For Slava And Jackie And Me

Another poem by Alan Dugan. Appropriate for a lot of reasons. For Rostropovich and Jacqueline DuPré because they are missed. I miss them. For me because I need something to nudge me on about now that has nothing to do with grad school or technique.

Lament For Cellists And Jacqueline DuPré
When the beautiful cellist Jacqueline DuPré
died of multiple sclerosis at forty-two
all the cellists grieved, and one
fell on her instrument, not
as a sacrifice, but as an accident,
if there are such accidents. She was
hysterical, but there was no
damage to the tone, and it only cost
a thousand bucks to fix. Remember,
a cello is a beautiful shape of air
set in the right box and played by strings
played by strings the player plays:
the player can’t get close to it the way
the violinist does, feeling the air play
the wood play the bones of his/her head
as the violinist joins the music to the brain.
That’s why some cellists dance
with it like Yo Yo Ma, because it is
an outside music that they have to join
as athletes of a different air,
so when Jacqueline DuPré died young,
her muscles dying on her first,
it got to the cellists in their very art
because they’re distant from their instrument:
it can’t go to their heads, like violins.
With her, the music started distantly, then
it got more distant, then the distance
got to be the infinity of cello death
the way a cellist I knew would drape his tux
around his instrument before he went to sleep
after a performance in a strange town
so the cello could be the cellist through the night,
dead silent, with a black bow tie around its neck,
and he could joke away the horrors.

I Am This Ambivalent

listening to: hisaishi jou – eve

Things I had last night: a nightmare in which I went out for sushi with faceless people of high class, and they ordered things that involved live cephalopods and sea-living invertebrates on top of rice. In related news, I am banning myself from the internet for life.

Except…for the part where I’m totally not.

But really. Stupid octopus tentacle videos. Brrr.

Oh, but I did eat Sushi today, among other things. Tzushan and Yuju and I went to Miko’s lunch buffet, and it was delicious. I highly recommend it. $9.

100_7977.JPGThis was only the first plate of food I got. I didn’t want to seem too randomly obsessive, so I thought one photo was good enough.

Then I went and taught. And inadvertently learned my student’s name (i win!!!!).

And then I went and had a lesson which….

Sometimes (especially after a recital when you’re feeling lazy and ambivalent) you just need someone to set the record straight and tell you things you need to do. Things I need to do:
1. Tilt my sitting position slightly to make bowing at tip easier
2. Lean into the cello when sustaining at the tip
3. Smoother bow changes at the frog
4. Elevation of arm in stupid fricking mid-range positions that I hate
5. Vibrato through entire phrases and notes and stuff
6. Not randomly accenting notes
7. Tension in face and head and moving the head less and moving the hips more

Given, numbers 4-7 have been getting a lot better, but definitely need more working on. 1-3 have only been brought to my attention as of today.

Also, I am playing Chopin Polonaise. Ambivalence goes here.

But…so…this was a talking lesson. And I brought my cello but I never got it out. And Brandon just kept handing me his 1580-made cello. And it made it really difficult to pay attention to things like technique. Because…damn. Damn. Oh, damn it all. That cello. So different from mine. So old. So worth more than my very soul.

And then I walked home and the clouds were crazy and I took pictures, because that’s what happens when I leave my camera in my bag all day and actually remember doing so.


Note to self: when next redesign this site, make sure main text area is wider than 400 pixels. Plz.

I Am Not Allowed To Teach Kids If I Can’t Remember Their Names

listening to: vaughan williams – charterhouse suite

Oh. God. You guys. I am so not cool with this.

Oh, hey, so word up and stuff. If you subscribe to this blog via atom feed and don’t use Google Reader, you will probably be experiencing random old entries appearing as I edit labels. Sorry. Life is hard. If you don’t use Google Reader, that is.

So…I have a problem. A fairly idiotic one, at that. I don’t remember the name of the kid I’ve been teaching for the last two weeks. I know. Not cool. But hey. In my defense, I missed two weeks of teaching and our lessons are short and….I got nothing. I totally suck. It wouldn’t be so problematic if I didn’t have to be filling out FORMS involving the kid’s name. But, hey, why did we never get any sort of name in writing in the first place, is what I want to know?! Sigh, nope. I still totally suck.

Okay. So, I’ve been playing Psychonauts a lot in the last 24 hours, courtesy of Zeb. And…wow. It’s…awesome. I mean, by “awesome” I might also mean “insane” and “wrong.” But then the dialogues are brilliant. Example:

Raz: Lili! An evil madman is building a fleet of psycho-death tanks to take over the world, and we’re the only ones who can stop him!
Lili: OH MY GOD! Let’s make out!

Clearly brilliant.

*edit* OH. GOD. This one is so much more upsetting than the first. *makes Home Alone face* AAAAAH!

But, hey, Shiina Ringo covers that song.

Eradicating Tension With Bluegrass

random amusing quotes: “Are you articulating from the downbeat of those entrances or…?” “I’m just trying to make it sound more like whack-a-mole!” Masumi, Tim

Yeah. Masumi told us today in our chamber coaching that the 3rd movement of Dvorak needs to sound more like whack-a-mole. We enjoyed that immensely.

