Monday, September 28, 2015

Scientology, Kabbalah, Mormon Fundamentalism -- It's All Good

Can you picture me as one of these two beauts? 


It seems that in real life I use the words fiasco and debacle rather liberally, much in the way that some people are fond of saying "um," while others are partial to sprinkling their sentences with like in almost random places. I, of course, would never use any word randomly, but still, it's conceivable that I may have overused one or both words. I plan after studying tonight to scour online thesaurus sources for possible replacement terms.

One of my professors said out of the blue today before he started his lecture, "Alexis, in your world, which is worse, a debacle or a fiasco?" 

I paused to consider the question. "I really don't know," I answered. "I believe the two words are essentially synonymous." (For the record, I checked;  fiasco and debacle are about as synonymous as synonymous can be.)

"What criteria do you use for determining whether to describe one situation as a debacle and another as a fiasco?" he pressed.

I may be a bit slow, but I eventually figure it out when someone is having fun at my expense. "Divine inspiration," I answered him in my most deadpan voice. Lately I've been watching Parks and Rec when I have trouble sleeping.  I channeled my inner April Ludgate as I answered him.  "God tells me whether something is a fiasco or a debacle." I stared the professor down with an intensity that would have made Aubrey Plaza [the actress who portrays the April Ludgate character on Parks and Recreation] almost envious. I say almost  because I gravely doubt either the character or the actress who portrays her is capable of genuine envy.

The professor looked away before I did, which was a victory of sorts. I believe I freaked him out ever so slightly. Kal Penn whispered, "Way to stand up to him, Cutthroat Bitch," from the row behind me.  Cool Guy fist-bumped me from his seat diagonally in front of  me.  He's more double-jointed even than I am, which allows him to put his arms behind him at very odd angles to fist-bump anyone who says something especially salient.  When the professor looked my way again as  he began his lecture, I gave him the sweetest smile I could ever fake. He's lucky I didn't roll my eyes at him. I can roll them practically all the way back where nothing but white shows, and it looks like a medical emergency is taking place,  I don't do this very often, just as I don't intentionally dislocate my arm (both arms, actually) at the elbow, then put it back into place)  very often anymore, either, because it physically hurts to do either of those things. If a cause is ever sufficient, however, I will pull one of those tools from my arsenal of weapons.

My brother told me that after lecture, the professor asked him what my religion is. I found it mildly telling that the professor didn't ask what religion my brother and I are, but asked specifically what religion I am, almost as though he acknowledges that I would never blindly follow any religion thrust upon me by my parents or any other accident of birth.  I considered this a sign of respect even if it was not intended as such. Matthew lied and told the professor I had dabbled in both Scientology and Kabbalah, but found neither to be spiritually satisfactory, so I was working to build enough capital to start my own religion and tax shelter.  Matthew is reasonably certain the professor took him seriously. 

Incidentally, this professor has virtually nothing to do with assigning even the perfunctory pass/fail grades we receive officially for the first two years of med school, much less the real grades that are, I'm convinced, tracked behind the scenes.  I'm not sure I would have done anything differently even if the professor happened to be involved in grading us.  There are worse things than having the person who gives you a final grade be afraid that you might put some sort of a hex on him.

Meanwhile, I must complete my studies for the evening so that I may find suitable  synonyms for fiasco and debacle

P.S. I wish Matthew'd had the presence of mind to tell the professor that we both had either escaped or been kicked out of a polygamous cult. I suspect the professor knows who my dad is, but he also probably knows that my dad had past connections with Mormonism. Many people can't quite shake the idea that modern-day Mormons aren't one and the same as the Warren Jeffs branch of Latter-Day Saint fundamentalism.  Having the professor believe I'd been a child bride at the age of twelve might have given me some serious street cred.


Isn't she positively fabulous? 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Name Game, Part 17 (I've actually lost count)



The topic of naming one's children and the ignorance that sometimes happens in the process has come up numerous times in this blog. I must share with you one more instance of sheer idiocy involved in the naming of children. My Aunt Victoria's good friend has a sister-in-law (brother's wife) who is named Jamie, except that it's spelled spelled  Jammie.  Jammie has a twin sister named Janie, except that her name is spelled (you already guessed it, I'm sure) Jannie

Jannie had jury duty with my Aunt Victoria this week.  My aunt said that the jury commissioner  or whoever it is that calls out names (the one time I reported for jury duty, we checked in by handing to an employee slips of paper that had been attached to the summonses we had received in the mail, but the people who run this backwoods courtroom probably haven't even discovered computers yet and do everything the old-fashioned way, including an old-style role call to determine who among those who were called actually showed up) pronounced Jannie's name the way Jannie it should be pronounced phonetically, i.e. rhyming with Annie. According to my aunt, Jannie was furious and made it a point to approach the front desk from where the court employee was taking attendance  and to loudly correct the employee. Jannie said something to the effect of, "Can't you even read simple English?" to the court employee. 

The court employee was of Hispanic descent and apparently took Jannie's rebuke as a racial reference, which it may or may not have been intended to be. I haven't a clue as to Jannie's mentality when she said what she said. I just know that both she and her twin sister have been angry about their names being mispronounced for most of their lives. They're equally fired up when the names are misspelled.  My aunt says the sister-in-law of Jammie (my aunt's friend) has tried to explain to Jammie more than once that a word containing a vowel followed by two consonants, particularly when the word contains a double consonant, is pronounced with a short vowel sound. My aunt's friend didn't know if Jammie  thought she (my aunt's friend) didn't know what she was talking about or if Jammie simply could not grasp the underlying phonetic concept.

Things apparently got a bit testy in the jury selection waiting room at that point. A bailiff or deputy sheriff or someone wearing a uniform and badge, anyway, stepped in and told both women to calm down and asked Jannie to take her seat, which she did after briefly mean-mugging the court employee who had mispronounced her name. When roughly half the group was called to enter a courtroom, the uniformed employee with a badge accompanied the group. He approached the court clerk and spoke with her in hushed tones  as he pointed at a paper the clerk had in front of her. My aunt has a relatively keen sense of hearing, and she said the uniformed guy was telling the clerk that Jannie's name was pronounced /ja-nie/, not /jan-nie/ and that the woman would become very huffy if her name happened to be mispronounced. The court clerk's response was essentially, "Whatever."

In that particular courtroom, they had a little metal machine like one of those things used in bingo games. The metal bingo machine contained numbers -- not B10 or G 56, but presumably a number to represent each potential juror. The second number drawn, followed by the court clerk's checking of the list in front of her and calling of the potential juror's name, was Jannie's. The court clerk giggled, my aunt said, as she correctly pronounced Jannie's name. Jannie gave her a mild glare, my aunt said, as she took her place in the box, presumably because Jannie perceived (correctly in this case) that she was being made fun of.

