Sunday, November 30, 2008

You know you like it when I'm flirting with you, or, I'm gunna beat your ass with my pipe wrench

What do these two titles have in common? This video, a literal translation of A-ha's video for their (only) hit (that I know of), "Take On Me." A song I've always rather liked, by the way. When I lived in Indiana, there was a Ska band that did a cover of it. They were called the Skalcoholics. Get it? I'd go hear them play just to hear that cover. Fun times. (Hearing that band, not living in Indiana.) 

I know, I know, two posts in one day, after you spent weeks of wondering if I'm still alive or not. Wanted to share that funny video with you before I forget. Also I'm winding down from doing my homework, which was reading 14 chapters of post-tonal theory. YEP. And I even finished it before 11 p.m. Who knows what other surprises I have in store? 

And now I feel itchy

This is a useful and gross website, especially if you are traveling.

And yes, now my scalp, back, upper chest, and feet itch.

Something weird: when I opened up the blogger page today, all of the non-Ann scripts were in Spanish. That's never happened before.

I have been having the strangest dreams the last two nights. Yesterday I woke up super tired and felt like I was processing the dream the whole day through, which sort of interfered with interactions with real live people. Most of the day was spent driving 300 miles, though. Luckily I drove yesterday, since today it's snowing!

Best dessert of the week: amaretti (don't know if I spelled that correctly) cookies at Coca and Mark's on Thanksgiving; Coca's parents brought them from a, to quote Catherine, "fabulous Italian bakery." YUMMY.  

Your opinion needed:  do you use this kind of quotation mark: '   
or this one: "

Monday, November 24, 2008

Apologies to my loyal readers ...

... all three of you, for not fulfilling my duties as a responsible blogger. This has been a very hellish semester. To spare you the gory details, suffice it to say that the Cloud Of Doom has descended upon the University of Iowa, specifically the School of Music. This is in addition to me foolishly thinking I could be Wonder Woman and tackling TOO MANY PROJECTS this fall. Looking on the bright side, the only place to go is up! Anyway, I do often fondly think of blogging and sharing funny, witty, interesting anecdotes from the life of Ann with you, and then instead I play Scramble on Facebook, or fall asleep twitching from stress. Well, it's Thanksgiving break, I've cleaned my house, I've done my laundry, I have a pile o' stuff ready to be packed in the morning for a trip to the great white north. Thus tonight's options: 1) blogging, and 2) watching Simpsons episodes (if consciousness permits when the blogging has finished) from the Conan O'Brien years. (Ok, how many ideas can I fit into one paragraph?)


Yeah, it's sucky that it wiped out the Voxman Music Building. There are many reasons why this is so, the two foremost in my mind being 1) no direct access to the Rita Benton Music Library (although I hear this is going to change come spring semester) and 2) the School of Music is in nineteen different locations in Iowa City. That's right, you read it, NINETEEN. They're not even all downtown. But, as we all know, the Voxman Music Building already had a lot of problems to begin with. We may soon hear that we are getting a new music building. Cross Your Fingers! Not that I'll be here to enjoy it, since it'd take 4 or 5 years to build it (although I have been toying with the idea of a graduate degree in music theory ... however, since my most favorite brilliant theory prof took a gig at Eastman, that is looking less and less likely). So anyway, one of the locations is Clinton Street Music. At Clinton Street Music East there are the Wenger Practice Rooms. The small ones with the upright pianos are nothing special. We do have, however, a handful of Virtual Acoustic Environment Practice Rooms (with Steinway grands). See below: 

Apologies for the sorta blurry picture. So, this panel. Doesn't look like much but is kind of amazing in its features. One can record herself practicing, and play it back, and the speakers in the room play it (the room is about 8 x 8, I think). You'll also notice the USB port in the lower right hand corner of the panel. The coolest feature is the actual 'virtual acoustic environment' settings that you will see below the rewind/fast forward buttons. From left to right, top row to bottom row, they are:
Practice Room 
Baroque Room
Medium Recital
Large Recital
Small Auditorium
Medium Auditorium
Large Auditorium

The Practice Room setting is pretty dead, but after that, they increase in resonance. So you're in this tiny little box, you press the Cathedral button, and ka-pow, sounds like you're in Köln. (Granted, I don't use the fancy features of this rooms often when I rehearse by myself, because with a piano it just sounds like the damper pedal is stuck. But it's still cool.) 

Speaking of practicing, I keep a practice journal. Since beginning my doctorate in piano, I have recorded myself as practicing 2286.5 hours. This does not include lessons, keyboard harmony, choir accompanying, voice lessons accompanying, that damn Puzzle Master opera, or the chamber music festival in Bulgaria last summer. I'm not sure if this is an impressive number or not. I mean, sure, it's big. I also noticed when tallying this that my summer practicing is Pathetic (yes, capital P). Also this semester has been lower overall than previous semesters (part of its suckiness, but I don't feel like going into that now). I read once on an internet discussion board that if you do something for 10,000 hours you become a virtuoso at it. (I admit, I am a virtuoso sleeper.) By my calculations, when I finish my doctorate, that'll be approximately 4000 hours during that degree alone. Hey, maybe by the time I reach 40! That would be sweet, seeing as how my new goal is to learn the Goldberg Variations when I turn 40, a slightly impossible task if one is not a virtuoso. 

I had a party on Saturday night. Well, a 'party' -- a convivial gathering of conversation and great food and drink, which included artichoke dip, pumpernickel bread, pomegranates, Lindt truffles, black bean and banana empanadas, and cardamom coffee cake, as well as wine from Hawaii that is made from grapes grown on the side of a volcano. Hmm, I guess that qualifies as a party, even if it was only 8 people. It was so much fun! I think I've had some fun parties before, but in terms of sheer laughter quotient, this one wins, hands down. These quotes probably won't be as hilarious out of context, in fact, you may not get them at all, but you get to read them anyway:

I know how to cadence, Bitch.  -Allyss

I have a stretchy woman.  -Allyss

That wasn't a crazy homeless man, that was Michael Eckert.  -Art (probably not funny unless you are in the UI SoM)

What do you think, panties or no panties?  -PianoGirlAnn, but I don't know what the hell I was talking about 

If I were a woman, I'd do it right.  -Samantha

LOL  -Art
That means Lots of Love, Asshole.  -Casey

Baboons could play Uno.  -Art
They do, they call it 'Baboono.'  -Samantha

~   ~   ~   ~   ~  ~   ~

Best dessert of the week: the cardamom coffee cake at the party, of course! Thank you to Sam. I just finished it.