Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Prince of Darkness - Part Deux

I had my last tutorial with the POD (Prince of Darkness), earlier this week to discuss the submissions for my final portfolio. My grade depends on good, solid stories and since the POD has hated almost everything (with obvious abhorrent passion) that I've submitted - with the exception of the science fiction story which I created just to cease the verbal abuse - I didn't know what I was going to do. Oh, the POD. The more I got to know the POD, the more he reminded me of my husband. I don't know whether that's good or bad, but it just seems I'm surrounded by intellects who think they know it all. And here I stand as the sacrificial babe to their mental sadistic games.

When I started this course I vented continuously to my husband about the POD: "I hate him, I can't stand him, he's a moron, he doesn't know beans, how the hell did he ever get a Ph.D., what friggin' college is giving away Ph.D.s 'cause I want one, what possessed me, how am I ever going to get through this," yadda, yadda, yadda, ad nauseam. And, hubby, being hubby, simply let me rattle on until I was spent, not once ceasing his reading (God forbid) because, after all, the man must read his 500,000 words per day or he's not happy and because after 30 years of marriage these rants have ceased to provide amusement.

He waits for me to finish and then says, "What are you worried about? All of your professors have always commented on how well you write and so will he. He just has a different method of teaching, that's all. He's testing you. He plans to break you so he can remold you. Watch." And he would go back to reading his paper or book because explaining this to someone who claims she's intelligent is just too much for him to deal with and at which point he undoubtedly begins to wonder how he ever married someone with the brain capacity of a gnat.

The POD was ruthless. The POD took pleasure in my discontent, inconsiderate to how I felt. The POD wanted to own my soul. I hated him. Passionately. But stronger than my hate was my back, which was up. He was not going to win. Oh, PODdy, PODdy, PODdy, you don't know me when I'm angry.

So here I was sitting in his office ready to fight him to the death for that "A" that I so rightly deserved, if not, just for the sole reason of having survived his mental and emotional abuse: a survivor's medal of honor, if you will. But the POD had been abducted and in his place was an alien in human form whom I was unfamiliar with. And he was a nice alien. A freak of nature alien, because aliens generally are not nice, now are they? Hmmm? Maybe this is all a dream. This can't be the POD. Not my meanie, insufferable POD.

He begins speaking. "First off, let me start by saying you have your A."

Huh? I wasn't ready for this. Who is this man?

"Your work, your commitment, your level of writing, your imagination - boy, you have some imagination - is all A material."

Hmm? Really, dude, because all along I sensed you were a wee bit dissatisfied with what I was producing; in fact, hate would be the noun best used here.

This alien POD apparently read minds as well. He smiles and says, "I see."

Huh? What do you see?

"Listen," he continues, "you're a very good writer. That's always been a given, and I saw that from your first submission. But after reading a few of your stories I saw the style of writing you preferred and were comfortable in. Too comfortable, in fact. I wanted to take you out of this comfort zone and force you to try something different. I wanted you to see your potential and see for yourself that you could write something outside of what you were used to. I think it was a challenge that paid off."

He's trying to break you so he can remold you. That little know-it-all bastard I had at home was right all along.

"And you really surprised me with this science fiction story. I don't think you realize how good this is. I mean, this is really good stuff! I think you might just be a science fiction writer. How does that strike you?"

Great. I wanted to write about light and love and happy, happy people and now you're telling me that my soul is dark? Oh, PODdy, what did I ever do to you? I thought you liked me.

The rest of the meeting we talk about my submissions and how he has seen me grow as a writer and I concur that his mandatory science fiction suggestion (can you say oxymoron?) took me out of my element altogether and proved to be a good thing. I add, for dramatic purposes because after all I am a writer and can't help myself, how I found myself hitting walls left and right, pulling my hair, and eating my nails to the quick because I couldn't figure out how to do it. There were times I even considered digging my eyeballs out of their sockets with my bare hands just to see if I could birth a story from that. Then, I finally tell him, all of a sudden the doors of my imagination opened and a story began to unfold; it took a life of its own. It went through many transformations, each submission with major revisions until I finally began to understand, feel, and live the characters. They became real to me; I had gone through the wall. But, still, I had problems because even though I had these fantastic, crazy visions in my head of how I wanted the story to be told, where I wanted it to lead, how I wanted it to read, how I wanted to describe certain alien things without sounding elementary, etc. I was having real difficulty translating that into words. Translating sci-fi ideas into words is not easy for this chick. It was frustrating, to say the least.

