Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Busy Moving Intellectually

Wow. . .almost exactly 60 days until the lease runs out on this place and the fiancee and I move halfway across the country to Chicago. Kinda freaky.

I possibly may have spoken too soon yesterday about giving up on the thesis. Today, I found another possible angle in a subfield of Social Pyschology, Social Judgment. Not yet sure if it will lead me anywhere productive, but I might as well give it a shot.

In the meanwhile, I will still entertain the idea of going back to school. When the fiancee and I visit Chicago next week, I will visit a few schools along with checking out a place for our wedding in a little more than a year and any possible job leads and temp agencies I may find.

A couple minutes ago, I applied to another job. Feel pretty confident that I'll get a response to this one. I jazzed up the cover letter much better than I have in the past to make it more specific to the company.

I really have been busy lately, even though I don't feel as if I'm going anywhere yet. Sadly, it exhausts me and doesn't really give me much time to contemplate things. Then again, I think the ADHD medication has also quieted my obsessive ruminations, too, which has bored my mind a little.

Oh well. . ..

Monday, February 27, 2006

Sick of Floundering

I'm entertaining the idea of going back to school rather than finish my thesis.

Trying to find an angle for the thesis has become really really frustrating. Most of the scholarly stuff out there about utopianism, I can translate from academia to understandable brainwaves. Then I can't see where stuff from a pure interpretative viewpoint gets the ideas.

After the problem of trying to digest the information comes trying to find some kind of angle that applies to both literature and historical instances of utopianism.

If I do go back to school, I want to go for the same subject. I want to refine it. I want to learn more about how to approach the topic. I may drop the historical side or not, but I do want to get this thing done, so I can move onto more interesting professional endeavors, problems and familial challenges like having kids, owning a home and so forth.

I ran into something called Activity Theory that looks it could help. Unfortunately, I've grown pretty cynical of these great theories that sound like they could help with the thesis. I may investigate a little deeper for the sake of curiousity.

Unless something comes up fortuitously, though, I'll just read the book I ordered from Amazon.com about attending school as an adult, make meetings during another March trip to Chicago then possibly apply if one of their programs sound good.

I've had enough of this floundering.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Tired

Dang, I'm tired and unfortunately, haven't really done that much because of feeling drowsy over the last couple nights.

It stinks.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Jumping with Joy About Another Lackluster Day

Other than printing out a job ad the fiancee found for me and working on the copy writing project for ClimateSAVE, I spent my evening finding out how GMail isn't made my way and how to arrange a work around.

I also did some good reading during the day along with work at the job. Feeling frustrated that I'm not getting enough reading done in this book and feeling extremely excited about it, I decided to forgo reading newspapers until I'm done with the current queue of books to read or until they get boring.

Hopefully other people have had more excitement.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Back Home in Boston

Had another just about regular day. Only big difference being that instead of job searching or working on projects after work today, I did some errands. Still going to bed later than I want or should.

Sent an e-mail for an editorial assistant at a company that sounds somewhat interesting, most especially the entertainment division. Sure, that division has more of a Pop edge than I would like, but it has potential.

The fiancee and I found an apartment we really like in Lakeview, around Wrigley Park and the Chicago Diner. The place has less room than we have now, but it still has a good amount of it. We'll have to pare down our possessions (if anyone needs any furniture or cooking ware, contact me. . .) and do a good amount of adjusting our designing preferences, but I think this place can work well.

Unfortunately, we don't necessarily have the place yet. We just submitted an application, a signed lease and an initial deposit. The building manager said that we should hear back from the landlord in about a week unless they have more questions.

Crossing our fingers. . .

Also crossing my fingers to finding a good, enjoyable job.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Epiphanies in Chicago

Nothing drastic, really.

I just spent some time on my old mailserver through the Web.

Usually, I download my e-mail through a POP3 connection. . .quicker, allows me better organization and flexibility and if I don't have access to the 'Net, I can still work on my e-mail.

