Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ten Things I’ve Learned This Quarter

1. People are paying attention.
[They are not necessarily the people I would want to pay attention and they are seeing what I say and do much differently that how I would wish. But they are there, and they are listening intently.]

2. It turns out that if you say nasty, inconsiderate things, sooner or later it will get you in trouble with people who actually-kind-of have the power to ruin your life.

3. I’m not sure what I’m doing with this blog anymore.
[With my attempt to wean myself off of facebook (which has failed) there has been a corresponding transfer of general commentary. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I’m sure I’m posting much less polished writing, but I’m also posting far more frequently.
Here’s the thing, social networking operates on a very basic human urge. When I see or hear or think something interesting, I want to tell it to someone. I need validation that it is actually funny or sad or fascinating or whatever it is that I’m thinking. As I am alone for most of the time this need is suppressed and is coming out in embarrassingly frequent facebook status updates.
Of course if I say, had friends, this would not be an issue. But for now this ridiculous substitute will have to suffice.]

4. My class can be really great.
[here are some of my favorite moments, to avoid being sued or expelled I have removed all names. For humorous effect, I have left them without context. So if any of these seem, in any way, disturbing or inappropriate, please assume a context that removes those connotations.
(Whether I get over this one or the bedbugs first is still up in the air)

We’re going to spend a lot more time with this malicious demon - Professor

Dysentery? I thought they only got that in war - Student

Seminar: we may not have read that part of the Phaedo…
Professor: so then let’s go on to Aristotle-
Seminar: [laughter]

Cause you are not in a kennel, you are… wherever you study - Professor

That solves everything - Student

This is Hume’s problem, Descartes doesn’t have this problem, he has other problems, Plato doesn’t have this problem, actually neither of them have problems, they’ve been dead a long time. - Professor

Absolutism can be prohibitively expensive - Professor

Professor: [Student 1] came in this morning, and was it painful?
Student 1: very.
Professor: it’s long, takes about two and a half hours.
Student 2: does it!?!

Just call be Louis - Professor

Professor: why is there a duckbilled platypus?
Student: because it’s great

And like all small, tight-knit groups of people there is a lot of fights and bickering - Student

When your mind is at its most chaotic, when you have three papers due at the same time, 500 pages to read for history, your cat has cancer, you got a parking ticket for your bicycle... what else can go wrong for a student at Seattle University... you lost your Liebnitz text running from the police at Occupy Seattle, oh and you’re drinking again too - Professor

Student 1: I’m inclined to think that the understanding is a substance
Student 2: I think it's gooey

McDowell is like Satan, he has contrived the whole thing.
- Professor

The passing of excrement was revolutionized by Chinese rhubarb, among other things like antimony. If Hooke ever ate Casu Marzu, he had many many ways of getting it out of his body. And Louis XIV had a tapeworm. That's just all you ever need to know in life.
- Student

There are many more but these are perhaps the most judicious]

5. I am actually capable of writing a essay at three in the morning. It won’t be pretty but it will get a passing grade.
[I am apparently also capable of researching and writing a ten page paper in 24 hours. I would not advise either of these things but it’s nice to know what you are capable of.]

6. Things I’ve learned from Hulu ads:
Verizon phones cause property damage and are built on stolen technology
Everyone wants pictures of your baby
Cellphone companies can control the weather
Buying car insurance is analogous to any number of mildly humorous situations
War is so much fun!
Having insurance makes bad things ok
Your child’s future happiness will be determined by which formula you feed her
Five hour energy hired a middle school drama student to make their ads
You should never be without a glowing rectangle to distract you
Someone is willing to pay for random environmental advice
Everyone aspires to be a white, upper-middle-class family of four
Hipsters drive Fiats
Cool people drink Mike’s Hard Lemonade, even cooler people drink Bud Light

7. Cormac McCarthy is an amazing man (technically a cheat, I knew this one already)
[a demonstration -

Black: That’s what sent you off the platform, it wasn’t anything personal?
White: Oh it’s personal, that’s what an education does, it makes the world personal
- Sunset Limited (film version now on youtube in 15 minute segments!)

I think by the time you're grown you're as happy as you're goin to be. You'll have good times and bad times, but in the end you'll be about as happy as you was before. Or as unhappy. I've knowed people that just never did get the hang of it.
- No Country For Old Men

See, isn’t he the greatest living writer?]

8. Arthurian Romance: shit makes so much more sense when you’ve read it.
[it was the core of chivalric literature, which was the popular reading material for almost 500 years. The modern novel owes everything to it. The tabletop adventure role-playing game, and by extension the online role-playing game, owes it even more. Smart people reference it almost as much as Shakespeare. It makes A Knight’s Tale, the film with Heath Ledger, really, really funny.]

9. Life is confusing and I don’t know what to do
[The college life is not working. I am finding it unbearably stressful and lonely. I have waited more than a year now for it to improve naturally. It does not look like I am going to adjust to the rigors of academic life. Nor does it look like I am going to develop a close group of friends. There is simply no reason for these things to happen that has not been met in the past year.
I do not need to talk with my professors. I don’t need to take a break or change my major. All of the standard solutions are ineffective. If there was an immediately apparent course of action I would have found it.
This is not end-of-the-quarter stress speaking, my finals are over. This is just me honestly attempting to evaluate whether I want to put myself through another two quarters (or two years) of life at SU.
Conversely, education is my only way forward. I know what I want to do with my life but I don’t know of any other way to get there than to finish my degree and then get several more. I am failing at college pretty spectacularly but I know of no other way to get to the only future I can actually imagine enjoying.]

10. This one is going to be another cheat because I knew it before, but this quarter has really driven it home: It is impossible to know how things will turn out.
[the startlingly unexpected occurs on a regular basis, in the words of the author of A Fish Out Of Water, “something may happen and you never know what”]

No comments:

Post a Comment