Snow in March

It's true that Virginia gets little to know snow, at least in my area. So the sudden rash of winter weather has been a bit disconcerting. A week ago we received about six inches, and today I awoke to a fury of flurries falling. Weather is a fickle creature to wrestle around here. Interestingly enough, my girlfriend has a way of knowing just when to send some article of winter-capable clothing. The first snowstorm, albeit nothing spectacular, I received a package perhaps a day or so before that contained, among other things, wool socks. And today I found a package notification in my mailbox. A manila colored stuffed with two books and a sturdy winter hat. The temperature this week went from a soaring seventy or so degrees to the dismal thirty to low forties. Yes, yes everything can be said to have been planned by the individual, but the accuracy of the packages astounds me, and if we were to see such in a movie or a novel, we would consider it to be something of great importance and highly significant to the plot. Much props to the all-knowing girlfriend indeed! : D

Oh ho! That is not what I am here to talk about, sorry sorry indeed. This week, I have been toying with the idea of recording lectures with a tape recorder. I never put much stock in audio recordings of lectures and would also never go out of my way to purchase a device to do such. Why pay money when I should be writing quickly? Or learn the slightly outmoded ways of Greg Shorthand, for anyone who remembers that craze.

Over my spring break, which due to a sudden dropping of a good six plus inches was anything but, I went to Union Station in DC, waiting for the 86 bulleting, or chugging along, to Boston, Massachusetts. I arrive horrifically early to most appointments of any sort of high priority. Morning rush hour traffic both bores and somewhat frightens me, so I left before the traffic even built up. To anyone who does a morning commute, you will understand that means I left way, way earlier than I needed. My early arrival tendencies were unnecessary. All of the odd weather left both the tracks and cars frozen for an indeterminable period of time (this is a whole story within itself). I tend to stay up the night before traveling, I chock it up to all of the pre-travel excitement. My eyes were blurry, yawns were coming out all over the place. I needed that traditional caffeine fix that only a nice dose of hot coffee, black, can provide. I sat in an elevated chair with a raised table facing towards the window, watching the sun rise up and thinking about how dirty pigeons must be, when an older gentleman asked to sit next to me. He bought me a cup of coffee, which was nice since I feel very odd about giving McDonalds my money. Long story short! We ambled around the outside of the station. He quoted the engravings along the upper most portion of the Station's exterior walls. Soon the discussion turned to my education. He said the answer was in how you record information. "Good records, man, that's what's key. I'd be sittin' in class with this baby," he pulls out a medium size, black tape recorder, "and I could catch every word. If you've got everything you won't miss a thing. You take it; Telling you man it's important."

A few nights ago I got a hold of some double AA batteries (terribly overpriced) and a few mini-cassettes. I tried recording my Urban Theory class and used it a little bit today. I have never used a recorder before. Taking out the small object, I hit the play button only to hear a squeaking sound as the reels, who knows how old, rotate. A part of me feels odd about recording a professor's every word and students' responses to the tiny plastic piece. I approached my English professor, Shingavi about the matter. He laughed for a little bit at my awkwardness but eventually asked if it was an MP3 recorder and if I minded sharing the audio files... Lucky for me, I have an interesting set of friends that are always willing to help me out. I now have such a device. Just a matter of getting over a fear of recording. Ever the analyst, I wonder what it is that makes me so scared about it? If the method works, why question it? Ah, but doesn't that just open up a huge can of worms if we take that argument far out of proportion. This reminds me of a segment within a book I am reading for Culture and Imperialism entitled Netherland. "'It's been snowing here,' I said. 'Jake could build a snowman on Twenty-third Street.' Rachel sniffled. 'Well I'm not moving him over there so he can build a snowman. By that logic we should all head for the North Pole. What's left of it.'" (99) (Side note, you see how the '" thing is happening. How do you handle that? Is it just " at the end of a sentence?) Maybe the quote comes completely out of left field, but eh whatever it has been a long week. So! I have the recorder and we shall see how it goes. Should definitely be handy for the Chinese class.

This weekend I get to work for a showcase on campus to introduce prospective students to the wonderful major of Anthropology, hopefully I will be able to answer the questions with both intelligence and class! Oh, finally thoughts. Turned in a book review on Waley's Opium War through Chinese Eyes, might post that up later. My big concern now is over this whole...literature review. I have never written anything quite like it, so fingers crossed.

No comments: