Friday, July 31, 2009

117. Mullings

Choosing a major is very very difficult. I've given it hours of thought already, and I'm going to give it many more over the next couple of years. But one thing keeps gnawing in the back of my mind, and I'm not so sure I should continue to ignore it.

I love photography...

And not just in the hobby/for grins sense. People keep telling me that it's idiotic to major in the fine arts, and that it won't ever pay for the student loans I'd have take out to pursue a degree in it. Then again, much wiser people tell me who cares? Do what makes you happy.

And I think I just might.

UW School of Photography

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

116. Some Do Not Like It Hot

Blogger is the lamplight and I am the moth.
Or something equally poetic.
I just can't stop. Why so much writing about nothing lately? Really? I'm not bored...

I promised that Andrew Bird blog was the last "check out this sweet video" post, and I meant it.
In other news, here's the current stats:

Today was THE HOTTEST DAY EVER IN SEATTLE. Or at least, the hottest day on record since they started keeping track of that sort of thing in 1891.
I couldn't help but notice that every thermometer disagrees with the others, but the general consensus is that we most definitely broke 100, and it may have been 104 or higher in my neighborhood. And that's just counting outside. I promise you, were I to take the temperature of the interior of my house right now, we are still somewhere over 100, at 10:15pm. Last night I feared my blood was actually beginning to boil.

(The sun's chromosphere. Also very hot.)

I think I've been handling it decently well, considering I have no air conditioning. But I'm really trigger-happy-cranky and dying to get some exercise. Also, I'm curious how many extra calories I'm burning by just existing in this heat. I sweat without even moving, so I imagine it has to count for something. But getting back to this blood boiling issue...I've concluded that this may be how I die. Maybe taking astronomy over the summer was a bad idea, but all I can think about the past couple of days is, "what would happen if it were just a little hotter?" Global warming and the reasons for a lack of atmosphere on Mars are not things a person in my position should be thinking about. It creates the terror.

I know I'm being a pansy. We're not really going to fry like eggs on searing pavement. My car is not actually an easy bake oven hell bent on baking crispy cakelettes from my flesh. And yet...I can only think of news coverage from summers in St. Louis, when they would count the death toll of the elderly during heat waves. And I wonder, is that going to be me someday?

The answer is, yeah. I think so.

115. So Amazing

Alright, I know. I've been really heavy on the music postings lately, and I never intended this to be a strictly music driven blog. It was really supposed to be more of a container in which to put all my fragmented pieces as a way to try and make sense of them. But I have to share just one more. It's too incredible not to, and you're going to love it.

I realize I may soon be reaching Ayako-levels of music obsession...

I stopped by Pitchfork.Tv today, hoping that it still existed, because I always find good things to listen to there. I read some time ago that the site was shutting down in May or something, and I assumed it was gone. But there it was, and even better, Andrew Bird was spotlighting the home page.

This video is the first of five tracks posted, and you can watch the entire compilation by clicking here. I highly recommend watching the whole thing if you have the time. "Trials, Troubles, Tribulations" is a deeply resonating bluegrass track that does full justice to the cathedral in which he's performing, and you couldn't ask for better acoustics than this. But I think the song "Why" is definitely my favorite of the moment.

He just makes me smile. Especially in those stripey socks.

*Sorry about the pre-video ad, but it couldn't be helped. At least it's for a movie I'd kinda like to see.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

114. Loch Lomond

Still dwelling in the string-happy vein of Hey Marseilles, I remembered a Portland band I've been meaning to check out ever since I came across a split lp featuring them on one side and the Builders and the Butchers on the other. I'm pleased to say they haven't disappointed me, and I think I'm going to have to snag it as soon as I can.

I love this video too. It's like home movie footage of a 1970's religious cult. But in a really good way?

"My internal inspiration comes out of me in strange ways," says Young.
"I lock myself in a room until I scream, knock stuff over, whatever I'm compelled to do to make a song emerge. Once a song does come out of me, I leave it alone. Changing the structure or the lyrics would feel like I was second-guessing my art."

Amazing. I do something pretty close to that. Maybe less breaking of stuff, but only because I don't have a lot of expendable things to break.

*If you liked the song, you can download it for free by clicking here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

113. Capitol Hill Block Party!

So so so excited to see The Gossip today!

I actually have difficulty listening to their albums at work because I feel compelled to belt out the lyrics along with them. I try to listen quietly anyway, but it's nearly impossible to sit still in my chair. Beth Ditto is this incredible force of energy that I find awe inspiring. There isn't a single track that doesn't beg you to jump on your bed, kick all the sheets and pillows onto the floor, and swing your hair in every direction at once. Plus, she gets extra brownie points for having the same name as me.

I'm also very excited to see the opening band this afternoon, Hey Marseilles.

I'm a sucker for indie bands who make proper use of stringed instruments. But there's something so optimistic about Hey Marseilles. They're the perfect soundtrack for a summer road trip. Or an afternoon with friends in Cap Hill. :)

Yay for summer!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

112. In which I am reminded of Tennessee Williams


It's hot. Not so hot as it was earlier, but geez. Also, the Frank-dog tore one of his dew claws this weekend while staying at Pie's house, and won't stop licking it. INCESSANTLY.

And speaking of incessant, the drunk neighbor's terrier was standing out on her porch barking for at least an hour straight this evening. I finally got sick of it and went to her house to ask her why the dog was barking. She took a really long time to open the door, and when she did, she only cracked it open just enough that I could see her face and the dog's nose.

Our conversation went like this...

Me: Hi. Why are you letting your dog stand on your porch and bark incessantly?
Her: I don't know what you're talking about. I don't have a dog.
Me: Ma'am...I can see the dog. He's right there.
Her: Well it wasn't him barking.
Me: Bullshit. I could see him.

Door swings open so that I can now see all of her enormity, and her adorable scamp of a terrier, who is looking especially pleased to have company.

Her: He hasn't been barking.
Me: Yes he has. I could see him from my house, poking his nose under the wall of the porch.
Her: Well it wasn't incessant.
Me: He's been barking for an hour.
Her: Only when people walk by...
Me: People have not been walking by for an hour. Could you not hear him? Were you asleep?
Her: Nooooo...

We stare at each other for some time. She looks confused and that fuzzy sort of stupid drunk. She is also wearing a red moo-moo and has frizzy blonde 80's hair that makes me giggle inside. Unfortunately from the outside I am much less imposing and kind of shaky, because that is what happens when I get agitated or nervous.

Her: Who are you?
Me: I live across from you.
Her: What do you mean you live across from me? Where do you live? What building?
Me: I live in the B building. And I can hear your dog inside my house.
Her: Did Mona send you?
Me: No. I am tired of your dog barking and I would like him to stop.
Her: OOOookaaaaaay. Thaaaaaaaank yooooooouuuu.

And then she slammed her door in my face.

I was probably more rude than I should have been. But I stopped feeling guilty about it after I went by Harvey and Mona's to let them know I said something to her in case she complains. Harvey said the other night her four year old grandson was swimming in the koi pond with the dog while she was passed out drunk on her porch.

Oh, neighbor gossip...

The dog is awfully cute though.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

111. 9:23pm exactly.

I have perfect teeth, yet I still have yet another cavity.
I've fallen head over heels for Mad Men.
Whiskey is better as a warm shot with friends than sipped over ice.

I wish I had time to write more. Fictionally speaking.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

110. Mmm Weekend...

It's thunderstorming, which is a rare occurrence in Seattle, but totally beautiful when it does happen. Plus, it makes it really easy to shut yourself in for a Sunday of studiousness. I managed to get a short jog in earlier, but otherwise, I've spent my day working on astronomy homework, practicing my viola, and watching Mad Men with Matt. Oh, and I baked coconut cookies. Sooo bad for you!

Mad Men is kind of amazing, but I still can't help wanting to throw a pair of t-straps at my television screen over just about every other line. The chauvinism is a bit much. Still, I think I intend to keep watching. It's about as addictive as a pack of Lucky Strikes.

I'm still full body sore today from going dancing Friday night. I went out with my co-workers (and quite a few recently laid off co-workers), several of whom were performing with their bands. I think I'm in love with them all. Which I'm sort of ashamed to say...I mean, who wants to admit that they love the people they work with? But I do. The more time I spend with them, the more I adore them. They make me laugh, and vice-versa. Samantha and I danced through 3 full band sets, which I think worked out to being about 2 hours. I actually danced so hard and so long that the nail beds of my big toes are bruised from my heels.

