Friday, May 28, 2004

      >> 2:37 PM

[Cellph Portrait]:

The Mobile Phone Photography Show (MPPS) is a live network of image messages being sent constantly from the camera phones of more than 350 participants -- a network open to anyone who fills out a simple registration form -- from 50 countries. Every day, more images arrive and are added to the MPPS database, which sorts them into a queue and projects them for 20-second intervals onto monitors and screens throughout the gallery. The only information displayed about the photographs is the location of the sender; otherwise, they're anonymous. The photographs are also being printed out in a passport-size format and glued directly onto the large east wall of the gallery.

Sounds like a neat exhibit. Wish I could see it.

      >> 2:15 PM

Thursday, May 27, 2004

[No. 3 scholar is miffed.] So totally a way of thinking that I don't understand and frankly don't want to understand.

      >> 1:55 PM

[Moving a giraffe, SF Chronicle]:

Awesome picture.

      >> 12:05 PM

The new temporary computer tech guy at work is HOT.

      >> 11:59 AM

      >> 11:50 AM

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Every day I drive home through the forest.

      >> 5:34 PM

[The Cat that Ate Tofu]:

"Cats don't need meat," says UC Davis cat nutrition specialist Quinton Rogers. "They need specific nutrients found in meat and if they can get that some other way then they can be reasonably healthy on a vegan diet. I wouldn't recommend it because you're more likely to get into trouble, but if you know what you're doing, and you get the pure elements, you can make it work."


      >> 3:59 PM

Name that general:

In the war in which we are now engaged racial affinities are not severed by migration. The Japanese race is an enemy race and while many second and third generation Japanese born on United States soil, possessed of United States citizenship, have become 'Americanized', the racial strains are undiluted. To conclude otherwise is to expect that children born of white parents on Japanese soil sever all racial affinity and become loyal Japanese subjects, ready to fight and, if necessary, to die for Japan in a war against the nation of their parents. That Japan is allied with Germany and Italy in this struggle is no ground for assuming that any Japanese, barred from assimilation by convention as he is, though born and raised in the United States, will not turn against this nation when the final test of loyalty comes. It therefore follows that along the Pacific Coast over 112,000 potential enemies, of Japanese extraction, are at large today. There are indications that these are organized and ready for concerted action at a favorable opportunity. The very fact that no sabotage has taken place to date is a disturbing and confirming indication that such action will be taken.

Gah. "Disturbing and confirming indication." Translated into contemporary politics, we could say, "The very fact that no WMD have been found is a disturbing and confirming indication that they exist." Or, "The very fact that no connection has been drawn between the World Trade Center attacks and Iraq is a disturbing and confirming indication that those damned Iraqis are at the heart of this conspiracy...."

      >> 2:44 PM

Main Entry: es·cheat
Pronunciation: is-'chEt, ish-'chEt
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English eschete, from Old French, reversion of property, from escheoir to fall, devolve, from (assumed) Vulgar Latin excadEre, from Latin ex- + (assumed) Vulgar Latin cadEre to fall, from Latin cadere -- more at CHANCE
1 : escheated property
2 a : the reversion of lands in English feudal law to the lord of the fee when there are no heirs capable of inheriting under the original grant b : the reversion of property to the crown in England or to the state in the U.S. when there are no legal heirs

      >> 1:58 PM

Clutter's my name.

      >> 9:03 AM

Tuesday, May 25, 2004


Just read through some old posts of mine. I used to be much more open about what I wrote. Kinda hurts to read.

      >> 11:52 PM

      >> 4:54 PM

Freaky. I always knew that people could find lots of info on someone with a registered web domain, but I just stumbled on a site that makes it SOOOOoooooo easy. And it's, like, all totally available and public.

      >> 4:46 PM

      >> 10:47 AM

Monday, May 24, 2004

[Video film of wedding party captures revelers dancing, singing]:

'These are pictures that are somewhat inconsistent in my mind with a wedding party,' Kimmitt said. 'One could say, yes, it is true that out in the desert you need to have a rifle to protect yourself against Ali Baba but the necessity for rocket-propelled launchers, rocket launchers in the bottom, special machine guns may be a little much for Ali Baba out there.'

Is this guy for real???? Out in the desert you need protection from Ali Baba?????

      >> 1:55 PM

I got this fortune a while back. Still waiting for the cake....
I wonder where it's waiting for me....

Irises are my favorite.

      >> 10:03 AM

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Sooo.... Hot.... Here.....

Last night leaving the late screening of Kill Bill, Vol. 2, Rob and I were caught in a huge downpour with thunder and lightning. It was fun but wet.

I've been watching tv all day today. I really should disconnect the cable. It's done un-wonders for me in terms of getting things done.

Finally wrenched myself off the couch to escape for an hour to the Blue Coffee Company to see if I can't get some writing done. Too bad there's wireless internet access now....

      >> 4:18 PM

Je dois apprendre le français cet été. (This sentence courtesy of [Babelfish], so it may be completely incomprehensible.)

