A Glass of Chianti

Thursday, June 30, 2005


I've not been one to be bitten by the poetry composition bug. My adolescence is blissfully clear of bad poetry. The problem is that when I am visited by this terrible parasite, it tends to manifest itself in horrible Latin verse. This is a mixed blessing, of course. On the positive side, very few people can even understand the fruits of my labors. (Thank goodness for the relative "death" of the language!) On the negative side, however, the people that can understand the Latin generally have well-developed taste and understand how truly terrible it is. Those people don't give A's for effort.


I need an assignment

Preferably now. My humble home is clean and pretty. I've taken a Q-tip to my keyboard and cleaned off all the icky dust that had accumulated between the keys. My clarinet is happy and in its case with a new liner. I've sewn every button and hemmed every skirt that needed it. I've even given my cat a bath.

I'm not saying that I'm bored, because I have more than enough books to keep me happy. It's just that.... *sigh*

Surely this will pass before morning.

UPDATE: It has, indeed, passed! I now have planning and budgeting and wonderfully happy sighing to do. I also have stomach butterflies with whom I have to have a "Come to Jesus" talk and a dress that may need some simple altering. Truly, this is the most brilliant of all summer vacations. :)

If one wants to win my heart

one might try saying something like this in the course of a conversation:
I like cheese as an element of a larger food-item (i.e., pizza, cheeseburgers) but not cheese qua cheese (so no fried cheese sticks, no string cheese)*

It's just a little insight that some people might find helpful.

*Paraphrased (of course), however, qua really was italicized.

Google is so smart

It knows just where to find a nice Catholic girl.

Hopefully the person searching found what he was looking for here. ;)

Because it's my blog, and I can

What did one Algebra book say to the other?
"I've got lots of problems."

One last post on my new post

and how it relates to how I live my life as a Catholic. I promise, this is the last post on how happy I am about this job for the rest of the summer*. ;)

Growing up where I have, I've met a whole lot of people who proclaim with every breath that they are "living for Christ," or "empty vessels for Christ," or some variation thereof. In some of these cases it is absolutely true. They really do wake up every single morning and think about how they can bring one more soul to God. Unfortunately, these very sincere and wonderful people are drowned out by the hundred or so other people claiming to do the same thing, but who come across as shrill, or slimy, or hypocritical or worse. So often, when I hear somebody declare their love for God publicly, to my shame, I assume they are of this latter group of morons.

I feel incredibly uncomfortable declaring with my every breath that I am a Catholic. Some of it, I feel, is because I fall so short so often. A lot of it, though, is that I feel more confident living a life of quiet witness to the Church and hoping that my passion for knowledge and good humor and general lack of smarminess draw people in to learn more. I am a little ashamed that I can't evangelize more readily with emotion. On the other hand, it seems as if so many people have been exposed to and turned off by the overly emotional light shows of faith that a cooler approach will reach some others and that a piqued intellect will lead to an emotional connection, as it has in my case.

I feel exactly this way with music right now. I know a lot of teachers who are just insane with the joy that is music. They talk about music being just as important to them as the air they breathe. They talk about how they couldn't survive without music to get them through the day.

I talk about music differently than they do. For me, it's a matter of music relating to every other field. I've told my students that music is math - stylized math, but math just the same. I can't imagine knowledge being complete without music. For me, music is the glue that holds all the other disciplines together. That's not to say that there is no emotional component, of course, it's just that I don't seem to have the vocabulary to explain that as readily. I do, however, have the vocabulary to talk about what music is and how it works and why it is so cool. In some ways I hope to reach some kids that the overly emotional "music is everything" approach turned off.

Anyway, I hope that at the end of this year's experiment I can stand back and see what things are working and what things are not. Then, when I find out where I really want to take this pipe dream turned to reality, I'll have a head start in the theory and the application. I'm so lucky! :)

*This whole blogging experiment is a real novelty for me. I'm much more squishy on the blog than in real life and this newfound vulnerability is at once comforting and quite scary. Up to now I've been an optimist and a misanthrope at the same time - I think people, in general, are great, just not the ones that I've met. This whole "meeting" of people who really are great warms my optimist heart, and kind of softens the rest of me up... which leads to posts that are a little outside my cold heart's normal comfort zone. ;)

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Let's all travel back to 1996

1996 was a great year. I had just gotten my driver's license in February. I had my first e-mail address. The Olympics were held in Atlanta. I was young and silly enough to listen to the election returns in November and still have hope that Bob Dole would pull it out (seriously...*sigh*).

1996 was also the end of the age of listservs. A staple on these? "Clever" ASCII signatures, of course. Don't miss the "bigchief" and "tengwar" fonts. Seriously. I wish I would have had access to this during my Klarinet days...

Why I have spent any time at all playing with this, I have no idea. I feel like a 14 year-old with a spiral notebook and one of those cool multi-color clicky pens. Well, maybe that is why I played with it.

I just looked at my calendar

and realized that the Parker County Peach Festival is a week from Saturday. I'm coming home with a couple of baskets, certainly.

This means I'm going to be able to make peach ice cream. And peach cobbler. And lots more peach ice cream!

I am such a happy girl. :)

Unfortunate things to be caught singing in the shower

Well, there wasn't anyone else around, but I did catch myself singing "What a day, what a day for an auto-de-fe!"

I like my bosses

OK, I'm keeping this short because I haven't had a chance to talk through this with anyone yet and I've quite exceeded my word count for the blog. I'm really, really trying to be more brief...

Anyway, I have an opportunity that involves me picking up about 40 new students from another teacher in the area. 40 new clients (students)! 40 new bosses (parents)! 20+ more hours of lessons. :)

Obviously, this will involve a slight "restructuring" of my day schedule.

The really cool thing is that this "restructuring" will allow me to start a project that's been close to my heart for a couple of years now, but I have been unable to launch because of my daily commitments. I'm going to be able to offer free lessons at one or two of the less well-funded schools in my city. I've tried to set something like this up before, but it had to be after school - when most of the kids (due to bus routes and the like) couldn't do it. Now, however, I can do it during class time and..... I'm just so excited. :)

Oh my goodness!

I just took a call that, if I decide to accept the job offer, might make me a very, very happy girl. I have to go think about this... and buy groceries. Substantive update later this afternoon. :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Don't cheat!

I'm good at naming Supreme Court Justices. I can recite all the state capitals standing on my head. I'm awesome when it comes to the church modes.

I can only name 4 muses.


Who can do me better? Well, who's going to be the first, anyway? I know you all could do me better. ;)

No basketball for me, though

The pictures here make me want to head up to Alaska today.

For those who must work late...

Or who have questionable taste in humor...

Q: What kind of horse can be seen at night?
A: A Nightmare.

From "The Musical Ambassadors of the Army"

I had mentioned earlier that I got a CD with the Army Field Band playing Aaron Copland. I have a huge soft spot in my musician heart for anything Copland because, not only is his work great to listen to, his pieces are incredibly fun to play. One of the other reasons I really like Copland is that he has a great talent for transcribing for wind band. It's not as easy as just giving the clarinets the violin parts. For one, 12 clarinetists don't sound like 30 violinists. They may be as loud (louder, even!) but just transposing the line up a second isn't going to give you a pleasant result most of the time. Band orchestration is a post for another day... or maybe never.

