Let’s talk about papers

My, my, haven’t we been blogging quite a lot lately. Of course, you know that means that I have some sort of paper due. Right now, I am staring quite uselessly at Washington Square by Henry James. I have a paper due on it by 5:00, but I really want to finish much earlier than that. Firstly, I have a class at 1:25, and if I finish my paper before 12:00 or so, it means that I won’t have to lug my very heavy very warm computer to campus in order to finish my paper after my class. Yes, I am aware that there are these thing called jump drives, and I could bring my paper on that and use a computer in the library, but I hate the library computers. I only use them because I have to print, and even then they can take upwards of ten minutes to boot up. Heaven forbid you want to use the Internet because that’s another five to ten minutes to get a browser to launch. Also, I can only get Internet Explorer to open. I think Firefox is too modern for the ancient Gateways. Secondly, I have another paper due at 5:00 tomorrow, and that one is a fifteen page research paper. I got so desperate to avoid the paper on James that I actually started doing my research for the second paper (on Samuel Johnson’s annotated Shakespeare). I was pleased to find a whole lot of articles on the subject. I was also pleased to find large books that have one relevant chapter. I’m actually not too worried about that one now. Still, there is still the matter of writing the full fifteen pages which always seems to take far more hours than I want it to, and I have to factor in work on Tuesday morning from 6:00am to 10:30am. Protip: If you’re counting hours before a paper is due and subtracting time you’ll be at work in order to see if you can finish the paper, your level of procrastination is too damn high.

Lazy College Senior

How many memes do we think I can cram into one sentence? Anyway, my point is that I have a ton of shit to do, but I cannot think of what to write on for Washington Square. You know what my problem is? It’s too easy! Henry James is supposed to give you a headache, but this book is so simple. I mean, it was a fun read, and I sped through it (Fun fact: Apparently James hated it), but it means that I’m at a loss on what to write. Right now, my plan is to simply discuss the final chapter and what it means for Catherine in terms of the rest of the novel (Honestly, I shouldn’t bitch. Neither of these essays really even need a thesis. I just have to analyze the hell out of stuff, which, let’s be real, is what I do best. What is killing me is that I want to trade paper topics with Cuddles, who is currently sleeping off the effects of two Ampeds and trying to keep calm and graduate).

SO! Just for you, I’ve decided to talk about Washington Square. There will be spoilers, if any of you care. I know that the novel is over a hundred years old, but I still don’t like being spoiled for shit. (Fun fact: The beginning of “The Hollow Men” by T.S. Eliot spoils a little bit of Heart of Darkness proving that even famous poets can be Internet trolls.)

Washington Square is the tale of Catherine Sloper, a painfully dull and stupid girl who is actually not that painfully stupid, and what, precisely, is wrong with being a little dull? Her father, Austin Sloper, is kind of a dick, and by that I mean that he is a huge dick who is constantly disappointed that A) His daughter is female and not a son and B) That his daughter is so plain and average and stupid (“as intelligent as a bundle of shawls”). Catherine’s aunt and Dr. Sloper’s (he’s a well-respected man about town, doing the best things so conservatively and also a very intelligent, well-loved physician) silly sister is named Lavinia Penniman. She’s a giddy, romantic widow who kind of fucks shit up. She lives with Catherine and Dr. Sloper. Mrs. Elizabeth Almond is Sloper’s other sister. She seems to be the only character who is as sharp as Dr. Sloper without having the same level of douchebag. I severely wanted to know more about her. Morris Townsend is another asshole, but he’s the asshole that Catherine loves (other than her father, who she is pretty terrified of). Morris loves Catherine…’s money. And that’s the plot. Catherine is plain and in her early twenties. Morris wants to marry her, and she wants to marry him. Dr. Sloper knows that he’s a mooch, but instead of being a decent human being, he’s a huge dick and makes the whole thing really hard on his daughter. Mrs. Penniman gets all up in the “romance,” and generally causes problems and annoys Morris, who is pretty clearly after Catherine’s money. See, Catherine’s dead mother left her ten thousand dollars a year (in 1840 or so, so a damn lot) once she married, and Dr. Sloper was going to supplement that with an additional forty thousand dollars (I don’t think annually, but still, damn that’s a lot of money). However, if she marries Morris, he won’t give that to her. She doesn’t care about the money, but she is afraid of her father and desperately seeks his approval, so she wants him to like her husband. Morris doesn’t want Catherine without the money. Mrs. Penniman thinks Morris is a romantic and defends him for way too long, even after he essentially states that he won’t marry Catherine because he’s worth more than ten grand a year (he isn’t). The story centers on Catherine’s development from a shy, scared girl who craves her father’s blessing into a shy, strong girl who accepts that both her father and her only love screwed her over. Essentially, she has to realize that her father is hideously disappointed in her and that he will never like her. Then, she has to realize that Morris doesn’t want her either.

By her middle age, she does. She defies her father, and, when Morris comes for a final visit, she shuts him down. He continues to suck, Dr. Sloper continues to suck, Mrs. Penniman continues to pave the road to hell with her good intentions, and Catherine “picking up her morsel of fancy-work, had seated herself with it again—for life, as it were.” The last chapter is pretty interesting because she finally gets to confront Morris, so I think that I’m going to go with that as my topic. I’m a little concerned that the heavy dialogue will make my block quotes (this teacher requires lots of block quotes) a hot mess. I had an idea to compare Morris to a character in another book we read, but I can’t find the passage where they are essentially described in the same way, and I also don’t ever want to read anything by Hawthorne again.

