School is school. I have two classes to teach, and two I'm taking. I'm really enjoying the ones I'm teaching: History of Christianity and Theories of Religion. One is a 9 am, which is tough for getting the students to speak, but we're getting there.
The ones I'm taking are...odd. One is theory. And I am sure most you you know how I feel about theory; it has it's place and can be a powerful tool for understanding things. It is also wildly overused, irresponsibly used, and leads to more or less every stereotype of academic pretension going. So naturally, I have some ambivalence to begin with.
Then there is the whole nature of theory within the communication discipline. It's largely been pinched wholesale from here, there and everywhere, with nary a nod for its source. So here we are, nattering on about what is clearly Sartre's intersubjectivity, or Foucault's perpetual spirals of power and pleasure, only we are pretending Sartre and Foucault never existed. (Or worse, I'm the only one in the room who even recognizes the attribution.) But yet, we still stand on academic integrity. Huh.
Thirdly, this course is taught be a professer of whom I am quite fond, but who happens to be very much to the 'social science' end of the comm spectrum.Naturally, I am as far to the other end as it is possible to be, so it's sometimes hard to keep the right glasses on, if you take my meaning. She's awesome, and very well-respected at what she does, don't think this is in any way a dig. It's just a bit like trying to do philosophy in a chemistry class. I keep having to set aside everything about how I usually do things.
And finally, there is the fact that I"ve had theory courses aplenty, I've been slicing and dicing with theory for years now (I'm even teaching a theory course this semester!) and frankly the "Let's talk about what a 'theory' is" is putting me to sleep. I should be grateful - easy course, yeah? One of these days I'll figure that one out; meanwhile, I'm hungering for a challenge!
Then there is the movie class. Just odd. But I plan on writing my first paper this weekend, getting it in early, and then starting on the big final project. Neither of these are intimidating. Sorry, but a five-page analysis of a theme in a film just doesn't intimidate me.
I do have my conference, which I am pleased as punch about. (If you didn't see it on FB, I've been invited to present at the International Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Thought
in April. I'm presenting a paper on the theology of eating in Dante's Divine Comedy.) It's been a while, and I'm really glad to be doing some serious academic work. I've also been asked to participate on a panel as an adjunct faculty representative at my uni, which is a very good sign, particularly since the academic dean, who is also my boss, is the one who recommended me to the organizers! Oh yeah, credibility, here I come!
In other news, I am having so much fun with all the new (to me) games I got for Xmas! I'm loving Diablo 3 to bits. As with many games I tend to enjoy, the touches of humor and wit really give the game some dimension, and after D2 (which I still play) the graphics are breathtaking. So is the sound! Wow! I've never made a habit of using headphones to play, but D3 really does its audio well! I have also gotten a full version of Baldur's Gate (which I played the hell out of back in the day) on the iPad (imagine!).
And of course there's Dragon Age, and yes, I am head over heels for Alastair, I admit it. He's heroic, a little damaged, deeply determined (as all those paladin/templar/warden types I fall for are) but sensitive (ditto). However, he's also sarcastic and snarky sometimes rather adorably dorky. (Look at that WTF? eyebrow. Gotta love it!)
I always really got a kick out of Steve Valentine, Alastair's voice actor, as Nigel on Crossing Jordan, and he does a really masterful job of making Alastair into a dimensional character. (So often these stoic-heroic types are utterly one-dimensional; it's a running joke about the 'captain cardboard' paladin.) I heard the studio wanted Nathan Fillon (whom I also love) to voice Alastair, but I can't see it. The writing is quite good in this game overall, but a lot of Alastair's dialog, especially the funnier bits, would have totally fallen flat without the voice acting. Valentine managed to hit the right blend of goofy, snarky, and sensitive that just works. Very much fun!
Oh, and finally, after years of various jerry-rigged contraptions to keep from sleeping on a mattress on the floor (something I've always hated) we finally have a bed! It gets delivered tomorrow! Here it is: The Royal Bed
Whee! So excited!