Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Song of the Week / Sickness Update

So this post is going to be a lot like the last post. Except I'm going to start with the sickness part this time!

So, for those of you who didn't catch it on facebook, I had something like the flu this past weekend. Now I say like the flu because I never had a test done...nor did I ever go to the doctor. But that's the joy when you have a doctor for a father! I called him up about my fever - 100.8 - and my sore throat with a cough, as well as my body aching and a horrible headache. So he had me take ibuprofen and acetaminophen, alternating every 3 hours or so, and Mucinex D (guaifenesin and pseudoephedrine) to relieve the cough and sinus congestion. For the lay people out there (this includes me...most of the time...), that's Advil, Tylenol, Mucinex, and Sudafed. This terrific drug cocktail pulled me up and out of the abyss that was my weekend.

"Yay Dad!" (waving a tiny flag)

...That was a quote from Disney's Robin Hood.

Anyway, my fever broke Sunday evening. But now this flu, or whatever it was, has developed into a headcold that has been hanging on these last few days. Horrible! Especially because I have a solo movement (the "Agnus Dei") in the Mass in B minor by Bach that FSU is performing tonight. We had one concert last night and I did fine...until the very end when I desperately wanted to cough. But that would have been bad on many levels, including infecting the first few rows of the audience. They certainly didn't pay for that.

So to make a long story short - too late! - I am now mostly better. I contacted my voice students and given them the option of rescheduling their lessons for today due to my potential contagiousness (a real word), and most of them agreed to reschedule. One of them didn't, though...so I now have to wonder if she's somewhat of a masochist, hoping to get sick, or has a wicked immune system that puts mine to shame.

Those of you with more experience around me would probably vote highly for the latter.

Alright, now on to the Song of the Week! This one I found while surfing the web for French restaurants (long story), and stumbled across it while on the menu page for a French restaurant called La Caille, just outside of Salt Lake City on the way to Little Cottonwood Canyon. It's très, très expensive for a student like me, and for many other people that aren't students. In fact, unless you're a good lawyer or doctor or executive, La Caille is probably out of your league. Just sayin'. Their website is AWESOME though, so go and visit it if you have a chance. Very chic. Just go past the first page.

The first song was a nice French one, called "Un Jour Comme un Autre" (A Day Like Any Other), but it was just 'eating' music to me. You know...it just fills up the background and makes lags in the conversation less awkward than they should be. But THIS song, On n'a pas besoin, immediately caught my attention when it came on while I was perusing the menu. I forgot about the über-expensive meals on the page and scrolled down to the bottom, where they had a little blurb about the music. So good!!

Click the picture, then click the play button at Playlist.com to listen to the track.

On n'a pas besoin, or There's no need in my limited French, is by a French group called "Paris Combo", and all their music is (naturally) in French. If any of you are into modern jazz that's catchy and singable, then this music is for you. Maybe. If you happen to like Becca's Brazilian music at all, then I promise you'll love this stuff.

If you'd like to buy it, go and do so on Amazon.com for only $0.89! It's a steal, really. And the whole album is only $7.99.

Pretty cool, n'est-ce pas?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Song of the Week

Every now and then I find a song that just sticks in my head and screams for me to play it on my iPod nearly nonstop. That unsatiable desire sometimes lasts for about a week. My love affair this week is with Owl City's "Fireflies". It has been playing itself over and over in my head and on my iPod. I just find it incredibly catchy and (dare I say) cute - it talks about fireflies giving hugs! And dancing!

Anthony, you can lower your eyebrow now.

It's just a nice little something different from my standard Lifehouse and Coldplay playlists. The rest of the album - most of which you can listen to on their website - isn't bad, especially if you're into electronic and/or dance music. And the lyrics are all pretty good! But the single "Fireflies" is probably enough for me to buy right now, although I kinda like "Hello Seattle". As a whole, Owl City has a quasi-video game quality to it (being synthesized) that pulls me back to my childhood when I played Nintendo and Sega Genesis. Nowadays the video game music is practically orchestrated, but thanks to Owl City I can re-experience the good old days.

*sigh* How can I resist music that does that?

On a different note, I'm coming down with something ghastly that's causing a sore throat. Aaaack! And I have to sing my solo in the Bach Mass in B minor on Monday and Tuesday! I'm trying to deal with it on my own: drinking tons of water (and having to go to the bathroom way too often), gargling salt water, and getting plenty of sleep. Well...at least trying to get plenty of sleep.

I'm also chugging along with NaNoWriMo. I was up to par on my word count last night, and now I need to get to typing to keep up with my 1,667 words today. It looks like victory could be a possibility!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Quick Update

My phone is ALIIIIIVE!!

