On Monday I turned 26 and went to hear the NC Symphony’s free chamber music concert with friends and family, which was a lovely experience.  The violinist was particularly talented, but all of the musicians were exceptional.  I had no idea chamber music was so popular; the place was packed, they put folding chairs in the aisles and on the stage itself, and they still had to turn away dozens of people.  There’s another concert on March 11th, but if you attend, plan to arrive early!

Work was tricksy, but the week ended well with the news that I got a small raise!  My bank account is feeling better about itself.  Everyone took off early on Friday because of the ice, so I wended my slippery way homeward without any serious mishap.  I would have preferred snow, but Gentry and I did have a fun time skating around the iced-over tennis court with his girlfriend Greta and her owner late last night.

Tomorrow night I’m off to Tir Na Nog with some of my very favorite people for a belated birthday celebration and to hear the weekly Celtic jam session.  I anticipate the having of marvelous times.


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Books: I just marathoned the last 150 pages of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, so my brain is still reeling.  I don’t even really know how to describe this book.  It was brilliantly, skillfully executed, but I wasn’t so caught up in the technique that the emotional resonance didn’t still bash me upside the head like a frying pan at every turn.  The book consists of six wildly different stories told in wildly different styles (seriously–you’ll feel like you’re reading six completely different authors), and yet they’re all the same.  I’ll leave you with this quote and stop talking about it before I spoil you beyond hope:

Spent the fortnight gone in the music room, reworking my year’s fragments into a “sextet for overlapping soloists”: piano, clarinet, ‘cello, flute, oboe, and violin, each in its own language of key, scale, and color.  In the first set, each solo is interrupted by its successor: in the second, each interruption is recontinued, in order.  Revolutionary or gimmicky?  Shan’t know until it’s finished, and by then it’ll be too late, but it’s the first thing I think of when I wake and the last thing I think of before I fall asleep…”

Revolutionary or gimmicky?  The book is revolutionary.  I fear for the movie, however, which I have not seen.  I don’t see how a film could pull off a story like this and not lose so much that it would be reduced to gimmickery.

I read a terribly sad but fascinating article about the first press interview ever with Christopher Tolkien.  As an avid reader of Tolkien’s more scholarly works, I can certainly understand his son’s perspective and what a tragic betrayal a good bit of this must seem like.  At the same time, though, I can’t help but think that if the movies, video games, etc. inspire people to read Tolkien’s works, even encountering a watered-down Middle-Earth is better than not encountering it at all.  Definitely need to think more about this.  Thoughts?