Month: August 2011

one week left

Landis Green is located in the center of the m...

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…of freedom. I’m looking forward to itchy eyes from staring at a screen/book for 20+ hrs per day, sleepless nights, grading undergraduate work, that moment when my dogs recognize the mailman better than me, long rehearsals, and procrastinating by looking through PhD comics archives. Wait a sec. Actually, I am looking forward to it (except missing my dogs).  What could this mean?!

I have to admit it: I like graduate school. I thrive under pressure. I think we all do, or we wouldn’t be here. Otherwise it’s akin to a medieval torture device. I love what I do and I’m still so grateful for the opportunity. I know I’ve written about this before, but I have one of those mothers who constantly bombards me with, “When are you going to get out of school and get a real job?” Well mom, actually,  I can’t imagine a better one!  She works an 8-5 and hates every moment of it. I love my work. I love the tasks, my colleagues, and even the little irritables in the list above. I’ve had four months to think hard about my trajectory and I’m sure I am where I’m supposed to be.

There are some things I’ll be doing different this year:

  • I’m going to avoid sitting on the couch in the TA office. It’s like a black hole of deep sleep. Every time I sit on it, I’m out.
  • I will spend more time working at home, which means my home office will stay clean and conducive as a work environment.
  • I will carry a water bottle. I know, this seems like an obvious “duh”, but I always forget and then I get tired from dehydration, which means I end up drinking soda or juice (bad idea!) 
  • I will bring my own lunches more often than not.  Last fall I was great about this, and this past spring I don’t think I brought my lunch more than 4-5 times. Lunch outings are one of the great social things about grad school, but they take up too much time, and burn a hole in my already-thin wallet. 
  • I will stop doing work in bed. When I do this, my bed becomes an office instead of a space for sleep… and then I have trouble sleeping.
  • I will do my best not to procrastinate about “the small things”. There’s too much at stake this year.
  • I will go back to making to-do lists and planning my work-days out. Again, I did this last fall, but gave it up when people gave me funny looks about having my days planned to twenty-minute intervals. I’m going to find a happy medium, but it’s what works for me. 
  • I won’t sacrifice my health for academics. I gained a bunch of weight this past year after having lost quite a bit during my previous Master’s degree… As a result, I feel horrible. I’m going to schedule gym time, running time, swimming time, and kayaking time… and make them as important as my study slots (this last part is key). 
  • I’m going to take more opportunities. I think we’re apt to let opportunities slide when we’re new to a place. As we settle in and become more comfortable, it’s easier to take advantage of things. This school and the surrounding area has some amazing opportunities, academic and otherwise. Time to find them before I lose my chance. 
  • Finding the Middle Way. I have this tendency to take things to the extreme – work myself to death for three weeks followed by a week of socializing where I end up falling behind. I will be more conscious and try to get ahead of things during my “less stressful” weeks. 
  • I’ve lost myself as a musician – time to find “me” again. I miss performing. I miss conducting. Again with the opportunity finding. 
  • Lastly, I will buy stock in Starbucks. Our department alone will make me rich.
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DSLR Shopping

Canon EOS Rebel T1i digital SLR camera, sold a...

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I’ve been a bit out of the loop for the past few days as I focus on enjoying my last two weeks of summer. I’ve also been DSLR window shopping. I’ve narrowed it down to six options:

Canon: EOS Rebel T2i, EOS Rebel T1i, EOS Rebel XSi

Nikon: D5100, D5000, D90

If anyone has any experience with this gear, let me know! It will be my first!

Thank you!

I’m feeling thankful for a lot of things, including those of you who actually read the things I post on here. I’ve had 20,000 hits in the past year, so that’s not too shabby for a personal blog. I get a lot of cool comments and emails, and I appreciate all of them!

I’m in the mood for a makeover, so that might happen soon on the site. I get comments once in a while about how I should make this “all about New Orleans music” or “all about Tibetan music”, but you know, that’s just not what the purpose of this [personal] blog is. My musical world is full of so many cultures, and I know it’s difficult to reel in a following when I’m all over the place, but life is random like that – so am I.

Meanwhile – thanks, y’all … even the spammers who make my stats look higher than they really are 😉 

tibet elects a new pm to smack china upside the head

Flag of Tibet

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I generally try not to make political statements here, but today is different. Today exiled Tibetans in Dharamsala shook a fist in the direction of China making a firm statement that Tibetan leadership is strong by electing a new [political] Prime Minister, Lobsang* Sangay (who happens to be a Fulbright Scholar and the first Tibetan to attend Harvard law).  The Chinese opposition has yet to comment, yet they consider that Tibetans have no legitimacy, and no right to have held the election in the first place. Guess what – they did it anyway!  Why is this such a big step for Tibetans? Tibet is a land of reincarnated lamas (teachers) and leaders who are appointed to their positions. That they have elected a new Prime Minister at the urging of HHDL not only means that they have new blood sitting in office to take strong political action, but also that exiled Tibetans are taking a step towards democracy. This in turn pries open the eyeballs of democratic nations across the globe that haven’t wanted to touch the “Tibet Conflict” with a ten-foot dungchen.

I’m curious to see what will happen when a Harvard lawyer (born in Darjeerling) representing all of exiled Tibet collaborates with a few interested political heads and sits down for tea with some [imperialist] Chinese delegates… I just have a feeling good things will happen – maybe not immediately, but eventually and inevitably… I hope. 

 

*Lobsang means: disciple with a fine mind