Friday, December 10, 2010

Inception- and notebook checks


I just watched Inception last night, and it was SOOO awesome. And then I saw this nifty youtube video, and I realized just how much more of an awesome movie it was than I ever realized.

I have to do these notebook checks for my education classes, and they're STUPID. Like, some of the things we're supposed to put into our notebooks haven't even been posted for us to download yet, and they're due in a few hours. In addition to that... it's a notebook check. Really? We're in college. If we can't be expected to keep track of all of the materials we've gone over for a class, then why are we even here?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I auditioned for Drum major. I did not make finalist. Although this is disappointing and I was bummed for like five minutes, I am satisfied with who the finalists are, and I think that any of the three would be successful drum majors. Also, I have high hopes for next year.

Today, I had a teaching episode for which I was entirely unprepared. I made the executive decision to not attend my first two classes to figure out what I was going to do... went in with fragments of a plan... and suddenly, standing in front of the ensemble, everything clicked. I knew exactly what I was going to do in the rehearsal, and I knew how to effectively do so. For the first time, I felt like a teacher. That said, I still don't want to stay an education major. But I'd been very frustrated with my inability to do the things I saw my peers doing, so I was extremely satisfied to see things come together.

This is what the semester has decided to do for every single person I know:
The semester is like a child. It gets excited towards the beginning because everything is new and fun! But then it gets tired and doesn't want to play anymore. However, you have to keep going with this child in tow, and it becomes more and more unhappy. At the point I'm at right now, the child has sat down on the ground and is kicking and screaming, throwing a temper tantrum in front of everyone who is watching you barely keep your act together, and it claws at the carpet to gain traction against you as you hold the semester by the ankles and drag it with increasing difficulty to the finish line. You cannot let the semester win. You cannot let the semester have its way because it will destroy you.

There are two things in life that irritate me to the core: pretentiousness and uselessness.
However, when they exist in combination... Oh my GOD.
When you think you're amazing... and you're not... it drives me up the WALL.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Reminiscing

I have never been so glad to see a unit of education pass as I have been to see this semester come to a close. Two more weeks, and I am DONE with these classes.

I started going through my facebook profile, and looking at various status updates that I've had throughout the semester... and I realize that as stressful/hectic/busy/omg/asdfasdflkasdflka/getmeoutofhere as this semester has been, I am surrounded by amazing friends, and I couldn't have ever accomplished anything without them.

I love you guys.

One of those friends made this video about me. It's pretty funny; I thought I should share.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Auditions

The semester is running screaming towards the brick wall that is Finals Week. I feel it getting here faster and faster, and I welcome its arrival with open arms. I will dominate the brick wall of Finals Week and come out the other side unscathed, prepared to take a long, well-deserved nap.

On tap before this week ends: Tomorrow, OU plays Nebraska in the Big XII championship. This will take place at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium. I'm so freaking excited to go back there.

Over the past three days, the following events interfered with my noble intentions to practice and prepare for my juries:
  • Friday- Young Men's Vocal Workshop. one day a year, the School of Music opens its doors to about 900 middle and high school boys. They attend choir clinics based on whether or not their voice has changed, is currently changing, or has not yet changed. Half of the classes for the day are canceled- all choir classes, many of the education classes, and orchestra rehearsal. Today, I herded a group of 6th and 7th graders from the music building to the stadium for a group picture. If there was ever a reinforcing moment to tell me that switching out of education was a good idea, it was this one. Oh, and I cleaned my room tonight.
  • Thursday- Christmas Choir concert. Pride rehearsal ended at 6:30, call was at 7. This concert took place on the 4th day after we came back from Thanksgiving break. I knew the concert was on the 2nd... I didn't realize the 2nd came so quickly after we got back. After the concert, I set up risers for the aforementioned Young Men's Vocal Workshop, and on my way back to my apartment, I got pulled over. A terrifying experience that I hope to never repeat. I didn't get a ticket, though.
  • Wednesday- Essay. We had a final essay due in Intro to Music Education, and I had to finish writing it.
  • And all of these days- preparing for the drum major auditions that begin on Monday.
I am so excited about these auditions. I feel really strongly about my letter of introduction, and my conducting has improved (thank you, Michael Giacchino, for writing such an awesome- but challenging- score to the Incredibles. Did I mention challenging? They aren't joking around with this audition), and I feel like my strut is mostly suitable for public consumption.

Let's hope that everyone else feels the same way.

I'm picking songs right now to help me pick the tempos 80bpm and 152bpm out of thin air... right now I've got Beyonce's Halo for 80, and Don't Rain on My Parade for 152.

I'm so excited.

I want to be drum major so bad.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Waiting

I am waiting out the semester. If I can just get through to the end of the semester, I can achieve anything I ever want to. I can move past the education classes that, although they are interesting, have eaten my life; I can move on to get a job; I can move on to start learning the concerto I want to enter into next year's concerto competition.

So many things. But right now I'm fighting to achieve the bare minimum to get through the end of the semester intact.

At the beginning of my freshman year, someone tole me that musicians were particularly prone to mental health problems.

I think she may have been right. I look around me at my classmates and I see anxiety, bitterness, and resentment.

Don't get me wrong, I see a lot of good things, too, but I see anxiety, bitterness, and resentment every day. I only hope that I can maintain the positive outlook on life that I feel I have maintained thus far.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Carmina Burana

The big work that the OU School of Music has put on this semester is Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. It's been such an exciting production! The School of Dance has collaborated with us to create a ballet to go along with the music. It's such a cool opportunity to be a musician for a ballet! It's so fascinating to see the extra dimension that the dancers bring to the music. I've loved being a part of this production, and I hope I get to continue to do more collaborative works with people from other fields.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Yesterday was pretty cool, except...

Isn't that exciting? I broke my phone.
It still works, I just get little glass shards in my finger every now and then when I text people.
But whatever. Yesterday was still pretty awesome. I played Call of Duty: Black Ops.
Shooting nazi zombies: surprisingly therapeutic.

Also, the Mu chapter of ΦMA (a.k.a., my chapter of AWESOME) went to a retirement home and sang for old folks. They liked us, and they want us back.

Hooray!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Positivity

So, I tend to get stressed out as the end of the semester approaches. Stressed-out me sometimes goes to unhealthy places. In an attempt to combat that tendency, I'm going to make a list of things that make me happy.

  • The classical station on the radio. It's very reassuring to get into my car and hear music that I can simply listen to without analyzing the chord progression; memorizing the name of the composer/genre/century of composition to be produced upon hearing the music later; worrying about practicing said music to get it to a performance-acceptable level; or worrying about the time that I could spend doing other, more productive things, because I'm driving and I need to not try to get things done while I drive because that leads to bad things happening.
  • Cold-ish weather. I really like wearing coats and jackets and sweaters, and this time of year is perfect for doing that because it's cold enough to justify wearing sweaters and jackets, but not so cold that I can't bear to be outside.
  • Watching my classmates excel. I'm thinking about one person in particular right now, but it can apply to a number of situations. This particular individual is such a dynamic, engaging teacher whenever I see her in front of a group of people, that it makes me feel really excited for her future students. Even if I don't want to be an education major anymore, I'm really overjoyed that she's doing so well with this track.
  • The internship that I'm going to apply for. It could very well be one of the coolest opportunities that I have available to me right now. NBC would be such a fantastic place to work... I would have the opportunity to live in a metropolitan area like I dream of, and actually perhaps be able to afford to do so one day.
  • Seeing the people that I care about and love. Spending time with them. When they are distressed, seeing them overcome that distress.
  • Catlett Assassins. This game is going to bring so much paranoid joy to my daily routine :)
That's enough for right now.

I intend to write a novel this summer.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bad Timing

Welcome to Catlettworld! Today, we're going to be administering two mid-term exams in two separate courses. Both courses are required for you to graduate with your music degree, so everyone taking these exams is REALLY stressed out. That's why everyone looks so high-strung.

Oh, I hope you don't mind, but we're going to tune the organ today. You know, the one that you can hear throughout nearly all the hallways? That one. So when you hear two notes REALLY close to each other, but not QUITE there... that's what's going on there.

