An Observation

I am rapidly discovering that if you spend most of your time listening to Ella Fitzgerald singing, then listening to most other singers will be a most unsatisfactory experience.

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Shello Chopping

I have been dabbling with the idea of buying a cello.  I have been taking lessons for a while now and renting a cello that actually sounds rather good.  The rental price applies to the purchase of a new cello, but only for the first year.  With this in mind, my teacher and I decided to head to the luthier’s to try some out and see what could be had within my budget.  Cello shopping.  Shello chopping!

When one goes to purchase a cello, there are usually practice rooms in which to try out various choices. I called the luthier ahead of time and let them know I would be in with my instructor to try cellos.  When we got there, the saleswoman brought in six to try.  None of them sounded better than my rental cello.  Even when my instructor played, they sounded screetchy and flat.

A note about the rental cello.  When I originally went to rent it, my instructor had informed me that the shop had an excellent rental cello, with a lovely, full-bodied sound.  She hoped I would be able to get this cello to rent, and indeed I did.  Nearly every week she comments about its pretty sound.  After having gone now and listened to many cellos, I can see what she means.

Since the first six were not worthy, we asked to see a few more in the next price bracket up.  These did not sound any better than the rental cello, and cost over a $1000 more.  So we asked to see some in the next price bracket.

Another side note.  About a week before this shopping trip, I had been to the same shop to purchase a violin for my daughter.  I told them my price range, and they brought in 8 for us to try.  One of the workers in the shop came in to play for us.  Two stood out, and one of those was obviously superior.  When we went to purchase it, however, it turned out the price was about $2000 more than I had intended to spend.  We sent that one back and got the second choice, which was in our price range.

I bring this story up because while cello shopping, something similar occurred.  The saleswoman brought in three cellos in the price category that was at the top of what I could spend (and this was more than what I really wanted to spend, but I figured it would not hurt to hear them).  These cellos were far superior to the previous lot, and one Czechoslovakian cello shone above all.  It had a full, round, gorgeous sound.  When I picked it up to play, I felt a welling of emotion through my body and my chest.  It reminded me of a dressage horse, eloquent and beautiful.  Even my playing sounded lovely on this cello.  I decided to take it home for a week when it turned out the price was $1000 more than I had told them I could spend.  I wondered then, whether this was their m.o., to bring in a batch of instruments with one far superior to the others in the hope that an unwitting buyer would fall so in love, that money be damned, they would buy the instrument.  I’m not so easily swayed, and my budget is my budget because I don’t have any more to spend, and I don’t use credit.  I decided to take the gorgeous thing home, but I knew the visit would be temporary.

Another big part of the trip entailed trying various bows.  It was not until that point that I realized how much a difference a good bow makes when playing a cello.  The rental bow I have is a piece of crap.  It is a lot of work to balance properly and requires effort to run along the strings.  I tried at least a dozen bows that day and discovered how much easier it is to play with a decent bow.  I could feel the difference.  It was amazing.  And the better bows sounded better.  Even I, rough and new, didn’t sound half bad with a good bow.  I found the bow that best matched the lovely Czechoslovakian cello and arranged to take them home.

During the week, I played both the Czech cello and my rental. I played my rental with the nice bow and while it sounded better than the rental bow, the good bow was not the best match for my rental cello (bows sound different on different cellos, so one has to find a good pair).  I loved the beautiful sounds I made on the Czech cello.  However, I realized that it was outside my price range.  And having listened to a lot of cellos, I saw that my little rental actually did sound pretty good.  I decided I would try to find my rental a good bow partner and keep her for a while.  In the long run, I might spend a bit more, but for now, the cello I have does just fine.  If I ever get to the point where my playing wouldn’t make people want to hide under a rock, I will look again at spending more money, and who knows?  Maybe the Czech cello will still be there, waiting for me.  I can dream.

Hypnotized

I have a cold and my brain is fuzzy. I sat down here thinking there was something I wanted to write, but now I’m here and all I can think about is sleep.  There is a lulling buzz in the front of my skull.  It’s the viruses doing their little dance trying to take over my mind.  Dan is listening to some choral music that is much too monotonous.  My brain slips into its rolls and waves, the rhythms begging it only to sleep.

We got a new puppy.  Her name is Ava.  She is adorable.  Eat, potty, play, sleep.  Eat, potty, play sleep.  She’s rhythmical too.  Here is her photo:

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Gee thanks, Benson

The Benson Hotel in Portland, Oregon has decided to stop playing live music.  They gave the musicians who had been playing there for years one day notice.  Not long before they had installed a flat-screen television in the bar.  I guess sports or Fox News is preferable to any sort of culture.  Nothing like treating the people well who worked for you for years.  You never comped meals or parking, I guess there actions should not come as a surprise.

We still do not have the internets.  We are expecting the installation Friday.  I am really looking forward to having the internet at home.  I have so much stuff to post here, plus TONS of work to complete for my scholarship application to Columbia and Milla’s application to the Waldorf School here.  I have been hanging out at Starbucks, starting the process, figuring out what information is needed, heading back home, finding the information in all the boxes of crap, making another trip down, and on and on, so it goes.  The deadline is Saturday at midnight, so the internets better be hooked up Friday or I’m screwed, that’s just all there is to it.  I’ve been trying to get all the stuff together, but certain pages will not let you access them until you have entered information on the previous page.  So I gather that info, enter it, am allowed access to the next page, only to discover I need another 20 years’ worth of crap.  So much fun.  Um, not really.  I also have a bunch of blog posts, and a photo journal from our trip to post, but those things will have to happen after the financial aid apps are done.  I guess my February work is cut out for me.