So…Dan Beahm and the Invisible Three (to be referred to from now on as DBI3, because THINK OF MY FINGERS) played at the Canopy Club last night and…woo? No. No. Why?! Why was the sound coming out of the monitors so impossibly bad?! It’s like…words would be spoken or sung but it would just sound like loud mumbling. It was so bad. And the frustrating thing was that everyone in the audience said it sounded fine to them. So of course we’re up there like “we can hear nothing and are in fact ABOUT TO GIVE UP ON LIFE” and people in the audience are like “…huh?”

I did highly enjoy when a guitarist from another band jumped up onto his amp while playing and very nearly smashed his head into a low-hanging lamp. I mean, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have had he actually managed to smash his head. Other people’s pain is so terribly enjoyable.

Also, earplugs are now going with me everywhere.

In other things, if I mysteriously disappear from Central Illinois for several weeks and later turn up somewhere in the vicinity of Boulder, Colorado, do not be alarmed.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about movement while playing, and the related tension. Tension is probably my biggest problem right now, even through all the minute technical isms I’m still trying to fix. And I’ve definitely weeded a lot of major tension issues out of my playing. Such as leaning over the cello while I play. Yikes. Playing with one’s back straight and head up and listening outward does a lot for sound and ability to play for hours without breaking down crying. I’ve also eliminated a lot of shoulder-lifting, which is way good, as it has definitely been the cause of back-pain in the past. Yay, back problems.

I think while the way I move is getting better, there is still a lot of extraneous motion in my playing which if eliminated would make life one hell of a lot easier. Extraneous motion and facial tension, ye gods. I play notes with my eyebrows and mouth, as well as my hands. I’ve been trying to focus more on eliminating this, but lost sight of it amidst the whole “must perform well for recital” thing. Lame.

Admittedly, things improved last summer, where if they’d continued to be a problem, I wouldn’t have survived several consecutive days of rehearsing with YOA for something like 10 hours in one day. But the cello instructor who was there really enlightened us in ideas of retaining movement in playing, but doing it in a way which helped sound and kept us loose. IE, moving from the hips, and remaining grounded from the feet. That turned out to be a big help for me all around. But honestly? Seriously? I want to play like Andres Diaz, who looked like he was suspended from the ceiling when I saw him last June. The only things that moved were his arms, and somehow he was as expressive as anyone I’d ever heard.

But. But. Just check out these guys, my heroes of bluegrass-dom or whatever:

First of all: JESUS GOD, Mark O’Connor! Since when did you do that with guitars?! Last time I checked, it was the fiddle, right? Anyway. Carry on.
Second of all: Just look at how they play! Especially Bela Fleck and Mark O’Connor. They’re just so loose and still and relaxed (and pay no attention to the mandolin-playing guy, Sam Bush. He rocks, undoubtably. But…well…yeah). It’s like they’re strolling pleasantly with some occasional finger-motion that results in ridiculous solo licks. Their brows aren’t furrowed with intense struggle or constipation or the plague or in any of the ways I’ve occasionally heard the “playing face” to be described.

Of course, the difficulty with the cello is that there’s a bow involved. It’s a lot more difficult to be grounded and relaxed when you have this two-foot long thing you’re supposed to use to produce sound, and especially remaining relaxed if you want a LOT of sound to come out of the instrument. It has also been brought to my attention recently that if you have shorter limbs, you also have more problems with tension and moving and producing sound. Hmm.

But anyway. The point is that I think I need to feel like I’m playing in a blue-grass band with Edgar Meyer and Bela Fleck all the time. Even when I’m playing Bach or Dvorak cello concerto (which will SO not be happening anytime soon it’s not even funny).

Also in regards to the video: that is a lot of 80’s hair. And I freaking love this song. Or tune. Or whatever you’d call it.

A Series Of Maybes

listening to: tori amos – crazy

Well. I have no idea what happened, but I feel normal and grounded again. Horaay.

Maybe it’s because I slept well.

Maybe it’s because I “secretly” started playing the Ligeti sonata before my jury today when I probably should have been practicing the actual things I was supposed to play in my jury (GLAAAH LIGETI).

Maybe it’s because my jury was somewhat hilarious, in that there were only TWO faculty there. When I thought the original point of having all the stings sign up together for all the string faculty was so that ALL THE STRING FACULTY WOULD BE THERE. Whatever, though. I didn’t play very well. But I just didn’t have it in me.

Maybe it’s Cute Overload. Seriously. That shit does something to me. Usually something involving me cackling and slightly flailing.

So yeah. I’m pleasant but I have issues. That should be my official personal statement from now on.

In other things, this was found while being an archive-whore, and NOOOOOO!!!!!!! Oh, lord, no! Not natto!

Last night I dreamt that I was on Ithaca’s campus with Rachel, and we walked down the hill into town and suddenly it was old-town Brussels.

Oh!! And I updated the music blog — again! It’s the truth.


listening to: number girl – super young

This is me sharing thoughts. Thought-sharing….go:

This is entirely unfair. How in the world is it even possible that I am freaking out about life in general now MORE than I was before my recital?! You’re supposed to be elated and happy and relieved to have pulled something off like a recital, and then be able to relax and feel content afterwards.

