Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Bahs

So I wake up, log onto Yahoo, since it's my home page, and scan through the morning headlines, going through my routines of pages as I do. What strikes me as odd was at the top of the Yahoo! page, where it shows what the daily most searched for things are. #4 on the list was "Video Game Cheats" At 9:10AM! This means that, at the very earliest, the children (or adults) got their video games the night prior, but more likely it was first thing that morning. So barely 2 hours go by and they're already looking for cheat codes for the games. On Christmas! They're cheating on Christmas! Whatever happened to developing the skills needed to beat a game, all by yourself? Most games are constructed in a scaffolding manner, much like Donkey Kong's beams, so that, through learning and experience, you master a game. There are no need for invincibility codes or Konami codes or whatever. Now, of course, this statement is false, because there is no way you can beat Contra without the Konami code. And occasionally there are just bosses that are programmed to be impossible. Then, if the game gets in the way of the story, then it's fine to use codes to get past that area. I used God Mode at the end of American Mcgee's Alice because the last boss was impossible.

But to look up cheat codes 2 hours after opening the box? That's insane! It speaks of how life is today. People want it. Now. Without effort, without reward. Take the ladder at the very beginning of Candy Land up to the top, and make it an easy victory. Don't reorganize the company, just ask the government for bailout money. Don't study for the test, just reorganize the school system so nobody fails. In my opinion, everyone who looked up codes for games 2 hours after they got it should be taken to the "naughty list" side, and Santa should come back on the 26th and take back his gifts. They weren't appreciated.

And what, then, should we do on Christmas day, after the church services and the dinners and the gifts opening? After the games played and the conversations made and the obligatory trips to relatives, near or far. What then should we do? Because the world, on that one day of December 25th, is put in a holding pattern, with everything shut down, closed, unless you like egg rolls, not to start again until the 26th. The entire nation rests. And that's good, I guess, as long as you don't need something. Where do you go when you are sick on the 25th, and a persistent cough needs Robitussin? Or when the pain of a tooth gets so bad that Orajel and Aspirin barely takes care of it, but it's enough, but there's none to be had. Or the sudden realization that you are out of milk. The whole world shouldn't just shut down for Christmas. I'm sure there would be people out there that would love to work a day out of the year while the other workers stayed home. Take the unemployed and let them run the registers at a local Krogers. That would be enough. The rest could be handled by the people that have to work because there is no other choice.... the ER, the policemen, the firemen. Those that keep us safe and alive.

Should we celebrate Christmas as a one special day out of the whole year, or is it that Christmas should be a continuation of the rest of our lives? We should say that Christ was born that day long ago so that we could go on living. And not that the day should be at a standstill while people sit at home and wait. Most people would not agree with me, as they have friends, relatives, people around them that they can visit and go eat meals with. But, unfortunately, there are some for whom that doesn't work out. Not all of us have family close together, and there are some whose friends are just as far apart. And so, we wait. And it puts too much pressure on that one day, to treat it like the most special of days in the year, when it should be the same as any other day. And by that I mean that it should be as special a day as the rest of the year, for we are alive, and living, and loving, and participating in the life cycle which we have created for ourselves. Should this day, Christmas especially, a day when the beginning of a life is celebrated, be done by stopping everyone's lives? If that is the case, then let us set aside a day where we nap the whole day, and not worry about fancy dinners and gifts and church services. We could call it "Do Nothing Day," and it would serve the same purpose. For Christmas, let's celebrate living by living. It is the greatest gift that we have, or could give, for our fellow men.

While in the past, I have commented on how wonderful the Yule Log broadcasts on WATL 36 is, especially for people who don't have a fireplace (apartments) or who are allergic to fireplace smoke (me), I do realize the down side to this. Namely, that on Christmas day, everyone packs it up and shuts it down. HSN is on a two hour repeated B-Roll, most of the cable stations are running marathons of only one movie, shown over and over the whole day, with the stations running on automatic, and unless Christmas falls on Monday or Sunday, there is no football games on. Only Basketball, which bores me so. Football should be on every holiday, so that, if we must wait out the endless hours of doing nothing, at least we can watch football while we're doing it. The bright spot of Christmas this year was that at least The Price is Right was on, and Comedy Central ran some of their best specials. But I guess that's what the DVD player and is for. I should have had my own Phineas and Ferb marathon on my computer. At least I would have been merry.

