Friday, February 28, 2003

I've spent the last day re-designing the Carolina Women's Center web site. It looks much better [now] (they got a graphic designer to make pretty banners).

      >> 10:54 AM

Is it already the last day of February?

      >> 12:17 AM

The ice returns. The trees bow to its greatness.

Pretty frozen.


      >> 12:14 AM

Thursday, February 27, 2003

You are strange and off-putting. -- Dracula to Xander

How can the temperature hover around the freezing line all night?

      >> 6:11 PM

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

I'm not finding class discussion to be particularly fruitful. On the one hand, the professor who talks the most (there are three) spends most of the time making people's questions and comments object lessons for how not to do cultural studies. The worst part, of course, is that she does so even when people's questions and comments are not about the things she wants to talk about. On the other hand, students in the class have a marked tendency to talk about the readings in radically abstract terms, trying always to outdo the authors in theoretical sophistication, always pointing out what author's miss, lack, or get wrong. I would simply like more discussion of what the authors are doing in their articles. But my repeated attempts to get people to talk about this important cultural studies work as interventions in other kinds of academic work, of thinking about things in new ways, meets always with condescension (oh, let me explain to you poor boy what this means) rather than an active engagement with the productive possibilities of the work.

      >> 8:29 PM

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

I think I'm in love with Tamyra Gray. I mean, come on, her name is GRAY. I saw her last night on [Boston Public], and she shivers me timbers! I guess I have a thing for big-voiced diva women. (Am I gay or what?)

      >> 11:02 AM

[Yay nipple piercing!] I've actually been coveting one recently. Rob doesn't think I can handle one, though.

      >> 6:13 AM

Good morning, moon!

      >> 5:43 AM

Monday, February 24, 2003

Ha. [Caring for Your Introvert.] Love the analysis. Could do without the cheekiness. (From [TC].)

      >> 1:19 PM

WHATev. I think I've just been the object of a prank of sorts. The academic, geeky kind. I don't know if anyone else got this in their campus mailbox, but I did. It's a flyer for a "reading," but it's completely absurd. It's a talk sponsored by the "UNC Society for Dramatic-Performative-Recitation-Readings, in association with the Department of Audience-Getting-in-Touch-With." Huh? Is someone getting personal here? I have a certain reputation among graduate students here of going to a lot of readings and talks. So maybe someone is mocking me?

Update: Apparently there are other such flyers around, though my officemate didn't get one in her mailbox. Someone even posted it on the announcements bulletin. Unwittingly? Satirically?

      >> 10:15 AM

Sunday, February 23, 2003

Sometimes all you need are little clouds.

Brick wall. Lotsa windows.

The light is bright. It glints.


      >> 3:17 PM

The wind is fierce today. Sitting inside my apartment, I can hear and feel it pushing against the building, a sense of great force held just at bay beyond the windows and walls.

Sometimes I wish I were the wind, or a bird riding the tempestuous currents up and down, across the sky.

      >> 10:21 AM

Across the street from my apartment.

Sunday mornings the roads are calm, beautifully empty. The winds were high this particular morning, seven o'clock, too early for people to be out but not too early for the winds to shake the forest emphatically. A stray branch lay across the four-lane road.

See the tower. See the sky. See the piles of dirty ice-snow.

      >> 7:20 AM

Saturday, February 22, 2003

Last night I drove.

I called the public library's automated phone circulation line to renew the two videos I have checked out and am too lazy to drive out to return. It made me laugh, the computer voice. It was funny when the voice said, "les quatre cents coups," in completely unknowing non-French pronounciation. Sometimes the simplest things in life make me laugh.

      >> 3:59 PM

Friday, February 21, 2003

What's the dilly yo? The student who died is from Prague. [Article in today's paper.] What's even more disturbing for me was finding out that there have been two other deaths this semester already -- moreover, those other two were both suicides. I had no idea. Shows how out-of-touch I am with campus news and life.

      >> 11:42 AM

[Disturbing news] from campus. A white, international student died from a fall from an apartment complex tower. Incidentally (or maybe not), I was reading somewhere the other day that in the US, Arab/Americans are considered "white" for census purposes, while South Asian/Americans are considered "Asian." Yet, the SEVIS and the INS stuff recently has lumped international students from various Arab-dominant and South Asian countries into the same category of (supposedly race-neutral) to-be-watched and registered people.

