Sunday, December 31, 2006

My family and I are bowling this year for New Year's at the local bowling alley. My two bros used to bowl regularly a few years back and they've got their own shoes and balls, etc. so I'm in for it tonight. We'll be there from 9pm to 1am, at which time I believe the alley will be serving a continental breakfast (bowling for bagels).

I'm not sure if I can handle four hours of bowling -- I think I may drift off to the arcade to play air hockey with a brother or two, or even try my hand (feet) at DDR or the ubiquitous Time Crisis or Jurrasic Park shooters. I remember back in the day when I'd sneak off and play Street Fighter II' (the ' is actually important: it designates the "Hyper Fighting" version) and get my ass handed to me by all the dudes with their girlfriends watching, or one of those beat-em-ups like Captain America and the Avengers or X-Men.

I guess what I'm saying is that arcades in bowling alleys suck these days. I did manage to find a gem a couple years ago when my bros were at a bowling tournament in San Jose: A cabinet version of Zero Wing, which was the basis for the All Your Base phenomenon.

We bowled for four straight hours, with minimal time for my brother and I to find some dude hogging the Time Crisis 3 machine. I managed to bowl consistently around my average score of 81 -- a typical Oslec "average sports stat" along with my lifetime 25% free throw shooting percentage.

Lots of families there tonight, which was interesting considering the bowling alley set up big projection screens to show music videos as we bowled. Too many little kids were into the music: "My humps" indeed, little 7-year old girl. My personal favorite was that Shaggy song about being caught red handed -- an important tool in explaining to your children that "banging" could entail having to explain yourself out of why you were banging someone you shouldn't be banging in the bathroom.

Though there were some neat older videos: the music video for "Fantastic Voyage" involved the band Lakeside turning into pirates. That video somehow reminded me of Whitney Houston's "I'm Your Baby Tonight" which, before Gap got a hold of it, did a more faithful job at reproducing Hepburn's dance scene from Funny Face.

And, the Niners won today, but their loss last week puts them at 7-9 for the season and out of the playoffs. If you recall awhile back, I promised to crap in my pants if they made it -- thankfully that event will not come to pass.*

*Though I've been dreaming about going to the bathroom, which does nothing for my self-confidence.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Do Something

It's moments like these that I doubt I can do this academic thing -- I can't write anything that advances my paper in a way that makes the whole thing make sense. I've somehow come back to the problem I had before: am I writing about the middle class or am I writing about democracy? Am I writing about both? What the fuck am I doing and do I have to reinvent the wheel to do it?

Of course, the blog is no place to vent with rhetorical questions. If I don't offer insight, my one to two readers will revolt, and we can't have that now, can we? Got me again.

I've got sorta plans for New Year's. Actually I've got options: (1) Elli might not be sick by Sunday and she'll be city/party hopping and I've been invited, and (2) my family will be astro-bowling (similar to your cosmic bowling or space bowling; it's like the Cold War of flourescent lighting and blue-collar sports). I haven't made up my mind yet, but it'll be (or should be) quite different from last year's New Year's with my cousins when I think I drank so much that I wanted everyone to be quiet and stop screaming.

Two important events occurred these past couple days: Barry Zito signed with the Giants for $136 million dollars and Saddam Hussein was hanged for crimes against humanity. One can only hope that both will precipitate NL championships and a stable Iraq, but seriously, who are we kidding? I predict disappointment.

Monday, December 25, 2006

A Film's Quality

I sorta want to see "Children of Men"; seems pretty cool. "Pretty cool" only in that says it's good. Chronicle film reviewers tend to be pretty haphazard assessors of a film's quality, though I've agreed on a couple odd occasions (they and I liked "Resident Evil").

The best part about "Children of Men"?

Advisory: This movie contains profanity, violence, drug use, a few gory scenes
and Michael Caine doing the "pull my finger" joke.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Don't Just Swallow, Gargle First

Important news from MSNBC/Forbes: Sex is good for you, but in more ways that one. Take, for instance, this example:

Better teeth: Seminal plasma contains zinc, calcium and other minerals shown to
hinder tooth decay. Since this is a family web site, we will omit discussion of
the mineral delivery system. Suffice it to say that it could be a far richer,
more complex and more satisfying experience than squeezing a tube of Crest —
even Tartar Control Crest. Researchers have noted, parenthetically, that sexual
etiquette usually demands the brushing of one's teeth before and/or after
intimacy, which, by itself, would help promote better oral hygiene.

This isn't a family website, so I'll go ahead and explain this: giving head and getting jizz in your mouth is good for your teeth. That particular form of sodomy also apparently encourages you to brush your teeth anyway, so go ahead, get arrested in Georgia -- tell them it's to fight plaque. I'm amazed they didn't mention how cunnilingus is like flossing.


Remember when in Star Trek IV, the emotionless, reborn Spock is taking a pretty complicated set of tests, since he lost his brain to McCoy in Star Trek III, and at the end of that scene, the computer asks him a question he can't answer: "How do you feel?" And it asks it over and over again, until Spock's mother informs him that the comptuer knows he's part-human, and as such, the question is a valid one.

I wish my computer would ask me how I felt after typing away like a slave to finish my prelim paper. Instead, I have my little brother asking me every three minutes if I'm finished and me trying to gently explain (well I've stopped both "trying" and "trying gently") that papers have funny deadlines in graduate school and that page length, for the most part, doesn't matter anymore. He responds to my evasion with a "so, then when are you going to be done?"

I wouldn't complain so much, except that there's nothing for me to do but finish the dang thing and all I can think about is how cold it is here in Pacifica, how my brother's bed shifts half a foot to the side when I get on it, and how I still haven't gotten over this damned post-tibial tendonitis crap. I've procrastinated too: I watched old Transformers episodes on YouTube and continued my attempt at reconciling my Catholicism with my absurdism.

Given all that though, I've written a lot. Once that stuff's done, I can surf the internet with nary a care in the world and get back in the gym.

RIP "THE BOSSLEC" (August 2004 - December 2006)
"The Bosslec" was the second of my post-high school AIM screen names, and arguably the one that I was destined to have. I think some combination of my increasing self-esteem (cockiness); the fact that I'd had the moniker Oslec The Bosslec for many, many years, but never appropriated it; and that multiple college friends had taken to calling me "The Bosslec" (or "Boss," not to be confused with Springsteen's "The Boss") that ultimately helped me take on "The Bosslec" as a screen name.

Way back in the AOL era and before away messages became chic, your cleverness could only be tested by your screen name. And for someone who hadn't exactly figured out how to talk to non-nerds in public, my screen name was like me going to the gym AND wearing a flattering t-shirt -- it'd get me some serious chat room time with the ladies (I was a notorious @-}----`-- giver). You can see that I'm still plagued by the same complexes, except that I actually do overcompensate by exercising now.*

In college I gave up on my chat room habit and occupied one online moniker for five years: "cmlmv2003," my initials and a reference to my graduation year. And cmlmv2003 was good. And in comparison to my high school days when I'd change screen names frequently (puberty), five years with one name was akin to me "finding myself," or at least committing to who I wanted to be: a simple man.

But I graduated from college and moved on to the grand adventure known to me as graduate school in the New Jersey of New England. More things changed: I was on my own, I got my heart slowly pecked out by crows, and got a new computer. In large part to set my "new self" off from my old one, I decided to change my screen name upon installing AIM for the first time on this comp. Gone were many of the incomplexities of old and in came a more acute attention to self-expression (read: looking good) that many other people went through when they were 17, with a begrudging sympathy for the trendy.

So "The Bosslec" was born and it was good. It was aesthetically-pleasing: no numbers, no fucked up capitalization, and it made intuitive sense to everyone who knew me. And, if you didn't know me, I think it said a lot about me. Well, I mean, it said I like to half-mock myself and that I had a silly-ass first name anyway, but still. "The Bosslec" was sorta sexy, the nerd's coming of age, his overtly less timid self regularizing. I think at that point in my life (which, if you've lost count, was only two years ago) I started telling people I was "the Bosslec" in real life as well -- a pretty lengthy advance considering that in fourth and fifth grade I was telling people to call me "Ninja Nerd." Of course, "The Bosslec" could have just been my "Thrillhouse."

But AIM decided to be a dick and fuck up my Buddy List, by not uploading it and then not allowing me to edit an older saved version. Nothing I could do could save "The Bosslec" so it was time to move on. I grieved a little. I'm grieving now.

But now we have to welcome my new name into the world: "Teh Bosslec." "Teh" if you don't know, is a purposeful misspelling of "the" used in l33t. I'm certainly not claiming to be l33t, but I liked how it took off just a little bit from "The Bosslec," making it pretty obvious I'm not a stiffy.

So let it be known throughout the land: "Teh Bosslec" is here, and he's not a stiffy.

* Which is all for naught since I still maintain some sense of modesty and don't like showing off my "guns" or my "buns" or whatever it is people show off. I guess I'm of the belief that if they get me naked, I've got 'em snared good. Call it my Sun Tzu theory of hooking up: overwhelm them when they least expect it. "Them" of course meaning "chicks." I think this paragraph encapsulates everything that's wrong with me ever.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Korean Pop and Sleep

Two things have been absorbing most of my time lately, and by "most," I mean "all": mid-90s Korean pop and sleep. I forget how I came to arrive at the Korean group (duo) Turbo on YouTube, but their straight outta the 90s dance moves tripped the Oslec "I must learn their dance moves" wire in my brain. And really, it's not because of the group Turbo itself that I want to learn their dance moves, or even their music, but from this un-wikipediable variety show called "X-man" where one of the regulars makes fun of a former Turbo member by mimicking his dance moves (I'd embed it, but I haven't defeated HTML Man and absorbed his Code Blaster).

