Old Daily Shows--February 2002

Find the archive of past entries at archive.htm. Today's entry is at daily.htm.

Saturday February 2, 2002 Soup, jobs, etc.

Whoa. I made soup tonight! Yum. Not particularly hot, alas, but that's okay--I wasn't sure how hot the green chiles would make it. Not very, but it was nice. With bacon and cheddar and rice and potatoes and stuff, oh my.

Last night, Susie and I played an English dance in Princeton, NJ, for the Princeton Country Dancers. Fun little gig, with the exception of one dance, Salutation, which is a horrible horrible non-tune and should never be inflicted on anyone not deserving of deep punishment. But other than that, it was fun. Lively hall, people who liked our music, and we got paid.

Not a lot, but enough that we more than broke even on the excellent dinner we had before the gig at Masala Indian Restaurant in Princeton. We went looking for dinner and we both smelled Indian food at the same time. We had to walk most of Princeton's downtown area before we found where it came from, but find it we did. Garlic naan, various chutnii, samosas, vegetable pakoras, and mint chicken tikka... So good. I'm smiling again now thinking of it. And you know what? I can make every one of those things, if I try.

The jobs I was offered, as referenced in my last entry and in various emails from the (surprisingly large number of) eager readers who wrote and asked, were twofold: first, a job helping to move the risers off the stage every Wednesday after choir--John Alston, choir director and my advisor, asked me after I helped out with it last Wednesday. I was late to choir, and the punishment is that you help move risers that day (without pay). John apparently thought I might like to do it as a regular gig. He might be right.

The second thing is this: he invited me to be a teacher with the Chester Boys Choir camp that he runs in the summer. Five weeks, $2500. Susie said I could live in her house if I wanted to do so, which makes it a bit easier to deal with things like finding housing. Is this what I want to do? I don't know... I suppose I could do worse than teaching music and martial arts to kids. We'll see if and where it goes.

I hurdd i'll lrabe it threr gor now.

I guess I'll move my fingers back to the proper keys now. And I'll leave you all to it, because I'm apparently rather tired.

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Sunday February 3, 2002 Musing about recipes

This afternoon, before the Mixed Company fun night that included pizza and a showing of Eddie Izzard: Dress To Kill, before the unwatched-by-me Super Bowl, before writing recommendation letters and reading and cleaning and all that, Elizabeth and I made brunch.

I am sometimes amazed by what a simple wonder cooking is. I love it. I will gradually have more cookbooks on my shelves--I would like one day to have a cookbook collection like the one at home--and though I rarely cook directly from them, I love to read them. They are my pleasure reading, sometimes. Ever wondered what velouté sauce is? There's a book that'll tell you. Want to make a perfect baguette and some chèvre with herbs, onion, and garlic to go on it? Cookbooks will tell you that, too. Read enough of them and you'll start to see behind the lines. You'll read the recipes like stories, wondering how many times the author cooked things similar to the thing you'll try to recreate, testing, tasting, getting to know the ingredients.

A recipe is a story, sometimes. You may have to stretch your imagination rather a bit to see it, but I think it's there. Want a martyr? Try yeast, a creature that dies so your bread can be light and fluffy. Do we have a heroine who falls in love with a hero, pines for him (or her, hey, it's the 90s, sort of), and finally wins her love in the end?

What do you think is really happening when you add onions to potatoes? Doesn't it seem logical that one reason they work so well together could be that, like the lovers in the stories, they're meant for each other? Are good cooks really poets, novelists, biographers, people who write using the same words and ingredients the rest of us do, but who create Bread And Jam For Frances rather than Toast And Jelly For Jane?

A friend of mine told me that when she hears performances by developing musicians, she doesn't hear the mistakes, or the missed notes, or the nailed notes--she hears the musician behind them, what's going on there. Friends of mine can look at a story and tell you what's behind it, what makes it tick. Others look at a dance and see the figures in their heads in perfect alignment.

