Saturday, February 22, 2014

Avoiding the Need for Dr. Phil and Other Consideratios

I have a friend whose dad is a police detective. She says that apart from having an abusive or deadbeat parent or one who on a regular basis does not earn enough money to support the family, having a police detective as a parent is just about as bad as it gets. I have no doubt that such is not good, but neither do I agree entirely that police officer is the worst job for one' parent from the perspective of the offspring.
My own father is a research physician who treats patients for a shift or two each month. My dad has his own drawbacks, as he's one of the stranger creatures ever to have inhabited the planet, but his profession alone didn't necessarily make him that way. My brother thinks Dad's job does contribute to his weirdness -- that he spends too many hours looking at lymphoma and leukemia cells through microscopes and on his computer, and that the cumulative hours of having done so have wrought havoc upon his normalcy. Maybe my brother is right. Either way, my father is one odd duck.

My mom is a current university professor who, while I was growing up, was a  school psychologist first, then later a school administrator. She's also a clinical psychologist, although she's never worked in the field.  Having a school administrator parent who works for one's own school district is, in my opinion, probably worse than having a cop for a parent.  In this information age, information from the staff at one's school to one's parent is only a click of the computer away. This is true to some degree with any student and any parent, but even more so when one's parent is hyper-linked in the district's system. The school personnel seemed all the more eager to share by virtue of the fact that my mom was one of their job superiors.In theory, my mother's qualifications as school psychologist should have to some degree mitigated the inconvenience to me of her having been a school administrator, but it never seemed to work out that way. In actuality, I wasn't in much trouble at school. The issue was more one of the constant threat of communication and the insane expectations school personnel foist upon their offspring.

I've heard that having two teacher or administrator parents is sheer hell. Had my dad worked for a school district, I might not have survived the ordeal.

In any event, I've comprised a list of the very worst occupations a parent could possibly have at least from the perspective of adolescent offspring. occupations or professions of questionable legality or worse will be omitted.

1. embarrassing quasi-entertainment occupations, i.e. superhero impersonator, clown, pole dancer, etc.: Adolescents have two rather  paradoxical desires: to be just like everyone else, and to stand out from the pack in some way. Each adolescent determines his or her own unique way of differentiating himself or herself, and does not want his peculiar distinction to be parents who are noticeably odd at even the most casual of glances. Note: If one's parent's oddness creates bona fide nation- or worldwide celebrity, and the parent freely shares of the proceeds from his or her ventures, the previous does not necessarily apply.

2. clergy: Many are religious nuts. Even if they're not, the scrutiny of the congregation alone could cause a person to hear voices and to act on them.

3. school administrator: Enough said already.

4. military officer:  My mom's father was reportedly the exception to the rule, but she says the lives of many of her peers were hell.

5. law enforcement official: They see many bad things in the course of their work, which causes them to become paranoid as parents.

6. prosecuting attorney: See #5.

7. registered dietitian: Having a parent obsess over portion sizes and saturated fat would suck.

8. neurosurgeon: As a rule, they're weirder than hell, with Dr. Sanjay Gupta being the sole known exception to the rule.. See link for further clarification.

9. mortician: It's a job someone must do, but between the creep-out factor itself and the social damage brought about by said creep-out factor, it's a guaranteed status-buster. Someday I'll blog about Lauren  Simms' birthday sleepover, which will add both clarity and credence to my claims.

10 statistician/logistician/actuary: Would you really want to hear the odds of each and every one of life's eventualities quoted aloud to you multiple times on a daily basis? I didn't think so. Besides, if you or I really cared, we could calculate those odds ourselves.

 My mom had the wife of an actuary in her monthly Bunco group for awhile. Each December was the annual Couples Night for Bunco.  My dad had to get totally wasted before he left the house just to deal with  the thought participating in a mindless activity even less cerebral even than Yahtzee. The presence of the actuary allegedly made even large quantities of alcohol insufficient anesthetic for the evening. By the end, my dad was announcing  the odds of every player's roll before the actuary could do so just to shut the actuary up, which caused everyone else to have to drink excessively. By the night's end, my mom and the actuary's wife were the only two sober people remaining, and they had to drive everyone else home, making multiple rounds. I've been told the evening was purgatory epitomized.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Correct Method of Unloading a Dishwasher

My parents had the most asinine argument this evening. My dad was unloading the dishwasher after dinner, and my mom walked into the kitchen. My mom stood there observing him, and as he put silverware away in the drawer she told him he was doing it incorrectly. I had never given the matter much thought, and it had never occurred to me that there might be a correct or incorrect way of unloading a dishwasher.

