Thursday, May 31, 2007

Latin for Mental Health and Punk Rock Clothing for Sammee's Soul

I think we all have these times in graduate school when we feel pushed to our limit and like we're not sure how to cope with it all. Last week, I kind of had one of those moments. Strangely enough, I think it was brought on by the lack of requirements at the end of the semester. I worked so hard to finish everything, and after it was all turned in, I had no idea what to do with myself, which was complicated by the fact that I new I did have things to do for more long-term goals and requirements.This year was so emotionally and physically draining; all the physical difficulties really sucked the life out of me, and I think it did a bit of damage to my mental well-being, too. At any rate, I felt much better today. I think the fact that my intensive Latin transliterature course began simultaneously is not a coincidence. Now, I can put energy into studying Latin and I don't have to sit around and twiddle my thumbs and wonder what on earth to do with myself.

Today, I feel better. I went to Latin class, which is filled with an interesting bunch of language geeks and medievalists, but also modernists who are stuck in it because they couldn't get into the other transliterature courses. There seem to be quite a few Trekkies or at least people who love Captain Picard, and I've generated more interest for my yet-to-happen Star Trek party I've been planning. We did a TREMENDOUS amount of Latin grammar, and I had a disagreement with the instructor over the differences between pronunciation of ecclesiastical vs. classical Latin. I much prefer to pronounce words like 'amavi' (first person singular of the present perfect active for 'to walk'; and I write that out to constantly remind myself of the order our teacher wants us to give the verb forms, not because I don't realise that much of my flist already reads Latin to some extent) with the '-v' sound, rather than the '-w' sound used in classical Latin. I also prefer to pronounce the '-g' more like the modern Italian pronunciation. These preferences are partially because of my study of ecclesiastical Latin (William Byrd's Latin-texted motets!), and partially because these pronunciations are better for singing and listening during long melismas.

The work for the Latin class is appropriate to its 'intensive' description. In 2 days, we have reviewed the 3 simple tenses for the first two verb conjugations, the three perfect tenses (1st 2 conjugations), and two subjunctive tenses (1st 2 conjugations). We also reviewed the cases for first declension nouns. I am writing this partially to bore you, partially because I am a GRAMMAR WHORE (I just love learning the grammar of new languages. I find writing out lists of verb conjugations to be RIDICULOUSLY EXCITING), and partially because I want to get straight in my head what's been flung at it. It's all very satisfying. Now I just have to resuscitate my old high school Latin from 1997 and 1998 and put myself back into classroom mode so I don't continue to stumble over my words when called upon for drills. So perhaps I should go do that now.

Oh wait, there's more I wanted to say. I also made myself feel better by stopping by my favourite boutique in New Brunswick and most favourite clothing store ever ... POP TRASH! I feel like this boutique was CREATED FOR ME! I bought a new mini jean skirt in honour of losing seven pounds by pure accident, even though I was eating copious amounts of ice cream and chocolates. I think it's the whole gluten-free thing -- no longer able to eat 2 bowls of Reeses Peanut Butter Puffs for breakfast. Somehow, eggs with veggies is not an equal substitute. Anyway, I also bought a pink sweater with a skull logo, which I'd been pining for since Christmas -- and I got it for half price (YES!) -- a new studded punk belt, and a pink, black and white argyle tube top with a skull on it. Yeah, okay, so when I'm feeling really expressive and really myself, I wear a lot of black and pink punk rock grrl clothing with skulls on it, topped off with fishnets. That's me to a T. :)

When I first stumbled upon Pop Trash in December 2006, the boutique had recently opened and hadn't even yet put up their web site. Since then, you can read about the boutique and their punk rock style on their web site (see link above), on MySpace, and in an article by Pulse Online. The article touches on two important reasons why true punks need a place like Pop Trash to provide their clothing. First of all, clothing and personal style is an important expression of the punk rock ethos. It is an obvious outward symbol of rebellion from social norms or from the established order. Secondly, purchasing clothing from mainstream clothing chains like Hot Topic is horrifically establishment and a contradiction to the punk rock ethos. As the writer of the article states, chain stores like Hot Topic "exis[t] to turn a profit, and [are] merely ... capitalizing on a growing trend among today's youth. In my opinion, that is not punk rock." YES. Supporting small businesses enable one to support people and benefit society, rather than merely turning over a profit. (I understand that turning over a profit also benefits society, but not in the immediate way that shopping at a small business does. Plus, you can avoid the nasty ethical complications, like with Wal-Mart.) Pop Trash is a store that perfectly satisfies the woman looking to express her devotion to rock-n-roll and esp. punk ideals, and also enables her to give back to the community by dumping her $$ in quality clothing that supports a grass roots business. And that makes me happy. :)

x-posted to Livejournal

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