I'm beginning to learn how to read, I guess. I look at the things we put into our potato pancakes this afternoon (potatoes, onions, garlic, eggs, salt, pepper, a little oil, a bit of oregano, some hastily-toasted breadcrumbs) and I don't just see a list of vegetables and condiments. I see lots of things--soups, breads, casseroles, dips. If I'm thinking of potato pancakes, I look at that list and I see chemistry, and romance, and subtlety. I see what it's like when the potatoes go into the pan, what they smell like when they're just barely done. I remember what it's like to pop the finished cakes into my mouth before they've even really come out of the pan. There's sometimes an urgency to a latke that makes it a sin to touch it with a plate. Some of them are meant for higher things, and will suffer no intermediaries.

Do you notice, when you look at a recipe, what the potatoes will sound like when you grate them, or the way the egg will bind the mass into a cohesive unit? Do you know what it's like to have the experience of déja vu with cooking, because you've already imagined every step the way it happens? I'm beginning to learn. I'm learning to read, to read a language whose information density is suddenly rather higher than I'd noticed before.

Simple things are so beautiful, too. In cooking today, I looked at some potatoes and I thought "I need two pounds. That looks like two pounds to me." But I wasn't sure, and so I got out my scale to check. I was off by only a quarter of an ounce. I was mostly shocked by that, but somewhere, my head said "Yeah, I knew it looked about right", and kept moving.

I have to get up early tomorrow to go to my education class observation--Jazz Choir at Strath Haven High School. Somehow, though, I needed to tell you about this, try to make you understand. Anyone out there who looks at a recipe, or at a group of ingredients, and sees what I see? Tell me about it. What do you love?

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Monday February 4, 2002 Perotinus and journal thoughts

I'm never quite sure how to behave around other people who write webjournals when a subject one of us has discussed comes up in conversation. I have some idea, though only some, of who reads me, and I imagine other writers have the same sense.

And yet talking about it seems strange, sometimes. We seem to buy into a tacit silence, and when someone breaks the mold and mentions something that was written, things are a bit uncomfortable until the need to explain and understand takes over. Do we write these as an anonymous diary, wanting to know that others will see what we write, and be forced into complacent little boxes of nonspeech? Or are we all longing to talk about it all, hoping that somehow, someone will be brave enough to ask? Are these blogs all little cries for help?

I don't know what to think. It must be different for every person who writes, and yet I wonder if there is a common thread.

I had my first Ed 14 observation this morning, with John Shankweiler of Strath Haven High School. Amusingly, they're doing Damn Yankees and lots of a cappella music, so I'll have something to contribute; indeed, he's asked me to teach a lesson on improvised vocal percussion next week. He's been to Potsdam, too--he toured for 11 years as a member of the Waverly Consort. Cool.

I spent forever in Underhill today researching Perotinus Magnus, a 12th-century composer of organa and clausulae, and I'm sick of books for right now, thank you very much. At least that kind of book. Trying to read German is always lots of fun when you don't speak it, too...

And then, tonight, against my (better?) judgement, I was sucked into watching part of a bootleg copy of Lord Of The Rings that someone had acquired. I dragged myself away, finally, and found that, despite some things they did that I don't like, I want to see the whole thing.

I want to sleep more, though.

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Tuesday February 5, 2002 Suckage

Today sort of monumentally stank. It was no good at all.

And then I got a backrub, and talked about some of what was bugging me, and got an unconditional hug. And suddenly it was a lot better. And man, that's a good feeling.

But, my project is handed in, my room is, well, still in need of shoveling, and my life as a CS major is (hopefully) coming closer to denouement. I hope they'll tell me soon...

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Wednesday February 6, 2002 About CS psychology

One of the roleplaying exercises I had to do as part of my training as a telephone crisis counselor at Reachout involved talking to a caller who was worried about an HIV test. As it turned out in the roleplay, the caller wasn't actually particularly at risk of having HIV, but the nature of the test is such that it inspires rather a lot of fear.

Which is why, among other things, the test results for HIV tests are always returned in person--it's such a big, scary thing that they don't want to tell you the results, good or bad, when they can't lay hands on you and give you some counseling. And people freak out a lot about HIV tests. Of course, you say, if someone tells you that you've got HIV, you're going to be a bit upset. True. But people also freak out while they're waiting for the test results to come back, and they (strangely) freak out when you tell them "Good news! You're clean!"

