Saturday, January 24, 2009

Genius.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hair

It's official! I've got a hair appointment for next month....it's all going away!







That is the inspiration. I cannot wait! I have FINALLY committed (I have been saying I was going to cut my hair every summer for the last 4 years) to this style, and I was so excited about it yesterday I couldn't sleep. I was up until past 1 in the morning looking at pictures!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Arrogance of Academia

I hate the Arrogance of Academia!

The academic study of history has ruined my love of studying history. I have always been proud of what I would not-so-humbly refer to as a gift for insight and analysis, and for piecing together puzzles more completely, and with more rapidity, than do most people. Yet here I find myself in a situation where my fellow students and I are being told HOW to study history. We are given a list of questions to ask during our searches for primary sources. We are told to create a thesis, a hypothesis, a lens through which to study our data. We are told how to create our theses, how to organize them, and how to present them. It's like Rembrandt showing up at art school and being summarily handed a paint-by-number.

I hate this claim that "scholarly articles" are more reliable sources than magazines, diaries, and interview transcripts. Think of all of the political/idealogical/social agendas that exist in the world at any given time. Should I really trust a scholarly medical journal from the 1930s, when the consensus of that time was that mentally retarded individuals should be sterilized, while disregarding a magazine that states that human beings have a fundamental right to reproduce? We must trust what the universities deem to be the best. Why?! Universities are governments and are not without agenda or bias!

We are granted - even required to use - interpretive license when cataloging history, but not creative license for writing it. The rules are oppressive. Students of history are required to state as fact their opinions or interpretations about a given number of "primary" sources. We are required to pick a side, then required to argue that side. Most people who read history books don't realize this, and expect the book to be a collection of facts. This is why EVERY SINGLE introductory lecture for EVERY SINGLE history class begins with “History: it's not just boring facts. It's analyses, interpretations...”. The line between an author's interpretations and those facts is very thin, and virtually non-existent for those who are not aware that it does exist. This is bad academics. I don't want to be told how to write. I don't want to be told how to think. Neither does anyone else.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

End of Week One

School
I should graduate by Christmas. While I could graduate in August, it would require me to fill out a ludicrous amount of paperwork (so that I can take extra classes). I enjoy this university and my professors, so I will go ahead and plan to graduate just after I turn 24. I think I have only two more history classes to take in order to complete my major; the rest of the classes are general education requirements and one more class to complete my minor (which I need to apply for).
Classes this quarter: 452 US History 1919-1945; 386 Colonial Latin America; 302 Intro to History; 423 History of the Irish Revolution.
Books: 16 plus 2 course packs.
Schedule: 452 and 386 meet daily for one hour each. 302 meets for an hour and a half Mondays and Wednesdays. 423 meets for two hours Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Major assignments: Book reviews (4), reaction papers (at least 4), research papers (6+ pages; at least 5), essays (at least 2), other written (at least 2). I also have midterms in three classes (an ID quiz and two others, presumably multiple choice but possibly with an essay), and finals include a research paper, an essay, a take-home exam (which must be enormous, as we get more than a week to complete it), and presumably another multiple choice test.

Food
I went grocery shopping yesterday for the first time since October. I hate shopping so much! I'm exhausted from all the studying (I was up until almost midnight TRYING to read but getting nowhere), and it was a real struggle to get what I needed. My schedule requires me to be on campus virtually all day, so I won't have opportunities to cook like I did last quarter. Instead, I will be eating a lot of peanut butter sandwiches.

Other
Since I will be staying in the cold for at least one more winter, I will not be cutting my hair this year. I've been wanting to do it, but will wait until I don't have to worry about snow/sleet/wind ruining my style. Next year, perhaps.
The weather here has been crazy. After hovering around zero degrees for several weeks and snowing several feet, it decided to warm up. Ellensburg was flooded so bad they had to do emergency evacuations. The freeways have had major closures because of run off from the mountain snow (which was like a river over the roads), avalanches, and mudslides. I'm not sure if Snoqualmie Pass (the main east-west interestate) is open. It has been closed almost solidly for the last week. Fortunately I live in an area completely incapable of flooding (short of a Noah's Ark type thing). And I'm in the upper floor apartment! It was a gorgeous week, almost entirely sunshiney and "warm." It's pretty sad, though, that 40 degrees would be warm....

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Recap

Katherine and I on Thanksgiving:

Christmas Chaos:
I'm trying on some earrings and wearing this cool pashmina that I got.

The Trenches out back:
We had to dig this out so we could get to the wood and the kitties in the shed.

The snow on top of the gazebo out back:

New Year's Eve, family shot:

Me posing, not dancing, but posing in dance poses. Sort of:

The jeans are amazing:

This is how I can normally be found. Posing. In dance poses. Even though I don't dance:

Yes, yes, being weird:

Taking a random breather:
My mom made that awesome jewelry, the colors are amazing!

I got a ridiculous amount of AWESOME for Christmas. I got a fancy steal-tip pen set with two pretty new ink colors (sepia and turquoise), a silver pashmina, four sets of jewelry, the entire Hornblower series (all 11!), chocolate, beef jerky (yum!), and a dozen other gifts. This is the first Christmas I haven't felt completely bummed and disappointed - of course growing up and appreciating the "togetherness" helps, as well.
The funnest part of my holiday break was last night. As has become tradition, my family ventured over to my aunt and uncle's massive house on state line for New Year's Eve "festivities". For the last few years this has just seen us wasting time and trying to avoid arguments. For the most part last night was no different. We played board games and certain family members got short-tempered and blew things out of proportion. I have rare cause for pride when I say I was NOT one of those people (seriously, I have the shortest temper of anyone I know), and managed to conduct myself with patience and good humor. After the board games turned into arguments, we decided to play Sardines. For those who don't know, it's a sort of reverse hide-and-go-seek. One person hides, the rest of the players count to a certain number, then separate in order to find The Hider. When The Hider is found, the Searcher hides with The Hider. Eventually each Searcher is crammed into whatever nook or cranny The Hider hid in, and the last Searcher to find The Hider is then "it" and has to hide the next round.
Now, the last time I played this game I was about eight. That was 15 years ago. Katherine, the youngest of our group, is 19. My uncle is 50-something, and has always been considered a rather unfriendly, unfun person. He's an LDS scholar (literally), a dentist, and frankly a bit of a sourpuss. Such is NOT the case, as we've been slowly discovering over the years. Aside from hiding in his closet (crouched on the floor behind some of my aunt's dresses), he also locked us in the garage (where we were counting, to give him full access of the house so he could select a prime hiding spot) and turned off the lights. Long story short, it was one of THE funnest, most hilarious experiences of my life, and put me in the BEST mood for starting off the new year. Anyone who thinks alcohol is necessary for a good time needs to come spend a few hours with my family. You definitely don't need booze to get stupid and have fun!