{ Hello }

My name is John West. I'm from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I'm a double-degree student, studying Historical Performance in the Conservatory and Philosophy in the College.

For my Historical Performance major, I play the recorder, and I specialize in late-Baroque music. I'm particularly interested in the way pre-Classical music can be updated and made relevant today.

But I was not content with only one degree that would make finding a job near impossible, so I added a Philosophy degree in the college. I especially enjoy epistemology and philosophy of science.

When I'm not in the library or the practice rooms, I work as a tutor in the Writing Center, as the Copy Editor for The Grape — Oberlin's alternative newspaper — and as the managing editor for Wilder Voice — a magazine dedicated to long form journalism and creative nonfiction. I also blog at Ich Bin Ein Oberliner, which, despite the name, has very little to do with Oberlin.

{ Entries }


And Now Presenting...

In this post: John's list of the top five ways to procrastinate at Oberlin!

The Newsies

In this post: freshman rituals, changed names, sneaking out of windows, newspapers, The Review security notebook, and much, much more!


In this post: skunks, skunk orgies, band names unbecoming of Baroque ensembles, indescribable smells, the philosophy of Eeyore, the curse of the Obie, and much, much more.

Broken Spring

In this post: vegetable gardening, homemade compost bins, the anti-rot properties of cedar, sleep, Wilder Voice, inscrutable comics, the Coal River Valley, Obie activism, and much, much more.

The Students Are Coming, the Students Are Coming II

In this post: the pseudo-triumphant return of John blogging, how freshmen walk, atrophied vocal chords, dinner parties, what I've been doing, what other people have been doing, shameless self-promotion, and much, much more.

The Life Pastoral (With Pictures!)

In this post: on-campus fall breaks, laziness, pan-seared steak recipes, Spike Jonze v. Spike Lee, Oberlin Levittown, a shameless plug for the Wilder Voice website, cornfields, yes, that's right, more on cornfields.

Hot Cross Buns

In this post: notes on being double-degree, funny looks, historical performance, me on a soapbox (figuratively), rants on authorial intent, more apocryphal stories, why I play the recorder, musical temperament, A440 Hz, the varieties of recorders, a picture, clips of my junior recital, and Tom DeLay dancing with the stars.

The Road Not Taken

In this post: the Montreal International Recorder Competition, recorders that look like plumbing, apocryphal stories, adorable taxi drivers, the death of punk, and Glenn Beck killing a frog.

Semi-Productive Procrastination

In this post: whining, zingers, too many words, neuroses, a moral, unplayable atonal blah blah blah, a payoff for those who wade through 900-odd words.

The Students Are Coming, the Students Are Coming

In this post: summer projects, the end of summer projects, things one learns in the summer, Infinite Monkey, homemade bookcases, X-Men, produce stands in rural Ohio, pictures of my apartment.

The Secret Lives of Coffee Mugs

In this post: coffee mugs, unions (viz. Teamsters and AFSCME), near-death experiences, pictures I may or may not have incorrectly uploaded even though I've been given two sets of instructions on how to upload photos because I'm practically a Luddite, Oberlin vignettes.

Pleasant, Pleasant, Pleasant

In this post: two apologies, meta-blogging, Rust Belt aesthetics, an Oberlin vignette, pacts with readers, and overwrought prose.

I Disagree

In this post: potentially job ending disagreement, politics at Oberlin, liberal ironists vs. liberal revolutionaries, debates to stay up late for, Fox News, and please don't fire me.

There is Nothing Depressing in this Post

In this post: blogger pizza parties, ritualistic animal sacrifice, more Mad Max, The Bell Jar, happy things, literal clowns, figurative sharks, pacts with readers.

Dread! Dismay! Zeitgeist!

In this post: doom, gloom, our inevitable demise, American Ragnarök, Funky Winkerbean, armed revolution, barbarians at the gates, political Pentecostalism.

Of What Use is a Newborn Child?

In this post: Mad Max, our inevitable doom, The Communist Manifesto, superempirical virtues in theory choice, Stanley Fish, those problematic humanities, and a way-too-long post.

The Annals of Blogging

In this post: sub-standard writing, naval-gazing, other people's impenetrable prose, my impenetrable prose, private readings, A-List magazines, and burnt mouths.

On Rejection

In this post: rejection letters, romantic rejection, my petty impulses, The Kenyon Review, and children's publishing.

Me vs. My Bookshelf

In this post: the inadequacy of my wit, avoidance of bad ad copy, books I should read, and Nick Hornby.

O Little Town of Oberlin

In this post: countercyclical economics, Main Street v. the Big Box, student migratory patterns, the Evangelical Vatican, yoga, and a poor ending.

The Last Week

This utter lack of warmth and sun, combined with the rampant insomnia and overwhelming amount of work, makes the campus seem less like sweet, pastoral, rural Ohio and more like a scene from Doctor Zhivago.

It's a Problem of Nomenclature

I think a die a little bit every time someone uses the word Obie to describe a person who goes to Oberlin (as in: We Obies love to hate things). I think The Grape--one of Oberlin College's many publications--described the word as (and I'm paraphrasing here) "used only by The Review and the Admissions Department."

Doing the Layout

There's something to be said for a small liberal-arts college in a backwater hamlet a charming slice of small-town America that has two newspapers. And there's something more to be said a college that has two newspapers (The Oberlin Review, The Oberlin Grape--for which I am a copy editor), three non-fiction magazines (Wilder Voice, Vox, In Solidarity), a literary journal (formerly The Plum Creek Review, formerly Enchiridion, now The Plum Creek Review--again), a genre-fiction magazine (Spiral) and doesn't have a journalism department.

Notes on an Election

So, yes, I'm eschewing that obligatory hello my name is John. I'm a blogger. I'm really cool. Here's some stuff about me post, at least for the time being. Bios are dreadfully difficult to write, and, though my fellow bloggers have been covering Oberlin's reaction to this latest election pretty darn well, I figured I might as well add my two cents.

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