proustbot: (young and drinking in the park)
J: "I don't know, I just assumed you'd know about Game of Thrones, because at that dept party, I made a Lord of the Rings joke that made you laugh harder than I've ever seen anyone laugh."

ME: [vaguely] "Oh yeah? What was the joke?"

J: "Well, it was at the end of the night, and we were all super drunk, and you were kind of sitting off by yourself by the fire, not talking to anyone and I came over and told you that you reminded me of Strider at the Sign of the Prancing Pony. And you laughed really hard and I felt so good about myself."

ME: [starting to laugh all over again] "Oh yeah. That was a good joke."
proustbot: (walk of shame/terror)
Two Pressing Questions as I grudgingly arise to greet the day:

1. Conan, what is worst in life? Is it proctoring a three-hour exam on a Saturday while being extraordinarily hungover?

2. Will my students notice/care if I administer this exam in sunglasses and pajamas?

(I like to brag about not getting hangovers, and while it's true that I don't get headaches or dry mouth, I do get filled with nihilism and smell alcohol-y, and also I want to take a lot of morning naps.)

(I had dinner at F.'s house last night with his husband and J. and A., and the five of us went handily through four bottles of red wine. And then I had a beer with Wife E. and the Dude and drunkenly meandered home at one this morning. And now: exam time.)

(Tonight is our annual dept party, a notorious venue for drunkenness and dancing. Am I going to make it? Am I going to make it?)
proustbot: (led by your beating heart)
I.

"Yeah, Snickers is amazing. I'm not arguing with you on that point. I remember getting it for the first time when Communism fell. But there was another kind of nut? A really fancy nut? That I loved eating the most when all those Western candy bars started flooding into the Soviet Union? Not a peanut, but some other kind?"

Hazelnut?

"Yes! That was my favorite. That was the expensive nut."

II.

Today the bro-iest bro in our program gushed to me about how much he loves reading Jane Austen. And Jane Austen fanfiction.
proustbot: (instant intimacy)
I.

"Yeah, yeah," I said, "but they need some mid-level grad students. If they just surveyed late-stage grad students, their survey would be full of bitterness and fury." Forgetting that the swivel chair was slightly broken, I tilted back a little too far and had to scramble upright as it threatened to tip over.

Veronica regarded the table. "Sure," he said softly. "It's fine now, but I'm sure in a year or two, I'll regret all the life choices that brought me here. I'll regret moving to the United States. I'll regret leaving my job. I'll regret blowing up my wife's career, just so I could satisfy my own selfish desires."

"Uh, well," I said, spinning a little and almost toppling over one side. "That's maybe a worst-case scenario."

II.

Today Vidalia spoke his native language in front of me, and it might be the highlight of my month. Or year.

III.

THORNTON: "Well, I would, but I can't take off this sweater. Do you want to know why?"

ME: "Yes. Tell me why you can't take off your sweater. I must know."

THORNTON: "Well. So [wife] just bought some new deodorant. From the Internet. Very expensive. But it's better for you than normal deodorant, because it doesn't have some kind of...metal...?"

ME: "Aluminium?"

THORNTON: "Yes! Anyway, [wife] loves the stuff. Swears by it. Told me that I had to try it. So I am...but I'm not confident that it's working, and so I dare not take off my sweater. I have to wait to go home so [wife] can check."

ME: "Yeah... I've think there's sometimes a problem with those natural deodorants, because after a while, you become acclimated to your own body odor? And your partner will normally find your natural body odor appealing, because of biology and pair-bonding, so they're not a useful second opinion."

THORNTON: "Oh, [wife] and I don't have that problem. Last week we were lying in bed, sniffing each other's armpits and talking about how bad we both smelled."

ME: "..."

THORNTON: "...I think I may have revealed too much to you."
proustbot: (the best hill driven by black wine)
I applied for a teaching fellowship that I did not get, due to a) internal shady politics and b) the fact that I literally cobbled together my syllabus in less than 48 hours ("No, no," I cooed to myself, "spending a week reading the Popol Vuh is a totally great idea.")

So there are many fine and legitimate reasons for me not to win this fellowship, and I am not (overly) upset about it. But! In my rejection letter, the committee suggested that the scope of my course was too broad (note: it was a thematic approach to a ubiquitous survey course), and that a better course would be a tiny, tiny sub-section that happens to be the focus of my dissertation.

