March 31, 2004

It's pretty much over there . . .

This evening's . . . errr . . . morning's post is actually to be found here. But I did take a quiz.


?? Which Of The Greek Gods Are You ??
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by Jared at 02:25 AM | TrackBack

March 30, 2004

Please tell me this is a dream, Part II

Monday was an interesting day. I shall tell you the story of Monday. Read on . . .

I have been coming down with something vaguely unpleasant, so I slept through breakfast and Chapel and dragged myself lazily over to Heath-Hardwick about half an hour before English Lit II. I wanted to have a little extra time so I could ask Dr. Batts about borrowing his . . . "sword."

*thinks for a second* I guess I haven't actually explained on here why I would need to borrow such a thing. You see, I was challenged to a duel last Thursday over a fine point of personal honor involving a noble lady, a bit of fine lace, and a an all-you-can-eat steak dinner. We were all set to square off at precisely 11:00 in the morning on Tuesday (today). The thing is, when I was busy sparring with Martinez (my second) on Saturday, I put a nasty dent in the guard that made my sword really difficult to hold. So, naturally . . .

Uh, right. Not sure where that last paragraph came from. In actuality, Dr. Batts divided my Shakespeare class into two groups and assigned the first group to perfrom Act III of A Midsummer Night's Dream on Friday, and the second group to perform Acts IV and V on Monday. We had to come up with costumes and suitable settings ourselves and it would be for a test grade. I was, of course, in the second group. If you know anything about the play at all, you'll recall that Pyramus and Thisby both stab themselves with a sword during the play-withn-the-play at the end of Act V. Everything should now be clear to you. I will move on.

I chatted briefly with Dr. Watson in the hall and found that Dr. Batts was not in his office at all . . . I suppose he was at Chapel. The first half of English Lit II consisted of a group presentation on Conrad's Heart of Darkness. It was . . . decent. They managed to bring in a rather impressive amount of foliage and turned the front of the classroom into a jungle. After they finished we still had over 20 minutes to listen to Dr. Watson (and that always makes me happy).

So Dr. Watson was expounding on Conrad's philosophy of writing, as it were, telling us that Conrad thought that literature ought to communicate truth(s), and things of that nature. And he decided that we looked a little too asleep or something, I guess . . . In any case, he asked if anyone in the class had encountered any particularly profound truths in anything they had read. This is a survey course, and he ought to have known he wasn't going to have many volunteers. I myself was sitting in the back, as usual, happily eating a small box of Nerds that I had acquired during the presentation, and devoting half of my attention or so to completing my Shakespeare homework.

Dr. Watson: "Wheeler! You're always reading . . . In fact, you're always reading during my class, even. In all that you have read, have you come across any great truths?"

Me: *gapes*

I mean, for heaven's sake! What kind of question is that to drop on a poor, unsuspecting introvert in a class of 30 people?! And, of course . . . well, you all know what I've been reading of late. The first two names that pop into my head are Oscar Wilde and Saki . . . and I just couldn't bring myself to go there.

Sample quotes:

"Monogamy is the Western custom of one wife and hardly any mistresses." -Saki

"You can't expect a boy to be vicious till he's been to a good school." -Saki

"I think that God in creating Man somewhat overestimated his ability." -Wilde

"Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow." -Wilde

"Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation." -Wilde

I wasn't doing that, period. So I carefully danced around the question for a painful ten seconds or so, and it got picked up by someone else . . . Who started quoting "The Dream of the Rood" of all things . . . While he was doing that, I came up with something that I could use to vindicate myself. I quoted The Misfit from Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find"

"Jesus was the only One that ever raised the dead, and He shouldn't have done it. He thrown everything off balance. If He did what He said, then it's nothing for you to do but thow away everything and follow Him, and if He didn't, then it's nothing for you to do but enjoy the few minutes you got left the best way you can-by killing somebody or burning down his house or doing some other meanness to him. No pleasure but meanness."

*Thanks to Mr. Fry as the party responsible for my knowing that quote . . .*

Of course, I'm rather an idiot. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to wave the copy of A Midsummer Night's Dream that was sitting directly in front of me and say, "Lord, what fools these mortals be!" Ah, well . . . I've never claimed to be able to think quickly in situations like that.

Now, on to Shakespeare, and I shall try to be brief. I was chosen by the powers that be to play Puck, Peter Quince (Prologue in the mini-play), and Francis Flute (Thisby in the mini-play). I wasn't entirely satisfied with the costumes that were provided at the dress rehearsal on Sunday, so I went around and borrowed a few things from Wilson and Anna "Costume Shop" Olson to supplement.

Act IV, Scene 1: I play Puck. I am barefoot, wearing a maroon pillowcase as a . . . shirt, or something. I also have on blue, spotted . . . ummm . . . kitty-cat ears. And freaky-weird glasses, also . . . I liked them because no one could make eye contact with me for more than three straight seconds without looking away. I have two short lines to deliver, and lots of down time listening to freaking Oberon expound at length on this and that. Ideally I could have found various creative ways to act puckish while he was talking, but practically it just isn't very easy. I did a bit of slinking around . . . fiddled with Bottom's ears . . . and mostly just stood there. It was annoying. Finally I escaped to prepare for scene two.

Act IV, Scene 2: I play Quince and Flute. I am wearing a sheet. But it isn't a sheet, it's a toga. Shut up. Quince wore Wilson's fedora. Flute was bareheaded. Quince was sitting down. Flute was leaning casually against the wall. Quince spoke in a slow, low-pitched, measured tone. Flute tripped over his words and babbled frenetically. It kinda worked. The freaking toga would not stay on as I moved back and forth. And Shannon was in my way once or twice. Other than that, no problems . . .

Act V, Scene I: All three (five?) of my characters are present in this scene. Quince comes out when the play begins and very nervously recites his prologue. Then it is time for the dumbshow. I have the lion bring out my wig when they enter, and when I introduce each character I had instructed them to strut . . . or something. Basically, do anything that would make a pause seem more natural when I changed into Thisby. The wig, of course, had gotten itself horribly tangled up, and I had to perch it on my head briefly before moving on. Exit Peter Quince.

Thisby . . . is just flat out no fun when you actually have to act her out with the clothes and the faux-emotion and the romantic gook. Ick. But that's no reason to only give it a half-effort, now is it? I was just generally pleased that my voice wasn't cracking in the higher pitch (due to my cold). Finally, the mini-play ended. I sympathize with the Athenian craftsmen. Exit Francis Flute.

About ten lines later, Puck is supposed to come back on, alone. I'd forgotten it was so quick, so when everyone joined me backstage within about 20 seconds, I said, "You've got to be kidding me!" I didn't even have time to find my place before I went back out. Fortunately, I had the first eight lines of that soliloquy memorized, and I found my spot while I recited them. Helpful tip: Trying to look natural while properly wielding a broom and fumbling with a book and then trying to read out of it while wearing glasses that do not allow any peripheral vision . . . can't be done. Just thought I'd let you know.

