Vienna diary week 4, special super-abridged edition:
MONDAY: Back to work at the IFK, where during the week a trudge turned briefly into a sprint–though certainly not on Monday, when I spent most of the day in meetings, where we were given homework (!) about the state of cultural studies today. The evening was devoted to the IFK "Kinoclub" viewing of the Spielberg movie-casserole "War of the Worlds," which is one part Schindler's List, 1/2 part E.T., Two Parts Jurassic Park and 3 Parts Star Wars and 100 parts SUCKOMATIC. It was hilarious humbling edifying to watch with a bunch of Germaphone cultural theorists and the discussion afterwards was fascinating. I especially love the German expression nein-elewen.
TUESDAY: First day of class! Attended a lecture with approx. 200 of my best friends, "Einführung in die Sprachphilosophie," an undergraduate-level general introduction to the philosophy of language (but NOT the way analytic philospohers would use the term, as it includes a vast historical perspective and, gasp gasp gasp, Nietzsche and Heidegger as well as Wittgenstein…and no Russell! Ha! Suck it, Anglophones!). It is especially useful to me as super-high-speed vocabulary building, as I am already familiar with most of the concepts and philosophical movements they are talking about but usually only think about them in English. Our first reading is out of Plato, and I plan to read it in English since I can't read it in Greek. I am excited for this week's lecture, not least of which because it is in a massive, ancient lecture hall retrofitted with a PowerPoint projector with sweeping views of the Votivkirche (or at any rate, something outside in Vienna).
WEDNESDAY: Uh…I'm pretty sure I did something but now I can't remember what. I definitely went to work and did a lot of work at work. Work. I guess. This bodes well for my desire that life becomes dull here (although it would be nice if I met some more Austrians, which I have been astoundingly bad at. It does not help that none live in my apartment, though I very not secretly prefer it that way–not an Austrian-free apartment, but an other-people-free one. Well, not ALL other people, just other people who happen not to be one certain person who isn't here yet. Ahem). Anyway, on Wednesday I did some work, I guess. Perhaps that was the day I made two of my office mates peanut noodles and they freaked out about how weird that was?
THURSDAY: I went back out to the 20th to pick up my snazzy brand-new 133 euro Ferners Identification Residence Permit and now I am 100 percent legal–take that, Jörg Haider's Ghost! (Also during the week it came out that Haider was unbefuckinglievably drunk at the time he died. Drunk on alcohol, not racism). Then after work I went to coffee with Patrick and Elizabeth (and Kyle was there too), and got super jacked up on caffeine. Cafe Schottenring must make their coffee like Extra Jacked Up Strength. Also watched the 3rd and final presidential debate and was increasingly schadenfroh to learn that the douche bag now known as "Joe the Plumber" who "dared" to ask Obama a "tough" (i.e. disingenuous and uninformed) question about a tax policy that dares not give the ultrarich even more of the sweat and tears of the working classes because somehow they deserve it…anyway, I was really schadenfroh to learn that he was not a plumber, not named Joe, and owed back taxes and was racist. Ha. Maybe next time McCain seizes on some schmuck to make an ill-conceived point he should vet that person. Of course, if he vetted people…
FRIDAY: Was not at all motivated to work, and thus showed up to IFK approx. 19 hours late, just in time to leave again and go to coffee/nachos with the long-suffering Florian, who was in the midst of studying for a Hebrew exam and not at all thrilled by my constant questions re: post-college careers (I have no idea how to talk to people most of the time, I guess). Then I went home and studied for a bit and went back out to wine with Caitlin, who is cool. I accidentally got drunk off 1 1/2 glasses of wine, which was not as cool, and made me a bit off for the rest of the weekend.
SATURDAY: Went to a birthday party for one of my FB friends, Lana, who treated us to some sweet tunes from her upcoming libertarian concept album (I'm serious! She has a song about the FDA and another one about eminent domain! If only she had Neil Purt, she'd be the next Rush! Oh,w ait, they're objectivists…). Was somehow convinced to go dancing at an unbefuckinglievably horrid "discothek" called U4, so named after the subway line it lives under–during this outing I realized that I have chosen the wrong career path, and I should have been a house music lyricist. House music, so far as I can tell, is primarily created by the mildly mentally challenged for a primarily non English speaking audience; as a result, above all the WONKWONKBOOMBOOM music, you get lyrics like:
I just wanna do situps
You can sit on my situps
Then we'll eat some yogurt cups
Robert Bork on tricycles,
Yargh Yargh Yargh
(Repeat Chorus; Extended Breakdown, Random Sample, Repeat Chorus)
This leads me to believe I could have had an amazing career, and yet I don't. I ended up being a little overwhelmed by the crush of high school students and, lest I acidentally get crushed into one's crotchular region and get arrested for statutory assault, I beat a hasty retreat and, 45 minutes of night buses later, I was home.
SUNDAY: On Sundays I always go for a massive walk, usually about 2 1/2 or 3 hours, until I get too tired to walk anymore, and then I jump on the nearest tram and come home. Today I walked through the 16th into the 7th, which is one of my favorite districts–super "funky" by Viennese standards–and then to the 1st, which is where the historical center is. I got lost near Stephansdom like I always do (all the streets are winding and it's easy to lose your bearings–I'm just lucky a giant cat didn't yell from above that I just needed to turn around…and then eat me up), and by the time I got home my feet hurt. But then I learned that Colin Powell endorsed Obama and I floated up to the ceiling, and am for the first time actually beginning to see it. Not enough to write a single word more about it, though, because I am way too mindful of the episode of The Simpsons where Bart runs for class president…look it up. All I can say is that Martin and Mrs. Krabapple celebrate late into the afternoon due to Bart's hubris and everyone else's complacency. DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN, OBAMA VOTERS! We are so close! So close! All right, Schuman, calm down. No nervous collapses for at least two weeks. Ahem. (Also, we can harken back to Pan Kisses Kafka October 2004 to see exactly how relentless positive statements prior to an election doom things.)
So, this brings us to the current moment, where I can say that at least compared to last week, my spirits here in the Wien are bouyed, though I am still not having the Best Time Ever–the thing is, I don't really care whether or not I am having the Best Time Ever, as long as I get work done on my dissertation, enjoy the architecture and culture a reasonable amount, work on my German and manage not to go crazy, it will be a successful year. You know, Sarah-Palin-style low expectations, except without being a deranged demagogue. Wow, did I just spell demagogue correctly on the first try? I must be getting smarter here by the day.