Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dear Old Man Winter,

I have noticed that you have taken your leave earlier than usual. The ground is not covered in it's usual mountain of snow, and I no longer look like an Eskimo as I walk to class. Today I actually wore a "summer" dress to church. I haven't had to wear my boots for over two weeks!

What is up? Are you messing with me? I'm pretty sure I can't deal with the idea that you just might pop back into my life. Your presence is welcome and highly anticipated around mid November, but you can't mess with me after Christmas. That's cruel. I'd say unusual, but I know your type. It's not fair that you seem to disapear, only to reappear when I start getting my summer clothes out. So, I have one very small simple request. Don't let it warm up here until you are really ready to head out. Last year's snow storm in April was really really rude. I'm not sure I've forgiven you for that yet. Especially after it was warm for so long. I was inbetween moving apartments... I didn't even have access to a coat! I froze because of you!

So, don't leave until you are really finished. I can't deal with the thought that this warm weather may just be a farce to drive me insain. Get it, got it, GOOD!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hello Big Brother

I love scanning news websites to see what is going on in the world. Today I found an article that stuck out, so I clicked on it. The title described how a new tax might replace (or supplement) the current gasoline tax to help improve our roads. I thought, "not bad, they could fix the pothole that swallowed my car last week."

The tax is based on how much you drive, not the actual amount of gas that gets you over those miles. As more and more fuel efficient and hybrid cars fill the roads, taxing gasoline alone will be insufficient to maintain our crumbling transportation system . I figured the government would slap on more toll booths at highway entrances and voila we'd have our new tax.


Apparently Ray LaHood (Secretary of Transportation) isn't happy with just toll booths. He wants to place GPS monitoring systems in each and every car in the nation. With those systems LaHood intends to track how many miles each car drives and upon what kind of roads. From that point he would figure out how much to tax each citizen by the distance and such. IS THIS WHERE MY STIMULUS DOLLARS ARE GOING TO GO!!??!! Perhaps someone, or maybe even all the someones who passed the darn thing, should have read all 1,000 pages.

I see multiple problems with this proposal. First, how will the government find the time, money, and surplus of satellites and GPS systems to do this? In 2005 there were roughly 241,000,000 cars registered in the US ( The amount it would cost to track down each of these cars and tag them would be colossal. Or do my stimulus dollars buy me a new car with a little computer chip along with whatever else was stashed in that monstrous bill?

Second, if gasoline is not longer being taxed, what is the incentive to use fuel efficient vehicles? (Maybe this is how they'll fix the Big Three, quit taxing gas so people start buying Hummers again... barf.) President Obama is the most green president we've had. I would really really like to see him usher in a new era where people take responsibility for their uses of the environment. We don't need a proposal passed that will lessen the pressure on Americans and the auto industry to go green.

My real issue with this bill has nothing-what-so-ever to do with the cost, or even oil consumption and it's effects on the environment. I don't want the government tracking my every move. That's creepy. Part of the beauty of this country is freedom, and I believe that entitles me to drive wherever I want and not feel stalked. Who's to say where this could lead next. If the government has a satellite watching your car, that means they have really good access to knowing exactly where you are, every minute of the day. I know there is the idea that if you aren't doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to fear. I don't buy this. Each time the government moves in on our personal lives they must be stopped (Real ID Act anyone?). It is not the government's prerogative to track us, for taxes or anything else. In a world where it is so easy for governments to use technology to abuse their power, the people must be vigilant in guarding against corruption.

If all else fails, I'll begin biking everywhere... or are you planning a pedal tax too Mr. LaHood?

Here's the article that spawned this barrage:,0,6754105,print.story

Monday, February 16, 2009

How to tell a practice session is over:

You begin contemplating chucking your beloved instrument out the window...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

California, Utah, Michigan and Stereotypes

So apparently that fat-over-hyped-up-rodent was right. Winter is gonna stick around for six more weeks. Blech. I woke up yesterday morning and looked out to a winter wonderland. The only good thing about this is that I have more time to ponder upon the unique conglomeration of humans all congregating on BYU.
Last fall when it snowed for the first time my roommates and I had to take our Californian roommate outside so she could see snow what snow really looks like. As winter progressed I realized that it is incredibly easy to tell where people are from based upon how they deal with the "cold" Utah winters. Coming from Michigan (and not even northern Michigan where it actually gets cold) I found that first winter to be rather temperate. I wore a coat sparingly and enjoyed chortling at those who were freaking out. The southerners are my favorites. Picking them out is particularly easy, especially if they are Freshman and haven't had another winter as reference. They are the ones who come onto campus bundled up and shivering. They look at the snow with a certain level of awe and disbelief like "I remember watching the 2000 Winter Olympics, but I thought all the snow just stayed on the mountain... wow..." (insert the sound of chattering teeth and you've got it). They are also the ones who are really scary on the road: "wait, you mean that shiny glow off of the road means that maybe I should drive slower because my car might slide?" These cars I avoid like the plague.

