True romance

I recently watched the first episode of the anime Actually, I Am, which revolves around a love confession. It wasn’t my thing, but while watching I had to ask: do Japanese kids actually do this kind of thing?

Haru confessing his feelings to Shizuku: I think I like you. In a sexual way!
It’s from My Little Monster.

See, the classic love confession from anime and manga goes like this: a school-aged character approaches in private their secret crush (normally a classmate and one who they may not have even spoken with before) and tells them, “I like you, please go out with me”.

I’d never really thought about it, as this cliche is very common in anime and manga, but I realize now that this is a pretty damn awkward situation to be in. When approached by a near-total stranger – who you may only have spoken a few words in passing to before – and asked for a date out of the blue, the normal reaction is to tell them no. With this in mind, isn’t the classic love confession approach basically a recipe for rejection?

Considering it further, the love confession strategy seems like something a socially awkward person would do. They know they want to go out with someone but they don’t really know how to approach them so they go all in. They skip the getting-to-know-you part and go straight for the asking out part.

Really, a more reasonable approach, and one more conducive to success, would probably be for the besotted party to befriend and hang out with the object of their romantic interest first without immediately going for the metaphorical jugular.

It’s such an obvious stratagem that I have to wonder whether Japanese kids actually do the love confession thing at all. Is this basically just a cliche that mostly exists in the minds of anime and manga writers? One wonders.

Wanted: Sugar Daddy (inquire for details)

After reading this post, I have come to the realization that I would make a totally kickass housewife.  I already spend most of my days indoors in a state of living death, constantly thinking about my next meal.  With a working man to support me, I could live the life of luxury I’ve always wanted.  Let me outline my qualifications for the position of Stepford Wife:

First, I’m very demure and soft-spoken in person.  Why, it takes me months before I feel comfortable enough with new acquaintances to start calling them by their first names.  I remember once in Home Economics in high school I had scalding hot jam accidentally poured over my fingers.  It must have taken me a good 20 or 30 seconds  before I started screaming “FUCK FUCK FUCK!!” at the top of my lungs (actually, it was more like “FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!!”).  Clearly, my self-control is inhuman.  Who else but the perfect hausfrau could push down their emotions so well?

I’m also quite vain and would almost definitely start shaving everyday again if I had a caveman to appease.  Ever woken up in the morning, taken a look at yourself in the mirror and said, “Holy god, I’m good looking”?  I have.  I also enjoy getting and putting on new clothes, so I’ll fit in with the other housewives at the beauty salon.  And guess what?  I have a relatively fast metabolism, so I can eat until I’m stuffed and still not look fat.  Freshman fifteen?  Pshaw!  I actually lost ten pounds my freshman year, none of it from dieting.

Furthermore, I’m experienced at doing household stuff like ironing and cleaning.  I went to a Catholic high school and used to iron my dress shirts and uniform pants myself, you know.  And cleaning?  Why, as long as there’s something on tv for the next couple of hours I don’t mind washing, drying, and folding the laundry.  I’m equally-versed in dishwasher use and in washing dishes in the sink, and I will almost never mistakenly use the toilet bowl to wash stuff in.  And speaking of the bathroom, I can get one clean lickety-split.  As for the kitchen, I’m a compulsive neat freak, so I’ll almost always keep the stove clean.

Finally, I think I make a decent cook.  I have a reasonably-sized repertoire of dishes I’m comfortable at making and which I’m constantly adding to.  None of it is typical white North American fare, either, and hardly any of it is to be found in restaurants.  Meatloaf?  I don’t even know how to make that.  I admit, I don’t know how to bake, but I’m thinking of learning how to do that soon, and I’m confident I’ll have no trouble in my education at all.

So you see, as long as I’m kept in bon-bons and tv series dvds, I will never leave your side.  You won’t have to worry again about being alone in the cruel world (unless you lose your job).  Also, I will totally let you borrow my porn if you get horny.  I ask you, reader, is this not wedded bliss?  What more could a man ask for?  What more?


Sugar mamas are also acceptable.

Great bumper sticker quotes

[They] are prevented by diversity of language from conveying their sentiments to one another, so that a man would more readily converse with his dog than with a foreigner.  But the Imperial City has endeavored to impose upon subject nations not only her yoke, but her language, as a bond of peace . . . but how many great wars, how much slaughter and bloodshed have provided this unity?

St. Augustine, The City of God (c. 413 AD)


Something one of the profs in my department forwarded:

Here is our chance to have a say on the upcoming March 2007 federal budget. The federal government has opened a small window for everyday Canadians to have their say on what the 2007 federal budget will look like.  Responses must be submitted before 12 midnight (EST) February 28th, on the government web site:

Solid gold underpants, here we come.

Guilty pleasures of intellectuals

From The Guardian:

  • Anthony Giddens likes professional wrestling!
  • Homi Bhabha watches Project Runway!
  • Tariq Ramadan listens to rap!  Actually, I don’t see why this should be a guilty pleasure since I can see professional reasons for him to listen to this, what with needing to understand the lives of young European Muslims.  Historically, after all, rap has been about expressing the discontent of a racial minority.  So this one doesn’t seem as much of a guilty pleasure as the other stuff.
  • Slavoj Zizek enjoys military games!  My favourite one.  The documentary about him makes clear that he’s quite a character, but it never mentioned this particular hobby of his.  But Zizek’s favourite game is something called Stalin Subway, where the player kills for Papa Joe?  I seem to remember he has a portrait of Stalin in his entranceway.  He claims he’s being ironic, but obviously he’s fascinated with the man.  And look at what he said about military games:

“I play them compulsively, enjoying the freedom to dwell in the virtual space where I can do with impunity all the horrible things I was always dreaming of – killing innocent civilians, burning churches and houses, betraying allies… Plato was right: there are only two kinds of people on this earth, those who dream about doing horrible things and those who actually do them.”

