Friday, June 30, 2006

Day Forty-Two

FOUND 'EM!
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.

SLEEP
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

BRAND LOYALTY
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.

SLEEP
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

FROM PATRICK
In regards to ESPN.com's stupid pay service, InSider (where you can get the same info for free from CNNsi.com or sportsline.com):

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

WHEW?
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.

A MOMENT OF HONESTY
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

SLEEP (FINALLY)
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

WHAT WILL I HAVE ACCOMPLISHED?
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.

THEIR WAY OF BEING IN THE WORLD
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
one
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.

THE NICKNAME PHENOMENON
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

CLEANING THE FANS
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.

SUSHI CLUB?
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

FURTADO!
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

MORE ELABORATE HAWAII STUFF
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.

Day Thirty: Back in CA

HI
Just a quick note: Hawaii was great, minus me upchucking into a bucket while we were going fishing. I did, however, catch the only fish that day. More later.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Day Sixteen

NO SLEEP, ALL DONE
So I used up all that sleep from last week to stay up all night last night and finish my prelims. I ended up writing a lot on two questions and slightly less than average on the other two. Luckily, they're in pairs by the subject area, so there's one big answer and one small answer for each. Well, luckily... we'll see. I'm trying to put it out of my mind.

Sunday I'm planning on heading up to Boston and crashing with Ryan. My flight is at 6am on Monday and it's leaving from Logan, so the plan is to take a taxi from within the Boston environs. Then it's a long-ass flight to Hawaii and Hawaii-ness.