Friday, July 19, 2013

Getting My Sports On

So I've been doing this soccer thing for 2 months now. I mentioned back when I started that I had considerable anxiety before my first game, but that everything went fine.

I'm happy to say that now I barely think about soccer until I'm home from work on Tuesday and getting ready to go play. It was a gradual decline in anxiety and I now feel nothing but excitement to get out on the field.

While the mental part has gotten easier, the physical part has not. I've suffered minor injuries from almost every game, plus I've been diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma. However, this has not stopped me from enjoying myself.

I'm actually enjoying playing soccer so much that I signed up for indoor soccer (i.e. futsal). I'm hoping it'll help me get better for outdoor soccer next summer. Futsal runs from September to March so I'll have plenty of time to practice!

I'm also hoping again this year to sign up for ice hockey. It didn't work out last year but I'm determined to play this year. I've never played in my life but I can skate confidently, and that's apparently a big plus.

It's funny, I never imagined myself playing so many sports. I was not athletic nor did I want to be until about 6 years ago. A few of my soccer teammates are in their 40-50s and are a real inspiration to me. They're some of our best players, too. I really hope I'm fortunate enough to be able to stay active as I get older. I would love for the tables to turn, where I'm the one intimidating 20-somethings with my mad soccer skillz. Just so long as my knee, ankle, toe, lungs, and elbow cooperate!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

12 Days of Classical

Well, it's been 12 straight days of listening to nothing but classical music for me. Am I supposed to get sick of it soon? Because I haven't been missing modern music at all.

I will admit that I went for a jog last Friday and after a few minutes of listening to Beethoven, I decided I needed something more modern to keep my cardio motivation up. Modern music sounds so different when you haven't been listening to it. I listen to music every single day, usually just in the car but sometimes at home, and always on the drive to Ann Arbor and back. I can barely go a day without listening to something. The station in my car has been set to 75 (Classical Pops) since the 5th.

Obviously my interest in classical music is still young, but it seems like I'm going to end up being a Classical era (1750-1800) and early Romantic (1800-1850) type of girl. I know so far that I like Haydn, Brahms, Vivaldi, Chopin; and I love Beethoven. I downloaded the first half of The 99 Most Essential Beethoven Masterpieces. Every few days I find something new on it I really like. So far I really, really like Sonata No. 14 (all 3 movements), Symphony No. 5, Für Elise (who doesn't?), Sonata No. 5 (first movement), and Symphony No. 6 (first).

I listened to nothing but Symphony No. 5 for about 4 days in a row, and then moved onto Sonata No. 14. I literally cannot get enough. I surprised myself by finding that Beethoven tunes are even getting stuck in my head.

My goal is to peruse all the classical eras so I can figure out exactly what I like. I plan to keep reading about composers and about the pieces I like, so that I can fully appreciate the emotion and message behind them.

My upstairs neighbour has a piano, and I need to go bring her some muffins and hint that I'd really love to hear Sonata No. 14 live, especially the 3rd movement. Maybe I'd be better off bringing her some extra-strength Advil before I ask. Just check this out:



Tell me you don't practically have an aneurysm at how awesome that is. Modern music doesn't even come close to making me as excited as I am when I hear this.

I've been so pumped about classical music these days that I've barely thought about anything else, which is pretty strange for me. It feels great though; like a vacation from my usual introspection.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

On Learning About Classical Music

I've been really excited to write about this. I feel like I should put it off longer but I'm too pumped to wait.

No, I'm not pregnant, or engaged, or moving.

I've been listening to classical music. Exclusively, even. At some point I'll go back to my usual 21st century stuff too, but opening the doors to the world of classical music is an exciting thing.



I've always really liked classical music. As a kid, I remember my mom buying this toy for my younger cousin's birthday. I can't remember what it was, but it played different music. One of the buttons played the first bar of Beethoven's "Für Elise." I didn't know what it was, but I loved it, and was sad when we had to give the toy to my cousin.

In Iqaluit, I often got sick of 99.9FM Raven Rock. One day I found a classical music station and I left it on there for quite awhile. I always thought it was bizarre that for a place with 7000 people and very few radio stations, we had a classical station. Still, I never bothered to learn anything about it.

Then last week, I got tired of my usual Sirius XM presets, as I often do. Even though I hate public radio, I don't think Sirius XM is always that much of an improvement. Many stations have annoying DJs but worse, they replay the same music. I used to download music I heard that I liked. Eventually I learned it was a waste of money because Sirius XM beats every good song-horse to a bloody, pulpy death.

Last week I decided I should find new presets (my car allows 18 and I've only used 10 or so). I stumbled upon the only 2 classical stations. Maybe it was the ability to see what I was listening to, or maybe it's this whole minimalism kick I've been on, but the classical music stuck. I haven't listened to modern music in a solid week now (except for in public places where I don't control the music).

The big thing with classical music is the learning involved to truly appreciate it. I've been looking at websites and glossaries but it's confusing. I haven't quite figured out the difference between a symphony and a movement. What's a sonata (besides a Hyundai)? And a concerto? Why do I care what key (?) the piece is in? Do people care about what orchestra/quartet/etc is playing the piece, or are they more concerned with hearing the specific piece?

Obviously, classical music is quite a bit different from current pop music. There's no albums, singles, or music videos. To really understand a piece, you need to understand the era it was written in, who composed it, what was going on in their life at that point in time. It's not as simple as listening to the words to understand the message. That's as far as music from the Romantic era is concerned, apparently the Classical music is pretty emotionless and mostly a game of technique. Even though this new interest of mine is a bit daunting, it's like a breath of fresh air compared to all the crap on the radio right now. I can only handle so much Mumford and Sons.

I plan to write more about this as my musical education grows and I discover more specifically what I like and don't like. If you know the answers to any of the questions I asked a few paragraphs above, feel free to answer them (in laymen's terms for the time being).

Friday, July 5, 2013

On Journaling

Something most people don't know about me is that I have been writing in a journal for most of my life.

March 15th. I wish I brought a TV. Oh God, how I miss TV!


It started in 1998 with a small notebook I covered in stickers that I got in Michigan somewhere. My first entries were about my family's new-used Honda Accord, boys I had crushes on, people I'd met on the Internet. I kept this up and finished the entire notebook, sometime around the time I started high school in September 2000. I was pretty inconsistent between 2001 and 2002, and I no longer have the one book I wrote in.

In 2003, I started writing in this beautiful bound book with that handmade-esque butter-coloured paper with the grains in it. Some of my best writing was in that book, but unfortunately I lost it sometime during the move to Rankin Inlet. I shudder to think whose hands that book has made it into, as it also contained some of my worst writing. I know there was some pretty embarrassing emo post-first-breakup poetry in it.

However, starting in early 2002, I also started writing online. First Diaryland, then finally to LiveJournal in September 2002. I've been writing on LiveJournal since then, and for the most part, exclusively in a LiveJournal.

If I've spent more than 5 minutes ever talking to you, you've been mentioned somewhere in my journal. A small handful of people have access to my current LiveJournal (only one of whom I'm "real life" friends with), however, I doubt my entries are very interesting. Since 2002, I've mostly written about daily stuff, sometimes funny conversations, often rants or raves. These days, I generally write about my weekends or anything semi-interesting or important going on. I'm known to whine, like, a lot in my LiveJournal.

People are often envious that I have so much of my life chronicled in sometimes painful amounts of detail. I have to admit, this is something I'm really proud I've kept up with. Not only is it funny to read, it's also proven useful on a number of occasions. It also allows me to have a better memory. Typing up my life reinforce the memories, and re-reading old entries reinforces the memories even more.

What they say about hindsight being 20/20, it's very true. Sometimes my ignorance about things is so obvious looking back. At one time, I wrote entries about how I couldn't tell if this guy actually liked me. Reading it now, it's obvious he did, but it's also obvious that he was kind of an asshole. Hindsight: it's great.

By far my favourite thing about re-reading my old entries is seeing the progression of my personality and maturity. As you can imagine, the circa 2002 entries contain a lot of, "I HATE MY MOM. I'M MOVING OUT THE EXACT SECOND I TURN 18!!!!"

Later on, there's a few drunken entries. Those are always fun.

In my own self-interest, I've kept a .txt file of some of the funny stuff I've come across amongst my ~4500 entries. I don't know if this is interesting to anybody else, but here's a few of my favourite random quotes from my younger days:

  • march 10 2006: I think there's something wrong with me. I don't drink nearly enough alcohol for someone of my age and tolerance level. 

  • june 24 2005: I shall forever despise French toast and the agony it has caused.

  • july 21 2008: It's just me, my cats, and a bunch of overpriced Urban Outfitters crap.

  • august 3 2005: The manager gave away my last shift (grr) and sent me home early today. I even forgot to take my share of tips. Now all those bitches get my money. Oh well, they can rot in hell with my nickels. Bitches.

  • october 9 2009: Fucking 8 dollar rum and Cokes. I'm drinking myself out of house and home here.
  • Wednesday, July 3, 2013

    On the Purging Unhealthy Mental Habits

    Something I've been thinking about lately is how many bad mental habits I have. I think this is probably a pretty normal problem, but there's a contrast between what I say compared to what I'm thinking about, and it's getting old. I'd like to be more in sync inside and out.



    I'd like to think I'm pretty good at putting my best foot forward, not saying unkind things, not being overly negative or judgmental. I'd also like to think most people find me somewhat likeable at the very least. I know not everybody will like me but I hope for the most part I'm not detestable, which I sometimes feel like I am.

    It can be exhausting being positive all the time if that's not what's going through your head. Sometimes I worry about the things I say coming off as too honest, like I need a stronger filter between my thoughts and my words. I don't feel like this is something I should have to worry about. If I thought happy, positive, encouraging, non-judgmental thoughts most of the time, I wouldn't have to worry about unfiltered, probably rude, and unnecessary thoughts getting through to my spoken choice of words.

    I've started to notice things about my private thinking habits I don't like, namely judging people I don't know or being too hard on myself.

    The good news is, I'm pretty good at catching my unhealthy thoughts and putting things into perspective. Of course you made a mistake sewing; that's why sewers love stitch rippers. Just because that girl doesn't look like you, doesn't mean she's an idiot. Everybody is worth getting to know. Of course [so and so] is pissing you off, they always do. Don't let it ruin your day.

    Ideally, I'd like to stop these thoughts before I even think them. I'm hoping that acknowledging negative thoughts and working through them (as opposed to getting annoyed or letting things fester), I'll eventually stop thinking so many wasteful thoughts.

    Similar to my efforts to simplify my life (see my previous entry), I think clearing out mental clutter is just as important. I think trying to create a more simplistic physical life (via fewer possessions) is making me rethink all the waste in my head. What excess can I purge from my brain? Bad habits are a good place to start. I don't want to be weighed down anymore by complication and clutter.
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