It’s apple time here in God’s country (New England). The heirlooms are popping off faster than I can slice them up! So many new kinds to try; for example, did you ever hear of a blue pearmain? Well it’s not very good! Or how about a spitzenburg? It’s great, and Thomas Jefferson grew them. There’s also this thing called a zaburgeon reinette that is a real crowd favorite. I’m in hog heaven, if hogs love apples, which I bet they probably do.
Did you ever feed a horse an apple? That ol’ horse will crunch that apple up in one big wet horsey bite. I love feeding horses things. We used to feed our horse bread with thousand island dressing on it; he thought it was great. I knew a horse who loved beer but I don’t approve of that sort of thing.
My parents just left. They were here for an extended visit. They were very impressed by the apple situation here, and ended up buying a large sack of apples to take home with them in hopes of impressing their friend who is always so proud of her apples. My sweet parents! They make such a good show of pretending to care about our dog, who they obviously find weird.
Not a lot going on, except in terms of my internal landscape which is a weird miasma of dread and anxiety as usual. Today I almost bought a book about managing your anxiety, that’s how bad it feels inside me right now. What do you do about formless anxiety?? There are definitely some things I can point to and say “this is causing me some anxiety” but they don’t come close to matching the level of physical dread I feel constantly. I’m obviously having some sort of psychic issue that I should probably work harder to resolve. Worrying is so stupid. Just live your life and deal with stuff as it comes. Also it’s really Protestant and self-hating to just continually worry about the goals you still have to meet, rather than being like “I am doing a fine job, I am meeting my goals.” I need to start meditating or some shit. If anybody has a good meditation or book or exercise or something for formless anxiety management let me know. It’s a pointless way to live. When I am on my deathbed I doubt I will wish I had worried more about random shit.
Speaking of what you’ll regret on your deathbed, my husband demanded we watch the second presidential debate even though I strongly and explicitly indicated that I had no intention of watching it. He kept saying that on our deathbed we’d wish we’d taken part in more “phenomena” where everyone is watching the same thing on TV at the same time. The idea of being on your deathbed and being like “My biggest regret is not watching the second Trump/Clinton debate of 2016” is so absurd I laughed very rudely at him but he kept insisting that we watch it, using this as his only means of persuasion. So what could I do? I said yes. Then I held my phone in front of my face and read David Rees’s liveblog during the whole thing as a means of practicing self-care. I loved how it looked like Trump was fucking that chair the whole time. “Grandmother, what is your biggest regret” “Child, I missed seeing Donald Trump on downers fucking a chair on live television”
So many of my future scenarios entail a child calling me grandmother and asking me to tell them of the old days, but since I am not procreating this won’t happen, unless society crumbles and we are reduced to living in small collectives, in which case all old people will be called “grandmother,” and will also be 45 years old.
My parents just dropped me off at work and now I am sitting in the hallway waiting for a meeting. I don’t like going to my office, which is down in the basement and is really depressing because I haven’t decorated it or really personalized it in any way; it’s like something out of Dilbert. But whenever I sit up here in the hallway everyone makes jokes about how I’m in trouble, which is indeed exactly how it feels to sit in the hallway outside a bunch of professors’ offices. This is usually where the grad students hang out and I can tell they are avoiding it now because I’m here, but I’m not going to move. All around me are faculty offices with crazy amounts of music coming out of them. Someone is tooting wildly on what sounds like maybe a saxophone mouthpiece; someone is razzin’ around with some jazz chords on a piano; in this viola studio someone is frenetically playing arpeggios very imprecisely; further down the hall I can hear the shrieks and screams that indicate a vocalist is warming up their instrument, which is their human body.
Speaking of the instrument of the human body, we went to see the Met Live in HD broadcast of Tristan und Isolde. I loved it. I feel like I am the only person in my milieu who genuinely and pretty unproblematically loves Wagner. I love his music not only in spite of but because of all the things that make it so unbearable. After the opera (which was 5 hours long) my husband was like “god, it’s so boring, it’s so incessant, there’s never any change to the affect, it’s just melodramatic climax constantly for 5 hours, it’s so sadistic” and I was like “I know, isn’t it GREAT”
The preludes before each act are total killers. Anyone who can listen to them and not cry a little bit is a monster, or is from another culture where music isn’t organized tonally, or is my husband. Actually that’s not fair; he likes the preludes. It’s the rest of it he can’t handle. He also is weirdly not good at watching filmed broadcasts of live staged performances; it was so funny how hard it was for him to follow or recognize what was happening. Afterward for example I was like “I loved the scene when the bridge of the battleship was spinning wildly around during the love duet” and he was like “????” He had not registered that that was happening at all. He says he thinks of film products only formally, in terms of editing.
Just the usual stuff
Pause for a little inside baseball talk: The Met Live in HD thing is interesting to me because of the ways it is going to very obviously change the art of opera. I obviously know other people have written more intelligently about this than I have but whatever. I think it is very comparable to the coming of sound, in cinema. You had all these silent film stars who were amazing, but then with sound films maybe they had shitty voices, or couldn’t memorize lines, or maybe their stylized silent acting no longer translated well in a sound film, and their careers were over. I’m wondering about the way these close-up broadcasts of operas–which give audiences a view of opera that literally no one, not even old time Kings and Queens, have ever gotten before–are going to affect the careers of the singers who sing at the Met. The close-up shots for example reveal the way that even in moments of extreme passion, the singers are constantly cutting their eyes at the conductor, making sure they stay in time with the orchestra etc. It’s a really creepy effect. Maybe singers who don’t have to look at the conductor as much will start getting cast in Met productions more than singers who do, and that will change the ecology of high opera in some way. And then of course there’s the way more banal shit, like singers having to look better/younger or whatever, because audiences are seeing them so much more up-close than ever before. Also a major rhetorical move surrounding these broadcasts is for the money people (Peter Gelb, e.g.) to rave about how now, with these broadcasts, people can see what great ACTORS these singers are, not just what great singers they are. But I feel like, what if you’re a great singer who ISN’T a great actor?? Because that’s a whole different skill set?? What if you’re just a really fucking awesome singer and you’ve learned to project your voice into this enormous space and you’ve never prepared for having extreme close-ups of you broadcast across America, and you don’t perform well in that context? Oh man.
Nonetheless, the broadcasts are totally awesome and I highly recommend them. Don Giovanni is next, I think on Oct. 22. You should go!!!!! Don Giovanni is a total crowd-pleaser. Thrills n’ chills and a statue coming to life and punishing a guy for abusing women: timely! Plus great music. LOL “Plus Great Music” i.e. MOZART
(He’s dead in this scene)
I have tomorrow off and then Wednesday I have a very stressful meeting that is followed immediately by getting two cavities filled, and then THAT is followed by a meeting about my pre-tenure review!!!!!! Did you ever hear of a shittier day? Wow. It’s going to be so cool when it’s over and I go eat twelve pizzas.
I want to see that new movie where Ben Affleck plays the genius aspergers accountant superhero. I wish, however, that it was just called THE CPA
I’m going to try to read some Kristeva for the first time; wish me luck! Can you imagine writing that way as a junior scholar in contemporary America? LOLOLOLOLOL so it is fun to live vicariously through these grand old French thinkers of yore, like, what is this, is this long-form poetry or what? And not a single footnote?!
I feel kind of drunk. I have a cold sore and have been sleeping on the floor of my office for three nights.
Now I am off to a meeting