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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in szymanowski's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, January 31st, 2008
11:00 pm
Sunday, September 23rd, 2007
4:34 am
I felt a strange urge to update this
Well, it's about time for fall quarter to start here. I just got back from an overall pretty enjoyable 3 weeks in Seattle with my family. For some reason I'm really not looking forward to the start of school... it could be that last year around this time is when my tortured descent into insanity began, or it could be... well yeah, that's probably it. (It could also have something to do with the fact that my summer was relatively fun and relaxing, with two great trips, and that has all come to an end quite suddenly.) The frustrating thing is that I feel nervous and stressed for NO LOGICAL REASON.. I could literally do nothing for the entire quarter other than carry out my TA duties, and be fine. One thing I am looking forward to is to start interacting with my (hopefully) future advisor, and possibly talk to him about the math that I've been working on over the summer. I'm trying to understand some of the more subtle aspects of the so-called McKay correspondence (which was discovered around the 80s and is tied into the long history of Kleinian singularites, Dynkin diagrams, Lie algebras and the symmetry groups of the Platonic solids), and with a little luck and some more work, might be able to publish some of the stuff I've looked at. It would be great to have a published paper in addition to my thesis at the end of grad school. Anyway, I suppose I might start updating this thing a little more regularly in the future.
Monday, July 30th, 2007
8:18 pm
I'm finding Mompou's "Paisajes" (Landscapes) to be so haunting that I actually may be unable to learn it for the sake of my own well-being.. It's not helping that it's just 7 pages of relatively simple piano music and the dude took 20 years to write it.

Current Mood: weird
Tuesday, February 13th, 2007
8:27 pm
I decided to post this here since Amazon no longer allows anonymous reviews (boo!)

I'm still trying to comprehend the implications of Fredrik Ullen's monumental release of the first 25 of Sorabji's 100 Transcendental Etudes. We had glimpses of Ullen's Sorabji playing in his "Got A Minute" recording of Chopin transcriptions, which contains two typically Sorabjian pastiches on Chopin's Minute Waltz. Sorabji's interpretations of Chopin's rather nonchalant original, especially the technically formidable "Pasticcio Capriccioso", turn the piece into an apocalyptic yet hilarious battle between the pianist and the piano. Ullen's technical command of the piece is incredible, and it's difficult to imagine a better perfomance even from the likes of, say, Marc-Andre Hamelin. Michael Habermann also recorded this piece on a CD of several other Sorabji transcriptions, but I believe Ullen's recording is superior, truly bringing out the scathing humor of the piece.

Ullen's technique is just as amazing on this CD. It's hard to pinpoint even a single slip of the fingers even though several tracks contain passages that basically sound unplayable. The pieces are quite serious however, and even for Sorabji devotees it may take some time to digest all the music here. One does get the feeling that some of the pieces could benefit from slightly softer-edged playing than Ullen usually provides, especially on the slower numbers. It seems like Habermann's softer approach could really bring out the dreamy and imaginative nature of these tracks. However, Ullen's performance of No. 20, one of Sorabji's famous nocturnes and in my opinion the most beautiful of the slow pieces on the disc, is excellent. Ullen's temperament is perfect for other pieces, such as the agitated No. 1, the technically perilous No. 10 and in a lighter vein, Nos. 6, 7 and 9.

Although many of these pieces do not yield their secrets as easily as some of Sorabji's other works, such as, for instance, the pastiches, the nocturne "Le Jardin Parfume" and his earlier "Prelude, Interlude and Fugue" (Habermann's recording of which was what turned me into a disciple), this CD provides practically endless listening opportunities. Though the pieces are rarely easy on the ears, it's pretty much inconceivable that they could ever make you bored. If Ullen succeeds in recording the complete cycle of all 100 etudes, which would span 8 CDs, it would be understatement to say that he is setting a benchmark for all future piano recordings.
Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007
5:54 am
2006 - it sucked
It was not a good year for me. I've endured mental states and ups and downs that no one should have to endure. But I'm still alive, and still want to live.

