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Archive for April, 2009

Yes, you read that right: I attend Hogwarts.  I realized in my last post that I referred to my school as Hogwarts, and, for the sake of anonymity, figure that it’s as good a nickname as any – and one I might actually remember!  So, my dear friends, welcome to Hogwarts!

I call this lovely institution of higher education Hogwarts for two very important reasons:

  1. It looks like Hogwarts might, with all the Gothic architecture we’ve got going on
  2. Whenever my mind wanders, I unconsciously start humming “Hedwig’s Theme” from the Harry Potter movies.  My friends started calling me on it back in freshmen year, and it hasn’t stopped!

So welcome to Hogwarts!  Hoggy, hoggy, Hogwarts!

And, for the record: I’m not the only one who feels this way.  One of my professors this year is in his first year of teaching, and told me that during the first few weeks, he kept expecting the students to show up for class in robes.  Which would totally be sweet.

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I suppose I alluded to this in my last post, but having spent approximately 8 hours here today, I must confess my absolute love for the Classics library here.  Yes, I actually have spent 8 hours here today.  And will probably be here for at least another hour.  But allow me to briefly back up.

You see, it is now exam week here at Hogwarts.  All of my exams this year turned out to be take-homes, which on the one hand is awesome because it means I can sleep in everyday and do things on my own schedule.  On the other hand, however, it means I need to spend a million hours working on an exam that should have taken only 3 hours in the regularly scheduled exam time for the class.  Thus the need to find a perfect study spot.

My first final project was due Monday.  So I spent all weekend on it, working in my room on my bed because my desk is far too crowded to do any actual work on when you need to reference something other than your computer (i.e. papers, handouts, books, etc.).  And so I worked on my bed, as I normally do.  Even though I really shouldn’t.  And what do you know, but I end up with my lower back killing me.  So I resolved to no longer work on my bed for such long periods of time.

My next exam is actually not due until tomorrow afternoon at 2pm.  But I started it yesterday (on my bed…), and got really frustrated really fast because it was taking so long and I didn’t quite understand some of the questions and the topic is biology which I’m only taking because it’s a graduation requirement here.  So today I resolved to finish the entire exam so that I could spend tomorrow on the last two exams.

After lunch (I actually had a meeting that took up my morning – and even made me get up early! – so it wasn’t all procrastination, thankyouverymuch!), I headed to the library to find a nice quiet spot in one of the designated quiet areas of the library, which have sumptuous chairs, though the tables could be larger.  And guess what?  It was packed!  I couldn’t find an empty chair with a nearby outlet, much less an empty chair with a nearby outlet and a table!

Saddened, I left and crossed back to my side of campus, bypassing the music hall since I knew I would need a proper studying space and not just a window seat, as I knew that such a spot would not make my back happy in the amount of time this stupid exam would take.  And so, as a last-ditch resort, I thought I’d try the classics library, figuring it might possibly be open and maybe there wouldn’t be many people here.

And, considering I’m here 8 hours later, I figure you can fill in the blanks.

I won’t promise this will be my last post on the glories of the classics library, but I will promise to keep it fairly short 😀

I consider this afternoon/night to be an exploratory excursion.  I have discovered that as long as you are here before the last professor leaves, you are able to stay as long as you want, since they are the ones with the keys.  I have also discovered that if you plan to stay into the wee hours of the night, a professor will give you a “note” on official Hogwarts stationary saying that you have permission to stay beyond closing hours.  It’s so deliciously fabulous!

Yes, I am getting giddy.

I wish I had discovered the glories of this place before now!  I wasted three whole years away from this glorious study room!  And now I only have one short year to make up for it.  And make up for it I shall!  Fear not, dear readers, a plethora of posts shall be enscribed in this room.  Well, once summer is over, of course…

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Yesterday, I talked about how el boyo and I went on a quest through certain buildings on campus in search for a refuge for me when I am feeling overwhelmed and need sleep.  During that quest, we walked through the classics department.  While there, just looking around, I realized how much I truly love that place.  I mean, I’ve always loved learning and school and such, but I’ve never recognized myself as feeling this way.  I felt an overwhelming urge to study Latin over the summer so I would be in top shape for my Latin class in the fall.  I have never in my life felt that particular urge!  I felt so comfortable, so safe.  Even thinking about it now overwhelms me to a certain extent.

I dearly wish that the classics library were open all night.  I would love to spend the majority of my free time there, reading, writing, whatever.  It saddens me that I can’t.

Anyone want to teach me how to pick a lock?

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I have reached the point in the semester where I just need to be alone sometimes.  I was kind of grumpy and annoyed at my friends tonight at dinner, and el boyo sort of called me on it, after they had left.  So I started talking about how I was just feeling really boxed in and I felt like people had so many expectations of me that I just wanted to be left alone and wanted to go home.  I have plans to go to the beach with roomie and P after exams are over, and then come back for P’s graduation.  The problem is that I can only handle P in small doses before she starts grating on my nerves.  And so, looking ahead, I would really prefer to go home after exams rather than go to the beach for a week and then go to graduation.  But I know P would be really hurt if I did that, so I’m not.

But anyway, to get back to my original point…  As I was talking to el boyo about this need to be alone, he mentioned that I get this way every semester, towards the end, and thinking back on the last five semesters, I realize I do.  Every semester, at one point or another, particularly around the end of the semester, everyone around me begins getting extremely stressed, and I guess I internalize it more than I do at other times of the year, and my stress level skyrockets as I feel my personal bubble closing in on me, being suffocating practically.

In past years, I have had somewhere to go to escape the world.

Freshman year, there was an area at the top of the staircase near my dorm room that was just a large landing, with a locked door leading to who knows where.  Once discovered, I went up there all the time to be alone, or talk to my friends on the phone, or read a book, or whatever.

Sophmore year, I moved to a different dorm.  This dorm, however, actually has lounges on the third and fourth floors.  One, many people use, as there is a TV and a huge couch, as well as some tables and chairs.  The other one had some mismatched chairs and a loveseat and two tables that had uneven legs, so not many people used it.  I would go to this second one to be alone or to talk to el boyo without fear of anyone listening in to our private conversations.  If it was in use, then I simply went to a nice corner of the library that I had discovered in the quiet section.

This year, I have been at a loss.  The university hired some interior decorators who redid all of my regular locations, making them more open and comfortable for everyone to use.  Thus, I can no longer go to any of my usual spaces and expect to me alone for 5 minutes much less 5 hours.  As a result, I have not had the chance all semester to escape for a few hours from everyone and everything.  And it has taken its toll.

So tonight, el boyo and I went exploring.

We went into the music building, and explored all the practice rooms.  There are a ton of small practice rooms, each with a piano in them, open and available for whomever wants to use them.  I’m not sure if they close at a certain hour, or if they are open all night, though.  I hope they’re open all night.  Since I don’t play the piano, and they don’t exactly have comfortable seating in them, I wasn’t too sure that they would be useful for my purposes, but we found one that has a huge window seat that would be perfect.  So now I have at least one spot.

The other spot is one that I knew about but had never really explored.  In our classics department, there is a small library with some comfortable chairs, a small couch, and some tables with reading lights.  It is wonderfully cozy.  The only problem is that it is locked at night.  I’m not sure what time it closes, but I’m going to guess 5pm.  Which is really quite unfortunate.  I wonder if I could get a key…

The funny thing about our explorations was seeing which rooms were locked and which weren’t.  None of the classrooms, with their high-tech computers and projectors and Smart boards were locked, yet all the lounges and libraries were.  Basically, the rooms that would never be used in the middle of the night were locked, while the rooms that could prove useful for many students were.  I suppose there are different priorities at work here, but still…  Maybe they could install card readers so that only students could acess those rooms?  Or even selective card readers, so only majors/minors could access them?  That would be delightful!

Anyway, for tonight, I have returned to my room, recharged by even the mere possibility of having somewhere to go tomorrow and the next day and the next.  I plan to head to the classics library as soon as I’m out of work, staying there until they make me leave.  And then perhaps back to my room or over to the music building to curl up in the window seat there, depending on how I’m feeling at the time.

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Last night, I had a dream in which I fell in love with a boy who was not el boyo, even though el boyo was still in the picture.  Basically, it seemed to be this guy that I had known for a while, but had never had the chance to really get to know.  But somehow, at some point, we had some sort of talk, and I started falling in love with him.  I just remember that at several times in the dream, I was trying to reconcile my new feelings for this guy with my long-term love for el boyo.  I remember holding hands with him surreptitiously, and just feeling a jolt of love and happiness every time.  I remember never looking at his face, but he was really tall, and had light hair, dirty blond I think, and was just really nice, and quiet, and articulate, and fabulous.  He seemed almost a mixture of M, a boy here at school who I may have had a passing crush on, and E, a boy I know from home, who my sister had a crush on.  And yet he was neither of them.

I remember feeling really guilty about this new guy because of my relationship with el boyo.  But I had basically reached a decision to break up with el boyo for this boy whose name I can’t remember in the waking hours.  In one part of the dream, we were in Vienna together, on that school trip that I took last year.  I wonder if I was making it so that he was there whenever el boyo wasn’t.  I’m thinking that may have been a large part of my mind’s reasoning for this dream boy, since el boyo has been too busy to be around lately.  The sad thing is, even in the waking hours, just writing and thinking about this boy makes me feel in love with him again.  And I can barely remember him!  And he’s just not real!

