Monday, October 12, 2015

Day 1

There's always some nostalgia writing on Your Daily Fix, but try as I might, I couldn't find a place where it made sense to keep writing something. Here I am again in the same throes as I was before, over and over, just trying to put something down on paper. And I realize among the many things I stopped doing with my practice over the past couple years, I forgot that writing something down here usually helped to get some cobwebs out of my head, or at the very least, it made me feel like I had produced something.

The other week I was thinking about my old misconceptions about what liberal arts scholarship was like. My role models at Conn, I thought, disappeared for long sabbaticals where they did the bulk of their work in the field and in writing (writing being "easy," of course), and then they taught intensely when they got back stuff they picked up in the field. Intense, hermetic research, then intense teaching to give it all back. None of that is quite accurate, or rather I don't know. What it looks like for me is about a semester of that hermetic research, then it's another three years until I'm up for my next review.

So keeping up with my work has been frustrating, I guess. The teaching seems to be going all right; it's the sustained work during the teaching that seems imperfectly burdensome. But that's how that goes, I guess (again). Maybe this review is getting to me, after all. 


In other news, I've been eating handfuls of this terrible stuff. The knockoff version, that is. One thing is clear: I'm getting as much sugar as possible per handful per price. This stuff will rot ya teeth. I do have memories of my mom eating whatever we want to call this stuff generically when I was a kid. She liked it. I think I simply inherited that taste.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Who's Heard of This Guy?

It's been more than a year since I've posted here last, and with that requisite telling of blog-time I think I may not post here again. In part because I'm at a different stage in my life now than when I started the old livejournal blog back in Providence. At it's height, Your Daily Fix was read by tens and tens of people, mostly over the summer of 2005 when I was detailing my recovery from ACL surgery, and then again in 2007-2008 when I was in the field. Of course, "Your Daily Fix" was a staple from the old AIM profile days (some of you might remember that).

I'm in my thirties now and still up at 4:30 in the morning because I've managed to lose myself in work that should have taken far less time to complete. That's not too different from when I was in my twenties and up late worrying that my girlfriend was going to dump me (she did), or why I couldn't finish my dissertation (I did!) I guess I never really got the hang of mornings, other than for wonderful relaxed breakfasts with fruit and tea. So late night it's been for me, my friend. Along with the oily skin and random internet browsing that would have done me in as a teenager, but luckily dialup -- and fights over dialup -- kept me away from wasting my evenings on things like bloages, or blogs, or something like that.

But still I wonder if this isn't as therapeutic as it might be for me. In part the reason why I put all this stuff online was to see if writing out all my anxieties to the public would get me to stop being so anxious about them. And I think the solution ultimately was to just be busy. Same thing goes for attention, or love, or what ever weirdness I experienced back in the naughts -- sometimes there's no time for this kind of reflection.

I guess I'm not sure if this is a lament or a celebration. I guess at the bare minimum I celebrate that I didn't have to maintain a food blog with any sort of consistency, but then again I did try to keep you all informed of my quest to dunk, undone by a knee injury (and genetics, who was I kidding?) But it's hard to say good bye to this yesterday, as it's hard to say good bye to a really well-named, custom-created video game character that you spent hours in the character customization screen to make. It looks sort of like you, but it's not quite how you feel, and probably not nearly as good looking.

Now I'm looking at what could become a lifetime job in the academe, with less opportunities to jet off and screw around with Fulbright students or get slapped in the face or even get frustrated with Latin American urban transport systems. While I'll still be able to do research from time to time, I guess what lightning I captured in this bottle-blog was just that, lightning in a bottle. And bottles now are for storing loose leaf tea or baby formula or something domestic, anything but lightning.

The moral of all this is that it's taken me nearly eight years to figure out what a public life was, and that I'd be living one, I don't quite think 25-year old me comprehended. I don't mean in the internet overexposure sense of "public life," the Lindsay Lohan sense, since of course we can be spoken of in the same breath (despite the commas and the running modifier). I mean in the sense that growing into society means being a citizen with responsibilities that connect you to others in ways that a little lightning-bottle blog could never have done, and perhaps never did. There wasn't so much responsibility in posting here the way there is responsibility in telling people how you feel or what you think directly, and being ready for them to ask you how you feel or what you think. As if my opinion matters -- and in real life. too.

