September 29, 2004

"Life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all."

--William Goldman, The Princess Bride

I'm feeling particularly contemplative this evening, despite the distressing absence of my good health, the bothersome lateness of the hour, and the very unwelcome presence of three or four boatloads of homework.

I haven't posted lately for a number of reasons (unfortunately none of those reasons has anything to do with a lack of material). During the past week or so I have spent a sizable chunk of time when I could have been blogging watching the complete first season of Dead Like Me. That'd be about 11 hours . . . but I watched a few episodes twice. You can blame Randy for this one.

In trying to think of something to compare the show to, I kept coming back to the same thing over and over: It's basically what Touched by an Angel would be if it were smart, cynical, and macabre instead of cute, banal, and *shudders* "inspiring."

The basic premise goes something like this: Georgia Lass (George) is a morose eighteen-year old college drop-out whose only direction in life is supplied by her irascible, embittered mother's repeated and insistent attempts to push her out of the nest. Standing outside during lunch break on her first day in a mind-numbing, dead-end job . . . she is hit by a flaming toilet seat that plummets from space as Mir comes apart in orbit. (If you think that's bizarre, know that the writers of the show regularly outdo themselves when it comes to unusual or unexpected ways for people to die.) And that's where the fun begins.

George must join the ranks of the Grim Reapers, replacing the guy who took her soul just before she died. It's a thankless, and more importantly, wageless, job that she will perform for an undisclosed length of time (decades, at least), dwelling among and mingling with the living, before passing the mantle to someone else and moving on.

Her four co-workers in the district, randomly selected like her, are a grab-bag of interesting types . . . but I'll just stop describing the show in detail now, lest I sit here all night. I could easily come up with a blogpost out of every single episode . . . But you should be watching it yourself anyway.

From the show's upbeat, unconventional intro (jazzy music, people wearing "reaper-esque" black robes and hoods and carrying wicked-looking scythes around while walking dogs in the park, standing by the water cooler at work, playing basketball, and doing their laundry in a laundromat) it's not hard to tell that you aren't dealing with the average sitcom or TV drama. What we have instead is a brilliant tragicomedy, well written and well acted, that is satisfying both visually and intellectually.

But "Dead Like Me" isn't about soul-reaping anymore than Harry Potter is about magic. The show uses its engaging plot device, not just to entertain, but to explore deeper questions about life and death. Surprisingly, the show is much more about the former than about the latter. Each episode deals sensitively with questions about how people deal with grief, the importance of relationships and community, living life to the fullest, and avoiding regrets (just to name a few).

The series stays well-balanced as it walks a very fine line between the hilarious and the poignant. Somehow it manages never to descend to the level of the silly or the trite. You're almost constantly either laughing loudly or swallowing a sudden lump in your throat. I don't recommend attempting to eat anything while watching the show.

I must point out that the series does not by any means operate within the framework of a Christian worldview. Characters do not have any problem with "swearing" or sexual promiscuity, and morality is often ambiguous at best. I'm not quite sure what I would call its philosophy (it smacks of a number of things). I wouldn't call the series unbiblical or antibiblical, but it is nonbiblical and/or extrabiblical. (Just think about it for a sec . . . I actually didn't contradict myself there.) I am very glad that this is the case, for a few reasons.

First, it definitely takes the focus completely away from the afterlife, to the degree that it is practically ignored . . . which also allows the series to avoid neat, easy, shallow answers to deep, practical, tangible questions.

Second, I like to be challenged, both intellectually and spiritually. Strictly Christian entertainment can often help you grow in various ways, or reinforce an old principle, but rarely does it cause me to reevaluate and strengthen any core beliefs, or just sit back in my chair and go, "Huh."

Anyway, aside from a great entertainment experience, and loads of food for thought, I came away from the first season with an increased zest for life, a greater sense of the value of family and friends, an impression of the importance of both our purpose and our legacy, and a realization that everything you do, especially in relation to others, is important. It all comes down to a series of questions: If you were to die today, what would you have accomplished? How would people remember you? What would you leave undone or unsaid? How would it affect the people you care about? . . . etc., etc., etc.

I must have Season Two! I must have Season Two forthwith!

