I went out of the house a bit too though; hung out with a friend and went to go see the Tintin movie with my family!
Ever since I heard the about the movie in October I immediately made plans with my mother that we would go see it. My mom's been a big fan of Tintin since she was younger and through her, I was introduced to it too. Her brother (my uncle) had a huge collection of the comics and I fondly remember spending days in India just reading them all. Thanks to him, I own 3 of the comics and several dvds of the animated series. Even though I don't go to the movies often, I was very excited about the film so it was a nice bonus that a big name like Steven Spielberg was in charge. The film itself was also animated, but realistically so. I can't explain too well so you'll have to search for pictures. I'm glad they did it this way so they could capture the iconic appearances of the characters. After all, I think it'd be difficult to model an actor's hair exactly like Tintin. I'm assuming the movie wasn't traditionally animated to avoid looking childish...I hope they reached a bigger audience this way! Story-wise, they adapted the plot straight from the comics so it was nostalgic seeing parts that I had read a long time ago. I think they tried to make it have too much action though...lots of fight scenes. The best part for me though was the characterization! The Captain was spot on, from appearance to his trademark phrases ("Thundering typhoons!" ww) and his love for alcohol...though I think he was portrayed as an alcoholic a little too much. Tintin and Snowy were also great but I'm sad that there was no way to portray Snowy's thoughts. He was certainly a very realistic dog on screen but his running commentary in the comics made up most of the humorous parts. I was also really happy to see that they managed to fit in Bianca Castafiore, though at the expense of Professor Calculus. After the film, I rewatched all of my dvds of those particular comics and indeed, the Professor appears but not Miss Castafiore. Hopefully we'll see him in the next one...the movie had quite the open ending.
For Christmas, I got Last Specter which I'm working through now. (I can't stay up playing it though because my brother insists he watches me play and he's got an earlier bedtime :/)
I also got the DVDs for Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2! <3 One of them is a blu-ray disc though and seeing as we don't have a player, I'll have to go return it and see if I can get the normal version.
For the rest of the break, I have a lot of work up ahead. (But no schoolwork! Miraculously, I wasn't assigned any homework over break! *tears of gratitude)
I'm using this week to go clarinet shopping!!
My current clarinet is a Yamaha 20 (a discontinued student model) and while it's my best friend and has served me extremely well since 4th grade, my teacher says that if I want to continue playing seriously I should look into professional models. I'm inclined to agree. After all, my clarinet is very old now -- it used to be a rental instrument before I bought it -- and I know my tone isn't going to improve with the plastic model. It's kind of hard to hear now that my tone is terrible when I was praised so much for it as a child but I suppose it's a perspective thing. What was a great tone for a child isn't going to cut it now as I advance in my studies. The age of the instrument also starts to show as I have to take it in for repairs every winter...something my dad's wallet isn't very happy about. Of course, I'm not just going to abandon my old friend. I've decided to use it for Marching season and my new one for Concert season! It works out well because professional wooden clarinets are very sensitive to temperatures and it would be folly to bring it to our chilly morning practices.
The hardest part (?) is over, I've decided I want a Yamaha 650! Since I've been using a Yamaha for so long and enjoyed it, I don't want to part from it, and especially not for a Buffet. (Buffet is like the Gucci version of clarinets.) They're super expensive and every other clarinet player I know has one. In this case, I guess my desire to be unique causes me to be biased but I've read reviews and it seems the Yamaha 650 is just as good as the Buffet E13, if not sturdier. Actually, choosing Yamaha over Buffet has nothing to do with price because good clarinets are expensive either way! T_T (Even more so because I bought my current one for only $200.)
All that's left to do is to go to stores and try some out until I find the perfect one!
Luckily I've already had the chance to try one...my teacher's very own! Since he doesn't play gigs anymore and it's been sitting on a shelf gathering dust, he let me borrow for the break and if I like it, he'll even sell it to me. However it hasn't been in for repairs for several years and needs some work so I'm not sure if I can evaluate it fairly....speaking of which I have no idea how to even go about finding the right one. ;;;; If I'm faced with a selection of all the same models, how can I tell whether one is superior over the other? I don't think my ears are good enough to tell >~< It's for this reason I've been putting off the store visit for so long...the music stores are far away and I don't want any visit to be a waste...
Also troubling me is finding a third solo piece for this year's clarinet exam. There are so many restrictions I have to place on it and time is running out (my fault, for procrastinating so much -.-;;). A clarinet solo from the Baroque/Classical period, around 3~4 minutes in length, "advanced" with at least 3#/b and an unusual time signature is good, available on smartmusic, with a tempo from adagio to andante. (Okay, the last one is my own preference. I have enough fast pieces on my plate right now and I don't think I can handle another.) Mostly issues lie with length, and then there are some pieces which I can't find available for purchase. I've given up finding a piece I like the sound of...I don't think I can afford to be picky with all of these restrictions. Anyway, I've given myself the deadline to find it by the end of today (my previous deadline was to find it by the end of yesterday =.=;;;) so I should quit this now and continue searching ------> !!