Monday, August 30, 2010

Vivo la Vida Loca!

Less than two weeks ago, I was shaking hands with and receiving congratulations from my master’s committee, as I had successfully defended my thesis.

A week ago, today, I received word that I had officially graduated from Weber State.

Fast forward seven days: I am now a student at Salt Lake Community College.

Forgive me, but that’s one hell of a demotion.

I have only myself to blame, really. As a student at BYU, I diligently avoided all language coursework outside of ASL (In my defense, I did successfully make it all the way up to ASL 402, before I stopped. How many kids do you know went that far in a language for which they never received a minor?). And BYU did not, at the time, require students to learn a classic language (derivations of Germanic, Latin, or Greek), to graduate in English. So I graduated and happily avoided learning a foreign tongue.

When I “Got into Weber,” I meticulously looked at the fine print, and realized, once again, I would be given a pass on the foreign language, as their requirements only stipulated that I had to have a BA from another university (If I had gotten a BS, I would have been required to take the language). They assumed if I had a BA, I had already learned my classic language (which would be true if I had graduated just a few years later from BYU).

Whelp kids, I’ve reached the end of the line. I can’t go one step farther in my education without studying a classic language. In order to successfully complete a Ph. D., I must acquire a third option for communication.

So let’s review. If you’ve completed your BA and your MA, and you don’t want to be hit up by any of your previous institutions for graduate tuition, where’s the best place to pick up language credit? That’s right, kids. You go back to a junior college, where you can still enroll as a non-matriculating student, without penalty.

So instead of peers who are professionals, I am now surrounded by students who barely graduated high school and have a permanent look of lost or, worse, vicious little puppies, with pins poking through their faces and black eyeliner.

"Yo necesito tu el lapiz y tu la sangre. Ahora!"

I can only say there’s one perk to going “back to high school,” as it were. I heard a phrase this morning that I haven’t heard in almost a decade: “There will be extra credit.”

Can you believe that?

PS BTW, I'm learning Spanish. I could cry.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Masters Becky & Joss

In today’s post I feel compelled to discuss two subjects.

First and foremost, last week on Thursday, I successfully defended my Master’s Thesis. And this very morning, my grade was posted…as was my Master’s Degree.

Here’s my transcript:

Isn’t it pretty?
(You'll have to click on it in order to read it.)

I’m getting buzzed just looking at it.

Secondly, and on a completely different topic, I have just recently learned Joss Whedon, My Beloved Secular Humanist Master, will be directing the upcoming Avengers film. If you are unaware of the significance of this choice, allow me to infuse a little context into your world.

There have been or will be five “prequels” leading up to the Avengers film: Iron Man, Iron Man2, Hulk, Captain America, and Thor. The creation of these films has not only pleased the legions of comic fanboys out there, but with the massive success of Iron Man and Iron Man 2, people who have never taken an interest in the canon of comic books are starting to pay attention.

(Joss, as embarrassing and inappropriate as this sounds, is my grown up Bopper pin-up boy!)

The information that Joss would be directing is exciting to me for a variety of reasons.

1. I thought with the untimely death of Dollhouse, Whedon may be forced to lay low for a little while. This proves the death of his most recent television series is not the end of his career by any stretch of the imagination.

2. This project will give Joss the opportunity to really expand his horizons. For the last two decades, he’s had to make do with measly budgets and okay, b-grade, or unknown actors. With this next project, he’ll be working with Robert Downey Jr., for crying out loud.

3. I’m excited to see what he does with such a large cast in film format. He’s always done well with large ensembles in TV-speak. This is a real change, and I’m eager to see what develops.

That being said, some of you may be wondering why I’m even talking about this. I’ve spent a lot of time wondering how to approach the subject of Joss Whedon. It’s hard to explain to people who are not sold and devoted fans, such as myself. Why would anyone care about a moderately successful sci-fi/fantasy, writer/director, whose greatest claim to fame was a couple of late 1990s, early 2000s television shows: one about a rail thin, ditsy vampire slayer, and the other about a crew of space cowboys who speak Chinese?

The only true evidence I can offer is simple but profound. Joss Whedon writes stories that express the innate questions all people have about the human condition. More importantly, he continually approaches subject matter that explores issues of ethics and pushes his audience to think beyond the fantasy or genre. He is a revolutionary artist, and I love him.

(If you’re interested, please read one of my previous posts on Buffy: Television=Brain Liquefier)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Conversations with Dead People

Next week on Thursday (August 19th), I will be defending my 60-page thesis (Topic: Twentieth Century Cowboy Myth).

The feeling is surreal.

Since June 1st, I’ve toiled endlessly, with little or no contact with the world outside of writing and research. It’s been a grueling two and a half months, and I find myself horribly disoriented now that the ride is over.

My room is in shambles. My life is proverbially disheveled. And I keep looking for my laptop, only to discover the one task I have left is to check my e-mail incessantly. (BTW, it’s loaded with nothing but spam...Balls! Also, why did it comfort me to check my e-mail so frequently when I was writing my thesis? Nobody ever wrote to me. And with precious few exceptions, I never wrote anyone either.)

Now that it’s over, I cannot deny a part of me just wants to shut off to anything but Buffy and Pop Fiction Novels for a week straight. But I refrain, because the strict discipline of my life during this period keeps pounding the same question out of my brain: “What do we do now?”

Should I take a few days off (not of work, but of tasks)? Should I rebuild my room? Should I begin studying for my GRE, right away? Should I sit down and write some music?

What would you do?

I think what I’m suffering from is the giant chasm of disconnect fostered by months of “alone time” and endless hours of conversations with dead people (like John Wayne or Ford, and Owen Wister, author of The Virginian).

I thinks it’s time I rejoined the land of the living.