Oh How Our Pockets Are Burning Away!

listening to: roommate – hot commods

Well. I guess it’s officially fall. Yep. Rain. Cold. Drear. Lots of drear. Fall.

I know that one of the major benefits to only take 10 hours of coursework (er, “coursework”) is that I can arrange my schedule so that I have one day with absolutely no commitments at school. Monday happens to be that day of the week this semester, and boy, it’s weird. I think it’s just my guilt habit kicking in, telling me not to be a lazy slob and stuff. And I mean, I’m not being a lazy slob. I’m practicing my butt off on Mondays, as it turns out, and also tidying and cleaning crap (so I have designated it). But then I alternate practicing and cleaning crap with watching The Office and playing Scramble on Facebook and feel guilty. (sidenote: I’ve never really been into Facebook apps, but I am addicted to Scramble. I mean, I’m pretty bad. I’ve always sucked at word games of that variety. But. Damn. Must play). It doesn’t help being and having been surrounded by people who really LIKE to keep themselves busy doing crap at school accomplishing things and whatnot, when sometimes I like to be….lazy.

But whatever. This is a pretty stupid thing to whine about. I think I hear some Eastman undergrads tracking me down for the sole purpose of hitting me in the face, as I write.

Ugh. And…I know I said I’d never utter a peep about clothing on my blog again, but….I will also accept this dress for recital-playing, and possibly any other fancy-dress needs in my future. Over-use of stripes be DAMNED.

Um…this one’s good, too?!

Hell, someone can just shoot me now.

Parking Violations Are Fun

listening to: roommate – tea leaves

Okay. I figured out how I ended up with this parking violation. And there are signs that denote you can park on the street during certain hours. But I always see cars parked on the street, so you know, okay. But as it turns out, on the other side of the street are signs that denote you can park on the street during those OTHERS hours that you can’t park on the first side of the street.

Which is…pretty ridiculous. But at least I know now! The only reason I even figured it out was because I asked a friend who lives the next street over, who has also been a victim of this crap.

My mother says I should let the city of Rochester know that this is unfair to people who aren’t from here and aren’t used to these poorly indicated, mystical, ever-changing parking rules.

In other things, yes, I know that I’m pretty fairly fashion-inept, am not so good with the color-coordinating and have some kind of sad obsession with monochrome tones, but…hell, do I want to wear this dress for my recital. Just saying.

And that’s all I have to say about clothing or a lack of fashion know-how on my blog. Ever. I promise.

And You Know I Get Sold

This has been a dumb week for cars (more specifically, stupid drivers and bad parking ideas) but a great week for cello-playing.

No. Really. Such a dumb week for cars. The parking lot behind my building is being re-paved, and everyone was asked to park in the street. Well. My side-view mirror got clean taken off my car Wednesday afternoon, at some point during the two or three hours that I was home between classes and studio. I was all dramatic and upset and first, and thought it could be some punk kids with skateboards who are frequently engaging in minor ass-hattery in the parking lot behind the Union Board building across the street. But then I inspected more carefully and found scuffs that must have been from another car. Also, the mirror itself was the only thing really broken, and I would expect more from punk kids than a half-assedly destroyed side-view mirror.

Aaaaand then I got a parking ticket. For parking in the street. When we were asked to park in the street. I don’t know. Maybe I’m stupid? I need to look up the violation number online so I can actually understand what kind of violation it is, because there are no “no parking” signs, at least visible ones around where I parked.

So yeah. My week.

But. Cello things are nice. I guess.

A Day

Someone needs to give me a cookie, as I have been such a productive bugger today.

Part of this is because I made an agreement with myself that if I hunkered down and finished my music theory homework in the afternoon (as opposed to starting it at like 11pm) after finishing all my class/practice/lesson fun, I would reward myself by going to see Inglorious Basterds after studio.

And I succeeded! Mostly. Okay, so there are a few more things I have to do in order to be completely finished, but I am like 90% done. Which for me, at 5:30pm the night before it’s due? Is pretty impressive.

It will probably never happen again.

Ugh. I’m all talking about school again. Kill me?

