theladyrose: (Default)
Written in response to this post by Dr. Robert Firestone on the decline of psychoanalysis and depth therapy, because I have quite a few critical issues with psychoanalysis and don't see enough debate questioning the validity of psychoanalysis.

I know that Psychology Today is pop lit and isn't exactly the most legitimate source around, but I feel that it's important to address some of the perspectives on the blogs because the truth is that there are quite a few who actually believe the crud written on the site. Not that I'm a clinical psychologist or even an expert in the filed by any means, but sometimes you need someone providing sensible comments.

Pretentious ramblings of a mere undergrad )
theladyrose: (Default)
I'm beginning to understand how addictions start; I've drunk more coffee since the start of the semester on Monday than in the entirety of my educational experience. I can somewhat rationalize my new Starbucks habit in trying to jumpstart myself to handle a packed semester because I really can't justify being unfocused. Due to my stupidity in drinking an iced caramel macchiato at 4:30 yesterday, I was up until 5:30 this morning reading like a maniac. It also means that I've done all of my reading for my aging policy class until spring break in mid-March and read my death and dying textbook from cover to cover. Naturally, of course, I have more difficulty focusing on this week's priorities, like writing this op-ed piece due Friday about the portrayal of Asian Americans in the media as perpetual foreigners, or divying up work on a presentation with a classmate due this Thursday.

My sense of priorities confuse me, too. But caffeine makes me feel like a superwoman, and I figure there are far unhealthier addictions to have.

Today I'm meeting with my thesis advisor to figure out what on earth I'm writing for my honors proposal, which will most likely deal with age differences in the mood congruence effect on certain types of verbal memories. The mood congruence effect, to quote Wikipedia, "refers to the tendency of individuals to retrieve information more easily when it has the same emotional content as their current emotional state." The simplified version is that depressed people tend to enter a vicious feedback loop regarding the world as uniformly negative and unchangeably so. With age, people tend to have better emotional regulation coping strategies and are generally more optimistic in what they remember. The other project I'm working on investigates whether or not older adults' optimistic bias affects the way they interpret facial expressions. Malcolm Gladwell has this thoughtful piece published in the New Yorker a while back about the power of being able to read expressions and catch their nuances and its value in lie detection. The research is genuinely fascinating, but I'm really not looking forward to learning how to score hundreds of cognitive assessment measures and having to work out some interrater reliability measures on the project off of which I'm piggybacking for my thesis.

I swear, you don't realize that you have a soul until you do research because it pretty much sucks it out of you. It's also made me seriously question whether or not I could actually handle a PhD program and if I really want to go down the clinical psychology track professionally. I'm considering jumping ship to gerontology and doing a PhD in that. I have a fairly decent chance of getting funded for a gero doctorate if I continue to stay here at USC after I finish my master's, which I start next year. My current classes in aging policy and the management of chronic diseases is proving far more interesting than I had expected it to be.

That, and I'm a wimp who is deathly afraid of multivariate statistics and advanced research methods. I don't know of any clinical or counseling psych PhD grad students who have a decent quality of life in their programs, and I interact with them on a regular basis thanks to my jobs. I also suspect that earning a PhD is my attempt to prove that I could be just as smart as my freakishly brilliant friends and the people I look up to, which doesn't really make sense when my problem is that I tend to lack more common sense about general life things than anything else. At least I know now that you don't die if you accidentally get hydrogen peroxide contact lens cleansing solution...twice.

On to more cheerful topics...

Brief thoughts on the Doctor Who Christmas Special, The Next Doctor, with spoilers )

Brief thoughts on Hustle 5x02 )

On a totally unrelated note, I discovered that many many moons ago, I attempted to translate the opening dialogue of the Prisoner into French. Oddly enough, it seems somewhat funnier in a different language.

- Où suis-je ?
- Au Village.
- Que voulez-vous ?
- Des informations.
- Dans quel camp êtes-vous ?
- Vous le saurez plus tard... Nous voulons des renseignements...
- Vous n'en aurez pas !
- De gré ou de force, nous les aurons.
- Qui êtes-vous ?
- Le Nouveau Numéro Deux.
- Qui est le Numéro Un ?

- Vous êtes le Numéro Six.
- Je ne suis pas un numéro, JE SUIS UN HOMME LIBRE !
theladyrose: (Default)
It's been demonstrated that particles have a definite position while waves have indefinite position expressed in probabilities. At the same time, David Pincus writes that in "the act of observing a wave turns it into a is impossible to ever know the position AND the momentum of a particle at the same time." New studies suggest that observing matter not only affects the substance of the particle (particle or wave) as it is now, but how it is measured in the future affects the outcome of the measurement in the past. Simplified, the future can change the past. Basically, if you're going to read anything today, you must read this blog post about physics and psychology because it has mind blowing implications about things like the universe having consciousness.

So if the mere act of observation does affect of the nature of a particle, and we're all made up of particles, then we still effect change, however subtle, even if we're "just watching" objects and events from a distance. The acts of faith vs. a life of contemplation debate stemming from early Christianity (I'm not sure about other religions - I think it also applies to Buddhism) may be less insoluble than we thought. As well-meaning professors and textbooks try to convince us, the ideal of observational/correlational research is not just to develop and test theories but to apply the findings of the research for practical uses. One potential philosophical ramnification is that observation could actually allows us to bend time and space, that perhaps all those ivory tower intellectuals possess greater powers other than illuminating our knowledge of how things are as they are now.

Someone please correct me if I'm making erroneous conclusions and misunderstanding all of this.
theladyrose: (Default)
It looks increasingly probable that I'll be staying an extra year here to get my master's in gerontology, or the study of human aging. It also means that I have to get my recs and whatnot for grad school ready by fall of next year, but on the bright side, I don't have to take GREs, and I think my chances for getting into the program are pretty decent. Mostly it's that USC's really making an effort to retain undergrads for their grad programs...unless it's the clinical science psych program, in which case all bets are generally off because it's one of the most research-intensive out there. Go figure.

