Tuesday, January 31, 2006

okay okay you win!

I can't turn down my adoring fans. :) Thank you for commenting. I know mostly when I get down about what I write here it's because I'm not sure if anyone cares, which is silly I know. Still.

Here's an amusing anecdote for you:

Although I bemoan the high school/college sports team practice of naming your women's team after the "dimunitive", I guess if you're going to do it, you'd ought to be accurate about it. Now, my esteemed high school (home of hazing, harassment, and locker bombs) was sensibly just "The Broncos" and if you were on a girl's team it was "Bronco Girls' Swimming and Diving", although perhaps once or twice I remember a "Lady Broncos Swimming" bit on the announcements. At any rate, if you mentioned a boys' sport it was given the qualifier "boys" unless of course it was football or baseball. Because we're just not there yet.

But gee, if you knew some of those girls I swam with, wow, you sure wouldn't say they were ladies...

Anyway, it was always "Badgers women's hockey" or whatnot at UW, because "Badgerettes", on top of being plain offensive, sounds ridiculous.

Now let's say your sports team mascot is a lion. Pretty standard, not bad (at least it's not racially or culturally offensive) for a mascot. Couldn't really do much better, I guess. You're at a school in Texas, and naturally they think that it's proper to distiguish between boys and girls teams (but only qualifying the girls teams, of course- we're only observing Title IX because it's law). What would you name your girls' athletic teams?

Raise your hand if you said "Lionesses".


I thought I was justified.

But no, the good folks at (unnamed Texas high school) have seen fit to bundle sexism and biological inaccuracy all in one uniquely stupid package!

Yeah, that's right. The (unnamed Texas high school) Lionettes.

I'm not sure what that is. Maybe instead of hunting for food and bring it back to the pride, a lionette whips up a nice satisfying home-cooked meal for the mister. And gets his slippers! All while twirling a spirit stick!

On top of that, their logo is a copy of the Michigan "M". A pox of armored badgers descend upon them in outrageous fury!

Monday, January 30, 2006


My car wet the bed, pooped itself, and then vomited up the remains of lunch on Friday, meaning I've already spent a fair chunk of cash on it and am likely to spend more if I don't just call it in and go for a new (used) vehicle. Goddammit. I hate having to rely on a car. Where's my public transportation? Better yet, where are my mo'fuckin' bike lanes?!?

All this after I got a sweet gig that now I have to borrow a car every night this week to get to, plus getting down to Dallas to teach will prove interesting. Also picking up my mom from the airport next weekend.

Anyway. I'm frustrated. Mostly with how upset I get about this and how these kinds of shitty things seem to bring up all the bile I have about other things in Texas and my life in general that I usually just ignore or generally don't mind when things are going smoothly. Why? I should just deal. But now I'm angry and I want to break things.

So that brings me to another point. What should I do with this blog? I hate writing about my personal troubles and/or uninteresting school updates, but lately that's all I've been able to do. No funny stories, no political rants, no deep observations about life. Is anyone still reading? Is it time for a break? I think it might be. Leave me a comment if you care to. Otherwise- maybe I'll see you in real life sometime.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

poor choice of phrase combination, or...

intimidating brush with patriarchy? I'll simplify it for the men in the audience. You be the judge:

Say you're in a band, and you're one of two Is in a room full of Bs. Since this is already a minority position, and you play the tumuru, a traditionally B instrument. You'd feel a lot of pressure to prove yourself, right? So far, you've been doing quite well and you're confident in your ability to be an I amongst Bs. Sure, you've got room for improvement, and occasionally you fuck up pretty bad, but who doesn't? You've always felt that your tumuru playing was not so much a reflection of your letter and more a personal, individual expression. Any faults you have are not the fault of your entire letter classification, but rather of your own concern.

So a sheet of music is placed in front of you, and you study it. It seems to be fairly easy, with some classic tumuru riffs and some low notes you feel confident on. The chart starts. It's pretty fast, and you have trouble getting started, in fact getting a bit lost. You do your best to get back on track but you miss some of the important, exposed music. You log it in your memory so that the next time you won't embarass yourself too much.

The song ends. The director hems and haws a bit, and then asks the other tumuru player (a sub, but then again you were both sightreading) some questions about backround and experience. The director says a few words of advice and then turns to you. "You know what tumuru playing is all about, right? I mean, there's legit players in the top band and they do fine, so you don't have to be used to this kind of music. I don't care if you make mistakes, just don't NOT play. Don't be scared of it. I'm all about the curviness of the band. If you don't have a pair, grow a pair"

As an I, you find this comment to be quite offensive. Is the director saying that you're not welcome in the band because of your straight line physiology? Is he suggesting that curvy letters are best and therefore most desireable in style? Or is it just an offhand comment, meant to suggest that the director will not punish you if you prove yourself? Is proving yourself against these odds impossible? (no) Or does it feel suddenly like the room has gone cold to you and everyone looks the other direction?

So, you decide. Would such a situation make you uncomfortable? For me, I can forgive the "grow a pair" comment for now, being as everyone in the band is being judged on how they read at this point and if something stupid happens, you go with it instead of getting flustered. For me, I resent a few things:

1. The implication that I must be a legit player- why? I am, that's true, and if I was a jazzer I probably wouldn't have screwed up so badly. But combined with the "grow a pair" comment it feels like a judgement on my gender.

