Pandora.com This site allows you to type in your band of choice. It comes back with a discription of the musical style of that particular band, then starts playing a "station" featuring artists and songs with a similar style. Its so simple and so fantastic! I typed in "Handsome Boy Modeling School" and now I'm listening to hip-hop I actually like! Crazy! If you create an account you can contribute to the refrence system. So cool!
So this past Saturday I found out a couple of things.
First, I might not be cut out for academia. Theory is cool and all. Actually I love it, but I need to be more applied. Also I learn best through interpersonal relations, not from books. Books don't hold my attention, nearly as well as people, and I don't retain as much information from them as I do from people. So, it looks like I'm headed for non-profit work.
Second, H. --that extremely attractive, and self-confident gay guy from sociology who I always feel uncomfortable around, because I know if I open my mouth I'll start flirting and just make a fool of myself -- is not nearly so smooth around his boyfriend. Kinda humanizes him a bit. Could he have something like my own foot swallowing tendencies around people he finds attractive? And, hey, if he could find a boyfriend, maybe there's hope yet.
Third, so hanging out with H. his boyfriend, his mutual friend, and JC gave me a my first glimpse into the world of gay men. Its a strange and testosterone filled land. While recounting one of their "once at a gay bar" stories, they mentioned drag queens prepping. This elicited the question of what "prepping" entailed. Apparently it entailed "popping" So I asked what popping was. Yeegadz! I crossed my legs three times in sympathy pains. I mean, have these people never heard of a girdle!?
Well, it was an interesting break. On the upside there was the fabulous New Year's Eve Eve party at Jeff and Liz's. Large amounts of merry making and assuring our high school buddies that we were still in fact alive and persuing our goals or at least stay a few of steps ahead of our broom wielding parents. There was Christmas dinner with the Tagonoffs. You haven't lived until you've heard your favorite Cosack karaoke Felice Navidad. There was the visit to McSorly's in Manhattan for my sister and cousin's 21st birthdays. Imagine drinking at 11am with your Grandparents. There was my Dad keeping his job even after the merger with Johnson and Johnson, though I think he was kind of warming to the idea of a change in career scenery. There was Hanging out with my sister before she goes off to South Africa for study abroad.
And then there's the downside.Applying to Grad school. Please someone shoot me. Not getting any work on my Thesis done. I'm gaining that sneaking suspicion that I will be a failure in life again. Oh, and my car broke down. The Allegany mountains killed it. So my car is in Western PA and I'm in IN with a rental which is starting to get very expensive.
Still, its a new year, and I'm back with friends. Not all is lost, most becasue it has no where else to go.
Nothing bad has ever really happened to me, so I'm hardly ever afraid. I walk around at night by myself. I talk to people who are usually defined by thier homelessness, drug addictions, felonies or roles as strangers. I'm a little stingy with personal details, but spend a day or two with me and you'll find out I'm from Jersey, I like going to goth clubs, and I'm a Christian.
Should I be more worried than I am? I'm I just being naive? Is is just a matter of time before I get taken advantage of? Probably...but who cares? I mean if the alternative is constantly wondering if every guy who crosses my path is going to mug me, I'd rather act a little naive. The thing is I know bad stuff happens. I know it happens in many of the situations I put myself in, but to deny myself acess to those situations, would be to say that people who are already stuck in there are not worth my attention. To cloister myself off into a safe little world, would be to live in a buble, that presents only the faintest illusion of security.
That's not to say, I don't have my limits, things I wouldn't do because I'm ill equipt to handle the consequences, (for instance, counseling disturbed youth) but that's because I lack the ability to do a good job not because something bad could happen.
People get hurt, fact of life. I will get hurt, fact of life. Rather than avoiding it in the first place, I'm more worried about having the strength to survive it afterward. I just hope I can still feel the same way once it does happen.
