The causes of a good mood…

…because not all gift horses bite.

I’m fighting with Visual C++ 6.0 and working on this app for Dr. M that is requiring, essentially, translation from old Borland classes to STL equivalents that I myself am not familiar with, since we used proprietary Advanced Placement classes in high school. I know, though, that with enough time and persistence, I can figure out the GUI and event managers in Visual C++ and get this thing running again. Why Microsoft couldn’t make this shit as simple as it is in Visual Basic, I don’t know. Probably since the code will always be the most important aspect for any C++ coder, while GUI design always came first when we did VB.

So that’s fun. These types of puzzles I like.

I had very little interaction with Bridget this morning, which also got my day off to a good start. That sounds bad, but things are at the point now where every conversation becomes an opportunity for both of us to get in as many snide snipe-y attacks as we can, and it’s just damn annoying, although I’m being just as vicious as she is. Add on to that her new tendency to interrupt whatever I’m saying with “Huh?” (a major pet peeve of mine) and her childish overcompensation for my one-time request for the air to be turned down a little by keeping the air off and the window open on windless days, and the less we see each other, the better. At least she’s suffering from that last more than I am, since I can always leave and do work in the Thorn office. But she’s burning even me out at night, making it difficult to sleep.

So a lack of that, combined with a pleasantly social breakfast, started my day well.

Add on to this the extra time I’ve had to put on the clock this week at work due to long calls, and the little boost I can expect on the early-summer paycheck.

Then there’s the fact that I’m not rushing to finish Calculus homework because I got it done all this weekend–before the lesson was taught. At the beginning of the term, I expressed doubt that I would enjoy Calculus on the basis of a math major‘s suggestion. I officially sit corrected. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m finding all this stuff ridiculously easy, but it’s kinda fun, even if it doesn’t really seem to have practical applications. I do feel like quite the tool when I get a kick out of (or simply breeze through) working some double integration problem while the perpetually-confused alky sitting next to me gives me this look of complete horror as she stumbles to find the limits of the region. But that’s okay. I suspect it’ll catch up with me in the three friggin’ math courses I have fall of next year (Differential Equations, Discrete and Combinatorial Algebra, and Statistics, all one hour right after the other, no breaks.)

Then there’s the fact that my roommate situation next year is looking up. The rooms in the residence hall I’ll be living in have ridiculously high ceilings, so Hillary and I are going to buy a deck that turns the room into, essentially a split-level. There will be a single-level entry, then the room will have an upper level six feet off the ground that will be Hillary’s space, while I keep the ground floor. There will be separate lighting systems for nighttime working, separate space for friends/boyfriends/whatever, the floor space of the room practically doubles, and the setup is such that I won’t be in a cave even though I’m under the deck. It is a $50 to $75 expense I hadn’t planned on, but it’s worth it.

I’m finding myself keeping up with the news a lot more than I used to. I don’t read the newspaper so much, but I get RSS updates from several sections of BBC News. Add on commentary from Uppity-Negro.com (caustic and bitter, but enlightening) and (new on my list) The Liquid List, and I’m feeling kinda informed. And proud myself for actually being interested in something outside of my own little bubble, since I do tend to retreat into LissaWorld rather frequently. What my tenth grade world history teacher struggled to do for nine months, I finally do on my own with the help of a good syndication manager. Hmph.

I also got a good giggle out of “Living Down to a Low Standard“, a review of GNOME 2.6. The harshness of my review of this weekend’s show had nothing on this thing. Of course, I haven’t been a fan/user of GNOME in quite a few years, so I am both unqualified to judge the accuracy of the review and slightly pleased by it. I’m mean like that.

Off to a ridiculously early lunch and more classes.

Oops.

Apparently my review of Saturday’s show was a way harsher than I intended. Even he said something to Bob (who is both the president of Film Club and the one editing the page on which the review will reside) to the order of “Damn, you guys must have sucked.” Bob gave me hurtful looks and told me, “If this is your opinion, I’ll run it, of course, but…” Oops. Definitely not my intention, because I really did like the show.

So, here’s a revised draft that didn’t detract from my meaning and didn’t make Bob want to cry. I haven’t put in all the actors’ names, but I don’t have the program with me, so alas.

This is the second time one of my editors has twisted my arm into writing a review due to my unique perspective. The first time was my non-Judeo-Christian status and spiritual distance from the events of “The Passion”. This time it’s because I have absolutely nothing to do with either the Film Club or the Drama Club. Such a person is rare on the Thorn staff.

The “evening” that I attended lasted an hour and a half, and consisted of several short films, “commercials”, and music videos from the Film Club, and four David Ives one-act plays put on by the Drama Club. Overall, the “evening” was full of laughter, albeit with the occasional squint in confusion or groan of light dismay.

