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So, I just pulled out a copy of the Vanhal Concerto that I haven't worked on since college, and the fingerings are, in the words of my new favorite practice companion Dan Savage, leotarded. (To the other JBV if you are reading this, I don't hold you accountable. I know you did your best to show me the error of my ways.) Have I mentioned how much better my life is since I realized I can listen to podcasts while I practice? The hours of mindless repetition just melt away!

I am leaving for Maine tomorrow

I am driving there with my bass, who will probably not help with the driving. I am going there to host a staff retreat for the orchestra that I am going to work for in January. I will be on the road for a while, so call me if you get a chance!

I just wrote a really, really, really long post about how anxious I am feeling about this job change, then deleted it. It was really boring. But I also want to tell you that I am feeling anxious. Which seems reasonable given that startup non-profits have a higher failure rate than new restaurants (over 90%.)

On the one hand, this job comes with an office, which I will only be using one week per month when I am in Boston, an accountant (paid), lawyers (volunteer) and a staff (part-time, volunteer.)On the other hand, the person with the most experience in arts administration in this whole company will be: me. So on the one hand: free reign to be creative and stuff! And on the other hand: SHIT!

On the plus side, my boss at Orpheus is way excited and wants to mentor me. That might be fun, I kind of like the idea of having a mentor. And the League of American Orchestras, which is the lobbying group for-duh--american orchestras, has support services for "new executives," which I can take advantage of.

Haha! Anyway. Maine ho!

New Subletter

I have a new subletter in the back bedroom. His name is Paul, and he is doing a 1-month surgical internship at Columbia Presbyterian. He is from Arizona. He is very quiet, studious and shy, but he likes the cats, and he tells me every time he sees one of the cats do something cute. Animals bring people out of their shells.

After Paul, we will have Claire, who is coming from France for six months to work for the French cultural attache in New York. She came through a reference from the viola da gamba society, she is an amateur viol player and she wanted to live with someone who can give her viol lessons. Moi, je la donnerai les lecons de viol, aussi nous pourrions jouer des duets. Ce sera sympa d'avoir une autre femme ici!

La classe que j'apprends a l'alliance francais cet ete est tres bon, la prof est si meilleure que Madame Rubin. Elle parle toujours de la philosophie et la culture du grammaire, pas seulement des regles.

Jeremy's ex-girlfriend Heather is here, she was here when I got home from class. They are playing clarinet duets in the livingroom. This time I sat down and had a conversation with them for several minutes.

Phone reaction

Al, this is in reaction to your post about gadgets. It started out as a comment but then I moved it to a full post.

I have a new phone that has qwerty, which makes the calendar actually usable. Except, there is no place in the calendar function to make notes, like to note the address of where you are going for example. I have to cram all the info in shorthand into the name of the event. And this phone has a music player too, but I haven't figured out how to use it. Anyway I never listen to music at work or on the go. I think, and this is totally weird, I don't like listening to music. My Dad doesn't, either. He doesn't like sitting at concerts or listening to music in the car, or when anyone is talking to him, or there are any distracting noises at all. He only listens to music when he is learning a new piece, and if you say anything to him, he turns it off.

God, imagine not wanting to EAT unless you could focus only on that and nothing else. If that were the case, I would never eat. Because I only eat while doing something else, I hate wasting time sitting down to a meal.

Jeremy has been gone 2 weeks (he likes to listen to music while doing stuff) and I have not sat down to a meal or listened to music once, except for if I was playing it myself.

I have, however, listened to some podcasts of This American Life on my new wireless headphones, which are great for listening to podcasts on while doing chores!


I love reading your livejournal entries

I always wait for weeks and weeks, then read them all at once. They always make me feel happy. Thank you!

Things are quiet in the Heights. Jeremy is on tour in Asia. Last week he was in Seoul, and this week he is in Shanghai and Bejing. Two weeks ago I ago I was in Connecticut playing a baroque opera. As has been previously discussed, Connecticut seems to be where I go to play baroque operas. This one was Conradi's Ariadne. I did not know it before, but it turned out to have some very nice music. I was doubling on gamba and bass, which I had never done before. I was mostly playing gamba in the recitatives and in the "love" arias, and playing bass in the orchestra parts and the "heroic" arias, so I was constantly switching. I made myself a little nest in the pit with a chair to set my bass on, and a towel to set my gamba on, and I wrote in big letters in the score each time it was time to SWITCH! It was kind of a mental challenge, because the "touch" on bass is so different than gamba. I had to consciously think about the right weight and pressure for the first few notes I played each time I switched. It took a few days to figure that out! At first, the first few notes I played every time I switched just sounded terrible.

The strings on bass and gamba are different--but not that different. Just close enough to mess you up, if you, like me, are easily confused. For some reason, I would always mix up the fourth string on the gamba with the third string on the bass. The third string on the bass is A and the fourth string on the gamba is G. Somehow, the way my subconscious mind understands technique, those places are equivalent. I think that I think of them both as "almost bottom." I had so many scary moments where I had no idea what finger to put down!