Good thing he’s an academic, he’ll never have any power to tempt him.  Oh, and the snarky comments from academics_anon can be amusing:

“Is it just me or does Catherine MacKinnon come off as the dour, unpleasant creature in real life that she seems to be in her books?”

“I bet her actual guilty pleasure is sitting alone in a windowless room, brooding self-righteously.”

There was a war on?

Maybe I should start immersing myself in the blogosphere again, I hadn’t realized the theory bloggers were at odds with each other.  Figuring out who said what for which reason seems to be more trouble than it’s worth, so I’ll just stay content with the vague awareness that there was some kind of spat between the bloggers and commenters of The Valve, The Weblog, and Long Sunday about something or other.

Research Assistants wanted for applied research

If I lived in either the US or UK, I’d so apply, especially since I have a thing for applied anthro, but anyway, here’s a heads-up to you Yanks and limeys out there:

Cultural Logic, headed by an anthropologist and a linguist, is a research and consulting firm that works for nonprofit organizations, applying cognitive and social science expertise to improve communications between experts/advocates and the public. Past topics have included global warming, early childhood development, access to health insurance, overfishing, racism, global cooperation, and domestic toxins. (For more information about Cultural Logic, see .

We are currently seeking interviewers in the US and the UK immediately to conduct and transcribe brief (5 minute) phone conversations with members of the general public.

Grad students in anthropology, linguistics or cog sci are especially encouraged to apply.  The current project requires native speakers of American and British English.  Interviewing experience is a plus, but not required. 

Ideally, the research assistant would have a flexible schedule, but could commit to taping 3-6 phone interviews in an afternoon or evening and e-mailing the transcriptions the following day.

The research is underway and assistants are needed immediately.

Compensation is negotiable.

Please email Andrew Brown at <> or call to the US: 1(401)383-6500 for more information.
Andrew J. Brown, Ph.D.

Harsh but true (also: The Communist Party and the King of Kings)

(via The Wily Filipino)

Who could not want this t-shirt?  Running dog capitalists, that’s who.  Are you not a running dog capitalist?  Then buy me a t-shirt, pretty please.  While you’re at it, please buy me this trophy too:

“This 11″ tall trophy is good for the office drones and graduate students in your life.”

See, it’s perfect for me.  I just wish they still had for sale the t-shirt of a fish getting a bicycle as a gift.  “It may not need that bicycle, but the bicycle is awesome and it is the happiest damned fish in the ocean.”

To work again

I left Halifax on December 19th and I haven’t touched my thesis work since then.  Yes, it’s hard to work during the holidays, but there’s more involved in my non-productivity than that.  Going permanently back to my house in Northern Ontario has broken my work habits, and now I have to create new ones in accord with my new environment.

Plus, there’s a lot more stuff to distract me here.  My brother has an extensive dvd collection that he’s added to since last I was here and he’s also gotten a bunch more books.  I’ve just seen a boatload of movies, including the Children of Men (Holy shit!  See it!), and I managed to start and finish Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian.  There’s an anthropologist in that one, by the way, although the stuff she does makes her sound more like a folklorist, but since she’s a Hungarian scholar practicing Soviet anthropology, I’m willing to suspend my disbelief pending more knowledge about Soviet anthro.  And there’s the PS2, with which I’ve already finished Ultimate Alliance despite getting it for Christmas, and I’ve just started Final Fantasy X-2.  The kitchen here also has more appliances and special spices and delicacies, so I can make ever more complex meals for the eating.

Which is to say that I’ve landed myself in Procrastination City.  On the pro side of the equation, Sudbury is a complete car town and I don’t know how to drive, so I can’t go watch a movie on a whim.  It’s also less — how can I put it? — less, umm, less than Halifax.  There, I said it.  There’s not as much to do in Northern Ontario.  I also don’t know as many people here, since everyone I knew has graduated and gone somewhere else.

That’s why I’ve been so quiet lately.  However, I was already blogging far less before moving.  That was mostly because I’d gotten serious about writing my thesis and can pretty much focus on only one thing at a time.  I wrote rather long posts in the early months of my old blog mostly because I had no other work to do or I was procrastinating on the work that I did have.  Now, though, I actually find myself procrastinating on blogging itself.
Look at my ScrapBook folder of stuff that I saved away to blog about later and you’ll see that I’ve posted about maybe less than half the stuff listed here.  That’s not even counting the drafts that I’ve been opening and listlessly poking at every now and then.

I can understand why Michael Bérubé is quitting blogging (Incidentally, his final post is also the first post of his that I’ve ever read).  Always Be Composing is a hard thing to do, and thinking about what to blog about takes away brainpower from other projects.  I wonder how s0metim3s (Link is now defunct) and N. Pepperrell can keep writing such long posts, although as residents of Oz they have their summer break now, the lucky bastards (“bastard” is friendly in Australian, right?).

Okay, sometime before the end of January I’ll finish and post the draft I have about various bits of media that I’ve been playing around with.  Scout’s honour.  And I will so totally blog about the new episode of Battlestar Galactica.