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Tuesday 15 April 2003


This will be brief. I dunno if somebody will tell me if I'm not allowed to use this computer. So I flew into the east coast overnight a couple nights ago. Yesterday I was a bit of a basket case from that two hours of sleep I received. This caused me to corner the medieval music teacher and fire at her questions about the Burgundian school of music during the hundred years war. What would posess me to tell her I had an avid interest in writing motets?

Anyway, I met Alvin Lucier. He told me how to make Boston Baked beans. First, soak the beans overnight. Put a quartered onion in the bottom of the bean pot, then put in your drained, soaked beans and honey (or maple syrup), water and dried mustard. You also stgick in a bay leaf or salted pork. Cook in the oven at low heat for a long time and then take the top off for the last half hour so they brown on top. We also talked some about music. I asked if I could be his assistant, as I could tell that the semi-random bit of conversation I was having with him would sometimes contain musical information as well, and he's good to talk to anyway. Judy was his TA when she was here. She said it involved hanging out a lot and doing writing work for him.

I also met Ron, the computer music guy. He told me that the community here was warm and not competitive (like some other schools), and from what I've seen, he's correct. His TA would do kind of cool stuff. Fixing electronics, doing computer maintaence, soldering, etc. Stuff I kind of want to more about. But stuff I haven't done because of laziness, not ignorance, if you know what I mean. I have a soldering iron at home, I just rarely use it. Anyway, he also said that Christi could get her music done by the student orchestra. Judy told me that the orchestra isn't that great, but Christi might be able to get an ok recording and would get money from ASCAP this way. There's also a pipe organ. Every spring Alvin makes his students write a pipe organ piece and they get played at a midnight concert that is somehow connected to the gay pride festival.

The campus seems kind of queer friendly. There's an upcoming drag prom or something. A sign in the music building stairwell advertises a men's group to talk about men's issues. It says it's for all self-identified males, which makes me feel better about it. I saw one anti-war sign in the student center. The school newspaper is probably considered to be on the left, or maybe moderate. It has an editorial that worries about embedded journalists, perhaps they're endangering troops. right. ok. Middletown has a lot of flags. This is Joe Lieberman's state. Lots of military. A lot of flag poles fly POW/MIA flags below the US flag. There are a lot of flags just around. The Italian Catholic church is St. Sebastian parish. They have a statue of St Sebastian standing at attnetion (not shot full of arrows) outside. An engraving says that he's the parton saint of Catholic vetrans (my emphasis). Er... yeah. At first this pissed me off. But then I remembered that St. Sebastian was murdered heniously by his own army after refusing to commit an atrocity, so maybe he is a good war saint. On the other hand . . .

In counterpoint to all the flag waving, the Episcopals have a US flag with a dove carrying an olive branch. No stars on the blue. I guess that's flag waving too, but it makes me feel better about things. The town is um, what berkeley would be like without Telgraph Avenue and without any of the towns around it like Albany and San Francisco if there were no gas stations and it didn't have Peets or Codys or the gormet ghetto or hills or . . .. I don't get small towns. This is suburban for sure. It's only two hours from New York though. If it were SF, it would be one of those outlying suburbs that people insanely commute from, like Davis kind of is. But a two hour commute must be consdered long here or something. A lot of people said hi to me on the streets of Middletown, but they might all be crazy, I have to ask somebody. Yeah... well, there's a nice looking playhouse which isn't part of the school. And a new espresso shop. I had a dismal macciato this morning, but at least it was coffee and had soymilk, even if it was just a bitter wet cap. Maybe they'll get better. And there's a ncie fruit shop. A lot of itallian markets. Apparently an entire Sicillian village relocated here several years ago.

I must go try to meet with the department head. I think that I could spend two years here without going insane. And if I do, there's a large mental institution in town.

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