Secondly, I've been routinely sleeping for more than eight hours lately. The simple solution would be to set an alarm. Oh, well I guess that ends that insightful blog entry.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Insecure Much?

Four in the morning... I'm trying to justify my grading, so I'm reading my own papers from undergrad again. I'm tough now, I think, only because I lined up the ducks to shoot down, so to speak.

But in the midst of looking through these papers, I found some of the best writing I've done. By far, my favorite paragraph ever came from a journal entry for English 300, the class I had to take to be a writing tutor:

Elena brought up something in her journal entry that I see as the whole bone of
contention in this slow-roasted turkey of writing, and America for that matter:
the melting pot versus the salad bowl. Is this nation one of warm, smooth,
melted cheeses or one of refreshing vegetables and tangy dressing? Both of these
metaphors have been used extensively in some form of culinary combat of the
cultural kind. Kant and the Founding Fathers believed that by leveling cultural
differences, we could attain perpetual peace. The movements of the 60’s taught
the world that to be “black is beautiful” and power is “yellow and brown”. But
is it right to claim that in the process of being a whole that We The People
should either seek to become like others and other to be like us; or that we
remain separate in a shared space?

Smooth melted cheeses indeed.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Boring Adventure

I'm finally back in Providence. Read that last line with exaggerated relief, for I wish it to convey how untragic, yet frustrating my past couple days in the air have been. I spent last night in Las Vegas because we were apparently ill-advised to get on a late flight in Ontario, California, which arrived in Las Vegas too late for us to make our connection to Boston. And I say "us" only because I share in some weak solidarity with all holiday travellers.

Of course I have a billion things to do at home, but according to Structured Procrastination, the best thing to do is to add more to my plate.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

San Dimas, Day 2

I talked to Patrick Tatten today, whom I figured was close enough to see, but that turned out to be wrong. We caught up -- he's in a movie, doing judo (not in the movie), etc. Gotta let people know where I'll be before I get bored in places that are not my home.

My family came down from Pacifica today. My brothers managed to blue-screen-of-death my computer.

As I always wonder about my family, when I make a reasonable salary, will I start keeping wine in my office, playing golf, and owning an SUV/minivan? Will I shmooze with the nuveau riche? Will my kids willingly watch the Disney Channel? I like to think that those questions are slightly more mature than "what is love" which I think is more mature than "am I cool" or "does my girlfriend like me"?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Mmm SoCal

I was under the impression for most of Monday that I was leaving for California the upcoming Wednesday. So, when I went to call the airline to confirm my flight 48 hours in advance, I found out that I was leaving that night. I spent a good 30 minutes laughing at myself, then telling people what an idiot I was. I then scrambled to get shit from my office gathered up before we met with one of the candidates for the Watson-Soc search.

Having of course gone through all of that, I get a voicemail from US Air telling me that my flight from Boston*, the first leg of my trip, was delayed for 40 minutes, which would cause me to miss my connecting flight in Las Vegas. With no other flights leaving that evening, I had to reschedule. So, compressing that long process, I managed to get a flight out of Providence the next morning, which, if you read last night's blog, you can see I was not in the best of shape for when it came around.

I planned to sleep for the entire trip, and by "planned" I mean "meant to", since none of my preparations were close to any sort of "plan" -- I had middle and aisle seats on the last two legs of my trip and as a "contact" sleeper, there was literally nowhere to rest my weary head. So I spent most of the plane trip straining either side of my neck, watching the end of the pretty terrible first season of The Critic (the second season is MUCH better), and being generally restless.

But I made it to San Dimas. Now, I was just as awestruck and amazed as you are when it dawned on me that I would be treading upon the same hallowed ground upon which Bill and Ted once trod. My cousin actually goes to San Dimas High School, as a matter of fact. Thus, I am not so far separated from Keanu Reeves in the great chain of who-do-you-know.

*Yeah, and I was flying out of Logan, not T.F. Green. That involved me planning to take the commuter rail and taking the T to the airport, timing everything right, and hoping I could get to the train station in time.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

When You Can't Sleep

I'm listening to Amy Grant because I think somehow her mid-90s crossover pop will help me achieve peace of mind. I can't sleep, and I've got flight at 7am and all I can manage to do is think about my existentialist (really, fatalist) perspective on love, which I think I'm willing to amend to accept some degree of agency on my part, but I'm unwilling to become a "romantic." This is, of course, why I'm an academic and not a poet -- poets write poems poetically, academics sleep in their sleeping bags on top of their beds and look for a "theory" that they can pass off as a "philosophy."

Admittedly, I'm as free as I could possibly be from "actual" issues with love and am as deeply immersed in my work as I should be. But I'm for some reason letting myself drift off into meditation instead of sleep, unwillingly trying to feel what it might be like if I were able to communicate my feelings to someone to such an extent that they are totally and entirely empathetic. I'm coming to two disturbing conclusions: (1) the fact that I have to approach this hypothetically suggests I've never felt empathy or have been truly empathetic; and (2) if such is love, or even a component of it, I've been the Michael Bolton album in the bargain bin of the social Best Buy -- no one wants to listen to it, but as if Michael Bolton has anything to say other than "hey, I think I can sing better than thou" (and Michael Bolton'd totally use "thou").

I've felt sad, I've felt angry, I've felt frustrated, and have accepted other people's justifications when they feel similarly, but that does not empathy make, or so it seems: that's quite possibly "communicative action" based on rational argument. That typical fill-in-the-blank statement "I feel _____ when you _____" I think, while aiding rational communication, does not necessarily induce empathy -- only understanding, "sympathy" if you will -- and is hardly sufficient.

Surely, saying "I feel ____ when you ____" can help lift the lid off a moment where two people have the same rationalization and same feelings. And certainly, empathy requires some sort of realization, some sort of awareness. But still, I feel the rationalized discussion of emotions is not empathy, even if it reveals a similar circumstance leads to a similar reaction.

Does that mean empathy can't be induced rationally? I'm not sure if thinking about it like that gets me anywhere. I think maybe the purest vocally-communicative moment is when someone says how they feel, and the other person searches not for a parallel experiene in their own life from which to understand that rationalization, but when by the simple act of saying "I feel ____", the other person is made to feel that feeling -- that exact feeling.

I guess on that count, I've felt what other people have felt simply because they've felt it. So really, I'm trying to feel what someone else would feel if I could simply get them to feel how I feel by telling them how I feel (by the way, "feel" looks hilarious when you type it). By that circuitous route I have someone concluded I've an icy heart or really, really poor emotive skills (I should practice my smiles).

But this reinforces my preexisting contention that if you were to be in a state of empathy, you'd know it (errr, I'd know it). I dunno. Does that mean that love, if rationalized, explained, loses the quality that makes it so inexplicable -- it's literal inexplicability. When we lay in each other's arms, saying nothing, but feeling everything -- isn't that what we yearn for?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Almost Back?

I almost ran today: "almost" because I managed to run pretty quickly heel-toe, with a little forefoot strike, but not enough to constitute my usual running form. Still, I went much faster than I had gone either on the basketball court or on the streets since I got hurt back in September.

So I was inspired. I guess I can chalk it up to my pre-workout yogurt consumption or my two pots of green tea the day before, I dunno. What I do know is that I emerged victorious.

Hello, Bourgeois!

I went to the mall today. I went to the mall today, and I went last week on Sunday as well. Call this my "embourgeoisment," which some academic -- probably a Marxist one -- actually used.

Anyway, I went to invest in a new shaver and a pair of basketball shoes. After aiming like a guided missle to Macy's, I managed to fend off my shopper's indecision and pick up a rotary blade electric razor for a pretty decent price.* Of course, as I'm actually paying for the thing, the lady manages to confuse the fuck out of me: she told me I still owed $90. After trying to figure out what I did wrong and maybe pee in my pants, maybe just pee a little bit so that my underwear absorbs it, she noticed that she had accidentally hit the "delete" key on the register and took off a placeholder in the price. I don't know about you, but everyone I know named Oslec T. Bosslec feels better when he doesn't have to owe $90.

At Foot Locker I was going to put down $120 for higher-quality shoes (not the Starburys, which according to the blogs, suck). I kept asking the attendant if the shoes were really $120, I guess in part to justify to myself that I wasn't dreaming and I was spending over $100 on basketball shoes, but mostly to make sure I wasn't getting taken for a ride. He took the box up to the counter on my behalf and I followed.

Sure enough, the lady at the register folded an extra-large Yankees t-shirt, put it on top of my shoebox, then added it to my total.

"Uh, I didn't get that," I said.

"Oh," she said.

So she subtracted it from the total. Initially, I was to pay $114, and then all of a sudden, I owed them $99.

"Wait, wait. Why is it $99?" I asked, like an IDIOT.

"'Cause there's no tax," she said, missing an opportunity to catch me at my worst.

So apparently the shoes were almost $30 off and no one, not even the people working there, knew. So, technically, I have not yet paid more than $100 for basketball shoes. That's something I can tell my kids.

But I wonder, especially about the Foot Locker incident, if they'd been ripping people off by adding merchandise to the cost and then seeing if people don't notice. The slowly-dying optimist in me says that they just fucked up, but the ever-present cynic says they were going to take me for a ride. I guess it'd require some systematic analysis to see if that were true, but I guess what I can dispense now is a warning: be like that relative that keeps tabs on their receipts and watch out for 'dem schiesters.

Also, I like to think that my impeccable fashion sense saved me -- no one named Oslec T. Bosslec that I know would wear an extra-large t-shirt, let alone a Yankees one.

