Haven’t written anything about school in some time. Not because I don’t have anything to say, but because I’ve got too much to say and I’m not sure where to start. Going to break this up into a few different posts to make it a bit easier to read.
I had a term paper due last week in my art history class. I spent days trying to figure out how on earth I was going to write an intelligent paper on a topic I was interested in and kept coming up dry. As I haven’t written an undergraduate term paper since the KLF was the coolest band ever, I went looking on the web for term paper guidelines published by art history professors. I quickly discovered (then remembered) that undergraduate term papers are fancy versions of the book reports we wrote in grade school. Nobody is expecting any amazing insight into unsolved problems, they just want to see that you read some books, absorbed the information, and can write something coherent.
USENET and the WeLL are tougher audiences than any undergraduate prof I’ve ever had. 11 pages of text and 6 figures later, I had made a basic case legitimizing irezumi as an art worth studying alongside ukiyo-e. Ok, so the prof said 5 pages should be plenty, but it really took me 11 pages to even begin to make my case. Halfway through I realized it was probably a great MA Art History or Japanese History topic, but I don’t have a year to research and write a paper. I have a few hours a week over a few weeks.
Work vs. Play
It’s taken me almost a semester to reshuffle my deeply ingrained habits of how I spend my non-working time. First off, I have to redefine “non-work” as “not-in-the-office”. No more working at home after dinner because I slacked in the office all afternoon. If I’m not going to work in the office, I need to come home and study or do school work. If I’m home, I need to do school work, not turn off my brain and relax until the next work day. Here’s an analogy that will hit home with some of you — imagine that most of the year is the month before you leave for Burning Man working on harebrained projects.
In a typical, oh-those-look-like-fun shopping moment I bought Metroid Prime 2, an Eye-Toy and some other games last week. I’ve played MP2 for all of 2 hours and the Eye-Toy is still in the box, and probably will be until after finals. Same goes for every comic book I’ve bought since August, my magazine subscriptions, etc. (Ok, so I spent a couple hours playing the Japanese version of F-Zero GX so when I get to sent to Japan on work I can unlock my memory card using a Japanese arcade game…)