Friday, February 13, 2009

It probably won't help me translate those scholarly Ligeti articles ...

... but here is a German site that is amusing. Amusing in that whole I-find-humor-in-the-absurd way (which I do). 

And you know, for pianists, this maxim is certainly true:

"Gute Handgelenkarbeit ist sein größter Vorzug." 

Thursday, February 12, 2009

File under "Hilarious"

Before I forget, I stumbled across this rather good blog by pianist Jeremy Denk the other day. This post made me laugh and laugh. 

Things I Fail to Understand

This list, of course, is obviously much, much longer than what I can write in any one single blog post. Let's edit the title ... how about "Things I Fail to Understand on This Particular Thursday Night." 

1. Why is there home construction in the middle of winter, all winter long?

2. Why do they start working at 6:30 in the morning?

3. Why are they even building at all, when the recession has not only slowed the housing market down to a veritable crawl, it's a veritable crawl backwards? 

4. There's this meme (meme? I think that's the word I want) circulating around Facebook, "25 Random Things About Me," or whatever each person who posts it chooses to name it. I occasionally take the time to read the ones my friends post.* **  So, I read two within a week of each other, in which both people, who have achieved/are very close to achieving their terminal degrees in music, write things like, "Practicing is a chore," or "I feel no joy in what I do," or "Composing is a process that makes me miserable," or "I've been waiting eight years to enjoy my degree program and I'm still waiting." Yes, this I totally fail to understand. Here's my thought on this: YOU DON'T LIKE IT? DON'T DO IT. It's hard enough to make a decent living being a musician if you absolutely love it. 

*And I've been tagged in a bunch of these lists, so now I feel sort of obligated to write one myself. Been too busy lately. Maybe someday. 
** "Friends" = "Facebook Friends" which opens up a whole other related category of things I don't understand, to be discussed in #5.

5. Facebook. Love it. Hate it. It sucks time away like no other. I do think it's nice to stay connected to friends, and for whatever reason, it holds more sway for me than email. Maybe it's just that you are connected to everyone's daily pulse. But anyway, that's not what I don't understand. What I fail to understand is this: someone, let's call her Mel, recently requested to be my friend. Mel evidently went to undergrad with me. I have only the vaguest of vague notions of who she actually is, probably I read her name in the alumni update or something. I have zero -- let me reiterate this, ZE-RO -- recollection of Mel from undergrad. And no, it's not because of any substances I ingested. This is a person I've simply never spoken to in my life. She didn't live in my hallway, she didn't have the same major as me, we didn't have any classes together. And more than a decade after graduation, when internet social networking becomes über-popular, she decides to be my "friend." Ok, fine. You're entitled to do that. But I am equally entited to reject your request. And thus I rejected the friend invite. Call me old-fashioned, but the people who are my friends on Facebook are people who I've actually spoken to. If only a couple of times, but still, I have spoken with them. I can recognize them on the street and say hi to them. A week later, she requested my friendship again. Why do you think I'm going to change my mind if you ask a second time? In that time, the amount of her Facebook friends more than doubled, from 200 to over 500. This makes me especially want to reject any friendship overtures, since I've now become part of the ooh-look-at-me-I'm-as-popular-as-I-was-in-fucking-high-school reason for joining Facebook. Anyway, I haven't actually clicked the "ignore" button on my home page. But I am ignoring it, by which I mean I am not going to confirm a non-existent friendship. 

6. Why does the ScrabbleBeta* application in Facebook** flip-flop the points from the penultimate and ultimate moves of a game, thereby rendering the players' scores inaccurate, and in some cases, changing the outcome of the game? And why does ScrabbleBeta, hereafter known as SuckFest, sometimes lose actual plays already made, like, three or four of them? SuckFest, get your act together. 

*Scrabulous was so much better. ScrabbleBeta does not even hold a candle to it. 
** Promise, this is the last Facebook rant. 

7. Why are people who joined and then subsequently left Facebook* showing up for a week in my search bar when they no longer belong to Facebook?  

*Okay, I lied. This is the last Facebook rant. 

8. What in the world possessed Karlheinz Stockhausen, God rest his soul, to compose a string quartet that is to be played in helicopters?
Probably the answer to that is that he was kooky, but don't quote me on that. 

9. Why did I come home and start researching my next music history presentation on Ligeti's Atmospheres when I could have had a beer and read something for pleasure?

10. Why are all of the relevant journal articles about Ligeti's Atmospheres written in German? Well ... I guess I can plow my way through one or two of them, but it won't be pretty. At least it won't be in Danish. Speaking of Danish articles, the nice thing about this Kreuzspiel analysis is that you don't really have to read the language to see the coolness of the matrices. [Kreuzspiel translates as Cross-play, and you can see the crosses evident in the diamond matrices, which show how Stockhausen serialized and transformed the rhythms of the tumbas and the tom-toms.]

11. Why am I still awake when I could have gone to sleep "early" after my imaginary beer? I think I'll go to sleep now, although it is no longer early by any stretch of the imagination.