Wednesday, December 30, 2009

beethoven, transformer

so last night i had a dream that beethoven and i were lovers, even though–or maybe because of–his incredible ability to turn into a Transformer. it was like, musical genius and superhero abilities all wrapped into one. yes, i said Transformer, like the toy-turned-cartoon-turned movie-turned possibly there was a comic strip somewhere in there. but in my dream i was totally enamored by it. interpretation?

Friday, December 18, 2009

ah! the labyrinth

my steps tread back and forth, new paths and old converging. i feel like my life is hegel's dialectic: old ideas crashing against new ones, and a synthesis is formed from the two.

Monday, December 14, 2009

running, running

i had the most disturbing dream last night. well, maybe not the most disturbing ever in my life, but it certainly ranked itself up there. it was a long dream, but of course the portions that are clearest are those that happened the latest.

there's a house that i've been in before in another dream–or maybe it's a museum or mansion? it's huge, with wide windows letting in bright, clear sunlight, and those wide, square staircases that sweep against three walls–white marble steps with dark railings.

then i'm in another kind of house, and it is chaos. the rooms are all in disorder, and there is an air of evil. there's something wrong going on here, but i don't know what it is. a sweatshop, a brothel? this house seems to be used for a dark purpose. and then i realize i'm being pursued. whatever is going on here, they are either trying to catch me to make me part of it, or kill me so i can't tell others.

i run through the cluttered rooms–bedrooms?–and stop dead in one of the rooms as i see a woman lying facedown on the bed, naked. she's in labor, or has had the baby, and it rests between her legs. her body is so pale, but also bruised, like she's been abused, maybe. i don't know who she is in real life, but in the dream i recognize her and run to her, horrified. she raises her head to me and her brow is covered in sweat, so i run and find a paper towel that i run under the sink in the room, and wipe her forehead. she smiles a little, but she's so weak, and then she begs me to help her hide the baby. i don't know what to do, the baby's umbilical cord hasn't even been cut and i don't want to hurt either of them.

but i can hear voices coming from the other rooms, and i know i have to save both of them somehow. somehow i call out "help", and it's said in such a manner that my friends outside will hear me, but not the evil people in the house. and now these evil people are coming. they can't know i'm here, or they'll take me away and i won't be able to help this woman and her baby.

i hide underneath a desk in a pile of blankets and clothes, and for once feel thankful that the room is so messy that i have things to cover myself in. the evil people prowl into the room, look around, say something, and then leave. and then i jump up again and call out again to my friends, and there they are!

somehow we have gotten the woman and her baby outside, and clothed her in a long white robe. but she and the baby are separated now. it seems she thinks the baby will be safer this way. so one group takes the baby and runs, and she and i and a couple others run another way, down a major paved road by the water. it's very sunny, and there are hardly any cars on the road, and the sunlight is glinting off of the sea.

we are just determining how we should cross the road and which way to go, when we see them start to approach us from all sides. they look like a swat team, or something official and authoritarian, but i know that they are the evil people. alarmed, we all start running again.

<><><> part two <><><>
in my second dream, i'm walking through a sunny park with my friend kristen, and–i kid you not–woody allen. now, in real life, i'm not sure how i feel about woody allen. i don't find him that funny, and while i have no judgments to make on his personal life, i doubt i would covet his company myself. so, you must ask yourself, why is woody allen in agatha's dream, and what does that signify? what indeed.

in my dream, there's a little photo booth, such as you see at arcades and carnivals, where you can duck inside and take rolls of silly pictures. either kristen and i have just done one, or woody allen and i have just done one, or maybe all three of us. i have no idea, because no part of the dream takes place in the photobooth, but it's there as an afterthought, something important for some reason.

so woody allen and i go and sit down on a park bench just on the edge of the park, and look at the sunlight. hmm.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

academic integrity

i am morally caught by a small but significant situation happening on our campus; a young woman who has been accused of cheating, has been expelled by our honor commission, and her friends have organized a campus-wide protest on the matter. this young woman has supposedly cheated in the past–to which she confessed–but this time she says she is innocent, and has been given an unfair trial because of past prejudices.

