January 28th, 2002

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It might as well be my fault

Yesterday just sort of rolled on past without making an impact at all. I watched some rather mediocre football, slept a good deal, and generally wasted time, although I did see a halfway decent Gene Hackman/Morgan Freeman film called "Under Suspicion" or something like that. Anyway I didn't get my reading done which means I need to pop out to Labyrinth this morning and pick up Utilitarianism by J.S. Mills. I'm trying to decide whether to drop JUSTICE because of the quizes or Anthropology because it's a TON Of reading and it's not as interesting looking. All this is made infinitly worse by my mother's return from foreign lands. She is a class A psycho bitch who infects time with her babbling, whining, and over all unpleasantness which pervades everything she does. She demands that I hand over the dinner I ordered for myself (I was too tired and bummed to bother cooking) and then complains about what I ordered. Please note that I ordered it before she came home and had no idea that she was going to steal it.

I have more to say but I really need to get going if I'm going to prep for a possible quiz. *sigh* I spent more time last night helping a nameless friend with his homework than I did doing mine. I should probably change that.

Here's a wacky news story though if you're interested in such things. To keep you warm until my return.

http://dailynews.netscape.com/mynsnews/story.tmpl?table=n&cat=50900&id=200201280709000225153
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Irritating tales from Academia

Okay I should be doing more of my JUSTICE reading (I read one of the articles and it was actually pretty interesting) but right now I'm fuming too much about the god damned Columbia bookstore. It's run by Barnes and Nobles but it might as well be run by a bunch of retarded chimpanzees. I just went there to pick up some books for 3 classes. One of the classes was missing one book (JUSTICE) but that was understandable because although it is a large class it is not exactly a core of the university experience. That's excusable. What's not excusable is that they DON'T HAVE ANY COPIES OF THE INTRO TO STATISTICS TEXTBOOK. I mean intro to statistics is a required course for at least two BIG majores at Columbia...economics (what the school is best known for) and psychology (not exactly a small, dying academic field.) Not to even MENTION statistics majors. And it wasn't like they had ordered a huge number of the books and just run out cause I got there late. They had only ordered 44 copies. There are more than 44 students in my Stat class alone and I KNOW that there are other sections. How do these snafus occur year after year? I mean we pay too much for textbooks as is (Not that they shouldn't be priced that high, but major universities should discount somewhat and have a nicer exchange policy) and then we have to pay outrageous prices for coursepacks that contain lame articles anyway and the LEAST we could expect is half brained service. How do you order 44 textbooks for 150 students? I sometimes wonder how America got any power at all when our average citizenry is this FUCKING stupid. I can only guess it's even worse in other countries. Now I've got to go do hard intellectual labor which has been stunted by intense stupidity. The elite can topple when the working class fails to do their jobs. An interesting lesson in social checks and balances.
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    Train- Drops of Jupiter
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Growin up on the in and the outside

Well I went to JUSTICE today and it was...to be frank, pretty incredible. The professor was a perfect mix between comprehensible and dry and formal. He explained everything in clear, clean, academic terms and then gave colorful and interesting examples. Even though the class consists of over 100 people he still answers questions and has set up an optional discussion section period for us. It was definitly an academically revitalizing experience to go to that lecture and realize as the clock ticked that I wasn't going to get bored or restless before the 75 minutes was up. That's one of the nice things about picking courses on a whim, you can find something worthwhile that you might not have otherwise considered. I'm definitly going to stick with this class, especially since I have a feeling I might be able to establish a rapport with this guy during discussion section.

The only problem is that it opens more doors in my thinking about career paths. Maybe I should take a poly sci degree into Law School and make a serious effort at being an intellectual. Take the prosecutorial path towards running for a judgeship. You know. The more I look at this semester the more I consider actually delaying my advance to juniorhood and declaration of a major until next fall. The thing is that there are still interests I want to pursue and I can honestly say that I would like a bit more in the way of academic exploration before I make any meaningful choices. Like I want to be a psych major because I'd love to contribute to the world's store of science and I don't find physics or chemistry all that fascinating and biology I CAN'T take at Columbia. "Hello professor who was good friends with my father before he commited suicide and left me to drown in my own misery, please treat me like anybody else even though you know where I come from and what I've been through." I would also like to make a political/philosophical impact on the world and I think I have a lot to say, much more complex and I think important than anything I've journaled. The problem there is finding an audience wide enough for me to feel like I had some sort of positive effect. Brilliance has given way to expedience in politics. I would also like to write but I don't want to major in it because it's still painful and difficult to do. But it's the thing I've wanted to do longest and it's something that I feel I have some talent in.

