Aug. 24th, 2010 06:50 pm
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I recently received this letter from a doctors' office I used to go to when I was living in another part of NJ:

"Dear Patient,

On May 1st of this year Aetna reduced their reimbursements for office visits by an average of over 20%.  This puts their fees for office visits at less than 70% of what Medicare allows.  We are not able to deliver quality care at this level of reimbursement and are therefore forced to withdraw from Aetna effective January 1, 2011.

We have spoken to our representatives from Aetna and have been told that there are no negotiations and that Aetna is giving the same reimbursements regardless of quality, patient satisfaction, electronic health records or any other measure of physician practices.  We have been given no explanation for these cuts and they occur while Aetna profits are up 42% for the last quarter."

Add this to the list of things that disgust and enrage me beyond measure.

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from Matthew Guerrieri's review of the SICPP Iditarod concert in the Boston Globe....
"Among unfailingly excellent performances, a few stood out...soprano Pamela Stein’s rich dramatics in George Crumb’s “Night Music I’’"

Check out the full articlehere.

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I actually cried tears of joy when it was announced that Obama won.

My hope is renewed in my country, my future, and myself.

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Senior year I took a class at Princeton called "Medical Anthropology". On the first day of class, the professor showed us this Brazilian film called "The Isle of Flowers". It stayed with me for years after I saw it. So I'm sharing.
This is the Island of Flowers. It is a real place. There is no God.
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I'm doing a friends clean-up and then this journal is going friends-locked.

If you want to continue reading, please identify yourself in a comment. 
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Protesters in Belgrade attack U.S. embassy

"In the short term, analysts said an anti-European Union backlash would gain force after the West's support for an independent Kosovo." 

Um, did the analysts say this before or after this riot broke out?

I have more opinions about this but I'm curious to hear what other people think about the recognition of Kosovo as an independent state.  (Russia seems to be one of the few countries not recognizing it while the U.S. and several other European countries are.)


Feb. 19th, 2008 06:30 pm
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I am still so restless.  I can't sleep because I feel like I'm crawling out of my skin.  Something needs to happen, soon.  

I am so disillusioned with music.    Some thoughts...



At the end of the day, how do I personally account for the knowledge I have acquired?  I don't know, but I need to find a way that does more for the world than just comment on feelings about situations.  I need to change things.  But how?

Russian lessons are still going well.  I seriously learned the equivalent of about half a semester's worth of material in two hours yesterday, so I have a lot of studying to do before my next lesson. 

I got a lot of mail today, including a score of Haydn's Creation (one of the pieces I'm singing in as a soloist this Arkansas), and an application from NYU CGA.  Even though, you know, I already picked up an application when I went to the info session, but, okay cool, now I have two. 
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 At the beginning of my Russian textbook, the "cast of characters"  who are going to speak to each other in dialogue throughout the book are introduced.  Here is the actual page.  Check out VIKTOR:
Wow, you know, that could mean a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT of things.....
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Can't I just get paid to get people drunk and get them to spill dirt while I listen and take note?  It seems I'm really good at it.  My life is the information super highway. 

I keep thinking of that woman from the University of Cambridge Genetics Knowledge Park who came to give a lecture at Princeton when I was a senior, and she said something like, "At the end of the day, how do we account for the knowledge we have acquired?"  I've been thinking about that a lot lately.

Its not enough to create commentary.  There has to be action.

In more interesting  news, I heard Ken Starr speak today at Columbia. 
And I'm sad about this.  Congressman Lantos was my friend Charity's grandpa.  And he was a great man. 

I'm in Baltimore tonight.  This is all so random...
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I found another program I want to apply to.  It makes even more sense than med school:

Center for Global Affairs

Think about it.  I like languages and other cultures, I like to travel, I'm interested in history and political science, and I get restless being in any place for too long,   Hell, that's half the reasons I wanted to study opera in the first place!

Yes?  YES?
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-I got a REALLY AMAZING offer today from one of the summer festivals I applied to.  I will reveal all the details once I get the official letter (today I got a phone call from the director of the festival) but they're having me perform as a soloist in MULTIPLE orchestral works and chamber works.  And they're covering my expenses.  SCORE!

-I confirmed that I start Russian lessons on Monday.  I've been doing all the arrangements for lessons through this teacher's son.  Today, as I was just getting off the phone, he added on a sort of side note, "By the way, just so you know, my mother doesn't really speak very much English."  So I guess I'll be learning Russian via the IMMERSION technique! 

