Sunday, September 19, 2010

Twelve states later

I have returned to the ancestral homeland--New York State. I am luxuriating in the feel of an honest-to-goodness mattress against my back instead of the train seats on which I have slept for the last three nights. Not that I have anything against train seats (at least, not anymore! Rim shot!), but this mattress and I go way back, and it is both long enough and wide enough to support me without digging uncomfortable metal protrusions into my fleshy bits.

Tomorrow: the great unpacking begins

Monday: the first visit to the parents in two months

The future is busy this Fall. I hope it is as enjoyable as it is frantic—first conference paper, last seminar paper, first (only, I hope!) dissertation proposal, two weddings (neither the first nor the last) and a visit to LA, on top of the standard seasonal requirements and the finding a new chorus and possibly a string quartet to keep me sane and in practice.

And oh boy howdy do I need practice. My voice has acquired, I estimate, a six-inch-thick layer of dairy sludge on all sides. My intonation on the cello is in the neighborhood of amateur saxophonist tries playing a theremin for the first time. Left-hand calluses: gone. Breath support: ditto. Personal goal #1 for my New York year: musical fitness. I don't need to be a professional (newsflash: I will never be a professional performing musician), but I would like not to embarrass myself.

That has to be the most colons I have ever used in a single paragraph.

Personal goal #2 for my New York year: better daily scheduling habits. It is 3:30 AM and I am not asleep. This is a very bad start to personal goal #2, and I will get right on it starting Monday. I will attempt to get out of both my bed and the apartment within two hours of waking up every day. Every day! Hopefully that will lead to earlier falling-asleep-ness. Also, regular exercise early in the day, no gross candy binges (except in extenuating circumstances like visiting my parents) late at night, and no more blogging in bed.

That last bit starts right now.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Miles to go

Harold Gould is dead. He follows Rue, Bea, Estelle, and, much earlier and far more quickly forgotten, Herb.

Of the regular cast and the only two truly recurring guests, that leaves only Betty, who played opposite Harold's Miles Webber, carrying the Golden Girls torch for the fans. Goodbye, Miles. You made a drab college English professor something adorable—and worthy of dating Rose Nylund.

And speaking of miles, I'm about to travel the thousands of them between LA and NY. See you soon, jaded northeasterners!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I'm still here

I promise you that I am still around. It's just that I've been teaching the summer class that I wrote about in July, and it is mildly to moderately (completely) exhausting. However, I have now completed five out of six weeks of it, and I can see the glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel! For the first time in 5 weeks, I did not need to work on my lecture the morning of class; it was done by 9:45 PM the night before! Success! I got to sleep in until 7:45 AM! Miraculous! Exclamation points!

In five weeks, I have taught about manifestations of gender in (in order):

20th century USian jazz
16th century Italian pantomime
18th century French ballet
19th century French ballet
20th century Brazilian samba
20th century Puerto Rican salsa
20th century USian disco
19th century Chinese opera
18th century Italian opera
19th century French opera
20th century USian musicals
21st century USian musicals
18th century British ballads
20th century USian blues
20th century Algerian raï
20th century USian country
18th-21st century musicological canonicity
18th century German chamber music (on Moog synthesizer)
19th century German and French chamber music (on acoustic instruments and on theremin)
20th century Austrian chamber music
20th century Greek-American performance art
20th century Beatles
20th century Indian raga

All I have left is gender in:

12th century German (Latin) chant
19th century Austrian piano four-hands music
19th century Austrian piano etudes
20th century USian girl groups
20th century USian rock bands
21st century USian sing-alongs

Thank heaven for my wonderful TA, who has taught 80s-00s dance pop and heavy metal so I didn't have to, plus has shared the teaching with me on many of the above topics.

I will be back on the internet soon to tell you about the paper topics my students have chosen. I'm sure they will be as oddly varied as usual. I guarantee that this time around there will be exactly zero papers on "If I were a Boy" by Beyoncé and zero papers on "I'll Make a Man out of You" from Mulan. How do I know? I taught them on the first day of class and forbade anyone from writing about a song we'd covered in class. Just so that I wouldn't have to read any more papers about them.

And in unrelated news, a beloved dog died today. In the interests of maintaining my tenuous anonymity, I will not share her name here, but she was a wonderful canine companion for nearly two decades, and she will be sorely missed. She wasn't my dog, but she was at least a dog-in-law of mine, and I will miss her--the Christmas ornament sheep made of her fluffy undercoat, the sudden and seemingly endless foot baths under the coffee table when you hadn't even known she was there, and even the long-since-outgrown savage protectiveness of her dinner. I watched her grow from a snappish, mistreated young shelter dog into an affectionate, dignified old lady in one of the most loving homes a dog could ever have. Goodbye, old fox, and thanks for the sweetness you brought into everyone's lives.