Thursday, September 29, 2005
So doing this celibacy thing is hard. I'll admit to you, I just keep thinking about the sex I had with Julia and that's sort of driving me crazy. I think it's a little sick.
DESTRUCTION VERSUS MODIFICATION
I reflect on the story of the flood a lot. That God thought nearly all of its creation was unworthy of existence and so wiped the slate clean is puzzling to me. For all intents and purposes, society only consisted of Noah and to some extent God itself. Now, God chose Noah to survive because he was upstanding (at least up until then), so God as social engineer eliminated all those others who did not conform to the norms laid forth directly from God itself.
I mentioned that last point because of the question of self-selection. But, the whole story raises two questions in my mind that truly befuddle me. The first is about elimination of the past. I often look back at my own life and juxtapose God's elimination with the idea that we learn from all our failures. It's one of those bromidic lines that people use to, I think, justify their unhappiness by assuming the ultimate outcome of life is positive: "At least you've learned something about yourself" (and all its iterations). Certainly, we do gain information, and admittedly experience, but I can't help but think that if I had the choice, I would have never done X at all. That is, at the contingent moment where paths are chosen, I'd have chosen another path completely.
Now, one could argue that such is "learning from my mistakes" and true, there is some information gathered. But, I think in its application, there are two approaches: one is to leave the past as it is and move on with the knowledge of the past, and the other is to wonder what if you had never lived that experience at all. I think learning from experience is by itself agnostic, but I think I'd rather eliminate the past and start over again. I'd rather wipe my own slate clean and, if we assume that action at certain critical juntures is contingent or even stochastic, hope perhaps that I'd choose another path entirely.
The second question returns to the deeper existential question that plagues me: if we bracket for a moment that the flood story is a morality play, and assume that when the world was wiped clean and only Noah existed what he would do. If everything were to end, leaving only one person behind and all mechanisms for sanction, both formal and informal, were removed, what would existence be like?
Lame I know. I think I just want the world to end and leave me behind.
MY REPUTATION PRECEDES ME?
Esther and Myung-Ji are having a joint birthday potluck on the 7th and sent out an e-mail to let people know. At the end, this fun little, um, notification, was included:
P.S.2 Our wonderful Oslec is preparing quite a surprise for all of us during the party, right Oslec?
Whuuuuuuuh? I guess I'm being asked to be totally awesome again.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Thinking back a couple years ago, I cited this blog --
I'd been spending way too much time in the department lately. I've taken it upon myself to answer all the e-mails I've received from my students in great detail, 'cause I think they deserve it if they're e-mailing a lowly TA for advice. I get a neat sort of gratification in helping them out. I also get a neat sort of gratification that I get some attention.
Anyway, I had class this morning, then a colloquium speaker whose presentation I slept through, and then ran some ideas by Dan and Paul about a possible dissertation topic,* then headed home. As I was crossing Thayer Street to walk down George to head home, a car passed behind me and TOSSED A WATER BALLOON AT ME! But... MOTHERFUCKERS MISSED! I took me about five seconds to realize what had (almost) happened to me, and really I don't know what prompted me to look back at what happened. I saw the empty and ruptured carcass of a red balloon, and around it the "splash zone" of its watery payload. A dude walking perpendicular to me saw it and said, "Man, assholes!" I could only agree.
* With IQRM coming up soon, we've got to submit research projects for critique. My tenative title is "Rich People's Power: Elite Revolt in the Philippines, Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador".
Monday, September 26, 2005
GOOD FIRST STEP TOWARDS MY CAREER
So I'm serious about the celibacy thing: no induced orgasm for thirty days to help me figure out what's most important in my life and what about sex itself is so important. I didn't really meditate on those ideas today, but I did get an inkling of my future profession as a liberal arts college professor. I had office hours this morning and with a paper due on Thursday, I had a lot of my students come in and pick my brain. Perhaps at my base I'm such an egotist that I enjoy talking about my own ideas, and certainly the lecture last week satisfied me a little towards that end. But there's the feeling that when someone leaves office hours that you may have, in some way, put them on a better path towards understanding the material. I guess I simply enjoy the satisfaction that I've helped make someone more intellectual at least for just a moment. Hopefully in the long run, I'll have helped make them intellectuals for life.
THE INTERNET LOVES ME AGAIN
Yesterday, I went the entire day without receiving a substantive e-mail. I could not have been more depressed in my life -- even the internet didn't love me. But today, in addition to all the e-mail my students have been sending me about their papers, I got e-mails from three cool peoples who've been out in the wild wild world.
Elli sent me an e-mail today. She's still in India doing the most improbably goodness ever, but getting ready to come home after having spent two years there. Always good to hear from her.
Kate Machemer e-mailed me too. She's still out in England, living an English life teaching English girls P.E. Certainly she's been having the time of her life too.
And everyone's favorite Bret Jaspers is starting an MFA out in New York. He was out here in Providence for a bit a few years ago.
I'm happy I have friends out there, doing some cool stuff. Awww sniff.
I WON A MAGICAL PRIZE
In the range of excitement in my life, usually me getting anything for free ranks up there with me single-handedly beating up an army of ninjas. So imagine my surprise when I removed the wrapper from my bottle of conditioner to reveal not one but TWO official Ashlee Simpson hair ties (see above)! Now I can really do up my overly dyed black hair just like her! And we both think we can sing!
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Ok we're gonna try something new. Starting tomorrow I start a new count: days celibate. You might be skeptical. For one, I don't actually have anyone to fuck, ergo an easy task. I'm gonna go beyond that: I'm not even going to masturbate. You heard me. No sexual anything. I am going to do this for 30 days.
Why? Because it's making me sick to think of sex. A few posts back, I talked about how thinking about sex is making me think of food poisoning, and I haven't been able to shake that feeling. It's not that I think sex is bad, but for some reason, my body and my mind have been rejecting it sort of virulently. I say "sort of" because it's not really virulent, but I've been getting pretty queasy thinking about the act of sex. I've also been pretty queasy seeing people cuddle after sex on TV. It starts my stomach churning.
