life just goes

The week turned out alright.

Thursday’s interview was smooth, thought it was more like “Oh my God, finally a volunteer! Please work for us” thing.. Irma invited for Coffee, and we talked about the kind of stuff done in the internship. It’s mostly white people (she calls them aglo-saxon, or aglosajones.. even though I thought a month ago that this would be about an equitative term to latin-american, why does it sound so awkward in spanish? Maybe I’m way too used to gringos, heh.) who come to spanish classes, of course, since spanish-speaking people would hardly come to class. What about second-generation kids, I suggested, and she said yeah, but other things might have been going in her head – maybe they’re way too poor to afford paid classes? After all, spanish classes seem to fit nicely together with the bookstore and coffee business that the Resource Center of Americas holds to keep its staff paid and do the “real” work. What is the real work, though? That’s the kind of responsibility I would like to have over this summer, but oh well.. I’ve got my last summer coming up next year, so we’ll see. My work is mostly revising curriculum, which sometimes equals to creating teaching guidelines out of nothing. Yeah, lots of ground for personal preferences there, that’s good. I’m not too sure why they don’t use the textbooks that are out there, they aren’t THAT bad.. I mean, even the chicano-impregnated slash non-native speaker textbook like Puentes has a good deal of historical/social commentary through people like Pablo Neruda, Rigoberta Menchú, Cuahtémoc, Salvador Allende, and the list goes on. She talked as if the market pulls only highly purified and us-ized versions of latin america into the textbooks – more time spent into the work will reveal more, I hope. So I’ve got to find Bob since I hate voice message machines, I get all nervous when there’s no response on the other side of the line, who knows if I’m making sense at all, and ask him if he’s OK with me not working at the labor network over the summer. Last time I talked with him he seemed rather skeptical about me joining the crew and asked details like have you got a paying job and room yet.. I take it he doesn’t check his AOL mail, since it’s been two weeks. I would rather work at rca and maybe get some pre-semester training at TCRLN for two weeks or something. I told the lady I would let her know in two or four days and she seemed rather worried. Do these places not get volunteers these days? That’s strange with all the competition swarming into NGOs recently. But anyway, I’ve found my summer stuff now. Good.

Advanced logic presentation went okay.. I drank two cups of mocha at three in the morning, and ate some instant beef stew, but it didn’t work and I fell waking up in the morning had to do. As usual, waking at seven didn’t cut it, and I ended up running with my notebook in hand to the classroom where I was two minutes late and Nick (my presentation partner) was almost done drawing diagrams in the whiteboard on his portion of the presentation. He went very succintly and clearly over the historical debate on the use of graphic representation for mathematics and formal logic and sitrred in some analysis of his own, but I only catched half of it as I was yet finishing the last bits of Peirce’s beta diagrams.. right two seats away from prof Folina! At my turn, I mumbled some incoherent things I think, half of it because I hadn’t prepared well (meaning haven’t done all the reading) and half of it because of fatigue. I did sleep on caffeine.. but overall I got the idea acrosss, this wonderful system that Perice had designed on expressing complicated first-order propositional and predicate logic statements in simple lines and circles that would otherwise require several lines and artificial-looking syntax. I did some demonstratoins explaining the handy shortcuts in interpreting the syntax, but that didn’t go too well. Anyway, the great news was that after I finished and the girl presenting more on Turing machines and the guy presenting the Axiom of Choice and the naked trumpet guy (that’s the only way I’ll remember some people.. he was naked right there covering his penis with the trumpet blatantly announcing his senior recital at that poster, do you recall it?) presenting on the History of something else.. and then the other guy who was in the ancient philosophy class presenting on intuitionistic math, most of which didn’t make much sense.. but it seems like the prof got a bit of it. It was this strange notion that math was supposed to originally have started from common sense, and now that it’s become sophisticated we believe errouneously that common sense will fail to capture mathematical inference, whereas it the case is otherwise. At least that’s what this english mathematician proposed… and he proposed some ways of interpreting inifinite rational numbers, in a way that reminded me of how I thought I could add and rest with infinites (basically I assigned given constants the value of infinite, and assumed 2xInfinite was twice as large as 1xInfinite, and operations could be done with them. It turns out I was quite close to maximal limits and basic calculus). Anyway the great news was that Folina talked to those of us who had presented that day, and I asked her what my grade looked like so far, and she said oh it’s not good but you’re definitely passing. She said something about a B-, which I take it is the highest I can get if I write a real good paper. I was worried about getting a D in this class and being dismissed from school for next semester, and now I’m good. Yes. Now I’m focusing on getting those damn As with the intro psych and elem german, and I’m so close, I don’t want to miss and get the A- which don’t help too much with the prospect of getting a C in logic. And a B in contemporary concepts! So there.