I bought this CD at a used book store for a whole dollar. The service bands generally put out these CDs for educational purposes and they include detailed books with the liner notes. Sadly, my CD did not come with them, but as it was a dollar, I'm not complaining. I particularly enjoyed hearing a "Down a Country Lane" which, though not a composer transcription, is remarkably well-done. This is a short, simple piece that takes an understated melody and just moves it through different textures in the band. It's kind of an exercise in earnest, restrained beauty.*

The "Circus Music" of The Red Pony Suite makes the Eb clarinet player's heart beat faster in anticipation and dread. ;)

What I really appreciated, though, was the inclusion of two pieces for band with narration. In both Preamble for a Solemn Occasion and Lincoln Portrait we're treated with Charles Osgood. I doubt that any person in the U.S. who has played in a band who has not played the Walter Beeler transcription of Lincoln Portrait at least once. It's great. The narration (in four sections) is selected quotations from Lincoln. The rhetoric is soaring, perhaps a bit self-consciously so, and beautiful.
Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history.... The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation

The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise with the occasion.

And, of course,
that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

The music in the background is appropriately sorrowful, but ultimately hopeful. It swells and the piece ends on an optimistic note. I love this piece. The great thing is that the music augments the narration, but that it doesn't need the narration to be soaring or accomplish its goal.

Contrast that to Preamble for a Solemn Occasion. The narrated text is from (I love Google) the United Nation's "Universal Declaration of Human Rights."
We the peoples of the United Nations,
determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,
which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind,
and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights,
in the dignity and worth of the human person,
in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small,
and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims.

Lincoln it is not.
Even more disturbingly, though, the music that accompanies the words is rather bland and generic. I felt neither the presence nor the effects of war at the beginning, and when the narration began, it seemed to come out of nowhere and lecture to me completely independent of the background. I was a little unimpressed, but glad that it was included as the contrast with Lincoln Portrait was interesting.

Anyway, I'll be skipping the UN lecture, but I'll make up for it by repeating "Happy Ending" from The Red Pony Suite twice. My three minutes are really better spent that way. ;)

*I do feel bad for the trombones, though, it seems as though they have nothing to do. They'd probably throw spitballs at the conductor in rehearsal.

Monday, June 27, 2005


So I was looking for an announcement about my brother's drumline winning the PASIC call for tapes blah, blah, blah. (Actually, it really is a big deal and I totally wanted to brag about my awesome brother). Apparently, however, both the PAS and TCU think that it is more important to enjoy their summer vacations than to update their websites. So, instead of an article concerning the awesomness of my brother and his drumming colleagues my gentle readers get a crappy band picture of the young man in question.

He's the one on the far right. He cleans up well. Really.

As promised

"Have you heard about those new corduroy pillows?
They're making headlines."

Whether near to me or far...

Life is grand here in Fort Worth for an incredible amount of reasons. It's ridiculous how much I'm smiling lately. Consequently, I'm spending less time on the computer and more time in the out-of-doors, despite the rapidly rising temperatures.

On deck in the next 24 hours:
A mini-essay on the Copland CD I referenced in this post.
Another stupid joke
Lots and lots of smiling

Sound good?

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Back from my trip

It was great! The high was only in the lower 90's and I have four bottles of wonderful wine. I had several hours to listen to some great music while driving and I am completely refreshed. There are very few ways that I can think of to make life better.

Now, I'm going to my TV to pop in Reservoir Dogs (what a Sunday choice, I know...) and imagine how it could have been just that much better if Mr. Blonde had been played by a girl.

Seriously, is there anything more delicious on film than a slightly off-the-hook woman?
Annie Wilkes?
Lady McBeth? (though, this is better)
Lady Kaede?

Friday, June 24, 2005

It's my first baton!

I've never been passed one before, though I have swiped certain memes just to answer in my journal. I'm so excited I can hardly type. Seriously! I'm giddy. :)

Total number of books I've owned:
Not many. Between 150 and 200, mostly in Latin or music textbooks. For everything else, I tend to use the library.

The last book I bought:
Confessions - St. Augustine. I looked for an illustrated Latin version, but I had to settle for this one.

The last book I read:
I haven't really finished a book in a while. I've been grazing on some of my summer favorites, though. Lots of Catullus and Ovid lately.

Five books that mean a lot to me (in no particular order):
I answered this here.

Total number of films I own on DVD and video:
I think the last count was 125. Yes, it's almost as large as my entire book collection. On the bright side, this means that any time I need a Kurosawa fix, I'm prepared.

Last film I bought:
Wim Wenders's Wings of Desire. I haven't watched it yet. I'm kind of saving it.

Last film I watched:

October Sky.

Five films that I watch a lot or that mean a lot to me (in no particular order):

I so can do this!
1. The Lion in Winter - Too many reasons.
2. Seven Samurai - Though my favorite Kurosawa is probably Ikiru, this was the first movie that I saw in college on my DVD player and it opened up an entire world of movies that I never knew existed.
3. The Secret of NIMH - A childhood favorite. I think that this is where my fascination with stories about duty and loyalty began...
4. Spirited Away captures that perfect age where magic and reason coexist. It doesn't happen for very long, because it's at the end of a child's embrace of magic and the beginnings of reason. I remember vividly when, in my life, reason started opening things up and it felt exactly like this movie looks.
5. Rushmore - Always wanted to be a Miss Cross, but I'm stuck with playing Margaret Yang.

If you could be any character portrayed in a movie, who would it be?
Heh. Anybody but Margaret Yang. ;) Seriously, though.... I think Eve Kendall leads a pretty fun life. Best. Proposal. Ever.

Total volume of music on your computer:

*sigh* A hair under 140 GB. Now, before we get all scared, about 65% of that is professional stuff - band concerts, wind symphony pieces and orchestra stuff. The stuff I listen to for leisure is only about 60 GB or so. There is some overlap, of course. For some reason, I just don't tend to listen to John Higgins arrangements for beginner band all too often outside of school...

Last CD you bought:
The U.S. Army Field Band - The Legacy of Aaron Copland. This is totally for leisure. "An Outdoor Overture" arranged for band is heaven!

Song currently playing:

Heh. Jeff Buckley - "Hallelujah"

Five songs I listen to a lot or that mean a lot to me:
It says "songs" so classical is out, I guess... ;) Without comment:
1. Mel Torme - "Midnight Swinger"
2. Bobby Darin - "Beyond the Sea"
3. Jack Jones - "This Could Be the Start of Something"
4. Nancy Wilson - "A Lot of Livin' to Do"
5. Frank Sinatra - "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square"

Five people to whom I'm passing the baton:
I don't have 5 people with blogs who read, so I won't spread the virus. If you answer it, though, just leave a comment or send me a little note and I'll set up a link. Sound like a deal?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to the shooting range for a couple of hours.

