Saturday, February 25, 2006

Day Five

REFLEXIVITY
No one came in for office hours today. That's understandable since the first draft of their papers was due today. I read a little bit about the middle class, then about democracy, then about China. Another typical day in the life of an academic.

I've been following really closely the developments in the Philippines in the past day and a half. Apparently President Arroyo declared a State of Emergency because of a failed coup attempt. This coming a day before thousands of people were to be in the streets to commemorate People Power -- the massive uprising in 1986 that toppled Ferdinand Marcos from power and ended martial law in the Philippines. My take is that if people fill the streets, regardless of the police dispersion, Arroyo's going to have a serious problem on her hands.

I wonder sometimes why I'm not making the decision to protest anything. Why haven't I decided to take up the role of the burgeoning intellectual in the trenches of civil society? I purport to study these events, these movements and revolutions and uprisings, and yet I wonder: if I had to make a choice and join the people, would I?

I ask this because as I've been studying the Philippines, I've begun to consider it "home" again. Granted, I'm about as big a fish out of water there as a lot of Americans would be, but there's something about the struggle to find that democracy, that development strategy, that saving grace that we deserve. And yet, with every revolt, with every coup, it's more of the same.

I think I better understand why Skocpol (1979) wrote that social revolutions are not moments of agency, but moment of structure: sometimes people with the best intentions put things into play that were and will be out of their hands. I think, though, she was too harsh on agency. People do choose to protest, to revolt, but there are unintended consequences to their actions that in many countries means a return to the status quo, or at the most, a new regime that is drastically different in the worst ways.

So this I think is why I'm so hesitant to join "a cause" or "the cause" -- I may be able to move history, but it weighs on what we inagurate or remove, so much so that you wonder what it is we actually did in the first place. Such is the existential moment of revolution.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Day Four

GETTING TO IT
The past few days I've been trying out a new workout regimen, featuring me running a little more and some "fun" supersets that are particularly taxing. I think that plus my restful weekend had made my body tell me to sleep more. Last night I went to bed at 11:30, and probably fell asleep at about midnight, aiming to get up at 9am. I got up a couple times to pee, then wanted to go back to sleep when my alarm went off.

I guess I can't do the 6-hour sleep I used to do when Wuyke was making us do two-a-days. I was reading about Sarah Hughes, gold medalist in the 2002 Winter Olympics in figure skating. She is an example of this "power sleep" phenomenon: she sleeps 9 hours a day. Now how she stays asleep for that long is a mystery to me, but it sounds really really good. Could I sleep like an olympian?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Day One

BOAH, AIN'TCHA BACK FROM SCHOOL?
Apparently (and I did not know this) Brown gives its students Monday and Tuesday off for President's Day. So, I went in earlier today for a 12pm meeting that, while my supervisor was there, wasn't actually scheduled. In fact, no one was in the lab or the offices today. So I came home and kept the computer and the television on while I fell asleep on the couch.

It's been a very uneventful weekend, quite relaxing, if you ask me. I parked myself on the couch and watched TV and played Civ4. Sadly I could not guide the Oslequians to a cultural victory, but that's fine. I think I really got a lot of rest -- both physically and mentally. I wonder if I really need a place of my own.

NEW PHONE JUMBLE
As you might know, my mother pays for my cell phone under the belief she can call me all the time for free. I find this arrangement to my benefit as it (1) reaffirms my california-ness (my number is a 650 number) and (2) I don't have to pay $50 a month.

Today mom called up. She told me that we're switching companies from Cingular to Verizon, and as such, I have to get a new phone. Fine. Now, she has to mail it to me ("by the cheapest means," she told me) so I don't think I'll get the phone until Friday, and it'll probably arrive when I'm not here, prompting the delivery person to just come back the next day.

