Monday, March 31, 2008

The End Of March...

Having the poll up saw 45 different votes. I have to say, to have 45 people vote means at least 45 people have seen my site. That's fairly encouraging.

Here's the final tally, with each response annotated by me:

Album Reviews

5 (11%)
I really miss doing album reviews. They are a little time-consuming, but worth it. Though I did do a review of each Beatles album in the late summer of 2005, I might have to revisit those albums. There's lots of reasons: the most obvious is that I'm far from the same person I was in August 2005. Also, having taken The Beatles class, as well as more independent reading on them, my views on a lot of the songs and albums have changed. Lastly, who here reading the site now read my Xanga besides Forrest and m@? Exactly. Expect album reviews in the future.

Be Less Personal

0 (0%)
I don't even know why I made this an option. Glad no one voted on it!

Be More Personal

41 (91%)
I could benefit from some feedback on this. How can I be more personal? Still, good to see you all want to know me better.

Be Less Political

5 (11%)
Ha, ha.

Be More Political

6 (13%)
The votes have been cast, and by a narrow margin, "Be More Political" was the winner!

Film Reviews

5 (11%)
I certainly would be inclined to write up a favorite movie (or a series of something) if I find myself sleepless and bored. You all could definitely expect movie reviews on the rare occasion I discover a great new (or old) movie. Movie reviews will come around sparingly.

Switch Around The Format More Often (Interview, etc.)

8 (17%)
I generally have the interview when a lot has gone on in my career as a musician, if I'm working behind the camera on something, or if a lot of time has gone by and I need to update fast. Expect at least one interview in the next month. Whenever I get back to writing lyrics or an occasional short story, those will definitely be posted here. Also, expect entries centered around random observations I've made.

Post Your Essays From Class

8 (17%)
Definitely need to do more of these. They're really easy for me to post, though my only concern with this is the fairly esoteric nature of my essay topics. Then again, at least m@ and Shelley have told me they enjoy learning new things from this blog. And what better way to raise awareness on a given topic than to read an academic paper on it?

Start Working On Your Music Project

5 (11%)
I have. Details to follow soon.

Tell Us Who Your Valentine Was

34 (75%)

My interview with the IMP committee is April 7th. That's the next big thing going on in my life, and I am nervous about it. I know exactly why I am, too: post-grad-school-rejection-jitters. Nothing else seems all that important besides the interview.

One last thing: today is March 31st. That means tomorrow is April 1st. This also means tomorrow is April Fool's Day. Since I've got the real-life embodiment of Dwight Schrute as a roommate, I'm sure you can put two and two together.

Special thanks to m@ for all the great prank suggestions! I hope to post pictures, pending my not getting arrested.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bitchin' News

The last couple of weeks, I knew about today where I had to go to what I called a "stupid little honors ceremony."

Turns out the Founder's Day Honor is what IU calls making Dean's List.




Thursday, March 27, 2008

Response to Tim's comment

I was going to respond to Tim (who I know through Dan Crall, one of the funniest and smartest guys I've had the pleasure of meeting) and his comment on my last entry on his blog, but my comment got way too long to be just a comment and subsequently (at least in my mind) worthy of posting here.
"What's going on with the ILWU? Seeing as I'm in landlocked Indiana, this isn't exactly their turf.

I don't know if I mentioned it in my entry, but dude...I saw through all the newscasts in June/July 2002 about Saddam. Smelled it from a mile away.

After "Mission Accomplished" was declared, I did a point/counterpoint in the school paper. My opponent called his "The Beginning Of The End" and mine was "The End Of The Beginning."

I wrote about how Iraq was bound to turn into Vietnam, where our soldiers don't know who they're fighting against and because of the insurgency are incapable of trusting any of the citizenry. I predicted the involvement of American corporations in the reconstruction, including corporations tied to members of the present administration. Also - I pointed out that scientifically, the chemical weapons WE GAVE to Saddam would be ineffective (shelf life, etc.) and that were he even to use them his best bet would be to throw rocks at his enemies.

The reaction? I had fellow students ridiculing me, one teacher took me aside and poked me in the chest while telling me I was a smart-ass punk, unpatriotic, Un-American, and that I didn't have any idea what I was talking about.

Oh yeah, and I mentioned we ought to be more concerned about Putin, North Korea, and China. In May 2003.

The lack of protest? It ties into there being no draft. That was what caused the mass disillusionment with Vietnam; nowadays people wouldn't entertain the thought of protesting - they might miss work or school or taking their kids to football practice in their Hummers. Taking action is just too damn inconvenient for the present generations...we're too fucking jaded.

