Not an egg thief

In the part of the Philippines that I’m originally from, it is held that hiccups are a sign that the afflicted has recently filched someone’s eggs.  Damn you eggs, I ate you fair and square!  Everything was legally paid for!

Unless this condition is some kind of commentary on how capitalist consumption is always essentially predicated on the theft of resources from somewhere else, such as the oil used to make the gas that fueled the truck that brought the eggs to market, in which case we’re all screwed.

Oh wait, my hiccups are gone now.  Yay, capitalism triumphs again!

No comment

“We Communists always oppose a one-party dictatorship, and don’t approve of the Nationalists having a one-party dictatorship. The CCP certainly doesn’t have a program to monopolise government because one party can only rule in its own interests and won’t act according to the Will of the People. Moreover, it goes against democratic politics.” Deng Xiaoping, 16th March 1941

The imagined book

I mentioned on Rough Theory that I had read Francis Fukuyama, and I was specifically referring to his book The End of History and the Last Man.  However, I have to confess that I can remember absolutely nothing from the experience of reading it.  I know I read it since I have notes on it somewhere and one paper I wrote in undergrad cites it.  Evidently, I’ve read it in the past, but I can’t even remember what it was about.  Well, I know what it’s about because I’ve read reviews and it’s mentioned here and there in other articles and such, but I can’t pull out of my mind any knowledge of the book that specifically comes from my own reading.  I have a feeling I wasn’t impressed, otherwise reading the book would have made an actual impression on me.  What I remember from book reviews also leads me to conclude that I probably dumped the book from my long-term memory because I didn’t think it was that great.  I’m not too broken up about this situation, but it is rather curious.

Internet, do something!

I demand amusement.  Hop on one foot, punch yourself in the stomach, sing, do anything at all, but don’t let me get bored.  You know what’s more horrible than procrastinating and knowing even as you’re doing it that you’re steadily screwing yourself?  Trying to procrastinate and not having anything to do.  Woe and worry, sorrow and lamentation, fallen, fallen is Babylon the great.

Off to Youtube I go.

And for any new people who have just stumbled on this blog (all two of you): don’t worry, I don’t whine all the time, I’m just full of self-pity right now.  I promise to stop feeling sorry for myself sometime after I get my PhD.

She talks Tagalog more better than me (and probably cusses better too)

[Original Youtube link defunct, please view clip here]

Seriously, the Russian teacher of Tagalog (a.k.a. Filipino) at Moscow State University speaks better Tagalog than me. Actually, I speak Taglish and my academic Tagalog is at a 4th grade level. I sometimes even have trouble reading the Tagalog comics my uncle brought with him when he was visiting from the Philippines. Anyway, this situation isn’t unusual for a lot of 1.5 generation immigrants.

But back to the video: Russkies speaking Tagalog! It’s always surprising to learn when people who don’t have friends or family in the Philippines are actually interested in learning Tagalog. Actually, I got this from the tagalog community in LiveJournal and one of the people there is actually a student in that class (but wasn’t in the video). In response to the question of why anyone not Filipino would want to learn Tagalog, ptiza_schastya says:

No, i don’t have any friends and relatives in The Philippines and i have never been there 🙂
The thing is I’m studying in the Institute of Asian and African Studies and there are many different languages to choose to learn (the most popular are japanese and chinese of course) But the groups are small and there are many languages except these ones, so some people don’t pick the languages, they are just given it. So, i was given tagalog. But i absolutely don’t regret it 🙂

Just for the hell of it, I’ll try translating the above into Tagalog to see if I can do it:

Hinde, wala akong mga kaibigan o kamag-anak sa Pilipinas at hindi ako ever nakapunta duon 🙂 (Fuck!)

Ano kasi, nag-ii-study (Goddamit!) ako sa Institute of Asian and African Studies at marami yung mga lenguahe na pwede ko matutunan (crapper!) (yung pinaka popular ay siyempre yung hapon at intsik). Pero maliit ang mga grupo at meron mas maraming lenguahe kaisa sa mga ito, kaya hindi pini-pick (fuck bucket!) ng mga ibang tao yung mga lenguahe [na tinututunan nila], in-a-assign (bugger!) sa kanila. Kaya binigay lang sa akin ang tagalog. Kaso hindi ko ni-re-regret 🙂 (mother of fuck!).

The comments in parentheses are the muttered curses I let out when I kept resorting to Taglish. I marked out the cussing so you’ll know just how bad my Tagalog is. Six substitutions in one paragraph? That’s weak. I just know the Tagalog words will come to me later when I’m chopping vegetables or something. The “crapper” is for the fact that I actually swapped the Tagalog for “learn” for “choose to learn” because I couldn’t remember what “choose” was in Tagalog, subtly changing the meaning of the translation. And “popular” is spelled the same way as in English but pronounced like in Spanish. By the way, did you notice that I curse in English? I only have a ten year old’s grasp of Tagalog imprecations, I sound childish when I try to swear in it. Perhaps I should work on that.

