27 February 2010

Revenge of the virus

I was trying to drown and bore to death whatever virus I picked up, and my plan is not working.  In fact, I think the virus is out for revenge.  I have been coughing so hard and so long for the past ten days that I somehow managed to pull the muscles on the left side of my neck.  Is that even possible?!

Yes, apparently, it is.  Grar.  I'm taking this virus to the doctor next week if it doesn't clear up.  It's already cost me a solo (the last one I might get to do in the little cathedral we sing at every semester), and I don't even know if I'll be able to do the concert, since the beauty of the stone and stained glass doesn't match the ugly and distracting sound of me coughing with such hopeless abandon every three minutes. 

I would like to at least make it through the concert.  They need my A flat in the lovely chant piece "we're" doing . . .

On the upside, one of the jerk bosses at work feels pretty sorry for me in my helpless misery, so he's been a lot less annoying lately.  See, there is indeed a silver lining.

25 February 2010

Sparrow tree

On my way home, sometimes I pass this tree that looks like one of those round sparkly fireworks that explode with long streamers in all directions. 

It looks like a candied apple on a stick with chopped peanuts, although the peanuts are actually adrenalin junkie sparrows who gather there and wait for my car to pass so they can explode into planned random motion in a mad dash to reach some previously agreed on point on the other side of the street that always requires them to fly directly in front of my car. 

It's a good wake-up call if I am feeling tired, let me tell you . . .

23 February 2010

Do you remember cassette tapes?

Remember them?  I sill have some.  And a tape recorder to play them on.  Some of those albums still aren't available on CD.  Someone really needs to go out there and get all those orphan albums and make them available online legally, so I can get rid of these cassette tapes and stop worrying about the music gods demanding my beloved ones as sacrifices . . .

Here's John Scalzi, waxing nostalgic about all old technology and other relics of the past that he won't miss at all.

"Cassette tapes wore out even more quickly, their sonic reproduction was even worse, and they would get randomly eaten by your Walkman as a sacrifice to the music gods, and it was always your beloved music, not that Poison cassette your great aunt got you because she knows as much about your musical tastes as she knows anything else about you. I would have gladly sacrificed Look What the Cat Dragged In to the music gods, in their mercy. But it didn’t work that way. It never works that way."
I really don't miss people smoking everywhere. :X

Are there any other no-longer-common things you are glad to see gone?

22 February 2010

Are you safe?

God calls us to abundant lives, not safe lives.  I wonder if we think about what that means enough.  Here's a great video clip that illustrates how we live most of the time.

Yep, that about says it.  Your thoughts?

20 February 2010

Ugly church art

We were part of a big service at a gorgeous neo-Gothic church, and I spent much of the service while we were not singing contemplating an absolutely hideous four-sided monstrosity of a tapestry hanging directly beneath the bell tower and blocking out too much of the light from the copious stained glass windows.

The church itself was beautiful.  It had a devoted art gallery and lots of lovely (and less-than-lovely) art works in different forms on walls and in alcoves throughout its labyrinthine corridors.  So why was there such a tacky, ineffably ugly, and more than a little incomprehensible piece in the heart of the church sanctuary destroying the beauty all around it?

The world may never know.

How's the state of the art in your church?

18 February 2010

I'll take snice any day

We were supposed to get More Snow, but instead, it appeared that a legion of tiny snow fairies descended on the area and frosted everything with a thin coating of snice.  The sun was mostly hidden behind thin, smudgy clouds, and when it broke through, for a few seconds, the beauty made me want the world to stop.

I wanted to skip work to take pictures of ice and fairy-frosted trees all around town, but I am too responsible.  Sigh.

16 February 2010

How listening to John Tavener is like faith

Sometimes it's hard to listen to John Tavener's music.  He likes dissonance.  It hurts, especially when you're listening to a piece at orchestra volume.  You have to resist the temptation to turn it down to avoid hearing the brokenness, the grating ugliness that scrapes your ears raw.

If you're going to be able to leave the volume where it should be, you have to believe that Tavener's music is going somewhere so beautiful that all the pain will be for something.  If you hear the ugliness that loudly, the beauty is like sudden relief from suffering, like sweet cessation of pain, like the joy of something inexpressible welling up inside you.

Anyway, you must have faith that the pain is worth it, or you'll miss the fullness of the beauty. 

