October 29, 2003
Another Really, Really Fun Day in the Life . . .
What a day. No, seriously. Actually it was very sedate, all things considered. I'm feeling something less than coherent right now, so this might not be the best time to write, but if I don't write a blogpost now, then who knows when I will. I have a soccer game at 8:30 and much homework to do before and after that. I shan't burden you with the details . . . right now.
I am told that I got up at 7:15, and I have no evidence to refute that. My first conscious memory is at about 7:30. I was standing in front of Wilson, in SAGA, holding a tray with a bowl of cereal and a glass of milk on it. He was giving me "the look" and I had the vague sense that something was wrong. Then I realized that I had just said, "Good morning," to him . . . fool that I am. I apologized, corrected myself (merely observing that it was, in fact, "Morning"), and sat down to eat.
Then there was Bib Lit and a pop quiz that I was warned about last night by the man himself (in case you're confused, that would be Dr. Woodring). After that we had more lecture. And I fell asleep. Again. 8:00 classes are the spawn of Satan himself. But I didn't sleep as much usual. That's a good thing, right?
I was feeling much more alert than usual while I walked to Western Civ. In fact, I was feeling downright awake as I sat down and started listening to Dr. Kubricht. Class had . . . *pause*
Side note: I'm back from the soccer game now. The crazy machine that is Penn One and Two (Twelve?) destroyed Mabee One. 9-0. It was kind of painful, especially at the end. But at least I got to play a lot. Of course, I was falling all over the place because I have no stupid cleats. Anyway . . .
We're back. So, class had been going on for about . . . I dunno, say thirty minutes. It's all good. I got Martinez sitting in front of me, and he turns around to grin whenever Dr. K says something funny.
Direct quote from Dr. K (on Church History): "In 1313, Constantine issued his decree and it was finally safe for Christianity to 'come out of the closet'."
Then, some professor I've never seen before suddenly appears and calls me out of class, which I thought was weird. So I follow him to his office down the hall . . . he's talking about random stuff the whole time. Martinez follows me. Anyway, we're just standing around his office and he's talking to me. And then he says, "I don't know how familiar you are with the concept of Chivalry," and starts talking about that. I'm thinking, "Where the heck is he going with this?!" About this time I realize that his voice sounds familiar, but I can't quite place. Then, I open my eyes to a faceful of arm . . . which is to say I had my head down on my desk, cushioned by arm. I raise up and realize that it was Dr. K's voice. And he's talking about Chivalry. And I could hear and process and comprehend every word, even though I was asleep. I have to develop this skill . . .
The thing was, I wasn't quite convinced that I had actually woken up when I noticed the two of hearts and the two of diamonds sitting right in front of me . . . that's right, I'm referring to the playing cards. And they really were sitting right in front of me, honest. It didn't take me too many seconds to remember that this is Fall Fest season, where the freakish and insane become commonplace, ordinary and everyday. Hmmm . . . not really all that different from the rest of the year, come to think of it . . . For those of you who are not actually on campus, the playing cards were part of 41's theme. (41 being the name of one of the floors on campus.)
During Fall Fest, most floors pick a monarch to run for the office of King or Queen. Guy floors pick a girl, girl floors . . . well, duh. Each floor spends the week promoting their monarch as much as possible, be it with ad campaigns or . . . well, just about anything goes. Some floors even escort their monarch around campus throughout the day, and 41 is one of those. I'll give them marks for creativity, at least. Their theme last year was Wizard of Oz (unless I am mistaken). This year they are doing Alice in Wonderland . . . err, actually "Erin" in Wonderland (Erin being the name of their queen). The presence of two playing cards in my Western Civ class should be falling into place for most of you right about now.
I passed a few more of them, plus the White Rabbit, on my out the door at the end of class (did I mention that "Alice" is in this class?), and they were joined by the Mad Hatter on the way to SAGA. I've also seen the Cheshire Cat floating about a few times, but the March Hare continues to elude me. This is, obviously, an all-guy floor, so I'm praying I don't get a look at the Queen of Hearts . . .
Let's see . . . after that was lunch, as you may have inferred from my SAGA reference. Then speech . . . *bleah!* And then I went with Scholl to visit professors (which is my euphemism for "causing trouble"). We saw Johnson, Solganick and Coppinger and had a great time.
After this I went to the library, ostensibly to do homework. Sat down in a nice, comfy chair and started reading . . . this was just after 3. Next thing I know, I wake up with the feeling that it is quite late. This is confirmed by a quick glance outside. I was out *cold* for two and a half hours. I know this because Anna walked by and saw me at 4:30. This leads me to believe that I didn't go anywhere without my knowledge during the intervening period. So I sat there for two minutes or so, waiting for everything below my right knee to finish waking up, and then went to supper.
My first thought as I stepped outside the library was, "Holy crap! Are all those people standing in line for SAGA?!" Fortunately, they were not. UN-fortunately, they were standing around waiting to participate in the "monarch cram" or some such Fall-Fest-related nonsense. I'm fuzzy on the details (what am I saying? I'm just fuzzy . . .) but I believe the idea was to be the floor who could cram the most people at once into the small car that was sitting in the midst of the crowd. I did my best to ignore the proceedings, despite seeing quite a number of people that I know in amongst the craziness.
And speaking of craziness, now would be as good a time as any to drop in a random Watson quote or two from Monday's English Lit class:
"I will make you immortal for $10.00."
"Morphine is good stuff."
Hmmm . . . do I have time to . . .? *checks watch* Ah, what the heck. Dr. Watson's chili story: Apparently the Liberal Arts and Sciences office has a chili cook-off every year, and Dr. Watson (being a man of very diverse talents) won best all-around chili last year. Hoping, I suppose, to begin some sort of winning streak, he proceeded recently to whip up a batch this year . . . but unfortunately, "something went amiss." His chili took on the "texture and temperature of molten lava." And, of course, he tested this for himself. And gave a tablespoon to his dog . . . who wound up in intensive care at the vet's for three days. One week later, Dr. Watson himself made a trip to the emergency room, where he was diagnosed with acid reflux (whatever that means and if that's even how one puts it). For those of you who are all gung-ho about context, that's where the morphine quote got dropped in (for those of you who hate context, I will refrain from explaining the immortality). The upshot of all this is that Dr. Watson's batch of chili has cost him $2,500 so far. That's some good stuff, yo.
