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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I HAVE A WORKING THEREMIN

I MADE A THEREMIN AND IT'S MINE AND IT WORKS PERFECTLY - PERFECTLY! ON THE FIRST TRY! - AND I MADE IT AND DID I MENTION I MADE IT!?

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Big Comedown

Woke up. Horrible flux hangover. Seriously, my head aches like I drank a quart of Scotch.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

THEREMIN

Feeling a little nuts. Just spent nine hours non-stop soldering. No plumbing disaster this time - I now have a complete circuit board for my theremin.

This is the first circuit board I have ever made from scratch. (Well, I assembled all the circuitry from a kit. Obviously, I didn't make the actual board, because that would be insane.) I was a little daunted when I opened the box to find a jumbled bag containing hundreds of resisters, diodes, and capacitors, and a virgin board, but it wasn't all that bad. If only Mr. Hayward, my high school physics teacher, could see me now.

I really wish soldering were more highly regarded as a skill (i.e. that I could make my mother proud by earning a Ph.D. in Advanced Soldering, then go on to have a distinguished soldering career complete with fame and loads of money), because, damn, I am better at soldering than I am at just about anything - this includes singing, which I did at a church this morning, for money, goodness.

Also, one day I am going to write a cyberpunk novel in which there exists a drug called flux, which would of course come in a paste and be burnt and inhaled a la heroin.

As you can see, I now have bright orange hair. The congregation seemed to like it, surprisingly, even the elderly ladies. It was a very cool church (as far as churches go).

This weekend I learned that the Danish word for 'end' (in the context of, for example, 'The End' on the final interstitial of a silent film from 1916), is 'slut.'

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Update of my To-Do List

Update:
  1. Clean the damn house I have half-cleaned the house. Sort of.

  2. Write song cycle based on Lucy's blog. I already have one song started, but I'd like to have at least three by the end of next week. First song is completed. I have an idea for the second.

  3. Tidy up recording of bass and pianist for "So You Want to Write a Fugue?" Done. Incidentally, Glenn Gould is a goddamn snot, the sort of snot that makes me want to punch him in the face and kiss him at the same time, which is the best kind of snot, I guess. Observe this passage towards the end:

    Hello, surprise atonalism in the middle of a Bach homage. Also, there's a section of the accompaniment that I'm pretty sure is a Wagner allusion.

  4. Finish reading American Shaolin and get started on the Proust.
  5. Study for my music theory exam
  6. Finish tiling and grouting the kitchen floor and backsplash, and install the dishwasher
  7. Practice the cello - PRACTICE IS NEVER FINISHED
  8. Practice the bassoon - PRACTICE IS NEVER FINISHED
  9. Practice singing - PRACTICE IS NEVER FINISHED
  10. Rebuild my laptop

  11. Rip Metropolis to my laptop and choose a nice fifteen-minute section of it to score in the next year. VIGOROUS SWEARING AND GNASHING OF TEETH GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR CUNNYKICK. Apparently, despite the fact that Metropolis was made in 1927 - that's eighty goddamn years ago, in case you weren't counting - it has not passed into the public domain. Wait, let me correct myself. It was in the public domain, but because of Sonny Bono's stupid fuck Mickey Mouse Copyright Extension Act, it suddenly became non-public property again. I didn't think that was possible, but holy fuck, it is. Words are insufficient to express my rage at the corporate-toadying US legal system's stranglehold on cumulative creativity. This is not the fucking point of copyright law! *smash*

    And no, this does not only apply to the 2002 Kino restoration, but to all copies of the movie. Check this out from a lawsuit filed in 2001 against the Attorney-General in this matter:
    Copyright restoration has had a similarly devastating impact on Festival Films's business. Before § 514 went into effect, Festival Films offered a wide selection of foreign titles of works that were in the public domain for failure to satisfy the requirements of the relevant Copyright Act. Festival offered these movies for sale to the public specifically because they were in the public domain. But, with copyright restoration, Festival can no longer. Copyright restoration has forced Festival to remove approximately 50 to 60 foreign titles from its selection, including such favorites as ... the classic Fritz Lang film Metropolis.
    So my grand plan to create a score for it and conduct it live in front of a projection of the movie as my senior project has been involuntarily canned. Instead, I'm laying my hands on a 1916 Danish silent film, Verdens Undergang (The End of the World), which has vaguely similar themes, I suppose. (I watched Cigarette Burns a few weeks ago, but that doesn't have much to do with it, I swear.)

    Incidentally, Metropolis will enter the public domain again in Year One 2023, unless some fucking Disney flunky douche asswipe bastard decides to extend the goddamn law again. I guess I should be thankful I didn't get this idea a few years ago, write it, then suddenly find my work unperformable in public as originally conceived without paying exorbitant fees.

  12. Counterpoint homework
  13. Build a theremin (if the parts arrive) (they haven't)

Friday, March 09, 2007

Land ahoy!

I can't believe spring break begins for me in a couple of hours. HOW? Whither the first seven weeks of the semester? Where have I been? Was I here? There's a niggling feeling in a corner of my brain that any moment I will wake up, and it will be the beginning of January ... 2002.

Life's good, though. My conjunctivitis was gone in two days without any kind of treatment. I noted this week that it's impossible for me to walk through the music school without seeing people I know and like, and smiling. I just sorted out my schedule for next semester, and I'm looking forward to it. And 300 is open this weekend. What more could a girl want?

