A Glass of Chianti

Friday, September 30, 2005

It's been a while since I've posted a stupid joke

And, as all my students know, I always have one ready... so:

Q. What did the mommy buffalo say before sending her oldest off to school?
A. "Bison!"

Ha! I kill me.

"Hey, will you make out with my girlfriend?"

I was sitting down to write this entry on why I think my students have a real problem with playing the French clarinet repertoire. (Summary: They tend to want to make the music profound. There's not one profound thought or philosophical expression in it - it's all atmosphere.) As I was doing it, however, it kind of occurred to me that, well, that's not really what I wanted to talk about. What I really wanted to do was complain just a bit and, since I live in this wonderful age, I could do just that with no repercussions! Yaaay!

That title up there is why I tend to drink at home as opposed to going out to do so. On four separate occasions some guy has approached me, asked what I'm drinking, engaged in some small talk and then out of nowhere asked that precise question. (To be fair, only two incidents involved the guy's girlfriend. The other two were requests to make out with other random girls at the bar). I realize that I'm kind of behind the curve on most social conventions, but when did that become an appropriate request? The fact that multiple guys have so nonchalantly asked means that, at least part of the time, this question has been met with an "OK." When did girls start doing this? It's not enough that I'm cute and dolled up and smart because, apparently, the ideal girl is one who is all of that and who will willingly help fulfill some guy's latent lesbian fantasies. It was bad enough when I felt moderately uncomfortable because I wasn't dressed as quite as provocatively as the rest of the girls (no matter where, it seemed). Now, I have to dress like a whore and kiss other girls to be attractive? I think I'll just make my own gimlets at home, thank you very much. The whole enterprise is just sad and desperate and full of lowest-common-denominator behavior.

Look, I've gotten to the point where I'm comfortable feeling out of place most of the time. I know that I'm pretty socially inept. I don't really feel like I belong in my church, I haven't had a consistent social group since I finished with college, my girlfriends are all married and are getting less and less diligent about returning my calls, and I'm coming to terms with the fact that I will probably never have a great circle of friends who like to talk about art and movies and anything that isn't written by the latest mega-church pastor. I don't care probably because I'm an odd person who is kind of content to cook mushroom tarts and try a new wine every couple of weeks. I know it makes me an incredibly lame person to say this but I really don't find the idea of kissing a random girl to be that exciting. I'm very sorry.

*sigh* What one writes about when one doesn't have a conversation partner for a couple of days...

Not to worry, though, for there is a stupid joke in the next entry! :)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

It's 65°?!

I came home to have some lunch and to watch (seriously!) the penguins in Central Park only to find that this blog has lots of power. A simple threat to use the Celsius temperature unit (just temporarily!) caused God to change the weather. We now know two things:
1) I'll stop complaining about the weather
2) God hates the metric system.

No turtlenecks yet, but I am wearing a very cute scarf to celebrate.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I thought it was fall already

On my way from one building to another at 4:00, I heard a report that it was 105° F outside. It was then and there that I decided to make the switch to Celsius for the rest of the summer. 40°ish doesn't sound too bad.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Strong Republican or borderline Capitalist?

You are a

Social Conservative
(33% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(85% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Strong Republican

Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Sunday, September 25, 2005

In a rare instance where real life is actually more interesting than a Futurama episode

Futurama: Space penguins
Real life: ROBOT space penguins

Very small things that are bothering me right now

Problem: I miss my mornings!

Solution: I think that if this lesson thing keeps working out, I'm going to need to change my schedule so that I can take a nap during the day. With a nap under my belt, I can stay up late and get up early.

Problem: I miss the sub-miserable temperatures. It's almost October and it's still 100?!! I know that I should be used to it by now but, well, I'm a wimp.

Solution: I have (oh, let's say) one month to befriend a Boy Scout, have him give me extensive notes on what to do once I'm there and plan a camping trip in Arkansas. Or Idaho. Or South Dakota. Somewhere both cooler and greener than Texas right now. If it doesn't get cooler by Halloween, just know that I've relocated.

