On the June 10, 2004, I attended the wedding of John and Stacey. The
wedding was held at the lovely
in Stevenson, Maryland.
On the June 10, 2004, I attended the wedding of John and Stacey. The
wedding was held at the lovely
in Stevenson, Maryland.
THURSDAY. 6:45 AM. In the spirit of keeping lists, here are fifty things you may or may not know about me.
SUNDAY. 3:35 PM. Today has been a productive day. Though, I got up a little later than normal, sometime around ten o'clock this morning. The last few days have been pretty busy, and I guess I needed the sleep. I woke up to a blinking clock; there must have been a power outage sometime in the middle of the night. I had no idea. I slept the sleep of the very tired.
But, since getting up, I have written my second response paper for my summer readings class. It's entitled "The Subject-Object Tension in Cane's Portraits." The paper is on a short "novel" we read last week: Jean Toomer's Cane. I can't say that I completely "get" Cane, but it is definitely an interesting read, an interesting experiment in form and poetry, and an important piece of literature of color. My first response paper, which I turned in last week, was on masculinity in Hemingway's In Our Time and Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. It has been years since I had read Gatsby (since high school probably), and I found the novel just gorgeous and compelling.
I had hoped and really wanted to get a second essay for my class started, but I don't think I will have the time. Today, I also cleaned up the house, did the dishes, did laundry, and made two turkey meatloaves. And later, people are coming over to play Tellings.
I've done a lot in the past few days. In fact, the whole past week has been pretty busy. Work has been busy with three days, usually Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, of orientation. Add in my class, which meets Monday and Wednesday. Add in all of the reading and writing I have to do. In total, it makes for a busy schedule. But, this past week was particularly jam-packed.
I've been hanging out with my sister a bit more. Since her commute to Virginia is hellish during rush hour, she stays in Maryland till traffic dies down. We end up hanging out, running errands, having dinner, and just keeping busy at the end of the work day until it's a better time for her to head home. This past Wednesday, we went up to the cemetery to visit my mother's grave; we intended to do it the week before for my mother's birthday but didn't make it. It was a nice visit. Afterward, we went shopping; I needed to get some new clothes for wedding-going.
Thursday night, I went to a wedding. My friend John's wedding. Right after a full day's work, I zipped home, got changed, and headed over to Cate and Skinner's house. From there, we drove up to a big house north of Baltimore called Gramercy Mansion. The site was very pretty and the house is amazing. The wedding ceremony was also very pretty, simple, and nearly rained out. But all ended up well. Dinner and the reception was very nice. I am happy for John and Stacey, the newlywed couple. The evening was a little awkward for me given my current distaste for things uber-heteronormative. But I had a good time. I even got dragged out by Stacey during the first dance; we danced together and then she made John and I dance together. Too funny. Pictures here.
Friday, I spent the day reading, reading, reading. I finished half of Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury. I also finished half of Nick Montfort's Twisty Little Passages, which I'm reading for my summer class in order to write a scholarly book review. The whole day was reading. I don't think I did anything else. I didn't leave the house all day and night.
Saturday, I spent the early half of the day finishing Faulkner and Montfort. I finished both books. Saturday afternoon, I headed over to the Maynard's to meet up with people to drive down to the second wedding of the week. My friend Michael's wedding. The wedding was at the Grand Atrium in Vienna, Virginia. The wedding was very simple, very relaxed, and everyone had a good time. The food was good, the wedding was charming, the bar was open, and even the music was well-chosen. I had a very good time. Michael's family brought silly hats for everyone to wear; I wore a shark made out of foam on my head. There was an after-party at a nearby hotel, but we didn't stay very long. I was dead tired by the time I got home. Pictures here.
I'm sure I'll have more insights later. Tomorrow, a new week begins.
MONDAY. 7:20 AM. Happy birthday to my friend, Dustin!
FRIDAY. 8:31 AM. It's morning. I really don't know what I want to write about today. I woke up, a little later than normal; it's nice to sleep in a little bit knowing that I'm going to be pretty busy this weekend. Plus, the exterminator guy is coming sometime this morning. I got up, got cleaned up, got dressed, and just overcame a sudden tummy ache. It's the second morning in a row that I've had a stomach ache right after waking up -- but after I eat a little, it seems to go away. I assume it's just because I'm uber hungry or something. I'll have to get it checked out if it persists. After the whole being really, really, really sick of a few weeks ago (also gastrointestinally involved), I just want to be happy, healthy, and hale from now on.
The past week has been pretty much consumed by work and school. Since the weddings of last week and weekend, I really haven't done a whole lot except go to class, go to work, and read, read, read. Oh, throw in a bit of writing, writing, writing, too. So, what should I write about? How about a bulleted list of random bits of thought and stuff?
