First Day o’ Schoo’ Ma!

ART 141 Digital Photography I- First day, I come into class. It’s a computer lab with two rows of silver Macs with huge screens. Teacher comes in, she has tightly curly black hair held back loose, pale skin, and the way she’s dressed you’d think it was cold outside (it’s not), with a scarf and long sleeves and a jacket, a very two-toned style- Black, white, maybe some gray. She looks tired with rims under her eyes, and nervous with her voice slipping low and into an acquired English accent as she speaks. It sounds as if she is constantly on the verge of crying (later I learn that she teaches the late class the night before and doesn’t get home until 10 or 11, and then has to get up and teach us in the morning). But- WOW! The discussion (lecture?) is crazy interesting and surprisingly intellectual, on the first day. She talks about how photographs subtend memory, replace memory, and the moral weight that comes with that in conjunction with our modern-day obsession with taking pictures of everything. We talk about Formalism, and other things, too. I leave with the impression that this is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had, and a week or two on I’d still agree, but unfortunately it’s only a photography class, not philosophy or lit or something which demands more debate, and less the ambiguity of tech and computer manipulation…

Update: Still haven't figured out jPEGs/NEF/PSD/SO conversion. Was going to ask in open lab today, didn't. No grades or returned assignments yet :}
Update: Still haven’t figured out jPEGs/NEF/PSD/SO conversion. Was going to ask in open lab today, didn’t. No grades or returned assignments yet :}

Anyway, the woman who sits next to me there is a neighbor’s sister, one of the sane neighbors, and there is a girl from High Desert Montessori, named Yume. I have lunch with the neighbor and learn that her daughter who is ~ my age is in rehab in Texas for cocaine addiction. Too much personal information for a practical stranger? Apparently not. Also both of my chair/computer neighbors in the class both depend on me for using Photoshop already?!?? REALLY? I mean I know it’s complicated but can’t you have figured out how to put a photo INTO the program by now? After the poor teacher has showed you 5 times? Can’t you take notes? Is everyone this stupid here? I hope not?

ENG 205 Creative Writing- After a hurried lunch in the frenzy that is the cafeteria, I return to Sierra building, which is a crystalline series of connected squares leading away from the center of campus, and wait outside of the classroom. There is a bathroom right across from it that looks like a janitor closet so it’s always empty, even in this crowded yet strangely large and empty building. There is a class before in the room, which is one over from the photo classroom, and I watch the buildup of fellow classmates. There is a small girl with greasy mouse-brown hair who looks like she lives in the cat-eared headband and cat tail, as she curls up by the door with her books. There are a bunch of generic girls, the ones that look all the same, and wonderfully strange yet also generic people. When we finally get in, intruding on an unwary, bumbly professor with grey hair who is being buttered by a student as he gathers his things to leave. He is carrying a bowl-bell on an embroidered purple silk pillow, and a religious switch- and I am faintly alarmed that this might be my World Religions teacher. I find my seat behind a woman with dyed red hair who I realize smells of smoke. She and the young, white Michael Jackson replica are the talkers, I find, and he calls me sweetie, and he really is a sweet, unnassuming person himself.

The teacher comes in and at first I am alarmed by the way he comes in, walking slantways, leaning over and mumbling at the computer, but then I realize that’s exactly what I would do. He’s laid back, and is very much like the way he walks, not square in a masculine way but in a kind of sloping and unassuming downward line, in jeans and plaid cotton shirt a size and a half too large. I think I will get to like him. It’s funny how these creative writers express themselves, spilling out their emotions and experiences like an open suitcase. It takes a kind. I am not quite one of them, and I don’t think I will ever devote myself wholly to this, this writing and inner exposition. I want to do something other than write and make a generic existence. Writing for me is a means, not an end.

PHIL 210- World Religions- IT’S THAT GUY. He’s nice, he says he’s Orthodox Christian or something turned Zen Buddhist, but I honestly cannot for the life of me understand his speech. There’s this perfectly fine sentence and then- did it end? Is this a new sentence? If it is where is the subject of the sentence? Or like punctuation? It takes me a few seconds to catch on to this new one, on an entirely different subject, and then he is off again… The entire class is in an induced stupor, huddled in little fetal balls in their chairs, staring straight ahead at the walls. It looks like a mental institution. The first half of class is story circle, where we learn about each other’s summers- half of the people say, “I just worked all summer. I didn’t do anything, I just went home after I got out of work.” Exciting. There is the guy who professes, first, his born-again-christianity, second, his name. He gets into an argument with the poor zen proffesor within ten minutes. I leave in a pissy, agitated mood after a whole two hours of this, my brain feels like it’s concussed and shriveled up in the bottom of my skull, and I am unable to function. Did I learn a single thing? I ask myself, thoughts racing around in an unbroken circular loop. I can’t even answer this. We just listened to rambling the whole time. I begin to get angry at this harmless, oblivious, crazy proffesor and I snap at my mom when she drives up. I’m all agitated about this stupid folder I need to get for photography, and this isn’t really fair to mom, is it?

Umm anyway that’s the first day’s reaction. Sorry for the long paragraphs and I think it’s obvious where I’m going with World Religions. The second class we watched David Attenborough videos the entire time about what animals the Egyptians worshipped (I had to help him find the video player window for him). I know that the Egyptians worshipped falcons and egrets and bulls, and mummified them, I didn’t need to sit there and watch old grainy CDs to know that. A bunch of new students came in, this class is advertised on every single board the campus over for its credit fulfillment and its cheap textbooks. My mom and I quickly had to make a decision to go ahead or drop, because that day was the last day for refunds. We did it, ugh I felt guilty, but it was worth it- I just signed up for 2 Brigham Young University online accredited courses for Math and Latin with the refund. As far as other things- I am one 23 mile trip away from finishing the TRT, I am going to finish that before it gets too much colder. After, I have a bunch of video from hiking I need to look through and attempt to edit into a documentary-thing, which I will post here. I have my first short story from Creative Writing that I hope (!!!) will get returned tomorrow. I’m nervous, it’s not as polished as I wanted as far as some stylistic and transitional stuff. I have my first Photo assignment too, and I hope that gets returned and maybe I can get the photos out of psd and into jpeg so I can share it, probably just insert them into this post. I am finally doing the Great Courses, particularly the geology one. So that is school for the semester.

Some rambling for your day, Amelia