I finished Electric Blue. This... project of mine, reading this book and then reading my BA, has eaten up my brain for the most part. And the hardest part is yet to come. I'm going to have to read my BA now. Probably tomorrow afternoon. Because I want this over with.

And so now, to get the book behind me, I should write down my thoughts. I... guess I'll go in order. Because I started out hating the book. A lot. (In hindsight, it boils down to my as-of-late hyper-competitive/defense-mechanism critical eye.) I didn't like the main character because she was snarky, but also sounded like my mom. In fact, an awful lot of the first quarter of the book made me think that it had been written by a middle-aged housewife who really had no idea what on earth was going on. And some of the somewhat-misused slang provided a constant source of annoyance for the first few chapters. But what ticked me off most of all was the character's fixation on everyone's looks and their sexuality. And, if the book hadn't somehow redeemed itself about halfway through, I would have hated it the entire time for exactly that reason. But (here is the wonderful thing about reading a book with absolutely no real expectations), I was pleasantly surprised by the characters. Not... the characters themselves, but their interactions. There was... well, here, I'll spoil the ending: no one gets together. In a book that touts the word "sexy" in probably 70% of its reviews, no one getting together is basically the biggest surprise it could have pulled on me. And, I'll admit it, even though her quirky PI dude had this weird cowboy thing going on, and 3/4 of the time I just wanted to shout at the main character to notice that, hmm, this guy is always hanging around her with his shirt off, maybe he's employing your ditsy self just because you're pretty, in the end I found him quite endearing, and there was enough to him that I could fanfictionalize his mindset in my head as I went along so that he at least entertained me. And... I'm going to have to admit that, as much as I didn't like the main character at first, with her flippant attitude towards important information, she is, in many ways, exactly the frustrating and unreliable narrator I was going for when I began my BA. (And probably would have concluded with, had I not been steered off track by my seminar's worrying confusion of me with her, at which point redeeming her kind of became a way of redeeming myself, and it all went downhill from there.) Though I do feel the need to note that there wasn't an actual mystery until probably the last two chapters, and most of it was revealed and resolved within a few thousand words. Still... all in all, I have read much, much worse books. (In fact, some of them have been by authors I actually liked.)

And that leaves me to try to figure out what lesson the Grand Author wanted me to learn from this. So far I have a few, but they're still stewing in the back of my mind, and haven't coalesced into exact words yet. They're mostly to do with knowing your main character, their motivations, and exactly what's going on around them (and how they react to it. Oh, her main character was an excellent unreliable narrator. Mostly to do with relationships but, hey, a good unreliable narrator is a good unreliable narrator). The author here, sure, went very easy on plot, but she knew exactly what was going to happen, which is 100% more than I know going into something I'm writing and considering I was writing a mystery for my BA that is a bad idea. Oh, and maybe I was supposed to learn not to expect to hate everything I pick up randomly that looks like pop fiction. I mean, it's still pop fiction and it largely doesn't interest me, but... okay, fine, there's a difference between "I don't like it" and "bad" when it comes to books. Fine. But I'm still going to hold it against anyone who would read this book for the relationships (even if they are, basically, the only thing going on in it... so, I guess, basically it's not okay for anyone but me (or someone with a similarly bizarre excuse) to read this book).

P.S. Apparently Electric Blue is also the fastest milk float in the world.

P.P.S. This had seriously better not be the copy of my BA that I actually turned in. There... it... page missing in first few paragraphs. Makes no sense. Wheeeere is my actual BA?

P.P.P.S. Holy freaking crap am I glad that was the wrong file. Typos, missing sections, nonsense. Oh, it burned. But... the final draft? Not quite so horrible. In fact, there was obvious and apparent editing done that must have involved 1) actual thought and 2) re-reading. I don't remember doing either of these things. But um... yeah, so, I guess since I didn't hate it as much as I thought I would, and it's not quite entirely an embarrassment, I'll let people read it if they ask now (but only if you've read this far into my nonsense entry, yay). I think I'll figure out in the morning if this is a weight off my shoulders or not.
evilhippo: hippo (6 [yay])
( May. 29th, 2007 01:23 pm)
My day is so totally made! I've got until 8 to finish this paper and it's a mess, but guess what was waiting for me in my inbox when I got back from lunch??

