mellicious: pink manicure (UT tower)
2014-12-15 09:14 pm

1977 - they called it paradise, I don't know why

I felt like the 70s should have an Eagles entry for Music Advent (just like I felt like the 60s should have a Beatles entry) and Hotel California was the Eagles album that was a huge thing in 1977 (although I think it was officially released in '76). I didn't especially want to be so obvious as to pick "Hotel California" the song, so instead I picked "The Last Resort," which was really my favorite one off that album anyway:

1977 was the year I graduated from high school. (Yeah, I know, I'm old, in case you hadn't figured that out already. I seem to be the oldest person doing Music Advent so that makes me feel it every day.) This entry from 2007 talks about how I ended up going to UT rather than somewhere else, so I won't repeat that. I wasn't at the very top of my class because I was kind of a slacker, but I was firmly in the top 10% and I had good SAT scores, so basically I could go just about anywhere I wanted, short of Harvard or Princeton. I was in All-State Choir that year and I was pretty full of myself, but I was geekier than ever, too, and I only turned 17 a month before graduation, so that kind of balanced things out. ("Obnoxious and immature" probably about covers it.) (The entry I linked above also talks about how my parents tried to get me to go to school somewhere closer to home, because I was so young. But I was adamant and I won that one.)

(I keep wanting to reference these: the posts I wrote for holidailies one year - 2007, apparently - about music: grade school, the breathing issue (which you could also call high school part 1), high school part 2, college ) Basically, I've been talking off and on this year about choir and how much I loved music and stuff, but I didn't try to tell the whole story about that, because I knew I had done that previously. So in case anybody is actually interested in hearing all that, there it all is!)

So, I had gotten into UT and I had gotten accepted as a music major, which was a whole separate thing, and sometime in the summer I went off to Austin for freshman orientation. You registered for classes and I think you could take advanced placement classestests, which I did, and they took you around on tours of campus and taught you the words to "Texas Fight" and all that kind of stuff. I mostly mention this because it intersects with the biggest cultural phenomenon of 1977, which was the original Star Wars. Somehow - I would really like to know how - the RAs running orientation had gotten their hands on a Darth Vader mask, and there were Star Wars jokes all over everything. (I particularly remember them acting out the Force Choke sequence.) I knew that there was a movie called "Star Wars" that had come out, and I think I knew that it was probably something I would like, but I hadn't seen it yet. Most people hadn't, I don't think. But you can bet that I went running to see it as soon as I got home (and for a miracle, it was actually showing at home). (Possibly they had subdivided the one big theater into several smaller ones at that point, anyway - and cineplexes were starting to pop up in Houston, as well. So it was not as hard to get to see movies as it had been previously.)

Is it necessary to say that I loved it? I loved it. I didn't buy a bunch of merchandise, because I was supposed to be too old for that kind of thing and because I was a poor college student and never had any cash, but my big Christmas present in 1977 was a stereo and at the top of the pile of albums was the Star Wars soundtrack. (The stereo also had an 8-track player, but 8-tracks were on the way out by then, although I obviously was unaware of that at the time. I think things I had on 8-track included some Aerosmith album with "Dream On" on it, and maybe some Steely Dan. But the Star Wars soundtrack was on vinyl.) It was also the first movie that I went to see multiple times in the theater, mostly with various groups of kids. My mother never understood going to see movies more than once, and for that matter she never understood Star Wars, - I remember at some point in the early 80s watching it on TV, maybe on cable, by that time - and my mother being flabbergasted that both my sister and I knew all these lines from it. (My sister was not what you'd call a geek, at all, so I think I was a little surprised by that one myself.)

Anyway - I duly moved up to Austin in August (and except for a couple of summers early on, I would stay for the next decade or so) - I lived in Jester, for those of you who know what that is (here's the inevitable Wikipedia article) - and actually you can more or less see my room in that picture. I lived in the smaller wing facing the picture there, on the first floor - which was not the ground floor, on that side. Our room was right above the entrance on that side and some previous occupant had painted a longhorn on the window, so it stood out. It was all girls at my end of that wing, but right down the hall were boys, which was sort of radical at the time and frankly I'm not sure my parents knew about that when they let me live there. (Mostly we didn't interact with them much, anyway.)

Oh, I almost forgot to say that my freshman year at UT was also Earl Campbell's senior year, and UT was ranked #1 going into the Cotton Bowl against Notre Dame - which we resoundingly lost - but Earl won the Heisman and football season was a blast. The football players lived in Jester East, which was the other building, and normal students didn't actually have much interaction with them, unless they happened to be in your classes or something. They even had their own dining hall. My one personal interaction with Earl was running smack into him in a stairwell later on - about all I can tell you is that he was huge. It was like running into a wall.

