Tuesday, October 31, 2006

[Count Dogula.]

      >> 11:16 AM

Monday, October 30, 2006

James Blunt was excellent. There's just something I love about his voice, the quality of it as he switches registers. He had a bit of difficulty with the high parts of "High" but otherwise gave me the shivers often. Unfortunately, we were in the very last row of the large auditorium -- up ABOVE the rafters, really. I liked how he looked, from that great distance, like a circus clown when he ran around the stage with the spotlight following him. I did not like, however, the fans who thought it was vital that they scream whenever the volume of the music went down even a little bit. I know it's so important in popular music studies to understand how fans create a dynamic atmosphere through their off-stage performances but it's still so annoying. It's especially so when the music, for me, is about an intimate, almost claustrophobic, space. Having other people intrude on it is not good. From the selection of new songs he played, it seems like his next album will be louder and more rock-like than quiet and introspective like Back to Bedlam.

      >> 11:44 PM

Monday. What.

      >> 7:13 AM

Sunday, October 29, 2006

      >> 4:37 PM

Hanging out at Black Dog Cafe in downtown Saint Paul. I must ask if they allow dogs inside.

      >> 1:46 PM

Saturday, October 28, 2006

That's not fair. Rob just used Giles as a weapon against me. He held me down and tried to get Giles to give me kisses in the face. Yuck!

      >> 2:09 PM

Can I have some popcorn, too?

      >> 1:34 PM

Friday, October 27, 2006

I am a pinching koala and tree!
Find your own pose!

      >> 10:32 PM

Earlier today, I picked up at the bookstore Gene Luen Yang's graphic novel American Born Chinese, which recently was nominated for the [National Book Award for Young People's Literature]. Then I went on-line and bought Margaret Cheney's Tesla: Man Out of Time, Jim Steinmeyer's The Glorious Deception: The Double Life of William Borinson, aka Chung Ling Soo, the "Marvelous Chinese Conjurer", and Paul Rosenblatt's Two in a Bed: The Social System of Couple Bed Sharing. If I stay in this profession and ever get a sabbatical, I will spend the year just reading all these things I want to read but will never be part of my teaching or publications.

Giles is pooped from the dog park and has his eyes squeezed shut so tightly while he naps by my feet.

      >> 3:17 PM

At the dog park doing research with Giles.

      >> 2:11 PM

      >> 9:09 AM

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I want to find out more about Nikola Tesla and Chung Ling Soo. How come no one told me that magic and science are the thing these days? The Prestige was pretty awesome. [Wizardly (a blog post about the magicians and history behind the movie and novel).]

      >> 10:42 AM

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

[Happiest] looking dog EVER.

      >> 3:40 PM

Due to my incompetence, we missed the 1 pm screening of The Prestige. This incompetence -- not being able to find the movie theater though I had driven by it before -- also made me very grumpy. This theater is out in the suburbs. I thought it might be bigger, newer, and nicer. When we finally found it, we discovered how abandoned it was in a mall complex that was mostly empty, across the road from the newer mall. Perhaps we will catch the 4:15 pm screening at the movie theater within Saint Paul. I was mean to Rob. I hate me sometimes.

I've been so moody lately. I haven't been able to do any work since getting back from the failed expedition to watch a movie.

      >> 3:15 PM

Breakfast this morning: two fried eggs with colby cheese; one toasted crumpet with butter; and a cup of masala chai. Mmmm. And it only took fifteen minutes to prepare. Definitely much faster than going around the corner to the breakfast place, which was what I wanted to do except Frog had stayed up all night and went to bed around eight this morning so I would've had to go by myself.

I think today, after preparing for tomorrow's class, I will turn my attention to finishing Octavia Butler's Wild Seed. And then I think I might, if I have time, start [Roopali Mukherjee's The Racial Order of Things: Cultural Imaginaries of the Post-Soul Era], a book I picked up last week during my shopping spree.

      >> 9:34 AM

Monday, October 23, 2006

Here I am at my school's library listening to student research presentations last Friday.

      >> 5:53 PM

My students laugh at me when I walk into class in my poofy down jacket looking like a stuffed animal.

      >> 3:28 PM

[Your honor student is merely a pawn in my beagle's diabolical world domination plot.] (This and previous link via [The Pure Breed Revolution!], a site that also has a squirrel terrorists training camp video.)

      >> 1:01 PM

Holy crap! [Russian squirrel pack kills dog.] Old news, but disturbing nonetheless. I told you squirrels are evil.

