Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Google Analytics

I started using Google Analytics to track hits to my website, as well as my blogs. It's been rather fun. I'm getting hits from Kingston, Jamaica, of all places! And Moscow! I'm an international superstar!

Opera, etc.

I saw my first "real" opera on Saturday. My obsession with opera started when I read Bel Canto, a book by Ann Pachett. At the time, I was dating a relative of Ann's, and I was going to meet her over Christmas. I thought it might be nice to read one of her many books. Bel Canto was about a dinner party held hostage in an unnamed South American country -- though I've always pictured Peru in my head. The party was thrown in honor of a Japanese businessman, who's investment the country was trying to court. A famous soprano, the Japanese businessman's favorite, was invited to sing at a dinner party. The hostage situation turns into a love story between the Japanese businessman and the soprano, the businessman's interpreter and one of the young hostage-takers, as well as the relationships that develops among the people involved in general. The book was rumored to be inspired by the famous American soprano Renee Flemming, though the author herself has left that rumor unaddressed intentionally.

Anyway. So the book provoked my interest in opera. When Mom and I were in Rome, we saw a performance of La Traviata. It was a thoroughly unprofessional performance, done in a church. But it was good enough that I was rather moved by it. So when I came back to the States, I plunged head-first into the book, "Opera 101". I've been planning on attending a performance at the Portland Opera for some time. I finally got my act together and purchased tickets to a Saturday performance of Bellini's Norma.

Wikipedia provides a far better synopsis of Norma than I can. I have to say though, apparently, the themes of love and betrayal haven't changed a bit for at least a couple of hundreds of years -- though probably much much longer than that. There's a love triangle, there's a betrayed lover gone mad, there's the conflic between one's devotion to religion and one's love for a man, and there's the whole realizing what one's lost only after one has already lost it. The whole works. Overall, I think it was a chick flick, to put it in modern-day vernacular. The singing was beautiful. I was warned by "Opera 101" that projected English titles might be distracting. And they were at times, though I thought generally helpful. And I found myself at times not looking at them at all, when the music was particularly moving. I think my favorite role of the opera was Adalgsia, not the title role Norma. I can't really articulate why though.

Anyway. I'm pretty happy with this experience. I think I'm going to have to buy tickets for the next show, "The Flying Dutchmen", an opera by Wagner. Should be fun.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

My website

It needs a redesign! Since I don't have time, please, somebody, help me!

Switching over...

Well, as of now Google literally controls my life. They have my email. They have my calendar. They have all my contacts. They even have all my Ph.D. research because they host my code. So if somebody at Google really wanted to screw with me and make my life a living hell, oh it's so easy. I use to blog on livejournal. But I figured, why the hell not just switch to Google for that, as well! So here I am.

I really don't know what to write. It's weird to blog about your life. It's just out there for everybody to see. Whatever I talk about, the people I talk about can read about it. So I'm just going to leave it at that. When I come up with something incredibly impresonal to blog about, I'll post it here.