Life as an Extreme Sport

Twitch

A bad mood snuck up on me Monday afternoon. I shook it off as low blood sugar, got some food, and seemed to be okay. It crashed down on me again yesterday, right after lunch. Okay, not a blood sugar issue. A person issue. Great. I’ve lost a bit of my zen calm, it appears, and have let someone’s constant challenging of authority get under my skin. And it’s not that I even see myself as an authority – not even when I’m standing up lecturing about something. If I did see myself in such a light, you can sure as hell bet I wouldn’t 1) go out drinking til who knows when with students in my classroom, 2) be willing to sit down and talk with any students at any point about anything or 3) make jokes and other comments on papers while grading them. I have to keep

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A Good Day

I had a good day. A good Monday. Does this bode badly for the remainder of the week? I want to get this out and down while I’m thinking about it. It’s been weird, today, the convergence of school and friends. Specifically, I was listening to a CD given to me by one of the musicians in 390; stuff he’s worked on over the past while. It finally clicked, after several days of heavy rotation, that one of the bands reminded me strongly of Crowded House. This, of course, meant listening to Neil Finn, and whenever I listen to Neil Finn I think of Lisa and I smile. A good thing, and something that probably means there is now a link between this student, Lisa, and smiling for the rest of my neural life. The 390 focus group went well tonight. We ended a bit early, but it was a

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Said and Burton

Edward Said spends the second chapter of Orientalism talking about the history of orientalism, if you will. He starts with Sacy and Lane, and from those two move forward in chronological order, briefly addressing some of the most influential writers of that period. Chauteaubriand, Nerval, Flaubert, and Burton are all mentioned (in basically that order). Said draws some interesting distinctions, noting that the British writers tend to follow Lane in being very dry, academic, and empirically scientific when discussing the Orient, while the French are much more romantic (as well as Romantic), preferring instead to move within a narrative framework of the dream of the Orient. Said concludes this walk thru the process and progress of Orientalist thought by ending with Burton, a man he claims walked a line between Orient and Occident, understanding the Orient while still retaining the power of the Occident. What I find interesting, though, is

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Hell Days

Wednesday was Not Good. No motivation, no desire, a really bad conversation with a former instructor – and then Kanna and Phillip pulled me right out of it (they’re so my shining knights). From there, Craig and I went to see Mirrormask, which I have decided was a very simple story highlighted by sharp writing, and a beautifully magical set. I came home, curled up with some Foucault and Pratt, and was in bed at a decent hour. This morning, I feel relaxed and energetic. I’m confident about my 390 small group for the first time this quarter. I’ve found my personal hook into the material. While this week is on Orientalism, John asked that we focus today on the power/knowledge discourse that Said borrows from Foucault. Adam is going to talk about the EU and Turkey, Matt wants to talk about knowing literary texts, and me? I am going

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Morning

Up early today. I fell asleep before 9pm last night, just physically drained and exhausted. The 390 focus group went much better last night, using pop culture “props” to drive conversation. I’m strongly resisting the urge to make lesson plans and powerpoints, because I don’t want to (nor should I) be the teacher for that class. But, having things to make conversation go is nice. Bride and Prejudice is a wonderfully over-the-top way to illustrate Orientalism, too. But, true to form, I crashed off the feeling good by the time I was halfway home. I hadn’t eaten lunch, so stopped to get dinner, and it was just downhill from there. I knocked together the very barest annotated bibliography, (which I will hopefully be able to flesh out some before class today. I also need to print copies of the papers for today’s thesis class, as well as reread an article

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