Mid-Week Celebrations!

This blog is in the middle of it’s third week of life!  I think that is as good of an introduction as any to, you guessed it, this Wednesday’s round of little successes!

Without further ado, let the celebrations begin!

1. Tonight, one of my friends that I had not spent time with in at least a month was like, “Let’s get dinner together!” I agreed!

2. While that last celebration is exciting enough, the same friend later bought me SOUR PATCH KIDS, which I adore.  They were not simply Sour Patch Kids but the Watermelon flavor of Sour Patch Kids!

3. I have decided to begin working on the second Brahms violin sonata!

4. On a related note (yay pun!) my composition project for this month will be the first movement of a string quartet!

5. Even though I was drenched by it yesterday, it has been raining frequently around here and I love the sound of rain!

6. This blog now has 11 followers! Thank you all for deciding it is worth getting updates from on a daily basis!

Those are my middle-of-the-week celebrations.  Leave a comment with your own middle-of-the-week celebrations so that we can all revel in our accomplishments together!

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Be Prepared

Today, I was unprepared when asked to do something.

My mother asked me to please go outside and check to make sure that the windows on our car were rolled up.  Curiously, she apologized for asking me to do this.  Wondering about the apology but not worried about it, I agreed.

Upon opening the front door to our house, I understood.

It was raining.  Not any sort of mild-mannered, gentle-as-you-please sort of rain, either. The sky was dumping buckets of raindrops that were more like giant rain blob monsters.

After scanning the environment for a path that would minimize my exposure to the rain and deciding that such a thing did not exist, I took a deep breath, and dashed outside.  I ran across the yard and around the car, running my hands along the edge of the windows to make sure they were well and truly rolled up all the way, then sprinted back to the front door and into the house.

All of this took less than a minute.  Time does not matter much to giant rain blob monsters though, and this translated into me being drenched.  My clothes were so soaked I had to change them before sitting down on the gloriously dry furniture, and my hair was dripping for several minutes.

Why didn’t I use an umbrella, you ask? I didn’t because I-You see, I didn’t-oh phooey.  I’m human that’s why, and the adrenaline rush of, “I can out race giant rain blob monsters” convinced me I was a superhero.  I completely forgot umbrellas were an option.

I hope you’re happy, weaseling that answer out of me like that.

Tomorrow: I will give you an update on this month’s composition project and which Brahms’ violin sonata I have decided to work on.

Until then, happy failing!

It’s a Monday Alright

Today, I failed to stay awake for most of the day.

I woke up at 4:00 a.m. because I had to meet some coworkers for a carpool at 5:00 a.m.  I succeeded in waking up and making it to the meeting spot on time, but an odd series of miscommunications conspired and resulted in me getting a surprise day off work when the driver failed to show for the carpool.

What did I do when I went home? I fell asleep and slept until noon, which was about six hours.  I then woke up, and ran an errand that took about an hour.  Upon my return, I found all my fellow familial nightowls napping, and fell asleep again for another three hours.

Today, I failed to do much of anything at all.  However, since this is an unusual amount of sleeping on my part, I will interpret it as my body obviously needing rest.  I have felt alert and awake since 4:00 p.m., which is nice.

An update on The Search For A Piece To Play.  I am planning on continuing my work on Haydn’s Concerto in C major for violin.  I say continue because I spent my last semester of school learning the first movement of it. However, I also know myself well enough that if I do not start a new piece as well, I will get bored when I reach a plateau and stop working on anything for awhile.  Currently, I do not have a new piece, but I am planning on choosing on of Brahm’s violin sonatas.  At their most powerful moments, they are so beautiful I think, “This is it.  There is nothing else to live for.  I have heard the most beautiful music that will ever be written.  Why am I trying to write my own music again? I have no idea.”  Then, I listen to them again. So of course, my only response to these pieces is to choose one to butcher right now, save the rest for later, and continue to perfect them (along with all the other music I know) for the rest of my life.

