Right now math 115 is my favorite class by far, and that's not just "out of a bad lot, etc etc," I'm really freaking digging it. I had a nagging worry about math when I came to USC; I have always had a pretty formidable native cunning for mathematics, but in the past I had difficulty applying that to what I needed to truly grok any kind of higher math. But, y'know... not a problem anymore. Pretty much it boils down to I had massive personal issues when I was a teenager that prevented me from learning some things, and those aren't a factor any more, and I'm kicking ass and the hell with taking names. I hear people bitch about "when am I ever going to use the quadratic formula in real life?" and, y'know... maybe you will, maybe you won't. There are some rare occasions when I could have used it (it's one of the things I never really picked up on when I was in high school) but, yeah, probably not VERY often even so - and I use basic algebra a hell of a lot more often than most people do, too, I know. But... some of the stuff we're getting into now? Logarithmic and exponential functions; decay and growth; continuously or intermittenly compounded interest; sound intensity levels... man, shit yes I will use this stuff now that I have it, and by god, I have it.
I'm kinda wondering if I shouldn't consider a math minor. I know math degrees go pretty lucratively with CS degrees, and I am really, really enjoying this.
But math isn't the only thing I'm enjoying. I've already gone on at some length about how valuable and mind-opening I'm finding Sociology, and even Music Appreciation is really starting to make me happy. As much as Western musical notation pisses me off because of its inherent bias towards a very very narrow range of music construction (at the serious expense of being able to think / write music in any other way), I understand it well enough to have spirited arguments about it. And, hey, I like that. And I've always liked a lot of symphonic music, but beyond a very murky grasp of Baroque coming before Classical, I never really knew a lot about the history or even necessarily exactly which composer went with which genre. But today I had a couple of really great moments in class where I was ahead of the curve; we were listening to some Beethoven and I was thinking "you know, honestly this sounds a lot more Romantic than Classical" and two minutes later, Mr. Long is telling us about how Beethoven was, in addition to the best-known of the Classical composers, the pioneer for most of the new sounds and techniques and styles used in the Romantic period. And there was a particular motive in the 9th that sounded very reminiscent of John Williams, and just as I'm thinking this, he pauses the CD and asks the class "sound familiar to anyone?" and finally fished a "... star wars?" out of one of the students, and I was thinking YES!
I'm also really glad that I did, in fact, go to USC. I was originally kind of biased against it, and wanted to go to the local 2-year technical college instead. But, for one thing, I really really like the school. And for another thing... I went to my first recital (soprano saxophone) to do a concert report last night, and as it turns out the Midlands Tech music appreciation course also sends their students to our recitals and performances to get concert reports done. So this kinda scruffy-looking guy is lounging in a chair while we're waiting outside for the last recital to clear out and the hall to be opened for us, and he sees another really ratty looking guy walking by and yells "hey!" "Hey!" and finally "PONYTAIL!" and the ratty-looking guy looks around, at which point they establish that yeah, in fact they are in the same course, etc etc etc. So I struck up a conversation with the first guy in a few minutes, or tried to - asked him if he was there to knock out a concert report for Music Appre, and instead of answering, he said "you go to Midlands or USC?" I was a little taken aback, and said USC, and he ... just ... sneered. And looked away. Which sort of blew me away... wow, did I just get blown off as being "one of the snobby USC kids?" I think I did!
But you know, I was looking around while we were in the recital, and having been clued in to the presence of multiple factions, it was appallingly easy to see who was who. There were USC students sitting there, mostly dressed in golf shirts and slacks or button-down and slacks, mostly with notebooks in their laps quietly taking notes about the performance to help them write their reports later... and there were knots of Tech students, dressed like total shit (which is NOT cool at a recital), no writing implements in sight, bitching about having to be there.
Yikes. That coulda been me.
Which is not to say that "everybody at Midlands Tech sucks", blah blah blah, by any means - I know and like a lot of people who are going there or did go there, and I've known some of them for considerably longer than I've been attending USC. But still, it was a pretty drastic culture shock, looking around and seeing the sharp divide. And I'm happy, and proud, to be where I am.
On a final note about differing culture, wow, if you're ever feeling bad because you've let your hair go far too long without a trim... sheesh, just wander into your local college's Music Hall. About every third music student, I wanted to say "HEY! Dude, Battlestar Galactica called, and they want you to report back on board for duty immediately!"
Well, I think that's enough long-winded pointless rambling for tonight. It's incredibly late, but I don't have any class tomorrow... and there's a new episode of South Park waiting on the Tivo. Yay, late-night-before-bed TV! 'Night everybody.