social experiment, apartment setting

May 20th, 2004 § 0 comments § permalink

there is an old politically incorrect russian jokes that goes:

do you know how chinese people name their children?


they throw some silverware down the stairs and name the child by the resulting sound.

well, as an american liberal arts enlightened student, i dismissed this as culturally insensitive nonsense.

but just now, i dropped a spoon in my room, and my flat mate (whose chinese name I cannot pronounce and out of sensitivity for the shortcomings of our pronunciation he introduces himself as john) suddenly responded from his room down the hall, ‘yes’.

bewildered, i thought, is there anything to this? does it deserve a follow up experiment?

update: 3 hours later.

my friend was over this time, so i say this with the weight of 4 ears. i accidentally clanked my cup on the table. this time john was in the kitchen. ‘yes’, he said but then walked over to the door and checked to see if anyone was there.

it must be that he has sensitive ears and timid quietly knocking friends, which actually is the case.

lunch …

March 20th, 2004 § 0 comments § permalink

he cut himself off a large slab of cheese and picked out of the bag the biggest tomato and as he was making a sandwich thought his choices representented the most pleasant of provisioning practices — provisioning for the present, exactly! — more for the now and less for later.

American Students and Czeck Conscientiousness

March 19th, 2004 § 0 comments § permalink

today, i was talking to a professor about the divergent in-class speaking practices of students in england vs. america. in england they remain intelligently silent. in america students take as a general rule to ask a question or say something per class. is my following remark true:

In American classrooms (and possibly as a microcosm for wider academe) talk is used to dispel misconceptions. To talk in class is to expose yourself. May as well say things with conviction which your evidence allows you to conclude. Ideally this will serve as incentive for the next piece of evidence which contradicts your assertion to emerge. The louder a conviction is broadcast the more likely someone who is in possession of such evidence and whose interests are (or sense of dignity is) sufficiently perturbed will respond. This is a healthy classroom discussion.

It also helps to know that the disbursement of social activity is different in American colleges. Classes have to be more conversational because they are replacing other communication venues, such as: supervisions, tutors, meetings with the director of studies, even the pub. A classroom setting is often seen as a plebeian assembly. Besides classes are 3 to 4 hours a week. Some lecture seminars are three hours long. Or when considered from the perspective of educational economics in large classes you have to talk to ever lock eyes with a professor.


the fact that she is originaly from czekoslovakia, reminded me of an absurdism i used to assert to my friends after czeckoslovakia (in my lifetime) became two countries; you may find it humorous:

the humbled people of the independence movement of the czeck republic and slovakia arrived at the respective names of their counties out of consideration for the many people in the world who have purchased a map which lists them as one country. to minimize universal inconvenience, they drew the border in pen on the bestselling map. this line crossed through the ‘o’ and it was settled, one side “czeck” and the other “slovakia” and a convenient rule of thumb for where the border passes.

in simplest terms …

February 23rd, 2004 § 0 comments § permalink

i have also fallen madly in love with my handwriting and have spent the last hour scribbling thoughts on paper with a mechanical pencil–i only mention the mechanical pencil because for the duration of the past hour it was just as much of my social output as i was. i have grown rather fond of mechanical pensils over this hour. over this hour i have decided to buy a proper mechanical pencil that can hold its lead in a sturdy enough grip to allow long arcs with the sharp pencil tip without rotation and minimal breakage.


December 22nd, 2003 § 0 comments § permalink

it would be less forgivable to have neglected to meet a person from the area than to have missed a tourist attraction.

lucas, the catalanian dj mr.kmp, is our redemption. peretz met him in san francisco this summer.

he let jane try out his scooter.