Third one, I guess
September 10th 2017
And again it’s the discovery of another person’s blog post that drives me to write another one of these things. This time, it’s by one of the people I happen to be temporary living with. And it’s written really well too, like really well written, with a tone and style that far surpasses in what I could ever hope for in my own writing in depth and elegance.
Some context: the house that I’ve rented for the year is still being renovated with maybe a week or so more to go (it’s still up in the air). So I’ve been staying at a temporary place across the block that my landlord owns which has been shifting occupants since I moved in around three weeks ago.
I’ve been surprised by how often you don’t communicate with the people you live with in this setting. I’ve barely spoken a word to those I’m living with. Not because of any particular reason, there just never is a need to. For my housemates (and myself as well I guess) home is a place to be inward. To sleep, rest, read, shit, maybe cook, do whatever, but not be social. That’s for outside the house. So interactions between any of us are stripped of the bare necessities when we pass by one another. I only know my housemates as the fit guy who’s in the middle room who goes out wearing nice clothes and the well-traveled woman from across the kitchen who makes it a habit to turn off the lights when I’ve accidentally left them on. We have names of course, but we don’t need them inside. Just “hey” suffices.
Then again, I spend most of my time at home sitting at a table looking at a computer, looking busy. So I don’t ever look that social myself.
But yeah, stumbling on such an in-depth elegant blog post by the “well-traveled-one-who-lives-across-the-kitchen” was a shock after having only interacted with her a few times in depth.
(If you end up finding this: Hey. I’ll try and do a better job of keeping the lights off.)
Anyway. School. School is a thing that is happening now. School is happening. School has started. School. School is school. And boy taking all academic classes from the University is different from taking all Eastman classes. What’s expected of you is different. More in some ways, less in others. There’s more emphasis on readings and keeping to yourself. Less on innovation and individual creativity than Eastman classes.
I guess the thing to do would be to talk about each one in brief detail in a bulleted list. No particular order here.
- Philosophy 103: Contemporary Moral Problems. This is a class I’ve justified for my Take Five in contemporary theatre (The Take Five program is this extra tuition covered fifth year program to study something outside my major. I was accepted last year). Most of the students in the class are I think med students or undeclared freshmen looking for something interesting. So far we’re reading about Socrates and the logistics of justice and morality. Eventually we’ll be talking about abortion and terrorism and stuff. So far, my opinion on philosophy is pretty fishy. It’s a dreamer’s and thinker’s paradise, but I find myself a little repulsed by the over-thinking-ness and abstraction of it all and the perceived distance it has from the concrete. It’s a bit like logic mathematics of human thought. From a creative perspective though it’s like a study on human reasoning, which is proving to be pretty interesting.
- Satire. Where the philosophy class is a lecture hall full of students, this class only has like six people in it and a professor that is all about that organic group discussion. And I’m loving it. I’ve always been fascinated in the over-saturation of satire and parody in today’s culture, and this class leads a lot of interesting discussions about how what we’re reading relates to contemporary parallels. We’re also getting to the fundamentals of what satire is, it’s power, and it’s dangers. And coincidentally, the first thing we read was a play that was a satire of what I’m reading about in the philosophy class: Socrates and academia. The readings referenced each other verbatim. How weird is that?
- Technical Theatre. This class I’ve only taken a day of the lab so far, the actual class falls on a Monday, so I’ll be experiencing the actual “class” in a few days. In the lab, you choose between helping out the University Theatre in a particular area in tech. I chose set design, an area I could use more expertise. Holy shit, I was exhausted after just one day. I cut, screwed, glued, sawed, carried, and stapled wood in a total of six hours, all in the first day. We completed several large set pieces that will become a high platform that the audience will be sitting on. Maybe I’m a lumberjack now. This kind of work is not cut out for me at all, but it’s fun work, and I’m going to learn way too much about how sets are built this way, so I can’t complain. Maybe it’ll help me lose some weight too, I can use the exercise.
- Miyazaki & Planet Ghibli. A course about a director and class of films that I love to death. After only one class it’s hard to tell if the discussion environment will feel as in depth as I would like, but I have the feeling that it will. I’m one of the few in the class that has seen every Studio Ghibli film, an animation studio from Japan. I’m a nut for them and made a point to watch the entirety of the studio’s output growing up. This class focuses on the films by Hayao Miyazaki, a pioneer in Japanese animation whose unique style of storytelling I couldn’t admire more. I worry a little that academizing these films I love so dearly might ruin their magic, but so far through the readings I’m only growing more of an appreciation for them. And we’re reading all of the film’s original sources too if they’re adaptations, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Howl’s Moving Castle, and the biggie that cost way too much at the bookstore, the entire manga of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. It’s HUGE.
- Game Audio. Title says it all. An AME (Audio Music Engineering) course that happens to be filled with a number of Eastman students. My biggest realization of being in this class so far is realizing how different my own personal niche taste of video games is from most people who are familiar with games. I only go out of my way to play games that feel like are worth my time, which for me has proven to be the smaller-scale more artsy indie side of gaming. The class was given an assignment to bring in an interesting moment of sound design in a game of their choosing, and everyone else has so far been showing technically impressive but conceptually dull examples of sound design from triple A titles like Zelda, Halo, and Portal 2. Not even the professor knew of the well known games that I considered to be the most elegantly sound designed games I had ever played: Inside and Limbo (both fantastic games from Denmark, sound artist/composer Martin Stig Andersen). So the hopes that I had for the level of expertise of this class have dropped significantly, but I think I will obtain plenty of much needed practical technical knowledge working with the programs you work with to make a game sound good, which is all that I really need from a class like this anyway.
That’s it. Five classes. Four credits each. Even had to get a form signed to get permission to overload up to 20 credits. School. School is a thing. And now it is my life for a little while more.