      >> 10:00 AM

Saturday, May 22, 2004

1) Matteo now is actively ignoring me when I go to feed him. He gets up from where he is sleeping, walks over to a corner of the porch, and sits down facing away from me. It's possibly because I startled him a few nights ago and now he no longer wants anything to do with me.

2) My forearm now feels like it has a pinched nerve. I hate that my body is falling apart.

      >> 12:37 PM

Friday, May 21, 2004

Crap. Just realized the Blogger overhaul meant the disabling of my archive index page and the inserting of lots of extraneous html code for features I'm not using. Grrrr....

      >> 3:41 PM

[What Abu Ghraib Taught Me]:

What we have learned from Abu Ghraib, once and for all, is that a uterus is not a substitute for a conscience. This doesn't mean gender equality isn't worth fighting for for its own sake. It is. If we believe in democracy, then we believe in a woman's right to do and achieve whatever men can do and achieve, even the bad things. It's just that gender equality cannot, all alone, bring about a just and peaceful world.
To cite an old, and far from naive, feminist saying: "If you think equality is the goal, your standards are too low." It is not enough to be equal to men, when the men are acting like beasts. It is not enough to assimilate. We need to create a world worth assimilating into.

Somewhat odd little essay coming from Ehrenreich. I somehow doubt she really believed up until now in a kind of moral superiority of the womb. But it is undoubtedly one of the sad disillusionments of Seventies feminism that women didn't automatically have a better moral claim on things, that simply putting women in positions of power didn't change the way things work.

. . .

I watched a whole lot of nothing on television yesterday night and this morning. But I did catch a couple of shows to follow up on:

1) An Andy Griffith Show episode -- [Aunt Bee's Restaurant] -- featuring Charlie's Chinese restaurant. The lesson of the show was that women and Chinese people are too superstitious to be good business people. But it had interesting moments with Charlie's "Americanized" nephew Jack who was a graduate student in psychology at UNC. And moments of decorating the new restaurant and hiring Jack as a waiter when Aunt Bee worried over whether things were "Oriental" enough. [Keye Luke], #1 son of the Charlie Chan movies, plays Charlie Lee.

2) A Golden Girls episode -- [Isn't it Romantic?] -- with Dorothy's lesbian friend Jean who falls in love with Rose. The usual kind of liberal feel-goody kind of acceptance of the lesbian (with the usual disclaimer that it would be best not to be gay but we of course still love our gay friends/daughters/etc.). But funny.

I watch too much tv. Must read more.

      >> 2:48 PM

[Killer diet]:

One practice favored by large agribusiness is the use of antibiotics on cows, and a guidance issued on April 14 will allow just that on organic dairy farms, a dramatic reversal of 2002 rules. Under the new guidelines, sickly dairy cows can be treated not just with antibiotics but with numerous other drugs and still have their milk qualify as organic, so long as 12 months pass between the time the treatments are administered and the time the milk is sold.

Argh. So insane. I can't believe the USDA is basically making organic food not organic. And there's also news of how the [WHO] guidelines for healthy eating (restricting processed sugar intake) were revised at the threat of the [US Sugar Industry]. Maybe I would care about the economic impact of healthy eating guidelines if I were someone busy manufacturing awful processed sugar-food stuff. But then again I guess the difference is that I would never knowingly invest my life and career in something that is just plain bad.

      >> 2:36 PM

[Governor Seeks to Invalidate Some Same-Sex Marriages]:

Mr. Romney's actions are based on his interpretation of a 1913 law which says that the state cannot issue marriage licenses to couples if the marriage would be illegal in their home state. Mr. Romney has concluded that because no other state allows gay marriage, only Massachusetts residents, or people who intend to move to the state, can receive marriage licenses.

This is just plain mean. I'm sure the 1913 law was there to invalidate interracial marriages, too. So perhaps there might be some challenging of the law on those grounds? Discrimination much?

      >> 1:51 PM

So another week ends....

<rant>I've been following some academia-related blogs lately, spurred by the controversy over [Invisible Adjunct's] departure from blogging and teaching. What occurs to me in all the lamenting about grad school, the PhD, and the academic career is that everyone seems to think that anyone entering graduate school needs to have a full-and-complete-nitty-gritty-details picture of what it's like to go through grad school and enter the job market. There is this sense that of all careers, an academic one is the one most entered by fools and romantics. Somehow I don't think this is the case. It might be true that people enter graduate school with a rosy picture of what it means to be a professor and without a sense of what it means to toil as a professor. But do people entering other professional schools really know what they are getting themselves into? Do med school applicants really know what medical school, residency, and the life of the doctor will be like? Do law school applicants know that their rosy picture of court-room battles, fiery rhetoric, and showdowns are nothing compared to an actual legal career, especially as newly minted-JDs clerking, putting in long hours at law firms, and so on?