Those from farther north are almost as amusing. I tell the Southerners I'm from where there's lots of snow, but when it comes to the Canadians I tell them we just get a little, eh. The Canadians are fun because they wear their shorts and Hawaiian tee-shirts all winter. "You mean that light dusting of powder... that's nothing, I go running barefoot in weather like this!"

My other favorite part about winter is when it arrives here. Winter, theoretically, arrives some time around Thanksgiving and departs by the time Easter hits (if not sooner.) I think as a function of MST (Mormon Standard Time, totally different from Mountain Time) winter shows up perpetually late here. Two weeks before Christmas I vividly recall running around in jeans and a tee-shirt, and I wasn't alone. I think the LDS standard of running late for everything has ingrained itself into the weather. Sigh. Perhaps I will see green grass again... someday...

Oooh, as a side note, last night my friends and I were commenting how much we love the boots and capri's look, cause it's so functional... ya know, keep all but your mi-calf warm. Sign me up!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Things I Want...

1. To be done with my religion test... ugh.

2. The snow to be gone. All of it.

3. A pet fish. As soon as I have a job, I want to go buy one. I think it might be contraband according to my housing contract, but at the moment I don't really care. I want to name him Fido, because Fido is a incredibly cool name... for a fish. Perhaps I'll get more than one... so I can bequeath somewhat unusual names upon them. I figure I ought to get it out of my system now... bequeathing crazy names on humans is somewhat looked down upon. Giving absurd names to fish... well, that's a whole new story.

4. Ice Cream. Moosetracks Ice cream. A whole bucket... all to myself...

5. To actually get through Firebird in one shot... at more than half tempo.

6. A fairy to make me dinner for the week.

7. I am determined to find something incredibly cool to do for Valentines day, since I can promise you I won't have a date. Last year the roomies and I had a water fight. It was EPIC. This Valentines must be even more amazing. I'm not sure how to top the water fight, but I'm going to. Wish me luck. I have a sneaking suspicion there will be shaving cream involved... or flour... or something equally messy. *grin*

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sweet Dreams

Last week I had a dream about Prokofiev. Pathetic. I know. But I have good reason. The next day I was recording for my Paris audition, and one of my pieces was the Prokofiev Sonata (originally for flute, even though every narcissistic violinist will tell you otherwise. He wrote it for us... thieving violins.)

Let me tell you about this dream. Have you ever seen the Muppet's Christmas Carrol? Think of the Ghost of Christmas Future as presented in this movie. Remove creepy hood and replace with Cossack hat. Remove non-existent-face, replace with head of Prokofiev. Actually ditch the whole cape from the Ghost of Christmas Future. All I need is the aura. I remember being a little kid and being thoroughly terrified by this dude. Some how the way he glowered over poor Scrooge seemed so.... ominous. Okay, place me in the position of Scrooge and you have it about right. Prokofiev was standing over me, mocking me. Gloating over the fact that he had written something I didn't have the last hope of playing perfectly the next day. He looked so fiendishly happy.

So I showed him what was what. I recorded his sonata the next day, and sounded pretty darn good, if I might say so myself. Then I brought that sonata home and banished it to the deepest darkest corner of my music stash never to be seen again. I promised myself that I was finished with Prokofiev for a very very long time.

Famous. Last. Words.

Yesterday I trekked up to Dr. Clayton's office because I heard she had posted the orchestral excerpts for our mock audition day in March. All the standards were there: Debussy, Brahms, Ravel, Medelssohn, Beethoven. These I could handle (no pun intended... tee hee hee). Then in big black letters I saw it (sitting right next to Firebird Suite by Stravinsky, which is also impossible to play):

Prokofiev, Classical Symphony

HE"S FOLLOWING ME!!! I'M CONVINCED. I'll never get away as long as I live. So if you don't see me at all for the next month, and wonder if I have died/dropped off the face of the earth, just know, I'm in a practice room, slaving over what Prokofiev wrote, while he mocks me in my dreams.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

We rehearse... when we're not laughing...

My trio rehearsals, as alluded to in a previous post, are probably my favorite part of the day. We practice, so long as we aren't dying from laughter. In between the actual rehearsal Meleece managed to quote the better portion of the last Office episode (I may actually watch that one), impersonate the new Brian Regan skit, and confuse Jenni and I significantly:

Meleece: This piece makes me think of the time when women wore the big hats with bows.

Jenni/Nicole: What?

Meleece: You know, like in that cartoon. The one where the fedora loved the blue ribbon one, but some man came along and bought the blue ribbon...

Jenni: A prostitute?!?!

Meleece: NO A HAT!!!

(Apparently there was once a cartoon Meleece saw about two hats that fell in love... I'm still a little lost, but it sounds more uplifting than we originally thought... you know those sketchy cartoon kid shows from the late 80's?)

Anyhow, we decided that if we ever perform this piece we're going to wear hats. I call the "hooker one" with the blue ribbon.