Ha Ha School Is Fun

Yeah. So. I was thinking about it maybe it’s not so gasp-worthy and amazing that I found someone to play this crazy crazy Bloch work with me for my recital. I mean, SURE, it’s a really difficult reduction and I frequently hear of TWO people sitting at one piano to play it instead of just one. BUT: I go to Eastman. And unlike the U of I, Eastman is chock full of pianists who are not only talented but ENJOY playing crap like this. The U of I had some wonderful pianists. But not this many. And most of them had assistantships that kept them absurdly busy. So I really shouldn’t be so surprised.

Anyway. I have a recital in a little over two months. Yay? Ugh. Or yay. I don’t know. I already know I look forward to it being over with. But that I should settle those thoughts down because it’s still two months away.

Also my music theory euphoria has lessened. Namely because what seems to happen is we DO the assignment, turn it in at the start of class, and then go through the entire assignment during class and then I get to see what a dumbshit I was while doing my homework. Yay.

LOOK, I AM TALKING ABOUT SCHOOL ON MY BLOG.

Kill me now?

I Don’t Know, Either

I have no idea what happened in the last week. Maybe somebody slipped me some kind of music theory-related drug or something, but…

All of a sudden, school and practicing is annoying and stressful, but MUSIC THEORY IS FUN. I am ENJOYING doing my music theory homework. WHAAAAT.

I have a theory (HAH! GET IT?) that analyzing Beethoven crap is a lot more exciting than analyzing German Lied crap, which is what makes the difference from last week to this week. Nothing against German Lied! It’s great, and I love it! But it’s all very nebulous, and probably something singers enjoy more than non-singers in general. So…there you go.

Anyway. I guess I enjoy music theory. Who knew?!

*edit* Aaaaaaaaah yaaaaaaaay I found an accompanist for my recital. FRICKIN’ YAAAAAY!!!!!!!!

School is less stressful now than it was 5 minutes ago.

Ummmmmm

I watched this about 9 times before I went to bed last night.

I want a cat. Right now. This one would work. So would this one.

Come on, internet! Make it happen!

(Thnx Cali (I think) for the link!)

Omni Mega Uber Life Update

As of today: more people will be reading my posts for the fact that I finally figured out how to export posts from blogger into livejournal without needing a paid account. GO ME.

And I guess…because there are a few more people who I’m friends with on LJ than I’m pretty sure actually follow this blog, it might be worth something to actually update my status of life every now and then. Consider this a mega-update.

Right.

So here I am, starting my second and last year of my Masters degree in music performance, and unlike last year, I am NOT having a complete and utter existential crisis regarding my being here and what I want to do when I finish here and generally feeling miserable as all hell. As opposed to last year, I actually feel like I’m handling this school thing pretty well so far, considering factors such as my playing, work gotten done with my teachers, my general social situation and my outlook for the whole year. My outlook for the future, while still nebulous and worrying, is not causing me to have random panic attacks or not get sleep or…you know. Bad stuff.

But what DO I want to do with my future? A difficult question to answer. The ideals I’ve held have changed wildly from two years ago when I was still at the U of I. My ideals have even changed a lot from last year when I threw a whole bunch of possibilities out the window (of my brain, I guess). As of right now, I COULD maybe see myself involved in performance, as a cellist or a whatever. I actually have some semblance of belief in my abilities that I could take my experience with the cello and put it to good use in contemporary music or more popular music areas of performance. I still don’t want to play in an orchestra. I still don’t want to teach at a university. But that’s not to say those things won’t happen, either. I feel like I’m back to my old life-motto of “I’m going to work hard and see where it takes me,” a motto that’s been pretty good to me through the years.

However, I’m not letting go of some newer ideas, or things I’ve learned. I am very very much convinced I want to be a serious advocate of music and the arts, whether it’s something I do on my own time or something someone wants me to do professionally for pay. I am very intrigued with where music is going in the future. I am still enamored with technology, radio, the internet and how all of this ties in with popular and classical music. And these things are all really important to me. If I end up playing the cello for a living, it won’t be worth it to me unless I can engage myself equally in some or all of the above as well.

