listening to: the orb – once more

What the hell is going on?? Why did I get an official invitation to return to YOA next summer when other people who are on SCHOLARSHIP and are actually supposed to be returning for multiple years did not? Why are they inviting non-scholarship students back in the first place? There are these things called auditions, which theoretically should make things a lot more even and you know…fair. I think that re-auditioning previous members is the fair thing to do.

I also don’t like what’s going on with this “meeting with the board” stuff none of the board seems to want us to do. I may not be going back next year, but I still care and want to help.

Yeah. Should I be talking about this on a public blog? Actually you know what? I don’t care about that. I don’t think anyone should have anything to hide in regards to that organization. And if they do, well, then something is wrong.

In other things, I don’t think I can be a part of the famed laptop ensemble next semester. Frustrating. Or I don’t know. I need to think about it. Damn the Friday’s at 1 thing. But nothing’s certain until next semester.

Some Of Us May Have Futures. Maybe.

listening to: the octopus project – tuxedo hat

Heeeeeeheeheeheeheehee!! Eeheeeee!!!

I’m okay.

John Corigliano came to our orchestra rehearsal today, since we’re playing a piece of his. He offered us some of the most helpful, down-to-earth, non-pessimistic advice about our futures as performers. It didn’t have to do with how we are going to be worthless and poor. Or that we won’t find jobs so why even bother. It was to stay flexible and open to new possibilities and take advantage of all this weird new technology and internet stuff. I want John Corigliano to sit down with my Dad and give him a talking-to. And maybe my sister.

This is what I’m talking about. This is why it doesn’t matter if I don’t go to a Conservatory or don’t go to Europe. Dammit.

Also, something cool to think of for the future when I actually do want to travel and study abroad: Fulbright Scholarship. A friendly flute-player reminded me of that possibility the other day.

I have no nutritional bummers to present today. Fortunately for you.

Universe Communion

Yeah, see, Stu with useless bassist “Let’s Fuck.” Useless! I mean, I’m sure Let’s Fuck is awesome. But…this song doesn’t need bass! It kind of distracts the ear from the cool guitar-tapping stuff.

Alright. I’m done. I promise. No more whining. Only practicing.

Call Me Jackie: An Assortment Of Boring Cello Things

listening to: ugly casanova – parasites

random amusing quotes: “Gotta be porn.” – Tim

Something crazy has happened. Suddenly I use bow. Like, all the bow, not just the bottom half, as I have for so many many years. And it’s bow well used! I can changed bows. I can keep a constant contact point. It’s amazing. Suddenly it’s like I have master control of all the different ways to use bow.

One thing that amuses me at summer festivals is at least one or two people tell me I look like Jacqueline Du Pre. And while I’m pretty sure the only real resemblance is in the hair, I use bow in this manner I can’t help but lean back and think “hey, I FEEL like Jacqueline Du Pre.” (note: feeling like Jacqueline De Pre also means swinging your hair around and pretending you’re married to Daniel Barenboim — YOUNG Daniel Barenboim).

And I owe it all to Popper #14, which interestingly enough is an upbow staccato etude (ie, very very short). Fascinating.

Other than that, I don’t know. I hate my mother for making me aware of the existence of Adelle Davis, because ignorance is bliss. And now I know things. Things like…if you don’t eat for too long a period of time, you might actually end up with ACETONE in your bloodstream. Or that you need to have a reasonable intake in both Magnesium AND Potassium in order to benefit from either. And that alcohol, coffee and black tea suck up B vitamins, which we sort of need in order to have energy and not kill other people. Er I mean, feel good.

Something else Adelle Davis says is that you should eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince and dinner like a Pauper.

In related news: I am actually turning into my mother.

I’m trying to figure out programs to apply to next summer. I really want to go to Taos but getting in sounds impossible. I also really want to go to Yellowbarn, but getting in there sounds even less possible. I still haven’t responded to YOA about whether or not I am going back next summer. My mother said Tanglewood, but I think I should take a break from orchestra things this summer.

What I want to know is where the devil is the fabulous Mr. Aaron going to be teaching next summer?? His name isn’t on the faculty list for Encore (thank GOD because I really don’t want to go to Encore with a bunch of 13-year-olds and CIM students. Similarly, I’m too old to go back to Innsbrook. YEEEEHAWW!!). Wheeeere are you??

Keep Your Nose Out Of My Nutritional Business!

listening to: camper van beethoven – pictures of matchstick men

I’m never going to stop listening to this song.

random amusing quotes: “What is my mom — a scientologist?!”

I forgot to mention this yesterday. Our neighbors across the street (back in B-town) frighten me. Just a little. Or maybe a lot. My car was parked on the side-street, and I was loading some of my clean laundry into the back, when I happened the two younger kids in the family running around with big sticks, yelling “Heretic beater!! Heretic beater!!” I don’t like it when the neighbor kids make me feel blasphemous.

