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Friday Afternoon Confessional: A State of Rest

I confess that I am remaining in Kalamazoo this weekend, as The Girlfriend is taking a trip to Costa Rica with a college friend. The break from travelling is much needed, and it will also give me an opportunity to write my AAR paper and to berate myself for not achieving a list of potential tasks so long that I’m embarrassed to go into detail. This Thursday in Liberation Theology we discussed Cornel West’s notion of the inherently tragic nature of human experience, the notion that all historical accomplishments necessarily fail to reach all their goals — I fully expect to have yet another example when class reconvenes on Tuesday.

I confess that my department head is going to observe my class on Tuesday and I’m not so much nervous as puzzled about how it’s going to work in practice. I confess that I am also giving my first exam this Tuesday, in Classical Christian Thought. I confess that I want them all to get A’s.

I confess that Thursday marked my first trip to the grocery store since moving to Kalamazoo. I confess that another highlight of this week was that I actually received an expected check in the mail for the first time, as well as a magazine. I confess that I have bought at least a magazine from this awesome newsstand in downtown Kalamazoo every time I walk by it because I think it’s amazing that it even exists and want to contribute in some way.

I confess that I place much too high a priority to having an empty inbox whenever possible. It actually bothers me when there are messages hanging around in my inbox that I haven’t acted on, at least when it gets to the point of a few days. I sometimes use Gmail’s “starred items” (which I have duplicated in my Kalamazoo e-mail account using a folder) to solve this problem, diluting the concept of “starred items” somewhat, as I initially used it for messages I wanted to keep track of long-term. This is the amount of intellectual-emotional overhead I work with every day, just related to e-mail.

I confess that I’m writing this confessional as a way of procrastinating on my translation.

October 23, 2009 - Posted by | Friday Afternoon Confessional


  1. I confess that San Jose (California, not Costa Rica) seems like a charming town but it’s a sucky place to be on a business trip when you have no car and don’t know anyone in the area. Except I confess I did a little eep! when the taxi drove past the eBay campus with the big eBay sign. I confess I’m such a total nerd.

    Comment by jms | October 23, 2009

  2. There’s a good falafel place in San Jose. This I confess.

    Comment by ben | October 23, 2009

  3. I confess that San Jose always struck me as hundreds of parking lots strung together by highways–even after I got used to the all-driving life in and around Palo Alto, San Jose always seemed really weird, hard to define, not city-like at all but far too large and self-contained to be a suburb. Never did figure it out.

    Comment by Michael Schaefer | October 23, 2009

  4. San Jose always seemed really weird, hard to define, not city-like at all but far too large and self-contained to be a suburb.

    On the other hand — you can really breathe in San Jose. They’ve got a lot of space. There’ll be a place where I can stay.

    Comment by jms | October 23, 2009

  5. There’ll be a place where you can park, for sure.

    Comment by Michael Schaefer | October 23, 2009

  6. If jms stays in Los Angeles much longer, she’ll be parking cars and pumping gas.

    Comment by ben | October 23, 2009

  7. I confess that I’m starting to get my hopes up about one specific school, and I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

    I confess that I’m going to indulge as much as possible on cheesesteaks this weekend, when I head to Philadelphia to see Andrew Bird and St. Vincent in concert.

    I confess that I’m really sore from playing Ultimate Frisbee on Wednesday, and this is partly because I never exercise. I confess that I can never spell the word exercise correctly, and this may also be because I never exercise.

    I confess that I’m probably going to be unproductive today, even though I had a stack of interlibrary loan books staring at me.

    Comment by dave | October 23, 2009

  8. San Jose is also be commended for its kick-ass good public library.

    Comment by Brad Johnson | October 23, 2009

  9. I actually grew up in San Jose and currently live near there. It is not a charming town. There is no potential way to describe it as a charming town. There is absolutely nothing, by design and intention, in it to make it charming. If there was something charming in San Jose, it would be immediately bulldozed and paved over just to make sure nothing else of that sort would ever happen again. San Jose is what happens when, in the middle of the 1950s, the defense industry dumps a shit-ton of money onto a farming community whose only previous known contribution to world civilization was brutally lynching two men in 1933. And that farming community, because it’s the 1950s and because they have no taste, believes that the mid-1950s San Fernando Valley is the unparalled height of civilization. The San Fernando Valley is bad in and of itself, of course. But far worse is a place intentionally designed to be the Platonic ideal of the San Fernando Valley as envisioned by a city planner in 1955.

    That’s why Schaefer is having a confusing experience – in San Jose, he’s in Los Angeles (a bunch of suburbs searching for a downtown) but experiencing a pure distillation of the Los Angeles experience. Even Los Angeles never quite achieved the purity of experience that San Jose does. JMS, the experience of seeing the eBay logo on a building fades once you’ve experienced the tech economy boom/bust a few cycles (which it does with depressing regularity).

    The falafel place is indeed good, as is the public library, which I’ve apparently hooked Brad on. It should be noted, however, that the public library is not good because of any foresight or literary tastes of the citizens – most of whose reading lists begin and end with “C++ for Dummies” and when they finish “C++ for Dummies” complain that it’s written in too literary a style – but because San Jose needed to tear down it’s old downtown public library building (an architectural mediocrity of almost unbelievable blandness) to create yet another convention center; and San Jose State University needed a bit of cash to rebuild it’s grossly aged library.

    Comment by burritoboy | October 23, 2009

  10. i confess i was upset yesterday all day due to the phrase ‘the inherently tragic nature of human experience’, mol, how true, that suggestible or what, i dropped i seem its further explanation about the historical events and now find it even more like depressing, if it’s like that generalizable

    Comment by read | October 24, 2009

  11. I confess to also having the Silicon Valley tourist experience when I first got there–Cupertino actually exists, there really is a 1 Infinite Loop Drive, and I can say I’ve driven down Sand Hill Road many, many times now–but the novelty passes quickly.

    Still, I’ve never been anywhere that’s so in-tune with the -experience- of driving as that part of California–huge, wide roads that go on forever, broken up by twisty mountain roads that belong in a BMW ad, with scenery that oscillates between really awesome and once-in-a-lifetime breathtaking. It’s totally different from the Midwest, where you can drive forever but there’s nothing to see and fuck-all to do. Fun stuff when you’re 22 and lucked into driving a pretty excellent car.

    None of this applies to San Francisco proper, of course–a glorious city that might be the worse place in the world to drive a car.

    Comment by Michael Schaefer | October 26, 2009

  12. I confess that I just woke up at 1:45 PM on a Monday, and have intentionally shirked all of my responsibilities for today. The reason for this is that I didn’t get back until 5 AM last night because my roommate and I were in Philadelphia for an Andrew Bird/St. Vincent concert.

    I confess that I feel no remorse about skipping all responsibilities.

    Comment by dave | October 26, 2009

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