Thursday, May 29, 2008

College Graduations and Niagara Falls

So much has happened all in the last week! This blog has briefly left the world of comics and collages and has apparently taken a turn to the photoblog. Well, comics shall return soon. I just have to think of something funny to draw in the midst of looking for a job after the summer. Perhaps a funny coming about the irony of hoping your big employment break will come through at Borders Bookstore when you've just earned a Master's Degree. Hilarity!My sister graduated from college. I'm so proud of her. I graduated from second college. I'm proud of my big fat diploma which is more than twice as big as the last one. And the last one was all in Latin, so now that this one is in English I can read it all.
My dad and I went on a motorcycle ride on a beautiful day! This is over his shoulder.
My friends and I went to Niagara Falls Canada for the Memorial Day Weekend. Take that, American holidays. Well, Niagara Falls Canada is basically Canada Lite, so we weren't really escaping the United States. This waterfall behind me is Niagara Falls, and it is not a fake backdrop! But I do wish that our yellow ponchos were a little less bonnety and a little more keep-out-the-deluge-y.
We also fit into a pod at the Ferris Wheel, joined by Mark's friend Ted, who visited from Toronto.
Finally, I got back to Pittsburgh and the very next day I had a premier and a recording of a piece I wrote for bell choir! And here they all are in their Chancel Glory.
Phwew. I think the summer will be a bit less eventful than this, but I'm glad that all events went very smoothly, and not a single handbell was thrown at anyone.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Vacation Bliss

On mini vacation in Western NY. I'm waiting for friends to visit tomorrow night, whence we go to Niagara Falls! I'm excited for "Canada As Adults", because the last time I was there I was a teenager, which was fine, but now I have free will. Having a few days in the meantime to think all by me onesies is great. I'm thinking:
1. I love the quiet of the family's house! I can practice piano for an hour, watch tv, go for a walk, and then come back to the piano...and it's still as quiet as ever.
2. I'm reading a book of writings by the composer John Luther Adams (he works out of the wilderness of Alaska and sometimes writes hour-long works with strings and harps only on white keys; in other words I am completely in love with him) and I am transfixed by his every word. My, how I admire intelligent writing which is still personal and thoughtful. And he gets bonus points for talking about the aurora borealis.
3. Am I at a compositional bench marker? A mini crisis? Now that I'm done with my Master's program I still think my music could be so much better, so much more solid, and yet I don't quite know how to do that yet. I think I'm torn between attempting an ascetic/Arvo Part/"less is more"/spiritual side of me and the funky pop music/minimalism/jazz chord side of me, and perhaps I can find a way to make both sides happy in works to come? 4. I think I'm thinking too much. I should just listen to the stream. Gurgle!
5. This country livin' is a doozy on my digestive system.
6. But the ahi tuna at the fancy Arts & Crafts style restaurant was the most delicious graduation present ever.
7. My parents finally called the piano tuner and he came this morning, and now Wungsten will happen at A440. Delightful.
8. I'm practicing John Adams (the non-Alaskan one) 'China Gates'. I'm going to try to make it happen for real.
9. I've forgotten everything about science and social studies that I learned from 7th-12th grade, as proven by my well-taken notes I've saved. I thought I'd never heard of Mark's quiz-word "regolith", but BAM! There it was on my 8th grade science review sheet about the earth's crust. I am also now re-acquainted with the 5 nations of native Iroquois people, which acronym nicely to SCOOM.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Harp Recital

I played the harp on a three-harp piece at Duquesne University the other night... All but a few lucky parents were priviledged to see my first classical performance debut in Pittsburgh. 'Course, the harp is not my instrument, and I've only taken four lessons, and I was the only boy, towering over the other harptastic blond girls. And the piece was on the program between the principal harpist of the Pittsburgh Symphony and a five-year-old girl who was too short to even sit on the bench. We made a small impact, but it felt good to perform again! And then we got desserts.
Photo: Me playing the harp. Just kidding. Don't I wish. It's King David, circa 1600, on a triple-strung harp, wearing fantastic sandals. But both performances did include a little kid to hold up the music.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


There are some great palindromes out there. They read the same both forward and backwards. "A man a plan a canal Panama", "Madam I'm Adam", even "Yo Banana Boy!" Sally introduced me to "Sniffum' Muffins" yesterday...but perhaps my favorite palindrome is Avobilhucoiefokniserjaerhobnbohreajresinkofriocuchlibova!
Oh, it has to make sense? Right. Let's stick with Sniffum' muffins then.
(Thanks to Scott for hilarity.)

Friday, May 09, 2008

Fallingwater and Ohiopyle

This past weekend the gang and I went to see Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright's 1930's masterpiece of a summer home for the Kaufmann family. Then we went down the road to Ohiopyle, PA for a fantastic lunch on the river, songs in the grass, and warm rays of sunshine! First, we sandwiched Fallingwater between our heads like a delicious architectural Oreo.

The building is amazing for its cantilevered 'horizahnal lahns' (horizontal lines, as our tour guide told us) but I think it's equally impressive for its snapshot into what was the ideal living conditions for the architecturally radical at the time- claustrophobic hallways lead out to sunlit rooms, which lead out to bright verandas that feel like they're floating on the water. Some of the things that were crazy for the 1930's now seem absurd, like the low ceilings, and mazelike houseplan, but I could see what Wright was envisioning, and with tens of millions of dollars over budget, presto! He got what he wanted. The rooms are quite tiny, but every small detail has been accounted for- even the electrical outlets submerged into the floors. I loved this lower level pool, which looked mysterious and magical. We sang Beatles songs in the grass and wished we were born in better days. As if the 1960's were better days, but we know better.
I stuck my feet in freezing springtime river and Matt got chilly vicariously. It was even a good hairday (or lack thereof) for both of us.
We all appeared in the obligatory self-photo, which for some reason I look like the only comfortable subject:
These pictures remind me of my excursions with another Fantastic 5, this time from TA 46 at Vassar. We took great trips to Dia:Beacon and Storm King Art Center on similarly sublime summery days. We all met up again in Washington DC recently for more fun and frolic! (Does anyone have photos they could send me of that weekend?) Perhaps good things come in fives.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008