Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Goodbye, Hello

I don't think anyone is really still reading this. But if you are, I invite you to join me over at my new blog.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mabelicious Mayhem

Okay, the wheels are in motion. My valiant web administrator--my father--is making it so I can host a blog on my own domain name. I still need a title, though, people. I've received many good suggestions, some of which are going to be used for other things, but I still haven't found the perfect name for my own personal blog. So keep them coming.

By way of update, here are some bullet points of what I have been up to since last I posted:
  • My partner and I found a beautiful apartment, on the ground floor of a bright pink Victorian duplex in West Philly. Our stuff is sitting in the living room while the landlord finishes fixing up the bathroom. We move in Saturday.
  • A lovely family reunion was had down in North Carolina, outside of Asheville.
  • We planned our wedding. We've been meaning to get married off and on for like the last seven years, and slightly more seriously the last year or so, but finally found a nice little Episcopal church in DC that is both queer-friendly and would marry an unbaptized heathen like me. So that's on now.
  • A brief but very pleasant trip up to the ancestral encampment in the Adirondacks. I really wish I could blog more about what it is like up there, but, as they say, that wouldn't do. Suffice to say, I socialized with the new president of the New York Stock Exchange (very pleasant man), and then also with one of the main funders behind the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth (deceptively pleasant as well).
  • My partner's grandmother passed away early Monday morning, suddenly but peacefully. She was a lovely woman. People always describe elderly women who have a bare pulse as "feisty," but she really was feisty in the best sense of the word. Her death was not unexpected, but of course that does not make it any less sad.
  • But most happily, Mary and I have a new family member. Her name is Mabel, and those are her ears flapping in the Adirondack breeze at the top. She's about one and a half years old, and the only identifiable breed the DNA testing at the shelter found was Daschund. Mind you, she's sixty pounds, and looks to be mainly a mixture of Doberman and a Black and Tan Coonhound. With the small, but unfortunate, exception of trying to eat my grandmother's dog for lunch once, she is incredibly sweet and affectionate. I would show you her face, but I shall leave it as a teaser--once I have my new blog all set up and going, you'll have to go there to see her adorable front!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Great Blog Naming Competition

When your parents start inquiring if you are alive, that is when it is time to update your blog. Mary and I are safely in Philadelphia. My sister is out of town, so we are staying in her apartment while we search for our own. Everything we own between the two of us is in a sixteen foot Penske truck, parked in the suburban driveway of friends. We have the truck until Friday, on the off chance that we will find a place into which we can move immediately; otherwise, it'll go into storage.

We've been moving for almost exactly a month now, first out of London, and then out of Los Angeles. This makes me cranky, because I am a bit of a slug, and enjoy having time to zone out in front of a television or the internets. Such time has not been forthcoming.

But more importantly, I am very out of touch with both my own blog and the blog world more generally. There has been an interesting dialogue over at Dial M for Musicology about the intersection of blogging and academic careers, sparked by a post by Drew over at amusicology. Bloggers of course worry about this stuff all the time, and I guess now that there is the small spark of a musicology blogging community, it is time for us to go through our ritual career worries.

I certainly have them myself. I started this blog two years ago, when I was spending the summer in England and wanted to let my friends and family know what I was up to. I originally signed my posts with my real name, but then adopted a very mild anonymity. Anyone who reads this and knows me in real life will instantly know it is me, and anyone who doesn't know me could figure out my name in about five seconds of googling. The one barrier I hoped to maintain was the Google barrier: I hoped that when someone googled my real name, this blog would not appear. I think that is mostly still true.

But I've decided it's time to start a new blog, and shut down good ol' Barnet Bound. There are two reasons. One is that I am no longer bound to Barnet. Mary graduated from vet school, and we are now living together in the US. There is no longer anything intercontinental about us.

But more importantly, I am going on the academic job market for the first time this fall. (Which reminds me: if you love the blog, you'll love the junior faculty member!) And not only has this blog been a little too personal for my own taste--it's probably not a great idea to advertise one's anxieties about teaching and dissertating when searching for a job--I also envy the more public forum for writing some others have. In other words, I'd like to attach my own name to my own writing. So, down with Barnet Bound, up with a new blog under my real name.

