Wednesday, December 24, 2008

buon natale

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

requiescat in pace

To Ross, who was always a kind soul, may you find peace now. My heart goes out to your family, who has already lost so much.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

saturday

There are these rare moments when musicians together touch something sweeter than they've ever found before in rehearsals or performance, beyond the merely collaborative or technically proficient, when their expression becomes as easy and graceful as friendship or love. This is when they give us a glimpse of what we might be, of our best selves, and of an impossible world in which you give everything you have to others, but lose nothing of yourself.
~ Ian McEwan, Saturday

Saturday, December 13, 2008

umbricelli al tartufo

Today, while eating my pasta for dinner, I had a sudden, strong craving for umbricelli al tartufo, with truffles. Alas, I have no way of making it. Or of returning to Umbria, where this dish is plentiful and one can always smell the scent of truffles when walking down the street at mealtime, anytime in the near future. The only thing I can do is reminisce about it on my blog. Oh well. Maybe one day.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

oboe!

Just wanted to point out that today, YankeeDiva's pictures feature an oboist!

Monday, December 8, 2008

MusicianCorps

I wanted to post a link to this NPR story about MusicianCorps and Barack Obama. I think it's an excellent idea and I hope it works. I would like to point out that I DO NOT think that performing artists should take the place of trained music educators, and I don't think that this kind of sporadic, or at least small, arts presence is the ideal for music education in public schools, but it's WAY better than nothing at all, and guess what? We don't live in an ideal world, and the economic situation is only getting worse.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

TV & etiquette

I found this article amusing, since I also watch all of my TV on my computer (the same as in the picture, no less), and I don't own a TV. I can watch Pushing Daisies (boo!!! why are they canceling this show??), The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, 30 Rock and Ugly Betty online, plus whatever Netflix has to offer. It's a lot better since there are only about 4 commercials and they're only 30 seconds long.

I also thought these two blog posts by Holly Mulcahy were interesting: one on conductor etiquette, the other on musician etiquette, pointed out and discussed on Inside the Classics. I have definitely seen examples of both, though I disagree, I think there is some discussion of proper attire and behavior in music schools today. Or maybe it's just MBT. Certainly there at least ought to be some discussion of etiquette by private teachers. I know my first oboe teacher taught me to accept compliments graciously no matter how you feel about your performance. And I've passed that on to younger musicians, myself. I used to always actually be excited about every performance; now I find that I sometimes plaster on a smile for the audience during bows, but I still do it. I do it because I know I hate going to hear orchestras that I'm really excited about, and having them look like they're bored to tears and don't care that I'm applauding them. Though I also would point out that it's a bigger problem among string players, some of whom unfortunately feel as though they are not as important in an orchestra performance where they do not have a solo. I myself am sometimes guilty: I recently played an opera gig where there wasn't an actual pit (the musicians were at the foot of the stage), but I read during my breaks, despite being visible. I tried not to, but it was a LONG opera, and I only played a few sporadic movements (perhaps 10 out of the 30 arias/choruses), and I was going insane. I hope no one was bothered by it. I know an audience member in Houston once asked why there was one musician sitting near the wind sections for Dvorak's New World who seemed to stare intently at a score the whole time. It was because the English hornist read a book or magazine for the three movements he did not play, and just played English horn for the solos, which the audience member hadn't noticed that he played. So I don't feel too bad about the opera.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

baz

Just wanted to mention that I saw the movie Australia this weekend, and really enjoyed it.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

the dark is rising

When searching for movies on Netflix, I looked at the page for "The Seeker," the movie version of one of my all-time favorite children's books, and came across these reviews:

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1.0 Stars
This movie made me sad and angry. It's only loosely based on the book (one of my all-time favorites), and they took almost everything that was good about it & smashed it to bits. I can understand a few "tweaks" here & there (a good "tweak" is the mall scene), and maybe removing a scene or two from the book, but this hardly followed the book at all & the ending was completely different and awful. The books are based on Celtic legends (and some traditions), but the movie cut out nearly all reference to it whatsoever. I'd still highly recommend the book (and then MAYBE seeing the movie), but other than perhaps bringing the book to light, this was a completely worthless movie. And I think that was one of the worst endings I have ever seen (and nothing at all like the book). Shame shame shame on them. Shame. I very nearly walked out of the movie early in tears.

255 out of 298 people found this review helpful.

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1.0 Stars
Speaking as the writer of the original book, I'd just like to send heartfelt thanks to toxicfairy for her review. Specially the last sentence.




I find this highly interesting, as SC 864412 is a Netflix-generated username, which they create using your initials and a number. Meaning this reviewer actually does have the same initials as the author, Susan Cooper. Meaning, whoa, it actually is the author maybe? I just thought that was really interesting. And it makes me sad, since the book was great and could conceivably be made into a really great movie. Oh well.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

gobble gobble

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

restless

Well, it's finally raining, and I always feel like writing when it rains. I haven't really said much recently, I guess. I've been relatively satisfied with teaching lately. I love it when kids "get" whatever it is you've been trying to teach them. Though I find teaching, and all the driving associated with it, exhausting. I wish I had more gigs, and it's frustrating sometimes when you see everyone else getting gigs, and you wonder, why am I not being called for that? But then, every gig you get, they're probably thinking the same thing. Freelancing is interesting that way, I guess.

It's still such a weird time for me; I feel like this is a limbo year, but that next year might not necessarily be much different. I wish I had more energy sometimes, or more diligence. I worry about the economy, though I guess no matter what your profession you're probably worrying about the economy these days. One thing about not being in school, it's a bit isolating, especially in LA, where you're so spread out in the first place. I don't really meet people, and most of the people I interact with during the day are either under 16 or over 40. So socializing can feel both like something I'm desperate to do, and also like something I have to really struggle to accomplish: to call people up and organize a get-together, and then go actually drive there and battle traffic, knowing you will also have to drive home again. Anyway, things are pretty good, but I'm feeling restless.

santa monica

Oh, Santa Monica. Sometimes you are just so, well, Santa Monica.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Maya Lin

I thought this little clip on the NYTimes website was really cool. It's about Maya Lin.

Friday, November 7, 2008

(Formerly) Madame Secretary

Madeleine Albright was adorable singing "Don't Fence Me In" with Elvis Costello on Conan O'Brien. Just wanted to point that out.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

OBAMA WINS!!!

I am SO PROUD to be AMERICAN today!!! I am hopeful for the enormous changes that must come for our country. It was fun this morning to read all my friends' statuses on facebook, which were all happy and proud and hopeful, for the first time in sooo long! Though I must say, I am disappointed with California for passing Prop 8. I don't understand it. Oh well, I did my part and voted no. Maybe sometime soon this will change, too. In the mean time, at least we will have strong and good national leadership for the first time in 8 years!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

i voted!!!

Today, I proudly cast my vote for Barack Hussein Obama to become the next president of the United States of America. I also voted YES on Prop 2 and NO on Prop 8.



