Black Friday 2017

I did better this year! Didn’t shop at Pottery Barn or Memebox (on account of it closing down :P)

Innisfree haul: $91.38
Black Friday 2017
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Santa string art kit ($4)

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Rudolph string art kit ($4)

Black Friday 2017
Limited edition christmas kit ($35) with

Black Friday 2017
all these cute christmassy boxes!

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Super cute santa cushion case:
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Random samples:
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White linen body wash ($10)

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Peach body lotion ($10)

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Camellia shampoo ($11)

From the University Book Store sale: $90.15
Black Friday 2017
Venetian paper ($2.54)

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Green leaf paper ($0.82)

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Red gelly roll pen ($0.97)

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Cactus bookmarks ($4.46)

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Soap for naps ($7.46)

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Soap for yuge mistakes ($7.46) (for ggy’s birthday)

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Soap for a man’s man ($7.46)(for Haaken’s birthday)

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Lapham’s Quarterly Fall 2017; on music ($19)

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Ambrosia; Mexico City ($19)

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Hannah Viano notebook for z at some point ($12.71)

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Bargain books

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For Joy’s birthday

Books from Half Price Books: $16.47
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Everyman’s Classic Haiku ($5.99)

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Pablo Neruda’s Love poems ($4.99)

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Kanshi ($3.99)(for Z’s dad)

From Amazon:
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Trying to start on my penguin great food collection ($4.97)

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Another birthday present for ggy ($10.87)

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Lots of great recipes here ($11.06)

Not featured: Our new 6qt 9-in-1 instant pot that retailed for $74.99 on Cyber Monday! It’s back to $120 now :S. Just in time for soup weather. We’ve already made peanut soup and bak ku teh in it. Will work on a bolognese next.

From B&N: $67.32
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The amazing artful baker ($29.11)

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Dominique Ansel’s book! ($22.68)

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Book for XY’s mum :P ($15.53)

From Wander: $23.30
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Finally gonna get to try their dual ended concealer

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Supposedly has great coverage. I haven’t opened it yet. Trying to clear some older concealer.

From Yesstyle: $55.53
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They do stationery! But without envelopes? what’s up with that :S

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Pink baby’s breath ($2.81)

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Pretty affordable foot peeling masks ($4.23)

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This one’s $4.28

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Geometric earrings ($3.78)

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These look a little like the mobile I’ve been making ($5.72)

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Holika Holika cotton scented hand cream ($5.15)

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Peri pera velvet lip tint in Elf rose ($6.17)

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Shiseido lip balm ($4.62)

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Etude House Dear Darling Apricot Tint ($5.39)

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It comes in the cutest little popsicle bottle

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Etude House Play 101 contour stick ($11.26)

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I actually finished my Pony Effect simon pure lip tint last year! It has a pretty nice colour. Doesn’t really stick though. ($6.17) – this was so much cheaper than what I got it for last year!

Trader Joe’s:
Black Friday 2017
New coffee and tea chocolate passport! ($9.90) It’s pretty good. Not quite for the chocolate aficionado, but for the tea and coffee drinker

An old haul from Michael’s:
Black Friday 2017
They’re about $8 a tube, and I got one on a discount for $3.49. I generally buy these with no plans but they recently came in very handy for my luggage tag and bookmark project! I recently got a laminating machine from Amazon so have been preserving japanese maple leaves.

An old Metropolitan Market haul:
They were having a 20% sale on homewares
Black Friday 2017
Adorablest thing ever ($3.99)

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Leaf sauce dishes ($6.38)

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A larger leaf dish ($7.19)

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A Christian Lacroix notebook ($14.99)

From Anthropologie’s 30% off everything sale: $76.21
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Suite One Studio sugar bowl

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Suite One Studio’s newer dessert plates

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Anatomy of a fragrance travel set

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Keat’s Truth and Triumph soap

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Ginger flower soap on clearance

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Blue tea towel with gold details

Chocolates from Neuhaus: $35
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Found the only box with a jade ganache piece

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These are so good! And so affordable.

Total: $557.27
Not including: the new oneplus 5t I got for LZ for passing his general exam! One plus doesn’t believe in BF or Cyber Monday sales though :S but given their specs their price is really really worth it. Can’t wait to put together the string reindeer and santa! We put up the christmas lights yesterday and brought out the tiny little christmas tree.

