Saturday, January 31, 2009


Love it.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'm gonna sing!

I think all of you know this (unless maybe I forgot to put it on Twitter...all my readers are either there or on Facebook now!) but anyway, I'm in the choir!  I'm so excited!  It's so much fun, the people are nice, and I already have a friend that I sit next to and laugh about things like I used to do with Christen and Liz back in high school.  They told me when I got in that "it's a family," so now I have something like 90 family members, haha.  ;)

Anyway, so in March we're doing a bunch of spiritual songs.  They're the fun ones, we used to do stuff like this in high school.  Then in May we're doing a piece that is apparently famous for the difficult soprano part - Beethoven's Missa Solemnis.  Look it up on iTunes and take a listen.  I can guarantee that even in the 30 second "try before you buy" clips you'll hear the lovely high note we have to sing something like 50 bazillion times.  I guess I'm just diving right back in to this choir thing!  But the group sounds really good even in rehearsal, which makes me happy, I like being in a group that I can feel proud to invite people to.

Speaking of inviting...Jenn, I'll be sure to let you know the exact dates/locations of the March and May concerts.  I'll send you a Facebook message or something.  Anyone else, if you happen to be in Boston for some random reason in March or May, you're welcome to come too!  Or December, for that matter, but we won't start that stuff until after Labor Day.

This group also goes on a trip every other year.  They're going to Germany this summer but I had to know on Monday if I could go.  I can't exactly decide on the spot that I'll be able to scrounge up the money to go to Germany.  I don't even have a passport!  So, I'll wait for 2011.  =)

In other news, my elbow still hurts.  I'm actually going to the doctor tomorrow.  I really don't like going to the doctor, so this is a big move for me.  It doesn't hurt constantly, but it hurts (a lot) when I do something oddly simple like pushing in a drawer or getting dressed.  It doesn't hurt when I type though, so don't worry about me typing this post.  =)  Anyway, I just figure if it's been a week and it still hurts like this, maybe it's better for a doctor to tell me it's fine rather than just assuming it is.  So anyway, I'll let you know if I managed to go a week with a hairline fracture or something ridiculous like that.  I do have a high pain tolerance, it's entirely possible.

Well, I'm off to continue being lazy, like I've done all day.  Yay for snow days!
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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cheese and Potato Soup

So, for the first time today, I doctored a recipe until it achieved perfection.  Or, at least, perfection according to my taste buds.  I figured I should share it with everyone.  Especially since it's a nice warm soup, perfect for winter.

I made it in the crockpot because I was going to be gone for the better part of the day, but I'll put the directions for stovetop first and then put a note as to what to alter if you're going to use a crockpot.


Cheese and Potato Soup


2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped carrot
1/2 c. chopped onion
1-2 tsp. dried thyme
2 c. canned low-sodium chicken broth
2 c. milk
1 large russet potato (10-12 oz), peeled and cut into medium chunks.
Parsley (chopped or dried, to taste)
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
1 8 oz pkg of shredded, sharp cheddar cheese
Tabasco sauce (or similar)


Heat the oil in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat.  Add celery, carrot, onion and 1 tsp of the thyme and saute until the veggies start to get just a little soft - no more than 5 minutes.  Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir for 2 minutes.  Gradually stir in the broth, then the milk.  Add the potato and bring the whole thing to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until the potato is tender - this will depend on how big your chunks are.  Basically, don't cook it until the potatoes are mushy, you want them to be cooked through, but still pretty firm.  Check by getting a chunk out, if you can cut through it with a fork pretty easily, then it's ready.

Now add the rest of the thyme, sprinkle in a little parsley, and stir.  Add the garlic and stir again.  Now start adding the cheese VERY SLOWLY, otherwise you get big gobs of unmelted cheese.  Best method I found was to sprinkle it on top until it just starts to cover the surface, then stir it in until it's melted, and repeat.  Stop when you've added about 3/4 of the package and taste.  It should be pretty cheesy by this point, but if you think you want more cheese then go ahead and add the rest of the package.  Now add the Tabasco, as much or as little as you want.  For it to be really good you have to add at least a LITTLE Tabasco, it gives it a nice subtle spiciness.  Salt and pepper to taste.

FOR CROCKPOT:  Set the crockpot on low.  In a large frying pan, prepare the celery, carrot, onion, and first tsp of thyme as described above.  After you've stirred the flour around on the veggies, plop it all in the crockpot and add the milk, chicken broth, and potato.  Let it all sit on low for the day (I was gone for 7 hours and the potatoes were perfect when I got back, but because it was on low I don't think another hour or two would have ruined them).  When the potatoes are ready, add the rest of the thyme, the parsley, and the garlic, stir, then add the cheese as described above.  I found that switching it to high as soon as the potatoes are ready, i.e. before the thyme and garlic and stuff, helped with the cheese melting process.  Finish with the Tabasco, salt, and pepper.  Voila!


If you're curious, the original recipe had less thyme, no garlic, and the parsley was just a garnish at the end.  Oh, and it had ham, but I don't like ham.  I suppose I could have added some other meat, but I didn't feel like it.  If you do like ham and want to add it, put in 1/2 a cup after the cheese is melted.  =)

Follow with a nice cannoli from Mike's Pastry.  Okay, so most of you aren't in Boston, so I guess this isn't a requirement, but that's what I did!  =P
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Yay, recycling!

I came home today to find a notice had been deposited at every door in my complex. They're going to start doing recycling pick up! And you can just mix it all together and throw it in the same bin! Yay! I didn't even have to lobby to get it started!

*Does the happy recycling dance*

In other news, the first choir rehearsal was awesome. The audition is actually next Monday, this last Monday I got to hang out and learn the audition piece, as well as a couple other pieces they're currently working on. Even during rehearsal, the group sounds great, and the rehearsals were done in such a way that my limited sight reading is actually more than sufficient. So I think it will be a good fit. I still have to see what happens at the audition, but I feel pretty good about that right now. Yay!

Well, that's about it. Except for the fact that I fell on some stairs earlier today and bruised my butt and my elbow. On my elbow, the bruise is right around my funny bone, I still have some of that weird tingling you get. Can you bruise your funny bone? Anyway, the fall itself was that lovely "graceful" move many of us have done when going down stairs too fast with wet shoes, your foot just slips out from under you and down you go. lol.

Anyway, I'm going to go sit on some ice now. Or maybe I'll just pop outside and sit in one of the knee-deep snowdrifts. =P
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Sunday, January 18, 2009

You know you're from Oregon when...

Alright, Jenn and Ginger both posted one of these for Massachusetts and Colorado, respectively. Even though I now live in Massachusetts, I'll always be an Oregonian at heart, so I sought out the list I knew existed for Oregon and am posting it now.

1. You feel guilty throwing aluminum cans or paper in the trash - Yes.  Portland, OR, is currently rated as the Greenest City in the US.  But even the people in Central and Eastern Oregon consistently recycle.

2.  You use the statement "sun break" and know what it means. - Ah, the sun break is a beautiful thing.

3. You know more than 10 ways to order coffee. - Portland and Seattle sort of fight for the title of "most coffee drinkers per capita."

4. You know more people who own boats than air conditioners. - Haha, yes! AC is not usually necessary, and it's a waste of electricity.

5. You feel overdressed wearing a suit to a nice restaurant. - Yep. Nice restaurant wear MIGHT be Dockers and a button down for a man, probably a skirt and a nice blouse for a woman, or maybe a dress but nothing too fancy.

6. You stand on a deserted corner in the rain waiting for the "Walk" signal. - I have to say, this was a real tough habit to stop when I got to Boston.

7. You consider that if it has no snow or has not recently erupted, it is not a real mountain. - This one's for you Jenn!  Told you those aren't real mountains!

8. You know the difference between Chinook, Coho, and Sockeye salmon. - Well, not in a taste-test or anything, but yeah.

9. You know how to pronounce Sequim, Puyallup, Issaquah, Oregon, Yakima, and Willamette. - I think the only one I might not know is Sequim.  I think that one is in Washington.  As are Puyallup, Issaquah, and Yakima.

10. You consider swimming an indoor sport. - LOL.  For competitive swimming in high school, it's a winter sport done in indoor pools.

11. In winter, you go to work in the dark and come home in the dark—while only working eight-hour days. - I remember this.  It's not so much because of the time of sunrise, it's because the clouds hide the fact that the sun is up for a couple hours after it actually starts coming up.