Dear [evilhippo],

I am delighted to inform you that the Master of the College, Mario Santana, has accepted the Department's recommendation that you be awarded Honors in the English Concentration.

I congratulate you on the superb work you have done this year and throughout your career at Chicago, and I send you all best wishes for the future.

Sincerely,

Christina von Nolcken


HAPPY DANCING FOR ALL OMG I AM ACTUALLY GRADUATING WITH HONORS OMG. (Unless I don't finish these papers and they revoke it, or the e-mail was sent to me accidentally, but omg.) Oooh I so didn't actually expect this, yay!

P.S. It's only 6:30 now and I'm almost done with this paper. Hooray for motivation! Even though I'm not going to get any sleep at all until I finish the other two.
evilhippo: hippo (94 [browncoat])
( Apr. 30th, 2007 02:34 am)
Editing! All that's left is editing! Suuure, it's an hour and a half later than I planned to finish, but whatever. (It's also 47 pages now. And the plot kind of hangs together maybe. I still wouldn't want anyone I actually like to have to read it, though.)

Also, I spent entirely too much time tonight trying to find an appropriate mechanic's jumpsuit. What do you suppose the stigma would be for cosplaying a character from Firefly at ACen? As much as I like Winry and Psiren, I think I've kind of worn those costumes out (all right, I'll probably still do Psiren because I didn't get that one right until last year, but still). Non-anime characters are frowned upon, but Kaylee is so cute. And I'll mostly just be hanging out at [livejournal.com profile] sketchyheart's art table anyway, soooo... surely people wouldn't be that mean to me for not being a proper anime geek anymore... Right? (I suck at anime geekery! Ahh!)

At least this year I resolve to be more unabashed about my picture-taking. Because this is probably my last ACen. Fweee.
evilhippo: hippo (63 [blank])
( Apr. 21st, 2007 12:17 pm)
I need to get out of the habit of trying this whole "studying outside" thing every time it's nice outside. Frack. All I've accomplished is crossing out the entire first two pages of my BA. I hate openings. And I wish I wasn't being encouraged to rewrite this, because I'm going to completely change direction with it, and it'll either be worse or a lot better, and it'll be impossible for me to tell because I'll get no feedback on it before it goes up for review.

If only there wasn't wireless out here. It's beautiful. I don't want to be inside. And this campus is freaking enabling me. The sun is so nice. And warm. Maybe I'll even become less pale out here.

Oh well. At least my computer batteries only last an hour or so, at best. Of course... then I'll try to read. Because inside... I'm so tired of it.
evilhippo: hippo (44 [hmm])
( Mar. 28th, 2007 11:40 pm)
So much on my mind lately. I think that pretty much comes with having four classes, though. It keeps me... conscious, I suppose. I let so much slide by when I've only got three classes, and now I've got four, my BA to finish up, a PE class, and I'm thinking about picking up another part-time job.

Quite obviously, I haven't hit my stride yet this quarter. Hopefully I'll be forgiven tomorrow for having nothing to talk about in my Medieval Lit class. The reading's several thousand lines long, and I don't have the chops to deal with that much Middle English. And I'm a bit more worried about my Renaissance Drama class, since there are only two other people to carry the conversation (though it looks like there are four people registered now. That's kind of a comfort.) The books still aren't in for my 18th century lit class, and I'm going to do my Graphic Novel reading between classes, since I'll have nothing better to do.

In which I muse more on my Graphic Novel class... )

In unrelated class-type news, I'm actually considering buying a pair of ballet shoes. Not because I need them, but because they're comfy, and my ballet class will be a good excuse. (Same goes for the comfy pants I'm going to have to find and buy, since at best I've only got about one pair.) So, I've got myself a trip downtown sometime this weekend, when I'm not working on my BA (which I imagine I'll be working on most of Friday and Saturday, since I'm kind of behind again, and want to do a lot of rearranging. Anyone care to give me a hand with read-overs of the first chapter and such? At this point, I'm paranoid that my changes will make things worse, and it'd be useful to have people to talk me out of my paranoia. And hopefully get me though the extra chapter or two I have to have done by April 9th.)

