Wednesday, September 29, 2004

we love to see you smile

[Someone on my blogroll had a post up the other day briefly touching on a issue that I've been mulling over for a month or too now. For the life of me I can't remember whose post it was, nor where I found it, so linkage will be scarce here.]

Worries about the obesity crisis are all the rage in America right now, much of the blame being laid on fast food and our over-the-top consumerism in books like Fast Food Nation and films like Supersize Me. We are a nation of people who cannot give up our car keys. We eat too much, too often, and too processed. Diet fads are our quick-fix solutions to weight problems, and our obsession with celebrity thin and plastic surgery is far from healthy.

And while I generally agree with all this, and try my best to avoid the worst bits of our celebrity worship and carb-counting society, I think there's more here at stake. No, strike that, there is more here at stake.

I had about an hour between lessons this morning and I stopped in a McDonalds to use the bathroom (It was by far the poshest McDonalds I'd ever seen- fancy black furniture and decorative wall hangings- I thought for a second I'd accidentally fallen into a Charles Dickens novel). I've been curious about the salads they've added to their menu- curious, that is, beyond the annoyance the commercials geared at women and our "weight insecurities." Sure enough, I still can't eat at MickeyD's- all three salads have chicken on them. No matter, I'm not a fan of the salad anyway.

The claim of "Supersize Me" (and correct me if I'm wrong, I haven't seen it yet) is that McDonalds and other fast food restaurants carry a large portion of the blame for America's status as a land of the obese. While I can't imagine anyone in real, non documentary life would eat burgers everyday, the claim is valid, I feel. In other countries, regulation of meat and other products has been stepped up to limit the use of hormones and additives- Natalie, returning from France, mentioned to me that even though she ate a good deal of "unhealthy" foods such as burgers, cheese, desserts, breads, etc., she still lost weight. This information became a part of my theory that eating processed materials in bulk as we do in the US is a major piece of the obesity puzzle. I don't have much issue with eating meat in principle, but I will not do so in this country where hormonal injections are standard practice. Not only is it animal cruelty- but it is cruel to the consumer as well. Who knows what kind of preservatives and additives you are injesting along with an McDonalds hamburger? What tricks do they play on our body to prevent it from processing food normally?

Do I digress? At any rate, the answer seems simple. "Eat healthy, get out and exercise." But what does eating healthy really cost? I try my best to be organic, but as a music teacher I'm not pulling in the kind of money to go totally green. Organic vegetables are more expensive, organic soups and prepared meals cost a pretty penny, and don't even get me started on eggs. All this, and you'll still can't even be sure that they are certifiably organic or even cruelty-free. Still, much of my organic diet has enabled me to cut some corners- bulk cereal is my own personal Jesus, and cooking a meal often leaves leftovers for the next evening's dinner. Going out to eat can be a challenge, even for a shoddy vegetarian such as I am (I still love my fish, and orange chicken tempts me from a Chinese food place every so often), especially in Texas. Sometimes my menu options are limited to a salad, and I still have to ask them to take the meat off.

Now, vegetarianism is only one healthy option, and it's easy enough to keep meat in your diet and still be fit. Unfortunately, all these healthy options require something more than a minimun wage paycheck, and this is where I feel the issue is. In the article I liked above about the weight crisis, it showed a statistic that African-Americans and Latinos are more prone to obesity. My first thought is that these are for the most part, the people in our society who, unfortunately, make up the lower rungs of the economic ladder. Eating at McDonalds for the lower classes then is a paycheck saver, a financially sound investment- until it comes to the long term health effects. Sure there are salads there now, and I'm personally glad it's an option- but a salad is not the only healthy food, and it's certainly not going to last you for energy very long.

And what's the cost of a health spa these days? Sure, you could go for a walk outside, but if you live in a rough neighborhood, do you want to? In an overpopulated, polluted city?

The disdain our culture has developed for the overweight underlies yet another form of racial and class bias. By not properly regulating our food standards we create an economy that rewards those who cut corners and punishes those who run their food businesses ethically (organically- and environmentally-speaking), therefore, the cheapest food is the worst for you.