[youtube]i3pGxctGDlc[/youtube]Also, this video from Youtube combines anthropology with Filipinos, or so the title screen claims. It seems to show the hijinks of a group of Filipino students in the Philippines and apparently doesn’t have anything anthropological in it, or so the comment below it says (I haven’t watched the whole thing):

astig ng vid, kahit di me anthro.. astig pa rin! galing mo kuya kimchi gumawa ng vid! -ann

“Cool video, even though there’s no anthro . . . but still cool! You’re great at making videos Kuya (big brother) Kimchi! – Ann”

That one was easier to translate. I assume this Kuya Kimchi is Korean from the nickname. Perhaps these are anthropology students? Youtube has so many of these enigmatic videos on it, they’re kind of sickeningly fascinating to watch. It’s like reading the personal blog of someone you don’t know and where almost all of the comments are clearly from people the blogger knows in person.

Technorati tags:

Procrastinators unite tomorrow!

N. Pepperrell and I have been having a little exchange about procrastination recently and I just happened to come across this article while not procrastinating yesterday. In it, Dan Ariely and Klaus Wertenbroch ask if deadlines actually help in stopping the commission of this mortal sin (I imagine that in Dante’s inferno, procrastinators are forced to live in a world where everyone else is also a procrastinator: coffee is half-brewed, tv shows are made the night before, Christmas is celebrated in between March and July). There’s also this website that tries to collect all procrastination-related research.

Anyway, in the paper, the researchers gave participants a task to complete by a certain date and divided them between those with evenly spaced deadlines and those who could choose their own deadlines anytime duging the work period (the last study also adds the option of having a deadline imposed at the end of the work period). The basic results are provided in the abstract:

In this article, we pose three questions: (a) Are people willing to self-impose meaningful (i.e., costly) deadlines to overcome procrastination? (b) Are self-imposted deadlines effective in improving task performance? (c) When self-imposing deadlines, do people set them optimally, for maximum performance enhancement? [. . . T]he answer is “yes” to the first two questions, and “no” to the third. People have self-control problems, they recoginze them, and they try to control them by self-imposing costly deadlines. These deadlines help people control procrastination, but they are not as effective as some externally imposed deadlines in improving task performance.

So self-imposed deadlines help, but not as much as deadlines imposed by some outside authority. Almost all of the participants were students except for one study, where they were professionals taking an executive-education course. I immediately wondered whether results coming from generally older and more experienced executives could be meaningfully compared to results coming from students, but right now I can barely muster up the steam for a good anti-quant rant. And I was totally not procrastinating when I wrote this post.

Technorati tags: ,

Can’t sleep, clown will eat me

It’s the allergy medicine I took in the evening, I had to take a nap because it made me drowsy and now I can’t sleep at all.  Boo medication.

There’s really nothing to do at six in the morning.  I haven’t been awake this early without having pulled an all-nighter in god only knows how long.  On the up side, I can actually go to the Farmers’ Market here and participate in all that organic food cult business that they do.  They open at 7 and I’ve never gone earlier than 10 AM, when apparently things start slowly winding down.  They do have some very good food, but most of it is stuff I could never afford unless I sell my organs or something.  Yay for conspicous consumption of class.

Anyway, I have a plan for today now:

  1. Play video games very quietly for 2 hours
  2. Go to Farmers’ Market
  3. Have breakfast there
  4. Wander around looking longingly at food I can’t buy
  5. Get some tomatoes and salad greens, possibly some fresh bread
  6. Go home
  7. Write a bit
  8. Hope the scallops I laid out last night have cooked themselves, plus maybe also cooked the pasta and prepared the pesto that I bought, and possibly even made garlic bread while they were at it
  9. Eat the lunch lovingly made for me by my own food
  10. Afternoon siesta
  11. Wake up in time for dinner (watch Eye 2 dvd rental if get up before then)
  12. Watch whatever’s on while Battlestar is gone until December 2
  13. Off to bed, secure in the knowledge that I’ve had a full day of work

Yessirree, sometimes the world doesn’t suck.  And looky, sunny today.  I’ll have to remember not to go outside on Sunday.

Note to self: do this after watching tv tonight

Walter Benjamin, One-Way Street
Post No Bills

The Writer’s Technique in Thirteen Theses

I. Anyone intending to embark on a major work should be lenient with himself and, having completed a stint, deny himself nothing that will not prejudice the next.

