I have quoted lyrics before as a nifty way of leading into my posts. Never before, however, has Bob Seger made his way on board. Might as well say hello to the Silver Bullet Band, as well. Welcome, dudes.
Anyway, I didn't go to Katmandu last week, but I did go to Denver for the Society for American Music conference. And, as I always try to multi-task, I saw a bunch of all friends from my days as a Denverite, some friends from The Buff that live in CO now, and some cool musicologists.
I'm still trying to finish this paper I'm presenting at the University of Buffalo conference THIS SATURDAY (gulp. It's not done. But it will be. Yes. Yes.), so I'll just summarize a few thoughts and head back to the Microsoft Word docs lurking beneath this browser window.
--The weather was amazing, and I am a big fan of and highly sensitive to weather conditions. While I see progress in Buffalo regarding spring-ness, Denver had it all going on. Mid-60s to high 70s, cloudless skies, no rain (which for me was fine until my throat was so dry I could barely speak), and so on. So, good vibes from Mother Nature (note: I just hope that no random passerby driving through the surrounding areas of Denver decides to throw a cigarette butt out of the car and onto the parched landscape. As a Denver native put it, "Oh, it's so dry here. One spark, no doubt about it, we're all gonna BURN!!!!")
--The SAM conference was great. Really great. Such a cool crowd of people. And, I saw several really good papers...one about Motown in England, one about working class Irish/black workers along waterways in the Midwest/Buffalo region (including the Erie Canal!!) and the development of minstrelsy (using art works as examples as well...way cool), one about hip hop in Berlin and all sorts of big and complex issues of race, identity, ownership, territory, space (again, way cool), one about Gershwin's biographer and the implications of communication, expectation and personal investment.....good stuff.
--The SAm conference was great, part 2. I was able to see friends of mine that WERE graduate students have recently become full-on PhDs. This gives me great hope. For real. When I hit the conference circuit back in 2002 in search of a good PhD program in musicology, I met some TREMENDOUS grad students around the country that I feel priviledged to still connect with. Many have kids now (or even did then) and I find myself as one of many Momertators (and Dadertators) trying to sort out the messiness of creating the "whole life"--work, research, poverty (academic-style), and family. Ahhhhhhh. It was very healthy. I have faith.
--The SAM conference was great, part 3. The hotel bar (yes, usually cheesy, but with a captive audience, they couldn't fail) displayed continuous college basketball while providing cheap and refreshing beverages and an all-day NCAA happy hour. My heart feels warm and fuzzy just thinking about it (oh, I'm second-to-last in my bracket pool. Of almost 200 people. *Sigh* Yes, I'll stick to academia).
--Two amazing friends from Buffalo now live near Denver. On Saturday, after two days of conferencing, I met up with them for the day. This may have been the best way to end such a trip because it just made everything seem like it came back around again, like a big loop of my life not feeling so fragile and breakable anymore. Thanks Molly (and Shawn) and Tommy. I have faith.
--We can call it a recession, but there was little evidence of this in Denver. Molly and I strolled the streets of downtown on Sunday only to find no parking and every bar/restaurant PACKED with people. Again, very refreshing (compared to how winter/spring behaves in The Buff) and again, I have faith.
I will finish this degree and my goal is to do so in time for the next SAM conference in Ottawa (OTTAWA!?!?! What the holy hell? Well, at least I can drive there.....). This way, it would be my last conference as a student. For real and forever. "...there I go, turn the page...."
OK---Back to work. And that feels REALLY good to say.