Loading a dishwasher is another matter entirely. Dishes that are breakable need not to be in contact with one another during the cycle. Dishes with large surface areas must not be placed against water jets if the dishwasher is to do its job. Dishes should not block the movement of wash spinners. This isn't exactly rocket science but, rather, common sense that virtually any functional moron could deduce after running a load of dishes, only to open the dishwasher to find scrambled egg-encrusted plates.

But unloading a dishwasher?

Keep in mind that my dad wasn't licking the silverware, or, more correctly, the flatware, (my parents own silver place settings, which are only used on major holidays, and the rest of the time sits tarnishing in a china cabinet) away. before he put it in the drawer. I'm sure he washed his hands; he's not a compulsive hand-washer, but even a research physician won't last long in medicine if he doesn't develop the habit of washing hands for hygiene-related purposes. I walked to the drawer where the silverware is kept, and everything had been put into its correct slot.

I was most curious as to what he might be doing so incredibly incorrectly. So was he. He stopped to gape at my mom. "Erin," he started, "how in hell does one put silverware[sic] away incorrectly?"

My mom took the silverware basket from him. "You empty one section at a time, " she told him, "like this . . ."  she demonstrated. "you were taking all the spoons out, then all the forks, and then the knives. It's just, how shall I say it, wrong!"

My dad, of course, disagreed. I might add that he missed the obvious opportunity to hand over the task to my mother, as, if one doesn't like the way someone else unloads a dishwasher, one is certainly free to take over the task. Instead he argued with her. "It's more efficient to do it this way," he told her. "If you start t one end of the basket, work your way down,  and grab all the spoons, then put them together in the tray, your hand makes fewer movements and the job goes faster."

"Maybe it does," she semi-conceded, "but it's weird."

"What's so weird about saving time?" he countered.

They ended up emptying the silverware tray into the basket and timing each other unloading it. My dad won. My mom still was not impressed.

For that matter, the argument is almost hypothetical, as neither of my parents empties the dishwasher more than once a month. I do it the rest of the time. I'm not disclosing what method I use, because there are no right or wrong ways of emptying a dishwasher as long as the method  used is safe and hygienic. and the silverware ends up in the right place.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Twitter, Michael Dunn, and Overconfident Law School Students

I think Michael Dunn looks a little like Jimmy Osmond.

This afternoon, after I had made myself as presentable as I would ever be, but while Alyssa was still slaving away at her beauty routine, I amused myself by visiting Twitter.  The Michael Dunn case was a topic of discussion, and an African-American self-proclaimed law student was taking Judge Alex to task for having suggested that evidence was unclear as to whether race had been a motivating factor in Michael Dunn's decision to shoot into the car in which Jordan Davis was a passenger.

I will not name the Tweeter, as I would prefer that he not show up here.

Basing my presumptions on the context,  I surmised that  Judge Alex must have suggested that the evidence didn't clearly evince racial  motivation in the crime.  I never found that particular post of Judge Alex's.  I did find, however, a post  in which Judge Alex responded to the tweeter  in question that one should not make generalizations -- that his [Judge Alex's] own children listen to hip-hop music and his [Judge Alex's] own son has tattoos and wears ripped clothing.  I concurred with the judge's statement, as the same things could be said of my brother. I opined that taste in music has less to do with ethnicity than with age.

The tweeter was not pleased with me.

He tweeted the following:

This will teach you since your OWN have elaborated on it.

He linked a video of which I watched only a snippet. The part I saw featured members of the Klan. I asked him what made him think the people in the video were my own.

He responded:

You're the person tht will say I have BLK friends or When I see u I dont see color well do u see as a male

I responded that he had mischaracterized me. I acknowledged the continued existence of racism, but maintained that taste in music tends to be more deeply rooted in age than in ethnicity.

He then tweeted:

Well understand this involved race. If it was another color of males they [presumably sic -- I'm not exactly sure what was his point, but he probably meant wouldn't be] would be gunned down in the way they were.