*sigh* I guess this is why I music.  There are too many beautiful pieces to learn and so much to attempt to write down, why wouldn’t I let my life be consumed by my pursuit of them?

I have also been investigating music programs to audition/apply for.  So far, I have not used effective search terms, as I have been getting results dealing with, “How to Prepare for Auditions,” or listings for job openings in symphonies.  I shall continue working on this and let everyone know when I find an audition to practice towards.

To recap, here is a list of the pieces referenced in this week’s post:

Haydn’s Concerto in C major

Brahms violin sonatas No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3

I love the concerto because it is energetic and does not take itself too seriously.  The sonatas, as I mentioned before, are gorgeous.  There are multiple recordings of each piece on youtube, so go take a listen.  If you have cleaning to do that will take an 30 minutes-1 hour, pick one of these, youtube it, and have it playing in the background.

That’s all from me for today.  Until tomorrow, happy failing!

An Electrifying Tail

Hello followers!

Unfortunately, I did not fail in any inspiring or spectacular way today.  So, I am going to have to do something that I did not plan on doing. I shall talk about a past failure.

A few weeks ago, I went to the equine therapy center (that place I volunteer as a sidewalker at) for the first time. While I was there, my sister, who interned at the center this past spring, was asked to “catch some horses.” Catching horses refers to putting a bridle and reins on a horse, then leading them to the stables.

One of the horses she was asked to catch was Dreamer, who is her favorite horse. However, he was in a paddock that was partitioned off by an electric fence.  There are two wires that form this electric fence, and to “open the gate” in it, you have to grasp these plastic handles on each wire and unhook them from a pole. Once a person and/or horse has gone through the gate, you rehook the ends of the wires (which, of course, are made of metal to keep the current going), and the gate is closed with the current complete.

That’s how it’s supposed to work, anyway.  When I tried to rehook the ends of the wires, I found that the plastic handles did not quite give me enough control over the metal hooks.  I kept missing the space where the hooks needed to be placed.

So, without thinking, I adjusted the metal hook with my bare hand in order to get it back into place.

It worked.  But, I also had these thoughts…

1 millisecond before touching the hook-“I probably shouldn’t be doing this.”

1 second after touching the hook-“Oh, that’s right, I shouldn’t be doing this because this is an electric fence.”

2 seconds after touching the hook-“I can feel the current, wow it feels thrummy.”

3 seconds after touching the hook-I feel a soft WHUMP as the current went through me and into the ground. I also let go of the wire.

And then guys, after the WUMP, my ankle……….twitched.

And that was the entirety of my reaction. I didn’t feel or receive a painful shock.  I have always had unusual luck/responses to electricity, though, so that was not as surprising to me as it has been to the people I have told.

That story was also an elaborate setup for a recent failure that my mentor told me about.  I was lucky compared to the squirrel that was on his property.

What happened? In his words, “We had a squirrel who met a shocking end on our power pole.”

You read that correctly, my mentor and his wife had a squirrel die on their property because it electrocuted itself. They even had to have the city come out to fix the situation.

I, of course, could only point out that it was a stunning conclusion to a current event.  Only one jolt and that squirrel went off the grid for good.

I warned you about the puns.

What is the point of these failures? You should turn on the AC in the summer, but not in that way.  A slightly more serious interpretation is this: Remember that even when you think something you have done registers as a particularly stupid failure, there is always someone else out there who has failed in a more stupid fashion than you did.  So, you should do a happy dance to celebrate not being them.

Until tomorrow, happy failing!

Have Courage

Today, I failed to take the easy way out.

Everyone is faced with this scenario at some point or another: you are going up against a huge challenge and to succeed against it, you must overcome a personal weakness or disappointment.

For me, the challenge has taken the guise of trusting a close friend.  You know the story, a friend inadvertently does something that you do not know how to interpret or misinterpret, but the action causes disappointment or hurt.  To work through those feelings, you have to directly address the issue in order to fully understand what happened and why it happened.