In other things, I need to write a paper. I mean, it’s not due yet. But the 11th is fast approaching. I especially want to do well after the archivist who ate with us at Thanksgiving who knows the professor told me that he’s actually a somewhat VENGEFUL old man. Aasdf;lj. Must do well and not make professor hate me!

Oh for the love of — okay. I think I’ve finally discovered the source of my mother’s raving nutritional lunacy. And that source is 20th century nutritionist pioneer Adelle Davis. I feel like with my mother, any ailment either physical or emotional or anything has something to do with nutrition and diet. And while I agree with that to a fair extent and swear by a balanced diet, there are some things that I think have less to do with diet, and are not necessarily fixed by eating more or less of a certain thing. But this is a rant I am not prepared to dish out at the moment.

Well, anyway. I’ve been reading some of Good Madam Davis’ texts online and…shit.

Now I see how my mom is the way she is. And I’m somewhat terrified I’ll end up like that, too. Because…good god. This woman really was ahead of her time.

And some of this stuff I’m reading really freaks the shit out of me.

What strikes me is how I never realized how many people probably only THINK their diet is healthy, but are lacking in a major thing like protein, or Vitamin A. And I mean…do you actually know the importance of these things to your body?? While they try to teach us some of these things at some point or another in high school, I don’t know if the point has ever really hit home. And so I dare you. I dare you to read about protein.

Me? I am going to drink some milk. Precious, precious protein.

All I Ever See Is Them And You

listening to: camper van beethoven – pictures of matchstick men


I have been trying to figure out who the hell this song was by for the last TEN YEARS. And finally, thanks to Kerry, my pop culture informant, I did. In the car the other night. And. Man. I love it.

It’s like…I heard this when I was about 10, and my sister was listening to it, and I really liked it but never knew who the hell it was by or what it was called. And then I would just randomly hear it somewhere on the radio once every two or so years from there and freak out, because it was “that song!”

I think the last time I heard it was when I was in the shower in Allen Hall, and I realized what it was, and tried to hear lyrics so maybe I could frantically Google, but nothing.

But finally! My life is complete.

Yeah. This was like…the song from the 90’s that would have stuck with me had I known what the hell it was. That and “No Rain” by Blind Melon. It’s funny how I somehow missed that phase of music entirely and went straight to R.E.M.

Here’s the music video, if you’re interested to hear the song that has led to such teeth-gnashing frustration in the last several years. I mean, at least those one or two times a year when I would just randomly remember the existence of the then nameless song.

In other things, my promise this week is to be on AIM more. Really.

*edit* I didn’t realize that Camper Van Beethoven’s lead singer went on to be in Cracker. Who I might also secretly like just a little.

And yes, I know that the song Pictures of Matchstick Men was originally by Status Quo. Leave me alone.

Brain Points

listening to: number girl – cibicco-san

Andrew Bird is a sexy man with an unbelievable voice who kind of needs a hair-cut.

Yeah, if I had my choice I would sleep until 2pm. Why am I up? Oh, right. Gig. But I must detail last night!

Anyway. Kerry and I drove to the venue in Chicago. With the most minor of incidents (me misleading us, because I’m a tool). I kept almost wigging out because Logan Square Auditorium turned out to be a few blocks from where Erica USED to live in Chicago. And I realized when we were standing in line outside that I vaguely recognized the area. And then I reported to Kerry that Ira Glass from this American Life had a favorite restaurant around there that I had been to. And then — hey! It turns out we were standing right outside of it. The Lula Cafe. Major points for Brain.

The Auditorium turned out to be a very big white room, with a standing-room only crowd. No real problems there, until maybe the 4th hour that we were standing and I stopped being able to feel my knees.

Also, the crowd turned out to be the biggest hipster bunch I had encountered in my life. More Converse and plaid and those awful tapered-leg jeans than you could shake a stick at. And then there were the dancing hipsters. Oh god. Let’s not even go there.

But the music itself — howa! Kerry and I were both fairly amazed that the opening act, The Occidental Brothers, did not suck! In fact, they SO did not suck, I can hardly describe it. Never before can I recall an opening act that was more awesome. Unless you count that one time the opening act was Ben Folds, who might get one or two more points in awesome.

And then Andrew Bird. I love basically everything about him. The violin. The whistling. The guitar. His drummer. Especially his voice. Most of all, I think it’s cool that something can actually work so integrally with pretty much just a loop pedal. He began with a loop-integrated improv on a small bit from the Ravel string quartet (which you can actually see here). I liked all of the songs from the latest album. I very much liked the news songs that have yet to be put out on record. I loved the one song Martin Dosh (drummer) wrote (you know, drummers occasionally write some excellent songs. I’m looking at you, Bill Berry of R.E.M.). I did think it was funny how Andrew Bird almost had too much to do. It must take some sort of amazing concentration I could never have to maintain the loop, whistle, and switch instruments really fast. So I will forgive him for missing one or two vocal entrances of songs just because he was nowhere near the mic.

If you want me to continue in mentioning R.E.M. in this entry, their added bass-player looked like Peter Buck. And for an added player, did cool stuff. I think too much of Stuart Davis’ added bass-player whose official name was “Let’s Fuck.” Who had a cool name but did nothing during the live shows.

My only real complaint about the whole show might be THE SOUND PEOPLE CRAPPING ALL OVER IT. Yeah, the sound from the P.A.’s was simply too loud. Even for a rock-concert. The bass over-rode all, and the lower registered notes of bass, drums and guitar were so boomy they made sonorities and pitches of most of the sounds almost impossible to catch. I think for something which involves more violin-sounds, it could have been a lot more…I don’t know. Better?? It also just hurt my ears.

So then we drove home and had some misadventures. But it was mostly fun. Even if it was about 3am by the time we got back.


For more Andrew Bird awesomeness, view this.

Is The…

listening to: stuart davis – is

Every year since I can remember, we’ve always had Thanksgiving dinner with our friends who live in Champaign (except for last year, when we had Thanksgiving in Germany. Which was weird). I think it’s been something like 18 years now. It seems we’ve also welcomed another family into the tradition, which is pretty cool. More musicians. And an archivist.

Last night I got to sit at the “kids table” (don’t let the title fool you. There were two 25-year-olds, a 21-year-old, and others between the ages of 11 and 17. Hardly kids). Which turns out to be just as awesome as sitting at the adult table.

Anyway. At some point while we were eating, Karen (who is 25 and has known me since I was 3) asked me if I remembered the Thanksgiving when they made us go around the table and say what we were thankful for (T’hell? Who in either of our families actually does that?!). Karen tells me that I said I was thankful that my hamster died. I must have meant it in a “Rest In Peace” sort of way, but still! I must have been six or seven at the time.

So yes. I ate. A lot. But not too much. And I love stuffing. If I have ever said differently, it was a lie.

Something else hilarious has happened. But what? I don’t know.

Andrew Bird show later. Hopefully. If we make it that far. Dwah.

Yes. No. Barf.

It’s really weird…when you’re just sitting at the computer, and all of a sudden you start to hear some familiar and very strange music coming out from the bathroom two doors over. And then you realize what you’re hearing is the Bernstein Mass. And then you go knock on the bathroom door, and it turns out your mother is in there with the radio on. And you say you’re sorry to bother her, but is that the Bernstein Mass? even though you already know it is. And she says yes. And then you walk away and sit back down at the computer and play Stuart Davis loudly so you won’t have to remember it.

True story.

Happy Thanksgiving! May you eat well. In the next few hours, we are headed to our friends’ house in Champaign where we traditionally eat every year. I will stay in Champaign, have a lesson tomorrow, see Andrew Bird tomorrow night, and then head back to Bloomington Saturday to play a gig. You know you want to care.

Of Doctor’s Offices And Mothers

listening to: buffalo daughter – cyclic

Status on panic attack: affirmative.

But I’m still going to treat this as no big deal. Which is better than my mother is doing (ie, pretending it doesn’t exist) and my teacher doing (ie, telling me first thing after the concert that it’s okay and he’s had panic attacks and we WILL talk about it in my lesson).

I mostly talked with my very chill doctor for maybe fifteen minutes, about the whole thing. He told me that tea and an allergy to such was lower on the list of probably causes. He did acknowledge that all of the following probably had to do with what happened: 1) tension onstage 2) heat onstage 3) too much caffeine 4) dehydration 5) lack of sleep and 6) my own real problems with anxiety.

Yeah, hey, I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned that here before. I have anxiety issues. I mean, not huge problems. I get around and manage to get work done and basically live life as a normal person. I’ve never gone out of my way to say I have any sort of disorder or seen a doctor or therapist, but this whole panic attack thing has certainly been an eye-opener to what can happen when I’m not careful. It’s true that I do live my daily life worrying over things I probably shouldn’t. And I know for a fact that my blood-pressure is occasionally high. Anxiety. I just never said anything in case it was all in my head and people would think I was attention-needy and hate me (yes, sometimes my anxiety manifests itself as PARANOIA). I truly just never thought it was a problem.

The curious thing is why now? I played some pretty intensely scary concerts over the summer, and have dealt with some pretty intensely frightening people in my time. But I made it through those things.

Perhaps this concert was the one event in which everything came together at the wrong time and then everything went to hell in a hand-basket.

I just need to not let my mom’s conviction that everything a person’s body does is a reaction to what is in the body’s system get in the way of my dealing with junk. I did think it was kind of humorous that the first thing she told me was that it wasn’t an anxiety attack and that I was allergic to something and that counseling (which is offered free through the student health services at U of I) is a joke. As my doctor said and then laughed heartily, “Your mom thinks you’re her! Hahaha!” You’re awesome, doctor-guy.

Clearly I Am Awesome

listening to: mogwai – with portfolio

I have been informed that the end of the UISO Tour Pt II entry was the best cliffhanger in a blog entry, ever. I apologize to anyone who was waiting around for Pt III.

