Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cucumber Madness!

So, this is the recent cucumber from my garden. I don't know why it's so long or why it curves around to form almost a full circle. I have NO idea what kind of cucumber it is--I remember Elise and I bought the fastest-maturing cucumber seedling. But I've never seen anything like these things!
But it's pretty cool that when you turn it on its side it forms the letter C... for "cucumber"!
And thinking outside the box, the cucumber functions pretty well as a necklace. Don't ask how I came up with this, but if I was feeling more avant-garde than usual, I suppose I WOULD wear it outside... I guess it's too interesting to eat, at least for me as I am not a particular fan of cucumbers...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Back to Bach

Despite the cliched title, I am finally going back to Bach. That's the one thing that's getting me through the school year.

It's going to be a year full of Bach, which excites me to no end. You probably already know this about me, but if I have one obsession (besides Woody Allen movies), it's the sacred music of J.S. Bach. I remember two years ago I took a Baroque history class, and I read an article about the Universality of Bach. I didn't agree with a lot of the points made, but I felt a little changed for the better when I read that Bach appears to be to be such a universal composer (i.e. his musical ideas stimulate similar thoughts in different generations and cultures) because he firmly rooted himself in the ancient traditions of the church and functional harmony and whatnot, but at the same time really fervently explored new musical territory. Thus, this Janus-like position helped him define and era and also pave the way for a new one. And while Beethoven can also be said to have done the same thing, I much prefer Bach for his exquisite vocal writing which conveys so much sacred passion.

I am trying to put together Cantata 199 for my recital this fall. This cantata is for solo soprano with obbligato oboe lines. This morning I was stressing out pretty hardcore about the idea of trying to present this work with just a month or so of rehearsals, when I found this phenomenal video on youtube.

"Tief gebuckt" is the second aria in the work. Although it's not the most outwardly beautiful piece in the cantata, it's easily my favorite because the text and music are so humbling. Usually I have trouble paying attention to music--I often get to carried away in aurally recognizing patterns of intervals and dumb stuff like that. But when I found this clip my attention was on it the entire time it was playing. In fact, I tried to start this blog entry while listening, but my attention kept going back to the music... You know, I've got to admit by the end of her performance I was agitated with excitement and eager to test my chops at it as well. Why is she so good and so riviting?! AGH!

And in addition to the cantata, my year is full of the B Minor Mass. I get to do it twice. The first is with Pro Arte here at IU. But the second (April 23) I'm MUCH more excited about, because it's a professional gig with Dr. Crabb, and I'm the soloist! And on top of that, I get to sing with some of my favorite singers (Stephen Swanson and Steven Spears, even Emily Bennett!). It really makes me feel like a kid to be singing with those guys, but at the same time I feel like this is the beginning of my non-collegiate, adult career. How scary is THAT? I think I'm lucky that I get to sing the Agnus Dei--what a fantastic piece of music!

Interesting tidbit: my friend Koji used to be an apprentice under Masaaki Suzuki and still visits him for advice. How weird and cool is that?

Anyways, I'm so excited to be getting back in the game of Bach! Was talking with Frank last night about how it was strange that my resume only has music jobs on it--those are the only jobs I've ever had! I feel like I live in a different world than most people...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Garden Woes

Well, as if the terrifying approach of the new school year wasn't a sign enough of the end of summer, my garden is also signifying the season change. Almost everything in my plot is dying. I don't think it's my fault as much as it is the unpredictability of the weather lately in Bloomington, or just the end of the growing season. It's very sad, though. The few remnants of my prolific crops are bountiful cherry tomatoes, sacred basil, and peppers (I predict that in two weeks I'll have about 10 bell peppers and 10 jalapenos to look forward to).

It's sad to walk around the park and look at everyone's dying plots. 7-foot tall sunflowers are almost all wilting, tomatoes plants are sagging and turning brown, and the vine crops are all grayish. It looks like most people are tearing up the plants to get ready to evacuate for fall, but I'm planting a few new crops before I lose reign of my 10x10 patch in October. I tore up the radishes and planted carrots and turnips a few weeks ago. In fact, the hunt for turnip seeds turned out to be a wild goose chase around Bloomington, but ended successfully.

I'm awfully sad to see the garden wither away. It was such a huge part of my summer... But it's nice that the few things that are left are doing very well and I can still use them in my kitchen tonight!