      >> 12:58 PM

Sunday, October 22, 2006

This afternoon, after lunch at a Chinese restaurant with friends, Rob and I took the crazy dog Giles to the dog park where he raced about like the hell hound that he is. He elicited the comment, "That's the fastest little dog I've ever seen!" as well as screams of fear from a little girl he rushed by frequently.

Since then, I've been adrift in Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, a novel I'm glad to be re-reading for class but am afraid will be completely incomprehensible to my students who can't even grasp the basic arguments of more clearly written non-fiction books like Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed. What will they make of a narrative without conventional plot or logic?

On Tuesday, Rob and I are planning on catching the movie The Prestige, which from commercials I take to be a movie about the showdown between Batman and Wolverine.

On Friday, I am going to hear [Thomas Glave] read at [The Loft].

The next two weeks are short teaching weeks for me -- this coming Friday is midterm break and the following is when I'm in Chicago for a seminar.


      >> 7:27 PM

Three from a morning walk

Giles looks over his shoulder.

Giles sits with pigeon-toes.

Giles has a shadow.

      >> 11:49 AM

My swiveling home office desk char, the kind that has a pneumatic tube to adjust the seat height, likes to reset itself to the highest seat setting whenever I leave. The change doesn't happen at a perceptible rate; if I get up to watch it, nothing seems to change. But when I come back an hour or more later, the seat is at its highest. Sigh. I don't know if this issue is worth fixing or replacing the chair.

I'm finally in a happier mood, despite the complaint I just logged. Colds seem to make me neurochemically sad in addition to congested and all that other unfun stuff.

I finished grading a set of papers earlier this past week. The writing was horrible, and the grades by extension were lower than I had expected. I realized I had miscalculated students' understanding as well as writing experience. Now that I've gotten over the disappointment, I think I'm ready to take on the rest of the semester. I think the students are a little more attentive now, too, realizing they can't just coast by in this class. I'm happy that we're finally getting to the fun fiction portion of the class! We'd been reading mostly non-fiction stuff up to this point.

I've been catching up with friends these past few days, too, after going AWOL via e-mail and phone due to stress and sickness. It's nice.

      >> 8:50 AM

Friday, October 20, 2006

Ah, Friday. I still feel like a kid when the weekend rolls around, like the freedom from school will go on forever. Too bad the feeling is all a lie.

I finally got the driver-side headlight on my car replaced. I've been going around town with only one eye for the past couple months. I had finally purchased a replacement bulb only to find that the old one was stuck, and I couldn't remove it myself (or with the help of friends). I stopped by the Jiffy Lube on the way home from work today. There was a really cute Vietnamese American guy working there. But this other guy -- burly and scruffy -- came up to help me. He replaced the bulb for free, too!

      >> 6:07 PM

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The video responses and comments suggest people think it's pretentious, but I kind of like [Noah takes a photo of himself everyday for 6 years]. I like how the project captures the subtle changes of aging. I like how he keeps a neutral expression in each shot in a way that frustrates attempts to discern a life story in the series of photographs (is he happier certain years?). One thing some people wonder is whether or not these are actually pictures taken each day for 6 years.

When I imagined myself to be some kind of visual artist back in high school and for the first few years of college, I would do a self-portrait once a year around Christmas break. I liked the idea of tracking both how I changed from year to year and how my drawing/painting styles shifted. I only managed to keep it up for four or five years, though.

      >> 11:00 AM

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Yesterday I discovered [Tofurky Jurky].

      >> 5:13 PM

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Brief update as I'm still in my office drawing on 7 pm after a full day of student conferences...

Busy past week: trekked to Minneapolis on the St. Thomas shuttle to chair a panel at a conference, hosted a high school friend visiting from California, caught a production of Ain't Misbehavin' at the amazing [Penumbra Theatre] in Saint Paul with faculty in my department, and finally did lots and lots of grading.

Tonight I have to look forward to re-reading Jamaica Kincaid's Lucy, admittedly not the longest novel ever, but it's still quite a lot to do in one sitting. Then I have to pull together a reading quiz for tomorrow's class. Headsplode.

      >> 7:01 PM

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Discarded along a wall three blocks from home.

Geese have chased away the ducks at the pond.

      >> 2:21 PM

Further evidence that squirrels are plotting something horrible for us all: [Squirrel cuts power at Rosedale mall].

      >> 9:27 AM

Saturday, October 14, 2006

      >> 2:59 PM

I just thought of an opening line for my dog presentation: Dogs, like cars, must be parked.