And now it is time for me to have a little chat with my bed. We haven't spoken in awhile, and I wouldn't want to become estranged. If, for some reason, you need to reach me before about 8:45 tomorrow morning then . . . you won't be able to. Sorry.
While you're waiting, here's some recommended reading that I stumbled across in our wonderful library. Two things: First, regarding the book itself. Edmond Paris is either a total loon (he is French), or I need to join the Jesuits . . . seriously, man. Who needs the Illuminati? Second, while Jack T. Chick is undeniably an utter crackpot and a menace, a little exploration of his site is sure to provide you with much amusement indeed. You can get to all of it out of the link above. Pay special attention to the "tracts" section. For those of you who can't get your hands on a copy on the great book described there, a few pertinent, and hopefull eye-opening, facts: The Catholic Church is, in fact, responsible for a number of atrocities including, but not limited to: the foundation of Islam, World War I, World War II, the Holocaust, and the Kennedy assassination. Consider yourself enlightened. That was my good deed for the day . . . Good night.
October 26, 2003
The Great War
I'm sitting here in front of my computer, trying rather desperately to focus on my blasted conference paper, and it isn't working. My mind is somewhere else entirely. I'm not quite sure what sent me off this time . . . No, that's a lie. I know exactly what sent me off, but if I told you, then I'd have to kill you (or something like that). Anyway, I'm not even going to tell you where my mind is wandering, but I will say this: I have come to the realization that I am a sentimentalist on a somewhat massive order of magnitude. Again. Still. It keeps coming back. Won't be suppressed, won't be ignored, won't be buried, or killed, or even thoroughly despised. I've tried that before . . . How long have I known this, anyway? Forever. Since five minutes ago. It doesn't matter.
I just hope I'm not headed into another one of those phases . . . *shudder* . . . I don't know that anyone has ever noticed when I'm in one of them. Minor ones happen on a fairly regular basis. The last really major one lasted almost a month and a half, off and on. I'm not even going to say what set it off, but it was quite ridiculous. The outward signs are hardly noticeable, I guess. They're limited mainly to a starry-eyed, blank stare from time to time when I'm by myself, perhaps finding some particularly sappy book or movie or song that will feed it. If it's really bad, there might be a sighing session. *shudder again* It's a deplorable waste of time, but unless I catch it early, there's not a whole lot that can be done.
The thing is, I must be a frustrated sentimentalist at best, because I'm still a raging (raging in a mostly silent way, of course) cynic. The two should be fundamentally incompatible, how do they exist side-by-side? Do they temper each other? I doubt it. Only the cynicism is consistently dominant . . . but I must be proud of the sentiment, somewhere, or why would I be writing about it? *sigh* *stifles sigh* Well, writing this outrageous post has served its purpose, at any rate. I feel . . . hungry, but that's irrelevant. Hmmm . . . maybe I haven't achieved any extra focus (re-read the post if you don't believe me) but I think I can ignore sentiment and just work again. I guess there's no real reason to actually post this, but I might as well. I haven't posted in a week or so, and I took all the trouble to type this up . . .
October 21, 2003
Zen and the Art of . . . Dante
"To die, to sleep; To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil must give us pause."
-Hamlet, Act III, Scene I
It would appear that Hollywood producer, a bad piece of fish, and staying up too late reading The Divine Comedy led to the movie whose title is taken from the quote above (see linked portion). Let me just say that somebody is having some crazy dreams out there. I enjoyed the imagery of the movie immensely. Very Dante-esque. I haven't read the Paradiso yet, but I know a little about it. The locations in the "heaven" portion of the movie are breathtaking, to say the least. Too bad heaven sucks so much. I mean, come on . . .
Quote from the movie:
Chris (the main character): Where is God in all of this?
Albert (one of the two "Virgil" characters): Oh, He's up there somewhere, shouting down that He loves us, wondering why we can't hear Him... you think?
Sounds very nice, doesn't it? Wait, though . . . the characters are already in heaven. Where the heck is God then?! That's just the tip of one very nasty theological iceberg (the movie is the Titanic, get it?). In terms of watchability, the pacing is totally screwy. It bogs down rather severely in hell. There is some great visual material in the hell sequences. Unfortunately, we don't get to see hardly any of it. The camera spends more time giving us close-ups of Robin Williams reactions than it does showing us what he's seeing. And for every 30 seconds of hell footage, we are forced to break into yet another very unimportant and even more lengthy flashback.
And then the capstone of the thing . . . After hauling his wife out of hell itself, and being reunited with his kids at his dream house in his dream world (I mean, geez . . . even the family dog is there!) . . . After all of this, the main character and his wife decide to get themselves reincarnated and do it all over again. ("I found you in Hell, you don't think I can find you in Jersey?") Oh, the pain . . .
That said, there were some very interesting parallels to Leaf by Niggle (Tolkien) . . . only that story was set chiefly in Purgatory. I wouldn't be surprised to find that someone involved in the movie had read that story as well, although it shares so many themes in common with The Divine Comedy that it could just as easily be a coincidence.
After that I finished the Trivial Pursuit game with Anna and Wilson. For an account of that, head over to Wilson's blog (assuming you didn't just come from there). I need to get back to work.