Monday, August 24, 2009

On Cynicism

The guy sitting next to me in the library has tuberculosis.  I'm sure of it...

You know, the past two weeks have been really great for me.  Despite a lot of problems and stress and what not, I feel like I'm finally getting over a lot of that baseline bah-humbugness I described a while ago.  I have to admit, most of it has to do with the goings-on in Kansas City and how they renewed my faith in me and, well, guys.  That's a good thing.

God, I need to stop reading Twilight, or at least need to stop having the author write my blog entries...

But seriously, today has been REALLY great!  It's my first full day back since the fam's trip to Michigan, and I feel like I have a newer, more positive take on things.  I got stuff squared away for my recital, had a great talk and dinner with Lizbee, the weather's great... blah blah blah...

I stopped by Brian's on my way to the library tonight to pic up the newest Twilight book from his wife and we had a great conversation, which was much less cynical than usual.  Something's in the water.  Maybe that "something" can get me a job...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Blast from the Past!

Having a great, quick trip to Kansas City this week. My cynicism seems to have been cured... But more on that as it progresses.

The real reason for this post is that I've been in Danny's house today, stealing pictures from his computer. I'd like to post them here for your pleasure:

Danny in the Bratz tee we bought Brandon. Brandon refused to wear it. So Danny did.

A gross picture of our NATS roadtrip senior year to Illinois. Danny bought all the girls spider rings from the gas station. Amelia had been eating cheese puffs...

Danny and Brandon in a time of crisis. This is the day after the ninja and the crackhead story.

Danny trying on everything he could at Walmart. Over his suit. Me being a babe in the background.

We find a spooky house in Illinois.

Me being a crackhead in the restaurant at the beginning of our Illinois roadtrip. There's a long story to this, having to do with somehow involving the whole restaurant in a picture-storytelling game...

Me and my Grandma, one of our last pictures, after my senior recital. One of my favorites--on my piano!

Rachel and I after my senior recital. This is our first performance together, with the Mahler set. Rachel, I live for singing Mahler with you.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tetris Party

I just got back from a whirwind two weeks and despite CRAZY car troubles, I'm feeling very refreshed and ready to tackle this next year.

So instead of unpacking my two suitcases worth of dirty clothes or throwing out the dead flowers from Whitney's wedding, I've been glued to my wii, playing Tetris Party.

Brian and Amanda bought Tetris Party at the beginning of the summer, and they've been OBSESSED. Every time we break out the wii, we inevitably play Tetris Party. They're so obsessed that they practice all the time, and they've gotten really good! So all of our group of friends has been downloading Tetris Party on their own wiis so we can try to be as good as them... Since my internet has been gone all summer I never had a chance to download my own copy...UNTIL I brought my wii to Matt's place a few weeks ago. And you KNOW that's all I've been doing in my spare time.

There's a game in Tetris Party called "Field Climber." Basically it's this guy (specifically "The Guy") about the size of a Tetris block, and he's in the Tetris game, and he really needs to get out of the game by climbing up Tetris blocks. My job in playing the game is to provide him with one-block steps to climb out, occassionly providing a path to goals along the way. Sounds simple. Even FUN. But today I played it for HOURS and just couldn't seem to get the hang of it.

There’s a few things I don’t really understand about field climber. First of all, I’m not really sure why sometimes I squish The Guy, and other times I don’t. I have theories about what constitutes a game-terminating squish. But honestly, in the moment of field climber, I lose all rational thought, logic, and forsight and I inevitably squish The Guy.

I also don’t know what the items on field climber do. And because I don’t know what they do, I tend to ignore them. It’s typical in a game of field climber for me to rack up several items on the side of the screen. I suppose they’re all beneficial but I'm too afraid to try...

What I also don’t understand is why The Guy is so erratic. I’ll be waiting to put a block down, and he’ll run underneath it and stand there, and I know in my elementary knowledge of the game that if I place the block on him, I will squish him. You know, it almost seems like The Guy is just as confused about field climber as I am. I don’t think The Guy realizes that if he would just calm the f**k down, he wouldn’t get trapped or squished and I would be better able to help him climb the blocks. The Guy and I are in this together, and when The Guy doesn’t cooperate he screws my game up.

But when I succeed in helping The Guy to his final destination, I feel a lot better about myself. I feel like somehow I've commited kindness along the level of ending poverty or war. It's a good feeling.