Monday, December 24, 2007

Game On.

Well, here's something I can work on with nothing else going on between the holidays.

Merry Xmas, ya little jerks!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The best performance ever of "Stairway To Heaven"

I think it's really creative and cool that this was done.

Also, I'm getting hooked up with both volumes of 'Beat The Boots' by Frank Zappa, as well as mono versions of the Beatles' albums.

AND...on January 20th, Todd Rundgren will be in Indianapolis.

Life is good.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Good News and Mediocre News From Bloomington

I really don't want to depress you all with tributes to the two fallen Beatles (three if you really believe that Paul is dead), so I'll forgo that in favor of letting you know what's up with me.

The good news is I brought home all A's and a B this semester. May I never do an 18 credit course-load in one semester again. It's not that I really hated it so much as there was no reprieve. Two papers and a test one week. A paper and two tests the next. Quiz and a paper the following week - online assignments due weekly. It got to be a little too much at times. But, with a 3.63 GPA magnetized onto the fridge, I was able to handle it.

On the note of credits and all that, let me preface this by offering a warning of content that is probably harder to explain than it really is.

Math 025 - Pre-Calculus is one of the courses I'm taking this summer, to qualify my math requirement. However, it carries with it absolutely NO CREDIT. All other classes I've taken have been 3 or 4 credits. But this one? ZERO CREDITS. I found this out tonight, and purely by accident.

I had initially thought that I would only need 2 credits (I decided to only do five classes/15 credits for spring 2008) after the first summer session. And that's no biggie at all, just register for some elective course offered either in my department (Public Speaking comes to mind for this) or maybe a course in bowling or chess or something.

Nope. I'll need five credits...and that's the only requirement I need. By this point I will have met all three requirements of Arts & Humanities, Social & Historical Studies (both of which I'd checked off by spring 2006), and Natural Sciences & Mathematics, also Cultural Studies, Topics Courses, Intensive Writing, classes at the 300/400 level (they require 36, by June '08 I will have 58), and Foreign Language.

I need 122 credits for graduation. It's not a lack of concern that I won't find anything, it's just a bad calculation on my part had me convinced I only needed the math class for Summer Session I of 2008, then I'd be done. (Guess I really need that math course, no?) I only added the other two courses (History Of The Blues, The Music Of Jimi Hendrix) to balance out sitting through math, as well as having Hollinden again for a class. I had no idea I actually NEEDED the credits for those...

...So, the only cause for my exasperation is that my plans for summer school have gone from ONE class to THREE, then FOUR, and now...five. So much for working full-time during the second session.

And I'll need the money, because I signed on for the apartment.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Get the tissues - one of Frank Zappa's last interviews

It's really disconcerting to see Frank, the outspoken and opinionated genius, essentially stripped of all his pride...he still has an edge, though, and thank God. Probably one of the toughest videos for me to sit through. He might have been a brisk, at times a little too insensitive guy during most of his life, but that doesn't show here.


PS - 12/4 (the anniversary of his death) to 12/21 (his birthday) marks what Zappa fans call "Zappadan," a 17-day period where we celebrate his life as opposed to mourn.

PPS - If you think THAT was hard to watch, just wait till I find proper tributes to John & George!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Hello, It's Me

I'll get all suspense out of the way concerning my meeting with Hollinden by saying this: my pursuit of non-theoretical music studies is not happening. For one, I would have to apply to the school of music. That means AUDITIONING...

And as much as I admire Ruth Underwood's talent, I'm a rock and roll kind of a guy through and through.

Anyway, I'd essentially have to start over again, at the School Of Music. I was told some things about said institution that I feel ought to stay under wraps (self-imposed gag order), but MY OWN CONCLUSION is that the Jacobs School Of Music didn't become the 2nd most renowned music school in the country (second only to Julliard) because it boasted a liberal environment and did something other than hammer classical music into its students' heads (Because it DOESN'T!) Even jazz music is treated the same way as rock music, something extra for the kids to do in their free time while studying classical charts.