October 18, 2003
So . . . We're all sitting here waiting for Scholl and Anna to finish slugging it out in Anti-Monolopy. Scott THINKS he's still in the game, but in reality we all know that it's down to two at this point. Scott is basically playing a supplementary roll to Scholl's ruthless, cutthroat policies. A game of Risk ended about half an hour ago once Christmas had conquered the entire board in the form of Ziggy and Barbour as red and green. They trounced Kwanzaa to take control of the globe. I went out in a most pathetic fashion not long after this. Reduced to one mortgaged property and four dollars which Scholl kindly let me keep, after I got out of "Price War" I had to give Anna (my fellow Competitor) the property. On the next turn I missed going back to Price War and Scholl smilingly took my last few bucks. Bastard.
I finished the first of the Father Brown mysteries during the course of the game: "The Blue Cross." VERY good stuff . . . of course. Among the excellent quotes, we have:
Father Brown: Another thing tipped me off to the fact that you aren't a real priest.
Thief: What was that?
Father Brown: You attacked reason. It's bad theology.
Chesterton rocks . . . a lot.
I woke up this morn- . . . afternoon at about 1:30 when the bloody fire alarm went off in the building. My roommate ignored it. I wanted to get up anyway, sorta. Went to Dollar General with Martinez. Went to the library to read. Mostly slept instead.
So, at this point it looks like Amadeus, once Lewis and Martinez surrender the tape. Meanwhile, I am returning to my book. Farewell
October 17, 2003
English Lit Presentations . . . Yay
Wow. The presentation by today's English Lit group was extremely . . . special. Extremely. I was greeted at the door to the little theater by a demon woman. Her garb complete with red and black robes, horned headgear, and a plastic pitchfork in the classic Luciferian style.
It would bore you to hear the entirety of their presentation, point by point, written here. The most amusing thing was the apparent mix-up of Helen of Troy with Scarlett O'Hara. Helen comes in wearing a silky, red dress (which could have been Scarlett's with the mere addition of a five-foot radius to the skirt) and stands around looking like Helen of Troy . . . I guess. I wouldn't know for sure, but if that face launched a thousand ships they must have been fairly small in addition to teetering precariously on the brink of a waterfall already.
I'm sorry, that was mean. I'm not trying to say she was ugly . . . I just felt the need to insert some comment along those lines, for my own amusement. In any case, as soon as Helen opened her mouth I learned something very interesting about Ancient Greek accents. Apparently they are shockingly similar to that of the Southern belle. *Files that piece of trivia away for later* Seriously, I have never heard an imitation of Scarlett pulled off that effectively. It was put on, obviously, but she did a good job of putting it on . . . painfully good.
Another highlight was the intermission. We were each handed a sheet of paper numbered with songs 1-7 and a blank space next to each number. They played clips of seven songs and we had to match which song went to which of the seven deadly sins. I have no idea what songs 3-5 were. I had never heard them before, and could barely understand the lyrics. The first song was Weird Al's "Frank's 2000-inch TV" . . . obviously Envy. The second was the Chipmunk version of "Twelve Days of Christmas" . . . I attached that to Covetousness. *shrug* The sixth was "Lollipop," which caused me thirty seconds of extreme pain, and was obviously attached to gluttony. The last song was "Then I Got High," if that is, in fact, the title. A definite case of Sloth . . . although I think the singer has issues that reach beyond the limitations of what counted as a deadly sin during the sheltered Middle Ages.
Well, that's all that's important about today . . . so far, anyway. And you still shouldn't be expecting to hear from me for the next four and a half days! Remember, I have a break to take!
Fall Break Looms Large
Oh, hi. It's you again, you stupid blog post. After a few false starts, maybe I can finally get this thing completed. I am operating at the lowest stress-level I've had in weeks right now. Why? Because tomorrow I will show up to English Lit, having read The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, and I'll sit there and watch yet another group do their little thing . . . in the little theater, no less. And then I'll be scot-free until Wednesday.
Scot-free is, of course, a relative term as I have the following tentative list of things to accomplish:
THE CONFERENCE PAPER
Bib Lit Journals (I think I'm four behind at the moment)
English Lit Journals (five more and that's IT for the semester)
Bib Lit Genre Reports (I still haven't done any of the reading for those, and that's just not cool)
For my own personal enjoyment/enlightenment:
Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan
All's Well that Ends Well by Shakespeare
The Divine Comedy by Dante
Perloo the Bold by Avi . . . yeah, kinda weird . . . I like Avi, so I'm putting up with it
The Father Brown Omnibus by G. K. Chesterton
Watch Bowling for Columbine
Watch Schindler's List
Watch Saving Private Ryan
Anyway, the school-related list suddenly doesn't look to scary . . . except for that bloody, looming, all-caps monstrosity up at the top of the list. 'Course, I'm reading The Divine Comedy as research also, so . . .
As for the things to read, that's just my "To Read" list of books that I'm working on right now. The written out version of the list is some forty books long, and the one in my head is . . . oh, hundreds at the least. As for the movies, there are a half dozen other things that I want to watch this weekend as well, but those are the most important, being culturally relevant.
So, don't expect to hear from me for the next five days. You might, just don't expect it. Now, in brief, my day:
I had three hurdles to fly over today, not counting getting out of bed. First, staying awake in Bib Lit so I could study for . . . Second, a Western Civ test, and Third, a speech to deliver in . . . wow, you're sharp. It was in Speech class. I'm running all of these things off of four hours of sleep, so keep that in mind. Yeah, nothing particularly special about a getting a full four hours of sleep, but I don't tend to function particularly well unless I get closer to six on a consistent basis.
Bib Lit did not go as planned. I barked my shins rather nastily on that particular hurdle. I absolutely could not keep my eyes open, try what I would. I have never tried so hard with so little success to stay awake in a class. It was just bad. But I did absorb a few things. I kept my book out for the walk over to Glaske, skimming madly the whole way. Coppinger called my name about four times before I realized someone was trying to get my attention. I looked up and he was laughing. Told me I shouldn't walk and read at the same time, I might hurt myself. I was too distracted to tell him that I've been doing it for at least 15 years . . . and look how I turned out!
Dr. Kubricht's Western Civ test was stunning. A real masterpiece . . . I didn't get writer's cramp taking Watson's midterm for English Lit, but today my hand was hurting. Fifteen multiple choice (just listing them, not saying they were difficult to write out), four short answer, and an essay. The essay was a real piece of work. "Name five lessons that a Christian can learn from religious history between 30 and 500 AD. Give historical examples for each lesson. Name three lessons that someone who wanted to persecute Christians could learn from this period." All of this together was . . . long. I finished the hour and a half test with about thirty seconds to spare.
Then I gave my speech. Actually, this was after lunch and I was the last one to go, so it wasn't right then, but I'm consolidating here. There were some very interesting speeches. And some not very interesting speeches. That's just the way it goes. Anyway, I wasn't particularly brilliant with my delivery, so my grade probably wasn't as high as on the first one. But with the topic I chose, you don't have to be . . . Let's just say that they stayed wide awake for the majority of it. For the curious (and unenlightened), I will divulge that my speech topic was Pope Joan. If you've never heard of her, I suggest you do a little independent research. Very amusing, very entertaining, very interesting.
Let's see . . . after that I pretty much blew off the afternoon chatting and stuff. Watched Gattaca with Martinez. Pretty good movie, and I haven't seen it in awhile. It's a cross between Brave New World and The Caves of Steel. If you haven't read one of those, then I'm sorry. If you haven't read either . . . I'm very sorry.
Then Scholl and Anna showed up and we decided to watch Pirates of the Caribbean. And, of course, by the time it was over we had about ten people packed in my room enjoying the movie. The more the merrier, I say . . . I joined Martinez, Scholl, Anna, and Ziggy in their attempts at punnery, much to my chagrin. It was a pretty good release though . . . I find that it's not nearly as unbearable to listen to if you can slip one of your own in here and there. This will be remembered in future . . .
Anyhow, I'm ready to get started on my long weekend, and you lot are keeping me from it. Signing off . . .
October 16, 2003
How messed up is this, exactly? You tell me . . .
Seen on a LeTourneau flyer promoting talks on Sexual Abuse for those who have experienced it:
"Sorry guys, this is a girl's only thing."
Note the very messed up use of an apostrophe. 'Nuff said.
October 15, 2003
English Profs and Mexican Jokes
Spent some time in Dr. Watson's office this afternoon . . . again. He loaned me a few books to look over concerning my conference paper. While I was there I heard the following amusing exchange:
Dr. Watson: Who are you waiting for?
Random student passing by in the hallway: Dr. Batts.
Dr. Watson: I'm sorry.
There was also this:
Dr. Watson: I was a Math major for a whole semester.
Wilson: You saw the light?
Dr. Watson: I saw the grades.
Learned something interesting in English Lit today (again . . . go figure) which prompted me to go and find this little gem. Further proof (which we didn't really need) which shows that all Trekkies are certifiable . . .
And so long as you're despairing over the sad condition of the human race, check out Green Acres from Hell. I'm not sure that even Gabor was ever this bad, but I could be wrong . . . No, I'm not wrong. We are going downhill. We have to be.
And now, some amusing, but rather PI (politically incorrect) jokes:
Gallagher's joke: Why were there 10,000 Mexicans at the Alamo?
Because they only had two trucks.
Martinez's joke: Why isn't there a Mexican Olympic team?
Because anyone who can run, jump, or swim is already here.
A Mexican, a Texan, and a Russian are in the dining car on a train. The Russian is feeling particularly patriotic after a slug of Vodka. He picks up the whole bottle, "We have too much of this in my country," and throws it out the window. The other two passengers are initially shocked, but the Mexican quickly recovers. "We have too much of THIS in my country," he says, as he throws a bottle of Tequila out the window. The Texan, not to be outdone, picks up the Mexican . . .
Anyway . . . sorry. I was amused, therefore it showed up on the blog. I'm not anti-anyone, least of all anti-Mexican. If you have any great Texas jokes (appropriate for mixed company, Scholl) stick them in the comments section. You won't bother me. And now it is time to get to work. More later, perhaps . . .
October 14, 2003
SAGA Update: It Still Sucks
Quotes from this evening's chapel:
Gallagher on New Age: "My spoon is too non-existent . . ."
Scholl and I on reincarnation and soul-mates: "If my soul-mate comes back as a man . . . He can go find himself a cow."
More evidence that SAGA sucks . . . a lot. So, Wilson and I are hanging around here and there this afternoon. I visited Dr. Olson to run my idea for the conference paper.
Break: My topic will be an examination of Tolkien's writings from Leaf by Niggle and The Silmarillion that concern the afterlife. I will compare and contrast these writings with material from The Divine Comedy, most notably The Purgatorio.
Anyway, back to my afternoon . . . so Wilson and I spend an hour or so hanging out with Dr. Watson while he grades journals (mine were among them, I hope).
Direct Quote from Dr. Watson, as we discuss THE chapel, with a pointed look at me: "Of course, you don't have to worry about some people causing outbursts in class."
I'm sure he wasn't referring to the one or two times I have (rather noticeably) fallen asleep in there . . . After talking with Watson we headed down to the library so I could snag some of Dante's stuff. I was lucky enough to get the translation by Dorothy Sayers, which makes some neat little connections. Incidentally, it was dedicated to Charles Williams.
After this we went to the computer labs so I could continue work on my speech while Wilson did random stuff. When we finally headed to supper we discovered that a bunch of stupid SAGA monkeys had decided to move dinner out to the soccer field so we could all enjoy the game. After much wandering we headed over to Bodacious BBQ across the street. We got our order just as the rest of the crew (who had left without us, the bums) was leaving. So we followed them back over. Wilson, of course, left immediately for class . . . as he simply must be there 10 minutes early, and actually acquiring supper had turned into a fairly lengthy process.
After I finished eating, we talked until chapel time. And then we went to chapel. And then we came back here. But this is getting tedious, and I'm feeling a bit crappy, so I'll end the entry here. Ugh. I'm going to finish fine-tuning my speech, and then I'm going to bed . . . with maybe an episode of Star Trek tossed in for good measure. Good night, y'all.