Some other things have changed. While I am still very super-conscious of my parents and the rest of my family’s crazy classical performance stuff and the fact that they CLEARLY want me to follow in their footsteps, I’m starting to be okay with the idea of telling them I want to do other things. It’s taken a lot of time for me to reason with myself that I won’t be cast out or disowned or looked down upon if I maybe tell them I would like to pursue other things. And as I said, I am NOT saying I won’t go into performance. I’m just saying…there are other things I’d like to investigate, as well. I think it’s reasonable that if anybody questions me or gets a little defensive over my not carrying on the family whatever, they can accept an answer like that. In theory. Believe it or not, I didn’t feel this confident in regards to sharing with my family the idea that I’d do other stuff a year ago. It’s taken some work to get to this point. I get a cookie.

So my plan: A) Get my ass volunteering. I was planning on going all batshit crazy with volunteering over the summer, but between my non-paying internship and some mental health stuff that really needed to come first, I never made it that far. Well it’s NOW OR NEVER.
B) Apply for internships. Bunches of ’em. There are a few that look amazing and certainly will never accept me, but I’ll never know unless I try.
C) Talk to the IML people and have them help me choose some programs and put together a frickin’ cover letter. I HATE cover letters.

If things don’t turn out the way I’d like and I don’t land some sweet paid internship doing something that sounds exciting to me, I’m pretty much going to move home and see what happens from there. Which I’m about 1,000% okay with. I know it’s likely I’ll go crazy living at home, but I really really miss my family and friends. But then there’s also this thing where I have way more connections in Central Illinois than I’ll ever make during my two years in Rochester, aka String Player Central, and I could at least be making myself useful while I’m around that area.

And just a kind of selfish part to this whole moving-home thing: it would be really super-nice to be even remotely close to my boyfriend for more than a few weeks. Just sayin’.

Finally, I have to say that the more I think about it, the more I want to apply for the JET Program. Japan’s been such a big part of my life, and I feel that in the last couple years it’s just gotten the SHAFT to all of this music travel/preparedness junk that seems to overtake me all the time. I REALLY want to go back to Japan and I REALLY want to live abroad, and the JET Program I suspect would be my best shot, even if it would mean that maybe I’d have to go a little while without my cello. So if none of my dream occupations become a viable option and I don’t know what to do with myself, I think JET would be the perfect thing for me to consider applying for.

The End.

Yes’a Yes

So, today it came about that in that stupid Beethoven 5th symphony excerpt that causes many cellists to practice their brains out, that my rhythm is TOO good. Yep. As is always the case in my cello-playing life, I have that OPPOSITE problem of most people, and instead of struggling to have correct rhythm, my rhythm is so correct that it disrupts any sort of musical line. STILL.

I dunno. I guess I’m finally back in the swing of school. And it only took two weeks of not knowing what the hell is going on, randomly dropping and adding classes, almost missing lessons, having to SWITCH lessons, but I’m here. Finally.

And it’s like every new school-year, that initial “wtf” period lasts longer and longer. And this, my friends, is why I will not be continuing on to do a DMA, next year or possibly ever.

But I’ll live. Despite my 9am lesson on a Saturday. Yay?

Balance, Yeah!

What’s up, large ESM cello studio of which I am also a member? I’m your jumpy and overly-persistent T.A. WHAT’S NEW WITH YOU?

Just wanted to get that out of the way.

I am starting to see that going to school where I go to school is all about balance. BALANCE. Like, you know, practicing when I can stand it, and then going and biking along the Erie Canal for several hours in the same day. Balance.

It’s the truth, though. I have my bike here, now. And aside from one small and fixable deal with the chain and my ass kind of not being used to bicycle seats, it’s awesome. I’ve had this same bike for 12 years, and while it may be a little too small for me (as I got it when I was, y’know, 12 years old) and a bit rust-speckled, it’s in pretty damn good shape. And I love biking. I forgot how much I love biking. Biking was pretty much my outdoors activity of choice for a good number of years. But then I moved off to various schools and various dorms and apartments, and failed to take my bike with me until the weather became less bike-friendly. So there’s that.

