"happy birthdays" | tuesday | september 6, 2005 | 11:00 am
APPY BIRTHDAY TO MY FRIEND ROB,
who will be redeployed to Iraq very shortly. May he be safe, sound, and
come home soon. And happy birthday to my friend Peter.
"scylla and charybdis" | wednesday | september 7, 2005 | 11:19 am
UNK IS GONE.
He left yesterday having stayed only a week. He was a quiet guest, happy to sit
out back behind in the building in the parking lot (rain or shine), but he certainly
left a lot of stuff behind.
"Look at this stuff
How many wonders can one cavern hold?"
Much of the past week has been devoted to unloading the shipping crate, moving a pile
of boxes from one side of the room to the other (and back again), sorting through
what goes where, acquiring the necessary infrastructure (i.e. furniture) to put
stuff in or on, unpacking, and other moving mayhem. My apartment is still a forest
of boxes and piles of crap. Most of my kitchen stuff is unpacked, though I'm still
trying to decide whether to paper the shelves or not. Of course, my obsessive-compulsive
brain takes forever to decide where something should go. What's the best place for
plates and glasses? What drawer should the silverware go in? Where am I going to put
bowls that are too big for the cupboards? Eventually, it'll get done.
In the past week, I have acquired a lovely desk, which is very simple but sturdy and
large. I bought it off of
craigslist from a really
nice Asian guy in my neighborhood. I decided to set up my desk and office as part
of my bedroom. It makes things a little cozy. But my room is a bit more insulated
from the sounds of my neighbors, their music, and such. I figure that when it comes
time to write papers and such, I'll want as much peace as I can get. It will be like
a little hermitage.
I did get to go
Ikea this past week
with Deb. We drove down to the lovely suburb of Renton. Ikea was a mad house even
in the middle of the week. I guess everyone was shopping for back-to-school.
It was still fun. I miss having an Ikea right down the road from me. Unfortunately,
Deb's car, which is a fine machine, is not the
and can only hold so much. I ended up buying a desk chair, a cheap chair for the
living room (one of those bent wood varieties), a couple of torchiere lamps,
and some household knick-knacks. Since the move, I have suffered a lot of pre-buyer's
remorse. In other words, I feel bad that I'm spending money to accrue even more stuff
that I will ultimately get rid of or have to move sometime down the road. So, it
makes it hard for me to actually commit to putting my money down. I decided that
I wanted to find more inexpensive ways to furnish my apartment. I am happy to
reuse and recycle. I did find some decent shelves from
Office Depot. They were
comparable to the shelves I would get at Ikea, but were less
expensive and would
be delivered for free. Once they arrive (they should be delivered today), I will
be able to unpack most of my books. Then my living room won't look like a
I also bought a futon from another fellow in my neighborhood. It was a little pricey
for my dwindling budget, but definitely much cheaper for what I got. I think it was
a good buy -- plus the guy that I bought it from was really cute. The futon is amazing,
practically new, wood-framed, queen-sized, and has a mattress thicker than anything
I've ever seen. Now I have to find or make a sturdy, stain-resistant white futon cover.
I am now guest-able. I have a place (other than the floor) for people to crash on
when they visit.
"Some boys take a beautiful girl
And hide her away from the rest of the world
I wanna be the one to walk in the sun"
The past week has been a lot more social now that people that I know have returned from
their vacations. Plus, I have been trying to get out more myself. Even if I have no
where specific to be or no one specific to meet, I get out of the apartment at least once
a day -- go walk around the neighborhood, take a bus downtown, or sit in a coffee house
somewhere and read or write in my journal. It's cool. Highlights of the past week
include going out with Lonnie and his friend to
Neighbours on Thursday
night, going out with Deb and Steven and their friends on Friday night,
Bumbershoot, and hanging
out with the kids from 401.
Neighbors was okay, was fun. I was under the weather, but I went out anyway. I danced
a lot. Originally, Deb and her friend was going to go with me, but both were pooped
that day. Deb and I did have dinner beforehand at
Pho Cyclo (406 Broadway E @ Harrison),
which is pretty good. Then we had coffee at
The Victrola (411 15th Ave E @ Thomas),
which is right up the street from my place. It's a lot bigger, busier, fancier than
Joe Bar and makes a pretty mean caffe latte.
It's considered one of the best places for coffee in the city. I feel like I'm cheating on
Joe Bar when I go there, but I think there's enough of me to go around. After coffee,
Deb went home after dropping me off at Neighbours. The night was pretty standard fare.
Lots of people. Some pretty. Some fun. People were not as friendly this time around
as my first time. I was heartend (and a little jealous) to see cute punk rock boys making
out. I didn't really get any action, which is par for the course. Though, a tall, long
blond haired, gothically-inclined guy named Israel did come on to me pretty strong. He
was cute, though not my type, except he proceeded to go from me to another guy and make
out with him. I think he likes any guy that seems a little alternative (compared to the
mainstream gay boys). And that was it.
I had much more fun going out the next night, Friday night, with Deb, her friends,
Steven, and his friends. First, Deb invited me to go to a birthday picnic with her
and her friends. We drove over to West Seattle to
The birthday BBQ was in a little pavilion right on the water. I didn't know anyone
there, much less the birthday girl. So, I just hung out, ate, drank, and looked out
on to the Sound. There's a ferry there that goes from
Fauntleroy to Vashon.
I like ferries. After the birthday party, we went back to Deb's place for a little
bit. Then Deb's friend drove us down to Ballard to meet up with Steven and them.
At first, we though they were going to be at Conor Byrne, like we went a couple of
weeks back. They weren't. After chugging a pitcher of beer, we walked up the street to
The People's Pub (5429 Ballard Ave NW).
It's a homey little place. Sort of a cross between a German pub and a HoJo's.
There were a lot of people at the pub. Steven, his girlfriend Julia, Julia's parents
(who were in town), Steven's best friend Jed, and a bunch of other Antioch students.
It was a fun night. There was much drinking, much carousing, and much chatting about
life, the universe, the tragedy and
of Katrina, and Seattle. I like this group of people. I particularly like Steven and
Julia. After People's Pub, we walked down to the
Lock & Keel, a
sort of nautical themed place. I didn't drink that much. And after the rounds of
tequila started, I decided I should just go home. I was still sick and needed the rest.
I ended up hanging out and taking the bus back with one of the Antiochians named
Stacy. We talked, walked, and waited for the #44, which turns into the #43 for me.
A good night, yes.
