Friday, August 29, 2008

Unbelievable

When I woke up (oh... about 20 minutes ago) and learned that McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate, my first reaction was: a woman, smart choice, and my second was: who?

First off, Obama's speech last night was incredible; I can't remember ever hearing a speech that so movingly discussed hard specifics. There's more to be said about it, but suffice it to say: if you didn't see it, watch it on YouTube.

And now — back to the present — McCain has picked Palin. I still remember McCain from 8 years ago, so I haven't developed a kneejerk negative response to his decisions. Plus, she kinda looks like Tina Fey. Okay, let's do a little research. As I turned on my computer, the commentators commended McCain's choice. Picking a woman is a game-changer. Picking a woman may help him pick up disgruntled Hillary voters. Still, they warned about her lack of experience.

And then I found a few articles about her and — is he kidding? Let's get a few things straight: she took office as governor in December 2006. She hasn't even been governor for 2 years! And before that, she was the mayor and a member of the city council... of a city of 5,500! What a metropolis! 

One quick real-time observation: J-Mac's introductory address sounded a lot like... what does that remind me of?... oh yes! Obama's speech last night! He's just wholesale lifting key words and phrases out of Obama's speech and using them as though they apply to him or his policies. What exactly about McCain or his policies will "fight for the American people?" It's appalling... It looks as though McCain just picked her so he could talk about a humble background the way that Obama talks about his own humble background.

Remember, folks, just because Tina Fey did Weekend Update doesn't mean that Sarah Palin can be Vice-President.

Monday, August 25, 2008

One Week

Out of the stew of conflicting thoughts that is my mind, the one that emerges is how hard it is to nail down any one thought. This is probably as close as I can come: I am mostly very excited for the changes that lie ahead with intermittent bouts of worry and panic. I also feel that I currently underestimate -- or at least misunderstand -- homesickness at the moment. Only time will tell.

It still hasn't "hit me" (whatever that means) that a week from tomorrow, I will most likely be seeing the Berlin Philharmonic perform at Royal Albert Hall, but it has certainly begun to sink in that this is my last week to enjoy with family and friends. This weekend was a fun one, but it was tainted with a distinctive "last" flavor.

Things have fallen into place. Things remain that still need to be cleared up (getting a bank account is a big one -- I had no idea that it would be such a needless headache). 

I have heard many times that the educational system in the UK is very different than in the US (a reason that I wanted to study there, frankly), but just today while looking over the induction materials, I worried that I might not fundamentally understand the system there the way I fundamentally understand it here. A) I hope that this doesn't set me back initially and 2) the best way to combat "A" is probably to recognize that I don't immediately and innately understand it.

Thus far, I have been nothing but extremely pleased with everything about the RCM. They have three orchestral competitions a year (most good schools have only one and USC, which is the leader in this category in the US, has one every year in which there are something like a half dozen winners) and thus far everyone with whom I've spoken or e-mailed has been prompt, friendly, and helpful. This is a trend that I desperately hope continues.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Three Weeks

It has not hit me yet that I will be moving to another continent in three weeks. I wonder what it will feel like when it does.

In the meantime, here are some pics of our new place in London. It is very near the Acton Town tube station which is right between Acton and Chiswick high roads. Though our room is nice and big, we'll be sharing the house -- it's big: 3 stories, 6 bedrooms -- with people from all over the world.

Here's our street, "The Ridgeway"

The house.
The kitchen has two of everything because there's a lot of people.
And an outdoor space.
Our room. Well... we'll post another pic when it's actually our room.

All in all, we're both really happy with it. A 20-minute tube ride into town won't be so bad and the other people in the house -- thanks to Skype -- seem very nice.

Now all we need to do is finish the visa process...