I was looking at 1977 in music and I don't see a whole lot there that I'm moved to talk about and this is plenty long already anyway. Well, maybe a couple of things: somewhere in that entry I linked is a note that "You Light Up My Life" is from that year and in fact is the #1 song of the '70s, which I'm not sure I knew. I do remember that it was a huge hit, and I really kind of liked it (I had the sheet music, inevitably), although we also mocked it a great deal. Another album that I know I had - I think I bought it when on some trip to Austin earlier in the year - was Dan Fogelberg's "Nether Lands" which I adored. I may get around to talking about him later in the next couple of entries, because he was one of my favorites for years. He was more or less in the same sort of country-rock genre as the Eagles - nobody called it that at the time, but there were definite country influences there - but more... bombastic than the Eagles. At least some of the time. Here, I'll give you an example. (Bombastic was kind of in at that time, anyway - I may get to another couple of examples, coming up!)
mellicious: pink manicure (Default)
2008-11-17 10:03 pm

The reason my grades weren't great in grad school

ark poster

I found this poster rolled up and damp in wreckage of our apartment, and it wasn't in too bad a shape so I let it dry out and scanned it as best I could. (It's bigger than my scanner, so this isn't quite the whole thing.) This is the place I lived in grad school. I know some of you know what a "cooperative" means in this context, but in case you don't: it really is pretty much self-governed, mostly by committee, in the case of a big place like this one. There are elected committee chairs and director and treasurer and so forth. Each resident has at least one assigned job, like sweeping the hall or helping cook dinner or taking minutes at board meetings. I think everybody was supposed to do four hours of work a week. I loved living there and got really into all the governance stuff - I was on the board of directors and later was treasurer, and finally ran for director (somewhat against my better judgment) and ended up losing by one vote, which was probably for the best.

The Ark is still around, but nowadays it's called Pearl Street Co-op. (Scroll down and there's a lot of pictures. It looks like the common areas have been remodeled, but the rooms look about the same.) I heard, a couple of years after I had left, that things got really chaotic there and that it finally got so bad that they shut the place down for a semester. So it's not really surprising that when they re-opened it, they gave it a new name. I think "The Ark" went perfectly with its old hippy-dippy reputation - which believe me was well-deserved.

Oh, and before this place was the Ark, it was a girls' dormitory which catered to sorority-girl types. Farrah Fawcett is supposed to have lived there in the late 60s.

(I don't know if you guys have been enjoying these nostalgia-themed entries, but I've been enjoying writing them. As long as I keep scanning pictures and so forth, especially, you will probably keep seeing them!)

mellicious: pink manicure (Austin)
2008-09-27 08:39 pm
Entry tags:

Football weekend in Austin

We just got back from dinner at Trudy's (North). The sheer volume of orange t-shirts in that place was overwhelming. But the fact that I had a couple of margaritas may have affected my judgment and/or sensitivity to the color orange somewhat.

The Longhorns seem to have won the game this afternoon - against Arkansas, this was, for those who don't automatically know these things. It was 17-3 pretty early on and I lost interest. Incidentally, I believe I checked when I first booked this trip to Austin months and months ago, to verify that it was not in fact a football weekend. Another thing in my life that Ike fucked up. (This was supposed to be the bye weekend, so the game from two weeks ago was pushed back to today.) However, aside from an awful lot of southbound traffic on 183 earlier and the aforementioned preponderance of orange garments, it really didn't cause us a lot of trouble, so oh well.

The quilt show was very nice. I went around with Anjea and her mom, which was sort of a hoot. Her mom is very opinionated, that was the hoot part. (She was, for example, aghast at a quilted grasshopper with only 4 legs. The conversation went something to the effect of: "But it's not accurate!" "It's artistic license, Mom." "I don't care!")** I did take some pictures but I don't know where the card reader I bought in Celina is, so I don't know when you'll see those. The Best of Show quilt, in particular, was really stunning.

Both of our bosses were heard from today, apparently for completely unrelated reasons. Mine wants me to do some stuff involving sending a couple of e-mails. Rob's wants him to come back to work on Tuesday, which was a bit of a surprise. We figured all along he was likely to get called back earlier than I was, but we still didn't expect it to be quite that soon somehow. (Although that will be 2-1/2 weeks since the storm, actually. Time flies.)

