Saturday, December 08, 2007

soon they'll have an entry for everything

The Chicago yellow pages has an entry for: Philosophers. And it's a page heading, too. Nice, huh? Also, Chase bank deserves a smack upside the head. That's all for today, sorry I'm such a lame blogger lately.

Friday, November 23, 2007

so i lied

Yes, this is once again mostly about me. But it's sunny today for the first time in a while, so I feel manically happy and excited about little things like making soup and biscuits for dinner. (But doesn't cheesy potato soup sound amazing? I thought so.) However, hopefully I will soon write a theoretical-ish entry about gender and The Crying Game, or something.

Monday, November 19, 2007

a belated update

This is an article about a series of performances I did last month. It was good times, that whole shutting-down thing. Apparently we might tour in New York and California sometime! (This is, by the way, the same opera I did last year where we played slide whistles.)
I spent the weekend in Nebraska earlier this month so that we could go to Tabitha's sister Valerie's wedding. I spent most of my time babysitting for her two nephews, one two-year-old and one three-year-old. It was fun but also terrifying.
My new job is a zillion times better than the last flower shop (at least so far). I have co-workers to talk to, people actually come in to the shop, and the bosses apparently frequently buy us all lunch. It's actually pretty fun, as far as jobs go.
That's all. I feel like I've been navel-gazing a lot lately, so I'll try to think of something more interesting to say for next time. Happy tofu day 2007!

Friday, November 02, 2007

pen and ink

So I read two really great graphic novels lately. (A word of thanks to the Chicago Public Library system for stocking this totally awesome frm of literature in the first place. I almost forgive you for your ridiculous system for processing returned books downtown.)
First was Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel, longtime writer of the Dykes to Watch Out For strips. The novel deals with her relationship to her father, a closeted gay man who raised his family in a small rural town, working as a funeral home director and high school literature teacher while meticulously and ridiculously restoring the family home in his spare time. He either accidentally died or (as the family and certainly Bechdel seem to believe) killed himself when she was twenty, months after she herself came out to her family. Sounds melodramatic and it is, but also kind of beautiful and gorgeously self-reflective. The story cycles; we hear the same parts in different ways in different sections of the novel, but each time a part reappears it has been fleshed out by what happened since you last saw it. Bechdel's relationship with her father is extremely complicated, and she doesn't shy away from admitting that perhaps what she is saying about him is entirely based on what she wants to believe, what fits into the narrative that she has written to explain all of this, and is not necessarily in any way true. The book is also framed in terms of books that her father loved and introduced her to, such as Remembrance of Things Past and especially Ulysses as well as other texts. I loved the structure and the gentle but inflexible tone, and I can see why it was such a popular book last year. Really great :)
The next book I read was the original graphic strip (published in installments and then gather into book form, I believe) of V for Vendetta. I loved the movie and had heard that the strip was significantly different, plus I've always been a stickler for original sources for movies. The book was great, of course, but I wish I had read it before because I was unable to seperate my comparisons to the movie from my reading. The differences are mostly small (if you haven't seen or read it and want to, perhaps you should stop reading here). The book has many more supporting characters and is a little less... sympathetic is not quite the right word, but perhaps just a little harsher with motivations of generally "good" characters like Finch. Also, much of what I remember as being revealed nearer to the end of the movie as a climactic discovery (V's "birth", etc.) are revelaed extremely early on in the book. I got about a third of the way through and felt like the entire movie had already been covered, so what was going to happen now? The movie, on the other hand, didn't cut out much plot (mostly just backstory and minor characters), but the additions they made were some of my favorite parts. I mean, the part that I loved the most (V mailing Guy Fawkes masks to the general populace and fomenting an uprising) is absent from the book. Which is perhaps more realistic, but not quite so... stirring.
Well, running out of time again, hopefully I'll write again soon.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


I saw a schoolbus on my way here this morning that said "Latino Express" on the side. It seemed like a legitimate bus (there were kids getting out to visit the Old Town School of Folk Music), but it seemed like a weird thing to label your bus.
I wasn't a nun, but the party I went to did have a self-made haunted house in the basement, which was awesome. (Not scary, but awesome.) Running out of computer time, so that's all for now.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Ha, I got a new job in... another flower shop! What's up with that? They're the only people who will hire me, apparently.
Lately I've been going back to poetry that I really loved; that's my reading material of choice when I can't sleep, which is always. But there's something wonderful about reading a poem that always has and still does make my heart beat a little faster while I'm sitting up at 2 am, and I don't know why. Maybe because I'm sleep deprived and it makes me a little crazy, so in some ways I appreciate it differently.
Going to a halloween party tomorrow, I'm thinking of being a nun. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


It's a beautiful fall day today, sunny but crisp and cool. The leaves are changing and I see geese flying overhead again. I've survived another brush with contemporary music, and now I'm moving back to Shostakovitch and Beethoven for a while (plus a halloween concert with Lemony Snicket narrating! :) I love my new neighborhood. I ran into a farmer's market five minutes from my house today on my way to the library, where I bought ornamental gourds and honey and I'm already salivating in anticipation of next summer. That's all.

Monday, October 15, 2007

quarter-tones and drunken plans

I'm playing a lot of contemporary music these days, which is usually fun. It results in rehearsal talk about things like whether it's better to whack my strings with a quarter or whether some other sort of coin would suffice, and sometimes a great deal of debate as to what the hell the composer might have meant by the markings he put in our parts. And then sometimes we all drink together afterwards and brainstorm things like Radiohead cover concerts with arrangements by local people. Good times. I've entered the world of microtonality, and it's a crazy trip.
It's weird what a difference a lack of frequent internet access makes. Things that took up sooooo much of my time (like myspace and looking at my statcounter statistics) seem irrelevant and a little pointless. I can't even remember why it seemed so important. But on the flip side, I hardly ever talk to anybody. What does that say about my communication skills?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

long time gone

So, it's been a while. The move was hellish; it involved us having to store all of our shit in the boiler room of the new building because the woman who lived in our new apartment didn't bother to either move all of her stuff or throw out what she didn't want. Which is okay if you're leaving, say, a fondue pot or a few coat hangers or something, but not if you're leaving significant amounts of stuff that will make the landlord not allow the new tenants to move in for two days, during which they will have to sleep on floors and try to keep their cats from having stress-induced heart attacks. Very fun.
But now we're in, and I still love the apartment and the area. And there's a big library with free wireless that I didn't know about fairly near, so maybe I'll actually be able to write more regularly and keep up with other people's lives.
I'm having some laundry issues today, so that's all for now.

