Friday, January 24
i went to exactly twenty-one classes this week, which represent at least ten different courses, depending on how you count. the goal is that i will go to fewer classes next week, and not just because by now i am fairly exhausted. the courses that i checked out this week, in rough order of the likelihood that i will continue to take them, are as follows:
• Tap whee! i tapped for three years in high school, but i've barely touched my shoes since then. it's kind of impressive that they still fit. ladeva was sick on monday, but wednesday night was a complete blast. nerve taps and shuffles for warm-up, just like old times except to "superstition" rather than "the tide is high" or "the lady is a tramp." then i tried to teach a girl how to do triple time steps. considering the range of skill levels the class is quite intense, which i'm glad to see. [this list does not include african ii, which i went to after tap in order to drum. fun times - charles gave us some licorice wood to chew, and we came up with some nice melodies.]
• Contact Improv. so far it mostly seems like playing around in the dance studio, but that's one of my favorite activities after all. and a very amusing group of people. yesterday, i went head to head with nan, and then we played a silly game involving trying to form equilateral triangles with unsuspecting "partners."
dance is easy; no need to worry about credit limits or course loads. i'm keeping both of these, and thus continuing in my 'sampling menu' progression through the dance department. the tough decisions are with academics. these next classes all deal with formal systems of one sort or another, and while i'm wary of loading up too many of those, these all seem reassuringly concrete and potentially very useful:
• Music 12: Harmony and Counterpoint 2 another throwback to a body of knowledge relatively untapped since senior year. it seems like it will technically be review for a while still, but i'm way rusty so that's no problem at all. prof and class are quite amiable, which is nice for a late afternoon class.
• Music 40b: Elements of Musicianship 2 the obligatory ear-training attachment; one hour a week. somewhat shockingly (for daniel, but even more so for me), those in the class last semester (9 of 12 of us) say they haven't done any real sight-singing, and only a miniscule amount of dictation (only one with two lines.) i definitely remember doing far more advanced stuff in ap (full four-part dictations; plenty of sight-singing), but i've never done solfegge before. doesn't seem too difficult though, and at any rate i'm not far behind.
• Bio. 2 even though i don't need a natural science pdc, i'm mightily inclined to take this. it seems like useful stuff to know, and i'm interested (on a philosophical level at least) in breaking down the rather arbitrary line that gets drawn sometime around the end of high school between "science people" and those who feel uncomfortable even participating in a sciency discussion. plus it's with my gal (and a cast of thousands.)
• Bio. Lab. the downside, perhaps, is the weekly lab attachment, which wouldn't be so bad if it weren't at 8am, which again wouldn't be so bad if i decided to drop french and thus had nothing earlier than 10:30 for the rest of the week. rob said he thought he could use his connections to get me into the monday afternoon lab, but he's not sure. i went thursday am this week; it was fine and even enjoyable, although really disorganized. and some of the upcoming labs look like fun, but i'm not sure it's worth it to me to wake up so early every week. so bio is a prime candidate for auditing (as per my one-a-semester tradition) (which would mean no labs), or at least for pass/fail.
• French 4 i go back and forth about whether or not i'll actively enjoy being in this class: there's some cool material (8 femmes, camus, baudelaire; i'm presenting on a godard film) but then there's all those pesky little assignments. and you have to talk french and stuff. on the other hand, it seems like i'll be glad to control the language better, if not immediately then at some point in the future; more to the point, it seems like a waste to take three semesters and not the fourth. today we discussed this really cool flash cartoon; wednesday we presented on bds, but carole was not paying attention, she was playing with her digital camera.
• Semantics i temporarily swore off linguistics after last spring. but (now that i've finally gotten my final paper from that class back) i think i'm ready again. if i take this i'll only need one more (translation workshop?) for the minor. and that would be nice. you know, it's fun, not much work, and interesting though totally arcane stuff. i don't find ted as appealing as kari, but he's plenty charismatic in his doofy way.
and then there's all these philosophy-ish courses, which i'm drawn to partly because you actually get to read books (and write papers) in them, partly because my friends are in them and will be talking about them all the time, partly because it's my twisted notion of what i ought to take advantage of studying in college, partly because i think i'll enjoy the discussions even though i'll frustrate myself for not being confident enough. it seems likely i could audit some of these, but it would be good to actually take one at least:
• Introduction to French Critical Theory [or Discourse]: Traps of Narration [or: Foucault/Baudrillard] oh, man. this is the big one. this is the one you've all been waiting for. sort of. the inimitable jvb spoke with but mostly to some 27 of us this afternoon for two hours or so, and made his class seem like it would be enjoyable, useful, stimulating, challenging but not ridiculously so, intense but good-humored. which perhaps means that a lot of those people will stick around, which would make it unwieldy and perhaps frustrating as well. but just think of all those great names: derrida! lacan! barthes! butler! fuck-oh! smallwood! kluchin! daub! blecher! timin!
• Philosophy of Religion similarly: there were forty-two students at this class on wednesday. 42! that's ridiculous. and he's going to let them stay! (though presumably, hopefully a sizable faction will drop off). even so, mark wallace was entertaining, compelling, and reassuring. he gave us a tour of the hicks room mural from his personal perspective, he described the course as 'a guide to the universe,' he entertained postulation on a couple pages of kierkegaard. i want it all.
• Aesthetics this conflicts with semantics, so i feel like i need to choose one over the other by tuesday. again, the subject matter is appealing (perhaps more so than phil of religion, and maybe even than the french thing). the prospect of good discussion is maybe more encouraging, given the far more manageable class size (seven) and cush surroundings (pearson 210.) and rick eldridge is a funny guy, obviously wicked smart and able to quote large passages of philosophy off the cuff. unfortunately, i'm not as enthusiastic about some of the folks in the class (except for alyssa.) also, i don't know if i'm ready to read so much straight philosophy again. i think it loses out, unfortunately.
and then the bottom of the list, both with distinct pros and cons:
• Northern Rennaissance Art i've gone to three meetings of this course, and it has been a waste of time. not much time, so not much of a waste, but still. there's a good probability that it will become less of a waste of time when we stop with the encapsulated version of arth one that's taking up the first two weeks or so (today, for instance, we did formal analysis on van der weiden's crucifixion diptych, which is the first paper for arth1), and we get into the admittedly very interesting real subject matter (esp. durer, bosch and breughel). also, there's the possibility that ms. butler will loosen up as the semester goes on. but i don't really want to risk it. basically the only reason i would take this would be to get the credit for my major. and you know very well that's not how i operate.
• Yoga yeeaah. good old sally. i loved yoga last semester, and i'd love to do it again (monday's class was just lovely), but three dance classes a week might be a bit much, especially since this treads some similar territory to contact. and it conflicts with philosophy of religion and my preferred bio lab sections. those may become nonissues, though. in any case i could probably come to class once a week, or even two sometimes. actually, maybe i'll do that.
a plan of action: if i get the lab section i want (wednesday or monday afternoon), i'll take bio pass/fail. otherwise i'll audit it. i'll keep french, semantics, and music theory, and the dance classes of course. i'll go to both wallace and blanchard's classes next week, and make my decision between the two on the spot, based on the discussion and the amount by which the class size has diminished. then i'll either audit one of those two or (if i decided to audit bio) take it.
yes, i think so. well, that's what i have to say about classes. next up: people!
there are beads that
wrap around your
knees that crackle
into the dark
like a walk in the park like a hole in your head
like the feeling you get when you realize you're dead this time