Wednesday, July 16, 2014

On feelings you might be having right now

The feeling of taking the last of the Nutella because you feel entitled to it.

Of arriving late at work because you can.

Of reading one of the free newspapers taken from a stand at the bus stop, and realizing it made you think of a friend you haven't seen in over a year.

Of actually sending him a text, suggesting hanging out again soon.

Of actually getting a reply, and a positive - and specific - one.

Of listening to light jazz without having to deal with canapes.

Of being more concerned with an achy knee than all the work you had planned to do (but didn't).

Of hating yourself a little because you forgot to order your iced latte skimmed.

Of compensating for this by hating yourself more by finally being concerned with the work you had planned to do (but didn't).

"Hate" is too strong a word, fortunately. Resent, perhaps?

Well, most of the resentment is at any rate subdued by a glimmer of happiness caused by nothing other than the fact that it is summer, sunny, a relaxed mood in general (though "in general" is too strong a term - so many places in the world in turmoil, and even if the heart becomes blasé with wear and tear the morning news still affects it).

The glimmer of happiness shines, however, brighter than the ache of the heart - or for that matter the knee - fortunately.

And it is also the feeling of slight irritation that the automated blinds try to override your manual setting.

The feeling of considering whether to write what it is that really bothers you, with the risk that it will put yourself in a poor light because it isn't something you are actually entitled to be bothered about.

Of knowing, secretly, that you weren't entitled to the last of the Nutella either, but that it still feels somewhat comforting that you took it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

On LBJ

We meet again, old vague acquaintance.

I never did get the hang of you last time.

Your entry into the White House was sudden, unexpected, tragic. It was inevitable for you to end up in Jack's shadow. History didn't change that.

Your domestic experience gave you no credit among students of diplomatic history. Whatever foreign policy you led, we usually accounted to your predecessor's memory. Besides, your foreign policy = Vietnam.

You are little more than a footnote in books about U.S. policy in the Middle East, and he only thing really worth mentioning is your strong support for the State of Israel (but then this isn't exactly unique among American presidents).

You are said to be one of the main inspirations behind Kevin Spacey's character in "House of Cards" (along with King Richard III of England). Good for you.

Your name. Lyndon! It sounds like a character from a 1950s superhero comic (though no the hero. Not the villain either, I think. The jury is still out). The only U.S. politician sounding more like a superhero comic character is Spiro Agnew. You can't beat that.

You did leave a legacy in domestic politics. But I don't study domestic politics.

You're from Texas. Which called for another footnote in the books about U.S. policy in the Middle East, as you were already accustomed to deal with oil companies. So no need to mention that part of your foreign policy either.

Your wife is called Lady Bird. That is all.

You share initials with your wife (and your daughters, and your dog), though I think it would be much more entertaining if you also shared her middle name. Lyndon Bird Johnson makes you sound even more like a character from a superhero comic (though still not the hero).

We were never friends. I don't think that will change this time either. But perhaps I might get to know you a little better, at least?

I am not sure how I feel about that.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

On metrogiraffe


It's been years since I last visited Paris. I think it's time to go back. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

On the return of light and giraffes

The sky is reflected in the windows of the nearby building, stretching out in a metallic-blue-yellow hue in between an instagram filter and something you might have found in the fabric of a skirt in the S/S13 Saunders collection, if you cared for such things. It's been a lovely day, with deceitful promises of pending spring, even though the mended heart is too scarred to believe it really is so. Winter may catch you yet. Regardless, you have this day. The day the light returned. Light, which will kick start the slow process of defrosting the marrow of your brittle bones.



In the meantime, there is this picture of a woman and a giraffe:









Friday, December 13, 2013

On the excitement and worries concerning two important work tasks I have today (the title is an understatement).

Today I have two tasks that plague me more than the 70-paper-long-log-of-papers-I-need-to-grade.

One is to write a speech for tonight's Christmas Party at work, where I will mull over the past two years I've spent here as an employee in the history department at the university.

The other is to refresh the website of the faculty board committee for hiring, to have first eyes on the protocol from today's meeting determining my future. You see, after having taught history for two years with only a Master's degree I finally decided it was time to apply for a phd. It's been quite the process getting here, but today the final verdict stands. Will I still have a job come January? (And if not, how will that affect my speech tonight?)

*refresh*

I am of course overstating the tension for dramatic effect. In reality I have written most of the speech days ago, and I also have a fairly clear idea what the result of the meeting will be.

*refresh*

Two days ago a department board meeting took place, where the matter of the phd position was discussed prior to sending it off to the faculty. The board, following the advice of the appointed committee that considered all the applications, recommended me for the position.

*refresh*

Two weeks before that, when I was asked to deliver tonight's speech, I decided against writing two speeches covering the two potential outcomes of today's meeting (an idea I briefly toyed with). No matter what the results of today's meeting, no matter whether I will still be working here in January, I've had two marvelous and challenging and exhausting and rewarding years, and my potential future here does not change that.

*refresh*

The excitement today, then, is not so much whether I will get the position, but my feelings concerning it. There is a substantial insecurity connected in this for me. There is a reason why it's been three years since I finished my MA and I never even applied before now.

So, in order to start with a a fresh sheet, I feel the need for some confessions. I have never read Bourdieu, or Derida or even Gadamer. Worse, I don't actually want to. I can't list every battle in every war despite being a historian. I am frequently wrong. (Though hearing me admit it is unusual.) I don't think writing history is a piece of cake. I don't even always think it's particularly fun. But I am quite good at it. Even if I don't always believe that myself.

*refresh*






*refresh again just to be sure*


I GOT THE JOB!  :D

Thursday, November 14, 2013

On pretense

Let's pretend this is a blog you still read with some regularity - in fact, let's pretend it's a blog I write with some regularity.

Let's pretend Albert Einstein was a duck. Might as well.

Let's pretend the below picture isn't photoshopped.



Let's pretend the reason I am not writing here regularly is because I am so busy living a fabulous life. Let's pretend I'm never tired of the fabulousness.

Let's pretend. That nothing no one never said was true or false.

Let's pretend that winter is not coming.

Let's pretend that I am not worrying about work and not work and the potential of not having to worry about work.

Let's pretend that I write. Occasionally.

Let's pretend that placebo is as good as Placebo. Let's pretend you could watch that video without having to watch a commercial first.

Let's pretend that all it takes is a good night's sleep, and that you will get just that, tonight.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

On words to the wiser*

"It is important to note that..." doesn't meant that something is important.

"I have fixed every edit you suggested" doesn't mean that no more edits are required (or even that you actually fixed what I suggested).

"I've been ill the last three days before the deadline" isn't an acceptable excuse for not having used the previous thirty days before that, also included in your deadline.

"I don't know how to improve this text" is not a cue for me to jump in with a cure.






*Note: in this case I am myself the wiser. Or the unwiser. Or at least the person in need of taking my own advice. By admitting this I am, of course, in no way suggesting that there might not also be others in need of taking this advice...
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