Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ode to the Thesis

A significant portion of the last year of my life has been poured into the research for, and the writing of a 72-page thesis entitled, "When Brazilians Brave Britain." Now it's all over. Yesterday, yes, only yesterday, I added a few final touches (and by a few I mean I pulled ideas out of nowhere for an additional five pages) and submitted it to the Graduate School.

Now I'm awash with different emotions. I, of course, feel relief, something so unlike stress I don't even know what to do with it. But I also feel a bit sad, how an empty-nester might feel watching his own "flesh-and-blood" go off into the big world where he has absolutely no more control over it. What's written there is permanent, set in stone--flaws, gaps in logic, ever-so-brief moments of brilliance, etc. Sadly, it'll probably sit in the basement of the library here at Georgetown and never again see the light of day...but I think (gasp!) I actually might miss the work. When I printed it out yesterday and the actual weight of it was in my hands for a moment I was downright giddy. I do not miss the deadlines, but the work for the actual thesis was rewarding, stimulating, eye-opening.

So, here is a digital toast to my thesis. May the ol' girl rest in peace!

Edit: If the thesis could have been illustrated, this picture would have been perfect!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sharing Breakfast

Yesterday morning as I was eating raisin bran in the dining room of my third-floor apartment, I glanced to my left to discover a large hawk in a tree branch just outside the window. It had a squirrel carcass in its talons and was ripping fur from it, no doubt to prepare it for eating. Yum!

Did it gross me out? On the contrary, it made my day. It was nice to share breakfast with a hawk.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

My New Era Moment

I have had precious few "Mormon moments" in literature classes. While my professors sometimes assign risque literature, I always seem to get through the book by skimming and skipping scenes or pages. After all, it's my mind, right? I should be able to decide what becomes a part of my long-term memory.

As an undergrad, I even used said method to get through Lady Chatterley's Lover. What a quick read! All I know is that there was this game warden who was friends with this woman married to a paralyzed man and some interesting contasts between pastoral countryside and industrialized coal mines.

Anyway, one of my professors assigned The Black Album by Hanif Kureishi last week and after skipping the third sex scene I decided that it just wasn't worth it. To all within the sound of my digital voice, if you want to protect your innocence you shouldn't read this book. But because of my sense of duty (no doubt garnered in middle school), I decided to go to class anyway even though I'd only read about a third of the assigned reading.

Here's what happened immediately after class began:

Prof: Alright, so how many of you loved this book?
(90% of the class raise their hands)
Prof: Okay, how many hated this book?
(I alone raise my hand)

First of all, I was surprised. I didn't think the book (what little I'd read of it) was written very well. The protagonist was as weak-willed and static as Harry Potter (and you all know it!). Nevertheless, all eyes suddenly turned on me and my mind flashbacked to New Era articles I'd read about setting a good example and speaking out about your beliefs. Sure enough, here's what happened:

Prof: Adam, why didn't you like the book?
Me: Well, as the cover says (pointing to the cover because I couldn't really reference anything in the book), it's about "drugs, sex, and rock-n-roll." I like rock-n-roll, but the other two.... (I trailed off before I started explaining that I'd only had experienced rock-n-roll anyway.)
Prof: So, it offended your sensibilities?
Me: Um, yeah.

That was it. My sensibilities had been offended. Not exactly a New Era story but I felt like in the battlefield of life a moral victory had somehow been won...maybe.

But then guess what happened! A classmate sitting across from me also began expressing how it had offended her sensibilities too. Later on the bus ride home I sat next to her and she asked if I were religious. I told her I belong to the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints. We then started talking about skiing in the Rocky Mountains. I don't know what will come of this--probably nothing--but it was nice, I must say, to have this little moment.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Things That Go Bump In the Night, and Early in the Morning When I'm Trying to Sleep

Okay, so I think my apartment building is haunted.

First, there's the baby ghost, who cries any time day or night, just below us. I did see a woman from our building pushing a baby stroller this morning, but it was empty! Creepy, no?

Then there's the ex-rocker ghost one floor down and across from us. He plays his phantasmal drums at 8 a.m., making my morning reading of the book of Revelations even more rhythmic. Other times, he prefers the guitar.

And finally, there're the small shades of deceased squirrels living in our wall in the dining room. The scratching is incessant from noon until 4 p.m. This is a sound clip of my studying: type, type, type, scratch, scratch, type, type, scratch, scratch, scritch-scratch, whimper.

Either we're haunted or we have some very loud and interesting neighbors...and a rodent infestation.