Currently home, following the adventures of driving with a mother paranoid of deer.
Blogging on hiatus. I need a break, stupid as that may sound. Don’t know when I’ll update next.
listening to: rem – perfect circle
This is swifty becoming one of my favorite R.E.M. songs. Apparently their drummer wrote it, which makes me so happy. Piano. Piano plus Stipe-poetry. Mmm:
Put your hair back, we get to leave
Eleven Gallows on your sleeve
Shallow figure, winner’s paid
Eleven shadows way out of place
Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room
Pull your dress on and stay real close
Who might leave you where I left off?
A perfect circle of acquaitances and friends
Drink another, coin a phrase
Heaven assumed, shoulders high in the rooom
Try to win and suit your needs
Speak out sometimes but try to win
Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room
Wow I love this song.
Blogging from the ITC in the music building. I did about half my theory after Philharmonia and am now just sort of lazing until I feel the need to go off and do other things. I would have done the entire thing, but was completely confused by something the book indicated we were supposed to do. I intend to ask an acquaintance. But here I am, currently. Completely investiga-awesome.
So…what’s up with the freaking weather? It’s something like 70º outside, here! I mean, it feels wrong and unnatural at this time of year, but I must admit, I thoroughly enjoyed my traipse across the bridge from my dorm. Listening to Murmur, at that. Sigh, R.E.M. There’s something about the bare trees and dying grass combined with listening to R.E.M. that remind me of driving around in Upstate NY during the winter. I don’t know what it is. But it’s awesome. I notice that I associate music with the place in which I first listened to it, or spent most of my time listening to it. Hmm, example. When I was in Japan, I was listening to R.E.M.’s “Green” and The Beastie Boys’ “Hello Nasty” (funny as that last one may be, it’s weird because if ever I listen to it, all I remember is sitting in my host-family’s house, reading manga after everyone’s gone to bed). I’ve heard about variations on this, that you associate colors or smells with places, or even colors and smells with music, too. Anybody have anything to add to this?
So I got to the music building (where everybody else was commenting on the “hole”, as well), and went off to find a practice-room so I could work on theory. But on the way, I came across the choral room, where people were practicing Bach Mass in b minor. And…I stopped and put my ear to the door for a moment or two. They sound…so good. It beats any classical choral work we ever tried to do in high school (I realize that high school and univerisity choirs are compleeeetely different from each other, but I just felt I should say…) I miss choir, so much.
Uh. Don’t ask. That is all.
< /pointless murmurings>
listening to: blonde redhead – this is not
AaaaAAAaAAH! I want to get out of here, already!
I have nothing of importance to say. While I was away from the computer, I thought out the coolest and most elaborate entry possible. And then I found myself sitting in front of the “post” box, simply staring at it. Brain: “. . .”
I think it had something to do with the paper I turned in this morning at 7:30. Yes.
Rhetoric is so early. I generally like my TA. But she has this tendancy to be sarcastic about absolutely everything. And then suddenly, you find yourself talking in front of the class, and she’s giving you her “serious” face which looks like it might equate to something along the lines of “death to speaking student!”. In any case, I don’t mind the sarcasm, usually, but on mornings where I hate everything (I assure you there are some mornings where it’s very difficult not to hate everything. 7:30am), I feel like throwing my music theory book at her. I hate it when I get unnecessarily irritated for no reason whatsoever. But mostly mweh.
GOD! What on earth was I going to blog about?! AAH!
I think I’m going to obtain another empty book of some sort. Like, maybe just a small, pretty note-book. Just because, I’ve gotten to the point where I actually do write down things I want to blog about, or talk about with people. I call them “blog-me” notes. But I write them down in the most random and inconvenient places. Like, in my theory notes. Or on stick-it notes that disappear within minutes of being written on. Or sometimes orchestral music (that gets turned back in, too, oops). So I make the effort, really I do. So maybe I just need a spiffy notebook to carry around with me everywhere, and write down ideas as the day progresses. Isn’t is sad how much of a fuss I put up about blogging?
Oh! Oh! Oh! I do remember one of my lost blog-me’s! I was walking to my cello locker in Voxman yesterday, and as I was about to enter the locker-room, I came upon this…huge hole in the wall. Like, it was the size of maybe an entire person. I don’t know how it got there, but I tried to imagine that it was either a crazy, percussion-instrument inclusive fight (because the percussion storage area is RIGHT THERE), or that somebody of truly absurd arm-strength became upset and threw an upright piano at the wall.
Somebody tell me to go do my music theory homework!
listening to: yann tiersen – les jours tristes
I think I feel better. I don’t know. It sucks when I have “me” issues, which I am obviously having. Mweh. It’s just something I need to get over on my own. So if you notice I’m trying to milk pity from you, a good whacking is in order.
I’ve been writing a lot in my blue book. It’s not that I’m even writing anything other than what I would normally write in the blog. But somehow, I feel like I never have to hand-write anything, anymore. I almost miss it (which I realize probably sounds crazy), and feel the need to just sort of…spend a good half-hour before bed emptying my thoughts into the book. And you know, in ways it’s more comfortable for me to write there. As much as I would love to specify and write things as elaborate and specific and (occasionally) for lack of better word, mean, I know that there are people reading my blog who would not appreciate some of what could come up. Friends, acquantances, floor-mates. As has been an apparent issue recently, moms and bosses. So yeah. But I remember, once, after going to Ithaca Chamber Music whatever, sitting in the lounge, reading excerpts of my (then) red book to Nikita, and making him laugh.
Anyway, I was also kind of thinking about this because…well…our society is becoming highly dependant on computers. For writing of every kind. I’ve never been asked to turn in a hand-written assignment other than something like an in-class writing. Essays and research papers are always done through word-processors, including just about anything else, these days. But…you know, thinking about it, writing things out by hand has almost an art to it. Of course, it’s nothing compared to many Asian languages that use completely different characters. Roman letters can hardly be considered art compared to Chinese characters. But…still. Maybe it sounds stupid to be saying that hand-writing things has something more to it than people think. But on some subtle level, I think it does.