Which brings me to the Great Blog Naming Competition. I liked the alliteration and obtuseness of Barnet Bound, but that title was arrived at more or less accidentally. Now that I have a chance to choose a new title for my blog...what should it be? Anyone would provides the winning title will be treated to a free drink at the next musicological conference or family reunion, as the case may be.

Friday, August 03, 2007


When last we spoke, I was in London, cheerfully finishing Harry Potter. Since that time, I have moved Mary out of her London apartment, flown back to Los Angeles, gone to Disneyland, packed up my apartment (with the help of a dozen beautiful, beautiful friends), loaded all of my belongings on a truck, attached my little car to a dolly behind said truck, and driven to Flagstaff, Arizona. This is not our final destination; it was simply as far as we could make it yesterday, which wasn't very. Exhaustion does not begin to describe our state of being.

We aim to arrive in Philadelphia by Monday, whereupon we will camp out in my sister's apartment, and try to find one for ourselves. Then a week after that, it is off to a family reunion down in North Carolina.

My dissertation misses me. I miss it.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Writing Through Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

For for the first time. A mesostic of sounds from the chapter "Battle of Hogwarts," with apologies to John Cage.

too huge
screaming with blood
high, cold, and clear
yells and shouts

thin, piteous human
silence swallowed
surprisingly soft
smattering of applause

Interestingly, Rowland uses very few sounds in her writing. This makes it much more difficult to go through, as Cage did with Finnegan's Wake, and draw out sound-words and phonemes. The above mesostic was drawn from only 26 or so such sound descriptions I found in the chapter. Considering that most of the chapter is describing a battle, and Harry's escape from a gigantic fire-monster-thing, you would think there would be more sounds.

Incidentally, the book? Loved it. Don't get me wrong, I loved the Sopranos ending, but I equally loved Rowland's approach to ending a complicated, character-driven epic.

Friday, July 20, 2007

All Things Bright and British

Mary's graduation went swimmingly on Wednesday. It was not, unfortunately, in the London Guild Hall where it usually is, but rather in a somewhat dreary University of London student center. But there were lots of fun academic robes and maces, and everything was presided over by the Most Honorable 7th Marquess of Salisbury. Who, it later turned out, is a fairly annoying right-wing Tory in the House of Lords, but still, he's a Marquess, and we don't have those in the land of the free.

After the ceremony Mary's mother took us out for sushi, and then for dinner we drove with her father up to Essex for dinner and Morris dancing in a pub. We were met there by a crusty old English veterinarian Mary used to work for, and who was, I suspect, James Herriot incarnate.

And then, if things weren't English enough, there was a black tie graduation ball at Hatfield House. I was sort of expecting Hatfield House to be the local community center, but it turned out to be the home of aforementioned Marquess of Salisbury. And his home is a Tudor/Jacobean mansion, owned most notably by Henry the VIII. Queens Elizabeth and Mary grew up there, and supposedly Elizabeth was sitting underneath an oak tree in the courtyard when she found out that Mary had died, and she was now queen. The dinner and dancing were in the oldest part of the grounds, the original 15th century Great Hall. It felt a little odd to be doing the Macarena underneath the antlers of a deer shot by Henry VIII, but we Americans, we adapt.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Courtesy of Mary's father, I tonight ate the following:

1. Wild Mushroom and Bergamot Soup

2. Roast Saddle of Wiltshire Rabbit with Foie Gras and Summer Truffle Risotto ("Game may contain lead shot.")

3. Chocolate Pudding with Spearmint and Pistachio Ice Cream

This all at Rules, supposedly the oldest private restaurant in London.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Barnet Bound

Very occasionally, the title of this blog makes sense. In a few hours I am off to the airport. Eleven very cramped hours after that, I'll be in Barnet for two weeks. Incidentally, I missed the exact date, but this summer marks the two year anniversary of this humble blog. I began it initially when I was in England for the summer of 2005, so that I didn't have to write the same repetitive little travelogue email to all of my friends and family.

Apologies to the many, many people I owe things to at the moment. They are coming.

