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Thursday, January 31st, 2008
11:36 am - Treading water like you wouldn't believe
Having gone through the usual channels, I've just managed to get a referral to my local Centre for Adults with AD/HD, who will have time for me by, get this, mid-April. I've also managed to register for about 50% more courses than is generally held to be A Good Idea, this period, and agreed to take on an extra shift at work.

Sometimes I smegging hate myself.

In about a fortnight, it's off to Luxembourg for the final performance in this season's run of Il Sant'Alessio, a trip I initially arranged for in July of last year. The idea had been to just nip off all on my oddy knocky, but the France 3 webcast of one of the performances in Caen prompted a gentleman of my acquaintance to insist he accompany me. I have to confess I'm not entirely sure what to make of this, but as it seems to imply that he's either really into hard-core baroque opera, or he's really into me, I suppose it's a win-win situation all round. Also, he's agreed to drive us both to Brussels the week after, for a Jaroussky recital with Artaserse and Nuria Rial, whom I don't know yet.

One more thing: why is it that I do not tend to find out about releases until several months afterwards? Jes - did you know about this?

current mood: worried

(1 pseudo-Buddhist | Buddhists are nice to everyone)

Monday, October 1st, 2007
11:41 pm - Well, that would explain.
My cousin was diagnosed with ADHD quite some time ago, but I only found out about a fortnight ago. ADHD tends to run in families, and smoking during pregnancy has been linked to increased morbidity in the infant. My mum didn't kick her pack-a-day habit until I was six, and my baby sister started having allergic reactions to the smoke.

From Nadeau, Kathleen, and Quinn, Patricia*, "Women and AD/HD", p.3:

"Parents of adult women with AD/HD may react judgmentally - questioning why their daughter's home is messy and why she might need more emotional, physical or financial help than her non-AD/HD siblings."

I think my therapist and I need to have a little chat.

* I'm guessing this is a different Pat Quinn from the one that played Magenta...

current mood: pensive

(Buddhists are nice to everyone)

Friday, September 7th, 2007
1:35 pm - Screw heterosexuality - or, file under "Ho yay"
Malena Ernman and Danielle de Niese stage-snogging to Monteverdi is the single hottest thing I've witnessed in a long, long time.

Back a bit - upon my very first encounter with L'Incoronazione di Poppea, I thought "Virtù and Fortuna having a cat fight over humanity? How very Machiavelli." Which basically sold the whole thing for me right there. Problem was, I never got far beyond Act I on recordings, since I kept skipping back to Ottone's serenade or whatever it is, the bit where he goes "Come out onto the balcony, Poppea". Has me bawling my little eyes out every time, and last night at the Amsterdam Muziektheater was no different, even if Bejun Mehta's voice can take some getting used to. If it was indeed Wagner who started the whole darkening-the-auditorium thing, I'll have to big him up for that, cause I can't "cry pretty", as Oprah calls it, and I hate to distract people with fugly grimacing when they should be focusing on a truly monumental piece of music theatre.

Anyway, last night was the first time I gave all three and a half hours (four and a half with intermissions) of Monteverdi's magnum opus my full and undivided attention, and it bowled me clean over. It's all so tense, and so intense. Even the levity of the interludes tends to heighten, rather than defuse the tension, by virtue of its jarring mood dissonance. Just think of the happy little pastoral duet that follows Seneca's stoic (ha!) acceptance of his death sentence. The characterisation in general is something I just can't get over, either. Everybody's flawed - some very deeply - ranging from unthinking youthful callousness (the little valet) or simple vanity (Arnalta; Emiliano Gonzalez-Toro deserves special mention, here - I love me a promising haute-contre) to full-on careening psychosis (Nero). I'm a big fan of Busenello's take on Ottone, ever shafted by Fate & librettists across the centuries. He doesn't just suffer, he manipulates Drusilla, and he feels horrible about it. Drusilla in turn latches onto the rebounding Ottone with a degree of desperate self-delusion that just about broke my heart. Also, I hadn't checked the cast list properly, so I had another "Oooooh, it's Anna Maria Panzarella!" moment at this point.