If we could give more options to the lower classes and take a less self-hating view of our own bodies (pick up any women's magazine for the latest tips on how to get those perfect summer thighs), would obesity-hatred die out at all? I'd hope so. I'm sympathetic (empathetic?) to all the BBWs of the world striving for body diversity and size acceptance- because most of us have a choice, to like who we are and the choices we make for ourselves or to fall prey to the carrot on the stick society has set up in front of us. However, I am concerned for the people I don't believe really have that choice. On the one hand we are responsible for our own actions, and care of our bodies is no one's duty but our own, but on the other, do we really have access to all the options we should?

talking politics with blue lake counselors

Val, dearest pal of mine from last summer in the Michigan woods, has alerted me to a new blog run by unit director extraordinaire, Jen Chesher. She posts a topic relevant to the current election/state of politics, and the broad spectrum of Blue Lake counselors takes a stab at it. I plan on chiming in often and loudly!

Friday, September 24, 2004

identity crisis

Over in the blogroll are a few newish links.

What She Said bears the tagline "The next time some guy asks you where all the female bloggers are, tell him What She Said!" and is a compliation of progressive women bloggers. I don't technically meet the criteria (my blog is seldom political, and not by any stretch half so), but I'm flattered to be linked.

I've been reading Heather Corinna's journal for a while now, and I love it. She's a sex-educator and erotic photographer from Minneapolis. Check out her work, it's amazing!

If you're not shocked, appalled, or even saddened yet by the atrocities going on daily in Iraq, get over to A Family in Baghdad and start reading.

I've also been linked by Joe Perez, "The Soulful Blogger" whose work is an exploration of spirituality and relationships and just about everything.

The first and last links here have prompted me to think critically about the status of my blog in the blogosphere. Buddha Stew has always been a personal journal, save for a rash of political posts starting last fall and lasting up to maybe the beginning of the summer, when I burned out. I have been known to throw in a few discussions of buddhism and buddhist thought, but for the most part my tagline and journal name are misleading. Therefore, while flattered, I'm a little baffled as to how I got on the blogroll for so many respectable and purely political feminist blogs when most of the time I just post about goofy shit that happened to me in the supermarket.

I'd love to be a blogger with the sort of clout that, say, Feministe has, but to be frank I have neither the drive nor the resources at my disposal that Ms Lauren does. I find I am more comfortable telling stories and keeping people updated on my life- most of my readership being friends wanting to keep a line of communication open with me. In some respects I aspire to the level of enjoyability of Erica, but at the same time I don't want to be a big time blog. I went through a brief period of wanting more readership, to be a blogging powerhouse, but that's foolish- too much pressure. When I list the things I am, the title of blogger is among the top because Buddha Stew is a source of pride for me, and I consider my writing to be, if not fantastic, at least worthwhile. I'm often amused at how little response my favorite posts get, and how others I barely think about seem to be popular. Or just comment-worthy.

I have the time to put into this blog, although not the equipment or the training perhaps, but that's easy to remedy. After going through thoughts of blog-improvement and polishing for a few months, I've decided that I like it simple. I'm a lazy fucker (and a poor one), and if things require just enough effort on my part to make me feel accomplished and more knowledgable than the rest of the population, well then, I'm satisfied.

So, I'm winding myself up to the sort of point you've come to expect from me: a letdown, no decision, anti-climatic thesis that I will not be changing anything really about the way I blog. Every now and again you get the hankering to know what other people think about you, yeah?

So, you'll get a bonus if I start talking about politics or religion; otherwise, I'm sorry- you'll just have to read the Lost Plant Classifieds, and like it.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

that's why i love him

Jerry is the greatest, if only for simple phrases that give me the giggles when I least expect it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the time honored classic, "wowly crap".

Oh, and congrats on the car, too. ;)

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

time for a vacation

I purchased a plane ticket today to spend the weekend of October 15-18 home in San Diego for Mary's wedding. It's going to be a fun weekend; Sarah will be home, I can catch up with Mikey and Heidi and the rest of my lifeguarding crew, I can spend some time by the ocean, breathing in air that is not gross and smoggy, and best of all I get to help send off one my oldest friends into martial bliss.