Hmm. It seems that the students scheduled to take the midterms don't appreciate the organ being tuned... I wonder why that is?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Car Wreck

My dear friend had a wreck yesterday, and was unharmed.
I'm so glad she's safe.

Insert Title Here

It is currently 11:45 PMp on a Sunday night. I am about to go to bed BEFORE MIDNIGHT. You guys, I'm so excited.

I'm going to switch back to piano performance. Although I like teaching, I don't like it to the point that I want it to be my job every day. So instead, I will give private lessons on the piano. That way, I get to teach, but I don't jump off of a cliff from the sheer pressure of being responsible for ridiculous numbers of children at a time.

I don't know if I've told you guys exactly how much I am in love with Ian Bostridge's voice, but he's my favorite tenor ever. Over Pavarotti. You should listen to him sing.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Music


I blatantly stole this idea from my friend, Cat, who posted it on her tumblr. As awesome as it is, I can take no credit for it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

alksdfja;lsdfkjas;lkdfj;alskdfj

So, I'm having another major crisis (as in I'm not sure how I feel about my major, not a crisis of large proportions). I don't want to be an education major. I thought it would make sense for me to be an education major, because it blends my two passions: music and people.

That didn't quite work out the way I wanted it to.

The more I get into my education classes, the more I think that having a teaching job would be my own private hell. I really like helping my friends with their homework, and I think that I would like giving private lessons, but I do both of those on my own terms, when I want to do them, not five days a week from 8-3 (read: 730-whenever you finish, which will inevitably be after 3).

So I'm going to switch. I don't know what I'm going to switch to, but I'm going to switch. I'm going to spend next semester as piano performance again, but I'm going to take voice lessons from one of the Grad students here to see if I like it (I think that I had such a negative experience with voice lessons last year because the teacher and I didn't mesh, not because I didn't like singing).

I just wish I knew what I wanted to do. I've been considering non-performance and non-education musical careers, and I'm having trouble thinking of any.

But we'll see where it goes.

I downloaded Atomic Tom's album today, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I'm supposed to perform the first movement of my Haydn sonata tomorrow. I'm not satisfied with where it is.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Theory

So, here's something that bugs me. We go through two and a half years of our career as music majors learning the infallible rules that music supposedly follows.

But music doesn't actually follow those rules all the time. Some of my friends in Theory V said that the professor starts by announcing that although those rules and stuff that we learned before were nice, it doesn't really apply to real life.

So I ask you: WHY DO WE SPEND SO MUCH TIME ON IT?

I am aware that my complaints lie primarily in the fact that it's past midnight and I'm STILL not done with my homework, but I feel like they're still valid. I'm not saying that we shouldn't study theory at all, because I think it is worthwhile... but it's also kind of silly.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

EARTHQUAKE

We had an earthquake today.
In Oklahoma. It was a 5.1 on the Richter scale. Who expects earthquakes in Oklahoma?
It was like the coolest way to wake me up in my early-morning theory class...
We transitioned from "This is an Italian augmented 6 chord" to "HOLY CRAP THAT WAS AN EARTHQUAKE!"
Unfortunately, the rest of the day kind of slid downhill from there. Sad, right?

I think I'm almost finished with my arranging project. I'm going to glance over it one more time tomorrow before I print it off/turn it in.

I think I've made a few decisions about where to go with my life in the next few months to a year:

I will not continue with Music Education.
I will pursue playing piano for Wind Ensemble next semester instead of singing in Chorale.
I will not continue with Pride after this year.
I will sing in Opera Chorus and Chamber Singers instead of Chorale.

These are subject to change, depending on whether or not I feel like changing my mind.

I wish they had undergraduate degrees in conducting and/or accompanying here at OU.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Viderunt Omnes

I have problems when I get into my car, turn on my radio to listen to some music to distract me from the long day I've had, and the song that comes on the radio is one that we're studying in one of my classes. And the one that immediately follows it is a song we're studying in one of my other classes.

The radio gods are cruel, spiteful, people.

They knew that Perotin's Viderunt Omnes was JUST what I needed to make me want to beat my head against a brick wall. Of all the pieces that the classical station could have been playing... they picked that one.

Couldn't have been Dvorak. Or Stravinsky (may his fishy reincarnation rest in peace... that's right. He didn't make it through the night. Sad) or Debussy or Mozart or Haydn or Corigliano or ANYBODY else.

Had to be the one piece by Perotin that we studied.

And then one of the three Bach chorales we're conducting.

I will rebel by refusing to listen to classical music in my spare time. The only problem with this is that my non-classical library is severely lacking.

Fortunately, my dear friend and sweetheart Susan helped me out with this today by burning me a copy of John Legend's new album. She's awesome and I love her.

I'm giving her a copy of Melody Gardot's album tomorrow.

I think we'll get a beta fish. We might name him brofish. Or Phi Mu Alphish.
Or something else. But I feel like we should have an occupant for our fishbowl.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Igor

I am the proud owner of a goldfish! His name is Igor G. Stravinsky. The G is for Goldfish.

I had one of those days yesterday where I had loads of time to practice, but couldn't really stand the sight of my rep pieces.
Fortunately, today was different, and I remembered what I loved about all of my pieces. Perhaps it was because I had become the proud owner of Igor a few minutes before, and I wanted to impress him. I know he's a goldfish, but he needs music in his life just as much as everyone else does.

I should have spent time this weekend working on my arranging project, but I didn't. Oh well. I will focus on it more this week.

Sometimes, it helps to blare Fall Out Boy when things irritate you.
This is one of those times. Thank you, Fall Out Boy.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Odds.

*Sigh* Oh well.

Hey, we had a concert tonight! I freaking love Maurice Durufle. I wish he wrote more music than he did. His "Ubi Caritas" is absolutely breathtaking.

I wish I knew what I wanted to do with my life.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Biking

I REALLY hate it when bicyclists insist on riding their bikes in the middle of the road. While I understand that there is a law against riding your bicycle on the sidewalk, I feel like it is a law that will NEVER EVER be enforced.
Think about it this way: In a fight between a bike and a car, the car will ALWAYS win.
Always.

And don't park your bike in the middle of the road in the dark, because that's just ASKING for someone to hit you.
Like I almost did.

Dumb.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hiring an Accompanist for Dummies

For some reason, people don’t understand how to interact with accompanists. To assist people with this problem, I have decided to write the following guide.

Give your accompanist music AS SOON AS YOU CAN, preferably within a few days of the date at which you ask them to play for you.

Understand that if an accompanist cannot play for you, it (probably) has nothing to do with whether or not they like you as a person, and probably has something to do with that schedule.

If an accompanist has waited TWO WEEKS for your music and you haven’t discussed payment at all, then don’t get pissed off and take it personally.

The fact that I’m not playing for you does not make me a dick, so grow up.
_____

I HATE being shushed.
_____

I moved a fortepiano the other day. That was possibly the scariest moment of my life… That thing is worth more than the lives of all the people who moved it put together.

And I get to play on it on Friday. Whohoo!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

An open letter

Dear L,
Being a senior does not give you the right to be a bitch to someone who has been placed in authority over you, just because you're older than she is.
Being a senior does not mean that you can do whatever you feel like doing.
Being a senior certainly does impart certain privileges to you, but you need to learn what they are. And hopefully, by learning what they are, you will also learn what they are not. Because you seem to be quite misguided in that respect.
You wonder why people don't respect you sometimes... perhaps it has something to do with the MASSIVE amount of negativity that radiates from your person. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that you don't respect others. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that you complain about things that don't matter.
Perhaps you should grow up and realize that this is not the way to get the attention that you seem to want so desperately.
Also... when you regularly don't attend rehearsal, others tend to resent when you correct them. Because it might occur to them that they could possibly know more about what they're talking about than you do.
You know, because they showed up and learned what they were supposed to.
You're not as awesome as you think you are, so please deflate your ego. It's gotten rather unwieldy, and others are having difficulty maneuvering around it.

Sincerely,
Robert

Friday, September 10, 2010

Closure

So, I liked this boy for awhile, and the thing that drove me crazy was not knowing whether or not he liked me back. And I finally had both the courage and the opportunity to tell him how I feel.
And although he isn't interested in a relationship, I'm very happy that I have an answer and can move on with my life instead of playing the "What if?" game.