By all means, I think there needs to be better mentoring and open dialogue about what an academic career is for graduate school applicants. I was "lucky" in that respect because I was dating a graduate student who was applying for jobs when I decided to go to graduate school. I therefore hardly had a rosy picture of the whole process and career. But I think this doom-doom lamenting about how people are duped into an academic career (the promise of tenure, etc.) is hardly useful. Especially with a career in literary studies, I think that what matters most is a constant return to the question of why one is doing such work. And if at some point -- maybe after finishing coursework, a master's degree, or a year into dissertation writing -- someone decides she is not satisfied with that career choice, then she should be encouraged to think about what aspects of the work she thought she liked and how she might find another line of work that was better suited to her interests. I guess it just doesn't seem like a big deal to me for people to start a career then realize that it's not what they wanted, even if they're in their thirties or forties. Maybe this is because I have friends who have switched careers later in life, and they never seem angry that they weren't told not to take on their first career. It's not like anyone has a way of knowing what you will find satisfying twenty years later....

My frustration about these doomsayers also probably stems from my own experience of having to fight my way to literary studies. I was always assumed to be the next doctor in the family. Like so many middle-class adolescents, I entered college as a pre-med student. I always sort of knew that I didn't want to be a doctor, but like the way I always sort of knew I was gay, it was an incredibly difficult process for me eventually to come to that realization that I could never survive as a doctor. In fact, that moment of realization/acceptance was in many ways harder for me to handle (my sophomore year of college) than the moment of realization/acceptance that I was gay. (There's a story to be told there about the twinned narratives of assumed professionalization and heterosexuality.) Maybe because the ensuing years were frustrating, scary ones in which I had no idea what I was going to do "with" my life, my eventual turn towards a literary studies career seems like a hard-won battle, something that I found to be remarkably fruitful in staging the kind of self-reflective thinking I think is incredibly important for anyone hoping to move beyond the solipsism of adolescence. I hardly see myself entering an easy-going, guaranteed career (despite what my parents continually state accusingly of my career change decision).

And in the end, I really think that we should be talking about the problem of adjunct labor and the other awful realities of academic life in ways that really get at the problem of corporate logics as the basis for university administration and other factors that really make academic life difficult. Certainly one of the problems is the myth of genius, that smart people will naturally float to the tenured professoriate. But that's only one aspect of it... In general, I think there needs to be a better sense of the other career opportunities for people who think they are interested in an academic career. For all I know, I might end up working elsewhere in a university -- in a center for research of some sort, maybe an arts foundation, or perhaps the library -- and I'm always keeping my eye out and trying to talk to people in these other kinds of careers somewhat parallel to the professorial career.</rant>

      >> 11:57 AM

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

[Writer Gloria Anzaldúa dies]... A friend told me the news Monday night. I haven't seen any major newspaper coverage on her death, though. Just goes to show how major figures in my life are small beans in the eyes of the mainstream. :( (This article linked at [http://gloria.chicanas.com/], via [lightningfro].)

      >> 6:01 PM

Eek. Time is running out for Kristina and I to throw together the summer course on the American South and the Global South.... There's an article ["A Culture Emerging"] in the campus "research" publication about Latinos in North Carolina that I think will be useful reading for the course. I'm looking for some readings that really describe the idea of the Global South. Maybe something from the [Focus on the Global South] web page.... If anyone has any suggestions, do let me know!

      >> 1:53 PM

Bodily pains.... My left wrist is feeling bruised again. I seem to have either a hairline fracture or some sort of tendinitis. :( I'm also itching all over my feet, hands, and arms because I sat outside Monday night and offered my body as a feast to the mosquitoes.

[Yearning Japanese]:

Shounen-ai is not for or even about gays, as fans are quick to point out; the stories are female-scripted fantasies about idealized homosexual relationships. Fake is about as close to typical gay porn as most lesbian erotica is to the "hot girl-on-girl action!" in many men's magazines: Make Dee a woman, erase all the instances of sexual harassment, and you've got a perfectly serviceable Hollywood romantic comedy.

      >> 1:21 PM

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

[A Carefully Considered Rush to the Altar]:

The sense of urgency the two were bringing to their wedding was a striking contrast to a courtship they recall as slow and "old-fashioned." "We really dated," Ochs said. "We dated for 14 weeks before we kissed."

These kinds of news stories are weird to me. There's always a very particular angle, one that asserts so insistently the old-fashionedness of these gay people who want to be married. If you're not old-fashioned, does that make it any less wrong that you are denied the right to be married?

Last night on tv Rob and I caught a bit of a Discovery Health show on a male-to-female transsexual (or transexual, as Riki Wilchins and others would have it). The story was about a "very masculine" guy (i.e., air force fighter pilot, etc. etc.) who wanted to become a woman, wanted to let loose his inner, suppressed woman. And yet, he had to go through "image consulting" to become more like a woman. That just seems very incongruous to me. But in any case, I noted that all the news stories I've seen on sex-change have been about these "very masculine" guys who are married to women. Somehow I doubt that all sex-change operations happen only with these kinds of guys. (The show noted that many mtf transexuals "overcompensate" as masculine men....) Like, what about the ftm transexuals? They just don't seem to be interesting enough for news coverage.

