Friday, September 21, 2007

Yeah- last night was a lot of fun. The Black Lips and the Selmanaires played here which was a good time, despite the band showing up late and never coming to the after party like they said they would. However I had fun anyways, talking a lot more with people who I had only briefly encountered before. I was sociable, very much so. Hey now. I headed back to the dorm around 1:30, and did a little late-night Spanish cramming.

I'm really glad I got involved in the PEC committee here. Not only was I able to get Mount Eerie to come next semester, but there's a lot of cool people in it, as passionate about music as I am. Okay, music snobs. Fine. But good people. Plus its fun to learn how to run sound for a show, set up the stage, etc. We also were able to work out a very solid list of bands who we would get to play Clark in January. I reaalllly want Grizzly Bear to win, but the Mountain Goat fans can be rapid. And the hip-hop ones, but those two potentials, Dead prez and Immortal Technique were also the two most expensive to book. Grizzly Bear AND Dirty Projectors. That's so awesome.

Today after doing my afternoon observation in the library I met up with Adam and we picked up Dave from Assumption, eventually to go to the Worcester art museum. They both really wanted to see Andy Warhol's Campbell Soup Can which for the moment is at the museum. That's right...Worcester, MA. We took a few pictures, but apparently that was one of the few rooms where you weren't supposed to take any. One of the curators stormed in while Adam was mid pose, doing an ironic gang sign none the less. Haha,'s funny in this situation. I played semi-ignorant, saying the lady at the main desk only told us we couldn't take pictures in the Asian section, and then did the apologetic we won't do it again speech. Okay...yeah it's a classic piece of American art...I can see why they'd freak out when they see a bunch of college students parading around it from the mini semi-inconspicuous security camera that looks like a smoke alarm. Though we may pose with it as if its a costumed Disney World character, of course we'd never be destructive. I also noticed a new section either was new within the last week or I've somehow overlooked it during the previous 4 times I've been to the museum. It was a bunch of photo collages, the majority of them about war and the juxtaposition between our sheltered lives and that overseas. A few were incredibly powerful.

After that we ate at Moe's- the most glorious budget friendly Mexican foot there is. Oh and Scrub-a-Dub!! I get so much enjoyment out of car washes. I took many pictures that turned out to be really cool, not aware that Dave in the backseat was recording the entire wash. Next comes the ever so glorious Savers, where I had a few good finds: Pa Rappa the Rappa, and a few CDs most notably A Tribe Called Quest's "The Low End Theory" and Mazzy Star's "So Tonight That I Might See." No matter when you go, its alway a blast in Savers.

Yeah, I'm feeling pretty good- tired, but good. There wasn't anything to do on campus tonight though...we wandered around and found nothing of interest. Ehh. Whatever- If I consider last night and then the afternoon through evening of today, that's a pretty glorious 12 or so hours.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Okay- tonight was way fun.

Black Lips...afterparty.

I feel good.
Blog blog. I have no music blog. My mp3 host died this week, giving no explanation why. It's been down since Sunday night. It's pretty much driving me crazy. Not having the routine of choosing a song and writing a little blurb on it during my days is something I'm missing much more than I expected. I need a new host.

Well I've been thinking...I wonder if I have a social anxiety disorder. Being called shy has plagued my life. Or reserved. That's even worse as you know what its an euphemism for. I'd go through my youth and that would always be the first thing people would say about me. It got infuriating to a point where simply hearing that word would take whatever mood I was in during the moment and just chop it into little burning pieces. It still sets me off. What do you mean by that? Do you think I have nothing to say? Shut up. Though I think we all find it easier to blame our problems on a disorder and try to cure them medically than take the initiate ourselves, I'm not sure if I can ever feel comfortable with myself. I take initiate and force myself to do little things, like speak up in class, be more outgoing, etc. It feels so unfair though, seeing those who can take on those activities without the slightest hesitation, but for me to put myself out there around people I don't know is such an arduous and massive task. I sometimes am not sure how long I'll be able to handle my group discussion psych class. It's one where there's 8 people sitting around a table and we have to talk about ourselves and the work we're going on our observation project for extended periods. I can't say anything there without excessive pauses, stumbles, or staring at the table. It feels really stupid. Then whenever I slip up, I become more conscious of my behavior, think what they could possibly be thinking about and then sound even more nervous and incoherent as a result. I'm fucking tired of it. I want to be able to pull off a fantastic oral report without prompting cards. The thing is though, I'm not always like this. Around friends who I've gotten to know I can be really talkative and outgoing, ready to take on anything and fully express my opinion. I like fun. I don't want to be that person alll the would probably be exhausting, but I'd like to bring some aspects of it into my public persona.

