Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hello Old Friend

It's been 2 years since I've taught a lesson, performed, or had a "regular" practice routine (regular is in quotes because I never practiced as much as I should have).  It's time to get back to it.  I'm going to pick a few pieces and prepare them as if I was preparing for a recital.  Being done with school, I have plenty of free time and no excuses.  Maybe I could even seek out some performing opportunities for some extra moola while I'm searching for a job.  Anyone in Clinton looking for an accompanist?!

I'm very very rusty, my brain needs to start thinking about music from an academic standpoint again.  So here we go...

Today I chose to work on some Chopin - the prelude in c# minor, op. 45.  Challenges in this piece are getting a lyrical "singing" melody in my right hand, overall phrasing, and finding a balance between expressive freedom while keeping a solid tempo.  Pretty much all the classic challenges in any Chopin piece :-P

Please ignore dog barks and blatant wrong notes ;)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mind Blown

I am addicted to Ice Breakers Sours...but one thing has always bugged me about them.  I was always annoyed that the sticker on the top was backwards - the side labeled "to share" was on the tiny opening, and the side labeled "not to share" has the large opening.  This makes no sense to me, because you'd think "to share" = free for all/everybody dig in, thus needing the bigger space to accomodate greedy hands.

Well my brother told me that I was wrong - the sticker is indeed correct for this reason: when sharing, you don't want to spread germs, so you use the small side to drop the mint into your friend's hand.  Because you don't want their germy hand touching ALL your mints.

Guess that just means that you are spreading your OWN germs with your friends when you share with them :)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Science Saturday 2.9: Live Long and Drink Coffee, Catching a Dragon, & More

Another Science Saturday installment on a Sunday...because I was a bit lazy on Saturday :)

I'm sure you've heard about the study released a couple weeks ago that suggests drinking coffee can promote longer life.  This blog post by Scicurious does an excellent job of analyzing the data presented in the study.

The drug thioridazine (or chlorpromazine) is an antipsychotic well known for its use in treating schizophrenia.  Recently, scientists have discovered that it is also a potential cancer treatment, particularly killing off cancer stem cells.  The drug specifically targets acute myeloid leukemia (AML) stem cells, and does not harm normal cells in the body.  Finding chemotherapy treatments that target only cancer cells and not ALL cells in the body greatly reduces risks of side effects, and also helps give insight on the mechanism of the cancer growth and how to control it.

The SpaceX Dragon capsule made it's way to the International Space Station (ISS) this week,  historically becoming the first commercial spacecraft to dock at the ISS.
"By handing off space station transportation to the private sector, NASA is freed up to carry out the really hard work of sending astronauts farther into the solar system than ever before... investments [are] intended to lead to regular resupply missions to the space station and stimulate the commercial space industry in America. "

Speaking of traveling "farther into the solar system", here is a great little video explaining exactly how scientists measure the universe:

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Five Positive Things

Here are five positive things from my week, linking up with Lydia as usual...join us and share your five positives!!

[one]  I arrived home safely after a lovely long visit to WI.  It's great being back with my hubzy and my puppies!!

[two] I got a new bible!!  It's the ESV study bible, and I've been wanting one for a long time.  It turned out that my sister had a new copy that she didn't want, so she gave it to ME!  I love it - it's chock full of cross references and footnotes to help me get more into the Word.

[three]  Thanks to Lauren, I joined an amazing community of women on Twitter and Instagram at the hashtag #shereadstruth.  We are going through the "Soul Detox" reading plan on the YouVersion bible app, and it is definitely smacking me in the face with TRUTH.  If you'd like to join us, please do!  It's never too late to join in!

[four]  Because of all my traveling, I was able to read a TON in A Storm of Swords in the airport/on the plane.  I'm coming to the halfway point.  I was also spoiled on one of the biggest reveals in this book (the internet is a DANGEROUS place for ASOIAF readers), so I know that it's coming soon.  But even though I know the outcome, I'm still excited to read the build up.  Also, check out this amazing fan art of Robert vs. Rhaegar at the almost makes me want to convert to House Baratheon ;)


[five] I turned on the TV today, and there is a Star Wars marathon on Spike.  So as of right now, I have watched Star Wars Episode IV THREE times in the past 24 hours.  Yesterday may have been Geek Pride Day, but I'm proving that it's definitely Geek Pride LIFE :)


Friday, May 25, 2012

h4ppy 933k pri1d3 d2y!