I don't support the really radical 9/11 theories (the planes were really unmanned, bombs in the WTC, etc.), but it's on the record - courtesy of Richard Clarke and the Downing Street memo - that Bush was keen on spinning this to attack Iraq. The best comparison is Pearl Harbor: we knew it COULD happen but didn't take the threat seriously.

Also, to claim Bush engineered 9/11 is assuming a level of utter inhumanity that only a true sociopath could have, not to mention that's giving him (or anyone else in the Cabinet, Pentagon, or CIA) WAY too much credit in terms of intelligence."


PS - Also, if you haven't voted in my poll on the sidebar on the right, please do so! There's only four days left in this month!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Four Thousand

Just after the fifth anniversary of Operation Shock & Awe, the United States has hit yet another milestone: Four thousand citizens of the US serving in the armed forces have lost their lives.

While that is four thousand Americans too many, consider this:

The total loss of life for Iraqi civilians - ONE MILLION.

I'm a very wordy person. If there is something on my mind, I can almost always come right out and say it. However, in the rare case of the speechless horror I'm feeling right now, I turn to others.

As he addressed a Senate Committee on 5/17/05, British MP George Galloway said this:
"I gave my heart and soul to oppose the policy that you promoted. I gave my political life's blood to try to stop the mass killing of Iraqis by the sanctions on Iraq which killed one million Iraqis, most of them children, most of them died before they even knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other reason other than that they were Iraqis with the misfortune to have been born at that time. I gave my heart and soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did commit in invading Iraq. And I told the world that your case for the war was a pack of lies.

I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11 2001. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning. [Ed. note: anyone remember my piece in the Seymour High School newspaper where I said just that?! In 2003!]

Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.

If the world had listened to Kofi Annan, whose dismissal you demanded, if the world had listened to President Chirac who you want to paint as some kind of corrupt traitor, if the world had listened to me and the anti-war movement in Britain, we would not be in the disaster that we are in today."

Three years later, those 1600 deaths Galloway spoke of has increased by 3400.

In spite of the subtle advert for a certain nutjob Libertarian OB/GYN from Texas (Congressman Ron Paul), this video hits the nail on the head.

Fields Of Agony by No Use For A Name

How many people, how many have died?
I'm feeling lucky and afraid at the same time.
How many times have you sat home and wondered why?
We always hear about the U.S.A. but not the other side.

In fields of agony everybody dies.

How many humans, how many does it take?
We get a cedar box they get a body rake, yeah.
How many lives will it take before we can end this war?
Bring Johnny home soon, he forgot what it was that they were fighting for.

In fields of agony.

[Donald Rumsfeld]
"There are known knowns,
There are things we know we know.
We also know there are known unknowns,
That is to say we know there are some things we do not know.
There are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don’t know we don’t know."

I don't want to die or be sent home on a cargo plane,
A tag on my toe without my name because I'm one of a million.
A million, whoa.
How many weapons, how many do we need?
What about the economy, what about the economy?
You'll be the hero at the end of your catastrophe.
It can be stopped with unity with collaboration of
you and me, and human decency,
In fields of agony.

[George W. Bush]
"The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its Nuclear Weapons Program.
We cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun.
It could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."

I was too busy fighting back tears - and subsequently losing - to warn you of the graphic violence within the video.

I am sick of this fucking war. I am sick of this fucking monkey and all his little fucking minions, right on down to the paid-off propagandists masquerading as journalists and yes, every Congressman who opted for populism rather than common sense. It's all these morons can do now but tread water and say, "Based on the intelligence at the time, it was the right thing to do."

Really? REALLY? You mean the intelligence that was fabricated after Joe Wilson found NO evidence regarding Iraq importing uranium from Niger? Mind you, his findings were so controversial that Richard Armitage decided to leak the name of Wilson's CIA field operative wife (Valerie Plame) to conservative journalist Robert Novak, thus ending her career. Armitage was never charged. Nor was Novak. The one man found guilty, not of the actual act of compromising a CIA agent's safety/identity, but of perjury, was Lewis "Scooter" Libby. His sentence got commuted - read: pardoned - by President Bush, thus he served no jail time.

Or maybe you mean intelligence such as the Downing Street Memo?
7/23/02: "The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.

The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.

The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC [United Nations Security Council] authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case."

To the 77 Senators and the 296 Representatives who authorized military force, I must ask: how do you sleep at night? Knowing that your vote secured your re-election, allowing you to decide to oppose the war once the "Mission Accomplished" photo op was said and done?