The only thing that didn't ring true to me in terms of characterisation was Ottavia's final lament. We've just seen her blackmail Ottone (poor bugger) into attempted murder, threatening to accuse him of rape if he wouldn't, and now we're supposed to feel sorry for her when she claims to be "innocent"? Pfff. Dammi una pausa*. But apart from that, it's tons and tons of intoxicating lyricism undercut by prosaic, even sardonic commentary by the "commoners". The range of human emotion, truism and truth it manages to cover that way - it's like Shakespeare that comes with its own soundtrack. It's epic, in more than one sense. It's late Renaissance Brecht. With tons of gender bent way out of shape, and attendant oodles of what is known over at TVtropes.org as "Ho yay". This particular revival has an exceptionally high number of really attractive members of both sexes, too. I'm still wondering what the bit between Lucano and Nero in Act 2 was supposed to be about, but Anders Dahlin is cute as a button, and we've already covered Ms Ernman. She needs to seriously rein in those facial expressions, but boy, such a lovely dark sound! And, you know, muscular Nordic blonde. Boo yah.

So, yeah. Ballo dell'Ingrate/Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and Ulisse next, in about two weeks. Bring 'em on.

* Bad Italian for "gimme a break", in case anyone was wondering.

current mood: impressed

(Buddhists are nice to everyone)

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007
11:07 pm - Yes, yes, yes, it's the summer festival...
There's an expression in Dutch that might translate as "Trying for top rate at ten cents a ticket". True, I paid ten euros for my student ticket, and technically, my seat was third category, but basically, that's pretty much exactly how I felt at tonight's opening of this year's Holland Festival. Squeezed into the auditorium with festival director Pierre Audi, the mayor of Amsterdam, branding spanking new minister for Education, Culture and Science Ronald Plasterk and Her Severely-Coiffed Majesty, Queen Beatrix, with none other than Pierre Boulez in the pit directing Janacek's From the House of the Dead. I mean, yikes.

The piece... Let me just say I was relieved it was Janacek tackling Dostoevski's account of life in an imperial Russian prison camp. Without his particular brand of lyricism, the whole thing might have been way too bleak for comfort. Janacek just has this laid-back, almost serene outlook on life in all its harshness - maybe that's what comes with old age; it's his later work I'm most familiar with.

Another thing that's gonna stay with me is Patrice Chéreau's brilliant, and I mean truly bloody brilliant, personenregie. When it was announced before curtain-up that Erik Stokloßa (Aleja; I swear that man looks more than a decade younger than he actually is) was feeling poorly, but still planning to see the performance through, that turned out to be no bother at all, since the drama's every bit as important as the music, and boy, did that ever come across. It very nearly (though not quite) made up for the surtitles flamingo-up*, i.e., them being projected onto bits of scenery so as not to be visible from large sections on the left of the auditorium, including my seat on the balcony, for all of act 3. I'm sure it fitted wonderfully into the design concept, more power to them for thinking of that, but it would have been nice to have been warned. I'd have delved into the programme a bit deeper beforehand.

As it was, I paid a bit more attention to what was going on in the pit instead, and I realised that the words and music behaved rather like best pals. Like, when they hang out together, that's when it's most interesting, but each can function perfectly well all on its own. What with that and House of the Dead's episodic, anecdotal structure, it's music theatre more than opera. Even if it is, nominally, the fall and rise of Goryanchikov, he and Aleja don't get all that much stage time, so to speak. If anything, I came away with the impression that Skuratov was the central character, but that might have been due to John Mark Ainsley's performance. Don't think I'd ever seen him live before, so I dunno if he's always like this, or if it's Chéreau who brings it out, but I mean, dude. Seriously.

Next up, this Friday: Francesco Cavalli meets Mario Bava at the Rotterdam Opera Days. Wooh boy.

* Like a cock-up, only bigger

current mood: tired

(Buddhists are nice to everyone)

Thursday, May 24th, 2007
10:41 pm - If you want a happy life...
... You could do worse than seeking out some of the stuff Geoff Berner, ashkenazic-Canadian punk accordeonist and the one and only Whiskey Rabbi, has been doing over the past few years. He might even be making an appearance near you over the next few weeks, and it's at live gigs that the man's inspired insolence comes across best. Although the material tends to be smegging hilarious all by itself, gigs are even better, due to the running commentary on both the songs themselves, the venues, and whatever happens to be deemed deserving of a mention at the time.