Problem: My back hurts.

My previous attempts to teach my cat how to massage my back have been unqualified failures. I'm kind of stumped here.

Friday, September 23, 2005

I'm such the lucky girl

Jamie is so sweet to send this along.

I laughed at the dancing. Out loud, even. I was mildly disappointed that he wouldn't fulfill my order to die, but I understand that technology is limited.

A word of caution: A request for Stewie to eat might be a bad idea. Seriously.

UPDATE: Granted, it's my own fault for asking him to flirt... I'm going to shoot myself now.

Wherein I sound really old

If you want to know where that last post came from, it was spurred on by reading a couple of articles (and being around high schoolers all day ;)). One of them is here and the other I'm (apparently) not able to find right now. The important one is the one linked, but it is really only tangentially related.

I guess my problem with college is twofold:
1) An intensive liberal arts education should be happening earlier in life
and, relatedly,
2) It should be completely divorced from career-path training.

We hear all the time that students are coming to college unprepared, and that we need extensive and expanded remedial programs because high schools aren't doing their jobs. I'm willing to accept that as being true, as far as I can see. Here's one place, though, that I don't think it's wholly the fault of the schools. I blame lots and lots of parents who tell their children that they don't have to grow up. In fact, they go so far as to encourage really stupid behavior because, well, their children need to enjoy being children, right up until the age of 22, when they're finally done with college. Actually, they can continue acting like children and making irresponsible decisions much later, because nothing "really counts until you're older."

Guess what? High school kids are capable of making very good (and bad) decisions. You know what else? They're also quite capable of dealing with the consequences. High schooling, in my opinion (and because we're insistent that adulthood shouldn't start until 34ish), should be away from parents. I'm not talking across-the-country away as, in fact, I think that's a bad idea. I'm talking an hour's drive away. With mandatory weekends back with the parents. You aren't an adult when you're 16, but you should be able to make decisions (away from your parents), deal with the consequences (away from your parents) but come home to a place where the important things in life are.

Also, this way colleges aren't forced to claim that they are the protector and ideal provider of a liberal education. They can become what they are heading toward already - trade schools with distribution credits - in an honest fashion, and with none of the guilty conscience that comes with lying about their mission.

See? Everyone's happy.

The alternative is for parents to stop encouraging their teenagers to act like children. Being a grown-up is a good thing, not something that we resign ourselves to being.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

What we need is a return to apprenticships and trade schools

I'm very serious. Frankly, it's either that, or start being honest about the education we offer in colleges because, despite all the lip service, it's not a liberal arts education. Extradisciplinary exposure is relagated to a few distribution courses that are taken to pad your GPA, and the one question that you will hear over and over (from students, teachers, parents and everyone else) is "What are you going to do with that major?" They mean, of course, what jobs will you be prepared for when you graduate. You see, one doesn't go to college to learn about history (unless one is a history major*), or music (unless one is a music major), or any science at all (unless one is, well, majoring in science, and to do that one really needs to have attended a special science and math magnet high school). But, see, you need to know TODAY what you want to do after college, because you won't learn anything else besides what is required for the job you want to do. And, really, you need to know what you want to DO. NOW!

This is the problem with conflating knowledge and education and job prospects. Colleges are marketed to parents as the way to open doors for their children. By doors they mean, specificlly, career-related options. Do I blame them? Goodness, no! Colleges know their market - middle class familes desperate to provide the best for thier children. What's best, of course, is a well-paying job, a late marriage (heavens, not before 30!), a few childless years (so you can enjoy being an adolecent for a little longer) and one or two children (maybe) by the time you're 40. Anything else would be a waste of a good education and thousands of dollars.

This sucks. It's fine if colleges want to market themselves into a trade school position, but I'd at least like them to be honest about it. This mentality is seeping into the lower-level schools as well. Music is marketed to parents as a way to raise SAT scores (and we all know what that means - a better college!). Four years of sciences are required not because they are essential to know, but because "colleges like to see it on your transcript".

