Posts Tagged ‘Classes’

Long Time Gone.

Its seems that as soon as Heroes was over I stopped blogging and then, today, one day Before Fugitive’s starts, I come back.

Well, I have a reason for that, I’ve been busy, terribly terribly busy.

My life has been yanked out of its cyclical routine and I was completely dazed and lost, and forgot to come here. It’s a new semester you see, and it looks like, unlike last semester, this one is going to be GOOD!!

I am taking six classes, a full eighteen credit hours, and across three campuses too: One at Downtown, Two at West and three in Main. Which means that I’ve become very familiar with the new Light Rail and the Shuttles that ASU provides.

So this semester I’m taking:

STP 226: Elements of Statistics, which seems fun and I am enjoying, strange, because I usually hate math.

ASM 455: Primate Behavior Lab, which rocks!!! Because Dr. Nash is the instructor and its already a major challenge, making it my hardest class this semester.

ASB 102, because I got bored last semester and failed it. This semester I have a good teacher and the classroom is not full of idiots.

SPA 413: Advanced Spanish Grammar, and yes I very much like it.

SPA 426: Spanish Literature from 1700 to Present, which seems like it will be very interesting, plus the teacher is way smart, and a tad bitchy.

ENG 102: Composition, because I finally finished 101! Yay!!

I’ve also discovered that my much planned and expected trip to London may not work out, because I have no money, well, I have money, just not enough, Britain will have to wait for me, unless I can talk people into giving me money. And a lot of it, right now I’m a whole two thousand dollars short. I may have to find another way for getting the hell out of America. I will try and I swear I will go to London soon, maybe in the Summer if I can find those 2k’s or the Fall semester.

I went to see Underworld: Rise of the Lycans and loved it!! I also went to see Slumdog Millionaire, and I absolutely loved it (they will each get a post later on, after Heroes: Fugitives ep. 1)

The Borders closest to me closed about five hours ago, permanently. I am very, very sad and require coffee to cheer me up. 😦

I’ve read more of Le Guin’s Works, including The Tombs of Atuan, Very Far Away From Anywhere Else, Gifts, and I’m working on The Telling, Changing Planes and The Word for World is Forest.

Oh and January 20 was one of the HAPPIEST DAYS OF MY LIFE!! PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA!!!!

I was very pleased when he cut salaries and finally closed Gitmo! It looks as if America will finally grow a backbone and start respecting Human and Civil Rights. I was disappointed when Obama replied to Hugo Chavez’s congratulations by saying that he (Chavez) was impeding progress in South America, in fact, I’m still pissed at Obama for that, he really needs to stop making the same shitty mistakes that Bush made by pissing off Latin America.

For now, that’s all because it’s very late, or very early depends on how you look at it, either way i WANT COFFEE!!!!

Ciao.

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El Estudiante De Salamanca

Estoy leiendo y analizando el poema El Estudiante De Salalmanca de Jose de Espronceda.

Tuve una presentacion ayer, y fue la peor que he dado. Los otros estudiantes de la classe no estaban poniendo attencion, me ignoraron. La unica persona que si puso attancion y pregunto pregundas y pidio clarificasiones fue el profesor.

A media presentacion, todos los estudiantes emperaron a reir, de que no se. Pero tuve que parar y esperar que se callaran, me senti como un idiota, parado halando de la era romatica a un salon que podria estar vasio.

Lo unico bueno fue que lei el poema y no me arrepiento, lo recomindo a todos.Aunque tengan en mente que yo soy un fan de lo Gotico y lo grotesco.

Why the Tao Te Ching (daodeking) Can Never Be Briefly Disscussed.

First day of ENG101 (yes, i am picking on the class again!, but I bring this up again for a reason, as previously mentioned, born in my ASB102 class)
We had a small discussion about Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching. One student said that one chapter in particular (Chapter 3: Hushing in Ursula K. LeGuin’s translation, my favorite version) where it says:

  So the wise soul
  governing people
  would empty their minds,
  fill their bellies,
  weaken their wishes,
  strengthen their bones.
 
meant that the wise government would have to keep their people in ignorance. But this idea is completely contradictory to the fundamentals of Taoism. Especially if taken in context, not only with the culture, but with the rest of the text. For example, as i told Rob, my favorite chapter, Taoing says:

  The way you can go
  Isn’t the real way
  The name you can say
  Isn’t the real name.

As LeGuin says:

  “to those who will not admit morality without a deity to validate it, or spirituality of which man is not the measure, the firmness Lao Tzu’s morality and the sweetness of his spiritual council must seem incomprehensible , or illegitimate, or very troubling indeed.”

