Sunday, September 8, 2013

the beginning of the end

Welcome back! This year will be my final(!!!!!) year as a college or university student for a while, and I can't believe how fast the last four years have gone. Seems like just yesterday I was a stressed-out twenty-one-year-old FVA at NBCCD--and now I'm just days away from my last first day of school for a while (NSCAD's year started on the fifth, but I don't start until the eleventh because my one course this semester, Advanced Photo Critique, is on Wednesdays).

I tried--and failed--to get a job this summer. However, I entered a couple photos in the Chocolate Fest's Artist Showcase (a new event this summer). There was a lot of awesome work, but I'm not sure how successful the Showcase was, as it was badly managed. I hope they get it right next year. I'd hoped to volunteer in addition to submitting work, but although I expressed interest, I was never contacted so I volunteered at the local SPCA again (I need to keep my references current in order to get a job next year). I also went to three awesome concerts: the Passamaquoddy Bay Symphony, Trond Saeverud and Greg Biss (both in St. Andrews, NB) and Stepping Out (a local oldies group in St. Stephen). The PBSO concert was amazing, and was the first time that that orchestra brought me close to tears (about time, as I've been a fan for four years and this was concert number seven). Here's part of what I wrote in a comment on the orchestra's Facebook page: "Just when I thought the PBSO couldn't get any awesomer--you do! And just when I thought I couldn't fall any deeper in love with said orchestra--I do. Yesterday's concert was well beyond amazing--whatever that is. I don't think there are words to describe it. I was close to tears by the end of the Sibelius [second symphony], it was so overwhelming. I think I'm going to have to find a recording of the second symphony on YouTube and listen to it again--it's that sort of piece. Once just isn't enough to really process it." The orchestra did an open dress rehearsal prior to the concert, which I really enjoyed: "I love seeing what goes on before a performance: rehearsals, practice sessions, etc. THAT'S where the story is: in the mistakes, the conductor's/dance master's or mistress'/director's/person in charge's remarks, the going-over-a-section-multiple-times."

Almost exactly three weeks later, I was back in St. Andrews, this time for Trond and Greg's concert. From a couple of emails that I wrote to Lynn: "[After the concert,] I told Trond how much I'd enjoyed the Sibelius at the last PBSO concert and how it had almost made me cry. Because the symphony was so beautiful and it affected me so deeply, I wasn't happy just telling some of the musicians: I wanted to tell the guy in charge of the orchestra--Trond. I'd been kicking myself since said concert because I didn't get a chance to tell him then, as I spent the time in between the final note and heading home talking to first you and then Mishona [a French hornist in the PBSO and childhood friend]. He was very touched and thanked me for telling him. I also asked him where in Norway he's from. I wasn't surprised when he said Bergen, which is where his dad and grandfather are/were from. When I got back to the car, I couldn't hold in my excitement anymore and did a happy-dance: I could finally stop kicking myself!"

"As is typical when I go to ridiculously awesome concerts, I didn't come down from Trond and Greg's concert (and the fact that I could stop kicking myself because I'd told Trond about my reaction to the PBSO's last concert--it was kind of like a reverse PBSO Fiasco, in that I'd resigned myself to not being able to tell him until next year. The main reason why I took the PBSO's 'no' so hard at the end of my one and only rehearsal with them was because I hadn't made any room in my head for that answer.) until about two days after said concert."

The day before the PBSO concert, I played the French horn for the first time at an instrument petting zoo hosted by Sistema New Brunswick (from the Bangor Symphony's website: "This interactive program is a great opportunity to play and hear the different sounds from the wide variety of musical instruments. Have fun discovering your musical talents."). I sounded pretty decent, too (I wasn't sure what would come out when I blew into the mouthpiece: squawks or actual music? I lucked out with the latter.). Before actually playing the instrument, I was given a lesson in how to blow into the mouthpiece, which took some practice, but I got the hang of it.

In early August, Mom and I went to Halifax to look at apartments for my final year, as I couldn't afford another year in a university residence as it's too expensive. Besides, I figured it was time to branch out on my own and try apartment living (I still have a roommate--a fellow NSCADian, though she's doing an interdisciplinary major and art history minor).