UPDATE: Coolness! Michael and Jamie answered back. :)

I got an e-mail Wednesday telling me that I'm boring

The author did say that I was boring, but since he doesn't know me in "real life" I really think he means my blog is boring. He's probably right, but I don't really care. I've been in this blogging business for *checking the calendar* less than a month now and I realize that I'm on my way to winning the award for "Most Self-Involved, Girl." Give me another couple of months and a screenshot of this blog will be right between to the photos of the "Best Hair" and "Best Dressed" couples. Am I sad my high school actually voted on those categories? Yes I am. Am I also a little sad that the only title I landed was "Most Republican" and that it didn't make the yearbook? Not so much. ;)

Frankly, though, I don't imagine things are going to change much around here, though I do hope my writing evolves. I write like I talk (slowly), and I tend to meander from topic to topic. I started this blog because I wanted a place to go where I could talk about my favorite movies and girlish crushes on TV stars, dead Presidents and other bloggers*. I wanted to explain how modern art and I get along, and why we sometimes fight. I've been working my way through a post that details why Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time is the most awesomely Catholic composition ever, but why I can't seem to embrace it. Basically, it's a lot about what interests me. It's kind of lame, I know. There are bigger and more important things happening in the world, but... there are bigger and more important minds out there to tackle those things. I'm just having fun here and I hope that my stupid jokes and winding thoughts show that it's possible to be Catholic, more than a little nerdy and really fun all at the same time. If I'm very lucky, someone else will appreciate my posts, too.

Anyway, you'll get two more posts from me today after this and then nothing until Sunday because I'm going to buy me some good Texas wine and take advantage of the fact that I have no obligations at all until September. I'm sorry this one reader thinks this little slice of the internet is a "black hole" on another more well-known blogroll, but I kind of like who I am and what this place is and I'm not likely to change for a someone who won't just hit "Next Blog" on the blogger header. ;)

*I'm 3 for 3 in getting a response in the blogger category. And I only had to stalk one of them!

I'm trying to figure out where I'm going to be picking grapes

I have it narrowed down to two wineries that I have visited and love. Basically, you spend one day picking grapes (go volunteer manual labor!) and you get to take home some grapes or a bottle of wine from last year. I'm torn between these two places:

Spicewood Vineyards
between Burnet and Marble Falls. It's run by a husband and wife who are retired schoolteachers - soooo cool. The wines were not overly stunning, but they were pleasant, and the operations were great.

The other is Texas Hills in Johnson City* where the wines (especially the Orange Moscato! Mmmmmmmm) were brilliant, but I was less in love with the people running the facilities.

I'm leaning toward going to Burnet and laboring, but driving down to Johnson City to get some wine tomorrow. Do I have a problem that the prospect of driving 240 miles for wine doesn't really deter me? Surely, I'm not crazy.

*Yes, that President.

Most little girls, I hear,

Spend a lot of time dreaming of their wedding day. Not me. I spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about my grown-up house. It had an aquarium and a garden and a study with a heavy desk and a big American flag on one side and a Texas flag on the other. My dream house has been evolving through the years and now I've gotten my dreams to a more practical size (it was a really, really small house - 6 rooms) though, still with some big flags.

I never paid much attention to the kitchen of my dream house. Today, though, I found what is to be the centerpiece of my kitchen. Insanely detailed instructions are here. I'm so excited at the prospect I can hardly invest my savings fast enough. Who needs travel when you have Dr Pepper on demand?

While we're talking about detailed instructions, my brother had promised to make me one of these this summer, but has yet to even start. If he doesn't deliver by the end of August, I know what I'm spending my Christmas vacation constructing.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


My wonderful cat got ahold of my rosary and ate it. Pieces of it, anyway.

How am I going to be able to figure out how long I should meditate on the Transfiguration, now?

Mood: bitter

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Lists are always fun

I'm shocked (shocked!) that my favorite movie quote ever was not even included in the list.

I'd hang you from my nipples, but you'd shock the children.

You'd be surprised how often this gets muttered half under my breath at work. Well, actually, you'd probably not be surprised at all.

I was going to write a post praising chocolate lip gloss

But then I thought of something even more shallow!

I went to the best eating establishment in the city.
This is what I had for lunch.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Is that grease soaking through the paper wrapper? Yes. Yes it is.

Lunch at Kincaid's: $4.15
Amon Carter Museum: FREE
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth: FREE
Large snowcone for dessert: $1.25
Reading in the park with kids and duckies all around: FREE

I so love the summer! :)

Another person who hates sweating

The Korea Baseball Organisation (KBO) took action after Doosan Bears pitcher Park Myung-hwan's cap fell off during a game last weekend, revealing his secret cooling agent.

"I'm sensitive to the heat and my wife recommended I put frozen cabbage leaves under my cap to cool my head"

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

One bad thing about summer

Is that my drawl comes back.* I've worked hard at various points in my life to disguise my native accent because, well, people tend to make fun of it. I've done a great job with it because there are people I've known (some for years) that haven't heard me in full-on Texas mode. I don't do a ton of talking in the summer so it tends to creep back slowly and unexpectedly. Indeed, today was my first phone conversation since before Memorial Day and my Utahan friend kindly pointed out the return of the accent**.

*sigh* I guess I should start reading people's blogs out loud to counteract this embarrassing situation.

Or I could just sound like a Texan for another couple of weeks...

*It also returns during the rest of the year if I'm
a) sleepy
b) around other drawlin' people for an extended period
c) drinking a bit
d) nervous
**Which is a lot like me pointing out that she's pregnant. :P

Only because it surfaced in comments

In this post.
You got the way to make me happy...

(Via my favorite mode, but don't tell the Phrygian...)

Sad songs: (Mostly) Texas edition

Over at Eve's, Amy's and Jamie's they're talking about sad songs. So, with a significant slant toward the Lone Star State, here are a few:

Hank Williams - Cold, Cold Heart (Man.... "A memory from your lonesome past keeps us so far apart/Why can't I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold, cold heart?)
George Strait - Amarillo by Morning, You Look So Good in Love, Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind? (Doubly sad because the slutty girl is in Dallas... Dallas!)
Bobby Darin - Eighteen Yellow Roses (Really, though, I misinterpreted the song the first 20 million times I heard it so, I have this weird disconnect when the song comes up randomly on the computer. I kind of like my original reading better... I'm notorious for just completely missing the points of simple things. I need blunt not nuance, it seems. ;))

One song that always gets me to crying, yet is not sad, is George Strait's Love Without End, Amen. (Who hasn't disappointed their dad and really needed to hear this?)

Monday, June 20, 2005

A milestone

Today, I received my first e-mail asking questions pertaining to the blog. This is a most exciting experience for me as I am a lonely and bored young lady. The writer wants to know:

1) Why Chianti as opposed to, say, merlot in the title?
2) Why do I "waste" my summer leisure time with Latin verse?

The answers:
1) Chianti, like the author, goes well with BBQ. (Plus, it's my favorite wine, by far)
2) It keeps me distracted so I don't have as many dirty thoughts about John Larroquette.

I'm here to serve.

I wish I could draw

Sidewalk art

Via a livejournal friend teaching in China (!)

I would have gone to the museum today

But, like a dork, I didn't remember until I was almost downtown that The Modern is closed on Mondays.
If it weren't Monday, I would have seen this. I would have sat on the bench that is close by and looked at this for a while. One of my favorite pieces in the whole collection is this, but I couldn't gawk for an extended period of time because it's Monday. Not only was I denied access to the most awesome room in the museum (featuring this sculpture), I couldn't see the sunflower right across the room. *sigh*

Oh well. I went to see the Flavin retrospective and I'll likely be one of the first in line to see the Robert Bechtle retrospective being installed right now on the top floor. I guess I shouldn't be so bitter.

