Monday, June 30, 2008

boot camp #3: the happy delivery

Around noon, boot camp was all sunshine and rainbows for about half an hour. Because Safeway brought us not only goldfish crackers, pretzels, and ritz snack mix, BUT ALSO CHEEZ ITS.

Friday, June 27, 2008

boot camp #2: the crisis

More lessons from boot camp. The following are MAJOR STUMBLING BLOCK CRISIS SITUATIONS to the dissertating grad student:


- There is no milk for the coffee today, only liquid Coffee-mate.

- WE NEED SALTY SNACKS. All these snacks are SWEET.

Things I have to look forward to when I have a dissertation of my own. If it's possible to get any crazier.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

music I have liked -- 80s theme

on fire

The entire state of California seems to be on fire. And I'm at boot camp. Where I have learned that I am not good at working from 9 to 5. I AM good at reading blogs and day dreaming. Right now I'm supposed to be reading about character. CLEARLY NOT HAPPENING.

All those poor cremated trees are clogging up the air. I hope I don't kill my lungs, but I really wanted to go jogging tonight.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

boot camp

Day 2 of dissertation boot camp. I think we set a record in pots of coffee consumed by twenty people in four hours. Strangely, boot camp has coincided with Andrew & I starting a jogging regiment. Today was the day off (walked instead of jogged), as we're sore and I needed to take a trip to the library. I forgot how much I enjoy it, after I switch over into aerobic and find the pace.

In other news: food I have made.

For Bridget and Nickie's wedding -- which was beautiful! -- the standby spinach/mint/balsamic vinegar/lime/peach/blueberry salad, and cantaloupe with mint:

For dessert over the weekend, because as we were heading back from Half Moon Bay (where I got some sunburns, including on my NECK, which looked ridiculous, but luckily Gap is trying to create consumer demand for counter-intuitive summer accessories, and I was able to find a light (in weight, not color) green scarf that has actually been useful since the Writing Center is COLD with the requisite office space air conditioning) we stopped at an organic farm stand that was selling BOXES of strawberries for five dollars:

Biscuits w/ rhubarb and strawberry compote, strawberries and figs, and over-priced "natural" whipped cream.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

nice dream

Finally done with The Novel and the Police. Now I can return to Barnaby Rudge, which, when James saw that I was reading it, he described as rather slow till the very end. So I have that to look forward to.

I couldn't follow DA Miller down every path, but sometimes it's hard not to be convinced by, well:

When I read Trollope, it is all I can do not to be bored. All I can do, because Trollope always seems a little bored himself...But boredom, as the example of pornography perhaps best illustrates, overtakes not what is intrinsically dull, but what is "interesting" to excess... When I read is all I can do to refuse my impending boredom: to convert it back into the anxiety that it is meant to bind, to insist on the shock that it is the attempt to meet and parry. (145)

Speaking of boredom -- very quiet here. I've been rediscovering Radiohead the past few days. I finished the latest Weeds DVD. Was going to pick up a DVD from the TA lounge, but when I found myself considering either Lady Chatterley's Lover or Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, I decided that maybe watching Jon Stewart online was a better plan.

And I miss Oregon.

Monday, June 16, 2008

'i'm an oil bug'

Even better than fireflies. E coli and yeast that literally crap oil.

He means bugs. To be more precise: the genetic alteration of bugs – very, very small ones – so that when they feed on agricultural waste such as woodchips or wheat straw, they do something extraordinary. They excrete crude oil.

Unbelievably, this is not science fiction. Mr Pal holds up a small beaker of bug excretion that could, theoretically, be poured into the tank of the giant Lexus SUV next to us. Not that Mr Pal is willing to risk it just yet. He gives it a month before the first vehicle is filled up on what he calls “renewable petroleum”. After that, he grins, “it’s a brave new world”.

Mr Pal is a senior director of LS9, one of several companies in or near Silicon Valley that have spurned traditional high-tech activities such as software and networking and embarked instead on an extraordinary race to make $140-a-barrel oil (£70) from Saudi Arabia obsolete. “All of us here – everyone in this company and in this industry, are aware of the urgency,” Mr Pal says.

adorno, able to leap between love and fascism in a single bound

I love this excerpt on the problem of time and morality...

Not only were all good things, as Nietzsche knew, once bad things: the gentlest, left to follow their own momentum, have a tendency to culminate in unimaginable brutality.

It would serve no purpose to try to point to a way out of this entanglement. Yet it is undoubtedly possible to name the fatal moment that brings the whole dialectic into play. It lies in the exclusive character of what comes first...But the desire to possess reflects time as a fear of losing, of the irrecoverable. Whatever is, is experienced in relation to its possible non-being... (79, Minima Moralia)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

the inverse relation between free time and productivity

I have so much time. Andrew left for a conference. I've exhausted all my procrastination venues (Merrie, WHY HAVEN'T YOU POSTED SINCE MONDAY? Are you graduating this weekend?). And it's not like reading D.A. Miller doesn't involve a certain degree of pleasure. And yet, I am getting no work done.

Friday, June 13, 2008

still no dissertation

This has been a strange week.

Had a lazy weekend. Andrew & I took a trip to Berkeley to see Rachel, Josh, and Joel (who's now toddling and LOVES DIRT). We met up at the Little Farm in Tilden park, which is built seemingly to a 75% scale, and yet is graced by full sized animals, including some very large white geese. And a forlorn turkey (it stared at the ground the entire time we were there). My favorite moment: Joel sitting entranced by a pasture without any animals, and Rachel deciding that she doesn't know what it means that Joel is more interested in grass than animals. Had lunch -- or in my case brunch, because I can't turn down challah french toast with clotted cream -- at a Jewish deli style place in Berkeley. Meaning that they have the food Andrew loves, but sustainably grown and, in theory, healthier.

As always happens when we go to Berkeley, we went to Buffalo Exchange and some used bookstores. I found TWO PAIRS OF JEANS. Again confirming that only used jeans fit me. And a visit to Berkeley Bowl.

Sunday we headed to the coast. I sat in the sun for a while and finally ended up wading... Andrew always thinks maybe this will be the time he can swim in the Pacific, and then decides the wet sand is too cold to step in. Problem with which coast you grew up on: I can't swim in the Atlantic without inadvertently swallowing sea water, and Andrew can't bear the cold Pacific. I don't know what hang ups you inherit if you grow up in the midwest.

Monday I had a cleaning frenzy. Tuesday was sad because Jill was moving out: we had one last picnic between the studios. Wednesday Andrew & I had a date night -- vegan Chinese take-out & American Psycho. Hadn't ever seen it before. It inspired: 1) a peel off face mask from The Body Shop and 2) a night of compiling 80s music playlists. A good movie, but it really wasn't nearly as bloody as I'd been led to expect.

Yesterday I met with Alex: at which time I learned that I still don't really have a finalized dissertation direction yet. I'm hoping that the Dissesrtation Boot Camp helps with that, as I signed up to monitor it, and part of my role is apparently setting a good example. Serving as a role model right now seems highly ironic.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

things I have learned from Nickie

watermelon + mint

Monday, June 09, 2008

Okkervil River

"Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe"

I love the entire album, but esp. this song.