Thursday, November 12, 2009

On Dedication: Types and Degrees

It took passing 2 jocks in fishnets, a guy riding a bike in neon orange short shorts with matching tube socks and pasties, and a girl wearing a shiny dominatrix outfit (as much as a few inch wide straps of pleather can count as an "outfit") complete with chains for me to remember that tonight is Safer Sex Night.

Definition Time! Safer Sex Night is an annual Oberlin celebration of skimpy costumes, loud music, alcohol, and (often) glitter or pleather (because we love the animals). Oberlin students journey to the 'Sco wearing almost nothing in order to celebrate their sexual freedom.

I might add that I was on my way to the library.

It is currently 31 degrees and dropping.

Who is more dedicated?
Does Oberlin hold this event in November on purpose?

In other news, I should be working.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I'm not dead.

B is for Bluegrass.

Other things B is for:
-B Major
-Awesome! Wait, no...

I'm not dead. I'm in fact more alive than I've been in a long time. I do, however, fail at updating you about my life. You'll be happy to know (at least I hope so) that the reason I fail at updating you about my life is because it's been so good lately.

Things in My Life That are Good, in no particular order:
-Friends, bandmates, and friends that are bandmates
-My wonderful pancake-making, hug-giving, sharp-dancing California Honey
-Environment and Society class. Obies, if you have a chance to take this, do.
-Sunshine. Like peekaboo, today I see you, tomorrow it will snow.

Things I know about Hexachordal Combinatoriality:
-My teacher said this word a couple times in music theory class. No one but me snickered.
-This word is too long.
-Bill Monroe didn't know what this was.

How the Black River Belles Came to Be -OR- We Were Bored
Me: Hey Sara, you ever played fiddle? Wanna start a band?
Sara: Sure.

Winter in Ohio is a terrible thing. Imagine a LOT of snow that doesn't go away, with no footprints in it because it's too miserably cold to go outside. There is no sun, and everyone is bored. This, incidentally is the perfect condition in which to create a band with your girlfriends.

Black River is actually a creek. It thinks it's a river, so everyone humors it. Many things in Northeast Ohio are named after the Black River and several of them are awesome.

Awesome things named after the Black River:
-Black River Cafe
-Black River Antiques

-Black River Lanes (bowling)
-Black River Pirates (Sullivan, OH high school football team)
-Black River Belles.

So my girls and I started a folk/bluegrass band. It makes me very happy.

We are:
Helena Thompson, on vocals, guitar, beauty, and haircuts
Sara Sasaki, on fiddle, vocals, adorableness, wardrobe, and organization
Erin Lobb, on bass, vocals, and bad jokes.

Places You Might See Belles:
-The Cat and the Cream
-Tappan Bandstand
-Science Center Atrium
-Cracker Barrel
-Outside your window RIGHT NOW! (haha, you looked)

The Belles are good friends with the Outhouse Troubadours. If fact, Belles love Troubadours so much they gave them a bassist...

Wait that's me!

I also joined an established campus band with some really great pickers and singers to serenade the outhouse. It's a lot of fun:

Every now and then I scream "I LOVE MUSIC!" in complete seriousness and sobriety. At least 7 people agree with me.

Here's a link to download a recording of the April 19th show the Outhouse Troubadours played at the Cat in the Cream (with me on bass!):

In Other News:
-I got eggs from under a chicken, and they were warm! She pecked at me!
-The tulip trees are beautiful.
-Thunder Over Louisville was last weekend. Daniel stole me an official No Stopping-Special Event sign. I knew I liked that kid.
-It was great to see my family last weekend. Now-back to work!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Last night I watched a 3D movie without 3D glasses. The movie was my life. I saw my world in one piece, normal and together. First I was walking alone on a path. As I walked the scenery started to change with increasing rapidness, mostly between different places I've lived or spent a lot of time, like I was inside a television whose channels kept flipping. Sometimes there were other people on the path, but they weren't there for very long.

Then things started to separate. Everything around me dissolved into its double picture the way 3D illusions do when you take off the glasses and look with just your eyes. Everything was doubled, but not just doubled exactly. It was as if there were multiple overlapping versions of the same thing. It was all moving and overlapping and sometimes I could see the insides of was very confusing. Then suddenly I knew. I knew, the way you just know things in dreams without knowing why you know them, that this was the way the world really was. The pieces I glimpsed underneath everything were the real truth, and the togetherness I usually saw was just an illusion.

As I started to surface from my dream this morning I still believed it was real. Before I opened my eyes, I thought I could choose which version I was going to see today.

I couldn't decide.

I'm writing to you from northern Ohio. It's very cold, and has been snowing persistently for a few days now. Someone, I don't know who, has made an igloo outside my dorm. Maybe they're in there.

I'm in an orchestra this month. We're playing:
Mahler's 1st symphony
Beethoven's 4th piano concerto
Huang Ruo (an Oberlin alum) Hanging Cliffs

Rehearsal is going well, and even our terrifying conductor seems pleased. The Huang Ruo, however, is a disastrous mess of sloppy writing and painful dissonance. Luckily it's a premier, so no one will know whether or not it's really supposed to sound that terrible (it is) and everyone will be afraid to appear old-fashioned by criticizing it. After the disaster that is Hanging Cliffs, however, the remaining audience members are in for a real treat. The Mahler is frightening, glorious, funny, tragic, and heroic at once. The Beethoven concerto is the sort of beautiful that can only be described in musical form, and pianist/professor Angela Cheng gives her interpretation to each listener like a loving gift between intimate friends. If every audience member does not have a musicgasm by the end of this concert it will not be our fault.

I'm enjoying the peace and quiet in my little northern hideaway. I think I probably have a few neighbors left in the dorm, but I haven't seen them. Sara and I have been cooking up plans and rich food, and are very excited about the possibilities once our singer is healthy again and we've bought more buttermilk. The snow is more pristine than it is allowed to be when 3000+ people live and work here, and the top layer has crystalized and reflects the sun as I look out my window. My bike is frozen again, but I find I don't need or want to go anywhere that a leasurely walk can't take me. I am quite content, and as always remain

For an amusing video of composer Huang Ruo explaining his Great Vision for "Hanging Cliffs," see: