A Study in Sexuality
Recently, I had to write an essay in my sexuality studies class about a cultural artifact that somehow pertained to sexuality-related manners. I chose “A Scandal in Belgravia” because, come on… My favorite show just so happens to include a lesbian dominatrix that falls in love with a man? It was practically begging for me to choose it for my assignment.
Anyway, I just got the paper back yesterday, and among my teacher’s comments was this:
MY PROFESSOR IS A SHERLOCKIAN.
Okay, I know it’s cool to hate Comic Sans, and I know it’s even more blasphemous for an English professor to type in all Comic Sans, but just ignore that while you read these.
All of these photos were taken of pages of my English 302 course pack. I thought Tumblr might appreciate my teacher’s style of humor.
I PLAYED MUGGLE QUIDDITCH TODAY!
Okay, I’m breaking my vow of no more personal posts on this blog since this is Harry Potter-related.
I’ve wanted to play Quidditch ever since I was nine years old (the year I first got into Harry Potter). Problem was nobody would play with me. I got my mom to agree to a game once or twice, but it just didn’t work. It’s too difficult with only two people, playing all four positions, especially when one of you doesn’t even want to be playing.
And then it happened. Last week, I saw this poster hanging in one of the apartment buildings where I live:
I couldn’t believe it. It was seriously a dream come true. I knew I was going to play, and I got two of my friends to come play as well. My only regret was that my Nimbus 2000 was at my parents’ house, about two and a half hours away.
I brought my camera with me and gave it to one of the CAs in charge of the event, asking her to take pictures for me. I have no idea when I’ll be able to do this again— if ever— so it was crucial that I get photos.
There were four games total, but I only played two of them, since I desperately needed a breather after round one, and was physically pretty much done for after round three. (I’m not in as good of shape as I was in high school.)
I volunteered to play Seeker during the first game. I knew this was going to involve lots of running, which I hate, but my friends around here all seem to believe that I’m fast, so I thought it might be interesting to test the accuracy of their belief. Plus, hell, why lie? I liked the thought of it. I liked the idea of being able to say afterward that I had been the Seeker. I feel a little guilty about it though because unlike being in Gryffindor, Harry really is the only reason the position of Seeker has such a high appeal for me. I’ve been accused more than once of only wanting to be a Gryffindor because of the Trio, but it’s not true at all— I honestly am a Gryffindor, and I honestly am proud of it, despite whatever characters also occupied it. Seeker, on the other hand? I’m not sure I’d care about being Seeker if it wasn’t Harry’s position. So I can admit my biases.
Anyway, being Seeker was incredibly exhausting, as expected. (Not to mention distracting, since the other team’s Seeker was freaking gorgeous.) Some of the time I felt like my lungs were on fire; I hadn’t done that much running in years. Fortunately, the three of us— both Seekers and the human Snitch— got periodic breaks during the game. Someone had decided beforehand that the shade was out-of-bounds, so most of our part of the game consisted of the Snitch standing in some shady corner while Gorgeous Opponent and I boxed him in, waiting for him to take off.
I wish I could say that I was the one to catch the Snitch, but the games were timed, so if nobody caught the Snitch within fifteen minutes or so, the game would stop. Since the Seekers and the Snitch were so distant from the rest of the action, (we were allowed to go basically anywhere, while everyone else had set boundaries in the plaza), we were very confused when the game ended, and I didn’t even find out until hours later that our team had won.
Here are the photos that ended up on my camera from the first game; (I’m the curly-haired one in the Gryffindor robe):
For the third game, (my second game), I decided to ask for the position of Keeper, since I was still pretty beat from all the running, and I thought that Keeper was the easiest position. Interestingly enough, I got knocked over twice as Keeper, taking the goal post down with me the first time, whereas I don’t think I sustained any injuries at all as Seeker. Go figure.
The only thing about being Keeper that was kind of a bummer was that I didn’t get a broom. I can’t remember if it was a fairness issue or if they just didn’t have enough brooms, but after the second game they decided that from then on the Keepers weren’t going to have brooms. I still had a blast, of course, but it did feel a bit less like I was playing Quidditch.
Our Chasers were better than the other team’s Chasers, but the other team ended up catching the Snitch, so we lost this one.