My friend Jaci showed up during the exchange. She inquired about his name/handle. He refers in said handle to his belief that his finances will soon change for the better. His actual name, if it really is his name, is three unrelated syllables culled from God knows where. He took slight umbrage at her questioning of his name/handle. Meanwhile, he was also carrying on flirtatious excahnges with a couple of women.

Then he again responded to me:

Friday, February 14, 2014

Brazilian Food, Hard-to-Watch Movie, and Reconstituted Barf

the infamous conversation heart cake

Pseudo-uncle Scott's sister (who is NOT aware of my blog) made a cake for us that looked just like the one pictured here. She probably got the idea in Relief Society. We decided to save it for dessert, which we would have together after Alyssa and I returned home from our double date.The red velvet cake itself was fine, but the conversation hearts / buttercream frosting combo tasted for all intents and purposes like reconstituted barf. We ended up tossing out the slices of cake with which we all started. Then Alyssa, who has serious kitchen skills, threw together some cream cheese frosting and quickly spread it onto the remainder of the cake, including between the layers, thus salvaging the efforts of the original Betty Crocker wannabe.

Alyssa said she didn't tell either of the guys we dated about my blog, so I can discuss them candidly here. Alyssa most definitely took the better-looking of the two guys for herself, but I believe my date had both intelligence and personality advantages over his buddy, so I consider that I came out ahead in the deal.

We ate at a local Brazilian restaurant. I'm an incredibly picky eater and have what are quite possibly the most un-exotic tastes of any person in the western United States who does not fall anywhere on the autism spectrum, but even my dinner was edible. It was probably a waste of money, as I can never come close to finishing an adult meal, and this restaurant did not offer a kiddie menu, though I would not have ordered from it, anyway. I don't have much dignity, but I cling with a death-like intensity to what little dignity I do possess. I probably would have enjoyed something from In and Out Burger as much or more, but at least I didn't have to make my entire meal out of the crackers the waiter brought to out table before dinner.

The movie our group of four ended up seeing was The Monuments Men. I suspect it was a good movie, but I am a pitiful movie watcher. My idea of hell is a double-feature movie in a theatre.  I'm better off watching a movie at home, where I can leave the room if anything bothers me or get up and walk around if I'm bored.

Reading books is so much more satisfying for me. I can just read faster if it's a part that shouldn't be dragged out, and the faces I imagine for the characters often work better for me than do the actors cast in movie roles.  In this particular case, the cast of The Monuments Men -- featuring George Clooney, Bill Murray, John Goodman and other really good actors --  was wasted on me.

We made it home just in time for our midnight curfew. It was a rather soft curfew in the sense that there's not a whole lot the pseudo-relatives could have done about it had two nineteen-year-olds wandered in a few minutes after the midnight curfew. The matter was more one of common courtesy. It would be nice to be invited back, but more importantly, I didn't want either of them to worry about us.

We're heading back to California tomorrow, which is technically already today. I can't speak for anyone else, but I for one am ready to return. Utah is a nice place to ski or snowboard, but I wouldn't choose to live here.

Happy Valentine's Day, or at least I hope it will be

I swear on a stack of Books of Mormon that I actually did my hair tonight, but it certainly doesn't look like it.

Alyssa and I are going out for dinner and a movie with two guys she knows from high school. She's making herself beautiful, and has been doing so for the past two hours. She looked perfectly OK before she started.

Actually I'm just jealous because she can look very glamorous when she tries.  If I take too many pains with my appearance, I look like a thirteen-year-old trying to look sixteen. I took a shower, did my hair, and put on a little makeup. If I apply cosmetics too heavily I look ridiculous.

Our dates are picking the movie, so chances are  that it will be stupid and difficult through which to sit. Still, it's Valentine's Day; who wants to sit at home on Valentine's Day? Beyond that, we want to give Scott and Jillian a little time to themselves tonight.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Will the Real Daniel Kretchmer Please Stand Up?

I'm still in Utah and will remain here for another fifty-seven hours or so. I will be here on Valentine's Day. The local lore is that polygamist Danny or Daniel (or some say Stanley) Kretchmer comes down from the hills during the night on Valentine's Day to take a new young bride. The legend is less than clear as to whether "during the night on Valentine's Day" means the wee a.m. hours of February 14 or the remaining evening hours before midnight. Since I will be here on both days, Ill be cautious even though I think the legend is nothing more than some local Mormon's vanilla extract-induced hallucination.  Mormons are prone to local folk tales, with their talk of The Three Nephites and other stories. Come to think of it, perhaps Kretchmer is one of The Three Nephites.