There is that something extra in the element of a marriage in gender-crisis, the talking-head of the wife who asserts that she loves her husband for who he is, regardless of gender, so that when he transitions to a woman, she will still love and stay with him. This moment is what seems to captivate the news writers more than the whole process of changing sex, the performances of gender, and so on. Interestingly, Rob has told me about his sister's best friend (a woman) who had married a man who then transitioned to a woman.

It is kind of cool that here we have this situation when we have zero lesbians and all of a sudden we have two! Go lesbians!

I wonder what the status of marriage is for these kinds of couples. If they remain married, but the man has undergone a sex-change operation to become a woman, are they still legally married? (Why do I feel like I've blogged about this before?)

      >> 2:03 PM

Monday, May 17, 2004

[Cherokees Rush to Clarify Marriage Laws]:

Cherokee Nation officials are scrambling to clarify their marriage laws after a lesbian couple obtained an application for marriage. Gay-rights activists hoped the tribe's sovereign status would force recognition of gay marriages in Oklahoma, which bans same-sex weddings but honors Cherokee marriage applications. But tribal leaders said they have no intention of allowing such marriages.

The legal wranglings over marriage are really interesting. I don't think it's necessarily a great thing for people to be using the Cherokee tribe's sovereign status in order to force recognition of same-sex marriages in Oklahoma unless there is a good understanding of why the tribe has sovereign status in the first place. It just seems that the terms of tribal status as sovereign nations within the US are too loaded to take lightly as a weapon in the fight for same-sex marriage.

Marriage applications are issued by the tribe instead of licenses. After the ceremony, the person conducting the wedding signs the application, and the couple returns it to the tribal court for certification, said tribal spokesman Mike Miller.
It was not immediately clear if obtaining a marriage application legalizes a Cherokee marriage or if the application must be signed and returned to the tribal clerk after the ceremony for the marriage to recognized.
"That part of the law is under review," said Todd Hembree, attorney for the Tribal Council.

What this application for marriage under the Cherokee nation asks is when the process of obtaining legal recognition of marriage reaches that point of no return.... But in all these discussions of the legal process and recognition, it does seem odd that the presence of the couple drops out so completely.

      >> 1:34 PM

[Somerville couple David Rudeurick (left) and Michael Hight kissed inside Cambridge City Hall yesterday while waiting in line. (AP Photo)]

I hope y'all in Cambridge have been partying with the marriage crowd!

      >> 1:24 PM

Sunday, May 16, 2004

[Short story printed only through tattoos]:

"I thought it was an interesting mix of genres and I liked the permanence of the whole thing,'' Poulos said. "I always told myself if I get a tattoo, it better be something of importance.''
Jackson said participants want to be connected to 2,094 other people and often don't care about the story's subject. Some have never read her earlier work.

Interesting.... Is it wrong that I want to be one of these people?

      >> 6:28 PM

[Critical Mass]:

My own feeling, watching the responses to my post accumulate, is that the ones from working academics that dismiss my question as unrealistic are fascinating artifacts in the academy's ongoing apparently suicidal mission not to repair itself. Of course my post is unrealistic. What I was asking--and I really thought this should have been obvious--was not why, practically, the academic hiring system makes it difficult to place someone like IA in a decent job, but whether, perhaps impractically, any gainfully employed academic historians had tried to set their minds to solving either the immediate problem posed by IA's departure from their field or the larger structural problems that departure exemplifies. To respond to such a question with a litany of reasons why the system is the way it is and why no one person can ever hope to alter it and why this is proper and correct even if it results in sometimes unhappy outcomes is to show what strikes me as a deplorable lack of institutional imagination, one that is as conservatively convenient as it is "realistic." Things aren't going to change unless and until tenured faculty not only decide that they can and must, but also accept personal and collective responsibility for making that change happen.

      >> 6:18 PM

On the other hand, one of the finest memories of a collector is the moment when he rescued a book to which he might never have given a thought, much less a wishful look, because he found it lonely and abandoned on the market place and bought it to give it its freedom--the way the prince bought a beautiful slave girl in The Arabian Nights. To a book collector, you see, the true freedom of all books is somewhere on his shelves. -- Walter Benjamin, "Unpacking My Library: A Talk about Book Collecting

I do love books, perhaps more than anything else. My collection, my library, has at least doubled in the last year. I have piles of books double-stacked on my cheap bookcases, shelves sagging. I have piles of books lying on the floor against the walls and stacked on my desks in Babel-like towers. And I want more.

Much as I love the Internet and all the forms of writing, information, and pleasure I can get through my computer, I still love more holding a book in my hands. I love carrying books around in my bag. I love the way the wall of books in my apartments absorbs the echoes of the room.

Much as I love on-line bookstores that mail me any book I have ever wanted -- both in and out of print -- I still love more wandering into a bookstore, exploring the collection available, and finding something that really excites me. Before I left New York City, a college friend of mine said that one day I would have to give her a walking bookstore tour of the City. We still haven't done it, but it would certainly be fun to wander those streets again, hopping from bookstore to bookstore, from the gigantic, well-known places like The Strand to the small, hidden places where I loved to spend afternoons browsing and reading.

