I seem to be making a habit out of Tuesday posts. Perhaps that is because I tend to write them while I am stuck in the language lab, listening to ENGLISH songs on German radio. (That makes no sense whatsoever. Hoenstly, Lady Gaga has NO business being on it. If Taylor Swift ever appears on it, I think I shall have to switch to Bayern 1 and listen to all the oldies my mom would know.) Anyway, I have only 3 hours left of language lab, so yay for that.
Also, I have only two more chemistry labs and the final to go, so yay! This means I won't have to rush back to campus on May 1st after running out and getting a copy of The Serpent's Shadow, by Rick Riordan! Happy, happy, happy dance! I can go get my book, go home, and read it over lunch! YES YES YES YES YES YES!!!!
Today in English we gave our oral presentations. I have a sneaking sensation I went over 5 minutes. If I did, well... so did just about everyone else. Everyone else is technologically-savvy and had pretty PowerPoints to entertain their classmates with while they talked about sensible subjects. As for me.... I am fairly technologically-challenged (I am STILL not clear on what an mp3 player is), do not have a smartphone, and loathe anything called iWhatever. Naturally, I just got up and talked through the major points on my outline. I even had a poster I meant to bring, but I left it at home!!! :( Sad face. Very sad face. I wanted to use that poster! It would have partially redeemed my lack of a pretty PowerPoint. But it got left at home... I KNEW I was forgetting something, but I didn't think of it!
Argh. All right now, everyone, let's repeat after Dr. Gren: "I always feel like I'm forgetting something, so I never know if I've actually forgotten something or not."
Well, to look on the positive side, I was not a nervous wreck like I was last semester, attempting to persuade my classmates that the myogenic theory of heart disease, not the much-maligned cholesterol and saturated fat, are responsible for heart problems. I think I am much better about getting up in front of people now. Piano recitals really don't bother me anymore. Sometimes I'm actually excited about it! I really liked doing my senior piano recital last May, and I think it showed, even if I can get pretty dorky when I don't know what to say. I introduced each song, you see (and nearly forgot two of them... I brought the list up there to look at, and it STILL skipped my mind!), and hadn't really thought of what I wanted to say before hand, so it was all very impromptu. Thus I ended up mentionting that Fuer Elise is properly titled Bagatelle in A Minor, bringing in botany when I explained that edelweiss is actually an Alpine flower (it means, by the way, 'noble white' in German... the edel part is related to the Old English word aethel meaning 'noble'- the 'th' apparently became 'd' in German-, which word formed the first part of such names as Ethelred and Athalbert. Not that you ever see people named that anymore...), and rambling pointlessly when I came to songs I didn't have much to say about.
I had fun introducing the last song, though, because it was 'La Regatta Venetiana' by Liszt- a very fun song to play, only six pages (yes, I know, ONLY six pages), but also very hard. Anyway, so I explained to the audience that Liszt songs are very hard to play and also tend to be a bit weird. Some are pretty-sounding, like 'By the Lake of Wallenstadt', others are sad, like 'Abschied' ('Farewell', for those unacquainted with German), others are creepy, like 'Dance of the Gnomes', and some are just downright terrifying... 'The Erl-King'. Just those two words: 'The Erl-King'. I actually did research on the Erl-King and found out that it was based on a Germanic legend about this fairy king (the 'erl' part is apparently an amalgamation of the words for 'elf' and 'elder', as in an elder tree... And, yes, now I can hear all you Harry Potter fans out there going, "Aha!" Yes... *sigh*... just like the Elder Wand) who went out and killed people. His daughter also went out and killed young men. Not your cute grandmotherly fairies like from Disney's Sleeping Beauty! Anyway, the poem was by Goethe, who was basically a German Shakespeare, and it was about a father riding home one stormy night with his child. The boy keeps telling his dad that he can see ghosts, and that they are trying to drag him away. The dad tells him it's just his imagination, but hurries onward anyway. Anyway, the most famous music set to the poem is that by Liszt, and it REALLY carries the heart-wrenching terror and tragedy of the poem when played properly... go look it up... I'll wait...
You did? Good for you. Okay, I can't play it like that, although I know of someone who can. Cough, cough, Gregory Brown from the 5 Browns, cough, cough. Yeah, I was pretty much all hero worship after that. The 5 Browns are five siblings that can play the piano. I mean, they can play the piano! And simultaneously at that. Anyway, they had a concert in Norton Auditorium last year and me, my mom, Elaine, and my piano teacher went to see them. They were amazing! They were signing things afterwards so Elaine got her CD's signed. Elaine and mom actually managed to carry on a bit of a conversation with them. As for me... I said like one word, probably turned as crimson as Elaine's Alabama stuff, and wanted to go crawl away under the table.
ANYWAY. 'The Erl-King' by Liszt builds up to a thunderous climax at the point where in the poem the child cries, more or less, "He's got me!" The music drops off abruptly to a few tragic notes, sounding the last line of the poem, "In his arms the child was dead."