Damn. I could be the next Simon R. Green! Damn that man.

I have more to say about the whole “panic attack” thing. But not now. I wrote that last entry in a hurry, and have officially caught up with my own need to post.

For the time being, I am set to hang out with Megan the Red.

How I Hate My Body

listening to: enon – believo!

Things I should not be allowed to read right now: this.

Now the entry about how I hate my body.

We were about a page into the first movement of the Brahms piano concerto in Orchestra Hall, and I was thinking “man, this sucks! this is so bad! suck!” When suddenly I realized I was nervous. Or at least my body was. My limbs were stiff and my heart was racing. But I didn’t feel there was any particular reason to be that nervous! Orchestra Hall may have been uncomfortable, and things may have been going unwell, but I’d been through far worse than that in other performances, and heck, I’d played in Orchestra Hall before!

So I took a deep breath to try and give my body what it needed. But then my heart started to race more! So I said to myself “hey, better not breathe too deeply!” but then I started to get dizzy. And then nauseous. I knew things were not good when I had to start putting most of my focus into breathing evenly. The insane piano solo taking place was only helping me to feel somewhat sea-sick on top of it all. Somewhere in the middle of the third movement, when Schleicher was losing it, too, I decided that something was deeply wrong. Was I seriously having a panic attack onstage? And why?? Nothing had been wrong previously! It’s true I didn’t like CYSO a whole lot, but it never actually traumatized me.

My mind was racing, especially the hypochondriac part of it. Possibilities for why I was having a panic attack came and went. It was actually somewhat comical. It went a little something like this:

My god. Could I be having a panic attack? But why? The only reason I could think of would be because of
a) CYSO. CYSO was kind of crappy. Maybe that’s why my body is freaking out. Except for the fact that I never felt panicky during that point in my life.
b) I ate green beans for lunch. Do green beans cause panic attacks? Probably not unless
c) They were laced with crack!!! They fed me green beans laced with crack!! Ok, probably not.
d) Maybe my body is just done with orchestra tours and telling me so.
e) I haven’t been sleeping much. But hey, my sleep schedule during YOA was nonexistent, but I did fine there.
f) I had uh…tea? Three times in the last 24 hours? Nah!

I tried to think of a discreet way to make it off-stage, but realized that wasn’t going to happen with all the platforms and my sitting second chair and the fact that I was dizzy in the first place. So I waited and I played and counted and hoped that with every page-turn I would not end up vomiting onstage or just passing out. It lasted what felt like hours.

Finally we finished, and I don’t remember how the audience reacted. They applauded, but no standing ovation (it wasn’t deserved). I actually remember that Schleicher never came out a second time. Only the soloist returned onstage at the applause, and he stood us all up, and I thought to myself “you can stand. you can.” The applause let up, and Ting-Chi whispered something to me that I couldn’t hear. I told her I didn’t think I was going to make it for the second half. She asked what was wrong, and at that point, all I remember is that I called Adrian, told him something was wrong, somebody took my cello (or maybe I put it down?) and Adrian helped me offstage. He took me through a door to the right of the stage, and I sat down in a chair in a big white room. At which part I basically lost it and actually started hyperventilating. Adrian stepped out and brought me some water, which I couldn’t seem to drink. Audience-members started filing into the mysterious big white room I was sitting in. At which point we left it. Kyra came over when we got back into the backstage area, and the both of them supported me all the way downstairs to the dressing room. People stared. People whispered. I didn’t care. I couldn’t breathe or talk intelligibly. I was mostly just happy that only Kyra and Adrian were helping me,m and nobody else. I sat down on the sofa in a corner of the dressing room, trying to breathe. I was praying that people would leave the dressing-room soon. I knew there was no possible way I could play the second half.

Finally everyone made their way back to the stage, and I was left alone. My breathing evened out, but my heart was still racing, my stomach was tying itself in knots, and my brain was on fire. I kept rampantly thinking thoughts like “is this going to happen every time I perform?” and generally making myself not feel better. I heard the concert start over the intercom, at which point I made my dizzy way towards the bathroom stalls so I could be ready to vomit in case I needed to. Into the second movement, I retreated back to the couch and simply gave in to crying because I couldn’t be playing the concert. During the third movement, I felt alright enough to make my way upstairs and outside to Michigan Avenue for some fresh air. I must have confused the security lady by being unintelligible. The fresh air made everything feel about 50% better. While up there, I called my sister’s cell-phone and left a message, so she could know ASAP that I was alright as soon as the concert was over. I also found a voicemail message from her that had apparently been left at the beginning of intermission, consisting of “Wow, congratulations on holding it together through the Brahms. Also, what is up with your concertmaster’s hair?”

