Vulcan’s Peak

Archive for the 'college' category

Recommended viewing

February 23, 2008 1:51 am

One of my courses this semester is on rights in publishing (copyright, subsidiary rights, permissions, contracts, etc.). Sounds dry, but it’s been really interesting so far. And not only because of things like what I’m going to show you, though that helps, too.

Last week, we had Larry Lessig in as a guest speaker by virtue of this video. The whole thing is about 20 minutes and it’s very good — it’s a presentation he gave on creative freedom.

If you’re just looking for some funny, however, skip the video ahead to about 8:40, where Lessig presents three examples of what he calls “remix culture.” The first will particularly amuse fans of the Muppets. The second (at 9:30) becomes a bit of an eyesore, but just wait for it… And it only lasts a minute, because at 10:30 there’s a beautiful political romance.

In other news, a notice on the school website announces that the main dining hall “will be going trayless February 25th to 29th.” (I love the way they phrase it.) We’ve got about six inches of snow on the ground tonight — I guess the cafeteria-tray-as-makeshift-sled phenomena is universal.

Dems at FU

January 29, 2008 6:13 pm

My friend EB posted this and I feel the need to share:

I’m sure it was all a matter of scheduling…

Heehee. Must have been all kinds of interesting in the land of conservative students and liberal faculty.

Things I miss about F.U.

June 3, 2007 12:53 pm

(It’s been a year since graduation, so let’s give into the nostalgia impulse for a moment.)

  • The library.
  • Feeling useful at the CCLC.
  • Learning stuff just for the hell of it. ‘Cause medieval history is cool, Africa is incredibly fascinating, and I still dream of being fluent in German.
  • The English department lounge where EF and I hung out on fall mornings.
  • And people!!! The incomparable Poke, who was there from beginning to end, and her delightful hubby. My wonderful roomies, KW, who went to concerts with me when she wasn’t on stage herself, and BS, who is far more genuine than her initials might suggest. Freshman hall buddies like KF, who I can count on for a bit of deep thinking, and the warm and friendly TV.

    All my friends and partners-in-crime at the CCLC. The three J’s and their (collective and separate) genius, mischeif, and fun. The brilliant CO with whom I shared my first class, last awards dinner, and more than a few laughs in between. My poetry buddy EF, my waterbird buddy LA, my Spinergy buddy AW, my Shakespeare buddies RB and EB, rising star EC, and the rest of the family.

    The whole gang from foreign study. My Berlin buddy HB. CS, with whom I tried to find the Oxford college that doesn’t exist. SM, with whom I figured out London’s bus system and ate PB&J while watching Ready, Steady, Cook. JG, whose Great American Novel I expect to read someday, and DG, who did the dirty work in setting up our trip across the continent.

    And all the profs I looked up to, like MO who won the surrogate mother award for telling me to eat before I collapsed; JL, who is actually closer to being family, though don’t ask me what that relationship would be (it simply emerged, of course); GA, who thought I ought to do an MFA program; BA who showed me that even Unitarians have to watch out for piety in their poetry; LB, who went out of her way to fit me into her schedule; and my foreign study profs, who helped us leave the dry campus far behind.

So raise a glass: Here’s to the good times. And here’s to knowing that the best part of moving on is that the bad times can be mostly ignored. Cheers! A very happy graduation to all the Furman graduates of 2007!


February 24, 2007 6:56 pm

Poke brought this to my attention a while back on her blog (last paragraph); here’s the most recent development: A History Department Bans Citing Wikipedia as a Research Source.

First reaction: Uh…duh? Like I said in the comments on her blog, trying to use Wikipedia as a source for a research paper is not only a poor choice of source material, but also incredibly lazy. I wasn’t allowed to cite encyclopedias in my high school essays; college students should be digging much, much deeper than that. Wiki is a great tool, but not a scholarly tool.

I do think that the idea of assigning students to create Wikipedia entries is pretty nifty, though.

My great joy in the NY Times piece is that Jimmy Wales seems very calm about it and says pretty much the same thing I did. Awesome guy.

News Hour

June 20, 2006 11:18 pm

aka, It might take you 60 Minutes to read this thing!
(I’m sooo good at attracting readers….)

The chronic problem with this thing is that I put it off and then I start to get intimidated by how long I’ve put it off. First, the news summary.

