Also, as a random side note, I had a weird, scary dream last night where I killed a bunch of cows by cutting their Achilles tendons. And then a bunch of people that I work with got sad about the dead cows, and started jumping out the windows of my building. I decided to leave the building then, but it only made the people at work more antagonized, so then they started trying to jump on to me when they jumped out the windows. It was freaky. Aiiight, peace.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Let me start at the beginning. First of all, the NJSO has a great student program with regard to ticketing. Keith and I were able to purchase what's known as a "Class Pass." Costing $32 per person, a class pass is 4 vouchers to future concerts that can be redeemed as tickets are available. So Keith and I redeemed our first set of tickets to this past Saturday's concert - "Russia's Mighty Five." We were seated (for our $8 each) in row T of the orchestra section. Now most people would probably be impressed with the quality of seating given to student ticket holders, but true aficionados of the symphony know the best acoustics are actually in the balcony. In row T we had a wall just 2 rows behind us, off of which the percussion section's sound was bouncing all night, causing an abundance of beat for Keith and I. But that was okay because we knew it was the fault of the acoustics and not the orchestra.
The lineup of the concert was based on a group of composers credited with developing what we think of as "Russian sound," and known as "Russia's Mighty Five" or "The Big Five." These composers are (in decreasing order of fame, to most): Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Modest Mussorgsky, Mili Balakirev, Alexander Borodin, and Cesar Cui. A lot of pieces with which I'm very familiar, but have never heard live, were on the lineup. The first portion of the concert was a solo pianist (who I've never heard) Jie Chen, performing works by Mussorgsky, Cui, and Balakirev. After the first intermission, the orchestra came on stage and performed the same Balakirev piece Chen had just finished, "Islamey," as it was orchestrated after his death by one of his students, Liapounov. Neeme OWNED this piece. He was a sprite, a pogo stick, a ringleader on the podium. He really made you know just what you were supposed to feel from the piece, and he interacted so dynamically with his musicians you could practically see wires connecting them to each other. He was like a puppeteer. And "Islamey," what a piece! The next piece, was the posthumously well known "Night on Bald Mountain," given more widespread exposure through Disney's "Fantasia." I thought that Neeme missed the mark on this piece. He seemed, in the most climactic parts, to be blunt - too eager to "blow his load" as it were. And he lost touch with the orchestra, in my opinion, because of this eagerness. They weren't as clearly with him as they had been in the last piece. Also, he over dramatized the contrast between the climax sections and the slow interludes, and build-up sections. I dunno, it just wasn't doing it for me. Leopold Stokowsky pretty much takes the cake on that piece. After Mussorgsky was Borodin's appearance with the "Polovtzian Dances" from Prince Igor. I was pretty pleased with these, though I thought the second dance (more of a pavane than a dance) was a little (again) rushed. Mostly, quite beautiful though. There was a second intermission at this point, followed by the epic (42 minute) Scheherazade of Rimsky-Korsakov. Though the two main themes of this piece are clear and quite dominant throughout, it is still captivating for all 42 minutes, changing tone and feeling quite often. For me, at least.
So overall, I'd say a stellar concert. Also, I forgot to mention that before the concert they now do "concert talks" where they discuss some aspects of note in at least one of the works they intend to perform. Very cool, and very much in the spirit (which I appreciate) of make classical music "more accessible." So in short (or long) I can't wait for my next NJSO concert!
Friday, January 26, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
The WSJ had an interesting article today about a really cool tool that's new to me. As the article is appropriately subtitled, "Time Waster," I can see myself wasting quite a bit of time with it. The tool is a history of presidential buzzwords. It scans all the major presidential speeches from our history (state of the union addresses, inaugural speeches, war declarations, etc) and indicates which 100 words appear most frequently in a given speech. Then it uses a format called "Tag Clouds" to show which words have been used most frequently out of the 100, and which of these words are newest or oldest in the overall presidential lexicon. Use the slider to change speeches. Links to all speeches (usually hosted by Britannica) are at the bottom left of the page.
