Blarhggouasdf;lj I Meant That

I am sorry for the ranting. I am just feeling ranty lately. And blogs are a good place for ranting. Right? Right.

In the news today: A little water spill did turn out to be the death of my 8-month-old laptop. And since accidents/spills aren’t covered under the warranty, I am…still a klutzy idiot.

I have to be honest that in the last day since I got this news of total laptop death, I’ve been contemplating not buying a new computer at all, and just going cold turkey on technology/the internet. There is honestly no doubt in my brain that I would probably be a happier person without that crap.

Seriously. Who needs a computer?? Who?!

And…the answer to that question is…me. I need a computer, probably. Damn all.

A Passive Aggressive Rant, By Talia

Looking at where I’ve come from, who I’ve studied with, and the people around me, I realize that by normal post-graduate classical performance standards, I should probably be trying my ASS off right now to get a job with an orchestra or whoever the hell will employ me OR that I should be going back to school, and that I should be taking every performance opportunity that even considers coming my way. I know this.

However.

Grad school kind of killed off most of my desire to play and perform and do anything relating to the cello, in general. The fact that I am teaching 15 students (no more students, by the way. NO MORE), playing nearly weekly gigs and am to some degree enjoying it at this point amazes me, plus the fact that I’m actually earning a living (a living which allows me to do completely idiotic things like spill water on my laptop with the knowledge that I can afford to have it fixed). Amazing. I am grateful for every opportunity.

The fact remains, though, that I’m still recovering. I still don’t know what I want to do in life. I still need some time to let things stabilize. I appreciate advice and guidance when it comes to career, and in fact, some of it has been downright helpful, especially that form my PARENTS, who would’ve thunk it. Go parents.

What I don’t appreciate is people wagging their fingers at me, telling me (or OTHER PEOPLE behind my back) I’m not doing enough for myself right now, whether it’s well-intentioned or not.

Screw you guys. Seriously. It’s people like you who contributed to my classical music burnout in the first place. I’m enjoying the hell out of teaching right now, and at this point in my life I’m completely convinced that this is the best thing I could be doing for myself as a cellist and a performer and whatever-the-heck else I might want to do with music. And honestly? I still don’t really even know if that’s what I want to do with my life, and considering how many people end up doing something that has nothing to do with their area of study, I don’t see how that would be a big deal. On top of that, last time I checked, there was no sure-fire path to success in this admittedly SCREWED and DWINDLING field of classical performance, whether you have a DMA or have studied with the best or not, so please understand if I’m not jumping out of my chair to compete for a job at the moment.

First and foremost, though, I’m not going to even attempt to further my career in cello-playing and performance until I have some semblance of desire to do so. And right now, I don’t. Advice, I will openly and willingly take. Criticism for and sneering at my choices, I will not.

So I bid you LICK ME.

Additional word of note: gigs are starting to get to me.

Please Do Not Die From Idiotic Klutziness

This news ended up being the icing on the cake of mixed crap that became my week (minus having a new fantastic bow): Diana Wynne Jones has died.

First Brian Jacques. Now Diana Wynne Jones. I am depressed.

I’m sorry to spread sadness. But then again, what else are blogs for? Besides complaining. I DON’T KNOW. I’M EXPERIENCING SOME KIND OF EMOTIONAL BOTTOMING OUT RIGHT NOW I’M SORRY.

Depressing author deaths aside, whatevs. My week could have been way worse. And I think the icing on the cake of crap was actually the idiotic feelings associated with careless spilling of water onto one’s central media commander. After letting my laptop dry out for three days, it failed to power up. I ended up having to take it into the local Apple Certified Repair center yesterday. They asked me if there was anything extremely important that I don’t have backed up to another machine, and then reminded me, painfully, yet again, that accidents and spills are not covered under warranty. RUB IT IN MORE, WHY DON’T YOU.

I know that a little water spill is likely not the end of my laptop. But I love to prepare for the worst-case scenario because I’m a pessimist (SOME people call it being realistic), so when they tell me it’s going to be a $300 job relating to the logic board I’ll actually be relieved, and if they happen to say “this repair will cost $1200 so you might as well just buy a new computer” it’s much less likely I’ll break down crying in a public place.

Let this be a lesson to the whole world — never ever EVER EVER allow liquids near any of your fancy, important electronic equipment. Like, not even in the same room. Because if you do, you’ll move that fancy equipment for just a moment so it is on the same plane as the liquid and BAM gravity or klutziness will one-up you so hard you’ll…something. DIE. You’ll DIE.

Also, I need to go on some kind of a hermit vacation, or hermit-cation if you will, in which I can just walk around some woods and not see people for like a week. That would totally be the best thing in the world right now.

On the bright side of everything, at least I’m kind of regularly blogging again. Kind of.

The Best. The Worst. No In-Between!

Oh God everything is different WHAT IS GOING ON?

I changed my layout because I was going crazy. This was immediately followed by me spilling water on my laptop. What complete dumbassery.

I am kind of using my old laptop while my recent wonderful computer figures out whether it wants to live or not. I use the term “using” sparingly, because my old laptop has issues. Internet connectivity issues. Display issues. Power issues. Issues. It’s the word of the day.

My parents also bought me a BOW. I have no idea what possessed them to do this. Kindness. Evil spirits. Again, no idea. But I love them to death for it and am certainly playing the cello a little more fiendishly than I have been in the last…12 months? 3 years? Ever? I don’t know. The point is that I’m actually playing the cello, and I think that’s a pretty big step up from where I was even a month ago. BOWWWW.

Also, for the record, the drive into Chicago on I-55 is the worst. As are the drivers. The worst.

