Dorm Room/Storage Unit

Its not a good sign when the people that work at the Container Store recognize you and know your name. But since there is basically nowhere else to go here for more "modern" looking furniture, at least that I know of, the container store is it. I have spent more money that I had ever planned to there...but now I have three sets of Elfa drawers...two in the bedroom that function as a dresser (with wheels on the bottom) and one in the bathroom that functions as a...well...bathroom dresser.

I visited the container store again today and bought a Janus "dorm-room set" which is basically a lot of wires and shelves that you can arrange however your little heart desires (pictured above). I thought that I would need tons and tons of shelves...but apparently I have big shelf eyes...because I am nearly done unpacking all of my boxes, and barely any of the shelves are filled. I'm not concerned however, because the shelf looks cool, and I can come up with plenty of stuff to fill it with.

Thanks to the very smart people that work at the container store, my parents and I where directed to a wonderful store by the name of Garden Ridge...where you can find any and every kind of home furnishing for very very little money. I am now the proud owner of black table and four chairs for under $200. One of the chairs already kind of fell apart...but the other three are going strong.

The container store people also directed us to Hank's Fine Furniture...where I made my most exciting purchase of all...a leather couch!! I'm still trying to grasp the fact that I can actually afford something like a leather couch now (or a piece of furniture at all, for that matter)...but, in about two weeks from now, this couch will be arriving at my apartment...and it will be mine to use!!

And I'm still waiting for my bed...cough cough...IKEA?? Is anybody home? I'm waiting for all of my furniture to arrive, so I can decide where to put my art up...because that makes a big difference, right? I'm sure that once I put the art up, it will really start looking like a real apartment where somebody actually lives...right now it looks like a dorm room/storage unit.

I'm still not off my high from the Met Opening Night yet...I've been listening to Manon all day...and humming it in the car when I've been driving places (I just uploaded it to my iPod, so I can bring it with me tomorrow)...my recording is with Beverly Sills...so its kind of amazing...omg. I think since last night I may have become a big opera fan...how cheesy and random is that?


Met Broadcast

I watched the broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera's opening night gala starring Renee Fleming here in Little Rock this evening...its really amazing that the met does something like this...broadcasting the opera to movie theaters all over the country. I had never been to a Met broadcast before, but I really wanted to see this one, as I had just played with Renee Fleming (cough...shameless self-plug) and performed under James Levine (cough...shameless self-plug number 2). They did three acts from three different operas...La Traviata (which I missed all but the final moments), Act 3 of Manon (my favorite of the evening) and the final scene of Cappriccio...each one featured Renee prominently...of course...

But it all got me thinking about what my favorite musical experiences have been thus far in my life...it was so exciting to see such an amazing performance from such amazing musicians in such an amazing setting etc etc etc...anyways...three performances came to mind. First, CCE's performance of Haydn's Sunrise Quartet at our very memorable summer (well, two weeks) on Cape Cod. I remember vividly getting to the coda of the last movement and Heather giving us all that smile that said "here we go!" and then we blasted through it...and it was soooo fun.

The other two were both orchestral performances at Tanglewood...Dvorak 8th Symphony this past summer, and Elektra my first summer...both conducted by James Levine. I've never felt that much energy during an orchestra performance, and I listen to both of those recordings nearly everyday...they sound sooo amazing.

Kimberly and I talked on the phone today...and we kind of thought that maybe the fact that CCE seems to not be materializing as a "real" chamber group could be a good thing...that way when we do get together and play it will really be just a fun great experience for us...just like that summer on Cape Cod was. We won't have to worry about booking concerts and finding agents and getting enough money for rent (well...we have to worry about that anyways)...but when we do actually play together, it will be just for the fun and enjoyment of it...like it should be. Great friends playing great music.

Also, I hope that sometime in the next few years I will get the opportunity to play in a really great opera orchestra...I know I won't be able to be a Tanglewood Fellow again (I exhausted my three years :-(...so my only chance to play really amazing operas would be to win a job in a great opera orchestra...so, I'll be checking musical chairs often...something has to open in the next few years...no?

Well, that turned into a kind of personal entry...oops. I'm just feeling very happy thinking about all of the amazing performances I have been a part of...thank you Met, for bringing those memories up for me.


Driving Etc...

I left to drive to Houston yesterday at 8:45am...and less than 24 hours later I drove back to Little Rock. Needless to say, I am very tired right now. The drive is getting easier and easier every time...I never would have imagined after driving that stretch of road the first (when I drove down with my parents + uncle when I first started at Rice) that I would be driving it so many times. It was interesting driving into hurricane territory...getting further south there were more and more uprooted trees and random roofs blown off of buildings...but right along the interstate, there was little damage to be seen.

Starting about two hours from Houston, the gas stations stopped having gas (save the random one every once in a while...where there was a huge 2+ hour line of cars waiting...no joke). All of the fast food chains had power, so I was good to get some greasy fried food to sustain me.

It was really shocking seeing Houston in this state...I lived there for two years, in which time a hurricane never hit us. Ike was not good to Houston...I hadn't heard much about it on the news, so it was a lot worse than I expected. There is barely any power in the entire city...and tons of trees and branches down everywhere you look. I saw one traffic light that was on the entire time I was there. Its really just kind of scary to be there in general. There is city-wide curfew at 9pm...which is kind of self enforced, because there is just nothing to do...its sooo dark at night, and there is just nowhere to go.