At the same time, I'm not going to do anything totally stupid. Alyssa's friends wanted to do the six p.m. until midnight ski run on the night of Valentine's Day. Alyssa can do what she wants, but I'm not participating. I don't honestly believe Danny or Stanley Kretchmer or whatever his name is or was really is lurking, but it's not beyond possibility that some other perv could be hiding in the shadows, looking for an under-aged girl to nab. While I'm not technically under-aged, no one would ever believe such to be the case from looking at me.

Uncle Scott was teasing both Alyssa and me about Martin MacNeill and how he supposedly had an escape from prison planned for this week. Martin MacNeill was a local doctor who was convicted of drugging his wife and drowning her in a bathtub. His home was only about 1.5 miles from here. After I had my last bad dream, Scott stopped all the Martin MacNeill talk. My money is on the theory that Scott's wife threatened to withhold consortium if he did not cease and desist. Regardless, I'm not hearing anything more about Martin MacNeill, though the damage has already been done.  For the record, I'm not in any way attempting to make light of the tragic fate of the late Michele MacNeill, who appears to have been a lovely person.

I have two more days to snowboard, after which it's back to the old grind, though it's not all that much of a grind. Courses that I'm technically taking this quarter were deferred from earlier quarters, so I've already done all the work. My labor-intensive days consist of sitting on the beach.  I worked very hard in earlier quarters, though, and will do so in medical school as well, and have earned the right to be a lady of leisure.

I'm not sure which of these images most closely aligns with my perception of the Pleasant Grove Polygamist, but if there ever were such a character, he'd almost have to be one of the three.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Manti Temple, Warren Jeffs, and Other Bizarre Dream Content

Even in the light of day, the exterior alone is a bit eerie.

I was just awakened , and I  in turn awakened the entire house,  in the midst of a most bizarre and perplexing dream. It was the first of its nature in what I certainly hope will not become a series of dreams. The subject matter for my most recent nightmare was being entrapped in an LDS temple.

The temple in particular featured in my dream was the Manti Temple, possibly because it's the only LDS temple in which I've actually been. When I was twelve, through an odd combination of flukes and people not believing me when I told them I had never been baptized into the LDS church, I participated as a proxy in baptisms for the dead at that temple. I'm uncertain as to why the Manti Temple was the venue for our trip, as either the Provo temple or possibly the Draper temple should have been the assigned temple for the LDS stake of residence of those involved with the temple event. Members of the LDS church who hold temple recommends have carte blanche to enter the temples of their choice to perform ordinances, but baptisms for the dead are usually  done only as organized youth group trips, and only to the ward or stake's  assigned temple. A Mormon adolescent with or without the necessary provisional temple recommend wouldn't show up at a temple on any given day to be a proxy for baptisms for the dead, nor would organizers of temple trips for such a purpose -- as far as I know, anyway --  typically pick out another temple and say, "We're going to visit Temple X this time to do baptisms for the dead there." That seems, however, to have been just what happened in the particular case of the trip in which I was involved.

Perhaps because it was a slow day at the Manti Temple when I was there, or perhaps because our trip was unusual in terms of our group traveling out of our immediate geographical area, we were given a sort of tour of the temple, and were  shown parts of the temple that are not ordinarily seen by those attending the just for baptisms.  I didn't think much about it at the time, but I've since  been told by others who were in attendance that this was a highly unusual deviation from ordinary practice and by others who were not in attendance that I must either have hallucinated or must be lying about having seen various rooms in the Manti Temple.

In any event, the tour of much of the Manti Temple provided fodder for tonight's dream. In this dream, I had gone again to the Manti Temple to be baptized for the dead for some inexplicable reason, and after the necro-dunking, I was in the  locker room getting back into civilian clothing when a lady who looked so old that she might quite possibly have been already dead appeared and asked me to follow her.  In retrospect, it surprises me that even in a dream I would  actually have followed -- or even have remained in the same room with -- anyone who looked so cadaverous as the woman of my nightmare. Dreams, nevertheless,  are not always logical or realistic, and I obediently [and obedience is not a trait for which I'm known] followed the woman out the door, up a staircase, down a long corridor, and into a room where washings and annointings were taking place.