But somehow I’m currently more anxious and crazy and needy than I was any time during the last week and a half.

Honestly, I know part of it is how I dealt with the recital itself and the somewhat terrifying prospect of having to perform in front of people, some of whom would be my peers and my teacher and my parents and non-musicians and all of whom would undoubtedly be judging me on some level. I dealt with it by denying and ignoring it, and all related thoughts. Basically, I told myself to shut up every time any sort of uncomfortable thought made its way into my head in regards to how things were going to go. And while this is GREAT and it totally worked because for the first time in possibly five years I felt really comfortable playing for people, and for the first time ever felt that way while I also sounded pretty damn freakin’ good, it apparently left all these pent up anxious thoughts about stuff in general in my head, all tumbling out now in a way which is making me antsy and impatient and generally not pleasant.

And mistrustful. I am being suddenly very critical of people and pessimistic about their intentions, and I don’t want to be, but that’s just how things are for today (and maybe tomorrow). Somehow I came out of this past week and everything going on feeling like people in general do not give a shit. It’s great. I’m not talking about the recital specifically (seriously. there were a good handful of people there, and I realize this is the freaking busiest time of year, and I was really happy about the ones who came anyway). Just…again. In general. I don’t know. Blech.

Another part of it is that…it’s really difficult for me to be that extroverted and showy for people and then have things feeling so anti-climactic afterward. I think I set myself up for it by playing apathetic all week. But also, I need to feel like putting all that energy forth is worth it and that it’s not better to just be a sad introvert all the time.

I’m so clearly not made for a profession in solo performance. Good thing those jobs are reserved for the super-awesome and not the vaguely-awesome.

I’m also dwelling more.

While I’m at it, would you like other details, such as health problems or allergies or anything like that?! It could be arranged!!!

Spring has to do with it, too. Finally, things are coming alive and it’s warm out. And my body doesn’t know what to do with itself. It happens every year that I go crazy, but usually I have specific things to flip out over (transferring to another school…weird anxiety, something!).

So anyway. In conclusion. I’m crazy. Stay clear.

In other things, I updated the music blog thing that I fail to update often enough, ever, in the universe.

In even more things, urmom.


Please check out this photo that Dan took during my recital, specifically the wrongly intense facial expression. I’ve been trying to work on facial tension, but I guess that all kind of went to hell yesterday. Oh well.

Talia Recital

New Policy

No more writing angry posts after waking up from angry naps.

I don’t know what the hell my problem is. I think it’s that I’m kind of done but not completely done and also that it’s Spring and I go crazy in Spring. Anyway. Carry on.


Eeeeeeeh, bite me.

Ze Frank eerily resembles Sibbi. Hmm.

Speaking of Sibbi, there’s a new Icelandic student in the house. Rock.



Well. Check out the ad for whisky. Awesome. Right? Right? No.


listening to: r.e.m. – fireplace

Recital! Baby! Tomorrow at 2!

Two occurrences from today that I simply do not understand.

1) I’m in the ladies room on the 2nd floor, washing my hands, and suddenly I hear a metronome start beeping. Specifically, a Dr. Beat. And I’m completely alone and for a second, worried that this is going to be some weird and psychotic death by escaped mental patient or something, before realizing it’s MY Dr. Beat, reaching into my bag, pulling it out and turning it off. What.

2) While washing dishes I, through some move I can’t even begin to understand or really even recall, dumped water on my foot. What.

I also had a clear few “what the hell” moments while I was on my way to Smith for Ann’s recital (and notably running slightly late), in which I ran into Simin (Brandon’s wife), Erika (Dan’s wife), and Dave and his wife within the span of five minutes. Like it was almost scripted or something. The story concludes with Dan attempting to call me right as I’m sitting down in the Memorial Room for Ann’s recital. And then goes into a few bits about my phone dying and being busy and really sucking at returning calls today. So it was like some sort of weird spiritual pit of Dan Beahm and the Invisible Three. The end.

I’m tired.

Schleicher said something in conducting seminar along the lines of: “Think less, feel more.” This definitely applies to me in things like performing in front of people. I look forward to the hour tomorrow where I can stop contemplating this crap.

See? All I ever do is think. I need to just get up there and not think. And also maybe not let myself rush.

I’m clearly on an Andrew Bird kick. The following video exemplifies several things. First, why Martin Dosh is awesome. Second, part of why Hammond Organs are pleasing. Third, electronic-sounding shit.

I love when a song or work starts off on back-beat, and you can’t actually fit together what is truly going on rhythmically until something else comes in (the “something else coming in” here would be actual drums). There’s a song by 808 State that remains ambiguous about beat emphasis for its entire duration of 4ish minutes. I dig that crap.

And also looping devices. Those are also winners.

Goooooooooooo. I Mean, Good.

Andy said it: Andrew Bird is dreamy.

There was a day when I would have written down the set-list, but I no longer live in days like those. Days. Yes.

Suffice to say, gooooood.

