Monday, May 28, 2012

Blog turns a bit diary, post-grad

The last few weeks have been fairly crazy, and—surprisingly—I've been too present to reflect. That's the opposite of my usual problem.

The first Crazy Thing was going to Seattle. I flew out for the weekend to visit my new school, and get a feel for the city. Believe it or not, the city actually exists! The decision to go to UW didn't quite fall into my lap, but it was the best possible outcome on paper, and I've wanted to live in the northwest since I realized that the country is more than just Boston to DC and occasionally Florida. I decided to attend the school without visiting first, and the only time I was ever on the west coast was San Francisco in November for AMS. Basically, I wasn't quite convinced that Seattle existed, so I needed to go there to make sure it was a real place. Not only does it exist, but it exists for me. Is that a narcissistic thing to say? Abso-freaking-lutely. But it's true. I'm super pumped to move out there in the fall, and to get excited about school again. (Except that now, I'm really loving not having school to worry about)

So after I came back from Seattle, I had to do the Crazy Thing of finishing my undergraduate career. Technically, it's not over; I have 13 credits in progress. I'm done, but the grading isn't. I would have had to screw up pretty royally to not graduate, but I'll feel better when all my grades are in. I'll be graduating with distinction for writing a senior thesis, and I believe I earned the magna cum laude title. I think that might change if my grades from this semester bump my GPA down a bunch, but I have far more important things to care about than the latin phrase on my diploma. Leaving Delaware is probably the most bittersweet thing I've had to do so far. There was so much about the school and town that I absolutely could not stand. It's probably a good thing that the last thing I did was move out of my terrible apartment. Hey, UD students: don't live in the University Gardens. Just don't do it. But on the 'bitter' side, I had to leave the most amazing people who helped me through the most formative years of my life since preschool. Most of the mourning took place weeks before actually leaving, but I did a lot of spontaneous crying in April and May, right up until the night before graduation. On graduation day, I kept my cool until the reception after the music department convocation, and I never completely lost it, but there were visible tears. Thank goodness for waterproof mascara. Also, thank goodness for texting, Facebook, Skype, and the promise of coffee at conferences. Leaving isn't actually leaving, it's just relocating.

And finally, Crazy Thing number three is moving to DC, which I did yesterday. I start work tomorrow, so I spent today first doing a dry-run of the commute, then running all over the Capitol Hill area museum-hopping (and getting sunburnt in the process). Basically, I did a lot of touristy things. I'll probably continue to do lots of touristy things all summer, because they're super fun for American history nerds like myself. They're also typically free, which is awesome.

Things are in flux, but it's necessary. Stay tuned here for more reflective rather than descriptive updates, and some arguments and thoughts.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I am a graduate

And this is (part of) how I feel:

(I still have 13 credits in progress, so hopefully I didn't screw up too terribly and I actually did graduate...)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

#musicdiary2012

This looks fun. I'm keeping track of the music I listen to from 5/7–5/13. For sanity's sake, I won't include the snippets used as musical examples in my three music classes or in my pop culture sociology class. That would get a bit crazy.

