Friday, 7 January 2011

7 Quick Takes (71)

1. I gave up Coke. Please notice the capitalization. It makes a difference.
It's a New Year's thing. I've done this before; I will give up more on Lent, either all carbonated drinks or all caffeinated drinks. It's been hard as is (I probably have an addiction to it), so this is like not quitting cold turkey. I'll do it in stages. In the meantime, my tea intake is skyrocketing. To think I used to dislike tea.
(That I am contemplating drinks is interesting in light of Penny Arcade's arc this week. Don't click through if you're sensitive to language. Don't finish the link if you dislike body horror.)

2. Jon visited on Saturday. That is, he returned to Fort McMurray; my mother and I got him at the airport and had him over for dinner.

3. And then I flew back to Vancouver on Sunday. It was fine: no turbulence at all, I had an open seat next to me on both legs of the journey, and it's a lot shorter than I'm used to.

4. I finished a paper on Monday. It was one of those things that wasn't hard to do but was hard to motivate oneself to do.

5. I had my first class of the term on Tuesday. It seems like fun. It's on reported speech. One of the assignments calls on us to eavesdrop on people and record when they use reported speech. Each week we bring examples to the class and by the year's end we will have compiled a corpus of examples of reported speech. That's not all there is to it--There Will Be Theory--but I will enjoy it. I already have examples to bring in next Tuesday. One of those examples is a cheat, though, as I used something someone said to me during a conversation.
I recognize that the mechanics and theory of reported speech may not sound like fun to other people. I do recognize that. Really.
I watched Fire and So I Married an Axe Murder in the afternoon. They are very different movies.

6. On Wednesday I saw a greater number of my friends again! Well, that's not strictly true. I played TA in a lecture, during which I saw M. and K. (I need standard nomenclature for people I refer to not-by-name. I should look back and see what I called M. previously.) And then spent the rest of the day, pretty much, with M.
It was on Thursday that I saw most of my friends who I had not seen up until that point, or who I hadn't had a chance to speak to at length. That was nice. And I had lunch with...oh, man, it's another M. Initials won't work. Male M., as opposed to Female M., in the previous paragraph.

7. Today I TA'd my new discussion group and it went well. We discussed how people frequenty misread and misquote (not in the sense of getting the phrasing wrong but in using it to mean something that it doesn't mean in the context of the poem) "The Road Not Taken." The prof directed us (both TAs and students) to look at a ad which uses a truncated version of the poem and compare this to the original. Folks, including the ad company script writers, often refer to this poem as an American icon which emphasizes confidence, decisiveness, and individuality. The last lines, after all, read, "I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference." What's funny is that the poem is about the road not taken; it's about the road the speaker doesn't take. It's about regret, about being uncertain of your choices both when you make them and after you look back upon them. If this in any way surprises or upsets you, I suggest you read the poem. Please notice that a) the speaker perpetually dithers about things, b) that the roads are virtually indistinguishable, c) that he figures he'd plan on trying the other road out if he got the opportunity, and d) that he's not sure he made the right choice. Those final lines seem more ironic in light of the whole poem; they seem like the speaker's attempt to assert that he made the right choice, even though we can see (and he can see) that it's far from clear that he did.
By the way, it might be worth mentioning that Archie Comics, in the Archie Marries Veronica/Archie Marries Betty release, seems to give a bit more of a nuanced reading of this poem from what I can tell on Wikipedia and from the interview with Michael Uslan (writer of that plot arc and producer of almost every modern Batman movie, including the ones with Christian Bale). I haven't actually read the comic, though, so I suppose I should reserve that judgement.
In the afternoon I went to Coffee Hour and it, too, was good. I talked with some people I like talking to and also talked to people with whom I do not talk much. That's important. I am strengthening bonds all around.

That's it for me! Make sure you go see Jennifer Fulwiler, host of this carnival.
[Edit: I have updated my 2010 review in books post. I plan to finish it this weekend if not tonight, so I suggest you go look at it.]

1 comment:

Jon Wong said...

"If this in any way surprises or upsets you, I suggest you read the poem."

This made me laugh because I say something very similar to my English classes on a regular basis. It goes something like this:

Student: So and so is a (blank)?!
Me: Have you read the book?
Student: Sort of... well, not really.
Me: Might I suggest you do so.

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