12. You never go camping without waterproof matches and a poncho. - Yep.  Even in August.

13. You are not fazed by "Today's forecast: showers followed by rain," and "Tomorrow's forecast: rain followed by showers." - Hehehehehe.  Showers and rain are different.

14. You have no concept of humidity without precipitation. - Yet another thing that was weird when I got to Boston.

15. You know that Boring is a town in Oregon and not just a state of mind. - Although it really is boring in Boring.

16. You can point to at least two volcanoes, even if you cannot see through the cloud cover. - Yes and yes.

17. You notice, "The mountain is out" when it is a pretty day and you can actually see it. - This is one of the Portland-centric ones.  You can see Mt. Hood anytime you have a clear view of the east as long as it's not cloudy that day.

18. You put on your shorts when the temperature gets above 50, but still wear your hiking boots and parka. - Nah, sometimes you wear your Tevas.

19. You switch to your sandals when it gets about 60, but keep the socks on. - This is true for the men.  The women have a little more sense.

20. You have actually used your mountain bike on a mountain. - I haven't, but that's because my mountain bike never worked too well, it had trouble with gear-shifting so it would have been no good on a mountain.  Then it got stolen.

21. You think people who use umbrellas are either wimps or people from California. - I did not own an umbrella until I got to Boston. I may have had one when I was a child and promptly lost it.

22. You buy new sunglasses every year, because you cannot find the old ones after such a long time. - I managed to keep sunglasses for a few years once I got this thing that you clip to your sun-visor that holds the sunglasses.  By the way, you almost never need them outside of the car.

23. You measure distance in hours. - Or minutes, depending on how far you're going.

24. You often switch from "heat" to "A/C" in the same day. - If you have AC, see #4.

25. You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit under a raincoat. - Naturally.

26. You know all the important seasons: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Raining (Spring), Road Construction (Summer), Deer & Elk season (Fall). - Almost Winter and Winter both consist of pretty constant rain.  Or maybe just cloud cover with the threat of rain.

27. "Vacation" means going to Portland for the weekend. - Well, when you're not from Portland.  When you are, "Vacation" is usually somewhere like Southern Oregon or Bend (in Central Oregon).

28. Your grandparents drive at 65 mph through a rain storm without flinching. - I've seen my grandfather do this.  In a minivan, no less.

29. You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked. - Not in the city.  But once you get to the small towns, yes.  The security lights are just so that you can save energy by having a light turn on automatically when you walk outside.

30. You carry jumper cables in your pickup and your wife knows how to use them. - I had jumper cables in my trunk, and yes, I knew how to use them.

31. There are 7 empty cars running in the parking lot at the Bi-Mart store at any given time. - Yeah, probably.

32. Driving is better in the winter because almost everybody stays home. - Yeah, everyone is suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder so they're all depressed and don't feel like going anywhere.

33. You think sexy lingerie is tube socks and flannel pajamas. - Yeah baby. ;)

34. It takes you 3 hours to go to the store for one item even when you're in a rush because you have to stop and talk to everyone in town. - Again, not in the city.

35. You blame everything that's not right on ex-Californians. - Yep. Accident during the first big rain of Fall?  Must be one of those Californians.

36. You know what and when the Columbus Day storm was. Bonus for having been there. - I might be too young for this...

37. You go to a coffee bar and see two guys get into a fight over who makes the best India Pale Ale. - Note that it's a coffee bar.

38. You own more than 10 articles of clothing that have microbreweries/brewpubs printed on them. Bonus for embroidered stuff. - Okay, I personally don't like beer, so no, but there is a yearly beerfest, I'm sure they sell shirts, so I don't doubt this.

39.  You can recount more than five anecdotes about why the East Side is a crime-infested jungle
... OR ...
You can list more than five reasons why the West Side is a boring, snobby, white-bread suburb. - This is Portland-centric.

40.  You know what is in between the East Side and the West Side, and how to pronounce it. - Portland-centric again.  It's Will-LA-met.  Not Will-la-MET-tee.

41. You are sitting at a red light surrounded by Subaru Legacy Outbacks. - This has probably happened to me, but I didn't notice.  Two of my friends have Subaru Foresters though.

42. A tree or mudslide has ever damaged your house or car. - Not quite, but almost.  A few branches have fallen off a tree or two near my house.