The rest of the long holiday weekend was spent recovering from being sick and hanging out
at Bumbershoot. Bumbershoot is a four-day arts and music festival held every year on
Labor Day Weekend. This year was the 35th year for Bumbershoot. A lot of bands play,
a lot of artisans and merchants come out, a lot of artists perform or show their
art, and a ton of people swarm all over
Seattle Center. I bought
a four-day pass and managed to go down to the fest three out of the four days. I went
Saturday night, Sunday day, and Monday day. There were a dozen stages and plenty to
see, buy, hear, eat, drink, and do. It's a pretty big deal in Seattle (though people
have been complaining about its increasing commercialism and ticket cost). Unfortunately,
I am not a big music head; I don't know any bands nor do I follow the ins and outs of
the industry, indie or otherwise. But, Seattleans take their music (and their coffee)
seriously. I had fun regardless. I got to educate myself a little. I got to see
The Be Good Tanyas
Of course, Dashboard was my favorite because I'm just a emo kid at heart. They were
really good, sounded great live. Unfortunately, the show was dominated by adolescent
girls and boys. I haven't felt so old in a very, very long time.
"I am a man of constant sorrow
I've seen trouble all my day
I bid farewell to old Kentucky
The place where I was born and raised"
As much fun as I have had this past week (and I have been trying to do all things
Seattle), it culminated in probably the hardest week I've had thus far. I think the
magnitude of everything -- the move, the new surrounds, leaving my old life, starting
school -- has sunk in, caught up with me. I got sick last week as a result of allergies.
It's taken me nearly a week to finally shake most of it. But most of the week was spent
feeling pretty down. I find myself pretty homesick. I find myself worried about whether
I will make it here and whether or not it was the right decision. And though people are
great, I can't help feel a little weird trying to insert myself into people's lives here.
I know it'll take time. I'm impatient and just want to feel safe, wanted, happy, okay.
I remember heading down to Bumbershoot on Sunday. I was supposed to meet up with Deb and
her friends; they were going to call me. Turns out, they had gone to the festival already
without calling me. Now, whether or not they forgot, didn't care, wanted to just have a
day to themselves, I don't know. But it made my cold medicine-sogged head sad. Then,
on the bus, I ran into a couple I met weeks ago (whom I couldn't remember their names)
named Aubrey and Grant. I walked around with them a little, but totally felt like I was
a third wheel. So, I excused myself -- I said I wasn't feel well, which I wasn't -- and
headed home. Everything that day just made me feel like I didn't belong. I was a
complete stranger. I was out-of-place, out-of-sorts. I haven't felt that lonely,
that desperate, that uncomfortable, that lame in so long.
But, now that I'm physically feeling better, I am feeling better all around. The
shadow is still there, though. I don't think it will go away soon. I just have to make sure to
stay cool, keep perspective, and try not to read too much into anything. But I am worried.
Recently, I have discovered that I am blowing through my savings a lot faster than I
anticipated. I'm running out of money and work doesn't start for another few weeks.
I hate being unemployed without money coming in. Now, I have to put the brakes on.
I have try to stretch the last few hundred dollars till my first paycheck. Luckily,
rent for October is covered, but I don't have much padding left. I may have to ask
my father for some money. Blah. This comes out of paying for everything in cash.
I hate worrying about money.
One day at a time.
read footnotes |
"owner of a lonely heart" | friday | september 9, 2005 | 11:15 am
ITIES ARE STRANGE PLACES.
And Left Coast cities are probably even stranger. Sometimes things happen
that just plain surprise me. So much so they change my perspective, even
just by a degree or two, and everything that comes after is totally different.
So, yesterday, I was pretty happy in my unhappiness. Just lonely, just
melancholy, just malaised. I hung around the apartment pretty much all day.
I did get a third shelf built (I built two the day before). I don't think
I'll have room for the fourth, which I'll probably return, and they are not
as nice as the
shelves from Ikea. But, they'll do. I unpacked a bunch of boxes of books.
It's all a big jigsaw puzzle trying to get all of my hundreds and hundreds
of books to fit (and not look like crap at the same time).
I did get out of the house finally in the afternoon to head up to Deb's for
dinner. This is where the story gets good. I missed the #43 bus that heads north
into the University District and turns into the #44 that takes me into Wallingford.
So, I followed my usual plan taking the #43 into downtown and catching the #26
back up into Wallingford. I had pretty good bus karma and caught the #26 Express
right after getting off the #43. The bus was pretty darn full, so I made
my way to the very back and just stood. I saw this shavy headed guy, kind of
dressed up, silver hoops in each ear, brown complexion, cute sitting on the
"rumble" seat at the very back under the rear window. I thought I recognized him
but didn't think anything of it.
As I was standing there, he started a conversation with the guy sitting next to him,
who was sketching in an artist's book. "Are you an architecture student?" I think
was the initial question. Well, it turns out both cute shavy headed guy and
sketching on a moving bus guy are architects in the city. Cute shavy headed guy
says he just moved up to Seattle from San Francisco. At that moment I knew who
he was. And at that moment he introduced himself as
Yes. How many
people in the world are named Yes? Who is this
He's probably best known for his macho stint on MTV's Road Rules (Season VII:
Semester at Sea) and the Road Rules vs. Real World Challenge. However, it seems
he's made a name for himself doing very different things: activism,
affordable housing, art, architecture, design. So, not wanting to be
the biggest dork on the planet, I didn't say anything. I mean after my
rather lukewarm experience running into
Kat from Real World
NaNoWriMo party, I
figured I would just play it cool. Besides, if I were in their shoes, I'd
be trying to get past that particular brand of celebrity. What is with me and
running into MTV people?
I ran into Yes the first time back in 1999 while
living in San Francisco. So, this is twice that I've seen him up close and
impersonal. Maybe the universe wants us to meet each other. So, I sent him
an email. I doubt anything will come of it, but it couldn't hurt to try.
Plus, I've ignored universal memos before and suffered the consequences. So,
after my brush with the famous (by the way, it is purported that
lives in Wallingford, too), the rest of my day and evening was on sort of a
high. Dinner at Deb's was really good. She made steak and corn on the cob
and buttermilk biscuits from scratch and salad. After dinner, we took a
short walk around the neighborhood. Then, she was off to bed (not feeling
well) and I headed home. I did go out last night to Neighbours and danced
a lot with Lonnie and his friends. I had a good time (though it was again
decidedly not as friendly). I think the Yes high kept my spirits up. I
did have the courage to talk to a guy I thought was really cute. Tall, a
little muscly, glasses, fuzzy headed, and dancing in his seat. He said he
was the designated watcher of all his friends' crap. So, we chatted. His
name was Sherman. He plays for the
Seattle's gay rugby team. And he has a boyfriend, who looked none to pleased
that I was talking to Sherman. (What's with me and Rugby boys? I wonder if
they're going to play the
SF Fog, and I wonder if
Rob still plays?)
