Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Introducing... my new project: Aphex Twin transcriptions! [thanks Ryan :) ] I need to clean up my website, and/or redesign it. So disorganized. So many pages that need updating/link-fixing.

In other news, I had a whole hour theory lesson yesterday! It was awesome. He even busted out a recorder and I got a tonguing lesson. Although, when he was assigning some orchestration homework, he said "of course, you'll never hear it. That's the thing about composing: usually you only get to hear it in your head."

Also, my string quartet is now on my music page in its present entirety, if you care to have a listen. Remember, it's all at uniform dynamics because I'm lazy and don't want to re-Reason the whole thing. Comments? Please?

Monday, May 28, 2007


I FINISHED MY STRING QUARTET IN TIME!! In a last-minute effort to pull it together in time (after completely giving up for too many days) I went through all 9 variations x 4 instruments = 36 files (er—2 more files and it'll be good enough) multiple, multiple times, and finished the final variation. Took me all freaking day, but it's done in time to print off and hand in tomorrow. Well, it's missing the second-last variation, but I'm submitting it anyway. I almost gave up on it, and was going to submit my choral piece instead... but now I'll just submit them both :)

Here is the final variation (or, failing that link, just go here: It's the only one I wrote knowing anything about strings, which is why it involves double stops and artificial harmonics while none of my other variations do (and why some notes in my other variations are unplayable). Except, Lilypond typesets harmonics great but doesn't know how to render them in MIDI, so it just sounds like shrill piercingness in my audio file. Try to imagine it. That's all I can do, too, since I don't have a great idea of what harmonics sound like anyway. And, Reason has pretty decent strings samples, but also no harmonics. And no dynamics on the audio, I don't feel like fighting with Reason; Lilypond sapped all my energy. If you don't understand why Lilypond is such a headache, then you should be informed that it's purely programming that bears no resemblance whatsoever to a score; here are 8 measures of 1st Violin:

r2 f8\mf-.^\markup { \italic {pizz.} } r f-. r
f2\downbow\<^\markup { \italic {arco} } ges4\!\f( bes)
c8\downbow( bes) f-.\upbow r ges-.\mf^\markup { \italic {pizz.} } r aes-. r
aes4\f(^\markup { \italic {arco} } ges) f( ees)

ees8( f) aes-. r f-.\mf^\markup { \italic {pizz.} } r f-. r
aes2^\markup { \italic {arco} } f
r4 ges8-.^\markup { \italic {pizz.} } r r4 c8-. r
c-. r bes-. r r4 f8-. r

Now it is time to watch Corner Gas until I run out of episodes.
  • The new Chad Vader episode is possibly my favourite one yet. [Edit: my mistake, that's not the newest one; episode 8 is newly out.] Although... you should still watch the first 3. They're awesome. On a related note, episode 6 reminds me of PRIMUS: "I will go ahead and switch your long distance service for you." Ha, actually that whole phone conversation sounds like the one I had with PRIMUS... except they actually did switch mine over. Blasted jerks. They actually told me that it wasn't optional.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

shut down all the elevators, lock up all the knives

So I was battling with Lilypond again, and finally got frustrated enough to email them asking why their blasted documentation told me to do things that Lilypond says are impossible... and then two minutes later, it dawned on me that I've been using the documentation for a slightly older version of Lilypond than I have. Ahhhh[choir of angels singing]! Things are unsurprisingly much easier when you do things the program's designed to do.

I brought all my Tales From the Bean home on my last day of work (that's the Awfully Waffley version of Drawings From the Library), but my camera cord has gone the way of my entire acrylic paint collection (i.e. wayward), so I'll have to get a new one before I can post them. Or the guy I lent it to could return it. Either way. My "lending" stuff always turns into me buying a replacement.
I need a project. Something big that I can accomplish and feel proud of. Something other than vacuuming the house. Like, taking a pile of broken clam shells, some twine, five staples, assorted ivy leaves... and building an authentic Stradivarius out of them or something. Or something realistic but equally rewarding.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Happy AIR Day

HAPPY AIR DAY! It's also Trent Reznor's birthday. Actually, it's AIR day because it's Trent's birthday.

Q. What is this AIR thing anyway?
A. It stands for Art Is Resistance.

Q. What is it resisting?
A. Apathy in general. Anything you want, in particular. (That site is fairly new, not sure how great it will turn out, but it's a start, it's not unwieldily full of info that people are likely to skip over, and it links to some other good sites.)

It's been quite a while since I last posted... lots has changed since then.

1. Work: last Sunday was my last day at the Awfully Waffley. I left on good terms, surprisingly. Xetch was not so lucky, and actually got fired for no reason (is that even legal?). Mrs. Cuttlebort said the nicest thing anyone could possibly say to me: "I will miss you." I'll miss her too.

