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Archive for the ‘meta’ Category

light posting

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the last few days and for the next week, as I’ve been away. Right now, here…

…and I’ll soon enough be in a place with very, very little wi-fi to snort up.

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August 21, 2007 at 8:10 pm

Posted in canada, meta

everything in the “to read” folder on my desktop

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August 17, 2007 at 1:16 am

Posted in meta

schmuck

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All right. Aside from drinking so much that you spend the next morning alternately aspirining and vomiting and swearing to the god of Lush that you will never ever do it again, and aside from having regret-worthy sex I suppose (though I wouldn’t really know, long-term married such as I am), what is worse than coming in after an evening jampacked with academogossip. In which you participated, you name-dropped, you hinted, you self-promoted and tipped the hand and gave up the goods and basically whipped it out for mutual measurement and mutual admiration or envy? Not much, right?

I have a terrible headache. It so exposes the cancerous kernel at the heart of the thing, the way that everything it touches turns to cross-dinner-table banality.

Obviously, all this has quite a bit to do with my previous post.

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July 9, 2007 at 9:53 pm

Posted in academia, meta

hitting bottom

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hotel.jpg

Is the concept of the “Residence Inn” imaginable in any context other than the American one? If I was ambitious (tee hee) I’d spend the next six days and nights writing a Ballardian novel about the whole thing. HBO is showing Prairie Home Companion right now. I keep it on and muted to keep me company. In order to buy some beer, I had to sprint across an eight lane road. Not a highway. Just an eight lane local road. In the dark. I was (of course) wearing dark clothes. There was probably about a 4 percent chance that I would die each way, there and back. There is no bar here. No, I don’t simply mean in the hotel itself – I mean in reasonable (or even unreasonable) walking distance from the place. Fast food, yes. Tapped beer, no. I am not (technically) permitted to smoke outside of a parkbenched area at the corner of the parking lot (fuck that). I type right now while seated next to something called a kitchenette. They sell Lean Cuisine meals in the lobby, which I guess you are supposed to insert into your microwave. No smoking, no drinking (without risk of death by car-to-forehead injury) but there is a goddamned “play area” for adults (a “multifunction” basketball court). There is a menu stuck to the fridge which tells you what will be served for dinner in the lobby each night. Except they don’t serve dinner on weekends. Instead of leaving the space blank for today (Sunday) they have written “Go to the church of your choice!”

Yay. Sometimes you actually do earn your CV bullets. Does it make me damaged in someway that I was praying that my seminar-mates would suggest, on the bus back to the Residence Inn, that we call a cab and find some place to get some drinks? Instead, they discussed the idea of jogging the four miles into the center where the seminar is tomorrow. Is it awful that I was tempted to tell them that the important people in this business go to get some drinks on a night like this. They don’t bitch about forgetting their sneakers.

Pray for me.

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July 9, 2007 at 12:15 am

Posted in meta

back tomorrow

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We’ve got a long flight ahead of us tomorrow morning. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about – among other things – blogging that is yet to be processed. More to come… *

This went far too quickly, I’ll say that…

* If you happen to have super-drug-resistant TB, would you mind staying off the transatlantic flights tomorrow, see voo play?

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Written by adswithoutproducts

May 30, 2007 at 6:30 pm

Posted in meta

rough day to be a state interventionist…

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I mean seriously, I had read about the Swedish issue with alcohol, but come on now. The one adult pleasure we get on this trip is the couple of drinks we get to have, either solo or together depending on the room configuration, after the baby goes to bed. And here, right now, I am drinking 3.5 percent beer. My wife is drinking 2.5 percent cider.

They mark the percentage in big numerals right on the can, just in case you delude yourself into thinking you’re getting the real deal. It is amazing to think of all these great breweries turning out a separate batch of tamer stuff just for the Swedes (or do all the Scandinavians do this? I seem to have some memory of this sort of thing from way back when in Copenhagen…)

Nanny state? WTF? Feel free to tell me that this is my nascent Yankee libertarianism kicking in. That it is a good thing for me to be protected from real beer by law and custom and tax.

Another (related) question: given the near-beer problem, why (how) is everyone so drunk here? (UPDATE: I wrote that Saturday night. Things seem much more sedate now as I write on Sunday…)

Anyway, it is an interesting thing, figuring out your socio-political comfort level based on travel – and then comparing this experientially-tested version against the abstract-intellectual ideal that you hold or think yourself to hold. On the level of ideas, I am probably a few clicks to the left of Sweden. In practice, I miss the Netherlands. It does feel a bit, dunno, dull here. The trains are gorgeous, everything is really, really expensive ($300 in walking around money disappeared just like that, after a dinner and a trip to the very cool Zoo / Aryan history museum at Skansen), which is probably as it should be, and everything is green, green, green, but also everyone seems a bit bored and sad.

That’s not what socialism is supposed to be! Tweak the fun meter, Stockholm! Set up vodka stands on the street corners! (Not sure I’d really love that either – but there has to be a healthy medium, right?)

Finally: for some reason, every thought I have lately is taking the form of an imagined graph, x-plot against y-plot. An impossible one that I’d like to see: the correlation between social welfare and kids going uber-goth. My rough estimate has a higher proportion of gothy types in calm Canada vs. the manic US. And there are tons and tons here, in everyone’s favorite living exhibit of sustainable and actually existing social-democracy. Anyone else notice this?

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May 26, 2007 at 4:17 pm

Posted in meta

one other thing…

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Why is my travel blogging becoming a running list of awkward moments? I’m actually having a great time. But, for some reason, this stuff seems worth recording in a way that “drank, yet again, a liter of beer at lunch. Felt good. It was sunny” does not…

So we’re staying tonight right by the University of Amsterdam, and they seem still to be in session. On the way to the hotel, you pass very close to some first floor classrooms, and one was occupied – a class in session. I stopped short, baby in my arms, and stepped back to see what was on the powerpoint presentation, and to check the language used (something on global trade in, of course, English…)

But when I did, the prof stops, stares out the window at me, and then does a great big “fuck you, doofus!” wave in my direction. Like one of those “yeah, this is what a college classroom looks like. We are so glad to be a living history diorama at the Amsterdam Museum! Stop staring, fucker!”

Which is exactly what I would have done if someone did that to my classroom. But… ouch. I wanted to pull out my Prof ID card and slap it against the window or whatever.

It’s been a rough day.

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Written by adswithoutproducts

May 25, 2007 at 3:17 pm

Posted in academia, meta