Of course if I wanted to go for REAL talent I would have to follow in the giant footsteps of the Great Gillary (That's Aaron "Hotter than Arizona in August" Gilary for all you ladies out there who are interested, and you know it's most if not all of you) and be an English major. I have a talent for interpreting and teasing apart literature that MANY people have commented on throughout my life and that rivals that of many very cultured people. Of course I don't WANT To become an English major for that very reason. If I play to my strengths and fail that means that I've TRULY been beaten, whereas if I participate in something that's not my strong suit it's not so ego crushing to be overmatched. But also there's the matter of wanting to DO something with my life and not feeling like interpreting literature or teaching is really where I'd like to make my impact. So it ain't just fear.

Anyway this JUSTICE teacher has opened some doors for me. He's also reminded me WHY Columbia has this reputation just like David Gibson did. His name is David Johnstone so maybe I should just take classes with guys named David teaching. Of course it could also be that he's a middle aged white man as was Gibson, so maybe I should just take classes taught by middle aged white men. As un PC as it may be I'd probably find it more fulfilling. Am I a sicko searching for a father figure? I don't know. But I shouldn't discount doing things that satisfy me just because I'm afraid I MIGHT have alterior motives. Anyway I have my anthro class soon so I should wrap this up. I will probably drop Anthro just because of the sheer amount of reading material, or I COULD change it to pass fail. But if I'm going to actually take the class I might as well do my best and get a grade right? I'll feel like I cheated myself if I put in the effort for a stupid "P". Plus Pass/Fail reminds me of She-whose-name-is-pain-upon-my-lips for neurotic reasons not worth going into. Oh well...I should write something deeper and more meaningful later. But first I should discharge my studently duties. That's studently not Studly you sick creepos. I wish!
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It's all your fault I screen my phone calls

Sometimes humiliation happens in ways so creative you can't do much more than just shake your head and hope that your blush isn't showing.

As part of my lit-hum course I have to read "The Art Of Love" which is one of Ovid's erotic poems. Now anyone who'se kept up on my journals at all for the last couple weeks knows about how much I know about love (0 +-3) and about how much I want to think about it right now (that would be not very much for our extremely young or forgetful readers) but I'm a student and a big boy and I know that I have to go ahead and do my work even if my heart has recently been ripped from my chest, held aloft for all to see and laugh at, and hurled into a sewer with all the other shit. However when I went to purchase this book from the book store it was not on the shelves with the other stuff. So I went to the desk and asked if they had Professor Dauber's extra lit hum books. They told me that they did not and thus the following exchange occured.

C(lerk): So do you know what books you need?
B(en): Well something by Ovid.
C: *flips through a binder listing some stuff* Well is it the ART OF LOVE?
B: I...guess so
C: So? DO YOU WANT THE ART OF LOVE OR NOT?
B: Yeah I guess that's it.
C: *shouting to someone in the back stock area* HEY, THIS [Flabby] GUY [who will never know the touch of a real woman and so must pathetically resort to literary alternatives and lots of hand cream] WANTS THE ART OF LOVE FOR HIS FRESHMAN LIT COURSE (I should add here that I don't exactly want people to know I'm still doing the Freshman lit course since I am technically a sophomore and I SHOULD be a junior)
S(tock guy): What professor does the [pathetic and unlovable] guy want THE ART OF LOVE book for?
C: He is looking for THE ART OF LOVE in Professor Dauber's class.
S: Oh...we're out of THE ART OF LOVE but we have THE EROTIC POEMS BY THE SAME [perverted] AUTHOR [who is clearly only ever read by sick perverts]
C: That's not it. Sorry we don't have THE ART OF LOVE FOR YOUR FRESHMAN ENGLISH CLASS right now.

I then went home with some other books (including the statistics textbook which I found there but which cost 100 bucks) and checked my syllabus. Guess what...I DID need the Erotic Poems. I will stress that this was not my fault, because the proffesor gave them the wrong title. So I went back after my abnormal psychology class and asked for the Erotic poems. I got another humiliating exchange between clerk and stockguy and the clerk even went back into another part of the store, presumably to laugh at me from afar. Finally he came back and said that they did NOT have it because they had sold out due to other students from classes with professors who didn't order the book coming by and swiping it. Then they sent me to another nearby store, where I had to ask about it AGAIN and finally got the book. Now after spending about 45 minutes asking about Erotic poems I actually have to read them and re-live how unlovable and unloved I am as well as how I have absolutely no erotic experience whatsoever. Couldn't they just pants me and get it over with?
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