Sunday, November 25, 2007

Only in San Francisco puts out a 49ers blog wherein in recent days, talk has swirled about the possibility that the Niners front office will hire a GM. Of course, one suggestion leads to a bunch of other suggestions with tangential relevance to the GM issue. So, in a post titled "A Solution" Chronicle sportswriter Kevin Lynch suggests simplifying the offensive gameplan, much like how special teams coach Al Everest simplifies the special teams gameplan. Aside of course for the point that special teams are probably not something that lead themselves to complication, the post was met with pretty stringent criticism and the now-prominent calls to fire head coach Mike Nolan.

Of course, only in San Francisco would the comments to the post turn into a discussion about politics:

Poster oliveira said:

The Nolan regime resembles, on a much more minuscule scale, remembering that football is entertainment and not life and death, the Bush regime. It can't be fixed or changed-it needs to be removed and replaced with a competent and honest regime. Last year, neither offense nor defense played very well. This team plays in an awful division and last year is now considered a success only because this year is such an unmitigated disaster. Giving Nolan even 1 more year as head coach would be as crazy as allowing Bush to stay on for another term.

Prompting this response from miksurf:

Oliveira's Bush/Nolan analogy is spot on.

Name me one thing Bush did that is positive for the USA? He's killing people in a country that never attacked the USA because he wants control of their oil; and even Saddam gave us better prices than Bush's oil co. pals.

As far as Nolan is concerned, his achievements are pretty much non-existent as well.

A tiny handful of lucky wins.

He abuses the 49er fan base in the same way Bush abuses American patriotism; especially our military who have been compromised into fighting a war based on lies.

And since the NFL paid for huge ads supporting his candidacy, it is fair game to dis the fraudulent govt they promoted.

There is one difference though: Bush is going to burn in hell, while Nolan will just go back to being a DC, or hit the College ranks.

With a response from sophrosyne:

miksurf is right. Bush has weakened America's economy, its military, its international reputation and our security. Bush is at war against America just as Nolan is destroying the Niners universe.

Sorry, Osama won the war...hands down.

Now, my niners are pathetic and have given up on the season. It is just Arizona picking over the charred carcus.

Now Nipper found this politics talk all nonsense:

Yeah, bad boy/girl Sophrosyne/Shelby! You deserve a spanking. No politics. Nolan is going to be FIRED. He's good on defense but the pathetic offense has ruined his tenure. Only his wife and kids have any confidence in him now. "You're great, honey! Nice going Dad!" Too bad, the guy does look good out there in his suit. Still, looks don't cut it when you're team can't score.

But sophrosyne said:

I agree nipper..with your admission thta Nolan has failed totlaly. Bush is at war against America just as Nolan is at War against the greatness of the Niners. Both have left their "teams" weakened and laughed at. This girl knows nad [sic] speaks boldly. Always.

Then the rightists got a bit angry:

Leave the politics out of it, moonbats. Why is it that the Lefties insist on pushing the political agenda where it doesn't belong and on people who don't want to hear it? Get a clue, you are not that important, you self-righteous loudmouths, and no one wants to hear your inane and idiotic political babble. I'd like to see the blog author take some responsiblity here and keep people on topic or ban their IP addresses from posting. Now get back to football before I am forced to smack your leftist idiocy with facts and logic.

To which the response was, from oliveira:

... you ignorant wingbat. The Bush reference are used as an analogy to bottomless incompetence, not as a political discussion and debate. Surely even an idiot like you could comprehend that

Which led to:

The lefties said Bush was incompetent the last time he was up for a vote. Over 50% of American voters disagreed. Just becaues you think he is incompetent, oliveira, over half of the nation disagreed with your opinion. That is why if you start this, it won't stop. If you want to continue to be a looney, go to political blog. I don't want to hear the blathering from either side. I have my own political opinions, and you can't change them by proselytizing here.

And then:

Oliveira is right to speak up. He is manly and brave. Let us not let professional sports distract us from the wretched injustice and illegal invasions of other countries. Professional sports plays that role as nipper knows.

