Thursday, August 26, 2004

The Village Voice On Protesting During the GOP Convention

The Village Voice has a piece about how protests during the GOP Convention next week in NYC could backfire.

Inherently, I think the author dead-on in his cautions. I'm not so certain we can trust the cable channels or national networks to give us the fairest view of what's happening in this world anymore. That's a sad statement to make, especially from a former newswoman. Yes, I generally still trust ABC News and even CNN, but doubt has started to linger when I consider how unbiased a news source is and whether they are honestly trying to portray the whole picture.

The online media has become a sort of salvation. It's the online media of blogs, Internet-only magazines, and access to news sources outside this country that lets me still believe that I can find the truth somewhere. This same new media is what also makes me believe that the GOP Convention will receive fair coverage and if there's any misconduct by authorities, it can't simply be glossed over by Big Media as wrong-doings by protestors as it was in 1968.

A Blogging Violist

I was cued into a blog by a violist from the Minnesota Orchestra. It's more of a series of journal entries detailing the orchestra's tour of Europe. An interesting, and humorous to the music insiders like this line describing a comment by the Orchestra Director on a difficult piece of music:

"Some parts, I follow well. But sometimes, I just have to give the beat, and hope that someone, somewhere in the orchestra, knows what to do with it."

Who hasn't been there before as a musician? My memories of getting hopelessly lost in a piece of music come from scattered instances in the Rochester Philharmonic Youth orchestra, Greece Symphony Orchestra, or Baldwin-Wallace College's Orchestra. There's that moment right when you're sight-reading a piece for the first time, where you lose concentration for a mere moment, and suddenly, the notes rush together and you could be in the third movement when you thought you were playing the Coda of first or second movement. The key is to not do that while soloing!

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

So I Want To Get a Free iPod...

I've been wanting to get some sort of mp3 player for awhile now. Portability is a real issue for me, since I have hundreds of cds and hundreds of music files on my computer. Trying to burn multiple mix cds just isn't realistic timewise for me, so I began researching what was available to me in terms of technology. Again and again, I kept coming back to the iPod. It had received high marks from various sites and is now Windows compatible.

The problem was still the price. As impending unemployment and a slow job market make any funds I have even more precious, the idea of buying an mp3 player seemed almost frivolous. Then I read something on Wired.Com about a legitimate site where you could get an iPod for free. A legit site offering something for free?? No way! I took a look and it all seems on the up and up. So why don't you lend me a hand and help me out by visiting this referral link.

As an incentive, the person who helps me make my final referral requirements will receive a free mix cd of music of your choice (as long as I can find the songs).

Do You Eat Your Kiwi With A Spife?

After indulging in kiwi on the cruise, I decided to pick up some Zespri Kiwi from Wegmans for lunch this week. In the basket with the kiwi's, I noticed this weird little utensil. Since it came free with the kiwi, I took one. I now know it's called a spife. It's certainly handy, but I find that if you don't do a good job of wiping off the handle after cutting the kiwi, your hand gets sticky while using the spoon end.

A kiwi memory:

The first time I had kiwi was as little kid at my grandparent's house in Lackawanna. My grandmother would actually peel a whole kiwi, cut it into quarters, and serve it to me on a plate while I watched morning cartoons. I had never seen a kiwi before and asked what it was. She replied, "It's like a strawberry and banana rolled into one fruit." As the tart juices fill my mouth now, I still instantly think of my grandparent's living room and hot, sunny days in Buffalo.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Many Good Nights of Sleep To Come

We got our new bed today. It's so high that I actually had to go out and buy a step-stool so I could climb up easier.

Our New Bed Posted by Hello

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Cutting a Bridge Open

The new Patrick O'Rorke Bridge in Rochester, NY is set to officially open on October 2, 2004 with the bridge opening to traffic about a month before that. The demolition of the beloved Stutson Street bridge is set to happen sometime this early Fall. I will be in town the weekend of the ribbon cutting for the new bridge so I can attend a friend's wedding. On a neat little note of coincidence, we had to use the Stutson Street bridge in order to get to the church I grew up in, which is where we met the family of my friend who is getting married. Everything comes around full circle eventually.