(This is the Transformer that turns into a cell phone in the movie.)

That being said, if anyone wants to call me they now can. I doubt I'll have any unusual amount of phone activity, but just so you know that the potential is there. :-)

I also wanted to post the link to my NaNoWriMo homepage (<~~ click the picture!). This is the page that will have my wordcount (hoping for 50,000!) as well as a small excerpt from what I typed up yesterday.

And, for your knowledge and viewing pleasure, here is the daily wordcount I have to stay up with in order to win NaNoWriMo by November 30th. The number list refers to the date (on November 1st I had to have 1,667 words, etc.)
  1. Day 1: 1,667 words
  2. Day 2: 3,334 words
  3. Day 3: 5,001 words
  4. Day 4: 6,668 words
  5. Day 5: 8, 335 words
  6. Day 6: 10,002 words
  7. Day 7: 11,669 words
  8. Day 8: 13,336 words
  9. Day 9: 15,003 words
  10. Day 10: 16,670 words
  11. Day 11: 18,337 words
  12. Day 12: 20,004 words
  13. Day 13: 21,671 words
  14. Day 14: 23,338 words
  15. Day 15: 25,005 words
  16. Day 16: 26,672 words
  17. Day 17: 28,339 words
  18. Day 18: 30,006 words
  19. Day 19: 31,673 words
  20. Day 20: 33,340 words
  21. Day 21: 35,007 words
  22. Day 22: 36,674 words
  23. Day 23: 38,341 words
  24. Day 24: 40,008 words
  25. Day 25: 41,675 words
  26. Day 26: 43,342 words
  27. Day 27: 45,009 words
  28. Day 28: 46,675 words
  29. Day 29: 48,343 words
  30. Day 30: 50,000 words
So bug me a lot if the wordcount on my NaNoWriMo homepage doesn't reflect this! Thanks a bunch in advance for keeping me on top of this. :-)

Now I'm off to a rehearsal for the Bach Mass in B minor. Woohoo!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

An update: my phone has gone into a coma. Living for two days without being able to communicate via speech to any of my family or friends away from Tallahassee has been surprisingly difficult. I mean, I know that we used to live like that until the last few decades - but I never did! So any kind of loneliness I might have felt beforehand is now exponentially stronger. It's just a little tough. :-(

But never fear! The Sprint people (as though they are a separate race of humans...) told me that I will be getting a new phone on Monday after 2pm. Why such a different answer than a few weeks ago when I complained of screen issues? Apparently they have a different opinion on phones with condensation under the screen. Hooray!

And it's Halloween!! Woohoo! I've learned to become a bit wary about 'parties' around these parts, what with underage drinking and skankiness always making a showing. So my big celebration ended up happening last night instead of this evening, when the FLYSAGA (FLorida Young Single Adults GeorgiA) group threw a Halloween dance at the Institute building in Gainesville, FL. The "Zombie Prom" as it was affectionately named was awesome, with dancing and food and fake blood and dead faces galore! But I must admit...I was a bit of a bum and didn't go in a costume (I've had a hard week, okay!). Thankfully, a friend of mine named Claire viciously applied eye shadow to my entire face - along with a few artful dabs of pomegranate Burt's Beeswax lip balm - and made me a zombie-fied college student! Hooray again!

I'll try to get some pictures from...um, well, I guess from anybody that was there, and then put them on here. It was a ton of fun! Even the 2 1/2 hour drive was a lot of fun (especially leaving Gainesville after 1am - and getting back into my own bed at 5am).

So here is my tribute to the Halloween spirit. After all, we must remember the reason for the season.

("Has Halloween Become Overcommercialized?" from The Onion)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I overslept! September's LONG over!

A lot has happened here in sleepy Tallahassee over the last month. Let me explain. No, there is too much - let me sum up. (Yes, that is a quote from The Princess Bride for those of you that caught it.)

I auditioned for the opera Serse (Xerxes in English), and have been cast as Arsamene. Woohoo! There goes my Christmas break, learning a role! ;-)

I have taught voice lessons now for a couple of months. Who knew that I would take to private teaching?

My truck has now been replaced with a green Honda Civic. Crazy! But SO MUCH BETTER in gas mileage. You have no idea.

Also, I have decided to plan my descent into the 9th Level of Hell by signing up to do National Novel Writing Month next month. There are a few people in my ward that are going to do it, and they explained the whole thing to me. The basics: I'm going to write a 50,000-word novel during the month of November. As in 30 days. That equals out to about 1,667 words a day!

