Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fingers, Movies and Music

So... I haven't been able to feel two of my fingers on my left hand for about two weeks now. I'm assuming this is a bad thing? It's definitely making typing and other finger-oriented occupations interesting.

Saw "Wit" a couple nights ago. It's an HBO movie (Emma Thompson as lead) about an English professor with cancer. All right, so that's the very abbreviated version. I will not claim it as a favorite or an enjoyable film, but it was compelling... to say the least. Slightly less barebones synopsis: Vivian Bearing (Thompson) is a well-established and very demanding English professor (her specialty is John Donne) when she finds out she has Stage 4 Metastic Ovarian Cancer. Basically, the majority of the film is her narrating her experiences and how she 'got to where she is'. Quotes "Death, be not proud" quite a few times. Also, one of my very favorite orchestral pieces is played at intervals throughout.

Transitioning into that: If you have an hour (Movt. 1 is 27 minutes, Movement to is just over nine minutes and Movt. 3 is 19 minutes) and can stand orchestral music, listen to Henryck Gorecki's "Sorrowful Songs". Probably some of the most beautiful music written in the 20th century. It's a piece for strings and soprano. Heartwrendingly beautiful. Particularly the second movement. The music was written by Gorecki after World War II, the lyrics for the second movement are a prayer to Mary that was inscribed by a young girl on the wall of a cell at Gestapo headquarters in Zakopane, Poland. The other two movements have equally poignant music and lyrics, but I have always loved the second best --you will not understand until you listen to it. You have these long, sustained chords in the strings, providing the foundation for this ethereal soprano melody. Beautiful.

Lyrics from Movt. 2
Mother, Mother, do not cry
Queen of Heaven
Protect me always
Hail Mary, Full of Grace.

Mamo, nie płacz, nie.
Niebios Przeczysta Królowo,
Ty zawsze wspieraj mnie.
Zdrować Mario, Łaskiś Pełna.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mr. Motormouth and other things

Alrighty then. I am going to voice this here and now and then be done with it. I am fed up with feeling intellectually inferior (or treated as an intellectual inferior?) because I do not use five-syllable words in daily conversation and do not repeat the word 'cosmology' every five seconds. Can't I be a semi-intelligent person who speaks in layman's terms?! Mr. Motormouth, one of my oh-so-endearing classmates, seems to be of the opinion that the larger the words you use, the smarter you are. It doesn't matter that none of us really care what he's saying --because essentially he's saying the same thing over and over again... with big words.

May I present Exhibit A, damas y caballeros: Before class, a classmate (not Motormouth) and I got into a discussion on amniocentesis (current topic of said class), which transitioned to where we get our preconceived notions on certain things (por ejemplo: abortion, quality of life for disabled people) which ultimately transferred to a question of belief systems and how we --as Christians and potential academics-- play the balance between faith/belief and academically accepted knowledge. Mr. Motormouth walks in and joins the conversation. Everything goes well for the first fifteen seconds or so until he dominates the conversation with his attempt at some grandiose sort of philosophy (that just also happens to be slightly off topic). It also didn't help that he was talking so quickly I didn't even understand half of what he was saying.

Am I too picky? Probably. What's a girl to do?
______________

On a different note: I think I am the closest I have ever been in my entire life to being a teacher's pet... I'm not sure what to make of it. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Is it foolish of me to say that I'm tickled pink about this? I have never been the one with the answers, the one the teacher calls on, or the one the teacher makes reference to, no matter how much I understand or enjoy the material. I never expected or tried to be either. What has happened here? My normal classroom role entails sitting in the back row, being quiet, inevitably stuttering when I'm called upon, and trying to ignore imploring looks to speak from my professor so that I don't make a fool of myself.

Then again, we'll see how this all plays out when I have to turn in my paper in two weeks time... My status just might change after she sees that. Not that I'm particularly bad at essays, but I've never had this professor before and am not sure what to expect.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Very amused

So every once in awhile, I just have to take these quizzes --some insatiable urge to participate in the inane? Anyway, just took this lovely one today and was amused by the outcome. Found it particularly apropos and was surprised to find myself compared to my favorite Jane Austen heroine of all time.

"Which Jane Austen Character Are You?"

Anne Elliot



You are instinctive, sensible and loving. You tend to blame yourself for the past actions that you now regret making. You are not very open so the others find it easy to take advantage of your flexible character to shift it to their own will... You should give more credit to yourself, because in the end you will act with determination and constancy to aquire what you want and achieve happiness!


P.S. If you haven't read Persuasion, go find a copy and read it immediately!

