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Bugle and Accordion

Yesterday I went into Manhattan to try a South Indian place called Hampton Chutney; I had a gigantic dosa (are there any other kinds?); it was good, and the workers were pretty talkative. I was puzzled a bit when one of the servers referred to his boyfriend (not present) as a "she"; people keep adopting weird inconsistencies in their language that make it hard to talk! Anyhow, eventually wandered off and ended up in the cafe of a nearby bookstore (McNally Jackson), where I got some coffee and read some more Eduard Bernstein; he's one of the better socialist theorists I've read, and his criticism of mainstream socialist movements feels more intelligent than Trotsky's. After a bit, I went into the bookstore part and snagged two more bits of reading material:

  • An issue of 「Socialism and Democracy」, a surprisingly intelligent and theoretical heterodox academic journal in socialism. The first article in this is a critical analysis of the state of socialism in China that I particularly liked; I haven't read much of the rest yet
  • 「The Monstrosity of Christ: Paradox or Dialectic」, which looks to be a debate between Zizek and Milbank; I haven't started on this yet
Topped off the evening with a long, pretty random walk through SoHo and the Village; it was refreshing deciding whether to turn, go straight, or turn around based on whatever felt right at the time rather than trying to go somewhere in particular. This eventually landed me at Washington Square Park, which was surprisingly full for after sunset. It was great seeing people spread out all over the place socialising; various ages, crowds. I still felt alone, as I basically always do, but it's nice to see that others are doing ok and that culture is alive. It was neat seeing a father help his daughter learn to skateboard by running her around the central part of a (turned off) fountain; something about the way he went around once-and-then-some felt like exactly the length I would do were I in his shoes; spent some time wondering about what that means; is there a specific number of loops that's natural when we're showing a physical skill to someone in a space like that?

Recently I've been spending a reasonable percentage of my travel time (subway) playing Disgaea 2 on my new PS Vita (handheld gaming system). The device is pretty capable and rather cute, and it's a neat distribution mechanism to download the games rather than slide physical media into the system. I'm a bit bothered that I'm defying convergence of devices; in theory I should be able to do everything I do on a gaming device on my Android instead, or at least some suitable imagined merged device, but I guess we're not there yet (whether for technical reasons or because the companies involved have business arrangements that make it unlikely. It's also nice just vegging out; I've never been very good at calming my mind unless I'm taking it all the way to meditation, and the continual stream of things to think about eventually exhausts me (to the extent that sometimes I go to sleep when I'm not particularly tired because I just finished with a really big, nuanced idea and I don't want to be automatically swept into whatever's coming next. Alcohol in theory could help, but I'd need to drink enough to risk a migraine to get the needed slowing effect.

Today I went for another run in Prospect Park; my feet are not tough enough for barefoot runs of any length yet though; blisters stopped the run a lot earlier than I would've liked. I do have some of the post-run good-feeling, but none of the soreness I crave. There was potato/leek soup at the coffeeshop just around the corner from my place today, which was great.

I've been hoping for rain for awhile; I don't think I've experienced rain in NYC yet, and rain (like other parts of nature) is part of my formula for sanity.

Semi-recently I went to a meetup of an anti-superstition society, and after the main meeting we went to a bar (Where I had a very long conversation on methods of neuroscience, and another very long conversation on changes in the academic publishing ecosystem. After that a few of us went dancing in a really crowded place in Soho (I think); my dancing got me some unwanted flirting from the wrong people, and little interest from someone who might be potentially one of the right people from our group. Oh well. Awkward times. Also semi-recently replaced my ragged old shoes with new ones; I am hoping they get broken-in soon, as the last time I did this I was getting frequent blisters for a few weeks (definitely worth it in the long run though; these are really comfortable shoes).

I think I've hit the 1-month point of living in NYC; my monthly transit pass expired and needed a recharge. I'm still really lonely, and don't have any prospects for a significant other, nor much in the way of new friends, but I've had one-off meetings of some interesting people in subways, and I've been to some good (and bad) meetups, had some good conversations, got my bike working again, and have explored some cool places. My diet has improved quite a lot with easy access to oranges and apples basically everywhere in the city, and it's pretty cool to be living so near a huge variety of little shops.

I am still trying to figure out the more-job-than-I-have thing; benefits, how much work, how can I help humanity, how can I best mix my skills and attributes to do something worthwhile that pays reasonably.