I had also taken the liberty of memorizing the final speech of the play, and I very pointedly closed the book and delivered it. I also had my eyes closed, so I wouldn't risk getting distracted. No one could tell because of the glasses. I managed to not fall off the stage while I paced and spoke, and that was the end. I was very much relieved by this. And that is all there is to tell. Hopefully I'll have a grade by tomorrow.

Two more things of interest (to me, at least). We watched The Graduate on Sunday night. I enjoyed it thoroughly. It deserves a spot on the AFI list . . . although, as always, I wouldn't have rated it quite so high. It's not for everyone, of course, but all college students should watch it, just for fun. Or as a how-not-to guide to life. Or something.

I contributed to American History today. It was momentous. Dr. Johnson was winding down his series of World War II lectures and, duh, D-Day came up. Also known as (written on the board) "Operation Overload."

I raised my hand: "Ummm . . . Overload?"

Dr. J: "Oh. What did I put?" *fixes it*

Me: *nods and smiles*

Dr. J (slightly peeved): "The only contribution he's made all semester and he corrects my spelling!"

Me (throwing up hands defensively): "Sorry! English major . . .!"

About thirty seconds later he referred to August 14th, 1945 (Japan's surrender) as "VE Day." I waited a couple of minutes until class was over to point it out. Clearly I deserve extra-credit on the upcoming test . . . which is over seven freaking chapters covering from 1900-1945!!! Insanity!!!

And now, two very impatient and high-strung personages are demanding my immediate attention. I must away. Farewell.

Posted by Jared at 02:58 PM | TrackBack

March 29, 2004

On the General Topic of Sugar Highs

Clearly I simply cannot leave Scholl alone with the rest of the SC . . . ever. You people are completely unable to control his sugar intake. For crying out loud . . . He comes into my room at 12:15 and begins to bounce around.

Naturally I wanted to know who was responsible for this travesty, and it seemed fairly obvious that Gallagher would be the ideal scapegoat. His answers over AIM were unsatisfactory, so I agreed to accompany Scholl to visit him. There we were treated to . . . ummm . . . Airheads all around, and (under the influence) allowed ourselves to be drawn down to Quad 3.

And Bear gave him a cup of . . . well, it was basically syrup. He called it sweet tea. So Scholl downed that. And then he went to see Ardith, and I let him, because clearly Ardith was also responsible, having been present (like Gallagher) at both points today when Scholl was taking in large amounts of sugar. Heather offered him chocolate chips.

Then we went and visited Anna, and railed at her. She refused all responsibility and went back to work. I'm surprised she didn't toss down a pack of smarties or something on her way back inside . . .

Finally, we visited Caleb, and I was initially pleased. Caleb, of course, responded with a physical attack, and it was very good. And then he gave Scholl a Dr. Pepper. *curses*

So, with all of this in mind, and considering the fact that Gallagher has totally ditched me at this point, I decided to roll with the punches. Sort of. I gave him a flower to wear, and allowed him to visit Uncle Doug. Actually, that's what we're doing right now. I'm writing this from Uncle Doug's computer as we wait for him to get out of the shower.

I would like to go on the record with the following statement: Something is wrong with this picture. Clearly someone needs to stand up and take a little responsibility in controlling sugar sources here. And I am highly disturbed by the fact that everyone we visited had more sugar to contribute. I think you are all terribly irresponsible . . . and immoral. I hate you all. Good night.

P.S. As I posted, I have had Scholl standing behind me drumming on my shoulders and head. Just thought you should know.

Posted by Jared at 11:59 PM | TrackBack

March 28, 2004

"When Great Minds Collide," or "Ker-splat!"

So, I'm digging through My Documents because it contains about 5,500 files and it's taking up over 11 Gb and I thought a little spring cleaning might be in order. You never know what I might have saved on here for no reason in particular. And I found the following saved AIM conversation that I had with Wilson a few months back during missions emphasis week. I had just been to see that "Behind the Sun" movie, or whatever-the-heck it was called. Wow. Observe . . .

Wheeler: Well, I'm back

Wilson: He's back!

Wheeler: :-D

Wilson: He's smiling!

Wheeler: lol

Wilson: He's laughing out loud!

Wheeler: Ha!!! so predictable . . .

Wilson: He's predictable!

Wheeler: d'oh!

Wilson: He's Homer Simpson!

Wheeler: *is still laughing*

Wilson: He's still laughing!

Wheeler: Anyway, did you hear about the things and the stuff?

Wilson: He's asking a question!

Wilson: No.

*insert random discussion of how I got in to see the movie*

Wheeler: *shrugs*

Wilson: He's shrugging!

Wheeler: heh

Wilson: He's scoffing!

Wheeler: The movie really was decent (although we made fun of it throughout)

Wilson: He's being charitable!

Wheeler: quite

*brief discussion of the movie itself*

Wheeler: Bah. Christian movies

Wilson: Bah.

Wheeler: He's a sheep!

Wilson: He's not very perceptive!

Wheeler: touche

Wilson: He's French!

Wheeler: He's about to meet an unfortunate end!

Wilson: He's threatening me!

Wheeler: Straight up!

Wilson: He's describing the methods he will use!

Wheeler: *is confused*

Wheeler: *doesn't want to know*

Wilson: He's confused!

Wilson: He's naive!

Wheeler: He's having it made too easy for him!

Wilson: He's being a spoil-sport!

Wheeler: Me?! Never . . . I'm making it easy for you!

Wilson: He's being easy!

Wheeler: See?!?!?!?!

Wilson: He's asking me about my visual skills!

Wheeler: My point has been most effectively made . . .

Wilson: He's sharpening points!

Wilson: He's a swordsmith!

Wilson: He's an armorer!

Wilson: He's a knife sharpener!

Wilson: He's a pencil sharpener!

Wheeler: Are you quite done?

Wilson: He's impatient!

Wheeler: He's impetuous!

Wilson: He's accusatory!

Wheeler: He's defensive!

Wilson: He's offensive!

Wheeler: He's got no case!

Wilson: He's one to talk!

Wheeler: He's being random!

Wilson: He's being petty!

Wheeler: He's being ugly! (Wait, you said "petty")

Wilson: He's being deaf!

Wheeler: He's being tech-impaired! (One doesn't hear through this medium . . .)

Wilson: He's pedantic!

Wheeler: He's contentious!

Wilson: He's annoying!

Wheeler: He's a pest!

Wilson: He should know!

Wheeler: He's using cheap tactics again!

Wilson: He fancies himself a tactician!

Wilson: (Or an economist!)

Wheeler: He's using a fancy form of "I know you are but what am I?"!

Wilson: He's not capitalizing or spacing!

Wilson: He's being verbose!

