Archive for November, 2010

Planning for the Inevitable (The Twilight Walkthrough (Pg. 380-389)

November 30, 2010 Leave a comment

“Edward’s impatience was almost tangible as we moved at human speed to the forest edge?”

We left off two weeks ago with a trio of new vampires who have come curious at the loud noises that they heard which they figured could only be produced by vampires playing baseball. They then became curious not only at the Cullen’s ability to remain in one place for long periods of time but also that Bella, a human, was just hanging around with them. Carlisle instructed Edward to take Bella home and the three vampires were going to join him at the Cullen’s house.

They are in an isolated clearing in the middle of the woods, so it makes sense that they want the prey out of the area. What doesn’t make sense is why they are moving at normal speed. They don’t normally travel like that by themselves so why now? Obviously, these people are frightened of the new three so I guess they are keeping their guard up. First off, the Cullens outnumber Laurent and company, and even though we are forced to picture the alien vampires as being older and more ferocious that’s just appearance wise. If Laurent looked 50 it could still mean that he’s younger than Edward. Furthermore moving slowly is silly, even if we grant their speed is based on precaution, because you have Edward who could sense the volition of any potential attacker, and more importantly you have Alice who should see it coming before even that happens. They get her to the truck and buckle her in, for some reason Emmet holds her down. Their plan is to head South to some sort of vampire safe house, all of which makes zero sense.

The three vampires smelled Bella’s humanity and started drooling, or the equivalent of. Isn’t this normal behavior for their kind? The Cullens reaction to this is evidence that they have never been around other vampires in the midst of humans before. Carlisle has some experience which is why he is the most rational of all of them. As soon as they are away from him they formulate escape and attack plans. Edward has a problem.

His problem is that, like the people that were harassing Bella in Port Angeles, he believes that thought equals action.* We don’t know what those three were planning but Edward equated their thoughts with action and almost killed them for it. This is the type of reasoning that puts women in Burqas in the Middle East: if I as a male see a beautiful woman and find her desirable that desire is uncontrollable and I will sexually assault her. Therefore all women must be covered from head to toe in shapeless garments, it’s for their own protection.

Edward’s mentality is just the same. He needs to kill the trio because they reacted normally in the presence of food. Now this would all make sense of Edward and company weren’t vampires, but they are. Because they want to eat her they are already guilty of doing so, it’s really for Bella’s safety that he wants to murder three of his own kind for being normal.

This leads me to a problem I can foresee in the series, that like his supposed age his vampire-ness is going to come and go. Caution is ok, but paranoia is just over-reacting. How does Bella react?

I won’t! You have to take me back–Charlie will call the FBI! They’ll be all over your family–Carlisle and Esme! They’ll have to leave, to hide forever.”

Strange phrasing but otherwise ok. Bella’s father is a cop, and if she’s gone for too long he knows who she is with. I doubt his reaction would be to immediately call the Feds** but she can’t just be locked away somewhere, she does have her own life to live.

Not over me, you don’t! You’re not ruining everything over me!

Damn it. I thought she was having a normal reaction to be forcefully dragged away and hidden from the world. Instead she’s worried that the poor vampires will have to pull anchor and move to another place. Something they’ve done before. The problem is that she’s entirely romanticized the world of vampires. Much like people do with the American Mafia, wanting to be a part of that world without realizing that all of that money comes from drugs, prostitution, robbery, and murder. Bella fails to understand that if the Cullens have interactions with others of their own kind then those others will more than likely be blood drinkers. They aren’t always going to be friendly since they will not have had the aid of Puritan English Christianity to purge them of their normal nature to eat humans.

He’s a tracker, Alice, did you see that? He’s a tracker!”

So, not Laurent, but the other male, James, is some sort of Vampire ranger or something. This worries Edward, more so than it should because couldn’t all Vampires with their superior senses track a human? Edward did in Port Angeles so what is the big deal, aside from the fact that Edward isn’t James?

They just aren’t listening to Alice: “There’s another option,” Alice said quietly.