Although the process was not as satisfying as I remember it being as a child in Connecticut, where my mom took me into the voting booth with her and let me "help" her vote by pushing the right levers, it was certainly cooler than voting absentee. And I've decided that the California system actually is kind of satisfying, because you can really punch that inker :) I was so happy to wear my sticker:



And I passed Starbucks on the way home for my free coffee:



I didn't have to wait on line for more than 5 minutes, and since the polling location is within walking distance from home, the whole thing, including coffee, only took about 30 minutes. Not bad. Now we just have to wait . . .

Thursday, October 30, 2008

it's a bird-it's a plane-no! it's supermetronome!

When I went home to Houston in September, I had a lesson with Bob Atherholt at Rice. One of the things we talked about was keeping a steady pulse in the Mozart exposition, and he had this super-cool device to help with that: it was a metronome that could go all the way down to 1 beat per minute. This allows you to set a pulse for each measure, rather than each beat (for example, if you play the Mozart exposition at quarter note = 116-120 bpm, then you are playing approximately one measure = 28 bpm). This was very revealing, because while it's relatively easy to stick to a normal metronome, a measure metronome forces you to keep your own very strict pulse within each measure. Mr. Atherholt had gotten his metronome from a friend of his who'd made it. So I was trying to figure out ways to provide myself with my own "supermetronome." Most conventional metronomes stop at 40 bpms, as does the one in GarageBand. Does anyone have a suggestion for obtaining such a device?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

real American cello songs

Stephen Colbert to Yo-Yo Ma: Aren't there any real American cello songs, about like pick-up trucks and kicking ass?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mass

I love Bernstein's Mass, even with its indeed "cringe-worthy moments," and was happy to see this review in the New York Times. I think that it still has a lot of relevance today, and I love how heartfelt it is today. Plus, the music is great, in all its various styles :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

germophobia does not mix well with oboe reeds

Have any of the oboists who read my blog ever had a germophobic student? I just took on a new student, and her reeds for her first lesson were AWFUL, but she refused to try my reeds or to buy one from me. (Or to let me try the ones she had). If reeds come from the store, she thinks they're fine, but (despite that I add mouthwash to my reedwater when teaching) mine are germy. I tried to tell her that any reeds worth buying are going to be made by hand and therefore someone has tested them to make them, therefore just as germy as mine, but she wouldn't believe me. Fortunately RDG is right here in LA so I know she can get quality reeds there, but ideally she should buy them from me. Any thoughts on how to convince her to try my reeds, and also, to let me try hers? Or to work around this in some way? (I like to test reeds before adjusting them. She says someone helped her with reeds before and they just had her play them and then adjusted from what she said, but, especially for a beginner who has no idea what to look for in a reed, I'm not sure this will work. All MY teachers have tried my reeds!!!)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

houston, ike, auditions, people, stuff

I have been back from Houston for a week already. It was a little strange to be there, especially at first, because of Hurricane Ike. There were many non-functioning traffic lights, which meant that going places could be slow, since there were essentially stop signs all over the place. And at first there was a curfew at night, but the one time we did drive someplace after dark, it was a little scary, because a lot of street lights were also down, making it easy to blow right though an intersection with a downed traffic light. By the time I got there (Thursday, the storm hit the morning of the Saturday before), most of the debris had been picked up and was sitting in enormous piles on the fronts of people's yards. There were still a few huge trees down that had yet to be chopped up, sometimes blocking streets. Electricity was random--some people had it back hours after the storm, others still didn't have it back when I left, two weeks after the storm hit. My house serendipitously got its power back about an hour before I got home, so that was nice. Also fortuitous: my house was undamaged, and the weather was freakishly cool and dry for Houston in September (lows in the upper 60s, highs in the low 80s, 40-50% humidity instead of 80-100°F and 90% humidity!), though our trees really took a beating. It remained weird to drive around town and just see random destruction: one house would be fine, the next would have a tree through it; a lot of billboards, awnings, and such were torn to shreds, but adjacent signs made out of stronger material were fine. Restaurants, stores, and schools were mainly closed when I arrived, but by the time I left ten days later, most things were getting back into the swing of things.

The audition I took was OK. It was my first opera & ballet audition, so many of the excerpts were quite unfamiliar to me when I began preparing them. A few days before the audition I kind of freaked out and felt like I did not know these pieces they way I knew the standard orchestral rep. Which was true, but that didn't mean that I hadn't worked hard on them or that they weren't basically under control. But it was enough to keep me from having a positive outlook on the audition, which was enough to keep me from playing my best. It was OK, but once again, reeds were an issue (um reeds are not supposed to close down when going from dry LA to humid Houston, but whatever). I've decided that when I get close to an audition I get a bit obsessed with practicing when honestly I would be better served by working on reeds so that I have a broader array of decent reeds to choose from when I get to the audition. But it FEELS more productive to practice, so it is hard to force myself to work on reeds instead. And honestly, once I get close to an audition, most of the hard practicing work should already be behind me, if things go according to plan. So I should really just work on reeds. Really. Anywho, I didn't advance, and what disappoints me most is that I think I actually could have had a decent shot at advancing had I managed to get my head in the right place. But that's how it goes, and I still learned a lot. And the dying roach in my warm-up room didn't help to put me in a positive frame of mind, either.

I also enjoyed being home, doing lots of shopping with my mom--hard work shopping, like trying on loads of clothes and only buying the two things that are perfect and majorly on sale, but still, I got some sorely needed items. We went to an Italian film festival at the MFAH featuring Pupi Avati and his brother Antonio, director and producer respectively. We saw Storia di ragazzi e di ragazze and Noi tre, the latter an interesting look at a teenage Mozart's brief stay in Bologna. I reconnected with a few people I hadn't seen in quite some time, which was fun, and I attended David & Katie's wedding, which was very nice. It was at their wedding actually, that I met up with an old friend from high school (the one who got me in trouble for laughing in English class), Joe Mathlete. Very funny guy, you should check out his stuff. And his music.

I also spent some quality time with my fave oboe & flute couple at their electricity-free home with their myriad creatures, including: 3 cats, 1 dog, 2 turtles, 1 rabbit, not sure how many tropical fish, and 8 or so chickens! Fun times. Meanwhile I got a bit lazy about reeds (hmm, I'm beginning to sense a pattern here . . . ) and so again wasn't pleased (this time entirely my fault--I knew I should have been working on reeds and just plain didn't! I was having too much fun hanging out with people I like, damnit.) with my reeds options for my next audition, to maintain my position in Debut. Fortunately, I did not lose my job. Though as the EH player, I will probably only play one or two concerts this season. Oh well, that's how it goes!

Now I am on to the next chapter, trying to get by in LA and also figure out where I want to be next year and how I am going to get there. These are not easy times to have just graduated with a master's in performance . . .

Thursday, October 2, 2008

tagged!

Gosh, well, I've been tagged by Patty, so I guess I'll give this a go: 6 things you might not know about me. Hmm . . .

1) I was a champion tree-climber as a kid. I could climb almost all of the (numerous) trees in my yard in rural / suburban Connecticut. I also had a rope ladder in one of the larger maples, so that I would climb the tree and then lower the rope ladder that I kept there so that my friends could also come up, even if they weren't too keen on climbing.

2) I have never smoked a single cigarette in my life. This is probably due to the fact that my father is a pulmonologist and when I was little and I went in to visit his office I sometimes played with his model of "this is your lungs on cigarettes."

