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today i cried unusually copiously and then i started to gag and choke and i thought i had literally cried myself sick
but it turns out i am just falling ill
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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: (bassoonists do it with their thumbs)
So I realized I didn't cross-post the last twelve days of the 30 Days of Classical Music meme, because I am the worst. So! Here we go!

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.
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A random middle-aged dude on the bus told me he thinks I'm very beautiful, and to have a god-blessed day. What does one say when one is at once flattered, uncomfortable, and in a hurry to get to the Symphony? (well i said thank you obvs)

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Let me start by saying I don't often remember my dreams. Everyone dreams. Just, most people only remember dreams if they are awakened while dreaming, which I guess I haven't been very often, lately, because I used to have better dream recall. And, of course, somewhat unfairly, the most notable dream I've remembered of late involved being cockblocked. Twice.

That said, I've dimly remembered two dreams lately -- one the other day, and the other this afternoon (at the end of a 5-hour nap. Don't judge me, I was sleepy and angry and it wasn't productive for me to sit in a practice room and have temper tantrums every few minutes, so I went back to bed) -- that involved chicken cordon bleu.

I don't even know, you guys. I'm pretty sure I've only even had it once, maybe? But I just read something about it on the internet when I wasn't even trying to find stuff about chicken cordon bleu, and it freaked me out a little.
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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.)


In other news, nothing I own has enough traction and warmth for the snow. YAAAAAAAY!


Nov. 28th, 2010 01:14 pm
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In Chicago's Midway airport. Judging from the waiting area crowd, my plane is mostly going to be full of college types. Also, full in general: they're asking for volunteers to give up their seats. Yeah, no.

Also, whoever is doing the general intercom should be shot: every time she mentions a flight to San Jose, she sings, "do you know the way to San Jose la la la la la" which, also no. I'm pretty sure what's happening there is Not Quite A Song From RENT.

Chicago Vacay was AMAZING. Can I just not go back to grad school?

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

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


a further note on booze: Grasshoppers, which are delicious and minty and green. Equal parts cream, creme de menthe (green hell yes), and creme de cacao (wiki says white but I just used brown and the drink still ends up quite green so I have decided it makes no damn difference). Shake with ice & serve in a chilled cocktail glass. Reminiscent of mint-chocolate-chip ice cream: sweet and full of calories. TASTY!
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We were reviewing the pastoral and related concepts in Music & Nature the other day (no, I still haven't finished that paper.... sue me, okay?) -- related concepts being "anti-pastoral" and "post-pastoral." Comrade P on post-pastoral: 'It's when you mail somebody a sheep.' Cue me snorting with inappropriate laughter while someone else who is actually a good student took it upon himself to explain. Man, I'm gonna be so sad when he leaves to go have a job. He's pretty much my favourite person here.

Dan on my new contra reamer: 'I never thought about it, but I guess if you tried to ream a contra reed with a normal reamer the reed would be all, "is it in yet?"' omg &hearts &hearts &hearts
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Or not, since i clearly have none.

Paper: officially late and counting...

edit: 14 Oct, 4:23
.... You guys, how am I this person? I am so distractible. I am definitely too distractible. I've been sitting here in the library for an hour, trying to git 'er done and listening to John Adams (first Grand Pianola Music and now Harmonielehre) and I still have 0 more words than I did yesterday morning when I finally decided to give up and go to class.

I didn't ask for an extension, I mean -- I definitely don't deserve one and I'll take whatever late penalty my prof dishes out as merely reaping what I sow, of course. I just -- I'm pretty sure I used to be a good student. Or at least, I'm pretty sure I used to turn in assignments on time. When did I start to play so fast and loose with deadlines? What does that say about me? I'm pretty sure it says I'm a lazy, dilatory shit. Also, I fail at the assistantship that is paying my tuition: I've logged a total of, like 5 hours on my bassoon research guide project in the last month, while I'm intended to clock 10 hours a week to earn my keep.

How am I this person, and why do other people not realize how worthless I am?

edit, 6:27
jesus. It has been another two hours, and still no words are coming. I have instead been reading feminist blogs. Because I am just that distractible. I am tempted to just pack it in for the night -- after all, I still need to practice, since I have a lesson early early tomorrow and I haven't played bassoon at all today. Tomorrow is the "semester break," which means we get a day off at the end of midterms... and I hope to god that I get this shit finished on Friday because I also need to clean my apartment, and put up the posters that my mum mailed to me weeks ago, and practice the shit out of Mozart 39 so the last movement can go as fast as Maestro Z wants it to go, and start a new batch of reeds with my new cane. And then I can reward myself with watching Whip It and more Battlestar Galactica.

