Sunday, April 25, 2010

More Sunday Night Musings

Another Sunday night, another Writing Center shift. Got my last hour open, so may as well waste a little time here.

Since last I posted, I've been to New Orleans for ACLA. The high points were definitely all the street-drinking and the insanely good food we ate (including alligator, and some phenomenal shrimp wrapped with crab, breaded, and served with a blood orange hollandaise sauce!). Low point was without a doubt Good Friday, where I, unlike certain other Catholics I won't name, fasted until 10:30 that night. I also resisted the urge to go to a strip club on Easter Sunday. Which, I figure, is a win for both me and God.

Given that my dissertation chapter is currently in the hands of my advisor, and I just can't muster up the will to go back and revise anything else yet, I've kind of been coasting since then. I work in the WC four days a week now (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday), and I spent a week prepping my application and interview for the Writing Center Admin job I've got next year (success! money! health insurance for a full year!). So any other kind of academic endeavor has been put severely on the back burner. I've been reading a few books, particularly a 600 page beast of a Vietnam novel called Matterhorn, which Captain Americanist recommended to me after seeing a review in the Times. Definitely a slog through the muck, watching many buddies die face down. Also contains one of the most disturbing "leech up the urethra" scenes I've ever encountered (and given my field of research, that's saying something). Tomorrow I may try to read through a theory book that my advisor left for me in my mailbox, apropos of nothing. It contains the cryptic note "Dubs, have you read this?", then has the name of a prominent theorist scrawled in a different ink. The theorist in the note is not the author of the book, nor is she referenced anywhere on the page where the post-it was stuck. She is cited in the work, but the index unhelpfully won't tell me where. So I guess I get to read this whole book now and try to guess my advisor's mind. Which, knowing him, will be assuredly surreal.

Still having my usual early-morning wakeups (today was at 4:30 and again at 5:30), though I'm pretty much used to them by this point. As I draw nearer and nearer to 30, I'm just tracking the slow deterioration of the rest of my body (matching up with the long-developing deterioration of my liver). Whether this will make my upcoming 30th birthday gala an epic drunkfest or a maudlin meditation on my own mortality remains to be seen. (I'll either end up sobbing into a boot of beer or attempting to jump over Lake Monona using only the power of my mind.)

I remember when my blog posts used to have some semblance of narrative coherence. Now, they're increasingly becoming just a collection of ramblings. Does this indicate some kind of lack of coherence in my life overall? Or am I just no longer prone to narrativizing the randomness of my life? Or maybe I'm just not having as much fun as I used to over a sustained period of time. (Wait, that last one is definitively true.) But it's an interesting question: what do we do here in Madison that's worth telling stories about? Vice is currently working on a folklore project, wherein she has to chronicle past tales of glory and shame from the department, and we were more than capable of providing her with many ribald tales of debauchery. But now, I ask myself what sorts of things we do that are worth memorializing in the epic sorts of narratives I used to craft on this blog? Events either boil down to "We got drunk" or "We got epically drunk, and I don't remember it enough to tell a story." The latter sums up Fangirl and Red-Headed Stepchild's recent birthday party/epic drunkfest, which others can chronicle but I cannot. But beyond events like that, I must question, am I really running out of narrative moments?

Jesus, that's sad. It's probably just indicative of my own general laziness and unwillingness to spend the extra time constructing coherence, rather than any commentary on the state of my life. Or maybe I just get depressed working in the Writing Center. Or maybe I need to stop having so many drunken nights, and instead actively seek out drunken adventures. Or maybe I just need to drink less, so I can remember the adventures we are having. Somehow that seems counterproductive...

Anyway, April's almost over, and my mood always improves once May rolls around. It means my friends will be finishing their course work, so they'll stop being so depressingly busy all the time. It'll mean a lot more weeknight escapades, such as porch drinking, terrace sitting, and general outdoorsiness. Bocce, grilling, fire-juggling, Up North drinking, etc. Plus that bottle of Oban Distillers Reserve is almost certainly going to get broken out for my birthday. And mayhap Virtue and I can finally plan the long-anticipated Oxford party. But I'll have to reread Brideshead before then, as well as brush up on my Jeeves and Wooster. Which will be difficult, but somehow I'll manage to soldier through.