You know why you should study music? Just for the sake of learning and because it is by doing so that you get closer to understanding the mysteries and joys of life.
Why should you study math? For the sake of learning and because it is by doing so that you get closer to understanding the mysteries and joys of life.
Why should you study language? For the sake of learning and because it is by doing so that you get closer to understanding the mysteries and joys of life.
And. So. On.

A liberal arts education should be completely divorced from any mention of future career prospects. Career education is what trade schools are for. That's why you apprentice with experts. A career is not why you learn about the awesomeness that is Ovid.

*God help you with what you want to "do" with that degree!

Chances are

If you were a little fly on the wall in my bedroom at any time in the past few weeks, you would have witnessed my improvised (and, I imagine, quite funny-looking) attempts to keep my lower back from becoming a twisted mess. Lessons, and the accompanying sitting for too much of the day, have really knocked me flat and made much of the ordeal of sitting by the computer reading and answering e-mail a little unpleasant. I read a little, then get up and do a little stretching and repeat for a good hour or two after I get home. It also makes it hard to concentrate on, well, thinking. If I were ever to run for public office, my platform would contain a strong statement against the chairs in the band halls where I teach. Goodness knows they're great for an class period's worth of correct posture, but they really aren't nice to sit in for an extended period of time. We alternate sitting and standing in my lessons, which helps a bit, but I really, really am having to fight with my concentration and my poor, poor back.

That's a long way of saying that if I owe you an e-mail, I haven't gotten around to it, obviously. My weekends, not being filled with trivial things like outings with friends, are much more conducive to the whole answering thing. Plus, I'm more coherent! Anyway, I'll be getting to it tomorrow evening and into Saturday. Thanks for being patient. :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Four people who have never been in my kitchen

What do James Dean, Dolley Madison, Judi Dench and Herbert Hoover all have in common?


Cool, huh?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Because, you see, it's still just a game to me

I know nobody likes these (though I don't understand), and I also know that I've done it before here, but... it's still a game, so I'll play, if only because The New Victorian asked nicely*. ;)

1). How much music do I have? (By the way, I don't get the whole parenthesis and a period after the numbers...). Previously, my answer was a ridiculous 140 GB. Now, however, I've moved all of my band stuff to a removable hard drive (and, ummmmm... maybe augmented my collection a bit from the district's music libraries. Maybe) so it's not all in one area. I'm down to a respectable and reasonable 68 GB now. I feel much better, and can find what I'd like to easier.

2). What was the last CD I bought? Hmmmm... I honestly can't remember. Persichetti is ringing a bell, but I can't figure out if that's the last thing I bought, or merely the last thing that was delivered. Let's go with Persichetti, though.

3). What am I listening to right now?
Well, I'm talking online to a very wonderful friend, so I'm listening for the little chime that makes me smile. But I'm really watching a very strange science fiction adaptation of the Odyssey that I'd not heard of before today. It's not bad at all. :)

4). Five songs I listen to that mean a lot to me?

(Well, if we're talking whole works, I'll give you the quick, un-annotated list:
Wagner's Lohengrin
Beethoven's 7th Symphony (2nd movement)
Verdi's Requiem
Bernstein's Slava! (for band)
the Clarinet Quintet of Brahms.
However, that is misleading. I'm not much of a Wagnerian, for one.)

In any case it asks for songs and so here are five that mean a lot to me. I'm guessing there isn't much of an overlap with the last group. (I'm a woman, can't not be fickle...) Also, I'll spare you guys the sap. *sigh*
a) "Beyond the Sea" - Bobby Darin
b) "Ida, Sweet as Apple Cider" - Milton Brown
c) "Sad Songs and Waltzes" - Cake
d) "Go Slow" - Julie London (I know, I know! I'm embarrassed, too!)
e) Almost any setting of the "Agnus Dei"

5). I'm passing this meme on to: As always, I just don't. The rejection would be more than I could bear. ;)

*I remember a time where I would never get tagged at all because, well, all of my livejournal friends were anti-meme. So, I would just pick up one or another on my own and answer it all for my lonesome. I didn't know that I could be found out that way... nor did I realize it was kind of an insular game you "couldn't" play unless you were tagged. But those days were long ago and far away.

Just getting something off my chest

From time to time, I have students who come into their weekly lesson unprepared. (Shocking, I know!) Sometimes, it's just plain laziness, but most of the time it's a case of time management and school papers getting away from the student. In these cases, when a student says that they couldn't practice because they were writing this or that paper, they will often ask me to read it and tell them what I think. This always puts me in an awkward position. I really do enjoy reading the papers, especially of students whom I have taught for a number of years. Invariably, the English paper will be an analysis of a book or short story. What passes for analysis seems to be one of two things:
1. A summarization of what happens in the story
2. A summarization of what happens in the story followed by a lengthy digression on how the story makes the student feel.

The problem is, of course, that those things aren't analysis at all. It wouldn't be so bad if the section on "how the story makes me feel" actually, well, analyzed the emotions. There is not discussion of any writing devices, not one word on style (in general) or point of view or (heaven forbid) word choice. These papers are just page after page of telling me exactly what happened in the book and then how the events make them feel (but never why it makes them feel that way or how the author went about drawing that reaction).

When it comes time for me to give my opinion, I always say the same thing, "I think that you will get a very good grade." It's true, of course. They always do (and that's the only thing they care about), but it makes me wonder why we accept this. To be able to take information and then reduce it to the important parts is an incredibly important skill to have. We shouldn't, however, call it analysis. It isn't.

Really, though, I just don't ever know what to say other than that. I know that my kids are generally going to go to the same type college that I did, and what passes in high school will be more than acceptable in their colleges. They aren't really ever going to be penalized for not knowing, but isn't it sad? Or does it really matter? My writing is terrible and it's a great burden to me, but do other people think about theirs? Do people even write outside of their jobs? I know that my father doesn't, aside from the occasional e-mail to me. My mother writes Christmas cards. For all the talk about analysis being an essential skill it doesn't seem to be if we're willing to accept something that doesn't even approach the definition.

*sigh* No more posting before work.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Fantastic, indeed

Imagine, for instance, the six-part HBO series that a really talented scribe could make out of Witness. Or alternatively, you could do what Robert Redford did in Quiz Show, and center the story around, say, a young and idealistic Truman Administration staffer who is assigned to discredit Chambers - this fat, bizarre, tragicomic figure - and who worships the poised and brilliant Hiss. Over the course of the movie, of course, you would have the protagonist realize, to his horror, that Chambers is right and Hiss is guilty - a belief that all his right-thinking friends and probably even his wife/girlfriend would think is absurd. Or again, look at what Michael Mann did in The Insider - you could have Russell Crowe play another heavyset informant whose life goes down the drain, only this time, instead of pairing him will Al Pacino, you cast someone poised and beautiful as Hiss. Christian Bale, maybe? And then have Peter Sarsgaard as a young Richard Nixon . . . Oh, it'd be fantastic!

(Pointer from The Yankee, who really knows how to start a day off on the right foot.)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

It's Chilean Independence Day

I'm celebrating! Though not as much in love with the idea of setting up shop in Chile as I was earlier this summer, I still think it's a nice country. My reasons, to be honest, are fairly shallow. Chile has (in order of importance):
1. Penguins
2. Lots of views of the ocean
3. Wine
4. Snow
Penguins on the list is kind of self-explanatory. They're just that awesome. I have a feeling that I'd be able to handle 3,861 miles of coastline. Snow and Sarah, starting with the same letter, are obviously very compatible, and I like Chilean wine a lot*.