Yes, okay. That sounds like a good plan. Going to practice now. (*sigh* ... I just started listening to Flight though and god, I just want to listen to this opera forever. Or possibly play this opera forever. I wish I'd been able to watch the third act of UCLA's production, because the first two were hilarious and lovely and I love this opera forever.)

edit 8:54
And then, after what was probably not much more than a scant hour of trying to play bassoon, i had a tantrum and couldn't stand to be there anymore. So now i'm sending myself the fuck home. YAY :D


Oct. 4th, 2010 06:45 am
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So. For whatever reason, the school doesn't give our Lit & Rep professor real roll sheets. The first couple classes, we all just passed around a sign-in sheet and he used that to make his own roll sheet, which apparently is organized by instrument (sensible). Now, the only bassoonists in the class (for whatever reason) are myself and Comrade P, who is finishing this semester and then playing contrabassoon in San Francisco.

Except apparently my handwriting is so bad that the professor gave up and just wrote "Girl" under bassoon, because he couldn't read my name. Which he then told the entire class the next time he took roll, because he had to ask my name again.

So yeah, I'm pretty much never going to hear the end of it.

sigmastolen: (mallow)
OMG you guys, I just softened my frozen butter by defrosting it in my microwave. I have been using this recipe for years, and have muddled through the quandary of how to soften the butter (which my family has always stored in the freezer, since forever, okay?) for just as long.

We have always had a microwave. There has always been the option to "defrost by weight." And, guys, it's so easy. It works so well.

You remember all that arrogance from a couple hours ago, about how awesomely smart I am?

I take it back.


also: I am mailing homemade cookies from scratch to a dude who I'm not even dating -- not even interested in dating. You guys, I'm seriously a really good girlfriend. What newspaper do I have to leak that to, to get some play already?

No! No, I should shut up, there is hope. Because Hot Tuba Guy is hot, and Cute Tall Composer is cute, and they're both really chatty. (Geeky Oboe Guy would be setting my standards too low, I think, and Bull-Like Percussionist is unfortunately not remotely my type...) (Am I allowed to date more bass players? Because there are a couple who are pretty attractive.) (p.s. dear cmu, where are you hiding the cute butches with fauxhawks? this is a demographic i sorely miss. yrs cordially, s.)

so today

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

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

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

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

okay dinnertiem nao, i has a hungr
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you guys. the CIA does an information session/recruitment thingie at my school.

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TV Tropes has everything. It really does. Including a description of my race that I feel is more accurate/appropriate than "hapa," as it has connotations of Hawaiian-ness that don't apply to me, and TBH I don't look very Asian (although, technically, the Philippines fall under the category of "Asia" as defined by the U.S. Census & shit). It is: Ambiguously Brown. (WARNING: link goes to keep a close eye on the clock if you click.) Honestly, it works for me culturally, as well, since I don't identify very strongly with Filipino-American culture, or even with Italian-American or, what else am I, English and Swedish? I'm an Ambigously Brown California girl, and that's kind of all there is to say.

I dunno, I guess it's a little on my mind lately because of meeting so many new people? And Americans usually try to categorize people as particular races, which is a) hard for people to do with me, b) becoming harder to do in general because of the growing number of immigrants from increasingly diverse places, interracial marriages, and mixed children, and c) hard to do with some (well okay more like a handful) of the people I'm meeting. There's an ambiguously brown tuba player (part Greek, part something else, and presumably tanned from his summer job lifeguarding (he also plays water polo and yes, he's hot)), and one of the other bassoonists is also ambiguously brown -- one thing we share is being Not Latina But Mistaken For It... And a composer the other day asked me, when I said I was from LB, if I was "a native." And I was like, yeah, because I was indeed born there. And then he asked, "what tribe?" and I went, "wait, what?" No, it turned out, not that kind of native. Which just reminded me of that time in PE in high school when we were playing volleyball with another class, and this guy just started talking to me in Spanish.

So yeah.

"Ambiguously Brown." I like it, and I'm keeping it.
sigmastolen: (mallow)
Have a vid: footage shot from the front of a streetcar travelling down Market Street in San Francisco in 1905, with a groovy song by Air.

TBH, 7:10 is a long time for me to pay attention to anything after midnight, so I'm torn on whether it's brilliant or stultifying. But I'll at least give it groovy/hypnotic, and that's enough reason to share.

Also: I am thinking of trying my hand at making lj icons because internet fandom is my life. WIN/FAIL?


Jun. 9th, 2010 07:50 pm
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My least favourite Ethno TA of FAIL just returned 34 books. 15 minutes before closing. Only three of them belong here in the music library.

p.s. this TA of FAIL missed our final today. The other TA of FAIL and the professor of FAIL wandered in 10 minutes late. WTF ETHNOMUSICOLOGY WTF
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So...... Today I had my last undergraduate final, and took my last undergraduate bassoon lesson. Friday was my last concert at UCLA, Thursday I turned in my last undergraduate paper. Saturday is commencement.

This is so weird.

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

It was a little sad.

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

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

(p.s. how about that gratuitous 90's pop reference? ahaha)


May. 26th, 2010 07:32 pm
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So I just spent 15 minutes on the phone with Ben, who called solely for the purpose of catching up and wishing me luck in my conducting debut tomorrow night (and also in finishing the PACT). I <3 Ben.

He said he might drop by the school to say hello to whatever students remember him. Silly Sophomore Bass Girl will be pleased, she thinks he's "spicy." Haha.


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