Jan. 30th, 2004 10:46 pm
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This Sunday evening (apologies for the short notice) I'll be singing with Bay Area Classical Harmonies at the Berkeley Art Center. It'll be a short program; we're just doing a few old standards, including Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus and Dmitri Bortniansky's Cherubic Hymn. The way it looks now, there's a small chance I'll end up carrying the entire alto section, so if you've ever wanted to hear me sing classical this would be an excellent opportunity. Directions are here, and the concert starts at 7:30. Feel free to comment or email and request more details.
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Thanks to [ profile] sarahh, I now know that I can speak Dutch. )

Except really I don't know a word of Dutch, though if you slapped some Dutch text in front of me I miiiiiiiight be able to figure it out with enough context. What this really goes to show is that the right multiple choice test can be used to prove just about anything. I know enough people who've been screwed over by standardized testing that I could easily turn this into a rant, but I don't really think I have the gift of ranting entertainingly so I won't. Just, er, imagine some sort of rant here. I'm sure you can figure out the gist of it.

(As further proof, multiple choice tests have also shown that I am a man. )

...though I'll admit I actually take a sort of pride in that.)
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Something screwy has started happening lately: whenever I get an error trying to load a page, instead of the standard IE "page not found" message, I get routed to a page on, to all appearances a fairly run-of-the-mill web portal. This is very aggravating because it means I can't hit Reload to see the page I was trying to view; I have to manually extract the URL from amidst the junk that it's been surrounded by in the address bar, or track down the link I got there from. Does anyone know how this sort of thing comes about (I know I've seen it happen before) and how to fix it?
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Today was the first day of the three-hour class that until I walked in the door I only knew as "Special Topics in International and Area Studies." Turns out the special topic in this case is The Expansion of the European Union. Fortunately this is something I can muster a certain amount of interest in. Unfortunately we've already been assigned a four-page essay. Fortunately the homework for the rest of the semester will be done in groups. We'll be spending one of those three hours of class per week doing group discussion in a sort of Model United Nations-ish format, which'll be a nice break from lecture. I just hope I can make myself keep up with the reading. I've never been all that big on current events, but I have a feeling this course is gonna broaden my horizons or kill me trying. And having taken AP European History in high school means I at least have a little bit of background. (For that matter, having taken all that French is turning out to be useful as well; I suspect I'd be having trouble deciphering the professor's accent otherwise.)
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The latest piece of spam in my inbox reads "You Must be Stupid if You dont Sign up for a FREE Membership To Watch White Trash Girls Doing Big Black Meat for a Cigarette!"

Apparently their product is doing such a bad job of selling itself that they've had to resort to attacking people's sense of self-worth in much the same way those penis-enhancement folks have been doing. Somehow, I doubt shaming people into viewing pr0n will work nearly as well as shaming people into trying to enlarge their weenies--superficially related as those things might seem.

(Personally, I think they could improve their luck a lot more if they tried leaving out the cigarettes. I know I'd be more inclined to watch porn that didn't have cancer sticks in it.)
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Had my first day of classes today. This semester's gonna be interesting. Combinatorics looks like it'll be fun, just as I'd hoped; also there won't be terribly much in the way of actual work to do, and the professor is one of the most approachable I've ever had. Numerical Analysis, on the other hand, will be a challenge. I've always been lousy at analysis; this might actually be easier because it's more calculation and less theory, but on the other hand that may make it harder as it involves remembering formulas (not something I'm great at). And to do the assignments properly I'm going to have to learn Matlab. Yay purchasing software when I've already spent more than usual on textbooks this term.

I'm also taking a couple of courses for GE requirements; the International and Area Studies class starts Monday and I have no idea what it'll be like, but Brain, Mind and Behavior (MCB for non-biology majors) seems damn cool so far. Cognitive science has always been one of my odd little side interests, and you really can't beat a class where the lectures include Kubrick films. Only problem is I'm not officially even on the waiting list yet, and there may be difficulty getting on it and also finding a non-crowded discussion section that doesn't either conflict with the rest of my schedule (less of a concern, as I imagine I can manage to two-time) or involve getting up early (much more of a concern, given the whole sleep-disorder thing. Oh, an update on that: the CPAP machine hasn't really accomplished anything so far, after a month of use; being chronically congested as I seem to be means that having my throat kept from closing up doesn't help because I still can't breathe through my nose. Thanks to some serious intervention on the part of the scheduling gods, I got to consult with a different doctor than the one I'd seen before, who'd been almost impossible to talk to; this new guy diagnosed allergic rhinitis and prescribed corticosteroids. My fingers are crossed that they'll kick in soon.)

Now more than ever, I need to get through these classes and graduate this semester. Apparently the UC's funding has been cut yet again by Our Dear Governor, meaning fees are going to be hiked still more next year (this year they've already gone up by 20 percent.)
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Which states have I been to? I've lived in New York, Nevada and California, and visited Pennsylvania and Hawaii once each. Texas I think doesn't count because I was only there for a few hours and never left the airport.

I defy anyone on my friends list to look me in the eye and tell me they're less traveled than that. Anyone who's been to fewer states than me I'll bet has at least been to a foreign country other than Mexico.
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*welcomes yet another couple of new folks to friends list*

Yep, it's been another one of those nights.

*shit-eating grin*


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