I've been looking for a Neruda sonnet to post, but I've not been able to find an appropriate one. The sonnets on love, wonderful though some are, are just not very independence-y (and quite heavy-handed on the longing bit - I'm certainly not in the mood for that). Anyway, if my work uncovers a particularly great example of Chilean poetry, I'll let you know. Until then, however, I'm eating an empanada and enjoying a fairly nice merlot. For the rest of the day, at least, my head is in the Southern hemisphere. Viva Chile!

*We get along quite well because, well, I enjoy good and inexpensive things - two things that Chilean wine does quite well and fairly predictably.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Settling in

It's been a busy beginning of the school year and I think I'm finally getting the feel for my schedule. I know when I can expect to see some leisure time to catch up on, well, leisure (i.e. not anytime on Mondays or Tuesdays) and what students come to which lessons at what time. (That last part is the big relief.) ;)

I have a big project that really needs to be finished by tomorrow evening if I am to keep my sanity. I hope that, after it is complete, I can sit with a nice glass of wine and listen to some pieces in A Major. (As an aside, A Major is usually considered to be one of the happiest of keys. And it is. Unless you're a clarinetist*. We're in 5 sharps. The A# in the throat tones is devilishly sharp for acoustical reasons that I don't think anyone wants to read about and the F# in most registers borders on flat. Not cool. You string players in A don't know what the clarinetists are saying behind your back**. It's probably best that way...)

In any case, I've had a not so great evening and shall have a long day ahead of me tomorrow. With any luck, it will all turn out wonderfully. :)

By the way, did you know that Texas has its very own official state tartan? I didn't, but I think it's quite purty.

*who doesn't have an A clarinet
**And yes, you are making it worse because you're always sharp.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A desperate attempt to keep the focus on me

Because I do fear that I am losing a dear Yankee friend's affections (it's the St. Thomas Aquinas affair all over again), I feel I need to post a general reminder. I'm pretty awesome.

Am I as amazing as the current Supreme Court nominee? Videbimus...

John Roberts's blue eyes:
My blue eyes:

I like North by Northwest (see here). He likes North by Northwest (see here).

There's no way that I can compete with the cutest children ever, but as long as this contest is just between the two of us and I don't have to take on the entire Roberts clan, I do believe I can respectably hold my own. (Plus, I have a feeling that my children will be incredibly cute, which will make up for their likely nearsightedness and lack of singing ability.)

I know his eyes are blue-er, but mine aren't horrible. And...

I have more hair.
I'm from Texas.

Seriously, it's at least a tie, right? And ties go to women. Or the young. Or the clarinetist. Something that puts me on top, anyway.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

No coffee (black or otherwise) for me

No more Julie London before bed. Seriously.
This is in addition to (not instead of) the ban on Peggy Lee after 10. It's all for my own good.

Sugar and spice and everything nice

This is the first year that I've had more young women than young men in my lessons. The only place where this makes a difference is that this makes shopping for birthday gifts much, much easier. They're small presents - better than a glitter pencil, not as great as their own personal penguin - but I think it's important. (It's all selfish, really, because I just like birthdays lots. ;))

I've resorted the past few to just giving most of the guys gift certificates for fast food (Sonic is the #1 request, by the way) because I cannot come up with anything else that I think they'd like. The music-related gifts the girls seem to appreciate (clarinet push pins, little clarinet lapel pins and the like) are just too cutesy for the guys, and the non-music related gifts the girls get are, well, too girlie. Now, however, I can go crazy with my lip gloss set purchases (Mmmmmmm.... Dr Pepper) and gift certificates at Claire's. Shopping for girls = easy. Shopping for boys = food(?).

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Playing vs. Practicing

Today's theme for lessons was explaining the differences in playing and practicing. A healthy clarinet diet consists of both, and I can be just as guilty as every single one of my students when it comes to emphasizing one over the other. In my case, I practice way more than I play, but (shockingly!) my students tend to do the opposite. When they finally realize that if they practice at home, we get to play during the lesson there's a sharp uptick in the progress-o-meter. It's gratifying as a teacher, but it also is just much more pleasant because, well, I like playing with my kids. I don't like being the metronomekeeper. It seems like a waste of their time and money.

