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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

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The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet




"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

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When I decided that I wanted to go for my teaching certification, I put a carrot at the end of the stick for myself: I have always wanted to learn the fiddle. I love the fiddle; it is my favorite instrument to listen to. I play the guitar, the trumpet, and two kinds of recorders but, aside from taking a class called "Exploratory Music" when I was nine years old, have never played the violin or fiddle. So, I told myself, once I got my certification, I would reward a job well done by acquiring a fiddle.

Yesterday, Bobby told me that he had a surprise coming by post for me today. I figured it was a book, since I've been looking for a decent book on medieval Irish history and I'm always in the market for illumination books. I came home from work today to find a huge package wrapped in Happy Birthday paper. No, it's not my birthday, but Bobby got it at the store the other day while shopping for the party in a rush and failed to notice the Happy Birthday writing on it. It adds to the charm, we both agree.

Well, I suppose you can guess what was in the big package wrapped in Happy Birthday paper. :)

No, I clearly don't have my teaching certification yet since I haven't even started classes, but Bobby saw a great deal for a fiddle on eBay and couldn't resist. And the note attached reads that it is a gift to celebrate starting back to school again, which we both know has meant an immense amount to me.

Of all the things I expected to come home to today, a fiddle was definitely not one of them! I'm not complaining, though. I still can't quite believe that it's on the counter right behind me. I have to figure something to name it now. I'm thinking, maybe, Daeron.

So, I told Bobby, this leaves me having to decide on a new carrot to put at the end of the stick. I'm thinking maybe a harp. >:^)
  • Wow! *slightly jealous*

    I'd love to learn playing the fiddle, but I've never learned anything in that direction and have too little time for actual classes. *sighs* Currently I'm madly addicted to my dear old elementary school recorder, though. I hadn't realised how much I missed playing an instrument until I dug that out! It's almost ironic, considering how much I used to hate practicing the piano back when I had a piano around. *sighs*
    • As a fellow recorder player, I understand where you're coming from! Bobby got us each a soprano recorder for this past Christmas as a sort of stocking stuffer: It was an easy, cheap medieval instrument. I don't think he ever suspected I'd cleave to it like I did. ;)

      What kind of music are you playing?
      • Technically all kinds, especially on the piano; but on the recorder just now: mainly Renaissance dancing tunes. Which is the reason why I dug the recorder out - our LARP minstrel announced that she didn't want to be the only one playing dancing tunes next time because she wanted to dance occasionally, too. So I thought, ok, let's see if you can manage to play a few simple tunes... I can, and it's more fun than I expected *g*

        Unfortunately Jörg isn't too fond of the sound of the recorder. And - also unfortunately - I desperately want to get a new, good one - the old one is from elementary school, a good but very simple instrument, and I'd like a prettier one from olive or box wood. Or better yet, two - soprano and alto :D


        Edited at 2008-07-07 10:38 pm (UTC)
        • I was totally nodding along with this comment! I have a wooden (soprano) recorder coming this week that Bobby got for $5 on eBay. (If he keeps up this eBay stuff, I'll have a whole orchestra!) My current plastic sopranos work for practice but ... eek, the sound isn't great!

          I have an alto as well, and I love love love it! The soprano can be a little squeaky, especially in the upper part of its range, and the alto sounds so moody and mellow by comparison. It also is a better recorder than my sopranos, so I can get this gorgeous, spooky tremolo on it with almost no effort at all. Jörg might like the sound of it better too; Bobby definitely prefers when I practice my alto. In fact, I think he's actively encouraging me to practice my alto lately. ;)

          It was a bit difficult to switch to the F key after years of playing the soprano, but I'm finally getting the knack of it. (It's also quite a stretch for my little hands to play the low notes.) Btw, I play medieval/Renaissance as well as Celtic, so if ever you'd like a list of songs that I have, I'd be happy to scan and send along any music you don't already have. :)

          Can you tell I'm mildly thrilled that someone else on my flist is a recorder player? :^D
          • As so far I've been playing entirely by ear, and the only recorder notes I own (somewhere at my parents') are Christmas carols and simple tunes for, well, elementary school recorder practice, I'd be more than thrilled if you managed to compile such a list ^___^

            I do! And I'm madly excited for everyone who understands my newly awakened recorder love! :D
            • I'm putting a list together for you. I got it halfway finished and then got interrupted by getting sick and then holiday and now getting ready to start school. Hopefully, next week. Poke me if you don't hear from me (about the beta too! :)
  • A fiddle! How wonderful! In return for turning me on to Albannach (have listened to "Albannach Radio" but couldn't figure out how to download the music & purchase; I may just have to buy the CD), please allow me to stick in a link here for a group I like: Misty River. As noted in the blurb, they're an all-female quartet which performs traditional music with an interesting blend of influences. Their quite excellent fiddle player is the daughter of a good friend so that's how I discovered them.
    • You're listening to Albannach! \0/ Bobby just cackled madly; I sent him to read your comment. (Nerds that we are, I'm on the Internet in the dining room and he's on the Internet in the study.) We just got back from going with the Goldens to get an Italian ice, and we listened to Albannach on the way.

