Thursday, January 27, 2011

Spring Semester Ramblings

This January I started my fourth semester of Mandarin Chinese. It's absolutely mind-blowing to think that I'm still here and still getting A's in this class. The longer I continue, the more apparent the "holes" in my language study are. Because I finished an entire year of Chinese in 10 weeks a lot of information was only sticky-noted into my brain ... in place just long enough to get a decent grade on the test. All of that is definitely catching up to me now. I'm doing my best to go back, review characters, re-memorize grammar concepts, and catch up on some listening practice. I am horrible at listening and understanding -- which is so embarrassing! My test scores are great but my conversational skills are debilitating. (Not to mention a "performance anxiety" I suffer from.) This is the sort of thing that only gets better with practice -- just like public speaking. Time to dig down deep, find my brass ovaries, and stop being a noob.

I miss British Romanticism so very much. I'm taking a Whitman class now because it was the only literature class that fulfilled the requirement this semester. I'm pretty sure that Whitman is more in love with himself than any man, woman, or child could ever be. (I would say that he screams his own name during sex, but I'm trying to keep it clean here, folks.) Maybe Whitman will grow on me, but now I'm seriously regretting an entire semester dedicated solely to Whitman. Guh. Why couldn't they have an entire semester dedicated to Byron, William Wordsworth, or Coleridge??

I have to take a 100 level PE class in order to graduate and since I have horrible arches and am afraid of drowning that leaves only one option for me: Indoor Cycling. I have to be able to bike 10 miles in 20 minutes by the end of the semester or else I am doomed. Also, I need to be able to do 60 super-crazy-uber-particular sit-ups in 2min and 60 super-crazy-uber-particular squats in 2min. SO. That means this semester if I don't work my ever-lovin' tail off I will fail this class and have to take it again. Also, if I don't get skinny from taking this class (and all of the outside of class training I have to do) I will sue my body for criminal neglect.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Batman vs. Superman

The Batman impersonates Bruce Wayne. Like shiny baubles, the playboy false identity distracts from the true persona: Batman. Driven by the murder of his parents, Batman fears nothing. Obsession drives him. Protecting Gotham and fighting crime trumps all. Batman exudes excellence, intellect, intimidation, and an indomitable will. The World's Greatest Detective needs no superpowers. He keeps his body and mind voraciously honed as the ultimate destructive force. His agility, strength, and cunning set him far above other so-called superheroes. An elite martial artist, Batman embodies mind and muscle, brains and brawn – a force that not even Superman can reckon with.

While Batman is the Dark Knight, Superman is only an empty shell. Superman is the false identity, the painted figure that hides the real man: Clark Kent. Superman is merely motivated by the existence of his own powers. Though he has flight, super-speed, super-strength, and laser vision, Superman's greatest selling point is that he’s the "good guy." Big Blue, the ultimate boy scout, always keeps his nose clean. Self-righteous do-gooder. Not a great strategical mastermind, Superman's motto is, “Why investigate when I can simply demolish the place?” He is all brawn and physical power with no room left for brains.

* * *

Behold! A piece of writing from my infamous rhetoric class last semester. The assignment was to write a comparison using two paragraphs of equal length - one paragraph must be in noun-style writing and the other in verb-style. The Batman paragraph is in verb-style and Superman is in noun-style. I used exactly 100 words in each paragraph.

P.S. I like Superman a lot, but somebody had to be the butt of this comparison. Sorry, Big Blue.