The Voyage of Captain Obvious

Grading is satanic

Monday, July 31, 2006

Things could be better...

The world has kinda seemed off-kilter for me in the past few weeks/month. I don't know exactly what it is, but I've been finding myself looking for newer and more odd places to do research as of late. I've also been finding myself doing research at the bar more often than is probably strictly healthy. I don't know exactly what it is, but life hasn't been seeming to "click" in that perfect way as of late. My research seems to be inordinately stagnated, and I'm having trouble forcing it to move in a decent direction. Reading papers seems unusally unrewarding for me right now, as well.

Additionally, I seem to be desperately short on money right now, in particular, I could really use a new laptop right now, but that won't be coming for a few months, provided that the university takes it in it's fucking heart to renew my teaching appointment, which apparently is unalterably stuck in the horrible disaster of a class that I am currently teaching, thanks to the whopping $50-$100 more a month I make than the other assignments (for only twice as much time invested in the class! A steal!).

My friends are around, and they are doing relatively well for me, but it's a kind of a temporary cheer-up, usually.

I've been noticing it with the outside world as well--the international news situation is a lot more fucked up than it has been for a long time in recent memory. I have multiple friends that are going through bad to severe life problems right now.

But more than anything, I'm having a really difficult time percieving what my place in the world is at this moment. I just seem kind of perpetually down, and stuck and at this horrible existential impasse that I don't really know how to get out of. '

Fuck, I sound like a 14 year old. Ugh.

Anyway, those of you still around, thanks for listening to my venting. Sorry about the depressing and childish nature of my writing as of late.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

En Mexíco, hubo un disastre, y todavía no está resuelto

Perhaps, admidst all of the hubhub in Lebanon, you might have missed another major world news story that is happening much closer to home, namely, the disputed election in Mexíco that took place in Mexico. The initial count left a 2.6% margin between the two leading candidates, Felipe Calderón (the, "rightist" candidate), and López Obrador, the leftist candidate. A recount of several close/disputed districts was called for and granted. Most of these districts subsequently swung for Obrador, resulting in a margin of less than a percent between the two candidates. This subsequently led Obrador and his party to make accusations of widespread vote fraud, and collusion between Calderón's PAN party and the PRI*, in order to keep Obrador out of power. The PRI would supposedly gain the advantage of keeping the more radical and anti-corporate/institutional candidate out of power (and thus maintain what is left of their strenght), while PAN would obviously gain from Calderón's presidency.

Upon completion of the recount, Calderón declared victory in the election, but Obrador has continued to dispute the results. Obrador and his party, the CPD, have filed a suit in the Mexican Electoral Court with the expectation of obtaining a full national vote-by-vote recount of the election. An electoral court magistrate has already announced that a ruling for a full recount is unlikely, which has also sparked widespread anger.

Obrador has also been maintiaining pressure on the whole system by holding mass rallies, mobilizing his supporters, who are primarily the poor. There is much specuation that, if the Electoral Court rejects the recount request, that there will be mass unrest in the country, as the lower classes, en masse, reject the election resluts.

Anyway, it is certainly something to keep an eye on, and that the US media seems completely unconcerned with--strange considering that a revolution in a bordering country isn't something that can be completely ruled out--disputed elections can destablize a country as much as anything.

As for my opinion, I have trouble doubting whether at at least some of Obrador's claims are true. There is some evidence that some of his allegations have been false, as the evidence hasn't held up, but in a country with the institutional history that Mexico has, there has been electoral fraud in the past, and if a close result swings in favor of the establishment candidate, there should be more than an eyebrow raised about the validity of the results.#

*The PRI, or the Partido Revolucionario Institucional, was the only party to hold power for the 70 years previous to Viciente Fox of the PAN party winning the Mexicano Presidency six years ago. It is generally socialist in it's ideology, but really is more a party that supports the traditional machine polciies--maintaining power through use of patronage. It was rightly considered extremely corrupt, and has been discredited in recent years--the PRI candidate garnered only about 24% of the vote in the 2006 elections.

#by the way, this isn't to say that the US is any better--one should be heavily suspicious of the results in the 2000 Presidential election in Flordia, and the 2004 election in Ohio, given the extreme partisanship of the people collecting the votes, and the odd manner in which the disputes were handled. Ugh.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

And don’t take reality so personally.

Good advice from Sean Carroll to those of us who are still inanely stubborn about the real reason there are so few women in physics. Go read the whole thing.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Stuck in between

So, I'm sick of this town, sick of not being graduated, and just generally feeling out of place here. I'm also having rouble finding direction and a map as to how to leave, though. I know that I need to graduate, but I really can't figure out what I'm supposed to be writing on, and I also just seem to be having constant trouble getting any ideas that I have to work out properly. I just feel like I'm in this odd holding pattern, not yet knowing what the next big thing is, but waiting for it--I know that I don't really belong in Texas, but I don't know where I should be.

And it's kinda always been like that--everywhere I am, I'm in the place I'm at, but not of it--I'm never really a part of what's going on around me, I'm just kinda there amongst it, observing, mocking, maybe even interacting, but never belonging.

Meh. Maybe I'm just lonlier and more cynical than I've been in the recent past.