One reviewer said about Lutoslawski's Symphony no.3, one of his better known works, that nothing happens until the end. Someone else responded that this was, in fact, not true - most of the piece is devoted to "filling in the cracks" of the traditional symphony, exploring all the quiet, hidden corners of existence that were considered too undramatic by other composers. This makes the ending, when all the instruments finally come together in an explosive surge of energy, all the more powerful and stunning. In college, and in fact, until very recently, I thought of my life as "filling in the cracks" of my own consciousness, by tapping the seemingly infinite mystery, strangeness and wonder of simple things like cold, wet Seattle nights and walking through the U District or the UW campus, and my memories of the Terry Hall dorm (where I first became acquainted with some of the music that I really respect now, like Lutoslawski). I remember thinking that I could be lost forever in this mysticism. But by itself, this is not life. Carl Jung said that he often saw people become neurotic when they contented themselves with wrong or incomplete answers to the questions of life, and I think that's exactly what happened to me over the course of college. This year has been a violent but necessary jolt to my ways of thinking. From now on, I will try to embrace the realities of human existence in all their sloppiness and imperfection, and I will respect myself and the way I've been all these years, but try to change for the better. (Or at least so that I can stop flipping out so much.)
Saturday, September 23rd, 2006
1:44 pm
Sunday, September 10th, 2006
2:55 am
Hmm.. it's been a while since I've posted. I guess mostly because socializing with ppl in SD has supplanted my need for journaling in some way or another. So, let me give a rundown of major events from the past few months or so... Read more...Collapse )
Friday, May 12th, 2006
9:21 pm
what is this thing we call life?
Fuck man, I don't know.
Thursday, April 6th, 2006
10:34 pm
And yes, I resolve to talk to that girl tomorrow if I see her again. I WILL NOT GIVE UP. Thank you my friend; I love you. (Borat quote)
Thursday, January 19th, 2006
10:40 pm
Some kid wrote on an Amazon review that listening to Sorabji was like "feeling your body break into a million pieces".

Just say no to drugs and yes to Sorabji.



Saturday, January 7th, 2006
1:07 am
[friend on AIM]: my last sheet was "Achievements in American Aviation"
I recommend going up to the counter and asking to see the commemoratives
they add extra character to each mailing
Friday, December 16th, 2005
3:41 am
back to the 206
I don't feel like writing about anything now, except for the following mathy tidbit:

more math Collapse )
Monday, December 5th, 2005
9:57 pm
fuzzy memories
Well, I'm definitely over the hill now as far as finals week is concerned, due to having finished a monster algebra test this morning. What's left is proctoring a final, grading the final, and finishing a topology takehome final, none of which I'm particularly concerned about. Then it's back to Seattle next Wednesday, and staying for a few weeks to do god-knows-what.

Anyway, I thought I would be very relaxed and happy after finishing this morning's test, but that hasn't exactly been the case, and I don't really know why. It could just be that I have little or nothing to do with my spare time other than watch TV and hang out with my roommates (and, of course, waste time on the inet in the usual fashion), or I guess it could be something more deep-seated. This year has been A LOT to take in. I've done probably at least 8x more than in my previous college years combined. (Let's see.. tutor, TA, do research, go on a huge trip without my parents, go to visiting weekends, live away from Seattle for the first time, experiment with smoking certain things (which turned out to be a really, really bad idea), even really basic stuff like go out to dinner with non-parental friends or get my driver's license). This is, of course, a good thing, but it has left me with bigger questions about where my life is going that didn't really come up when I was doing exactly the same thing year after year.

self-indulgent ramblingCollapse )
Friday, November 25th, 2005
2:44 am
Wow.. this music is totally mind blowing. This is the kind of thing that makes me wish I could write music. I really doubt I will ever have as much admiration for even the best mathematicians as for composers. I respect them to be sure.. after all, I do want to become one (I think?) but do they really add as much value to life as great music like this? I don't think so, and even though I may not have a balanced perspective on this, I can't see it being any other way.

Thursday, November 24th, 2005
2:22 am
Tomorrow I'm supposed to go surfing (for the first time, borrowing my roommate's board) but frankly, I may just want to sleep in. I'm sure I will try surfing eventually but right now, having heard people say "I thought I was going to drown" several times after coming back from it, I think I should probably work on my swimming skills a little more before doing so.

My life right now is very bland, but bland in a good way. Just enjoying the company of other people my own age has been by far the best part of being in San Diego so far. My feelings towards math haven't really changed, but my classes alone aren't making me very enthusiastic about it. In algebra we seem to be mucking around with no real goal in sight, though the HW problems are interesting. (We had a lot of interesting problems about free groups a week ago that made my math enthusiasm level spike for a bit.) Topology is decent though the outrageous time (8:30 AM!!) severely limts my ability to enjoy it, and we still haven't gotten to any major topics that I haven't seen yet. Number theory would probably be pretty good if I was smart enough and had enough background to follow it, but as is, it's just making me dislike number theory. Anyway, with stimulation from my classes being sort of lacking, I've been trying to thiink up interesting problems to do on my own. For some dumb reason I'm very fascinated by the topology of Q (the rational numbers) and have been trying to think up problems about it. Apparently, according to wikipedia, Q is the unique countable metric space with no isolated points, which answered a lot of my questions, but they don't give a proof so I'll have to try to prove this myself. Another thing I was wondering about was how one would classify the homeomorphisms from Q to Q (it seems like order-preserving maps from Q to Q should be piecewise linear, but I guess homeomorphisms could do all kinds of weird stuff to the order since it is disconnected).