I finally told my parents about wanting to get myself checked out for this last month. I don't know how much more I can put into this myself. Compared to where I was awhile ago I'm much better with approaching others and impromptu speaking. The thing is I don't even understand why I fear so much. Why the hell do I have that moment of hesitation to ask for help finding something in a store...or order something in a restaurant? I know people don't bite. That cliche is another plague upon my life. If I know that and realize there's nothing to fear, how come I'm so excessively cautious? How come I can't be present in any public place without feeling like I'm being judged, watched, criticized. You know those times after you meet someone new, a brief encounter, maybe through a friend or at a party, and you see them around but don't know if you should say hi to them or not and its really awkward? That feeling is my everyday life.

I've spent a lot of time in my life alone. I had next to no friends during my middle school experience, spending all my weekends alone, passing the time with music and movies. I was such an angsty kid then. I remember the times when I would have a friend over, always someone from my grade school years. Say more than just a play session- a sleepover, the cream of the crop in middle school. I'd cry after it was over. I wanted to hold onto that forever.

The fact that I can part from friends now without tears definitely shows that things are better. Maybe life is way awkward for everyone. I'm not sure. I'll see how this goes.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hey- I have time for an entry

There were multiple times this week where I was going to sit down and write in this, but didn't. Now I am.

What happened since the last few entries? Well I had that Spanish quiz and I after I took it I thought I had done terribly. I ended up getting an ocho out of diaz. It's funny as I had no idea if I was even answering what the quiz was asking most of the time. The first section just said : Alfabeto + NĂºmeros. Not knowing what else to do I wrote the numbers from one through ten in Spanish. For the alphabet, I just took it in English and spelled it out phonetically to how it would sound in Spanish. I completely guessed. Aa Bee Cay Dee...etc. Full-credit. Hey hey hey. The spanish text however has been on backorder still, so everyone in the class is going off of badly photocopied sheets.

I have 300 glow stars on my ceiling and a blacklight in my room. It's incredible.

This week has been overall interesting and enjoyable. I'm still doing the library observations for Psych, one of those classes that's stressful for its consistently heavy workload, but also not as it's not going to peak any higher than it already is. Plus the last two weeks of class will be presentations rather than writing papers and studying. Actually, I'm unsure if I actually have any final exams for my courses. I could look right now, but there's enough I need to do for the moment. Let's go to Thursday, as that was an odd but very entertaining day.

So our European history teacher decides to have a class at the Worcester art museum. However rather than organizing a conventional field trip with a bus and etc, we have to get there ourselves. Fine- this is college I guess, but when the majority of the class doesn't have their own cars, it's a pretty half assed plan. Rather than find an ride with someone I didn't know, I decided to take the inter-campus shuttle to WPI which is then within a short walking distance from the museum. Katie, who's also in my class came with me. She's awesome. So the thing with the shuttle is that to take it anywhere you have to ride the predetermined route...which is exactly like a bus. Fine- I never take city buses so all this is new to me. Well it goes to a ton of the colleges in Worcester, and the area each one of them is in looks completely different than the last. At one moment we were in strip club central and then the next an area of Worcester that looked suspiciously like downtown Boston. Oh and then a part that looked like Coney Island, and Mexico, and it was all very surreal. And the bus driver! He was playing this cornball 1940's lite jazz record and had this breathable faux-straw hat. I don't know what you call it, but I just googled "old person hat" and found it exactly. Then this older female college student (I think you're supposed to call them unconventional, especially given that Clark challenges convention) came onto the bus that he was familiar with- veryyy familiar with. They got to talking about wedding anniversaries, Gloria Gaynor, and Donna Summers. I believe the guy would pay to see Donna Summers but not Gloria Gaynor, but couldn't remember who sung "I Will Survive (gloria gaynor..) He then calls them both disco "divahhs" and asks if she remembers that song "I Will Survive" like it's an obscure one hit wonder track. If I were asking someone if they remembered the song "Are You Jimmy Ray?" by Jimmy Ray I would go about asking with the hesitation and uncertainty that he did. I wouldn't do it for "I Will Survive" though. Crazy Frog covered that one! Seriously now!

Guess what's in the Worcester art museum!!! Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Can!! We stared at it for almost two minutes questioning if it was the real deal. It was behind its own super protective plastic case and now that I've just looked it up it is the original.

The on the way back it was a different driver...a different driver who happened to hit a parked car, it's mirror to be exact. Afterwards he drove further than he should have, perhaps realizing oh hey, I have a shuttle-full of people along with me. I guess he didn't really do any damage so we were able to clear the scene after about a minute. weirdddd

Alright. That's good for now. I went to a party on Friday and a guy climbed a house. More on that later perhaps.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Halloweeeeeen. The king of all holidays. Though there's almost 2 months until the date, I'm beginning to feel it. It's still suspiciously warm outside, so staring down animatronic-hand candy bowls and Leatherface masks feels a bit odd when its 95 degrees, but I'll look past that. September 1st is a fine date to put out Halloween decorations. However I was in a Walgreen's in late August that already had giant pumpkins and fake rats on its shelves...rather than thrilled I was offended. If it's not labor day weekend, its still Summer. Duh.

