Friday, August 31, 2007

The Man, and other ramblings

I probably look pretty goofy right now. That is because my mouth is stuck in a permanent 'o' of surprise and amazement. How can a community of roughly 3000 people living in a cornfield possibly have this much going on?! I've been seeing flyers everywhere with messages of wonder that literally stop me in my tracks. There are flyers telling me that for just $1, I too can be awesome and go rock climbing with the studs, brightly colored missives encouraging me to audition for the 10 minute play festival, to write for the irreverent but amusing Grape magazine, to submit cartoons, to dance the night away to bumping rock or sizzling jazz, to attend this concert and that opening, to learn to sing/play steel drums/analyze cartoons, to join join join! There is so much to do, I don't know what to do with myself!

I was supposed to meet with my private bass teacher today for advice on the conservatory end of registration (which is a cracked out system, by the way, since my window to register for classes ended this morning, before my appointment). It wouldn't have mattered if I registered after my meeting, however, because there was no meeting. None of the bass faculty are here. We little (and not so little) lost basses are alone, stranded in the sinking/stinking quagmire that is PRESTO.

My room is already accumulating a nice layer of stuff, and starting to feel like home.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Important Advice

It's easier to start new habits and break old when when all sense of normality is suddenly turned on its side. For instance, so far since I've been here, I've begun drinking coffee (out of necessity, because my roommate and I can be crazy chatterboxes when we should be sleeping), which I never used to (I put a pack of hot chocolate in it, so it's more like a mocha), and have been eating much healthier than I did over summer break (because half the campus seems to be vegetarian, so there's a lot of good food readily available).

I've got a lot to tell you. I've been too busy with orientation activities to post lately, so this is gonna be a super-post.

I met with my college adviser today. He's one of the psych proffessors, and he's very friendly and open, and seems like he's willing to go the extra bit to help me out. He helped me sort out a problem with my conservatory scheduling. I think he's someone I'd be comfortable talking to if I needed help.

Also, my roommate is awesome. She's from New Jersey, and she's going to teach me self-defense. We've been getting along really well, I feel like I know her already. She's friendly, but not aggressively so, and we've been hanging out together but also giving each other space, which, for me, is perfect.

It's a beautiful day today. There's a nice cool breeze, and the sun's shining. I've been getting my exercise walking everywhere (my dorm is the farthest away from everything, but that's not saying much since campus is small). I've even gotten to use my bike for longer treks. Biking makes me feel like a fool though, because I haven't done it in years and I'm really clumsy about it. I'm still figuring out how to turn and stop without having to stick my leg out and catch myself. It's a work in progress.

I've met so many great people, but I can't keep all their names straight. I'm going to make a database with everything I know about these people, so I can remember. Anyway, I'm making a special effort to remember all the details about the bassists I meet, since I'll be spending a lot of time with them.

shoot, I gotta go. More later!

from The Grape, the Alternative Student Newspaper

Miss Manners' Dos and Dont's; the Freshmen's Guide to Not Being a Complete Tool

Don't assume anyone else is a freshmen, no matter how young and confused they look.

Don't ask for directions. Nothing on campus is far enough away that you won't find it if you just walk around in circles for a hour or so, and chances are you're standing right next to it anyway.

Do experiment with hallucinogens

Don't wear your f***ing key-card around your neck. Christ.
(see mom! It's not cool. By the way, that're both losing (I have all my keys))

Anyway, I need to sleep, because for some obscene reason I have to go to registration tomorrow morning at too:early AM. UGGGUH.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Lately the noise in my head has been so loud that I can hardly sit still (yes, even more so than usual). This happens especially when it's inconvenient (when I'm attempting to sleep, for instance). Sometimes my thoughts fly by so fast that I barely know what they were before they're gone. It's like being in a beehive, where every thing's zipping around me in a pattern that I don't understand, and all the buzzing is so deafening I can't pick one bee out from her sister. I've been searching for things to quiet this ruckus. One thing I've found that works is making music with my good friend Darcy. Darcy is the name I came up with for my bass when my bass students decided their instruments needed names and personalities (possibly my favorite bass to work with was Marshmallow. Gotta love kids. ).

Playing bass can be one of the most pleasurable and calming things I know how to do. Here I make an important distinction between two radically different concepts; playing bass for enjoyment, and practicing bass because it is necessary to improve. Playing for pleasure feels like taking a long toe-curling-hot bath, with extra scented bubbles (apple cider is my favorite, then peppermint), candles, and a frivolous feminine novel. It's a sensual, empowering experience that pulls the unraveling tendrils and offshoots of whatever I am feeling, and pulls back into my skin. I can get lost in perfecting a single phrase, and forget my body and room focusing on the undulating strokes of my bow, trying to smooth edges and seal cracks. I use to get that feeling all the time, and get drunk with it, and lose hours that I never saw pass.

The feeling now disappears instantly the moment I bring it into focus for a goal that comes from outside of me. This is extremely frustrating and inconvenient, because at the moment I need most to practice, the motivation becomes that much harder to summon up. Playing to make something better is joy. Practicing to make a better audition or impression is tedious and frustrating. When I cannot summon up the lazy pleasure of playing, I bring a store of guilt out for a motivator. Guilt can make me a better bassist, but not a happy one. I think the key to becoming a calmer, more confident person (who is more pleasant to be around and doesn't snap act childish) is to make these outward goals into my inward goals. If I can find some way to get that feeling when I'm going through the necessary motions, I could be obscenely happy.

