Friday, March 26, 2010

Analogy time

As my roommates and I were watching Xavier play Kansas St. last night in a most exciting NCAA Sweet 16 game, we noticed drips of water coming out of the ceiling, right where the tub in one of the rooms would be (we live in a two story condo). Our line of vision followed the drips down to my Wii, my RockBand drums, and my resilient VCR. We all leaped into action, moving the valuables first, then the whole entertainment center, then telling the roommate in the tub to get out of the tub, then calling our landlord, then getting bowls for the water, then getting towels to dry everything off with, then waiting for the landlord to pick up her phone, then wondering what more we could do. As roommates 1 and 2 were talking to said roommate in the bathtub and making phone calls, I felt like I had to do something, the water had to stop or else due to the softness of the ceiling, something was likely to fall through onto our brand new carpet. So, naturally I put my hand against the holes in the ceiling. That would stop it!

After a few minutes, roommate 1 asked me what the heck I was doing because it was just getting my shirt all wet with gross drywall water. I agreed and went to grab the towels. As we sat there, watching our landlord poke a hole through the ceiling as easily as sticking your finger in a pie, I thought about my instinctive reaction. An unstoppable force is pulling something undesired into my direct path, and all I can do is put my hands out, palms up, and believe that it's going to have an effect. I have to stop it, I can do it, get out of the way while I put my rubber-stopper hands up to half a dozen holes and watch them miraculously dry up all the water. What happens in the end? Water keeps flowing, holes keep growing, ceiling is softening, and my shirt is wet and smelly.

I'm not sure where my poetic analogy is going. I think if this issue was at rest in my life/personality type, I would have a flourishing conclusion about "going with the flow" instead of stopping it. Instead, all I can think about is money, school, and life, in that order. Three holes, two hands, and a sporadic sleeping schedule. Unfortunately, I think the way it works is that the drywall is going to keep getting waterlogged until the ceiling bows to it's apex of a monstrous crack right above my arms covering my head, and right at that moment, maybe I'll wise up and finally start depending on the one person that can really stop holes in my life.

Until then, I'm going to invest in a poncho. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I've never been one for hobbies. Not that I don't wish I had some, or think that people with hobbies are silly or waste time, or anything like that. No, I just haven't ever been able to justify pursuing something that doesn't directly influencing my future. To be sure, this is a stupid behavior especially because it leads to spending large amounts of time on overly frivolous activities like video games or surfing the internet, but maybe in a small way those are my hobbies. ... Gross.

I started playing trombone in the seventh grade. Then I started playing trombone in the tenth grade. The only reason I didn't quit before high school was because of jazz band. The original motivator was friends in the class and getting out of school to go to different cities and perform for a little bit and play for a lot longer. There was something intoxicating about jazz. The dotted eights, the dominant sevenths, the attitude, the emotion. I'd like to say it was the challenge that I enjoyed, and I did, but truth be told, everything about trombone was a challenge for me. I also can't lie and say I loved the freedom of improvisation, because honestly it scared me to death. I did love the cultivation my music taste received from being in jazz band for so long. Playing jazz made me listen to jazz, made me appreciate jazz. And that's how I began to appreciate artistic nuances, references in other songs, and again, the raw emotion. I'm listening to Blue in Green right now, by Miles Davis, and the poeticism drove me to write this post.

After tenth grade, this wasn't just a hobby, this was the future career path. My freshman year of college, I auditioned for the school of music and didn't get in. In hindsight, this was how things were supposed to happen, but it was hard to hold onto that glimmer of hope at the time. Trombones are valuable, college is expensive, and after all my hard work and time (which again, in hindsight wasn't that much) I could hardly stand to look at it. I stopped playing the trombone on April 16th, 2008. Shortly thereafter, it got sold. Shortly thereafter, I stopped listening to jazz.

My iPod has twenty-five gigabytes of music. The majority of it is jazz and classical. I've listened to the handful of pop, country, rap, and rock bands/artists I have too many times to count. I've purchased quite a bit of new music over the past two years, but invariably, I get bored, claim I need new music, try to discover new bands, but usually end up letting the radio drone out the silence of my car. I debated taking off all the jazz and classical music from my iPod but couldn't bring myself to do it, to waste it even though it was already being wasted.

Today, was giving away a collector's edition of a bunch of Miles Davis music and memorabilia. To enter the drawing, I just had to post a comment about how Miles Davis could be one of the greatest musicians of all time. I didn't commit to any ridiculous statement like that, I just posted something silly ("If peeing your pants is cool, then I'm Miles Davis!") and wondered what I'd really do if I had all of that.

Would I listen to it? I have a lot of Miles Davis right now, that I never listen to. I have a lot of Coltrane, Mingus, Thelonious, Hawkins, Basie, and more that I never listen to. I have a whole set of North Texas State University Jazz Band CDs that I cherished as one of the best gifts I've ever received, that I never listen to. I went about the rest of my day, came home, and listened to Miles Davis, Birth of the Cool. Like an addict, I went right back to it, a habit I could never truly shake. Apparently time heals all because the knife music left in me after I changed majors left a hole that nothing but a 32 bar blues could fill.