Thursday, March 29, 2007

Dealing With Class Requirements

Has it ever happened to anyone reading this blog that you take a class and find out that one (or more) of the class requirements is something you just plain do not want to do, and not for lazy reasons, or because it's too difficult, but because you as a person just do not want to have that experience?

This has happened to me in two class. The first was last year, in bio lab. As was expected, we had to dissect a fetile pig. Now, I know that is pretty standard and I knew it would happen when I signed up for the class, but I am not a science person and I would not have been able to handle taking chemistry or physics for my year-long science requirement (as fascinating as they are, and I do find them fascinating). So biology it was. I happened to love the classroom part and found it extremely intriguing, especially from a religious standpoint (but that is a topic for another post), however, when it came time to dissect the fetile pig, I just could not stomach it. In ninth grade when we did the frog and the earthworm, I was queasy and babyish about it, so I decided I was going to be brave, grit my teeth, and attack this requirement like a mature adult. The problem was, it actually had a negative effect on me. I have a difficult time bringing myself to eat chicken, because all I can think about are the parts of the muscles which we learned about while dissecting the pig, and they're all there in the chicken, as well. The smell of the dissection has lingered very strongly in my memory and I seem to smell it at the most random times, leaving me with a lost appetite and feeling slightly ill. Even eating foods that somehow remind me of anything inside of a fetile pig's body put me off my dinner. All in all, had I not had that experience, I would have a much healthier appetite right now.

The second class this happened in was this semester, in a class called Film and Fiction. In the class, we read a book and then watch the movie. Sounds interesting, right? Well, it is. But the choice of books have been pretty awful, in my opinion. While the teacher may find them interesting, I am having a terrible difficult time making myself either read the book or sit through the movie. Two in particular come to mind. Firstly, Dracula by Bram Stoker. The book was a great read. It was fast paced and exciting, even if it wasn't written incredibly well. The movie, however, was horrendously sexual, and I'm talking way over the top, here. It took every little implication in the book and went all out with it. I mean, I was constantly covering my eyes, and not always from blood and gore. Now, I know, I've been pretty sheltered when it comes to all that, but still, I don't have a problem with a bit of sex in a movie. Really. I just have a problem when I'm watching a movie filled to the brim with porn.
The second book/movie that bothered me is one we just finished watching the movie for (though I have yet to finish the book) called The Sweet Hereafter by Russel Banks. I started reading the book and got through the first segment (out of four) before realizing that I just cannot continue on with it. It is about a school bus accident and how an entire town deals with the loss of nearly all their children. The book is based on a true event that apparently happened some time ago in Texas. I understand how it is a very powerful and moving book, but it is not a book that I, personally, ever want to read. I just can't stomach it. So I didn't continue on in the book. Today, however, we watched the movie and it made me feel so ill inside. What's even worse, I have a terrible fear of driving. So much so that I slither out of having to do it nearly all the time. So watching a movie like this, and actually seeing the accident on screen, has not helped in the slightest, but has actually made me quite afraid to get into a car at the moment, even as a passenger. My fear of driving is something that I have been trying to get over for a number of years already. I'm so afraid I'll be held back by fears renewed due to watching that movie. And, of course, now I have to finish the book so I can actually do well on the final (and so I can submit the response paper we have to write for all the books we read).

I don't quite know what to say. I don't necessarily believe in censoring books, or activities, especially in college, but I do think schools and teachers should be more sensitive when deciding what to expose their students to. Why should a dissection be mandatory? This was biology for non-majors. I can learn all about the workings of the body without cutting anything open, thank you very much. Or why can't I have done it on a computer program? I know those exist. It just seems unnecessary for someone who isn't even going into biology to have to go through something like a pig dissection if she doesn't want to.
And as for the books/movies of the Film and Fiction class...I don't know. There isn't really any way to get around it. I mean, the teacher picked what she thought would be good pieces to study the translation from fiction into film. And they were good selection in that sense. I guess I just have to get over my fears and grow up a little. I don't know. I just know I'm having a rather difficult time in that class.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Nowhere

Wow, my first post!
Ahem.

Welcome to Nowhere.

Nowhere is not precisely Not-Anywhere; it is most definitely a Somewhere. Nowhere is a place which is not our regular world, but rather it is where our imagination drags us when we need to escape reality for those forty-five minutes on the train, listening to music and staring out the window without actually noticing the passing landscape. It is the place where daydreams live and where children play House. It is a concept found in Diana Wynne Jones' book, Fire and Hemlock. In the book, there are two vases, each with the word 'Nowhere' written around it. However, it is impossible to read the entire word at once on each vase and so, at times, if the vases are placed next to each other, they read 'Now Here' or 'Nowhere' or any other combination of the word. This is used as a plot device to help the characters understand the plane of existence where fairies and other supernatural beings and situations live.

So I am borrowing this ingenious idea for the name of my blog. For, you see, this blog is, indeed, part of Nowhere. All blogs are. Blogs exist in a world different from the one we usually partake in. At least, they do in my opinion. So you may sit in your computer chair and think, 'I am Now Here' but then you enter blogville and where are you then?
Well, I'll tell you. You are Nowhere.

Welcome to Nowhere.