Saturday, December 29, 2001

More airport craziness. I had to go to the airport late last night, around 11:30 pm, to pick up my delayed bag (their euphemism for lost/misplaced bag). I had to talk the security officer into letting me hop out of my car to run in to get my bag -- he ended up going in to get my bag for me. And tired, I tried to pack last night. But couldn't. Fell asleep with all the lights on and unpacked.

Woke up this morning at five, packed frantically, and drove back to the airport for my flight to Boston, MA. I ran into the longest lines for check-in and security I'd ever seen. Took so long (I was individually checked for weapons, etc., too) that I missed my flight (by five minutes!). The airline personnel at the gate were very unhelpful and said I had to go back out to the ticketing counter to reschedule my flight. I was furious. But I went to another gate counter for a flight to NYC (Laguardia) and managed to get onto it. So I flew into NYC and got on an Amtrak train up to Providence. I love knowing the transportation routes and stuff of an area.

* * *

Taking a page from [Gargy] (though on a train rather than a bus and unfortunately without the humor), some notes from my train ride (after some dozing the first hour).

11:04 am
It's easy to create an outside enemy and throw rocks at it, it's much harder to think of how you exist in the systems of inequality (there is, in some senses, no outside) and work to change things from within. (Thoughts on Critical Race theory.)

11:13 am, outside Bridgeport, CT

Bridgeport looks like an abandoned industrial city.

11:23 am
Traveling is stressful. It's great to see people helpful and helping. Even simple things like helping someone get a piece of luggage into the overhead storage area. Or this train conductor who has gone out of her way to help this woman behind me with her ticket problems. (I can just imagine another, less patient person throwing her off the train at the next stop to figure out things by herself.)

11:31 am, New Haven, CT
(Luggage gets inextricably and suddenly heavy.)
Ah, my ol' home. it's nice to be traveling along these tracks again. Note to self: think about teaching course in residential college seminar system. Wonder how much it pays...

11:47 am
Hmmm... My elbow wound is healing quite nicely. Soon I will have a nice pickable scab.

12:44 pm, outside Mystic
Yummy soft ginger cookies, fruitcake cookies, picturesque New England winter landscape outside (minus the snow, though), [Holcombe Waller] on the headphones, the gentle rocking motion of the train... Passed out for about an hour. Wow. I really am tired. I hope I haven't been snoring. (I wanna talk in my sleep rather than snore. Joe talked in sleep. He would also ask me questions and nudge me when I didn't answer...)

12:53 pm
The guy in front of me talks to himself.

1:02 pm
Look! Evergreens all of a sudden outside!!!

1:06 pm, just past Kingston, RI
"Twenty minutes to Providence, honey."

1:10 pm
Isn't it great how humans come up with useful relational terms for dealing with changing directions? I don't know why I'm so fascinated by how the world, spatially, can become streamlined/directed to front/rear on the train, and how comlicated nautical directionality must be to deal wtih spatial relations of the ship's many dimensions as well as cardinal directions for navigation.

* * *

Now in Providence, I feel like I'm at the end of the road finally. All this traveling is stressful. I'm here now, though, in my sister's apartment. And I can rest. (Eve Sedgwick in A Dialogue on Love talks about the sense of wanting someone to tell her she can stop now, rest from all the work of life.)

      >> 9:01 PM

Friday, December 28, 2001

I did a lot of movie-watching while at home. There doesn't seem much else to do, no other sanctioned recreational activity. But then again my dad does seem to be getting into golf, and my mom has always loved karaoke.

Monday I saw [Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone]. Wednesday I saw [Ali]. Thursday I saw [Amelie]. (This all in addition to aforementioned Lord of the Rings as well as Shrek on dvd.)

Harry Potter was what I expected from reviews. A nicely done translation of the book to the screen, but not much in the way of special (filmic) interpretation. I wasn't taken with the book when I read it last year because I thought it sounded like every other children's book with the hero who is an orphan living a miserable life with unkind people (usually relatives) who then finds out he's special etc. etc. etc. But the movie emphasized for me the importance of love in Harry's special-ness. But it's also traditional in many respects, the self-sacrificing hero. (Though usually a woman?) Made me think of Harry's being the "chosen one" like Buffy. Although then it still brings up the issue of celebrity which I think is problematic. Harry is known. Harry is the savior. Harry will come to realize he has a special power and gift to save the world. Etc. Buffy is unknown. Buffy is the savior, sort of. Buffy really struggles with her "calling." We don't even know what she is anymore (not human, not just a Slayer, ?).

Ali was worth watching, though I didn't get it. I mean, it's a biopic, a presentation of some highlights of Muhammed Ali's life. A "real" life. But it lacked any narrative cohesion. Or even any sort of structural fragmentation that helped to make sense of disparate elements of Ali's life. Instead, it was just a presentation of significant events (to whom? for whom?). I really was fascinated by all the racial politics of the 1960s and 1970s presented in the movie, though. Didn't realize how implicated Ali was in the struggle over Black Islamic identity and the Vietnam War. Must read up on those various movements (Black Islam, Black Power, anti-war struggles, etc.) and think about their points of intersection, tension, etc. Need to read Malcolm X's autobiography. Thought it was really interesting that they included the scene of his assassination, complete with the (in the movie, unexplained) presence of Japanese American activist [Yuri Kochiyama].

Amelie was more fun and mischievously brilliant than I imagined. So many of the little projects that the characters of the film undertook just made me want to pursue my little odd projects into "reality," into production at a material level, so that I can look at something (or back at something) and see that I, too, have managed to carry through such a project. One guy in the movie pieced together insta-photos thrown away at photo booths and created a "family" album. Was a nexus of sorts of the city's people. So much fun!!

      >> 7:57 PM

Back in Durham, NC. United Airlines lost my checked bag. I don't know what I'm going to do since I leave for my sister's in Providence, RI, tomorrow morning (early).

I was going to write a lengthy angst post about my family romance / dysfunction. But I don't know even know how to synthesize it in order to effect change or to come to a different understanding of what I'm doing. Every year it's the same anxieties of being at home. And it's not that I just want to avoid home, but I need to change the way home exists for me and the way I exist for home (parents). So instead of any coherent narrative, I'll just post the notes I wrote down when the awfulness of it all was most acute.

* * *

anxiety - productive (of what?) / most productive space
change / refusal to sever ties completely / issue of abandonment
the (solipsistic) world of this place (home)
disclosures and secrets / fear of the unknown (for parents?)
existential quandry of the question of homosexuality
silence / silencing / tremendous difficulty (physically) speaking - me
condensation of world /sitting on bed / seriousness
as opposed to constantly critical and laughing / mocking
surveillance / problem of archiving
(some sort of elaborate system of memory, data traces)
lived commitments / my presumptuous student asking me
if I didn't feel obligation to family / community
to do well in school (note her background?)
(righteousness? sense that my life is better?)
- radical difference of my attempts to cobble together
a coherent, or at least working, hypothesis to direct my life
outside imposition of values, individual generation of values
- doesn't mean opposition to established (even "traditional") values necessarily
normativity! what is a normal life? the haze of existence hinged on solely
external indicators of success
(even as dad seemingly at some moments clearly in love with medicine)
immovable parents
(the odd place of my brother in all this / his influence on my parents)

She is twenty-five
spent over half of her life
so afraid
to speak her mind
such a shame
because oh what a brilliant mind she has
and now that she's been introduced to confidence
she doesn't see that she
is bordering on arrogance
when will she learn
to come back to the middle

constant strategies of disavowal / denial / lack
("you aren't attracted to pretty girls?")
mother: lunch and history of family
scholar, her great-grandfather, the pride I'm supposed to feel?
genealogies, lineages, purity of family
IMPLICATION? that I am not doing what's right
that I'm deviant, somehow wrong :(

* * *

At least I'm feeling much less pessimistic and paralyzed about everything. It was only Tuesday night, the worst, when I was in bed and my dad came in and asked me if I had changed my sexual orientation. And he wanted to know if I really wasn't interested in "pretty girls" and if I went to bars to have sex with lots of people. I just couldn't respond. I didn't know what to say. I had nothing to say. Where to bring my understanding of sex and sexuality into a discussion with my dad? And the accusatory tone of his question, the fear.

Leaving my parents' house with my sister Thursday, we had a talk about the whole situation, the silences, the avoidance. And we both acknowledged how much we still sympathized with our parents, how much they must feel that we (their children) are screw-ups, they failures as parents. But so much that we have all achieved, and how to communicate these new criteria of success and happiness to their unforgiving ideas of what life is.

      >> 7:38 PM

Tuesday, December 25, 2001

What the hell? My password on Blogger got changed somehow...

I can't believe I'm twenty-four...

      >> 4:33 PM

Monday, December 24, 2001

3:00 pm, LCT

Had to find a Kinko's to do my e-mail. Very sad. I'm addicted. And it's not like anyone has e-mailed me or anything.

I did go to the [Holcombe Waller] concert on Friday night. It was an acoustic set at Berkeley's The Starry Plough (a bar). Disappointing that the set was short and started late (the other performer was there for about two hours!). The worst part, though, was that I sat next to some annoying people who were there not for the music. They kept complaining about Holcombe Waller the whole time. They were a group of guys, very uncomfortable with non-manly men, apparently. They kept mocking Holcombe for his high voice, his gender-queering lyrics, and girly screams. And yet, even though they kept saying they should leave, they stayed until the last song. I think they ashamedly liked Holcombe's music, but couldn't admit it to each other. A couple of them did "admit" that Holcombe was a good guitar player, though. (He rocks!!)

On Saturday, I saw [The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring]. It was very good, though the story itself has some disconcertingly conservative elements. It was very lushly filmed; the visuals were amazing and breathtaking. My parents and brother did not like it very much. My dad fell asleep. They didn't understand what was going on and why it ended the way it did. Not much else to say now. (Not used to this reflecting back more than a day thing. I wish I could blog more easily from my parents' house. I already attempted to blog about the movie twice, but failed both times.)

What was more interesting was the play I saw on Saturday night. It was called Floating Weeds, the new play in workshop stage by [Philip Kan Gotanda]. I saw it with my sister and her friends. I didn't like the play a lot, even though it dealt with a lot of issues and narrative techniques that I generally like. It was about these four characters who live very dead-end lives. They are poor and can barely make a living. They have nothing really to keep them happy and interested in working to stay alive. I guess it felt rough to me and perhaps a bit melodramatic, not really getting to me emotionally the way it seemed to be trying to do. I would've liked to see the play develop more engagingly the idea of sex/masturbation as the band-aid to life. In some ways, the play reminded me of Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye because there was this incest involved and a fatalistic sense of going nowhere and being broken.

My dad gave me a shot on Sunday. He never tells me why he gives me shots, but usually when I come home, he just stabs me with the needle. I asked a little later. It was a flu shot. But when he walked up to me with the needle without telling me what the shot was for, I said I didn't want a shot. And he called me a sissy, as if that was the appropriate response. Later, I was taking off the bandage from my elbow-wound. I was taking it off slowly because my skin is getting irritated from being covered with the adhesive constantly. My dad walked up to me and just ripped the bandage off, calling me a wimp. He thought I was taking my time because it hurt. So instead, he ripped off some of my skin and now the area around my wound is red and even more irritated.

I don't know why my dad has such a strong investment in being manly. I think it relates to the way he always has to cut my mom down, too. He's always calling her crazy and lazy and stupid and everything. It's very disconcerting. You can imagine how horrible it was to watch when I was younger. And when I used to tell him to stop, to leave her alone, he would just laugh and say that I was such a mommy's boy. But the strangest thing is that I think he really does care for my mom and just doesn't know how to show it. A couple of days ago, my mom was walking out to the mailbox in the rain, and he ran up with an umbrella behind her so she wouldn't get wet. It was a very touching moment.

My mom, on the hand, has been hinting at grandchildren. She pointed out the trees out in front of the house, their barren branches, and talked about them metaphorically as being old. She said she and dad were like that. But in the spring, the trees would bloom again with leaves and flowers and eventually fruit. She said it would be like children coming into the family. And then she asked me if that was going to happen. I was floored. I didn't know what to say, so I didn't say anything.

My mom has also been reading my books. There's this way that my parents always spy on us (children), look into our things to find out what we're doing "wrong." And then they wonder why we're so paranoid about telling them anything. I'm consciously trying not to feel like it's an invasion of my privacy, though. If she wants to read my books, she can. But I won't allow her to use the material as something to cut me down, to make me feel bad about myself and what I've chosen to do with my life. It does worry me a little that she's reading Lawrence Chua's Gold by the Inch, though, with its narrative of a man falling in love with a male hustler and the frequent s/m sex scenes and other scenes of alternative sexual practices.

      >> 5:00 PM

Friday, December 21, 2001

3:55 pm, LCT

I'm finally getting around to reading Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's A Dialogue on Love (my sister got it for me last year for my birthday). It's amazing. But then again, I'm a little star-struck with Sedgwick. It's just that so much of what she writes about brings into stark relief things that I've struggled to articulate. And in this book, she writes about a particular therapy experience she had while in Durham, NC. She makes the experience seem so incredibly vivid, engaging, and important. I just don't know how she can write the way she does.

Other than that, my mind is really on shut-down for the moment.

      >> 5:56 PM


. . . but he can't stand to see me miserable this past week, so he's trying his hardest to find me a boyfriend. Although that would be nice, I think I'll do something which Matt even said himself: "I don't want a boyfriend right now because I don't want them to have to deal with my problems as well as their own." Something so selfless hasn't been heard in such a long time. ^_^

      >> 5:29 PM

3:11 pm, Left Coast Time

Erg. Internet connection absurdly slow and unreliable at my parents' house. Must. Keep. Temper. Under. Control.

[Tobey Maguire] is sooo hot! I can't wait for the new Spiderman movie. Can't wait. Can't wait. Can't wait.

My parents are so strange. They're very repetitious. They keep telling me the same thing over and over. They tell me to do something over and over again. Put on a sweatshirt. At least six times last night. Even though I said I wasn't cold each time. Hmmmm. I guess they don't expect me to be able to think for myself, to take care of myself. Or something.

California has been cool so far. I've been in a bit of a haze, though, always sleepy. I shopped a lot on Wednesday so now I have most of the Christmas presents taken care of. And then I just lounged around with my sister on Thursday. And today I went to the mall briefly with my brother and bought my mom a present. So much buying. Buy buy buy!

The demographics are so different here in California. Not that I didn't already know, but coming here only once or twice a year makes it all the more clear how the Bay Area really is far more racially diverse than North Carolina. There's just an entirely different sense of what the world is like going outside here than in the black-white space of Durham.

I might go see my favorite singer, [Holcombe Waller] tonight if I don't collapse from exhaustion early like I've been doing a lot lately.

      >> 5:11 PM

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

1:15 pm West Coast Time

She can drink now!! [Christina] turned 21 on Tuesday!

      >> 3:12 PM

1:01 pm West Coast Time

At my friend's place in Daly City. She's so weird!

      >> 2:59 PM

Monday, December 17, 2001

I miss my baby toes.

      >> 4:41 PM

Checking weather for San Francisco now. Looks like it's going to be between forty and sixty degrees Fahrenheit the whole time I'm there! YAY! I love the cool, mild weather of SF.

I should probably do some Christmas shopping. Presents will have to be light and compact, though, because I resolve not to take home more than one piece of luggage. It's difficult for me to buy things for people. I always just end up buying things for myself. Today, for example, I was browsing at the mall to get an idea of what I could get people. I ended up buying myself a [Christina Aguilera] cd single of songs I already have. But I didn't have the pumped up version of "Come On Over (All I Want Is You)." Now I do. :)

      >> 4:20 PM

DONE! Sort of. I turned in that last paper. It is certainly the most awful paper I have every written in my life. This morning, I got up, slammed the words, phrases, and sentences I had typed up already into some sort of coherent whole. And then I turned it in just after noon. Since then, I've tried to decompress. I ate, showered, and did laundry.