I just don’t know what my “point” will be. I know that it’s an exploration, but even a silly exploration of a single chapter has to have some significance, otherwise why bother writing a paper on it? I mean, it’s very theatrical. The whole book is theatrical. There are some references to “liberty,” and the book seems to have an undercurrent of the political to it. I kind of see Sloper as the ultimate politician. After all, he knows what’s best for you, and he’ll take your choice away as best he can. If he can’t, he’ll cut off your funding in some way, but despite all his wrongs, the public loves him. Morris proves himself to be a right jackass, and Catherine simply sits down to the quiet life of sewing things alone in the parlor. I JUST DON’T KNOW HOW TO RESPOND TO THIS TEXT, MAN!

Sparkle

If that weren’t enough, if I double space this blog post, it’s four pages long. The essay is only six. What the hell is wrong with me?

NEXT TIME ON MY BLOG (probably) I have plans to talk about The Hunger Games movie, and I want to review the last two books. There may be more Shakespeare! (Spoiler alert: The Taming of the Shrew can die in every fire.) There may be Shakespeare AND Samuel Johnson (He wrote the dictionary mostly by himself in like, seven years, I think. He also beat people with folios and had a cat named Hodge.) I may even review a single episode of something! Who knows what wild and crazy adventures I’ll have next?!

PS: My apartment is making me pay them rent again. I do not like this.

PPS: But I went shopping for the first time in about a year and a half. I have no money, but I do have some business casual clothing AND some boss business inappropriate shirts. I do like this. So, you know, it evens out to me having no money.

It’s a Shakespeare Post Part II

If you missed part one, you can find it here.

First thing’s first: for those of you who aren’t familiar with Titus Andronicus, it’s the story of a man whose devotion to his honor and his unbending sense of duty in the face of reason or mercy leads to his downfall. He appoints the emperor of Rome based on tradition—the first born son was considered the heir. However, the first born son is a complete tool, who causes Titus a ridiculous amount of grief, while the second son seems like a much better candidate and was betrothed to Titus’ daughter. He is so devoted to the emperor that he actually kills his own son in order to serve him. Then, his devotion to religious rituals is what gets the main plot rolling. He sacrifices the first born son of the captive queen. This leads her to pursue revenge against him, and then he must be revenged against her in turn, et cetera, et cetera. Titus starts with twenty-one dead sons, four live sons, and one daughter. He kills one son. Two others are wrongly executed for the murder of his new son-in-law, the emperor’s brother and his daughter Lavinia’s husband. The last son, Lucius, is banished, but he comes back and is appointed emperor at the end. Lavinia winds up, as mentioned in the last post, raped and mutilated. Titus cuts off his own hand. Lavinia’s rapists are Tamora’s (the vengeful queen of the Goths) two remaining sons, so Titus kills them and bakes them into pies. After feeding the pies to Tamora and the emperor, he kills Lavinia because people living in the sixteenth century were sexist (or because her honor was ruined, and it made him sad to look at her—same thing, really). Then he kills Tamora, at which point the emperor kills Titus, and Lucius kills the emperor.

TL;DR – Rocks fall, everyone is mutilated and eaten

So! Onto Julie Taymor’s Titus. Taymor doesn’t actually choose one time period for her film. Instead, she mixes and matches. There are guns, medieval flails, and crossbows. Roman warriors come back from battle on both chariots and motorcycles. FUN FACT TIME! One of the images we have of an original Shakespeare play and its staging is a drawing by Henry Peacham of Titus Andronicus, and, well, it’s an interesting picture:

Peacham

Yes, that is a Roman warrior next to a medieval princess. Just roll with it. My point is that Taymor is in good company when it comes to the use of non-period specific costumes and set pieces. In Titus, the different time periods mean more options for costumes, so that the costumes can display a wide range of meanings.

Costumes #1, #2, and #3

Armor and Clay Uniform

The very first time we see Titus, he is in his armor, but he is also covered in clay. According to Taymor, the clay is supposed to refer back to the terra cotta soldiers in China. The idea of Titus as an ancient general coming from a long history of war fits perfectly with the terra cotta image, yet it also makes him seem small, and toy-like. This goes very well with the idea of Titus as the perfect soldier who is so bound by his duty to the emperor that he would kill his own son. Costumes #2 and #3 are variations on the same theme. #2 has armor while #3 (pictured) has a uniform without armor. They too point to the idea of Titus being the perfect soldier. Incidentally, as of now, I have no problems with Taymor’s tone. She’s clearly making a serious movie with a message, and the tone of the first scenes reflects that.

Costumes #4 and #5

Open Uniform Sweater

Titus’ costumes do not really change until Titus himself is made to change by the forces around him. He has a radical shift after his sons are blamed for murder. Since he is beginning to break down emotionally, his military outfit is now disheveled, and he has lost his cape. Once he really breaks down, his outfits reflect that. The next we see him in a different costume is after he has lost his hand and his two sons. Now, he looks like somebody’s grandfather rather than a Roman general. This is also the point in the play/film where I began to forget about him killing both his and Tamora’s sons and started to feel sorry for him as a person.

Costumes #6, #7, and #8

Robe and Armor Robe

The later parts of the play deal with Titus’ descent into madness. We next see him trying to petition the Gods by shooting arrows at the sky. He does so wearing his armor with a bathrobe on top. The more insane he becomes, the more ridiculous his outfits get. His next costume isn’t really a costume, as he is naked in a bathtub. At this point, he is emotionally bare. He has focused all of his energy on revenge and has stripped off his soldier’s personality, his fatherly care, and his dignity. After leaving the tub, he comes down in a bathrobe. Taymor herself pointed out that she used color to reflect Titus’ journey, and the bathrobe he wears now is a lighter color than his previous outfits.
Costume #9

Chef

The last costume is probably the most important. For one, it’s all white, which means that he has finally stripped off all of his old, closed up ways and become more open. More obviously, this costume is ridiculous. He looks like the Swedish Chef from the Muppets. His outfit represents just how revenge crazy he has gone in how ridiculous it is while still showing him to be fully open and accepting of the end through its color. He knows that this is his final revenge, and he meets it with a humorous, calculated insanity.

In my original paper, I went on to talk about how the costumes also mimicked the change in tone. I mentioned that the beginning of the film was incredibly serious. As it moves on, there are more comic moments. Some of these were clearly intentional. Others were clearly not. For example, this scene is supposed to be a very serious, and very sad remembrance of Lavinia’s rape:

Who let anyone edit this

Oh, rock music plays while this is happening. The overall effect is really comic. The same thing happens any time she goes into what she calls a “penny arcade nightmare” and what I call “someone got drunk and started playing with the effects on Windows Movie Maker scene.” The big ending where everyone dies is also, really funny. Lucius kills the emperor by shoving a serving spoon down his throat. The emperor kills Titus with a candelabra:

Candle

That’s 100% serious art right there. I always remove candles with my teeth before stabbing someone with my candelabra. Also, this is, once again, all set to loud rock music. In the original paper, I said that Taymor was undermining the violence with the campiness in order to keep the entertainment value of the source material while still preaching peace. However, I don’t know if I believe that. I really think that Taymor was approaching this movie with a fully serious mindset. Everything she said in the director commentary led me to believe so. As of now, I have to say that, I think the costumes certainly mimic the state of Titus himself, and they mimic the change in tone of the movie, but I don’t think that most of the humor was intentional.

It’s Shakespeare Time!

Regular readers! Sorry for the absence in posts lately; I’ve been soul-crushingly depressed. Anyway, what follows are a few posts for my Remediation Project for my Writing for the Web class where I talk about SHAKESPEARE. Oh, and violence. Have fun!

As many of my loyal readers (probably) know, I am a fan of William Shakespeare and his various works—largely because it makes me seem super classy. Out of all the Shakespeare I’ve read Titus Andronicus is probably my favorite play; however, it is also the sort of play that immediately drops my classy level to somewhere between bad slasher flicks and The Flavor of Love. Titus Andronicus is the story of a man who, after returning from a war where he lost twenty-one sons (seriously), wound up killing one of his own sons and watching two others get executed. He then finds out that his one daughter has been raped, her hands have been chopped off, and her tongue has been cut out. When he discovers the identity of her attackers, he does what any man would do—kill them, bake them into a pie and feed them to their mother before killing her. Oh, and at one point, he winds up cutting off his own hand. Almost everyone in the play dies, and it features what I believe to be one of the first “I did your mom last night” jokes:

Demetrius: Villain, what hast thou done?

Aaron: That which thou canst undo.

Chiron: Thou hast undone our mother.

Aaron: Villain, I have done thy mother.

No, I wasn’t kidding. It’s in Act IV, scene II. You know, plenty of other Shakespeare plays are full of jokes like this, but they’re considered very high brow and artistic. Naturally, my favorite play is the one with lots of murder, rape, and cannibalism. Some people think that Shakespeare didn’t even write this play (Those people are wrong). I think that what makes it so interesting is the way in which the play throws comedy in around the violence. Even Shakespeare can’t classy that sort of thing up. Well, I don’t think he can. Others, like director Julie Taymor, would probably not agree. Taymor is the director of Titus, starring Anthony Hopkins as the man himself, and, well, it’s an interesting movie.

Heads
Face Off
Hand

Yes, those are floating, flaming body parts. Just roll with it. To me, Titus is an interesting movie; I’m a big fan of the mismatched time periods, and, well, I think the movie is hilarious. Having watched the director commentary, I have to say, I don’t think that Taymor intended to make a comedy. See, I look at Titus Andronicus as a true exploitation play. It’s violence for the sake of violence. Shakespeare aimed to entertain, and, in this play, he did so in the most gruesome and ridiculous way possible. What’s really funny is how most of the plot is made up of old myths. Shakespeare actually references the myths he’s ripping off in the play, and he does so in order to highlight exactly how much more violent and exciting his version is. If a woman had her tongue cut out in Greek myth, she’s losing a tongue and her hands. If one son got fed to a parent, Shakespeare’s going to feed his mother (not his actual mother, of course) two sons. Not only that, but Aaron is probably one of Shakespeare’s most unapologetic villains. Upon being told that he will be buried up to the chest in earth and left to starve, he states: “If one good deed in all my life I did / I do repent it from my very soul.” Taymor’s Titus, on the other hand, is a warning against the horrors of war and excessive violence.