Everyone should try writing by hand a little more often!
And everyone should look at my AIM profile (even though mine is just a cheap copy of Rebecca‘s)!
listening to: rem – mandolin strum
I noticed something last night. I have this belief that I must be the most unbelievably boring person on the face of the planet. And it’s all because I have nothing to talk about anymore but the cello and orchestras and lessons and crap related to that. Same goes with blogging. Maybe that’s why nobody ever talks to me anymore. I don’t blame them. I don’t like it, though. I feel like I used to have a life, and interesting things to say to the world. I want something else to live off of. I’ve been avoiding talking to a lot of people for a while, now, I think, because I’m afraid they’re going to want to gnaw off their own limbs from the boredom of having to listen to me speak.
I’m also pretty certain that I’m now being an ego, again. That became clear to me when I tried to claim to somebody that I wasn’t being so, and said something about not wanting compliments. Dammit. Dammit, self. Why do you feign modesty when you’re being an ego? I’m being an ego. AAH!
Hopefully people will want to talk to me during break, despite my incessant music-rambling. Or else I might gnaw my own limbs off. I promise I’ll try to contain myself.
-_- <--anxiety-filled rabbit
listening to: the sugarcubes – dragon
I suspect that the only reason today has consistently been good is because of my two-hour nap after theory this morning. I found myself being far less frustrated by things going on in Philharmonia. I like Tuesdays and Thursdays because they require me to deal with fewer people, generally. I like…um…damn. I like Wednesdays because I have cello lessons. Unless I’m unprepared for them. Which may be the case tomorrow. Thank you Piatti.
I am ready for this week to be over. Two days ago. Come on, Friday!
Ability to think and work rapidly declining due to brain-fatigue. Must. Do. Music. Theory.
listening to: modest mouse – karma payment plan
The last hour has been so weird. I had practiced for soooo long. Like, over two hours. And then I sat myself down in front of a piano for a fairly insane theory review session. So I was kind of tired.
But then I came back and was bored at the computer for a while, when, suddenly I find out that Rebecca and I finished the Neverending Story within a day of eachother. And that sort of brought on some…well…okay. Obsessing? I always liked the first movie. I haven’t seen it for a while. Not since I was 11. I liked the first one. I actually own the soundtrack for it, which I don’t believe was available in the US. Believe it or not, I actually picked it up in Japan (oh, me). You know the theme song? Well, this is the guy who sings it. Yeah, you read right. Guy. Isn’t that just amazing? And I remember when the second movie came out (which I can clearly see now, was a terrible terrible movie). I was six when I first saw it. I remember sitting in the livingroom with my sister, who was watching it with me, and having to leave the room because of the part where the Seeing Hand almost zaps Bastian and Atreyu. That scared the living crap out of my six-year-old self. But then I also remember that I had a crush on the guy who played Bastian, Jonathan Brandis. He was on Full House, too, once, I think. I was so weird when I was six. Snerk.
Beth E. emailed me! And we’re going to play random quartets during break! Yay!
listening to: steve reich – violin phase (
I’m starting to worry about music theory, a lot. I understand what we go over. And I absorb all of this new material that is being handed to us. But for the past few weeks, after almost a month of good homework assignment grades being returned to me, things are starting to cave in. I have all of this stored information, but I have such difficulty applying it in context, which is what is being asked for the assignments. I need to study. I need to practice. I need to study and practice. I need to sort all of this backlogged information into its place. This is like Math. Math with the faint possibility of my understanding it. Sometimes I find myself soaking up certain concepts because they’re so interesting to me. But if I ever want to do more as a music analyst or a composer, I need to understand everything. EVERYTHING! Every sort of cadence or phrase or whatever!
Other times, I’m tired, and all I do is ask myself why I’m doing this. But, dagnabit! I will study (practice. whatever)!
Yesterday was Tony’s recital. I showed up ten or so minutes early, and sat down in the central area of the recital hall. Five minutes later, a group of people came in, and asked if they could sit with me. I like sitting alone, but I wasn’t going to push them away, because we’re all acquaintances. They started out a tad on the loud side, before the recital began. That was fine, I’m used to that. As Tony walked out and everyone applauded, I happened to notice one person in my row with her feet propped on the chair in front of her. She sat this way for the entire recital. I was tempted to lean over and give her a good shoe wedgie. Wow. Even the thought of doing that is just…unbelievably rude and mean of me. But the thought had honestly crossed my mind.
And this isn’t exactly inappropriate concert behaviour, but I thought I would throw it in, anyway. Standing ovations. When a performance is brilliant, simply beautiful and wonderful and breathtaking, or when the performer is that respected (ie, Joshua Bell, Yo yo Ma, Berlin/NY Philharmonic), a standing ovation at the end of a performance is common. I’ve always felt very uncomfortable, at small festivals or college performances, where everybody stands up for a performance that was less than fabulous (basically, I feel that standing ovations should occur sparingly). I always feel so out of place when I don’t join them, so I generally conform and act the tool. But when I saw the faculty string quartet a few months back, I sat with Laura. When everyone stood up at the end of their performance, I prepared to do my “this isn’t right but people will think I’m a jerk if I don’t” ritual. But to my amazement, Laura was still sitting. She turned to me and asked “is this really necessary?”, and I went “no, not at all”. So I did not join the ovation for my teacher’s recital yesterday, though it was an enjoyable recital and he played well. So there!
listening to: wings – band on the run
I’m listless and bored, the combination of which is not good for a night cramped in a dorm-room. I feel I owe the world an entry.