* Considering that I could have gotten one of those fancy Braun ones that clean themselves for $150, and then have to buy new cleaning "cartridges" every month thereafter for $20 each.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

You Must Be Mistaken

Last Monday, I had a language evaluation interview for my SSRC grant proposal. As usual, I was totally amazing, to the point where the evaluator thought that Spanish was my first language. She was trying to place my accent and when I introduced the idea that I looked Peruvian, she didn't think I had a Peruvian accent.

However, at the gym yesterday, two dudes started talking to me. The first guy knew my face from the Sociology Dept. Website, coming across my profile on there as he was looking for a mutual friend. The second dude, however, started to talk to me randomly between sets, and asked me "Where in South America are you from? Bolivia, Peru, Colombia?"

Of course I said, "Peru."

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Laziness and Hunger

I was re-reading my copy of Williams' Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace and was inspired to play around with end sentence punctuation to make "readers think [I am] more than a common writer..." I dare you to make fun of me.

- Try it and I'll kick your ass.

Simple. But according to Williams, if I use strategically-placed punctuation, I might scare you more.

- Try it (and I'll kick your ass).

This, I think, is more pussy than the last sentence. The parentheses make kicking your ass an afterthought, when in fact I'd do it.

- Try it. I'll kick your ass.

The period changes the rhythm here: it allows both sentences to breathe. It comes off a little subdued.

- Try it! I'll kick your ass!

Pussy. Same goes for "Try it. I'll kick your ass!" or "Try it and I'll kick your ass!"

- Try it: I'll kick your ass.

This is like. There's an explanatory immediacy with the colon. It tells you right off that the consequence of "trying it" will be my ass-kicking of you.

So with that resolved, let us move to writing chiasmuses: a device which creates elegant stress at the end of a sentence. To create a chiasmus, I have to take a sentence with a parallel construction (I don't think they're necessarily parallel clauses) and then reverse the order of the elements in the second clause. This apparently adds emphasis, but I'm not entirely convinced I like the sentences with them.

Ok, so let's see. First I have to make a sentence with a parallel construction:

- I am breaking your face with (my dangerous fist) and (my powerful kicks).

Then I go

- I am breaking your face with (my dangerous fist) and (by kicking powerfully).

Gross. I hate it. But the thing is, that took me thirty minutes to think up, so by the hierarchy of difficulty, this is "advanced" ('cause things that are hard for me are of course complicated).

Williams has more complicated examples that are giving me a hard time. Let's see. First, a more complex parallel construction:

- I will freak you out, and I can ride your mom all night long.

And then...

- I will freak you out, and all night your mom can be ridden by me.


That was probably a bad example, but I'll keep working on them, only because I will freak you out and ride your mom all night long.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Wow a Month!

So it's been a month since I blogged last. In that month's time, I made myself write like a madman, producing some typo-filled funding proposals that I finally got sent in today. Actually it was only one proposal. But if you asked my computer's desktop, there were about six or seven different iterations of this proposal, all pretty different.

Another thing -- my shaver is not turning off. I think it's time to get another.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Day Four

So instead of work, I found a story that even Bad Reporter's Don Assmussen couldn't make up. Apparently Nick Carter lost his virginity to Debra LeFave, the teacher who did one her students. Hooray for boobies.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Day One

After using Brown's shuttle service for the first time, I saw the podiatrist. He had me take a couple x-rays and looked at my orthotics (which I think are about 10 years old). He complimented me on my astute diagnosis: I have post-tibial tendonitis. If there was any doubt before, let this moment dispel that doubt and instead replace it with hella smartness.

Anyway, he said my only real protocol for now is to take 400mg of ibuprofen, three times a day for ten days, as well as 30 minutes of ice, twice a day for a couple weeks. So, we're gonna count up (down really) the days and see how my foot is doing along the way. Simple enough.

On a somewhat tangental note, in the process of waiting for the shuttle, girls actually talked to me. And one even introduced herself. I must have smelled nice. Also, I didn't manage to convince the podiatrist's office that my co-pay was $1. A man can try, right?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Day Hrrrm

Indeed, so it seems like I've set myself an interesting deadline: next Tuesday, I have to have a draft of my prelim paper completed. I managed to volunteer to give a talk on it on the 10th, and we agreed to have something circulated to the discussants by the 3rd. So here I am, having written let's say a third of it haphazardly and my confidence has dropped because of my own laziness.

Of course I'll get it done -- I need to save face. My trepidation is that the more I think about the paper, the less I'm convinced by it. So, of course, I should write it and not think. Easy.

So the Niners are 1-1. According to the Tecmo Super Bowl adaptation for the 2006 season (which I got here), the Niners should be 2-0, and if my game calling is as good as Mike Nolan's (well or vice-versa), we should be beating the Eagles this weekend 63-3, allowing negative rushing yards.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

These Are the Days

The joke goes "You know you're in graduate school when... you accept that guilt is a necessary part of relaxation." And so here I am, accepting that the guilt I feel at the moment is a result of me not working on some funding proposal or my prelim paper or my dissertation proposal, at least physically (that is, putting something down on paper). As a theme, this isn't new for my blog, but it rears its head in my life so often with such effect that it's worth mentioning.

I had two meetings on Wednesday with two of the professors on my disseration committee. They gave me some pretty diverent advice in terms of where I should go with my work. That again isn't atypical (or "it's typical"), but to reproduce the jist of both meetings here on the blog seems daunting and potentially draining. Even telling people verbally is like recounting the story of a bad haircut, over and over again. It's a little paralyzing -- you'd think that telling people would help alleviate some of my trepidation, but it just reveals to me how anxious I am about it all.

So I've tried to let it marinate, let it stew, boil the bring to a simmer. So far, I open up the pot and the smell reminds me of how much I can't bring myself to eat the contents just yet. I hope I get a little psychic push some time this week.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Day Whew!

So it's September 15th -- payday. As of a couple days ago, I was $40 under my projected budget, but I figured as long as I kept to eating things in my house, then I'd be fine. So, of course, I spend $10 at Au Bon Pain for two meals.

I have to say though, as the school year started my mind drifted to worrying about my nuts-ass dissertation proposal instead of my lack of funds. So admittedly, today arrived with less of a flourish or even a splash. And then... I checked my balance online and found out I got a raise. Of $50 per check. That wasn't bad news at all.

And so with the coffers fuller than they had been since July, I can break out for other stressful reasons.

Though I don't watch American Idol, I happen to watch Celebrity Duets. The only draw for me is that they have celebrities (debatable) sing with the most innocuous singers that you'd probably hear on your local adult contemporary station. So that means for me I get to see the greatest singers ever. Taylor Dayne sang a duet with Jai Rodriguez from Queer Guy, and last week Lucy Lawless of Zena fame sang with Kenny Loggins! Cheech Marin sang with Aaron Neville tonight, and Alfonso Ribiero sang with Denice Williams ("Let's Hear it for the Boy" -- I saw her sing that on SNL).

It's like my iPod is on television.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Day Twenty-Seven

I got up late-ish today, managed to write a couple more discontiguous pages and then half-run around the East Side of Providence, testing out my foot. Let me just say, while the park along the river here is nice, it's very, very creepy on account of the old gay men cruising there, just sitting in their cars.

I also got a response from a medical study I inquired about. This sleep study promised to pay around $1800 for nine days of observation. Not too bad, but the problem is that I can't give up nine consecutive days for it. Maybe when I'm writing my dissertation I can revisit it, but I'd probably get my ass kicked either literally or figuratively for disappearing for nine days.

Mike came back today and so we went grocery shopping. Because now our groceries are split 3 ways, the economy of scale kicks back in and I'm spending $40 a week instead of $60. That should help me hit my target marks for the next week, if I don't go nuts eating out for lunch.

So Patrick was surprised people think he's a hipster. Or rather, he was surprised that people were surprised when they didn't think he was not a hipster -- wrap your brain around that double negative.

So apparently I'm more hipster than Patrick, which to me, is pretty surprising. His assessment: I'm more hipster, but I don't completely belong in the set of hipsters because I'm more built than the regular skinny hipster. My response: I guess?

One of Patrick's criteria was that hipsters like things ironically; Patrick says he's not a hipster because he doesn't like things ironically. Now, I do like things ironically, but not the same things that hipsters like. For instance, I could really care less about David Hassellhoff, but I do like Laura Branigan.

Arguably though, I do like Yacht Rock, but not as much as I like your regional "at-work" radio station. I had the following songs blasting from my speakers today:

Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton - "We've Got Tonight"
James Ingram - "Just Once"
Sergio Mendes - "Never Gonna Let You Go"
Sheena Easton - "For Your Eyes Only"
Brenda Russell - "Piano in the Dark"
Amy Grant - "Every Heartbeat"
Roxette - "It Must Have Been Love"
Chaka Khan - "Through the Fire"
Steve Winwood - "Higher Love"

My roommate Andrew remarked "It's like I'm in a dentist's office." Is it because you're smiling so confidently?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Day Twenty-Six

I have finished my requirements for classes for the rest of my life -- I don't need to take any academic classes ever again. Thinking about that revealed to me that I might never ever meet any new people ever again; I'm going to spend the rest of my life holed up in an office, pondering what the heck is going on with the middle class somewhere in the world.

So, to remedy this, I'm looking for non-academic classes to take. Dance, acting, basket weaving -- whatever. The problem is, Providence as a center of higher learning is great, but as a center of casual learning is craptastic, or even craptastically pooptacular. Craigslist has provided me one dance class -- hip-hop dance -- for $35 for 3 classes. Problem is, they're held on Thursday evenings, which I think will be the new Latin American Studies Workshops in Culture, Politics, and Society which I'm helping to coordinate (sounds sexy, no?).

