Friday, December 29, 2006

Travelbug, travelbug...

The household chores are stacking up (the woodwork that never goes away, the fireplace brick, the foundation paint and foundation mortar, cleaning out the basement, hooking up the vent stack to my kitchen sink, restoring my lamps, rewiring a living room light fixture, having insulation blown in, etc) and I've been kinda at leisure for the past 3 weeks, so that means I'm starting to think about traveling somewhere where I couldn't possibly work on the house even if I wanted to--which, if memory serves, is precisely when I feel the compunction to do household chores. If the student loan thing comes through, I'll be able to have some Cashdolla to pay the bills with and will take some of the sting out of the daily grind.Should I go somehwere, or shoudl I just sit at home and mow the lawn and start a garden? All those maps in the desk drawer [Romania, Hungary, Slovenia, and other inexpensive places] will only get out of date. And we really can't have that, can we?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Russian cartoons

One thing I remember most about my television watching while in Russia was the interesting animation "filler" that would show up between shows. Other things that I remember were the surreal endings to many Soviet films that made no sense [for example, a film about Tchaikovsky suddently turns into a movie with horses galloping in slo-mo through chest-high snow], and gratuitous breast exposure, but for this post I'll stick to the animation. I've not quite figured out how to include the actual pic of the cartoon like other blogs do, so I'll just include links.

Speaking of links, YouTube has some fantastic examples of thesse cartoons, some of which are rather rare. A more modern cartoon is The Ends of the Earth, which had me laughing pretty much the whole time. And yes, I believe the cow's name is Martha.

Soviet-era composers, many of them, made their money from writing soundtracks to various movies, and some, including Shostakovich and Alfred Schnittke, also wrote soundtracks to some of these cartoons. Here's an example of Schnittke's work with Ballerina on a Boat. I don't believe this soundtrack has been recorded anywhere else.

And then there is this one entitled Gagarin after the famous Cosmonaut. There are quite a few others out there.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Logjam o' Lit! Thanks Brian!

Surprise surprise! I get not one, but two boxes full of literary journals and other goodies from my friend Brian. Two of the journals even had CDs included of the writers reading their works. I started leafing through them right away, bringing a couple along with me to the restaurant where I had lunch. The CDs were playing in the stereo on the way there. Many have interviews which are very interesting to read, plus I get a whole lot more back issues of Poetry Magazine, which tends to have interesting pieces, not to mention its often rather crabby Letters to the Editor section. It could be seen as the LaScala of the Poetry Journal world. I've got plenty of reading ahead of me! Thanks Brian!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Tunes--Silly Blog Trope

Ok, here it is. The idea of this, which I'd gotten from other blogs tracing them back to this blog, with likely didn't come up with the idea to begin with, was that you put on your music, with everything on your hard drive in shuffle mode. Push Play and for each of the stages of a typical movie, you type in the song that comes up and how it fits. The soundtrack is supposed to be uncannily apt. I've wasted time doing this three times and it still won't work. My bad. And even if it did, how would this be anything but a boring report of how pop lyrics apply to my life? Boring and depressing, that. Here is the hybridized version.

Opening Credits:
You Couldve been with me--Sheena Easton
"Maybe that's why your'e such a strange and special one...You can't even love yourself, and with a few exceptions, not anybody else" Well, that sounds lovely. This movie must be a great date flick.

Waking Up:
Cybele's Reverie--Stereolab
Kinda retro, kinda cheerful, kinda busy morning-like music. Scenes of Dave getting ready in the morning. Brushing teeth. Sliding on the bathroom floor. Scrubbing the steam off the mirror. I'd translate the lyrics, but I don't know French.

First Day at School:
Moscheles Concert Studies Op. 105 No. 2.
Evidently I'm going to Dance classes. Stretching at the barre, anyone? One and two and dip and >crunch<

Falling in Love:
I Don't Want your Love--Duran Duran
"I don't want your love to bring me down..." Yep. Pretty damned romantic.

Fight Song:
"Whorehoppin (Shit, Goddamn)--The Eagles of Death Metal"
Hmmm. Sounds more like an after fight song.

Breaking Up:
"In Another Life--XTC"
Really? I have this song?
"I hope you don't get those headaches in another life"

Afraid--David Bowie
Ok, first off, I would never go to Prom even for money. The horrible power ballads, giving way to people crunking in evening wear. It's a prospect almost as bleak as this list I find myself typing.
"I put my faith in education..."

Souvenirs No. 2--Charles-Valentin Alkan
The subtitle is "Three pieces in the pathetique genre. Stormy, rather dark, and difficult to play. Ok, now I'm depressed.

"Ever Fallen In Love (With someone You Shouldn't Have Fallen in Love with)--The Buzzcocks, as performed by Nouvelle Vague.
Umm...I'm thinking that some of these songs are out of order.

Chaconne from Partita No. 2 BWV 1004 by J. S. Bach
Ok, seriously. Not good driving music. Not even a little bit.

You Say You Love Me--The Downbeats
Ok, Considering that this is a Motown song from 1965, I suppose it qualifies as a flashback.