Here are all of my camera’s photos from the third game:
I went ahead and took some photos during the last game since my friend, Jess was still playing. (I’m particularly proud of this first one):
Micky, my other friend who came, got quite a few photos on her camera too. These are all the ones I stole from her Facebook:
That last one is my favorite :)
Well, that’s all I’ve got. I wish I could think of something more profound to say, but really it was just an incredible experience. I was exhausted, not very good at it, and probably looked very silly, but dammit I had so much fun, and I would do it all over again and again if I got the chance.
Muggle Quidditch: I highly recommend it. Thank you, Cal Poly, for finally letting me live out one of my dreams.
IT IS MY DESTINY.
No, seriously, I’ve been waiting for this day since I was nine years old. I tried to play Muggle Quidditch so many times throughout my childhood, but nobody would ever play with me. Then on the rare occasions when I could get someone to agree, it didn’t matter because we didn’t have enough people anyway.
Three more days!
This is a photo of a pray mantis that I took by my apartment a few days ago. I’m positing this purely out of conceit. Every now and then I take a really awesome picture and I’m like “WOAH! I took that?!” This is one of those pictures.
P.S. The pray mantises around here are such good models! Most insects fly or run away when you try to photograph them, but the pray mantises just stand there and pose. Plus they’re freakin’ huge, which generally makes them come out clearer. (I don’t have a very fancy camera.)
“The Best in the CSU and Beyond!”
For those of you who are stumbling onto my blog for the first time, I am a journalism major at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and I recently made a post arguing that our department is really not all it’s cracked up to be. Somehow, this post caught the attention of Dr. Harvey Levenson, who is currently acting as the department head. (I say “currently acting as” because he took over after our previous department head was demoted, plus he is already head of the graphic arts department, so this status appears to be temporary.) I received the following email from him this morning:
A Tumblr subscriber shared with me your blog about Cal Poly’s Journalism Department.
First, I hasten to note that you are an articulate and creative writer, and I feel honored to have a student with your creativity and writing ability as part of Cal Poly’s Journalism Department. I would sincerely like to meet you and invite you to stop in to say hello. For students I have an “open door” policy, so just walk in at your convenience.
I’ll now address a few points for your consideration, thinking that after reading them you may want to add an addendum to your note for all subscribers to see.
To begin with, you “nailed it” on many of the points you raised. However, that’s the past (how it was) but not the present and what lies ahead in the future as we prepare you and your peers to enter the ever-changing journalism profession. Yes, there have been difficulties in the recent past and that’s why the dean and provost has asked me to step in on an interim basis to get the Journalism department on the right path to meeting and exceeding its best years. I’ve been asked to do this because I am starting my 29th year as the head of Cal Poly’s Graphic Communication Department, a department with a record of success in faculty hiring, curriculum building, student relationships, mentoring, and outreach in inspiring industry to support the program via student scholarships, endowments, laboratory improvements, faculty and staff development, and so on. These processes and successes are now being integrated into the Journalism Department.
What your blog has brought to light is that, perhaps, I have been focusing more on mobilizing the faculty, alumni, and industry friends on the new development aspects of the department, and not enough on the students. Indeed, the students are often not aware of “behind the scenes” development efforts, and I plan to change this effective with the start of fall quarter. So thank you for this enlightenment.
Here are some examples of what has occurred over the past academic year in rebuilding Cal Poly’s Journalism Department to be: “The best in the CSU and beyond!” In fact, that is the motto we have adopted.
- Plans to hire four new faculty members, one of whom starts in September (Richard Gearhart, a highly respected NBC affiliate anchor).
- Commencing a recruitment of the additional three during the upcoming academic year.- Tremendous lab improvements in the broadcast labs via contributions of over $180,000 in state-of-the-art studio technology.
- The ongoing national awards being won by Mustang Daily and KCPR.
- The completion of Program Review and the beginning of a strategic plan.
- Department outreach and being selected as the sole audio/video documenter for local Nuclear Energy Commission community meetings.
- The development of the alumni/industry Focus Group that is now becoming a Journalism Department Advisory Board.- The very high student evaluations of the faculty for Spring quarter 2011 (of course, students would not know this).
