The following online journal entries are from May 2005.
FRIDAY. 8:24 AM. I guess, like, it's my birthday! Here are the horoscopes for the day:
From Friendster: "You're not ordinarily known for having a temper. It takes a lot to rile you, for starters, and by the time you actually get around to being mad, you've usually realized that whoever inspired it isn't worth the energy. Basically, you've trained yourself to have enormous self-control -- usually. Every now and then, though, the dam breaks, and some fool ends up dealing with an angry Bull. That just might happen today. Better hire a bodyguard -- for your opponent."
From Yahoo! Chinese Horoscopes: "You'll want to charm everyone around you and will be particularly enthusiastic, reacting delicately and with much kindness. A romance will develop rapidly and bring you unspeakable joys. Don't let yourself be overcome by your concerns; profit from the pleasures that life offers you instead! Drain your digestive tract by drinking much plain water. You'll feel a great desire to strengthen family ties, so use this time to reach out to your loved ones."
Very interesting...This Dog better hydrate a lot today then...
From Swoon (via style.com): "You may not want to take everything at face value during the next 24 to 48 hours. Frankly, if you base your actions on the available data - yes, even if it comes from unimpeachably reliable sources - there's a decent chance that you'll get the wrong idea or become fully befuddled. Happily, by Sunday you should have more of a clue about how you'd like to deal with outstanding affairs." And more specifically for my birthday: "The desire to force an issue or push a situation to the brink in the name of resolving it for once and for all should not be underrated. Still, before yielding to the impulse, FYI: The chances of rescuing it once you've pushed it over the edge are pretty slim, and the chances of being more inclined to want it once it's gone are pretty fat. Happy Birthday!!!"
What's with all the issues today?
THURSDAY. 6:09 PM. The following is pastiche, in part by necessity given the scope of what needs to be covered and in part by some underlying artistic desire to be weird.
Much has happened. There is too much. Summing up isn't even really possible anymore. And I have waited way too long to even try to figure something coherent and narrative-like (as several regular perusers of this space have expressed to me). I figure I might as well put the seatbelt on, as my writing mentor likes to say, and just get something down. I will forego my usual guilty pleasure of Charmed and set fingers to keyboard. Where to start? What to say? It's all a mad jumble. So I will simply offer a fair number of bits and pieces, frics and fracs, knicks and knacks, and whatever thought du jour pops out of my head. I will call each piece a vignette.
I suppose the biggest thing going on right now is the end of the semester, end of the school year, and an end of an era. I am graduating. Finally. Bells and whistles and all. The past month or so has been a circus of trying to get my final project finished, defending said project, and more recently, getting the last bits of work for my classes done. So far, so good.
Today was the last day of classes, a time that is always bitter sweet. I have bid my ENGL101 students a fond farewell. They turned in their final papers, had a little shindig and nibbly bits, and have gone off to cram for finals. All I have left to do is to grade their final papers and my stint as a 101 teacher is over (at least here, in this incarnation). Thirty amazing and crazy and sometimes grueling sections of ENGL101. (I still think I deserve a plaque or a trophy or a humanitarian award or something.) Congratulations to all my students that made it, that stuck it out all the way, and who are better for it. It has been an honor and a pleasure (most of the time). Hah.
My race and sexuality theory seminar has one more meeting (extended from the actual end of the semester), but I have finished all of the work for that class. I actually turned in my seminar paper a whole week early to the chagrin of my classmates who call me "insane" or "bastard" or "dorkiest dork of dorkdom." But it bothers me not. I had to get the damned paper out of my system. For weeks, I had been dreaming about writing the paper--really. I guess I was just stressed that it was the last thing I had to do before graduation. It was all loomy and unavoidably stressy. Plus I wanted it to be good. So I just grinned and bore it. I wrote the sucker in about three days after reading my eyeballs out. Now it's done. Turned in. I have done my in-class presentation about it. The rest is cake.