Leaves are already starting to change. It hasn't rained in a lot time, so everything is really dry which speeds up the change. Okay I guess. Anything that ends Summer and this terrible Summer-Autumn segue period. Seriously the worst time of the year.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The first entry where I complain about school work

Spanish. For a quiz on Friday we have to memorize the names of 24 countries, and both the masculine and feminine ways to say someone is from that specific country. So for Nicaraguan I need to remember Nicaraguenese and Nicarageunsa. There's that crazy Motley Crue thing on the u, but I'm not sure how to make that without copying and pasting. This is insane. The quiz also covers Ser, the verb to be and llamarse, to be called, aka naming yourself and others. Yes, llamarse is significant, but do I really need to know how to say Finnish, especially considering this is Spanish 101 and it's only the SECOND WEEK. Como estas? Now let's memorize countries. It's like forgetting how to spell these countries and memorizing a way to spell them incorrectly. Venezuelan? nooo, that's Venezolano. Worst of all, this IS NOT IMPORTANT. Myself and every other student in the class will forget how to spell most of these countries after the quiz is over. This isn't important for a Spanish course. There's nothing I hate more than pointless memorization. Well...there probably is, but this second there's nothing I hate more than it. SKLHDghlSDLGJLK

Ok then. So how has my night been otherwise? Kinda shitty. I've just felt really empty and alone and like nothing could change that. I put on "100,000 Fireflies" which is a sort of musical therapy for me and that helped a bit. I don't know if I can blame Spanish entirely for this spiral, but it's certainly not helping me get out of it. I need a day of peace. Please. Just let me sit with a book that doesn't have to do with Psychology. Let me read something that I don't need to respond critically to and write a "squirb" giving my insight. I like Clark so far, I really do, but it's not easy. Teachers say "don't stress out" like it's something we can control. So you're saying you'll be assigning a ton of work and we should just take it on, no sweat, with no fears? I wish that could be the case. There's grades to aspire to. I hate the beginning of courses when there's no grades as of yet and you have an idea how the class is going to be but not how difficult the teacher will be with their assessment. I wish I was taking an art class this semester. It keeps me balanced and really helps me from getting overwhelmed. That's one thing I loved about Assumption...the art was surprising great there. I loved my drawing and painting teacher and its unfortunate that I had to leave that without the upper level courses. I'm not devoted enough to go to art school, but I love the freedom that art provides me. Even when the assignments were strict- painting a specific still-life using only two colors you're free to approach the medium in the way you feel most comfortable, and that's encouraged. There's no right way to do anything in art. That flexibility compared to the MLA regulations and strict formating rules in many of my other classes gave me some room to breathe when I felt close to being smothered. Right now the cellophane is getting a little too close for comfort. They say you get into the groove and soon you're going steady, but maybe rather than us overcoming the difficulty we succumb to it.

My two psych courses are pretty stressful, particularly Qulitative Methods. There's a quiz every day in that class on long readings and also a simultaneous observation project that we need to work on at least twice a week. Then we have "Squibs," basically extra credit pieces that we write responses to the readings. However the amount of people partaking in them makes them practically essential if you want to succeed. The professor's ratings on RateMyProfessor are incredibly polarizing. It goes from love to basically saying the guy is an arrogant asshole. I'm not sure how I feel, though at the beginning and giving me a "re-read the syllabus" answer to a clarification question didn't put him on my best side. He's all about us taking charge and doing things our own way. Like I said for art- I like doing things my own way, so this should be right up my alley, right? Well for art it's not only quality that goes into a grading system, but effort and experimentation. It works as a progression. There's no way I can say this without sounding completely pompous, but kids in my drawing class were getting B's on pieces that I could draw better with my left-hand in 3rd grade. For a 10 page paper quality is the key deciding point, and when we have no guidelines regarding what to fill those pages up with, it's more than a bit intimidating. I'd agree there's too much bias in writing towards leading towards what the professor would approve of...well, sucking up. We say learning is key, but grades are really it. To an extent grades can show what we've learned, but there's too many factors that also play into learning to simply confine it to that. However, Hampshire, a school I visited had no grades. Instead you needed to write a 3 page essay each week about how you're growing as a student in respect to this course. I also don't think we can judge learning that quickly. So much of those essays must be complete bullshit. Hampshire was a strange cost $45,000 a year to go there and was in the middle of nowhere, with its admissions office was on a farm. And the student body.... well this gives you an idea: "Its annual Halloween party, referred to by some as "Trip or Treat" for historically widespread use of hallucinogenic drugs, was once profiled by Rolling Stone magazine".

I'll continue this later. From the span of the entry earlier tonight to this one I've decided that I missed having a me-blog. It takes the edge of of things. I'm more leveled now than I was earlier. I still don't know how to say Pakistani in Spanish, but that's besides the point.
I made this blog tonight. Do I like blogging about me? Do I miss that? I have a physical journal but I always put off writing in that. It gets harder the more you have it. My summer of 2006 is perfectly chronicled in that but this summer isn't. There's intermittent entries and then those summary entires when you attempt to discuss a period of several months in a single page... those never work. I had a livejournal. I still do I guess...I never deleted it. Its kind of embarrassing. Some entries don't even sound like me at all. I was in a different place then. It's very high school. I cut that out in Summer of 2006... I never even achieved closure with it. An entry of June 2006 just sits there, proceeded by an entry where I express how I feel like I've abandoned my livejournal. Yeah- I just brought it up. June 7th 2007, which follows a June 2nd entry where I write a sentence long note addressed to "livejournal" saying that I'm sorry to have ignored it. Then the entry before that is from February.

I'm not sure how I feel about the act of recording and keeping track of time and memories. It depends really. Sometimes its fun to look back and say, hey...I remember that. Other times like I said before, it's embarrassing. Like, ewww- I sound like such an emo. I'd like to think we remember what's truly significant in our heads, but as humans we don't keep it to the essential. Nooo, throw on 5 meat patties... we love excess. The car can't just smash after it drives off the 100 foot cliff- it must explode! We like mundane memories. There's importance in the mundane though. Everything we do is mundane and what we do is how we often describe ourselves and interact with people and etc etc. What isn't mundane and when do we realize it isn't? The first memory of my life is a surprisingly early one: I was 16 months old and was in Ohio. My cousin Hannah, just a couple of months old was in this weird baby device. Not a cradle, not a swing, not those bungee "let your baby bounce!" chairs. It was a slowly moving, rocking enabled but additionally baby powered imprisoning tool. I've seen pictures of the scene but my memory is full motion. Video couldn't of influenced it either...there's none of this situation I recall. So when I play out what I remember, it couldn't have been any longer than 10 seconds in reality, perhaps only 5. The setting was Thanksgiving. I think it was my first trip to Ohio, which also was accordingly my first plane ride. That memory was lost on me, but I heard I was a very pleasant passenger and received a complementary wing-pin for my non-irritating behavior. Actually that may have been another flight...who knows? Well, my parents do, but I'm not calling them up and saying "Hey...when was the time that I got that wing-pin?"Minor detail. Well, Thanksgiving diner just happened and like all kids I needed to escape from the table before the adults were finished. I was on the floor and headed over to my new cousin and began to push the rocking device than enclosed her. There was no escape, believe me. I was in full control. My memory doesn't include how many times I pushed, if I changed my momentum or how long I had been pushing. How did I even know how to push? (That's something for my Psych of Learning course.) Well I pushed, my Aunt Mary turned around, said to me "Don't push so hard Matthew." I then immediately stopped. Fade out. That's the memory. A push, a word, move out.

So my point with this... is this anything more than mundane? It's just a cause and effect act that is prevalent in our daily lives. I did something that unsettled someone else and they made that known. As a child I was always uncomfortable with being told what I was doing was wrong. In Kindergarten during a coloring section I would rotate the paper to better be able to reach certain areas. The teacher one day put her hands on my paper, steadying it, saying softly but firmly, "Keep your paper still." Well Mrs. D, guess what I still do to this day when I'm drawing and need to make something symmetrical? You've guessed it! I'm digressing though... That situation being my first memory is what's significant here, not the situation itself. So are all the memories that emerge when we trigger our brains to recall them the greatest hits of our lives? Is there something in each and every one of those situations that made the dark and mysterious realm of our unconsciousness think, "Nice, I'm totally making a copy of this one?" Right now I can recall six memories from my pre-school experience: 1) A kid who would always drink the tiny 4 oz boxes of an all-natural juice (but it wasn't Juicy Juice, but some other brand that had a white package.) Edit: Apple & Eve! 2) Racing big-wheels on the pavement and colliding with my neighbor Jonathan, badly scraping up my knee. 3) My best friend Ellen saying under a jungle-gym after some sort of fight that she wasn't talking to me again. (That changed later that day.) 4) Losing my first tooth and not having any idea what to do, so I put it in my winter hat and carried on with my day. 5) Playing with a giant parachute during gym and 6) Riding home after graduating and receiving a mini-Pound Puppy that when you squeeze its stomach its mouth opens, allowing it to grip to various objects. Some of those are perfectly sound memories, a fair mix of pleasure and trauma. But #1...does my mind occasionally just want to fuck with me and throw in some ridiculous arbitrary affair? Because, if it's working.