Monday, September 22, 2008

A technology dependence

The network on campus was down for over an hour earlier this afternoon. It's amazing just how upset people got over it. Granted, I was one of those who was quite edgy as well. "I've got homework to do" or "My test is online only until one o'clock". We are ridiculously dependent on our gadgets. What would ever happen if we just lost everything for a day. Can you imagine the chaos?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

At the library...

There is someone two cubicles down from me talking on her cell phone while playing music that can be heard by all. In the library. I am not irate, but just a little bit peeved. I do not want to hear about your social life and how you're having trouble getting your Comp I homework done or how your boyfriend won't go out with you and he's such an idiot because he has to work. All I really want to do is sit, study and write in some semblance of silence. What has happened to library etiquette, I ask you!

Anyway... Enjoying the beautiful day today. It's positively balmy (translate: over 70 degrees fahrenheit) and the sun is shining. Trying to get some work done while I have access to the internet. Library's open 'til six so I have... just about four hours left.

Have my second day of work tomorrow. We'll see how it goes... I really hope the hours work out because with the price of gas as it is, a measly 10 hours a week just doesn't cut it.

And now I have a lovely gentleman to my right who has his music on and is singing along! In the library! Now I'm starting to get upset. Do I ask them to please be quiet? Shouldn't they know this? It's a library after all? Have we forgotten the idea of 'inside voices' from Kindergarten? Wonderful! Someone on the other side of him asked him to be quiet! Silence is golden, particularly in the library.

On to something a bit more cheerful: So, last night Cyrano de Bergerac (1950 with Jose Ferrer)was on TCM and it was wonderful! Ach, I love that book. It has been all too long since I read it. I mean really, who can help but love Cyrano de Bergerac? Anyway, so that was fun. Poor Grandma. She walked into the room and I'm sitting there sniffling at the end of the movie and she can't figure out what the heck's wrong because every time I try to explain I start laughing over the absurdity of me crying over a movie and then I have more tears pouring down my face.

Another movie seen recently that was rather enjoyable: 84 Charing Cross Road. Has anyone seen this? I'd never heard of it before and found it at my little library in town. I actually really enjoyed it (this coming from my completely inexpert and uneducated opinion). Main characters are played by Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft.

Also, I've decided that the worst yard job possible is picking up acorns. Yuck. We must have bagged... four yard bags of acorns yesterday alone. I can't believe she usually does that on her own! Those things are heavy and what a pain to try to pick up and bag. I am seeing more and more the beauty of living in the country, where you can let the nuts fall where they may, or in an apartment where someone else handles pesky lawn jobs.

Random note: My grandmother saw Silence of the Lambs in the theatre when it first came out. Even funnier is the fact that she had no idea what she was going to see and was scared out of her wits by it. I don't think she's seen a movie without a recommendation since.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Classes and other stuff

Well, here I am again. About a month into the semester and homework is just now getting heavy. Though, I have to say, the classes are a blast. Being an Anthropology major is so cool because I get to take the really interesting stuff. Well, I suppose that depends on your point of view, but I'm loving it. So what I've got this semester:

Introduction to Archaeology (How I missed the one Intro class I needed, I do not know): Pretty easy overview of archaeological theories, famous archaeologists, discoveries, etc.

Cultures of Latin-America: Lots of fun. Took a similar class (South Asia) last semester with the same professor and really enjoyed it.

Historical Archaeology: This one is the most fun! Basically, we talk about archaeology in relation to post-writing (and mostly post-Gutenburg Press) eras as opposed to the pre-historic stuff. Right now, I'm working on an architectural comparison project as well as researching different decorative techniques for 18th & 19th century ceramic wear. Also, just finished a toponymy project that was really quite interesting. The other good thing about this class is that, though I'm taking it as an under-grad, it is also a 500 level class for grad students, so there's a lot more depth to this one as well.

Medical Anthropology: So far, this one is hands-down the most interesting. It's all about health, obviously, but it takes a very different approach to looking at health-care systems, our perceptions of wellness versus illness/disease, etc. Honestly, this class is in the evening and three hours long and I haven't dozed off once. It's a miracle! The books sound really interesting, too. First read is: Testing Women, Testing the Fetus (about amniocentesis). Second will be: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down (talks about the crossover between medical practices when working with people of other belief systems and cultures). Lastly we have: Stories in the Time of Cholera. And I don't remember anything about this one other than the title...

