Saturday, May 31, 2008


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.


This is a pretty awesome post.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


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


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.
•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
•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


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.