Moreover - how could you be so gullible? Aren't you supposed to be among the greatest minds in the country? For that reason were you not elected to hold the great responsibility of making decisions for millions of fellow citizens, decisions that impact not just your American brothers and sisters, but our friends, enemies, and so many others overseas?

For any of you reading (Forrest, m@) who might not be politically aligned with any of the opinions I've expressed, I have something upon which I feel all of us can agree.

Instead of me sitting here trying to make sense of all this, trying to present solutions from the mind a far-Left 21 year old whose solution to everything is to throw a brick through the proverbial window and incite revolution, I am leaving you in the hands of a master of rhetoric. He is a man most widely known for his skills of pantomime and physical comedy, though to me he will always be known for this above all else.

The man is Charlie Chaplin. His speech is from the 1940 film The Great Dictator, in which he steps out of character and addresses not the rally of troops before him, but us - his audience - and transcends party lines to promote not war bonds, not a candidate, not even capitalism, but the basic human freedoms of liberty and democracy.

May it be at least some consolation to you in these increasingly inconsolable times.

What more can I follow that up with besides just signing off?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Commence Phase Two Of Our Operation

Last night I picked up some dumbbells and started lifting. My arms are really sore today. Does anyone have any suggestions on creating a balanced exercise regimen so I can get rid of some flab and gain a bit of muscle tone? I'm too sore to lift two nights in a row, and the weather is too shitty to go out for a walk or a run.

God, Bloomington can be a boring place on a Thursday night.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


...I think I know who this Squalus Maximus person is, besides harmless and (he'll know what I mean by this) unoriginal. (In case you didn't know, I'm talking about leaving pseudo-anonymous comments on somebody's blog.)

Also, Zappa Plays Zappa is on tour again this year, once again featuring Ray White.
And guess what? NOT GOING.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Bloomington: The City Where I Never Sleep

It's good to be back here. Eric and Maddie visited today, and I'd like to issue an apology. In spending most of my week at home and hearing about everything that's been going on in and around Seymour from a particular member of my family, a combination of what I heard and how it was told to me gave me a very wrong impression of my brother Eric.

As I should have remembered, not only can one say that there are two sides to every story, there are definitely two radically opposed sides to stories told by certain people.

Eric is someone ready to break out and do something with himself, but several factors (almost completely out of his control) keep him from it. One is his job. Traveling on sales calls for the radio station sounds nice in theory. It isn't really. Another is that he's living at home, though in seven months after he and Maddie get married that won't be an issue. Then there's the pressure of planning a wedding. By all accounts they seem to have it all in order...but the meddling of a third party* makes it genuinely stressful.

All of these combined factors would take it out of anybody. (Any of you remember the tone of my blog during the summer of 2006?) His approach is not my way of doing things, but neither the way I would do it or the way he is doing it is the "wrong way." Our limited interaction during the previous week made me feel a little slighted, but between work and in Maddie's case night school, they barely have free time for just the two of them. Once all this was explained to me today - and a long update about Nick and how he was doing - I felt a lot more at ease.

Just driving around town today felt was pleasant and sunny; there is nothing in Seymour I would ever miss if I never went back there. Throughout high school I had what I call "future nostalgia" for the town, thinking that in college I would dearly miss it. Freshman year of college I did indeed miss the house, though the town obviously paled in comparison to Bloomington. That didn't keep me from missing certain things, I suppose.

But then all the ugliness transpired in the summer of 2006...thus inspiring my firm decision to never rest my head there any longer than I have to. With the apartment next year - which I recall naively asking in October if it closed down for breaks, to two "Are you serious?" stares from the properties manager and Graham - I can keep it to weekends only. And major family holidays. I say family holidays because, well, New Year's Eve has not really ever been a triumphant occasion around our house.

Which reminds me: I'm in the process of searching for jobs in town. I need to start building a nest egg for myself. Since my parents are going to spring for rent (something for which I will always be grateful), this means I can put 95% of my income into savings. Of course, the first dollars I earn will be recouping the losses that my parents still owe me, but that's not the point.

No responses yet from the places at the mall. Guess I need to apply en masse to places all over town. I've got standards, though:
+ No factory work
+ No fast food
+ No job where I'd have a uniform

That leaves retail, casual/fine dining (which when I wear my black button-up with a tie and beige khakis, I could totally be a waiter at Grazie! or some such place), maybe pizza delivery?

All this on my list of things to do tomorrow...I don't think that 700 page novel for my Czech literature class will be read, unfortunately. The book is a riot. Then again, every piece of literature I've read from the Czech lands has been great. It irritates me that in my pre-college years I had to read Homer's Odyssey in three different grades. The mainstream Anglo-centric stuff I had to read meant no Tolstoy, no Zola, no Hasek, no Dos Passos...what matters is I'm reading it now.

