Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Governor's School Week: Part II of V

In yesterday's comments section, Anna recalled that she was always puzzled why anyone ever wanted to go to Governor's School, and I'll be the first to confess that it wasn't at the top of my list of summer activities. I had to attend a drum major camp during the week immediately before it, and being a home-base-introvert, I didn't think I'd want to go to two separate camps without returning home for a while first. This ambivalence was not positively helped by the "Course II" options that arrived in the mail a few weeks before the month of July.

This was the list of courses being offered every day after lunch, and I could tell that the forecast for all of them was partly ridiculous with a chance of retarded. Despite the New Age inanity, I sent back my "M. Uri [x] Will Attend" RSVP form and tissue paper, figuring that it would be a good bullet point on my college applications. From all these amazing courses, I chose Legendary Visions, because it seemed like it would only register about a 3.2 out of 5 on the Wince-o-meter (and also because I am 1/8th Native American when I purchase and wear an Indian Bonnet).

My fears were confirmed when I walked into the anteroom on the first day. One by one, all thirty students had to go around the circle and introduce themselves by stating a "mystical" fact or title about themselves. After hearing from the "Chaser of Dreams" and the girl who "Danced Amongst the Stars", I couldn't resist a pithy one-liner about the fact that all my Ancestors Are Dead. The pair of teachers in charge of the class never batted an eye, their faces locked in a New Age smile like the Richardsons from The Twinkie Squad by Gordon Korman. After that, we all stood up and learned a circular greeting dance which we would open every single class with for the next two weeks.

Among other activities, we watched the film, "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" (I fell asleep), did an imraam (where everyone draws a picture and one person looks at each picture and talks about how it maps to their own life) and did a "machine dance", where everyone stands around doing a repetitive motion so the full picture looks like a giant machine. After several days of being milled under the New Age Wheel of the Great God Yanni, I had to adapt to survive. I decided to out-New-Age everyone, fully embracing the retardedness that permeated every aspect of the hours from 1:30 to 3:00 PM every day.

One of our many activities was to make a mask, using the face of the person sitting next to us. I put in extra hours after dinner on the paint job (mostly to mingle with the girls in the Dance program who were also painting) and came up with the blue motif you see here. Note that this was in the days before I realized that other colours existed in the visual spectrum besides blue. It wasn't until we went around the circle sharing that I realized we were supposed to have the mask represent something. I quickly made up something about the smiling side representing my happy-go-lucky-ness and the somber side representing my quiet, outer shell, and pointed out that the diagonal slant represented the warring dichotomy between the two, receiving knowing nods from both of the teachers and accolades from other students.

Later, I wrote a puppet show called Journey to Jotunheim (because, of all the myths, Norse myths are the second most manly), using one of my three total CDs (Brassability by the Royal Danish Brass) as the soundtrack. I moved the puppets about on popsicle sticks while reading my script and frantically pressing NEXT on my 90s era CD-Boombox. I no longer have the popsicle sticks, but (knowing that I would one day have an award-winning website reaching thousands of readers per day) I preserved the puppet heads for posterity.

The most mind-numbing activity we had was "Share Preparation". Every Saturday morning, each of the Course II classes would gather in a common area and share everything they had learned during the previous week with another Course II group. This meant that every Friday, the entire session was devoted to sitting in a circle (why don't New Agers ever use chairs?) arguing over which activities were most representative of the class as a whole, and every Saturday morning was spent practicing those moves that my scarred mind had already repressed (hopefully the Governor's School clergy will one day award us all a hefty settlement and a public apology for molestation of the spirit). It took us five minutes to learn the "machine dance", yet we spent another 30 minutes perfecting it for the disinterested masses.

Tomorrow: Night Life in Virginia's Capital...

Intruder caught with his pants down
That's the same combination I have on my luggage
Homer vs. the god of fertility

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