I was handed a white poncho and told to take off my clothing and put the poncho on over my nude body. This usually happens in a locker room, I assume, but there was no obvious nearby place to get undressed. I just stood there. Then appeared out of nowhere a cluster of girls around my own age. A closer look at the girls revealed that they had the faces of my female attackers from a restroom assault occurring in my last year of high school, but  looked to be straight out of Warren Jeffs' YFZ Ranch, dressed in white versions of the typical clothing style of the compound, and topped with the trademark freakish poofy hairstyles. The girls surrounded me, ripped off my clothing, threw the poncho or whatever it was over my head, and physically forced me into a cubicle where another deceased-looking old woman uttered bizarre incantations while dabbing my body in places it ought not to have been touched with ice water and oil.

I was then physically forced, still weaing just my poncho even though others were adorned in white temple robes, to an assembly room of the temple. I clutched the sides of my poncho in a vain attemot to keep it closed and keep my nude body covered. A hymn was being sung, but the organist was having much difficulty playing it, and consequently kept repeating the first line over and over. It eventually occurred to me to go to the organ and to play the hymn myself, which I did. In retrospect, that was very stupid, as if I had been concerned about what might happen later in the temple ceremony, my safest bet would have been to remain in tha assembly room hearing the same line of the hymn repeated over and over. As I mentioned earlier, however, common sense and dreams are often mutually exclusive. Beyond that, few musicians can resist the temptation to take over and play something themselves as opposed to hearing the continued bungling of a particular selection.

After the hymn and a few words by a man in a robe, the group moved on into what was called the Creation Room, which had murals of the Garden of Eden on the walls.  People portraying Adam and Eve ran all over the room buck-naked, playing a perverted game of tag. Eve had in her possession a basket of apples. Speaking and acting much like the Wicked Queen in Snow White, she tried to force me to eat one of her apples, which I assumed to be poisoned. I eventually took one and pretended to take a bite, but spit the piece into my hand.

We moved on through other rooms where various people enacted things, and the group was instructed in how to do the Macarena dance. Then we approached a curtain and were asked to to recite lines from MacBeth in order to proceed through the curtain. I said my lines ("Come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts; Unsex me here and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of dires cruelty! O make thick my blood. Stop up the access and passage to remorse, that no compunctious vistings of nature shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between the effect and it. Come to my woman's breasts and take my milk for gall, you mrurdering ministers . . .") after which a strong arm gripped my hand and pulled hard. I was afraid of the person attached to the hand discovering the piece of apple I had spit into my own hand, and I thought there might be repercussions for not having swallowed it, but the owner of the hand clutching mine appeared not to notice. I tried to break away, but the grip was too powerful. I was pulled through the curtain to face Warren Jeffs, who maintained his grip on me and pulled me into the next room, followed by the gaggle of females with the accoutrements of Warren's female followers but with the faces of my attackers.

I expected to then pass into the Celestial Room, which I've seen in pictures as well as in the home of one of my paternal aunts, who has rather presumptiously decorated and designated such a room in her own house. Instead, we made our way into the school restroom that was the site of my assault. Warren's female posse tore the poncho from my otherwise nude body and forced me to the floor as Warren removed his clothing and descended upon me.

At that point my screams awakened everyone in my pseudorelatives' condo and in the one next door. A next-door neighbor telephoned to enquire about the screams. I heard my pseudouncle telling whomever it was on the other end of the line that he or she was more than welcome to come over to see for himself or herself that it was just a kid who'd had a bad dream. My pseudorelatives know the neighbors, so the neighbors presumably didn't genuinely believe anything truly nefarious was happening and were merely calling out of neighborly concern. No one showed up on the doorstep, so I suppose the caller was adequately reassured.

I feel both unsettled and, for some reason, dirty, but it's just a silly dream. Now I can't get back to sleep, so I'm entertaining myself with the Internet becasue it's quieter than the TV, and other people here aren't so sleep-impaired as I am.

Good morning and have a great day.

Monday, February 10, 2014

To Spare the World A Substandard Blog . . .

My vain brother wanted his own baby pictures displayed. I told him the easiet way for him to do that would be to start his own blog. He asked if I really wanted him to do that. I briefly pondered the issue.