Last night’s Iron Chef had the most _disgusting_ ingredient possible. Sea cucumber. I squirmed for so much of that hour. Why? Why why why? A sea cucumber has the consistency of maybe jelly? Really. The chefs would just be working on the counters, not really even moving anything or shaking the counters, and the things would be jiggling around in the pan. In my brain, eating a Sea Cucumber equates to eating a slug. Please. Just no. See? I’m so disgusted at this idea, I can’t even type coherent complete sentences. Tch.
I am having the most warm and delightful images of Thanksgiving break. I wish those images would wait until I’ve at least made it through the first three days of this week. My gosh. I have this paper due on Thursday. And then this theory assignment due Friday. Our theory assignments have slowly mutated from difficult but doable things, into these…monsters. Like, the difficult but do-able things, plus phrases and things we have to make up on our own, the specific directions for which only confuse and meddle with my brain’s clarity. AAH! Thanksgiving! Now! Please!
listening to: kevin volans – white man sleeps #1 (kronos quartet)
It did suck, though. Just thinking about it, I’m trying to repress this urge pull my hair out. The best thing about August was seeing Tori and Ben with Renata. That was like…the one pleasant Midpoint throughout all of the craziness hapening. Other than that, well…let’s see. I guess getting back from practice boot-camp (ARIA) was good. But then I just had to leave again. And on my birthday, at that. The adjusting to that was difficult, especially having my first er…culture shock in the dealings of alcohol. Then there was freaking out going on in a completely different department of categorized freaking out, which need not be spoken of (it’s better if you have no clue what I’m talking about). Honestly, I feel sorry for anybody who had to talk to me after like…August 12th or so.
Hmm. September was better. A lot better. Then October kind of sat down right in the middle of better things and made for stress. So far, of all of 2003, May and June are my favorite months. The first like…three days of July aren’t half bad, either. I don’t know. It’s really weird. I don’t even know what I’m talking about. I’m beginning to think the entire point of this was to test out permalinks, which is nerdy. Oh well.
So in The Sand Man “A Game of You”, the characters engraved on the heirogram are “dreaming” in Japanese. Not important, but mentionable.
listening to: modest mouse – karma payment plan
Dammit. There is so much freaking music I would like to get my hands. But I have too many CDs as it is, and I feel I shouldn’t waste money on more, when I could be saving for something eventually important like…er…I don’t know. Things ( <--girl who generally does not spend money on...anything, although is beginning to crave comic books, novels, and independant record label CDs in a frightening manner). I will not download whole albums. I feel that is wrong. I like getting an album, and listening to the whole thing, at once, and being exposed to it as an album, not individual songs I have downloaded and listened to at random intervals. So…what with a fancy internet connection and a Mac kazaa program, I have the ability to obtain a lot that I would want. But as I said, I don’t download full albums. What do I download? Let’s see: rare/bootleg/live/bsides, a few individual particular songs that interest me while I don’t think I could ever listen to a full album. That’s about it. Sometimes, if I discover a new artist, I get going on a few more particular songs of theirs, but I really want to try and actually buy an album. So my iTunes library has a lot of live/bootleg REM, Bjork, Tori, and Joshua Kobak. Then there are the things I download from the actual sites of the artists. A lot of independant record label bands released a few individual mp3s. Other things come from pitchforkmedia.com, which is pretty much just a collection of those mp3s put up on sites. The rest of the mp3s in my library are ripped from my own collection of CDs. I do this so I have favorite crap on my computer, and also because I can share (share as in let other people listen to my playlists) my music through the network on my floor. I know the guy who lives next door to me likes listening to the live version of “Linger” by the Cranberries multiple times per day, so there you go.
Anyway, just making a statement that I would rather be poor and support good artists than greedy and spoiled with all the music I could imagine, but not giving support. Basically, my extremely confused view-point on file-sharing.
Anyway. Lots of music I want to buy, but may not unless I suddenly feel it’s okay to spend money I did not earn myself (thanks to my parents and their never letting me have a job). A list:
Modest Mouse – The Moon&Antarctica
REM – In Time (Special Edition)
Tori Amos – Tales of a Librarian
The Dismemberment Plan – Change
Stereolab – Emporer King Tomatoes
Benjamin Britten – Cello Suites 1, 2 & 3
Yann Tiersen – L’Absente
Whoa. That list right there says a lot about my taste in music: insane. I am insane. An honest question: has anybody heard of Stereolab? I don’t even remember how I know about them. How does this happen to me? Why do I have to obsess? Why do I need to hear everything?! AAH!
Actually, new music just makes me happy. I think my taste in music is insane, but it makes me happy that I have such a vast variety and depth. I just love to listen to interesting stuff. Hmm. Though I still definitely blame my sister for a lot a number of recent binges. But ha! I think I may be having revenge! *sends her more Enon and Dismemberment Plan*
listening to: rem – low (unplugged)
I am bored. Bored and awaiting exciting Friday things to happen. So here is an entry.
I did, indeed, play for seminar today. An entire Bach suite. A whole seven movements. I have never even learned an entire Bach suite before, let alone played one in front of the class. That’s why I decided I needed to do it. Because too many times, I start pieces of music, and never ever finish them. I am learning how to complete things I start, which I have never known how to do.
I played pretty well. I screwed up my favorite and best movement, the Courante, for some reason. Strange things were happening within my brain. But much else was good. The only person besides the teachers who gave me any sort of input was Amy. Thank you, Amy. Thank you thank you thank you. I love you, you Oberlin Grad, lady-in-black, you. Amy’s comment was that I pushed everything. That I rushed through the entire suite. Honestly. I. Love. Input. So for the love of god, will the rest of you people please…..
CRITIQUE ME CRITIQUE ME CRITIQUE MEEEEE!?