Yep. Real happy stuff, I know. But I had fun introducting it because, for typically insane reasons, I actually LIKE this song. Why? Because I have inextricably linked it in my mind as just the PERFECT theme song for one of my characters in my stories- the Summoner, who is the Angel of Death in my world. I really want to use the title 'Erl-King' for him on that account. The Summoner is, for some reason, my favorite character. I think it's his bizarre personality. Most of my favorite characters are a little wacko, just like me. Anyway, the Summoner is the most powerful created being in my world (duh, he controls life and death) but also one of the most amusing (to me) because of just the things he does. I mean, he's the one who goes unscathed from an attack by Maulis (Maulis pretty much = satan), the attack rebounds on Maulis, knocking him over, and the Summoner is just like, "Do that again. It was funny." Yep, that's why I love the Summoner.
Anyway, so I had fun introducing that Liszt song.
As I was saying originally, I've gotten better about getting up in front of people. Doing the readings at Friday morning Mass probably helps. I did the third reading for the Easter Vigil Mass... it was a long reading about Egyptians' stupidity vs. God's awesomeness, culminating in, "Hey, let's follow these random people through a mysterious part in this sea! Yup, nothing could possibly go wrong with this!" Cue Red Sea slamming together again. Anyway, the reading is a tad difficult (the words "chariots and charioteers" are repeated MANY times) but I think I did okay.
So anyway, I wasn't too nervous about my oral presentation today. I just wish I had remembered my poster! But people know what global warming and the hole in the ozone layer are, whereas they've usually never heard of the myogenic theory of heart disease, so my presentation was probably more of a success in that regard. Also, I know this topic a lot better and can explain a lot of it even on my worse days. I didn't get to go into half of what I wanted to, such as talking about Dobson units, which are used to measure ozone concentration, and how the atmosphere shields us from high-energy light. I did explain how ozone works, though, in terms hopefully any layman can understand. Ozone is three oxygen molecules connected by one double bond and one single bond. Ultraviolet light, the least energetic form of light above visible light, breaks the single bond and and both the bond and the ultraviolet light are destroyed in the process. The ozone reforms, and that's how the ozone layer works. I also wanted to explain how X-rays and gamma rays are blocked, but decided not to. I was already taking too much time, it was a little off-topic (I find it fascinating, though. Chemistry is definitely getting to me), and I remembered the glazed-over eyes and blank looks from last semester. So I didn't! You may all thank me now.
Well... this has become a very long, very rambly, very random post. I didn't really intend for it to turn out this way. Then again, I didn't really intend anything.
Russel had a nice presentation. I liked his topic. I also liked his take on it. Poor guy, he's the only dude in our class. That has to be so awkward for him.
Jensen also had a nice presentation. She has a really pretty name. I mean, I just like it. Sorry, Jensen, maybe I should have asked you first or something (or maybe that would have been kinda weird...) but I liked the name so much I used it for a character in one of my stories. The Jensen in my story is a very nice and heroic (heroinic?) lady, so please don't be offended.
In fact, everyone had nice presentations. Some had handouts. All had pretty PowerPoints.
Maybe I should consider doing a PowerPoint in the future. And making it pretty. With pretty pictures.
Oops. I promised myself that I wouldn't start rambling about my stories on this blog, and I have done so in this post. Twice. Oops. Well, I'm quite unrepentant about the Summoner part because, as I said, I just love the Summoner and so I will excuse him any time he intrudes into my blog. (And yes I said excuse him and not myself because I like Tolkien sometimes have the feeling that I'm discovering something that already exists rather than making it up when I write. It's a creepy, uplifting, making-you-feel-small, good feeling, though. In fact, it's a feeling that can't be described with words. It's like finding there's something out there that's VERY big. It's running up into Divine Providence. It's realizing that you ARE a part of something greater. "You are in a very big story." I also think of one of Peter Kreeft's favorite quotes: "There are more things in Heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamed of in your philosophies.")
As for the Jensen part... hmm. Well, I've been working on that story lately (yes, I have more than one story. In fact, I have about 50), so that's probably my excuse. Meh. It's my blog. Should I really be nitpicking over this? It's not like anyone really cares if I do or not... Anyone who actually reads this blog probably knows me, and therefore knows that I tend to go off on weird tangents and talk about stuff the average person doesn't know or care about. The myogenic theory of heart disease, for example. I seem to bring that up a lot. That's weird.
....Random rant. "A lot" is TWO WORDS!!!!! NOT ONE!!!! *bangs head repeatedly on desk* People who can't spell really get on my nerves. So it's no wonder I will make fun of it. Honestly, I read the paper and go, "Ha!" and point whenever I find a spelling or grammatical error. Contractions are also frequently messed up.
I think I had better end this post before I get any more random.
In Pace Christi,