You come up with all sorts of frightening reasons why you must, necessarily, have HIV, and imagine that the test results are taking a long time to return because the nurses know that you have the virus and are trying to figure out a way to break it to you gracefully. Perhaps something went terribly wrong, and you didn't have HIV, but now you do, thanks to some horrible (pre-1992)-in-2002 blood contamination problem from the blood test, or you think that the blood test equipment had traces of virus on it, because after all when you get shots, there's dead or weakened virus in them....

The reason I'm thinking about that is that a friend of mine recently got tested, for good measure, and there was a bit of conversation about it. This conversation took place in the middle of my sobbing fit last night. I didn't even see the parallels at first. They're not equals, just parallels, but I think I've begun to understand why it's 3 in the morning and I've been unable to do any work all night.

Somewhere, deep in one of the piles that has finally taken over my room, or perhaps neatly filed at home, there is a thin brown manila paper envelope, probably with "Hollis Easter - Student" or "Hollis Easter - Campus Mail" on it. Inside it was a hastily folded sheet of photocopied paper, not personalized in any way other than having my name written on it, from the Computer Science department. It explained that my application for acceptance to the major of Computer Science had been deferred until such time as I completed CS 22, a class they decided to require for acceptance to the major so as to cut down on the number of people majoring in CS.

That impersonal piece of paper came to my mailbox 310 days ago now. I got the results of my test back that day, April 2nd of last year, but rather than a joyful negative or a life-shattering positive, I got door #3, the option I hadn't known existed, a test that continues without definite end. The tests are inconclusive, so we will continue doing them and will get back to you.

This year's batch of sophomores is applying to majors even as I write. One of their important deadlines is on Friday. They're all excited and filled with a little trepidation as they try to figure out what to do with their lives. Many of them have come to me and asked my opinions on various things ranging from CS to music to math to philosophy. I try to answer their questions and be useful. They're so excited by it all!

And I try to hide the fact that every time someone mentions the word "major", or "graduation" or any of the other related words, part of me shrivels and dies a bit more. This year's applicants may well have their acceptance decisions before I get mine; after all, they're working within a system, whereas I am now outside it. I was upset the other day when one of my advisors asked me what my major was. My advisor!

I wonder what it feels like to be able to say what you're doing at Swarthmore. I have friends who've written about changing their majors, about choosing their majors, about wondering what majors they'd like to do. I haven't seen anyone else write about what it's like to not have one (because, frankly, Music isn't a major in the sense of "I intend to go on to graduate work in it and/or perform at a professional level for my entire income") so I guess I can have the dubious honor here.

What can I say I do? I'm a Music/Deferral double major? I'm double majoring in Music and Chaos? I'm part of a research group for a large experiment on the developmental effects of terror?

I wish I could find that little piece of paper, touch it, hold it, and feel like I wasn't just some hopeless phony. But yeah, this is really bugging me. Either way they decide, it's going to break me when they tell me. And I'm sorry if I offended anyone by somehow comparing this to an HIV test. I don't mean to trivialize the other.

I'm tired of not being able to sleep well. Maybe they'll tell me tomorrow.

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Friday February 8, 2002 Doing okay

And, for whatever reason, I'm doing a bit better today, despite the evil clarinet player.

Still no acknowledgement from the CS department, but whatever... Who cares?

Had a voice lesson today, and it turns out I get to have coachings as well, which is cool. And Debra, the person who does coachings, said she'd been hearing wonderful things about me. It's possible that this was merely a pleasantry. I wonder, though... If she has been hearing things, from whom? Strange. But cool. I'm doing "Non piu andrai" from Figaro at the moment. Exciting, no?

Listening to the Easy Club's album essential, which is massively cool. Yay, historical research! Strange though, to think of a recording from the 70s as "historical". Oy. What a world.

We got some karate equipment for our club, and it came today. In the shipment were some air shields for kicking. Malik and I were happy because we could start throwing some hard kicks. I was pleased because I can throw front kicks that literally do knock him ten feet backwards. Fun!

My mom mailed me the Prince Charlie jacket she's been making for me. It's amazing. Words don't work, but I hope to have a picture at some point. Suffice it to say that it's cool and a half.

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Monday February 11, 2002 Bitter

Somehow, it seems like my department could be doing a little better if the best it can do is to make me wish I hadn't come to Swarthmore.