I can’t feel my heels. It’s an odd sensation. Serves me right, though, for standing up by the front for 3 hours.

The opening band was Cortney Tidwall and her people. I’ve heard one song of hers. I kind of liked it, but it might not have struck the right chord (hah) in me. It seemed like a lot of the good things I liked from all kinds of different artists, but mashed into one, and for whatever reason it lost my interest slightly. She seemed to sound sort of like Bjork. But, the problem is there is only room for one Bjork in my heart. See what I’m saying?

However, her insane electronic keypad thing was…drool-worthy. I am salivating just thinking about it. Actually, that’s a lie. I’m dropping into a comatose as I think about it, because holy god, I got up at 7 this morning.

Really, though. Andrew Bird is dreamy. Martin Dosh is exceptional (speaking of cool electronic maneuvers of the musical sort, and drumming in general). Whenever Andrew Bird really wails up high, I kind of sigh. And whenever he speak-sings, I might kind of feel weak in the knees (see the song: “Heretics” line: “are we not having fun?”). Please just humor the sleep-deprived girl with the blog, and nobody gets hurt.

Anyway. Was good. Need bed. Must be at full wit for teaching tomorrow comma dammit.

Things I forgot to mention: He played Dr. Stringz. Word gets around fast, as quite a few people seemed about as giddy as I was. I posted this a while ago, but I’m going to post it again, for good measure.

Heeeeeheeheeheeheeheeheeee I’m okay.

Note Durations And I Do Not Get Along

listening to: number girl – drunk afternoon

Included on a list of things I will no longer do: allow anybody EVER to schedule a studio class at 8am. Seriously.

And…Jesus God. I am always reasonably calm about cello-related things, but I get SO ANGRY when I discover that I taught myself wrong notes in a piece. THREE DAYS BEFORE MY FREAKING RECITAL. RAAAAAAARRRRR.

Anyway, stuff.

We’re playing Tchaik 5 in conducting seminar and boy does THAT bring back memories. Memories of playing specific movements. Again. And again. For a different conductor. For four hours in one morning. For maybe five days. HELL.

Last summer when YOA was doing its residency in Italy, we ended up being the guinea pig orchestra for a conductor workshop. I can’t remember how many conductors there must have been. 10? 15? Some from Italy. Others from Brazil. A handful from Japan. They all did movements of Tchaik 5 and Berlioz’s Roman Carnival (I will NEVER play that piece again. EVER. I thought playing it about 4 times during various orchestra shindigs in high school was bad, but apparently I had never experienced real hell until last summer).

There’s a lot about YOA I never blogged about now, I realize. There was so much awesome stuff going on in that tour, but it seems like all I’ve commented on here is getting randomly sick (thanks, mono) and things being crazy with the traveling and the lack of organization. Good things did in fact take place. I did in fact have fun. We’ll come back to this at a later point, since apparently I’m feeling reflective, or something.

But anyway. It was a hellish experience at the time, but in retrospect, it’s actually really cool, to continue my UIUC conducting seminar experience on an international level, and get to observe all these different people. It was also cool because as it turns out, I can now fake parts of this symphony like nobody’s business.

Andrew Bird concert tonight. If I make it that far. Glaaah.

Night Of Blog-A-Lot

Dear everyone: calm the hell down until next week, if you please!

Yeah. Next week, it’ll be great. Throw anything at me and I’ll be ready. I’ll even spit out some standard mindless side-commentary that everyone seems to love so much.

I talked to Brandon over the phone today, after he left a message for me asking if I could move my lesson back a bit, tonight. Which is funny because, for the second time this semester, I had no lesson written in my book for one that he did. It’s like there are all these mystery-lessons I don’t know about. Anyway. My mystery lesson has been switched to tomorrow after orchestra. Which will follow with Andrew Bird! I am excited. Although I feel kind of dumb because I was listening to a lot of Andrew Bird in the last few weeks and now I’m kind of…Andrew Bird-ed out. I need to time things better. But oh well. Experiencing someone live is always waay more interesting and engaging then listening to things as background music for….whatever it is I do.

And speaking of timing…hmm. I’ve reached that crappy point before a performance. The point in which I feel totally awesomely prepared!!! …which follows with a decline of…uh, abilities. Like, my body is telling me it’s tired of this music now that I know I can play it. And that is unacceptable! My fingers are usually ahead of my brain, and now it feels like they’re behind. Come on fingers!!

Memo from brain to fingers: BRING IT.

It helps that when I talked to Brandon, he told me I was sounding really good in class the other day. Like, really good. God. That never gets old or fails to energize me. WOO HOO.

Anyway. My recital is this Saturday. It’s bound to be a good time. Or at least a reasonably okay time, depending on whether or not my fingers decide to become less stupid. The Piazzolla totally ROCKS ASS when I don’t miss every shift.

In completely frackin’ ridiculous things: I ran five miles yesterday. Which in retrospect was probably not such a good idea with very little running behind me for the past week and a half.