Anyway, if you like literature with a dark sense of humor (when I read it, you could say I'm riding in the ROFLcopter) and wittily delivered...let me know, I could steer you in the right direction.


*If you really have to guess as to the identity of the "third party," then you are officially an idiot.

PS - Sorry this wasn't the most interesting blog was written out of tired insomnia. My favorite type of insomnia is where I'm nowhere near tired though I'm supposed to be ready to pass out. That's what yields 30 hour days for me.

PPS - This ought to make up for the lack of interesting content:

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Shift In Plans

At the end of my last entry I promised a discourse on the Ferraro business with the Clinton campaign. However, more stuff happened today (this time relating to the Obama camp) that I feel needs to be factored in.

It will be a big deal when I get all my quotes and stuff together. Think multimedia (and by that, of course, I mean embedded YouTube clips.)

While all that's on the back-burner:

With this Squalus Maximus person (is that something like "Big Foulness"?) assuring me who they're NOT, I can rest a little more at ease. Granted, I know it's nobody from my parents' household. Moreover, none of them know Latin. Going on their own word, I believe him/her. For one, Maddie's name was misspelled. That also rules out Maddie's sister.

My concerns, I feel, are well-founded. I've had anonymous comments that were death threats on Xanga, but then pseudo-anonymous comments from another poster lead to my relationship with the one known as m@.

The worst anonymous comment I got was around this time last year - it was my dad, which confirmed my suspicions and placed me right in the middle of any 20 year old blogger's nightmare. The feeling I had in my gut on that day is something I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy.

Another concern I had was that with your comment, Mr(s). Maximus. Because you were right with what you said. However, I've been writing this blog so as not to have anything my parents would see as indicting made known. So if they were to ever rediscover this, it wouldn't be such a gut-wrenching affair. Because they also read comments people left...meaning when I wrote something in the heat of the moment and Shelley (whom I was dating at the time) would leave me a comment saying "They're being ridiculous," etc., they saw it. It also became the grounds for the case they made against her to me, saying that from what she said they "saw a new side of her."

Now, look, you clearly know who I am. I would like to know who you are - and you are free to disclose that to me privately if you wish, and you'll have my word that I'll stay quiet about who you are. What you need to understand is my curiosity as to who you are will be a significant cause of worry and stress.

I have my guesses, but I'll keep those to myself.

Anyway, thanks to everyone (even the pseudonymous ones) for leaving comments.


Friday, March 14, 2008

"And then there's THIS asshole..."

That perennial quote from Penn Jillette on Penn & Teller: Bullshit! barely scratches the surface on the demented rhetoric of one Sally Kern, a state Representative in the Oklahoma legislature. (Do I even need to bother mentioning she's a Republican?)

Ellen couldn't get through. But you might be able to:

Capitol Address:
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd.
Room 332
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
(405) 557-7348
District Address:
2713 Sterling Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73127

You might want to also question her logic for authorizing a mandate on Young Earth Creationism being treated as a passable topic in Earth science classes. I'm just saying...


This Town Is A Sealed Tuna Sandwich

I have to say, as much as I love my parents and siblings...I personally have my limits. In all truth, they do, too. Though my mom will always indicate otherwise, usually when I'm about to leave. What irks me about that is she will refer to herself in the third person as if I'm in diapers and sucking my thumb rather 21 years old and capable of driving: "When are you going to see Mommy again?"

To answer that question, avoiding the embarrassing and childish implications of her delivery, when they're willing to make the drive to Bloomington. I've been on the receiving end of a complaint that (don't laugh) there's nothing to do in Bloomington besides go out to eat, and that there's no place to just sit and talk.

Don't worry, I'm confused by that one, too.

For the record, I have a lot of work to do this semester: projects, reading, group assignments, the possibility of a job.

Unofficially, I don't like coming home. Talking politics is almost pointless. Dad still supports the Iraq War, based on information the general public had in March 2003. What's more is, tonight on Countdown, Keith Olbermann was reporting on the Pentagon's findings that the war is turning out to be complete bullshit. Mom and Dad were in the room...and missed it because Mom was clamoring over something or other in the paper. So much for educating him.

With Mom, it's an uphill trek, but at least it registers. After holding her hand and showing her there's more going on in the world than the CBS affiliate in Indianapolis reports on - mainly by watching Countdown with her in the room, updating her even when I'm not here on what's going on in the world - and she'll catch on. But I was still asked the inevitable dumb question Friday night: do you think Obama will have Clinton as Vice President or vice versa?