Basically we had differnt intentions for the relationship. He wanted more, I wanted less. We both hoped the other would come around and both tried to steer the other toward what we wanted. He would shower me with attention trying to earn my affection, and I would pull back hoping he would get the idea.
So it ends. I feel guilty and he feels rejected.
I hate that there is no good way to break up.
For now, anger, sorrow and self doubt rage, cleaning out our systems, getting us ready to find new people. There will be more romantic adventure to have, more heart wrenching moments to embrace.
What's so honorable about being in the armed forces? What's so great about risking life and limb and ending the lives of others to protect the upper classes' financial and political interests? How does this make someone a hero and not just an employee with a poor benefits package from a company with dubious moral principles? Where's the glory in dying for a pay check?
I know not every conflict has been a Vietnam or an Iraq. There were Kosovos, Afghanistans and East Timors. Oh, but wait... we didn't win those. That's right, because winning wasn't the object, peace was. And lets not forget, those were international missions, which our culture and country in its all knowing nationalism has promptly derided, invalidated and dismissed. The UN receives the bulk of our censure, but NATO is sure to follow.
But I digress. Aren't the men and women of the armed forces putting their lives on the line to protect us from our enemies? Who are our enemies? Are they these guys? Or how about them? Surely we are safer now that she is dead. Ok, ok, so these are the exception not the rule. Problem being, no one can afford the exceptions. Not the US political image, not the military missions, and certainly not the Iraqis who have been murdered, tortured, raped and left destitute. But a part of me asks, what did I expect? Soldiers are trained to value the lives and well beings of some humans over other humans. Despite being against the moral code of most Americans, is it so shocking that some of them would take this method of thinking to its logical end, and make dehumanization a matter of operational procedure? But of course I don't understand the immense pressure people in combat zones experience. I don't know how it can change a person. When an opponent doesn't wear a uniform and blends into families and crowds how do you defeat him? These are all very valid points, except that they don't explains the behavior of soldiers in Japan,Korea and the philippines. Let alone how woman with in the military are treated.
I know that not everyone who joins up is a testosterone junkie that wants to kill him some bad guys in black turbans...I mean hats...black hats. There are people who join for economic and educational reasons (Though our country is in a sad state if a person can only get ahead by taking employment where potenitaly dying or killing is in the job description.) Others do it as a matter of family tradition. (Hey if PTSD was good enough for my Dad its good enough for me!) Finally there are those people who join the military with the honest desire to protect their country and to help others but between unrealistic expectations, the self serving policies of our leaders and the culture of male machismo imbued with "us verses them" thinking, those who are able to hold on to their convictions and aid in making people safe and free do so despite being a part of the military, not because of it.
If a soldier is a hero, it is not because he or she is a soldier. It is because he or she over came the circumstances they were surrounded by and dared to work (not fight) with others to promote better ones. That's the kind of hero we can all aspire to be no matter our occupation.
So I'm officially studying people again, this time for my masters' thesis. I love being an Anthropologist! Research involves such taxing activities as "hangin' out", and "talking to people". Okay, so it’s a bit deeper than that. I'm up to my eye balls in reference sources on Suburbia, agency, and structure. (I swear I'm not a sociologist!)
The group I'm working with is pretty friendly. No one's been "burn the objectifying researcher!!" Which is a legitimate concern if not quote. I mean, could you imagine someone just walking into your place and staring at you? That's pretty much what I'm doing, though; I try to be a little less rude about it. I suppose that's what separates me from the peep show patron.
Come fall I'll be TAing for Human Cultural Diversity with the new Prof. from Columbia. We can lament the mid-west together. Though to be fair, there are plenty of activities of the small town variety to be had in Lafayette. The music scene is growing, there's a farmers market a couple of local galleries, the university's avant garde theater and there's always Indianapolis and Chicago.
My sister will be swinging up from Bonaroo this Sunday (she's been doing clean up, "hey, what's this syringe doing here?") to drive me back to the dirty Jerse. I'll spend my birthday with the folks then its back to the grind stone on the fifth.