3) I have a baby molar tooth that I've never lost, because there is no big tooth underneath to come in and push it out. It still works just fine. And I have no wisdom teeth whatsoever.

4) In my childhood home in Connecticut, there was a painting of a cow, just her head as she is looking at you, on our dishwasher. Her name is Pauline. She is also wearing a green bandana around her neck (if she's still there).

5) The summer I worked at the Grand Teton Summer Music Festival, I think 2002 (I was 19 . . .), as a ticketing intern, I went with the other interns over to Idaho and got my belly button pierced at a place called Boo's Tattoos. Yeah. I still have it.

6) I had a pet robin named Sam when I was about 10 years old. He fell out of his nest and we found him and took him in. He was really adorable and as he grew, when we took him out in the yard his father would come and take care of him and talk to him. I had to try to teach him to eat worms (by finding them, putting them on the ground in front of him, and directing his beak toward them) and fly (by letting him perch on my finger and then moving my arm up and down so he would have to use his wings to balance). He was completely fascinated by ceiling fans, and he got along quite well with my dog. He would come when I whistled :) I lost touch with him after the end of the summer, when he presumably migrated south with his robin friends and family.


Argh, who to tag, that hasn't been already? I'm not even sure who reads this blog! And I might tag someone who hasn't blogged in a while, maybe this will get her going again :) This is all I can come up with:

Matt
Natasha
Jason


Also, I will actually update this blog for real sometime soon, I promise.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

classical music babes

I wonder if any of these people actually know that they are featured here (found through Inside the Classics). I am not sure whether I should be happy that some guys think classical "babes" are hot or outraged that these "babes" are being objectified in this way. Also, I wonder how many Playboy readers would actually be interested in this, or what they voted on (their pretty faces? the little blurbs about them?) since the pictures don't show what Playboy pictures usually do, lol. And for that matter, how they chose them, since these ladies are all indeed "babes," but there are plenty more out there.

Monday, September 8, 2008

auditions & teaching & such

I am feeling really lazy tonight. All attempts at practicing today were extremely unsuccessful. I also spent a large portion of time trying to listen to excerpts that were buried deep within long operas and ballets, and ultimately decided I just need the scores.

This weekend I took an audition in Orlando, FL. It went OK. I felt really prepared with the music, actually. And I had a couple reeds I liked, but not as many as I should have. When I got to FL, the reeds seemed OK. But then the next morning, they were different, and as a result I played the audition on a sub-par reed, so although I didn't mess anything up, I felt like I couldn't just PLAY the way I can when I have a good reed. So I didn't advance, which was disappointing. But I'm now more motivated to try and get to auditions two days in advance whenever possible. And, my friend Jamie WON the audition, so, YAY Jamie!!!

I just started a new job, teaching middle school wind ensemble at a private school nearby. The kids are fun, I think it will be enjoyable. I'm also hoping to start SAT tutoring soon. I have to complete some more training first. SATs are different than when I took them, it makes me feel old. 2400? 1600 isn't even a good score anymore!

I'm trying to stay motivated with a great deal of difficulty today. I think I might try to go to the beach tomorrow and get my mind off everything to refresh myself, because trying to be productive all the time seems to actually be making me less productive.

Also, as a sidenote, boys are dumb. OK, maybe not all of them, but lately for me and two of my close friends, boys have really not been acting at all kindly or intelligently. Boo hiss. OK, rant over. I hope I haven't offended the male population too much.

And now, I've scheduled a lesson with Allan on Friday, so that should definitely keep my spirits up and help me work better!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

>: (

Have you ever been so angry about something that you just can't stop mulling over it in your mind and fuming and therefore can't concentrate on anything? That is me right now, while attempting to practice. OK, I will try again.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

random thoughts

Yesterday I played a gig where all four woodwinds were left-handed. What are the odds?

I was listening to the podcast of NPR's "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" while making reeds, and the guest was Patrick Fitzgerald, the "Very Special Prosecutor" of Scooter Libby (among others). When I googled him, his blog came up. Kind of cool.

I've been watching Project Runway, season 2 and Weeds, season 2. Enjoying them both.

My body does not seem particularly happy that I am playing oboe and working on reeds a lot. Various aches and pains have gradually been worsening. Weirdest: both thumbs are sore, so that it hurts to curl them under my fingers in a fist. Not sure what to do about this, since playing/reeding less isn't really an option right now. It's not bad, actually, just annoying, but I have heard so many bad stories about little aches and pains that get worse and worse and become serious problems that I just start to worry. Although maybe the thumb thing is caused by me clenching my fists in my sleep or something like that. I don't know if I do that or not.

Getting a little anxious about finding more work, and some upcoming auditions, and starting the work I have picked up, and about people coming and going. Oh I'm not sure if I ever congratulated Jon, who won a job at the Hyogo Performing Arts Center (sort of like the New World Symphony of Japan). And I need to congratulate Kelly for the Evansville job. Now they're both leaving :( :( :(

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

watercolors

Paintings from my Birthday










Friday, August 15, 2008

El Matador Beach, for my 25th Birthday



Monday, August 4, 2008

barbarella

Last night I went to Barbarella at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I think the movie served two purposes when it was made: 1) to allow people to watch Jane Fonda in various stages of undress, and 2) to take drugs to. Nevertheless, it was funny and made for an enjoyable evening in good company. I also finally saw The Dark Knight, pretty intense, I must say. In the mean time I'm still job hunting and attempting to get my practicing chops back up.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

earthquake #2

So about an hour ago I experienced my second earthquake. According to the LA Times, it was a 5.4 and its epicenter was about 35-40 miles from where I live. It's been almost exactly a year since my first earthquake. Hmmm . . . Anyway, it still scared the hell out of me. I was all shaky. The thing was, it was a lot longer than the first one. It was at least 20 seconds--my metronome was on, since I was practicing! I didn't even put my instrument down, it didn't occur to me, so I just stood in the door of my room with it in my hand. And even seconds can feel like forever. Some CDs fell off my bookshelf. The ceiling light fixture in our living room shook a lot. And I got a jolt of adrenaline that is still wearing off. It was kind of hard to practice afterwards. Actually, running through an audition list right after an earthquake would be great practice--it feels kind of like the adrenaline from an audition. Too bad I don't have anything ready yet. And I was practicing EH, not oboe. Meanwhile, the construction workers on the street didn't appear to notice and just kept drilling. No car alarms went off. But seriously, such an unnatural feeling. The earth is the one thing my body thinks it can count on to stay still! It is SOOO WEIRD when it starts to move. Although, in some ways, how it feels makes sense. I imagine enormous plates of the earth grinding past each other, and that I'm on those enormous plates, and it's basically a big, bumpy ride. But I never want to be an anything bigger than that one, thank you.