So FYI to the one or two people who actually call me, I'm not contactable by phone until I get the thing, so hang out and just e-mail me or IM me.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Day of Declaration

LISTEN THE FUCK UP
I'm single by choice now. There. That's it. I'm totally sexed out and I can't even fantasize about the perfect woman or any of my ex-girlfriends. So I'm tired of feeling sorry for myself (partly), and tired of feeling like I have to find someone (mostly), and as such, I am now no longer searching for anyone to date, to fuck, or to do other lewd acts with.

Now, some of you who are avid readers (all three of you) might remember the ill-fated celibacy challenge I took awhile back. I assure you, this is different. I'm not closing my mind to sex -- it's more that thinking about it doesn't do it for me. So instead of trying to not think of sex and therefore not doing it, I'm now thinking of sex and it's not having an effect on me.

This is how my new singleness will work in practice: I will not do anything. In other words, I will not go and look on craigslist for personal ads, I will not cruise facebook for hot freshman girls, I will not hit on chicks or girls or women or people. Simple dee dimple.

Why have I decided to do this? I'm not sure exactly. I think it's a combination of multiple things that if you know me, you could probably combine them together and get something linear, I think:

y=x1+x2+x3...+xn-b+e

Anyway, yes. I'm not sure what contributed more, so I guess we could do a regression and determine with a p<.05 level of significance. Here might be the only time I think I'd admit that a regression is the best to determine how I feel.

But I think I came to a revelation that I dislike the Simmelian sociability, the coquetting, it's no fun. I don't think I derive enjoyment from the play-form of interaction. Maybe I'm just not a fan of bourgeois parlor games that seem to dictate even now our basic dating interactions -- tradition, in other words. In some ways, reality TV shows (especially these long-run dating ones like the Bachelor or Flavor of Love) show us how exactly contrived this shit is: they speak of "strategy" as if its a means-end rationality to fall in love. This is where Weber helps us: it's affect, man, affect. And it's been a long time since my affectual rationality has driven me to pursue anyone for a long, long time. And until my affect starts working again, I'm out of the game.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Day Not Bad

CLOSER
I can't help but be a little excited -- I'm closing in on the day I tore my ACL, meniscii, and gave myself a bone bruise slashing to the hole. I crumpled in a blaze of glory, the gym lay silent, and all eyes turned to me. I thought that because I was delerious. A few days ago, I got the final hospital bill from my mom. The grand total: $45136.20. That's just the hospital stay: I'm not exactly sure how much I paid for PT from last March (roughly $15 twice a week, but with a few months off), the $200 insurance co-pay, the $100 hospital fee, and the $173 assistant surgeon fee. March 12th is my next doctor's appointment, where I hope to get cleared for a knee brace and get my official sports clearance.

I mean, there's not too too much to say here: I feel fine, while not especially tentative, which isn't that bad a combination. I played two games today at the gym: definitely still faster than your average graduate student, but I guess I got my range back since I overshot the basket a couple times. Wherever I'm heading to, it looks good.

AN OBSERVATION, OR, AND OBSERBOOBSION
Consider and compare the following: the Oakland Raiderettes and the Golden State Warrior Girls. In these pages, the Raiderettes look better, but I've always thought whatever incarnation of the Warrior Girls were more attractive. I remember one such incarnation a few years ago where they were wearing t-shirts and jeans and were far superior to football cheerleaders wearing football cheerleaders' getups. I can't quite place why: I just seemed to prefer the more "natural" look, but considering all those pictures are contrived as they are, I must be talking out of my ass.

I'm currently watching The Girls Next Door -- the show with the three women living with Hugh Heffner. Those three women somehow not dissimilar to the women trying out for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

So, what am I saying? Ideal type bimboism -- absurdly boob-filled blondes with superficial "talents" and aspirations that are supposed to be indicators of potential intelligence -- is rampant. This isn't a revelation to women: they knew this for awhile, since way back when. But that in the "real world" (not at Brown or a Conn), bimboism seems more evident. And there are enough men to satisfy the supply.

