Thursday, December 07, 2006


I spent much of the past week at the Bourgeois Pig, overcaffeinating myself in an attempt to stimulate my brain into, you know, working. Depending on who you ask, it's been effective, sort of. But I've been fundamentally exhausted in such a way that I get home from reading on the north side and fall asleep, or staying conscious in a state of near-sleep. Which is making it hard, and the solution is either more caffeine or less caffeine. Almost there, almost through with the quarter. One small paper down, one larger-ish paper left to go. In the meantime, my apartment's a disaster area (if only I could watch these Fassbinder dvds in an occasionally loud, crowded coffeeshop, I don't think I'd ever leave). I've been slacking on the swimming, too, which is bad, but the stupid little side effect of that is that when I do go, I'm completely rested and feel all in shape and stuff (which my finals-week diet most definitely does not do - based on a highly scientific informal poll, graduate students' cheese intake increases threefold in the final two weeks of the quarter).

Watching Fassbinder, I'm struck by how amazingly good this stuff is, and the thing is that the weirder films, i.e. Querelle and In a Year of 13 Moons, get more fascinating with each viewing. They're very dense films, and they grew denser as his output slowed to, you know, less than 7 per year (yeah, he actually made seven feature films in 1970). I've got a couple days to write, oh, 15-20 pages on this stuff, and I think I'm depending on coffee to provide me with inspiration, ideas, concentration. And I've been listening to a lot of Ornette Coleman, which I've discovered is the ultimate study music for me, more than Eno and his ambient/electro-brethren, more than classical strings, more than the soothing samba music favored by the Bourgeois Pig, etc. I suspect that something like "Lonely Woman" might be the kind of music we'd listen to if we were big, mutant, pulsating, disembodied brains (that somehow have ears?).

Until a week or so ago, I'd had maybe one cup of coffee in about six weeks. And now, now that my system's no longer accustomed to the daily coffee influx, that caffeine packs a punch. So, if you notice that I'm a little, um, jittery, think nothing of it. It's natural.

Today's inspirational verse, courtesy of Stephen Colbert:

"So the Christian Coalition are afraid they'll be called liberals. I don't blame them. After all, there's nothing more Christian than refusing to do good works because you might get called a name."

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