This was the second week of midterms, which I'm now cleansed of by the soothing aquavit of travel break. Similar to many other assignments here, these midterms really never had a chance. They were defeated soundly and with little deliberation, damned to serve an eternal sentence in the hellish Land of the Complete. Yae, and verily did Simon smite 12 pages and an oral midterm, for his power over words was so great that none could bear their utterance or withstand his rhetorical onslaughts, mighty as they were. My most thorough victory was that in the European theatre, in which I battled all the nefarious forces that the Danish language could muster on such short notice and was flawlessly victorious. So now here I stand, broad, muscular shoulders highlighted by the triumphant light of the waxing moon atop a pile of vanquished vowels, smitten semantics and war-torn word-choice.
Tuesday was my roommate Peter's 21st, which was just the right mix of awesome and chill that I think should accompany all 21sts. He has a sweet perfectly circular battle-scar on his palm from trying to put out a flaming shot that had been burning for a bit too long while his friend fumbled for the change to pay for it. While burns are typically never a good thing, even one so inconsequential as this one, this ovoid stigma has symbolic potential of the sort that people usually long after pursuant to such celebratory landmarks. Does Average Joe feel any older after having walked in place while another year paraded by him? The celebration of a birthday is almost atemporal, the time passing during those hours lasts forever in the moment but practically doesn't exist in retrospect. But now Peter has an indelible mark that's slightly less temporary and vastly more corporeal than his birthday celebration to remind himself that, in a highly metaphysical sense, he can in fact buy beer legally.
Ha! You thought I was gonna make some deep point there, you crazy fool.
Speaking of depth, specifically the depths of complete and almost transcendental suck that my laptop has sunk to, I'm now resorting to avoiding using my trackpad at all costs. It picks really interesting times to grab a spatula and just start flipping shits. 20 minutes ago I could put my finger down in one place on the track pad and watch the cursor on screen jump around like a chipmunk in Moon Shoes. Granted, I'm like the Albus Dumbledore of using a keyboard like a mouse, but there's a certain sense of 'convenience lost' when you have to use the tab key more than 20 times to get to the link you want on a web page. On top of this, my franken-cord of an AC adapter is literally disintegrating under the existential stress of trying to keep my psychologically disturbed battery inside the bounds of electrical sanity. The cords springing from the brick portion of the charger are frantically trying to escape, loosing themselves at the slightest provocation and sometimes surreptitiously. The brick itself, which is doing its best to emulate its namesake in form and function, is thoroughly cracked and will soon be nothing more than a shattered shell and twisted circuitry. I have to lean stoically on the base of the keyboard to get it to start up properly, and even then it hangs at bizarre points in the boot process. I am wholly unable to navigate the treacherous terrain of this computer's issues in a way that would allow me to fix it, or even suggest how to fix it. All I can do now is wait in my craft at a safe distance, donning a protective suit and making brave exploratory missions down to its surface when I need to collect strange minerals (profile pictures) or decipher alien writings (guitar tabs).
I'm making a list of every song I know how to play on guitar so that I have a kind of setlist to work from. I constantly forget that I know how to play certain songs, to the point where picking up a guitar is a hopelessly redundant odyssey through the grease-caked gears of my memory that largely results in me playing the same five or so songs. Granted, I really like those songs, and the five have changed over time, especially since I arrived here, but the bottom line is I need some dependable variety. I say dependable because there are also a frightening amount of songs that I know parts of but lack that critical linchpin to stake the train cars together and thunder down the tracks. Lyrics and bridges are my two greatest weakness and comprise the largest holes in my musical repertoire currently. I am also looking into doing acoustic covers of hip-hop hits and R&B chart-toppers, a la I'm In Luv (Wit a Stripper), so if you have any suggestions of songs that I could cover, don't hesitate to let me know. I will take any and all suggestions, and probably work on them after I complete my rendition of Sean Kingston's "Fire Burnin." It will be poignant and refreshing, spiritually as well as aurally. There shall be much rejoicing.