      I seem to recall that Bobby couldn't download their music either. He bought both CDs at Celtic Fling last weekend.

      We will definitely check out Misty River too, and I thank you for the rec! They certainly sound like the kind of music we enjoy (usually, for me, "quite excellent fiddle" is all that I need. ;)
      • Well, that settles it. I'll just order the CD then. I really liked their sound. It'll be a nice addition to sit near the Danú. Great music for walking.

        On a completely different note (har), I've been meaning to pass along the recommendation to Bobby for a progressive metal band, Symphony X. I stumbled across these guys as part of my current John Milton fancrone kick. "What? A metal band was inspired by 'Paradise Lost?' WTF?" But I like Symphony X's take on Milton. Often, I've found the so-called "classically-influenced" metal bands to be pretentious, but Symphony X is...well, OK, a little pretentious (and the video in their web site is beyond cheesy), but not so much as to be unbearable. Rampaging Frodo really digs the album ("Is that a harpsicord?") and ye olde book o' verses, too.
  • Cool! I'm rather jealous. Have I ever mentioned that I used to be married to the idea of owning a hardingfele after that lovely little Rohan theme? Well, now I'm -really- moving into your house now -- after you're a master fiddler that is. No offense, I don't want to hear your beginning practices. ;D

    Oh, and Daeron doesn't seem to fit a fiddle. Fiddles are too lively, I think, for a name like Daeron. Daeron always seemed to be something of a sad little twitterpated mouse of a bard. I may be a bit biased. It needs something more energetic sounding, like...hmm. I'll ponder that. ;D

    As for the carrot, I think it ought to be a trip out to Estes Park for the Highlands Festival. Oh, and to visit Tarion. :D

    Right Finrod?
    • Highlands Festival?? Sounds intriguing! :^D

      Visiting Tarion, of course, I know would be an experience filled with both adventure and intrigue. ;)

      Have I ever mentioned that I used to be married to the idea of owning a hardingfele after that lovely little Rohan theme?

      Actually, yes, we were talking fiddles on YIM during our last conversation, I think! Since that was months ago, I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't remember it. ;)

      It needs something more energetic sounding

      How about Elemmire? That guy has no canon personality whatsoever, so he can be as spunky as we like!

      Well, now I'm -really- moving into your house now -- after you're a master fiddler that is. No offense, I don't want to hear your beginning practices. ;D

      Lol! One of my first comments to Bobby after opening my fiddle: "Now we need to invest in some heavy-duty earplugs for you!" ;) Poor Daeron/Elemmire/whoever is in serious need of tuning, too. The third string is currently higher-pitched than the second. o.O
      • Highlands Festival?? Sounds intriguing! :^D

        It is! I even have a clan! Not that I can remember my tartan colors/pattern, but...>.> Oh, and there's music, dancing, and jousting. And mountains.

        Visiting Tarion, of course, I know would be an experience filled with both adventure and intrigue. ;)

        Ha, of course! And she even is dog friendly! ;)

        Actually, yes, we were talking fiddles on YIM during our last conversation, I think!

        Lol, I was going to say, "Our last IM conversation?! When was THAT?!" ;P

        How about Elemmire?

        Hey, that could work! I can imagine a fiddle named Elemmire.

        I still want an alto trombone named Peeves. >.>

        Okay, now you've got me imagining Elemmire writing the tra-la-la-lally song from The Hobbit. ;D

        Poor Daeron/Elemmire/whoever is in serious need of tuning, too. The third string is currently higher-pitched than the second. o.O

        Oww, my soul. I made my roommate tune her guitar whenever the weather changed. >.> My piano is severely out of tune as well... Tune it! If you get it perfect, you'll probably call in a cold front. ;D
    • Oh, and Daeron doesn't seem to fit a fiddle. Fiddles are too lively, I think, for a name like Daeron. Daeron always seemed to be something of a sad little twitterpated mouse of a bard. I may be a bit biased. It needs something more energetic sounding, like...hmm. I'll ponder that. ;D

      Hmmm, well, the fiddle seems, errr, hobbity (*runs screaming*). On the other hand, the violin has also been called the "devil's instrument" *cough*Paganini*cough*. Maybe "Gothmog" is an appropriate moniker. :^D

      As an aside, in a moment of band nerdism, when we were watching the Boston Pops last Friday night, I played "air piccolo" during the "Stars and Stripes Forever." (I solo'd that once upon a time.)
      • *snicker* Does naming a fiddle "Gothmog" fall under "tempting Fate"? Of course, this is coming from the girl whose instrument is happily named Diablo. Maybe Dawn should go for the gold and call it "Morgoth". ;)

        Personally, I'd probably name mine something Rohirric-ish. If I had one, that is.

        As an aside, in a moment of band nerdism, when we were watching the Boston Pops last Friday night, I played "air piccolo" during the "Stars and Stripes Forever."