So in contrast to how I usually viewed my life -- everything great, just needs love -- I'm gonna switch it around and just say "everything's great, don't need nothing else." I mean, seriously, what has all this obsession with love and sex gotten me? Some pretty funny comebacks, but still, I get too attatched to the people I have sex with or assume that sexual release is going to relieve me of the pressures of wanting to have sex. In fact, it just makes me want to have more sex, to masturbate more, and none of that shit is satisfying.
I guess I'm just trying to find what might be "real" about the sexual experience. Certainly the physical aspect is there, but I don't think I've been able to shake the emotional part of it. Sort of reminds me of when Patrick suggested I cry when I have sex. And to a certain extent, maybe I should.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
How delightful. I keep thinking back to when I gave myself the mantra "No More Mercy Whore, Say Yes To Self Respect" I wondered how if I got back into the dumps again, I'd be able to draw on it again. And I wondered if I could really sort of deny my ego long enough to pull myself out with it.
I think I'd be lying to all you three readers that if I said I were totally fine, but today I feel like everything's out of whack. The run today was great, no doubt. And I've gotten through a lot of shit this week. But it's that feeling I can't shake, like my legs are about to explode, and I feel like I could jump through the ceiling. But I feel even more strongly the feeling that even if I tried to jump through the ceiling, I could never do it, I could never break through. Basically, I want to do something uttery destructive, but know in my mind that I could never bring myself to do it.
This deserves another paragraph, but I got nothing. I need a big foam bat. I need a compound movement. I need a big foam bat and I need to hit something with it.
I slept late last night, partly because my body's been working late for the past couple days and partly because our upstairs neighbors were having a party. The sad thing is, I get the morning sun every day and so there's no way I can even pretend to sleep past 9am. So this morning, I got up to pee at about 9:15 and just decided to stay up and putter around. I had some breakfast and cruised the intrawebs, then got ready to run a bit.
Now, it's been quite a long ass time since I hit the streets of Providence. When I injured myself back in February, it was still really freakin' cold out and the running path down Blackstone Avenue here was relatively unshovelled. I had just been playing basketball, working the bike, and lifting, but no long running.
I'd been running on the treadmill during the past few PT sessions, and the most recent session ended without that weird tension pain that I'd been feeling on the lateral side of my left knee. So, I put on tighty-whiteys, shorter shorts, and strung my housekey onto my left shoelace. I stepped out and told myself out loud, "ok, not fast, just slow, just slow, don't kill yourself." Of course, our neighbor was out on his steps smoking a cigarette.
I kept chanting to myself to take it easy and to keep it slow. I stopped every ten minutes or so just to shake out the lactic acid in the arches of my feet. To make a long run short, I went from my house on Ives Street to Brown's athletic center, really maybe about four or so minutes slower than my regular time on that course. At the end, I felt great for both really running for the first time in months and for the feeling you get from running itself.
I guess looking back at this week, I had some pretty significant achievements and I guess I should be a whole mess happier about them: running four miles, giving my first lecture, moving to a new place... I mean it's quite a few important things, and all of them sort of prove that there's a whole mess of people helping me out and supporting me and so like, what's up with me?
It's that same feeling I've had for a bit -- no catharsis. I sort of need to explode or to break through or something. I need to kick ass or kick something. Am I angry? Should I be angry? Should I have cried more when I left the house on Governor Street? Why do I not care?
MY BODY, MY SELF
I did some duck walks and lunges with a thera-band at PT yesterday. Those things are rubber and they had the interesting effect of twisting the leg hairs on my ankle. So I've got like braided ankle hair.
Also, the lateral pain on my knee has receded enough for me to do a butterfly stretch. I think today will be the day that I rediscovered my groin.
Friday, September 23, 2005
I wonder if these existential questions I've been having come during the course of all people's lives, or if I'm just a crazy, over-thinking motherfucker. For instance, although I think I'm pretty sure of what I am, people seem to think I'm something other than what I believe.
At PT today, my therapist asked me if downloading songs from LimeWire was illegal. Now, of all the people in the world to ask, why me? Two people near us said they used LimeWire too. I guess no matter what I do, I'll always be nerdy.
And then just now, one of the kids in my class said "I like it that you swear; it's like you connect with us." Now this one is new -- it was never weird that I interacted with undergrads here at Brown before. I mean, fuck, I've had sex with them. But now I'm all of a sudden a little "fuck" and "bullshit" makes me "connect" with them. I have never felt so old in my life. I know the guy meant well and he's a good kid, but now, well, who am I?
TAKING A DAY
I left the house all of twice today: once to go to PT, and just now to mail Brad's birthday card and to buy some stuff at CVS. I was thinking about carousing, but it seems like my body decided differently: I took a two hour nap. I feel sort of lame, but I need to do my thing I guess.
THE ESSSENCE OF HUMOR or WHO IS FUNNY?
Someone mentioned a few days ago that improv is funny because you have to accept what comes -- that is, you cannot deny the material put forth before you and must build off of it. So that means if someone says you're a tree, you become a tree. Maybe a tree with diarrhea, but still, you take the tree and you go with it.
I thought about the essence of humor recently when I hung out with Julia's friends. To each other, they were quite funny, but to me, I never quite "got it" nor could I get in on it. And granted, they'd say funny things, but never to the degree that'd elicit rolling laughter. Really even Julia herself wasn't funny -- she did funny/cute-ish things, but never a joker, never a comedienne. I think in general, their humor was significantly weighted towards sarcasm, but sort of the "outrage sarcasm" that reading the New York Times makes you susceptible to. I guess you could say I didn't think they were funny -- too much sarcasm, not enough irony. Or if a statement is reavealed to be ironic by them, the response was "outrage" that I found not funny.*
Why is sarcasm funny? Perhaps part of the answer lies in the fact that it turns an established utterance or statement of fact or opinion on its head. I guess that's what people call the "set-up" or "setting yourself up" -- by establishing some fact or opinion, you provide material for a humorous retort.
Humor, then, must be by its nature, reactive. But not all reactive statements are humorous. I think that part of the reaction must border on elaborating on the logical imperfections in the statement, revealing its absurdity. Statements by themselves may not be logically imperfect, but perhaps in extention, their lack of universality generates the reaction. So, humor can be derived from statements who's truth is not universal. In that sense, humor requires an acceptance of absurdity -- an understanding of when a logical statement is made then illogical.
Perhaps part of that is being able to draw from a common pool of knowledge. This would define "inside jokes". When a common knowledge is already present, there is little need for a elaborate "set-up".
Revealing the absurdity of a statement is not inherently humorous. However, the logical stretching involved carries with it the seeds of humor, so statements are potentially, but not inherently humorous. I would argue there is a seed of probabilism here.
Part of the probabilistic nature of humor is the question of "timing". Humor requires a perhaps intuitive understanding of the temporal sequencing of a logical statement. That is, you have to know "where someone's going with it". One must first allow all the necessary facts to be established. Necessary, of course, is relative -- in more complicated statements, earlier portions of the statement may provide significant material for absurd extention/revelation. Timing in the interruption of developing logical statements is difficult to explain, but through the process of elimination, one specific instance of poor timing is having the "set-up" statement be interrupted by another person or event. Or, when an individual builds a logical argument, but you misinterpret the ultimate end of the statement and interrupt with a revelation of absurdity in the logic, it ultimately makes you not funny.
What about already-completed statements? Here the issue of timing also reveals itself. The statement must establish itself fully and all parties must already come to terms with its logic. Without this, the reactive statement would fall to the same problem when a complex statement is misinterpreted. Waiting too long however allows the established fact to have revealed a satisfying logic that would be difficult to penetrate or lay absurd.
This reveals an aspect of tension necessary in the statement and in the post-statement. Humor in many cases is cathartic, and if a suitable amount of tension is not built up, then the reactive statement falls flat, despite the fact that all necessary information has been established.
Arguably, all humor is cathartic -- it releases a tension perhaps inherent in the logical construction of a statement. The apparently tightly-linked logical chains we believe we weave when we speak can be broken down, releasing absurdity.
I'm sure this exposition has raised more questions that it has answered, but suffice it to say, I'm funnier than you.
* Really the only exception I know of was Nora, the girl who took care of my car this summer. She was really funny.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Off the cuff Patrick Davila again. Context: Me telling him about the perceptions among the grad students about Brown kids.
The Bosslec: apparently the harvard kids aren't as bad
The Bosslec: they're smart, but not assholes
The Bosslec: these kids apparently have a problem with authority
K R U N K L E: why
K R U N K L E: DID JFK JR ACT UP?
K R U N K L E: NO
K R U N K L E: HE DIED EXACTLY LIKE HIS FATHER DID
K R U N K L E: IN A MOVING VEHICLE
The Bosslec: oh shit
The Bosslec: hahah
The Bosslec: did you just think of that?
K R U N K L E: yeah
So there's really not much to say about my first lecture ever. A couple of my friends from the department came to watch, give support, ask questions. The kids seemed to absorb it, I think. Apparently I spoke slowly enough for them to understand and my handouts kept them awake. I got everything I wanted to say in and, yeah, I guess it was cool.
I dunno, I guess I haven't really reflected on it yet. Or "enough", I guess is the word. Suffice it to say for now, I'd do it again. I think today's worth re-living.
BED, BATH, AND BEYOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOND!
Ok, so why the fuck is Bed, Bath, and Beyond set up like a stupid ass Ikea? I walked through the entire fucking store before I found the "bed" and the "bath" part, after walking through "beyond". Jeepus. Also, my mall excursion and a quick jump to the grocery store took an entire freaking afternoon from 2:30 to 5:45. I could not fucking believe it.
Well, despite the fact that I'm unintentionally celibate at the moment and would rather be getting laid, I've been finding quite difficult to watch sex scenes on TV or even some porn. I guess the reaction could be described as "food poisoning" -- that is, it reminds me of the time in the Philippines visiting my cousins in Cebu when I had cake at a wedding party. This was no ordinary cake -- it was mocha cake with significant pieces of mangoes in between the slabs of pastry. I had like twenty, maybe twenty-five slices of these cakes.
That night, I had a pretty upset stomach. I didn't do too much sleeping -- I read Asian issues of Cosmo in the nightstand and tried to put a pillow under my tummy. It wasn't so bad, or so I thought. The next morning, everything seemed to move very, very slowly. I got up with a little bit of a headache, my stomach felt a little sloshy, and my aunt brought me some warm tea to drink to settle my stomach.
I had two cups of tea. Then I felt a surge make its way up my throat and I made it to the toilet just in time. I vomited up mango chunks and tea for quite a few minutes, and then I jumped I jumped in the shower, sobbing.
I had food poisoning. I was sweating. I refused to eat anything. I called my dad up in Manila and asked to come home early. I stuck it out for a bit, though.
Well, for about a year after that, I could not as much as look at another mango without feeling the pit of my stomach get heavier and heavier. And fucking mangoes were my favorite food. I could not fucking eat them, smell them, or look at them.
So, I can't think of, see, or perhaps experience sex. It seems so disgusting to me right now. And yet I still love it.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Stupid congress! Must taste the marbly goodness of the barley-fed wagyu breed. Actually, I guess I'll just get a domestically-raised wagyu slab.
LECTURE WRITTEN, READY TO ROLL
It's 2:30 AM and I made it through today, finishing a 3-page paper on the Chinese banking sector (I know, Tian'd be proud), and my lecture for tomorrow morning. I've filled it up with about six billion things, hopefully I can get all six billion of them out of my mouth slowly enough and efficiently enough so that everyone'll understand me.
I'm going to hit on the Japanese girl in my Social Capital class. Apparently though, it's "a typical rebound" move according to one drunk Alex Patunas.
PT was weird today. Usually, my therapist and I don't shoot the breeze too too much, but in the middle of my routine, she comes up to me and says, "you know, we [she and the other physical therapists] looked up your name on the internet, not Google, so we could pronounce it." She then told me how my name was pronounced in French, Portuguese, Espanol, and Castellano ("thelso"). I asked her later if she had a little too much time on her hands and apparently there was a cancellation earlier in the day. While absolutely flattered that anyone cares that much about pronouncing my name, this was really odd in two respects: 1) why me? and 2) I've come to the realization that she's never actually called me by my name.
