Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Schutzian process of retypification? Drink!

The end of the semester is inching towards me, which means that not only am I internally weeping with stress--less than a week until my master's exam! aaaah!--but also that I am so. incredibly. sick of all my classes. Frills, guys, sometimes I sit in my syntax class and wonder what would happen if I ran out of the room screaming in frustration and boredom.

This past week was perfect timing, then, for my invention of a new game, which I will call "how to survive a three-hour anthropology seminar."

(Catchy name, huh?)

The game is easy, and depends on only one prop, a (preferably caffeinated) beverage. Clutch it in your hand like you'd die without it, as you very well might; three hours of sleep a night is not enough.

The rules are simple: drink for academic anthropology stereotypes.

When someone uses ridiculous jargon? Drink! (Come on people, phenomenology? Ethological? Aboutness?)

When someone abuses English productive morphology? Drink! ("De-embeddedment"? Are we serious?)

When someone quibbles over definitions? Drink! (What does Silverstein really mean when he says "referential"?)

When the talkative dude with the goatee says something that might be deep, or might just be really obvious? Drink! ("Truly, my face belongs to you all, even though I consider it one of my most intimate possessions." How am I not myself? I not...myself?)

When someone cites an idea as being FamousThinker-ian? Drink! Drink! Drink! (Levi-Straussian. Kantian. Saussurean. Boasian. Bourdieuian. Hegelian. Whorfian. Merleau-Pontyian. Voloshinovian. Chomskyan. Goffmanian. IN ONE THREE-HOUR CLASS PERIOD I AM NOT JOKING.)

When that chip-on-her-shoulder Indian girl across the table cuts in with, what else, a comment about colonialism and power dynamics? Sigh. Drink. You deserve it.

When someone calls into question the true agentivity of human actors? Drink! (Oh, wait, that was me. Two sips, then.)

When you realize that you've just gotten through an entire three-hour discussion in which not a single person has cited any actual data or examples? Finish your drink. You've got a syntax class to get through next.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

You'd think I could have thought of one about Easter too

My ward wants to celebrate Holi, that most fun of Hindu celebrations--no, wait, who are we kidding? Diwali is pretty fun too, at least when celebrated in a country with no restrictions on its fireworks--later this month. This was announced in church a few Sundays ago, and as my friends around me nodded--right on, man, that sounds like a good idea--I fumed silently: Holi was last month, people. If we're going to bastardize someone else's religious tradition for our own enjoyment, can't we at least do it accurately?

Apparently, I have no sense of fun at all. Just call me Holi-er than thou.

(Pause for groans.)

What can I say? I'm a Purimist about my religious holidays.

(Ba dum chh!)

At least we're not trying to replicate 'Eid al-Fitr; I'm the Rama-don of respect for Islam.

(Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all month.)

Want me to quit this? It'll Pentecost you!

(Or should I say "Puntecost"?)

More religious celebration puns? Seder it ain't so!

(I can never pass over the chance for a pun. Ha!)

Think I'll ever stop appreciating other religions? Nope! I'm reLentless!

(Get it? Get it? Lent, the forty days of fasting and punitence? Oh, I kill me.)

Monday, April 06, 2009

Get Back, Jojo. Go Home.

The week before last--my, how time flies!--was my SPRING BREAK!, and so, in celebration of the fact that, unlike last year, I am now officially a California resident and therefore not trapped in California for the break, I went to Tucson.

Tucson, you say? Right: the visit was nominally for a conference, because, really, what graduate student thinks they could have an entirely school-free week?, but the conference was only an excuse to visit my cousin Margaret and spend a few days hanging out with these guys, all at the expense of the university. Rock on.

It's never too early to learn about jumping pictures.

Now there's a funny story around this conference, mostly that the abstract I submitted for it way back in December was a wild guess at a hypothesis, and, true procrastinator that I am, I basically hadn't worked on the project at all since submitting it. If my life were a touching ABC family special, I would have suffered public humiliation for my unpreparedness, but, as it is, I sailed through it all, despite having only thought of an analysis for my data on the plane on the way to the conference and having stayed up all night putting the presentation together. Plus there were technical issues and therefore no time for a question period. How much luckier could I possibly get?

The rest of the break was divided between transcription--sometimes I think I have nothing in my life but Ao or Kawaiisu transcriptions--and becoming Booker's new favorite non-parent adult, mostly by conducting covert theory of mind experiments on him and dangling him upside down by his ankles. If only seducing boys my own age were as easy.

Tucson was unexpectedly lovely, set in a desert straight from Central Casting, with tall saguaro cacti marking the skyline everywhere, growing in backyards and by the side of the highway. I couldn't have asked for better weather, a better place to stay, or better company as I transcribed. What a vacation!

(Thank you, Margaret and Clark, for your hospitality.)

The best part of vacations for me lately, though, is coming home: I got to my apartment alone in the early afternoon, and, to revel in my post-SPRING BREAK! Saturday freedom, I rode to the grocery store for fancy produce (mangoes! rosemary! chard!), stopping once briefly on my way there to observe a drum circle at the local flea market, and once on my home to visit a friend. It's finally sandal weather, I have a bike, an apartment, friends to see, and money to blow on mangoes. Gimme that California grass any day.