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June 15, 2006

World Cup update

JPS- the Michigan years
So I've had no time to make regular entries, what with football everyday and work too, but I figured I had to make a quickie. Trinidad & Tobago have been true red-white-and-black Soca Warriors, playing better than I think they ever have, shutting out Sweden, as well as England (until the latter scored in the 82nd minute and again in stoppage time). Despite the fact that we got visibly tired towards the end of the England match, history was still made, given that our little old former-colony self was on the same pitch as England, and refusing every shot on goal for almost the entire match!!!!!!
The overall experience of the World Cup though, despite today's loss, has been good: a steady diet of piss-water for beer, at least a game a day (still working boss!), and hanging out with either the German crew or Trini crew at various Ann Arbor spots has been good. You can truly feel the world coming together to enjoy competition, with life itself being played out through the fans and the players on the field. Politics (whenever Iran plays, Germany vs. Poland etc.) gets included in the commentary and emotions run high even if your own country isn't on the screen. I'm keeping all this stuff in mind for wherever I am in the next 4 years (it'll be in another city since I would have graduated - knock on wood) and I hope that the experience is as good as the one I'm having now in little ol' Ann Arbor. Maybe more Trinis next time, ja??!!

Posted by jpsteph at 08:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 06, 2006

A World Cup of Characters

I'm always excited by even the smallest mention of Trinidad & Tobago in any forum that could potentially reach millions of people around the world. Check out the link to today's Fox Soccer Channel article on some of the "People to look out for" in World Cup 2006, which starts this Friday. Our own Marvin Andrews is at the top of the list baby!!!! The Soca Warriors are also mentioned in either the May or June ESPN magazine. The next month is sure to thrill any one who can appreciate any sort of joy in people coming together just to have fun...Joga Bonito.

Posted by jpsteph at 09:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 03, 2006

Joga Bonito!!

I advise anyone who loves football (which should include everyone in the world) to check out the Joga Bonita clips on www.nikefootball.com. The phrase means "Play Beautiful" in Portuguese, and that's what football is all about. Here's the first one. The controversial and at-times vitriolic Frenchman Eric Cantona is our guide towards re-discovering the joys of the sport, while himself sporting long hair and a beard (he's best known for starting the upturned collar movement- take that prepsters!).


I also wanted to add a list of interesting blogs that I've encountered. Some are friends (Paul's and Colin's) while others are thought-provoking or otherwise entertaining.

  • Colin's World
    Hugo Schwyzer
    Blogging the Bible (Slate.com's deputy editor, David Plotz is reading the entire Book)
    The World Cup by the NY Times
  • Posted by jpsteph at 05:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Outing myself on MySpace...I tried...I really did

    As you can see by all these entries on one Saturday afternoon, I've got a lot of shit that's been pent up cuz of prelims, which are now over. In the past month or so I've taken to using MySpace a lot more, adding more friends and talking to people- fun, right? Well there's also the added angst about one's "Orientation", that people are expected to categorize themselves with, along with "School", "Religion" and "Ethnicity". At first i didn't even have an "Orientation"- according to my MySpace profile I was either asexual or possibly a hermaphrodite who happened to be bisexual (apologies for any offence). Anywho, I decided to change all of that, and let the MySpace world know I was "Gay"...whatever that might mean. I was actually quite happy to do so, inspired by friends who were also "Gay". So that's what i did. I outed myself on MySpace.

    Well who told me to go and do that?? The next day, even before I logged in I was bombarded with "He's the one for you" and "You know you want him" blaring at me from ads with scantily clad young men lounging in tangled sheets. Now I am normally very appreciative of this, but I don't go to MySpace for sexual gratification- I have a problem when the worlds of porn and networking sites collide. Anyway, after logging in and being directed to the homepage, pictures of young "men seeking men" greeted me, and continued to do so in banner ads as I navigated throughout the entire site. First of all, I think MySpace's homepage is pretty lame, and while I'm thrilled by the prospect of technology that will customize our entire lives for us on the Internet, I really don't need the lurid gaze of wanton men following me during my otherwise pure and innocent networking experience. The prospect of ultra-customization is also a little off-putting- what if I want to buy mandals instead of another suit on bananarepublic.com, but my browser gets stuck, and I never get to the mandals...perish the thought. Anyway, I got tired of the gay.com ads, and all the other ads for hooking up with young, muscular, tanned and available young men. I'm happy with what I've got and don't need any other sort of "networking" going on. So I decided to return my "Orientation" status to "Blank". I've been happy thus far and can now go on about my business without wondering "What's going on between those sheets...?"