But thank you, Charles, for not "getting around" to answering my email of a week ago, and thank you, for being busy today and therefore not "getting around" to figuring out which deferred second-semester juniors (there are evidently a number of us) will get to have places in your department. Thank you for earning that however-much-money-you-make-per-annum today.

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Friday February 15, 2002 Surviving

As you've probably noticed, I haven't been writing much lately. I've been thinking about writing, certainly, but I haven't actually put words to paper or plastic, at least not here. I've written letters to Charles Kelemen, three of the Deans, my parents, various secretaries, and my door, but nothing here.

I've not been doing so well. I've progressed from feeling okay about being deferred, to feeling peeved, to feeling obsessed, to feeling roaring angry, to feeling dangerously destructive. It bothers me that, really, the only recourse that remains to me to make the administration pay attention is to do something physically destructive. Now, I'm not willing to do that, so don't worry--you're not going to lose me, or any authority figures, landmarks, or whatever. But still, intellectually, it bothers me that the situation can move to the point of almost absolute powerlessness.

This entry was going to be finished off (Friday) with cheery sentiments, but I got busy doing other things, so the cheery sentiments go in the entry for Sunday, because that's when it is right now.

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Sunday February 17, 2002 No wine for me

As promised, here is the cheery entry. Mostly, at least.

I'm doing better this weekend than I had been during the week. A friend was worried about me and wrote about it in his webjournal, and I've gotten the impression that other people have been thinking about it. To Ben, whose short and private note was immensely helpful, thanks. I haven't responded yet because I'm not sure what to say, but... thanks.

I feel apart again on Thursday, this time at Scottish dance class, where I got into an argument with Terry, my wonderful dance teacher, about something stupid. It was a music thing, and I wasn't playing in a way that helped the dancers particularly. I'm new at dance piano, and so it's hard for me, and I dearly wanted to be good at something that day. An offhanded comment got misinterpreted, and it was suddenly too much to take, and it left me sobbing in the bathroom. Terry came and talked to me, which was good, and I need to thank him again, but it was an unstable time, certainly.

And then I went and played tunes with Susie, and life started to take an upswing. I'd decided that I was going to go sit in the Deans' offices until they responded to me, and that if I had to wait in their closed offices all weekend, I would do it. This is the sort of pointless melodrama I've been prey to lately, and I decided that it wasn't a good idea when, on Friday, the time came to go to their offices. I received a short email from one of them late Thursday night that said, essentially, "You sound frustrated. Best to be patient." But I played tunes, and thought, and I've been getting along by telling myself that it will all be okay because the department will either accept me, in which case all will be well, or they'll reject me, in which case I will become an insistent student and force them to accept me. And that's the current operating plan.

It's been a weekend of nothing going right, and yet I'm strangely cheerful about it. Friday night, Elizabeth and I went on a date. She made pasta and bread, which we ate by candlelight, and then we borrowed Sasha's car and went to see the Lord of the Rings.

It's a fantastic movie, I'm told. Unfortunately, the theatre had sold out of tickets between when I checked online and when we arrived at the theatre. Disappointment. We elected not to see Black Hawk Down, given how upset some friends were when they saw it, and so we wandered out of the theatre, looking cute and trying to decide what to do. We eventually borrowed a movie from a friend, and proceeded to not watch it, given that we were so tired from the week that we just sort of fell asleep.

The next day, I decided to try out my new status as legal adult and buy a bottle of wine to cook with. This was deeply frustrating to me, and left me feeling like some heinous species of criminal. Allow me to detail the events. First, a little background information. While at Swarthmore, I have consumed, I think, half a glass of wine that someone poured for me at the dinner party that Catherine Osborne, Allan Friedman, and I threw for 30 of our friends. I may be misremembering that, though. There was the glass of Bailey's Irish Cream that Willa bought for me at the Philly Airport over spring break 2000, when we were waiting for planes (I didn't want it, and gave it back). I have not been a part of the alcohol culture here at all, and so there are some customs about it that I didn't know.

What a damn stupid state. All the liquor stores in Pennsylvania are run by the Pennsylvania State Liquor Control Board, and they apparently all have such innovative names as "Wine & Spirits Shoppe" and "Ye Olde Liquor Shoppe". Imaginative buggers, aren't they? Well, anyway, I figured, naively, that what with being 21 and all, I shouldn't have any difficulty buying my wine and a little brandy with which to make saganakiopa.