So there's the perfect authentic cadence for that phrase of my life.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Masterclass

I just found out that my professor wants me to play in a masterclass on September 24th. My choir is doing a concert with the OU Accademia Filharmonica, in which we will be performing Beethoven's Choral Fantasy with guest pianist Christoph Hammer. The day before the concert, he will be giving a masterclass, in which he instructs students on the proper way to play classical-era music (Mozart, Haydn, etc.) on the fortepiano, which is the most immediate predecessor to the modern piano.

I'm going to perform the first movement of the Haydn sonata I'm learning.

AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH
_____

For serious. I just want 5 minutes. Is that so hard?

Monday, September 6, 2010

I have no idea what I'm looking for.

Homework

I'm not taking as many hours this semester as I was last semester, and as such, I keep thinking that I'm forgetting something that I should be doing.
So far, this hasn't actually happened, but the feeling is still there. It's rather frustrating, to be quite honest.
____

I made almond chicken and rice last night. I was supposed to use instant rice instead of regular rice, but I still think it turned out alright. Just a bit crunchier than I think the original recipe intended it to be.
____

A recurring problem: Our dryer doesn't actually finish drying things. A possible solution: buying a miniature clothes rack to hang things up on.
____

In the flute section of the Pride of Oklahoma, we have a tradition where the individual members pair up into "flute buddies." At specific games during the season, these buddies exchange gifts with each other. I have the best flute buddy in the entire world, because my flute buddy made me oreo truffles. As in, she crafted them with her own hands and created them for me.

And they're delicious. Like you wouldn't believe.
____

Yesterday at Hideaway Pizza, a random group of strangers covered my bill. It made me very happy, but I don't have a clue who they were, so I can't thank them... THANK YOU!

____

I think that aural skills might actually be unteachable. Either you get it or you don't.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

There's "no such thing as stupid questions"

The other day in class, one of my classmates asked a question.
Let me give you a little bit of background on the classmate in question: this person is VERY socially awkward. They often ask questions in class that are irrelevant, misguided, and/or simply inane. It's like what might happen if you gave a monkey big words to play with. Needless to say, there are many people in class who are less than fond of this person. Some have actually fantasized about putting this person in a cardboard box and mailing him somewhere very far away.

I may or may not have been one of those people.

However, the other day this person asked a question of the professor, and true to form, it was obnoxious and not useful in terms of discovering practical information that had not already been discussed. It led to a sort of back and forth between the teacher and this person, which got the class-flow sidetracked and somewhat off-topic.

And then the professor said, "And now, I'm going to take your annoying comment and make it relevant..."

The immediate reaction was one of awkward laughter, slightly shocked 'did-he-really-just-say-that' looks between students, and (at least for myself) a sort of satisfaction that this person had FINALLY been called out for their irritating behavior.

However, later on, I was discussing the event with my dear friend M, who was sitting much closer to the person, and she told me that right after that, this person muttered under their breath, "I hate you."

I have seen versions of the above exchange several times over in my classes: the annoying kid in freshman english, the annoying kid in band, the annoying kid in pre-calculus, the annoying kid in algebra II... I'm sure we've all seen it somewhere, where the REALLY SUPER-OBNOXIOUS kid that makes you want to throw things gets shut down by a teacher.

However, I've been thinking ever since this latest event, because the day before, in one of my education classes the professor was discussing metaphors for schools, particularly the metaphor that a school is a factory, and particularly the part of the metaphor where sub-standard products (students) tend to get "thrown out."

As a teacher-to-be, I don't know what I will do in those situations. I know there are going to be times when I want to call a student out for being irritating, and distracting from the learning environment for other students... But I don't think that the best way to go about those situations is the way that I have seen from various teachers through the years. Some of the people I've seen do this are people who I consider to be excellent teachers, so if they can't think of a good way to go about those situations... what the hell am I going to do?

_____

In the Vienna airport on the way back from my trip to Austria, I am fairly certain that I saw the Vienna Boy's Choir.

I like D's boyfriend a lot, and I'm glad they're together. They match well.

If a recipe calls for instant rice, make sure you get instant rice at the grocery store, and not regular rice. Because it won't work as well.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Recital

I really want to give a recital this year, and I'm thinking I would like to do so at the beginning of the spring semester.
Program as of right now, in chronological but not performance order:

Bach Prelude and Fugue in F# minor, WTC Book I
Haydn Sonata in D major, Hob. XVI-33
Rachmaninoff Prelude in B minor, Op. 32, no. 10
Daughtrey- that piece. But maybe not, because I'm not sure what I did with the sheet music.

____

So, I went to the meeting today for people interested in giving a recital this year. Guess how much it costs to give a non-degree recital?
Seventy Five dollars.
That's so dumb.

Also, the thunderstorm was spectacular. The yellow sky freaked me out a bit, though.
I'm just glad it didn't show up 'til after volleyball with my brothers :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lou Gehrig's Disease

The Pride of Oklahoma is raising money to battle Lou Gehrig's disease.
We're competing with the Longhorn band.
We cannot let them raise more money than us.
So you should go to the website below:

http://web.alsa.org/site/TR/ALSEvent/KeithWorthington?pg=pfind&fr_id=7108

And then support the Pride member of your choice. Which is me.
Robert Sparks.

Updates

I had a fantastic time in Austria. I know I was going to write every day, but the fact that I didn't make myself do that actually allowed me to enjoy myself more. I have since become very interested in Haydn's music. I have since moved into my apartment, where I have three fantastic roommates. I like my schedule this year, and I like the repertoire I'm learning. I'm a little bit worried about the new kid being better than me, but that's just because I worry too much. I made it into Chorale, which is the top choir at OU. I am very excited for this semester.

Hello, class...

I have actually already done this. I took Teaching Techniques last year (due to my mid-year performance/education crisis), and had two occasions on which I had to be the teacher for the class and announce my name and stuff.
I would like to think that I was calmer this time. I saw the video of the time I taught rote songs to the class, and I kind of slipped into musical-theater-performance mode... you know, bright smiling face, enthusiastic voice, moving energetically.
I believe someone made the comment that I looked as if I was "hitting my spot" when I would move about the room.
But I think I was calmer this time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Austria- Random statements

  • There is seriously like only one building in Eisenstadt that has air conditioning, and that is the Haydn Conservatory. Although you would think this is unbearable, I've gotten used to it. It helps that it only gets up to like 80º here, though.
  • I'm sitting next to my brother A, who is having a skype conversation with his dad about the type of beer he's drinking. It's kind of awesome... I probably couldn't have that conversation with my dad.
  • Tonight I finally got to perform the Mozart Requiem for the first time.
  • I totally resolved to take a picture of every meal I ate... I have only done this once. Oh well.
  • I like white wine. I like wine spritzers even more.
  • My roommate here is SO FREAKING DIFFICULT to live with. I snapped and started yelling at him last night.
  • I really like just sitting at a cafe and drinking "ice coffee" which is coffee with ice cream in it.
  • I had this spectacular bar of chocolate that had champagne in it... it was amazing.
  • I'm going to write more coherent statements later... you know, ones that have more than one sentence in them. I've been taking notes on each of my days, and I'll elaborate on them later.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Austria- Wednesday

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

We actually got the chance to rehearse with the soloists today, and they sound absolutely fantastic. The soprano is particularly amazing… we were in Schloss Esterhazy (the palace we’re rehearsing in), because we’d gotten back a bit early from lunch, and we were leaning against the windowsill that looks out into the courtyard, and as we were sitting there, we heard her voice floating through the courtyard (she was rehearsing with a string quartet for one of the chamber concerts) and her voice is pure and smooth, like fine crystal. And it’s possible that I’m more amazed by her voice because I’d never heard it before we came out here (I know the tenor and alto soloist already, and I’ve heard the bass before), but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s marvelous.

I went to an Italian place for lunch both yesterday and today, and it was SO delicious. I know it’s a bit odd to get Italian food while you’re in a non-italian foreign country, but it was close to the palace, and I was hungry. I had penne gorgonzola crudo. It was absolutely fantastic.