ME READING THIS EMAIL: A PLAY IN ONE ACT


ME: ...

ME: ...

ME: what

ME: surely they just wrote this letter in haste and wanted to include some constructive criticism and saw the sentence in my letter where I described my diss

ME: surely they're not actually suggesting that I teach an undergrad survey on this tiny, narrow subject that has no primary sources translated into English or secondary literature of any kind because, hey, ain't nobody ever worked on it before? Hence why it's the subject of my dissertation?

Then I wrote a very bitchy email about the situation to my adviser (who hasn't responded yet, which is a bad sign), and then I showed my rejection letter to Wife E and the Dude, who were both horrified at this "advice" to an extremely gratifying degree.

In other news, I am sick and mainlining Dayquil.
proustbot: (young and drinking in the park)
I.


On Sunday there was a lunar eclipse of a blood moon. It had been cloudy all evening, so I didn't think it would be visible, but when I left the house at 9:30 pm to trudge grimly to campus, the skies had cleared and the moon -- orange and smudged with darkness -- was there.

So I listened to Night on Bald Mountain as I walked through the night and watched the moon hanging above me. Behind my department building is a dark little area -- grass and a decorative pond, shielded by trees on three sides and completely without lampposts or lights. It would be a great place to commit a murder, and it was there that I stretched out on the cool grass and crossed my arms behind my head and watched the eclipse proceed, bit by bit, to the sounds of Bernard Herrmann's Psycho soundtrack.

I was on Day 4 or 5 of severe sleep deprivation, and all day, if I moved my head too suddenly, I had experienced a split second of vertigo. I experienced those moments of dizziness again as I lay there, and I stretched out further -- with the voice of my old yoga teacher trilling vertebra by vertebra as I did so -- and as gray clouds drifted across the corrupted face of the moon, I thought, And this, too, shall pass.

II.


I realized this week my current depressed funk lines up precisely with the anniversary of last year's depressed funk, and the agent of my low-level despair is, in fact, identical.

Last year, I clutched little crumbs of comfort to my heart when I could and spent a lot of time lying to myself about said agent's motivations. And crying by myself. Admittedly last year's fall also featured "seasonal affective disorder" and "living alone, the worst idea," so there were some contributing factors. But last October was generally wretched, and its only bright spots were a) a glorious phantasm, b) apple-picking, and c) getting very drunk with M. in the worst bar in our neighborhood.

This year, two-thirds of those comforts are cut off from me (although drinking with M. remains an evergreen occupation). This year, I want to be wiser and stronger and squint into what is, in fact, the identical sad-making scenario based on the identical sad-making circumstances and whisper, "Nope, not this time."

These are the things I want.

III.


This afternoon, as I wandered into the library in a state of general dishevelement, I ran into B., who was coming up the stairs with Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Risky Business in hand.

"Hey!" I said. "When's your test?"

"It was this morning," B. said. "It didn't go very well."

"Oh, well, I'm sure it was...better than you think..."

He shrugged. "Can I have a hug? I think I really need a hug right now."

"Sure," I said, glancing at the coffee cup in my left hand and the umbrella in my right. "Sure, come on in here, honeybunny."

He hugged me gingerly and then stepped back. "Was that a weird request? I'm sorry if it was a weird request."

"No, dude, it was fine," I said. "Don't worry about your test any more. Go watch your movies."

He put his hand on the door and then paused, turning back to me. "Do you want to come to the H. tonight? Some of us are going..."

"Um," I said, because this was clearly a group outing from which I had been excluded, though B. had not realized it. "No, no, I can't, sorry."

"Okay," he said, peacefully oblivious. "See you later."

Then I went down to my carrel and rested my forehead against the cool desk and thought, This month is going to be wretched too, I see.

IV.


Then I made plans to go hang out with my brother.
proustbot: (Floreat Etona)
I.

[after going on a defriending spree on Facebook]
THE DUDE: "I mean, sure. Sometimes I feel a little bad when I defriend dead people."

II.

[the opening line from a student paper]
"Besides just sitting and smoking a cigar in almost every image of him, Winston Churchill proved to be a very, very influential person."