I made my way back into the dressing room, and lay there, still feeling very weird and upset, but a little better. The concert ended, somebody brought my cello downstairs, and everyone started going up to the lobby. There, the first person I saw was Brandon, who looked really worried. Which he really was. He asked if I was alright, and I said I was fine, but then he went on to say that everything was alright and that he’d had panic attacks and that we’d talk about it in my lesson. And I thought to myself “wow. somebody’s making this into a big deal.” Then I found Erica, who was also very worried. I told her what had happened and that I was fine, and she hugged me and said “YOU were supposed to be the mentally stable one” and a lot of people laughed. And then we left, and I talked to Ann, Adrian and Kyra a lot on the bus and felt mostly physically better except for the occasionally wave of nausea.

So that is what happened. As for it being an actual panic attack, I have no clue. I’ve read about panic attacks, and you’re basically supposed to feel like you’re dying. And feel psychological stress. I only felt stressed in the way of I didn’t know what was happening to my body. I really kept my cool pretty well, all things considered. I suspect that with an actual panic attack, I wouldn’t have made it through the first half of the concert. And you know, I have been performing since I was 6. I played ridiculous concerts in Europe not knowing music and sitting principle for a frighteningly under-rehearsed opera and dealt with evil grad-students in my section. There was no reason for this concert to freak me out that much.

As for now, I’ve been thinking about it, and I suspect it was a combination of things, being: fatigue, dehydration (I tried to stay hydrated but it was really hard on this trip), hot lights, the crap performance, feeling like I was in a boat in Orchestra Hall (I really don’t like that concert hall in the first place), and TEA. My mom is apparently ALLERGIC TO TEA. I haven’t really known this about her until now, but she told me that might be why I freaked out, because I’m probably allergic to it, too. Now that I think about it, I like tea but do not drink it often. And when I do drink it, I don’t have 3 cups of it within a 24 hours time. I actually remember feeling a similar erratic heart-beat thing after drinking a very strong cup of black tea after getting back from Germany last November.

Maybe I just don’t handle caffeine well. Or at all.

Whatever. My Dad was worried enough that I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow.

More on this later.


listening to: hooverphonic – barabas

Oh, whoa. I slept a lot. Except there was an hour period of being awake, followed by another two hours of sleep that was filled with weird dreams about ISU’s music building being haunted and there being nothing I could do about it. But that is irrelevant.

The story of the Symphony Orchestra Tour continues.

Orchestra Hall: I’ve played their twice before now, in CYSO. I feel I should make clear that I never liked CYSO. For various reasons. And I remember not enjoying those concerts on Orchestra Hall, either.

Even though the backstage and the dressing rooms are pretty awesome. There are tables backstage full of cough-drops, ear-plugs and pencils, along with water. There are even these boxes for cellos, where you can basically leave your cello during intermission or whenever without having to worry about them sitting on a floor or being in someone’s way. You wouldn’t expect any less for Chicago Symphony Orchestra, I guess.

So we got to Orchestra Hall and I was all “aah, nostalgia. except not.” We had our hour-long rehearsal, and everyone seemed fine. We were fine, Schleicher was fine, the soloist was surly. Everything was pretty much normal.

Finally it was pre-concert, and I was surprised that there was actually a crowd. Probably alumni from the area, or families (since a lot of orchestra members do come from the ‘Burbs). Plus some faculty. My sister was in the nose-bleed section, but I couldn’t see her wave at me because it was just that high. She later told me that she’s not afraid of heights, but that falling from that section would be a pretty sweet death. And I quietly thought to myself “railing death!” and smiled because MST3k actually does find its way into every thought I have, apparently.

Then the concert began and three things happened:

1) The soloist crapped all over the Brahms. Yeah. No other way to put it. I would use a full name here, but you know, google. But you know, I hardly care that much in this instance? We are all pretty pissed. And I guess somebody could just search for “UISO shit performance orchestra hall” and find my blog, anyway. Well, I mean, NOW they can. But why would a supposedly renown faculty do something like that? Take all kinds of tempos that had never before taken place? Simply not LISTEN to the orchestra? Every measure of solo was a different tempo, and every note had a different direction to it. While this had happened to a slight degree in other performances, it was completely ridiculous here. Some of us had concluded that he either stopped caring about everything, life included, or that he was drunk.

But the situation was not helped when…

2) Something was up with Schleicher. Somewhere in the middle of the Brahms, he stopped moving and cueing and basically conducting us and started looking very very ill. Many of us suspected that was what it was, and it couldn’t have been helped by the nauseating performance going on in front of the orchestra. While there was still a basic beat pattern, it wasn’t of much help when we were all kind of in a “do we try to follow what’s going on in the piano or our ill conductor or what??” I want to give Ting-Chi a big hug, for pulling off that solo in the third movement without a conductor. And the first-stands for holding it together.

And especially to Schleicher, for keeping it together with all that going on and then coming out for the second half! Holy moly! He must have been sick. It was later said that he hadn’t been feeling well the entire day. Somebody said that in the second movement of the Brahms, that his wife ran out of the audience and grabbed the conducting student. It freaked the living shit out of basically the entire UISO when after a much longer pause between end of intermission and the door opening up, the conducting student walked out in a tux with the score in his hands. Oh my god. If we were freaked out, Chris (the conducting student) must has also have been about to shit a brick. But I guess there’s a reason he comes to all our rehearsals and watches and…stuff. Oh boy. But Schleicher came back out. And looked a little like he didn’t really want to be there, but the second half happened and made up completely for the first half. Awesome performance.