      >> 12:39 PM

Saturday, May 15, 2004

The book "Interaction of Color" is a record of an experimental way of studying color and of teaching color.
In visual perception a color is almost never seen as it really is -- as it physically is. This fact makes color the most relative medium of art.
In order to use color effectively it is necessary to recognize that color deceives continually. To this end, the beginning is not a study of color systems.
. . .
This way of searching will lead from a visual realization of the interaction between color and color to an awareness of the interdependence of color with form and placement; with quantity (which measures amount, respectively extension and/or number, including recurrence); with quality (intensity of light and/or hue); and with pronouncement (by separating or connecting boundaries).

My sister sent me Josef Albers's Interaction of Color textbook on studying and teaching color. It's very cool. Here's a web site that demonstrates the relationality of color perception: [Joseph Alber's Interaction of Color]. (Unfortunately, the language in this book is kind of hard for me to take.... all the passive voice constructions and stuff.)

In musical compositions, so long as we hear merely single tones, we do not hear music. Hearing music depends on the recognition of the in-between of the tones, of their placing and of their spacing.
In writing, a knowledge of spelling has nothing to do with an understanding of poetry.
Equally, a factual identification of colors within a given painting has nothing to do with a sensitive seeing nor with an understanding of the color action within the painting.
Our study of color differs fundamentally from a study which anatomically dissects colorants (pigments) and physical qualities (wave length).
Our concern here is the interaction of color; that is, seeing what happens between colors.

      >> 9:13 PM

OMG! [Debbie Gibson] is in this TV movie [Celeste in the City]. It's on ABC Family and yet has a lot of gay stuff in it (gay characters, mistaken-as-gay characters, etc.). It stars [Scarlett Johansson] look-alike [Majandra Delfino] (from Roswell) as Celeste and Buffy's Nicholas Brendon (Xander) as her gay cousin (with an awful haircut).

      >> 8:31 PM

I finally managed to finish watching [Avalon], a movie by Mamoru Oshii who also made Ghost in the Shell. I'd tried a couple of times previously to watch it at night, but always fell asleep after a few minutes. (I have this inability to stay awake while in a comfortable reclining position.)

Oshii is very much interested in how technology blurs the limits of humanness. In Ghost in the Shell, it is the question of identifying a soul (or "ghost") that belongs properly to humans but not to machines even as cybernetics begins to integrate humans and machines. In Avalon, it is the question of whether virtual realities might be better "realities" for humans.

Matteo is sitting in my lap right now.... He's such a needy cat. He's looking at the computer screen as I type. I wonder what he's thinking....

      >> 7:23 PM

Today I am rocking the overalls.

This is Matteo, the cat I'm helping Rob take care of this week.
He's cute. He makes me sneeze.

      >> 6:58 PM

Friday, May 14, 2004

Books, books, books!

Yesterday, I bought Cristina Garcia's new book, [Monkey Hunting], about a Chinese-Cuban family, while picking up W.G. Sebald's On the Natural History of Destruction for the Regulator Bookshop's [AltReader book discussion group] and Sherman Alexie's [Ten Little Indians] collection of short stories (just for fun). There are always so many books I want to read, and no time to do it! I've also got [Emil Guillermo's] collection of columns Amok! in my car as well as [Colleen Lye's] dissertation (she gets mentioned to me almost every time I talk to people at conferences about my work) and [Priscilla Wald's] Constituting Americans. I'm also trying to get to Michael Denning's new book [Culture in the Age of Three Worlds] in the next month so I can talk to a friend here about it. It would be great to read Richard Lee's [ Life and Times of Cultural Studies: The Politics and Transformation of the Structure of Knowledge] (another book waiting in my apartment) along with it. And who knows when I'll get to Chang-rae Lee's new novel [Aloft]....

      >> 3:05 PM

Private property is a human invention, but other animals have similar concepts. One hummingbird claims the feeder I put out and continually chases other birds away from it. Poachers sometimes use clever strategy, like waiting nearby until a third bird tries to feed. The "owner" chases bird III away, usually far away, leaving the feeder temporarily unguarded.

Interesting post from [tommyjournal]. I've always meant to think and write about the concept of ownership, especially when it comes to "love" relationships. How do couples negotiate shared ownership of material possessions as well as minors (children)? More interestingly, why is it that and how do relationships engender a sense of ownership of the other? This sense of ownership is something that was once explicit and written in law (a woman becomes part of a man's property) but is even now, in the logics of a "partnership" of marriage, still an underlying assumption. It comes out in the language of fairness, respect, and being attuned to the needs of your partner.... You "own" each other in the sense of having certain expectations and privileges given or withheld.

      >> 2:55 PM

My allergies are killing me. I don't know if the drugs really work at all sometimes....

I'm drinking instant coffee (yuck) in the hopes that caffeine, that miracle substance, might help with the sniffling and sneezing. Maybe I should just go ahead and make a pot of coffee, but it's the end of the day, and the coffee machine seems to have been retired for the day. This instant stuff just tastes like dirty water....