"You're All Gonna Be In This Experimental Film..."

The lastest song to be incessantly jangling through my brain is "Experimental Film" by They Might Be Giants. A great animated video for this very catchy song is being hosted on HomeStarRunner. I would almost call this video an Official Video of In Java, Literally due the cool use of a coffee cup as a drum pad.

A last TMBG note for this post, if you go to the TMBG site, you can order mp3 downloads of live shows. I think my mind is going to explode into a million happy pieces with this information.

Monday, August 16, 2004

The Honeymoon - A Quick Photo Retrospective

The honeymoon was wonderful! We took pictures with the new digi, so I thought I'd share some of them. Itinerary for the trip was: San Juan, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and San Juan. Note that we didn't see anything in San Juan other than the view from our ship and the airport.

The beginnings of Hurricane Charley made from some rough seas on Monday. This shot is from our cabin. Posted by Hello

St. Maarten with St. Barts in the Background Posted by Hello

Me in St. Maarten Posted by Hello

Me, Nick Maley (creator of Yoda) of Star Wars fame, and Matt in St. MaartenPosted by Hello

We met Edwin & Melanie from Ontario, Canada our first night of the cruise. We had fun hanging out with them over the week.Posted by Hello

Jim and Jenny were our dinner mates and pretty cool couple from CaliforniaPosted by Hello

Matt and Me the Last Night of the Cruise Posted by Hello

One of our waiters, Alessandro (Alex), with our Baked Alaska Posted by Hello

Our waiter, Xavier, serving us Baked Alaska Posted by Hello

The dreaded notice that our flight home was delayed, leading to Delta putting us up in a hotel in Atlanta last nightPosted by Hello

Friday, August 06, 2004

Sunny Beaches and Warm Waves

Packing For the Honeymoon Posted by Hello

We will be heading off to the Southern Caribbean for our honeymoon soon. I doubt we'll be doing any blog updates while we're on the ship unless they don't charge for Internet access. Seeing as how they charge for nearly everything else, I wouldn't count on it! Also, someone please pray for sunnier weather for our trip. Right now we're looking at a chance of showers just about every day of the cruise. I'm sure we'll have fun regardless *wink wink nudge nudge*

Thursday, August 05, 2004

The Wedding Story

The fact that I'm just getting around to posting about the wedding should give you an idea of how busy we've been these past two and half weeks. I thought it would be worthwhile to get some text up before we finally go off on our honeymoon this coming week.

Thursday: Two Days Before the Wedding

I arrived in Buffalo in the afternoon and immediately went to my grandparent's house to check on the flower arrangement process that my mom had set up in the basement. My Aunt Stella, Uncle Bill, and my Dad arrived a little later for a dinner of homemade breaded porkchops. During a walk after dinner, my Uncle Bill relayed a humorous story about how one of the family friends got so drunk at my parent's wedding that she was trying to climb up light poles. My parents and I then traveled to Lackawanna where I experienced my first futile attempt at sleeping.

Friday: Day Before the Wedding

Friday morning, my mom and got up just before 8am so we could get in one final workout session at Curves before the wedding. Afterwards, my mom shot off for Cheektowaga to continue working on floral arrangements for the wedding. I eventually joined them for lunch and then helped load a bunch of stuff into the car to take to the Reception Hall. After dropping off table arrangements and setting up the seating cards, the ladies all went to get our nails done down the road. My mom and I opted for pedicures as well, which turned out to be one of the most relaxing spa features I've ever experienced. The chairs you sat in had a massage feature that didn't just vibrate, but kneaded your entire back, neck and shoulders.

Afterwards, we separated while different people went to check into hotels and I went back to my grandparent's to wait for Matt to arrive. Anne, my Maid of Honor, and her boyfriend/my friend Sean showed up a little later and we began eating some snacks before going to the church. Mid-bite through a piece of cantaloupe, I realized that I accidentally took all the cds I had burned for the wedding day to the reception hall, which was now locked up. This included the copy of the processional and recessional music that we needed to listen to and practice with at the church. Fortunately, Sean had a copy of Elgar's Enigma Variations with him, and even though it was a slower version, we knew it would ultimately work as a substitute. The wedding rehearsal went well and we trooped off to La Bella Sicilia's for dinner. Matt and I toasted and thanked everyone before we all shoveled massive amounts of Italian goodness into our stomachs. I kissed him good-bye and went to my grandparent's house to sleep.

