Members of something like thirty choirs packed Kresge Auditorium last night to sing the Brahms Requiem.
It was quickly but beautifully thrown together: lighting and A/V equipment, soloists, brilliant pair of pianists, four or five different conductors, and enough singers to nearly fill the lower/main level of Kresge audience seating (no way
they were getting us all on stage). Paraphrasing Leonard Bernstein: our response to violence shall be to make more music louder and better than before.
May the fallen find their way to the place of their ancestors. May the wounded be healed.
This sort of fellowship strikes me as exactly the right thing to do in the face of senseless violence (and, according to Bill Cutter, almost exactly the same thing happened shortly after 9/11 in NYC). More importantly, though, the best thing we can do is to strengthen
our communities and the links between them. If you feel called to act, donate to The One Boston Fund, bake cookies for your roommates, give blood, write to your representatives, resolve to get First Aid or even EMT training -- but meet your neighbors too. Find someone(s) outside your usual social circles and get to know them. I will be singing with some of these people again this summer, assuming logistics work out (Harvard Summer Chorus).
The blood of Boston's genius loci is as much in friendships as it is in the waters of the Charles and the Mystic, the rails and electric lines of the MBTA, the games of the Red Sox, or the dust of illustrious history.
[reposted from Facebook with modifications]
There are one or two really horribly racist/classist things that I remember saying on this journal, but I can't find them to edit them out. I suppose that's just as well, though, since anyone who bothers to backread years of posts (not likely) will see that I used to be worse at kyriarchal shit and that now I'm trying to suck less. It's a process. Just today I said a pretty ableist and victim-blaming thing and didn't even realize it until called out by two people in quick succession. Alas. Remember the mistake, figure out why it was made, apologize, try to do better, educate self, don't kick self unnecessarily.
Be it resolved, in the congress of my five wits and my billion-odd brain cells assembled, that:
1. Running is better than optimized.
2. Done is better than perfect.
I was outside around sunrise this morning and two corvids (I think) flew over me at one point. They were both largish (much bigger than a jay) and black, and made calls that sounded like generic cawing to my uneducated ears. Based on preliminary googling, I suppose they were either American Crow or Common Raven (I'm in SFBA at the moment). Alas, I saw them through thick foliage and far too briefly to photograph.
One of these days I'm going to learn some birds. But I'll probably learn some trees first. They're easier to spot :)
So, religiously, I'm somewhere between atheist, Pagan, and "whatever dude just give me some rituals and songs". But lately I've been making rather a meal of Christmas, and it's not for the family togetherness -- it's for the religious themes and the music. I was amused to note, as I was watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade earlier, that my internal monologue of "fuck your secularized consumerism and give me Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band singing about Jesus" probably sounded a lot like the Jesus Is The Reason For The Season Fight Back Against The War On Christmas people.
I find beauty and value in the story and teachings of Jesus, even though I disagree strongly with things like the concept of original sin or the existence of a heavenly afterlife / immortal souls. Partly, this is because it's a good story, and I have the privilege of not having been traumatized by a strict Christian upbringing. Partly, this is because Christianity dominates classical choral music, and so I've spent a lot of time forcing my intellectual belief into a separate compartment from my ability to sing expressively about something and to appreciate the resulting beauty. And partly, this is because there is real beauty and value to be found! I find it very telling that when God chose to LARP[*], he incarnated into poverty, and the resulting public-policy recommendations were along the lines of camels through the eyes of needles.
Lo, within a manger lies
He who built the starry skies
Sleep, my dear; thy food and raiment,
Home and hearth thy friends provide;
All without thy care or payment,
All thy wants are well supplied.
How much better thou art tended
Than the Son of God could be,
When from heaven he descended
And became a child like thee!
To-day he makes his entrance here
But not as monarchs do.
[*] Alas, this phrasing is geofft's, not mine.
Ugh, I keep thinking about this one post I made years ago in which I made some incredibly disgustingly privileged offhand comment about poverty. And now I can't find that post to delete it. *sigh*
Oh well, personal growth or something.
I haven't written anything on here in almost a year. Wow.
Just putting this out there because I seem to be meeting a lot of new people who have LJ accounts. Hi there.
I read a few pages in Order of the Phoenix about the main characters being hosed and having exams, and I have to put the book down for a minute. *sigh* I graduated, I graduated, I graduated. I don't have to graduate any more.
1 jar (~2 cups??) red lentils (or some kind of lentils that cook relatively fast)
Couple handfuls of spinach (or more)
Couple chicken breasts or thighs (depending on desired chicken:lentil-soup ratio)
Cut up onion. Saute in bottom of saucepan, using a bunch more olive oil than you would need just to do the onion. Add generous amounts of cumin, cayenne pepper, and whatever else you want. Continue sauteing until onions are translucent. Add lentils and chicken broth (keep the lentils covered). Simmer for a while. Eventually, add chopped spinach and continue simmering.
Meanwhile, cut up the chicken and rub it with salt / garlic powder / whatever else you want. Fry it up in some more olive oil.
When the lentils are soft, take half the lentil soup and blend it in a blender, then mix it back in with the rest. Add the chicken.
