Friday, January 9, 2009

Hey, I still exist. Fancy that.

Well pudding,

It's 1 o'clock on a Friday afternoon, and as of half an hour ago, I have finished my first week of classes of the 2009 Winter semester.

I've got a somewhat peculiar schedule this semester, in that on Tuesdays and Thursdays I have a class at the ungodly hour of 8:30 AM, and my last class doesn't end until 5:30 PM. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, however, I start class at 10:30 AM and I'm left entirely to my own devices for the rest of the day by noon-thirty. As much as it's tempting to sleep in those three days a week, I'm starting to think it might be a Good Idea if I try to make a habit of just waking up around 7 o'clock in the morning regardless of whether or not I have an early class, just so as to develop something vaguely resembling a sensible, predictable sleeping pattern.

That said, there are plenty of good ideas I have had and entirely failed to follow through on, and this may very well be one of them. We'll just have to wait and see!

Anyhow. I guess I'll just give you a little rundown of what my classes are this semester and how I'm feeling about them so far.

T/Th, 8:30 AM: Advanced Shakespeare, with Dr. Blagrave
You know how I was talking about the ungodliness of 8:30 classes? While I'm not backing down from my position that such things should not exist, and that they may indeed constitute uncontestable proof of the nonexistence of a loving light of how awesome this one promises to be, I have sucked up my fierce night-owl resistance to being functional before noon and chosen to take it anyhow. Promising aspects include but are not limited to the following:
a) Smart friends and smart people I want to become friends with in the class. This means lots of opportunities to talk about the class material outside of class, and lots of potential study partners come exam time. Yay!
b) A prof who actually makes economics seem like something I want to know about not just because it's "important", but because it's interesting. ("Economics," you say? Yes. Eco-friggin'-nomics. One of the major themes of the course is the economic context in which Shakespeare wrote. "But that will cause explosions of doom in your little humanities student brain," you say? Oh yes. I have no doubt of this. It will be glorious.) Seriously, as inherently terrified as I am of anything that involves numbers and/or the harsh realities of life, this is something I definitely need to be examining, so how cool is it that I get to do that in the context of my chosen major, as opposed to having to leap into a straight-up Economics course which (let's face it) I would never actually do.
c) A prof who softens the blow of having to wake up so friggin' early by saying things like "[Shakespeare] wasn't unique; there were lots of people with cute goatees," and either swearing or narrowly avoiding swearing every 53 seconds. That is my kind of academia.

T/Th, 11:30 AM: Apocalyptic Consciousness, with Rev. Perkin
Um. This is a class about how the world is [not] going to end. Sells itself, really.

T/Th, 4:00 PM: Introduction to Acting, with Linda Moore
This class is taught in Hesler Hall, which is one of my favourite rooms on campus...for pretty sentimental reasons I guess, but whatever. It's one of the older parts of campus. When my grandmother went to school here, it housed the library. In my first year, I ended up there for a lot of different reasons because it was this big cavernous open space all ready to be used in what was the university centre at the time. Don't get me wrong; I think it's tres rad that we have a shiny new student centre that's, you know, actually accessible, with ramps and elevators and so on for our non-perambulatory community members, but it is awfully nice to have a reason to hang out in the old stud a couple of times a week this semester. It just feels good.

As for the class itself, I think it's going to be pretty great. Ms. Moore is this year's Crake Fellow, which translates to Awesome Person In The Field of Stagery Who Hangs Out Teaching Classes And Directing Plays And Just Generally Being Awesome Around Windsor Theatre And Other Places Where Dramatic Things Can Be Made To Happen. I don't know too much about her so far, but I have gathered that we seem to have very similar taste in playwrights, she and I, as she's been using a lot of Daniel MacIvor in class, and is directing Sharon Pollock's Blood Relations at Windsor Theatre this semester. I'm awfully fond of both of those playwrights, and of that play in particular. Yay!

M/W/F, 10:30 AM: Literary Periods 1800 to Present, with Dr. Lapp
Dr. Lapp was the first faculty member I met at Mt.A., the first person to tell me about the secret Bridge Street music hall, and the first professor I had in what ended up becoming my major of choice, and it's quite splendid to be taking a class with him again, I dare say.

One thing I think I've mentioned before about Dr. Lapp is that he's a professor who makes poetry seem like something I have the capacity to understand -- not by oversimplifying it, but by reminding me that it was written not by automated confusion generators, but by, you know...human beings trying to communicate something to other human beings. Every student taking a class with Dr. Lapp is required to submit a "freewrite response" on one of the readings every class day. When I first heard this, I'll admit, it sounded hella tedious, but I started to actually like it pretty fast, and I'm glad to be doing it again. As I've confessed before, poetry is not really my strong suit, but I can usually pick out a couple of lines I sort of get even from the really impenetrable-seeming verse, and I find the freewrite approach is really helpful in finding ways to widen my little peep-hole into the text. ("Hey," says the part of me that has Good Ideas, "why don't you just do freewrites for your own academic benefit even when nobody says you have to?" The part of me that has Good Ideas is smart and everything, but I don't think it hangs out with the rest of me very often. It seems to have some fundamental misunderstandings about the sort of person I am.)

M/W/F, 11:30 AM: Introduction to American Literature, with Dr. Brown
My only previous knowledge of Dr. Brown was that he hosted the pre-holiday English Society Wine & Cheese party where we all oohed approvingly at his record collection and Dr. Lapp read selections from A Christmas Carol and I got tipsy and forgot my heart-shaped cake pan on the kitchen table. Now I've spent two classes with him as a professor, and I am definitely looking forward to more. Hopefully he doesn't hate me for naming punk as a musical genre with non-American roots. I didn't really mean it, which is to say I don't have an opinion about the origins of punk. I just like it when people make noise.

So, yes. That's what I'm looking at this semester academics-wise, pudding. In less academic news, I'm working on getting content and funding for the Catalyst zine, figuring out when and how to hold the Day of Silence, and maybe tonight I will put on some tarty and/or vicary clothes and get kind of drunk and wish Trina a happy birthday. Or maybe I'll stay home and put comments and stickers on my classmates' freewrites and patch my pants, because that's the kind of exciting life I lead.

More Life,

P.S. - If you're one of those forward-looking individuals who wants to have some sort of idea of the kind of adventures that might be available to you after Mt.A., there's this friend of mine named Jenn who graduated last spring and is currently teaching English to cute little schoolchildren in Japanland. For extra awesomeness, she has been blogging about her experiences here. I particularly like this review-of-lessons-learned-in-2008 entry, because a) it covers time spent in both Canada and Japan, b) I was there for some of those quotes, and c) oh my goodness am I ever impressed with the bravery involved in committing to live in a country where you can neither read nor speak the principal language. So yeah. Jenn's great, and I get to see what picture-sized parts of Japan look like without having to feel illiterate my own self because of that blog. You should too!

P.P.S. - Ben Folds is the new Chuck Norris.


jenninblacks said...

You make me miss MtA.

Why wasn't I born a few years later, so that we could sit in Bridge Street and discuss all these things?? :(

emmet the allisonian said...

Jenn, I think the real question is, why didn't i get high school over with earlier, as we would have been in the same year had I graduated on schedule. ;)

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