Thursday, April 08, 2004

many a thing to say but not too many words in which to say them -- my brain is fried. i have been drinking entirely too many cups of good Chinese tea, though have stayed off the coffee during the day...the tea is just something to keep me awake (the process of drinking) while i'm reading at midnight for classes.

a little sidebar on tea, since i have been reading Sudeep's postings on tea which he referenced over at Crescat Sententia:

he writes that the second pouring of tea is the best, which may or may not also be true for most Chinese teas, come to think of it. certainly the red teas. but it just struck me that my favourite pour for the tea that i drink -which is jasmine or fragrant tea, xiang pian, which is all i tend to order in chinese restaurants also- is the first pour. before the tea has had a proper chance to steep, so that all that is caught in that first cup is the fragrance of the jasmine, and a foretaste of the clear, slightly bitter tea. of course, i have to admit that i brew my chinese tea not in a teapot but in a large plastic jug, for lack of a teapot. Not the way i learned to in the teahouse. did you know that Chinese tea can be drunk a day old without any change in flavour? (i'm drinking some of last night's now.) anyway.


six hours of seminar turns out to be not too terrible at all. i enjoyed this morning's little pow-wow on realism, liberalism, and constructivism (whose proponents got a little less short-shrifting than usual) in The European Union. the little break helps immensely, let me tell you. three hours is no joke. esp in Pick 506, where i had my Seminar on Realism with Mearsheimer -- those chairs are brutal. i did get out early both from Motet before, which allowed me to eat lunch at a reasonable pace instead of wolfing it down before the professor appeared, and from the class, because Mearsheimer is doing a tv spot on Iraq this evening and had to 'cut and run'. i must say that Seminar is extremely enjoyable, even if Professor Mearsheimer has a disconcerting ability to call your name on the one question you have no idea how to answer or what to say. and then your brain -ok my brain- blanks out and i don't even have the wherewithal to make something intelligible (not intelligent, mind you, intelligible) up. -grin-

now i need my Kenneth Waltz to arrive in the next two days so i can read it before next week's slaughter begins. it's shipped already, unlike Parsons's A Certain Idea of Europe, which i am getting slightly antsy about, for Sebastian's class.

i think it's probably a good bet to say that i will remain a neoliberal institutionalist, though it's too early to tell at this stage. frankly Mearsheimer's offensive realism theory is appealling (helped no doubt by the fact that his book is clear and easy to read. he has no interest in obfuscating or being obtuse for the sake of sounding academic, clearly.) and might just change my mind. we'll find out in the course of ten weeks. some of it is rather compelling...


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