Friday, August 29, 2003

Rubber bands are one of those things that you just don't think anyone ever has to buy. There always seem to be some floating around, tucked into the back of a desk drawer or snuggly hugging an unwary bundle of pens. But hey, I guess someone's got to make them and get them into offices and homes. There's a box of rubber bands sitting on the desk at work. It has the greatest little blurb on the side:

More than three quarters of a century ago, Bill Spencer founded [Alliance] to bring order to the chaos of newspapers blowing down America's streets. From there, he tamed teams of lobster claws into gentle submission and wrangled fields of broccoli and green onions into tidy bundles for the greengrocer's shelves. Office workers watched in awe as he harnessed their flooding files. Cabdrivers praised him as he snapped scattered maps and receipts to their visors. And finally, his daughters smiled as he made delicate pigtails of their unruly hair. All this with his simple and humble device, the rubber band.

      >> 11:37 AM

There's something extremely satisfying about working with numbers in a spreadsheet program. I've been entering figures for income and expenses of the journals published at the Press. It's mind numbing work, sometimes frustrating when one column makes a leap into another as I glance back and forth between the print-outs and the screen. But when I get all the right numbers in the column, and the equations spit out numbers that match what I have on paper, it's just a wonderful feeling....

Or maybe I just need some lunch.

      >> 10:41 AM

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

In an epic, no-holds-barred showdown between Psyduck and Stitch, who would win?

      >> 10:58 AM

Sunday, August 24, 2003

["The Forgotten Revolution" by Gordon Lee]:

Born in this era of social change, "Asian American" was a radical political identity, not merely an ethnic label. Asian American consciousness manifested itself through vocal opposition and organizing against the Vietnam War, against racist hiring practices, against urban renewal projects. We fought for the development of affordable housing, accessible health care and self-determination in our communities. Soon, we became a movement, and gradually, more people began to use the term "Asian American." It took about seven to eight years for most people in the community to adopt its usage. Eventually, the term "Oriental" was no longer acceptable

I love the revolutionary ethos of the late '60s and '70s. But I hate the way the radicals from that time seem so entrenched in that time, unable to deal with the new developments in global migration, national political culture, and other factors that have changed the way we understand and negotiate social structures. I see a strong continuity between the radicalism of that time and the exciting work (albeit, mostly theorized in the academy) done today on race, class, gender, and sexuality. As the work of the radicals in the past have changed the very terms of debate, we have had to move on to different modes of understanding the social world. Taking on an oppositional political consciousness in claiming the category "Asian American" is, as Lee argues, not enough today; but it it only because in some senses the work of radical resignification of Asian-raced bodies as "Asian American" rather than "Oriental" was successful. "Asian American" is now a viable political category -- one that mobilizes and authorizes action and understanding. Benefits accrue to "Asian Americans" as much as discriminatory practices unevenly affect members of the category.

      >> 9:09 AM

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Oooo... [International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics Championship]... Sounds like fun, despite the prohibitions:

"No nudity and no water balloons," said Casey Cheung, 30, one of the event's organizers. "And please, no feather boas, because that could get right into the plumbing system."

      >> 5:28 PM

I love the verb, opine:

Since the courts had to articulate rationales for their rulings in the prerequisite cases and determine the criteria by which racial categories would be codified in law, they "were responsible for deciding not only who was White, but why someone was White." After a period of vacillation on the racial classification of South Asians, the boundary of whiteness came to be drawn west of the subcontinent, including most West Asians and excluding all other Asians (that division is still in place today, in that West Asians are officially classified as "white" and not as "Asian American"). South Asians came to be seen as nonwhites by law by shifting the determining criteria from anthropological theory to the "common understanding" of the term white person. In a unanimous decision rejecting the petition of the Indian appellant [Bhagat Singh Thind], the Supreme Court opined: "It may be true that the blond Scandinavian and the brown Hindu have a common ancestor in the dim reaches of antiquity, but the average man knows perfectly well that there are unmistakable and profound differences between them today." The gradual shift in the courts to a reliance on popular opinion sharply restricted the constituency of those who were legally recognized as "whites" and thereby broadened the exclusionary range of whiteness. The petitions of Asians for citizenship as whites produced a category crisis that was resolved by bringing its meaning to rest on a tautology -- whiteness means what white people think it means. In the law, however, this racially inflected truth-claim was inscribed as the "common" understanding of whiteness. (Susan Koshy, "Morphing Race into Ethnicity: Asian Americans and Critical Transformations of Whiteness," boundary 2 28:1)

It's fascinating reading up on how the law (legislation and judicial rulings) managed the racialization of Asian Americans (and other races) through immigration. What interests me about the law is how a system based on precendence has to negotiate earlier rulings, sometimes upholding prior understandings of race (and other categories), but at other times revising those earlier rulings through alternate readings of extra-judicial evidence. It's also interesting that science, especially biological and anthropological, have played such prominent roles in articulating legal understandings of race.

      >> 5:15 PM

Friday, August 22, 2003

Is anyone else following the updates on the Sobig.F worm on [F-Secure]? It's so exciting and ominous.

      >> 2:02 PM

Thursday, August 21, 2003

We're all thumbs. Had an interesting conversation with the boss-lady today about the ascendency of thumbs. It seems to us that the introduction of home gaming systems, and more specifically, the video-game control pad, has created generations of people who are more comfortable with using thumbs beyond merely gripping. We use thumbs to dial cell phones, for example, rather than our forefingers.

