Not For The Faint Of Heart

I swear, my family is full of hypochondriacs. Me too. It is terrible. Sometimes everything is fine and dandy and I’m not worried about anything in particular, but all of a sudden I’ll be acutely concerned about anywhere from 1-4 things. Like, currently? I’m concerned that I’m a) losing my hearing, b) my hair is falling out. But see, when I say those things aloud to somebody else or write them here in my blog, they are obviously totally just whackjobbery straight from my brain. Which is part of why I’m stating this right here right now.

I honestly think the hair thing is just part of a hair crisis in general, in which I had to find a stylist who was not my awesome person in Rochester for the first time and OH MY GOD. Just. Why do people not understand FINE but WAVY HAIR. Because they don’t! They’re all like “whoa! really fine hair! you need lots of layers that are as disparate and choppy as possible!” But. NO. I don’t know. I think there’s some kind of intuitive art of understanding people’s weird hair types, and it’s something my Rochester stylist had. Because she just…was so awesome. Sometimes I think it’s worth a trip back to Rochester to get my hair cut (and for $15?!?!). On a similar note, people who specialize in curly hair tend to cut my wavy hair quite amazingly. This current haircut…it actually wasn’t bad at first, but shit, when it started to grow out I knew there was going to be a problem with the layering.

And I would blame my hair, but my hair is AWESOME. Seriously. It may be weird if it’s got a crappy cut, but it’s so soft and shiny and…cool. Not to mention a color I can’t even pinpoint the origins of within my family of mostly dark-haired people. And it’s occurring to me that…this is all I am. A bundle of nice features that require EXPENSIVE and VERY SPECIFIC treatment, and because I don’t have money or the resources, I just turn into what I feel is a mass of frump. Another example would be my size 10, narrow-heeled feet. I see shoes I like, I try them on, and I take a trip to sad-town because my feet and especially heels are just so dang narrow, nothing really FITS comfortably or without my feet falling out of them. But they’re lovely, shapely feet and ankles, and at least I’ve got that, right?

Anyway. I have a haircut scheduled for a different place on Thursday. When I called in the receptionist actually ASKED ME ABOUT MY HAIR TYPE and I got really really excited that this was important for them to know in advance. Like, really excited.

So yeah. I just talked about hair. For two paragraphs.

I am sorry.

Hello Cold Morning

Good morning, it is officially fall outside.

And. I am obsessing with the latest from Röyksopp. Observe:

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That is all for now.

Steep In Song

Well, okay, I may be blogging slightly more often but something I’m obviously not doing is proof-reading published entries until at least 24 hours after the fact. TOO BAD FOR YOU.

Something fascinating in my life of late is how I have joined a band. I mean, for real. I think I mentioned the possibility for playing keyboard and sampling stuff in a friend’s band, but that never really came to fruition. I am, however, playing bass in a band with a friend’s husband and some other instrumentalists. And it’s SO WEIRD.

I mean, it’s very cool. Seriously. I enjoy that kind of collaboration in ways I cannot begin to verbalize. I am pretty sure that 75% of the reason I strive to do anything in music at all is because music is all about collaboration, and there is nothing more satisfying than working out the details of a musical thing with one or more people. I love it.

But I cannot lie, it is kind of sort of weird to me is just how DIFFERENT the music I listen to (and in turn the music I play) is from my band-mates. Like, holy crap. I know I listen to some pretty peculiar shit, but in the past when I’ve played cello or bass or whatever with a singer or a band, there has usually been some substantial middle ground in terms of music-listening. Well, not this time. We all enjoy a few of the same things, but emphasis goes to the word “few,” and these few fall into a minute sliver of mainstream. And I’m not saying it’s a bad thing at all. I think that finally, after quite a few years, I’m much more readily accepting of the fact that what I listen to is extremely personal to me, and while I am always eager to share sounds with people, I am perfectly content to accept what I hear and enjoy for myself and not expect or even hope that every dang person around me will feel the same. On the other end of that, I’m also more willing to accept that other people really love things that are not my cup of tea, and try to listen with an impartial ear in order to understand why a person enjoys what they do.

That said: I’m still gonna raise some hell with these band mates. I mean figurative, auditory hell. The fact of the matter is that I come from a much, much different musical background than they do, which is largely due to my musical upbringing and my intensive study. And I’d like to share with them what I hear and why, because I think the why is important.