I guess it's just me. Christmas has never been the most special of holidays that everyone else seems to regard it as. Yes, I know all about the true meanings of Christmas, and I take that to heart. But the actual living through Christmas, when everything is not so Thomas Kincaid in our house as it seems to be in others, is sometimes hard. And maybe it's just me, but changing the patterns of life, from something routine to something special, is hard. Sometimes what is the most comforting about any day is waking up and going through the motions. For at least then, there is continuity, there is some purpose about what you are doing. There must be a reason why, every Christmas, I end up getting sick (not this one, yet), my mom ends up with a migraine, and my grandmother winds up talking all day about this death and that sickness, far much more than routine days. Sometimes it's better for the same old thing to happen. When the peaks aren't too high, and the Valleys aren't too low, things are level, and much like the ocean, when that happens, it's calm and pleasant. And like the ocean, in life, when a high is reached, a corresponding low must also exist. And it's those times that are not worth going through sometimes.

I know this is not how I usually think. Standing on the mountain tops is what I strive for, even with the drops being as dangerous as they are. But occasionally, one must taste the opposite opinion, to see if it holds merit. And I see that it does. So tomorrow, I'll probably be merry and happy and epicurean as ever. But for now, the calm, continuous road is good for me.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I sincerely hope you never pull up next to me on the road, and see me singing my lungs out in my car, much like that State Farm commercial they have on now. I look like that. I really do. Hand motions and the whole thing. And my car is the only thing that will hear me do that.

And you see the lines of people trying to get into the American Idol auditions, with ridiculous costumes and horrible voices. The high squealing falsettos and the wavering pitches, thousands of them, all going to sing for these idiot judges whose job it is to spare us from having to listen to people make fools of themselves. And maybe cut down a few dreams. It's all for the fame, the money, the popularity. It's so that people will pay attention to them, pay them a compliment. And in their heads, they're the greatest singers on the planet. Everyone should hear them belt out whatever pop song is popular at the top of their lungs, and it should be an epiphany of life changing proportions. Well guess what. It's not.

I sing because I want to. I don't sing because I want other people to hear me, because I want money, or fame, or whatever. The good singers, the ones that have made it successfully in the world and are making millions singing, or not, like Sting (whose CD we're selling at Borders. English Folk tunes with a Christmas theme), or Bochelli (whose CD we're also selling.), sing because they want to affect the people listening with a certain emotion, love, or passion, or anger, or sadness. Emotions that ring with each note, that resonate with each chord. The trick is that those emotions resonate in each of us when we sing, whether we actually sing well or not. If we are good singers, it does help. And if we are, we can affect the people around us.

If I thought that my singing would actually spur emotions in other people besides the intense desire to choke a person, I would perform. But I am, after all, and introvert, and honestly I don't care what they think of my singing. I think I sound good, and that's all that matters.

Music has always been a very personal thing for me. A song is an encapsulated expression of emotion, something to be treasured and experienced. The thought of someone just having music on as background noise, as something to have on while talking, drives me nuts. A piece of music should be listened to, the notes should envelop one's body. To reduce it to elevator music is nauseating. When I worked at the grocery stores, I always could pick up on any song I liked, and know what was playing within seconds, even if the volume was low. The songs swung me through my day, from tune to tune, until the day was done. Most of the other workers couldn't hear it or care what song was playing.

I loved playing clarinet in the bands at Heritage, at Georgia College, in the marching, symphonic, or pep bands. I received a full music scholarship for college, and it helped pay for, well, a lot of things. But I was never playing for the expectations of the audience. I played for myself. I was 3rd part Clarinet, but not because I couldn't have played the 1st parts (although, truthfully, I would have never have practiced hard enough to play the runs and the difficult stuff. It was all fru-fru anyway.), but because I loved the low, harmonic parts that were the center of the emotions coming from the song. Also, and this was the important part, I sat next to the Saxophones and the Trumpets, so if I didn't like my part, I simply switched to theirs, picking up the notes out of the air. If I didn't like a note that was on the page, I changed it to one I did like. The music was there for me to play, not for someone to tell me how it should be played.

When it comes to singing, I'm even more reserved. I'm selfish, in a way. There's very few people who have even heard me sing in a normal manner. Sure, I'll bellow out some Christmas song in the style of Sinatra, or the Chipmunks, or Marilyn Monroe, but it's never my voice, just an impression. The songs are mine to experience in my own way.

My mom and stepdad never could understand that idea. Especially when it comes to church music. "Why don't you join the choir, or sing a solo?" It's not because I'm shy (cause I'm not), but rather I don't want to share. And God knows my relationship with Him, I can sing a good Church him praising Him in my car just as well as in church. So there's no need. When I tried explaining the idea of experiencing emotions behind the songs, they just dismissed it. "But won't the power of a song wear out?" No. It won't. The emotions behind "Bridge over Troubled Waters" is as strong now as when I heard the song some 20 years ago. It's the singing of it, in my car, that enhances those feelings. It'll never go away. The ideas of "Amazing Grace" haven't diminished, and it's been sung millions of times (best sung by Whitney Phipps, here.).

I wonder if those people in line for American Idol really have the ability to appreciate music for what it is. Not what it could do for them, but what the music actually says and expresses in each of their hearts. Probably not. And their shallowness will be reflected in the music, resulting in mindless drivel that makes the "Next" button on the MP3 player all the more worth important. I tried listening to the newest Train album Save Me, San Francisco, and found it full of fluff and meaningless love ballads. All the going rage in popular music. And it's such a shame, because Train's other albums, with songs like "Drops of Jupiter," are masterpieces of contemporary songwriting. Give me a good Simon & Garfunkel album any day, and I'll be happy.... singing in my car.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Book Review: The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee

The book is much like a song that, with a good hook and an interesting rhythm, starts to unravel in the end because the writer doesn't know how to finish it. The characters are very well drawn out, sympathetic and believable to a fault. The plot was folded over and over again, with turns and cliffhangers that were well thought out and satisfying. The ending, though, has the feel of the end of an old pair of jeans, unraveling and frayed.

I have been saying that it was a lot like Gone With the Wind but set in Hong Kong during WWII. And this still carries forward. I doubt that GWTW had a satisfying ending either, from what I have heard from other people. It is also very similar to _Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet_, but that book was much better, with an ending that worked.

The one element of the ending that I did like was that, in the end, Claire decided to keep on living, to embrace Hong Kong for what it was. She tended her gardens, as Voltaire described the characters at the end of Candide. We must go on living, even after the drama and the heartache. The simplicity in which Claire did this worked amazingly well. What happened to Will, I do not know. His life is revealed more in dreams and thoughts, and his fate is unknown. But I think he would have had to live his life as well. I think we all would like to have a small apartment, to live as Claire did, and be absorbed into the life of the everyday. It is the Romance of the mundane that makes life interesting. It's what most celebrities miss after their quarter hour of fame ends, or after a child star ceases to be a child. The blending in of life to life is something that never quite is accomplished. It all comes down to acceptance.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tyger, Tiger, Burning Bright: Innocence and Experience

How precisely the predator moves, balancing each step upon giant shoulders, looking for the right angle, the right moment. The grass blows lightly in the wind, and the strength of each gust is measured by a wet finger. Each minute change of the ground is studied, measure, so that the exact move be made toward the goal. And if another player should be pressured, or fall back towards the pack, the predator springs, striking with precision and a powerful elegance. How fitting then, would his name be Tiger. And how fitting also, does William Blake's poem of the same name, "The Tyger," befit the situation in which Tiger has gotten himself into.

The Tyger

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb, make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

First, the poem. Included in Blake's Songs of Experience, the poem has a parallel entry in Songs of Innocence, namely, "The Lamb." So we need to take the first line of that poem, "Little Lamb, who made thee?" and apply it to the Tyger. And I could expound upon the poem, and write an essay on it like I would have in an English Romanticism class, but someone has already done that at this link, so there's no need to reinvent the wheel. In the end, it's the line "Did he who made the Lamb, make thee?" that makes all the difference (thanks Frost). God made the Tyger, with all the predatory nature and maliciousness that Blake ascribes to it. The Tyger would just as soon rip a man to shreads, feeding on his bones, as a lamb would snuggle up to the same person, wanting to be fed. Experience (Knowledge) versus Innocence (Ignorance, for little does the Lamb know, but it will be used for clothing, food, and sacrifice to God).