      >> 2:41 PM

It should come as no surprise that I consider full bookshelves to be an appropriate decoration for a room or apartment. No pictures, fabrics, or other decorations hang on the walls of our apartment. But one room -- the bedroom -- holds a full wall of bookcases, each shelf haphazardly packed with books I've collected in the last seven or eight years. The density of the books does something wonderful with the bare, echoing space of the room, too. Unlike the other three rooms of the apartment in which sound bounces readily off the blank walls and hardwood floor, the bedroom feels softer, quieter. Speak in the room and your words slip stealthily into the wall of books, enfolded and embraced by their twins in written form. In my dream home, there will be a high-ceiling room with floor-to-ceiling shelves of books, a slender balcony running around all four walls to accomodate a second level of books....

      >> 2:04 PM

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

At such an amazing loss for words these days.

A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just
Begins to live
That day.
-- Emily Dickinson

      >> 8:24 PM

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Beautiful yet scary.

Front door of my apartment building.

      >> 12:07 AM

Monday, August 18, 2003

I am surrounded by people who think they are fat. And they are not. Stupid self-image insecurities. What am I supposed to say? All I can say is, "You're not fat," but that doesn't seem to do it for them.

      >> 3:25 PM

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Re: Jurassic Park: [Reading the dinosaurs as Woman (and recall that all the dinosaurs were cloned female) it appears that the message of the film is that femininity is dangerous and must be repressed!]


      >> 8:05 PM

I've been thinking, and I've decided that one of the reasons I so love [SpongeBob SquarePants] (besides my need to be perverse) is that I love SpongeBob's lack of understanding. Some people might just see naive stupidity in his lack of understanding, but I see an imaginative, ethical response to the evils of the world. Rather than acknowledge the selfish, greedy actions of others, SpongeBob continues approaching the world as if it were truly a friendly, fun, loving place. (This character type is nothing new, of course. The bumbling detectives/agents such as [Inspector Gadget] and the delightful [Mr. Bean] are staples of this kind of innocence-conquering all.) I want to be SpongeBob when I grow up.

      >> 1:28 PM

Friday, August 15, 2003

In Manhattan, the sun came up, but the [lights] were still out. (AP, NY Times)

Isn't it fascinating how the photos that newspapers seem drawn to in this blackout depict the Manhattan skyline at dusk or dawn without lighted buildings? It's so serenely beautiful, and yet disconcerting in its difference from the usual swath of lights. It's as if photographers are capturing what they think the apocalypse looks like...

      >> 12:43 PM

Thursday, August 14, 2003

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      >> 2:56 PM

I don't know why I'm so fascinated by the street at night.

Sunflowers at night.

By the Ohio River, Louisville, night.

Building at Falls of the Ohio River Park.

Clouds. Light.

On the el in Chicago late at night.

An Alexander Calder sculpture in downtown Chicago.

      >> 2:51 PM

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Sunflower in Louisville. Picture now my desktop.

Another shot of the sunflower.

The sun beginning to set at the amusement park.

      >> 10:51 PM

Dear Paul
Thanks for shopping with Bjork merchandise
Your order reference number is: XXXXX
Your order has been recieved as follows:
Item: [Duck T-Shirt]
Qty: 1
Size: L
Price: 16.00
Shipping Charge: 5.00
Your order will be dispatched within 5 working days to:
:Apt XXX
:United States
Kind Regards,
Bjork Merchandise

      >> 11:55 AM

Monday, August 11, 2003

[Anarchy rules!] Sounds like fun. I find it fascinating that the article (and participants?) splits the world into fun/political and associates spontaneity with childhood as if these things were steadfast truths. The best part of these flash mobs, as the article suggests, is the ever-increasing interpenetrations between on-line/mobile technologies and "off-line" life. As much as the interviewed participants might want to think of their flash mobs as frivolous, fun, and apolitical, though, there is nothing inherently non-goal-oriented nor apolitical about these gatherings.

      >> 3:59 PM

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

The thunderstorms in Louisville are truly awesome.

      >> 7:03 PM

Sunday, August 03, 2003

[Holy sh*t.] I don't know if I can say anything about this....

      >> 3:32 PM

There's this guy in the workstation opposite mine who's taking an inordinate amount of time setting his laptop up. He's wiped down the workstation with cleaning fluid and paper towel, unwrapped his laptop, and set out some stacks of paper. It's been at least fifteen minutes, and he's still not even done anything on his computer yet....

      >> 3:30 PM

Hello from Louisville, Kentucky! I just ordered my new computer (a 12.1" iBook w/Combo Drive), a 15 GB iPod (customized with 'Paul the Duck'), and a printer/scanner/copier. Woo hoo! Stuff should start arriving next week.

Rob and I are here in KY for a little over a week on vacation. We're visiting his long-time friend here. This place is quite okay, but it has a strange vibe that doesn't quite jibe with me. The place is walkable, though -- at least the part where Rob's friend lives (off Bardstown Rd). There seem to be coffee shops on every block. There are a number of bookstores as well, though I've only visited one so far. Rob's friend said he knew some guy who had once bought a Hemingway book at that store and had the store clerk chew him out for being a misogynist. Yay! My kind of store.

I haven't been keeping up with the news the last few days since we've been traveling and I've been away from the computer. It is a little eerie how much this little machine keeps me connected to a larger world outside.

Anyhoo, I'm looking forward to a week of more rest and reading. I think I'll be doing a lot of reading while Rob and his friends play this massively bloody shoot-em-up game. (As I type, they're at the game store now.)

      >> 3:08 PM