If you can't make it to a live performance, I'd suggest starting with his 2005 Whiskey Rabbi album - here's a link to the title track. From what I've heard of his latest, The Wedding Dance of the Widow Bride, it's somewhat less accessible - angry rather than funny, though tracks like the eponymous* Widow Bride and Can't Stay Dry are pure gold with a pH of at least 13**.

He popped by Park Transwijk last week to brighten up the Counter Culture Festival, and I'm still not sure whether to be ashamed or proud of the fact that, thanks to my (generally dormant) madd hunting 'n' gathering skillz and a 50-cents-per-cup deposit refundable at the bar, I left the festival with some €11 more than I'd brought along.

Also, more gangly Gallic countertenorial goodness! Can I get an "aw+", ladies and gentlemen?

* Man, I'd been wanting to use that words for ages...
** That is, pretty smegging caustic.

current mood: chipper

(5 pseudo-Buddhists | Buddhists are nice to everyone)

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007
12:01 am - *Bangs head against nearest wall, muttering "Stupid. Stupid."*
So I figured it would be fun to sign up for a students' trip to Barcelona in mid-April. Right in between third and fourth period, so no lectures that week, no problem, right? Wrong. Turns out I do have a lecture on Monday, April 16th, or I would have, if I weren't in Catalunya at that time. But that's ok, I'll ask someone to take notes.

What's far worse is the fact I'll now be missing out on a recital by Christopher sodding Maltman in Amsterdam, on the same evening.

Please, Fates, please make him come back soon...

current mood: annoyed

(Buddhists are nice to everyone)

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007
11:59 am - This week, I have been mostly watching...
...Countertenors in belly dancer's gear. Seriously - what are the chances of randomly selecting two opera dvds at one's local library (these two) and ending up with Brian Asawa's Baba the Turk on the one hand, and Christophe Dumaux' supremely sinuous 'n' sparkly Tolomeo on the other? There's a live webcast of Giulio Cesare from the Theater an der Wien tonight at 19.00, on Ö1/ORF, I believe. So looking forward to that - I'm steadily getting deeper and deeper into Händel. Already got my ticket for Hercules in Amsterdam on May 1st, and the 2007/8 season at De Nederlandse Opera is nothing short of droolworthy.

Past two months have been pretty busy. Got back from Vienna, finished a handful of papers (two more to go), took part in the Don Giovanni Revisited workshop at the first European Opera Days in Paris. Met some lovely people there, absolutely wonderful, now all I need to do is keep in touch - not something I've traditionally been good at, I'm afraid. Meh. We'll see how that develops.

March saw the revival of Adès' Tempest in Covent Garden. Just when you think life doesn't get any better - say, when you've just clapped eyes on the interior of the Floral Hall for the very first time, and you realise you still have a good portion of a wonderful piece of musical theatre ahead of you - when you say to yourself, this couldn't possibly get any better, that's when you spot the ROH ice cream vendor. *Happy sigh*

As for the performance, I was deeply impressed by Kate Royal. She managed to deliver some of the lines I'd always thought of as slightly dodgy in a way that had them make perfect sense. The production felt tighter than what I've heard of the first run, Adès himself seemed better at ease conducting, Simon Keenlyside ("one of my favourite pieces, but a pain in the neck to sing") made it abundantly clear he _owns_ Prospero, and I love the way Toby Spence' voice is developing - next year's Rake's Progress in Paris should be fun. Furthermore, this was the first I've seen of Ian Bostridge where I was able to forget I was watching a highly intelligent performer offering an insightful interpretation, and focus on the character instead. Bit hammy here and there, but an impressively dedicated portrayal of a fascinating, complex creature. You go, Ian. I suspect Cyndia Sieden might have been feeling a bit under the weather. She didn't seem all there, vocally, somehow. Then again, in my mind, there would have been no way of surpassing what I heard of her last June at the Holland Festival in Amsterdam, where she gave a concert rendition of Five fathoms deep that was absolutely breathtaking.

That was Saturday - coach wouldn't be leaving until the next evening, so I spent a wonderful Sunday afternoon with some lovely people off the snopes.com message board in a pub before nipping off to Tate Britain's spiffy Hogarth exhibition. It's still on until the end of this month - highly recommended.

There's more - I applied for a bachelor's in Writing for Performance at art school, and took part in the first selection round the weekend before last - but that's gonna get its own entry in a bit.

Will try to keep you guys posted on a more regular basis than I have. Take care.

current mood: bouncy

(Buddhists are nice to everyone)

Friday, January 19th, 2007
2:32 am - Something that's just struck me...
Listening to Gorgeous George for the first time in ages, it's just struck me how much that quadruple four-tone sequence towards the end of the "Ecstasio" in Asyla sounds like a really disconcerting version of the quadruple four-tone sequence at the end of "The Campaign for Real Rock". I'm talking about the ironically sweet accompaniment to the "Yes, yes, yes, it's the summer festival" line.

I know Adès applies the same principle (a tone sequence repeated twice with virtually no variation, then once more with a twist - cf. the big love duet in The Tempest) more often, and of course different people get the same ideas all the time, but I find the idea of there somehow being some Edwyn in early Adès infinitely cool.

Am probably hearing things, though. It's 3 AM, and I've been writing an outline for a paper on Mozart's bookshelf since 10 PM.

P.S. There's stickers that say "I read all of Ulysses." There should be ones that say "I went to see Tristan und Isolde as a standee."

current mood: sleepy

(Buddhists are nice to everyone)

Sunday, January 7th, 2007
10:47 pm - Edwyn's back.
I wouldn't have known if it hadn't been for this man and this wonderful little tribute.

Edwyn's back in business - there's new material and everything. I've been waiting to hear that for nearly two years now.

I cried when I heard about the stroke, almost a month after the whole thing happened, must have been in March 2005, and I think I'm gonna start crying again now.

Yeah, I know that's naff. Don't be afraid to laugh.

(And if you can finish that quote, you're either brutalyouth, youngpoisoner or we should meet up for coffee sometime.)

current mood: grateful

(1 pseudo-Buddhist | Buddhists are nice to everyone)

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005
9:56 pm - Eight more days...
...And I'll be off the SSRI's I've been on for over five years now. I went from 20 to 10 mg a day last month, and the main thing that did is leave me the most awake I've been in years (though not half as oversexed as I'd been dreading; must have been lingering puberty cranking up the testosterone back in 2000). My psychiatrist ("Call me Anne") says cutting down isn't as big a deal as completely letting go, though, and to expect about two days of lows per week for a while.

I expect to weather the storm well enough. Speaking of tempests, I've finally started a letter to Jos. Can't say at this point whether I'll have it finished before he concludes his treatment in a month or two, I've always been better at starting things than finishing them. Then again, my potential readership for that treatise comparing Adès' Tempest to Thomas Mann's concept of Life versus Art seems to be growing, so that might provide an additional impetus.

Work at the army base is... interesting. Hectic, definitely. I rather fear for our senior planner's blood pressure, in fact. All these people tugging at her with their impossible demands, and me hovering at her desk with some clueless newbie question. Poor woman.

Had a great laugh, today, though. See, people fax in requesting facilities on a certain date, and we deal with these requests, not in the order in which they come in, but according to the dates they pertain to. If you send in a request for December fifteenth today, and next week, you send in another request for the thirteenth, the latter will be dealt with before the former. At about four, with slightly less than an hour to go until the end of the working day, I got a call about a form sent in yesterday, requesting services for today, November 30th. Why had the caller not received a confirmation yet?