What happened to clinical psychology? The average PhD acceptance rate is lower than that of med school at 6%, and I don't think I have the mettle to last 7-8 years in a research-oriented program. After doing research just as an undergrad, I've realized that I'm really not cut out for it; my mentor/professor was so right when she warned me that (quantitative) research sucks out your soul. Seriously, I wasn't sure if I had a soul until research this semester nearly drained it from me. My chances of getting into a doctorate program are much better if I specialize in working with traditionally underserved and rapidly expanding population, and if doctorate programs don't end up working out, at least I have a good vocational safety net in an area that honestly interests me. My preoccupation with caregiving issues and the fact that I have a much easier time connecting with older adults than with kids seems like a decent preliminary indicator that the subject matter's a good match. At the very least, all of us grow older, so you might as well learn while you're young about the issues that you'll be facing.

My mother's response to hearing about all of this was "We'll support you, but is your heart really in it?" That's the first time I've been criticized for giving primarily practical reasons for a decisions! I laughed inwardly when she said that - my mother, the would-be writer who wound up in finance, is much more the closet romantic than I am. People, even my mother, tend to see me as either having a brain or a heart, but not both in equal measure. I attempt to research my future in nauseating detail so that I can plan accordingly; dreams are great, but you can't expect that desire alone will get you where you want to be. I can't exactly tell her that one of the main motivating factors is that I want to know how to take care of her and dad better in the future when she herself is anxious enough about the prospect of aging. I don't know how to explain to her that pragmatics can coincide with passion, that I understand that compromise is necessary if you're going to achieve anything sustainable and worthwhile.

On a somewhat related note, Dad has his "one year later" follow-up with his neurologist to check up on the progression of his Machado-Joseph disease in a couple of hours. Around this time last year, he showed "significant clinical improvement" a month after a month of stem cell treatment in China. As for the long term gains, who knows. I'm personally skeptical that it'll do any good in the long run. Due to the fact that Dad received spinal cord injections of umbilical cord stem cells and not embryonic ones, he basically received a sophisticated form of blood doping where most of the stem cells turned into extra red blood cells, which temporarily make one feel more energized. I can't quite remember where I obtained this information, but from what I've heard, umbilical cord stem cells aren't as good at passing through the blood-brain barrier.

In some ways, I'm one of the worst people to be "educating" people about stem cell therapy from personal experience. I've written a brief account about it here, but I seriously doubt that anyone on campus really read it. The reporters still call home sometimes; inevitably, we know what articles will be written by the Western press. Honestly, it pisses me off that they write about we patients like we're a bunch of desperate patsies looking for any cure that has some sham of promise. There was this one Salon article that makes me cringe for its condescending tone. People don't pay $20,000 to be human guinea pigs solely because they're naïvely deluded about the possibility for being cured. The prevailing social stigma and discrimination against people with disability makes their lives so unbelievably difficult on them and their caregivers that they are willing to try anything because they have nothing to lose.

When you've grown up with a parent with a chronic medical condition, you know better than to even think of cures. I don't expect to see a cure for my dad's condition in my lifetime; to be honest, from a utilitarian viewpoint, funding's better allocated to other medical conditions such as cancer and stroke that affect a greater proportion of the population. I just want to live in a world where people with disabilities can actually find jobs in accessible workplaces and be able to use public transportation without fearing that the bus drivers won't stop for them because loading them on will delay everyone's schedule. In some ways, that's why I have difficulty understanding all of these "Walk to Cure Muscular Dystrophy" races. I don't doubt that new vaccinations and screening measures will benefit everyone in the long run. But why must we spend so much time and money on developing medical treatments that will inevitably only work for some of the population and yet neglect relatively simple accommodation measures for people with current impairments? The medical conceptualization of disability posits disabling conditions as needing to be cured, rather than to be accommodated and a focus of lifestyle adaptation in cases where the underlying medical conditions currently lack a cure. A social model of disability advocates an environment that's universally accessible and recognizes the influence of social attitudes about the capabilities of those with physical and cognitive impairments play in the roles we have available for people in the disability community. And being tired makes me ridiculously wordy.

Anyway, getting back to my original point - as important as it is to foster dialogue about the ethics of stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine, we risk overlooking the underlying issues of disability awareness and rights. The dangers of focusing so much on finding cures for severe medical conditions is that we ignore the necessity of providing accommodation for those with disability and creating more enabling environments so that everyone, not just the able-bodied, can truly celebrate “culture of life.” Using stem cells to cure chronic diseases underscores the prevalence of the medical model of disability and the social prerogative in eradicating the conditions that cause disability. Patients are driven to seek expensive, potentially risky experimental treatments abroad because they find that their quality of life has significantly deteriorated due to the lack of resources for people with disabilities and their caregivers. If legislators are hesitant about funding embryonic stem cell research, they could invest public resources instead into extending access to people with disabilities instead of forcing scientists to pursue embryonic stem cell research elsewhere. The ideal goal of stem cell therapy is to improve the quality of life for those with medically related impairments, but there are multiple avenues of pursuit in achieving this objective. As important as it is to acknowledge and protect the rights of humans coming into being, it is all too easy to overlook the eroding civil rights for people with disabilities and the sociopolitical conditions that have made stem cell therapy such a pressing issue in the first place.

OK, I confess: this is my belated Blogging Against Disablism Day post. And there's a lot more I have to say about the subject, except that I really need to finish my take home final for my disabilities and healthcare class, so I'll get around to that later.
theladyrose: (Default)
I'd like to think that I've pioneered the "procrastinate by doing other work" method because I only really have my history of physiology paper left to do and a really short paper on career development theory. Except for the first time ever (seriously - I think I might've been the only person in AP Euro my year who did ALL of the supplemental reading), I didn't actually do all of the reading for one of my classes just because there's no feasible way of reading three books of Nietzsche, two Decadent novels, C.S. Lewis's Til We Have Faces and all of Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents in a three week time span with two presentations, five papers of varying lengths and five finals, three of which are take home. Strangely enough, I don't feel terribly guilty as I don't know of anyone else, even my roommate, who's had time to do all of the reading, either. I have to admit, the class has really grown on me - the professor is the only one I've come across who doesn't use any notes, can consistently keep everyone's attention and actually address all of the random questions students throw at him without deflecting any. We ended up having an interesting discussion after class on Monday about what the Decadents would have thought of dystopian science fiction. Thanks to the f-list, I was able to not sound like a total airhead. I swear, anything I know about culture has come from Livejournal - I'd never be able to pick up on all of his Firefly and Buffy references otherwise.