Oh, and the recently revealed "Doctor Who" fanbase here in Madison is making me seriously reconsider my Dalek costume for next Halloween.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Writing Center Blog

Sitting here, at the Writing Center, on a Sunday night. No one is signed up for the last hour and a half of my shift. Others may come, but for now, I'm a bored man with a computer, and I have already replied to all my e-mail backlogs. So here we go; first blog post in almost a year.

Looking back at my last post, I see it was about insomnia. That's kind of sad for me, given that I'm still regularly having trouble sleeping. I find myself waking up at around 3:30 or so each morning, largely due to some kind of crazy dream. I then fall back asleep, and wake up an hour or so later. Repeat until 7:30, when I usually wake up for real. It's not terribly debilitating, as I usually fall right back asleep, but I choose to see it as a sign of my increasing mortality and the fact that I'm drawing ever closer to death and/or old age. (30 in May! Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!)

Blogging is a very existential thing for me at this point in time, given how disconnected I am from the rest of the online world. I conceive of blogging at this point much as Paul Celan saw poetry in the face of trauma--like a message in a bottle cast out in search of an audience that it may never find. Wow that was a pretentious comparison. Which is fine with me, since we all know I'm a fairly pretentious person. But my point is, I really don't even know if there's an internet community out there anymore. For the two of you who haven't heard (perhaps because you have been on Mars, living in a cave, with your eyes closed and your hands over your ears), I've given up facebook for lent. This has led to two disturbing and/or hilarious events: 1. I have no idea what is going on in my friends' lives, and 2. My wall has apparently become a breeding ground for all manner of vile calumny and lies. As I see each e-mail notification (which I piously delete without reading), I can only envision that some grand meta-narrative is developing, where my wall has become the battleground for the souls of mankind. Or at least it'll provide enough insight into the depravity surrounding my circle of peers that I can publish an article on it. Though the battleground thing sounds cooler.

Hmm...what else to write? Had beers with the Director last week, which was pretty awesome. He told us a long story about his glory days in Iowa City, where he and a friend started partying out in the countryside around 2pm, invaded a restored Victorian home whose caretaker they knew, crashed another party where "some dope was being smoked," piled into a car and went to Denny's at 6am, and then played tennis later that day. Oddly enough, I have no difficulty at all picturing him doing all these things, though in my mind he looks exactly the same age, and may in fact be wearing his lime green fleece. In any event, my dissertation director is all kinds of awesome.

I realize tonight that, due to my writing center shift, this is the first night in a week's time when I haven't been drinking to excess and/or drunk. Monday, Friday, and yesterday all involved margaritas at Tex Tubbs (which I have now begun to frequent at a very alarming rate, thanks to Red Headed Stepchild and blog newcomers Virtue and Vice,* whose fascination with the place borders on the obsessive), Tuesday was beers at game night, while Wednesday and Thursday both involved multiple pitchers at the Union (where, on Wednesday, Hambone and I soundly defeated Vice and her myriad of partners at an epic euchre series--a forerunner of things to come). And while I know that a decent chunk of the department will be out at the bar tonight welcoming the prospective students, I'm fairly sure I don't want to be drunk around them right now. I can't imagine I would have any words of encouragement to prospective grad students, other than to run away as fast as they can. So maybe I'll just have some scotch when I get home, to keep the trend going. Because tomorrow is my Ides of March drinking fest, where we celebrate the life and death of Caesar ("salad dressing dude!"). Is it sad that this is how I measure my life, or awesome? I think I'm going to go with awesome, at least until my doctor tells me otherwise.