And it went on and on. After awhile I was wondering if oliveira and miksurf were just trolling, which is entirely possible in San Francisco too. Whatever it was, it was hi-larious.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Post-Thanksgiving Thoughts

Well, nothing too deep, as usual. Though in honor of our upcoming recession and of Black Friday, I present to you some dated economist jokes, courtesy of

Monday, November 19, 2007

Stolen from Slate

Still here, but probably going somewhere soon. In the meantime, those of you who might be serial readers of this blog (other than me), here's a link stolen from Slate:

Mike Huckabee, are you sad that no one's invited you to be on SNL? I guess you can't wait out the writers' strike, and with all that material already in the bank, I guess you've gotta use it before it gets stale. That being said, if someone comes up a sound edited version of that vid w/ the "live studio audience," then I think that person should win the Republican nomination.

Mmm San Francisco (Int'l Airport)

One of the things I forgot to do before I left home was to take a photo of the "Makati Chiropractic" sign in the shopping center near our house. I was gonna post it on here and caption it "It's like I never left!" I predicted true hilarity to ensue.

Sadly, it did not come to pass, and if I intended to both take a photo of Makati Chiropractic AND leave Pacifica for Las Vegas, I may not get either done. On time, at least. I'm here at SFO (Terminal 2, Gate 40, to be exact), hanging out and wasting $9 on a wireless connection to half-complain that my flight to Salt Lake City is delayed, meaning that I may have a much longer day in store than my previously-planned long-ass 5-hour trip across multiple states* just to eventually fly diagonally and to the left when I could have just flown diagonally and to the right. But such is the compromise of the discount traveler: we make trapezoids out of straight lines.

In other news, I finally got a response from FLACSO-Ecuador where I'm planning to associate myself during my time there. Sounds like most of my pre-planning is going well, though I still need to find a place to stay. The plan so far is to just look when I get there, but my family has been working their contacts in Quito (who knew?) and I may snag a place for $250 a month. We shall see. Also, I'm going to get my ass kicked by altitude sickness. It'll be great.

Friday, November 16, 2007

What's My Prize?

So I left the house finally and went to the gym, but before I did a couple errands: returned some shoes and bought some energy bars. It was that energy bar trip to Safeway that made me think about "gifting" myself something. So, I bought myself a little bag of soy sauce crackers for $2.79.

Some of you know my thing for soy sauce crackers. I have such a thing for them, the potential ecstasy that I will feel when I finally eat them has made me forget their name in Japanese. If I eat the entire bag, I will have added 330 calories to my system and 330 happy points to my happy meter. The soy sauce in these soy sauce crackers might be Kikoman. Or not. But they're distributed by the same company that distributes Kikoman.

I kinda miss the kabuki character that Hapi used to have on its snack bags. It was like, "hey, eat this and you'll be in a Japanese drama." And I was (clearly) like, yessss.* Now it just says "Tokyo Mix" as if it's some sort of DJ'ed, scratched up, dance song about how I'll melt a cracker in my mouth, then suck the soy sauce out of it and then eat it. Actually, no, it's not nearly that cool.

*By the way, after I got 15 games for my NES, I felt guilty asking for more. I did want to play Kabuki Quantum Fighter because I read about it in Nintendo Power -- the late 80s child's GQ. I did download it awhile back and it kinda sucked. Oh well.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Well That Was Terrible

So I finished my grant app, probably thanks to a deadline extension. I was freaking out a bit earlier since it seems that my project uploaded four minutes after the deadline supposedly had expired, but I talked to Esther and calmed down a bit. That whole business took me nearly two weeks to do, and frankly I'm unhappy with my draft chapter, but heck, it's 22 pages down from a 400 (or so) page dissertation.

