Thursday, October 30, 2008

Like the cream of the crop, like the crop of the cream, in hard times, that is my theme!

I've been meaning to post this as my little homage to our current economic situation. Also, I just watched the 30 minute Obama infomercial and I couldn't help but think this might have been a nice alternative to that cheesy sweeping Coplandesque soundtrack.

I'm going to go vote early.
And then go to work..."because i need that dollar every day of the week."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

On writing chapter two...

This thesis is really hard work. It totally sucks and I'm exhausted.

I just want to record this fact so that when I'm basking in the glow of success (or at least in the mildly warm glow of thesis completion), I will be reminded that it took hard work. I want to be reminded that I stressed over verb tenses and paragraph order and whether or not Satie joined the military to escape the Conservatoire or stayed at the Conservatoire to escape military service and whether or not that portion of his biography is even relevant to my topic and, if so, whether I should include it in the body of the paper or as a footnote.

I also stress over long sentences. I have a terrible habit of writing extremely long sentences.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sylvia says (quote of the day)...

"God, is this all it is, this ricocheting down the corridor of laughter and tears? Of self-worship and self-loathing? Of glory and disgust?-"

~ Sylvia Plath (1954)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Oh, and one more thing to add to the list...

Barack Obama is an illegal alien.

My, my, he's a crafty one!

Wagner says (quote of the day)...

In general, I'm not a Wagner fan. He takes himself far too seriously and I just don't think an opera should ever last over five hours. Really, four is too much. Even three...

Anyway, even though i appreciate and like some of his music, his prose is the worst offender. His writing is over-worked, egocentric, and then there is the whole hating women and Jews thing... In short, it's just a little too German for me; and I've never been a fan of sauerkraut...or beer for that matter. So despite all that (and thanks for bearing with me through the rant), I came across a quote today while doing some research that I think is worth typing and reading a time or two. It's from his 1850 publication, Opera and Drama (what else is there, really?).

"Man is in a two-fold way a poet: in his beholding and in his imparting. His natural poetic-gift is the faculty of condensing into an inner image the phenomena presented to his sense form outside; his artistic, that of projecting this image outwards."

Definitely food (bratwurst perhaps?) for thought.
Vielen Dank, Richard

And you know, I couldn't agree with him more...

Is there anything better than making fun of McCain/Palin with a little jazz piano?

I. Think. Not.

(**Henry Hey is the pianist)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Would the real Obama please stand up??

In case you haven't noticed, the Republicans are getting just a wee bit desperate. I have to admit, I'm rather impressed by their creativity. Here are just a few of the things they've said about Obama in the last couple months:

1. Barack Obama is the anti-Christ.
2. Barack Obama is a Muslim.
3. Barack Obama pals around with terrorists.
4. Barack Obama is an elitist. (Well, Hillary helped them out on this one, thanks a lot, Hil)
5. Barack Obama is a spoiled celebrity. (S. Palin, btw, is not a celebrity despite recent developments surrounding her spending habits....she's just Jane Shopper. Come on ladies, don't ya'll love to shop? You betcha.)
6. Barack Obama is an extremely liberal, pro-abortion, gay-loving senator.
7. Barack Obama is anti-semitic.
8. Barack Obama is a socialist.

Despite knowing so many interesting "facts" about Barack Obama, the Republicans still seem somewhat confused about who he really is. This is why they continually ask, "Who is Barack Obama???"

Sheesh. I wish someone would just tell them.

He's clearly an extremely liberal atheist fundamentalist Muslim terrorist elite celebrity socialist who hates babies and Jewish people and is running for president so that he can tattoo 666 on our wrists and rule the world as Satan's puppet in the end times.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

i. hate. grading. papers.

I don't really want one, but they sure are entertaining. Or, things kids say to me in piano lessons...

Some conversations I've had with my piano students this week:

Sara (age 5): "Miss Katie, how old are you again?"
Me: "25"
Sara: "REALLY!!! My Grandma is 25!!!!"

Me (to Meagan, age 8, whose mom recently began taking lessons from me): "So, what do you think about your mom taking piano, too?"
Meagan: "It's pretty cool. She told me it gave her a new lease on life or something like that."

A little later in the same lesson...