As for acting classes, I managed to find one. But for $175, that's gonna put me over budget. I could conceivably take them though: Monday nights from 7-10pm. I guess in the real world, if you want to learn, you gotta pay.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Day Twenty-Four

I tried sprinting on Wednesday with spikes. Nothing hard, just 150s at the indoor track here. I managed to get 6 in before I couldn't lift my legs anymore. Everything felt fine until later that day when my feet really started to hurt pretty badly. The right food felt it much more than the left and I was half-limping around the supermarket (which, I can assure you, is very sexy-looking).

My self-diagnosis is posterior tibial tendonitis -- which is an inflammation of the tendon supporting the arch of the foot, essentially. I spent the day at home to take care of it, which is a slightly better excuse than staying home to save money. There was much icing and massaging, and I guess I'll have to pop some ibuprofens before bedtime.

The good thing is that the gym will be occupied this weekend by the class of '10 while they sign up for every activity possible, and then closed on Monday. That should give me a few days to recover from this. Hopefully, it's not an acute case -- no one named Oslec that I know wants to have more surgery.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Day Twenty-Three

If I were a TA for a class called "How to Spend One's Day," this particular day would receive a B-. As I said I would, I roused myself at 5:30, but spent 15 minutes listening to NPR before leaving for the gym. I managed to tucker myself out, but I still got out of there at 8:50, giving 10 minutes to get to my optometrist appointment. I worked in the office from about 9:40 to 3pm today and wrote about 3 and a half pages of decent text (not including e-mails), then headed home to go grocery shopping. Having only spent about $11 on fast food today put me slightly under budget, but I still unfortunately managed to buy $70 of groceries (I'm hoping the next trip will cost less, so as to balance it all out).

I attempted to make olive oil and herb roasted salmon, but ran into a little problem -- the tin roasting pan had a hole in the bottom of it, which caused the heated olive oil to seep through and burn on the bottom of the oven. I set up the room fan to blow the smoke out the window, and, after calming down for a bit, made baked salmon instead. I then took a nap and woke up at 7:30 at which time I ate some ravioli and learned through the Daily Show that President Bush had recently read The Stranger and had discussed with Tony Snow the origins of existentialism.

So here I am now. I feel like a metaphor that was used to describe a fictional character's fictional medical condition: I feel like Mr. Burns, who upon learning that so many infections were attempting to enter his body that they were all jammed in "the door" so to speak, declared "I am immortal." Indeed.

In all honesty though, I did feel like I made some headway in my dissertation/funding proposal/prelim paper because I decided to be "honest" -- I let my two main cases describe for themselves what they were, as opposed to making artificial case selection criteria from an imaginary regression line or "set of" countries. Yeah, it's still academic, but fuck, it's better AND it came out of my head.

In other news, however, I discovered I no longer have graduate school summer funding, which means that I need to get this SSRC proposal approved. The worst-case scenario is that I have to take on a couple jobs if I want to stay in Providence and keep my apartment. Otherwise, I have to end my lease in June and go home or to the Philippines to avoid hemmoraging cash. I think ideally I'd have that SSRC money and go to the Philippines anyway, essentially making some money in the process, since I'd be taken care of when I get there. In any case, I have to get off my duff and put this shit out.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Day Twenty-Two

Today I typed an equivalent of one page of text. This was made up of 3/4 of a page of actual dissertation proposal/prelim paper stuff and a few important e-mails. In the great scheme of things, one page a day is a decent pace: a distance runner's pace. As a sprinter, however, a page a day seems unnecessarily slow. This page of text came from six hours in the office, 10am to 4:30pm, with half an hour devoted to me eating the leftovers from orientation (a hummus, tomato, and alfalfa sprout pita).

Despite the little I did, I felt like I accomplished a lot, or at least, felt important in doing nothing. This is in contrast to doing nothing at home, which makes me feel less important (except when I do mine and other people's dishes).

Tomorrow, I will try the following: I am going to get up at 5:30 am, so I can make poo and eat a little before getting to the gym at 6, hopefully being done by 8:30. I then get a cinnamon crisp bagel and a large yogurt from Au Bon Pain and go to my optometrist appointment at 9. Afterwards, I go to the department and stare at the computer until 4, at which point I return home and go grocery shopping. I then blog about my day and sleep at or before 10pm.

The downside of that day is that I'll shell out about $14 to $20 buying meals, making it harder to meet my now-revised budget projections before the 15th (which time I should be at $1106.25 to my name). I'll have to spend Thursday and Friday at home to balance the projections.

Other quality-of-life issues: I have to find a more digestible (and cheaper) protein bar. Currently, I spend around $60 for 24 bars at 400 calories each and 40g of protein. These things taste o.k., but they're hell to digest quickly. I may simply go with a 240 calorie bar with 20g, and make up the difference with peanut butter and fruit. I'll have to run the calculations later.

Day Twenty-One, Supplemental

The following list comes from a homeschooled kid's blog. Specifically, he's Catholic, and he's homeschooled.

The Top Ten List - Catholic Pick Up Lines
Envoy Magazine
Pat's Top Ten: Orthodox Catholic Pickup Lines
By Patrick Madrid Copyright

10. May I offer you a light for that votive candle?

9. Hi there. My buddy and I were wondering if you would settle a dispute we're having. Do you think the word should be pronounced HOMEschooling, or homeSCHOOLing?

8. Sorry, but I couldn't help but noticing how cute you look in that ankle-length, shapeless, plaid jumper.

7. What's a nice girl like you doing at a First Saturday Rosary Cenacle like this?

6. You don't like the culture of death either? Wow! We have so much in common!

5. Let's get out of here. I know a much cozier little Catholic bookstore downtown.

4. I bet I can guess your confirmation name.

3. You've got stunning scapular-brown eyes.

2. Did you feel what I felt when we reached into the holy water font at the same time?

1. Confess here often?

My opinion: (3) and (8) make me wonder if the guy was making fun of Catholic homeschoolers or if I'm really missing the boat on my religion. I will, however, start refering to things as "scapular-brown." (What's a scapular?)

(6) reminds me of the time I couldn't shake these Jehovah's Witnesses with "I'm already a Catholic," to which they replied "that means you believe in God too!" I say "witnesses" because there were two adults and like four kids on my front steps. That's a lot of witnessing.

(9) is actually something I think my middle brother would say.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Day Twenty-One

I think part of growing up is assessing what it is you're like, what you could become, and then doing something about it. I grew up passive-aggressive, I think in part because I thought that confrontation was too hard to deal with. I think in part too that I could not (did not) want to assert how I felt, that if I lasted long enough, I could outlive whatever it was that bothered me.

Sorry to be so vague, but a lot of it dealt with family when I was growing up, and I'd rather not blab about that shit online, but needless to say, I think other kids had this passive-aggressive vs. aggressive debate with themselves early on. Of course, with me, I hit it in my mid-20s.

Like a few months ago, I had a cab drive me from my friend's Ryan's house in Allston to Logan. The cab's credit card machine didn't work, so I was forced to run inside and get cash, then listen to him complain. At that moment, I sort of sucked it up and left. But part of me thought, you know, it's well within your rights to mention that if his credit card machine is shitty, it ain't my fucking fault.

I dunno, I guess my complex is that I don't think I stand up for myself enough. Then again, it's the parallel pressure that real men "suck it up." I dunno. I'm coming to the conclusion that "adults" not "men" say what's unfair to them, they make their Habermasian speech claims, and they see what happens. Habermas, of course, leaves it vague as to what claims end up "winning" (the "better argument" is his logic, but what determines that?), but without the communication, we just sit around being passive-aggressive.

I think this bothers me because I spend way too much time plotting revenge. As if revenge can be carried out so cleanly and so well that I'll get satisfaction from it, and as if I could actually get many of the opportunities I want to exploit -- it's unfeasible and Hollywood. But, I still, from time to time, ponder the old breakup ameliorative "living well is the best revenge." I don't think I could actually live well with revenge on the mind, and in fact, I think that's why I'm having this conversation with you (me). Living well seems to be finding that existential moment where you've put the meaning into what you do and accept that choice: Sysyphus being fucking happy he's rolling that fucking boulder up the fucking hill.

And so, where are we with our growing-up party? We are still debating shit like this. I wonder, though, if I do figure this out, if such a reified person comes out of this, will I have become someone good, someone bad, or just a caracature? Too many questions, but I hope I have it down before I have kids. Actually, I hope I have it down so I can have some peace of mind.

Tomorrow starts a few school-related things that will ease me into the next academic year. For those of you who "facebook" me once in a while, you know that I have a few simple goals for this year, namely

(1) No dating undergrads
(2) Go to the office early and dressed professionally
(3) Stand up for yourself, you wuss
(4) Budget your time so you can think, TA, work out, play video games, and sleep at age-appropriate times and durations
(5) Relax your shoulders

(1) I can do without even trying (though in my defense, THEY hit on ME), and (3) we've already discussed. (5) might require a sign up in my office (next to my "It Will Not Determine Your Self-Worth" sign).

Now, (2) and (4) look daunting. If I go to the office early, dressed professionally, I make a good impression... on no one. Literally, on no one. But, you spend the day in a shirt with buttons that go all the way down and you're slightly more "serious" than the sweatshirt guy (but not the spiky hair guy, he's not trying, and so thus is much cooler). I show up to section dressed up, I'm not some "dude" (intro, second semester) teaching a section, but a "TA" (theory, first semester). I guess this is one of those ways I could "adultinize" my life, batted back and forth in my mind in my mid-20s that I should have dealt with in my late teens.