      >> 10:15 AM

Friday, October 13, 2006

Hooray! My cold seems to have turned that corner. I have much more energy today though I am still congested. At this point, it always feels like I just have to cough up the rest of the sickness and then be done with it. Perhaps by Monday this cold will be completely gone.

It's supposed to warm up to the 50s this weekend. The weather forecaster on last night's news told us to enjoy it. I love that I live in a place where 50 degree weather is cause for celebration. (Nyah nyah hermance. Okay, maybe I'll stop talking about the weather. Except. Wait. I think that's all Minnesotans do. Sorry.)

[BBC Weekly World News Quiz.] I only got three right. :( But I'm sure you can figure out which one I definitely got right.

      >> 8:43 AM

Thursday, October 12, 2006

[2006: a year of giving flowers]

In other news, I am sick as a dog.

      >> 2:21 PM

[It's a Dog's Life.]

      >> 6:42 AM

[David Bowie thrilled to work with SpongeBob.]

      >> 6:37 AM

Oh, Phlegm. How I've missed you.

      >> 5:58 AM

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I am such a wimp but oh the agony of this cold/flu! My throat hurts, I'm congested in ways I didn't think possible, and I'm just TIRED. Poor Rob is freezing his ass off while walking the puppy. He came in this afternoon with bright red ears and a headache. :( We need to get him some winter gear.

      >> 8:23 PM


      >> 9:08 AM

These allergies seem to have paved the way to a cold. ARGH. I hate having chronic sinus congestion problems that sneakily bloom into more annoying colds before I realize.

I did manage to get a delicious pasta dinner in last night at [Broders Pasta Bar] before feeling really sick, though. (Parick -- sorry if you end up with a cold!)

I don't see any snowflakes out there yet, but the ground is a bit wet so we might have gotten some overnight.

      >> 8:22 AM

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

On the other hand, this is perfect weather for snuggling up under the covers in bed with a book (Octavia Butler's Wild Seed, in this case), drinking lots of hot tea and coffee, and eating porridge and soup.

      >> 10:11 AM

IT'S COLD OUTSIDE. When spring/summer comes around, please come find our cold, dead bodies in the apartment, thaw us out, and give us a proper burial.

      >> 10:09 AM

SNIFFLE. Augh, my allergies are not getting any better. Major congestion still and sniffles.

I'm fascinated by dreams. In between my stint as a molecular biophysics and biochemistry major (it's what all the pre-meds were) and English, I flirted with becoming a psychology major. Then I realized that you still had to do labs and stuff and couldn't just sit around reading Freud and other stuff about dreams. (But luckily you could in literary studies.)

Last night I had a dream that I think was a combination of delayed processing of my siblings' visit a few weeks ago and yesterday's unfortunate mistake of confusing the names of my two Asian American students. I'm such a bad Asian Americanist! Anyways, in the dream, my sister (hi Zo!) and I were sitting in a coffee shop type place. I think Carlos might've been there as well but was reading a newspaper or something. Giles was wandering around, and at one point he was about to exit the doors. I had to call frantically for him. He came back and sat next to me. I hugged him. My sister and I thought a woman sitting nearby was Margaret Cho. Then the woman came over to say hello to Giles. We talked awhile. Once she came up, I realized she was not MC, but my sister kept saying things like, "I love your movies." And at first the woman, who apparently did some sort of movie stuff, was excited to be talking to someone who recognized her, but then eventually it came out that she was not MC and awkwardness ensued. It just occurs to me that this dream, in referencing MC, is probably also my subconscious telling me to get the hell back to working on my dissertation.

      >> 8:24 AM

Monday, October 09, 2006

The incredible, expandable puppy.

      >> 10:56 PM

This past weekend saw the end of a self-imposed ban on book buying. I picked up [Jane Jeong Trenka's] memoir The Language of Blood, Patricia McConnell's The Other End of the Leash, and James Kakalios's [The Physics of Superheroes]. This was all in addition to Damien Rice's cd O a recording of some Beethoven piano sonatas. When I buy, I binge. :(

It's supposed to snow on Wednesday.

      >> 10:29 PM

[Giles], when did you go play with a beagle?

[Andrew Sullivan's beagles.] (Giles is still cuter.)

Also, [French Bulldog Z].

      >> 7:49 PM

I know I don't give the clearest directions, but my students sure are obstinately not understanding things....