Posted by Jared at 10:33 PM | TrackBack

September 25, 2004

Murder! (sans Butlers, Candlesticks, and Conservatories)

The Shadow Council Players present:

Murder in the Cathedral by T. S. Eliot

Wilson- Archbishop Thomas Becket
Anna- Chorus of Women, Messenger
Myself- First Tempter, First Knight
Scholl- First Priest, Second Tempter, Second Knight
Barbour- Second Priest, Third Tempter, Third Knight
Andrew- Third Priest
Paige- Fourth Tempter, Fourth Knight

I had never read this one before, or much of anything else by Eliot for that matter. This play is really cool. And no, it isn't a mystery or anything like that.

In case you haven't read it, or couldn't tell from the cast, the play is about the murder of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, in . . . the 1100s (I forget the exact year). He had been using his position to make geopolitical waves in England, France, and Rome and Henry II was rather upset about it. He made no secret of this fact and . . . Well, Becket wound up rather conveniently dead a few days after Christmas one year when some half-drunk knights managed to temporarily mislay their good sense in favor of loyalty.

Anyway, the style of the thing somehow made me think of Stanhope's pastoral play in Descent into Hell. Each character spoke in a very distinct style at particular times, and I would love to see this performed if it was properly directed. There is some amazing alliteration and poetry, and Becket's Christmas sermonette is really neat.

But my favorite part, of course, is where each of the four knights steps forward in turn and addresses the audience after the murder takes place, justifying their actions for posterity. That just rocked. I think I'll be spending a few more weeks in this period. I've enjoyed myself here (what with The Lion in Winter and History of the English Language, etc.).

Posted by Jared at 11:59 PM | TrackBack

September 24, 2004

Feliz CumpleaŮos, Blog!

I have been blogging for exactly one year as of today. I tried to combine all of the entries into a single document once (there are over 200 of them now) so I could slap some kind of recognizable amount value on how much I have written. It didn't really work and the only thing I really figured out is that I've written an enormous frigging ton.

And I'm sure you didn't know that, huh?

Anyway, I thought a bit about how I wanted to do this. It's been a fun year . . . I've enjoyed myself immensely, not only in the living of it, but especially in the writing about it. In the end I decided on . . . Well, not a "Year in Review" post so much, actually.

I have chosen 30 different posts: my 10 favorite random posts, the 10 posts that describe the best (read: "most fun") or most important events of the last year, and my 10 favorite posts that deal with my passion (read: "major"), literary analysis in some form or another of whatever narrative had my attention at the time.

Beneath the fold, if you're interested, I have them all linked. I have included the title, date and time of posting, and a brief descriptor paragraph for each.

Whether anyone else is interested in having a look or not, I enjoyed reading through what is essentially the chronicle of my 20th year as I selected these and I am pleased to have them together in a single post for easy reference.

Here's to my first full year of blogging and (am I allowed to do this?) many more to come.

I come up with a lot of really random ideas, not to mention frequent transient obsessions with particular trains of thought, and a lot more of these have made it into blogpost form than probably deserved to . . . However, for various reasons I have a particular liking for each of the following. They have nothing to do with each other, and very little to do with much of anything else, but . . . Fine. I'll stop talking now.

--1:11 am, October 13th Long Live the South! - After watching Birth of a Nation with the SC I had a sudden need to return to my room and say something in defense of my idyllic, nostalgia-induced fantasies about the good old days in sleepy Southern towns, immortalized as they are by America's greatest writers. Or maybe I just wanted to list a bunch of books and authors I enjoy reading. That could be it, too.

--4:29 pm, December 3rd Why Do the White Gulls Call? - Homework piling up and threatening to bury me forever . . . Sick as a dog and ready to roll over and play dead . . . Christmas break and the accompanying 3,000-mile trip to Guatemala looming large ahead of me . . . And I still found time to write something about a fantastic song that had just been released. Before very many months had gone by, this song had won itself an Academy Award and helped make movie history . . .

--3:14 am, January 18th Williams on Church, Gandalf on New Age, and Wheeler on Crack - This post sprang from my frustration over a heated discussion with Uncle Doug and a few other people who had succeeded in utterly missing the point I make in the above post. I was quite bothered. Also contained herein is the infamous tale of the navigator and the red light district.

--10:30 pm, February 16th Wheeler, "With Post" - I still hate the title of this post . . . it's every bit as weird here as when Dr. Watson said something like it in class. Nevertheless, herein is everything I learned about Alfred, Lord Tennyson in preparation for my English Lit II presentation . . . and then some.

