Category Archives: Narcissism

I Am The Anti-Plato

When one wishes to exercise the mind, one should lavish treats on the body.  I’m drinking soda, eating candy bars, and finishing with bourbon and valium tonight.

…Well, I do ascribe to the theory–since college started, I’ve always written papers with various tasty but unhealthy things on hand, but today only the soda has actually happened.  No candybars or valium in sight, and we’ll have to wait until much later to see about the bourbon.

Recently, my soda of choice has been Boylan Black Cherry, which is made with cane sugar.  The first time I tried it, it was like giving crack to an addict, but I’m no longer rocking back and forth when I go into withdrawal.  I highly recommend trying it.

I also highly recommend gawking at the list of colas in Wikipedia’s template for them (at the bottom of the Boylan Bottling Company page).  Andy Warhol said that in America, everyone drinks the same coke, but there appears to be an awful lot of variations.

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Dum Dum Da Da

Robot Bride and Groom Cake Toppers

This Saturday, May 16th, I’m going to be getting married. I don’t know if I have a good, or at least short, way to describe what this means to me.  I think it’s enough for now to say that this will be the most important day of my life so far.  Perhaps the most important day ever.

So I’ll confine myself to commenting on how this event affects my blogging. I’ve set this entry to appear as I’m leaving for Raleigh, and leaving without my computer.  Instead I’ve settled on a few books and my kindle, all of which is pleasure reading–Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore being the highlight.  I’ll be gone until the 25th and I won’t be posting during that time. On the other hand, after May 16th, I’ll consider myself, based on personal experience, to be an expert on any marriage related topic.

Keys to Happiness

These are not new years’ resolutions (I do have one small one) but rather keys to taking good care of your soul and a way of thumbing my nose at the lifehackers out there.  

  1. Waste money
  2. Be disorganized
  3. Sleep in
  4. Do a shit job
  5. It doesn’t need fixed
  6. When it’s the behavior of your loved ones, it really doesn’t need fixed
  7. HUUUUUUGS
  8. KITTTTTIES

Missive From the Future

I must say that the dinner with Professor Blank, despite the agreeability of the location, was quite awkward.  He insisted on communicating primarily in gutteral sounds, gestures and animal noises.  This amused the children, but even our eldest, at five, realized that this was not how adults conducted a dinner. (–unidentified diarist)

The Semester

I believe I now have a final schedule for this semester.  Since I’m not teaching I take four courses, and the theme of those courses is “careening back into theoretical philosophy.”  Three of the four courses are mathematical or logical in nature.  I’m perhaps most excited about Mark Wilson’s course on the philosophy of mathematics.  It’s primarily historical in nature, and aims to look at Frege in the context of 19th century mathematical developments.  Mark’s spin in the first course was that philosophers have lost track of the wider context of Frege’s work and failed to appreciate the ways in which Frege’s response was a conservative response to those developments.  Recontextualizing Frege could be a neat trick to pull off.  While Mark apparently knows everything there is to know about the history of math in that period, especially the applied math that philosophers largely don’t care for, but I don’t know that the students do.  Even in the cases where I know the math, I know it entirely divorced from its historical development.

I’m doing a proof theory class.  I’ve never studied proof theory before, so I don’t know what to expect–it’s primarily a way to improve my logical chops.  Also, did I mention that it’s with Nuel frickin Belnap? I’m secretly in this course just to improve my count of teachers with wikipedia entries (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7–Nuel’s entry is unreasonably short). Lastly, I’m doing a seminar on truth and paradoxes with Anil Gupta.  I’ve never previously thought about the paradoxes, but I suspect it will be relevant to my general grumbles with the field of semantics.

The fourth course is with Steve Engstrom on Kantian ethics.  I’m rather excited about this course, if for no other reason than that yesterday, Steve laid out a categorization of historical figures that was completely novel to me.  In it, the good guys included all of Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas and Kant.  What’s more, there was actually a theme that connected all of them.

Side Note: This is as good a time as any to mention that I’ve been doing little status updates in the upper right hand corner of the blog.  They’re for content that’s too short to merit it’s own post (i.e. “I won’t be posting this weekend”).  So if you’re that obsessed with my actions, there’s more for you.  It strikes me that this is one weird thing about the architecture of most blogs: almost any information gets conveyed via posts, but there’s all this cruft that comes with a post: a title, a permalink, comments, possible categories, etc.  So I’ve shunted links that I want to share to a feed in the right hand side of the blog, and status updates to a corner.  If you want to see a genuinely elegant way of structuring information, check out John Gruber’s blog.  Short comments are treated entirely differently from essay length analytical posts.  Sadly, I’m not sure wordpress will let me easily do anything quite like that.

RYAN NORTH’S JOB IS MUCH MORE DIFFICULT THAN IT SEEMS

Also, I’m bad at using the GIMP.  The above is based on a blank template for qwantz comics, but I didn’t send it to Ryan North.

Newspapers

Though the attendant irony of discovering the quotation in my friend Ed’s shared items on google reader can only be intensified by relaying on my blog, yet I was strongly affected by this:

Just so hollow and ineffectual, for the most part, is our ordinary conversation. Surface meets surface. When our life ceases to be inward and private, conversation degenerates into mere gossip. We rarely meet a man who can tell us any news which he has not read in a newspaper, or been told by his neighbor; and, for the most part, the only difference between us and our fellow is that he has seen the newspaper, or been out to tea, and we have not. In proportion as our inward life fails, we go more constantly and desperately to the post-office. You may depend on it, that the poor fellow who walks away with the greatest number of letters, proud of his extensive correspondence, has not heard from himself this long while.
-Henry David Thoreau, Life Without Principle (1863)”

I doubt there are many points where my thoughts are similar to Thoreau’s, but he describes my reading habits of late.

If there is one thing in the passage which I most strongly disagree with, it is Thoreau’s valorization of the inward and the private.  If anything, I would have been better speaking with my neighbors on the 14th floor.