I forgot to blog.

Yes, dear readers, it’s true. For the past nine days, I completely forgot to write blog posts! I’ve been busy with stuff at work and recovering data from a computer hard drive at home. Moral of the story: you can never, ever, ever make too many backups of your data. My theory is this: if it doesn’t exist in at least three places, it doesn’t exist at all. 🙂

This week is going to be busy, too. I have a lot of stuff to do at work and I’ve been working hard on my novel after work. So far I’ve maintained a daily average of over a thousand words, which is the most I’ve ever done! (Except when I did NaNoWriMo, because to win that you have to average 1,667 words per day.) But hopefully I will not forget to blog this week.

Also, can we just ban Mondays? I really think Monday should be an extension of the weekend and we should work four days a week. Who decided to work five days a week anyway?!

Wednesday Music: Vivaldi’s ‘Summer’ From ‘The Four Seasons’ [Repost]

I’ve posted this piece before, but I thought I’d do a repost since the first day of summer was… somewhat recently. Here’s a bit about Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 8, RV 315, L’estate (Summer).

  • This piece is one of four violin concerti that make up Vivaldi’s group of compositions collectively called The Four Seasons (Le quattro stagioni for you Italian speakers out there!). Each one is meant to evoke one of the four seasons. They were published in 1725.
  • In addition to music, there are also accompany sonnets to go with each piece. This means they are called program music.
  • In addition to the sonnets, Vivaldi has instructions in the music. The instructions for summer include “Languor caused by the heat.” I guess it’s safe to assume that Italy gets hot in the summer!

Enjoy!

Or click here to see on YouTube.

Happy Independence Day!

I like the vintage look of this photo.

Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner, O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

–From the second verse of Francis Scott Key’s poem The Star-Spangled Banner. This poem is our national anthem, though usually only the first verse is sung.

Happy Fourth of July, fellow Americans! Today we celebrate our birth as a nation. Even though I didn’t do anything in particular to celebrate today—aside from not working and listening to our national anthem—this is the best Fourth of July in a long time.

Happy Independence Day and may we have many, many more!

Wednesday Music: Khachaturian’s Waltz from ‘Masquerade’

You guys, I discovered this piece recently and immediately loved it, so obviously I said to myself that I just had to share it with my blog readers. The piece in question is the Waltz from Aram Khachaturian’s Masquerade. I’d never heard about it until a couple of weeks ago, so all the facts I researched were new to me, too. Here’s a bit about it.

  • This piece is a bit—okay, a lot—more modern than what I usually post since it was written in 1941. By my standards of posting pieces from the eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries, that’s practically yesterday! 😉
  • Khachaturian wrote this as incidental music for a production of a play in the USSR. The play was also called Masquerade and was written by Mikhail Lermontov, one of my favorite authors. (He wrote the excellent novel A Hero of Our Time, which I greatly enjoyed.)
  • Later on, Khachaturian extended the music he wrote into five movements to make a symphonic suite. What I’m posting is just the first movement of the suite, the waltz.

Enjoy!

Or click here to see on YouTube.

A Weekend In Bullet Points

  • I got home early on Friday, which was glorious, but then the electricity went out less than an hour after I got home, which was not so glorious.
  • Since it went out due to a storm that blew in, a ton of people in the state were out, so it took a few hours for it to be fixed. I didn’t know when it was going to come back on, so I ended up going to Whole Foods for dinner. I actually hadn’t wanted to go out, but everything I had to make required electricity to make it. Some people were out for way longer than I was though, so I’m not complaining.
  • I shopped and read books on Saturday. Oh, and seven months after starting the draft of my novel, I finished it on Saturday night around ten pm. Of course, I immediately started on another book, the one I was outlining concurrently with writing the now-finished draft.
  • I wish I could stay home and write tomorrow. Why don’t we make random days writing days when we don’t have to go to work?!
  • On Friday I picked up a book of essays about the Russian revolution. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m looking forward to it because it looks really good.
  • I wrote so much last night and tonight that I think my June word count will be amazing based on that alone. I really need to throw in more 3,000-word days because those really have a way of upping the daily average! 😉

Wednesday Music: Gounod’s ‘Fantasy on the Russian National Hymn’

This post may be a little late, but you know what they say: better late than never. Plus, it is still Wednesday where I reside, even though it’s already Thursday for my European and Australian and Asian readers. (I don’t think I have any readers in Africa, but if I do, I know it’s Thursday there, too.) Anyway, I haven’t done a Wednesday Music post in a really long time, so I am so excited to post today because I have found the most fabulous piece of music. It’s called Fantaisie sur l’Hymne National Russe (Fantasy on the Russian National Hymn) by Charles Gounod and it is simply glorious.

I wrote earlier this week about my love for the tsarist national anthem and if you like that anthem, you’ll probably like this piece. Gounod basically built the entire thing on the melody of the national anthem. If you listen to a recording of the anthem, then this piece, you can clearly hear the melody right from the start. Here’s a bit about it.

  • Gounod wrote this fantasy in 1885. No one is certain how or why he chose the national anthem of the Russian Empire as his theme, but I’m certainly glad he did. Maybe he was a Russophile and we just don’t know that…
  • The piece premiered on November 16, 1885. Lucie Palicot, to whom it was dedicated, played it, accompanied by Gounod himself on the piano.
  • The orchestral version premiered in February 1886. The brass instruments and the piano have the theme most of the time.

Seriously, everyone, this is almost as great as Tchaikovsky’s Slavonic March.

Enjoy!

Or click here to see on YouTube.

The Exam Result Is In!

Remember in my last post when I talked about how studying for the final part of a certification exam took over my life? Well, I took the aforementioned exam on Saturday. Saturday afternoon, to be exact. I’d wished I’d been able to get an earlier time, but I got there early and they let me start early, so that worked out well.

Anyway, I received my result right away. This isn’t like some exams where you have to wait for weeks at a time before finding out if you passed or not. And yes, I do have good news: I passed! That means I passed all the exams on the first try and after I file some paperwork, I will finally have my certification!

I can’t tell you how relieved I am to have passed. Not only was I sick of studying, but I really thought I was going to fail when I was actually taking the exam. There were some really tricky questions that I struggled with. I did a lot of preparation, but there were still concepts I hadn’t seen before.

Anyway, I did some actual fiction writing tonight, and now I’m writing this blog post. I do plan to resume blogging again, so get ready for that. I have some pretty good posts in the works, if I don’t say so myself. 🙂