I am oh-so open to new ideas, and would love to figure out every little bit of my playing out for myself! But…this requires input and cri-ti-cis-m. What, you think I’m not emotionally fit enough to handle criticism? You think I’ll take it personally? TRY ME. Through my many many many experiences with cellists and musicians from everywhere, I have learned that when a person says something negative about your playing, they are not saying something negative about you. They are trying to open your eyes, help you pinpoint technical and musical problems. They are trying to help you. So, be open to constructive criticism and for the love of all that is good, criticize other things, too! AAH!
I’m fine, thank you.
Everybody was being really nice about my playing. Kathryn came up to me and said she’s like to put my playing in a box and carry it with her, hee, flattering. Then she and Laura and I walked back to our respective residence areas, together. Kathryn completely going crazy about things with our conductor. She is trying to file a serious complaint about him, which is fair, but maybe blowing things slightly out of proportion. It’s a bit of a mess.
My stomach is pulling me elsewhere. I think I must follow it.
listening to: rem – perfect circle (live and electric organ-filled)
Music theory makes my head hurt.
Yuck. I have to play Bach in front of the cello studio in two hours. Not just one movement, an entire suite. At least I sort of know what I’m doing. I hope. I hope people actually bother to criticize me. I almost feel like I should play badly just so people think of possibly not filling their comments with the sweetest of praise. Come on, cello studio! I challenge you! Criticize my playing!! Can you do it?!
Everybody: thanks (Everybody being Jamie, Megan, and Renata). Once I calmed down, I (as I said would happen) realized I was being unnecessarily stupid. I decided, after not very long, that I will definitely take Japanese I. Definitely. Grar! Take that, college!
I hate it when fatigue interferes with communication skills. Hate.
Aside: If one types “talia” into google, this blog appears 9th out of something like 300,000, followed immediately by “Talia’s latina amateur hardcore porn”. That is highly amusing.
Um. I took my Japanese Language Evalution test. It was different than I expected it to be, but then, I never really knew what to expect in the first place. For some reason, I thought it would have something to do with the Japanese department, or a person from the faculty. Or involve me having to write anything. So why I crammed for kanji, I do not know. There was a reading part, a listening part, and a grammar part. It was a scan-tron test. So they ran the test through the machine to score it, and it had nothing to do with a person evaluating my skills to determine what would work for me.
I knew I wouldn’t do well. It’s hard to feel confident in a language with grammar I haven’t worked on for six months. But that’s my fault. I understand that. I could have continued studying throughout the summer, and into this semester. And when I say study, I mean concentration on things that aren’t manga. I mean reviewing grammar and learning vocab and kanji. Reading manga does not encompass this well enough, beyond a certain point. I realized this especially well after taking the test. And so my score indicated that I should take a comprehensive review course, I was slightly disappointed, but fine. The reason I a tad disappointed was because I was two points off from ranking as a 2nd year (yes, my skills have declined this much. I’ll get to my shame on that in a bit). So, I’m fine with this. But as I am traipsing away from the Jefferson building, it occurs to me that I never saw this course offered for spring semester when I was scanning the list of Japanese courses offered. And sure enough, when I check, there is no Comprehensive review course.
So what am I supposed to do now? If I wait until the fall semester, my skills will probably have rotted through so much, I may as well just start over with J1. I don’t want that to happen! I worked so hard in high school! I got A’s all six semesters, and not without an occasional struggle here and there! My only real option is to take the second semester of first-year, which I’m sure would be a great way to rebuild the foundations of my language knowledge, but might really frustrate me if it’s not worth my time!
I’m frustrated at the school because:
a) I never got to take a language evaluation of any sort during my orientation. These were offered, but for some reason, I never ended up taking one. I remember asking my mother what I should do. I remember asking my advisor what I should do, since (for some completely unknown reason) there was no information on my transcripts that I had taken any Japanese whatsoever (thanks, Uhigh). My advisor informed me that it would be easy as pie to meet with an instructor and have a private evaluation.
b) I have not spoken with or met a single real Japanese-speaking person over this matter. Where are these superb faculty members that I’ve heard so many people say such wonderful things about? Upon emailing one, I was directed to the test-taking center, where I took this stupid scan-tron. I know the machine probably just revealed the obvious of I suck, but I would really prefer a real person telling me I suck, heck, even writing down on a test or a sheet of paper that I suck and me getting that sheet of paper somewhere along the line, than a machine giving me a tallied number and having a random person hand me the score and the class equivalent.
c) One of the reasons I came to Iowa was because I thought I could make Japanese work out at least as a minor with music. But if I can’t take any courses relating to it, where does that leave me? Everything I read and listened to said that it was a flexible system, where students could make more of their own program. I can assume, then, that they are either handing out information that is not true, or that this is simply not applicable to music-students who registered later than other people because they were slaving away at practice boot-camp. Oh dear, am I bitter?
I am frustrated at myself because:
a) I could not uphold standards for myself in Japanese. I claim to love it and obsess with it, but have been lazy and irresponsible. I should have thought about this. I should have taken care of it immediately, rather than let it sit until two weeks before spring semester registration.
b) I’ve let music take over my concern for other aspects of my self. Japanese was so important to me through high school. So important. And I could not have lived peacefully without it. Now I’m so wrapped up in a music program that, true, has taught me to practice and be integral on my own, but has also done a lot to irritate me. I feel like sensei and particular friends will be ashamed of me.
All right. There. That’s out. I feel better. Now I just have to figure out what I should do. I have two weeks to decide. No Japanese, or a level of Japanese with a lower number than I am used to (It’s just the number that’s bothersome. For all I know, Japanese here is completely different than I am used to. Or…for all I know, I really do suck). There’s nothing shameful in starting over again, I suppose. Alright. We’ll see about this.