I guess I just needed a brief reminder yesterday that I still have connections
even though I'm totally new to Seattle. And that connections -- as innocuous
as running into the same total stranger twice in two different cities -- are
there, often subliminal, but can be tweaked, followed, strengthened, and
woven with a little effort and prescience. I have my own space, my own place,
my own life to carve out here. All I have to do is try. The universe will
take care of the rest. Thanks to Yes, the friend I have yet to make, for
clueing me in again. Everything isn't fixed, isn't totally right. Yet. But
I will gladly float from island to island of understanding. There may be
some rough waters in between, but I haven't drowned. Yet.
read footnotes |
"happy birthday from a lobster" | sunday | september 11, 2005 | 9:52 am
APPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY FRIEND SHAWN.
Happy birthday to my friend Nathan. And a very happy birthday to my friend
"practice run" | monday | september 12, 2005 | 11:33 am
O, THIS WHOLE SCHOOL THING IS, LIKE, SOON.
What seem liked weeks of leisure are now rapidly, careeningly coming to a close.
Funny how that happens? Time seems to get foreshortened the closer you get to a
date. People with big destinies must feel like they're always in a car wreck.
Harry Potter, for example, seems to lead a paced life from books 1 through 6 and
then suddenly has to face everything in the last book. Or maybe take the
Titanic as an
example of fate's physics. Now, I'm not saying that starting my PhD program
will be like Hogwarts or hitting an iceberg. It's just that life has been pretty
darn slow, and the first day of training and the first day of classes are
suddenly upon me. Let's pray that my story is a triumph over evil rather than
a drowned ship.
Melodramatics aside, I got up this morning. Reasonably early. It's time to
start practicing everything. I plugged in my alarm clock for the first time last
night, though I didn't set it for this morning. I woke, got cleaned up, planned
my morning's agenda, and then set off for
UW. The #43 bus picks me
up right in front of my building, trundles about twenty minutes through eastern
Capitol Hill, Montlake, and then into the U-District, and drops me off on the western
side of campus. All in all, from getting on the bus to arriving at my building
takes about thirty minutes. If I budget an hour for travel time, I should get
to school and relax a little before starting classes.
I am still learning my way around
have a little map that I carry and refer to (discretely) in the hopes that I will
eventually know where things are located. I walked to Padelford, home of the
and stopped in to see the graduate program administrators. I made sure that my
paperwork was sorted. Then I was introduced to the
Expository Writing Program
people. I found out that I will probably be teaching Tuesday/Thursday
from 9:30 to 11:20 AM. That's pretty good. It means I'm on campus solidly
twice a week since both my grad seminars are also on Tuesday and Thursday.
It might make for long days. We'll see how it goes. I then walked over to
the Art building to see if my (new) friend Julia (who is my friend Steven's partner)
was in her studio; she's a new fine arts grad student in
She was not in, so I left her a little note. Then I walked to the campus bookstore
to see if any of my texts were in. I bought one book: Linmark's
Rolling the R's for
my gender and national identity seminar. There were very few books. I already
own a couple. I'm
sure I'll get a more complete list on the first day.
Aside: I walked into the bookstore at the same time as a tall, fair-haired, mohawked
guy wearing all motorcycle leathers. He was pretty hot, handsome, with angular and
hawkish features, and was probably of Germanic or Scandanavian descent. Later, in
line to pay for books, he came up behind me and made a comment about my mohawk.
We chatted idly about hawks and whether or not he could grow his out and still
wear a motorcyle helmet. We then joked about designing specialty helmets for
mohawks. He was very cute. And in a moment of extroversion (not mediated
by alcohol), I introduced myself, asked his name, which is Henry, and said that
I was sure we'd run into each other again. I hope I do.
After the bookstore, I walked over to Schmitz Hall to get my student ID. It was
a surprisingly painless endeavor. I think it's because it's before the start of
quarter. I don't think I will ever get used to the idea that I am now a
(especially after so long being a
Plus, there is just the unfortunate connotations I have with the word "husky."
On the one hand, there's the
cute doggy with blue eyes and cute Mackenzie Astin as Iron Will kind of husky.
On the other hand, there's the Margaret Cho's
"This old fellow came up to me and asked,
'Excuse me, are you Japanese?' No, I'm Korean. 'Oh really, that's very interesting,
because I was looking at you and I knew you were not Filipino. I have many Filipino
friends and you do not look like them because you're very HUSKY!' Is that supposed to
be some kind of a compliment?! 'Oh no, it's not bad, you're very strong, very HUSKY!'"
kind of husky. Alas, I default to the latter. Remember
I wore them growing up. And because I was a child-of-size, I had to wear the
'husky' line. There's nothing like 1970s, skin tight, tri-blend, chocolate brown
Husky Toughskins on a fat, Asian boy's ass. I will have to do my best to reprogram
this particular part of my lexicon.
read footnotes |
"one month anniversary" | tuesday | september 13, 2005 | 9:45 am
HAVE BEEN IN SEATTLE ONE MONTH.
Today marks my one month anniversary in the Emerald City. How does it feel?
Fine. Not particularly different than yesterday or the day before or the week
before. Though, I do seem a bit more relaxed, more comfortable, more willing
than when I first got here. I haven't been suddenly gripped with insecurity
or fear of the wrong decision for a while now. That's not to say that things
are perfect and swimming. I still do have occasional reveries about things
back east, about the old "home," and whether or not the PhD is really my path
in life. But, I am making progress. I am settling down. I am making inroads.
I was going to go get my
today, but have been sidetracked by Office Depot, who are coming to pick up
one of the shelves I didn't use. I have been sitting here this morning (while
WoW patches) going
I suppose if OD picks up the shelf early enough, I can get myself down to the
DMV today. The closest station (that offers testing) is in southeast Seattle.
Fortunately, it's only one bus away. Like most place, I just have to turn in
my old Maryland driver's license and take the written exam. Hopefully, it will
be super easy (there are some very nitpicky things in most states) and I won't
fail it. That would be horribly embarassing, not to mention annoying.
