As part of my series on why I’m no longer in academia, I offer to you a well nigh complete lack of mentoring.
A Dearth of Camels
I’m struggling to come up with an idea for a micro-composition today. I have a few tricks I can use to just generate raw material, but that is unsatisfying. I used them in earlier sketches that I don’t even want to copy, so obviously I reject this material. I think one problem is that I keep feeling like I have to generate traditional musical material. This is just not my idiom. Maybe I’m having trouble with this piece because I have a sense that I need to write something traditional.
I have a blank book full of sketches lying around in a box somewhere (hazard of moving). But one tendency I am noting myself is a tendency to lose interest in old material. I find myself completely unmotivated to dig up the book and enter those micro-compositions into the collection of snippets for the piece I actually wrote them for in the first place. Furthermore, I am not even sure that they belong in the piece anymore.
Fried Tofu in Spicy Sauce
Tuesday is potluck night in one of my circles. Last Tuesday I made fried tofu in spicy sauce. Normally this isn’t the sort of thing I’d bring to a potluck. We regularly have two vegetarians in our group, one of whom is allergic to soybeans and the other of which is allergic to peppers. This doesn’t really mix with my crazy homesick craving for spicy food. So I had to wait for a night when I thought they’d miss. Although I saved out some plain fried tofu just in case.
I recently posted about the practice of demanding that female students explain why there aren’t more women in the field. In one such incident, there was a command performance: another student called me at about 7am because a professor (we’ll call him Homunculus) insisted that she get other students to show up to some secret mini-conference in which all the old established guys in the field (and people from the younger generation who happened to be in the area so there was no cost to invite them) met to discuss the future of computer music. They’d kept the conference a secret from students, but at the last minute expected us to show up. In the end, there were just the two of us. We sat around for hours until about 4pm, when we were asked to explain why there weren’t more women in computer music. Fun.
Some people in computer music ask why there aren’t more women in the field. When I was a student, occasionally people would put me on the spot and demand that I explain women and why there weren’t more of us in the field. Sometimes this question was asked in little seminars and mini-conferences in front of loads of old white guys, a handful of younger white guys, and that one guy who isn’t white. Occasionally, they’d throw another female student into the mix and grill her the same way.
Tofu is yummy, but it gets a bad rap. Lots of people think they don’t like it because they’ve had it badly prepared. Lots of people think they won’t like it because they’ve heard it’s scary.
In general, I have found that people who won’t eat tofu when it is prepared any other way will eat fried tofu.There are many wonderful deserts and sauces where people don’t notice the tofu. But if you plan on confronting a tofu-fearing audience with tofu in a more traditional form, fried tofu is the way to do it.I would rather make something people will eat than prepare something traditionally. So if I am cooking for a potluck, I nearly always fry the tofu.
Free Green Onions
I recently moved, which meant giving up my garden. I moved too late in the season to really start a garden, so that will be next year. In the mean time, green onions are a good way to scratch the gardening itch.
As a trailing spouse, if I want to engage someone intellectually who is local, I have pretty limited choices. There are a few local musicians who do interesting stuff and are fun to talk to. Some of them are a little too far away to be convenient to interact with a lot but it’s great when we run into each other. Some of them have this problem with their head where they think it’s OK to wake up before the sun and that the most reasonable time to meet at a coffee shop and talk shop is when we all really ought to be in bed. Some of them I fruitfully interact with on a regular basis, but it’s not like we’re attached at the hip. So I hang out a lot with philosophers.
Lately I’ve been feeling intense culinary nostalgia.
When I first moved to Albany, I mostly suffered from burrito nostalgia. Not really burrito nostalgia, but hot sauce nostalgia. I can make really good beans and rice. I can make a really good roasted salsa. I can make a really good fresh salsa. But I cannot make hot sauce like they make at La Posta, which is the best hot sauce ever. I suspect it involves mash, which slightly scares me. Maybe one day I will make mash, but for now I’ve learned to live without that flavor and have found other ways to scratch that particular itch.