I had planned well enough to have sufficient gas to get me into and out of Houston (far enough North to buy gas) but I though it would a good idea to get some if I saw a station with not too ridiculous of a line. I picked a Shell station near 59...waiting about a half hour or so...not too bad compared to the stations I had seen elsewhere...finally got to the front...the pump said to see the cashier...I went in, waited in the line...and then was told it was cash only...and that the ATM wasn't working...so I just went to my car and drove away...I felt soooo dumb! (turns out I had enough gas anyways)

My trip was a quick one...packed up my apartment, cleaned out my storage unit...went to sleep...and left very early in the morning. When I left there were already super long lines at all of the gas stations (which had probably just opened). I'm so glad right now that I'm no longer living in Houston (selfish I know). They are saying it may be a minimum of three weeks before power comes back, which would mean that I wouldn't have any sort of work for at least three weeks (the public schools are canceled for at least a week...could be more). I'm guessing that if I was stilling living in Houston now, I probably would have just moved back home by this time.

Pictured above is the yard right outside of my garage apartment in Houston...just a tiny idea of what everything looks like (everything is like that...everywhere)...


Goodbye Ike

I couldn't escape the effects of Ike this past weekend, despite not being down in Houston. I was supposed to drive down on Friday to Houston so I could return Mr. Fischer's cello to him...(a bit of history...after graduation my parents took my cello back to Chicago with them to sell so we could have the funds to buy a new cello, Mr. Fischer generously let me use his spare for the summer while I was looking for a new one...unfortunately I didn't find one that I was looking for...ended up playing my Arkansas Audition on it, and now that I'm moving here, I can't use it anymore...which leaves me without a cello...Mr Fischer needs his spare back because he already dropped his principal cello off at the shop to get repaired...it was already in the middle of major repairs when the hurricane blew in, I couldn't drive down to return it as scheduled...) well, I guess that's the whole story...

I'm a little bit on edge, because this was the weekend for me to get all of my affairs in order in Houston, which obviously didn't happen. Now I'm driving down tomorrow morning and hoping that I'll be able to get into the city...need to rush around and remember everything I have to do (pick up bamboo...clean out apartment...pick up things that I have in storage) and I need to drive right back to Little Rock on Tuesday morning to be back in time for our first rehearsal Tuesday night...sigh...

Does that even make any sense?

I'm very slowly starting to furnish my apartment...emphasis on slowly. Since the only real piece of furniture I have right now is a stool I bought from Target, so I can sit at my kitchen counter (where I am right now)...I've been sleeping on an air mattress...which will change soon, since my parents ordered me a bed from IKEA!! yay!!

Speaking of my parents...they are totally drenched. Chicago has received a ton of rain recently...raining super heavy for over 24 hours. And now they have Ike merging with the storm they've had for over a day! Crazy...


Little Rock Update

As of yesterday I have achieved the two major things I need to get done on this trip to Little Rock...I opened a bank account here, and I found an apartment. The first was fairly easy to do...I just walked into Bank of America and opened a checking account...finding an apartment was somewhat more difficult. Drew drove me all over the city and we looked at every place that had for rent sign in front...I ended up taking a place downtown...its kind of a loft style apartment (barely) but its a good size (not too big not too small)...hardwood floor in the living room, nice sized kitchen with dishwasher...washer+dryer in the bedroom...and its only $500...welcome to Little Rock!

I'll be moving in this afternoon...after I'm done with this quartet seminar thing. We had our first rehearsal last night, working on preparing our outreach program (Papa Haydn)...we will be talking about theme and variation and different moods and emotions that can be expressed in Haydn quartets...exciting huh?

Pic above is a quick snap of my apartment (with no furniture yet...of course)


More From Little Rock

Hello from Little Rock...again!! A lot has been going on in my life recently...thus the lack in blogging...but if you read the entry directly below this you know that last weekend I won a job with the Arkansas Symphony (section cello + string quartet)...naturally I kind of freaked out a little bit and didn't know if I should take the job or not (a decision that seemed very obvious to everybody else that didn't have to make it)...but in the end I decided to take it and just see what happens...

So I'm back in Little Rock again...I'm here for a week this time...trying to find an apartment this weekend (which is proving not so easy after one day of searching)...later this week I have a few seminars with my quartet...we need to prepare our outreach demos. Our topic is Papa Haydn...something that CCE would totally have a ball with...three of the people in my quartet are brand new (me and one of the violinists just got the job last weekend, the other violinist, also the assistant conductor, has been here over the summer...the violist has been here for a while already) so we'll see how it goes...no telling whats gonna happen.

All of our concerts are happening at the beginning of the season...we are doing the Franck D Major string quartet (who knew?), the 3rd Schumann Quartet, and the Enescu Octet...should be interesting, never played any of those pieces. Have you??

Anyways...there are some really cute places to live here in Little Rock...I looked at one apartment today, one bedroom with a big big kitchen (with breakfast nook) big big bedroom (tons of closets) another small room, hardwood floors...and it was only $725...and my friend that has been taking me around (the concertmaster of the orchestra) says I can find something cheaper than that. I'm gonna try and look at a loft downtown tomorrow...could be nice.

As of right now I'm trying to keep my concerts in Houston, but as the schedule becomes clearer to me, I'm thinking that I'm not going to be able to keep doing that...there is a lot of time off from orchestra, but the quartet stuff can come up any time...and we will need to be rehearsing...we've got a lot of music to learn fairly quickly.

There was a huge football game here today that totally shut down everything...it was pretty crazy.