I feel like I have been super social as of late. I think it's because I have had the time to just hang out and enjoy people's company. And since I do have an impending move in a few months time, I figure I better get in some quality time now before the summer evaporates and I'm on my way to Washington State. I've had something to do for the past few weekends. It's been good, actually. I have enjoyed interacting with people, being social, and just getting out.
Two weekends ago was College Perk's annual May Day party. Remember last year? This year I managed to corral a few of my circle of friends to attend. It was rainy (just like last year), but there was much fun to be had. I got to hang out with Scott and Tracy, Cate, Jess and Dan, Sara, and my new friend Mike (plus all the usual, usual crowd). Cate brought all the rain with her, but it was okay. We stayed nice a dry (mostly) in the Perk or huddled under an awning. There was the usual BBQing and bonfire and bonfire jumping and of course public drunkenness and debauchery. Okay, okay, there wasn't that much debauchery but it's customary to say the word after drunkenness. I had a good time. I made a few pitchers of kamikazes and vodka sunrises. It was fun to hang out, be silly, play with boys (and girls), jump over burning things, slosh through puddles, eat a ton of grilled food, drink, drink, drink, and drink, and ring in spring with abandon.
The hangover the next day was killer, though. I'm not as young (or as liver-enabled) as I used to be.
The weather has been progressively getting nicer. Spring is a nice time in the Maryland/DC/Virginia area -- for the couple of weeks that it is spring. The cherry blossoms have bloomed. In fact, a ton of things have bloomed. There's the lovely film of yellowish dust on everyone's cars. Fortunately, my allergies have been relatively tame. I've only had a couple of days where I just felt like someone had filled my head with quikset concrete. Hopefully, with some judicious rains, the pollen and spores won't be too bad. I like being able to breathe and think and operate heavy machinery without impairment.
The string of nice days, warmish days of course have caused not only the flowers and bees and squirrels to come out of hiding but have caused all the college students to shed layer after layer of clothing as well. It's not unusual now to walk across the Mall, our big green space, and see any number of scantily clad guys and gals parading their pasty flesh. Those that were lucky enough to head to warmer climes during spring break were touching up their bronzing. The spring rut is upon us. My students have commented that it is very distracting. My colleagues have commented that it is very distracting. I have commented that it is very distracting. It is.
It's even more distracting when they wrestle.
About a month ago, I decided to relinquish the reins of Archaea (again) and retire the game in this particular instance and at this particular moment. It was a sad thing for me to do. But it had to be done. Here was my farewell message:
THE TIME HAS COME to bid a good friend boodbye. Who would have guessed that in 1992 a game of great possibility, great fellowship, and grand design would be born. The history of Archaea, both in- and out-of-game, has been rich, ever-unfolding, and has been added to by many hands and many voices. Nearly fifteen years have passed -- more than a lifetime for the many characters and heroes, villains and personalities that have sailed the Sea of Archaea, trekked across the sands of Ashur, or walked the Three Paths. Players have come and gone. Campaigns have started and ended and started again. Characters have found immortality in our shared stories, our shared memories, particularly when told around a campfire on a chilly autumn night. But as a great bard once said, "All good things begin in the Mists and return to the Mists."
Let us not dwell on could haves and would haves and what ifs. Let us, instead, celebrate a great run, honor all of the players that have kept and will continue to keep the spirit of Archaea lively, and maintain the possibility that Archaea may return from the ashes one day. It is time for the light to fall to dusk. It is time for the music to trail into whispers and wind. It is time for the glory to fade into nostalgia. In a deep sense, we have known this for a while now.
I would like to personally thank each and every one one of the players, past and present, for the opportunity to get to know you (even if it was only once every two weeks), to sharpen and strengthen a game that will always be close to my heart, and to be storyteller and storymaker and storyhearer for many, many good years.