So. . .yeah, I checked it out and found nearly 600 messages in a folder marked 'Deleted' and some other folders that I apparently made when I first started using that mail service. I switched over to gmail mainly because of the limited space on this mail server, which I didn't understand how I used up all the time. . .with only something like 200 messages in my inbox. I guess I now know. I deleted all the messages in the deleted folder and the other folders and now have plenty of sapce.

Go figure.

I'm still going through with the switchover to gmail since that's a free service. I've just found another good reason for the switchover. Anyone ever hear of "extra service."

POUNDING THE LIVING SPACE PAVEMENT

So we nearly froze our faces off in the feels like -5 degree weather, jumping on buses, subways and taxis to travel around the Uptown, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square and Lakeview areas. Also took a trip up to Andersonville last night to have dinner and hang out with a friend that I had met on the train commute back in Boston.

Good times.

But the fiancee and I found three apartments that fit our criteria so far. Won't get into any major details, but we've got four appointments today with building managers and individual unit owners.

Thankfully, it's little warmer today. Maybe we'll just freeze off our noses today.

TRANSITION FEELINGS

Really have had much time to contemplate the ambivalence of moving. Thanks, though, for the commiseration, June.

Honestly, though, I think I like the feel of Chicago architecture better than the old style of Boston. The Chicago architecture, at least in the residential areas, just projects this gritty, hard working, down to earth feeling. The city has much more brick buildings than wood frame ones. I guess it also can look a little drab even though the occasional building has some interesting exterior decorations.

On the occasional interior, though, you find treasures of updated yet vintage styles. Good windows, insulation, utilities, sinks, nice walls, etc. etc. but you get the flavor of the early twentieth century. Instead of feeling as if you're living in a building with tons of memory but tons of age, I get the feeling of a building that has lots of experience that has taken a dip in the Fountain of Youth.

Even the not so great places have a humble charm. As I mentioned above about the exterior, they still broadcast that gritty, hard working and earthy feeling. I guess they broadcast something of a "We would have done better if we could but our jobs didn't necessarily pay us so well, so we're going to do the best with what we've got." I feel a certain, strong, upright dignity about these buildings that just will face a lot of hardship but won't give up.

Boston has a lot of history, but seriously I don't necessarily feel all that dignity there. I can almost feel a certain decadence or hopelessness because of everyone else's decadence.

But now we have to go out and eat so I will end my poetics.

Until another day.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Cold in Chicago

Left work early yesterday at 3:30 and took a Southwest flight from Manchester, NH to Midway Airport in Chicago. The ride went a little bumpy but nothing to worry about after the trip.

The attendant who made the announcements had plenty of jokes, like "When you hit turbulence, shift happens," "I'm going to turn the lights off in the back to make the stewardess prettier" and after announcing a bunch of safety stuff, "Yada yada yada, due to lack of interest, the rest of this announcement has been cancelled."

Unfortunately, we had these two teenage girls behind us blabbing and in front of us, this guy with two kids who played some kind video player without headphones. I wanted to sleep, but instead, I put on my headphones and read a little.

After taking a train, a bus and braving the cold weather of Chicago (not all that bad, really. . .like Boston. . .even though there's something about feeling cold somewhere you don't know like the back of your hand compared to feeling cold in your hometown, even though Chicago gives me the feeling of home more and more), the fiancee and I reached the hotel, pretty much right next to the bus stop.

Check into the hotel at about 10:30. Clerk tells us that there's a Mediterranean just around the corner, but he thinks it closes at 11. We drop our stuff off in the room then run to the restaurant at 10 minutes to 11. The waiter lets us come in, serves us and we get out of the place with nice atmosphere in just a half hour (we got a great idea for having small tables and rolling them out when having guests and parties over for dinner or something like that).

Finally get into bed at about 12:30.

Got up this morning at around 7:30. It's now about quarter of 9.

