but only a little. I didn't want to smell like fruit, flowers, baby powder, or Lever 2000, so I toughed it out and got used to the new scent.
Toward the end of the summer, they must have changed their line again, and suddenly my Pure Cashmere simply didn't exist. I had enough to last me through the move, but after arriving in Pittsburgh I found I had to try something new (quelle horreur!), so I sifted through the shelf until I found their new version of something that didn't smell like fruit, flowers, babies, or a locker room -- Daringly Fresh, it claims. After using it for a month, I am extremely dissatisfied; not only does Daringly Fresh not smell particularly pleasant (I remember it giving me headaches when the weather was still hot, even!), it simply does not perform.
That's right, boys and girls. I smell distinctly of armpit right now, and have done for several days.
Dear Lady Speed Stick,
Quit fucking with my deodorant already, you whore.
Also: warbly soprano across the hall is really distressingly warbly :( :( :(
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.
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 !!!)
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?
The picture really doesn't do it justice. It is impressively crazy.
- 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
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-
okay dinnertiem nao, i has a hungr
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!