There is also much more.
On the last item, the average evaluation score for spring 2011 spanning 11 faculty members was 3.41 on a scale of (Lowest) 0.00 to (Highest) 4.00. This is pretty remarkable. The range was a low of 2.84 to a high of 3.77. Hence, it appears that the majority of students were very pleased with their courses and faculty for the Spring quarter. We’ve been working hard to achieve this consistency of course relevancy and distinguished teaching, so much part of the Cal Poly tradition. I expect this to continue.
Finally, I again express my thanks for your communication and hope that I have your support upon the start the new academic year which I sense will be your Junior year. And, please do stop in. Whenever possible I include student involvement in department matters, and would like you to be part of the process of your department becoming the best journalism department in the CSU and beyond.
I would like the Tumblr subscribers to see my points. So please let me know if you prefer not sending them as an addendum but that I post them.
Best wishes for the rest of the summer and I look forward to meeting you in the fall.
Now, like any sensible person, I won’t truly believe that things are improving until I experience it first-hand; I’m not one to buy the “However, that was the past,” line. That being said, receiving this email has definitely given me hope. I thought he made an excellent point about the “behind the scenes” activities that the students wouldn’t know about, but that reflect positively on the journalism department. I also thought it was very kind of him to write out examples of such things, (as well as flatter my writing skills!).
Just the fact that he took the time to reach out to me at all, let alone give such a detailed response, over one blog post, without having any idea who I am, made my respect for this man rise tremendously, and I already liked him to begin with. (I did not mention him in my previous journalism blog. Perhaps I should have.) I believe this shows that he truly cares about us students and our input regarding the quality of our education, and because of this I am more than happy to abide by his request for an addendum (which you are reading now).
Dr. Levenson, thank you again for your email. I don’t mean to sound like I’m trying to kiss up, but it honestly did mean a lot to me. I hope you continue to keep such an open and honest communication with my classmates and I, and I hope that our department will indeed grow to live up to it’s motto.
Here’s to the potential “best in the CSU and beyond!”
Chaos in the Journalism Department
Okay, so come September I will be entering my 3rd year at Cal Poly. In addition to being in love with the area, I applied there because I wanted to be a journalism major, and I was told by multiple sources that Cal Poly’s journalism department was of extremely high quality. Now that I’ve been there for a while though, I gotta say… I’m not convinced. Let me break it down for you chronologically.
Freshman year, fall quarter: I took two journalism classes this quarter. I will refer to the two teachers I had as Professor Arrogant (for obvious reasons) and Professor Woman (because, to my knowledge, she is the only female professor in the department).
Professor Arrogant was, well, arrogant. There were good things about him, such as his sense of humor, but for the most part I thought of him as a conceited hardass.
I liked Professor Woman while I had her. She was nice enough. The only problem I noticed with her was her tendency to read into things deeper than the average reasonable person would. The class I took with her was all about racism, sexism, and other such prejudice in the media, and I feel like at least half of the examples she showed us were offensive only to her. One time she insisted that this one magazine cover was incredibly racist towards African Americans, and one of the Black guys in the class raised his hand and told her that he thought that was a bit of a stretch.
Freshman year, winter quarter: I will refer to the teacher I had this quarter as Professor Okay. I didn’t dislike him, but I didn’t love him either. He was nice, but very quiet, and sometimes a bit dull. (Though I rather enjoyed the class itself). He wasn’t great; he wasn’t awful; he was… just okay.
Freshman year, spring quarter: This quarter, I was forced to take Professor Arrogant again. I didn’t want to, but I needed the class, and he was the only one who taught it. I didn’t enjoy him any more the second time around. In fact, this class was the start in what became a downward spiral for me that wouldn’t be resolved until the end of my 2nd year.
Summer 2010: Like most people, I did not take summer school, so I was staying at my parents’ house when I heard the news that Professor Arrogant had been demoted. Apparently he’d gotten into a little bitch fight with Professor Woman, where he was then accused of sexism and poor leadership, and the dean sided with Professor Woman.
