Yesterday

Aug. 24th, 2011 07:01 pm
ceebeegee: (Columbia)
Looking at pictures of the damage from yesterday, it's kind of amazing no one was killed. The National Cathedral had some pretty sizeable statuary fall, and the Washington Post has a picture of a car whose windshield was smashed from falling bricks. We're pretty lucky.

I was actually outside when the earthquake happened, just coming into the building. I didn't notice ANYTHING--of course, I was born in California, and it's possible I'm just too jaded ;) When I came into the apartment, Anya was freaking out--she said she'd just had "the most intense paranormal experience" she'd ever had in her life. She went on in this vein for 20 minutes or so--I suggested maybe it was an earthquake and she said it couldn't have been, or something besides the couch would've moved. She really went on about it--I grew bored with the conversation after awhile because something like this is ALWAYS happening to Anya. (Love her but she really has this need to be "special"--you would not BELIEVE the amount of drama that seems to single her out.) And lo and behold, she checks Facebook and comments about the earthquake were all over the place. That ended THAT discussion!

I spoke with an advisor at Columbia yesterday--I'd like to take a sabbatical for at least a semester, so I can let my savings account recover! Columbia is quite expensive and of course this is a non-degree program, so I don't qualify for any grants. And I won't take on debt for this, so I have to stop for a little bit. I also talked with her about grad school--specifically about the possibility of tailoring a program to my needs, as I wrote about last spring. She gave me the information for a couple of professors within the Department, and I'm going to email them to set up a meeting. So yeah--if that meeting goes well, then this year I was be applying to the Columbia grad school of Arts and Sciences. *crossing fingers* Like Professor Kosto, the advisor was also surprised to hear about my history blog--she said I was probably better prepared than most of their current students! Kosto told me flat-out "you should have no problem getting in" which is actually a little disconcerting, because the website makes it sound much more difficult (I can't remember exactly what it said, but something incredibly intimidating about how few students they accept). I don't know whose evaluation is more accurate, but I'd better ace my GREs!

At one point in our conversation, I mentioned that two of my brothers have Master's degrees--"and one is from Yale, so I can't just let THAT stand!" She knew exactly what I was talking about :) Where would we be without all our siblings? A lot less competitive, that's for sure!
ceebeegee: (Columbia)
So, as I said in my last entry, I had an interesting meeting with my professor a few weeks ago. I wanted to touch base with him, mainly, on my paper (at that point I was worried I wouldn't have enough material in the Annales Gendanses text to flesh out my analysis on the Battle of the Golden Spurs), but also on a few other issues. I started out by telling him first off, I love the class and I want to apologize for always blurting out the answer. He started to laugh and said, holding up his fingers close together, just give the rest of the class a beat before you jump in. I said it's a function of several things--1) I'm an actor, and hence a show off. 2) I'm an athlete, so I hate being beaten to the answer. And 3) this is my thing*, this is medieval history, my big interest. He then asked me--what are you doing here at Columbia? I said do you mean what else am I taking this semester, or in the larger sense? He said--well, you're clearly extremely bright, very capable, and you read the texts very carefully. And you're in a non-degree program. I said well, I'm part of the Post-baccalaureate Studies Program. I want to get my master's in history but I majored in English and music, and had never actually taken a history class before I started here, although I'd certainly read a lot of history on my own. So this is part of putting together a competitive application, to get some history credits. He said to me--save your money. You're certainly capable of doing the work--you should have no difficulty getting into a good program, either here or somewhere else. All you need are your GREs and a recommendation, which I'm happy to write for you. I said--but Columbia doesn't really have a master's in history--it's part of a Ph.D. track-program. He said no, but they offer a master's in medieval/Renaissance studies. My eyes got big. First of all, that he's looked up my record (knew that I am currently in a non-degree program); second, that he's, like, strategizing for me!

So--food for thought. I have not pre-registered yet for the fall because I need to think this summer about this application--if I want to commit to it, to apply for the fall of 2012. I'd been thinking about taking off the semester anyway just to give my savings a break. I also have to talk to the PTB and make sure I can go part-time (less than that, really, one class at a time)--although for an actual master's, I would be more comfortable with actually getting a loan instead of just paying out my savings. It wouldn't be that much, since a humanities master's only takes about a year (full-time). And think about taking the GREs--again. I took them back when I was a college senior--I did well on them (high 600s-low 700s--I got like 720 on the logic section) but that was awhile ago.

And besides Kosto, I have no doubt that Professors Kaye (Intellectual Medieval Life) and Maiuro (Roman History) would also write me recommendations. Maiuro and I got along like a house afire, and everytime I see Kaye he asks me when I'm going to take another class of his.

*At one point I noticed he had a book by Norman Cantor on my shelves--I interrupted myself and said oh, I love him! I have several books of his, including Inventing the Middle Ages, Medieval Lives and In the Wake of the Plague. I'm so easily distracted--oooh, pretty shiny!
ceebeegee: (Columbia)
Well, the glow from that didn't last too long because we got our final grade--and I got only an A-. I'm not happy about this, needless to say but there's not much I can do about it. (Or I should say, will do--I despise grade grubbers.) My midterm grade dragged down my average a bit--I got a B/B+ on it (I don't know for sure because the TA made a mistake grading it--he added incorrectly) which definitely had its affect. But my papers were A and A-, and my class participation was A+++. I'm guessing my final was an A- but only just--it had to have been on the A/A- bubble.

What's annoying is how little class participation apparently matters--there were many incidents where I pointed out stuff he'd never considered, and he seemed genuinely impressed/thoughtful. Examples below:

*The first day of class, he was talking about different justifications for battle tactics--sometimes you do the right (or wrong) thing not because you're adhering to the laws/customs of war, or because you're bad, but because it's most expedient. (Example: Richard I slaughters the garrison at Acre. One tactical explanation might be because he's about to march, and he doesn't want to have to feed/guard an extra 300 prisoners.) He talked about the cherem in Deuteronomy, the charge to "kill them all," and we were suggesting various reasons for that. Root out infidels? Protect yourself? And afterward I said to him--what about a genetic/biological urge, like when new head lions kill all the cubs of the former head lion? He said that had never occurred to him.

*When we first started looking at the Bayeux Tapestry, he was comparing the texts (which had Harold as Guy's prisoner) with the imagery on the Tapestry, which shows Harold on a horse, riding with Guy through a crowd. He saw that as a contradiction--then I suggested "perhaps Guy was trying to humiliate Harold?" He literally stopped talking when I said that, to think it over, and then said he'd never thought of that. (What flashed through my mind was the Palm Sunday hym "In lowly pomp, ride on to die" and Aslan's scourging before the Stone Table in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.)

*I even sent him extra stuff he requested! (He'd talked about a WWII incident which brought to mind a Richard III Mad magazine history thing in a book--I mentioned it to him in an email and he said "you must copy that for me." So I brought it back from my visit home Easter break and scanned & emailed the piece to him.)

And the A- for the first paper annoys me, because all he wrote was:

Well done; I learned a lot. You managed to keep this nicely focused on the question of honor/gender. When we get around to chivalry, you will see better how this fits in! - ajk

And the final exam REALLY annoys me, because of how difficult it was to study for. The midterm was the same way--we had to be prepared to identify one obscure passage out of the 1000+ pages of primary sources that we've studied? Are you mad? Let me tell you, after reading six of them in a row, all of those early Christian apologists start to sound alike! The study session for the final--you could feel the fear in the air. NO ONE knew what "reverse identifications" were supposed to mean. You can't just tell your class "go over everything" with a history exam--we studied thousands of pages. My exams for Roman History and Medieval Intellectual Life, though difficult, were approachable.

Grrr...well, I must console myself by saying:

*My average is still a pure 4.0 (because I had an A+ for Roman History).

*I looked up his reviews on Culpa (a Columbia-only Rate Your Professors kind of thing). Apparently he has a rep for being a tough grader--one reviewer said their class average was a C. Yikes!

*Also, I had an illuminating meeting with him during office hours a few weeks ago. More about that later but I know he likes my work.

I'll just have to chalk this up to: difficult grader. The CULPA review said that he was very stingy with full As. I had a professor at Sweet Briar like that, I got a string of A-minuses on paper after paper. Naturally on the one subject that didn't excite me that much (Their Eyes Were Watching God, not one of my favorite books although it is certainly worth reading)), I finally got a full A! (What's even weirder is that I dreamed I would.)

LORD, am I glad this semester is over! Between this class and non-stop drama-queen nonsense during the whole Macbeth debacle (months of months of drama-queen nonsense, though after that was all resolved, the show ultimately turned out very well), I am completely exhausted. Can't wait for a whole summer in which I can just bake in the sun (while perusing primary sources from Columia's delicious libraries) and play softball.
ceebeegee: (Default)
So, this past week has been a bit stressful--we got the study sheet for the final last Tuesday and it was really no help. Basically it was "go over everything we studied in class." We studied at least 1000 pages of primary sources, not to mention at least that much of secondary sources! And the man really does lecture VERY quickly. But at least this time we didn't have to identify actual passages from the sources (he did that for the midterm, VERY HARD). The TA ran a study session that confirmed my hunch that going over the themes of the class would be a useful way to break it down. Last week I made up a study guide--25 PAGES LONG. It took so long to type, I actually didn't finish typing it until Friday night, when I no longer had access to a computer at work or home. (I actually have a home printer but it's crap, doesn't feed very well. I really just keep it for a scanner.) I figured I might be able to send it to a printer on the campus network, but I read how to do it on the Columbia site--it's sort of complicated, there are queues and a quota. I wandered around my neighborhood Saturday morning and found a UPS "store" that also offers office service, including printing, and for much less than I'd feared. So banged out that job! I stayed in my apartment for most of the weekend, going over this material. OY. So much more stressed for this final than my others--I really, really do not like this final format. I was not that worried for my finals in Roman History or Medieval Intellectual Life, I felt very prepared for them. Oh well, if I was worried, I can only imagine my classmates were as well.

The exam. I probably got a 95% on the first section (reverse identifications) and I know I nailed the middle section. He gave us a document that we hadn't studied--we had to pick it apart as a source, looking at the language, possible bias, try to figure out who wrote & when, find contradictions, etc. I had a blast with that, especially when I snarkily pointed out a contradiction that reflected some ass-kissing on the part of the chronicler. The third part--that was hardest and naturally it was worth the most. I thought I did okay, but not as well as the middle section. I finished up pretty well though, I wrote how "the canon texts of the Laws of War of the High Middle Ages were like so many distant mirrors, reflecting the giants who had preceded them and and each other, building" blah blah blah--basically the point was that these pieces drew on each other and the past [very medieval, they all made constant reference to previous writers, especially Aristotle and Augustine]. And shoutouts to Baabara Tuchman* can only help! Anyway, I sat there for at least a couple of minutes before I came up with that last concluding line--extemporaneous eloquence is not easy!

When I turned in the blue books, I asked about our papers--we were supposed to get them back after the final. Jay (TA) has suggested before the final but Professor Kosto vetoed it--I said to Jay "probably for the best. Can you imagine being in a classroom trying to concentrate on your final while someone next to you is silently weeping or angrily scratching in their blue books? Bit distracting!" Anyway, Jay whispered to me that I'd gotten an A--I made him repeat it! I was thrilled, not least because I got an A- on my first paper--and I still don't know why, because they seemed to love it! Nothing but compliments. Anyway, very happy about that, and then later Jay mailed our papers' comments to us.

Jay'd said : Very nice intermingling of cultural/military issues, perceptive reading of sources, and lovely writing. Good work!

And Kosto said: I wasn´t sure where you were going with this, but it turned out very well. Super readings of the written sources, and a nice use of the visual ones. You don´t blindly apply the models of chivalry, but extract a model of moral behavior from your own reading of the sources. Well done.

Eeeeehhhhh! I love this because--when I first discussed the topic with them (the role of the cavalry in the Battles of Hastings (1066--the Normans invaded England) and the Golden Spurs (1302, Courtrai--the French cavalry were smashed by a bunch of Flemish burghers and peasants))--*I* wasn't sure where I was going with it! I had an idea about the imaginative connection with the horse, but I didn't have this firm thesis I was definitely going to prove. I just had a feeling, and followed my instincts, exploring through my writing. I'd wanted to use as one of my sources the Bayeux Tapestry--Kosto said that I should use another additional source to explicate the tapestry, so I used William of Poitiers's Gesta Guillelmi, and for the Battle of the Golden Spurs, a Flemish source. But I knew--somehow--the Tapestry would be useful, I could do something with that--and in the end, the piece also talked about the power of the imagery of the Tapestry (which I wrote in my last entry).

*Her A Distant Mirror is a classic in this field--EVERYONE'S read it. And it has a whole delicious chapter on the Black Death!

