Just Another Three Months And Maybe It Will Stop Snowing

Oh, boy. Another crap-ton of snow. Is just what I needed.

Hey. I like snow. Really, I do! And the fact that Rochester snows frequently enough that one doesn’t have to deal with too much of that gross, trod-upon gray/brown/black snow is generally nice.

But the thing is driving. I don’t like driving in the snow. I don’t know who on earth would. If I didn’t own a car and didn’t have to travel, I would love every moment of fresh snow here.

But alas.

My apartment has a pretty steep and decrepit driveway. Which I was never able to make it all the way up yesterday, due to a lovely 2 or 3 inches of ice covering it. So now my car is snowed in. In the street. In front of my house.

Maybe it sounds bad that I hope they don’t plow our street. I mean, I totally do hope so. Because it would be nice to be able to drive somewhere, sometime. But if and when they do plow, it will take possibly a whole day to dig my car out. Oh well, I suppose. Oh. Well.

All I Ever Do Anymore

…Is edit photos. Oh, God, the photo-editing.

But it’s worth it. To learn stuff. And to have gained knowledge about Curves. Oh, Curves!! If the curves dialogue box was a person, I’d marry it. Except it would just be an elaborate ploy for the ultimate purpose of worldly photo-editing.

Seriously, though. I think I’ve learned more skills in Photoshop due to completely screwing up a photo-batch or my computer crapping out and having to re-do. It’s strangely gratifying. At the same time as completely irritating.

Still. I’m getting better at this stuff. I think my ultimate goal might be to make a good clones shot. Oh yeah. And uh huh.


Jeezy Chreezy. I was just archiving some photos and looking for some old photos to run through good ‘ol curves in photoshop, when I came upon about five freaking hundred photos from the summer that were never, ever even touched.

So…yeah. That’s what I’m going to be doing for most of the evening. Yeesh.


And so resumes the not-sleeping from last semester. I also had peculiar and interstate-related dreams when I did sleep. Joy of joys!

All Is Right With The World

Well, hell’s bells, I have no right to be whiny at all, ever, because despite the original projected high temperature of 4 (or 2, or whatever I said), it’s like FOURTEEN DEGREES OUT! YAY! And not wholly disgustingly depressingly clouded over. I mean, at least there’s fresh snow or whatever. Right? RIGHT??

Also, I start Classical Music in a Pop Age today and I am EXCITED! That’s the sort of shit I enjoy and want to understand more of, by a lot. So hah!

There is also bibliography. Which I suspect will be a fine class. Quite fine.

I’ve also been sleeping full nights away. ENTIRE NIGHTS. Without waking up! That’s almost unheard of for me. I don’t know what’s different. I think it might be the temperature being a little lower in my room. Also, I’m not completely bedraggled and stressed out right now, and I think that helps with the sleeping, quite a bit.

I’m also obsessively blogging once again. All is as it should be.

Needs More Marketability

I can’t sleep and all I can think about is how I can get what I want out of…the future? Life?

In case you hadn’t noticed, by reading the back-and-forth entries of last semester, I am maybe….not…100% sane and okay with being a student of performance. I love learning about how to play an instrument. And I love the music. But I don’t know how much I enjoy actually being one of the people to play this music. I’m not an extrovert enough to get on a stage and just letter-er-rip. It’s a very extrovert thing to do. When I get up on a stage I feel like I’m struggling to sell myself, and the result is that I feel alienated and fake, and more than anything, drained and misanthropic. Yep!

Plus, there’s this thing where suddenly I’m concerned for the state of the world and other people and making sure that the things I care for (ie, the Arts), stick around. I feel like that’s waaaay more important to me than sitting in a practice-room and being really hard on myself for not feeling comfortable playing in front of people.

So my mind occasionally wanders to other things. Administration things. Radio things. Education things. And those things are all great and so SO exciting to me. But…all I’ve ever done is music. I’ve only ever accomplished anything big with the cello. Can I even do these non-cello things? Can I do anything non-cello? To apply for jobs and internships, they seem to want things like knowledge of Microsoft Office and a year’s worth of office experience and knowledge that comes with having real-world experience. Which I feel I don’t have.

What should I do? I don’t know. This is all new territory. I don’t even know where to begin. I should email people and ask if I must necessarily have had that hour of office-work. I should WHINE SOME MORE.

It was sunny for about half the day today. That’s 1.5 days of sunshine during this semester so far. Not bad. Not bad at all.

I think I should go talk to the Music Leadership people sometime. Even though they wouldn’t let me join the student program because I missed the one-time application deadline by ONE. DAY. I will never not be bitter about this.

Still. I will go talk to them. If they can help me to be more marketable, I will forgive them.