Getting Back Together:
Waiting for Benny--Charlie Christian
Here's a song that Benny Goodman's band cut while their illustrious band leader (who tended to take credit for their compositions) was on his way to the studio. I suppose I could picture the movie scene in a Jazz club or something.

Well, now that we know it isn't a biopic, I feel better.
Symphony #3 Movement 3 by Avet Terterian.
This would be rather electrifying at any wedding, perhaps as a processional, or perhaps when the Klingon guards come in to set the place on fire.

Birth of Child:
Paperback Bible--Lambchop
The song is nothing but quotes of people putting things up for sale on a radio show. Evidently I'm giving the kid up for adoption.

Final Battle:
Fantastic Voyage--David Bowie
"..and we never get old, remember that dignity is valuable; our lives are valuable too...And I don't want to live with somebody's depression."

Death Song:
"From the Flagstones"--Cocteau Twins
Hold it--No Bach in "Todesbanden"? no "Ich Steh mit fuss im Grab?" Oh well. Not at the top of my list of favorite songs, but the only one I can think of that has the word "oriel" in the lyrics.

Funeral Song:
Skin Trade--Duran Duran
Umm--Evidently I'm donating my body to science.

End Credits:
I can't go for that (No Can Do)--Hall & Oates
And neither can I.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I have moved through the valley of the shadow of exams and interviews and come out a whole being. For that I am thankful.I get to sit at home and do with my time what I will. I might actually get a job. I might actually write in a way that isn't mandated by a class schedule. I might wash dishes. I might actually write record reviews, which certain parties in the UK might appreciate. Regardless as to these options, I have finished with my first semester of grad school!! [Wild, stormy applause.]

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Back to writing. I've got most of one long poem done and then I have to finish up an essay tomorrow. Oh, and revisions. I'll see if I can squeeze out a record review or two if all goes well. [Thas' a mighty big if, bub...]

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Christmas is coming...

...and so far I haven't had to deal with any extended listenings-to of holiday tunes. This is a good thing. Ever since my undergrad participaton in the PMO Christmas Show, I've not been able to deal with a full 2 months of Christmas music. Epecially when rendered by the likes of the last generation of singers who need to see how many vocal riffs and runs they can pack into Silent Night. Grr.

At any rate, here we have some pix of Purdue's Union..I figured I'd better start taking pix of it, as they have stated that this summer will see major updates to the building, which, if Purdue's record of "major updates" is to be concerned, means that we'll be looking at the interior of an Arby's. The before and after pix of the interior of University Hall speak volumes. I'll see if I can find them and will post them here.

The holidays have hit Purdue. Here's the tree. Note the artful positioning of the lights. All of the ornaments, aside from the satin balls, are various student groups at the university. Viewing from the mezzanine/second floor, I noticed that quite a few of the glass balls have slipped off their respective twigs and are resting precariously on top of the pine needles, waiting to drop like glittery bombs on unsuspecting undergrads. I can't wait to read about it in the Exponent: TERROR TANNENBAUM.

Speaking of the Exponent, they've had some doozies lately. I've even started using some of their articles as exactly what not to do when writing for my class. Even spellcheck is optional with these folks, it seems. We also have an editor who l o v e s melodrama. The "Dateline: 10 p.m. The unwitting had no idea DISASTER was about to strike" variety. My favorite faux pas is the caption under a photograph of a visiting lecturer, where he is described as "having a speak" with the engineering students. It's a phrase we now use in the office whenever we need to have a heart-to-heart with an erring student.

And Monday after classes, I went to Sgt. Preston's for the bestest beer and called Eric to see if he'd eaten yet. He was with Theresa and also the fab Ms. Goddard. They hadn't eaten and were up for a burger, so I worked on drafts until they showed up. Food was had. Poetry was discussed. Revision was griped about (note manuscripts on the table.) I've been getting comments I look very professorial with the grey and the beard. In a fashion-related aside, I bought the sweater on sale precisely because it looked so completely 1985. Plus, it's pseudo-Christmasesque, so it gives the appearance I'm in the Holiday mood. Rah.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Running with scissors, sleeping with pencils

Know where your writing instruments are at all times. Especially when one sleeps on an inflatable mattress. This is a very important thing. After working on various drafts for my final portfolios, I fell into blissful sleep, only to wake up at 2:30 in the morning, engulfed by the world's largest showercap. Thinking that somehow in my sleep that I had messed with the air nozzle, I turned on the electric airpump and went back to sleep. At 4:00 I was wallowing in a sea of flocked rubber. I found the leak, which is of course irreparable, and proceeded to empty the air out of the mattress. Rather than use the air pump again, as that would likely disturb the neighbors [fancy that--my neighbors possibly getting disturned by noise], so I lay on the mattress, sprawling to maximize coverage and pressure--a decidedly awkward thing to do. I worked a bit on reading and revising, then finally got tired of things and got things packed up for the car and drove to campus.

I've got two meetings today and then I get to watch my freshmen do their final presentations. I'm scooting out of town after class so I can sleep in a real bed, and then I'm back for my last official class of the semester on Wednesday. Yay me.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Ah, sometimes savvy street art gets it entirely right. This lovely bit is from Banksy.