I wasn't sleepy so I spent some time setting out all my jewelry, make-up, under-dress garments, and packing up what I didn't need. I settled in to sleep again, but panicked when I realized I needed to set some alarms in order to wake myself up in time to shower and partially dress before Donna came to do my hair. I set a dubious looking clock next to the bed and my cell phone before settling once more into bed. I couldn't sleep. I'm pretty sure I got an hour or two, but not much more.

Saturday: The Big Day

Since I was already awake, I got up about a half hour earlier than planned and got into the shower. Realizing I forgot to bring a robe or button shirt that I could easily take off after my hair was done, I rummaged through one of the closets until I found a housecoat to borrow. My grandfather, who is not a morning person, shuffled bleary-eyed into the kitchen to start making some eggs. My grandparents and I sat quietly around the table, sipping tea,and munching on toast while I waited for Donna and her mom to show up to do my hair.

Just as I was about to brush my teeth, Donna pulled in the driveway with hot rollers, curling irons, brushes, and bottles of hair spray in hand. For the next three and a half hours, she moved between gluing my hair in place to fixing both Anne and Heidi's hair.

Then my dad called. He couldn't get into the hall to retrieve the music for the ceremony. My mom told him to call the Hall Manager and try again. My mom took off for the church to put up decorations and then Matt called to tell me that he couldn't get into the reception hall, which was supposed to be open by this point (1 PM) to drop off our wedding cake, a fake decorative one since tiramisu doesn't stack well. I told him to try calling the hall again and if he couldn't get in to just take it to the church and store it in the basement during the ceremony. I anxiously checked my watch. Then my cousin, Joe, who was videotaping the day as his wedding present to us arrived, soon followed by our two photographers. I was still not dressed in the gown since I was waiting for my mom to come back. My bridesmaids seemed to be missing too. Finally, at about 1:45pm, my mom pulled in the driveway. She exclaimed that the church hadn't been open and that she had to leave all the decorations with my Aunt Ginny, who was going to take them back to the church with our friend, Ellen, and hopefully be able to start to decorate before people arrived.

My mom helped me into my dress, train, veil, and some of my jewelry. I stopped to give her a big hug. Picture taking commenced. My dad arrived and informed me that he had the music for the ceremony. I immediately relaxed. We left at 2:30 for the church, arriving just as I saw Matt carrying the wedding cake from his car. I made my dad drive slowly around to the far end of the parking lot and tell one of the guests to make sure Matt stayed in the church out of sight from me.

Anne, Heidi, and me then went to hang out in the library while we waited for everything to start. We congratulated ourselves on figuring out how they were supposed to carry their bouquets. Joe came in with his video camera and asked, "Are you nervous?" I replied the same way I had for the past couple weeks, "Nope!" Nearly everyone had commented that I was the most calm bride they had ever met. I exclaimed, "Oh good! I can hear them playing the song I originally wanted the bridesmaids to walk down the aisle to!" as strains of "Marble Halls" on the piano filtered into the library. A little while later, my dad came in the library. With the door open, I could hear what sounded like the processional music.

I asked my dad, "Did you light the family candles already??" He answered, "No! I don't know what's going on." "Well, this is the processional. We have to go!," I replied. Herding Anne and Heidi out into the hall, I caught a quick glimpse of the congregation. As the clarinet solo in "Nimrod" began, I asked if the bridesmaids had gone out yet. The woman helping us at the church said the groomsmen had just finished walking out. I nearly yelled, "They need to go! Send them out now!" Off they went and I told my dad that we had to go out there just after the clarinet solo ended. We hooked our arms together and went to our starting places. As we began walking in, the first person I saw was our friend, Lynda, from Jamestown. I looked at her and then realized I needed to look at Matt. My eyes found him and the smile that people said seemed to plaster both our faces all day lit up.