When they (my "friends"...) first told me about this, I thought they were simply crazy and/or masochistic. A whole novel in 30 days? What are they thinking?! I mean, I considered doing it at the time...but along the lines of crazily considering what it must be like to get struck by lightning (sizzle/KABOOM!), get in a fight with a shark (poke it in the eye!!), or leap off the Empire State Building (it would be pretty windy). Those aren't exactly serious considerations here.

But then I thought, "Ben, you used to write all the time when you were younger! Why not search for that creative side of you again?" And I have to admit...I had a pretty creative and active imagination. Even now my id likes to play around with me, giving me intense dreams with Blu-ray detail and elegant plotlines. But to actually dredge that part of my brain out of the muck of mediocrity? It'd be difficult to do.

So I decided to do it on a whim. That's how these crazy decisions work, isn't it?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Wake me up when September ends

Alrighty, it's been a little bit since my last post, and a lot has happened since then. For example, I'm in Tallahassee right now! Crazy! It's SO humid here, and combined with the heat...well, it's pretty much death. It's been raining almost every day here too. Yeah. There have been a lot of good things that have been happening (especially in school), but there have been a lot of crappy things happening as well. Like my backpack breaking last week. And not having a bed until (hallelujah!) two nights ago. Or not having any income from my assistantship until two weeks from now. And realizing the voice faculty want me to take 15 extra credit hours of language that I will have to pay for! And not having my financial aid money until I can deposit my check (which hasn't arrived yet) into a bank that doesn't exist yet in Tallahassee!!

*cough cough*

But anyway, I wanted to write today (especially today) because of a wee little occurence last night. It seems that my closet decided to herald in the new month by...imploding!! Yes, ladies and gentleman, my closet did pretty much the exact opposite of exploding by dropping it's largest closet rod/shelf on to the floor. At approximately 1 AM. As the story goes (...and I know, because I was there), I woke up early this morning with a loud and resounding CRASH that left me staring stupidly around my dark room. Without a lamp to see what had happened, I just assumed that one of the many boxes still stacked up in the middle of my room had fallen over or collapsed. I woke up this morning and saw...nothing out of the ordinary - as though my boxes had intelligently righted themselves (cue music from "The Twilight Zone"). I then assumed that the sound I'd heard the night before had to have come from the apartment upstairs. So I took a shower and got ready for the day.

I opened up my closet to pick out my clothes and found...

I stared at it for about a minute or two. Just stared. Marveling at the unexpected but inherent beauty in the angle at which all the clothes were laying, the perfect dichotomoy of order and chaos that were literally existing right next to each other, as well as the unbelievable-ness of what had occured. How?? Why?!?

On closer inspection I discovered that the screws and nails that held the shelf "securely" to the wall had been pulled out, ripping through the drywall and causing the loud CRASH at 1 in the morning. All of this from a bunch of shirts, some slacks, a canvas shoe holder, and some practically empty luggage on top of the shelf. For what I'm paying to live here, you would think that the closets would be adequately constructed! And I'd better not hear the management tell me that I shouldn't have things on top of the shelf. Otherwise, what is the POINT of a shelf?!

I pondered all of these things as I stared.

When I was done, instead of curling up on the floor and sobbing for Mommy, I decided instead to laugh and take a picture. After all, how often do we have the chance of having our closets implode?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Senioritis & Saigon Café

I've always been a "good" student. You know the kind, the ones that work hard on their papers and projects so that they are the best they possibly can be. I wasn't a total recluse, though; I've had my late papers and stuff like that. But overall, I've been a very conscientious student.

That student died a few weeks ago.

Now I find myself sitting here, with two papers and an exam looming over my head, writing a blog post. Me!! Of all people!! I hardly ever blog!! But Senioritis has now stepped into my life with a horrible vengeance. And as such, this seemed to be a perfectly good time to write some stuff down about what I've been doing.

Today I went to Saigon Café with Anthony, Angie, and my friend Kristin. I have to tell you - it's certainly not the best Chinese food you'll ever find, nor is it the most charming of locations and decor. But for the price...it's the best value around. Looking at different reviews from the Google search page, Saigon Café actually has gotten about an average of 4 out of 5 stars! Pretty impressive, eh?

As you probably saw on my previous post (#38), we go there often. It's just such a nice place to get cheap food that's not bad at all. In fact, combos are only $4.95 for the Chinese-style chips and dip, soup, entree with fried rice, and an eggroll. It's difficult to argue with that. BUT, every day they have one of their combos for only $3.95. So take a dollar off, and then it's almost impossible to say no! It has been a much cherished lunch locale for many years now.

