Archive | June, 2010

Boxing Mexicans

26 Jun

Last night was, ah, how should I say it – an adventure.  I boxed Mexicans in a parking deck at 2am.  You might be thinking, “what kind of drunk decisions were you making?” Unfortunately, that question would assume incorrectly as the decisions were embarrassingly sober ones.  I started out the night in a pretty hum-drum fashion.  Went and hung out with a couple friends for a couple hours doing next to nothing.  Then one of the guys’ brothers calls and says he is going with some Mexicans from work to box.  Only the brother and I ended up going, no one else seemed overly excited about the proposition. I was bored.  What do you want from me?

We arrived at the apartment and man, that place was shady.  But they were friendly and were just sitting around playing a boxing game on the x-box.  (They were really into boxing, apparently)  After awhile we went outside and people began boxing.  I was generally unimpressed by the athleticism and wasn’t too worried about any particular Mexican, except one named George.  Naturally, through a string of unfortunate events he’s the first one I end up fighting.  Now, we weren’t fighting full on round after round until someone gets knocked out.  It was more like a handful of minutes unless it was boring then everyone would just boo and the two guys boxing would stop.  I can at least say it was an experience.  I learned that getting punched in the head, with boxing gloves, really isn’t so bad.  I also gained a new respect for the endurance level of boxers because however long I fought, it couldn’t of been more than 3 minutes, was exhausting.

This is what happens when I don’t have anyone who wants to talk about interesting things.  The conversation was all music, feigned interest in soccer because of the world cup or some base form of gossip.  I really refrained from putting out any opinions because I felt pretty confident they would all hate me and they would have no desire to actually talk about their opinions.

One fellow, upon hearing I was studying political philosophy was extremely interested in me because he was a “political-science guy.”  He was wearing one of those Obama t-shirts and around his neck was a beaded necklace with a cut-out of Africa.  He talked about how he loved the philosophy classes, and generally loved philosophy.  His crowning intellectual achievement, what he thought would really impress me, was that he was raised Christian but was able to question those old backward religious beliefs and no longer believed in God.  He quickly added that while his pastor was probably a ‘good person’ it was wrong of him to try and spread religion because it was harmful.  Somebody read their Dawkins. I held my tongue because speaking would’ve been useless but needless to say, I was excited to leave.

On a brighter note, one of my classmates this summer, who attends UNT (a school near mine) for his doctoral and is quite Catholic, recently let on that he loved Allan Bloom.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t drink beer.  I’ll have to change this about him.

Anyway, I hope your weekend is treating you well.

Thank You, Public Education

22 Jun

Dr. Sweet explained today that the book we’re using should gives the vocabulary necessary to reading Xenophon’s, anabasis.  I almost wet myself with joy.  What I love about Dr. Sweet, aside from his ridiculous knowledge of Greek is that everything relating to Ancient Greek prompts some anecdote in his head.  After he told us the book was prep for reading Xenophon he asked us if we knew why.  When we naturally had no idea why that particular work was picked he was happy to explain: our book was first published in 1940.  Dr. Sweet happily explained that anyone bound for higher education learned Greek before they came to college.  This was a book for young boys, around 11-16, so the authors thought that after finishing working through a boring textbook young boys would want to read about a war and great battles.

Something tells me that quantity doesn’t equal quality and that graduating high school isn’t what it used to be.

Invasion of the White Kids

21 Jun

So most nights I’ve gone out, a bar named ‘Caves’ has been the destination.  Caves is a pretty cool place and we generally have a fun time.  One of the guys, Taylor, has been talking up a little Mexican bar called Coco’s that him and some of his friends have been going to regularly.  Now, I imagined a Mexican themed bar but no, it was a Mexican bar.

We walk into a sparsely populated setting with mariachi softly playing from a jukebox in the corner of the room.  Aside from us there are only Mexicans and I’m talking cowboy hats, big belt buckles, 5’5’’, the whole nine yards.  Taylor and his friends are all extremely fashionable, typical hipster kids.  The first thing I do is park my car; the first thing they do is lock up their vintage Schwinn road bikes.  Taylor swears they love him there (and the cute bartender girls definitely do) so naturally we bust in like we own the place.  It’s a cash only bar, obviously, and I have no cash.  Luckily this is a cool place and the girl behind the bar gives me a free Modelo.  That was the highlight of the night and I felt a growing affection for the bar.

It was a really strange interaction between the two groups.  The hipsters were really into how authentic the bar felt yet also wanted their music to be played (this isn’t an assumption, a few comments were made, ‘why aren’t they playing our music?’ which leads me to think that some nights they will, in fact, play their music.).  At one point a bunch of the hipsters started dancing, which was soon followed by the cat-calls and whistles from the Mexican contingent.  I looked on, bewildered.