I love being busy. I feel so much more useful. And it's keeping my mind off the fact that this is my last quarter here. Be happy for that, because otherwise I'd be a horrible nostalgic sap at this point, and it'd only get worse as the months went on. (You're lucky I have better things to write about. And dubiously better things to do.)
evilhippo: hippo (13 [writing])
( Feb. 1st, 2007 07:57 pm)
Nothing has changed since 1995! Nothing!

And thanks, wikipedia, for making me realize not only that, but making it probable that this script will turn into a giant homage to Quantum Leap, which I didn't know/had forgotten is set in 1995. Thanks a million.

Maybe my BA should be a Scrubs/Quantum Leap crossover. It's certainly not doing much as a mystery-thing right now. I HATE FIRST PERSON NARRATION, OFFICIALLY. It can go die. Except it can't, because I'm still expected to have this written in first person by Sunday. Though I suppose if first person didn't exist anymore, I'd have a good excuse. Kind of like the "sorry, I got up this morning and my room was frictionless" excuse for being late to class. "Sorry, Elizabeth Crane, I would have had my second draft done on time, but first person is dead." Only that sentence is inherently self-contradictory, so in order to avoid imploding her computer, it'd have to be something like "Sorry, Elizabeth Crane, but this student was unable to complete her second draft on time because first person is dead." Maybe I should just give up and become a cyborg. Oh, even better. "Sorry the second draft was not sent to you on time, I just found out I'm a Cylon." (Did you know the idea for Quantum Leap came from an episode of the original Battlestar Galactica? I have amassed so much useless information in the name of my BA and this TV class, you have no idea. Did you know Wolverine's real name is James Howlett? Oh, and for some reason my mental picture of Falstaff looks a lot like him. Only fat, of course. But with the weird side-cowlicks in his hair. Um... anyway!) Or "Sorry I didn't turn my second draft in on Sunday, but it's 1995, so I've still got a few years." Or "Sorry, no second draft today, because I stepped into the accelerator chamber too soon and am currently stuck Leaping through history."

Freaking writing! It's going to kill me someday.

.... There's an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Hairstyling! WTF?!

P.S. Though I've tried lately to make fewer complaining entries, I've recently rediscovered the fact that it's eleventy billion times easier to write once I've sat down and had a good complain at the internets in general so, while I was nobly trying to save you from that, too bad now. Just... um... ignore me or something. Because apparently complaining is a large part of my writing process. (Since I finished this, sat down, and finally, finally figured out how to make this script work and without being heartless to people in comas and/or with amnesia while still being medically sound and with a structure that leaves me room for the proper amount of philosophical musing. Hooray!)

P.P.S. I am still thoroughly amused that the only class I have/have ever had here that is at all openly relevant to getting me a job in the future has me writing what sort of amounts to a fanfiction script. Thank you, TV writing.
I'm not sure how I feel about today. I actually got myself out of bed this morning and made it downtown to get photo paper (I spent over a hundred dollars! Someone owes me 20 for the stuff I picked up for them but still, omg, another $80 at the end of the quarter... I'm gonna die). I'm liking the fiber-based paper a whole lot, though. It's so much nicer to work with. I'm kind of looking forward to working out the giant 11x14 prints for my final portfolio. Though I'm thinking I could save myself about $40 if I return the larger paper and just finish on 8x10. I'm trying to gauge whether that sort of sucking up would get me an A... Crits went really well tonight (there were actually three prints that were deemed to be good, and there would've been a fourth had I been paying enough attention to put the right print up). People were amused by my strange action figures. I promised my mom I'd scan them, so I'll probably put them up sometime tomorrow.