Toy Plane Crash Toy Soldier Blood Explosion

That right there is the sort of subtle imagery that will run throughout the movie.

So how does Taymor take one of the most pointlessly violent plays and turn it into something that preaches peace? In my original paper, I argued that Titus’ costumes change throughout the film in a way that embraces the simple, base entertainment value of the original play while adding to Taymor’s more serious meaning; however, the more I think about it, the more I realize that I don’t think that. I think that Taymor meant to make a serious, art house film, and she ended up making a comedy by accident. For the next few blog posts, I’ll be looking at my original argument about costume and talk about what she does with them and whether or not I think that works.

Part Two is this way!

I’m clearly going insane

So, the promises I made to update regularly are not, naturally, being fulfilled. I would like to take this opportunity to say that I define “regularly” as at least once a week, and I’m pretty sure that my newest update was on last Friday. To be fair, I was counting on my Writing for the Web class to remind me. It’s a Tuesday/Thursday class, so I figured that I would be reminded to get my blog-butt in gear in time to get a post together. However, because I am going insane, I missed class on Thursday. Now, how could I miss class due to my own insanity? Simple–I left for class an hour later than I should, and I had no idea that I was late until I parked my car. I’m not kidding. My class is at 11am, and I left at 11:30am without thinking anything of it. Maybe, after two years without taking any math classes, my brain has finally forgotten everything number related, and the numbers “ten” and “eleven” are now merely arbitrary terms devoid of all meaning. Whatever the case, I woke up early so that I could finish my forum postings that were due that afternoon. I did so and had a decent amount of time to spare (I cannot imagine why), so I made an egg sandwich, or more accurately, I scrambled some eggs and tried to keep them in-between two pieces of toast for the amount of time it took to bring the whole mess up to my face. Then I took my shower and drove to class. On my way to class, I marveled at the lack of traffic and wandering pedestrians. Pleased, I parked only to suddenly realize that my clock read 11:45. It had read 11:44 only a minute ago, but I hadn’t been forty-five minutes late for class then. At 11:44, I still thought that I was on time.

So yes, I have finally gone totally insane. Soon, I’ll be leaving the house only to realize that I didn’t put on shoes after I’ve been at work for an hour. I’ll read ten chapters of a book for class on Monday only to realize that we aren’t, in fact, studying the novels of Terry Pratchett in my Shakespeare class. I’ll be less than twenty-four hours away from the due date of a seven page paper before realizing that I haven’t read any of the source material that I have to write about. Oh wait. That’s actually happening now.

PS: Sometime in the coming week, I plan to post a review of the movie Melancholia, but for now, I must paper.

Reasons why I should not mix with polite company

I inadvertently told my history class that I had breast lumps. Well, not inadvertently. See, I meant to tell them that I had breast lumps, and that’s why I should not mix with polite company. I tell people about my breast lumps because it seems relevant (It was, by the way. We were talking about doctors and differences in practices throughout time, and my teacher mentioned seeing a doctor if you have a lump on your chest). Of course, it did not occur to me that, no matter how relevant, breast lumps just aren’t the sort of thing you talk about to your history class. At least, it didn’t occur to me until about seven minutes after I said it, and then I got to feel vaguely embarrassed about it all day.

Socially Awkward Penguin - Had awkward conversation, replay it over and over in your head later

Thank you, Socially Awkward Penguin for understanding me. Anyway, instead of spending my time interacting with people and improving my desperately sad people skills, I decided that the best thing for me to do would be to bake. Everything. See, I’ve decided that baking is my new hobby. It is a delicious hobby, and I love it, but I can also go overboard and wind up making more baked goods than anyone could conceivably eat. So for this post today, I’m going to link to all of the recipes that I just tried in one night and talk about the exciting process of baking.

Grapefruit Cookies
Original Recipe

Grapefruit Cookies

I apologize for my inability to take a decent photograph. I will definitely work on that in the future. So, these are the grapefruit cookies. The original recipe is called “Summer Citrus Sparkles,” and they are lemon-lime cookies. I’ve made the original before, so I felt pretty comfortable subbing grapefruit. Like the original, at least when I make it, the cookies taste more like plain sugar cookies with a hint of citrus-y flavor. They’re a good, easy cookie, but a warning: Keep them sealed up if you don’t eat them immediately. They go quite hard quickly if you don’t. I would recommend eating them right after because they don’t keep that well.

Coconut Macaroons
Original Recipe

Coconut Macaroons

The ones at the source are dipped in chocolate, but I prefer my macaroons plain and am intensely lazy. Warning, warning, warning! If you use sweetened coconut flakes, reduce the amount of sugar you use. I assumed that, because the recipe didn’t specify and Walmart didn’t sell unsweetened, that the amount of sugar would work with sweetened flakes. I almost lost the crown on my back molar. That said, once they went a little stale and hardened up enough not to injure my mouth, they were quite good. Actually, they were good when they could injure your mouth. I just wouldn’t recommend chewing.

