Name: Paul Di Blasi
Dorm: Mills 332
Hometown: San Antonio, Texas
Favorite food: Texas T-bone steak
Color of your feelings: baby duck yellow
Favorite novel in translation: Mazurka for Two Dead Men, by Camilo Jose Cela
Favorite novel in English: Molloy, by Samuel Beckett
Favorite five albums: Entroducing…, DJ Shadow; A Love Supreme, John Coltrane; Cello Suite #5 in C minor, Johann Sebastian Bach; String Quartet #15 in A minor, Ludwig Van Beethoven; Concerto Grosso #3 in C minor, Alfred Schnittke.
So, Paul, there are only three weeks of classes left in the semester. Are you ready for school to be out?
Not necessarily, I’m living day-to-day, hand-to-mouth, sort of, you know? I’m too here-and-now to look into those type of experiences like you do.
Don’t bring it back to me.
Why can’t I bring it back to you?
That’s not part of the interview. So what are your prospects for the housing draw? What pick did you get and where are you looking?
I got 49, but it doesn’t matter because I’m a rising junior, and if you want to go to Greylock you can, and if you don’t, then fine.
Do you have a preference among the Greylock houses? Do you want to go into one of the new smoke-free, renovated dorms?
I’m thinking about going into the smoke-free, heroin-filled dorm, actually.
Which one is that?
I don’t know, I think you have to go look for the needles.
Is it Bryant?
Are you in on this? Hook me up!
Sure. So it’s once again time to pre-register for classes. Seeing as you’re a sophomore, what are you going to declare as your major?
I think I’m going to go with Poli-Ec and English.
How many classes will that come out to?
That comes out to 21 overall.
So you’re going to spend about two-thirds of your Williams experience in two departments?
Well, I take five courses most semesters.
Oh, so you’re one of “those kids?” No wonder I never see you around anymore. Are there any courses that you’re excited about taking next semester?
I have figured out a possible course load for next year.
Do you want to reveal that to us so we can all hop in some classes with you?
Well then there would be more people in the classes than I wanted there to be.
So you’re going to keep your list under wraps.
You really want to find out?
I’d like to know so I can share a class with you. Wait, I already did share a class with you. Remember that political science class we took?
You want to take another political science with me, or an English?
How about history of science? Can you verbalize the value of a Williams education?
It helps me to think.
Has it helped you reason out this “Whose Responsibility Is It?” project?
Dude, you’re going to do the “Whose Responsibility Is It?” thing?
No. I wasn’t going to, but with all this talk about thinking, I was wondering…
It might help to think about these issues, but going to Williams, you might not have much relevant information at your disposal.
I’m going to move on and ask you straight up, how good are hot Krispy Kreme doughnuts?
Where did you first have a Krispy Kreme doughnut?
Coming off the subway in New York with my friend Jen. She was very excited about them, but I was sort of skeptical, because I’m not a big doughnut fan. But I started checking out the menu and looking out over the doughnuts all lined up, almost like babies in a nursery. They were so sweet in their sugary wrappings. I thought the napkin was a diaper.
You’re a sick man. Did you know that you can actually invest in Krispy Kreme doughnuts?
I didn’t know that. Why hasn’t this been advertised?
The stock is traded on NASDAQ. It’s a tech stock.
So it’s an e-doughnut or something? Have they paid you off to advertise for the company?
Krispy Kreme, the best damn doughnut you’ll ever buy. Paul, have you ever been a member of the communist party?
I actually wanted to be one when I was growing up. I had all of these posters of Lenin and one with a bunch of peasants all lined up to vote. I was kind of a Russophile for awhile. The whole argument that you could be a goatherd somewhere and live an idyllic lifestyle while being nibbled by goats as opposed to having material things appealed to me. But, no, I’m really not a communist.
Were your parents crazy beatniks or what?
My mother’s actually a rather conservative Catholic woman.
Okay, Paul, you’re a big music fan. What’s a music lover called? An audiophile?
That’s really someone who likes to listen to music on hi-fi equipment. Maybe a musiphile or a musimaniac?
Okay, my fellow musiphile. Tell me about your involvement in the Independent Music Project.
Well, I compose some music, slowly and infrequently, and we perform once a semester and discuss each other’s work.
What’s the process of composing like?
An angel comes down from heaven and kisses you on the forehead, and you hear music coming from all directions. Then dots appear before your eyes and you have to copy it all down before it disappears.
This sounds like Fantasia or something.
Yeah, Disney knows all about artistic excellence in every possible way. But seriously, there isn’t really one way you start creating a piece. There are lots of different ways you can be inspired. Sometimes I’m just sitting somewhere and a melody just comes to me. Other times I’ll be listening to a piece and it will have a certain effect on me. I was listening to Aphex Twin and it had this sort of steady beat, kind of…
No, it wasn’t trancelike.
Because then it would be trance. Isn’t that some sort of electronic music categorization? Ok, I don’t know anything about this.
Okay, then back to my thought. No, it had this peaceful, sublime quality but at certain points the drums came in full blast like they were riveting into your head, adding this whole immediacy to the piece.
Were you inspired by Sisqo’s “Thong Song”?
I think the use of “Thong tha-thong thong thong” as a passionate cry for love, desire and bad taste kind of affected me. And while I understand how the song could be funny if you listen to it once or twice, why would you listen to it over and over just for the funny factor if it was musically terrible?
Because it’s lyrically excellent. Did you know the term “dumps” meant ass before you heard the song?
I think that just adds to the whole subtle eroticism of the piece.
So what’s your favorite song about the ass?
Probably “Baby Got Back.”