**please realize that this entire entry is me being unreasonable with myself. The important part is that I know it, and that later I will come back and go “oh, I was being fairly unreasonable, wasn’t I?”. Sometimes I need to be hard on myself, because not only does it give me doses of reality, but it motivates me to try harder. So. Yeah. Just inserting this note so people don’t comment things at me like “Talia, you’re being hard on yourself! Stop doing that!”, because as I said, I just need to do that sometimes. So…yeah. It’s over (thank god).
listening to: rem – catapult
REM timeline, and personal view of the mini-eras…
Southern Band Era (my favorite):
-Fables of the Reconstruction
**these all contain the qualities explained in the entry below. Chronic Town and Murmurs are my favorites of these four.
-Life’s Rich Pageant
**Admittedly, this era is just as good as the previous one. They are discovering new ways of being musical. Life’s Rich Pageant was the first REM I was ever introduced to, and is probably my personal favorite album.
Fresh New WB Label aka What-Do-We-Do-With-Our-Southern-Asses-Now? Era:
**Still Good crap right here. Generally a lot like the previous two. A lot of mandolin, which I am a sucker for. Just on a different label and a lot of changes in sound.
Approaching Pop aka Our-Southern-Asses-Are-Adjusting-And-We-Still-Rock! Era:
-Out of Time
**You can hear some more poppish things in here, but it’s almost like a small evolved version of Green. Good.
An Inner Musical Merge of Ridiculous Proportions Era:
-Automatic For The People (this albums is simply rock-some in every way)
**Really. This album is my favorite more recent one. It’s different from their old stuff, but it’s different from everything else going on elsewhere at the same time. Listen to this freaking album, please.
And Now For Something Completely Different (And Perhaps Gone Wrong) Era:
-New Adventures in Hi-Fi
**both albums are experiments of finding the true rocker within. They are different from each other, but they are the same as well. Monster has some great moments, being the first half of the album. Hi-Fi hardly has good moments, but credit is given for trying.
Drummer Lost (Excuse-Us-If-We-Become-Pop-Icons-Now) Era:
**UP grew on me, but just for the album itself. When I think about what REM used to do in comparison to it, I feel I ought to cry. Reveal, I have no real opinion of. It’s just sort of there, trying to find a place in my brain. I feel a lot of the same way about it as I do UP, honestly.
This has been a lovely alternative to not doing my rhetoric paper. However, time is of the essence and I have a lot of crap to write.
listening to: rem – 99
I really like the part of tonight where I procrastinate starting a paper until something close to 11. Yeah. That’s tonight. That’s okay, though. I slept through rhetoric, so I figure I owe rhetoric a late night? I don’t know. Who out there would like to write a paper for me on the importance of Music Education? I don’t think I will use myself as an example. Although I would make a poor example for music education doing good things to children, I would make a good example of somebody made completely crazy by music education. The kind of crazy where you were fed Mozart as a child and end up having strange obsessions about the Russians, as well as dreams about doing specific music theory homework.
Speaking of dreams, when I was dozing the other day, I had a dream there was this crappy apartment-like extension to my dorm. And in it were people dressing up in heavy-duty farmers clothing, equipped with pitchforks. They were going to go out to this really muddy shed in back, and play a live-action role-playing game in which they only stopped once one person had been stabbed to death with a pitchfork. It was suggested to me by somebody I told this dream of that I miss true geeks. Oh man.
Also in this dream was one of the RPGers approaching me and saying in a very thick accent “Say, are you from Cal-ee-forn-ia, because you suuuure are blooonde!”. I realize, I must be a tad more bitter on the inside about being the lone blonde of my family than I had thought, before. Some days my having blonde hair is far more striking and strange than on other days.
I. Love. REM. No, seriously. I said it before, but I think now owning all released albums of theirs, I mean it more than when I’ve said it before. I love the early stuff, so much. REM was considered a Southern Rock band, at first. The members met eachother in Athens, GA. It’s true, Michael Stipe sports an accent. You don’t notice it in newer stuff, but I love it where it comes out. All of it. I love Peter Buck’s simple but somehow still intricate guitar riffs. Mike Mills with the super rhythmic and harmonically intricate bass-lines. More so in the first two albums than at any other point. I love how Bill Berry is their heart-beat, with some intricate stuff added on top. I love how, combine these three people, and you get an ensemble. Not a group of individuals who are trying to combine their incredibly intricate and mind-boggling ideas with each other. Just a group of people who working to merge with each other and create something similar to what they’ve heard elsewhere with their own musical ideas. And then you get this vocalist with a unique voice who steals spots of conversation he’s heard from anywhere and inserts it into his own listener-vocab-building lyrics. They were a pseudo country/folk/rock band that just enjoyed playing with each other as they were. They are equal with each other as musicians, even the vocalist.
It is no longer this way, it would seem. Digital recording has done great things for some. But it has also taken the meaning out of ensemble, in some cases. It has done both for REM, somehow. But I don’t feel like pop/alternative flare they currently have is anything near the originality and experimental success of what they had before. This may be a personal thing. In any case, I feel like nobody is familiar with any of the first of REM’s music to be released. I like it that way. It’s my own little secret, my own little happiness that I know nobody else will get into unless they feel like delving beyond certain pop standards. Unless they want to hear something not exactly clean and beautiful, or dark and emotional, the way everything else has to be to attract attention, it seems.
And…that said, my sister’s done it again. I’m starting to listen to Iggy Pop.
listening to: rem – you are the everything (live, acoustic, ’91)
Man I’m lazy. I have a paper due tomorrow, and I’m taking a Japanese Language Evaluation at 11, but what am I doing? Sitting here, talking to Jamie (nudge nudge wink wink, right Jamie?). Not that Jamie’s all that bad (XD). But I have stuff I need to get done. Just…buah.