In the interest of the common good, I will post two baby pictures of Matthew -- the only two that were already scanned into my computer. I admit he was far cuter than I. He was only about three weeks old in the awake picture and maybe six weeks old in the sleeping picture. My mom thinks I was eight months old in my picture that appeared in the last post.

Matthew at 3 weeks

roly-poly Matthew at maybe a six weeks

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Winter Frolicking, Olympics, and Other Alleged Frivolity

I don't think snowboarding dolls existed when I was little.

I had a full day of skiing yesterday. I usually snowboard, but I borrowed Alyssa's cousin's gear and skied for the first time in about five years. i believe I have a slight preference for snowboarding, but both are nice.

This morning we headed out early for snowboarding and kept going until 2:00. We then stopped for a quick fast food lunch and headed over to Alyssa's grandparents for a family gathering. Most of them are still here. We're watching the olympics. scott says the only real reason to watch is to see if there's a terrorist attack. I told him that if that's his only reason for watching, he need not bothr, as it's all tape-delayed. If there were an attack by terrorist or by anyone else, we would have heard about it long before the delayed footage ever aired.

We have two babies here  right now. They're very good babies and don't scream incessantly as I'm told I did at that age. I'm posting a picture of the pre-hair Baby Lexus. I've been told it's the only oicture my parents have of me in my first year when I'm not crying.

This was about as cheerful as it got.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Stupidest Wedding Photo Ever

Click on the photo for enlargement in order to more fully experience the totality of the idiocy of the person who set up this photograph. My guess is only in Utah or Oklahoma could such a picture happen; since it's not an LDS facility, I'm guessing Oklahoma.

The flight was uneventful except that pseudoaunt and I took turns figuratively tossing cookies into barf bags. Still, hurling into foil bags was slightly more tolerable in the setting of the cabin of a private jet than it would have been in the coach section of a commercial flight. I'm requesting heavy anti-emetic mediction for the return flight.

Snow was lightly falling when we arrived. Pseudouncle said we couldn't go snowboarding today because he didn't want us driving on icy roads to the resort even though it was only twenty minutes from the condo and Alyssa has driven in snow and ice each winter since she first learned to drive. Fortunately Alyyssa's grandfather came to the rescue. He was unable to persuade his son that Alyssa could make the drive safely, so he drove us there himself, then picked us up when we were through.

We made it to the top of our first slope at 1:10. Not many people were out today, so it was powdery and perfect.

We're snowboarding all day tomorrow.

I posted the rather random wedding picture of people of whom I've never heard because it is the single stupidest wedding photograph on which I've ever lain eyes.

Under the category of Tacky Family Photos: I don't know which stands out more -- the child's finger up her nose,  the stains all over the man's shirt (including but not limited to his armpits), or the headless beer bellies photo-bombing the shot. Incidentally, this photo was taken at the same wedding as the top photo. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Money Trees, Chartered flights, and the History of Utah

The above video is of a rather quaint  song, "History of Utah," byCamper Van Beethoven.  I posted it in premature celebration  of my upcoming trip to Utah for about nine days of unencumbered snowboarding.

I'm flying, courtesy of my godparents, for the first time on a chartered flight. I know nothing about the aircraft that will transport our small party to Utah expect that supposedly the company, the aircraft itself, and the pilot all have excellent safety records. We'll hope their streaks hold through tomorrow's flight, as well as next week's return flight. I'm happy enough not to have to drive to Los Angeles and not to have to go through security. On the other hand, I typically give little thought to the safety of flying on a major airline's  mid-size-to-large jet. Flaying on a smaller plane at least makes me think about my own mortality.  My friend Alyssa, who is traveling with me, says when it's your time to go, it's your time to go. I'm not so sure I totally believe that. Then again,  we'd probably be almost as likely to be killed or seriously injured traveling to or from either airport  (Burbank or SLC) by auto as to suffer the same fate in a well-maintained plane with a cautious and skilled pilot and good weather.

I probably should simply enjoy the more convenient trip (longer flight but shorter overall trip because we have a ten-minute drive to the airport, then a fifteen minute drive to the condo where we'll be staying, versus a ninety-minute or so -- depending on traffic -- drive to Burbank or even longer drive to LAX, followed the mandate to arrive early for the privilege of by being groped by TSA agents, only to be told that our flight will be delayed.  We're winning big time on this deal. My dad told me not to get too accustomed to private flights because this trip is truly an anomaly for me.  My Godfather is generous, but he's not an idiot, and he didn't get so rich by using hundred dollar bills as fireplace kindling.  This flight is a recital gift. I'll probably get another significant gift for university graduation, maybe another one for med school graduation, and possibly something fairly sizable for my wedding if I ever have one. I'm otherwise running out of major gift-inspiring milestones.

My rich uncle's (and godfather's) figurative money tree is due to go barren at least as far as I'm concerned in the very near future.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Post-Recital Blahs

obviously not me, if obvious only because a) my hair never looks this good on a good day, much less when Im throwing up and b) I color my hair to  a lighter shade than this, but I'm sure you get the overall idea

I'm so incredibly happy to have the recital behind me, but I'm feeling slightly yucky. It's just a digestive upset and stomach ache and I'm confident it will go away soon. I need to be on campus for an hour or so tomorrow for a choir rehearsal I'm accompanying, but I'm capable of throwing up in a trash can and going back to playing piano instantly if necessary.

We're leaving for Utah midmorning on Thursday.  We're flying on a privately chartered plane  and leaving from here, so we do not have to drive in to Los Angeles or even Burbank to catch the plane, which is very nice. Additionally, it will land at the Provo airstrip. We'll be at the condo in less time than it usually takes us just to get to our car at the Salt Lake City airport.

I don't have tons of packing to do because there's a washer in the condo, and it's not like I need to impress anyone by making a separate stunning fashion statement with each new day.

I read that the Queen is telling Kate to dress more conservatively but to wear more royal jewels. I'm just a bit skeptical, as what person who was really in the know on such matters would be giving it away to the press? Still, it serves to make me glad I don't have inlaws who are telling me how to dress.

I'm not sure what to think about the Chris Christie debacle. Usually conspiracy theories are little more than null hypotheses, but he is probably just enough of a jerk to have been involved in the whole bridge lane closure fiasco. Even if he had no prior or concurrent knowledge, he's done enough other unconscionable things that he's probably getting what he deserves,  sort of like O.J.  Then again, my gut feeling tells me he probably knew about this before January 8, or whenevery it is tht he claims to have first had knowledge.

My Twitter non-friend Karen continues to make incredibly mindless posts. She was bothered by the Super Bowl because she said it should have been held on the west coast where the participating teams' fan bases are. Does she have any idea how far in advance Super Bowl venues are decided? Probably not. She frequently tweets celebrities (usually politicians and Fox news pundits) to offer advice as though anyone ever listens to her. I really believe the woman is delusional. I understand I'm guilty of tweeting Judge Alex, but so is she. He's just one of the many public personalities she pesters on a regular basis. That's how the two of us came into contact with one another. I at least limit my public figure tweets to one person. Of course, if Richard Carpenter or Mindi Carpenter ever goes on twitter, I may have to re-think my priorities. I've decided not to say anything to Karen no matter how stupid her tweets may be. I'll just rant about her in my own cyber-playpen.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Recital Is in the Bag!

It's over!

My violin recital is history.It went well. I haven't received my scores yet. I should have received them twenty minutes ago, which means the scores should  be high. My adjudication committe wouldn't violate the time limit on scores if they were giving me low scores, because I could challenge the results because the time limit was not met. The committee was  late getting the scores to me following my piano recital.

It doesn't matter tremendously in the grand scheme of things anyway, because I've already been accepted at the medical school of my choice; that was the majot reason for my tacking on a violin major in the  first place. Now it's really just the principle of the matter.

The very nature of playing violin for a solo recital is quite different than playing piano for the same. A pianist is, obviously, seated at the piano, and not facing the audience. It's really just the pianist and the piano there, and the audience is somewhat eavesdropping on the performance. A violinist, on the other hand, stands and is positioned directly facing the audience.  It doesn't need to be quite like a Jimmy Buffett concert where the performer is having a continual conversation with the audience throughout the performance, but some degree of eye contact should take place, and it's much more interactive than is a piano recital.

Scott and I opted not to go in  chronological order because i wanted to open with a more solid piece than the Telemann Sonata for Flute and Violin, which would have been first had I gone in chronological order. I instead opened with Bach's Sonata number Three in E major for violin and piano. The piano accompaniment is very solid in that one, and it was a great opener.

