I have MOVED! You can view the entirety of the dubiousness that is Pan Kisses Kafka at http://pankisseskafka.wordpress.com , from now until probably eternally because it's free.
I have MOVED! You can view the entirety of the dubiousness that is Pan Kisses Kafka at http://pankisseskafka.wordpress.com , from now until probably eternally because it's free.
Having been on forced blog-hiatus for three years (literally, as I password protected PKK, then forgot the password, then let my account lapse and couldn't log back in to un-protect it), once PKK resurrected itself, I had no choice but to spend more time than I'm willing to admit (given the SEVEN research projects I am currently responsible for, not to mention the teaching and course development, because when you are at my stage of your career all your courses are new and thus take 5-10x as long as your more established colleagues') perusing the old me.
And yes, I do mean old--if I keep PKK up until next August, my THIRTY FUCKING SEVENTH BIRTHDAY jeeeeeeeeesh, that will be its 10th blogiversary. I will probably keep it up just for the cake, for reals--though I am currently investigating a migration to Blogger or Tumblr, since TypePad *costs money* hahahahahaha because it came into being back when people paid for things on the Internet that weren't porn ha ha!
Anyway, having "researched" the Previous Me I've thus come up with even more things about myself to be ashamed of, not least of which is my liberal use of words like "retarded," which I would never use now, as I consider myself in my adulthood to be an advocate and friend to people with intellectual disabilities. I'm not going to go back and redact anything I said when I was young and dumb--the main reason I resurrected PKK was to preserve it as really the only record I have of my late 20s, which admittedly are a time I would often rather forget (except my friends!), and so I'd like to preserve my past self in all of her horrific stupidity. I'm also aghast at the amount of promises I have broken as I got older, chief of which was my resolution never to password-protect my wireless router!!!! But, old me, times have changed!!! People download child pornography and watch "Drive" because they thought it would be like "2Fast2Furious" and then are incensed and disappointed and Skype with all of their friends about it whilst also playing World of Warcraft and EVERYBODY DOES IT! Look, younger me, the early days of WiFi were like the group-sex days of the Swingin' 70s: everybody did it without protection because nobody new any better. But, a few horrible viruses later, now you'd have to be, er, WILFULLY IGNORANT (see? I'm a better person now) not to do it with protection, so I'm not a flip-flopper ALL RIGHT??????
Anyway, I had a screed in me that I recently posted on and then deleted from and then reposted about on Facebook, and that is: last week on campus, there was a sort of "day of action" where many students and faculty gathered on our thing-that-is-not-a-Quad (it's grass in a DIFFERENT SHAPE, OH WHERE DO I TEACH, it is definitely not obvious--also I really like it here, let be said again, this job has been tip-top) to address some problems they see in the current "top-down" structure of the University, specifically that some high-ranking administrators make fucktons of money while simultaneously insisting they have to privatize the parking structures because the institution is taking a pit stop at destitute on its journey from excellence to eminence. I personally have no horse in this race--I have a bicycle, which I park for completely fucking free, and I think everyone who works here or attends here should also take a bicycle, or the bus, or their feet, and that anyone who lives too far away to do that should move, and that cars are probably the worst part of American society and anyone who drives every day deserves to have to pay shitloads of money to park because they are making the world such an infinitely worse place. All right, sorry, Tour de Fuck You over, back on track. Screed re-commence!
So, in addition to all of the smaller "action centers" around the not-a-Quad, there was also this one impromptu uninvited guy screaming all day, screaming invective about various logically-fallacious and inflammatory bullshit, that included but was not limited to: France is terrible, Socialism is all around us and why should we give any money to The Middleman, Al Gore doesn't donate any money to charity (I'm pretty sure this is actually totally false, as what are all his envirohippie organizations, fucking hedge funds?), college professors are stupid (UMBRIDGE!!!!! I TAKE PROFESSOR DOLORES UMBRIDGE!!!!), Ayn Rand Jesus Reagan Whatever, etc. This guy was shouting literally the entire school day and into the evening, so loudly that I could hear him in my office, which does not even face the not-a-Quad. So when I found myself returning library books and thus walking by this guy, I stopped to ask one of the (for reasons I still do not understand) raptly-listening undergrads, "Has he been doing this ALL DAY?"
Said rapt undergrad answerd me with more smugness than I think I have ever heard in my life, and remember I am from Eugene, Oregon: "Are you actually LISTENING to him? Like, listening and processing? He's pretty smart."