Wrong again, kemosabe! I stupidly brought my friends, the people who had driven me to the store, inside the store with me. Idiot that I am, I didn't think it would matter that they were under 21, since it was me buying the wine, for my use. But no. The kindly employees let me wander around the store for fifteen minutes, pricing rotgut brandies to set on fire and various Shiraz, Pinot Grigio, Sake, and Merlot bottles, mostly just to see what was available. I finally picked up a bottle of merlot, gave it to Sasha to hold while I picked up something else to read the label, chose a bottle of pinot grigio, and went to check out.

It was a short trip. They told me that since the other people with me had touched my bottles of wine, they would have to be carded, as well. I explained that they were helping me to hold the wine while I examined other bottles. No dice. Honestly! Touching a bottle of wine is apparently tantamount to consuming the bottle, underage. The clerk directed me to the manager. I asked, politely, saying that I wasn't trying to buck the system but that I'd like to understand the rules better, and was treated like some frat guy trying to run a party for high school students he'd like to abuse.

It was rather a frustrating experience. I don't like feeling like a criminal for trying to do something that I'm theoretically supposed to be able to do. So, I have no wine, no brandy, and the feta I bought with which to make my Greek delicacy is languishing in my refrigerator, uncaressed by flaming liqueur. Sigh. What a stupid society we live in. It would be fine for me to buy cheap gin and feed it to my elementary school friends so long as I left them in the car whilst buying it, but if I bring a fellow college student into the store to help me hold things (as they do not provide carts or baskets of any kind), I am denied and made to feel like a ninth-class citizen.

So that was quite not fun. But we made potato latkes, and I made couscous with caramelized onions, walnuts, and raisins, and went to the RSCDS ceilidh last night, where I played music with Susie and Laura Risk, and chatted with Kimberly (who was in town for the weekend), and ate decent food, and it was pretty well all good.

Today, the air outside is crisp, and I am doing laundry, beginning to put my life back into order. Life is, for a while at least, good.

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Monday February 18, 2002 Quotes from professors

Quotes from near and far.

Music 15 (Harmony and Counterpoint V) -- Spring 2002

  • "Where you get this density of 12-tone business that's just unbelievably ridiculous." -- Lex Rozin, prof, on Milton Babbitt
  • "Schönberg's being a little pain in the ass here." -- Lex
  • "You can get away with a whole lot of crap in this, actually." -- Lex on 12-tone

Philosophy 1 (Intro) -- Fall 2001

  • "Love lasts. Lust is when you do crazy things and wake up the next morning and think 'Oh my God! What was I thinking?'" -- Tamsin Lorraine, prof
  • "I always think of really loud rock music as an example of diseased love." -- Tamsin
  • "Love is the state in which man sees things most decidedly as they are not." -- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist
  • "How little is required for pleasure! The sound of a bagpipe. Without music, life would be an error." -- Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
  • "Yeah, well, some of you don't know what the hell I'm talking about. That's okay; it's close to Thanksgiving break." -- Tamsin

Music 22 (19th Century Music) -- Fall 2001

  • "Well, why the hell do you think I play? It's to keep the monsters away." -- Marcantonio (Tony) Barone, prof, on music
  • "You wake up in the morning, you go to class, you come home, walk in the door, and you're in another dorm. I hope this doesn't happen to any of you--in music it happens all the time." -- Tony on key shifts
  • "He felt that there should always be something new happening--which is why I find Schönberg so hard to listen to." -- Tony
  • "I'm not quite so arrogant that I'm going to start playing all my own tapes. I'm almost there, but not quite." -- Tony on recordings
  • "Usually you try to establish a pulse before you disrupt it." -- Tony on Brahms f minor Sonata, scherzo
  • "I really can't stand some composers. Berlioz, for example, makes me physically sick." -- Tony
  • "I can probably help you if we can meet one-on-one during my elusive-but-not-entirely-fictional office hours." -- Tony
  • "And then the literary career was terminated, mainly due to lack of talent." -- Tony on Schumann's career goals
  • "Liszt has to have been the single most unselfconscious person in the history of mankind." -- Tony
  • "I'm going to do as little talking as possible today, because I'm tired of talking to you." -- Tony
  • "'It is me' is a German sixth chord. If you ever harmonize the words 'it is me', use a German sixth chord, and use parallel fifths." -- Tony
  • "Frustration is the central motive in Brahms's whole life and works." -- Tony
  • "We have been dissecting kisses--I plead guilty to that. And, it's only fair that we give the man himself final say." -- Tony, the last thing he said in class, putting on a Brahms recording

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Tuesday February 19, 2002 I'm a CS major!