Getting my WA driver's license and registering to vote in the city of Seattle,
state of Washington will be two big steps in getting residency status. Since my
schooling is paid for by my assistantship, I really don't need residency per se.
But I would like to vote locally. I think that is important. Of course, it's going
to take me a while before I even understand the city's and the state's politics.
The past week has been pretty chill but productive. I am almost completely
recovered from my bout of sickness. I still have a little bit of a cough and some
I have spent much of the past week trying to corral my boxes and tame the mighty
box forest in my living room. With shelves in place, I have unpacked most of my
hundreds of books. I have set up my entertainment area (though I am still missing
a television and the new season is about to start). My clothes are all hung up and
put away. My kitchen is pretty much unpacked and stowed. Yesterday, I spent
much of the afternoon hanging up my photos, which comprise one hallway wall and
is a little overwhelming (but neat); it would be totally cool if I could paint the
wall a dark, rich color, but that would send my landlords into apoplexy. I still
have some remainder boxes to sort through, empty boxes to store, random bits and
stuff to find a place for, and the rest of decorating to do. As far as furniture,
I'm still looking for a good deal on a kitchen table (preferably round), a wide
rather than tall dresser, and a gaming table (my old one made out of two folding
tables is actually too big for the space I have).
I hope to have my housewarming party in a couple of weeks. I want to make sure the
few people I do know in the city are available. Plus, I figure I would start school
and see if I can invite a couple of program people to the shindig. You know how
much I love to entertain. Maybe I'll have a 60s/70s themed party to match my
retro apartment building and apartment. Just call me
I haven't done too much else lately. Conserving dollars is really important to me
right now. Last week, I hung out a little with the guys upstairs. Drinking in
and eating in is usually very economical. Last Thursday night, I did go out to
Friday, I helped my friend Julia move into her art space at UW. She took me
out to lunch; we had yummy pho. We also did a little window shopping on
which is University Avenue that runs north-south near the school. It's got many
little shops and eateries and bars and such. It's been compared to
in San Francisco. While walking up the Ave (which just seems so pretentious to say
as it is to type), I was commenting to Julia that I felt lonely and disconnected
in the city. "I don't know anyone really," I said. Then at that moment, we run
into Canvassing Girl With Blue Hair (who works for
PLAN, an international
organization fighting poverty, and who I see all of the time, everywhere, no matter
where I go, I run into her). She says hi to me. Then, a little further up the Ave,
we walk by a tall, cute guy who waves, smiles, and says, "Hi, Ed!" It turns out
to be Sherman, sans glasses, whom I met the night before at Neighbours. Funny, huh?
So, Julia now totally doesn't believe me when I say I don't know anyone. The thing
is that I am really good at putting myself out there (when I want to) and meeting
people casually, acquaintancy. But I have to work really hard at making long-lasting
From the Ave, we drove down to
Antioch to pick up Steven,
and then to Capitol Hill. We decided to go see a movie, but Steven wanted to eat
first. He decides to have pho as well. On the way to the pho place, I run into
Liz, the superfine barback I met a couple of weeks back at
R Place, who also works
at a little coffee stand on Broadway. So, that's the third person I kind of know
that I ran into that day. When it rains, it pours, right? After pho and some
delicious vietnamese coffee, the three of us hit up QFC for some movie snacks. Then
we walk down to
(805 East Pine St. @ Harvard) to see
March of the Penguins.
It was a beautiful film and the baby penguins were cute. Of course, in the vein of most
animal documentaries, the whole narrative is melodramatic and you're constantly waiting
for something terrible to happen. I was a little put off by the whole "nuclear family"
theme of the film, as if that is what the penguins are really concerned with. Stunning,
otherwise, and recommended.
After the movie, we decide to go out for a couple of drinks. We walk down to R Place.
It's still early, only 9 PM. The place was pretty empty, but it was good that way.
Beers were had. I had a lot of fun. Julia and Steven are good people. On our way
out (it was going to be an early night), we see that a big truck with windowed sides
is all lit up. Inside the truck is a little mini salon, and people were getting in
line to get made up for free. It was all part of the
Midori "Do You Have It?"
Urban Decay Cosmetics
promotion. We had seen the truck on our way in, but it was dark. Now it was super bright,
people were just getting in line, and we three decided why the hell not. So, we joined
the fun. We were in the first ten people in line. We met the local drag queen, who
remembered me from weeks back. Introductions were made. He's simply named Mark "Mom" Finley.
I asked why he didn't have a "drag name," and he said that he was way too old school
for that. MMF is very funny, very sassy. When we finally made it into the little booth
on wheels (it felt like being in a big aquarium with everyone staring in at you), we got
some fabulous make up. The make-up artists asked if we wanted "soft and natural" or more
"wild and noticeable." I chose the latter. We got our picture taken (which I will assume
will appear at some point on the Midori site).
We also got a free drink -- a Midori Illusion, which is part Midori, part vodka,
part triple sec, part pineapple juice, and splash of lime -- that was super sweet and
almost gross. Then we went across the street to
Hot Mama's Pizza
(700 E Pine @ Boylston). The crowd in Hot Mama's is always in a great mood, the servers
are totally joking and laughing, and the pizza is delicious (especially after a few beers).
It was a night of (accidental) adventure, which is the best kind in all. Afterward, there
was the walk back to my place and back to Julia and Steven's truck. It was a good night.
Saturday, I did the unpacking thing. I was hoping to have another fun night out.
But it would have to be stag. So I decided I would take myself out of the
apartment. I headed down to R Place (again) to hang out. Plus, supposedly, the
were having a gathering, and I was hoping to run into some nice people. Alas,
they were not there (or had already left) when I got there. So, I bought myself a
cheap pitcher of Pabst and did the wallflower, people-watching, drinking alone thing.
There was a little dancing, a little chatting with random people. But no one, save
for the bartender, was really paying any attention to me. I didn't run into anyone
I knew or recognized. When it's dry, it's desert. After a few beers, I walked across
the street for pizza. I sat outside and just watched the world go by. I ended up
talking to a random guy named Jesse, who sat down nearby. He was a graphic designer,
lived in the neighborhood, straight, and I ended up giving him relationship advice.
How odd. I guess that was my purpose that night. He seemed pleased and mollified
by my opinion. Then, I walked home (all the while resisting the temptation to go into
Jack in the Box for curly fries).
Sunday was oblviously low-key. I did wake up, go up to Joe Bar, got a hair cut at Ace's,
and spent the rest of the day in the apartment. That's all I remember doing, actually.