Wheeler: He's not!

Wilson: He's pathetic!

Wheeler: *Drat, I was so sure we'd done that one already*

Wilson: He's dejected!

Wheeler: He's right!

Wilson: Well, I need to get some work done.

Wilson: On that note...

Wheeler: He needs to get some work done!

Wheeler: j/k

Wheeler: talk to you later

Wilson: OK.

So much fun . . .

Posted by Jared at 03:24 PM | TrackBack

March 27, 2004

Please tell me this is a dream, Part I

The Shadow Council Players present A Midsummer Night's Dream:

Martinez- Theseus, Peter Quince, Prologue, Mustardseed
Scholl- Egeus, Tom Snout, Wall, Peaseblossom, Fairy Chorus
Wilson- Lysander, Oberon, Snug, Lion, Cobweb, Fairy Chorus
Myself- Demetrius, Nick Bottom, Pyramus
Anna- Hermia, Hippolyta, Robin Starveling, Moonshine, Moth, Fairy, Fairy Chorus
Ardith- Helena, Titania
Gallagher- Philostrate, Puck, Francis Flute, Thisby

Ah . . . this play = many much w00ten. We had fun. I would especially like to note the fact that the Elfin Ethicist and the Vengeful Cynic both appeared as fairies in our production. I wish I had a tape of the Fairy Chorus in action, "singing" Ardith to sleep. They sounded like the Boondock Saints or something . . . "And shepherds we shall be, for thee my Lord for thee, etc." Creepy.

I must say, also, that Wilson, speaking as if he were a bit . . . "thick" (as the lion) was quite amusing. But not as funny as Martinez suddenly busting out his John Wayne accent on us, completely at random. I kinda went sideways, laughing, and missed the part of the couch that I was aiming at . . . Fortunately, the floor was reasonably soft.

And . . . oh my goodness . . . for some reason this post is giving me all kinds of trouble. I just can't seem to do anything with it. I think I'm coming down with something nasty, too . . . And there's so much to do this week.

That notwithstanding, I'll leave it at this for now and . . . we'll see what happens tomorrow. Part 2 is forthcoming . . .

Posted by Jared at 11:59 PM | TrackBack

March 25, 2004

Have a Peanut

So, this is me . . .

You are Marcie!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

But I definitely felt the need to take this quiz multiple times, because the answers were . . . weird. This was me, in high school . . .

Charlie Brown
You are Charlie Brown!

And I think I'm drifting this way . . .

You are Woodstock!

I hate questions where multiple answers (like, four) could easily apply.

Posted by Jared at 03:03 PM | TrackBack


Understand, before I begin, that when I say "adventures" I clearly refer to situations that others might describe as "nuisances," or even "ordeals," but not me . . . It's all just more anecdote fodder . . .

So, for the rest of my Spring Break in Lubbock, stuff happened. I watched movies and played Risk and went to fun places like Barnes & Noble a lot. You don't want to hear about this stuff. Oh, yeah. And Doug and I spent an entire afternoon trying to get new windshield wipers. (I know you want to know all about that.) After mulitple attempts to acquire the proper size and configuration, we gave up on Walmart and found another place, which, by complete coincidence, happened to be right next to Krispy Kreme.

So after the wipers were on and properly . . . ummm . . . wiping, I decided that I wanted a donut. As I was standing in line, the cute girl behind the counter asked us if we'd had a *cough, cough* "hot sample." We hadn't. So I got a free donut. And I didn't feel quite right about not ordering anything after all, so I used that as an excuse to get three chocolate donuts. And Doug got one as well. I suspect he just wanted an excuse to continue speaking with the girl who was distributing "hot samples." Moving forward . . .

We left at about 9:30 the next morning, after Andy had arrived from his granddad's house. Doug got himself pulled over within an hour of leaving Lubbock. It turned out to be merely a minor confusion. Doug thought he was going 73, The Trooper thought he was going 78. We're just lucky I wasn't driving, I'd probably have been doing 88. Maybe 83. Doug got off with a warning.

Clearly, life is not fair. It is extremely rare for me to be not speeding, even if only slightly . . . having lived for quite some time, as I did, in a country where there are no speed limits, I tend to enjoy going the speed that I, personally, feel is appropriate. But I've never ever ever been pulled over at all.

Anyway, we stopped in Abilene for a nice, relaxing lunch with Andy's grandparents before continuing down the road. I had suddenly gone on a kind of sugar high on the way into Abilene . . . without actually having had any sugar, and had Doug and Andy concerned about my behavior at lunch (which was entirely within appropriate bounds, thanks to a supreme effort from me). On the way out of Abilene, I bought three boxes of Nerds and consumed all of them with startling rapidity. And immediately fell asleep. Go figure.

I took over the driving about half an hour away from Ft. Worth and proceeded through Dallas traffic. I found myself behind a car that was going down the highway at about 85 mph at any given time, and mercilessly tailgating everyone in its way until they changed lanes. I don't condone that sort of behavior . . . but I kept up with him and let him blaze me a trail deep into the heart of Dallas until he finally peeled off and went his own way.

We arrived in Longview and it was horribly hot and humid. My room was a sauna, and the AC (I use the term loosely) was blowing hot air. I wound up staying out of my room as much as possible, and sleeping on the couch in the lounge that night and the next. Martinez, of course, was here and had been here, and Ardith got back after we returned from supper, so we went and watched A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Sidenote: I am quite glad of this, as I am "performing" it on various levels some five times in the next week.

The next day, after I had slept suitably late, I played racquetball with Adam and Doug and Andy. That was fun, but we need to figure out some way to handicap Uncle Doug . . . *shakes head* . . . These old guys and their crazy racquetball skills . . .

To make a long story as short as possible, I left on Saturday afternoon at about 4:00 to take Andy to the Greyhound station in Dallas. His bus was leaving at 6:45. Very little incident on the way, but I was highly amused to see a vehicle owned by this company, based out of Andalusia, AL (pronounced, no doubt, an-duh-LOO-zhyuh). Special.

Traffic was, as I expected, rather horrible when we got to Dallas. Driving a manual through heavy, crawling traffic SUCKS. We finally got out of the bottleneck and found that an accident had taken place. Interesting sight . . . looked like a minor fender-bender, really. On the side of the highway I could see a small, middle-class African American family gathered together in a group hug, looking shaken, but undamaged. Their car was mostly blocked by police vehicles, so I didn't really see it. About five yards away there was a large, red pickup, with the back dented in. A young, blonde girl (16-19 years old) was leaning up against it, arms folded, looking extremely pissed. I didn't see anyone else near the pickup.

We arrived safely at the bus station after getting lost only once, and attempted to find a place to park. I finally parked at the McDonald's that was about half a block away, but as I climbed out I couldn't help but notice a huge, bald, very scary looking personage dreseed all in black standing outside the door. He had "STAFF OFFICER" on the back of his shirt, and he glared at us as we walked by, as if daring us to leave the truck in his parking lot if we didn't intend to stay inside the restaurant. I ordered myself some supper, for good measure.