--4:45 pm, March 3rd Playing the Fool - Oh, yeah. That most upsetting circumstance: playing Lear's Fool with a goofy felt dunce cap that had a sleigh bell on the tip, and using that horribly bastardized version of King Lear besides. I forced myself to have fun, but deep down inside I was filled with hatred and self-loathing. Still, I just knew I'd laugh later . . .

--3:24 pm, March 28th "When Great Minds Collide," or "Ker-splat!" - That excessively random bout of wordplay I had with Wilson over IM which amused me so much that I eventually posted it when I was short on genuine content.

--2:21 pm, March 31st SC Literary Frankenstein Monsters - Ahhh . . . This post, although I made it on the main blog, is dear to my heart. It represents a night of extreme fun delving into the dusty corners of memory (my own and others') for every possible literary character I could dredge up to slap onto an SC member or fringer in an example of ruthless stereotyping. Or something.

--4:15 pm, April 13th The Birds and the Bees - Ah, LeTourneau in the Spring . . . 'Nuff said.

--2:09 am, May 7th Missing - I have no idea why I like this post so much. It's just one of those random inducers of nostalgia, I guess.

--2:27 am, July 1st "The horror! The horror!" - Few things are as satisfying to write as parody is, and although this post took an inordinate amount of time and effort to complete, I am dreadfully fond of it. Wilson as Kurtz . . . Somehow, it just works!

--4:32 pm, July 23rd Vaecordia Confiteor - They say that confession is good for the soul . . . or maybe that it is the first step to curing your problems . . . or . . . I don't know what. "They" are largely idiots, anyway. I just had a fantastic time talking about what a sick Star Wars fanatic I am/was.

The good times I've had over the course of the past year have been numerous indeed . . . far too numerous to count, catalogue, or otherwise record. Some things just stand out, though, and for me the following 10 days in particular fit that bill.

--8:27 pm, November 4th The Day of Caffeine - There's nothing quite like how I felt throughout this day. I still remember the state that I was in when I wrote this post after having been wide awake for about 36 straight hours (no cat naps, even) thanks entirely to my good friends, sugar and caffeine.

--1:25 pm, January 23rd The Shadow Council Players, entering stage left . . . - The beginning of a high-caliber dramatic legacy that is still moving forward today, nine months later. This post and all of its sequels make me very happy (just by default).

--6:22 pm, February 23rd The Sequel That Never Should Have Happened - It was just another one of those days, I guess.

--10:24 pm, March 1st Today is the first day of the rest of your major. - And speaking of one of those days, this was my average M-W-F throughout Spring semester. It had its ups and downs (or should I say, "Its Watsons and Batts"?) but the net result was usually at least something amusing to write about and remember.

--2:58 pm, March 30th Please tell me this is a dream, Part II - Blech! You smell that? It's the fragrant scent of another memory that seems a good deal funnier in hindsight than it did at the time. These would be my experiences playing Puck and . . . uhhh . . . Thisby.

--11:59 pm, April 2nd Wheeler's Conference Epic - My excessively lengthy chronicle of the 7th Annual C. S. Lewis and the Inklings Conference.

--5:40 pm, April 26th Day of Caffeine III: Revenge of the Hooplah - As you can see, after the initial success of the Day of Caffeine, and a reasonably large box office for the sequel, the series' owners decided to whore out the franchise to knock-off-writing hacks. Orrr maybe I just stayed up too late . . . again.

--11:59 pm, May 21st It's "The Jared Show!" - Summer Film Class with Dr. Watson was so . . . much . . . fun!!!

--4:43 pm, July 26th Verily y'all missed a goodly sport . . . - Yay! A visit from The Gallagher and The Bard in the dead of summer! I test the waters of dramatic criticism.

--11:59 pm, August 6th Anna and the King and I and Anna - What happens when the Far East meets East Texas and they collaborate to spawn a bastard musical child? Fun and entertainment for me, Anna, and Dr. Watson, that's what.

--12:14 pm, August 31st The Big Summer Movie Project - This is the equivalent of a short "What I Did This Summer" essay . . . sorta. Pretty self-explanatory, really.

Six of the following posts were written as homework assignments (no, I didn't turn them in exactly as they appear here), and four of them were written "for fun." And, (surprise, surprise), I had fun with them all, but I prefer the ones that I didn't actually have to write. Anyway, of all my posts these are the few that I am most likely to return to over and over to . . . uhhh . . . remember what I actually think about various things.

--5:55 am, January 7th Paradise Lost: An Insomniac's Perspective - I guess this was the first time that I was officially not allowed to get to sleep (and I tried for nearly two hours) until I had posted my thoughts on something I read. My mom was mad because I was still awake when she got up, but I had a great time . . .

--8:15 pm, February 8th The Twilight Zone - After wrestling with Faulkner and The Sound and the Fury for the better part of a week, I managed to come fully to terms with its style and message. Somehow that just made the pay-off better in the end. Good stuff. I loved it.

--1:34 am, February 23rd Lord Tennyson & The Looney Female Obsession - If it has "obsession" in the title, it was probably written fairly late on the night before an English Lit journal portfolio was due. I'm still rather fond of my interpretation of "The Lady of Shalott."

--2:07 am, April 20th Algernon Charles Swinburne & The Pagan Obsession - "Hymn to Proserpine" is definitely one of my favorite poems. Once you get the meter down, it is rich, high-quality reading indeed . . . the devil's food cake of poetry.

--11:59 pm, April 27th Rupert Brooke, Siegfried Sassoon & The War Obsession - I really liked the contrast between these poets and their work, and especially what it ultimately communicates about the generation that fought World War I. Mankind in general, and literature in particular, just wasn't the same after this.

--4:15 am, April 28th Edward Morgan Forster & The "Hook-Up" Obsession - Aside from the fact that "A Passage to India" is one of the best movies I've seen this year, thinking through Forster stuff helped me nail another personal philosophical plank to the raft on which I sail the sea of . . . Awww, nevermind.

--6:45 pm, May 22nd Schindler, Goeth, and Stern: Individual vs. Community in Schindler's List - Another one of the best movies I've seen this year. I know, I know . . . I can't believe I'd never seen it either. But I made up for that by watching it four times in two weeks and writing a paper on it.

--1:48 pm, May 24th The "Milk" of Orson Welles: Citizen Kane As Shakespearean Tragedy - I had a really great time with my Film journals this summer . . .

--5:03 am, May 24th A Slipshod, Slapdash Freudian Analysis of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo - . . . these two in particular came to me in flashes of inspiration and just flowed into print.

--5:35 pm, June 8th Jared's Salute to Saki - No, not the Japanese rice wine . . . the British short story author. And don't you give me that disappointed look, either. Trust me, this guy is way better than alcohol.

--11:59 pm, June 24th The Case for the Defense: Harry Potter as Wholesome, Valuable Christian Fantasy - This post took a long time, but I was generally pleased with the result. For quite awhile I had really needed to think through my opinion on the subject coherently and get it down in some semblance of order. Now I no longer feel obligated to justify myself to anyone on this subject . . . on the contrary, it has become their responsibility to justify themselves to me if they disagree. I hold the high ground.

And that's about the size of it. Say, guess what! I didn't actually plan this (really), but it turns out that I'm putting the finishing touches on this post at almost exactly the same time (down to the minute) that very first post went up. How 'bout that?

Late night blogposting is one of those things that just isn't going to change.

Posted by Jared at 02:19 AM | TrackBack

September 23, 2004

The Hijacking of a Short Paper

But aside from a bit of shameless self-glorification, what was John Smithís chief motive for writing and publishing his accounts? Both the introduction to the piece and the final section of the excerpt indicate that My Brain is Bleeding. If you think thatís gross, Iím sorry, but . . . Iíve often wondered about people who couldnít quite catch onto the whole ďblood and goreĒ thing . . . I mean, what do they think theyíre full of themselves, really? Itís about as logical as hoping for a golden whistle. In the end, some flamingo is just going to come along and take everything you have away from you and sell it to white slavers just to make a buck so it can buy itself a fake leather chair. None of that is really worth the effort. Why, for instance, do you bother to empty the trash? What are you throwing away? One manís trash is another manís treasure, right? You could be swapping that crap for Porsches and gold bars, dude . . . If I had a big gold bar, Iíd set it in a prominent place in my living room, and everyone who came by would stop and stare at it, and ask me if it was fake. And I would tell them that yes, it was. And they would believe me because people are just that credulous. I mean, what would I really be doing with a gold bar sitting in my living room anyway? Iíd be much better off with an orange recliner right? One of those really big comfortable ones that you can kick back in and be asleep before you even have the footrest all the way out. The problem with those is, you canít read in them, or even watch movies, really. And I do like to do both of those. I get little enough real reading done as it is, I donít need some random piece of furniture putting me to sleep as well. Not that I donít get enough sleep . . . I get far more than I need to stay alive, and nearly enough to be fairly comfortable, all things considered. I donít stay awake on caffeine more often than is absolutely necessary, and at this time of year it rarely is necessary. When I do go with caffeine, my drink of choice (if I can get it) is Cherry Coke because of all the sugar. Of course, Dr. Pepper or any number of things will do in a pinch. Thatís a pinch of sugar or a pinch of cheek . . . whichever you prefer. When I say ďcheekĒ of course, I donít mean mouthing off, I mean that part of your face that old ladies grab and shake when they come up to you at funerals and other such places. I donít think I recall ever attending any funerals, actually, so I wouldnít know about that I suppose. Iíve been in the same building as a funeral a number of times. I remember when I was younger my grandparents would be taking care of me, but theyíd have a funeral to go to, so Iíd tag along and hang out in the upper floors of their creepy old church while the funeral took place somewhere under me. I suppose I should have found the whole situation vaguely creepy, but the real concern was to be quiet and not disturb the old people. If I disturbed them theyíd probably have swarmed up and tried to pinch my cheek or something, and I didnít want that. I donít know what I wanted. I never wanted anything like a pony or a fast car or a toy jabberwocky or a box of tequila or a painting of a sunny day . . . which is good, I guess, because I never got any of those things. And if I had, I would probably just have traded them for gold bars or something equally worthless which would just sit and collect dust for eons and never do anyone any good unless someone needed a handy murder weapon in a pinch. But Iím not going there again.

Posted by Jared at 01:09 AM | TrackBack

September 21, 2004

The Paper Trail

Well, I'm finally dropping pretty comfortably into the swing of things . . . getting used to my schedule, my homework load . . . moving past the introductory material in each class and into the interesting parts (mostly).

And, although the due dates for my major projects, presentations, and papers are still a month or two down the road, I already have topics pretty much locked in. And I am very excited about them.

In History of the English Language we have been assigned a 5-7 page "expository/analytical" paper with fairly loose parameters. Basically, it has to involve the English language . . . somehow. I plan to write on the extensive use of literary allusions in our everyday speech/writing. I don't have a solidified thesis as yet, but it will most likely involve the use of mythology and allusion as a deeply human phenomenon which "reflects a more profound reality."

In American Literature I we are required to make a one hour group presentation on one of six possible topics. Randy, Gallagher, and I signed up to present on Edgar Allen Poe and Herman Melville . . . there are two others in the group, but who cares? We have already begun the process of molding the presentation to our collective will. Our tentative title: "Poe & Melville: And Now For Something Completely Different."

In 19th Century Europe we have to write an eight page paper on the "private life and values" of a major historical figure of the period. I have narrowed my choices down to Bismarck, Tsarina Alexandra, and Queen Victoria . . . and leaning heavily towards the first. Whatever I choose will be fun, though.

In Journalism and Publications we will be answering a question (developed by ourselves) "relevant to the role of journalism in modern North American society" in 12 pages or less (I think). I have settled, for the moment, on an examination of the influence that the media has had on fundamentalist controversies and/or the resulting popularity of the contested items or organizations in question, with Harry Potter as a test case.

In World Literature through Film I will be a member of a group that is in charge of the entire three hour class period for one night. We must select and show all or part of a movie based on a piece of literature that is not British or American. Martinez, Wilson, and I have decided to present Tevye the Dairyman by Sholom Aleichem (Yiddish literature . . . obviously) and the movie Fiddler on the Roof.

I am looking forward to working on all of these things over the course of the semester (which is truly a rarity). Each has its own particular draw, but I'm especially happy to have the opportunity to indulge my recently acquired mania for all things Yiddish in the name of getting an A in a junior-level HNRS lit class. How cool is that?

Posted by Jared at 05:52 PM | TrackBack

September 19, 2004

Purely Functional

Well, I couldn't help but notice that it's the 19th of September. And I haven't posted in a week, even though there are certainly things worth posting about.


