Monday, June 21, 2010

Dropped a class

As of today, I am no longer in English 103 - Critical Thinking. No critical thinking for me. :(
Even though at first it seemed like a bad decision, going through the experiences of the class and observing critically (critical thinking in action - hooray!) convinced me that dropping was the best thing to do. Why? Several reasons...
First of all, everyone in my class is under twenty. Everyone is bright eyed and bushy tailed and can't wait to get filled with "knowledge" up to the brim. Can't say I blame them ( I used to be like that once), but - it's just not my scene.
Second thing - the topics. The topics cater to the audience: pornography, advertisements, political conspiracies... I really do not give a shit about that. For me, pornography is just there; advertisements are annoying and certainly not worth analyzing, and political conspiracies are unprovable (if there is such a word). I realize these may be just starting points of discussions, and the whole class is "designed" to teach us the skills we need... But, I can't help thinking that I have already learned these skills, that I am wasting my time.
Finally - time... The schedule is packed: five papers in six weeks. There is no way I can write a decent paper and be able to live my real life - which is also packed with events now, due to everything that happened over the past six months.
I wanted to talk to the teacher before making my decision. She was very understanding and encouraged me to try, assured me that she was there for me, her student, in every capacity. I appreciate that. In fact, her words almost made me stop and reconsider.
In the end, though, I had to face the truth: no WAY I would be able to meet all the requirements right now... Bottom line - right now I want to write what I want, when I want, and as much or as little as I want. Topics, standards, rules - these just make things more complicated. Not to mention MLA format and Bibliography - just another thing to worry about.
There was one thing that tied it for me. A girl in class tried to convince me to stay, to appeal to my "responsible self." She asked me, "What could be more important than this?" I answered something to the effect that I have to raise my family and deal with life. Then she says, "Life??? Do you know how many parties I had to miss because of the homework I chose to do?"
This just highlighted it for me... She is right in her own way, I am right in mine. We just just have different perspectives.
Better luck next time! Maybe I should stick to the evening classes.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Critical Thinking Class

Last week I started a class at Hancock College - English 103, Critical Thinking. Pretty intense - in terms of schedule, assignments, and pace. Critical thinking wise - not sure yet. First topic for the paper - pornography: should it be censored? Two opinions on the topic: yes/no. "Yes" states that pornography is dirty and disgusting and portrays women unfavorably (only women? what about gay porn? in my mind, "Brokeback Mountain" was waay close to gay porn - and it was in the movie theaters and aired on TV and is now on DVD).... For all these reasons, it should be censored or at least put out of sight. "No" - pornography is protected by the Freedom of Speech Amendment and therefore should not be censored. There. The end.
I appreciate the passion the two authors have for the subject, I just do not share it. My life does not revolve around pornography, I do not see it on a regular basis, and to me it is neither "offensive" nor "diminishing." In my world, these two terms are reserved for commercials. It drives me off the wall when some desperate organization/company/person gets in my line of vision - either on TV, Internet or in person - and tries to convince me that I need something that I do not, sell me something I wish to spend no money on, and generally wastes my time. "Cheerful" commercials about childhood, "comfortable" ones about feminine hygiene, "tragic" - about children abroad that apparently will die of starvation, thirst or lack of education if I do not get involved. Annoying phrase at a local VONS proclaims "Support Breast Cancer" (in a hurry they forgot to add the word "research", so it actually sounds like I am asked to support the disease). All this virtual poking, prodding and bugging makes me feel like a piece of meat on the market. Often I look at my TV and ask myself, " How dare they? Do they really think I am SO gullible that I would consider donating to the cause of sending video games to Third World countries? Or spend money on hygiene napkins for girls in Africa?" This attitude of the companies towards me, the viewer, as if I were a mindless vessel to be filled with junk, bothered me. But what to do? The answer came quickly: get rid of cable.
So, we have been cable-free for over a year now. No video persuasions, and no bill to pay for it every month. I like that. But if someone brings over a porn movie - I might watch it. As long as no one tries to persuade me that I need to buy something.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Reading and Beading

Yesterday I finished reading " A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini. I do not know how to say what I need to say completely yet, the thoughts have not formed into words, I guess; but one thing is certain - this book has given me an experience like no other. For the first time I have come across a story unravelling during my lifetime - one of the characters was born the same year I was... Mention of the more recent events - the war in Afganistan offering a different perspective... I remember reading Russian newspapers and listening to the news during the war in Afganistan - as a Russian; then, I remember George W. Bush's speech on TV and on the radio during the 9/11 attack - from the point of view of an American, I guess... Now I have had a chance to read about it coming from the Afgani, and it brought a new understanding to the situation... or, rather, reaffirmed the old understanding: wars get started by politicians, factions and governments, while regular people on all sides involved get scared, killed and left to figure out the "basic math" of survival... But that is just one thought of it; this book has left me thinking about many things - on many levels. For the first time I was reading of timeless values using something current. Read it when you have time - it is worth it. It was recommended on one of the Russian blogs I follow - and I am grateful.
Another thing is... ah, beading. I continue working on my Lady Summer, and the stitching is almost complete, so now it's time for beading. I never thought that beading could be relaxing, but it is. Needlework and beadwork helps me concentrate and gives me a chance to reflect on what I have read... So the two - reading and beading - go one after another. The added plus is - it's turning out pretty.
All right, enough rambling. Back to - beading...