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... the perfect end to an imperfect day - Ambar
April 25th, 2004
07:09 pm

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... the perfect end to an imperfect day
Yesterday I submitted myself to another of the ridiculous and whimsical requirements peculiar to degree-granting institutions. This time, I was required to demonstrate that I could, in the space of an hour and a half, produce an acceptably-written persuasive essay on an assigned topic (one of a published list, but we wouldn't know which one, nor could we use notes or any reference books), while being held to a laughable set of rules and procedures presumably intended to forestall cheating.

For those who tuned in late, I am a published author (substantial chunks of the O'Reilly book on Usenet news). The only MIT graduation requirement I ever fulfilled completely was the writing requirement. In fact, I won an award there for my poetry (talk about things I don't bring up often....) So there's a part of my head that was in a snit about having to do this. I wrapped it in duct tape (metaphorically speaking) and took my admission ticket and my pens and my #2 pencils and my eraser and just went and did it. I have accepted that many either stupid or purely incomprehensible things will be required of me in the name of my current ambition, and it's really a waste of time to fret over them.

But that's not what I came here to write about. I came here to write about my horses.

It was a bit past 6pm, and I had been nobly slogging through O-chem homework at Dana Street Roasting Co. in Mountain View, when it occurred to me that I was running out of daylight, and I might like to see my colt. But first I would call Anita, who sees him daily and had presumably been at the farm earlier that morning to check in. I didn't call her, because my phone was showing a missed call from no number five minutes previous, and a voice-mail message that turned out to be from her. "I have an unexpected visitor, and we are down here visiting your colt. I hope the caller ID gives you this number, because I don't know it. I'll call you back in a half hour."

I would have died of suspense right there, but it would have gotten in the way of driving fast. I did the 45-minute drive to the farm in a half hour, but Anita's car wasn't in the usual place. Arrgh! Well, I had come all this way to see Reyes; I was darned well going to see him, even if cell phone coverage at the farm is truly awful. So about ten minutes later, the phone dutifully rang.

"America West brought me a present!"
"Edouard?"
"Yeah!"
"So where ARE you?"
"At the farm, in the house." (in the back!) "Where are you?"
"At the farm, with my arm draped over Petit Point's back."
"Oh! We'll be right out."

So we wound up, the three of us, sitting down in the middle of the enclosure while Petit Point grazed and the colt zoomed around being coltish, or gnawing curiously on the weeds, or sashaying over to sniff us. We talked horses until it got dark, whereupon we adjourned to the house and walked through each other's collections of horse pictures.

Edouard is Lebanese, and has been studying asil Arabian horses approximately since he could walk. His commentary is always fascinating. I would put the effusive things he says about my horses on their web site, but I think it would embarrass him. Suffice it to say that these are things I replay to myself when I'm down about the amount of progress I have made or not made in the breeding department. And he really likes the colt, which is understandable as he is a big fan of Palisades also.

Current Mood: happyhappy

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From:khajja_meezer
Date:April 25th, 2004 07:15 pm (UTC)
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Mmm... perhaps he would be a better choice to have the colt... or something.
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From:ambar
Date:April 25th, 2004 07:25 pm (UTC)
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Hell, no. He's living in France and has no horses.
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From:bumblepudding
Date:April 26th, 2004 07:37 am (UTC)
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At the risk of sounding snarky, I feel obliged to point out that while college distribution requirements surely to not serve all students equally, this is not because the requirements are 'stupid' but because administrators have to deal with a relatively wide range of students.

In a perfect world, each student would have a dedicated cadre of professors and administrative staff who could custom-tailor a program to suit their very personal needs, their strengths and weaknesses. In our world, logistics demand that college programs attempt to 'work' for as many students as possible.

This does of course mean that from time to time, you're going to have to do something that you consider "beneath" you. I would simply ask that rather than castigating your instructors for their oafishness, you think about the circumstances in which they have to operate.
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From:ambar
Date:April 26th, 2004 08:53 am (UTC)
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Whoa, there. I don't recall castigating any instructors; none were involved in the making of this particular episode. My annoyance is entirely directed at the administration. I suppose it might be more understandable if I add that the only people allowed to petition for waiver of this requirement are people who have already failed it twice. (If that makes more sense to you than it does to me, by all means elucidate.)

This is not a distribution requirement; this is a "take this test or we don't let you register for classes next quarter" requirement.
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From:mizkit
Date:April 26th, 2004 09:05 am (UTC)
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*beam* You rock. Yay for the horsies!
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