25 January 2007

gasp for air

I will return to blogging. I swear. I just... need time to adjust to this semester's schedule. In the meantime, a photo I took over break.

And thank you for the item off my wish list. Unexpected but greatly appreciated. A good choice amongst many, and one that ultimately ties into a larger story.

To be continued...

09 January 2007

scraps of the past

I took out my scrapbook to tape in some tickets from Europe, and decided for the first time in a long time to go back and look through the earliest pages. Flipping too far back, I discovered that the notebook had originally been one of the journals in which I was supposed to free-write at the beginning of some class during my freshman year of high school. The first entry read:

The heavens shrieked as angels fell, their power and goodness trickling into golden pools of blood until it spilled from their maimed wings. Some became human, elves, ogres, and all strove to retrieve the gold, hoarding and squabbling 'til the gods themselves were disgusted.

The sky broke open, pouring forth fury and tears. Clouds became windswept deserts and the stars dimmed and fell, setting heaven afire. The inferno raged over land and sea, neither [random God] could halt the fire's approach and destruction nor [random Goddess] cool its flames. Her ice melted, raining heartbroken shadows over the land, and for the first time Earth saw night.

I know I was a weird teenager. But this? What exactly prompted this? I'm a bit relieved to be too busy to read the rest of this notebook.

my contributions to Belgium

include being one of the over 200 million passengers who traveled by rail last year, setting a historic record, and wearing out the Brussels sewer system (only a tiny bit), which is going to take a century to replace.

08 January 2007

an afternoon of art

Anselm Kiefer, Buch mit FlügelnI am awed. I am ashamed I'd never heard of him before. I am officially a fan of Anselm Kiefer. I caught Heaven and Earth at SFMOMA during its last weeks, and although I had to take in most of the paintings from the benches to rest my leg, the works were mostly of monumental enough size, savagery in stroke and texture, and power and yet complexity of message to reach me no matter where I was standing. Born in Germany in the final months of World War II, Kiefer fashions works that confront/question/challenge/reshape not only his country's psychological and spritual response to the war, but also raise existential questions about religion, redemption, recovery, and humanity's place in the cosmos. His massive paintings of deserted grandiose manmade spaces, apocalyptic landscapes and forests, and visions of hope and despair charge the viewing experience with emotion and questions. It is easy to ignore even brilliant art, but impossible to ignore his, tempting to believe the statement by a critic that he "melted a frozen curse on German civilization." His art is the work of a thinker and an introvert deeply philosophically involved with humanity, fascinated by the past and the future, heaven and earth, at once horrifying and beautiful.

Another unlikely memorable work was a film by British artist Phil Collins, dünya dinlemiyor ("the world won't listen"). Collins postered Istanbul calling the misfits, the disgruntled, anyone at all to perform karaoke covers of The Smiths songs for the camera. The entrance to the exhibit was plastered with these posters in all their variations, the only one in English blaring "KILL THE DJ." Watching these sincere, poignant, often painfully embarrassing performances, I had difficultly chosing a reaction -- should I feel closer to the Turkish after hearing them belt out these English songs by heart and discovering an unexpected cultural commonality, or should I be disturbed as usual by the cultural imperialism of the West?

Afterwards Doris took me out to dinner at an Indian restaurant and I took her out to dessert at the Canvas Gallery. It was wonderful to reconnect after two years and to share the turns our lives have taken. I'm starting to realize that, despite having been out of college for a year, I'm only now learning what it's like to be a graduate student, to connect and be able to talk about it, and to realize that in a sense, whether we're working in music or medicine, the challenges we face have a common thread. A study found that best friends tend to only stay best friends as long as they share similar problems. Chicken or the egg -- my friends and I continue to share problems even as those problems change. To ramble more, I'm struck by the balance my friends have found between pursuing crazy dreams around the globe and taking on serious long-term programs. So many are in doctoral programs already; everything that's happened is wonderful and puzzling and contradictory and logical.

Scanning through my Google alerts for "carillon," I got a surreal surprise from the following excerpt (having skipped over the headline, which contained important info): "They have also started advertising more in The Carillon, the U of R student newspaper. Judging by the first half of the season, it just might be working."

I wondered if at any time in the history of the universe I would have missed a student publication at the UR named after my obsession, but of course the article was about the University of Regina in Saskatchewan. Whew.

is it a photo anymore?

victorian triangles
Most of my photos these days are Photoshopped. It's kind of an addiction. And I feel a tiny bit guilty about it, wondering if the photos are really photos anymore. Wasn't photography supposed to be Truth?

the cottage life

Thai dinner in Berkeley with Adrien, Devon, Sol, and Ingrid. Adrien and Devon have the coziest woodsy cottages right in the heart of the city, and fed me homemade carrot cake and mouthwatering toffee. This is the world I wanted! Why am I so far away and the friends from Yale who aren't from the Bay Area here? I should have gone into plant bio or chem. That's gotta be the only answer.