Which means I really need to make some hotel reservations for someplace for the next couple of days, in case we have no power at home still (or worse). Typically, I have been avoiding this. I may continue to avoid it until tomorrow morning, or not, I don't know. I know that I don't want to arrive in the Houston area tomorrow afternoon and have to wander around looking for a hotel. I am going on the assumption that hotel rooms are not as hard to find as they were a week or so ago, since a lot of people have gotten their power back and - presumably - gone home.

** I don't get the impression that Anjea will mind this bit of levity at her family's expense. I hope I'm right about that! (She can retaliate with funny stories about me and my sister, if she cares to, having been witness to a bit of my family's craziness as well.)

(Incidentally, the icon has no particular relevance to anything. It just amuses my slightly foggy brain right now.)
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas tree lights)
2008-04-01 02:25 pm

Still not a joke

Huh. An Austin doctor and his wife gave 55 million dollars to the UT School of Music, and the whole school is being renamed in their honor.  (I assume somebody did the math about how much it costs to rename a school - seems like that would be a substantial amount, right there.) I have to admit that the "Butler School of Music" (technically it's the "Hisfirstname and Herfirstname Butler School of Music", but you know that's not actually what it'll get called in normal usage) does sound fancier than just the plain ol' UT School of Music, though. And such things probably have an impact in recruiting and so on. Maybe they've just been waiting for the right donor to come along to give them a chance to do it.

There has been an ongoing discussion in my department about the phrase "herding cats" - most of my co-workers weren't familiar with it, which is a bit odd because it seems like I've been hearing it for years. It's an interesting concept to try to explain - "Well, cats aren't herd animals, right? So what happens when you try to herd them?" I forgot all about the Super Bowl ad from a few years back but one of my co-workers came across it. I'm putting the link here because it's still a funny ad. (And it worked for me so hopefully you won't get rickrolled.)

Oh, I'm about to find out for myself about the health of the Houston real estate market - the townhouse is going on the market in the next few days. If they post pictures online I'll put up a link. It's just a little two-bedroom townhouse but it looks pretty good. ([profile] mslilly- who I think is the only person on my friendslist who lives in that area - you know anybody who's looking for a townhouse in Clear Lake?)
mellicious: pink manicure (wtf heart)
2006-12-09 10:55 pm
Entry tags:

Junkie city, man

Does it make me sound really neurotic that I talk about Ambien all the time? (Or does it just make me sound like a junkie?) Well, I don't care, they have improved the quality of my life, because what I am is a big ol' insomniac, and I do have official permission from my doctor to take them 26 days a month. That's a weird number of pills to write a prescription for, isn't it? I guess that's supposed to be 30 minus 4, because I'm supposed to take a day off every week. Usually I try to take TWO days off every week - Friday and Saturday - but this is my first one in two weeks, I guess, because last weekend I was still pretty sick and I kept waking up to cough, and Benadryl just wasn't making me sleepy enough to do any good. So I got up both nights and took half an Ambien in the middle of the night. Pretty sad.

The coughing is gradually subsiding, by the way. I'm still coughing some, but it gets a little less every day. Actually I had a huge coughing fit last night, but I'm pretty sure that was allergy-related - I had a box of Clementines and a couple of them had managed to go terribly moldy already (stupid damp climate) and when I went to throw them out I think I got a couple of big lungfuls of mold. You could see it blow up into the air. Ick.

(I'm coughing less, but I still kinda felt like crap today. I have really had enough with the feeling bad.)

[personal profile] entelein was dissing on the Chipmunks last night and I was sort of (playfully) defending them in comments, and after I thought about it, I remembered why I am still sort of overly fond of the Chipmunks. When I was an undergraduate, somebody had one of their albums, and we used to, well, you know, ingest somewhat-illegal substances* and then listen to the Chipmunks from time to time, and really, at the time that seemed like the funniest thing on earth. That and Magical Mystery Tour. Go figure.

*Remember that I graduated from UT (the first time) in 1981. I think it was pretty fair to call them only somewhat illegal, in Austin back in those days before "Just Say No" - people used to say that you had to go and wave something under a policeman's nose in order to get in trouble, and I'd say that that was pretty much true.

(Boy, now I *really* sound like a junkie.)

Holidailies gold
mellicious: pink manicure (Dr Who - delete)
2006-10-23 02:14 pm
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Hotels & motels

Diplomat Motel
Originally uploaded by Mellicious.

We spent three nights in hotels on this trip - one night in Elkhart, Indiana (more or less the halfway point on the way to Ohio) and two in the Chicago suburbs coming back again. I booked rooms at Best Westerns because they seem to generally be a good compromise between price and amenities.