As I waited for my order, a long, black "Hummer Limo" (I have no idea what you actually call them) pulled up right outside and the driver came in and ordered something. He went back outside and started going back and forth from the front seat to the rear of the vehicle, as if performing various minor tasks for whoever was inside (i.e. with a cell phone in his hand, at one point). The Burly Guard came in and gruffly told the food crew to hurry up with the driver's order so they could "get that thing out of my parking lot." Then he walked behind the counter and stood with his arms folded, staring intently at the food prep activities. The driver got his order within roughly 30 seconds. Mine took another five minutes. We went and found somewhere else to park.

While walking back across the street after leaving Andy inside, a found it necessary to walk directly through the tightly gathered group of . . . the typical sort of people who spend most of their time hanging around outside of bus stations in major urban centers. One of them broke off and crossed the street right beside me, striking up a conversation. He was thin to the point of being quite sickly, and he was smoking a cigarette without ever taking it out of his mouth. He wanted to know if I was taking the bus somewhere, what time it was, that sort of thing. And while I waited to cross the street yet again, the real purpose of the conversation came up. Without looking at me, he casually held up his hand, cupped so that only I could really see what was in it . . . I never even saw his hand go into his pocket, the thing was suddenly just there, and asked if I was interested in acquiring the item. It was a gold necklace of at least moderate value. I politely said, "No thanks," and crossed the street. He shrugged and stayed where he was, leaning up against the wall to finish his cigarette. There was a cop less than ten yards away, darting suspicious glances in all directions . . . I found that amusing.

I managed to only get lost once on the way back out of Dallas (I couldn't go back out the way I had come in, because I got lost on the way in and only stumbled on the right street by chance, and an educated guess at the proper direction). I spent 10 minutes or so heading the wrong way on the wrong highway, knowing all along that I was not where I wanted to be. Gallagher later told me that I would have reached Sherman before very long had I continued.

No big deal, in the end, but there's just something vaguely creepy about being in the middle of the Dallas "asphalt jungle" just as it gets dark, not knowing precisely where you are or where you are going, with less than half a tank of gas and very little money to fill up. And then you start seeing all of the abandoned cars by the side of the road . . . they look so utterly forsaken, as if they have been left there for all time. One completely unmanned hunk of metal looks all the more creepy when it is lifeless and pushed to the side amidst thousands upon thousands of cars that have actual people in them who are coming from somewhere and going to somewhere. And you realize that you really aren't going anywhere, yourself, after all. You don't even know where you are. It seems, for a brief moment, pointless to continue to tear pell-mell through this huge concrete maze because you aren't going to get out, so why not just pull over and surrender to the inevitable?

Ummm . . . yeah. Twilight and solitude do really, really weird things to my head. How did you guess?

I returned to LeTourneau, safe and sound, and it was an absolutely gorgeous night . . . outside. After we watched a movie, I just couldn't bear to go back in, and I walked half the loop with Wilson and Martinez and Gallagher and Sharon. The Quad 1ers peeled off and I spent another hour and a half or so sitting in the courtyard, enjoying the cool breezes and fresh air.

Sunday was . . . Sunday. We watched Orlando, finally. Dr. Watson recommended it. Dr. Coppinger recommended it. Neither one of them would actually loan it to us. But it was so very good . . . I highly recommend. Much w00t . . .

Disturbing . . . "Orlando, to me you were and always will be, whether male or female, the pink, the pearl, and the perfection of your sex."

Trippy . . . "Same person. No difference at all . . . just a different sex."

Freaking hilarious . . . "I can find only three words to describe the female sex. None of which are worth expressing."

And all of the costumes and settings were sooo cool!

So, that was the end of my Spring Break. *waves goodbye* Until next year, good buddy . . . and let's try to keep it a little more sedate and little less full of . . . "incident" next time, shall we?

Bah. Who am I kidding? Incidents just generally tend to happen to me. I'd be awfully bored if they didn't, and heaven knows what the result might be if I had to make this stuff up . . .

It's time for me to sleep now. I'll have more to say about other things very soon, with interesting developments on all fronts . . .

Posted by Jared at 02:10 AM | TrackBack

March 23, 2004

Yes, I am still here.

Which OS are You?


Anyway, my schedule for next semester looks like this . . . provided I get into all these:

M-W-F: History of the English Language with Dr. Watson (senior level English req.) 2:35-3:30

T-R: American Literature I with "Staff" (junior level English req.) 9:30-10:50 (I have discovered that it will probably be taught by Dr. Olson, unless a shiny new professor is hired over the summer)

War & Revolution (1789-1914) with Dr. Kubricht (senior level History el.) 1:30-2:50

Journalism-Publications with Col. Payton (junior level English req.) 3:00-4:20

R: "Honors" World Literature through Film with Dr. Solganick (junior level Literature el.) 6:00-9:00 (yeah . . . that would be PM, duh)

Real post forthcoming soon! I promise! However, I'm going to go clean my room now.

Posted by Jared at 06:00 PM | TrackBack

March 16, 2004

Busy Busy Busy . . . Not!

I haven't done much since Friday night, as it should be, so let's just keep this entry short and sweet. I did most of the driving Saturday on the way to Lubbock, and read Saki to Doug for the rest, until it got too dark.

On Sunday I spent a large chunk of the afternoon at Barnes & Noble, and after I was done browsing I finished reading The Callahan Chronicals. Wow. Just wow. That night I watched this version of The Importance of Being Earnest. I think we did it better than them. And I know the newer version did.

Today I did virtually nothing at all outside of sleep. I did read a bit of Father Brown before I came up to Lubbock from Southland. Went by the library and picked up some movies to watch . . . and Uncle Doug wanted comic books, so he got several of those. My cousin Shawn came over to watch with us, and we decided on Star Trek IV to annoy my grandmother. I think it worked quite effectively. She would hate mst3k, but she does it rather well. So funny . . . They went to bed and we're watching The Sting right now.

Tomorrow I expect I'll go see Hidalgo, and do other random stuff all afternoon and late into the night. Time to read is disappearing . . . somehow. I'll need to do something about that. Meanwhile, I'm mostly having fun, and at least experiencing the pleasure of doing absolutely nothing and needing to do nothing in the meantime. Time to go continue that whole trend . . .

