Monday, February 28, 2005

too much television makes my brain mushy

hello boys and girls, and a special shout-out to dad, who stopped by here out of curiosity the other day, and then sent me photos of my brother in his new army uniform! (the kid looks extremely brown -sort of like a tree, what with the extremely tanned skin and the green No.4s, and the short hair. i am assuming this is the point of the exercise. -grin-)

yet another long silence from me. but with good excuse this time: Draft Two of The BA was turned in successfully and relatively on time thursday evening. it hasn't moved along significantly since Draft One, but there are certain rewritten and therefore hopefully new-and-improved sections, plus a little more story-telling re: What ASEAN Has Done To Counter Terrorism. next up: ASEAN and Diplomacy; and How Southeast Asian Nations Really Cooperate. to wit: they catch the criminal in Malaysia, refuse to try him there, return him to Indonesia, who promptly releases him back into the free world. lalala. in any case, the thing is done for a bit; i have to turn my attention back to my real classes. which means i have to (a) catch up on my Mearsheimer reading, not a real big chore by any standards because as you all know, i love reading about death and destruction in WWII; (b) catch up on my Islamic Politics reading, which is slightly more of a chore, but it is about Iran and i know nothing about Iran, so this is a learning experience; and (c) catch up on Crime reading, which is a disaster because i haven't done any of it since about second week. much as i adore Steve Levitt, this Crime final is going to Suck Ass, esp for my GPA and peace of mind.

other than that, i've been up to: (a) acquiring as many episodes of House, M.D as i possibly can, since i have decided that it's rapidly becoming one of my favourite, not-to-be-missed shows (anyone who has access to Fox, it's on tuesday at 8pm CST, right after American Idol; for those w/o Fox, it's...easily acquired online. -wink-) -i think i have a thing for scruffy older men with sharp tongues, and Hugh Laurie's really cute; (b) acquiring as many episodes of CSI: Miami, despite my earlier objections to it as a spin-off of my beloved CSI, because frankly, after several wintry months in Chicago, a show that spends ninety percent of its time outdoors in the Florida sunshine is highly appealing, and i happen to like Emily Proctor; and (c) sleeping what feels like 18 hours a day, but really works out to about five hours per day the last week, and then something like 20 hours yesterday. just couldn't keep my eyes open. -growls-

and i've tested my DVD burner and discovered it works. however, my DVD player has gone kaput. (isn't that a nice word? kaput. kaputkaputkaput.) again. damn you, Sears. now i have to take it downtown and have it replaced. -sigh-

before i do that, however, i am going to go wander off and finish writing my Crime homework assignment: a memo to Mayor Daley on whether bars should have earlier closing hours in a bid to lower crime. ('no, Mayor Daley, earlier bar closing times means drunk drivers and disorderly intoxicated yuppies on the streets when babies are still out and about to be run over. bad idea.') and then watch some of that aforementioned CSI: Miami, which i rented from Hollywood Video yesterday. hoorah!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

i love iTunes's free download of the week


i know what you want
swallow but still not drunk
and you get so high on the tears you cry
nothing else seems real

until you smile

i know something still hurts
you've bottled but never burst
and you get so high on the tears you cry
there's nothing left to feel

until you smile

-Smile, Michael Lord

*

i talk to you as to a friend
i hope that's what you've come to be
it feels as though i've made amends
like we've found a way eventually
it was you who picked the pieces up
when i was a broken soul
and then glued me back together
returned to me whatever stolen

i don't wanna hurt you
i don't wanna make you sway
like i know i've done before
i will not do it anymore
i've always been a dreamer
i hide my head among the clouds
but now that i'm coming down
won't you be my solid ground

-Sway, The Perishers


i know, a whole bunch of lyric posts and no real content. but i'm working on Draft Two of The BA right now, and have few spare brain cells other than the ones that keep me from completely losing my mind from stress (they are running around in circles, and/or watching episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, or CSI: Miami, which i have a new appreciation for, because it's always -always!- in the sunshine, and there's sea and sand, and Emily Proctor) to write coherent non-ASEAN-related sentences. so please bear with me. (and hunt down that second song, Sway, because it is really good.)