Working backwards from there, though, there was the three hours in the darkroom. Could've been worse (and has been), but my back is hurting me so much now from being on my feet all the time in there. And the fixer gives me a headache. I think I need new shoes. And to not have been overexposed to nasty fixer fumes for a good part of my childhood. I've also started getting songs stuck in my head based on random numbers I have to remember. I'll be standing there going "all right, another minute in the developer" and random DDR songs will pop into my head. I also spent a good chunk of last night with Ben Gibbard's "Plans Get Complex" in my head because I was exposing the print for 17 seconds.

But I also had a meeting with my BA preceptor today. I realize now part of the bad impression I must've given her involves me forgetting to send her a paragraph description of what I'm doing. I've also discovered that I'm utterly horrible at describing what I want to do. Mostly because I still don't know. I just want to follow these characters and see where I end up, but that's not really an acceptable way of going about things. (Honestly, I'm surprised writing what sounds like a mystery this point is going to be acceptable.) But since I didn't have anything written to show her, I got the impression my preceptor didn't have much faith in me. She also sneered a bit at the fact that I've only taken one writing class here, which, dude, is not my fault. I suppose I could've mentioned the screenwriting class. And when it came to listing my favourite mysteries (which was a lost cause, since I don't read them. I'm just attracted to writing them), I probably should've elaborated on my slight obsession with Sherlock Holmes and the expansion of his character type into others. Though this mystery doesn't really involve a Sherlock Holmes, because goshdarnit I need to get away from writing that stereotype, as much as I love it. It's going to have a freaking female protagonist and... you know, I'm so self-conscious about the concept right now, because I'm trying to keep it away from bordering on fanfic or whatever I'd rather be writing, in an attempt to make it sound like what I should be writing. I'd like to write a female protagonist that didn't suck, but I know what'll happen first is that I'll get frustrated and tired of her, and I'll ditch her literary stalker along with her (even though right now, he's a more interesting character to me since he's got a bit more complexity to him). And then I'll have no protagonist at all, and probably run off to the military and readopt Shadow from the outskirts I've tossed him to. But he works so well as a side-character that I really don't want to do that to him. I know he's going to be around, though... because I want him to be. I just... need a way to justify it. Um. I also need to get away from the military/government. I need a good conspiracy, regardless, though. Unless Shadow sticks around where he is so he can be the conspiracy. Homunculus doesn't carry over, though, and I was going to go sci-fi and do a sort of cyborg thing, but... argh. Cyborgs. Androids. Meh. And if I go sci-fi, I can't keep things as... blind-to-technology as I prefer. It can't be all "oh ho ho, my journalist girl is writing everything by hand, nobody watches TV and oops, here's a cyborg." Maybe brainwashing. Brainwashing would be cool. Brainwashing of clones. I want clones... clones are so much fun. Probably haven't been done to death like cyborgs, either. Much. Maybe just short of dead, or on the more recent side of dead. Sigh. I'm suddenly so incredibly terrified of this whole thing.

I think I'm going to really need someone to talk at about this for quite a while sometime in the nearish future. Gah. I think I've gotten way too used to writing collaboratively, yet somehow managed to completely avoid the bit where I'm even the slightest bit less disgustingly self-conscious of my ideas and writing.
World still broken. I guess I'll check in again later.

Freaking English department, I swear I walked in there and immediately afterwards the person I needed to talk to shut her door and left. Oh, and my plan to ride my bike to campus so I wouldn't have to worry about the buses? Both of my tires are flat. What gives, world? Seriously. This is unfair. I am being oppressed! I had to pedal so much I could barely walk when I got to campus! I hope everyone else is laughing at this as much as I am, because goshdarnit everything the world is doing to me and I'm still laughing at it. Out of spite. Take that, world! Ha! But if that was my computer that came in with the FedEx guy today, which I thought I saw as I was leaving the building, and I don't hear about it... oh, how you will pay, world. Oh how you will pay for teasing me. In fact, if that wasn't my computer, it counts as teasing me. Because now I have hope.
I'm in such a strange state lately. I... don't know. I feel like I owe people an apology, though, because everyone's having a rough time of things (it's that time of year) and my solution lately seems to just be pontificating at them. So I'm sorry. Because me writing on for paragraphs about how, in my vast and worldly experiences, life sucks a lot all the time, doesn't really help and is, in fact, really freaking obnoxious in the stuffy academic stupid way that I tend to hate. I don't know what's gotten into me lately. I think it's senior-year nostalgia mixed with a continued feeling of having no idea what the eff is going on. (Do I have more than two classes yet? Nooo. Has übersnobwriterprof e-mailed me back? Nooo.) So, to pontinifcate on myself, I guess I'm just trying to sort things out. And unfortunately every time someone posts with something I feel like I've gone through, I go off on some incredibly long pseudo-philosophical and generally useless rambling thing and obviously I'm in no sort of position to say anything useful because, omg, look at what I've gotten myself into here and... you know, someone should really just kick me, because otherwise this'll keep happening and you'll all hate me lots and then I'll be sad (actually, I know right now that I'm on the verge of being really obnoxiously depressed because that stupid prof hasn't e-mailed me back and if enough people don't drop out of the photography class by tomorrow, I'll only have two classes and, of course, since I'm stupid and didn't figure out what I was majoring in until last year, I can't afford to just take random electives because I have so many requirements left for English that I need to finish. Crap, I hate first week).
evilhippo: hippo (34 [sleepy])
( Sep. 25th, 2006 09:51 pm)
No matter what I do, I've only got one class MWF. I guess that's not bad, but it's a 1:30 class which means I can sleep in forever those days. And that's not good for me. Le sigh. And I'm still in the middle of this sort of semi-panic state because I don't know what I'm doing tomorrow. Do I want to go to the poetry class? Do I skip the art class in the hopes of getting into the photography class (because I don't want the art class except to get into the photography class). How awkward is it going to be to show up for the photography class and beg the professor? (The only answer to that that I have right now is Thousands of Times Less Awkward Than Showing Up For the Fiction Class). I've decided I'm going to write an e-mail to the fiction prof, see if I can meet with him sometime or just state my case through e-mail, but, gah, I'm so terrified of him. I know I have to try, but I just have no idea how.

And it doesn't help that I'm like, fifty billion times more lost than usual now because my computer's on its way to Texas to be fixed. I finally gave in and sent it off, because it finally started breaking before dusk and I was tired of waiting. Calling FedEx to schedule a pickup was... erm... an adventure. Let it be known that I officially hate voice-recognition automated phone... thingies. It kept asking me questions I didn't know the answer to, so I'd hang up on it and try again. 0 didn't get me an operator. Saying "operator" didn't get me an operator. So I finally stuck it out and stayed on the line through all the stupid questions until it decided it also had no idea what I was talking about and asked me if I wanted to talk to a representative. In fact, it said "If you would like to speak with a representative, say 'representative'". And in what I believe was a clear voice I said "representative". To which it replied "Thank you for calling FedEx" and hung up on me. So I started over and actually got a representative the second time. Freaking phones.

So... now I'm lost, computerless, mostly without classes... and I've got a headache. It's not cool. Though, at least Intro to Fiction is sort of a cool class. People are right, the prof is interesting. I think I'll like it. So... I guess, on the bright side, at least right now 100% of my classes are cool.
evilhippo: hippo (62 [full])
( Aug. 18th, 2006 02:10 pm)
I have nothing else to vent at... no one I can pester is online, and my mom is being stupidly logical. I have a problem! (Which is obviously nothing new.) With my classes. (Which is nothing new.) I mean, besides the art class I can't ever seem to get into without scheduling conflicts, and the fact that I've got to take a poetry class and like it deal with it... I'm really not liking the idea of my creative writing class this quarter. See, in theory, I really need to take Advanced Fiction Writing. Which is... allow me to quote:

The goal of this class is to introduce students to the processes involved in fiction writing by emphasizing the technical aspects of the form. This class will undertake a study of the essential methods and practices involved with the creation of fiction, primarily through the intensive reading and analysis of stories by established authors, but also by guiding students in creating their own work. Students will learn to identify various aspects of literary craft and incorporate them into creative exercises. Students will participate in critical discussions of literary work, with an emphasis on an author’s use of the rhetorical strategies that fiction writing involves. Students are expected to illustrate their understanding of such strategies by utilizing them in their own exercises. The class involves many readings and a weekly creative exercise, as well as a final project. In addition, students are expected to participate in discussions and critiques in a online forum designed for the class.


