Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I meant to take this week off, but it looks as though I won't have a long enough holiday. About a week and a half ago, I set my master's defense date: the 12th of December. I am working day and night... harder than I have ever done to get my manuscript comepleted in time... it looks as though it might not be. But I am trying. I haven't slept for longer than five hours in a whole week now, and my fingers are tired of typing... my eyes are tired of looking at statistical outputs for significant relationships... my faculties are tired of working... I am exhausted. :(

Monday, November 12, 2007

On Being Claustral

On Friday night, a friend and I went out to the bars. The object of the expedition being overtly to have fun, and covertly to stake out the scene associated most commonly with society, or the meeting of individuals, with an intention of taking stock of the possible entertainment or felicity that such company might bring. I am not a bar-goer. When I do once in a blue moon go, I have exactly the same reaction to the experience that I did the time before. One of complete apathy, and of instant boredom. Oh, I am content enough in the company of the persons I go there with. But a quick survey of what surrounds me reveals time and time again, only one thing: bars are filled not only with smoke, but also with a load of stupid, idiotic people. The fact that I live in a college town possibly only exacerbates such a situation, because the people in the Ames bars tend to be possessed of all the arrogance of youth, and none of the worldly experience which serves to temper said arrogance. All I am reduced to doing at venues such as these is to making a few desultory remarks and to trying as hard as I can to appear engaged. I would gladly focus on the person I am there with, but focusing on anything beyond a two foot radius is pure torture! I daresay that all this might make me appear incredibly pompous, but there it is... I can't help how I feel!

What makes it such a terrible pity is that the few people I would dearly love to meet in such bars are unrecognizably lost in the massive crowd of intellectual vacuums that surround them. What is an even greater pity is that since such public stomping grounds are virtually the only avenues where people get to meet other people, I have been forced into choosing a claustral life. The ablative of accompaniment is well-nigh absent from my life as it is today. I don't regret it... no. Au contraire, I revel in it. I am amused... and I quote bits of one of my favorite poems by Dyer, which I should probably adopt as an anthem…

“My mind to me a kingdom is;
Such present joys therein I find,
That it excels all other bliss
That earth affords or grows by kind:
Though much I want that most would have,
Yet still my mind forbids to crave…

Content I live, this is my stay;
I seek no more than may suffice;
I press to bear no haughty sway;
Look, what I lack my mind supplies.
Lo, thus I triumph like a king,
Content with that my mind doth bring…”
~Sir Edward Dyer.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


On Friday, which is technically the day that I put aside for research, but which often ends up being my “off-day”, I woke up earlier than usual, and by 10 o’clock I was done with all the chores I had to do and was faced with the prospect – research or something more pleasurable? I opted for more pleasurable. I haven’t been out in nature much over the past month; mostly because it has been too cold. So, I decided to drive to Ledges State Park – in another month, the roads and trails at the park will be closed. There is a one-minute drive through the park where the ledges rise almost vertically off the ground from the road that is absolutely breathtaking! It makes the 20 minute drive there worth it! So off I went, taking Lord Emsworth with me. The park seemed practically deserted. A pity - because it was such a lovely, mild day. As I reached the last half-mile of the drive, I looked up to admire the rise of the bluffs, and the beautiful trees, yellowing, reddening and starting to grow bare rising vertically with the cliffs. I also noticed the railings on the upper sandstone ledges and was besieged by an urge, almost a yearning, to climb up to them. And I did… I climbed the steps leading to the upper ledges, and when I got there, I was out of breath and dizzy. I sat down for a bit to recover my breath, and then walked horizontally across the cliff. The valley looked beautiful, and I was glad I had gone. There is something very humbling about the fact that these were created by glacial meltwater tens of thousands of years ago. I like canyons, bluffs, cliffs, valleys, gorges – anything that has to do with heights and water. I want one day to walk on the Scandinavian and New Zealand fjords – pure delight! I took pictures on my cell phone… will probably post them someday. I also settled on a bench up there and read some Wodehouse. Now isn’t that the perfect Friday afternoon? Beats research any day!