Sunday, October 28, 2007

Scholars Throw Down

So the irony of my current readings and eventual research is that the book that was the bane of my existence at Oregon (y'all remember it...612 fun: Islands of History) will probably be core to future work. The funny thing is tonight I've read the two follow up books to Islands and come to a couple realizations: first off, Marshall Sahlins isn't as bad as I took him for the first time around (although it still pisses me off when academics throw French into their books at those key moments when you need to understand the crux of their arguments, and not to mention that it's taken me three times in reading Islands to have a marginal sense of what the heck dude's talking about).

But that said, the other thing I've learned is that if I ever publish anything in the future and it gets bad reviews, I will always remind myself to look back at the book length attack on Sahlins by Obeyesekere and then the book length rebuttal from Sahlins. Holy crap dude, couldn't they just write two page reviews like the rest of snooty academics? Apparently not, and the result is nearly 200 pages (in each case) of intellectual sparring. Lots of cheap shots to the jugular.

Academics...freakin nutty.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


I need to go live in a cabin in the middle of a forest. My neighbors are so loud. On one side of me is a dude who I'm convinced thinks he's American Idol (Johnny Cash style) and on the other side, a couple with bad music taste played at a volume that is penetrating my ear plug defenses. Now I suppose I could ask them to quiet it down, but the sad thing is, it's a Saturday night, not even 10pm yet and the reason I need quiet is because I'm home reading. Ick. Perhaps they just seem loud and obnoxious to me because they're obviously not reading on a Saturday night. Or perhaps it's because if I were them, and not shackled to the books for the next several weekends, I'd get the hell out of this apartment and be elsewhere.

Ahhh, but then reality sinks in and I realize, they too are stuck in Ann Arbor, where nothingness (and beingness?) resides and thus explains their choice of apartment entertainment.

Can you tell I've had my fill of prelims and Ann Arbor...and this freakin apartmnet? Is it obvious that the fill came oh, I dunno, say...three months ago?

Freakin' neighbors....grrrrrr!!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I don't know...

Jack crap!!!! Or so it would seem. I'm convinced that studying for prelims seems to confirm this reality on a daily basis. Especially since this week, my usual floggings of inferior knowledge capacity have expanded to the Pacific. Holy crap dudes, the learning curve feels like trying to summit everest. Particularly because all of the general history books I'm starting with (each about 450 pages long and un-skimmable) begin with the peopling of the Pacific (we're talking homo erectus archeology stuff) continuing to contemporary politics. Hmmm...bad idea to choose this as a field to read up on in 5 weeks? Perhaps. But on the flip side, if I didn't have to feel super rushed with the lingering pressure of exams coming up I would be finding this super fulfilling. There are so many fascinating debates going on in pacific history.

Anyhoo, in other non-dorked out news...ummm...the leaves here are turning super orangy-yellow-starbursty beautiful! And I still think Jon Stewart should be president.

Monday, October 15, 2007

AWOL Pumpkins

Inspired by fall's burnt leafy smells and E's reminder of the season for snoopy dancing, I bought myself some pumpkins and candy corns. The pumpkins were placed stylishly on my little porch stoop next to my newly purchased welcome mat and mum/pansy flower bed making a nice little entry way to my otherwise unremarkable apartment. After one day of gracing my porch, I noticed something wrong in pumpkin land. One of the pumpkins appeared to have jumped ship, gone AWOL and left the others behind. Upon closer inspection of the remaining pumpkins, I noticed that these ones seemed to have some sort of body image disorder, as their stems were withering away to a much skinnier appearance. And thus I came to the realization that my porch was being terrorized by local bullies....aka ferocious squirrels who'd mistaken my stylish entourage for their fall feast. This suspicion was confirmed when I glanced around the parking lot to find the missing pumpkin (who in retrospect likely did not voluntarily abandoned his unit) seated on the side of a fence mutilated almost beyond recognition. And thus, my entourage of pumpkins has moved to the interior of my apartment until such time comes to carve them into Jack-O-Lanterns that will likely only survive display under the watchful eye of their carver (aka: me) who will be armed and ready for those neighborhood bullies.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Only in Michigan...

Today it is in the 40s. Earlier this week it was in the 90s.

Where on earth am I living? And more importantly....WHY?????

West Coasters, please send me some sunshine!!!!

I am so over the schitzophrenic weather Gods of Michigan.

Boo. :(

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A story only my Oregonies could appreciate...

So apparently the incoming cohort here are taking their 615 class this semester, equivalent to our 612, aka torture followed by Rennies group therapy sessions. And I was told this week that they approached the teachers of the course and told them it sucked and they wanted it to be better. Now my initial reaction to this was: "Didn't they get the memo?" It was my understanding that these intro/theory grad courses are inherently sucky by nature (it specifies so in the syllabus right?) and that the sole purpose of such a sucky experience is for cohort bonding. I, of course, then tried to imagine what it would have been like if any of us had told "hope and expect," or his rabbity comrade that things sucked. Perhaps they would've rolled their eyes as they so often did during our weekly "guess what I'm thinking" game.

I was trying to describe the nature of that class to fellow cohort folks here. I felt like if I could draw a picture of the scenario, we'd look like a bunch of cross-eyed space cadets, banging our heads against the wall and that it was only by sheer luck of having KFR and Cabiria, our theory geniuses, present to bail us out on a weekly basis. Ahhh, but so much fun!

Ya, see? This other cohort, they must've just missed the memo...

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

More thoughts...

Ok, so KFR reminded me of my recent blogging neglect, and thus I return with some "more thoughts..." It's funny KFR, the "see how it works" bit reminded me of that scene in the movie "A League of Their Own" when Jon Lovitz dryly remarks to the baseball player standing waiting to board train: "see how it works is, the train moves, not the station." Classic Lovitz.

Anyhoo, so still pretty stressed about this whole prelims dealio. Especially because this week, I found out my advisor is leaving the week I was planning to take the test, which bumps everything up a week earlier. Part of me wonders if I'm smokin' crack to think that I can get this all done in the next 10 weeks. I feel like the more I read, the more clueless I become. I'm almost through the New Deal, which is good, but I've got about 300 more books to "read" between now and December 10, which is target date. Grrr. And while I feel like it's a pointless effort that will surely result in me either failing or having to push it back, I still want to shoot to be done, because the thought of dragging this process out beyond this semester makes me a very sad mac. :( Of course it doesn't help that my wrists, forearms, and shoulders still seem to be rebelling against me, making it difficult to take notes as I read.  Double grrrr. 

So I had a thought, I'm sure it's one that many have had the past severals years: Why isn't Jon Stewart our President? He seems up to the task. But I guess if he were a politician, he'd likely spiral into the demise as they all seem to. Although it seems as if many of them started out that way, and he seems like he's got a pretty solid foundation of non-demise-spiraling stock. 

Final note: I joined a Marxist reading group! Cabiria will be proud. We started with the German Ideology last week. I'm beginning to see things more clearly now... :)