Wednesday, November 30, 2005

everything that rises must converge

It looks like there is every possibility of this good quarter ending unpleasantly all around. After the two crapola things on Monday (the unfinished test and the almost-tearful you-suck final), I took a deep breath and thought about how I only have like two more things to do and then I'm done until I return in January. But yesterday, I got an email from the Civic manager saying that the conductor wants to see me before our next rehearsal tomorrow night. This almost certainly means he's going to tell me I need to up the ante, play better, get my ass in gear. (Anna points out, rightly I suppose, that it could be something totally different, but I've heard about things like this and I guess I'm just choosing to believe the worst.) I'm just so upset, because if this goes as I think it will it means that not only am I not doing so great, but I'm doing poorly enough to be singled out and chastised for my badness. Gah. Just when I thought things were looking up, this seems to be the week when everybody tells me otherwise.

Monday, November 28, 2005

back into the fray

I knew this semester would bite me in the ass at some point. I had a written final (my first test since I got here) in pedagogy today, which was stupid because he gave us the exact test several weeks ago and I hate tests that are just regurgitated information. Also, only two people in the class finished the test, which to my mind means that the test was too damn long to be written in 50 minutes, and then he sent us all an email insinuating that nobody had finished because we weren't adequately prepared. Bullshit, I say.
I also just finished my playing final for my orchestra repertoire class. Every semester, the teacher almost makes me cry, and this was no exception. He always tells me that I play my parts as well as I am able but that, unfortunately, I essentially still suck a lot of ass in a lot of ways. He's not even mean about it really, in fact he's as nice as you can possibly be while imparting information like that, but he always belabors my stiff bow arm and my lackluster vibrato until I just feel like going into the bathroom and bursting into tears and then dropping out of school and working in a coffee shop for the rest of my life.
The only good thing is Anna's a lot better, and thank you to everybody who called or emailed or otherwise expressed their concern. She's still in recovery, but I'm not quite so worried that she'll end up in the hospital again.
I feel a bit better for venting. Off to another rehearsal!

Friday, November 25, 2005

happy goddamn thanksgiving

Well, I don't want to go into a lot of details, but instead of cooking indian food as expected Anna and I spent the majority of yesterday in the emergency room. She's okay, more or less, but it was stressful and unpleasant. I was in the waiting room most of the time, waiting for someone to come out and tell me that something had gone terribly wrong and either a) she was dead (I've seen too many episodes of ER, I know) or b) she was really sick and was going to have to spend the night. At one point, she told me her body was rejecting the colonialist holiday and that was the problem.
Can I just say, it fucking sucks being in a lesbian relationship when it comes to healthcare? (Also looking for an apartment, but that's another story.) Linguist Lauren printed something in her blog recently about how women recieve less care in ER's, and it's of course even worse for queer women. Not to mention exchanges like this:
Nurse: So are you sexually active?
Queer patient: Um, kind of...
Nurse: So you need a pregnancy test.
QP: Um, no.
Nurse, Seriously, if you're sexually active you need to take a pregnancy test.
QP: I'm only sexually active with women, okay?
Not what you need when you're sick, I find. Not that it's always a big deal, but it certainly can be hard to cut through the preset dialogue and make yourself understood, and it can be a little embarrassing (for me anyway) to be forced into a discussion of my sexual practices with someone I don't know anything about. Anyway, Anna's going to be fine and they hopefully have figured out what's wrong with her and she's peacefully sleeping while I get up way too early on a holiday to go to, you guessed it, rehearsal.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

when disciplines collide

A little while ago, my friend lauren e-c posted a Pantoum (a poem with every line repeated three lines later, except for the 1st and 3rd lines which are repeated at the end), a type of poem that I was unaware of prior to that but kind of intrigued by. Then yesterday, I heard a musical Pantoum! It was a movement of a piano trio (piano, violin, and cello) by Ravel, and it was totally cool. I was just psyched that my new knowledge came into play so soon, and I thought it was a really innovative idea to pattern a piece of music after a specific poetic form.
In other news, my teacher told me a dirty joke in my lesson today. Weird.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

one for the scrapbook

This is the tribune review of our concert Sunday night.