Life is just so . . . *voice breaks* . . . hard sometimes.

But it is at times like these when we must pick ourselves up off of the proverbial ground, brush the proverbial dust off of our sleeves, lick our proverbial wounds, and . . . What the hell am I talking about?!

I feel singularly uninspired at the moment. I can't remember much that happened this week, really. You can spot the movies I watched over on the right. We played "Much Ado About Nothing" and "Faust" and I was quite pleased by the results of both. Anna, Scholl, Wilson, Gallagher, Martinez, Sharptiano, Randy, Ashley, Audra, Tim, Rachel, Stan, Jenny . . . I think that's everyone who played one or more parts in one or both of those plays. Everyone besides me, of course. Hopefully this week will see a return to the traditional play-night post format.

The real reason for the delay is mainly this: I'm working on two monster posts, and a fairly tricky third at the moment and all of my blogging energies have kind of gone into that. Also I added 6 new names to the Literary Frankensteins list (March in the main page archives). I haven't actually linked up all of the new names, and I may not . . . I ran out of steam at around 2:30 Friday morning while I was working on it.

I had a pleasant Friday . . . watched MST3K after chapel, and did the usual Friday things. Also I destroyed the competition in a game of Trivial Pursuit: Book Lover's Edition before Bible study. I feel constrained, however, to be honest and note that I got lucky a number of times. (If I don't tell you, someone else is liable to.)

Another thing which I must certainly mention is the arrival of a care package from MOCK headquarters in Iowa. Really the only effective way to express my full appreciation for the extra layers of clothing enclosed is to state (as sincerely as possible under the circumstances) that I am now staying warmer than I have these many months. Hopefully I won't lose any more fingers and toes now. This cannot help but be a good thing.

As a closing note: I have no more to say. Words don't come as easily, it seems, when there are larger issues afoot weighing heavily on your mind. Yeah, it sucks. But I'll soon be back! Never fear!

Posted by Jared at 10:47 PM | TrackBack

September 12, 2004

Invasion of the Bawdy Snackers

I have nearly half a dozen posts in the works even as we speak . . . but the time-consuming pursuit of acquiring material for further postings (read: continuing to exist in the Ice Cave and generally spending time with SCers) has delayed publishing dates.

But . . .

I had an extra dose of fun this evening on our Saturday night run to Waffle Shoppe. I don't know if Anna's official moving of the leave-time from somewhere between 12:00 and 12:30 up to 11:00 had anything to do with the enormous crowd that we dragged in for our midnight snack tonight, but . . . Well, I cannot recall at any time in the past accompanying more than 8 people to Waffle Shoppe on any given night (and I haven't missed a trip in at least a year). Tonight there were 15 of us.

Amidst much loud merriment and joviality from both ends of the table (which I believe might have been in different time zones), I ordered my usual "Ultimate Omlette" stuffed with ham, and side order of toast.

Side note: I am led to wonder if much of the novelty of the evening came from the surprise of seeing what the first-time or rare visitors would order . . . the regulars, as usual, didn't even open their menus and any one of us could just as easily have ordered for all of us. In fact, I believe Moore tried to.

There is really no need to attempt to recreate any of the many random and hilarious threads of conversation that ensued as we ate and talked and laughed together (although I would like to draw attention to the brief attempt at naming alcoholic drinks after various SCers. It died rather abruptly when we got to the "Martini-ez" . . . other relevant quotes are certain to appear on Wilson's blog someday).

Suffice to say, there was much happiness all around and I look forward once again to a food-filled semester "smothered and covered" in Saturday night Waffle Shoppe goodness.

Hmmm . . . When I start to sound like Moore it is clearly a sign of two things: 1) I need sleep and 2) I need to stop blogging. Good night.

Posted by Jared at 03:12 AM | TrackBack

September 05, 2004

Blessed Annual Day!

Today, September 5th, is officially declared to be Annual Day . . . after all, it only happens once a year and I feel that it is high time we recognized that fact.

Do something special to celebrate . . . I know I will.

Posted by Jared at 03:01 AM | TrackBack

September 03, 2004

"I don't know anything, I've been in class all day."

-- Ardith

I hope that pearl of Ardith Wisdom (TM) won't be the tone-setter for the coming semester, but I thought it was extremely funny.