Will somebody please come kill my cats so that they will stop playing in my suitcase? Thanks.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Four Pondering Questions

Mary thanks everyone for their kind comments. It has been a whirlwind for her! I leave Tuesday for her graduation.

I have been whirling around myself. I decided that the best way to get all of my tasks done before leaving town would be to go for a preemptive two-day vacation to San Francisco. Friday morning I took a Southwest shuttle up, Saturday I drove down. There were two occasions for this. The sad one is that a friend of mine's mother just died up there, and I was able to meet him for breakfast and a walk in a park. The happy reason was that my little sister, who is an opera singer, was performing in the city. My parents were driving down from Oregon, and since I don't see them or my sister enough, it seemed like a good time to go up. The concert was great, needless to say. And it made me horribly, horribly homesick for the Bay Area. I grew up in the east bay, but am rarely able to visit. Especially now that my parents have moved away, I have few ties, and this makes me sad. I love Los Angeles, and many other places, but there is no other place in which I feel happier than the Bay Area. Especially since I was introduced to the La Farine morning bun, which had somehow eluded my childhood.

Anyways, a friend and I drove down yesterday, which was surprisingly pleasant--Interstate 5 is a miserable drive, but good conversation made it fly by. And although I am exhausted by the traveling, I am nevertheless motivated to answer Tenured Radical's tag for the "Eight Things I wonder about" meme, started over here. I'm not a big meme person, but the whiny formlessness of this one appeals to me in my current state of mind. Except I'm tired, so my version is going to be four things I am pondering.

Four Things I Am Pondering

1. When I was at the beach for the Fourth of July, celebrating our victorious march on terrorism at home and abroad, I noticed an increase in the number of tummy tattoos. Men with big gothic script letters arching across, or women with little chains of thorns or whatever around their bellybutton. My question: are they (a) supremely overconfident in their ability to stay in shape the rest of their lives, or (b) stupid?

2. Will I survive this summer? Seriously. It's not looking good.

3. Los Angeles: there are not many people who love this city. But there are some. I think I am one. But some of those who love this city defend it in terms that suggest that those who do not like Los Angeles are lacking in critical faculty. As in, if you don't like Los Angeles, it is because of romantic attachment to old-fashioned ideals. Los Angeles complicates binaries, the reasoning goes, and forces you to confront prejudices you didn't know you had. For instance, one might argue, Los Angeles is actually not about superficiality. In fact, quite the opposite. In east coast cities, you know you are in a fancy neighborhood if there are brick sidewalks and nice old houses. In Los Angeles, outward appearances will give you no guide to what is inside. This fancy restaurant down the street from me looks like a double-wide trailer home. Isn't that how things should be? Hmmm.

4. Why is it so impossible for me to get work done at home? These days, I only work at coffeeshops. Objectively, this is odd, as at home I have a very comfortable chair, a desk, plentiful food and beverage, and internet. At coffeeshops, I have a rickety table, expensive food, sometimes no internet, and lots of distraction. Will this all change someday, when I am living in a situation that allows my bed and desk to be in different rooms? What about if I have a campus office, will I be able to work there? Would air conditioning help? Is solitude the problem, do I need to have bustle around me? Is it the fueling fire of a professionally-made cappuccino?

Since I am only pondering four things, I am only going to tag four others: Sushi Pajamas, Miscellaneous Mayhem, Violet Vixen, Jewel Dakini? Have at it! Ponder away!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Lock up your horses

Many little girls want to be veterinarians. Some boys too, but many, many little girls. Some of those girls go on to college. A few of them stay on the pre-vet track, even while rowing varsity for crew all four years. Fewer do well enough that they get into veterinary school. Fewer still make it through four years of vet school. Even fewer go to a vet school in Europe that requires an extra year of training, and which despite being eight time zones away from her boyfriend is one of the best places in the world to study furry things.

But last week my partner took her very final exams, having already passed the American boards. A week's worth of testing, plus scores averaged in from previous practical exams, a research paper, rotation evaluations, and so on.

And this morning, she found out she passed! I can now present to you, at the tender age of 26, Dr. Mary, DVM MRCVS.

You can't tell, but this is the picture of the official parking spot for the veterinarian at the Royal Mews.