Archive for the 'Random' Category

The Fig Tree

ثمرة التين , fig fruitsEither my freshman or sophomore year I read Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. To a certain degree Esther’s mental illness was something I could identify with and the turmoil of my thoughts at the time often found companionship with her words.

Luckily, that time is behind me now but, there is still one passage that has stuck with me. I think about it often as I now attempt to figure out the next step in my life. It so clearly illustrates my feelings and my fears about that next step. I’m working towards figuring it out but, in the mean time I’ll share the passage with you:

I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story.

From the top of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olypmic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out.

I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.

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Responding to Tweets in One Sentence

So this evening I asked for a blog topic to write a post on and of course I should have known my network would give me some “interesting” things to work with. So here is my one (or two) sentence responses to what people said to me in the order they were received.

Response to DistinctLaugh: Alas, I did not go to to the Rally but I probably should have because I support the idea of being able to discuss diverging ideas without thinking the other person is Hitler.

Response to DistinctLaugh #2: I think puppies are among the most adorable things on earth but, I’d rather get a full grown dog rather than deal with puppies and all the mayhem them cause.

Response to Pragmanic: I swear that I enjoyed that shrimp scampi. You have redeemed yourself many times over.

Response to DistinctLaugh #3: Well I think the divorce rates have been fairly stable (and high) for awhile and probably have little to do with the rise of egocentrism (whatever that means). No matter how children are raised they will probably find a way to blame their parents.

Response to Leelzebub: LARPing prepares you for a lifetime of being seen as the weirdo with weird habits but makes you realize there are others just like you.

Response to zachwhalen (who linked to this video): This appears to be a meme I am not familiar with but as I see in the sidebar of youtube there are many videos that use the leek spin.

Response to DistinctLaugh #4: While I may have griped about the snark, over time the levels of snark from Joe and Brad has improved the quality of my life and I am sure the lives of many others.

Response to zachwhalen #2 (linked to this site): Is there anything more hypnotic than a YTMND page that has a never ending loop of a meme? I find the leek spin particularly hypnotic.

Response to Leelzebub #2: Yes I should have gone to the rally and I have no good excuse not to go, just the rationalization that I did have a major project due a few days after the rally.

Response to BahktinJali (referring to the film The Best Years of Our Lives): Yes there is something very hot about actresses from an earlier period in Hollywood, mainly because they didn’t have to show a lot of skin or be overtly sexual to be hot. Also I can’t believe you called them chicks.

Textual Death and Tangible Plaques

While wandering through the paths of the internet I ended up on the wikipedia page of Quentin Compson. I have grown attached to Quentin after taking a Seminar on Faulkner and Morrison last spring. His suicide by drowning in a river in “The Sound and the Fury” is one of those moments when you wish you could reach out to this fictional character. So, it delighted me (in a morbid way) to discover that in Cambridge, Massachusetts there is a plaque on a bridge over the Charles River:

“Quentin Compson.
Drowned in the odour of honeysuckle.
1891-1910”

This was not created by Faulkner or some piece of legislation. Just some unknown people who brought the fictional death of Quentin Compson into the real world. The sign has been stolen, replaced and photographed by many people. There is nothing extraordinary about the plaque, just a subtle blurring of the lines between the narratives we read and the narratives we live.

I’m not sure what it is about this plaque I find so compelling. Perhaps its “graffiti” nature of the plaque, the fact it was put up by an amateur who wanted to pay homage to a fictional character; a character that so many people have studied (including myself) and have felt a connection with. A bit of the fictional world seeping into reality and leaving its mark; reminding us that the boundaries of reality are permeable and moveable.

Am I Paying Attention or Reading Facebook?

There is often debate around whether laptops should be allowed in the classroom. While I am no expert, I can share my experience with laptops in the classroom.

So, what have I used my laptop for in class? To take notes. To have readings for class handy. Look up an answer to a professors question. To look up answers to related thoughts that pop in my head.