Also, the day goes by really, really slowly when you're just the metronome dialer for 10/15 lessons. *sigh* The only thing that keeps you sane are those other 5. ;)

Monday, September 12, 2005


It seems as though I've been outvoted. Ice times are set at inconvenient times on Tuesday evenings, and I don't believe I can reschedule enough students to be able to make it worth my time to drive to the other side of the Metroplex in order to attend.

Curling season for me is over before it starts. Those are real sniffles you hear (in case you had any doubt).

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Chile is so much hotter

Playing around here until I realized something was fishy with the results. Albania is cool and all, but the three hottest flags are Albanian? I smell ballot box stuffing...

Friday, September 09, 2005

It's Friday night

and so a young woman's thoughts turn to economics. Well, I suppose they immediately turn to Carey Grant, but they eventually settle in and turn to economics. And composing music. And how they are both related.

Grossly simplified, each field is concerned with how multiple complex systems work and affect each other. If a Keynesian economist composed music, it would need to be precise, controlled and highly regulated by rules. It would probably sound like lateish Arnold Schoenberg or maybe like Berg (if they're really radical).

It's too simplistic, and (I think) inaccurate to suggest that an Austrian economist would compose jazz. (Heaven knows that no Austrian I've read would "compose" Bebop. ;)) I imagine that an Austrian economist would compose something rather like Copland because the music would have to be flexible - easily mutated. I think that the characteristic open fifths of Copland (being, by definition, neither major nor minor and quickly assimilated into either mode) really sum up an Austrian view of music composition.

The monetarists are tricky. What is the musical equivalent of inflation? The money supply? Is this difficulty I'm having getting out of this line of thought God's way of telling me that I should drink less gin? (Probably.)

Anyway, that is what I'm thinking about. If I come up with a monetarist theory of musical composition, I suppose I'll be a happy girl. In the mean time, though, there's more high school football to listen to on the radio. Go Hawks! Beat the Cougars!

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Well, I could buy a couple of bookshelves or some gifts for my very patient computer. I can't decide. *sigh*

This is the nerdiest quandary that will ever be posted. Unfortunately it's been on my mind all day long...

Today is sponsored by the letter "L"

Lessons until late(ish)
My lunch will be great
I'm a little lonesome (just a little, and not so much I could cry)
I love the shoes I'm wearing
If I'm not too terribly tired, there'll be a Latin translation up this evening

Overall, it's a mixed bag, but I do like the letter L.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

It's good you weren't in Fort Worth tonight

I do believe that the only thing that is worse than my singing is my dancing. Even so, that is how I spent a good portion of my evening. Really, though, you can't blame me - I was listening to Milton Brown (& His Musical Brownies) and Spade Cooley (& His Western Dance Group) among others. Anyone who doesn't want to dance (however badly) while listening to western swing has a heart made of stone.

*sigh* Anyway, how 'bout a bit of Bob Wills (& His Texas Playboys)?
Put on your new shoes,
Put on your gown.
Shake off them sad blues,
The big ball's in town.

Big ball's in Cowtown,
We'll all go down.
Big ball's in Cowtown,
We'll dance a-round.

It doesn't seem like poetry unless you know the song, of course... ;)

Lessons make me tired

I took off my necklace last night and left it right by my computer with the thought that I would put it in my jewelry box as I passed by this morning. I forgot, of course. When I returned home this evening and noticed that it was still sitting here I put it back on rather than getting up and going across the room to return it to its home.

This new laziness is not a good sign for the rest of the semester, I think.

Anyway, more this evening after I get something in my tummy and am able to sit for just a few seconds without having to do sixteen things...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

It's just like the first day of school (complete with new pencils)

I had my first full day of lessons with my new students and I think I'm going to love this. Well, I think I'm going to love this until I mix up Kaylee, Kaitlin and Kylie for the fourteenth time. If my clarinet school was on Sesame St., we'd all know 1/3 of the sponsors by the end of the first hour.