Things are afoot here in Dallas that are beginning to make the next 7 or 8 months seem completely interminable and unbearable. I will elaborate later; suffice to say I have begun preparations for graduate school auditions this coming spring, intention of getting the fuck out of Texas in the fall. Getting the fuck out. Dammit.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

wanted! reward!

Someone has taken my jade plant, Gollum, from my back porch, leaving poor Rupert all by himself!

Any information leading to the whereabouts of Gollum is greatly appreciated, and a tip leading to the recovery and speedy prosecution of the guilty party will be rewarded in some fashion. Likely cookies.

Gollum is a mutated form of jade plant, about 6 inches high in a red ceramic pot. His leaves are conical and resemble Shrek ears, instead of the usual flat round jade leaves. Gollum has been a loyal plant for four years, surviving the unnourishing Wisconsin winters (although he is a native) and flourishing in the heat of the San Diego sun. In the past year he has finally matured and grown, only to be lost now! I must have him back! He is a faithful companion to my cactus, Rupert, who mourns his loss excruciatingly. Please, if you know anything, or if you yourself are the culprit, find it in your heard to bring Gollum home, where he is loved and showered with affection (a monthly fertilizer! water!).

Monday, September 20, 2004

once upon a time in a city down south or
the adventures of leon and lorn in austin, texas

prologue- go on, live a little

Leaving Dallas at 4 on a Saturday with no tickets, no place to stay, and only a vague idea of the events that will happen in a city I've never been to in a state I barely know with someone I am hardly more than familiar with could normally make me more than a little nervous, nay, let's go with "skeptical." But I'm feeling frisky, verging on broke, and fatalistic in the sense that life's only going to get interesting when you come out swinging.

chapter one- the seedy roadside motel

An uneventful car ride down, three hours and we're in Austin, capital city of Texas. Austin apparently is cool enough to make people shit their pants when they talk to you about it- and everyone who's been to both Austin and Madison tells me the similarities abound. Capital city, college town- Austin's bigger than Madison, or at least it has more tall buildings, but it's gorgeous. The campus of UT is a city in its own right. I kept thinking about Pamie and her book, and how I was right there in the thick of it all. The Tiny Wooden Hand story, written here!

The first obstacle accomplished- we scored our tickets for Sunday's shennanigans right off the bat by performing a feat of vehicular manuevering such as Texas has never seen. Ahem. I mean, I dropped Leon off and drove around in circles until he called me to come pick him up again. Tickets secured, the next task was finding a suitable location to sleep. Back up the highway we go, scouring the Red Roof Inns and Motel 6s for good deals, when Leon spots a nearly invisible little place by the name of the Deluxe Inn, rooms $26. The kind of place for steamy office romances, a bed, a dresser, the inescapable aroma of cigarettes.

The walls needed paint, but no matter. Lots of walls need paint, right? The bed appeared clean, and I could only hope it didn't contain the rotting remains of a dead prostitute, Four Rooms style. In the bathtub, behind the ripped curtain, where a series of stains that may or may not have been blood. It's hard to tell really, but it doesn't make showering pleasant when you're speculated about who's attempted suicide beneath your naked butt.

I called my parents, who attended the Badger game festivities in Tucson. The Badgers pulled off a win, and despite torrential downpour and inclement weather invading the sanctity of their hotel room, they appeared to be having a good time (trans= drinking). While my mom and I were talking, Leon got stuck in the bathroom. Suddenly the walls are shaking, the door is banging, and as I get up to see if I can help, Leon comes barrelling out of the bathroom in his birthday suit (a towel stragetically placed). My mom wants to know what's going on, but I can't stop laughing. Some things are better left unsaid, yes?

chapter two- mingo fishtrap (alternately, save leon from old dancing ladies!)