We need to leave the hotel about 9:30 to make it to our first apartment search appointment. I think we have about five today, then we meet a friend for dinner. I'm expecting to get pretty exhausted by the end of the day.

Before I get off to breakfast and sign off from the blogverse, though, I need to express my ambivalence about this move. There's the usual distaste for the packing, unpacking, rearranging the apartment, working with movers, getting used to a new apartment, etc. etc., but that's not the center of my ambivalence.

Other than that, I'm actually pretty excited about the move. Mainly leaving New England excites me. From my limited experience, I find the people in the Midwest more friendly. The price of living is cheaper. Chicago is bigger and has so many more things to do, especially free things (like being able to see fireworks on Wednesday and Saturday nights during the summer, interesting art installations in the city, the zoo and so forth).

And up until about a week ago, I didn't feel all that bad about leaving Boston. Then I started noticing that I really couldn't spare the time to visit people further from my traveling comfort zone in Boston, mainly because I had a job search to do and didn't want to get all tired and sick from staying out late on the weeknights. I've been getting to like getting into bed at a good time on weeknights. But the weekends are pretty full of the job search and such, too. . ..

So it's not so much an ambivalence about leaving the city of Boston, even though I guess there's a little about missing the short buildings in Cambridge, Somerville and the other suburbs or even the skyline of Boston from Memorial Drive, the kind of view of a city that I wouldn't get in Chicago except if I took a ferry out onto Lake Michigan or hang out on Navy Pier. I guess, in the end, there's just an ambivalence about not having the "ease" to see friends, needing to make new friends and just missing the spirit exuded by the buildings and landscape of Boston.

It's kind of strange, really. I haven't really explored the feeling all that much yet just because it has shown its ugly head, but I need to get down to breakfast now. The feeling will probably make itself more known over the next month or so and give me more opportunity to become more articulate about it.

For now, though, I really need to get that breakfast.

Yum.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Morning Haiku #4

I feel something big,
    as if I am one with all.
But I am just one.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Misc

Not much happening, really, just being pretty productive.

Last night, did about half of my twice a month finance maintenance.

Also had some funky dreams, one of them about Charlie Jade coming to the US. Not only that, though, they were showing a second season. Woohoo! Too bad it's not real.

Also taking my thesis into this convergence of utopia, dystopia, organization theory, social cognition and perception, with social cognition being the newest part and social cognition and perception having more to do with each other than anything else. I don't really have anything more specific to say about it, though. I just have a bunch of rumination going through my head trying to make the thesis consistent and closer to my understanding the topic, academically and colliquoally .

Otherwise, tonight finishing up my finance maintenance then packing for the weekend Chicago trip starting tomorrow night.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

More Investment Than I Planned

Wooh! I originally budgeted about an hour or an hour and a half to set up a resume then send it to a company via Monster.com.

They ended up wanting it via e-mail. That part really didn't take too much extra time.

Adding some classes and other qualifications that I don't usually put on my resume (my insurance qualifications will help on this one), though, took a little bit of time. Editing the resume for ASCII format added some time, too.

Sheez. . .when they said that you had to personalize your resume and cover letter, I never realized how much time went into the personalization.

Unfortunately, I'm hungry and tired now, so I don't really have the energy or time to channel into other interesting topics.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Transitioning to Charlie Jade

G-MAIL

So I finally did it. I transitioned to gmail.

I will continue to receive e-mail at imailbox until my subscription with them runs out, but please expect to receive replies from my gmail address.

Please bear with me and make the switch over after you learn my new e-mail address.

Thank you.

CHARLIE JADE YAHOOGROUPS LIST

So I started a Charlie Jade Yahoogroups list for discussion, news sharing, etc. etc.

To subscribe, go onto Yahoo Groups and search for it or please send an e-mail to charliejade-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

Thank you again!

Snow, Snow and More Snow

Today, it's snowing so much that the supermarket closed. Will have to tomorrow after work and after an appointment that the fiancee and I have.