So, let's ask the question. Who made Tiger? We have to look back at the beginning. What events conspired to have Tiger Woods appear on the Mike Douglas Show when he was two? Honestly, I don't know. I only have conjecture and suppositions. Certainly there was some adult broadcasting Tiger's skills as a Golfer to raise awareness, preparing him for future fame. I can only assume that his father had something to do with that. His father, Earl Woods Jr., gave an interview to an English magazine in 2002, linked here, in which he shows them around the house in which he lives alone. His house was transformed into a shrine for Woods' achievements, with the walls made of long lasting oak, and the floors made of Granite. The description of Earl's demeanor shows that Tiger's success was basically his entire life. Also, given his military background, it makes me think of the lead character in Pat Conroy's The Great Santini, a military father based on Conroy's own. Also, I would compare it to the Colonel's managing of Elvis' career. Although not overbearing, I suspect that the boundaries that Earl set for his son was very strict, boundaries that Tiger followed until his father's death in 2006. Then, like most people whose pendulum has gone so far in one direction, it snapped to the equal position the other way.

Also, when he appeared at his first professional tournament in 1996, and introduced himself saying "Hello World," it was clearly scripted, because that same week, he starred in a Nike Commercial with the same theme. The Observer article, linked above, calls Tiger "a corporate brochure made flesh." You could easily see the corporate world controlling and shaping Tiger, much as Blake's imagery, "And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?" While Stanford was the original reason that Tiger wore red on Sunday's, a business contract with Nike (who's shirt he wears) now requires him to wear it that day. Therefore the color of assertiveness and superiority becomes a requirement of a superior partner. How ironic.

In the end, we could conjecture forever about why Tiger behaves the way he does. But we don't have to. The answer is in the poem. "Did He who made the Lamb, make thee?" Blake paints the Tyger as a being made by the Devil, malicious towards man, evil by nature. As if it were a being cast down from Heaven with Satan. But Blake realizes that God made the predatory Tyger just as he made the Lamb. This brings up the arguments of why God allows bad things to happen to people, why hurricanes form, why the cold virus exists...etc... As far as man is concerned, he is evil as his own will makes him. Tiger has all the perfection and skill that makes him an excellent athlete, but he also has the vices that, for whatever reason, he has been unable to withstand. While the Tyger acts on instinct, on survival, the Tiger acts with his own mind, for good or ill.

One other thing about Tiger Woods and William Blake's poetry. In Blake's philosophy, man travels from the World of Innocence to the World of Experience. Innocence is blissful, and wonderful, but it also renders the person impotent and ignorant about the world around him. Woods, per his manufactured image and the boundaries that his father set, never was able to move outside of the world of Innocence until after his father's death. He never advocated any social issues, racial equality, etc... His sole purpose was to be perfect, and to project himself as perfect. So he stayed "innocent" and was placed on a pedestal and envied by the people around him.

The people who live in the World of Experience (most adults and regular people) would become jealous of this and aspire to bring him down off that pedestal and into their own world, where Experience equals Power, Knowledge (the Eden metaphor applies here), and Responsibility. This is where Tiger needs to be, because now he has the ability to make a difference in the world. He also must be responsible for his actions. He might not have the pure image he once did, but he will be stronger for it. Sure, he might not have the money or the prestige he had before, but now at least he will have power over his own decisions. It is something Elvis should have had, but never did, and he died because of it. And Michael Jackson didn't want, and he died because of it.

You can't stay in one place, or stay pure. Everyone sins, has stains upon their image, but it makes them more able to learn from those mistakes, to gain knowledge and responsibility. Without that, we are impotent against the world. That is why God made the apple, and the Tyger, because living as Adam and Eve did prior to the Apple would give God nothing to be proud of. Tiger Woods has a chance to acknowledge his sins, accept his responsibility as a person, and athlete, a role model, and do something spectacular in this world. Let us hope he does.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Introduction: Tyger, Tiger, Burning Bright.

I was having a discussion on Facebook with someone who was disgusted about the coverage of the Tiger Woods revelations. I love these conversations, because there's a reason underneath the story that is often much more important. There's always a "why" question that lies just under the rocks, like some wriggly bug waiting to get out, scurry into the light. As in most of the movies I reviewed, it's not the story itself I find fascinating, but rather, the sociological and cultural significance behind the themes in the movie. In other words, what is the director trying to say. In the recent upheaval of Tiger Wood's life, there are questions to be asked. But not of him, although certainly he will answer them, but rather of us.

