Semi-quick note for those of you who check the site regularly despite my usual inattention to it and to keeping you in the loop: I'm totally immersed in Tchaikovsky right now, specifically his Sixth (last) symphony, since I'm writing a paper that's due next Monday. I'm in a bit of a rush, though, because I'm going to the American Musicological Society conference in Houston this weekend. We're leaving Thursday morning (6 a.m... yay!) and getting back Sunday evening, so I won't have much time to work on it after Wednesday night. On the plus side, I'm riding with two girls I have several classes with (we're going to have lots of fun), and our professor for this class I have the paper for is driving us! I'm not expecting any kind of special treatment, and I'm certainly not going to ask him to take the time to read my paper, but I know that if I have questions about my paper that I can ask him this weekend. I've only just started typing it, but I have all my notecards together (with the exception of one source that I may or may not be getting before I leave), and I'm just about ready to take off with it. It's quite fun, swimming in this sea of a Russian master (who not everyone thinks is a master, but whatever). If you're a non-musician and are trying to think where you've heard of Tchaikovsky before, think 1812 Overture, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, etc.

ANYWAY, all this Russian stuff has got me thinking about possible areas of study. I have to pick a program of study by the beginning of next fall semester, detailing what courses I plan to take, what a possible dissertation topic is, etc... this is several years to have to plan out all at once, so I'm trying to get ideas now and filter through my highest priorities. I've decided to do some self-assigned readings on Debussy over Christmas (since finishing our unpacking and working at Victoria's Secret in January won't necessarily fill up my days), so I'm thinking I'd also like to do some reading about the Russians in the late 19th Century. My original list of language priorities, dating from my junior year in high school, was French, German, Italian, and Russian (in that order). It looks like German will be well underway during next semester and possibly a summer course, and I just found out yesterday that Elementary Russian is offered every fall. My advisor might think I'm batty, and I'm sure he'll urge me to get German solidly before I embark on anything else, but as long as I'm framing my own program of study and basically paying the same tuition no matter how many languages I learn, I want to do it anyway. We'll see what I decide. I'm particularly interested (and have been for some time) in the Russian connection to Paris, both musical and otherwise, so that'll be a fun area for exploration... and would afford MANY fun opportunities for travel abroad! I'm sort of running off at the fingers getting excited about this, so I'll have to go now. I have my second listening exam for this same class (History of the Symphony) on Wednesday, and I desperately need to do well on it to counteract the poor grade I had on the first listening exam. There's a lot of pressure from this class right now, but it'll all be over a week from now, and then I'll only have to worry about finals and student evaluations from my teaching (I don't envision having any problems there... p.s. I got nominated for some sort of teaching award only open to graduate students by Dr. Peck, the theory professor who teaches the freshman class, so that was cool! I don't expect to win, knowing nothing about the award or the other nominees, but it was nice to hear from him that he finds me doing a "superb job.").

Patti says to tell everyone hello. She would like her own creative outlet on the internet, but she hasn't figured out how to dictate slow enough that Jack and I can transcribe her witticisms to her own webpage. Suffice it to say that we don't feed her enough, she likes to eat lizards, and there's a bad neighborhood cat who comes and teases her outside the kitchen window... she is happy when I go outside and throw water on said cat.

Goodnight all. Plugs of the Week will pick back up after the paper is turned in.

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