Then I remembered a trick that Mr. Avidon once told me, to help remember left and right (something else I am not good at.) He told me to repeat, "my left thumb, my right finger," and wiggle my left thumb and my right index finger when I said that. He told me it helped him in the army!

I started to whisper "bass A. gamba G" each time I switched. It worked! No more troubles.

Armin Seebass

My new bow was made by a guy named Armin Seebass. How perfect is that? He is from Finland. It's a really really good bow! It wasn't insanely expensive because he is not well known, he is young!! But so far I love it and I think it is better than some "old master" french bows that I have tried!

Just FYI "not too expensive" for a really good double bass bow by a relatively young and unknown maker=it cost $4,300. I hope it will accrue in value, because the maker has won some contests in Europe, and I have heard that he has a long line of commissions in America, so hopefully he will gain name recognition here. Not that I want to sell it because I love it. Pictures to follow. Bow See Bass! See Bass Bow! Armin Seebass GO GO GO! WHOOHOOOO!


Jonathan Coltane concert so far: opening act progressively funnier the more I drink. Looking forward to uke army!

Learning French 2.0

Well. I just signed up for a 10-week class at the Alliance Francaise! It comes with a year membership, so check out the schedule online and see if there's any films you want to go see there or whatnot :)

What's more, I took a placement test over the phone, in French, and I didn't get put in the lowest class. Second lowest. Boo-yah! Or Bou-yaux, I should say.


Tuesdays are my day off from Orpheus, and whereas last summer I just worked anyway, this summer I am NOT working on my Tuesday by golly. So today was my day off and I was not super productive! Well, I did a few things, but did not do what I really should have done and work on my research for school. I did take a placement test for a course at the Alliance Francaise. I am going to brush up on my French this summer and pass my language requirement, boy howdy!

Another thing I did today was take a lovely walk in Washington Heights, which I have not done much. I found a little secret neighborhood I never saw before, on 160th between Edgecombe and St. Nicholas, almost to the Bronx. It was cobblestoned!!!!! In my own neighborhood! There was a mansion, the oldest house in New York City, called the Morris-Jumel Mansion, which was once home to Eliza Jumel, who was briefly married to Aaron Burr.(Alexander Hamilton,Jr., was her divorce lawyer...really!) All up and down the block were wonderful old brownstones, and a little community garden. It was so lovely that I walked there again with Jeremy when he came home from work. We spent some time gazing at a brownstone townhouse across from the garden that was for sale. It was clearly abandoned, with broken windows.

We walked home fantasizing about buying a fixer up townhouse on a cobblestone street across from a community garden. I went on the broker's site, and found the property listed for $1.2 million.(Four floors and a back yard.) Then, just for the hell of it, I filled out the forms at an online mortgage company to see if I could get a loan for $1.2 million. I was 100% truthful about my salary, debts, etc. It was "Lending Tree.com" And...I was approved for the loan. Some company called Mortgage Master was totally cool with lending me $1.08 million if I could put down $120,000 and make the $7,000 monthly payments for the next 30 years. Well, it has four floors. I could fix them one at a time and rent out three floors...

I know, not gonna happen. But still, how messed up is that when any party would lend little old me a million dollars to buy a pile of rubble?



A board member from Orpheus gave me two box seats to hear the NY Phil last night, doing Mahler 9, and we were five minutes late because the 1 was running express so we had to walk from 72nd, and they wouldn't let us in, not even after the first movement. And they say classical music is elitist, aw shucks.

Jeremy couldn't decide what he wanted to do then, he kept asking me and then rejecting my repeated good suggestions, so I ditched him on the street! I was just like "Well, I'm wearing heels and my feet are starting to hurt, so if you can't make up your mind, then BYE!" It was late, and we were around Lincoln Center which is not known for its nightlife, so I went to Barnes and Noble and sat in the cafe and read for a little bit. I got a few neat things, the new David Sedaris book, and a book on free stuff you can do in New York (Al, evidently all the best free stuff you can do in New York is in Brooklyn!) You know what? That cafe was packed, 10pm on a Saturday night and I got the last table. Mostly singletons, so did all those people have fights with their boyfriends too?

Anyway, I came home, and he was like "But why are you mad at me?" So I said, "I'm not mad at you, it's just that your inertia was causing me to have sore feet." Which was true. But I still slept in the guest room! Which I enjoyed very much. Captain Bed is in the guest room, and I do miss it.

We're both doing music festivals in July, and since our two things don't overlap date-wise, I won't see him for a month. I need the break! What I keep looking forward to is sitting on the coach with a book and a snack and having no one interrupt me.

My Dad is leaving for Aspen this Friday! Alone, alas. He'll only be there for five weeks this summer, though. So we are having Fathers Day today. :)