Saturday, February 16, 2008

I Shake My Fist at Cruel Fate

I am presently stuck in the Seattle Airport on a disatrous trip. I was left on the tarmac for an hour and a half yesterday at LAX before we were sent back to the gate for a maintenance/paperwork issue. This caused me to be late into Seattle missing my connecting flight to Walla Walla on the only flight in to such a small airport. I could not get rerouted to Pasco, Yakima, or Pendleton before the next morning. The airline scheduled me to arrive on the first plane into Walla Walla Saturday morning and put me in a hotel in Seattle. I got up at 7am and went to Sea-Tac airport for my flight. The new plane was delayed and then the flight was outright canceled with it's own maintenance problem. Presently, I am scheduled to depart at 2:25 to arrive in Walla Walla on a different plane at 3:25. I am wearing the same clothes and the same disposable contacts because I don't have access to my checked bag. I've effectively yelled at 4 different customer service desks, but cannot get additional compensation until I fight with the national customer service center that won't open till Tuesday after the holiday. I'm getting hammered and am ordering the most expensive food in the Sea-Tac airport for lunch to maximize the vouchers. I think I'll get the wild alder plank salmon before my flight. My daughter has been heartbroken by this loss of a day on my "3-day weeekend" - there will be hell to pay! Have a good weekend, I'll try to salvage mine!

Friday, February 15, 2008

An Abyss of Emptiness on Valentine's Day

On that most oppressive of all days, V-Day, I was actually required to attend a lecture on Byzantine iconography given by one of the world's foremost experts on Saint Valentinus. Walking back I found it amusing how much the modern concept of V-day is so superficially detached from the historical context of it's origin. As I watched with horror the ritual rush of couples and flowers trying to make something of the scourge of expectation that is V-day, I reconfirmed my position that love is usually a self-deluded falsehood of conditioned brain chemical responses that allow spiritually grotesque (and often physically grotesque) people to find each other appealing. There are exceptions, but they are more rare than most people think. Unfortunately, modern concepts of love are usually driven by self-serving needs to feel desired or special, rather than any selfless disposition toward the other party. It is akin to spiritual prostitution. On every V-day, the level of desperation in the air by people trying to tangibly confirm their ideas of love can be seen as comically tragic. I find this neediness weak and pathetic, people need to learn to cleanse their souls in the pit of despair and loneliness in order to truly find themselves and become a self-contained whole. On the real side of the emotion, I am about to fly back to Oregon today to spend the weekend with my daughter. I will be looking forward to a completely lovely 3 day weekend! Until next week, be well!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Food Coma after a Large Dinner

After a prominent guest speaker today, I was able to gorge myself on a dinner of very high quality at the faculty center (usually no grad student rifraff allowed). As a poor grad student, the opportunity for a free dinner invitation is always welcome. However, this evening offered especially appealing group conversation over drinks and appetizers, followed by a full menu of quality cuisine options and first rate bottles of vino. All the Byzantinists and Late Antiquity people went with a variety of elegantly prepared fish dishes consistent with the prominent Christian iconography associated with fish. The guest speaker actually made a light-hearted comment on the choice similarities reflecting areas of study. Maybe her assessment had something to it as reflected by the conspicuous contrast with the arrival of my dish. A couple hours before, I had just delivered my preliminary paper topic outline to this group. The outline emphasized the importance of gladiatorial games and spectacles in reinforcing Roman imperial order with the executions of Christians in the arena (I also was able to do it without getting bogged down in the quagmire that is Foucault). True to form, the arrival of my succulently juicy medium rare prime-rib dinner confirmed the bloodlust and brutality of my particular area of historical inquiry. In any case, this delicious dinner was followed by a most excellent dessert of the tiramisu variety and more vino. I hadn't eaten a quality meal in quite a while - it was good to gorge myself in true Roman fashion. Now I must lay around in a worthless fashion for a bit. Fine!