Now, let me just say, for the record, that I do not believe for one second that Professor Arrogant was sexist. (I can’t really say one way or the other regarding the poor leadership accusation). I still don’t like the man. I think he’s a prick. But did I ever think he was a prick to me because I was a woman? No! I always got the vibe that he was a prick to everyone equally, except for his favorites (namely the campus newspaper staff). Or maybe he was only a prick to the freshman. Either way, I can tell you right now that the sexism accusation is bullshit, especially when you consider how overly-sensitive Professor Woman is. However, I figured that him being demoted might mean that I’d have less classes with him, so I didn’t complain.
Shortly after this bitch fight and demotion occurred, two journalism professors (neither of whom I’d had before) resigned. They claimed it had nothing to do with the bitch fight, though everyone else viewed their resignations as means of protest. One of them was known for being extremely well-liked, so this was seen as a major loss for the department.
2nd year, fall quarter: This was the first quarter that I did not take any journalism classes. It made me feel sad and empty, though in hindsight I’m not sure why.
2nd year, winter quarter: This quarter I had class with a teacher who I will refer to as Professor Sweater. I call him that because every day he would wear a really ugly sweater to class. He looked like his grandmother dressed him— a grandmother who had very little clue how to make a man look professional.
As a person, I liked Professor Sweater a lot. He was a genuinely sweet guy who really tried his hardest to do his job well. Unfortunately, teaching was simply not his calling. As a professor, he was positively awful. He was terrible at explaining things, constantly changed deadlines, and just generally seemed to have no clue what he was doing. I felt bad thinking/saying such things about such a nice man, but the cold hard truth was that Professor Sweater did not belong in a classroom.
When I registered for classes for spring quarter, there were two professors teaching the next class that I needed. One of them was a teacher I’d never had before, and the other was Professor Sweater. I would have preferred to take a chance with the unknown teacher, but it seemed that everyone else had the same idea. So rather than put myself way at the bottom of a waiting list, I decided to just grit my teeth and deal with Professor Sweater one more time.
Spring break 2011: Professor Sweater is fired for having such poor student evaluations. I have now been enrolled in the unknown teacher’s class after all.
2nd year, spring quarter: I finally meet the unknown teacher. My code name for him shall be Professor Hottie, and he was the very first journalism teacher at Cal Poly that I positively, absolutely loved.
Now, now, I know what you’re thinking— “Professor Hottie,” huh? I bet you only liked him because he was attractive! Yes, he was quite handsome. Yes, I probably drooled on my keyboard every single day. But that was not why I liked him. It was a bonus, yes— a bonus I quite enjoyed— but that was not why I liked him.
I liked him because he was super laid-back, yet we still learned a lot. I liked him because he encouraged creativity. I liked him because he was helpful and understanding. I liked him because he knew my name within the first couple weeks of class, unlike Professor Arrogant, who still doesn’t know my name despite the fact that I’ve had him twice. Basically, Professor Hottie was just the coolest, and also a huge factor in pulling me out of the downward spiral that I mentioned a few paragraphs back.
Now we’ve arrived at the present, summer 2011: Last night I logged onto Facebook after a long day of enjoying my 20th birthday. There was a post by the Mustang Daily (the campus newspaper) about a teacher who I shall refer to as Professor Never. Professor Never was meant to be my journalism teacher this fall, and I give him this code name because I have never met him, and now I never will. Why? He passed away on Saturday.
Let me break this down for you now.
- One professor who was a prick, and then got demoted.
- One professor who started the bitch fight that got the other demoted.
- Two professors who resigned right after this incident.
- One professor who was barely memorable to me.
- One professor who got fired due to poor student evaluations.
- One professor to rule them all, one professor to find them, one professor to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.
- One professor who died.
Okay then family, acquaintances, and Internet… What was that you were saying again about Cal Poly’s journalism department? Because, with the exception of Professor Hottie (bullet point #6), I’m not seeing much evidence. On the contrary, I think it’s pretty safe to say that our journalism department is nearly unluckier than the Defense Against the Dark Arts job at Hogwarts.
Moral of the story? I’m not really sure there is one. I’m just so incredibly bewildered by the whole situation that I thought it might help to write it all down. Did it? Not sure.
Rest in peace, Professor Never. My condolences to your family and friends.
Professor Hottie, if you’d like to take over Professor Never’s classes, I’d be quite okay with that.