Once potential jurors and two alternates had been seated, the voir dire process began. Each juror was asked by the judge to introduce himself or herself and to tell what his or her occupation was and where he or she was employed, along with the same information about his or her spouse of he or she had one. The judge asked each potential juror if there was an inherent reason the juror could not make a fair and unbiased decision concerning the case, which was a misdemeanor criminal case involving the theft of hogs if memory serves me  correctly. The judge referred to Jannie as "Mrs. Baumgartner" or something very similar. I obviously should not use her actual surname  here if I don't wish to be sued. I would prevail in such a lawsuit, as everything I'm writing is either objective fact stated truthfully or a matter of opinion. There's no libel here, but that doesn't necessarily stop a person from filing a suit against another, and I don't have time now or in the near future to defend myself against idiots. 

As voir dire proceeded, the state's attorney also addressed the woman as "Mrs. Baumgartner." When it was the public defender's initial opportunity to question jurors, it was apparent that she had not gotten the memo that the rest of them had read. She addressed Mrs. Baumgartner as "Jannie Baumgartner," rhyming "Jannie" with "Annie."  Jannie was predictably not pleased, and corrected the defense attorney, though not going so far as to ask her if she knew how to read simple English in this case. The public defender apologized and pronounced the name as Jannie had said it. Muffled laughter was heard from among the potential jurors, all of whom had previously witnessed the earlier confrontation between Jannie and the court employee in the jury selection waiting room.

Attorneys approached the bench and consulted with the judge, after which he excused two jurors presumably for cause, thanking them for their service. Two more jurors were called up through the process, who gave their basic info to the judge, told him they had no inherent biases related to the case, and were questioned by both attorneys.

Then the peremptory challenge phase began. The prosecutor excused Juror #9. Another number was drawn, the list was consulted, and the next juror was called and took his seat. He gave his basic bio to the judge, then tried to convince the judge that he couldn't be fair in this case because he had been a member of FFA in high school and had once raised a goat. The judge didn't buy his reason for his supposed bias and gave both sides had the opportunity to question the man. Next was the defense's turn for a peremptory challenge. She used her first challenge to dismiss Juror #2, who was Jannie.

As Jannie was walking down the center aisle of then courtroom, Aunt Victoria  tried to hide her face behind a book she had brought along, but her effort was futile, and Jannie recognized her. Jannie loudly said, "Well, hi  there, Vicky! I didn't even see you here today." she paused. My aunt said she felt her own face growing hot. Having other people know that this idiot even knew her by name was, in and of itself, sufficient cause for embarrassment for my aunt.

The judge said, "Mrs. Baumgartner, you're excused. You may leave now."

Jannie turned and looked at him, then turned back to my aunt. "Well, I guess that's one way to get out of jury duty," Jannie concluded as she finally walked out the door.

My aunt Victoria felt for some reason that she needed to explain herself, so she pleaded,  "I don't even know that woman. Seriously."  The bailiff commanded those inhabiting the courtroom to be quiet as the room erupted in laughter. The judge tried to say something to my aunt, but then put his head down because he could not stifle his own laughter. He put his hand over his face. Then the judge composed himself and said, "I don't care. It doesn't matter," to my aunt.

The jury was seated without my aunt ever being called into the box, so that story is history, and I'll presumably never know whether or not the defendant was convicted of hog theft unless my Uncle Ralph happens to read about it in the newspaper. I need to remember to ask him about it, because the trial is probably already over. Still, that's not the important thing here.

There are two points to this. One point is that there should be some sort of qualification process in place before a person is allowed to name a child and to decide how that child's name is spelled or, for that matter, even to create a child.  It wasn't Jannie or Jammie's fault that their names were spelled stupidly -- blame for that belongs squarely on the backs of their parents --  although if either one possessed any sign of intelligence whatsoever, they would probably comprehend just why it is that their names are consistently pronounced as they are.

Point Number Two is that intelligence or lack of it is obviously hereditary.



Thursday, September 24, 2015

People Against the Ethical Treatment of Animals

This message is not necessarily sanctioned by the People Against the Ethical Treatment of Animals.


I kid you not about this. Until I educated him as to the truth of the matter earlier this evening, my brother honest-to-God believed that PETA stood for "People AGAINST The Ethical Treatment of Animals."  I'm not making this up. It's what Matthew genuinely thought.A friend of mind would be happy to know that I did NOT roll my eyes when Matthew earlier this  evening shared his wisdom with me.  

I'm working hard on trying not to roll my eyes even at the most sub-imbecilic  things that are shared with me or said or done in front of me. It's damn hard, as I think I've been rolling my eyes at idiocy for as long as I can remember. I was in the hospital when someone told me to stop doing it. Of course, being in the hospital at the time the person said it, it was not even close to possible for me to cease and desist with eye rolling on the spot. I suspect the gesture of rolling one's eyes was originally invented by a hospital patient.

But seriously, can you effing believe it? "People Against the Ethical Treatment of Animals"? And this guy is going to be practicing medicine in just a very few short years. He is good looking if the number of girls  see hanging all over him every chance they get is any indication of his sex appeal..Maybe he can get one of those Dr. Oz-like jobs on TV or something of that nature/

Eye Rolling and The New Year's Resolution

a mannerism I must eradicate, which is mildly unfortunate, as I'm quite good - possibly even the queen --  of it


I'm home now, but my body has yet to adjust itself to the idea of getting into bed at night and actually sleeping, as opposed to be woken up for one thing or another all night long and then all day the following day and so forth. So I'm still wide awake and now engaging in frivolity, or alleged frivolity anyway,  since I've spent the past ten hours reviewing lectures and lecture notes.

I'm home now, though, and my new goal in life is to stop rolling my eyes no matter how eye-roll-provoking the impetus may be. My brother just told me something so incredibly stupid that it to every kilogram of self-control I could garner in order to force my  eyeballs to remain focused and looking directly ahead  versus upward and ever so slightly to my right. I said I would stop rolling my eyes, and I stopped. I didn't get a jar so I could put a dollar into it each time I rolled my eyes,and I'm not going to do ten push-ups for each eye roll (which I could very easily do, I might add; I kick @$$ when it comes to doing push-ups), or I'm not going to hit myself in the face with one of those kinky leather cords with which  Opus Dei Catholics  torture themselves either when they believe they'e sinned or whenever else God inspires them to hit themselves, 

Such actions are lame. (Push-ups aren't lame in and of themselves. Do them for your overall fitness; not to torture oneself for bad behavior as if it's some sort of game.) If you are guilty of a behavior that is inappropriate or otherwise unbecoming, one should simply stop doing whatever it is that one is doing that is wrong according to society's conventions.  I'm well aware that I'm using one of Ann Romney's campaign speech lines, but I dgaf.

