Proofreading: Proofreading has turned out to be just as tedious and uninteresting as I expected. But, despite the pejorative connotations of those words, I find it rather satisfying. My 'job' (a job only in the barest monetary exchange sense of the term) is to read aloud, for approximately 3 hours at a time, various articles on semantics while another person 'checks' what I read against the copy to be corrected. That in itself sounds tedious, to be sure. But it goes further. I also have to read all the little formatting quirks. For example, I would read the above two sentences as follows:
capital bee but it goes further period capital eye also have read italics all end italics the little formatting quirks period
But, even further, I have to read extremely complicated semantics articles with a plethora of logical notation and some odd formatting peculiarities that belong to Montague grammar. But I still like it, and for the following reason. After reading like this for about a half an hour, you start to fall into a sort of trance, like reading the Torah, the meanings of the words just float away and you feel like a sort of automaton, or a medium of a sort. It's really rather pleasant to not think for such an extended period of time. Of course, there are interruptions: when a mistake is found, when a peculiar symbol has to be 'named', etc. Nevertheless, it pays well, the hours are perfect for my rather erratic sleeping schedule, and it is probably one of the few jobs I'll be able to get over the summer due to my lack of French.
Love: I'm certainly not qualified to expound on the intricacies of love qua love, no one is I'd wager. But lately I've started to realize that what I have actually is love, and not merely lip service. I can't imagine (read: I would prefer not to imagine) my life (in this regard at least) as any different than it is right now. It's unpleasant and difficult and it requires some decisions I'd rather not have to make, but I'd do it the same way again if I had to, perhaps I'd do a better job on my end in some ways, but nothing drastic. The prospect of being apart for yet another year, and perhaps more years even after that has made me incredibly unhappy, but I'll take unhappiness with her over some modicum of happiness without her. A certainty in my life. How novel! I have been worrying, however, about just what she thinks about the whole affair. I mean I know what we've discussed, infinitely and exhaustingly, but I say things I don't mean and I don't say things that I probably should; it must be similar for her. Although, I'm by nature rather more duplicitous and 'opaque' in a lot of ways than she is. So much the better (for both of us!). This is an aimless tangent, but one I've been thinking about a lot as of late. I hope things work out, I'm not very sure at all that they will.
Painting: Now that 'summer' is here (in Halifax, this sort of weather would be summer, not spring), painting will hopefully begin in earnest. Peru and I have been out a few times bombing and its been calm, relaxed and productive. I'm still amazed at how quiet this city is at night and how incredibly easy it is to get up because of the one-way streets. It really is ridiculous, though I'll probably change my tune the first time I get arrested. Drawing has been productive if a little repetitive lately: I'm having fun doing all the stupid drawings I do. The other day, last Thursday I believe, Peru and I painted some of the best pieces either of has painted in a while. I'm really quite pleased with mine, I thought after all the dry months of stagnant and repetitive bombing that my pieces would have suffered, but, in fact, I think this last piece is perhaps my favourite. Free paint is hilarious and lends itself easily to sharing, which also makes painting more pleasant than it can sometimes be. I'd ideally like to paint 3 times a week this summer, but I doubt that will happen unless I get over my unfounded insecurity about racking in Montreal. I should be confident in my abilities, but it seems to me (probably prudently) that I might be over-estimating my abilities and could very well end up with an idiotic shoplifting charge on my record, for no reason. We'll see how it goes; I might have to enter competitions or something to win paint, which seems like its easy to do here.
Philosophy: Not much in the way of philosophy this week, as I've just completed all my papers as well as my thesis proposal. In other words: I'm taking a little bit of a break in 'thinking' (not that I do much of it anyway). I have been reading a Foucault interview that I've either forgotten or have never read. It's in the Foucault Reader and it's about architecture and 'spaces' and so on. The bits I like most in it are when he is asked if there is a specifically 'free' or 'unfree' sort of architecture. He replies, roughly, that no architecture is in-itself (that is, by its very nature) 'free' or 'unfree' because freedom is a kind of practice. As my roommate put it, we can have a field full of gazebos that operates as a prison in the same way that, for instance, our current prisons could function otherwise than they do right now. (Which isn't to say that architecture plays no role and that architects shouldn't perk up their ears...quite the contrary!). I quite like the notion that freedom is a practice, and I think it connects up well with a lot of Wittgenstein's 'anti-essentialism' (I'd say 'non-essentialism' is a better term) about concepts and everything else. Which is to say that I'm noticing more and more that many of the people I read (here Wittgenstein and Foucault) are consistently, perhaps even 'programmatically' worried about assigning any final form to a particular topic. I like 'open-ended philosophy' like this is what I think I'm trying to say. I think I'd like to revisit, with more attention this time, a lot of philosophy of history, especially earlier stuff that I haven't read even. Maybe historiography rather than straight-up philosophy of history would be better and more interesting. I'd like to read some Greek and Roman historians talk about what they think history is about. Proofreading the semantics stuff also has me interested, against my instincts, in Grice again. More specifically with conversational implicature. Actually, I'd like to go a bit further into the present and read some relevance theory stuff, about which I know absolutely nothing other than it is a development regarding implicature that gets rid of Grice's worrisome commitment to the co-operation maxim (or whatever it 's called).
Reading: I haven't read much of anything in the past couple days except a few random Vice magainzes and The Counterlife by Philip Roth, which is excellent. In fact, I was thinking that I might use it for my thesis as a more down to earth (as compared to Kathy Acker) account of identity problems and their relationship with emotions and emotional perception. But we'll have to see if it stands the test of time. Roughly put, the book is an interesting exercise in alternate histories, though that sounds ridiculous if you've read it. Basically, the main character (a writer, as seems to be the usual case for Roth) writes and re-writes about people he knows, things that have happened to them, etc. There are a number of vignettes, sketches of a particular period, etc. But, interspersed with these vignettes are snippets of letters and little stories about the 'characters' of the book finding out that the main character wrote about them, and what he wrote about them. It sounds awful and pretentious, perhaps, but it really isn't, at all. It does stray into a sort of sustained meditation on the performative aspect of all writing (and even of all 'living' later on) but that meditation is, I think, balanced out by engaging characters and beautiful writing.