Freshened up and eager to leave the Casa de Ashtray, we head downtown. Leon's got the info on a funk band, Mingo Fishtrap, playing at a hip little bar in the Warehouse district. What I mean by hip is that this place was--cool. It was a fucking rad bar. Coupla beers, a piece of pizza, suddenly I am in the best fucking mood of my life. I mean, seratonin is kicking in like you would not believe. I could close my eyes for a second and pretend it's freshman year and I'm hearing Youngblood for the first time on the Terrace, with my new incredibly awesome friends, bumming beer off of Brandon and Ian and whoever else I can find, but I don't have to. This is good enough. I can buy my own beer now.

Mingo Fishtrap is a serious musical force.

Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ on a motherfucking bicycle.

I mean, when I referenced Youngblood before, that this is the kind of band that knows how to turn it up, turn you on, and keep it there long into the night. This is a band.

So check 'em out already.

There's dancing, there's handwaving and shouting of "yeah!" and "fuck, yeah!" and "woooo!!" and everytime I wander off to the bathroom (where I had some quality bathroom line conversations, like you do) I come back to the place I left which is now absent of Leon. I spend an equal amount of time continuing to dance and scanning the crowd for the man with the car keys (flashbacks, anyone? Adam?), before I find him, usually hiding away in some corner of the crowd. Turns out these older ladies want to dance with him, and he keeps bailing.

Safely back at the Ashtray, there's passing out action (well, for me, only a fraction of the time I want to spend sleeping is actually spent in slumber- my insomnia kicks in again. Plus, barf barf barf this room smells bad). An evening well spent!

chapter three- let the games begin

Sunday, the official day. Cake day! But we arrive at the Festival at 11:30, and Cake isn't on until 7:45, so there's time for adventure in between.

First act we saw: Rachel Yamagata. Pretty cool- very talented lady, and great songs. At times a little overly rueful, obsessed with broken relationships for my taste, but all in all, good show.

It was easy enough to stay at that stage and edge forward ever so, because up next: The Roots.

We preceded the show with a conversation on just how one would pronounce ?uestlove (do you ascend for the question mark at the beginning or end? Is the whole thing a question, or just the first syllable?) but once they got on stage, there's no talking, only yelling. A quality show.

I caught a little bit of Elvis Costello, but I was too tired and hurting too badly to stand in the sun so I went to a nearby tree and listened to him from the shade. I even took a brief nap. It was perfect. Went back to the stage I left Leon at so we could meet up again and get ready for the real deal.

chapter four- nameless boy, i totally love you

Packing in the crowd for CAKE was an adventure in itself, but Cake fans are good fans and everyone around us was super cool. We were fairly close- maybe 200 feet back- I could see what I needed to see. There was a big screen as well. The family sitting in front of us was pretty funny, what appeared to be three generations of pot smoking Cake fans. Behind us we saw some Badger hats, word. Next to me, fighting his way in from the boundaries of the crowd, appears a beautiful boy- well, man I should say, as his wristband declared that he was old enough to partake of adult beverages- replete in the splendor of a Run Against Bush tshirt and Rivers Cuomo glasses. Dark hair, fan-fucking-tastic smile. I asked him about his shirt and he explained. I asked him if he'd ever seen Cake and he said no, to which I replied, they put on a good show. "So I've heard" he banters. I ask him if he goes to school in Austin, he says no, he lives in DC (swift knife to the heart!), he's visiting. Oh, says I. "I was in DC, for the March for Women's Lives" "The largest march on the mall in history!" He didn't go, but he meant to (whatever that means), but had a friend that marched next to Gloria Steinem.

Tally of beautiful nameless man goes as follows:
1)That indie/nerd chic look backed up by genuine good looks, bonus
3)Cake fan
5)Let me take a hit off his bong, even though I'm not much of a smoker and I always seem to do it wrong, however that works, but I took it anyway because he was beautiful and he was offering me something he'd put his lips on, damn.
6)Sense of humor includes poking fun at the group of 13 year olds in front of us bumming pot off of everyone. And then having their own, oddly. "Maybe it's oregano." Yeah.

The only bad side is, he lives in DC, and I don't know his name. Why the fuck didn't I ask him his name? I mean, I helped him pop his CAKE cherry, for crying out loud. I guess I didn't because I was hoping he'd be from Texas, and if he had been, I would have been after that shit more aggressively.