Likewise New Year's Resolutions are incredibly stupid. For what reason would a person wait for some arbitrary day to start or to stop doing something one should or should not do? Why not resolve the very same thing on Groundhog Day or on Tom Hanks' birthday, whenever the hell it might be? What if doctors or bank tellers or trash collectors operated according to the principle of The New Year's Resolution? 

Need your appendix removed? Your doctor's New Year's Resolution is to remove your appendix, so you'll just have to wait until then to have it removed; if it ruptures and your entire gut turns gangrenous and you die, it doesn't really matter because your doctor is keeping his New Year's Resolution. 

Do you need cash and your ATM card is not working? Get it from a bank teller, but wait until January 1, because it is your bank teller's New Year's Resolution to give you your money that you have deposited. Unfortunately for you, you're screwed, as no bank in the Western hemisphere is open on January 1, so it may be one  resolution your bank teller cannot keep. Not everyone keeps their New Year's resolutions, you know. 

Your trash bin is full, and trash is starting to pile up along the streets of your neighborhood. Your trash collector's New Year's Resolution is to pick up your garbage. Ooops. That, too, might be just a bit of a problem for you, as a sanitation worker is even less likely to be working on January 1 than your bank teller is, and such is the case even if your city contracts privately with a company for trash collection services as opposed to maintaining its own  sanitation department. You're screwed for certain either way.

So now you clearly should  comprehend the sheer futility of the concept of The New Year's Resolution. Next I shall tell you the stupid thing my brother told me that very nearly caused me to roll my eyes.

Fairly Odd Science Projects

This is apparently how mating chickens look when its done heterosexually. I deeply regret that I never snapped a shot of Maggie Lou in action. My cell phone didn't even have  a camera back then.


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, I'm free at last! (with apologies to the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King). The hospital has sprung me with the understanding that I need to stay in my condo until Monday. Now, onto more pressing matters . . .

My friend Megan, with whom I grew up from the time I was nine until we finished high school, and with whom I'm still in regular contact, lived with her family in a home on the very edge of our town's city limits. In fact, while their home itself was in the city limits, the majority of their rather large back yard was not within our incorporated city, and was therefore exempt from city regulations controlling the possession of farm animals. The family owned a few horses, a donkey, several hens and sometimes a rooster, a couple of sheep or pigs from time to time depending upon what kid in the family had what project for 4-H or FFA, and Megan's mother raised calves. It's apparently common practice to separate calves from their mothers when they're a day or so old. Various individuals around the dairy farming community --  often stay-at-home wives supplementing their family income -- sort of "foster parent" these calves until the calves are old enough to not need to drink milk any longer and can eat grass and hay and whatever else it is cows are supposed to eat. (I read somewhere that corn really isn't great for cows, but I cannot vouch for the accuracy of that bit of information; I need to ask my Godfather, Uncle Ralph.)

Megan was less involved with any of the farm animals on the premises than were her three siblings. 4-H and FFA were not her cup of tea. She was more into playing her flute and competing as a member of  academic decathlon teams , mock trials, math Olympics, and other academic pursuits. We rode her horses on rare occasions, though riding horses was pretty far beyond my comfort zone. My Uncle Ralph had a horse I trusted not to take off at breakneck speed with me on its back.

I had no such confidence in any of those horses Megan's family owned. I suspect every damned one of the family's horses  was trained by either Evel Knievel himself or one of his protegees.One of the tamer horses once jumped a fence that separated the horse pasture from the tennis court  and ran with Megan's older brother on its bare back, clinging to its mane for dear life,  through the streets of our town until the horse finally deposited her brother onto the steps of the First Baptist Church. The horse continued its run through the town and onto the university campus, terrifying bicyclists and narrowly avoiding multiple auto accidents, until it finally found its way home and jumped back into the pasture. After that adventure, Megan's dad had all fences  surrounding the horse pasture extended two feet higher than they had previously been. And please keep in mind that Megan's brother was actually at least moderately skilled in western riding techniques, as opposed to someone like me, who was more suited to riding a carousel horse than one that actually lived and breathed.

I like horses -- love them, even. I think they're beautiful, majestic animals. I never miss one of the televised triple crown events.  I just don't particularly want to ride them. Horses and I have reached a tenuous understanding. I agree not to climb on their backs as long as they promise not to climb on mine. Megan's father could never understand my complete ineptitude where equestrian skills were concerned. "You were practically an elite gymnast!" he exclaimed. "You should have great balance on a horse."

I just shrugged because I didn't know what to tell him. I totally sucked at riding horses and had no great explanation for it. I learned many years later in a motor learning class that riding a horse requires a motor skill known as waist differentiation, which is similar in a way to balance, yet is its own separate skill. In any event, I may have great balance, but I possess poorer-than-average waist differentiation. An additional factor was that none of the gymnastics apparati that I used had minds or wills of their own. There wasn't the slightest chance that the balance beam would race out of the gym with me on it and run through the town until it found the steps of some church on which to drop me.  With Megan's family's best-trained horses, there was a better-than- average chance that even a skilled rider was not going to end up at his or her intended designation riding one of those beasts.

I mentioned that Megan's family also kept chickens, mostly for the fresh eggs. Every now and then they would allow a rooster to mature so that the occasional egg would be fertilized and the herd (I don't think groups of chickens are properly referred to as herds, but that's what I'm calling Megan's family's chickens) would be perpetuated, but mostly they wanted hens to lay fresh eggs. Someone took the vast majority of  the little male chicks away and we never gave any thought to their probably not very happy fates. 

Anyway, there was generally only one rooster around at a time if there were any at all. What they did have, on the other hand, was a hen who thought she was a rooster and very much behaved the part. She would attempt to mount the other hens and have her way with them as they awkwardly flew about the coop in effort to avoid her. The hen who wanted to be a rooster (Maggie Lou; Megan's mother named all of her chickens) was our introduction to gender  identity issues, homosexuality, and the like. Megan's father would not have been caught near a church if they'd been giving out free horses trained by Evel Knievel or his protegees, but Megan's mother and the children faithfully attended the First Baptist Church, where homosexuality was believed to be a cardinal sin, or at least a major one. (I don't think First Baptists have cardinal sins.)  

This presented a bit of a dilemma in Megan's family, as how could homosexuality always be a choice if a chicken had found that lifestyle?  Everyone knows that chickens are inherently stupid animals even as birds go. If you've ever had a college course where you had to train a chicken, you understand the meaning of the word frustration. Chickens have very small brains and are not capable of the thought processes required to decide whether to pursue a heterosexual lifestyle or an alternative one.