My paper

Apr. 28th, 2011 04:57 pm
ceebeegee: (Virginia)
After the thorough defeat of the English at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, early medieval observers could be forgiven if they believed they had witnessed the demise of the infantry. Harold’s tight column of foot soldiers had ultimately proven no match for the mobility, speed, and sheer force of weight displayed by William the Conqueror’s Norman cavalry, and the 11th century nascent warrior society, which William exemplified perfectly, took notice. And so, encouraged by William of Poitiers’s panegyric portrait of the Conqueror leading his troops on horseback to overwhelming victory and the vivid, dashing imagery of the Bayeux Tapestry, the cult of Chaucer’s “verray, parfit, gentil knyght,” the elite mounted warrior guided by a moral and social code, emerged in the generations following Hastings, inspiring poet and historian, king and soldier. For over 200 years the cavalry’s invincibility in medieval warfare and the mystical righteousness of the knight were held as an article of faith—until the Battle of the Golden Spurs at Courtrai in 1302 proved the infantry was far from obsolete, and that the highly trained warrior caste could in fact be brought low by its presumed inferiors....


Whew. Banged out most of this Monday night but did some Tuesday night and Wednesday as well. This was actually kind of interesting because I used the Bayeux Tapestry as a source, and "quoted" sections of it in the paper, c&p-ing it into the body of the paper.

Even the etymology of Poitiers’s original text binds soldier to horse—William’s sobriquet of “redoubtable mounted warrior” reads as “terribilem equitem” in Latin. Appropriately the Norman horses share in their masters’ triumph: we read “[e]ven the hooves of the horses inflicted punishment on the dead as they galloped over their bodies” and the final image in the Tapestry shows William’s cavalry pursuing the fleeing English.



And my conclusion:

...[L]ater on we read “[m]ore than a thousand simple knights…fell there, and more than three thousand splendid chargers and valuable horses were stabbed during the battle.” These horses are not just valuable but splendid—the bewilderment of the anonymous Annales chronicler at this disaster is manifest and there is an elegiac quality to these passages, as though medieval chivalry itself were dying. Generations of cavaliers, nurtured on tales of the Conqueror and inspired by the imagery of the Tapestry, are now betrayed by their faith in the assumed superiority of the mounted warrior. But perhaps the knights themselves betrayed the code of chivalry—perhaps, as the cult of medieval knighthood developed and armor grew heavier, they took for granted their own invulnerability, and trusted that a cavalry charge and elite status were proof enough against the rabble. Courtrai would challenge such comfortable assumptions—and as a final insult to knightly and aristocratic privilege, we are told that “[d]uring the battle many [infantry]…who previously little thought that such a thing could happen to them, were knighted.”

I think you can tell I'm a Southerner from this passage! There is an echo of Rhett and Ashley's wistfulness for gallantry and the old days in this writing, now that I think of it, especially when Ashley looks at Scarlett and admires her gallantry (in the book, it's when she's making the dress out of the curtains). And the Southerners were crazy for medieval chivalry, they loved Sir Walter Scott.

DONE. Now, on to finals. And softball.
ceebeegee: (Columbia)
Sweating through my second (final) paper right now, on the role of the cavalry in Hastings and the Battle of the Golden Spurs. Will surface when it's done (probably tonight, I'm on the conclusion right now).
ceebeegee: (Viola pity)
Last night the current President of Sweet Briar appeared at a cocktail party hosted by an alum in her Park Avenue apartment. All NYC-area alums were invited so I showed up to schmooze a bit--Christian told me that the SBC President is really into theater, and I figured it wouldn't hurt to meet her and make a good impression, all for Project Thyme. Nice party--LOTS of smoked salmon and other nibblies, and everyone was very friendly. (Sooooo nice to hear some Southern accents.) Schmoozing accomplished.

Lots of theater coming up--Anya and I are going to see the campus production of The Wedding Singer tomorrow night--I want to meet with some of them if I can and possibly find out how to put in a bid to direct. Can't hurt to build up some on-campus credits. And then Ashley is performing in The HMS Pinafore the next two weeks, so I have to catch that as well. Also Michael Clay (Marley in Xmas Carol '07, Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet, Scrooge in Xmas Carol '09) is doing Twelfth Night (LOVE that poster!) in Midtown--haven't seen that in a while, must see! Here's the thing, though--I get a little antsy at having to see Ashley in Pinafore because it's not a cheap ticket--the least expensive is $25--and Ashley's only in the chorus. If she were Josephine of course I'd love to see it--but spending that much money to see her in chorus? Argh. I'm so poor right now. But I want to support Ashley and I know she loves working with this group. Here's hoping this production isn't focused on the music at the expense of the comedy. I just wish I could get a student rate--they nail you bigtime for service fees, $4 no matter what (phone, credit card, mail) if you buy it in advance.

Oh, and I saw Sleep No More Tuesday night. Very interesting--it's kind of a haunted house/theme park version of Mackers (i.e., immersive, environmental, non-linear) if Stanley Kubrick had directed it. I kept thinking of two Kubrick pieces in particular--The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut. It's interesting but it's a LOT of money for kind of an incomplete experience. But I did like it very much.

Softball tomorrow--first game of the season! Can't wait!
ceebeegee: (Default)
Weather is kicking my ass lately. So, so sick of all this disgusting cold and rain. All I wanted to do this morning was stay in bed with Tatia draping herself across the pillow.

We have a paper due in three weeks and the professor asks that we submit our sources in advance--citations were due today. He also wants us to have the BOOK in hand as we write the paper, just so we don't get taken by surprise and find out there's not enough material for our paper. So last night I'm putting together my sources and looking up the books on the Columbia online library catalogue. Of course my network at work has all sorts of firewalls, and just generally not all the software is up to date, so since I have to stop by the campus anyway to get the books, I'll look them up there. Leave work and it's freezing--so I decide to go home first to change, feed cats, etc. I look up the books there--and as it turns out, one of the books I need isn't at Butler, the main library--it's at the library at Union Theological Seminary, the campus of which is affiliated with and adjacent to Columbia. So not too far away but--eep!--it closes an hour earlier, at 10 pm. I get there by 9:30--but they've started to close the stacks. But since I had the call number in hand, they let me sneak in, grab my book, and be done. So nice! The source I need from that library was a translation of William of Poitiers's Gesta Guillelmi, about William the Conqueror--my paper will be about the role of the cavalry (and its implications for chivalry) in the Battles of Hastings (i.e., the 1066 Norman Invasion) and the Battle of the Golden Spurs. Oh, and I'm also using the Bayeux Tapestry as a source!