I told her it is stupid that Hillary would discredit Barack in terms of his preparedness to be commander-in-chief only to turn around and make him VP.

At the end of the day, though, she's still a victim of White America's fear-mongering, perpetually frightened of me getting killed by a drunk driver (and voicing this concern before I hit the road to go home) and/or her getting raped and murdered by the same charcoal police sketch of a hooded sweatshirt-wearing African American male that WISH-TV in Indianapolis shows five times a night as a murder suspect, a robbery suspect, an arson suspect, and as a guy who tossed his infant in a dumpster.

Too much paranoia. She heard on one show or another about teens getting together, pouring their prescription pills into a brandy glass, grabbing a handful, and taking them to see what will happen. And moreover, she asked me if I knew anybody who did it! Much like Oprah propagating horror stories of "rainbow parties" and "the secret life your teen has online", I had to explain to Mom that these so-called plagues upon my generation are actually fairly isolated incidents, and that the real threat to young adults, teens, and adolescents are politicians and our own apathy/self-centeredness (which I guess we can thank HER generation for, to some extent. Not her or my dad specifically, but the whole "Me Generation?" Come on.)

I also said one night that on the whole, life in America is safe and, to quote myself, "pretty cushy." With the brand of naivety I could maybe expect from a child, she asked, "Then why does the news only talk about [don't laugh] icky stuff?" This resulted in my explanation that while crime rates are fairly low, media coverage of crime has increased something like 1200%.

To think she raised not one, not two, but three children - one of them being me? Sometimes I'm surprised I turned out the way I did. But then, all I have to do is look around and find out how seriously messed up some of my peers' home lives were/are...and then I realize I was actually pretty damn lucky to be raised by two loving (if at times a little unfair, over suspicious, and overprotective) parents.

So...beyond the lack of informed debate around these parts - my brothers watching the news? Ha! - there's still the whole church thing. I don't think I can make my point any clearer, but when Mom gave me the usual "Missed you this morning" on Sunday, my response of "I don't go because it's not what I believe in anymore" was met with, "You mean you don't believe in God?" I've told her before that I'm monotheistic, and that no religion is completely right or completely wrong.

*slaps forehead*

I couldn't help but notice my poll results on the sidebar. The big one is you guys are aching to know who my Valentine was - and still is. Now, before I even entertain the notion of disclosing this information, I need to know who you all are. Because I've gotten 19 votes for it...and I'm sure as Hell not getting that many comments on my entries. Even then, that information might be on a need-to-know basis. For one, it can't be anybody with the same last name as me - or a fiance thereof.

The main reason for that is I just want as little parental meddling as possible. She feels the exact same way - one of the things we have in common.

In other news, the past 2 years of me thinking an old friend of mine from Seymour regularly rejects my calls has come to a surprisingly positive conclusion. He constantly gets voicemails from his mother, so when he sees he has one, he'll generally ignore it - thinking it's her. The solution to this is simple, and one I've wanted to minimize my usage of the telephone (a modern convenience that I'd rather do without most days), and that is text messaging. With a text message, you know who it's from, it can be brief and succinct:
"Hey if you're not working give me a call"
As opposed to a voicemail:
"' I was, uh...calling to see if you wanted to hang out. I guess you're at work...or something. Anyway, just give me a call whenever you get this...if you're available. All right...uh...bye."

Call me crazy, but leaving a voicemail is such a graceless form of communication. You have to sum up a phone call into roughly a minute (less it gets boringly long), and you're to deliver on cue: "after the beep."

That all said, I ought to assume better from people I know as well as I've known this guy.

I know for sure I'll see my parents when I have to move stuff into the apartment I'm living in this summer - something I'm excited for. Given that last year I slept on a love seat in the living room of the shittiest off-campus housing one could find, to have a bedroom...where I'll have a bed, a dresser, a closet, a desk...definitely a step up.

I've already started thinking what I'd bring from home (lamps, posters, etc.) That alone just gets me ready to move out of the dorms.

Other than moving out, I don't know...I don't want to come back for Easter (and why should I?), a visit is much easier for them than me (an afternoon in Bloomington versus Friday to Saturday night in Seymour by a longshot, even though there is apparently nothing to do in the town I call home), and until Eric finally gets married and moves out I can either expect bad vibes or him being evasive. It pisses me off, him acting like I'm not even here.