Standard Poodles Are Jerks

I have never ever really ever gone out of my way to proofread blog entries. Why start now?

Updates:

I am unofficially going to an instrument repair workshop this summer.

I might also do some Suzuki training? Or not? I don’t know. Suzuki training sounds really super freaking intense, and I don’t really think young people NEED to learn to play an instrument with the specifics of that teaching philosophy. The main reason I want to do it is to better my abilities in teaching beginners. Young’uns. People I am currently clueless about teaching.

It’s also super expensive. So maybe I’ll do it. Or maybe I won’t. WHO KNOWS WHAT I’LL DECIDE.

In other news that is more mental health related, I am sick of being boxed in. I am sick of not wandering. The weather is delivering, but where is my free time? WHEEERE?!

One of the things I miss about Rochester was the ability to step out my door and meander amidst some of the most beautiful houses and trees to exist, possibly ever. Living within walking distance of a pretty ridiculously great park with a view was nice, too, even if it meant being chased by Standard Poodles that one time. Man. Standard Poodles are not my favorite.

Normal, IL does not really have amazing hills or parks or houses or anything. It’s nice and flat and filled with corn and beans, and sometimes there’s completely ridiculous lightning…and tornados…but…well…yeah. Where are the wander-able places? I NEED WANDERING. You know I’m serious because of the all caps.

Also, do you need a daily pig? I think you do.

Another Year And I Will Truly Start To Feel Old

Nine years ago today I wrote a blog entry which consisted solely of me yelling at Blogger for being stupid and confusing. It was my very first blog entry, ever.

HAPPY BLOGIVERSARYDAY or whatever. Blog birthdays. It STILL sounds a little like a venereal disease.

To be fair about me yelling at Blogger in my first blog entry, ever, Blogger was confusing as shit back in 2002. Lots of weird HTML and code very specific to Blogger. You had to get all warm and cozy with those weird codes in order to do half the things you can do at the simple click of a mouse these days, like COMMENTS and ARCHIVES. Oh, Blogger archives, you were the bane of my existence for so long. It’s all so much easier now, so let’s be grateful for the internet and push-button publishing advancements made in the last nine years.

In other news, I think I have a comedy television hangover. TV is great and all, but man, I need to get back to books.

And maybe get outside with my dang fancy-ass camera, if the weather would do something great for a change.

No, I’m Not A Lizard

This just in: I love Louis C.K. I love his stand-up. I love him on Parks and Rec. I love him on his own show, Louie.

But more than anything, I love Louis C.K. asking Donald Rumsfeld if he’s a space lizard, repeatedly, on the Opie and Anthony show.

Lizard question is first posed around 2:37, and then discussed in greater detail after Donald Rumsfeld finishes up his interview around 14 minutes.

Catching Up: Lesson Scheduling Edition

Look, I’m back! So soon! It’s a late-February miracle.

I’ll admit, I feel bad for not blogging. Every time I ask myself why I’m no longer a frequent and exciting blogger, my immediate thought is “because my life is BORING” which is…not true, exactly! Perhaps my life is not so academically challenging OR performance intensive as it has been for the past however-many years, but there are still things in it worth sharing — in fact, I have a short mental list of subjects worth blabbing about, even if some part of me brain keeps telling me they’re all extremely unexciting. I mean, come on. Shouldn’t I consider the possibility that maybe my life was never all that exciting to begin with?

Anyway, let’s start here: I have twelve cello students and between that and regular gigs my schedule is a total CLUSTERFUCK.

It’s not like teaching twelve students takes up all that much time when you add them all up, especially compared to regular 9-5 weekday jobs. It’s not like I have school or another job to work my students around, the way I know lots of other teachers of music do. It’s not like I don’t get decent money for those twelve students or that I don’t enjoy the teaching. And I assure you, it’s definitely not that I’m UNGRATEFUL for this work when I know that times are tough and that other young musicians are struggling for teaching and gigging work. Truly, I am one lucky bastard. It’s more like…the hours are crazy irregular and scattered at idiotically random times throughout the week, not to mention all but one of my lessons occurs after 3pm on any given day of teaching, and all of this makes for a schedule that is just STUPID, and one in which I don’t get a whole lot of anything else done, especially not cello practicing. Right now I’m teaching at least one student every day of the week except for Thursday (and Saturday, though I’ve had to squeeze make-up lessons into that day for the past few weeks). I’m also teaching from two different locations — my home and a music store, which has been more frustrating in coordinating same-day lesson times than I care to describe.

I’ll fess up: this crap is nearly entirely my fault. I’m the one in control of my schedule, so how is it possible for me to let things to get so stupid and out of control? Well, okay, two reasons: 1) I started off with five students who all came to my home. I taught their lessons one right after the other, three on Tuesday and two on Wednesday, and this was EAAASY and a wonderful arrangement that was never really interrupted gigs or other life-happenings. Then, at the beginning of last month 10 new students basically threw themselves in front of me as if I was a moving cello-teaching train, all in the span of about a week. I never, ever expected that I’d have students more than trickling in one-at-a-time, and so I wasn’t prepared for the massive week-long scheduling party and subsequent hangover that took place. Trying to figure out where to put all these lessons was complete madness, especially while attempting to keep in mind which days and times I should avoid in order to be able to teach AND make all gigs without having to cancel most lessons every week. I actually thank god or whatever that three of the 10 students I should have started teaching decided that a transition period between teachers was actually the perfect time to quit cello entirely. The downside, however, is that those people who scheduled lessons and then quit left gaping holes in my teaching schedule, and those gaping holes are…annoying! As hell!