Applesauce
Original Recipe

Applesauce

OK, this one isn’t technically a baked good, but it’s practically a dessert, so it counts. I wouldn’t really consider this one an applesauce because you don’t puree it. It’s more like cinnamon apples cooked over the stove. It’s really good and easy to make; however, the recipe blog I got this from seems to have a different idea of how long it takes things to thicken than I do. The original states that the water will evaporate in ten minutes. I definitely cooked them for more than forty minutes. Still delicious.

Earl Grey Cupcakes
Original Recipe

Earl Grey Cupcakes

Once again, I have made a recipe that claimed to be for a certain number of cupcakes and wound up getting an extra cake out of it. The carrot cake recipe I use makes enough for twelve cupcakes and a cake, and that’s what this recipe does as well. The cupcake texture is really good. It has a nice, small, and fluffy crumb. Also, the little tea speckles make them really cute looking. Like the cookies, it doesn’t keep for that long, but the texture is so great, that I don’t want to play with using oil instead to keep them moister longer. The frosting is a lemon buttercream, but I did the cake with a lemon cream cheese, and it was really good too. In the future, I think I will open the teabags into the milk at room temperature so that they can steep. My cakes weren’t obviously tea flavored.

I ate a good portion of everything I baked. Man was not meant to consume four cookies, three macaroons, half a pot of stovetop-cooked apples, and two cupcakes. I practically felt the bony hand of death grip my stomach. On a last note, I’ve taken up embroidery. I’m terrible at it, but that has never stopped me before.

I have an idea for new blog posts that I would like you, my dedicated reader(s)’, input on. I’m considering trying to summarize Shakespeare plays in a humorous fashion. Does anyone think that they would like to read that? I promise GIFs!

PS: This blog is now a part of my Writing for the Web class! That means I will be updating regularly! Of course it also means that I just told another class about my breast lumps. Damn.

An open letter to those who would belittle studies within the liberal arts

People… people… look, we need to discuss something. It’s, well, comparatively speaking, it’s an incredibly unimportant issue; however, it’s an issue that has been weighing on my mind recently. This issue relates to liberal arts degrees. Specifically, everybody just needs to shut the hell up. No, really shut the hell up. Because, people of the world, I have heard that my degrees are going to be absolutely meaningless. In fact, I can’t seem to go anywhere without hearing how useless they are. I will never, ever, ever, ever, EVER be getting a job. And in this economy? Whew, engineers are having trouble getting jobs. I mean, those are smart people who do real things. What chance does someone like you have against intelligent people with actual skills? Sure, you study English. I’m certain that you will be called upon to explicate poems all the time in the real world. Oh yes, studying history means that you’ll always be welcome on the trivia team. It’s not like you learn any useful skills.

People, I have grown up hearing this. And do you know what’s funny? People still encouraged me to get the degree that I wanted. I was always told to study what makes me happy and to find a job that I enjoy. At the same time, I am currently studying what I enjoy, and, for some reason, I seem to be getting no end of shit for it. And I’m part of the problem. I’ve spent the last five or so years of my life joking about how useless my degrees are going to be. I’ve told everyone how I have no idea what I’m going to do with my future. I’ve made cracks about how easy English and History are compared to real degrees. Well no-fucking-more. From now on, anyone who condescendingly inquires what, exactly, are my plans for the useless piece of paper I am soon to receive? will be told to mind their own goddamned business. I don’t know what made me snap. Maybe I saw one too many of those “Math + Science = Success!” signs that encourage parents to teach their children important subjects. Or maybe it was that blog post I saw. It featured what appeared to be a whiny, privileged, little snot who had graduated from Stanford with an English degree and found himself unable to find a job. He whined about how he had no skills or work experience and how, when he took a year off to “find himself” and “work on his writing,” he wound up sitting on his ass all the time. Oh, he was in a frat back in college too. So, he decided to start a blog in order to do something. Look, if you spend all of college getting wasted and barely scraping by in your classes, I don’t think you can blame your degree when you can’t get a job.

And you know what else? My degrees in English and History ARE useful. Do you know what I can do? I CAN FUCKING WRITE. I can put ideas into words that other people can read and understand, and I CAN DO IT BETTER THAN MOST PEOPLE. Nobody seems to appreciate the importance of writing. And no, I do not want to be an ~author, nor do I consider myself a particularly creative writer. The fact is that, if you have a great idea or a magnificent breakthrough in science, and you cannot write, no one is going to care because POOR WRITING MAKES YOU LOOK STUPID. I’ve had people tell me: “Grammar and style don’t matter for this paper; the teacher doesn’t grade for that. It’s the ideas that matter.” Hell, I’ve had teachers tell me that. EVERYONE WHO SAYS THIS IS WRONG. DEAD. FUCKING. WRONG. Yes, some teachers don’t take off points for grammar or style. That’s true. However, anybody who reads your paper is going to be influenced by your writing. A well-written paper will be more positively received than a poorly-written one simply because it sounds better. A good writer is able to express their ideas more clearly and intelligently. That sort of thing ALWAYS affects the way a paper is graded. English and history also, surprisingly enough, encourage analytical thinking. Now, I’m not a super-smart science major or anything, but I would make the cautious assumption that engaging with texts and attempting to draw conclusions from them in an analytical fashion is probably good for your neurons.

