I think I just survived the craziest week and a half this year…

As of ten minutes ago, I survived the craziest week and a half this year. As a celebration, I’ve already mixed rice flour and water and that concoction is now steaming it’s way to being my breakfast for tomorrow – char kuay (or some of you may know it as fried carrot cake), my favorite food in the whole wide world!

No, this is not an April Fool’s joke!

Now why was the past week so busy? Especially when it was spring break and there was no classes? Here, let me list my ‘achievements’ for the week. (1) Well, I had the first of six or seven PhD exams during this break – I had to write two analysis papers on both very obscure pieces of music. That on it’s own took up almost 100% of my sanity, but I guess I was running at more than 100% because there was so much other stuff I had to do. (2) In terms of other work, I did organize and attend an amazing workshop with the awesome Tony Arnold. That was perhaps the highlight of my work week, and I felt like I had gained super powers from just sitting in her 4-hour workshop. (3) In addition to Tony’s workshop, I’m also done with the hiring and planning of New Music Brandeis’ final concert of the season. This sounds easy, but trust me when I say there were at least a hundred emails sent because of this. (4) Also, not only did I have to hire a bunch of musicians for NMB, I had to do the exact same thing for the Boston New Music Initiative, which includes a ton more personnel and is still a work in progress. (5) I did also look and listen through more than 260 entries for BNMI’s call-for-scores, and made decisions on what the organization can/cannot/should/should not program next season. It was fun, but it did also take about approximately 12 to 15 hours of my life! (6) I wrote, edited (and edited x infinity) my course blurb and first two assignments for a new course I’m teaching in Spring 2014 – Politically-Charged Music! Exciting times + insane amounts of educating myself coming up! (7) And after all that, I also did send out one application for a call-for-proposals.

All that work, but not a single note composed in the week! It almost feels like I didn’t do work at all. Right now, I’m dying to get back to my real work – writing music!

Now for the fun stuff we did this week, which really pales in comparison to all that work!

Saturday 3/23

We went to this Korean restaurant called Chocho’s at The Shops @ Porter for lunch with our friend Ben. I’ve known Ben since the very day I stepped into this country. Ben was my next-door neighbor in 2-West, actually all three of us lived in 2-West that year. Anyway, Ben is leaving Boston on Wednesday to go back home to Michigan to start a new life, so we had to say goodbye. More about lunch at Chocho’s another time.

After lunch, we went to get rental chairs for Jas’ grandparents’ first 90th birthday party the next day. Yes, both grandparents. Yes, 90. Yes, they had more than one birthday party. Almost-centurians for-the-win!

Sunday 3/24


Museum of Science, and beautiful sailboats on the Charles River.

Our other friend Ben (not the same Ben) and his girlfriend Pri were in town because it was spring break for them, so we met them and another friend Kevin for a day of fun at the Museum of Science in Boston. I’ve never been to the Museum of Science in Boston before, and now I have. I conclude that between the two science museums I’ve been to (the other being the Singapore Science Center), 90% of exhibits are the same and ‘teach’ the same things. In terms of space and layout, I do like the Singapore Science Center better. It is also bigger and has more hands-on exhibits, but the Museum of Science in Boston did have musical electricity, which does give it brownie points.

For dinner, we went with Kevin to (yet another) Korean restaurant called Bonchon in Harvard Square for Korean BBQ and wings. The wings were awesome, BBQ not quite. More on that in another post at another time.

Tuesday 3/26


Beautiful Seder plate and table!

It was Passover, and so we had a Passover Seder (basically dinner) at Jas’ parent’s place. It was nice, and everything was vegetarian, since Jas’ sister and brother-in-law were both vegetarians. I was so glad that I could just work all the way till 6pm and not worry about having to make dinner (as much as I love cooking, sometimes I just can’t think of food when I need to think of work.)

Friday 3/29

After spending the last six hours in school, we headed straight from school to Jas’ parent’s place in Lex. We had dinner at Jas’ parent’s place again because we need to rehearse to play at Jas’ grandparents’ second 90th birthday party. Aunt Boss was there too, and dinner was their leftovers from Blue Ribbon BBQ the night before when they celebrated Jas’ grandparents’ actual 90th birthday (I guess this means they had 3 parties in total?) We rehearsed two songs – “I Like Jersey Best” and “Cut the Cake”, and did a run-through for the traditional birthday song.

Saturday 3/30


Only managed to take one picture at the party, and this was before everyone came!

Grandma and Poppy’s 90th birthday party Pt 2! We were there early, and we came back late. There had to be at least 60 people in their house from all the different organizations they volunteer at – Arlington Friends of the Drama, Arlington Historical Society, Mass Bay, Tufts University – and neighbors, friends and family. I probably don’t have 20 friends that I would like to invite to my place for dinner, let alone 60! And, I’m not 90 or retired for 22 years. Yes, Jas’ grandparents are really amazing people, and the sheer number of people who came to the party was a testament to that. (Don’t forget to add the 40 or 50 or so people from their church that came for the first party the week before.) The ‘performance’ went well, and as usual, everyone’s in awe at how awesome my bass looks!

Sunday 3/31


The ham, and a dapper-lookin’ Jas!

Sunday is Easter, and you’d think that after so many days of partying, the newly 90-year-olds would have wanted a rest. No! In fact, they were up earlier than us to go to Easter service at church, then to come home to bake a whole ham leg in time for us to come over for 4pm dinner. I made a really awesome bowl of sour cream and chives mashed potatoes, and dinner was fantastic. We had a huge ham, mashed potatoes, scalloped sweet potatoes, asparagus, green beans and cornbread. Yum!

Then I came home and pulled an all-nighter, and worked my ass off all of today.

So here we are. In the time I took to write this, my steamed rice cake got cooked! It’s back to work tomorrow again, and this time, I want to write some music!


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