Yesterday morning Matt and I grabbed breakfast with Soren. I ate too many hashbrowns and came home for an after breakfast nap. Around 3, Matt and I took a picnic lunch to one of the parks a block from our house, and ate on the playground. As we were eating, a lady mallard slowly crept over to us hoping we'd toss her a snack. There were at least 20 ducks in the pond, but she was the only one brave enough to come up. At first she would only come within a few feet, but after we'd tossed her some chunks of bread, she decided we were pretty ok. She finally worked up the nerve to eat right out of our hands. And if we held the bread too high for her to reach, she would actually jump up to get it.

We named her Barbara. I don't know why...she just seemed like a Barbara.
She was pretty adorable with the beggings. If you went too long without feeding her something she'd start to make this squeaky sort of begging sound and bobbing her head at you. I'm hoping we see her again sometime.

Later on in the evening, we went downtown to see the Seattle Symphony perform music from Final Fantasy. My viola teacher reminded me about it on Wednesday, so I told him I'd definitely come if tickets were still available. All that was left were the $60 third tier seats, but I feel like we still had a really good view.

We stopped next door at the Brooklyn for a couple glasses of champagne and a raw oyster snack beforehand. The bartender was a total foodie, and his girlfriend is a professional chef, so we had a pretty great conversation with him while we hung out. I can't wait to have dinner there. We'd already eaten, so we just had 1 oyster a piece, but it was by far, the best oyster I've ever had. Local fare, go figure. I just can't wait to have dinner there. The place is swank-ee.

Final Fantasy was amazing. It was a little weird, because it attracted this really strange mix of symphony fans and Final Fantasy fan boys. A lot of people were dressed like they were going to an anime convention. And the 2 guys we were stuck sitting next to were probably the biggest fan boys I've ever seen. There were screenshots from Final Fantasy gameplay and scenes from the movies showing on a screen over the orchestra throughout the show, and the fanboys would not stop talking to it, like they were hanging out with their friends at home actually playing the game. By the end of the show they were actually humming along and beating out the rhythms on their legs.

Still, I couldn't say anything. They were obviously way bigger fans than me.
I've never really played any of the games, and I haven't seen the movies. I made it halfway through FF VII before I got too bored to go on. I'm just not a turn-based RPG fan. But it was pretty awesome to see a group of people who normally wouldn't think twice about classical music so intensely wrapped up in it like that. Nobuo Uematsu is an absolutely incredible composer. And he's adorable. A lot of the music had this really epic sort of Carmina Burana feel. It was intense. Several pieces even included opera soloists. But my favorite was getting to see the violas. I really liked getting to watch Wes perform.

Flipping through the program, we found out they're performing Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho for Halloween. The film will be played on the floating screen while the orchestra performs the soundtrack. I can't wait. If tickets were available now, I'd buy them, but I think we have to wait until the new season starts.

After the show let out, we were awake and delighted, and not quite ready to go home, so we wandered over to the Musicquarium. Not a place I hang out often, but I love it every time I go. It's got the best ambience, between the fish tank, and the lights, and the rad little jazz trio of guitar/bass/drum set that was playing. The wine didn't disappoint either. It was pretty much a perfect end to a perfect day.

Holy crap I love this town.
Next weekend: My birthday in Vancouver BC!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

109. Goija & Serova

Viola is not a supremely popular instrument (admittedly one of the bits that attracts me to it), so there aren't a ton of videos out there I can study. But of those that I've found, two soloists have emerged as muses/inspirations/etc for me - Anna Serova and Olga Goiya.

In honor of my instructor ditching jury duty and calling me up for a slightly longer lesson than usual this afternoon, I thought I'd share a couple of my favorites:

Olga Goiya performing the finale from Alan Shulman's Theme & Variations for Viola & Orchestra:

And Anna Serova performing Vieuxtemp's Capriccio per Viola Sola (she doesn't allow video embedding, so you'll have to click the link).

I love that Goija looks like she's about to fight someone when she plays.
Both videos sound best if your eardrums are wrapped up in monstrous headphones, but a decent set of speakers will work almost as well.