Music II

When I first made myself commit to posting weekly, I was trying to make myself spend a little time every day of the week thinking and writing and whittling away at old drafts. Instead I’m here at 10:40 PM basically starting a brand-new post. Oh well.

I last blogged about music in 2013. I tagged two other posts with “music” since then, but neither is particularly deep: 8 Songs for 18 Years and Drop-In Filler. Let’s continue the tradition of self-analysis part IIs from nowhere…


I meditated a little bit in Conversations about “lacking experience or interest in a lot of the commonly discussed culture.” I think this applies to me and music as well, although not as fully. Back in Taiwan, when mentally bracing myself for coming to the U.S. for college, I sometimes worried about not knowing enough about pop music and bands and not listening enough to popular albums, and having trouble integrating into the culture for this.

Turns out, among the communities I wandered into and friends I made, it was a more frequent obstacle that I didn’t know enough about classical music and composers. Whoops. Some of the names rang faint bells from either music class or conversations with high school friends who did do classical music, but I could not identify or remember any styles or eras, and would remember composers only by unreliable first letters or unusual substrings of their names.

(Although this isn’t particularly unique to music, and is adequately explained by me just being bad at names. Fun fact: In first grade or thereabouts, during “computer” “class” where we practiced making Microsoft Word documents about things, I wrote some sort of introduction to Leonhard Euler and said that he proved that there were infinitely many primes. I believe my first-grade self conflated Euler with Euclid by assuming that only one important mathematical name would ever start with such an odd digraph. A digraph of two vowels at that.)

(Mental challenge: In two minutes, list as many of your friends whose names start with two vowels in a row as you can. Go!)

I don’t think that not following pop music helps either, but when I visited Taiwan over breaks, I realized my sister learned more about U.S. pop music by staying in school there than I did actually studying in the U.S.

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Brand New

(all the times that you beat me unconscious I forgive)

angst [████████  ] (8/10)

We’re overdue for one of these posts, I guess.

(all the crimes incomplete – listen, honestly I’ll live)

Last-ditch feeble attempts at cleaning and reorganizing my desk and shelf before I figuratively drowned in academics led to me finding

  • the Google physical linked puzzle, which I placed in the Kitchen Lounge to nerd-snipe people, successfully
  • a Burger King crown from the previous career fair
  • ID stickers from the Putnam, one of which is now on my keyboard cover cover (← not a typo), just because
  • assorted edibles, like candies and jellies, which I ate; as well as the half-finished Ziploc bag of candy from my FPOP, six months ago, which I just tossed in the trash
  • a box. It’s just, like, a box. I don’t know what goes or went into it

I feel more in control of my living quarters. Marginally. Guess I’ll be fine.

(mr. cool, mr. right, mr. know-it-all is through)

Pros and cons of having a departmental advisor in your area of interest:

  • Pro: the advisor knows something about the classes you want to take and can help you choose classes
  • Con: the advisor knows something about the classes you want to take and can help you choose classes

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Glowstick Memories

So. It looks like I’ve officially graduated.

I have to wonder whether it really means anything. Taiwan’s system classifies the grades neatly into 6/3/3 sections, but then our bilingual department also uses the somewhat illogical and faintly sexist freshman-sophomore-junior-senior naming thing, in which the big jump happened last year.

Neither of these naming issues, of course, really matter. Shakespeare says, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Nor, I would think, do the different color of uniforms we have to wear (pink, if you didn’t know.) But AP classes probably count for something.

I am going to take AP Biology. Why did I pick AP Biology anyway? It seemed like a reasonable default choice. I guess I would like to know something more about the mysteries of life and consciousness to guide my philosophical side, and many of the other courses looked too murderously intense. The perfect stepping stones into the giant hamster wheel of overachievement that everybody is crazy about here. But then I learned I still received eight chapters to study by myself during summer vacation, alongside the English reading assignment. Oh well, so much for relaxation.

You know, I used to think of this issue, about all the academic work we students pile onto ourselves and all the ensuing stress and chaos, from a strange detached third-person viewpoint. Not everybody has a mind that is fit for all that brainwork. Some people have to do the artistic, imaginative things. Some people cannot function optimally in our intense learning environment. Somehow, imperceptibly, according to my apparently not-all-that-bad grades, I put myself in the crazy book-grinding category, and I am having second thoughts.

I don’t feel the energy for all this intense future yet… The past is still so close, so vivid, so attractive. Our graduation trip, for instance.

Yeah, okay, fine, I admit it, what follows is a rough record of our graduation trip that has been stuck in draft limbo for approximately forever, and I was trying to segue into it. I’m a perfectionist, what can I say?

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