So after I waxed my car I went to the park and read some awesome Latin verse instead of going to the museum. I guess I can live with it. ;)

Where it began/I can't begin to know when

Let's say you were given a completely unexpected bonus for good work that was equal to approximately two months of your regular salary.

What should you do with this new money?
What would you do with the fortunate windfall?

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Underplayed Clarinet Lit for $100, Alex

From time to time, usually by one of the parents of my students, I'll be asked what my favorite piece for clarinet is. It's an incredibly difficult question to answer. My favorite piece when I'm listening to somebody else playing is, far and away, Camille Saint-Saens's Sonata. It's delicate and subtle and each time I hear it, I hear something new. You walk a tightrope, though. The first movement can drag. If this happens, there is no goodwill left to carry you through to the end of the fourth.

The best piece written for clarinet is almost unquestionably Mozart's Concerto*. Because the concerto is undeniably great, and the parent has undoubtedly heard of Mozart, I usually answer with the concerto. Plus, it is buckets of fun.

If the questioner really is wanting to know my favorite piece to play... That's easy. I love to play the Rondo from Bernhard Crusell Second Concerto. It's not Great Music like I learned in music school. It has.... Melodies!.... Harmonies!....Major scale runs!** I love it for the most completely shallow of reasons - because it makes me feel great when I play it. It's heady and I feel a little out of breath when I'm done. It's not unlike that first moment off the plane when I finally get to my destination. It feels like I've arrived just in time for something magical to happen. It feels like that one split second before a first kiss, in much the same way, I guess.

But, you talk about semi-obscure Finnish composers and people think you're nuts and shouldn't be trusted with their kids. So, I answer Mozart. I don't feel like I'm telling a lie and that night after lessons are done, I go home and play the third movement of Op. 5 in the closet. It's a pretty good arrangement, I've found. ;)

*Though, we should open the door just a bit. The "Parto, parto" aria from La clemenza di Tito surely needs the clarinet obbligato as much it needs Sesto. Meh, that's the clarinetist talking ;) Still, though, it's glorious.
**I should note that I also play Hindemith's Sonata for fun too often for a sane woman. Go figure.


Q. What did one strawberry say to the other?
A. "If you weren't so fresh last night, we wouldn't be in this jam."

Saturday, June 18, 2005


The angel on my Republican shoulder: "Be frugal: Eat the salad you made for lunch yesterday."
The devil on my Libertarian shoulder: "You have money: Go get some barbeque."


The post in which I reveal my biggest character flaw

OK. I know that up to now, loyal readers have been treated to a running feature on how Sarah is pretty average in every way. (I do compensate for this overwhelming averageness by going overboard in my obsessions so at least I'm exceptional in that regard.) There is one thing, however, that I really, really wish I could change about myself.

I check the church bulletin to see at which Mass the children's choir is singing so I don't accidentally end up there.

Now, the people who know me in real life, if they were to find this out, wouldn't be terribly surprised. My fellow band director said to me after watching me teach a sectional that I seemed to be talking to the students like they were my college colleagues. I didn't realize that, at the time, he thought this was a bad strategy. Meh. My kids are smart and in high school. If I thought they were incapable of understanding, I'd change my technique. Additionally, I have a reputation as being a tiny bit of a misanthrope. They know I like my kids, my students, but everyone just kind of assumes that I make an exception for them. I don't, but I can see how my method of teaching can kind of lead them in that direction. In any case, they're wrong. Most of the kids are smarter, and it's just that I like them better than I like my colleagues. ;)

Anyway, the real reason I check the schedule is because I can't stand the clapping that the congregation does for every single word that comes out of the choir's collective mouth. It drives me crazy. I don't think holy thoughts while at Mass with the children's choir. I know that this is something that I need to change. I should just be able to let it go. I know that the people in the church aren't trying to irritate me, but.... I just can't seem to fix it. So, I go to a different Mass. It's a small price, I guess.

Now, this is a character flaw that I know that I will have to eventually fix. I know that I will find myself in church one Sunday watching my own son or daughter sing in the children's choir. I will look fondly at the choir loft and think about how great God's gifts are. I also know that the second the choir director lowers his arms and while the rest of the congregation claps away, I'll be digging my nails into my husband's hand to supress the boiling rage inside my chest.

Of course, my poor children will probably inherit their mother's allergies, terrible eyesight and tone-deafness, so if I'm lucky I won't have to worry about that children's choir thing. ;)

Related to the previous topic

Surely I'm not the only person of a certain age who was really introduced to Billy Joel via the theme of Dave's World. I was about twelve or so. That's not terribly lame, right?

My parents, bless their hearts, did try to keep me away.

Friday, June 17, 2005

So, How Does a Nice Catholic Girl...

...handle a request for "Only the Good Die Young?"

By playing the hell out of the chart, of course. (Let's leave aside how I got involved in the request for this tonight...)

Frankly, I've never really understood the whole special plane of offensiveness that this song sits on with some. Sure, the subject matter is not exactly appropriate for consumption on a regular basis. Really, though, we never do know if Virginia caves in to the exhortations of the speaker. I'm a little skeptical that she would. For me, it all comes down to this verse:

You got a nice white dress and a party on your Confirmation.
You got a brand new soul,
Mmmm, and a cross of gold.
But Virginia they didn'’t give you quite enough information.
You didn'’t count on me
When you were counting on your rosary.

Would any woman be swayed by a man who said, "Hey, you have a great dress?" I mean, it's not like he said she looked good in the dress. The fact that he noticed the dress before the, I'm sure, beautiful Virginia makes me wonder about him a bit...

Now, two lines later could be the key. If he's referencing William Jennings Bryan, I might be able to erase the questionable tone of the previous line. In fact, he'd probably get me one baby step closer to sleeping with him, but... somehow I doubt that Billy Joel is doing that here. He, in fact, didn't give me "quite enough information," and so I'd have no choice but to tell him to go on his merry way and attempt to seduce some other girl.

If my friends are right and every girl has (at minimum) one guy who tries to seduce her, I really hope my experience is better than this one. Billy Joel is certainly no Jonah Goldberg.

Scene in a bar

"How's it going, Joe? We haven't seen you here for a while," the bartender asked.
"Actually? It's not going well. I'm looking for a new job."
"What happened to the one at the spice factory?"
"Oh, that? It was seasonal."

Sadly for my three readers, the lame jokes will continue. I'm having fun, even if no one else is. ;)

But What if Noah/Had Just Said, "No Sah?"

Number 1 is the lie. I only have two pairs of cute black high heels.

I really was hit by a car on the Key Club trip to the state convention. It was the first day, and a the group from our school was walking (in the crosswalk, with the walking light!) across the street so that we could all make phone calls back home and tell our parents that we were safe and sound 400 miles away from home. I came away with a couple of broken ribs and some great medicine that, I'm told, made the following Monday when I was back at class really entertaining.

Michael is right, I talk about my personal life way too much here. The less said about number 2, the better. ;)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Parlor Game Time

Two truths and a lie - the game that we used to play at the beginning of every marching season to get to know the new members. Completely innocent at first, then when college comes.... it was a different experience. ;) Anyway, off we go. Two of these statements are true, but one of them is a lie.

