Sunday, January 30, 2005

pitas and frustration

I made pita bread and hummus tonight, courtesy of Jesse and Erica in terms of recipes. Very yummy. Now I'm trying to read from this history of women in music book, but I bought it used and the person before me wrote all over it. She (I assume, the handwriting looks female to me) would highlight a sentence and then basically just write almost exactly the same thing over again in the margins. It's so annoying! And I flipped through and it looks like it going through basically the whole book. Grrr.

Saturday, January 29, 2005


Tonight I actually had a moderately good time going out to a bar after an orchestra concert. Yay me! I still have a problem coming up with things to talk about with people, which I think makes me seem exceedingly boring. Whatever, I hold on to the thought that inside I'm not the deadening bore that I appear.

Friday, January 28, 2005

a warm fuzzy

I've decided that the education styles and weather of the two places I've been to school correspond. In Tucson, the education style is kind of warm and fuzzy, but in Evanston it's much more cold and uncaring. I played in a recital with a student conductor the other night (they asemble orchestras and lead them to qualify for their degrees), and I guess her teacher had been making her feel like absolute shit for the last few days, making her cry and messing with her head. I mean, not that I loved UA's conductor (I didn't), but I don't think he would have done that. I remember school as a much less high-pressure place there, much more willing to let you in and to work with you. Here, everybody's in therapy and drinks too much. I wonder about that.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


I was talking to someone that I didn't really know the other day, and I mentioned that my legs were sore from going to yoga earlier that day and she responded, "Oh, you do yoga. Are you a vegetarian?" I laughed because it was such a non-sequiter/stereotype, but it made me think. I am a stereotype. I guess I knew that, but it hadn't really made any sort of realistic connection in my head. I had a huge urge to respond, "Yes, I'm a lesbian also" but I didn't. Eh. It makes me think a lot about how a lot of the things I do are exactly what people would expect. So the question arises, do I do them because I really want to or because in my head somewhere there is a thought that I should because that's the type of person I am? I'm going mostly with the I-want-to idea, but I'm not discounting the other side of the equation.

Monday, January 24, 2005

the sun'll come out...

The sun is shining in my bedroom window, which is giving me such a renewed sense of okay-ness. I don't know if I've ever been so glad to see sunlight as I am right now. Halleluia!

Saturday, January 22, 2005

the glass teat

I'm at home tonight, trapped in my house by inclement weather. I decided to rent a movie, and ended up choosing Kill Bill vol.1, which I've been purposely avoiding for a while now. I have a hard time watching violence, but everybody keeps telling me how it won't be so bad because it's so fake and I should really see it, it's so good... So now I'm trying, and have so far spent the whole first five minutes with my hands over my eyes. Maybe I'm just being silly, or maybe I should never have rented it at all. I hope I haven't wasted my $3.50 (even movies are more expensive here!) on something that I'm going to be unable to complete. I feel like I've caved to peer pressure just by renting it.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

next in my list of embarrassing addictions...

Well, so lately I've been spending more time than I should doing quizilla quizzes. I get tired and braindead at night, and it's nice to relax and take a few quizzes, see what they say. Unfortunately, for every potentially interesting quiz on that site, there are fifty silly ones with names like "Which Character in my new Novel would You Be? (anime pics included)" by somebody who's login name is There are also about 4 million (roughly) "quizzes" that are really just angsty stories about Harry Potter by (I assume) bored middle school students or something.
There's some good stuff too, of course. Everybody should take the "Which Feminist Icon are You?" quiz, and I took a fairly funny one about dysfunctional care bears recently. Erica, I took something called "How Tough Are You?" just wondering what exactly scale of toughness we were talking about, and it said I was a Yooper! Anyway, enough rambling about this. It's already gone too far.

white thursday

It always always always snows on Thursdays. It makes me happy.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

damn the french

I am playing in a contemporary music ensemble this semester for my grad assistantship, and (perhaps) unfortunately I got randomly picked to play this french modern piece about the ocean. It's just little squiggles of sound mostly, with lots of slurpy slides in between. It's not horrible really, just a pain in the ass to play. And as an added bonus, the composer is going to be working on it with us. At our read-through, the conductor told us that there are two types of modern composers: those who will never know if you fake some things, and those who know exactly what every part sound like and will call you on it if you do it wrong. This guy is the second type. I don't think it's going to make for very fun rehearsals probably.
In other news, my fingers swell up every time I practice for an extended period. I don't think it means anything is wrong with me, but it's certainly strange and a little unnerving. I feel like I have sausages for hands a lot of the time.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


