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Friday Afternoon Confessional: Week One

I confess that after my first week of teaching, I am tired. I confess that I have not been taking my physical limitations into account when setting myself tasks to do of late — for instance, I apparently think that after a full day of teaching, followed by an afternoon of translating, I can come home and hammer out six postdoc applications, each of which requires materials that I need to write more or less from scratch. I confess that I cannot do that. I confess that I have not done that. I confess that I nonetheless remain pretty far ahead of the curve on the application process and probably need to just calm down. But I want to be done applying!

I confess that I’m enjoying In Defense of Lost Causes and that Zizek has produced in me a fascination with the history of Stalinism, but the kind of fascination that doesn’t lead you to want to do any independent research. I confess that reading Zizek calms me, though I expect very few people feel that way. I confess that I didn’t find the original Inglorious Bastards to be very interesting, but it was a decent way to unwind after a long day at the office.

I confess that I order out too much and cook even less than I did in Chicago. In part, that’s because my kitchen sucks and doesn’t have a dishwasher. In part, it’s also because I know how to cook relatively few things, I’m sick of half of them, and I’m not in the mood to try to learn anything new. I confess that I think I’m gaining weight, but all my close fit the same and no one has noticed any change (I’ve asked). I confess that tracking down a scale seems like too much effort — and besides, I’m not really clear on what I weighed before. I think the last time I weighed myself was after Thanksgiving dinner, which is presumably not representative. I don’t remember what I weighed then.


September 25, 2009 - Posted by | Friday Afternoon Confessional


  1. I confess that Adam misspelled “clothes”. I confess that I apparently am not good at estimating how often or much I drink.

    Comment by ben | September 25, 2009

  2. I confess that watching a hell of a lot of TV becomes much less easy when you have to do it for professional development.

    Comment by K-sky | September 25, 2009

  3. I confess that for the past five years, and until the past week, M and I have shared a twin-sized bed. This began as a temporary necessity, but it persisted for a number of reasons, key among them being, I confess, laziness and a perverse pride in my ability to endure what seemed to observers and my interlocutors to be an unedurable situation. I confess I associate youth, to some degree, with the willingness to tolerate and even enjoy discomfort.

    I confess that last week M and I both broke down, both in the sense of giving in and in the sense of reaching our breaking point, and purchased a queen-sized mattress. I confess that we failed to purchase an actual bed, however, and the mattress now lies on the floor, where, judging from our past practice, it will remain for at least the next five years.

    I confess that I don’t like the way a queen-sized mattress looks. Twin beds look so purposeful and tidy and bed-like. I miss my smart little twin bed. I proposed getting bunk beds, or a second twin, which we could put alongside our old bed with a nightstand in between, a la Lucy & Ricky, but M shot down those proposals. I confess to a twinge of regret.

    Comment by jms | September 25, 2009

  4. I confess that I apparently am not good at estimating how often or much I drink.

    Alcohol impairs judgment. This I confess.

    Comment by jms | September 25, 2009

  5. I confess I’m in serious financial trouble and that I sort of hate everything about my life.

    Comment by Anthony Paul Smith | September 25, 2009

  6. i confess i’m apparently bad with forgiveness and forgetfulness, i thought i’ll get over my latest online fight pretty easily but it nags me
    and what nags me is not guilt though i felt it just after that and wanted to dismiss the whole incident to my easily provoked impulsiveness, but it continues to nag me, now i realize that it’s the feeling that i was mistreated, never in my life was called so many names ranging from idiot, down to dickweed and a/hole by so many people and whom i used to respect and like or never even exchanged a word
    and for what, for telling the truth, truth hurts i know
    the people who can live two ways throughout everything, i mean why to have morals if you don’t live by them, really and they the cynics usually win, even apologies
    if people fight one-to-one it’s only fair imo, take your sword/gun whatever something and fight until the blood, but when all chose to pile on whoever alone chosing to defend the preferred that’s so collectivist
    and being told by the most thoughtful members of the collective that i don’t belong there and better leave is bitter, but as if the virtue is to belong anywhere
    hopefully i’ll get over it now

    Comment by read | September 25, 2009

  7. choosing

    Comment by read | September 25, 2009

  8. I confess to noticing the slight error Adam made as well, but Ben, is his oversight really your confession?

    I confess to sloth and consumption of many beers on an empty stomach.

    Comment by ebolden | September 25, 2009

  9. It’s quarter past eleven and I am just now thinking of putting my shoes on and going up to lab. I set my alarm for eight, you see, but I then shut it off and decided that a couple more hours of poor sleep (during which I dreamt of some fantastical creatures killing me and my entire family winning MacArthur Fellowships) was preferable to getting my ass in gear. Therefore, I confess to sloth.

    Let’s see, I ate too many Doritos last night; I confess to gluttony.

    I looked at a hottie on the street yesterday and contemplated her body; I confess to lust.

    I confess that I will not confess to the remaining Cardinal Sins. Instead, I will go to work.

    Comment by transportinburma | September 25, 2009

  10. Hmm, now that I think about it some more, I must confess that in my dream my sister did not win a MacArthur: My mom, my dad, and I all did, but she did not. WTG subconscious.

    Comment by transportinburma | September 25, 2009

  11. I confess that I had a confession this morning or perhaps last night or anyway whenever I posted my first comment in this thread but I’ve forgotten it. I confess that I’ve been feeling, lately, fitter, happier, and more productive—and that I’m pretty sure that was the confession I just claimed to have forgotten. I confess further that I don’t drink too much and take something resembling regular exercise, though not at a gym. I confess also that while I haven’t flushed a spider down a “plughole”, I did kill a daddy longlegs in cold blood just the other day.

