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The Hallmark Club

How is it possible to wake up more tired than you fell asleep seven hours earlier? Somehow it is and I have done it. I was so exhausted after breakfast that I accidentally fell asleep and almost woke up late for my critique with photographer Adam Pape. Then I woke up and had a few minutes to get there. But I really had to go to the bathroom. So I had to make a judgement call: "What's more important: being there on time? or staying regular?" I chose the bathroom. That's where I'm at right now.

On the way back from my critique, I had a conversation with Zach, a fellow photographer further along in the program. He has three kids, the youngest being three months old and the oldest looks about five. He has a full time job, and is doing this program. He asked me when I was due and if I had a plan for how I was going to handle balancing everything. He expressed how life is super freaking difficult to balance all of his various things.

I also talked to a student in my group named Anastasie, and she has a one-year-old and some other kids. I told her I was encouraged by all the people with babies and how they were getting along just fine and making things work. She said, "Well...I cry all the time." This is not what I needed to hear.

I'm finally figuring out everyone's positions. Dont and Dalida are the faculty co-chairs, and Dahline is the program director. So all three of them are like the Ken Alexander Trifecta, except less cranky. When I wasn't feeling well a few days ago, Dahline offered to drive me to a hospital herself and gave me her cell phone, home, and office phone numbers and told me to call her any time at all. She also gave me permission to skip anything I wanted to if I wasn't feeling up to it.

I've been assigned my faculty advisor for the semester and it's someone I didn't want. On the form I selected three people I wouldn't mind working with, and I didn't get any of them. I'm hoping I misjudged the lady I got. I've been told she is nurturing and will provide the right kind of guidance a first-semester student needs. I had my first meeting with the her and the four other students who were assigned to her. We went around the room talking about our project ideas and then made preliminary stabs at books to think about reading to support that subject. Somehow, I am the most outgoing talkative and loud speaking person in the group. Two of the other girls are wanting to study trauma and dysfunctional family stuff because of their own background. The other girl broke down crying because she's so frustrated and mad that her entire identity is "mother first," no one ever talks to her about anything else they always just ask her how the kids are doing. She had her first kid pretty young and so she never had any cemented hobbies and identity traits of her own before the kids. So her research topic has something to do with that, it's hard to follow. The one guy in the group wants to study the future of human kind and the human condition as it relates to sci-fi something or other. And of course, I talked about my "Quixotic Phenomenon" which everyone simultaneously started pulling out their phones and trying to google it, and I told them, "I just made that term up" which made them laugh. They seemed to enjoy my enthusiasm for Quixotic themes and irrationality. One of the books that came up in the conversation as being similar was The Little Prince, and they were all shocked that I happened to pull it out of my backpack. At first I didn't see the connection between The Little Prince and Don Quixote, but then I realized that it does fit the pattern. There has to be a Quixote figure that is eccentric and difficult to understand, and there has to be the person that is transformed because their interaction with the Quixote figure. It isn't just transformation, and it isn't just conviction in one's beliefs, it's somehow the combination of the two.

For some reason that is not apparent to me, the teacher wants to have a particular movie that the whole group watches and we will discuss it over skype sometime, but she doesn't know what movie yet. The whole group enthusiastically said, "Jaime should pick the movie! She has good taste." I said, what? me? But other people had good suggestions for movies and we will supposedly take a vote tomorrow. I don't have any movie suggestions that would pertain to the whole group.

Somehow the conversation briefly wandered to the performance of normalcy of a lamp, and how that the lamp that was placed on the floor was not lamping. I think we are all going a little bonkers.

I was talking to one girl at dinner who just had a "soul crushing" critique with Viet, the same guy that gave me a hard time. He told her that her work looked like the wall of a teenage girl's room and that it was shallow and superficial. She was crushed and crying. I told her, well he told me my photos looked like Hallmark cards. Then she said, "wait, he said that to me too." I said well then we need to have t-shirts made that say "Hallmark Club" for everyone that gets a "bad crit" from Viet, since that seems to be the only thing he can come up with. It made her laugh. But the fact that he used the same descriptor for both of us just makes me realize that's like his go-to cookie-cutter comment. That's pretty lame.

Christine, photographer from Washington state, was telling me she had a spider in her room on her screen. It surprised her so she was like, "woah!" and then just at that instant a moth flew in her face and her first reaction was, "How did the spider jump that far!!" and she freaked out. We were all cracking ourselves up.

I am resenting the schedule today and how it runs to 9:45 in the evening. I really don't want to stay that late. My butt is tired from sitting, and my legs are tired of standing through the critiques. I want to wash my hair and go to bed. I want to call Ganesh. I plan on cutting out early, if I can. Maybe skipping it altogether depending on how I feel.