So here's to you Daily Fix of My Ego. Maybe you'll live again in some form, but I think we've moved on in so many ways. And yes the irony is not lost on me that I had to write a post about this; what else was this night owl supposed to do?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Sense of Wonder

After finishing Deep Space Nine the other day, I proposed to a few friends that "What You Leave Behind" is essentially the end of Star Trek, or more specifically, a hypothetical series trilogy starting with TOS (and its films), continuing on to TNG, and ending with DS9. I thought that DS9 matured the themes of the Original Series and brought them to a sort of sublime conclusion, and that all other Star Trek that came afterwards were real "spin offs" insofar as they branched out or diverged from what I now consider a thematic arc across TOS-TNG-DS9. I think this might only work if you divorce yourself of the notion of a Roddenberry "vision" that must be or was always at play, and that divorced from "what Gene wanted," TOS-TNG-DS9 was about how hubris meets sacrifice, how history and empire are made of small people acting out roles larger than they can comprehend or accept, and that at the end, space is and never was "home," no matter how hard we tried to make it.

Or maybe WYLB was just a real, legit "ending" -- an ending that surpassed the attempts to "end" the previous series, for whatever their motivations. I liked how O'Brien takes his annoying-ass family back to Earth, how Sisko "dies" and literally leaves this mortal plane, how Odo and Kira shed no tears as they say goodbye. None of this bringing Spock back to life, none of this fuzzy poker playing ending where we assume the adventure continues: people finally have to deal with loss. But maybe what made DS9 for me was the episode "Waltz," where a hallucinating Dukat breaks down in front of his hostage Sisko that he should have killed all the Bajorans during his time as leader of the occupation, Sisko sneaks up behind him as he rants, smacks him in the back of the head with a metal bar, and then grits this line through his teeth. "And that's why you're not an evil man," before he runs off to escape.

I said all of that to distract you and myself from the crushing truth that winter will soon be upon Gambier, and I the winter-weary type in summer, will soon find I can only have so much fun throwing my cat into the snow to see what she'll do. I suspect that Irene will probably be okay as she's got fur.

Monday, November 21, 2011

On The Move

I'm probably flying over Ohio right now, heading home to California. I've got mixed feelings about Mt. Vernon and Gambier, a lot of which I've chalked up to learning how to be middle class, for realz this time. That is, having professional relationships, chatting in sitting rooms, and never seeing the kind of semi-bohemian lifestyle that I led for eight years ever again. Now people buy houses and go antiquing to fill them with stuff; they don't scrounge around the Internet to pick up milk crates and pressed-wood furniture just to have a kitchen table, or find a terrible but sturdy piece of wood and cover it with an equally-terrible table cloth because, well, you accepted your fate. The stories we tell about our furniture are different now.

And I hesitate to use "we" here, but I suspect I can't fight this tide, as the pull of class (the reality of class) melts me both physically and mentally into a gigantic grilled cheese of terrible food metaphors about selling out. God that was so bad, I'm going to end this paragraph prematurely.

I say this as if there's a "real" to be kept, when this may be fate of sorts. Granted too I'm lucky, considering how the economy has been treating others like me, but you never really get a sense of those sociological concepts like assimilation or socialization until you actually take historical stock of them. I don't have the confidence of Bourdieu to say I can see this dispassionately -- I'd say I'm at the Camus stage of the "French philosophical stages of acceptance" -- but I can't avoid the trajectory my family has taken from living 10 or more to a house to all my aunts and uncles (and my mom) stepping so far away from the immigrant life.

If I'm throwing loaded dice in some terrible crapshoot of fate, I wonder if it's Marshall Berman's maelstrom of change or some appalling American Beauty/Donny Darko/bullshit white person problem suburbia ass leakage that I'll be losing with. Either way, it's dissatisfaction, but one is solved by obsessive changes while the other is only solved by rebellious teenagers (I hate those things).

One thing is certain, I will refuse to tuck my polo shirts in on the weekends. Occupy my pants!

Monday, April 11, 2011

For Spammers, I Give No Quarter

I'm taking a break from a desperate moment of dissertation writing, having been drawn out by spammers spamming spam on the comments. Look, I know no one says a darn thing to me on this blog, but come on, do you really think that you're going to get someone to click on your links from here?

I think I just tried to apologize to them. Bad writing! Bad!