Oh yes, she looked up my name later in our session and apparently it means "tall" in Latin. How deliciously ironic.
SOME PEOPLE HAD IT WORSE
I'm pretty over all this Julia stuff, but if my mind ever wanders, I'll just go to this site (watch out for pops). I didn't post anything, only because I realize I had it easy.
Monday, September 19, 2005
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Life is undoubtedly and inarguably like Tetris: you get all these blocks that don't fit together unless you twist them around, and sometimes you have to just clear a level line-by-line to get through.
HAPPY TO BE SINGLE
Well today at least. Alex Patunas, who's out in Buenos Aires (well, I guess in her words, she's "trapped" there right now), slapped me around a little to remind me that being single ain't that bad. I think I'm going to go wear my suit jacket and try to hit on businessmen at the Marriot downtown, just to see what they'll do. No I won't, that's lame. I have to do it pantsless.
In my mind, I'd love to share adventures with someone. That is, if I ever went on adventures. But I think with my singleness, I could probably do some outrageous things and have no one to be accountable to. You know, shit only maybe I or Brad or Patrick would get.
I think I might just be sexy for the hell of it. Just because I can be. And because I know I give good head.
I'm gonna smile at girls that look at me, just to mess with them.
Maybe I'll drive fast with my window rolled down and park in my new $100/mo parking spot. Or maybe I'll do a moderate amount of agility drills and moderate running to get my legs ready for December 3rd. Or maybe I'll go to bed early on the weekends, just to get up at 6am and dance in the streets, lapping at the shores of lunacy at dawn.
I think I'll cook and eat food that I really like. I'll buy a small slab of Kobe beef or get some Wild Alaskan salmon.
I'm gonna forget what I need to do, and do what I want to do: buy a plastic office floor cover for my rolling chair and try to bench 200 pounds. Or just 185 pounds. Yeah 185 pounds. I'm gonna make a soundtrack for my walk to the department, made of 70s light disco.
I'm gonna dance the robot in the middle of conversations. And think about dancing the robot in the middle of class. I'm gonna love it.
MARX QUOTE 'CAUSE MARX ROCKS
"The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living." - The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte
PATRICK DAVILA QUOTE 'CAUSE YOU NEED TO LET GO
The Bosslec: i want to try kobe beef
K R U N K L E: why?
K R U N K L E: i dunno about meat being massaged
The Bosslec: i wanna see if they hype is true
K R U N K L E: massages are only for kids under 8
The Bosslec: that's quotable patrick right there
I stayed up late last night to read and write a one-page thought paper, so by the time I got up, I had missed all the morning masses. So, after a fruitful* day, I managed to get to the 5pm Sunday mass at good ole St. Joe's on Hope Street.
Now, usually I skip out on St. Joe's because of multiple factors. One, the homilies, while not the most important part of the mass, never go beyond 5 minutes and are about as deep as a Pyrex cassarole. Two, each of the readings is prefaced with a summary of said reading, which makes the whole enterprise one huge redundant mess. Three, they have a cantor who's got a really beautiful voice, but they also have a cantor who's nose is stuck in his throat and can't keep rhythm -- I'm always there when the latter is singing.
Anyway, today's mass featured a new priest, and so I figured I'd get something new out of the experience. So I sat down behind the one young blond in church (hey, I'm a letch) and checked out the songs for today. Mass started normally, with the cantor singing completely off rhyhtm from the organist and the usual opening sequence. Normal so far...
And then, two young guys want into my pew. I shift over, but in the few seconds before I acted and after they showed up, I smelled the heavy, heavy scent of lots and lots of beer. The guy now sitting closest to me apparently was drunk as a skunk and the other dude was sort of minding him and keeping him out of trouble. All of this was terribly interesting to me since in all my 24 years of attending mass, I've never once sat next to the drunk guy.
So the priest begins the homily with this:
"Oh I was just doing a head count. There's about sixty of you in here, but I hear only about twenty of you responding..."
Oh damn. The priest just got pissed at us for not all responding. That NEVER happens. And then, he kicked off the meat of his homily by asking us a non-rhetorical question (again, totally atypical): "What is the worst sin?"
Of course, the drunk guy next to me is the first to raise his hand. "Negligence," he shouts.
"Negligence, Ok. Any others?" the priest asks. We get a few more -- greed, avariciousness (which is the same thing as greed, the priest reminded us)) -- and then we got to his trick question homily answer: HYPOCRICY! (thanks Patrick. I had "democracy" on the mind)
He followed up with a story about how his residence is between a high school and a local college and how people will park on his property when they pick up their kids. He confronted one guy, who showed "disregard for the law" and asked him if he was a priest. "That's unimportant," the priest retold.
The guy then said, "I preach the gospel!" to which the priest responded "but I live the gospel, and that is the difference between you and I."
Well that was the basis of a homily that had the specific point of not letting society dictate how we act. Fucking society.
During the offertory, the drunk guy patted me on the shoulder, then walked up the aisle to the altar, I think then his kissed it, and walked out.
The rest of the mass went normally, but it was just hella funny when the priest decided to sing with the cantor. It became obvious the priest couldn't really carry a tune, but in combination with a cantor who had no rhyhtm and an organ, it was one of the more humorous combinations ever to coalesce in a Catholic church. St. Sebastian's next week, for sure.
* "Fruitful" meaning I ate a lot of fruit today.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
There's quite a bit I have to handle this week, but luckily it comes in waves. By tomorrow at noon, I have to produce a thought paper for class Monday afternoon. I have to prepare for my first discussion section Monday night by reading over Marx's original writings. I have about 23423423423423423423 pages to read for class Tuesday, and a 3-page paper due Wednesday. On top of that, my big big lecture is on Thursday.
I think I'm gonna go lift. 'Cause jocks don't do work.
Friday, September 16, 2005
It's a long, long story about how I moved. A really, really long story, that's neither funny nor sad nor happy. Well, I guess ultimately it was happy, as I ended up moving, and in a very dark way, quite funny since God brought it down hard on me today.