Then we come to reason Talia is stupid at scheduling No. 2) I am accommodating to a fault. I started off all “YES I would love to teach ANY TIME YOU ARE FREE TELL ME WHEN I CAN TEACH YOU PAID WORK OMGGGG,” which was a big mistake. Biiiig mistake. I couldn’t help it. I wanted to accommodate the hell out of everyone. I wanted to be helpful and make things work for every schedule. Unfortunately, with an attitude like this it’s possible to be a little bit walked all over by parents and students who are busy or even just picky about when they wish to have cello lessons. I guess I got to learn this the hard way. It’s as though I was simply asking for people to walk all over me, in fact, and it resulted in such a stupid, stupid weekly schedule. It’s taken a little while, but I think I’m figuring out how to be a defensive scheduler and not compromise hours of non-teaching, which unfortunately is probably going to result in me not being able to give lessons to new-comers who might only be available at certain times, but MAYBE THAT’S NOT A BAD THING. I’m also trying to bunch all lesson together so I don’t have ridiculous, idiotic slots of time between lessons in which I don’t have time to do much of anything except twiddle my thumbs and worry about what I might do or say in said upcoming lesson. It would be my dream to teach for a certain number of hours each day with no gaps in between students unless it’s for something like…eating. If my ultimate scheduling plan works, I’ll be able to move all lessons to Sundays (for some reason Sundays are absolutely the best teaching days), Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so that then I’ll have some days in a ROW in which I don’t teach at all. So I can get other things done. So I can get the hell out of Normal, IL for a day or two.

So there you have it. Blog entry about lesson scheduling. Why, Talia? Why?

Teaching itself is another story! For another time!

Let’s Watch, Won’t We?

No, I’m not dead.

Yes, I’m obsessed with the following television programs: A) Parks and Recreation B) Party Down

What.

I’ve never thought of myself as much of a TV watcher, and I still don’t despite a solid handful of shows that I would call myself a serious fan of. But sometimes I just get obsessive over…things, especially when my life is repetitive and unexciting. Big surprise, I know. For the longest time my TV obsession was The Office, and for good reason as for a good three years it was probably the best comedy on television. In turn, as such a big fan of The Office I wound up being pretty leery of the other NBC Thursday Night shows that sounded like potential boring spin-off/copy-cat, Parks and Recreation in particular. I mean, come on…mockumentary-style filming with a premise of incompetent boss who has real responsibilities with disrespectful and/or kind of idiotic co-workers, written and produced by many of the same people who did The Office? That’s not going to be terrible or anything. Well, it turns out that I was wrong. Parks and Rec is good. SO good, in fact. As good as The Office in its heyday. And after watching all 2.5 seasons of the show I can say that maybe it didn’t start off so wonderfully amazingly great, but starting from Season 2 it becomes wonderful and magical and only related to The Office through similar mockumentary style and the same producers/writers. I mean, where to start with the reasons that I adore this show? I guess with Amy Poehler, who is and has always been a magical human being (I’ve known this on some level since being slightly corrupted by Upright Citizens Brigade at a youngish age). I also think the writers and producers know what they’re doing, and that maybe they’ve learned from mistakes that came from the slow inward collapse of The Office, which, let’s face it, has run out of pizzazz. And steam. I think there were amazing and really truly delightful things about The Office, but those things were over-run by gimmicks and caricatures and really just too many years of production for a show that was pretty darn limited to an OFFICE OH MY GOD IT’S JUST AN OFFICE. This has officially turned into a passive-aggressive rant about how they need to cancel The Office. You hear that, NBC??!

Also a Parks and Rec A+ would have to be the GUEST STARS. Because really, this show had me at Louis CK as a love interest for Amy Poehler’s character. WHO DOES THAT?! This show, that’s who.

I could go on. And on. And maybe on some more. To conclude. I love Parks and Rec. And maybe you do, too. If so, let’s be friends. If not, I guess we can still be friends. I’ll allow it.

There is also this little old show called Party Down, which I breezed through all two seasons of in the span of maybe three days? Also so good. Cancelled, but so good and all available on Netflix Instant Streaming, and in some ways I think two seasons gave the show a decent opportunity to shine. YOU SHOULD GO WATCH IT RIGHT NOW DO IT RIGHT NOW.

I should mention that the common denominator of both these shows is Adam Scott, who plays Ben on Parks and Rec, and Henry on Party Down, who I now happen to have a ridiculous crush on. Seriously. Ridiculous crush on Adam Scott: affirmative.

So that’s what’s up with me.

But enough about me. Let’s talk about you.

Okay, let’s talk about me again.

Haha, just kidding. Bye for another month.

Boys Becoming Men, Men Becoming Wolves

Some of you may be wondering — WHERE IS TALIA?! What is she doing? Why isn’t she blahging?!?

Well, to answer those questions, I am RIGHT FREAKIN’ HERE!

And, oh my god, I have basically doubled the number of cello students I had as of two weeks ago AAAAH I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON. I’m teaching both privately and through a music store here in town and it’s…yeah. It’s great? I have no idea what it is. No matter how I try to approach the subject of teaching in my blog, I find teaching to be simultaneously way too awesome and difficult for me to effectively express in words how I feel or what I think about it. Especially youngsters, oh dear god, the youngsters. I’m a bit overwhelmed, as I was really getting into the groove of being able to teach the five students I’d had since last August and was not prepared for a sudden onslaught of…lots more. But don’t get me wrong! It’s great! Great. And stuff. That’s what I’m doing.