____________________

All right. So, for those of you who have been asking and I have not been able to get in touch with you, here's the deal on the whole Cleveland Clinic thing. Went about a month ago, they said that they were going to run some tests and then set up some appointments for me with a few other departments (Joy! More Doctors!). Got the bloodwork done while I was there and was sent home to await the phone call with other appointment days. It's been a month and I haven't heard anything, so I've started calling to try and figure out if I've fallen through the cracks with them. Nothing as of yet.

Non-doctor visit update: I'm okay. Prescription pain meds work wonders. ;o) It's actually going better than the previous eight months or so which were nightmarish. Though still in pain and sick, I am not completely incapacitated like I have been before.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Frustrated.

Disclaimer: Feel free to ignore this post as it is the product of late-night ramblings that simply needs an outlet. Also, you are more than welcome to egg the computer in annoyance if you do choose to read it, though I suggest ruining someone else's computer and not your own. Cheers!

Hello. My name is Lindsey and I have a problem.

When you talk to me, you might not see it. In fact, I'm pretty sure you won't. I care little for the latest fashion trends, clothes, makeup, people's opinions of me, etc. I wear what I please and don't care what you think. I criticize people for being stuck on the media's idea of beautiful and I embrace my larger size.

What you don't see is that the sarcasm and stoicism is my armor; my escape clause. I hate myself, you see, I really do. I look in the mirror and I see this overweight, overstressed, ugly, self-conscious geek. For all my criticism of our society's false perception of beauty, deep down I want it. I want to be a girl who walks in, makes heads turn and knows she's the reason.

I went through all of high school and 90% of college without being asked out once. Not even once. It's amazing how the lack of something can hurt a girl's self esteem. I've received quite a variety of back-handed compliments and sugar-coated insults, but nothing cuts quite as deep as going unnoticed.

Looking in the mirror, I wonder it there's even the slightest possibility that someone could be interested in me --love me, even. For all my personality and intelligence, I can't see anything other than me, my scars, my imperfections, my weaknesses. It hurts like hell.

It's always 'if'. If I had done this. If I had tried that. Well, the 'if's are past and now here I am: my own creation and my worst nightmare.

I hate myself for this weakness. I call it my "Disney Princess Syndrome". Symptoms include unrealistic expectations about love, hair and waistline. In my circle of friends, I might be considered the staunchest and loudest opposition to this disease, yet I've succumbed to it just the same. Until the age of 19, I believe I was convinced I would eventually (translate: before I turned 22) a) develop a miraculous hourglass figure, b) wake-up with gorgeous hair and, most importantly, c) meet Prince Charming (or the closest non-fairytale syndicate) and ride off into the sunset to my great love affair.

Hm... yes. That plan went well, quite well. By the age of 20 and some odd months, I had resigned myself to the idea of perpetual solitude and accepted the idea of being single until I die. Well, sort of. Here I am, nearing 24, just as single (perhaps moreso, if that's possible?) as I was at 19, much more cynical and sans my rose-colored glasses. I am fine with my singleness. Really. I'm not actively pursuing anyone and I don't intend to (not saying I wouldn't jump if I had the chance, of course).

Damn you, Disney, it's rooted deep. There's still that stupid, idiotic, imbecilic, moronic, sophomoric, immature and quite positively insane part of my brain that insists I am incredibly lonely without a member of the opposite sex on my arm. For clarification, though they are closely related, this is not the same part of my brain that insists on watching romantic comedies or reading copious amounts of Jane Austen when it breaks out of its cage once a year to my complete horror.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ticked off!

Online classes are complete tripe and should be banned except in the case of competent professors with proven, effective teaching methods. And you should have to pass a "reliability" test to enroll in an online class. Hmph.

I have never before had a class that I have hated in the first week. This one might take that prize. I've also never truly hated an online class. Again, this one might win the banana. I have never before had group projects in an online class... Just how the dickens is that supposed to work?! So frustrated. To use my favorite new word in a quite possibly incorrect context, this class is utter piffle!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Icky Mondays

Ugh. Today has not been a spectacular day so far. Pounding headache woke me this morning. I would've taken the lovely prescription painkillers, but you can't take them on an empty stomach. And of course I can't keep any food down either. Ick. I have progressed to Gatorade and crackers. This is supposed to be good?

Anyway, second week of classes starts today. Not too much to do yet, but hopefully things'll get more interesting these next couple weeks.

No word on a job yet. Phooey. Well, all I can do is keep putting in applications, waiting and praying. It's times like these when I wonder if this was really the better option. I just have to keep reminding myself that if I hadn't quit the nice, reliable well-paying job I would have no health insurance. And that's enough to scare anyone into submission.

Got to get to class.