The first week of school is over. I have now had at least one full session of each of my classes, and I am very optimistic indeed. My schedule runs a little something like this:

>M-W-F, 2:35-3:30 -- History of the English Language (HotEL) with Dr. Watson (the esteemed). Friendly Faces: Martinez, Dr. Watson

HotEL may sound boring, but . . . not gonna be. There will be much happy learning going on, and Watson shows "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" and "My Fair Lady" in that class.

>T-R, 9:30-10:50 -- American Literature I with Dr. Olson. Friendly Faces: Gallagher, Randy

I'm already pretty happy with this class because Dr. Olson is really cool. She read "Coyote Juggles His Eyes" (Native American Folk Tale) out loud to us in the last class. Also, Randy and Gallagher and I have signed up for the group presentation on Poe and Melville. It will be difficult to do really well, but we'll have fun with it.

>T-R, 1:30-2:50 -- 19th Century Europe (Age of Empires) with Dr. Kubricht (the shameless). Friendly Faces: Wilson, Ashley

In spite of the large numbers of ignorant, raving, technical majors (Quote of the week: "Why would they name a hurricane after France?!" UGH!) this class just has to be good . . . the subject matter can't fail. And there's always Kubricht to subtly (and blatantly) make fun of everyone.

>T-R, 3:00-4:20 -- Journalism and Publications with Col. Payton. Friendly Faces: Randy, Bryan

I liked Speech when I expected to hate it, and Payton is a good guy. I expect to enjoy myself in this class, and maybe even learn to write something worth reading. Maybe.

>R, 6:00-9:00 -- HNRS World Literature Through Film (WLTF, mate?) with Dr. Solganick (the painful punster). Friendly Faces: Wilson, Gallagher, Martinez, Ardith, Randy, Moore, Scott, Sharptiano, Barbour . . . etc.

*jumps up in down in ecstatic glee* Speaking of "can't fail" . . . We'll be reading excerpts from the following and watching the movie versions in class: Gulliver's Travels, Faust, Eugene Onegin, Madame Bovary, The Brothers Karamazov, A Doll's House, and Heart of Darkness. Of course, in the case of that last we'll watch Apocalypse Now. In addition to watching these, there will be much opportunity for further formal training in writing essays about movies, plus actual writing practice. And if all that weren't enough, we get to focus our collective brains to the task of a battle of wits with Solganick. Who will break first, the teacher or his "HNRS" students . . .? I can hardly wait to find out.

All this to say . . . Bring it on, fall semester. As of now, I am ready for you.

Posted by Jared at 09:51 PM | TrackBack

September 02, 2004

"Foolery, sir, does walk about the earth like the sun; it shines everywhere."

-- Twelfth Night, Act III, Sc. i

The Shadow Council Players are back in action! I am very happy. We started the new season with . . . well . . . Twelfth Night. Duh.

Cast listing:

Ardith- Viola, Maria
Wilson- Duke Orsino, Malvolio, 1st officer
Gallagher- Valentine, Feste, 2nd officer
Myself- Sebastian, Sea Captain, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Priest
Scholl- Curio, Sir Toby Belch
Scott- Antonio, Fabian
Anna- Lady Olivia

In one of the more distressingly well-cast roles of my limited experience, we had Ardith as the scheming cleaning wench, Maria. Ardith, you had too much fun destroying Malvolio's life with practical jokes. Just thought I'd mention that.

And speaking of Malvolio . . . ah, nevermind. We won't speak of the yellow-stockinged, cross-gartered, grinning fool. That was disturbing.

And now, the sequence of lines that . . . well, quote Scholl:

"Wow, I think Shakespeare just offended me."

Feste: Now Jove, in his next commodity of hair, send thee a beard.

Viola (disguised as a man): By my troth, I'll tell thee, I am almost sick for one, though I would not have it grow on my chin.

In the spirit of all great Shakespearean comedy there were plenty of baudy jokes, some transvestitism, mistaken identity, large quantities of sack, crazy elaborate practical jokes . . . *contented sigh*

Hooray for Play Time.

Posted by Jared at 11:59 PM | TrackBack

September 01, 2004

Peaceful Coexistence?


Not bloody likely.

(Only at PVP)

Posted by Jared at 10:20 PM | TrackBack