Archaea, at least in this incarnation, in this time and place, in this hopeful yet bittersweet moment, is thusly retired. The Archaea website will remain as long as someone will host it. The message boards will stay open so that we can stay in touch, stay a community. The game, of course, will always be available for those who want to take it up and summon the magic again.
My dreams have been very active as of late. Stress tends to do that to me. Most of my dreams have been anxiety dreams. I'm just worried about a lot of differen things right now. For a while, my dreams were about my seminar paper. Or I would dream about trying to put things in order, put things right, to find the right place for something. Or I would dream about strange and bizarre circumstances that I had to get out of or make sense of.
I remember a dream I had early last month where I was taking care of a bunch of fish tanks. It's been years since I've had an aquarium and there is a part of me that misses it a lot. The last one I had was in San Francisco. I didn't get one here, when I moved back, because I knew I would just have to get rid of it again. I need a stable place to be before committing to several hundred pounds of water again. But in the dream I had a tank with a mated pair of firemouth cichlids (which in the past I have raised and bred before). Also in the tank were a lionfish and a clownfish. The firemouths had paired off, made a little nest in the back of the tank, and had laid eggs. Meanwhile, the lionfish and the clownfish were near the front swimming around like they wanted something, maybe food. The first issue is that firemouths are freshwater and the lionfish and clownfish are saltwater fish. Somehow they managed to survive in the freshwater. However, I spent the dream trying to find a place for them.
According to Swoon, "To see fish swimming freely in clear water is an omen of wealth and personal power." In addition, they say, "Tropical or goldfish in tanks, bowls, or pools indicate ephemeral pleasures." Not sure what that means. But clearly there is a desire to put the "odd" fishes out someplace they belong. My friend Lauren sees it clearly as a desire to leave my suburban trappings, to leave my very heteronormative surroundings for someplace a little more my speed, more my style. She's probably right.
My most recent dream involved zombies, which I never dream about. I think my friend Cate's irrational fear of zombies has finally infiltrated my subconscious. The dream was about me and a bunch of people holed up in my parent's house trying to fend off a bunch of all-white zombies trying to eat us. The zombies weren't your 1950s horror flick zombies. They were fast, smart, and scary. In the dream, we defended ourselves with padded weapons (which seemed to be effective) a la Archaea and magic a la Tellings or World of Warcraft. And if that isn't strange enough, my mother was in the dream, too. (She's always a sign for me that my life is a little crazy, hectic, and I need to slow down and get a grip.) It was exciting, adventurous, and scary all at the same time. Clearly I've been playing too many games. But it does say a lot about where my brain is these days.
Lastly, I leave you with a dream Lauren had about me (shortly after I got the news from University of Washington): "So the night before last I had a dream about you. You were in a dark city. I think it was raining. You were walking through the streets in a heavy black coat. All around you people raced by like in one of those music videos where everyone is in fast motion except the lead singer who in comparison seems to move in slo-mo. Nothing else really happened, but I was acutely aware of your isolation, the fact that there was no way to connect to anyone since you were moving at such different speeds." According to Swoon, gloom in a dream means strangely, "Whether your dream featured an atmosphere of gloom or a gloomy feeling, it's an omen of contrary, and you will soon be uplifted by a change for the better."
I had plans, plans within plans, of going to visit my sister Alenda in Taiwan. I cannot believe she's been abroad for nearly a year now. Originally, I was going to go see her over winter break. But ticket prices were way too high and I just couldn't find a good time to see her (plus I was wrangling with end of the semester stuff and waiting on applications and worried about money). Then I was going to go visit her over spring break. But the trip would have only been about ten days long. My father was going to visit her around the same time. Again tickets were not forthcoming. (And I was working on my MA project and freaked out about defending the week after spring break.) So I put it off again. Now that the semester is almost over, I was hoping to go sometime in late May or early June. Late May is right out because of graduation and my friend Ryan's wedding. Tickets are still exhorbitant. And I just really don't feel good about traveling a gazillion miles right now. I am disappointed in myself for not trying a little harder to get out to see her. I know it is important to her to show me her life there. She's disappointed. (She has less than two months left and will be back at the beginning of July.) I just don't think it's going to happen. That makes me sorry.