Interlude Of Crazy

listening to: modest mouse – fire it up

Modest Mouse’s new album. It’s good. I like. But I mean. I haven’t listened enough. It’s less…it’s less…I don’t know. It seems a little more…angular. No, wrong word. Predictable? Also wrong word. Mozartian, maybe? Strophic? Kinda maybe. Not really. Words. Good. Things. And Stuff.

It always takes me a while to know how I feel about albums and stuff. If you’d been paying attention, you would know this.

I was going through archives and entering some labels for pre-Blogger-beta entries and..I had kind of forgotten about this minor but ridiculous occurrence during the UI Symphony tour in Chicago last November. This was from dinner with Erica and Andrew’s family, plus Ann and Adrian.

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.

Planet of backstory I am now okay with sharing: my mom had a colonoscopy. She tried to inform my sister of this over the phone but started laughing too hard and had to email this piece of information to her. My family is damn interesting.

Ha fucking ha.

I need to be stopped.

People Should Shut Up, Myself Included

listening to: number girl – sasu you

I have difficulty participating in mass music exchanges with people. This is in part due to the fact that it takes me forever-and-a-half to listen to full albums. Seriously. It can take months to discover all the songs on one album, and how my ear feels about those songs. Possibly even years (example: Stereolab’s Emporer Tomato Ketchup, which I think I’ve owned for about two years, and yet somehow I only realized how much I love the title track some time in the past week. Huh). I need to listen to albums a lot to understand the artist and the songs, or even just learn to like songs. I never expect to always listen to something and immediately “get it” or know how I feel about it, and ad it to my “acceptable” list. Although it’s been known to happen.

In fact, the idea of an “acceptable” list is kind of bullshit (for me), now that I think about it. I can’t always explain some of the things I like, because they don’t make sense to me (see: Tahiti 80. WHYYYY?!). Heck, I don’t even always like all the same things all the time. Apparently it depends on the day or the alignment of the planets or something.

Recent thinking has led me to believe that iTunes and mp3s in general have made my life more problematic. I feel that listening to albums as opposed to individual random songs is a better way to get to know an artist. But in general, I listen to albums less and listen to my entire library set on shuffle more, now that I have this amazing thing called a computer with a reasonable amount of free space, and some sort of audio-player. And things become especially problematic when people give me all this new music at one time, telling me that I “might like it.” What usually happens is I will rip the crap to my computer, listen to as much as I can stomach at one time, then realize that there is too much random music I am currently too ambivalent about to actually listen to, and said musical will proceed to collect figurative cyber-dust for a year or more. True story.

Also it takes the mystery or interest or whatever out of discovering a new artist that you might like, to receive every single one of their albums in one sitting. My attention-span is too weird. Excessive amounts of any one thing generally leave me apathetic.

Closely related, though, people who simply like having the bulk of music, and acquiring it ten albums in one sitting, kind of frustrate me. I have been trying to convince myself that when it comes to music in this day and age of do-it-yourself ease of production that it might be good (for me specifically) to think more about quality as opposed to quantity. I should update that “trying to convince myself” statement to “feel strongly that,” because it’s been a few years now that I’ve felt pretty strongly about this. And also because having excessive, useless shit on my hard-drive kind of bothers me. In addition to that, though, it makes me feel like people only want new music for materialistic gains and being able to so say they know more names, but not necessarily because they really like or are interested in what is happening, musically.

This is not everyone, of course. I know people who are genuinely interested in what they are listening to and the components behind how the music is made and how albums exist on a whole. But then there are others who are not like this. And, as is previous mentioned, they frustrate me.

Maybe I’m crazy (or a snob. Or a curmudgeon), but this stuff is important to me.

Something else I’m tired of is judgment based on music preference, too. Which goes for both classical and popular music. But I can think of a few more examples of the later. I know that I have been guilty of this very thing, in the past. But you know something? Why is the fact that one person likes an artist I don’t necessarily enjoy or know enough about a reason to hold it against that person? It shouldn’t be. I like some pretty bizarre shit myself, anyway. Who be it for me to criticize other people liking shit that I don’t necessarily agree with or understand? It’s not fair of me.

Also, important memo to basically everyone on the planet (though some people more than others): BITE ME.

I thank you for your time.

Photographic Evidence Of Existence And Other Things

listening to: enon – murder sounds

Zomg. Ting-Chi posted this photo of us on Facebook, and it made me go “awwww” for enough time that I had to gank it from her. Seriously! Awwww!!


*edit* Even though it doesn’t fit in my blog’s layout. Frowl.

*edit* Fixed. Turns out I’m just lazy.

Stuff Is Good

listening to: jill sobule – clever

Yesterday was officially the most ridiculous day. Ever. Just humor this unbelievably long and rambling post. It’s not often that I actually detail parts of my day anymore.

Starting yesterday after my last post:

1. I practiced, which was followed by a lesson. Which was pretty darn freaking good. Although I had to switch lesson times with Dan, who very kindly agreed to do so within 24 hours before said lesson. So as I’m waiting for the lesson before me to finish up (Adrian), and who comes around the corner but Laurel! And we both stare at each other for a moment like “oh shit, which one of us is an idiot and ended up scheduling a lesson during someone else’s lesson!” But it turns out our teacher was the idiot who forgot to de-double-book himself. Laurel was awesome and actually let me have the lesson, so I owe her. Seriously.