The chancellor sent out an e-mail message about the university's continued "commitment" to international students and scholars:

At a time of continued uncertainty in the international arena, it is important to reaffirm a previous e-mail message I shared last fall regarding the University's commitment to our international student and scholar community and their well-being. International students account for 1,250 members of a culturally diverse student body. Also vital to the University's future success are the contributions that another 1,000 international researchers and scholars make each day to our academic enterprise. The University aims to remain a vibrant, attractive and caring community for these students and colleagues.
With those values in mind, professionals in a number of University units have worked diligently in recent months to ensure our compliance with new federal laws. We have done so keenly aware that the nature of these changes has understandably heightened concerns among those who are affected, as well as among other students, faculty and staff.
One such change requires our International Center to participate in the Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS), the new Immigration and Naturalization Service system for monitoring and tracking international students and some scholars on all U.S. campuses. Congress funded and mandated SEVIS after the September 11th terrorist attacks. The International Center staff and other units have worked hard to keep students and scholars who need certain visas in compliance with the new system's requirements and to safeguard their personal information and ability to study and work in Chapel Hill.
A related issue involves the role of federal law enforcement agencies on campus. The University may be legally required to provide information to these agencies in some circumstances. We will continue, however, to protect the civil and privacy rights of our students and scholars to the extent permitted by law.
To more effectively serve the needs of our international community, the University also has enhanced the capabilities of campus resources such as the International Center and the Counseling and Psychological Service (CAPS). The former serves as our official source of expertise on the specific requirements involved with international scholarship, while the latter is prepared for and dealing with the human implications of those scholars' experiences.
Carolina's approach is similar to those taken by respected peer institutions including the University of Michigan and the University of Wisconsin. We will continue to work as appropriate with other universities, higher education organizations, government agencies, and our elected officials when assessing these new requirements, the nation's legitimate concerns about security, and the rights of individuals who are vital members of our academic community.

      >> 12:25 AM

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Joss Whedon is the creator and producer of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, and the now-canceled Firefly.
[The Onion]: Who could you take in a fight?
Joss Whedon: God. I'm constantly yelling at Him. A lot of my writers are quite religious, and I'm always yelling, "Come on! Strike me down! Wuss!" I don't know why I have such anger toward somebody who doesn't exist.

. . .

[Blog] of a law professor here who has recently published a book on Japanese American dissenters during World War II. He has some great links and discussion of Coble's remarks on the Japanese internment as something ordered for the protection of Japanese Americans.

      >> 6:49 PM

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Just back from a talk by [Lisa Duggan] titled "Queer Mulatto Communists Run Amok, or, Jesse Helms Explains It All To You." (That title wins the award for most fabulous academic talk title EVER.) It was a brilliant analysis of neoliberalism and Helms's rhetoric against cultural and identity politics, his work to advocate corporate interests as a realm not to be messed with by the State.

What Lisa Duggan said that was most interesting was that cultural and identity politics, rather than being a result of the Civil Rights Movement, is fundamentally a part of the US political landscape. She traces the rhetorical separation of the State, the economy, civil society, and the family to the early nineteenth century. In the beginning of that century, all white males gained suffrage in a political move that rhetorically signalled the separation of State and economy (before, only property-owning white males could vote), and yet never changed the fundamental connections between the State, the economy, civil society, and the family.

Duggan argued that Helms's rhetoric was innovative and successful precisely because he continually raised the fear of a collpase of these four "spheres" into one another, as advocated by social movements for equality. His rhetoric was one that disguised redistribution upwards, meaning the maintenance of privilege, power, money, pleasures, and so on within a select few who already have them. On the contrary, progressive social movements are geared towards redistribution downwards, or taking such privileges, power, money, pleasures, and so on and authorizing them for those who are currently denied them.

In essence, Duggan wants to say that given Helms's rhetoric and the overarching climate of neoliberalism, the divide between cultural/identity politics and leftist/class-based politics has become so entrenched that we are immobilized. Instead of understanding the connections between class and race, sexuality and money, gender and corporate interests, and all the other networks of power that constitute our social and political space, we try to isolate each analytic element and end up being unsuccessful at effecting change.

I totally agree with her analysis of the state of cultural and leftist politics, but was left wondering what her analysis -- a revelatory critique though it is -- meant in terms of moving forward. For one thing, her analysis seemed very familiar. I did ask a rather incoherent question of her during the Q&A, and she did confirm that her views were not new, per se, and were in fact important in many queer people of color organizations and other progressive groups who understand the connections between the State, the economy, civil society, and the family. But my question was that given Helms's "getting it right" that progressives are trying to draw these connections (and he wants to maintain each realm as distinct), what are progressives to do in counteracting his overwhelmingly successful rhetoric? Isn't Duggan just saying what Helms says we progressives are saying? As a rhetoric, he is mobilizing this kind of analysis against progressive work. And he succeeds. So how do we enact progressive work to overcome his rhetoric? How do we get others to see the trajectory of neoliberal redistributive logic as we do, as inherently non-equalizing?

