February 13th, 2013


It's the "swallow a frog" technique.

In the last couple of weeks I've started trying this thing where you work on the most complicated "to do" item first.

I've seen this advice over and over, but this time it finally stuck, because whatever advice column it was in gave a logical reason for it to work: if you do the small things first, as the day progresses you use up energy and willpower, so by the time you get to the big thing you are already too tired and sapped to concentrate on it. Or care about it. It just lies there like a big, irritating stone you can't move.

So this morning I actually phoned up the luggage repair place (remember them?) and got the specifics. I will have to bring the suitcase in and, most likely, leave it there for later pickup. They do replace both wheels at once, not just the broken one (I wanted this, figuring the other would go soon), and the price ranges depending on the type of wheel and if the housing must also be repaired. He gave me an upper limit of maybe $60 if it was really complex, which is much, much less than a new suitcase and much less than I had feared. A thing done! Next up, arranging a time with friend to drop off said suitcase. ...I know the phone call sounds like a small thing, but I hate phoning up to ask about things, so it loomed large.

We started rehearsing for the March 17th "Messiah" performance last night. Aside from a few moments checking things that were different in the various editions (our standard is the Barenreiter scores), it went fast and smooth; all but one or two of us have done the piece in various iterations (differing cuts), and of course we've done so much Baroque in the last few years that we've developed a baseline competence in the appropriate styles. We were able to spend a lot of time on seemingly tiny things that will have large results in the overall sound. We ran our bits of the second part (minus "Hallelujah"), and I was excited to learn we're doing a couple of the choruses I've never done before, while cutting one that I don't like that much. Also, since it will be pitched for baroque instruments, the alto range is really comfortable and restful to sing. A more science-y article about modern vs. baroque pitch.

Reading Wednesday

I forgot it was Reading Wednesday!

I am close to finishing About Time 1: The Unauthorized Guide to Doctor Who - Seasons 1 to 3 by Tat Wood and Lawrence Miles. Volume 2 should be shipping to me shortly, and I am excited! More incredibly in-depth nerdiness!

I'm currently reading Iron Hearted Violet by Kelly Regan Barnhill, which could be either YA or MG - probably MG in today's market, especially since it's illustrated, though it does have some serious scariness when the queen falls ill after a miscarriage. It has an unusual heroine, a not-beautiful princess. Though the story isn't that innovative in its individual parts, it's told well and with a number of interesting narrative and pov choices, so it comes together as feeling new. The narrator is the royal storyteller, ostensibly, but there is some omniscient going on. Cool worldbuilding includes a mirrored sky and dragons who must store their hearts outside of their bodies.

I actually finished Passion Blue by Victoria Strauss last week, but forgot to write it up because I was in a rush that day. It's historical YA (Renaissance Italy), with a slight speculative element that is real to the narrator but may not be objectively real (I think it's intended to be real, but you can read it either way). The heroine has been essentially sold into a convent and desperately wants out so she can marry as her mother (a nobleman's mistress) had hoped for her. But inside the convent, there is a rare thing, a painting studio. The heroine happens to be an artist and loves drawing more than anything. I really loved the outcome of this story, and the decisions the heroine made. Also, there was some excellent art-neep. I'll stop here, so I won't spoil it.