    Posted by jpsteph at 05:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Music theory

    Singing in the UMS Choral Union has exposed this island boi to some great classical music. On my mind lately, after hearing how composers (all men..not sure why ladies), real people like me and you, except for being geniuses, created works of art in times of great difficulty. Shostakovich used to wait out on the balcony of his apartment every night, so if that night he was arrested by the Russion Gestapo, at least his family would not have to be disturbed. Beethoven was deaf when he was composing his 9th Symphony (right?). Aside from these crazy circumstances, how do these composers know to have the 2nd and 3rd violinists pluck just so, and the basses come in when the harps have completed their 4th "twing"??? How could they create, in such fine and beautiful detail a composition that would speak to millions across time and space?? In my estimation, it takes a mind suited for that purpose as well as full of persistence and heed towards the task at hand. Indeed, the task would not be a "task"...it is a craft. When we start to speak of craft and art, we enter the realm where work and the man become one. Art is expression and representation. Representation is not just saying something, but also being that something.

    This is also the case with theory and academe (at least as far as my limited experience has allowed me to see). Theorists compose, except their works of art are not media to be experienced physically. Yet, like all art, their products are felt, and represent some aspect of the human experience. The rigors of academia demand that we as scholars not only do our best to represent and explain the world in the present, but do so making reference to those who have come before us and what their work tells us about the world. We are challenged to pull together in a sort of bricolage the ideas and findings of those who have spent the time, energy and care to think, create and test- it is the purposeful bending of the will to this effort that defines us as scholars. Like musical composers we care about what goes into our products and what comes out- is it elegant? does it explain what it says it explains? is it general enough to explain several variations of the particular? finally, do people get it??? Yes, I think the best scholars, like the best composers, care if people "get it" (hence my apologies for my crazy "Civil War" posting- it was somewhat disrespectful of the sensibilities of the reader). I've realised I enjoy the composing, but struggle to return to the product, agonizing over whether its train of thought is actually logical and if the poor reader unfortunate enough to come upon my writing can come away with some insight they did not have before. Bold as it may sound, I do hope that our work evokes some sense of wonder or excitement...write now I'm just shooting for general interest and mild bemusement.

    Posted by jpsteph at 05:14 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    I feel "qualified"...I think...

    It's 4:00 PM on a Saturday and I just woke up an hour and a half ago- and no I wasn't out partying (which should be the ONLY reason you get up at this hour on a Saturday). Instead, I was working on my prelims/qualifiers/candidacy thingamajiggas that doctoral students have to go through when they complete their coursework inthe first 2 -3 years of their program. Let's call it a trial by fire. Or maybe more a "baptism". I kinda see it as the make or break part of the doctoral program: you've complete the amount of research and classes necessary for a Master's degree. Now do you want to take the money and run or go further?? Of course, the audience in your life is screaming "Go on, you can win more money!!!!", where in my case the "money" is just another one of those degrees Kanye was talking about (that's sure gonna keep me warm during those cold winter nights). And this is not to knock Master's degree students: most of us in graduate programs of all levels know what we want to do with our lives and are doing what we need to do to get to the point where we are qualified to do good work. Ha! You almost bought that one right?? A lot of us don't know what the hell we're doing and the Master's students are smart enough to get out while it's good...just kidding...sort of. Either way, prelims are a way to see who wants to put in the time, effort, sweat, blood (when your finger tips run ragged from typing) and tears (when you design a study and realise that you can't compare subject 1 to subject 2 because one's a human and the other's a monkey- but this is the entire premise of your research) that defines a career in research (and some teaching...gotta show the kids some love). It's about demonstrating that you are knowledgeable about your field, but it's just as much, if not more, about perseverance and believing that you have it in you. Or it's about deciding if this is right for you or not. At the risk of didactism, I'll use Bem's self-perception theory as my "explanatory lens" (you like that one, don't you?). Bem suggests that we see determine what we like and don't like, who we are and what we aren't AFTER we act. We do, then tell ourselves that we because we just did that, we must be like that, or like to do that (did I get that right folks ??). So after completing these exams, I am VERY much hopeful that I've done well, and that I don't look like a loser who doesn't know his stuff. I actually care about what people think of the work I hurriedly produced over a few days. Looks like I'm in this for the long haul...(revised editions of that statement sure to follow).

    Posted by jpsteph at 04:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    June 02, 2006


    YouTube - Luis Martinez scores vs Poland

    But look at goal boy!!!!!! Let the games begin....OUR World, OUR Life, OUR game...
    But check how Luis Martinez (Colombian goalkeeper) as confused as Tomasz Kuszczak (Polish goalkeeper) about how he managed to score that goal from 100m....

    Posted by jpsteph at 04:18 PM | Comments (1)