1. I have more than 4 pairs of high heels in black.
2. I have kissed no more than 2 men in my whole life.
3. I was hit by a car in high school on a Key Club trip.

So, which one is the lie?

On the sidebar

I really wish my weather pixie would wear clothes that matched. She's kind of making my blog look low-rent. Would it kill her to not wear red, black, green AND purple?

This place is starting to look a lot like my former internet home

I'm quite shallow in comparison to Mr. Philosopher, Jamie.

List five things you most miss about childhood:
1. Otter Pops
2. Socks with little frillies on the cuffs
3. Being able to read in a tree all day long
4. My black patent leather Mary Janes (but not my saddle shoes)
5. Firing Line

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

It's getting too hot for this

3:00 and 99 outside. It's finally summer weather, meaning my wanderlust should be kicking in any day now. *sigh*

I spent the cool part of the day with a couple of books out at the park. On my way, I stopped in at the better supermarket in town to get a bottle of wine. I picked up a nice little Riesling and went on my way, leaving it to finish chilling in the salt water and ice bath in the cooler in the back seat.

I did violate my rule and spent over $10 on the bottle, though. Still, it was a nice purchase. I loved the floral notes as I smelled it. The honey undercurrent was a bit cloying after a couple of drinks, but it was well balanced by some chalkiness at the front. Overall, I'm happy and not sorry I spent an extra dollar.

Unfortunately, the weather turned hot fairly quickly and, as I hate sweating, I sought out air conditioning. These little trips to the park or the lake will come less frequently, but I do live for the couple of weeks that the weather is tolerable for outdoor enjoyment. There is nothing better than a day at the park with some books and a bottle of wine. It's just too bad that spring lasts for precisely 23 days in Texas.

Right outside of Fort Worth

Some cattle are standing in a field on a windy day. All of a sudden, a huge gust of wind comes along and all the cows fall over, but the bulls just stand there, bracing themselves against the gale.

The cows are annoyed, but they stand up and go back to eating the grass. Soon, though, a tornado comes and knocks all the cows over again. Shaken up this time, the cows begin to get concerned for their safety and wonder if they should move closer to the barn, so they have some protection from the weather.

They take a vote, and the group is split right down gender lines. The cows are outraged. One of them asks the dominant bull why they are so unconcerned with their safety.

He answers, "We bulls wobble, but we don't fall down."

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Christenings of Instruments

I was sitting in the waiting room of the car parts store waiting for the Debaucherymobile to be fitted with new and glorious tires. I can't say that I was overly interested in the lovely magazines they had sitting out for the customers to read and being underprepared for the couple of HOURS it took to fix my car and get it road-worthy, I just kind of sat there chatting with the other customers. In the midst some small talk I thought, "I should have brought Warren with me so I could have been productive."
Warren is my clarinet's name. As a major manufacturer of clarinets is Buffett, Warren is a natural choice for hundreds of girls. He's probably outnumbered 10 to 1 in the number of Jimmy Buffetts out there, but the Warren contingent is where the real power in the section is, anyway. One thing never fails, though. The clarinets that are named have all been male names. I know a Joe Clarinet, an Auguste, a Peter.... all men! Maybe it's just a crazy localized thing, but a lot of people (not just clarinetists) I met while attending my music school named their instruments. You form a relationship with your instrument. Sometimes you fight. Sometimes you seem perfect for each other. Some days it's just best to take a break after seeing one another every day for nine hours. I know that musicians are considered neurotic and this only supports the stereotype, but I think this practice is really harmless.

Brass instruments across the board are named after girls, I imagine. In the French Horn's case, it's a natural selection. What is more feminine than the way a French Horn looks?
Tubas are named after women probably for the same reason that boats are. This is not to say that the players themselves are feminine, just that the instruments just scream, "Name me after a girl!"
Flutes? Girl names, no question.
Saxes? I'm not sure. The only saxophonist I know who has named his calls her "Julie" for reasons that he won't detail. I lean toward girlie names, but that's subject to more revision after some additional thought.
Though the instruments in the battery would probably be take masculine names, I don't think any percussionist would dare name their snare. The keyboard percussion instruments, however, are just obviously girls. Mindy the Marimba. Vicki the Vibraphone.

Here’s where I get stumped, though. The clarinet and oboe, to many people from a distance, look very similar and yet I think that oboes would have girl names. Maybe it’s the logo of one of the manufacturers, Lorée, that is affecting my judgment. The L is swoopy and very feminine. Adding to this overall picture of femininity, you have an acute accent on the e. No manly name would have that. Well, Mel Tormé, but his surname started with a strong T. Look at another major clarinet manufacturer’s logo and see the difference in Ls. This builds the case, I believe, that an oboe would take a feminine name.
And the bassoon? It looks like an insect to me. I have no idea.

No matter

How many social situations are awkward because I spent much of the '90s not exactly engaged in the pop culture, I feel better knowing that at least I have no first-hand recollection of exactly how many Spice Girls there were.

Monday, June 13, 2005

I need a new plan

Well, since the Texas Lottery Commission won't let me play the lottery with my lucky numbers (even though I have PROOF that they are, indeed, lucky) I'm back to square one in my quest to finance my dreams.
Sure, I could invest in an aggressive diversified fund, but what kind of fun is that? Why would I want to put my economic training to work when I could have just won the lottery?

My fortune cookie at lunch

"Your dearest wish will come true.
Lucky # 7, 29, 29, 39, 41, 43"


Sunday, June 12, 2005

Let me begin by saying

Smart guy: Angus
Neither smart nor a guy: Sarah

Now that that's over *sigh* I have to do something that I hoped never to have to do. I must address Family Guy on my blog. You have no idea how much this breaks my heart.

I realize that I am the only person in the world under 30 and over 15 who doesn't worship at the altar of Seth MacFarlane. I know this because every time I'm over at somebody's apartment and a commercial comes on promoting the show, everyone in the room turns around and gasps for air in order to prepare to laugh. Frankly, I do too. Unfortunately for me, the laugh does not come.

The reasons for not liking Family Guy are adequately addressed by people who are much better writers than I am. They are more observant, and generally cooler, too.

Listen, I like low-brow humor as much as the next guy (I've watched the Houston Astros play...). The problem is that Family Guy isn't aiming for low brow. Sure some of the gags are, but I get the sense as I watch that the show is going for "insightful social commentary" with some envelope-pushing profanity. I would like the show more if they would just embrace the dirty comedy and forget the rest. Somehow, I don't think that's going to happen. The people involved with the show and the fans I know are just too convinced that they are pulling the wool over everyone's eyes with smart writing. References alone do not wit make, and I really don't think any thinking person would describe *anything* about the show as nuanced. Frankly, I like my funny like I like my compliments: accurate, sincere and copious in amount. Some perspective? I am just as satisfied in the humor in an evening of Family Guy as I am in the compliments I've received lately.

When I have to work to find something funny, I lose interest very quickly. It's not entertaining. I'm sorry.

What is entertaining? Arrested Development, because they aren't afraid of bad puns, and ridiculous situations. Family Guy seems to want to be grounded in reality and at the same time not be restricted by it at all. It just doesn't work.