We got some more music today for another concert, this one is just with the OU singers (and a couple of people from the Zielinski Singers). We just had a miniature rehearsal and it went very well… I don’t know when we’re performing them, but it’s going to be awesome when we do.

After the big rehearsal today, we went to a reception that the mayor of Eisenstadt had for the participants of the festival, and it was very classy. They had red, white, and blushing wines, several kinds of pastries, and the mayor took some of us on a tour of her office. She showed us a giant sword that was presented to the people of Eisenstadt when they gained independence from the Esterhazy, and we also got to see a giant Italian antique cabinet that’s just sitting in the antechamber to her office.

One of the things that I can’t seem to get over is how beautiful all the buildings are. Like, walking down the street from our hotel to the palace, you feel like you’re on a movie set. The buildings are brightly colored, there’s almost no space between them, and it’s picturesque like you wouldn’t believe. There is a giant church right outside our hotel that we will be performing the Paukenmesse in, and it reminds me of an elaborate cake.

Dr. Moses gave a 10-point lecture today about classical music in conjunction with Dr. Rath, who is in charge of the piano section of the camp (a new addition, Dr. MacGrath is here to observe it and help it grow), and it was very informative. One of the points that I found to be the most useful was the 4th or 5th point (I have it written down on the envelope that my music came in today) “DO NOT make the music sound childish.” I have to confess that I went through a phase where I thought classical era music sounded childish, but fortunately I am past that phase. Singing the Mozart Requiem and learning Mozart sonata started me in that direction, and this festival is taking me leaps and bounds further.

Austria- Jet Lag

Tuesday again.

I am so tired. Very very tired. We had rehearsal for hours and hours, and we sound good, but I’m so very very tired. And I’m getting a little bit cranky… I find myself really irritated by a certain un-named individual who oozes pretentiousness, although people assure me that’s because he IS a pretentious show-off, and not because I’m irritable.

We have some sort of reception tonight. It is supposed to start in like an hour, but I don’t know if I can make it to then without taking a nap. After the reception I’m supposed to go out with some people, but I think I’ll definitely put that on hold. I’m way too tired to go out.

___

Jet lag caught up with me... I'm going to bed. At like 930. What's up with that?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Austria- WAKING UP TOO EARLY

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Um… it’s 5:18AM. I woke up at 4, thinking my alarm wasn’t going to go off when I set it for, and after checking to see that I had, in fact, turned it on, managed to sleep for another hour or so. Getting any more sleep at the moment is helpless, though.

The sheets on this bed are strange… it’s comfortable enough, but I can’t quite figure out how they are supposed to work. I will take a closer look at them later. I can't wait for breakfast. It doesn't start 'til 7.

Austria- Traveling

Sunday-Monday, August 2-3, 2010

Traveling through different time zones really messes up your sleeping patterns. For example: It is currently 12:19 AM on Tuesday, but it is 6:19 PM on Monday in NC. Because both of these days basically consisted of traveling, I’m going to lump them together as one post. So the flights were fairly uneventful. I finished reading Yann Martel’s Beatrice and Virgil, which I thought I had lost on the plane ride to Oklahoma, but had actually put into a pocket in my suitcase that I overlooked when originally looking for it. The in-flight movie from Dallas to London was How to Train Your Dragon, which I had just seen the day before (two days before?), so I focused instead on finishing the book. After doing so, I then found out that my laptop will survive the full run of The Dark Knight, but only if I turn the screen onto the lowest brightness setting. I got the entire middle row of the plane to myself, because there were few enough people on the flight that the person sitting in my row could move up to the row in front of us, which was empty. That made sleeping a lot easier, but I only think I got 5 hours. I’m not terribly sure.

We arrived in London, got on our plane to Vienna, and I was seated across the aisle from the cutest Austrian guy: long wavy hair, scruffy facial hair, tight jeans, traveling with his mother and younger sister (I think). We got to our hotel at about 10PM Austrian time, and then went out to a local bar (have I mentioned that I’m legally able to consume alcohol in Austria?), where I had a beer. We got to see a little bit of Eisenstadt on the way to the bar, but I’ll get a better look at things tomorrow, because we have rehearsal early in the morning. That said, I’m going to head off to bed now.

Before I go: My parents are probably mildly distressed at the moment, because they got me a phone with an international plan to take to Austria with me, so I could text them/call them/whatever. However, I have been unable to do so since we left Dallas, because that was the last time I had service. The phone hasn’t had reception the entire time we’ve been in Europe, and I’m not quite sure what to make of that, but I’ll send them a facebook message when I’m able to. The time hasn’t even changed on the phone to reflect the fact that I’m like… 6 or 7 timezones away from my usual one (depending on whether you interpret Central Standard or Eastern Standard to be my usual one). So they might be a bit worried, they haven’t heard from me in… 16 hours? Which isn’t really that big a deal when you think about it, except they were expecting to.

Anyway. Rehearsal in the morning. Goodnight!

PS: I was a bad little international traveler, and the first thing I ate in Austria was… McDonalds. I rarely ever eat McDonalds at home, so this kind of fits into my sister’s only-eat-at-places-you-can’t-eat-at-while-at-home rule… but only kind of. The menu was very different, though… I had broccoli and cheese nuggets. And Coca-Cola, because they use a different formula in each country, and I wanted to see if I could taste a difference. I’m not sure if I imagined it, but I think it did taste differently.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

In five hours, I will be on an airplane that will have just taken off the runway to begin my journey to Austria. I'm EXCITED. I'm uploading some music to my iPod that I forgot to put on there or the trip out here to Oklahoma, and then I will be completely ready for this trip.
Did I mention I'm excited?

Yesterday, I went and got two snow cones, one for me and my brother A, and I didn't have to pay for them, because the girl behind the counter found out that I was a singer. So... she wanted me to sing for her. This is really flustering to anybody who is a singer, because nobody walks into the snow-cone store thinking, "I'm going to give a concert now." But I sang a little something for her, and she gave us our snow-cones for free... so that was cool.

If you're going to ask somebody to sing for you, a great way to motivate them is to give them free snow-cones. Seriously.

We went to go see "How to Train Your Dragon" the day before yesterday. Cute movie, and Night Furys are ADORABLE.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Austria

In case I haven't mentioned it sixty thousand times, I'm going on the coolest trip in the entire world in a few days. On Friday, I leave North Carolina to return to Oklahoma where I will stay for two nights (one of which will involve a final exam for the online class which I will be immensely glad to be rid of) in order to catch my plane to Austria, which leaves August 1.

I am receiving 3 hours of college credit for this trip, and the requirements for these hours are quite simple: blog every day, and write an essay at the end. I will be posting here (and probably on a school website or something like that so it can be graded and whatnot) if you're interested in what I will be doing.

There will also be daily podcasts of the festival activities starting on August 4th. Go to cmf.ou.edu and there should be something there that will take you to the appropriate place on the internet in order to view these.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Book

My latest obsession is the TV show Castle. It is about a murder mystery writer (Richard Castle) who is shadowing a NYPD Homicide Detective (Kate Beckett) as research for his latest novel. They solve crimes together while being witty and handsome, and sparking some serious sexual tension between them. However, the book that he's writing in the show has been published. It's called Heat Wave.

So they've published a book to promote a TV show.
You'd think it would be terrible, right?

I couldn't put it down. It was a very good summer read: playful, but with some substance. Also, watchers of the show will see some clever parallels between the show and the story in the book. A thoroughly enjoyable read, I would recommend it to anybody who likes the show, and even to people who hadn't seen it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

American Royalty

I have this fantasy. It will never come to fruition, but it's fun to daydream sometimes.

Let me lay a bit of groundwork: In the UK, the Queen is just a figurehead. The real chief executive is the Prime Minister, who (as I understand it) goes about running the country while the Queen performs representational and ceremonial functions.

In other words (and I know this is a gross oversimplification, but because this is the foundation for a fantasy, I don't need to worry about the details), the Prime Minister drives while the Queen sits shotgun and waves at people.

Well, in America, we have no such institution. The President has to drive AND wave at the same time, and that's just dangerous. This takes place sometime a few years from now, so the ages of certain younger people work a bit better. Let's say... 2 years from now.

