1) It's pretty obvious you like music a lot. Tell me about how it makes you feel.
Music makes me feel connected. I've been talking in some of my LJ entries about the power of music to set and capture moods, emotions and that's still true. I listen to music that boosts my mood or helps me feel energized. Or sad, or any of a number of other emotions. That's still true. But...
This past weekend my dad and step-mom were visiting. Step-mom was herself a musician before she went completely deaf. She now has a cochlear implant and can hear through that, somewhat. She has to watch TV and movies with closed captioning, and there are other limits. One of which is she can't listen to the kind of music she used to listen to. Or really almost any music. The processor in the implant simply isn't sophisticated enough, nor tuned enough, to turn music into signals she can manage. It's painful. She and I have talked about this and I've talked with her about my love of music that has a strong beat.
On this latest visit she thanked me because lately she's been able to listen to non-vocal reggae music, something I had played a bit of for her. Because the music focuses on rhythm and works in a tonal range that her processor can handle, she's able to listen to music again. It's a connection.
Music is something I've always done with people I care about. When I first visited sweetmmeblue very early in our relationship I convinced her we should go to a KMFDM show, something she'd never even heard of. Since then we've found a lot of music together.
I don't remember exactly how it came up, but early in our relationship, mizarchivist and I discovered we shared a love of Laurie Anderson. To this day, one of us can say "Ah" and the other will reply "Ah ah ah-aah" or similar. It's from "O Superman" and it's very clearly not everyone's cup of tea. But it connects us.
I was recently talking about some of my past relationships with a new on-line penpal and I remembered a lover of some years ago with whom I've totally lost touch. But I still have some of the white-labeled CDs she had mailed to her by Goa DJs back when goa music was all but unknown in the States. Through them I connected with her and with these kids on the opposite side of the world.
2) In your lifetime, what have you consistently not done that you wish you had?
That's a hard question because I don't think there's anything I've consistently not done. There are opportunities I did not take and regret. There are hurts I caused and never tried to make right. I can point to lots of individual instances. But consistently, if I've not done something it's because I decided it was not the right thing to do, or not worth the risk, or similar.
3) What non-financial benefits have you gotten from earning a PhD?
Since all the benefits I can think of are non-financial that's not narrowing it any. In some ways a PhD has been a financial drawback since I lost years of salary and made less when I came out than if I'd just kept working and getting raises during that time. I also know of jobs that passed on me because a PhD made me look "overqualified".
I have a piece of paper on my wall. It's something that impresses people, which I find sort of amusing. Having a PhD is a state of being - I did this thing. It was hard. Lots of people can't or don't do this thing. I get some satisfaction from that, like I do from other of my accomplishments. Getting a PhD has been a life goal since I decided I would go to college. Turning that from "someday" into "do it" was important. But I'm not sure I got much more out of it than that.