Monthly Archives: September 2012

036

I rose at noon today (Michael was still fast asleep) to the F-major tinkling of my phone receiving a text message.

I went to get my CD drive back from Anne, and that somehow escalated into sight-reading five-halves Chopin nocturnes.

I loaded up my laundry and got lunch at Top Dog (entirely unsatisfying for six dollars); I went back, found a dryer, and went to get a haircut. I took a shower (and forgot my towel; I had to use my shirt instead, and sneak back to my room at top speed). The hair salon down Hearst (right next to the food court) is ridiculously overpriced ($47 per haircut, first-time special $24); a quick search via Google Maps led me to a small place on Euclid ($16); I left decently satisfied.

It occurred to me this morning that not everything that passes through my head is sacred, or even important. I’m sure composers and writers and artists strike things out all the time, when they decide that some scratch draft isn’t good enough to pass on to general knowing.

With that in mind, I proceeded to write this post as usual, documenting every tiny tidbit that went on in my life today, knowing fully that it would seriously lower the value of each post on this blog.

I actually bought a used CD today from Rasputin Music – “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis. Stereo sound is really something.

J39M

Heat Death 101

The clip of the professor’s entrance was shown – years later – at a psychology seminar. The combined conclusion of the audience was that he “floated in with a strange grace like a hot-air balloon.”

That was not an unfair description. Professor Yano looked like a bodybuilder, but he moved as though underwater – it is disorienting to see such a volume moving with ballet-esque form. The effect is redoubled since the volume has a fixed reputation for being an alarmist doomsday prophet.

“Welcome – ” Professor Yano slapped his lecture notes onto the podium – “to – ” he strode over to the first of the sliding blackboards and wedged his hands underneath, tensing himself – “Heat Death One-oh-ONE!” and he flung the blackboard upwards, revealing the grimly scrawled course title on the board beneath.

The blackboard flew up, bounced off the frame, and came uncertainly down again, mostly covering up the words. Professor Yano did not move. The rest of 155 2/3 Dwinelle did not move, except the one student in lightweight rowing (caught mid-yawn, he was left with his mouth gaping open).

“This is a small class,” said Professor Yano, still facing the chalkboard. “You are all expecting syllabi right now.” A statement of fact, and BANG. “You are here to learn about how it all ends and when it all ends, not to worry about syllabi!” he’d slapped the board for extra emphasis, and whirled round wide-eyed to glare at his students.

The portion of 155 2/3 Dwinelle not onstage was only slightly more composed than the evangelical professor. Even for unconventional and liberal instructors, this bordered on being radical.

“My name is Professor M. Yano, PhD. The ‘Ph’ means ‘acidly,’ and the ‘D’ of course can only mean ‘deranged.’ I will be your instructor for this two-unit course about the ultimate death of everything, everything, EVERYTHING, from which there is no escape. December 21 was NOTHING. The sum of all doomsday predictions ever made is NOTHING.Your family, your friends, your home, your happiness, will all be NOTHING. There’s no coda. There’s no additional reading. There’s no extra credit. You, me, EVERYONE – we’re all DEAD!”

And nobody had anything to say to this.

035

Music: a slice of your soul served up on a silver platter. Or so I like to think. Because I don’t share music just on a whim: some pieces are for specific people. The standard fare Chopin &c. is for everyone, the Joe Hisaishi is for friends, and…

I wonder: would it be at all interesting to arrange? I made “Katzen Blut” [the waltz from The Cat Returns] extremely annoying, so “Theme from Cinema Paradiso” can’t be far behind. Heck, I even managed a twisted rendition of “Deep Sea Ranch” the other day. I’m feeling pretty good about this slow-and-thick-chords business.

J39M

034

I was at the gates of the decrepit castle some time ago, lolling around a streetlamp like a wannabe male dancer. How nice it would  be, I thought to myself, to be a streetlamp! To provide light for people who, by your blessing, safely find their way.

Another perk, less common: I get to be a voyeur from time to time. How many young couples have their rendezvous, have taken the first bold step down their path of love within the bright bounds of my little territory?

But a streetlamp doesn’t go anywhere, any more than a blade of grass or a gargoyle on Hearst Mining Building. I revise my view: maybe I’d like to be dandelion spawn? Dandelion feathers? Heck if I know the right term, I never took biology or botany seriously. Fly where the wind takes me, seeing and feeling new things every hour, every day…

Alvin asked if I was still stuck in the piano room. As usual I (my paranoid side) read too much into it and got a passive-aggressive interpretation of “are you still being your antisocial nerdy self?” out of there. My rational side immediately got the fire extinguisher out: “Yes, I’m still holing myself up in solitude. But I’ve met my share of great people via the piano room; good and great things have happened in there. So, why not?”

J39M

033

A horde of enthusiastic tenors held rehearsal in my head through most of Math lecture (when I wasn’t dozing off). I barely heard Professor Steele’s material about directional derivatives. I was too busy mulling over ANOTHER re-arrangement of the material from Ponyo – the one that was performed live in Paris. The “Deep Sea Ranch” theme makes a re-appearance at one point in B-flat major, and for some reason, the half-step shift upward really makes a difference. Maybe it was just the makeup of the choir and the articulation (the “gentle” male tenor voice really stood out in Paris); still that wondrous chord change (bass line A –> A-flat, chords F major –> F diminished) replays itself over and over…

J39M

032

I’m pathetically losing steam on the J. front. I couldn’t have done worse these few weeks than if you gave me a master key and absolute get-away-with-it rights. Now, the cusp upon which I balance threatens to send me plunging down, down, down. I made it a cusp where it was once a beautiful exponential function that was differentiable everywhere.

Let’s see if Ennio Morricone can’t help me out…[would Thursday hurry up and come already?]

On a brighter note, the physics midterm wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d expected.

I finished the day by playing pool with Anusha, practicing some basic Wushu in the octagon, and creeping on Anni’s practice time. She played through the Etude in c-sharp minor, op. 10 no. 4; some Prelude and Fugue in d (Bach), and some of a Chopin ballade that I was not familiar with.

WOULD THURSDAY HURRY UP AND COME ALREADY?

J39M

031

Michael and Aneiss came back from their midterm (they have Stahler, and I Markov) in a celebratory mood; it was “easy as hell.” I was hustled out of my bookish stupor and brought down to Giannini Hall in high spirits. I sang and danced and jumped and pranced all the way down the stairs (“JULIAN GRAVITY’S GONNA DO YOU IN AND YOU’LL DIE”), and we waltzed all the way past VLSB to our promised destination.

I came back in full-on “Let’s Do Radio Exercises” mode, except I chose a full set of the creepiest and least heterosexual dance moves possible. Michael threatened to hit me with a paper fan if I didn’t stop. I was acting positively wild with joy for no reason, other than that I half-expected the midterm to be a breeze (Oh God. That’s more or less the same line of reasoning that got me into hot water with the CS midterm). We don’t even have the same professor. Oh no. Oh no.

I had dinner with Alex; eventually Omead and some others from the suite downstairs joined us; Jaehoon himself sat next to me.

Jaehoon…made some unusual comments. Makes me wonder if – just maybe – a few select people might be well-versed in the art of mind-reading, but don’t let it on, not ever.

If not, I chalk up another unusual datum which points in a favorable direction but cannot positively be used to corroborate hypotheses of mine…

J39M