Me: "OK, so the location would be Leiden, and the date would be..."
Her: "30-12. Today."
Me: "You mean 30-11. November would be eleven."
Her: "Yeah, that's right."
Me: "Hang on - does it say 30-12 on the form you faxed us?"
Her: "Yeah, it does. I meant 30-11, though."
Me: *Rifles through stack of requests for next month* "I think I know what's happened... Here it is. It's on the pile for December, 30-12. That's why we haven't processed it for today."
Her: "But that's wrong! It has 2-12 for a wrap-up date, so that's impossible!"
Me: "That's how we sift out the more urgent ones from the long-term requests, by the initial date on the form. We don't look at the wrap-up date until we actually process the forms."
Her: "Well, you should have! You should have realised there was something wrong! Who in their right mind would send in a request for December 30th in late November?"
Me: "Someone with foresight? Many requests are filed several months in advance."
Her: "We have business to conclude in Leiden in less than an hour! What am I supposed to do now?"
Me: "I honestly don't know, ma'am."
Her: "Oh, aren't we being helpful today? Who's in charge over there? Put me through!"
Me: "I sincerely doubt they'll be able to make much of a difference. Requests need at least six hours to be processed. We could get things sorted by tomorrow, but not before noon, either."
Her: "But I need them today!"
Me: "Yes, but today will be over in about an hour. We can't fetch you your gear within the hour, especially not if it has to be driven all the way to Leiden."
Her: "What kind of service do you call this?"
Me: "Ma'am, you can't blame us for our inability to read your mind."
Me: "Gladly, ma'am." *Hands receiver to boss-man and mouths "Good luck"*

I'd have stayed for the exchange that followed, but the sheer level of that woman's pissiness necessitated a loo break at that point. Anyway, comedy gold. I understand she must have felt horrible about such a silly mistake, but who was she trying to fool, pretending it was somehow our fault she'd stuck the wrong date on a form?

Never a dull moment. Ooh yeah.

current mood: amused

(4 pseudo-Buddhists | Buddhists are nice to everyone)

Thursday, November 17th, 2005
2:04 pm - I've been putting this off for long enough now.
Much has been going down with this here byrdie. You were not informed of this when things were up, since my perfectionism prompts me to put things off, things like writing a coherent LJ entry, rather than risk being incomplete or boring. Enough is enough, though.

- I have started cutting my medication, running on half the usual dosage for the past fortnight. I'd been expecting all sorts of nastiness, but thus far, all I've noticed is that I seem to be able to function with less than nine hours of sleep a night again. Which is nice.

- My Canadian buddies are gearing up for the return to Edmonton. I actually shed a tear or two over this (which may or may not relate to lowered values of paroxetine in my blood, see the above paragraph), but am resolved to see this for the wonderful opportunity it is: if nothing else, a chance to hone my correspondence skills! ("We Deliver!")

- Over the past month or so, I seem to have obtained not one, but two highly satisfying jobs! I teach English conversation to senior citizens in my village of birth once a week, and two other weekdays are spent being all administrative for the Dutch ministry of defence. On an army base. Surrounded by heathland and young men in uniforms. ^_^

- About a week ago, a package arrived from Georgia. Inside was a DVD-R bearing Thomas Adés' The Tempest as it was broadcast on BBC4 in February of 2004. I wasn't expecting all that much, to be honest, since the one thing that stuck with me most after catching a webcast last year was that Ariel's part really got on my nerves after a bit. Again, as with Thyeste, though, visuals and a clear picture of the dramatic structure make all the difference. If Ariel's coloratura gets annoying, it's because s/he's annoyed hirself. This spirit isn't Shakespeare's loyal and willing servant, it's a distinctly tetchy creature, one it's easy to imagine getting grounded in that pine by Sycorax "for insolence." (Speaking of Thyeste, this is only the second piece I recall seeing John Daszak in. Striking how his character screws over his own brother in both, though Anthony is of course nowhere near as criminally insane as Atreus...)
Adès and Oakes' The Tempest has taken a great deal of flak for being a "Cliff notes adaptation" of a literary institution, but only seeing something for what it isn't (poetry) rather than what it is (a solid, mellifluous musical drama) isn't conducive to a balanced critique. Four centuries stand (or sit, or lie, or hover, or swim) between Shakeshaft's Tempest and Adès', and I see no reason why a fascinatingly ambiguous character like Caliban shouldn't be reinvented to reflect shifts in philosophy and dramatic practice. The scene in Act 2 ("A monster..." "A local!") where the courtiers mock "the savage" for his fascination with their embroidered clothing and jewelry should suffice to make any citizen of a former colonial power cringe. And of course, as seems required from contemporary opera, there's what appears to be entirely gratuitous male half-nekkidness. Only this time, I believe I may be on to what could have prompted its inclusion here. It relates to the omission of the "chastity" element so prominent in Shakespeare, or rather its replacement, as well as to the way this version of the story presents Caliban and Prospero.

