Sunday, November 7, 2010

Julie and Julia

Yep, the ultimate blogger's movie was on again last night.  I don't know really what it is, but every time I see it, it makes me want to come and write.

Upon reviewing my last several days of writing, I realized something, I've not really been giving school the lip service it deserves.  After all, me going to school is the main reason for this blog in the first place, so to get off topic on boys is kind of silly and it reduces the nutritional value of what I'm trying to accomplish.  As I sat watching Julie and Julia, I watched as Julie Powell's husband told her, "Don't put our fight in your blog," and at that point I realized I was talking too much about fighting with Taz than I was staying on topic, which is being a sophomore at college.

Julie Powell was very lucky.  She only had 365 days in her blog.  Mine is going to take years.  While I am a servantless American cook, the whole thing is that I don't have a deadline like Julie had.  She had recipes, I've got the progression of being a mature student going to school with collegians young enough to be my children and the fact I don't know how long it's going to take me to get my degree.

While I think about Julie Powell cooking her way through "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," I can't help but think about the last two semesters before this one totaling up to a whopping 12 credits, what most young collegians take in a semester.  It's easy to write off though because I could only take a maximum of eight credits per semester as a "non-degree seeking student" which is parlance for "she hasn't gained admission yet."  Yeah, I ended up applying three times to UNLV, each time having my admission denied, but having enough credits to take a class as a non-degree seeker.  So, I tackled two classes per semester, and after getting good grades and having to appeal to the university to get in, I finally got admitted to school, which is probably right on par with trying to get a soufflĂ© not to fall when you take it out of the oven.

This semester has been kind of like Julie going through the aspics section of Julia's cookbook, a friggin' mess.  Due to the short space of time between when I was eligible to choose my courses and classes starting, I ended up with nine credits for the semester with Journalism 101, 102 and Environmental Studies 101.  I did sign up for 12 credits, but unfortunately, the philosophy class I wanted to take had a waiting list, so no cigar on that one, I had to drop it because it would be too far into the course content before I got a seat in the class.  As y'all know, I like to make A's.  Missing assignments causes B's and those just won't do.  I'm in school to learn, not miss classes.  (Don't you wish your college age child said that?)

Well, Journalism 102 is turning out to be a triumph, as you've seen by my posts, the A's keep coming in and I'm happy, but with the rest, well, let's just say I had to take two online courses this semester and I don't like them in the least.  I like to engage my teachers and have them understand who I am so that way they know how to teach me.  Being at distance from my Journalism 101 and Environmental Studies professors is really making me crazy.

Environmental studies has been a regal pain in the ass.  Ok, we all know that I have a very strong background in the environment.  I sacrificed eight years of my life to those types of things because of someone else,  reading all sorts of environmental education material and sitting through droning hour long dissertations about the subject, only to have a dog come and piss on it all... so, sufficed to say, I've had enough of the environment.  Yes, I hug trees, I try to recycle whenever I can, but I've had it up to my eyeballs with the doom and gloom of the environmentalists, much less to say the very grating sensation I get just thinking about it because of my history with it.  What's worse is that the class is a complete clusterbomb, there are are mistypes on the syllabus, it's confusing and otherwise entirely useless to me.  I already know what I need to about that type of stuff, so the book sits on the floor next to my desk, just waiting for me to open it up to the glossary or the index to find the information I need for tests so it's phrased right.  Trust me, after this semester I'll be hard pressed to take any other environmentalism class.  The only reason I'm taking it is because it's on my core curriculum and I HAVE to take it, otherwise I would have gone the rest of my life without it.

But that's the thing with online courses, you basically administer them yourself.  You have to have the discipline to do the reading, watch the video lectures and so forth, and to me, it sucks.  I like making sure I'm to class on time, I enjoy classrooms, not my easily distracting home computer to learn at.  I like sitting through lectures, being able to ask questions and really engaging the subject matter.  To sit at home and do it makes it boring and non-engaging.  Take for example Luke Sullivan's "Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: a guide on how to write great ads."  Now to me, that's learning at home because I bought a book at a bookstore that was relevant to the subject I wanted to know more about, and in the process, Luke has taught me about creative communication and good writing skills that has helped improve my writing at school.  To sit at home and read a textbook is something I can do for free and is not really what school is about.  So, for the spring semester, I'm going to be doing my damndest to avoid any online classes.  I want to be down at school and taking part, not just idly sitting by and reading a book. While online classes are convenient and do save on gas and drive time, I consider them a waste of money and time because it's stuff I can do myself for much cheaper.  So, no more online classes.  Been there, done it, got the t-shirt.

Another thing I found in Julie and Julia is that she was writing about something relevant to everyone.  Everyone has tried at one time or another to cook, even if it is burning toast or making a box of (gasp) Mac and Cheese, even down to (bigger gasp) ramen noodles.  Ok, my fearless foodie friend Heidi just stuck to the ceiling, here, let's help get her down.  The point I'm making is that relevance is important.  For me, what I think is relevant to all of my readers is the never ending struggle to have hope.  Every day we have things that diminish the hope we have for our lives in some small regard.  It could be a disappointment, a pothole, or any number of things, even down to the grocery clerk giving you attitude or the apathetic sales girl at your favorite boutique.  It's those little things that suck the joy out of your life that, when put together collectively, are so hard to rebound from, because any ant will tell you, you can only move the mountain one pebble at a time, even if you can lift 500 times your body weight.  So it's tough to keep hope alive when the world likes to take little pieces out of it all the time.

But then as Julie and Julia went on, I noticed one thing, that both Julie Powell and Julia Child both had these great guys in their life, Eric for Julie and Paul for Julia.  Which I guess in a way, it's appropriate that Taz just now decided to show back up, so I guess I have my own guy to drive nuts who's involved in my writing just like Eric and Paul were for Julie and Julia.  But Taz isn't really engaging anything in my life yet.  That bothers me in a way because really, to me, to be with someone means that you are engaged in all facets of their life, and even if you're not enthralled by parts of it, you're still being a supportive and positive influence.  But I guess it would be asking a bit much of Taz to play Uru, World of Warcraft, hear my rants on guild life, read my blog and then be my proofer for all of my papers for school.  Gee, I never realized I had so much going on, it's a small wonder how I can fit him in at all.  (Ok yes, I'm pouting, he didn't call today.)

Oh well, we can't have it all.  Or as Annette Benning said in The Women, "I don't want it all, I just want a nice big piece of it."

Much less to say with all the hoorah around Taz going on in the last couple of days, I've completely let my Journalism 101 class slide.  So, with a very agitated growl over the fact that it's an online course, I guess it's back to the books and my feature story for 102 that is already more than three quarters done which gets back to the topic of relevance:  Students and video games.  Yep, know all about that.

Watching Julie and Julia always inspires me to write and I'm grateful for it because while I think I'd rather shoot myself than hear Amy Adams' nasal voice whining like fingernails going down a chalkboard, it's the whole point that Julie Powell started a blog and wrote day after day until her project was finished.  At least she had different recipes and lobster murders to write about...while for me, it's back to being a Sophomore and remembering that some things belong in print, others don't, but if I didn't write, I wouldn't be happy, even if the details aren't so great or bound for the local multiplex.

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