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Monthly Archives: October 2007

Welcome to the big city  §

So I’m at a deli across from the old NSSR building on 65 Fifth. You know the kind, food in bins, buy by the pound, crowded, urban, blah. Whatever. And there’s a girl who looks like a freshman new to the city that’s getting some food rather gingerly and daintily next to me. All of a sudden a guy on the other side of the heat table starts having a coughing fit.

“Gross!” she says loudly, putting her foam box down. She turns to her friend and says, “Come on, let’s go to that other deli around the corner.”

They walk out.

I was about to ask her whether she didn’t think, given the fact that the food is exposed and sitting there all day and it is New York, that the other deli around the corner, and indeed all delis in New York, might be about the same in terms of exposure to germs, given the fact that everywhere in this city are nothing but crowds milling about, and it is cold season.

But then I decided I didn’t want her to starve, so I kept my mouth shut.

Double exhaustion.  §

My theoretical mind has given way to afterthoughts of sauerkraut. There is nothing I can to do be smarter, which is a problem, because I am not nearly smart enough at the moment.

Also, I need more organizational skills. (But don’t nobody tell me I need more organizational skills because that will send me clean over the edge once and for all like Niagara falls on a ten cent postcard.)

Had a housewarming party on Friday. I have never thrown a party in my life and this was no exception; I have my fiancé to thank for making it such a memorable night. She invited a damn busload of people and they all came and it was very, very nice and very, very exhausting. Then we slept in until almost noon on Saturday and then had a vet visit.

For those of you who aren’t keeping up, sleeping all Saturday is a very bad thing to do if you are really busy. But it was so damn nice to see the house full of happy, smiling friends that I can’t even be bothered to regret sleeping half of Saturday.

It’s just been a damn nice weekend and I’m almost sorry to see it go.

Today I have had some difficulty getting started on the paper that’s due on Thursday. The thing is that I’m having trouble writing something that doesn’t match in any way any of the theoretical perspectives from which I typically operate (to put it mildly). I will be waking up tomorrow and typing all day at a maniacal pace in partial stuporificity to try and make it work.

We’ll see. I hope I can do it. :-/

The past is a funny thing, it takes on the sense of something that never was, or that was ice ages ago rather than months or years ago.

I don’t know. It’s late and this is nonsense and I have a warm bed to get to.

I am a happy man. Dammit, I am a happy man. 🙂

Exhaustion.  §

Life has a certain way of exhausting one, so that there is no impulse to say or do anything because it matters not anyway; one has seen and done everything already.

I HATE THIS FEELING.

“Life is a kind of ‘Now you see it, now you don’t’ proposition.”

—Colonel Sherman T. Potter, M*A*S*H 4077th

I went walking in the rain. The traffic had stopped and the shops had closed and I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I went home.

How do you separate cockiness from confidence from mere certainty? I suppose they’re all one and the same thing, and that’s precisely the problem.

The correlate to the problem is that truths are rather often not merely not entirely compatible but often mutually exclusive, without losing any of their veracity.

I am not a fighter by nature.
Nature is a fighter by me.

Honesty is never the best policy.
Honesty is always the worst and most seductive policy.

(Of all things) The Chinese in Astoria Saga  §

Let me preface this by saying there’s no way I should be making this blog post. I don’t have the time. But oh well, what’s done is done, as they say (actually I shouldn’t say it yet, but rather after I finished this post since it really doesn’t justify what’s being done at the very moment, but oh well).

I have, to summarize before beginning, found my Chinese place in Astoria.

So I’m sitting here working on an exam that should have been done a long time ago, so that I can work on another exam that should have been done a long time ago for my students. My work day is way behind and I’m stressed out. Also, it’s time for lunch, so having no time, naturally, I decide to order for delivery.

Being in the habit of ordering Chinese (as previous posts have made clear), I pull out my wallet and find that today I actually have cash in it in useful denominations, so rather than being tied to the usual place that will run my debit card, I call a new place.

