Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I so need this [t-shirt] with the succint command: </bush>.

      >> 9:27 PM

Can I be Björk?

      >> 9:32 AM

My dog's breath smells like dog food. (Ralph from The Simpsons is totally the character that best resembles me when I was little.)

One more bug bite just now to add to my collection of bites. At least it's nice(r) out today -- sunny and drier -- though it looks like it might get hot.

I totally passed out on the couch last night shortly after nine. I didn't make it to bed until three. And of course I didn't do any class prep yesterday for tomororow's class as I should've so it's likely I will be staying up late again tonight. Sigh.

Giles has now found his voice and barks at people and animals walking by outside our windows. Will I get any writing done this semester?

      >> 7:53 AM

Monday, August 30, 2004

Outside it is pouring rain like there is no tomorrow. I've been up over an hour and haven't gotten any work done yet. One of these days I will find the focus necessary for being a teacher and scholar. Coffee, in the meantime, is a tasty distraction. I hope I have an umbrella somewhere in this apartment.

      >> 6:27 AM

Sunday, August 29, 2004

['African-American' Becomes a Term of Debate]:

The demographic shifts, which gained strength in the 1960's after changes in federal immigration law led to increased migration from Africa and Latin America, have been accompanied in some places by fears that newcomers might eclipse native-born blacks. And they have touched off delicate musings about ethnic labels, identity and the often unspoken differences among people who share the same skin color.

Interesting that this topic is showing up in the NYT. Demographic shifts are always an issue in identity-based movements. What this article doesn't really cover is the importance of "immigrant" blacks in the current formations of African American. And it doesn't bring up all the nuances of naming suggested by the simple hyphen, space, or solidus separating the two sides of the term. The usual argument is that a hypen subordinates one "identity" to another -- that is, the "African" component is somehow less important than the "American" component. Alternately, the "African" component could be somehow more determining (racially) but also limiting, making an African-American less than American.

      >> 10:43 AM

Saturday, August 28, 2004

That won't do. All pictures of Giles have cycled off the page. Must post more.

      >> 9:21 PM

My dog just tried to eat a toad. Now he is walking around licking his mouth constantly. Ick. Rob is pretty sure the [toad] isn't really toxic but just has foul tasting stuff.... But Giles is throwing up white stuff. I just pulled out the emergency vet number in case we need it.... :(

      >> 7:59 PM

Friday, August 27, 2004

I had a nightmare about giant (killer) mutant dogs and (pop) music playing unexpectedly and creepily from boomboxes everywhere in a haunted house.

      >> 5:49 AM

Thursday, August 26, 2004

[From the author, Julie Otsuka]:

Three recent entries from the pink notebook:
—husband grieving, thinking of wife #1?
—daughter leaves skipping?
—drugstore: ibuprofin, ace bandage
The first two entries refer to the novel I am currently working on, the third to my ankle, which I recently sprained while rushing home from the café to see the new boyfriend. Was it worth it? (The rush, the sprain, the guy.) Only time will tell. My hunch is that it was. As for the ankle, these days, whenever I am in the café, I prop it up, boorishly, on the chair opposite mine, to give it a rest. It seems to be healing nicely.
. . .
The first time I got up my nerve to write in the café, I felt painfully self-conscious. There was something slightly horrifying about writing (such a private act) in public. But, of course, nobody even noticed. I blended right in. Everyone else, too, I noticed, was writing. Now I was just one of the gang. Another furious scribbler.

I want to be a writer writing in a cafe.

      >> 9:21 PM

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Ever come across a term that you have never heard but you can't stop thinking about it until you figure out what it means? Well, I'm having that kind of moment now with this idea of "red-shirting" or having a "red-shirt season." I have two varsity volleyball students in my lit class who handed me their tournament travel schedule and a roster of the team. On the roster, I noticed that one of my former students (in the international studies class) was listed as "red shirt" for the season. As far as I can figure it out doing some google-ing, it has something to do with eligibility to play in NCAA and/or intercollegiate sports. That is, taking a red-shirt season means you are on the team, but not really playing that season in a way that preserves your eligibility for more years of play later. I guess there are rules governing how many years a person can play at the collegiate level. Makes sense. If anyone can clarify this odd little term, please do....

      >> 8:38 PM

Smelly dog, smelly dog, what are they feeding you?
Smelly dog, smelly dog, it's not your fault....

Giles has become total spaz puppy. His cough/cold seems completely gone now and oh my god does he have a lot of energy. He races around the living room at full gallop sometimes. I took him out for a jog around the apartment complex yesterday and he was doing circles around me at full speed as I jogged along. Very cute. But also annoying when you're trying to get work done....

      >> 7:12 AM

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Woo. So discombobulated from classes starting this week. I spent last Friday afternoon in a huff because the Duke ID card people were being annoying about giving me a card. Unfortunately, I couldn't do much on campus without a card so I had to stick it out and find some way to convince them that I was a legitimate "staff" member of Women's Studies. I need to scan the picture on my card to post since I look so totally put out. I love it.

Then there was the whole computing ID snafu. The computing people were more willing to get me set up with a computing ID so that I could use the Blackboard on-line classroom system for my class. However, the problem with them was that I was apparently assigned an ID way back in 2000 when I first took a class at Duke. Unfortunately, no one had ever told me about the ID and e-mail account and it recently expired. So there were some other crazy things I had to do to get it reactivated. I just logged in to the e-mail account and discovered 246 messages from the last four years! And I never used the e-mail address for anything. I don't think there's any actual spam, but there are a lot of messages from various Duke programs and offices.

Anyways, it all seems to be set up now.

      >> 7:00 PM

Saturday, August 21, 2004

I'm sort of caught off guard by the fact that Duke classes start on Monday. I'm still working on the syllabus for the Asian American feminisms class as well as the UNC class on Major American Authors that I'm teaching. Thankfully, the UNC class won't start until Wednesday. I have a few days to really get these details of scheduling and evaluation ironed out. I look forward to the day when my classes will be well planned out months in advance, photocopied readings submitted to the library weeks or even months before the semester starts....

The apartment is rapidly taking shape as a living space. Although most of my books are still in boxes, much of the other stuff is in place at this point. We got the kitchen organized enough this afternoon to go get groceries later today.

      >> 4:34 PM

Thursday, August 19, 2004

We're moved into our new place! It rocks! Giles loves it, too!!!

      >> 6:46 PM

Monday, August 16, 2004

We're starting the slow process of moving into our new apartment. I've brought over three or four carloads of stuff so far -- mostly boxes of books. I'm hoping the "big move" on Thursday morning will be quick, taking care only of the bigger furniture that won't fit in our cars.

The maintenance people around here seem kind of bargey -- that is, they open the door and walk right in as they are knocking on the door. Oh well, I guess that's why I should lock the door even when I'm here.

Yay for new apartment!

      >> 5:25 PM

This picture is frightening yet oddly titillating...

      >> 9:08 AM

From my Sorrento® Stringsters® wrapper:

What is unusual about the sentence, "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog?"

(Answer in comments.)

      >> 8:39 AM

This opening paragraph of a [theatre review/book adaptation] is awesome:

LET'S say you are the long-dead author of a 19th-century novel. Along comes Frank Wildhorn, the Broadway composer responsible for such lavish spectacles as "Jekyll & Hyde" and "The Scarlet Pimpernel," and he's looking to adapt your book. What can you do as Mr. Wildhorn thrashes through the Signet Classics on the way toward your work? In the public domain, no one can hear you scream.

      >> 8:28 AM

Saturday, August 14, 2004

      >> 9:16 PM

Friday, August 13, 2004

[City's gays, lesbians disappointed but determined]:

"I will protect all your marriage licenses with all my might," said city Assessor Mabel Teng, to which the crowd reacted with loud applause and cheering.

Yay Mabel! The [National Gay and Lesbian Task Force] (which has annoyingly renamed itself "The Task Force") issued a statement yesterday noting how opponents to same-sex marriage have taken yesterday's court ruling to mean that the court is condemning same-sex marriages when in fact the ruling was about the constitutionality of Mayor Newsom's actions. This is exactly what intrigues me about the law and the public. It seems that people consistently misunderstand (deliberately or not) the actual arguments made in court rulings. It's a conflation of the actual reasons for a particular decision and the supposed stance of the decision. A lot of it is about the yes/no nature of decisions. You're either for something or you're against it. If you rule that the SF marriages are not legal, you are "of course" saying that same-sex marriages are illegal. But that isn't necessarily the case....

* * *

The other big gay news yesterday was Governor McGreevey's [resignation ] because of an extramarital affair he had with a man (see [text of speech]). What was most stunning to me, a kind of re-revelation, was that the coming out moment is still extraordinarily powerful. That narrative of feeling different and then finally coming to terms with oneself to another person (or the public at large) is still immensely important.

Yet from my early days in school until the present day, I acknowledged some feelings, a certain sense that separated me from others. But because of my resolve, and also thinking that I was doing the right thing, I forced what I thought was an acceptable reality onto myself, a reality which is layered and layered with all the quote "good things" and all the quote "right things" of typical adolescent and adult behavior.

I wonder how this will all play out with McGreevey's "coming clean" about his affair as it contrasts to other politicians' refusals to admit extramarital affairs.... I caught some tv coverage of his resignation last night and was just appalled by the newspeople's lines of questioning. Amazingly, the people they were interviewing, the "experts" on these situations, were all remarkably supportive of McGreevey. It was the newspeople on CNN and MSNBC who kept trying to argue that McGreevey was an immoral, base sodomite who had irreparably harmed his wife, family, and friends. The newspeople kept asking the experts how HURT they thought McGreevey's wife must be feeling now. I just wanted to tell them to shut up. Those issues are not relevant to his resignation nor his ability to be governor.