Well, I mean, I guess there's a lot I convey with just my personality, but really, how many friends has that made me? Lots.*

* Has it gotten me laid? I'm really doubting it. Well, back to doing crunches.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Day Sixteen, Supplemental

I'm trying to find Don Asmussen's personal site or a site dedicated to Bad Reporter. Until then, I'll post the comic. Here's this week's.

Day Sixteen

Andrew came back for a second today before heading up to Boston for schmackapella recording. Until he gets back, his mom (our landlady) will be staying in the apartment. We spent most of the early evening replacing light bulbs and fire alarm batteries, and she's currently adding a coat of primer to our shower, making it unusable for a couple days.

Good thing I've been working out 'cause I'm gonna have to shower with friends. Or, just at their houses. And why would it matter if I had been working out? Loser.

Today I spent staring at the two, single-spaced, size-11 font pages of what will become my SSRC and dissertation proposal. I'm hung up on the first sentence; according to the guide, the first sentence should be (1) an aphorism ("Workers do not organize unions; unions organize workers"), (2) a statement of your research question, or (3) a statement of your main findings. In my honest opinion, those are the three worst ways to start a paper because there's no compusion to read the piece other than the weight of the contention. I think without appropriate framing, there's no "drama" in your work, no layers to be peeled or stacked, and really, nothing anyone outside of the field would even consider reading.

Still, I feel like I have to cave a little. I think I'll just write a short introductory paragraph and end with the research question. Then I can do all that summarizing and aphorism-making in a second, thesis paragraph.

Oh, and today's grand total of sentences written: four.

Facebook has added an odd feature called "Notes" in which people can have bloggish things on their profiles. Facebook also allows people with blogs to synchronize updates. So, because I love all things new, I linked this blog to my facebook profile.

But, of course, I have some reservations. I assume of course that this being a public blog, anyone besides the four people who read it could search for it and see my dusky (but not darkest) secrets. In some ways, though, I sort of want this thing to fly under the radar -- I do a fair amount of kvetching about my life, which is to say, about other people and such, so it's in a sense a public diary of sorts. Then again, by the time you guys read this, I've already sorted out the really bad shit from the meatier shit nuggets, so it's slightly more articulate.

This really is a non-issue like most of the stuff I talk about. I figure if anything I'll pick up a reader who's a close friend and they'll just view this with the same "Oh that's Oslec for ya" attitude that I assume the rest of you take when you read this. And, I hasten to add, I appreciate your reading this.

As dudes do after they play sports, I chatted with my basketball buds the other night about women. Resolved: women are nuts (don't get me wrong, I'm not Forbes). But, so am I: according to the last two women I've dated, I'm "weird," "quirky," "odd," etc. I won't deny that my humor is obscure (in fact, I marked that checkbox down on my Yahoo! Personals ad), but what does that really mean?

The cynic in me says it's a backhanded compliment used to suggest that while I find your quirks annoying/why didn't I notice this before?, you're good in bed/nice to look at. This one is at once plausible (I'm annoying AND good in bed) and implausible (I'm not THAT annoying). Sadly, I think I may not be the prince to the princess or the Latin lover to the cold British lady (thank John Tian for that one folks) -- I defy expectations.

In short, I think I've decided that God has obviously chosen to surprise me.

As of now, the Giants are four games out of the NL Wild Card, and starting a 4-game series with the wild card-leading Reds. If the Giants manage to pull a playoff berth out of this season, I'll literally crap my pants.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Day Fourteen, Supplemental

So online dating isn't really working for me. I think I may be too honest in my profile --I assume, of course, that some woman with the same sense of humor as I will read it and enjoy it. So far, I've tried (nopes), okcupid (one date, multiple internet friends), (one date, site is defunct -- run by Brown students for Brown students), theonion personals (nopes), and now I'm on Yahoo! Personals (so far, no bites).

Of course, I could go the specialty dating site route; you know, the sites oriented to a particular demographic. I believe I'd be eligible for, (not to be confused with, a mail-order bride deal), and I think that's it (there's not sociologist dating site, though's matching algorhythm was developed by a sociologist).

You won't find me on -- a site ostensibly to match people of "European descent." Of course, the reason why this site is needed at all is that

We found that while there were many dating sites for Jewish people, Blacks,
Asians and others, there were literally no dating sites for our people. This
site is not intended to promote or advocate racial hatred or bigotry in any
form. We only wish to give our people a venue to share common heritage,
interests, ideals and hopefully feelings for each other.

Of course, the site is sponsored by

The problem must be that with all these Jewish people, Blacks, Asians and others finding people of their own kind online, their respective populations may increase. It's no wonder we need 'cause there ain't enough white people having sex (on TV, on the internet, on Howard Stern, at college).

In times like these I refer to Patrick's definition of affirmative action: being able to get any color ass you want.

Day Fourteen

So far, eh. I hit my August 23rd projected funds total early by five days. With a dwinding supply of groceries, I had to call Mom for money. I NEVER ask my parents for money. In fact, I believe I might have asked them for money a total of four other occasions throughout my entire life (this, of course, is not counting the times I've asked them to purchase things for me). For me, asking someone to loan your money is like beholding yourself to them. Perhaps that's my backwards Filipino/catholicness, which would technically make me bad for democracy.

In any case, I asked for just enough money to meet my budget projections, but Mom was generous and gave me more. Now, the task is to not spend the surplus so I can be under-budget by the 31st.

One of the things I was holding back on in my budget crunch was a haircut. My last haircut was sometime in July when I was at home in California. I think it might have been five or so weeks, and I was willing to go until October without one to meet budget projections. But, with my Mother's generosity, I was able to manage the $20 for a chop job.

When I say "chop job," I do mean chop job -- after misunderstanding me, and with me attempting to clarify, the stylist managed to send my head back in time ten years to 1996. In other words, I look like a bad, bad Backstreet Boy: closely cropped sides, poofy mushroomy top, and severe bangs. Never have I look so much like my passport picture either -- a passport that was issued in 1999.

So what am I complaining about? I'm complaining about my lack of balls for one, for not being able to stand up for myself. Secondly, I'm complaining because I think my haircut is funny enough for me to get some good self-depricating humor milage out of it.

In the end, I've decided to experiment with the hair I have left. First, I may consider wearing a sports headband. I have one -- small, black, and thick enough to add the missing thickness from the sides of my head. Second, I am considering the fauxhawk, which would be antithetical to my "No More Gel" declaration from three years ago. At this point, if I have to wait four weeks before I have any hair on the side of my head again, I'll hold that rule in abeyyance.

You'll have to pretend that I have a picture of my head up.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Day Twelve

Don Asmussen's Bad Reporter attempts to poke fun at the headlines by combining them in particularly absurd ways. Here's this week's cartoon:

Friday, August 18, 2006

Day Eleven

Even that is a misnomer: I haven't been on a date since February. But, it's my own damn fault -- such is my existential angst. While I'm not Mersault accepting his fate at the day of his execution (nothing I do is metaphorically equal to that), I do sort of see my wonderful fuck-ups I've chosen to do as, well, fucking myself over.

So in I guess what is a combination of my middle-class anxiety, my failure at "putting myself out there," and bad copy editing, I sent a message to someone on Yahoo! personals. Problem was I just joined Yahoo! personals and my profile hadn't been approved. As such, my e-mail suggesting that "we have a lot in common; it's uncanny" cannot be corroborated. In addition I said this:

"So if you're not annoyed with other sociology grad students (at least not ones from your department)..."

when it should have been

"So if you're not annoyed with other sociology grad students (at least ONES NOT FROM your department)..."

Oh well.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Day Eight

So, I saved all my receipts from Montreal. If things work out right, I should be (nearly, mostly) reimbursed for all expenses, especially registration and the train tickets. Tomorrow I'm going to ask Joan, our office manager, to walk me through this process. That should bring back around $400 into my coffers.

Today I used a gift card my aunts in New York gave me. I bought $307 worth of merchandise at Express, paying only $7. That was money saved right there.

I did, however, pay about $18 for various things at CVS. I think that's all right, considering that I don't think I'll have to go grocery shopping this week at all. That should save me $50-60.

So far, so good.

Hmm apparently I've gone down a pants size -- from 31 to 30. This is weird. It's like a Subway commercial, but for someone who's waist never really registered on the waist-o-meter as it was. Very, very weird. Though admittedly, it doens't make a huge difference.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Day One, Supplemental



How true. I just got Onion'ed.

Day One

After a night of ulcer-inducing worry, I've decided to watch very, very carefully my money until September 15th. After making travel plans to Montreal this weekend for ASA, I realized how little I was worth. In fact, it was during making plans that I realized this: I bought my train ticket on credit because I simply could not afford to drop below my psychic income threshold.

Part of the blame (perhaps all) is that I'm living a bourgeois lifestyle -- I've taken to shopping at Whole Foods for fresh vegetables and tofu, I buy clothes for their sartorial effects, and I am willing to pay $25 for a haircut. This, sadly, is not the price-watching lifestyle of an immigrant child. And, as much as I excoriate my mother for spending willy-nilly and in a sense rejecting the "save-first" ethic we brought with us, I'm guilty of spending nearly beyond my means.

I think though that my immigrant ethic is what's making me hunker down. With about $600 to my name, and $600 in rent coming up in two weeks, with a couple weeks of groceries and a $414 paycheck coming, I'll be very close to driving myself crazy.

So the plan is thus: last on minimal purchases until September 15th, when I receive my first academic year paycheck of about $850. That gives me about five or so weeks to subsist on already-bought protein bars and yogurt. My conservative estimates show me surviving, albeit with a close call coming the second week of September, right before my paycheck arrives (I'll be pushing about $200 in total funds around that week).

