Quelle météorologie !

6 Oct

…as Monsieur Borer would say. The weather’s great right now – not hot, not cold (although some Californians seem to think so – ha!)…just right. High 60s / low 70s with a Pacific breeze. It still feels more like summer than fall for me, but then again, “seasons” are kind of an abstract notion in California. The best part about a front coming in off the ocean is that the smog is temporarily pushed out of the city. The improved visibility shows it. I took advantage of the weather yesterday to climb to the top of one of the parking structures on campus and take pictures. Here’s what I got:

Looking towards Hollywood (note the sign in the distance):

(Click here for a larger image.)

Looking towards Beverly Hills / Westwood:

(Click here for a larger image).

Looking downtown, with the San Gabriel mountains in the distance:

(Click here for a larger image.)

I’ll probably add these photos to a ‘USC’ facebook photo album in the future, after I’ve taken some pictures of the campus for my friends back home. Not to make you guys jealous or anything…

In fact, I’m quite bummed about missing fall in New England two years in a row. It’s easily my favourite season, if only for the beauty of it. Well, I can always look at old pictures…

I take that back. Photographs can never capture the real beauty. But this picture does make me miss my backyard.

It seems as if I’m experiencing a slight respite after a couple extremely sleep-depriving weeks of schoolwork (hence why I have so much to write about here), but it might simply be an illusion. I’m behind on the reading for my T.O. class now, and I have to write paper for it this week. And it seems as if everyone in the class is having trouble with the prompt. Ugh. I don’t know where to begin. I suppose I should start by catching up on the reading, then, eh? There goes my respite.

My first Syntax midterm was on Wednesday; I didn’t have any serious difficulty with it. While I may think that syntax is quite possibly the biggest waste of time in the world, it’s still interesting and I don’t mind it as long as I can hang on. I’m just looking forward to my phonology-intense semestre at Sussex (ok, so I haven’t gotten the confirmation yet, but why wouldn’t they accept me? 🙂 ) I signed up for four courses: Modern English Pronunciation, Phonology, Historical Linguistics, and Sociology of Language; plus two alternatives: Historical Geographies and Language Acquisition. The thought of these courses makes my mouth water…

As for French, I have another poetry analysis due Tuesday, and a larger one due Saturday. I also have to memorise the first stanza of “L’invitation au voyage” by Baudelaire, which I in fact recorded myself reciting a couple years ago. Unfortunately I can’t find the file, but I remember enjoying the poem. I’ve gone ahead and recorded myself reading my last memorised poem, “Correspondances,” which you can listen to here (I know, it’s not the best recitation…I sound kind of silly). And the text:

La Nature est un temple où de vivants piliers
Laissent parfois sortir de confuses paroles;
L’homme y passe à travers des forêts de symboles
Qui l’observent avec des regards familiers.

Comme de longs échos qui de loin se confondent
Dans une ténébreuse et profonde unité,
Vaste comme la nuit et comme la clarté,
Les parfums, les couleurs et les sons se répondent.

Il est des parfums frais comme des chairs d’enfants,
Doux comme les hautbois, verts comme les prairies,
— Et d’autres, corrompus, riches et triomphants,

Ayant l’expansion des choses infinies,
Comme l’ambre, le musc, le benjoin et l’encens,
Qui chantent les transports de l’esprit et des sens.

-Charles Baudelaire

And as for my fourth class – composition – well, there’s not much to say except that it’s kind of a disappointment. I haven’t learned much in terms of compositional skills. I’ve only been introduced to a little new information regarding writing contemporary art music. The focus of the class is modern art music because that’s what the teacher composes. And I hate it. I hate Ives, I hate Cage, I hate all of that stuff. It’s just like “modern art.” It’s stupid. I really hope that I’ll eventually be able to take a course that will give me the tools to compose the kind of music I want to compose. It might have been great to have gotten into the music school and become a film scorer, but honestly I don’t think I was meant to be one, at least not professionally.

So, while school may still be stressing me out, I haven’t avoided relaxation altogether. Last night I watched The Machinist, which was quite good (except Christian Bale’s skinniness really creeped me out), and today I’ll watch The Godfather: Part III so I can finish up that trilogy (I can’t believe I hadn’t seen it in its entirety). I’ve also been ogling the new trailer for 300, which looks awesome. I’m also looking forward to Flags of our Fathers, which has been advertised on TV quite a bit. One of the flag-picker-uppers, René Gagnon, was a French-Canadian from Manchester — and I’m positive that he won’t have an authentic accent in the film. 🙂 Supposedly Clint is planning another film about Iwo Jima from the Japanese perspective, so looking forward to that too. I’d also like to see Scorsese’s The Departed, which takes place in Boston, but I’m also worried about the accent issue. Obviously Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg will be fine, and DiCaprio sounds ok from the trailers, but the others…we’ll see. I just don’t want another Mystic River. Terrible Boston accents ruined that movie for me. Well, that, and the fact that I already knew who the killer was. :-p

As for television – Heroes is looking promising, and I definitely won’t stop watching. I like some of the characters more than others, but I guess it’s always like that. Lost premiered with a very interesting revelation…but of course added plenty new questions, too. I love the show, but I hate it for torturing me with unresolved questions. If they exceed the promised 4-5 seasons, I will be quite grumpy. And I hope they come up with a better explanation for their experimental ideas in season 1 than “smoke,” or whatever it was. The writers definitely seem to know where they’re going now, though, which is good. It’s an incredible show. Also, the actress who plays the new character, Juliet, also played the pedophile woman in Running Scared. She’s creepy.
Well, that pretty much sums it up for now. If I do have free time this weekend, I have about a million different unfinished projects to work on — I’ll let you know if any progress takes place on any of them.

Oh, and one more thing. Time until Wii launch: 43 days, 9 hours, 36 minutes, 20 seconds.

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