And, so, of course, I absolutely snapped. Just snapped. Shaking with rage, I first admonished the twerp not to call me fucking stupid (I stopped short of saying, "I have a PhD, do you KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO TO GET ONE OF THOSE?" because that would open me up to serious assault), and then said: "Just because he's stringing together a bunch of sentences that you do not understand does not make him smart. That guy is actually crazy, and I cannot believe you are listening to him." THEN the little stupid-hat-wearing pipsqueak smugly informed me he'd very much like to go back to listening to this guy's claptrap rant because the guy definitely wouldn't be around for another six hours spewing the same bullshit so everybody better listen NOW. So, I made my hasty exit, but not before admonishing six or seven other raptly-listening children: "This guy is NOT SMART. He is BATSHIT FUCKING NUTS." Unfortunately that had the effect of making *me* look batshit fucking nuts, and all I can hope is that none of those idiots shows up in my class next year (though I look forward to a complete and utter intellectual takedown of their bullshit Ayn Rand worship at the brain-hands of my enormous brain if they do). So I continued in my rage all the way home, and then raged a bunch more, and finally calmed down enough to figure out the source of said rage. This University is among the finest research institutions on Earth. That means that in literally every department there is at least one senior faculty member who is in the absolute top of his or her field. I'm sure there are some undergrad courses here that are duds (NOT MINE!! Mine are THE BEST! Today we watched Pinky und der Brain during our little break in the middle of class, and then talked about our feelings re: Gregor Samsa's death!), there are everywhere, but the fact that even a handful of these kids would rather listen--and not as spectacle, rapt as if it means something--to this crackpot full of sound and fury signifying nothing, than pay attention in and enjoy their world-class courses, just burns me up. So much that a week later I am still burning about it, despite the fact that zero fucks are given about it by anyone else.
Anyway, I felt pretty bad about it until one of my extremely kind colleagues took some time out from having a two-day-old baby to tell me I should indeed have chastised those kids for doing that, and that more people should have expressed their disapproval, and that made me realize, as I do many times every day, that despite the fact that it is almost as hard to get a tenure track job as it is to win the lottery and I very likely never will, I have the best profession on earth. Viva la professordom! It is the best! Huzzah!
For reasons as of yet quite unclear to me, I have decided to resurrect--temporarily--Pan Kisses Kafka. Stay tuned, or not, for what may or may not be a journey back to 2003 or whenever the hell I started this thing back when blogs were a thing. Worry not--this is not going to become a mommy blog or a food blog. A food blog about eating babies, maybe. Undecided at the moment. So, why the two-plus years of blog silence? Sometime in 2009 I went on the academic job market for the first time, and was under the absolutely re-goddamned-diculous impression that anyone in the universe with whom I'd applied to work would look at my dossier for more time than it takes to push a dossier aside, and then, then, THEN they would of course Google me, and then of course this blog would appear, and then of course they'd see how much I like to use the curse words and blaspheme and how I am prone to anxiety and depression and oversharing, and they'd be all like, WELL WE WERE DEFINITELY GOING TO HIRE HER BUT NOW WE'RE GOING TO GO FOR THIS SNOTNOSE FROM PRINCETON BUT ONLY BECAUSE OF THE BLOG. Ha! Ha. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Oh, pardon me, I am laughing cynically and with a marked edge of world-weariness because of what has happened in the two-plus years subsequently. Here is what happened.
1. I did manage to finish the PhD degree, in August of 2010 to be unnecessarily specific, and although my first year on the job market was met with what I now realize is a totally expecte silence, I did manage to secure what turned out to be a really wonderful part-time position at the Pierre Laclede Honors College at UM-St. Louis. Although I made a total of $19,000 my first year as a professor, I truly loved working there, my colleagues and especially my students.
2. During my year at UMSL, I was nominated for, and won, a prestigious postdoctoral fellowship, which put my dossier into a "clearinghouse" of the US's 90-odd most prestigious universities (not unlike the residency process for MD's, except I only save lives METAPHORICALLY). The process resulted in my current position at a massive, football-obsessed megauniversity in the Midwest that shall remain nameless, ha ha ha ha. I'm two weeks away from finishing the first of my two years here, and professional life this year has been CAH-RAZY.
3. I've published three articles, and have an advance contract on what I hope will be a very interesting book, and two chapters in edited volumes (one of which I am editing myself, with a friend). So, professionally I've been keeping myself pretty fucking busy.
4. My personal life is none of your BUSINESS, INTERNET, that's what Facebook is for!!!! BUT. I'll say that the particulars haven't changed, except that I'm once again on friendly speaking terms with my quasi-famous ex and in unrelated news JUSTIFIED IS THE BEST SHOW ON TELEVISION AND YOU KNOW IT.
5. I cut my hair off, and stopped dyeing it, and it has a lot of gray in it because I'm almost 36 now, but it's cool. As anyone I know will tell you, I had pneumonia this year and it brought about a lot of soul-searching, most importantly the conclusion that as long as I am healthy, I'm going to stop having a crap attack about what I look like.
Anyway, that's the haps, Internet. I am Lazaraus, back from the dead, back to bore the bejeezus out of you all with my very boring life.
OH, ALSO, OF COURSE, 6. I have an iPhone now like a normal person and haven't used the TypePad interface since only a few people had an iPhone, so pardon the old-fashionedness while I figure some shit out around here.
The view from my office desk onto the roof of the Uni-Hauptgebäude and miscellaneous elements of the first and second districts. Otherwise known as "no longer reflecting the total and utter despair of humanity back at me, thanks to a little blue sky." Miraculous.
Apparently, if you drink enough Erdbeerbowle and eat enough Krapfen, Jesus himself will resurrect out of these eggs! Also, five minutes after I took this picture it rained again. Also, there was a giant rabbit on display, but none of the photos I took of her had anything to show for scale (except her babies, which were the size of full-grown regular rabbits, but NOBODY BELIEVES ME), so I'm not going to show them here.
Blossoming trees at Sigmund-Freud-Park, from inside the 44 tram, a place I find myself less and less the better the weather gets (but I still try to ride the tram at least once every day, simply because it's fun. I hope to have a tram-only photo album before I leave, where I try to ride as many trams in one day as I can and go to the weirdest places they'll go).
The sun came out in Vienna. I repeat: the sun. Came out. In Vienna. For the past five days! in a row! it has been balmy and warm here in my adopted drizzlefest, and it as if the entire city came out of a coma (besides the Junkies at Karlsplatz, who are still in their comas).
This is what I thought it would be like here for the rest of my life.
This miracle of weatherosity happened to come during a rare week "off" from my "work" in which I have just handed in an 80-page dissertation chunk (thankyouverymuch) and am waiting to hear back from my "adwiser" about it, as they say here. So on Sunday I was actually able to spend the entire day outside and (mostly) fucking around (I did have one real appointment). So it was a day full of adwendture, as they would say here (whilst speaking English, that is, and yes I am sure I pronounce German words funny too, especially given that I have only half-affected an Austrian accent since getting here, and so I just sound unplaceable and mangled most of the time), including but not limited to being late for said appointment and, in my lateness, having to run/jog/cantor/gallup through the Karlsplatz/Oper tunnel, a.k.a. the Horizontal Junkie Roller Coaster.
Every junkie in Vienna hangs out at Karlsplatz, scoring, nodding, and generally milling about in a heroin stupor. They are constantly watched by the police (it is one of the few official "Protected Zones" in the city where a cop can bascially bust you for loitering for any reason) and apparently the municipal authorities are grateful they are all in one place. But it's really a sight to behold--it's like being in a zombie movie and not realizing you were in it until it started playing. And, needless to say (though I am anyway), junkies move at special junkie pace, i.e. not very fast. So there I was trying to get where I was going in a hurry, a concept completely unfamiliar underneath Karlsplatz, and so there was no other alternative than a Junkie Slalom. And I was good! No bodily contact and minimal witnessing of nodding/shooting/shuddering/dealing (although I did see one deal, which was fascinating--a guy came up to another guy, both lumbering in the same direction, and grabbed his hand like he wanted to hold hands--I was like, "Why are those two bemullteted guys holding--OH WAIT, I GET IT." Interestingly enough it was also the only time I have ever heard a Viennese say "thank you" and mean it). I could medal in the Junkie Slalom if Wien ever hosts the winter Olympics.
Anyway, the end of the Junkie Slalom is not only the world-famous Vienna State Opera House, but also the world-famous Vienna Music Toilet, a 60 cent (and ergo junkie-bereft) pay toilet decked out like an old opera house where you listen to classical music while you pee! I have always wanted to have the call of nature in the vicinity of the Vienna Music Toilet and NOW I HAVE!
Just look at it! How can you NOT want to pee there?
I finished off my grand day by taking a magnificent walk up to the second district, whereupon I checked out a free Citybike (My brother: "Vienna has, like, MUNICIPAL BIKES?" Me: "Yep, it's pretty great." My brother: "Do you have to sign up at the city office?" Me: "Even better: THERE ARE MACHINES."), and rode it to and through the Prater, which was just beginning to bloom back into green magnificence and teeming with every single Viennese in the universe, just like all other outdoor spaces have been during the sunshine resurrection.
The Prater. Like imagine the rides from Coney Island getting dropped into the middle of the most magical park ever, and you're still not imagining it right.
You know you're in Vienna when even the pathetic-looking McDonald's outside the Meiselmarkt in the prostitute-infested 15th District has a nice-looking patio (and no I do NOT eat at McDonald's, it happens to be right by the bus stop in front of my gym).
This isn't even a picture I took, but it is THE EXACT Citybike station I used!
Speaking of the gym, my adwentures continued into today, when not only did I see even more prostitutes than usual, but also I saw a very peculiar thing at the gym: one of the women in the locker room had constricted her midsection with Saran Wrap while she worked out, as if she was trying to sculp her waist out in 1950 or whenever the last time people though you could actually lose weight that way was.
Anyway, I'd apologize for never updating my blog but nobody cares. I thought I'd just take this opportunity to create a record, for when it starts snowing again in two weeks, that the sun! emerged! ever so briefly! in Vienna.
As you may or may not have noticed via the sidebar directly to the right of this text, I have, reluctantly at first, joined the ranks of the Twits. I say reluctantly at first because from the moment I started following Shaq, my life was changed in the way most born-again fundies' are changed when they develop a personal and passionate and not at all (homo)erotic relationship with Christ. Therefore I passive aggressively encourage you NOT to follow me on Twitter* as my ability to create full-length blog posts continues to dissolve along with my ability to formulate a correct and compelling English sentence. One might think this meant I was now immensely good at German, but one would be raising one's expectations too high in that case.
*and if you "follow" me then perhaps I shall also "follow" you and then we can creepily and passively "know" each other in the same way that I now "know" Shaq.
Which is why I have decided this is exactly the right moment to start selling utterly ridiculous t-shirts.
They are really overpriced and for that I am sorry, but CafePress is the only thing I can afford right now (i.e. no dough up front and these are mostly a joke anyway). I get $1 for every shirt ($2 for some of the kiddie ones, because people with children deserve to be punished. Just kidding). Here is a sample graphic from one:
The "line" is called Citations Required Clothing.1
For example, while most people would probably be able to recognize Russell and Wittgenstein in this one (my personal fave part is Russell's pipe), only the most diehard philosophy-head might recognize the august figure on the top left.
Anyway, I mostly did this for my own amusement, since I doubt anyone has 20 big ones to go blowing on obscure apparel, but hey, what the hell.
...because they were waiting in Istanbul.
I just got back from a brief vacation (it is "semester break" here in Austria) in Istanbul, Turkey, which was overwhelming, hectic, challenging and overall fantastic (though when I go back--and I will go back!--I hope to have a male with me, because being a foreign woman with another foreign woman in some of the really touristy spots in Istanbul is basically like saying "HEY CREEPY DUDES, BOTHER ME A LOT!"). I wish I had been able to get to know the city better (and also learn more Turkish!), and I am sure that local women, especially in the younger areas, don't have the kind of problems I did, so I am not going to complain about the harassment anymore--rather I am going to say it was actually a GOOD thing, because it kept me moving at a reasonable clip for 8 hours every day (if you stopped or looked even remotely confused or even excited about the scenery, then it was time for HELLO EXCUSE ME WHERE YOU ARE FROM YES PLEASE FREE HUGS!). Thus I have an astounding number of photos to share (they are mostly on my Facebook page, but I thought I would share a select few here for the strangers of the Interweb as well). And, also, thus I got to absolutely chow down EVEN MORE THAN I USUALLY DO every single day with absolutely no worry about calories, fat, sugar or whathaveyou because I am pretty sure I burned 2000 extra calories a day schlepping around.