Friday, September 21, 2007


I suspect this will be long, so I'm dividing it into three parts.
Part 1: Moving Scariness
We're moving next Saturday. We picked the day, and I reserved a U-Haul which I hope to freaking god works out okay (I hear they have a history of not having an actual truck for you regardless of your reservation status). BUT. Tabitha might well have to work all day, like from 7 AM to 10 at night because she's still doing brunch at work and working on a play at the same time. I have a rehearsal that can't be moved in Evanston from 4-7. And we can't pick up the truck at all until 1 and it has to be back at 9 the next morning. So we might be moving in the middle of the night or something. Plus we are not even close to packed and ready yet. It's going to be a good week.
Part 2: Corporate Qualms
Tabitha has, up until now, worked in a locally-owned family-owned restaurant. She works 50 or more hours most weeks, can't really ask for time off to speak of, and is exhausted and sick a lot of the time. So this week, she applied, interviewed and was hired by Starbucks. As you can imagine, I feel very very very conflicted about this. I know in my heart that no matter how good Starbucks tries to be (and I have to admit, it does seem like they do try, and it's pretty well-known that they are better-than-average at treating the people who work in their stores, if not people elsewhere), they are still a giant world-dominating megacorporation who probably is responsible for many bad and terrible things happening all over the world. I believe it will be better for Tabitha. She'll make more money than she does now and have health insurance and hopefully not be dead on her feet quite so often. She'll also be able to do theater because she'll have a more flexible schedule, which is what she came here to do in the first place. And her manager seems like a genuinely good person, who wants to bring local art, musicians, and performance into his store and distance it from it's corporate identity.
But it's STARBUCKS. I feel sick in my soul knowing that a place that embodies so much that I hate is probably going to save my girlfriend from abject poverty and stress-related illness. I feel awful knowing that I encouraged her to apply because I was worried about her where she is now, and I think that I know no one else who needs health insurance half as much as she does and this is that only way I can see that happening anytime soon. I called (well, texted first, because it was late) Erica a week or two ago in the middle of the night to ask her if I was the devil for supporting this. I just don't know.
This brings me to part 3.
Part 3: Extreme Emotional Shake-Up
I spontaneously decided a few days ago to re-read Inga Muscio's Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil. It's about white supremacist racism, essentially, and everything wrong with the world in a more general sense. I blogged about it the last time I read it, and how it basically crushed me and made me feel totally hopeless and overwhelmed and I couldn't deal with it in any way. I started out better this time, using the information I was learning to try and think about how I live in the world and what I could do to see stuff around me more clearly. But now, I'm a bit closer to where I was before.
There's just so much horrible shit in the world, and so much of it has been caused by the American government, media, and people. And even though I know that with certainly, reading in depth about the complete overwhelming nature of racism makes me feel impossibly sad. How to explain? There is so little that I do every day that even indirectly challenges the nature of the really bad stuff around me, and I freakin try and think about such things on a daily basis. And a shitload of people aren't even trying. I feel so strongly that I need to change the way I go about things and try and address some of these giant major issues, but I also have this awful feeling that the further I venture in that direction the worse the whole rest of all the world is going to seem. I don't know if I am a strong enough person to really open myself up to the pain of looking around me and trying to really analyze and think about it. All day. Every day. I fully admit that I've moved away from critically and consciously analyzing things that lie beyond my own immediate day-to-day life in the last couple of years, and that is a shitty thing to have to admit to myself.
For instance, prisons. SAS people, y'all remember all those prison statistics, like the giant percentage of young black men in jail and the stratospheric skyrocketing increase in prison population caused by laws that target nonviolent drug offenders? That is still the most horrific thing for me to read about, and revisiting the reality of the US prison system (which I had apparently blocked out and rarely thought about since my SAS days) makes me want to get my ass out and try and do something. Which is good, you know? I am glad that I can feel that again. But at the same time, looking at how the prison industrial complex is just part of this gigantic system of oppression and racism and classism and all the various other things that feed into the way the prison system has come to function leads me to an exponential amount of heartbreak. I just am not quite sure how to deal with it.
I want desperately to be critically involved in my own life. I just can't quite wrap my brain around how to do that without becoming incredibly depressed and overwhelmed. I feel like to fully immerse myself would require me to reject such a vast amount of the world around me.
I guess maybe that's part of the point. I don't want to embrace stuff that, if I looked at it critically and learned more about it, I would never choose to take part in. But then where do things like Tabitha working at Starbucks fit in? I do think that, for her right at this moment (and for a lot of people our age, frankly) that it's a somewhat viable option. It's a way for her to survive and make the art that she wants to make. And probably there are other ways to do that, and maybe this is the easy way out, and I still feel my heart cringe from writing what I just wrote. When you live in an environment where a job that enables you to still have a real life outside of it is a job that serves a giant multinational corporation, what do you do? Are we making good choices, or just easy ones?
I haven't said this well, and I'm almost afraid to post it. I don't want people to think poorly of me. But I desperately need to get out at least a tiny unclear portion of all the thoughts swirling in my head right now, because I feel sometimes like I'm going crazy. Maybe I'll be able to write a little more clearly later. I hope I can reconcile this awful overwhelming depressing feeling of knowledge (and that my knowledge is a drop in the giant pool of what I don't know) and be able to hold onto the parts of this that can help me be a better pro-active person in my community. I hope. I am not giving up, but the struggle to maintain my heart with my lived reality is painful right now. God, I feel like such a shit person for some of this. Sigh... This should probably be a journal entry, not a blog post. But I can't bring myself to not put it up now, even if I'm not sure I said everything I mean or made it clear what exactly I do mean. I should stop now, or this is never going to end.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

long overdue

All is still well here, just mostly internet-less. And this will be short, because I've been the only customer in this coffeeshop for about an hour and I'm starting to feel awkward. I'm back in orchestra and have a standing gig playing in a group at a nearby university, which is helpful for cash flow and might mean I don't have to get another job right this second. Tabitha is going back to Ohio tomorrow to try and get a drivers license, so she might regain her identity sometime soon. Ummm... It's abruptly become fall, much chillier basically overnight. I love fall, but it is weird to go from tank tops and dresses to sweaters so quickly. But soon the leaves will change, and the chill is better than sticky humidity by a long shot :) And we're moving at the end of the month to our new apartment, which is exciting but tiring to think about. Thank god I won't have to move again for a year.
I'm reading this book that my grandmother sent me called Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land by John Crowley. My grandmother is this (as my dad says) politically conservative but socially liberal woman, and she reads like a maniac and then sends all of the books she thinks we'll like. She hits it on the head with me about half the time; she has a penchant for mysteries, which I am just generally not fond of or interested in, but she's also given me some amazing stuff, like Reading Lolita in Tehran and Sherman Alexie's Ten Little Indians. This one has taken me by surprise. The overview story is that Lord Byron, the English romantic poet, wrote one work of prose that was eventually passed on to his estranged daughter Ada (raised by her mother to be her father's opposite, she was a scientist and is credited with writing the first computer program). Some of Ada's papers are rediscovered in London in the present day, and the book basically involves their examination. It's split into essentially three narratives: Byron's novel itself, his daughter Ada's notes on each chapter (which of course reveal a lot about her and her thoughts about her father), and emails between the American historian working in London with the papers, her mathematician girlfriend back in the States, and her estranged father who is a filmmaker and (coincidentally, of course) a former Byron expert whose separation from his daughter seems (also coincidentally) somewhat parallel to Byron and Ada's. Written out, this seems potentially cheesy, but actually I'm quite enthralled by it. The contrast between the Byronic novel sections and the modern emails (the mathematician girlfriend uses no punctuation but thankfully writes the least of the three main emailing characters) is actually quite nice, and the story is compelling enough to keep me going. I'm not done yet, but already I'd recommend it to the interested.
Okay, time to go before I drink more coffee and shake myself to pieces.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


So my roommate moved away and I won't have internet for a month, so this will probably become sporadic. Not like I write much or say much of import, but just so you three people who read know... :)

Friday, August 31, 2007

goodbye pollen!

It's 9:30 on my very last day of work in the flower shop. I've already had my little moment of drama due to a mis-communication (or rather, missing communication) between stores, and I'm desperately hoping that I won't have to field many irate calls from a certain 1-800 online flower company today. I stayed out waaaaaay too late last night at a leather bar, drinking free vodka tonics because Tabitha works with the bar manager's boyfriend, and then suffering through an extremely long and unneeded train/bus ride home. So I'm tired, thankfully not hungover, and just hoping I get out soon enough to spend a little more quality time with Jesse and Lauren before they head out of town tonight.
So what have I learned from this experience? I've re-discovered my ability to sit and stare out of windows for long periods of time while doing nothing but letting my brain run and perhaps drinking a cup of tea. And when I first started and was freaking out all the time, I discovered the joy of deep steady breathing even more so than when I used to have the time and money to take yoga. I've learned a bit about flower arranging (I can do a dozen long-stemmed roses in a vase, and I make a mean cube arrangement). I know names for many flowers that I already recognized but didn't know what to call. I have a vastly greater appreciation for certain color combinations that I used to really dislike, which I would actually say is one of the best things. I never knew how much I could like pink/white/yellow, for example, or red/pink/white. I like that I can see things as beautiful that I used to think were supertacky or just unacceptable color combinations (red and pink?!). I've learned that it is essentially impossible to make enough to do more than barely survive when I work part-time, even if I make well above minimum wage. So I guess all that is something, anyway. Civic starts tomorrow, and Sunday or Monday I have to get my ass in gear and look for another part-time job so I can pay my rent and not get an ulcer. Whee!

