Tuesday, July 31, 2001

It's moulting season. My skin is peeling off. I was horribly sun-burned a couple of weeks ago. Didn't think I could get sun-burned, but I guess my skin's been very unused to sunlight since I left California about five years ago.

Received an e-mail today from someone in Australia asking [Buffy] for information about the show. Apparently, they've just recently aired the latest season finale. Ah... Now I must go off to find out more about rumors for the next season...

      >> 1:29 PM

It was only a matter of time: [www.dotsex.com].

      >> 12:18 PM

Is it really Tuesday already? And almost 1 pm?

I finally finished Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre last night. Definitely like her sister's Wuthering Heights much better. Other than that, I have nothing to say.

Let's see, Sunday I saw Songcatcher at the movie theater. Raised some interesting questions about anthropological work and the desire to preserve culture (and what culture is). There was even a lesbian couple in the movie.

In other news, I'm attempting to tempt fate by avoiding my allergy medication. I have this sneaking suspicion that the medication has something to do with my recurring mild nausea. (Or perhaps I am merely [Sartre's] Roquentin.) Nausea, of course, is not a listed side-effect. But once I've set my mind on something, I must determine if I am correct... No major allergy symptoms have returned yet, though I do notice a little nasal congestion once in awhile.

      >> 11:59 AM

Saturday, July 28, 2001

So I kind of like Edward Gorey's illustrations. Know not much about him. Got this little book, [The Strange Case of Edward Gorey], a memoir-biography-personal-reflection by Alexander Theroux of Gorey. Was a little troubled to come across Theroux's use of the word "dyke" as an actual invective. I'm finding out a little more about Gorey and his work, though. He not only wrote and illustrated little books, but wrote plays, directed and produced them, and illustrated book jackets for a number of years. The little book is more a character sketch of Gorey the author than a work about Gorey's books. I'm not sure I like character-describing biographies much. It is interesting to think about what favorite authors are / were like "in person." But that's not how I relate to them. (Theroux mentions that early on in his career, Gorey wanted to publish all of his books with pseudonyms, different anagram-names, and otherwise distanced-names because he never felt his authorship to reflect exactly himself as much as ideas and characters and stories he wanted to present.)

      >> 12:45 PM

Friday, July 27, 2001

[Edward Gorey and the Doubtful Guest.] Awesome.

      >> 11:02 PM

Durham, NC

Back home. Uneventful flights from SFO to IAD to RDU. Once at the Raleigh-Durham airport, though, my checked bag was nowhere to be found. An hour later, it finally appeared on the baggage claim belt, after I had arranged for its delivery upon recovery.

Wednesday was mainly a solitary day. I did go have lunch with my parents at noon, first stopping by the CostCo with my dad for gas where I got to experience [this] first-hand, fun fun. I drove about somewhat aimlessly for awhile after that, managing inadvertently to pass by the [Hotsy Totsy Club] sign. I then went by La Peña a bit early (somehow, I was always early for meetings during my stay in California) and wandered up and down Shattuck Avenue. I stopped in at the [Berkeley Bowl], a huge organic / healthy foods marketplace that is warehouse-sized... and was reminded of California's (and Berkeley's) reputation for being the home of health-nuts, hippies, organic-food-consciousness, etc.

Dinner at the restaurant with Anne was nice, but I was not in the mood for poetry afterwards, so I chickened out of the Waves of the Word benefit performance / open mic. A pity, but sometimes when my anti-people sensations kick in, I can't be in an enclosed space with lots of people. So off we went to wander about downtown Berkeley where I visited one of my old haunts, [Comic Relief]. There, I discovered that Joss Whedon's [Fray] comic book mini-series is already in its second issue. I've only read the first one so far -- nothing to write home about. But I've no doubt there's more excitement to come...

Eventually, Anne and I took in a screening of Legally Blonde, a fairly comical movie. And still, some aspects of it were naggingly troubling, especially with regards to what it envisioned as diversity and discrimination (even if only jokingly). When I got back to Durham last night, Joe pointed out [a review] of the movie in the local weekly which for all its antagonism is remarkably perceptive about exactly the vague uneasiness I felt. I wouldn't necessarily draw the same conclusions as the reviewer about the presentation of whiteness in the film, although I would agree that there is a startling need to recuperate privileges and goodness of whiteness as if they had been eroded by non-whites. I would say that like Save the Last Dance, Legally Blonde is heavily invested in the concept of "color-blindness" as the means of eradicating racism, only blindly not realizing how white that blind-vision is. The reviewer also notes the not-so-subtle disparaging of feminism in the movie, a world where Elle Woods embodies that "post-feminist" feminine figure with exacting frivolity. Who needs feminism, the film declares, when women are tokens of diversity and gays happily coexist with them in beauty parlours?

      >> 1:53 PM

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

9:40 am, PDT

I've guiltily bought a number of cds lately. I've been trying to stop my impulse buying, but when my parents bombard me with money, it really breaks down the particular financial awareness I've worked so hard to develop since leaving home. As it is, I'm leaving this little vacation with a little profit anyways. It's kind of nice, I guess, but it also makes me feel like I can spend more money than I have. Anyways, I picked up Alicia Keys's Songs in A Minor because I am a sucker for singer-at-the-piano types. Plus I love the single "Fallin.'" I also got the new *NSYNC album on the basis of the first single "Pop." (Have I mentioned I love songs by pop stars about how they're just doing their thing, so stop trying to label them or create rumors about them? Great stuff.) And then I picked up the soundtrack to Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes because the music is by Danny Elfman. I love those two guys. I'm not really into the whole soundtrack thing, though. Erg. I can see myself rarely listening to this album. But I do need at least one Burton/Elfman soundtrack in my collection.

Today is my last full day here in CA. I'm going to a spoken word performance in Berkeley. It's a little benefit gathering called "Waves of the Word" for the nurturing of creative arts among Asian American youths. It's sponsored by the [Asian American Writers Workshop]. I randomly came across a flyer for the event while I was in Berkeley on Monday. It'll be a new experience. I've been meaning to go check out a spoken word performance at some point for the past year. This one's taking place at [La Peña Cultural Center], and Anne and I are going to have dinner at the cafe there beforehand. Yum.

Yesterday I visited my sister again in San Francisco. We checked out the much-recommended (by my brother and other friends) [The Cheesecake Factory]. The cheesecake was delicious, but there were really entirely too many people around. It's definitely a "hip" place to be. I also picked up some hair styling products at the relatively new branch of [Kiehl's] in SF.

For dinner, my sister and Carlos and I went to a small restaurant with delicious food. I believe it was called South Park Cafe (no relation to the cartoon). Carlos's daughter worked there. Maybe because of that, the atmosphere seemed very friendly. There also seemed to be a few gay male couples dining there, which always makes me happy.

I get to go home tomorrow!!!! Back to the man I love...

      >> 11:44 AM

Update: Anne just sent me info about this virus (she's also been gettin'): [http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/w32.sircam.worm@mm.html]

Oh my god, I'm feeling so embattled. I've gotten multiple copies of this weird e-mail with a sketchy attachment (.pif, anyone?). I'm not sure why or how I'm being targeted, either. One of the e-mails was even sent to my buffy address. No one ever uses that address. Freaky. Now I'm afraid it's some ultra-new-high-tech virus that's going to wreak havoc on my computer even though I'm not opening the attachment...

      >> 11:35 AM

Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Yay! New [Björk] album Vespertine in about a month!

It sounds so yummy:

Bjork is the first person to admit that the upcoming tour may be more difficult. "Vespertine is a strange one," she explains, "because it's so much about that mood you create in your house with your friends and loved ones. It's about hibernation, making hot chocolate, and reading your favorite book. It's not easy to capture this in a big room, which is why I'm looking to play smaller, more intimate venues."

      >> 12:30 PM

Monday, July 23, 2001

Awww....thanks [seiya]. I'm doing okay at home. Just need to get out during the day and remain in contact with other people. I am still very snippy, though.

      >> 11:43 PM

Trying out [Opera] web browser. Works pretty well, although there are some some problems loading frame-heavy pages like the [Blogger] edit pages...

      >> 11:38 PM

[Coming to Blows Over How Valid Science Really Is.] If only I had known about Thomas Kuhn's work five or six years ago, I might have veered off into history of science / science studies instead of English...

      >> 11:32 PM

7:38 am, PDT

Was just in the bathroom and my mom came knocking on the door. Not such a bit deal except it's an indication of how my parents think that closed doors are always a bad thing, that we shouldn't want to close the door to the bathroom unless we're doing something "bad." And so if I want privacy for whatever reason, I always feel like I'm doing something "bad."

And I forgot to mention another big comment... My parents were talking over lunch about how they're still thinking about going to the North Carolina mountains in September (they wanted my brother to go along and maybe have my sister in Rhode Island go down to meet up with them). Anyways, my mom was again assuming that I would be going with them, even though I had already told them a number of times this fall semester is going to be very very very very very very busy and I wasn't going to be able to take a vacation. But I had told them to come on down anyways and maybe they could leave from Durham to drive to the mountains. But when I repeated that I couldn't take a vacation during the semester, my mom immediately asked in an accusatory tone why I didn't want them to visit me in North Carolina. And ok, so I haven't told them about Joe, but I am perfectly ready for them to meet him if they insist. It's just that in the past, they haven't exactly proven themselves worthy of being a part of my life outside what they already know of me. In other words, they can get along just fine without knowing about Joe whereas they would have a tremendously difficult time dealing with him. They already have a difficult enough time with my sister's boyfriend just because he's not Taiwanese. Now make my partner a man and black and there's no knowing the extent of their inability to deal with the situation. Sigh. I wonder if my parents understand why I (and really we all their children) don't really share much of our lives with them. They accuse us of being selfish and simply hating them, although that really just misses the whole point. If I really hated them, I would spitefully tell them all the juicy details of my homosexual life and watch them have heart attacks. Ok. I'm going to go repress now. Not think about these things.

      >> 9:48 AM

6:33 am, PDT

A whole series of unsavory dreams. Being with my parents is starting to weigh on me. Irritability has gone up. Desire not to have to communicate has gone up. Need to be alone has gone up. I'm remembering more and more why I've needed very much just to be away. It's kind of sad, though. Because it's kind of true what my mom accuses me of sometimes on the phone -- of wanting just to be away from them.

There's just this whole system of authority between my parents and I that has always been restrictive, repressive, mutually inhibiting, really. On the side of my parents, unilateral power, knowledge (know-how), experience, and outright rightness. On my side, absolute ignorance, inexperience, stupidity, wastefulness, and constant mistakes. I can't pass even a meal with my parents without beginning to feel like a failure. At least I'm beginning to realize that maybe this system of authority is perhaps not TRUTH in any sense except what my parents can see with their limited (and I might add very limited perspective). I hate to malign my parents so much, though, so I try to remember that they've had an entirely different upbringing, grew up in an entirely different culture and time. But their inability (or refusal?) to understand that they don't have the only say in what is right (from the right career choice to the right fashion sense) can make it extremely difficult for me and my siblings to exist within their daily sphere.

It's much easier for me to stay silent about everything because my parents are constantly telling me how to live my life if I so much as open my mouth. Last night, I abruptly snapped at my mom and told her not to ask me again about the composition class I'll be teaching this fall. It was harsh. It was mean. I hated myself as soon as the words came out of my mouth. But my parents' constant needling about what this course entails, what I'd be teaching, what kinds of responsibility I'll have, was more than a wish to know about my life -- it was a chance also to build up ammunition to use against me and my choices in life (for example, going to graduate school in English). Maybe it's a cynical attitude to take about their motives, and I'm sure at some level they're also interested in learning about this utterly foreign world I've decided to immerse myself in, but after being burned so often and consistently by my parents when I've ever let them into my life, I've learned not to trust them. And in addition to the explicit attacks on what I'm doing (questions about how much money I'll be making and the disdainful look when I tell them -- their constantly stated belief that I will remain financially insolvent and dependent), there are the subtle reminders that they are always thinking the worst when they try to engage me about things I'm doing. My mom asks, as if innocently, if the work I am doing is "hard." She reminds me constantly to take a class or something in computer programming as a second career option, as if I'm not actively and full-time pursuing a career already. My dad talks about how he taught a class after he first got his medical degree, talked about his professors, talked about how Indians (South Asians) were more talkative than Chinese, even though they know less, capping it all off by asking how much I would make as an English professor. And when I tried to explain the concept of tenure and the general structure of academic professorship, he only laughed and said he made much more than a full professor makes when he first got out of school.

I've always been reluctant to write down my thoughts about my parents or discuss them with other people because my evaluations and descriptions always seem to present my parents in a completely negative light. True, I am writing about them because I am upset, but I do feel guilty, have that sense of being an ungrateful son or something...

I did want to mention that a major reason I really like Tsai Ming-liang's films is that he presents a very familiar world. Interactions and relationships that make sense to me, that I've not seen in other films ever. I was telling my sister in San Francisco about Tsai Ming-liang's films last week. She asked me what I liked about them. I told her that they are "strange," and when asked to elaborate, realized exactly that the strangeness came from an intense feeling of familiarity with the characters on screen, something I never feel elsewhere. In some senses, Rebels of the Neon God and The River where the hardest to watch for me because the situation presented was too familiar -- the interaction of a son (played by Lee Kang-sheng) with his parents. And I could just see that if I stuck around here too long, I might get back into such a perpetual cycle of disappointment and aimlessness. Vive l'Amour and The Hole were far more optimistic to me because I think the characters played by Lee Kang-sheng, especially thought of as the same character he plays in the other two movies, are able to explore their lives far more, to be, in effect, because they are not living at home with their parents. There is a sort of hope in that exploration of possibilities, a hope in the looking outward rather than a spiralling inward to destruction. Don't get me wrong, Vive l'Amour and The Hole are not exactly happy films. The former film has a constant presence of loneliness and sadness, an inability to find connection to anyone or anything. The latter film has an apocalyptic setting and the spectre of madness creeping around a similar presence of loneliness and sadness.

But things have been going fairly okay so far at my parents' house. All these feelings are only bubbling at a low level, seeping into my dreams and occasional outbursts.

Friday. I finished White Noise before setting off to San Francisco to have lunch and hang out with my sister. We had yummy Thai food and played with her cats again. :) Then I headed down to Mountain View (about a forty-five minute drive south of SF) to my friend Anne's. We walked around, had yummy tea with tapioca, browsed and bought books, had dinner, and watched TV. A very relaxing evening.

Saturday. And then then next day, Anne forced me to carry heavy furniture and boxes up and down stairs as I helped her move out of her apartment there and into her new place in Daly City. Soooooo...tiring. But not an entirely unpleasant feeling immediately afterwards (the next day was a different story). Around 2 pm, I set off to meet up with my sister again, grabbing a sandwich at a small, friendly place near her apartment. My sister got some roses, too, and cat food for her cat (yum yum yum). I gobbled my food, showered to refresh myself after all that hard labor, and then relaxed on the couch with my sister. We couldn't play with her cats because they were being sleepy-heads. We then met up with one of my sister's old friends from high school for a walk along the piers. Such a beautiful place is the Bay. The weather was perfect for walking, too -- cool, but sunny, and breezy -- so I never got too hot or too cold. SF is such a "just so" place. :) Anyways, after the forty-five minute-or-so walk, we headed back to my sister's place for dinner (Indian food delivered). Then I was off to see [Holcombe Waller] at the Great American Music Hall. I'd forgotten how crazy Holcombe Waller can be live. I loved his screaming, though. I know I like a lot of singers who scream because they are my antithesis. I cannot scream. Try as hard as I might, my voice can only get so loud -- nowhere near a scream. But singers who can scream on key -- now that really strikes me with awe. Anyways, it was a fun performance, even though he tried to be all hard-rock-y at the end and got a tad too loud for my tastes with the electric guitars. Then it was back to Orinda and my parents' place after dropping Anne and her boyfriend off at their new home in Daly City.

Sunday. A day with my parents and brother. Lazy day. Did some reading in the morning. We all went out around noon, stopping first at the hospital so my dad could check in with some patients, then off to lunch at Yoshi's in Oakland. A bit of hanging out after lunch, browsing books at the Barnes & Noble's at Jack London Square, and then home. My brother and I then went to the mall so he could return a jean jacket he had gotten the other day that was too short. He got a pair of green pants (bright kelly green) that I also wanted, except he got the last pair of the right waist-size for me (it was a clearance sale item). We both got the same cool long-sleeve t-shirt at another place. Unfortunately, mine is too small so I have to go back to exchange it. What a pain. So that was pretty much the day. I was so tired all day from the moving Saturday and the too-short night of sleep I had that I was asleep by nine, right after I ate dinner.

Today. And after a fitful night of disturbing dreams, here I am. I can't remember the specifics of the dreams, but they all revolved around my sense of powerlessness, of awkwardness and inexperience, when I am with my parents. In some ways, I feel like I'd turn into the "madwoman" character of the family if I had to live in the same place as my parents. I would be unable to say anything. I would always lash out at people in anger. I would eventually be confined to a room at the top of the house, fed and clothed, but otherwise confined and constrained. I would try to burn down the house in passionate anger.... Or maybe I just need to go home and finish reading Jane Eyre.

      >> 9:32 AM

Thursday, July 19, 2001

2:03 pm PDT

Discovered in my old room [Jimmy Somerville's] Dare to Love. I remember how important it was for me to find this album, the music overtly about gay love. There was always [Erasure], whose singer was openly gay, but their lyrics mostly veered towards gender ambiguity (one perfect example being ["Hideaway"] a song about the rejection of a kid by his parents and family -- easily read as a gay kid's fears, but never explicitly naming the thing), and if you knew nothing about Andy Bell, you could easily imagine the songs being about heterosexual relations.

In any case, Jimmy Somerville's album is about gay kids, gay love, homophobia... and it was definitely a case of validation for me to find his music. It helped me to see that it's okay to be deviant, to be different. And trust me, growing up in these parts especially, it was quite a revelation.

      >> 4:22 PM

Wednesday, July 18, 2001

Two people sent me different versions of this article today: [Mother Duck Calls Police]. I need to go visit the ducks...

      >> 5:24 PM

2:55 pm PDT

Home is great. It's nice to be in this house again. It's still as messy and crammed full of junk as before, but is still much bigger than the dorm suites and apartments I've lived in since I left full-time residence here. I paced non-stop this morning around the house because there was so much space for me to wander. No more going in circles in the same room or between a few small ones.

My parents seem happy to see me. It's always touching for me to see them happy to see me. Still, if I were to stick around for much longer than a week, I know our interaction would spiral down. Even now they make comments that are irritating, as well-intentioned as they are. My mom said I am getting fat. My dad is as obsessed as ever with proper gender roles: he likes my facial hair (more masculine) but abhors my posture and general carriage for being not assertive enough. He was a little upset (but in an amused way) that my mom had made up the bed I'm sleeping in with floral-print sheets, saying that it was girly.

Today is my dad's birthday and after work we're going out to dinner. My sister is very kindly coming, too, so I won't be alone with my parents at that affair. Strength in numbers. They're less likely to torture us by lecturing us about our lives and the choices we've made in careers, partners, etc. when we're not alone.

Blue skies smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies do I see
Blue birds singing their song
Nothing but blue birds all day long
I never saw the sun shining so bright
Never saw things going so right
Noticing the days hurrying by
When you're in love my how they fly
Blue days all of them gone
Nothing but blue skies from now on

The weather here is so gorgeous. Sunny, clear skies. Low low low humidity. A light, cool breeze. It's probably in the 70s temperature-wise. I'm not with Joe, my weather-guide, so I don't know for sure. I spent the whole morning and first part of the afternoon out in the backyard.

My mom has been growing various types of plants and trees around the house. She is very proud and excited about a peach tree she planted out front. It has sprouted a whole bunch of peaches. She gathered a bowlful of ripe, soft, sweet ones. There's nothing like fresh fruit. Mmmmm... It's great seeing my parents get excited and happy about things. They're downright cute.

      >> 5:21 PM

Just received a copy of this article -- [A Rainbow of Differences in Gays' Children] -- by e-mail from my friend Eric. Maybe more about the whole controversy over gay adoption and the raising of children by gay parents later....

      >> 9:24 AM

6:45 am PDT
Orinda, CA

(A lengthy, though unembellished, account of the last couple of days.)

Early morning, up experiencing the quietness of this house. It's been a busy past couple of days. Monday I spent frantically trying to get my affairs in order to take this week-long trip to California. Did the laundry. Bought groceries. Returned library books. Scanned pictures. Sorted through piles of junk. Cleared out my papers and books and mail from the tables and floors of the apartment (they creep insistently and incessantly outwards from my desk in the study, from the bookshelves in the bedroom). Cooked Joe's favorite filet mignon in red wine sauce for dinner. Helped Joe put together a jigsaw puzzle of a couple of kittens. Packed for the trip.

Tuesday was the day of travel. Up early at 5:45 am, too early, really. But upon arriving at the airport, I found that my flight had been cancelled (didn't ask why, wasn't offered an explanation) and was lucky (or prescient) to have arrived so early as to catch an earlier flight. Off in the jet plane then, into the air. Don DeLillo's White Noise cracked. A cereal bar and orange juice. Within an hour, we touched down at Washington-Dulles airport. There, I had a two hour layover (earlier first flight partially responsible for the long wait). After walking up and down the terminal for awhile, I sat down to rest. Put on my headphones. Dozed in front of my departure gate. Dozed uneasily, though, because I was afraid I would sleep through the boarding process or that someone would run off with my luggage (I'm a heavy sleeper). But soon, the gate area was full of people, many loudly jabbering away. One woman's voice -- "I'm very upset. I'm angry." -- seeped past my headphones and Christina Aguilera's "So Emotional." This woman was on her cell phone berating some customer service person for service not rendered or well-done concerning her air conditioning unit at home. I've never heard someone so angry before. And to fill the whole gate area with her invective! Some people really just don't have the self-consciousness I do...

And so finally the flight began boarding. I was glad the woman accepting boarding passes tried to ward off those passengers who clamored to get on before their rows were called. Seating really would go much faster if people could board more calmly and orderly. Why do people always try to push their way onto flights? Don't they realize they already have assigned seats? And why would they want to be on the plane those extra fifteen or so minutes? The flight is already over five hours long... In the electronics-ban time between departure from the gate and ten minutes into the flight, I could not use my music to keep out the chattering of people around me. In particular, one fourteen-year-old girl who was afraid of flying was visiting her father in California for the first time (he just moved there) with a stuffed animal named Pepy (whom she won at King's Dominion with her friend, they won it together) and needed chewing gum or her ears would pop and played a flight simulator on her computer for a few weeks before to accustom herself to the idea of flying even though she had to use a mouse not a joystick like she used to be able to do etc. etc. was right behind me and kept torturing her row-mates although maybe they were a bit more receptive than I would've been. The seats were so cramped and the man next to me overflowed his seat, arm continually brushing against mine. I slept a large portion of the flight, dozing with the head bobbing action, ate a lunch of chicken and rice, read a third of White Noise. After forever and constant fears of blood clots in my legs, we arrived in San Francisco International Airport.

It was going on 2 pm Pacific Daylight Savings Time. I stepped out into the refreshing SF weather, not humid and in fact cool. Soon I found my sister who picked me up. And we were off! We headed to the Pacific Heights area where my sister had an appointment. We walked about the streets, had a snack of soup at a restaurant, and then I walked up and down the streets for another half hour while she went to her appointment. I ended up at a tiny coffee-tea place where I ordered a delicious blood red orange green tea. Yum yum yum. I flipped through the [SF Bay Guardian] and read about filmmaker [Nguyen Tan Hoang].

We returned to her place where we played with her cats (Shamar and Ibiza!) and her new birds (three parakeets). I soooo want to have a cat. Dinner at an Italian restaurant a couple of blocks (up a steep hill) from her place along with Carlos. Stuffed myself. Then back to unwind at her place before coming to Orinda, my parents house. Sleep...

      >> 9:04 AM

Sunday, July 15, 2001

Just back from watching A.I. all the way through. Seems to have left me in a bit of a funk. Or I'm just realizing that I'll be away from Joe for a week and a half starting Tuesday. The movie is painful to watch because it's about love and abandonment. And I just want to curl up in bed with Joe now...

So much to do tomorrow before I leave for the San Francisco Bay Area on Tuesday. I have been looking forward to the trip -- to see my parents, my brother, my sister, and California.

      >> 9:14 PM

Yesterday's weather was very pleasant. Low humidity and not-too-hot temperatures. We had the windows open last night instead of the air conditioning unit running non-stop. The drone of the insects was so loud, though. Eerie how the sound picks up as night falls and then rises as the evening progresses.

We had a house guest this weekend, quite a rare occasion. One of Joe's friends from work returned to the area for a wedding (he left last summer). Our study doubled as the guest room. How strange it would be to stay here as a guest -- a room filled with books and papers piled up on the window ledge, in crates, on the desk...

I'm actually going to the [Dawson's Creek] casting call at the mall today with Patrick. With nothing to do in the area, I'm sure the place will be swarming with teens and college-aged people. But hey, I can always turn right back around and come home if it gets too hectic...

      >> 9:17 AM

Saturday, July 14, 2001

Thanks for the congrats, [aku aku]! And though I think your new layout is stunning, I must ask you to stop changing your layout so often! You're making me feel like I'm a lazy bum for leaving my site unchanged for so long. Damn you artists!!!

      >> 4:18 PM

Happy Bastille Day!

I am freakin' out. Just got a package from the [Writing Program] today. All this information about orientation for teaching, forms to fill out regarding employment eligibility and taxes, and just the sheer fact that I can no longer pretend I will not be teaching in about a month. I am so not ready for this. And yet I know I am. But I am still frightened out of my mind about teaching a class full of unruly freshmen. A class, no less, that is required, hence odious in the minds of most students. My god, if only I were TAing a course, I would feel less pressure. But I have full responsibility for this writing course. Need to go calm down... feel myself on the verge of hyperventilating (yes, drama queen am I).

      >> 4:12 PM

Have I mentioned that the other cabaret / pop standards / musical theater male singer I really like stars in Only Heaven Knows (which is why I got the recording)? [David Campbell] is great. He sings feel-good and affirmation songs. And sometimes I need that, you know? I like his second solo album, Taking the Wheel a lot for that reason. Lots of songs about doing what you need to do, taking charge of your life, being thankful for what you have, being able to change what makes you not happy, etc... Gah, I just need to go to the self-help section of the bookstore, eh?

      >> 10:24 AM

Friday, July 13, 2001

Yay! [Only Heaven Knows] arrived today. (I love [Footlight Records]!) I'm listening to it now. It's about a young man who goes to the big city of Sydney during WWII. And he finds other gay people there. Yay! There's this great song when the man sings about the American soldiers and sailors and all of a sudden he sings about watching them dressing and undressing and wouldn't everyone be awed to watch them? And that's when he realizes he's physically/sexually attracted to them...

      >> 4:17 PM

Boy band fever. Listening to [Kai's] self-titled debut album reminds me that I never picked up their latest album. They've a very mellow sound, especially compared to the other boy-groups...

      >> 8:52 AM

Erm. I guess I shouldn't have had a piece of lemon tart on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. It felt like it went straight to my stomach with a thump. Well, I'm making myself a square meal now. Rice congee. Mmm...

I made the lemon tart yesterday after my plans to get up and out bright and early to study at school fell through. (At 2 pm I was still sitting at home as if I had just gotten out of bed.) The lemon tart is ok. I guess I was expecting something a little different. I should've gone the extra mile and made the crust by hand. The store-bought stuff is really unappealing. Have you ever tried to make a flaky butter pastry crust from scratch, though?

Today is my anniversary, by the way. Yay me! Joe and I have been together together for three years now. Doesn't seem that long when condensed to a small number like that. But THREE YEARS! :)

      >> 8:34 AM

Thursday, July 12, 2001

For some reason I feel taller when I'm naked.

      >> 11:44 AM

I suppose it's time for me to go to sleep. Guess I won't be getting up at 7 am as planned earlier. I love that quiet humming of the air conditioning unit at night. No other sounds readily audible, though the sounds of insects murmuring at the edges of the window.

Today, err... yesterday, was a consumer day. I did nothing but spend money. Toy for self ([Meow-Chi]), batteries for [Tamagotchi] (can't get the second screw out to release the back panel, though...), fish for dinner, two shirts, and a double fudge cookie to stave off hunger mid-afternoon. Added to all that all the non-reading I did, oy. Tomorrow (today) will be a different day. I'm going to hole myself up in my carrel in the library and read, read, read.

      >> 12:47 AM

Wednesday, July 11, 2001

I love what hair wax does for styling my recalcitrant hair. But I don't like having to wash it out of my hair before sleep...

Watched a large part of A.I. today. Then the power went out in the movie theater and surrounding areas of Durham. So I was left hanging. I guess I'll go back to see the movie again soon (we all got free replacement tickets). It's been so fuckin' hot and humid the last few days that I think it was a brownout from all the energy the commercial area was using to air-condition the stores, etc. I'm melting!!!

Nice to know: [Same-sex households rise]. And I just love the fact that I live in "the Triangle" in the heart of North Carolina.

Time to go get on TV as an extra: ['Dawson's Creek' chooses Duke]. I was just at the South Square Mall Belk store today, too. It was during the brownout / blackout, though, so half the store was unlit and I was herded out.

      >> 11:53 PM

Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Been listening a lot to my two [Sam Harris] albums lately: [Standard Time] (I love his versions of "Let Me Sing" and "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off") and [Revival]. But I visited his web site for the first time today and discovered that there are a number of other albums available. Now I want them all. ([Hint hint.])

And it turns out that boyfriend is gay. I always assumed, but never heard it from any other source. (He's on the cover of the July issue of [Genre Magazine].) And of course, now I am totally in love with him. And I'm heading out to buy the magazine, even though I had previously decided I would not leave the apartment all day.

      >> 1:06 PM

Boo. Nobody ever e-mails me except mass marketers. And no, I don't want a university diploma, a free loan quotation, nor pictures of nude celebrities. I don't want to buy viagra on-line, enlarge my breast size, get out of debt fast, find out anything about anyone, or play your new Shockwave casino. Grrrr.

I plan on staying in my apartment all day today. It's going to be in the 90s outside with something like a 72 degree dew point. Ugh.

Maybe it's time to start reading books again? Or I could sit around listening to my cds and sing along? Tummy ache.

      >> 9:47 AM

TV overload... I hadn't been watching much TV lately, but yesterday I sat in front of the set for about five continuous hours... Watched an A&E Biography program on RuPaul. I love RuPaul. I think the program sanitized her story a lot (of course), but especially seemed to refuse to acknowledge the sexual aspects of his persona. In fact, the narrative was that RuPaul was a non-intimidating drag queen because she was non-sexual. And in some respects, that might be true since RuPaul in the mainstream media didn't talk about and play on explicit sex, but there's the undeniable presence of RuPaul as drag queen in fabulous dress showing lots of leg, etc. So, while women's bodies are assumed to be sexual objects by their very presence, RuPaul in drag is automatically desexualized... and why?

This difference in perceiving / mediating bodies was especially apparent in juxtaposition to the Road Rules 10 premiere where Ellen in short-shorts gets pelted by rocks in Morocco. Of course, the cultural mores there are completely different, but the underlying dynamics of sexual domination, exploitation, and objectification of women is the same. I was angered by how Blair, a guy in the group, reacted to the whole situation, too. He kept insisting that Ellen had to "trust" the group and the people who "love" her there (how is she supposed to trust them completely? they barely know each other!). It was clear that he just didn't understand what it means for a woman to feel fear in the face of male aggression (boys where throwing the rocks, men were giving her lewd stares and making comments at her). I forget if it was Blair or one of the other guys, but some guy in the group made the comment that of course as men the first thing they would do upon seeing Ellen is stare at her legs and fantasize about her sexually (well, maybe he left that second part out). And fine, think that she's sexy, that her body is fine. But should that condone the step to violence, violation, humiliation?

I also saw Pamela Anderson on Jay Leno. I don't know why, but I find her fascinating. She always seems so self-possessed and not at all in need of approval or anything (as her cosmetic surgery might suggest).

Found out this morning that AJ of the Backstreet Boys has checked into rehab (alcoholism) and entered counselling for depression, anxiety, etc. How sad. Yes, again, fame and fortune do not a happy person make.

      >> 9:01 AM

Monday, July 09, 2001

Wah! This [game] related to A.I. is very intriguing...

[2] is the latest gay erotica magazine to send me free issues. I get so many free magazines it's laughable. I guess there are some perks to leaking my mailing address to all sorts of people.

      >> 10:59 AM

Mmm... The voice on United Airlines' automated flight-arrival-and-departure information system is sexy.

      >> 12:50 AM

Sunday, July 08, 2001

Must... stay... awake... Need to pick up Joe's friend from the airport around midnight. Only a couple more hours...

Can't wait for Shani Mootoo's new book -- [The Predicament of Or]!

      >> 9:23 PM

Wow. Meclizine, the anti-nausea med, knocked me out. I was asleep for about sixteen hours. So groggy last night when I moved from the study to the bedroom... Anyways, feeling less nauseous now. I think the stomach medicine really helped. Feels like it's wearing off now, so I just popped a couple more tablets of the stuff. Making some congee for breakfast. Mmmm. Don't know if it's the best thing to have with a toxin-infested stomach, but whatever.

      >> 9:29 AM

Saturday, July 07, 2001

Feeling nauseous still. Last night at dinner, I suddenly started feeling nauseous. Then I went to the restroom and threw up. Yum. (I was at a restaurant and Joe and Elizabeth.) I hate feeling nauseous. Still not sure why I'm sick. Could be the weird-tasting butter in my popcorn at the movie theater. Could be the margarita I had. Could be the mole sauce in my dish. Who knows. I'm in that annoying state when every smell (and taste) makes me want to vomit. Managed to have some reconstituted-from-bouillon-cube-chicken-soup. But I'm not sure how much I will be able to eat today. What a pain. And just when Joe is finally able to be with me and not at work all day. C'est la vie.

      >> 12:17 PM

Friday, July 06, 2001

How did I ever do anything without the Internet?

      >> 1:16 PM

Wednesday, July 04, 2001

[Tsai Ming-liang Opens the Floodgates] by Dennis Lim

Eck eck ick ick ack. Alone listless breakfast table in an otherwise empty room. If my song can make you homesick, I'm happy. Get the DJ to play our favorite song, 'cuz it's what keeps me holding on. Can't find the spoon that we once had, the sugar cubes will melt no more. If I could wear your clothes, I'd pretend I was you and lose control. Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir? I'm out of control, isn't it obvious?

      >> 4:52 PM

Tuesday, July 03, 2001

Star Struck

The [film festival] was amazing. The director Tsai Ming-liang and Lee Kang-sheng (the actor in the films) were there! They showed up to introduce some screenings and field questions afterwards. I was in heaven. I wish I had something to talk to them about. I was really just star struck, though, and wanted to be near them. I want to be their friend.

The weather was awful while I was in New York City. Of course, as soon as I left, it turned gorgeous -- sunny, not humid, and cool. While there, I suffered immensely in the humid heat and almost died of heat exhaustion when walking around the streets under the noon-day sun.

I had a good time seeing some of my old friends. We had dinner and dessert and went to a club and went to bars and had breakfast and stuff. I love the food in NYC. It costs an arm and a leg to eat out all the time, though.

I was really glad to see my sister and Brine, too. We hung out a lot and walked around and talked in cafes. They always know the yummiest places to go to eat, too. Stuff I would never be able to find by myself.

      >> 1:54 PM