I intend to develop my reasoning into an informal paper and dedicate it to Jos, currently undergoing therapy and quite possibly the only person I know IRL who would appreciate that sort of thing. He turned up at the Canadians' housecooling party, which duly impressed me and prompted me to retire to the kitchen for, yes, another bit of a bawl. Anyway, working title's "Venice to Naples - a Tale of Two Thomases." One's Adès, of course - a packet of stroopwafels to you if you can guess which is the other one.

current mood: energetic

(1 pseudo-Buddhist | Buddhists are nice to everyone)

Wednesday, October 12th, 2005
12:33 am - Cross-posted to infernal_opera
Man, I *heart* Dale Duesing.

I kick off my very first post within this community with the above assertion since my *hearting* Mr Duesing is one of the main reasons why I chose to attend the Dutch premiere of Jan van Vlijmen's final opera tonight. Of course, there's also the fact that it's the Dutch premiere of Jan van Vlijmen's final opera (he died of leukaemia last December), to a libretto by renowned Flemish novelist and playwright Hugo Claus. The text was adapted from an earlier work of Claus', a play based on Seneca's writings about the two Tantalid brothers Atreus and Thyestes. If you're not familiar with the story, I'll try not to spoil it for you through what follows. In fact, you might want to steer clear of this part of Greek myth altogether. I'm serious.

Now, I can't say I know much about music theory beyond basic tonality, though I've heard and read enough about the piece to actually notice when Thyestes started singing in what had up to that point been Atreus' idiom - that is, in chromatic runs - and vice versa. I can tell when a piece packs a punch, however, and Van Vlijmen's choruses had me reeling. Most of Thyeste is prima le parole, poi la musica - the music is sparse, there to support the story, a straightforward intrigue with no subplots whatsoever - but the choruses are towering pieces of architecture that stand out like a skyline. Individual parts melt into one another and shift from harmony to jarring-but-haunting harmony. The Amsterdam Capella choir, unanimously praised for its superb vocal performance in this production, has taken press flak for a perceived lack of expression in their acting. Personally, I blame Gerardjan Rijnders. What kind of director dresses his minor characters in costumes that are bound to upstage the performers wearing them? Tantalus, Furies, even the kings of Argos can be as gaudy as all get-out as far as I'm concerned - they're mythical figures, after all - but if the chorus are supposed to represent normal, everyday people, why deck them out in hot pink and lime green? Especially when they crowd a stage as small as the Utrecht Stadsschouwburg's? While we're on the subject, I rather felt for Mattijs van de Woerd, whose get-up (as an incarnation of the Ram, symbol of the throne of Argos, I suppose) kept calling to mind that one episode of Blackadder the Third where Baldrick recounts how his dad was once in a play, as "second codpiece."

But I digress.

Having listened to the piece in a Belgian webcast to prepare for tonight, I have to admit it does work better as a musical drama, visuals and all. The use of bright colours might have been excessive in places or even a tad cutesy (the pink, blue and yellow toys belonging to Thyestes' three little sons), but with the addition of a physical presence, even the character of Atreus becomes palatable, no matter what the press has to say about John Daszak. Dale Duesing, of course, was pretty much born to portray penitent sinners like Claus and Van Vlijmen's Thyestes. (Yet even he can't really salvage the inherent anticlimax of the moment when the central horror of the story, which by that point has been worked towards, foreshadowed and gasped at to absolute bits, is finally revealed. Or maybe that was just an unfortunate side effect of having an audience come so well-prepared.) I really should spare a few words for Harry Peeters' Tantalus and Helena Rasker's Fury, but it's getting late, so I'll stick to fangirling the latter's instrument, smiley and all. Lovely, lovely alto! ^_^