This summer I got rid of about a hundred books that I no longer wanted. During the last school year, I realized just how little I could live on (after paying NSCAD and the residence, I had about $1,000 left for the entire Fall semester, and it was a similar situation in the Winter semester), and it made me realize just how little I could survive on--though $1,000 was pushing it. I wanted to bring the live-on-less approach to the rest of my life, I wasn't reading those books and I was running out of shelf space, anyway, so it was a good thing. When Mom saw the piles (there were six by the time I left for school) she got the idea to have a book sale with them for a cat trap/neuter/return (TNR) group she volunteers with.

Toward the end of the summer, my favourite radio host, Suzanne Nance, left MPBN. She'll be starting at WFMT in Chicago on October first and I'll be listening via iTunes--I'm not going to let her go that easily. The final broadcast was beautiful, and emotional on both our parts: I cried several times--and whenever she teared up I wasn't far behind. I was a sobbing wreck by the end, tears dripping off the end of my nose as I lay on on my bed, "curled up around my pocket radio, listening to those words and knowing that I [would] never hear that voice on that station ever again, giving her all my attention, nodding at various times, eyes closed" (from yet another email). I knew that once she went off air, that'd be it: no more Suzanne Nance on MPBN. Here's the playlist from that morning and an article from the Portland Press Herald, which has a video of the final minutes. I dare you not to cry. I'd posted a comment on the Morning Classical Music Facebook page and got a few replies from other people who were also listening and had posted a few replies myself, so by the time the big sob-fest started I knew I wasn't the only one crying their eyes out.

I've been reading a lot about Russia's law that makes distributing "gay propaganda" to minors illegal--meaning that it's illegal to do things like wear pride pins. As a result, I plan to almost completely ignore the Sochi Olympics (the exception being keeping an eye on when and how that law comes into effect, though I won't read about it from official broadcasters, e.g., CBC, BBC or NBC) and I'm going to listen to as much Tchaikovsky as I can on the days of the opening and closing ceremonies, as not only was he Russian but he was also gay, which I've known for several years (he was fairly comfortable with his sexuality, too, which is awesome). I recently found out that his brother, Modest, was also gay. That means lots of Nutcracker, Swan Lake, his violin concerto, etc (I've never been a fan of The Sleeping Beauty, so I'm leaving it out). It didn't surprise me when I read that the Kremlin tries to cover up the fact that Tchaikovsky wasn't straight. A couple weeks ago, I watched a really good documentary about him.

I moved into my apartment on the first and have spent the week unpacking and deciding where everything should go. Because my roommate, Loana, and I are both art students, many of the walls are covered with our work. I fell in love with the place when I viewed it over the summer, and have continued to fall deeper in love: the location's perfect, the people in the rental office are awesome and there's lots of space (including plenty of storage)--though I'm still operating on a "cram everything into as little space as possible" mentality, which has been my life for the last four years, with last year being the worst of it.

I went to Table Day on Wednesday, and then another event that wasn't really well explained and that was completely different from what I thought on Thursday. However, as I'm interested in joining the Queer Collective and Feminist Collective, I asked about both groups and was directed to their respective Facebook groups. While I will go to general assemblies--which will be easier, as A. I don't have evening classes in either semester and B. I don't have to worry about needing to be back at a residence before the meal hall closes so I can technically stay at school as late as I want (NSCAD has twenty-four access). Although I will go to as many general assemblies as possible, I don't plan on running for student council this year.

As you may remember, last year I split my last eighteen credits nine and nine, having realized that eighteen would be too much for me (I'm organized but not that organized). So this semester I just have Advanced Photo Critique, which is an all-day class. The rest of the time will be spent working on my project, doing readings for the course, doing other fun things (like going to GAs and collective meetings, dancing, watching movies, photographing for personal projects, etc.), doing grownup things (paying bills, grocery shopping--which I already do), etc. Mom wants me to get a job, as I'll have more free time, but we'll have to see about that: student jobs are scarce in Halifax, as they are everywhere except Alberta--maybe even more so, because there are students from six universities competing for jobs. Minus Saint Mary's University and the Atlantic School of Theology, for which I couldn't find numbers, that's almost 24,500 students--just over 18,000 of which are from Dal, the biggest school in Halifax--competing for however many jobs are available to them in this city. Some find employment on campus, while others expand the search to other places in Halifax.

This week I'll continue to get stuff done that needs to be done and my first class is on Wednesday.

just when I thought I had it all (or 95% of it) figured out...
losing faith in the Olympics one nutty move at a time

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