I really liked the UTS campus--it's built a bit like a combination of an English manor house, long hallways and such, and a high medieval castle, with vaulted ceiling and doorways. Very, very cozy walking down that long hallway to get to the library, which is preceded by a really beautiful Rotunda. I wonder if they offer undergrad courses at UTS? It would be so nice, so peaceful, going there for class--maybe a class in medieval theology?

After that I walked back up to the main campus to Butler Library, slipped into the stacks and grabbed my other source. To get to the stacks, you walk into Butler, walk up the main staircase, go around the circulation desk and through a door to a tiny internal staircase. The stacks...ahhhhhh. It's like entering another world. So peaceful and quiet, and the smell of all those old, old books. It makes me think of my childhood, reading my cousin's old copies of the Thornton W. Burgess Old Mother West Wind books. I got my source quickly (Annales Gendanses, a Flemish annal--I'm using it as my source for the Battle of the Golden Spurs, which was Flemish versus French). I would've loved to have just...stayed there. Stayed there draped over a table, bent over a book, occasionally rising to get some other fragile book about some old, old battle. Old unhappy far-off things/and battles long ago... Libraries are like church to me.
ceebeegee: (Beyond Poetry)
Also, last week for class we read Henry V and watched bits of it in class, both the Olivier and the Branagh. Haven't seen the Branagh since it first came out in '89--it's quite good! I definitely prefer it to my Olivier--I have very mixed feelings about the quality of Olivier's films (perhaps I should say their success--as I emailed to my professor:

Olivier's Shakespeare adaptations have always tried to bestride both theater and film--NOT always successfully! ("To be or not to be" CANNOT be a voiceover, what was he thinking? Shakespeare's lines are too theatrical to be believable as thought, they *must* be spoken aloud. Declaimed, as it were!)

And the 1944 H5 is sooo cheesy, with its forced humor during the Salic law scene, and that Globe framework. Just doesn't work for me, although I do like Olivier's Richard III--hottt! I like how he split up the wooing scene, makes it *infinitely* more believable that Anne finally succumbs. Only Olivier could make Humpback Dick hot!

Anyway we looked at it specifically WRT Laws of War--since the 1944 was meant as British propaganda, they left out the Harfleur speech and the speech where Henry has the French prisoners executed. Branagh's version, which of course is much darker (they called it "the post-Falklands Henry V"), has both scenes (I believe--I know he has the Harfleur scene, he chews up the scenery, masticates it within an inch of its life, and spits it out again). We compared the Agincourt speech, even though it doesn't address Laws of War, just because it's so good. (Hilariously, Olivier's Agincourt is all sunny--uh, the rain and the mud is WHY the English won, guys! The French cavalry got stuck in the mud and the English archers finished 'em off.) The professor compared the long shots in the Olivier to the closeups in the Branagh, saying this is why Olivier is the better actor. I emailed him:

Do you really see the tight camera closeup on Henry in the St. Crispin Day speech as bad acting? That speaks to more Branagh's directing than his acting--and really, that's just a different style....Branagh's Henry V shots and editing are more cinematic. I also think his take on the text is more a look at Henry the man--his development from Prince Hal the carouser to a King in every sense of the word, whereas Olivier's movie had a wider focus.

He replied:

I make that point about Olivier simply for the sake of an audience that has probably never seen him and is likely to be wowed by Branagh's eyes (a student last year practically swooned) and stirring
music and the reaction shots of Brian Blessed.


As I said, I hadn't seen it since it first came out, but I really liked what I saw (again) so I watched some more last night on YouTube. OH MY GOD. The wooing scene. The wooing scene. Kenneth, marry me now. NOW. When he walks around the table saying "Oh Kate, nice customs curtsy to great kings..." I...I cooed out loud. So, so cute. O anonymous student from last year, I am RIGHT there with you!

And on a fairly random note, I *love* how little English names have changed in 600 years. We STILL are naming our princes and princesses Catherine and Henry. And Edward and Margaret and Elizabeth and William...
ceebeegee: (Columbia)
So we had our history final the Tuesday before Christmas--it was modified open book in that we were allowed to have in hand the last text we studied, Le Livre de la Cité des Dames by Christine de Pizan, and we could even have notes in it, but we were not allowed any other text. (And yet, we were expected to be able to cite and reference those texts.) So, a little different from the exams for Roman History. Naturally of course I studied like crazy for it--I went through the book with a color-coded system, highlighting 8 different themes we'd discussed throughout the semester, like the use of the vernacular, contemporary women's writings' treatment of the body, that sort of thing. This turned out to be VERY useful--once I saw what the essay questions were, I had the quotations and references immediately at hand, I just had to flip through the book, looking for the color-code for that particular theme.

However we also had to reference Roman de la Rose--from memory. Luckily I'd pulled several quotations dealing with most of the course's themes, and as soon as we received the exam I turned it over and wrote down my memorized Roman quotations. This took some time, as did my outline for my essay, so by the time I actually started writing, it was almost 45 minutes gone. But write I did, for the next two hours in a blue book. (Mom asked me if we still wrote in blue books--I said yes indeed, and I always wanted to sneak one ouot as a souvenir. But then through my proctoring I found out that's a common means of cheating--people will take them, write out the answers (presumably to advance essay questions), and then sneak them back in. So now they stamp the blue books with stamps specific to that exam period--it was a red star this past time. I still can't get over how the exams are all proctored--at Sweet Briar and, I'm pretty sure, at Mount Holyoke, all exams were on the honor system with no proctors. Sweet Briar took the honor system VERY seriously--we were required to memorize the pledge (What do you want, it's Virginia!). I still remember the final sentence--I will report myself, and ask others to report themselves, for any infraction of this pledge.) ANYWAY, I think I did okay on the exam; we still haven't gotten them back. He told us that our final papers were in his outbox so after I turned in my exam, I went over to his office and snaked it out of the box--A. Whew!

I did love the Dante, found it fascinating to write about--my topic examined circle imagery in his Paradiso.

Initially Dante’s choice of imagery seems self-explanatory—medieval pre-Copernican cosmology was rife with spheres, with Earth at the center of the universe surrounded by concentric rings wherein the planets dwelled, ultimately topped by the fixed stars, the Primum Mobile and the Empyrean. But a closer examination reveals Dante’s clever and imaginative exploration of this conceit, one which ultimately proves as simultaneously crystalline, musical and absolute as Dante’s vision of the heavens themselves.

