Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I Complain

All colleges and universities have their quirks, I am sure, regarding what is easily found on or near their campuses. It is possible that, as an undergraduate, I was simply so dazzled at having so many resources within walking or bus distance that I was completely unaware of what was missing, but it is true that I cannot come up with a list of things I felt were lacking at UCSC.
Perhaps I am more demanding these days; the lack of lunch options on and around the American University campus, for instance, may be no more severe than what I experienced at UCSC when I ate most of my meals in the cafeteria. I was, however, very much annoyed at AU's paltry range of choices, which was much exacerbated by the near-nonexistence of affordable lunch in the surrounding neighborhood.
The University of Pittsburgh is not lacking in varied dining possibilities, I am glad to say, although I have been known to complain that when the parking lot near our building was turned into a park, we lost out on all the Asian food trucks, which were replaced by some very unimpressive kiosks. (Since when do I want to pay $1.85 for a can of ginger ale? Why is the food at the Chinese-Japanese kiosk so limited and bland?)
I have concluded, however, that University of Pittsburgh is seriously lacking in any functioning method of informing the world of lectures and cultural events. I have not found its various newspapers very helpful, whereas I relied on UCSC's City on a Hill to provide me with a convenient list of everything going on during the week. At UCSC, if I missed a play, a film, or a concert, it was not because I was ignorant. At Pitt, on the contrary, it is some sort of a miracle if I hear about any of these things. Here, one must either hang out in the correct building (or floor of same), or be on the right mailing lists. In other words, since I am not spending time in the German Department, I have no idea what German films are being screened. Since I do not normally go over to the Music Building, I only accidentally found out that we have a gamelan and that my former gamelan teacher was performing with it. Since I am seldom over at the Theater Department, I am usually clueless what plays are being put on and where our theater spaces are.
I thought matters would improve when, rather tardily, the Russian and Eastern European Center got around to putting me on its email list. (This happened shortly before I went to Prague; I was completely unaware of three years' worth of events prior to that.) Apparently the improvement is slight. I do get numerous emails about lectures on political and economic topics, regarding which my interest is rather slight although I do like to know about these talks. Some weeks back, however, I heard mention of a Russian film series, which was, I believe, occurring on Tuesday nights.
In my vague and dilatory sort of way, I finally got around to checking my emails to find out the time and room number for this series.
Was there, in anything Slavic-related, the slightest mention of such a series? Certainly not! I am glad to say that I know all about the Romanian film series (both via email and because a Romanian colleague has put a poster on our TA office door), but why is the Russian series such a secret? I'm all for improving my knowledge of Russian film, which currently doesn't go much beyond Eisenstein, Vertov, and a bit of Tarkovsky. For that matter, some years I miss out on the Slovak film series, and I usually hear about any Czech series after they have ended.
I feel aggrieved about this.
On the other hand, yesterday I was able to get my muffler fixed with great speed, although at appalling expense.
I suppose one cannot expect everything to go quite according to one's inmost wishes, although one would think that proper promotion of cultural events would be an all-around winner.

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Blogger Kristen said...

What, you mean you want to do something other than write your dissertation?! Sheesh!

Meanwhile, the trucks still exist. They park on Bigelow over by the PAA. Granted, it is a longer schlep, but if you've really got a hankering...

October 16, 2007 7:42 PM  
Blogger Karla said...

I want it all, I want it all!

On the other hand, I don't know that I am likely to walk over to wherever the trucks now park. I'd have to remind myself where Bigelow is (I have a vague notion, just as with Tennyson and Thackeray and so forth) and ask what the PAA is. Pittsburgh Academic Aviary, maybe? Pittsburgh Alcoholics Anonymous?

October 17, 2007 2:51 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Sorry. Pittsburgh Athletic Association. It's the white neoclassical building at Bigelow and Fifth (across Bigelow from Soldiers' and Sailors').

October 17, 2007 7:31 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

Oh. Soldiers' & Sailors' isn't that far.

October 17, 2007 2:32 PM  

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