Being accustomed to the quality of food and proportions at the other (debit card) place, I order a lunch combo and a small appetizer item and two cans of soda. Eleven bucks. Well the man has just come and gone (less than ten minutes after the order) and I am shocked and bewildered to find myself surrounded by a ridiculous—nay, say instead ungodly amount of food!

This is not just “a lot,” because “a lot” is when you follow “that’s a lot of food” with “so I’ll be really full if I eat it all.” This is eleven bucks worth of “there is no way in Satan’s hell that I could finish this, even if I was being paid a million dollars to do so and ate until I couldn’t walk or breathe.”

Not only is the portion of the lunch combo huge (it’s a larger delivery container than the other place, and it’s packed and heaped high until it almost can’t close), the portion of the “appetizer” is the same size as the lunch combo, and they also threw in soup and fried noodles (the order receipt says “free with combo” next to these items), a free soda in addition to the two I ordered, and several boxes of rice and a fortune cookie. It must weigh around ten pounds, when all is said and done.

Clearly, we are not in Manhattan anymore, Toto.

And, to put a period on this particular anecdotal sentence, the food ain’t bad. I think this is the place in Astoria to order Chinese delivery from, but I’ve got to remember next time that unless I want to fill the fridge for a week, I need to keep my order as small an unassuming as possible… though, now that I think about it, they have a $10 delivery minimum, which is why I tacked the appetizer and sodas on in the first place.

Wow.

Honestly, I thought these days were over.  §

But then my Thinkpad T30 developed a case of the dreaded design flaws and stopped working reliably, right in the middle of the busiest week of the busiest semester of my life. Brilliant. So it was off to Radio Shack (believe it or not) to buy a soldering station and some goodies and get down to testing out my shaky hand that hasn’t soldered anything in years.

400 surface joints later and the machine appears to be working, though it’ll take some time to really establish that stability issues have been fixed. Meanwhile, I never thought my life would look like this again:

I am no  §

aristocrat.

Density  §

Things:

– I think I need to eat more
– And take vitamins
– Whether good or bad, life is never as simple as you think
– There is too much on my plate
– And not nearly enough recreation

Aside: virtually all blog posts these days are phone posts.

I need to remember who I am and how I function. I need to not try to be things that I am not.

Changes to consider:

– Guarantee ourselves at least one night out a week
– Set aside photo time every week
– Roll back responsibilities
– ???

I dunno. Maybe a TV?

Maybe more reading? (God only knows when…)

F’if I know…

What are people thinking when naming kids?  §

The name of the day goes to Washington Post staff writer Dina El-Boghdady.

Academic discussion?  §

Not bloody likely.

When discussing academic topics, all signs point to: keep it to your own bloody self.

Me & labor  §

Some people absolutely thrive best in a work environment in which there are no goals, no benchmarks, no clearly-defined tasks, and no obvious way to systematize the process—environments in which the idea is just to “look around and do stuff, whatever needs doing.”

Not me. I suck in this kind of environment.

I know somebody once  §

who made the most interesting, honest, and simple blog posts ever. Some people have a strange kind of wisdom that defies all conventional understanding and logic. For a while I tried to catch the thread of what he was doing—how that honesty worked. I don’t know if I ever got close to being that honest with myself (and thus with everyone else), but I know that now my blog posts are a bunch of fucking nonsense without anything near that level of self-insight. Oh well.

I feel like I want to stay up forever right now. I feel like hell but I don’t want to go to bed. I just want to sit here until the spiders come and build webs on me. I don’t know what to do with myself. I should be working or sleeping.

These days I should always be working or sleeping.

Unfortunately, that sort of lifestyle takes one far away from the things that one really wants and really cares about. I can’t even name what I want and care about.

Can I? Maybe. Let’s try.

– My fiance.
– My dog.
– My family.
– My career.
– My friends.

