Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Day Eight

My sleep has been uneven the past couple days. I hope to get about 7.5 hours in tonight, but I think my psychosomatic nervousness is setting in about tomorrow's prelims. I picked three main substantive areas that I want to be an "expert" in and tomorrow, I'll be given two sets of questions for two of those areas: democracy and development; and comparative-historical methods. I'm to write about 15-20 pages per question (that's about 60-80 pages in total) and I have a week to do it (gotta hand it in by 9am next Wednesday).

So I'm going on an Oslec blackout -- no cell (it will be off) and no e-mail (you get a fun automatic message if you e-mail me!). You might not see any updates on here until Wednesday, but I'll let you know how it goes in any case.

Oh the stakes... if I pass, which most people do, I get elevated to PhD candidacy. If I fail, I have to do this again.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Day Five: A Good Move/I Want Sushi

Thursday Night: 7hrs, 11:30pm - 6:30am
Friday Night (Campus Dance): 8hrs, 4am - 12:00pm

Yeah, a great one in retrospect.

Fark directed me to this blog done by a sushi lover. I think I'm going to add this blog to list of nifty blogs. Today's installment: How to pick a sushi restaurant.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Day Three: Don't Overthink

One of the indications that I'm not sufficiently mature enough is that I let my mind wander, letting my comparative capacities linking things that shouldn't be linked, lest they drive me crazy. Of course, I never write anything here unless it's happened, but the astute reader will notice that I've written in euphemism, which, of course, is a sign that I don't want to name names.

Of course, this means I want you to ask. Of course.

About 11:30pm to 6:30-ish am. About seven hours.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Day Two: Cleaned

Kaye was a trooper today, helping me to not only organize my prelim stuff, but to organize nearly three years of accumulated papers. My desk is visible for the firs time since I moved in. As for my prelim feeling in general, I'm not stressing, but I do need to read a few things before I can move with confidence.

As for my sleep check, I couldn't sleep last night. In fact, I got up at about 2am and tried to sleep at 3, but I don't I made it very far. Let's try harder tonight.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Day One: I Can Sleep Again

Indeed. The past couple days have been pretty craptastic. I let the work pile up and started a messy uphill sprint on Wednesday night, sleeping for a couple hours at a time, then staying up to write. I somehow managed to head to a prof's house for a lunch party where I consciously attempted not to sit down, lest I fall asleep. And indeed, the one time I sat down, I fell asleep. While not exactly sleep deprivation, it was certainly uncomfortable.

So with my work done, I came the closest to "sleeping in" last night, a decent 12:30 to 8:30 rest. My plan for the rest of my life, at least, is to hit nine hours a night. This, of course, is inspired by a totally indirect and pretty irrelevant source: Sarah Hughes, the Olympic figure skater who won gold at Salt Lake City in 2002. Apparently (and this was struck from her Wikipedia page), her parents put her on a "Power Sleep" routine, getting her to sleep 9 hours a night and it worked "wonders."

So I figure this: it's plainly obvious with my match.com profile and my return to self-deprication that I'm not opposed to getting a date -- in fact, I haven't been on a date since February, so I gotta get on that shit. Point being, I can dump the old numbering that I had last time. Second, now that I've got a little bit of a breather, I can rededicate myself to treating my body appropriately; I can sleep early and for a long time.

So here's the plan -- I will log the hours of sleep I received up here and the two of you who read this can make me feel guilty if it doesn't equal nine hours. Now, how will I know I'm actually sleeping those nine hours? I have no idea. Suffice it to say that if I'm in bed for 9 hours, then I think that's a decent enough proxy. If anyone wants to donate an EEG, then by all means, send it my way.

Kaye came up to Providence a few days ago and is staying with me until Sunday. Of course, she'll have to work for her board -- she's my personal assistant, helping me organize my life before prelims start next Wednesdsay. So far, I've gotten a few more things done in less time than usual. Works for me, says I.

