Various and Sundry

My second term at school started. I'm taking English Composition 2 and State and Local Government. I felt like I got a bad start in Eng Comp 2 - I kept doing everything wrong! It was partly because this was the first class I had where the teacher didn't use the Course Content to, you know, list the course content. He uses the Announcements to give deadlines, new assignments, etc. I had a sharp learning curve and it didn't go well. So I didn't get credit for the first week's discussions, because I missed the mid-week deadline for them. Then we had an essay to write in the second week. I thought the topic was one we had to choose from a list he had in the Course Content folder. I initially thought the paper was due on Sunday, because the syllabus states that all assignments are due by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, but that's not accurate. The first draft was due Friday night. I was having a quiet day at work, so I spent a chunk of the afternoon writing an 8 page paper on homeschooling. Then I got home to finish it, and I read the announcements page and saw that I was supposed to write about a completely different topic. This was around 3:30 p.m. So I started a new paper, this one only had to be 5 pages long. I researched and wrote it in 2 hours (because I had a rehearsal, more on that later), and then submitted it around 10 p.m. after I double checked the works cited page.

We were put in peer review groups, and the instructions said to review our peers' work and respond, with a list of items to address (spelling, grammar, effectiveness/relevance of the title, quality of the argument, etc.). That had to be done by Sunday at 11:59, so Sunday afternoon, I sat down and read all of my peer group papers, and reviewed them all. Around 8:30 that evening, the professor put up a new announcement stating that we only had to review one of the papers of our peer review group. I put this one on the professor, since the original instruction didn't include the words "one of your peer review group papers".

Anywhoo, I ended up getting an A on my paper, and he even put it up as an excellent example. Good to know I can still write an acceptable paper in a short time frame!

My other class has been a breeze. I read the chapters, and discuss a specific question from the chapter on our discussion board. Easy peasy.

On the subject of the rehearsal I mentioned, I recently got to sing with Voce in their recent Anglophile concert. They needed a larger choir to perform Vaughan Williams "Lord, Thou Hast Been Our Refuge", which is one of my very favorite choral pieces. It was so wonderful to sing with such a great group. I am getting burnt out on my church choir, I think. Some of the people seem to be incapable of learning to sing properly. They make the same mistakes on all the songs, even after they've corrected it for previous songs. We also have one tone-deaf soprano who somehow manages to sing a tri-tone below the actual soprano part. It's painful to listen to.


RIP Roger Ebert

Every now and then, not often, but every now and then, a celebrity death hits me hard. Phil Hartman, for example. Bob Fosse. And now, Roger Ebert. When I was a kid, we only got 3-4 channels depending on how clear of a day it was, and one of the channels we always could rely on was PBS, channel 24. I became a devotee of several PBS programs - on weekdays, Sesame Street, Mister Rogers, The Electric Company, Zoom, and on weekends I liked the cooking shows, but my favorite weekend show was Siskel & Ebert At The Movies. I probably didn't see 2/3ds or more of the movies they reviewed, but I loved seeing the clips and hearing them debate about a movie - and when I was younger and went to the movies more often, it was obligatory that after a movie, we would head out to a diner and have a discussion about it - which sometimes turned into a debate.

As a kid, I fancied myself a bit of intellectual, so I always sided with Siskel, who I thought was more analytical and intellectual, but as an adult, I really began to appreciate Ebert's passion and joy for the fun of movies. He had a generosity of spirit when he reviewed a movie. And in the past 10 years or so, as he dealt with his cancer, losing his jaw and his voice, I was so grateful for all of his writing, on political subjects, on movies, on his memories - that even though he couldn't speak, he could still speak, and boy, did he have some things to say!

I'm blue at the news of his death. Just to cheer myself up, I might read some of his one star reviews - they are always good for a laugh. I especially recommend his one star review of "Freddy Got Fingered".