Saturday, March 31, 2007

Never Acceptable: The Hazing of Kathy Sierra

Through Acrene Wiseass, I came across the deeply distributing situation of Kathy Sierra. (Warning the threats and comments are graphic and disturbing)

I'm disgusted beyond belief that not only these sort of comments and threats are being made to this woman, but that their being made by adults (I make no claims of knowing who is responsible for the threats and comments, I will not convict people simply on public opinion and hearsay, but chances are all those involved are over the age of 18). These are not teenagers on livejournal or MySpace that haven't yet grasped the concept that there is a person at the other end of the computer. These are adults that not only should know better, but should be ashamed over even thinking their behavior was appropriate.

As far as I can tell these are not teenage boys with too much time on their hands, not that it would make the situation any better but the fact that these are adults with more than three brain cells to rub together make it all that more horrible. I'd bet good money that these people would never have the courage to say half that shit to her or any other woman's face, so why do they think it alright on the internet? Do people really lose the sense that it's a living breathing human with feelings on the other end?

The commenter's to Ms. Sierra telling her that she's too thin skinned are horrid as well. Thin skinned is wailing 'omg ur so mean' when someone disagrees with you or points out that your wrong due to verifiable facts. Anyone sane would be reacting like Ms. Sierra, especially someone that does not have the money to have armed body guards. While, having sadly seen (and been the target of on a smaller scale) hazing of this sort before, I do not think most of these people would have the courage to approach Ms. Sierra in person let alone actually harm her, there are always one or two crazy fuckers in any group of people like this to make her fear and safety measures more than reasonable.

The bottom line remains that behavior of this sort is never acceptable and those that know the people responsible for the threats need to step up and alert the police. Let the police deal with the matter and let them judge who is guilty.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

So exhausted

I planned on actually medieval content for this entry, but my brain seems to be stuck on Act of Union 1840. In fact, there are a great many things and dates in my head that only pertain from 1609 until about 1929. My empire exam tomorrow might shed some light on these events.

And in my infinite insanity infinite something I will be taking part in my schools all day reading of the Odyssey. My part doesn't come until almost 9:30 at night but it'll be fun and there are t-shirts. Ah, yes, the siren song that has done in many a undergrad, 't-shirts'.

Couple these facts with a paper on Twelfth Night (and after watching the Nunn version, I do not blame Olivia one bit) due Thursday, and my brain is slowly shutting down. I'm going to jump start myself with sugar and tea before returning to trying to keep dates straight in my head.

In closing this site scares me and this site is hysterical (which I original typed as heretical.)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A taste of what is to come?

Over at Acephalous, Scott shares a complaint from his teaching days. A complaint from a young gentleman who claims "I write so very well". Anyone who teaches or plans to teach at any level should have a look and a (if rather pained and horrified) laugh.

Be warned even my worst writing does not reach the level of this young man's missive. Bring your goggles and a strong drink, you'll need them.

Since I've already lamented over sharing classes with people like him in the comments, I thought I'd bring up another side of things. How do you deal with a email/letter/etc. like this from a student? What is the protocol?

Honestly, I can see no benefit in answering the complaint other than inviting the student again in meet with 'me' to discuss the grade. Would the student see this has you starting to give in and pressure more for the grade they think they deserve? Do the girls pull out the water works?

The thing that still gets me is, why bring up problems with grades AFTER you've received your final grade. Bit late now, isn't it?

Say you have two students, A and B. Both have missed a good deal of classes. Both have struggled with assignments. Student B comes in during office hours to talk about their grades and actually listens to what you say. Student A never talks to you, not even through email. Student B grades improve, obviously trying their hardest. Student A keeps running their head into the same wall. Which student will most likely receive a better grade in the class?

If I was a betting woman, I'd say Student B. I'd rather have student B than A. Sadly Student A like the gentleman in Scott's post will never understand that it's too late after the fact.

They hand out faqs on all this when you start teaching right? (Along with a time machine when you finish your Ph.D.)


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Hamlet as Dark Comedy

Before the break in my Shakespeare class the Professor asked us why Hamlet is a tragedy. There were many ranging answers. She who annoys Geek just by speaking made a good point or two about Ophelia and Gertrude though it all tied back into her Shakespeare anti-feminist subtext theory she goes on about. The classical definition of tragedy found its way into the mix.

