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Travel bento for the plane ride to LTS: char siu bao (a Vietnamese version that I bought at the local Asian grocer’s), stuffed manzanilla olives, orange wedges, two grape gummies, green tea mousse Pocky. [I ended up being hungrier than expected by the time I got to the airport, so I supplemented this lunch with some food bought in the terminal — a bag of salt and vinegar kettle chips and a bottle of water].

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Since coming back from speaking at the LTS conference (and visiting my bf) last weekend, my life has been absolutely frantic. In addition to the regular hectic-ness of department-sponsored events and extracurricular stuff (writing workshop at the center for the homeless, Hosea study over the phone with my bf), a group project that took 5 + hours over the course of 3 days to complete, summer job applications, and news of the development of some serious health issues for an immediate family member of mine have left me completely drained. Tonight, I skipped Bible Study (since my regular ride wasn’t going, anyway) and have spent the evening pleasantly resting instead. Probably not the wisest of choices considering my schedule in the next couple of weeks, but it was much needed.  A close friend from college called me and we had a long chat – it was really good to hear from her, as I haven’t had the chance to talk to her much since her wedding in October.  Since then, I’ve just been hanging out, doodling a birthday card for a girl in my program who’s having a party on Saturday, and listening to music by artists whom I’ve mainly discovered through the awesomeness that is Pandora.

Before I got to college, I didn’t really have much in the way of “musical tastes.”  At least, not in the way of pop music. I listened to mostly classical and Broadway music in high school, and never had the patience or the interest to spend my pocket money on tons of used CD’s like my brother did.  I did like Newsboys and They Might Be Giants — and a handful of individual songs I’d discovered through dances at CTY and the radio in the lab during my summers at Cornell.  But I guess I never really invested the time to cultivate an individual sense of musical taste.  (Sure, I had, and have always had, specific tastes in terms of the classical and show music I performed on flute and piano, but I was never really “in tune” with the contemporary music scene).  In college, I had high speed internet for the first time, and lots of opportunities to listen to music while writing papers, and so I discovered YouTube music videos — which led me to Sixpence None the Richer, Clare and the Reasons, Belle & Sebastian, and Ingrid Michaelson.  I also became a big fan of Vienna Teng after hearing my friends play some of her more popular songs, and then exploring her full albums while looking for textural music for my audio essay class.  In the last year or so – through senior year, and into this first year of grad school – I’ve started using Pandora really heavily while writing papers or relaxing.  It’s an easy way to listen to music that you already know and to try out new artists — without having to fret over choosing a playlist.  My Ingrid Michaelson and Vienna Teng stations have led me to artists like Sara Bareilles and KT Tunstall, and my Sixpence station has led me to more folksy/bluegrassy-sounding stuff (like Abigail Washburn). (I also have a Belle & Sebastian station, but I find that it’s more hit-or-miss).  I still have my old standbys – I have a couple of showtune stations based off of Kristen Chenoweth and Idina Menzel’s voices, a Romantic period piano station, and some awesome worship stations based off Newsboys and Jars of Clay.   But for the first time, I really feel like I’m starting to develop personal taste in music.  I can listen to the radio and recognize a few songs here and there.  I can pick out what I like/dislike about particular artists’ work (for example, the thin quality of Regina Spektor’s voice annoys me at times…) And I can name bands and artists instead of just saying, “um, I like this one song that goes like this…[hums a few out-of-tune-bars]…but I can’t remember the name.”  This weekend I explained what twee pop was to my boyfriend.  And was able to hold my own in a conversation about the differences in our musical tastes after we realized that I was passing over some of his favorite songs in Rock Band (he really likes rock ballads and 90’s alternative), whereas he was passing over some of mine (these days, I’m all about indy bands with more folksy/classical elements in their instrumentation).  It was a cool feeling.

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