Tag Archive for humor

Two Knights in Rep (And SO Much More)


I know I have had this banner on my front page for a while now, but I was determined to leave it up until I finally got to see the show. Yesterday, I finally did it! I made my way over 3000 miles to see Waiting For Godot in rep at the Cort Theatre in Manhattan starring Sir Patrick Stewart, Sir Ian McKellen, Shuler Hensley, and Billy Crudup. It was… phenomenal.

I’ve been a fan of Samuel Beckett since I studied the history of theatre in undergrad. I chose to do my final report on a playwright from Ireland who I didn’t know. As I’d taken Irish literature the year before, I knew what the typical component of Irish writing included, and was excited to see how that might translate into theatre. I was not disappointed.

Beckett, well known for his Theatre of the Absurd, is astounding. Doing the report, and being a psychology major, I decided to write the paper from a psychological analysis perspective, looking at Beckett’s history for clues as to what elements of his shows might mean. There are quite the number of pre-existing guesses about elements of Waiting. I digress.

When I watched the full version on YouTube, I fell in love with the show even more than just for my love of Beckett. Every time you watch it, there is more to notice. Beckett fills the dialog with connotations and insinuations, sarcasm, irony, and blatant honesty. It’s a utopia for semioticians.

That being said, McKellen and Stewart brought the characters an amount of depth that I hadn’t thought possible (even considering the playwright and his history of perspectives). Gogo was broken. Properly beaten down and only able to function when distractions took him away from his pain and aching. Didi was resilient. You could see his defiance; his determination to endure and make the best of everything, despite the glaring realities. Or were they? The thing that this version made very clear to me at the end was Didi’s desperate attempt to hold on to his reality. It made me think. It made me wonder what in Didi’s life could make him construct this reality, if it were his creation.

Hensley was phenomenal as Pozzo. After the first version I watched, I’d loathed the character. After Hensley breathed life into him, taking on a Southern American accent, I felt bad for him. I felt as though he was living a lie and covering it with a false confidence that oozed like Gogo’s wound. Lucky was also insanely amazing. The mannerisms, the energy while still being broken and weary, the way he brought his “thinking” to life… I was in awe. It was my favorite part of the show. Every actor was “on” and the words were done justice. A beautiful mind, indeed.

I could go on and on about it all. The set was brilliant and used fully. The sounds, the lighting… all of it was spot on and I am SO glad they gave us a little dance at the end. Everything about this show made it an experience I will never forget, and one that will keep Waiting For Godot at the top of my list of favorite plays forever. It ends in March. Make sure you see it; even if you have to travel 3000 miles to do so.

I’ve Finally Subjected Myself…

… to the Fox. I don’t know why the hell they weren’t paying attention when the fox started WERKING in that deep ass voice, but I do know I get why everyone is living for this song. I get it on two levels (you knew I was gonna turn this into something media psychology related, right?) On his blog, Henry Jenkins explains that people spread memes because they are trying to make sense of the content. There is something compelling about exploring every aspect of a thing; changing it to fit it to our situation or our tastes, relating our experiences to our friends, and so on. And, honestly, if the guys in Ylvis don’t understand what the fox says, how are we supposed to understand why we’re watching them sing about it?

The truly sad thing about all of this? In the back of my mind, all I could think was, “Google that shit! I’m sure SOMEONE knows!” ::fail:: Anyway, I’m sure you’ve all seen a zillion versions (though I only finally watched it tonight), but here is one of my heroes singing along. Enjoy!



Academic “Struggles” for the Academic

illusion comic - educationSo I got my grade back from my PhD essay this week and the word my professor used was “thin”. Which I absolutely agree with 150%. He said the writing is insightful and well done, but that the question was only somewhat addressed. I agree with that too. So why did I do it? Because I’m a straight A student (aka honor student, nerd, academic, suck up, etc.). Not an excuse? Let me give you some insight.

Not all straight A students get their grades because they’re incredibly smart, suck information up like a Dyson (not using Hoover… I refuse to conform), or spend ALL their free time studying. What each of us knows how to do, however, is work the system. Now, that’s not to say that we don’t have a lot of work to put into doing that because we do. What I’m saying is that we all have figured out that when you give teachers what they’re looking for- figure out that magic formula at the intersection of what they say and what they like to see- you get the grades you want. Sometimes it’s MUCH easier said than done. There are several reasons for this. For one (this is my BIGGEST PET PEEVE IN SCHOOL), the teacher may be telling you he/she wants one thing but grading you on a totally different thing altogether; invisible standards are nearly impossible to meet (unless you’re a mind reader). Other students setting an unexpected curve is another problem. You could be the smartest, most prepared student in the class, but if another student hits the professor’s invisible mark, you have no excuses. They’ve shown the professor that their standard is not unreasonable and everyone else suffers the repercussions. There’s another one that I suffer from most. It’s the reason I didn’t turn in the essay I’d WORKED TWO HOURS ON, but turned in this “thin” post instead. Self-doubt.

comicstrip-rubricsNever EVER, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, doubt what you’re doing. Every academic has done this at some point or another. Why? Because every academic has been burnt at least once. We think we’ve figured out the professor- “I want this many pages, I want it to be creative, and I DO NOT want you to regurgitate” turns into “Not long enough. Your creative approach took focus away from the facts. What I wanted was every single thing I said all semester long so I can hear how brilliant I am.” You feel AMAZING about a paper you’ve turned in and you get a HORRIBLE grade on it (I mean.. a C? REALLY?!). You have to spend the rest of the semester submitting to the format, you now are PAINFULLY aware of, trying to fix your grade. Assuming it wasn’t your FINAL that you fucked up on in the first place! And the kicker… the thing that makes this whole mess so incredibly painful, is that you knew. The whole time… every time you read that grading rubric, you KNEW what it said was NOT what the teacher actually wanted. You knew because you ignored the others and gave them what would feed their ego and did brilliantly. But they convinced you that this time it would be different. This was a big, special project that needed extra oomph. It needed to take your soul from your spleen (or wherever your soul is kept.. I’m a ginger, so I don’t have one) and POUR it out into the paper. You TRUSTED them. And your friends were interpreting it the same way. But that ONE JERK. That ONE little miss perfect got it right. They ignored what was explicitly written on the requirements and fed the ego. And you got that stupid C.

phd011812sWell… That’s what happened this time. Kind of. See.. an academic LIVES for feedback, because it’s the only way to know what the professor is looking for. Give us format, specific guidelines, and feedback and we can give you what you want. The word creativity is like acid (unless it’s how to creatively prepare for the honor society’s big Halloween fundraiser). I know how to write an essay. I know how to write an informative research paper using the information provided. What I don’t know is how to write a 2-3 paragraph post giving my insight from a first person point of view.

So at the end of the day, I abandoned the page and a half long paper in essay format with zero first person sentences to post what it seemed was wanted. I didn’t listen to myself… didn’t follow my gut. Didn’t hold true to my writing style. I have to remember that it IS possible for ME to be the jerk that sets the standard; goes against the specified requirements to submit an assignment I’m proud of.

Sigh. This week I will kick ass and take ALL THE NAMES. And I will NOT second guess myself… it takes too long to write an assignment twice anyway.

Best. Quote. Ever.

I’m doing my homework; looking at media bias (makes sense, right? Last week was critical thinking…). And we’re watching a video featuring Michael Shermer from Skeptic Magazine. He’s talking about the “Baloney Detector Kit” (I knew I was going to be highly amused just from that). So in the first few minutes, he straight up says, “… you want to have a mind open enough to accept radical new ideas, but not so open that your brains fall out.”