Or so I heard over the intercom, from the dressing rooms where I was laying on a couch hoping I wasn’t going to vomit or die.

Next entry…How I Hate My Body.

UISO Tour Pt I

listening to: stravinsky – petrouchka

Entries dealing with the weekend will come in 3 or more parts. Please excuse my brain for not dealing with words very well at this time.

So…weekend tour to Chicago: AWESOME. Holy crap on mom’s shoes, did I have a good time. I got to know more orchestra members, run around with others, and then of course hide from some others (it is official. orchestra tours should be no longer than three days, if you’re an introvert). But as always, there was some extreme insanity thrown in there at the last minute. I think it’s just a rule of orchestra tours, in general. I can now officially support that statement.

We left very early on Friday morning, at 7. I mean, that doesn’t sound early, but it required us to be there by 6:30 and for slightly uptight people like myself to be up by before 5:30 to finish readying things that didn’t come together the night before, while I was dawdling and wasting time.

We played our first concert at York High School, which was fun but with a small audience. We only played the Shostakovich, and actually had to make a small cut in the middle of the piece, that Schleicher very nearly forgot to tell us about. “Alright, take five minutes before we play — oh, and we have this cut!” This was followed by the lot of us being shipped to Nequa Valley in Naperville. You know those “i’m in ur ______, ______ing your u____” icons and related junk? After getting onto Nequa Valley’s pretty freaking nice stage and making a hole in the floor with my carbon cello endpin, I almost sent Kerry a text message that was “i’m in ur school, making holz in ur floor.” But I did not, because I’m fortunately not that ridiculous of a person. Or AM I?

Anyway, the Nequa Valley concert went pretty well. Oh, except the piano soloist didn’t show up for our rehearsal beforehand. In fact, it seems that he didn’t actually make it to the school until about five minutes before the performance. Awesome. No. We’ll get back to more on Mr. Soloist, later.

Our first night we spent with host families in Naperville. And….yeah. Home-stay = awkward. But I was with Ann so it was alright. Man. Those Naperville people. They just want to spoil you. And make you happy. And stuff you full of food. And put you in a queen-size bed all to yourself. It was pretty awesome, especially after getting very little sleep on Thursday night.

Saturday we played at the Merit school, which is a Saturday session music school for kids in the city. Again, we only played the Shostakovich, and because the stage was shallow, the outer row of cellos and violins sat below the stage while Schleicher was still on a podium up on stage. It was a neck-aching affair, but in a lot of ways good because I had to trust myself to come in without cues, and when you just trust yourself about entrances and counting instead of obsess, it becomes much easier to count. Stupid impossible-to-read parts.

Then we proceeded to our hotel. And then Ann and Adrian and I proceeded to the Symphony Center shop where my sister works. And…it was weird. What Adrian said about Erica: “She’s like your evil twin sister!” Here, here!

We took the Redline to Andersonville, where we met up with Andrew (Erica’s boyfriend). And Andrew’s sister. And also mother. Yeah. I spent at least five minutes hoping that Ann and Adrian did not hate me for taking them out of the main city area to eat with…strangers. But we eventually sat down at a fabulous Mediterranean place and good lord. The food was amazing. And the company freaking hilarious. Seriously. I love Andrew because he’s ridiculous and occasionally channels Eddie Izzard. But I hate him because he makes me hurt from laughing too hard.

After dinner the three of us went to Erica and Andrew’s place and sat around talking about all sorts of ridiculousness, including really gruesome injuries, scientology and mormons. You know, it was really cool, being able to interact with my sister along with my FRIENDS. Truly a monumentous occasion. Also? My sister shrieks when she laughs sometimes, and it’s hilarious in a psychotic sort of way.

Sunday, Erica caught the train and we ran around a little further north of downtown and ate food and drank tea (*foreshadowing*). And talked about orchestras and school and music. And I realized something that worries me a bit: I am the optimistic one in my family. That worries me because I really don’t feel very optimistic. Hmm.

The Orchestra Hall concert was at 8 that night, but damn, that’s going to be another next entry, because that’s where the fun really began.

In the meanwhile, some hilarity:

We were sitting in Nequa Valley’s auditorium, waiting for our host families to retrieve us. I was sitting in front of Ann, Catherine and Adrian, and somebody offered to give me a shoulder-massage. I declined, and clearly stated that I am a little bit jumpy about being touched in the neck and shoulder area. Catherine then immediately put her hands on my shoulders, and I yelped and jumped forward about three feet. People clearly have fairly poor listening skills.

As Erica, Ann, Adrian and I were waiting for our Redline train to come, the train in the other direction made a stop, and surprise surprise, the whole train was covered in Christmas lights, an entire car was removed and a platform replaced it, with a Santa and four elves sitting there ringing bells, with fake snow and a picket fence around the entire thing. Men dressed as elves were scattered throughout the cars. It was spectacular. I got one photo, which does no justice.

We had just exited the awesome restaurant with the “adults” walking ahead of us, and Adrian started telling Ann about his plans for the next morning with his his friend from Roosevelt. Ann was not invited to join. This would naturally be frustrating for Ann, as she is Adrian’s girlfriend. I told Ann that we should find something to do on our own. Ann then said “something to make Adrian jealous.” I then said “you know we could… nevermind.” And for some reason this set us off for about five minutes of laughter. It wasn’t even funny. IT DIDN’T EVEN MAKE IT AS FAR AS BEING SUGGESTIVE. I think it’s just because it came from me. But we were laughing so hard and nobody else in the party knew what the hell was going on, and we really couldn’t explain because there was nothing to explain. And then Andrew yelled back at us “are you guys having a Colonoscopy back there?!” and I almost fell over. It would probably have helped if you’d been there for all of dinner.

Andrew made fun of just about everything, and it was awesome. The end.

Love And (Kind Of) Hate

listening to: the octopus project – the adjustor

Entry entry entry.

Sorry. This week I seem to have been very busy or very unmotivated or very distracted.

I have lots of links and stories and quotes to share, but I don’t think I have the energy right now.

UISO leaves for Chicago tomorrow morning bright and early (damn, so early). We’re going to be touring around and playing a concert in Orchestra Hall. Aaaaah, memories. Er, sort of. I really don’t want to remember Chicago Youth Symphony, if given the choice. But you know! New memories! To be made! Yeah. Hopefully the weather won’t suck and I’ll get to hang out with my sister. And see things.

I doubt I will get a chance to blog while in Chicago, and I would use Audioblogger but…oh…oops. It’s dead. For good. In the meantime, who cares? I’ll be back on Monday.

Oh, but, you must have a song. Luscious Jackson, LP Retreat. Before they…well…sucked. And got a hit with that freakin’ song Naked Eye, which I (kind of) hate. This song, though, I love.

Proof That I Am My Father’s Daughter

listening to: cornelius – smoke

In this world, what is more important? Niceness or competence? If you had to choose one or the other, which one would it be? A difficult decision. While it would be ideal to have a nice balance of these two things, for me, I will go with competence.

I’m sorry but…asd;flkj.

Some people…in the world…are very nice. And friendly. And that’s great. It’s always good to spread cheer and shit. But…I am not one of those people who really needs the “cheer and shit”. I hate superficial small-talk crap. I’m all for doing the work and getting the job done and not irritating anyone in the process, and then there will later be time for some good old-fashioned frivolousness.

Quite frankly, when the nice and helpfulness gets in the way of the job needing to get done and the effectiveness of said job getting done, then I get angry and want to hit people in the face (see yesterday’s entry: “Things I will not do this week”).

This is one reason that I was honestly irked and surprised when it came out from a great number of people that I am viewed as “so nice!” Because I thought “good god, ‘so nice’?! What about all my weird sarcasm? Am I just some bubbly and incompetent fool, then??” I was actually talking to somebody about this the other day, and it came out that the “nice” I am associated with is not “so conscious of being nice and pleasant on the surface that I forgo all manner of efficiency,” but rather “obviously well-intentioned, and positive.” Okay, that is acceptable. It’s true. I want to get things done well and in a positive manner and still be approachable (also to be noted: I have a scowling problem, and I’m trying to get over this. Maybe I am over-compensating my way around my sometimes frightening scowl?). And you know something? I highly suspect that what people see as “nice” is actually what I think of as “neutral.” I am not terribly aggressive. But even within being “neutral”, there is the possibility of being…a little…not with it. Not to mentioned possibly walked all over and bullied. This has happened to me, true story. Somewhere around the middle of last year I kind of dropped the whole “I will be overly-accommodating all the time because it’s NICE” thing, and got a little more “we’re doing this the way we’re doing it, and if you have a problem, shut up.”

Alright, so said rant has meandered a bit. What I guess I’m saying is that I certainly don’t like cold and evil people. But I like competence over superficial pleasantries, and I think competence can exist without ridiculously over-the-top niceness and be better off for it. That is what I’m trying to say.

And with that said….Dear People at Great Harvest Bread Co.: I am going to set some of you on fire.