They ignore the psychic. The issue here is that just because he’s a tracker, and because he mentally planned to attack Bella, doesn’t mean he’s going to do it. Seriously, I’m not being nit-picky here, all of this is taking place before their visit to the Cullen’s house where Carlisle is going to have to explain how it works in his neck of the woods. He wants to eat her, out of his own nature, but Laurent is the patriarch of this clan. If Laurent says no, he’ll have to obey…that’s how it works in the other vampire media.

They formulate a plan, after repeatedly ignoring Alice, that Bella is going to go home gather her things with Edward, and leave town for Phoenix. Apparently Charlie is going to just agree to this. They tell her to say whatever it is she needs to and Charlie will just let her leave. Because every parent is just like that, he wouldn’t tell her to sleep on it and talk about it in the morning. He wouldn’t need to contact her mother to make sure she can return to Phoenix.

After all Bella is “quite old enough to get my own place.” With no money, no job, and no references; in a city she hated while also being a minor. The plan is so stupid that it’s like it has been dreamed up by 14 year olds, not one 17 year old and three near Centurions.

At this point Carlisle and the three should be back at his house discussing the rules of the Olympic forest. So they are safe, but you wouldn’t know it from their discussions. They’ve decided that Bella and Edward will go into the house, Alice will wait in the car ready to go, and Emmett will walk around outside looking for the Tracker. It’s a decent plan, but I have a better one: why doesn’t Edward use his ESP to see if the other vampires are around and if they aren’t just wait outside her window or in her room like he usually does? Emmet and Alice can run back up, since they are all so powerful and outnumber the one vampire they are afraid of–it’s much simpler. I said their plan was decent but it ignores their superpowers. Alice’s foresight should be able to detect them coming, it did before, and Emmet has the super strength so what is the problem?

Any plan at this point is needless. Edward should just wait at the house and send Alice and Emmett home to ask Carlisle what is going on. When they get there if it’s just Laurent and Victoria hurry back. That is far more reasonable. Instead Edward and Bella enter the house to go through with operation “ridiculous.”

*Just like Immanuel Kant

**For some obvious jurisdictional confrontation that we see in the movies I picture Charlie being the loose cannon, “Forks is my town and its my daughter, you Feds just think you can stroll in and take this investigation over! You can go to hell, I’m doing this my way!”

Categories: book reviews, Twilight

Power Point II: Result I

November 30, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s weird how things turn out sometimes. My Mondays are usually the longest days, mainly because they are chronologically my longest days. It began odd, I forgot to set my alarm to the correct AM/PM setting which was bad because last night was the first Sunday night since the semester began that I actually slept through the night. It was good too, because today I had one of my two power point presentations and it’s nice to have done that not feeling completely wasted from lack of sleep. I stirred a little when I heard Lux come home but I wasn’t moving. I was in warm taco mode and very little will cause me to move spatially out of bed from my own volition, when she shook me in bed I had that odd feeling. The one where you are reactionally angry at being forced out of a cozy situation but are happy that you were because you weren’t doing it yourself.

My clothes were already out, I had chosen to dress darkly for the presentation. I don’t know why but it seemed fitting if I was going to spend fifteen minutes in front of Doctors, PhD candidates, and others (I really have no idea who some of the people in the class are but they aren’t typical students) railing against pseudo-science bullshit I could dress in any color–as long it was black. Eating my breakfast I was ready for the presentation, my laptop already in my bag with my folders stuffed to the 10 pound limit with class papers it was all the matter of making my coffee and Gwen and I were off.

The sad news on the radio hit me, not the lobbing of a missile at Sarah Palin’s allies in N. Korea by the US allies in S. Korea, but that Leslie Nielsen had died from complications due to pneumonia (or more realistically he died from Pneumonia), I guess we can finally call him “Shirley” now.