2. Analysis: last Saturday was my exam. I was the only one writing it, so I was in a room full of noisy little kids writing Rudiments. Thankfully they left after an hour. My exam envelope was roughly 35x thicker than theirs. The exam itself was pretty lengthy, and they had way too much harmonic analysis on it—the hard kind, too, where the chord changes every bloody eighth-note, with French sixths and all kinds of C.T. chords and what appeared to be cluster chords in a freaking Beethoven sonata. Oh Beethoven, my bane and my hero. Sonata analysis is time-consuming enough without having to symbolize the entire introduction. The exam wasn't overly tough, just tiiiime-consuming, and requiring fast and furious cogitation. I rushed like mad the entire 3 hours and, not only did I have NO time to look anything over at the end, I didn't have time to peruse the fugue and sonata in search of some 1-mark answers. I was sorely tempted to write "this question is dumb" on the 20th-c section, but left it blank instead. Goodbye, anticipated 90s.

3. ARCT: my half-hour Analysis lesson has morphed into three classes. In one half hour. Two of those being ARCT classes, and ARCT being "more work than a Master's but less than a PhD." One class is History 5, the single remaining theory exam I need to take in order to get an ARCT in voice performance. I'll do most of that on my own and maybe even get the exam out of the way in August. The ARCT courses are Orchestration I and Baroque Counterpoint & Analysis I. I am going to love Orchestration! Though, I know he doesn't teach during the summer, so I don't know what will happen with this... maybe wait until the fall, maybe put it off a year while I do the English interlude. But the ARCT is my life's purpose (found it!)... I don't want to put it off.

4. University: Officially starting in September. They've admitted; I've accepted; it's all settled. Which means, come September I will be working on two master's-level degrees simultaneously. Won't I be quite the educated one when all this is finished? I'm hoping I'll be far too busy to wallow in loneliness next year, though I could just as easily be far too busy wallowing and obsessing to do homework.

5. Composing: my first-ever choral piece only made it to quarter-final status in the competition I submitted it to, which is still something to be happy about I guess. I've got 2 variations to go on my string quartet, so I could realistically finish it by the June 1 deadline, though it will be far less polished than I should like. And god damn Lilypond; I spend hours writing the variation and then typing in the PERFECTLY GOOD code in Lilypond, and it spits out this, and I have to spend another hour going through the bloody thing and tweaking. This was by far the most extreme example, though, and at least it actually makes the score rather than saying "I can't do it! You must fix it first!" so I can see where it went awry.

6. Writing: having a few articles under my belt has translated into a raise to 15¢/word, which doesn't sound like much but is 50% more than last time. I only took on one article this time, which needs to have been approved by the interviewee, edited, and in to the magazine by the end of May. Oh, and yet another magazine rejected my poetry. I guess the world is just not ready for rhyme schemes involving mathematical symbols.

7. Random Facts:
  • I have a sudden and strange desire to play croquet

  • I need to take T'ai Chi, or Chai Tea, or something relaxing. I'm getting way too uptight and snappy and anxious and whatnot. Trying harder.

  • I'm rattling around in an empty house for a few days, and pretty much at loose ends as to what to do with myself.

  • the killer tortoise. titter titter... I was waiting for it to eat the cat's face off.

  • You know Harry Potter is big when it has its own entire tab on the Chapters website.
Megan Nell --


A poltergeist sent back in time to change the course of history forever

How will you be defined in the dictionary?

Friday, May 04, 2007

typing this instead of being at work

I called in sick for the first time today. Actually, I didn't call in, I made my miserable way to the store, looked green for a while, and then asked politely if I could go home. I didn't think I'd make the bus ride home. So glad for the day off, because the next two days will be grueling. How I'd love to request all weekends off for the next month. I already booked next weekend off for my exam, so maybe that will fix the glitch in the schedule that currently has me working EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND CLOSING SHIFT.

I've finally gotten around to playing with the Year Zero garageband files. Besides stripping away the vocals to varying degrees upon request by macless ETSers (strange... people don't like Trent's voice?) I made a very brief remix of My Violent Heart and a decent mashup of Zero Sum.But further fiddling must wait, because the VCM composers' competition is fast approaching its deadline.

I dyed my hair a little bit again, this time bright red (but just part of it) and yellow. Needs more yellow.

I got good news on the Composition/Theory deal, and will hopefully be starting Baroque and Orchestration (or more likely one of those) next fall, when I also start my Master's. Violin lessons for the summer are also a go, though Mr. Brown sometimes has derisive comments about the Susuki method going on next door during my lesson. Mr. Brown's so awesome.

But what's really awesome is that I snagged an all-access pass to the music festival on the day before the price doubled. So, for a mere $99 I get to go to lectures, masterclasses, and concerts every day for nearly 2 months! <sarcasm>Unfortunately</sarcasm>, this means I must quit my job, which I plan on doing at the beginning of June.

p.s. May the fourth be with you

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

impeaching season

Everyone should call this number right now and say that you support the impeachment of Bush/Cheney: Maybe do it twice. Or thrice. It's anonymous, you don't need to be American, and it's legit. Nancy Pelosi (Speaker for House of Representatives) is hosting a phone survey to gauge public support for it.

Reasons to Impeach the President