June 4th, 2007

make levees

(no subject)

now that classes are over and i only have one exam left, i am trying to let my right brain out to play a little. still no sign of my muse anywhere.
spending this last semester here has truly made me realize how poor the education system in american is. there are quite a few things different about european, particularly central european, universities that demonstrate this:
fields of study: in undergraduate programs, students concentrate on their field of study only, other than chosen electives. there are no math courses, if you are liberal artsy. there are no english courses if you are science. why, you may ask? isn't it better to have a well rounded education? well, yes. but by the time kids here get to university they have the equivalent of our first two years at university. those well rounded classes we take when we start university, they have already had in high school. i was talking with a student who studied at UNO last fall. she took a freshman/sophmore class because she found the topic interesting. she was amazed how uneducated (actually, i think she said "stupid") students in the first year of university in the states are. by the time students here are ready to enter high school, their academic futures are already planned. they will either enter a technical high school or a university high school. they already know at least two languages.
study structure: one needs an incredible amount of self discipline compared to the states. you don't get tests or quizzes every few weeks to see how you are doing. while there may be a paper, and most likely a presentation, the majority of your grade will depend upon the exam at the end. there are three weeks between the end of classes and exams. the exams are not easy and students, for most classes, are given a second or third try to pass. exams are mixed with short answer and long essay.
classes: there are not as many hours for classes as in the states. each class is once a week for about two hours and run about 15 weeks. they are seminars - that is the professor talks and you write. interaction is little and not encouraged. this, i believe, is a remnant of the communist era - listen, learn and don't think outside the box. it is changing though and younger professors will elicit feedback. you learn the first couple of classes if you should open your mouth or just write.
grading: pretty damn subjective. you'd better try and find out what the professor wants for essay exams even though the question may seem quite broad. i learned to talk to previous students and grill the hell out of them. instead of A - F, grades are 1 - 5, respectively. This just makes so much more sense than letters that you have to translate to numbers for gpa anyway. no privacy with grading either. you can expect your final grade to appear on the professors door right next to your name.
books: there are no textbooks and here even less information in english. the web has been my life link. there is a library where course textbooks live, but you don't buy them anywhere. you go to the library and copy the pages you need. some books you can check out for one day, one week, or one month. but, these aren't english books. english books are too expensive to leave the library. so lots of copying. very often, the textbooks are written by the professors.
attendance: people don't attend class on any regular basis. there were people i saw the first week or two of classes and then didn't see again until writing exams.
sociology at charles u: europe is the heart of sociological theory. i love theory - any kind. there is something about theorists that inspire awe in me. to come up with these new ideas and back them up with thoughts that were, at the time, rather abstract, knowing you undoubtedly will face stark criticism earns my respect. the king of sociological thought at charles is lazarsfeld. in the political science department, it is huntington and modelski. you can't go wrong writing about any of these in essays.
charles is also very well respected so we get some awesome guest lecturers and seminars from visitors.

and, i am about to dump a year and half of thesis work for a new subject....i think. if so, my brain won't be on vacation at all this summer......
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pretty dead on

My Personality
Openness To Experience
You are neither a subdued loner nor a jovial chatterbox. You enjoy time with others but also time alone. You are calm and composed, reacting well to situations that most people would describe as stressful. Novelty, variety, and change spice up your life and make you a curious, imaginative, and creative person. You have a strong interest in others' needs and well-being. You are pleasant, sympathetic, and cooperative. You like to live for the moment and do what feels good now. Your work tends to be careless and disorganized.

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amazingly dead on....
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don't fear death

bout damn time

jefferson indicted? good god, what took so long?

A federal grand jury has handed down public corruption indictments against Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson.

Jefferson faces charges including racketeering, conspiracy, soliciting bribes, wire fraud, obstruction of justice and money-laundering. Jefferson, a Democrat, has been the subject of an ongoing probe in which FBI agents found more than $90,000 in cash in his freezer.

The Louisiana Democrat has consistently denied wrongdoing.

Court documents show investigators believe he took bribery money to pay off foreign officials so they would do business with a company tied to his family.

The Justice Department will release more information at 2:30 this afternoon.

Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher, U.S. Attorney for Eastern Virginia Chuck Rosenberg and FBI officials hold a news conference in Washington on the indictments. You can hear this live on the Big 870 - WWL am, 105.3 WWL fm and WWL.com.
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meet me at the old saloon and make sure there's a Dixie moon

i have left new orleans many times over my life. i always come home, but i always leave again. utah, kansas city, india..... i have never been so homesick. i feel a bit like i have betrayed a lover, ill and bedridden, by taking off for brighter lights. they say home is in the heart, but i think there are always physical places we call home. you know, those places where, after being away a while, you let out a long sigh when you walk out of the airport and inhale or turn a curve and come into the cityscape. i've always felt that way when i go home. the inhale from the airport is exhaust and humidity in its own sweetness. or rolling in across the twin spans, the sailboats sprinkling the horizon. i know cities have their own personalities, but there are so many cubbies in my heart that are uniquely new orleans. music, food, words, attitude, places..... friends.
i should be happy to miss out on the heat of the summer, eh?
still... i miss sitting on the deck of the boat with a glass of wine, feeding the ducks and watching the sun set over the lake. i am spoiled sleeping on the water, being rocked to sleep. i want to ride my bike on the lake on sunday morning after staying out much too late in the marigny saturday night. :)
there is something different in being away this time..... maybe it is the disastrous bond of katrina or maybe, in some silly way, i don't want the city that care forgot to think i forgot to care.
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