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

in a wistful mood

If I were a painter
I would paint my reverie
If that's the only way for you to be with me

We'd be there together
Just like we used to be
Underneath the swirling skies for all to see

And I'm dreaming of a place
Where I could see your face
And I think my brush would take me there
But only ...

If I were a painter
And could paint a memory
I'd climb inside the swirling skies to be with you
I'd climb inside the skies to be with you

-Painter Song,
Norah Jones

Monday, February 21, 2005

it's the end of seventh week already

we drank a toast to innocence
we drank a toast to now
and tried to reach beyond the emptiness
but neither one knew how

the beer was empty and our tongues were tired
running out of things to say
she gave a kiss to me as i got out
and i watched her drive away
just for a moment i was back at school
felt that old familiar pain
and as i turned to make my way back home
the snow turned into rain...

-Same Old Lang Syne, Dan Fogelberg

listening to Dan Fogelberg in the library while pretending to write my BA brings me back to the first time i heard the song Longer, which was at the RJ Chorale's concert when i was in my last year of secondary school. i was sixteen, waiting to go on to RJ and join the chorale, hopefully, and we were going to the concert at VCH to see our seniors sing. and then this guy -whom i couldn't see, because my eyesight sucks and we were halfway back- steps up and starts to sing the solo for Longer, and my world shrinks to the sound of his voice and the words of the song. my eyes close and for a long moment everything is right with the world -a beautiful bass voice is singing what is arguably one of the all-time greatest love songs ever, and i fall just a little bit in love. it's always been like that for me -good bass voices never fail to elicit a little shiver of pleasure, eyes sliding closed, mind blanking out. never mind that the illusion will be dashed when i get into RJ, get into the chorale, and actually meet said guy. -grin-

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Happy Valentine's Day


Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own

Tough, you think you’ve got the stuff
You’re telling me and anyone
You’re hard enough

You don’t have to put up a fight
You don’t have to always be right
Let me take some of the punches
For you tonight

Listen to me now
I need to let you know
You don’t have to go it alone

And it’s you when I look in the mirror
And it’s you when I don’t pick up the phone
Sometimes you can’t make it on your own

We fight all the time
You and I… that’s alright
We’re the same soul
I don’t need… I don’t need to hear you say
That if we weren’t so alike
You’d like me a whole lot more

Listen to me now
I need to let you know
You don’t have to go it alone

And it’s you when I look in the mirror
And it’s you when I don’t pick up the phone
Sometimes you can’t make it on your own

I know that we don’t talk
I’m sick of it all
Can - you - hear - me – when – I -
Sing, you’re the reason I sing
You’re the reason why the opera is in me…

Where are we now?
I’ve got to let you know
A house still doesn’t make a home
Don’t leave me here alone...

And it’s you when I look in the mirror
And it’s you that makes it hard to let go
Sometimes you can’t make it on your own
Sometimes you can’t make it
The best you can do is to fake it
Sometimes you can’t make it on your own

- U2, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

i miss my sister.

Monday, February 14, 2005

The lamps are going out all over Europe...

...we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.

i'm sitting in the Reg at 4.13pm on a Sunday afternoon, it's drizzling pleasantly outside in a semi-warm sort of way that's totally alien to mid-february in Chicago, and i'm reading about death and destruction caused in World War I instead of sleeping in my nice comfy bed. sad, isn't it. the best sleeping weather, and i am in a semi-climate-controlled box (anyone who has worked in the Reg for an extended period of time knows that in winter, it goes from being too warm to freezing the longer you sit here; in spring it goes from pleasantly cool to freezing, necessitating the storage of a sweatshirt somewhere in here if you're not willing to lug it all over campus) with horrible florescent lighting reading a book by Spencer C. Turner titled The Great War 1914-1918.