For the educators on the f-list: from a student's perspective, take home midterms are only less stressful when you're given the same amount of time to finish the exam that you would've been given if the exam was held in class. If you have to write at least a page-long response for seven questions and you're supposed to cite specific lecture note dates and pages in the reading, then trust me, it's more stressful. Take home exams are generally a bad idea if they follow not long after the deadline of a major paper (page length > 5 pages). Just something to keep in mind next time you devise your syllabi...

I've come to the conclusion that I rely on luck far more than any sane person should to get work done; if my physiology professor hadn't granted everyone an extension until next Wednesday, I'd be sunk. But from a terribly egocentric point of view, much of luck is setting up the likelihood of situations to be in your favor, or learning to predict the probability of certain events and preparing yourself to capitalize on those moments.

On the whole, I've feel like I've learned more than I ever have this semester. Generally all of the classes I've taken have been pretty good, and the ones I'm taking now are no exception, although I'll be really glad to be done with the honors core requirements soon. But just having the opportunities to spend time with peers and learn from them - now that's been the most rewarding. I really cut back on activities last spring just because I was so burnt out from the fall, but the stuff I did and continue to do is rather solitary. Doing research has only deepened my interest in psychology, but as the perpetual observer-scientist you feel distanced from the interactions and behaviors you're supposed to be analyzing. Sure, you gain perspective. And all of the admissions recruiting stuff is a lot of fun (they actually think you know what you're talking about), but the interactions with prospective students are fleeting. That, and you never really know if your individual contributions actually make a difference in helping them figure out where they want to go for college.

What's been the most incredible was being a TA for CIRCLE. Sure, there's the incredibly pretentious satisfaction of being able to tell people, "I basically taught a non-credit seminar called Critical Issues in Race, Class and Leadership Education," but I'm not kidding you when I say I can't believe I got paid to do a job I would've gladly done for free. Even from my brief work experience so far, I think I can safely say the people you work with make or break your job satisfaction, and the APASS office has become my second home on campus. I was so lucky to have a great group of students in my discussion group and Sumi, the head of the department, to be our faculty facilitator, and on the whole my co-TA and I had a good work dynamic. After participating in this program last fall, I've gained a new perspective on how people slowly absorb new views on how institutional barriers relating to race, socioeconomic status, gender and sexual orientation really play out in this country and how cultural factors facilitate our understanding of these issues. Retreat three weekends ago was really intense - I've never seen so many people cry as they began to intellectually and emotionally work out how damaging these prejudices can be. But it was incredibly worthwhile to learn about the experiences of those who've grown up in much more diverse circumstances and who haven't been sheltered as I have their entire lives. Thankfully I didn't run into any situations where I couldn't answer participant's question, although Sumi fielded a lot of the complex academic stuff; I was able to pull a lot of stuff from research and some of my course readings. I really am excited to see what these kids (funny I should call them kids when at least half of them are my age or older and the other half's but a year younger) end up doing and how they take action on these issues.

Each year I tell myself that life can't get any more mind-bogglingly complex and maddening, and each year I'm proven wrong. That's not necessarily a bad thing, although there are times when I think I might literally keel over from exhaustion. Emotionally, I keep being stretched in all directions and have to constantly evaluate whether or not I can actually do what I'm supposed to do. I know I've disappointed a lot of people as I try to figure out what my limits are, but you have to learn to compartamentalize and find a way of separating the emotional from duty so that you can function. In a funny way, though, the most effective way of building up resiliance is when you don't think you have a way out.

Once again I have to figure out what the heck I'm doing next semester and the year after and the year after. My course schedule; the big debate is work vs. research or some combination of both. I'll still be volunteering with admissions and copy-editing writing for a quarterly news magazine (which, really, is less work than it sounds) although I'm really tempted to become a weekly columnist for The Daily Trojan. There's this other part of me that just wants to veg out and get back to finishing all of the scraps of writing littering my desktop, but the only thing I get out of that is personal satisfaction, and I'm afraid it won't be any help when applying to grad school and looking for jobs. I actually had something of a social life this semester, which was a first, and I don't know if I'm willing to give that up although with CIRCLE being over I suspect my opportunities to spend time with a more diverse crowd will greatly diminish. At the same time, I'd like to claim back more time for myself for no particularly noble reason other than to relax and recollect myself. But then I look at everyone around me and think wow, if they can handle everything, then why can't you?

And now for some study break stuff, although I should finish editing this paper due at noon today.

Recommended by [ profile] st_crispins: Scorcese paying homage in a Hitchcock parody for a champagne commercial

Seriously, this is the only time where I've watched a commercial more than once and couldn't stop laughing. Unfortunately, I don't spend enough time with the cinema students anymore.

If anyone's curious, the musical cues used from North by Northwest as played by the orchestra are:

The Elevator (up to 0:11), briefly interrupted an unidentified bridge passage reusing the fandango fragment, quickly cuts into
The U.N.
The Information Desk (intro played a little slower in the Scorcese film)
Unidentified cue when the lightbulb's broken (the closest I can come up with is "The Balcony," but I think for this orchestral suite it's just a bridge passage)
The Knife (the brief introduction recaptiulation of the fandango prelude when Thornhill's running away from the U.N.), quick transition into the end part of the fandango of The Wild Ride
The Reunion
Finale (roughly the end 0:30-0:46; the orchestral recording for the Scorcese film is the most different from the original score recording as the former is a little more legato on the love theme but draws out the concluding notes a little more slowly)

On another film music-related note, I'm not a member of [ profile] doctorwho, but I know someone there was looking for the lyrics for "My Angel Put The Devil In Me" - seeing as Doctor Who is the most popular show on my f-list, I was wondering if someone could pass the link to this entry with my transcription of the lyrics as non-members can't post? Thanks!

My Angel Put The Devil In Me )
theladyrose: (Default)
I have officially survived my first academic conference!

I swear I was literally twitching when I found out that I had to open up the first panel with my writing instructor present (for some reason she didn't go to any of my classmates' panels). For some reason I started downing ice water like vodka, which was rather a dumb idea in retrospect. Even after my hours of preparation this afternoon I still sounded like I was mildly unfamiliar with the English language, but at least it's over with. The professor moderating the panel ought to be a criminal attorney considering the sort of questions he used to cross-examine us afterwards, but my instructor told me afterwards that he was one of the more intense moderators, and he did have a lot of interesting points connecting all of our presentations that I hadn't really thought about before. Most of the questions were initially directed about the issue of suicide as self-affirmative, i.e. my topic, but thankfully after a while people started semi-politely attacking the guy to my left who argued against the legal protections of conscientious objectors. A couple of friends sat in the audience during my presentation, which was terribly reassuring.

Surprisingly, the food they served everyone was rather good, but then again, I'm starting to look forward to not having to go to the cafeteria next year as I'll have my own apartment. There is an art in taking advantage of free food when you can get it; it's a vital college skill, just as much as knowing the sorts of questions a professor is likely to ask on an exam or knowing the shortcuts to get from one end of campus to the other when classes are back to back.

And now I'm actually going to sleep because I feel like someone removed at least one of my vertebrae. Good night.
theladyrose: (Default)
Argh - the new LJ draft recovery system isn't perfect as the vast majority of what I wrote before.

I've always felt more comfortable conducting interviews rather than being the subject of one, thanks to working on the paper for five years. Being put on the visiting speakers beat for 3-4 years gave me a lot of opportunities to talk to fascinating people from diverse backgrounds outside of their official settings; I was happy to see that Lalita Tademy has just come out with a promising sophomore historical novel, Red River. I've only had one less than favorable encounter with a pretentious, insecure Harvard and Oxford grad pole vaulting champion trying to be the next Dan Brown thriller writer. [ profile] melee_melo, you know who I'm talking about; he's the guy who wrote that ''cult'' mystery.

Yesterday morning between classes I interviewed a few students being considered for the 4-year full tuition scholarship.  ([profile] malbal55.)  Being on the evaluation side of that process now now - it's like when I was 6 and tried walking around in my mother's high-heeled pumps for the first time.  Each candidate is evaluated by a professor, an admissions staff member and a student.  It's just a little intimidating to think that you have some input in giving someone over $120,000.  I wouldn't call myself a professional by any means, but I am glad that I had some interviewing experience before joining the interview teams.

It seems terribly obvious, but interviews are a two-way street; if the dialogue is being dominated by one person, whether they be the interviewer or interviewee, you should correct that imbalance.  Doing your background research and brushing up on the news headlines are a must, of course, but the most important part with evaluative interviews is to establish a sense of connection as well as present your qualifications in a fresh way.  No one person is the sole subject of the interview - if you have enough time, i.e. more than 15 minutes, there should be a balance in how much the interviewers and interviewees have to say.  It's cynical but true - people love to talk about themselves or are at least flattered that you show an interest in what they have to say about an issue.  Looking back at when I did my interview, I know I wasn't the most qualified candidate out there, but I was really lucky in that I had interviewers who were easy to connect to and who were giving of themselves.  It doesn't really matter in the long-run if you understand everything that the other person is saying; the point is that you're genuinely curious and attentive about what the other person is thinking.

What tripped up some of the candidates yesterday was that they were so nervous about presenting themselves that they didn't take into account the 'connection' factor.  I tried smiling and nodding a lot to help put the candidates at ease before throwing them a curve ball question; they tend to be more candid when they underestimate you.  I've forgotten that people my age tend to maintain eye contact longer with adults who ask them questions than with their peers.  Most of the candidates tended to ignore me unless I directly questioned them, but they probably asked their hosts a lot of questions already.  But that's already a big no-no; if you're being interviewed by several people, you should address your responses to all of them or at least change whom you're addressing for each question.

Unfortunately, they don't seem to realize that it's important to form a connection with as many of their interviewers as possible, not just the adults.  There are students there for a reason - they're key in judging how good of a fit the candidate is overall for the university.  Call me a rampant egotist, but if you plan on attending college, you need to be able to relate and work with your fellow students as well as your professors and the administration.  Telling me on paper that you're a team player and good at communicating and working with your peers just doesn't cut it if you can't do so in an unfamiliar situation.

I'm starting to feel a bit sorry for the next two batches of interviews I'm doing.  But I'd like to think that I'm generally pretty fair and forgiving, and I don't mean to say that the candidates I encountered were antisocial jerks by any means.  They're just inexperienced, and unfortunately it shows.

And now, for something completely different.

Music Meme

List seven songs you are into right now, no matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they're not any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying now. Post these instructions in your livejournal along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they're listening to.

1. First Season Main Title (Revised) - The Man from UNCLE - Jerry Goldsmith
2. Generique Stephane - The Science of Sleep - Jean-Michel Bernard
3. I Will Wait For You - Les Parapluies de Cherbourg - Michel Legrand
4. Les Lunettes Magiques - Jeux d'Enfants - Phillippe Rombi
5. Alicia Discovers Nash's Dark World - A Beautiful Mind - James Horner
6. Toccata for Toy Trains - Elmer Bernstein
7. Wichta Sutra Vortex - Philip Glass

Tagged: anyone who feels like doing this meme
theladyrose: (Default)
I stare at the blank screen. The blank screen stares back at me. I blink. Paper, 1, me, 0.

I have a feeling that this rough draft is going to be a bugger to write.