I really appreciate that Andy was honest about everything. He prefaces a lot of his personal stories in the Zappa class with "Now, I don't wanna bore you guys with my life story, you're hear to learn about Zappa, not me...", but I happened to enjoy all semester hearing about his own experiences growing up with the music. I've been into FZ for 7 years, and I can still tell you where I was, what I was doing, everything, with EACH album.

To get back to my point, my eyes were opened to the fact that the academic community is just like any other field, in that the powers that be see things with green-tinted glasses. (While that is a let-down, at least I heard it from someone that I respect NOW as opposed to someone I don't respect LATER.) I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised, but then I was so naive that I figured the academic community would be something like Oz.

With that all said, Andy encouraged me to stay the course in film studies - he even loaned me a book detailing rock music in film - rather than do four years as a music school undergrad, at which point grad school to study rock music would be "a crapshoot," and to pursue a line of study that could somehow incorporate film and music. The Beatles' movies are all excellent, and remarkably unique in their own ways, Zappa's movie '200 Motels' alone deserves a thorough analysis, and Ray Davies was practically bounced out of a financial backer's office in 1972 for proposing an idea that predicted rock video a full decade earlier.

Still, the fact of the matter is that I do enjoy writing about's just a very short list. My sentiment of "it's all been said before" about the old masters (Eisenstein & Chaplin) hasn't shifted. I could make my entire career out of studying their work and becoming a resident scholar on one or both of them - and it would only make sense that their paths eventually crossed: Chaplin hailed 'Battleship Potemkin' as the greatest film in the world. But honestly, I feel studying them would be almost a cop-out. If there's a message in a Chaplin film or an Eisenstein film, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see it. (Stalin correctly saw himself as the murderous tyrannical bastard in Ivan The Terrible, and he was idiot!)

Speaking of Ray Davies, I embarked upon my final creative project for the CMCL Department as an undergrad. It wasn't a movie, though I did help Shelley with hers - and it turned out excellent! Not to sound like an old man, but I was proud of her. My project was written. It was roughly six and a half years in the making: I adapted The Kinks' rock opera 'Preservation' into a screenplay. The first time I heard the album, it was all I could do but picture it in my head as a film...many years later, having learned all the technical details and jargon related to crafting a script, I made it happen. The whole thing came together in two sittings. The end result was 125 pages.

I'm not going to lie: I'm proud of myself, since this past weekend prohibited me from doing any work (and I don't regret it, I had a good time at home), I walked into the writing process thinking I wouldn't be able to complete it. But I did. My left hand is KILLING me, though.

Dad's interview for the church camp job is on Friday, the 7th. Feel free to contact him and wish him luck on that...unless he doesn't know you. That would be weird.

This weekend (and if my parents still read this, I would STRONGLY discourage Dad from reading this portion) I found at an antique store in Scottsburg the American pressings of A Hard Day's Night and Help!, Live At The Hollywood Bowl (something Dad has told me he wanted for YEARS), and the real gem was an ORIGINAL PRESSING of Magical Mystery Tour, complete with the 24 page color booklet inside. My old man is going to have the best Xmas ever.

Nick's senior pictures went's kind of strange, with Nick now being an adult, to realize that I like my brothers not because they're my brothers but because they're my friends. I don't know...pardon my odd sense of nostalgia.

This is, for me, a rather sad stretch of days. This past Thursday marked the 6th anniversary of George Harrison's passing, yesterday (Tuesday) was the 13th anniversary of Frank Zappa's death, and this Saturday is probably the toughest one, as it is the 27th anniversary of John Lennon's murder. (Also would have been mine and Shelley's 2-year anniversary...) Amidst all that is my mom's birthday, which like I said was kind of a breath of fresh air among all the projects and papers due during my 5th "dead week," which, like all the others is not so much dead as it is kicking and screaming.

On that note, I have to watch a Mongolian documentary and write 8-10 pages about it by 2:30. My poor left hand...

Expect some sort of tribute to three of these deceased idols of my youth next time around.