I have no idea why I don’t blog as much anymore, but now that I’m following my New Years resolution and blogging only when I want to without guilt, it sort of…doesn’t matter? I need to write someplace and I may write here or I may not depending on how agitated the internet makes me at any given time. Wait. I think I just summed up exactly why I don’t blog all that much anymore: THE INTERNET LEAVES ME FEELING AGITATED. At least, it does when I’m not watching this 20 times in a row:

30 Rock is amazing. Carry on.

La La La Publish Without Proofreading

I just finished A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers and BRAIN ON FIRE.

Not because the book was good — which it most certainly was — but because holy SHIT I am reading books. This has not happened consistently and obsessively in god knows how long.

Do not misunderstand — I did read books during grad school and the year or two before grad school, but only in an occasional, slow and tedious way on top of the required academic reading (which I honestly didn’t do all of anyway — I think there was a certain Baroque Music text written by a certain Very Famed Music Historian Professor during my undergrad which was a painful read and might have contributed to a slight distaste for reading of all kinds for the next few years). I read, I think, I don’t know. Two books a year? And mainly because I felt as though I should be reading books and felt guilty for not — kind of like me with blogging and how I’d begun to do so only when I felt really guilty for not blogging (aside: my other not-new-years-resolution because I didn’t make any is to stop blogging out of guilt and only blog when I am sincerely want to blog. Thus, the recent and very shameless lack of posting. NOT BLOGGING IS FUN). And they tended to be non-fiction books that were FUNNY or at least interesting and succinct. Except for Infinite Jest, but I clearly did not finish that book anyway. And I was crazy. No, I am reading again. I finish one book, I pick up another. Obsessive, enjoyable reading.

The person who is largely to thank for this return to reading is none other than J.K. FUCKING ROWLING. That’s right. I did it. I read the entire Harry Potter series from start to finish in less than two months.

It was a good plan, really: read a page-turning series, especially a page-turning series whose last three books I have absolutely no recollection of reading and BAM, you turn a person who has suffered some kind of internal literary damage into someone who thinks books are that bee’s knees. The cat’s meow, if you will.

I am so excited by books and there are just so many of them that I have simply not read, not to mention a lot of really great books that have come into existence in the recent however-many years I’ve had close to no interest in reading.

If you are curious, you can view my Goodreads profile here. Or you can join Goodreads yourself and find yet another delightful way to maintain your internet-related OCD habits. And then friend me so that we can share books. BOOKS. WHICH I READ.

Regarding A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, it was great. And sad. I ought to have read it a lot earlier, maybe six or seven years earlier, but especially 1.5-2 years earlier whilst undergoing major hormonal contraceptives-related depression. I’m not sure if it would have helped or made it that much worse, but I imagine it would have done something.

Status Of Ridiculously Large Mouse: Caught

After today I am simply not okay with killing mice by way of glue trap. Even if they’re huge-ass. Even if they’re pestilent vermin. Even if they kept me up late at night with their squeaking and scurrying. Next time there is a home invasion by mice, I will use a different method of mouse eradication, one that does not involve killing or immobilizing or poison-usage. There do in fact exist safe, non-poisonous mouse repellents.

That said, this mouse was HUGE ASS. I’m really glad I never actually saw it while it was scurrying around my room, or I probably would have lost my shit.

So, goodbye, giant ass mouse. I know that I’m an overly-sympathetic schmo, but I’m sorry for the way you had to go.

Chronic Mice Killing — I Mean Sleep Deprivation — I Mean Both

I think the mice broke me.

See, they weren’t actually living in my closet. No, indeed. And they weren’t living in that puzzle-box beneath my night-stand. Oh, no. They’re living under the floor, in a spot just below the head of my bed, so that if I make noises in that spot at the head of my bed, I’ll hear very faint squeaking.

How the mice make their way into my room at night is still a mystery: originally it was thought that they crawled in through a very tiny hole in my closet where the door-frame meets the greatly sloping 45 degree ceiling, but that’s been ruled as highly unlikely. Then it was thought that they might come in through the cover-less electrical outlet that’s in that same area, until we replaced the cover of the outlet and nothing about the nocturnal appearances of the mice changed. So yes. Baffled. That’s what I am.

WHY these mice scamper all through my room at stupid hours of the morning is due to the fact that I am stupid. Yes. I know. No news there. Somebody — I don’t remember who, one friend or the other — bought some wrapped caramels from a shop in downtown Normal, and gave me one, which I proceeded to NEVER EAT (because caramels make my throat itch) and then mindlessly threw into the open storage-space under my night-stand along with a bunch of other crap that didn’t receive a second thought. After a few nights or so of dealing with mouse-scurrying sounds, I cleaned the BEJESUS out of my room in an effort to locate any clues as to mouse whereabouts and discovered the caramel half-eaten, with little bits of wrapper pieces all over the place. Score.

Long story short, the more things I did to eliminate rustling noises in my room or places for the beasts to hide, the louder the noises became and the more absurd mouse activity became. My room is pretty ridiculously clean at this point, with nothing on the floor except for my waste-paper basket and the giant-ass cardboard box in which my Nikon D7000 was sent to me, and still I hear things bump and scrape and shift in the night. One morning I woke to find some of the contents of my waste-paper basket littering the floor around the basket. WHY?

I’ve given up former warm-and-fuzzy feelings of pity for the mice. I want them dead. SO dead. Traps have been steadily increasing in number over the past week. It went from two regular traps to those plus two sticky traps (which I swore I would never use when this all started, because I figured that the mice at least deserved a quick and decent end. CRAZY TALK, THAT WAS). And then I want to reclaim actual nights of sleep.