Well, in my daydream, Congress decides that the President needs to stop waving at all the people and focus on driving. However, SOMEBODY has to wave at all of those people, so they decide to institute an American Royal Family that will serve in a symbolic, representational capacity: no actual executive, judicial, or legislative power, but they attend various functions and dress nicely and so forth. NBC seizes upon the opportunity to make a bit of profit, and secures the television rights to the audition process for the American Royal Family. The show dominates the ratings, and through an audition process that includes extensive interviews, mock state dinners, mock media scandals, and other tasks and trials, the candidate families (one from each state) are slowly eliminated, week by week, by popular vote from the viewers. My family, of course, makes it through to the final round. The final task is for my family and the other finalist family to attend the British state dinner (no more mock trials for us), and the viewers would observe the way we interacted with world government figures in that setting.

The seating for this particular state dinner is somewhat different than previous dinner-like tasks, in that the families are not seated together, the idea being that the audience could better see how the individual units of the family functioned apart from each other in formal settings. My parents and the parents from the other family are seated at the Queen's table with the Prime Minister and the President. I'm seated at a table with either Prince Harry, of the UK:

Or Pierre Casiraghi, of Monaco:

...depending on what I feel like on the day that I imagine this particular scenario.

The cameras start off by giving equal time to the Queen's table, where my parents are engaged in conversation with the Prime minister and Queen; the children's table, where my adorable niece, Cayden (4) and nephew, Whit (5) finish eating their macaroni and cheese rather quickly and start playing with James, Viscount Severn (UK, 4) and Lady Louise Mountbattern (UK, 8), and the grandchildren of the other finalist family; my older siblings, who are discussing the Olympics with Prince William, Prince Carl Phillip, and the other two Casiraghi siblings, Charlotte and Andrea; and my table. However, as the night progresses, and as my conversation with Prince Harry/Pierre continues, the cameras notice a certain crackle in the air around us, because we have great chemistry, which in turn makes for great TV. We flirt shamelessly throughout the dinner, forgetting about the competition, and the cameras, and when the dancing begins after the dinner is over, we instead walk outside to the courtyard, where we continue talking. At the end of the evening, he kisses me, and then I go back in my limo with my family to our rooms.

The show airs a few days later, and the celebrity gossip blogs start churning out stories about Prince Harry/Pierre's unexpected new romantic interest in the young American princely candidate. At the results show a few days later, broadcast live, performances by pop stars lead up to the final results. I stand there with my family onstage, and as the emcee opens the envelope, I see Harry/Pierre sitting in the front row of the auditorium. I smile at him, and he smiles at me...

...and then I lose him in a sea of confetti, because WE WON the competition! The audience LOVED the romantic twist at the end of the season, and the next few days are a flurry of appearances on television shows, and then finally, the coronation. However, the celebrity blogs are still buzzing over the quickly blossoming relationship between Harry/Pierre and myself.

As a royal family, we set fashion trends and enjoy vast popularity with the American public, and the tabloids try to dig up dirt on us, but it doesn't work.

At this point the fantasy generally kind of fizzles out, because I get distracted by other things.
But yeah. It would be totally awesome to be a prince. And then to date a foreign prince.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Twilight and relationships

I took a momentary break from reading my mind-numbing textbook to read something good: the latest post on my friend L's blog. And as much as I hate to do it... I'm going to talk about Twilight for a second. Please bear with me.

Yes, I have read the Twilight series (with the exception of the latest installment... The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. I was shocked to hear that she'd written another one, but my piano teacher was all excited about it when I called her at the end of this past semester. I might read it. But I'm going to wait 'til I have nothing else to do). And I enjoyed them. Do I think they were AMAZING the BEST THING THAT I EVER READ and SO PERFECT and other excessive adjectives? No. I enjoyed reading them. However, I enjoyed reading them in a similar way to the way I enjoy eating a bowl of Crispix and milk in the morning: it tastes good, but not AMAZING. In fact, it's rather bland. And that's okay, because sometimes that's just what I'm looking for. Also, Taylor Lautner's abs are fantastic.

By no means do these books merit the rabid fandom that they have inspired. Comparisons have been made between the Twilight phenomenon and the Harry Potter phenomenon. As someone who has experienced both, I would like to say that they are SO NOT THE SAME. Harry Potter takes place in a richly detailed, complex universe that has many allegorical parallels to our own, a moral lesson throughout the series, not to mention the most RIDICULOUS cliffhangers from book to book. My friends would theorize about what was going to happen in the next one, and would discuss how J. K. Rowling was going to wrap up various loose ends. The characters practically stepped off the page, and the deaths of several characters were deeply moving.

Twilight is a typical teenage angst story about a girl who falls in love with a vampire and a werewolf, and whines about how she can't have her cake and eat it, too... but it's okay, because everything magically turns out okay in the end.

What's that? Me, biased towards Harry Potter? What makes you say that?

Bias or no, I do have a very legitimate problem with the Twilight series. I hear girls talk about how they want to find their 'Edward,' and when I hear them say this, I can't help but wonder... why? Why would you want to find a boyfriend like Edward? Bella is so emotionally dependant on Edward that it physically hurts her to leave his side. He's so 'perfect' (I mean... I can't see it, but whatever) that she suffers from massive self-esteem issues, constantly believing that she's not good enough for him. There's also the minor detail that Edward wants to eat her. And she's TOTALLY okay with that. In other words, she's okay if he hurts her, as long as she gets to stay with him for EVER and EVER and EVER and live happily ever after. For what it's worth, he does a very good job of restraining himself, but her attitude basically says that she's okay with physical abuse. Then there's the whole, "to be with me you have to leave all your friends and family behind" issue... which is super-controlling and also a typical symptom of abusive relationships.

A lot of very impressionable girls read these books, and if their concept of the "ideal" relationships consists of what they read in this series, then that's a problem.

I feel like reviewing things.

My dear friend K, when taking AP US History in high school, said that the textbook that her class used (called The American Pageant, I think) was so well-written, she sometimes almost wanted to read it just for the sake of reading it. She showed me a section that compared the state of Texas to a blushing bride, waiting to be taken by her groom (The United States). I mean, come on... creative, funny imagery in a high school textbook? How totally awesome is that?

However, I am very sad to report that the textbook that I'm currently using for my online anthropology class (Windows on Humanity) is EXCRUCIATINGLY dull. There is no fun, clever imagery to be had. Also, I pretty much already knew most of what I'm learning, and so far the stuff that I didn't know is stuff that I could have easily conjectured from what I did know. This class is mildly irritating. I suppose that's what I get for messing with online classes again... they're evil. Although better than the last online class I took, this one is still pretty obnoxious. I give it a 3.8 out of 10.

On a completely unrelated note, my Dad's newspaper is running a coupon this week for a free smoothie from McDonalds. I took my little brother to get one with me, and they're absolutely delicious. Like, who knew that McDonalds would make such an awesome smoothie? I haven't tasted the strawberry-banana one, but the wild berry one is awesome. I've had two in as many days. I give it an 8.4 out of 10.

It has blackberries in it. You know how often you come across blackberries in smoothies? Like, never. I freaking love blackberries.

Here's a review for them from The Impulsive Buy. And by "them," I am referring to the smoothies, not the blackberries, because blackberries get 15 out of 10 any day.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Harry Potter and cell phones

This morning, at about 7, I was lying in my bed, under my warm covers, fast asleep. I was slowly jarred from my peaceful slumber by a high-pitched noise... repetitive, loud, and insistent. Did I mention loud? I tried to ignore it in hopes that someone would answer the phone, allowing me to sleep again. However, as it continued to NOT shut up, I realized that it was a ringtone that I'd never heard before.

It was my little brother's phone. He's fairly new to having a cell phone, and so he isn't in the habit of keeping said phone with him... which, admittedly, I am less than responsible about myself at times. HOWEVER, I don't leave it outside of other people's rooms when there's an alarm on it set to go off SUPER-ANNOYINGLY at ungodly hours of the morning.
____

My friend J hasn't read the Harry Potter books. He asked my friend K how one of them ends today, and I was deeply offended... I had to suffer for at least a year at a time between installments to find out the answers to my questions, and he can just ask a friend... It's despicable.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Parallel Universes

I really shouldn't be allowed to think about what could have happened if I took my life on a different path. It's a dangerous train of thought that leads to discontentment.
I'm really very happy with my life. I think I made the right decision most of the time, and that the place I'm in today is a very good one for me to be in.
But at the same time I can't help but think about those alternate universes where I didn't go to Oklahoma... where I may not have gone into music.
I really am happy with my life. I just think I would have also been happy there.