• My digital studies class buddies, Jess and Marc, and myself submitted a panel proposal for the next Society for Literature and Science conference, which is to be held this October in Durham, NC at Duke. This is my first academic conference ever -- look I'm playing the game of graduate school! This is the panel we proposed:
"(Under)e-presentations: Negotiating Marginalized Cyberidentities"
(Under)e-presentations is a panel consisting of Marc Ruppel, Jessica Henig, and Edmond Chang, University of Maryland graduate students in English and media studies. The panel addresses the intersection of new media, cyberculture, race, gender, and sexuality. It is a brief exploration of how traditionally underrepresented populations effect and affect their online indentity and citizenship. Marc Ruppel's paper "Searching for Little Deer: Native American Literature and the Digital Divide" focuses on the resistance, appropriation, and incorporation of science into the larger narratological mythologies of this literature as played out on the World Wide Web. Jessica Henig explores the ways in which the feminine, traditionally absent from the early Internet, is reinstated in early hypertext works (Jackson's Patchwork Girl and Joyce's Afternoon), which (re)locate the absent female body in the work and the Web. Her working title is "Linked Bodies." Finally, Edmond Chang historicizes and reimaginess the relatively new notion of the "cyberqueer" and the question, "Is cyberspace inherently queer?" Furthermore, he engages how the Internet can be a counterpublic, a place for emergent LGBT activism, politics, identity-making, and sex.
Wild, huh? Now I have to figure out how to cut my 22-page paper down to ten pages. But I have a few months to get that sorted out. I'm really excited about the conference and also totally freaked out. My paper is based on Donna Haraway's "The Cyborg Manifesto" and she's going to be at the conference! I might just end up fainting on the spot.
• My summer class has been excellent. In only two and a half weeks we've already read eight texts, some of them quite long. We also had to read one outside literary critical text and write an academic book review of it. But everything is going well. I managed to crank out a lot of work the past few weeks. I've finished the three required response papers already. I've done the book review. Now I have to decide whether I want to write a longer seminar-length paper or take the final exam. I'm thinking that if I do the paper, which only has to be 15 to 20 pages, my professor will have a better grasp of my work and skills, which will translate into a better letter of recommendation if I ask her for one down the line. I am thoroughly enjoying the class (even though there are a few bumpy-minded people who take the discussions into vastly uncharted and sometimes inappropriate territory), but I will be glad to be a summer bum for a month or two once things are over.
• I finally got all of my grades for last semester. I finished my spring with a 4.0 GPA. I'm pretty pleased with myself. That's two semesters in a row of all A's.
• My brand new computer arrived this week -- finally. I went to pick it up from the FedEX depot last night with my sister. It's still in the box because I have to figure out how I'm going to reconfigure my office. Plus, I have to get an extra keyboard and stuff to set up my old box in order to transfer files and whatnot. I hope the new computer made it safely from Georgia and runs perfectly when it is all set up. I'm excited.
• Work has been busy, busy. Summer is the busiest time of year for Letters and Sciences because of new student orientations. Basically, our office runs orientation Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays for incoming freshmen and transfer students who are undecided or trying to get into one of the limited enrollment programs on campus. But the advising is challenging, sometimes fun, sometimes grueling. It all depends on how prepared the student is and whether or not they have a clue as to what they want (besides a cool roommate or hot babes or guys or beer or no classes on Friday or whatever). The office is jumping and everyone seems to be in a good spirits as the summer temperatures rise. Our new graduate assistants seem to be taking to the job like fish to water; they're pretty cool. I'm glad there are two new guys in the office (which is pretty much dominated by women); plus they're cute and friendly and that always makes things fun. And because I think they're cute, they have to be straight. Hah.
• My railing against heteronormativity seems to have quieted a bit. Though I still get a little irked and frustrated or feeling stuck. I think now that the two weddings are gone and past, I can relax a bit. John's wedding was particularly iresome because the minister, who was Seventh Day Adventist, stood up and basically gave a speech about how "god created marriage just for a man and a woman" (in just those words). Blah, blah, blah. He also went on to say, "John, you're the head of the household" and other sexist bullshit. I hate it. But Michael's wedding was a good antidote -- not religious, not gendered, and very open and relaxed. Granted, I'm happy for both couples. But I can still grumble about how the dominant culture is prejudiced and ignorant.
• Sadly, I have decided to put my live-action role-playing game Archaea on hiatus. The game has been suffering smaller and smaller turnouts the past few months. As of late, we have had less than ten players make it to an event. People have been really busy with real life stuff, and we haven't been able to draw many new players. It's a real shame. And it makes me sad. We're going to take a month off and try to regroup. We'll see what happens, but the prognosis is not good.
