Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Site Modifications and Notes On Honesty

I updated my profile - it no longer says "I'm 20 years old and go to college."

Also, I added a poll (changed weekly - you've got till 2/19 for this one) and provided some web links for your perusal, including three blogs.

In other news, I am looking into possibly pursuing and Individualized Major if I am not accepted to the CMCL graduate program. My hopes were further crushed when I bumped into my grad student friend who helped me with my statement of purpose and wrote a letter of recommendation for me. One of the higher-up professors (who I assume is on the admissions committee) bent her ear back a little for writing her recommendation letter.

Apparently they wanted just professors. This has me more than a little concerned; for one, I asked for the recommendation from the grad student in question not as a friend, but as a former student of hers. Some of the questions asked on the recommendation form regarding my creativity, ability to work in a group, etc. could only be answered by her.

Also, does this mean my letter from my high school English teacher, who I had for three semesters and witnessed my evolution as a writer - also my creative skills and functionality in a group - is invalid because he is a "Mr." and not a "Professor?" Ridiculous.

For some strange reason, there really are 300+ applicants to 10 slots in the department. How's that for disheartening?

That all said, I'm not without options. Prof. Hollinden and I met Friday afternoon so I could show him how to navigate Facebook and MySpace as a means of promoting his music. We spent about 20 minutes working, then the rest of the time chatting about all things Zappa and music. He sponsors my friend Laura, who is in the Individualized Major Program for Rock and Roll History, and said him sponsoring me was feasible from his end.

I emailed the department secretary and was told their earliest date of availability to meet with me was Friday. I'm supposed to go home Friday to get my car looked at (why not Bloomington? I don't know. What I do know is I'll be driving a car that needs to be looked at over 60 miles of hills and curves in the dead of winter.) and see Nick in a musical play at the community theater.

Granted, I am well aware of the fact that Seymour is only an hour away, but some days it seems like an almighty divide.

Other departments I'm looking into include Comparative Literature (the department that people from CMCL say "used to" house the Film Studies program - it still does, according to their site, and offers film classes more in my line of interest), Ethnomusicology, and Western European Studies. This is for my second major, not graduate studies.

I admit, applying to other programs for graduate school might have been more apt. But then again, I was told not by an advisor in the department in September (when I started looking into all this) but by a student in January that there's a lot of applicants. Moreover, I wasn't told until January that I couldn't get all three degrees here. Just two.

So where will I be in five years? Ideally, I'd be at the University of California in Berkeley, getting my Ph.D. in film studies, and drafting up semester-long courses on Rock Music In Film and The Films Of Charlie Chaplin. Or I could be...somewhere else. I really don't know.

The Alex who wrote this blog a year ago, even six months ago, would have balked at the idea of uncertainty in his life. But I've learned to relax. I'll get to wherever I need to be in due time. Rather than jump the gun for what I will be doing this fall, I need to focus on my present courses. (They fall between "moderately interesting" and "pain in the ass.")

With all this stuff hanging in the balance, it's best to kick back and enjoy the suspense. Let's face it: how much more suspense will there be in the course of my life? Anticipating whether it's a girl or a boy, being considered for a pay raise...it's not like I'll wrap up college and live the life of James Bond. I have intentions of traveling, possibly in the name of "research," when in fact I really just want to see the world, but there's no international espionage involved.

Did I mention already in an earlier post that I told my parents about the apartment? Sorry if I did...anyway, they were a little upset they were committing their money to something "before [I] had told [them] about it." So I guess all the arguing in October about it was just hot air. "We'll pay for it, but you really should have consulted us first," which I did.

The email I sent detailing it all contained the costs. Even I was floored by the amount of money saved with the apartment compared to the dorm. And that was just using the dorm rates for 2007-2008. That says nothing of the fact that next school year the rates will only be bumped up.

We're saving something like $8,000. And instead of being told I'm a smart shopper, and to thank Graham for finding such a bargain, well, you saw.

One thing I still need to work on is being totally honest. (Like the fact that I signed the contract when I did, maybe? I'm not one to let people assume something false about me, but when Mom said, "You're just showing us that because you're 21 you're independent now," I realized this is one of the few times where it would be best for me to keep my mouth shut and let them assume. I would only be making it worse.)

If they ever did rediscover this thing, I'll say this: I wasn't 21 when I signed the contract. A series of events and holidays occurred that - at least in my mind - stunted the practicality of breaking the news. I broke up with Kate, then the GRE preparations began, classes escalated towards the end of the semester, Thanksgiving, the GRE, final projects, finals, Eric's engagement, Christmas, going to New Albany for New Year's, starting classes, and my birthday.

I wanted to tell them, and it wasn't easy NOT telling them. I wouldn't want to give off the vibe that I'm some pathologically lying sociopath. There certainly was a burden of guilt on me, wanting to tell them but waiting for the opportune time.

