Friday, August 31, 2007

Front-Page News

In case you didn't know this, both Princess Diana and Elvis Presley are still dead. All the networks are making this certain for the American public, and you know something? I'm glad. Because if there's something that we the people need to be reminded of, it's none of these things:
+ Extraordinary rendition
+ Rep. Kucinich and his movement to impeach the Vice President
+ Sen. Clinton admitting to kissing lobbyist's asses
+ Scooter Libby's commuted sentence - tantamount to a pardon

No, no, it's more important that we the people are told instead about Lindsay Lohan getting let off the hook for cocaine possession, and that a non-political figurehead whose charity work sadly died with her (Diana Spencer, former Princess of Wales) and a bloated, once-relevant crooner (who else?) are still dead. Instead of accepting their demises and moving on, it seems urgent that we discuss new evidence coming to light concerning their deaths.

It doesn't matter. Debunking a non-existent conspiracy theory won't bring them back. Besides, after ten years in the ground, Diana won't exactly look ripe anymore. It's been thirty with Elvis. He may very well just be bones by now.

Why are we so inclined to commemorate the anniversary of somebody's death? Is there more to it than the fact that the number of years that has passed ends with a zero? Rubbish.

We are a people obsessed with death.

You know who else died around the time of Elvis?

Nobody big...
His death is as unheralded right now as it was back in 1977.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

This is pretty much awesome...

I think Prof. Hollinden (instructor for the Zappa class) likes me. He asked for a show of hands for who had more than 10 Zappa albums, then 20, 30, was down to me. He asked me how many I had:
"Well, it might be better if I tell you which ones I don't have..."
It's only four albums, not counting the posthumous material. And even some of that I have. Thank God for Bit-Torrent.

Monday night I had the worst case of insomnia since Shelley and I broke up. I must be extremely sensitive to caffeine...anyway, I went to bed at 6:30 AM and woke up at 8. From that point onward, I was up and in class until 9:15. In the evening. Kate came over around 11:40, and apparently I'd slept for an hour before she came up.

"It’s getting late
To give you up
I took a sip
From my devil's cup
It’s taking over me

You're too high
You can’t come down
Something in the air
Spinnin' round and round
Can you feel me now

With a taste of your lips
I’m on a ride
You're toxic I'm slipping under
With a taste of a poison paradise
I’m addicted to you
But I know that you’re toxic
And I love what you do
But I know that you’re toxic"
- Local H, "Toxic" (yeah, I know, it's a Britney Spears cover...but it kicks ass.)

All my classes are just fine. The great news (hence the title of this entry), however, is this:

We have a guest lecturer in the Frank Zappa class on 9/10. This alone had me excited.

It's none other than Jimmy Carl Black, the original drummer for The Mothers of Invention.

I honestly rank this above meeting Ringo Starr, as awesome as that would be.

Anyway, this weekend Bill Bowser is coming up for a long-overdue visit. Tonight is my first screening for the avant-garde film class.

Which reminds me, Shelley is in that class, too. The Zappa class ends right at 4, the film class starts at 4. I've emailed my instructors, and I think I'll just show up a few minutes late to the film class. (Ah, just like high school...) Anyway, Joan (my instructor) was giving me a syllabus and a notecard to fill out. Right as I'm walking by Shelley she motions for me to sit next to her. I decline, and she acts a little huffy because apparently she'd saved a seat for me.

*rolls eyes*

Since the film class gives an intensive writing credit (and I've already done one with the same instructor) I get to do a final project instead of a big-ass paper. I guess I can consider it my senior project, as this is the last Communication and Culture class I'm doing as an undergrad. It's weird to think in those terms, but here I am.

I had a dream that I had a comment on here from "Dad." I don't know if it really was the old man, but I remember it not bothering me as much as it might in real life.

My phonetics instructor looks like Bianca Jagger.

That's all I can think of for now. I should finish my email to m@ and then shower and eat.


Monday, August 27, 2007

First Day Of School

I have a class today, at 5:45. To make it better, it's the one class I'm taking because I need a specific credit (science.) It's a phonetics course. It shouldn't be too hard, but compare that to tomorrow's schedule:
The 1960's
Paris & Berlin In The 1920's
The Music Of Frank Zappa
History Of American Avant-Garde Film
The Music Of The Beatles

In other words, the one class I'm not crazy about is today. Oh, well.

Someone I had a crush on back in February apparently had a crush on me back then, too. Only problem was, I was taken and so was she. We're both single now, and I'm sure it doesn't take a rocket scientist to infer that we've been hanging out and talking a lot.

I don't know where it will go, but I don't care. I've got five years of school left (at least), and I'm in no rush to get married.

I do know that I'm having fun, and it's a surprising turn of events.

Yesterday I went to Eric's graduation party. It's weird not living with him anymore, let alone knowing it may be a while before I see him again. I don't know, it seems in my life that everyone goes through transitions at roughly the same time. My brother Eric is so close to an engagement that I can smell the wedding cake now; the other Eric is back home after completing college; I'm enjoying being single; my brother Nick is a senior in high school and considering IU for next year...

...All this excitement and class hasn't even started yet.

Beyond being in a new building, hanging out with new faces, I'm also quitting smoking. Finally. It only took me two years. Change is nice.


Friday, August 24, 2007

A Very Good Week, With One Exception

Meeting new people, new location, new's all been great.

However, the bookstore wouldn't take my debit card today because the money put on it this afternoon had not been validated yet.
Here's what I have to say to that:

Again, other than that it's been good. Some nice twists and turns to keep you interested. But I don't kiss and tell who it was.


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Remind me to tell you this later.

Somebody, anybody - remind me to tell you guys about what I did last night...true to my own personal form I'm back to staying up past the point of it being "late" and well into it being "early" and indeed the time of day where most other people have woken up.

And what an adventure last night.

Again, remind me. I need some rest.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Insomniac Ramblings Phase I

One thing I should make clear right now: I get insomnia. Not often, but often enough to convince me I won't be one of those people who spends a whole third of their life with their peepers closed. No way. I've never been a sound sleeper, not even when I was an infant, apparently.

The problem is I think too much. Right now, I've got a project on my mind. To make things worse for this workaholic, it's an unfinished project. This summer session I've been taking a 16mm film production class. Our final projects are due Wednesday morning. I started editing tonight by cutting the scenes out individually...then I accidentally wound up getting them all out of order.

Before I continue with that, let me say that this was not my original plan for the night. I was going to go out with a girl. I don't know if it could be called a date because I really am not sure where she stands on the subject of me. Anyway, Saturday night I asked her if she wanted to go out last night (Sunday). She agreed, we exchanged numbers, etc. Coming over to her house, I asked her what she wanted to do. Turns out, nothing. Not anything by my doing, just some weird timing: her ex-boyfriend who was studying abroad is going to be back in town and wants to see if things can be worked out.

Right place, wrong time. I told her she was cute, and that if things didn't work out with that guy we could still hang out sometime. She was quick to say she does now have my number. Who knows.

Sometimes I wish I had Mel Gibson's ability like in What Women Want. I wouldn't use it for bad, just to see if a girl really thinks well of me or if she's just being nice to this mug with holey jeans and a Zappa t-shirt. Another thing is I'd have to be able to turn the power off and on at will. Can you imagine being on the phone with a woman while having that ability? You wouldn't know what to respond to! Anyway, having that ability could in many cases keep me from investing my time in someone who might not feel the same.

So. Anyway. My plans changed, so this girl's housemate - my ex-girlfriend Shelley - and I went over to Mottier Hall to begin editing our film. Under the bizarre impression that I was somehow tired, I decided to only cut my scenes apart and piece them together later. As I was hanging my film up on the hooks, I dropped some of them onto the floor. So now I have maybe 50+ scenes OUT OF ORDER that I have to put back IN order sometime today (Monday) and/or tomorrow (Tuesday). That is dominating my thoughts right now, wanting to go over to Mottier and at least sort it out. I keep thinking not just WHAT needs to be done, but HOW I'd go about doing it. I picture it in my head...and I cannot sleep as a result of it.