• I am going to Baltimore Pride this weekend. I did not get a chance to go to any of the Washington, DC events this past weekend. So, I'm making up for it by going to Charm City. I also promised my friends Ryan W. and Matt that I would go to Baltimore this year. I have never been and I figure it'll be a nice change of scenery and pace. I'm going to the parade and block party on Saturday afternoon and hope to do a little partying Saturday night. I think Skinner and Shawn (yeah, I'm taking straight men with me...because they're all I got) are going to go as well; it'll be fun and I'm glad they're willing to indulge this side of my life.
SATURDAY. 4:53 PM. There isn't much to report. I haven't done much of anything this week. I just worked, read, went to class, hung out, slept, and repeated as necessary. I just haven't been in the mood to do much else other than what is currently on my plate. I have been feeling like I just need to keep my life pretty simple. And the simplicity (albeit busy) has been good for me.
I have been hanging out with my sister a lot. Basically, I see her most days of the week for class, during work, and after school and work is done. We have lunch or dinner together. We run errands. We hang out till after the bulk of rush hour is over and she dares to brave her long communte home. I'm glad to have this time with her before she leaves for Taiwan in a little over a month -- then she'll be gone for nearly a year.
Class is going fine. It's almost done, actually. Only another week or so left and then the summer session is over. I really enjoy the class, and I'm doing well to boot. Grades have been good. Comments from the professor have been good and flattering. All is good on that front.
Last week, I went with Alenda to see a documentary called The Future of Food, which was being shown as part of the AFI/Discovery Channel documentary film festival SilverDocs. One of Alenda's friends helped produce and edit the film. The Future of Food details the current controversy and impending hazards of bioengineered foods, a.k.a. genetically modified foods. It is a distressing film covering not only the science but the social, political, and capitalistic drives behind GMOs. It was a little depressing and reminded me of watching This is What Democracy Looks Like. Ironically, after leaving the theatre, Alenda and I went to get something to eat.
This past weekend, I went to Baltimore Pride. Shawn, Skinner, and Jesse came with me. We met Ryan and Matt at the festival. Baltimore's pride is much smaller, almost humble, and definitely friendlier than DC's pride. I had a pretty good time. I ate a lot of vendor food. I drank my fair share. I ran into Stephanie and some Baltimore people I hadn't seen in years and years. It was a very relaxed day. The weather was great. The people were chill and unpretentious. I didn't run into as many cute people as I would have liked, but the whole day's experience made up for it. I was pretty drunk by the time we left around eleven or so. Part of me wanted to stay longer. Maybe next year, if I'm still in the area, I'll plan to crash in Baltimore.
The rest of the past week has been spent decidedly in. I did visit the coffee house on Tuesday evening. Alenda and I went there to do a little reading. It was good to hang out for a while; I hadn't been in weeks. Sara was working that afternoon and she chastised me for not being around. I was hoping to get a chance to visit with Chrissy a little, but she wasn't scheduled to come on till later that night. I did run into a few of the CP regulars. I talked to the owner Chris for a little while and commented that I was happy to see that work on the outside deck was underway. I'll have to do my best to get to the coffee house a bit more.
That's all. No more. Maybe next time.
I did spend much of the afternoon scanning a whole mess of new pictures.
MONDAY. 7:04 PM. So, I have a bunch of things on my mind, but no particular order of importance to them. Strangely, I'm feeling particularly communicative. I also just realized I used particular twice in one paragraph. Ah well. It's just been one of those stream-of-consciousness type of weeks.
• I went to see Michael Moore's new documentary Farenheit 9/11. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Well, enjoy might not be the right word. I found it provocative, thoughtful, deeply biased (in a good way), funny, disturbing, frightening -- in a word, unsettling, also in a good way. I am fascinated by this film and his last film, Bowling for Columbine. They would be an impressive and startling double-header. Both films are deeply rhetorical (again, in a good way) and makes no bones about being a truth and not necessarily the ultimately impossible the truth. Is it propaganda? Certainly. But what isn't? Really? I recommend, recommend, recommend people go see F9/11. Now that I've seen it I do agree that the rating should be and stay R, BUT I think that every thirteen and over child should be taken by their parents, teachers, older siblings, friends, or mentors to see the film.
• Originally, I planned to see the film at the Silver Theatre in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland. Cate and Skinner were to go with me. But a snafu took us up to Columbia instead to the brand new AMC 14, which is super swanky and uber crowded by suburbanites. The parking lot was a sea of SUVs and minivans.