Posted by Jared at 01:37 AM | TrackBack

March 13, 2004

A Profusion of Triviality

So . . . It finally got here. And by "it" I mean the week where we got to do my most favoritest play: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. *does happy dance* It's really just too much fun. And we all enjoyed ourselves . . . ummm . . . mightily. Yeah. On to the cast listing:

Wilson- Jack "Ernest" Worthing
Myself- Algernon Moncrieff
Anna- Gwendolyn Fairfax
Ardith- Cecily Cardew
Gallagher- Lady Bracknell
Sharptiano- Rev. Dr. Chasuble
Sharon- Miss Prism
Scholl- Lane
Uncle Doug- Merriman

Of course, in a play like this, every part and member of the cast is rather important. And they all worked, I must say, rather well. Ummm . . . apologies to Gallagher, as always. Lady Bracknell isn't easy to pull off at the best of times, and you have that special handicap when it comes to playing female roles . . . not being one yourself, and all. I swear I'll give you two whole male roles in our next play. Now, won't that be nice?

Kudos to both Anna and Ardith for very convincing portrayals of empty-headed bimbo types. You were very very good at it. I'm sure that was quite a struggle for the two of you. At least, I hope so.

I should like to draw attention to the minor roles played by our illustrious butlers. Most impressive, those . . . To still have fun acting when one has sucked all of the emotion from one's voice . . . Very nice. Uncle Doug is always busting out with something I don't expect whenever I actually get him to participate, and . . . wow. Except for that one line where he tried to go all French and stuff, it was both effective and funny.

*also stores memory of good times from the performing of the infamous muffin scene at the end of Act II* I'd like to play through that one again, for the heck of it . . . The situation is just so ridiculous! *shakes Wilson's hand again* "Doctor . . ."

And I'm sure everyone is quite grateful to Scholl for making the connotations of the term "Bunbury" quite clear to all present. I should have thought they'd have caught on before he said anything, but . . . in any case, I'm glad I had him wait until we finished the play before revealing it. It would have been quite impossible to continue to use the term at all for the remaining two Acts, otherwise.

Dr. Watson, of course, was kind enough to enlighten my English Lit II class the next day, leaving us with that pleasant thought to mull over during Spring Break. I think he quite put the majority of the room off of Oscar Wilde, or at least off of "Earnest." Pity. He did, at least, point them towards Saki and Wodehouse. Which was how I wound up actually getting commended for reading in class. Watson was talking about Saki, you see . . . and he noticed that I was reading. And he asked, on the off-chance . . . and . . . yeah. I was reading The Complete Saki he had loaned me.

And speaking of all that, Dr. Johnson spun me a little morality tale the other day right before American History . . . something about a student who didn't graduate because he kept reading books that Dr. Watson had loaned him.

What's that you ask? Ummm . . . Yes, I have been reading Saki in Dr. Johnson's class, from time to time. He's quite the storyteller, by the way. You should stop by and get him to tell it to you sometime.

Now, what was I posting about again?

Oh, right.

Cracking good play . . . Simply smashing performances by all . . . Look forward to working with you people again in the future . . . *wanders off to enjoy Spring Break*

Posted by Jared at 11:59 PM | TrackBack

March 12, 2004

A Profusion of Incongruity

Hmmm . . . I have a lot to talk about. Too much, really . . . And as a result, this post is going to be extremely disjointed. And I'll probably throw a few topics together that have no business being in the same room with each other. Deal with it. But first . . .

Life is like a Guatemalan in a Red Light District. You come walking in with a specific goal in mind (you want tamales). You know what you're looking for (tamales); you're pretty sure you'll find what you're looking for, too . . . and it's not there. You find, instead, something you weren't expecting at all . . . and so much for you and your search for tamales . . . and your innocence, for that matter. At this point, you either curl up in a little ball and weep, or you leave and never come back, or . . . Yeah. Nevermind that third one. So that's what life does to people, pretty much. Good luck with that whole "preserving innocence and staying sane" thing.

Incoherent section: Hmmm . . . rereads above paragraph carefully . . . Right. I'm really not a horribly twisted, hardened, cynical individual. I swear. I'm actually highly amused at life right now. In fact, I am under the general impression that life is by far the most humorous thing I have ever experienced. This week has been really really really funny, I must say. Like, funnier than usual. I just wanted to be sure to mention that . . . Ummm . . . *minds wanders* I had a specific reason, I know. *thinks some more* Okay, nevermind. It isn't important. There's something seriously wrong with the way my mind is functioning at the moment (trust me) so . . . I'll just abandon this paragraph and move forward. Fast.

At the Movies: I went and saw The Passion this week. It was good, and it was moving. There were various scenes that had me more confused than anything else . . . Just wondering "Why did he put that? Why did he show it that way?" Usually I wondered this when the movie started getting ultra-symbolical . . . that's generally what threw me. And speaking of being thrown . . . if you aren't intimately familiar with the gospel accounts of Jesus' life, you will be very very confused by this movie. There are quite a few very random and very brief (although quite recognizable) flashbacks to key scenes from Jesus' life and ministry, but they aren't explained at all and may even seem unrelated to the actual movie.

Mainly, I have this to say, The Passion is not the straight, bare-bones account of Jesus' last hours that I, for one, had been led to believe from the pre-movie hype. This is not a historical movie. It's close . . . there are a number of very accurate historical elements in the movie, but it very clearly and consciously strays from historical accuracy (and even the Biblical account) on a number of occasions. I don't have a problem with that, really . . . I think the movie was made for emotional impact, and that's what it delivers. I just thought I'd mention it.

And I'd just like to note that I was not . . . utterly repulsed, let's say, by the extreme violence. I thought I would be, but it didn't bother me. I attribute this chiefly to my own overactive and extremely vivid imagination, and to a general desensitization towards violence (partially caused by said imagination). I've heard the crucifixion process described a lot in very explicit terms, and I've never had any trouble visualizing this in my head. In a sense, I've already seen what came up on the movie screen in my own mind dozens of times. That was nothing new. What I have not heard described so explicitly or imagined so vividly is the emotional and psychological impact of this treatment on the person in question . . . or on Jesus himself. In short, blood and gore leave me unphased (though not indifferent) . . . the moving display of raw courage and fortitude and the resigned willingness to go through this (for me did not. It's not about the visuals at all.

I had thoughts on quite a number of specifics, which I could discuss here, but my review is lacking in structure enough as it is. Go see it yourself. It won't bite.

Back to my week: After that really nasty two-week period a while back, last week and this week were both looking fairly light. I failed to take into account the fact that I do not want to do anything because Spring Break is upon us and I'm just plain ready for it. There's no getting around that fact.

So things got put off, a lot. And some sleep was lost, but not much. And more time was wasted than usual, I'll admit. But as far as momentous, blogworthy events go . . . Nope, not a whole lot there, folks.

Oh, yeah. Except that I got tackled on Thursday morning by an overly-frisky department chair and nearly went tumbling into a class being taught by another department chair.

So I have my map quiz in Western Civ, right? And I've been over the locations and junk and I arrive at the classroom in a sedate "I should clearly still be in bed" sort of mood and sit down to take said map quiz. Dr. Kubricht is talking to someone and then he tells us to study for another minute or two because he has to go do something.

