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Right. . . What's A Cubit?

The opening shift at the Key Desk is just fine with me. But it does peeve me to have to walk there at 7:20 in the morning through a rainstorm that looks like it might just float the Ark. Raining so hard that it soaks right through my parka, I half expect Bill Cosby's voice to come floating down from above:

GOD: I'm gonna make it rain for a thousand days and drown 'em right out.

NOAH: Right! Listen to this, you'll save water. Let it rain for 40 days and 40 nights, and wait for the sewers to back up.

GOD: Right!

At least the only thing of consequence that I have to do today is take a German competency exam. It's open-dictionary, just translating a passage of musicology. I'm not worried. I've spoken German for about twenty years, and I translate musicology out loud, on the fly, at least once a week.

What does worry me is the question of what I did to my wrist at practice last night. If I move it funny, it goes click in a way that suggests that it should not be going click. The clicking isn't what bothers me -- it's the fact that the wrist in question is my off wrist, the wrist that has no other function in fencing than to keep out of the way. The wrist that holds a two-pound epee and waves it around, that I could understand. But the off wrist? Weird.


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 7th, 2006 02:31 pm (UTC)
Danke! Wenn es vorbei ist, muss ich noch Geld holen, und dann kann ich schlafen. Wenn es so viel regnet, kann man nur an schlafen denken.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 7th, 2006 03:15 pm (UTC)
Is competence in German essential for an ethnomusicologist?
Apr. 7th, 2006 03:59 pm (UTC)
Yes. It's one of the three major research languages of both musicology and ethnomusicology. The other two are French and English, so at some point, I'll have to pick up enough French to be able to pass a similar reading test before I get my Ph.D. German, Hebrew, and English are also the research languages for Jewish music, so that's another reason to be tested in it.
Apr. 7th, 2006 04:31 pm (UTC)
Good thing you're good at it!

Back when I did my finals, I deliberately learned relevant quotes in French so that I could show off that I had researched in foreign tongues!

But the years have made my language skills rusty - although my German is far more corroded than my French.
Apr. 7th, 2006 04:41 pm (UTC)
The nice thing about a test like this -- and this will be very important for French later on -- is that you don't technically have to be able to speak the language you're testing in. You just need to be able to translate it to English, which is the easiest part of language study, because it just requires knowledge of grammar and vocabulary, not the ability to generate speech on one's own. And this test is open-dictionary, too.

Right now, I'm juggling four languages: native English, fluent German, rusty Spanish, and beginning Hebrew, so I'm happy to study just enough French to pass a translation test.
Apr. 7th, 2006 08:45 pm (UTC)
My favorite bit of exammanship came when I took my doctoral comprehensives. We were supposed to be able to cite what critics said about various literary works and well as know the works themselves. So I memorized the names of the primary critics for each author and then threw in some statements that I knew some critic had made and attributed them to the one whose name I'd learned. Worked like a charm.

Now we give open book, three week long exams. No fun at all.
Apr. 7th, 2006 09:52 pm (UTC)
I love that your professords didn't cotton on to this. That probably says a lot about academia, that you could do something like that.

I wonder if I'll have to do doctoral comps. Prelims, yes, but comps are another thing. The University doesn't do comps for the ethnomusicologists because that would be well-nigh impossible. But all the musicology students sweat blood over their comps.
Apr. 7th, 2006 03:46 pm (UTC)
If it helps, I’m sitting here looking at the rain! It’s just sent all the kids in the playground running for shelter.

Viel Glück! Es ist kein Problem für dich. Aber warum hast du ein deutsches Examen? (Ok, that could all be wrong so I’ll stop there – I haven’t spoken German in a few years!)

Can’t help you with the wrist, I’m afraid. Perhaps it wasn’t fencing but you slept on it funny?? Either that or you’re getting old and your joints are seizing up ;-)

Apr. 7th, 2006 04:00 pm (UTC)
Does that much rain ever make you just want to crawl back in bed? Or is it so rainy in Ireland that you just get used to it?
Apr. 7th, 2006 06:21 pm (UTC)
LOL. Well, we're probably used to it enough not to take much notice most of the time. But I hate getting wet - it makes me cranky! And when we get a lot of rain, everyone gets utterly fed up of it. Like the end of March - we had 12 wet days in a row and then I didn't want to get out of bed in the first place, never mind getting back in. But it doesn't always rain here ;-)
Apr. 7th, 2006 06:25 pm (UTC)
Nop. Sometimes it rains... and then, sometimes it pours ;-)
Apr. 7th, 2006 06:31 pm (UTC)

No... but...really... sometimes it... oh, alright then.
Apr. 7th, 2006 08:03 pm (UTC)
As someone with enough crepitus to sound like a bowl of Rice Krispies, I hear you! If you wrist continues to make funny noises, try doing something to keep it straight while you sleep. A simple ace bandage will do it, you can always wrap something stiff into it as well.

Today even my English feels rusty, so I won't try to impress/unimpress with any bits of anything I've learned/notlearned.
Apr. 7th, 2006 09:54 pm (UTC)
The clicky problem seems to have cleared itself up, as most of them do. I still wonder why it was my off wrist, though.

Apr. 8th, 2006 03:28 am (UTC)
It's too bad you can't send some of the rain here. I don't know that we're in a drought, but it's been dry. We could use some rain. Last month there were brush fires nearby!
Apr. 8th, 2006 05:46 am (UTC)
Brush fires? That calls for some serious rain mojo. I'll see what I can do.
Apr. 8th, 2006 01:22 pm (UTC)
Rain...I think I remember that. It's when water falls from the sky, right? In Florida, we are in the middle of a record breaking drought (no rain yet this year--the last rain we had was in November). With all the dead brush from the hurricanes the last years, we are looking at a record firestorm season too. There was one yesterday blocking my usual road home with smoke. In 1998, when I moved into my house, was the last record firestorms. Fire burned right up to my neighborhood, but firemen (bless them) kept it away from the houses. Hope we don't see that again. Wow! /rant. Sorry.

Have fun with your language exams. As a spanish major, I had to prove verbal fluency in two other languages and English. I did Russian and Portuguese. I actually liked those exams. 'Course I was a language major... ;-)

Apr. 8th, 2006 03:26 pm (UTC)
The German exam went fine. It proved to be a brilliant example of the proctor's sense of humor.

The way it works is, you and the proctor (one specific professor is in charge of giving this exam to the master's students) schedule a time for you to take the exam. The night before, she looks through her collection of German-language musicology and selects three pages for you to translate. I think she tries to keep the subject of the passage somewhat close to your area of specialization, which means that some people get the joy of translating from the old script, and some people get modern script.

In my case, she decided to go with the theme of Le Thesis. She found a review of a Nazi-sponsored dictionary of Jewish musicians, compiled for the purposes of cultural exclusion. The review was in a Nazi-sponsored musicology journal, and it thought that this book was God's gift to music scholarship.

It's probably a measure of my sense of humor that I thought the review was, in fact, kind of funny. I mean, I learned the most interesting things about myself as a Jewish musician.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )


by Illsaysheis

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