43. You live equidistant to a symphony hall, a winery, and a volcano. - When I lived in Forest Grove I was a bit closer to the winery than the symphony hall or the volcano, but yeah.

44. Your children learned to walk in Birkenstocks. - I don't have children. I didn't learn to walk in Birkenstocks, but I might be a bit old for that.

45. You complain about Californians as you sell your house to one for twice as much as you originally paid. - Well, before the real estate market died...

46. You only honk your horn if collision is imminent and never for anything else. - I hated this rule and actually refused to follow it.  So I can tell you, for a fact, that I've been flipped off for politely tapping my horn when the light has been green for at least 30 seconds.  And then the bitch drove 10 miles an hour until she turned about 3 blocks later, just to piss me off.  Seriously, that did actually happen to me.

47. You consider "etiquette" a foreign word. - What, obviously it originated in's foreign, right?

48. You find a wallet with $500 and give it back to the owner. - Once again, not in the city.

49. You used to live somewhere else but won't admit it publicly. - It's generally alright if you lived in Seattle before, usually we're excited that you've "seen the light" and decided Portland is better.

50. You know a bride & groom that registered at REI. - Well I can almost guarantee you that when my friend Liz gets married, she will.

51. If someone ran your car off the highway, you might drown. - I-5 and I-405 both have a bridge that goes over the Willamette river.

52. You'd be pissed if the store was out of your favorite brand of water. - No, you'd be pissed if the store was out of Brita filters and only had Pur filters.

53. Every day is casual Friday. - Depends on what you consider "casual."  But offices that have "business casual" dress codes are still rather casual even on non-Fridays.  Friday just means you can wear jeans.

54. Hear the word "ferry" and think of boats and long waits. - This is for your trip up to British Columbia, when you think it might be fun to take the ferry, then on the way back you just drive across.

55. Know at least eight people who work for Intel or Nike, or used to work for Tektronix. - I went to high school with a girl whose dad worked for Nike, my ex worked as an intern at Intel, and I think about 5 of his friends also worked at Intel at some point.  And I left the state when I was 24.

56. You think skiing always means being covered from head to toe, in snow or water. - Something is always falling from the sky.

57. You have ever called your insurance agent to ask if your homeowner's policy covers falling trees, flooding, or mud slides. - The people who don't check get screwed and end up on the news.

58. You got your senior pictures done with Carole Meyer. - No, but maybe I'm too young for this one too.

59. You believe swimming is not a sport but a survival skill to prevent boating deaths. - Yep. Being a swim instructor at the local pool is actually a rather lucrative position, and the level that teaches "competition swimming" falls in between a couple of the other levels but is not required for advancement.

60. Obey all traffic laws except "keep right unless passing." - No, it's "chill out in the left lane until someone is tailgating you, pop over to the right lane to let them go, and then go back to the left lane.  Repeat as necessary."

61. You are amazed by an accurate weather forecast. - Depends on your definition of accurate.  It's not hard to predict rain tomorrow, it is hard to predict how much.

62. You think downtown is "scary" because you were panhandled there....once... - This is for the out-of-towners.  Although the panhandlers waiting at traffic signals at the end of the freeway exits are scary.  You have to lock the car doors, they've been known to try to open the door if you refuse to give them money.

63. You know that Burgerville has the best hamburgers...ever. - They also have seasonal blackberry and strawberry milkshakes made with fresh Oregon berries.  And Walla-Walla onion rings.

64. You have only used 5 main freeways/highways: I-5, 217, 205, 26, and 84. - Yeah.  405 should be in there somewhere but it's kind of a weird branch of I-5 that you only drive on when you absolutely have to.

64. You know that Kindergarten Cop and The Goonies were filmed in Astoria and Cannon Beach, respectively. - And the Shining was filmed at Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood.

65. You know where Astoria is. - It's up north, on the bump, by the coast.

66. You think that the Beach is the best place to go for vacation, or just for a day off. - One time I had cabin fever, I think it was February, so I got in my car to go for a drive, and ended up at the beach.