Took a nap and shoveled the driveway today. May have to shovel it again.

I'm going to try doing the dishes and catching up on my e-mail.

I have negative space left in the box, even though my e-mail program and I just deleted about eighty or so messages. I don't know how much of it is left in the actual mailbox, though. Ugh. . .accessing my e-mail through an e-mail program from two different computers and trying to have a system to it can get so difficult.

Otherwise, not much to report other than had a great Valentine's Dinner at a Morroccan restaurant called Tangierno in Charlestown. They have some great tea and soup. The entree tasted OK, but I'm starting to learn that I like spices the more east that they originate. . .or at least, the use of spices.

I've also done some thinking and reading up on the thesis topic, but I have more pressing things to address like a job search. That's one reason I need to address the e-mail situation. . .all the job related e-mails have become entrenched in the regular e-mails, both on my e-mail programs and emotionally. I need to seperate them and address the more regular ones.

Yay.

Now to go do it.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Unknown Goodness

I feel good today.

I can't pin down why. I've gotten more exercise than usual (skating on the Frog Pond in the Boston Common), I've made sure to have some starch goodness in the morning, I started taking Strattera for the ADHD study I'm taking part in, last week I started taking these protein/vitamin shakes then mid-week started putting peppermint flavoring in it because it tastes horrible without it, got plenty of sleep with some good quality time with the fiancee the last couple nights then today, we've decided to celebrate Valentine's Day instead of on the weekday that it's scheduled.

Normally, I would try to isolate what's helping me feel good or figure what part of the equation deserves what credit. I'm thinking right now, though, just go with it. . .keep doing what you're doing it and enjoy the ride.

I don't want to overload the new things in my life at the moment, however, so as to skew any results for the study. Hopefully they have ways to take into account that kind of margin. Then again, I guess I'm not necessarily a typical person.

For instance, one side of my heart might be bigger than the other. . ..

But I should start getting ready for dinner at the Morroccan restaurant. After a little more than three years, we finally will make it to a Morroccan restaurant with belly dancing. Woohoo!

I have a feeling that the restaurant will beat down the raw food buffet we went to last year. Horrible. . ..

Friday, February 10, 2006

Not Much but Jade

Honestly, I really don't have much to say lately.

I've done a bit more research on my thesis than I should as compared to working or searching for a new job. I've also been trying to catch up on e-mail that I've let load up since October.

But other than that, I really haven't had many articulate thoughts or much action going on since I finished watching Charlie Jade, which we need to get brought into the US so it can be watched here!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Intrigue and Human Drama in the 3 Known Parallel Universes

I just finished watching the first season of Charlie Jade. It's really one of the best genre show I've seen since Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Farscape.

I felt bad after the cancellation of Farscape and especially after Angel, thinking it was the last great genre show on TV. Lost came along, and I felt satisfied a little, but Charlie Jade drew me so much more effectively than Lost. The show got me to care about the characters, second guess other ones and even shed a tear in a way that I haven't since the heart touching scenes between John Crichton and Aeryn Sun.

We need to get this stuff into the States!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

More About Those Damn Cartoons

I just read in a NYTimes editorial that the cartoons originally published in the Danish paper were originally intended as an experiment to see what would happen someone published some sort of satiric expression of Islam.

Well, now we have our answer. . ..

The editorial also said that the cartoons weren't a problem until some Muslim group in Denmark distributed the cartoons along with three even more offensive cartoons THEY added to the Muslim community.

Bastards.

Those Damn Cartoons

Personally, I think it was stupid for the European papers to have printed them because it was so predictable that there would be violent protests. I think it was especially stupid for French papers to publish them because of the recent protests in Paris.

And all this talk about it being a "Freedom of Expression" issue just feels moot to me because no government has tried to stop the printing of these comics. There was no coercion.