THOSE AIN'T RAINDROPS IN MY EYES
Despite how hard it had been for me in that house since last week, I harbored no ill will towards my landlady. And when it came time to say goodbye, I gave her a hug and cried on her shoulder. We were more than civil to each other, and we talked about how we didn't have any negative feelings and were both very sad to see something very good for both of us come to an end. It felt good to cry for once, considering all the crap I've put up with this week, I needed real closure and catharsis and saying goodbye to someone who had been another "mother" to me was good for bringing that about.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Well, it's still gonna rain and I'm procrastinating by packing my stuff. I should be reading for a 6:30pm class. Then again, I'll just read all the first years' thought papers. Hehehe...
NORA SAYS "HI"
So as I'm trying to badassly* walk to Au Bon Pain, I pass Nora who watched my car for me this Summer until my landlady made it into a driveway decoration. Nora's a good friend of Julia's, and while all of Julia's other friends have passed me on the street without so much as an evil eye, Nora, though in a sort of awkward way, said "hi" to me and I said "hi" back (I think). That was actually a little relieving for some reason.
* Apparently I'm doing badass things without consciously attempting to do so. My friend Paul pointed out that I now "walk big" and take off my sunglasses like a "hardass". Though walking to a rough place like Au Bon Pain requires a badass walk with concentration.
I think after one-hundred two days after surgery, and with everything with my knee more or less going fine, I've decided to start a new post count tomorrow. I sort of ran a few things through in my head about what the next "story arc" of this blog should be, and really there weren't too too many that weren't mad crazy. We already did the "Day until I get laid again" count two years ago, so while that's immensely appealing, it's unoriginal. And, the "Days until I get a PhD" count would reach the thousands and only serve to remind me of how futile life is in general.
So, starting tomorrow, I'm going to start counting the "Days in my new place" which I guess is a proxy of "Days I expect to be much happier than I am now". I guess it's supposed to be a "hopeful" count, versus the knee count which was I guess hopeful, but partially pitiful too.
I picked up my keys from Andrew Baum and Mike, my new housemates (yeah, I don't know Mike's last name) today and right now am gearing up for what should be a circus tomorrow. I'll bet you my deposit that my landlady will offer no aid, and will attempt to, in fact, obstruct my move in various ways, out of spite. I have so much hope for the human condition.
I guess it's appropriate to take stock of where I was two years ago this time, moving into this house from over on the other side of Providence's East Side. I remember clearly being really excited to move out because my roommate there was, well, let's say we got along superficially. I was sort of hoping that the landlord's son would move back in, 'cause I think we sort of got along pretty well, but as it turned out, that was not the case.
I rented a U-Haul van that day and was able to fit all of my personal objects into it, Tetris-style, and managed to drive down to this house where my landlady was having a drink out on the porch. She helped me lug all of the things I had, which, back then, only took up a small, small portion of the room. I don't remember how long it took me to set up, but I felt in a way that this was the beginning of me being truly happy with my life -- nice big room, nice accomodating landlady, beautiful house, starting up grad school, etc.
Of course, an Oslec Day wouldn't be complete without a comedy of errors. U-Haul vans don't have windows on the side, sans the passenger side window. I didn't perceive this to be a problem, but when I had to return the van, the combination of my incompetence at driving, Providence drivers, the van's lack of windows, and the fact that my exit was 5 lanes away on the right produced one of the great moments in Oslec mental farts.
So, as I leisurely attempt to change lanes by signalling and hoping people'd give me space, people in fact just honked because I took too long. This happened twice before I decided that changing lanes was not the path for me. So, in my frustration, I skipped my exit, assuming I could just make it up on the side streets of Providence.
Of course, my amazing sense of direction got me nowhere. I think I managed to get back on the freeway, but my exit didn't exist heading North on 95 (!!!), so I pulled off again and tried to use the back alleys to find the U-Haul office. I drove forever. 4. EV. AH. I got so pissed at myself that I found the nearest gas station, justifying that stop with the fact that I had to return the van with gas. Luckily, my landlady found me at the gas station and we drove to the U-Haul depot in no time.
So I guess things went well that day...
Sort of funny that I really did grow up a lot in this house: I learned how to cook (sort of), really manage money, take care of a car, shovel snow, seduce countless ladies, and really take care of something I thought was mine to steward. Certainly, I had some great times here, and my while my landlady and her family bordered on the crazy, they did help me out a lot.
But to end in a truly trite fashion, what I really learned I guess is that I still have a lot of growing up to do to become "fully adult", but I think I'm looking forward to the process and the changes that I'll be making as I get there. And I guess change can be good, despite how craptacular it is. And that you just have to leave things behind to be who you want to be. I guess that's it.
And that, I, like the Great Flood, would rather destroy all that I made before and start anew than settle with what I have. Blasphemy!
Bye house on Governor Street!
Why oh why is Gloria asking a foreign firm to advise on charter change in the Philippines? If you recall a few months ago, I had a problem with adopting the parliamentary system in the Philippines because, well, there aren't any political parties in the Philippines. But I guess no one's thinking about that. And now we've got an American consulting firm in here, because, as we all know, Americans have an exemplary parliamentary democracy. Christ. I'm gonna call up Prime Minister Dennis Hastert about this.
MORE UNCONSCIOUS DENIAL
Ha. I just realized that I took a book home yesterday -- The Sexual Organization of the City -- unconsciously assuming that Julia'd appreciate it. Man, I'm stupid.
I think what I'm going to do is keep talking about this breakup so that my friends will castigate me about it. That way, the shame of being a sorry sack should activate my insecurity reflex. Then, it'll be a relief to them and to me when I finally stop -- for them, so that they don't have to hear it again, and for me, so that I'll be so embarrassed to be a pussy that I'll never do it again.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Ok dudes, some girl just knocked on my door and introduced herself. She's currently living in the room that Ricardo the Brazilian occupied. Or occupies? What? Ricardo's stuff is stacked up on the table in the hallway/landing. What the fuck just happened?