I brought up that really Hamlet is a comedy, a dark comedy but a comedy none the less. I mentioned briefly one of the reason the 'Slaughterhouse' scene in R&G are Dead works so well is that Hamlet has the dark humor already built into the text. I found myself auguring the case further against some of my fellow students that could see nothing of comedy in a play were everyone (almost everyone) dies.

I maintain therein lies the dark humor.

Hamlet in his mock insanity often is darkly witty with his word play and doesn't hold is punches against anyone. Even with Ophelia, who we must believe he once –if not still- loved, his tongue is humorless dark. "Get thee to a nunn'ry…" he tells her, and though lost on most modern audiences Elizabethan audiences would recognized the double play on the word nunn'ry, slang for whore house. Hamlet's statement to the dead Polonius ("I took thee for thy better…") and the speech to Yorick's skull are disturbingly humorous in ways. The absurdity of giving a dead man a back handed compliment, or the image of a skull telling the Queen where she'd end up one day can be taken as darkly funny.

Claudius smoothly admitted incest, "Therefore our sometimes sister, now our Queen…" has enough built in humor it's hard to believe the man could say it with a straight face.

Ophelia's insanity is tragic by her words bitingly funny. Even playing the role seriously an actress could prompt laughter with just the right quirk to Ophelia.

Then end of the play if very much 'rocks fall everyone dies'. The main players drop like domino's with R&G being the last touch, the two almost forgotten characters by this point. No one wins but the man that the audience as barely scene; Fortinbras.

The idea of Hamlet as a dark comedy is hardly new or groundbreaking, while checking my term and quotes I even came across the wiki article on it. I'm sure if I looked sparknotes would have something to say on the matter. Strangely enough, for some in my class you would have thought I'd just told them that Jack and Rose really weren't on the Titanic. She who annoys became huffy and rolled her eyes, since she has taken it upon herself to disagree with everything I say.

The Professor pointed out that if Macbeth could be turned into the dark comedy of Scotland P.A. and Romeo and Juliet would be a comedy only for the lack of a happy ending, then Hamlet as dark comedy did not stretch things and ended the discussion.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Celebration and a T-shirt

Two wonderful pieces of news to quick share before I go back to studying.

1. I made the Dean's List for last semester

2. My paper on Juliet's agency received an A.

This is a bit of an in-joke with some of my fellow students but I thought I'd share:

M.I.T, Medievalist In Training shirt

Monday, March 19, 2007

Today’s Agenda (with updates)

  • Go to class
  • Oil Change and Car inspected (Failed! Epp! Something is wrong with my parking break)
  • Work on cleaning closet
  • Take clothing to Buffalo exchange
  • Take recycling to center
  • Email contact about the job opening
  • Pick up more books from Library for research (will do during break in afternoon classes)
  • Take kitchen table apart
  • Finish the Inferno (two Cantos left)
  • Finish reading Twelfth Night
  • Finish Hamlet essay (Any excuse to watch Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, if you've never seen it I highly recommend it)
  • Pack up things for Tuesday

ETA: Things also accomplished so far- Rehung curtains in my bedroom, hung hooks in closet, hung up clothes, moved winter coats to spare bedroom closet, and went through more clothing for Good Will.

Daughter of ETA: Purchased bathroom scale and bath pillow, picked up milk, & made dinner.

    Sunday, March 18, 2007

    Weekend Breather

    A weekend out at mum's and I feel decidedly better.

    We went out yesterday to Goodwill, a Bath store (for bed risers), and B&N (where I found the radio show of Return of the Jedi). I found a great sling purse at Goodwill that will be wonderful for Ireland, and mum helped me find several pairs of jeans that didn't want to make me cry about my weight. We had lunch then went home. Mum fired up the spa and the weather was just warm enough and just cool enough to make it wonderful. We had crab cakes for dinner and watched Shrek 2 while drinking wine

    This morning I slept in and watched the live action version of 101 Dalmatians with mum.

    Boring yes, but it was nice not to have a million things to do.

    The only real accomplishment this weekend happened today when mum helped me rearrange my bedroom, and I'm much happier with the layout.

    I guess I just need to get out of my place for a few days, and change something's around. I have tomorrow off from work so I plan to finish up with a few things before everything starts back in full swing.

    One of which is searching for my short essay on King's Quest as Secondary Epic. I might just try to write the blasted think again if I can't find it on my old hard drives. If nothing else I'll have a good reason to break out the games and the guide.

    So while I can't believe tomorrow is Monday already, I think I can say I had a good break.

    Friday, March 16, 2007

    Why do I bother?

    Why do I bother blogging these days?

    I haven't written about anything really academic in a bit and no ones really interested in my life. I'm really not feeling as if I'm contributing anything, or getting anything back really. Just spam from trolls.

    I think I'm taking a blogging break for a while. See you when I see you.

    Thursday, March 15, 2007

    Breast Bands, Beowulf, and the Thirteenth Warrior

    Moved this to its own post, added a few things. Plus how the hell did I type cliff notes instead of footnotes?

    I've been playing Twilight Princess in between reading The Cambridge Companion to Dante. One of my big papers is tentatively going to look at Dante's Greek bias. The man seriously did not like the Greeks, not that the Classical sources he used helped matters. I should be working more on my research, since I have four big papers this semster (five if you count the take-home-essay test), but I needed a break.

    I'm just so frustrated in my major research project, as anything over the lack of anything on breast binding or breast bands in the Middle Ages, other than the off-handed reference in the Gies' Life in a Medieval City. Curse the unhelpful footnotes and probably sources that are in other languages.

    Curse my inability to speak anything but English and a smattering of Kilingon and Minbari.

    I'm about ready to scrap the topic in favor of the Church's influence on sumptuary laws and how the power of the secular world eventaully overpowered it. I would love to stick to my original idea but I'm starting to think that I'll need resources that just aren't available to me as an undergrad in Texas.

    Not helping matters is the fact I've been thinking off one of my classmates topics (he's looking at positive representations of Muslims in Medieval literature) and in a round about fashion brought my mind the The 13th Warrior (yes Beowulf, is Anglo-Saxon and wouldn't really work fall into his range, but my mind works in odd ways. Side note: Crichton used Beowulf as a 'inspiration' for Eaters of the Dead, later renamed to match the title of the movie. Now there's some mindless trivia for you). I'm now wanting to re-read Beowulf, and rewatch the movie, because I'm pretty sure my mind has jumbled up bits of the movie with bits of the book.

    It is always interesting how much film can color our memory of a text.

    Wednesday, March 14, 2007

    Life in motion while standing still

    I haven't accomplished much in the last few days, but I did manage one thing. Filling out my FAFSAs. While I'm not eligible for anything for 2006-2007, I will be eligible for 2007-2008. This takes a major load of my mind, and I rather hope I'm eligible for this niffy full tuition aid my U is offering.

    Rearranging the bedroom? Didn't happen and unless my mum comes over to help, won't until my girl-friend comes back from spring break. I swear its like they knew and made sure we had spring break different weeks, but what can you do?

    On the work side of things I haven't had to deal with either my director or the office manager all week. It's been heavenly. I also found out something that explains why my director pretty much called me a liar and did nothing about the situation. The office manager is friends with on of the other owners. I'm just glad to be leaving with the way they've been treating everyone lately. When the owners are quiting their jobs and driving new cars while cutting hours, claiming they can't afford it? Ha!

    I will miss the kids, because when else in my life as someone walked up to me and said: "Ms. Geek, I'm a god", then walked away?

    Monday, March 12, 2007

    Korean food, spring break, and sitemeter

    My place smells slightly of Kimchi, which makes sense since we made a batch of cucumber Kimchi last night. I also discovered, thanks to my girl-friend, a Korean supermarket not to far from me. Yay.

    So, I'm on spring break and this means trying to accomplish things.

    • Clean and rearrange bedroom
    • Work on research projects
    • Get my butt over to the library
    • Find copy of the Dante Companion
    • Track down more sumptuary laws for the 1300-1500s. I will find references to breast bands! I will!
    • Take pictures of kitchen table and office chair to post on bulletin board downstairs.
    • Fill out applications.
    • Fill out financial aid stuff
    • Sit by pool and read something that has nothing to do with any of my research

    On a side note: As anyone been having trouble with their sitemeters? Mine hasn't budged in almost a week. Not to mention I can't get my comments to revert back to the holoscan version, so I'm not even sure if their working. Help?

    Saturday, March 10, 2007

    Slightly drunken observation from the pub.

    Some girls are like the purse dogs they keep: cute, yappy, and kept by people that think they complete their look.

    Pachelbel's Canon in D

    Even if you aren't a musician you should get a laugh out of this.

    Spring Break? Really?

    I'm officially on Spring Break. Not that I have time off from work, which for once I don't mind that we don't close like other Montessori schools because I can use every hour I can get between now and the end of the month.