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Nothing much else is new, but Jesse and Lauren are in town and are staying with me tonight! Very exciting. And tomorrow is my very last day of work! Civic starts on Saturday, and I suppose I will start my search for a somewhat-decent part-time job again next week. Sigh...

Saturday, August 25, 2007


So, we apparently had a freakin' tornado here the other day. I was at work and noticed that the sky had gotten really, really dark, and then the wind picked up so fast that my ears popped. I ran to shut the door and all hell broke loose for about five minutes. I was definitely ready to duck behind my counter in case any of the windows blew in.
Power is still out in some places, and my neighborhood is still littered with downed trees (such as the one here, which is about a block from my house). Nobody I know got hurt, and our house didn't sustain any damage or lose electricity or anything, although Tabitha's restaurant lost power (I think it's back on now) and they had to throw out a ton of food and clean everything up in the dark for the last two days. That night, the streets were filled with all the people who live here, out to survey the damage and help move tree limbs out of people's yards and all that good stuff. It was actually very nice and communal.
In other news, still hating my job. So, so done.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


This job is driving me crazy! An order I called to check up on twice this morning because it had to be there by noon hasn't even left yet, despite the fact that I was assured at about 10:15 that the delivery driver was leaving soon. WTF? Thank god I'm out of here at the end of the month. Too bad this week is like sixty hours of work...

Friday, August 17, 2007

oooh, shiny

Look what Erica sent me! These are bottlecap earrings with pictures of (as it turns out) the Sarajevo String Quartet playing in a bombed-out building. The story of the quartet seems quite inspirational, from what little information I've been able to find. (Here and here seems to be the extent of what I've found with google searches, although admittedly I haven't spent a whole lot of time on it yet.)
All of this is fantastic and amazing and cool, but here's the kicker: I know one of these people. I went to school with the woman on the far right back in Tucson, and once she even showed me a copy of a book that had been written about them that had this exact picture on the cover. So basically, the music world is crazy small and Erica made me some awesome earrings that inadvertently have a much better story to them than she anticipated.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

good stuff

It's been a good couple of days, I have to say. After a very stressful and unnecessary wedding mishap on Saturday, I decided that I really didn't need a second job that badly for next year and gave my two weeks notice at the flower shop. I told my boss that it stressed me out, that I was going to be busy, etc., but the biggest single issue was that I'm tired of fucking up for reasons that are beyond my control and not really particularly my fault. Plus flowers as a career in general is such a wasteful process and depends far too much on south american flower plantations for me to feel entirely comfortable with it. So it's all good.
The other excellent thing is that Tabitha and I found a place to live! We have to move at the end of September, so we had just started looking at Craigslist, and lo and behold the very first place we looked at seemed perfect. So yesterday I faxed the applications in from work and probably just less than an hour later we got calls telling us we'd been accepted. So for anyone familiar with Chicago, we're going to be in Ravenswood, right around Damen and Lawrence and the Damen brown line stop. Wooo!
Now I have to go eat before my stomach caves in.

Friday, August 10, 2007

working for a living

I worked in a different store today, downtown in a large business center, from 7 in the morning (ouch!) until midafternoon. In the morning, while I was by myself, I had the following two conversations, which I wrote down so as not to forget them:

Man: "Can you give me something that says 'I'm sorry, and I don't just see you as a sexual object'?"
Me: "Would you like a bouquet or an arrangement?"

Man: "Do you have any carnations?"
Me: "I'm sorry, we don't carry those here."
Man: "Well, can you make me one?"

The second man was actually looking for a boutineer (which I may have misspelled), not just a carnation, which resulted in my learning how to make them later that day (they're easy, fyi). I also made my first dozen roses in a vase, and a birthday cake made out of flowers :) Despite the early start, today was actually quite good, and I learned more than I have in a long time from the crazy energetic woman I was working with. Then I came home and slept for about three and a half hours, which I'm hoping won't bite me in the ass when I try to go to sleep tonight.
Other things this week: I watched a shit ton of movies, including two that involved factory accidents (Fast Food Nation and The Machinist) and two that involved death by garden shears (Disturbia and Hot Fuzz, which was surprisingly entertaining).

Sunday, August 05, 2007

"the four right chords can make me cry"

There's a street festival outside the flower shop right now called "Retro on Roscoe". I don't see much thematic about it, except that all the bands are cover bands. Which is actually kind of fun, brings me right back to high school :) The weird thing is that they all cover the same songs, or at least a lot of the rep is similar between bands. It's all Third Eye Blind and Oasis and Dave Matthews Band and the Beastie Boys and a surprising amount of Sublime.
This one is for Aaron: The last hit on here was from someone in England looking up "blue corduroy knickers." Thank you, Interlochen.

Friday, August 03, 2007

i'll howl a wee bit louder

Work alternately makes me really happy (when I attempt an arrangement and it turns out well, for instance) and really not happy (the register runs out of paper and I can't find the extra rolls for two days, or an attempt at artistic expression goes horribly awry and I end up just putting all the flowers back in their buckets and forgetting the whole thing). It's still a coin toss on any given day.
I've been listening obsessively to Jolie Holland's Escondida. I wouldn't have thought that her music would go well in this ritzy yuppie shop, but for me it fits perfectly. Maybe I just need some cynical vocal stylings or something. But damn, what a fantastic cd.

Monday, July 30, 2007


I have been struggling with something lately: Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf. I feel ashamed to admit this (not that it's stopping me...), but I don't often read "classic" literature. I stick with more contemporary fiction, or theory, or those kind of almost "pop" science or theory books, or whatever. So when I go back and try to read something that doesn't fall into those categories, sometimes it's really difficult for me to make and maintain the connection that turns reading into that almost symbiotic experience where the book is pulling me in and not letting go. This book in particular, with it's amazing sentence construction and detail, is just defeating me. I start reading (and granted, I'm usually at work, which means it's 90 degrees inside and I'm already tired and stressed out or bored), and ten minutes later I find that I'm not making any sense of what I'm reading anymore. Whole paragraphs are flying by without a hint of recognition from my brain. It's frustrating, because for those ten minutes I'm really enjoying myself. The main thing I'd heard from people before was that the book was boring, and certainly plot is not the main driving force of the story. But frankly, I prefer it that way, with a bare minimum of plot. (I almost always prefer the first half of a book, the part before things get all complicated, to the second half. Even in fiction, I'm not fond of change, I guess.) Anyway, I like the book; I just don't have the stamina to get through much of it at a time.
My only other big occurrence of note his week was that I watched the movie Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, based on a 1985 book by Patrick Suskind. The basic plot is that this boy who has an extraordinarily keen sense of smell climbs from the gutter to learn the art of preserving scent and making perfume, becomes obsessed with the scent of certain women (always redheads, for whatever reason), and eventually kills a bunch of girls and mixes their scents into his magnum opus. Up 'til that point, it's just a good creepy atmospheric movie, but the story suddenly diverges in the last twenty minutes or so into completely unexpected territory. I won't say too much, but it's definitely worth seeing, if only for that last little bit.

Monday, July 23, 2007

everything rises

Incidentally, we went back to the doctor and it turns out that Tabitha has pneumonia and bronchitis. We got some different medicine and she's finally starting to improve. I got my first paycheck so I'm not broke anymore, and I haven't felt unwell since my little passing-out incident. I also met Tabitha's dad (the first family member meeting for either of us), and it seemed to go okay :) Not like I thought he'd hate me or anything, but I have a tendancy to be quiet with new people so they don't have very good first impressions. So that's my update.
I'm watching Legend right now, the Tom Cruise movie from 1985 that I somehow missed in my childhood. It's totally worth it just to see him running around in his "armour," which looks like a gold sequined shirt with ruffley sleeves.

d'oh, a deer

It's me as a Simpsons character! If you look closely, my shirt says "Don't have a cow, man" with a picture of a friendly bovine crossed out.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

my turn

Weirdly enough, I had my own almost-collapse yesterday. I had to get up early to take a shower before work, and after I turned the water off I felt sick, sat down in the tub, and greyed out. Fun! Suffice to say that I didn't have to go to work, and after Tabitha made me eat half a slice of toast I fell back asleep until 1:30 in the afternoon.
I don't have pneumonia, but I don't really know what did happen. Poor eating habits, sleeping habits, something else? I'm kind of broke and stressed out, so my diet hasn't been very varied and I haven't been sleeping for shit. Or maybe my shower was just too hot. Sigh.
I've been thinking about occasionally eating fish, just for protein content. And actually, I had a tiny bit of tuna last night, the first intentional meat I've eaten in almost five years. I feel kind of conflicted and icky (and like my morals have fallen), but there are times when I think it really would be better for me. Any thoughts?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

rearing of ugly heads and a concert

Well, I had hoped to be asleep by now, but the aforementioned drama had to rear its ugly head again and wake me up, so here I am. Yay. The last few days have sucked anyway because Tabitha collapsed at work on Thursday night, and then I spent several angsty hours on Friday morning trying to figure out a cheap but not scary doctor she could go to. Turns out she had a throat infection and didn't realize it so now she has pneumonia, but hopefully she'll be better in a few days, thank god. The fun just never ends around here.
But anyway, Rasputina! That, at least, was good times. I went with my friend Anna (not my ex, but a cellist from Civic) and we had a blast right from the start scoping out all the costumes on the hipster/goth/corset kids. The opening act was... Somebody who's name I can't remember right now. Jena something? She was playing guitar and singing, and I couldn't understand a word she said. But I have to say I liked the way it sounded, even if it was all relatively similar-seeming and hard to hear. In my experience it takes a really badass opening act to make any impression at all, and this just didn't seem to be cutting it for most of the people there.
There was only a short pause between her and Rasputina, which was nice. We found a small table with no chairs in a corner near the stage and sat on it for the rest of the night. The hall was incredibly hot and smokey, and I was thankful I was wearing a dress. Melora Creagar entered wearing a white corset and skirt and movie-indian-style feathers in the back of a band around her head. I couldn't honestly see drummer Jonathon TeBeest, but there was a new second cellist names Sarah Bowman who did an excellent job. Here is, as closely as I can tell, the set list.

Hunter's Kiss
Transylvanian Concubine
Thimble Island
Saline, the Salt Lake Queen
Things I'm Gonna Do
Watch TV
Wish You Were Here
*? (all I have written down is the phrase "you are the king" which is not a title of any of their new songs)
*Draconian Crackdown
small segue featuring Melora singing the "I like big butts"song
*1816, the Year Without a Summer
*Cage in a Cave
*The Infidel is Me
Rusty the Skatemaker (Melora alone)

I loved all of the old songs and covers, but the new songs... I actually don't at all like watching music I don't know in a live setting. I can't understand the words, it usually all sounds similar, and so on. So I'm sure the new album is loads of fun, but I wish they had interspersed the old and new songs a bit more evenly. They also did a bunch of segues with the new stuff, so I'm not even sure how many new songs there were. But Melora's ridiculous comments between songs were fun (and not as scripted-sounding as the last time I saw them, perhaps because it's only about the second show on this tour), the new cellist sounded excellent, and really, who can complain about rock cello played by cute goth corset girls? Certainly not me.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

summary of life in lesbianville

Drama drama drama.
But I saw Rasputina last night and it was great fun, and I'll post about it (including a set list because I'm a dork) probably tomorrow.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

8 things

My friend Raquel (she of the excellent cultural reviews, etc.) tagged me for this. I think I've done it before and couldn't come up with 8 things, but maybe I'll do better this time.

1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

So eight things about me...

I like to paint my toenails different colors on a regular basis during the summer.

I have six colors right now. I wanted to do a rainbow for Pride, but I didn't have green or yellow (or enough toes, actually).

I can play the string bass decently.

My string pedagogy teacher last year told me that if I ever practiced I could be really good. We had a very honest relationship; I told him I didn't have time, and he told me it was okay but I could have been much better.

I spent two summers teaching english in Poland and travelling around eastern Europe and one summer driving from Tucson to Alaska.

All of which were, at times, better in concept than in practice.

While in Poland, I got wasted with some of my students.

And had to face down a counsellor and deny it while still drunk. Ugh.

I've lived in four houses in the past less-than-three years.

And I'm moving again in October. Damn it.

I spent a summer wearing navy blue cordury knickers.

Rented navy blue corduroy knickers. The joys of Interlochen. And no, Aaron, I didn't like it.

I'm named after a ghost movie.

Before I was born, I was supposed to be Amy. But then some friends of my parents had a baby and named her Amy, so I somehow got Amanda and was nicknamed Ammie after a ghost movie my parents had seen called Ammie, Come Home. I haven't seen it, but I read the book and it was not so hot.

When I get drunk, sometimes I kiss boys.

I'm not proud of it, but there it is.

So... Eight people? I'm not sure I have that many. Here's what I've got:

Linguist Lauren (maybe post it in both accounts? Does that count as two?)
Poet Lauren
Louise (on myspace, I guess)
Ummmm... I think that's all I've got.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

work is hard

I feel like a bourgeoise douchebag for saying this, but damn it's been a long time since I had anything remotely like a regular job. 8-hour days are like a foreign language.
I actually really like my job (although I have to admit a shudder ran through me when I saw "Product of Columbia" on my bunch of roses this afternoon and I recently didn't put a movie on my blockbuster queue because it was about a girl working in a South American flower plantation). The first few days are hard anywhere (or so I remember from long ago) because there's so much new information being thrown at you at once; today and yesterday I could barely talk normally when I left because my brain was just completely gone. I'm also being thrown into this rather quickly, and instead of the lengthy training period I was hoping for I'm working completely alone tomorrow, Thursday, and Sunday. That seems crazy to me; yesterday I barely knew half the flower names and now I have a freaking key to the store. So far I'm pretty good at the easy stuff (cleaning, faxing, getting flowers prepped for the freezer) and not so hot at the "real" flower stuff, like arrangements and bouquets. But hey, there's always time to improve. I need to read and learn more about color matching, arrangement techniques and styles, all the jazz. Anyway, that's all.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself

James Bond and his penis (or possibly phallus?) will have to wait a little longer. I got a job! Finally, after being out of school for just over a year, I have managed to become employed by somebody other than Civic. I'm going to start working at a flower shop in my neighborhood on Monday. I imagine flowers are not, so to speak, lily-white in terms of human rights and environmental issues, but for somebody who was desperately starting to wonder if working at Borders (or, god forbid, Starbucks) could be all that bad I'm feeling a little less righteous than I might otherwise be. Besides, since I've come to terms with the fact that I have to be employed somewhere and soon, I've realized that I could come up with something awful that was linked to practically every place I considered applying, at least the ones I had a chance in hell of actually getting hired at. At least I'm not working at the tanning place, and I can stop having nightmares about fruitless job hunts.
While I'm on consumerism etc., I must mention that I'm also on that Blockbuster Total Access thing, so I can rent as many movies as I want every month. Does anybody have any suggestions?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

penii upcoming

I watched the new James Bond movie "Casino Royale" the other night. (Overall review: eh.) But it sparked my memory of one of my readings for a class I took a few years ago that was titled "James Bond's Penis". So maybe I'll link those two experiences together sometime soon, as soon as I can force myself through the article again :)
It's hot and muggy here today and I have a headache. I've been waiting for about 3 days now to hear whether I got a job at a flower shop in my neighborhood, which is frustrating. That's all, I guess. Maybe I'll go paint my toenails again.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

vanishing act

A few weeks ago, my girlfriend Tabitha either lost her wallet or it was stolen. (It disappeared withing less than a block, so foul play seems like it's at least an option.) In it were, very unfortunately, her ohio drivers license and her social security card.
Here's the problem: in order to get a social security card, you need a license or some other form of valid ID, like a passport, which she does not have. In order to get a license, you need a social security card or some other form of valid ID, and also some sort of approved signature, like a credit card or a cancelled check from within the last 60 days. Tabitha doesn't have a bank account, and her credit cards (which were already cancelled but still being carried around) were in her wallet. So, because she doesn't have a bank account or credit cards, and because both of the most common forms of identification were in the lost wallet, she can't replace anything. In the short term, this means she can't drive (assuming there was even a car around, which there isn't), go into bars or buy liquor, get a different job, and she couldn't fly if she needed to. More scarily, she can't establish her identity in any sort of real way until we manage to think of a way to get around the rules at the DMV. It's so strange to me that the simple loss of a wallet could lead to the loss of so much possibility; it feels like she has been erased from the government-approved world and placed in this marginal area where her activity is limited, sometimes severely. It also feels somewhat descriminatory to me, like not having a bank account or a passport is some sort of frowned-upon circumstance that can impair your ability to do certain very important things. Perhaps I'm overreacting, but this is becoming a real problem and it's kind of stressing us both out.
So, can anybody think of a clever way to help with this? How do you establish the identity of someone whose identity may have been literally stolen? I'm sure this is not the first time this set of circumstances has come up, so there must be something. Anybody?

Thursday, May 31, 2007

bang the drum

Two nights ago I had the great pleasure of attending two vastly different creative spaces. First, Tabitha and I went to see the Chicago Symphony play a concert under the baton of Alan Gilbert, the same person who conducted my last Civic concert of the year. The program started with a piece for orchestra and two pianos called "Tabuh-tabuhan" by the Canadian composer Colin McPhee. Interesting in concept (McPhee lived in Bali for seven years after becoming intrigued by a recording of a Javanese gamelan, an ensemble of percussive, bell-like sounds), the piece was just kind of too busy for my ears. It was hard to focus on any one thing, although it was interesting to hear eastern influences and rhythms in such a western ensemble. The second piece was Ravel's "Mother Goose" ballet suite, one of my personal favorites since playing it with Civic my first year. It's a beautiful atmospheric piece, with many gentle and touching moments. Ravel originally wrote the melodies as a piano duo suite for the two children of a couple he had befriended, and later arranged the piece as ballet music. The final piece on the program was Aaron Copland's third symphony. I didn't dislike it, but all I could think about while it was happening was how much Copland sounds like nobody else but Copland. (Well, maybe Bernstein on occasion.) It sounded so american to me. And I think if I heard it on the radio, something about the harmonies or the overall musical language would tip me off almost immediately. It's interesting to hear somebody with such a distinct style.
So the concert was fun and well-played, despite my lack of love for much of the music. Afterwards, we headed out to a music and art party at my friend Isabel's place. When we got there, we entered this incredibly hot apartment to find a set of "double-duets" happening, i.e. four people total playing one cello and one violin (one person bows each instrument, and the other fingers). There were also people writing on walls and painting the communal canvas in the living room. Pretty soon, this girl started playing an electronic patch she had written on her laptop, and people started improvising around it, singing and playing instruments. I could feel so much energy and intensity passing around the room. It sounded and felt amazing. I can't think of two more different ways to spend a single evening. Both were exciting, but the creativity was much more palapable, tactile, at the second event. I hope I get to do that again sometime soon.
And now, off to Arizona until Monday.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

would you like "bronze" or "copper" today?

I am once again in the position of a) looking for a "real" job, and b) being very unqualified to do almost anything other than work in an orchestra. One of the side effects of being in this state is that I am forced to imagine myself working in almost any business I walk past. I pass the funeral home and think "Hmmmm..." In the strip mall by my house, the following places are hiring: a cell phone store (maybe cingular? I forget), Toys 'backwards R' Us, and a sunless tanning place. Every day, I wonder how I would feel about myself if I worked, for instance, at the tanning place. It seems like selling out is part of surviving, especially for the minimally-skilled-but-not-in-high-school group of potential employees that I currently belong to. But how low am I willing to go? At what point do I draw the line?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

clarity of thought

I recently read "The Hours" by Michael Cunningham. (It's been suggested to me before and I'm fairly fond of the movie, but it's still taken me this long to remember that i want to read it.) Of course I had to read it in the context of having already seen the movie (I prefer to do it the other way around), but I still enjoyed it far more than I expected to. Cunningham's writing is sensory, encompassing sight, sound, smell, taste , and texture, but generally not in an offensive or distracting way. It's more like what your own interior monologue would sound like if you were being particularly observant and had a poetic bent. I liked his descriptions of people's motivations as well, the ways in which he told us why people where acting as they were and also giving us insight into how they related with the other characters. It was very omniscient narrating.
"Richard cannot imagine a life more interesting and worthwhile than those being lived by his acquaintances and himself, and for that reason one often feels exalted, expanded, in his presence. He is not one of those egotists who miniaturize others. He is the opposite kind of egotists, driven by grandiosity rather than greed, and if he insists on a version of you that is funnier, stranger, more eccentric and profound than you suspect yourself to be... it is all but impossible not to believe, at least in his presence and for a while after you've left him, that he alone sees through to your essence, weighs your true qualities... and appreciates you more fully than anyone else ever has. It is only after knowing him for some time that you begin to realize you are, to him, an essentially fictional character, one he has invested with nearly limitless capacities for tragedy and comedy because he, Richard, needs to live in a world peopled by extreme and commanding figures."
The book and the movie center around three women from different times and their intertwined-ness, most graphically illustrated by their relationships to Virginia Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway." (I haven't read "Mrs. Dalloway" or I'm sure I would have much more insightful things to say about this particular aspect of the book.) Each woman, in the course of her story, experiences a kiss that is somehow pivotal to what she is feeling. Virginia Woolf kisses her sister, Vanessa; Laura Brown kisses her neighbor, Kitty; Clarissa Vaughan kisses her closest friend and past lover, Richard. (Actually, I'm not sure that happens in the movie. I remember a kiss with her long-time partner, Sally, but I can't recall if she kisses Richard or not, or whether it's framed as inportant.) What I thought was interesting was how different these events were in the book, and what a different feel they had to them. Particularly, I'm think of the Virginia-Vanessa kiss; in the movie, I was shocked by the awkward and uncomfortable seemingly out-of-nowhere kiss. I felt that the kiss abrupty broke up the continuity of action, that it was so out of place that everything before it had to come to a stop and the narrative had to take a different direction. Even though the kiss in the book is framed as unusual for the two, it is not a breaking of what has come before, just an outgrowth of it. It is a postive action, not a negative disturbance.
"...Although it is not at all their custom, Virginia leans forward and kisses Vanessa on the mouth. It is an innocent kiss, innocent enough, but just now, in the kitchen, behind Nelly's back, it feels like the most delicious and forbidden of pleasures. Vanessa returns the kiss."
Basically, what I liked about the book was that I finally felt like I understood character motivation and the connections between the three women. There was just so much more clarity. Now I want to see the movie again, to see if it resonates differently with me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

found it!

This is the quote I was looking for.
Q: Its premise is that those who have recently died are taken to a waiting room for one week, during which time they must choose only a single memory from their entire lives which will endlessly replay for them, while all of their other memories are erased.
Vonnegut: So everybody's fucking, right?
Q: See, that's the peculiar thing. Maybe in your world or mine, everybody's fucking. But in this movie, some of the memories are much simpler, almost elegant. Many people can't choose a memory at all.
Vonnegut: See, that's a whole different culture. I don't know anything about it.
Q: Any idea what memory you might choose?
Vonnegut: [Long pause] I think it would be the moment where I was doing everything right, where I was beyond criticism. It was back in World War II. It was snowing, but everything was black. The trucks were rolling in. I was surrounded by my buddies. And my rifle was between my knees, my helmet on my head. I was ready for anything. And I was right where I belonged. That would be the moment. It would have to be the moment.
Q: There are not many moments in a man's life like that, I would imagine.
Vonnegut: No. But you know who gets those kinds of moments all the time? A musician. They're doing exactly what they're supposed to do. I look at a symphony orchestra and everybody's doing exactly right. How the fuck do they do that? It's like watching somebody's who's just inherited a big bunch of money. "Well, enjoy yourself.... I'm just gonna fuck off — you know what I'm saying."