If you don't mind, I'll be content watching shows with lines like "Oh, look at me 'getting off,'" and "I blue myself again," rather than "Holy crip, he's a crapple." I'll still watch Family Guy waiting for it to be funny because whenever I find myself on Sunday night somewhere other than my apartment, I'll want to be part of the cool crowd.

Found while cleaning up my bookmarks

It's not perfect, but it will help waste time. That's what the summer is all about, right? ;)

Guess the dictator or sit-com character

Who's gonna fan ya? Who's gonna peel your grapes?

I'm not much of a cat person. I own one, but it's one of those things that happened without much of a choice. Coco was a tiny kitten caught in a rainstorm and crying under a window at 5:30 in the morning. She was too little to be away from her mother, who she had clearly lost. The plan was to take her inside, get her dry and then get her to the Humane Society the next day.
Days are long here in Texas - it's been over a year.
Topping it all off, I have allergies. I diligently take my medicine and Coco and I have an arrangement that she doesn't sleep on my pillows. So, obviously, after a year of being a good cat, where do I find my cat this afternoon after church?
Yeah. We exchanged looks. I won, and then I sang her some Mel Torme as I put her in the living room.
This is what I get for being vulnerable.

What? I can't find lyrics to the song in the subject header. What good is this Internet thing?!
Meh. Go here. There has to be a contemporary song that hits that tone - "If you're so awesome, why are you so lonely?" Any ideas?

Saturday, June 11, 2005

A word about the previous post

I had an experience today that was, truly, one of the most bizarre of my entire life. I had written a post referencing, but not describing(!), it to go in my LiveJournal and then quickly realized that even the mention was... just too much. This caused me to think about the nature of blogging and my motivations behind this blog while I was eating dinner.

What am I trying to accomplish with this?

Well, frankly, I didn't get too far. But I did discover that though the details of my personal experience today are too much to post anywhere, my bad prose isn't. The freedom to be terrible that the blogging medium allows is stunning. We're all very lucky. ;)

There are no rules with hot dogs*

If you want to know the way to my heart, it is through that most glorious of one-dish meals**. This reveals (at least) two things about me.
1. I have a very unsophisticated palate when it comes to meat and
2. I'm a cheap date.***
When people ask me what I'’d like to eat when I'm a guest, I generally say that hot dogs sound like a great idea. This is usually followed by a chuckle and then a look that says "No, really. What would you like to eat?"” Philistines!
The hot dog is a beautiful (if neglected) genre of food. The sausage itself may be made from any number of meats from beef to veal and can be seasoned accordingly. The pairing of meat to bun is as highly rewarding as matching a wine to a cheese. A good choice will enhance the texture and flavor of the meat while bringing a certain structure to the meal. Though many hot dog eaters will claim that what makes the hot dog lies in the toppings, true connoisseurs know that it is the binding bread that can catapult a mediocre meat to an interesting culinary experience.
There are excellent options in the way of toppings as well, and those should be considered carefully when choosing the construction of the meal. One must avoid toppings that overpower the meat flavor, and much care should be taken so that the bun selection brings out the complementary flavors of any condiments. If the bun is the binding mechanism, the toppings create the atmosphere of the meal.

*The only rule is that which governs the subcategory of corn dogs. These must only be adorned with mustard, if anything at all.
**The most glorious of meals not limited to one dish is one that involves chicken-fried steak.
***Well, I hypothesize I would be a cheap date, as the sample size of relevant experience is so small I am not able to draw a reliable conclusion.

Last night I dreamt of Bernard Herrmann

Well, sort of. The subplot of my dream involved me working feverishly to finish an arrangement of the main titles of North by Northwest for marching band. Why my subconscious thought this was a good idea, I'll never know.

Friday, June 10, 2005

A funny, if uneven, place to waste time

Random Joke Generator

I should be breaking in some reeds, but I just can't stop clicking.

I didn't settle

A couple of days ago in a bookstore I ran into a guy who attended high school with me. It was a strange meeting for a variety of reasons (one of which being that I couldn't remember his last name for the life of me. I did, however, remember what instrument he played in the band). His wife went to the "rival" high school, but I knew her because she played the clarinet as well, and we sat near each other one year in All-Region band. I asked how they were doing, what was going on... the things you talk about when you meet someone you haven't seen in six years in a random encounter.
He asked me what was going on and I told him I taught music. I could tell he was a little surprised because he said, "Wow! That's surprising. Everyone thought you were going to be really successful."
I knew what he meant, and he didn't mean it as a slam on my current profession. He went on to say that he was sure I was a great teacher and that my students were really lucky to have me. Blah, blah, blah. I get something along these lines fairly often. I think it's because people don't think you go into music unless that's all you have going for you. Music is kind of the last resort of career choices. This reputation is fair, to a point. The job opportunities for classical musicians aren't very varied or plentiful. You spend an incredible amount of work preparing for a job that isn't ever going to be lucrative (or even likely to put you much above the poverty line). There are hundreds of (qualified) people who try out for each opening in an orchestra. One has a better chance of playing football professionally than playing in an orchestra for a living, I imagine. And frankly, from the people that I met while attending an extremely well-respected music school, many of them don't have anything else "going for them" that they can "fall back on." It's a bleak prospect, but the people making these decisions to study music do it with their eyes open and lots and lots of passion.
To be fair, my classmate's surprise possibly came from the fact that I was known more for my politics than for my clarinet playing. Some of this was due to the fact that I was much more vocal about my love of politics than my love for music due to my (always) unrequited crushes on guys who were much more into politics and/or philosophy than music. In fact, it's still that way... and my crushes are still unrequited. *sigh*
I, for one, didn't settle for a career in music. I turned down the prestigious college acceptances and generous scholarships to "better" schools to go to the school I did because I wanted to study music. I wanted to go to the best place possible for that and I was lucky enough to study and play with great people while I was there. I practiced (and still do) 8 or 9 hours a day because I want to get better at an instrument which helps me to express things that are impossible to say with words. I am happy to be able to go into my job and say truthfully and honestly that there is nothing else that I'd rather do. My students are the most awesome students of clarinet anywhere. I turned down the things I did because they can't compare to the joy that music brings me.
I know the field isn't for everyone, and I know that even some people who really want to can't make a living in it, but it is the field for me, and I'm incredibly happy to have the choice to participate in it.
The only thing I regret is had I gone to one of those "better schools" I probably would have learned some punctuation rules. And how to edit for clarity. Those things would have been nice...

Thursday, June 09, 2005

An update, of sorts

In my ongoing quest to model my life after Alan Greenspan,
(Step 1: Take up the clarinet
Step 8: Be denounced by Objectivist friends...)

I have spent the day arranging "Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me)", and "Old Black Magic." I think I'm a little behind schedule, but I'll be able to make up some time because I've decided not to date Barbara Walters.

When you were in school, you knew your teachers spend their summers this way, right?

One of my favorite jokes:

A skeleton walks into a bar.
He orders a pitcher of beer and a mop.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

I've spent more time than I'd like to admit

Playing with this today.

My mom's eyes: Green
My dad's eyes: Blue
My eyes: Blue
No green eyed siblings.

Probabilities are fun!

It's better than my usual online leisure activity of plugging things in the inflation calculator. Nobody finds that cool except Terry Teachout. (I'm not saying that it's a bad thing to be like Mr. Teachout. If modeling my life after Alan Greenspan doesn't work out, TT's my back-up plan).