  So, the very idea that a government would act while keeping ignorance among the people could be understood, especially after reading Chapter 17, it again appears that the ideal leader should be manipulative and keep the people without thinking. But the meaning, once place d in context, is just the opposite.

Once such ideas begin to be understood or discussed there is a tenancy to forget the the original purpose of the Tao Te Ching was not to be a manual for leaders, but a guide to the Tao. literally, the having the Way guide the Way. much like the concept (or non-concept) of Zen.

Back to the point I was trying to make. The Tao cannot, and should not be summarized. It is not responsible, and not beneficial either to the students or to the Tao itself.

By the way, I strongly recommend reading the Tao Te Ching, several times of course. I read a chapter or two every day. I am not a spiritual person, or religious, but I read of the Way and I try to live in the Way. I especially recommend LeGuin’s translation. other translations are very forced, and forcibly translated in order to have political meaning. LeGuin’s version is translated with the poet in heart. Translated for the sake of Tao and beauty, not for classroom politics, and Western obsession with dry ideologies.

Actually I recoment all of LeGuin’s Works, especially The Telling, and Gifts. Both are beautifully writen and, if you really must, have deep meanings and parallels in society today/

Minimalism

I think I may have become a minimalist.

Apparently, I’m very good at summarizing things and giving minimalist examples. I came to this realization during my ASB104: Intro to Social-Cultural Anthropology Discussion. We were talking about language, one kid, a complete idiot named William or something, said that humans were the only um, being, that used vocal language as a mean of communication. My immediate though was “What the Fuck? are you kidding?” and then it occurred to me that he was a complete second hander. He only knew how to regurgitate whatever he’d heard before. I know that bush babies communicate because Dr. Nash specializes in bush babies. and i know that vervets have certain vocalizations that they use and each vocalization has a different meaning.

William defended his point with the argument that humans are the only species whose vocalizations differ in meaning across groups, but i know that in samiri, two different colonies may use entirely different vocalizations, and the species are still the same, because there hasn’t been enough time for speciation to occur. So we went on talking about language and thought.

The working question was ‘Does language determine how you think, or does you thinking determine your language’ I said that in a certain way language determines your thinking process. William, piped up and said something that i either ignored or forgot ( I seriously forgot if i forgot or ignored him) To which the teach responded with a huge smile. So i gave an example from my ENG class, where the different definitions of ’emptying mind’ came into play.  The entire process ended up falling on deaf ears because everyone ignored me, and the teacher moved over me. So my response was that in order for thoughts to form a language and completely prevent the influence of language on thought was if the community remained static, with no new births and no new members in the community. That was shot down quickly the the same argument that they used the first time.

Everyone agreed that i was wrong. But I have a reason I stick to this idea: I speak three languages.

What is the English word for soberbia? There is none, there is no such concept in English. So in English, you can be angry or you can be vengeful, but neither word really describes that feeling. Or if you’re in Mexico, you can be filled with soberbia.

Or even better, What is the English word for Arder, Ardeur in French? Well, you can itch, you can burn, you can be in pain, but you have no actual word for it. So in America we think in terms of burning, in terms of itching. In Mexico, in Spain, in France you can Arder.

I could go on.  But i fell, like I’ve proven my point. language does influence the way you think. the way you word things, the concepts you can understand, that’s how words are adopted. English such a rich language, has many words for concepts that we would have otherwise never some into contact with. And its thought eh language, that we arrive at the concept. True, originally the concept created the word. but eventually the word determined the concept. Poetry for example. the way that words are used give rise to concepts, they affect the way we think.

In class we ended up accepting the mild language has very little influence over thought. I agree, but I also believe that it has more influence than we believe.

Back to Minimalism. I’ve been thinking that i may be a bit of a minimalist because i use few words to describe certain things. At times i like being concise and at other times i like being verbose. So i may be a minimalist, only part of the time.

Work was Actually Busy Today!

Today i actually got to run all around campus running errands, it felt good to be doing something other than sitting around.

Classes today were interesting and i have quite a bit to say about that, but right now, i’m running on 23.5 hours without sleep and i have a test later today at noon and i really want to get some sleep in before that. (what i want to know is: what IDIOT schedules a test on a Saturday? Isn’t the weekend supposed to be, y’know, THE WEEKEND! with NO CLASS and NO WORK!!) Anyway, good night, morning, whatever!

————–

So the test, was a complete waste of time. It was terribly inconclusive and insanely arbritary. No more to say.

————–

Classes, yeah, i’ve posted more on that.

I Believe In Temperance Brennan

This is my personal narrative essay about my beliefs and philosophy.

