My boring excuse for a life


Being a grad student sucks. Yeah, I enjoy my studies, I really do. It’s interesting to compare the “Out of Africa” I & II theories. To look over Malinowski’s work and compare it with modern ethnograpies. To deconstruct the idiot ramblings of Stephen Tyler as he attempts to define not postmodern ethnographies. And I’m researching the various theories of how magic is conceived of and explained by various anthropologists.

But after a while, it gets boring.

What to do? I’d go somewhere but I can’t ride my motorbike, no insurance. Not that I can afford it anyway, it’s nearly $250/year for basic coverage. And where would I go? Nothing nearby that’s interesting. This is Van Nuys, the valley. Lots of neighborhoods and little mom/pop shops. Most of the buses stop running after 8 PM or so. And even the ones that do run, do so irregularly. And they take hours to get anywhere! :frowning: Even if there was some place to go, most entertainment is damned expensive. $11 a pop for an adult movie ticket!

I have no friends, just acquaintances, mainly thru the University. They’re busy studying, too. Yeah, yeah, yeah… join a student group and make new friends. Sure, but that takes time, I want something NOW !! I have old friends back in Austin, TX or even Milwaukee, WI (my adopted home town) but a phone call can’t replace being with a friend. I want companionship, not a disembodied voice coming from a piece of plastic. :frowning: Talk on the Internet? Same problem. I want real people, not disembodied communication.

Yeah, I know, lousy rant. Well, I’m just venting. Tomorrow, I’ll wake up and do the same ole thing over again (home work, I mean). My life sucks!

Um… I know of one friend that you have.


Well let’s just buy every human on the planet a subscription to Skeptical Inquirer, and problem solved, no more magical thinking. That’ll save ya some work.

Dude, the only way we could afford that is by magic…

Do you have any idea how close Van Nuys is to Hollywood??? The freak capital of the world?

Thanks, Mockingbird!! hugs back

RexDart, Ah, I see. Since we all know that magic doesn’t work, there’s not since in exploring why people still use it or how it’s intergrated into their world view or how various cultures conceive of it. :rolleyes: Here, read these: Out of the Ordinary, Folklore & the Supernatural edited by Barbara Walker and this article in the Journal of American Folklore, vol. 111 (1998) by Marilyn Motz, The Practice of Belief.

Spooje, yeah, I’d love to. But how ?? As I said, getting around this town sucks. The buses almost stop running at night, at least in the Valley. And once I’m there, how do I afford anything? I’m on a student budget here. I have a few bucks left over from my student loans and I get a bit of money thru my job (I’m folklore archivist for the dept.). That’s it. :frowning:

But we already see via you what life without thinking is like.

I think most of us will stick with a diversity of thinking and not end up like you.


::runs nekkid through thread, licking Freyr::

A little less boring now?:slight_smile:

I feel your pain. Instead of a normal easy last year of college I’m doing a two year masters in Cognitive Psych in a single year. I genuinely like the subject matter. I’m a little annoyed that I compromised on my thesis topic but I still think there is interesting stuff to be done.

But dear god do you know how boring and stressful it is to run subjects? The sheer amount of busy work and the number of things that can go wrong and the fact that I have a very real deadline is nerve racking. Combine with that with the fact that I have a heavy class load to finish up the credit requirement part of the masters and you get an unhappy Tim. When you through on the fact that the majority of my friends graduated and I am left with good acquantences and no gaming group there is nothing to rehappy me.

On the plus side Boulder has a good bus system. On the minus side its workers have apparently just gone on strike.

Oh and reading psycholinguistics articles for 26 hours straight obliterates your ability to write coherently and without errors. This hinders my ability to post my complaints and my ability to write papers about the articles. You can only see ungrammatical sentences so long before everything starts looking grammatical to you.

I’m not a big fan of Aerosmith myself.:wink:

The Tim, let’s commiserate together. I’m doing a typical MA program but the reading alone in archaeology is staggering. Plus the two papers I need to present, one that had to be done in 3 weeks! Luckily I had the bibliography handed to me. sigh

I’m also presenting my first paper at a conference in April, over spring break. I’ll be up in Sacremento. I need to beat that paper in shape. Then there’s my independent study. :eek:

As you said, all the material is interesting to me, even fascinating, but it’s overwhelming at times.

