Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Quarter-Century Weekend

This weekend was full of excitement! It was my birthday yesterday, and in celebration of turning 25, I had a party at my apartment and made apple pie. I received awesome items like gay erotica and giraffe socks from Sally, Mark, and Matt, fake mustaches from Amy, and the book Cloud Atlas from Julian. (Coincidence that everyone has a livejournal? I think not.)
I also went home to Western, NY, to hear a world premiere of my Saxophone Quartet played by the Erie Saxophone Quartet, right in my hometown! It was really special to have a classical music premier that my family members could drive right down the road and go see. The performance went very well, and the group's professor asked me to possibly plan a trip to SUNY Fredonia to talk with students about composer/performer collaborations. I am delighted! I think the piece was well-received, as most of the people who weren't elderly (or crippled by the hard pews of the church that the performance was in) stood up and clapped at the end of it. I also have to remind myself that while I don't think the piece was the best thing I've ever written (though it is the most sassy), having someone get their Master's degree in Music, and actually compose the music that one hears is quite a feat. I get so accustomed to being in academia, feeling lowly compared to professors I admire, that I forget that I actually gotz some skillz.
(Side note: I had about five people ask me why saxophones are so many different sizes, what their names are, and what they're all still saxophones. And if the soprano sax is a toy.)
In addition to all this excitement, my family had a birthday party waiting for me when I got home, and I got to visit with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. I also saw my sister's sexy new haircut. Ma and Pa also had the wagon pulled up outside the depot, ready to give me the horse and buggy ride of my life. I'm glad I remembered my bonnet!
Kidding about all the Laura Ingalls stuff. But the rest happened, and it was no less exciting than a wild horse ride, sans bonnet. Now I have to catch up on all the things I neglected this weekend in favor of drinking Asti.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Beergasm, Fall Memories, Leafy Shirt

It feels like fall outside! I am just so excited I can't express it with words. The weather lately has felt sort of like:
Warm, but exuberant. Like a beergasm hot tub full of boys, or beakers full of bubbly champagne. And the evenings feel a bit like this:Like a feeling of being in a hot tub full of boys and then hopping out into the chilly night air. Autumn (or at least the promise of it) makes me very optimistic, reminiscent, nostalgic. So does the time of my birthday, which is next Monday. This time in September also causes me to wax poetic about a string of very strange and random things:
1. Fancy pens. Every year from K-12 I'd buy some fancy pens for school. Color-changing, pens with aquatic animals on them, mechanical pencils, and pencils with trolls on the top.
2. Back to school, walking down the long driveway to the school bus.
3. A shirt I had with autumn leaves on it, circa fifth grade. It was strangely similar to this beauty from tobicollage.com:
4. My semester in Scotland. Better in hindsight than in actuality, considering the strange cultural differences to be overcome and the lack of a quality educational system. But I would love to go back and teach, live/work, or maybe just soak up the essence there.
5. One chicken tandoori sub. (Or hoagie.) Eaten in Princes St. Gardens, Edinburgh. I was famished, a stranger in a foreign country, with pulled tendons in my feet from cobblestones and jet lag. A chicken tandoori sandwich saved me.
5 1/2. A tomato and olive pita pocket which did not save me. It was disgusting and I spit it all out on the ground.
6. Vassar.
7. New apartments, and making a home for your few precious things.
8. New and amazing friends!

It's the same every year, when the wave of 'fancypensback2skoolleafyshirtscotlandtandoorivassarapartmentfriends!' hits me suddenly and unexpectedly. The list grows longer with every autumn, but I certainly look forward to it extending with new and wonderful things. I've retired the leafy shirt, though...I don't want to be too cool for school and intimidate all the new kids.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Scent of Heaven

In what can only be described as 'new loveseat' odor, my apartment now smells like an IKEA showroom. Minus the cinnamon buns. But that can be rectified.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Quick takers

