Archive for March, 2010

March 29, 2010

Two Words to Kill an English Major


While I don’t really want to talk much about my college days, every now and then I am forced to come to terms with the fact that I was/am a pretty stereotypical English Major. Even before I was an official English Major, people thought I was one. Actually, I was Pre-Med for the longest time!

Another example of this was my reading of 4 novels last week. Four? Yes, four standard-length novels of around 85,000 (give or take) words each for a total of 340,000 words. (I did count, as the word count is important to me for writing purposes). I was quite proud of myself actually. I don’t think I ever read that much even when I was assigned to back in college. Closing the book, I turned to my fiancee and told her of my achievement. She only shrugged, “Yeah, I’d expect that from you. You were an English Major.”

Whenever I watch a movie (or read a book for that matter as well), I break it  apart as it goes along. Through subtle details that others may not notice, but appear like bright spot-lights to those of us used to finding them, I usually am able to tell you whats going to happen in a movie to the very end. I can usually predict who’s going to die, who’s not really dead, who’s sleeping with whom, and who’s going to betray whom. If I am wrong, and it makes sense, I am a very happy person because I enjoy surprises (since my mother stopped caring about my birthday when I was 10). Yet, this is this never enough for me. I must dive deeper into the piece breaking apart themes and morals, trying to decide what the piece is trying to say or if the writer/director is trying to say something through it. I am still in the process of arguing with my father-in-law-to-be that Dances with Pocahontas Avatar is not so much about Environmentalism as it is about the Evils of Capitalism. (Please don’t get me started on this).

So yes, all of these things point to me being very stereotypical. I may as well throw on a barret, grab my coffee, and go to the nearest poetry reading to recite my terrible verse.

HOWEVER! What probably makes me more annoying than the usual English Major is my love for the nerdy and hatred of the artsy. Yes. I. Hate. Artsy. Bull. Shit. I lost the good graces of many of my professors for expressing my distaste of some of the crap I was forced to read and watch. For instance, I made the mistake of taking a French New Wave film class. Now, I realize that the stuff that these little French men did in their movies changed the way we do film today, but that still doesn’t mean they’re any good. Apparently the French seemed to think that making a movie that  the audience wouldn’t want to sit all the way through was a good idea. Yes, this was the intention of the film. Everyone in the class got up and clapped at the ingeniousness of the film, saying it was one of the best films ever made.

Don’t get me wrong, I love watching B-movies from time to time. We used to play a game of “Who can find the worst movie ever made?” My brother won the title of King and every time we remember the movie we get to punch him as he laughs at our pain. His physical pain may leave, but our mental pain never will.

And if simply not liking the Artsy stuff wasn’t bad enough, I’ve actually defended the use of such books as Harry Potter for discussion. Apparently if a book sells more than 5 copies in it’s original run, it is shit. Today, I will bestow upon you the best way to shut any of these people up. It is a mere two words, or rather, a name: Charles Dickens. Ask them if they think the man wrote good literature. Most of them will say yes. Already they are stuck in your trap as you can now pummel them with this strange thing called “facts.” Charles Dickens was not seen as serious literature in his time because he wrote to the lowest common denominator;  aka everyone. At these words they will sweat profusely, and may start to mention that he was a nazi, homophobic, anti-Semitic, racist, and/or that he raped small children. Do not worry about these, you have already won; the English Major is trying to rebuild their shattered reality.

Note: You are not allowed to use this method to support the Twilight series. They aren’t written that well and it leaves young girls with a terrible version of love. If you do, I will find you.

In case you were wondering, the four books I read were part of a series by Scott Westerfeld. They are referred to as the Uglies Trilogy-he made a fourth book later-and are actually science fiction books written for teens. (Yes, here’s something else that would have gotten me burned at the stake: not just science fiction, but teen science fiction). I thought they were written pretty well and discussed some good ideas and themes. Also, I had tough time figuring out what was going to happen next. I highly recommend them as well as any of his other books (I currently reading his steampunk novel Leviathan).

March 13, 2010

On Snowstorms and Gym Class


Cleaning up after a snow storm in Boreal, Cali...

This is pretty accurate

Unintentionally, I ended up working for a district that does not really enjoy having snow days, even on days that it should. (Seeing as that I actually went to some of these schools years ago, I should have seen this coming). On one particular morning,  I looked out my window and saw the snow falling and the roads caked with a substance that would both prevent me from going where I wanted to go and try to slide me into a tree. At the same time. Since I had agreed to the job a few days prior, I was not allowed to cancel it. Well, I could have but it would have involved calling the head of Human Resources for the district and asking her to fire me.

The drive itself was bad, but nothing that I haven’t gone through before.  However, I’m used to driving in these conditions in my tiny little Focus and made it on time. Somehow.

Walking into the school, I found myself hearing, “Why the hell are we here?” from both faculty members and students alike. The snow didn’t stop falling and I spent much of the day staring out the window watching as the sidewalk, which was plowed sometime ago, disappear under a white blanket. I would like to say that I was actually admiring the beauty and power of nature, but I was mainly dreading the ride home. In many classes a good quarter of the students had parents who loved them and decided that they should have stayed home anyway, which was good for me. You see, I-like many teachers-love small class sizes for many reasons. Some reasons are noble. For example, you can actually teach kids better, there’s less distractions, you can manage them more effectively. Other than that, I enjoy them because they’re easier to get the attention of-and thereby-toy with.

However, it is impossible to mess with a gym class. Those kids are there to run around and use up that excess energy derived from raging hormones;  there’s not a damn thing you can do to stop them.

For the gym class there was another teacher who was there to co-teach with me. He told me that he expected about 20 students to be absent for the class that hour, out of the 100. I began to laugh nervously, “You’re kidding right?” The distant look in his eyes was one that you see often in mental patients, lost in a world in their heads, a better world far more colorful and wonderful than our own. No, he wasn’t. This became all too apparent when they started piling in.

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March 1, 2010

FORCED INTEREST: Baby’s First Query Letter


Okay, here’s the deal non-existent readers. I’ve been (pathetically) trying to make a series of articles actually interesting to read for the past… oh God, I don’t actually want to remember. There was originally one article that was so terrible that I erased it and it was never to be mentioned it again (save for right now). What now remains is actually a third article, that was not quite as boring as the first two.

Since the subject matter of all the blog posts itself were boring no matter how I look at it, and I’m going to make it interesting, forcefully. How, you may ask, am I going to make something boring as hell, interesting? Well by forcefully inserting passages from something that is interesting. Since I don’t believe in plagiarizing, but I do in stealing, you will clearly know that I did not write these passages by bolding the hell out of them. And like a good English Major, I will leave the source at the bottom. Although in all honesty if you can’t figure out where it’s from, you may need to go to the doctor: you may have the stupid.

So now, my dear (non-existent) readers, something interesting…..

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