Class 1: Philosophical Anthropology has been dragging lately. For the last month or so being in that class has been a difficult process. With the exception of John Dewey, most of the Philosophers we have been reading are basically talking in a circle about some elusive concept of the philosophy of man. The trouble with this subject is that in the end it leads to some abstract definition, and that’s abstract by even philosophical terms, that if you look at the time period that it was written in (late 19th to mid 20th centuries) you can see the influence of Eastern Philosophy as that had hit its vogue being imported into Europe from China and Japan. It’s almost like the Beatles adopting the sitar and everyone thinking that because its different it must be unique and therefore clever…almost, at least the Beatles could get a tune out of their Eastern experiment.* If it isn’t that, it’s philosophy based on early 20th century European anthropology, sociology, and genetics…but guess what foundering and then flowering country was doing all of that work in the post WWI European community? If you guessed France, you were wrong. I’ll give you a hint: they went from third world country to first world power in less time than it took Europe to fight two World Wars.

Yes good old Germany where Eugenics became synonymous with Genetics. The worst part: it’s completely obvious in the work of Gehlen’s, “Man in the Age of Technology” which direction Germany was headed. Ideology was replacing rationality–never a good sign.

My email box was full, and it would continue to fill as Cyber Monday was trying to remind the internet that it existed. Two were of importance: the drafts for the work I had submitted at the end of last week.

The presentation was good with a couple of corrections. This made me more at ease because for some reason I am insanely unsure of myself submitting any work at all. My first presentation for Dewey seemed to go well, but I have received no feedback about it. Then I submitted a drastically cut down revision of the presentation and again received no feedback. With drafts being reviewed I breathed a sigh of relief.

I’m not a perfectionist, no one will make that claim about me generally. I often take the pragmatic approach believing that what is good is what is good enough. With school work in the past I relied on class participation, arguments, and the like to bolster B papers into A grades. This time it’s different, I need to get things right…but worst of all I need the professors to see it. Maybe its because I used to be the one standing in front of the room, maybe its because I now know what the grading system is actually like, or maybe its because I’m older and this stuff kind of matters now. But either way I must have scanned that power point over and over again looking for short corrections or revisions that would have made a difference.

The problem was, and I didn’t realize it until about 15 minutes left in class, that I don’t present everything that I know on a subject. My presentation contained 31 slides originally, 26 at the end. The only substantial criticism I received on it was that it didn’t maintain its thesis. Which is sort of correct, I get why someone reading it would think that, but that’s because someone reading it doesn’t understand that it’s only about 1/3 of what I am going to talk about. The rest is in my head. The presentation went excellently because I didn’t just read the slides, I explained their content and constantly reminded the audience what it was about.

The odd thing was that I actually felt nervous giving it. It was a unique feeling that I haven’t felt in a long long time. But then, I stood up replacing the nervousness with pacing and gestures that calmed me mentally. I know for next time that I am standing up when I start not 5 slides into it. Although it would be nice to have a remote/wand thingy instad of having to click the touch pad.

My favorite part was when I was explaining the complete and utter lack of evidence for the “vaccines cause autism” and one of the professors in the class began asking about Andrew Wakefield’s study and I cut him off explaining that not only was that study retracted as being false but that Wakefield was stripped of his medical license. I think I may have wowed him but its hard to tell because he always smiles when he talks.

If it wasn’t for the trashing of a paper draft I had turned in last week, I would have had a great academic day.

*And this is the period of the Beatles music that I abhor so understand how much I hate this other shit. 

Categories: philosophy, School

Power Point

November 25, 2010 Leave a comment

About one minute ago I finished the second of my presentations for the semester. I spend a lot of time on them, more about crafting the presentation than anything else. The thing about presentations is that often times they make up a good chunk of the grade but it’s rather unclear as to what you are actually being graded on. Of course the obvious gradings are present: whether or not the presenter knows the information that he is presenting or merely parroting it. That much is apparent. Yet what else can we really be graded on?

Poise? After looking that word up I realized that having poise is important but unless the person is grossly nervous or stammering it seems to be an elusive concept. In either case it won’t be my problem, speaking in public only bothers me a little bit and it goes away as soon as I have the floor. That’s not braggadacio, I mean it is, but my teaching experience and previous college experience pretty much necessitates that I be comfortable in front of people. 