The main reason Megan's mom kept Maggie Lou around as opposed to frying her for Sunday dinner was that she was a great egg producer but didn't have much in the way of maternal instinct and didn't sit on her eggs, so it was really easy to collect them each day.

It was my idea that we could turn Maggie Lou into a project for our biology class. Megan's dad thought we should simply videotape Maggie Lou doing her thing, but I felt that a video lacked the dramatic effect we needed to achieve a maximum score on the project. Our classmates and teacher needed to see  with their own eyes a live performance of Maggie Lou attempting  coitus with a few of the other hens.

One morning we loaded up Maggie Lou and three of the least passive hens --  Little Lotta, Jeannette, and Ellie May --  into chicken cages. Megan's older brother drove us to school in her pick-up truck and helped us to carry the chickens to our biology classroom. Our teacher, while not the worst excuse for an educator that  I've ever endured, would have preferred that everything we learned about science be accomplished with science books, writing utensils, and paper. He wasn't a hands-on sort of teacher who got off on mixing liquid from different beakers together and heating  the mixture up until it exploded, or even on dissecting fetal pigs. Live chickens in his classroom for a day was something that wasn't in his lesson plans, and he always followed his lesson plans to the letter. Yet we certainly couldn't carry them from class to class, and he was the one who okayed the project in writing -- we had his signature right there on the proposal -- even if he hadn't actually bothered to read just what it was that he was agreeing to before he signed it.

Megan, Claire (who was also involved) and I left the chickens in our biology teacher's classroom against the loud protests of Mr. Zweichert. When we came back nearly two hours later for the next period (we were on a modified block schedule) the chickens had been moved into the hallway. Zweichert claimed someone in his earlier class had been allergic. I'm highly skeptical of his claim, as the kids in the earlier class said that Zweichert was developing some sort of nervous tic, and his face twitched every time one of the chickens squawked.

Mr. Zweichert decided our project should be first so he could be over and done with the damned chickens. Claire read our hypothesis, which was a wordy explanation that gender attraction is not in all cases a choice or likely even learned behavior. (No roosters had been on the premises in Maggie Lou's brief lifetime.) Remember that this was long before the days of  Caitlyn Jenner or probably even Chastity  (Chaz, isn't it now) Bono, so Claire's proposal caused a few gasps and giggles even in the major high school of our relatively educated university town.  We were breaking new ground here.

I let the conventional hens out of their cages. They mostly just quietly walked around the classroom exploring their surroundings. Then Megan freed Maggie Lou from her cage. She first went after Ellie May, who flew to the top of a lab table where three girls were seated  in effort to avoid Maggie Lou's advances. The girls screamed, as did two other girls at an adjacent lab table. (I don't know why we even bothered with the pretense of  lab tables. We never did one single thing resembling a laboratory procedure all year.) Then Little Lotta caught Maggie Lou's attention. When Maggie Lou attempted to put the moves on Little Lotta, Little Lotta sort of flew/hopped onto the teacher's lb table at the front of the classroom. I've never seen a man so afraid of two chickens - and these weren't even those fighting roosters you read about than exist in the farming communities of the San Joaquin valley where lost of Mexican-American immigrants live. They were just plain old hens, albeit one with allegedly a bit more testosterone than the other two. Zweichert screamed and ran out of the room, and the entire class followed except for Claire, Megan, and me. Just before we could round her up, Maggie Lou took a giant crap on Zweichert's grade book. Megan's brother drove the hens home during his lunch break. He compensated himself for the effort by not coming back to school for the final period of the day. i'm not sure what he told his mother. attendance policies were pretty lax back in the day.

Zweichert didn't give us the 100% we expected on our project. Our written portion received full credit, but he said that he had to deduct point for the mayhem we had created. I argued unsuccessfully that a few screaming girls and one cluster of chicken poop on a grade book did not equal mayhem, but Zweichert was not swayed. Fortunately, everything else we did for a grade in that class was based on books, paper, and writing utensils, so I still ended up with the highest grade in the class.

I would tell you about the experiment two years later in physiology where we fed equivalent doses of Immodium and Exlax to one of Megan's mom's calves to see which drug was the stronger of the two, but someone would probably report me to PETA and my blog would be permanently shut down.



Sunday, September 20, 2015

Segue to Better topics; I can blog but can't do much else

I came across a recent article alleging that this picture epitomized not jubilation, romance, or anything positive, but , rather, sexual assault. I'm glad the event took place during  society's more innocent times.



Those of you who took the time either here or elsewhere to comment left many delightful replies. I'll somewhat address most of them (all of them if I don't go Alzheimer's on you) in this blog as opposed to leaving multiple responses. I apologize if I miss anything, but please know both that A) I appreciate the time you left in responding; and B) I've both read and thoroughly enjoyed each response.  I also recognize that, while we all like to be appreciated for our efforts, I'm not the center of everyone's universe, and should I fail to reference anyone's reply somewhere in one of my rather verbose blogs, for most of you, life as you currently know it will go on, and you will not slit your wrists or overdose on hydrocodone or Xanax or Exlax.

[Incidentally, I wouldn't recommend Exlax for that purpose. While I would willingly spend all day and night if necessary (even skipping a test and taking the zero if there were no other way; that's how important YOU are) using my limited counseling skills to attempt to dissuade anyone from making the grand exit before a person's medical condition has made the decision a non-decision, even my limited medical knowledge allows me to know that Exlax is not the method one should use if one is determined that suicide is the only answer.]  Actually, I suppose I should tell the person contemplating suicide to go ahead and use Exlax, because the chance of it being successful for that purpose unless one is in a place where he or she will not be found for days is  virtually nil unless one has appendicitis or a severely obstructed bowel. So yes, go ahead with Exlax if you're thinking of ending it all. Take the whole box. [Good luck in getting an entire box down, as it is roughly as tasty as the human by-product it induces]. Then someone a bit more qualified than I will see you in the E.R, where you'll feel miserable and need lots of rehydration, anti-nausea meds,  and probably some Fentanyl for the cramping, but you'll probably live to tell of the ordeal. Also, remind me to tell you of my ninth-grade science project involving Exlax and Immodium.] (If, God forbid I've underestimated your state of mental health and/or my relative importance in your world, please contact me or someone who knows more than I RIGHT AWAY so that someone can assist you you in gaining access to competent emergency mental health expertise immediately; I'm usually being snarky, but right now I'm not. If you need genuine help, please allow someone to help you to get it.)