Is There Method in Their Madness?
Read it and laugh . . . or weep . . . or nothing. Do what you want. See if I care. And yes, there is a bare smattering of actual Shakespeare in there . . . credit where credit is due.
Apmrtnz: Good comrade, hast thou yet the email wherein is described the Time Cube?
Defel Seven: Yea and verily.
Apmrtnz: Prithee, seek therein for the name of the witless knave who did write said monstrosity.
Defel Seven: Why, that name . . . 'tis well known to me, for he is a fobbing, motley-minded joithead . . . 'twas Gene Ray, of a fact.
Apmrtnz: Thou speakest true, friend; ne'er have these eyes seen such tomfoolery as is set forth within that scoundrel's writings
Defel Seven: His words seem to me as those of a wenching, lily-livered whey-face.
Apmrtnz: My bowels do turn within me at the mere mention of his name; it is profanity upon my lips.
Defel Seven: You speak justly, friend, his name falleth from my lips as a churlish turd falleth from the hindmost regions of an ox.
Defel Seven: Verily.
Apmrtnz: By my troth, would that I should meet the rapscallion, I should smite him a blow such as has not been seen in many a day.
Defel Seven: Were he to spend word for word with me, his wit should bankrupt itself anon.
Apmrtnz: Ah, there art thou mistaken, friend; for how is one to bankrupt that which is already void of substance?
Defel Seven: Verily, sir, he speaks an infinite deal of nothing. Were some learned scholar to take the measure of the lout, he would find most truly that the knave
possesseth more hair than wit . . . and more faults than hairs.
Apmrtnz: The sheer folly of his speech moves me to disbelief, and his inanities stir up my wrath.
Defel Seven: One might draw from his head not so much brain, as ear wax . . .
Apmrtnz: And if one should ever find his way into the man's head, he should have to contend with a large and bloated spider, fat from the atrophied grey matter
that did once reside therein.
Defel Seven: Surely I see that thou speakest as thou dost see most fit, and thy words do fall seemly before mine ears. Beyond any doubt, the fellow be a gorbellied, knotty-pated moldwarp.
Apmrtnz: The wisdom of thy words, when set in comparison to his, is as the warmth of the sun before the frozen wastes of the nether reaches; thine a melodious tune, pleasing and soothing to the ear, his a cacaphony of horrid noise, an abomination to the senses, and just plain wrong.
Defel Seven: Nice touch at the end there.
Apmrtnz: Why thank you.
Apmrtnz: Alas, mine eyes do perceive that the hour has grown late; I must retire to my bed, for the morning comes all too soon. But truly, I have enjoyed this foray into the world of wordplay; mayhap we shall meet again there.
Defel Seven: At the sound of those words, my heart doth weep most piteously within my breast, knowing that the sun always riseth in the east, unable to be stilled . . . bidding forth the night is such sweet sorrow, for we know how inevitably day doth follow night, even as the bear doth seek the honey pot, and the lecher the bed of his mistress.
Well . . . We had fun.
October 13, 2003
Concerning That One Dude From Utah . . .
Unnnnngh . . . five more minutes, please . . . *pop* I'm awake! No, not really. Why I should be this tired is a mystery to me . . . all I know is that it sucks. Sitting here in the computer lab, reading the article on Barfield, and I've fallen asleep three times. I see Scholl all but nodding off behind me . . . Ah, good. Wilson has arrived. Maybe we can stay awake now.
In any case, I realized that I had forgotten my entire purpose in relating the story from chapel this morning. I merely wanted to say that I admire and respect the kind of conviction that would lead someone to react in that manner. And I think the guy is an idiot. Would I stand up in the middle of a NOW convention and order everyone back to the kitchen? (Wait a second . . . what am I doing at a NOW convention?!) No, of course not! You just can't get away with standing up in the middle of a lecture where the vast majority of those present agree with the speaker and successfully disagree. The only advantage he can have gained is perhaps some sort of personal sense of having fulfilled his duty to Salt Lake City and a vision of himself standing, alone, battered and triumphant atop the bare, precarious, and wind-swept peak of the moral high ground . . . Bleah.
C'mon people, it was fun while it lasted (it woke ME up), but let's put a little thought into things before we leap from the heavens, shall we?
Hmmm . . . Well, I'm still awake, apparently. How about you? *poke, poke* . . . You're so rude . . .
Dr. Watson is the Greatest . . .
Dateline: Monday morning chapel, October 13, 2003.
I shall be brief, for the sake of those who were there, and thorough, for the sake of those who were not. Today's chapel speaker talked about various cults as an introduction to his next three speaking engagements here on campus. He touched briefly on each before moving on. When he got to Mormonism he was speaking chiefly about the cultist view of Jesus. He started talking about Lucifer as sibling of Jesus, etc. when there came a loud call from the back.
Some young fellow had stood to his feet and hollered "Question!" He proceeds to spill immediately into what basically amounted to a rather impressive tirade (and I don't mean he had lost his temper, he appeared reasonably cool), on various subjects related to the truth about the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (not the Mormons), the necessity to consult primary sources for yourself, the lack of credibility that the speaker possessed, etc. ad infinitum. Throughout this lengthy diatribe he made his way up the aisle until he was standing directly under the speaker, facing the audience, and (from what I could tell) never once paused for breath.
Random insertion: My Mormon name is Gared Bevalier. What's yours?
After about 60 seconds, Chaplain Carl got up and walked him out and the speaker resumed. He sounded very shaken at first (pretty much how I sound on the rare occasions when I have been involved in any kind of public verbal conflict with a person who is serious about what they are saying), but soon regained his composure. His response was rather fascinating. After expounding on his relations with the Mormon church and the lack of ill will he bears towards the Mormons he said, "I have attended a Mormon church a number of times, and I have never once interrupted a service." Wow. Zing
Pertinent direct quote from Dr. Jim Watson: "Dang! I missed it! . . . The one exciting chapel of the season, and I missed it!"