67. You love going to the Original Pancake House....because its original.... - I prefer Elmer's.

68. You take pride in Lewis and Clark and know who Sacagawea is.  - Learned all of this in elementary school.

69. You were excited when the Crater lake, Oregon quarter came out. - The deepest lake in the US!

70. You love The Shins...because they live here. - Eh.

71. You love the Decemberists....because they are from here...and live here. - Eh again. The Portland bands aren't really my type of music.

72. You never go to the Tigard theater anymore since they built Bridgeport. - Why would I go all the way to Tigard when there are plenty of theaters in Portland?

73. You think Bridgeport has terrible parking.

74. You went to Washington Square....just to eat lunch at Panda Express...or Scoozi. - No, but I have done this at Lloyd Center.  Washington Square is kind of out of the way when there's a perfectly acceptable mall right in the middle of Portland.

75. You love the smell of rain. - And I love how it smells different at different times of the year.

76. You are the only person in the line at the grocery store who asks for paper, not plastic (because while paper "kills trees" it is recyclable, and plastic bags will sit in our landfills for the next millennia). - Well, not when you're in Oregon, but when you're out of the state, yes.

77. You understand the joys of spandex as a layer under pants. - lol, mainly for when you're going skiing.

78. You dress in layers (tank top, t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, jacket, etc). - You have to be able to strip them off depending on the shifts in weather!

79. You know the exact day you had school off because it snowed inch. - Or work.

80. You have been to camp 18...or just driven by it. - I think my mom told me this closed or burned down or something recently.  This was how you knew you were halfway to the beach!

81. You listen to KINK FM 102. - I miss KINK.  Good station.

82. You remember Ramblin' Rod...and you laugh because you used to watch it....or because you were on it for your birthday. - I was never on it for my birthday, but I did watch it.

83. You play Tony Hawks Pro Skater and recognize Burnside. - I have played Tony Hawk, and I definitely recognize Burnside.

84. You can count the number of movies made here...since there are so many. - I think maybe this is supposed to be "can't."  There actually are a lot of movies that were filmed in Oregon, or at least parts were.

85. You are sad during Christmas because it never snows in the valley. - Once every 10 years or so.

86. You know where the valley is. - Yep, it's where all the good wine comes from!

87. You go out of state and wait in your car for someone to pump your gas. - Ha, I have been guilty of this in Washington.

88. Your state and local legislatures are republican but your state executives and national representatives are democrat. - Portland has all the voting power for statewide stuff.

89. You are more concerned about packing a sweatshirt or a jacket when going to the beach than packing a bathing suit. - Yeah, it's windy at the beach.

90. You are aware that "The Shining" was filmed at Timberline Lodge. - Ha, what'd I tell ya?

91. You say "pop" instead of "soda." - I did. Then I moved to Boston and felt a little silly so I changed.

92. You believe that Enchanted Forest is Oregon's disneyland. - Well, that and Oaks Park.

93. You think it looks strange when pedestrian signs do not have hula-hoops around them. - lol, it's supposed to look like the road.

94. The red nose on the 'Made in Oregon" sign starts your holiday season. - Yes indeed.  I used to get so excited as a child.  That was when it was still the "White Stag" sign.

95. You drive on 'the Banfield'. - And still have no idea why it's called that.

96. You've seen the Elvis impersonator at Saturday Market. - I've been to Saturday Market many times, but I've never seen him.

97. You've been offered pot on Hawthorne. - No, but I have seen "water pipes" for sale at the local convenience store.

98. You've been in or heard about a pillowfight in the middle of downtown. - Too young again?

99. You smile at people you don't know as you walk by them on the sidwalk. - I still do.  I scare the Bostonians.

100. People call you a hippie and you just smile because you can't hear them over the grape-nuts. - Well, I'm not a hippie.  The true Oregon hippies are pretty damn hard core.

101. You make subtle remarks about Washington drivers, but save your real road rage for California drivers. - Yeah. Washington drivers don't know how to merge and forget u-turns are illegal in Oregon, but I'd still rather drive next to them than one of those Californians.

102. You know The Shane Company's radio commercial word for word. - "Across the freeway from the Washington Square Mall, on the west corner of highway 217 and Scholls Ferry Road.  Open Monday through Friday till 8, Saturday and Sunday till 5...also available online at"  I can even hear the guy's voice.

103. You've witnessed 300 nude bicyclists just cruising around downtown like its no big deal. - Ha, I've never seen this, but it wouldn't surprise me.

104. You were thrilled that Scott Thomason finally stop putting his face on the back of his cars. - Yeah, now he has some weird cupid thing with a key instead of an arrow.

105. You consider it a good tan when you're no longer "pasty," just "pale." - I tan well and this STILL applied to me.
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Friday, January 16, 2009

Have DVDs ruined TV?

As I sit here, just about to throw in the third disc of season one of Mad Men, I wonder at the fact that, though I managed to be aware enough to catch all of season two and save it in my TiVo box, I refused to simply start watching at the beginning of that season without ever seeing season one.

The third season of Big Love starts on Sunday.  I feel the need to watch all of season two, which is hanging out in HBO On Demand, before the new season starts.

I remember a time when you could turn on the TV, notice a show and say, "hmm, I've heard about that, maybe I'll watch an episode."  And you could watch, and at least generally get what's going on, and end up getting into it, never really knowing what you missed in any earlier seasons.  Maybe they'd pop up on syndication and you'd get a sense of what was going on.  But it wasn't crucial.

Along came DVDs.  They're cheaper and more durable than VHS tapes.  They're lighter, making them easier to ship.  Suddenly you can easily rent movies by mail.  So what if we start putting entire seasons of television shows on DVD?  Would people buy them?  Or at least rent them?  How can we best utilize this capitalization opportunity?

I'm not sure what exactly it started with.  I seem to remember that when I first noticed television shows on DVD, it was shows like Sex and the City and The Sopranos.  The shows that not everyone could access when it was originally aired because they didn't subscribe to the necessary premium channels.  Then they started putting what I would call "old favorites" on DVD.  The stuff that was doing really well in syndication, so obviously people enjoy "rewatching" them. Things like Friends, Frasier, or Seinfeld. Perhaps around the same time, entire DVD collections of various Britcoms would come out - I think at that time, BBC America was not part of the standard cable package, so again, it was shows that weren't available to all viewers.

After these DVDs began to really sell, and after Netflix started to take off, the TV networks hit upon the ultimate selling point.  What if they make the shows so complicated that it's not enjoyable to watch them if you don't know what happened in the prior seasons?  That's sort of what was already happening with the HBO and Showtime shows - which, by the way, were winning Emmys and Golden Globes left and right.  So maybe it's really the attempts to make high-quality television shows that can compete with the award-winning records of HBO and Showtime that increased the complexity of your average television show.  These shows can't just go episode by episode.  Can they?  Would it have been possible to write a show like Dexter, Mad Men, The Tudors, or any of the other shows available in neat, compact little episodes that don't depend on what happened before?  I think it would have.  I don't think I ever saw the first season of Buffy, and while the story line certainly carried over from episode to episode, you weren't completely lost.  Even The Sopranos wasn't necessarily impossible to follow if you happened upon it in the middle of a season.  I started watching in about the middle of season three.  I was none the worse for it.

DVDs have ruined the art of making a show that works in nice, compact episodes.  This includes sitcoms, which are inherently meant to work in single, compact episodes.  How many sitcoms can you think of that are on the air right now?  Certainly not nearly as many as there used to be.  And don't get me started with On Demand, which makes it possible to miss an episode, even if you don't have TiVo or another DVR, and still go back and catch what you missed if you weren't home that night.  Because, of course, you can't catch up on DVD until the season comes out, which is usually just before the new season.  Isn't that convenient?

I may be ranting, but I'm not sure I'd really want it any different.  I can't dispute the fact that because of this apparent shift in the landscape of television, the overall quality of the shows has increased dramatically.  I'm about to go enjoy one of them.  I think it will go nicely with a glass of wine and a cat in my lap.
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Monday, January 12, 2009

Singing for my supper

So I went to the choir audition on Saturday, but unfortunately I don't sight-read well enough for that particular choir.  For you non-music people, sight reading is the art of singing by reading the notes on the page, rather than by simply repeating what you hear (like when you sing along with the radio).  Really, it's the art of playing any instrument by reading the notes on the page, but most people who play an instrument can sight-read, at least for their own instrument.  It generally only poses a problem for singers.  Especially sopranos like me, since sopranos almost always (if not always) sing the melody, which is very easy to learn by ear.  So anyway, there's your music lesson for the day - back to the audition.  The choir director did tell me that while I don't sight-read well enough for that particular choir, he suggested some other choirs that work on the music more before performing it, making sight reading much less important.  He also repeatedly complimented my "beautiful voice," which was really nice to hear.  Not that other people haven't complimented my voice in recent years, but it's different coming from a fellow musician.  At least, for me it is.  There was a time when it didn't matter who complimented me, I figured most people listen to enough music to know what sounds good and what doesn't.  But, things changed.