In the meantime, I suppose I can squeeze in a meme :)

What is yours?
Explain yourself
Culinary: frozen yogurt, particularly strawberry/vanilla swirl I live in LA. I have yet to see anyone on campus consume ice cream because eating anything over 200 calories on this campus is unheard of :P
Literary: Agatha Christie I've read at least half of her 80+ books, and most of the Poirot ones. I swear, one day I will read every single thing she's ever published.
Audiovisual: the Man from UNCLE It kills me that it's not out on DVD. And I've watched every tape I could find in my local library system.
Musical: Phillippe Rombi/Philip Glass/Joe Hisaishi I don't really have guilty musical pleasures aside from my general love of film scores. I've been rather addicted to these three composers lately.
Celebrity: Patrick McGoohan, with Robert Vaughn and David McCallum not far behind I grew up in the wrong decade. I could use a time machine.

Now I tag:-

[ profile] dragonfly66 [ profile] gandydancer [ profile] shakeitdown [ profile] romanticizing and [ profile] st_crispins

To complete this same Quiz, it's HERE.
theladyrose: (Default)
Do I actually detect some fragments of melody in Philip Glass's Notes On A Scandal score? My knowledge of music theory is virtually nonexistent, but this definitely isn't his old school minimalism. If this and snow in Malibu doesn't indicate that there's something freaky going on in the world, I don't know what is.

I'm also starting to understand why film critics panned the score for being too overwrought and taking the edge off of some potentially black comedy. Glass is definitely capable of great subtlety - the Hours and Glassworks are some of my favorite works of his characterized by this more reflective tone - but it sounds like he's gone with a La Belle et le Bête-ish approach here.  There are some moments highly reminiscent of the Hours, though the orchestration sounds much fuller and the tone more dissonant.

To continue with the film music ramblings, I've come across an original recording of Elmer Bernstein's the Man with the Golden Arm title theme. The website also has some great recordings of pieces from different film scores performed by the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra Society; I recommend Miklos Rozsa's lovely El Cid
[profile] blofeldscat
, please forgive my ignorance in not knowing where to put the accent marks.

Much to my delight, I've found
an affordable recording of Bernstein's 'Toccata for Toy Trains' - I almost typed 'Toycatta' there. There's a re-recording conducted by the composer on the FSM-released Elmer Bernstein's Film Music Collection, but the Eames Brothers film compilation contains the gem, 'Westinghouse in Alphabetical Order,' which was written as musical accompaniment for a stock holders' meeting to look over company merchandise!  Now if I could find a recording of either of Bernstein's stage musicals, Merlin and How Now, Dow Jones or John Barry's Lolita, My Love...
theladyrose: (Default)
If there is one important thing that I've learned this semester, it's that one should NEVER leave liquids around computers.

Miraculously, just yesterday night my keyboard went back pretty much to normal, except the shift key doesn't work. But hey, I'm not complaining. I do apologize in being slow in responding to comments as I was pretty much denied computer access for the past few weeks, and I forced myself not to procrastinate when working on my paper in the basement computer lab. I've come to appreciate how much we rely on technology to communicate; as I accidentally left my cell phone battery charger back home, someone in theory could have murdered me in my room – my roommate was out in studio for the better 3/4 of this past week – and no one probably would've known. I really don't know how my floormates can get away with smoking the amount of marijuana and drinking and generally partying during finals that they've done; perhaps they realize how screwed they are and have stopped trying.

Speaking of my floormates, I was extremely tempted to pull a Grey's Anatomy and tack up one of my floormate's panties to the floor bulletin board. The laundry room is right across from the bathroom, dears — leaving your thong around the shower head is kind of nasty minus the "kind of."

Thankfully my roommates next year are lovely; we start scouting around for an apartment mid-January. Rumor is the housing lottery belongs to the 4th circle of hell, but now that USC guarantees incoming freshment starting my year two years guaranteed campus housing we're given priority. We still need a 4th roommate – luckily the greatest demand seems to be for 2-person apartments, although there are a fair number of 4-person apartments – but a fellow classmate may be joining us so we'll see.

I've been alternating between periods of dull le Carré-style drudgery and stress-induced hysterical laughter — yes, it's that time of year: finals. It's crazy how long it took me to write the last half page of my consumerism final – I was probably at the same page length for 4 hours because I kept editing a lot and found my brain too worn out to come up with even more analysis to make up for the edits. I can honestly say for the first time since I've been in college I can't wait to be home tomorrow afternoon and give my brain a chance to rest up and do the stuff it wants to do, like finish watching the rest of Danger Man season one. The one little thing I will regret leaving for a month (as eerily enough, most of my friends here live in the Bay Area) are the honey bran muffins from Commons, but I think I can manage ;p

I can't figure out if I've become lazier since coming to college. Seriously, I've been setting new records for how late I've slept in this week alone; today it was almost 5 in the evening just because my body's forced to pay the massive sleep debt accumulated from insomnia. I've been trying to start my papers a week in advance, but I find that I look back on my earlier drafts and realize how much I need to change so I still end up staying up until 3 AM to get them the way I want. Now that I finished my last take-home final at 2 AM today, I finally got around to dumping out the masses of papers I've accumulated over the semester and sorting out the work I want to keep. I've probably sacrificed a small forest in the process, but it was so worthwhile. It's a little scary, the sense of tremendous satisfaction from finally organizing everything. Somehow I'm deluded enough to think that if I have enough self-discipline the rest of the emotional chaos that tends to randomly explode in my face can be tamed.

I've been trying to work on my Casino Royale film review for the past few weeks, but I keep rewriting it as I'm still not quite satisfied with it yet. A more comprehensive soundtrack review is also in the works.

Year in Review meme )

Random Casino Royale soundtrack note: I read some silly review that praised Arnold's "passionate love themes." What the heck? Arnold's love themes are remarkably restrained, even minimalistic in orchestration compared to his other, more John Barryesque works. I'm glad that Arnold went for a more subtle approach - you can hear the gradual progression of the slightly icy banter still tinged with a certain chemistry to the gradual realization of their mutual feelings. Craig's Bond isn't really that much of a romantic; despite his professional coldness, he strikes me as the kind of guy who acts on his feelings in relationships, the sort of person who omits to tell the truth rather than lie. Neither of them are gushingly in love, totally engrossed in learning everything they can about the other; they come to implicitly trust each other without asking any questions, which underlies the dramatic tensions of what is left unsaid. The simplistic tonal and harmonic palette in the renditions of the theme reflects that unspoken honesty.

