Saturday, November 22, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: Random Edition

1.  I go to the weirdest school on the face of the planet.  That is all.

2.  This is how my brain works.

Displaying photo.JPG
mahna mahna  Use all the highlighters! do doo be-do-do concept map mahna concept map concept map 

#writingpapers #shakespeare #ishouldhavestartedweeksago #eh

3.  Oh, hey, Ally is writing a paper about Shakespeare!  Yaaaaaaay!  *shouts of joy and celebratory noises*  Ha, imagine!  There is no way that this is following a precedent.  Heh. Heh heh. Hmm. And it's not like she has like two more posts about Shakespeare in the works or anything.  #ilovethatbardofaman

4.  I have had huge doses of humility regarding paper writing.  Guys, I don't know what I'm doing. I can't really write papers.  I just put verbosity down on paper and format Turabian correctly.  I don't really know what I'm doing.  And I am literally paid to help people with their papers.  What if all the theology exegeses come back with failing grades and all the people who brought their exegeses to me in the Writing Center will form a cohesive student military unit and break down the door of my dorm room with pitchforks and rakes from the janitor and dump all the stapled paper marked with big, juicy red F's onto my head and then kick me out of the school until I rewrite all the papers?  Or what if all the seniors who brought their really important upper level history papers to me to review petition the English department to refuse to give me my degree because I don't have the caliber to be a major in the department ... because I forgot that FOOTNOTES NEED TO BE INDENTED?  What if I am making enemies in the freshmen class because they came to me with paper advice and I was all

She basically makes this face for the full 6 hours of the BBC miniseries
oh my dear freshmen, my darlings, these papers will win you A's to be sure! Bravo! Don't change a thing about it!
and then they handed the papers in and the prof was like

Guy's got that cheeky, long-suffering Ben Franklin look


5.  I have good reason to believe that passive voice will be the death of me.

6.  When I am a senior, you will find me with a pillow and a blanket and a bag of snacks living on the top floor of the library in the Dead English Author section.  Specifically, the Shakespeare section.  I may not ever truly be seen.

7. I am not cut out for the extroverted life.  Hmm.  Yeah, let's stew on that.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

No Vacancy: Words Will Be Turned Away

So, here we are.  November 11, 2014. Wait, it's the eleventh? Pretty sure I've been writing "November 10" on class notes all day. Oops. That'll throw me off once finals roll around as I try to organize my disheveled life. (I'd make a terrible scribe.  Sorry, posterity, yon scribe wrote all the wrong dates on the manuscripts and messed up history forever. But, hey, at least you still have symbolism.)

So, anyway. Here we are. The semester is winding to a close. The window in my literature classroom this afternoon showed bright blue sky and trees with a few clingy orange leaves, as opposed to the bright blues and oranges of last week and the sapphire greens and cheery yellows of the weeks before. Midterms are officially and finally over, everyone is working on the last assignments due this semester, and everyone is dreadfully anxious for school to be over and for CHRISTMAS CHEER.  (Ok, I am probably projecting my Christmas longings onto other people, but oh *melts* Christmas.)

So many words. Reading them in books and on blackboards, scratching them onto lined paper, writing them on sticky notes, typing them on a keyboard. Now, I'll take a paper over a test any day because I love writing and because I learn best through writing.  So if I want to learn about something, I write about it.  And, yet, somehow I don't really feel like writing three papers, together a total of 30 pages, before December 4 (but realistically before November 25 [yes, that's right, in the next fourteen days] because who writes papers over Thanksgiving break [um, lol, not me]). Instead of papers, I would like to be writing the two blog posts I have started about Shakespeare: (a) on why Shakespeare should be the center of the Teaching Banned Books Controversy and why he ultimately made me realize why the uproarious indignation of that controversy is so pointless and (b) on how to revitalize the dear man's works to give the Shakespearean tradition a new life.  I feel in it my bones, in the beating of my nerdy heart of hearts.  The revitalizing of Shakespeare is coming, and I have a theory about how it's going to happen.