Here is a brief taste. We saw most of the Major Sights, including the architecture marvel that is the Ayasofia (erstwhile church, then mosque, now museum). From the outside:
And from the inside (one of approx seventy-twelve kajillion photos I took, none of which did it justice):
The Blue Mosque, which you could see from our hotel's roof terrace/breakfast room/24 hour coffee-cookies-cake reception area (aka the best place in the universe). Our first night there, which was actually 5 a.m. (in unrelated news: never fly SkyEurope not matter how good the "deal" seems at the time), we had just drifted off to sleep when we had our first experience of the Muslim call to prayer. It is absolutely amazing souding, because it goes off all over the city almost at once (not exactly at once, probably, as Megan theorized, because the sun is in a different position at every mosque location--but I am not sure, I will actually read this Wikipedia entry on Islam when I am done putting these babies up):
To the best of my ability, no exterior shots of the mosques were made during prayer time (and obviously our interior tours were never allowed to happen during that time)--which is no small feat, considering that it's five times a day! I don't understand how Muslims get anything done (though Istanbul, despite the large numbers of bescarved and beveiled women, seemed pretty secular, in that most people I saw on the street didn't really heed the call to prayer). Here's a (hopefully tasteful) shot of the interior of the Blue Mosque and its amazing mosaic work:
Women were supposed to cover their heads inside--Megan and I did, but as you can see some women did not. I found that exceedingly disrespectful, but as Megan points out, Christians also find it disrespectful when I say Jesus H. Tap-Dancing Christ all the time. I think I am eager to be super-respectful of Muslims in Turkey because apparently pre-2008 elections, 83 percent of Turkish people had an unfavorable or very unfavorable view of Americans (this courtesy of the issue of Time Out Instanbul in our lobby).
One of the most amazing things about Istanbul was the incredible mixture of archiecture through the ages, which was nearly impossible for an amateur photog such as myself to capture with my camera machine:
This is a street scene we happened upon on one of many serendipitous wrong turns (most streets in Istanbul are not marked anyhow, though, so our general MO was to look up and identify the monument most clearly visible to us, be it mosque, other manmade marvel, or giant body of water--or, a lot of the time, merciful, merciful tram tracks).
According to Professor Wikipedia, Istanbul is the third-largest city proper in the world. This is not at all hard to believe when you are there and see it going on forever and ever in all directions. Oh, also, now I've technically been to Asia (not in the above photo, but in the below one, where I took a boat trip on the Bosphorous that dropped us off at the mouth of the Black Sea on the Anatolian side).
Other highlights included the Basilica Cistern, built by the Romans in the FIFTH MOTHERTRUCKING CENTURY AD, and now housing the world's coolest Koi pond.
It was an unforgettable trip all around, and one that I would take again in a heartbeat, though preferably with a slightly higher-end airline and a be-phallused individual as an escort.
A Better "Stimulus Plan"
Now it is abundantly clear that no Republican will respond to Pres. Obama's protracted efforts to court them (with everything from cocktail parties to Superbowl Sunday--what's next, will he skywrite I LOVE BONER, I MEAN BOEHNER, over Bethesda?) and that they have committed to the idea of "fixing" the economy by giving the dwindling amount of rich people in the US more money, aka exactly what G.W. Not President Anymore Bush did for eight years that greatly contributed to the current shitstorm. Fine. That's fine. I'm happy about it--because since Democrats have a majority in both the House and the Senate, they can pretty much pass whatever the fuck bill they want to. They already "compromised" by taking some family planning and National Mall revitalizing out (because those things both help poor people!) and the Republicans said, "No, thanks, we'll just listen to 'Eye of the Tiger' and then sit this one out." Which again is their perogative. I just think that my party should take this opportunity to "refurbish" the stimulus so that it goes to some better things. Like this.
Because if the Republicans are going to tell Pres. Obama to fuck off no matter what it is, we might as well make it good.
EINS. Compose and mail letter to The Future re: Derrida being total jagoff.
RESOLUTION THE SECOND. Finally, finally, once and for all--no procrastinating this time--finish last edits on ending to Das Schloss, where K. develops a passionate and personal relationship with Jesus Christ and they consummate this relationship on the very same pub-floor where he and Frieda met all those many months ago. Will be controversial but avant-garde book.
III. Start Blog Grudge Match with Karl Kraus--guy obviously has way too much time on his hands.
THREE TIMES ONE PLUS ONE. Stop dreaming about buying ear-flattening cosmetic procedure on credit. There's a recession on now, and if I want to stop looking like Will Smith/The Brain, I have to save up to do it.
SECHS. Invest in aeroplanes. Combines love of aeroplanes with love of investing (asbestos factory not doing so well, so need to broaden portfolio).
REZ THE SEVENTH. Tell Brod that the mustache makes him look like Kaiser Wilhlem at a Cabaret and that it is not "working" for him.
#8. Tell Felice that she would look a lot more attractive if she were a man.
IX. Give "In der Strafkolonie" new title, "Pallin' Around With Magical Looks Into The Future About Fascism--You're Welcome, Anachronistic Theorists!"
LAST. Create addendum to Letter to Future re: Foucault.