That was basically a really convoluted piece of tripe calling itself writing, but whatever. It's driving me crazy that I can't use parentheses anymore because my shift key doesn't wo.

Anyway, getting back to my original point about Arnold's approach – yes, the "I'm the Money" cue introducing Vesper features a wonderfully lush string quotation of the main title theme, but Arnold (and his orchestrator/conductor, Nicholas Dodd) tends to use richer orchestrations for location introduction cues. Listen to the sudden shift halfway through “Blunt Instrument” when Bond arrives in the Bahamas or 'Welcome to Baku' from The World Is Not Enough, and you'll know what I mean. “I’m Yours” during Bond’s recovery is the most full-bodied use of the Vesper theme, but it's really the official culmination of the Bond/Vesper relationship, and the cue also introduces the gorgeous Lake Como sanotorium location.

Yeah, I'm glad that I finally have the time to get around to working on this review in my newfound free time because there's way too much I want to say.
theladyrose: (Default)
Picture an asexual having an intellectual orgasm, and you'll have a good idea of what it was like to hear Jon Burlingame's presentation on the legendary film composer Elmer Bernstein (see the icon).

It feels hyperbolic yet somehow also reductionist to say that I owe a lot to Elmer Bernstein. I've said this before and I'll say it again: his score for To Kill A Mockingbird is what made me fall in love with film music. And if it weren't for To Kill A Mockingbird, I doubt that I wouldn't have written an essay good enough to be considered for my scholarship. In a strangely removed way, Elmer Bernstein has brought me to where I am now.

Burlingame gave one of the best talks I've been lucky enough to hear, sprinkling in personal anecdotes about the composer as well as serious background about the groundbreaking aspects of Bernstein's music. Burlingame balanced the fine line of introducing enough information to those unacquainted with the composer while engaging Bernstein fans with a behind the scenes look at film music history. Interspersed in Burlingame's talk were some appreciative comments from Bernstein's various collaborators in the film industry as well as a few interview clips with the composer himself. Sound and video clips from the scores he was discussing (including the only unofficial videorecording in existence of a number from Merlin) enhanced the lecture. I was intrigued to hear more about Bernstein's forays into scoring TV shows and documentaries, writing musicals (How Now, Dow Jones and Merlin) and composing concert works such as his Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra, commissioned by Christopher Parkening. Burlingame also touched upon Bernstein's "graylisted" period and his influence in allowing film and TV composers to retain the rights to their music. I had never realized the extent of Bernstein's involvement in the film and music industries and how beloved he was.

Some random, interesting things I took away from the talk: Bernstein's classic Magnificent Seven theme is actually based on his work on the Burt Reynolds TV show Riverboat, a sort of hybrid of his previous thematic material incorporated with Mexican folk music. Toccata for Toy Trains is easily one of the most delightful music compositions for documentaries I've ever heard. And James Coburn's remark that Bernstein did more for his career as a result of the memorability of the Magnificent Seven and the Great Escape made me smile.

Alas, my recap does no justice to Burlingame's storytelling skills and the real sense of who Bernstein was; it's no wonder that Burlingame is as great of a journalist as he is. Seriously, there were several other watery-eyed women at the end of the presentation; we were all that struck by Burlingame's whimsical depiction the composer. It's not too surprising, then, that Burlingame seems to have quite the fan club; at least five of the attendees had come on campus just for this event. I was the only undergraduate student present; the others in the audience seemed to be members of "Friends of the Doheny Library" speaker series.

I was so nervous introducing myself that I started talking in an accent. (I have no idea why. It was as if I was trying to do a parody of my mother's old BBC announcer accent.) It was amazing that he could figure out anything that I was saying at all.

If all goes well, I'll have coffee or lunch with Burlingame sometime in November and discuss film music, particularly the Man from UNCLE soundtracks. Hopefully by then my speech patterns will stick to the North American continent instead of drowning in the middle of the Atlantic.

[/pretentious fangirling]

(On a different note, I'm trying to think of sufficiently intelligent responses to all of your thought-provoking comments about the supergirl dilemna. I swear I'm not ignoring you!)
theladyrose: (Default)
There's something profoundly disturbing by how beautiful the music of war is. Strip away the harsh dissonance and the sharp discipline of an even-numbered time signature, and you're left with moments of piercing lyricism to which no love theme can compare. Should we be surprised, then, that the death scene in any good war movie is more liable to break your heart than the fleeting romance?

Perhaps it's music's way of reminding us that conflict can bring out the most terrible and the most noble in us.
theladyrose: (Default)
Like the eponymous character of Marcel Ayme's short story, "Les Sabines," I would like nothing more than to be able to duplicate myself at a moment's notice and have my identical sisters, sharing one consciousness, live out all of the scenarios and play all their respective personas. No one's ever just one person-there are so many facets of a personality yet never enough time to really polish and display every side at once. Put much more simply, there are too many things I want to do, but I just don't have the energy to play out all these parts.

Sometimes I really don't quite know why I made the choices that I have (*cough* college */cough*) And that's OK, I guess. My problem is that I tend to come up with too many supporting and detracting points for each side that the arithmetic of persuasion cancels out to nothing; it is lucky or mysteriously convenient, then, that I've gotten really good at rationalizing my actions and judgements. I'm neither terribly happy or unhappy about my decision; I figure once I get to campus I'll find some quirky subculture or three in which to entrench myself.

I only get this pretentiously cryptic when I'm really sleep deprived, as I am right now.

I've come to the conclusion that I don't really have enough hot weather clothes as I donated a lot of my old T-shirts and such a few weeks ago as they're too small now. How hot is it usually in LA in the fall?
theladyrose: (Default)
I used to write my life out in post-it notes. Nothing was too trivial to document: snippets of conversations, phrases that sounded good in my head, song parodies, extensive film score reviewing notes, silly messages to friends, even the occasional cartoon. I used up nearly an entire pad in recording the dreams of a talking sonnambulist. (Sadly, those records of Cathy have mysteriously disappeared.) I've gone through at least ten pads covering friends' lockers entirely in post-it notes partly as an artistic statement, as a challenge to authority (will the maintenance crew take it down?) and as a way of cheering someone up or at least amusing them and myself. I've discovered too many too count in the top of my desk; as of a few days ago I couldn't open up that desk drawer without five things falling out because there were so many pieces of paper stuffed in there.