06 January 2007


If only, only, only I could see the Coliseum come down on 20 January in the Have. It was one of the best, if most infuriating, structures ever for us to navigate, a sign of its poorly executed Modernist/Brutalist design and yet also of what made it an intriguing challenge. The hidden tunnel system was fascinating as well. If I get around to it, I'll post a few photos. Here's one from my site:

New Haven Coliseum

the most ridiculous and awesome campaign ever

Everyone who reads this blog is going to be reminded periodically until voting ends to muddle your way through the Flemish-language pages of Monumentenstrijd (Monuments Contest) to cast your vote for funding to restore the clockwork of St. Rombout's Tower and... to install a golden clock face. The Germans destroyed the clock mechanism during the war, and it's none other than the clock- and bell-maker etc. around the corner from where I lived last year, Luc Michiels (to whom I gave some anonymously-caused work fixing the practice consoles when I first started to learn van Noordt's Sonate voor cimbalo...shhh!), who's partnering with an architect on this project. I know it sounds ridiculous to coat a tremendous mechanism in gold, but IIRC, Antwerp's clock faces are golden. Nothing wrong with a little materialism once in a while (especially in Flanders, as our lavender ice cream friend Jean might add...)

Voting commences on 15 January. It was none other than my former landlord who emailed me (for the first time) a link to the campaign -- how sweet! Elvo sent me articles a couple months ago; I was clearly fated never to fully part from St. Romboutstoren. If you can read Dutch or a Germanic language, enjoy this brief article about the campaign.

Incidentally I opened my window this morning and the sound of several kinds of birds chirping floated in with the sound of leaves rustling. Why can't I wake up to this sound every morning?

05 January 2007


In redesigning the Eastman Organ Department's website, I've been running several memory-guzzling programs at once. Furthermore, it's really just time for a reformat, but I sure as hell don't have the time to back up everything now. So I've been figuring this whole time that I could just hop on over to one of the Bay Area Apple stores to upgrade my RAM. But I didn't bother to price 1 GB until now: $200. My entire year of income from this bizarrely-priced job would barely pay. Goodbye dreams of a better performing system!

Go, Dreamweaver and Photoshop and multiple test browsers and everything else, go! go! go! Ugh. I could buy a third-party memory upgrade. Pooh.

04 January 2007

a woman's place is in the house, the senate, and the oval office

For all the American self-righteous talk about eradicating evil in the rest of the world, we're still beat in certain categories by, for example, North Korea, Afghanistan, and Iraq in the number of women in the national legislature. Go Nancy Pelosi! And go California!

03 January 2007

The Warners' Architecture in Rochester

hird Monroe County Court HouseCall me an architecture geek. Go ahead, do it. I can't help it if I'm super excited by this page about the architect whose work I first noticed in the form of an English church at at the end of Park Avenue during on of my Thanksgiving bike tours. The work of the Warners spans a delightful range of American architectural styles of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and J. Foster Warner even collaborated with McKim, Mead & White at least twice, once on the George Eastman House. How is it that I've been to the Eastman House twice and never been informed of the architects? Rochester needs to do a better job promoting its architectural heritage. The Warners are also responsible for old Sibley's, the Rochester Savings Banks that apparently is well worth entering, the city hall, Downtown Presbyterian with its Tiffany windows and out-of-place Italianate towers...

It's good to have reasons to look forward to returning to Rochacha.

02 January 2007

a sampling of the blinding briliance that is the two-headed monster

Originally uploaded by carillonista.
Via text message:

Head 1: HI
Head 2: Is this Ingrid, Brandy, or Ingrid's dark side?
Head 1: BYE.
Head 2: BYE.
Head 2 (after long pause): RETARD.
Head 2: OH so you're just like our genius friend ******. SORRY.
Head 1: This friendship is OVER.
Head 2: BYE.

't Stad

Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal Antwerpen
Originally uploaded by carillonista.
People take such good care of me!

Elvo: "Early December, when I told my mother about your operation, her reaction was: 'Maybe we should send a wrench to the American surgeon, cuz I don't think they have metric hardware there?'"

I feel like a carillon. Background: Elvo and I went out of our way to find metric wrenches to send to the Yale Guild to fix up the clavier.

Damn I miss my third home. Was invited by a globetrotter to visit the Antwerpen Dierentuin... forgot to relocate my Dutch social networking profiles. Oh 't Stad, I'll see you again soon. Hold those diamonds for your best friend.

IjssculptuurAs if that wasn't enough, Expatica is back online to remind me of the classiness of Belgian cuisine (even if they torture turkeys and ducks/geese to prepare it), the great cycling weather this year (although I missed the best of it in fall 2006), the continuing and redoubled efforts to improve the already remarkable cycling in Flanders, and Ijssculptuur Brugge, where they've done an icy mockup of the Sagrada Família. Sigh. Sigh. Sigh.