Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Reasons If The Jesuits Were A Middle Aged TV Auteur, Or A Baseball Team, I Would Have A Crush On Them

I have many obsessions in this life. It all stems from the theory that one should never do anything half-way, including liking things. Or perhaps it's just the tickle I get when I visualize Jett Jackson in "Johnny Tsunami" saying, "Go big or go home." Either way, if I love it, I love it a great mother buttload.
The things which I tend to love up the most in these parts are A) Joss Whedon and B) The Colorado Rockies. But now I would like to show some love to another entity.

Reasons If The Jesuits Were A Middle Aged TV Auteur, Or A Baseball Team, I Would Have A Crush On Them:

1) My sophomore and senior high school Theology teacher, who interestingly enough is getting ordained in July.
2) AMDG - along with being a lovely motto (ad majorem dei gloriam = for the greater glory of God), the letters line up nicely and look quite good together. This is purely aesthetic.
3) James Martin, S.J.
4) The Spiritual Exercises
5) I heard a rumor from a Holy Cross priest once that there may have been a female Jesuit - just one! - back in the middle ages. She loved the Jesuits, donated oodles, and longed to be one SO MUCH that on her death bed they ordained her.
6) My high school theo Jesuit extraordinaire once described Franciscans, Dominicans and Jesuits as correlating to the three types of yoga. Bhakti yoga is the yoga of devotion, or the Franciscans. Gnana yoga is the yoga of knowledge, which is the Dominicans. Which leaves us with Karma yoga, the yoga of action, or the Jesuits.
7) They like to rustle feathers.
8) Loyola Marymount, where my broha is headed.
9) They have their own production company: Loyola Productions, Inc. ( HIRE ME, MAYBE? I CAN HOLD A BOOM!
10) Ignatius was like, "I'ma be a bad ass soldier. Bite me." And then BOOM goes the cannon ball, and whilst stuck in bed with nothing but a book of the Saints, he was like, "I'ma be a bad ass Saint now." And then HE DID.
11) Nothing is quite as satisfying in the midst of my quality Notre Dame education as hearing a prof mention a fact that graces over the word Jesuit and immediately pumping both my arms up and yelling "WHAT NOW! JESUITS ROCK, BABY!"
12) Coming up with a tattoo design for "AMDG," musing about it to my friends over the summer, and coming back in August to find two of them had inked themselves with my precise design.
13) Xavier in China.
14) I've never met a Jesuit without a killer sense of humour.
15) Sacred Heart Retreat House in Sedalia, Colorado
and the most important...
16) Regis Jesuit High School. BAM! Said the lady.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Drooling Fanatic

A link a friend posted on my fb wall eventually let me to the website of music writer Steve Almond, who just wrote a book called "Rock And Roll Will Save Your Life." After bopping around his site for a bit ( I came upon "What's In Your Ears?" a section dedicated to electronically wailing about personal music obsessions (or being a "drooling fanatic"). I wailed about a bit, and then decided I might as well share it with my minuscule blog following (aka my roommate Amanda), too.

When I was in middle school our family took a vacation to visit my mom's college roommate in Sacramento. I got housed in their daughter's old room, since she had recently left the nest for more collegiate enterprises. I had brought with me my beloved case of CD's which, I must admit, contained A*Teens, The Backstreet Boys, and both Spice Girls albums (yes, they are albums, because I listened to them all the way through over and over with sparkles in my eyes wishing desperately I had been born British, not French and Polish or whatever my parents kept telling me).

When I went to play them in her massive CD player (which blew my mind at age twelve, but which I now realize was only so massive because at that point the raison d'etre of music tech was to get bigger, not smaller), I found a CD already in there. Being the curious preteen I was, I I decided to delve into the world of my quasi-cousin's music repertoire, if only to feel "cool" for a few moments before popping in my personal anthem (because every twelve year old has one) "Never Give Up On The Good Times." My ears were quickly greeted by a punkish guitar riff and a mysterious cackle in the background, before the Police plunged into their barely-recognized-by-me hit, "Roxanne."

It was nothing liked I'd ever heard before, with the reggae guitar popping off chords and Sting wailing about an octave higher than God intended him to sing. I sat and listened, enraptured by this music I considered "Daddy music" (because I was too cool to listen to anything my dad liked on the radio, and that's where I'd heard this before). Then came "Walking on the Moon," and it was like my stomach fell out from under me. I'd heard it before, in car commercials and in the background at department stores, but I'd never heard it so distinctly or with such clarity.