I ought to also come out and catch you up on anything you may have missed since I closed down my blog in mid-March, when I stumbled upon the horrifying (and yet true) notion that my parents had read EVERYTHING on my blog, from January 2006 to March 2007.

Let's start at the beginning:
At the end of Spring Break, I decided to take Shelley back. To make a long story short, things were fine for a while, but then she became a bit of a burden. I began to emotionally detach myself from her.
Summer classes started the Tuesday after finals week on May 8th. I moved in with my friend (and former Heliocentric) Eric Condon and his friend Andrew Keeler in a tumble-down rat's nest just east of campus. Shelley moved to a house on 2nd Street and had two, then later one, housemate.
I wound up making straight A's in my Communication and Culture classes, a C in Latin 250, and an A+ in my Czech Film and Literature class. My final paper for said class was submitted to an international writing contest at my instructor's request. Needless to say, I was floored by that. I didn't win anything, but that's certainly resume fodder, right?
On May 14th Shelley and I broke up.
Shelley is a great person, but her only obstacle in life is herself. I told her just last week if she could see herself through my eyes for a nanosecond she would not need therapy.
A few weeks later I started dating a girl from Seymour two years my junior - Melanie. Things were smooth and happy the whole time. However, we called it off after about 6 weeks so that we could both have breathing room once school started back up. (Mind you, she is going to be a freshman @ IU this year, so this isn't a matter of age disparity so much as this is something she needs to experience on her own.)
For a while I was kind of an ass to Shelley. I blew her off and didn't regularly speak with her. After Melanie and I broke up, we reconnected, deciding to be friends. It wasn't easy for either of us to pick up and move on, but it is what we need to do. We're now very close friends.
My first class was Writing Media Criticism, which gave me my Intensive Writing Credit. Since I'm doing another Intensive Writing course this fall, I don't have to do the final paper. Instead, I can do a project. It's with Professor Hawkins, who I had for Experimental Film last fall, and this fall it is a course on Avant-Garde Cinema. What the difference is between "Avant-Garde" and "Experimental" film, I don't know...but what I DO know is I am doing another video project.

Maybe I can do a follow-up to Insomniac Romance?

Music-wise, Eric and I jammed a lot this summer. Among our cohorts included Adam Gratz, Blake Thomas, Eric DiBlasi Sr., (with just me and Gratz) Adam Duckworth, Nick DiBlasi, and Keeler.
After class this week, I'm off to Alabama with Eric and a bunch of his friends, all but one of whom I have met at least once.
Speaking of Eric, my older brother isn't married yet. But that's his thing. He's no idiot - despite my many claims to the contrary - and I know he is waiting for the right time, never mind the right amount of money to call a nest egg. Jokingly I asked him who his best man would be, and he said with all sincerity, "I don't know, I was thinking you."

All I can say is that I'm flattered and would gladly accept, I just hope they allow me time to concoct a speech that is both witty and poignant. And not in the least bit cheesy or cliched. That's not easy to do.

Finally, let me say that it's good to be back on the Internets. I've missed being able to write out my thoughts and get feedback on it. My relationship with my parents has dramatically improved since March. Are they perfect? No, but whose parents are - honestly.
Anyway, what really had them vexed was all the negativity I expressed about them in the heat of the moment. That and the usage of the work "fuck." (Oddly enough, I don't use it a fraction as much in my vernacular as I do in my writing.) And the fact that they learned Shelley and I were living together. (Which is something I have absolutely NO interest in anytime soon. And by soon I'm talking YEARS from now...) They could assume the worst from what they read and probably have been 110% correct.

Last thing: I've decided to go for my Ph.D. (or "Phud" as Ringo calls it in Yellow Submarine) in Communication And Culture. This program doesn't seem to exactly be blossoming careers at the Bachelor's Degree level. Anyway, I'll be teaching your children about film analysis and history. Between me and your children, I really don't know who to feel more sorry for.


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Top Ten Things That Grind My Gears About Driving - Tirade #1

I've been driving a LOT this summer, and the resultant stress suggests to me some bold statement of the human race, specifically American society. Many of these go without saying, but still.

Let us start:

10.) SUV's - This would normally be higher on my list, but there's far more heinous out there in my opinion. What I've gathered from people driving SUV's is that they have a license to drive like they have nothing to lose. Granted, my metal-plated '93 Grand Prix can tear through those lame little fiberglass hulls like a hot knife through butter, but it can still be unnerving when I'm going 70 in a 55 zone and some baseball cap-wearing prick with a goatee goes flying by me in the passing lane. It's even worse on I-465 around Indianapolis.

09.) One-Way Streets - Bloomington is full of them, and I hate it. What would be a great idea on these one-way streets at stoplights is allowing people to turn left on a red light. Think about it: Bloomington would be a technically innovative city in that respect, they could lead the way for further practically adjusting otherwise ridiculous traffic laws.

08.) Volkswagen - This might seem prejudicial, but the average Volkswagen driver can be broken up into three categories: first, there are the burnt-out old hippies driving VW buses and old Beetles. They're not too problematic, you just have to think to yourself that the high point of their lives was Woodstock...maybe Altamont. Next, there are the gel-headed twerps driving Jettas and Passats; the way they drive you'd think they were commandeering a Ford Expedition. Finally, there are the stupid, stupid girls driving new Beetles. Check the back for Greek letters. More often than not, they are singing along to the latest release by John Mayer or Jack Johnson, oblivious to anything outside of their soundproof little death machine on wheels.

...and let's face it, Volkswagen's commercials bite.

07.) Asians - Nuff said.

06.) Frat Boys - Combine what I had to say about male Volkswagen drivers and SUV drivers, but with the thumping Black Eyed Peas date rape soundtrack rattling my fillings.

05.) Motorcycles - They're loud, the people riding them are either tough guys or plump 50 year olds who think that catching bugs in their teeth is adventurous, and if you so much as tap them with your car all of a sudden it's involuntary manslaughter charges, even though it wasn't your responsibility to put a helmet on him, thus preventing his brains from splattering all over the pavement like pink scrambled eggs. Never mind their tendency in the city to zip between drivers. Fuck 'em.

04.) White Boys Who Think They're Heavy Business - Honestly, knock it off. This isn't The Fast & The Furious, street racing is illegal and dangerous. Take that coffee can off your muffler, ditch the neon lights, and grudgingly accept that fact that it was only a movie. Welcome to the real world, where you actually have to work to earn money. Oh, also - fill her up with regular unleaded, please.

03.) Yellow Ribbons - Seriously, get off it. The damn things are made in China if that says anything. The war's a joke, too many people have died (and I'm not just talking about Americans), and it's time to hold some parties accountable, from whoever concocted the false evidence to lead us into Iraq right on down to the congressmen and women who voted for it. That's right, I said it. It's time for new leadership on both sides, especially since the Democrats cut a deal and delayed a troop pullout.

02.) Soccer Moms - I'd rather drive with a 15 year old girl than some doofy 36 year old Protestant mother taking her three little trained apes Hunter, Preston, and Mackenzie to soccer practice, piano lessons, Sunday school, or for their annual enema.

01.) Bicycles - There is a city ordinance in Bloomington insisting people on bicycles ride in the streets and obey traffic laws. Well, they're certainly all over the streets...but they don't obey stop signs. And it's easy for them to use the street when they're on one of the four streets in town with bike lanes. Honestly, repeal the law and get them on the sidewalk. Let them be the pedestrians' problem...they go a top speed of 20 mph, which can be a bit of an inconvenience if you're on the average Bloomington street where half of the pavement is clogged by a lane of parked cars. At least they wear helmets.