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Movin’ on.

June 25, 2011

I had a professor who said that a lot, like right after she skipped 20 pages that would of course be on the next test.  She would drag out the “O,” pronouncing it “moooooovin’ on!”  She would scan the class for objections, gratified to note that every.single.one.of.them. was either looking at Facebook on a laptop or asleep.   And she would move right on, you betcha.

So Journalism class is over, and I have mixed emotions about it.  It’s true that I rejoice when ANY class is over, because by the last week of finishing the never-ending scut work and trying to mind-read which of the several correct answers the professor will decide is the only acceptable one on the exam, I’m pretty much over it.  Add to that the never-ending screwups by Financial Aid, and I am dreaming of  running away to Key West and living out of my car, panhandling to survive.  To be honest, I’m sure I would make more money that way than graduating with a degree.  But we’ll pretend I’m full of youthful enthusiasm and naivete, and have no idea of any of that.  Movin’ on.

I really enjoyed the Journalism class and the professor because he didn’t spend his time forcing us to memorize busy-work out of a book:  instead, he taught us how to make a blog and publish on it and taught us what Journalism is really like, when all the sparkly hoopla is pulled off it.  He  left me excited over something, and I assure you that’s a rarity for me these days.  These years, really.  (My World Religions prof was good, too, and her cross-country motorcycle trip/chainsaw massacre paranoia is well worth taking her class for.  She knows more about religion than anybody I’ve ever met except me and maybe a couple of lunatics I’ve met online in christian chat rooms.  Sorry, I digress yet again.  Mea culpa!– because it just seems to fit here.)   But Richards is a good teacher and you should take advantage of his wisdom if you can.  & now,  Movin’ on.

I have come to the conclusion that a degree in Psychology may be… how shall one say?  …worthless.   I don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of passing the GRE, and  without an advanced degree, I’m dead in the water.  An MA isn’t even worth much in Psychology:  you have to go for a Doctorate  to have any chance at all of doing something with the degree and really I don’t have much to work with in the areas of time or money.  So Psychology may be on the way out and I may go for an MSW.   My GPA is high enough– so far– but it would be better if I had the coursework for Social Worker  squared away before I apply for their Master’s program.  So I’m going to go talk to somebody, I guess, although who that would be, I don’t know since nobody at this school tells you ANYTHING that might–god forbid– keep you from chasing your tail and running in circles.

But maybe it’s true that 60 is the new 40 and when the kids move and the dog dies (my last dog is 16 years old and he can’t live forever even though it seems like it as he merrily barks all night long in his doggie dementia… but he’s happy, so what the hell.  Let him bark)  ….but maybe it’s time for me to finally be footloose and fancy-free, the way I used to be before 3 kids and life interrupted all my great plans and maybe I can just ignore the tangled hell-web that I KNOW is waiting for me when I try to change majors, and I can enjoy some of that enthusiastic, youthful naivete too.

I’ll probably keep this blog going.  Feel free to leave comments.  Or not.  My Twitter handle is Baysider1.   I gotta go, the dog is barking because he forgot how to get out of the bedroom.         Moooooooovin’ on.

Verbs. And stuff.

June 18, 2011

I’ve been worrying a lot lately about the GRE.  I worry because I not only have no math skills, I may actually have negative math skills.  I have no math skills, I hate antonyms, and I have forgotten everything I ever learned about grammar.  (I may not do well on the GRE.)   I will be cleaning the toilets at Walmart when I’m 70, if I even get that lucky.

So I didn’t retch too much when I heard that our Journalism class was going to be a review of grammar.  I just felt embarrassed-in-advance for how abysmally stupid I was going to feel when I couldn’t remember a single thing about it.  Hey, seriously, it’s been 40 years since I diagrammed a sentence.  I even bought a book on Grammar from our BBC Bookstore and read a whole 5 pages before my eyes glazed over and I passed out unconscious.

“What’s a gerund?”  The professor paused, expecting some kind of response from the class, and I watched his eyes running back and forth across the rows, looking for some signs of life, some faint glimmer of recognition of what he was fishing for.

Nada.  Zip. Zilch.  Zero.  OK, maybe there were a couple of half-hearted responses, the exact same response the students gave in my grammar classes 40 years ago.  But as the class went on, I began to remember more and more.   “It’s a verb!”  I said.  “That– uh, is, uh– a noun!  Or something!”   Richards stared at me.

“What part of speech is this?”  He was gamely trying again.    “Is it a predicate nominative?”

“It’s a gerund phrase!”  I shouted out.  “Or something like a gerund phrase.  Or …not.”  A couple of students woke up long enough to stare at me.

“Stop it,” said Richards.

But I couldn’t stop.  I was unstoppable.  I was mighty.  I could remember rules of grammar and maybe, JUST MAYBE, I can force myself to study a whole bunch of antonyms and guess really well on the math parts and PASS THE GRE.  Hey, it could happen.

Remembering grammar is a great thing.  Remembering is a gerund.

God, I’m just  giddy with power.  Bring it on, world.

I wonder….

June 11, 2011

We have dorms here.

The kids that live in BBC dorms have to eat dinner.

If our so-wonderful “food court” closes every day at 3 pm, where do these kids eat???

Just Do It.

June 8, 2011

 

Way back in the stone age, before there were computers and iphones and tablets and even before IBM typewriters, I was the editor of my high school newspaper, the DCS Crusader.  I didn’t do much with the position or the opportunity, other than making a few literary snipes in the religious right little Gulag of a high school that I went to.  I had to type up the copy on a long sheet of mimeograph paper, and drew cartoons by hand and then ran off a couple of hundred copies a month and foisted them on anybody dumb enough to slow down and let me catch up to them.  But I never forgot the sheer glory of being a reporter.

