Thursday, December 06, 2007

January 2006

Anyone who says winter doesn't exist in California is wrong, wrong, wrong. It might not be exactly what we're all used to in “Christmas in Connecticut”, with snowy fenceposts and bright biting days, but it's definitely cold and nasty here. Dreary, too. Lots of rain. Lots of fog. Some watery pale sunlight now and then. Occasionally a fleeting moment of warmth on the bricks at 3 PM. Mostly just cold.
But I have plenty to keep me occupied now that the semester's underway again. The first few weeks of the month dragged a little (lots of waking up late and mucking about without purpose, which can be surprisingly tiring and uninspiring). Then the semester started again, so there are classes and practices and parties, oh my.
But first, a spot of bad news: I have no dance partner. We went to dinner and he said he didn't want to be my partner anymore. Whether this is because of the screaming matches we started to have during practice, or the height/build disparity, or just lack of that ineffable thing called chemistry, the result is the same. This spelled disaster for the upcoming Winter Frolic until I put out feelers for a new partner and found someone whose partner can't compete that day. So we trained up for a few weeks together, and he's very sweet and fun to hang out with, so that softened the annoyance of not doing very well down in Palo Alto. I have given up on slicking my hair back, because it makes me look bullet-headed, and have instead opted for a slightly larger, more shellacked version of what my hair normally looks like. I wore my green gown this time instead of that awful skirt and top combo, now that we're dancing Silver, and horror of horrors, Novice (which went as well as you'd expect). I also have a much better regulation Latin costume, consisting of a poufy frilly black skirt and the ugliest top that Old Navy ever put out, but it's still better than the tube dress, which, now that I've seen the videos, makes my ass look like a TV screen. At least I have lovely new shoes (Christmas gift from Mom and Dad; along with cowboy boots, this was a shoe-y holiday!) so I don't look quite so frumpy in those big black boats like last semester.
Typical, I suppose, to start the post with all about Ballroom. I do have a scholarly life, too: my classes mostly hold intrigue: the second semester of Japanese at (thankfully) an hour later than last semester, the second Japanese linguistics class, and a wonderful seminar on Basho and other haiku poets. I love the professor; he's soft-spoken and seemingly easy-going but not really. He expects work from us and he's going to get it. I'm really beginning to love classical Japanese. Also, basically all of my Japanese-major friends are in it, including some grads, so it's party time every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon! The other two things I'm taking are stupid and boring: proseminar, AGAIN, and an Edo history class that is a complete waste and I can't bring myself to get excited about. The prof is about a million years old and a crashing bore, just narrates the readings. And I don't like the reader. [Editor's note: I'm not naming names, like I promised, 5but I'm glad for once for the two-year gap in time, because it means I can say things like this.]
And then, there's teaching. Yikes. I've been totally drained after each class. I hope it gets easier. We had a few meetings with Dr. Z to go over basics, and I had to do an all-day seminar on teaching and being a GSI, and I'm taking a seminar in pedagogical methods, which is required for getting the paycheck, but I still don't feel prepared for marching in and seeing those shining little faces every Tuesday and Wednesday. The Tuesday class is the harder one. Those kids are SMART. A good few of them are smarter than I am. And one or two are my age, which is also nerve-wracking. I scared them all but good the frist day thundering on about plagiarism, which I probably overdid. I just didn't know what to say, and I got a little carried away. Whoops. The Wednesday class seems nicer (read: a little more docile and a lot less likely to catch me with a question I can't answer), but also sleepier. I probably prefer that one because I already have my material down from the day before. So far, so good. We're starting with India, and beginning to wade into “The Home and the World”, which contains an embarrassing amount of allegory, so it's easy to work it over pretty thoroughly.
Next month: Travels in New York!

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