I decided to change my major to Anthropology. I went to see Weatherford, and right there at the lounge I couldn’t think of how to get a conversation at the lines of “well, nevermind I criticized your class so much during cultural, I want to change my major to anthro now and I would like you to be my advisor”, so I wondered around and went into Patten’s office and talked with her on anthro of religion, which seemed like a fieldwork-intensive course, but it turns out it’s more like a thematic anthro course (like anthro of politics or anthro of tourism). She said she didn’t even remember what was in the catalog.. I reminded her that it said the course was about working closely with a religious community and doing some postmodern theory stuff, and she said she would change it. Now the picture for next sem looks okay, since the other anthro course – I need to take two per sem for the major – is peoples of africa and I get the nice mix of institutional and area studies anthro, which constitutes the core of sophomore level anthro. Then for spring I´ll try to get into Nakamura’s Japanimation class which is more like hardcore junior theory and area intensive stuff, but that’s another story.

Speaking of courses for next sem, I had a very rigid plan that went around philosophy – german – poli sci for my three years (first year was the frenzy on getting a phil-chem duo worked out, which never did) and now that the major plan is gone, there’s abundant free room. I’m thinking of taking photography for my fine arts, and was looking through the catalog, and realized that BOTH Film Analysis from English and Film Studies from Comm Studies fullfill the fine arts requirement. Putting a film together is extremely appealing. Might not be fun, but it will definitely be cool. Makes me wonder… Anyway, I realized I just missed the change to take color photography, which seems more interesting than photography II, this spring semester. By the way, St. Kate’s register has a real awkward schedule. First they have differentiated courses for A.A. and B.A. people, and then subdivide them for weekend and day-programs. And then they call spring semester the winter semester! What a gloomy perspective of life! Those nihilists..! So St. Kate’s got Photo I on MW 9:35-12:20 and TR 8:50-11:35. Ah, if only the TR schedule was set for MW, it would solve all my doubts. MW would be best, since I get tuesdays free for the off-campus work-study job, but then I need to frantically ride back (I got a bike.. which is the reason I would go 100 times for the fall term rather than winter) at Mac so I can eat and get ready for the 1:10pm german, followed by two anthro classes in a row. Especially if it begins snowing and I have to get to ACTC buses, I will make it at Mac around 12:50. And they might run late if it snows. So that’s quite a stretch of a schedule. TR would be relaxed, but I would waste a lot of time on bus trying to get to my work site four times a week, and it’s in downtown minneapolis… auuauauu. I’m wondering though, if the class will really end at 12:20, maybe it just runs till you’re done, as it was the case with the analytic chem labs? I’ll ask Danielle, though finding her on weekends seems rather hard.

But then, back to Weatherford and we talking about the prospect of transferring depts, he asked why I wanted to transfer, and I began telling how I began seeing less and less in a theory-focused class plan. When I just arrived, I was fascinated by theory, and how it detracted peope who weren’t willing to discuss topics to their full extent. So we could argue until the last minuscule details, and call it “well, we’re making the argument consistent” instead of being bitched that we were obnoxious whiners. But large fluxes of unrelated people who are taking it for the distribution requirement, or because it might be cool, think minuscle discussions aren’t necessary, and at the end the class just becomes another psych class. Every class feels like an intro class. I suggested creating lab sections intended for pure peer-to-peer discussion but it’s unlikely to be considered because it will drop enrollment rates. Of course there’s the philosophy club which is widely advertised in the admissions bulletin and even has a website with news from 1998 but it doesn’t exist since two or three years. And the more you think of it there’s no need for labs nor groups because any discussion is philosophical. And I’m beginning to dislike theory. And stereotypes. Talking of stereotypes, the department coordinator, Schrantz, seemed to not be able to believe that I was a philosophy major – maybe because I am not an upper class white man? Maybe she thought that I might as well be a major, but one of the lower sort – aka asian philosophy? Or is it like the coordinator two stories up, who assumed I was coming weekly to see Tam because I HAD to be a Math-CS geek worried about bringing my family over the US and getting LPR status and having our own little noodles store and moving into Chinatown and skipping taxes and not learning english, no? I’m never going to stay in this country – and I’ll do everything possible to make sure it happens, even if I change plans later. Well, with my grades I’ll probably not staying anyways. So that feeling was one of things I conveyed too, my hate for Korea overall, because of the disgusting premises, ala I am of course getting married, so kids plus wife are the kind of “stuff” to carry around that give you sexual pleasure but you need to pay for em, so you need a job, and engineering or CS is the only way to go because the world is getting specialized, blah blah (followed by the typical right-wing blarr) and the never missing “we tell you this and you might disagree but we do it because we love you and know you’ll become just like us, worried about ejaculating in a vagina legally and being able to pay for it”. So the reason I was telling that was because I was talking with Sanghwan the other day while he was giving me the ride from church and commented he would never like US too much, it was good for money, but he wouldn’t appreciate life having come here at the age of 20 somethings. And then I thought, yeah, maybe I should go back to South America too.. and realized how philosophy would almost confine me to the first world if I wanted to take some advantage of my education. Maybe Caio, who returned to Brazil after a semester here, was right. His was a different case, though – yes, someday I’ll talk about him before I forget because his reason was quite exceptional. And I also told Weatherford that I liked the fact that he stressed the observation on little things, and how the everyday life matters. That seems a lot more doable than discussing superstructures. And at the end, we decided it was a bit rushedly to do the major change and stuff, and he advised me to take some more anthro course for next sem, see how it goes, and then come back to him and talk more.

Sigh, I miss Temuco. I miss rain and the smell of the ocean.



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