And speaking of that “why”……I’m getting much better at understanding that “why” in music I love. And the reason for it? Is maybe sadly that those music theory and analysis skills have become a plague and won’t go away. I can’t not THINK almost obsessively about what I’m hearing while I hear it. And I will just say…I’m not sure if it’s a very good thing, or a very bad thing just how analytical an ear I use while listening to any and especially popular music. Because, first of all, I hear EVERYTHING when I listen to music. I’m not simply tooting my own horn here — a combination of perfect pitch and a hyper-awareness of bass lines AND all those years of ear-training in school have given me the ability to pinpoint, identify, and most times recreate every musical line, track or vocal in a song, sometimes even the ability to name and recreate full chords and progressions (I blame ear-training). Unless a recording has extraneous tracks and is intentionally trying to skew the listener’s hearing by creating very thick and indiscernible texture, I hear it. And so in a lot of ways I feel that I can’t even HELP listening to music with such an ear — at this point it’s second nature.

Maybe this doesn’t sound very exciting to you the reader. You mean you can hear stuff that happens in music, Talia?! Shock and AWE. But I think people would be surprised to discover the things their ear doesn’t always pick up while listening. It surprises me what other people miss, in fact. Or what they can’t hear or imitate.

It can be argued that this tendency to analyze the bejesus out of music can take the charm and I guess the pathos out of a listening experience. But honestly, there are so many layers to experience and things to take in whilst listening that I think for me it creates an exciting and very very engaging listening experience. To each his or her own.

I guess the bottom line is that I’m an auditory freak of nature. And I’d like to show my band-mates where I’m coming from, and not just spring a bunch of really freaky-sounding music on them out of nowhere when they further inquire about what I listen to on my own time. Hell, I’d like to show the universe where I’m coming from. Do not be surprised to spot a few (or maybe more than a few) posts getting into some very detailed explanations of what floats my auditory boat. I mean. Lifts my auditory luggage. I mean.

That said, here is something cool but maybe freaky but mostly cool.

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Feeling A Little Bloggy

I am feeling a little bloggy lately. I have obviously not been so good at updating during the past few months. I’m never sure why that sort of thing happens, but I can see that it happens more often than not lately because unlike years before, I don’t feel the need to share every tedious detail or thought. I’ve learned that sometimes it’s okay not to share everything, that some things are just for me, and that’s an important thing. But there’s a point where all that interferes in what I feel is a very healthy practice of writing and recounting things and transcribing feelings. There was an ease to writing in the years past that I’ve been mindful about my blog, and I miss that ease and comfort.

And so I am resolving to write more and share more, though I feel it’s okay if I don’t detail my somewhat uninteresting daily life in a tedious manner.

What I want to write more about is music. Not classical music. Not things I play on my cello. Not just a post to say “I am obsessed with such and such song here is a youtube video!” Rather, I would write about what I listen to relating to what pleases my ears, what delights my brain. I never cease to be fascinated by the way people hear music, the way I hear music, and I want to explore these things that I typically only think intensely about in my own head. This also works in the interest of getting to know the music that is in my brain that doesn’t seem to want to come out no matter what I do. It’s there, and it needs gentle coaxing to come out, not a severe kick in the shins, or me yelling in a crazy voice for it to COME FORTH, DAMN MUSIC, COME FORTH.

I suspect that the more I write about music or anything, the more I will want to write in general. It means I probably will start to write about my uninteresting days. Still, I think that would be a good thing.

And so, Shalom.

People Can Have Fun Making Music?! Who knew!


Last night I played a pretty dang fun concert with the Peoria Symphony. I was surprised at the fun I had, on multiple levels.

Peoria is about 45 minutes from Bloomington-Normal, and for whatever reason I’ve always had a strong musical involvement with the community over yonder, across the mystic Illinois river. I played in the youth symphonies based in Peoria from the time I was about 10 right up until graduating from high school. Aside from that, my Dad has played with the Peoria Symphony for I think twenty-some-odd years now, and my mother and sister have also played with them from time-to-time.

One cool thing about this concert was the cello section, and the fact that I came in there knowing EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THAT SECTION. These are people I have gone to school with or who have given me cello lessons and of course that one person who I had met at a summer program. I think I mentioned some time back in August these warm fuzzy feelings of making music with people, and how strong they were at that time. Well, it was surprising to experience this again, and especially in an orchestra which is currently aflame with some rather ridiculous internal political struggles. Truly, enthusiasm for the music and feelings of such kinship…it is something I so infrequently experienced during my two years at Eastman in orchestral playing and other places, if at all. I had forgotten what it it was like.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m still feeling fairly trepidatious about the idea of pursuing an orchestral or performing career or anything cello major career. But…this feeling of enjoyment in making music is something I have missed. I’m not even sure I realized it was gone. And so for now, I am a fairly happy person.

So yeah.

All Caps Brought To You By My Rage

In case you’re curious about the outcome of the car drama, I had a second opinion when my car went in for a new timing belt, and that second opinion was that everything with my suspension was fine and that my tires were just beginning to wear in their funny, Ford Focus-y way (seriously: my Dad explained this to me and apparently the wheel sizing and the exact tires we chose for the car are the problem. Something similar is happening to my sister’s Focus hatchback. But whatevs). BOOYAH, DAVIS TIRE OF BLOOMINGTON.