Chicago Tribune – November 22, 2005

Civic opener lives up to the hype

By John von RheinThe latest incarnation of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago is so good that it seems downright patronizing to continue thinking of it as "only" the Chicago Symphony's farm club.How many adult professional orchestras in communities across the land can make music at such a high level? The playing experience and mentoring these exceptionally gifted young instrumentalists derive from membership in the Civic will prove invaluable as they eventually make their way into some of America's leading orchestras, including our own. Their opening concert of the season Sunday at Symphony Center proved conductor Cliff Colnot's contention that this is by far the best roster of musicians the Civic has fielded in 15 years. His first program as the orchestra's recently appointed principal conductor was a benefit concert; all proceeds will help the Civic match a $1 million challenge grant to underwrite the musicians' stipends. It's a cause worthy of the music community's support.Colnot built his program around the solo talents of five notable Chicago musicians, all of whom are Civic alumni. Rachel Barton Pine played Mendelssohn's E-Minor Violin Concerto. Another German Romantic work, Schumann's Konzertstueck in F Major, enlisted four of the five players who make up the horn section of the Chicago Symphony—Daniel Gingrich, Oto Carrillo, James Smelser and David Griffin.What a pleasure to hear young orchestra musicians so giving, so fully engaged, in their concerto accompaniments, something that cannot always be said of adult professionals. The ineffable sweetness with which Barton Pine traced the opening pages of the Mendelssohn concerto found its answer in the orchestra's songful countermelodies. The violinist made the familiar work seem freshly minted, especially in the gentle reverie that is the central Andante. The finale was as light as thistledown, with dancing woodwinds to match her puckish fiddling.Schumann's Concert Piece long has been a showpiece for the CSO horn choir and Sunday's soloists brought it to life in floods of warmly romantic sound. If the French horn is the most treacherous of solo instruments, you would never have guessed from their beautiful and shapely phrasing and the subtlety and precision of their articulation.Colnot provided a brash and brassy reading of Charles Ives' "America" Variations (orchestrated by William Schuman) at the beginning of the concert. The Second Suite from Ravel's "Daphnis and Chloe" ballet brought the program to a rousing close. The piece gathered shimmering atmosphere in fine degrees: burbling flutes and warbling piccolo and violins to evoke daybreak, a dangerously languid flute solo to mark the "Pantomime," and a suitably orgiastic "General Dance."

Good, eh? I don't know what I was expecting, perhaps something along the lines of "by far the best roster of musicians the Civic has fielded in 15 years... except for the 7th chair violist. She wasn't so great." :-) Not really, it went quite well and I didn't fuck anything up majorly. This is my first real review, I think.


I finished a pair of concerts this weekend, and am fully prepared for Thanksgiving break to begin. Yay for having a few days off of my ridiculous school, which never does that! I swear, the only day we get off is Memorial Day. The most funny and sad example of their desire to make us go to school as much as possible is Martin Luther King Day, where we get a whopping three hours off in the middle of the day (11-2), probably to fulfill some sort of state requirement.
Anyway, yesterday as I was walking to school, I realized that the campus sounded like one of those fake tapes of jungle noises that people sometimes use to fall asleep. There were so many birdcalls ringing out, it was overwhelming. I looked up, and there seemed to be hundred of birds perched in and flying around the trees of the foresty area I was walking through. My conjecture: they were migrating through? I don't know. But for whatever reason, we had been taken over. It made me really happy.

Friday, November 18, 2005

if wishes were horses

I got this from lauren e-c. I normally don't do things like this, but I was intrigued by the idea of thinking up ten things I really truly could use (or just want), and also by the idea that maybe I might get one or two of them. Not that I expect too much from this, but maybe some letters or something would be nice. It's my birthday coming up soon too, on December 2nd! I'll be 24, which just seems amazing to me sometimes.

Step One- Make a post to your blog with a list of ten holiday wishes. The wishes can be anything at all, from simple and blog-related ("I'd love a icon that's just for me") to medium ("I wish for Harry Potter on DVD") to really big ("All I want for Christmas is a new car.") The important thing is, make sure these wishes are things you really, truly want. Keep the 'non-tangibles' to a's hard to get world peace into an envelope, after all. We all know we're good folk. Let's just be about the STUFF for this.- Also, make sure you post some version of these guidelines in your blog, or link to this post so that the joy will spread.
Step Two- Surf around your friends list to see who has posted a list. And now here's the important part:- If you see a wish you can grant, and it's in your heart to do so, make someone's wish come true. Sometimes someone's trash is another's treasure, and if you have a leather jacket you don't want or a gift certificate you won't use--or even know where you could get someone's dream purebred Basset Hound for free--do it.- You needn't spend money on these wishes unless you want to. The point isn't to put people out, it's to provide everyone a chance to be someone else's holiday elf--to spread the joy.- There are no guarantees with this project, and no strings attached. Just...wish, and it might come true. Give, and you might receive. And you'll have the joy of knowing you made someone's day by granting a wish for something they really want.