Yeah, it’s amazing how much Japanese I have forgotten since last May. You know, my listening comprehension/reading skills are still great. I’ve been keeping up with those, at very least. But when I don’t have constant kanji sheets and compositions due, or dialogues to give in class, it’s difficult to remember what writing and speaking are, honestly. In any case, I will give it my go. If I can give a guess as to what will happen with this test, I am guessing that I will be recommended to go to 2nd year, 2nd semester. And by no means does that bother me, in any way. I think going back to basics would be good, not only so I can get a grasp of things I’ve forgotten/am missing, but so I can really acquaint myself with the Japanese program here, having only been exposed to ISU.
Must. Study. Kanji.
listening to: rem – perfect circle (unplugged)
It is unbelievably windy outside. It’s kind of neat, because the entire dormitory is wailing.
The inevitable happened this morning. I slept through rhetoric. But you know, I don’t really care. I had been planning on skipping rhetoric just once this semester, and even though this wasn’t quite planned out the way I would have wanted (ie, pick a good day to sleep right through both rhetoric and music theory), it works well enough for me.
So. There’s this guy who’s in my aural skills class, named Quentin. And he’s like…thirty-some-odd years old. Anyway, he’s an agreeable guy, though he has issues with a few certain music theory teachers (so what, who doesn’t). Like, this morning, Nez was stating how it was incorrect to repeat the time-signature sign at the beginning of every line. Quentin raised his hand and said something along the lines of “So…this thing we’ve never ever talked about before, it is going to be taken off of the homework now?” He muttered something about it being completely unfair and outrageous because we’ve never talked about it before, when I know quite well that you never repeat time-signature. Nez said “well, we haven’t been taking off for it, but this is your warning”, to which this guy said, as smugly as possible “Yeah. Thanks”. How rude. “Jerk,” I muttered.
Right after this, one of the theory TA’s, Tohm who thinks he knows what he’s doing (and I’ve heard that he regularly does not show up to teach his class, apparently) noticed that the class was suddenly a little loud. So, instead of standing up and “shhhh”ing us, or even just saying “be quiet”, he yelled at the top of his lungs “shuuut uuup!”. I thought that was a bit on the rude side, as well. “Jerk”, I muttered to myself.
So I think Tohm and Quintin should fight. They’re about the same height. About the same level of irritability. Both a bit over the top. The music department could make an event out of it. Raise some money, even. Students could bet on their favorite unnecessarily-irritated guy. It would be a riot.
This is generally about the most entertaining thing my imagination can come up with at 8:30 in the morning.
listening to: rem – perfect circle (acoustic)
Did somebody try to call my cell-phone and not get an answer? I was out running, and when I came back, I had missed 3 calls, one of which was an unidentifiable number. Helloooo?
I am much much much better now. I went running, and kind of killed myself, which was nice. I mean, I just…pushed myself. It’s always cool when you think you’re completely dead and empty, but make yourself sprint for 30 more seconds. That and I had a nice conversation. Like, just…yeah. I mean, admittedly, I have had some excellent conversations with Laura. But I don’t even see Laura too often. So yeah. Talking to people is nice.
My REM binge is completely taking care of my frustration, as well. They are so good, years ’80 through about ’94. Damn.
That is all.
listening to: stereolab – parsec
This song really makes me want to own a VW Passat.
There are some days when I find myself so freaking…irritable. It usually has to do with rehearsal. I think I deal with being irritated by either becoming silly (as has been the case many a time in U-high orchestra), or by becoming antsy and snappy. Today was the latter of the two. Just…augh. Okay, Philharmonia is the undergraduate chamber orchestra, and it’s different from the Symphony. The Symphony is all of the best wind/brass players in the school, and then all of the strings . The Philharmonia is like…the less experienced younger members of the strings, and the younger winds/brass. I have grown to accept that we all have our own problems. That is fine. I do not mind working in this situation, because as long as rehearsals are productive, progress is being made, and everybody works, it’s great!
However, Philharmonia is not so. Sometimes the cellos irritate me. I know everybody comes from a different spectrum of experience, true. But it makes me angry and sad that we have to be so counter-productive in rehearsals. But that’s aside from orchestra bothering me. Those are just some feelings of mine about inter-section work and commitment.
It frustrates me that the leaders aren’t always on the ball. My main problem are bowings. Or lack thereof. We’re playing this Berlioz where the cellos do a lot of quarter-note passages, with thrown in 8th notes. The 8th notes throw our bowing off, which in turn, kills our rhythm, especially because we all have different styles of pulling bow. And…are people not noticing this? Arg, I should really just bite and ask the section-leader about it, because it’s not the hardest thing to fix if we just make double-down bows an option throughout the piece. Really.
Augh. I don’t mean to sound like an snob, or a know-it-all. It’s just that to me, there are problems not being fixed, not because they’re difficult to fix, but because people are too lazy to fix them. And you know, maybe it doesn’t matter if I sound like a snob and a know-it-all. After all last year I experienced CYSO, where, if I recall, many were quite snobbish without trying to conceal it from other people. I really shouldn’t chide myself for blogging my frustrations about this sort of thing out, should I. I don’t know who’s reading, true, but dammit this is my blog. My bit of web-space! Maybe I’ll sound like a snob to some people, maybe I shouldn’t care about that.
Hmm. No, I can’t escape it. I still feel quite snobby. But that’s just the price I pay for…um…something. I’ll get back to that one, later.
I would really like that Passat about now.
listening to: stereolab – ping pong
God! This is like…enhanced Pizzicato Five but…in French!!
Somewhat cranky mood. Stupid numerous bothersome things. On the other hand, Laura and I had a great rant on the way back from the Symphony Band Concert. She feels the same way that I do about…things. Things with the school of music and cellos. At the same time that finding somebody else to complain with is not a reason to start being happier with the problems and ignore them, it is a reason to feel at least…comfort in that somebody understands. Okay, I am going to shut up right about now.