Love, Talia

Fingal, You’re Mine….With Bernaise Sauce!!

listening to: the cranberries – war child

This week I WILL:
1. Do all my Baroque History readings so I will be prepared for the make-up quiz the Monday after break
2. Finalize topic, start research, start paper for afore-mentioned class
3. Remember to put my recycling out on Wednesday night
4. Practice with care (my left wrist has been acting weird) and the fact in mind that we have a concert Wednesday night (WHO WANTS COMP TICKETS?!) and about four more this weekend
5. Continue the awesome running streak that has begun as of four days ago
6. Seal the cracks in my windows with removable weather-stripping, lest I be somewhat cold for the rest of winter

This week I WILL NOT:
1. Hit people in the face
2. Watch MST3k when I should be doing productive things
3. Pester Kerry
4. Lose the will to accomplish things when I think of the fact that Friday UISO is off to Chicago
5. Waste completely absurd amounts of time here and coincidentally weird out my neighbors with the random squealing laughter.
5. Pretend that I am Kameda Seiji. Or Kameda Seiji’s bass-carrying apprentice. Or DREAM about either of those things (last night I, for perhaps the third time in history, dreamt that I was Kameda Seiji’s apprentice/assistant.)
6. Tell Adrian not to get his panties in a bunch (I learned my lesson last week)
7. Play blatantly very wrong notes in Shostakovich Symphony No. 12 (again, comp tix!)

Alright, readers? (Aaallllriiight, Fingaaalll!)

This Entry Just Hates Anteaters!

listening to: bonnie pink – he

This morning was possibly the first that I have slept in, in a very long time.

Yesterday was slightly brutal. We had what felt like the longest orchestra rehearsal in the WORLD. I’m not sure if it was because we spent a very long and condensed amount of time on the first two movements of Shostakovich, or if it was that we’re currently crunching for time, but man. We’re at the point where we haven’t really played through the Shostakovich at all, and doing so with any movements is very very scary. It seems like this will be one of those concerts where we go out and are all concerned that everything will go wrong, but we’ve done just enough work that it doesn’t and is in fact awesome. Or so I hope. Hope hope hope.

Also, it never ceases to strike me how awesome Schleicher is. For so many reasons. I’m talking working with soloists, here. I’ll say no more.

Following orchestra, we had studio in the basement of Smith. And when we emerged, it was dumping cats and dogs. Fabulous.

I only realized just now how ridiculous this next week is going to be.

Comments! Responses!

m.e.d.) YES!!! the Vegan rant is the best thing, ever. Period. I was going to link it, but the site seems to be having problems. Will be edited in later.

renata) Cool. Thanks. Yeah. I mean, it’s one thing to sort of vaguely notice there is a family pressure to do something. It’s another thing to have your Dad say at dinner one night “I’ve bought your plane ticket! You’re going!” I definitely want to go. But I do sort of want to continue some of the hardcore cello work I’ve been doing, possibly with some of the teachers I’ve been meeting in the last couple years.

colin) DONE AND DONE. I shall email you.

rebecca) “I’m just as clumsy as a stupid, repulsive anteater!” Um…yeah. Second-guessing is something I do, too. Sadly, I don’t think I will ever be one of those people who can go “this is distinctly what I want. I will do this thing to achieve it. I will never need to question myself in regards to it.” I get the feeling you aren’t, either. Maybe one day we can write a self-help book. Or just a guide for how not to pull out your hair.

Stupid Huge Blog

listening to: r.e.m. – perfect circle (live)

From BloggerBuzz:

Last week we added FTP publishing to the new Blogger in beta. Today we’re letting you switch your FTP-publishing blog from the current Blogger to the new Blogger in beta. If you’re eligible to switch your account (see restrictions), you’ll see a message on your Dashboard inviting you to do so.

Yaaay!!! Except…dashboard invite? Under “restrictions”:

But for now, if you have any of the following on your account, you’ll need to hold off for a bit:
– A blog with a Plus upgrade (we stopped offering this upgrade a couple years ago, so this will not affect many people).
– A team blog.
A very large blog. (More than a couple thousand posts + comments.)

…Damn. Damn my stupid huge blog. In case you’re interested, 2,217 posts have been made here since March 2002.

I’m…still pretty hyped about elections. Although…what about Blagojevich? Yes, he’s a democrat, and it’s great that a democrat was re-elected as governor of Illinois. Also, I like some of the issues he deals with (gun control, death penalty, healthcare, etc). I mean, I like them in theory. But everyone is wary of the whole budget-spending thing from 2005, as well as some of the related scandals. So I’m really not sure what to think. I know a lot of people (non-Republicans) who actually voted for the Republican candidate.

I’ve just got to say, this is pretty amazing. The “Outer Space and Antarctica” section is definitely worth a glance if you like sociological crap like this.

Brandon is back today. I had my first real lesson in two weeks, and things are really coming along (I decided against the work “smokin’!”). Especially the Schumann. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how to keep my left hand from over-articulating, and trying to build phrase-lines more without having random accented notes, courtesy of my left hand. And things are definitely getting better. The truly amazing thing is that as my left-hand is becoming more fluid, my bow-arm is able to phrase much more naturally and fully.

Perhaps I need to emphasize here that I never really learned how to phrase musical lines before…now (or recently). And considering my technicality up until about last year, it’s no wonder why.

I have to say, it’s really cool to look at how far I’ve come in the past three years by examining the nature of my technical problems and how they’ve changed.