I guess I can see some issue of self-censorship and some degree of "coercion" in that not printing them would have avoided violence, but. . .on the flipside, I think it would have been more productive for these newspapers to try printing something more constructive and creative to help resolve all the tension rather than incite it more for some kind of fundamentalist expression of "Freedom of Expression."

In the end, I think it falls back onto an editorial decision of each and every newspaper that printed the cartoons, and I, personally, think it was a bad decision because other than the violence incited by them or the intent to poke fun and reject, there really wasn't much point to printing them.

Yet. . .I don't support the violence of the protests, even if it was predictable.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Brainstorming Utopianism -- an e-mail excerpt (or the ravings of a mad man?)

I'm still in the mess of moving to another city and the job search.

Tragically, I'm mainly getting to your e-mail as a way to sort through my e-mails for my job search rather than getting a better grip on my time management skills. I find it somewhat ironic though that I have to return to what's REALLY important to me to deal with more "immediate" survival needs.

But anyway. . .even though I was ready to "refute" your hypothesis when I first read it, think you're right on except like you said about the hypothesis I sent to you, I think you're selling utopianism short, too. Better put, I think you're providing an example of utopia but one that grabs the term by the jugular.

Hard to figure out where to start --

Overdetermined text: exposition, contracts, etc. etc.

Indeterminate texts: literature (unfamiliar then becomes familiar when indeterminacy removed, making the text part of you. . .room for interpretation)

Indeterminate experience: Muddling through reality with challenge, duress, unease or possibly some kind of existential unease or terror (?)

Experience with (existential) indeterminacy removed: Accepting reality, moments in the "flow" (eg getting so into something that time "disappears" or everything just fits -- Hakim Bey's Temporary Autonomous Zone -- me right now, conceptualizing all of this). . .utopia?

Overdetermined experience: Dystopia

So I would reach a conclusion that you're describing a cycle between indeterminacy to indeterminacy removed then back to indeterminacy then back to indeterminacy removed with an occasional foray into overdetermination (McCarthyism, the Third Reich, Stalinism and I'm sure we can think of plenty of examples. . .and I guess it's possible to even say too much indeterminism become overdeterministic until someone steps in to remove the indeterminism like I wish I could do in the Middle East, most importantly, Palestine and Israel). Of course, there's the element of perspective when determining indeterminism, indeterminism removed and overdeterminism, but I guess that's half the fun.

(This one took me about an hour of research to recall. . .) I think my main issue with your conception of "indeterminacy" to utopianism back to indeterminacy then back to utopianism as a form of social progress is that it feels too linear. It pulses, but history doesn't pulse backward. . .only forward.

I like to think of history more as a spiral shape that moves toward the center (possibly up or down, too), but it moves through different directions of progress. . .time moves forward but human progress doesn't move with it. Unfortunately, we might be dead before the spiral reaches the center.

Many scholars like to think of utopia as something outside of history, but I really like my conception of indeterminacy, indeterminacy removed and overdetermined. It allows for it all to be located in history, but more as a reflection of an individual's or group's relation to a situation or text.

Just as an aside, I guess overdetermined/dystopia can be seen as an unsupportive indeterminacy removed that requires a radical leap into indeterminacy or the creation of a supportive indeterminacy removed.

Right now, I'm thinking of the novel that I'm writing as a criticism of unquestioning allegiance to a form of indetermination removed to such an extent that it becomes overdetermined because indetermination causes over exaggerated reactions to indetermination (another aspect?: negentropy -- increasing orderly tendencies, entropy -- increasing disorderly tendencies, syntrophy -- vacillations between the two that lead to synthesis and growth).

I'm throwing around ideas and it's getting late. . .

As "anarchy utopia concepts" -- (1) Man born good and society hinders the goodness so get rid of society, and you have a good man rather than man born with original sin and selfish and society is there to allow for men to live together with some degree of order. (2) Organic society based more on individuals creating relationships rather than having a society based on institutional relations. (3) Seeking moments of indeterminism removed then seek to solely extend those moments into eternity, if that makes sense.

