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Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Focus......I am a camera.
Game on this week. Fulbright is due on Thursday, same with assignments and playing responsibilities this weekend, and guest artists in town this weekend. Monday brings interviews for Fulbright, and what I'm really worried about is making sure my transcripts get there in time. Also time to start getting stuff together for PhD applications. Holy Crap.

Nothing blasting a little trad music won't solve.

Sometimes I think grad school is like climbing a mountain with your eyes fixed on your feet. You're only concerned with not falling down, making it over that little rock, up that 20 ft climb, and occasionally you get a glimpse of the bigger picture. And suddenly one day you look up, and you've got this amazing view that you've worked your ass off for, and while it's not going to buy you a mansion, no one can ever take it away from you. I just hope I don't fall off and go splat.

Completely and utterly nervous about the interview on Monday. I know about Irish traditional music. I know what it means to me personally and I know about its history and place in society in Ireland. What I don't know is if I'll go into babble mode.

Have to get back to work, but........Game on.

Peace, love, and tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 11:51 AM ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Thursday, September 25, 2008
10 Small Things
I've discovered that something small, seemingly inconsequential things have the ability to make you smile. Listed below are a list of 10 small things that never fail to make me smile.

  1. Of late, my Early Music Vancouver sweatshirt: I don't think I can truly articulate the amazing experiences I had at that workshop. Wearing the sweatshirt makes me think, I hung out with some of the coolest people I've ever met, and I could hang with them musically. It also helps me think about all of the people who helped me get there by writing recommendations, teaching me how to perform, and how to combine scholarship with performance. I love my teachers.
  2. Liam, a black fuzzy sheep bought on the way to EMV: My roomie and I have this habit of buying stuffed animals and naming them after amazing traditional players. Her large yellow elephant is named after Ed Reavy, and my big black sheep is name after Liam Kelly.
  3. Sessions on Friday night: It's only two hours once a week, but I'm convinced it keeps me sane.
  4. Musically goofing off with friends from the Vernacular music program here at FPU: We've all done it...and playing Ozzy Osbourne on a Tin Whistle is just great.
  5. Flowers from my Dad: I don't usually buy myself flowers, and my dad is a huge flower sender, great giant boquets of beautiful flowers that smell really great make me smile.
  6. The icanhascheezburger and ihasahotdog websites: have I mentioned I want a pet?
  7. Coffee in the morning: Because I sip things really slowly, I can almost convince myself that I have some leisure time in my life.
  8. The Codex Calixtinus Album from Sequentia......see number 1 for reasons why.
  9. The Introduction to Pheigin Mo Chroi from the Dervish live album: Have we a language barrier?
  10. Bookstores: For some reason, I feel a weight being lifted whenever I walk into a bookstore....weird, I know.
And a not so small thing that makes me happy that is becoming a larger presence in my life about which I'll probably write more about later......the Dharma.

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 12:06 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Yet another reason to vote for Obama
By the way Gov. Palin, Mac Tíre means wolf in Irish gaelic.
posted by Mac Tíre at 9:31 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Will it ever happen?
In the midst of Fulbright craziness, and coursework, and thesis stuff, and trying to figure out what the hell to do next year, I (for some stupid reason), have taken up looking at the SEM job-postings. Did anyone else ever do this in Grad School?
While it makes me happy to look at the postings and think, God that would be a fun job, about almost every single listing that I read, I have trouble convincing myself that it will ever happen. I can't imagine actually having a job, and a house, and a family, and a dog/cat......all of which I desperately want. I also can't ever actually imagine getting to the level of scholarship/performance that I want to. I know I'm getting better. I can do things now that I couldn't even dream of doing three years ago, but then you go in and you can't sing a freaking bass part.
I think grad school is rife with frustration and questioning. That's part of what makes it so hard, and it's also why you look at a lot of your professors and think, "Dear God, when do they pass out the super powers? Are they in the doctoral hood?"
I've also had the uncomfortable feeling of sitting down in front of my computer and thinking.....I don't know ANYTHING.
Or as the Russians would put it:
Yanis nayu, nichivoh, nicagdah.
I know nothing, nowhere, nohow.

Wow, long babble session, all basically to say--I want it (house/job/family/dog), but I'm beginning to wonder if it'll ever happen. Off to work on more school stuff.

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 12:43 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 2 comments
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Trouble Sleeping
Lots and lots to do, not the least of which is two concerts this weekend (one tonight and one tomorrow). I have high hopes for both of them, and it's great music, so definitely something to look forward to.

Absolutely outstanding session last night. Sometimes everything just works, and I can't help but feel unbelievable lucky that I get to be in the middle of an atmosphere filled with good music and friends.

I've been having trouble sleeping for a while now, which leaves me feeling perpetually sluggish, except for the few days where I'm so exhausted that I collapse and sleep the whole night. Here's the problem: I go to sleep fine, but for the past 3 months or so, I wake up after about 3 1/2 hours of sleep, and have serious problems going back to sleep. I don't do sleep medication (it freaks me out a little bit), so I haven't gone directly to the pharmacy looking for a solution. I did grab an herbal tea that helps a little bit, or at least I felt a little better the two days I drank it last week. The problem? I keep forgetting to drink the damn stuff at night. I will attempt to remember this week, but I really want to know the reason behind the problem in the first place.

Anyway, Fulbright revisions are going well. Interviews should happen in October. Feel like a complete and utter slug today because I have yet to accomplish anything useful today, mostly because I've been trying to nap on and off for several hours. Finally just got up and decided to try and get stuff done (the perpetual push in grad school).

Anyway, off to try and be productive before the concert tonight!

Peace, Love, and Tunes,
posted by Mac Tíre at 3:48 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Reasons to Hate you Bibliography Teacher (JK)
Apparently there is a site called Bookfinder, which links together tons of new/used/rare book sites together, lists them by price (with shipping already added), and gives discounts.

And now.......I can find pretty much any book that I want, click on it, and it comes to me.


Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 10:19 AM ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Getting Stuff Done
Not much time to blog today--larger projects looming that I need to work on and the Fulbright is back on my desk, to be revised and then shipped off for more review. And as several people have pointed out to me...I should stop being so damn negative about actually getting the Fulbright. To those people, I still point out the Herculean odds against me actually going to Ireland for a full year on someone else's dime.

Anyway, I have finally given up one more bit of my flute performance major identity.....my altieri bag. You know....the little black gig bag all flute players have? It doesn't cut it anymore for me. I need to bring my laptop and not have it killed midway between home and school. I also need to bring massive amounts of books to and from school, and papers.....and my altieri bag tends to squash them. So thanks to a sale a Best Buy I have now gotten a Swiss Gear laptop bag. Today was the first day I've used it so far, and I have to say I'm a fan, but I still feel a little lost without my altieri bag (keep in mind I've carried one since I was a Junior in high school).

Anyway, off to (attempt to) be productive!

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 12:25 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Monday, September 15, 2008
From One of My Good Friends on Facebook

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 12:04 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Listserv fights and Guest Artist Trouble
Lots to blog about today.

The Fulbright rough draft is due today to FPU's campus Fulbright moderator (I don't actually know what her title is, but needless to say, she's amazing and in charge of the Fulbright process for us). So I'll ship it off to her, as well as to anyone who will look at it for me. It'll be nice to get it off my desk for at least a few days.

I played a traditional concert this summer where a certain bigger name Boehm flute player was trying to sell his new book of arranged tunes, complete with overdone piano accompaniment and staccato markings everywhere. The guy could play, and he was Irish, but he couldn't play the music. He even called Danny Boy the "unofficial national anthem of Northern Ireland." At which point I just sank into my chair even further.

Sidenote: I haven't ranted up to this point, because I sort of figure that's going to be the standard at an event like this--and that's why I go. Coyotebanjo once said, "This music saved my life." I know what he means when he says that. I go to the uber classical festivals because I think they need to know there are other musics to play, and I know somehwere there's other people like me thinking, "That. I want to play that.....but how do I learn to do it?"

Anyway, I belong to two of the more popular flute listservs. I mostly lurk, because I think these guys get hung up on insanely minute details about the music, and they rehash the same conversations year after year. Occasionally I will post something because I know more about classical flutes/flute playing than your average traditional player, and I know more about world flutes/irish traditional flutes than 95% of the people on the classical flute listserv. Well, recently a classical flutist posted a rather positive review of above book to both listservs. There are a couple of things you never want to bring up on the woodenflute listserv: 1) articulation and 2) classical arrangements of traditional tunes. Thus ensued the back and forth the same old fight. I agree with most of what the traditional players said, yet my name got brough up by another flute player and the insinuation was that I approved of the book, and that at said event, I played in a very traditional way, so that must mean traditional players should approve. I've thought about replying, but I've done what I usually do, and let it just go by.