I emailed one of the Japanese faculty. I certainly hope things work out for me next semester, becuase I would love nothing more than to be able to take Japanese. Something else to think about and concentrate on would definitely be nice.
I am so cranky. What the heck’s my problem? I have no reason to be cranky. I’m going running tomorrow night. That ought to make me feel better.
listening to: yann tiersen – c’était ici
Check it out. I redid the about page. I did it in maybe a half-hour, so pardon the few grammatical errors that slipped themselves in little did she know.
Today was a Monday. I gave a speech this morning around 7:45. I thought it went quite well. And…hmm. I know that this is what happens in such an early class, and that it wasn’t me, but it is fairly disconcerting to see that a boy sitting in the front row is completely nodding off the entire time I am at the podium. He was doing it through other speeches, too. Sometimes I’m just surprised that my incredibly loud speaking voice didn’t…you know…keep him awake?
Okay. Here comes another Yann Tiersen ramble. Make way. I figured out something that he does that I really like. He uses the piano as a bass. In “Deja Loin”, when all of the layers have come in, he adds lower piano octaves to act as bass, and it’s a really cool effect. At first, I thought it was something completely random and electronic that he decided to use, underneath, but upon listening more closely, I realized it was the piano. And I know I mentioned this, too, but in “Rue Des Cascades”, things are started off with syncopated 8th notes on the harpsichord. When the piano joins in, the effect is, again, almost electronic. You know, I wonder what would happen if Yann Tiersen and Steve Reich met and had like…a compose-off (I realize that sounds perfectly idiotic). That would be so cooooool!
listening to: sigur ros – myrkur
I’m in such a strange mood today. On the one hand, I finished preperation for my speech, tomorrow morning. I wrote it and practiced it, and if it’s anything like the last speech, thing will hopefully be okay. Then again, I’m kind worried because I got to a certain point and ceased to care about it in the least. You know, I started the thing earlier than I did the last speech, night before. I swear, I was finishing that one up around 1:30, having started it around 10. Maybe I had spent an equivalent amount of time on this one, and got to a certain point where my brain said “no” to everything. I’m sure it’ll be fine, though.
I did have a very brief and bizarre printer crisis. I swear, this thing is not made for a Mac, despite the Dad’s endless enthusiasm for the supposed Mac/HP compatability.
I feel I ought to redo my “about” page. I rewrote most of it a couple weeks ago, but it’s kind of weak. I’m planning on doing cooler things, aside from just inserting boring information about myself and listing my many many favorite things. I also need to get the “soundtrack” thing going.
Hmm. I’m tired of explicit words. My blog certainly doesn’t reflect how much I use or hear them used, and maybe I don’t even swear a whole lot IRL, but I feel like using words like “fuck” and “shit” unnecessarily almost take the purpose out of them being “explicit”. I mean, when I’m aggravated at something, or just plain out mad in general, it’s kind of a release to yell out something along those lines. Especially because they’re inappropriate. So I’m sick of hearing these words find their way into like…casual conversation, where other words could easily substitute for emphasis, creatively so.
Examples of poor and much too often use of expletives:
“That’s the shit!”
“You’re shitting me!”
“That’s fucking amazing, awesome, cool, etc”
Try “shiznit” or something showing creativity or intellect? I don’t know. Just…insertion of the word “fuck” for emphasis multiple times in sentence is a bit much. I’ve caught myself from doing things like this a little bit, and have sort of managed to stop. Where I think I over-use words is…well…I’ll be talking to somebody (generally this happens when I’m on the phone with particular friends from home), they’ll slip in a cute insult to be funny, and I’ll yell “fuck you” to try and be funny. But recently, I noticed I was using this more than was really…necessary. Like, it was funny at first, because it wasn’t a me sort of thing. But now I think it’s approaching…annoying? I don’t know. I’m going to stop, nonetheless. All friends I talk to on the phone, if you catch me doing this, make sure I desist!
Just because I’ll never have another reason to relate this to anything, going through “Engrish From You” one day during Creative Writing with Marion, Michelle and Justin last year, we came across a supposed band from Japan called “God-damn Mother Fucker Shitass Bitches”. I love Japan.
listening to: kabalevsky cello concerto #1 – yo yo ma
Hmm. I’ve been thinking, recently (not always a good sign). A lot about nerves as a performer, and how working with people more experienced than yourself can effect you greatly as a performer. Okay. Here’s my celloing life-story, unnecessary as it may be to explain. I started playing the cello at age 5. I hated practicing, and my parents knew this. They had this tendency to stand there watching me, to make sure I did it, until I was about 8, at which point they really just made sure from another part of the house that I actually did the playing of the cello. Anyway, I ate up all of the music that my first teacher gave me. Her name was Amy, and she went to ISU. I loved her, terribly. She made the cello fun for me, and gave me my first two years of experience, taking me quite a ways.
Then I moved to Mrs. Garrett. I liked her, too. She was nice. She got me really working on musical aspects of the cello, and taught me to read music (which was my main problem, using my ear for everything). During this time, I was in the Wesleyan prep program. There weren’t any other cellos my age. Only high-schoolers. I played in a string quartet (with Molly, who I’ve played in a string quartet with ever since, it seems), but never had any real encounters with cellists my age. I liked making music, for sure. Music was in my brain and my blood. And this gave me a real advantage on certain aspects of the cello, even at such a young age. I think that part of the reasons I first became so involved was because I liked the attention. All of these grown-ups and adults marveling at this cute little girl who could tune her own cello without help, who would play in quartets, who would try to play the violin tunes she heard her sister playing on her cello. Even my own parents. I made them laugh by simply playing things I liked and knew by ear, but transposed to a little cello. I was the music teacher’s pet, at my elementary school. She loved me because I’d do anything she asked that was extra work, and really had fun doing it. In 5th grade, Mrs. Diagastine, a new string teacher, started working at Fairview. She knew my sister, and really liked me. She let me play with the 6th graders, as a 5th grader, and pick up the viola in 6th grade (which I’m afraid to say, not everybody was very happy about. I only stuck with it for a month before deciding it wasn’t worth anything). All of this time through elementary school, the only other cellos I knew were from the Youth Symphony I was in, but none of them ever resided in the B-N area. I never felt competetive because there was no competition. Everyone just knew Talia.