I went next to the Telemann (my flutist, Erin, was awesome), followed by the Copland Sonata for Violin and Piano. Both went as well as they've ever gone.  It was almost as though I could have played nothing correctly even had I tried. Though I'm not terribly superstitious by nature, I very lightly knocked with my fist on the wooden surface of my violin, trying not to be obvious as I did so.  If anyone noticed, no one said anything to me about it.

I then went into the Paganini Cantabile for Guitar and Violin, which, though  I don't like saying it about my own performance, was exquisite. My dad is a sickeningly talented guitarist.

I finished the regular program with what I consider my strongest piece, which was Mozart's  Sonata # 33 in E-Flat Major for Violin and Piano. I've never played it better.

My encore was the unaccompanied Preludio to Bach's Partita for violin. It's an impressive work if played decently, and I did it well.

I went for a second encore because a) my program was cutting it a bit close on the short side because I played many of the works up tempo, and b) Scott said that when an Irish girl plays violin, people want to hear at least one thing that is Irish. I played a quick jig, "King of the Faeries."  It's a fun piece. I hope the audience enjoiyed hearing it half as much as I enjoyed playing it. I've included someone else's video of the piece..

It was nice to have other instrumentalists because they kept the tempos steady when my nervousness might have caused me to rush. Such was the case with my flutist and guitarist, but especially with my piano acompanist. Scott is known for not following soloists and expecting them to follow him, and he's usually instinctively right when it comes to tempo. He's steady, and his heart doesn't beat faster because of nerves.  It's funny, though; he has a way of making it seem to others as though he is following even when he's dictating the tempo. He's an amazing accompanist. He made the soloist sound better than she is.

I allowed myself to rush in playing the jig, because with a jig, a fast pace is a good thing as long as it's controlled speed and the soloist and accompanist are together.  It's one of the things that makes jigs in general and this piece in particular especially fun.

I'm stuffing my face with pizza because I have an appetite now that the recital is over.

Postscript: My score was 99.0, which I've been told is the highest violin score in at least three years. I'm not really that good, but I played well tonight.

Post-postscript: My brother was accepted into my medical school. He found out today. No one told me before because they didn't want to distract me. I wondered why he was in such a great mood. I'm extremely happy for him, and I'm happy for  me as well to attend medical school with my brother. We won't have letter grades or class standing for the first two years, so there's no reason to be competitive for the first two years.  We can help each other.

Bryson, age four,  was the youngest person to attend my recital. He wore his tuxedo from a wedding he was in  seven months ago, though he didn't have the jacket on during the picture. He wants to marry me  next year after he finishes kindergarten. 

No Utah Bullet-Proof Hair for Me

This is what my hair will not look like.

My violin recital will begin in less than seven hours.  I'm as ready as I'll ever be. I'm mostly ready for it to be over.

My nails have been done. Alyssa's aunt is going to do my hair right before the recital. Alyssa's good at hair, but her aunt is a professional who owned a somewhat esteemed hair salon in Utah that specialized in non-Utah hairstyles. I will not appear at my recital with bullet-proof Utah hair.

We're going to the beach in a few minutes. If my nails get messed up, Alysa will touch them up afterward. They're polished, but I can't have fake nails or long nails because they would interfere with my ability to play the violin. My nails cannot be as short as is ideal for the violin just because of the natural configuration of my fingertips and nails, but I still cannot have them long for a recital.

I don't feel like eating anything, but I have to force myself to eat something or I will not have sufficient energy to make it through my recital. I'll need to be on my feet for the whole thing. I do not believe in dancing around the stage barefoot or otherwise while I play my violin, but I do need to be able to remain on my feet.

I have invited 3.5 celebrities to this recital. I believe 1.5. celebrities will be in attendance.  Dieter Uchtdorf probably won't be there. Ellen DeGeneris won't be there, at least in part because I didn't invite her. Richard Carpenter won't be there for the same reason. I didn't invite Mindi Carpenter because shedoesn't know me and i assme she will be busy. My brother wishes I had invited Mindi Carpenter in case she might be hot, so he could ask her out. Johnny Depp is busy.  Cousin Will, the .5 celebrity, may be there. His bona fide famous wife will not be in attendance.

I probably should have included something from Sweeney Todd in the program. C'est la vie. It's already gone to the printer, and I can't throw a curve at my accompanist even though he could play it with his eyes closed.