Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I can't believe it's only the first snow of the season! I'm nestled up on the couch with the blog, enjoying the peace and quiet before tomorrow's storm of grading begins. I also can't believe I've gone this long without blogging, although it's been a whirlwind of activity since AMS, including:

-Well, AMS. It was a fantastic, if crazy with all the people. There were people I never saw until they were checking out of the hotel. But those I did see were great. There was a variety of papers (more than I expected to go to)- Robert Fink's illuminating and provoking look at the design process of Disney Hall (how wonderful, really, to reach out into other fields (especially architecture and urban planning!)), Albin Zak's fascinating look at novelty records of the early 1950s (the best music of the weekend), the fantastic handout by John Howland tracing the path of orchestras in "luxe pop," a handout which beautifully captures not just ideas but the process of making them, and my advisor's rather successful look at Jimi Hendrix's versions with the national anthem. There was a fun evening spent with bloggers Phil and Ryan, tasty food at Sabrina's with fellow Michiganders, the horribly inefficient giant musicology party with everyone where I saw no one, and those great moments on the escalator or in the lobby, catching up. More of those please. Ottawa, people?

-Money, Writing, Grading. A large part of my craziness since returning has been the need to get out a second chapter, grade things, and in the course of a week, write a fellowship proposal I wasn't informed I had to do things for. I survived, but let's not speak of this again. On the upside, the chapter is coming together

-Writing. I just moderated a panel yesterday with Jim Wierzbicki, one of our great mentors here who's leaving for a job in Australia. Jim's role here is editor of MUSA, but he's also one of the most helpful and giving of his time for students. He wanted to organize a panel on publishing, which included two of our most published scholars, Judith Becker and Richard Crawford. Seriously, it was a delight to have these three there, eating pizza and sharing stories, offering great advice. There's a lot I could say, but two of the most revelatory moments were the advice to read fiction and poetry to get yourself accustomed to the art of writing well, and when doing interdisciplinary work, the key isn't the inter, it's the discipline (i.e. know the field you're entering as well as someone in it). I came out of it with new zeal, much of it directed to the drafts I've been reading of my students. Maybe we should start a book club, reading short stories and other bits? I can pass on a recommendation of the New Yorker this week, with a story by Ian McEwan of an interdisciplinary marriage, and Judith Becker's new article in Ethnomusicology about the process of interdisciplinary work in the sciences.

-I gave a lecture for the ethnomusicology class. It was on transcription and documentation and politics. The lecture itself felt rough and boring, but I really enjoyed section that week, in which I led students through the newspaper in search of photos that revealed more than just documentation. This week, it's test review.

-Thanksgiving. I made food for 25 people: a 24 pound turkey, squash stuffed with feta, rosemary, and cranberries, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes and apples, sauteed mushrooms, garlic green beans, cranberry sauce, and 12 pies (pumpkin, sourcream apple, pecan oatmeal). Wine followed, work did not.

-Musical performances, movies, Glee, and assorted moments of fun. I will say the score to An Education is among the most buoyant musical bits this side of the Candide overture.

And now, it is time to head to bed in preparation of the piles of grading and maybe piles of snow! I will endeavor to be more active once again...


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