The presentation itself? I don’t mean the information but the cosmetic presentation. This is where I may have some trouble. When Trocaire converted all of their classroom over to “smart” rooms I began an intensive systematic conversion of my lectures into power point. Initially the conversion was pretty simple, I would just cut and paste the lecture notes into the slides and then fix the spacing and delete the unimportant stuff from it. Then the crafting began and I realized that while I am not a funny person since my jokes are pretty lame I had an opportunity to embrace the lameness and work in funny pictures to the slide shows. 

Whenever applicable (in the loosest sense of the term) I would work in pictures of robots (Cartesian proof of the other), models (genetic engineering), and time travelers (time travel). I would play on puns with homonym pictures and the like. My problem now is that the temptation to do this is still present and I don’t know if I ought to be making these jokes for the Grad school presentations. I suppose this is just nerves because they will be the first grades I will get for the semester but I know that I don’t take this subject nearly as serious as others do. Not to say that I don’t care to succeed but that I would rather have a bit of fun with it rather than the mindless academic grind that some of these classes/students seem to want. 

My choice was that one presentation would be all information and pertinent pictures while the other is more, Dave-like*. It feels inauthentic because I know that I am hedging my bets. The more entertaining one is about holes, and literally in that paper I referred to misshapen doughnut as a “malformed abomination,” which caused me to laugh out loud for a bit after I typed it. The more serious one is on beliefs versus reality in medicine. A more serious subject with pertinent world application. Perhaps this was the best choice after all, then again I’m probably just rationalizing.

Categories: School

Shell Game

November 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Remember several months ago when everyone was in an uproar about a private land transaction in New York City? It seemed that someone wanted to buy an old Burlington Coat Factory and turn it into a community center for Muslims that would include a prayer room, which by the definition of the religion, would be called a “Mosque.” This was an issue so apparently important to our national culture that it dominated 24 hour cable “news” channels, papers, appearing as a cover story in Time Magazine, and even caused candidates running for office to feel the need to weigh in on the issue. Then weeks after it broke everyone seemed to forget about the issue.

Over and over again the rationale for the seeming need to prevent this abomination to our free country was that we can’t allow Islam to plant a flag of victory so close to the site of the former World Trade Center which we all know was attacked by Islam at large because we all know that Islam is practiced by its followers in participation of one organization and not various sects and denominations. I believe it was Sarah Palin that called the Ground Zero, “hallowed ground” and thus could not be defiled by the presence of a Mosque. Even though the building in question was not actually in Ground Zero but two city blocks away.

My question at the time was how close is too close? The Right Wing argument was always that two blocks is insensitive. This statement is made without qualification and thus is to the point of being meaningless since the actual question has never been answered. If too close is two blocks then where is not “too close?” Comments were made on my initial post on the subject, to the extent that the lefties (and by association, myself) were too stupid to see that this is allowing victory for Islam more so than the giant hole in the ground that still exists.

In all of this one interesting fact has been overlooked: at 30 Cliff St, in New York city, about five blocks from the “sacred” site of Ground Zero a Mosque has just been opened. Not only that, but this building disproves entirely the Right Wing sentiment regarding the other Mosque, no Al-Qaeda propaganda has talked about it, not one person seems to be crying because it offends them, none of the effects which were predicted as being so offensive to Americans have actually happened. It is still within site of Ground Zero and our national image hasn’t suffered because of it.

The best part: the place opened in September, while the “outrage” was still strong. So when the new Trade Center is built it will have to build in the shadow of 30 cliff st’s, and possibly Park Place’s Mosques obviously showing that Islam has indeed won. The whole thing was probably just a shell game anyway, the devious Muslims. They generate the controversy on Park Place so they can slip in Cliff St without anyone noticing. Bravo my Muslim friends, bravo.