I listened to "Every Breath You Take: The Classics" every morning that week, alone as I got dressed, hoping the call for breakfast would come later and later so I could hear more of the CD (because I, of course, had to start at the beginning every time). When I went home, I began looking the Police on my own. And I began to fall in love.

Four years of high school were spent preaching the Gospel of Sting, explaining why Stewart Copeland's innovative poly rhythmic drumming techniques revolutionized the genre, and defending Andy Summer's simple yet powerful guitar riffs. I was obnoxious, especially in a crowd devoted to Jason Mraz and Outkast. I cursed the fact that I was clearly born two decades too late, swearing that if I could see one band play live it would be the Police, who pretty clearly were never getting back together.

On June 9th, 2007, in the eleventh row of the Pepsi Center in Denver, I stood next to my dad as we belted out all the words to "King Of Pain" and "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic." It was, hands down, the greatest night of my life.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Summer Up the Nose (Or, Emptying the Purse)

Summer gets into your nostrils. Every time it rolls around, it barrels right smack into the middle of crunch time, when papers are being electronically flung from student to prof with the weight and resentment of cow-pies, and exams pop up like unsolicited buffaloes in the middle of the interstate. But even though academia is blaring in at all sides like Sue Sylvester with a megaphone, summer manages to find a way to pop in and wriggle right up the nose.

Flowers, grass, rain, all the lovely so-poetic-pardon-my-yawn bits and pieces that make up the smell of summer seep in and take up residence relentlessly. From the minute I wake up I can smell them slithering in through my barely-cracked window, and when I burst outside and into the sunshine on my way to class/review session/exam, it's a raucous cacophony of Not School in my nose.

This is, of course, what keeps me going. In December exams are survived by the smell of cinnamon and pine. In May, it's whatever delicious combo of outsideness that is currently dancing through my nose to the back of my mouth and down my throat.

This smell signals summer, and summer means one thing: freedom. Banal, cliche, overwhelming and unavoidable. Whether you're heading to the retail job you've had for years, to a camp full of hero-worshipping teenagers, or an internship that will make or break your post-collegiate career, it is something that is specifically un-school. Even if you've been sucked into the black hole of summer school, it still has the caveat of "SUMMER," which means it will be infinitely less-sucky, because even the profs feel bad for you.

But the freedom from school not only means freedom from school work. It also means freedom from the drama, the decisions, the delirious lifestyle that is university life. Summer is a chance to break free of whatever clustasters you've tangled yourself into.

The heralding of this summer is particularly sweet to my nose, because I finally get a chance to step back from this semester. After London, and all the epicalness it entailed, this semester came at me like a bus with faulty breaks in the middle of a rainstorm. BAM - there goes my bag, flung off me with fantastic force out into the street, unzipped in the process and entrails flying everywhere. Make-up, books, keys, and receipts all flew out onto the pavement as I was thrown back, neck crunching into a lamp-post. I sat there for a while, letting the rain fall and regaining feeling in my back. I stared helplessly at my stuff so unceremoniously strew about and getting damper by the second.

It's interesting what one can gain by sitting still against a lamp-post and staring at the insides of her purse. All those bits of life deemed too important to be left at home are suddenly naked in front of your own eyes. You have to look at all the crap you've been toting around for months, the ticket stubs you didn't throw away and the newspaper pages you forgot to recycle, the lipstick you swear you'll need the minute you leave it out and the year-old half-empty lotion that smells too much like a good memory to toss. Everything you and your subconscious has decided you need by your side at all times is suddenly bare and in the middle of everything, with cars and passengers and baby strollers and runners with their silly little arm-pods dashing past, back and forth on either side. And the worst/best part is, you no longer have control of your purse.

So that is what summer means to me this year. I get to clean out my purse. I'm going to catalogue the ticket stubs, toss out the receipts, and reconsider the lipstick. I'm going to finish reading that book and switch out the room key for the car key. But most of all, I'm going to have the FREEDOM to untangle my heart-strings and my head-strings from the knots and nots that have been pulling me taught for four months. And oh, it does smell sweet.