But lesson. Bowings were changed. Things were discussed. Stuff is good.

2. I went to pedagogy and was slightly antsy because I had to teach the next hour.

3. Adrian and I got our cellos and headed towards Urbana High School. Except Kate asked if she could hitch a ride, and we were like “cool” but then it turns out that fitting two large cellos, three people, and one violin in a Suzuki Aerio is…not…really…practical. Well shit. But we did it. And at some point I said something along the lines of “I hate…things.” And maybe you just had to be there. It’s the delivery that counts.

And then we got to Urbana High School and I reaffirmed two fairly substantial points for myself during our time spent there, which would be A) I hate high schools and B) it’s probably good that I’m not in music ed. Though somehow, I still want to teach people. Maybe just not very young people.

Things I would have appreciated about this teaching experience: not teaching in a hallway. In which the girls track team is actually PRACTICING and running through the halls behind us.

Also. I have a beef about teaching bow-hold. I’ll save that for another entry.

4. Adrian and I left the high school (letting Kate hitch a ride with someone else, because nobody really felt like sitting underneath a cello for a second time that day), and yelled, because interestingly enough, we both spend a lot of time yelling in one another’s presence, or so one of us pointed out. And then we grabbed some food and headed up to the third floor of the music building, and proceeded to have the WRONGEST DISCUSSION IN THE HISTORY OF DISCUSSIONS. This discussion involved five of us, and the topic began with females who have TWO uteruses (uterii??) and then quickly meandered to topics of incest and Siamese twins and…things. Maybe that’s all that needs saying. I don’t even know why I feel like this is important to mention here. Maybe because it made my day that much more wrong. Move along.

5. Then we went to the recording studio for our studio class, which was like the Talia-fest 2007, plus some other people. I played Beethoven and Debussy. And all went well except freaking dammit, there are two lines in the first movement of the Debussy that look almost exactly alike, and I have this tendency to play the first one twice, and then go “Dammit!” Except this time I didn’t go “dammit” so much as “sorry” out loud. And that’s weird. I used to make faces whenever I would screw up, but now I say “sorry.” I had totally better not do that in my recital. Actually, that would be kind of awesome. If I apologized for every mistake I made.

Also, there were moments in which I just wasn’t with Yu-Ju. Also, I still haven’t played the tango with piano yet. Hmm. It will all happen in good time.

Other people played. Brandon had to slip out early. Before he left, he took a look at my cello case (which is identical to his), and then proceeded to look confused for a moment and then say “this isn’t my cello” before walking out.

6. We headed to Ting-Chi’s recital. Most of the studio (five of us) sat with Brandon, and I occasionally enjoy basking the total ridiculousness that is our cello studio. It’s especially fun to tell stories about things Brandon has done. I love it.

Anyway. Ting-Chi’s recital. It was awesome. But damn, you guys. It’s weird to hear somebody else play the exact same thing you’re going to be playing in a week’s time. She and I are possibly the most different players to exist. So I heard the tango (specifically), and I couldn’t even wrap my head around it. Damn. Oh well. I will do what I do and just not worry about it. And continue to be better at starting different sorts of notes than I am playing through lines.

In vaguely related news, I have a pretty big goal for next year, and that is not to play the exact same repertoire that somebody else is playing. Because…this isn’t the first time this has happened, and it never fails to be weird.

7. Kyra and Ann talked me into going to Courier with them. So I went. And I ate things. And all was right in the world.

8. I went home and watched the latest episode of The Office. Which was DAWESOME. A nice change from all the drama as of late. I no longer want to punch Jim Halpert in the face. Though I do want them to fix his hair (you guys. John Krasinki is totally wearing a wig, since he had to alter his hair for some movie. this has been discussed. i wish i were joking). As somebody in the office lj community wrote, “My immense shallowness will not be sated if Pam declares her feelings to roadkill.” I mean, not that that occurring is anything but pure speculation, anyway. I mean, not that I’m this obsessive. Really. Nothing to see here!

9. I slept.

Today was of no consequence. It involved Mahler and hero-worship. A normal Friday.

Slight Adjustment

listening to: jill sobule – big shoes

Hooray, I have my ticket to see Andrew Bird next Wednesday.

Looking at my trends in internet obsession from the past month or so, it is absolutely ridiculous how many food-related sites I have been hoarding. I can’t be sure whether I get more satisfaction out of looking at food or actually eating it at this point.

And so appropriately, I added a new section of links to the right-hand side-bar, entitled “Delicious Bloggers.” Why not “Delicious Blogging” or something, we will never know. Because I like to maybe appear a crazy person while in reality I am actually quite boring and do not eat people.

Most absurdly pleasing food-blog find of late:

+ The Girl Who Ate Everything


Also, now officially linked: The Invisible Blog, of Dan Beahm fame. It’s true. I play in a band with this man.

In linkspam:

This is alarming, and frightens my arteries just thinking about it.

Neil Gaiman’s Hugo-winningnominated How to Talk to Girls at Parties is up for download here. It is stunning and bizarre I would highly recommend it for a listen.

Oops. That’s all the linkspam I have.

But I guess I will mention that I am on Twitter. I don’t know why. Why not? But I only have one friend, and that friend is slashfood. And I have problems remembering that I should update.

Are any of you on Twitter?

Does anybody even read my blog anymore?

I must go play the cello and finally teach at Urbana High and go to Ting-Chi’s recital and not feel weird about the fact that we are basically playing the very same program. Hmm.

I also need to try not to be a curmudgeon. Mlraaah.

I Redact Anything Overly Boisterous From Earlier

listening to: kronos quartet – marquee moon

So, sometimes this thing happens in which I become so energy-pumped and excitable and creative and basically insane and, dare I say it, outgoing! And then it all crashes. In a completely predictable manner, I stayed up too late last night, couldn’t get to sleep when I finally tried, and then found myself unable to sleep in past about 8:30am. Figures.

But what generally happens is that my body and brain both overcompensate and I end up being in the above-mentioned euphoric state from the time I wake up until some hour in the middle of the afternoon, at which point I HATE EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING. DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT COMING TO MY RECITAL.

Seriously, though. I only realized today how important it is for me to appear neutral to those around me in a school/work area, and how much more comfortable I am keeping my thoughts and my wants and my opinions to myself. I really don’t like self-promoting. I don’t like being the center of everyone’s attention. I would rather just be unnoticed. And it was so hilariously timed for me to be that outgoing crazy person I am not until about 5pm today, at which point my energy went to zero and I looked back on the morning and my interactions with people and wished there was a person around who might be willing and understanding enough to hit me in the face.

This is ridiculous, though. Despite my introverted nature and occasional hate for other human beings, it is just as important for me to be a loud, silly, spastic, engaging sort of person. I have even recently revised my own opinion about my social skills, and how they do in fact exist! I don’t like always being a curmudgeon.

And you’d especially think, I’m a performer and crap. I need to be this extroverted, boisterous type of personality that wants to sell herself.

But I’m just not.

I’m baffled. Do I want to live in a hole or sit around spouting insane nonsense at people for the rest of my life? Or should I do both? Is it even possible to do both? Maybe I should just be one of those musicians who sits in a dark room and researches things for a couple of years before becoming some sort of crazy musicologist who is offered jobs and gives lectures in the Netherlands and then writes his own textbook that I will never as a student be able to fully comprehend. Wait. That’s Dr. Hill.

It’s tough because I know I need to sell myself and my playing, but I feel that it shouldn’t be about me. It’s about the music I’m playing. But then it’s also about my knowledge of the instrument and my interpretations of the music and my instrument itself and…I guess in a lot of ways, it is about me. I enjoy making this way more complicated than it otherwise might be. I just hate all that is uptight and judgmental, and no matter where I go or play, it follows me.

Daha, but I love how just as I tell myself that I don’t like people or trying to sell myself, I confirm playing a second recital in May, back home.

Also, where is my phone?

I need to fix and adjust and ad links to the right.

I need to go to bed.

Come To My Recital!

*uncontrollable snickering*

Man. I am way too pleased with myself for wasting an entire morning away by making a Facebook Event out of my recital. But…but…!

Oh my god. I don’t believe I actually photo-shopped this together. It’s ridiculous and stupid and some people are probably going to go “man, this girl needs to be hit in the face” but it makes me LAUGH! Because so many people have told me I look like Jacqueline Du Pre while others are in denial. But you’ve gotta admit! I look kind of like Jacqueline Du Pre! And the caption makes me chuckle. Okay, I officially need to shut up.

I also like the tagline I put in for the event. “Because she looks like Jacqueline Du Pre. And her teacher is making her.” Brandon’s not really making me give this recital. I mean, he never actually said “I require this of you.” It’s just kind of a non-verbal understanding we have that as long as I am learning music and he is teaching me things, I need to perform.

Also, Kathy just left a wall-post for the event saying that she thought that photo of Jacqueline Du Pre was me during elementary school. That’s awesome. She also threatened to upload photos of me from elementary school. All I have to say to that is: BRING IT!

Oh my god. I really need to go practice.

I Have Graduated From The Plague. Or Whatever.

listening to: cocteau twins – summerhead

IT LIVES!!!!!!

What’s up, blog? I am alive. That’s fairly awesome. I don’t know what happened. After three consecutive days of wanting to crawl into a gutter and simply die, I woke up Sunday morning feeling well-rested and almost human. As crappy as this whole sinus infection thing was, I suppose I’m really lucky that it was in and out of my system as quickly as it was. I could be other people, people like Ann, who were sick for something like two whole months.

But anyway. Things occurred this weekend! Saturday, I finally put Debussy together with Yu-Ju. I really love that piece. It’s so much fun. And different from something like Beethoven. It’s like a flourish of character in three movements. Impressionistic. And also drunken. COME TO MY RECITAL.

Saturday evening, despite feeling not-great, I played a show at the Iron Post with Dan and Dave and three other bands. Of the few shows I’ve played, it was by far the most entertaining and the most fun to actually play. The two acts before us were both highly enjoyable, and I got to see Dan’s wife bust a move. I also found out that Dave’s kid is a BUNNY-KICKER!