Day Two Of Semester

Days of sunshine so far: still 1. I think the sun was trying, but not hard enough. That’s okay, though.

Thursday there is a high of 4 degrees. Let me just state here publicly how thankful I am that my long underwear was not thefted from my car. Thefted.

Today was a day. I learned all about Hiram Sibley and the invention of the telegraph and the formation of Western Union and how there used to be a strip club right across from the Eastman School of Music called “The Pussy Cat.” Rumor has it I might also enjoy reading this book.

I’m having one fairly inward continuous spaz attack over T.A. duties. Just because they’re new, and when things are new to me I tend to spaz out, and maybe get a little….jittery. Just a little. Juuuust a leeeettle. God dammit.

And what else….what else….what happened today…..

I don’t know.


Day One of Semester

Days of sunshine so far: 1!!! It was sunny today. I don’t know how it’s possible but, by jove, it was sunny out in Rochester today. And I walked in it. And clearly my moods and general feelings about life are directly related sunlight, because they were overall more positive than negative.

Oh, right, so in case you were wondering, I made it back to Rochester with all car windows intact and very little snow. And a lot of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. That break was way too short, just fyi.

Every day, there are at least 3 or 4 moments in which I realize one more thing that is no longer with me. Random things that just happened to be in the bags these evil bad thieving people ganked. Things that are basically worthless in $$ but I could have used, anyway, like…
+6 pairs of nice chopsticks
+a sandbag that one puts in front of a door for prevent cold air from getting in
+my big sock filled with rice that you stick in the microwave to heat and then wear around your neck
+a bag filled with pretty much all my gloves and my hat from Germany.
+rechargable triple-A batteries
+an old t-shirt torn up and sewn into a very simple bag

I have a feeling this random “where is this thing I can’t find oh right STOLEN” bullshit is going to go on for a while. And it still angers me.

But I think I’m getting over the trauma part of it, and soon I will be a normal, non-traumatized human-being. We like that Talia. We like her much better.

Welcome To 2009

I have learned two valuable lessons in the last 8 or 9 hours: 1) shit happens and 2) never leave valuable items in your car when it’s parked on some street overnight. Ever.

Planet of Back-story: I am in Indianapolis, with Tim (you know, that guy I never mention here who happens to be my boyfriend). We’re both kind of heading back to our respective areas for school, and his happens to be conveniently on the way to Rochester.

I’ve been here twice before now, either visiting or on my way back home. Compared to some other places *cough Rochester cough*, this neighborhood (just outside the downtown area) appears to be pretty quiet, somewhat friendly.

Walking to my car this afternoon to go off to Trader Joe’s, my mind was boggled and blown upon discovering the rear passenger window of my Focus missing, and as it turned out, in a billion tiny pieces all over the floor and seat of the car. When I first saw the window missing from a distance, there was no question that it was broken (as opposed to just rolled down). It maybe five more seconds to consider the possibility that things had been stolen, which they indeed had been, but we’ll come back to that.

As is natural for me, the first thing I did was freak out about the actual damage to the car. School starts Monday, I’m supposed to be driving back to Rochester any day now, and the weather is not going to be awesome. The clear answer was to burst into tears. I then called my Dad, who was wonderfully supportive and calming, told me to call our insurance man, and reminded me that this stuff happens to everyone and glass is easy to replace (unlike certain mechanical things such as FUEL PUMPS and THROTTLES and other takes-3-days-to-ship parts). I called the insurance-people, found out that I was covered for any glass damage, and found a place here in Indianapolis that could replace the window within the day. First and foremost, I should be really truly thankful for good insurance coverage and a speedy repair. And I am. It lifts some pretty unneeded anxiety from my life, which is helpful for avoiding things like panic-attacks and freak-outs.

After this matter of being able to get the window repaired was taken care of, the icky nature of the whole break-in began to sink in. And it’s icky, this kind of thing! When people invade one’s property and defile things doing so. And take things. And did they ever take things. And first let me make it clear that I was careful not to leave items sitting in plain view. Everything was concealed in my covered trunk, neatly packed in bags, except for a plastic bag on the floor with my 5-year-old, stained, off-white coat in it. It has been suspected that an out-of-state license-plate and a less-traversed street is what made my car convenient for break-in, whether these people/this person thought they would find anything “good.”

