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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Click to see me standing in the bedroom just now in the white dress I made for the Ross Care concert tonight. I think I successfully managed to make white look goth. The skirt is terribly unfinished - lots of raw hems underneath, and it's pinned in the back - but nobody could tell. It's the first time I've worn all-white since my high school valedictory.

The pissed-off expression on my face is there because Matt and Bill didn't make it to the concert. They arrived just as the concert was beginning, but at Open Stage, the doors are locked during shows to stop vagrants from wandering in. Not realizing there was an intermission in half an hour (we would have seen them and let them in at intermission), they walked around downtown, stopping back every now and then to find the doors still locked.

Thus, I was left scanning the crowd from the stage in vain during the show, wondering if Matt and Bill were somehow hidden in the shadows. Other than that, the concert seemed to go all right. The crowd was certainly appreciative.
Yesterday, we blew off an Asian American Pride event at HACC to take an impromptu trip to Norristown and Downingtown. There are four properties we like very much. Frankly, I want to buy one of them right this instant and get this househunting thing over and done with before I get too sick of it.

With Helen Thomas as my grandmother, my fantasy family now stands at the following:

Alan Rickman as my father
Cate Blanchett as my mother
Ian Holm and Ian McKellen as my grandfathers
Helen Thomas as my grandmother
Edit (see comments): Judi Dench as my other grandmother.

Still open are the positions of one grandmother, and sundry siblings and cousins. I will also consider stepparents and stepgrandparents, should the need arise.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

This morning, Matt and I applied for pre-approval on a home loan from Member's 1st Credit Union. We wanted to do it through our own CU, but they don't offer PHFA Keystone loans - cheap loans for first-time homebuyers who aren't rolling in it.

This is all so nuts. I'm knee-deep in real estate and feel ridiculously grown up.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I'm on hold for a real estate agent in Norristown. The hold music is a piano arrangement of the love theme from Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet. Ahhhh! I love that film, and especially the music.

I still find the immediacy of the internet strange and miraculous at times. I don't remember quite how I lived without it, and I wonder at children currently growing up will I'm sure take it all for granted. "Hrmm," I thought to myself as I heard the Romeo and Juliet music, "I should rather like to play that." And in under 15 seconds, there it is. Remind me to buy that after I get paid this week.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

TMI note to self: If you forget to take your Nuvaring out on time, you go kinda nuts.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Ross Care is originally from Harrisburg, though he's lived in California for many years. He's coming back, though, for this concert of some of his work. There's incidental music for The Glass Menagerie and A Midsummer Night's Dream, song cycles of James Joyce and William Blake poems, and music from Alice Through the Looking Glass.

And of course, singing a few solos, yours truly.

Bright cap and streamers,
He sings in the hollow:
Come follow, come follow,
All you that love.
Leave dreams to the dreamers
That will not after,
That song and laughter
Do nothing move.

With ribbons streaming
He sings the bolder;
In troop at his shoulder
The wild bees hum.
And the time of dreaming
Dreams is over--
As lover to lover,
Sweetheart, I come.

You can also purchase tickets by e-mailing Cheryl. It's been a lot of fun working on the concert, even if I have been turning up to rehearsals half dead from everything else that's been going on lately. I really miss working on classical music in ensembles. The thought of joining an orchestra for the first time in eight years this fall at West Chester U makes me giddy.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

I've been sleeping really poorly the last couple of days. I have no idea why.

There has been a mix of good and bad news. Lucy's boy, Fays, whom I also consider a friend, was stabbed in a mugging in Sydney. He's all right, but it was a close call.

I auditioned for King Lear and was given the very role I wanted: the Fool. I cast the play in my head while watching the callbacks, and was completely correct, which is strangely gratifying.

I feel like there's too much to do. I sent out too many checks this week, and I think something's going to bounce, which is making me stress unnecessarily intensely. I'm very whingy.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Way To Amarillo. I totally missed this phenomenon last year, apparently. I tell you, this video has singlehandedly done more for my attitude towards the troops than anything else I've heard since the Iraq war began. The British troops, at least.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Yesterday, Matt and I took a walk in Italian Lake, a block from our apartment.