Frankly, I wish we'd just all spend the time learning to play more tunes, or sharing tunes with our classical friends, intead of trying to beat them into being traditionalists or rehashing the same old arguments.

So there's that. Then there's the fact that five of us have been asked to play a masterclass/concert for a nearby university, and while we do stuff like that for free, I have gotten to a point where I don't want to lose money if I can help it (conference gigs aside). Unfortunately the person on the other side keeps going back and forth on if they're going to cover gas money or not. She's more worried about housing, when she has a house that we can crash in if necessary. Anyway, I bluntly told we had several people who couldn't afford to pay for gas to get there and back, so either gas money had to get covered or a large portion of us weren't going to come. Blah.

Anyway, this post is coming out late, but it's been a crazy week.

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 10:42 AM ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Writing a Fulbright is just soooooo much fun.....
Insert sarcasm *here*.


Reasons to hate the Fulbright application process:

  1. Your "CV"--a single page of typed text covering your life story, why going to a far away country is important to your psyche, and why the hell these people should give you a large amount of money to follow your bliss.
  2. Your "Project Proposal"--2 pages of typed text explaining what you want to do, how you're going to do it, how this will benefit your career, how it will benefit future generations, and again why the hell these people should give you a large amount of money to follow your bliss.
  3. You'll spend a large part of your fall semester writing the damn thing, getting recommendations, putting together recordings, getting letters of affiliation, etc., and more than likely they'll come back and say, "No thanks."
And while I know that it's absolutely necessary to jump through all of the hoops, it'd be infinitely better to just be able to say, "Hi....my name is Mac. I REALLY like Irish music. Please give me a big pile of money?"

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 2:34 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Two Weeks In
Lots to blog about, but I'll probably end up crashing before I write too much.

I cannot watch politics anymore. The more I read or hear about Sarah Palin the more depressed I get.
She is staunchly anti-abortion, opposing exceptions for rape and incest, and opposes gay marriage and spousal rights for gay couples.

Still trying to get everything done for the Fulbright. Lots more to do.

Trying to get everything jump started for the semester (classes, thesis, practicing).

I don't know if it's just the fact that the summer was extremely busy, but I really just want to curl up and go to sleep and ignore the incredibly large, looming to-do pile in the corner.

Been having trouble sleeping lately, hopefully that'll fix itself in time.

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 11:23 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Why I love Facebook
One of Facebook's newest groups:

My Pet Rock Is More Qualified Than Sarah Palin To Be Vice President

Still in the throes of trying to get the Fulbright done, along with not lagging behind in coursework. Hopefully more to come later!

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 1:20 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Why does my to do pile never get smaller?
Taking some time out so that I can go back to my Fulbright application with a little more coherency.

I sometimes have problems getting things written down for applications. I think most of this has to do with the fact that I feel that I come off better in person than on paper.....that and the fact, that if I'm applying for it, I probably want it.....a lot. And the very fact that it takes an application, means that I don't control the outcome.

So I'm staring at a map of Ireland, thinking, "I could spend a month here and here and here. And study with this person....and holy crap, can you imagine what you would sound like if you played a session every night for a whole year? And if you only focused on playing the damn irish flute for an entire year......Oh....my.....god."

But the evil little voice in the back of my head says, "They only give out two grants every year to Ireland, and they usually get about 60-70 applicants....what the hell do you think your chances will be?"

Of course that's not a constructive thought, but it's still what comes up. Anyway, back to the writing of said grant.

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 3:45 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Monday, September 01, 2008
Going Tharn
So, I don't know about everyone else, but usually at the beginning of the semester sometime after the first week or two I go tharn. As in Watership Down rabbits in the headlights. Usually it comes from looking too much at the big picture. Looking at what the final product of the semester is going to be, instead of looking at the smaller projects that'll get me there. And it's usually at that point that I sit down and go, "Holy Crap, why am I doing this to myself?"

I go tharn.

Anyway, I've learned over the last few years that the thing to do is to make a schedule and chip away bit by bit......it's the only way to keep your sanity and get everything done. So today is dedicated to getting part of the Fulbright done and looking at the semester's schedule to try and get it squared away.

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 11:49 AM ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments