Thursday, February 28, 2008

Skiing and Flying

I think that someone once described skiing to me as the closest someone can come to flying. I certainly can understand the sentiment, the speed and the rushing through the air gives it a flying sensation. However I think that I am more aware of the ground when I am skiing than I ever am. Your success or failure as a skier is entirely based upon your ability to read and react to the mountain.

There are two basic types of skiing: times when you are owning the mountain, and times when the mountain is owning you. The trick to skiing well is to make the mountain do the work for you. there is no question when you're skiing well, the bumps pop you knees up and turn your legs for you. When you're skiing poorly you hit the troughs hard and you can't keep your edges on the mountain.

Either way you are acutely aware of your feet and their interaction with the ground. My first run of the season cruising down Redtail at Beaver Creek (map), I remembered just how fast skiing is and consequently how scary it can be. Of course after the first run that's why you ski to go fast and do exciting things!

Sunday, February 17, 2008


How can you charge me $29 to file Illinois? Why should it cost me money to file taxes? I don't know how to make a grumpy emoticon, but I would. harrumph!

I've had quite a busy week! I had two auditions that were the near miss type that all singers try to avoid. It wasn't the singing that was a problem but communication and transportation.

Tuesday I was in the midst of A: doing my taxes, and B: trying to figure out how to politely word an e-mail to a group that I had applied to audition for. This e-mail was going to somehow say, you should give me an audition, and if you don't I'm going to come and sing for you anyway.

However I then received a phone call asking me where I was because I was supposed to be auditioning for this very group at that moment...did you receive our e-mail? Why no I didn't but I will come as soon as, well I take a shower! So went down town and sang Una Donna and If I Loved you (in a really stupid key). It went quite well! He complimented my Italian and then told me that I gave the smartest performance of If I Loved you that he had ever seen. So that was fabulous. He then chatted with me for quite a while about the research that I'm doing for CIAO.

I haven't heard back from them. Which isn't really concerning considering that it hasn't been that long, but I'm worried that they have my e-mail wrong some how and the same problem that arose with the audition will again surface.

The second audition was down at the University. The first anxious thing about it is that I had to completely learn and memorize the andante movement of Mozart's Exultate Jubilate for this audition in a week. The second problem was the traffic. I left with plenty of extra time to get down there, but I did not remember that the car show was this weekend. So. It took me a half an hour to get from Balbo to the McCormic center. Needless to say I arrived late for my audition. That's really not something that I want to do, ever. Even though this wasn't an audition that was something that I was banking on. They should give it to a student, which I am no longer. The audition was fine, except for that pianist made the cut we had agreed on a phrase early cutting out my cadenza.

No big deal really. I just was really confused for a brief moment, because I thought for sure that I had somehow blithely missed a whole phrase of music. No matter I continued on to the Alleluia which I sing with gusto!

Now a week of vacation before I return to more auditions!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Walking Through a Cloud

If we suspend our disbelief for just a moment, and forget the physical impossibilities of walking on a cloud, it still does not appear to be a very pleasant experience. I'm fairly certain that I have no interest in walking on a cloud, as I imagine the experience would be rife with windy dangers, not to mention cold and clammy.

I bring this up merely because yesterday was a day that we lived in a cloud. The miraculous four inches of snow that appeared during the super bowl disappeared in a cool haze of drizzle. The air was so thick that you felt the particles enter your nose and begrudgingly make their way down to your lungs, where they settled.

Mia said that it was the sort of day that you see in the movies. Everything was dramatic and mysterious due to the weather. It was, it certainly was not the tormented sky that Duff loves, but it was not without its own allure. The sky was very hidden or very close, depending just how you're interested in defining "sky".

Weather is one of those things that we not only can not control, but we still can only somewhat predict. It is frustratingly more like an art than a science. I think I like it that way; defying our attempts to control it. We have made these attempts as counter-intuitive as it may seem. Ski resorts have machines that expel dust into clouds to promote the formation of snow flakes, but ultimately nature can not be contro0led or contained in this way.

None of nature can be contained for long. I read a very interesting book over the summer: The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. It described step by step and piece by piece what would happen to the earth if humans simply and suddenly disappeared. Nature has this incredible and persistent way of erasing the things that we do to it.

This of course should be in no way taken as a promotion of us doing whatever the heck we want to the earth. The earth will fix itself, but only in the presence of much time and the absence of humans.

Two interesting facts that I will share with you from this book, though there are many and it's an easy read so I recommend it.
One: one of the most harmful things that we are putting in the environment right now are tiny plastic pellets that are the base of plastics. They are what are melted down and formed into things, but first they are tiny pellets. They are too small to be filtered out of water but too big to get out of fishies systems. They are mixed in with the sand on beaches as well as in animals bellies.
Two: There is a giant gyre in the Pacific ocean where all of the currents converge (the North Pacific Gyre to be precise). There you can find miles and miles of ocean that our trash floats to and stays. Miles and miles of trash all on the surface and presumably under the surface of the Pacific ocean. What a sight that must be to see.

Friday, February 01, 2008

West Randolf

So it was a tremendously snowy week! I'm pretty pleased about this. Though I got stir crazy this afternoon (I think I'm pretty much done with the song review stuff that I've been doing for work! this means I get to start editing music, which I think will be a nice change of pace).

I went off to return a woefully overdue blockbuster movie buy bus passes and walk around in the snow. I decided to take a closer look at all that's going on on Randolf in the West Loop. The answer....everything?

It looks like one of those places where I could purchase just about anything that I could think of. There are a lot of whole sale food places meat, veggies, lots of pre-made stuff. There are whole sale paint places, little Mexican places, a pizza place, a schmancy French place, a hookah bar, what I think is a strip club though it could be simply a erotic store, Harpo studios are there too, umm and lots of other things. Anyhow it's a place to be explored further, I think that there are cool things to try there.

you should check out my friend J's music. He played Tony in West Side Story when I played Maria. I was 16 and he was 21. I was totally totally enamored with him. He was pretty cool, we were friends and AND I got to kiss him! Which was pretty cool. They weren't good kisses or anything, we were on stage, but still.

Anyhow it should be a good weekend, though it is unclear to me who to root for in the Super bowl. Mom's rooting for the Giants 'cause they were grandpa's team, I think Dad might be rooting for the Patriots to stick it to the Dolphins. I dunno, I guess we should just hope for good football right?