Well, that’s pretty basic, that’s the same thing as everyone else. The trouble comes when you try to figure out what to do with this caring. It’s pretty basic that the first thing you want to do is provide stuff for them. Lifestyles. Support. Contact. Yourself. But some of these things that you want to provide don’t come from the same types of effort. To provide lifestyles or support for loved ones requires that you work. To provide contact or yourself for loved ones requires that you don’t.

These things are opposed, dammit. Mebbe that’s the problem.

At the intersection  §

of today and tomorrow lies the transcendental notion of becoming, the infinitive form, “to be.” This is the most terrifying moment (in the mathematical sense) of force, pivot, or being known to man. To be is to risk. To risk is to (eventually) lose. Losses are the mark of time. Successes are immortal, but losses are simply ticks round the face of the mortality stopwatch.

Put yourself out there. Otherwise you won’t have.

I wish retrospective wisdom could be had prospectively.

Ever get the feeling that some people spend their whole lives running away from themselves without ever once managing to get any distance from their own shadow?

I don’t quite know  §

what I’m posting or what I want to say. I guess I’m just typing to be communicating. I’ve been reading McLuhan all night because I’m supposed to say something about him to a class full of people on Tuesday. Honestly I think his one correct point is fairly simple and the rest is nonsense from a drug-stricken consciousness, so why bother?

I don’t know.

It has been a trying day and an exercise in trying to understand enunciative action, which has a unique power all its own.

There are friends that I really miss but that I have lost contact with and no have no idea how to reach.

My personality may not work well in the context of interpersonal interaction. I tend to acquiesce right up until I reach my tolerance threshold, and then I absolutely dominate. There is no in between. This is the model represented by my father: try to be understanding, don’t rock the boat, let things happen, gently discuss at most… and then once things reach a kind of climax of criticality, take the bull by the horns and murder it and re-establish sovereignty.

This is not something that I think people are accustomed to dealing with in the West. The impulse toward harmony can only work if it is shared; the dialogical impulse functions in a similar way.

I used to be a writer. Now I am an academic.

The world can be a very lonely place, despite it all.

Interpersonal relationships are the bane of modern man. We are designed to interact, but under much different circumstances in which relatedness is a critical facet of survival and thus implies its own reward.

Now it is a kind of luxury or even a commity-like good; we can take it or leave it; it has to be a good deal; one applies to it a cost-benefit analysis.

Not good.

Memory does not exist; it’s a fable.

odd days  §

So I’m going back to I-House for the first time since I moved to collect some mail that’s apparently arrived for me. It feels weird to even think about going back there… it’s such a different place, a different lifestyle with ultimately very different purposes. When I was leaving I-House, I wondered whether I would miss living that way. Now a few short months lter I almost feel as if I wonder how I did it.

I haven’t been into “the office” yet this week. In my cornucopia of jobs, this one has clearly fallen to last place in terms of importance and focus. It’s a kind of object lesson in why fostering good employee morale is key to success in any institution.

It’s raining off and on today and the leaves are everywhere, filling the streets in their annual migration into memory. This city is absolutely magic. Good day or bad day, up on luck or down, there is something about this place that makes one feel awake and alive, not simply boredly and absent-mindedlydreaming, like life so often feels in other places.

Time these days is flying.

odd days  §

So I’m going back to I-House for the first time since I moved to collect some mail that’s apparently arrived for me. It feels weird to even think about going back there… it’s such a different place, a different lifestyle with ultimately very different purposes. When I was leaving I-House, I wondered whether I would miss living that way. Now a few short months lter I almost feel as if I wonder how I did it.

I haven’t been into “the office” yet this week. In my cornucopia of jobs, this one has clearly fallen to last place in terms of importance and focus. It’s a kind of object lesson in why fostering good employee morale is key to success in any institution.

It’s raining off and on today and the leaves are everywhere, filling the streets in their annual migration into memory. This city is absolutely magic. Good day or bad day, up on luck or down, there is something about this place that makes one feel awake and alive, not simply boredly and absent-mindedlydreaming, like life so often feels in other places.

Time these days is flying.