Random glitches in the systems at work. Yesterday the phone lines went out for no reason and then the voice-mail and auto-attendant features of the system didn't come back on when the phones did. Today, the internet connection died for about half an hour....

      >> 12:41 PM

Thursday, May 13, 2004

[Woman lives without portion of skull....]:

The surgery finally came through after an excruciating wait, during which she suffered extreme pain just bending down and would wake up in the morning to find that her brain had shifted to one side during the night.

Eeeewww!!!! I didn't know you could really get around with a chunk of your skull missing. You'd think this is the kind of thing a hospital and insurance company could agree on as necessary....

      >> 3:48 PM

Must punish cat. It's so cruel that I have extreme allergic reactions to cats when I love them so much. Last night we watched [Ghost in the Shell] at Rob's mom's house and hung out with the cat Matteo. I sneezed and felt asthmatic for hours after. This morning, I was finishing up laundry at the house and read a bit of someone's dissertation with Matteo in my lap. I got home and sneezed uncontrollably for an hour. It's all very sad. It is clearly the cat's fault. [Must punish cat.]

      >> 12:52 PM

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

So [Neo-China] is one of the few Chinese restaurants here with OK food (I'm not talking "authentic"). Everything else is the buffet style deep-fried, oily stuff. I'm stopping by there to pick up dinner for me and Rob on my way home. We tend to get the same thing when we go there -- tofu and broccoli in garlic sauce or chicken and broccoli in garlic sauce. Mmm.... Dinner....

The restaurant itself is kind of interesting. It tries to create a certain kind of atmosphere. I don't care for the paintings on the wall, though they are infinitely better than some of the very tacky paintings on other Chinese restaurants' walls (especially those electronic paintings with lights and "moving" water). One interesting thing is that the restaurant, in the menu, describes the people who own and run the restaurant as part of a "Sino-American" community. I don't think I've really heard that term elsewhere....

      >> 3:57 PM

At some point I want to work on a paper thinking through humor, humiliation, and reality. The starting point would be a look at reality television shows that are all based to some extent on the act of humiliation as the "real." But then I would want to think about why these shows are supposed to be funny and how that act of humiliation-as-humor translates to other instances of humiliation (as torture, etc.).

      >> 3:32 PM

[Genital Torture for Dummies]:

The Powers That Be know one thing: This lack of perspective, of the gruesome details of war, keeps the nation stupid. It makes us compliant. It makes us all go, well sure, I know war is heck and all, but we're the good guys therefore any bloodshed is in the name of democracy and any rapes are necessary evils and all those dead Iraqi women and babies are unfortunate casualties in the quest to protect our president's corporate interests and life goes on and hey "American Idol" is down to three finalists! Woo!

. . .

[I was told to smile....]:

After meeting with England, attorney Giorgio Ra'Shadd said she shouldn't be used as a scapegoat by the military.
"You don't see my client doing anything abusive at all," Ra'Shadd said in an interview. "I think she was ordered to smile."
Ra'Shadd said England was pulled into the situations by intelligence agents who subverted the military chain of command. He said they used England to humiliate the men being photographed so they could show the pictures to more important prisoners and threaten them with the same treatment.

      >> 3:10 PM

[Bitch Bites Man!]:

But offer an image of a woman grinning at the humiliation of men and you allay any homosexual anxiety while tapping into the permissible kitten-with-a-whip fantasy. You can blame her for being unnatural even as you project yourself into her gaze. By fostering this reverie, the press helps to transform a horrible story into a source of pleasure. That's where Lynndie England comes in. She's not just the face of Torturegate; she's the dominatrix of the American dream.

I'd been wondering why this woman has become the face of prison torture. Nothing I read suggested she was necessarily a ringleader or the person most "responsible" for things. And yet, every article and news coverage featured her role in the torture while keeping others nameless and faceless....

      >> 2:42 PM

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

[RMHC/ASIA Scholarship Program]:

have at least one parent of Asian-Pacific origin (any major Asian-American, Southeast Asian, South Asian or Pacific-Islander group)

This criteria bullet-point has a weird confusion about national-origin and ethnic-group. "Asian-Pacific origin" suggests a national origin that points to certain ethnic groups, as do "Southeast Asian," "South Asian," and "Pacific-Islander," but then the term "Asian-American" gets thrown in there in a weird way that suggests it is an ethnic group on the par with, say, "Chinese." This wording suggests that while the program is ostensibly geared towards American kids of Asian descent (since they have to be living in those geographical areas listed, all in the US), there is as usual a conflation of Asian and Asian/American in a way that forgets the distinctions of citizenship and the histories of immigration/migration/refugee resettlement in the assertion of some sort of easily identifiable ethnic group.

      >> 3:48 PM

[Buffy's got the muscle to inspire our spiritual side ]:

"At first I thought, 'I can't watch any TV show with a name like Buffy the Vampire Slayer,' " Riess said this week. "Then I started to notice that the dialogue was really clever, with all sorts of allusions to classical literature, Shakespeare and Greek myths in a richly layered text. I was hooked."