So here's what I'm planning to do:
- Not leave the house. Otherwise I'll be tempted to eat out.
- Set my grocery cap at $50/wk, which is doable. That's about $250 in groceries in for the next month and a quarter.
- Limit my spending in Montreal to $40 a day. I'm already coming back early to avoid having to spend money on food. So instead of being up there for five days (the duration of ASA this year), I'll only be there for two.
- Limit my spending on the train/train food to $20/day. That's two trips of 10 hours each to and from Montreal from New York. More protein bars and soymilk for me!
- No frivolous purchases. Simple enough.

While I'll probably get reimbursed for most of the money I spend in Montreal from the school (a total of $700, which I'll probably not even hit), I'm not sure when I'll receive those funds, so I'll assume they're an expense until they cancel themselves.

Jessica Simpson's new song "A Public Affair" is kinda catchy, but I think this is because it sounds like Madonna's "Holiday" and "Dress You Up." In fact, it sounds like a good formulaic song with its roots in Madonna, Janet Jackson (Velvet Rope Janet), and probably a host of other adult contemporary-friendly divas. Why is this at all relevant? Because she's attractive.

In fact, a ex-girlfriend was analyzing why I'm attracted to "curvy" women and used Jessica Simpson as an example. I remember her tracing her finger along a picture of Jessica's in a magazine, pointing out the curve in her stomach. I personally couldn't see a fucking thing, but I guess that's why I'll always be an elusive, yet attractive, mystery to all women.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

What Day?

There's always something wrong with live-action versions of anime. Of course, there's next to nothing better than watching bad live-action anime, dubbed in Spanish on network television. Telemundo is showing Dragonball today. It took me a second to figure out that it was some take off of the original Dragonball, and apparently the English dub is pretty bad as well (read the user comments). Here's to Saturday afternoons in the world of the academe.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Day-O, Day-ay-ay-O

Channel 101's August shows are up, and I'm particularly disappointed that "Future Book" didn't make the cut. You can view the failed pilot here, and damn, it's hilarious.

"I'm just punchin' some nerds 'cause I hate them so much. It's kinda what defines me."

I don't think any line in this pilot was wasted. Well-edited too.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Day Something

New York was great, as it has seemingly been the past four times I've been this year. I saw many aunts and scored a friend trifecta -- I saw a college friend, a friend I studied abroad with, and a high school friend. Again, I go through the constant debate over whether or not I should just move to New York so I can have a social life. This isn't a new idea for those of you who read this blog with some regularity, but I have to say, being out at about 9pm you get to see a whole mess of attractive young ladies walking their dogs. You see, that's entirely missing in Providence.

Another thing missing in Providence (at least in my condo) is air conditioning. I slept very, very well on two couches this weekend, I think because the ambient temperature was kept at a reasonable cool. I have my ceiling fan going full blast right now: "full blast" meaning spinning just a little faster than I could fan myself with a piece of paper. In addition, I have a room fan on low. Those two fans in concert do some mitigation of the heat, but it's still humid and it's still uncomfortable. Luckily for the ladies, I am shirtless.

For the sake of partial disclosure, let me say that old crushes die hard, but that I think I'm too old to have crushes. Hey, that's like almost an aphorism. I'm so awesome.

This article from the Chronicle of Higher Ed talks about the sartorial eccentricities of professors. Despite the degrees to which professors can be identified by their clothing, the author seems to indicate in passing that the tweed jacket is versatile enough to indicate erudition with jeans or with other pants. Now, that's my only justification for wanting to have a somewhat metrosexual outfit as outlined by Esquire that features a grey, windowpane, checkered, wool tweed jacket. I partially want to rock the tweed to start my eccentric professor shtick on my students this year, and partially because I think I could pull off the tweed. In fact, I believe I could totally pull that shit off.

So as I try to force myself to sleep, I've been searching for a tweed jacket of similar design that won't set me back $2,025, or, how much I'll be worth by December of this year. The closest I've found in texture and pattern is this one, which sadly, will set me back $365. To be sure, $365 is doable, but not currently -- I'll have to wait for a couple regular-year paychecks to have enough saved up for it.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Monday, July 24, 2006

Dschinghis Khan - Moskau

I'm a few months late, but if you know me at all, you can probably guess what I'm doing right now.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Day Sixty-One

For some, an easy target. I try to keep an open mind, really I do. In the dearth of any television to watch (and obviously because I can't do anything else but watch television right now), I turned to Lifetime.


What the fuck is going on?


In the midst of trying to blog about this, more and more absurd scenes come one after another. This may require stepping back for a day or so. Before my brain explodes, I'll say that the movie involves a couple who are adopting a child from a surrogate mother, who, funnily enough, is crazy (prone to disrobing in public, extortion, innuendo).

Monday, July 17, 2006

Day Fifty-Seven

A few weeks ago Brad Kreit and I debated the extent to which obesity was a problem. I suggested it was overblown and he asked if I had been to West Virginia. My opinion is that obesity is epiphenomenal to significantly larger issues of consumerism and class aesthetics and as we exhort our fellow Americans to exercise more and eat right, it's akin to cutting off the dandelion at the stem instead of at the root. To be sure, often times the most complicated solution serves simply to reinforce the outcome, but in this case, I think the solutions and the causes have locked themselves into some form of circular and cumulative causation.

Take for instance this article on Oak Park, IL from Ostensibly the article is a remark on both how suburban Oak Park has become more exclusive in the past few years, and at the same time, an admonition on Oak Park for not explicitly telling plus-sized retailer Lane Bryant to take its fat-encouraging fashions elsewhere. Of course, leave it to fark to be snarky:

Fancy Chicago Suburb enacts literal "No Fat Chicks" policy by trying to prevent
a Lane Bryant store from opening in their town

And really, how much of this is Oak Park reinforcing the conflation between status and body image? Even if Oak Park were to take up the author's gauntlet and tell Lane Bryant it doesn't want to deal in obesity, wouldn't that also be reaffirming the imaginary boundary between the "thin and rich" and the "fat and poor," and in some sense, suggesting to their residents that if they're fat, they should shop elsewhere? It seems to me that the cultural boundaries between classes form around the waistline rather than the city limits (how's that for an aphorism?).

And a few weeks ago I think People and Star had front covers that excoriated celebrities for being too fat for summer and being too skinny for... um... being celebrities. To see those two portrayals of body image juxtaposed against each other on one newsstand was hilarious, but I guess only to me. So Martha Stewart has cellulite and Kate Bosworth has visible ribs; in all honesty, I think that the same body image/class anxiety/class comfort dynamic is at work here too.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Day Fifty-Six

From comes a link to Wikipedia's "The original Bad Jokes and Other Deleted Nonsense" page, a page from what I can surmise, is a listing of deleted entries and modifications to Wikipedia pages that were deemed funny. Admittedly, some of these don't make any sense, but some make enough sense to be comic non-sequiteurs. Look up HareKrishna on that page -- in my opinion, I think it's pretty hilarious.

And this laud from a user on on the third Brady Bunch retcon movie, "The Brady Bunch in the White House":

Of all the films I have seen, songs I have heard and books I read, this is
without doubt the one piece of art that people will continue to appreciate with
awed reverence 500 years from now. It totally changed my life. When I saw it, I
felt that I had been born on this Earth to be at this particular place and this
particular time to experience this incredible feat of human artistic excellence.
I am absolutely convinced that it will make stars out of every single actor
associated with this film, and will one day win the Nobel Prize for Literature
for its scriptwriters. While the Brady Bunch is a milestone of Western
Civilisation, and the Whitehouse one of its greatest architectural monuments, no
mere mortal would have ever thought to put them together. But the producers of
this movie are clearly no mere mortals. The staggering genius on display here
simply takes the breath away. The words simply do not exist to describe this
film. Watching it, I clearly felt the presence of the Lord. If Leonardo da Vinci
were alive today and had a movie camera, I have no doubt he would be making
films like this, as well as pornos. Look upon this work, ye mighty, and despair.

As well as pornos indeed. I enjoyed the use of Ozymandias at the end.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Day Fifty-Five

So if I believe me and I'm actually funny, then according to this article, I'm like this year's tiny dog that can fit in your handbag.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Day Fifty-Four

So it would seem that Kidz Bop -- my least favorite watering down of pop culture -- has once again returned to make more saccharine already craptastic top 40 music. This compilation, Kidz Bop 10, features such amazing shit as little kids singing the Black Eyed Peas' "Pump It." Actually, all the samples on the site show why I hate this concept, which parallels why I dislike mainstream collegiate a-cappella so much: you take marginally good-to-bad songs and make them even worse by putting them through a process that sucks out whatever redeemable qualities the song had in its original presentation. While conceivably you could improve upon a song through harmony (or having a choir of kids shout the choruses), the sincerity gets lost and the "edge" gets worn down. Anyway, Kidz Bop sucks.

I haven't been able to sleep well lately because I've been so itchy. It's certainly not dusty in my room, and it's not that my room is infested with insects, so I'm stumped. What I can surmise is that my body hair is somehow causing this.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Day Fifty-Two

As I toy with main theses for my dissertation, I'll share my thinking with you. Could it be that the "civil society coups" in the Philippines, Venezuela, and Ecuador were moments where a self-proclaimed "middle class" attempted to extrapolate beyond its weak (and arguably ambiguously-defined) structural presence into a political and social one, with serious effects on democracy?

I think that question is interesting in conjunction with this one: Why is it that despite the attempts of many, the operative understanding of social and political life in those three countries, and indeed many other peripheral nations, centers around the "masses" versus "the elites?" Arguably in both the Philippines and Ecuador, the working class movement has been comparatively weak, and despite the "threat" of labor politics in both countries, I don't believe that the operative political and social distinctions are between "workers" and whomever exists at the top. Though speculative, I think many Filipinos and Ecuadorians would probably make reference to the vast gap between the rich and the poor, and make a passing remark about a small middle class. And, even in Venezuela, where working-class politics has been deeply intertwined with the corporatist state, Chavez somehow managed to eliminate the "worker" and subsume it into the "masses."