But unfortunately I left a lot of “good” things in my car. The people, or person who broke into my car must have crawled in, ripped away the trunk cover, and grabbed whatever. Pretty much everything I got for Christmas was taken. This includes a new Sony voice-recorder, a new compressor microphone, a Calphalon sauce-pan, a sharpening steel, and –horribly enough– my W├╝sthof knife. Tim also happened to leave one of his Christmas gifts, Cuisinart food processor and blender in the trunk, which was of course, ganked. On top of that, they grabbed a bag full of a few things I’d gotten at IKEA (like a bitch-ass cool alarm-clock) and a bunch of things I’d brought back as gifts for friends. As well as a bag of random electronic things like adapters, chargers, and a memory card. And some gift cards. They also managed to grab my phone-charger which was in a cup-holder in the front. And oddly-enough? That 5-year-old, stained, off-white coat sitting in a plastic-bag on the floor of a back-seat? They took that, too.

I’d say the thing they took which gets to me the most is a Canon SLR film camera circa 1975 with three lenses, lent to me by my Dad. Oh. God. What a daughter I am.

It’s gross and wrong that someone broke into my car, yes. But it’s only made worse by the fact that I could have prevented it. I could have taken all of my possessions inside with me when I got to Indianapolis. So I feel guilty on that count. But there’s also the fact that these things that were taken were gifts from people who care about me and wanted to get me things that would be useful and make me happy. In my warped brain little brain, that’s something else worth feeling hugely, disgustingly guilty over.

But I should feel lucky. And be extremely thankful. I have my cello, my sheet music, my mostly-working computer, my Nikon DSLR, my iPod, my books and DVDs. I have everything that’s truly essential for the start of my semester, even if the extra creature-comforts and kitchen pretties (note: I am actually becoming Alton Brown as I type this) that would probably have made life a little more fun are no longer with me.

I should also feel lucky to have comforting and understanding people around me. I have basically been bursting into tears randomly all day, and Tim has been nothing but supportive and not-chiding and pretty much really nice to have around. If something like this happened to me at school or on the road by myself, who knows what how I’d be handling this. More crying. Possibly some hyperventilating. Obviously feeling alone and helpless. Fortunately, I don’t have the weight of those things adding to my already-excessive angst.

Anyway, let this be a lesson to everyone: be you not so careless as me. Do not trust that valuable items are out of sight, or that they’re not something you might think would be stolen, or that you’re in a “good neighborhood.” Just get them the hell out of the car. Why, oh why did I not pay attention to those signs around the Eastman School of Music? They were trying to warn me. Oh well.

And, just for good measure…dagblagit.

Around And Around

All I’ve done today is run about town collecting vital grown-in-the-midwest items necessary for this upcoming semester. Oh boy. I have to manage another one of those semester-things? Yeesh.

I also discovered, after searching around much of town in various places for the stuff after losing my stick, that Carmex Mint with SPF 30 has been discontinued, but a version with SPF 15 will be reintroduced later on. Hooray. This is just in case anyone else is all like “did they discontinue Carmex Mint?” I aim to enlighten.

The other day I’m pretty sure I identified the fact that what I really miss while living in Rochester is maybe not so much the Midwest, but more specifically college towns. Seriously. Maybe a lot of college towns, such as the ones I have lived in, are less than glamorous. Maybe some of them don’t always have amazingly interesting things to do in them all of the time. But I can tell you that I loved having access to a reasonably long list of things I could do at any given time, within walking distance from where I lived, without quite so much risk of being mugged or killed in some gang-related murder. And maybe it actually is more of a Midwestern trait that is shared amongst the three college-towns in which I have lived, but these places are all somehow friendly and inviting. Rochester isn’t necessary unfriendly, but I think because of the nature of the weather and dying-ness of the city itself, it seems cold and hard and at times downright bleak, in ways that aren’t necessarily weather-related.

More than anything, though, I miss campuses. I miss places to walk. Buildings to look at. Places to hide and lurk that aren’t the George Eastman House (not dissing that place, though). Woe!

Not really though. It’s about time I lived in a not-college town for once, right?! Right. Yes. See?! Glass half full! I’m trying, people!

The Future Of Hacking

Yeah, yeah, I know. But blogging can be difficult when sharing a computer with a whole house. And the internet doesn’t always work. It’s the truth. My family lives in the dark ages of the 21st century.

I have to say, I’m not looking forward to going back to school. Really not. Because I’m lazy and I really adore the occasional sunshine of central Illinois. But I feel like I need to try to focus on optimism for once in my stupid life. Optimism!

So, here are a few reasons I am looking forward to going back to Rochester, probably soon to be followed by a list of whining on why I would rather live in a box in down(up?)town Normal than go back to Rochester. I mean…yes.

1) a YMCA pass. Yes. I am going to get one. It’s going to fill my life with endorphines and running in what is hopefully not a track in hell at the University of Rochester’s gym facility. I think it might help me to maintain stress and high blood-pressure, as well. Good things. Only good things.