But now is different. This is the optimal time of year for being outdoors. And one thing about this region that totally rocks my socks off is how close I am to all this outdoorsy, woodsy, AWESOME stuff, and I need to take better advantage of that while the weather doesn’t hate on everything.

So anyway. Balance.

Take A Break Driver 8, We’ve Been On This Shift Too Long

Hooray for school.

I guess. Maybe.

Michelle lent me her guitar a while ago. I still have it, and I’m actually kind of embracing my inner 15-year-old boy and playing it. I really suck, but it’s a lot of fun. I’ll report back later once I’ve mastered more than Driver 8.

…and the train conductor says….take a break Driver 8….

I mean, yeah.

What else is new? Well, I’ve just discovered Lost. It’s…um…let’s just say this doesn’t bode well for my level of productivity.

I’ve also been socializing without any serious “I hate people” repercussions. For which I deserve a serious pat on the back. Really. I’m out to start making people proud with my new-found social streak. Okay, that’s a lie, but I get one very extreme A for effort and am rewarded with surprisingly few feelings of panicky, freaky anxiety. Because–and I should talk about this in greater detail some other time–what happens to me with the social anxiety I experience is that I walk around all the time with a nagging stupid voice in my head, telling me that people do not like me and are judging me for every tiny thing I do. Everything. And then I listen to this voice and then basically lose it. This isn’t all the time, and depending on all sorts of varying factors, can range from completely unmanageable to a little annoying. So spending time in groups of people and replacing that nagging voice’s negative talk with positive stuff is hard work (seriously — it’s taken a lot of work to even identify the negative self-talk, and I certainly haven’t discovered all the ways in which I am so negative at myself). That shit doesn’t happen overnight. But it’s seriously rewarding, and by rewarding I mean, it’s becoming more painless over time. So there’s that. But who knows how long this will last. Meh.

Also, the combination of the sheer ridiculousness of Yahoo Groups and the absurdity of the U of R email address is making my T.A. job more rigorous than it probably should be. Seriously. Up until the beginning of this month, there were three — yes, THREE different email addresses to which one could email a student of this university, which would then be forwarded to the same address. The one that all emails is forward to is firstinitiallastname@u.rochester.edu. The one that was just eliminated but for s was the email address that most people had entered for our studio email group was firstinitiallastname@mail.rochester.edu. The one that makes for trouble is just first.last@rochester.edu, because do you see the difference is a u and a period, and the first part is DIFFERENT depending on which one you’re sending it to. If Rochester would just CHOOSE ONE, that would be awesome. Also helpful would be if I could not mistype a lot.

So this has been my week.

Favorites.

listening to: stereolab – puncture in the radax permutation

Not to bring up more really weird and unlikely but SOMEHOW related differences in the before-and-after of being on hormone-altering drugs, but it seems that I have suddenly returned to taking crazy, rampant, elated interest in things. Obsessive would also be a good word to use in this instance.

No. Seriously. I love music, specifically listening to it. I do I do I do. And while I’ve been interested in and and accepted that music is cool over the past year, all of a sudden I am freakin’ OBSESSED with some of this crap.

In some ways this is actually really cool. Not only do I feel refreshed and really happy just to be able to listen to music and really get into it once again, it’s like I have a new-found appreciation for my obsessive music-listening tendencies, after a long hiatus from listening to stuff and ACTUALLY listening and enjoying and getting excessively enthusiastic over said music.

From this I have also gleaned the following:

My two favorite bands of all time, ever, no matter what else I seem to listen to, are R.E.M. and Stereolab. R.E.M., yes. It’s been R.E.M. for years. But Stereolab? They’ve come on very slowly. It actually took me quite a while to find things in their music that I liked consistently enough to call them my favorite group, but slowly and surely it has happened, and finally it is realized. Oh. Yeah.

Really. Seriously. They’re all I need. Ever. In life. I know these two groups are kind of, heh, disparate? But if you think about it I’m actually covering a lot of stylistic ground. Maybe. Kind of.

Coming out of this haze of not being interested in anything at all, ever, seems to have strengthened some of my feelings about music, and particularly these two bands. So there you have it.

R.E.M.

And Stereolab