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Monday, November 27, 2006

First before and after picture!

Matt and I spent Thanksgiving weekend siding the back of our house. Click for before and after photos! Also completely new are the fascia and gutters. There are a few odds and ends we need to fix (caulking, securing flashing), but all in all, I'd say we did a pretty goddamn awesome job. The weekend before, we stripped all of that old (and *completely* rotted) wooden lap siding away and put up (previously non-existent) plywood sheathing. It's odd to think that in the space of two weeks, we went from the picture at the left, to NO WALL WHATSOEVER, to the picture on the right. Underneath the shiny white siding is both foam and batt insulation. The kitchen is cozy and warm! We are the handiest people in the universe!

Unfortunately, siding all weekend has put me terribly behind with relation to schoolwork. I'm writing a set of variations on NIN's The Frail which is sounding ... rushed. Yuck. I should have started earlier, but since this is my first college composition, I developed an insecure neurosis about it and put it off as long as possible. Thus, even if it's awful, I can always say, "Yes, but see, I composed it in only a week," and hope that people will forgive me.

Last week, I came very close to calling into Radio Times on NPR. Normally, the topics on RT are political, and the only listeners who have the desire to get on the air are complete moonbats (and excessively verbose to boot). But they recently discussed the new James Bond movie, and I desperately wanted to call in after the expert guest read this line from Fleming's novel Casino Royale: "The conquest of [Vesper's] body ... would each time have the sweet tang of rape."

I read Casino Royale, along with most of the Bond books, when I was twelve or so and was so scandalized by that sentence that I remember it perfectly fourteen years later. Previous to reading the books, I had been something of a Roger Moore fan since the age of eight or nine. I think Moore is a great way to get small children into Bond when it's all about having fun and giggling at the sex. Later, they can come to appreciate the other Bond actors. Then, when they're ready, they can discover the sweet tang of rape or being dragged over a coral reef until your back is a tangle of bloody ribbons within the pages of the books.

I once tried to read some of the post-Fleming Bond books. Brokenclaw was particularly gruesome. Bond is tortured in that novel by being strung up via four meathooks thrust into the flesh of his back. Horrible book. Maybe the author was overreacting to the relative tameness of the movie franchise.

Anyway, I wanted to call in and talk about the difference between the books and the movies, but I was driving from Ephrata to West Chester (Romeo and Juliet workshop at Ephrata high school - I bawled like a crazy person) and thought it might be unwise to talk on the radio while on the road. I should have pulled over and done it, though. I would have been the only female to call in.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Piano of Doom

I need to bitch about the piano. Not the piano in general, but the particular piano in my piano teacher's room. It's a Steinway grand, and supposedly it has a lovely tone and really sings in the upper range. However, I don't notice any of this whenever I play it because the action is HEAVY AS SHIT.

My piano teacher concedes that it's a difficult piano to play, but while she's acknowledging this, she always has a look in her eye as though she doesn't really believe it. She, of course, plays it wonderfully, and her hands are about the same size as mine. I guess I have pathetically weak fingers or something.

The other pianos in the school have much easier action, and are also generally in practice rooms with hard walls and floors, so it's almost like playing a grand in your bathroom. My piano teacher's studio is carpeted and sucks up all the sound. The result is that I can practice for hours on other pianos and really feel like I've made progress, but in my lessons, my hands are stiff as boards, mainly because I feel like every single note I play is some sort of kung-fu jab at an unyielding opponent. Hai! Hai! Hai! Hai! Hai! Hai! Hai! Hai! That was a major one-octave scale.

I have named the piano Nemesis.

Last week, I discovered that I will be playing Nemesis for my jury at the end of the session, which is fast approaching. Goddamn. You know, sometimes I think I can hear Nemesis laughing at me. "Puny piano minor," it malignantly rasps as the Bach fugue I'm wrestling with again grinds to a halt. "You shall never defeat me." My piano teacher sighs, and Nemesis smirks under his lid.

  • J├ínos Starker - I am currently reading his autobiography. I swing between the opinion that he's an awfully funny and clever man and a right pompous bastard. I was particularly uncomfortable with his description of the Russian troops overrunning Budapest. "They stole watches and raped some women, but did no other harm." He then proceeds to explain how he cleverly provided the soldiers with drugs for their venereal diseases.

  • Messinia - Neochori - I think this is the village in Greece where my relatives live.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I want the world

Since I was so indulgently mopey about the recital on Thursday, This weekend I returned to DIY. I laid cementboard in the kitchen in preparation for tiling, and gutted the remaining wall in preparation for drywall. My hands are covered in abrasions, my spine hurts in three separate places, my legs are a world map of bruises, and it feels great.

Matt was away in Hanover for the weekend recording Slow Andy. I am so jealous that I'm not doing any band-type activity at the moment. Am I slowing down in my adult years? I swear there was a time when I could do it all at once.

At least I've come to reflect philosophically on the recital. It was my first solo performance in over a decade; it's not a tragedy if it wasn't great. I'll do better next time. And I can sort of pretend I'm in a performing band occasionally when Slow Andy invites me onstage to 'sing' 'Gay Bar' (see above). I should definitely organize some Tears for Agnes jams this winter.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Click for pictures from last weekend's trip up to Shippensburg University to speak to the National Broadcasting Society's convention about No Sanctuary. Yes, there I am overpowering a very large master martial artist! That's how entirely powerful I am!

This week has been very interesting. I discovered that someone I know at the university supports Rick Santorum. I discovered this by loudly announcing at the beginning of a lesson, "Hooray! Santorum is out of office! Christ, I hate that lunatic bastard!" Awkwardness ensued.

A few hours ago, I had a really horrible recital. Oh, well-meaning people try to be nice to me about it, but I know it was horrible, and so do they, which is why they say things like "Well ... it was very musical!" and "So much personality!" and "It takes such guts just to get up there and play!" Goddamnit, I'm not retarded! I know the code-words! I was a child competition actor, for god's sake. There isn't a negative judgement in the book you can stealthily slip by me - I heard them all from stage mothers before I reached puberty.

The preceding paragraph brought to you by the Board of Low Self Esteem. I'm Mormolyke and I approve this message, though my approval isn't really worth anything anyway, and what the hell would I know.

In further fux0red news, some dick tried to disrupt five of Matt's Nine Inch Nails eBay auctions. He registered as mattdunphy and pinisnvaginis. Yeah, you heard right. If I were eleven years old and slightly inbred, I might think it was amusing and clever! Oh well. At least it's easily taken care of.