So, I could see these supposedly revolutionary events as attempts to "will" a nation into accepting a middle-class centric vision of society. As it would seem, in none of these three cases did that concept hold steady. In the Philippines, the middle-class dominant idea remains comforting to some, but only because society and politics continue to be defined so starkly along lines of oligarchs and the masses. In Venezuela, the failure of the "civil society coup" and Chavez's continued and growing presence in Venezuelan politics indicates that his preferred distinction -- between the elites and "the people" -- remains at the forefront of discussion. This, of course, after nearly forty years of a national political scene dominated by two parties, technocrats, and a corporatist labor movement. Ecuador, I know the least about, but from what I've read so far, ejecting Gutierrez from power has not redefined the nature of Ecuadorian politics around a middle-class centric conception of society, especially with the presence of active indigenous movements and undeniable oligarchic politics.

I wanted to somehow work Chile into this -- perhaps the most stable nation in Latin America, and one that continues to present a weak version of "social democracy." While Chileans will mention that there are vast amounts of poor, many will readily concede that new elites -- really bourgeois elites -- have become dominant in politics, while the working-class has been cowed by economic restructuring and the bloody dictatorship that preceeded. One interesting thing about Chilean politics in the past twelve or so years has been the rise and fall of Joaquin Lavin, a right-wing politician and mayor of the richest section of Santiago. Lavin lost the 1998 presidential election in a runoff with watered-down socialist Ricardo Lagos and did not make it to the second round of this year's elections, and in fact, was the weakest right-wing candidate. Lavin's style has been demagogical and populist, and despite enormous success at the municipal level, has not been able to carry a right-populist message to the presidency. One could say the same for the Chilean Communist Party, which has suffered under Chile's binomial electoral system (changed though as of December 21st!), but has not been able to rally the disaffected poor and the workers to any sort of real political success.

So is the easier way to put this, when is populism so powerful that it can transform the understanding of the social order? If we look at ourselves, how much do you think that FOX News and the Christian Right can move our understanding of American society into one that eschews the presence of a middle class, and, as Liberals who ask "what's the matter with Kansas?" would we be complicit?

Don't put apricots into your San Pellegrino -- it makes it taste like grass. This is how I make classy water into vulgar water.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Day Fifty-One

Take two... Summary: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest wasn't so hot. It was filler and a weak pretense to show a third movie. More importantly, however, I went with my brother who cried when I left. And, on a side note, Keira Knightley has the same misalignment with her lower incisors as I, of course indicating our destined future together.

Day Fifty-One

The Friday before I left, my brother and I saw the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie. By his estimation, the movie was "lousy" and I think I'll concur. Mick LaSalle of the Chronicle Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"

Mick was spot-on: the movie was essentially filler for the third Pirates movie, with nothing more than sixty billion plot points (5,999,999,999 that were unnecessary) that had the pathos of the last five minutes of an episode of Enterprise. On an encouraging side note, Keira Knightley's bottom front teeth exhibit the same misalignment as mine. This is encouraging because then when we date (next Friday, by the way), I can tell her we're fated to be together on account of our bottom incisors. Google reveals that she can play her teeth. Never mind. We're breaking up.

When I left Saturday morning, my brother cried. He called me when I got home and said "Mom wanted me to tell you I cried all night last night because I missed you. But I'm better now. Ok, bye!"

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Day Forty-Seven

So Saturday will soon be upon us, which means I'll have to head back to Providence and my life as the least mature graduate student ever. As I creep slowly to my 26th birthday in November, I will need to have accomplished a whole bunch of shit, viz. my dissertation proposal and all the attached funding proposals for it. In addition, I'll need to have done my prelim paper by December. I still can't seem to wrap my brain around this middle class thing, knowing only that it's time someone did something new and it might as well be me (thought shoddily, but hey, it's new at least).

But looming in my mind are the more immediate, small things I want to get done. For instance, filing all those damn articles I used to write those prelim papers and waiting with anticipation for Dell to finally deliver the RAM I ordered nearly two weeks ago. I also have to make friends with our subletter, return those damn cable boxes, and dust my room.

In conversation the immediate future looks mundane. So here's another absurd moment -- trying to have a conversation with someone, let's say a stranger, and convince them that what I'm doing in the next few months is at all interesting. I think a large part of that is me not actually knowing what I'm looking at when I see middle class revolts and so I can't really convey that to anyone. Secondly, I'm personally convinced that my life in the near future is so mundane it's not even worth talking about.

So the question is how do I live an existential life and still make friendly with other people?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Day Forty-Five

Ok... Thanks Patrick

Inside: Paul Wall (whom you might have seen on "Wild n' Out", if you were observant in your MTV viewing) rapping about finding chicks on the internet. Does he indeed have the internet going "nuts?" You tell me.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Day Forty-Two

This is kinda silly -- a terror suspect had been given the opportunity to bring witnesses to his defense, but the US could not locate them. The British newspaper The Guardian did so in three days. That's a lovely bunch of coconuts indeed, US military.

2:30 to about 8:30 this morning. Played CoH late -- it's the bane to my goal of 9-hour sleep.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Day Forty-One

I'm brand loyal when it comes to my snacks. I'll tell you off the bat I hate Utz brand anything -- shit tastes like it's been reverse-engineered like some generic ISI product. When it comes to shrimp chips, I find anything but Calbee brand Shrimp Flavored Chips derivative. Despite their name, they do actually have shrimp in them. I prefer Pringles Sour Cream and Onion chips over others, mainly because I think they taste best with my method of eating chips -- pressing them against the roof of my mouth and sucking the artificial flavors out of them.

When I was in Hawaii, a friend of mine wanted to get some shrimp chips, and of course being a good friend, I steered him away from the crap and towards Calbee's Shrimp Flavored Chips. Friends don't let friends eat crap-ass shrimp chips.

When I was in kindergarten, a friend of mine was incredibly loyal to Granny Goose brand anything. His father worked delivery for a Granny Goose subsidiary or partner (Kirkpatrick Breads?) and refused to eat Lays or any other brand snacks.

Why this is all relevant for today is a mystery to me, honestly. I shared that bag of Shrimp Flavored Chips with everyone at the beach house, and it had been I think years since I had eaten them. I haven't had Pringles for a bit either: more than six months or so. For someone who doesn't snack as much as he did when he was a kid, the only thing that remains I guess is my brand loyalty.

1:15 am to about 8:45 today. Stayed up to play CoH because I knew I couldn't use the car to go to the gym in the morning.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Day Forty

In regards to's stupid pay service, InSider (where you can get the same info for free from or

K R U N K L E: espn fucking retarded
K R U N K L E: shit i think they hurt gammons to get idiots to pay them for insider
The Bosslec: hahahaha

As Patrick would say, "we're going to hell."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Day Thirty-Nine, Supplemental

An anti-climactic end to the prelim ordeal -- I just received notification that I passed my prelims in Comparative-Historical Methods and Democracy and Development, in some ways certifying that I have at least two "research areas" or "areas of interest." I can now place those two things on my CV under "Research Interests" without any guilt. Passing those tests proves that I'm a minor expert in those two things, if not at least learned, but it honestly feels like I ran a thousand miles, knowing that all I'd get at the end was a glass of water, and I got said glass. Or, more in line with how I've been feeling as of late, I've rolled the boulder half way up the hill and someone told me I'm halfway up the hill.

As I got out of the shower today I realized the perfect woman for me would be someone I could go to mass with, then have guilty, guilty sex with afterwards. See "character" in the post below.

Day Thirty-Nine

So I have to confess, my goal of sleeping nine hours a day hasn't materialized (it's been just a dream. Had to say it). With Hawaii and then finally getting my computer back to CoH shape, I haven't been investing in my sleep that much at all. To pay for it, my body has produced six new pimples on my face.

Last night though, I managed to get in seven hours of sleep. My middle brother had to be brought to band camp this morning, so I went to bed at 11 and got up at 6:10, thankfully waking up naturally since my alarm was set for 6:10pm.

I think that my body produces a pimple for every two days of substandard sleep. This would make sense with two or so weeks of weak sleep behind me. So let's try a little harder for now on and we'll see what happens.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Day Thirty-Eight

So I'm here for another two weeks. I'm not entirely sure what I want to do while I'm here. It's now apparent that my parents could care less what it is I'm doing, just as long as I tell them I'm taking the car. Despite my mother I guess suggesting I not become my little brothers' personal clown for the summer, I don't really see anything important I couldn't do much better in Providence.

Jen and Kanu's wedding was a celebration of two people who really deserved to be happy with each other because individually, they're perhaps the world's most amazing people. The multiple toasts at the reception all centered around how both are off saving the world (perhaps literally), being compassionate, and having neuroses that are less obnoxious rather than cute (Kanu's OCD came up a lot). During the ceremony, the minister read letters she had Jen and Kanu read each other as private-made-public testaments of their love and Jen remarked that she loved Kanu's "way of being in the world." I thought that was a beautiful way to tell someone they've figured out how to live.

So what's my way of being in the world? From what I can tell, I should have figured that shit out some time before I got to college. As as far as I see it, I have not lived by the dictum given to me by Wally Lamb at Conn's graduation "years ago":

.... Oslec... : Make yours a life story which is character-driven, not
plot-driven, character being defined as the way you behave when there is no
else in the room to judge you. Don’t fear that silent room. Solitude
will guide
you if you remain strong of character

I like to think of myself as an introvert, which some lady at diversity training at Conn described as "getting your energy from being alone." But during such alone time, I think I relax much of what could be called my "character" -- I slouch, I think bad things about people (and their unborn or unconceived children), I engage in vain acts (like blog), I talk to myself (in my blog), I think about kicking dogs to hear them yelp and see them fly, I plan my revenge, I think of ways to underachieve. Then again, I do a lot of those things in public, so really, I'm a pretty terrible person.

