Do I Have Intellectual Inertia? A Quiz!

Reader Stille asked an interesting question:

How does one manage to have a fulfilling professional life that also leaves time for personal development? I’ve realized that I’ve been using university to postpone becoming an adult, more or less (and I’m working on this fear of adulthood with my shrink) and one of the things that scares me is that I see vibrant, interesting young person after vibrant, interesting young person getting a job and becoming sad people who veg out in front of a screen all the time they don’t spend working and who complain endlessly about adult responsibilities meaning they don’t have time for anything. I really don’t want to turn into that sort of a person, and you’re my best model for someone who has a job *and* fun *and* continued personal development, so I could use any pointers you might have.

This is definitely a real and wide-spread phenomenon. However, I wouldn’t link it directly to getting a job. We all have to fight against the tendency towards inertia and intellectual passivity, and the age when this inertia becomes really strong depends solely on our psychological health.

When we are younger, it’s easier to hold our psychological problems at bay. The older we get, though, the more energy we need to expend on carrying this baggage. If you have ever tried lifting a heavy sack of potatoes or flour, for instance, you’ll notice that carrying it gets harder with every step. Psychological problems work the same way. They get heavier and harder to carry around every day. “I don’t have time to do the things I enjoy” translates as “I don’t have psychic energy because my anxiety has eaten it all up.”

So advice #1 is: drop the potato sack already. You are just going to exhaust yourself lugging it everywhere you go.

While we are considering dropping the sack, however, there are other things we can do to fight intellectual and personal deterioration. Under the fold, please find a quiz that will help you determine if you need to take measures to fight inertia at this point in your life. I will discuss the measures themselves in future posts.

Continue reading “Do I Have Intellectual Inertia? A Quiz!”

Keratin Treatment

After receiving some very disturbing news, I decided I was justified in blowing a fortune on a keratin treatment for my hair. It took 5 hours 20 minutes and here are some before and after pictures.

See how frizzy it was?


The frizz has gotten to the pint where I can’t even begin to untangle the hair and it looks unkempt and scary no matter what I do.

Here it is after the treatment:


Blow-drying it is part of the treatment, so we are yet to see how it will look after I wash it and let it dry on its own. I will post pictures after that, too.


The haggard look is due to the complete exhaustion of moving and finishing the semester at the same time, as well as no makeup.


As I told the stylist after seeing the result of the treatment, “I now feel like packing is beneath me since I have this chic hair.”

We Are One

I sent N a text message telling him that I received a piece of mail addressed to somebody with N’s first name and my last name. People have so much trouble with our unpronounceable names that they keep combining them in weird ways.

Then I headed to Target and stood in the Housewares section, wondering if I should buy a few things I wanted using N’s debit card. Because my account has no money as usual.

While I was standing there wondering what to do, I got a text message from N in response to my earlier text. “We are one” N wrote.

“Oh, well, in that case. . .” I exclaimed, whipping out his card and proceeding to pay for the items I wanted.

Texting can be a dangerous activity.

The Fascination of the Spanish Civil War

Jonathan Mayhew asked:

What’s the origin of your fascination with the Spanish Civil War?

I have been thinking about this for days because it is, indeed, weird that I should have such an intense emotional response to a war that happened many years ago in a different country.

When I took my very first course at the Department of Hispanic Studies at McGill University (Intermediate Intensive II), I had never spoken a word of Spanish to anybody and had the vaguest kind of knowledge about the Hispanic culture. In the second week of the course, we had to create a dialogue with a famous person from the Spanish-speaking world. There was a list of suggestions and, for some mysterious reason, I was drawn to Dolores Ibárruri, or La Pasionaria. The very first essay I wrote in that department (still in English) was also on the Spanish Civil War. Something was drawing me to the subject almost against my will.

There is something in this conflict that touches me very deeply, and I’m still not sure what it is. Maybe I’m displacing onto it the emotions I have regarding the civil conflicts in my own country because they are too painful to approach. It is also very possible that my great-grandmother (whose life I’m replaying in endless ways) worked for the Soviet effort in the Spanish Civil War. Her activities were classified, so we will never know.

I’ll keep thinking about this because it puzzles me, too.



Get a Life

Naval War College is investigating a professor for allegedly sending a photo of his penis to an adult woman in no way related to the college. The college administration is trying to establish whether the photo is real. I don’t want to ponder a whole lot how this verification is conducted.

People should massively get a life right now because this kind of “investigations” is insane behavior. I hope the professor (who is also a talented blogger) sues the college and wins because it is completely unacceptable that employees’ perfectly legal activities conducted outside of work should be used as a reason for their persecution by unhinged freakazoids in the workplace.