This is probably one of the coolest things a student has done for my class. Josh B. wrote a parody of Mr. Big's "Be With You" called "Pass This Class" and sang it. Very funny, very sweet, and A for effort. Vignette 8
I am proud of the fact that I wrote my last seminar paper and turned it in early. I decided to write about the movie Powder. Many years ago, when I was working on my first attempt at graduate school, my MA thesis was about Powder and Rebel Without a Cause. I was looking at the constructions of homoerotic/homosocial relationships in American family melodrama not ostensibly about gay characters. Alas, that project never really got off the ground, and I bailed before finishing. So, in some twist of fate, both my professors (who know my history in the department) thought it would be great for me to revisit the project, to revisit the film, and to write about it in terms of the intersections of race and sexuality. I agreed. But I think the paper summoned all of the crazy insecurity, anxiety, and frustration attached to the old project. It was not a happy feeling. But I figure this is right closure. I am graduating. I finished my MA. I might as well close this book, too. The paper I wrote is entitled: "Extraordinary Encounters: Bodies, Skins, Touches, and Desiring Queerness in Victor Salva’s Powder." It may not be the best paper I've written. It may not be the most theoretically rigorous. But it is finished, and it is about a project that I find deeply fascinating. The paper was to be 15-20 pages long, and I was worried that I would only spin out the minimum. My paper turned out to be 25 pages. Crazy. I like its introduction and its spirit. (Plus, it's the first time I've ever used the word "fuck" or the word "eponymous" in an academic paper.) I leave you with the first few paragraphs:
He stands shivering, almost coyly, almost afraid, yet tall. His body is taut, lean, muscled but youthful, boyish, adolescent, almost feminine. His skin is flawless, smooth, hairless, bare. It is pale, perfect, like alabaster or fine porcelain, wet and shimmering, glistening in the subdued light. He holds himself with his arms, his broad hands. Others hold him, move him, touch him. He is nude. He is exposed, rippling. He is watchable, legible, sometimes consolable, sometimes laughable, but unknowable, desirable, fuckable. His is an extraordinary body.
Though garnering little critical attention, mediocre box office returns, and more "controversy than acclaim, Victor Salva’s Powder (1995) is a diamond in the rough, a text rich with visual, thematic, theoretical, and visceral possibility, and whose eponymous protagonist offers an intersectional, multi-layered interrogation of identity, embodiment, and queerness. But back to Powder’s extraordinary body. How do we read and excavate and celebrate Powder’s body, his skin? How do we comprehend and attend his extraordinary whiteness, his extraordinary powers and abilities, and his extraordinary touch? And how do we make sense of all of his extraordinariness as it is held in sharp relief against the isolation, fear, misunderstanding, racism, and homophobia in the film? In our own minds, hearts, and prejudices as we watch the film?
Powder offers us a curious opportunity to imagine, conceive of, and believe in a positive and possible queer selfhood, subjectivity, and what Michael Warner calls a queer “world-making.” The text and figure of Powder invites the gaze, invites unsettling identity, invites affinity and interconnectivity. Powder is all about the positioning of the body, the negotiation of the skin, the fluidity of embodiment and subjectivity, the technology of desire, and about how we can interpret and theorize a film and filmed body to find and encourage queerness. Calling upon separate but not necessarily disparate theoretical viewpoints—-such as Rosemarie Garland Thomson’s work on disability, identity, and representation, Sara Ahmed and Jackie Stacey’s feminist theories of embodiment and “thinking through the skin,” and Laura U. Mark’s fascinating investigation of media, “sensuous theory,” and what she calls “haptic visuality”—-the body, the skin, and the text of Powder (both as film and as character) allow us entrance into identities in nexus, bodies at the intersection of ability, race, gender, and sexuality. It allows us a way to see theories in intersection where difference, skin, touch, and queerness come together. It is a way to think about how to formulate and desire queerness.