This afternoon, after a sleepy time in class, fighting off a headache from the odor of dry-erase markers, I dropped into the Sun lab of the CS department, figuring that I would check my mail before running off to Mixed Company rehearsal. Great was my surprise, therefore, to see a message with the subject line "your CS major" from Charles Kelemen in my inbox.

I read all the other new messages, deleting or filing or answering them one by one. I carefully avoided opening that message, as if by ignoring it I could make it say what I wanted, could make it say "welcome! join us! learn!". I stared at the subject line, paralysed by fear of the unknown, and dithered a good long while.

It was hard for me to concentrate in rehearsal tonight; my mind kept slipping away to the email I'd received. Before we started singing, I had excused myself and run off to a spare practice room, where I sat at a piano, playing tunes softly to myself, trying desperately to think. What plans need to be made or unmade?

The waiting is finally over. I have, with finality, erased the count of days since the deferral that had recently occupied the small upper-right corner of the dry-erase board outside my room. As I expected, it's much harder to deal with the unknown than it is to work with the reality. Now, at last, I have something on which to base other decisions.

Again as expected, I am conflicted about the decisions that were made. I find, thinking about it now, that my mind flicks in and out of recognition, sometimes realizing that the waiting is over, sometimes remembering what it's been like for the last almost-year.

But then sometimes I just look at something, and a smile breaks across my face, and none of the rest of the world's problems seem to matter. For today, I can revel unashamedly in this:

I got in.

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Wednesday February 20, 2002 Smile

It's so much easier to smile today.

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Thursday February 21, 2002 Four months

Four months today.

And now, having discussed the stupid paper I have to write tomorrow at far too great a length, I'm going to sleep.

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Sunday February 24, 2002 A cappella frustration and Cranbury

As I suspected, I've been more mood-swingy than usual since getting my CS decision back. It's kind of sad.

I was very frustrated by a cappella rehearsal tonight. With apologies to those who will read this and think I'm talking about them, it hurts when people don't care or don't get it. Indeed, I've spent a longer time than many studying music, and thus it comes easier to me than to some, but it shouldn't take an hour of repetition to sort of get eight bars of diatonic 4/4 quarter notes. I get yelled at in rehearsal because I'm a music dork, which pisses me off a great deal. The analogy I drew in explaining it to someone else is this: what we're essentially trying to do is put on a play by Sartre, in French, with a bunch of actors who don't speak French and are averse to the very idea of learning it.

It was intensely frustrating. People don't want to leave their comfortable boxes to do the things that might help them to sing better, so I tried to stretch our warmups into doing some melodic motives that show up in music we perform. Anything to get out of the "everything we do must be in duple meter, in diatonic major" mindset. I got yelled at for "doing modal shit". It makes me want to scream when I suggest that we do a warmup in a minor mode and people shoot down the idea, saying that nothing we sing is in a minor key.

And since I'm frustrated and up late already and am not going to sleep well anyway, here's a partial list of the songs we've been working on lately, whether or not they have any use for the minor tonalities: "Puff The Magic Dragon" -- mixture of major and minor. "Crash Into Me" -- very minor. "Masochism Tango" -- completely minor except for bridge. "Video Killed The Radio Star" -- mostly major. "Take On Me" -- ambiguous, but b minor and e minor are more than half the song... and so on. Obviously minor keys are something we never touch. I agreed, reluctantly, that I wasn't going to arrange Bach's badinerie from the Second Orchestral Suite as I'd planned, since I don't think the group can handle it, frankly. It's in that dreaded minor sound, and we evidently don't sing that.