First and foremost, no one said anything (Becca commented the first time I used it many times ago; I'll probably keep using the picture over and over in the future at least as many times as I've used in in the past) but isn't that picture of Pee Wee Herman peering out at viewers through the inside of an anal orifice not one of the most utterly delightful discoveries since someone came up with all the fake UFOs in Area One? (I have a relative of a relative who's a certified Ufologist - his certification is probably about as legit as Knotty's dear friend's is in a different domain, but that's a subject for another day's blog. And, by the way, if you're a bona fide Ufologist, let me know and I'll drop the subject and not bring it up again; I don't desire to hurt anyone's feelings.)  

The Pee Wee Herman photo obviously cannot compete in terms of sheer dramatic effect with the horrific photo of little nine-year-old Kim Phuc running down a small Vietnamese village stark naked after having been struck by U.S. forces with napalm.  I don't really think any picture comes close to competing with that one, other than, in a slightly less dramatic yet more poignant way,  perhaps that of of the Oklahoma City first responder carrying the still-living body of the tiny child, whose name we would later learn was Bailey,  who ultimately and unfortunately did not survive Tim McVeigh's attack. 

Segueing to a less depressing genre, the Pee Wee Herman photo lacks the spontaneity of the emblematic picture of the  random sailor in Times Square grabbing and kissing the first woman he saw upon learning that Harry Truman had just announced Japan's surrender and the end of World War II. That is, of course, unless, Pee Wee spontaneously came across the plastic over-sized anal orifice, and his tongue-wagging gesture was one of pure spontaneity, in which case I take back everything I previously said about that European soldier's photo displaying more pure un-staged and impromptu joie de vivre. If such is the case, Pee Wee wins hands-down.  

More likely, though, the genius in the Pee Wee Herman/colonic end photographic effort was a combination of the work of an incredibly talented prop master, a gifted photographer, and Pee Wee [Paul Reubens] himself, who, alleged moral turpitude aside, had the ability to take what might have been for anyone else a run-of-the-mill photo op and turn it into a work for the ages.

Enough for now about Pee Wee and larger-than-life acrylic anuses . . . we'll move on to new but not necessarily more salient topics.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Bleeding Out

Enjoy your future digs, Mom and Dad.


My extended family used to have a policy that no family member spent a night in a hospital without another person there to advocate for them should it become necessary. Such is either no longer official protocol or it applies to everyone but me. I don't really know which is the case and don't particularly care all that much.

I needed a tranfusion this afternoon. I may need another one or may not depending upon how things go. Usually I get blood from family members when I need it, but there were no family members around to donate this time, so I took my chances with the mass blood supply available. They check it better than they used to, so chances are that I won''t end up with hepatitis C or HIV or whatever, but even if such were to end up being the case, c'est la vie. We all know that life doesn't invariably have happy endings.

My colon is bleeding. It is to be cauterized the first thing in the morning unless the gastrowoman ends up with more important procedures that must completed first She'll essentially be treating the indigent and med school students, because she's neither skilled nor important enough to treat anyone else.  I'll continue to bleed until everyone  else is taken care of. The gastroenterologist and I are fighting about the need for anesthesia for this prodecure. I've had it done without anything for the pain, so I know how uncomfortable the procedure is without anesthesia. The gatroenterologist has never had the procedure -- with or without anesthesia -- but she's apparently quite the expert on how much pain a body should be able to tolerate without pain management. It also seems I have no choice as to gastroenterologists. We med students are at the bottom end of the food chain.  We get whichever of the dregs of humanity they pull out of the sewer to provide medical care for us.

Were I to check out of the hospital against medical advice and to go elsewhere, my medical care would  ultimately be covered by insurance, as I'm essentially triple covered between my mom's job, my dad's , and my student policy, but sometimes multiple coverage is a curse. The insurance carriers all fight over whose responsibility it is to pay while one's credit rating goes to hell.

My parents are gietting ready for a trip to Bora Bora or some similarly exotic locale. They're busy tying up loose ends so that they'll be ready to leave on Tuesday. They don't have time for my petty problems. Matthew had  birthday party to attend, which trumped any obligation he had to me. A friend of mind was kind enough to take my key and to bring my violin to me. I had her push me onto the balcony so that I could play without bothering anyone. Even though I really didn't feel strong enough to play it, playing it made me feel better. I tried hard to play quietly even though I was outside the doors of the hospital.Still, I must have bothered someone because the charge nurse came out onto the balcony and told me to cut it the hell out. I considered asking my friend to push me in my wheelchair to the sidewalk between the parking structure and the hospital, as it's public property, and no one could have done a damned thing about my playing my violin there as long as it wasn't loud enough to be technically considered disturbing the peace, but decided it was too far from any bathrooms to be safe. My friend took my violin back to my condo and safely stored it away.

On the way back to my room, I asked my friend o stop at the fourth floor grand piano, which bears a sign reading, "Please do not play  . . . unless you know how to play the piano." I started to play, but another Nurse Ratchet or Nurse Diesel or whichever nightmare nurse from Hell it was appeared and told me to leave the piano alone. I wasn't even playing it loudly.

Patient care in this hospital is a joke. Perhaps it'something they do deliberately to med school students so that we'll know what it's like to receive substandard care and will do better ourselves when the time comes for us to be the ones providing the care. Then again, perhaps this hospital totally sucks. I'm leaning toward the latter possibility.

Other than my friend who brought my violin, I'm not sure where any of my supposed "friends" are. They're presumably attending the same party at which my brother is right now. (I would like to think he'd have called it quits and might have gone home by now, but we must be realistic. This is Matthew about whom we are talking.) If he, or any of his friends, for that matter,  ends up with a hangover to beat all hangovers since the big bang, I haven't the slightest degree of sympathy for any of them. They had best find a place besides my condo to empty the content of their gastric systems. I'm asking my friend to inspect the place tomorrow morning.  If my condo is any less pristine than the condition in which I left it, a very meticulous housekeeping service is on speed-dial. My parents can foot the bill unless they can find a way to extort the payment from Mathew.

The Nazi war camp trainees who call themselves nurses in this place have put an alarm on my bed because they don't want me getting out of it without their knowledge.  This would be fine and dandy if they were prompt when I pushed the call button, except that they're anything but prompt, and they've giving me a solution to cleanse my colon, which means that when i need to get up, I NEED TO GET UP. I ignore their draconian alarm system and get up whenever I feel the urge to do so. They've finally sent in the charge nurse, who is threatening to use restraints to keep me in my bed. I happen to know that such cannot be done without the consent of my next of kin if I'm not lucid, and not without my consent if I happen to be lucid, which I most certainly am. Beyond that, even if they persuade some judge that I'm a few marbles short of a truckload, I wish them all the luck in the word in getting my parents to answer the phone at this hour. If the sadists attempt to apply any restraints whatsoever, I'll sue the bastards for so much that the fact that they kick me out of their medical school will be little more than a blip on my financial radar screen

I apologize for my incredible negativity. I don't know how to be anything other than negative right now. I'm nauseated, my gut feels as though I'm being knifed on a continual basis, I'm exhausted, I'm being treated worse by staff than as though I were on Death Row, and I have to visit the bathroom roughly every three minutes. Furthermore, I have a delightful medical procedure to which to look forward the first thing in the morning IF I'm lucky.

Thanks to all of you for your kind words of sympathy. Mom and Dad, you need to hope and pray that Matthew doesn't do something stupid, resulting in his demise before you're in need of a nursing home, because if I'm the one to choose the facility for you, you can count o some sort of old's folks' version of a composite between those featured in "Don't Look in the Basement," Mel Brooks "High Anxiety," "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest," and "Harvey," the old play that was made into a movie featuring Jimmy Stewart. I'd say, "See you there," except that I'm not sure I have any serious intention of visiting you. 

I have no clue as to whether my actual scan looks anything like this  because no one has offered to let me look at it.



Wednesday, September 16, 2015

too much



I had an exam today. I think I ended up coming out of it OK, but there were issues. First of all, I fell asleep during the test. Someone woke me up after maybe half and hour or so. Fortunately I don't usually require every moment provided for the completion of a test; I did manage to complete the test.  On two test items  I initially drew a complete blank before finally coming up with the answers.

No one other than I is responsible for keeping myself awake during exams or at any other time. Furthermore, it may have been a half hour before the person who eventually woke me noticed I had fallen asleep. If such was not the case, however, and the person who woke me took her sweet time in waking me up (she's a person who appears to feel very competitive toward me; I'm probably fortunate that she bothered waking me up at all), I may someday have the opportunity to reciprocate in some way. I most certainly will take advantage if the opportunity avails itself. For the record, because of where I was seated, the person who woke me up was the only person likely to have been able to see I was asleep other than one of the proctors, whom I would assume would have awakened me had he or she seen that I was asleep. 

Every time we have exams, at least one person cries before it's over. It's never been I who cried, and God forbid such ever be the case, but today I at least understood what it was that would motivate a person to cry during an exam.

Ultimately the answers to the test items came to me, which is all fine and well, but what if that happens in real life and not just in a test? What  if I'm in an actual medical situation and what I'm supposed to do eludes me? My professor, who was attempting to console me, told me that's why we work in teams and not solo -- so that we can help each other to remember the things that temporarily escape our brains. It makes sense, but there are times when there's no one else on whom to depend. He also told 
me it's probably  good thing I'm going into research and not traditional medical practice.

I called a mental health hotline once more -- a different one than last time  -- but got pretty much the same response. I'm not as crazy or suicidal as I'd like to think I am and I'm wasting the precious time of the hotline operators by calling them.

My professor called one of my uncles because he was concerned. The consensus is that it's delayed reaction to stress. I have consent to skype class for the next week if necessary, or not even bother skyping if it's more than that of which I'm capable, but how is skipping out on classes going to help when it's not remembering what I need to know that is so seriously troubling me?

I'm supposed to go home this weekend, but I just don't think I can do it. It would probably be best for me to remain here and to play my violin all weekend whenever I'm not studying. The original plan was for the Godchild's baptism to happen this weekend, but that date has been changed, so there's no pressure to appear on that account.

I think if I did not have my violin I would be in serious peril.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tetsuo Matsuda it shall remain!

the essence of my violin



This is a sort of elaboration upon response to a comment OzDoc left that brought up an aspect of my new instrument I hadn't discussed. 

I hadn't given that any air time to the scent of the wood of the violin  -- a scent which defies description -- roughly akin, I would imagine,  to experiencing  an east coast deciduous forest in autumn when the leaves have first begin to take on the colors of leaves in the fall. (For the most part, I'm a coniferous forest lover, but in this case a deciduous forest is more fitting.) Between the sound, the feel,  the unadulterated olfactory effect, and the physical beauty of the instrument, it's a sensory-overloading experience for me.  I loved and continue to love the piano my Godparents gave to me, though I was probably a bit on the young side  to truly appreciate just what an extravagant gift it was and still is. I hope, though I was merely twelve when I was given it, that I managed to convey appropriate gratitude when my Godparents gave it to me, and each year when I write a thank you note for whatever  excessive present they've bought or check they've written out for my birthday, I thank them once again for the piano, which was a gift beyond any normal gift for the birthday of a twelve-year-old. The time will probably come when I will eventually own a Steinway piano.  I pray that my Godparents won't feel that it's their responsibility to provide it,, as it can wait until my salary is sufficient for me to procure without making an imprudent dent in my savings, and it's nice to feel that at least some of one's prized possessions have come as the fruit of one's own labors and not merely as the gift from financially comfortable relatives. Still, future Steinway notwithstanding, the precious Kawai will always occupy a place of honor in both my home and in my heart.


As my heart goes, I will, I hope, someday meet a man with whom I would choose  to spend the rest of my life. It will be essential to the success of our relationship  that he understand that he must share a sizable and meaningful portion of my heart with a Kawai  piano and a Tetsuo Matsuda violin. I've heard that one's capacity to love expands as the demand increases, I certainly hope such to be the case.  Priorities have a way of working themselves out, though I do know that I would give up either of my two instruments in a heartbeat if doing so would somehow spare the lives of either of my two Godchildren. Fortunately for me, such scenarios are far more common in Lifetime TV movies and soap operas than in real life. The possibility of anyone dear to me ever needing my new violin or any other possession of mine for ransom or any other life-sparing purpose exceeds the bounds of reality by a considerable stretch.

My brother has suggested that my violin needs a name, in much the way adolescent boys name their cars. I have yet to  be persuaded. Tetsuo Matsuda seems to fill the bill just fine. If if's not easy for Matthew to articulate,  tough  toenails where he is concerned.. He's going to need to learn to pronounce tons of medical terms far more technically difficult around which to get his mouth [though not Japsnese in origin for the most pat] than Tetsuo Matsuda.  I suggest he practice it in front of mirror ten or twenty times a day until he gets it right, as opposed to my naming the violin Savannah, which is the name of his most recent date. I'm not naming my violin Savannah, who will probably be old news before he could have learned to pronounce Tetsuo Matsuda, anyway.

i believe fences are mending as far as my parents have concerned. My dad has asked my uncle for a copy of the studio portrait my uncle had taken on Saturday so that he can put a copy in one of his offices. He said it's his favorite picture of me.


The real case has arrived.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Grease Will Never Be the Word Again If I Have Anything to Say About It.

 I wish I were half as voluptuous as Olivia Newton John back in the day. My little black leather ensemble had to be sewn because one couldn't be bought in my size. (Had
 it been Halloween, it might have been possible to purchase one.)
. The stilettos gave me a bit of height, though.