to make matters worse, i'm 100 pages into the book and am convinced that the Germans should have won WWI. i mean, the accounts of Allied blunders -ahh! they scuttled their own warships! though the Germans did too- on both land and sea make me want to roll my eyes, throw up my hands, and silently consign Europe in the early twentieth century to German control. presumably the story improves later in the book -i am at 1915 right now: Stalemate and Trench Warfare, at which the Germans seem to excell- but up to this point i am being given very little reason to hope for an Allied victory, while simultaneously being convinced of the stunning capabilities of the German war machine. terrifying isn't it.

so many stirring speeches from the Allies that i remember from when i first read about WWI. Lord Grey's 'the lamps are going out all over Europe'; Churchill's 'we shall fight them...' -and the more i read about the war, the more i become confused about its very occurence. how did this war happen? never mind what the structural causes are, or the proximate causes (the death, for example, of Archduke Ferdinand as a convenient 'trolleycar') -how on earth did the world come to a point where millions of young men -boys, really- were convinced that they absolutely had to get into uniform, carry a rifle, hide in the trenches, and then at a signal from some commanding officer, go over the top into enemy fire, barbed wire, and three layers of trenches, with the highest likelihood that breaching the first set of barbed wire and trenches would merely mean being pinned between the first and second without a means to retreat -because a whole bunch more boys are charging up behind you?

and never mind that -what on earth made all these nation states decide that it was acceptable to keep sending a whole generation of young men to the Western Front to die, year after year, season after season? the more i think about the conduct of warfare in WWI the more impossible and bizarre it seems. the sheer level of carnage -'the godawful blood price', as JJM likes to say- just baffles my mind, accustomed as it is to modern weapons capabilities, technology, and strategic air strikes rather than godawful land wars of occupation. it just makes my brain hurt to think about the actual ground battles of WWI.

and the fact that there are rationalisations and explanations for all of my remarks above -nationalism, the professionalisation of the military, structural conditions which when meeting in a single moment in time meant catastrophe was inevitable (Grissom! Chaos Theory!)- doesn't make it make any more sense to me.

Friday, February 11, 2005

owwie

oh my god, if Grissom starts dating Sophia i am going to kill someone. (probably Billy Peterson.) this is a nightmare! i hope she leaves. every time there's a new episode of CSI i watch the credits to see if they've changed, to make sure they haven't given the chick who plays Sophia a permanent slot in the credits. still hoping against hope that she's going to Go Away. ickick. nothing against a new character, but new characters better not try and horn in on my perfect CSI team. -grin- bad enough that Icklie's broken them up. -mourn mourn-

all right, i bet everyone who's reading this is like 'well, she hasn't updated in a month, and now she updates because she's pissed off about a television show.' well yes. i AM pissed off about a television show. but i shall pretend to have faith that the producers (yes i'm looking at you mr peterson) will take this in the right direction. bah.

in other news about jeanette's life, i took a pretty nasty tumble this afternoon -right before my presentation in Islamic Politics, i'll have you know- which pretty much stunned me for a couple of minutes. i slipped, went down sideways, landed on my knees, one of which -the left- i'm pretty sure wasn't intended by God to bend in that direction, and hit various body parts including my head on the way down. not pretty. so i had to sit through one hour and thirty minutes of class trying not to move my knee and trying to surreptitiously ice it with my diet coke can. (yes, i drink diet coke. silence.) then i had to get home. thankfully, yasser was on hand to carry my bag out of Cobb, and then alex came with the car and drove me. i have to admit, getting into the car brought me to tears.

i've been sitting on my couch for the last three hours, pretty much, sometimes with an ice pack on my knee, trying very hard not to move. the knee's less painful now than it was when i got home, thankfully. hopefully i will regain some mobility tomorrow.

and hopefully this CSI mess is the third bad thing to happen to me in two days (bad things come in threes!) so i don't have to wait for the other shoe to drop. wish me luck.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Fifteen and Royston Tan

oh yeah, i was going to post something over the weekend re: seeing Royston Tan's Fifteen for the first time (as well as Cut, which was hilarious, and pointed, and deliciously well-written -take that, Board of Censors!) as well as the discussion that followed.