Sometimes I feel like that. The transcendent concerts are the ones where you've felt like that for weeks, but suddenly you're playing and people are there and none of it matters anymore. You know exactly what to do, but you forget it all and just play because you love it. That's about half of what he means, I think.


So yes, I haven't been writing. Sorry for anybody who keeps checking. (Thank god for statcounter...) I've been trying to find this Kurt Vonnegut quote about orchestras from a McSweeney's interview that they re-posted when he died, but so far I've been unsuccessful so here's an update in the meantime. This week, I played my last quartet and Civic concerts for the year, painted my toenails orange, re-affirmed the fact that my ability to cook has apparently been severely crippled at some point, and rejoiced that some of my friends know what the hell they're doing with at least the next few months. I also had a dream about my friend who is getting married next week (I'm going back to Flagstaff for this) in which we had to sew a hundred pairs of socks before the wedding. That seems anal and stressed out to me. Whatever. I have rehearsal in 9 hours in Evanston (far away by public transit) and I'm not so tired. Ugh.

Friday, May 11, 2007

not my own words, but close enough

So there's been kind of a lack of posting lately... Life proceeds apace, but nothing too noteworthy has happened, at least that I can think of right now.
I'm reading Jeanette Winterson's Written on the Body right now. It's oddly beautiful, a little schizophrenic, and entirely intriguing. There's not a whole lot of plot (my favorite type of book!), but basically just this person (gender unstated) talking about this relationship with a married woman, continuously interrupted by mostly comedic digressions about past lovers or virtual reality or whatever. But it's all about love and desire and bodies and hearts, and there are many beautiful things said.
"Articulacy of fingers, the language of the deaf and dumb, signing on the body body longing. Who taught you to write in blood on my back? Who taught you to use your hands as branding irons? You have scored your name into my shoulders, referencing me with your mark. The pads of your fingers have become printing blocks, you tap your message on to my skin, tap meaning into my body. Your morse code interfers with my heart beat. I had a steady heart before I met you, I relied upon it, it had seen active service and grown strong. Now you alter its pace with your own rhythm, you play upon me, drumming me taut."
There is also a lot to be said perhaps about the usage of language. The semantics of what is said and what is not seem very important.
"...I mumbled something about yes as usual but things had changed. THINGS HAD CHANGED, what an arsehole comment, I had changed things. Things don't change, they're not like the seasons moving on a diurnal round. People change things. There are victims of change but not victims of things. Why do I collude with this mis-use of language?"
The back of the book points out that the narrator is gender ambiguous, but as I read I am noticing that many, many books probably have unintentionally gender ambiguous narrators, at least for a while. All you really have to do is take out any reference to a name, and it's pretty much done. However, I think I'm ending up reading the narrator as male because of a lack of female signifiers. In real life, in studies anyway, people assume someone is male until they can see or otherwise sense a certain number of traditionally female traits, like long hair or painted nails or breasts or whatever. I suppose it makes sense that the same things would happen in print. I guess that says something about the way our brains process details maybe.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


I have to write something to distance myself from that last post. I keep thinking about deleting it, but I'm still horrified enough that somehow I haven't done it yet.
I'm moving again tomorrow, this time to a whole new house instead of just down the hall. I won't deny that in most ways I truly hate moving: the hassle, the stress, the packing, the unpacking (way worse)... But in some masochistic way I also like going through all my crap. It's interesting to see where I've been, and I'm such a packrat that it's almost all still here with me. I'm finally getting to the point that I'm donating my high school clothes to thrift stores, but that's about as far as I've been able to go. Anyway, I'm happy with this particular move. I'm happy with the person I'm moving in with, and I'm excited to enter this new part of my life. Moving on doesn't have to be bad.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Seen on the profile of a random person who tried to friend me on MySpace:
"I Eat More Pussy Than Cervical Cancer!"

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Following up my last post about fashion writing and Cinderella, I found this article in my Yahoo news. (I get pop culture news headlines in one email account and serious news in the other. Most of the time anything really important comes up on both. This time, instead of news about the shootings in Virginia, there was this.) I found the mixture of consumerism (both in terms of weddings and Disney), assumptions about brides, and product branding fairly disturbing.
Notably creepy quotes:
"Women often start their gown shopping with the idea that they want to be different from everyone else, but they change their tune once they start trying on dresses. "Looking like Cinderella is probably something they never considered before they got engaged, but then the traditional side almost always comes out. It's hard to resist romance and sparkle," Kelly said."

"But Disney's Mooney points out that a woman's first impression of love often comes from an animated character and it's hard to completely erase that from her mind. "If you think about who the first person who teaches you about love, romance and Prince Charming is, it probably happened between the ages of 2-5 and included Disney.""

Monday, April 16, 2007

it's all about the dress

First off, this week my friend Raquel has written both a lovely tribute of sorts to Kurt Vonnegut and a great rumination on fashion and fashion writing in terms of social responsibility and art. I love reading her fashion stuff because it makes even me (who has never had more than a very passing interest in the world of fashion) interested and informed-feeling, not only about fashion, but about the underlying assumptions that it rests on. Short summary: she's awesome, and you should check it out.
Secondly, I've been playing in Loyola University's production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella this week, which has been kind of interesting. I've always really liked folk/fairy tales, and it can be so fascinating to look at them as an adult. Mostly, this one has just made me realize that A) this particular story is full of weird details that are only believable by extreme suspension of disbelief and more faith in magic than I currently possess, and B) Rodgers and Hammerstein are soooooo cheesy. But anyway... I sit in the pit wondering, why doesn't Cinderella leave her stepmother? (She says in the play that her father wouldn't like it if he were alive. There's also how a young beautiful single woman would make her way in the world and the perils she would face.) Where is the story taking place? How could the shoe possibly fit just one person? Does she have size 11 2/3 feet or something? Why does the prince fail to recognize his true love immediately? A change of clothing seems far too much along the lines of Clark Kent for my taste. But aside from weird story stuff, the musical also has some really aweful lines. My favorite is when the fairy godmother is trying to convince the steward to try the shoe on Cinderella. Her persuasion consists of this line: "Well, she is a girl." There's also the song entitled "Do I love you because you're beautiful?" Aside from being a terrible song lyric/title, that seems to kind of sum it all up for me. Like many fairy tales (especially, perhaps, the watered-down versions we treat our kids to), this comes down to physical appearance. The two lovebirds are smitten with an idea of each other far more than their actual personalities, it seems. Even though they spend some time seeming to deny it (I can't hear most of the actual lyrics because I'm playing) that seems to be the final verdict.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


So of course my trip had its ups and downs... It was utterly fantastic seeing Erica and Maya and Lauren and my little sister. Being there made me realize that I never really re-created that level of community here, which I guess is neither here nor there, but it certainly made me nostalgic. I love my friends here dearly, but due to people having things like work and kids, and perhaps also due to the sheer size of Chicago (as opposed to Tucson, where we could basically all bike to each other's houses in short periods of time all year long), I have never really found people that I see every day. I can see it when I watch my Tucson friends talking; there's some level of intimacy and connection that is much more difficult to achieve when you only see people once a week/month/whatever. (I felt this enough to trigger a crying jag, helped along by extreme tiredness and some outside stresses, on Erica's couch. Whoops.)
But anyway, the audition went well, and then it didn't. I made it through the first round (which would have been more impressive if there had been more than nine people there, but still), but then they only gave me about 10 minutes to prepare for the second round. So of course I got flustered and rushed-feeling and panicked, which led to me playing poorly in the second round. So again, ah well.
Around these things there were old episodes of Northern Exposure, an unusual amount of clothes shopping, a ten-mile hike up Wasson Peak, and some pretty good food. A happy trip. I don't know how many more times I'll really be there, and so there was kind of an air of finality. My sister will be there for a few years yet, but many of my friends are moving/have moved, and I'm so rarely in Arizona anyway... Yeah.