Meagan: "What are you going to be for Halloween?"
Me: "Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin"
Meagan: "COOL!!! You could do cartwheels for your trick when you go trick or treating!!! Wait, do you trick or treat on Halloween or just stay at home and give out candy?"
Me: "Well, actually, I think I'm going to a party with some of my friends."
Meagan: "Oh, that's cool. A fall festival. So you're gonna bob for apples and stuff?"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Halloween is scary. Or, why real clothes are better than costumes...

Halloween inevitably causes me stress. For the most part, I'm a fan. It's just the whole coming up with a creative costume that gets me every time! I HATE the pressure to be witty, sexy, scary, funny, creative, original, etc. More than that, I hate dressing up. I hate costumes. I hate spending money on costumes. I hate wearing costumes. I hate wearing wigs. I hate uncomfortable shoes. I hate strange makeup. Even when I do it successfully, I'm kinda miserable.

So last year and this year, in the spirit of "facing my fear" and "overcoming costume anxiety", I decided to be ridiculous and over the top with the costumes. In order to do so, I asked and answered the following questions:

(Last year) Q. Can you really make every costume into a sexy costume by putting on fishnets and a mini skirt? A. Yes. Which is why my friend Rhea and I dressed up as "Sexy Thomas Jefferson" and "Sexy Abe Lincoln". See below.

(This year): Q. Can you really make any costume scary with a little blood and gore? A. We'll see....but i'm going to try my best. My roommate and I are going as "Zombie Olympic Gymnasts". More specifically, I'm going to be "Zombie Nastia Liukin." I went to American Apparel tonight to get the gymnast part of my outfit (seriously, where else would a twenty-something urbanite find a leotard these days?). This is a scary photo I took in the dressing room. I'm gonna have to do some drinking before I brave the outside world in this one.

Now I just need gold medals, glitter makeup, tape and chalk for my hands and feet, blood, gore, and some open wounds...

Also, I think I'm retiring from Halloween costumes after this.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A little Sunday night Henry James (quote of the day)...

I'm still reading The Portrait of a Lady. Sometimes there is nothing better than a little Victorian feminism. Well, that is if you can call anything Victorian, "feminist". This tidbit was written by a man, of course, but what a delightful, polite little bad ass of a character he created in Isabel Archer:

"Isabel answered with much spirit. . . . 'I try to judge things for myself; to judge wrong, I think, is more honourable than not to judge at all. . . . I wish to choose my fate and know something of human affairs beyond what other people think it compatible with propriety to tell me...'
'One would think you were going to commit some atrocity!' said Caspar Goodwood.
'I wish to be free even to do that if the fancy takes me...'
'You'll get very sick of your independence.'
'Perhaps I shall; it's even very probable. When that day comes I shall be very glad to see you.'

Wander lust...

I spent my day at a local coffee shop grading an enormous stack of papers. At one point a group of girls sat down next to my roommate and me and began talking loudly and annoyingly about their church, their Bible studies, their small groups, their accountability partners, their church retreats, their walks with the Lord, etc. If you know me, you know this kind of talk annoys the shit out of me (mostly because it reminds me too much of myself at 18...ugh). Anyway, here is the conversation I had with my roommate over gchat while we sat there.

Jess: omg. i can't take it. we need to move.
me: i know!!!! let's move to that white table over there.
Jess: no, i meant we need to move to france.
me: oh, clearly. first to a new table, then to france.

So, 25 is NOT the new 15...

Sometimes I hate living in Texas. It is too hot. There is almost zero natural beauty (at least in/around Dallas). And then there are the fake boobs, the Hummers, the hordes of conservatives, the oil drills, well, you get the point...

But, sometimes, Texas isn't so bad. We have great tex-mex, cheap rent, amazing tex-mex, big, beautiful skies, and the annual state fair. Did I mention great tex-mex?? Anyway, I went to the fair tonight and it was one of those perfect Texas fall nights. The weather was lovely; it was 65 degrees and a little breezy. There weren't too many people there on a Sunday night and I got to eat fried pickles, freshly fried potato chips (pictured below), and (this just might blow your mind) a fried banana split.....YUM.....but also a little gross.

So, the point of this post is that I learned a little lesson tonight. Simply put: I'm too old for crazy fair rides. I'm especially too old for crazy fair rides immediately following the consumption of crazy greasy fair food.