Update: Okay, semi-emo moment is done with. I'm very happy with the direction my life took, and the only way that alternate universe could have happened is if I didn't go into music, and that would ultimately make me unhappy. So yeah.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Super-awkward date

I totally thought I had told this story already, but evidently I haven't. So... storytime!
This happened last summer.

So, there I was. I'd just graduated from high school, and I felt like I was on top of the world. I was all set to go off to another state for college (which was really exciting and also a little bit nerve-wracking, but hey, I wanted to go on an adventure and I'm really glad I did now), and I was determined to enjoy the summer break to the fullest.

Enter T. T had been in some classes with me, but I didn't know her very well. I did know that my best friend K didn't like her very much, because T was dating J, and K and J were friends, but K liked J as more than a friend, only J didn't know that, and T didn't treat J very well, and that made K dislike T even more than she already did.

Still with me? So I don't know T very well. She'd been nice to me in the past, but we'd never interacted on any grand scale to speak of. I just knew that my best friend totally didn't like her. Well, T went on a foreign exchange program for the second semester of senior year to Spain. I figured that I was never going to see her again because we were barely acquaintances, and I was going away to college and that was that.

Well, about a month before graduation, I get this message on facebook from T, saying something to the effect of: Hey! I totally have this friend here in Spain who's gay and cute. You're gay and cute! You're like practically made for each other! He's coming to visit me and you should totally hang out with him *wink wink nudge nudge* (Which is another post for another time... the fact that two males are gay DOES NOT mean that they have loads in common and are going to be soul mates and want to spend the rest of their lives together, no matter how well-intentioned you may be).

I browse through her photo albums and see what the guy looks like, and he is, indeed, cute. Further, he's Spanish, so he's going to have an accent. And be able to speak spanish.

Sometimes I'm shallow.

Anyway, I message her back (despite the mild annoyance at her assumption that two gay males will automatically want to "hang out") and tell her that I'd love to meet him, and to let me know when he gets in town.

And then I kind of forgot about it.

Fast-forward to summer almost being over with: it's a Friday night, and I'm sitting at home. I'm going into Raleigh (a 2 hour drive) on Saturday for Alumni Day for NCGSE, which I had attended the previous year, and Sunday morning I'm getting on a plane to go out to Oklahoma for Camp Crimson, which is like a combination freshman orientation/get-to-know-someone-before-you-go-off-to-college camp so you won't spend the first few weeks of college being like WHOAH I don't know ANYBODY here, which was totally going to happen to me because I am from North Carolina, and I was going to school in Oklahoma, and those two states aren't exactly next to each other. I'd be coming back Wednesday, and leaving town again for a week on the following Sunday.

So on this Monday, I get a text from T inviting me to come hang out with her and J and the pretty spanish gay boy named F. And because he was attractive, and because there were going to be cookies, I was like "Okay, why not."

It turned out to be slightly awkward, with us eating cookies and watching Angels and Demons on T's TV while her and J made out and while her sister and her boyfriend made out and me and F sat on the couch and didn't make out and didn't really even make eye contact or try to talk because there was a movie going on and people were making out and that's just weird.

I have to leave before the movie is over because my parents totally still had a curfew on me at the time (so not cool, Dad) and so I went home and I thought that was going to be the end of it. However, the next day I get another text from T, telling me that she had to work and that F was just sitting at home by himself and HEY you should totally ask him out on a date! So I was like "that's a great idea!" and I called him and asked him to go get ice cream with me.

So we go get ice cream. And then we walk around the mall. And then we go to the park, only it was dark and there were mosquitoes. And this was my first date, so I wasn't sure how to do this, and I was nervous, so I asked him if I could kiss him, and he said no.
And I was a little disappointed, and he said it was because he was going back to Spain at the end of next week and he didn't want to get involved in anything here because he'd never been kissed before, and I totally understood. But it was still slightly awkward, so I started to drive him home.

At this point, I could have totally gotten him home without incident, except for two things. Lady Gaga, and Padiddle.
So, Love Game comes on the radio... the one about taking a ride on somebody's disco stick? Yeah. That one. Well, he tells me that the disco stick part was his favorite part, and I'm like... okay. Either he doesn't really get the connotations because english isn't his first language... or he's totally sending me mixed messages. Then a car goes by with one of its headlights out, and I hit the top of the roof, saying "Padiddle" and he gets really confused (like I'm sure you are right now... Padiddle is a game that my friend K likes to play with her friends that I'm just kind of acquaintances with. The rules of the game are, whenever you see a car with a headlight out, you hit the roof of the car and say "padiddle," and the last person to do so has to remove an article of clothing. Moving on...). I explain the rules of the game to him, and he gets the next car without a headlight, only I must not have explained the rules that well, because he seemed to think that he could pick the article of clothing that I took off, and I bet you can figure out what he wanted me to take off.

At this point you need to clarify that I do not strip off articles of clothing while I drive. Generally when driving I abstain from this game, and in situations where I cannot, I pull over and pull off my shoes or something.

Well, I'm an 18-year-old American teenager, and there's a cute boy in my car who seems to have decided that he wants me to be less clothed than I am. What do I do?

I pull over on the side of the road.

That was a mistake. It turns out that there was a ditch on the side of the road that was QUITE deep and overgrown with weeds, and because it was dark, I did not see this ditch. I drive a buick (Read: boat). Well, my front right tire got stuck in this ditch. I tried to correct the mistake, but only managed to make things worse... by the time I was done, I had managed to make my vehicle look like it had dived off the road, rather than simply tried to pull over and then get stuck.

Well, I'm sitting there, and I don't quite know what to do. Ordinarily in situations like this, I would call my Dad, but I hadn't exactly told him that I was going on a date, because he's still slightly uncomfortable with the idea of me being gay. Also, I would have then had to explain why I had pulled over on the side of the road, and nobody wants to have that conversation with their parents.

Well, while I'm trying to figure out what to do, F says I should call T, to let her know what has happened. I do so, and while I'm on the phone with her, a truck pulls over on the other side of the road. I go to talk to the man, and he says that he's with the volunteer fire department, and that they would be along shortly to help pull me out of the ditch. I'm thinking, "Great! They'll pull me out, and life will be great."

Two police cars, two fire-pickup-trucks, a fire engine, and an ambulance showed up. It was so much more response than was needed. I was mortified, I kept apologizing to F, who was very gracious, and kept saying that he had wanted to see what American fire trucks looked like (which I doubt, but I pretended it was true because it made me feel better about myself).

At this point, I have several concerns:
  • The police officers who have arrived are asking me questions like, "How much have you had to drink tonight?" (none) "Why were you pulling over?" (Uh...) "Why didn't you see the ditch?" (It was dark?) "What's your name, young man?" (crap. they're going to call my parents...) "Who are you?" (To F) "Let him answer his own questions" (But his english isn't that great and I can understand your accent better than he can...) and it was just super awkward
  • T and J showed up at the scene, and the police officers yelled at them and told them to leave
  • It's like... 1130, and I need to get up early the next morning to drive to Raleigh
  • My car is in a ditch, and I need to drive to Raleigh and back the next morning and I'm terrified that my car has been damaged in some way and that I won't be able to make the trip
  • I have no idea if my car has been damaged or not, and neither do the police officers, because they can't tell 'til the pull it out of the ditch, and this means that I don't know if I'm going to get a ticket or not 'til they get my car out
  • There are cars going by, and of course everybody's looking at me, and I'm terrified that someone will recognize me and call my Dad (which is not an exaggeration. My big brother broke some traffic law on his way home from school, which was a 10-minute drive at most, and Dad knew about it before he got home because someone called him)
An hour after the police start to arrive, the tow truck shows up. They manage to pull my car out of the ditch (although they DROPPED it the first time they try because they were pulling it at a weird angle and it almost flipped over) and I pay the tow truck (in cash, because I had just gotten graduation money, and because I didn't want this to be traced back to me when my parents read the bank statement at the end of the month and saw a weird tow truck charge on my debit card) and drive F to meet T and J, who were watching from down the street after they got chased off by the cops. F goes home with them, and I go home, too. My immediate thought is, "I just got away with this..."