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Guess the theme

These are the movies I have on deck for this weekend. Guess the theme of my mini-film festival.

October Sky
Reservoir Dogs
The Hidden Fortress

Phil the Pill?

Doesn't this just make you feel all warm and fuzzy?

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

More here.

Quick, get the kids for a great photo op!

Really. Who is the audience for this? Plush characters generally aren't designed to appeal to the older set. If you're old enough to use what this is advocating, you probably don't need a big white Wintergreen Life Saver (sans hole, of course) pleading your case on the Hill. In fact, you probably should feel a little insulted.

Young girls? Do you really think that four-year olds need to be educated about the presence of The Pill? That's who these characters are for, after all. A visit to Disney World or Six Flags will tell you the traditional audience of this type of thing.

I don't do essays on Supreme Court decisions, so you'll hear nothing about Griswold v. Connecticut from me. I'm not a lawyer so any thoughts I had would likely be based on the politics that came from the decision, not actual jurisprudence. Count yourself lucky that I don't go on and on about law. It would probably be even more interminable than my (theoretical) musings on Dave Nelson or Peggy Noonan.

Yes, I know it's calculated for the buzz. I am just interested in the motives behind the desire to be noticed. Pro-choice or not, Planned Parenthood should give you the shivers.

Latin Makes Me Swoon

There are several reasons for this.

1. Nothing sounds better when muttered under your breath after an encounter with someone who frustrates you.
2. It's inflected!
3. It's consistent. Rules are made to be followed, and only occasionally broken.
4. You can listen to Verdi's Requiem with out even a glance at your program notes.
5. If everyone understood Latin, you wouldn't have the distraction of a couple of thousand people turning the pages in their programs every 10 minutes.
6. Latin is economical.
7. If you are someone who knows Latin, we can go out for dinner together. My treat. :)

See.... And this is only the beginning! Notice how I didn't mention SAT scores. I think that the way certain people "sell" the language to parents by mentioning a correlation between the two does more harm than good to the cause. Ditto band directors mentioning music and SAT scores.

Monday, June 06, 2005

To the strange man in the bookstore:

Apropos your loud conversation on your cell phone, Venice is like Disney World without the rides.

On deck for tomorrow:

How a nice girl like me came to love a dirty language like Latin.

And, possibly, what change I would suggest in the casting of Reservoir Dogs if I had a time machine.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

On Labels - I will take a Gimlet, after all

Part One in the series here. (See, tricks like that make it look like I've been doing this longer than I have. I could have just told you to scroll down one post, but I like to keep things sophisticated here).

Let's say that a guy walks into a bar and orders a lemon drop martini. OK. So, it's probably a girl that walks in and orders that. Fine. So this girl walks into a bar and wants a lemon drop martini. She asks the bartender if he can make one and he says that he could, but he doesn't have all of the ingredients on hand right now. (He's a crappy bartender). He says that she can wait until his assistant returns with the missing ingredients or he can try to make her something else. He suggests a plain martini. The girl says that she'd rather drink somewhere else and leaves. He didn't know enough about what she wanted to make a good suggestion, obviously. Now, say, an entire group of people walks in right after the girl. They all want some variation on a citrus-y drink. Even though he doesn't have lemons right then, he knows a little about the group and he can make enough drink variations with limes and oranges and such to keep everyone happy and spending money. He knows enough not to offer them plain martinis. He also introduces many of them to the elixir of the gods - the gimlet (a woefully underappreciated drink).

So why are labels important? Well, let's go back to the stadium. Let's say Our Favorite Guy has tickets in section A. He's in the highest seats in the stadium because the price is right, but he's situated such that he has an excellent view of third baseman Joe. The baseball season ends and the organization sends him a renewal notice for the next season. OFG notices that the ticket prices have dropped for the seats on the same level as his, but on the other side of the field. We know, because we had a lengthy conversation over a beer with OFG, that he isn't going to change his tickets to take advantage of the new price. He values the view of Joe at $X, he's probably not going to make the switch to a poor view of Joe for a price of $X-5. Other people in OFG's section might, though, if their choice of seats is based solely on price.

"Wait, Sarah!" I hear someone saying. "Why don't we talk about philosophy without labels, since the reasoning is the important thing, after all?" I'm getting there. I promise.

OFG is a guy that has something in common with his sectionmates. He may have more things in common with some than with others, but he likes his section and the people in it, or else he would have moved to a different section by now. Things that affect the section (as a whole) now will do one of two things: 1. They will inspire OFG to convince his section to take a certain course or 2. They will drive OFG out of the section entirely. This is important because you if you know why OFG is in the section, you can predict what his course of action is for a future event. Also, though, if you know why a sizeable group of people in OFG's section are there, you can probably predict what the section will do en masse.

Another guy in the stadium (let's call him Free Thinker Guy) declares that he is an independent agent and will not tie himself down to a section. He doesn't need lines! You have a problem. Without knowing where he stands (or sits, in this case) you can't possibly know what he will do when presented with a situation. FTG probably doesn't know, either, frankly. If he had a guiding philosophy, he would have found a section that best suited his needs by now and purchased season tickets in one section and benefited from the price break.. It makes sense, of course, unless FTG is just rebelling for the sake of being a rebel.

OFG may not agree with everyone in his section, but he has a guiding philosophy, and he makes sacrifices, knowing that he doesn't have to have the same opinion on every issue as the people in his section in order to be happy. It's enough just to have the best fit to serve his needs. FTG doesn't do this. Thus, when, as a group the stadium decides to tear down the section that OFG is in, the people in the section can protest in whatever way they see fit - not buying any more tickets, moving to a different section, etc. and possibly avoid an aesthetic disaster like that. FTG can only protest with his lonesome for any policy change that affects him, which isn't really (probably) going to make a difference to the stadium gods.

I get so tired when I have people that I talk to about politics say that they hate labels. Labels (sections) are good. If something happens you can harness the power of a group and try to direct the group's action, or you can leave and find another section that suits your needs. The best part is you don't have to change your philosophy to do it. It's just as good as being like FTG, but you have someone familiar to pass your nachos down the row. Allies. Everyone likes having friends.

So, when I get around to my "meet the illustrious blogger" post, you'll understand that when I say I'm a conservative, that doesn't mean I'm like exactly like any other given conservative, but that we conservatives share common values, up to a point. Ditto musician. Ditto nerd. Ditto Catholic. (OK, so that last one is a little different by definition. This will come out, eventually, I'm sure).

I say this just to avoid any unpleasantness that might arise, as it has in the past.

I promise I'll get better with the editing. I'm a little long-winded, it seems. Strange, as when I talk to my students, I feel like I don't get in any words at all. I think I'm pretty economical in lessons. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that my advice is, generally, "If you would have practiced that, you wouldn't have messed up the lick 5 times already." This is repeated, on the half hour for several hours each day. It's a tough job. ;)

On Labels - Not All Alcoholics Drink Gin

I'm involved in an industry (music education - double whammy!) where it is quite unusual to find a conservative. So unusual, in fact, that it is usually assumed by my colleagues that I am a Bush-hating intellectual when political discussions arise. Likewise, my friends from high school will often assume that I feel a certain way on a given issue, knowing my Republican cheer leading in the past, and bend the conversation in that direction. Indeed, when I mention that Atlas Shrugged was a pivotal book in my life, my libertarian-leaning friends think I am a kindred spirit who needs to break free from the shackles of the Republican party.