When I was fifteen, I had a stomach of steel. I could eat any fried food you put in my face and still ride every roller coaster or flipping, spinning, whip-lashing, fair ride at least seven times and not feel a thing! This has changed. I discovered this tonight when I decided to ride the "Techno Power" ride after consuming the foods listed above. Why did I decide to do this? It must've been the lovely weather, the intoxicating lights of the fair, the carnies yelling on the Midway, little kids running around with giant stuffed animals, old memories of fun times at theme parks and Coney Island when I was a kid, or some combination of the above. Anyway, even as I was strapping myself into the seat tonight, I was convinced I was going to have the most fun ever and that the ride was totally worth my $5. It wasn't until it really got going that I realized I'm not the girl I once was. The entire time I was on the fucking thing, all I could do was yell at the top of my lungs (while, ironically, i was laughing uncontrollably), "I'm MISERABLE!!! MISERABLE!!!"

My stomach is still doing flips. I think I need to go lay down...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Oh, America, you must've left the melting pot on high this time...

Note: The facts in this post are all true.

Note #2: I'm probably violating privacy laws, here. Yikes. Oh, well. This blog is private and this is just too good.

I have a student in my community college class whose last name is Muhammad. She is African American. She is also Jewish. She is rather devout and asked to be excused from class for all the Jewish holidays this semester. She is also a Republican. I know this because she sports McCain/Palin gear on her backpack and sometimes in her wardrobe. Also, on her "get to know you" sheet I gave out on the first day of class, I asked my students what music they listen to in their cars/on their iPods, etc. Her answer: "I only listen to Bible verses on tape in my car."

So, in conclusion...

I know a black, Jewish, republican, woman, with the last name Muhammad who listens to Bible verses in her car like an evangelical Christian.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Katie the Piano Teacher's political musings...

In just THREE short weeks the election season will be over and (fingers crossed and barring lawsuits and/or further florida shenanigans) we'll know who will be our next president. So in the spirit of savoring the last few mud-slinging, pundit-shouting, poll-analyzing moments, here are my thoughts on the debate.

1. Bob Schieffer wins as best moderator. His questions weren't necessarily more interesting or nuanced than those of Tom Brokaw or Gwen Eiffel, but he did the best job of encouraging actual debate between Obama and McCain. He also kept things moving without coming across like a middle school debate team time-keeper.

2. Joe the Plumber. Seriously? Could either of them have mentioned him any more? And does pandering to people by reducing them to a first name and an "everyman" job really appeal to anyone?? I get mentioning him once or twice, but it got completely out of control.

3. John McCain came off sounding like a whiny little boy. Let me summarize his response to Schieffer's question about the increasing negative tone of the campaign. This is what I heard: "I don't want to admit I did anything wrong. It is your fault we have to accuse you of palling around with terrorists. If you would have just done town hall meetings with me like I told you to, I would never have suggested it. Also, if you get upset about people calling you a terrorist and yelling 'kill him' at my rallies, you are actually being negative and are calling sweet old grandpa veteran supporters bad, bad people. And finally, my feelings are hurt because one person (who isn't you and isn't associated with your campaign) said one thing about me that I don't like. You need to apologize on his behalf and are a horrible, mean, vicious person for not doing so already. Also, you have negative attack ads, too. One time, when I was watching football, I saw one where you said something bad about my health care policy. Humph."

4. John McCain did not wear a flag pin tonight. Obama did. I personally don't give a shit. But I'm just sayin'...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Further proof that I am officially the world's worst procrastinator...

I have three things left to do before I can be finished once and for all with SMU and complete my second master's degree. 1. Finish my thesis (i'll totally get this done. i write best under pressure) 2. Defend my thesis (no problem, I am a bullshit queen and I hear this usually is pretty simple) and 3. Pass a French proficiency test (here in lies the problem).

I have three chances to pass this French test. I have failed once (last spring). So, at that point, one would think I'd have started studying. Nope. Not me! I "took the summer off". Then, in the fall, I'm not sure what I did but I did not study French. Now I have to take the stupid test THIS Wednesday and I've yet to crack a book. Good god. I'm appalled at myself this time. So, the plan is to fail (clearly) and then I will have reached the point of no return. I will absolutely HAVE to start studying. It would be a shame not to get my whole degree because of a stupid French test.

So, instead of "cramming" tonight (I figure there's really no use in, it can wait till tomorrow...), I watched this video to get me in the mood. "Je voudrais un croissant!!!"

Notes from the Underworld. Or, confessions of a community college adjunct facult member...