Categories: current events, religion

Go Ask Alice (The Twilight Walkthrough Pg. 369-380)

November 16, 2010 Leave a comment

My eyes were on Edward, as usual…”

It’s night time, and the vampires are playing baseball. Why we need a special name for what they do is beyond my comprehension but Bella isn’t paying attention to the game, she’s watching dreamboat Edward. We get it, he’s good looking and she can’t take her eyes off him. At this point in the story this is a fact that has been established so for the author to remind us constantly that this is the case makes it less and less believable. It also makes me think that her idea of infatuation is based less on her experience and more on what tween girls do when they seem someone like Justin Bieber or whatever teenage heart throb is in vogue at the time. Then something happens, finally something related to the concept that we call “plot.”

Alice?’ Esme’s voice was tense.” Alice grows rigid, which we know is related to her prescience. Remember the prologue? Where Bella was talking about how she expected to die, maybe we’ve finally come back to what this story is supposed to be about.

I didn’t see it–I couldn’t tell.’ She whispered.” What I like about this is that she isn’t talking to anyone in particular, she’s pulling the old Gandalf move where some little detail has been missed and the only way to work it out is to chide herself aloud. Gandalf actually has the best rationale for speaking out loud, that it’s an old habit of the wise to speak to the smartest person in the room, i.e. himself. We see this kind of thing currently in House M.D., Dr. Who, and any incarnation of Sherlock Holmes. The reason is simple: no one else could possibly understand how the detail was missed as they are the only ones that could possible have interpreted it in the first place. It’s lonely at the top for them, thus as it is for Alice. Only she could know that three vampires are on their way, that they have heard the baseball game being played. She missed it somehow, probably because she was too busy tossing pitches that her family members could hit.

Three Vampires. Unlike every other interaction that Bella has had thus far with other people this time she might actually be in danger. Three creatures are coming that will, in fact, want to eat her. So what should the Cullens do? The best course of action is to have Edward take Bella away from the field. Edward doesn’t think that he can get her back in time. But, back where? He doesn’t have to get her home before they show up, he just has to get her away from the field since it was the noise of the game that drew them in the first place. A simple distraction will be all that it takes, Carlisle and the rest keep playing while the girl is shuttled to safety. Instead they stand around waiting.

Three!’ he (Emmet) scoffed, ‘Let them come.” This is where Emmet is established as the protector of the clan. He defies the coming Vampires like Theoden King at Helm’s Deep spits upon the invading force from Isengard. His reaction though is a bit extreme. Alice hasn’t said whether they are friendly or not, Edward hasn’t been able to perceive them with his ESP, but Emmet is all jacked up ready to fight. Maybe it’s just that he’s preparing himself but it doesn’t come off that way.

“I stated the obvious. ‘The others are coming now.‘” Lest we forget that Bella is present she proceeds to add nothing to the situation. In this case she’s doing one of two things: either observing the very fact that everyone is talking about, giving us the fun but deleted scene of the Cullen clan looking at her, rolling their eyes, and one of them saying, “sooooo, anyway…” Or she knows they are coming imminently which is not possible because she doesn’t have any perception powers that would give her that information. This is probably one of the numerous times in the book where she should just be quiet.

The three come out of the woods. Not just come out but one enters the field and then steps back to allow a second to place himself in front. This would be the leader of the group, Laurent. Vampire movies are typically similar when they aren’t about Dracula. The bad Vampire always has a name like “Laurent.” We’ve seen, “Viktor,” “Markus,” “Deacon Frost,” “Damskinos,” “Reinhardt,” so “Laurent” fits in with the cliche, although he’s missing some “k”s in his name. We’re given some descriptions of the three, but since it’s night it is really hard to establish how Bella could make out the details like Laurent’s olive skin beneath his pallor. The other annoying this is that Meyer relies on her “cat” fetish to describe their movements as Feline. At this point it’s pretty over done.

What is nice is how the three tentatively approach the others. This is described as being like predators that are meeting up with others like them on alien turf. It makes a good deal of sense that this would be the case because that is what they are doing, literally. Laurent explains his presence, “We’re heading North, in fact, but we were curious to see who was in the neighborhood.”