It's Fat Tuesday. As you're polishing off the food that isn't kosher for lent, think about how we met and tell the story here. Since I'm a rather dull person most of the time, telling the TRUTH would be dull, so please lie like a politician. Feel free to venture into any literary genre you like.
Feel free to steal this nonsense and post it to your own journal.
* Life is good! I'm a hell of a lot happier than I have been for lo these many semesters.
* ET spring rush was successful and brought three new pledges! Yay!
* I've discovered that I really enjoy hacking on instruments/apparatus for doing bio experiments. I sort of suspect that if I had gotten more into tools and fixing stuff as a child, I would be a MechE major. (It wouldn't take much...)
* I haven't really made much progress on my job hunt due to procrastination, but I get to meet with someone at the Broad Institute and have an informal chat about possibly working there! Eee!
So I finally got around to doing my little winter solstice observance. In the middle of it, I had a random idea for a secular-humanist solstice ritual. It would center around lighting several candles sequentially while reciting lines from a lesson. That lesson would be Everything Goes Because The Sun Is Shining; the light of the candles is sunlight that can be stored and invoked at will. Or maybe the ritual could use multiple types of illumination to illustrate the principle of energy changing forms but ultimately tracing back to the sun.
There could also be a lesson ("calca") on the analemma and why we have solstices and seasons at all, but it's slightly more general and could be given at both solstices and both equinoxes... or at any time, really, if there was a part that went "and at this moment we are here in the analemma, in this hemisphere the sun's power is waxing/waning, etc etc".
I have an awful urge to flesh this out completely. It would basically be "science stuff except rewritten to sound poetic". Thoughts?
I've been away from the internet for four days, traveling with my family to the CA gold country and to Yosemite. I have many things to say, but for some reason I want to tell you all about my weird-ass dreams first.
Contact Lenses: I get a new pair of contact lenses and decide to go through my collection of old ones. They look like no contact lenses I've ever seen -- some are almost an inch across, or weird colors, or triangular (???), or have chips and cracks at the edges. The new ones are the only ones that look normal.
Star Wars: A mashup of Star Wars and real life. My housemate JRL is Luke Skywalker. Both the Empire and also this faction within the Rebel Alliance want him dead, so when we are in real life we have to be very careful to not reveal his identity. Also, pumpkin plays a large role.
* Like the scene in Return of the Jedi where they fly into the heart of the Death Star, except the interior of the Death Star is made out of cooked pumpkin. Lots of sploogey noises as small ships fly around and dock/undock from the pumpkin.
* Hiding in a room at ET with the door shut as agents of the Empire walk by, black-clad. Because at ET if someone's door is shut you don't enter without their permission.
* Googling "star wars luke skywalker rebel alliance", realizing I had made myself vulnerable, closing that tab, and opening 30 tabs about Star Trek as a blind. (I guess my subconscious forgot it could erase its browser history.)
Rehearsal: The most horrifying rehearsal I have ever been in. It's Chamber Chorus in collaboration with a couple other groups of similar size, totaling about 50 people. The music we're rehearsing is supposedly the Schütz piece that we did in real life, but it is like no Schütz I've ever heard -- it's a funeral piece, but there are bits that are like surrealist comic opera. The risers sag dangerously but Bill says it is no problem. I spend half my time clinging to a column in order not to fall down. And I keep having to dash back into rehearsal because I forgot something or I was late or I wasn't actually at rehearsal, just dreaming I was.
For some reason, it took until now for me to really crash into people whose beliefs/opinions differ wildly from my own. (Isn't this supposed to be one of the benefits of college?) On a low, practical level, the answer is to just stop talking about provocative topics so that I don't get into bitter arguments with people I have to live with, reach consensus on mundane topics with, etc.
The amount of conviction it takes just to say "I am definitively correct" about a nebulous issue, never mind "I am closed to the possibility of being persuaded otherwise (absent a worldview-toppling argument) and I am proud of that", just boggles my mind.
I have no memory of discussing things like "what happens if people die?" with my parents, but I know it must have happened because every kid has those sorts of questions, and I'm kind of itching to know what they said.
It's not even like I've encountered anyone really crazy. No one is a young-earth creationist or an animal-rights extremist.
I'm not going to talk about details publicly, but suffice it to say that I seem to be happier now. I'm still in the transient stage, of course, because I only started recently, so we'll see what I have to do to achieve a happy steady state. Also, the next step is translating improved emotional health into improved work habits. Still not doing great on that.
I think I've done a variant of this before... but anyway...
If you want to continue the meme, comment and I'll give you a color that I associate with you for some reason, and then you list ten things you like in that color.ninja_orange
gave me white.
1. Freshly laundered socks
2. The frosting on carrot cake
3. The white DNA precipitate you can sometimes see when you're doing an ethanol precipitation (it's usually very small, but if it's there then you can be confident you're doing something right)
5. When you're halfway through cleaning an old grotty whiteboard
6. Fresh mozzarella cheese... nom nom so much fun to dissect
8. Nice art paper, even though I don't draw or paint... just the way it feels
10. The fuzz on baby ferns and other such plant things