Sooooo much to explore there--music (dance and the music's circular tonality--paging my BA in music!), Commedia's rhyme scheme (which is terza rime (ABA BCB CDC)--each triplet is a circle that sets the ground for the second line), even that the term comedy originally meant song. Against that I contrasted the idea of light imagery:

[Dante] is only a visitor to this blessed realm; he cannot wheel endlessly around the heavens basking blissfully in affirmation, he must progress as far as possible until his journey has ended. And so Dante uses light imagery to contrast with his circular musical metaphors—light for music, sight for sound, the challenging for the affirmative, an open-ended straight trajectory for that which is curvilinear and cyclical. Light of course cannot bend, and light as a metaphor for unbending truth and a vehicle by which to ascend suffuses every canto, nearly every stanza of Commedia.

And then held them up against each other:

The inherent push-pull tension between the two constructs of circle/line, music/light (“when each clock-art both drives and draws,” 91, line 142) is brilliantly illustrated by the poetic structure of the poem, those tight little aba, bcb, cdc tercets—one rhyme anticipating the next, a chain mail of circles that advance little by little, forming a rosary of epiphany and transcendence.

When I wrote the paper in early December this was all going swimmingly and I was basically in the clear, just had to write the conclusion--and then I saw that I'd missed something. The professor's notes for the paper specifically said we had to bring in at least one other contemporary writer. I PALED. I was going through all the other mid-late writers--"Who do I know? Can't write about Bacon, I've already done him [I wrote about Bacon in my previous paper]--ORESME, I know Oresme." Seriously, I was pretty much panicking. I was able to get out a few paragraphs, about a page, on Oresme and circles, then got back to Dante and squeezed out a conclusion. So, nice to know that worked out.

After the final, I could just relax and enjoy the holidays but naturally I've been anxiously checking the SSOL (Student Services Online) to see if grades have been posted. Finally, two days ago, they had--an A for the semester, yeehaw! Now, on to Laws of War (and a byGod TIMELINE) in the Middle Ages!

BOOKS

Jan. 3rd, 2011 06:20 pm
ceebeegee: (Columbia)
Last week I ordered most of my books for this semester--we have quite a few (like 6-7). Many of them arrived today, including A Knight's Own Book of Chivalry, Medieval Warfare: A History, What Were the Crusades? and Froissart's Chronicles. We also have the Penguin edition of Henry V on the list--I'm going to ask the professor if he can distribute the critical essays in .pdf format or something, since I already have at least two copies of Hank the Cinq. But--DROOL. The book on the Crusades looks delicious--I'm going to be even more of an Hermione and read it before class, as well as a few of the others.

Amazon has started a new program--Amazon Student. You give them your .edu email address, they verify that you're a student, and then for a year you can try out all the benefits of Amazon Prime (which for my purposes means faster shipping). Class doesn't start for another couple of weeks so I didn't really need the books that quickly but it's nice to have anyway.
ceebeegee: (Columbia)

I got an A on my 2nd paper!  I was absolutely thrilled--because for a number of reasons, I wasn't sure how good that paper was.  I wasn't really feeling the material as much and kept changing my mind on which topic I would write (he gave us a choice of three).  Also, I got an A- (not a full A) on the first paper which made me unhappy, and frankly I connected with Eloise and Abelard much more, and wasn't sure if I agreed with his reasons for the minus.  Someone suggested I should contest it but I detest grade grubbing and would only do that if I truly felt wronged.  I just have to figure out how to get the A without compromising what I really want to say.

Anyway, this second paper was quite taxing, I pretty much SWEATED it out.  The papers all have to be between 4-6 pages and it is easy for me to skate right up to the edge of 6 pages, I can wax quite eloquent!  I was kind of feeling my way through this one--the topic on which I finally settled was to explore the scientific elements of Bernardus Sylvestris's Cosmographia, and then compare them to Roger Bacon's scientific writings.  The former is an allegory about the creation of the universe divided into two parts--"Macrocosmos" and "Microcosmos" (which deals with the creation of man and explicitly positions man as the mirror-image of the universe).  As a piece of literature it's a little...overwrought, with long incomprehensible passages about Sylva and Noys and Hyle and the swirling darkness and I don't know whatall.  (It's a little easier to "get" when you compare it to the Great Clearances of the early Middle Ages, with man taming the darkness of the forests by leveling them.  Order out of chaos was a big thing at this time.)  But when you start reading Cosmographia as proto-science, it's pretty interesting, lots of descriptions about the four elements and their properties, and noticing patterns in the universe.  In the introduction, I wrote:  In a way, Cosmographia could be seen as the macro-Hamlet, its message “What a piece of work is the universe.” 

I plowed through the discussion of its scientific elements, then Man (The First Scientist?  As I wrote Man is then both outside observer and integral participant, scientist and high priest. Science is in fact the seat and justification of man’s authority…  ), then moved on to Roger Bacon, whose Opus Majus was much more explicitly scientific in purpose, format and tone.  Blah blah blah about scientific elements, comparisons, etc. etc.  Then I'm at the ending (having SWEATED this out, this paper really did make me work) and I write: In fact one might even see in Opus Majus—or in Bacon himself—the realization of Cosmographia’s “ruler and high priest of creation”: Surveyor, Perceiver and Thinker, the one cosmos governing the other, exercising the “gift of reason” and in doing so, fulfilling the promise of Science.  I'm all pleased with that, it wraps it up.  I am barely under 6 pages at this point.  I reread the paper, trying to see it with a fresh pair of eyes, and I pick up on the Hamlet reference again and it hits me:  I add to the end of the paper, right after the last sentence, what a piece of work is man.  This is now literally at the utmost limit of 6 pages.  Then it occurs to me--I think the line is what a piece of work is a man, I was remembering the song in Hair (which of course references both Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet both explicitly and thematically, and there's a song that goes What a piece of work is man/How noble in reason/In form and movement, how express and admirable).  I google it to make sure of the correct, Shakespearean phrasing, then I go back and add one letter and a space to the quotation.  BAM!  That takes me over onto 7 pages.  Arrrgh!  At this point I've already resorted to widening the margins to give me more room, so I'm reduced to--get this--reducing the font size between paragraphs juuuuust enough to get that down to 6 pages again.  Is that pathetic or what?  I told Anya, and she said "oh man, normally it's the other way around, you're trying to pad it to make it longer."  I said "I know!  I know all those tricks too!"

So anyway, wasn't quite sure how good it was.  Today, on my way to class, I took a bad fall on the scooter, really slammed my left side and was actually kind of stunned when I picked myself up.  I got to class and was in a bit of a daze and the professor was talking about de Meun's
Roman de la Rose, and how boundary-challenging it was, and he was saying "there's a word, for that--oh, what is the word for something that's trying to push the boundaries?"  I burted out "transgressive?"  He said "YES!  That's it, thank you."  Hermione is back :)  He was talking about the scientific writings and saying that one of the students had complained about them, saying s/he didn't really like them, and he said that every year someone questions them, and he doesn't have to include them, he could include instead political writings or theology, and why does he include them?  He then said that this batch of papers was the best on the science writings that he'd ever had in all the time he's taught the class.  He said "not everyone but most of them were extremely good."  But I thought "you don't know, maybe yours was one of the few not-so-good."  He hands them out at the end of class, I scuttle back to the subway platform and thought "well, let's have the bad news."  BAM!  A!  A full A.  The difference between an A- and an A is so small, but so significant!

Back to class again--we were talking about the Roman, and he asked for thoughts--I said I thought it was kind of devolutionary, that the professor had said earlier in the term that one of the geniuses of this culture was that they were able to transform all this aggressive, militaristic, rapacious energy and channel it into the interactions of courtly love, which rewarded gentlessness and restraint--and here is de Meun upending all of that and mocking it.  He nodded vigorously.  Going further (I didn't say this in class, this is occurring to me now), perhaps it is because the clerical culture that received the Roman so well were far enough removed from the chaos of the Dark Ages that they took the relative peace for granted and thought the whole courtly love thing was just soooooo played out.  I dunno though, the 13th century wasn't THAT peaceful.  Not quite the complete balls-up trainwreck that was the 14th century, but still, they had a few Crusades going on yet).  Anyway I also mentioned that I saw a comparison to the works of Neil LaBute (Roman de la Rose is pretty explicitly misogynistic under the guise of satire, so much so that de Meun basically inspired the birth of what we would now call feminism, although they referred to it as la querelle de la Rose--BTW, please note that the paper to which I just linked from by a Sweet Briar student!)  I said that LaBute has a complicated reputation, that he is seen as pretty misogynistic and I wasn't sure if I agreed, because portraying misogyny is not the same thing as endorsing it, but he too (like de Meun) is criticized as taking the satire, the "hook," too far.  You could hear the minds of 3/4 of the class, who've never heard of LaBute, checking out but the professor really liked this.

Oh, and in other news--the woman for whom I work on Mondays and Thursdays had me go to Barnes and Noble yesterday to get some Christmas gifts, and she told me to get one for myself, so I got a book I've been eyeing longingly for awhile, The Little Ice Age, by Brian Fagan.  YUM.  Glaciers swallowing Swiss towns whole and torrential rainpours leading to had harvests and famine--sign me up.
ceebeegee: (Columbia)

So, we started Dante's Paradiso last week.

I effing LOVE it.  It is beautiful and serene and challenging and I love it.  It is definitely the most interesting text we've had so far--infinitely more interesting than Aquinas's Summa Theologica, or even Sylvestri's Cosmographia.  Once we got into the Aristotelian era, we moved away from dialectic (which I can appreciate but it's not exactly riveting unless you're watching it as performance art) and into contemplation of Aristotle's vision of the universe--which meant that there were a lot more cosmologies being written and maps being drawn.  And the Commedia is like this times ten.  Just listen to this:

Lift up then, Reader, to the lofty wheels
   With me thy vision straight unto that part
   Where the one motion on the other strikes,

And there begin to contemplate with joy
   That Master's art, who in himself so loves it
   That never doth his eye depart therefrom.

Behold how from that point goes branching off
   The oblique circle, which conveys the planets,
   To satisfy the world that calls upon them;

And if their pathway were not thus inflected,
   Much virtue in the heavens would be in vain,
   And almost every power below here dead.

If from the straight line distant more or less
   Were the departure, much would wanting be
   Above and underneath of mundane order.

This took me a LONG time to figure out.  First of all, Dante-the-character is writing this from a pre-Copernican point of view--he still subscribes to the worldview that the universe revolves around the earth.  Then, he's telling you, the Reader, to imagine something--you can't see it, it's a path (two paths) that you have to plot.  What he's asking you to imagine is where the celestial equator and the ecliptic meet.  They are difficult to explain, and I'm not sure I grasp the whole thing anyway, but basically they are two imaginary paths tracing the journey of the sun across the year, as measured against the constellations (specifically the zodiac--the two paths "strike" against each other because the earth is tilted and this is what gives us our seasons.  Paradiso takes place around the spring equinox of 1300, the equinoxes are the two times when these paths meet.)  To blow your mind even further, Dante-the-character isn't even ON the earth when he's saying this--at this point in the narrative, he's still in the sphere of Mars.  So he's far above the earth, asking you to look up from earth and imagine the plots of two paths that the sun makes over the course of the year--but the sun doesn't make it, WE make it because the earth revolves around the sun!  MIND.  BLOWN.

And for all this messing around of perspective and putting yourself in another's position--he's right.  Imagine if there were no tilt?  No seasons? No autumn, no spring?  And almost every power below here dead. Kind of makes you think of...The spring, the summer, childing autumn, angry winter/and the mazed world by their increase now knows not which is which...The universe in all its glory--"no atoms casually together hurled/could e'er produce so beautiful a world."  I cannot imagine how an astronomer could ever be an atheist--to contemplate the perfect wholeness and order of the universe is to see God.
ceebeegee: (Columbia)

I was feeling very down when I woke up this morning for a variety of reasons--exhaustion, the weather, eating too much crap the day before, and the fact that my class is so off the syllabus at this point, I wasn't sure if I was prepared.  I was seriously considering skipping it but I object to that on principle (OH, how my work ethic has changed since my undergrad days!) so I went anyway.  I'm not actually that crazy about this class--as interesting as it is, and as enthusiastic about the material as the professor is, it's not a history course.  It's a philosophy course.  We have not studied any sort of timeline--he does offer context but only in bits and pieces.  I find this frustrating because I think he's ignoring some very strong connections to the major events and developments in Europe.  For example, we studied Roger Bacon and Nicholas Oresme, two proto-scientists.  Science wasn't really a discrete discipline back then, it was all tied in with the medieval worldview (the Great Chain of Being), Aristotle's tight little concentric, eternal universe and God.  They rediscovered Aristotle after the Reconquista and the Crusades and all the scholars (who were pretty much by definition Christian clerics) went crazy over it and for a couple of hundred years, all anyone talked about was Aristotle and his all-inclusive, a priori world where (almost) everything was explained.  Even though we now know those a priori assumptions were wrong, the magnitude of his logic is still pretty impressive, and it's truly amazing that a bunch of parochial Latin-Christian clerics embraced it so strongly.  It is an addictive worldview--everything is explained (almost), and it all leads to everything else.  The four elements, cosmology, music, art, eschataology (or lack thereof), logic--it is pretty awesome.  It even explains Gryffindor and Slytherin!  And I just love contemplating all those mesmerizing cosmological graphs and imagining the beautiful music that I can't hear...