This brings me to a nice segue into today's English Lit class. Today's class was one of the top three classes I have attended this semester. The other two were Inklings classes. The subject was one that I was not initimately familiar with before today, but which I found very interesting indeed. We learned about the history of the English Bible.
I am not a huge fan of the KJV, but I didn't know before that I was probably giving it a little too much credibility as a highly viable translation. Although, as I said, I've never been a fan, I've never had a leg to stand on with people who act like it is either the best translation, or the only "Divinely Authorized" translation of the Bible into English. Suffice it to say that I can now effectively argue with anyone *cough* Uncle Doug *cough* who thinks that one of the above is true. Disclaimer: To his credit, Doug is of the former, rather than the latter, category. And we sure as heck won't be using it anymore to locate scriptural basis for Calvinist doctrine! Yeesh!
Back to English Lit and . . . The Batts Story! bum bum BUM . . .
The following paragraph will be a paraphrase with direct quotes from Dr. Jim Watson inserted as I remember them:
"Do you have time for a Batts story?" *receives an affirmative reply, as always* "I promised him I wouldn't tell this story any more, but it's just too funny." Dr. Batts is visiting England with a group of students some years ago, and they find themselves at the Tower of London. Dr. Batts somehow gets separated from the group and decides that he'll go have a look at the crown jewels. This is back when they have them on display down in the basement of the tower, so he makes his way down to the steps which lead down into the darkness. Somewhere in this vicinity is a rather large, especially solemn Beefeater (of the variety which never speak . . . ever) who he passes by on his way downstairs. After examining the crown jewels that are in the cases around the walls, he is a bit disappointed. He had an image in his mind connected to the phrase "crown jewels" of a dragon's-horde-like pile of gems and doubloons. So he makes his way to the guard and says, "Excuse me, could you tell me where the crown jewels are?" The guard eyes him and replies, "Wha'do ye think ye been lookin' at, mate?!" At this point, a student takes Dr. Batts back downstairs and they look again. The student basically says, "You see the crowns? You see the jewels in the crowns? Those are the crown jewels."
Dr. Watson: "You know Dr. Batts. He can't let things go. He's a Calvinist you know. A Puritan. *chuckle* This guard humiliated him, and by golly, he's going to have a word with him. So he goes over to correct him in brotherly love *pregnant pause* and says, 'Excuse me, but don't you think you were a bit rude to me just now when I asked you a simple question?' The guard eyes him again and says, with laughter in his voice, 'Did ye see 'em this time, mate?' *chuckles again* I love that story."
I love that story, too, Dr. Watson. But for now I have a speech to write, and a reading summary to summarize, and a few Bible journals to journal, so that's it for now. Later.
Long Live the South!
For someone of Southern heritage and persuasion (shut up, Scholl) who has grown up steeped in something of a golden, pristine view of Southern history and culture (wait for a minute until I can quantify that statement) it is easy to view both the South and its history with a large amount of nostalgia. Yeah. Nostalgia for something I never really saw or experienced. It is something that I am vaguely aware of from time spent in Texas and from even more time immersed in things of which I will speak in a moment.
Now, as a student of history, I am fully aware (somewhere in the back of my mind) of all the wrong that has happened in this area of the country. Nobody's perfect . . . but I'm not even going to brush it off by attempting to justify it (that way, or any other way). No, what I'm talking about here is the view provided to me by literature. No other area of American literature is quite as replete with such colorful characters, such rich pageantry, or . . . words fail me at 2:00 in the morning, if you're going to get my point, you'll have already gotten it. I've lived in the culture, so I know it's real. I've read all about its lighter side, so I want to experience more of it.
Just to name a few pertinent authors: Mark Twain, Flannery O'Connor, William Faulkner, Harper Lee, Margaret Mitchell, Willie Morris, and John Grisham.
"To Kill a Mockingbird" is still a book that I can sit down with randomly, and read through without moving. "Tom Sawyer" is a perennial favorite which I have always loved. "Gone With the Wind" is, to my mind, the quintessential historical fiction novel . . . A daunting, but worthwhile read. Someday, I'll go back and read it two or three more times, I'm sure. Moving into the realm of lesser known and more recent work: "Taps" is all about pure, untainted memories of growing up in Mississippi in the 1950's. "A Painted House" really resonates with me because it's pretty much about my family's last few generations. Under different circumstances, I could be the main character. My dad and grandad are both featured in the book, to some degree. I had the opportunity to discuss it with them this summer after they had both read it, and that particular assessment stands.
Where am I going with all of this? I attempt merely to paint a picture of the Fantasy South I'm used to visiting in order to pave the way for what is to come. A striking example of the darker side of Southern literature and history has recently forced itself upon my attention in the form of a novel written in 1905 by the Reverend Thomas Dixon. Naturally I am fascinated by this concept and anxious to read said novel based largely on its historical and cultural value (not concerning the period which it seeks to portray, but rather of the period during which it was written), with some attention to its literary value (being a student of that discipline as well). And of course when something fascinates me it winds up on here in some form or another. The integration of a different facet into one's perspective, especially if it is an element of realism introduced into an idealized semi-Utopian vision, can only grant a more accurate and complete picture of the truth.
I'll keep my pretty fiction of an innocent South certainly, with that special, half-regretful longing usually connected with early childhood (since it was, after all, during my childhood that these visions formed in my imagination), but I would be remiss (both as a person, and as a student of history) if I peckishly pushed aside anything which might lend to the dream something of the reality simply because I feared to taint it. With this disclaimer in place (and with an apology for the extremely disjointed nature of this post):
Check it out.
Your comments are welcome, as always . . . And I love discussions about this, so if you are one of those lucky enough to have Personal Access to me, I won't shy away from a face-to-face, either.