too bad

Well, I won't be moving to Tucson next year. And I was so looking forward to living in the Mabel house and having a warm sunny winter! Ah well. More on my trip later.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


I'm leaving my house to catch a train to a plane to go to Tucson in about five hours. God help me. And thank goodness that this week at least is over.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Yo-Yo vs. Jesus

I got issued my slide whistle last night. It's purple :)
I also had a really ridiculous lesson to prepare for my audition. We didn't start until about 10:30 or 10:40 at night, and we ended at 1 in the morning. Near the end, my fingers were so tired and sore that I was all fumbly. Of course, that's when we got to "Don Juan" and the Bartok concerto. (For the non-musicians: really hard pieces.) And then I had a quartet rehearsal at 9:30 this morning. Ugh.
When I check one of my yahoo email accounts, my opening page has a bunch of links to yahoo enertainment news. Usually it's "Britney blah blah blah", "Paris Hilton blah blah blah", but recently there has been an influx of links to articles about classical music. Last week there was a flat-out concert review, and this week there was an interview with David Finckle (the cellist from the Emerson String Quartet, a nice man who my friend Gary nearly killed driving around in a van in Tucson a few years ago) about Rostropovitch, a famous old cellist. Which is cool, but it seems like these might have less-than-average appeal to the typical yahoo user? Do lots of people know who Rostropovitch is? (As a musician, I never know what a non-musician might know about classical music. For instance, apparently everybody in the world knows who Yo-Yo Ma is. I've found that if I ask a non-musician if they've heard of him, they will look at me in disgust as if I've just asked them if they've heard of Jesus or something. But Rostropovitch? I dunno.) Anyway, that's probably not all that interesting to anybody but me, so I'm done now.
I guess I should go see if anything I played last night stuck around in my head. In a week I'll be in Tucson.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

lament with dollar-store slide whistles

It is absolutely gorgeous here today. 75 degrees!
For anybody who reads this and might be interested, I'm going to be in Tucson in about two weeks auditioning for the Tucson Symphony. Mostly all I've been doing lately is practicing for that, since I'm doing my best to take it seriously :) That, and playing weird contemporary opera, of course. Good times. Anything where I get to play a slide whistle to represent the main (only?) character's death has got to be interesting on a number of levels. There's also an accordian involved. But anyway... April 8-12, with the audition being on the 10th. Wish me luck in advance!

Thursday, March 15, 2007


This is one of those days where I feel like I should be doing about ten things, but I'm stalled out on the chair in my living room instead. All afternoon I've been having what feels like the Allergy Attack from Hell (what could I be allergic to? It's only been warmish for about 4 days, I can't imagine what could have started giving off pollen already), so I took some medicine and now all I can do is sit here and feel it work its way into my system. Generally, that will lead to lassitude and partial lack of rational thought. Sigh.
I saw "Shortbus" again last night, and it was still great. Other good new movies seen lately: "Stranger than Fiction", "Babel", and "The Prestige". I particularly liked "Stranger than Fiction." I don't usually finish a movie and think "Wow, that was awesome!" but I definitely did with that one.
Sorry for this mildly random medication-induced post.
My favorite line this week from Murakami: "High above us the wind rustles symbolically." I read it, read it again, and then laughed.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

support your local period

My do-gooder moment for the day... I've seen this a few times already, but I think it's worth re-posting.

Women's shelters in the U.S. go through thousands of tampons and pads monthly. Assistance agencies generally help with expenses of "everyday" necessities such as toiletpaper, diapers, and clothing, but one of the most BASIC needs is overlooked - feminine hygiene products. (Who is at the helm of thefunding assistance agencies anyway!? Answer: probably old men.) Seventh Generation, a green paper products and cleaning products company, has a do-good attitude and will donate a box of sanitary products to a women's shelter in your chosen state - just for clicking the link. Talk about easy (literally takes less than 5 seconds and they ask nothing of you).

Saturday, March 10, 2007

oh my god, a post!

Don't know why I'm so unable to come up with anything to say lately...
Quotes from books I've been reading lately:

"Your heart is like a great river after a long spell of rain, spilling over its banks. All signposts that once stood on the ground are gone, inundated and carried away by that rush of water. And still the rain beats down on the surface of the river. Every time you see a flood like that on the news you tell yourself: That's it. That's my heart."
-Haruki Murakami, "Kafka on the Shore"

"From time to time I can see their faces, against the dark, flickering like the images of saints, in old foreign cathedrals, in the light of the drafty candles; candles you would light to pray by, kneeling, your forehead against the wooden railing, hoping for an answer. I can conjure them but they are mirages only, they don't last. Can I be blamed for wanting a real body, to put my arms around? Without it I too am disembodied. I can listen to my own heartbeat against the bedsprings, I can stroke myself, under the dry white sheets, in the dark, but I too am dry and white, hard, granular; it's like running my hand over a plateful of dried rice; it's like snow. There's something dead about it, something deserted. I am like a room where things once happened and now nothing does, except the pollen of the weeds that grow up outside the window, blowing in as dust across the floor."
-Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale"

Re-reading "The Handmaid's Tale" was interesting. I first read it in the 10th grade, and the story--The US government is overthrown and replaced by a quasi-religious one where women with invalid relationships (i.e., women who have been married more than once or are in non-married relationships) and viable ovaries are forced to try and bear children for the wives of rich powerful men--kind of freaked me out and sucked me in. Now, years later, the story seems relatively implausible (there's so much change in so little time, for one thing) but the sadness within the story is so eloquently stated that I can't help but appreciate it still. The narrator alternates between tales of her present-day life and memories of her previous life with her husband and child, many centering around the change in government. Her view of reality was what struck me most this time; because she lives in such an uncertain space and because she has no information or way of getting information, the past and the present are both pretty much hers to invent. Immediately after the passage I quoted, she tells in great detail about what she believes happened to her husband after they were caught trying to escape. She gives three different possibilities, and then says this:
"The things I believe can't all be true,though one of them must be. But I believe in all of them, all three versions of Luke, at one and the same time. This contradictory way of believing seems to me, right now, the only way I can believe in anything. Whatever the truth is, I will be ready for it."

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Erica was here, and we ate veggie food, went to used clothing and book stores, and saw Emma Goldman's grave through a series of fortuitous events. Now my friend Miriam, a medieval musicologist who always has lots of fun facts about monasteries and things for me, is here until tomorrow morning. I'm playing a concert of entirely "patriotic" music (if you can consider a Superman medley patriotic...). The theme song from the Olympics is very hard, incidentally. And that's my week.
I feel like I should have more to say, but lately I haven't. Maybe sometime soon.

Friday, February 23, 2007


I just wrote a ridiculously large check to my student loan company. Don't ever go to grad school, for the love of god.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I don't have much to say... Just that finally, after almost nine months of being mostly bad or nonexistant, my practicing has been going ridiculously well lately.

Friday, February 16, 2007


Ooh, searches today for "the machismo of the midwest" and "ambivalent about marriage". Nice!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

happy valentine's...