Man, I forgot how hard it is to actually do this music thing. I feel sooooo tired today. However, I managed to "keep my cool" in orch rep today, so I guess that's an improvement from last week anyway. I also read about 50 pages of theory on women's roles as singers and instrumentalists, and how they are accepted or rejected by audiences and male musicians depending on how they are presented in terms of traditional femininity. That was followed by 15 rather poorly written pages on the dearth of female electric rock guitarists. Did I mention that I love my music and gender class? I'm probably going to several drag king type events this week as "field research," how cool is that?
In other news, it finally got cold here. When I got home, it was supposedly about 3 degrees before windchill, -6 after. Damn. I get a headache every time I go outside, espeially if I don't have a scarf over my nose and mouth. (Luckily, Anna crocheted me a scarf for our anniversary, yay!) I was wondering what would induce people to live anywhere that you can get a headache just from going outside, but I suppose Tucson is the opposing example. Why live anywhere that it gets up into the 100's during the summer with no rain in sight? We should all just live in California, I guess.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Two guys at my school apparently built an igloo of sorts over the weekend and charged money to go inside to benefit tsunami victims. I guess one guy suggested a snow fort, and his friend said, "no, an igloo." Anyway, here's the quote from the newspaper article:
"I was John the Baptist and Pat was Jesus. I was like 'this is a cool idea.' Pat was like 'This is the essence.'"
I think this mostly amuses me because I would never think to compare myself to John the Baptist. But there it is, anyway.

Monday, January 10, 2005

resolve and resistance

If I have a new year's resolution this year, it would be to stop getting in my own way. I had a small epiphany while driving from Flagstaff to Tucson over break: I am having problems buckling down musically because I hate being told what to do. Okay, there are situations in which that is probably good, where I shouldn't be docilely doing or believing whatever anybody tells me. But I react in the same ways towards teachers who try to help me play better. I tend to really, really want to do exactly the opposite of what they suggest. So my resolution is to realize that there are times when I should take the advice of others, critically but without this instant gut hatred of whatever they have suggested.
So far, I am only doing moderately well with this. I am trying to calm down, be very zen about things, but I lost my temper in orch repertoire class again today. I feel angry at myself, this is so foolish and is not helping me in any way. I suppose that I should remember this feeling for next week, so it can maybe prevent me from acting the same way again.

Friday, January 07, 2005

no vampires here

For a day that started out so well, it certainly got really crappy really fast. At about 10:30 this morning, I realized that an application for for an orchestra that I'm planning on trying out for was due today. I won't bore you with details, but suffice to say that I spent most of my day from then until about 5 trying to get the one-page application and a one-page resume together to mail off, and I failed miserably and will have to mail it tomorrow and have it be late. In the middle of this, I decided to make some tomato soup for lunch as a brief respite. I heated my oil way too much in my rage at the application, and burned the garlic black on contact. Burnt garlic is officially one of the worst things I've ever smelled, and my whole house stinks of it. I tried burning some coffee incense to mask it, but now, of course, it just smells like burnt garlic and incense mixed. I am not looking forward to explaining all of this to my roommate.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

finally, a break

Today has been a good day. I'm playing in a contemporary orchestra for my graduate assistantship, and it sounds like it will be really neat. Also, my Gender and Music class sounds like it is going to kick some major ass. The teacher was really energetic and cool today, I have a friend in the class, and it might just be what I need to realize some of the radical properties of what I do. Music has been very seperated from thoughts of the "political" sort these past few years, and I hope that this can bring them much closer together. That would make me really happy. And it doesn't have a final test, just a project (creativity! always a plus), so I will get a two-week spring break this year. We will be covering all sorts of things, from studies of how the gendered bodies of performers, composers, and audiences effect what happens to gender subversion and opera. Excellent.
I've also decided that, since I'm here anyway, I might a well just practice and make the most of being here. So I've been playing a lot more, and I feel a lot more like this isn't the worst idea I ever had. It's a big relief, to feel like this may all come to something if I just devote a couple of hours a day to it. Whew!
As a capstone to the day, it's snowing and we are supposed to have 6-10 inches by tomorrow night. I'm not sure whether this is a good or bad thing, but it is at least exciting.
Because it has been such a good day, here is a poem that makes me happy.

Mexicans in France
Sandra Cisneros

He says he likes Mexico.
Especially all that history.
That's what I understand
although my French
is not that good.

And wants to talk
about U.S. racism.
It's not often he meets Mexicans
in the south of France.

He remembers
a Mexican Marlon Brando once
on French tv.

How, in westerns,
the Mexicans are always
the bad guys. --And

Is it true
all Mexicans
carry knives?