But along come Bacon and Oresme who are among the first scientists to start challenging this--Oresme in particular postulated the idea that in fact earth is NOT the center of the universe, by introducing the concept of relativity.  If you're in a ship and you see another ship moving--it could be you who's moving,  Your perspective is affected by where you're located.  When you really think about this--it's pretty astonishing, relativity.  It's threatening NOW and we live in a world much more open to multiple points of view--it must've been a huge shock back then.  The professor explains this by pointing to the medieval economy, which (for many reasons, including a jump in the pop;ulation) had been getting steadily more complex) introduced a value-neutral world.  A loaf of bread isn't inherently worth 20 doubloons, or whatever.  It's worth whatever the going market dictates which constantly shifts.  I thought that was a great idea but I also thought he was missing a huge event which must've shaken everyone's worldview, the Great Mortality.  So I sent the professor an email:

Also, the emergence of the proto-Copernican POV fascinates me.  It seems like SUCH a huge
leap to make--going from all those tight little Aristotelian circles to the idea that
what if we're NOT the center of the universe?  In class you'd described that Aristotelian
universe as "satisfying" or comforting (something like that)--I think that a big factor
in this new POV was the Pestilence.  When a third of your world has been wiped out,
*everything* has to be reexamined.  "And people said and believed, 'This is the end of
the world.'"

The Oresme stuff was a couple of generations after the first wave hit, so they'd had some
time to come to terms with and could filter their destroyed sense of Aristotelian order
through a more rational sensibility.


He also lectured about how Bacon was the first philosopher to apply knowledge--the first to link knowledge with power, and he thought up all sorts of inventions and applications.  This time (13th c.) was a period where a LOT of inventions were emerging, including the clock. Another thought occurred to me:

...the previous week
when you were talking about how differently Latin-Christian Europe viewed applied science
(technology, essentially) from the Romans, it occurred to me that the Crusades
undoubtedly were a major impetus for that.  Your essay made the connection between an
increasingly complex and market-driven economy and the emergence of non-Ptolemaic points of
view--I'd also like to make the connection between that new market economy and the
technological development.  Nothing accelerates development like competition--either
economic or war.  Both are essentially survival of the fittest, after all.


So he responded that he'd rather talk to me in person during office hours, it's too complicated to discuss via email.  Which--sure, fine, but I've not been able to meet his office hours even once this semester so far, I've been so busy.  Can we at least MENTION the Black Death in class?! :)  I'm easy to please, just hand out a timeline of events you deem significant, that'll do!  I gotta have the larger picture.
ceebeegee: (Ireland)
I'm so busy I barely have time to write about how busy I am. Non-stop rehearsing this past weekend and next weekend is even worse. It's actually quite stressful--I'd really love to just have one day off, with nothing to do, but that won't happen for at least two and a half weeks. But the show is on its feet--it is entirely blocked and we have been working and polishing ever since. I'm especially proud of the Foeman number which I choreographed entirely myself--it is a tricky little number about military formation, playing on the humor of the daughters turning into this bloodthirsty militaristic marchers and dragging the cops on to a gory death.

Though your foes are fierce and ruthless
False, unmerciful and truthless
Young and tender, old and toothless
All in vain, their mercy crave!


I've been drilling the heck out of this--you would not believe how easy it is to get off the beat! I keep telling them, military cadence is always on the left foot. Ah-left, ah-left, ah-left, right, left...But I love it, it's my favorite number. The blank faces of the girls, marching implacably on, contrasted with the mounting panic of the two cops (Caley lets out this yelp as she's pushed on, it's hilarious) cracks me up.

And we have new pirates! We have two new first-act pirates, our two cops Don and Caley, and two full-timers, Steven, who was in Rent last winter, and of course Duncan. I will be covering for Duncan for the first weekend--it may be confusing switching pirates in and out, but at least the two of us know the score VERY well (although I keep having to stop myself from singing daughter lines--it's especially challenging during the leadup to "Here's a first-rate opportunity," I keep singing "Too late!" instead of "Ha ha! Ho ho!"). Anyway with this plethora of brigands, we have a nice full stage for the first sequence.

Immersed in reading right now--medieval science. It's not as easy as you'd think. This course is actually more of a philosophy course, not history--last week the professor said something about "remember the historical context of these writings" and I thought "WHAT context? The only way I know anything that's happening is by doing my own outside research--we almost never talk about actual events in this class."

Additional busy-ness--I'm assistant-directing Andrew Rothkin's Macbeth and he is crazy with the emails. I mean, multiple emails every day, and we're not even having auditions until January. I told him I'm not worth much until Pirates goes up and then I'll be more accessible.

And more--I'm doing a reading with Micahel Clay, my first Marley and our Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet--it's next week, next Wednesday at noon.

And more--I HAVE to stay on top of the trip to Dublin! Gotta start thinking about getting cash, and reserving tickets to the Abbey and whatnot, if that's not too late. Can't wait!
ceebeegee: (Default)
The paper is sailing along now--just 1-2 paragraphs more, and it's done and I just have to proof, make sure my citations are in order, and write a bibliography. One HUGE thing off my plate from this Week of Hell.

This then is Abelard’s ideal woman—just “modern” enough that she flouts convention with her erudition and strength of principle, and yet enough of their time that he can put the blame on her, the woman (“since the beginning of the human race, women had brought the noblest men to ruin,” 13) and that she ultimately bows to his wishes. But is this the true Heloise, or does Abelard see her through a glass darkly—the glass of vanity? Did Heloise see herself as a pioneer or was she trying to fulfill medieval expectations for her gender? Her own writings prove most illuminating in this respect.

I gotta namecheck Patient Griselda in there somewhere.