So that boils down to lots of reading... and writing novellas. Me? Novellas? It's novel or nothing. Except for short things... which are invariably fanfic. You know, last night, my revenge on the world was almost finishing Which is Home. Except the internet was so slow it wouldn't even load fanfiction.net. Heck, the internet was so slow I couldn't load gaim, and that's saying something. Um... back to what I was talking about, though... I don't want to study what other people think makes things work. I can do that on my own. I want a writing class. Writing! One where I write! I'm probably mostly just freaking out about this class because of the stuff this guy has written. I think I've been over this before. He writes poignant short stories. Which is... not what I do. Judging by his books, we will Not Get Along. I feel horribly fake writing things that are meant to be taken seriously. I think it shows.

In the meantime, Intermediate Fiction has no description, but the instructor sounds like exactly the sort of writer I should get to know. Problem is... I already took that class last quarter. It's different every time, but I don't think that means I get to take it twice. So I'm looking right now at a pretty unhappy quarter. I have to take a poetry class. I've got to take Intro to Fiction (which apparently has an awesome prof, but is a lot of work and he grades hard), I've got to find a way to either con my way into the photography class or not have scheduling conflicts with the intro art classes... and I need to come up with something to turn in for these writing classes before September 1st. And if I don't get into this Advanced class (that I'm terrified of and don't want to take now), I don't get to write my senior project. Which means no honours for me. Not that it's entirely certain that I could even get honours anyway, because it still depends on my GPA... which is getting there, but not quite high enough yet. And with Intro to Fiction and Poetry still ahead of me, that could still go down quite a bit. Can't abide poetry. Don't put much stock in literary analysis because it's so easy to BS (I take great joy in BSing it, but as I'm painfully aware that within one degree of my arugments lies complete and utter BS (as opposed to slightly thought-through and reliant upon the text BS), I really don't think I could keep doing it beyond college). Really, if you can BS it, I can't take it very seriously. How am I an English major? I have no idea. Credits, probably. A series of credits. A major is not a truck, it is a series of credits.

So... it looks like I need to get over my fear of the department and e-mail the head, and ask her if I can take Intermediate twice. Or something. Maybe see if really needing Advanced to get honours means anything in the realm of getting into it... though if it did, the prof might come to resent me more. It's probably not the sort of class I should take and write pirate stories in in order to buck the system or whatever. (Though obviously I need to cover ninjas now. I must be fair.)

See... if I'd just stuck to being a Physics major three years ago, I would so not be having this problem. Why did I let physics scare me, why?

Edit! [7:00]: And while I'm musing on my esteemed institution... it appears that it can be just as bad at math as me. After all, it jumped six spots in the US News rankings by "engineering" the numbers (which translates to "fixing their mistakes"). Way to go, guys. This makes me feel better about being stupid sometimes.
evilhippo: hippo (19 [azkabam])
( Jun. 1st, 2006 01:37 pm)
Dear UofC English Department,

FORMS! MAKE SURE THEY AGREE WITH EACH OTHER WHEN IT COMES TO DUE DATES! Also, please to be updating your website properly (as in, in the past year) kthnx.

Arghblarghgobbledeegee,
[livejournal.com profile] evilhippo

Also, something really needs to be done about my inability to figure out how to address e-mails to people. Not the using the proper e-mail address part (though we all know I've done that, too), but the "Dear..." part. I never know what to put when two people need to get the same e-mail. Grr. And now I'm freaking out because the form itself says "by June 1", which means something quite a bit different than what the e-mails say, which is "before June 1". Really, can't I worry about other things right now? Like the 40 pages of stuff I have due next week? (I might as well be writing a BA right now anyway.)
.

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