Man I think I'm bad sometimes, but at least I'm not totally poop-enamored. Vanessa sent me this link, and I guess if you can't take it all, listen from the 6:00 mark onwards. I guess my a-cappella assholishness really skewers this dude on the singing, but mostly I think it's my "I'm not THAT big of a wimp" reflex that makes me go "ewwwww". I did, however, years and years ago, send a girl a ton of postcards from Carson City, Nevada. Her mother noted I was "smitten", and well, I guess I had to be to send someone postcards from fucking Carson City, Nevada.* I vowed never to do that again, or any silly-ass gestures like that.
If the girl did actually leave this dude after getting this tape, I feel profoundly sorry for the guy, but in his misfortune, it's good to know that I'm nowhere near this. In fact, I sort of get a little uplifted when I hear how terrible other people take their breakups. I guess, you know, I might have it bad, but not as bad as them.
Although, dude sounds like me leaving an audio post: a little smarmy, a little too honest.
* I think one or two were from Virginia City, Nevada, which didn't really enhance the larger set of Carson City postcards.
SOCIOLOGY MEANS COMMUNITY
I'm debating on whether or not to consider Joan and Muriel, the administrative assistants at the department, as surrogate mothers or aunts. They certainly look after us, and do a little gentle ass kicking when we need it, and I guess they dispense their matronly or autonly (?) advice freely. I remember last year when I was dealing with heartbreak they constantly made me say I was happy and tried to reinforce my self-confidence.
Today, I was making copies and found some packing tape I had left on the copy machine and remarked out loud that I found my tape. Some girl who was walking down the hall thought my reunion was funny and laughed and smiled at me, and I smiled back. Joan caught the exchange:
"What are you doing smiling at that girl?" she asked me in mock seriousness.
"She was smiling at me!" I said.
Later, we had our annual ice cream social, which I hadn't been able to attend for the past couple years b/c classes. As soon as I got my sundae (which made me sick as all hell afterwards) and started mingling with the professors and the other grad students, I realized that I liked being an older third year in the department, with a good relationship with many of the profs and a lot of the grad students. If anything, I don't doubt that I'm fully part of the soc community; a hang up I might have had waaay back two years ago.
THE BIG MOVE UPDATE
I got Dan and Esther to help me pack stuff up today in exchange for dinner. We made some big big progress in just getting thing put into boxes and clearing out my room. We put all of my academic books in my car, being as I want to put work where work belongs (in my office) and not in my new tiny room that I'm moving into. In other Big Move news, it's probably still going to rain on Thursday.
RUN? JOG? SPRINT?
I got home at around 3pm today and had to fit in some exercise before I pigged out on ice cream at 4, so I decided to see if I could run to the OMAC and lift a bit, then run back. I report this: my knee held up pretty solidly to say the least, but it hurt (or felt tense?) when I ran with a heel-toe strike. Running on the balls of my feet, however, didn't hurt one bit, and I actually went faster than I thought I could handle striding on my toes. So, hotness.
And just to get it out of my system, I swore I saw Julia going to the OMAC and ran past her. Awkward...
Despite how smoothly I'm taking this breakup, I'm pretty hesitant to start up "friendship" again. It's been about a week or so since I got the news and after a significant amount of reflection, I'm not angry as much as I am shocked, which lines up pretty closely to what some psychologists call the "denial/shock" stage of grief.* The big (and I think huge) difference is that I haven't been a recluse or a hermit like people in that stage are supposedly like. To be sure, heading to Cambridge was an "escape" of sorts, but I certainly wanted to be around people I knew and certainly wasn't shy around strangers, if "Careless Whisper '05" was any indication. Then again, I'm somewhat of an attention whore as it is (I have a blog named "Your Daily Fix of [my] Ego").
But still, even if I'm not pissed at Julia, if I were to jump back into being friends with her, I think my mind would ineluctably drift towards trying to get her back. I've certainly been there before -- trying to convince girls that I'm at least the next best thing by being incredibly doting, and incredibly nice, but I think at the loss of my own self-respect. I think I'd spend all my time thinking about it, and really, not "her" per se, just trying to convince her to think it was all a mistake. In that sense, I'm afraid of perpetuating or intensifying my denial.
I think back to a lot of the breakups I've had in the past, and really inevitably, my initial coping mechanism has been to assume "I'm taking it well" and then lose myself in trying to get the girl back. I think I'm rightly justified in attempting to avoid contact with her, especially if I do feel that she'd be a good person to know in life in general. But again, is my current "taking it well" really part of my denial? What if my positive perspective on our future friendship is really part of my denial as well?
So I'm afraid of what I might do. And I'm afraid that I might take too long to get over this and her pretty weak ability to keep in touch with anyone but her closest friends might make nothing more of this than just memories. Ultimately, I think that's what I'd have to accept as a possibility to really move on.
We passed each other on the street yesterday, and I don't think two people could have walked a wider circle around each other. I sort of expected something more genial, even superficial, but I asked not to be talked to, and that's what I got, I guess. While my heart didn't drop into my stomach, I couldn't help but think that that might be the last time I'll ever see her.
*Five stages: "denial/shock" (this can't be happening!), "anger" (holy shit, I'm gonna take it out on you, random person!), "guilt" (it must be because I lost weight this summer/if only I were an intense Brown undergrad like all her friends!), "depression" (life sucks cock, the world is shitting on me), "acceptance" (wow, that other girl is cute!). While I might be mostly in the denial/shock stage, I think I've experienced all of those other stages in the past week. Good job, pop psychology, you suck cock.
KARMA STRIKES BACK
After serious scientific analysis, the universe must be inflicting karmic retribution on me for breaking my lease with my landlady! Thursday, my move day, is supposed to be RAINY. Spec-tac-u-lar.
GONNA RUN TODAY
I'm going for a run today, biatch. A very, very slow run. Later on this sem, I've decided I'm going to have a "running party" to celebrate my knee's recovery and to thank everyone from Providence who were there for me this Summer. Right now, I envision a short jog on Blackstone and bagels, orange juice, and assorted fruit when we're done. Oh, and I want someone to carry a boombox to play theme songs.
Monday, September 12, 2005
So 100 days have passed since Dr. Akizuki said "What up?" to me and installed a dead person's ACL into my left knee. As a clinical milestone, it means nothing, but as an affective one, you know I can come up with something...
