Monday, October 01, 2007

Now That I Have My Life Back...

Now that I have my life back, I can be a better blogger. Sorry I have neglected you for so long, blogosphere.

I'm so happy, I want to hump something!

I just finished what could be my last class of my entire life. Except for like scuba diving and stuff like that. Probably more like CPR, or maybe a ceramics class as a senior citizen. (Or, as a Señor citizen, more like it). I have completed all of the course work necessary for my PhD program. Now, all I have to do is take (and pass!) my qualifying examinations and write a dissertation. That's it! I am allowed 7 years to finish. Do you think I will be able to do it? Hmmmm.

The funny thing is, I think that I just turned in what could possibly be the worst paper I have ever written in my life. I mean, I am sure that I wrote some bad ones when I was in 8th grade (as a matter of fact, I specifically recall one I wrote about censorship in English class in which I quoted both Megadeth as well as Exodus [the band, not the book in the Bible]). But this one I just turned in, I don't know, I just felt like sketchy about it, in terms of what was expected and what I delivered. Whatever, dude. I've got senioritis. Or, shall I say "Señoritis!" Oh man, it is gooooooed to be alive.

Wow, as I am writing here, I just keep on thinking of other things to write about. Like the senioritis thing. This stuff is just flowing. I'll keep it coming.

First off, because I just said "senioritis," I should talk about the band Senioritis. This portion of the blog will only really be fully appreciated by the participants of the Mt. Gigantic/Half-handed Cloud summer 2003 tour (so, you know like, 6 people will actually find this to be interesting, and half of them do not use the internet and of those who do, they probably wouldn't read this). But anway, the story goes like this: When we played in Philadelphia, the band we played with, they asked us "So, who are guys playing with tomorrow?" and we were like "This band called Senioritis." And these Philadelphians got really excited when they heard this, they were ilke "Oh, awesome. Senioritis." But that's all they really said. No explanation. Later that night I slept in superstar Denison Whitmer's bed. He wasn't there though. Anyway, I don't mean to be making fun, because in all honesty Senioritis are probably the best band on the planet, and here is why: Their singer, after singing a couple of tunes with the band then did a song a capella. It was a song about the death of his sea monkey, sung into a wireless microphone with unparalled sincerity. A song, about the death of his sea monkey, sung into a wireless microphone with sincerity so strong people were like sweating. Sure, we got to jam with Lenny Smith, (a.k.a., the dad of the Danielson Famile) as his backup band later that evening, but it's safe to say that the a capella Senioritis song is what will truly remain etched in our spirits throughout the eternities.

Now that I've got that out of the way, let me tell you about the paper I just wrote, because it's actually pretty interesting (not so much the paper, I wrote, but the guy who I wrote it about). I wrote a paper about a story by a Japanese writer named Miyazawa Kenji. I got pretty good at typing his name. Miyazawa Kenji. Did you see how fast that was? So, who is Miyazawa Kenji? Basically, this guy ruled. He was born into the family of a pawnbroker in 1896 (so, if he hadn't died, we'd be about the same age) and grew up to despise his family's money and refuse his inheritance. (Here is where I change tense) He studies agriculture and becomes a really awesome teacher who everyone loved, but the whole time he was writing these science fiction type stories and publishing them himself. Like many of those who truly kicked ass before the internet was invented, his kickassedness was only truly recognized after his death (he died at age 37). He also wrote Japan's most famous poem. They found it in one of his notebooks, and I guess someone was like "Wow, this is a pretty good poem" and then things just spread from there. So, you might be familiar with his work. You ask yourself - Where would I have seen his work? Well, if you were at my solo performance at the Art Hospital a few months back, that movie with the cats riding the train that was projected behind me, that movie was an adaptation of his story "Milky Way Railroad" (I know what you are thinking, and NO, it is NOT about a railroad made of candy bars with fluffy nougat on the inside. It is a movie about talking cats who ride trains. Come on). The funny thing about that VHS video is that it was the last video to ever play in my (actually Jim Zespy's deceased grandmother's) VCR. After that show, the VCR never powered up again (because I rocked SO HARD), and the video cassette had to be forcefully removed with tools. It was NOT easy. But it was necessary, or worth it, depending on who you ask.

Anyway, Miyazawa Kenji, this guy rocked, big time. He studied Esperanto, organ, cello, and all this weird stuff, was a social reformer, agriculture master teacher, and stuff like that. Makes me want to live life with a little bit more of an Andrew WK kind of outlook, you know what I mean?

I leave you with a translation of Miyazawa's master poem, the most popular poem in all of Hello Kitty land. It even uses the word "blockhead."I think something might have been lost in the translation there. Anyway:

not losing to the rain
not losing to the wind
not losing to the snow or to summer's heat
with a strong body
without want
never angering
always smiling quietly
every day four bowls of brown rice
miso and some vegetables to eat
to everything
without judging
carefully watching and listening and understanding
then not forgetting
in the shade of the woods of the pines of the fields
being in a little thatched hut
if there is a sick child in the east
going and watching over them
if there is a tired mother in the west
going and shouldering her sheaf of rice
if there is someone near death in the south
going and saying there's no need to be afraid
if there is a quarrel or a suit in the north
telling them to leave off with such nonsense
when there's drought letting tears fall
when the summer's cold wandering upset
called a blockhead by everyone
without being praised
without being blamed
such a person
i want to become


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