Like the domestication of the dog, my dissertation continues unabated. I now have about 45 pages of my final chapter written, and hope to have a full draft done by Tuesday night. That and the drinking are the only ways I really have of delineating time these days. Otherwise, my life largely consists of moving from location to location, working in the Writing Center, and watching episodes of "Dr. Who" on Netflix. As I write this, I realize just how sad that sounds. Which you don't really notice if you're drinking as much as I've been. (And to be fair, I'm doing a lot of this drinking with friends, so that's all for the good.)

Hmm, what else? I realize that after a year, I should really have some fantastically amusing stories to tell. And I'm sure I do, but I can't for the life of me think of them as I sit here waiting for students to come. But I've only got to be here for another hour, so I've got that going for me.

Maybe I'll just read some; been working my way through Saturday and Gilead, swapping from one to the other as my mood dictates. Though I did spend a lot of today reading the new Star Wars novel instead, I'm not ashamed to admit. Given that I also walked about nine miles today and only slept for five hours (lousy daylight savings time *shakes fist at skies*), I feel perfectly justified in a little mindless popcorn fiction. In a perfect world, I could just throw my headphones in and watch more "Dr. Who." But people might frown on that. And by people, I mean the Writing Center director, were he to hear about it. Seeing as how I like money, I choose not to offend him in any way possible.

Guess I'll sign off for now, then. If I come up with any new insights before 9:30, I'll see what I can add. Otherwise, I may start posting again more regularly, I may not. Who can say? Till then, Dubs out.

*For the uninformed, Virtue and Vice are roommates, both in the department, who have become additions to our cavalcade of whimsy over the past year. Vice isn't particularly viceful, but Virtue already had that nickname, and seeing as how they're a pair attached at the hip, I'm content arbitrarily applying the term. (T, you'd particularly enjoy Virtue, who has this year discovered the joys of everything Brideshead [both textually and in Jeremy Irons], extols the pleasures of Wodehouse, and, despite the fact that she's a Medievalist, still has otherwise excellent taste. We're planning an Oxford party for later in the year, which will be glorious.)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

I've Tried Everything Short of Aristotle...

Ok, so a post is forthcoming about my recent birthday extravaganza. But first and foremost, an advisory and a lament.


If you've never watched "Chuck," then I feel really sorry for you. But the good news is, you can totally watch all episodes from season one for free on Bear with it for a few episodes, as it has a bit of a slow start. But it's probably the best example ever of a show that figured out exactly what it wanted to be between the first and second seasons. The first season is good, if a bit shaky, and the writer's strike messed it up. But the second season was far and away the best thing that just aired last season. You're a chump if you don't check it out.


I can't sleep. I don't understand it. But I hate it. When I was growing up, I used to have horrible insomnia. I'd lie awake at night for hours at a time, generally not falling asleep for at least 2-3 hours after I'd been sent to bed. Nerves would exacerbate this, to the point where I couldn't fall asleep at all the night before big events. (Mainly this would manifest on the night before the first day of school. One year I fought this problem by staying up all night the night before the night before school. I watched all three Godfather movies, which may explain why I hate the third one so much. Other than the obvious reasons, of course.)

But it was a recurring condition. I'd drink warm milk, take cold medication that promised drowisness, etc. One time, my mom even pretended to spike my warm milk with sleeping pills, believing that it was psychological and I just needed to relax. That didn't work particularly well either.

Mainly, it's just a problem of falling asleep. It's balls hard for me to do. Sometimes I'll get a song stuck in my head, which will repeat and repeat, and I just can't rest. Sometimes my mind will just wander excessively and I'll be thinking so fast that I just can't get tired. Sometimes it's just noise that prevents it. (That's why I'm such a horrible person to share a hotel room with, and I slowly grow to hate any people that even vaguely coinhabit the places I'm trying to sleep. Nittany Lion, I'm sure, remembers extensively our time together at CryptoJew and the Hillbilly's wedding.) But the point is, it is fucking hard to fall asleep. Once I'm out, I'm pretty much gone for the duration, and could sleep through a tornado. But getting there is the challenge.