Annunci

Kids’ books

You can never go back – on loving children’s books as an adult, says

Handy found a means to circumvent the social inconvenience of haunting library kid’s sections, though: having kids of his own.

this, while a pretty good reason to have kids, seems to be extending social inconvenience to an inconvenience that permeates all aspects of life. I’d rather haunt the children’s section alone like a creepy stalker, thanks very much. Most people probably do assume I am checking out books for my kids. I don’t know why so many people (particularly in church or family) seem to be overly interested in our offspring. Someone recently mistook an instagram post for a baby announcement. Most friends who know us know how anti-natalist we are and would never assume such a thing. So there is a clear divide between our close friends and all the other people who are the instagram audience and two different things are being communicated all the time.

I’ve recently started reading One More Thing, by B.J. Novak – it got off to a slow start with an alternative hare and rabbit tale (I am not a fan of fables, with all their moralizing) but got subsequently much better with “‘The Something’ by John Grisham” in which one of John Grisham’s books mistakenly gets released with the publisher thinking that ‘The Something’ was the title he wanted instead of just a placeholder for his typical lofty titles, which he hadn’t had time to come up with yet. John Grisham found out that his book ‘The Something’ was number one on best seller lists in his newspaper and shit hit the fan :P Almost Simon Rich-esque. Harvard must be doing something right.

Been too lazy/busy to start on christmas cards (and I really should, if I want to send them out at all) – instead I’ve been busy making luggage tags with Japanese maple leaves and my new Amazon Basics laminator. I looked up whether or not I could relaminate something (that had little air pockets) twice and this forum that told me I could (and I did) also informs on how laminating machines are not allowed in schools without excessive checks and then devolved completely into a principal bitchfest. “Is your principal my principal? Because…”

In other news, made 12 inarizushi today with a little packet of onigiri spices I brought back from Japan (you just mix it into the rice with sushi rice vinegar etc.) and tuna mayonnaise in the middle and inhaled like 10 of them throughout the course of the day. Got a huge inari craving yesterday while we were at uwajimaya. I’m all out of sushi vinegar though so can’t get my next fix until we go to the asian supermarket.

The ending of the article:

Handy ends his survey of child lit with E.B. White, whose terse brilliance has yet to be surpassed; he was similarly successful at writing for adults. The grand tear-jerking finale of Charlotte’s Web is technically the spider’s quiet death, but I’ve always struggled most with Fern’s declining interest in Wilbur the pig’s survival. She’s grown too invested in riding the Ferris wheel with a boy named Henry Fussy. White “doesn’t condemn her for it,” Handy notices approvingly, since “Fern’s interest in boys is as natural and inevitable as the change of seasons.” White doesn’t wish to stunt his heroine’s growth like other children’s authors might (C.S. Lewis infamously shamed Susan Pevensie for leaving Narnia behind in favor of lipstick and nylons when she came of age).

I understand Fern’s falling for Henry Fussy. I’ve fallen for more than a few Henry Fussys myself. But her abandonment of unsuspecting Wilbur still hurts me in a way a Henry type never could. I guess it’s the ache of innocence—the kind of ache that doesn’t have anything to do with lust or greed or any dark desire, but with deep-seated childhood fears. I don’t want Fern to leave Wilbur behind, because I feel as though she’s leaving me, moving on from our days of lounging in the barn amongst earthy smells, two lazy friends sat in the sun. At the same time, I know that I am Fern, and I’ve abandoned Wilbur a hundred times over, following the same societal and biological pull of romance and progress. I’ll probably be torn between the two all my life. Maybe everyone is.

Huh. I’d never thought of Lewis’ portrayal of Susan Pevensie as “shaming” but now that I think about it, that’s exactly what it is. I did feel a veneer of disdain toward her while reading the series. Omg all these children’s authors are just playing with my mind.

Everyday affairs

The days that used to burn
shine so brightly now-
lit by innocence and paradoxes
paper lanterns dangling on a string
less than passion but more than dreams

Even waking up to your plaintive
“What’s for lunch?”
I can no longer imagine a universe
in which nobody needs to be fed
and I sleep on undisturbed

When did it happen that
we started annoying each other
just to collect scowls and furrows?
You have a go at disdain
but you still don’t know how to roll your eyes.

You need me; but even more than that
I need you
o you
were the best of all my days

Transpacific flight

And so we embarked on our first US to Singapore (direct) flight on Tuesday, leaving San Francisco on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The flight itself took 15 hours and we spent most of it watching TV – they had Studio Ghibli’s Red Turtle! According to the optician my astigmatism has gone up by 50 degrees in my left eye (which is not normal at my age). I got new glasses made (now in blue!) and the guy in this little push cart shop in J8 took all of 30 minutes to make the lenses. He told us to take a walk and he’d have the glasses ready in half an hour. When we were kids it took 3 days, and a return trip to the spectacle shop. I suppose this is a childhood experience that most American children would not have :P

Most of the plane journey was shrouded in night, as we followed the path of the setting sun. A day had to be given up somewhere. When we left San Francisco we could see the moon reflecting off all the little pools and rivulets of water enclosed by land. On the great big ocean the moon’s reflection was just a dim sort of matte glow, and on land that glow would run through all the tributaries on the very craggy Californian coast like an animated spark through an animated wire.