Emily promises me, with an annoyingly positive smile, that we are going listen to Christmas music and write papers happily and calmly and composedly for the next two weeks with nothing to distress or vex us. Meanwhile, I am writing not my English paper thesis statement but a blog post while listening to the low hum of voices (scratch that, I'm listening to outright laughs and a stage voice saying "JOHN ..."   *interrupted by loud shushing from library worker*   "... JOHN, check your backpack ... no, your backpack" *rupture of giggles*) in a library which imposes absolute SILENT HOURS after 9pm to absolutely no avail whatsoever.

Well, Christmas music or no, I will be retreating into a paper writing zone for the next two weeks. 

À bientôt, world.  

- - - -

Quick Tidbit Which Should Be of Particular Interest:  Marlene and I have plans (oh do we have plans) for this blog. Expect cool things over Christmas time but especially next summer.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Whilst in the Midst of Midterms

'Tis the season when Ally sadly admits that her mental presence at any given point is largely determined by her consumption of caffeine. It is also the time when Ally volatilely questions the very system upon which her college education is founded. WHO thought it would be a good idea to pack enough information to fill the average adult brain to 150% capacity into a 15 week period wherein students are supposed to (and some even want to) learn and understand and synthesize all that information from up to six different disciplines and then during weeks 7 and 8 test the students' understanding of such colossal amounts of material with at least one paper and a recitation and 5 tests (eh, throw in a few quizzes) on TOP of NORMAL COURSEWORK? I ASK YOU. There is no time for living. We are functioning in a flawed system, I tell you.  A FLAWED SYSTEM.

While I struggle under the weight of this burden of learning, I have a bajillion non-course-related thoughts but no time in which to contemplate them and turn them into meaningful blog posts. But they need an outlet.  So, here is a small bulleted list of thoughts.  *flourishes*

1. This Poem Perfectly Describes My Sentiments on Fall


2. I'm Thinking of Switching My Major to Poli Sci.
*wards off rotten tomatoes*
Third time's the charm.

3. Kissing vs. Words
I have a question. I am not one of those bloggers that normally asks the readership questions. But I have a question. WHY is it that at the end of every movie people just kiss instead of using words to resolve the romantic conflict?  WHY IS THAT.

This has minorly bothered me during the last few minutes of practically every movie I have ever watched. But it wasn't until I finished the finale of Avatar: The Last Airbender that I crossed the line of tolerance. Because after riding a full three seasons of romantic tension between Aang and Katara, all we got was A KISS.  No conversation about the falling out they had had in a previous episode, no apologies, no setting of relationship boundaries, no nothing. Not even a romantically mushy cliche line. Just a long, drawn out adolescent kiss.  Sorry, but is it just me or does the audience deserve more of a dialogue?!

the only conflict in The Last Airbender that anybody cared about
Oh so Aang defeated the fire lord? DID HE MARRY KATARA??

4. Why Classic Alice Explains a Lot
It has come to my attention recently that in today's culture there is a severe misappreciation of the true meaning of a classic.  The misappreciation mainly revolves around one flawed principle that guides much of contemporary literary analysis: we must love everything.  We must love the books! We must love the characters!  We must love the endings!  Love, love all around!  And if we don't love it, it's automatically bad.  Enter Classic Alice, a new webseries.  A webseries wherein a nerdy, classically minded English major models the actions of classic heroes and reenacts classic stories in her own life.

Let me be clear.  Not all of the actions of characters in classic novels/stories are supposed to be condoned or modeled.  Not all of the heroes or heroines are models of exemplary quality and virtue. There are problems in classic novels for a reason.  A classic is trying to send you a message. Whether or not that that message is intentional, it's a classic because it has that element. And the characters have to suffer for the sake of that message.  The point is that the characters suffer so you don't have to. 

Alas, there is no time to continue.  I must abruptly end this bulleted list after point number four. Until next time, then. A bientot!