Friday, May 17, 2013

A Random Observation

I think one of my favorite phrases in the blogosphere is "typo and it stays." It indicates a situation similar to a Freudian slip, except with the added bonus of the person making the mistake having obviously looked at the mistake, considered changing it back, and yet decided, "Yes, this IS the impression I want to be giving."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Shock, Slightly Removed

Nothing makes a faraway tragedy real faster than discovering, quite unexpectedly, that the faces of the shocked victims in the news are familiar to you.

I'm used to looking at pictures of strangers in the news, whether or not the occasion is a tragic one--seeing only the emotions and not knowing who they are. As of yesterday morning, the Boston Marathon bombings have become an exception.

It's a shock to hear about any attack, of course. It's always shocking, no matter how often it happens (and it happens much too often now!), to open a news source or be contacted by a friend who is better-informed than I am and find that someone else has decided to kill people for no particular reason. But it's a different kind of shock to find a news article headed with a picture of some of my friends.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Counterintuitive Homework Solution!

If you are reading this, you have probably noticed that this is my first post since January, and thence deduced that my skills at keeping up a blogging schedule have proven to be abysmal.

If you had seen my grades at the midterm, you would also see that my skills at keeping up with homework have proven to be similarly abysmal for similar reasons.

For this reason, I have decided to solve both these problems at once... by blogging about my homework. Instead of doing it? No, in order to MAKE myself do it. (I may also end up copying over the blog posts mandated for my biology class to this blog, because if I'm going to work that hard I want to be able to go back and see it again!)

 So, here I shall implement my counterintuitive solution to the problem of homework by describing what I have accomplished today.

This morning, I took two tests: one as part of my computer science class this semester, and one immediately after class to prove that I was ready for computer science class next semester. I passed both with fairly good grades, and successfully registered for the next computer science course! Unfortunately, my attempts to register for any courses other than that and Latin have proven fruitless; I'll be talking with a professor to see if I can solve that one tomorrow. (It doesn't make sense; I tried registering for two different sections of Spanish, four or so of physics, and two of math, and it told me they were all full even though I checked repeatedly and the other page claimed there were many seats available! Oh, well... the programming class and love-of-my-life-Latin worked out fine, so it's not too bad.)

My theatre homework has started getting easy on me. I have abruptly gone from utter bafflement and uncertainty about what I was doing to... having large chunks of it done. The key seems to have been getting over the "activation energy," as it were (sorry, chemistry joke). Today I sat down with the chunk of my essay in which I had to analyze the parts of A Doll's House that were tragic, and after an hour or so it was done and took up most of a page. I even got a cited quote in, and analyzed that. Then I had to take a break, because I think I got too far into my themes and I haven't reached that point!

Yup, this is a personal blog and that was a snapshot of my life. If I have any readers--and I doubt that I do--then thanks for reading my uncomfortably detailed homework summary, and I'll be trying to write more-thoughtful things soon!

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Note

Lately, I have discovered that I am posting very infrequently.

This is primarily because I keep starting posts that never get finished for lack of words with which to finish them, and also because I'm a college student who is very busy. My Internet being uncooperative does not help much. I apologize to any of the probably very few people who may be inconvenienced by this, and I shall try to do better.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Fun Fact of the Day

The name "Greenland" was a medieval marketing ploy, intended to help persuade people to move away from Iceland (which had an overcrowding problem) to someplace substantially icier but also substantially larger.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Piece of Pi

Suppose I made a pie.

It's a delicious pie, my favorite kind: frozen chocolate, effectively homemade chocolate ice cream in a crust of crushed graham crackers held together with butter and sugar. 

Of course, now I have some choices as to what to do with this pie. I could eat it all myself, or I could eat half and give half away, or I could cut it in thirds and share it among three people... and, of course, the more people who wind up eating some of it, the less there is for each.

Pie is like that. It's limited; the only way to give everyone more is to make another pie. What I've been noticing lately, though, is that while not everything in the world functions the same way pie does, there are people out there who are very invested in treating all things as if they were pie.

Oppression works like pie: if you give it away, you stop having it, and that's scary for some people.

But the thing is, love doesn't. Love works much more like the number pi.

Let's say I decide that the first three digits of pi are mine, and then you come up to me asking for a piece of the number that same size. I've already claimed 3.14, but 159 is available, and now we have 3.14159 and a greater degree of precision. And then someone else comes along and wants a piece of pi. Great, now we have 3.14159258 between us, and our calculations are getting better. That's how love is, that's how justice is: the more of it you are willing to share, the more of it can come back to you.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Telling the Truth

Telling the truth means
my vision clouds,
my head spins,
my heart races,
and I think I'm about to faint.

Telling the truth means
putting myself in danger
when I have another choice.

Telling the truth means
giving up the privilege
that comes with being a liar.

Telling the truth means
another shaky step
towards becoming the person
I always wanted to be.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Life in the Perfect Passive Participle

In Latin--almost never in English because our version is so much more complicated, but pretty much every other sentence in Latin--there is a certain construction known as the perfect passive participle. It can best be translated as "having been [verb]ed." Despite its unpopularity in English, I think in the perfect passive participle a lot. This is partly because I speak Latin, and partly because I have an automatic predisposition to like anything unpopular, but also partly because I think of it as an inspiring way to use words. It's a way to describe the past in a way that necessarily links it to some later event.

Having been bullied for many years, I resolved never to let anyone treat my friends that way.

It sounds weak in English, as the passive often does, but to me that only makes it a better way to convey the meaning of that sentence. Even on the obscure, "meta" level of the language I used, it demonstrates passing from weakness to strength.

It's simpler in Latin, where a perfect passive participle is only one word long. Though it won't be a perfectly literal translation, it is quite possible to translate it as an adjective without losing meaning. If you are reading this blog and have seen the title plastered all over it, or if you have seen the name under which I am writing this, you have seen this construction. Amata means "having been loved," or simply "beloved." Therefore, in the rather unusual conventions used by the first Latin textbook I ever owned:

iuliana amata iam amat.

There are two ways to translate that: either as "Now Iuliana Amata loves," or as "Having been loved, Iuliana now loves."