I guess it's story time.  I usually brush off what happened in college, I don't much like to talk about it, but this choir audition has brought back a bit of my confidence so I guess it's time to air my grievances.  See...when I was in college (2001-2005) I started out as a music major.  Not just a music major, a vocal performance major.  So what happened?  Well, at my school, all performance majors had to get approval from the music faculty to advance to the 300 level of lessons.  So at the end of your sophomore year, you did a performance in front of the music faculty and they'd vote on whether you had achieved a certain level of quality.  For vocalists, "quality" means things like tone, ability to stay on key, expressiveness, and range, among other things.  Well, for whatever reason in that combination of factors, I wasn't approved for the 300 level.  So, that sort of broke my spirit.  I didn't want to be a music major at all if I wasn't a performance major, so I switched to sociology simply because I really enjoyed the intro class I had just taken and the professor told me at the end of the class that I should change majors because I apparently had a talent for the subject and I shouldn't waste it.  He was half-joking, but I recalled what he said when I was trying to figure out what major to switch to and I decided that was as good a reason as any (it turns out I loved sociology and learned many fascinating things, so it was a good choice).  I didn't even try to get a music minor, even though I only needed 2 more classes to complete it.  I stuck with my art minor (with a focus in photography) and haven't taken another music class since.  In my senior year some friends convinced me to do "Pacific Idol," which was my school's version of American Idol.  I made it to the top 10 and did a lovely, rather sexy performance of Fiona Apple's Criminal.  I didn't win, but I didn't really care since I was just doing it for fun at that point.  By then I was happy I'd made it to the top 10.

Ever since my Pacific Idol performance, the closest I've gotten to performing is the occasional karaoke night.  I'm really not sure what is driving me to rejoin a choir now.  I say it's because I miss the simple pleasure of singing for others, but maybe it's more than that.  Maybe I need the validation.  Maybe I need to reconnect with that hopeful little college freshman (and sophomore) who thought if she was just determined enough, the world of music would lay itself at her feet and she'd be famous.  Or maybe I need to reconnect even farther back, to the little girl "performing" out in her cousin's yard, using a tall, flowered weed as a microphone.  I don't know.  All I know is that I feel the need to sing again.

So, anyway.  I'm going to try out for one of the other choirs in the area.  Apparently there's one really close to where I live.  I checked out the website and it says that sight-reading helps but isn't necessary.  So I emailed them and scheduled a brief audition before their rehearsal next Monday.  We'll see how it goes.  I'll keep you posted.

Anyway, before I go, I have to link to this post by Jenn.  Just doing my part to save the environment.  Check it out!
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Thursday, January 8, 2009


It's a plague.  Going through bloggy-land.  It took down Kate.  And Ginger.  Now me.

It's writer's block.

It's not that nothing interesting has been going on.  I just don't really have anything to say about it.

Got the cat on some new food.  I learned some things about the long term effects of most cat food due to the fact that they put corn in there because it's cheap.  But corn has high sugar content, and cats, as carnivores, don't really process sugar.  So eventually it gives them diabetes and their kidneys fail.  I don't want that.  I switched to something better.  This new food also doesn't have "by-products," or, in other words, the sweepings from the slaughterhouse floor.  Yum.  So, my cat may be eating healthier than I do, which amuses me...but I guess it comes down to the fact that while I have a choice when I decide to put something into my body and know just how healthy or unhealthy it is, the cat does not have that same choice.

So.  That's about the most I have for ya.  Work is good.  I'm trying out for a choir on Saturday, so maybe I'll have more to say about that once I've actually tried out.  I'm pretty excited, it's been a long time since I did any singing on a regular basis.  You know, aside from dancing and singing while cooking or cleaning.

Well.  I guess that's it.  Away I go!  À bientôt!

(No translation for ya this time...find it on your own!)
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