Thursday, January 29, 2009
"Play your part in music history. Interested in joining the first-ever collaborative online orchestra? Professionals and amateur musicians of all ages, locations and instruments are welcome to audition for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra by submitting a video performance of a new piece written for the occasion by the renowned Chinese composer Tan Dun (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). We have tools to help you learn the music, rehearse with the conductor, and upload your part for the collaborative video. And how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice and upload. Send us your talent video performance from a list of recommended pieces. Finalists will be chosen by a judging panel and YouTube users to travel to New York in April 2009, to participate in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra summit, and play at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas.The deadline for all video submissions is January 28, 2009. "
I'm sorry, but that's just too friggin' cool. Had this come along when I was still in my clarinet days, I very well might've posted a video entry. As it is, I've been watching a few of the clarinet entries (a very few) and here's one that caught my eye. She starts off with a couple of orchestral excerpts, but watch at least until 3:40, which is when the video shifts to a performance of the Adagio movement of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, complete with a string orchestra accompaniment and a big, fancy dress! I'm voting for this girl.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
This award acknowledges the values that ever blogger shows in his/her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary and personal values every day.
The rules for the award...this is where it gets sticky for me. I have to:1) Accept the award, post it on my blog together with the name of the person that has granted the award and his/her blog link; and2) Pass the award to another 15 blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment. Remember to contact each of them to let them know they have been chosen for this award.
Now, number 1 is no problemo...already got that one taken care of. But I don't know 15 other blogs...I only know a handful, and they've already been given this award. So I'm going to have to defer on that one at this time. Sorry I can't share the love...but I definitely wanted to post the award!
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Vice President Joe Biden.
The book I stayed up last night to finish.
My new computer (the burgundy one).
My husband. :o)
Sunday, January 18, 2009
I'm doing a 2-for-1 deal here because I've finished two books this week, and I'd like to review them both.
First up: Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
For me, this was a really fun book to read. It is billed as a "progressively lipogrammatic epistolary fable." In fact, this is the book's subtitle, and a quite effective summation of the tale. A lipogrammatic tale is one that is told while omitting certain letters of the alphabet. This book, while not strictly lipogrammatic, is mostly so, and that is, in fact, the gist of the whole book. It is told in the form of letters written back and forth between the main characters. At first I was wary of a book written in this manner, and whether it would effectively convey the story and be able to hold my attention, but it most definitely did both. The book tells the story of the island of Nollop, named after the typesetter who came up with the sentence "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" - which uses each letter of the alphabet, in a sentence of only 35 letters. Nollop is ervered on the island, and in fact, a statue of him, with the sentence on tiles below, stands proudly in the center of the island's main town. The problem arises when the tiles begin to fall off. The High Council which runs the island take this as a sign from Nollop himself (long since deceased) and decide that these letters which fall off are no longer to be written or spoken by the islanders. As more and more tiles fall off, life on the island becomes quite difficult. The themes of totalitarianism (the absolute rule of the Council) and freedom of speech play major roles throughout the book. I won't give away the ending, but it is quite clever. I definitely had one of those head-smacking "Why didn't I think of that?!" moments. All in all, I quite enjoyed this book. It was a fairly quick read and I enjoyed the message behind it. Definitely recommended.
Book #2: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
Another entertaining read, this book was quite a surprise for me. I picked it up not quite knowing what to expect. All I'd gathered from the friend who recommended it to me (Smash) was that it was about a young girl going off to boarding school in England. Boy, is there more to it than that! If you're planning on reading it, stop now - I don't want to give anything away, because it's just more fun if you don't know what you're getting yourself into. For those continuing to read: fantasy, hidden worlds, a bit of the occult, all occuring in the frame of late 19th century England, with all of its social and behavioral restrictions. It's amazing, first off, to see how far we've come in the last 100-and-change years. I loved how Ms. Bray combined the every day trials and tribulations of getting along at boarding school with the more fantastical elements of this book, and it didn't seem odd at all. I know there are other tales of Gemma Doyle, and I look forward to following along on her journey to see where she's headed from here.
I leave you all with a parting picture. I've had requests for a picture of little Taryn Elizabeth, who was born on Wednesday the 14th. Here she is at just one day old, cradled in my arms:
Thursday, January 15, 2009
We laid my Granny Jane to rest.
It was a double-versary for Branden and I - 3 years since our first date & 1 month since our wedding.
And a new person came into the world!
We started the day off with Granny Jane's funeral. It was a nice service, though I did receive a bit of a shock when I went into the chapel and realized that it was an open-casket service. To be blunt, I'd never seen a dead person before. My mom asked if I wanted to go and say goodbye to her before the service started, but I declined. I just wasn't ready to. The service itself was nice. My uncle Jack gave a nice eulogy, and my aunt Mary's husband Darrel was the piano/vocal soloist. It was good to see Mary - she lives in Tennessee and I hadn't seen her in years. After the service, when it was our turn to go by the casket and pay our respects, I was finally ready, so I took my place in line and filed past. Branden was a great support...he held my hand while I said my goodbyes. Afterwards, there was a gathering at Jack's house for food and visiting, and I'm very glad we were able to go. We got some good visiting in, and everyone vowed that we wouldn't let so much time pass before we got together again.
After a nice nap at home, Branden and I went out to celebrate our double-versary. He took me back to the skating rink where he proposed (and where we had our first date), and I attempted to skate for a bit while he got frustrated with me for not trying harder. Then we had a hot chocolate while waiting for the bus to take us up to the Knox/Henderson area. We had dinner at Chili's (thanks to my awesome cousin Wade, who gave Branden the gift certificate for Christmas!), and it was quite yummy! It was funny watching the two babies at tables near ours "flirt" with each other throughout the meal.
And to complete the circle of life...I got news late last night that a good friend (and bridesmaid in my wedding) gave birth to a healthy baby girl yesterday! My BFF Lindsey and I are going to visit tonight, so I'll have pics and details later. But for now, welcome to the world, Baby Taryn!
As I said, quite an eventful day. :o)
Sunday, January 11, 2009
She was an interesting woman. I've only ever none her as a retiree who valued her independence, enjoyed her retirement community in Grapevine, and loved to go bowling. She smoked, and laughed, and loved to be the center of attention. I think there was always a little bit of awkwardness there because of my stepdad's relationship with her. Strained isn't really the right word...but I think he always had some resentment towards her for abandoning him and his two brothers to go start another family with another man. She left them with their dad and an abusive stepmother and a lot of emotional scars. Knowing that made it hard to ever form the traditional child/grandparent bonds. However, she wasn't a bad woman and I know she lived a full life, and it was definitely her time to go. She was in a lot of pain over the last few months...in and out of the hospital...and was taken to hospice care late last week and only given a few more weeks to live, at most. Pancreatic cancer was the leading ailment, and what eventually caused her death, although she also had emphysema and some other problems. Her body just wore out.
The only other death in the family I've ever been through was her son, my stepdad's closest brother, who died when I was in college. I'm not practiced on this (though do you ever really get to be that way?). I don't really know how to feel. I'm sad, but am I sad enough? Am I too sad? I know there's no right answer. The last time I saw her was a few months ago, in the hospital. We talked a little about the wedding, a lot about bowling. My parents and I ate at Luby's afterwards. I'll say goodbye to her in a few days. I'll probably cry, because that's what I do.
I love you, Granny Jane.