So, if you're the nameless boy described above, and you remember me, and weren't turned off by my state of sunburn, smelly sweatiness, unconvincing attempt at flawless skin, and the fact that, unlike the majority of women there, I was not in a condition of relative undress, I just want you to know that you are just the cat's pajamas, and I would at least like to know your name.


Cake put on the fabulous show you can expect from them, of course. I can't describe how much I love them, but I'm not going to sully my memory with words. The songs are stuck in my head, a portion of it is preserved below, and all is well. Travel back to Dallas was mildly uneventful except for a brief incident at a McDonalds in Temple, Texas. My throat hurts and I'm exhausted, but I had the most unbelievable good time this weekend. Do you know what life is really about? The secret to life is- live music, outdoors, sweating in the sunshine, dancing with friends, and meeting the people around you. That's all there really is, it's all you really need.

cake rocks

Here's the setlist:
Sheep Go To Heaven
Is This Love?
Love You Madly (see below post- sorry about the terrible sound quality)
Wheels (new!)
Carbon Monoxide (new!)
Comfort Eagle
Italian Leather Sofa
No Phone (new!)
Encore- Never There
2nd Encore (Austin loves Cake!)- I Will Survive

Fuckin' hell. What a great show.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

this is an audio post - click to play

this is an audio post - click to play

Saturday, September 18, 2004

road trip!

I'm off to Austin for the City Limits Festival.

Last night went up to Denton to be entertained by the brass band stylings of the Inner City All-Stars, although Chris is right when he says we're spoiled by Madison. Dirty Dozen is playing at the festival, so it'll be a weekend of brass band hijinks.

Who knows, you might be treated to an Audioblog featuring the reason for the season, CAKE.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

items of interest?

Here's what I've been up to:

Logic question (you might need one of those graphs)-
I have 16 students, concentrated on Tuesday and Wednesday. 12 of them are middle schoolers, 11 are beginners. Of the beginners, 2 are tuba players and 3 are euphonium players. I have 10 trombonists. None of my high school students are beginners, nor do any of them play a valved instrument. All of the tuba players are at one school, all of the euphs are at another. My sole female student does not play trombone or euphonium (and she looks exactly like Beatriz!).
How many tuba students do I have? What information are you missing to tell me how many schools I teach at? Which information is unnecessary? What is my favorite color?

I borrowed a tuba yesterday to play along with, and demonstrate to, my tuba students. All hail the power of the tuba- it was friggin' awesome. I wish I had one, I'd be playing it all the time. Tee hee.

Last night I attended rehearsal for a community-type jazz band, led by a gentleman named Tom Luer. It turns out Tom attended UW-Eau Claire and used to teach lessons to my dorm roommate's brother, Adam. Petit monde! Overall the band was quite good, I made a crack at the trumpet section's expense, I appear to fit in swimmingly. I will be attending rehearsals regularly- and the best part is, they want me to play bass! Bernard, rejoice, for you shall no longer be dusty with your talents going to waste. You shall be played!

My hormones are running amok again- I spent a portion of rehearsal last night eying up the drummer, who, with his Keanu Reeves-like coloring, was quite handsome. He might be in high school. Am I a closet pedophile? What is it with me? Did you want to know that? Did I type this outloud? What's with all the questions?

I am lifting my self-imposed ban on bashing Texas drivers just so I quote you a classic line from classic film:
"Remove head from spinchter, then drive!" Yes, that was a great one. And so true for Texas- wow. Beyond words how stupidly people drive here. It's getting a little frightening, to the point where I lie in bed on the cusp of sleep and am shocked awake by some brutal imagining of vehicular trauma. For the love of Pete, people, and all that is holy- I've only been here verging on two months and I have figured out how your freeways work. I know where the construction is and which lanes end where. Therefore, those of you with Texas plates and accents to match, why can you not keep a functional map of the Texas highway system in your heads? Does the cell phone interfere with logical brain operation? Are you being eaten alive by aardvarks and must swerve between lanes erraticly to fend them off? I'm ending a paragraph in questions again, aren't I?