It was super quiet. Yesterday, as my last post explains, was about getting into my
routine. Last night, Deb came by and picked me up and we went to
Target over in West Seattle.
She had to pick up something for her sister's baby shower. I had a gift card to
spend. So I got some more stuff for the apartment. It was a good haul.
That's it. I need to go catch up on some emails. I should send some postcards off, too.
Then there is always more unpacking. People should write me. Yay.
read footnotes |
"residency: day one" | wednesday | september 14, 2005 | 10:31 pm
T HAS BEEN A GOOD COUPLE OF DAYS.
I am super tired right now. It's only 10:30 PM, but I'm totally ready for
bed. I have been up since like 8 AM, which is not horrible per se, but it
is hard when you've been going to bed whenever and getting up whenever for
the past few weeks. Like I said: the past couple of days have been
Yesterday was spent mostly indoors. I waited till the Office Depot guy showed
up to pick up my unused bookcase. I unpacked some. I made a pot of very
good chili. And then my new friend
who is best friends with
called me up out of the blue and invited me for drinks with a bunch of people.
She and some friends and acquaintances were having happy hour drinks at the
(1315 E Madison @ 13th). The Madison is actually just a handful of blocks
down the street from my apartment; on the walk down, I called up my friend
Megan M. and talked to her for a little while. I like to randomly call people
back east and just check in. It makes me feel like I'm still part of their
lives. The Madison is pretty spacious. It's a pretty cool, neighborhoody gay bar,
and it's got pretty good happy hour prices. So I met a bunch of random people, whom
I really don't remember. But I do remember Laura's partner John, who is very
charming and reminds me of an old friend of mine, and their friend Tom (I believe).
We ended up staying at the bar till everyone else in the group left. Then
we walked down a few blocks to get food at
(925 E Pike Street) for Belgian fries and a million dipping sauces. They were
delicious. We ate fries, had a couple of final drinks in the attached
is a live music venue, I think. There was great conversation of topoi far and
wide. I got to make all sorts of geeky, nerdy, gamery jokes. It was fun.
I mean any group of people that I can sit around and talk about remaking retro
Full House but with
top notch actors like
Ian McKellan, or
is great. Good times. Crazy fun.
Today, I got myself up out of bed pretty early (even though I didn't want to).
I spent a little time looking over some of the driver's license stuff. Then I
hopped on the #9 bus that takes me into southeast Seattle. I went to the
Department of Licensing in East Seattle in a rather shabby neighborhood called
Columbia. It took me twenty minutes to get my new license. Only twenty.
And I didn't even have to take the knowledge test. I'm not sure what gods
smiled upon me and gave me a by, but I just had to show them my old license,
fill out a little form, do the vision test, pay money, and then it was picture
time. Seattle issues a temporary paper license and send you the actual one
in the mail. But now I am officially a resident-in-progress of Seattle.
Now I just have to register to vote and I'm good to go.
After Licensing myself, I headed home. I originally had an intake advising
appointment with the director of the English graduate program on Thursday.
But I called and rescheduled it for today. So, in the afternoon, I went up
UW and met with
The meeting went relatively well. It was relaxed. I had met with Kate before.
She's great, lively, and intense. Of course, she asked me about what my plans
were and what I saw as my timeline. I had no idea, to be honest. I don't even
know what I'm studying exactly. But I have a year to figure that out. She's
going to assign me to their new professor they just hired, who does digital studies.
That should be a good start at least. Every time I confront this whole school
thing, I get the heebie-jeebies. But I will figure it out in time.
After my meeting, I got a call from my friend
Skinner, who just called from
Maryland to say hello. I also called up my sister and talked to her for while.
Then when I got home, Deb called me to invite me to a little dinner picnic
which is north of where I live. I got some wine and some bread and took the bus
up to the park. It was nice. I got to re-meet some people I had met from Deb's school.
Natalie was there. Steven was there. As were Stacy, Lauren, Rex, and a Luxembourger named
Rick, I think. It was a nice little get together. After gnoshing on some bread, cheese,
fruit, salad, and wine, some of us made our way to the
Canterbury Ale & Eats
(534 15th Ave E @ Mercer), a dive bar in my neighborhood that is fashioned after
a medieval tavern. It's sort of like
Medieval Times meets
punk rock dive. There was Olympia beer, pool (which during the only turn I played, I
sunk four balls in a row), fooz ball, and hanging out. Eventually, I just got
super tired and super tired of the smoke and headed home.
Dustin from San Francisco called
me while I was at the bar and said that he was "dropping by" tomorrow around noon.
I guess he's coming to visit me. That's cool -- sudden (even though he's been talking
about it for weeks) and crazy. I'll have to get my apartment whipped into shape tomorrow
morning. It also means this weekend will be pretty jammed packed. I am sure there
will be adventures to tell.
Now, sleep time.
read footnotes |
"lolly, lolly, lolly, get your adverbs here" | thursday | september 22, 2005 | 10:50 am
Y WEEK HAS BEEN CHOCK FULL.
I finally have some time and the wherewithal to sit down a do a little recap of
the past week or so. Much of my time has been consumed by two things. First, my
Dustin come up from
San Francisco for a visit. Second, I started my teachers' training for the
Expository Writing Program
(otherwise known as EWP). That and a little smattering of television and
WoW has kept me
Last Thursday, I spent the bulk of the morning trying to whip the apartment into
shape since Dustin was coming to stay for the weekend. I unpacked as much as I
could, moved stuff out of the way, and created as much livable space as possible.
I am not completely unpacked yet. I just have way too much stuff and I'm not
quite sure where I'm going to put it all yet. Soon, I will have my housewarming
party and that will be the impetus to get things finalized and settled. Dustin
showed up in the early afternoon. It was really good to see him again. It had
been years since we last saw each other in-person. We sort of fell into our
usual groove, and that was fun and comforting and very cool. I'm glad our friendship
continues to last and grow even if we're not corporeally in each other's lives.
After the perfunctory tour of my apartment, we decided to go get something to
eat and to wander the city. We drove up to the U District. We had some
Mediterranean food (because Dustin wanted falafel) at a little restaurant on
the north end of The Ave. I can't remember the name of the place right now.
After food, we swung through campus so Dustin could see the school. I tried to
pop in on my friend Julia but she wasn't in her studio. After UW, we forayed
east of Seattle, across the
Evergreen Point Floating Bridge
and made our way into Bellevue to go to
Circuit City. I wanted to
buy a TV. I had a gift card and a 10% off coupon to use (and since CC doesn't deliver
24" TVs for free, I had to go in person). I bought a super-cheap TV made by Polaroid.