The ceremony went without a hitch and was quite beautiful. I had insisted that lyrics be provided in our programs so everyone could sing along, including us. The song list, including processional and recessional was:
  • Processional: Edward Elgar's Enigma Variation - Nimrod
  • We Gather Together
  • The Lord of The Dance
  • Panis Angelicus - solo by Holly Corcoran
  • The Canticle of the Sun
  • Recessional : Ashley MacIsaac - Chorus Jig/King's Reel
Pictures, pictures, and more pictures followed. It seemed like all of Buffalo was getting married on that single, most beautiful day as we hunted for a parking space in Delaware Park behind Albright-Knox. I still say that we had the best dressed bridal party, but I am a little biased.

After a few detours due to construction, we made it to the reception hall and conversed with the DJ so that our entrance music of "Beautiful Day" by U2 that Matt had edited down played just right. We entered with much applause and immediately "cut" the cake, which involved just posing with a knife since the cake was fake. Dave, the best man and Matt's brother, made a short, sentimental toast that had some of the family nearly in tears. My Great-Great Aunt Adele did the bread and salt presentation to ensure that we never went hungry and we all then consumed mass quantities of breaded pork chops, baked chicken, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, green beans, a broccoli/cauliflower mix, and salad. Just about everyone raved about the tiramisu that we had served for dessert.

Before we went out for our first dance as husband and wife, Matt and I stole away to a side room to do some quick practicing together since we never had the chance to practice dancing to the song we had picked. Two minutes later, we emerged to our DJ's relief. We floated across the dance floor, twirling from time to time to Sting's "Until". My dad and I danced to The Temptation's "My Girl". As we moved around the floor, my dad told me that he had wanted to spin me round and round during the part of the song where the tempo picked up, but because the floors were so slippery, he decided against it. Matt and his mom made a pretty picture for Frank Sinatra's "All The Way" and the bridal party seemed happy with our choice of REM's "Nightswimming" before our families navigated onto the dance floor for the oczepiny.

Now, this Polish tradition is not familiar to most people, much less most of our guests that were at the reception. It's basically a combination of an unveiling and fertility rite. My veil comes off and is put on an unmarried bridesmaid (Anne) and a funny looking hat that is adorned with fruit, nuts, aspirin packs, and balloons is put on Matt's head. While this is going on, everyone sings an endless song called "The Twelve Angels" song. After this, Anne, wearing my veil, danced a short dance with Sean. We then all crowded onto the dance floor for much dancing and frivolity. Anne and Heidi did a sort of roast involving a Girl Scout handbook and we did the wedding bouquet/garter toss that unsurprisingly went to Sean and Anne. I have to admit that they did a great job playing along with the whole set-up.

Much more dancing, including The Smith's "How Soon Is Now", went on into the night, ending with The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star." We got the various drunk friends into sober people's cars or shuttle vans, and then headed back to our hotel, exhausted. I didn't sleep too well that night either, but that was more due to Matt's snoring. All in all though, it was a perfect day in the end. We had a superb time with our family and friends, and we're told that a lot of people considered this one of the best times they had at a wedding. So much happiness abound!

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The Best of Me Symphony

Go Me! I tied for First Runner-Up in the Best of Me Symphony contest on ...she's a flight risk. The entry I submitted was the Slow Death of Radio post. Incidentally, this is the same post that my former employer found a couple of weeks ago and was passing around the radio station. Apparently, they thought it was well-written and now someone in the blogging world agrees.

Picture To Prove It

Julia's New Haircut Posted by Hello

Since Heidi was a little skeptical that I actually did the deed, here's the picture to prove it. This took me just under a half hour to blow dry, curl, and hair spray. Notice how flushed I am from the heat of all those devices, not to mention the damn humidity. It bugs the hell out of me that I have to get up earlier to do my hair now! *grins* Maybe I'll have to buzz it off or something. Just kidding. Really.

Away, Away

We're on a mini-vaca in an area where they're experiencing forest fires (thanks asshole arsonist). It's an area that makes Clift...