Friday, October 31, 2014

Today Samara Learned... [Day 31]

that while its so exciting to have her own place and live on her own... it is ten times better to have guests* come visit!!

Cami and Beks are here for the weekend and I'M. SO. HAPPY!!  Off to the weekend festivities!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Today Samara Learned... [Day 30]

that her curious tendencies can get her in trouble.  Like how stumbling across this article and then deciding to pull up a clip or two from The Shining - on the night before Halloween - was maybe not a good idea.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Today Samara Learned... [Day 29]

more about the Marvel Universe - and finds it fascinating!!  Between the new Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer(s) [here, in case you're not one of the 50 million viewers thus far], yesterday's Marvel event,  more rumors of Cumberbatch playing Dr. Strange [he was a rumored choice even before Joaquin was selected], and getting to know comic-obsessed MA students [one fellow student is even doing his Thesis project on the rhetoric of the comic format]... she has been learning a lot more!  Her most recent exciting discovery is learning a bit about the new pair of faces in the upcoming Avengers sequel: Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen).  They're the twin children of Magneto (from X-men), though both casting and creative decisions have all but ruled out a MCU / X-men crossover.  In the comics, Scarlet Witch marries Vision, who will played by the brilliant Paul Bettany in Ultron even though he heretofore has voiced JARVIS for the IronMan suit.  Annnyway... she's really enjoying making these connections and getting super stoked for the next Avengers film.

Also, based on a conversation she had with a fellow student today, it is safe to say that after Lana Del Rey's "Once Upon A Dream" and Marvel's eerie adaptation of Pinocchio's "I've Got No Strings" - the film industry (which seems to now be half owned by Disney) is moving to re-examine the darker, ironic side of our childhood experiences.  Just wait till you hear a dark rendition of "The Circle of Life" on Disney's Star Wars: Episode VII.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Today Samara Learned... [Day 28]

how strangely fun it is to review some of her older work. To gather examples for her students, she decided to go through a few pieces to glean the nuggets that will help her students. In doing so, she recalled the lightbulb moments that led to some of her favorite pieces from undergrad. Despite noticing the errors, it was as much fun as catching up with old friends. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Today Samara Learned... [Day 27]

that Taylor Swift is even more impressive than she had thought previously. Seriously - wow! #1989

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Today Samara Learned... [Day 26]

(actually bonus fact from yesterday during the zoo visit), that a penguins mating process begins with side long glances.  The female responds by shuffling sideways over to the male, who then flaps his wings really fast.  Doesn't that sound way better than "facebook official"?  Yah, penguins are just the funnest.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Today Samara Learned... [Day 25]

that zoos don't lose their charm once you're an adult.  In fact, accompanied by a sweet boyfriend who gets excited over all types of animals, they're even more fun!!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Today Samara Learned... [Day 24]

all about rhetoric & composition studies.  Her MA is another track (Literature & Culture), but she got to attend a conference celebrating the current movements in the field.  It was fascinating!  Shout out especially to Aspasia, one of the first, prominent, female rhetoricians.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Today Samara Learned... [Day 23]

that black eyeliner may actually work on her.  She's avoided black for 5+ years, preferring dark brown or bronze.  But today she decided to play with some makeup (full disclosure: it was to practice some techniques for Halloween ;) and came across a black eye-liner pencil that came with one of those gift bags full of samples.  So, she gave it a whirl and what do you know?  Not too shabby.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Today Samara Learned... [Day 22]

that Annie's white-cheddar mac-n-cheese is good... but with parmesan sprinkled on top it's extra good!  This is as foodie as she gets haha :)

Today Samara Learned... [Day 21]

all about paratexts!  She was aware of them before, but today afforded a field trip to Special Collections at the Library, where her class got to examine the paratexts of early 19th C books.  Incredibly nerdy and wonderful :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Today Samara Learned... [Day 19]

that if you miss the exit for Corvallis, it is 11 miles until the next exit off I-5! #mistakesyouonlymakeonce

Friday, October 17, 2014

Today Samara Learned... [Day 17]

How to incorporate the Lizzie Bennet Diaries into class more. Today, she had to present on research methods & resources. What example did she use? The LBD - combining teaching goals with personal research. Two birds, meet her one stone.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Today Samara Learned... [Day 16]

that she wouldn't necessarily die if she rode her bicycle to class with the basket laden with heavy books.  Heretofore, she had ridden her bike when only bearing smaller burdens, but today she ventured to make the journey with her full satchel.  And she survived.

And she doesn't know why this post came out so archaic-sounding.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Today Samara Learned... [Day 15]

how to embrace the "I have a massive run in my tights, but it's totally cool and intentional" Oregonian thing.  At least, she took her first step.

Today Samara Learned... [Day 14]

that Heart of Darkness is even more intertextual than she had previously imagined.  Whether intentional or not, Conrad includes some references that heightens his own brilliant writing.  His famous novella - seriously, he packs the punch in just 77 pages - is a frame narrative, with the life of one central character relayed by a sailor named Marlowe to a group, including an unnamed narrator who is relaying it all to the audience.  This layered narrative creates a powerful sense of uncertainty and ambiguity that is as central to this book as its plot - perhaps even more so.
Anyway, that's not what she learned, what she discovered today is the book's possible connection to another famed, framed-narrative.  The first line, the first two words of the novella, indicate the ship on which the story is being relayed is called "[t]he Nellie."  Nelly just happens to be the name of one of the main narrators in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, and, infamously, one of the most unreliable narrators in pre-1900 English literature.  Coincidence? She likes to think in literature, there is no such thing.*

* See "Tradition and the Individual Talent" by TS Eliot.  [I think, to an extant, the literary tradition bleeds into each new generation of authors.]

