Monday, November 21, 2005

Day Ten

My housemate Mike and I do some channel surfing once in awhile. When he's in charge of the remote, we spend more time on the Country Music Channel than I'd like, but I roll with it. Recently we came across what I think is the best country song I've ever heard (which probably means it'll be the worst country song you'll ever hear): Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.

Let Trace Adkins' lyrics speak for themselves:

With that honky tonk badonkadonk
Keepin' perfect rhythm
Make ya wanna swing along
Got it goin' on
Like Donkey Kong
And whoo-wee
Shut my mouth, slap your grandma
There outta be a law
Get the Sheriff on the phone
Lord have mercy, how's she even get them britches on
With that honky tonk badonkadonk

How DOES she get those britches on. If you ever get the chance to hear it, the song sounds like an Usher song with a cowboy hat. Just the combination of country music and the word "badonkadonk" will win over even the most crumudgeony crumudgeon. I've downloaded it onto my iPod so I can memorize it, and with that knowledge, terrorize.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Day Nine

It's been two weekends in a row that I've had a "social life." This, my friends, is a streak. Last night, the senior grad students bought the first years drinks at the on-campus bar here at Brown. I arrived fashionably late (about an hour) and had a friend convince me to try a "Root Beer Float" -- root beer with vanilla vodka. I give that drink two thumbs down.

Later on, I did order a root beer straight up and the bartender said to me "enjoy your drink in moderation."

I also tried to distract the political scientists at darts with some soprano renditions of our favorite 80s songs. We lost, um, by a lot.

People in the department have been telling me that my question for the job candidates about how to convince someone to like sociology is a good one and that it's actually stumping them too. How would I actually answer that question?

I tell the kids in Theory that Sociology is the study of what the fuck happened to us after feudalism, simply put. Sociology is the study of the change in forms of human interaction brought about by the onset of modernity. All the major sociological thinkers were trying to come to grips with such massive reorderings of social life with the coming of the industrial and urban world, and with that, the rise of the nation-state, of slavery, of severe inequality, of impersonality, of the subjugation of man to the machine.

And really, sociological inquiry today is still concerned with understanding the changes that modenity has left in its wake. Can we come to grips with how the modern world has altered fundamentally the order of social life? To the extent that we still use the theoretical and conceptual tools from the encounter with the modern age, we're still implicitly asking and trying to answer the question "what the fuck just happened?"

Sociology is the study of what the fuck happened to us after feudalism. Remember that.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Day Seven

It's been a long week for us grad students. The department is hiring three new positions -- a demographer, a spatial specialist, and a development specialist -- which means a 20% change in our department and a big infusion of youth. It also means lots and lots of extra work: there are four candidates for each search, each giving a one-hour talk and then meeting with us for an hour. So, in the span of about three and a half weeks, we've been handed an extra 24 hours of work on top of what Daniel calls an extant "palpable tension" and stress level among the grad students.

We just finished up with the demographers the other day, met with all of them, chatted, etc. Now, I'm probably not going to ever see these candidates ever again, even if we hire one of them since they'll be holed up at the Castle of Demography, a.k.a. the Cabinet Building. But, I feel obligated to put some effort into the search process since my colleagues will directly benefit and because the demography segment of our department is what drags us to a reasonable position in the heirarchy of sociology departments in the country. Of course, I spent the first few talks and chats not saying very much at all, but full of frustration since I (and I think a lot of the other qualitative researchers) were trying to ask something of these candidates that would get at how they might have anything in common with us.

So the last demography talk, I finally think of two questions to ask, both preceeded by a little story. The first is borrowed from Javier Auyero's preface in his book Poor People's Politics. In the preface, his dissertation advisor asks him what aisle in a bookstore would his dissertation fit. I thought that was a great question that aims to uncover what you think your work means to everyone else. So, I adapted it an asked: "If you turned your dissertation into a book, you know in the corner on the back cover? There'd be a few key words to classify it. So what would those words be?"

The other question is inspired by everyone's favorite Argentine and political realist Alex Hybel. The first day of class one year, he turns to me and goes "Celso, what is democracy?" And really, that's a tough question, but it's at the heart of what I study and I think it's a pretty important question for anyone who supposes themselves a sociologist or proctologist or astrologer. So in a way to approach that question for the candidates, I asked: "Pretend you're teaching an intro to soc course for undergrads and there's an impetuous and facetious young man in the front row who raises his hand and asks you just as you enter the room 'What is sociology'? Now, you really want him to take the course and be interested in sociology, so what would you tell him?"

Of course, those questions really feed my ego, 'cause everyone loves them.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Day Five

Today's the 15th. For some reason, my mojo kicks into overdrive around the middle of the month. I mean, it's not perfect, but rarely do I score in the first week of any given month, and rarely, if ever, do I get off on the last week. To be sure, I'll get some spillover outlier hookups in the lead-up to and the tailing off of the middle of the month mojo increase, but largely, the 15th is the date.