      >> 2:58 PM

Sunday, October 08, 2006

I'm now in my office doing some reading for class. I hope to grade a few papers as well before heading to a faculty soiree at 4 pm at my office neighbor's house. I took a mental health day yesterday and avoided any semblance of work (or more importantly, worrying about work). Instead, I ate at Andy's Garage, a diner in a converted gas station/garage space, and went to a [comic convention] with Parick. Then we stopped at the gay library where I checked out two movies -- [The Map of Love and Sex] and [Naked Fame]. I then watched the two movies back-to-back, the first with Rob and the second by myself. The first movie was very... ummm.... film student? It tried so hard to be profound. After about half an hour, I started a running commentary in a dead-pan voice saying, "The water is symbolic of drowning," and other pseudo-profound things. Rob joined in as well. The thing is the movie wasn't so bad overall; if only it weren't so hyper-self-aware (the lead character is a filmmaker) about what the film was shooting and doing. And the second movie was just so-so. Basically it was just an excuse to film shirtless porn stars for a non-X-rated movie and audience. Colton Ford needs better music to sing. And I say that as a fan of dance music.

      >> 2:38 PM

LMFAO: [Jesus appears on backside of beloved pet!]

      >> 10:59 AM

Friday, October 06, 2006

It's beautiful out this full moon night, the winds rustling through the dried leaves on and beneath the outstretched limbs of towering tree silhouettes. The moon makes even streets without lamps glow with a peaceful kind of light.

For a half hour, Giles and I walked down these quiet sidewalks. We wandered along streets we generally bypass, taking turns whenever we saw the shadowy figures of other pedestrians approaching. In this way, we maintained a sense of solitude, the kind possible only in the muted presence of others seen behind brightly lit windows or in passing cars, heard in calm voices drifting from second floor balconies or in barks signaling our nearness.

The paralysis I was spiralling towards these past couple of days has settled into a detached contentment. After teaching my last class of the week this afternoon, I set out in search of Damien Rice's cd O, in part to fuel my obsession of the two songs "Cannonball" and "The Blower's Daughter," and in part to shake this hopelessness with some homeopathic musical therapy. I browsed through three stores' inventories before finding it, a marginally successful, older album from 2003, unloved among all the new releases and used albums of more popular artists that line record stores' shelves.

After a tasty dinner of home-cooked chili, I settled in to Andrew Holleran's Grief, a novel I picked up at the public library yesterday. O played in the background as I flipped through the book. Though its language seems largely stilted, I still find certain passages, as I've typed out below, resonant. And it's mood fits mine so perfectly -- a gentle kind of melancholy in search of something beautiful.

      >> 10:14 PM

When my landlord was home in the evening, there was no need to leave. What is better than reading in the same room or same house with someone at night? Reading is an activity both communal and separate. The lighted lamps, the quiet, the knowledge that my landlord was downstairs, all made me happy: the two of us seemed to constitute a household then; that home for which everyone is looking. In truth, of course, I felt my status as a boarder all the more keenly at such moments. (Andrew Holleran, Grief)

      >> 9:27 PM

His dog spent the long mornings and afternoons alone, in the study behind closed doors. One day, on an impulse, returning to my room after lunch, I opened the doors, and poked my head in to see how she was. She was lying on a discolored piece of carpet, curled up behind a chair against the wall--so used to being there she merely raised her head to regard me with her sad dark eyes, then lowered her face onto her paws again with a mournful expression, resuming a pose of infinite resignation. Not wishing to interfere, I withdrew from the room and closed the doors. She was not mine, after all--I'd been taking care of someone who had been, but this dog was my landlord's. Still I wondered how the dog could lie there all day--how she passed the hours--what concept of time, if any, she had, whether being left alone depressed her, or whether to a dog all things were simply phenomena the dog did not judge, things with no context, no past or future. (Andrew Holleran, Grief)

      >> 8:46 PM

[Chemical fire in Apex, NC.] Eek.

      >> 7:25 PM

I'm putting together a proposal for a conference panel on dog studies. Here's my presentation proposal. Any comments/suggestions/lols appreciated.

"Dog parking"

In the past few years, cities around the United States have increasingly established dog parks or runs within municipal borders. These cities’ investment in providing substantial pieces of fenced-in land for off-leash dog exercise suggests the presence of a public dog culture growing at the same time as private businesses are offering more options for doggy day cares, vacation kennels, and other luxury services. This presentation examines two aspects of the dog park phenomenon as public culture – (1) the discourse about costs and benefits of establishing dog parks and (2) social interactions within the space of dog parks.

