Friday, March 28, 2008

a Friday funny

Rene Descartes is sitting at a bar. "Do you want another drink?" asks the barman. "I think not," replies Descartes, who promptly disappears.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring!

As of right now, right this minute, 1:48 AM, it is officially spring. At least, that's what they said on the 11:00 news.

Now, if only the weather would get its act together. :(

Monday, March 17, 2008

reason #563 why procrastination is bad

Good god, my life just flashed before my eyes. So, for Fiction Workshop, we had a take-home final, as I believe I've mentioned. Now, usually I like to turn these things in as soon as I finish them, but in this case, I finished it at about 3 AM on Thursday morning, and Old Main, sadly, is not open at that hour. So I saved it to my flash drive and wrote myself a note to turn it in when I got up later that morning.

Well, I forgot. All day I forgot. No big, I told myself, because it wasn't due until Saturday afternoon. I'd be going over to Seymour for meals on Friday, so I could print it off and turn it in then, no problem.

Except I forgot again. So Friday night, I wrote on my white board, "FICTION FINAL" in big blue letters to remind me to turn it in before I left in the morning.

And that's where it all gets hazy. I know I went over to breakfast Saturday morning, because that's where my Dad met me, in the caf. I know I didn't turn it in right after breakfast, because my dad had the car and so he drove me back to the house. What I can't remember is if I turned it in before Dad got there, i.e. before I went to breakfast, or possibly after we packed my stuff in the car, or not at all.

I hadn't thought about it at all since then, until just now when suddenly, drowsing on the couch while half-heartedly surfing the web, I was jerked from the brink of sleep by the thought, "Oh my god, I didn't turn in my final!" I racked my brains (and did so again just now trying to figure out whether that's "rack" or "wrack"—Dictionary.com says it's "rack"—but I digress), but I couldn't for the life of me remember. And I couldn't email an extra copy to my professor just in case, because he doesn't use email! Honestly!

So in a panic, I called him up and told him what was going on and asked if he had a copy of it, and he said he wasn't at his desk just now but he told me to email it to to another professor, who could then pass it on to him.

*sigh* So I guess I've learned my lesson.

Gah, my hands are still shaking.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Awkwardsauce!

So, there has been a lot of hoo-ha and to-do about my math class this term. It's supposed to be the "easy" math credit for kids who can't do math (i.e. me). Except that, well, it wasn't.

There were many factors leading to this conclusion, but a lot of it I'm sure has to do with the fact that our professor has never taught this class before. I'm guessing it's probably a lot different teaching math to kids who suck at math than it is teaching math majors, or at least people who are somewhat mathematically inclined.

Anyway, the culmination of this all has been a series of angry emails circulated among members of the class, a meeting between some students and the head of the math department, and a petition to have the last chapter removed from the final exam.

I've mostly stayed out of this, because honestly, I'm not sure where I stand on the issue. I mean yes, the class has been a lot harder than it should have been; I'm definitely in agreement with that. Hell, the homework made me cry at least three times, and anybody who knows me will tell you that's quite a feat. And there have been certainly significant problems with the professor's teaching and the way the class has progressed.

But I also realize that any professor teaching a class for the first time ever is going to have some problems. Case in point: my AP US History class at Canterbury—that was very nearly a disaster. But I know that in subsequent years, the class has improved greatly as the teacher has gotten more comfortable teaching it. I'm fairly certain that this is a similar situation, and while it sucks that we have to be the "guinea pigs" in this class, well, that happens. Somebody has to do it; that's the way things work.

And besides all that, I knew the professor a little bit even before I took the class, so I know he's a nice guy and he's really not out to get us.

Which is all leading up to this afternoon. The professor asked if I would come by sometime during his office hours to talk, he didn't say about what. So I go, thinking it's probably going to be something about my last midterm, which I summarily bombed. Well, I get there, and first thing, he apologizes for putting me in this awkward situation and says I don't have to answer if I don't want to, but (to severely paraphrase the question) could I possibly shed some light on what everybody's so pissed off about? And the whole time, I can just hear the real question in his voice, "I'm a nice guy, and I'm trying so hard—why do they hate me?"

Dear god, what am I supposed to do with that?!

So I mumbled some about what I could think of that people were complaining about, about how chapter 13 wasn't covered enough to be on the final, and how class was confusing for various reasons, and blah blah blah. And I kind of wanted to show him the emails, because there were some really valid complaints in there that I thought he should know about, but there were people's names on there, and then wouldn't I be some kind of narc or something? I mean, I know at least most of this will probably come out in the course evals, but I know that when I fill those out, at least, it tends to get mashed down into just one or two sentences, and I feel like people would all put down the same one or two points and not flesh out the problems in their entirety like they did in these emails.