I just got off the phone with Davis, and I would like to say that she is marvelous, and happy, and I am very glad (and a wee bit jealous, with all the sex!).

It's up in the air whether I'll be in Austin this weekend or not. I really hope so. I really do. I need to leave Dallas for a small period of time, in order to not go insane.

Friday, September 10, 2004

brr, it's hot cold in here

Posted by Hello

[I was thinking about winter, last night, unable or unwilling to fall asleep just yet. I went into my closet and pulled out an old friend, and then wrote this in my journal. And of course, now that I have access to a webcam, I no longer have to rely solely on my powers of verbal evocation.]

I miss winter.

The very beginning times, the first cold days, the first snow, walking to a coffee shop with friends and everything is sparkling around you. Hiding your nose in your mittens and learning to decipher talk that is muffled through scarves. Boots, coats, hats. Running from your apartment to the laundry room in the building across wearing shorts and a tshirt, and sandals and gasping from cold that is almost baptismal. Straight down into your soul it goes, and opens your eyes that were drooping with weariness a minute before in the heat of your room.

Winter is the season of my green scarf.

Freshman year, a trip to the thrift store ("the department store of thrift!") with my roommate and our mutual friends- well, her friends for ages, that were mine now as well out of necessity, and nearness. I didn't need anything, maybe a new shirt or two, a funky jacket perhaps? (I was addicted to Adidas jackets) The store yielded up nothing I wanted, so I settled by the changing rooms to wait for my companions. Nearby: a rack of scarves. Some patterned, some 70s brown and hideous, some too thin, some too short, one green.

One green that was the perfect length (an end hanging down, the other end up around the neck and back to join its friend tucked securely into my jacket), the perfect fabric (wool, but not scratchy, wool that's been domesticated), with tassels (long ones!). Not flashy like those johnny-come-lately scarves, all tarted up in stripes and polka dots and penquins wearing hats, but just a green you don't see very often. True green, secondary color green, blue and yellow had a love child and here it is. Sea green, no, what a silly frosty color; forest green, oh, too dark!; lime green, ick- like, the 80s are so over, puh-lease!; no, almost grass green but not quite, brighter, but not loud, just green (you want to say it matches my eyes? oh, thank you, that's so sweet of you!).

One green that was the only scarf I wore for four winters, even indoors when the coat and mittens and hat had gone back to rest on a chair, or in a locker. The scarf stayed loosely around my neck (not wrapped, like the vocalists do, gosh, they're so eccentric, aren't they? always humming and screaming randomly in the hallways, like mental patients) so I could play with the tassels, or warm my nose against the wool (my nose was always going numb in winter).

One green that still, when sniffed, smells the way snow does when it's been melted by your breath.

I want winter this year, even if it's the dreary brown part (but preferably not the mushy part), I want cold and flushed cheeks and legs going numb on the walk home. Where you have to layer so you don't freeze outside and suffocate inside. I want the tree lights on State Street and my friends' faces sharpened against the fall of flakes around them. I want to complain about the cold but secretly enjoy it, knowing I don't want to be anywhere else but in it, travelling through it, coming out fresh in spring and remembering how wonderful it is to wear flip-flops to class and play frisbee with my brass quintet.

I miss winter because at the end of it- there's spring.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Eat that monkey, bitch! Posted by Hello

Fun with free webcam. Weee!! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

texas bananas: fruit or flop?

Sure, that's a lame title, but you should be happy I didn't go with the cliched, lame, and groan-inducing "Bana-no?" Really, you should.

Every bunch of bananas I have purchased in the expansive, y'all weilding, horse-cluttered great state of Texas has turned out to be a major disappointment.

If there ever was a period where any of these fruits, resplendent in length and double-entrendre, basked gloriously in their moment of perfect, ripe yellow, I must have slept through it. Or possibly blinked. Because as far as I can tell, it's right on into brown from green. Green, brown. Minimal (if ever) yellow.

For a girl who hates a mushy, warm-smelling brown banana, and can't bring herself to chew on the solidness of a green specimen, this is a tremendous check-mark in the "cons" column of Texas.