1) Letters from friends. I love getting letters, and I hardly ever do. Trust me, I'll use my time when I get up at 5 to write you back ;-)
2) Interesting colors of fingernail polish. Not good for now (since I only paint my toes and it's goddamn cold) but I enjoy it when it's warm, mostly because I think people don't expect it from me.
3) Books, always and forever. Poetry, prose, theory, whatever. Thin books are good for the train, but I'll get through anything good eventually.
4) I could use a good tie. The only one I have is kind of subdued and crappy, no good for drag shows or much else, for that matter.
5) Ani's cd, As I Said. I believe it's the only one I'm missing, at least of the non-remix-or-collaborative cd's (although I wouldn't mind the Utah Phillips one either).
6) Saffron. I don't have any, and just read an interesting recipe asking for it. I'm a spice-a-holic.
7) Accessories for my recital would be nice. I want to dress up all sparkly, again because it's not expected of me.
8) Posters for our walls. Right now it's fairly barren, and I frankly haven't bought much in the way of posters since I was a freshman so mine have pretty much become officially too beat up to grace our walls.
9) I always enjoy a good mix cd or tape.
10) I had to buy a new Nalgene, so I need fun stickers to put on it. I was so sad to lose the old ones :-(

That was a lot harder than I though. Most of the stuff I need is too expensive or personal (viola things mostly, not sex things or whatever) to put on here, or too intangible. But whatever.


My goodness, check out this picture of ani. Somehow I had not seen this one before. It's amazing what you can come up with while looking for a new desktop picture on a Friday night.

who knew?

I would never have guessed from reading The Epistemology of the Closet that Eve Sedgewick was funny, but she is. This quote, about her recovery from and treatment for cancer, is from her essay "Gosh, Boy George, You Must Be Awfully Secure In Your Masculinity!" published in the anthology Constructing Masculinity (Berger, Wallis, and Watson).

"...I suddenly noticed that both my cheerful oncologist and the matter-of-fact medical textbooks I could not seem to stop reading apparently had the same question on their mind: to castrate--me!--or not to castrate. I did not even know what the word could really mean, in this context, but that did not keep me from keep me from bursting into the tears that mark the heaping of injory on insult: here I thought I already was! All these years my Lacanian friends had me convinced I had nothing to lose."

Later in the same essay she also postulates that some people may not just be more masculine or feminine than others, but that some people might just be more "gender-y" than others. I appreciate it when major theorists are willing to use a word like "gender-y."

Thursday, November 17, 2005

the tables have turned

I woke up this morning to a radio voice saying that it was 16 degrees outside but with windchill it feels like 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy crap! I can't believe that about a week and a half ago it was about 60. I guess the transition to the heavy clothes is starting today.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

old man winter

Wow, that last post sure seemed to spark some conversation. I may have to think some more about that and incorporate it into a cookbook zine or something. If I ever have time...
It snowed today for the first time, which was kind of surprising because it was also the first seriously cold day. I'm trying to ration out my warm clothes and not go directly to the down jacket and windproof hat and hardcore scarf and gloves and all, so today warranted a denim jacket underneath with my Tucson "coat" over the top, slightly heavier gloves and hat and a scarf that was not there mostly for decorative purposes. I wonder if other people do the gradual move to heavy winter stuff or if they just go from warm to cool to cold? Anyway, today I played for an amazing 10 hours, so now I'm sitting here with my shoulders covered in Icyhot and drinking wine and relaxing. I'm so glad I made it through today.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


I've been thinking a lot lately about how I call myself vegan even though I eat cheese on a fairly regular basis, and I've decided that I should really stop that. It's like being one of those people who call themselves vegetarian and then qualify that they eat chicken and fish. (This is all kind of interesting to me in terms of resistance of labels, incidentally, because I seem to feel really strongly about the use and misuse of these particular labels whereas a lot of other labels I tend to debate a lot more or try to reject altogether. Why is that?) So, at least for the time being, I'm going to make an effort to just say I'm vegetarian and try to make my peace with that. I'm sad that I'm making this particular transition, because I feel like it is somehow indicative of just how much my self-control has dipped. I know part of the reason why I've been resisting this is because I feel like I'm a quitter or something, but mostly I just know that I had good reasons for being vegan in the first place and stopping means that I'm admitting that those reasons aren't as important to me as my desire to eat cheese. But lately it's like I can't even control the cheese desire (erica may have witnessed this last year when I was there and I was reduced to uncontrollably eating Brie from their fridge) and I feel like I just can't deal with this anymore so I'm trying to let the guilt go a little bit and see if that can work. Somebody told me once that cheese is actually somewhat addictive (something about chemicals or something, I don't know) and I totally believe it. Anyway, this post has gone on long enough, so there you go. Perhaps later I'll go back, after I get my cheese addiction under control.

Monday, November 14, 2005

here i am again

I can't sleep. Damn it. So here's a poem. Or part of a poem, at any rate.

from It's the Poverty, by Cherrie Moraga

I say
my typewriter sticks in the wet.
I have been using the same ribbon
over and over and over again.
Yes, we both agree I could use
a new ribbon. But it's the poverty
the poverty of my imagination, we agree.
I lack imagination, you say.

