Monday, September 25, 2006

This is not Nam, this is English. There are rules!

Near the Blockbuster I go to, there's a new store, or a store with a new sign, or a sign I've never noticed before. The store/restaurant is simply called "Fish and Chicken," and it has two of those little cloth men on air vents in front of it (so they look like they're waving). Next to the bright red neon sign are several other blobs of neon, which may just be decorations, or may be symbols of some vaguely Asiatic origin. I'm not sure. But I am tempted to go get some chicken. But not fish. I'm not that crazy.

Anyway, I'm sick, and I have a headache, and I have an outline due tomorrow for a paper I have no clear idea about, so naturally I'm here blogging. Once I finish blogging, I plan to sleep. I plan to dose myself liberally with Nyquil, and hope that when I awake, my cold will be gone, as will my headache, and I will magically have a clear view of my paper. What can I say? I'm an optimist.

If said idea does not come through, I don't really care that much. The entire Vietnam War was a morass, why should my paper on said war be any different? This is excuse #3 I have to offer the professor. #1 is I'm sick, cut me some slack. #2 is I'm not a history grad student, and I have no idea how to write a history grad student paper. And then there's #4, which is I'm almost a dissertator and I just don't give a damn about your paper, as it's only for my minor, which is very small in the grand scheme of things. So back off.

I've noted I'm becoming increasingly hostile to the world of academia, or at least that part of it that thinks I still need to take classes. This is especially apparent in my other minor course, where I have dreams (during the lectures) of telling off the professor, critiquing his absolute failure to understand any basic pedagogical skills, lecturing skills, public speaking skills, or even any concept of what it means to study or teach history. In these fantasies, I then take over teaching the lecture just to prove I could do it better, even without any prior knowledge of the subject, and I do, to thunderous applause. Then I look up, realize only five minutes have passed, and he's still reading names off a sheet and telling us who they are. (I kid you not. It's like a study sheet for an exam, but that's the entire lecture, apart from him showing us pointless slides and rambling incoherently about common historical knowledge like the Boston Tea Party.) Then I die a little inside, because I know this will make the rest of my Tuesday or Thursday all the more crippling to me. Ask my office mates. I am positively hateful when I come out of that class.

Studio 60 was much better tonight. I really recommend it now. Echoes of Sports Night, which was always prime tv (or at least it was when I caught it in reruns on Comedy Central at 1:00 am).

Ok, that's all for me. If I'm not heard from after tomorrow, it's because my professor has killed me. And he could, too. This man traveled with guerrillas in Laos. He's on the CIA's angry list. He could probably kill me with a pen. And he gives a mean lecture (which I rarely appreciate, seeing as how I'm in such a bad mood from my earlier lecture).

In closing, some words of wisdom I heard on the radio tonight, as I took back my rental of Inside Man (which is excellent, watch it):

Do you believe in life after love?
I can feel something inside me saying, "I really don't think I'm strong enough."

Hah. Now it's stuck in your head, too. Feel my pain.

Monday, September 18, 2006

And so it begins

With the advent of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, I enter the new season of unheralded television addiction. This season marks the first time ever I will watch at least one show regularly for more than two nights a week. Whether that makes me somewhat of a problem or more like the majority of Americans, I can't say. I do know it makes me a man who doesn't care at all about his academics yet, and probably won't until at least another month has passed, or I have failed out. Either way, I blame prelims, as I can no longer read anything for more than a half hour without getting horribly irritated.

So anyway, my breakdown:

Monday: Studio 60. I missed out on Sports Night. I missed out on The West Wing. I've caught both of them in reruns, and loved the few episodes I've seen. I'm not missing out on this Sorkin project. Besides, Matthew Perry was always the best of the Friends, Steven Weber was the high point of Wings (though Tony Shaloub was cool), and that little dude from West Wing is pretty awesome too. The pilot was entertaining, but not mind-blowing. We'll see.

Tuesday: Veronica Mars. Bless you, CW, for bringing this show to network tv.

Wednesday: Lost. No surprise there. And Abrams is coming back to write and direct again.

Thursday: My problem day. Smallville and Supernatural on the CW, vs. Grey's Anatomy on ABC. Well, that's why God invented the VCR. Though it is odd that all the shows I watch because they're kind of good rather than really good are on Thursdays. (I know some of my readers may disagree about Grey's, but it gets repetitive with its use of voiceovers and pop music, which can distract.)

Friday: Drinking and partying. No room for tv.

Saturday: See Friday.

Sunday: I get up every week at 7:00 and do a little dance because Charmed is no longer on the air. Seriously, worst. show. ever.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Dubs and the Goblet of Fire

Yes. I know. It's been a while. Freakin' Bourbon Samurai posted something more recently than me. I apologize.

This post's title has little to do with Harry Potter, and nothing to do with a particular tale of drunken escapades and insanity (a story I feel I tell far too often anyway). Rather, as the new school year starts, I realized that I am starting my fourth year here in Madison. That's as long as I was at Northwestern. As long as high school. More pertinently, that's akin to three defeats of Voldemort or his cronies, not to mention countless quidditch matches and hijinks. And what have I done in those three years? What can I look back upon, now that I'm entering my Goblet of Fire year?

Well, I passed prelims for one. Suck it, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

My Madison friends know, so this info is largely for my NU readers. I am now preparing to start my dissertation, my own version of the Triwizard Tournament, which lasts for several years and rewards me not with any large monetary reward (certainly not enough to start a Weasley brother joke shop), but with the honorific "doctor" before my name. But that's all in good time.

Since prelims ended, we've been partying and preparing for year four. I went on a fishing trip with the fam (driving through, amusingly, Bourbon, Missouri, home of the Bourbon Family Fun Center and the Bourbon RV Dealership), mocked Fangirl when she lost her wedding ring (proving, as I claimed, that God does not support alternative lifestyle choices such as hers), and began teaching literature yet again, praise be to Allah. I am currently taking two lecture courses to complete my minor, one of which seems to rock and one which seems to not, and I imagine soon I shall gather my forces for a foray into the world of prolonged academic research that will result in the grail of grails, the Dissertation Proposal.

So that's me for now. More forthcoming, I promise, with frequent updates.

Finally, a report on this year's crop of students:

Of the 52 I surveyed today, 28 claim that Batman would beat Samuel L. Jackson in a fight, whilst 21 claim Mr. Jackson could best the Caped Crusader, and three remained undecided. Most cite the Dark Knight's gadgets as his trump card, not to mention an ability to fly that I was heretofore unaware of. Although some feel that Batman's emotional instability is a weakness Jackson can exploit to his advantage. Or that, had Jackson the same resources as Bruce Wayne, he'd be a formidable opponent. Here are some choice comments:

"Samuel L. Jackson, of course. He'll kill you just as soon as look at you."
"Jackson, because in the later Batman movies he had nipples on his suit."
"They would both kill each other."
"Neither. They would join forces to fight Godzilla and Mothra."
"Samuel L. Jackson would because Batman is mortal, unlike Jackson."
"Did you SEE Snakes on a Plane?"
"Batman, but not the Val Kilmer or George Clooney version."
"Batman; Samuel L. Jackson is only a man. Batman is only a man as well but he has a childhood experience involving bats that drives him to win."
"Batman because he was trained in the orient to kick ass plus he's got a sweet utility belt."
"Hopefully Sam can kill George Clooney Batman."
"The people watching this fight are the real winners here."