Saturday, December 04, 2010

Things I want to blog about:

Why is it that academics become so focused on their work that they (we, I) can't see the direct implications for research in everyday life? (ex. - the debate about moving to a full funding model in my department.)

The connection between people's political ideology and their different levels of selfishness as individuals fascinates me. Republicans seem very macro-selfish, but the ones I know individually are really not that way at all. Cognitive dissonance?

What do people mean when they tell me to "work smarter"? And why does it make me so fucking angry?! I think it has something to do with the fact that the people who are telling me to do this have no idea what my life is actually like, and maybe that this is the smartest I can be, and if that ain't good enough, shove it.

I'm not really sure that I like teaching, but that may be because I really don't like being a TA, not because of the whole teaching thing. I need to think about this more.

I've had an exercise breakthrough. I still vehemently hate exercise and am not convinced that it's the awesome thing that people make it out to be (much like Apple products), but I actually experienced some positive benefits this semester from regular exercise. Too bad I don't have time to keep doing it.

Xmas in January

I love winter. I love giving presents to my loved ones, things I've thought about carefully and purchased or made for specific people. I love getting presents, too.

But I hate the financial pressure of Xmas in the US. There are so many sales, deals, free shipping coupons and incentives to buy at this time of year. Gift suggestions clutter my inbox - websites remembered what I did last year and conveniently suggest ideas that often are eerily appropriate. It simultaneously freaks me out and makes me love the possibilities of the internet.

As my immediate family grows (more on my long lost brother to come), it becomes difficult to afford xmas. At what point do I have to draw the line and stop doing this? Or should I instead focus on birthdays? There is a conflict in my soul between the fulfillment of tradition at xmas and my disgust at the marketization of tradition.

It's such a trap.

But this year, we decided months in advance that we would all prefer to put our family celebration off for a year. It has given me permission to immediately archive any promotional emails that come in my inbox. I am not surfing websites looking for gifts and getting sidetracked into buying stuff I don't need. I am disengaged from the xmas franchise. And I love it. I'm still looking forward to our family gathering in January, and maybe there will be presents, but it will be removed from the hot mess of xmas in america.

It gives me hope that we can actively reinvent our traditions, retaining the heart of our gathering and removing the destructive effects of capitalism. Ok, maybe not completely, but at least the craziness of the holiday season will be over. In fact, aren't there big sales in January too?

How I have already mentally spent my financial aid check that I expect to receive in January.

(in no particular order, just as I think of them)
1. Xmas presents (we are all broke and doing xmas in January this year.) $200
2. Isaac's first orthodontic device. Holy expensive. $400 after insurance
3. My 6th crown, costs almost half my monthly salary even with supplemental dental. $650 after insurance
4. A new splint to wear at night so I stop breaking my teeth. $200 after insurance
5. Membership to the Y so Isaac and I can go swimming. $noIdea
6. Isaac's swimming lessons. $20 each
7. Private piano and cello lessons for Isaac $no idea
8. Cello for Isaac (this is part of #1) $200
9. New winter boots $50
10. New clothes (oh my goddess I need them so badly) $200
10a. New clothes for Isaac (needs some new underwear stat.) $200
11. Get piano tuned $100
12. 100,000 mile maintenance on my Honda $300
13. New glasses with my new prescription $50 (this will get 3-4 pairs on
14. Pay off old bills from non-aggressive creditors. $250
15. Red low-lights $40
16. Membership to Villaris $60/mo
17. save some in case I don't get a job this summer and have to live on the street $5000
18. Snowshoes $>$100 for both Isaac and me
19. TATTOO on my right calf of a peacock or some flowers. $250

I know I'll think of more.