Music and memory are really two beautiful parts of a frightening whole. My mind, probably due to years of schooling in the media arts, expresses thought primarily as FinalCut montages. There are dozens of tracks in each montage, several obviously for images and myriad others for thought, emotion, moments, movements and retrospection -- but really only one for audio. Certain songs are monogamously associated with incredibly specific images and moments in a way that, while I accept it, fundamentally don't understand -- nor do I wish to. I also don't think I have any power to change what is bound to what, which has unfortunate side effects on my mental music library. There are some songs that I just can't let myself listen to anymore, as huge a space as they inhabit in my heart and mind, because they hail from a time full of profound unhappiness and self-destruction for me. I am almost super-conscious of those times now, and knowing that has been a source of tremendous positive power in my life and has allowed me to feel like I've moved on. That said, I don't need to tell any of you about the power of music to transport you in a hyper-literal sense back to certain times, feelings, moments, eras, events, people or places. As a remarkably solid example, the song Tell Balgeary, Balgury is Dead by Ted Leo & the Pharmacists is almost impossible for me to listen to. I woke up to that song every day for probably 18 months in high school, so many times and with such ridiculous consistency that I can literally feel my old CD player spin up as I snap into consciousness at the start of the song. The brutal melange of fear, confusion, exhaustion, excitement, dumbfounding dis-anticipation and the dull flicks of the headlights of blood cells turning on to resume their endless circuit of the longest highways in the world, the buzzing echoes of being audibly rent from my dreams -- the annihilative catharsis of that moment where the real world collides with you yet you're in absolutely no state to comprehend it. Even the acoustics of the song are colored by these memories, since I really only heard it in that vast but brief purgatory between sleep and wakefulness, and it thus sounds like it's being played at a great distance to me.
In other news, I am slowly realizing that I have displayed unacceptable levels of sloth in educating myself about quintessential American culture. The shelves of my brains categorical library of experience labeled "Movies starring Paul Newman, Robert Redford, John Wayne or Humphrey Bogart," "Golden Age Radio Dramas" are characterized by an alarming dearth of content. The one set of bookends I can say I've distanced significantly are those that start and finish the category of Sinatra Classics and other related tunes.
In terms of movies that I have seen, recently, I had the mixed dis/pleasure of seeing Outlander, the 2009 film with a budget of $55 million dollars that nobody has ever even heard of. Nor had I, until Hurricane was browsing some illicit viewing site and stumbleupon'd it. The movie centers around a grizzled Jim Caviezel, playing the role of a space marine marooned in 8th-century Viking fucking Norway. Caviezel the space marine crashed in his space ship, which he was previously space-flying through space, to hunt space dragons with the Germanic peoples of the Scandinavian peninsulae. So basically we have Jesus Christ, donned in all his Passion and a suit of metallic powerarmor, and about a hundred bearded berzerkers slinging blades and arrows at a nearly immortal space-beast of unimaginable murder. Let's just say....holy fuck. The movie grossed an abysmal $166,000 United States dollars in theaters, the quantitative unanimous reprimand for whoever thought it would be a good idea to make a movie that shitty. Don't get me wrong, it was awesome to watch -- 55 large can get you a pretty dazzling amount of CG explosions. Besides who doesn't like watching the guy who played the big JC of N come to fisticuffs with hammer-wielding giants? I can't really think of anyone.
In hilarious internet news, there has been recent and very serious debate here at IPC among certain individuals about a matter of grave importance and sober consequence: Could Captain America dead-lift more than Jesus, the Son of God? We were split vehemently in votes of confidence either way, so we did the only thing that a morally responsible group of intelligent, cognizant individuals can do in a situation such as this. We put it on Yahoo Answers. Behold the righteous glory of the answers we have received and will surely continue to receive by following the Golden Path of enduring internet justice to this link. Be sure to check your faith in humanity at the door and prepare to bust a gut as we reap this dark harvest of blackest sin and utter hilarity that we have oh so woefully sown.
So there you have it, pretty much my full range of emotions manifest in a few vignettes of this past week.
Life is fucking good.