October 12, 2003
The Dante's Inferno Test (and Moore)
The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
|Purgatory (Repenting Believers)||High|
|Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)||Low|
|Level 2 (Lustful)||Low|
|Level 3 (Gluttonous)||Low|
|Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)||Low|
|Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)||Moderate|
|Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)||Very Low|
|Level 7 (Violent)||Low|
|Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)||High|
|Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)||Very Low|
Take the Dante's Divine Comedy Inferno Test
Wow! Ummm . . . yay . . . I guess
Anyway, had a grand time with Moore and Wilson and Sharpton and Martinez and Uncle Doug with a four-player game of Trivial Pursuit this evening. If you're quick, you've already noticed that there are six people involved . . . I started off with Wilson, Martinez, and Uncle Doug at 5. The latter two left at 6 and were replaced by Moore and Sharpton. Wilson left just before 7 and was replaced by Martinez. I alone stood firm and consistent. Which is fitting, since I eventually won after almost 3 hours.
A few amusing tidbits gleaned from the game:
When the "Got Milk?" ad campaign was translated into Spanish for display in Mexico, it became "Are you lactating?"
On a Spain travel brochure describing one of its mountains: "It is black, svelte, and slippy . . . like Naomi Campbell's loins."
David Moore thinks that Brad Pitt has sexy legs. (Sorry, Moore . . . dashed bad luck, but opportunities like this can't go ignored by successful bloggers.)
In explanation for that last, Moore had the dreadful misfortune of receiving the question asking who's legs were voted the sexiest in the world. He was required to pick between Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, and RuPaul. It was for a pie slice, and he got the question right, so we'll just assume that it was worth it . . .
October 10, 2003
Not the 80s!!!
Can anyone tell me how to get away from this freaking decade?!
October 09, 2003
So, like, desks are more comfortable than beds?
Question of the day: What was the topic in today's Western Civ class?
Answer: The Emergence of Medieval Civilization
Question: How do you know?
Answer: When I woke up at the end of class there was a handout with the topic listing sitting in front of me.
I am getting pretty sick of falling asleep in Western Civ, but I'm at something of a loss as to how to stay awake. I'm averaging about 4 hours of sleep on the nights before that class for the time being. I stay awake in Bib Lit, sometimes. If I've stayed awake, then I'm somewhat alert when I get into WC, but it doesn't take long for that to wear off. If I've been sleeping in BL, on the other hand (which has happened a lot lately), then I can barely drag myself over to Glaske before I totally zonk on the desk in front of me.
Today was especially bad. Woodring handed back our tests at the end of class, and it took my full effort (even though I hung on, to an extent, during the lecture) to get up to the podium and pick it up without looking completely like one of the walking dead. I was already asleep in the WC classroom five minutes before it was supposed to start. The only thing I remember is when he passed out that handout. Outside of that I have no memory of anything that took place in that classroom today. It sucks.
I would move to the front, but I kinda got stuck in the back when he did the seating chart the day I was almost late. Anyway, I'm doing alright grade-wise, but I would really like to be able to pay attention. I'll keep experimenting with different things . . . sleep during the night before, for example . . . until I hit on that certain something that'll keep me up.
Anyway, I took the big English Lit mid-term on Wednesday. Out of a study guide of some 30 items, Dr. Watson snags 10 to put on the test, you write a paragraph about eight of them. We're talking 25-50 words minimum. I'm still not sure how I wrote a thorough but concise description of Anglo Saxon Warrior Society. What can I say? I'm one with the Fuzz. I'm fairly confident that I did okay. I guess I'll find out tomorrow.
*Is reminded of random fact.* Yay! One class tomorrow . . . I'll be done for the week by 12:15. Good stuff. And now it's time for me to go watch Finding Nemo with the crew. You should watch it too. It's worth the trouble. Farewell for now.
October 06, 2003
Exit Diff. Eq.
I am sitting in Differential Equations right now. No, it's alright, I don't need to pay attention. I'm dropping. Moore is sitting next to me working on his blog as well. No, it's alright, he doesn't need to pay attention. He's just smart like that. I have left the drop option open since the beginning of the semester with certain contingencies clearly in mind. First, this class must not drag my GPA into the gutter. Second, and more importantly, this class must not detract from my main focus, which is delightfully fuzzy in nature and does not take kindly to the competition.
The contingencies have not been met to my full satisfaction. It sort of hinged on this first test grade, but I was prepared to fudge the grade I was shooting for as much as necessary short of an A in order to justify dropping based on my other criteria. Most especially being taken into consideration is the "Honors" requirement of two one-hour seminars at the Sophomore and Junior level. If I insist on forging ahead with this Mathematics minor that I am so very fond of, I'll be looking forward to two semesters of 19 hours apiece. Is that worth taking three classes just for the hell of it? Not really. I'm dropping.
Direct quote from Ms. Knouse: "Sorry about my cynicism here." Never fear, I shall direct her to where she needs to go.
Dr. Watson gave a devo on Song of Solomon this morning, and of course, it started off with a brief segue into one of his wonderful stories. This story can be effectively summed up with the following.
Direct quote from a pastor at a church which Dr. Watson formerly attended: "If you think Song of Solomon has anything to do with sex, you have a dirty mind."
Direct quote from Dr. Watson, sitting in the congregation, in response to this idiocy: "D'oh!"
And now, a word from our sponsor.
Ummm . . . wrong link. Sorry folks. Disregard that last bit of information. And now, an actual word from our actual sponsor that is not made up, at all.
The bell!!! Time to go drop. More later.
Thoughts on the Holocaust and . . . Poseys?!
This week's Sunday night movie was The Pianist. And it was excellent from where I was sitting. Minor criticisms aside, the form was virtually flawless, and the movie accomplishes its purpose as effectively as possible. Like Schindler's List, which I have not seen (working on it), it is not a movie to be watched lightly. Unless your mind has been completely numbed by violence, etc. in the movies, you will probably be disturbed. And that's the way it should be.
The whole point of a movie like this is to ensure that we never forget what happened in Nazi-occupied countries during the Second World War. As I heard it put elsewhere, "There aren't any words left in our world to describe the horrors of the Holocaust. Only pictures hold us in sufficient sway to convict, humble and revive determination . . . those pictures seem to be intensifying, becoming more vivid and gruesome, as if to somehow counteract the dulling effects of the passage of time."