2) New and exciting T.A. responsibilities. Although sometimes I have irrational and stressful worries. Like something will happen along the lines of 6 people emailing me at the exact same time the day before studio going “hey, I needa play tomorrow because I have this important thing going on!” and they all need to play at the same time due to some kind of absurd, fantasy-warped Eastman pianist conflict, and then I’ll go “oh, fuck.” But that’s definitely irrational. Also, my spatial-organization super-powers can get me out of any jam. Even a scheduling one. In theory.

3) Hacking my room. Hacking priorities go to A: sleep and B: not whacking my knee on the board at the foot of my bed. It’ll be easy to move my bed out of the very center of the room so I won’t whack my knee on it every time I need to move around the bed. The sleep thing will be harder. Because, see, I have this thing where I’m a super-light sleeper and everything wakes me up, like noise outside, sounds in the kitchen, a too-warm temperature in the room, the slats of the actual bed every time I move or shift. This is bad because lack of sleep is directly proportional to my daily level of misanthropy, and as you can imagine, random shit wakes me up a lot (just a note: ear plugs. I’ve tried them, but unknowingly take them out in my sleep. Always helpful).

So what I’m going to do will involve moderate amounts of weather stripping, rearranging, trying to enhance my fancy foam mattress, and begging for a general lower apartment temperature. I’m somewhat looking forward to the hacking process. Being the master of spatial organization when motivated, I suspect this whole thing will actually be fun. Until I get hurt, and then probably more annoying. But it’s the progressive and optimistic of the moment that count!!

4) Lessons. As they are entertaining and motivate me to be not a lazy-ass. Which I so need. I don’t know if it was extreme burnout from the end of last semester, but I practiced less than I should have for the last few weeks. Oops.

5) Outreach. I think it’s going to be pretty cool.

Wholly Unexpected

I don’t know about you, but I am sick of looking at photos of upstate New York. SIGH, PHOTOSHOP.

I had the weirdest experience in Bergners with my mom. We were looking at on-sale kitchen stuff when all of a sudden a STEREOLAB song comes on through the speakers. Just…huh?! A retail store that had just been playing every tune on this side of Popular City suddenly plays STEREOLAB?! It’s not like it was bad. Just unexpected. And bizarre.

Bizarre in a similar manner as that R.E.M. b-side, Winged Mammal, that they sometimes play on the weather channel during the local forecast on the 8’s. And…just…huh?

Again, not a bad thing. It just makes you ask…how did it get there?

Photo Processing. Yes. Exciting!

That thing I may have said, about resolving to post all photos every day starting in 2009…I may need an extension on that resolution.

This is because I am a photoshop n00b who is bad at saving files in their PROPER FORMAT, if at all.

I am having to re-edit pretty much all photos intended for Flickr posting taken between mid-November and now. This has turned my soul into a photo-editing punching-bag. Really. This is quite a large sum of photos that I ALREADY EDITED ONCE. And now I’m going through each bleak, gray, tired and cold winter-taken Rochester photo again. I want to quit. I want to quit this stupid 365 days project. It’s such a cool project but school makes me so tired and there is no place to take a good photo when the weather is so awful and gray. And I’m even MISSING photos, which is appalling enough in itself. But I made a commitment, and I know that come spring and possibly a new lens, the photos will be happier.

In the meantime, I now know to absolutely always forever save the edited photo first in .psd, and THEN produce a second copy optimized for web-used.

In related things, I love Curves in photoshop. It is all I use to edit unless I want crazy post-processing effects, and I love it. The End.

Further Resolutions Of Small Consequence…

…Are to

A) Empty Google Reader of ignored feeds and keep up with RSS entries in a manner which leads to one finished session resulting in 0 unread items instead of 500+ unread items.

B) Engage in more consistently fangirly (or generally geeky) activities. Starting…nnnow!

Oh Canada. Er, I mean, Oh Younger Neil Gaiman.

Related Note: If anybody out there lives in Rochester and wants to see Coraline in February when it comes out, then party! If not, I will seriously go alone. Seriously.

2009 Resolutions

Well look at that. It’s almost 2009. Where did the time go?

Readers will be happy to know that I have a few resolutions this year (though most on the nerdier side…), and that I’m pretty much giving up on that whole “try to be more organized” one because it never happens anyway.

And so, I am going to attempt to…
A) Blog more. Like, consistently. Every day. It’s bound to be therapeutic for my brain, or something.
C) Be less of a curmudgeon.
D) Be in better contact with all over-seas and faraway friends. Also therapeutic. Maybe will also help with C.

So yeah. I think A and B are totally doable. 100%. D, also doable, will just take some diligence and not letting myself be too “busy” or “stressed out.” C? Yeah, whatever.

Akemashite Omedetou, or as the cool kids say, Happy Freakin New Year.