Because it was supposed to be in narrative form, i made up some of the details. storytelling is after all, a form of lying to tell the truth.

I believe in Dr. Temperance Brennan. Her attitude, her philosophy, and her demeanor in life is both admirable and beautiful. As a believer in Bones (her nickname) I am an atheist, I find naturalist explanations for everything and certain fundamental ideas of society are often lost on me, or refuted by me. Like Bones, I do not believe that fear is a motivator, I do not have faith in psychology and I can over explain everything with amazing success. Like Bones, I have a small band of faithful friends and a long list of people who I do not remember, but who remember me as the one person who they really dislike because of his arrogance, intelligence and cold and often calculating attitude.

My first connection with the Fox Network character was during the ad for the pilot episode. One quote stuck with me, and I have used it often enough: “oh, you mean people with high IQs and basic reasoning skills?” This is often after an accusation about how ‘you people’ are different or odd or downright wrong. I believe, as Brennan does, that people are intimidated by intelligence, or envious of it, and seek out to find something wrong with those who are better than them. It may be a very un-American thing to say, but honestly, all men are not equal, some are better, some are smarter, faster, stronger or something that sets them apart, Bones often points this out, as do I, and I take a nice amount of nasty glares for it too. Once people realize this, perhaps we will be able to achieve something in life, intelligence is often mocked and scientists are feared by the public. In Bones, the FBI agents refer to the scientists as ‘squints’ because “you know, that’s what they do, they squint at things in labs and have no notion of the real world” as Booth (Bones’ partner) put it in the first episode. So as part of believing in Brennan, I believe that people are too separated from reality, they embrace a hopeless fantasy and deny anything outside of it. Anything that has science backing it up will be mistrusted and anything involving blind faith will be embraced, because people naturally assume that men like Einstein and Darwin are really no better than them, they are after all, only men, and “all men are created equal”

A part of believing in Bones is never drawing conclusions before analyzing, in one episode, Bones’ grad student, after sorting though a victim’s belongings, mutters “a picture begins to form” to with Bones replies: “No Zach, we are scientists, we never draw pictures or conclusions without all of the evidence.” So in my life, I never draw conclusions before knowing like I have enough evidence to back it up, hunches are just hunches, not anything to trust in. In a more condensed way of saying it: we are scientists, even in everyday life, using logic and reason to discover the world, conclusions muddle our vision, we dispel evidence against our preconceived notions and even forge evidence to support whatever conclusions we drew, regardless of how fallacious they may be. Sometimes being a scientist has its drawbacks, in my life the one example that sticks is the following:

My best friend Nikki (who often compares me to Bones) talked me into seeing The Dark Knight, she used the argument that it’s a culturally acceptable tradition to go with friends to movies you do not want to see, in order to make them happy and strengthen the friendship (she also begged). I agreed and went to see a movie that was on my ‘never watch list’ (yes I really do have one) There I found a guy with who I had a close but long distance friendship with, as always we flirted for a while, and while Nikki watched we fell back into old patterns, which drew glares from men and women alike in the hall. After he left, Nikki turned to me and asked if I was ever going to actually ask him out rather than go on with our somewhat subtle unspoken relationship. I smiled, and recalling a scene from Bones I answered:

“You know how Bones looks at human remains and analyses it before making a decision?” after she nodded I continued:

“He’s like human remains, and I haven’t made a decision yet”

She smiled and took me to the worst movie experience of my life, and in good old Bones style I asked her to refund me.

After that I started to apply the concept of everyone-is-human-remains to everything and everyone. I did that already, but I never related it to Bones.

A believer in Bones believes that plastic surgery is barbaric and primitive. In one episode, Bones explores her relationship with plastic surgeons and she states:

“How arrogant do you have to be to believe that you can do better than millions of years of evolution?”

As expected, I agree. Plastic surgery, outside of reconstructive surgery, is in my opinion, evil. Not many things get to be labeled as evil by me, other than religion. But Plastic surgery (circumcision included) is one of those things. Notions of beauty change, and they do so from culture to culture, and generation to generation. I believe that someday we will some to see non-medically needed plastic surgery with the same distain that we see the use of neck rings to extend the neck and male circumcision with the same rage that we have for female circumcision and other forms of mutilation.

