Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ways to pass time alone in a hotel room

For those of you who travel alone a lot for auditions, concerts, business, or whatever your reason may be, I have made a list of ways to pass time alone in a hotel room. I stole a lot of these from Hilary Hahn's website, and added a few of my own.

Jump on and off the bed
Cook (if one has a stove)
Hand-wash laundry
Write (anything)
Watch TV
Watch movies on your laptop
Do hand stands
Memorize anatomy charts
Take pictures out the window
Exercise with rubber Therabands
Recharge electronic devices
Think up pranks
Rearrange all the furniture
Stare in the mirror
Shop online
Spend hours on Wikipedia looking up useless facts
Practice and drive your neighbors crazy
Make reeds
Study Spanish
Try new hairstyles
Talk on Skype
Do yoga
Stalk people on facebook and other social networks
Find free samples online

Creative suggestions are welcome

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Back in Mexico

Believe it or not, I'm back in Mexico! But only for 10 days. I'm back in Hermosillo, playing with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Sonora. What part am I playing? Good question...all of them. Yes, I am playing 1st, 2nd, and EH. Ever tried playing all the parts to Dvorak's "New World?" Or Rodrigo's "Concerto de Aranjuez?" I don't recommend it. But, it is a challenge, and it will get me back in shape.
I had kind of an adventure getting here. My flight went from Dallas to Mexico City, and then had a connecting flight to Hermosillo. I had 3 hours in between flights, which I assumed would be enough time, but apparently not if you want to get through Mexico City customs. Anyway, to make a long story short, after running all over the DF airport, I missed my flight and had to spend the night. This not only caused me to miss most of rehearsal the next morning, but also to lose my hotel reservation for the entire week. Now I have to stay in a not very nice and kind of far away hotel, which sucks, but at least they have internet. Oh well, such is life.
I also found out that the conductor from last time who I really liked got booted, and has been replaced by this obnoxious little turd of a man who is extremely condescending, and doesn't realize that if he expects me to play 3 parts, he needs to cue me!
Other than that, things have been good. It is nice to see some people who I didn't think I would see again, and actually be able to communicate with them! My Spanish is not nearly as hopeless as it was last time.
Well, that's all for now. Those of you with skype, feel free to keep me entertained. I get really bored in the hotel.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Gouging and stuff

So, it's been a while. A looooong while. But I thought I would update for those of you who still read this thing. Well, folks...I'm not going back to Mexico. As much as I liked playing with the orchestra, there were just too many problems with the financial aspect of it. There are a lot of things I will miss about Culiacan- my friends (especially Anthony and Andrea), tortillas, deep fried sushi with mayo and cream cheese, Oxxo, and having a regular playing job. However, I will not miss other things, such as not getting paid on time (or at all), drug wars, etc. Anyway, in more exciting news, I recently bought an RDG gouger, and I have been playing with it recently. I also got my Ross EH gouger fixed, and hopefully it will work when I get it back. I have been away from the world of gouging for a while, so any tips from oboist friends would be helpful. What's the good cane out there these days? Tips for sorting/picking the best pieces?
In other exciting news, I recently took a trip to Peru with my friend Cat. More updates about that to come.

Side note- Gandhi, My Father is one of the few good Indian films I've seen in the last few years. It showed Gandhi from a very different perspective, and was really well done overall. Yes, it is too long and overly dramatic, but that's Indian cinema for you. Also saw Rang de Basanti, which sucked. What a let down. Yuck.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Fluffy pillows from heaven

So my computer is dead. I think the battery life is gone, because it wont even start up when I try to turn it on. Very sad, since it is my only form of entertainment. However, it just turned on for the first time in days, and I'm taking advantage by writing this update. And for those of you who I owe an email, I shall respond ASAP. I just wanted to mention my new favorite meal the last couple of weeks. There is a tortilla place down the street from our house that makes fresh tortillas (and when I say fresh, I mean they make them as you stand there). I don't know why I haven't gone to this place sooner, but they are so amazing! Anthony calls them "fluffy pillows from heaven." Oh, and did I mention they are cheap? Andrea and I always get 2 pesos worth (about 20 cents) which is more than enough for both of us. My favorite way to eat them is with queso fresco, a soft white cheese similar to paneer, refried beans, and salsa. The cheese and beans are also made fresh daily at two of the stores on our street, and if you are thinking of the refried beans that you get in the US, they are nothing like that. Anyway, I just had my 6th tortilla of the day, and it was yummy. What will I do for my quesadilla fix when I'm back in Fort Wayne now that I'm a tortilla snob?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Rants and Raves

So there are both good and bad things to report. I guess I'll start with the bad. There is a drug war going on in Culiacán right now, apparently the worst one in years, maybe ever. The war is between 2 narco families struggling for power, although both families have been targeting the police as well as the government. In general, things are not too bad if you use caution and try to avoid going out, especially late at night. However, there has recently been a threat against the governor, and this affects the orchestra directly because we are scheduled to play at his house tomorrow. Not good. You would think that this concert would be canceled, and that the conductor would not want to lead his orchestra into any danger, but this is not the case. We are still required to play this concert, even though there is no guarantee of safety. Our assinine conductor has informed us that it is our chance to "get in good" with the governor. Yesterday, several members of the orchestra proposed that we boycott this concert, but when push comes to shove, I think a lot of them may change their minds. I'm not really sure what to do, but I am seriously leaning towards not going. I have several reasons, other than the fact that I think it's dangerous. First of all, I never get paid on time. Ever. It took them almost two months before I even got my first check, and that was a fight. Also, because I am now staying until December, they are supposed to pay me over the summer, which requires me to have a bank account. I asked for this months ago, and it still has not been done. Everytime I make a request, the answer from the administration is "Well, you're not a regular member, you're just a sub." This makes me think, why should I risk my life to go to this concert if I am not even a member of this orchestra? Oh, and the principal player took this concert off since it only requires 2 oboes. So who did he ask to play principal? Not me. He asked the 3rd/EH player, who, I'm sorry to say, is the worst oboist I've ever heard in my life, and not my favorite person. He informed all us gringos that if we can't deal with the violence here, we should go back to our own countries. Well, maybe I will. My country is starting to look pretty good right about now. Anyway, should I run the risk of being fired? Or should I just pack up and go home? Opinions and advice are welcome.

In good news, I celebrated Mother's Day with some lovely ladies. I don't remember is I've mentioned the Oxxo before, but it is a chain of convenience stores all over Mexico. There is one right across from our apartment, and we get a lot of our basic necessities from there. Anyway, the lady that owns it (who we finally found out was named Imelda) has gotten to know Andrea and me over the last couple of months. She and her 11 year old daughter (Fernanda) invited us for lunch on Sunday. Little did we know that they were going to take us to her mother's house for family gathering and feed us authentic Mexican food. It was pretty amazing. Her mother had a ranch out in the country where the rooms were indoors, but the kitchen/dining area were outside. There were all sorts of animals roaming around, and we found it pretty amusing to hear roosters crowing every few minutes. It was really nice of them to invite us into their home and show us some of their culture. All in all, a very nice day :)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Hace Calor

Oh. My. God. It is 99 degrees today. That is all.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Beatles Espectacular

Picture this- a really bad sound system, 4 guys with Mexican accents and bad pitch trying to sing "Yellow Submarine" (pronounced Soob-marine), and a conductor who doesn't know what to do with meter changes. Yes, that was our concert on Wednesday night. The Beatles Espectacular. Really, the name says it all, so there's no need to elaborate. Thank God we have a few days off, although it's really too hot to go out and do anything these days. Luckily, there is a law here that the government pays 2/3 of people's electric bills from May-October, so it's not expensive to run your AC. Maybe they think the heat will drive people crazy? I must be going crazy, because I spent a hundred pesos on a pint of ice cream yesterday! It was so amazing, though. And after hearing about the gas prices in LA, I figure it's ok because I'm saving so much money on gas.
So what shall I do with 3 more days off, other than hide out in the AC and make reeds? Most things are closed right now, since it's some kind of Mexican holiday, including my yoga class :( Creative suggestions are welcome.