I’ve walked by the BBC Beacon office probably 50 times in the past year, and thought many times about going in and volunteering to be on the staff.  But every time I think of doing that, part of me says, “Hell, you’re too old.  You’re too busy.  Nobody wants to hear what you have to say.”  And so each time I turn and keep walking on  down the hallway, making myself foget about the literary playground that sits just out of my reach.

Until today.  Today, instead of slogging on out into the heat of the parking lot and getting in my car and risking my life the usual 45 times in a 15-minute drive, I turned my steps towards the Beacon office.  And I went in, and filled out an application to be a reporter for the University newspaper.  Why?  Because I still have things to say.  I’m a good writer and with a little work, could be a great writer.  I like a challenge and I don’t give up easy.  In fact, when everybody else throws in the towel, I’m just getting my second wind.  To quote Rob Zombie, “Quit?  Bitch, I have just started.”  Most importantly, I just like to KNOW things.  I like to find out things.  Ten lifetimes aren’t enough for all the things I want to study and do.  But I digress, as always.

So, the question I needed to answer for today’s post is “what did Jasmine Kirpalani leave with you?”  And my answer is:  just do it.  So I did it.  And I hope it’s even more fun the second time around.

 

 

My Dysfunctional City

May 31, 2011

Miami;

Miami is often called a “melting pot,” but is it really? Have the various cultures and races and nationalities here really blended together to create something new? I would suggest that they have not:   instead Miami can find a great deal of racial tension in its citizens. I have lived here for 56 years and find that folks here get along superficially, but any time there’s a crisis or stress of some kind, true feelings come to the surface. Blacks hate whites and whites hate Hispanics and Catholics hate Jews and on and on and on. Our civility, like the many colors of our skin, doesn’t go very deep-  and tension and violence seem to lurk just under the surface, always waiting for a chance to erupt.

This is the reality of multicultural Miami: we don’t like each other.

That said, what is to be done about this? My answer is this: I don’t know.

People have valid complaints when they say it’s not fair to have to speak Spanish to get a job in America. They have valid complaints when they say the color of their skin dictates their refugee status. They have valid complaints when they say native Americans don’t like them. And it’s a valid complaint that the large gay presence in Miami is still looked down upon in some quarters, considered harbingers of interplanetary doom and the total collapse of civilization if we ever get the right to marry. You know, I don’t think there’s a single minority possible that isn’t here that, and is some way or other, looked down upon and discriminated against.   Like I said, the truth is that we really don’t much care for each other. But what can we do about it?  My attitude is this:   you don’t like each other?  Too damned bad.  You’re here and until you go live somewhere else, you have to deal with things the way they are.

If you had any idea of what it’s like to get up every day and see the same bland, generic whiteness looking back at you, or the same generic blackness, or latino-ness (is that a word? It is now) looking at you everywhere you go, you might appreciate Miami a little more. If you lived in a city where they rolled the sidewalks up at 8 pm, you might appreciate Miami a little more. If you lived in a city where nothing ever forced you out of your comfort zone, or made you stretch and grow and learn something new, you might appreciate Miami a little more.

Deal with it…. educate yourself about other cultures and races.  Learn to speak a little Spanish.  Learn to speak a little English, or a little Creole.  You may find that we are more alike than different, and you might even enjoy yourself in your discoveries.

Images edwardcates.com

Brain.Will.Not.Shut.Up.

May 23, 2011

OK, so we’re supposed to spend a half hour doing nothing, and blog about it. I’m good at looking like I’m doing nothing. I can be so chillaxed that you need to put a mirror to my lips to see if I’m still breathing. I am a Zen Master of doing nothing. Except for my brain, which never shuts up.

Oh, I used to bludgeon it into submission chemically, back when I was younger, but there are too many side effects to that– like, for instance, dropping dead of a stroke or something. Yoga makes every part of my body hurt and meditation encourages me to just fall asleep. So I sit there, perfectly still, looking like I’m meditating, while my brain plays industrial trance to amuse itself.

So I spent a half hour doing nothing, but I didn’t think anything profound or spiritual. I did not have an epiphany, God did not appear to me, and I wasn’t raptured. Maybe I’ve run out of epiphanies. Maybe that IS an epiphany. But my brain didn’t wait around for enilightenment… it has it’s own agenda.

I thought about Steampunk, and whether Goth is really dead. I like Jules Verne and Sherlock Holmes and Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker. Isn’t black a great color? I like pirates.

And so finally the 30 minutes were up and my brain rode off into the sunset, still chattering away.

But Steampunk kicks ass.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Has Local Media Forgotten About HIV and AIDS?

May 18, 2011

stop aids now

Florida International Professor Allen Richard doesn’t seem to accept “less than” with grace.  He won’t accept it from students, and he won’t accept it from those who purport to look out for the well-being of those students.  So, when he became aware of just how ignorant students are of the dangers of HIV transmission in the South Florida area, he did something about it.  He and a team of Faculty and students traveled to South Africa to find out how their media is handling the problem:  they filmed the results of their investigation and then compared what they had discovered to the job that Miami media is doing in the fight agains HIV/AIDS.  Clearly, South Africans have taken matters into their own hands in the fight to raise awareness of transmission risks and of the battles faced by those who are HIV+ or who have AIDS.  South Florida local media, on the other hand, rarely even gives the subject air time.

Professor Allan Richard’s full Documentary can be found here: