Friday, May 30, 2008

Rainy Friday Morning

My piano is getting tuned today. Right now! As I write this! My usual (favorite) tuner/technician was not able to come, however, which makes me sad. (Insert frowny face here.) He just has too much work to do before he heads off to Tanglewood for the summer. That's right! He's a piano guy at Tanglewood! You can maybe ascertain why he's my favorite guy. So the guy who's here (why are most all piano tuner/technicians men? I think in all of my thirty-some-odd years, I've only ever seen ONE piano tuner who is a woman) was recommended by Favorite Tuner. May I just say, however, that if you are scheduled to tune one's piano at 8:30 in the morning, that perhaps you should not arrive 14 minutes early. (Luckily for me, I'd finished my shower and had dressed just moments prior to the arrival. Breakfast, which will consist of organic strawberries from the co-op and Earl Grey with milk, will have to wait.)  

So, I had been intending to do some work. For this presentation I'm giving at a conference. On Monday. Three days from now. But I just can't summon up the energy to do work with a piano tuner in the house. Never have been able to do that. So instead I'm writing here. And after that, will probably go read Mimi Smartypants archives. That is this week's procrastination device. Do you know of her? I stumbled across this blog in a rather haphazard way, and now it's like Blog Crack. I read some of her most recent posts first, and then went back to the beginning in order to proceed in an orderly fashion. Which means, like, nine years of blogging history. I think I'm approaching somewhere close to the anniversary of year number two.  

Hey, I'm getting closer to finishing my German course! But you knew that would happen, didn't you? Yesterday I took the mid-term, which I could have taken technically back in January, but who has time to study for a German mid-term about which she is slightly anxious when an ambitious recital approaches and your music history teacher has no mercy? Three chapters and a final left. 

I had the strangest dream last night, not that I even remember it. It turned scary right at the end, so scary that I woke myself up with a scream. That's right, I screamed myself awake. Wonder what the neighbors think of me. And, though it may have been scary enough to wake me up, when I recollect it now, it's not really all that frightening, technically. Think, scary in a PG rated sort of way. Nothing terrible happened, there was just some unknown entity in the closet. OK, read into that what you will. (Ann receives numerous Freudian interpretations of said dream in the comments section.)

In other news, I have a crush! This, I understand, is interesting for no one but me, but you know, it's *really* interesting for me. Hasn't happened much lately. (I don't know, because I'm a grown-up? Nah, that's not it. Because there's no one that I see on a regular basis that is worth crushing over? A more plausible reason. Perhaps my standards are too high? I require a partner who is: intelligent, fun, honest, and has Good Personal Hygiene. Considering the men at the school of music ... yes, perhaps my standards ARE too high.) Surely this crush will be over soon enough, but since the piano tuner is not leaving any time soon (I don't want to admit how many months it's been since my baby's had an oil change) that means I need something to write about.  [Maybe this entry should fall into the "How-many-topics-can-I-squeeze-into-one-post heading," which seems like sort of an anti-blog attitude, but then again, as you know, I've never been one for technology. Yes, I include Blogs under the umbrella of Technology.] So, anyway. Crush. Let us call him the Man-Boy, since I'm not entirely sure of his age. Somewhere around mine. I'm not entirely sure of a lot of things about him, even after googling him on several occasions to see what sort of dirt the internet holds. He's pretty much adorable right now, probably because I don't really know him. This is a person that I have been occasionally running into since moving here, but I'm not going to tell you where I run into him! Lends an element of mystery, eh? (Or element of stupidity, however you prefer to describe it.) Maybe it's the bus, or work, or the co-op, or my favorite coffee house. Hmm, this is turning into the longest non-story ever written. Anyway, when I first started running into M-B, he'd just smile at me. Then a few months ago it was a smile and "Hello." Progress! Then a few weeks ago, he started addressing me by my first name. And then just a couple of days ago he struck up, out of the blue, a conversation with me. Funnily enough, the topic of conversation he used to start talking to me is one that I myself had considered using to start a conversation with him, months back, and then I discarded that idea because it felt school-girlishly silly. Guess it wasn't after all. And I was only moderately socially awkward in this conversation! Also progress! As you can see, I have a rich though not entirely varied fantasy life. What can I say, I like to indulge myself and think of his curly hair (oooh, curly hair) and über-cute dimples. So sue me. If you're still reading.