Update:  So my boyfriend spoke to one of the lead musicians today.  It turns out that while the Benson decision to dump the musicians with one day’s notice was poorly timed, their reasons came from critical money problems.  The hotel has operated at 20 percent and below capacity all year.  Their bar costs more to operate than it brings in.  They are suffering economically.  To cut a $400 a night operation seemed a necessity.  Plus they are in talks to bring the musicians back as soon as they can afford to.  I get it–they couldn’t afford it.  I just wish they would have given the players the two weeks’ notice they were contractually obligated to supply.

Ginormous Headache

My head hurts like nobody’s business, right at the base of my skull in the back.  I slept wrong.  I wear this eye pillow.  It was cockeyed, plus my regular down pillow had slipped under my shoulders, so I awoke basically balanced on this little lump of eye pillow and my skull screaming in pain.  Every time I turn my head, I see white light and feel like vomiting.  The only thing that alleviates the pain is to stab my thumb or a finger deep into the tight muscle.  Unfortunately because of the angle, my arm cannot twist that direction very well.  I’ve tried stretching my neck to the front and back, left and right, to no avail.  This is so much fun.  I think I’m going to have to try an NSAID, and I generally avoid taking medications for such things.  Only for this, I don’t care.  It hurts that much.

I don’t know why I”m blogging about this.  It’s kind of a ridiculous subject.  But I told myself I would write some blurb every morning and all I can think about right now is this headache and Vantucky.  I know.  It’s silly.  There is a town next to Portland called Vancouver.  Portlanders call it Vantucky.  The reasons for this are self-evident.  Boyfriend is going to Vantucky this morning and he called me on the way. For some reason, the word Vantucky is stuck in my head, along with the headache, and the lyrics to Judy Garland singing I’m Always Chasing Rainbows.  It’s quite a combination, I can assure you.  The song is getting annoying.  It’s been crawling around in my head, worming its way through the neurons for days now.  I’m ready to be rid of it.  I will have to listen to something else over and over and over in an effort to make it go away.  Then that song might get stuck, but at least it will be a different song.  Last week it was Cape Verdean Blues.  I did not mind that song being in my head.  It flittered around, showing up periodically.  I would hum bars of it here and there.  It did not sit insiduously on one line for hours like the chasing rainbows number.  No.  It was a pleasant visitor.  Chasing rainbows is like a houseguest who has overstayed her welcome, leaving empty dishes around the house with food stuck in them and her underwear in the bathroom with the crotch up.  I want her to leave me.

I’m off to take drugs to try to obliterate this headache, then I need to take my baby to school.  Hopefully by the time I return home the drugs will have kicked in and this pain will have been alleviated.  If not, I’ll poke a nail in my hand.  It would probably feel better than this wretched headache.

little bits

I’m in the middle of so many books.  About ten I think.  This non-sequitur comes from nowhere, as non-sequiturs are apt to do, the sort of thought that has probably been floating in his brain for a bit and is finally expressed seemingly out of the ether.  I am in the middle of so many books too, I tell him.  Later I think that I would have finished these books, but I’ve been fucking instead.  Quite a lot actually.  I could have said that. He would have chuckled.  He would have known what I meant.  But that response only came just a bit ago when I was reading one of the aforementioned books.  Actually, this is a new one.  I’m already in the middle of how many books?  Maybe five or six instead of ten.  Then I found one of my favorites yesterday while sorting through boxes, one I have been wanting to read lately, one I went searching for a few weeks ago and did not find.  So this book moves to the top of the pile in the bathroom and will go with me when I’m a passenger in the car with him or have to go somewhere and wait.  I will finish it quickly because it has been tickling my brain begging me to read it again.  In fact I had to stop myself from buying another copy because I knew this one was nearby.  I just had to search further into the boxes.  And I did that.

I do not like packing.  I do not like moving.  It’s worse this time because I already did it once last month and it lasted several weeks.  I’m down on stuff, but these are things I did not finish or sort or have to decide whether they go to Hawaii or storage for another country I hope.  I have to pack so things can be shipped without breaking.  So far this hasn’t been too terribly difficult because the belongings are not breakable.  My friend, Noelle, helped me with breakable things at the old house, so I’m hoping not packing breakable things will remain not too terribly difficult.

Okay, I know he got his own post a few days back, but Chet Baker…baby.  I’m listening to Chet Baker in Paris.  I’m so in love with that voice.  Man says Chet made the ladies’ panties wet.  You know, I can see it.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), heroin and cocaine addiction isn’t exactly attractive, so I don’t think he would have done much for my panties, but still.  The man can sing and blow a horn.  Man told me a joke that goes What does a trumpet player use for birth control?  His personality.  This may be true, unless one is Chet Baker.  He could have the worst personality and that voice and face would go a long way to alleviating any personality flaws…like drug addiction for instance.

Well time to go investigate iphones.  Yes, I know.  How cliche’ is that to go and get an iphone right when they come out?  I don’t care.  My contract is up with Sprint and my phone is broken, so I’m going to get an iphone to go with my ipod and macbook.  Then I can write all of them without capital letters on the fronts of their names.  The computing world’s version of e.e. cummings.  Brilliant.