So let's say I get married sometime soon. And let's say someone is compelled to give me a toast. I fear that it'll go something like this: "Oslec was a mess until he met x" or "considering Oslec's flaws (which they'll list and people will laugh, mostly nervously), it's a good thing he met x as soon as he did, lest he do (something dangerous)." In other words, I'm not part of the solution, I'm part of the problem.

How does one go about changing their way of being in the world? For all my anxiety over it, I'm afraid to think of what I'd have to change to "be good" in the world. I'm the rich man whom Jesus asked to give up all his belongings and follow him -- disappointed and used as an example for two thousand years. Thinking about it, my rejection of socialism in college was based partly on the fact that I couldn't feel solidarity with workers because I wasn't a worker.

So in conclusion, I've become middle class. Great.

It is my belief that you can't be Filipino without a nickname that has only a vague relationship to your real name. While some like "Boy" or "Bong" mean "junior," others are person-specific, derived from some weird-ass pronunciation of a portion of your first name, or in some cases (my case), your real name backwards. My little little brother had a fit today because he somewhat resents being called "Fafi," which is short for Raphael.

"You guys call me Fafi, and Mom calls me Fafi and now all my friends know it and it's embarrassing," he said.

I had to set the boy straight. "Dude, my nickname is my real name backwards. You tell me what's weirder."

I'm considering seeding the little one with subversive messages to see what my parents will do. At 9, I made one of the most important decisions of my life, and a difficult chore for any Asian child; I told my mother I didn't want to take piano lessons anymore. I keep asking him if he wants to play a sport, and his response is that he wants to do fencing again, but Mom won't let him because "she doesn't want me travelling to Atlanta to compete." Hopefully he'll find something he'll want to do on his own.

Day Thirty-Seven

My mother asked me a few days ago if I had any projects I needed to do while I was at home. My answer was, "no," which is partially true since the life of an academic seems to be one for self-starters -- I don't have to do anything unless I make myself do it. That being said, I do have funding proposals to write, but that can hang until I get to Prov in July.

In the meantime, I've been trying to figure out why my computer is working so slowly as of late. My first (and perhaps only) indication: City of Heroes was going between 2 to 12 frames per second (the high end I gleaned was somewhere around 50, but I'd have been happy around 20+). So after fidgeting with the virtual memory and then caving in and buying a gig of memory to upgrade, I figured I should check my comp's fans.

Now, back in Providence, I swore by blowing into the vents on the bottom of my laptop, I solved my dust-in-the-fans problems. Well, I actually removed the fans from the computer and discovered that those vents in the bottom weren't actually vents but intakes and the real vents were clogged with a very, very thick layer of dust that I vanquished with some Endust and a sock.

To my surprise, my computer is now mad quiet. And, CoH is running between 12 and 25/fps. The moral of the story? I'm a nerd.

I posted on craigslist recently, asking if there was a sushi eaters "club" in Providence. Lo and behold there is. So, hopefully the World Sushi Day meeting on the 13th of July won't be too far away and I'll be able to eat sushi with total strangers.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Day Thirty-Two

So in the liminal period between the end of last semester and prelims, I came across Nelly Furtado's new song Maneater, and as Fred and Kaye could tell you, I liked it alot. I saw her sing it live on SNL and was less than impressed with her actual singing (because she can't hit those low notes live), but thought the song gave off this 80s Braniganesque vibe.

You know me, only producing valid knowledge when other people agree; the Onion AV Club review likes it too:

"Maneater" is the highlight for the way it buries a showy beat—typical Timbaland
lurches and stabs, with a new emphasis on naturalistic drum sounds—beneath a
chorus that steals the show back. "Promiscuous," the first single, follows suit
with gleaming synths shot through a long, luscious hook. It's as if Furtado and
Timbaland set out to celebrate the kind of '80s electro-pop on the indispensable
compilation series The Perfect Beats. (See: Shannon's "Let The Music Play.")

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Day Thirty-One

I was very, very happy with my trip to Hawaii. I think I came to that conclusion sometime last Thursday when I sat sunburned on Kailua Beach (where we were staying, incidentally), doing absolutely nothing and not feeling guilty for it. I don't think any one place can encourage as much doing nothing-itude as Hawaii, and even with the billions of things to do there -- from athletically engaging nature or eating shave ice -- I could have honestly cared less about all the shit I didn't do. Snorkeling? Didn't do it. See a volcano? Nope. Get "lei'd?" That shit's expensive.

So what did I do? Most of the time I spent doing nothing anywhere I could. Otherwise, I hung out with my friends in and around the house, read, swam, ran, attended all of Jen and Kanu's pre-wedding activities, and wore sparingly wore socks.

Of course, no post would be complete with some woe-is-me moment, but at least this one is a little adventurous. In lieu of a stag party, the manly, manly men went deep-sea fishing (sort of). I went with Joe and Ken, the husbands of two of my cohort-mates, and we made our way to Waikiki.

First though we had catering truck food out in the parking lot. Of the various greasy-ass choices, I had the mabo tofu over rice. It kind of looked like this. And it was a whole styrofoam lunch container of it. I had about 67% of the plate, then tossed the rest. Joe and Ken had the same dish as well, but split a plate. Keep these tidbits in mind, because Mill's Method of Difference will come into play later.

We got on the 41-foot "The Wild Bunch, Too" with Jen's dad Bill, Kanu's dad Okike, and Jen and Kanu's friend Eric. We shoved off at about 3 or 4pm, and headed out off the coast. Now, we started off pretty slowly and in prety even waters, and I remarked to Eric as we were looking off the stern of the boat with Waikiki in the distance, "this trip has been so relaxing. I'm happy."

And then God turned on the irony machine to full blast. As we made our way further off the coast, the waves got disgustingly annoying. I'm sure for any real sailor, it'd have been a piece of crab cake out there that day, and had circumstances been different, maybe it'd have been as cake-like for me as well, but I was feeling the tossing and crashing pretty badly. And, I tried various means to alleviate my growing nausea: standing in the center of the boat, sitting down, trying to get some fresh air...

And you'd think that fresh sea air would be in good supply out there, but nay, my good reader, you'd be wrong. First, the boat's exhaust was pretty strong. But second, and the topper, someone broke out cigars and I could not for the life of me escape the secondhand cigar smoke. It seemed like everywhere I went on the boat (which was either inside the cabin or out on the deck), the wind or some magical (read: evil) force was constantly blowing cigar smoke into my face. Deep breaths were met only with an unrelenting, sweet smoke, and I tried to kneel over the edge of the boat to either boot or get some fresh air there, but only ended up getting pelted by water and getting more boat exhaust.

I staggered back onto the coolers that we were using as chairs out on the deck. I sat down, cringing as we kept getting slapped around on the water, and holding on for dear life to the ladder to the bridge. The first mate had given me a bucket, just in case, but it just so happens that my bucket was right next to the garbage bucket. Guess where those cigar butts went? Right into the garbage bucket, under my nose, and it didn't take long before I upchucked.

So the first one was pretty relieving. I looked into the bucket, partly totally embarrassed, and partly disappointed that I didn't get all of the mabo tofu up in one spew. So, on spew two, I was actively trying to best the last one. This one was much chunkier, certainly more of the mabo tofu worked its way out. But, alas, I can never leave good enough alone, and so with my last and mightiest spew, I emptied the contents of my stomach into the bucket. "Damn, did I eat a lot," I thought.

Everyone on the boat was sympathetic. Ken kept asking me if I was all right and if I needed water, and everyone was trying to shore up my confidence by asking the first mate if on previous trips did everyone on the boat throw up, and letting me know that they heard the other boat in our fleet of manly men had turned back early because three people had threw up. I appreciated it. Still, I felt pretty antisocial, and still I felt pretty darn unsettled, so I passed out on one of the couches in the cabin.

I drifted in and out of sleep, and letting the couch sort of buffer the wave movements made me feel a ton better. People'd come in to check on me once in awhile, but I wasn't ever in condition to get back on my feet and join the rest of the manly men on the deck.

Until, the boat slowed down. I got up a little drearly, and heard that my rod had caught something. I stood up, and with everyone watching, I assumed my position on the fish-catching chair, and with tremendous technique (stiff left arm, confident reeling, among other things), I wrestled a fish to submission. When I had gotten it close enough, we discovered it was a barracuda.* And a nasty-looking one at that. Even though the captain and the first mate whacked it on the head a few times with a billy club, it still wouldn't die, and so we resigned it to a slow death in one of the coolers.

I came out of "the zone" and went back into my tired, dizzy stupor, sitting on the cooler with the barracuda in it, feeling a little proud, but a little stupid. As I was discussing with myself if all of this was worth it, the boat started up again and I immediately felt sick once more, made my way back into the cabin and tried to sleep it off.

I survived all the way to port. We learned that the other boat had indeed turned back early as three dudes on there blew chunks, AND, they didn't catch a single fish. So, my disgusting barracuda was the only victory we collectively scored. One point for the Bosslec. One vomit-covered, shaking and cowering, nearly-tear inducing point for the Bosslec.

So there's my fish story. My wimpy, wimpy fish story.

* That wikipedia article notes "for barracuda is a favorite sport on the coast of Florida. [There] they are also caught on rod and line from stationary boats." Fucking stationary boats.