DailyAfirmation (dailyafirmation) wrote,

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5ives, bold beginnings, ENG 583 begins, and I finished Owen Meany...

From the profile of a LiveJournal friend of one of my LiveJournal friends, a link to a blog called 5ives...

5ives is a collection of lists of five things.

It is written by a person called Merlin Mann — a stony recluse who probably lives in a tree somewhere in Northern California. Little is known about Merlin apart from what can be gleaned by the caregivers who collect his waste and deliver fresh boxes of Kleenex™ for him to wear on his feet.

Merlin is believed to have been born at exactly 2/3 of the way into the 20th century, somewhere in a large Midwestern city. Sparse photographic evidence suggests Merlin may have a vestigial tail and enjoy a taste for roulette and sand art. Merlin is “white” in color.

All we can be sure of is that there appears to be no foreseeable end in sight for these pointless, narcissistic lists of his. Which is clearly a mixed blessing for everyone.

In some twisted form of Internet 6 degrees of separation, the "Merlin" referenced here is the same Merlin who does the 43 Folders podcasts, to which I'm subscribed.

Anyhow... my favorite "5ive" in the quick gander I took through the most recent lists was this one:

Five nouns from which it can be difficult to scrub the scent of utter bullshit
May 29th, 2007

1. Performance
2. Excellence
3. Mission Statement
4. Synergy
5. Enterprise

And as a writer, I pretty much love this one:

Five nouns to which I enjoy prepending an unnecessary definite article
January 16th, 2007

1. The Flickr
2. The AIM
3. The Jesus
4. The Google
5. The El Niño

Of course I had forgotten this: that one of my most favorite books of all times, A Prayer for Owen Meany, has a reference in it near the end of the story to another most favorite book of all time of mine, Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge.

I mentioned in an earlier posting that Owen Meany has one of the greatest opening sentences of all times. Well, ironically, John Irving's reference to The Mayor Casterbridge in A Prayer for Owen Meany says:

"I used Mr. Findley's novel [Famous Last Words] as an example of what I meant by a bold beginning—that shocking scene when the father takes his twelve-year old son up on the roof of the Arlington Hotel to show him the view of Boston and Cambridge and Harvard and the Charles, and then leaps fifteen stories to his death in front of his son; imagine that.  That ranks right up there with the opening chapter to The Mayer of Casterbridge, wherein Michael Henchard gets so drunk that he loses his wife and daughter in a bet; imagine that!  Hardy knew what he was doing; he always knew."

I worked from home today.

After work I went to Helios for a couple of hours before class, where I read what Jason has written so far of his research paper.  Interesting stuff.

Tonight was the first meeting of ENG 583636798A. I'd say there are about 5 people taking this class as 583, 1 as 636 (that's me—Independent Study), and about 7 taking it as 798A.

Though I knew this course was listed as ENG 583/798A, I had no idea that that meant it would be both at the same time. I thought it meant that sometimes it's taught as 583 and sometimes as 798A.

The students who are in there signed up as ENG 583 are the master's students, and the folks signed up as 798A are in the PhD program. The syllabus articulates what (and in some cases how) assignments have to be done by the master's students as opposed to by the doctoral students. The syllabus, alone, is quite the technical communication feat.

At any rate, it's going to be a challenging enough class—even at only 2 credit hours. I'm starting to wonder if I wouldn't have been better off taking GC 420 Visual Thinking for 3 credit hours instead of this one for 2 hours.

Oh well, it'll keep my brain from atrophying, and Jason gets some free research help. The opportunity to work with him, alone, should make it worth my while.

I have finished A Prayer for Owen Meany. It was all that and the bag of chips.

I do believe I'm going to make this my next book for the Mostly Social Book Club. The fact that it is over 600 pages, though, might be a problem.
Tags: coffee shops, eng583, grad school, ibm

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