"Writing is not easy; writing shouldn't be easy. Welcome to the world of writers. And you are a natural born writer because your imagination is wild and you have no problem when it comes to words."

I turned around. Who is he speaking to? I was speechless. Natural born writer, huh? Hey, I should put that on my resume and get the hell out of Dodge and find me a better gig.

"All these stories you submitted are the seeds to future books. They are all very imaginative and good and could be expanded upon. And you managed to learn what many of my students refuse to learn: to be ruthless and critical with their work and dispense with words, paragraphs, even characters that you are in love with simply because it does not work." I'm feeling my face redden from all of these unexpected compliments.

He continues, "I find many students have a hard time doing this, they don't want to let go and feel they own those words. But we don't own our stories, now do we Rebecca? The stories own us."

*sigh* I hate it when he makes sense. "Absolutely and thank you. But which stories should I submit?" I ask.

"All of them."

"All of them? Even Abigail Reborn? Because I have to agree with you that, in retrospect, that was a shitty piece of work."

"Even Abigail Reborn. Yes. It may have been shitty piece of work but the idea was fantastic." *sigh* Okay, so now you like me. Hubbie said you did. I'm the moron. It's official.

He then proceeds to tell me that for next semester he wants me to write a screenplay. I inform him I've never written one before - I've written plays, but never screenplays - and wouldn't even know where to begin. He smiles. I've seen that smile before. It's the doors of Hell opening up. He goes to his bookshelf and retrieves a copy of one of his father's screenplays. His father was an Academy Award winning screenwriter.

"Here. Read this. Now go write me a screenplay." I was floored. In my hands I held a copy of an Academy Award winning screenplay typed on the black and white typewriters of the 50s. You could see the areas where the keys got jammed together to create an extra letter in a word and how it was erased delicately and with care. I was speechless. I get up and say goodbye and on my way out he thanks me for taking the course and being so involved and tells me "'s a pleasure to have students like you in class so other students can see what good writing looks like and what commitment is all about."

Uh-huh, yeah, yeah.....but I was already floating back to my office on the cloud that held the screenplay that I was so humbled to be given. Pfft! Who needs accolades? That's for amateurs.

So I'm on a high for the rest of the day and soon liken the class to childbirth. All of a sudden I forget the pain? I have my last class with him that night and afterwards a classmate and I begin talking about our tutorials, grades and such. She informs me that the POD was always very fond of me.

"Stop it! Come on, you saw how harsh he was with me! I saw him handle many a students with kid gloves, but with me he was harsh. Why, I ask you? What did I ever do to him?"

She smiles. "Listen, in the tutorials I had with him he always spoke about you and said that there were only two good writers in that class, you being one of them. And, that if I wanted to be a good writer that I should read your submissions and see how you wrote." I thought I could not float any higher. My head got so big I could barely fit it in my car.

And to my POD, I am sorry. Oh, PODdy POD POD, what an enigma you turned out to be. To think I spoke ill of you... just one more reason why I am cursed to eternity, because I am what you call a mensa - and no that is not the bright connotation it implies - that's Spanish for "dumb." *sigh*

Photo, courtesy of Deviant Art

December 16, 2008

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The POD Chronicles - Genesis Reborn

Courtesy of Deviant Art

Last night I was watching an episode of House and as I'm sitting there laughing at how he treats his minions with his usual comforting and kind way and it hits me....House is my POD. You know, both of them have a certain knack with people. Yes, my POD is House... abrasively charming, nobody understands me, and hardcore I-really-couldn't-give-a-hill-of-beans-about-you-because-it's-all-about-me attitude. *sigh*

I hate the POD. Yes, I know I said I liked him for a bit there awhile back, but I'm back to hating him. Well, maybe hate is a strong word. No. Actually, hate suits me just fine right about now.

I am once again his puppet and I have this little problem with being controlled. As you know, I'm taking this Project Seminar course where we are required to write X amount of pages for the semester and hand in submissions in any genre we like - poetry, play, short story, screenplay, or memoir. Well, I've already exceeded the X amount of pages requirement and should just sit back and coast for the rest of the semester, no? No. He's not having it. He's not accepting any of the work submitted as part of my portfolio. Why? Because this is who he is. He makes his own rules and then breaks them as he sees fit. Hey! Buddy! This is not the way it's supposed to work! I see what you're doing. I see you accepting other writer's works, why can't you accept mine? Because.