At this point, just the fact that it is self-motivated and involves independent thinking makes this stuff seem in some ways a lot more important than doing my homework (though, of course, we're all still slaves to getting good grades, and it doesn't seem professional to shrug off homework when you're getting paid for it).
Friday, November 18th, 2005
10:42 pm
Monday, October 31st, 2005
6:39 pm
This year's overall high temperature of 129 degrees, pegged on July 19, was a record for that date. A high of 125 on July 20 was also a record. Although the park routinely experiences temperatures of about 120 degrees in the summertime, Housley said that a high of 129 hadn't been reached since 1998. The extreme high temperatures in July claimed three lives, including two hikers and one visitor who fainted and fell off the back of a motorcycle.
Tuesday, October 4th, 2005
8:51 pm
Well.. I guess now that I'm actually doing stuff and talking to people to a certain extent, I feel little motivation to update this thing. However, I'll tell you what was occupying my mind during the last minute or so: I need to check out more music by Leos Janacek, especially the Glagolitic Mass. I'm kind of missing going to live concerts, even if the CM concert atmosphere was something that always bothered me, and it was depressing to go alone. It would be cool to hear the LA symphony or check out some concerts in LA, if only I had a car and could drive there and back without killing myself. Surely they have to have a shitload of CM concerts going on up there.. and you would think that would at least spread to San Diego a bit, but I haven't investigated it much. The San Diego Symphony went bankrupt a few years ago supposedly.
Friday, September 23rd, 2005
3:23 pm
beginning of classes
Today I went to algebra at 10, wandered around campus and played the piano in one of the practice rooms until 2 and then went to Stark's number theory class, which as it turns out is mostly going to be about elliptic curves.

It may be a little premature to be saying this, but I wasn't super excited by either of the classes. The algebra is going to be all matrix theory for the first half of the quarter. I think I'd rather just be doing abstract algebra, but the matrix stuff will probably be interesting as well, as long as it doesn't go too slowly. The instructor seemed alright, but he answered my housemate's question kind of rudely, which seemed really unnecessary given that it was the first question on the first day of class. Stark's number theory class seemed like it could be cool, but I came away with the feeling I once got when reading a chapter form a number theory book, "Why does anyone care about this?" The only branch of math I've ever had that reaction to is number theory.

Yeah, I just feel like I could be doing some kind of research by now, even if something much more minor than a thesis. I think I would have been more excited if I had been in a class more like Babson's topology class back in '04 that goes extremely fast and is a genuine challenge to keep up with (of course, I dropped out of that after two lectures but in retrospect maybe I should have stayed). I'm sure Stark could do that sort of thing if he wanted to, but he seems to prefer going slower, and going out on tangents where he describes things qualitatively.

Yesterday I went swimming in the Pacific on a beach up by Del Mar. Very fun, but I lost my glasses (luckily, I brought an extra pair).

I think I'm going to need to figure out some kind of extracurricular activity to do, other than piano, but I'm not sure what. I signed up for archery lessons a while ago, but that's only once a week.
Wednesday, September 21st, 2005
3:24 pm

LJ Interests meme results

  1. alkan:
    He was one of the composers I first downloaded Marc-Andre Hamelin playing. He was a 19th century composer who wrote incredibly hard but amazing piano music.
  2. biking:
    Very refreshing.
  3. classical music:
    It kind of naturally grew out of me taking piano lessons and my mom being a professional violinist.
  4. electronics:
    I've always enjoyed taking apart VCRs and the like. I went into college wanting to be an EE.
  5. java:
    First real-world programming language I learned, and still the only one I really know..
  6. ligeti:
    Said to be the greatest living composer by some, I downloaded some of his piano pieces in HS and got really interested in him.
  7. marc-andre hamelin:
    Canadian pianist who can play anything and make no mistakes, he records on the Hyperion label.
  8. mp3s:
  9. piano:
  10. programming:

Enter your LJ user name, and 10 interests will be selected from your interest list.

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