It's pretty nice, and hopefully it will last. After my card and coupon, it was less than
a hundred dollars, which is darn cool. On our way home, we stopped at
Fred Meyer (because
it so). Fred Meyer is a giant discount department store. The one we went to was
huge and in the midst of construction. Dustin and I didn't buy anything except
for six bottles of wine. (You can see where our priorities are.) Dustin and I
got the TV home, set it all up, and hung out, talked, and drank two bottles of
wine. Then we went to grab a quick bite to eat at
which is famed for its wasabi grilled cheese. Dustin and I ate (neither of us having
the grilled cheese) and then walked down Broadway to meet my friend Lonnie and gang
Neighbours. It was
a fun night. Dancing was fun. The gay boys were pretty indifferent. Though I did
see this tall, scruffy, lanky, punky, glasses-wearing guy that I think is really
cute. He's usually with people, but this time he was by himself. I wanted to find
the right moment to say hello to him, but he left before I could. However, all was
not lost. Dustin and I left the club and on our way home I saw Cute Boy sitting
on a bunch of holly bushes, kind of sunk into the top as if he had landed there after
falling out of a window. I walked up and asked him what he was doing, and he asked
me to help him out of the bush. His name is James, he is really cute, and he was
drunk and friendly. He claims to be "pseudo-homosexual," which is a category I'll
have to figure out, and he gave me a big bear hug (picking me up off the ground even)
before heading home. Hopefully, he'll remember me next time.
Surprisingly, Friday morning wasn't too bad even though I had to get up early to
go to my first day of training. I got up around 7:20 AM, got cleaned up, and caught
the #43 bus up to school. The EWP training was all right. There were probably about
fifty or so grad students, some of which were totally new and some who had taught
other courses. The training itself was okay. UW's freshmen composition class is
similar to UM's English 101 in that both are about argument, academic writing,
research, and learning how to use evidence. But UW's course is not as rhetorically
based and stresses learning how to make claims, supporting claims with evidence,
and reading for the sake of writing. Much of Friday's training was spent on
introductions and setting up what the English 131 class is all about. I was more
interested in meeting other people, frankly. It was good to see that there were
quite a number of men in the program (most of whom seem to already be pretty
close-knit and kind of funky and trendy and who have been described as liking
to "intellectually hump" one another). I sat next to an MFA guy who was totally
scruffy and cute. But, as with much of my life, it is the women who go out of
their way to talk to me. I even met a couple of women from the Maryland
area. Everyone seems pretty friendly and cool. Like any grad program, there are
pretty clear cliques. Hopefully, people will be open to new friends. After
training, I took the bus home and met up with Dustin. We hung out for a little
while. Dustin wanted to get his hair cut, so I took him up to Ace. Then we
had pho for dinner. Then we went home to clean up a little before going out that
night. We stopped upstairs so I could introduce Dustin to the 401 guys. They
were going to have a birthday party for their friend Gunnstein that night. We
of course were invited. Before the party, I was going to meet some people
Madison. Dustin and I
met up with Spike and Christopher, two friends of my friend Andrew (who used to
live in Seattle but moved to DC). We hung out at the Madison for an hour or so.
It's pretty chill there even on a Friday night. When Spike and Christopher were
moving on, Dustin and I walked back to my apartment. We went up to 401 to join
the party in progress. There were a lot of kids gathered waiting for Gunnstein
and crew to arrive. There was drinking of cheap beer, cardboard surfing,
music, wrestling (again, a curious straight boy thing), and once "Gunny" showed
up, there were shots of some nasty Norweigian firewater. Then the whole party
moved. Gunnstein wanted to go to a bar in east Capitol Hill called
(2020 E. Madison @ 20th), a sort of rocker/hipster bar.
There is nothing
like a pack of partiers walking around the city. On our way down to the bar,
this chesty blond girl on a cordless phone comes running out of her first
floor apartment. At first, I thought she was going to tell us to shut the fuck
up. But she started screaming for us to come over, to come in, she was on
some radio survey line, and she wanted to know what our favorite bands were.
So, we did, for just a few minutes. Her apartment was completely empty (much
like mine was a couple of weeks ago) save for some junk on the floor, a tiny
black freaked-out kitten, and the phone. She was clearly trashed. We left
before I learned her name. We got to Twilight Exit and a handful of kids
couldn't get in because they didn't bring their ID (which in my opinion is
pretty dumb of them). So, the rest of us went and helped Gunny celebrate.
It was fun. There was more drinking. Some people played pool. Dustin and
I tried to play darts but stopped after I said I would get a bullseye and
totally zen-mastered the shot smack in the center of the board. Afterward,
the walk home was just as crazy. Dustin decided he would sprint up a big hill
and climb on a chain link fence (cutting his hands). It was all good, though.
We stayed up a little bit longer after getting back to the apartment and then
crashed pretty hard.
Saturday morning was also pretty okay. Dustin made mushroom omelettes for brunch.
Then we drove out to Fremont to see the
that lives under the Aurora Bridge. It's a pretty cool piece of urban art.
And it's neat that the stretch of road the Troll lives on has been renamed
Troll Avenue. After the troll, we drove over to Ballard to go visit a store called
Archie McPhee, which is
a novelty, toy, and weird stuff store. It was full of people and kids and a
lot of very random stuff. After a little shopping, we walked around Ballard and
had coffee at a neat place
Verite Coffee & Cupcake Royale,
which makes pretty good joe and fancy gourmet cupcakes. Afterward, we returned
home. We had dinner right up the street at
Palermo Pizza & Pasta
(350 15th Ave @ Harrison). Then, I dragged Dustin to
R Place for one more
night of partying. I was hoping to meet up with folks like Steven, Julia, and the
Antioch crowd. But everyone was either busy or didn't feel like going out. Fortunately,
my new friend Deborah, whom I met at the TA training, was going to meet us. It was
a really low-key night at the club. I did a little drinking. Dustin was pretty
tired. We stayed until Deborah and her friends showed up, had a drink, and then
went home. I think Dustin was partied out. I was pretty tired, too.
Sunday was for rest. Dustin and I got up relatively early. We walked up to
Joe Bar for some coffee and
a scone. It was a really nice, bright day. We walked around Capitol Hill a little
and looked, admired, speculated about all the architecture in the area. Then we
had brunch at Broadway Grill, where I stuffed myself on the breakfast buffet.