Monday, July 28, 2008

enjoying a staycation

My friend Leanna, from way back at SJS, came to visit me in LA last week. We had a lot of fun and did all those touristy things, most of which were new to me as well. There was the Getty, which I've seen a few times before, but also a new exhibit of beautiful Japanese art at LACMA, the La Brea Tar Pits, which are totally fascinating, a tour of WB, a taping of the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, a hike and a beach in Malibu, and Disneyland. And yes, I had reached the ripe age of 24 without having ever been to Disneyland or Disney World. Anyway, Leanna took some great pictures, and here are a few.



mother duck and ducklings at the getty




















El Matador Beach, Malibu

















Mr. Weasley's car from Harry Potter

















one of the batmobiles from The Dark Knight




lizard in Malibu
















edge of rock pool in Malibu
















Disneyland


The taping was kind of weird, because Craig Ferguson has to look into the TV camera, obviously, but basically that feels like the live audience is completely ignored, despite having been instructed to laugh and cheer our heads off. In other news, we saw Jay Leno driving down the 101 in one of his antique autos (that looked WAY dangerous to me). I got a bike!!!!! which I have yet to ride because I don't have a helmet, but hopefully will get one tomorrow. I guess that's about it for now. And oh yeah, I took the whole week off from oboe and am now trying to get back into it again. Fun times.

Monday, July 21, 2008

more movies and such

I guess I've been seeing a lot of movies lately. On Friday I saw Hellboy II, and I really enjoyed it. I love Guillermo Del Toro's creatures. I especially like the giant beanstalk monster. See, I've also been enjoying a little indoor gardening recently: I am the proud seeder of 3 flourishing mini-rose plants, small medium & large, with delicate pink petals and lovely soft scent; 9 little basil plants that are also quite tasty; plus the recent addition of 5 sunflower seedlings, 2 strawberry seedlings, and 5 cosmos seedlings. Oh, and one lavender and a rosemary that I picked a stem from and then rooted in water. So far so good, though the strawberry seedlings are incredibly tiny. Anyway. I like to talk to them and spend a little time with them to help them grow (yes I'm crazy I know but I've loved plants and gardens since I was a little girl). And something that I notice when I study them: they are so determined and strong, those little seeds, and they grow so quickly, that if you were to magnify that process, it would be, well, kind of terrifying. So I really liked the beanstalk monster. Plus its death was actually really beautiful.

And tonight I saw Mamma Mia! with Ginni after a gig. It was very uplifting--can't help tapping your foot and singing along to those irresistible tunes! Plus, I have to say, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and Stellan Skårsgaard are still pretty handsome fellas, and its fun to watch such "serious" actors let loose. Same can be said about Meryl Streep, Julie Walters, and Christine Baranski. I am not saying Mamma Mia! is a fantastic movie, but I am saying that it's A LOT of fun.

Still haven't made it to The Dark Knight, but that's also very hard to get tickets to. Anyway, I'm glad to have a friend from high school visit me and to have an actual vacation starting tomorrow. We're going to do all the fun LA things, like Disneyland and a studio tour and the Getty and LACMA and LaBrea Tar Pits and beach etc etc etc. Still have some errands to run before I pick her up tomorrow evening, and then the fun can begin!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

lolcomposers

I followed a link from a friend's facebook page to this web site that sort of intellectualizes the popular LolCats site, and I thought this was quite amusing:

http://community.livejournal.com/loltheorists/tag/philip+glass

Monday, July 7, 2008

ping pong

One of my neighbors has apparently bought a ping pong table. I can hear the pings and pongs, and their shouts of frustration when they miss the ball. The alley between my apartment building and the one next to it has very strange acoustics.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Gabrielle

Someone told me there was a song by Ween called Gabrielle, and that if I just searched my name on iTunes it would come up. So I did. It was the first to come up, but there were any number of other songs also entitled "Gabrielle." Many of them seem to be from the point of view of men who've had their hearts broken by a Gabrielle. Hmm. I also found it amusing to hear 30-second clips from songs featuring my name in so many genres: country, Cajun, Caribbean, rock, Latin, hard rock, jazz, you name it. Very funny.

Friday, July 4, 2008

4th of July

Happy Independence Day! I had a lovely day doing all the appropriate things: going to the beach, getting sunburned, eating hamburgers and ice cream, watching fireworks, and all in good company, too! Hope your day was as fun as mine!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Once Upon a Time in America

I just finished watching Sergio Leone's last film, Once Upon a Time in America. I'm not sure what to think. I found it very confusing. I'm not even sure of the basic points of the plot. It's a long movie (almost 4 hours) and I watched it over a period of several days, so the beginning parts are now too hazy in my memory to properly correlate with the ending. I checked out the message board on IMDB, which I don't usually do unless I really don't understand something (because people tend to start arguing and say really stupid and/or offensive things on them), and there are all these posts about the "Opium Theory." I should point out that at the beginning of the movie the main character is drugged out on opium and that the story is not told in a linear fashion, but rather with both flash-forwards and flashbacks. The "Opium Theory" holds that the flash-forwards are hallucinations made up by the character. I don't buy it. It is a very strange future, but not one that a character from the 30s would really be able to make up. I don't know. But I still don't understand who betrayed whom and why. In addition, while the violence in typical Spaghetti Western matches the over-the-top style of the movies, the violence in this was more intense and at the same time more personal. There is a particularly difficult-to-watch rape scene, as well. Anyway, if anyone has seen this movie, (if you haven't I haven't really given anything away), I'd be interested in their thoughts.

new license

I got a California driver's license today. Or, a little slip of paper stating that in 2 weeks I will get one in the mail. And THEY TOOK MY TEXAS LICENSE. I haven't even lived in Texas for the past seven years, but still, it feels weird. The CA driver's test is also kind of difficult, at least compared to the TX one that I remember, and you can only miss 3 out of maybe 20 or 25 questions. I was grateful to have passed in one go. I think my picture was weird and my signature illegible. Oh well. I guess I'm really a Californian now?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Eeeevaahh?

I saw WALL•E today and LOVED it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

one good thing about LA (the west side, anyway): it's not hot and humid. it is cool and dry (today: 77/61, pc). which means i can comfortably run outside. unlike sarasota and its horrible heat and humidity.

life

It is very strange for me to think that I have nothing scheduled for the rest of my life. I'm sure that will change soon (at least, I HOPE it will!!), but for now, there is nothing. I'm trying to do stuff like reorganize my very cluttered room (which will involve a new bookshelf and a shoe organizer, still have to get those), find a decent bike for a reasonable price, decide what auditions I should take in September, do some gardening (well, repotting--I wish I had a real garden), get a California driver's license, figure out how to make better reeds, and try to keep motivated to practice. Bigger items: find a job for the coming year, find a new oboe, get more students and gigs.

Sarasota felt sort of like a vacation from all of those issues. Even on a more basic level: I didn't have to cook or clean or grocery shop or drive. I just played oboe and hung out with fun people for three weeks. There were a lot of really wonderful players and people there. The oboes were all really good and, somewhat surprisingly, all very nice. I had good groups and we played great music: the first three movements of the Prokovief Quintet, the Poulenc Trio, the Mozart C minor Serenade, and a chamber arrangement of Ravel's Mother Goose Suite. There were also some amazing faculty members, and it was great not only to hear them play and have them coach and teach us, but to talk to them about music and life. The community in Sarasota is incredibly supportive of the festival. They had volunteers on call to take us places if we wanted to go somewhere, and they organized trips to local attractions and had pool parties for us and gave us dinner. The beach was gorgeous: powder white sand and warm aquamarine water. So generally it was a fabulous place for me to be, though exhausting at times.