The weather is gorgeous. I get freckles in the summer. I have the rare and fleeting feeling that I'm under no pressure, and stress is a distant memory. This week, nothing can touch me.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I've been accepted into West Chester University's Bachelor of Music Composition program. Thank god. I've been talking about and planning around this for so long that if I had fucked it up, I would have ... I don't know, run away to Alaska or tried crack or something.

I really thought I might die yesterday. It was just one of those days. I had to play Juliet twice in an educational theatre program in Reading, PA, a good 100-minute drive away. I overslept by 20 minutes, and on my way out the door, I realized that I had a 600-word Ethics paper due in the evening about a film I hadn't yet watched (Errol Morris' The Fog of War)

On the way to Reading, I ran into traffic and took a wrong turn, so that instead of arriving at the call time, I was parking my car in the high school's lot five minutes before I was due on stage. With no makeup, no warm-up, no caffeine, and a script only vaguely in my head, I stumbled through the performances. The stress and panic made for some very realistic Juliet-in-distress scenes; i.e. I bawled my eyes out onstage in front of hundreds of giggling teenagers. Twice. It was draining, to say the least.

I sped home, watched The Fog of War, and wrote a paper, only to discover when I arrived at class that the deadline had been pushed back two weeks. I also had to give a presentation about Nike's sweatshops in Vietnam, which went as well as can be expected; I sounded somewhat like Bobcat from the Police Academy movies, only frothier and less coherent.

It was only after coming home from class that I realized that I had spent the entire day before my big audition without practicing a note. Not only that, I was exhausted and had a two-hour drive ahead of me. I packed quickly, loaded up the car, whimpered for about ten minutes with dread, and set off.

I spent the night at a Holiday Inn near the University. At 5:15am, my eyes flew open of their own accord. I didn't feel rested, but a combination of nerves and chemicals (prozac, echinacea) had murdered sleep. I showered, dressed, drank some tea, and tried unsuccessfully to meditate a little. I found a space in a corner of the room just big enough to play the cello and attempted a few scales. Nothing seemed to be working, so I took a quick swig of sherry. Yes, I brought along a bottle of sherry, just in case. It was the only thing in the house.

The auditions at West Chester are pretty hardcore for an undergraduate degree at a non-conservatory.

8:00am - check in

8:40am - introductory speech

9:00am - written theory test (extremely easy)

9:15am - sight-singing (piece of cake)

9:30am - vocal audition (The fact I sang a Mozart concert aria went down very well.)

9:50am - composition interview (This was very intimidating. One of the [gruff, but nice enough] comp/theory professors sat me in his office and asked me variously to talk about myself, play the piano ["Play something. Anything ... Now play some Mozart or Bach."], and recognize chords [I totally missed naming the V9, even though I successfully identified all the individual notes in the chord. D'oh. I knew I should have read through my Harmony textbook last week]. He seemed pleased with me, even though I probably sounded like I was on crack and highly stupid.)

10:15 - piano audition (The auditioner was very nice, but I shook so badly I completely fucked up the piece. By this time the nip of sherry had worn off.)

10:40 - cello audition (More like an introductory lesson than an audition. I think I'm going to like my new teacher.)

11:40 - exit interview

After each of the auditions/tests, I was given a sealed envelope, all of which I took along to the exit interview. There, a man who looks something like Max von Sydow opened them and examined my scores. It's not so much a competitive audition process as a "you must be this tall to ride on the rollercoaster" kind of audition. And I'm tall enough.

I'm glad things went as well as they did. Apparently the Theory/Composition stream is pretty tough to get into; there are only eight students in the current freshman year. The guy before me didn't quite score high enough, and was offered a place in Music Education instead.

Anyway, it's done. I'm getting out of the horrific vortex of shit that is Central Pennsylvania.

More later; off to teach a class.

Monday, April 10, 2006


Sunday, April 09, 2006

Stress is pretty much through the roof now. All sorts of new pains are manifesting themselves in various sections of my body, including my hands, upper back, neck (of course), and head. A rather disturbing and intense pain on the left side of my torso from my armpit down to my waist kept me whining and pessimistic for hours last night. I wonder if I have enough Aspercreme to last the next two days.