Isn't this how academics always get into popular culture, when they realize a particular show or artist's knowledge and use of "great art"? Anyways, this article is interesting because it talks about Buffy and religion. It's always been kind of strange to watch the show and feel that it is somehow very invested in fundamentalist moral values. But then what is so interesting about the show is how it plays with these kinds of tropes without succumbing to the usual moral lessons. Sure, Buffy sleeps with Angel and thereby causes him to lose his soul, but rather than insist that virginity is the ideal state, the show suggests that what is more important is going on, understanding what happened in that sexual encounter that led to Angel's change. It's a really exciting show for the way it takes up these bad things that happen and to deal with them differently, not be suggesting some sort of profound relativism (the show is clear on good versus evil), but by playing out an ethical perspective uninterested in fundamentalist claims to truth and rightness. (Link via [the poetry of the future].)

. . .

Also via [the poetry of the future]:

Don't Trip
You will be smothered under a rug. You're a little
anti-social, and may want to start gaining new
social skills by making prank phone calls.

What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?
brought to you by Quizilla

      >> 3:18 PM

I saw [Latter Days] last night with Rob at the Carolina Theatre in Durham. It's always fun to go to a "gay" movie there and see the gay people of the area come out of the woodworks. Even on a Monday night, there were a fair number (probably about fifteen to twenty) of people at the screening, and they were all gay as "a box of birds."

The film is distributed by [TLA Releasing] which I have found to be quite unconcerned about "quality." They really seem to distribute any and all films about gay people (or with any suggestion of homosexuality). I've rented a few of their films that I just didn't bother watching past the first ten or fifteen minutes.

That being said, Latter Days was one of the better films I've seen from them. It was far too heavy-handed in its moral lessons, though, and played out the only two narratives of gay movies: (1) a tortured coming out story and (2) finding love against the triviality of (gay male) sex. But it was touching, and the boys were hot, and I kind of liked the gesture towards a gay-positive spirituality. I wasn't raised in a religious family nor have I ever found myself gravitating towards a faith or religion. But having dated someone who really finds Christianity integral to his life, I do think it is very important for there to be more work done by gay organizations to help religious gay people hold on to their faith.

The film, though, was too invested in this idea of a larger plan (whether by intelligent design or not) for my tastes. It's not just the idea that faith can get us through our most difficult moments, but that everything happens for a reason and that we have these instinctual or psychic bonds to the people we're destined to be with....

The dialogue was overwrought, as was the plot. In the mode of melodrama, everything happened in such stark moral terms (though inverted to show the evils of church doctrine and the positivity of homosexual bonds).

It would be amazing to see a movie that somehow managed to sidestep these trite ideas, though. I mean, coming out isn't always as dramatic as being kicked out of a home or put in a "therapy" institution. I'm not saying it isn't often that traumatic, but that it happens in much more mundane ways that just aren't fleshed out satisfyingly in these kinds of narratives. Also sex-without-relationship isn't automatically meaningless. Nor should it only be meaningful in a relationship.

      >> 2:21 PM

It's weird for me to realize now that I have opinions on things. At the conference, I had some strong reactions to what some people said (in their presentations or during question and answer sessions). One woman gave a presentation at my panel that I found rather Orientalist in its presumed taking up of the silenced subaltern. This woman made a very reductionist postcolonial argument that Indian musicians are being crushed by American hegemonic rock. She wanted Indian musicians to be able to make their "own" music without doing American rock. I wanted to ask her what that would sound like and why she should be the one to judge what is "authentic" Indian music.

She also made a comment/question about my paper dealing with Asian Americans in mainstream American music that suggested that Asian Americans needed to sing in an Asian language in order to be "true" to themselves and not be subject to the white mainstream. This is exactly the kind of argument that I wanted to push against. Asian American Studies is very interesting as a field because even in its arguments for some kind of authentic Asian American identity, works against essentialized assumptions of Asianness.

It was interesting that she mentioned Linkin Park as an example of the kind of rock music that America is exporting as popular youth culture all over Asia and other parts of the world because Linkin Park is one of the bands that I want to suggest has the possibility of transforming how we see American music and race. What does it mean to begin to think of LP as an Asian American rock band rather than a "white" one?

It's weird for me to realize that I have opinions on things now, and arguments that I would make. But I still don't say what I think in the moment because it takes me days of mulling over people's comments before I realize what I think....

      >> 2:13 PM

[Fashion Photographer Stephen Klein]:

"There," in a Steven Klein image, is typically a place with a dark, foreboding aura. Sometimes the mood of his photographs is so emotionally isolating that it can seem like he conducts all his shoots in airtight bunkers buried under a desert floor somewhere. The paradox of Klein's status as a superstar photographer of superstars-he's created risqué, iconic images of not just Pitt and Madonna but Justin Timberlake, Ethan Hawke, Naomi Campbell, and others—is that he's successfully selling a darker version of celebrity at a particularly idiotic, giddy juncture in pop culture, just as US Weekly is flying off newsstands and the treacly showtunery of American Idol is topping the ratings.
. . .
"Steven's edge is what distinguishes the work," says Susan Kismaric, a photography curator at the Museum of Modern Art. "The way it examines the dark side, the side of things that we tend not to want to focus on. I mean, I realize that sex sells clothes, but his is a sexuality that is much more palpable and realistic."
. . .
Klein isn't in the show, which might be for the best. He finds the "art" discourse to be beside the point. Madonna, a frequent collaborator of Klein's, e-mails in to say that she considers him to be "an artist, not a fashion photographer," but Klein insists, "I never consider what I do art. I never will, never will."

