Uel McMahan CTIN 548 1/07 Part 1: Pick 3 objects (You've done this already) -- I‟ve changed my mind on a couple of things. a) Something significant from your childhood, something important to you - a toy, a talisman a memento. My “A Corridor Through Time” sci-fi story that I wrote at 15. (don't think too hard, just pick something) b) An inspiration - a quote, a song, a book, a lyric, a piece of art, an experience, a philosopher, a scientist, just ONE. I could say, “My family,” but that would be cheap. So, Maynard Ferguson. c) Something you've done or pursued on your own initiative (scholarly or otherwise) that is deeply interesting/satisfying to you. My undergraduate honors thesis on managing complexity in pedagogical, interactive installations. Part 2: Questions (Take some time to do this properly, post it.) a) Why this item is interesting/meaningful/important to you (or universally)? b) What are the issues, concerns, principles, processes or attributes that surround each item? c) How is each item relevant: socially, technically, politically, phenomenologically? d) What do you not know about the item, and would like to investigate? I‟m not going to just list my answers: I think that would be careless. So, I‟m going to bebop and hope for the best. Hell, I don‟t even know what “properly” means. To a great degree, for me, everything is a cacotopia of interwoven physical and emotional pain, so it‟s hard to not saltate between the items chaotically. But, there is bliss in there somewhere: paraphrasing Seishiro Okazaki, the founder of my jujitsu school, “One can find peace in the midst of a storm.” That‟s where I like to fight. That‟s where I find that little bit of quiet sunshine on the dewy, morning summer grass (when the early bumblebees flirt with the lilacs) that I used experience as a child before anybody else was awake. Uel McMahan CTIN 548 1/07 It „s difficult to put these things in order, because my music came before my writing…but here it goes (for those who care). “A Corridor Through Time” My parents had me and my sisters read nightly ever since we were wee. At some point, after I had read all of my father‟s “Hardy Boys” books, he gave me H.G. Wells‟s “First Men in the Moon.” It was an “easy-eye” edition with greenish pages. I was hooked. Then the “Tom Swift” series also had me. And, when I went to Noble and Greenough a couple of years later http://www.nobles.edu/home/home.asp I had license to buy and read whatever books I wanted. Some were mysteries, others were adventure and sci-fi by C.S. Forester, A.E. Van Vogt, Damon Knight, John W. Campbell, Asimov, Bradbury, Verne, and Alistair MacLean. And, having joined “The Science Fiction Book Club,” I read a gazillion others; especially in short stories (the usual and unusual sci-fi suspects). The list is extensive, in part because of hazing. Back in the day, Nobles approved 8th graders and above hazing the lower graders, and I was trained by my parents to try to just smile and blow it off. I was small, not the smallest, but I was small, and the hazing went on for years. So, I hid and read, but got beaten up anyway. Of course, it‟s more complicated than that, but what the hell…you don‟t need to know everything. Naturally, out of my reading and experience came my fiction writing…one of my favorite activities back then. “A Corridor Through Time” was not my best work at Nobles (goddam Mr. Jones, my next English instructor, never gave me back my last piece about a lost patrol, even after calling me the best writer in his class), but I was encouraged by people to keep writing and imagineering. The story was about the resurrection and salvation of an individual and a world…which, in terms of me, is worth exploring, for me, now. “Later, as the birds retreated from their attack, Serapin dropped off to the sleep of men beneath the flickering flambeaux of the stars.” (from “A Corridor Through Time”) Maynard Ferguson He was dynamic, synergistic, explosive and inventive! Watch his “MacArthur Park” or “Gonna Fly Now” on youtube.com. http://www.maynardferguson.com/ http://www.youtube.com/results?search=related&search_query=maynard%20ferguson %20trumpet%20music%20band%20jazz&v=k0z3QZVU5X8 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maynard_Ferguson Uel McMahan CTIN 548 1/07 Who else could have created the Superbone?!? This is tricky…I‟ll do what I can do. When I was 15, before my family moved out west, my best friend, Larry Ramin (who‟s since won an Emmy for a screenplay…WHOOT!) and I attended a jazz festival at the John Hancock Building in Boston. I‟ve got a nice Superman joke about that place, but not for now. Playing were Oscar Peterson, Joe Pass, and the “Count Basie Orchestra.” I was stunned and wholly turned on. My father had been listening to jazz with us around for years, but I didn‟t get it until then: we kids, my sisters and I, had been singing and dancing to pop for so long in our own little, self-important worlds. Mom and Dad had played clarinet in high school. He also played alto sax in his own band (there is actually a vinyl record of his around somewhere). Mom also played piano, and my oldest sister (a year younger than I am), began playing that at an early age. When it became apparent that I could sight-read right off the bat, after watching her, I ended up taking piano lessons too, at 7 years old…for two years only (I disliked my last teacher). But, I had a bit of interest in jazz bassoon (I wasn‟t totally ignorant of what jazz was at that point). Of course, my parents had a couple of excellent Buffet clarinets, so I had to take lessons in that instrument first. That led to a couple of years studying clarinet and music at the “New England Conservatory of Music.” …TIME LAPSE At Nobles, I slacked off on the music. When we moved out here, I got into the Paly orchestra, concert band, and jazz band. And, I got into the Palo Alto Youth Symphony. THE NEXT IS SPUTTERING…BECAUSE THE DETAILS ARE NOW EXHAUSTING I took clarinet lessons with a jazz artist in ‟79. I know…that‟s so exciting: Farkles doesn‟t care either. I played clarinet, poorly practiced, alongside Adam Penenberg at least one Reed social. He was my dorm-dad for a while a Reed, a Carnegie Hall Musician, and a focus of the movie “Shattered Glass.” When I was introduced to Maynard‟s music, my father fired me up and kept me going through a violent portion of my life. Maynard‟s “Primal Scream” is evocative of the time…and me. Nobody got hurt. Uel McMahan CTIN 548 1/07 My Thesis Speaks for itself, for the most part. http://interactive.usc.edu/members/umcmahan/JacksThesis8.doc Part 3) Step Back (Post this as well.) a) Look at your three items as a whole and see if you can discover similarities (literal or abstract), are there intersections? Music, Passion,. Drama, Education, Intellectual integrity. b) Does your analysis suggest an area of interest, or (series of) questions? Am I an egg? Where are my fruit? Are vegetables my friend (even if they look vampiric?) Have you ever eaten a sea cucumber? How fast can I scare you and then bring you to downy peace?