It is, perhaps, the juxtaposition of musical experience that made it so very hard to bear. I spent all day yesterday in Cranbury, NJ, playing for a Scottish country dance workshop and dance party. Susie and I played the morning workshop with Natalie Haas, a very talented cellist who's a freshman at Juilliard and plays with Alasdair Fraser; Paul Woodiel joined us in the afternoon with his amazing fiddle. He's a classical violinist by trade; studied privately with Leonard Bernstein, among others.

And I fit, this time. I wasn't the best musician on stage, but I don't think I stuck out like an uninvited thumb. I played with the big kids yesterday, and I was good. I made music that made me happy, and so to come back to Swarthmore and be told that my music wasn't wanted made me sad.

This afternoon, though, I made saganakiopa per my recipe, and it was yummy, despite the fact that my brandy did not wish to light. Alas. Nothing like feta on fresh bread, though. So that was lunch, and it was good. Last night, I used the Crock-Pot my parents gave me for the first time--I chopped up veggies before leaving at 8 am for Cranbury, and when I got back, they were soup, which Susie and I eagerly consumed with much hot sauce. Yay!

Matt and I worked a lot on our compiler today--finished the lexical analyzer, and in the meantime I learned a bit of contact juggling. I must run to sleep, as I've got education observation in the morning and need to teach the kids about vocal percussion. Weehaw!

In the end of this, I have a feeling that anyone who reads this is going to feel that I'm being awfully harsh a couple of paragraphs up. That's not my intention. If you're part of the group, I'm glad you've read this, because it does bother me, a lot, and I think a lot of that could be fixed very easily. Indulge me for two weeks. I just think we could sound a lot better. It makes me sad not to like singing with you, because I really do sometimes. Aargh. This isn't coming out right. Ah well. Peace.

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Tuesday February 26, 2002 Acupressure

And that's why I don't write about a cappella things in my web journal very much.

I had a nice conversation with a shuttle driver yesterday... he's a chemist in Philadelphia, has his PhD, and has four teenagers about to go off to college, so he works nights driving us around to make some extra money. Sort of akin to Rabi's commentary... I was glad to talk with him. He was nice. Good luck, man.

I hurt my toe and knee at karate last night. Doh. On the plus side, I now know for certain that I can throw a kick against a 20-year-old man charging at me that will knock him backwards over his head. Good to know. Yes, it was part of a training exercise. I should be fine--just achy.

Tonight, Eileen and I skipped folk dance and went to an acupressure workshop. It was immensely cool! My parents trained me well; I knew most of the points by feel, and only once or twice needed help finding a point. Yay! Acupressure!

Life continues to bounce up and down. Whee.

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Wednesday February 27, 2002 Reading Kay

Sometimes, when you feel life spiraling around on the edges of your control, it's possible to step in and grab something, force things back into a framework wherein you can handle them. I did that today, sort of.

Last night, I read two books on educational theory, after the acupressure workshop. I was fried. So I took an old friend off my bookshelf, to read a bit before going to sleep: Guy Gavriel Kay's A Song For Arbonne. I needed to read about music and love and things not working out right and things coming out all right in the end anyway, I guess. Arbonne is one of my faves, and is one of the few (along with another Kay book, Tigana, that I can open to any page and know what's going on, almost to the line. It's beautiful.

And so, I reread it. Between last night and this evening, I reread its 511 wonderful pages, wondered why Kay chose certain literary elements, noticed yet more parallels with other things, and reveled in the beauty of the words. It was great. Took me about two hours of reading time, all told. "Modulating your energy" is the term Susie uses for certain sorts of activity, and I think this might properly fall into that category. Much later tonight, after receiving a package in the mail from parents and sharing many of the cookies contained therein with my hall, I did dishes. Lots of dishes. I was saddened to find that my new Crock-Pot's stoneware has weird stainish things that don't come off, but such is life, I suppose. Also, Sharples cheese has the annoying habit of not washing off of things. Anything. It took me an hour and a half to wash two plates, two spoons, a ladle, and my Crock-Pot. Alas. Live and learn, though.

Playing Bach inventions in my piano lessons now, where I have to play at ridiculously low speeds to figure out the right articulations. Frustrating but good for me.

Also, my parents just rock. A lot, and because they sent me a nifty package, but also because I got to have a really nice, if short, conversation with my dad today. Miss them. Love you, guys.

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