However, I don't want to dwell on the subject, myself. As it says above, there are no words left. There certainly aren't any that I can say which would be better than anything that has already been said. You don't need to hear them, and I don't need to write them. But I would like to take this opportunity to plug two excellent books. One is the first World War II-related book I ever read, and the other is one of my favorite books (at the least my favorite piece of historical fiction) of all time.
The former is, of course, aimed at a much younger audience. It is called Escape from Warsaw, and it focuses on three Polish children who fend for themselves in the city during the war, and then strike out for Switzerland on foot to try and meet up with their parents. Without going into the whole plot, it is a very good (and easy) read.
The latter is much meatier and far superior. Mila 18 by Leon Uris (everything I've read of his is good, this is the best) is about the Warsaw ghetto uprising. The book starts out before the war begins, as I recall, so there is plenty of context and background before the actual uprising. Also, Uris is fond of giving loads and loads of fascinating background for his main characters. It is a highly worthwhile read.
I really need to share the wonder of Friday's English class with you all. It was another group presentation day, and the group's topic was Sir Philip Sidney's "A Defense of Poesy." As I sat down, one of the first things I noticed on the slide they had up for their Power Point presentation was the title "A Defense of Posey." I thought to myself, "Self, I wonder if they're doing a parody of the actual work, perchance. Or mayhap they are making a joke. Surely they don't seriously think that Sir Philip Sidney went to all the trouble of writing a lengthy defense of small bouquets of flowers, or a city in California."
Needless to say, it was neither parody nor joke, and they proceeded to pronounce and spell Posey throughout the presentation. It was most distracting, and I found it difficult to take seriously a group who was as obviously unfamiliar with the title of their main topic as this one was. The amusement factor, however, was fairly high. Well nigh to being off the charts, I'd say, if I had to hazard a rough guess.
The group partially redeemed itself, to my mind, by bringing along a copy of the new trailer for Return of the King. I had already seen it, of course, but I had no objections to watching it again (and on a much larger screen than my own). Dr. Watson ended his lecture five minutes early and bustled about the room ensuring that the door was shut, the blinds were drawn, and the lights were off, so that the preview could be enjoyed to maximum effect (he had not yet seen it). After the trailer had ended, there was a brief, two-second period of total silence. Then, from Dr. Watson's general area of the room I hear a slightly strangled but rather loud, "Yes!" It was rather awesome, and just generally concurred rather thoroughly with my thoughts on the matter.
Quote of the day: "Guatemala is one of the worst countries in Central America in terms of the concentration of economic power." -Oscar Arias, Nobel Peace Prize Winner. Finally I agree with somebody who won the damn thing . . .
And that is what is most important for me to have touched upon, for the time being. It is high time for bed, and that's where I'm headed. Good night, y'all.
October 01, 2003
Improv Speech Day! Run!!!
Yesterday's more-or-less completed entry:
In spite of a few minor incidents during the morning, my day did not get truly interesting until 12:00 rolled around. Speech happens at 12, you see. Today, as we were to learn, was one of the famous impromptu speaking days. After each of us had written 3 possible topics on a piece of paper and handed them in, Col. Payton selected one and did a speech on a combination of the three topics (ice cream, tennis, and the myths of marriage). He then informed us that we would take this outside to continue. Ever cognizant of his story about an earlier class (see a few posts down) some precocious young man asked if we could park ourselves in front of FL's office. When told that we could not, he asked if we could go, instead, to Woug's.
Direct quote from Payton: "No. But I'd rather be in front of Dr. Austin's office than Doug Wilcoxson's."
So we proceeded to go outside and find a generally neutral area, far away from the Glass Eyes. Senator Barnes picked my paper almost immediately and spoke on Sir Thomas More . . . Who, it seems, was actually an opium addict who lived during the first half of the 20th century. In his most famous work, A Day in the Life of Digby Marlin, he created a character who was not addicted to anything as a release for himself. Considering he made up every single fact on the spot, it was an excellent speech.
Then it was my turn, and someone wasn't half as original on potential topics as I was. I took the easy way out: "Three Things I Hated about Yesterday." One of those things, of course, was the fact that FL was unable to address us. After I had plunged straight into this portion of the day, I realized that I was swimming in deep and troubled waters. I had to come up with a bit of flowery speech (keeping my voice from getting overly sarcastic, my excessive praise spoke for itself) concerning Admin, and I have no doubt that a few people believed I was sincere. That hurts, but it could have been worse. Things were a bit dicey for a few seconds there . . . The guy after me ended his speech with, "The proof is in the pudding, and the pudding tastes good," which had nothing to do with his topic. But it was funny.
The only other thing of import from my day was the beginning of the Yiddish Project. Wilson and I have taken it up, and anyone else who wants to follow suit is very welcome. Yiddish is an amazing language on a number of levels, and I think it would add large amounts of character and spirit to our conversations. So go learn some Yiddish, you stupid mamzers, before I tseshmetter you. And no kvetching, even if you do think I'm kibbitzing. I wouldn't want to have to shlep you kicking and screaming . . . Alivay, I could just pager! Shtup is completely out of the question, and . . . I'm just bupkehing now. Enough. Too much more of this and somebody's gonna plotz.
And that's it. As for today, well, it wasn't that interesting. You can probably make up something fun that I did to day, and amuse yourself quite effectively, if you're into that sort of thing. As for me, it's time to get started on my homework. Good night, y'all.
He's Been Hit!
I had a good-sized chunk of tonight's entry worked up, and was ready to finish . . . but I can't do it tonight. It has nothing to do with staying up late. I have been unexpectedly hit by something, and I can't finish writing it. I just need to . . . I don't know. I can't really talk about it here. Maybe I'll tack what I've got onto tomorrow's entry. See you all in the morning. Maybe. Good night, all.