    Since I don't have classes I will be able to get some stuff done around my condo. Like gutting my closet (or at least cleaning it), and rearranging my bedroom. I'll also be able to, hopeful, get a good amount of my research done.

    Sadly, I might just spend most of it by the pool enjoying the nice weather.

    Thursday, March 08, 2007

    Work update

    I handed in me registration letter today. As I expected my director refused to give any validation to my feelings on the subject or discipline the person in question. She also wanted me to stay. I respectful declined.

    I'm going to miss my kids. I really am. I'm probably going to cry my last day.

    So in three weeks I will be unemployed and this scares the shit out of me. I might have something sometime in March but it is still very much up in the air. I have no idea really what I'm going to do but start putting in applications and going to the student employment office at the SU. Plus apply for all the aid I can for the Ireland trip (which I paid the rest of my 'trip' fee today, a big chunk of money I really didn't have, and that doesn't even cover the tuition, airfare and meals in country).

    I'm half-tempted to sell my Spam-a-lot tickets, but I've wanted to see if so badly for a long time.

    Wednesday, March 07, 2007

    Work Woes

    I'm giving my notice at work tomorrow. Needless to say I can't give to many details, but I refuse to work someplace were anyone thinks they have the right to block me into a room and yell at me. Nor does anyone in the workplace have the right to tell me to "shut up" while blocking a door. I don't care how much attitude she thought I was giving her or if she thought I needed to 'calm down' (ie submit to her authority which I maintain she doesn't have).

    All over bloody paper work. Oy. I hate politics and people with something to prove.

    So, yes, today was not fun even though it started off very normal.

    Not looking forward to see my director tomorrow to give her my letter. Or the fact I've been advised to have her sign off on a copy of the letter to verify that she received that letter.

    So on the job hunt I go. I really have no idea what I'm going to do, other than hope that other job comes through in March.

    Monday, March 05, 2007

    Last Word Count Update

    Because I know you all really want to see my final word count.

    Zokutou word meter
    1,613 / 1,500

    Also: Twilight Princess is crack.

    Word Count Update and News

    Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
    1,222 / 1,500

    Almost there. This is one of those afternoons that I wish I could take my laptop with me to work and work on school work. Ah well.

    In much more exciting news I was accepted to study aboard in Ireland for three weeks this summer! Go me!

    Sunday, March 04, 2007

    Shakespeare midterm paper, word counts, and video games

    Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
    728 / 1,500

    I cannot believe I'm not even half way there. I'd rather have page length than word count to work with too. My professor if very strict on the word count issue 1,500-1,600 words. Which isn't that much come to think of it, I'm just not very sure of myself in the close reading department. This paper is twenty percent of my grade which freaks me out just a little bit. I half wish now I'd picked a movie to do my paper one but we haven't finished Hamlet yet so its not an option, and despite having brought the movie I couldn't think of a blessed thing to write about Scotland, PA.

    Resting my brain at the moment and playing Twilight Princess, which is much less frustrating game in some ways than Windwaker. Of course in others it frustartes me in ways Windwaker didn't, and I miss the fun sidequests of Windwaker.

    Thursday, March 01, 2007

    I want a do over please

    This morning as been...something else. My Greek religion midterm was this morning and guess who woke up late, forgot her cell phone, and was stuck in traffic for a half hour?

    Thankfully I had my Professor office number and called him half panicked and trying not to sound like I was about to have breakdown. He told me not to worry, if I got to class he'd let me start it then take me up to his office to finish it. If I didn't get to class before it was over I could make it up. Of course since I did get to class this meant missing my History Research class. Which I've missed the last three sessions of now, oy.

    I'm really hoping he doesn't dock me for not being around to listen to everyone else prospectus. No offence but one day or listening to people who pretty much wanted to write biographies killed me after one day. And oh how I wish I could avoid the rough drafts he wants us turning in through out the semester. I don't do rough drafts.

    No, really. So many of my 'proof-readers' (yay having a copy-editor for a friend) are online so its a matter of emailing a document over. Also I tend to write my papers...well lets just say I seem to thrive under pressure when it comes to paper writing (which might be due to the fact the paper is usually mostly written in my head). Now my big 4000 word paper? So already working on it. My 1500 word paper due Tuesday? Err..

    Lovely, I just released I left my copy of the Inferno at home. At least I remembered to feed the cats and put pants on.

    At least I'm pretty sure I have pants on.