-Even this great offer from the festival hasn't really done much to increase my feelings of self worth.  I don't know what to do about that.  I wish I had the confidence to set boundaries with people, to tell them, "you're hurting me," and not let them talk their way out of it and turn it around on me.  How did I let someone negate my feelings so much and put me in this place so low?
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-Next week I'm going to an info session about the Columbia University post-bac, pre-med program.

-Later that night, I'm going to the Bang on a Can Peoples' Commission concert at Merkin Hall.  Hopefully some new music will inspire me out of my present lack of enthusiasm for my chosen career.

-Next week I'm also going down to Princeton to record some arias for a competition.  I hate the arias.  I think music like this has no artistic value other than as an exercise in egotism for the singer.  I usually don't do competitions because people who sing crap like this are usually the people who win.  Doing music I don't believe in is draining. 

-I start Russian lessons soon. 

-Last night I met some cool kids from Juilliard (some who graduated, some who go there, some who teach there) who are in charge of a concert series that sounds pretty cool.  They checked out my website and emailed me today and were like, "Yeah, come work with us."  That's cool I guess.  They seem to do a lot of new music and contemporary stuff on the series.  And one of them has a brother doing immunology research at Hopkins.  And his wife is a mathematician.  He thinks I should meet them both.  Maybe if I find enough people like that, I can get them all together and we can develope a whole new field of research.

-I'm finalizing plans to visit my uncle and aunt and watch how research goes down at Yale. 

-I've been invited down to Miami for something music-related but I'm not sure if the invitation may have come because of something non-music related.  I'm leery and pessimistic. 

-My insecurities are strangling me.  In music, love, and everything else.  I have lost my ability to trust anyone with my heart. 


Feb. 4th, 2008 08:28 pm
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In honor of Markusha's birthday, where ever he may be, a random and humorous skill set evaluation.

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Wow, the story just sprouted legs and now we've made news in Time Out New York!  With a link to the sequenza21 blog with my name in it.  Wow.
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I'm mentioned on the home page of Sequenza21.  Too bad its because the Ico Music Series just fell apart....

Wow, Mom

Jan. 16th, 2008 11:31 pm
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More pearls of wisdom from my mother: "Negligent Homicide...its like Jumbo Shrimp!"


Jan. 1st, 2008 10:22 pm
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Best New Year's Ever. 
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 I'm back from my little excursion down to Baltimore for the performances of Ophelia Forever.  Here are some pictures from the production:

Time to apply to the Bang on a Can Festival and the Norfolk Festival, and time to find some more singing jobs!  I don't like to waste a single minute.  Oh, and yeah, there are auditions for Jerry Springer, the Opera taking place in Washington D.C.   Very tempting, but also maybe a little far away.  We'll see.   The Metropolitan Opera is also holding auditions to be in their opera chorus in just a few weeks.  I'm still debating over whether or not to go.  If I go and have a crappy audition, they may never hear me again.   So I have to either go in solid or not go in at all.  The weird thing is that its being done "cattle call" style, which is just totally strange to me.  I don't know.  Anyone else going?  Advice?
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I had my Britten-Pears Festival audition today and it went SO well!  So much better than Tanglewood.  I'm really happy.  The audition pannel even said I did an amazing job and asked me some questions about my work in contemporary music when I was done.  Guys, they NEVER do that!  I'd say there's a good chance I'll be heading to the UK in May!  Keep your fingers crossed for me!  (Unfortunately I won't hear back from them until March.  They do an international audition tour, so they have three more months of auditions to hear before they send out decisions.)

Tomorrow I head down to Baltimore and begin final rehearsals and performances for Ophelia Forever.  I can't wait!!!


Dec. 1st, 2007 01:04 am
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BUT, my day turned around because [profile] ladymeg1 invited me out to some fun NY events, including a Glamour Magazine/Patrick McMullen party at Tahari in the West Village, a GQ event where we got some freebies, and  a Tribeca Grand event.  All of these were exclusive, invite-only  events. So I felt special.   Patrick McMullen took a picture of us at Tahari, (and told us we looked like Glamour Girls!) and it ended up on his famous website.  Apparently New York's top socialites are rated by how many times they show up on his web site (because his team takes pics at all of NY's most exclusive events).  So again, something cool that redeemed the day from the suckiness of my bad audition.

So, enjoy some pics:
Here's Megan and I looking fabulous:

Of course when I got back to my car, which was all the way uptown, I had TWO parking tickets!  Ugh.  Parking meters that go until 10 pm?  On the upper east side?   *Sigh* Oh well.

Have fun in San Diego, [profile] mechanyx!!!   ;)  We need to create a whole new generation of classical musicians who live like rock stars.
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