The girl who sang/played right before us is actually at ISU and knows my parents. Apparently she was in my Dad’s music lit class. She called both my parents rad. That leaves a lot for me to live up to, you know.

We played third, right before Casados. Originally they had us second, around 10 or so, but somehow things were switched up on us and we ended up third, right around 11:30 or so. It was better this way, though I was seriously starting to lose my ability to process thought right around this time.

Anyway. We played. And because we didn’t have Gordon on drums for this show, I could hear myself without help from the monitor, meaning we didn’t have to worry about massive amounts of feedback.

Yeah. Good show.

I have to mention. I think I’m loosening up in front of large crowds of people. Dan broke a string. And said to me “quick! do something.” And I sat there thinking for a moment or two, before, without giving it a second thought, broke out with the strumming section (and ONLY the strumming section, what the hell) from Juli-o (you know, that little ditty I posted earlier that I had recorded with my internal mic after my compressor mic died?). And…there was some little part of my brain going “what are you doooing?!” the entire time. I even woke up the next morning asking myself “what the bloody freaking hell did I do last night?!” Maybe being sick does the same thing for me that alcohol does for most people. Actually, it was fun. I should find more excuses to play Juli-o in front of an audience.

Oh — speaking of playing things in front of audiences in public, this is amazing.

But anyway. The show was a lot of fun. I wish I hadn’t been about to collapse by the time we finished, because I didn’t get to hear Casados. But…problem solved. I guess we’re playing with them again at some point in May.

Sigh. Recital coming up fast. Wish I were better at playing long lines. Mostly, though, I’m way happy that I have a dress rehearsal set, something to wear, and my music is all in pretty good shape, minus a few minor areas of disjointed phrasing. Damn my inability to bow.



I also finally updated the music blog. Give me a cookie.

A Passover Post

listening to: turtle island string quartet – stolen moments

There are so many damn Jewish holidays. And it just goes to show how non-observant my family had become by the time I was of a cognitive age, that the only holidays I ever really even knew of until maybe four or five years ago were Hannukah and Passover.

I remember celebrating Passover once, when I was seven. This was a few years after my sister had stopped going to Sunday school and we didn’t really have anything to do with the temple anymore. We dined with at least one other family. Possibly two. Maybe the Rabbi. I remember a not-too brightly lit dining room, and a lot of people reading passages of writing at intervals with eating hard-boiled eggs, parsley, matzo, and horseradish. What I remember most clearly was that I was SEVEN and I agreed to eat HORSERADISH even through my mom’s warnings of how things might turn out. And when I made faces after eating the horse-radish and my mom said it was okay to drink water instead of wine, I shook my head and took the wine instead, because clearly was I a trooper when I was seven. Seriously.

I also remember the boy who lived in the house showing me how to play duck hunt. And harboring a slight obsession with Mario Brothers, and being disappointed that my parents wouldn’t get me a Nintendo. But then “out of sight, out of mind,” and I always forgot again.

But anyway. It’s passover. And I just realized that about an hour ago. And I’d say “shame on me,” but I’m not even technically Jewish and nobody in my household has cared for years. So…buh.

But I have some links. To celebrate. And stuff.

Oh my god. Passover through Japanese TV. It’s like…it’s like…I don’t know what it’s like. Something.

Also: peeps for passover. Awesome.

Yes, I am still sick. I got up at 9 this morning, then went back to bed and slept for three hours. I am feeling a little better, but also a little worse in that my sinuses hurt like hell on wheels. Hell on wheels up my nose. It’s not a pleasant feeling.

I really miss moving around and doing things, though. I need to practice. I also miss moderately warm weather. It’s April 6th and 35 degrees F outside. Booooo.

The Plague!

The good news: That Vick’s Vaporub on the feet thing? Totally works. I went to bed a bit after midnight, and I think I woke up once in the span of 8 hours (which is normal for me anyway, damn light sleeping), and I don’t think I actually coughed. That rocks. But is also kind of strange.

The bad news: I am dying.

Not dying, exactly. Replace the word “dying” with “am infected,” and all is well. Seriously, though, I woke up this morning feeling like crap. I traipsed around the apartment and folded some laundry and contemplated trying to get things done, before I collapsed onto my couch, made appropriate phone-calls and sent appropriate emails explaining that I was feeling very unwell, and then went to McKinley, where my very cute Indian doctor informed me that I had…um…something. To do with sinuses and infections. And now I have prescription drugs. I have also been advised to “sit out” for a day or two. And to go back to McKinley if fever persists and I am basically still dying by Monday. Hooray for health care coverage.

Bah. I called Vince earlier to tell him that rehearsal today wasn’t such a good idea. And he followed up by sending an email to the entire quartet stating that rehearsal was canceled due to “Talia’s illness.” Like I’ve got the plague or something.

But maybe I do have the plague! That would make my Black Death t-shirt all the more appropriate!


In linkspam:

Meth for the Kids!!

Geostationary Banana Over Texas?

Slashfood on how to lose weight.