Here is a boring list of things to do over the break. Hey, it's good to have plans. Even if I have doubts about accomplishing any of them.
  1. Clean the damn house
  2. Write song cycle based on Lucy's blog. I already have one song started, but I'd like to have at least three by the end of next week.
  3. Tidy up recording of bass and pianist for "So You Want to Write a Fugue?" We're cobbling together the recording since our bass is spending spring break in Israel. Basically, this process is going to be like Frog and Toad all over again, I can tell. (Only, you know, without an immediate member of my family passing away in the middle of the chaos, touch wood.)
  4. Finish reading American Shaolin and get started on the Proust.
  5. Study for my music theory exam
  6. Finish tiling and grouting the kitchen floor and backsplash, and install the dishwasher
  7. Practice the cello. Maybe if I practice hard enough, I'll make up for all the lack of practice. Is that how this music thing works?
  8. Practice the bassoon
  9. Practice singing
  10. Rebuild my laptop
  11. Rip Metropolis to my laptop and choose a nice fifteen-minute section of it to score in the next year.
  12. Counterpoint homework
  13. Build a theremin (if the parts arrive)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Pink eye

My head aches, my sinuses are blocked, I can't think, and to top it off, I have conjunctivitis - my first ever case! According to my internet-researched self-diagnosis, the variety of conjunctivitis I exhibit is viral. This means that green pus does not come out of my eye, which is actually a little disappointing. Also, there is no cure; I just have to wait it out. Since it doesn't really hurt or itch, the most annoying thing about having conjunctivitis is that every five minutes, someone feels the need to run up to me, point at my eye, and inform me that I have conjunctivitis. I only wish the disease were more socially embarrassing so people would shut up about it.

In conclusive proof of my lack of brain power, this morning on the way to school, I clipped a curb I have never clipped before, chipped my wheel, and destroyed my tire. Two firsts in one day! Never before have I had a flat tire (aside from that one time some punks in Summer Hill slashed my tires - possibly the same punks who firebombed my next car).

However, thanks to the uplifting power of cold medication (oh ephedrine, if only you didn't cause psychosis, I would be a happy and boundlessly energetic person 24 hours a day), none of this can possibly get me down! Tonight I am recording the first part of our entry into the Prairie Home Companion talent quest. On the radio, nobody can tell that you have conjunctivitis!

I am halfway through Matthew Polly's book American Shaolin, and it is a wonderful read! (And not just because the author came to my blog and told me so, wahaaaah! The power of Google Blog Search revealed.) I was looking over a paper I wrote the other day, however, and I decided that my tone has become too colloquial to satisfactorily call myself a wanker, so last night I purchased the first three volumes of Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu. (I actually bought it in English, because I can't understand a word of French, but gosh, don't I sound like a wanker saying À la recherche du temps perdu.) When I'm done, I'll give you a summary. In song.

This is the second time I have referenced that particular Monty Python sketch on this blog in a month.

Speaking of Monty Python (another side effect of ephedrine is that I talk too much), I heard Ira Glass on Fresh Air the other day talking about how the new television adaptation of This American Life has a wonderful new and original take on the host's introduction: the host will sit at a desk, but the desk will be in all manner of crazy locations, such as on a mountainside, or on a factory floor. The host will never acknowledge his situation. Perhaps by "new and original," they meant "popularized in nearly every episode of a thirty-year-old cult television program which ran for four seasons." I dunno. Maybe I'm not qualified to comment; I don't even have a television. I guess that's why I'm always talking about things I heard on the fucking radio.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I get a D in life. Vitamin D.

Man, I have felt wretched the last few days. Spring, I'm ready. This is your cue. Please to be making with the sun 'n' happy shit now.

In the interest of staying positive, here are some neat things that have happened to me recently.

I've decided to rehearse So You Want to Write a Fugue for the Prairie Home Companion talent competition. Garrison Keillor is sure to eat it up! I really don't see how this plan can fail, unless I lose motivation in the next three weeks, which might happen if there isn't some decent sunshine soon.

Matt and I decided to buy a Paia theremin. We'd been talking about it for years. I will put my soldering talent to good use and afterward create spooky noises in mid-air.

I recently visited the Composing Thoughts blog at WITF, and was consumed by an urgent need to hear all the interviews. But how? Their airdates had passed. And transcripts aren't available. Inspiration struck. I volunteered to transcribe them all for the WITF website. It will take up a good bit of time, but when I'm done I will know the interviewees pretty intimately, which is awesome, since they include Corigliano and Elfman and Crumb.

I found a Kung Fu school nearby (not Karate or Tae Kwon Do, but actual Kung Fu) and I'm thinking about maybe taking that up again in the summer, if budget allows.

I was invited to participate in the honors society at WCU, which is unlike many other honors societies in that it's actually a college. To graduate with an "Honors Supplemental Certificate," I'd have to take twelve extra credits of honors classes, which are mostly about leadership and helping the community, with some obviously politsci courses thrown in for good measure. I'm thinking about it. There's an honors trip to South Africa in Spring 2008 to volunteer in an AIDS orphange, which sounds incredible. The only downside would be the politsci-type courses, which are probably full of politsci students.

Oh, also, for the application, I have to write an essay about which three famous people, living or dead, I would invite to a dinner party. Sort of makes me feel like I'm a contestant in the Miss America pageant. There's no way I'm choosing Jesus or Gandhi, but I was thinking about John Simpson (it's a toss-up between him and Helen Thomas), Oscar Wilde, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali (see below).

  • Jack Chick! Click on the testimony link for a hilarious story about the real Bad Bob who set his pants on fire in jail! So much hilarity!

  • Ayaan Hirsi Ali - my hero? I should read her book. I'm hoping she only joined the Enterprise Institute to subvert it.

  • American Shaolin. I heard Matthew Polly on the radio the other night, and should probably read his book this summer too.

  • Complaints Choirs of the World