this is a serious matter indeed. academic integrity is of the highest importance at gettysburg–it was our student body themselves who initially created the honor code, and have upheld it to this day. i'm very proud that our students, and certainly i did when i was a student, consider honesty and integrity intrinsic to education. so part of me is concerned that there may have been some personal bias or skimming of the law in this situation, though i trust that the honor commission is acting in the way it thinks is most fair.

and that brings me to the second point: i'm more proud that the student body feels that, in the spirit of what the honor code stands for, they should actively protest its misuse if it fails to protect individual academic work, as it should. if there has been a mistrial, then it should be contested. and if it's still proven that she is guilty, then, like john miller's philosophy, the challenge and reaffirmation of the verdict can only strengthen the system that we hold so dearly.

do you think i'm over thinking the matter? how can that be, when the lessons you learn in college are what you take with you into the "real" world. i'd rather have the next generation of the workforce be very deeply concerned with ethical business and action, than not.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

angry dream

i had a weird, frightening dream last night, and i can only remember the very last bits of it, although i know it was much longer. at the very end of the dream, i am in a school, or some sort of house-turned-school, and there is blue in the room somewhere, blue carpet maybe? and metal sinks. that's why i thought it was a classroom. and there was a man there who was the teacher, and i was really angry with him because he brought guns to school for a class assignment, and wanted to let the kids play with them, and one of them went off and shot me in my right hand.

i stared in horror at my hand, which had the flesh torn away over my second and third knuckles, and which was bleeding profusely. the bullet, which was small and round (like a b-b gun? i don't know guns), was lodged between my knuckles in the angry red flesh, and i held my hand gingerly, anxious that i needed to get to the hospital, but also pausing to berate this man for bringing in weapons and creating a dangerous situation.

i don't remember if i was able to save my hand, or what happened before or after this. when i try to think back, it's like i can almost see images and remember feelings and thoughts, but they're just obscure enough, just enough out of the corner of my vision, that when i think too closely about them, they disappear rather than come into focus.

do you know what i mean? it's like when you look at stars at night; your pupils will filter the most light from your direct vision, and thus the stars in your peripheral vision often look brighter by comparison, but when you try to swivel your eyes around to view those, they shrink from scrutiny.

addendum: interesting interpretations from . oooh interesting.

Monday, December 7, 2009

barbara kirkpatrick stroup

so, you may think this is weird, but i get google alerts emails with anything that references "gettysburg college," and the other day an obituary came up that interested me because it referenced that she'd taught at gettysburg. i doubted i knew her, but i thought that it would be a shame not to learn a little bit about the life of community member here in gettysburg.

so i clicked on the link, and started reading. as i read, i tried to imagine the progress of the little girl to the teenager, to the young adult, and so on, living through a world that i normally only read about as "history." i am always fascinated by my elders-they have so many stories to tell, and indeed, so did barbara. a graduate in english (yay!) from dickinson college in 1940, and a recipient of a master's from ship u., she also took graduate courses at columbia, uconn, nc state and penn state. plus, she had many interesting adventures moving around the country and teaching in one-room schoolhouses, with "a pot-bellied stove," says the article.

i thought of my own grandmother, who was a wellesley graduate, and who received her own masters in education, and it made me proud of the intellectual ambition of these women, when i remember my favorite 18th century lit. professor telling me once that, when she was in graduate school, one of her older professors told her she'd never make it in the professional world because she was a woman. funny that people still say such things. but foolish people obviously can't stop those who have a will, and spirit, and heart in what they do.

so anyway, if you want to learn more about this incredible woman, i think taking the minute and a half that it takes to read her obituary is a tribute we can all afford to make:

Sunday, December 6, 2009

fist-pumping senior citizens

this weekend was truly unique. yesterday i went down to bethesda, md with my colleague courtney to do some off-campus interviews, but since we had a little extra time, we decided to live it up at the warner theatre in downtown d.c. ....listening to the musical stylings of "young at heart," a group of senior citizens ranging from 75 to 90 years old, who sing and dance to thoughtfully choreographed and arranged hits from the seventies through modern pop.

here, they have a website, which obviously means you have to look at it:

their slogan is "finding the zen in senior citizen." yes!

then we went to a christmas carol singalong w/ courtney's parents and it was amazing. interviews today, shopping, and now back in gburg contemplating the mess that is my house.

it's not just for the classroom!