The physical therapist had me do short, short intervals on the treadmill today and some agility drills. She mentioned that she may clear me from PT within two weeks, which is very early. To be sure, it's not a sports clearance, but a clearance from PT means that I can handle most of the recovery on my own.
I'm not sure what to make of that. One the one hand, I'm still about 3 months until I get a sports clearance, but on the other, I'd be saving around $100 a month for the next three months without PT. Also, I could do it at my own discretion. I think I'm going to see an orthopedist to check on my progress from a medical perspective.
THE BIG MOVE UPDATES
It looks like I don't have that much stuff after all, despite my engagement in commodity fetishism during the past year. The Brazilian will be moving into my room and I'm leaving him my desk and Ryan's couch. Julia gets her fridge back the same day. I expect a "frigid" reception.
MY FAMILY BAILS ME OUT
The Villegas family has this amazing ability to look out for its own and support them when they desperately need it. Look at my dad, my cousins when their dad died, when my lolo died... To the least of all of that, they've been behind me with every endeavor I've undertaken. I never asked for money (I used to ask for video games...), but one of my titas will invariably offer, despite me telling them I want to rough it out here in the RI. With all the crap falling on my head this week, I told my aunt that I'd need a little cash to see the week through. My lola and my Tita Beck were in town, and all three of them wired me more than enough money to finish my move and pay for the last of these books. I want to someday repay all of them, all of the Villegas for giving all the time to me. It makes me feel horrible that I don't write or call them often enough. I certainly need to do that from now on.
This Saturday while Jen and I were heading back to her apartment, Fafi called up and asked, quite bluntly, "Os, what are you getting me for my birthday?" First of all, his birthday wasn't for a good three weeks, but apparently they were having the party a week and a half early, so he wanted to make sure I'd have it there in time.
I said to him, "Well, maybe the better question is 'what do you want for your birthday'?"
"Well," he said. "I'd like a book on war, uh, in general..."
"Ok," I said. "Could you be more specific?"
"Well, I'd like a book on the Dutch," he said.
The Dutch. Ok... Jen commented on how the Dutch were quite interesting these days, so I asked my brother, "Well do you want a book on Dutch ships or on their unique welfare state, built on religious pillars?"
There was a very, very long silence.
"On the ships," he said.
So that's my new quest: find a book on Dutch ships.
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Ok, I tried twice to post through my cell this weekend, but kept forgetting to press "1" to stop recording and kept hanging up instead. Next time, next time.
As for this weekend, it's been really quite great. I went up to Cambridge to Jen and Kanu's apartment at Harvard where they're resident tutors. We didn't do much Friday, but Saturday, Jen and I explored a graveyard whose name escapes me, and then later that night we went to a med student party.
But, the highlight of the weekend had to be the karaoke. Jen, Kanu, and I went to a bar in Cambridge that had regular karaoke on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. After waiting about 45 minutes (I think), I whipped out my crowd-pleasing rendition of Wham!'s "Careless Whisper". The dude playing the songs hated on me bad, but I had an amazing performance. People got up and slow danced in front of me and gave me a standing ovation (sort of, 'cause they were already standing). I also nearly embarassed some lady as I "[took] her hand and [lead her] to the dance floor". Well, she didn't come with me, but her friends kept telling her to stand up and she (and I guess I) wasn't sure if it would fit into my act. Next time, I'll add that in.
It was really generous for Jen and Kanu to invite me up and to put up with my Oslequisms for a weekend. Not much more I can say about that.
Also, I played with their puppy Lolita. I think I miss the dog too. Though, a few times, I almost called the dog by some other name... Bah.
UPCOMING WEEK UNSPECTACULARNESS
Well, here's the big challenge: this upcoming week. I'm not fishing for sympathy, but I think it's just one of those weeks where there's an uncontrollable constellation of events that have the potential to drive you crazy. The house is still hella tense, so I'm really uncomfortable spending any time where there are people around, which has cut down on my cooking alot. Unfortunately, I'm walking on a very, very thin tightrope in terms of my finances because of eating out to avoid people and to pay the deposit and the rent for the new place. Add onto that, one of my classes which should have been held tomorrow had to be moved to Thursday afternoon, compacting the time I expected to have to move out of my house from all afternoon to about 6 hours. Of course it doesn't help that I'm riding the emotional rollercoaster of having someone tell you they all of a sudden don't like you anymore.
Luckily, I've got some big time help from my friends and family. Jen and Kanu letting me crash up in Cambridge helped a lot to bring some stability in my emotions, my friends Daniel and Brian are offering (well I asked Brian) to help me speed move on Thursday, and my aunts and grandma from the Philippines are coming next weekend, so I'll have a lot to do.
Jen and I talked about religious ethics and religious philosophy in general while we were at the graveyard on Saturday. She suggested that I consider meditation to engage the existential questions I've been having and to perhaps unlock the most basic of human nature -- compassion. I've been hesitant to take up meditation, only because I feel like I couldn't maintain a good meditation schedule, and for some reason "meditation schedule" seems oxymoronic to me. But, maybe the best way to sort of deflect and reduce myself when all I can really think about is how craptacular my life is going at the moment is to imagine I guess the emptiness of not being through engaging the existential.
All I'll say is this: I was at the weight room at Conn when I first heard about the WTC and was totally floored when I saw those buildings collapse. However, I did find it grotesquely funny when Patrick suggested we have a memorial Jenga tournament in 2002.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
I won't go into detail about the reasons why, but in the midst of being dead broke, moving out of a tense house, and having your girlfriend elaborate twice why she broke up with you, I feel like nearly $7.1 billion dollars! You could use me to buy some Venezuelan oil!
So apparently the best part of my Craigslist ad is the fact that I made up the word "kickassishness." I think if you're having a hard time trying to wrap your mind around what it means, we're really not going to be good friends. Then again, I doubt that anyone's who's managed to get to this blog isn't my good friend.