And so we enter that wonderful liminal period in an academic's life when nothing's due for awhile, but you know you could be writing something publishable or finally trying to decipher Habermas. And with that quietly rumbling in the back of your mind, you proceed to figure out how to relax after having stressed yourself out and nothing comes to mind except guilt. Guilty guilt. I sort of feel like if I decided to go at another paper right now, I'd probably be killing myself from the inside, much like the girl in the urban legend who overtanned before going to tennis camp and found out she was rotting from within. No better metaphor exists, not even in space.

And space has limitless potential!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

As If THIS will keep me awake

Grant app's due tomorrow at 6pm. So what am I doing? Still writing it.

Friday, November 09, 2007

B-Day, D-Day

So I turned 27 today. I constantly ate all day and I went out for a bit with Conn friends. I was going to blog a bit more about my grant deadline, but I'm falling asleep at the keyboard. More lates.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Philippines, Summarized

A couple nights before I presented at the Third World Studies Center, I had an anxiety dream. I've had anxiety dreams before, usually of the event that's causing me so much anxiety. With a setup like that, you know what's coming... I dreamed that it was 2009 and behind a "stage," I was given the unenviable task of coordinating something for the Vox Cameli 10th anniversary concert. So ten years of Voxers were sitting on the floor and no one was listening. I kept trying to get everyone's attention, and while I was clearly the only one saying anything, I sorta felt like I wasn't actually conveying anything important to them. Some wiseass freshman spoke up and I think I wanted to kick him in the face.

The moral: Vox Cameli 10th Anniversary, Fall 2009.

The presentation went all right, despite my worries. I stayed up until about 4am the night before working on the powerpoint. I wanted to finish a 40-page paper to accompany it, but that plan got shot to hell once I realized how much data I ended up gathering over the course of four months. Still, I wore my new suit and people believed me. There were a good thirty or so people there, the majority from NGOs and civil society groups, which surprised me. Actually, I was more surprised when my tita's friend told me she heard about my presentation the night before. Apparently the reason why all those NGO people were there was that my abstract and bio got sent out to an NGO listserv, so apparently you had people from the Magsaysay Foundation to the Institute for Popular Democracy knowing at least that I was going to present.

Afterwards, I cleaned out my desk at the Center and said goodbye to the people who were there. I hadn't expected to make that my "last day" -- I guess the feeling was right, with me having "finished" my research and all. It was a good time, I have to say, minus all the crud I had to shuffle through with the library and I'll certainly miss everyone there.

As soon as I got home, I got out of my suit and I think I either took a nap or played DS. That evening, I went out with my cousins to a karaoke place where I couldn't sing a lick. I guess my voice was so tired from presenting and from having not slept that my George Michael sounded more like my Louie Armstrong.

The next evening, I met up with Cecile at Martini's at the Mandarin. Let's just say that I got there late. As we were dispersing, Cecile's friend and her cousin wanted to stay out and so I tagged along and we went to sing karaoke at a place in the relative Philippine sense was just around the corner from Rockwell. Compared to the night before, I was on my Lionel Richie, prompting Cecile's cousin to say, "it's like Piolo Pascual went to the States and came back!" (By the way, here's that dude singing bad Bon Jovi with another overhyped tarento, whom, I've been told, is not nearly as good-looking as I am).

Anyway, that weekend my family and I went to Punta Fuego for some resort time. When I told Cecile what my plans were, she said, "Oslec, you're not middle class."

"We just rent!" I said.

"Nope," she said. "Not middle class."

Turns out we don't just rent. Anyway, I spent the afternoon with my cousin and cousin-in-law pitching golf balls, one of which I shot into the street and nailed the shuttle. I had dinner by myself -- Mongolian bowl. After having eating Mongolian bowls at the UP canteen for, like, a good month, I expected the resort to at least approximate my experience, but I was sadly disappointed. My aunt warned me that the food was bad, and, well, I believed her. Of course, I still think since you select what you put in Mongolian bowls, I was culpable. I'll just say this: the Mongolian bowls at UP are about a $1.50, the Punto Fuego ones were like ten bucks.

