So this weekend happens to be the weekend of ALL my concerts. Two band concerts and a chamber music concert, and I’m just plain freaking out.
This past weekend, my friends Jennifer, Renee, and I managed to visit the Los Angeles Festival of Books. It’s an annual convention/fair/outdoor thing filled to the brim with book sellers, authors, panelists, book signings, presenters…it’s sort of like your average anime/car/tech convention, except all about books.You might think, erroneously, that just because the word ‘Technology’ is in the name of our school that we all shun the humanities. Of course, that couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s a great humanities (and social science!) program here at Caltech, filled with interesting, engaging professors who happen to also beprolificresearchers. Where else could I say that while reading William Blake I got a chance to see the original book? That’s right, nowhere else.
So I did this weird thing the other night...I went to sleep early, because I was feeling a little tired. I was asleep before midnight (gasp!), and my alarm was set for 9 (because if I sleep infinity hours on a school night my sleep schedule gets very messed up).
Turns out that I didn't need to bother with the alarm because at 8 am on the dot I was woken by the cries of the seniors yelling, "WAKE UP FROSH IT'S DITCH DAY!"
For anyone who isn't aware, Ditch Day is the hallowed Caltech version of Senior Skip Day. Back in the days of yore, seniors would skip class. This would make the underclassmen very upset, because they were still in class. So, to take their revenge, underclassmen would break into the seniors' rooms and prank them in some way. Seniors, then, to avoid having to clean up 400 small paper cups of water senior spring, started blockading their doors. The more common technique would be to stack an obstacle--like bricks--in front of your door. Underclassmen responded with pickaxes.
Ditch Day has evolved today to a less destructive, more creative form. Seniors spend varying amounts of time (i.e. all of spring term, of all of senior year, or random day dreams from the day they receive their admissions packet) setting up these elaborate treasure hunt/scavenger hunt/puzzle-type things. On Ditch Day (which is always tomorrow), underclassmen sign up for one of these 'stacks' and spend the day (an Institute Holiday!) completing their puzzle. It's always a lot of fun--you see students wandering around all day in matching shirts, overcoming bizarre obstacles, and just enjoying what the seniors have put together.
But it was Ditch Day! So I ran around the house and found a perfect stack:
So Prefrosh Weekend is winding down now, which is very sad. I’ve enjoyed meeting you guys over the past few days! On Friday I was in charge of the Concert Band’s booth at the ASCIT Club Fair. ASCIT–the Associated Students of Caltech–is our student government, and they help fund a large number of the clubs on campus. Therefore, for the prefrosh, they organized the fair so that all the interesting organizations on campus had an opportunity to present themselves to a new generations of impressionable Techers.
Before last Thursday’s rehearsal I received a very sad email:
*Hi There,As Zhaoying can't be there for both Bandorama concerts, Mythili, would you please play piccolo on both concerts, and the two of you can both play the pic parts on the first concert.Thanks.Bill*
Aside from being slightly confusing, the main point–WARNING WARNING MORE DEAFNESS AHEAD–was not lost on me. Ergo I went into rehearsal slightly anxious…to discover Zhaoying very confused, because she wasn’t aware that she was unable to make both of our Bandorama concerts; it was only the Disnleyland concert for which she was busy. With much pomp and circumstance, I returned her music to her and gave the school piccolo back to Bill. Adieu! So before rehearsal started, we had a special masterclass hosted by a member of the band, Lynne Snyder. For those who have never had the pleasure, a masterclass is when you take a class under a guest instructor, but it’s meant as sort of a ‘everyone learns together’ sort of thing. Whereas in a normal class you just have you and and your teacher, in a masterclass there’s generally more people observing.
So yesterday was pretty exciting…not that I could have known that when I first woke up or anything. Tuesdays, in general, are pretty empty part of my week. I have very few classes…except that every Wednesday I have a difficult applied math set.
If you were in Disneyland on Saturday, you might have passed the Carnations Plaza Gardens. There, you might have seen the sign above. And you might have witnessed the fabled Caltech Oxy Concert Band as they made a triumphant return to Disneyland (last having played there a little over 10 years ago).
I am on an absolute war path to learn all this music in time for Saturday’s concert at Disneyland. It’s a battle: me vs. my ears, which are filled with this low buzzing for a few hours after I practice, even though I wear special industrial earplugs. Homework, studying…it’s all fallen to the wayside, because this music MUST BE LEARNED (I even missed this rather vital review session for an orgo quiz, but my lovely TA spent time after it had finished helping me learn Heck reactions and the ‘dance of olefin metathesis’).
Because I’m not waiting ontenterhooksfor my college decisions to be released/come in the mail! I know Caltech sent things out last week, but as for the rest the best I can say is try to relax? Que sera, sera.
Hi everyone! My name is Mythili Iyer, and I’m a new blogger for the rest of the academic year! As is written in my bio, I’m a sophomore Chemical Engineering (ChemE) major from New Jersey (near Princeton) who currently resides in Fleming House. My major extracurricular activity is music–I’ve been playing the flute since I was 5 (so…15 years now), and while I no longer take regular lessons I still play as part of ensembles. Here on campus, I am principle flute in the Caltech Occidental Concert Bandand currently in a piano-cello-flute trio for Chamber Music. I’m also on the band council, helping to put together social events, find touring opportunities, and encourage general band cohesiveness.