After brunch, we walked around the Capitol Hill farmer's market. We got the idea
to make a cool dinner, maybe invite a couple of people over. I called Steven and
Julia, but to no avail. I knew Deb (not the new friend Deborah) was out of town.
So, it would just be Dustin and me. We decided to check out the big Asian market
Uwajimaya. We took
the #49, which turns into the #7. Uwajimaya is a really cool place. Huge. Totally
busy on a Sunday afternoon. I will have to go back when it isn't so crazy.
But the store has tons of Asian foods and goods and spices and stuff (including really
cool bowls that I want for noodle soups at home). It also has an Asian food court
that sells all kinds of yummy things. It made me have the sudden craving for
We bought a bunch of groceries and went home. Before dinner, I did some homework for
training while Dustin got sucked into WoW. For dinner, we made veggie tempura using
potato, carrot, eggplant, yam, broccoli, and green squash with a
Japanese beer batter.
I made a soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sriracha dipping sauce. I also made a fresh
herb salad with thai basil, green basil, daikon sprouts, cilantro, watercress, and
green onion topped with a jalepeno-lime vinaigrette. For our protein, I made friend
chicken tenders, which were coated with bread crumbs, garlic, jalepeno, and green onion.
All of this was served with some Chinese egg noodles lightly dressed with lime juice
and sesame oil. It was all delicious. After dinner, we watched
Supersize Me and went to bed.
Early Monday morning, Dustin left to fly back to the Bay Area. It was a good visit.
I am glad that he came up to hang out and help me christen my new apartment. We
talked about him finding work up here and moving to Seattle. It might be cool to
get an apartment together so the both of us could save money. I'm glad he came.
It was a full, full weekend, but totally fun. Hopefully, I'll get other people to
come see me. As he made his way to the airport, I was on the bus for school.
Monday's training was all right. Long, but okay. I enjoy hanging out with people
and getting to know some of my classmates. That was the weekend.
All of this week is pretty much devoted to the teachers' training. We have been
working on the assignment sequences for the 131 curriculum. We have a lot of freedom
in what we can choose to use as texts and what kind of assignments we do as long
as we meet certain course outcomes. It is an interesting way to do things. Students
complete two sequences of papers, each sequence culminates in a major paper (5-7 pages).
Then, for the last two weeks of the quarter, the students choose previous papers to
revise and to use to create a final portfolio. They have to write a reflection memo
that explains their revision process, what course outcomes they learned, and why the
papers they selected are indicative of their best work. Only the portfolio is given
a grade at the end of the quarter. We do not give any grades during the first nine
weeks. Only comments and feedback. It's going to be an interesting process. I can
see the merit of not giving grades, but I can also predict that it will make students
(and me) very uncomfortable and insecure. Also as part of our training, we have
been attending sessions of the Center for Instructional Development and Research
I am having a good time. I like being at school. I like having office keys again
(though like my first years at UM, I am in a big portable building). I am excited
and nervous about starting classes, teaching a new class, and just trying to adjust
to being back in school and on the quarter system. But I've met a bunch of new
people, some of whom seem like they're going to stick around and be good friends.
I am just ready for the training to be done. Today, Thursday, is our day off.
But we still have Friday and Monday to go. Unfortunately, by the end of the training
day and doing all the work we have to get done before the next day, I am wiped out.
I will probably try to play hard again this weekend before the real work begins.
Wish me luck.
read footnotes |
"happy birthday" | friday | september 23, 2005 | 11:00 am
APPY BIRTHDAY TO MY FRIEND MEGHAN. Hope all
is well and good with her in the land of San Diego.
"i'm not bad, i'm just drawn that way" | monday | september 26, 2005 | 10:07 pm
OME THINGS NEVER CHANGE.
That's what they say, right? Sometimes, consistency and general predictability is a
good thing. I mean, that's the backbone of consumer culture, isn't it? One
is the same as another Big Mac somewhere else. One grande, double, skinny, decaf latte with
Starbucks is the
same whether its in
Dubuque or in
Seattle, where the mother ship lives. Anyway, all of this randomology is just a
long intro to the past week or so, over which I learned that my straight boy karma is alive
and kicking even in a completely new city.
Here's a pretty innocent example: earlier last week, I attended a workshop as part of
the TA conference on campus. In one of the workshops, there was a guy with a little
mohawk. He was kind of balding, but definitely handsome and cute. I liked his mohawk
and decided to use the 'hair thing' as the opportunity to talk to him. We met, chatted,
introduced ourselves. Well, later in the week, I was walking with some people to the
Ave and was mentioning Matt the Cute Mohawk Guy. Lo and behold, we run into him at that
very moment. He shook my hand and was very friendly. Then, the next day, I run into
him again on my way to lunch with folks. He introduces me to one of his colleagues.
He's just very friendly and smiles at me a lot. He's also one of those people that
touches you when he talks to you. I'm not sure if it was just me or everyone. But
he put his hand on my lower back as he was chatting with me. Hopefully, our paths
will continue to cross.
The examples continue.
Much of the past handful of days have been given over entirely to prepping for teaching
this coming week. The official first day of classes is this Wednesday. But I am on a
Tuesday-Thursday schedule. So, my first day will actually be Thursday. Training has been
long, mostly helpful, sometimes fun, and almost always tiring. The end product, though, is
that I'm nearly ready to walk into the
English 131 classroom.
However, training didn't stop me from enjoying my very last week of freedom from the
quarter. I went out last Thursday night to the usual haunt of
Neighbours. (It's so strange
to say 'usual' since I've really only been going since just a month ago.) I met up with
Lonnie. I was hoping to run into tall, geeky, punk rock, lanky boy James from the week
prior, but only his female friend showed, who actually talked to me this week. Dancing
was fun. The music was pretty good. And then I ran into a couple that I had met the
very first time I went to Neighbours. Of course, they remembered my name and I totally
blanked on theirs. The guy's name is Leif. I cannot recall hers. Damn. Anyway,
Leif's taller, Nordic, red-haired, kind of looks like a footballer; I think my first post
about him described him as "rugged and bearded." He's a musician and travels a lot
on gigs. He's nice, very cute, and friendly. Well, we sort of hang out. Drinks
were had. There was lots of dancing. Leif and I danced together a couple of times,
pretty close. Somewhere during all of this, he told me that he and his girlfriend were
getting married in a few weeks, which is totally cool. Then somewhere toward the end
of the night, Leif and I are dancing together very friendly-like and suddenly he kisses
me. Really kisses me, laughs, and then disappears into the crowd. Later, I find him
upstairs and we chat a little bit. He tells me that I totally need to find a man.