Anyway, yeah, total honesty. My roommate needs to realize his idea of joking by insults isn't funny, it's just rude, that he needs to respect other people's tastes and interests, and that he really, REALLY needs to learn how to apply deodorant. I know he has it, and yet...there's a funk hovering. And yeah, I hope he reads this. He needs to learn some elementary rules of social grace - like insulting a song when someone's listening to it, knowing when one has overstayed their welcome, engaging in conversation instead of forced awkwardness (because it's not funny,) and moreover when his friends cancel their plans with him, it's not because they're just "unavailable," they are deliberately canceling their plans with him.

Normally I would think that's mean...but just like Jim talking about Dwight, "I thought about all those pranks I pulled and how childish they were...and then he spoke." Just when I begin feeling some sympathy for him, *knock-knock*. There he is, wanting to hang out, and within five minutes I realize just why I keep my door shut and locked unless I'm shaving, showering, or shitting.

Everything is a joke to him, like the time he made me cook for the birthday party he threw for himself...and only three people attended. While I was in the kitchen grilling shit, I assumed he would join me to help. I walk back to the room, and he's grooming himself. And he didn't come to help me.

He doesn't realize that was the day I decided I hated his guts and wanted to knock his teeth out. To him, it's a big fuckin' joke.

You know what? I really hope he reads this. Someone needs to tell him, because anybody I know who meets him gets the same vibe.

As for other people, I really wish my brother Nick would reconsider being a preacher. He's too smart and talented in other fields to pursue a degree in an elaborate bedtime story for adults. My brother Eric needs to get out of Seymour, and I hope he thinks of his job on the radio as a stepping stone, not a career.

My parents need to get more sleep - being up until 1 AM and waking up at 6 or 7 is barely healthy behavior for a college student, never mind 50 year olds with jobs. And since Dad hates CVS so much, he needs to do something like put a career profile online and find something he would love to do. And as much as I love Mom, I don't care how much money the job she has right now yields...it is a ticking time bomb with regard to finances, and again - find something she loves. They both love working with kids, and yet their jobs don't allow that. (Mom used to work in the Pediatric ward at the hospital, and despite my claim that "Dad hates kids," that is nothing short than a dirty lie.)

I really don't think I'm going to work with Eric Condon again. At least not under the guise of it being a band. As a hired player, absolutely. I would be down there in a heartbeat. But I don't want to go down there thinking it will be collaborative. We're both talented musicians, and I love working with him, but it's his stuff. I don't write music, and like Brian Wilson or Frank Zappa he has an idea of what he wants his songs to be like before they are even recorded. And that's great, but I like where I am now musically where there is a four-man unit working together, and everyone's say is as equal as the rest.

Lastly, Kate was a terrible girlfriend. When I did see her, she could be insensitive to whatever was going on in my life - I don't even think she could feign excitement when I told her that Eric and I were for sure going to record the Hobbyhorse album - but expect me to be there for her when she was in tears due to homesickness or because so-and-so had been lying to her about her friend and starting a fight between them. In her sophomore year of college, and she's homesick and the victim of junior high gossip. I frequently got ditched by her on weekends because her super-bossy, overprotective roommate wouldn't ask, she would TELL her what THEY were doing this weekend. What's more, her roommate for whatever reason didn't like me. And any time I had a problem or a complaint, instead of just talking, Kate would storm out like a six year old brat and tell all her problems to...guess who?

Everything added up and came to a head that weekend in November. We had plans for Friday night, but her roommate wanted to hang out. As a matter of fact, I think Kate told me she had said she felt she wasn't seeing enough of her. They LIVE together. A few days prior they spent Halloween together while I hung out with Laura and Shelley, eating candy and drinking slushies from a gas station.

Anyway, I told her that we'd made plans to go out on a real date instead of just sitting around my room on a weeknight. Plans she'd agreed to. (This wasn't the first time this had happened.) She promised me she would go out on a date the following night. So I wound up chilling with Graham that night, and it was fine.

So was our date, actually. Afterwards, Shelley and I were going out for a cigarette, and we saw an ambulance outside. Our friend Andrei was there, and said, "Something happened with Kate." At first I thought he was joking, but then he told me that her roommate was arguing with her and she collapsed.

You better believe I was seeing CRIMSON. I could have kicked the door off of its hinges.

While we were sitting in the waiting room of the ER, Andrei was telling me that Kate's roommate was out drinking with him. She was going on all night about how she was mad at Kate for breaking her plans with her that night, and she didn't know where she was. Then their "friend" (the one who was gossiping between the two of them to start a fight) said that she'd heard Kate was going to be living with me next year in the apartment.