Determined to end this entry on a positive note after nearly two hours of Greek tragedy and no between-act bathroom breaks, I'll leave you with the image of Mattijs van de Woerd giving three adorable little boys pointers on how to take a curtain call (lip read and translated from the Dutch for your convenience): "You go forward together... And now we step back again. See?"


current mood: groggy

(Buddhists are nice to everyone)

Sunday, September 25th, 2005
11:09 pm - O, dieses Mahagonny!
I've never been one for Bertie Brecht. I actually got into a pretty nasty discussion about the merits of his work once, after a performance of Die Mutter in Berlin. Since recently, however, I seem to have emerged as a bit of a martyr of the proletariat - fired after less than a fortnight for being too vocal, both generally (heh) and in terms of complaints about working conditions - I figured my interest in Weimar-Republic culture really should start extending into its musical theatre.

The piece and DVD recording I went for (Gemeentebibliotheek Utrecht, how I adore thee) was the 1998 Salzburg Festival production of Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny. I'd fully expected to sit through the whole thing once, maybe some parts twice, file the experience under "educational," or maybe "conversation pieces," and return the disc.

Instead, it blew me away. This is partially due to the efforts of Catherine Malfitano, Jerry Hadley and Dale Duesing (as Jenny, Jim Mahoney and Bill, respectively), but the music itself proved haunting in places where I'd been expecting catchy, and the satire actually hit home. Hard. Take the first part of the finale - a crowd in an American desert city chanting "We don't need no hurricane to destroy us, no typhoon - whatever nature can do to us, we can do to ourselves!" (O_o) Then after that, the "There's no helping a dead man" theme, centered around the electrocuted convict's body. I mean, wow.

Finally, the image that led me to retire Rodney and Liliana as my default avatar: Toby Spence in an impeccably outfitted cameo as the world's cutest widdle sociopath. Forgive me, Mr Spence, but I'm put in mind of Sinfest's Li'l Evil. Heh.

Oh, and Wilbur Pauley gets to sing the Bursar in Discworld: the Opera.

current mood: geeky

(Buddhists are nice to everyone)

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2005
11:34 pm - It's that time of year again...
Happy birthday, jlh! I'll write you a piece of flash fic, just name a subject or challenge. ^_^

And a happy birthday to Edwyn Collins, too. I read he's started walking again, here's to eventually learning to play again, too. We're thinking of you, brutalyouth and I.

Now, time for bed.

current mood: sleepy

(Buddhists are nice to everyone)

Monday, August 22nd, 2005
1:40 am - On going deaf whilst barely fourteen
M., cheeky X-Box addict, first among pupils, the closest I've ever come to having a baby brother and somewhere on the autistic spectrum (not further specified), is turning fourteen today.

He is also rapidly losing what was left of his hearing. The meningitis that caused his right inner ear to calcify some twelve years ago has returned to claim his left side. He's taking cortisones for it or somehting, but it doesn't seem to be making much of an impact. I went to his birthday celebration earlier tonight, and the boy honestly couldn't hear a word I said. So where do we go from here? Ellen-Jamesian notepads? Sign Language?

How is this lad going to be making it through the next three years of school?

Fuck. Fuckety fuckety FUCK.

current mood: worried

(Buddhists are nice to everyone)

Saturday, August 13th, 2005
10:09 pm - "Someone set up us teh bomb!"
Am dedicating this entry to Skeptico's recent (August 7th) effort to drag the National Center for Science Education onto Google's first page of hits for Intelligent Design. So, there you are. Carry on.

current mood: apathetic

(3 pseudo-Buddhists | Buddhists are nice to everyone)

Thursday, August 11th, 2005
5:21 pm - Adventures in Capoeira & Blue's Worst Memory
I learned something last night. I learned that just because your pilates sessions were a doozy, you shouldn't go into the next course expecting the same. Especially when said course mainly involves doing a two-step while hunkering down, with high kicks and the odd cartwheel making up the remainder. Mind you, I'll prolly go back next week if that instructor's gonna be taking off his shirt again. Don't think he's a baritone, but in his case, two out of three ain't bad at all.