What exactly is it that makes my pheremones become so magically smell-tastic? There are a couple hypotheses. One, the full moon must make me a "lunatic." I guess this could account for the irregularity of the mojo surge, but there's no proven scientific connection between what the moon might be doing and how people end up in my pants.

An alternative hypothesis is that the ladies who I'm engaged with must share some similar characteristics. No, not desperation. Maybe they have some sort of libido thing going on. That's my scientific assessment.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Day Four

It's the 14th today. Usually, the middle of the month comes with a rise in my mojo: most hookups occur (for me) around the 15ths of months. Time's a-wastin'.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Day One, Supplemental

Ok, now I remember more clearly. I had a glass of wine, two Dark and Stormies (rum, lime juice, coke) and two rum and cokes. That's why I was still feeling like a billion bucks in the morning and why right now I feel like someone kicked me in the head and why I'm still not peeing clear.

Day One, Supplemental

Day One

Yesterday I had my birthday party. Of course, no Oslec-run activity is without its pre-event neuroses: I made two hamburgers on the George Foreman and I thought the condo smelled too much like hamburger. So I broke out the chemicals and sprayed every corner of the place until I decided to do the smarter thing and open a window.

People came and a good time was had by all. The first half (8-10) was the less raucous part, I think. We chatted, had Duck Hunt going on in the backgrond and just basically hung out. My friend Matt brought a box of beer from the Physics department's "Beer Day". This was in addition to the two boxes of beer I bought beforehand. By the end of the night, I got a bottle of rum, a bottle of brandy, and a box of beer for my liquor collection.

At about 10ish, maybe 12ish, the party started shifting gears a bit and we started singing along to the bad music on my computer. Now that was good shit. A dedicated core stuck around and lived through When Doves Cry and Right Here Waiting. 'Twas a party indeed.

I ended up, of course, playing a couple hours of Civ4 before going to bed at about 4:45. However, I got up at 12, which was a major coup for me in my new room since the sun likes to peek through the blinds and get me up at 8 consistently.

I think I needed that party. I think it really knocked me out of my funk. Thanks to everyone who came.

The best thing about the later Civilization games is that you can superficially indulge your narcisissm: you have the option of renaming your empire and your cities anything you want. In my case, I rename the empire and all the cities after me. So, instead of the "Indian Empire" it becomes the "Oslequian Empire" with its capital, "Oslequia" and port city, "Oslec City". Ahhhh so satisfying.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Day Six

Enrique Iglesias must have inherited some mojo from his father that made up for his unfortunate genetic shortcoming from his Filipina mother: he wants to market extra-small condoms. What the? Anna Kournikova? Size must not matter, in relation to other things.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Day Two

I managed to survive yesterday. I just ate breakfast and feel a little weird, but nothing like yesterday morning. While I feel like I can eat most foods, I'd prefer to be done with this gastritis sooner rather than later. Ultimately that means I have to exercise some restraint for at least two weeks while the Zantac works its magic. It's funny that the preventative exercise for gastritis is a balanced, low-fat diet, which I was already doing. That just drives home for me the unfortunate conjuncture of stress and chili that brought on this bout.

Fred wrote in his response to the evite "I can't believe you invited this many people". I invited around sixty or so people, but with the knowledge that probably a majority wouldn't be able to make it. I'm still sort of aiming for a big draw, so we still have a week to badger people.

After sort of breaking down my list, it looks like I have three groups of friends:

- People from Sociology
- People from Conn (further broken down into "Vox" and "Not Vox")
- People from Basketball

Right now, people from the Soc department are overrepresented. I'd really love a few more Conn people to come, so if you're from Conn and you're reading this, fucking come. To my party, that is.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Day One

Sometimes I wonder if I have anything to worry about. Most of the time I suck it up and lay it out as self-deprication or mock seriousness. Of course, people who don't know me assume I'm depressed or actually serious (which, of course, probably means you have a very underdeveloped sense of humor). But know this: I do suck a lot of it up.

So I suck it up. The problem is, while I can convince myself I'm fine, my body usually manifests the signs of stress regardless of how much I can squirrel the thoughts away. Usually I start breaking out on places on my body that are, well, socially-awkward spots to have pimples. Sometimes I get random stomach problems -- diarrhea, indigestion, and the like.

Last night I had a bowl of chili and this morning, I woke up twice. The first time was around 8am and I decided that 8am was too early. I went back to sleep, then woke up about an hour later with an intense pain in my abdominal area. At first I thought it was food poisoning, as it sort of reminded me of my fun time in the Philippines a few years back with those darned mangoes. I wasn't terribly nauseous, but I wasn't going to push my luck. I tried taking a crap (I did), and then I tried eating some bread to sop up the acid, but I still couldn't straighten up. I walked around my place, hunched over, trying to breathe like a pregnant woman doing Le Mans.

I tried to find a good position to contort my body to lessen the pain. I ended up finding a weird sort of downward dog/butt-in-the-air position that partially eased the pain while I tried to make myself sleep again. It really wasn't helping. I managed to turn the computer on and try to distract myself with AIM and the news, but I wasn't distracted. I talked to Patrick a bit and at the end I decided to head to health services here.

So I made an appointment for 11:30. It was about 10:50. I decided I should try to crap again and maybe shower in warm water to relax myself. I managed to do all of that with the lingering pain in my stomach, leaving just in time to arrive at Health Services just at about 11:30. After correcting my misdiagnosis from "Nausea and Vomiting" to "Abdominal Pain," the doctor sent me off to get blood work, abdominal x-rays, and a urine sample. As she was pressing into my stomach and as I writhed in pain (not an exaggeration), she was concerned that I might have pancreatitis, a kidney stone, or a gall bladder infection.

The tests were an exercise in endurance, all of them. Well not the urine sample or the blood test. So really, the x-rays were a test in endurance. The technician had me lay down on my back for one set of x-rays, and, if you had been paying attention, I wasn't terribly comfortable sprawled out on my back. She had me stay lying down until the film was developed. 'Twas funtastic.

The doctor did a quick diagnosis of gastritis, given the absence of blood in my stool and urine, and my normal x-rays. She sent me off with a prescription for Zantac for at least two weeks, recurring; and a bottle of generic milk of magnesia. By the time I was done with the whole ordeal, it was about 1pm. At 1pm, the entirety of the Brown campus is out on the green, eating, transitioning, and who do I see in a sort of unescapable way? FUCKING JULIA. She said "hi" to me, and in my upset stomach-I-spent-the-morning-doubled-over-I-don't-need-to-be-reminded-of-how-much-my-life-sucks way, I managed a quick "hey" instead of turning around and walking in the other direction. Thank God that lasted for two seconds.

So my frustrations high, my depression racheted up, and my day not even begun, I sidled into the Department and wrangled Brian for lunch. I had a bland meal of a cinnamon bagel and a banana and we talked about the frustrations of life and the excitement of and potentials for male bonding over video games, namely the recently-released Civ4. Brian suggested we go to Best Buy and pick a copy up, but we sorta backed off from the idea, at least for today. He said he'd take me on my birthday instead. Coo.

I'll end my story there, because I spent the rest of the day feeling sorry for myself. This was far from a good day. Completely far.

A few more days 'till my birthday party...

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Day Thirty

I got up a few times this morning, once when the sun pissed me off, and the other when I felt like actually waking up. I managed to plow through a couple articles before heading off to start my wonderful 1pm-9:30pm Wednesday days. I got home at about 11ish, ran outside for about 15-20 minutes, showered, ate something, and now here I am, waiting for my hair to dry.

It's really 1:20 or so on the 3rd of November, and consequently, it's the five-month anniversary of my new ACL. Obviously five months ago was awhile back, but things seemed a lot more different back then -- I had just gotten my MA, I was at home, I still had a girlfriend, my car wasn't yet in the hands of my ex-landlady, and, well, things weren't routine like they are now.

And it's funnier when you look at how I felt just a couple months after surgery, things seemed to be going fine. And granted, I have my health and I'm back to working on my life's calling, but my woman left me, my car's broken down, I don't have an advisor, I watch too much TV, I've had to have my family bail me out financially twice so far (because of the fucking car), and I can't seem to remember that I'm turning 25 on Tuesday and that should be cause for happiness.

I should say something funny. Well, like I've had up on my away message today, "I might be weird, but that hasn't stopped people from sucking my dick."

I think I need to treat myself to something, though I feel like I really should save my money in case my car explodes with me in it. Actually, I should find a reason to save up for my birthday to give myself a nice present. Though I wish I could buy some domination right about now. I need to have some big, decisive moment where I totally own someone or something.

You know, I haven't shot any baskets this week. Maybe I need to head to the AC and take 100 shots or something, just to center myself.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Day Twenty-Nine

The repair work I had done on the Taurus last week hasn't eliminated all the car's problems. While I can accelerate, the car still jitters like crazy when it's idle and spews a disgusting amount of smog out of the tailpipe. In addition, the repair on the engine heat sensor did nothing to better gauge the temperature of the engine -- it's still reading as overheating and I'm very inclined to believe it -- and now it won't start unless I sort of "rev" the ignition up a little. I think Tauro might be on the edge of extinction here.

So in my amazing Oslec logic, I've tried ways to get the car to not fire smoke out of the tailpipe, mainly consisting of me gunning my car to a whopping 35 mph, hoping that it'll clear shit out of the system. If anything, it just makes the stuff fly out directly behind the car where I can't see it through my mirrors. I was thinking about firing a hose up there and spraying it with water, but something tells me you don't do that to cars.

Now I'm a little wary about driving to Conn this weekend for Diwali if I'm not going to make it back, or make it there for that matter. Just for the sake of me being able to have a car that partially runs might be much more worth it that to drive to Conn and risk driving the engine crazy like my highway trip to Attleboro did last Friday.