        You win! That definitely beats my humming the trombone counter-melody in the same song during dog training class! (I too played it. We'll never be free of that song...)
  • Ooooh, a fiddle!

    I tried to learn classical violin for a few years, then just kind of petered out at it. Probably should have taken up fiddling instead, but what the hey.

    Don't name the fiddle till you've played it for a while. Fiddles tend to have very individual voices, much more so than flutes, and you should definitely get to know yours first.
    • I think I'll do this. Daeron doesn't quite feel right to me yet. (Probably all of the people complaining that that was the name that I picked, socially influence human that I am. ;) Unfortunately, getting ready for classes to start on Monday and the fact that the fiddle came strung completely wrong (and I had to seek guidance at the music shop for how it needed to be fixed), I haven't even had the chance to play it yet ... :(
  • Wow, that's so cool! :D I do like fiddles though not Daeron so much, heheh, and I'd love to hear you after you've got the hang of it!
  • Oooh lucky you. I adore Celtic fiddle and 've always wanted to learn to play it. Good luck.
    • Thank you! Yes, that's me too; it's always been my favorite instrument but a bit more intimidating (and expensive!) than taking up the recorder. ;)
  • Clearly you need Ebe's icon:
    Photobucket
    • I uploaded it! ... but then LJ kicked back my auto-pay and closed my paid account and then Bobby's office didn't get paid this week on account of the hurricane in Texas and so I'm still on a free account so meh.

      But I will upload it again once things get back to normal. (Whatever that is!)
  • this reminds me that i still want to take up the viola again ... although until i can, it's a back-burner type of thing. of course, my 3/4 viola was about the same size as a full violin (or fiddle), but the strings were different. ;-)

    last time i played a viola? oh, 6th grade. a millenia ago...
    • You should totally take it up again! Lucky you, that you already have an idea how to play! (And I love the viola. :)
      • I need to find out how much one would cost, and then re-learn myself to play. And I don't care what anyone says, I'm gonna have tape where my fingers go! Otherwise, my stuff will not sound good. ;-)

        I love the viola too. It's kinda like the second soprano in the string instrument world. And I sang second soprano in choir!! ;-)
  • Hey, that's all kinds of awesome!

    I mean, I love to listen to people play the fiddle, but I've never thought to learn it myself. The name you chose is perfect, of course ;). One of the dwarves probably had a violin in the beginning of the Hobbit, but who wants to name a musical instrument Dori? (I looked it up; Fili and Kili have the fiddles, for what it's worth.)

    I had no idea you wanted to go into teaching. I highly recommend that career change! You're a motivated person, and I'm sure you'll do an awesome job. What do you want to teach? I'm a chemistry teacher myself :). The way things are now, you can sometimes get hired as a teacher and have the school pay for your classes (at least in part) as you work towards your certification. But that depends on which subject and which school, of course. I'd recommend taking a few classes first, so you at least know a little bit about what you're doing before you jump in with both feet. But seriously, if you want to talk teacher stuff any time, just let me know :).



    • That would be so awesome; I'll admit that it's a little overwhelming right now. Doesn't help that the Department of Education website is a little vague ... *grumblegrumble*

      I would like to teach English. I am currently getting my second Bachelor's degree in English. My first BA was in Psychology, which means that I have numerous classes that would count toward a certification but not enough in any single subject area. (I was also a Writing minor, so I'm halfway there with regards to my English credits already and start classes on Monday to finish the rest.)

      I have always been interested in teaching. In fact, I was on the verge of getting my certification when I was in university the first time, but somewhere between 16-18 credits a semester, working 25 hours a week, editing the literary magazine, volunteering as an adult educator, and acting as a research assistant for one of my professors, I just ran out of time. ;)

      Incidentally, my husband is taking the same path. He, too, was interested in a teaching certification the first time around but also loaded up his schedule with classes and activities for a career he now hates. He's actually starting in the fall, teaching history and social studies at the Baltimore Youth Academy (#378); he will be getting his certification while employed there. Some of his coworkers had some ideas for ways I might also go about being certified (since it's so hard to work fulltime and take a full courseload at a brick-and-mortar college), but I'll admit that I'm nervous about the whole prospect. A bit. :)

      But no matter what job I've ever done, I've always been drawn to teaching/training within it and also did a year teaching adult learners in Baltimore, a volunteer post I still regret having to give up. Never mind that this lets me use my love for English and language. So it just feels right somehow. We'll see. :)
  • (no subject) - aranellaurelote
    • Hi, Aranel!

      Thank you for the well wishes! Unfortunately, my fiddle is in need of fine tuners and a bridge adjustment, so I haven't even played it successfully yet. :( It is sitting on the small sofa in the study, taunting me ...

      I'm involved with the SCA, and we have several harpers in our barony. Some play full-sized harps (very intimidating) or smaller harps like the one you're interested in. I love the harp as well and hope to learn it someday, although I don't know if I have the coordination for each hand to play something different ... well, if it doesn't work, I still have the fiddle and the recorder. :)

      (no...you know what I mean....don't look at me like that!)

      LMAO! >:^D
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