Now I'm facing the time I've been dreading for a long time: post-school, pre-job. Hopefully that job part will come. And hopefully before the next century. We'll see. I'm prepared to find other things to do if it doesn't work out, but first I need to give it my absolute best shot.

Monday, June 23, 2008

CA

i think i am allergic to LA. i just got back and my throat started to hurt again, like it was before i left. weird and annoying. sarasota updates soon.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

FL

i am off to florida today and probably won't be blogging for a while. i hope i remembered to pack everything!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

chronicles of narnia

More LA fun: riding the roller coaster at the Santa Monica Pier, and mini-golf. And:
seeing the second Chronicles of Narnia movie. Thoughts: I'm tired of CGI effects already. Movie directors seem to think they're wonderful, but I'd rather have a narrower scope with more real images. The centaurs' human torsos were disproportionately long. This movie would have been very frightening for what I think the target age of the books is, 8-12. At least I would have been scared. But then my first movie was An American Tail and I started crying when the cats attacked, so maybe I just overreact.

Also, I am somewhat miffed that the Telmarines were portrayed as being Italian/Spanish/Mediterranean. I certainly don't remember the book depicting them as such. And in The Horse and His Boy, Lewis does depict the Calmorenes as being Arab, in a most offensive way, so if he'd intended for the Telmarines to be Italian, he probably also would have depicted them so in an equally distasteful way. Not that the Telmarines are all bad, but they certainly aren't completely good. Anyway, the movie was OK. I wonder how many movies they will make. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is pretty mild, but The Silver Chair is strange. And misogynistic. The Horse and His Boy is anti-Arab. The Magician's Nephew is again, strange and misogynistic. And The Last Battle is in my opinion a horrible thing to write for children. Don't get me wrong, children love dark and scary things, try Roald Dahl or Harry Potter, but this goes beyond. It's brutal, bigoted, and again, misogynistic. And very religious, but not in a good or happy way.

I find it odd that CS Lewis could write Lucy to be such a strong, courageous little girl, and there are several other little girls along the way that are, too, yet almost all of the powerful adult women in the books are evil. The White Witch. The Green Lady in The Silver Chair. The Jinn (well, she's the origin of the White Witch, but still) in The Magician's Nephew. And, what angered me the most: in The Last Battle, Susan does not get to come to heaven with the rest of her siblings because she's into lipstick and nylons. I mean, she doesn't die, so I guess she doesn't necessarily not go to heaven later, but still. What a horrible thing to write. CS Lewis obviously had some problems with women. I read somewhere that he fell in love with his best-friend-who-died-in-the-war's mom and married her. That's weird. Anyway. Not sure I recommend the movie. Goodnight.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Random LA activities

Celebrity sighting: John Slattery, my second Desperate Housewives castmember sighting (first being Marcia Cross last year). Kind of odd, it seems like celebrities try to avoid being seen and thus avoid eye contact, and he did have a baseball cap, but he looked me right in the eye. He's one of those guys who has small roles in lots of things, so maybe he's not enough of a celebrity to avoid being recognized.

LA Phil: Bartok, Music For Strings, Percussion, and Celesta; Dutilleux, Tout un monde lointain; and Stravinsky, Symphony in Three Movements. An enjoyable program with great seats. I last heard Lynn Harrell play the Dutilleux, and his big style of playing differed from Finnish cellist Anssi Karttunen's rather introverted performance.

Movies: Indiana Jones :) very silly, very Indiana Jones, but I loved it! And I still love hearing the theme. Although I found the alien stuff a little annoying. Iron Man was also good, and I particularly enjoyed the fact that there was a scene shot at Disney Hall. And I netflixed yet another action adventure, Hellboy, after I saw that it was done by
Guillermo del Toro, whose movie Pan's Labyrinth I loved. I really liked Hellboy a lot, I have to say. It's a little different from your other hero movies, and I love the creatures in it, just as I liked those in Pan's Labyrinth. On the non-action level, I also netflixed The Grapes of Wrath, which was also excellent. Henry Fonda sure was a handsome fellow, though I think I prefer him in color (eg, Once Upon a Time in the West) so you can see those blue eyes :) Movies I am looking forward to this summer: Hellboy II, The Dark Knight, Sex and the City. I like my indy movies (did I mention Waitress?), but now that school's out I am enjoying the frivolous more :)

Reading: All The Pretty Horses

Playing: Prokofiev Quintet !! yay! And I just got the Bach Cello Suites arranged for English horn, which I've been enjoying. I thought for a long time that it was somewhat sacrilegious to play them not on cello, but basses, violas, and well, pretty much everyone else borrows them, so why not EH? And since EH actually has a somewhat similar sound quality to cello, it's really not so bad. Though I feel sorry for my cellist roommate, who already spent all of last semester listening to me hack through the prelude to the second suite on viola (which I could not play in tune for my life! and it's one thing if you can't hear that you're out of tune, but quite painful if you can but just can't get your fingers to do what you need them to do).

Also playing: tennis! with said rooomate :) lots of fun, but also very sore :( since I haven't played in two years. I really want to get a bike, too, but I need to find a cheap one, maybe on craigslist.


So, no school = some practicing, but mainly just having lots of fun. Until I get back from Sarasota and have to find a job. Although I still hope to take a week off from everything when I get back and maybe take a road trip to San Fancisco? We'll see. I figure I should enjoy my time off because who knows the next time I will have a real vacation?

Monday, May 19, 2008

lily of the valley

OK, here comes my second annual "I miss spring" rant. Now people who live in Chicago might be really mad at me right now since I understand it just got cold again, and how can I complain when I spent most of yesterday at the beach?? But I will anyway :) I will repeat: without winter, there is no spring. And there is nothing, NOTHING, like spring in the north. As in Chicago or Connecticut, the two places I've lived in the north. When I moved to Houston, I sorely missed the seasons in Connecticut. Which, even though I'm surely biased since I was born there, is a truly beautiful state, all four seasons. So when I got to Chicago, I was so happy to have seasons again!! Despite the fact that Chicago winters are far windier, quite a bit colder, and far less snowy than CT winters (in CT, it starts snowing in December and you pretty much don't see the ground again til March). Oh, and Midwestern autumns have nothing on New England autumns. But I didn't care about that so much. Once spring arrived, it was like greeting long-lost childhood friends: crocus, daffodil, tulip, lily of the valley, crab apple trees, into summer's bleeding hearts, iris, roses, etc. etc. etc. The way one day all of the sudden the trees have a little green on them. And the way that green gradually grows and deepens from a bright, vibrant green to a darker, lusher green. The way the air smells. The spring rainstorms. Everything seems so visceral and ALIVE. I miss it still, a lot. And those of you who are there, enjoy it for me, please. I will in the meantime frequent the beach as often as possible to quell my pain :) And I will enjoy the various tropical plants and exotic roses found here, which are admittedly beautiful, but I would take my lily of the valley any day.

riccardo/severus

This is a pretty awesome post.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

DONE

I am finally DONE. For real. With everything. Forever. So there. All that's left is for me to graduate on Friday!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tahdon olla sulle hellä

I just had to add this. For some reason YouTube wouldn't let me post it directly. It's of the sidelinks from the first post: a LIVE version in FINNISH!! They sure like their double consonants (helllllä). Sorry, I've been fascinated by Finnish since I wrote a thesis paper on Sibelius's Kullervo. I know, I'm weird. I totally want to listen to more Finnish songs now :)

Armi Ja Danny - I Want To Love You Tender

This clip, which we watched in my avant-garde music class (yes really), makes me crack up, it's so amazingly cheesy and wonderful. Especially the dance moves. And tomorrow, after I finish the exam for that class, I will be done with school FOREVER!