Why is it that we find this story so appealing? I want to take a look at this issue, but I have a feeling it will take more than one blog. To introduce the issues I have in mind, here is the conversation I had on Facebook, with other people's quotes in italics.

A: I just don't understand why so many are shocked, indignant, and even interested in this stupid Tiger Woods story. It's a non-story story. Not even newsworthy.

D: The interesting part is discovering why it *is* as story. Neil Postman would have an orgasm with this one. Why are sports figures put on pedestals, by the fans, by the 24 hour news media, by the talking heads at ESPN, etc... And if we believe in the perfection of Tiger Woods as an athlete, why are we so eager to destroy him as a man? What fake scarecrows are we trying to push over? Or more importantly, why is success so looked down upon, and failure regarded as so important? Are our self-esteems really that low that we must knock down the successful people in the world in order to feel better? And what makes them perfect to begin with? We all have our flaws. We wouldn't be human with out them. In this respect, the cliche of living in glass houses takes effect. Only this time, we're throwing golf balls.

A: Totally. That's the ONLY interesting aspect...why people are so enthralled with this guy's sex life. He sure as hell isn't the first man to sleep around.

D: As far as sex... it's all about the money (and the looks). Most women (and some men) are seeing all that money, and the fact that he was sleeping around with "common folk", and wishing that would have been them. I'm sure it's the same thoughts that people would have with other celebs. It's the substitution of one face for another. Most people* want Taylor Lautner (the werewolf) to be holding them instead of the girl in the movie. And all that money... it's the attraction of easy money that
would attract us to adultery.

K: A few years ago, a study showed that if we see a particular face often enough, over time our brains register that face as a friend, as someone we have an actual relationship with. This is why people who watch a great deal of TV perceive their social lives as being much richer than they actually are.

So when a celebrity dies, or betrays our morals, or has a baby, for many people it genuinely feels very personal. We're hardwired to care about familiar people, & modern media messes with this by giving us familiar people we've never actually met.

Celebrity is to friendship like pornography is to sex. The images are flipping switches deep in our brains, giving us real feelings about simulated relationships.

D: Yes... I agree completely... A great comparison... and then they use those faces to sell us stuff... like Gatorade or Sony TV's. You should hear the way some of my friends go on and on about that Dance show. As if Jakob goes from the TV screen to their beds....

R: I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with any of you, but as a member of the oh-so-hated media, let me point out exactly why "we" continue to cover this issue. Take a look at this thread. Even a discussion about why it's NOT a story generates interest, passion and debate. It's a 'talker', or a 'water cooler' story, and in the past week or so, this news has resulted in HUGE ratings for shows covering this, and a dramatic increase in the number of hits on websites like TMZ, etc. We, "the media", only feed the monster that is the public.

D: agreed...I'm not blaming the media for covering the story. the media is what it is. It was created to fulfill its purpose. And you're right... the monster is the public. The media is created by the public, much as Frankenstein made his creation. And while it is interesting to look at the story for what it is, it is also good to look at it as Neil Postman would. "The Medium is the Message." The media has a right to cover the story, based on ratings, as it is the way to succeed in a Capitalist society. So I don't blame the media for creating the issue. I find it more fascinating about "why" the public think it's a big story than about the story itself. It'd make a great research paper for Sociology majors.

A: I'm getting way off topic here...I'm with D, in that I blame the media only as much as I blame the public. My larger issue with the media concerns journalism....where does the media's need to give the public what it wants versus what it NEEDS to hear? Locally, KWTV, KFOR, & KOCO feed viewers stuff based on ratings. The Oklahoma News Report on OETA does an exceedingly better job of informing the public, for example, on what's going on at the state capitol. While viewers don't naturally LOOK for that kind of info, they DO need to hear it in order to be better informed citizens in a democratic society. Nonetheless, it's why I've longed for a media and journalist establishment NOT based on a for-profit system.

R: That's the problem A,... TV, newspaper, radio.. In the grand scheme it comes down to business & revenue. We are a business.. Just like any other. You also bring up a good point about OETA. Yes, it gives us what we need vs. what we want, but look at the ratings. A for-profit media company could not survive on those ratings or format.