Bones is a beautiful woman, which in de facto patriarchal societies is a sign of weakness. In order to break that idea and in order to be able to back up her threats she is an experienced martial artist and an incredibly good shot with a small caliber gun. I am a Mexican in a predominantly white society and I am the opposite of what a good male is considered to be in our culture. In order to back up my threat and avoid being beaten for other certain codon differences (seen with disgust by ‘normal’ members of this superficial society) I am a martial artist, with some training in aikido, tae so do, tai chi and very rudimentary ba gua. Like Bones, I am also good with a gun, much to the pride and help of my dad, whose job for thirty some odd years included a gun and a badge. I don’t own a gun, but I can use one if the need ever arose (hopefully I never will)

Bones is blunt and does not know when to lie. I could recount in innumerable amount of stories when I was too blunt or not subtle or kind enough to lie. One instance that is engraved in my memory is the one time I made someone cry in a classroom debate. Her name was Rachel and the topic was culture (as an anthropologist without a degree, this was my subject area) we were discussing ethnocentricity and although I am an ethnocentrist, I draw the line somewhere (where exactly I’ve never been able to test). She believed that it was right for one culture to completely assimilate and consume or destroy another, not only that, but that it was the obligation of one stronger culture to destroy another one (she is Mormon, so this idea is central to her faith) I disagreed, I challenged her to compare her beliefs and give examples of that idea in practice. After I while a named a few: Nazi Germany, Emperor Hirohito’s Japan, The Dutch Congo, Apartheid South Africa. Clearly she did not take well to my examples. But I was angry and I needed her to understand what she was saying, so I went on a discourse about the Rwandan and Darfur Genocides (something I feel strongly about, also something reflected in Bones). After a while, past the point when my usually higher pitched voice lowered and my volume rose (entirely subconsciously) in anger and dismay, she began to cry, and I went on, comparing her, her beliefs and her family to Stalin’s Soviet union and other less pleasant examples. Later I apologized and we still manage to get along, despite the fact that she’s at BYU and I am at ASU, and the obvious disagreements in philosophy. But since I’ve begun to practice the Buddhist concept of ‘active self-restraint’ and so far, I have proved to be very good at it.

The last parts of believing in Bones are multiculturalism and multilingualism. Bones speaks English, Chinese, French, Spanish, Latin and German. And she understands the social structures and cultural norms of various cultures and peoples. Something that I believe is essential to the survival of our growing global community. I myself speak English, Spanish, and French and am learning Latin and Italian, and I also understand the social structures of several groups and nations, something that will come in handy when I rejoin the United Nations after specializing in Human Rights and Social Justice in my Doctorate (after a Master’s in Forensic Anthropology) So as a part of being like Dr. Temperance Brennan I believe in interaction and mutual respect in diplomatic relations between countries and even between individuals. I may not believe that you are right, and I might draw the conclusion that a certain person belongs locked up, I will still get along with them, respect them and in return I expect the same.

Obviously, I have some errors to work out, but you get the idea, no?

First Day of: Classes, Democratic Conventions and Job Hunting.

First, I have class to go to, which I have to admit right now, I have missed going to.

In ASB 102, a class I think I’m going to hate, I felt at home. Once I was in the Lecture hall and the instructor started talking, it felt like it was all good now, and I was right where I belonged. Maybe it felt odd because last semester I didn’t have a large lecture class, and this semester I have two. After that I went for lunch, and noticed that I had signed up for a class on another campus, which was quite odd. So after lunch I went to the library and fixed it on my computer, read a couple of blogs, and went over the NY Times online. I’m avoiding CNN until tonight, when the conventions start.

I have Biology after this, and I know that I’m either going to hate it or love it. It feels odd taking BIO 100 AFTER ASM343: Primatology. I have the feeling that I’m already going to know everything, or that I’m going to start talking and end up over-explaining the hell out of everything, and therefore making everyone hate me, or asking me to shut up. One good thing about taking freshman classes is that the freshmen this year are hotter than the freshman last year, which of course I had very little classes with.

Now, about the conventions. I am really afraid that Michelle Obama is going to say something stupid (again) and make Obama look bad, not that he needs the help, but she might. Although I don’t think she’s speaking today. I am a Clinton Democrat, but I have to support Obama, because the alternative is McCain, who I hate even more. I respect him as a politician but only as a senator, not as president. Obama has not the experience or the determination to be president; he’s kind of like a little boy playing dress up in his papa’s clothes.

Now about job hunting, I have filled out an application at the library, which I’m going to submit for every possible open position there, I really need a job and I’m starting not to care how much pay is. I like higher pay obviously but I might have to settle for something a little lower. I was also thinking about filling out an application over at Borders but I think I’ve decided not to, I have no idea why, but it think I have. For jobs on campus I actually have a little list of places I have to go, although I’m considering not bothering to go. I actually heard from my first choice in jobs, over at the school of Music but “the position had already been filled” so I was out of luck in that department. My own Department doesn’t have job openings, which is sad for me, because that would make more sense if I got a job there.