Anyway, that's my little spiel about Saigon Café. For those of you still in Provo, please go enjoy it while you can. For those of you that have left - hold on to the memories!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A post for BYU-bound students

My little sister is about to come out here and start her college career at BYU! How exciting! There's a big part of me that's wishing I would be here for just one more year to enjoy it with her. Alas, that is not to be. So, instead, I've thought of something that should help out.

Here is a list of 50* things that I thought my little sister should do. Some of these simply can't be done in her freshman year (like #32), but many of them can. And, by the way, I've done each one of these things listed. There's a heck of a lot more that I could put on here, but I either couldn't think of them or I forgot. Hahaa...they're both kind of the same reason.

Anyway, let me know what you think of these! And see if they bring back any good memories. Or bad ones. ;-)

Things you need to do at BYU:
1. Hike the Y.
2. Stay up all night just talking to somebody (preferably of the opposite sex).
3. ALWAYS stop the car on 8th North for the ducks.
4. Play Frisbee at night with a light-up Frisbee.
5. Remember to sell back your books.
6. Read your textbooks.
7. Read something other than your textbooks.
8. Do not do homework on Sundays. Ever. Don’t even worry about it. Trust me.
9. Let your room become a pigsty at least once.
10. Now clean your room.
11. Participate in at least one performing group, officially BYU or not.
12. Participate in at least one athletic team, officially BYU or not.
13. Take an exercise class just for fun (Trevor’s hint: try Flexibility).
14. Speak to each of your professors at least once throughout the semester.
15. Get a job on campus.
16. Stay in the library until it closes at midnight – and enjoy the music.
17. Go night-skiing at Brighton.
18. Drop everything to go help a friend.
19. Play night games.
20. ALWAYS respect curfew. You signed your name and agreed to it.
21. Randomly burst out in song in the middle of Brigham’s Square.
22. Go camping.
23. Longboard down Provo Canyon (you’ll need 2 cars – try Nun’s Park).
24. Drop a bucket of bouncy balls down the SWKT stairwell. OR…
25. Drop/roll a bucket of bouncy balls down the spiral staircase in the JFSB. They’re both fun.
26. Laugh with a group of people until you all nearly pass out.
27. Go to the BYU Christmas Concert. Every year if you can.
28. Strike up a conversation with a completely random stranger.
29. Get lost in the basement of the HFAC.
30. Try out all the hands-on stuff in the ESC.
31. Go to J Dawgs.
32. Be a part of a dinner group.
33. Explore Salt Lake City Cemetery in the dark. Find Pres. Hinckley’s tombstone.
34. Start calling the Mormon Tabernacle Choir the “MoTab.”
35. Attend the MoTab Christmas Concert at least once.
36. Keep a picture of your family in your room.
37. Buy fudge from the BYU Bookstore.
38. Go to the Saigon Cafe for lunch. Often.
39. Keep a plant.
40. Attend a session of General Conference at the Conference Center.
41. Magnify your church calling.
42. Go to a midnight movie. Or a lot of them.
43. Go to the Holi Festival of Colors.
44. Don’t trust everything in Mormon Doctrine, no matter what other students may tell you.
45. Go and develop your own opinion of Sub Zero Ice Cream.
46. Stay at BYU for Spring/Summer Terms.
47. Drive through the Alpine Loop.
48. Get your car booted only once.
49. Take your friends and occasional date to lunch/dinner with your meal plan.
50. Go to the Bean Life Science Museum.
51. Go to the Skyroom with your friends at least once a semester.
52. Go to the Cracker Barrel every semester during reading days. Pajamas are necessary.
53. Take advantage of two-for-one massages at the school of massage therapy! Get a masseuse preferably of your own sex.
54. Break down BAWLING in front of someone at least once (preferably not in your family).
55. Have a picnic in the mountains.
56. Get ice cream at the BYU creamery. At least monthly.
57. After a huge snowstorm, observe the naked Indian.
58. Scream yourself hoarse rooting for BYU at the BYU-Utah game.
59. Go sledding at Rock Canyon.
60. Start cleaning for cleaning checks EARLY (and don't ask your mom or aunt for help).
61. You MUST go to a cornmaze during Halloween. At least once, preferably multiple times.
62. Take complete advantage of the BYU Lost & Found sale. Just get there a couple hours early and wait in line.
63. Have several DTRs. OR...
64. Have as many DTRs as would result in maximized utility, as circumstances may require.
65. Buy clothing from the BYU Bookstore (Becca's hint: shoes).
66. Volunteer at the TRC.
67. Attend the temple regularly. You will literally NEVER live that close to a temple again.
68. Live in the FLSR.
69. Stay up all night to write a paper.
70. Stay up all night studying with a friend of the opposite sex. At Denny’s.

*This is the updated post, including the additional items from comments. Feel free to keep adding! :-D

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

So this is going to be a simple post. No pictures, no links to various pages or Wikipedia articles (okay, maybe just that one). One of the reasons I've been avoiding posting for a while is because I just don't have any very good pictures, or funny little stories, or engaging debates that I've had recently. But after reading a bunch of other blogs, I have realized that I don't really care whether or not a friend has any pictures up. Or funny little stories, or even engaging debates they've had recently. I like knowing what's going on.

So here's where I stand right now. Summer term starts tomorrow (!!), my last little taste of BYU before I head out. Where to, do you ask? Why, the great Florida State University! About as different from BYU as you can get. Well...maybe not the most different from any other university, but pretty close. I've already found a couple places to live (hopefully in this one house with a bunch of other LDS guys...), and I can feel the end coming closer and closer.

Interestingly...as I get closer to the end of my time at BYU, I have started realizing how absolutely beautiful BYU is during the summer time! I also noticed in my pictures how gorgeous BYU is during this winter time! And during fall, when the leaves are changing color! And during spring, when everything is starting to bud and bloom!! I live in beauty!!!

Kind of funny how it's taken me all of five years here at this university to figure that out. Now I have the rest of these eight weeks (slightly less, actually) to completely soak in the essence of Brigham Young University. Then, when I begin my time at FSU, I can still bleed true-blue among all of that garnet.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A post!

A post, a post! My kingdom for a post!

Yeah yeah, here is my dinky little excuse for contact with anybody who happens to read this thing. This poor, dilapidated thing that used to be a weblog. Anyway - today I leave the country with BYU Singers to spread choral and gospel cheer throughout Ireland, Wales, and England! How cool!

So...if you want to keep on top of my doings along with the rest of Singers, go to the Singers' blog to follow along with our tour. It's going to be great!


Friday, March 06, 2009

My first post! In how long...hmm...oh dear...

So, in case people have been hanging on my blog for the sake of my continued existence - I'm still alive and breathing. You may rest easy.

My life has been pretty up and around and across the western hemisphere these last few months. While I don't have the time or space to detail my decisions, travels, hopes, and dreams that have occurred recently, I'll try to get the main point across.

A number of months ago I finally made the decision to pursue music as a grad degree and career instead of law. That was a pretty tough decision. Once it was made I spent a lot more time (and a lot more money) than I ever had before singing and studying up for auditions and stuff. I can't even begin to describe the anxiety I've felt during this time. Not simply because auditions are scary things, and changing your life's plans are simply horrific to me, but also because I have no idea if I'll even be able to support a family well in my future musical career. Thankfully, I do have the greatest assurance in the world: the Spirit (not to get spiritual on y'all). My decision was based on study and prayer (D&C 9:7-8), and now I know that this is the right thing for me to be doing in my life at this moment. In fact, it took me 8 months to get any answer to my question at all.

So this past month has been full of auditions. In order of weekends:
1a. New England Conservatory (Boston, MA)
1b. San Francisco Conservatory (San Francisco, CA)
2a. Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL)
2b. Brigham Young University (Provo, UT)
3. Mannes Conservatory (New York, NY)

Simply for clarification, that Boston audition and the San Fran one were in the same weekend. But I'm not complaining that much. I actually got to spend an hour with Becca and Tyler when I was stuck in the Philly airport for 4 hours that weekend! My stupid connecting flight through Philadelphia was horribly delayed, but it was a blessing in disguise since it placed me in the exact position I needed to be in to see a well-missed friend.

Ooooh, I wanted to post the airports that I've been through this last month as well! In weekend order too. It gives a better understanding as to why I've been so exhausted lately...
1a. Salt Lake City
1b. Denver
1c. Boston Logan (audition city)
1d. Philadelphia
1e. San Francisco (audition city)
1f. Salt Lake City
2a. Salt Lake City
2b. Memphis
2c. Tallahassee (audition city)
2d. Atlanta
2e. Denver
2f. Salt Lake City
3a. Salt Lake City
3b. Phoenix Sky Harbor
3c. New York JFK (audition city)
3d. Minneapolis/Saint Paul
3e. Salt Lake City

What a list! Eleven different airports!

Alright, I can see that now I'm just rambling about things that aggravated me a bit, but really don't have that much bearing or interest to other people outside of myself. Not that I have anyone else inside of me.

And now, with such a lame post, you can be guaranteed that I will write again soon! If for no other reason than to have a different post at the top of my page. ;-)