Today I had my environmental history class. Today's reading was Forest Dreams, Forest Nightmares by Nancy Langston. It's in the Weyerhaeuser Environmental series, which led me to come to a musing... Why does my book dealing with environmental history make no statement of being printed on recycled paper? (If you guessed that it wasn't, you win an e-cookie.)
Anyway, onto the discussion during the seminar today. We were talking about the Euro-American view that American forests were imperfect and to be perfected, they should look and act similarly to European forests. (Think 17th, 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries.) One of the professors, Dr. E, brought up German forests, and how they were different from American forests. German forests are generally a monoculture and planted so they're nearly geometric. Nice, ordered forests. I looked over at a classmate, who had lived in a number of places in Europe and said,
"Ve are German forests. Ve vill drop our leaves... ein, zwei, drei. Drop!"
Any time German trees or forests came up during the seminar, she and I were trying very hard not to burst into giggles.
We spent the last half of the class going around and presenting our questions/topics for our term papers. It gets around to my classmate that was giggling over German forests with me. She presents her topic starting with "pyramids!" Dr. E sighed in exasperation. Further explanation is given, but Dr. E has already made up his mind, because there are a few areas of study that are tantamount to academic suicide. Pyramids are one of them. Just too many conspiracy theories about 'em.
It gets around to me, and I'd already spoken with Dr. W about my topic, so she had an idea of what I was going to say. I looked straight at Dr. E and said "I'm thinking about looking at the Templars." Dr. E leaned back in his chair, looking as though he was about to cry. Dr. W caught on that I was tossing it out to play with Dr. E's mind and went with it. When Dr. E looked like he was going to lose it, I said, "let me try to alleviate your blood pressure, I'm actually looking at the influence of British 'cuisine' and culture on the importation of food crops, meat animals, and textile resources into Australia and New Zealand."
I don't think that my professors have quite gotten used to me yet. I think I exist as a paradox to them, someone that has a sense of humor (and decent comedic timing) and is still quite serious about her education. Add into that my quickness and breadth of knowledge (as exemplified by tossing out another academically taboo subject), and top it off with my attempt at being prepared when I go to class... I think I confuse them.
Dr. E then went on to ask me why I was looking at Australia and New Zealand. I smiled and said, "Because I'm crazy?" and then went on to explain that my area of focus was British colonization in the South Pacific dealing with Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. Then I smirked at him and said, "unless I'm adequately bribed to change my mind."
Overall, it was a good day. Tomorrow looks promising, too, though I have a lot of research that needs to get done. Now to just get to the second part of my dinner (had salad earlier, now time for soup, I think), and then kick back for the rest of the evening and get my shit together for waking up early (well, early-ish) and getting stuff done. Whee!