November 11, 2013

Day 170

I'm a pretty good writer, and I can pump out a rough draft of an English essay in the time it takes you to put together a sandwich, so asking me to write a paper on The Tempest is like asking an artist to paint an apple: it's pretty easy, yeah? Except, not really. Not this time. For some reason, I am having such trouble coming up with a cohesive structure and analysis of the play in relation to Iron Man 3, and this is making me very frustrated. I worked on it a lot today (I went to my English teacher for help and she gave me some great advice on how to narrow down my topic), but something was missing. I find that I do very well at reading into things, reading between the lines of works, but finding evidence for my claims remains a weak point for me, even when I know that my claims about a work are clearly supported in the text; I just don't know where to look. I find that I'm having this problem now with relating Ariel to Tony Stark, because while I can make all the comparison I want between the two, it doesn't work in an essay without some textual evidence to back it up, and I'm not finding that, even though both my teacher and myself know that there is a clear connection there. It's an interesting dilemma of having such a great topic yet trouble finding out the necessary evidence to make it supportable. I don't know. This is a rough draft, and I'll have time to work on it tomorrow, but I did want to get this out of my system.

While I'm on the subject of English (I'm jumping around a lot today), the class itself today was pretty interesting. We discussed Ngugi and his model of moving the cultural center around the world, and then we tried to apply it to a stack of books, all of which are phenomenal books, but only some of which had a focus not centered around Western ideas or settings. A very interesting project, and I liked that my teacher put emphasis on the fact that just because a book isn't breaking out of the Western norm that it is somehow bad; plenty of great books fell into that pile (To Kill A Mockingbird, Heart of Darkness, etc), it's just that the ones that do break out of that center provide us with a different point of view culturally than those that do not. It was just a fun activity and really got me thinking about our education system.

We then looked at my school's English department's reading material and how culturally diverse it is. Most of our readings come from the US, only one comes from the Middle East (Persepolis), and a significant portion come from Europe. Now, this did not include the History department's readings, and that raised some objections from my peers, because we felt that we have received a well-rounded education in terms of our exposure to culture, and a lot of that is apparently due to the stuff we read in History, because in that department, we read stuff from all over the world... y'know, 'cause it's History, and I think including that department's data into the mix would present a more balanced representation of our education and readings, and a truer sense of what we as students are experiencing at my school. Nevertheless, the data was interesting, and I liked that the teacher had the guts to show us this stuff; some of it was not all that flattering.

Modern History (which came before English; see, jumping around?) was pretty cool. We talked a little bit about thesis and how we should be totally stressed out about it (dammit) and then we looked at some despotic rulers. We looked at Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great (awesome), and we started our look at Catherine the Great (who is really awesome)! It was a fun, light-hearted class (despite the rather dark subject matter); it was learning about Russia though, so it was okay.

Ran around at lunch because it turns out that a music group of which I am a participant is doing a performance a few weeks from now, and all the people involved are doing solos or duets or something like that. So I had to get this piano music, which my orchestra teacher found by luck, and copy it (twice, of course, because the first time it was all skewed to the left, y'know), and then run back to the choir room where all of this was taking place and hand it to the choir teacher who will (hopefully) deliver it to the piano teacher by Wednesday. I'm playing the Back A Minor 2nd movement, which is good because I'm already learning that, so it works. And this'll give me more practice with the piece, so that's good too.

In AYS, we had our final sectional until February, and it went okay. Felt really long, and the full rehearsal with everyone did not go so hot. We are very unprepared, and according to our conductor, "conductor and cue-dependent". He then went on a speech that essentially said nothing because he didn't really back up his claims with evidence (kinda like my English paper), so it came off sounding absurd and pompous. Anyway, really tired now. I'm going to bed. Goodnight.

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