The contents of the Film Club’s work were fascinating. Most were comedic, gaining guffaws and giggles from the audience, including a “commercial” mocking the SGA Exchange’s claim to be a forum to sell anything and a “Got Milk?” spoof highlighting the fun of igniting and inhaling the fumes from cannabis leaves. One was hyper-condensed angst with surprisingly good acting and a wonderful accompanying music piece despite the “let us fret over the ex” theme. There was an animated music video by this paper’s Entertainment Editor to the tune of Daft Punk that certainly held me in rapture. It consisted of deformed stick figures that could well have been caricatures of the caricatures in Tool videos that gyrated and flagellated one another.

The Film Club’s big release, the four-part “Eric and Sharon” suffered from, arguably, the worst technical problems of any of the films, with an entire part being practically a dark blue blur smeared with the paleness of the two main characters’ faces as the Film Club experimented with night-time filming.

Apparent in the first two portions of “Eric and Sharon” were the script problems; the script seemed awkward with the jokes having very little bearing on the conversation at hand. The actors are to be commended for giving the lines in a style that made them seem much less awkward than the words suggested they should have been. The script improved in the third and fourth portions of the film, but was never stellar.

Unfortunately, most of the films suffered from some mixture of low resolution, poor color balance, brightness problems, or sound problems that distracted the viewer from the potential humor, depth, and wittiness of the plots or the beauty of the scenes. Although I’ve been told many of these were the result of the settings of the projection equipment and that the digital versions being sold are of much better quality, the fact remains that the showing left much to be desired on a technical front.

Providing cleaner, slightly less crass fun and laughter were the Drama Club’s one-acts. Although I’m not well-read with regards to David Ives’s plays, a recurring theme was obviously the nigh-infinite possibilities emerging from a single choice, no matter how small.

The acting in all of the plays was superb, with no seriously over-the-top acting. The parts were all well-cast, with appropriately sarcastic, haughty, or chirpy actors where needed. The simple sets of the plays drew the eye directly to the action; the acting and wonderful dialogue kept it there.

“Sure Thing” was simply hilarious, with a handsomely awkward and charmingly cheesy male lead providing much comedic value as possibilities with a Faulkner-reading female lead were explored.

“The Philadelphia” was slightly less immediately funny, and was probably the only play to suffer from any detrimental over-acting, although this was slight.

“Arabian Nights,” quite honestly, had me in stitches. Tina Shook, the interpreter, although occasionally too high pitched to be clearly heard in the audience, was superbly funny and stole the show. Unfortunately, any depth to the plot was lost among my giggles, and the two characters that were being “translated” seemed to fade into the background, merely murmuring would-be lovers’ platitudes.

“English Made Simple” was another play that had me enraptured and had the entire audience holding their sides. Kat Christensen, the “loudspeaker”, had the perfect mix of deadpan humor and sarcasm to showcase the lesson being made without detracting from the equally wonderful dialogue of the Jack and Jill, who were played skillfully on their own.

All in all, the “evening” was wonderful, leaving me full of laughter, full of thoughts about possibilities, and increasingly aware of the artistic abilities of my fellow students.

I don’t think I’ll allow any further revision of the harshness of the content after this, unless something becomes glaringly obvious in nastiness.

An unedited review

Bob twisted my arm to get me to write a review on a Film Club and Drama Club joint showing this weekend. “Just 500 words,” he said.

When have I ever obeyed a word count without cramping my message? That damned thing came out to be nearly 800 words when I finished.

And so I present, completely unedited by third parties for grammar and content (which is unbalanced between the clubs’ events), a review of “An Evening of One Acts”. Because what’s a blog if not an archive for mindless ramblings?

This is the second time one of my editors has twisted my arm into writing a review due to my unique perspective. The first time was my non-Judeo-Christian status and spiritual distance from the events of The Passion. This time it’s because I have absolutely nothing to do with either the Film Club or the Drama Club. Such a person is rare on the Thorn staff.

The “evening” that I attended lasted an hour and a half, and consisted of several short films, “commercials”, and a music video from the Film Club, and four David Ives one-act plays put on by the Drama Club. Overall, the “evening” was full of laughter, albeit with the occasional squint in confusion or groan of light dismay.

Unfortunately, the most glaringly obvious aspects of the films shown were the technical difficulties. Most of the films suffered from some mixture of low resolution, poor color balance, brightness problems, or sound problems that distracted the viewer from the potential humor, depth, and wittiness of the plots. Although I’ve been told many of these were the result of the settings of the projection equipment and that the digital versions being sold are of much better quality, the fact remains that the showing left much to be desired on a technical front.

The contents of the Film Club’s work, however, were riveting. Most were comedic, gaining guffaws and giggles from the audience, including a “commercial” mocking the SGA Exchange’s claim to be a forum to sell anything and a “Got Milk?” spoof highlighting the fun of igniting and inhaling the fumes from cannabis leaves. One was hyper-condensed angst with surprisingly good acting and a wonderful score despite the “let us fret over the ex” theme. There was an animated music video by this paper’s Entertainment Editor to the tune of Daft Punk that certainly held me in rapture as deformed stick figures that could well have been caricatures of the caricatures in Tool videos gyrated and flagellated one another.