Ok, well, I'm going to indulge myself some more with some Mimi Smartypants. What can I say, she makes me laugh out loud.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Yes, Let's Go to the Cinema

As seen in Lisbon, Portugal.  


Yeah, so, I'm still uploading pictures from last winter's trip to the Canary Islands. Who knows if I'll ever finish.  

These are two pictures from various museums in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.  

Would you like some eyes with that?  

Those all used to house brains.  

(Thank you, Ann, Mistress of the Obvious.)  

The End of Year Number Two

Recently, about ten days ago, I finished year number two of a doctoral program in music. Finished! Year Number TWO! Of a DOCTORAL PROGRAM! (That's me being excited, and disbelieving. Mostly disbelieving.) Still have probably two more to go; since I'm an overachiever, I'm tacking on a theory minor in addition to the piano major. Since I'm not completely insane, I'm going to stretch out that academic course work for an extra year. Then again, when all that is done, I'll still have comps and the dissertation to write ... but for now, done with year number two!  

I am, however, still working on my independent study German course. Yep, you read that right. The one I was trudging my way through last December? Yep, same one. I found it impossible to do German in addition to the eleven credits I was taking in my recital semester. You saw the recital I gave (last post). (Addendum to first paragraph -- yes, I am completely insane.)  So. I now have to hurry up and finish it before my incomplete turns into an F. And I can assure you, it will do no such thing. Thursday is the mid-term; send me good thoughts.  

This past weekend, instead of doing German homework, I drove to the suburbs of Chicago to visit my dear friend E., who was giving her first doctoral recital. BRAVA, E! It was truly great. She'd played it in Iowa a few weeks back, maybe six, and it grew a lot since that performance. The Brahms (Handel Variations) was a lot more organic, there was more breathing time and indeed, it was a solid, lovely performance. What really improved was the second half of the program, Prokofiev's 8th Sonata. It was amazing! Especially since the first time I'd heard it -- the lines were much more clearly delineated, more layers, more melody, more shaping, and the phrases just made a lot more musical sense. And the COLORS, wow. Yay, E! I'm so proud of you.

Whilst in the suburbs of Northern Chicago, I visited an Apple Store and went to the so-called "Genius Bar." My laptop, which I am normally quite fond of and happy with, has been spontaneously and intermittently crashing on me these past two weeks. Said "Genius" (ha! not even close) was not particularly helpful, performing a "diagnostic test" that I myself (remember from my first post and how I said I really don't know anything about technology? Nothing has changed on that front since December) did with the help of my user's manual. So now .... guess I'll wait and see what happens and hope that I don't need to spend some ridiculous amount of money to fix it. I need my computer for a presentation I'm giving this upcoming Sunday and I didn't want to ship it off to the Apple Depot, at least not just yet.  

And so after having an unfruitful visit to the Apple Store, I had to do one of my least favorite things ever, which is drive through the Chicago Suburbs on the Tollway. Answer me this: why, on God's green earth, when a person spends so much of her hard-earned TA money on tolls, are the roads so crappy? Plus, there's always road construction in the Chicago Suburbs. My jaw clenches just thinking about that, the concrete pylons on one side of you and speeding semis roaring past on the other. At least the weather was decent -- it wasn't lightning and hailing as had been predicted. And I had my usual laugh at the absurdity of the "Oases" just off the tollway. Because, you know, when you're driving along on the concrete tangle of tollroads amidst the Illinois cornfields, nothing screams OASIS louder than a McDonalds, Mobil, and Starbucks.