God, I wish I were more eloquent. When I asked the question, I only succeeded in coming across as somewhat antagonistic when in fact I meant to acknowledge my agreement with her analysis, but wanted her to say more about the next step. (I guess in some ways I wanted to be a little combative, though, to assert that others have done this kind of analysis before, and yet Helms's rhetoric seems to have a death grip on us all.)

      >> 5:39 PM

[Groups Support University of Michigan Affirmative Action Case]:

But perhaps the most striking arguments surrounding affirmative action today came from the variety of groups across society coming to the defense of admissions policies that take race into account.

      >> 8:38 AM

Monday, February 17, 2003

I've been deluded into thinking I'm on vacation right now. Too bad it's not the case.

Ice defrosting on car window.

I read a couple pages of Peter Bacho's Cebu while warming up the car.

This image, or a portion of it, will be in my next redesign.

      >> 11:03 PM

What does one do when [iced in]? Have a [Buffy] marathon! Watched the [FX] episode this morning, followed by Episodes 1-7 of Season 1 on DVD. Now perhaps is time to do something else. Wish I could get out of the apartment, but even if I could somehow get my car out of the parking lot, I doubt anything would be open nearby. The shopkeepers in this town scamper away at the mere sight of a snowflake or a patch of ice on the road. Must. Get. Coffee.

      >> 3:07 PM

Sunday, February 16, 2003

It's been a movie weekend. Yesterday morning I watched [Bring It On], which was hi-fucking-larious. Rob is now putting all his statements in the form of cheers. As someone put it to me once, it's always life-affirming to see interracial, inter-class antagonisms worked out in some sort of dance (cheer) performance, the hard lessons of life, love, and difference learned in competition. Ha.

Then in the late afternoon, we went to see Daredevil with some friends.


Daredevil was okay. Not the best comic book adaptation ever. Not even close. It tried to do too much, I think, with the story of Mr. Murdock. And it tried to "be" a comic book too much, somehow getting it all wrong in the translation to the filmic screen. Everything seemed too laughable, in a way completely contrary to the experience of even the most simplistic moral universe of a comic book feeling so profound on the page.

And this morning, it was [Bubble Boy], another funny and eminently worthwhile film. I had rented it because Jake Gyllenhaal is in it. (Can I be Mrs. Jake Gyllenhaal?) But it turned out also to be a great satire on so-called normalcy and purity.

      >> 2:47 PM

It's another white day out there.

Well, it looks like the department holiday party has been cancelled yet again because of icy weather. The original date was back in December when we had that horrific ice storm that knocked out power for days. Today's frozen rain and ice is not nearly as frightening, though it is enough to keep me inside and off the slippery roads.

Look, mom! I'm on TV!!

      >> 2:19 PM

Saturday, February 15, 2003

[Virginia Woolf of 'The Hours' Angers the Real One's Fans]:

As Hermione Lee wrote in her celebrated 1997 biography, "Virginia Woolf's story is reformulated by each generation. She takes on the shape of difficult modernist preoccupied with questions of form, or comedian of manners, or neurotic highbrow aesthete, or inventive fantasist, or pernicious snob, or Marxist feminist, or historian of women's lives, or victim of abuse, or lesbian heroine, or cultural analyst, depending on who is reading her, and when, and in what context."

Really quite a shame, this staking of claims on who can "speak for" Woolf. Of the criticism his book and the movie version have received regarding representing Woolf "truthfully" (or even adequately), the article quotes Michael Cunningham:

For his part, Mr. Cunningham is perplexed by all the hullabaloo. "I wonder what movie those people are seeing and what book they're reading," he said. "The book I wrote and the movie that was made from the book do as much honor as was possible to her vitality, charm and brilliance."
"To see it otherwise," he continued, "is a sort of cranky and willful misviewing."

      >> 10:21 AM

Friday, February 14, 2003

These greeted me this morning.

When I got to my office this morning at seven, I found that my boyfriend had left me roses on my desk. He had driven over directly after work to drop it off around half-past six, cajoling an amused custodial worker to let him in the office. (She later peeked in my office and said hello, curious, I suppose, to see who got the flowers.)

      >> 5:06 PM

Thursday, February 13, 2003

A kiss is still . . . an osculatory apposition of the orbicularis oris and levator labii muscles with posterior involvement of the sternocleidomastoids, commonly in a dexterous orientation. -- [Pucker Up, Sweetie, and Tilt Right]

I am but a slave to the times.