As I'm going to bed that night, I found a tick in my hair (we had been standing in the tall grass, which prevented me from seeing the ditch in the first place), and I freaked out and flushed it down the toilet and couldn't get to sleep for awhile because I kept feeling imaginary bugs crawling all over me. I hate bugs.

Anyway, the next day comes and I go to Raleigh, and I tell this story, and I'm like, "well, this kind of sucks... but it's a funny story to tell."

And then I remember that my dad is the editor of the local newspaper. And the local newspaper prints the emergency response reports every week.

So much for getting away with it.

I told him, and he told me that my name wouldn't have been in the report because there wasn't a ticket (frick).

BUT I didn't get a ticket. So that's a good thing.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Trains and other stuff

My nephew was crawling around on the beach today. He was playing in one of the tidepools, having a blast, and evidently he crawled on top of a flounder. The flounder didn’t take too kindly to being crawled on, and immediately swam away. That thing scared him half to death!

He’s so funny to watch. He runs around in the shallow water, and sings some song that he’s making up, and it’s so cute. I’ll start to hum something, too, and he shouts “NO!” because it’s his turn to sing, and not mine. He gets his little net to catch fish with, and he pretends it’s a guitar.

Also, he would totally have me chase him for hours if it weren’t for the fact that I got tired faster than he does. And I’m walking. Me walking is as fast as him running, and he still can go longer than I can.

He's freaking obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine.

And the Little Engine that Could. Which you can watch on youtube. This cartoon is so cute. I watched it more times than is healthy when I was a kid... they had it at the local library, which was walking distance from my house (or, strictly speaking, walking distance for my dad, who would pull me in my little red wagon). I would check this video out almost every single time we went to the library... except one time it wasn't there and the world nearly came to an end, because I NEEDED to watch that video.

I would check out books too (often about trains), but the best part was getting the Little Engine that Could movie.

____

I am the proud owner of several new books (none of which are about trains), by way of our tradition of going to the bookstore while we're at the beach:

And Another Thing... by Eoin Colfer (the sixth installment in Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. Evidently he was writing a new one when he died, and his widow commissioned Colfer to complete it.)

Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel (Martel wrote The Life of Pi which is like my favorite book in the entire world. I found this book completely by accident, and it looks like it has potential.)

Heat Wave by Richard Castle (Castle on ABC is my new favorite TV show. When I found out that the book that Castle is writing is actually going to be published, I was like WHOAH I want it. No idea who actually wrote it, though, since Richard Castle is... well... unfortunately not real.)

I also wanted to get The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon, but that one will have to wait 'til another visit to the bookstore.

Which, by the way, is one of my dream jobs. I would love to work at a bookstore.

___

There are two characters on Castle named Javier Esposito and Kevin Ryan. They're partners in the NYPD homicide department, and they have the most ridiculous onscreen chemistry ever. They'd make the cutest couple. If only the writers of the show would take a hint... because it's so obvious from the way that they look at each other that they want to be partners... in the OTHER sense of the word. Just saying.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mahler

My friend D recently gave me some of his recordings of Mahler Symphonies, and I think I might be in love. He gave me numbers 4, 5, and 9, to be specific.

Well, one of my favorite classical music blogs, The Rest is Just Noise just posted a recording of a section of the 8th symphony, and it was so spectacular that I decided to post it here.

Tadaa!

Ribs

I really don't know how anybody can be expected to sleep in this room. its entirely too bright, what with the light shining directly on the blinds and me being able to hear Michael's minisnores and my complete inability to clear my mind.

I had ribs for the first time today, and as delicious as they were, all I could think about was Dr. L talking about the intercostal muscles, and how I needed to run to make them more flexible.

I'm really glad I don't have to take lessons from her anymore.

Really cool idea

I had one. So I'm in the Mu chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and we're having our centennial celebration soon.
Centennial celebrations call for special stuff like concerts and fireworks and keynote speakers and cake and whatnot.
SO I got to thinking about who would be a good keynote speaker and ANDY GRIFFITH would be the coolest keynote speaker ever.
Mostly I just want to meet him.
_____

Anderson Cooper is gorgeous and I would date him in a heartbeat for the following reasons.
  1. He's devilishly handsome
  2. He's a leading journalist
  3. He goes places and speaks for the unfortunate and taken-advantage-of
  4. He was a model when he was a kid. Like I said before, devilishly handsome.
I think he has a boyfriend, though. Oh well.

I came out to my little brother and he cried. You'd think that would hurt a little bit, but I wasn't terribly surprised. I think he's gotten over it now... or simply forgotten about it. We'll see what happens when I bring home a boyfriend or something.

Preteens

Holy crap. I don't know if you've tried to play a board game with a preteen lately, but if you're planning on doing so anytime soon, let me give you a piece of advice: DON'T.

I'm at the beach with my family, and we only ever play Risk when we're at the beach because a game of risk can take anywhere from five to eleven hours. Like, seriously. We played 'til 3 AM once. We have since learned the wonderful, sanity-conserving strategy of playing in multiple sittings, but still. Who decided to make the game last that long?

Anyway, we're playing Risk. We started with 5 players, all of whom are adults with the exception of my little brother, who is 11. He has made playing this game torture. He's about as indecisive as can be, melodramatic beyond belief, and is prone to tantrums whenever he doesn't get his way.

Example: Elizabeth was fortifying her troops, and Michael suddenly decided that he wants to move some of his troops next to hers, since she seems to be getting ready to attack him. However, it's not Michael's turn. When we point this out to him, he gets angry and leaves the table (for like the 5th time in this game). He complains, and sulks for the rest of the sitting.

Bear in mind: he's winning the game. It irritates me so much that for all of his whining, he's in a GREAT position. If he wins, then it's just going to reinforce his behavior.

I realize that 11-year-olds are ALL annoying. I realize that I was probably just as bad when I was his age. And Michael has many redeeming qualities, and he will (hopefully) grow out of the pre-teen behavior. But that doesn't change the fact that I want to wring his neck sometimes.
_____

My iPod recently took a swim in the washing machine... oy vey.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dreams Under a New Moon

Picture the scene: A bedroom. Tan walls, blue ceiling, with a cluster of glow-in-the dark stars in the corner. A window, blinds drawn. Crickets chirping outside. A lamp lit on a bedside table casts its glow onto a floor scattered with clothes, a few books, and a stack of boxes shoved in the corner, awaiting the day that their contents will be shipped to a new home, along with their owner. Their owner, a 19-year-old boy, is lying on the bed, covers drawn up, with his laptop perched against the soft green mountain his legs have made of the blanket.

That's right, we got wireless internet working in my house, and I can get on the internet in my room. Who's excited? I'm excited.
___________

I raised my voice to my little brother today. I had been watching the Planet Earth documentaries with him, but he'd been acting difficult every time I tried to get him to watch one. He always prefers to continue doing whatever he's doing at the time: playing a computer game, watching some TV show on Cartoon Network, whatever. That's fine. I'd like to watch it with him, but ultimately I just want to watch the thing, and if he doesn't want to join me, he doesn't have to.

BUT he always gets irritated when he finds out that I'm watching them without him. Even though I give him ample opportunity to join me.

Well, the scene plays out today per usual. I want to watch one, he's watching TV. He says when his show is over, we'll watch it. I go to practice for a half hour: I start up again on Debussy's Jardins Sous la Pluie, which I had been working on this past semester, but took a break from after the term ended.


Dad calls, he needs us to do something. I'm putting my shoes on, so is he, but he goes into the room I'd been watching the documentary in, and because his shoes aren't in there, I get suspicious. I mean, he's 11. I was irritating when I was 11, so I know how it works. I go back in after him to see what he was up to, and he'd turned off the BluRay player.

So I told him that he had been a brat, and that I was done trying to watch it with him. If he wants to watch them, he's going to have to do it on his own time.