SENTAI'S GOOD FOR THE HEART
Breakups suck, perhaps only because every song seems to have something to do with you. Ah, except the songs from Japanese Sentai shows! There's nothing like songs from a children's super hero show, sung in Japanese, to inspire. Of course knowing me, I picked the wonderfully outdated ones: so on continuous rotation on my iPod are two songs from 1984 that sound like the theme to "The Love Boat." Thankfully (I think) I don't understand nary a word from these songs (except the "Engrish"), and from what I can gather, they're singing about giant robots kicking monster's around a papier mache stage.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Responses have been limited in terms of actually answering the ad, but I've actually had people tell me that it was funny. That's great.
hold on and never give up when difficulties arise and self doubt starts to creep
in...you are where you need to be and that is fine, of course, the grass always
seems to be greener on the other side, but objectively speaking, taking aside
the fact that i am your dad, you are embarking on a very noble
undertaking...continue to live your life with dignity...i am reminded of a poem
by a modern american poet (kavanaugh) entitled `there are men too gentle to
live among wolves` for it speaks of men like you and, to some extent, me,
whose ideals are never comprismised by the conditional and commercialized
world...stay where you can dream of things beautiful and a world full of
wonder...stay the course, ride easy in harness and you can deal with life`s
uncertainties... the world needs your kind to make it a finer world...
Here's Kavanaugh's poem:
There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who prey upon them with IBM eyes
And sell their hearts and guts for martinis at noon.
There are men too gentle for a savage world
Who dream instead of snow and children and Halloween
And wonder if the leaves will change their color soon.
There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who anoint them for burial with greedy claws
And murder them for a merchant's profit and gain.
There are men too gentle for a corporate world
Who dream instead of candied apples and ferris wheels
And pause to hear the distant whistle of a train.
There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who devour them with eager appetite and search
For other men to prey upon and suck their childhood dry.
There are men too gentle for an accountant's world
Who dream instead of Easter eggs and fragrant grass
And search for beauty in the mystery of the sky.
There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who toss them like a lost and wounded dove.
Such gentle men are lonely in a merchant's world,
Unless they have a gentle one to love.
Although it looks like I'm looking for trouble: I'm going to ask my landlady for my security deposit of $200, plus to prorate the rent and refund me for half of the month. That'd mean $425 for me, which would help immensely with books and the down payment for the room. After some shotgun legal advice, it looks like I don't have any binding legal recourse, but I can file a complaint with a board if it comes down to it. Also, going through the courts is "not worth it" for such little money, although in a relative sense, I'd be pooped on less with that in the coffers. We'll see for now.
Jen and Esther were amazing, as usual, as my surrogate sisters. Jen offered to have me veg up at their place up in Harvard this weekend, and I think I'm going to take her up on it.
Funny, I'm really coming off of this break-up pretty darn confident, probably since I wasn't the crazy one. It just hurts.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
So the early daily jolt posts have been a little critical of Prof. Silver and her potential to teach So101. Actually, they've been pretty mean, and perhaps over the top. This happy thread starts with someone asking about the course, but then turns into:
Talk about apples and oranges: Mahoney and Silver. That's like comparing golden
apples and rotten oranges. I'd rather have scurvy than have silver!
Pirates these days... I think it'll turn out fine in the end.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
AH THE KNEE
Well, I'm halfway there. A few days ago, I hit the 90-day post-op mark. Usually, people get their sports clearance at six months out, so as long as I stay on schedule, I'll be cutting and changing directions come December.
Certainly things are different from how they were one week post-op: I'm walking without crutches, no more leg brace, I can pedal a bicycle all the way around, and I'm not helpless.
And, thinking about it, I'm very glad and certainly thankful that I was at home for the surgery, despite how much it drove me crazy as I recovered. If anything, had I gone through the toughest parts here in Providence, I'd have been even more crazy.
The PT protocol has changed a bit, too. Either the factor of changing PT locations or me moving along nicely with the protocol, I'm not doing short PT sessions and PT "homework." Instead, PT is a twice-a-week, really intense 2-hour affair, focused on getting my strength and proprioception back. It's a nice change of pace, but it certainly eats up a lot of time, and will apppear to do that more intensely as classes start up. All in all though, I enjoy it -- it's a challenge that I can only really benefit from, so it's cool.
Ah Food Network. Perhaps at my most metrosexual, I watch too much Food Network. At the PT place where I'm at now, I spend my 30 minutes of cardio watching Everyday Italian or whatever's on at the time, pining after whatever it is they're making (and with such ease!).
So during the hairier parts of the Summer when I'd do PT exercises in front of the TV, I picked a favorite show: Paula's Home Cooking, where our host, the genial Paula, cooked a whole bunch of stuff with a southern accent and then rolled her eyes in enjoyment as she tasted what she had cooked (which was the best part). Anyhoo, I saw this recipe and thought, "damn, that's hella easy." So I made these Pine Bark for my brothers, who snacked on them for quite some time, long after I had found them waaay too sugary.
So I just made my second ever batch of Pine Bark for this barbecue later at Julia's place. I guess the amazing thing is that I forgot the recipe upstairs in my room and actually cooked something from memory. Well, I mean, something atypical, like Pine Bark.
The point is: I'm awesome. Don't you forget it.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Today I wondered about standards. We like standards in a liberal society because ideologically we're meritocratic. Ah, but how the Enlightenment fails us again. It's no news that people jaywalk and it's no news that people don't know how to drive, but drive anyway. However, it IS news when all those things happen to me multiple times on a single trip. On the way to PT today, I had people cross the street on red lights (of course causing other people to do the same thing and forcing me to stop in the middle of the intersection and have to back up), people crossing the street talking on their cell phones, people unable to determine if they should stop or wait at a flashing red, and people debating the same thing at a flashing yellow (in both of those cases, they just decided not to stop at all).
WHAT DID I JUST TEST?
So reading the knee message board and doing general internet searches for ACL recovery protocols have revealed to me this nugget of testing: the KT-2000! It's supposed to be part of that 12th week protocol. So of course, being the hack scientist that I am, I asked off-handedly today at PT where I'd get a "K-1000" [sic] test done. Lo and behold, they had a KT-2000 on hand. The guy who administered it was actually the head trainer for the Brown football and soccer teams.
At the end, I ended up having the same joint laxity in both knees, I think 2.5mm. Now, what the fucking hell does that mean for my life?