Taylor, our ‘regular’ at Coco’s, even has his picture on the wall.

It certainly was a cool, relaxed and inexpensive bar.  In spite of the friendliness of the bar girl or Taylor’s picture on the wall I couldn’t help but feel like an invader into this bar’s otherwise quiet charm.  It’s something I’d like to enjoy but worry that by enjoying it in the way we do, we will inevitably change it.

An Awkward Exchange

18 Jun

So yesterday as I was pulling into the parking lot at Dallas I noticed some police lights going off.  Didn’t think much of it; just figured campus security had caught someone breaking a minor parking rule.

Then I noticed it was the Irving police and they had driven in behind someone and flicked the lights once the person was parked.

And then I noticed that it was my professor Dr. Sweet!  I get to the school pretty early so I was the only one who saw this transpire.  As I walked past the event into the school you could see the frustration on Dr. Sweet’s face when he saw me noticing the event transpire.  I was almost to the door when I heard his footsteps coming up behind me, poor guy looked frazzled. I piped in, “rough morning?” but he didn’t seem to notice.  He just mumbled something about how nice it was to be inside and quickly sought out his office for sanctuary.

He didn’t mention anything about it to the class and neither did I.

One of the most quiet and mild mannered professors I’ve ever had.  You can see it in his face.

So Hot

18 Jun

It’s the small things, that make you miserable.

16 Jun

So you’ll need a little back story on this one.  Two days ago, if someone had seen me get out of my car they would’ve thought, “damn, that guy is crazy.”  I was calmly walking to the door of the house, when I reached in my pocket to get my keys.  I erupted in profanity as a sharp pain raced up my finger into my hand.  One of the pencils in my pocket was upside down and as I put my hand in the pocket the tip of the pencil thrust itself under my fingernail.  Needless to say I was pissed the rest of the day.

Well I was unsure of whether or not the tip had broken off or if the dark spot was just blood.  I was laying down reading Heidegger (I have been a reading machine since moving down here.) when I noticed blood dripping from the same fingernail; it had reached the edge.  I went to the bathroom and drained the blood only to confirm that there was indeed lead trapped underneath the nail and that it hadn’t moved an inch.

I sterilized a sowing needle by running really hot water over it.  Then proceeded to dig the offending lead (graphite, whatever…) out from underneath the nail.  I have never experienced a task so frustrating in all my life.  Not only did it hurt to no end but the stupid lead would only move side to side.  Finally after 15 minutes or so I was able to get behind it and bring it out.  Instant relief.

In other news I haven’t been sleeping well and that has been frustrating.  Last night I awoke at 5am and honest to god my first thought was, “are geneticists considered biologists?  They should be but I don’t think they are.”  After wrestling with this obvious residual dream thought I finally came fully awake and thought to myself, “what am I doing awake?”  I spent another twenty minutes in a haze, trying to figure out why my back pain was returning.  Eventually I decided it was because I wasn’t standing enough and that I ought to buy a podium to read from.

Seriously, all that transpired.  It’s amazing how little control you have over your thoughts or actions when you’re half asleep.  You honestly think all you thoughts are rational, but everything is over exaggerated.  Anyway, I’m off to bed.  Hopefully tonight treats me better.

Monday Dos

14 Jun

As you can tell I haven’t learned any numbers in Greek.

Today was a pretty fun day, we began verbs and had a quiz.  I’m also getting to know everyone a little bit better.  One skill I’ve learned is talking to new people requires a different tact.  Well, i’ve always known that subconsciously but I’m figuring out in what ways it’s different.  For instance, until I know someone I can’t approach the conversation with any particular end in mind, ie,  wanting to talk about a particular subject.  This often leads to awkward breaks in a conversation, because I’ll ask a question often times with a certain end in mind because I expect it to take the conversation in x-direction.  But this often fails and then I’m at a loss.  I’m more successful when I ask a question and listen intently to what they say, inevitably this will bring to mind another question or an idea that can then be put to them.  You also should be on guard from getting comfortable just answering questions they ask, you should not only answer the question but consider whether or not you should put the same question to them, or whether they might have an opinion about what you say.  Because of this new way of approaching conversation I have really tried to be on my toes, so to speak, in the conversations that I have in order to make the best of them and it seems to be going well, though there are lapses where my mind will be focused on something particular and the conversation may have fallen flat.  In any event, I’ve been improving and I think it shows.  Another important aspect is to remember names, which hasn’t been so difficult because of the reasonable class size (like 21?).  Anyway, I’m off to study those verbs.