Friday, May 9, 2008

RANTS

Things I will not miss about USC:
•the ghetto location
•searching for a parking spot if i didn't buy a semester pass
•the forms that need to be signed
•the people who need to sign your forms who take 2-hour lunch breaks when you're only on campus for an hour and a half
•the 10
•Bovard Auditorium: no backstage water fountains; 1 single backstage bathroom; a lack of space behind backstage, so that to get from backstage left to backstage right, you have to either go outside or on stage; tiny green rooms; the former warm-up area which forced you to go outside and down a steep flight of stairs with your instrument in hand to get on stage; no place to put your belongings or cases after that room was closed.
•classes
•spoiled sorority girls and frat boys ("University of Spoiled Children")
•lack of recital, rehearsal, and practice facilities
•the idiotic crosswalk where they force you to cross to the side you can't use because it's closed for construction, and then cross again, instead of just once to the open side.
•no U-turns on Jefferson so you have to get on the 10 at Hoover
•the entrance to the 10 west at Hoover
•the cyclists who almost kill you when you're walking
•the crosswalk near the Shrine on 32nd, which has a near-constant stream of students between 10 til the hour and the hour, causing you to be even later than you already are to park and get to class.
•the Shrine "daily" pass that does not allow reentry
•parking in the Shrine garage instead of the outside lot
•$300 semester pass at Shrine
•constant construction
•$25 parking should you have the misfortune of needing to be on campus on a game day
•football
•unpredictable, uneven orchestra rotation system
•wind ensemble--no, really, it should be called BAND
•helicopter and fire engine noise
•waiting for them to repark those fire engines (though the firemen are awfully cute . . .)
•not being able to pay for photocopies at the machines in the music library, but having to go up to another part of the library to put money on your card
•having to pay for an off-campus location to perform your REQUIRED recital because you did not win a date in the recital lottery, even though you already pay tuition to go the the school

That's all I can think of at the moment. I am so thankful that I only need to go to school two more times: one for my last exam and to turn in some forms, the other for GRADUATION. I am, incidentally, totally dreading the parking situation for that day.

One more rant and then it will all be out of my system, I hope. I DO NOT want to play in a wind quintet this summer in addition to the other chamber music. I am SOOO tired of WWQ, I need break from it. And from that piece. And from a certain member of the group I am supposed to perform with, who IMed me after two years just to say that he was subbing with some symphony and have me ask him about himself, but then not ask me anything about myself. At all. And I was hoping he would have changed since then. Oh well.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

blank

I had my last lesson with Allan yesterday, though I'll see him in Sarasota in June. I only have one final left next week and I'm done. It feels SOOOOOOOO strange. I have literally been in school my WHOLE LIFE, and everything has pretty much revolved around it. I have nothing organizing my life beyond Sarasota. My future is BLANK. Which is kind of cool, and also very scary. I need to find some sort of part-time job for next year, and to try and make connections to get gigs, which I find difficult to do. I'm really uncomfortable networking. I'd also love to get more students, but not sure how to do that, either. But for now, I will relax with friends, celebrate, graduate, and practice the Prokofiev quintet. Maybe I'll even make some reeds, who knows?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

viola jury!

Yesterday I had one of the most embarrassing performances of my life: the viola jury. I played the prelude to the second Bach suite, which to be honest was a little beyond my abilities, but oh well. It was like one of those nightmares where you show up to an audition or performance and are told you have to play a different instrument, except for real. In front of members of the distinguished USC string faculty. I got through it, for the most part. I've never played viola for an audience before, so I wasn't sure how nerves would affect me. Apparently, they make me play even more out of tune than usual. Or maybe that was because I got to the jury just in time to play (I'd warmed up in the practice building, but I didn't get to play a scale or anything to ground my intonation right before the audition). Or maybe both. Anyway, it was embarrassing, even if my teacher said they thought it was pretty good for an oboe player. I was also informed that the viola I've been playing on was way too big for me, which I kind of knew already, but I just took the instrument they handed me at the office, and I'm not sure I really had any choice in the matter. But maybe I would have found the instrument slightly less awkward had I been playing a smaller viola. And I had to play those chords at the end, which I pretty much just can't play, and that was really scary. But hey, it makes oboe auditions seem a little nicer in some way: at least I can actually play the oboe!!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

i heart prokovief 5

Just finished Prokofiev 5 with AYS. It was pretty awesome. I had a great time playing with everyone! Even though the concert got out to a rocky start for me. We played some folk songs by Liadov, very simple and easy, and perhaps because of that, I was a total space cadet and came in a bar early on a solo. I felt SOOOO idiotic. I haven't made as stupid a mistake as that in a long time. I thought I was beyond that kind of thing. Guess not. It worries me, have to admit. I don't see my colleagues making such idiotic mistakes. Wonder if there is something wrong with my brain. I've been blanking on names and words recently, too . . . I hope I don't have some horrible degenerative brain disease! Most likely I'm just an idiot, though.

Anyway, the Prokofiev was just wonderful, I'm so glad I got to play it again! The EH part is so much fun -- lots of low register fun stuff with bassoon, horn, viola :) I'll miss some of the people who are leaving, but I'm looking forward to next year. It was just one of those nights that I was happy to play and happy to be in the company of my friends.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I liked this post Jason's Double Bass Blog.

whew

Well, recital's over and I have time to breathe for the first time in months. It went pretty well. Not everything was perfect, of course, but I was happy with it for the most part. It was enough just to get through the Dorati. Loeffler was not our best performance, but it was decent. Remember went quite well, I think, as did Poulenc, and the Vivaldi was a fun way to end. I think my general comfort level with playing a recital was much better, so I was able, once the Dorati was done, to relax and enjoy the music. Not a lot of people came, a lot less than last year, but it seems that there were just too many other things going on at the same time so lots of people couldn't make it. Anyway, we had fun eating cookies afterwards :)

I had fun with my mom over the weekend at the Huntington Library & Gardens (the roses were in full bloom and looked great), the Norton Simon Museum (wonderful art), shopping at the Promenade, and in Malibu at Point Dume, with was gorgeous and cooler than the rest of LA. I'm not sure why it was so hot this weekend, but it was pretty horrible. Now it's back in the 60s. I just have my viola jury (eek! I need to pratice those doublestops!!!!) and one exam left. And Prokovief 5 with AYS this weekend, but that EH part is way more fun than stressful, so I can relax and enjoy it. And I can actually hang out with people and be social!!! What a concept.