Yeah . . . I have nothing but blank maps on me, and I'm about to take a map quiz. Like I'm going to study anything. Instead I decided to go out into the hall and clandestinely make fun of Gallagher, who was sitting in Dr. Batts' Comp II class next door. So I'm laughing at him, and he's making faces at me, and suddenly . . .

Someone a good bit larger than me grabs my shoulders roughly from behind and carries me very quickly forward three or four steps until I am all but in the classroom. I'm sure I said something here . . . like, "What the . . .!" or something like that. Just as I'm about to go falling in, the hands let go and I scramble back a few steps and have a chance to look around and see what on earth. And the only person anywhere within ten feet is Dr. K, who is walking calmly back into the Western Civ room. I follow, naturally, with a part-annoyed, mostly-just-flat-out-shocked, "What was that for?!"

I got no reply. He just turned around and smiled. And laughed. And handed out the map quiz. *shakes head* Clearly the approach of Spring Break does not only affect the students. I have secured assurances from Dr. Johnson that he will never tackle me. Perhaps I'll go around and get similair guarantees from other professors after Spring Break.

And that's about all there is to it at the moment. Except that I feel it is my solemn duty to provide the following information concerning the status of the following peoples:

The Amish

The Welsh

As I have already attempted to inform some of you, the Amish have been to Longview and gone again and are currently in the process of invading south Texas. You missed them. And the Welsh, too, have already been and gone quite a number of times. Currently they are busy elsewhere . . . procuring cheese logs. Furthermore, I have spoken with those in control of every group, affiliation, aggregation, alliance, association, band, body, brotherhood, cartel, circle, clique, club, coalition, combine, commonwealth, company, concern, confederation, consortium, cooperative, corporation, coterie, establishment, federation, fellowship, fraternity, guild, house, institution, league, lodge, monopoly, order, outfit, party, set, society, sodality, sorority, squad, syndicate, team, troupe, union, and organization that exists, ever has existed, or ever will exist and none of them have any plans whatsoever at all to grace Longview or especially LeTourneau University with their presence in the forseeable future (which another way of saying that they won't be coming . . . ever).

If you aren't one of the poor souls who knows what I'm talking about . . . don't worry. It isn't important . . . at all. You may go about your business. Move along.

Posted by Jared at 11:15 PM | TrackBack

March 06, 2004

Plot Summary: Love makes people do stupid things. Duh. Hilarity ensues.

This week's bit-o-fun was Love's Labour's Lost, which is a very special play. I picked it as my second choice of six possibilities to do my Outside Reading Report on for class, having read it before. My first choice was All's Well That Ends Well . . . but they were numbered more or less at random.

Love's Labour's Lost is a lot like . . . well, okay, so it's a lot like every single other comedy that Shakespeare ever wrote. Weird love triangles, mix-ups, mistaken identity, general tomfoolery and hilarity. But specifically it reminds me of Much Ado About Nothing and The Taming of the Shrew. It has a very heavy focus on sharp wordplay between characters of opposite sexes and so forth (although LLL has by far the largest number of rhyming couplets that I've seen in a Shakespeare play thus far . . . it's outrageous).

The key difference is that in Much Ado, the conflict between the sexes is defused by a couple of benevolent outside parties and everybody wins. In Shrew, the man takes matters in his own hands and does it his way, resulting in a very clear (and disturbing) victory for malekind. In LLL there are no benevolent outside parties. The closest thing is Boyet, and he's too busy being amused by the lovers' foibles (and his wooing of all the ladies on the side) to really do anything. And there are no male characters with enough . . . gumption (some would call it backbone, some would call it crass lack of feeling) to come galloping in and sweep the ladies off their feet by whatever method works best (i.e. starving and beating them). As a result, we have a play where the women come out on top in a very big way. They make all the men look like complete idiots and have them bowing and scraping and agreeing to "enter hermitages/minister to the sick/abase themselves in general" for a full year and a day before they'll even think about coming back to consider marriage. Definitely not a traditional comedic ending . . . but quite a funny one, all the same.

Wilson- King Ferdinand, Holofernes, Mercade, Winter
Myself- Biron, Don Armado, Sir Nathaniel, Forester, Costard, Spring
Moore- Longueville
Sharptiano- Dumaine, Dull, Longueville, Sir Nathaniel
Anna- Princess
Ardith- Rosaline, Princess
Sharon- Maria, Catherine
Rachel- Catherine
Sarah- Jaquenetta, Rosaline
Scott- Mote, Dull, Dumaine
Scholl- Boyet
Gallagher- Costard, Longueville, Dumain, First Lord, Maria, Don Armado
Martinez- Costard
Lewis- Boyet

I especially feel the need to note that even I had a hard time not getting severely annoyed at Lord Biron (pronounced burr-OON . . . go figure). That guy can talk . . . it's insanity. Of particular note is his soliloquy in defense of love at the end of Act IV. Oh . . . my . . . goodness. I didn't time it, but I'm sure I was talking for at least two straight minutes. And it's hard to get a breath in between words when you're doing the whole "impassioned lover" thing, let me tell you. I was about to pass out from lack of air . . . seriously . . .

Things got very interesting at the end of Act V. See, after they've just made complete jackasses out of themselves in front of the ladies, the lords have to put up with watching another performance from some of the local commoners (and Don Armado . . . I have no idea whatsoever what practical explanation there could be for his presence in this play, he is extremely random). Anyway, the decide they can save face by totally ripping into the performance and slicing it to ribbons with their razor-sharp wit. Which they proceed to do. The thing is, you've got the king and lords played by Wilson, Scott, Sharptiano and me . . . and then you've got the performers played by Gallagher and, uhhh . . . Wilson, Scott, Sharptiano and me. So there was a bit of role-swapping, and a bit of making fun of . . . ourselves as two different characters. It was fun, and it was trippy . . . and the random security guy standing by with his hand on the light switch (it was time to lock up Longview Hall) made things just generally interesting on all sides.

In some ways it is rather a difficult play, though. Pronunciation is rough with some characters (I certainly don't envy Wilson the part of Holofernes with his horrible pseudo-Latin and whatnot), and if you don't pay attention things change really fast and you aren't quite sure what happened. It was a lot better with different people doing different parts, but when I read this one myself last summer I remember having to actually reread two or three scenes because I hadn't the faintest idea what had just happened. So . . . not an easy play to do well, and we had fun with it. Good stuff. Time to go to bed now, for sure.

Posted by Jared at 01:13 AM | TrackBack

March 04, 2004

The Great Hunt and Other Random Nonsense

This just got to me through the mail today. Celtic music is clearly the best thing since, like, cheese balls. Hmmm . . . wait. That's not particularly difficult . . . and I think Celtic music might have been around just a little longer. Maybe. However, the long and short of it is that this music is way freaking awesome. Listen to the samples . . . Or at least the ones for "All Souls Night" and "The Lady of Shalott" (which is the reason I got this CD, having heard it in Dr. Watson's class). I think I'm going to memorize that poem, just because . . . I won't put any real work into it, but I think, maybe, it'll just come to me. We'll see . . .

