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Language learning


Have any of you studies a foreign language outside of high school/college? What resources have you used - either to study a new-to-you language or to buff up on a language you started already - especially podcasts, computer software, or community things?

Help me meet PhD requirements!

A smallish update

I'm alive. I've passed my exit exam (yay!), as well, so I'll be graduating in about a month - there's about five weeks of class, twenty students, and a thesis in between now and then, though, so I continue to be busy academically.

I always intend to be write more but become conflicted about whether I want to use this as a personal blog or whether I want to convert it into an author blog, and how much I'd like to share in either respect.

Now I'm going to ignore that problem completely and say that this enneagram test is spot on (to the point where I'd like to pretend it isn't because I think it makes me sound very needy in a whiny, clutching sort of way I'd rather not be):

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I like to steal things from poets

This is mostly for me, who has no paper for jotting things down at the moment, but may also be some manner of sweetness to the writers amongst you:

"When a poet's mind is perfectly equipped for its work, it is constantly amalgamating disparate experience; the ordinary man's experience is chaotic, irregular, fragmentary. The latter falls in love, or reads Spinoza, and these two experiences have nothing to do with each other, or with the noise of the typewriter, or the smell of cooking; in the mind of the poet these experiences are always forming new wholes." - T.S. Eliot in The Metaphysical Poets.

*iz old*

So, uh... long time, no anything. Here, have some lists:
25 Thoughts Now That I Am 25Collapse )

26 Things I Want To Do Before I Turn 26Collapse )


This and that, etc etc

Oh my. Another school year approaches. I am now a second-year college instructor as well as a second-year graduate student. I'm also busy reading/writing already, which is neat.

Because I am one of those people who abuse their books, I tend to underline, dog-ear, and note-take with wild abandon. I don't dislike lending books because I am worried the other person will harm them; I dislike lending books because I am worried the other person will stare with increasing worry at the margin where I have scribbled, "Ha! I am right about the mouse circus! Bring me Voice and swordfights!" and stop talking to me because their mother wisely instructed them to Avoid Lunatics and then I will never get my book back.

What was I saying? Ah, yes, the coming school year.

My university has asked that faculty include a go-to plan for handling any student who comes down with the swine flu. I find this rather odd, as it seems like the obvious go-to plan is yelling "get away from me, you're one of the infected!"

On the positive side, I no longer feel new-teacher anxiety - in fact to the contrary, because I am teaching essay writing to freshmen this year I have decided to take the laid back approach, because after all, these people cannot legally drink.

Because less of my time is taken up with lesson planning, and also because my gentleman caller STILL lives 3,000 miles away, I am sifting through hobbies to keep me entertained. Conveniently, my roomate has a piano, and relatedly, I have strong headphones with the right output jack, which has lead to a lot of delighted banging around on my part without any Stab The Mad Piano Player With A Fork on her part.

I am also baking. I decided to start of slow, with boxes. You may think this would not be necessary, but then, you have not heard the epic story of Chelsey's Home Economics Class, where the phrase, "Good God, what had you done?" was uttered more than once. Baking from boxes means the only practical step for me to master is cracking eggs, which I currently do with a lot of fearful tapping followed by less fearful cursing.

I am finishing a story that includes all of hte following: medical terminology, a charging rhinocerous, a practicing faith healer, pig dissection, and an argument over jelly. I'm so proud.

Sep. 2nd, 2009

I don't know what normal people do when they feel sad about something they can't change.

"Nice Ass!"

An Imaginary Conversation About Catcalls:
(note: this conversation assumes you, the audience, are male. You may not be, but pretend for the sake of my limited rhetoric.)

A: Catcalls can be unwanted, hurtful, and/or frightening. Please refrain.

Q: Wait a second. Isn't the questioner supposed to go first?

A: Yes, but you never considered asking, and this is a problem.

Q: Okay, then: What's the problem with catcalls?

A: They force me, the uninterested chick out walking, to be part of your sexuality, and they do so without regard to me as an actual person.