The sound of the game attracted them, I’ll but that. Superhumans playing baseball would be a distinct sound so naturally their feline curiosity got the best of them. Laurent explains that they’ve eaten just outside of Seattle and Carlisle invites them to his house, his permanent house. Laurent is shocked, “Permanent? How do you manage that?”

Again, a good exchange. Meyer has established that modern vampires have to be nomadic hunter/gatherer types if they wish to remain inconspicuous. I like the shock of Laurent, because it’s clear envy. He wants to know how to not have to constantly be on the move, however he’s not going to like the answer which is “vegetarianism.” Carlisle won’t explain it here because he wants the intruders away from Bella. But he asks about their travels to see where they are from, “We’ve been on the hunt all the way down from Ontario…”

None of that sentence makes sense with the information we’ve been given. First off, they already hunted outside of Seattle. So they are fine now. Then again, Nomadic types of the prehistorical sort we’re basically always on the hunt so we can overlook this lapse. The one we can’t is the inconsistent direction the three are heading in. Laurent has already said they have been heading North, but now they’ve hunting all the way down from Ontario. If they came from Windsor Ontario and travelled to Forks, they would be heading West and slightly North as the crow flies. Any other location in the Canadian Province is going to be from the Southwestern direction. In this case “down from Ontario” makes sense. But…Laurent said they were heading North so why are they coming down from Ontario?

Two possibilities: Meyer is an idiot or Laurent is lying. The former is strange because you would have to be a complete idiot who has never looked at a map to know that for the most of the United States, Canada is North. There is a very small percentage of the landmass of Alaska in which Canada is not North and excepting the cases of Detroit and Buffalo where you travel East and West respectively to get into Canada, your ignorance would be of such magnitude that writing a book would be impossible. The latter position is equally untenable because there is no reason for Laurent to lie. Not even a, “wow I just killed eight people in your area.” My conclusion, bad writing she messed up the details of the traveling trio. It’s surprisingly the only reasonable explanation.

Then the Trio gets wind of, literally they smell her on the wind, of Bella’s humanity. Her organic humanity because she clearly doesn’t have the emotional kind. This sends them into a the kind of state a coiled snake gets, or a ready-to-pounce cat. Which makes, again no sense, because they’ve just eaten. It’s a bit presumptuous of them as well as she could be the Cullen’s snack, a comment that Laurent actually makes. Emmet and Edward start snarling but Carlisle calms them down tells Edward to take Bella home and the three will accompany the rest to the Carlisle residence. As all of this occurs the women are absent. They contribute nothing and are ignored while the men take to the business of important matters.

It’s a queer fact, because maybe someone should have just asked Alice how it turns out. Which leads me to believe that her powers are going to come and go for expedience’s sake. 

Writing Papers II

November 13, 2010 Leave a comment

The hardest thing about grading papers for me was the actual reading of them. I know that it sounds rather obvious, but what I mean is that more often than not I would get papers about philosophers and subjects I hated. I’ve said it numerous times before but I loathe Karl Marx’s political philosophy (he did write other things but I haven’t read them so I can’t really comment) and in my political philosophy classes it never failed that I would get at least one Marx paper. Every one of them neglected to explain why Marx thought the revolution was inevitable, to this day I don’t understand why he thought so, and still to this day I know that it isn’t. It got to the point where I knew from the opening line of the students’ papers that it was going to be a difficult read. It however never affected my grading of the paper, if it were well written and correct (as correct as Marx gets) it could still be an A.

Same with the mountains of abortion papers I received in all of my biomedical ethics classes. It didn’t matter whether the person writing the paper was pro-choice or pro-life, it was just too hard to really care. They never brought anything new to the table and I tired of reading them so much that the last time I taught the class I simply banned it as a subject. Again though, they could be an A if they were really well written and argued.