Just came back from my very first Eye Movement Desensitisation Therapy session. I suppose you could compare the experience to plunging into a Pensieve with your own worst memory in it, and a great big grandfather clock ticking loudly in the background. I don't think I posted about my diagnosis on here, sorry 'bout that. My anxiety attacks turned out to be due to post-traumatic stress, which is treatable, yay. Once I finish the EMDT, I'm hoping to start cutting my meds, maybe get off them completely my the end of this calender year. Go me.

I did post about dumping Jos, didn't I? He's in detox now, I think. I love him, I really do, and I hope we can get to the point where we can be together again. It's probably gonna take years, but hey, fingers crossed.

Tell me, people - has "Chasing Amy" always been depressing or is it just me?

current mood: owie owie ouch >_

(Buddhists are nice to everyone)

Tuesday, August 9th, 2005
4:41 pm - You don't say.
You are 57% Rational, 71% Extroverted, 28% Brutal, and 42% Arrogant.
You are the Hand-Raiser, that annoying kid in class who always had an answer for everything. No doubt, as a child you probably sat in the front of the class, anxiously waving your hand back and forth in the air while your teacher desperately tried to avoid calling on you because you were the ONLY fucking kid that answered her questions. Clearly, the key traits of your personality are your rationality and your extroversion. You are like a little talkative calculator, in other words. You also tend to be rather gentle and less arrogant than most people. So what is your defect, then? Well, you're boring, and when you're not boring, you are just plain annoying with your ultra-logical responses and constant need to talk to others. So keep waving that hand in the air, son. I'm still not calling on you. You are too logical, you talk too much, and your humility and gentleness only makes me hate you more, because they make me feel like I almost SHOULDN'T hate you. But I do. Big time.

To put it less negatively:

1. You are more RATIONAL than intuitive.

2. You are more EXTROVERTED than introverted.

3. You are more GENTLE than brutal.

4. You are more HUMBLE than arrogant.


Your exact opposite is the Brute.

Other personalities you would probably get along with are the Braggart, the Haughty Intellectual, and the Robot.



If you scored near fifty percent for a certain trait (42%-58%), you could very well go either way. For example, someone with 42% Extroversion is slightly leaning towards being an introvert, but is close enough to being an extrovert to be classified that way as well. Below is a list of the other personality types so that you can determine which other possible categories you may fill if you scored near fifty percent for certain traits.

The other personality types:

The Emo Kid: Intuitive, Introverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Starving Artist: Intuitive, Introverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Bitch-Slap: Intuitive, Introverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Brute: Intuitive, Introverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Hippie: Intuitive, Extroverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Televangelist: Intuitive, Extroverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Schoolyard Bully: Intuitive, Extroverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Class Clown: Intuitive, Extroverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Robot: Rational, Introverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Haughty Intellectual: Rational, Introverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Spiteful Loner: Rational, Introverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Sociopath: Rational, Introverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Hand-Raiser: Rational, Extroverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Braggart: Rational, Extroverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Capitalist Pig: Rational, Extroverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Smartass: Rational, Extroverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

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You scored higher than 39% on Rationality

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You scored higher than 73% on Extroversion

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You scored higher than 25% on Brutality

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You scored higher than 43% on Arrogance
Link: The Personality Defect Test written by saint_gasoline on Ok Cupid

current mood: not in the least surprised

(2 pseudo-Buddhists | Buddhists are nice to everyone)

Friday, May 27th, 2005
3:20 am - From our correspondent
Vin Diesel split the atom with a chainsaw.

Just thought youse deserved to be told.

current mood: amused

(2 pseudo-Buddhists | Buddhists are nice to everyone)

Monday, April 18th, 2005
6:00 pm - Am total sex kitten.
WARNING: This LiveJournal post probably contains TMI.

Way TMI.

So, yeah. My abs and thighs feel like they're being held together with lactic acid, and I think I bruised my perineum.

What's more, I don't much care. Count on me to go on a man hunt in a bar and hook up with a bloke working on a PhD in geophysics. That's what you get living in a university town.

Nice, fleshy hunk of academic. Mmmm. I really hope he's up for another session sometime soon.

current mood: giddy

(Buddhists are nice to everyone)

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