Seriously, though, my kids are great and they're already working hard. There are some great natural players in the students I picked up, and many of my old ones have gone above and beyond my expectations for keeping up their practice schedule. I do believe that I will again have a couple of All-Staters this year.

The thing that my students lack, however, is taste. My summer reality television schedule was pretty sparse (one show) and my students are all rooting for the wrong contestant. J.D. is not cool. You guys (and girls) are just very wrong. You know who's cool? Marty. Why do I like Marty? Among other reasons, it is because of the way he listens to the other contestants perform. He misses lots of pitches, but you know what? Every time he's on the screen, I just want to hear what he has to say. He completely draws me in, and I'm taken by the raw passion and immediacy of the way he sings things. Goodness. It's a fun, mindless hour a week, anyway (as long as J.D. is away from my screen).

But, (and don't tell my students this) I am completely the wrong person to listen to. I don't know anything at all about the band these singers are auditioning for. Uhhhh.... I know they don't use the word "timbre" and, more importantly, they don't mispronounce like the American Idol judges. (Boy, do I dislike that trainwreck of a idea. There's something that works the same way as that show. You know what it's called? Where the most popular product/singer wins? It's called: The Market and it's more efficient than the show, amazingly enough. *sigh*) Anyway, that's all I know about them - I like them better than the American Idol judges and they use words they know how to pronounce. I'm totally not the right person to ask about who's "right for the band" or who did a better job with the covered songs (since I have no concept of the original), but I do know who I like. I like Marty. A lot.

I don't know what they see in that J.D. guy. Bleh.

Anyway, more lessons tomorrow (eek!) and, hopefully, some getting used to this schedule again. I don't think it will be too hard, though. I just have to let the initial elation of being around my awesome kids wear off a bit.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Because the Yankee is just so... ummm...

sweet he sent this over my way last night. Been playing with since. So far: minor scales + pi > major scales + pi

(The Dorian mode pretty pleasant, too. Well, as pleasant as it can be with those restrictions.)

Reflecting on the summer

I spent yesterday afternoon in and by a pool listening to two squirrels passionately bark at each other and watching a bluejay dart from tree to tree. Since I began this summer with pretty much all of my free time spent by a lake, it is fitting that I ended the season near the water as well. I set some goals for myself back in May which I wanted to accomplish over the course of the summer. Let's see how the summer of 2005 went for me:

Falling very short:

I abandoned my French studies after only a couple of weeks. I got distracted by, well, other things and, frankly, I don't feel so bad about it.
I didn't buy a new pair of shoes.
My knowledge of popular music post-1970(ish) is still just as embarrassing as it was back in May.

Falling a little short:
I gained almost all of the 10 pounds that I wanted to back in May.
I didn't quite get through the entire Hite Artistic Studies (Italian School) book. I feel pretty good about most of the caprices, but there are a couple of Magnani etudes that are just not fit for public consumption.
I am happy with most of my Latin translations, but I didn't get to nearly as many as I planned, nor did I post any. I'm a big chicken where that is concerned.

I did, indeed, get a sunburn.
I started a new blog.
I succeeded in getting at least 6 hours of sleep most nights.
I got several sets of new underwear.
I saw some new movies.
I got a haircut (even if it was horrible)
I read lots more poetry than I had set out to.
I kept Coco's shots current.
I had a picnic with a nice Riesling.

So, on balance, I think I did pretty well this summer. What struck me as I was swimming and thinking yesterday, though, was how this summer has been so much different than I thought it was going to be, and how much of it is kind of related to this place. I thought I was gearing up for a nice, quiet, introspective season of bookish delights and small pleasures. It was completely different. I got to see a beautiful new city. I met new people. I exchanged e-mails with three of my biggest heroes in the whole Internet world (and I only had to stalk one of them!). I found myself with new students and a new job. Louis Prima has a new listener out there in the world. With the exception of my new students, it's all about the blogging. ;) Early August was rough for a million reasons, but I am incredibly thankful for all that this summer has been.