And what a reminder about sleep this is. It’s become plain as freaking DAY how my mental well-being is tied to the amount of sleep I achieve over a period of time. I cannot function without consistent, healthy sleeping hours. CANNOT. Sure, a couple nights at a time of little-to-no-sleep, doable! Exciting, in fact. But when a week, two weeks go by and I am consistently sleeping less than 6 hours a night, things turn ugly. I become crotchety, super-emotional and hyper-sensitive to just about everything. I’ve noticed, especially this time around, that my slight OCD tendencies have become unhealthily exacerbated. When things are out of order, instead of fixing them and not thinking much of it I get REALLY frustrated about the fact that things are out of order and it contributes to the cantankerous mood and behavior. And of course, in a true Talia fashion, I become super-aware of my crotchety-horrible-human-being-ness to the degree that I then become paranoid that everyone hates me from this crappy human being I’ve become. What a lovely icing on this cake of pain!

I hypothesize that all college room-mate experiences that I deemed “not awesome” ultimately had to do with me being chronically sleep-deprived. It makes sense, as I remember very specific long periods of crappy sleep in each of these situations. It’s really too bad — I feel bad for anybody who has to put up with my crazy sleep-deprived bullshit.

So truly. I have to kill these mice DEAD. For the sake of my poor family, and my friends who I might not ever see again unless I resume sleeping and cease to act like a hermity basketcase. Also so that I stop hearing phantom squeaking and rustling everywhere I go (I’m jumpy enough as it is). Next step, if traps don’t work, is to point my huge-ass Peavy amp at the floor at a ridiculous volume and LET LOOSE.

Brought to you by extreme lack-of-sleeps.

Eat Me, 2011

Welcome to a Brand Spankin’ New Year.

My original New Year’s Resolution was not to make any resolutions. I’m just not good at working towards very specific, highly idealized shiny goals that involve numbers. I forget about them, or I just ignore them because they’re annoying.

But I vaguely changed my mind when I realized that New Years Resolutions are a chance for me to take stock of what I’d like to change about myself as a person, by which I mean the way I THINK about things. Happiness is all in the eye of the beholder, after all, and if I can find small ways to change how I think and in turn find a little more happiness somewhere down there, why the heck not. If anything, a resolution involving ways I want to think differently is just that — something to PONDER over. I like that kind of resolution better than specific number of something I need to hit.

So…let’s discuss. What would I like to change?

Well…I am an annoyingly sensitive human being, specifically when it comes to other people’s feelings. I’m not implying that I CARE about other people’s feelings (though to an extent, I do care about other people’s feelings unconditionally). I mean to say that I am super-aware of other people when it comes to my interactions with them and what they might be thinking about me, and I will go to (what I see as) any and all lengths to please the people around me so they are happy with what I am doing. And I need to stop that! I should be accountable for only my feelings and my own actions, not other people’s. I end up sacrificing my happiness and my sanity just because I do what I deem will make everyone happy — because it is in my anxiety-filled interest to do so. And I’m talking about stuff that shouldn’t be sacrificed, such as my personal philosophy or integrity when it comes to things like ART and MUSIC. And so I cannot emphasize the way in which I need to NOT DO THIS ANY MORE.

These might sound like the words of a troubled person who complicates all things to a detrimental degree, but seriously, I am so much less crazy and ridiculous than I was just a few years back. Honest and trust-worthy friends have informed me of this very fact! I should get a gold star, or something!

And…I also resolve to listen to more ridiculously delightful electronic music.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

You’re listening to a track from one of my very favorite albums from 2010, Matthew Dear’s Black City. Sooo good.

Heck. I also resolve to contribute more money to my mutual fund. Once I’ve replenished my bank account after splurging on a very Fancy Camera, that is…

I mean WHAT you’re crazy THERE ARE NO FANCY CAMERAS HERE.

A Nerdy Approach To Recent Eyewear

I procured my new pair of glasses just in time for the New Year — a great thing, as Bringing In The New will never have been so FANCY.

Fancy New Specs

Let’s all take a moment to ask ourselves: WHY ARE THESE SO AWESOME?

Let’s start with 1) they make me think very distinctly of Krautrock. I have noticed that the common theme in much of the music I obsess over is a distinct influence of Krautrock, that crazy German-originating experimental movement that was up-and-coming in the late 60’s/70’s. Maybe I’m really, really reaching here, but I it see reflected in these frames: bold fonts, bright colors, and strong, rigid shapes. Um. Here’s a musical Kautrock reference in case you’re curious:

Maybe you can see it. I’m pretty sure that one of the things I love about these glasses is that they’re not straight from 1970. They reference some bits of 1970 and thereafter but manage to be modern. And this, too, is reflected in things I listen to/am visually attracted to. A modern spin on something older. Hmm. There’s a band that does that…a band I like…who are they again?

Oh, right. That one band I don’t shut up about, ever.

Moving along, we come to point number 2) The color purple creates an analogous relationship between the blue and green shades of my eye-color (assuming that my eyes are actually blue and green, which…we’ll get back to that in a moment). In theory, this would make my eye color come out. Behold this chart which captures the analogous relationships between the shades of purple in the glasses and also the (theoretical) colors in my eyes:

This was exciting in theory, but when I later opened a few photos in Photoshop and used the Color Picker to determine exact shades of blue and green that occur in my eyes, I discovered that my eye color contains no blue at all, only gray (and…green…ish?). WHO KNEW.

It makes sense. For years I’ve been confused and unsure of what the hell color my eyes are. Green is the color on my driver’s license, but my eyes are blue in some pictures. And the correct answer is that my eyes are HAZEL with predominantly gray coloring and a green/brown surrounding the pupil. Thus, depending on what I wear or what colors are around me, my eyes will appear different colors. The gray color hints a tiny bit towards blue, and so my eyes will reflect blue if I’m wearing that color.

So…analogous colors my rear end. But…that’s okay! At least now I know what the heck’s going on with my eyes. And I’m pretty sure the purple frames do a nice job of showing the fact that my eyes are actually gray. For instance, in the above photo my eyes actually LOOK GRAY (though I’m sure they’ll still change depending on what I wear). Thanks, purple glasses frames.

To conclude, my new glasses are terribly awesome, and if you’re confused about your eye-color, survey it with the Color Picker tool in Photoshop.

Happy Freakin’ New Year.

Paul Is Dead: Redux

My parents and I returned from New York on Monday night, after a notably snow-free drive — something to be so thankful for seeing as the majority of the east coast ended up that craaazy storm. My sister lives in Brooklyn, and to paraphrase what she told us about the weather there, shit got real.

Driving from New York to Illinois in one day is doable. I believe it took us about 14 hours each way, maybe a little more, and that’s not a terrible drive, but it is exhausting, even a little-bit so if you’re a mere passenger (though I’ll have you know that this passenger barely slept the night before). I lasted about an hour after arriving home before I realized I needed to PTFO (or Pass the Fuck Out).

You would think, after a tiring drive and little sleep the previous night, that I would have done well and slept a good 8 or 9 hours uninterrupted, but no. Oh no. I drifted out of sleep around 3am, probably after completing one REM cycle, to hear a noise…a weird shuffling. I figured, in my sleepiness, one of the bags or the junk I’d hauled up the stairs into my room after we got back had settled or moved due to reasons of gravity, or something. Then I heard it again, something that sounded like…scurrying?! The sounds were emanating from around my closet door which happens to be at the head of my bed. I turned on my light and lay there quietly, waiting any further instances of noise. More noise came, but instead of scurrying this time, I heard a very faint “squeak squeak squeak. Squeak squeak squeak.”

I would have chalked this up to sleepy hallucinations, but dang. I rolled out of bed and opened my closet door to see if I could corner whatever creature was stirring. Aaaand…nothing. Cunning, squeaky bastards.

I managed to eventually fall asleep after a few hours of intermittent scurrying and squeaking. In the morning, the first thing I did was open my closet door once again, only to hear the same faint “squeak squeak squeak” with no visual evidence of a living creature.

DAMN MICE, GET OUT OF MY CLOSET.

Last night was roughly the same in terms of mouse activity and sleep-getting, with a lot of scurrying noises coming from the vicinity of my closet and me occasionally opening the closet door and making some noise in hopes of sending a message. Next time I need to send a louder message that better resembles “FFFUUU.” Or maybe write up some tiny eviction notices. That’s totally going to work.

This has happened once before, while we went on a trip to Europe when I was nine…a family of mice moved in to our house during our 3-week absence, leaving droppings everywhere and subsisting off of bird-seed that normally fed the parakeet. One day maybe a week after our return, I found a baby mouse crawling across the dining room carpet. I don’t know if it was sick or just having a slow day or if baby mice just aren’t known for their speed, but we trapped it in a beer glass, and then put it into an old hamster cage, not really knowing what to do with it. I named it Paul, and it died in about three days, at which point I proclaimed that “Paul is dead!” over and over again, completely aware of the great Paul Is Dead hoax thanks to my fantastic Beatle-obsessed piano teacher and a book she lent me on the very subject. I was an awesome nine-year-old.

I hate the idea of killing mice, even though I know they’re pests and there isn’t really any better way of dealing with them. I don’t want to have to walk into my closet each morning wondering if I’m going to see a trapped dead mouse. On the other hand, I really enjoy sleep and these mice are annoying nocturnal. Hmmmmm.

Sidenote: There are apparently some CRAZY websites dedicated to the whole Paul is Dead thing. Paul has always been my favorite Beatle since I was young, and while I’m pretty sure he’s not dead and that the person who we’ve all thought to be Paul McCartney since 1966 is actually Paul McCartney, I’ve gotta give the believers at least a B+ for effort. Urban legends are kind of cool, and I’m always amazed and kind of delighted by how much time and effort people put into their rationale of how it is that Paul is Dead or Elvis is Alive or The Chupacabra was found in Kentucky.

Bla Blee Bloo Blog Entry

I hope everybody out there’s had a Merry Happy. I certainly have.

I’m not quite sure how much I want to leave New York for Illinois. Obviously there are good things about heading back to the norm, like the fact that my fancy glasses will be waiting for me when I get home, or that if I were to stay here any longer I would probably suffer some food/sugar related injury (ugh, seriously, people keep making RIDICULOUS amounts of food that I normally never, ever eat. ‘Tis the season)…

It’s just that I’ve never really lived close to my extended family, and visiting them has been a once-a-year at best thing until I moved to Rochester. Now that I’m back in Illinois, it’s sad that I have to revert to that long-distance family relationship again. I hope people who have all their family close-by don’t take it for granted. You people are lucky!

In other news, it is time to deeply consider the D7000, specifically the part about purchasing one. I think about 50% of what was stopping me buying the camera a month ago was the fact that they weren’t available ANYWHERE, oh, why, gods of Nikon? Now that at least two shops seem to be maintaining stock, it’s time. Let’s do this, and get the camera party started.

Check Out My Update.

I’m in Upstate New York with family and it’s…stuff.

No, it’s good. Quite good, in fact. My problem is that I never seem to blog until after I’ve eaten a huge and impossible meal, at which point I’m all……stuff.