Monday, April 28, 2008

malibu & shell / chevron

pretty multi-colored starfish


a perfect cowrie shell that i was excited to bring home until i realized it still had an inhabitant
cute little starfish

can you read the price of gas at the stations down the street from me? be careful you're sitting down.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

random LA photos

Well, tomorrow's my recital, so I'm having fun distracting myself tonight. Just baked some cookies for the reception. I just felt like putting these random LA photos up.


cute little boat in marina del rey


this spot is for the sheriff.


igor stravinsky's hollywood star


sunset in santa monica

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

daaaa dum, daaaa dum, RING RING

On Sunday I played 2nd oboe / English horn on Symphonie Fantastique. It was a blast, but Natasha was not exaggerating when she said how difficult it is to do both parts. I think that normally in big orchestras the part is split between the second oboe and the English horn. Or sometimes they have someone play the offstage oboe solo so the principal oboe doesn't have to walk offstage. As it was, I had to play the first oboe part on the end of the second movement and then immediately play that English horn solo so the principal could go backstage. Starting all by myself on that scary C on an instrument and reed that I hadn't played since tuning, probably 20 minutes ago by that time, was VERY SCARY. The first few times we rehearsed it I didn't play that oboe part at the end of the second movement, and even just leaving that out was much easier. But I never really figured out exactly how long and when to wet my EH reed or how best to warm it up in order to go from the second to third movement. So anyway, I did my best, and Jenny played the oboe solos beautifully, but I wasn't terribly happy with the first solo with regard to pitch and sound quality, especially at first. To add to my discomfort, someone's cell phone rang THREE TIMES during that solo. Jenny couldn't hear it, because she was backstage, but I must admit I found it a mite distracting. Honestly, the thought that ran through my head as I heard it was, "Why would shepherds bother to communicate with pipes if they had cell phones???" Anyway, I was a lot happier with the solo at the end of the third movement. And by the way, it's also a really bitchy second oboe part, especially the "religious" moment at the end of the first movement. The low register, with Es and Gs that tend to be flat (and the G in particular CANNOT be flat since it's the fifth), ppp, is so scary. But the 4th and 5th movements are fun :) I was very happy to have the playing experience, and I enjoyed playing it with my colleagues.

Monday, April 7, 2008

big violas

argh there is the most annoying violist i have ever met sitting next to me for an upcoming concert. he always speaks loudly, and when he plays, he sits in such a way that despite his music being to his left and my being to his right, most of his body faces me. he seems to use up more space than necessary, and his bow arm comes dangerously close to hitting the reeds on my instruments when they are sitting on their pegs to my left. (i suppose i could switch sides, but if you've ever doubled, you know how weird it would be to suddenly have your instruments on the wrong side. plus, USUALLY there is more room on that side!) now he actually asked me the other day if he was too close to my instruments (perhaps catching my concerned/annoyed looks) to which i responded, yes! his response: "well, it's just i have such a big viola . . . you know what they say about guys with big violas, right?"

i just KNEW as soon as he uttered the first part of that quote that he would follow it with the second. he's just that kind of guy. and i don't appreciate it. not one bit. not when he's that close. because did he move over after that? umm, maybe an inch. not nearly enough. he's just so weird and makes me uncomfortable (and i'm not the only one in the orchestra who feels this way). what's even more frustrating is that this same guy subbed with my orchestra for a concert last year, too, and did the same thing, minus the big viola comment. i thought i'd never have to see him again, but no. oh well, at least for the concert we'll be on risers so it won't be a problem. but if he damages my instruments or reeds in any way (or makes another such irritating attempt to flirt with me, if that is what he was aiming for) i will LOSE IT. i miss the regular violists!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

escondido falls, malibu

So here are some pictures of a hike I went on in Malibu over spring break, to Escondido Falls. Jenny took some great pictures with her super-cool camera.

Here it is, the hidden waterfall:



Here are some salamanders that were in the pool at the foot of the falls: (we saw 5 or 6 different salamanders!)



































We met a gopher (at least, I think he was a gopher) along our path. He was putting in a new addition to his tunnel.


And here is one of the few frogs we actually saw, though we heard lots. Apparently, it was frog mating season at Escondido Falls. Jenny took a picture but I'll spare you and keep my blog G-rated. Anyway, here is one cute, innocent, single froggy.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

yum shostakovich

Tonight I heard my immensely talented roommate play a recital with her immensely talented piano trio, and I loved it! They played Dumky & Shostakovich. It was great! I got goosebumps :) I was also proud of my friend Ginni who shone on her oboe recital. She sounds great on her new rosewood Loree. Speaking of people to be proud of, Tim got a job in the SFS (!) and I think Will got a job in St. Louis, both principal positions. Greg just got into New World. I feel like such a slouch compared to all these successful young people!

I'm trying to gear up for a concert tomorrow, in spite of an ear infection, and an audition on Friday morning which I am seriously considering chickening out of. But I agreed to give someone a ride, so I feel obligated to do it. Oh well, maybe if I just don't care about it, it well go better. Just wish I had more time to prepare. And now I am starting to freak out about my recital. Program: Vivaldi, D minor concerto; Dorati, Cinq Pieces; Jolas, Remember; Poulenc oboe sonata, and the Loeffler trio (oboe viola piano). I'm excited, but I need to practice A LOT before April 24!!!!!!! And the reeds, urgh. Plus I'm playing Symphonie Fantastique (2nd/EH) somewhere in between. Also pretty exciting, but again, the reeds. I really hope my ear infection goes away soon. Argh. Time for bed so I can get rid of this thing.

Friday, March 28, 2008

cough cough sneeze cough

Erm, so I haven't been blogging much lately. It's been busy, despite spring break occurring at some point. The highlight of the month: the John Williams AYS gala. Jenny and I giggled every time we got to Darth Vader's march. Sayuri's theme from Memoirs of a Geisha was beautiful and included a lovely EH solo :) Harry Potter, ET, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Schindler's List, all good stuff. This is music I've grown up listening to and loving. Come to think of it, Star Wars might be the most recognizable "classical" theme (we can safely say "symphonic," no?) other than Beethoven 5. Whenever I played it while introducing the oboe to classrooms, it was the one theme EVERY kid knew, and it always got them excited. JW was lovely and humble and rather quiet. My parents came, they loved it. I drove them down to Huntington Beach for a conference on Wednesday. Unfortunately, I got sick on Monday. I am still sick, and I don't seem to be getting better. I am waiting to receive some excellent photos from Jenny from our hike sometime last week, which I hope to post here. Anyway, I'd really like to get better so I can focus on recital preparation. OK, I really need to sleep now. Goodnight.

Monday, March 10, 2008

fluxus

In honor of the midterm I have tomorrow for my avant-garde class, I am posting some Fluxus art ideas from a Yoko Ono exhibit I went to several years ago.