I'm trying to treat the stress with meditation, but it's hard to clear my mind, and even harder to force myself to take two minutes out of every hour when I'm convinced that every second of preparation counts. My temporal paranoia is not helped by the fact I had three Popcorn Hat shows this weekend and a Seventh Sister rehearsal this afternoon, tomorrow is taken up with two school performances of Romeo and Juliet in Reading, and I have a presentation to give to my Ethics class tomorrow evening. I haven't even thought about that presentation yet, let alone prepped. I'm cutting out of class immediately following the presentation to drive to West Chester, where I'm staying overnight at the Holiday Inn. I hope the walls are thick enough for me to practice the cello at 10:00pm when I check in. On Tuesday morning at 8:00am, I have to register at the university for my audition.

Tuesday is my birthday. Haven't really thought about that yet, either, but I'm not particularly looking forward to being 26, which is the beginning of the end of the mid-twenties. Temporal paranoia.

Also in my arsenal of possibly useless coping mechanisms are two low doses of Prozac (placebos, really, but every Dumbo needs a black feather) and a Holosync demo tape. I don't think I would ever pay for Holosync music because it seems like such quackery, but freakily enough, the free demo tape does seem to work for me. It helped immensely when I was working 22-hour days pulling double duty at WHP and the Shakespeare Festival this time last year. If I listen to it more than once in a day, it actually tends to disrupt my sleeping patterns because I feel so awake.

And now, a picture for the upcoming season. I think this is wonderful:

Friday, April 07, 2006


People like this make me want to renounce my agnosticism and go back to being an atheist.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Monday, April 03, 2006

The last time I auditioned for a music degree was when I was sixteen, the day after my high school valedictory. I was valedictorian at my hoity-toity private school in Brisbane, so I was required to make a big speech and hang out all evening pretending to be upset about graduating. I slept for maybe four hours, then rose fatigued and under-practiced to catch a 5:00am flight to Sydney for a 9:00am viola audition at the Sydney Conservatory.

I arrived at the conservatory to discover that my accompanist, organized on the phone the week before, hadn't shown up. Another accompanist agreed to step in and sight-read the pieces I was playing. We didn't get a chance to run through them before the audition.

In the audition room, I realized with shock that the auditioner was none other than the director of the conservatory, Wolfram Christ. Mr. Christ also happens to be the lead violist in the fucking Berlin Philharmonic when he isn't in Sydney. My terror reached new heights. This was compounded when the accompanist took my pieces at approximately double the correct tempo. I think I had an anxiety attack. I vaguely remember one of my pieces falling apart so badly that I was told not to continue.

It was the worst audition of my life, and must rank in the top five worst hours. At the conclusion, Wolfram Christ asked for the name of my teacher, and I'm pretty sure he filed it away with the intention of never accepting any of her students into the conservatory ever. Afterwards, I walked all the way from downtown Sydney to Oxford Street bawling my eyes out. A few months later, I enrolled in med school. A year after that, I dropped out. My viola gathered dust.

It's been nearly ten years, and I'm back where I started, only this time I play the cello, and I'm auditioning for the Bachelor of Music Composition program instead of an intense and competitive practical degree. The audition might end up being a piece of cake, but I'm fairly sure that the memory of my last audition is half the reason I feel like I'm shitting a brick.
One of my damned tonsils is enlarged. Dammit.

Have I ever mentioned that liquid echinacea is the most foul-tasting substance known to man? If I swallow too much and retch a little, the sudden taste of bile is a pleasant relief.

Fuck, my audition is in a week. A fucking week. And it's a busy week too. Fuck. I am filled with mental anguish. Maybe I've worried myself sick.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

I no longer want to see this movie after discovering that it is not, in fact, a live-action hentai about tentacle rape.

Yesterday I woke up with a giant headache and a sore throat, which doesn't bode well. I was let out of work early, and slept for a good long time. The symptoms seem to have cleared up this morning, but I'm wary.

I'm spending wasting time doing the most illogical activities, such as making a white skirt. (I have to wear white for the Ross Care concert since I'm singing the part of the White Queen. The only white items I have in my closet are a men's business shirt and an ironic tennis dress.) I bought a communion dress from Gabriel Bros and took it apart because it was cheaper than buying the fabric new.

I'm also wasting time dreaming of new pieces to play. I want to play the fifth movement from Quatuor pour la fin du Temps, and Piazzolla's Le Grand Tango, and Kol Nidrei. This is ridiculous because I don't have the money to buy the sheet music, I don't have the time to learn them, I'm supposed to be practicing for my West Chester audition, and frankly, I don't think I'm good enough to tackle any of those pieces yet.