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

Today Samara Learned... [Day 13]

all about the "Paramount Decision" and Hollywood history at a lecture she attended at the Humanities Center.  To sum up, a US Supreme Court Decision in 1941 ruled to end Studio monopolies, which had multiple consequences.  Due to this decision, in conjunction with the rise of television in the post-war era, movie sales slumped dramatically, starting in 1941 and lasting all the way till 1972 when "The Godfather" single-handedly saved Hollywood.  But that time of transition just after the war was a dark and fascinating time for the film industry and the lecturer illuminated it's history in an enticing way.  She can't wait to learn more!

Today Samara Learned... [Day 12]

that the local Episcopalian "Contemporary Service" ... didn't have the demographic she was expecting.  But, that's ok, because there were led breathing exercises based of a meditation on Psalm 23.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Today Samara Learned... [Day 11]

that goodbyes with her boyfriend only get harder :(

Today Samara Learned... [Day 10]

that David Bowie was in The Prestige.  One of those things it takes a while to get your mind around.  Anyway, after watching this clip (with Bowie, Jackman, and Serkis), she's very tempted to watch it again.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Today Samara Learned... [Day 9]

that she saves cards and letters from people for a reason.  Because some days are just too frustrating or saddening to go alone.  Reading or re-reading letters remind her of the things that truly define her and of the courage she had forgot she had.  And even hundreds of miles away from people who love her, she can feel close to them through those words.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Today Samara Learned... [Day 8]

about Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR).  She learned that this is the technical term for the tingling she occasionally gets on the back of her neck and head.  She learned that not everyone experiences this sensation, which she found surprising and fascinating.  Furthermore, she found that scientists do not know what causes ASMR or what percentage of people experience it.  They also can't quantify it with data, but believe that ASMR could have many positive benefits, such as relieving stress and anxiety or helping people sleep better.

A student mentioned his interest in this field just in passing.  In one of her many flights of academic fancy, Samara is now wondering if she could join a team of neurologists to help lead the way to discovering a phenomenal break through in the field...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Today Samara Learned... [Day 7]

that her couch has bewitching properties.  If she attempts homework on it, at some point she *will* be taking a nap on there - intended or otherwise.  Reading theory is especially conducive to zzzzz...

Today Samara Learned... [Day 6]

where to find a free copy of the New York Times.  She is very happy!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Today Samara Learned... [Day 5]

that Naturalism can still be beautiful.

By pre-disposition, Samara is a Romantic... deeply and truly.  In her experiences with Naturalism, she has found things to appreciate, but not enjoy--not marvel at.  That was until today.  She just finished the last of a trio of short stories / novellas by Stephen Crane, and this last one, "The Blue Hotel," was astonishing!  It felt very Greek myth meets film noir - but set in the American west with a very Crane-esque sensibility.  Only three characters had names, and both the setting and the writing was sparse.  But it was brilliant!  Brooding from the beginning, it escalated into a dark observation on what could happen when 5 men, with ego and a machismo to defend, are confined in a small space together.

Well done, Crane.  Apparently this was one of Hemingway's favorite short stories, which makes sense.  Anyway, Samara may not be won over by Naturalism... but is grateful to see such a strong candidate for it.

Today Samara Learned... [Day 4]

[This is Saturday's post, because I haven't gone to bed yet.]

that thought long distance relationships are hard, going old school and watching a movie while on the phone with the other person is a delight.  It's so fun to experience something together from across the miles. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Today Samara Learned... [Day 3]

That she has a bad habit of holding grudges against texts.  Specifically against "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."  Story time...
When Samara was 12, her middle school English teacher - who was really instrumental in igniting her enthusiasm for literature - assigned Washington Irving's The Sketchbook - which included the aforementioned "Legend of Sleepy Hollow."  Samara read "The Legend," and liked it.  But when Samara took the in class quiz on the story, she failed.  Why?  Because she had read the story...AS AN ACTUAL LEGEND.  You know, the kind with fantastical elements and where things do not have to have rational explanations.  Well, appeals to her most favoritest English teacher fell on deaf ears.  The story, apparently can be explained by a dude just dressing up and putting a pumpkin on his head as a mask.  BORING!  You promised a Legend, Mr. Irving.  And yes, at 12 years old, maybe Samara should have noticed the ironical bits.  But "Rip Van Winkle" is an actual legend with fantastical elements, so what was she supposed to do?  Sigh... stupid quiz.
Ok... so what does that have to do with today? Well, guess what one of Samara's teachers decided to assign for her first grad school reading assignment?  Yup.  #LiteraryPSTD #12YearsAGrudge

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Today Samara Learned... [Day 2]

that this modernism class could be very good for her. She got to talk to her professor both before & after class & he was complimentary, which probably means he will be stretching her. But that is why she is here. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Today Samara Learned... [Day 1]

Last October, I participated in an October blog challenge called "31 Days."  I chose to do a mini-book review every day for a whole month.  It was a really valuable experience for me and I knew I wanted to take on another challenge this year.  But I also knew I would be starting out my first term of grad courses and beginning to teach.  So with that in mind I decided to pick a "challenge" that would be more doable.  I will be posting every day this month with an answer to the question: "what have I learned today?"  Answers can be one sentence or 3 paragraphs, they could be something I've learned in classes or something I've learned about myself.  I just have to post (at least) one thing I've learned that day.  As an aside, I've thrown this into the third person because I believe it will allow me to make more direct observations.  So, with that prompt in mind, here October goes...

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

... that answering student's questions makes her feel successful.  Yes, there are occasionally questions from people not paying attention.  But, for the most part, most of the time it shows students are engaged with what they're discussing in class.