second year slackers, me, and Ed

Current vitals...the sun is shining but the Weather Channel informs me that it's 41 degrees outside (feels like 32). There are but three hours of daylight remaining. It's supposed to hit the 50s this weekend. Should be nice.

Speaking of staying inside...I tapped all my inner strength on Monday to leave the cozy warmth of the apartment to make it to the weekly graduate group critique. Didn't want to miss Matthew's pink bulletin board (there was, as you may or may not be able to imagine, lots to talk about) and there was a rumor that two Second Year Students would be showing work. Turns out they weren't ready but I've since been informed they'll be exhibiting some sort of collaborative piece involving champagne next week. I'm sure it will be brilliant.

I came into this program surprised (not annoyed) that there were so many "fresh out of college"/"born in the 80s" first year students. On the other hand, I was downright intimidated by the clique of hot shot second years, the boys that are savvy on language and philosophy. I'm not exactly shy or quiet so it didn't take me long to warm up and speak out in class, nevermind that what I was saying probably made little sense. But I still felt somewhat in awe of the clarity of their comments toward other folks' work and the chumminess I sensed between them. Not that I wanted to be a part of it, only that I hoped us first years would develop those skills and that sense of community.

The latter's starting to happen, I think, but I have to admit I'm kind of disappointed by the level of slackdom I sense in so many of the second year students. I've read in the advice columns of a number of magazines that might fall under the mind/body/spirit category that one might battle disappointment by lowering one's expectations. I admit I typically have high expectations, of people, priceline hotel rooms (I've learned to have NO expectations in that respect...it works, too!), etc. And I suppose I could just mind my own business. But I just wonder if these students realize they don't have to move cross-country in some cases and pay $24,000 per year to be a slacker. In fact, they could drop out of school to become a full-time slacker, even holding down a part-time day job. They might even be able to maintain an income of around $24,000 while, for the most part, perfecting their slacker lifestyles.

Whatev. Maybe I'm just having a bad day.

In other news, I successfully survived a presentation on aesthetics yesterday. I was totally into it, actually, but imagine I have some work to do on my pedagogical technique. I just hope we didn't totally bore everyone. Now I have a week to reflect further on the topic in a five page paper.

And Ed Ruscha was in town yesterday, giving a lecture of some sort at Harvard. I had to work, but it's okay, 'cause I have a ticket to an "evening" with Ed at the MFA next April. Perhaps I'll pitch my "then and now" homage to his 1966 work, "Every Building on the Sunset Strip." Maybe I could get a grant to travel to L.A. in, say, February, to complete the project...

Anyway, I'm off shortly to finally see Noah Baumbach's "The Squid and the Whale." Can't wait..."Kicking & Screaming" is easily one of my favorite movies and I'm really hoping the critical success of this new film will finally inspire whoever's in charge of such things to release K & S on DVD. That would be a beautiful thing.

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