Monday, February 28, 2005

Me, Giles, and Matteo on the staircase.

I like this picture, taken just a couple weekends ago, because it reminds me that I can still laugh. [Hermance] insists that I am anthropomorphizing Giles, but clearly that is not the case here when I say that he has an expression of indignation, ears pulled back, as I laugh at his silly sit, butt on a step higher than his front paws. He's just averted his gaze from me slightly, too. Giles and I, we have such a love-hate relationship. I love him. He hates me. Another great thing about this picture is how unconcerned Matteo is with our presence. And because of the perspective, he appears to be a monster-sized cat, even though Giles is easily twice his size.

      >> 7:17 PM

[Don't be sorry. Be Giles.]

      >> 8:36 AM

Saturday, February 26, 2005

      >> 12:29 AM

Friday, February 25, 2005

Book Therapy

Disappointment and disillusionment drove me to roam the bookstores all afternoon, and I bought the following (used) books:

      >> 4:48 PM

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Did I mention how obsessed I am with my dog? And that I bought a pricey digital audio recorder in order to record the various trills, barks, yawns, and [whines] he makes?

      >> 8:53 PM

[Dogster Giles!]

      >> 1:04 PM

Monday, February 21, 2005

Must. Transmogrify. Into. [Lesbian librarian.]

      >> 8:15 PM

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Upon stumbling across mention that Sherley Anne Williams's novel Dessa Rose has been adapted as a [stage musical], I wondered what story I might be interested in adapting as a musical. I thought about writing a musical based on Chang and Eng Bunker, the famous Siamese twins who settled in North Carolina in the early 19th century. But then, I googled "chang eng musical" and discovered that there is already such a musical: [Chang & Eng - The Musical]. Hmmm. And apparently it was the longest running musical in Singapore. Huh.

      >> 10:52 AM

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Giles at his patrol station.
(Click on picture to see him in action.)

      >> 9:21 AM

Friday, February 18, 2005

[Koko's nipple fetish]:

The suit, in any case, says that Patterson would interpret hand movements by Koko as a demand to see exposed human nipples. She warned Alperin and Keller that their employment with the foundation would suffer, the suit says, if they "did not indulge Koko's nipple fetish."

That's just weird.

      >> 10:16 AM

More on Harvard President's comments on women's [innate inferiority]:

"I've been praying for the brother, hoping he would change," Dr. West said in an interview. "It's clear he hasn't changed. I feel bad for Harvard as an institution and as a great tradition. It was good to see the faculty wake up. The chickens have come home to roost."

We could say lots more about this whole gender difference issue. But what's catching my eye in this article is Cornel West's turn of phrase, "The chickens have come home to roost." What is the origin of that phrase? [The chickens come home to roost.] So odd. And what would be chickens in this Summers context? I guess the statements he made in his [remarks] to the economics people are these chickens. And they are now coming back to bite him in the ass?

      >> 8:42 AM

Thursday, February 17, 2005

So unfair. I was just about to get a delicious slice of chocolate cake this morning when my alarm clock went off and wrenched me out of the dream.

I do have to take back everything I might have ever said about the musical play [Miss Saigon] not being all that bad. I saw a production of it last night. And I guess I was really just blinded by the fact that I'm in love with Lea Salonga, the original star (Kim). This realization about the awfulness of the show won't stop me from thinking about the French and late 1980s, early 1990s context for the production of such a story and music. In all the railing against the show's orientalist fantasy and old-school misogyny (rooted in the sense that women are some weird ideal of love), I haven't really heard people talk about why these two French musical writers would have picked up the Vietnam war, Amerasian children, and American military sex camps as a topic for discussion. Does it have something to do with the impact of the Vietnam war on France (as the ex-colonizing nation)? Is there an influx of Vietnamese refugees to France that would have spurred this attention?

I'm now also intrigued to see the production of Making Tracks, a musical by [Second Generation]. I have the concept album. I'm not sure if it's a very interesting play overall, but it's so Asian Americanist in a way that is great for my dissertation project. It's concerned with the dealing with and passing on of knowledge about a history and social context of Asian Americans. And the major way the creators of the show talk about the show is that it's a chance to show America how much Asian Americans can ROCK.

      >> 9:47 AM

Monday, February 14, 2005

Happy Love Day!

My dog is being very noisy chewing on his oversized rawhide bone. I'm afraid he's going to lose more teeth. We noticed a few weeks back that he is missing a top front tooth. It's quite cute, the gap.

The [Westminster Kennel Club] dog show is starting now. I am going to curl up in bed next to a sleeping Rob and watch the dog show with Giles. (Although he has now crawled under the bed....)