One other thing: they bought me a Bible with my name embossed on it for Christmas (even though I told them I didn't want or need it, to the point that I said I would never use it - prompting what I call subtle forcefulness on Dad's part, where he just simply asked me in a polite tone if I wanted it black or red), but they barely give me spending money ($50 for gas and "personal expenses." Yeah, filling up is $40, so that gives me ten bucks to go to the movies, then buy a soda from a vending machine.), they neglect to reimburse me if I loan Mom money simply because she doesn't want to drive to the bank, know what? The worst example doesn't bear mentioning. Let's just say that in all reality, they owe me a LOT of money - and have since October 2006 - and the way it was passed off, effectively ending the discussion, is something meritorious of being taken to court.

To end, I've got some other unrelated news: my brother Nick has chosen Ball State as his school of choice. While I'm only slightly disappointed, I have to remember any optimism I had towards us being at the same school was Utopian at best. I would be expected to monitor him (oh God...or vice versa), he would qualify for that "need-to-know" basis for who I'm dating (which...yeah, that would be a disaster: he'd tell the instant I pissed him off about something), and I don't have to worry about that remote possibility of being his chauffeur.

The only real downside of all this? He'll probably want me to come visit him. Or Mom will insist I go up to the crotch-rash of a town that is Muncie on Parents/Family Weekend.

Guess I'll have an unbreakable commitment that myself.


PS - No news from New Albany regarding Hobbyhorse. I'm wondering if I should stop pretending to hold my breath. Or if I should feel bad for having stopped holding my breath since about mid-January.

PPS - As a little teaser for next time: Geraldine Ferraro? Total racist.
And Hillary Clinton? Once more, proving herself to be a self-aggrandizing reptile who will stop at NOTHING (including cheating) to win.
Also - I'll have a few words on the display of fervent but blind loyalty Dems have towards either candidate, and what it reminds me of. (Hint: think about eight years ago, and his four-lettered last name is not "Gore.")

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

This is turning out to be a very educational week for me...

Having all this extra time to just read and relax means I'm going a lot of learning.

Among my findings:

+ Apparently Hillary Clinton may have killed a guy.

+ My brother Eric is so moody towards everyone that I'm reconsidering being his best man.

+ Jeff Beck's cover of "A Day In The Life" is bitchin':

If you look, he's adjusting the volume knob while playing during the bridge.

+ That guitar solo from the song "Fixing A Hole" is proof Paul McCartney is an excellent guitarist - and what a great tone!

+ Captain Beefheart claims he remembers being born. Must've been the LSD.

+ Turns out placebos are just as effective as antidepressants. But don't tell the drug companies that! They need people on the real thing - you know, the stuff that can cause suicidal thoughts?

+ My future housemate for the summer, Daniel, is getting a cat.

+ I'm 95% sure that my cell phone is tapped. Don't blow this off as paranoia, either.

Aside from the weather, this Spring Break is at least bereft of controversy...not to say it's an exciting week. Trust me, it isn't. But it is a nice break from what might be my dullest semester since middle school. (Czech Literature notwithstanding.)


Saturday, March 1, 2008

What's Up, Doc?

Hope you like the new look!
ALSO: There is a new poll up. YOU CAN CHOOSE MORE THAN ONE ANSWER ON IT! Please take some time to fill it out. I like feedback.

I apologize for not bringing you this piece of news sooner, but I'm pretty sure David won't be a problem anymore.

And no, Matt and Forrest, he's not dead.

It was probably fate when I got off the elevator Sunday afternoon to give a CD back to Shelley she let me copy, as when I called the elevator to go up to my floor, the door opens and...there he is. Just him.


I'm hoping he'll say more than that, just to avoid an unfunny joke about awkwardness or something. He does.

"So are you pissed off by anything I said Friday night about music...?"

No, not because he reads this. I can pretty much guarantee you he doesn't. He would have said something about it. It was because I was getting visibly bothered when he kept badgering me Friday night about why I didn't like Bruce Springsteen. Call me crazy, but is "I'm just not a fan, it's never appealed to me" not an acceptable answer for why you don't like a particular artist? Because he kept saying, "You've got to have a reason," etc. I was right on the edge volume-wise of raising my voice when I authoritatively said, "It's just like any other artist for me: if I like it, it's great. If not, it's shit. It's really simple!"

Well, there was that...and then Saturday night I put shaving cream over his peephole on his door. And then I put some more Barbasol into a Ziploc, slid the lip of it under his door to the bathroom and smacked it. (His reaction? Not "What the Hell, man?" Not "You're cleaning that up, jerk-off!" He LAUGHED. So my original plan of pranking him was a bust. Thankfully what follows below happened when it did.)

In response to his question, I decided to be completely honest:
"Yeah, but what pisses me off more is that you were in my room for a full hour and a half Friday."
"What are you talking about?"
"You can't take a hint, like when the conversation stops, that maybe you've overstayed your welcome and should go."
"Well, if it's such a problem, you could have just asked..."
"It's not that easy. You interrupt and talk over people all the time, and that's just plain rude."