In addressing the discourse about dog parks, I turn to newspaper coverage of them as well as minutes from city council meetings regarding the establishment of parks. These conversations revolve around issues of community, public safety, environmental waste, and neighborhood privacy as well as reasons for why dogs need plenty of space for exercise and obedience training. In addition to marking out divisions between dog owners and non-owners, these discussions create differing conceptions of what appropriate public space is – who owns it, what rules apply to that space, and where it should be located. By turning to this discourse, I suggest that debates over city land use offer one way to understand how dog owners shape public perceptions of appropriate co-existence with dogs.

Equally important in understanding the place of dog parks in contemporary public culture is thinking about how people and dogs make use of these spaces once they are established. The second part of this presentation briefly sketches out some dynamics of human-to-human interaction within dog parks in Durham, North Carolina, and St. Paul, Minnesota. More specifically, I examine how people perform their gender identities through their dogs. Drawing on the recent popularity of celebrity dog behaviorist Cesar Millan and his television show The Dog Whisperer, I argue that dog owners negotiate in complicated ways the dominance-submission paradigm of dealing with their dogs. Overlaying owners’ uneven uptake of this paradigm are other gendered performances regarding dog size, dog-to-dog aggression, and other dog behaviors. Such gender identity performances suggest the necessity of anchoring social interactions in gendered binaries, even when dealing with non-human companions such as dogs.

      >> 3:35 PM

I weep for humanity.

      >> 1:20 PM

WTF: [Gay teen struggles to start club at N.C. high school.]

      >> 12:19 AM

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Whee! Just got my St. Paul public library card! :) Books rule!

      >> 6:02 PM

Singers who enunciate every consonant distinctly while talking are fun to listen to.

      >> 1:18 PM

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I'm about to head back to campus after a short break home. I went for a long walk with Giles to enjoy the gorgeous day and than ate a simple dinner of pasta and garlic bread. I'm headed back to campus to run the movie Bread and Roses by director Ken Loach from 2001 for Common Text Week. I haven't seen the movie yet. At least [one review] says it's quite a bit heavy-handed about economic injustice.

I've been trying to drink water again these past couple of days. I suddenly realized that I've been very bad about drinking water for the past month or so. My daily intake of fluids is generally coffee, tea, and soda. (Hmm... perhaps this accounts for my occasional insomnia....)

I also need to get back to exercising soon. I jogged briefly a couple days ago with Giles. My knees hurt for awhile after but haven't been bad since. I'm sure another bout of jogging would hurt them a lot, though. I'll have to see what the pool situation is like on campus.

Be healthy!

      >> 6:15 PM

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Hmmm. At a discussion panel on this year's Common Text. Don't see any of my students around.

      >> 3:40 PM

["Humble Bee," John Wesley Harding, 4MB, MP3 format.]

      >> 1:03 PM

FALL HAS FALLEN! WOO! (Do you have sympathy for me now, hermance?)

Giles scratches in yellow leaves.

Giles scratches in red leaves.

Bulldog goes to school.

Giles scratches to avoid seeming compliant when I ask him to sit.

Giles does not like it when we read at the coffee house.

Giles does not like sitting still.

Pink tree!

      >> 12:00 PM

Monday, October 02, 2006

[Jocelyn Enriquez, "Only You," 1MB, WMA format]

      >> 10:01 PM

OMG THE WEATHER HERE NEEDS TO MAKE UP ITS MIND. This yo-yoing back and forth from 40 degrees to 80 degrees is wreaking havoc on my sinuses. At least I think that's why I periodically get congested and sneezy.

      >> 6:45 PM

I've finally put up some pictures on my door.

      >> 2:59 PM

["Do You Miss Me?" by Jocelyn Enriquez.] This song reminds me of California. I don't know if Jocelyn Enriquez was played on the radio much outside CA....

      >> 8:35 AM

Sunday, October 01, 2006

So another song I'm obsessed with is the Yaz (Yazoo) song "Only You." I heard Joshua Radin do his cover of it live a couple weeks ago (you can hear a clip of his version at his [web site], track 11 of his album, or a live performance clip [here]). Now I'm looking up various versions on YouTube. And I've discovered, to my greatest amusement, an [Enrique Iglesias] version, done only the way he can. ;)

      >> 5:20 PM

OMG instead of doing any work I've been distracted by the sun and YouTube. The latter distraction started with my current obsession with Damien Rice's song "Cannonball." I looked for and found many, many, many covers of the song on YouTube, the one I like the most is [here].

Also, while searching for covers of Vienna Teng's songs, I discovered this genre of YouTube music video wherein people are putting together videos with images from anime or RPGs like Final Fantasy. Here's one for Fuel's "Hemorrhage" with images from [Final Fantasy IX].

      >> 4:48 PM

      >> 1:04 PM

      >> 12:42 PM