Thanks 'Punha! There’s nothing like having naked men licking on you as they run past to make my day! :smiley:

And Lilly Putt, you mean his in a band too? Ghods, will these Postmodernists stop at nothing to promulgate their idiocy? :smiley:

Oh, a positive note. I was over in MPSIMS and discovered an LADope going on, next weekend. And a couple people are close by who’ll give me a lift to the gathering, so I’m feeling much better suddenly!

Thanks, Dopers!

Ummm…what?? I can see Freyr’s point that even though magic doesn’t do anything, it might still be interesting to study the history of how people fit it into their lives. But just because we might see an intellectual value in exploring the effects of diverse beliefs on the people who held them doesn’t mean it’s unthinking to dismiss falsifiable claims. And a magazine like Skeptical Inquirer isn’t trying to force everyone to believe the same thing, it’s trying to fight ignorance just like this board.

Should we be encouraging uneducated people to keep believing things that are false just because we can then learn more about different cultures by observing them?

Ah yes presentation at conferences and various other talks. I’ve had to talk about the first experiment of my thesis so many times I think I can just rattle it off now, including the explanation of the three way interaction in it (as a side note we have a guy in the department legendary for a coherent explanation of a five way interaction).

Right now I’m doing reading for a psycholinguistics paper and am covering a large deal of the language related implicit learning material (mostly artificial grammar stuff). Not only is it a massive body of work every paper contradicts other ones. Oh and dear god the methodology nitpicks. The insane detail in reporting what was done. This is of course a consequence of everything interesting going on in less than 3/4 of a second.

Oh and I’m all for screwing with people to study them (stupid ethics guidelines ruined psychology I tells ya). My class mates and profesors never let me live down my proposed experiments, like forcing kids to live in isolation to see if/how they develop language. Its not like I’m serious…

**RexDart wrote:

Should we be encouraging uneducated people to keep believing things that are false just because we can then learn more about different cultures by observing them?**

Ah, yes, the Great White Man from the West comes and explains everything to the poor, deluded natives.

When you have the chance, RexDart, come join us in the 21st century, you might find it enjoyable.

Back to the topic. Someone asked if you realize how close Van Nuys is to Hollywood. I know L.A. the way Scott Adams* knows cubicles, and my first thought was, with L.A. being as spread out as it is, and you with no personal transportation, what a goofy question.

But then I thought…he might have a point. How hard is it for you to get to the NoHo metro station? Then you could get to Hollywood, downtown L.A. and various points in between. Some of those might be worth the trouble.

I can’t quite believe the buses stop running at 8.

*Scott Adams is the cartoonist who does Dilbert.

I feel for you Freyr as a recent graduate, I remember how un-fun life is as a grad student. A person’s thesis sounds fascinating for the 20 minutes it takes to summarize it to someone, but it sucks rocks if you actually have to do it. Grad school is as much a test of character (are you willing to live with realtively low pay, stressful work and courses, isolation, etc … ) as it is a test of intelligence.

Funny, my first thought on who wasn’t living in the 21st century wasn’t him. Magic is so 15th century. :wink:

Oh give it a rest. I’m not saying our western way of life is necessarily better, or even that their superstitions are totally useless. Heck, if doing all those rituals before a battle makes someone believe he’ll fight better, maybe that extra confidence means he really will.

I’m sure if the Aztecs had science labs and modern equipment and modern technology they would have had the whole world figured out by 1588 and they would have been the ones invading Spain, they were pretty smart guys and clever politicians. But they didn’t, so they couldn’t adequately explain the observable world, so they made up a pantheon of gods and various magical rituals and bloody sacrifices.

If someone wants to preserve his culture by continuing to practice the magical rituals of its past, well that’s one thing. But actually believing that the rituals will produce, by magic, the desired result is just ignorance. Cultural relativism is all well and good, but when it gets down to the level of facts there is such a thing as true and false, reality and illusion.