Milestones are being passed, it seems, this year. Last Friday, May 6, was my birthday. My thirty-fifth birthday. And writing that just seems so odd, so weird, so out-of-sync with how old I think I am. Maybe that's just indicative of the fact that I haven't quite yet grown up, or maybe it's a testament to a young and spirited heart. I don't know. But thirty-five seems awfully old to me. It's really not the number, I suppose, but the trappings of what thirty-five means. Again, I rail against heteronormative time. I just think about my parents at this age: they had a family, two kids, cars, a house, careers, retirement plans, equity. What do I have? A lot of lived life, which is good, but I do want some of the settling down, nesting stuff, too.
The night before my birthday, my friend Ranetta and I went to Franklin's Late Night Happy Hour. It seems to be a regular thing now. I like it. The atmosphere is really chill. The people are generally cool. The beer is definitely good (and cheap). And it's right nearby. I get to hang out, talk to people, people watch, ogle cute boys, run into friends, and just enjoy a semi-nightlife right here in College Park. So we had a few beers. Mike joined us as did some of Ranetta's colleagues. We toasted my birthday when it hit midnight and went home.
On the day of my birthday, I went over to Cate and Skinner's house. We trundled up their baby and went to the Baltimore Zoo (which is now officially called the The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore). I had never been to the Baltimore Zoo (being predisposed to the National Zoo in Washington, DC. The Baltimore Zoo costs money, first of all, a whopping $15. But I suppose it goes to a good cause. It was a fun morning full of walking, looking at animals, hanging out, and eating really bad (but really good) park food. I had a good time.
The evening of my birthday, a bunch of people gathered to go to dinner at a local Chinese restaurant called Seven Seas (8503 Baltimore Ave, College Pk, MD). I wanted to have sushi. I figured those that wanted sushi could get it, and those that didn't could get Chinese food. Cate, Skinner, Tracy, Scott, his friend Stu, Mike, and his boyfriend John were at the table. The food was good and the conversation wide and ranging.
After dinner, some of us went to a house party in College Park. My co-worker Bryan and his housemates held a "Sexo de Mayo" party, a yearly tradition it seems, and everyone was invited. Since I did not have the time nor energy nor gumption to organize a big birthday bash for myself, I figured I might as well just join in another party and carve out a little birthday celebration for myself. Liquor was bought. The party was fun. People were a little standoffish at first, but after drinks were had, things got much looser. Good times, good times. I drank a whole lot. Everyone drank a whole lot. It seems Mike is turning into one good drinking partner. A bunch of people who weren't at dinner came to the party: Ranetta, Shawn, Christine, Mindy, Alison. There were laughs. There were tequila body shots. There was a pinata. There was the chatting up of straight boys, particularly those that liked to pet my mohawk. All in all, it was a good night, which is to be continued on the 20th (I get to stretch out my birthday for as long as I want, as long as it stays confined to the same month).
The weirdest part of my birthday, though I am not complaining really, is that I paid for everything that day. Not getting presents is fine. Presents aren't requirement. But isn't there an unspoken rule that you are taken care of on your birthday? Have I gotten too old to be pampered? It must be a strange imposition to put on people. I survived though. I didn't say anything. What would I say? Zoo, food, dinner, liquor. I don't want to sound ungrateful. I'm not. I had fun. The company was good. But it was just a little out-of-tradition, I guess. Everyone at work and school thought it was totally odd. It's the one day you can be a prince or princess, yes? Well, there is always part two of my birthday...
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was decidedly enjoyable.