i have to say that i think Fifteen is a very good film -choppy, and perhaps a little hard to follow at times, but very real -the expressionless expressions in particular really got to me. these young boys who should have everything and everyone left to live for, forced to find a sense of belonging in a twisted sort of world in which they have just each other. where the notions of loyalty and friendship and love are paramount in their everyday lives, because all they have is each other, and who will stick up for them if not their brothers? someone raised the point that there aren't any women in this movie -at least, not beyond a very tangential sort of existence- and perhaps that is the point -it is a study of the relationships that build a gang, not the relationships that gang members have with the rest of the world, if they indeed have them. they are secondary.

at the same time, i was thinking -as people seemed to be asking questions about why make this movie- that it's nothing really NEW, which is kind of sad. in most metropolitan areas in the world, you have inner city gangs. (correlation, for sure, causation, perhaps.) because it seems almost inevitable that you are going to get poverty, broken families, disassociative children, abandoned children who bond together because they only have each other. it's the same story told over and over in different languages in different parts of the world. the weapons they carry are different, and their targets are different, and perhaps they deal in different methods of crime and death. but ultimately, they are all the same gang, bound together not just for economic reasons but for social ones -human beings are pack animals, after all, not solitary ones.

and also, i had to ask the question of ethics. you know, it's sort of like watching a wildlife documentary on the Discovery Channel. in the same way that the cameraman on the safari adventure in Africa can't step out from behind the camera to save the gazelle from the cheetah, the filmmaker -Royston- can't step out from behind the camera to stop these kids from doing what they do -piercings, stealing, beating up other kids. (before anyone screams at me: yes, the movie itself is acted out, but hey, he followed these kids for two years to get the material for the movie ok?) otherwise, the movie isn't true to their lives; it doesn't tell us the real deal. the problem is the subjects aren't gazelles and cheetahs, but human beings. don't you run up into the same walls that stop us social scientists -the economists, the political scientists- from setting up experiments on human behaviour? i don't think i could have stayed behind the camera; if i could have stopped these kids from hurtling headlong into self-destruction, wouldn't i -ethically- be compelled to do it?

all right, that's all i've got to say about Fifteen at this point -time to go bury myself in The Crisis of July 1914.

State of the Union

first, a shout out to S, who leaves for a longish trip with the debate kids to Calgary today her time. have fun with the kiddies, dress warm, try and get some sleep, and tell us all about it when you get back!

all right -- the BA seminar session went rather well on monday - comments from various people were v helpful and much appreciated, and i am in reasonable shape. what's left to be done, however, is the nasty empirical work -which means bashing my way through lots of newspaper articles and ASEAN statements this weekend. in between reading Starett's book on education and Islam, of course. i have to say that i'm learning rather a lot from this Islamic Politics class with Lisa Wedeen. i know next to nothing about Islam and its impact on the politics of the middle east, much less southeast asia, which is sort of sad. (i guess i've always thought about the middle east in terms of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and have almost always come at it from the American/Israeli point of view rather than the Arab/Palestinian one -that, only as far as it responds to or evokes an American/Israeli response.) so i'm mostly excited about it, though the reading sometimes really pisses me off. (read: Baker is a twit. take a look at his Islam Without Fear: Egypt and the New Islamists to see what i mean.)

L -i will send you my draft as promised as soon as my stupidass cranky Entourage will let me send outgoing mail. right now it appears to be in receive-mode only. bleagh.

have a ton of reading on the causes of World War I to do tonight -question: were the Germans responsible? who was responsible? were the Germans ever convinced of their guilt?- WWI is a much less clear cut case than WWII (who doubts that Germany deliberately went on a rampage through Europe on that one?) . which makes it fun to hear JJM go off on it for an hour and a half at a time. after that, must put together a problem set on the price of crack cocaine and its effect on crime for Levitt. the fun and cheery things i learn at the U of C!

but i'm having fun nonetheless.

tomorrow night is the State of the Union address. who knows if i will watch it, and if i do, if i will liveblog it like last year. (i have a sneaking suspicion i'll be reading the Hefner -on Islam, democracy and Indonesia- in front of the TV tomorrow night.) but stay tuned for more snarky remarks on Bush in his new term --