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.

1 comment:

Shelley said...

I like the new look, but it is a little harder to read.

I KNEW that he'd just laugh off the shaving cream gag. Ok, enough about David.

Awesome news on the IMP, but I knew you were a shoe in. Next year is going to be sweet for you.

Rock on,