Deer on the brain and other hazards of being too literal

I saw a billboard late one night on my way home, but since I've had deer on the brain, I sort of misinterpreted the text on the sign, which talks about a "bare-knuckled bucket of does," and my brain just sort of stuttered and stopped as I tried really hard (it was past my bed time) to figure out if deer or buckets even have knuckles and what a bucket of female deer would even try to possibly mean. 

Needless to say, I have no idea what product was being advertised.

It's past time for bed now, too.

13 February 2010

Mailboxes and terror (also, deer)

How long has it been since I saw that nice young buck on the side of the road?  When am I going to stop jumping at every mailbox covered in new snow (thus taking on an unexpected shape that sets my panic about deer alert off)?  There are still months of new snow to come.  This could get tiresome . . .  :)

11 February 2010

Handel handling us . . .

We are singing some Handel in choir.  Technically. 

Honestly?  Handel is kicking our heinies (pardon my faux-German).  12/8?  With dotted notes?  You have got to be kidding me. 

Since we are, essentially, an amateur choir, it might be a bit much to imagine we can learn this (and several other pieces) in time for a dual concert with the orchestra in five weeks, especially since YouTube and all the library systems let me down with their selections from Judas Maccabeus.  There isn't a single recording in any of the surrounding library systems.  Even on YouTube there are no recordings of two of the more wickedly hard choruses we have to learn.   

Makes me want to learn 'em even more.  Now I just have to figure out how.

Any tips or tricks for those who can't really play piano with that many accidentals in the key signature in that time signature with that many dotted notes?

09 February 2010

When I don't sleep

When I don't sleep, I hurt more.  I'm not talking about how, without rest, the body can't repair itself, etc.  I'm talking about how the physical act of not resting, of not ceasing motion, can lead to actual injury and discomfort. 
  • I do bad things to my neck. 
  • My right shoulder separates (an older injury).
  • I wrench the muscles over my ribs.
  • Etc. :(
Along with not sleeping, I seem to beat myself up in some irritatingly unconscious (while I'm conscious) bout of self-flagellation.  And I am just too tired to get up and turn on a light and read, even though I know it's what I should do, and there are so many books I want to read right here in my room.  Whine, whine, winge winge, whine.

Sigh.  I'd say I feel better now, but it's been over a week since I even got my "normal" amount of sleep (2-4 hours). 
Don't worry: MacGyver's still keeping me company as I write and research jobs and clean and hurt.  Hair's much better this season.  He just got betrayed by another girl.  You'd think he'd learn.  Sigh.

07 February 2010

Tonight's snow

Tonight's snow is tiny, sparkly, fairy dust snow (TM), which seems appropriate since, when I checked this morning, it was supposed to herald the next predicted Snowpocalypse of 2010, which will, in theory, be hitting us much less hard than it hit the East Coast, my dear goodness.

Pretty sparkly snow . . .

05 February 2010

MacGyver and Government Work

I finally finished up my application for the one government job I qualify for (no typing WPM requirement).  Sigh.  At least I did so to a great soundtrack: MacGyver, season two.  MacGyver used to work for the government.  See?  It's connected.
Really, I'd already answered all the questions and just had to fill in the blanks online.

When I borrowed MacGyver from my parents, my sister warned me that it wasn't as good as I remembered it.  I told her I wasn't going to give it 100% of my attention, anyway.  If I had my back to it, I figured I wouldn't have to see the mullet as much. 

I did enjoy listening to it.  I got laughs from some clunky dialogue and funny lines, and I enjoyed the let's-use-a-fire-extinguisher-(or paper clip or pen or pocket lint, etc.)-to-stop-or-fix whatever.

Did you watch MacGyver when it was on TV?  What did you think of it then?  Have you seen it more recently?  What do you think of it now?

03 February 2010

Something my tax software told me

"School is cool." 

Seriously.  I guess they didn't have anything to put there.  It made my tax day.

01 February 2010

Just an inch of snow

Today, we got an inch of snow or so, and it caused all sorts of problems.  A long, hard freeze and a more recent slight thaw followed by another hard freeze left a layer of ice.  Spread over that an inch of that dry, flat, fake-looking snow that sparkles like flakes of plastic and quartz, and you've got zero traction.  As many people unfortunately discovered on the roads and sidewalks and parking lots.  Yeck.

It's a good thing this kind of snow is so pretty.  Otherwise, it would be an unmitigated disaster. 

Aside from brilliantly reflecting light, so I know my headlights are, in fact, on, do you know of any good uses for this kind of snow?