II. Talk about what you have written, by all means, but do not read from it while the work is in progress. Every gratification procured in this way will slacken your tempo. If this regime is followed, the growing desire to communicate will become in the end a motor for completion.

III. In your working conditions avoid everyday mediocrity. Semi-relaxation, to a background of insipid sounds, is degrading. On the other hand, accompaniment by an etude or a cacophony of voices can become as significant for work as the perceptible silence of the night. If the latter sharpens the inner ear, the former acts as a touchstone for a diction ample enough to bury even the most wayward sounds.

IV. Avoid haphazard writing materials. A pedantic adherence to certain papers, pens, inks is beneficial. No luxury, but an abundance of these utensils is indispensable.

V. Let no thought pass incognito, and keep your notebook as strictly as the authorities keep their register of aliens.

VI. Keep your pen aloof from inspiration, which it will then attract with magnetic power. The more circumspectly you delay writing down an idea, the more maturely developed it will be on surrendering itself. Speech conquers thought, but writing commands it.

VII. Never stop writing because you have run out of ideas. Literary honour requires that one break off only at an appointed moment (a mealtime, a meeting) or at the end of the work.

VIII. Fill the lacunae of inspiration by tidily copying out what is already written. Intuition will awaken in the process.

IX. Nulla dies sine linea * — but there may well be weeks.

X. Consider no work perfect over which you have not once sat from evening to broad daylight.

XI. Do not write the conclusion of a work in your familiar study. You would not find the necessary courage there.

XII. Stages of composition: idea — style — writing. The value of the fair copy is that in producing it you confine attention to calligraphy. The idea kills inspiration, style fetters the idea, writing pays off style.

XIII. The work is the death mask of its conception.

* “Not a day without a line,” i.e., writing a line — variously attributed to Horace, Cicero, Pliny, and a mess of other dead guidos.

Technorati tags: ,

Urge to kill rising (i.e., I want to leave edublogs)

Whenever I write about blogging, I usually discuss the sociological aspects of it instead of the technical stuff, mostly because everyone and their dog already blogs about XML and Python and whatsit. Nevertheless, I have to start talking about that crap now because I’m getting more and more pissed off at Why am I getting so much spam in my comments and why don’t you have an effective spam blocker up yet, huh edublogs? It’s been 2 hours since I cleared out all my spam comments and already there are 2 new comments extolling the virtues of online poker. I’m actually breaking my self-imposed rule of no computer use during the weekend because I don’t want to delete pages of spam on Monday.

Ok, screw this, I’m bailing. The only question is which bloghost I should go with. I like [Link is now defunct] because it’s like edublogs, but better. It has more WordPress stuff like better spam protection, more themes, better site statistics, podcasting and Youtube support, daily backups, and you can even have your own forums.

Blogsome seems to have pretty much the same thing, but apparently you can tinker directly with the coding of your blog, which gives you a nice degree of flexibility. What say you, Blogsome users? And if anyone else has other free bloghosting services to recommend, do speak up.

I think I already know how to export and import a blog. This post from JAWW explains things easily enough:

  1. Go to RSS2MT
  2. Put in the URL for your blog’s RSS feed
  3. Save the crap that pops out as a .txt file
  4. Go to your new bloghost, which must be using either Movable Type or WordPress for their blogs
  5. Click the “Import” tab
  6. Import the text file that you saved
  7. World domination

There are a couple of klunky annoyances with the importing, as the original post mentions, but I’m sure they’re a lot less annoying than manually copying and pasting all of the posts that you have. My biggest problem is that it seems comments can’t be exported as well, which is too bad. Actually, I don’t have many comments, maybe I’ll just edit each post so that the comments are included within them. Anyway, the reason I’m being so detailed is that I’m putting this up for any other edublogs users who want to join me as I make a run for the fences. Property is theft, down with sexism, crush the Gang of Four, etc.


Have been researching other bloghosts and have come across Blogiversity. They say that

Blog applications usually take 2 to 3 days to process. Why is there an application? Anyone can get a free blog these days. Our purpose is to create a community specifically for academic bloggers. We only want the best.

You have to tell them what subject you’ll be blogging about, which you pick out of a dropdown menu, and then you have to

Tell us a little about yourself (student, professor, research, hobby, etc.) and how you relate to this subject

Also, you have to give a sample blog post of 1-2 paragraphs. I’m not sure I like the whiff of elitism I get from this project. There’s always Anthroblogs, which is just for anthropologists. When I was deciding on bloghosts, I was actually considering either them or edublogs; maybe I would have been more satisfied with Anthroblogs. They could certainly use more people posting regularly.


RSS2MT is flawed, it only exports a summary of the posts. However, since edublogs has just upgraded, you can just do Export now, and it exports everything too. So this workaround is no longer necessary.