Music opportunities, pro. Central Market, pro. Fabulous salsa and profligation of Mexican restaurants, pro. Presence of friends, pro. Cheap gas, pro.

Never-yellow bananas, con.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to attend the funeral of my three uneaten bananas, so promising they were when young but, like many children, turned out for the worst. Smoking in the school bathrooms, behaving promiscuously, slapping their mother in a fit of rage, really, bananas, and we raised you with so much love in our hearts. Haven't we done enough for you? What else do we have to give?

Monday, September 06, 2004

sure sign of the morning after

Like I was telling Jason as I wrote the blog below, in all likelihood I would wake up, reread it, and think, damn, I have to stay away from the blog when I'm thinking too much. It's akin to the feeling you get when you realize you've drunk-dialed someone at four in the morning who really won't appreciate it. Who'll complain to all their friends that you, the asshole, woke them up from a deep and sweet-dreams-sleep to shout "I fucking love you, man! You're the greatest! I should have slept with you when I had the chance!" (I've never said that to anyone, for the record)

Anyway, things'll get figured out eventually, life's good, I really can work hard if I want to, and somewhere there's a grad school or an orchestra that wants me, barring I don't suck up the audition.

After I did eventually crash last night, 4 or so, we had the mother of all storms. I woke up from my coma thinking someone was mad at me- a man's voice was yelling- to find that the thunder was so loud car alarms were going off in the street. Patient owners would turn off the alarms, only to find they were required to stay awake for the next several batches of thunder to perform the same duties. I've never heard anything quite so loud (except maybe MxPx at the Warped Tour).

Chris comes back today, and before I pick him up it essential that I do my laundry, and practice. Ha!

insomnia blog

I'm up late with the intention of staying up- something, to be honest, I've never tried to do with any sort of real effort. Once, sophomore year, I stayed up late to finish my Anthropology project but still went to bed around 3 or 4 after half-assing every answer and progressively finding it harder and harder to give a shit about hypothetical Native American pottery.

Jerry does this every now and again, and it always baffled me. Even now, after having thought about it a little more, I don't think I can make it all night. Fatigue's setting in- but the minute I go back upstairs to sleep these doubts I thought I'd put to rest will come swirling back into my head and pop my eyes back open.

For some reason tonight I was panicking about grad school- about how I didn't get into Michigan in particular. How the fact that I didn't contact Professor Jackson soon enough after my audition to say how much I'd like to attend might have influenced his decision to not accept me. What I could have been doing right now instead of Texas- brass quintets, orchestra rehearsals, musician gatherings. Feeling like my music career was actually going somewhere. Taking classes and having work to do.

Things are starting to take off with lessons, and if I put enough effort into it, I can have similar opportunities out here as far as music and performance go. There's plenty of worthwhile people to take lessons from, there are people my age teaching that would be great for chamber work, there are gigs to be had. It was obvious to me long before that I missed the community of a music school, but for some reason it became almost painful tonight. I have to decide- no, I have to force myself- to be my own musician and create my own drive, but that's never been something I've been particularly good at. What do I want from music? What are my goals? Right now I think I'm just floating around on what little remains of my talent, but it's going to dry up soon and where will I be?

There is this quote wandering around my head- I think I read it in a Vonnegut novel- about a mother telling a maestro that her son would be a great piano player if he'd only practice, to which the maestro replied, "ma'am, if he were a great piano player you wouldn't be able to stop him practicing." Something like that. It haunts me.

I can't coherently analyze everything I'm thinking right now and put it into blog form, so like everything else in my life it appears that I will be leaving this entry unfinished. I'm torn between dissecting 'ambition' as a social concept (and is analyzing that just a coverup for my own failure to embrace hard work and success?) and contemplating the various other things I feel are true happiness (a circle of friends, kittens, books to read, activism).

I think too much. I need to do more. Start plotting the outcomes and stop thinking about the intangibles. Thing is, when have any of you ever known me to stop thinking and get down to business? I live in my head (it's warm and cozy, there's a hot meal on the stove) and I always have; the only things that can get me out are constants- places I have to be, things I have to do, etc. I don't have a lot of that right now, and while I don't think about it so much in the daytime, it builds up and turns into insomnia at night.