I don't think I can blame all of my current agitation on my continuing failure to bring my orchestral audition excerpts to where I want them, however. Usually when I feel like this, it's due to something more simple and obvious. Perhaps the fact that I'm about to leave my childhood home and assume full responsibility for myself as an adult has something to do with it? I'd be crazy not to be a little jumpy about that. I've often heard that misery loves company. I'm not miserable, of course, don't get me wrong! I was only going to acknowledge that perhaps being scared s*%&less also wants company. That is why it is fortunate that every freshmen I meet will be going through exactly the same thing. While I will never admit, in person, to these new friends the weakness of being frightened, I am more than willing to bond over our mutual fear.

Fear. I said it. I. am. afraid. I now must say something irreverent and saucy to cover...

Anyway, let's end this ridiculously long post with something that looks forward, something to smile at. Something like


I've decided that it's good for me to write down my thoughts in this (semi)organized way. It forces me to put them in order and hold them in one place. Usually when I decide something is "good for me" it's something unpleasant or inconvenient, such as monitoring my protein or sleeping regularly. I think this new habit of journaling for an audience, which at first seemed like a pointless, contradictory and even arrogant waste of precious time, may prove to be an enjoyable, much needed catharsis.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Wager

I finished my afghan today. If I had a digital camera, I'd model it for you, and put up a whole series of the beginning of our life together ('this is me and my afghan at we are in the pie and ice cream kitchen, oh look! here's us at the movies! Isn't she a beaut?!'). For now, just know that it is a bed warmer fit for a queen, and a perfectly productive and practical use of 50 hours :-).

So today I went outside, and I said "Jeez, it's frickin hot out here!" and I went back inside. And that's the end of my story. But seriously, what is with this crazy heat right now?! I had my misgivings about going to college up North, but I would rather wear itchy wool long-johns 24/7 than go cross-eyed and slimy with heat exhaustion every time I go out to trim my roses! Bring on the cold!

I went to lunch with my dad today, which was great, because he knows downtown restaurants like they're his best friends. We always go somewhere new, and it's always delicious. Dad gave me some excellent advice, which I will now share with you. He says not to put a red towel in with your whites in the wash, because it will turn all your underwear pink. These are wise words, which I think you should live by (even though, after further discussion, we decided that having lots of pink underwear wouldn't be so bad). We settled a few things as well; mom and dad will not be buying a small house in Ohio. I will not join a vegan cult. I will be able to come home sometimes, and I better not bring smelly laundry.

I do not yet have more exciting news for you, because you are gone, and I am here. I'm hitting the town tonight, though, maybe I'll see Michelle Pfeifer, or get robbed or something and then interviewed for TV. If so, I'll be sure and tell you.

I found out today that my parents have a bet going on how long it will take me to lose the key to my bike lock. Neither one will tell me their predictions. I guess they don’t want to skew the results. I’ll let you know who wins.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Pretty Folders!

Some days, I am ready to arrive, to face my Brave New World in Collegteown, Cornfield, but not ready to go. Then, other days, I am extremely ready to go (especially on days when I get three phone calls from friends already throwing out their dice in the real world, and go to sparsely populated parties where I can arrogantly indulge in thoughts such as “that’s so high school”). Today, I think I might be just plain ready. All the way ready.

Of course, the ready I’m talking about is an emotional ready. As far as packing and shopping go, I’ve been ready. I’ve got all the basics: towels, sheets, shower shoes, a sexy but functional floor lamp, impractical undergarments (kidding, Spice, only kidding), bed risers, several Eskimo costumes... And the necessary dorm decorations are all in order. My massive tie-dye tapestry (a staple for every college-bound hippie,), my favorite Chagall print, Mozart (the action figure), and my photo board (which covers everything from my brother’s birth to my senior prom) will soon abandon the walls of my childhood sanctuary to bring life to the fluorescent-lit concrete cubicle of a dorm room that I will, from September to December, call home. My brother even painted a self-portrait for me, with a hug to go with it! I think Squirt might even miss me (if only because he will soon be the sole recipient of all of my parents’ considerable scrutiny and affection).

In addition to dorm necessities, I have created what must be the most beautiful address book that ever will bless a college campus. If only my college success hinged on the aesthetics of my folders and notebooks, I would certainly excel. As it is, I’ll admit to being worried about the coming change. Will I be brave enough not to get lonely? Practical enough to avoid illness and the “freshman fifteen?” Silly enough to keep laughing at what I’ve been ensured is gravely serious? My mother, at least, seems to have faith that I will be all of these things, in time. In fact, I find it very reassuring that one of her greatest concerns is whether or not I will remember to choke down the oblong cannonballs she calls vitamins, every morning before my calcium-enriched juice. I hope to prove her right.

Even when I manage to fail spectacularly, which I am sure to do, I have high hopes that college will provide many opportunities for laughter, scowling, and possibly even mad cackling. In other words, it will be a Grand Adventure. Here I will post tales of my exploits, (and those of Darcy the bass, my faithful companion) so that you can experience, along with me, the terrors and triumphs of being a college freshwoman.

Today I slept embarrassingly late. This is because I do not have sense. That is, I probably have some sense stored away, but if so I am choosing to save it for a rainy day. Case in point: last night, I went to a fancy party. I was late leaving, because this summer I’ve become a girl, and decided I should look pretty, and so spent an exorbitant amount of time struggling towards this end before giving up. When I got to the party, I had several nasty shocks in a row, and hours of hip swiveling (doing the Twist, of course) and eager discussion of other people’s affairs were required before I felt enough like myself to drive home. Of course, once I got home, it was far too noisy to sleep; the shouts from my bookshelves had wedged their way into my lack of thoughts. And then of course, there were folders to be decorated. I will not even tell you what time my yawns finally did defeat these compulsions. It will only prove to you, as it has to me, that I am not qualified to determine my own sleep schedule.