It's a cool project that this guy has thought of, so check it out. I know I'll be perusing it for the next few days. Another fun trend I've already noticed besides the ones discussed in the article, is that Teddy Roosevelt's favorite word seems to have been "corporations" which soon fades with Taft, makes a slight reemergence after the stock market crash in '29, and then completely falls off the radar again until like Reagan or so.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Monday, January 22, 2007
The other reason for the post was that I made an awesome awesome new recipe tonight. Extremely healthy and very tasty. Here it is:
Fusili with Yellow Pepper Sauce
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 large yellow pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 plum tomato, seeded and chopped
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp table salt
- 2 cup uncooked fusilli
- 4 tsp grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 2 Tbsp parsley, minced
- 1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste (I used more)
- Combine water, pepper, onion, tomato, oil, salt, and ground pepper in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Cover and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender and liquid evaporates, 15 to 18 minutes. Add more water, 1/4 cup at a time, if liquid evaporates too fast.
- Meanwhile, cook fusilli according to package instructions. Drain and put in a serving bowl.
- Transfer vegetables to a blender or food processor. Add ricotta cheese and purée. Pour over fusilli and toss to coat. Serve, sprinkled with parsley and Parmesan cheese.
If yellow peppers are unavailable, red or orange will work just as well. But steer clear of green peppers - the flavor is too strong. Also, if you're a weight watchers member, this can either be 2 dinner sized servings for 8.5 points each (and 2 veggie servings!) or 4 lunch sized portions at 4 points each (and 1 veggie serving.)
So there you have it - I highly recommend it, and hope whoever reads this will give it a try!
There was something else I wanted to post about today, but I can't remember what it is at the moment. Perhaps I shall post again if I remember. Somehow I think it had something to do with politics. Sigh. Mind of a sieve.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
More fun plans for today. My immediate fam (minus Aaron) are going into NYC to visit my cousins who just moved from Manhattan to the Bronx. It's really my Dad's first cousin, though I think of him as my cousin, and his wife and two kids. The kids (Henry and Lucy) are ADORABLE! I might have to post some pics when I get back. Actually I should be running, I'm late for my weight watchers meeting in Fairfield!!
Saturday, January 20, 2007
In other news, I am totally pumped today because I am going to the Rangers game with my brother. I bought him tickets for Hanukkah, so I've been waiting for over a month for today to come!! I have been watching many of the games this season on TV with my Dad and having such a great time. I sort of lost interest for a couple of years when the Rangers were so so bad, but there was a time when I was 10 or 11 and could recite the whole lineup. They're playing Atlanta today, who I've never seen in action, so that should be fun. What I know of their team is that they're a bunch of young guns with a lot of energy, and that they've beat the Rangers all three times they've met so far this season. Which hopefully means I'll be doing a lot of cheering to urge us on! Another new fun thing is that I'll be sitting in a section of MSG I've never sat in before (for a sporting event or concert) - the 300s. Back when my dad used to work for Ogden we always sat in the 100s, and ever since then I could only afford the 400s, so this will be a new experience. I wonder if I'm allowed to bring my camera? It would be neat to document the view. I can supplement my old collection of pics from my younger days - I have on where I'm about 10 inches (and a layer of glass) away from Jeff Beukeboom - a hulking former defenseman of the Rangers (now retired.) He was on the 94 cup team.
Alright, enough for now. I'm heading over to my parents house (ha! so funny to say that now that I have my own place!) to get some more stuff I forgot, and then I'll be off for the 1 o'clock start!
Friday, January 19, 2007
Ok...I guess adding a picture doesn't make me that anonymous. But it has no caption, and the file title is "short hair" so it'd be pretty hard to google just my picture. So I have two identifying elements - my first name in the title, and the picture. Three I guess if you count the fact that my profile name is the same as the name of the old journal. But I had to give people some way to find me. "You get the idea....Goulet." Alright, enough messing around for tonight. Peace.