May 25th is known as "Geek Pride Day" for a number of good reasons:

  • The anniversary of 1977's cultural phenomenon known as Star Wars (today is specifically the 35th anniversary of my favorite saga!)
  • It's also "Towel Day", in celebration of Douglas Adams' The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy
  • The "Glorious 25th of May" is celebrated in Terry Pratchett's Discworld
  • Sir Ian McKellen's birthday (he's 73!)
  • ...and for the first time, a commercial spacecraft (SpaceX's Dragon) docked with the International Space Station today.
In celebration, I've discovered 3 new (and legitimate) ways to watch SW Ep IV in addition to the (what some call "horrific") special edition changes that George Lucas continues to make to his movies:

1.) In ASCII
(Mac users can just type "telnet" into your terminal)

(will take some techie knowledge to obtain these, but it's legal since it's a fan preservation)

The first venn diagram is what I used to classify myself as a "geeky nerd"a few years ago, but it looks like someone made one even more specific and detailed as seen below.


Being a geek isn't about "proving" that you know a bunch of obscure science-fiction references, it isn't about wearing thick rimmed glasses and pocket protectors, and it certainly isn't about excluding "non-geeks" from your circle because they haven't liked Star Wars or comic books as long as you have...

Being a geek is about embracing the love of things you are passionate about and sharing it with the world and accepting them when they decide they love it too!  

I'm proud of being a geek, and so should you!  Nerd on, friends!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Science Saturday 2.8: Baby Hawks, Space Launch, & More

I've been visiting my home state of Wisconsin the past couple of weeks, and I just found out about the live webcam set up at the University of Wisconsin - Madison campus monitoring a Red-Tailed Hawk nest above one of thAtmospheric, Oceanic & Space Sciences buildings.  I love watching baby animals progress (every time I hear about a new puppy-cam litter, I am quick to bookmark it for days when I need some cheer), and these little chicks have already grown quite a bit in the month since this photo was taken.  It's always fun to catch the video stream when the chicks are being fed, or just interacting with the parents in any way.


Earlier today, the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was aborted a split-second before launch when computers detected slightly elevated engine pressure, causing the launch system to shut down.  The aim of this launch is to test for future flight of the commercial Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft for cargo missions to the International Space Station.  This would be the first time a privately constructed spacecraft will have traveled to and from the ISS.  Relaunch is predicted to be on May 22nd.


This video does a beautiful job of visualizing the complex inner workings of a cell (and the soundtrack is mesmerizing as well).  From the video description: "Harvard University selected XVIVO to develop an animation that would take their cellular biology students on a journey through the microscopic world of a cell, illustrating mechanisms that allow a white blood cell to sense its surroundings and respond to an external stimulus."

Friday, May 18, 2012

I Got a Love That Keeps Me Waiting

Matt, Manika, Nathan, and I went on a sibling adventure last night to see The Black Keys in concert.  They quickly became one of my favorite bands over the past year, and not just because it's the current "hipster" bandwagon.  They've been making music for over 10 years (recording their first albums in their basement), and I actually love their older bluesy recordings more than their newest album (which I still love).

Who's your favorite band currently?

*all photos are mine taken with Instagram
**video courtesy of my brother, Nathan

Saturday, May 12, 2012

5 Positive Things: Post-Graduation Edition!

So I haven't posted my 5 positive things for the past two weeks again, but it's not because I haven't been thinking about positives.  In fact, my life is currently OVERFLOWING with positives and I've just been too busy to share them with you!

I'm at my parents house for a couple weeks, so it was hard to find time to make a vlog, so here are my fives as a normal blog list :)

1.) I graduated with my Master's degree!!  I was so proud of myself - I finished my final semester with a 4.0!!!  I've never made all A's, and I was so glad to see my hard work pay off :)

goofy seesters.

proud hubzy!

proud parentals.

(sorry you weren't there, lil brudder!)

2.) I'm taking a "vacation" and spending time at my parents house for a couple of weeks!  It's nice to get away and just chill and hang out with my family, even though with all us kids home, we fall back into our normal "family dynamic" of bickering ;)  And I DO miss my hubzy, but he'll be flying up next week for a couple of days!

sister sister sister.

3.) My first full day back in WI, I was able to attend a baby shower for one of my old college roommates.  It was SO great to see her and some other friends from LU.  It's amazing how time flies (we are all old married ladies now! LOL)

4.) My sister and I went on a "sister date" and saw The Avengers in 3D the other day.  It was a very enjoyable film.  I wasn't too impressed with the recent Marvel films, so I was glad that Joss Whedon was at the helm and did some great writing and directing for this movie.

5.) Since I've been at my parent's house, I've actually been working out regularly!  Thanks to Kinect Fitness, I've been burning calories and feeling the strain on my poor weak body, haha.  But it feels good!

this is how i feel when i workout.
There's my fives!  Link up with Lydia and share yours!!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Happy Star Wars Day!

May the 4th be with you :)  And check out this awesome new T-shirt design from HerUniverse available at - just in time for Cinco de Mayo, too...or as Star Wars nerds like to call it, Revenge of the 5th ;)

via the HerUniverse FB page
(gah, I love Ashley Eckstein...!)