By this time we had gotten to my door, which I'd opened. David looked like a deer in headlights, completely unaware of the fact that his personality is like a can of human repellent.

"Oh. *pause* I'm sorry, I've just not quite been myself lately, and I -"
"Whatever." *shuts door*

Any time I have talked to him, he's "not quite been [him]self lately," and he blames it on meditation. He practices meditation, which I have no problem with anyone doing that. It boasts a lot of health benefits such as stress reduction and increases emotional wellness.

Apparently not for him. He has told me about meditation causing his muscles to cramp, which from a few other friends I know who meditate this means you're doing it wrong. That's not supposed to happen. More eerily though, he's told before that he gets "fucked up" from it in an emotional sense. As in, he goes through emotional chaos after meditating...which as he told me a few weeks ago has started causing muscle spasms in his face. That's right...the result of this is a contorted half-smile that suggests The Joker from Batman.

He was scheduled to see a neurologist today (March 1), but as he informed us last weekend, he canceled the appointment - which his parents made out of concern for him - which led to me asking if he was sure it was the right thing to do.

"I'm getting used to it. It's like not going to the dentist."

By this point Friday night I'd gotten my fill of him and was being a little less cordial.
"That doesn't make sense. If I have a toothache, I don't get used to it. I get it looked at."

"Yeah, well," adding a laugh that calls me an idiot for even suggesting this, "a toothache isn't something you get used to."
(Is this logic making a damn bit of sense?)

I quickly changed the subject, but in my mind I was thinking 'That's all good and well, ass, but getting a cavity filled versus treating something that could be as minor as a vitamin deficiency or as major as a brain tumor...I'm no doctor, but canceling your appointment was stupid.'

Anyway, the only regret I have with confronting David last Sunday was that I neglected to mention his heinous body odor - and how it only adds to his personality, that he is one of the most deluded, arrogant people I've ever encountered (telling me last semester that he considered himself my "right hand man" in front of Graham was both shitty and untrue), and that he needs to reschedule an appointment not just with a neurologist, but a psychiatrist, too. Possibly an etiquette coach.

To paraphrase Laura's reaction to all this, problem solved, right? From what I can gather he hasn't offed himself...and I really can't see him going Virginia Tech on me. Reporting almost a week after this, I have to say Laura assumed correctly. He's left me well alone. But then again, there can be a week that goes by where we don't make any contact. I guess I'll just have to see. If he knocks on my door, I might just have to give him the old "Piss off!"

Tuesday I submitted the preliminary materials (which apparently was virtually everything, including my admission statement) for the Individualized Major Program. I have to say, I was nervous. Given that Friday I'd gotten the rejection letter from CMCL, there was a lot of tension for me as I wrote my admission statement. However, unlike my statement of purpose for the grad school application, I wrote with more of my heart in it, and in one sitting (not counting some minor polishes). One thing I hated about my statement of purpose was that I had multiple proofreaders whose suggestions could contradict the others: one professor said "Take the part out about your low GRE essay score, it might count against you - and it isn't the worst score in the world." Yet another said, "Good job rectifying that low GRE score, the committee would be looking for that!"

So, in publishing it on here, I give you something I can say I'm truly proud of. My statement of purpose (published earlier this year in January on this blog, I believe) was a perfect case of too many cooks spoiling the gumbo. In the end, it became way too formal, too sterile - it wasn't me. By contrast, this is me writing in the same manner that I speak. I knowingly defied one of the cardinal sins for writing a statement of purpose with the last sentence of my first paragraph. As far as I'm concerned, you can't write a statement of purpose without LITERALLY stating your purpose. (Something I'll keep in mind when I apply to other programs later this calendar year...)

One last thing, do note the parallel introduction in this compared to my statement of purpose. This time I didn't keep myself from letting my passion about the material seep through. Instead, it's inundated with it. And I'm glad.