The Film Club’s big release, the four-part “Eric and Sharon” suffered from, arguably, the worst technical problems of any of the films, with an entire part being practically a dark blue blur smeared with the paleness of the two main characters’ faces as the Film Club experimented with night-time filming. Most glaring in the first two portions were the script problems; the script seemed awkward and the jokes randomly inserted with very little bearing on the conversation at hand. The actors are to be commended for giving the lines in a style that made them seem much less awkward than the words suggested they should have been. The script improved in the third and fourth portions of the film, but was never stellar, as though the writer had failed to watch the interactions of platonic friends around him before composing the script.

Providing cleaner-cut fun and laughter were the Drama Club’s one-acts. Although I’m not well-read as to David Ives’s plays, a recurring theme was obviously the nigh-infinite possibilities emerging from a single choice, no matter how small, such as a difference in greeting, in interests, and in translation.

The acting in all of the plays was superb, with no seriously over-the-top acting. The parts were all well-cast, with appropriately sarcastic, haughty, or chirpy actors where needed. The simple sets of the plays drew the eye directly to the action; the acting and wonderful dialogue kept it there.

“Sure Thing” was simply hilarious, with a handsomely awkward and charmingly cheesy male lead providing much comedic value as the possibilities of his interaction with a Faulkner-reading female lead were explored.

“The Philadelphia” was slightly less immediately funny, and was probably the only play to suffer from any detrimental over-acting, although this was slight.

“Arabian Nights”, quite honestly, had me in stitches. The interpreter, although occasionally too high pitched to be clearly heard in the audience, was superbly funny and stole the show. Unfortunately, any depth to the plot was lost among my giggles, and the two characters that were being “translated” seemed to fade into the background, merely murmuring would-be lovers’ platitudes.

“English Made Simple” was another that had me enraptured and had the entire audience holding their sides. The “loudspeaker” was the perfect mix of deadpan humor and sarcasm to showcase the lesson being made without detracting from the equally wonderful dialogue of the Jack and Jill, who were played skillfully on their own.

All in all, the “evening” was wonderful, leaving me full of laughter, full of thoughts about possibilities, and increasingly aware of the artistic abilities of my fellow students.

Meeting the Prez

So I aided in giving an interview to our school’s president this afternoon on behalf of the Thorn. I’ve been working on this tribute to Dr. H, but had yet to actually meet the man. Bob, Brandon (the Opinions Ed. of the paper), and I went to his house with film equipment and taped about an hour and a half of interview on everything from his fight to bring coeducation to Rose (articles that me and another writer are working on) to things students indicated they wanted to know in a survey we sent around. Such as whether he wears boxers or briefs. Ugh.

At any rate, Dr. H is an interesting guy. Very… sharp. I was the only one of the three of us we hadn’t met, and he very clearly (but not in a dirty manner) sized me up the entire time I was there. Every time I turned around, his eyes were on me, measuring my reactions, my competence, my comfort level, everything. It’s very easy to underestimate him–he’s elderly, suffered a stroke, talks softly, and has a “sweet old man” persona that has thoroughly fooled Bridget, and, to some extent, Bob. But he watches. I hate that type of scrutiny, so I’m very aware of when I’m being subjected to it. Which is damned hypocritical of me, since I totally love to give that type of scrutiny. I should get over that–I’m aware enough of my own body language and (less so) speech patterns to be able to hold my own against that type of watchfulness, and there was no need to let him think I was some hyper-shy, soft-spoken and subservient computer science geek.

As we were leaving, Dr. H pulled a classic move of his as asked if Bob and I were going to dinner before we went to work tonight. Bob’s a doofus for not catching on to where this was going, but I let him shrug it off and answer it as though it were a casual request. He finally got direct and asked if we were dating, but made it friendly by joking that maybe this was what Bob thought of as a date. Tee hee, uh, no. Dr. H is always trying to hook students up, apparently.

His eyes are so sharp, and were directly on me when he hinted that Bob and I might be dating–again, watching my reactions, measuring how flustered and embarrassed I would get. And it really had nothing to do with Bob personally, other than the fact that I was taking orders from him–Dr. H was watching how quickly we moved away from each other, how stammered our responses were, etc. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall for the first twenty years of his administration when he fought to bring in coeducation to Rose, because he is undoubtedly a cunning and shrewd businessman and leader. And I certainly respect that. I also respect the fact that he has so successfully built a persona that enables most students to never feel or even particularly perceive that side of him. But I don’t think he’s someone I would want to spend much time around; I don’t enjoy constantly guarding my reactions, or always feeling like I’m in a chess game of measured responses and carefully crafted body language.

I guess I’m just girly like that.

But the conversation he and his wife must have had after we left (she’s watchful, too), must have been damned interesting.

taking joy in human unreason