Thursday, February 03, 2005 ______________________________________________________________________________

Off My Chest 

I try not to rant about professors because it is very often the case that the rant is only relevant to people who share that one same prof and/or understand the course material. However, I am 100% certain that absolutely everyone in the known universe will be able to empathize with what happened in class today. I do have a large essay due tomorrow, but until I've said my piece, there's no way anything is getting done.

No prizes for guessing that the prof who is inspiring this entry is Carden. Those of you who didn't already guess that should read my blog more regularly. Carden co-teaches my acoustic phonetics course with Bateson, the other reason I'm tap tap tapping at my keyboard with sharp little jabs. Since I've mainly been complaining about Carden on my blog, I'm going to introduce all of you to Bateson.

Eric Vatikiotis-Bateson is one of a kind. Or, at least, for the sake of the general public, I hope he is. He smells like old cigarette smoke and stale coffee. I know this because he generally sits next to the students in class while Carden teaches. He is also co-professoring my other class which is about the relationship between language in timing, which means that I have two opportunities to be sitting next to him. He sits in the same place every class though, so now I know to avoid it. Smell is a superficial quality though, and I would be shallow to dwell on it.

Since all the classes in which I have Bateson is team-taught, I get to see how he interacts with the person who is primarily responsible for presenting the material. He interjects with weird tangents at many points, gets halfway through his point, drops it and starts another one. Not that the people teaching seem to mind, in fact, they encourage him. So really, his behaviour might not be that bad. I mean it's all about knowing the people you are working with and what they will tolerate from you. It seems like most of his interjections are welcome and now that I'm used to him, I guess it's alright. When he is teaching the lesson himself, he never seems to have a plan. He gets there in the end though, which evens everything out. I'm just the kind of person that likes to know exactly where things are going and how exactly we are going to get there.

So Bateson could stand to stop smoking and cut back on coffee and his manner takes some getting used to. That's not so bad. What makes him absolutely impossible is his cellphone. That's right. His cellphone. It rings at least once every class. It's a sharp, jerky, characteristic ring. There's no way you can mistake it for someone else's cellphone. Just in case you might be thinking that it is someone else's cellphone, however, he answers it in class. He answers it not with a whispered, embarassed "hello?" but with a declarative "Hello?". This is bad enough when someone else is giving a lecture and he's sitting near the front. I guess it's alright that he interrupts other people's lectures though because it's not like he doesn't interrupt his own. Uh huh. Not kidding. He will answer his cellphone in the middle of his own lecture. We've checked. He's not having a baby. There are no outstanding emergencies in his life. He doesn't even have the courtesy to put his cellphone on silent. Goddamn. Bateson, he's a great guy, if not for his bloody, bright orange cellphone.

As you might have guessed, Bateson's cellphone rang again in class while Carden was giving a lecture. No matter. It's not like paying attention to Carden would have done any good.

There was an assignment due today. The unusual thing about this assignment is that not everyone was told how to go about doing it. The class is split into 5 labs, and each lab got its own set of information. In fact there was one section in the assignment which no one was told how to do. Seriously. It's not like there was too much we could do about it. We could of course have gone to the TA's office hours, if it wasn't already swamped and so early in the week that most of us slackers hadn't begun to tackle the assignment yet. The TA (Ian Wilson, who was my professor last term) is amazing. He's even kind enough to post a summary of the issues raised during his office hours and address them for us on the class online discussion board. The problem though, is that really, no one is sure what Carden wants.

Oh Carden, Carden, Carden. I figured that as I got used to him he wouldn'd get to me as much. Boy was I wrong. Everything I have said about Carden in this post is nothing new. I must have bitched about it a thousand times before, and several times on this blog. I almost come to expect it of him. What he did today, however, is just mind-bogglingly infuriating. Mind-bogglingly.

So someone raised her hand to ask, finally, how to answer the one question on the assignment that no one was taught to perform. I don't even have to post the question, but if anyone is familiar with resonant frequencies in the vocal tract, please, please, please, please, please contact me so that you can help me. That's because this, word-for-word, was Carden's response to the question:

"Now imagine you're a sound wave. Where would you resonate?"

*&^%TRGJHT^&*UYHGHTGBJKIU&^%$EDFCVXSWQWSDCVBNJO)(*&^%$#@#$%&*()P:LMNBGHYU()_ IMAGINE I'M A FUCKING SOUND WAVE?! Imagine I'm a sound wave. Imagine. I'm. A. Sound. Wave. Well. That makes things perfectly clear doesn't it?

And you wonder why I need a holiday.

posted by Joie! at 2:13 p.m.


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