Now, this hasn't been a problem for a long time. I'm exercising more, worrying about less, and wearing earplugs when I sleep. I never have problems falling asleep anymore, and, barring a few isolated incidents, haven't since early college. Which is why these past few nights have sucked so much ass. Seriously. A lot of ass. Two nights back, I just got in a rhythm of pondering all the things that had been going on since I started grad school, and imagining the possibilities of what I would do if I could go back and start working on the dissertation again. Cause that's always a productive mindset to get into. That randomness, combined with the fact that it was just hot enough that I didn't want to use a heavy blanket and just cold enough that my sheet wasn't enough, and you had me tossing and turning for three hours before I finally nodded off, thus leaving me with a remarkable 4 hours of sleep. Which was great for my productivity and my temper the next day, let me tell you.

Last night, I figured I'd be aces. I had only slept for four hours the night before, I'd walked about seven miles that evening just to wear myself out, and I tried to avoid all sugars or caffinated drinks for at least five hours before sleep. But then I got "Mr. Roboto" stuck in my head, didn't fall asleep for two hours after that, and woke up three hours later after some very messed up nightmares involving the Cold War and espionage in a vaguely Hungarian setting. So yeah, things ain't looking too rosy at the moment, and I'm sure as shit not writing anything coherent in this dissertation of mine.

So I guess the point is, what do you all recommend for sleeping aids? Any home remedies that seem to work? Other than drinking, of course, which is tried and true, but also not condusive to working the next morning. Any other insomniacs out there, former or current, who can suggest remedies should this persist?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

You Might Have Heard I Run With a Dangerous Crowd. We Ain't Too Pretty, We Ain't Too Proud.

This weekend I went to New York for Dubsgiving 3: The Baker Gets Married. 'Twas a brief trip, full of fun, excitement, more than a little inebriation, and the titular wedding of my high school friend, the Baker. A brief chronicle ensues.


Eagerly anticipating my sojourn to the City that Never Sleeps, I ended both of my sections early, after collecting papers, juggling for my students, and explaining the concepts of synchronicity and diachronicity to them, just to make myself look smart. The plane rides from Madison to Chicago to New York were uneventful, luring me into a false belief that there would be no travel-related incidents, unlike the last five times I've flown through Chicago. Ah, naivete.

Arriving in the early evening, I met up with Quantum at his office in Hell's Kitchen, where we ditched my bags and went to a bar. He had a show going up at 8:00, for which he graciously procured me tickets, so we had a little under two hours to get drunk enough to enjoy it. It was a quick "two beers and out" scenario that turned into a "three beers and out" fiesta, due to the presence of the Guinness Girl. The Guinness Girl, for those of you playing along at home, was an attractive woman in a Guinness shirt, giving out Guinness quizzes and keychains, and promoting the new, 250 year anniversary edition of Guinness, which they had on tap at the bar. Apparently it uses carbonization instead of nitrogen, or some crazy thing like that, has a slightly sweeter, more mellow taste, and doesn't feel like you've eaten a loaf of bread afterwards. As it was free and she was attractive, we each had one, and would proceed to push them on all our friends over the next few days. It was tasty, but not quite Guinness. But since I don't particularly like Guinness, that worked for me. And I got a keychain out of it, and learned that the Guinness founder took out a 9,000 year lease on the land where the brewery now resides. God bless the Irish for their forward-thinking ways.

Quantum had to leave after an hour to help get the show ready, but Hubris and his girl showed up to keep me company and in my cups. After what was possibly the world's fastest consumption of a plate of wings, we went to see the play, which was a 90 minute musical, basically a one-woman show (though it did have three supporting singers) about the life of this woman, an actress that I knew primarily from my copy of The Last Five Years soundtrack. The show was basically a cabaret about her life, growing up Mennonite and moving to New York. While I was distracted by 1. The fact that I actually owned a soundtrack this woman was on and therefore was kinda geeking out, and 2. The myriad issues involved in drinking three beers in a short amount of time, I enjoyed the show, though it isn't anything I'd particularly call noteworthy. It was an amusing 90 minute diversion, and as it was free, I bear it no ill will. Plus, she really is a good singer and enjoyable performer to watch, so take that for what it's worth.

Afterwards, Quantum, Hubris, his girl (whose blog name I don't know), and I went to yet another bar for dinner and more drinks. Whilst there, we fairly predictably alienated the bar and possibly Hubris' girl through our very drunken and dorky behavior. High points included the owner of the bar admonishing us for playing quarters with our very heavy Guinness keychains, the repeated discussions of the tv show "Gargoyles" (followed by the repeated bursting into the humming of the theme music), our geektackular discussion of Wolverine fighting Batman, and a breakdown of the "Battlestar" finale. We stayed there from around 10:00 to 3:15, and I consumed another 5 beers and 4 shots of Ketel One. (Though I'm man enough to admit that Quantum and Hubris had at least two more beers than I did. They're still young.)

Spent the night at Quantum's parents' place on the upper East Side, which is what I believe where Fitzgerald had in mind when he talked about "wherever people played polo and were rich together." It's a 10th floor apartment with a spectacular view of the East River, and I felt like a dirty interloper just stepping through the door. I'm fairly certain the doorman was judging me every time I walked in the lobby. But I had a bed and my own private bathroom, which were awesome, though I'm fairly certain I got Quantum into hot water with his sister, whose room I was crashing.


Following morning/noon led to a slightly painful wakeup, and another trip into the city. Quantum had to put in an hour at the office, so I got a bagel and wandered down to the Hudson. It was about 85 degrees and gorgeous, which was a wonderful hangover cure, though the constant noise of the city is something I think I'd never entirely get used to. After completing his work, Quantum and I met up with Bourbon Samurai and his girl (whose blog name I don't know), and were later joined by Teach. Lunch and more beers were consumed (by them, at least--I wasn't drinking lest I be drunk or sick for the wedding that eve), followed by a return to Quantum's to get ready for the wedding. We cabbed downtown together, where he had to go back for another show, and I continued on to Chelsea.

Now, right here seems like a good place for a brief aside. There are many things that make New York different from places where real people live. But the one that always strikes me the most is the fact that there don't seem to be any traffic laws in that city. Lane markings seem more like suggestions than rules, stop lights are brief reminders that, hey, someone else may be coming, so you might want to slow down. And the laws of physics? Don't get me started on those. I'm fairly certain those cab drivers can bend reality with their minds. Otherwise, I just can't explain how they can fit between two cars in a place where there is no lane, doing roughly 60 mph. It just isn't possible. I've heard horror stories about muggings, murders, coke fiends, Giuliani killing the homeless, and all sorts of other crazy stuff in the city (dogs and cats, living together). But those cab, those fuckers are scary.

Ok, the wedding. The wedding was at a place called the Chelsea Pier Lighthouse, which was a wonderful venue. The ceremony was performed in front of a windowed wall looking out over the Hudson, at sunset. String quartet, open bars, men walking around with trays of food (crab cakes! miniature burgers! ). Roses everywhere, open seating for dinner, watching boats go by, and a pretty spectacular band. All in all, the wedding seemed about as wonderful as it could get.

For the bride and groom, at least.

I, on the other hand, didn't know a soul there (with the exception of one fellow high school friend that I could talk with, but was never really all that close with), and I'm craptacular at mingling with new people. So I wandered from bar to bar, basically, drinking until I either worked up the courage to talk to strangers, or blacked out. Luckily dinner intervened before either of those things happened, and I sat with the high school friend and his mother and her friends, and got to talk about St. Louis. Baker, if you're reading this, know that I thought it was a beautiful wedding, and that you seemed ecstatic to be getting married, and your bride looked lovely, and everything seemed perfect, and fun was had by pretty much all. If I weren't so cripplingly socially awkward, I'm sure it would have been great all around. But congratulations nonetheless, and I'm glad I could be there for it.