Driving past Rochester made me a little sad, and I honestly had to resist the urge to yell at my Dad to get off at the Victor exit so we could go to Big Fancy Wegmans in Pittsford.

I MISS WEGMANS. There. I said it.

I know I come from a part of the Midwest that is unexciting unless you are excited by things like corn and flat and surprisingly polite people, and perhaps this contributes to my awe of amazing grocery stores, but crap! Never have I encountered a grocery store quite like Wegmans, and every time I now step into Schnucks or Kroger or even Meijer, a little part of me cries out for Big Fancy Wegmans.

I actually miss Rochester. I don’t think I’ve made that statement on my blog since leaving Rochester in May, but it’s true. The music school part of my time there was…eh. But as far as cities with uh “color” and HISTORY and cool things to look at go, Rochester was neat.

I guess that’s all I’ve got for now.

I May Lose My Mind, But At Least I’ll Look Awesome Losing It

Hello there, I am terrible at blogging.

However, I am super-fantastic at wearing glasses! I’ve been doing it since the age of nine, after all!

And so, I’m slightly excited. Just a tad. A wee bit. A mite excited. Excited about glasses. Excited about the frames I bought over the weekend. I am so excited about these new glasses, I might even continue to chuck odd sentence fragments at you!

I bought these super-fantastic new frames from a store in Downtown Bloomington (a store which ROCKS SO HARD and is nothing like any other glasses store I’ve been in and miraculously exists in Bloomington, IL, WTF) which has a fantastic selection of occasionally very Europe-y glasses. After two visits and probably a full 90 minutes of trying on various CRAZY ASS frames (with an additional 20 minutes spent figuratively banging my head against a wall in the throes of indecision), I managed to narrow down my choices to two pairs of frames. Behold subject a and subject b.

I like gray. Can you tell?!

Oh, come on. Those are pretty cool glasses, gray and all. I always enjoy a good gradient effect. Also, both these frames are a bit on the trendy side in that the lenses are on the larger side, and I guess this was something I had convinced myself I wanted in a pair of glasses.

I was so close to making a decision and going with subject a and probably causing the store people to rejoice and celebrate the fact that I would finally be out of their hair, but in a fit of indecision my eyes wandered and I picked up a pair of purple and clear acetate frames that had been hanging out on a shelf amongst what I consider to be some TRULY CRAZY ASS frames by a Belgian eyewear maker called Theo (please click the link and check out some more CRAZY ASS glasses).

I put them on. They fit. I lost my mind. Screw trendy.

Imagine the bottom frames with purple instead of red and those are my glasses.

These are the glasses of my dreams. I didn’t actually consider the possibility that I could pull off the glasses of my dreams until I put them on my face. I figured something would be wrong with them or they just wouldn’t fit me.

Frames like these are the reason I am a glasses-wearer. It’s not just about eye correction. There’s some good ‘ol self-expression mangled up in there somewhere, and let’s face it, I’m not a person who is able to express a strong sense of style through clothing and outfits. Try as I might, I’m pretty sure I never will be. Glasses are my subtle shot at color and shape with a gentle nudge of nerdishness, and I am only too happy to share with the world how much of a nerd I am. Being excited about wearing glasses is different now than it was when I was a teenager with a very poor and occasionally distorted self image. Back then I used my glasses to hide what I considered to be a face full of flaws.

So yes. Glasses. I am excited. I should have them with new lenses by early next week, at which point I will lose my mind. Maybe also post a photo.

Less Whining, More Proofreading

Two things both regarding the last post.

1. I’m much more susceptible to feeling sorry for inanimate objects while I’m under the influence of PMS (which I currently am). It explains a lot, really. Some part of my brain wants to feel reactive and super-emotional when I’m like this, and will go to ridiculous lengths to accomplish this goal. Lengths such as: “there is a chip in this glass that wasn’t there before WAAAAAAHN!” Combine this with the fact that I’m kind of attached to my car and you’ve got “NOOOOOO RUUUUST DEEEATH.”

2. While under the influence of PMS I’m prone to posting whiny entries without re-reading and checking for spelling problems/typos. For instance, the following, while reading over the last entry:
Blog entry: “It’s plan as day.”
Me out loud: ‘It’s plan as day”… AAAAAAAAAH PLAAAAAAAAAAAAAN.

Wait. Who am I kidding. That’s me all the time. I should get a blogging time-out. Or something.

Anyway. Pardon me freaking out over my car. It’s not a big deal. Rust has not in fact decimated my car in the span of a week. It’s just…you know. I like my car. A lot.

Yes, I am probably unhealthily attached to my car. But I think it’s understandable when you and car share…stuff. My car and I have driven everywhere from the North Woods of Wisconsin to the stupid northern lands of Canadia (HAH. Intentional mistype!) over to Denver, CA and New York, City and through the Green Mountains of Vermont as well as through lots and lots and lots of Indiana and Ohio. We’ve had such adventures! Like that time the fuel pump gave out just outside of Cleveland, OH while I was attempting to move to Rochester, or that other time where it outdrove a Tornado and was left with all sorts of fun hail damage.

Aaaaah…memories.

My sister actually just asked me a few weeks ago if it was weird just how attached to her car she is, so…I don’t think this is an abnormal thing! At least not in my family.

Also, why I feel the need to explain and defend myself in such a manner on my own blog is beyond me.

The End.

A Sad Day For Ford Focus Stationwagons Everywhere. Or Just Mine.

I’ve known for a while that my car is going to die a death by rust, but I didn’t think I would start seeing such a number done on my car so soon. I don’t even want to imagine what it’s going to look like by the time Spring rolls around.