I set a small plastic storage bin with three drawers in it (something you might put your bathroom stuff in) out on my sidewalk this morning at 10:00am. I taped a sign on it saying 'FREE TAKE ME' and it was gone by 2:00pm. How quickly snatched!
I just wish I could be the guy who finds a shiny new chandelier on the sidewalk, or a gently worn size 40 Dior three-piece suit on the curb, ready to go to a good home. Guess this isn't the right part of town for free chandeliers.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Ridiculous Musical Expectations

Now that people in the music building sort of know who I am ('The Music Office Biotch') they have come to do silly things, like hand me keys to turn in when they see me in the halls, or ask if I could give up my computer in the music office so he/she could print something out. I'm working more hours than normal (thankfully I get paid a little extra for it) but it does cut into my composing time, and a couple days I eat lunch in the closet, which is not too cool with me. However, I'm enjoying the classwork this semester, and there are so many new young composers that I hope to impress with my certain je ne sais quoi (and avant-garde neckpieces).
Here's some little snips from my recent trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo, 'cause I've been meaning to add these and haven't had a chance.

This girl was too darn cute. Unfortunately the elephants didn't fancy the kiddies much and preferred to ignore everyone in favor of showering themselves with water and dirt.

There were also a lot of small amusements, like a man sticking his hand into the piranha tank. Click on this one for more fishie fun!Okay, I've done my job for the day, eased a couple minor crises by overnight mailing envelopes, and now its back to thinking about how to create the sounds of a flock of birds using only percussion. What a varied occupation I'm getting myself into.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Quotations from a Five-Year-Old

Let me say in advance: I don't like most children. Until they can color, or talk about music in a 'mini-adult' voice, I think children are pretty useless. And certainly not as cute as everyone thinks. That being said, I babysat this boy for a second time and he is amazing. We'll call him 'One-Liner Kid'. He's five, and Jewish, and has two gay dads, and has a new baby brother adopted from Vietnam who was peacefully sleeping upstairs the whole time I was babysitting. Well, One-Liner was in top form during my babysitting hours. It seems that everything that comes out of his mouth is hilarious, and what seems to be very intelligent to me for a five-year old. The last time I babysat, he offered the gem 'This is a lion, and they live in the Sahara. This is a tiger, and I'm Jewish. Are you Jewish? This is a zebra.'
But this time the one-liners were bouncing left and right.

"The Movie About Me will involve a boy, and lots of abrasions."

"Are you in a rock band? We should be in a rock band and our name will be Really Great Rock Band."

"I wrote to Dwayne to see if I could be in his rock band but he said no."
"How old is Dwayne?" I ask.
"He's 18. He's really tall."

"Look, all the carnivores are sleeping, except for this diplodocus." (We're playing with dinosaurs and all the herbivores are left standing.)

Did I also mention that One-Liner is obsessed with the Phantom of the Opera musical, and getting over his Lion King musical phase? Talk about a kid with two gay dads, but the strange thing is that neither parent really cares that much about musicals. I'm singing a line from the musical to One-Liner:
"The PHAaa-ntom of the Opera is there..."
"Insiiide your mind! I want to be Phantom for Halloween. Do you have a mask?"

We're coloring a book of Spiderman drawings, One-Liner tells me:
"That looks like a herd of dingos".
Clearly the boy knows a lot about animals, from the Paleozoic era onwards.

But my personal favorite occurs when we're playing a computer game, and One-Liner turns to me and says,
"I'm an excellent fry cook."
And he turns back to 'Shrek: The Computer Game', blissfully unaware of his stand-up routine.

I'm certainly amused for a few hours, the dads are happy to get out of the house, and One-Liner gets to entertain. Everyone's happy! And adding to the near-perfect way to make a little extra money, the kid puts himself to bed.

Superman Demystified

There's a certain amount of comforting predictability when it comes to superhero action flicks. There's always going to be the foreshadowing moment of 'don't be alarmed by our advanced technology, nothing will ever go wrong...' and there will always be the dastardly evil plotting of the bad guy, for little reasoning beyond 'being the richest man in the universe'. Luckily there are also some surprises, like in 'Superman Returns', the delightful Parker Posey, and the hints of SuperMuscles underneath that spandex outfit. Click on the picture to view the elements you can use to make your own superhero adventure!