2008

You can’t really tell from this blog what I’ve been doing in the past year (or in previous years, either). Partly this is due to a congenital habit of not discussing anything that is directly relevant to my life. To know what’s going on you have to read the lacunae–if I’m not discussing it, it must be important to me1. The most prolific periods in this blog are from times when I wasn’t doing anything meaningful (and hating it). The recent long stretches of silence are due to an abundance of positive forward motion. The truth is, 2008 was a good year for me. Indeed, probably the most pressing dissatisfaction (and there are always dissatisfactions, c’est la vie) is the lack of reflection in my present mode. This makes me think about a Zadie Smith statement that she writes mainly so that she won’t sleepwalk through life. Yeah, let’s not do that. Anway, let me tell you about some major unannounced features of my current life.

First, I am 28. I am okay with this, really. Although I do think of January 13 as the starter’s pistol on a 2-year mad dash toward 30. Expect some erratic behavior  between now and then as I attempt to fill the waning years of my 20’s with value-added experiences.

Second, I am a graduate student. This is something that I’ve actually been doing since November of 2007. I am getting a Master’s in Philosophy at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. This implies that I am living in Pittsburgh. Duquesne’s is a “Continental” program. If you don’t know what this means, in a Continental program it is possible and even common to say something that sounds and may actually be insane and have everyone nod. I’ve taken 9 classes so far. 3 more and a language to go. Most of them have been really great.

  • Fall ’07: Freud, Aristotle Metaphysics, Hegel Science of Logic
  • Spring ’08: Hegel & Shakespeare, Husserl Ideas I, Nietzsche
  • Fall ’08: Deleuze A Thousand Plateaus, Sartre B&N, Heidegger Contributions of Philosophy
  • Spring ’09: Contemporary Political Philosophy, Early Modern Political Philosophy

I’m re-reading Leviathan! I’m reading about Rawls!

Third, I am living in Pittsburgh. In fact, I have been in Pittsburgh for more than 2 years now!2 When I first got to Pittsburgh two years ago in January I was involved in a longish and dispiriting job hunt that ended with me joining a temp agency and doing some truly dull data entry. After the summer I got paid for a while to program in Ruby on Rails, then didn’t work in Spring ’08. The whole of the summer was taken up with an increasingly desperate and focused job hunt for a real, honest-to-god programmer job, which I landed in August! Also, randomly: Amy and I visited Hawaii in July.

Fourth, I am a software developer. I get up at 6:30 in the morning and go off to work as a web developer until 5 PM (well, I’m on salary, so this isn’t always true). My classes are all scheduled from 6-8:40PM. It could be concluded that I am following a course of study that is unified by the principle (or business rule, if you like), occurs after 5PM. This would be an ungenerous conclusion. The language I program in is PHP3. This is funny, because I actually hate PHP as a language (I’m a Ruby man). I like programming, though. I really like being a professional. After a post-collegiate career that has consisted almost uniformly of unchallenging, dull, hateful jobs I have a true appreciation for a job wherein I show up, devise technical solutions to interesting problems and then collect a reasonable salary for the work I do. And if I go straight from reworking the logic of the site “shopping cart” to a discussion of the Deleuzo-Guattarian “Body Without Organs”, that is the price of this lifestyle that I’ve chosen.

Fifth, other things I should mention:

  • I am paying down my credit card
  • I own a Playstation 3 and have completed Fallout 3
  • I watch too many movies
  • I hardly ever read any more and know this is bad. I like Murakami and graphic novels by Yoshihiro Tatsumi.
  • I have a nuanced but nonetheless loyal attitude toward open source

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  1. I’ve long thought of this as the Kafka principle; Kafka never mentions God, Judaism or German ideology in his stories, which is how we know that he is preoccupied with these topics[back]
  2. I probably have a better internal map of Pittsburgh than I do of DC, because I’ve navigated a great deal of Pittsburgh’s east side by bike, whereas I seem to only know DC as a sliver of NW and a network of Metro stations.  [back]
  3. Primarily; web development is actually a combination of SQL, HTML, javascript and CSS and a server language[back]