2. The implication that because I am (I) the reason I didn't play so well or missed solo entrances is because I'm shy or afraid. I suppose that's a better conclusion than "well, she just can't play at all" but still. If you know me, you know I hate that. HATE THAT. You can hardly offend me more than by suggesting that I'm timid or retiring. If you don't understand where I'm coming from on that one- well, you try actually being that way for many, many years, and then breaking the mold one day, only to find that preconceptions stand.

Feminist and personal hackles officially raised. I didn't say anything to (director) because I thought I'd give him this one as a freebie. It could have just been a poor way to say what he was trying to say, given the circumstances. It could just be jazz lingo and I just have to deal with (until such point as I can change the world). At any rate, strike 1.

PS I still love playing in this band. The fifth book is awesome and I have no intentions of relinquishing my control over it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

semester numero dos

Hello and welcome back to UNT update time! School started again today for spring semester. I'm taking three classes: Brass Pedagogy and Repetoire, Intro to Research in Music, and Aural Skills. Wee! So far I like them all, although my brass ped prof managed to touch a feminist nerve already.

I'm playing in the chamber orchestra again: second trombone on Mendelsohnn 5 "Reformation" and Schubert 8 "Unfinished"- both of which I'm looking forward to contigent upon the string section actually giving a damn this time around. Good god were they awful for the opera. Love Schubert 8. Love it.


I made fifth book in the 4 O'Clock Lab Band. Holy hot shit!

Taking the top trombone choir audition tonight, although I haven't looked much at the music. So that'll probably be a no go- which is not a big deal to me. The top choir is a lot of work and I'd rather just chill.

Speaking of which, having passed my juries and been officially accepted and all that- I'm looking forward to a semester where I can get some real progress done without the specter of failure hanging over my head. I think that'll help...a lot.

Business as usual, after that. I'm off to go shed the trombone choir audition music.

Monday, January 02, 2006

discussion section


and Discuss the article in the comments below as to its implications on American society and the current trends of government and civic duty in the social sphere. Do you agree that the car is in many ways responsible for making America a nation of pushy, individualistic monsters and does that really have an effect on the way we act outwardly as human beings? Or do you disagree and take the side of the drivers?

Incidentally, this reminds me of a point brought up at the end of Children of Dune (a point not brought up in the TV movie, to my disappointment), that humankind is a colony animal- in other words, we are meant to work as a smooth social unit in order to create peace amongst ourselves. Frighteningly, in the book this concept is presented as meaning a smothering of artistic and individualistic thinking- the utopian "dream" of peace under submission. Leto seems to think that this peace is a punishment for humanity's past trangressions against itself. But I personally think we could develop this idea- the idea of a colony- into something more flexible and useful. If you set up ancient tribal and prehistoric culture as a sort of golden age of humanity, you could in a sense see our weakening of mutual beneficial culture into more autocratic societies as the reason for our discontents as a species.

Toying around with ideas here- to see where they lead me. Your turn!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

your new year's memage

Happy 2006! I will be a quarter century old this year, and will have completed half of my first graduate degree. Hopefully I will accomplish some of the following things (as per Lauren and Jill over at Feministe, these are not resolutions per say. I prefer to call them, "common sense resolutions".

1. Play more trombone- and find ways to make it enjoyable. If this means pulling teeth to get a brass quintet together, well then, so be it.
2. Find more students to teach, and save more money.
3. Keep in touch.
4. Swim- and not big a big pansy about the cold water at UNT's natatorium.
5. Find a profitable and enjoyable summer job.
6. Gig with more regularity- especially take gigs that are outside of my normal comfort zone.
7. Be less afraid of hiding my politicals and personal views from native (and sometimes scary) Texans.
8. Bike to school at least once a week.
9. Take auditions.
10. Get to a state I haven't been to yet. I still have 25 options.
11. See New York City.
12. Try a new cheese from Central Market every other week or so.
13. Find a roommate to fill the Skelton House vacancy.

And, stolen from Jane, a ten things meme.

Ten Super Awesome Things about 2005:
1. The Skelton House and shenanigans.
2. The entire month of March (my one and only Dirty Bird award).
3. Kitties!
4. Studying with Jan.
5. Ani live last February.
6. Meeting Tim and Allison, plus subsequent Wednesday nights (miss those!).
7. Winning New Orleans.
8. Wisconsin in July.
9. Megan's (brief) visit, also in July.
10. The mere fact of OWNING a home- and enjoying everything that goes with it, including yardwork, decoration of, paperwork, and seclusion from neighbors.

Ten Not So Awesome Things about 2005:
1. The 90 minute drive to Mesquite for teaching purposes.
2. The entire month of February, minus the Ani concert.
3. Watching New Orleans go under- especially after having just been there and fallen in love with the place.
4. The confusion of "hurray, I'm back in school" with "holy shit, I'm stuck in Texas for another two years!"
5. Having very little money to spend on cheese at Central Market.
6. My first trombone departmental performance.
7. Being told I should think about quitting trombone if I couldn't make it past my jury.
8. Car trouble.
9. My very first speeding ticket.
10. Not being able to escape to Minnesota for the rest of my life because of my failure to enter their graduate program.

And falling into the category of "things that sucked like crazy at the time but turned out in the long run to be quite beneficial" is:
1. My ass-kicking at the hands of the trombone faculty. Having your ego handed to you on a platter smothered in "I'm disappointed in you" sauce is quite a wake-up call.

All in all though, 2005 wasn't so bad! Better than 2004, that's for damn sure.