Recently, I was preparing the students in my Art of Listening class at a local community college for their midterm exam. Specifically, we were reviewing a famous aria from Henry Purcell's baroque opera, Dido and Aeneas. The aria, "When I Am Laid", and commonly referred to as "Dido's Lament", is a heart wrenching and melancholy portrayal of unrequited love and suicidal thoughts. It is stunningly beautiful as a work of melodic art and one of my favorite arias from the Baroque period.

So, there I was in class, waxing poetic about descending bass-lines that reflect Dido's psychological descent into despair and her physical descent into her grave, when one of my students raised his hand. "Well," he said, "if you want an easy way to remember this one. Just remember it sounds like 'When I Get Laid' from the opera 'Dido and Anus'".


But hey, if it helps him remember the opera on his midterm, more power to him! At least he's listening to it. That being said, I'm pretty sure I felt Henry Purcell (who is buried next to the organ in Westminster Cathedral) roll over more than once in his grave.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

An XXX rated post. Or, art.

Remember this? Well, I found a picture.

Brace yourself.

The artist wants us to question our preconceived notions and prejudices towards the penis. Question away, but I for one would RUN if I came across several of the above.

Ghosts of excessively poor taste. Or, how we could solve the economic crisis one blow-up pumpkin at a time.

A little background information...

1. I hate inflatable yard decorations with a deep and unswerving passion.
2. I teach piano in an exceptionally affluent neighborhood. By affluent, I mean these people live in million to multi-million dollar homes.
3. 9 out of 10 of the houses in these neighborhoods have giant inflatable yard decorations in their yards for EVERY FREAKIN' HOLIDAY.

And now I will rant...

First of all, I know that being wealthy does not guarantee one has taste. However, how much taste does it take to recognize that this,

or this,

is just really, really tacky.

I'm all for holiday spirit. I love the entire month of October and am perfectly willing to decorate, celebrate, and enjoy every tiny scrap of pumpkin scented, sweater wrapped, leaf colored, ghost haunted moment. It is not the act of seasonal decorating I abhor, but rather the act of tastelessly decorating for anything. I will note here that there are exceptions. Tacky decorations are entirely acceptable if you are (a). poor and can't afford to decorate with giant pumpkins from Whole Foods (b). being sarcastic, or (c). poor and being sarcastic. But, if you take yourself (and your million dollar mansion) seriously and you have plenty of expendable income to decorate with those absolutely exquisite and enormous pumpkins at Whole Foods, then DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT stick a giant blow up thing in your yard. Furthermore, do not stick 5-7 of them in your yard. Really? Really? You need an inflatable pumpkin, witch, ghost family, haunted mansion, AND another clear inflatable pumpkin with some kind of contraption inside that blows paper bats around??????

Oh, and lastly...

That blow up haunted house pictured above costs $399. You do the math.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hoping against an afterlife...

I usually avoid publishing philosophical or theological musings as I feel they (in general, not just mine) typically come across as self-indulgent and juvenile. I'll preface the following by pointing out these ideas are neither deep nor scholarly (and are most likely both self-indulgent and juvenile). So on with the dark broody musings...

Lately I have been thinking about death and find I am not concerned with it at all. This very fact concerns me to some extent. It seems rather natural to have some apprehension about death. I wonder how I missed this gene. I wonder if it is a hang-over from all the "Peace Like a River" talk of my evangelical upbringing. Anyway, I have never been afraid of death. On the contrary, I think of it is as a restful period of great relief at the end of a long, stressful, event called life (what this says about how I live my life is topic for a different discussion). I sometimes feel I should be afraid of death. But I really can't find a reason to be.

What does concern me is the concept of any kind of reality post-death. This concern is completely devoid of any sense of fear about eternal damnation or hell. I don't care what sort (heaven, hell, reincarnation, ghostly haunting, purgatory, etc.), I will be equally disappointed with the existence of any afterlife. It exhausts me to think that if, after a long life on earth, I have something else to experience, do, think, feel, be, etc. The idea of eternity makes me want to flop down on the floor and cry "I give up!" If I wake up in heaven, I will do exactly that. I've done about everything I can to avoid ending up there. And as for hell, I'll be equally as disappointed, but will probably prefer the company.

So here's hoping that death will be what it is supposed to be (according to me) -- an ending, a dark sleep with no consciousness, a black, black hole of nothing.