Anyway, clearly life is like a lute solo. Really. See, it's something that's been around for quite awhile, but people don't use it as much these days as they have in the past. Most of the time it's fairly slow and soft, and it's best to just take it one note at a time. Done properly, it's insanely cool . . . but you won't find a lot of people who can do it properly. And try getting them to explain it in a way that you can understand! Ha! Still, it is doable . . . just don't attempt it in front of a lot of people at first. Oh, yes . . . and most importantly: Traditionally, the most skillful performers are the biggest Fools. Keep that one in mind.

I was going to do a reading update, but I don't think I will right now. I'll save it until after the weekend and see where I'm at then. Today I got to sleep in because there was no Western Civ. As it was put earlier, "Western Civilization has been cancelled. You may all go home now." Now, wouldn't that be loverly? And I spent an hour talking to Dr. Johnson in his office after American History, because he was just generally talkative. We talked about everything from Tejano music to West Texas dust storms to Russian literature. Fun stuff.

And then at 3:00 I went prof hunting with Ardith and Wilson. We started off with a long visit to Coppinger's office and went over the entirety of the Honors program . . . again. I think we disturbed him profoundly a few times as well . . . He kept giving me these very leery looks. I can't imagine what I said . . . After that we went and bothered Solganick, and convinced him that World Lit through Film absolutely had to be held in Berry Auditorium (duh!). And then we stepped in to speak with Dr. Hood, and cornered Watson in the copier room (Moore had joined us at this point) and finally settled in Dr. Johnson's office to sample a bit of all the food he had before suppertime. And I got to help him decide the fate of the Theodore Roosevelt book we had to read in terms of upcoming semesters. Yay.

And that was pretty much my day, other than doing the presentation in Honors Shame. Which I did. With Wilson. And it went fairly well. *shrugs* But we got out an hour early! *jumps up and down* And now I'm sure you know what I'm about to do . . . or at least you should . . . *leaves*

Posted by Jared at 09:45 PM | TrackBack

March 03, 2004

If I was a book that you've never heard of or read . . .

You're Loosely Based!

by Storey Clayton

While most people haven't heard of you, you're a really good and
interesting person. Rather clever and witty, you crack a lot of jokes about the world
around you. You do have a serious side, however, where your interest covers the homeless
and the inequalities of society. You're good at bringing people together, but they keep
asking you what your name means.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Actually, I originally came up being "Lolita" and that was just all kinds of special. So I went back and changed an answer that could have gone either way, and I think this one just generally works better. Quiz brought to my attention courtesy of Scott.

Posted by Jared at 11:29 PM | TrackBack

Playing the Fool

I thought of a new feature that I could incorporate from time to time. I pick a random object, or one is suggested to me, and I compare it to . . . life.

Life is like a yo-yo. Sometimes it seems to be at rest, and sometimes it seems to spin crazily out of control . . . it might even be about to hit the ground, but it's always under control, on a tether. And it just kind of goes in waves: up . . . down . . . up . . . down . . . You can try pulling weird tricks with it . . . walk the dog, around the world, rock the baby, split the atom, Buddha's revenge . . . Hmmm . . . maybe not that last one, so much. But I think you get the idea. The point is, whatever weird trick you're in the middle of, you're still just kind of going along . . . doing that whole life thing . . . tied to that tether. So, that's how life is like a yo-yo. Clearly. Tune in next time for something equally random . . . If I feel like it . . .

Anyway, so there I was in Shakespeare class and it was time to do the play. To make a long story short, it was mostly boring and painful. Most people can't act, or even read coherently, as I'm sure you all know. There were a surprising number of bright spots, I will admit . . . A lot more than you usually have in an average group of that size, certainly. But . . . no. It just doesn't work.

We also went outside under the bell tower to do this, and were consequently interrupted by the tolling every 15 minutes. And it was really really windy and my script wouldn't stay open right. But other than that, the location was much more pleasant than the usual classroom environment.

By far the most amusing occurence was that Dr. Batts stepped in to take the role of the King of France. Yeah. And, as a result, he wooed Cordelia with passion and sincerity. And I felt vaguely sorry for that one girl who was playing Cordelia, but it was too funny to really care. Good stuff, that.

And then I had my first scene, and went prancing out like a wildebeest on crack . . . so to speak. And I had that hat on, of course. And it was very silly indeed. And almost as noisy as the bell tower. And then I launched into my lines, and I believe I made everyone forget about the hat. That is not, of course, necessarily a good thing. I lisped in a highly exaggerated manner. And hopped around a bit. And behaved in a fashion that was just generally disturbing. I was rather glad that, for one of my two main scenes, I got to put the hat on Lear's head. Let him deal with it, says I.

And aside from that, I just sat around and tried not to pay too much attention. And once Cornwall finally died, I at least had someone to make fun of the play with, so that was good. And, although the play is not yet complete, I have spoken all of my lines. So I don't have to do anything next time. That just generally makes me happy.

And now it is time for Bode . . . Boy, is it ever . . .

Posted by Jared at 04:45 PM | TrackBack

March 01, 2004

Today is the first day of the rest of your major.

So there I was, sitting in English Lit II, listening to Dr. Watson. *pregnant pause* I was feeling rather . . . well, rather blah, really. I didn't get as much sleep as I wanted last night because I was busy reviewing the text of Love's Labour's Lost (and oh my goodness that cover is messed up!!!). That's a really funny play, by the way . . . It'll be good. But I digress.

So anyway, I didn't want to get up this morning, but that's nothing new. Breakfast was gross. I had to go get my backpack from the library because I kinda never actually picked it up last night (not that I needed it for anything, but it would have been handy to not walk around carrying today's books without it).

I spent twenty minutes before Chapel filling in the Batts worksheet. Went to Chapel. Filled it in some more. Remembered once again why Student Government Debates Chapel is bad. (Today they were worse than usual. The most argumentative they got was almost saying things like, "Well, actually, I agree with you even more than you agree with yourself!")

Martinez, Wilson and I had fun filling out the "What Do You Want?" papers they were handing out. Martinez and I asked for, among other things: $$$$$$$, our own Berry Auditorium, an on-campus Golden Corral, a private jet, and Salt Lake City. But we ran out of blanks fairly quickly, so I chose Shakespeare worksheets over paying attention.

So hopefully now you have all caught a taste of the mood I was in when I sat down in Watson's class. I needed a bright spot. What I got was a dark spot. Except it was one of those really bright dark spots. Yeah. Hold on a second. *pokes through large pile of papers and whatnot . . . finds coherence* There. Sorry. I'm back.