1. I graduated. (And there was much rejoicing.)

2. I’ve been to Boston.

3. I’m home. And I am calling Tae TOMORROW, because I’ve been a bad person and have let piles and boxes and unpacking/repacking get in the way of spending time with my friends.

Show me more… »

Local Shakespeare: free & outdoors

May 29, 2006 12:05 am

Tonight I made one of those “why did I figure this out right before I leave town?” discoveries. Event of the evening was the Upstate Shakespeare Festival‘s production of Macbeth.

They perform in an amphitheatre (there’s that word again…once again, we really mean “outdoor theatre”) in a gorgeous park right on the Reedy River in downtown Greenville. The weather was great tonight, so the setting was a huge plus. And as the title suggests, the price was pretty sweet, too, though it’s considered polite to offer a donation.

The show itself was well done — in general, Greenville seems to do very well by the arts for a city of its size. Though definately amateur actors, by and large, they were good amateur actors. (I don’t mean to sound snobby when I say that. Keep in mind that the other Macbeths I’ve seen have been a the ASF and the RSC; I would love to be in this sort of production at some point.)

Show me more… »


May 28, 2006 11:29 pm

Now that final revisions are done for my fiction portfolio, I wanted to share the stories I’ve been working on. Hope they amuse! (Feedback REQUIRED, or I will hunt you down!) (Kidding. But I’d love to hear anything you want to tell me.)

You’ve seen this one before.

Here, the assignment was to tell the story in first person as though the narrator is telling the story to someone else; reader must be able to infer who the narrator is speaking to and where this is taking place. Challenging!



Ut apes, geometriam

May 25, 2006 11:43 pm

The end draws apace.

Classes ended Wednesday, and two of my four classes are completely finished. Since I was auditing the Shakespeare class, I don’t have to take the final — auditing is the best thing ever, I get to have all the fun, but all I have to do is keep up with the reading, no tests, no papers. I’m also done with the voice class I was in this term: we had a brief written final on Wednesday and I did my final evaluation of all the songs I’d been working on later that morning. The only things left now are to revise stories for my fiction class and turn in my portfolio on Saturday, and to take part three of my medieval history test on Monday. My prof is leaving for Turkey as soon as he turns in grades, so he wants to get them done quickly! We already did the two essay sections on the last two days of class, and now he’s just throwing the short answer/ multiple choice??? at us on Monday. Then I sit on my hands and pack for the rest of the week; graduation is Saturday the 3rd.

Tonight was the end of year party for the CCLC staff — Jane had us over and we brought things for tacos, which was yummy. Jean presented all the superlatives we’d come up with; I am “Most likely to face varying levels of success in my attempts to create a living dragon. Those poor bats and lizards…” Sounds a bit like Carmen’s IB senior superlative, tee hee! I was a bum and forgot to print off Jean’s; must remember to do so tomorrow. Better late than never? Eep.

The senior gifts that Jean and Jane came up with are really cool — they have ordered each of us a black messenger bag with random-yet-appropriate mottos on them, mostly Latin ones with English translations, though Chris’s is a Shakespeare quote from Julius Caesar. Mine — can you guess? — is tonight’s title line, ut apes, geometriam. “As bees, geometry.”

Confused? This might help; it’s from a Victor Hugo novel called The Hunchback of Notre Dame. You might have heard of it.
“I possess philosophy by instinct, by nature, ut apes geometriam.”

Having a verb helps, doesn’t it? But see, Jen, it does refer to hexagonal-shaped honeycombs! At least, that’s the link between bees and geometry. There also seems to be an implication about some quality I innately possess, so I’m going to make the leap and consider it a compliment. It also appeals to my appreciation of things interdisciplinary: no subject can exist in isolation. Geometry can be found in the natural world and music is mathematical. Etcetera, a thousand times etcetera.

Hell, if nothing else, I’m going to enjoy tossing off obtuse explanations about why I carry a bag with some Latin quip about bees and geometry. Ha! And I think Jane and Jean were counting on that, too.

Not dead yet!

May 21, 2006 12:10 am

Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

Reports of my graduation are still premature. (I have three more days of class. I get my piece of paper on June 3.)

So hello again! Carmen can stop frothing (geez, get a rabies shot!) and perhaps my rabid fans will be appeased.