“It’s soooo easy to get an English degree!” You might protest. Yes, it can be. It’s fairly easy to BS things or slam together a last-minute paper. It’s relatively easy to avoid reading things. And yet, I see a lot of people within the English department with poor GPA’s. I see people walk out of my classes clutching C’s. Maybe, just maybe, it isn’t quite as easy as everyone thinks. And what I don’t see are all of the holier-than-thou science majors being told that they have to write a six page paper on a six line poem, which is a shame because I think it would be funny. And no, there really isn’t an English equivalent to O Chem. Hell, a science degree, especially UGA’s, are harder than an English degree. That doesn’t make your degree inherently better than mine. It isn’t a pissing contest. The arts and the sciences are both important in their own ways. I went into the liberal arts because it is what I enjoy doing, and it is where my skills are. If your skills lean towards science and math, great. Just don’t act like you deserve more credit because your degree is somehow more “useful” or “important.”

And for the love of God, stop asking those of us with liberal arts degrees what we intend to do with ourselves–even if you are expressing genuine concern or interest. After hearing it for a while, you all just start to look like assholes.

PS: It goes without saying that this blog post was written in order to avoid working on that aforementioned degree. However, the work currently being avoided is Latin rather than my usual paper. My impending midterm is making me greatly miss the papers of last week.

It’s a Cool Story, Bro!

Do you know what time it is?

That’s right. It’s time for a Cool Story, Bro! Before I begin my Cool Story, Bro, I want to let my reader(s) know that I may or may not do more TV/Movie reviews in the future. I was planning on doing one for every new Supernatural episode, but I was really uninspired by the newest one. I mean, it wasn’t bad, but it didn’t have much that I wanted to talk about in it. The writers totally cockblocked Leviacas’s awesome, and it was bleh. ALSO the Snoogally one and I have started watching Breaking Bad, which I also may or may not start reviewing. It is supposedly one of the best shows on television right now, but it’s left me a little irritated, so we’ll see.

ANYWAY! Today was a great day. I went to work at ungodly in the morning (literally, as I would soon find out) and was assigned to dining room which means that I would not be pelted with large amounts of half-eaten food like I was on Saturday when I worked in the dishroom. As my shift shuffled along, I began to notice small, green bibles littering various tables. It turns out that, once the hour became godly, a whole bunch of old men in suits had migrated to every bus stop and important street crossing in order to spread the word of God to us collegiate sinners. I only passed one set of them on the way home from work, and it pretty much went like this:

AAAANNNDDD upon returning to campus, there was a man standing on the wall of the big-ass stairs on North Campus (For those of you who have not been to UGA, North Campus has some big-ass, marble-y/granite-y looking stairs that pass right between Park and LeConte Hall. He was elevated on a wall-type-thing. That is the moral of this story.) with a MEGAPHONE. AND HE WAS TALKING ABOUT JESUS-UH. HE WHO LOVED_UH US SO MUCH, THAT HE DIED ON THE CROSS-UH FOR OUR SINS-UH. WE MUST ACCEPT HIM INTO OUR HEARTS-UH IN ORDER TO BE-UH SAVED-UH. So, I got to enjoy lots of hilarious attempts at evangelicalism. My classes passed without incident, and I got a new bank account set up. Then, I finally bought something expensive (for me, you wealthy mofos) that I have wanted for ages. CHACOS!

AREN’T THEY BEAUTIFUL? I SHED A SINGLE TEAR. I also got them on sale for 55 dollars, so heck yes. So, I’ve just bought my shiny new Chacos. I debate briefly whether or not to put them on before deciding that I’ll wear my old shoes. So I call my Dad to tell him about my new bank account and shit, and basically to let him know that I am having a happy day where awesome things happen. AND THEN. SOME FUCKING HOW. I GET A VERY SPIKY PIECE OF MULCH. JAMMED BETWEEN THE SOLE OF MY SHOE AND MY VERY SOFT VERY VULNERABLE FOOT. I hobble over to the not-so big-ass stairs of Park Hall and pull off my shoe to assess the damage. While I wince and hate life, all I can think is GODDAMMIT, THIS WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED IF I HAD PUT ON MY SHINY NEW SHOES BECAUSE THE THICK SOLE REPELS THOSE CHUNKS OF WOOD WHO LURK AT TOE LEVEL. It looks as if I have two pieces of wood jammed into the bottom of my big toe, right where it bends. The first is small and comes out easily. The second one, well, the second one looks pretty fucking deep. A few tugs only seemed to cause pain, and the wood itself remained imbedded. Now, I must explain why this fucking splinter caused me to unravel. You know that time that you feel really happy. Like, you just feel comfortable. All the problems you thought were big seem small. And then– you hurt yourself or break something important. SOMETHING swoops down and knocks the good mood right out of you, and you get unreasonably upset because you fell from a high point of happiness. Yeah. That would be me.