III.

THORNTON: "I have a long and illustrious career in the great art of badminton."

IV.

[in the aftermath of a party, as we drunkenly sprawl in our living room]
GOSLING: "So he says he studies Material Science, and N. asks him what that comprises, and then he...oh god...he looks at us and he goes, 'Materials. Your shirt. This table. This house. Trees. That's what I study.' It was the worst, man. The worst."

ME: "What are you talking about? That answer is awesome. That is my new answer for when people ask me what I study."
proustbot: (Mendou Shutaro)
Hey, guys, remember when we were all fourteen-years old and filling out quiz-memes on our LiveJournals?

Let's return to those times!!1 )
proustbot: (Our sole remaining neighbor was the sky)
Y: "When I was in the [Israeli] army, we did kitchen rotations. And there was this big box of yellow powder in the pantry labeled simply SPICE. What was it? We didn't know. We would just tell the cook, 'This soup! I think it needs more yellow!'"

ME: "But what did it taste like?"

Y: [arched eyebrow] "It tasted...yellow."

C: "Was it saffron?"

Y: "Right. Because the military decided that this infantry unit, instead of some F-16s...we're just going to pour our whole budget into buying them a gallon of saffron. Of course! Why didn't I think of that?"
proustbot: (walk of shame/terror)
H: "You know, like those...what are those people called? The ones who dress up like animals? And have sex?"

ME: "Furries?"

H: "...You came up with that answer way too fast, man."
proustbot: (liz)
Z. comes tripping over to where we are drinking wine out of red Solo cups. "I was just talking to Prof. So-and-So and his friends," she said. "There's some dudes who just got here. They're wearing bow-ties. They brought their own beer cozies. Prof. So-and-So is mocking them."

N. looks over to the indicated bow-tie-wearing dudes, and his face falls. "But...those are my friends."

We all scuffed our feet on the carpet and changed the subject. And for the past few days, Z and I have been leaning over to one another and quietly drawling "But those are my friiiiends." And then we giggle.

In other news, I appear to have single-handedly introduced the expression "silver fox" into the regular discourse of my social circle. This pleases me.
proustbot: (Floreat Etona)
ME: so friday night he and a friend got drunk on that high porch beside the kitchen
ME: and got locked out

MEMO: jajajajajajaja

ME: and so he picked up a chair and broke a window to get back in the house

MEMO: no
MEMO: no
MEMO: impossible

ME: YES

MEMO: you are making that up
MEMO: that is simply too stupid
proustbot: (clint eastwood)
INSPIRING WORDS FROM MY LATIN PROFESSOR: "Wow, that is totally wrong. I don't even know why I wrote that on the board. It is so wrong. Clearly, the business-end of my crack pipe is hot to the touch right now."
proustbot: (liz)
So, there I was, drunk and walking across the university campus in the middle of the day and thinking, "Man, this isn't even the first time this week I've done this."

SECOND SEMESTER OF DOCTORAL PROGRAM: COMPLETE

A tally of yesterday's drinking:
  • one glass of red wine with advisor at lunch
  • one bottle of beer (Harp's) at friend's house as we made champagne jello shots
  • one little cup of wine being offered as samples at the liquor store when we went to pick up the keg.
  • two glasses of wine, from the aforementioned bottle of wine that we bought after sampling it at the liquor store.
  • two or three champagne jello shots, I lost track
  • 10+ red Dixie cups of National Bohemian beer from the aforementioned keg

    We kicked the keg last night. As a cohort, we are very proud.

    No headache this morning, although I think I may take it a little slow and easy today.
  • proustbot: (liz)
    [SCENE: An Australia Day party in which I consumed great amounts of Yuengling after kind-hearted souls steered me away from the Foster's]

    REYNARD: "Fight Club? No, we didn't have a Fight Club, but we did have a Bite Club. But we can't talk about it."

    ME: "How many people were in Bite Club?"

    REYNARD: "There were sixty camp counselors, and we were all in Bite Club. I mean, it originally started out with three people who weren't supposed to talk about it, so..."

    ME: "..."

    REYNARD: "We worked on a point system. One point per bite. Double points if the bite happened on the butt. No one ever managed to do that, though. You'd be surprised at how difficult it is."

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