Yeah, this week--UGH. My brother is arriving Wednesday to visit with Bart and me, and to take back Edna Mo. Of course he can't actually take the cat until Sunday, because Bart's place already has one cat-molesting dog and they really can't accomodate another. Of course I understand but--I was *really* hoping she would be gone sooner rather than later. She's just so stressful. Both Anya and I have been vomiting after cleaning up her numerous and myriad messes. She urinates, she defecates, she pukes. It's like we have a feline Linda Blair living with us, except that when she's not like that, she's precious and I adore her. (She give me little head butts to my forehead all the time.) But yeah, we have to keep her in the bathroom when we're gone (read: for most of the day) so she acts out. STRESSFUL.

And trying to write a paper when your laptop has been self-destructing--not fun. Quite a few keys have popped off so I had to buy a new keyboard and plug it into the USB port. I will probably be getting one of those netbooks, but can't even think about that for a few weeks, I'm so busy right now.

We started blocking rehearsals yesterday--it went great! My principals are all terrific, picked up my direction immediately, except for our Pirate King who looks perfect and has a fantastic voice but is a leettle too gesture-y. So I gotta work with him on that. But yeah, so much fun working our way through the script and finding little nuances here and there.

Oh, also, I'm doing a reading of Mark Twain's The Diary of Adam and Eve the first week in November. Michael Clay, my Marley from Christmas Carol '07 and our Friar Laurence from R&J is a parishioner at the First Presbyterian Church down in the Village and asked me to do this with him. And guess who's a parishioner--F. Murray Abraham! I hope he comes to see it.
ceebeegee: (Magical Dance)
We need men for Pirates!


Writing a paper right now--it's due next Thursday but my schedule for the next 10 days is so insane, it's best to bang out as much of it as possible.  The paper addresses the modern and contemporary characteristics of Heloise (of Heloise and Abelard).  I hope to get most of it done this weekend, and then finish it up Monday or Tuesday. But right now, plowing through it, I just started the second page (it has to be 4-6 pages).

And yet a closer examination of her letters reveals a woman who is both timeless and timely—-a wife, lover, religieuse to outlast the ages, while still enmired in her own.

We need men for Pirates!

So, uh, yeah. Pirates is going very well, everyone's learning music like gangbusters--but we really need ensemble men. REALLY need them. At least two, but I'd like three. Please consider coming out for the show if you can spare the time! I have all sorts of fun ideas for the show--real water and sand on stage, smell-o-vision--but we need to balance out the women.
ceebeegee: (Family)
A little less than two weeks and my brother will be here to take home Edna Mo. We are literally counting the days! We love her but she is a HANDFUL--major elimination issues and of course Tatia hates her (not like that's any kind of isolating factor--Tatia hates every other feline life form). Stuart will be here from next Wednesday to Sunday which leaves me Friday night and all day Saturday to play with him and Bart! (Maybe Sunday--possibly I could fit in a brunch before he leaves).

Friday TTC had a benefit at the space and I sang "Times Like This" from Lucky Stiff. The ending of the first verse actually got a laugh--I thought that song was better-known (I won't spoil it but the end of the first verse is a misdirect which, if done properly, is funny). Anya came with me so she got to meet Peggy and Dave--they're doing Rocky Horror this winter, and Anya would be great in that. She'd be a great Columbia except I'm not sure if she has the tap skills.

We finally got a music director for Pirates--a guy named John Bronston who works at the Duplex and who, as it turns out, I know already. He used to work with the Lady of Copper people way back--I was all "huh! I don't remember you..." But he seems cool and most importantly, didn't have a problem with the cuts I'd made. Saturday I went through the score with a red pen, eliminating the MANY redundant elements--there are SO many repeated verses, repeated choruses, repeated jokes in the Pirates score. And then just random things that come out of nowhere, like "Hail, Poetry!" Buh-bye, poetry. Likewise "Sighing Softly to the River..."--that number will not work in a small studio space like this, a slow, sight-gag number like that is meant for a large proscenium stage. It's cut a lot of the time anyway--I know it was cut in at least one of the productions I've done of Pirates, our Major-General did a patter number from, I think, Ruddigore.

So, so busy right now--I'm in the middle of taking notes for a paper due next week. Heloise, proto-modern woman or conventional medieval Griselda--discuss! Speaking of things medieval, I missed the Fort Tryon Park Renaissance Faire again this year *sad face* Last year I had a good excuse, I was in London--I just forgot about it this year, although possibly I wouldn't have been able to go anyway (because of--MY SCHEDULE. Which is cray-cray right now).
ceebeegee: (Candy pumpkins!)
Yesterday Anya and I made pumpkin pie ice cream--we have TONS left over, if anyone wants some please feel free to stop by and take some home. I made it with the old-fashioned recipe which uses eggs so it's really, really rich--we both could barely finish our bowls. As much as I love summer, I love autumn, and after the heat this summer, I am very much looking forward to a productive season. And on that note--

Today I start classes--yay!, can't wait to buckle down and get all academic and immerse myself in times and cultures past. I love school so much. All of you can expect to be treated to breathless updates of Eloise and Abelard's scandalous forbidden romance.

Tonight Dave and I have a meeting about Pirates. And hey! No one commented on that last week, by the way--

Attention! I'm directing The Pirates of Penzance for TTC's inaugural season at Monroe in Hoboken!

Maybe that'll get your attention ;) Anyway, am thrilled and going over the libretto now trying to figure out what I want to do with it. I have some ideas--I'm going to try to give it a slightly more updated, streamlined sensibility without it devolving into the mess that was The Pirate Movie. (I will restrain myself mightily and NOT include "Pumpin' and Blowin'." Although it IS tempting.) Fewer ruffles, more simple hotness, a more knowing quality without its being too campy or winky. More musical theater, less operetta. I just better have some decent actors coming out--you always get amazing vocal talent coming out for Pirates but as someone who's seen and done the show numerous times, I can attest you don't always get decent actors.

I'll post about the US Open later but it was fantastic as always.
ceebeegee: (Columbia)
I registered for class yesterday. "Medieval Intellectual Life 1050-1400," here I come! We get to study Eloise and Abelard (which I read back in undergrad), Dante's Comedy (excellent, I can whip out my pictures of the Lago d'Averno in Campagnia) and The Book of the City of Ladies. Never read that but that's what I'm here for. This class should be much easier than Roman History, which covered so much--1200 years of history, no less. This is more like people sitting around and thinking deep thoughts and shit.

I found all the books on Amazon for muuuuch less than the publisher's list price. Ehhhxcellent *steeples fingers* And the class is on the Barnard campus! I always feel so cozy when I'm over there, like, aww, you guys, I went to a Seven Sisters school too! Women's college love!

I really am excited, can you tell? :)

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