September 4th, 2002


Let's get carried away

So, as always happens when things seem to be going well, the rug was pulled out from under me yesterday as my afternoon tried its damndest to make my morning look like an aberation.

First came my third class of the day (first of the afternoon.) I had a few clerical tasks to dispose of before it started and so I arrived just as it was begining. I went in to take a seat and I noticed there weren't any free. In fact there were about 40 students sitting on the floors, standing against the walls, and otherwise trying to cram into a classroom that was not designed to fit that many people. The professor opened up his lecture by explaining that he didn't understand why the department had put a 150 student class into a 120 student room...but that we would continue anyway. Thus began an uncomfortable hour of standing in cramped conditions while we rattled over the syllabus and had it read to us (because apparently Columbia students can't be expected to read their own damned syllabi) and listened to a bunch of girls ask extremely stupid questions, sometimes the same exact one twice in a row. After that I spent some time buying textbooks and the like while waiting for them to post CC class assignments.

When the lists went up, my social security number wasn't among those who had been granted a berth in a class that they were REQUIRED TO TAKE. (I also found out that my textbook for American Politics is written on a level that would have been appropriate for me when I was in, oh, fifth grade. "To understand American politics we have to behave like patrons at a wide screen cinema. We need to step back to be able to see a broad view of the whole picture...beyond current events. We need to utilize 'political concepts.'" Well sand blast my ass and call me Mr. Softy...I had NO idea. Political CONCEPTS you say? Tell me more about these mysterious 'concepts.') so I got to spend the rest of the day running back and forth between my house and Hamilton hall waiting for my number to be posted. It never was.

I did manage to watch the Escaflowne movie which was incredibly beautiful, and Hey Rookie Welcome to the NFL which featured a decent amount of Jeremy Shockey who'se spectacular plays for the New York Football Giants I hope to be posting about this season as my favorite sports team makes an effort to not suck as much as they did last year.

This entry has to be modified now from it's originally intended form because while checking my spanish grade (STILL not there despite the fact that we have now actually STARTED the next semester) I found out that I did get into a CC class...and while the timing is a bit awkward I haven't missed any of it yet which is definitly a good thing. I'm still quite irritated with just how difficult it was to get into the class though. I mean this is a required course and there are literally HUNDREDS of students that need to take it who don't have spots. Hundreds. You'd think that they could open up a couple of new sections for these hundreds'd think wrong.

I don't know...when I thought I wasn't going to get into one of the classes I got pretty upset and only partially because I thought it would endanger my future electives. The truth of the matter is that I'm not ready to take a light course load. That might sound like a weird thing to say, but it's the truth. I need a lot of classes for two major reasons. The first of these is that I don't do much worthwhile with my free time. I don't have many friends and I'm not good at making them, my hobbies are rather unsatisfying, and I don't enjoy clubs and the like. While I'm going to try and force myself to attend a club or two this semester to try and find something of at least mild interest, I don't WANT a lot of time to sit around feeling like I should be sitting around.

Then there's the other side of the coin which is that I genuinely enjoy class. I like bandying about ideas, getting to the point before other people, and the competition of it. I like debating people, arguing points (especially when I can win without evidence) and especially being the guy with all the answers. So sue me.

Anyway I have my classes now and everything seems to be okay. I might have to drop one if things start to slide but after the summer I have more focus and concentration so I probably won't. I know that I can't take classes at this pace forever, and that eventually I will have to broaden my horizons and start seeking other ways to occupy myself.

But not yet.
  • Current Music
    Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication

You talk about the world like it's someplace that you've been.

Another day...another $800 in books. Seriously, I'm paying more for the stupid books than I am to attend the damned school. Classes should not average over $100 in's just plain silly...even more so when you consider how impossible the reading assignments are. If I actually read everything that I was assigned I would end up doing something on the order of 1200 pages a week...on a light week. Some it would rise to 2000. Who is going to read 1200-2000 pages a week? I think that if professors actually thought about what students would read and assigned the most important works accordingly school would go a lot better. Picking everything relevant and just assigning it all for the hell of it benefits nobody. Especially since the students who do ALL the reading get screwed anyway as after a point it isn't going to help their grades, and a good deal of it tends to be repetitive crap that doesn't teach all that much.