This year mooncake festival (or mid-autumn festival, as it is better known to the less gluttonous) starts only in October, which means that when we went to Takashimaya (on our first day here, like 5 hours after touch down :P) the mooncake food fair was in full swing in the atrium! Managed to buy a box of taro mooncakes from Swatow Restaurant, and we have two teochew grandmothers who would like the taro mooncake with its signature flaky skin. This is probably the most difficult mooncake to make. All the lotus paste mooncakes tasted the same :S seems like it would make no difference whether you made them yourself at home (as my mum has been fond of doing) or if you bought them from a fancy hotel where in all likelihood you’d be paying for the box. Mooncakes come in really fancy boxes now, some come in a chest of 4 drawers where each drawer has a pearlescent knob and the entire contraption is upholstered in chinese silk.

We’ve been here for 2 days and already we have eaten
1. Carrot cake
2. Chicken rice for me (twice!)
3. Yong tau foo for him (twice!) – I learnt that the pork noodles that come with Koo Kee yong tau foo are lightly dressed with a briny, porky sauce that makes it taste very similar to aglio olio!
4. Old Chang Kee, which really ought to be everywhere. LZ says he likes their skewers more than their curry puffs. I like both! I also realized that the skewer that consists of deep fried squid legs is known as ‘squid head’ on their menu :S Don’t ask me why. The lady asked if I wanted the squid head skewer or the squid body skewer so I asked for the body, which wasn’t what she grabbed.
5. Zhi char at Dian Xiao Er – had their signature angelica braised roasted duck (I still don’t know how they managed to do a duck two ways all at once and retain its crispy skin), hot plate tofu, seaweed tofu (much less salty than Jumbo’s or the Paradise group, hence less tasty), marmite chicken, etc. etc.
6. Beef noodles from the Ion food court
7. Hum ji peng from the Ion food court
8. The famous Pablo cheese tart
9. Lao Ban dao hui

We notice new things about Singapore each time we’re back. For example, Old Chang Kee has a tea time promotion running from 2pm – 6pm where you can buy 4 skewers at $5 (each usually runs from $1.30 to $1.75). We passed by the shop, saw the promotion, and promptly tried to order it, only to have the aunty tell us unceremoniously “Not 2 o’clock yet.” Which was when we actually looked at the time and realized it was 1:50 pm :P Singaporeans really can be rule abiding to a fault. She didn’t even tell us to “come back later.” She couldn’t care less whether we patronized her stall or not. It was just very jarring coming back from the US :P I don’t think there are many timed promotions there. Like even the Wendy’s 50 cent frosty promotion ran through the entire summer.

We also overheard many snippets of conversation – not hard when you are a population of 7 million squeezed on this tiny plot of land. Tables in restaurants are typically really squashed together so you can easily overhear the next table’s conversation, whether you like it or not, and if you are buying things from a shop there is also typically a short queue, where many people with no concept of personal space will jostle you and let you in on whatever they’re talking about with their friends/family. Many people here have a very mundane concept of morality, most of which seems to have been lifted straight off from our civics and moral education textbooks (or 好公明) – tenets like
1. It is good to spend time with your family. Games that can be played by the whole family must be good!
2. It is good to help an old lady cross the road.
3. It is good to be nice to elderly people in general, letting them cut your queue and have their way whenever they want their way.
and other communist sounding nonsense.
And so many people espoused similarly boring views in the limited conversations we heard over 2 days! On the one hand it is adorable (how everyone is bursting with at least this standard morality), on the other hand I feel a little like I am on Camazotz.

Another feature of Singaporean conversations we noticed is that there is a brand of Singaporeans who like to expound extensively and confidently on subjects they know nothing about. Their tone is uber assured, like that of a Ted talk speaker speaking about his/her life’s work, but what comes out of their mouths is absolute gibberish. It’s really quite fascinating. In general when we’ve listened to people talk about things they are experts in they don’t really put in any effort in sounding confident? Professors usually only become a little bit know-it-all when they are impatient with someone who is not getting their facts right or making stupid assumptions. In conversation most people who know something about anything tend to be more self-effacing or open-minded so as to be able to learn more. Whereas these overheard conversations brought me straight back to my conversations with the natives 3+ years ago, where I actually resorted to naming one of them ‘genius’ and another ‘supergenius’ for their utter shamelessness in expounding on things they know next to nothing about. These evangelists also talk in a particular way that conveys that theirs is the only truth and that there is no other truth. I feel like Jesuits or Jehovah’s Witnesses would do very well here.