This is from my friend Raquel's blog.
A Date with John Waters

Ms. Gender Studies

That's what Tabitha calls me when I haven't seen some movie that deals with gender that I probably would want to watch, like The Crying Game or Transamerica. So yesterday, we finally watched Stage Beauty, the 2004 movie with Claire Danes and Billy Crudup. In 17th century London, after years of women being banned from performing on the stage, the king reverses his edict and bans men from playing women. Crudup plays the current most famous lady of the stage, Ned Kynaston, and Danes plays his dresser and aspiring actress Maria. It's kind of like a reversed version of Shakespeare in Love, except instead of a woman playing a man, it's a man playing a woman (and a woman playing a man playing a woman, to ill effect; Maria plays Desdemona like Kynaston and fails to capture the hearts of her audiences).
This is not a totally historically accurate movie, of course. Kynaston really was a famous leading lady, and Margaret Hughes (Maria's stage name) was perhaps the first professional female actress, although not Kynaston's dresser or lover. From what I read, men weren't banned from performing as women, just strongly discouraged or looked down upon. And the acting style that has evolved by the end of the film is much more realistic (a style which didn't really start until the 19th century, I think) than the stylized 17th century performances given on stage at the beginning of the movie. But what the hell, it's a romantic comedy of sorts, right?
What's really interesting is the gender stuff that happens in between or during so many of the inportant scenes. Kynaston's performances, for instance, are a very stylized version of "woman". When Maria first talks to him after he discovers that she's been performing, he asks her if she knows "...the Five Positions of Feminine Subjugation. No? Perhaps you're more acquainted with the Pose of Tragic Acceptance. Or the Demeanor of Awe and Terror. " Another oft-cited line is his: "A woman playing a woman. Where's the trick in that?" (He fails to note that he is not really playing a woman; he is playing a stage version of a woman, which is entirely different. It's like a 17th century drag queen, in truth.) There is a great conversation between the two during which he says he can only act as a woman because then he can act beautifully. He says that men do terrible things, and he wants no part of it. Maria takes on his views of women, telling him that his portrayal of Desdemona is one she has never liked because he never fights, just dies. "A woman would fight!" she screams at him before running from the room. (She shows this quite viscerally later in the film.)
Kynaston shows a rather ambiguous gender and sexuality that is fleshed out as the film progresses. He begins by joining two ladies in a carriage and encouraging them to touch his penis to prove he is not a castrato, but is soon in an empty theater making out with the Duke of Buckingham onstage while wearing a long blond wig. Before an entrance, somebody whispers to him that he is "a man in woman's form. Or is it the other way around?" He seems at a loss himself. One of my favorite scenes (for all that it seemed a slightly implausible scenario) concerns Maria asking him what exactly two men do in bed together. (He claims that with two men, one acts the woman and one acts the man, but whatever... It was supposed to be the 17th century, so I'll let him slide on that one.) What follows is a series of shots of the two in different poses (her sitting on his ass, him holding himself up over her back, then over her front, and so on) with him articulating who is the man and who is the woman. During the final scene, when they are finally and inevitably kissing, she asks him what he is now, and he replies "I don't know" and they both look just fine with that. All in all, a fun and interesting movie that teasingly addresses gender while still telling a good story.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


So my very late Christmas present from Anna was, interestingly, a book about marriage. "The Commitment" by Dan Savage is a look at (as he says on the cover) "love, sex, marriage, and my family". Savage has lived with his boyfriend Terry for ten years (they have a six-year-old adopted son, D.J.) and the book more or less opens with a debate as to whether they should get married or just get matching tattoos saying "Property of [insert boyfriend's name here]" on their arms. They are of the tattoo camp, while most of the immediate family leans towards marriage or nothing. ("You know what tattoos you should get? 'Property of D.J.' because you're my dads" says their son, who is opposed to gay marriage due to school socialization but would come to the reception and eat cake.) The debate ranges between discussions with Savage's older brother, who's in a long-term relationship that doesn't involve marriage, kids, monogamy, or even co-habitation, to debunking statements made by opponents of homosexuality (For instance, "If everyone were gay, the human race would be finished in fifty years." As Savage says, "A sane person might think that the long, sordid history of heterosexuality, and the current human population of six billion, is all the evidence we need that human beings will never tire of the heterosexual act.").
Savage's snarky comments and conversations with astute family members are all well and good, but to me what was the most interesting was the discussion of what exactly marriage is. What does it mean, really? What is it about? Health insurance and end-of-life decisions? Kids? Monogamy? Love, god forbid? All of these things exist, in some form and some of the time anyway, without the existance of marriage. And marriages exist without any of these things. Opponents of gay marriage (at least some of them) like to say that if gay people could get married then next people would be able to marry, say, sheep. Proponents of gay marriage like to point out that any random man and woman can get married and automatically have rights in regards to each other that gay couples of decades can't access. Both seem rather equally preposterous to me.
I've always felt rather ambivalent about marriage, at least since I started thinking about it critically. Ultimately, I just never really saw the point. A big expensive party so that if you break up a few years down the road you can have a big expensive divorce, so that your bond with another person can be acknowledged by god/the government/other people who already know you're in love if they're at your wedding in the first place? I do understand the problems that can be more easily resolved by a marriage license (adoption, insurance, citizenship, and the like), but I can't get rid of the feeling that the ceremony and the end benefits don't quite jibe. What is marriage: love or social perks? Why do those things have to go together? Why the governmental sanction for a document that purports to signify emotional connection to another person?
I don't mean to sound so pessimistic or bitter or down on marriage. This book actually made me feel a lot more kindly towards the desire for that kind of formal commitment, but it also made me feel even more internally divided on how I personally would handle that kind of decision in my own life. Love is grand, no doubt, but would I ever want to stand in front of a room of friends and family and talk about it? If I could, would I get married? Even while my understandings become (hopefully) more nuanced, I still couldn't say.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

fall of a vegan

I know I've written about this so many times... But I just can't get over the way veganism changed my food perceptions. My latest re-discovery: cream cheese. God. It's just so weird to observe my fluctuations over time. I felt fairly ambivalent about cream cheese for most of my life (especially after my stint at Breugger's Bagels), then I was totally down with fake cream cheese for a long time, and now real cream cheese tastes like heaven. That and yogurt and ice cream... I'm kind of afraid to try cottage cheese.
Sometime soon when I'm feeling more motivated, I'm going to write about marriage and a book I recently read. But for now, I'm going to make soup and practice for my far-too-soon Civic audition.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

hell hath frozen

It's supposed to feel like it's -24 tonight. Holy shit. The annoying no-details-given-out-until-the-last-possible-minute gig that I've been stressed about just got a little worse. Maybe I should get another car?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

another week dissipates

I can't sleep.
This week (and last, I guess, but for the sake of brevity I'll ignore that): A memorial service, a car accident (not involving me), hookahs, sleeplessness, terrible rehearsals, the unknown-details gig from hell that is stressing me out. I'm on here tonight in hopes of catching a friend on AIM who's in Japan and who I never seem to coincide with, and right now is no exception. After Monday, my life will be a veritable void of worklessness (thank god for stipends where you get paid regardless of hours worked), but for now I feel a little angsty. Anyway... Sorry, it's 3:06 AM. Gross.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

ahh, Flagstaff

A sign seen at the Museum Club over Christmas:
"Buy your redneck tickets now"

so i'm a girl, okay?

You scored 43 masculinity and 90 femininity!
You scored high on femininity and low on masculinity. You have a traditionally feminine personality.

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 15% on masculinity

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on femininity
Link: The Bem Sex Role Inventory Test written by weirdscience on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Saturday, January 13, 2007


It's amazing how tiring moving is, even when you're only relocating down the hall.
Also, the majority of my random hits here are for people looking up "lezzie", which I find kind of interesting. I'm not sure if I used an unusual spelling or something, but there's a new hit for it almost every time I check.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


I frequently find that, for a short period of time, one composer completely takes over my musical landscape. Last year it was Mahler. Right now it's Shostakovitch; I'm performing the 8th string quartet with my fabulous wonderful string quartet on Wednesday (in a bar, prefaced by most of a mass from the 14th century by Guilliame Machaut)and Sunday it's the 15th symphony with Civic. I don't know that much about that piece, but the first movement contains a clip from the William Tell overture that repeats over and over, so I'm sure there's some sort of story there. I don't mean to sound like I'm belittling it, because it's a great and lovely piece, but you have to admit that's kind of odd. Anyway, I'm very happy to be sharing a significant piece of my brain with Shosty right now, so no harm done.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

dreams of a better time

The end of last year and the beginning of this one has been kind of hectic so far. The last few days have included a lost wallet, some amazing good samaritans, the only truly enjoyeable new years eve I've had in a loooooong time, and a death in the family. I rang in 2007 in a taxi. But I have high hopes for this next twelve months despite the negative experiences so far. I hope I'm not mistaken.