It's frustrating to think that I used to want certain things so much, that back before I went to college it was straight to the top and no looking back for me. Did I do something wrong, did I get turned around in the middle somewhere, or did I just realize that there are other things more important? Should I stop paying attention to what my head feeds me at night, or does it belie a greater need for introspective into my life's path? Why the hell am I still awake?

In the morning, let's all laugh at this, shall we?

Saturday, September 04, 2004

things you can laugh at

"What is this, cat puke? Someone bring me a grasshopper!"

"I passed a camel dry-heaving near the grassy knoll...but it's a dry heat."

White House West.

1001 Things to Hate about the RNC. (via XX)

Pool Safety Tips: Your body is 70 percent water, so don't worry: even if you were to drown, only 30 percent of you would die.

feeling light-hearted

Hopped in my car yesterday afternoon and drove up to Denton to pay a visit to Jason, fighting through horrendously bad traffic all the way there but still getting there much sooner (geographically speaking) than I thought I would. On the way home today it only took half an hour and that's not speeding. Well, okay, I sped a little. I have my TollTag now and I can breeze through the plazas without a care and without having to creatively assemble 75 cents from the contents of my change cup each time.

Anyhow, I had a fabulous time with Jason, of course. We sampled a small portion of the local student bar life before repairing to chez Jason for vodka lemonades, all the while reliving our Madison experiences (both shared and new) vividly. I love finding out what people thought of me when we first met, and sharing the same with them, so to realize that Jason and I thought the same things about each other way back in 1999 is amazing. I love the way he thinks so sincerely about everything, and that it seems to come so easily for him. We have the kind of friendship that never changed with distance (my favorite kind) but only left room to be warmer and stronger.

I'm thrilled that I'm here in Texas with both Jason and Chris- I can't think of many other people whose experiences in Madison so closely matched my own and whose personalities so closely mesh with mine. It also feels so right and healthy to be able to talk freely about college again, without having to give background information or explain the personalities or quirks of the people involved. And while I'm still Madison-sick, I've recovered enough to be refreshed by the memories and to grow out from them.

Less serious, only slightly less cheesey:

I made Jason go see Garden State with me, and it's twice as good the second time. I must be careful not to develop too unhealthy an obsession for Zach Braff. That movie makes me feel so lighthearted and wonderful inside, I could float away.

After much deliberation of both the pros and cons, I've finally decided I'm not a fan of the Texas frontage road system.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

hey baby, what's your sign?

The past couple of weeks, sitting around in my relative poverty (ie, lack of income), I've been plotting the order in which I will get the things I desire most right now. I've got some students now, and more on the way, so the time is ripe for the purchasing of material goods.

First up is, of course, a computer, so I can stop mooching off of Chris, feel more comfortable blogging, and also stay up later playing Spider Solitaire. It'll be a laptop, so that I can take it to my lessons and keep a practice log and pay record for my students. We'll get wireless in our apartment so we don't have to run cables upstairs, etc. I am getting kind of desperate for a computer, so I was starting to lean toward the easy-on-the-bank-account variety until Ally managed to convince me otherwise.

Hello, I am the world's sexiest computer.

In my lust, I'm considering looking into the credit payment plans and just going for it now, although the more reasonable, money-wise parts of my brain keep telling me to wait until I've paid off my last credit card bill and made up the rent money for September before I commit to a burden of this financial magnitude.

It's really tempting to tell the reasonable, money-wise parts of my brain to stick a donkey in it and go to hell.

The same computer, with the extras that I'd like to add, is ridiculously cheaper at the DOIT store, but, lacking a student ID I am no longer eligible to buy their products. First thing in the morning I plan on giving the Apple product line a ring to find out about this credit deal (Okay, that's a lie. First thing in the morning I have to take Chris to the airport where, despite my intense jealousy, he is flying to Madison for the weekend).

And the other objects of my desire?

After the iBook, a kitty.

After the kitty, a pretty new phone with a camera in it.

After the pretty new phone with a camera in it, a golden goose that lays chocolate eggs.