It's just like me to measure things out in minute quantities. Perhaps it's my innate emotional parsimony; perhaps it's my unreliable memory; perhaps it's sheer apathy. It's funny-I never really pay too much attention to all of the typical milestones like the start of a new year, getting my driver's licence, graduation, those sorts of things (I didn't even try for parallel structure; deal with it). I guess I just don't find those personal enough. These little scraps, like the proverbial message in a bottle, trap emotion as we'd like to remember them. It's savoring every moment to the point where they almost lose significance because there are so many of them. They offer a false sense of permanence in the past; I cling to them because they allow me to slip back for a moment to revisit my old life. And only now have I begun to realize that my attachment to these little slips of paper, often crumpled and unreadably scrawled, borders on the pathological. I have sometimes suspected that my passion for history stems from this deep-seated need to freeze frame and capture all of the moments I'm so afraid of losing, to have something of worth for which to account my life.

As you can guess, I can't bring myself to take them to the rubbish bin yet.
theladyrose: (Default)
I just got my AP scores back-they're all 5's! How the heck did that happen with calculus?!

And apparently I can read at 475 words/minute with a 64% comprehension rate, which sounds a little low for me. You can take the test here.

Random memes )
theladyrose: (Default)
I'm generally not the bragging type, but it was so worth cramming nine post-it notes of music score notes from the last Alias episode ("The Horizon") down to predict what would happen tonight. Score analysis really does work!

And all of my predictions were right! If only I could find all of the predictions that I made-I swear I posted a bunch up on my LJ a few months ago, but I can't remember which tags they're under...

You hear that boom? That's my mind blowing (i.e. spoilers at your own risk) )
theladyrose: (Default)
Ingredients for an Alias episode:

Intertwining storylines: check
Random conspiracies: check (I don't know if I've ever publicly shared my dishwashing gloves theory, have I?)
Journalists checking out a vague sort of conspiracy theory: check, if you loosely define "conspiracy"
Having to work on multiple missions/assignments all at once for fear of being killed/tortured by superiors: check. Newspaper editors behind schedule are SCARY.
Occasionally freaky family dynamics: half a check?
Having issues balancing public and private lives: check
Surveillance measures: half a check? There was a random bunch of people around the shared driveway with my neighbors' house taking pictures of said house for reasons unknown, and said house is right across from mine. I personally suspect it has to do with the whole armed robbery thing, and that these spectators are morbidly curious neighbors who have come to feast upon misfortune.
Outrageous disguises complete with wigs: I'll have to work on that one

My life is bearing a really eerie resemblance.

I've felt a little like that Mad TV spoof of Alias-where does Sydney Bristow get all of that time to go to grad school, save the world but actually work for the opposition, actually save the world while having to disguise these heroic activities from the opposition, keep her best friend from discovering the opposition as well as help open up her roommate's restaurant? I need those time management skills! I've been working on at least four different articles for two different publications in a mad process of interviewing, writing, rewriting and editing this afternoon and the distinctions between all of the stories are starting to get really blurry. I have seriously earned newfound respect for professional journalists whose word counts are longer than 600 words and have to do more research for their stories on just as short deadlines. I haven't even finished layout for my own paper yet because InDesign wouldn't open on the first two computers I was working on and then claimed that Times New Roman as a font didn't exist and started highlighting all of the text boxes in this awful shade of salmon pink.

I carried on my longest interview ever with the school counselor for my eating disorders article; as I spent an hour instead of twenty minutes talking to her with [ profile] eyepiece_simile accompanying me, I missed an appointment. Time flies when you're talking about misperceptions of bulemia. It was a very informative interview, certainly, but I'm starting to wonder how I'm going to incorporate all of these perspectives I'm getting in 800 words when I can think of even more people I should to talk to. My story angle keeps on making multiple revolutions around the unit circle.

That was a bad attempt at a math joke. I'll shut up now.

The rest of this entry dissolves into self-centered tripe; read with caution )
theladyrose: (Default)
I would be seriously tempted to sell my soul if it meant that I'd never be late to anything ever again. I must've unconsciously turned off my alarm clock this morning because I woke up at 7:40 instead of 6:40 this morning, and normally I leave twenty minutes earlier. I was already sort of late to another class earlier this week though not from sleeping in, so Ellie is really upset about it.

This is the point in which I should use all of my nifty behaviorism knowledge to reprogram setting events (the CD in my ) that will reinforce the prosocial punctuality behaviors of waking up and getting out of the house earlier. I've unfortunately unconsciously associated sleeping in with David Holmes's Ocean's Twelve soundtrack and therefore must use another wake-up CD. With new morning music, I must fight the temptation to hit the sleep button and wake up at a consistent time in order to form a solid association between the prompt (new soundtrack) and waking up on time. I can use old soundtracks (i.e. practically every one I own) on the weekends when hitting the snooze button is less detrimental. I should probably figure out some kind of system for reinforcement as well but I'm too lazy to think through all the details right now.

Oh, B.F. Skinner. We still love you even if you did stop using lab rats as experimental test subjects in 1943 (or was it '42? I don't remember for certain anymore).

Two freshmen randomly just burst into the Counterpoint office to rearrange their Top 8 ranking on Myspace and asked me about my college choices. They both like my loopy handwriting although Ellie thinks it's virtually unreadable. Most people I know are split on the legibility issue.

And I'm still really terrible at this whole remembering birthdays thing; I managed to remember one but not the other. And this is already with copious reminders/mental prodding; it's just embarrassing at this point. At any rate, many happy returns to Shirin and Elena!
theladyrose: (Default)
I saw this question on a community today: How do you forgive without giving in?

I'm curious as to how others would respond.

I'm not quite sure what "not giving in" means. I am very much of the forgive and forget school; we have all made mistakes, and who are we to say that someone else is in the wrong and we are totally absolved ourselves? There are many little things that I do that probably annoy/disappoint/frustrate others, but people don't hold those against me, or at least to my knowledge. So why should I begrudge others?