Sandra Dee , AKA Sandy Dumbroski, is history, or at least my version of her is. I hung out at the cast prt just barely long enough to be sociable, then came home, studied for two hours, and went to sleep. I have a breakfast study group that begins in less than half an hour.

There's an apparent longstanding tradition in many community theatres that on the final night, you change things up a bit or generally do whatever the hell you want to do. Unless you would like for that particular director to cast you for another role, there's not a damned thing he or she can do to you for winging it on stage during a final performance.

While I'm not generally a "go on stage and vastly deviate from the script" sort of person (even acting the part as written is daunting for me) the guitar player texted  me about forty-five minutes before call time. He had a idea involving my new violin that seemed like a vaguely good one. It was a change I might have run past their director had the man not been such a thoroughly anal-retentive dipshit. (No, I'm not confusing the former "orchestra" conductor and the director of the entire play. The former orchestra conductor is full of  himself to the extent of being a dysfunctional human being who gets by in society only in the most marginal sense. The play's director, on the other hand,  is someone I would describe as the Dwight Schrute of community theatre.  Anyhow, the better the idea was, the less of a reason there was to clear it with the director. Beyond that, what we did by way of changing up the script was minimal compared to what most of the cast did. There was generally a considerable level of of cast members making out with one another on stage, along with considerable sexual innuendo (not that the production doesn't have its share of that in the original script; it's not exactly a  family-friendly feature. I didn't make out with anyone besides the kisses that were actually in the script, and I didn't even embellish those.

What the guitar player ad in mind was that I should brig my violin and play it during the Sandra Dee reprise. The guitarist can play the piano, or at least got through the Sandra Dee reprise considerably more easily than did the actual production pianist. The plan was that he, the guitarist, would play the first four measures of the intro, after which I would join him, ad-libbing as much as i felt like doing. Performers don't usually play the violin while singing, but it's quite doable for a violinist who knows what he or she is doing as long as it is't something like a Back sonata one is attempting to play. i played mostly long notes to complement the melody, the I did counter-melodies and obligatoes in a few places.

i sang without playing on the first half of the bridge, then I skipped the words on the latter line of the bridge  -- the, "Don't they realize there's just one of me, and it has to last for awhile," to play a counter melody, then resumed the lyrics on the , "Sandy, you must start anew" with just harmonic notes. We paused with a dramatic finish, with a penultimate double-string, concluding with a low C-sharp against the A vocal melody.

I had never occurred to do it that way (in part because I didn't have a violin), but it went over well. it was much more natural than either merely sitting on the bed or even paying the keyboard. the strolling violinist thing actually worked.  It was particularly impressive in that we never had a chance to practice it that way.

Because those who have SAG cards (or whatever the stage equivalent might be) the local newspaper writer on the theatre beat feels free to be as critical as she thinks a production merits (although I believe she's always been careful to find out who is receiving compensation and mostly to limit her criticism to those cast members when they're not quite up to snuff). In any event, she gave me not exactly a rave review, as there's not a tremendous amount to say about my acting, but she was complimentary in terms of my singing and dancing, and she especially liked the violin deviation from the normal script. She had no idea the director was unaware of it and gave him credit for having thought of it. She gave me credit for having the talent to have pulled it off, though. 

I won't say the review made the last  roughly three weeks of torture worthwhile, but it did make up for some of the almost unbelievable fatigue while trying to be a med school student and a community stage actress at the same time and for almost having been dropped on my head. (That one was seriously so freaking bad that a collective gasp was heard from the audience.) I weigh 92 on a fat day. What might Danny Zucco have done to a girl who weighted 115?

Nest weekend I'm supposed to go home. I had thought of altering my plans because my parents and I were somewhat at odds. A new computer and violin change a lot of things, though. I believe I can be civil for one weekend. I hope my parents can do the same, but if such is not the case, there are other relatives with whom I can stay. I'd much prefer that it not come to that, though.

Happy "End of Grease" to everyone.



This is the picture my Uncle Jerry took that he thinks he's going to sell s a stock photo or something  similar and have it plastered all over the  web,  He had to take the shot from the back because I have a bruise on my cheek from a change-of-scenes accident and didn't have any of the sort of makeup that practically covers corpses'  defects. My standard lightweight cosmetics didn't make a dent in the discolouration. The lady who took the picture at the studio later yesterday had something powerful enough to cover the bruise. And of course the stage make-up took care of the problem. I don't see what is so great about the picture, anyway. To me, it's reminiscent of Lunette, a clown on an old children's TV program, The Big Comfy Couch. The sofa was made extra large in order to make Lunette  appear as  small as a child. At least there was a purpose for that. It was a TV show. Here we're not filming a TV show. The extra large bench only serves  to make me look ridiculously small and thin. I guarantee that I am not anorexic nor am I proud of my overly thin body dimensions in this photo. I'm merely overworked and undernourished.
The professional photographer used angles well  to make me look much healthier in the photo shoot yesterday..

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Hostile Environment for Young People Who Wish to Try Out Violins Before Plunking Down the Better Part of $10,000 for One



a reasonable facsimile of a member of the local sales force at the musical instrument  store in my area


We're on our way to get a new violin. We just left the local store because they won't let "kids" play the floor models. I showed them my ID to prove that I'm nearly 21, and my uncle told them I have dual  degrees in violin and piano performance (he didn't even mention my biochemistry degree, as it wasn't particularly pertinent, and if the floor salesmen weren't going to be swayed by degrees in music performance, the chances of them being impressed by any sort of pre-med degree were somewhere between zero and negative ten), but that information wasn't good enough for them. My uncle asked for them to let me play a student rental model to show them my skill level, but they wouldn't even let me do that. (He even tried getting them to allow me to play one of their pianos, with the stretch in logic that if I'm as proficient in piano as my uncle says, chances are that I have at least minimal violin skill. The store rottweilers weren't buying that, either, even as a two-year-old was using his fists to bang away on the keyboard of one or the more expensive pianos on their showroom floor. 

So we're on our way to the city. My uncle told the store manager as we left that he was planning in spending 10K on a violin (I don't know if that is true or not), but even that didn't seem to sway her.

So we're off to the city, where we'll have a bigger selection of instruments and hopefully nicer salespeople. We stopped at my condo on the way out of town to pick up a photocopy of my diploma in violin performance  and transcripts just in case other salespeople are equally persnickety who might possibly be swayed by evidence of musical  degrees so that I might actually be allowed to touch a violin today.


a dead-ringer for the store manager who would not allow  me to touch any instruments: such a dead-ringer, in fact that in might actually be the store manager; I'm not saying; I've been taught to avoid litigation at most [though not all] costs

Friday, September 11, 2015

two more nights, minus two sax players and a orchestra director

the Edrevi



A dealer here may be unloading an Edrevi violin (otherwise known as Plamen Edrev of Cremona) for under 8,000 even though it typically retains for over 10K. I'll need to check it out of course, but it's also gone on my short list of possibilities. And it IS in stock.