Monday:
  • A Chorus Line soundtrack, while getting ready in the morning
  • Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue, all morning at the library. I'm writing a paper on the work, so this one will probably show up pretty regularly. Revised: not worth re-listing each time it happens. Just assume I'm listening to the piece a lot this week...
  • Gin Blossoms, New Miserable Experience while jogging/walking. I walk a song, jog a song, rinse, repeat (except that now I'm working that down to walking a song, jogging 2 songs. I will run a 5k. It will happen.)
  • Christina Aguilera's self-titled debut, because it's somehow alphabetized right after A Chorus Line in iTunes, when sorting by album.
  • Turtle Island Quartet & Ying Quartet, 4 + Four, while blogging (and while I should have been writing about piano solos in Rhapsody in Blue).
  • Genius playlist based on "Where Does the Good Go?" by Tegan and Sara, while writing emails and aimlessly surfing the internet. Dear reader, if you don't already use the Genius feature of iTunes, you are truly missing out. It isn't always perfect, but it does a damn good job.
Tuesday:
  • I sought out almost no music today. That's what happens when I have class aaaaalllllllll day. I spend that much time listening actively that I give my ears a rest. I did go to support a friend performing in the horn and tuba ensembles concert. I got there too late to get a program, but there was...lots of conical brass.
Wednesday:
  • Meat Loaf, Bat Out of Hell. I haven't listened to this in ages, but I woke up with "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" stuck in my head. 
  • Beach Boys, Greatest Hits, while running. I know greatest hits albums are lame, but I think actually don't think they are. 
  • Ani DiFranco's new song "Hearse," because NPR told me to listen to it. This happened during my "read everything on the internet I missed today" purge. If you don't use Pocket already, you really should. I use it with Chrome and my iPhone, but I believe it's super compatible with just about everything. It's particularly awesome with Twitter and Google Reader. I digress.
Thursday:
  • Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon, while getting ready for classes
  • Generic, boring, fusion-y smooth jazz, while sitting in my typical coffee shop and trying to write a paper (but, as expected, failing somewhat miserably)
  • Lo-fi MTVU audio at the gym. It was <sarcasm> amazing </sarcasm>
Friday:
  • All the ABBA I have on my computer, thanks to the stupidly fabulous Eurovision yesterday.
  • Also went to an elementary school choir/strings/band concert and heard lots of tunes, and then saw Puccini's Il trittico. Lots of music, but I'm not sure it fits in with the spirit of this music diary thing.
Saturday:
  • Various arrangements of pop songs at the D#s' a cappella concert
  • Beatles For Sale while running. (Probably my favorite pre-psychedelia Beatles album)
  • Jeremy Denk's Ligeti/Beethoven album on First Listen. Thanks, NPR!
Sunday:
  • Be OK, by Ingrid Michaelson
  • Tails, by Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories (because sometimes I like to pretend I was a teenager in the '90s)
  • Begin to Hope, by Regina Spektor
Ok, so maybe this was less interesting and entertaining than I had hoped it would be. Maybe that's the point?

Monday, May 7, 2012

In defense of the spoiled, straight, liberal, white _Girls_.

I really wish I had HBO so I could actually watch Girls, but I saw the pilot and I know enough to make the claims I want to make. I've been wanting to make this point since reading "In Defense of Liz Lemon" in the New Yorker, and I just now have enough ammo, thanks to Lena Dunham's appearance on Fresh Air. Side note: I really love Terry Gross; she has this amazing ability to pull out exactly what I want to hear from her guests. A friend also posted something on Facebook that gave me even more ammo for this topic (though I'll leave that out of my rant).

I'm terribly annoyed at consumer culture's decision that every protagonist or creator who isn't a heterosexual white man is instantly a role model or spokesperson for whatever label the protagonist or creator embodies that isn't white, male, or heterosexual. Liz Lemon isn't a Bad Feminist; Liz Lemon is a character on a topical, somewhat zeitgeisty comedy show. Sure, she isn't the Most Liberated Woman Ever, but who is? She's a nut, but she does what she can. Making her into a more active feminist would likely mean diminishing the writers' goal--which is comedy. It's like when Jon Stewart went on Fox News Sunday and explained how Fox's primary motivation is its political agenda, and his is his comedic agenda. If there happen to be politics emerging from that agenda, fine, but the motivation is comedy.

Enter: Girls. Again, I have (regrettably) only seen the pilot. Still, I'm so opposed to all the backlash the show is receiving. Enough with the "hipster racism,"the lack of diversity, and the Bad Feminism. It's a show about a few characters. If anything, we should be praising Dunham for showing something different. Nowhere does she claim that the characters she portrays represent any sort of universal experience. Instead, the characters represent one type of being different that isn't typically portrayed on TV. Please listen to the Fresh Air interview; she explains the show and characters' origins better than I can.

Just because a TV show (or book or radio show or CD or...or...or...) shows something that isn't cookie cutter-based does not mean it has to represent every way of being different. It's unrealistic to expect that of a show, and it (frankly) probably wouldn't make for the most entertaining program. Lay off, people!