This is all feels rather indeterminate. Any thoughts, comments, feedback on my random brainstorming?

And. . .thanks. :-)

Bibliography for organization

- Ernst Breisach, HISTORIOGRAPHY: ANCIENT, MEDIEVAL & MODERN

- Joshua Glenn, "Back to Utopia: Can the antidote to today's neoliberal triumphalism be found in the pages of far-out science fiction?" a review of Fredric Jameson's POSTMODERNISM, OR, THE CULTURE LOGIC OF LATE CAPITALISM and Russell Jacoby's THE END OF UTOPIA and PICTURE IMPERFECT: UTOPIAN THOUGHT FOR AN ANTI-UTOPIAN AGE as printed in the Boston Globe.

- Wolfgang Iser, THE ACT OF READING: A THEORY OF AESTHETIC RESPONSE.

- Wolfgang Iser, PROSPECTING: FROM READER RESPONSE TO LITERARY ANTHROPOLOGY.

- Fredric Jameson, "If I find one good city I will spare the man': Realism and Utopia in Kim Stanley Robinson's MARS Trilogy, an essay in LEARNING FROM OTHER WORLDS: ESTRANGEMENT, COGNITION AND THE POLITICS OF SCIENCE FICTION AND UTOPIA ed. by Patrick Parrinder.

- THE TRANSCENDENTALISTS (a collection of essays) ed. by Perry Miller

Plethoraphyl

THE USUAL JOB STUFF

Posted a resume and cover letter on Hotjobs.com.

Otherwise, I procrastinated quite a bit over the weekend except for the time spent with the fiancee.

HAVE TO GET MORE OF THE POLITICAL STUFF OFF MY CHEST

I don't support or advocate violence or terrorism, but come on. . .how stupid do you have to be to realize that those cartoons printed in the European press wouldn't incite violence and protest. Even to support "Freedom of Expression," why the hell did they, especially the French, print the cartoons AGAIN?!?!?!

HEALTH AND FITNESS

Last week, to deal with my cold, sinus infection or whatever happened to me, I started getting ready for bed at 9, do up my chores and try getting to bed at 10.

Yesterday, I got a protein shake powder and have started taking it.

Feeling good, except for the two nights that I couldn't fall asleep in time. . .but those moments of insomnia had perks with the fiancee, so I can't give them all that much for bad connotations.

I want to get back into working out once I really get into the waking up early groove. Working out feels good.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Dream Stabbings

Before waking up this morning, I had a dream. A part where I input "Forced to Write" into the Amazon.com search engine sticks in my memory.

This morning, I did just that and found some interesting entries. When I get my finances back together after this past weekend of planning and throwing a big party, I'll have to purchase one or two of the results from that entry. Hopefully they'll help me to structure my writing process better for my current thesis project and future projects.

UNCONSCIOUS MASOCHISM

Yesterday at work, I stabbed myself in my left thumb and hand with a screwdriver while taking apart something.

It has healed pretty nicely by now, but it looked pretty bad soon after, even though it didn't bleed right away. It also hurts a little when I put pressure on the cuts.

But oh well. . .I didn't have to call on worker's comp or anything. Such is life.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Fun Side Effects

Lying in bed last night, absently flicking a cat toy to entertain the just awoken kittens, I got to hallucinate about Quebec City.

Sadly, though, the hallucinations got me to thinking about how I haven't accomplished the things I wanted by this time in my life.

NO DRASTIC CHANGES YET

And no. . .I haven't left the family business yet. I gave them my official last day as Friday, April 14 unless I get a great job offer beforehand or something.

The move to Chicago should happen between 4/14 and 5/1, since our lease ends on 5/1.

DON'T NEED PITY

I'm not saying that I'm sick because I need pity. I'm just venting and updating anyone who cares about me.