Here 'tis:
"Ever since I was very little, I have loved music. One of my earliest memories is watching the movie Yellow Submarine and knowing the words to all of The Beatles’ songs. As I grew older my desire to learn about The Beatles and countless other bands was aided by books, both from my father’s collection and the public library. I’d never have guessed that I would be given the opportunity to continue studying musicians and have it count toward an academic degree, let alone pave the way for a career. My proposed area of study for the IMP is Rock and Roll History.
The semester plan I have drafted is made up of classes in the Music in General Studies program and the History department. Many of them are strictly Rock History classes, but other courses listed include the History Of The Blues, History Of Jazz, and Contemporary Jazz & Soul Music. Including these classes will both diversify my own personal tastes and expand my knowledge on the subject of popular music in the Twentieth Century. The history courses I want to take are From Ragtime To Rap, which chronicles music, its impact on culture, and culture’s impact on it, and Elvis, Dylan, and Postwar America, a class that would carry on in a similar vein.
Six credits of my schedule for spring 2009 are devoted to independent study and to my senior project. My senior project is detailed below, though it ties in with my proposal for independent study on The Kinks. The independent study would be overseen by my proposed sponsor, Professor Andy Hollinden. I have several books on the band to aid me, including the recently published Ray Davies: Not Like Everybody Else by Thomas Kitts, a professor at St. John’s University. I contacted him via email and he said he would be glad to assist me also with my independent study, given the researching and interviewing he conducted for the book, including interviews with former band members.
Regarding qualifications, I have loved music all of my life; however, it was in eighth grade that I began to study the lyrics more closely. It was also at this time that I discovered the music of The Kinks, a perfect example of a musically talented band with smart and introspective lyrics. Their primary songwriter and leader, Ray Davies, became one of my idols. Subsequently, every year in my English classes from Eighth grade onward I would do a research paper on one of my favorite bands. In five years, I wrote about The Kinks, Frank Zappa, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and did a literary analysis of Marilyn Manson’s concept album Holy Wood.
There have also been numerous occasions in my college career where I have referenced or focused on a specific artist or work in an essay. In the spring of 2007 I wrote about The Who’s film The Kids Are Alright for a class that discussed documentary film. Later in the same class I wrote about Frank Zappa’s appearance on the debate program Crossfire in 1986. This past fall I took a course on avant-garde cinema; the final was a creative project. Some students made short films, others wrote extended essays. I wrote a screen adaptation of Ray Davies’ 3-LP rock opera Preservation and an accompanying paper discussing the lyrics within it.
My love of music and long-running passion on the subject is what motivated me to pursue this as a line of study. I would love to be able to earn a degree by studying and analyzing material I have held so dear to me for much of my life. My short-term goals would most likely involve going into a graduate program for my Master’s. I have considered IU for Ethnomusicology or Journalism, though there may be other programs better suited for me at another institution after my graduation. In the long run, I see myself writing books on the subject and/or teaching it at the college level. There is certainly a market for books detailing the history and analysis of a given band. Similarly, biographies of musicians are numerous and fare well commercially.
The senior project I have in mind is an album-by-album guide to the music of The Kinks. A parallel that immediately comes to mind is Ben Watson’s Frank Zappa: The Complete Guide To His Music. Since Watson was covering roughly seventy-five albums in a 128-page paperback, there are a lot of issues regarding an album of exceptional relevance getting two or three pages, while some of Zappa’s lesser-known works have a paragraph. Consequently, many songs are left unmentioned. Given that The Kinks’ output is a third the size of Frank Zappa’s catalog, I would give at least a paragraph to every song and strive to give equal time to each album. My proposed book would function as a consumer guide of sorts for someone wanting to find a place to start in the Kinks’ career, though it would be enhanced by enough anecdotal information of interest to diehard Kinks fans.
The relevance of The Kinks and their work is often overlooked in favor of their peers, but Ray Davies is considered one of the finest lyricists in music, on a tier with Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and Pete Townshend. However, Davies is just one of many musical geniuses whose works deserve praise and subsequent academic study and analysis. The IMP in Rock History would allow me to do something I love, that I had considered a hobby, and make a career out of it."

The same afternoon I received an email from the program director saying he really enjoyed my admission essay, and that he looked forward to both my application interview and working with me in the future.

Again, with this being only four days after getting rejected by the graduate program in CMCL, I don't think much else could have made me happier. For me, it was the academic equivalent of a high five.

Anyway, classes this semester are still grinding on...sometimes they're interesting, other times it's like Peter Griffin on Family Guy when he's watching Failure To Launch in a movie theatre. Halfway through he throws up his hands, exclaims "Done!", and leaves. You have no idea how many days I want to do that, especially since I have so much to look forward to. Oh, well. Last science class this semester!

Nothing else, really. I was John Lennon for a "Dead Celebrities" party, but only because I wouldn't want me dressing like Zappa to become old hat. Besides, there was someone else there (a girl, no less) dressed like Frank. Well, sort of...clearly a person who knew of him...but then again, I'm the Dwight Schrute of Zappa trivia.

So, I took care of business with David, I'm feeling very confident about the IMP...things are looking a lot better than they were.


PS - In Viewers Like You news, we've fired our guitarist. We may reinvent ourselves. Jury's still out.