However, that is never easy.  Having an open conversation about how someone has disappointed you is always difficult, especially when that person is a friend who does not want to hurt you for the world.  The easy way out is to ignore it and let it grow, resulting in a resentment or bitterness that rots the friendship.  So while it’s the easy way out of an awkward situation, it’s also a permanent way out of a friendship.

I am also going to acknowledge here that there are times when you need to give yourself distance from an emotionally charged event in order to work through it, but that is different than not dealing with the event at all.

So today, instead of taking the easy way out, I began the conversation that will allow me to move past a recent disappointment. I have chosen to trust my friend and the integrity of the friendship. I am choosing to trust that my friend considers our friendship worth maintaining, even if it means a challenging conversation. I know I do, and I strongly suspect they do as well.

A failure that builds trust, I think, is a failure worth talking about.

Until tomorrow, happy failing!

Freshly Failed Friday!

Today, I failed at winning a game of cards with my teammate.  We were playing a game called Hand and Foot, which I will not bother trying to explain here, but suffice it to say that we were slaughtered.  The opposing team had around 20,000 points, and we barely broke 10,000 points.

I also failed several times at my job yesterday, but those fails are not quite noteworthy.  Most of them were things like not realizing I was folding napkins with the seams facing outward and not understanding the jargon for the work, but those are okay.  I was shown how to do things, and whenever something confused me, I asked about it.  It helped, of course, that while there were several accidents where a glass or dish was dropped and shattered, I did not end up breaking anything. While I know that I could always accidentally drop something and break it, it was a relief to not have to face that failure on my first day of work.  Overall, I think my first day went about as well as any first day of work could go.  It was confusing, but I learned a lot about what was expected of me and how to do the job.  I am excited to be going back for another shift at the beginning of this coming week and learn even more things!

I have a bit of an update for everyone on the contour of this blog.  It’s the end of the second week which means the beginning of the third week happens tomorrow! (“Thank you Captain Obvious” Why, you’re welcome Lieutenant Sarcasm 😉 Either at the end of week 3 or the beginning of week 4, I will be posting the first of many awful MIDI recordings.  It will be of the piece I am working on.  No spoilers here (read: has not started the piece, yet), but within a week I will have something I’ve written for you to listen to, comment on, and go, “Yep, this would make more sense to the listener if……”

I do not know if I will have a monthly composition yet.  I think my goal is going to be to complete a rough draft of a 5-10 minute piece every two months.  Unfortunately, I do not have instantly accessible live players to perform/read these pieces, so I cannot guarantee how quickly, if at all, I will be able to post live recordings.  We’ll see how that works out, though.

(By the way, I published this post at 11:57 because otherwise I would have failed to publish something on this fine Friday.  Now, I’m updating it by finishing it.  I know, that’s cheating, but it was fun)

I am still deciding on what pieces to work on violin-wise, but I will either link to performances of the pieces I am considering or stumble upon when searching for music to play, or I will say, “Youtube this piece, it’s worth a listen.”  For whatever I am practicing, I will give an update at least once a week on either how much I am struggling with the piece and/or what accomplishments I have had with whatever I am playing. I am also going to feature old dead composers and maybe still living composers and their work on this website, by writing about their styles, giving short bios about their lives, and talking about my favorite pieces by them, once every two weeks.  On non-composer weeks, I will talk about an album or instrumental/vocal work I’ve listened to that I either liked or think others will enjoy.

I am going to try to make this as accessible as possible to new musicians (which includes people who think of themselves as the audience, because if you can carry a tune or remember how your favorite song sounds in your head without actually listening to it, you have the capacity to further develop those and acquire more musical skills-meaning, I consider you to be a musician) as well as more experienced ones, so I will define words that people might not know.  I will also attempt to not be too wordy (good luck to me on that, right?).