And yes, I realize how incredibly pitiful I am. I suspect this dog-infatuation will pass evenutally. Please bear with us. Also, I want to re-watch [Best in Show] now that I've actually seen dog shows and stuff. I watched it a few years back but had no real context for understanding why dog shows and dog breeders might be particularly fun as subjects of a mockumentary.

      >> 6:56 PM

Sunday, February 13, 2005

My sense of time these past few weeks has been disjunctive and disoriented. Starting the week before I went off to a conference at [UIUC], I have been keeping odd hours, often falling asleep early in the evening, getting up for a few hours in the early morning, and then going back to sleep for an hour or two before groggily starting off my day officially. I've also taken a number of unplanned naps in the afternoons -- usually when I sit down to work on my dissertation. The result has been a confused sense of when days begin and end.

When I sleep in snippets like this, I have a hard time separating out what I've done and what I've dreamt of doing. This is particularly annoying when I dream of doing things that I need to get done -- like send out an e-mail or finish up lesson plans. I also tend to mix together observations I've made to myself while awake to create other observations in my dreams. For example, I dreamt that Rob had reorganized the contents of the kitchen shelves by the color of boxes. This dream seems to be a mix of the fact that Rob had gone grocery shopping that day (and was putting things away while I dozed on the couch) and the fact that the bookshelves in our main living space has books organized by spine color (something Rob's sister did).

I dream of the day when I get my life in order enough to sleep soundly through the night after having accomplished all necessary tasks during the day.

      >> 4:11 PM

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Rain last week.

Giles needs more exercise.

      >> 11:14 AM

Friday, February 11, 2005

Before Ms. Coblentz moved to her apartment she gave away hundreds of books. She still brought 70 boxes with her. To house them she invested in seven professional-grade bookcases, each more than seven feet tall, from Dallek Office Furnishings. Before arranging her books, she created a cataloging system: each bookcase and shelf gets a number, and space is allotted to categories and subcategories according to their estimated "book feet" requirements.

I just want to be a professional [bibliophile]. I should SO have gone to library science school instead of this darned English PhD thing.

      >> 12:14 PM

Monday, February 07, 2005


      >> 10:19 PM

Friday, February 04, 2005

[Sinister ducks.]

      >> 3:47 PM

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Two Kinds of Song
It is said the palace was modeled on a dream, but even what the king remembers of his dream is not necessarily the dream itself. Will this space between the pages of sleep and the writing of day always exist? I do not know. I might never know. I am only a guard -- a fixture that moves like the polished hands of a clock.
     It is said there is nothing about your life the king does not know. All of the halls surrounding his private chambers are painted blue to remind us how the sky, where he and the gods converse nightly, lies forever beyond our reach. Today, from the tower, I watched the clouds scurrying overhead. They were in a tizzy, like newlyweds shopping in the marketplace. Maybe the priests are right. Maybe the king does know what I am thinking, for even my metaphors defeat me.
     Now, the only glimpse of hope I have is when I am assigned to the corridor where the stately rows of deities smile at me from their dusty niches. When I am near them I feel something is askew, that the dream was remembered incorrectly, and these statues, these material echoes of the invisible, know more than they are saying, even to the king. And, at dawn, as I return to the barracks to sleep, I hear the birds singing in the palace garden, singing as if their song was meant only for the deaf.
John Yau

      >> 9:06 PM

[Evolution Takes a Back Seat in U.S. Classes]:

"The most common remark I've heard from teachers was that the chapter on evolution was assigned as reading but that virtually no discussion in class was taken," said Dr. John R. Christy, a climatologist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, an evangelical Christian and a member of Alabama's curriculum review board who advocates the teaching of evolution. Teachers are afraid to raise the issue, he said in an e-mail message, and they are afraid to discuss the issue in public.

I read this article while I was photocopying book proposal packets today. I wonder if there has been a shift in the last couple of decades towards more opposition against the teaching of evolution in the classroom. It does seem like the type of literalist/fundamentalist Christianity that is challenging evolution has only recently become a visible force in policy issues. But that could also just be because I wasn't aware of these things much before the late 1990s.

I remember in middle school, we learned about the Scopes trial, watched the movie version of Inherit the Wind, and talked about the debate between evolution and creationism as something in the past (though not so distant). We talked about how once upon a time, people were so afraid of the idea of evolution. It's been quite a surprise to realize that in fact so many people still believe that evolution is total hogwash. I've had students write papers in our scientific discourses unit about research that "disproves" evolutionary theory through examining the complexity of biological structures. (The argument of one research article a student unearthed was that the eye is far too complicated to have evolved from basic light-receptor qualities in cells -- there had to have been an intelligent maker putting these little parts together to create an eye.)

Can I just say how much this scares me?

      >> 2:56 PM