I need to sit down now and figure out what I need to take with me on my trip to California. I leave tomorrow! I hope it'll be a relaxing vacation and a good break to get away from here for awhile. But there are, as always, still so many things to do.

When I return, I need to get this apartment in order. I still need to move the bed into the bedroom, the bookcases into the study, and all my clothes into closets and other storage receptacles. I still need at least a couple of chairs of the right height for my fabulous new table. I need to reassemble my study desk, too, now that I have that handy power drill and screwdriver.

Hmmm. I don't know when I'll have a lot of time for this. When I return from California, I'm taking a day to take care of mail, bills, rent, and then I am heading back to the airport to go visit my sister in Rhode Island who decided not to go to California this year. I hope she won't be too lonely during Christmas. Though my family's not Christian or religious, Christmas has always been a big family togetherness time because my brother and I were born on Christmas!


      >> 4:08 PM

Sunday, December 16, 2001

[Be My Friend, But Be Naked.]

      >> 10:17 AM

Saturday, December 15, 2001

This [Buffy test] is a fucking crock. It all depends on the last question (number ten). If you answer (a), you are Buffy; (b) Willow; (c) Spike; (d) Xander. They could've at least put some effort into matching the ten answers to a personality.

      >> 4:13 PM

One of those beautiful days. Cold. Wind playfully breathing in fitful sighs. The sun shining, though, and its light creating that wonderful blue-ish grey cast of shadows across campus.

And I remain in isolation, this one paper refusing to materialize, refusing to take form in concrete words, sentences, paragraphs, pages. I stare incessantly at the typed-out quotations, my commentary in incoherent phrases. The project is so stupid. Who cares about the negotiation of difference in theory and fiction? I feel like I'm just trying to analyze an obvious point in these books.

The only music I have with me here in the library is sad, slow, melancholy. Recently purchased the fragile (beautifully) lyrics and music of [Five for Fighting]. And still on the shelf Christmas songs.

      >> 2:59 PM


Three things: (1) I hope the white part isn't bone. (2) It still stings when I shower. (3) Why does my forearm look like a chicken drumstick?

      >> 11:33 AM

Friday, December 14, 2001

What the [heck]? The US [withdrew] from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty? When did this happen? I hate self-imposed isolation for the sake of writing. Grrr.

      >> 4:14 PM

Thursday, December 13, 2001

Asphalt is very unforgiving. I took a spill just awhile ago as I was walking to the bus stop. In the dark, I didn't see that the construction sign had leg supports sticking out into the sidewalk path. I was walking briskly and stumbled right over the wood. Ouch. Skinned both my knees and my right elbow. A nice passerby helped me pick up the spilled contents of my pockets (that's how hard I fell). My elbow still stings. I had to buy some bandages and antibiotic ointment at the drugstore.

Overheard at the diner where I had dinner: "It's like dying from diarrhea." Now please. You should know that there are some things that are inapproriate dinner conversation, especially in public. And of course, the speaker was one of these people with voices that carry well over the murmur of restaurant noise.

On my way back to my carrel, I stopped on the second floor of the library to get a soda. One of my students was studying at a table there, and seeing me, he called out to me loudly. Some girls at a table nearby sniggered and commented that this wasn't the SRC (Student Recreation Center). It was fairly noisy in that area, though. People were studying and chatting in big groups. My student really yelled my name, though. Crazy kids.

      >> 8:13 PM

Cry. I just wanna. This non-writing. Is driving me crazy. And it's just not worth it.

      >> 3:55 PM

[ARGH!]. That's sooo not fair. I wanted to see [Amelie] so so badly, but it was here only one short week. When I finally had time to see it, it was gone! Grrrr. Maybe I can catch it when I'm in California next week. ([YAY!] It's playing at a small theater about ten minutes from my parents' house.)

On a happier note, Sam Harris's [On This Night] was in the mailbox waiting for me when I got home last night. Another sappy Christmas album! Yay!

      >> 7:17 AM

The carillon is playing "Frosty the Snowman"! Fun! The weather's been delightful these past few days, too: misty, wet, cold(er). A nice downpour would be nice. I love the mistiness, though, that descends as night draws on. Last night as I walked to my car around 11:30 pm, the mist cloaked campus in white and glowing orange (reflection/refraction/suffusion of the streetlights). Beautiful.

      >> 7:02 AM

Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Fourteen hours later, I am finally finished reading and grading student writing portfolios. I need to learn how to move through them faster, but at twenty-five pages each, they're really a lot of work. I have a splitting headache now, and I feel like my eyes are going to fall out. I'm so proud of myself for sticking with it all day, though. I took some short breaks but was actually very good about sticking to the task. Usually I take any distraction that comes along as an excuse to abandon the work. I usually set goals for myself and rewards for reaching those goals -- like getting coffee or ice cream or watching a television program, but then I end up rewarding myself even if I haven't reached my goals. Today, on the other hand, I didn't even allow myself any rewards or forgot about them even if I reached my goals. Very difficult. But now at quarter-past nine, I can say it's all done! Now I just have my two papers to finish. And all shall be well in the world.

Also, I discovered that I'm a very easy grader after all. Even though my students got mostly B's and B-'s on their papers, the way I set up their final grade, they mostly ended up with A's and A-'s. Two-thirds of the class got some form of A; the other third got some form of B. The lowest grade was a B. Eep! And some of my students really deserved C+'s. But whatever. There's nothing I can do about it now since half of my students came by today to pick up their portfolios and grades.