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When this day officially started at midnight last night, I was dreading it. I had a bio presentation in lab at 9 that I didn’t feel prepared for, a history class immediately after the presentation that I had not yet done the homework for, a brief lunch and time for some homework, then my actual bio class, then a professor’s presentation on his research, then a quick dinner, then back to the theater for yet another night of running the sound board and a spotlight.

And then today actually happened!

8:15am: I wake up, feeling surprisingly awake considering I only got about 7 hours of sleep.

9-10:45am: My bio presentation doesn’t go amazingly, but I feel fine about how it went, and am just relieved that it’s finally over.

10:45-11:05am: Grab quick breakfast with el boyo.  We are both in good moods, which puts me in an even better mood, since recently we have both been so burdened by all the school work we need to do on top of the play.

11:15am-12:30pm:  I managed to skim through about half of the readings from last night, so I feel adequately prepared for class.  And yet I still manage to somehow dominate the conversation, as I seem to do every single class period.  Am fairly certain 90% of the class hates me for this fact.  The 10% that doesn’t is just grateful that my talking means they don’t have to.

12:30-2:15pm: Decide to skip lunch, as I had a late breakfast.  Munch on some snacks (read: peanut M&Ms) while watching Smallville: Season 6.  Have finally reached the point in the season that I have never seen before.  Saw an episode where one of the characters is hit on the head and dreams he is in an alternate reality set in black and white in the 50s.  Become giddy.  Decide to rent/purchase some more b&w films (any suggestions?).

2:15-3:20pm: Attend bio class.  Discussing stem cells.  A classmate asks how long after someone dies we are able to harvest stem cells.  Professor answers that it has to be within a few hours, unless they are in a really cold place.  My lab partner leans over to me and murmers, “That must be why they keep nursing homes so cold.”  Cannot contain the laughter.  Luckily, I laugh silently, so instead of interrupting the class, the professor just gives me a few weird looks out of the corner of her eyes.  Lab partner asks if he’s going to hell for that comment.  Yes.

3:30-4:45pm: Watch two more episodes of Smallville while roomie runs out to Michael’s for fabric.  Finally get to the season finale.  Am about to start Season 7, which I only recently got in the mail, when roomie comes back and reminds me that we have to go to dinner before call at 5:45.

5-5:30pm: Dinner.  Nothing good.

5:30pm-now: Arrive at theater  El boyo tells me that one of the dance instructors (who is also one of the lead roles in the play) brought her dog tonight.  Which means in addition to walking the shop guy’s chocolate lab puppy, I get to walk a golden retriever!  Have I mentioned how much I love the theatre department?

Oh, and the sun finally came out after a few long days of rain!

Sunshine + Smallville + Puppies = a GLORIOUS day for Undine!  Huzzah!

AND

My sister comes to visit me tomorrow!  *does happy dance around the booth*

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If you haven’t already heard, Amazon removed the ranking from almost 60,000 books, claiming that they are “adult” material.  The result of not having a ranking means the books are extremely hard to find, even if you search specifically for them, and don’t show up on any of their bestseller lists.  This would be understandable, if the books labeled as such were actually “adult”.

According to a variety of sources, the newly labeled “adult” books include:

  • Anything to do with accepting or promoting homosexuality (yet not books that deny or advocate against homosexuality)
  • Some erotica, but apparently not Playboy.
  • Harlequin’s Spice line.
  • Ellora’s Cave books.
  • Books about non-heterosexual love whether or not they contain anything sexually explicit.
  • Books about gay and lesbian parenting, including books on preventing suicide in homosexual teens.
  • Classics such as Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
  • Non-fiction non-explicit accounts of gay/lesbian experience (contemporary and historical).

[list taken from here]

What is not included in the “adult” section, however, are books about dog fighting, Mein Kampf, and a plethora of other extremely offensive topics.  It is obvious from the above list exactly what “values” Amazon was trying to promote.

Amazon claimed first that there was a glitch, and then that there was an employee in France that was responsible.  Right.  I totally believe that.  It’s totally plausible.

*looks out window*  That’s a mighty fat, pink bird up there!

The Twittersphere, however, mobilized itself.  First there was #amazonfail.  Then, after Amazon’s first public ‘apology’, we had #glitchmyass.  And then, to add to the fray, a hacker claimed responsibilty, sparking #hackermyass!  Finally, we have #francemyass.

It’s times like this that I am really impressed by the blogging/microblogging community.  We shall have to see how this plays out…

And since this is an admittedly short overview as I am trying to update between class blocks, here are all the posts of the blogs in my feeder that have discussed this:

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