The other thing is that, well, I have a thing with splinters. They freak me out. I haven’t had a problem with one since I was a little kid, because most of my recent splinters have been either easy to remove or easy to ignore until they become easy to remove. This one involved a relatively thin stick of wood actually hanging out of my foot. And pulling on it does nothing. So, I’m all panicy and feel like throwing up. After calming down, I talk to my Dad again, and then head into Park to try and make calm, rational progress. Neg. It continues to not move. Also, pulling out shit that is embedded in your flesh hurts. Like, I don’t think I’ve had anything close to a puncture wound before, so this was surprisingly painful. ANYWAY, I begin to get all sweaty and fainty because holy shit A TINY PIECE OF WOOD HAS STABBED ME, and I continue to feel this way all the slow, hobbling way to the bus and then to my car. By the time I make it to the apartment, I am shaking like a leaf (and also vaguely entertaining the notion of launching a preemptive strike against small chunks of wood) by the time I get back to the apartment.

I insist to my father that the splinter MUST be deep enough to need a doctor. Really, it looks like it’s a full millimeter below the surface. THAT REQUIRES LOCAL ANESTHESIA, RIGHT? So I call the health center. The poor nurse who has to talk to me recommends that I go to the urgent care center for a 36 dollar fee (because it was after 5pm) if I can’t get it out myself. My Dad also says that I should do this if I’m “too much of a wussy to just yank it out.” He also recommends that I calm the fuck down because I am reaching a point of hysteria. So, literally shaking and crying, I yank at the end a few more times before I have to pick up the Snogally. Thankfully, my glasses can disguise the fact that I am crying. Because if someone saw and asked if I was OK, I would have to admit that I was crying OVER A SPLINTER. Anyway, Snoogally also says to just yank it out and offers to do so himself. HE CLEARLY DOES NOT REALIZE THE INFINITE PAIN THAT I FEEL, so we go to the health center. I tell the lady at the front that I’m not sure if I need a doctor to remove it or not, so she sets me up with a nurse. I show the splinter to the nice nurse who seems rightly concerned about my panic, and, before I can finish explaining, leaves and returns with a pair of tweezers.

“Do you want me to try and get it our for you? It looks pretty close to the surface to me.”
“Erm” Panic, sweat, shake, panic, “No, um, not yet. I mean, it really doesn’t seem to give at all when I pull, and it hurts a lot.” Oh crap. Involuntary hysteria tears!

Nurse comforts me and tells me not to cry. I explain to Nurse that I am not really as upset as I seem. Really, I just have a thing about splinters and poking a needles and the whole day-ruined thing. These aren’t rational tears. Nurse looks even more concerned. Anyway, I wind up getting out my own tweezers and asking if I can try a little more before she does. She says fine, and I babble at her for a while as I yank.

“You’re turning awfully white. You might want to relax for a bit. Deep breaths.”
“Yes. I should, shouldn’t I? I mean, I don’t think that I’m about to faint. Although I did faint the last time I was at the doctor’s office when they tried to take my blood.”
“Please, don’t faint.”
“OK.”

So I decide that I might try and bring it to the surface with a pin.

“That’s a good idea, but all I have is a needle, and you said that you weren’t good with those.”
“Oh, I have a safety pin in my purse!”
“Is it sterile?”
“It was.” The safety pin comes out covered in varying shades of purse lint. “It’s OK. I have a lighter.”
“Why don’t we just use an alcohol pad?”

So, after more poking and pulling and traumatizing Nurse, I am informed that I stop breathing whenever I go to pull out the splinter. So, after a little more digging, I pull, making sure to take deep breaths. I look down, and the splinter is out. Nurse is very polite. I will not be charged a fee because I did not see a doctor, and I used my own tweezers. I thank Nurse profusely (“Really, I couldn’t have done it without you here.” and “I’m so sorry about this.”) before leaving. In other words:

1. Get splinter
2. Panic
3. Cry
4. Shake
5. Go to doctor
6. Allow doctor to watch you remove your own spinter
7. ???????
8. PROFIT!

Both Snoogally and Father laugh at me, but I do not care. For I have CONQUERED the SPLINTER. And now my day is wonderful again. I do not care if I am ridiculous. I am splinter-free. Fuck yeah.

Now, I have eaten a sandwich and written a blog post. Although, now that I look at it, my day seems pretty lousy. I mean, I was happy about my new shoes, but I can’t think of what made me so pleased before I impaled my foot…

Oh.

I have a take-home midterm due tomorrow. I haven’t studied for it or done any reading or, you know, actually taken the test yet either. I had built up my confidence while I was buying shoes until I spent more than two hours wrestling with a splinter. And then another hour or so writing a blog post about said battle.

… Well, it should be easy after the splinter, right? I mean, paper is wood pulp. That’s not even remotely pointy.

PS: That is not a challenge, paper. I would like my fingers unscathed. My last paper cut just healed.

This post is very boring, but I have inflicted it on you anyway.

Hrm. I suppose that I should post something.