4th July

No update, just saw this on facebook and thought wtf. You can only eat sushi if you score 9 out of 13 on this quiz, and the first question is what fish is in a Philadelphia roll? Really?! Human cluelessness will never cease to amaze me. I don’t even like sushi but I feel offended on behalf of their inventors.

Anyway we drove up to Paradise on Mt Rainier today and my husband was doing silly stuff as usual:

“Does it look like I’m walking?” His core is too weak to hold his upper body up for any length of time. All the trails in Paradise were snowed over and we gingerly made our way up the Skyview trail(?) only to turn back halfway when everyone was basically sledding off this steep snow drift to get back down.

 
I’m really bad at going downslope because I am terribly afraid of falling and breaking my camera and/or any bones. Gareth was a champ and went all the way to the glacier view trail while we were napping at the visitor’s centre although I’m not sure the view was very different from base camp.

I need to stop taking photos I am completely swamped in backlog. And we are going to Vancouver in 2 weeks :S Maybe I’ll just stay indoors and otaku it out, I mean, it’s only Vancouver, we’ve been there tons of times, and if I go exploring I’ll just be spending more money :P I shudder to think of our expenses in the UK, especially all those delightful meals at Hakkasan. We already limited ourselves to weekend dimsum, which is vastly cheaper than meals at any other time, but at 65 quid a meal one does feel the pinch. On the upside, it’s 5% cashback at restaurants for Chase Freedom and Discover this quarter! Whoopie. I wish they’d learn how to arrange their cashback quarters so they don’t overlap :x

Profile

Name: Park Hyung Shik (박형식)
Born: November 16, 1991
Hometown: Yongin, Gyeonggi-do
Height: 184 cm (6 ft.)
Weight: 64 kg (141 lbs.)
Blood Type: AB
Star Sign: Scorpio
Family: Older brother

His name, Hyung Shik, is a name that my mom calls very old-fashioned, not of this era, a name that people of her generation would have. For him, 형식 stands for “빛날 형, 심을 식” which (loosely) translates to “shining Hyung, planting Shik.” He shares a Korean animal zodiac with my mom (same sheep), and a star sign with me (Scorpio partners!).

His father is a Seoul guy, while his mother is from Busan. His family is fairly well-off, where his father has a high position at BMW Korea. He has an older brother named Min Shik, and is especially close to his father, still often giving him kisses when he goes to work, even at his age. Hyung Shik loves to eat, as he can eat several servings in one sitting. He’s the type that doesn’t gain weight no matter how much he eats. However, he’s not very good with alcohol, and can only drink sweet things, like cocktails.

He went to Shin Gal Elementary School (신갈초등학교), Gi Heung Middle School (기흥중학교), and Shin Gal High School (신갈고등학교). He is currently majoring in business administration at Seoul Cultural Arts University. He was a school uniform model before his debut with ZE:A (why wouldn’t he have been?). During his high school days, he was the main vocalist of a band, and won a big music competition in Gyeonggi-do with them. Apparently, he was scouted by SM and YG among many other music companies, but rejected them because he wasn’t seriously thinking about pursuing a music career then. He joined ZE:A only a few months before their debut.

His favorite singer is Park Hyo Shin, where he has done a cover of one of his songs.

Hyung Shik’s favorite color is blue (like me!), and he seems to be exceptionally good at drawing. Some of his hobbies include fencing and skiing (which tells us that he was pretty privileged growing up), and he also likes playing video games (like every other guy). He learned kendo since he was in the third grade, up to the fourth level. When asked how much of an age difference he would be willing to date, he said 6 years, younger or older. (Which means, I have a chance!) When he first sees a girl, he looks at her hands.

Apparently, he tries hard to look cool in front of the camera, showing off an image very different to his dorky (basically 4D) personality (which often comes with an AB blood type) in real life. He often monitors himself, always searching for articles about him online and constantly reviewing his broadcasts on TV. His obsession with the camera (and his appearance) extends to selcas, as he regularly uploads them on his Twitter. He’s very close friends with Ryeowook of Super Junior, so much that they often show off their love for each other. :D

*********
On the October 13 episode of MBC’s “Section TV Entertainment News”, the idol-actor starred as a guest, and he shares his love for food during the interview.
“My older brother and I love to eat, and I could eat four large packages of ramen by myself,” shares Hyungsik, to the surprise of the interviewer. “We even got spanked because of it.”