But that isn’t all, is it? I’ve checked my Facebook. Have Twitter open. Google chat open. Check my Google Reader. Worked on work for other classes.

Do I ever get distracted to the point where I miss what is going on in class? Yes, but that is almost always intentional.

If I am staring at the screen intently am I paying attention to what is going on in the class at all? Yes, of course! I could be doing a myriad of things from taking notes to checking my e-mail. I know that professors hate the whole “I can multi-task” argument, but sometimes it is true.

How would I quickly summarize my experience with laptops in the classroom? It has been a process learning how to use it in a classroom setting and what classes necessitate a laptop and which ones just need a pen and paper. I’ve learned how to not get distracted and how to take notes. Most importantly though, I have learned how to use laptops to expand my learning in the classroom and that has been the toughest and most rewarding part.

Most students have not had guidance on how they can utilize their laptops beyond a FB checking device. My unscientific hypothesis is most students see laptops as a way to get out of the classroom while still being physically present, or, as a way to take notes and do other school work. Maybe students don’t realize the potential they have right at their fingertips because no one has given them the inspiration to see it any other way.

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Bar Code
This product is processed on equipment that also processes other students, millenials, and tree nuts.

stuck in bar code by s.t.a.rk.

I’m Leaving For Camp, or, They’ve Finally Sent Me to an Asylum

“It was when I was happiest that I longed most…The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing…to find the place where all the beauty came from.”
– C.S. Lewis

I’m getting ready to start my month long disconnection from the internet and cell service. I will be serving on the kitchen summer staff at a camp in NY and without the outside distractions I’ll have the whole month to focus on the task at hand. I’m very excited about this opportunity to meet new people and form a community around a vision shared by all those who are serving.

It will also be a time to mull over many ideas and work out problems that have needed closer analysis for some time. I suppose I will be journaling the old-fashion way too, where is that pen and paper?

At this moment I know something is not right and the forces of the universe are nudging me to listen closely for an answer. It is not that I am not happy, in fact I am the happiest I’ve been in a long time and I am learning to find that deep abiding joy – “satisfaction is a lowly thing, how pure a thing is joy” – and I have many of you to thank for that.

So what is this post about? Well to be honest, I haven’t a clue and I hope its not just me wanting to hear myself blather on into the vast expanses of the internet. I feel like there are questions I am supposed to be asking, but I don’t even know what they are and that makes it very difficult to find the answers. Maybe I am making an odyssey that will bring me right back to where I started and at the end of the journey Ithaka will hold a different meaning for me. Maybe I’m finally just starting to lose it. In any case I’m about to embark on a month long excursion mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

Now comes for the random part of the post where I ask a possibly unreasonable response that may lead many of you to believe I am losing it (which again may be true). Below I am going to put my address at camp and if you feel so inclined you can send me something and I will send something back. And while a well written letter is always appreciated I think it would be more fun receive letters that are outside the ordinary. Send pictures, poems, articles, or leaves I don’t really care! Maybe I’ll send you something back that someone sent to me, share the love, ya know? Make it crazy, fun, and playful – I want to see what if anything will come out of this experiment.  Maybe it is stupid experiment, but I feel life needs to be more random and unpredictable.

“No people are uninteresting.
Their fate is like the chronicle of the planets.

Nothing in them is not particular,
and planet is dissimilar to planet.

And if a man lived in obscurity
making his friends in that obscurity,
obscurity is not uninteresting.”

Camp Address:
Shannon Hauser
Summer Staff
Young Life’s Lake Champion
247 Mohican Lake Road
Glen Spey, New York 12737

A Brief Cynical Update

I was away this weekend, I’ve been busy, and I am tired. I have a whole bag full of excuses. Until I return I leave you with every cynics favorite comic, Calvin and Hobbes:
(click to get larger image)
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I also choose to blame Bill who recently blogged about Calvin and Hobbes so I now am going through the complete archive.


Tagged! My Del.icio.us Feed

Photos Huzzah!

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