    Comment by ben | September 25, 2009

  12. OK, one more Cardinal Sin, possibly: I confess that I was looking over my finances yesterday and I was dissatisfied with how their trajectory. I mean, they aren’t in terrible shape—I have a cash cushion and investments that could be sold if need be—but expenditures have been consistently exceeding revenues for awhile now, and I that is a position I do not like being in.

    It seemed once again, once I looked over my expenditure categories, that I have to choose between a fiscally sound asceticism and indulging in a few pleasures and being cash flow negative. Another option would be to ditch the shrink, but I don’t think that would be wise.

    In theory, I should be done with my degree (and earning a bigger paycheck) before this lifestyle does too much damage to my cash, but still, this is not an ideal position. Upon finishing this review, I concluded that I want to be earning more money. So I guess that means I must confess to greed.

    Comment by transportinburma | September 25, 2009

  13. I confess that I’ve put on something like 20 pounds over the last year and a half, give or take. Given that I previously resembled something like “Station to Station”-era Bowie, I’ll say this is not a bad thing.

    Though it has forced to me to buy new pants, having previously bought a number of pairs that perfectly fit my previous stick-figure incarnation.

    Comment by Michael Schaefer | September 25, 2009

  14. resembled something like “Station to Station”-era Bowie

    I confess it: Hot.

    Comment by jms | September 25, 2009

  15. I confess that I’ve adopted the practice of Friday Afternoon Confessional for my journal.

    I confess that I’m terribly conflicted about being on the “Jubilee team” here at school, which is basically a team that raises money and promotes a conference about the “Jubilee vision” that’s held every February in Pittsburgh.

    I confess that part, or all, of this conflictedness has to do with the same reasons that I’m not stepping up to “lead lessons” in the wake of the youth leader’s resignation at the youth group I help with. I’m not fit for that. It’s not in my nature.

    I confess that I do not want to write letters of support raising for the conference. I confess that I don’t put much stock in the rationalizations for doing so. Asking for money is asking for money.

    I confess that I want to write poetry in (the graded) response to “My Name is Asher Lev,” because I feel that this book deserves that kind of a response.

    I confess that I’m probably leaning towards an easier-to-do literary essay.

    I confess that I partially want to embrace what I’m good at: philosophy. I confess that I still find myself attracted to the arts in their various forms, especially creative writing. I confess that I’m not optimistic that I will ever resolve this tension, nor am I sure that I want to.

    Comment by dave | September 25, 2009

  16. Addendum: I confess that I ate too many spare ribs for dinner, and now I feel fat, so I’m going to switch from normal cargo shorts to elastic basketball shorts at 7:00 on Friday night. Settlin’ in for a wild one!

    Comment by dave | September 25, 2009

  17. i confess i’ve just found a hole in my jeans along the seam of the back pocket, that damn laundry mashine! it was kinda feeling cold and i palpated the place and found it
    have to go home and change how embarassing

    Comment by read | September 26, 2009

  18. I confess I should make copies of some recipes from Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks and send them to Adam.

    Comment by Anthony Paul Smith | September 27, 2009

  19. I confess that quesadillas would probably be an easy thing for me to make.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | September 27, 2009

  20. I confess that my observance of Yom Kippur this year will probably be limited to a short hike tomorrow morning. Possibly a tea and juice fast, although that doesn’t really mesh well with the hike idea.

    I confess that I will feel guilty about this half-assed spiritual-not-religious token gesture.

    Comment by K-sky | September 28, 2009

  21. You could also seek forgiveness from people in your life. I’m sure you don’t believe that you’ve led an interpersonally blameless life for the past year.

    Comment by ben | September 28, 2009

  22. I confess that I am addicted to KENKEN. I confess that I often worry about whether punctuation should be included in the anchor text when I am ending a sentence with a link.

    Comment by transportinburma | September 28, 2009

  23. I confess that I often worry about whether punctuation should be included in the anchor text when I am ending a sentence with a link.


    Glad to help.

    Comment by ben | September 28, 2009

  24. I confess that we ended up doing a spiritually satisfying hike-fast-prayer thingy, although I did not directly ask anyone for forgiveness. Except for last night, but that wasn’t so much programmatic as domestically urgent.

    I confess that I threw a machzor in the car on the way out to the mountains, just in case.

    Comment by K-sky | September 28, 2009

  25. Explain this to me: in the beginning of the chapter about Stalinism he says that it’s incorrect to view Stalinism as “cultural Thermidor”, and then he describes what seems to amount to cultural Thermidor. WTF?

    Comment by abb1 | September 30, 2009

  26. He seems to me to be saying “Yes, it’s a cultural Thermidor, but there were reasons inherent to the revolution itself that made such a turn appealling, aside from just a general fatigue with revolution” — namely, the claim that they were going to completely rebuild humanity from the ground up.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | September 30, 2009

  27. Yeah, I got that. But it’s weak. There was a whole bunch of cultural avant-garde phenomena in 1920s Russia, a beautiful absurdist streak, for example; all kinds of stuff, including, of course, humanism. He picks out this mechnistic branch, that I don’t think was anything like defining or even major and says: oh, thank god, we were saved from becoming industrial robots.

    I suppose it’s OK as a contrarian exercise, it’s entertaining, but not too convincing.

    Comment by abb1 | October 1, 2009

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