• I regularly check Friendster now that it seems a bit (and I mean a bit) more reliable. Occasionally, I fire off an email to one or two men that I find interesting. So far I've gotten less than glamorous results. But, here's to hoping.
• Here's some various bits of news: Miami University approves gay benefits, Marylanders should oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment (though curiously there is no category for "LGBT issues" and must be put under the rubric of human rights or civil rights), and here's something pretty cool going on in DC (I haven't had a chance to hit one up yet, and I remember the group when it first started up in San Francisco).
• Most importantly, with the vote in the Senate coming up in July, everyone should contact their senators to oppose the marriage amendment. Right now.
• I think the romanticisation of children playing in the neighborhood really needs to be re-thought. Completely. The children that play in my neighborhood, particularly the communal "backyard" of my townhouse are loud, obnoxious, foul-mouthed, often violent, screeching, disrespectful, frantic, churlish, piercing, vagrant, and always on the verge of disaster. Perhaps I'm turning more and more into Mr. Wilson in my old age, but I just can't deal with the non-stop screaming. I will be glad when school starts up again for the tykes. (While I'm at it, I would also like to say that the people who give out licenses for ice cream trucks need to limit the amount of noise pollution said trucks can make whilst trawling a neighborhood. The truck that visits my area comes like four times a day and blasts the same, 8-bit music over and over and over and over and over. Madness, I tell you.)
• There was strange talk about moving this weekend from some of the people around me. Cate asked me what my plans were in the next couple of years. I said that my intent was to return to San Francisco after I finished my Master's. Now, that's got me thinking about how to make that plan a reality. We'll see what happens.
• I have been having very active dreams as of late. Alas, none of them are the sexy kind of active. Most of them involve some aspect of action-adventure, which means excitment for Ed's subconscious, but not much rest for Ed's waking self and body. I don't remember much when I wake up no matter how much I try to commit things to memory. I'm too lazy to write the dreams down. But suffice it to say I'm dreaming strange dreams.
• I am right now very enamoured of Gavin Degraw, who sings the theme to One Tree Hill, the lead singer of Hoobastank Doug Robb (who seems to be bi-racial and is very cute in an unconventional way...but they say you can't trust a man with two first names), "Hallelujah" by Rufus Wainwright (who I just recently learned was open gay...rock on!), the incredibly over-the-top and hypermasculine pro wrestler John Cena, and somewhere in-between Rufus and John is the very cute Evan Farmer of While You Were Out hosting fame. The list is subject to whim and change, of course.
• Did I mention I really need a boyfriend?
• I've been reading so much lately because of my summer class, and I've come to the realization that I enjoy it. I think that my second go around with graduate school has been much more productive, much more enjoyable, and much more interesting to me. Plus, I'm taking excellent classes and reading really good stuff. It's such a vast difference compared to five or so years ago when I was in the program the first time. I guess I have changed, I have matured, and I really have grown into the process. I am doing grad school; grad school is not doing me. All the reading reminds me that I really need to be reading all of the time; I need to keep my mind working, my imagination working, and my skills as a writer and a scholar and a teacher always working. Other titles from my summer session: "Howl" by Allen Ginsberg, Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony, Julia Alvarez's How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, Jessica Hagedorn's Dogeaters, and our final book, Chang-rae Lee's A Gesture Life. The class is pretty much over this week. I have a small assignment to turn in on Wednesday, and then a take home final to turn in next week. The five weeks went by pretty fast. I guess I'll have more time for reading (and writing) and hopefully will be able to self-motivate to do so.
• I really dislike driving, particularly in this area. Drivers are insane, completely self-absorbed and self-serving, and ultimately dangerous to themselves and the people around them. I cannot count the times I've watched supposedly civilised and law-abiding people do the most fucked up things in traffic just because they can and want it so.
• I am very much liking my new computer. It's pretty slick. I did have to wrestle with it a couple of weeks. Data migration. A finicky OS. A corrupted driver. Reinstalling the OS. Sorting out insides and outsides. But now everything is on the level. It makes me happy. I also redesigned my office hoping the more feng shui layout will help be more productive and organized.
• This past Saturday night, my sister and I drove into the city to go to a little party. A number of our mutual friends from grad school were attending, and we had been invited by Patrick. It was kind of a last fling for a number of program folks who were done, graduated, and leaving the area. I will particularly miss Patrick and Garth, whom I got to know the best. Patrick is headed back south to New Orleans (I've promised that I'm going to visit him at some point next year). And Garth is headed up to New York City (I'm also supposed to let him know when I visit). The party was really relaxed and chatty. Alenda and I didn't stay too long, but it was fun. Thanks to Megan for the pictures!
• More later, I suppose.
© 2004 Edmond Y. Chang. All original material. All rights reserved.
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