My classes were alright today. American Foreign Policy looks pretty interesting. The professor seems to be an alright guy and all the tests are going to be essay, which is a boon to me since I almost never do poorly on essay tests and absolutely hate preparing for multiple choice/fill in the blanks ones.

Millenial Culture: Japan looks interesting. The professor seemed to be pretty laid back, which is nice, although she used a ton of big fancy words just to use big and fancy words. Calendric, Millinarian, etc... I understand what they mean but there are ways to phrase the same concepts that are slightly less arcane...when you break out over five different adjectives related to the word millenium in the syllabus...well it looks like you're trying a bit too hard. The readings look like a TON of fun though, and we get to watch 3 anime movies (all of which I own on DVD...heh...) which is ALWAYS a plus for me. It doesn't look like a particularly tough or rigorous course but it looks like it'll be a hoot and I deserve to have at least one class that's going to be lots of fun so I'm keeping it.

I got off on the wrong foot with Contemporary Civilization. I looked up the room location on the internet since it's not on campus, but when I got to the place where the building was supposed to be there were just a bunch of storefronts and a public library. Eventually I went back to campus and asked a security guard (Yes I'm a man but I can ask for directions...after I've exhausted every other possibility) who told me that the entrance was on 114 street instead of 113. Then when I got there I wasn't let in because I don't have dorm access. I had to sign in and get my ID confiscated and basically waste 5 minutes of my time. Thank you very much Columbia for assigning me ANOTHER class in a building I don't have access too. It's really very thoughtful of you. Now if you'd just assign all my FUTURE courses in ICELAND or perhaps SOMALIA that would be much appreciated. There's nothing worse than actually being able to physically go to a course where attendance is MANDATORY and class participation is a SIGNIFICANT PART OF THE GRADE. I mean...if I could get in I might...pass...or something.

Once I got into class I answered a lot of questions to make up for lost time I think I made up for my lateness. This teacher is the one I like least out of this semester's crop. She seems nice enough but she has SEVERE language issues and her style seems culturally quite different as well. I don't have a chance in hell of getting into another section of CC this semester so I'll have to tough it out. At least she's not mean...if she was I'd consider dropping the class. Communication problems is a significant strike in a philosophy class...but communication problems and a bad attitude is an automatic out.

So my classes for this semester seem to be a pretty decent bunch. I'm actually excited about all but two of them...the intro to American Politics which looks to be a bit simplistic and CC where I'll be struggling to understand and communicate with the teacher. The assignments don't look as nasty as they were last semester (Fewer papers and as far as I can tell no tests that don't at least have an essay component.) Hopefully I can have a pretty decent time during my last super busy semester. I don't feel overwhelmed yet and the book buying period is always the worst. Especially when you lay down 800 greenbacks for a single semester. Jesus people it's just some paper and cardboard I'm buying...not a goddamned automobile.

I'm thinking about not doing the GED thing this semester. I worked hard over the semester and could use a break. Plus I don't know how much time I'll be able to devote to it or whether I have any impetus for it this semester. MAybe I'll pick it up again next semester when my courseload won't be so heavy...I hope.

Right now I should be doing reading...and I will do some of it...but I'm also contemplating a pretty major decision. There's a club I want to check out at 8:00 PM tomorrow but the GIANTS season opener is at 8:30. This is a one time only conflict...but a conflict it is. Right now I'm leaning towards taping the game to watch Friday morning and checking out the club. If it sucks like a Thai hooker I can make it back in time for opening kickoff and if it's cool I can always avoid looking at the paper until I've seen the game myself. Alternatively I could check the final score and only watch it if the giants do a decent job. I do not like seeing my team get slaughtered which I think is going to happen. The 49ers just have too many weapons on offensive and the giants have major problems with their linebacking corps, their offensive line, their coverage unit, their special teams, and their offensive backfield....

Maybe I shouldn't bother taping the game after all. I mean I want to see Shockey do his thang in his first meaningful game but I also don't want to see Terrel Owens run up and down the field with impunity, getting on a first name basis with the end zones in Giant's stadium. Or Tiki Barber get injured. Or Kerry Collins fumble the ball. Or a lot of missed field goals.

Maybe I should have ESPN blocked on my television set.
  • Current Music
    Goo Goo Dolls - Dizzy Up The Girl