Afterwards, met up with Quantum, Arsenal, and Kodez at a nearby bar, where, on top of a myriad of open bar drinks at the wedding, I added another beer and two shots of Jameson. Just, you know, to end things in style. We sang along with the 80s music playing, and impressed women with our knowledge of the A-Team and Mr. Belvedere (I kid you not).


That's pretty much it for the New York trip. Other than that, I got to LaGuardia at 9:30 the following morning for an 11:00 flight. We boarded the plane, and of course we sat there for roughly four hours because of thunderstorms in Chicago. Of course, they didn't let us off the plane at all during that time, but they did manage to tease us several times by telling us we had gotten clearance to leave, only to take it back. We did actually go to the gate once, but that was just to refuel, not to, you know, let us do anything. Got back to Chicago after a two hour flight, and then sat at that airport for 45 minutes while we waited for a gate. Got put on standby for the last flight back to Madison, which I didn't get (my actual connecting flight had left two hours earlier), but the airline was kind enough to comp my bus ticket home. So in travel time, figure a half hour cab ride, an hour in the airport, six and a half hours on a plane, and two and a half hours on a bus. Yeah, I fucking hate flying through Chicago.

And that's the end of Dubsgiving 3. A brief, whirlwind tour of the Big Apple, that reminded me yet again why my friends are awesome, and why my liver would mutiny if I ever tried to live there.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Chin Up, Hamlet

I know, I know, I haven't posted in a long time. I'm lazy. You all knew that already.

Let's see, lots of stuff happened since my last post. I went to ACLA at Harvard, which was pretty sweet. Got to see t and Brownsox and various others I haven't seen in forever. Drank the special Harvard ale they brew there, and got nice and drunk at John Harvard's Beer Hall. My paper didn't get laughed at (at least not to my face), so I've got that going for me.

Did a workshop on my dissertation chapter that I'm currently writing, which wasn't the train wreck I anticipated (given that half of it was a conference paper and the other half was ten pages I wrote in under a day's time). Went out for drinks afterwards with my advisor, TGD, the Dissertator, and Captain A, which was nice. My advisor let slip there that he can't watch women's figure skating, because he finds it too distracting. "Like porno on ice" were his exact words, I believe. Because he's awesome.

Saw Adventureland, but I was fairly drunk throughout, so no idea whether I liked it or not. It seemed ok.

Went to a talk this past week by one of the more famous Americanist scholars in the country, and my body conspired against me in practically every possible way. Roughly five minutes in, I got an eyelash under my contact lens. Then, after dealing with that, I started to nod off, even though I'd slept plenty the night before. Then, when I conquered my body's need to sleep, I started sneezing, and couldn't stop for about five minutes, which left me continuously blowing my nose throughout the rest of the talk. So I slunk out of the room with my tail between my legs right as the Q&A started, having no idea whatsoever what the actual talk was about. Cause that's how I roll.

Other than that, not too much going on. There's a general buildup of hatred and rage and weariness pervading the department at the moment, which is about normal for the end of spring semester. When all is said and done, the drunken revels to end the term should prove to be epic in proportion.

And if you're looking for some fun stuff to watch on tv to while away the hours of pain and misery, a few suggestions from what I've been doing these past weeks. First, "Better off Ted" is perhaps the funniest show I've seen in a long time (while I like "Chuck" more, I think "Ted" makes me laugh more consistently). It's from the same guys who brought us "Andy Richter Controls the Universe," if you watched that, and it's another corporate comedy. Last week's episode was probably the best thing I've seen this season. In it, the company replaced all motion detectors (that activated lights, elevators, water fountains, etc.) with a new system that worked by recognizing light bouncing off people's skin. Unfortunately, it couldn't detect black people (but it does recognize whites, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Jews). Thus, they had to hire white people to follow all the black people around, mirroring their movements to set off the sensors. But then, via affirmative action, they'd have to hire an equal number of black people, and then hire more white people to follow them around. And so on. Seriously, if you get a chance, you should check it out online. The pilot is good but not great, but it gets much better as the weeks go on.