At some point, I will also incorporate some other projects into this blog, but there is another, more important, note.  I will continue to feature fine fails not only in the musical arena, but in all the other aspects of life as I have been doing for the past two weeks.  Meaning, if I kill the dryer in a week, you will hear about it and not just about how I wanted to break my violin because I became impatient with an etude (etude: a short musical piece for developing a particular technical skill). While that does occasionally happen, the feeling lasts for only a few seconds before I promptly apologize to my violin for even thinking such a thought.

This blog is starting to get some structure. I like it!  Until tomorrow, happy failing!

Gratitude

While on Wednesdays, there will be mid-week celebrations, Thursdays will be the time for expressing gratitude. We will return to failing on Fridays.

This week, my gratitude is extended to gel inserts for shoes.

I have flat feet, which means that my feet have no natural arch to them.  While I have been told that a few ballet classes could strengthen the muscles in my feet and thus cause them to develop an arch, I am not uninhibited or dedicated enough to pursue any form of dancing, even if it is for the reason of Health Benefits.

Enter the saving grace of gel inserts.  These marvelous things can be put into your shoes in place of or in addition to the sole of the shoe, to give you as much or as little arch as you need.  However, they can be used as a source of fancy foot comfort to help prevent/ease non-arch related issues.

My gratitude for these inserts has only been amplified by the experience of working for 8.5 hours today.  I was on my feet all day, which is no surprise.  However, the shoes required for my work uniform do not have an arch in them.  I was unable to hack the gel inserts down to my proper shoe size before going to work.  This meant, I had to traipse around in archless glory.

To give you an idea of how the pain from this spread, by the end of my shift, everything from my lower back down was hurting.  My feet were stinging even when I was standing still.  The carpool drive home took an hour, and even though I did not put any pressure or move my feet (except for a few small fidgets), the stinging pain did not fade away completely until hours later.

I’m lucky, though, because this is pretty much the experience I have every time I go to a water park.  I was mentally prepared for this exercise in flat-footed freedom, even though it would have been nice not to go through it.

However, my appreciation for gel inserts that magically prevent feet from hurting and make sure proper posture can be maintained in archless shoes has only increased.

And that, my friends, is something I am grateful for.

Mid-Week Celebrations!

After a week of failing, we once more return to Wednesday, and everyone knows what Wednesday is about.

Yep, it’s time to celebrate the little successes of the week!

1. This is an encore one, but I now have a job!  My first paid working experience will happen tomorrow! I will also point out that last Wednesday, I was celebrating the world not ending as I went through the application process.  How about that for progress?

2. My parents, being the generous sort of people they are, bought me my first work outfit!  As a bonus, I look pretty spiffy in said outfit!

3. Today, our “grumbly old man” dog, Bandit, jumped up onto my lap and demanded ear scratches and belly rubs! (Normally, I have to do the pet owner thing of, “Come here, Bandit, come here boy! There’s a good doggy…no don’t leave! Don’t walk away!” or the, “I love you very much.” *clings to squirming dog that is trying to escape*)

4. To prevent matters of jealousy, I must also announce that our “wildflower” dog, Daisy, has cuddled with me today, although somewhat more begrudgingly.

5. I am having dinner with my mentor tomorrow! I am sure one day I will blog about him more extensively, but let’s leave it at out of all the people I know and have ever known HE IS MY FAVORITE PERSON after my sister, WHO IS MY REAL FAVORITE PERSON (although we have a sibling agreement that I can refer to my mentor as my favorite person without having to explain the situation).  Anyway, I haven’t seen him in a while SO THIS IS EXCITING! (all caps makes my enthusiasm more convincing, right? Thought so)

6. Today, I had my first cranberry vanilla rootbeer, from Sonic, of the summer.  I also drink this fine specimen of a beverage in the autumn, winter, and spring, but I thought it was worth sharing anyway. If you like rootbeer and were born with a dash of derring-do, go ahead and try it the next time you go there.  If you don’t have a Sonic near you, cry.