But to still others it was simply politics in 2004, that Mr. McGreevey was using this public, personal confession to draw attention from a lapse in professional judgment that he fears will be exposed.

Of course, people always confuse morality and politics. It is important to the public how an elected official carries himself in light of "traditional values."

The speech itself created a kind of uncertainty. From the way in which it was framed, many who heard it wondered whether Mr. McGreevey had resigned because he was gay or because of an affair.
"I think he overreacted," said Howard Koeppel, the automobile dealer who, with his partner, Mark Hsiao, shared their Manhattan apartment with Rudolph W. Giuliani for six months in 2001 when Mr. Giuliani was separated from his wife.
"Clinton didn't resign because he was having an affair outside his marriage. We are living in a different world than we were 25 years ago, and it wouldn't have affected McGreevey's chances of being re-elected if the people thought he had been a good governor."

      >> 8:13 AM

Thursday, August 12, 2004

[Court decision on SF same-sex marriages]:

Accordingly, for the reasons that follow, we agree with petitioners that local officials in San Francisco exceeded their authority by taking official action in violation of applicable statutory provisions. We therefore shall issue a writ of mandate directing the officials to enforce those provisions unless and until they are judicially determined to be unconstitutional and to take all necessary remedial steps to undo the continuing effects of the officials’ past unauthorized actions, including making appropriate corrections to all relevant official records and notifying all affected same-sex couples that the same-sex marriages authorized by the officials are void and of no legal effect.


      >> 12:15 PM

Yay puppy! He just paid me a visit at work. So cute.

[Anxious gay couples await ruling]:

But while some couples won some benefits, big and small, others have been in a six-month state of limbo. Many newlyweds were told by their insurance companies that they are waiting for the Supreme Court ruling before deciding whether to grant benefits. The couples can't file their state taxes jointly and have not been able to take advantage of any federal benefits -- from survivor's rights to social security benefits. Even if today's decision is in their favor, federally recognized marriage and the rights that come with it are still a long way away.

Oh, the suspense! We're just minutes away now....

      >> 11:47 AM

La la la. Going to try to read Annie Proulx's Brokeback Mountain today since reading for classes isn't going anywhere. There's always that inertia of doing work, even if it is reading.

[Olympians Strike Pinup Pose, and Avoid Setting Off a Fuss]:

Dominique Dawes, a three-time Olympic gymnast and now the president-elect of the Women's Sports Foundation, said Acuff, Cope, Beard or any other female athlete had earned the right to choose where and how they appeared in the media. She also said the magazine portrayals should not diminish the strides women have made in Olympic sports, but rather celebrate their independence.
"It's a personal choice, and if an athlete wants to portray herself in a certain light, it's up to her," said Dawes, 27, who was a member of the 1996 gymnastics team that won the gold medal. "It's not anything I would do, but sports and sex has always sold. I think women have earned the right to make those kinds of decisions."

Sure, I guess. The article compares these pinups to soccer player Brandi Chastain's breast-baring. They seem to be very different things to me.... Chastain's gesture wasn't about being sexy for a male audience/readership. It seemed more about celebrating victory and the excitement of the game in a very embodied way. This is the problem with nudity in mainstream media.... Any exposure is supposedly about sex or lewdness when in fact nudity, like other bodily acts and performances, can mean a wide range of things. It can mean freedom, fun, the thrill of being caught, genuinely enjoying one's body, etc... That being said, I agree with Dawes that women should have to choice to display their sexuality as well.

      >> 8:46 AM

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

[U.S. Electoral College]:

Is my vote for President and Vice President meaningful in the Electoral College system?
Yes, within your State your vote has a great deal of significance. Under the Electoral College system, we do not elect the President and Vice President through a direct nation-wide vote. The Presidential election is decided by the combined results of 51 State elections (in this context, the term "State" includes DC). Your vote helps decide which candidate receives your State's electoral votes. It is possible that an elector could ignore the results of the popular vote, but that occurs very rarely.
The founders of the nation devised the Electoral College system as part of their plan to share power between the States and the national government. Under the Federal system adopted in the Constitution, the nation-wide popular vote has no legal significance. As a result, it is possible that the electoral votes awarded on the basis of State elections could produce a different result than the nation-wide popular vote. Nevertheless, the individual citizen's vote is important to the outcome of each State election.

      >> 12:03 PM

Heh. Funny picture.