Seriously. My only regret through this entire car-repair adventure was that I didn’t immediately question the Davis people on their estimate and their claim that I needed new struts when I JUST GOT THOSE LIKE A YEAR AGO. No. Because I’m a PUSHOVER. And I like to believe that people are good, and not just trying to sucker me into throwing money at expensive and unnecessary car repairs. The same way I like to think that people are always honest and sincere with me about stuff like feelings or whatever and LOOK HOW THAT ALWAYS TURNS OUT. I mean. Whoa. That’s not the same rant. Similar alley, different rats.

That’s all I really have to talk about. Unless you want to hear about what cello subs do. Or the teaching of cello to young people. Which you really don’t right now. You have no say in this matter — I am telling you that you don’t.

I will mention that I don’t miss school, but I do miss Rochester and I especially miss Wegmans. Every time I walk into a Meijer or a Jewel or a Kroger, I die a little inside.

Yay for me. I blogged.

A Lesson In Car Maintenance


So, used cars. We buy them. We’ve had many sorts of them. Some of them have been owned by a famous opera singer, said famous opera singer obviously chucking car due to possession by Evil VW Spirits. Or quirks like a driver-side door that ceases to open while the passenger door won’t close. Dumb things. And no matter what kind of car you own, used or not, made in Japan or Sweden or the U.S., shit happens and it is necessary to consider the cost of repairs, collision, etc. while even thinking of owning a vehicle. So whatever. My point is that our family has had quite a menagerie of cars through the years, many with foibles but all reliable until their ends because of regular and necessary maintenance.

And so my formerly used car (purchased around 35,000 miles), which has recently hit 80,000 has been through good times and bad times. In my inaugural few years driving it, nothing extremely problematic occurred. A few minor fixings here and there but nothing to cost an arm and a leg. And then after that, on occasion, there would be something bigger. Fuel pump. New tires. New suspension. New brakes. Belts replaced. That was all within the span of maybe five years. And I’m not a car expert, neither is my Dad (who technically owns the car). And so we have to learn to rely on the skills and honesty of shops and dealers, as well as perhaps our own judgement.

And so today, when I took my car in for a tire rotation and they informed me that they couldn’t rotate my tires because what my car really needed was new front struts, rear shocks, a handful of other things plus a set of new tires for a total price of $2,090, I guess it was a test of judgment. Because WHATTT.

First of all, for a car with that many miles on it, that I am very serious about maintaining but not pouring buckets of money into, that’s a DAMN lot of money. Second of all, I keep a file folder of records and receipts of all work that has been done on my car, and know that I had new struts put in the front of my car 25,000 miles ago, along with new tires. Awesome tires, by the way. And I’m not saying they’re lying out their asses about this. My back tires have some odd wear on them — if you run your hands over the treads, some of them are slightly worn in funny ways. And they are loud — always have been. But I haven’t noticed a DAMN thing about the ride or handle of the car, and neither did my Dad who drove it today for the first time in probably a few years. In fact, his words were that he wanted to jump in my car and drive straight to California or New York that very moment. And this man knows cars. He has jumped in quite a few different cars and actually driven straight to California or New York

So I think I got taken for a ride today. Li…terally??

I’m going for a second opinion, and I won’t be surprised those second opinion-bestowers recommend doing something with the rear suspension, since the rear tires are noticeably funny-feeling if you run your hand over them. But I don’t new front struts and I DAMN well don’t need four new tires. My god.

So let this be a lesson to all of us: take care of your car. But also don’t let people take ridiculous advantage of you and your car, even if you’re getting up there in miles. Also, keep records of your car repairs — that comes in so much handy.

This has been a lesson in car maintenance. Thank you, and good night.


Okay, what the crap, self, you need to write something and publish it, right now RIGHT NOW AAAAAAH CRAZY RAAAH.

I’m okay!

I just can’t seem to BLOG, and believe you me, I’ve been trying for the last week. What happens is I start writing something and it’s all “yeah! blog entry! yeah!” and then anywhere from 5-20 minutes into it I realize that, wait…I’m full of crap. And I just don’t feel like writing anything that people are going to read with their eyes and comprehend with their brains. So I stop.

So that’s my story.

I honestly wonder sometimes if I have blogging PTSD. Or something. Or…Ioknow!

What else, what else… I’m subbing with a lot of orchestras around here. It’s good work, but exhausting work, and I might have lied when I said that everyone in this area is warm and fuzzy and loving and kumbaya and shit. Lies. But it’s money and I am able to make music with wonderful people, regardless, which is decidedly better than most any part-time job I could have, so…I’ll go with it and be grateful for it. Woo.

You know what else I’ll be? INTEGRAL. and GUILT-RIDDEN. Like I always am. YEAH! BOOYAH.

Excuse my nonsense, for I am tired.