Playing it by Ear

It’s past 10:30 and I’m still at my mom’s house “helping” her get travel insurance. She’s leaving for Poland in a month. By “helping”, I mean I’m sitting at a desk behind her while she calls out questions that I’m trying to answer without snapping. I have a very short fuse. I also play everything by ear (i.e. I google everything. If I had a smartphone, I’d probably just never talk to people. My ghetto phones are a means to preserve whatever’s left of my social skills), so when people try to ask me for advice, and then don’t understand why I’m just pointing them to Google, I usually respond with eye-rolling at best and full-blown tantrums at worst. I don’t know what’s up with this full-blown resistance to people asking simple questions, I mean, shouldn’t people with blogs looove being asked for advice about everything from travel insurance to weddings to the discovery of the wheel? Like, yo, blogger, how did you discover the wheel?

Should we make more blogs for our especially esoteric interests? Hello, you have reached the little space I have carved out on the internet for insect taxidermy. You are our 4th visitor. (Copyright 2005-2013, Alice Sarmiento).

Anyway, blogs: it has literally been months since I last attempted to update the music blog I run over here, and now that there’s finally an update in those pages, I guess it’s safe to say that I’m letting it go at the end of the week. Or whenever my last interviewee sends me his revisions. Either way, I’m done. I need to excuse myself from that project, make a nice little exit to attend to more pressing matters (although I would gladly let someone else take over that project, especially [actually, only] if that person is Francis Cabal). It’s been fun, but it’s failed to weave itself into all these other threads that make up my life, as of late. And right now, I can only think as far ahead as the end of the year – when my lease expires and the school year draws to a close, and we wait for the results of other things we (meaning I) try to apply ourselves in.

In terms of these “other things” though, these other things have been going very well. I’ve been puttering around a museum for internship credits. My students are graduating on Wednesday. Then on Thursday I get a root canal then hop on a plane bound for Jakarta, just in time for a friend’s wedding the next morning. And it’s only April, but it’s also already April, meaning a third of the year just whipped by. The ceiling fan in my apartment already fell from my ceiling (without tearing off the entire ceiling, as I had originally feared).

The past few months have been a great mix of brutal and fulfilling. Four out of seven of the theses I advised made it past the panel and the dean, so there will be high fives; Former West had to be one of the most formative experiences, thus far, in my life as a grad student/wankademic (more on that later, probably). Everything I’ve done this year, I would do again, and I’m just glad to be able to say that.

There will always be time to write about music as some kind of cure-all, or at least a medium to help us make sense of the world. I read something about architecture as a means to create coherence from the chaos of open space; to carve channels in which to move about an otherwise daunting environment (that was Pallasmaa. Then again, Latour said something about the concept of an “environment” being inextricably linked to control [great. Watch me wreck the poetry of that last bit with some fucking related literature]). I guess I always felt, and always will feel, that way about music; that even if I can’t fully grasp what goes in to a verse, or the connotations change, I somehow just know these words.

Anyway, a word count of The Peripheral Universe (Hear It Is, in particular) adds up to a veritable e-novel, so reading all fifteen interviews online would take up a pretty sizable chunk of time. You can also opt to print it out for a very fancy booster seat.

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