No. I lack language.
The language to clarify
my resistance to the literate.
Words are a war to me.
They threaten my family.

To gain the word to describe the loss,
I risk losing everything.
I may create a monster,
the word's length and body
swelling up colorful and thrilling
looming over my mother, characterized.
Her voice in the distance
unintelligible illiterate.

These are the monster's words.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

and finally...

And here's the Yellowstone pictures.

A waterfall that I can't remember the name of. This was by far the easiest "hike" we took pretty much anywhere this summer, taking about 10 minutes total (there and back) but the path was covered in loose pebbles so I fell and landed on a prickly plant and was picking stickers out of my hand for weeks.

As we were leaving our campsite, there was this huge backup of cars, and we were like "What the fuck?" until we both saw these cute little black bears eating right by the road with a bored-looking ranger standing next to them. Very different from Denali, where wildlife causes everybody to stop and shut the hell up. At Yellowstone, you just drive on by and take a picture.

Case in point. There are signs everywhere saying "buffalo are dangerous!" but when we actually saw all these buffalo crossing a river next to the road, everybody was out of their cars taking pictures. One little asian man almost got ran over by a buffalo, but they spooked each other and went opposite directions.

The "Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone" taken from Inspiration Point (which would have been more inspiring without 30 screaming mothers and children on it). The Yellowstone River is the longest undam(n)ed river in the lower 48.

Lower Falls, a really large waterfall that we went on a lovely secluded hike to see.

And of course, Old Faithful; we waited an hour to see it, but it was really fucking cool when it finally went. The little girl next to us kept asking her dad "Will it be cool?" and after it went off she kept squealing "Wow!!!!!!" Very cute.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

some days

So lately I've been getting up at 5 or 5:30 two or three times a week with Anna, because she has to go to work really early and otherwise I basically don't see her at all. Some days I'm really productive after she leaves at 6:30, writing letters, making mix cds, listening to things I'm supposed to know how to play... And some days I just don't know what to do with myself, and this is one of those days. So here are some Denali pictures from this summer! Perhaps I'll do Yellowstone early Thursday morning, if I can't find something more productive to do.

This is, I believe, a picture of Erica and I trying to look thoughtful and arty on the park road. We went out looking for the wolves but didn't see them.

This is Anna and I by Toklat and the terrible tent where Erica worked. Bad tent, but not a bad place to live.

And these are pictures of neat mountains and things. I think the first one might have a sheep in it somewhere (Erica referred to them as "sheep dots" because usually they're so far away all you can see is a little white dot).

Friday, November 04, 2005

(blank stare)

I read on the AOL news thingy this morning that Barbie and Ken (who apparently broke up so Barbie could flirt with a surfer or something) will be reuniting after Ken gets a makeover. And for some reason, this was listed under gay and lesbian news. All of this strikes me as funny in different ways, but perhaps only because I've been up since 5:30.

summer days and summer nights are gone

I wanted to finally put a few of the pictures I took over the summer up here. I didn't take very many, partly because Anna was taking lots and partly because my digital camera batteries run out really quickly and when you're camping there isn't really any place to plug them in. But here is a brief collection of things I did deem worthy of pictures, for whatever reasons.

This is Anna at Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz, which in truth only contains one natural bridge (the others have long since collapsed).

This is from "The Trees of Mystery" in northern California. My parents actually told me about this and suggested we stop, and later my mom told me that my grandmother had also seen this as a young girl. So basically, we're in the third generation for seeing this cheesy but hysterical tourist trap. The Paul Bunyan statue has a loudspeaker hooked up to a microphone inside it and a guy sits in a room somewhere and makes the statue talk to people who are approaching the entrance, asking them where they're from and such. Anna also noted that the ox has a huge ballsack, but you unfortunately can't see it in this picture.

And speaking of tourist traps, this is the world's largest frying pan in Long Beach, WA. There is also a creepy "free museum" (gift store) across the street with a creepy little mummified "alligator man" named, for some reason, Jake.

This is the world's bluest lake, Lake Kluane. I believe it's in the Yukon, but it might have been upper British Columbia. We got stopped for construction here, but it wasn't such a hardship because the lake was so just amazingly beautiful.

I'll post some Denali and Yellowstone pictures, maybe tomorrow. This is fun, it's reminding me of all the amazing things we did this summer. I just wish I had personally documented the trip better. I really neglected the whole first part pretty badly.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

where I live

Lauren made me super jealous by posting some beautiful pictures of the desert on her blog recently and prompted me to take some pictures of the changing leaves and such. I still prefer the desert, but it's not all bad here.

This was from a window in a practice room I was using at the music building. I still have a hard time realizing that I spend most of my days right by Lake Michigan.

Last, an oh-so-urban picture of the train stop that I use every day.

Now that I've recovered my cord for my camera, I'll also try to post some pictures from this summer soon.