I also want to take a look at the Tiger Woods situation as a form of Tragedy, the classic Greek kind, as well as through the eyes of William Blake, in his poem "The Tyger" It's amazing what a poet living some 250 years ago would see Tiger's image so clearly in a form he called a Tyger. So we'll give this a shot. It'll give me something to think about during the Christmas holidays. For Facebook people, I also want to recycle some of the Christmas thoughts I've had in the past few years. They still remain quite relevant today.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Senses of Learning

Imagine going to a college reunion, as I would have done this year, had they had such a thing at GC&SU (Milledgeville), and seeing all the people from your class, now 10 years older, with kids, failed dreams, or not, money, or not, and mostly with 30 pounds more or a half a head less. And there, betwixt conversation and speeches, wondering where the time went and how much had changed, there is the almost necessary singing of the Alma Mater, with the words printed on some programming sheet. And as it is sung, out of tune, with soggy nostalgia, would you wonder, for what are we missing? What makes the college years so utterly miserable, and yet so strongly yearned for? The days that I had my own apartment, going for my Masters degree, were the happiest days of my life, and yet, I was highly depressed. I went to Applebees every day to eat away my sorrow, and to run up my charge card.

It's amazing, the small, sensual details that reminds me of college. The things that make me yearn for the days when I was wondering about the campus from class to class. I thought about those, this morning, and thought I'd share the memories I had.

There's a certain way the college smells, in the early dawn, when Milledgeville is just waking up (well, save the students, cause they sleep till noon). But I was a morning person, and always woke up at 6 to get to the early classes, eat breakfast, go over to the computer lab (when I didn't have a computer)...etc... Squirrels there didn't seem to mind the students at all, and only ran away if you chased after them. But there were times that you sincerely wished for a good soaking rain, to wipe away the scent of living. Much as I remember playing outside after a thunderstorm in Oklahoma. It's remarkable how smells can link themselves over years of time, instantly triggering emotions of memories. For instance, I always loved walking by the Health building over near Music on my way to Clarinet Practice. They had an indoor pool, and the windows at the top of the building were open. On cold, winter evenings, the chlorinated warmth of the pool would filter out to the walkways, bringing memories of the YMCA in Bethany, with warmth that blankets your body and brings a glow to your skin, much as a cup of hot chocolate would. There is nothing so sensual as that smell.

Anyone who has been to college would immediately complain about the cafeteria food. Certainly, on the weekends, the food was barely edible. But the old Southern ladies that worked the back kitchen could fix the most wonderful Chicken Parmeshan with Noodles, and the Wok fixture made the best Caesar Salads I have ever tasted. I have spent years trying to imitate those salads. Down the street from SAGA (called that because of the company that owned the kitchen some 30 years ago, and the name just stuck even after the company moved out.), was a great restaurant called Brewers. It was a coffee shop that had soups, salads, sandwiches, and some sinfully wonderful cheesecakes. But the true divine food was served on Monday nights, when the soup of the day was Tomato Bisque. I have never tasted a liquid so golden or smooth, with flavors so wonderful. I have never equaled it, although I have tried many times. The restaurant is now out of business, and the secret of the soup gone forever.

Milledgeville is filled with old buildings, with Corinthian pillars of Neo-Greek architecture. Being in the RHA club (Residential Housing Association), I got to go inside the old Psychology building, the one that hadn't been used in years, where parts of the roof was gone, and the old, crickety stairs led up and up to places of dead knowledge. With rooms of desks and outdated psychological tools and tests, old 5" floppy disks, folders with who knows what inside. What grand design were these old towers of wisdom, now left to disintegrate. It always left me with such reverence and nostalgia for the past, even as the new computer labs left me with hope for the future, that knowledge could still exist in a world of reality TV shows and endless nights of inebriation.

But the highlight of being at college is definitely that feeling right after I walked out of the classrooms in the Arts & Sciences building feeling as if I had slewn (slayed, slewed??) killed a dragon. When the tests given were slaughtered and sliced and diced and an "A" was a certainty. Because the knowledge was there, the learning, was in my head and I had met my professors expectations. There is no greater feeling than this. And it's the feeling that I most long for now. I have talked about before, on another blog ( how much I yearn for the continuing education that we seem never to get anymore. After work, it's the mindless electronic stimulation, eating of food, and then going to bed. We never learn anything anymore. I bring this up because I had a dream last night about being at something like a college, where music, sports, intellectual conversations, etc... was happening, and I want to look at the dream further and see how it could be implemented in real life. But that will take more than just being buried at the bottom of this blog. So I will end this here and start a new one, after I have set my brain on mix and cogitate.