Nelly Furtado performed her song "Maneater" on SNL last Saturday night. It was, well, lackluster -- she had to drop to some octave she has no business singing in and it sounded gravelly. Of course, induced somehow by that less-than-masterful performance, I found the video for the song on YouTube (here). I have to admit, I kinda like it: the chorus especially because it's very 80s with the synth and the hard 1-2-3-4 rhythm. So far, everyone I've tried to get listen to it (and of course, try to get to like it) has said the song is annoying. This may very well be the reason I like it.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Day Eighty-Three

Assuming I survive this week and the impending death that are prelim exams, I'll be heading to sunny Hawaii for ten days of nothing but fucking around... on purpose. My cohortmates are going en masse to attend the wedding of one of our own -- Jen, at whose place I stayed to escape Providence back in September. We sort of collectively agreed to read nothing sociological or academic while we're there.

So, I'm developing a reading list (note: not a bibliography). First up is Nicholas Dawidoff's The Fly Swatter, a biography of Harvard economist Alexander Gerschenkron who apparently was quite a character. After that, I guess I could head towards my old favorites -- social criticisms of snobbery. But I'm open to suggestions.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Day Eighty

I had a series of fun metaphors to blog about, but that's what I get for letting my mind go without blogging for very long. Suffice it to say, the usual fun stuff weighs down on me: I'm single, I'm busy, I'm lost in an existential crisis of my own making, etc.

For those of you who didn't know already, Smokey the Taurus, my faithful boat of a car, died last week at the age of 13. His head gasket cracked, causing coolant to leak into his engine, and contributing to a total overheat. Its indirect effect was a sweet, white smoke that billowed out of Smokey's tailpipe -- slightly embarrassing, but definitely endearing. During his last days, Smokey ferried Mike and I to East Side Market to buy overpriced groceries.

Smokey and I first met during the Summer of 2003. He was a government-requisitioned vehicle that our neighbor back home bought at an auction, and I was a man-child who had never owned a car, nor had such direct access to a car in his entire life. After a few minor tweaks, Smokey and I drove the 5,000 or so miles from the West Coast to the East with major stops in Reno, Nevada; Salt Lake City, UT; some place in Wyoming, Davenport, Iowa, Chicago, Illinois; Clarion, Pennsylvania, and finally, Providence, Rhode Island.

Smokey endured having to park around a telephone pole while jumping the curb on Governor Street and multiple trips to New Jersey and New London, CT. Smokey made it as far north as Amherst, MA. I only had sex in Smokey once, and his large backseat made it seemingly easy (this was, of course, when I was still missing an ACL).

Since September of last year, Smokey resided in a parking lot on Amy Street here in Providence for $100 a month. He was recovering from a summer that saw him misused and broken down by questionable elements who shall remain nameless (because I forgot their names). The damage, sadly, had already been done -- by October, Smokey ran afoul of the cracked head gasket and faced his first loss of transmission. After a $300 repair, he was back to order, but could only be used for short spurts.

It saddens me to see Smokey go. He will be donated to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill here in Providence, and from there, I don't know where he'll head.

So toast Smokey the Taurus. A good car.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Day Seventy-Four

It looks like our basketball team is probably out of the playoffs after finishing 3-3. We won tonight, 51-32. I managed to shoot better than I had done in a while, 4-9 from the field for 9pts, 1-1 from 3-pt range. I played pickup with the guys afterwards, and I think I got bashed around a little too much because I'm pretty tired all over. Hopefully that'll mean I'll sleep through sunrise tomorrow.

This weekend I head back to Conn for Floralia. The plan is to bring work with me and to leave on Monday morning, giving me Sunday to recover/get shit done. I think it'll work out fine. My concern: the weather. I figure it'll be ok though. I intend to wear shorts.

I hope that I have fun.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Day Seventy-Three

I finally hit the nail on the head diagnosing my constant frustration and inability to sleep -- overtraining. So here I am up at 4, updating my blog that I think only Rosalind reads (hi Roz).

- Went to New York to hang w/ my dad, his friend, and his friend's Japanese business client. Saw Julia Roberts in "Three Days of Rain" then saw Mamma Mia!. Had some trouble sleeping b/c of what I thought were existential crises, and also learned the meaning of the term "Greek Style"

Villegas: 2-6, 4 pts, 5 reb, 5 asst, 1 steal (L, 50-53, 2-2)
Villegas: no stats (forfeit, 2-3)

Two games left...