Thursday, August 28, 2008

What Technology Refuses, Humans Do

The music office closet where I used to work was previously a copy machine closet. I would joke that the copy machine overheated, so the school put people in there instead. It was almost as if the copier demanded better working conditions. Now it sits in a beautiful, bright, air-conditioned office with plants and a sofa, and four graduate students staff the closet space.
Well, that copier was pretty smart.
I'm at my new job and I continue to enter data mindlessly. I also realized that I'm doing the work which could easily be done by a computer. Except that the computer thought the work was too boring, and spit all the information back out, and told the humans to do it themselves.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First day of temping

This might not have been how the actual conversations went today, but you get the jist.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh

I made it through my first "Retreat" practice with The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh today, marking my first singing with a real choir in almost exactly seven years! It was exhilarating, and I like a lot of the people there. I'm singing some sweet low Bass parts. We also did some Dalcroze Eurythmics. I'm most excited to be a part of John Adams' work, On the Transmigration of Souls, his gorgeous and haunting "memory space" response to 9/11.
Speaking of quotation marks, I also start a new "job" on Monday, as my last day in the music office was Friday. Sniffle...but also, hooray! I don't have to deal with some of those (unnamed) divas ever again. And I will be back to visit, as I'm writing the incidental music to one of the Drama School plays in February.
I start temping for two weeks, and/or until a "real" job may materialize for me downtown, which I'm really hoping will happen soon. But after hoping that I'd have a few days of pseudo-vacation while I look for work, I was psyched up for some relaxing, and I wish I was inside this collage right now! Perhaps I'd be enjoying cucumber sandwiches on a boat in the Bahamas, surrounded by a coral reef of precious stones. While butterflies waft by. That's one good way to enjoy unemployment. I made the collage for Kate, for whom it is totally suited.

In other news, Amy has an amazing steamer/wardrobe trunk in her apartment which she found on the street and it has a tag inside of it from its previous owner. The man, Percival Hunt, checked into the Pittsburgh Sports club exactly 100 years and 10 days ago. That's luggage longevity.

In other other news, I bought for the first time a pair of pants size 32 waist. I've been a slim 29 or 30 waist for 15 years! I think the one pair is a bit of an anomaly, but I can actually notice my body type changing. A little more hip fat, a little more arm muscle, but hopefully no beer belly any time soon.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cathedral Disturbances

A performance of mine from this summer is now on Youtube, thanks to the Alia Musica director Federico Garcia and his technical prowess. My original idea for the work was the feeling of being in a quiet cathedral, and someone disturbs the peace (i.e. the piccolo, obviously). Squabbles ensue. But as arguing never gets anywhere, all the congregation decides to have a dance party. Or something like that. It's scored for piccolo, soprano and baritone saxophones, violin, cello, and piano. Many thanks to Alia Music Pittsburgh for requesting a piece just for them. Check it out!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Shoveler concert a success!

Saturday night I unveiled the latest Midnight Shoveler concert, featuring some of my favorite musicians, Mark, Sally, Rich, and Liz. My parents also surprised me with a visit! The turnout was awesome- thank you to everyone who came and showed their support. I think my personal highlights were a jazz recomposition of "Papa Don't Preach" with drums and bass; using a megaphone for Sally's voicing of "Let It Be", and the encore, an accordion version of an art song I wrote called "How Can We Hear". The accordion belonged to my grandfather and it's on loan from my uncle, to whom it's willed. I think gramps would have been proud that it's getting some use. I don't think he'd appreciate my song about a one-night stand, though. Sorry, gramps.
The concert hall I played in was really lovely and reverberent, probably a bit too much so, but it also lent a version of the Beatles' "Blackbird" extra gorgeous spaciousness.
Afterward we enjoyed food and drink at a long table of friends, and this weekend my parents and I got to spend some quality time together walking around Squirrel Hill.
Now I'm coming down from the excitement and I have to face the fact that I'm only working for two more weeks and then possibly facing unemployment (well, probably temping, but it's not ideal) and a punch-to-the-gut's worth of loans. Luckily amidst those working woes I have an acceptance into Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh to be excited about, a commission for a two-clarinet chamber piece, typesetting projects for a little extra cash, and music to write for the School of Drama's play next winter! So why am I wasting time blogging? Back to work.

P.S. Anyone have Shoveler show pictures I could post?

Friday, August 01, 2008


This morning I almost put up a sign on my downstairs neighbor's door saying, "I'm so glad your annoying Bichon Frise has stopped its incessant barking! I think its neutering must have done it some good." But I realized it was because it and its owner moved out this morning! Hooray! Now I don't have to deal with its schizophrenic explosion every time someone walked down the sidewalk.
Then, what should happen not thirty seconds later, but a new dog and its owner moved in to a different apartment in my building, and it started barking from the back yard! I don't know what it is with my building and dogs. Will the barkfest never cease? If your dog barks that much, it should not live in my tiny tiny building, in a crowded neighborhood, with no place to run free. I'm praying that someone quiet moves in downstairs and spares me from Dolby 5.1 surround-sound yelping.
Pictured right: The culprit in question. From the I'm-disgusted-it-exists website Precious Pet