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Sunday, January 30th, 2011 06:27 pm
Right, so.

My schedule has finally settled out a bit, and I'm still taking three languages, a 400 level lecture on Islamic Law, and a senior seminar on women's movements in the Middle East. It is hilarious to me that my class on law and jurisprudence is going to be my easy class. But Arabic is being taught almost entirely in Arabic, which is hell on my poor localization skills, particularly since the instructor doesn't speak above a quiet murmur at the best of times.

And in Persian, we are reading excerpts from writers like Sadeq Hedayat, so I can say things like "The existence of death annihilates all superstition," but if you ask me to describe my day I will flounder about and come up with something like "I to the class went good was?"

Don't get me wrong, I still love my professor, and I enjoy the class- but the curriculum is structured towards developing literacy, and things like conversational skills and writing get left by the wayside. We do have writing exercises- but we'll go a month without having to do any compositions and then be assigned a 2 page (typed, double spaced) essay on a topic that came up in our readings. And since we're reading things like Hedayat and Daneshvar and Forough Farokhzad, the assignments are things like "Is it appropriate for a young woman to choose her own husband, even if her parents disapprove?" Meanwhile, I am still not entirely sure how to tell time. My brain feels very lopsided in Persian. *sigh*

What I need to do is start pushing myself to write outside of class- inane journal entries and things of that nature, just to get in the habit of going from English to Persian, rather than the other way around.

Hebrew is fun, although the professor is so high-energy that I find her a little terrifying. The fact that the letters in Hebrew don't connect causes me more anguish than it should. The fact that all the question words are the same as in Arabic and some of the prepositions are very like Russian amuses me more than it should.

I have to write a 20-25 page research paper for my senior seminar! This terrifies me a little bit, since this is actually a social sciences class in disguise and we have to include a section on methodology. I don't even know what that is, you guys. Methodology: I READ SOME BOOKS. It's a research paper! You do research! God, all I have ever written is textual analysis, what am I even supposed to do with this. Also, I have never had to write a paper this long! I know, I know, six years of undergrad and somehow this has happened. Don't even ask me how I managed that, okay, I am a sad, ridiculous farce of a student.

It's good, though, because I've been complaining a lot about how I go to a fake school- last semester, I didn't have to write any papers. (Fake school!) I had to do a lot of group projects and presentations, though, because none of my professors could be arsed to grade individual assignments. So, having a class that will finally present some sort of challenge is good. On the other hand, class sessions have been a little disappointing- we had a reading that was heavy on feminist theory, and I was hoping we could actually get into the article, pull apart the case studies and the details instead of just looking at the basic thesis. It looked like we might have actually been able to do that- until the professor derailed the discussion to give us a lengthy lecture on gender as a social construct that basically just reiterated all manner of things that I sort of feel are basic, 101 level shit. But my perspective on this may be skewed, since I've never actually taken any women's studies classes before, and I'm going into this with very particular ideas about identity and power hierarchies that I feel are obvious. But I know from experience with non-MHC/fandom people that this is not actually true.

I had a few hilarious, we're-not-in-a-women's-college-anymore-Toto moments last class, because the men in class were always the ones to speak first in discussion. Always. *sigh* The class is split fairly evenly between men and women largely, I think, because it's required to graduate in the major. Most of us are only taking it because we have to; there were no other options for a senior seminar this semester.

I have had to watch Islam: An Empire of Faith for four different classes so far. Perhaps it isn't so much that I go to a fake school as that I have a fake major. *facepalm*

I tried to updgrade from Ubuntu 9.04 to 9.10 on my netbook on Friday, in preparation for eventually upgrading to 10.10. Keyword being "tried," because after a few hours of trying to get the upgrade process past the packet fetching stage, I just gave up. The last time I upgraded to 9.10, it went beautifully. And then I discovered that the MSI Wind and Karmic Koala don't play well together, and I came very close to pitching my poor netbook into the Raritan over the screen issues. (This led to me reinstalling 9.04, disastrously- things like the screen going black and a capslocked error message with multiple exclamation points telling me I'd started some sort of cascading fractal clusterfuck. I really shouldn't be allowed to interact with technology as often as I do.)

I was griping about some netbook issues a little while ago when K asked, "But don't people switch to Linux so things will run more smoothly?" and I laughed and laughed and laughed. I console myself by thinking of all the geek cred I gain by running Linux on my netbook. The rest of the time, I am sacrificing goats to the computer gnomes in the hope that they will deign to connect my wireless. (Okay, it's not that bad. Also, I appreciate a slightly larger percentage of the jokes on XKCD, or I did when I still read XKCD. It balances out, really.)

I was gonna do a proper addendum about fandom shit but ugh. Fandom makes me very tired right now. It's never any one, huge thing, it's always just a bunch of tiny things- individually, never enough to justify being terribly upset, but taken together, more than enough to make me furious. And I adore the Assassin's Creed fandom- I adore it so much that I mod one of the LJ communities (with a gently neglectful hand, these days) and run a daily fic roundup on 4chan and tumblr, but ugh. That just makes it worse when people inevitably and inadvertently do stupid or hurtful things.

At least I've started making progress on some of my fic, at long last. I've been without words for a while, and it's good to find them again.


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