      >> 1:00 PM

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

      >> 12:32 PM

Best Valentine's Card Ever.

([Anti-Valentine Cards] @ [notsosoft.com].)

      >> 8:42 AM

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

In another substantive change, school administrators added explicit mention of anal sex and oral sex for the first time, replacing previous reference to "homosexual acts." The lesson plans warn that anal sex and oral sex are felonies in North Carolina. - Sex ed lessons amended

I need to follow these developments around sex ed more. Apparently, the curriculum in Wake County (the capital city of Raleigh is there) has removed mention of "homosexuals." This seems to be a both good and bad. On the one hand, as the quote above suggests, the curriculum tries to make the fact that anal and oral sex are felonies in this state less a concern about homosexuality than a more generalized animosity towards sex. Woo hoo. On the other hand, taking out all mention of homosexuality in a sex ed curriculum just seems ludicrous. Let's continue to invalidate homosexuality as a positive (able to be spoken about) thing. Keep it in the shadows, man.

      >> 5:43 PM

Lately I've become obsessed with [chai]. I also need a new piercing.

      >> 5:20 PM

Sunday, February 09, 2003

[Rope] yesterday and [Swoon] today. All because P mentioned them to me Friday night. (Be careful what you say.) Both based on the Leopold-Loeb murder case from the 1920s. Swoon was about five thousand million times better than Rope.

      >> 4:51 PM

Saturday, February 08, 2003

Whoops. I had an accident with my electric razor. I was trying to trim my sideburns and mangled one of them. I ended up taking them off completely. I was getting attached to them, too...

      >> 12:32 PM

Friday, February 07, 2003

Wow. I read all of Michael Cunningham's The Hours this afternoon. Go me.

      >> 4:19 PM

Thursday, February 06, 2003

[Lawmaker Says Interning U.S. Japanese Was Proper]:

The lawmaker, Representative Howard Coble, Republican of North Carolina, said in an interview that President Franklin D. Roosevelt's decision "was appropriate at the time," and added: "We were at war. We were under attack by a sovereign nation. We were not a multicultural society."

How charming that Coble has so much compassion for Japanese Americans of the 1940s. Let's take a moment to reflect on what Leslie Hatamiya wrote in Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and the Passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988:

In some areas, a few cases of violence against Japanese Americans, including shootings and killings, occurred. Local police and sheriff departments did not come to the defense of Japanese Americans who were abused and terrorized. These attacks on Japanese Americans were even used as a justification for confining and relocating them: it was for their own good, to protect them against racist violence. This argument, however, was the same as saying, "Put all citizens into detention centers so that they will be safe from the criminals outside"--the exact opposite of the fundamental philosophy of the American criminal justice system, that of punishing the criminal, not the victim.

      >> 9:43 PM

So in addition to this thing I have for books (I must have close to seven hundred books or something), I have this thing for pens. I like pens that make writing a pretty thing. No drippy, smeary ball-point pens for me. No siree. Give me smooth-writing pens, colorful pens, stunning pens. I just picked up some [Uni-ball Fusion pens] at the store. They're cool. Though I thought the ink would flow out of the pen clear and then dry in color. Instead, it's clear in the ink cartridge, but then comes out of the pen in color.

      >> 1:52 PM

Urinals use more water than almost any plumbing fixture in public bathrooms.

I finally noticed last week that the first floor men's bathroom of this building has funky new urinals. They require no water or flushing! I'm still highly skeptical about the whole thing. You just sort of walk up to these things, pee in them, and then walk away. I mean, I guess that's what a lot of people do with traditional urinals anyways, given the frequency with which I see that people leave their urine floating in the bowl instead of flushing. I guess it'll take me a little while to get used to this concept of not flushing. The corporate presentation by the company [Falcon Waterfree System] is slick.

      >> 1:23 PM

Watched [Darkness Falls] last night with Rob and his sister. We were the only ones in the theater. It was a little freaky to watch -- lots of jumping moments when the ghost-monster thing leaps out suddenly (with accompanying screaming soundtrack) from the darkness. But not a terribly scary movie. Definitely not one that lingers afterwards and disturbs in the recesses of your mind. As Rob said afterwards, there's only so much you can do with the evil tooth fairy. And as his sister said, hearing the hero of the movie repeat, "Don't let them put him in the dark," every five minutes gets old after awhile.