7. This blog now has SIX FOLLOWERS.  Some of you have been following for days, and others have been following for…more days.  I find this exciting, as it means there are at least six people out there interested in what I have to ramble on about.  This is nice, as everyone knows there is a fine line between pretending to talk about yourself to others and actually talking about yourself to others. That line is insanity. Thanks for keeping me sane and not leaving me to blab into the void!

Those are my middle-of-the-week celebrations.  Leave a comment with your own middle-of-the-week celebrations so that we can all revel in our accomplishments together!

I’m Cheating Today

As you might have read recently, I am cheating today.  Today’s post will be short.

Today, I failed at remaining unemployed.

After a year of applying at various places and failing to get hired,I I finally have a job!

The job is with a temp agency.  I’ll be doing stuff like serving food at banquets and housekeeping work in hotels whenever there is a shift available.  While it might not be full-time work and it is entry level job, that doesn’t matter.  Why? Because it is mine and I am proud and excited to finally have a place to work at! (so excited, in fact, that any attempt at proper sentence structure has become irrelevant)

Everyone has to start somewhere, and I finally have my start!

WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In order to not turn today into tomorrow’s post with having only celebratory blog-fire, I will mention one other thing.

I continue to fail at the next chapter of the ear training app. *sigh* One day, though, I will instead be failing at the next chapter.

Until tomorrow, happy failing!

“His Reindeer Flies Sideways…”

More on that title in a minute.

I would like to jump straight into today’s failure.

Today, I failed to receive my diploma.

This is not due to any incomplete requirements or failed courses.  No, the reason for this failure can be summed up in one word.

Books.

Now, to begin all this explaining I have to do, I must tell you about one of the policies of the university I graduated from.  At my former college, if a student had a fine, fee, or outstanding balance on their university account, a hold was placed upon it.  A hold could prevent the student from doing fun stuff such as registering for next semester’s classes or deferring their book purchases to their account.  In the case of graduating students, a hold would mean that they would not receive their diploma until the hold was removed.

Ah, you’re catching on.  Very good!

My hold was placed on my account for a different reason.  Earlier in the semester, I had checked out 8 books from the library.  They were due on….today! June 8th! (8 books on the 8th, anyone else feeling the Twilight Zone vibe here?) However, the university felt I could not be trusted to return those books by the due date, and so a hold was placed on my account.  Normally, the diplomas are mailed out four weeks after the graduation ceremonies.  That fourth week began today.  I failed to receive my diploma today because hold or not, I wanted as much opportunity to finish reading those books as I could get if I decided to finish them.

Yes, you read that correctly.  I chose to have the option of reading books I had checked out from my university’s library over my diploma being mailed out at the same time as the rest of the diplomas. 

I have claimed to be many things over the course of my life.  Normal has not been among those many things.

Some of you might already know what the title of this post references.  I did not know until I googled it a few minutes ago, but someone created lyrics about reindeer to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance.” There’s a nice little flash animation posted here: http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/reindeer. I don’t know if it’s the original or not, but it’s the first hit I had on the googlin’ track.

However, the lyrics I heard were slightly adjusted from that version. The version I was serenaded with went, “His reindeer flies sideways, your reindeer flies upside down.  Her reindeer flies backwards. My reindeer is dead! Bom bom bom.”

The lyrics for both versions are almost the same.  I am making a big deal out of the version I know because while it is not life changing or anything, the first time I heard it was at my graduation ceremony.  The person I was standing next to began singing as soon as we reached our seats and were standing in front of them while waiting for the rest of the graduates to file in.  Meaning, I heard this little ditty performed repeatedly for a solid 20 minutes.  It is now burned into my memory.

Pity me.

Nevermind, don’t do that. Instead, take good care of your reindeer.

There is not much left to say, except that for those concerned, yes, I did turn in all the books today.  The hold is now removed.  The failure of not receiving my diploma today will be erased when it arrives at some point within the next week or so.

Until tomorrow, happy failing!