I’m doing my best to wash it when I can, but the rockers are being slowly eaten away by rust. It’s plain as day. The difference between last week and this week is enormous. Repairing specific rust patches makes less sense than replacing the rockers with new and spiffy anti-corroding rockers, but that replacement alone will cost something like $3,000, which is probably half the value of my 80,000+ mile car.

I know it’s stupid to form a strong emotional attachment to material things, and I also know it’s stupid to mourn for my car while it STILL RUNS PERFECTLY FINE and just has a little bit of rust eating away at the rockers. But man, it’s only going to go downhill from here.

Goal Machine

Do you ever hate your brain? I hate my brain.

And so ends NaBloPoMo.

I don’t know, I got kind of half-assy towards the end. I think most of my problem lies in that I choose to blog when I’m tired and occasionally cranky, or maybe when I simply haven’t thought out what I’m going to say. That’s all fine and dandy, I suppose. I’m pretty sure how I blog and what I blog will forever change. When this whole internet thing blows over I’ll probably end up exposing details of my life that nobody will ever, ever want to know (I won’t even give you examples!).

You know what’s weird? Gigs. Because sometimes people burst into tears and other times you find yourself playing a gig with your old youth symphony conductor. Sometimes these things happen at the same gig and you have to ask the universe to sloooow doooown.

What am I doing with myself? No, seriously. Tell me. Because every once in a while I realize I have no idea what comes next and I’m not sure if I even care what comes next. Is that bad?

Gigging and teaching are good things that are earning me some decent money, but sometimes I feel like a bum for not actively pursuing SOMETHING. Maybe what I need are legitimate goals! Goals are, after all, healthy things to have, even if they are in no way related to cellos or orchestras.

Here are some goals, for serious:
1) Watch all Coen Brothers films I have not yet seen
2) Finish reading Infinite Jest
3) Read more in general
4) Visit someplace not in Central Illinois
5) Take more photos with PEOPLE in them
6) Subsequently get better at telling people what to do while I’m taking photos of them
7) Get dust out of camera
8) Obtain new fancy camera which is out of stock EVERYWHERE (it’s true — I have the money to buy a D7000 and have made important decisions about lenses, aaaand the camera still doesn’t exist).

Goals are awesome. Let’s all make goals!

Minute Holiday Curmudgeonlyness

My sister left today after a week of absurdity and frolicking and watching Blue Velvet. What a fan-fricking-tastic movie, by the way. I think it’s about time to go the whole nine Lynch yards and start watching Twin Peaks.

But man, sibling relationships are weird. I mean, I actually think they’re kind of great. I love having a sibling, especially now that we’re both older. I’m no longer so needy and bite-y and she’s not so aloof and prone to telling me I was adopted.

As a youngster I was totally in awe of my older sibling and wanted to be just like her, but at the same time I was constantly jealous of the attention she was getting for accomplishing things that were more “adult” than I was able to do or even understood how to do. And maybe that’s strange. Isn’t the stereotype that the older sibling is jealous of the attention the younger sibling receives? And the stupid thing is that sometimes I still feel that way. Especially when we’re in the midst of a very rare family get-together (is happens more often around this time of year aaaaah), I often start to feel BORING and UNACCOMPLISHED compared to my sister, who is much better at story-telling and engaging a group of people than I am. It’s easy for me to end up feeling crotchety and misanthropic in those situations if not in the greatest of spirits or not careful to note how I’m feeling in the first place. The real idiocy of this situation is that the reason I feel boring and unaccomplished is most likely that I have LOW SELF-ESTEEM and am the lesser talkative sibling. I might feel crappy about myself because nobody seems to give a crap about what’s up with me and yet I won’t actually talk about what’s up with me when people do ask because I’m kind of…quiet! So guess what, guys — I’M STILL NEEDY (and bite-y, if you ask some).

Usually I shake any crotchety or misanthropic feelings in a day or even a few hours of being in family/friend situations like that and can proceed to enjoy the company of the people I’m with while also being able to enjoy hanging out with my excellent older sibling. I think it’s our weirdness that connects us more than other things.

The Wussifying Midwest

I don’t mean to imply that the Midwest is wussy — far from it, in fact. The winters here are ass-cold and windy (and filled with ice-storms on occasion) and then we’ve got that rollicking tornado season in the Spring. These are only a few from a long list of possible bad or horrifying weather conditions that come our way. But dang, there’s something about moving from a place with shit-tons of snow and hills and completely horrifying drivers to…Normal, IL.

Today was the first snow of the season. We’re talking miniscule, inconsequential Illinois snow. Sure, it was wet and rainy earlier in the day so that by the time the temperature hit below freezing the roads weren’t great and our sloped driveway was slightly terrifying, but all this was mainly cause for some driving caution and not for the total loss of reason and sanity.

Not that I lost any of those things! But come on, I lived in Rochester freaking New York for two years, where ridiculous amounts of snow and shitty weather are fair game between the months of November and March. I was used to craptastic road conditions and horrifying drivers. And here I am in Central Illinois, getting antsy and flustered and kind of stupid over a little bit of scattered snow that barely even sticks to the ground. I was the most cautious and unnecessarily defensive driver on the road in that 2 mile span of driving to a friend’s house this evening. Clearly I moved back to Illinois and reverted to being kind of a wuss. Next thing I know I’m going to drive my car someplace with moderate hills in my manual transmission-having car and my brain will leak out of my ears. I’ll start up a hill and shriek “EEEEEE!” in a high-pitched tone, so that other drivers will see my manual-transmission face of terror while only dogs and animals with keen ears will hear the scream.

So. That.