Q: What? Is this some kind of Feminist thing?

A: Unless you genuinely believe I am worth less than you because of my gender, you are a feminist, so stop resisting that word and get on to a better question.

Q: Fine. How can catcalls be offensive? They're compliments!

A: You think "Nice ass!" "Nice tits!" and "Hot body, baby!" are compliments? Maybe our definitions differ. But they are not innocent comments, they are comments meant to drag my sexuality to the forefront for your enjoyment. Think of it this way: if you would not give the same compliment to your grandmother, why would it be acceptable to shout it at a stranger?

Q: I would totally give that compliment to my grandmother!

A: Okay, well, either a) you frighten me, or b) you have some kind of repetoire with Granny (or anyone else you're hooting at) where she laughs and you laugh and it's all fine. But it's fine because you have mutually agreed that you trust the conversation to be playful and safe.

Q: But I know girls who like being catcalled!

A: And I know people who like being sprayed with water from the hose on a hot day. That does not, however, mean that it is socially acceptable or even nice for me to spray everyone who walks by.

Q: You're being overly sensitive. I would love to get a compliment on my ass.

A: You don't count.

Q: Hey! That's unfair.

A: Yes. It is. But you don't count. As a male, you are far, far less likely to be raped. You are less likely to be harrassed at work, you are less likely to be told, when you have a legitimate complaint, that you are being mislead by your ovaries. You are less likely to be cornered by someone with more muscle mass at a bar and be hit on, relentlessly. You are, comparitively speaking, not a sexual target.

Q: If I were a girl, I'd still like it!

A: "It wouldn't hurt me, therefore it should not hurt you" is not a valid argument. Stay after class if you do not understand this.

Q: Really, it's empowering to women.

A: That word does not mean what you think it means. Women will be the ones to decide how they would like to celebrate their sexiness, thank you very much.

Q: But I'm a nice guy. I really just want to let a girl know I like her assets.

A: You probably are a nice guy. Am I supposed to assume that you are, though, when I don't know you? When you are driving by me (with the power to get away, or to park beside me, or to turn a corner and wait) and forcing your sexuality upon me without my consent, you do not seem like a nice guy. Plus, I've just told you that your catcalling hurts me. Why would a nice guy like you want to go on hurting me?

Q: I'm not forcing my sexuality on anything.

A: Yes, you are. You may not mean to, but you are. Any catcall means the same thing: I find you fuckable. And that statement takes me, a person who was out walking for coffee and thinking about what to have for lunch, into something that exists in reference to your sex life.

Q: But...

A: No.

Q: So you're saying, just because some people don't like what I have to say, I'm not allowed to say it?

A: First of all, this is not about "not liking." This is about fear. This is about acknowledging the fact that we live in a culture where rape jokes are casual, where victims are told to pay for their rape kits, only to find out that those kits sit on a shelf for fifteen years until the statutes of limitations run out. This is a culture wearing a short skirt, or having a drink, or making out in a parking lot are all "asking for it." This is about fear and loss of power, and if you do not know what a rape flashback is like, I suggest you do some reading on PTSD because I do not have the stamina to get into that right now.

Second of all, of course you can say what you want. And I can think you're a dick because you said a dick thing, and I can flip you off, or tell you to leave me alone - unless you're one of the bad guys. Better I stay quiet, and hope you don't stop at the next light.

We don't shout random things at people in our society. In fact, we normally consider people who shout at strangers to be mentally ill. Why would this one thing be an exception?

Q: What if I genuinely want to compliment a woman on her awesome shoes?

A: Smile. Say, "I dig your awesome shoes." Walk away. Do not shout, on the street or from your car. Do not chase her down to tell her this. Do not follow her. Do not invade her personal space. Do not replace the word "shoes" with "rack" "body" or similar. Recognize that you are in a position of power, even if you don't want to be, and respect that maybe women are not languishing for your compliments, and are just on their way to grab a coffee, and have better things to think about then how their shoes, or their ass, look to you.
Sometimes I think about posting here more.