I'm not really aware of the fashion world. But this article's focus on Klein's photography makes it all seem at least somewhat interesting because of the idea of transgression. Really, though, isn't that what fashion is? The search for newness and the cutting-edge is always about that transgression of the current. But in the end these transgressions are merely bracketed, never expounded upon in a way that might be transformative. The dirty, S&M, "hard" reality and sexuality of the photographs merely becomes the space of fashion image, unconnected to how people imagine and live.

      >> 1:25 PM

[Missing UNC student drowned]:

CHAPEL HILL -- UNC-Chapel Hill police are investigating the apparent suicide of a student who drowned in Jordan Lake -- the second student suicide in 2 1/2 weeks.
The body of Ziyun "Tim" Mao, 19, of Cornelius in Mecklenburg County, was found Sunday afternoon. Mao, a junior, was last seen by his roommate about 11 a.m. May 4, five hours before his father arrived on campus to help him move out for the summer, a police report said. Mao's father reported him missing that evening.

Very sad. I must admit that I am too afraid to think about suicides, to try to understand them, for fear that what I find might be too resonant....

      >> 1:06 PM

Monday, May 10, 2004

[He Bangs, He Bombs]:

This weekend, rejected "American Idol" contestant William Hung and "Fame" champion Harlemm Lee will visit metro Detroit for separate appearances -- Hung to screaming Pistons fans at the Palace at Auburn Hills tonight and Lee to modest promotion at Asian-American festivals Saturday in Southfield and Sunday in Dearborn.

Not to beat a dead horse too much, but here's another article on William Hung. It says exactly what I would've discussed in the conclusion of my presentation last week if I had time -- that the celebration of Hung tells us a lot about racial politics and cultural belonging in the US today, especially when compared to Harlemm Lee's total lack of visibility (despite winning the Fame competition). There is a kind of cultural grammar with which we understand what is "black" versus "white" music, what is "Asian American," and why we expect certain things from people based on how we categorize them in social terms.

      >> 3:00 PM

Augh! WTF!!!?? This new Blogger interface is weird. It feels so.... bubbly....

I'm finally home after a week away at the conference. That drive from North Carolina to Rhode Island is a killer. Luckily, I managed to avoid traffic except Sunday afternoon between Providence and New York.

On the way up, I stopped awhile in New Haven to reminisce about my college years. I'm not going to my five-year reunion in a couple of weeks because I don't have time to take off for another weekend. Plus, they were asking for some $200 to attend. Scam.

These last few weeks with the end of the semester have been hectic, especially with this conference and travel immediately following the last round of grading papers and exams. I'm looking forward to settling in for a solid month here before summer session starts and my next conference travels. I do have to draft my disertation prospectus and write two conference presentations, though....

      >> 2:39 PM

Friday, May 07, 2004

So sleepy.

It's amazing how much more with it I feel when I don't have a paper or presentation hanging over my head. After giving a haphazardly thrown together presentation earlier today, I was finally able to go about the conference in a more carefree manner. I even managed to strike up conversations with a few people.

Met up with another blogger, metamorphoses, for dinner. And have been mindlessly surfing the web for the last couple of hours. Time for bed!

      >> 10:47 PM

Thursday, May 06, 2004

I got up really early this morning to read a friend's presentation for her at the conference today. She couldn't make it up here this week, so she sent her paper and PowerPoint presentation along with me. It went okay, I guess, but the audience didn't really have any questions about the papers on the panel.

Last night I met the incomparable [secretkings]. And then stayed up way too late procrastinating.

The conference as a whole is draining. I know people don't generally go to many panels while at conferences. But I don't know anyone here and haven't struck up a conversation with anyone new (yet?).

      >> 7:15 PM

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

In Boston now. Still working on presentation for Friday at the [CSA conference]. I'm actually going to make it into a web page and post it at some point. If it turns out passable as scholarship.

      >> 7:21 PM

Tuesday, May 04, 2004


      >> 9:02 PM

Monday, May 03, 2004


Innovazian was founded to promote Asian-American talent in the mainstream music world. Our goal is to propel Asian-American musicians to the forefront of popular culture.

      >> 3:32 PM

Sunday, May 02, 2004

. . . :(

      >> 9:15 PM

Saturday, May 01, 2004

[McCain Rebukes Sinclair "Nightline" Decision]:

Sinclair's statement said ABC is politicizing the war.

There is something very puzzling about this statement. I meant to find out if I could catch this show....

      >> 11:03 AM