So I debated back and forth for awhile, and finally I copied a couple of the more informative emails and forwarded them to him sans names, so hopefully that will give him a clearer idea of what's going on. I hope that was the right decision.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

transgression

So, we're in the midst of finals week already, and I've just finished half of my exam for Fiction Workshop. It's a two question take-home, and really not bad as exams go; I'll do the other half tomorrow and I should still have plenty of time to study for my other two exams. But anyway, the question I've just finished was about the role of transgressive behavior in two of the books we've read for class, and that got me wondering about some things.

The first part I wrote was about Trash, a collection of short stories by Dorothy Allison, which is, in short, probably not a book you'd want to discuss with your grandmother. (At least, not mine.) I made the point in my response that the transgressive elements in the book are not gratuitous displays of "vulgarity for vulgarity's sake" because they help to emphasize the underlying themes of love and betrayal and all that jazz, but I'm not sure if I entirely agree with that. I mean, to some extent, I do, and don't get me wrong, I really loved the book. But I definitely felt like at least a few times when I was reading the book,there were places where it seemed like yes, some parts were just a bit over the top, unnecessary to any thematic development, put in simply because the author was on a roll with the swearing and explicit scenes and couldn't quite figure out where to stop. I didn't discuss these in my paper, because a) I couldn't find any examples offhand, b) it's already the required length, and c) I'm tired.

But anyway, this brought me back to wondering about the second story I turned in today as part of my final portfolio for that class. It's certainly the most R-rated thing I've ever written, complete with my first use of the f-bomb in something I'm turning in for class, and its very own sex scene (le gasp!). I was back and forth on whether or not to put that particular scene in for a long time; it was part of the story in my head, but I feel like I could argue equally as well for its exclusion as for its inclusion on a thematic basis. I argued it over in my head so much that any instincts I may have initially had on the matter were long since trampled under reasoning and justifications in both directions. And I never got up the guts to turn in any draft with that scene in it for critique in class, so I didn't have anybody else's input on whether it should stay or go either. I ended up leaving it in, because as I said, it was part of the story in my head, and I had taken some time in writing it too, so I felt like there must have been something there, at least to begin with. But now I'm wondering where exactly is the line between honest storytelling and gratuitous "honesty" in this area? And how does one know the difference? I'm afraid my critical eye is still a little foggy with self-censorship. But I'm definitely better about that than I was at the beginning of term, so that's something, anyway.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

melodrama

Sometimes, I hear people talking, and it sounds to me like they are being absurdly melodramatic, and I wonder if this is life imitating bad art, or if people were really like this before pop culture created these images we have of relationships and life.

Also, sometimes I post blogs about total strangers sitting across the room from me, because I am a creepy person.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Finally!

Words I never thought I'd see in a math book:

"The advantage of Barrow’s method is that the algebra tends to be much easier, but the disadvantage is that why Barrow’s method works is not clear."

This is the way math is for me basically all the time. I don't know why shit works; the teacher tells me it does, so I do it. It's nice once in awhile to find out that smart math people don't have all the answers either.

Monday, March 3, 2008

addendum

I would like to post an addendum to my previous post regarding parties: I have now discovered the kind of party I like. It happened Saturday night at the Quickie house, and was highly enjoyable, involving a bunch of people I sort of knew and a number of people I did know, and a lot of sitting around listening to music and chatting and some wonderfully awkward dancing. There should be more of these.

In other news, it was like, seventy degrees today. I wore a skirt and sat out on the porch barefoot all afternoon, soaking up the sun and breeze while doing my homework. It was glorious.

So all in all, it's been a lovely weekend.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

tired

So, I went to a party at Snu this evening with Sara and some other people. Fun people. I like them. And I've come to realize that frat parties, no matter when or where, will always take me back in some way to fall term of last year. I went to three parties that term: Beta, TKE, and Snu. (For comparison, I've been to that many since, all of them at Snu as well—once was enough at the other two.) And for a minute this evening, over by the wall, doing something that slightly resembled dancing, instead of Dee, it was Sarah, my first roommate, leaning over to yell in my ear, "Are you having fun?"

I don't want to be the antisocial weirdo who knows nobody and never goes anywhere. I don't want to be the "project" friend that people try to coax into being social. I really don't. And I don't think I am, not really. But I don't like frat parties.

I don't dislike them. They often have their fun moments. But it's only just something to do. It's like playing Text Twist: something to do to pass the time between doing things I really like. It can be fun sometimes, but it's not like I get out of class and think, "Oh boy, I can't wait to go home and play Text Twist this evening!" And unlike Text Twist, after an hour at a frat party, I'm ready to go home. I'm overwhelmed. The crush of people, the pounding music, the shouting to be heard, the flashing lights—for me, these are generally things to be tolerated, not sought out.

And so I end up walking home alone most times, while everybody else stays at the party. But that's okay. It gives me time to settle down. I need that sometimes.