The next semester promises to be just as exciting, so I look forward to drawing up a new set of goals and evaluating them in December. I also suspect that my students will supply quite a few more stories to share. In any case, my white sandals are tucked away and my turtlenecks are out in anticipation of the November chill. I think it will be great!

Sunday, September 04, 2005


My cousin, Heather and her husband Morgan just had a baby boy. His name is William Levi, and I'm incredibly happy for them. Poor thing has to live in California, but I guess with parents like he has, it won't be too bad...

I have no head for familial relations, but if I am reading this chart correctly, Mr. William is my first cousin, once removed. It's pretty cool to have a new one of those. :)

Saturday, September 03, 2005

St. Gregory the Great!

When time came in my Confirmation preparation class to pick our confirmation saint, I told the leader of the group that I had picked St. Gregory the Great. Our instruction was "pick a Saint you feel connected to." I had given things a lot of thought and chose St. Gregory. I thought it was a good, solid choice. The leader of my group did not think it appropriate, however, and told me that I had to pick a woman*. I was a little frustrated and more than a bit upset because I felt that I had followed instructions and I wasn't trying to be cute. Every other girl was picking St. Joan of Arc or St. Cecilia and, though Cecilia would have been a great choice for me, I didn't want to be like everyone else. So, I picked St. Elizabeth of Hungary, because she was pretty cool. But, if I had my way, I would be celebrating my confirmation saint's feast day today. None of this is terribly important, but I'm feeling kind of crummy due to an allergic reaction that won't go away and a lack of people with whom to talk, so the blog gets my undivided attention. :)

*I then said that I wanted to name my Confirmation Saint in pectore. (I thought it was funny... the leader of the group did not.)

I figure I took a wrong turn in Albuquerque

Trying to figure out how I got from this article to this one in the course of an hour or so.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Look! In the Sidebar! It's a bird!

Actually, it's many superbirds...

That's right. Real-time penguins from Yankeeland. I know I'll enjoy this toy.

A joke for those not musically inclined

(and my favorite joke of them all)

Q. What do you call a cow with no legs?
A. Ground beef!

A joke for the musically inclined

From Musical Perceptions (a new blog to me, and one which will be added to my little list as soon as I figure out if I want to do some "major" reshuffling, or just some small modifications...)

Musical intrigue at the bar:

A 'C,' an E-flat, and a 'G' go into a bar. The bartender says: "Sorry,but we don't serve minors." So the E-flat leaves, and the C and the G have an open fifth between them. After a few drinks, the fifth is diminished and the G is out flat. An F comes in and tries to augment the situation, but is not sharp enough.

A 'D' comes into the bar and heads straight for the bathroom saying,"Excuse me. I'll just be a second." Then an A comes into the bar, but the bartender is not convinced that this relative of C is not a minor. Then the bartender notices a B-flat hiding at the end of the bar and exclaims, "Get out now. You're the seventh minor I've found in this bar tonight."

The E-flat, not easily deflated, comes back to the bar the next night in a 3-piece suit with nicely shined shoes. The bartender (who used to have a nice corporate job until his company downsized) says, "You're looking sharp tonight, come on in! This could be a major development." This proves to be the case, as the E-flat takes off the suit, and everything else, and stands there au naturale.

Eventually, the C sobers up, and realizes in horror that he's under a rest. The C is brought to trial, is found guilty of contributing to the diminution of a minor, and is sentenced to 10 years of DS without Coda at an upscale correctional facility.

My camera's screen is broken. I'm kinda sad. The HP help center has been very helpful so far. It seems I have to ship it off to the replacement center in McAllen. Actually, I only think I do, because the 800 number they gave me and told me to call before I ship (apparently to confirm the address, as the support line didn't have the "current information") is not in service. So.... yeah. I'm kinda confused at this point. And on hold. I do hope this is the end of the "excitement" for today.