Gremble goes to Vegas

So back in January, one of my Wills-with-benefits bought me a ticket to fly out to visit him in Vegas. By the time the trip actually rolled around, I was embroiled in the most ridiculously circular finances-related clusterfuck I’d ever been in, and I couldn’t tell if that was the worst time to be taking off for Vegas, or the BEST TIME.

Vegas is weird, man

Slice of IRL

So I was on my second date with this guy, and somehow the topic of date venues came up…

Me: “Well, a few weeks ago I went out with a video game designer and we went to a queer gaming convention.”
Him: “What was his name? I think I might know him.”
Me: “Uhmmmm… I honestly don’t remember. Game designer from San Francisco.”
Him: “Doesn’t narrow it down.”
Me: “Curly hair, raised by scrabble-playing wolves?”
Him: “Was his name ____?”
Me: “……….I think it was.”
Him: “Yup, you went out with my ex.”
Me: “I… didn’t have sex with him?”
Him: “That’s a shame. He’s rather good at it.”
Me: “Thanks.”

I think I’m slowly burning my way through all the gay guys in the Bay Area. Good thing I’m going to move in a year and a half. >_>

Black Blade Blues, by J.A. Pitts (38/107)

So I went out on a date, my first in like five months, I’m very proud of myself. I swear, I am catnip for bicurious straight dudes. We came back to my place and watched Dr Horrible and I beat him at Scrabble and sent him home. Then I settled in to read a book, and what I grabbed off the shelf was Black Blade Blues.

What follows is less of a review and more the commentary I was jotting down as I read, joined by my BFF as she wandered in drunk and started reading Judge Dredd comics for the first time. Recall that I promised to read at least 50 pages of a book before giving it up as a lost cause.

In which I pan a book, flow of consciousness style.

Stigma, by Erving Goffman

So there I am in my favorite gay dive bar, and I turn around and there is this fantastically hot guy standing there. Who’s seen Leverage, show of hands? This guy looked like Eliot when Eliot is doing his geek-chic disguise, with the glasses and his hair back in a ponytail. Commence gnawing on table.

Guy-who-looked-like-Eliot had been chatting animatedly with an obviously-straight girl, then at one point reached over to stub out a cigarette in the ashtray next to me. He glances up, our eyes catch, and I say,

“Hi.” :)

Which is apparently as good a pickup line as any, because he stayed and we got to talking. Got to talking about ~books!~, I don’t even know how, first about Fantasy That Doesn’t Suck, and then he said he tended to read more nonfiction, and I asked about his most recent reading and he said,

“Oh! Ah — yeah, it’s called, uhm, Pedagogy of the Oppressed.”

Sir, can I marry you? Like, right now?

Cuz usually I’m the one busting out shit like “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” in bar chat, and then watching the other person’s eyes glaze over, sometimes accompanied with a vague, “Wow, so you must be really smart, huh? o_o” To which I’m so tempted to say, I KNOW I AM, BUT WHAT ARE YOU?

…Which is why I rarely get laid. And I am okay with this.

“Oh oh oh!” I said. “If you’re interested in that sort of thing, then you should read Stigma, by Erving Goffman — it’s about how stigmatized minorities control perceptions of their identity. It’s a bit dated in its language, but still extremely insightful.”

Which is how I got his number, and a date a couple days later.

So let's talk about 'Stigma: Notes on a Spoiled Identity'

As seen in the Professor’s office

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Yes, you are looking at a cigarette lighter taped to a can of aerosol hairspray, also known as an unintentional torts suit waiting to happen. I don’t even know.

The orange things in the background, incidentally, are a bunch of bracelets that say “WWRPPD?” — what would a reasonably prudent person do? — which is apparently hilarious if you’re a lawyer.

Spamming you with irl…

Got 2/3 of my recommendation letters lined up, and they’re not looking nearly so bad as I’d been expecting. I’d been worried because I’ve been out of academia for six years, and most of my undergrad professors wouldn’t recognize me now, much less remember me enough to write letters of recommendation.

I’m scheduled to take the GRE on November 15th, which is giving me fits because OMG I CANNOT MATH, and my high school self would die of shame to see me now, given as I went to a math-and-science boarding school. The verbal section I do fine on, until the critical reading questions, where it devolves into me yelling at the book and going “Your MOM is irrelevant to critical consideration!”

Although, interestingly, the analytical writing section is turning out to be right up my alley. (Interesting because I get the impression that most other people haaaaate that part.) But it’s like, here’s a topic! You have half an hour to write something persuasive about it! And I’m like, “On it.” It is, admittedly, testing me over the areas I’m weakest in (structuring an argument in a logical way and getting it done in a timely fashion) but I’ve been making great strides in both areas this past year, and it’s paying off. (Although — ohhh — I learned how to fight on the internet, and I’m having trouble reining myself in from grandstanding and ad hominem arguments.)

Also paying off is all the weird and random reading I do, because it’s left me with a huge range of people to quote and factoids to cite. Freakonomics on nature vs. nurture adoption studies? Robert Cialdini on “flip-flopping” as a dirty word in politics? Jared Diamond on man-made natural disasters? Dude, I can find something to say about anything.

And it is kind of depressing that my skillset is valued in-and-only-in academia, where there is no money to be had and nobody in the real world respects you. But whatever, it’ll be fun!