      >> 10:18 AM

These last days of summer break always fly by too quickly. I looked at the date today -- the 10th of August -- and did a double take. Seems like just yesterday it was the 3rd and I was thinking about how I had just missed a conference paper proposal deadline by a few days. Now it's a week later and I still haven't worked on the proposal though I did get in touch with one of the conference organizers on the 5th and got an okay to submit something late. I don't think she quite expected it to be this late, though....

The weather has been gorgeous around here, perfect for getting our puppy and playing with him outside. Now it's getting warmer and more humid again, though, and the mosquitoes seem to have come back in full force. I have about seven bites on my arms and feet right now. They itch like hell.

I'm working mornings this week and next Monday. Then I'm free from this prison house called a part-time job. The silly thing is then I'm going to be looking for another part-time job, preferrably something with better hours (not in the middle of the day every day of the week), more flexible work schedule, and more interesting material. I'm hoping to jump ship, actually, to Duke University Press, as some sort of reader of materials for Asian American Studies. That way, I'd be working with material relevant to my research interests and dissertation. I have to find out how I can do that....

Other than that, I'm mostly avoiding preparing for the two classes I'm teaching this fall. I'm already way delinquent for submitting reading material for electronic reserves, so that might become a problem later on. I figure I already have plenty of material to assign in the books I've ordered, though, so I will focus on that stuff.

      >> 9:35 AM

Monday, August 09, 2004

[That's Entrail-tainment!]:

Yes, indeed, would it not be good if all Americans had a torture life coach, conditioning us to persevere? After being doused with gallons of animal entrails, anyone and everyone will be resilient when their job is outsourced or a family member dies.

This article says a lot of what I've been thinking about "reality" torture TV. It's also really disturbing to see how much conditioning we are put through as Americans to accept these things as the facts of life (under terror). We treat our puppies and dogs better, conditioning them with treats and praise rather than fear and punishment.

      >> 8:56 AM

From [angry]:

Interesting footnote about Jap Road's recent change to "Boondocks Road": the word "boondocks" comes from a Tagalog word, "bundok." From the Online Etymology Dictionary:

boondocks - 1910s, from Tagalog bundok "mountain." Adopted by occupying American soldiers in the Philippines for "remote and wild place." Reinforced or re-adopted during World War II. Hence, also boondockers "shoes suited for rough terrain" (1953).

And look here: Word of the Day: Tuesday 9 December 2003

The Macquarie ABC Dictionary defines boondocks as "a remote suburb or rural area." So, if your firm decides to relocate the office in which you work to some low rent outer suburb, you might complain that "the office has been moved to the boondocks." Boondocks is a US slang term and is a corruption (or an English adaptation) of a Tagalog word meaning "mountain." The original Tagalog word was bundok. (Tagalog is one of the languages of the Philippines – an indigenous Malayo-Philippine language that is the mother tongue of some ten million Filipinos. Tagalog is the basis for the official national language, which is now called Filipino. The Philippines was an American protectorate for some years, and the word bundok was adopted by American marines serving in the Philippines.) When first transferred to America bundok, or boondock, meaning (literally) "mountain" was used to mean any rough country, jungle, or wild or isolate region. It's recorded in that sense from 1944. By the 1950s it had come to mean any relatively isolated place.

You learn something new every day...

      >> 8:43 AM

What's new?

The ULTIMATE personality test
brought to you by Quizilla

Not sure how true this is....

      >> 8:26 AM

Friday, August 06, 2004

We have the cutest dog EVER.

(I'm so becoming someone I didn't used to be....)

      >> 12:27 PM

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Wow. There really are customer service phone systems that are endless trees of options. I just called in to cancel my dial-up ISP service in preparation for moving and getting cable high-speed (woo hoo!). After listening to a long opening message about fraud e-mails and selecting about three or four options from as many menus, I gave up. I could not find any option that was for cancelling service. I called back and selected options that were for upgrading services, and oddly enough, I made it to a live person within a few menus. They, of course, had to transfer me from the sales department to another one, but no more menus that didn't give me the option I needed!

In other news, we bring home our doggie tomorrow!

      >> 3:33 PM

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

[Gay AND Asian.] Cleaning out some e-mail accounts today, I came across the name [John Won], a guy I had met through my roommate while I lived in NYC four years ago. He's the one who put me on to the book I wrote my master's thesis on.... Apparently, he's a co-chair of [GAPIMNY] now and still cool as ever. Maybe I should try to get in touch with him....

      >> 3:59 PM

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Duck pic from cousin Kat!

      >> 10:27 PM

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Obligatory Blogger-with-Digital-Camera Vacation Pictures

Some street corner in NYC.

Catching up with friends at the wedding.

Cool John Waters collage of undeliverable letters mailed
to celebrities and cult figures of the recent past.

Picasso's Stein.

Upside-down pedestrian walk signal.

Stencil on the sidewalk.

      >> 9:04 AM