Charlie Brown went off pretty well. Out first performance was out in the amphitheatre as planned — the forecast had been scaring us all week, but the only possible back-up location was already booked that first night. But the show went on! In fact, it did drizzle a little during the first act, but it cleared up after five or ten minutes and then it was lovely. Miraculously, the crowd didn’t leave!

Since we did have McAlister reserved for Friday and Saturday, we went ahead and moved to the auditorium Friday afternoon — and it did rain off and on all weekend, so we were glad we did. The show went better inside anyway (depite the fact that we were thoroughly turned around at first), so that was good. And there it was, my exit from Pauper Players. Sort of…I had set up a couple of video cameras during the last show, so I’ve been editing and burning copies of the video ever since. Finally got the last of those done this afternoon.

I also sang with Furman’s oratorio chorus (basically all the choruses combine to do a major work at Christmas and again in May) for the last time. I hadn’t been in women’s chorale since sophomore year (partly time constraints, partly personalities), so it was fun to be in a big chorus again. The performance was the day Pug arrived up here after his exams, so he got to come!

It was great fun to have my boy up here for a week, and he insists that he had a good time, despite the fact that he had to entertain himself while I went to class, worked at the CCLC, and wrote a research paper. I guess I even believe him, since after all I had a lovely time, despite going to class, working, and writing a research paper…

Some Linkages:

The Plains of Abraham: There is a Canadian classicist whose specialty is the performance aspect of Homeric poetry. So what does he do but write his own epic in the Homeric style about an event in Canadian history. And he goes around and performs it! He came to Furman the week between Charlie Brown and the oratorio — really cool!

NY Times on Da Vinci: Whatever you think about The Da Vinci Code, book or movie, check out this movie review from the New York Times. Harsh — but very funny! I thought the book was a good read and want to see the movie sooner or later, but it might wait for video. We shall see.

Speaking of movies, the group that brings films to Furman has been doing well this spring after performing way sub par for most of the year — they spent about two months advertising Saw 2 this winter. Ewww!! But now I’ve seen nearly everything I kinda wanted to see over Christmas but didn’t get around to:
Pride & Prejudice: pretty good; worth seeing for cheap; hated the final scene they wrote in.
Brokeback Mountain: I like it. And I think it’s really cool that they can make a tasteful movie about gay cowboys. Really cool.
The Producers: good funny! Though some scenes feel constrained, as though the blocking was pulled straight from the stage version and the camera angle is too narrow.
Good Night and Good Luck: I love black and white. Required viewing for anyone who thinks the Constitution is being trampled on. It doesn’t actively draw parallels between McCarthy and anything modern, but its very presence suggests them. Possibly just me. Also really neat to see the movie and then see a clip of the real 1950’s newscaster who is the main character of the film.

Those of you who remember a certain tenth grade English project may be amused to know that my Shakespeare class is doing something very similar! This time, though, we have to stick to the plot as given, though we may pull from multiple scene or overlay bits to make a point, provided that the point is substantiated by the text in the first place. My group is doing Richard III, a play I didn’t know much about until a few weeks ago. (However, now I can tell you if you don’t already know that the film of Richard III from about ten years ago starring Ian McKellen is phenomenal and you should all see it. So creepy!!) Anyway, I was experimenting with costume bits for this, and then I started playing with my camera and the mirror…ending up with this, which is kind of fun…
Odette casts magic missile.

Proof of existence

April 17, 2006 10:27 pm

Charlie Brown has temporarily taken over my life. We spent about four hours today working on the set. We were very fortunate in that we were able to get lots of stuff that the S.C. Children’s Theater was going to throw away, so all of that just needed scrubbing and painting. It’s looking much, much better. We’re especially pleased with Snoopy’s dog house, which was previously painted to look like boards – and it shows through rather nicely under a coat of red paint! So no need for a second coat after all, ha ha!

First dress rehearsal is tomorrow; we open on Thursday. Everybody do the no-rain dance! – we’re performing in the Amphitheatre!! (which as Jen has enlightened me, is not technically an amphitheatre because it is a half-circle, not a full circle, so basically common usage of the word is historically…wrong. Gotta love it.)

Speaking of whom…as of a week and two days ago, Jen and Cort are really, truly married. The short story is that despite a couple of unlucky incidents, the wedding was beautiful, the bride was gorgeous, and went off without a hitch. And it’s all still a bit weird…but since her school e-mail address has her new name now, I guess it really happened!

And then there’s this school thing…but we’ll think about that next week.