He became upset. And then he said that I was getting him in trouble, trying to make it my fault.
I'm not the biggest fan of the pre-teen age zone.
__________

I went over to my friend J's house to watch Castle with him. On the way back, I saw two deer, and a little blue light in a cemetery. I'm not sure what a person would put at a grave that would have a little blue light, but whatever. It kind of creeped me out, honestly. For some reason it reminded me of this story Dad told me a few years back when we were driving back from somewhere. Evidently this guy kind of hung out at a stop sign, and when people would stop at the stop sign, he would shoot them in the head. It was particularly creepy at the time because we were AT the stop sign in question... he conveniently forgot to tell me that this had happened like 12 years before.

Thanks, Dad.

Dad reads my blog. He jokes about he has more subscribers than I do, because he runs a newspaper. Technically, I suppose he's right... rawr. I don't like it when he's right.

Love you, Dad.

Title of the post is the name of the music I'm listening to right now, by the way. It's the second movement from Frank Ticheli's second symphony.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Harry Potter World

I really want to go to Universal Studio's The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which I have affectionately been calling Harry Potter World. I want to have a butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks, and pumpkin juice, and have strawberry-peanut-butter ice cream.
I want to get a Zonko's tshirt, and see what other pranksterish items they might have...
I want to get Gryffindor clothes, because I would so be in Gryffindor if I went to Hogwarts.
But more than all of that, I want to go to Honeydukes. Chocolate Frogs, Cauldron Cakes, Exploding Bonbons, Acid Pops, Fizzing Whizzbees, Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans...

I'm rereading the Harry Potter series this summer. I'm on number 3, which is my favorite.
This is only fueling my longing to go there.

One of the occupational hazards of being a gay man, I have found, is seeing romantic same-sex couples EVERYWHERE. Like... where they aren't actually there. (Or maybe that's just an occupational hazard of being me...) This manifests itself in several places, but the two most prominent examples are: Detectives Javier Esposito and Kevin Ryan, from the ABC series Castle, and Sirius Black and Remus Lupin from Harry Potter. I swear it's there, subtext.

Maybe that's the reason Prisoner of Azkaban was always my favorite...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Wal Mart Parking Lot

It just occurred to me how strange it is that there's a game devoted to wiping out humanity with a plague.
Madagascar is the most irritating island. I wish it had an airport or something.
Then my diseases could get there.

I am talking, of course, about Pandemic 2.

I live in a county where people have this idea that "fun" means "hanging out in WalMart parking lots."
Tonight I went to go see Toy Story 3 with some friends. What did we do afterwards?
We hung out in a WalMart parking lot. We're in a different county, full of exciting opportunities for fun and adventure... but no.
WalMart parking lot.
*sigh* I want to go back to school.

Toy Story 3 was a very good movie. You should go see it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Voice

I keep having these moments in which I listen to some fabulous singer, like...
  • Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
  • Gerald Finley
  • Renee Fleming
  • Gavin Creel
  • Jerry Hadley
  • Jessye Norman
  • Hila Plitmann
...and then I have this sudden desire to sing. Onstage. With an orchestra.

And then I recall my experience with voice lessons this past semester, and how negative it was.
I'm going to take lessons again next year from a J, a grad student (second semester). I hope they go better. I'm pretty sure they will, because I've accompanied one of his students (my big brother S) in his lessons, and I like the dynamic they have.

I've heard several stories of celebrated singers who started comparatively late in life. Kim Josephson started on the Tuba, and was going to be a band director. Lorraine Hunt Lieberson started as a violist, and even had a chair in the San Jose Symphony before she started focusing on voice. My flute teacher in high school told me about her friend who started on the clarinet but switched to voice and now sings opera in Europe.

Maybe there's still hope. I love to sing, there's no doubt of that. I think I just had a poorly matched professor.

I hope things go well with J. I really want it to go well.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

By the way, I apologize for the rant earlier. Ordinarily I'm very good about ignoring her, but when she makes personal comments about me (completely unfounded comments, since we haven't talked in years), I become especially irritated.

Stupid scroll.
Today at work, I was going through the process of labeling papers, and T said that I sound like my dad. I gave her a questioning look, and she said that he goes around humming to himself... like I evidently was doing.
I didn't even notice that I was doing it.
I know it's a habit of mind, but it's not something I do consciously. I enjoy it, though.
Maybe it's genetic.

I'm re-reading the Harry Potter series this summer. I love Rowling's tone in the first novel. When I was reading chapter 15, I suddenly remembered my first time reading the book. Grandmommy read that particular chapter to me. I could hear her voice in my head, reading the words in her way.

It's funny how that works, how you can imagine how certain people would say things, and hear it as if their own voice were speaking.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Schools and Techno Music

If you like Techno music, you should go check out my brother's album at the following link.
It's quite good, in my opinion. Of course, I'm biased in his favor, so I guess you'll just have to go form your own opinion now, won't you?

My hometown has been arguing about the same subject for ten years, and no progress has been made. Forgive my vagueness on the details of the matter, but I have not followed the story very diligently... for multiple reasons, not least of which is the fact that I'm damn tired of listening to people argue about it.
Just about everyone agrees that the high school needs improvement. The problem is getting anybody to agree on how to go about doing anything about it. Two attempts have been made to pass a bond referendum to raise taxes for a new school. They both were shot down, and created divisions in the community. Recently, people in charge approached some board in Raleigh to get money from them, and were shot down.
In a recent issue of the local newspaper (which my father is the editor of), a story ran on the front page suggesting that one of the middle schools be converted into a new high school. I think that is a terrible idea for the following reason: we just built a new middle school to solve an overcrowding problem there, and converting one of the middle schools into a new high school would simply reinstate that problem. Instead of solving a problem, we would simply be shifting it to another hand.
Which is just silly.
It seems to me that the arguments have become less about the quality of education for our children, and more about whiny adults wanting their way and throwing temper tantrums whenever they find out they can't have it. Instead of moving towards a solution to the problem, they would rather sabotage each other to the point where nothing gets done and tempers are frayed.
To make things worse, (according to a number of sources including my father... who isn't the least biased opinion on the matter, but he's also not the most biased. Hi Dad. Love you.) many people are being rather classist, and not wanting their children to associate with "the riffraff on the other side of town."
My dear friend K suggests that the sentiment might go both ways.
I can't speak for the rest of the public, but I for one am sick and tired of adults refusing to act like adults.
Get over your super-inflated egos.
This isn't about you.
This is about the educational needs of the children in our county.
All of them. Not just yours.
Come up with a plan. A plan that the majority of the population likes.
And then go with it.
This should not be as hard as you're making it.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Dinu Lipatti playing Mozart's 21st piano concerto, "Elvira Madigan"


I will play this one day.
Dear Lord, he plays it well.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My little brother was in his school's talent show today. I didn't get to go, which was disappointing, but he sang his song for me later this afternoon and he did a great job!

Evidently one of the acts that auditioned at the same time as him was this little kid who played two recorders simultaneously.

Through his nostrils.

New summer project? I think so.

I've been weighing the pros and cons of working at various locations in Norman for when I go back to college.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Shiva- By Josef K.

I just read this story, and it is magnificent.
I strongly suggest you read it as well.
The music he has in the playlist at the top is good, too. You should have it playing while you read.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Underwear

Why do people care about what their underwear looks like? For single people, at least, most people will go throughout their day with very few people seeing what their underwear looks like, so I don't understand why people need to have a cute bra, or a cute pair of panties or boxers.
And I do it, too. I saw a pair of boxers on the Express website a little while ago, and my immediate thought was "I really want a pair of pirate boxers." They had little skull and crossbones all over them. It was awesome.

It makes no sense, though.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

*head cocks to side confusedly*


Furries are in the news... but they're being called "teen wolves?"
Adorable. You can see the confusion in the newscaster's eyes.

Apologies

Please don't ever do the following to a person.

Person: I'm really sorry.
You: No, you're not.

In my opinion, it's unbearably rude, and it's quite hurtful to the person making the apology. It also forces the conversation to stay on the topic of what the apologizer has done wrong, which is kind of unnecessary, because they already know they've done wrong. Hence the apology.

Also irritating: "'I'm sorry' isn't good enough."

If it's in the past, then there's nothing that can be done about it. So move on.