* Last weekend, pittenweem hosted a lovely Burns Night celebration, complete with neeps, tatties, haggis, and much music and amusing readings.
* Over a week ago now, forthright gave an engrossing, accessible, and well-constructed paper on the historical use of numerals. It was well received - several people commented to me in the following days that it was a particularly good paper.
* C. returned from a week in Mexico for work. A light flurry of snow, accumulating to an inch, welcomed him back, since he'd missed Tuesday's extravaganza.
* Friday night was festive. I went to music night for the first time in a while and stayed to the end. John Steele, a postdoc in my department, showed up, which meant there was a greater quantity of Celtic music than usual added to the mix. Afterwards, I was still excessively wide awake, and so joined C. at a party over at Grad House.
* I went to two COC operas with pittenweem this week: Falstaff and Turandot. Falstaff is technically the more humorous of the two, but I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as Turandot. In both operas, the plummiest music and the most outstanding voices were in the parts of the young women, Nannetta and Liè. All of the parts were competently sung, but in both cases, the women playing the young women of the two operas were delectable to listen to.
Falstaff: The plot stucture probably bothered me more than anything else in this opera. What's the point of the third act? Wasn't the second one sufficient for dealing with Falstaff? Any plot which ends with the moral "Everyone's a fool" is fundamentally depressing, since that's the point of that whole body of literature. It was a very competently performed opera, but I don't think my heart was in it that day.
Turandot: Yes, it's a misogystic opera at heart, but why, oh why, did they have to do in Turandot's character's strong independent woman through their staging? She simply doesn't belong in a veiled wedding dress in the first act for any number of reasons: she has no intention of being married; and she's veiled, which ruins the plot device of Calaf seeing her face and falling in love with her. Also, in the third act, during Calaf's and Turandot's duet, Calaf tears off her overcoat: in this symbolic world, that spells echoes of rape, completely uncalled for under the circumstances, and rather jarring. The staging was effective, even if I didn't like the transitions, where they wheeled levels of it in and out. Also, I didn't particularly like the symbolic uses of staging, such as Turandot going down a level for every riddle which Calaf gets right. (Irrelevant Hint to Turandot: his name is Rumplestilzkin!)
* HSX Oscar Warrants came out, and all of our accounts are equitably soaring into the stratosphere. I'm hoping heavy investment into the Producers stock yesterday will help me edge closer to snowdrifted.