If it hasn't been already alluded to (or even outrightly, blatantly, vociferously spoken), spring has sprung and with it all of the hormonal rollercoastering therein. Suffice it to say I have been rather boy crazy. Conversations invariably turn to the subject of men. The season is ripe for ogling. "Will there be cute guys there?" is a regular question and criterion for going any place. Of course it doesn't help that my horoscopes recently have all been pointing at some heretofore yet undiscovered romance that is supposed to be zipping and swirling up my life. I need someone significant in my life. Maybe I just need a few less-than-significant someones in my life to tide me over. The dry spell must end. And here I find myself in insecure territory, unsure waters. You see: I have found someone, in a sense, except that someone is currently boyfriended. Granted I at least met a guy that is a) gay, b) seems to like me, and c) enjoys my company. The only problem is lack of availability. It's a step in the right direction for this nearly-reformed-chaser-of-chased-by-straight-men. I guess having the friendship is better than not, having someone to be a little schmooshy with (albeit platonically) is a good thing. Wherever that mystery man is hiding out, he should make himself known sooner rather than later.
Finally, the other big thing right now, of course, is my imminent move to Seattle, WA. Since my last post, I have accepted University of Washington's offer for admission into their English PhD program. I have paid my $100 deposit. And I have been losing sleep over the fact that I did not have funding to go to school. The initial acceptance letter said that I would not get any money for my first year and there would most likely be funding for my subsequent years. Not good. For me, the PhD or grad school in general is all about getting funded, all about being taken care of by the school whilst you work on your very smart stuff. I don't think it's fair for a school to court someone to their program from thousands of miles away without ensuring that they can survive at their school, in their city. Fortunately, my advisor is an alum and pulled a few strings. I was put in contact with the director of the graduate English program. I was shuffled to the top of a list.
And then there is the waiting. And more waiting. And getting letters from UW about registering for classes. I guess my confidence in going to the school is overshadowed by my fretting about whether I can actually make it out there financially as well as domestically (having a place to live).
Well, the wait is over. It's funny how life likes to give you little kitten-paw bats every now and then. I was feeling a little blue today, and in the midst of that, I opened my email to find a message from UW. Hooray! After much consideration, the graduate school is offering me four years of teaching. I have funding! I have funding! My tuition will be remitted and I will have a modest stipend and health benefits. What a relief! I am totally happy now. I hate worrying about money.
I have no idea what I'm going to be teaching. I assume I'll be taking on some sort of freshman composition class for at least the first year. I have to register myself for their ENGL567: Approaches to Teaching Composition. I am also going to sign up for a ENGL537B: Sexuality & National Belonging, which is being taught by the program's director. It should be an interesting first semester. Now I just have to figure out my timeline, how I'm going to get out there, where I'm going to live, what stuff I'm taking and leaving and jettisonning, and who is going to help me. Heh. One step at a time, right?
I guess I really am going.
WEDNESDAY. 9:59 PM.
WEDNESDAY. 6:37 PM. I have to go back and take a look at some old journals. I seem to remember this feeling, the feeling that has gently suffused the past week or so. I'm a little tired, a little sad, a little curious, and a little worried. Sometimes it's like I'm waiting for someone I haven't seen in a long time to show up at my dor. Sometimes it's like I am wanting, hungry for something, thirsty for something that I can't put a finger on. And sometimes it's like I'm waiting for bad news. I don't know exactly.
I figure it's just the end of the semester, end of the school year, the post-graduation, and pre-move blues. It's pretty simple. But that doesn't mean working through all the mish-mosh of feelings and concerns and hopes and fears is easy. But, like I said, I remember this feeling. It's the same sort of malaise, the same sort of anticipation that I felt before my move to San Francisco nigh six years ago.
This past week has been full of a lot of goodbyes.
And what's troubling is that I don't really get to make any hellos till late in the summer. So, limbo boy is me. Most of my energy is dedicated to just trying to take it easy, to enjoy finishing my degree, to having a little fun, to getting in as much quality time here as possible, and to preparing for the 3,000 jaunt across the country.
The sad thing is that I just don't feel like doing much of anything.
So what's been going on?
Last Wednesday night was my last class for my race and sexuality seminar. It was also the last class of my graduate career at the University of Maryland. My professors extended the semester by one class to get in all of our project presentations and to have a little end-of-the-semester dinner. We all met at one of my professor's house in Silver Spring. It was very nice, very homey. We had delicious Lebanese food. We talked, hung out on the back deck, managed to squeeze in the last four presentations, and said our farewells. It was a very, very nice night. I will miss a lot of my classmates, my friends. And I will miss my favorite professors and teachers and peers.
Last Thursday night, I decided to spend an evening at College Perk. I haven't been going to the coffee house much as of late, mainly only on Sunday mornings for brunch and quiet reading time. I figured I would make an effort since school is done and I'd like to get my Perk time in before leaving the area. Last Thursday night was also one of the Perk's periodic "singles nights." I hadn't been to one yet and I have been promising folks I'd go. The night was "retro" themed. I just wore some 80s-ish punk stuff, since I already have the mohawk. It's the best I could come up with. We all had to fill out name tags. My first attempt was not well recieved:
My second attempt weas much better:
It was a quiet night. Mostly men. Mostly straight. Mostly underappreciated, gawkish graduate students or something. Maybe I wasn't paying close enough attention. I hung out with some of the Perk regulars. But I felt like a fish out of water. I'm not sure quite how to explain it. I was with people I knew. That was good. People seemed to be having fun. I decided that drinking was out since I had to drive home (and didn't want to be out late). But I am no longer on the ins-and-ins in Perk circles -- though I'd argue that I never really was -- and felt like I was always missing out on some inside joke, inside information, or simply insideness. Plus, there were a couple of moments where some persons were rude. I stayed long enough to chat with friends, suppose about a cute guy, have a coffee, and then went home. (Pointing up my singleness probably didn't make me feel much better about the blahness I was feeling already.) Last Friday was the second half of the month of May's "Edstravaganza!" I decided to have part two of my birthday, to celebrate my graduation from graduate school, to celebrate my getting into a PhD program, and to ring out the end of the semester all at one time. I invited friends and cute people to go out to Guerilla Queer Bar to hang out, have a few drinks, have a bunch of laughs, and to have fun. I was certainly ready to party. Alas, the night didn't start off in the smoothest manner possible -- a number of people called and bailed and the people I was going into the city with were nearly an hour late. But we made it eventually to the land of financial frat boys and Georgetown clone girls and everything in-between, a place called Rumors. (Now, according to queer lore, any bar named Rumors is usually a gay bar, but not in DC because it's broken.) Rumors was nice. Restaurant by day. Sort-of nautical-themed, Hamptons-esque, shabby chic watering hole by night. But I don't mean to critique. I had a lot of fun. Drinks were flowing. My friends were there. School friends showed up. There was cheesy music. Dancing. And any night that ends in vomiting in the bushes is a success.
Insert Public Service Announcement here: I have decided that I probably shouldn't drink like I was twenty-three anymore. Though I enjoy the feeling of inebriation very much, I probably don't need to be totally soused to have fun. My poor, poor body just can't do it anymore.
I had a good time. Of course, the only men that paid attention to me the entire night were straight guys, who would come over to me, announce that they loved my mohawk, tell me I looked good in a mohawk, that they wished they could do it, and proceed to pet my mohawk, shake my hand firmly, and clasp my arm in a brotherly fashion. Men are funny.
This past weekend was full of graduation. Saturday afternoon, I went to "Lavender Graduation" hosted by the Office of LGBT Equity. It was a nice affair. There were a couple of speeches. Brief, poignant. There were awards and scholarships handed out. Then the graduates were presented. A dozen or so people graduated, which is probably a far cry from the actual number of queer students to graduate this year. I hope that the number grows in years to come. It was gratifying to be honored, particularly by the community. I ran into some old faces. Dinner was catered. And I felt like I was participating in history. (I went to Lavender Graduation by myself. I probably should have invited people to go. I wasn't sure if anyone would go or I knew that people were otherwise engaged. It was a little odd to be by myself when everyone else was with family or friends. Luckily, I was adopted by my friend Elizabeth and her partner and sat with them.)