Because this is the relationship between me and my POD. He loves to torture me and see me sweat and see me get frustrated. He likes to bring me to the precipice of madness and whisper in my ear, "Jump!" But he knows me well already and is taking much pleasure because he knows I'm no quitter and that what I will do instead is step aside and point the way and tell him, "you first."

No, the POD is requiring my soul again. He will not settle for less. The play that I submitted - which I thought pretty decent - he rejected. Too dramatic, he pontificates. It's supposed to be dramatic, Dr. Ballbuster.

I then submitted two poems - a genre I'm not comfortable in but I pushed myself because poetry is hard to write. Nope. Rejects it. Yet, I thought my submissions to be much better than some other ones submitted - but what do I know, I'm a minion. "You're trying too hard," he says. Oh, you think? But, hey, "can I get kudos for using the word neologistic? Wasn't that clever?" No answer. Just a batting of the eyelashes as a warning sign that if I don't quickly leave his Space of Grace, the verbal flagellations will soon begin. I depart with tail between my legs and grateful that I have been spared. But am I crushed, yet? Nope. Nowhere near there.

"Give me Genesis", he says as I start to walk away.


"I said, work on Genesis. That is what I want from you."

A heavy sigh escapes my lips and my shoulders fall in defeat. "But I'm done with Genesis," I meekly respond.

"No, you're not. Go back to it. I want more. I want to know about Zafalon. What's going on with Zafalon?"

"Zafalon's a freak, end of story."
I know the story is not yet finished, but I was hoping to coast this semester. Can you give a girl a break?

"Good. Great. It has potential. You're nowhere being done."

"I'm not feeling him. I can't channel him." I'm trying to reason with the unreasonable.

"Read Communion. You'll channel him soon enough."

"I'm not reading Communion again. You told me to read that last semester and I couldn't sleep for days. I refuse to read it again."

"Read it and stop your whining. I want ten pages by next week."

I walk away, mumbling under my breath, I fucking hate you, you sadistic bastard. I'm all tapped out here. I don't know where I'm going with that little freak I created and I really could use some time off from the dark side...blah, blah, blah, blah, blah... I turn around. He sees my discontent. He smiles. I hate you, blah, blah, blah...

I submit first draft of Zafalon, whom I can't tap. I don't get this kid yet. I don't want to make him the generic hybrid we've all been accustomed to reading about. But, I have to submit something. I have to start somewhere. The seeds need to be planted. He' a genius. Gee, I didn't see that coming. He's a freak and can't connect with kids his age. *Yawn* really? Kid's gonna save the world. Wow! Now that's original! Garbage, garbage, garbage. My little friend in class who's a real genius and is 15 years old taking this course says it's a bit boring. I tell her, I couldn't agree with you more. I plan to scrap it but the POD says it's got potential. Oh, yeah, show me where? Cause I'm not seeing it! Garbage. What I need is a slam-dunk kid with varied weird, scary, freaky type of personalities; the kind of kid that will make you jump out of your skin.

Then I have a thought. This was his plan all along. I verbalize that door. How about instead of having him be another save-the-world good-boy hybrid, why not make him evil? And why not make him a girl?! A nasty, evil girl that looks real sweet on the outside and nobody knows she's this sadistic freak on the inside? I was kidding. Well, call it Christmas because the POD's eyes lit up so brightly it nearly blinded me. He likes the word nasty and he likes the word evil and he likes, most especially, the word freak. And for the hybrid to be in female form, well, this was just too much for him. He started salivating like a rabid dog.

YES! YES! YES! Go with it! Let yourself go! Don't hold back! Give me evil, give me dark, give me naassssttttyyyyy! That's what I was waiting for!

Mother effer is a freak and is never happy unless I tap into my Vader. And I'm just not the brightest because I should know better. Why oh why did I open that door? Now I'm breathing just as hard as Darth - but from anxiety - because how am I going to do this? Another lovely trip to the dark side where I will consider gouging my eyes out as a alternative to writing. My light sabered quill cannot pen the dark world this man is imagining. Obviously, he believes I can do this. But, can I? Probably. Who knows, let's see if I have it in me. He already has his friggin' X amount of pages and I should be done. But he's not having it. And I hate him. But, then again, he wasn't the one that opened that door. No. Correction. That was me. So, I guess I should hate me. And the descent into that dark, dark world has now begun.

March 31, 2009

The POD is Back!

Courtesy of Deviant Art

It’s September and guess what that means? It's PODdy POD time again! Yes, I am once again taking a course with my greatly misunderstood POD. My POD whose initiation rite consists of mercilessly flogging new innocent blood and making them squirm in fear to the point of meltdown. My POD who has dispatched many students in fits of tears as they leave and curse him to all eternity. My POD who causes much emotional pain in his quest to teach his minions proper English and give them some semblance of an education.

*sigh* I miss my POD. This should be fun.

Real fun.

Another course with the POD. Hmm? What can that mean? Well, discomfort for starters. Then, emotional pain which in time will segue into horrific amusement because it's just so crazy and over the top. But what I look forward to the most will be watching the newbies squirm. Oh, yeah, I've been there. He is not the most agreeable and gentlest of teachers at first. At first. He tests you. It's not that this is how he gets his kicks; it's how he gets to know you and how formidable of a student you will be. So time will tell whether these newbies have it in them to make it through or not; taking his course is not for the weak. I can already see how horrified he will be at learning how much of himself he will have to give - oh, the hours and the pain! - when he finds how tragically we are slaughtering his English language. Oh, I can’t wait.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been inside the PODs inner sanctum genuflecting at his intellectual greatness. Like innocent lambs to the slaughter, this new blood will have no idea what they have just signed up for and what they will be expected to produce. The man will not accept ordinary or mediocre or for you to simply coast because you don't want to give 150% and you just want to give enough to pass the damn class and get your three credits. No. You will produce with blood, sweat and tears and nothing less and believe you me when I tell you they will be crying and left standing in their own pool of blood. Some will regress and stick their thumbs in their mouths and begin to cry for their mommies; others will just simply laugh in nervous horror and leave.

Well, I am no longer a newbie and he no longer scares me. I’ve been challenged to the extreme by this man and have been taken to the precipice of madness where he has wickedly whispered in my ear to “jump” simply because he felt I would never be able to produce anything he could ever be impressed with and was simply wasting not only my time but his time as well. When I refused to cower in fear or scurry away like some frightened animal and instead simply looked him straight in the eye and responded, “you first,” I won his respect. He finally smiled, nodded his head, and said, “well done. Very well done.”

When I emailed him today to say hello and tell him that I’d be taking a course with him once again, he was happy. The POD has grown a certain attachment to me and he seems to really, really like me (I say this as I hold my Oscar a lá Sally Field). Well, I really, really like him as well and I think we should each start our own fan club.

And, of course, those inevitable words will eventually be said, “How is your novel coming along?” To which I will respond with a million excuses and fail to look sincere because I can’t lie to save my life. The Novel – with a capital T and a capital N because in my world it requires it – has been on the back burner for a solid three months. After my manic commitment where all I did was eat and sleep Zafalon, I couldn’t and didn’t want to channel the freaky kid anymore. I needed a break. Summer beckoned and my mind went on vacation. The birds were chirping and I wanted to join them, the grass was growing and I wanted to sit on it with a blanket and a bottle of wine and block of cheese; there were flowers to be planted, beaches to visit, people to see and BBQ with and places to go. You get the idea. I wanted outdoors, I wanted my weekends, I wanted, I wanted, I wanted. What I didn’t want to do was write. So, I am sure the POD will be disappointed when I tell him I was on hiatus and I will probably loose some of his respect because I have now shown him how undedicated I am and what a loser I can be and he abhors undedicated people and losers, most of all. Oh, fuck it, I needed a friggin’ break, so there! That’s what'll tell him! Yeah, right.

But, summer’s gone and it’s time to get serious again. I can write prolifically during the winter months because I am nester in winter and can spend entire weekends indoors and be completely happy. I can finally channel creepy Zaf once again and his creepy friends and begin to pen, pen, pen with much promise. And, maybe this renewed commitment will sate the manic, hard-to-please POD for a bit...or maybe not. I shall soon see. But if you never read another word from me again, then you know the man was not pleased and has sent me to the bowels of Hell where I obviously belong.

December 2008

The POD Chronicles - Day One

Courtesy of Deviant Art

It's been nice knowing you folks. I bid adieu because the POD has come to reclaim my soul.

You are all familiar with the POD. My very, unusual and brilliant professor who teaches in a manner that is not for the faint of heart. He means well, in his own twisted way.

Well, as you know, I survived his sadistic tormenting of me last semester. In fact, I guess I enjoyed it so much, I signed up again for another one of his flogging sessions. Oh, Rebecca, what. does. this. say. about. you? Well, the truth is that this is an upper-level course that I need and he's the only one teaching it. And he's grown on me. *sigh*

And last night was our first class. For the next three months I will be in his medieval torture chamber awaiting the different levels of agony and unbearable pain he will put me through. Truth be told he sees this as a legitimate way to extract that which he wants from us: our blood. And, our crime? Simply that we are shitty writers that deserve the pillory or rack because our submissions could qualify as nothing less than a crime.

But the POD was quite pleasant last night. Very pleasant. Very kind, sweet and charming. Hmm? Where did my PODdy POD go? The man standing before me looked like the POD, his voice sounded like the POD, but it wasn't the POD. It couldn't be. Well, maybe the holidays were kind and loving to him and he was still basking in the light; or, maybe he met some nice lady friend who is taming his fiery temper; or, or, or....

Oh, I get it! New kids on the block! New blood on which to feast! Reel them in with words of sweet. Yes! How brilliant is my POD?! They're young and innocent and believe him to be a nice, elderly professor who is going to be oh, such a pushover and, oh, such an easy A!


Put those thumbs in your mouths right now fetuses because you are going to start crying for your mommies! You have entered his chamber of horrors and you will not leave unscathed. Tsk, tsk. They looked so trusting too - fiddling with their hairs, yawning, waiting for class to end because they had better things to do. Oh, yeah. Next week you'll be like kittens standing before a pit bull. A pit bull who's hungry and hasn't had a bite to eat in a month.

So, we do our in-class assignment, right? Prompt is snow, extreme heat. Pick your poison. Write for 15 minutes, let it flow. I submit mine. He loves it. WTF? No, no, no!! This is not what I signed up for! Put me on the rack! Tell me it's "shit!" Use me as the example of complete suckiness! Yes, I realize this is not a word, but, hey, my story, I get to make up words.

No, he likes it. As a matter of fact, he wasn't critical or mean to one single person. Not one. Okay, this is boring. What's wrong with you? This has to be bait. Yes. Because next week will be different. Next week, the innocents will finally meet him. How do I know? Because after a week's shitty, unreadable submissions, all Hell will break loose. And they will get to see him discard the costume of a nice, gentle man before their very eyes and see the devil that dwells inside. Oh, I can see the tears now. You want to be a writer? You expect me to applaud this garbage? Do you speak English? Can you write English?!  And the POD will once again spew those venomous words that will leave us whimpering at his feet begging for his forgiveness for being such incompetent writers.

And this course is not a free ride. It is not an easy A. We're to produce. At least 100-200 pages of worthy material, not mediocre material, but solid material that could be publishable. Be it in the form of a play, screenplay, novel, memoir, poems.


Well, scratch the memoir because that would take half a page at most and would undoubtedly induce coma in any reader because of the boredom factor.

So now I'm down to a novel (250 pages). In three months. I'm not brilliant; my brain is not that big.

Okay, screenplay. Seems daunting. And do I have time for writing something that I'm a complete novice at while doing actually what I get paid for, preparing for my college's commencement exercises which sucks the life right out of me? No.

Poetry? Please, I'd rather write a novel and a screenplay! Not my thing.

So what am I left with? A play. I like plays. I can do plays. But I'll write something tragic to keep him from flogging me too severely. He thinks my Pollyanic light shines too bright and thus it is his job to extinguish it and seek out the dark in me. It's how he gets his kicks. But, a 3-act play? Christ!

And instead of using my time now to begin penning my words for this tremendous project, I am here fiddling around and writing this post instead. Okay, so call it mental floss. Because I know the mental beatings will soon begin and, dude, I'm ready for you. I think. And which genre I choose to write is irrelevant anyway. I am now his puppet, doing his bidding. Forget that I have a mind of my own. He's taken possession of it and will not return it until he believes I've earned it. And he will sniff out that which I most fear, that which would want to make me take my brain out and put in a jar for lab rats to pick at. And he will take me to that precipice and tell me to jump and call me a coward if I fail to do his bidding. So, yes, let me have my little moment now, because life as I know it, is now over.

So it's been nice knowing you folks. And I'm off to the Temple of Doom. If I fail to return in one, uninjured piece with my faculties intact, then please know that "the kindness of strangers" has not been lost on me. I like you. I really, really like you. And you've all been very sweet and kind to me. Thank you. *sigh*

Let the verbal flogging begin.

January 27, 2009

Class: Day 4 - *sigh*

Courtesy of Deviant Art

So last week in class the POD decides to channel a Russian. Don't know why, but in a Russian accent he taught all the way. He was quite good and entertaining and perhaps he's training for some undercover operation that I don't know about.

MKIA decided to dye her hair red. It wasn't working. Thank goodness the Fashion Police wasn't around because they would've arrested her on the spot. It was criminal I tell you. With her red hair, ruddy complexion and red outfit she looked like a Twizzler. 'Nuf said.

Dr. Phil was sick and left during break but by then it was too late because he already had spread his lovely germs around... inside an enclosed classroom.... with no open windows. *sigh*

Meanwhile, a student who had been absent for a couple of sessions resurrected and she, too, had been very sick with the flu though she informed us it was not of the swinish variety. She decided to sit next to me. Obviously, the dress code for the day was to wear one's Hazmat suit but I didn't get the memo. *double sigh*

I had a nice conversation with our resident published writer and found he idolizes Sherlock Holmes a bit more than what I would consider normal but I suppose that's par for the course for creative writers. Loopy or not, I like him a lot. He's very sweet.

Big Dude was present of course and sitting in the corner like he usually does ignoring the rest of the human race. I actually saw a hint of a smile touch his face and deducted he had human genes after all. I think. The jury's still out on this.

Unfortunately, I didn't read one single word for this week's assignment but being that last week I was so exhausted from work that I could barely masticate without the help of an assistant who moved my mouth around and ordered me to chew and swallow, I think that's okay. I'm still exhausted and wonder if I'm dying from some rare disease and pray I don't manage to frustrate The POD because he will undoubtedly fail to understand my mumbling, lethargic language and take it as a sign that I'm either uninterested or having a stroke. If he only knew that the last thing I want is to be is in class tonight and instead want to be home on my couch with some cushy pillows and comfy blanket, eating junk food and having control of the remote control with the Beloved silent and reading and not saying a word. I can't process. I can't talk. I can barely think. I've hung my cape and put my superpowers on a break. Actually, I'm so tired right now that if I had someone standing next to me talking smack about me or saying something indecent, I would fail to pick it up. And that's just too bad and too sad because it would've made for some terrific interactions.

October 14, 2009

Class: Day 3 - Said The Spider to the Fly

Compliments of Deviant Art

Day Three.

I arrive a half hour early and I'm happy to see the room is empty. This gives me a chance to review for the quiz on terms and usage that were still clear as mud. I take out my books and notebook, my black fine-point pen, my red fine-point pen and my yellow highlighter (each has a specific purpose) and line all of the items up neatly. Yes, I know, it's a sign of mental illness, but that's how I roll. I settle in, begin to read and review and then wonder if I have the beginnings of dementia because I can't seem to retain a single thing.

No sooner had I read one page when Young Miss Maiden enters. She smiles, I smile. She sits down and immediately begins to speak, "I'm finding this subject very hard." She looks horror stricken. I tell her I feel the same and was so glad to hear her voice it because it then means I'm not the only dummy in class. Oh, my...did I just call her a dummy? Yikes! Will have to repair that little unintended faux-pas next time around. That wasn't what I meant. See? It's all about the usage.

Dr. Phil is the next one to come in; he with the big smile. Nothing bothers this kid. A big hearty "Hello" follows. We greet in turn. He takes a seat next to me. I'm feeling a little generous so I begin to do what I do best: I begin to play reporter and ask one question after another to find out more about him and his passion. He loves it. And, what do I learn? That the kid is not so bad once he dispenses with his arrogance. He's handsome, has a lot of ambition and mucho brain power, so I'm thinking he'd be a good catch for any girl. I think. She'd have to be formidable enough to be able to handle his ego and, he would have to be careful enough not to talk her to death. Goodness the kid can talk! I was dizzy from the onslaught of words.

Then The ShyOne enters the room. She's a very sweet young woman who's always smiling. I find myself always smiling back. Can't help it. I feel if I don't, I'd be rude. She doesn't talk much outside of The POD asking her questions but she decided today she would join in our little pre-class conversation. I was so happy about that. But, of course, me being me, when I get into questioning mode it's a little hard for anyone else to interject. *sigh* yeah, call it a little personality glitch in an otherwise perfect program. It's just that I don't want to share the floor with others, it's just that I get into a zone I forget others exist. Hm? Narcissism. Excellent. Will have to work on that and tweak it to perfection. So, The ShyOne quietly goes back to her book and now we've lost her. Well, too late now, will have to remedy that next week. At this rate, next week is going to be very busy for me.

Moving on.

Guess who walks in? No, it's not The POD. It's Big Dude. With his benevolent face. Oh, I'm sorry, did I say benevolent? I meant MALevolent. This guy is a walking Black Hole. He sucks all the energy out of everything he comes into contact with. My newfound BFF Dr. Phil who was still animatedly talking all of a sudden forgets how to construct a sentence and quiets down. The ShyOne and Young Miss Maiden take one look and I'm sure they peed. He takes a seat in the corner of the room and doesn't join us at the table. Thank you. The farther you sit Big Dude, the happier we will be.

We're all quiet and looking at each other. Are we afraid to talk? Oooo, big man is in the room and now we're all scared? Come on! What the heck is going on here guys? I was just about to start a conversation when MKIA walks in. Oh, MKIA. What. Are. You. Webbing? And wearing?!!

Will you walk into my parlour?" said the Spider to the Fly,
'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy"

MKIA was all glammed up. Gee, I wonder why? Methinks she's looking for a lover. In walks her dinner, The POD. MKIA turns her chair around so The POD can see her bare legs, high heels, and itty-bitty skirt.
"I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?" said the Spider to the Fly"

The POD does not notice MKIA but notices Big Dude right away. Yeah, MKIA you got competition but it's not what you think. "Why don't you join us at the table," says The POD to the Big Dude.

"No, thank you," is the response.

Yet, The POD continues, "No, please, I want you to join us at the table." 

Dr. Phil scoots on over closer to me so he can make room for Big Dude. "Here, pull up your chair," he says to him. Easy there, Dr. Phil, that sounded a bit too forceful and I think Big Dude is not going to like it. He expects submission from all.

Big Dude looks at them both and says, "I said I'm fine." All quiet and menacing but very friendly-like. I know this is oxymoronic but it was menacing in a nice kind of way.

The POD gives up. Dr. Phil decides he will keep his chair very cozily next to mine because now I see he's a little afraid of Big Dude. If he pees and wets me, I'll belt him.

Moving on.

The class is interesting. Very animating, very informative. The fog starts to lift and I actually begin to understand all this complicated stuff. Hm? Go figure. I'm actually smarter than I look. I notice the other students feel the same because, apparently, they were stuck in that mire of confusion themselves. I felt good and happy when I got certain answers that others didn't. Hehe! So friggin' mature Rebecca. So high school. But, yeah, that's how I, na, na, na, na!

During the break, The POD decides to give the floor to MKIA who blushes and giggles at the attention she's suddenly getting from him. Hm? That little skirt is working after all. Oh, PODdy, I thought you a more evolved human male, what a disappointment you've turned out to be. MKIA somehow manages to put the brakes on that fast train to Embarrassment and manages (I was very impressed how she did this) to switch to Intelligent mode and inform us of a paper she was writing on the miseducation of U.S. children. Her argument was that we overpraise our children in an effort for them to do well in school when, in fact, what we are doing is just the opposite. We are setting them up to fail because they believe their mediocre efforts are outstanding and then they really don't push themselves to their full potential. I must say it's an argument I've been having for decades with others. And MKIA adds that she finds college here in the U.S. to be too easy. In the U.S. five courses is considered to be full-time course load when in her country, 14 courses is the required amount of classes they have to take each semester for them to achieve full-time status. We all did a double take and thought maybe there was a glitch in the translation and we had misunderstood. I asked, "You mean fourteen credits?"

"No! Fourteen courses! And we don't get to choose what we want either!"

You could've heard a pin drop. Wow. "Yes!" she screams. Her complexion turns ruddy and now she's all hot and bothered and I wonder if it has anything to do with what she's talking about or the fact that The POD is all eyes....on her. Hm? Is he salivating? He better not be salivating.

Class ends. The POD senses our delight in finally understanding this week's work and decides to drop a bombshell, "I've been easy on you. Starting next week it's going to be harder. Much, much harder. This was just a little taste. Next week, the real work begins." I knew it. I knew the evil, little bastard was still alive and kicking and lurking inside that suave 007 costume somewhere.

Class ends, everyone begins to walk out and I see MKIA stays behind to speak with The POD, swinging in her chair, playing with her hair, giggling....

"Sweet creature!" said the Spider, "you're witty and you're wise,
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I've a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf,
If you'll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself."

September 25, 2009

Class: Day Two - Oh Boy

Day Two. Two more people have joined our group. Thankfully, Big Dude wasn't there to mess with The POD and, personally, I was relieved.

The two newbies were the editor of the school newspaper, The Dave, a nice young man that is the doppelganger of David Duchovny, and a young girl, Young Miss Maiden, who was, for lack of a better word, apoplectic. Young Miss Maiden appeared terrified when I came in. It appeared The Dave had assumed the role of informant and graciously apprised Young Miss Maiden all things POD. As an example, he related an incident where The POD was accosted by a student one time after class who  began arguing with him about his grade. The Dave informed Young Miss Maiden that The POD stood his ground and stated the grade would remain and no amount of aggression or threats would change it. Poor kid, the story obviously worked. The Dave was obviously having too good a time messing with Young Miss Maiden and this only made MKIA (Miss Know It All) salivate and want a piece of her as well. So she, in turn, gifted Young Miss Maiden with some horror stories of her own. I then felt it was my turn to join in the diatribe - "Oh, he isn't that bad. You'll do well. I wouldn't worry. In the end, you'll come to love him." Yes, I put a damper on these two evil spirits. I then thought I saw The Dave and MKIA give me the evil eye but since I was wearing my cross and garlic necklace, I felt protected.

Moving on.

This week I got to know a little more about my other classmates. One is a published writer who is quiet, shy and writes fantasies. He brought his published book which looked very interesting. That it was not a self-published book and had a house publish it on its first try was even more impressive. But when The POD asked him how the royalties were coming along, he laughed. Meager. Paltry. Non-existent. I felt bad for him but fantasies - unless they are well known - are a hard genre to sell. I, for one, will be buying his book not only as a supporting classmate but mostly because it really does look interesting. I skimmed the pages and the writing was intelligent.

Another classmate, who took the opportunity of wear the crown of alpha male since Big Dude was AWOL, decided he was going to be the night's big dog. Let's call him Dr. Phil. Dr. Phil is a last year student majoring in philosophy. He was all about philosophy. Ad nauseum. He peppered all of his answers with philosophical examples that went on longer than they needed to be and I think he truly enjoyed listening to himself speak. He actually brought his corgito ergo sum to every question. I think you're talking too much, therefore you're beginning to annoy me and I am getting outta here. But I stayed and suffered.

And it continued. During our 15 minute break when the professor asked those of us who stayed behind what we wanted to talk about, Dr. Phil quickly asked if he could speak about philosophy because he loved it so much and was his passion. Really? I hadn't noticed. The POD humored him and what happens? A 15-minute monologue follows where he loses all of us, including the professor who said he wasn't that smart when it came to a lot of things, one of them being philosophy (I think that was a little hint for Dr. Phil to take it down a bit for the rest of us because we were all lost). Another student who sat there literally with his mouth open finally voiced what we all thought: "Wow. I have no idea what you just said." You had to laugh because it was so out there. At the end, he thanked all of us for listening to him (did we ever have a choice? Hostage would be the noun best used here) and said that no one ever wanted to listen to him and he really appreciated us showing an interest. Well, if you could call a hostaged class interested.

Moving on.

The second half of the class got very animated analyzing one single word that I - yes, me - had a problem with in a certain context. My question fueled a lengthy discussion. We dissected the word, analyzed it, turned it every which way from Sunday and would be the kind of roundtable discussion that would drive any non-English usage/language lover insane. Dr. Phil was quiet. He had very little to contribute.

Sorry Dr. Phil, learn the rules...when in Rome. These are our two hours. Yes, we're selfish that way. It's our time, it's our rules and that's the way we roll.

September 18, 2009