I dunno. I think I'm still reacting to my anti-dating feelings. I can't deny that I certainly like to look at the goregeous ones, it's unfulfilling. I don't even feel like trying anymore.

Friday, February 17, 2006

That Which is not Sufficiently Funny

HELICOPTERS
I've been trying to figure out my inherent philosophy. Not what I want to be, but what I think I am. So far, I've decided it's a combination of purgative Catholicism (not this kind of purgative) and absurdist humor.

Anyway, the reason why this comes up is that I haven't found much to be funny about lately; not a lot of material, in other words. I guess this is what happens when life gets predictable and easy -- you just don't find anything really absurd. And I'm not looking for adventure, either; I think I'm a little tired. Maybe I'm just turning into a piece of turd.

I just watched the A&E Biography of William Shatner and it was all right. The format was a lot more laudatory, a lot more flashy, akin to Vh1's Remember the 80s or all that shit on E!. I think he's my hero. I think I want to have his esteem. Be him being him. A William Shatner impersonation of William Shatner impersonating William Shatner. It's so po-mo the head explodes. Ass-plodes.

I think I have a need for grandeur and sacrifice. I like the end of sci-fi shows where they sacrifice the ship to save the day, I like it when the Power Rangers have to sacrifice their Zords to defeat evil, I like to see that one grand release of something you hold so dear to save the world.

But I found it really disappointing when 1) the Enterprise blew up in Star Trek III, 2) when Kirk died in Generations. I guess I wanted such minor "characters" to be more important to the resolution to the plot. Well, I guess Kirk dying was just that, but it just didn't do it for me -- he didn't blow up, releasing a powerful Kirk-energy that he had to prevent from leaking out, lest the universe become more awesome. And one could say that Arnold in T3 was what I'm looking for. No, 'cause he actually "died" and then the ending was dark. None of that, really. The darkest thing should be the sacrifice.

So it's the set of sacrificial plot devices that lead to happy endings.

UNDERSTANDING MY LIMITS
Girls Gone Wild girls. There's no amount of confidence that would get me a girl like those featured on that sexy island, playing games and making out. Also, there's no way that if I were on Room Raiders or Date My Mom and I got picked that the girl would actually go on a date with me. MOST LIKELY they'd get some other dude's number and smile at me inscinerely while telling me I'm a nice guy.

I think I'm fine since I think that only .5% of the entire young, virile young woman population is actually like those women, but a good 5% or more aspire to be them -- wanted for their sex. And I think enough people in general, male and female, want to be at one point in their lives, sexually powerful -- power being defined as getting someone to do something that they would not ordinarily do.

So if you aspire to this, you must be exclusive in your selection. I think I fall into this trap when I believe myself to be dashingly attractive (which I truly am, of course). But do you think that Jenny McCarthy would date me? Undoubtedly, but she's an exception.

Anyway, I think I'll just stay out of the game for a bit.

Day of Maintenance

FIXING SCHTUFF UP
Well here I sit, folding laundry alone in my roommate-less condo. This is a long weekend for the Brown kids -- Monday is a day-off, and as such, my roommate Mike left for Nashville to see his brother for the weekend. As for me, I'm cleaning. Half-assedly. In fact, thinking about the cleaning I might do is making me feel very unmasculine, and so I may not do any of that cleaning at all.

I guess this is what it'd be like if I had an apartment of my own -- TV on as background noise/another person, me typing something online, half-done tasks, but me all alone. I'm like those turtles that grow to the size of their bowls -- I'd spread out and spill my Oslec-ness all over the place.

REVELATION
Fresh garlic. I just pan fried a couple chicken thighs with sauteed garlic. That shit was good.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Day Hmmm

PUTTING IT OFF
I have to write three pages. Three pages at this point in my life is like taking a morning shit -- you have to do it, it's pretty intuitive, and when you're done, you can start your day. It's the real "break" -- none of this breakfast shtuff everyone keeps talking about.