I spent that evening playing SimCity DS, purposefully not checking the clock so I wouldn't know how late it was. I eventually decided to try to go to bed, so I went to the bathroom and brought my DS with me. It takes some skill to handle the stylus on the toilet and I think I must have been in the bathroom for 45 minutes zoning heavy residential areas. And also playing SimCity DS, if ya know what I mean.

The next day, I got up early to eat breakfast then went back to bed (read: played more SimCity DS). After I got up, I had a massage on my tita's dime, then ran to the pool so I could say I did something water-related at a beach resort that wasn't zoning water fountains in El Sapo City before checkout. The whole family got together after and we had churros and chocolate (melted chocolate, mind you, not the beverage). On the way back, I tried to play more SimCity, but nearly made myself sick in the car. What was the result of that weekend? 100,000 people in El Sapo City and a monthly income of $4000 by 1920.

Anyway, I'll fast-forward to my last night in the Philippines. After I got back from souvenir shopping with my cousins, I had a despedida dinner of champorado, sashimi, and cookies. I slept for a couple hours and then said goodbye to my tita, my dad, and my driver.

The Philippines was strange in that comforting way, like everything was familiar and rare at the same time. I certainly felt like I had "come home" when I was with my family. It was like I had never been away for, oh, almost twenty-five years -- I fell right into our routines, I knew everyone without actually growing up with them. And, it must be genetic: I ate as much as everyone every Sunday. We all talked about the infamous Tita Aya, we all made the kids do silly kid tricks for entertainment, and we enjoyed and all that good stuff. I think I managed to find humor from happiness, instead of irony; that's sort of amazing.

But just as amazing (and more strange) was me trying to navigate class. And by "navigate class" I mean learn what it's like to be good-looking, affluent, and intelligent. All at once. And you know I'm not being modest for a reason: it was an ego boost, and this blog is your daily fix of my ego. And it all simply proves what Rizal said: tortoises classify each other by their shells and that in the Philippines, he said, there are a lot of tortoises. I came home here to Pacifica and put on a pair of sweats and haven't fixed my hair for, what, a week? While I can act like a slob here, I always felt like I had to dress "appropriately" and not simply to look professional, but just to look put-together. Plus, all that sort of nuveau riche searching for the correct habitus could be laughed off with me being "foreign." Of course, I go back to Providence and dress up in the vain attempt (in more ways than one) that it'll get me laid (outside of TAing, you pervs). But in truth, being able to be just a little more confident was strange. Then again, maybe I'm just like the perfect hangar for all garments. Yes, that must be it.

Seriously though, it was such a strange and familiar place that I wanted to stay longer and my body told me the first fews days I was back here, "you're clearly not suited to being awake right now." Which is true, I should have been partying more in the Philippines. That last week of doing nothing much indulging put into perspective how much fieldwork I actually did. And it was A LOT. If, for four months I went out a total of about five times, you wonder what I did with the rest of that time. And if I think hard enough, I can't think of a day that I didn't spend partly at UP or Ateneo, then back home trying to figure out what I should look for the next day. So, four months came and went and I did a whole lot more work than I thought I did. And with only five days of enjoying myself, I thought I was entitled to a little more.

Research, family, ego boost. The benefits of a strong dollar (for a few months, at least). Lunch for $1.50 nearly every day. No rent. Little kids. And a "cop out" topic. Life was good in the Philippines, '07.


But I promise I'll write more later on today. I finished what I will call my final final draft of my ACLS Proposal. I'm going to take a day to fool around before I organize my materials to produce a dissertation chapter. Can you imagine? I'm actually going to start writing something that's officially part of my dissertation; it boggles my mind.

In any case, I'll fill you in on the last couple weeks I had in the Philippines in a bit. Right now, I'm looking towards the future. To be exact, I'm looking at my 27th birthday on Thursday, which is the first birthday I've spent in the Bay Area since I left for college.

And ahora mismo I'm heading out.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


So I guess I should update. I'll just say this for now: I'm back home in California and it's about 3am. I'm working on a grant proposal right now and I made a really neat chart, but I'm out of steam and have to turn in. More lates, yo.