Secondly, I just burned my way through "Slings and Arrows," which is a Canadian show about a Shakespeare troupe. (I know, right? Who knew Canada had tv?) It ran for three seasons in the early '00s, and is available via netflix. Each season is six 45 minute episodes long, and each one deals with their attempts to put on a new play. It's both wonderfully funny and dramatically well-acted, and should be seen by anyone with aspirations to either English Literature or the theatre. I could describe it more, but it'd be far too complicated. It'd be easier to just accept that I'm right, and rent it yourselves.

Ok, that's all for me for now. I'd like to promise regular updates again, but I'm not willing to commit to that right now. So at best, I'll promise to try.

Monday, March 02, 2009

He Can See No Reason, Cause There Are No Reasons

Today's blog post is more of an invitation for comments following a brief meditation. Lately I've been thinking a lot about the ways tv shows use music, particularly actual songs, not just the vaguely ominous scoring that most dramas have nowadays. We all, I'm sure, have favorite moments in movies where music plays a particularly effective role; for me, that usually means Cameron Crowe movies ("Mona Lisas and Madhatters" in Almost Famous always comes to mind immediately), but there are tons of others: the club entry scene in Goodfellas, "There Goes My Hero" in Varsity Blues, "God Gave Rock and Roll to You" in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, and so forth. Movies can use soundtracks particularly well, so naturally pop music lends itself to that format.

But I'm more intrigued lately by the ways tv shows use songs. And not just using very famous songs to underscore moments, but rather the ways that, songs I've either never heard of before or never cared for that much can take on new meaning or new levels of enjoyment because I associate them with specific television moments. For instance, The Fray's "How to Save a Life" has been misused/overused by every medical tv show known to man, and I believe it's a song that really only caught on because the slavering fans of Grey's Anatomy took to it. But I still listen to it on the radio, practically every time it comes on, because it makes me think of a specific Scrubs episode that closed with it particularly well. Scrubs does this quite well on a regular basis, and I've found that a lot of the previously unknown (by me) music on my iPod comes from there (Colin Hay's "Waiting for My Real Life to Begin," Joseph Arthur's "In the Sun" are two examples).

Similarly, I've found that Aaron Sorkin shows tend to use music sparingly enough that when it pops up, I always take note in some way. There's an episode of Sports Night that closes with "Sloop John B," which made me go and download it immediately. And more recently, thanks to CryptoJew's loaner of all seven seasons of The West Wing, I've developed an overzealous interest in Dire Straits' "Brothers in Arms" and Tori Amos' cover of "I Don't Like Mondays," which also led me back to the original version (which, in turn, I enjoy more because the clip I found of it on youtube opens with Hugh Laurie playing the opening piano riff). These particularly intrigue me, because while I like the songs, I also realize I never would have actually downloaded them if I hadn't seen them in a context that predisposed me to enjoy them.

And then, of course, there's the way Battlestar has completely changed the meaning of "All Along the Watchtower" for me. But that's another point altogether.

I recognize a lot of television uses music to illustrate its point, to provide background to ending scenes or ending narration, to structure a montage, etc. And most television does this quite badly, often making me dislike songs that I previously liked quite a bit. (Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" serves as an excellent example, given that practically every drama of the last five years has seen fit to sample it.) Most often, I just tune out whatever background song is playing.

So I guess I'm just curious, what are the songs that you associate not just with their own singers/bands, but with specific tv shows? Or, more specifically, with particular episodes of shows? What are the songs that you never would have listened to, never downloaded, never even heard were it not for specific shows? Feel free to provide links, clips, etc., as I am bored and grading papers, and can use the distraction.

p.s. Sorry this post isn't particularly amusing. Funny stories of drunkenness coming in the future.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cause His Friends Don't Dance, and if They Don't Dance, Then They're No Friends of Mine

On the rare Sunday that I'm actually doing work, I usually work in my office. The building is largely deserted, mostly dark, and just full of empty hallways.

Repeatedly, I have to fight the urge to go Risky Business and just start up an impromptu dance routine through the halls.

Yeah, that's how I roll.