If I'm writing here, it's obvious I'm not writing my pages. I feel like I should be on here a little more. Remember when I had regular readers? Well, I don't know anyone named Oslec T. Bosslec with regular readers anymore. And of course, that's my fault for being busy, working long hours at the department, getting lost in articles and books, and then realizing it's 8pm and I haven't gone to the gym.

I went with Esther and Matthias to get some coffee and caught a glimpse of Julia for the first time in awhile. She was still blonde. She was wearing a red t-shirt. We saw each other for a second. Less than I second, I guess, but long enough for both of us to turn away. It was visceral, it was mutual.

You know the feeling. When you see someone and you turn away, consciously forcing your peripheral vision to not be so encompassing. Like they're right next to your face, breathing on your cheek, but all you feel is the threat of their breath. I feared having to talk to her, to pretend like I cared about what superficialities we would exhange. We'd probably ask how each other is doing, some superficial shit about work or class, and deep down, never meaning a word of what we were saying.

You know this feeling too: when you're hooking up with someone and you're too far along to stop. Your partner turns to kiss you, and your lips get magnetically close. And so you hover just for a second, trading breaths, then finally turn away to concentrate on the rest of their body. And then, that moment when your eyes open for a second after your mouth has been on some other part of them, and they're looking at you, probably feeling as awkward as you are. But, if you looked at each other for just a second longer, that one second would end your hookup-as-it-was and you'd give up trying to get their underwear off and just hold them.

And so, our eyes met for less than a second. And if I had looked a second longer, I'd have had to say something, but nothing close to what I'd really want to say.

So you fools would ask, "what would you really say?" Well, fools, I do not know. I make myself uncomfortable thinking about it. And so, maybe it's good that I couldn't bear to look any more.

HUMOROUS
My car is still outside my house. Here in Providence, you can't park on the street at night, lest you get fined. Considering my car nowadays, I don't think I mind too much.

I swear I was driving to get gas for my vehicle, when it died heading up a hill. AAA towed it to the Shell station on Angell Street, and there it sat through the snow storm this weekend. I feared the worst, but it turned out that it was just out of gas (so really, I SWEAR I was getting gas).

But, the mechanics topped off my engine coolant, since my car's head gasket is leaking. Now, I learned this recently: the head gasket prevents coolant from leaking into the engine and my head gasket was certainly not doing its job. So, as coolant leaked into my engine, it'd burn up and get shot out of my tailpipe in the form of white smoke.

Soooooo... My engine had been burning off what little coolant I had, making me spew little spurts of white smoke. BUT, since they topped off my coolant, the larger amount of coolant leaking into my engine translated into A HUGE GIGANTIC ENORMOUS WHITE CLOUD THAT PROBABLY TEARS A HOLE IN THE OZONE LAYER BY ITSELF. And it's by far the most embarrasing thing ever. Ever.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

There wasn't a subject

I'm holed up in my apartment, waiting for this blizzard to come down on me. I feel a little disappointed -- I expected this snowstorm to come down hard a little earlier. Luckily, there's not much reason to go outside tomorrow, except maybe for mass at 5, which might get cancelled anyway.

I'm debating on whether or not to say I'm dissapointed in general. Jen and I decided to just be friends, entirely mutually. My car didn't make it up the street and is now sitting in the parking lot of the Shell station on Angell street, awaiting a post-mortem. I'm supposed to be working on that paper I couldn't finish before I left for home. And yet, I'm not bothered by any of those things too severely; I feel buoyed by it all, sorta floating in all the mess I've made and of all the things out of my hands. If this is going with the flow, it feels unsatisfying.

I've been feeling very good about this semester, only having to do essentially anything I want to do -- sort of a weird convergence of have to and want to that leads to something productive. In June I have prelim exams and I'm taking a course on craft and passion in comparative research, but what's most interesting is the lack of any tasks, anything mundane, busywork.

I want something to titilate me.