As for Youth Symphonies, I joined the Central Illinois Concert Orchestra in 4th grade. I remember my first audition for that group, and the fact that I cried the entire drive home because I was sure my audition had been awful. I made it into CICO, and I remember that I was the youngest cellist there (I also remember after the first rehearsal that I went up to the conductor and asked him how I did. Oh god. I really hope the fact that I was cute makes up for the fact that I was really oblivious). Eventually I got better or everyone left, and Mrs. Diagastine became conductor. I was first chair, sitting next to my first favorite stand-partner, Don. This was 6th and 7th grade.
When I entered 7th grade, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I think I thought that there would be more cellos, but that I would triumph over them, and be better, mostly because these people hadn’t been playing for as long as I had. And that is exactly what happened. The two cellos who I recall being more competative, but never taking 1st chair from me, where Ivy and Peter. Peter liked me but hated me. He liked me because I had figured out how to play Marilyn Manson’s “Sweet Dreams” on the cello. He hated me because I was better than he was. I wasn’t too much of an ego about it, because I just sort of did what I was asked and had fun. I didn’t take any personal glory from the fact that I was sitting 1st chair all the time. But I didn’t feel bad for him, either. I remember that once he actually came up to me and said “Hey, Talia! If I’d been playing as long as you, would I be better than you?” and I answered him with “Probably”. Ivy was nice, though. I don’t think the cello section was a big fan of me. I was just too crazy and weird and energetic, and definitely a teacher’s pet. I hated junior high, so much. But all throughout junior high, every cello I encountered in every situation was never on the same page as I was. In the small situations, I was reasonable, but deep down, I was developing a huge ego. I believed that I was great, and nobody could top me, and perhaps that the fact that I came off as trying to be helpful and nice, that everyone would respect me more for it. That however, changed in 9th grade.
Enter Andrew. Andrew was good. He took lessons from Greg, too. I liked him, terribly. He had met me before, and actually sat next to me at a chamber concert at Wesleyan Prep, and had thought I was a stuck-up snob about my cello playing. I think he told me this to make a point that he thought differently after getting to know me. But the truth was that there were times when he scared me with how good he was. We became friends. Throughout all this time, I still thought I was the best. But sophomore year, we had scale-tests. Scale-tests in which Andrew and I tied. So we shared a seat. That hardly got me. Occasionally I was just a little frustrated by the fact that these tests had so obviously been graded unfairly. But I let it slide. Junior year, I convinced Ms. Ehrlich to let us play one of my favorite pieces by Vaughan Williams. Upon auditioning for the cello solo, I was beat out by Andrew. I was very rude about this. If it hadn’t been my favorite piece, it could have been different. But I doubt it. I avoid confrontations at all costs, but I was being fairly beastly about it behind his back. I should thank Ms. Ehrlich sometime, because this experience really made me open my eyes and perhaps begin to accept the idea that I was not the one and only, and maybe, even, that it didn’t matter.
From then on, I perceived Andrew as my equal. We sat together everywhere, and alternated seatings at IMEA and All-State. IMEA kind of got me, too. All four years, I ended up sitting 2nd chair. The first year, I gave myself an excuse because I was young. The second year, I gave myself and excuse because the guy I sat next to rocked. The third year, I let it slide because it was Andrew. Last year, I ceased to care. Really. It didn’t matter. I could make up any number of excuses to defend myself, but I won’t. Maybe this guy was just better. All-State got me, too. I was really hard on myself there, even though this was the whole state. There are two orchestras, the All-State Orchestra, and the Honors Orchestra. Honors Orchestra is amazing. I somehow, made it in as a sophomore at 18th chair. But I didn’t want 18th chair. I wanted to be better. My ego deflated a little by the next year, even though I moved up to 7th chair. Again, last year, I stopped charing, at 6th chair.
Why did I stop caring? A little thing called Chicago Youth Symphony. I was so hard on myself. Abe was a year younger than me. He had already been accepted to Curtis. For the first time, I felt completely useless, and incapable of anything. These people were so good. They didn’t want to be my friends and they were better musicians. I was so scared of playing in front of them. So scared. I dreaded every rehearsal they might hear I suck. I dreaded exchanging eye-contact with them. I was exactly in the opposite position that I had been for the first however-many years of my life. It was hard going between CYSO, and a group where there were two cellos to support me, and wouldn’t even play. I became more concerned about everyone playing together, than being better than everyone else. ARIA was the same. There was this girl from Texas that I disliked, but was so scared of, because she was superior to even the college students. The teachers opened my eyes, too. They showed me I was making so many mistakes. It was really hard assimilating myself into what was the “normal” crowd of musicians. It was hard learning that I was never the best, but just one of the many who had a lot to learn.
Now where am I? In Iowa. Everyone’s nice, but maybe a little too nice (in terms of expectations)? I get the feeling that there isn’t always a whole lot of hard-work and motivated-progress taking place. Namely because I am having a hard time motivating myself to work harder. I’m afraid I’m going to become soft, and egotistical again. It really effects you, the other players. Damn.
This entry has been long but pointless. I’m sure there would have been more direction had it not been so long. And pointless.
So…what instrument do I play again?