For sake of the students’ willingness to express their opinions I always explained that nothing I said in the class should be taken as being my opinion. I told them that with very few exceptions they should always assume that I am arguing the philosopher’s views or in the cases of debates that I would always take the devil’s advocate arguing the minority position in the class. This has caused me to argue for several things that I disagree with: the existence of God as being a given, anything Descartes says, pro-life, and Kantian ethics. I did so because if I expressed my opinion I knew that one of two things would happen: that the class would just agree with me out of laziness or thinking that agreement would give them better grades and that they would be nervous about taking contrary positions.

I bring it up because I am in this conundrum right now as a student. In my philosophical anthropology class the professor has stated that he dislikes the philosophy of American John Dewey. Having written a 20 page presentation on him I felt that enough work has been done by me that he might as well be the subject of my final paper. He’s already figured prominently in another final paper but since the professor basically stifled any conversation about him it’s hard to want to write this paper. I’ve argued against professors before based on their dislike for certain subjects. Then, there was at least a dialogue. This time it’s been shut down.

He can’t grade based on my like for Dewey (as well as another two students in the class who share it) but it’s hard to be motivated to do so. This is why you can’t do this from the perspective of a teacher, I know I can write a good Dewey paper but the trepidation is going to inhibit it. The best way around it is to concentrate on form rather than substance but those papers aren’t fun to write. They are merely a grind attaching itself to method. I’ll probably just save this one for last.

Writing Papers

November 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Graduate school is two things: both easier and harder than undergrad. For most of the semester it’s easier…a lot easier. You don’t have any real assignments, the classes usually only meet once a week, and the classes are smaller which is supposed to stimulate more of a round table discussion. It never works because no one really wants to talk that much in class, plus in upper level education the classes are more about the professor’s interest than in teaching something that must be taught. There aren’t a lot of survey classes in the 500s and above.

Of course, midway through the semester is when it becomes harder…a lot harder. That’s when the end is near and Thanksgiving Break looms on the horizon. Sure that week or so off is nice, but when it’s over the semester is ends right behind it and the papers are due. So it’s writing time, no longer is my week a series of outings with Gwen while I absent mindedly highlight a journal article or flip through the first book in the class. Now, everything I do, must have some sort of purpose to it. In fact right now I am currently thinking of two things that I should be reading and one of three things that I should be writing.

I say one of three, because I did something over the weekend that I have never done before: I worked ahead. In theory, theory mind you, these semesters would be distinctly easier if students practiced the following: write one paper a month. A given semester is roughly four months long give or take a couple weeks. Since most people choose classes based on preference first and then necessity the one paper a month system could work really well. The first papers should be of the preference category, those classes that you are taking because you want to take them. They are the easiest to write plus it gives you more time to refine them into the papers you would like them to be for publication/dissertation purposes. You should also have greater knowledge of the subject matter going into them.

The necessity classes go last, because you aren’t taking them because you want to. They are more excruciating to both write and research, furthermore it’s often difficult to even conceive of a subject for which to write. As the class progresses something ought to pique your interest and it’s best not to force some garbage in the beginning making you hate the rest of the semester.

But with the one paper, one month by the time the last month rolls around the student should be wrapping up that last essay. The only trouble with this program is that it forces a person to neglect doing the required readings for the rest of the classes. This can be faked but it definitely leads to boredom. More often than not you do have an added assignment of having to do a presentation on a subject in the class. Only fools pick two separate subjects for the presentation and the paper.

Earlier I posted my first presentation for this adventure, that was only the first section of nine and the presentation turned out to be ten pages long (single spaced, I don’t write in double out of habit). It was quite a lot of work, and I’m using that research to write two papers, one of which I finished last weekend.

Which is nice, but this also happens to be the class wherein the professor doesn’t look at drafts prior to handing them in, we have 30 minute “interviews” about our paper to determine the validity of the arguments contained. Although I’m confident in the paper, I would rather have finished something that could have been reviewed just to put my mind at ease.

No matter, I rewrite the presentation and start paper-milling this weekend. You, dear reader, are going to see a lot more philosophical work one this web page since most of my writing must be class oriented little times like these are going to be fewer for the next month and week. Enjoy the grind, I know that will make one of us.

Categories: School