I don't see the point in wasting one's feelings on being angry and hurt; life is short enough, so why not spend as much of that time as possible being happy and making others happy? I think society spends too much time wondering where others went wrong; what I prefer to focus on is what I can do to avoid future situations that are harmful for everyone. To quote John F. Kennedy, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." In many cases I think it's very tempting for people to shove responsabilities for their own failures on others instead of finding ways to correct the root of the problem in their own behavior.

To be honest I am rather naive, and I'm sure there's great potential for people to take advantage of me in the future. I'm lucky that hasn't happened to me yet. I don't mean to present myself as a paragon of moral superiority, either; no one has ever caused me to truly suffer as a result of his/her actions. I have never been a victim of cruelty where forgiveness would be much more difficult to grant. I just try to avoid hurting others, and I like to think that I'm doing a decent job. I find it it extremely difficult to be angry at anyone for longer than ten minutes (and that's long at that; usually my threshold is two minutes) because most of the things that anger me are merely annoying as well as trivial. There's no point in wasting my thoughts and feelings on them; I've got better things to do with my time. Most things are not worth destroying a relationship for. We are all deserving of forgiveness, but self-absolution is not for granted.
theladyrose: (Default)
Ach, my last 24 hour plays ever! This was probably my favorite experience, though the sophomore year ones (the romance novels, Genesis as told by the serpent, and possibly the Ricky Martin fanclub as well) were pretty fabulous. Yay for multi-role craziness and having all comedies! It's extremely difficult to do serious drama for these sorts of events, though Ingrid (and Jeeyon, come to think of it) could definitely make it work.

Perhaps I'll post my play here later after I cut out the bits that didn't work. It's not serious at all, but I'm not sure if you could really call it comedic. I'll list out all of the references/lines that I stole from other sources when I post the edited play. And I owe it big time to [ profile] blofeldscat for STENCH (their rival was CHAOS; is this a real spy show reference? I'm not sure if I actually made that up), [ profile] dragonfly66 for brainstorming ideas, and [ profile] leflyingolive for giving me call sign ideas. People seemed to like the weird bird ones-I ended up picking flamingo and cockatoo.

I regret not hugging Sol and Xanthia for their uber-awesome performances. The only thing about the hugging would be that my sketchy costume was sort of backless, which would've been really awkward for everyone. The casting there was great-I couldn't have asked for anything more. The little fumbles were hardly noticeable during the performance, and they recovered from them well. And their rapport was pretty good. I feel bad that I gave them so much dialogue-originally I thought the play was too short until I realized I accidentally set the screen margins for a 11x17 inch sheet of paper. 7/4 of a page turned into 3.5 full pages. Whoops. There are a lot of little bits that I wish I had cut out now; my creative/editing skills are pretty lousy at about 2 in the morning, and I know that a lot of the references didn't make sense. I'm too used to talking about the Avengers, Danger Man, 007 and the like with fellow fans :P It was definitely more geared towards the adults rather than the students just because the former was more likely to know what I was talking about.

Looking back now, I wished I had more action going on than the straightforward interview exchange. The problem is that it would've been hard to actually act out some of the mission scenarios, and I didn't want to make it too hard on the actors who had enough to remember already. Nicola was mostly used to establish the framework/back story of what was going on; the second half of the play was my realization that Carla didn't have many interesting lines and became sort of bizarre compensation. I really had no idea what I was doing with Carla (the interviewee) because for the longest time I couldn't figure out what her name ought to be, and because it's really hard to do character development in ten minutes. Originally I expected to play the Nicola role because we had a shortage of actors and because the terminology was technically difficult, but I was very impressed with Sol and Xanthia.

The Alias season 4 title theme cue used at the beginning wasn't optimal, but I couldn't find the Top 100 Television Themes CD this morning containing the Get Smart title. I figured that more audience members would recognize Alias anyway.

Heh, I really muffed up in all of the rehearsals! What I love about the 24 hour plays is how much you can't stop laughing during rehearsals. My neighbor, who's an elementary school teacher, has a name that's extremely similar to the name of the dead hamster in Tess et al.'s play, so I kept on saying my neighbor's name instead. [ profile] latina_business, I have no idea why you casted me in Myspace Romance, but I'll confess that I had a great time :) I'm sorry that I randomly truncated parts of the script during performance. I tend to be of the school of thought where forgetting the exact wording of lines is OK so long as you say the equivalent, even if shortened, in a natural-sounding manner. I managed to pin down the original breakup monologue-well, a sort of ad-libbed version-right beforehand. But it got really shortened when I did it as I was disoriented when the audience started laughing unexpectedly. And I suck at projection, but whatever. What scared me the most about Myspace Romance was that it was actually based on a classmate's exploits. The believability factor was freakily high.

Lesson of the day: fishnet tights are a pain to put back on after having to take them off, especially when you have quick costume changes. Thank goodness for Eneida and her magic hair spray skills. Let's just say bumping into the two teachers who wrote my college recommendations as well as the Dean of Students, i.e. teachers I like who know me, after the performance was awkward incarnate. I had to walk around in the myspace whore/showgirl getup for quite a bit beforehand so I wouldn't feel so self-conscious on stage. I'm just really glad I didn't do the kicking my leg up onto the other actor's shoulder maneuver after all.

Afterwards Elena and I went out to dinner at this great Mediterranean place on University, Cafe 220. This is the first time ever-besides Havard this summer-when I've actually gone out with a friend to dinner. My unofficial curfew is 10:45-11, and that's really pushing it for special occasions. My family is really big on having dinner together, and I spend more time at home, especially on the weekends, looking after my dad. Afterwards we got gelato. Only in California (or maybe just the West Coast) will there be a long line for ice cream in winter even though it's still chilly outside. Appropriately enough, we caught the last half hour of the first Austin Powers movie back at her house.

I had almost forgotten how awesome she is even though we had breakfast together just two Mondays ago during February break. I consider her to be my unofficial wifey.


theladyrose: (Default)

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