Monday, December 23, 2002

Christmas comes early when you're doing the bicoastal holiday thing. I leave for California in about an hour. Rob will join me on Christmas night. :)

Everybody will fear me now. Rob gave me a digital camera for my birthday!

These are the cacti on my cluttered desk.

Even Rob's mom gave me a present early when I went by her house yesterday to drop off some gifts. She handed me a cardboard box with holes in it and said, "There's a critter in there."

This is the cat Rob's mom gave me.

The radiators in my apartment have been giving me nightmares these past few nights, I think. I should be used to their clanking, but somehow I've woken up every night this past week thinking that someone was in the apartment with me.

The ghostly radiators that over- and under-heat our apartment.

      >> 9:21 AM

Sunday, December 22, 2002

Pretty soon it will be time for me to pack some things for my trip to California. I don't want to think about that now, though, so let's procrastinate some more.

Here's a list of movies I will probably try to catch in the next couple of weeks, in no particular order:


      >> 7:01 PM

Saturday, December 21, 2002

Did I mention I have cacti?

I'm trying to figure out what I mean when I say I want to figure out how to move forward progressive politics without relying simply on the transformative potential of critique and revelation. I am actually totally behind people who are like the town criers, researching various social issues and exposing corrupt practices, discriminatory policies, etc. These people are easily parodied as strident, didactic, and lacking humor, but of course what they say is very important. What I'm interested in is how other people can take these critiques of our world and turn them into active programs for change. This is why I'm interested in the law. But in another way, it's also why I'm interested in literature and other cultural work. Progressive social work must be more than just social critique; it must provide alternatives, concrete projects for changing existing policies, institutions, and mores.

I think a lot of social justice agencies put a lot of emphasis on "education." They seem to believe that simply explaining to people (the general public, our elected legislators, etc.) that there are some egregious wrongs in the world -- like inadequate healthcare for the poor, unfair hiring practices for management-level jobs, increasingly violent hate crimes against queers -- that things will change for the better. Unfortunately, knowledge alone does not do enough of the important systemic and cultural work needed for economic justice, racial equality, sexual freedom, etc.

So what can we do? How can we stop our critical voices from being mocked for their sincerity? How can we stop our research and calls for change from being co-opted by the current social order?

Sometimes I think social change involves creating alternate worlds. It involves living outside the sanctioned systems of life (i.e., heterosexual marriage, nuclear family, 9-5 job, gendered divisions). But of course this kind of living requires certain privileges -- financial, educational, community-supported, etc.

Could I be any vaguer? If anyone has pointers on writers, artists, activists, etc. who have done interesting work in these veins, [let me know].

      >> 1:34 PM

Friday, December 20, 2002

I have cacti! Rob didn't know how to wrap them, so I got some of my holiday/birthday presents early. They're very pretty. They're sitting on my desk.

My file cabinet came this morning. It's BIG. Let's just say I could almost stand completely concealed in the box it came in. Now I can put away my piles of paper.

Lantern last night was in-fucking-credible. The food was DELICIOUS. For an appetizer, Gena and I had do-it-yourself smoked salmon rolls with nori seaweed, rice, miso-mayo, and pickled stuff. I got a steamed fish for my entree which was yummy yum. AND dessert was just to die for. We shared a warm spicy gingerbread with lemon-cardamom ice cream thing. I ate most of the ice cream and she the gingerbread, but we agreed that together the thing was divine, and separately they were full of flavor. The ice cream was this burst of sour lemon flavor. It was soooo good.

Spent today riding around with Rob as he did some gift shopping. I still haven't really bought presents for my parents. Hrm. Think I'm going to have some mulled cider now.

      >> 9:47 PM

Thursday, December 19, 2002

How did people ever live without the Internet? I've been meaning to stop by the post office for the last couple of weeks to pick up one of those "hold mail" cards since I'll be gone for a week and a half. Just now, I thought it might be possible for me to submit the request on-line, and lo-and-behold, [USPS.gov] does indeed allow you to submit such a request on their site. :)

Got my teeth cleaned this afternoon. Shelled out ninety-five dollars to do so. There's something just very wrong there. I went pretty much twenty-four years of my life without seeing a dentist. Is it really that important that I pay the dentist about two hundred dollars a year minimum to maintain my teeth? I'd rather not lose all my teeth by the time I'm thirty, though. So I'm going to go ahead and got these pearly whites buffed and shined biannually.

I need to figure out how I'm distinguishing posts here from [there]. Two preliminary thoughts: (1) There seems to be stirrings of a move away from the blog-journal form among frequent writers in cyberspace. Some people are moving to "magazine" formats. Others are developing more fully-thought-out entries and posting less frequently. (2) There is a definite limit to how a journal-type web page can be designed, at least in my unthought-out way of conceiving layouts. I mean, the chronological, entries tumbling out one-after-another format determines to a large extent how the page can be set up. It has to scroll vertically at some length. There's not a lot of jumping around a page or your own site unless you develop some sort of hypertextual referencing system. But who has time to do that?

Trying out the relatively-new [Lantern] restaurant in Chapel Hill this evening with my friend and officemate Gena. These hip Asian-fusion restaurants, in my opinion, generally have fairly tasty fare and mostly have a kitschy flair in decorations.

      >> 4:30 PM

Did I mention that I'm done? I like boxes.

It's been a crazy semester. Need to sit down and evaluate all the things that went wrong, that I did wrong. I know I took on way too much work. But I didn't realize it would seriously disrupt my mental, emotional, and physical equilibria. A couple days ago, I would've sworn my brain had been sucked out by zombies sometime in late September. I haven't been able to form thoughts in the last few months, not even to throw them onto this journal (hence the lack of posts). These last couple weeks of finishing up end-of-term papers nearly killed me. A week ago, Rob had to drive me to the clinic. I was in this awful state of almost-vomitting, almost-passing out. And I was very light-headed. The doctor decided to give me 2-liters of IV fluids when I nearly passed out when the lab technicians drew two vials of blood for testing. The doctor diagnosed my malady as the stomach flu and promised recovery within a couple of days. He sent me home after the IV fluids with some anti-nausea medicine and instructions to drink drink drink! I ended up sleeping all the rest of Thursday and Friday.

I feel very bad for my professors this semester who have to read the crap I managed to eke out in the guise of thought-out papers. Usually I have a hard time writing, but I feel like there's something THERE I'm trying to say. Writing for me involves making connections between ideas. It's a juggling game, using different perspectives to triangulate (quadrangulate, pentagulate?) my argument about some issue or question. But these past few weeks, my mind was just a blank. I hadn't done much of the course reading for the semester, so I didn't have a background of material I could think about. And when I tried to read up on some things, I couldn't hold a thought in my head long enough to understand it, let alone synthesize it in a paper.

But now it's all done! I finished Tuesday morning. I was brain-dead the rest of the day, but couldn't sleep, so I wandered a mall in search of holiday presents. Wednesday, though, wow. I smiled all day. I think my body finally let go of all the tension that'd been building all semester. Didn't get much done, but I did try to get my brother some of his gifts, was followed by someone at the mall, had dinner with Rob and talked his ear off, and spent a few hours on the phone with friends. :)

      >> 6:52 AM

Sunday, December 01, 2002

[World AIDS Day]

      >> 3:37 PM