Waterdrop Painting
Let water drop.
Place a stone under it.
The painting ends when a hole is drilled in the stone with the drops.
You may change the frequency of the waterdrop to your taste.
You may use beer, wine, ink, blood, etc. instead of water.
You may use a typewriter, shoes, dress, etc. instead of stone.
1961 Autumn

Painting To Be Constructed in Your Head
Hammer a nail in the center of a piece of glass. Imagine sending the cracked portions to addresses chosen arbitrarily. Memo the addresses and the shapes of the cracked portions sent.
1962 Spring

Painting for the Wind
Cut a hole in a bag filled with seeds of any kind and place the bag where there is wind.
1961 Summer

Friday, February 29, 2008

wanted: balance

Argh, I wish my life were more balanced. It seems that these days, I either have a billion things going on or NOTHING. And oddly enough, NOTHING can make me more anxious than EVERYTHING. Well, it's not that I have absolutely nothing. I performed Berio's "ricorrenze" this Tuesday evening with my quintet, I had a lesson yesterday with a particularly wonderful member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and I have an audition on Monday and church gig on Sunday. But I haven't had orchestra rehearsal, which is what my life usually revolves around. My time has been completely unstructured, which is great once in a while, but it's difficult to stay focused and motivated with no routine or schedule. I only have one student since the other has opted out of lessons for a while, and he wasn't home for his lesson on Wednesday. I've been at home a lot, which is nice because I haven't had to drive, but I get cabin fever. I'm bored of running, and I want a bike. I tried to go out and get one today, but the local Sears doesn't have them, and the bike store only had super fancy ones. I just want something simple to ride to the beach. And my mother doesn't want me to get one because she knows lots of people who've been in bike accidents. I try to reassure her that the ride to the beach is on a smaller road with a bike lane, but I'm sure she's picturing me driving on the 10 or something. Anyway, I'm restless and this extra time has just allowed me to start thinking about the summer and next year and the rest of my life and start to FREAK OUT!!!! Oh well, soon this little empty time will be over and I'll have rotation in school and Debut and AYS and a recital and I'll be longing for a break, but right now, I just wish things were a little more even. Better go practice.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Oscar fun

I watched the 80th Academy Awards today! Fun times. I like Jon Stewart. I was really glad No Country for Old Men won. I love DDL, but I saw both Eastern Promises (an excellent movie!) and There Will Be Blood (a good movie, but not my taste), and I honestly preferred Viggo Mortensen's performance. But whatevs. And I think Amy Ryan was really awesome in Gone Baby Gone, but I didn't see Michael Clayton, so I can't judge her against Tilda Swinton (she kind of looks like she's from outer space, no?). Owen Wilson was not his usual happy-go-lucky, silly self, and that made me sad. I was glad "Falling Slowly" won for the song, and I think that Glen Hansard is kind of a jerk (there's lots more people to thank, but you know who you are, so I don't need to say your names?? when else are you going to recognize someone's help to your big win but at the AWARDS show?? among other reasons), so I found it amusing that Jon Stewart called him arrogant. I'm glad he brought Marketa Irglova back to say her thanks. She's born in 1988? She's only 19?? Yikes. Hmm that would also make Glen 18 years older? Is that right? I'm bad at math. Anyway. Lots of pretty people and gorgeous dresses. Kind of funny to think that I watched on TV only about a mile from the actual event.

There always seem to be lots of articles about how ridiculous the Oscars are and that they don't actually reward the best movies. Well, it's Hollywood! What do you want? Just enjoy the show, that's what I do. And a lot of those recognized are really excellent movies, performances, achievements, etc.

I also decided that I wish I could be a cinematographer, though it sort of seems like the kind of thing you either have a talent for or don't, rather than something you can really learn. I mean you can learn how to do it and the theory behind it, I'm sure, but when it comes down to it, you really need to just have an eye for it. Anyway, I love my one foray into total pop culture for the year :)

PS I was glad Dario Marianelli won for best score for Atonement. It was a good score, and I've liked his work before.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

chamber music hero

The best comic ever.

My roommate's mom pointed this one out to me. It's particularly wonderful since my roommate plays cello :) I've even had a discussion with people about the possibility of "oboe hero," but this is even better. So thanks again, Jan!

Friday, February 15, 2008

I didn't really celebrate Valentine's Day the way you're supposed to today, but that's OK by me. I did get to hear Allan play Bach, though, which is always a treat.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

C is for Cookie

And that's good enough for me.

movies

Movies I have enjoyed recently:

A History of Violence

it is true to its title, but I enjoyed it nevertheless.

The Wind That Shakes the Barley


a very moving story about the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War.

it left me in tears.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Cool.

visual music

I just read an interesting article in New York Times. Personally, while I myself am distracted by overly theatrical performances, I have found that non-musicians actually react positively to this sort of behavior. Think of rock stars and their antics--no young person who goes to rock shows is going to be bothered by any of the much milder aerobic activity displayed by classical musicians. And I think that vision need not impede a concert experience--on the contrary, I think it is an essential part of what makes a live performance so exciting and personal. I even think it can help one listen better. For example, if I hear the strain of a particular melody on an instrument, and I think it's the oboe, I look at the oboe, and I can see that the oboist is indeed playing that melody, and then somehow I hear it better, or I can isolate it from the rest of the notes more easily. I think it's fascinating to watch people perform. I do agree with Mr. Holland, however, when he says that these histrionic performers use their onstage behavior to market themselves, which I find objectionable.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

i voted!!!

I voted today! I was going to take a picture of my "I voted" sticker, but it fell off somewhere on the way home :( So here is my ballot stub instead.

Monday, February 4, 2008

carys

Last night a friend of mine from college (she got her masters at NU when I was 3rd-4th year there, and we were in a chamber group together at some point) posted pictures of her brand new baby girl on facebook. I am in awe. She is so tiny and beautiful! The idea that someone I actually know and is close to my age (she's only 2 years older) has her life together enough to have a BABY is kind of mind boggling. It just seems so, I don't know, grown-up? There's no way I would be together enough to have a family of my own in two years, that's for sure. Anyway, congrats to Sarah and Mike on the arrival of baby Carys!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

always more

Well, I thought I was finally done with my run of concerts and constant rehearsals, so that I might actually have some time to practice for summer festival auditions, and even make a tape or two. But alas, I am in rotation at school again, a last-minute change. I will just have to do my best to squeeze in enough practice time and I have no idea about the tape(s). I just know I really need to do SOMETHING musical this summer, and not in LA. Why are they ALL in late January / early February? I mean, I know the lists are posted way early and that I could technically mail the tapes in before Jan 1, but honestly, who has the time during the holidays? First you're overloaded with Christmas gigs, juries, and finals, then school is closed and 1000 miles away so there's no good place to record anway, then you're doing last-minute shopping, and cooking, and traveling, and people want to see you and you might not get to see them again in a long time, so WHO HAS TIME TO MAKE SUMMER FESTIVAL TAPES???????

Oh well. I had my first viola lesson today! It was great fun. I'm struggling with alto clef, because I still have to translate it in my brain from treble clef rather than just read it straight, but I'm hoping to make flash cards to really learn it well and associate it with a place/feel/sound on the viola. It's an awkward instrument for me. And being a small person, the viola I got from school is of course on the large side (I didn't get to choose it). So it's a real struggle to play with my 4th finger in tune. And to extend my bow arm completely. But I'll work on it. It will distract me from reeds. Speaking of reeds, better get to work. Or maybe I'll take out my viola instead . . .