I laugh.
--Lucky for you
I'm not carrying my knife

He laughs too.
--I think
the knife you carry

Saturday, January 01, 2005

happyish new years

Well, it's 12:05, and I'm alone in my apartment in Evanston drinking wine and writing in my blog, of all things. I'm actually kind of glad to be alone, as I've been surrounded by strangers most of the day as I travelled from Arizona to here, but I certainly wouldn't be adverse to being surrounded by drunk happy friends watching a giant pinecone drop from the sky about now. New Years has never been a great holiday for me anyway in the traditional sense; I've never been to a New Years Eve party (at least since I was 7 or so), never kissed anyone, blah blah blah. But anyway, because I feel a need to somehow commemorate this momentous occasion, I'm copying Lauren and Erica and doing a little quiz! Wheeee!

1. What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before? had a girlfriend, put a giant rat in the snake tunnel, moved to the midwest, went to Vienna, Budapest, London, and Berlin, talked to a drag king...
2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I never really remember to do those, but I would like to try and do certain things this coming year that I maybe wasn't so hot with last year
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? probably some mormon relatives, but I've honestly lost track
4. Did anyone close to you die? not in the year, I guess, but a little before
5. What countries did you visit? damn... Mexico, England, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia (but only for a quick beer), and Germany
6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004? more hip flexibility
7. What date from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Ummm, January 17th (my anniversary with Anna), Nov. 2 (the day I lost much of my already limited faith in the volting population)
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? getting into northwestern probably
9. What was your biggest failure? crying during a class I taught in Poland because my students cheated at Scrabble and the rebelled and went to the the pool
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? not really, happily
11. What was the best thing you bought? i guess my ticket to Europe, as nothing else really springs to mind except lots of books
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? my friends and family, for putting up for my spastic weirdness
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? 51% of american voters (stolen from Erica, but so true), and the people who trashed my old house and peed on the walls (so I hear)
14. Where did most of your money go? eastern europe, and school
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? drag kings!!!!!!!!!! and visits from anna, and visiting home myself
16. What song will always remind you of 2004? Le Tigre I'm So Excited, pretty much anything by Jewel or the Magnetic Fields
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: I. happier or sadder? happier! II. thinner or fatter? I dunno. Maybe thinner? But not much, at any rate, which is a little victory for me III. richer or poorer? technically I have more money in the bank, but it all came from my parents and other relatives, so I'd say poorer
18. What do you wish you'd done more of? being outside, biking, practicing my viola, reading, writing
19. What do you wish you'd done less of? maybe drinking, or possibly eating milk chocolate in Poland(bad vegan! bad!)
20. How will you be spending Christmas? stayed with my family for the actual holiday, opened presents, cooked with my mom, washed china and polished silver, watched The Life Aquatic and Secondhand Lions
21. How will you be spending New Years? I spent all day today travelling, got home at 11:30 and ate some beans (the only food readily available), and now I'm doing this. Exciting, huh?
22. Did you fall in love in 2004? yes, with people and books and music and lots of other things, but also in the way that this question is probably implying
23. How many one-night stands? none really
24. What was your favourite TV program? I've been watching ridiculous amounts of Sex and the City in Arizona, but that's probably over for me now
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? I don't think so...
26. What was the best book you read? So many! I'm going to do a book list soon, I can't pick one. Evanston has not been great for my social life, but my reading has picked right up
27. What was your greatest musical discovery? maybe Magnetic Fields. They are so weird.
28. What did you want and get? accepted to a grad school
no 29?
30. What was your favorite film of this year? I don't know. I really liked that Eternal Sunshine movie, also Dangerous Beauty... I actually quite liked Secondhand Lions. It was cute
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 23, stayed home most of the day being lazy, played a quintet concert that night and had a beer afterwards with my group. Jesse called my cell phone and left a message, and Anna sent me some beautiful roses.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? That seems like an awful lot to ask from this quiz.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004? pretty much the same as always. I recently realized that a great many of my clothes were bought when I was still in high school.
34. What kept you sane? Anna. All of my friends. My journal. The internet. Reading.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Really, fancy? I don't really get into that. I'm obsessed with drag kings, who are like mini local celebrities, and I like Miranda from Sex and the City for being sarcastic.
36. What political issue stirred you the most? Well... The election, what a jerk Alan Keyes is, gay marriage, prop 200, the california 2 strikes legislation... What do we really mean by political here? I'm totally intrigued by the intricacies and amazements of genderqueer theory and thought, does that count?
37. Who did you miss? all of my friends, and the mountains
38. Who was the best new person you met? Josh, Shawn, Miriam, Hannah and Greg from poland
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you earned in 2004: Try to relax! Everything is not life and death all the time. I don't know if I've really applied this, but I've thought about it a lot more.
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: "When I look around, I think this is good enough, and I try to laugh at whatever life brings. When I look down, I just miss all the good stuff, but when I look up, I just trip over things." -Ani. Also Le Tigre "We're on the verge of all right."