What was interesting, though, was a detail about this particular evil. It only "gets" you if you look at it. The story goes (related at the very beginning of the movie) that a kindly old woman gave kids in the town of Darkness Falls a gold coin in exchange for their last baby tooth. Then a horrible fire burned down her house and scarred her face. She wore a porcelain mask thereafter and avoided sunlight because her burned face was too delicate for the light and heat. In any case, she was later wrongly accused and hanged for killing a couple of boys (they turned up alive the day after she was killed). Before she died, she cursed the town. And so it goes for the kids of Darkness Falls that when you lose your last tooth, you must remember not to take a peek at the tooth fairy when she comes moaning that night to exchange a gold coin for your tooth. If you get a glimpse of her porcelain mask, she viciously mauls you to death.

I'm not sure why being seen becomes the trigger for violence. It does, of course, seem to link up to fears of looking on horribly disfigured faces. But then again, she is wearing a porcelain mask. Masks are always difficult stand-ins for the face behind, though. Porcelain masks, particularly, are fragile, often expressionless, and therefore eerie and uncanny, not quite human yet undeniably like a human face. Whatev.

I might try to catch Miyazaki's Spirited Away again at Duke's [Screen Society] this Friday. I'm not that good at planning so far in advance, though. ;) It's quite an amazing film. [Mark] and I chatted about it a few days ago, in fact, and he mentioned the prevalence of heroines (as main characters, even if they end up being saved by a man) as opposed to heroes in fairy tale stories. (Hey, Buffy this past Tuesday took on the fairy tale, too.)

      >> 9:57 AM

Looking out the window during my evening class.

Street signs on my drive home.

My boyfriend made this.

      >> 9:34 AM

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

[Sex in the First Person by Voice Writers]:

Every organism, when threatened by adversity, goes immediately into reproduction, and here we go. Global war approaches, the economy staggers, the city relapses into grime and crime. These conditions are ideal for hot sex. Our writers find love, or some physical equivalent, in the strangest and most ordinary places, and they let us look. Happy Valentine’s Day! —Elizabeth Zimmer

Interesting little setup for this collection of short writings. Some fun stuff. Salacious and witty. Revealing in ways that emphasize sexuality's connections to other modes of sociality.

Lala Stevens's ["How I Learned to Talk"]:

The first time he entered me, six weeks later, he looked me in the eye and said, "Hello."
. . .
One day, about three months ago, I gathered up my courage, took a deep breath, and broke through. "Fuck me," I whispered. "Fuck me," I said. He came almost immediately.
"You taught me language," Caliban, the monster in The Tempest, says bitterly to the magician Prospero, "and my profit on't is, I know how to curse." A real profit it is.

D. Adkison's ["String Theory"]:

"Tell me what you're into," I responded with flushed face. Nobody had ever addressed my sexual desires so directly. The thought of granting someone else's most secret wishes—and having mine fulfilled—gave me a rush.
A pause, a swig of Rolling Rock. He said, "I like it when dudes sneeze."

Simin B.'s ["Sex in the Axis of Evil"]:

I moved to the U.S. from Iran when I was five. I returned for a visit when I was 18. By then, in line with my mother's worst nightmare, America had made me a slut.
. . .
We started in my aunt's living room. After everyone had gone to bed, he knocked. I was busy with my hand down my pants in anticipation. I walked to the door, opened it, and stuck my wet fingers in his mouth. He went down on me on my uncle's prayer rugs. A light went on in the kitchen.

      >> 12:12 PM

Incredibly great mood this morning. Have also had two cups of chai. So delicious. Decided to simplify the colors on this template as a stepping stone to a redesign. Am thinking greys and yellows (surprise) for new design. Time to run off to class on history of English language. Ta ta.

      >> 8:57 AM

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Woo! My conference paper proposal "Queer Manifestos" was just accepted. :) Now I just gotta find some queer manifestos and write something interesting about them.

And yay! [Plot Twist for a Gay Bookstore: The Last Chapter Actually Isn't]

      >> 11:00 AM

Monday, February 03, 2003

When can I get one of these?: [Samsung Watch Style Phone]

      >> 12:12 PM

Woo hoo! Belated happy 17th, [chuckles]!

      >> 8:09 AM

Sunday, February 02, 2003

["Heartbreaker (remix)," Mariah Carey, Da Brat, Missy Elliott, DJ Clue, 4:31, 2.09 MB]

How can anyone not love Missy Elliott?:

I like the way he used to spank me
He used to lie me on my back take that UH
He used to have me in the sack legs back
But now he be buggin lately
Hey boy why you actin stinky
I keep it stiff like wood baby

      >> 6:02 PM

Saturday, February 01, 2003

Happy New Year!

      >> 7:29 AM