Saturday night, I went to a really laid-back graduation/end-of-the-semester party. It was hosted by some English grads. It was very relaxed. There was some BBQing. We burned some English 101 papers. Meanwhile, in the neighborhood all around us, there were simultaneous similar parties going on. We must've counted at least four other parties going on just in a couple block radius. I had a nice, quiet time. I didn't drink since I was recovering from Friday night. At an honest hour, I went home and went to bed.
Sunday day was the English department's graduation commencemnt. I started the day really early. I guess I was having anticipation nerves or something. I woke up and went to the grocery story at like 8 AM to buy some carnations. Then I went to the Perk to hang out and have brunch. I ended up staying at the perk for nearly four hours. I was hoping to run into some people or get people to come join me. No dice. After brunch, I drove to campus. The parking lot and the venue were abuzz with people. Robes, tassels, parents, family, and friends were everywhere. It was pretty exciting. I found my group and put on my robe. We spent a goodly amount of time preening each other trying to get the stupid hood to hang right on our backs. My friend Amy and I also decided that since the MAs and MFAs were the "Jan Bradys" of the department, we would try to make our graduation a little bit special. First, we got a lot of people to walk, which traditionally doesn't happen among the masters students. The undergraduates get a lot of attention; they have awards and get to wear special cords and medals and such. The PhDs get introduced and talked about individually as well as get hooded by a professor. The MAs and the MFAs just get to walk across the stage and then sit down. So we decided we would get everyone a red or white carnation (school colors) to wear as boutonnieres. We looked smashing. It was a nice touch and I think everyone really appreciated the gesture.
Graduation itself was all right. It was a little long -- longer than last year's when I went to Alenda's ceremony. But it was exciting to walk in, be presented, and file out. I am glad I went. I am glad I had friends all around me. And I am glad that I graduated with a sense that I belonged in my class, that I was part of my class, and that I will remember and be remembered by my class. After the ceremony, everyone was in a mad dash to find family, to say goodbye and keep in touch, to take pictures. I couldn't help but feel sad. I found my father, who came to see me graduate. Alas, my sister is still out of the country and couldn't make it. I also invited a few friends from outside of school to come; thanks to Cate, Skinner, and Meredith for their support. It was a bright, sunny day and a good day to start the next chapter of my life.
Now, I just need to get over this funk I'm in. All in good time, I suppose. All in good time. (And I still need to see Star Wars, Episode III!)
TUESDAY. 9:58 PM. I expend an incredible amount of energy doing absolutely nothing. It's been my modus operandus for the past week or so. Since graduation, since the end of the semester, I have been just plain down in the dumps. My best efforts to pull myself out of it have yet to materialize. I mean I have given myself some time to wallow. (There always needs to be some time to wallow.) But that time seems to be dragging on. I am such a creature of habit, of routine. Without the routine, I'm lost. Clearly, I am. But the melancholia isn't just about that though. I have a lot going on, a lot going on in my head (and in my heart). This taurus has such a difficult time with big change.
From Swoon: "Go with the flow, and refrain from - in a fit of (legitimate, but???) impatience, chucking le b??b?? out with le bath or cutting off your nose to spite your face. And while admittedly this may not be the easiest thing to pull off, you're encouraged to emulate the acting skills of Robert De Niro or Meryl Streep and offer an Academy Award-winning performance of your own."
From Yahoo! Chinese Horoscopes: "Things will be moving a lot in your life, but it will be necessary to be on your guard against instability. The projects that you cherish the most should see some progress. Patience and tolerance will be the best approach in order to avoid problems with your close ones. Consider giving blood so lives can be saved."
© 2005 Edmond Y. Chang. All original material. All rights reserved.
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