      >> 8:17 PM

I'm such a geek. Other bloggers write about how they find interesting, wacky, crazy, random search requests in their referrer logs. I, on the hand, seem to be found by people doing research for their term papers. I get a lot of hits towards the end of the semester for various books I've mentioned, but also for different theoretical concepts. Whee.

      >> 1:17 PM

My library carrel has finally been ethernet-ized! I'm here with my computer in solitude. It's wonderful, especially since I've not been outside of my apartment in days. I have such a cool view from my carrel. Ah. Now if only my paper would go away so I can get to grading my students' portfolios and work on that other paper. (So I didn't manage to finish the paper yesterday. I can never meet my own deadlines. I suck.)

      >> 12:11 PM

I often wonder what I would be like if the Internet hadn't come along to the mainstream when I was in my teens. I've never been really computer-programming inclined, so I doubt I would've been in the midst of those who figured out different ways to communicate across vast spaces over the computer. E-mail and chatting on-line are very interesting things to me because they stand in between verbal communication and traditional written communication. There's a sense of transience about on-line communication, even with programs that allow archiving of missives. I've noticed that I prefer these forms of communication to similar ones that don't have an archive function. I like to download all my e-mail so I can save it up in my insane array of folders. I have even kept some AIM chats, although I'm getting better at just letting those go.

I think if the Internet had not come along, I'd be much less social than I am now. Of course, it might be possible that I would've been forced to deal with people face-to-face more often if I didn't have computer-mediated outlets. But I think I would've just withdrawn into books more completely than I have. I have this thing about not remembering conversations very well. It's like mild amnesia all the time. So I always fear that I'm not going to remember conversations I have with people. I want to write things down, record them on tape . . . do something to get them fixed so I can go back to the words over and over again. I tend to avoid conversations because I have this anxiety about not getting anything out of it because all I'm going to do is forget everything. It's silly, really.

I used to have long conversations with one of my roommates in college. After an hour or more of talking, I would almost always pause and wonder how we got to the topic at hand. My roommate would then trace our conversation back to its starting point. It never ceased to amaze me his ability to recall it all.

* * *

[Shyaku] mentions his neighbor's house and car being defaced with swastikas. Very unsettling. (He gets brownie points for mentioning [Christina's Christmas album], though.) And speaking of swastikas, I just came from the restroom in the building here where I noticed a message on the stall wall (blame it on [Mark]): "NAZIS ARE HOMO'S" along with a swastika. I'm not sure, but I think the arms were pointed the wrong way for the Nazi swastika. Did you know that [swastikas] are not originally/only a Nazi symbol? The Nazis appropriated the ancient religious symbol for their own ends, using the mirror-image inverted form of the swastika to mark the difference. There seems to be some confusion on-line about whether or not the non-Nazi swastika is always the reverse of the Nazi one, though. It's ironic how the swastika stands for something completely opposed to what the Nazis did.

      >> 5:56 AM

Tuesday, December 11, 2001


Take the What Cat Are You? test by webkin!

      >> 1:19 PM

(from my Daffy Duck mug)

I'm making visible headway into my paper, finally. I'm just spewing out words and not worrying about whether or not the prose is beautiful or even makes sense. I need to turn this monster in today. For the life of me, I can't find this quote I know I saw this past weekend on bastardized readings. I kind of titled one of the sections of my paper after it, so I need to find it if possible. But I can't remember which essay or even which writer it came from. I'm thinking it's Spivak, but I don't see it anywhere in her Outside in the Teaching Machine.

"Who cares / I don't care / A horse's ass is better than yours"
     - [Cibo Matto]

      >> 11:48 AM

Blogger me blue. Everything keeps getting pushed further and further back. Now I'm thinking of telling my students their grades won't be ready until Thursday (the Writing Program has given us an extension from Wednesday to Friday because they haven't received grade roll forms yet), but I really need to have them done by Wednesday if I'm going to have a fighting chance of finishing my last paper for Friday.

      >> 10:14 AM

Monday, December 10, 2001

I want to cry. :( I think in a bit I'm going to head over to my office and read student papers. At least that way I'll probably accomplish something. Writing is getting me absolutely nowhere anyhow.

      >> 4:05 PM

I just have no idea how to write. I have no discipline. I've done no writing in days. I just sit and stare at books and the computer screen.

I've noticed I've gotten very linky here lately. It's almost like a weblog or something. It must be because I'm supposed to be writing papers (writing about other writing). So my mind is in that kind of mode, trying to digest texts and spit back out something about them. When I'm not needing to write papers, I think I usually retreat into my head and do the talk-about-myself-endlessly journal thing.

      >> 11:36 AM

I wanna kiss somebody. But I have nobody to kiss. The people on ABC's morning show were just talking about what makes a good kiss. They showed the first Tom Cruise-Kelly McGillis kiss from [Top Gun].

It's [Mark's] twentieth birthday! Yay Mark! You're no longer a teen!!!! Happy birthday! (Check out his just-completed project on bathroom graffiti and the hilarious commentary he has on the found graffiti: [bathroom lit].)

I know I just linked yesterday's "Boondocks" comic strip, but [today's] reminds me so much of my brother (and others) when he says "aiight." There is totally that smoothness and cool detachedness in how people say things are "aiight." Hee.

And I'm totally obsessed with [this photograph] of [Kevin Battistelli]. It's such a perfectly balanced photograph with sumptuous blue tones. And Battistelli's expression in the photo is priceless! (Links found via [keithers].)

In other news, [Google] reminds me that today is the [Centennial Nobel Prize Award Ceremony]. Woo!

Ok, time to churn out those words.

      >> 7:51 AM

Sunday, December 09, 2001

Hey ladies
When ya man wanna get buck wild
Just go back and hit 'em up style
Get your hands on his cash
And spend to the last dime
For all the hard times
Oh, when you go then
Everything goes
From the crib to the ride
And all the clothes
So you betta let 'em know if he mess up
You gotta hit 'em up

- [Blu Cantrell], "Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops)"

Can't get it out of my mind. Maybe because I'm playing it on repeat on the stereo. So catchy. Bop bop.

      >> 5:33 PM

[Oh no!] Santa better be careful this year.

      >> 4:01 PM


This material has been reviewed by independent experts who found, based on their professional experience and training, that the material:
  • Does not appeal to the prurient (morbid or shameful sexual) interest of the average adult american, and

  • May help increase the viewer's sexual knowledge and promote communication between the viewer and the viewer's partner.

Material is intended for viewing/reading by adults only, for use in the privacy of the customer's home. Not for public use.

* * *

The scary thing is that I could probably write a twenty-page paper dilating on the rhetorical maneuvers of this disclaimer. There's so much condensed in the proclamations of professionalism, non-prurience, "average adult american [sic]," sexual knowledge and communication, and privacy/home vs. the public/publicity.

      >> 11:12 AM

While deliberately wasting time on-line yesterday afternoon, my friend E and I decided to go have sushi for dinner. We went to [Yamazushi]. It was the best thing I did all day. So delicious. I would've gotten some green tea ice cream at the end, too, except a party of twelve adults and young children had come in towards the middle of our meal. And of course, they were seated right next to us. Admittedly, the children were fairly well-behaved, but the group was still loud and annoying. Foiled again!! When will I ever have green tea ice cream? Hmmmm.

* * *

Lemon-y is brilliant. I've mentioned [slash fiction] here in the past, but I've never had anything worthwhile to say about my fascination with it. [Mark], on the other hand, has written a fun journal entry ["Slash as Socialization"] and discussed how slash fiction works to acclimate the young same-sex-desiring person to the possibilities of same-sex encounters and lives. I never quite had such a relationship to slash fiction since I didn't come across it until just last year, well after I'd come out already. Just a quote:

Best of all, especially to someone who has not yet come out to himself, words like gay or homosexual rarely appear, except in the customary disclaimers, easily overlooked. The stories were often first-time experiences, and while the characters contemplated what it meant to be attracted to men, they didn't contemplate what it meant to be gay. As strange as it sounds, that's an important distinction.

And yet, he does this all without suggesting that "gay" identity is somehow inherently bad or detrimental to people the way a lot of critics of gay-positive cultural work do. (And yes, that was a completely abstract, unsupported claim.)

* * *

And since I'm in the mood for linking amazing writing by other people without much annotation, go to [this entry]. It has such a seductive narrative cohesion, despite the constant questions of non-connectedness:

is it possible to have the entries connect themselves, internally? write the day, the night in pieces, but as an infinite whole, and reassemble them when they reach a critical mass? will i ever need to reassmble them, or can i make oblique notes here and have a series of editors, in the future, have a take on their interpretation? are events, so disconnected, self-organizing?

The entry pushes the whole form of blogging and journal-writing into question -- not whether or not it is all somehow worthwhile, but whether or not the meanings it allows, the meanings we create through different forms, ever cohere or delineate a greater sense of self or existence.

      >> 7:44 AM

Saturday, December 08, 2001

My sister got me [a vacuum cleaner] for my birthday. (It's an early present; my birthday is over two weeks away. But I needed a vacuum cleaner now to take care of the major dust in the apartment.) I was having trouble breathing in the apartment after Joe's move with all the dust that got kicked up in to the air. Anyways, the vacuum cleaner came yesterday and it's soooooo cute and cool and it works really well. I've been periodically taking a break from other work to vacuum different areas of the apartment. How exciting. (Right. Like vacuum cleaning can be fun. It won't last long.)

Drinking some egg nog now. Need some rum.

* * *

A yellow apple could be a small hollow in stone that flows over and over, / a yellow not in a thing, since it vanishes in the dark, while a thing remains unchanged. / The person the feeling is about may remain unchanged, as the person becomes visible to you. / When you see leaves in a jar against a pink wall, your door opens onto a pink wall, / chlorophyll effervescing in a leaf, a feeling of light. If I have that person already, / that makes me partly unaware of the person, as if I meant some far-off stars and I were identical / with my deep thought that already knows them. I'm trying to find how I already mean stars, by making this harmonizing light in this room next to a pink room, my remote thought. (Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, "Gold, 1")

      >> 3:22 PM

[Pink] sings, "I'm coming out so you better get this party started."

A fellow [freak] of silence!

I hate it when big companies take up cool domain names for no apparent reason: [aardvark.com].

Must. Do. Work.

(Ah, a beautiful, bittersweet [story]. I want Santa to come visit me, too! And he called me a "cool blogger." Hee.)

      >> 2:11 PM

I'm trying to resuscitate the [Peace Lily] Joe left here. It was a gift from a friend of his when he moved into this apartment. Over the last year it's been doing progressively less well. I think it's not getting enough light, so I moved it temporarily into the kitchen, the brightest room in the apartment. We'll see if the leaves start growing back and stop wilting. Maybe it will one day grow flowers again, too. Mmmmm. Spathiphyllum. There's something comforting about taking care of plants. I need to get some more plants for this apartment. Too bad half the apartment is too dark for plants.

      >> 9:14 AM

Friday, December 07, 2001

Hee hee. I'm now [Giles].

Listening to Lauryn Hill's incomparable [The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill]. A few nights ago, one of the local stations aired [Sister Act 2], that feel-good story about an urban Catholic school's kids finding their voices in a gospel choir, with Lauryn Hill as the talented girl Rita whose mother refuses to allow her to sing because singing doesn't pay the bills. I got to see the part where she sings "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" in harmony with her friend. Beautiful. (I played piano accompaniment for that song at my high school graduation with a friend of mine singing.) I wanted to watch the ending of the movie, but I fell asleep. I was very tired that night, as I am every night.

      >> 4:06 PM

Good morning. Today begins the week of extreme torture. But by next Friday, I should be completely done with the semester. Standing between me and that day? Three papers (fifty pages total), a presentation, and a set of writing portfolios to grade. I'll probably just flub a lot of the writing. I wish I were a better student.

      >> 6:05 AM

Thursday, December 06, 2001

I think I shall be going to this play at Durham's [Manbites Dog Theater]:

December 6-January 6: FIT TO BE TIED by [Nicky Silver]; Directed by Serena Ebhardt

Wealthy but lonely, Arloc is feeling more than the usual holiday blues. When he sees and falls in love with an angel in the Radio City Music Hall Christmas show, he brings the young man home - and won't let him go! A darkly hilarious holiday comedy by the author of The Food Chain.

      >> 7:08 PM

Last night I walked home from Duke's campus. I walked along Duke University Road in the dark through the woods. It was an amazing experience, though perhaps also very foolish. There are very few streetlights along that stretch, and the trees obscure the path at regular intervals from the cars on the road. The cars passing with their glaring headlights only seemed to make the sidewalk area darker. If I had passed anyone on the path, I would surely have screamed.

      >> 6:57 PM

I really don't know what I'm going to do for the holidays. I don't know if I can handle my first Christmas and birthday away from home this particular year, with all the other stuff that's been happening in my life. But there's so much anxiety around flying and all that. Hmmm. I'm interested in this book [Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting: Afro-Asian Connections and the Myth of Cultural Purity] by [Vijay Prashad] now. (Heard about the book and the author through [Asian American Writers Workshop] mailing list; Prashad is giving a reading at the Workshop in NYC today.)

      >> 10:52 AM

I fucking h8 spam.

      >> 10:21 AM

Wednesday, December 05, 2001

[Why A Duck?] I feel like I have this huge cultural blindspot or hole because I have never seen a Marx Brothers movie. Perhaps I should check out that first movie of theirs with the "Why A Duck?" routine . . .

      >> 6:35 PM

If I were a work of art, I would be M. C. Escher's Lizards.

I am a bizarre juxtaposition of the real and the unreal. Based in the realm of mathematics, my two-dimensional appearance belies a complex and free-willed behaviour which both delights and confuses people.

Which work of art would you be? The Art Test

Hmm. Eerie.

(From [shyaku].)

      >> 5:47 PM

As I was opening the door to my apartment, the phone started ringing. I rushed to the phone while trying not to drop the four or five bags I had strung on my limbs. And of course, because I was able to get to the phone in time, it wasn't a friend on the line but a telemarketer. And what a tenacious salesman he was, too! He was with the [local paper] trying to get me to subscribe. There was a "special." Lots of coupons included. You'll save money by subscribing, he insisted. When I said I didn't care to save money, he said I was missing the point of the American Dream. And I told him I do it deliberately. Not to be defeated so easily, he persisted in his solicitation, trying to convince me that I want to save money and, as a side note, that I want the daily paper. I tried to be nice with my refusal, but it wasn't working with this guy. I felt like Poe's raven in my repetition of refusal. Finally he got the hint. But it took him about ten minutes. I need to learn how to hang up on persistent telemarketers instead of trying not to hurt their feelings.

      >> 3:12 PM

One more class session to teach left. The semester is almost over!

More confusion about what life is. This time it's all coming to me from a friend. But they're the same questions I grapple with all the time. What is writing? Why write? Why teach? What to teach? What is enjoyable? What is worthwhile? You know, all the usual life crises questions. All of this angst probably gets prodded on by the stress of the end of the semester, but it has to be there to be prodded. So it's not just made up or anything.

Funny how this semester I've not been too concerned about things. I guess there are a few different reasons. Actually teaching has given me something else to stress out about, and even so, I'm fascinated by the work and definitely want to continue with it at least for awhile. And then the whole breakup with Joe has shifted my thoughts to a different realm for much of the last month. When it comes down to it, I'm just not even concerned about my school work. I know it'll be done somehow, sometime. If worse comes to worst, I'll have to take incompletes or fail. But it won't be the end of my life or even necessarily my school career (though failing would make things difficult).

      >> 1:25 PM

Tuesday, December 04, 2001

Put together the dining table. Bought a power drill, a bit set, and screwdriver heads on my way home. I spend money (that I don't have) too freely. But at least I was able to come home, drill a few holes, and attach those legs to the table top. It took some thinking to get the table turned upright, though. It's one heavy table. I would've been able to flip it easier if it weren't so long. I ended up using the coffee table as a lever of sorts. Gosh. Me thinking. A wonder.

The table is a little taller than I imagined. This means I'll have to go out to get some higher chairs. Not such a big deal, though, since I already needed to get chairs for the apartment. I just have three now -- one swivel desk chair and two cushioned metal chairs. The swivel chair is for my study desk, and the metal chairs are too short. Sitting at the table in those metal chairs, I feel like I can barely see over the top. I'm wondering if bar stools would work at this table. Probably a little too high. Hmmmm. Maybe this is why the table was relatively inexpensive?

My dad called me this evening to tell me that it might not be the wisest thing to fly to California for Christmas. He was worried by all the official alerts about increasing risks of terrorist attacks in the next few weeks. Now I don't know what to do. I finally got myself together and made flight plans on Sunday. I might just have to change the plane tickets to a later date after the holiday rush. I don't know what to do anymore!

My allergies are killing me. I just want my nose to fall off.

<insert something more interesting>brain fart</insert something more interesting>

I should begin to panic about my non-existing papers. But it's past eleven o'clock at night and I have to teach early in the morning. I think I'll just go to sleep instead. Must remember to get apples for students tomorrow (as reward for turning in portfolios).

      >> 10:17 PM

My dining table came this morning. Unfortunately, like the other table I got at [Ecko International Furniture], it's not really ready for assembly. The holes they have drilled into the table-top for attaching the legs are all wrong. I don't understand why they couldn't make the holes in the right place. Now I have to go find a power drill and make my own holes. But I am very excited about the table. It's nice and expansive. I hope it won't be too wobbly (like the other desk).

I will be teaching another writing class next semester. Talked to the [Writing Program] director a little earlier today, and she said they have been able to get funding for some additional sections of English 12. Looks like it'll be another MWF 8 am course. Whoopee. What have I gotten myself into?

      >> 1:58 PM

Wow. Yesterday was so short. I hadn't slept much the night before because I stayed up late and got up early to grade papers. I was tired. After teaching in the morning, I tried to take a nap, but then I could only sleep for an hour. So I got up and did some more apartment furnishing shopping. And then I went to a talk by [Sarah Franklin] on stem cell research and cloning. By the time I got home around 7 pm, I was so tired I just passed out in bed and slept until the morning. Oops.

The holiday party Sunday afternoon was okay, though the desserts were not nearly as yummy as I remembered them from last year. I was reminded again of another reason why these gatherings are so uncomfortable for me. I just end up feeling short again and again. Everyone's standing around talking, so I end up standing next to people I usually only talk to in class (where we're all seated) or in offices (where at least one person is seated). And I am so friggin' short. It doesn't help that there are quite a few tall people in the department.

My students are coming to talk to me about their most recent paper grades and about how to pull together their end-of-term writing portfolio. I hope they aren't too mean to me about their grades. It's crazy how they never come to me to ask about assignments until after they get their grades back. And then it's all about being defensive about their writing and how good it is and how they did address the assignment (only very vaguely). I've got to be strong.

      >> 6:59 AM

Monday, December 03, 2001

12/3/2001. He's gone now.

Yesterday he had to turn off the sappy Christmas music I had playing because I was lying on the bed listening to it and crying. I wonder how we'll be able to take care of each other now that we're no longer together and also physically far apart. He started on his two day car journey to St. Louis today and will arrive on Tuesday afternoon or evening. We plan on staying close, maybe even best, friends. But how far can that friendship stretch?

I have the best of friends. People are great. I spent last night with P. E has called me to make sure I'm okay. I really have nothing to fear about being alone and outcast. I should banish those thoughts from my head, that feeling that now that he's gone, I'll be all alone again. Because I know I'm not and I won't be.

      >> 11:24 AM

Sunday, December 02, 2001

Up for today: Grading papers, going to [department holiday party] (maybe it'll take my mind off this for a couple hours), having dinner with Joe and Jerma.

      >> 9:01 AM

[Björk's "Travessia"!!]

      >> 8:50 AM

So freakin' sad.
This stack of papers sitting on the table crying,
"O, o, read me, read me!"
It's being neglected by this lonely, sad teacher.
I can't concentrate. So sad.

      >> 8:21 AM

Saturday, December 01, 2001

As you might have noted by the ani-gif link above, I am participating in this year's [Link and Think] observance of [World AIDS Day]. There are a lot of [participants] this year, many of whom have wonderful informational, anecdotal, and other kinds of pages up for the observance.

In addition to the wonderful resource of [The Body: An AIDS and HIV Information Resource], I thought I'd point out the importance of considering the AIDS epidemic in other countries. [The Global AIDS Alliance], [UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS)], and [The Student Global AIDS Campaign] are just a few organizations working on issues of the spread of HIV and AIDS at frightening speeds and breadth around the world. Each of these programs works to educate us about the horrific dimensions of the AIDS epidemic and the necessity of each of us -- individuals as well as governments -- working to end its spread.

And of course, my friend [Eric] has researched often the topic of AIDS in Africa and the possibilities of taking action to stop the epidemic as citizens of this country, this world, this humanity. Below is a list of informational e-mails and calls to action he has sent out:

Educate yourself.

      >> 10:51 AM