At the introduction to one of my songs, "Hopelessly Devoted to You" [not my favorite song by any stretch even before the saxes ruined it for me] the saxes began to wail away even though they had been told not to play at all on the song. I'm moderately certain that they were not overtly defying the director, but were instead following the orders of the "orchestra" conductor. 

This time I was prepared. I had a basket hidden just off-stage on the side on which I was situated. In were yarn and knitting needles. I was to sit on a stool as I sang this song. When the saxes stared with their cacophony. I called to another actor to bring out my basket. i sat there on the stool smiling and doing the best imitation of knitting I could come up with (I know the very rudimentary basics, as in "knit one, pearl two," or that sort of thing, but if what I knitted had to actually look like anything, I'd be up a creek.  I commented on how it was going to be a nice sweater for Danny. When the Kenickie character walked onto the stage, I pulled all the yard out of the basket and held it up to his back as though I was fitting the sweater for someone, which looked rather stupid since it was 95% loose yarn. Then I had him hold his hands out while I would the yearn around them. 

After the orchestra had played through the entire song,  crew members carried a digital piano to the front of the stage, along with a chair. They hooked it to an amp. I assumed it was for me, so I accompanied myself as I played the song. Eventually the drummer, guitar, and bass joined in softly. I didn't know, but the saxes and the "orchestra conductor" were given their walking papers. The conductor is a pretty good violinist and filled in on parts where the keyboard player  had difficulty, so that is something we will miss, The conductor is such a jerk, though,  that I'b be glad he was gone if he were Itsak Perlman. The guitarist and bass player will have to pick up the slack. There's nothing I can do for any of them in terms of piano if I'm supposed to be dancing n stage. I can manage the Sandra Dee Reprise and the "Hopelessly Devoted to You" easily enough.

The audience must have wondered what the hell was going on. The director was furious. The cast thought it was hysterical. Various members wandered on and off stage just to kill some of the dead air time. The guy who plays Doody was doing flips and walking on his hands for no apparent reason, but it took up a bit of time

I have a major test in the morning. Then I can sleep until almost performance time. I am buying my violin on Saturday, but I'm also studying this weekend. Our group always studies right after tests, which is one of the reasons we do well on tests. (We do study before the tests, too.   We're not total morons.)




This performance isn't from Grease. It's just from some concert.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

This Cannot Go on Forever, and It Won't

a Catellani - another possibility



I'm also now looking at Catellani and Esposi violins.

The end is in sight. I have three more performances, including one tonight. I have been told that the saxes will not play on a particular one of my solos. I will follow Chuck's advice. i'll tell the director to tell the orchestra conductor that if the saxes play, I will wait for them to stop before I begin singing, and if they start playing after i begin singing, I'll stop and kill time by bantering with the audience. I would tell this to the conductor myself except that he would never listen to me,, and my words would fall on deaf ears.

Yesterday I was making a delivery to the hospitl for one of my professors.  group of 4th-year students  was laughing and pointing at me. I know why, of course. They would like to pretend they never did anything dumb in their medical school careers, but I know otherwise, and in at least three of the cases, i know the specifics proving otherwise.. Each of those students who was laughing at me has more skeletons in his or her medical school closet than any one of them would care to admit. Meanwhile, I suppose I was glad to be able to entertain them.  I know what is facing them in the immediate future even if they're so dense that they do knot know.

We have a major exam in one of my classes tomorrow. I hope I'm ready for it with all the time I/ put into studying this summer, but if not, we'll find out if the dean is prepared or has the authority to deliver on his promised that I will be allowed to take tests multiple time until I achieve what I consider satisfactory scores during and immediately following the run of the how. I may ;earn that he was full of  lot of hot air. My hope, though, is that i have no need ever to take an exam more than one time,

So I'll take my exam tomorrow, do some more studying, go back to bed as there's no class on Friday afternoons, then get up in time for the penultimate performance.

On Saturday morning Uncle Jerry will show up here, ssdn we'll travel however far we must go to find me new violin. The closer it gets, the less sure I am of the texct model I desire to have. I'm still firmly set on a price range, though.

Other than a bit of studying and sleeping and Saturday night's performance, I intend to devote the weekend to playing my new violin.




Wednesday, September 9, 2015

After Saturday Night, "Grease" Will No Longer Be the Word!


This is on of the models I'm seriously considering. It's a Fabio Bredo and has exquisite tone.



Tonight's performance of Grease went off without any major hitches. Despite what the director of the play had told the conductor of the tiny orchestra, the conductor had the saxophones blasting away on "Hopelessly Devoted to You" as though it was the Second Coming and The Angel Gabriel gave them saxes instead of those traditional long trumpet-like horns with no valves in order to herald the return of our Lord and Savior.  I ended up walking down the steps leading off the stage and singing from the floor. circulating as best I could, so that the audience could at least hear the lyrics. The orchestra conductor hates my guts. I wouldn't say the feeling is totally mutual, but I'm far from fond of the guy.

Incidentally, "Hopelessly Devoted to You" is not actually in the stage production of Grease but was added for the movie. Any theatre company that uses it has to pay extra  royalties for the right to use it.  I'm not sure the theatre company with which I'm temporarily affiliated is getting its money's worth in paying the royalties, since all you hear is blaring saxophones unless I take extreme measures as I did tonight. The saxes might just as well be playing something like "Go Tell It On the Mountain" or "La Cucaracha," and there would have been no royalties for either of those songs.

The director says he's cutting the saxes totally out of that song. I'm not sure how he plans to accomplish it unless he physically takes their instruments away from them, because the "orchestra" conductor is going to tell them to play, and for that matter to blare away just as loudly as they've always done. Luckily I have a large voice in the range needed for that song.

I've continued playing the keyboard part on the Sandra Dee reprise. That's probably why the conductor hates me so much. Hell, it's not my fault that I have a degree in piano performance and am more skilled than the lame pianist he found. It's as though he went to some school of music and requested their most mediocre student. And she's actually being paid!

We have three more performances. With God's help, I might possibly  live through them. Tomorrow I have no classes and I have the night off, too. I must study, but I plan to do some heavy sleeping as well.



This is some theatre company's version of the Sandra Dee reprise. Her voice is nice enough except that it sounds too happy, and she overacts and is too happy at the end. I, the under-actor of all times. probably should not criticize those who overact, but I'm doing it anyway because she's just too damned happy. I would have included the Glee version (better singing and acting)  except they skip the middle lyrics just as the movie does.