Now, all of this is a prelude to a (I imagine) recurring posting theme. It's been bubble gum for my brain for a while, and I think this new blog presents the perfect opportunity to go public with it and see where this thought meets its natural end.

I consider labels to be important, unlike a lot of people in my age bracket if you listen to the polls. We all have certain labels that describe us - daughter, Methodist, lawyer, fan, creative punctuationist - they all describe some role that we play or an aspect of our personality. Now, just because one is a mother, for example, doesn't mean that she is just like another woman who is a mother as well. They may have drastically different parenting philosophies. One woman might have become a mother and embraced it as a great blessing while another views her role as a cross to bear.

Not all mothers have sons.
Not all alcoholics drink gin.

I view labels, especially in the political world as seating sections at a baseball game. You can't know much about a man just because he sits in a certain section. You only know that he is sitting there. The important part comes if you can find out he chose that section. Ticket price? View of a favorite player in the outfield? Tradition? Proximity to an exit? In most cases, I imagine, there are a variety of factors that go into the decision. Maybe the man really like the third baseman but view the price of a ticket on the line as more important so he sits further up, but with a good view of his favorite player. In this case, you know what the man will and won't do (as a fan) based on his philosophy. He still has something in common with his section-mates (and more than likely, at least a couple of things) so you can draw a limited picture of the section, but you can't assume that just because a lot of people in his section sit there based solely on access to the snack bar that he did, too.

Inspired by real life events too boring to blog, yet too fascinating to ignore.

And so part one, in an occasional series, ends.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

You know who would have been an awesome blogger?

Calvin Coolidge.

That is all.

One of my not-very-useful quirks

is that I remember a lot about TV I watched when I was a kid. This would seem like the thing that would make me entertaining at dinner parties (oh, would that I be invited!) but I had decidedly different viewing habits from my contemporaries. Leaving aside that I watched Firing Line religiously all the way through elementary school and high school, I also had a knack for watching the shows that nobody in my age group picked.

Jake and the Fatman?
Perfect Strangers? Check.
Burke's Law? Check.
Major Dad? Check again.
My family watched Mission: Impossible instead of the Cosby Show.

I add that last part in because, at least in our house, we did watch TV as a family when I was a kid. I got my first TV in high school. It was an old, portable blank-and-white TV with a (maybe) 4 inch screen*. I could put it on my bed and watch television while I was studying for AP history tests. I watched a lot of Picket Fences in high school on that TV because my parents thought the show was "too weird." It probably was. I still liked it.

When I talk to my students about their television habits (because it comes up invariably that someone will want to reschedule their lesson because it conflicts with one of their favorite shows**) I don't get the sense that they watch TV with their parents, or even siblings. It seems everyone has a TV in their own room and that they don't have the negotiation sessions that I used to have with my brother and sisters. We used to alternate between watching Lois & Clark and Murder, She Wrote on Sunday nights.

Frankly, the members of my family were never exceptionally close to each other. However, I do remember nights where we would all sit on the living room floor and watch a couple of hours of shows together. My siblings and I would all silently roll our eyes when my father started talking back to the television. We would never say we were annoyed, but we would try to get across that point as best as we could. It never worked. My dad and I (and later my brother, too) would laugh at political jokes that were inserted into even the most banal of shows. Everyone else would roll their eyes at that. We were an eye-rolling family. But those eye-rolls were filled with love.

I know that my leisure time is filled with computer stuff now. I hardly watch TV at all. There are, probably, three or four shows that I watch with any regularity and if I miss them, I don't really feel like it's a big deal. But, the time that I invest in reading my blogs and watching the new funny animated thing and reading news headlines is really solitary. I can't imagine people being crowded around the computer monitor sharing anything at the same time for more than a couple of minutes watching the latest Strongbad e-mail. I think my students are like that, too. They don't seem to watch as much TV as I did as a kid (even though they watch more than I do now) and so I wonder what kinds of sterotypical moments they will remember when they "grow up." I think I was on the tail end of the whole "family night TV" thing. Something has to have taken it's place for the younger set. Right?

All of this is because I wanted to avoid another John Larroquette reference. I don't want to be known as "the blog of the hot girl*** unhealthily obsessed with Night Court." I do a lot of embarrasing things; I don't need to add to them with that.

*Now, I don't want you to be misled. This technology was hopelessly outdated, even then. I'm not that old.****
**Why they don't just tape it is beyond me. Even if they don't have TiVO, they could arrange something.
***Let me indulge in some wishful thinking. It's my blog, you know.
****Hush, you. 25 isn't old. Really.

Friday, June 03, 2005

I had grand plans for the first real day of blogging...

I was going to edit my template so it was suitable to my exacting aesthetic standards.
I was going to make sure that the blogroll was finished and organized to my obsessive-compulsive heart's content.
I was going to write an establishing "introduction to Sarah" post that would be fascinating and notable for clarity.

But, I've just had one of those days.

One of those days like Dan Fielding had the day of the city council election returns. You know the episode, right? He was running against a dead man. And losing.

Yes. It was one of those days. So instead of wit, you get a Night Court reference. This will surely bring the great men of the world to my little slice of the Internet. I hesitate to think what my students will feel when they eventually run into this. Probably that I'm even more of a hopeless dork than they already suspected.

Night Court was great, though. Really. I had crushes on Harry Anderson* and John Larroquette that lasted well into middle school. My contemporaries in elementary school were swooning over the guys in New Kids on the Block.

And so, it begins.

*This is not quite as sad as my (still lasting) crush on George Will. Yeah, I know...

Content forthcoming

I'm still kind of moving in here. The posts thusfar have just been plain-old cut-and-pastes from my journal. I'm trying to figure things out and get the magic happening.

Guys suck

I spent the early morning and afternoon at the lake, again.  Today's companion?  My first boyfriend (scroll down).  Unfortunately, he just kept talking about his first boyfriend.  It was all, "The Philosopher this," and "Aristotle says" that.  I started to get a little irritated after a while. 

You know,  I'm smart, too.  I'm interesting.  We never talk about me.  This one-sided relationship thing is really taking its toll.  It's frustrating.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


I have an update that will cause some great stress. Indeed, those readers ought not to continue until a stiff drink is on hand.

Ready? OK, take a deep breath.

Sarah has tan lines.

Let that sink in for a second.

All right. :)

I spent the day at the Lake Weatherford reading some Seneca and doing two chapters in my French grammar book. (My wine pairing talents are infinitely better than my language pairings, sad to say.) Frankly, it was too cold to swim enjoyably, but I don't feel bad in the least that I spent the day in the great Texas sun surrounded by a group of 14-17 year olds on summer break. I won't ask where their parents were, as they were good kids, for the most part. They did not find the water too cold. At one point, I thought about venturing into the lake again, but then I remembered that I was sane.
I am a *much* better Latin autodidact than French, I have found. This is the point where I should decide whether I want to continue beating my head against a wall or pick up Italian, instead. Those of you who know me well, will probably know what my decision will be: I'm likely to continue with the French. Maybe I'm not sane, after all.

*sigh* Off to watch some White. Mmmmmmmm. Polish with subtitles.