In other news, mom and Al were here this weekend and a good time was had by all. I would say, however, a better time will be had by me as I've got a pyrex full of shrimp stir-fry, a pot of chicken curry, a quarter-bag of beef jerky, and a half-loaf of pan de leche. This, my friends, is bachelor food supplemented by home cooking -- and it is good.

Monday, September 13, 2010

As Promised, Lifestyles of the Loan Borrowing and Lazy

So here we are, face to face, a couple of readers and I. As you can see to your left, my bedroom is hard to take a picture of. Compared to how I'd been living for the past maybe twenty years or so, this bedroom layout is completely different: no computer whatsoever. Basically, I come in here to sleep and change my clothes, which makes it infinitely less stressful on me. Still, if I could get in here at a decent hour, I might sleep in the first place. Note too that I've not graduated too far past "collegiate" tastes in furniture here, in part because furniture is fucking expensive.

Now, dear reader, we're in the living room. Downstairs in my old apartment, Andrew and Emily lived in this room. I've opted to make it a place to waste my time. While it might look comfortable, those couches are a perfect combination of all-right looks and borderline comfort -- you can only sit on them so long because they're not very forgiving on the butt. But they're brown, and stuff matches in there. I actually built the room around those two damn couches.

Oh damn, what the heck is that? It's an actual live TV. Seen only faintly is the HTPC on the bottom, along with the receiver for the speakers. All that stuff was a luxury purchase, mainly to keep me off of my main comp and therefore less likely to stay up to the wee hours of the night reading about Icelandic cuisine on wikipedia. A fairly expensive way to overcome one's internet addiction, but I figure it's still cheaper than detox and recovery.

Ahh the kitchen. It's kind of gigantic and I love it. The island/bench was here when I got the apartment and I have every intention of stealing it when I leave. What you don't see to their fullest extent are all the kitchen things I bought off of my friend Julia. I think I can fairly say that every man should have three ladles, each of different sizes and weights.

The bathroom, or, where the existing furniture dictated the color of the stuff I ended up buying for the place, which was actually limited to a blue and white bathroom rug you don't see here; and the white mat near the shower. That mat, by the way, is very plush. It's like Tempur-Pedic for the showering set, and since I shower, I'm a member! I would hope you are too.

I realize now that the only place missing is the office.

Well, and there you go. That's a dissertation face.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Neuroses of Living Solo

I think I have carpal tunnel syndrome. When I'm in bed, my entire left arm feels like someone's crushing it. Welcome to repetitive stress injuries, Ossy Bossy! So here I am, trying to affect good typing form on my I netvertible in public no less. Still, the people watching from this Au Bon Pan window is exceptional.

I'm trying to get work done here not because I should really try to get my shit finished, but rather to save on electricity. In fact, I'm going to have to sleep relatively early or at least work by candlelight on this tiny thing of a computer. All this reminds me of eight years ago when I first came to Providence from Conn and my roommates hadn't yet moved into the house I was staying at. I was convinced I was going to starve, go bankrupt, or both if I didn't eat anything but cheap pasta and canned tuna. Something about being accountable for an entire apartment seems to engender my most miserly of tendencies.

I say this just as I've sunk cash into a home theater PC, along with a very meticulously selected flat screen TV, which since I've spent time and money into researching and building the damn things I have to be neurotic in making sure they're protected AND making sure they're not gulping my power. So I got one of these things and it better work as advertised. Each day it takes for the thing to arrive I die a little inside, mostly in the form of electricity. In addition, the motherboard I used can't take my TV tuner and the wireless keyboard I got for the HTPC has a defective trackpad, but the cost of returning both would exceed the $30 rebate I'm about to get. I could go on, but writing all this crap down makes me realize how absolutely dumb this is.

In better news, I got up at 9AM today because the FedEx dude came early and delivered my two area rugs that match my placemats. Now I have two giant placemats on the floor. The one in the kitchen actually distracts you long enough so you don't notice that the floor is sloping pretty severely towards the middle from both ends. Anyway, for the most part, the rugs "complete" the rooms, so I'll get pictures up of the kitchen and AV room up soon.

Now here's the part where I try to sound either smart or funny. Let's do funny. Au Bon Pain is playing the We Are The World sequel. This is now the center of Hell. I forgot that Justin Bieber opened this song. Couldn't they get Nicole Richie? Also, damn, this version does not hold up over time, and it's been what, 8 months? How's that for topical humor? It's a good thing I don't do this for a living or else I'd have to go back to graduate school or something.