Well, I waited until two and a half hours before my paper (on Dr. Jekyll, Jekyll, Hyde, Jekyll, Hyde, Hyde, Jekyll) was due to even start it. I have no idea why. I mean, I made a blog and wrote a post to stall it. Then, I went to bed when I wasn’t even tired. THEN I snoozed the early alarm I had set for myself (so that I could write the paper after I had slept some) until my normal wakeup time, and THEN I did not start my paper during the thirty minutes before my first class (I felt that reading Wuthering Heights was a far more pressing concern), nor did I work on it during that class even though I had my computer out and was not paying attention. I do not even know what is wrong with me. I did get it done, though I’m not sure how quality it is.

Anywho, my life has been exceptionally lazy since then. The snoogally one and I went out for an early Valentine’s Day dinner on Thursday, and we went to a birthday party on Friday. I am currently at the home-home rather than the apartment-home or the dorm-home (aka, the storage unit with a roommate) because I needed to do my taxes, and I actually like my family. My Madre is in the process of making a daybed out of a futon. My Padre has been roped into helping her, and he had to help me do my taxes. Poor Padre. Also, I get 31 dollars back from the government because I make no money. I was informed that I might actually have to get a real, live job this summer that actually gives me hours (unlike every other goddamn job that I have ever worked.) I might also put in the effort (money) to get the AC in my car fixed so that I do not wind up driving in HEAT BOX OF DOOM for a third summer in a row.

I feel like I should have some sort of interesting story to tell. I do not think that I do. OH WAIT! Tonight will be a night of EPIC NERF BATTLES! IT HAS BEEN SO LONG SINCE I HAVE TAKEN PART IN AN EPIC NERF BATTLE! I WANT TO GO TO WALMART AND GET SOME MOTHERFUCKING DARTS FOR MY MOTHERFUCKING NERF BLOWGUN. WHAT? YOU DON’T HAVE A MOTHERFUCKING NERF BLOWGUN? YOU SHOULD INVEST IN ONE; my ring finger is getting sore, so I’m going to need you to just imagine that I am shouting (No I cannot just press capslock! Why? Because.) Also, this is my gun:

LIKE A BOSS. It’s a motherfucking Firefly (YOU CAN’T TAKE THE NERF FROM MEEEEEEEE!) It can even light up when it shoots! And yes, yes those are glow in the dark darts. I’m going to get some matching glowing darts for my blowgun. Because I can. I also have two less-legit guns:

LIKE A BOSS FOR LESS.

I mean, I pretty much always lose, and I rarely do anything because I am ultra cautious, but dammit, there are forts and guns and under my sweet, girlish exterior lies a warrior ready to riddle the enemy’s skull with foam ammunition. Yes.

‘Cause I was Jekyll, Jekyll, Hyde, Jekyll, Hyde, Hyde, Jekyll…

Good evening dear reader(s)!

I should, even right now, be working on a paper (On The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll, Jekyll, Hyde, Jekyll, Hyde, Hyde, Jekyll), but I am not. I should be contemplating the question of Stevenson’s critique of Victorian society. Well, I technically I am doing that. It isn’t too difficult a question. The problem is that I have to squeeze four pages out of the idea that repression leads to even greater wrongdoing. I know, right, what a new and exciting idea. I am certain that no one has ever thought of it.

…And my vagina has now been compared to the One Ring. I do not even want to consider all of the complications that comparison will lead to.

On a less terrifying note, I am really disappointed with this paper’s limitations. My choices are all doable in terms of writing, but they are also a little blah, and I feel like there is so much more to talk about in these stories that we didn’t bring up. I really wanted to look into the language of the Doctor in the “Story of the Physician and the Saratoga Trunk.” Hell, the language of the Prince in all of The Suicide Club would be worth looking into as would the descriptions of the American man, Silas. Of course, this means next to nothing to you, dear reader(s). After all, I tried to discuss this with friends over lunch, but none of them have read The Suicide Club, so it made the conversation a little bit lame. And I didn’t discuss any of this story in class because, well, I hadn’t read any of it until we got to the last of the stories. Naturally, that was the day that, instead of fully discussing the text, we did an exercise on summarizing and ways of looking at text. I’m hoping to remain caught up in the class from now on because it really is a nice class. It’s only boring when I haven’t done the reading. Plus, the teacher is very nice, so I feel bad when I don’t do the work. Blech. Paper. If I hadn’t waited so long to work on it, I might have been able to customize a different topic based on…

Something in Jon’s room just made a terrifying noise. I think that it was coming from the closet, but it is hard to tell with his ridiculous speakers. Seriously, it sounded like the noise a high-tech bomb makes in a bad action movie. Like The Fifth Element. That sort of multi-toned beeping. Creepy. I really hope HAL isn’t plotting anything. I would not doubt that this computer has some form of sentience. It does turn itself on sometimes. Leave it to The Boy to inadvertently invent Skynet.

…the other ideas that I had. Of course, that would take a whole lot of research that I simply do not have time to do. I also think that emailing my topic to my professor at 10:30PM doesn’t count as getting approval ahead of time. Ah well. I also have a Microtheme due on Thursday, but it doesn’t get turned in until before midnight, so I will deal with it then. I desperately want my draft back for that class. I probably shouldn’t talk about it too much since my feelings are largely negative. I’d rather not have to take it again due to some errant blogging.

On that note, I really must head off to skim The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll, Jekyll, Hyde, Jekyll, Hyde, Hyde, Jekyll.

You’re welcome.