We talked about Dante Gabriel Rosetti (which is, like, the coolest name ever) and those of you who know anything about him are now nodding in total comprehension. The rest of you want to know why on earth I think that's a cool name. Anyway, the poem we were discussing was "The Blessed Damozel." (I didn't care for it much, myself.)

Dr. Watson probably shouldn't be allowed to teach English Lit. At least not very often . . . although you shan't hear a word of complaint from me. I don't think it's healthy for him . . . all this death and moribund melancholy, I mean. We talked about mortality again today, and he gets so depressed when he starts harping on his own mortality . . . Yes, I am being facetious. That really doesn't work in a blogpost. Nevermind.

To explain the above poem, consider "The Raven." Dr. Watson called this the flip-side of that work. In Poe's poem, the lover left behind on earth is grieving after his dead Lenore. In Rosetti's, the focus is on the grief of the lover who is now in heaven. Yeah. Grief. Life sucks for her, because the first day in heaven lasts for, like, ten years, and throughout all that time she's dealing with her grief like she just lost the guy the day before. Which, in a sense, she has. Or something. It's really messed up, in general.

So Dr. Watson, true to form, went off on the subject of growing old. And the main way that one grows old, after all, is through one's birthdays, right? So I guess Watson spends every birthday thinking about death. To hear him tell it, one would almost think so. Today we talked about his 40th and 45th birthdays.

He was preaching a Sermon of Judgment on his 40th birthday, to a congregation that was "about 93 years old, on average." Apparently he was using some rather interesting metaphors involving birds of prey (Demon Birds!) and he ended the sermon with the words, "Methinks I hear the flapping of wings!" (His eyes were, of course, very wide at this point, lips drawn back in a feral grin, hands motioning creepily . . . the works). As he stood at the door, talking to people on their way out, this guy who was, like, 95 had the following advice: "You need to lighten up, son! Life begins at 80!"

On his 45th birthday, he received a rather . . . interesting birthday card from his mother (which he showed us all). I wish I could quote the whole thing, but it was kinda long. It looked like a fairly ordinary card with a lot of writing on it. It boiled down, basically, to a long, everyday sort of of story wherein his mother was driving somewhere with her nephew (who was about ten at the time). They spotted a dead armadillo lying on the road, and the nephew wanted it. So she stopped. The corpse was very hot and he was having trouble picking it up, so she got him a plastic bag. It smelled kinda bad, so they stuck it in the trunk and drove on. Naturally when they got home, he didn't really want it anymore, so he chucked it in the backlot. "He kept an eye on it every day until it blew up and started to ooze. Happy Birthday. Love, your mother."

That card needs no commentary, so I shall forge ahead to Shakespeare class. Oh, wait! I got my midterm back!!! And I got a 96!!! w00t!!!

Comment on test: "The best I've read so far"

Gallagher: "Yeah, it was the first one he'd graded, obviously."

Thanks, Gallagher.

Anyway, back to Shakespeare. Or forward. Or something. We got the scene rewrites back and I got a 95. *shrugs* I was highly amused for the first few minutes of class while I read through his comments (those which I could actually decipher, of course). Every time I dropped in a modern colloquialism, he had it underlined and a question mark beside it. So he totally missed the point there.

The funniest thing was, I got a compliment on one particular passage that I had in my scene, a soliloquy by Romeo. And I sat, and I examined that passage very closely. And I said to myself, "Self, I didn't write that. Shakespeare wrote that."

I hadn't bothered to note it in any way because I used quite a bit of actual material from the play and I had the following at the beginning of the scene: "I have tried as much as possible to stick to the basic outline of the scene and use, where possible, the same lines (usually with only slight variation) that the characters themselves originally used." And I kind of expected my Shakespeare prof to recognize . . . well, Shakespeare. I suppose I'm flattered.

Then we watched the first part of this movie. It's King Lear . . . on a farm . . . in Iowa. As Dr. Batts would say, "There's creative and then there's creative." I'd stick this one in the latter category, myself, but I digress.

Now we get to the fun part. Namely, why Batts was jingling when he walked into class. Because he was jingling. Like, there-are-3-dozen-sleigh-bells-dangling-from-my-arms jingling. And I was quite mystified. Well, Batts wasn't actually jingling. His Shakespeare-in-a-box was. He had a "King Lear" Shakespeare-in-a-box kit, and inside this kit was a long, soft, blue, velvety dunce cap, with a bell on the end of it.

It belonged to Lear's Fool, and we were all very frightened. Next, Batts pulled out a rather wicked-looking knife, which he proceeded to drive forcefully into his stomach, and there was much rejoicing. Except it was a fake, collapsible stage knife. *grumbles* And he pulled out a few extremely fake eyeballs . . . Gloucester's, as a matter of fact. And then there were 14 scripts, and a few dozen cards. Each script was a 45-minute abridgement of King Lear, and two of them were specifically prepared for the director and the technical director. The cards contained instructions for each person, whether they be acting or directing.

The "director" and "technical director" positions got snapped up immediately, because they don't involve acting. Then, the brief description of each character was read off, and Batts asked that we volunteer to act out characters who closely matched our personalities. I wasn't hearing anything come up that sounded even remotely like me, so I decided to hold out for Kent. I enjoyed the part last week, and it was generally manageable and so on. But another part came up first, and before anyone else could volunteer, Batts handed it to me in a manner that seemed to indicate that he thought it was made for me or something. I don't know if he saw the expectant look on my face (it's actually my favorite character in the play) or has made a particular judgment about my personality. Either way, I'm still not sure whether to be flattered or insulted. Whichever it is, come Wednesday I'll be doing my best to enjoy playing Lear's Fool.

Oh, and I'll be danged if I'm gonna act it the way that stupid little card suggests. It says I should play the Fool like a bad country-western singer. I think not . . . I have vast experience in playing the fool, and I'll be playing it my way, thanks very much. *cues Frank Sinatra*

This leaves me with two problems. First and foremost is that hat. How on earth can I be expected to wear that in front of people. It's so freaking loud that even I won't be able to hear what I'm saying, let alone what anyone else is saying. And it looks intensely stupid. Not cool, like the normal jester's hat, but stupid and anachronistic . . . it's all wrong. Second, there's the script. It sucks. I suscribe to the school of thought that places the genius of the writings of Shakespeare in their original form at something only just below divinely inspired. So naturally I take personal offence at the predictably paskudne results of tampering with them. They have stripped every last bit of meaning and soul out of the play, and left a skeleton plot behind. Kent and the Fool are almost completely cut, relatively speaking, and Edgar's role is much diminished. The majority of the best scenes from Act III are totally gone. In fact, the majority of the best scenes are just plain gone, because the majority of nearly every scene is either gone or severely crippled. Me hate.

I am now going to do something much more fun than thinking about this. Farewell.

Posted by Jared at 10:24 PM | TrackBack