“At night before we go to bed, my mother prepares enough food for the four members of the family. What my brother and I would do is that we’d wake up early in the morning and eat all the food by ourselves.”

He continues with a laugh, “After our mother found out that the food she prepared was gone and the rice cooker was empty, we got scolded. Our mother even jokes that it’s like she was raising farm pets instead of children”

He also talks about his impressive eating habits during the show “Real Men”.
“I think I brought those eating habits while growing up, and a lot of people noticed it while I was filming for real men. My brother gains weight fast, but I’m lucky because all the food went to my height.”
Catch Hyungsik on “The Heirs” every Wednesday and Thursday at 22:00 (KST).

Loss

And so I’ve finally misplaced a piece of jewelry. Kathryn Schulz had a good piece in the NYer last week on loss –

Such losses sadden us because they presage larger ones — of autonomy, of intellectual capacity, ultimately of life itself.

I wore a necklace into the shower without thinking, removed it, wrapped it in a piece of kleenex, managed to remember to move the kleenex containing the necklace from the bathroom to my dresser… whereupon it lay forgotten until it morphed from “kleenex wrapped necklace” to “used kleenex” and made its merry way to the bin. T-T I’ve always wondered how people lose their rings gardening etc. and it seems that I have now reached that age.

We attended another chamber music concert (Bolcom’s Serenata Notturna + Schubert’s Octet) and it was fab. The violist switched out inbetween pieces and I totally didn’t notice – just whispered to LZ “hey, she changed her skirt.” (The first violist wore a burgundy velvet skirt and the second one wore a black one) He whispered back to me “the whole person has changed. By extension it is also true that the skirt has changed.” That just goes to show how unobservant I am wrt appearance. On our anniversary dinner at Six Seven I managed to wear my sweater inside out until halfway through the meal when he pointed it out and I bothered to change it (I wouldn’t have done so as an undergrad). There were like TWO tags sticking out :P In my defence it was one of those knits with the same pattern on the outside an on the inside. He calls all sweaters with that diamond pattern my “combinatorics shirts” because our undergrad combinatorics text had a similar diamond pattern on the cover.

The 1st violinist in the ensemble is the current assistant concert mistress of the Seattle Symphony. Both principal and deputy concertmaster seats are empty, and they are hiring. She broke like THREE horse hairs throughout the course of the evening! How hard is she pressing that bow?? The cellist was really cute. I think I just really like cellists. If you presented me a cellist on any Coffee Meets Bagel/Tinder platform I would immediately swipe right. He was this asian guy with a pompadour (tt LZ didn’t like) and I didn’t think he was cute at first but then he would break out in the most adorable grin in the middle of playing because he was really enjoying it (or missed a note?); he was grinning to the second violinist and it was so cute. I wonder if they have a thing going on. He was also really good, not as good as the Rimsky-Korsakov cellist but really on point, had mature expressions, and really shone in his solos. I liked the Octet a lot more than the Serenata, and would post a youtube link here only it was so much better in person than listening on youtube. Also I had an inaccurate memory of performing a Schubert trio in JC with a very pretty, ethereal nachtmusik mvmt (which was why I decided to go for this concert) but it turns out it was Schumann’s Fantaisiestucke Op. 88


(the fourth mvt is really pretty)

The last time I performed seriously (for exams and shit) was a decade ago, so you’ll excuse my faulty memory. While even looking for the name of the fantaisiestucke I came upon an old exam program and had totally no recollection of preparing those pieces :P
1. Poulenc – Trois Pieces: II Hymne
2. Beethoven – Sonata no. 6 in F major
3. Grieg – Violin Sonata in F major

Like I had to look the pieces up on youtube to verify that I did indeed know them and knew how to play them decently at some point in my life :x

Back to the octet, I really enjoyed the quiet movements and that bit where all the strings glided in so smoothly and quietly (the Illsley Ball auditorium has really good reverb). There were a couple of pretty embarrassing moments when the first violin cued in the final movement with an additional, accidental F, and another string bit in unison arpeggios at the end of the first movement when either the first or second vln played a Bb in an F major arpeggio :S – yes, I am that person who picks out mistakes – I don’t want to, they just jump out at me and niggle in my mind for the longest time. But Z liked them better overall than the Rimsky-Korsakov quartet, whose first vlnist he thought was a bit messy and perhaps complacent.

Am looking forward to the next campus club concerts! We also managed to score free parking that evening in downtown Seattle(!!) so the concert was totally free!