Classes at the college begin tomorrow, so for yours truly, the semester starts in earnest. I've been spoiled by these Tuesday and Thursday (or "TR" in college schedule-speak) afternoons off, but the long days are now imminent.
Granted, this semester will be a bit more "chill" than the fall; I'm taking the semester off from big band, as there are enough qualified student players to fill the section. I'm still on board for the trip and will likely be doing some guest spots at random times as well. My Wednesday night class is not looking like it will make either, so I won't be completely running myself into the ground on that day. However, it looks like a few of the holes in my public-school schedule are about to be filled, so there should be plenty of activities to keep me out of trouble and off the streets (or on them, actually, getting from place to place).
At any rate, the last two weeks, with their lazy afternoons, were just an appetizer; the meat of the semester starts in the morning.
It's more than just a day off: Today may be really early in the semester for a holiday, but I didn't hear anyone complaining about it. Like many such days, it's easy to consider it just another day off without thinking about the reason for the celebration. Many others in the blogosphere have waxed eloquently about Dr. King and his legacy, so I won't try to duplicate their efforts and will instead point you to a couple of the better essays I've read today, including this one by Jonathan Tilove about Condoleeza Rice (in a way, her rise to prominence is the exact embodiment of Dr. King's dream, yet she remains a controversial figure in some circles) and another one by Jeff Goldstein which debates the importance of race vs. national identity. (Both via Instapundit)
UPDATE: I just found a link to an audio file of Dr. King's speech, of which I read a transcript for the first time in a long while. Hear it here.
Are conservative students "left out" in college culture? Not as much as you might think, according to this article.
A Thai score: I had Thai food for the first time last night, and I really liked it. Halfling had raved about this little place called Oriental Garden (located right across from campus, in a building which had housed a Mr. Gatti's and a Schlotzsky's in my college days), and I finally got to go along. Though it's certainly similar to Chinese food in many ways, the spices and sauces are a little different. The prices were really inexpensive; we ate for just over six bucks apiece, which included a really interesting appetizer. (It was called a basil roll--a bunch of lettuce and what-not wrapped in rice paper with a big basil leaf on top. It really didn't have any taste to it at all until it was dunked in this ginger sauce of sorts. The sauce was really good and also packed a delayed wallop. I joked that it also covered up the fact that we were eating vegetables.) I was quite full and satisfied at meal's end (it would have been nice to have room for dessert, some of whch sounded quite interesting), and we'll definitely be back.
OK, I've had my fill of pop culture for the whole semester now: We watched the Golden Globe Awards last night--the first time I've seen more than an hour of one of those shows in years. Amidst all the big hair and fake smiles, there were some good moments (Robin Williams was hilarious as always in his acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award, and Jamie Foxx deserved all the accolades he got for his performance in Ray, which I've touted in an earlier post).
I also thought it was interesting that one of the movies (Million Dollar Baby) isn't even in wide release, and another big winner was something called Sideways, which nobody in the room had heard of before last night's awards. Anyway, except for a glance or two at the Grammys, I could probably go several more years without seeing another awards show.
(Oh, and while doing the links in this post, I noticed that Ray comes out on DVD on February 1. Sweet.)