“It’s super nice outside. Like maybe you could wear shorts. Or maybe that’s what heaven feels like.”
– My Roommate

It’s gorgeous today. It finally feels like spring might be here to stay. Hooray!



And of course, with spring comes one of my top ten favorite things about OU — the tulip gardens.

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This is a rare occurrence. I’m sitting in the library, and it’s only 9 a.m. What is the world coming to? I’ve never studied this early before unless you count cramming in reading before class or something like that. I’m just rarely up this early unless I have somewhere to be, because I’m usually up until one or two in the morning studying. And believe you me, 7:00 a.m. comes reeeaaaaallly quickly when you’ve only been asleep since two.

I used to consider myself not a morning person. I mean, I’ve never been the cranky type or whatnot, but I don’t really like the morning because it means departing from my deliciously comfortable bed. And yet, sitting here at 9 a.m., I love it. Absolutely love it.

It’s so peaceful. No one is talking and everyone is working hard. And because I’ve just come out of a good night’s sleep, my head is clear and I’m feeling remarkably productive. I can’t believe it has taken me this long to figure out, but I think I may be completely changing my study habits from now on.

I’m going to try pulling a Ben Franklin. Early to bed, early to rise. I just hope the wealthy and wise show up sooner rather than later.

Hey All! I guess I should introduce myself, since that seems to be the common theme right now.

I’m Virginia Duke (majoring in Film and Video Studies– from Billings, Montana) and I am going into my senior year of college. Gah! Every time I write that or say that, I freak out just a little. I don’t think I’m ready to graduate. I mean, I’m excited about the big wide world and all, but I’m also quite comfortable and happy with the life I have here.

Anyway… One of the best things about my senior year is that I am President of the Student Film Production Club, an organization that I’ve been a part of since freshman year (when the club was just getting started). I’ve had the privilege to be a leader in the club since the beginning, working my way up to being President this year, and it has been so much fun to see the club grow.

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Thrifty Shopper

So y’all will be very proud of me.

After much internet searching (and one recon mission to the bookstore), I have purchased all my books for the semester.

You roll your eyes. Not a big deal, you say.

Au contraire, my friend. Au contraire.

That is because I, Virginia, officially spent a mere $158 on a colossal eleven textbooks (insert triumphant trumpeting). And considering that only two of her larger textbooks would have totaled a whopping $327 at the University Bookstore, this is a feat indeed.

And pray, how was such a thing accomplished?

By the amazing power of the internet, channeled through such auspicious sites as Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and chegg.com. For those of you not familiar with Chegg, it’s an online textbook rental company. You rent the book for a fraction of the price and at the end of the semester you mail it back to them. Simple. Beautiful.

Of course, the tiny spot of inconvenience that flecks my otherwise buoyant elation is that these cheaply obtained nuggets of knowledge will take an unfortunate 4-7 days to arrive at my doorstep. An inconvenience, to be sure.

But an inconvenience most sweetly born, as I now have over $200 more in my bank account than I would have otherwise. I feel a celebratory trip to the nearest Maggie Moos is in order… followed by a prompt visit to the Bursar’s Office of course.

One fun thing I just started this semester (a little late to be starting things, I know) is participating in the Language Exchange Program here at OU. I have three international students– one from Kuwait, one from Africa somewhere (speaks French), and one from Korea (I think)– and basically we get together for an hour once a week or so and speak English. That’s it. So I now have three new friends.

Well, I have only met one so far, but I’m sure the other two will be just as much fun. Yesterday I met Ahmad, an 18-yr-old freshman from Kuwait who has 18 siblings (TEN brothers, EIGHT sisters), two mothers, is a middle child, and is the only one of his brothers to get good grades and to go on to university (and to study in the United States). Fascinating kid. I can’t wait to learn more about a different culture and help him make more friends here in the U.S.

I am keeping busy here, planning lots of events for the Student Film Production Club (SFPC) and trying to figure out how to maintain good grades this semester. I am also starting to plan ahead for the spring… I wish there were two or three of me. Then I could even attempt to do all the fun/interesting/resumé-building things I want to do next semester.

But back to the Student Film Production Club events…

SFPC hosted a Screenwriting Workshop with Joel Hulett and Sheryl Fletcher. Joel Hulett has been an entertainment lawyer for twenty years, and now is a producer and president of Dolphin Bay Films in Tulsa. I interned with him this summer, and learned so much about what it takes to be an independent film producer (something I think I would very much like to do). Sheryl Fletcher is a Canadian screenwriter who is working with Joel on a couple of screenplays and is also working on developing a tweener TV series, which she isn’t allowed to talk about– top secret. I worked on one of her screenplays while I was interning at Dolphin Bay this summer. I wrote in a couple scenes to help spice up a certain character, and they kept my additions!

The Screenwriting Workshop covered both the creative and business side of screenwriting– how to write screenplays well and then the logistics of how to sell the screenplay to a producer. Except for the fact that the two only did Q&A and didn’t lecture at all (which was not what I had in mind), I think the event was a success. Students had a lot of questions, and their questions filled up two hours worth of Q&A, which means there was a lot of interest in what was being discussed.

Also, I was really happy that over FORTY people came! The room was packed, and for students on a Friday afternoon, that was a very impressive turnout. As an event organizer, you never really know how many people will show and how things will turn out until the event itself (since getting students to RSVP is a waste of time).

So overall, I am really happy with how well the workshop went. Hopefully we will be able to host lots more of them in the spring!

“If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in the dark with a mosquito.”

– Unknown

So did ya’ll know there is a sphinx in California?

I’m reading this article about how history is subjective and re-tells itself and about how we live in a society where people view themselves as being a part of history. It’s fascinating.

But anyway, I’m reading along, plugging through dense sentences with words like “confabulate” and “multifarious,” and this entertaining story pops up in the article:

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“Oh you people who dog-ear your papers . . . Thousands for your education, but you can’t afford a stapler.”

– Dr. Metcalf, my 20th Century America Through Film professor

On Saturday, one of my film professors held a “Writer’s Block” party at his house. He holds these get-togethers at least three or so times a semester and invites writers, filmmakers and artists (basically anyone with a creative bent) from all over Oklahoma to come to the parties. In short, these are well-structured networking opportunities.

At the beginning of the evening, my professor stopped all individual conversations and had everyone introduce themselves to the group and talk about what projects they are working on. As new people arrived, we would repeat the process. We also would take moments to show some of the group members’ short films and read excerpts from their books or poetry, etc.

It was fascinating, getting to meet so many different people with such different backgrounds and passions.

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