Let's make one thing perfectly clear: after dating Shelley, I decided living with a girl is about the dumbest thing one could do. I had established that fact with Kate. I told her that if we were still dating when I was in the apartment, she could come over all she wanted, but when it was bedtime I would take her to wherever she called home and sleep alone. I also let the world know I was living with my best friend and his boyfriend. Not quite the same as living with my girlfriend.

So when Kate's roommate heard this steaming pile of horseshit, she got even more angry. Andrei told me she had said to him, "You've got to be on my side with all this," knowing he and I were friends. That is what they were arguing about when she fainted of a potassium deficiency. And as I learned later, her heart could have stopped.

I'd had it with Kate being bossed around, and when I finally talked to her about everything the following afternoon, I mentioned everything Andrei had told me. She responded with, "Well, it's Andrei." Yeah...but why would he lie about all that? Never mind their so-called friend's reputation of lying for the purpose of instigating drama.

So I sent a long message to her roommate, leaving little room for decorum. I told her if she wanted someone to boss around she needed to adopt, if that provides any hint regarding its content. And to avoid any possible slant being put on it when it was inevitably shoved under Kate's nose, I sent her a copy, too. Kate wrote back to me saying she'd never been as mad at someone as she was right now, and that her roommate just came in thinking she was about to have another fainting spell...

...and I told her it was clear we needed to talk. And I wasn't going to deal with her stomping out in a flair of drama. We either talked or it was over. She came right up. There were a lot of things to talk about. She told me I was one of only four people she called a friend that she truly cared about and loved. None of the other people she named was her roommate. That was flattering. And I told her that she was being lied to about what exactly transpired Saturday night.

It was tough. I asked her to let me sleep on it, because I was on the fence over whether or not we should go on dating. When things were good between us, it was great. But there was a lot of drama, and while I'm not one to tell someone else what to do, she needed to get those two harpies out of her life.

She wasn't happy with my decision to break up, and wanted to maintain a friendship.

But, as was the case Friday when she saw me on the elevator with another girl (Laura) and said "Oh, I'm going to take the stairs," I'm pretty sure that's been ruled out, too. She might be passive, she might be a floor-mat for her "friends," she might be a total pothead...but I'll give her this much: she's smart.

See now why I didn't want to immediately disclose all of this information when it happened? Never mind all the ins and outs, but it encompassed a ridiculous amount of bullshit. He said this, she said that...blah, blah, blah. It's the kind of garbage I thought I was getting away from by going to college. But, as Condon pointed out, and it's only become more obvious to me...college is just advanced high school. It's easier to fit in because there's more students, but there's still drama, there's still sports, there's still white trash, there's still nutcases around that think Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and engineered 9/11. There are people my age who actually support Mike Huckabee.

Unlike Condon though, I can't be bitter about my place and time in the world. That's his problem: he and I are similar in that we hate stupid people, but he's too bitter. Daniel told me I was the only friend Eric really made in college. That is really, really sad. The lobby of my life has a revolving door, and sometimes people go in and out all too quickly (that's what she said), others stay on. Some people leave and come back, others don't. That's just how it is.

A year ago, Eric had just created the Hobbyhorse MySpace. Two years ago, I didn't know him, I didn't know what a Heliocentric was, and if you had told me I would spend a Friday afternoon visiting with Andy Hollinden I would have first said, "Who?" Then you would have said, "Oh, he teaches the Zappa class." And then I would have laughed.

Turning to the Gospel of Frank:
"You can be scared when it gets too real/But you should be diggin' it while it's happening/'Cause it just might be a one-shot deal."
- "It Just Might Be A One-Shot Deal", Waka/Jawaka, 1972.

You best believe I'm diggin' it. In many, many ways.

Oh, well. I'm happy where I am now.



Shelley said...

I like how your blog ended how you started. That's cool.

As I have said before, your plans for the future are good (including your back-up plans). I'm glad Future Alex (Andy) will sponsor you for your individualized major. Although, I'm not surprised he said yes.

I wouldn't say Kate was a terrible girlfriend, she was just stuck in high school/middle school relationships. I don't think she knew that she did things wrong.

And parents are parents. They are kind of like women: crazy and irrational.


m@ said...

All I have to say is that not all sociopaths are pathological liars.

Hey. I'm just saying.

Forrest said...

When you write your book (and I'm betting you will), I want a signed copy.

UptownHippie said...

Hey there. Your comments led me to your blog, and it was interesting to catch up. (Well, you know, virtual "catching up." I don't know if it really counts if it doesn't include actual speech.) So... Nick's gonna be a preacher? (Please, not a Baptist one... is he?) Eric's still in Seymour? Damn. Well, life goes on. Since my parents now live in Grand Rapids, I rarely even think about Seymour, except when FBC mails me the weekly bulletin. (Which is freaky - there was a point just after I left IU where I had six different addresses over the course of a few months, and they found my address quicker than the company that holds my student loans. Which... yikes.)
Anyway, good to chat with you, as much as this is chatting.