(I get a lot of encouragement from straight men who espouse that I deserve to be with
someone.) Then there's this weird comment that it was too bad that I didn't like
women at all. I thought to myself: I think I was just propositioned for a threesome.
Then he asked for my number. Later, I met back up with Lonnie, who gave me shit
about the whole mess and scandalized me for kissing a straight guy. Some things
never change, I told him.
Friday was training during the day. Then I wanted to get as many of the new TAs to
go out for drinks afterward. There were mutterings and murmurings of plans, but no
one was really sure of what to do or where to go. So, we picked a place, I used my
big mouth to get people to come, and a bunch of us met up at
a bar and restaurant inside what used to be an old flower shop (the brokendown neon
sign outside that reads 'flowers' is the only remnant). It's kind of cool. The
cuisine is sort of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean. The drinks were pretty cheap.
And we drank well into the afternoon, into the evening. It was cool to hang out
with people in a totally social setting. One the new guys, Andrew, and I were the
only ones really seriously tipping a few. It was cool. But we've become de facto
departmental drinking buddies. We had a good time. He's straight, by the way, too.
After drinks. I went home with one of the other new TAs, Emily, who wanted to feed
me dinner and for me to meet her family. We took the bus down to the
which is kind of the poorer, more working class, rougher area. Of course, the area
is slowly being gentrified. Emily lives with her husband and 2 year-old daughter
in a really beautiful house tucked behind a bunch of other houses. It is all sleek
and modern. We hung out and ate and talked. I taught her daughter how to feed
the dog food. Then I took the #7 bus home.
Saturday and Sunday, I spent entirely in. Totally in. I was a hermit. I really
wanted to avoid spending money. I didn't want to go out drinking. I just hung out,
worked on my syllabus, tried to unpack some more, and had a nice quiet weekend.
Plus, I really didn't know who to call. And my friends here haven't quite reached that
point where they're ringing me up all the time. I did get sucked into watching
Nicholas Nickleby on
cable. I don't even really like Dickens. But
Charlie Hunnam is
hot, first of all, and the story line between Nicholas and his best friend Smike
was entirely too homo for me to pass up. Afterward, I ended up watching
In and Out, too.
I organized loose pictures and photo albums. I scanned a bunch of stuff, which
I'm slowly putting up. There are some from GQBs from a while back. Like the
Pour House in January and
Fado in June. There are also a few pics
Hawaiian Party at the big gay
mansion in DC this past July. Other than that, Saturday and Sunday were all about
doing work for teaching and school.
Today was the last day of teachers' training. It's good to be done. I'm just ready
to do something rather than just talk about it. It's time to put things into
practice. I am a little nervous, but then again, I usually am a teeny bit before
the start of a new class. I think I am ready. I have to get used to a new
curriculum. I have to get used to a new way of grading things. UW's freshman
comp class does not assign grades to any work until the last portfolio project.
It's weird. Furthermore, UW uses a decimal
So, instead of an A, you get a 3.9 or a 4.0. It's crazy. And people talk with
the numbers instead of letters. It's kooky, for sure. Anyway, after training,
I came home and I made some of my "world famous" bruschetta topping and bread.
Tonight was the orientation potluck and end party. It was held at one of the
Assistant Director's parent's house, a very swanky, architecturally beautiful
house in east, east Capitol Hill. It was a nice party. Lots of food. Lots of
wine. I ate so much, but didn't drink that much. My bruschetta was a hit.
I got to schmooze with my classmates and cohort. And then I got to drive one
of the guys from the program home because he was a little "out of it." Of course,
it happens to be the one guy that I think is totally cute. He has the most
amazing blue eyes. Again, he's also bearded and scruffy. I guess I just have to
get used to this whole Seattle man thing. Blue Eyes has been really nice to me.
He even offered to take me home, since we live in the same neighborhood. But
a few people at the party were concerned about him driving. I offered to take
him. He actually surrendered his keys to me pretty easily. It was weird driving
after weeks of not being behind a wheel. We made it back to his place safely.
He wanted to walk me home from his place since I had made sure he got back safely.
It was all very strange, sweet, and crushy.
So, it's been a very good interpersonal week for me. Most of my cohort already calls
me the social director. I guess I have been pretty extroverted as of late. I
just like getting to know people and to put myself out there. I mean that is the
only way I will meet people and make friends.
read footnotes |
"when i was a very small boy, very small boys talked to me" | friday | september 30, 2005 | 2:32 am
HIS IS OF TWO PRONGS.
I very rarely use the word 'prong', but it seems very apropos here. I very rarely
use the word 'apropos', too. Strange. I chalk it up to the fact that I'm very, very
tired, and just a smidge past intoxicated. It's 2:34 AM in the morning. I have gotten
home from the land of dancing and 80s
New Wave at
Neighbours. It was an
okay night. Seattle is currently besieged by misty rain, gusty winds, and the chill
of autumn come. So, I think many people stayed in rather than go out tonight.
But I had to go out. It was due.
Prong One: I had my very first day of classes today. Though yesterday was the official
first day of classes of the autumn quarter (a system that I have yet to get used to) at
UW, I didn't have class until
today since I am on on a Tuesday-Thursday schedule. (Makes sure you say 'schedule' in
the British fashion.) I got up pretty early today. Went to campus by 8 AM. Stopped by
my shambly office and met one of my office mates. I had to print out some stuff. So I
went to the English Graduate Lounge to use the computers there. Cool. Then I taught at
9:30 AM. I did my usual first day schtick. I went in about ten minutes early. I sheepishly
asked if it was English 131. The class was nearly full at that time. They didn't hear me
at first, which added to my sheepishnessness. Then I put my stuff down in the front row of
seats and left. I hung out outside of the building till class time. Then I walked back
into the building and the class room and shut the door. Of course, this gesture makes
the kids a little nervous. I mean, who shuts the door? Only the teacher shuts the door.
I move my stuff from the front row to the front desk and say, "Welcome to English 131. Let's
get started." One of the young women in the class asks in surprise, "Are you teaching
The class seems like it'll be an interesting group of kids. I have a very gender inbalanced
class. Tipping toward more women then men. I have four men out of twenty-two students.
I wish it were a little more fifty-fifty. But they are enamored of having a teacher with
a mowhawk. Who wouldn't? But I hope to impress upon them that I am no a newbie teacher
nor am I a breeze. I must say that I really, really, really do like teaching. I like
being in front of the classroom. I like working what little magic I have to inspire,
to engage, to charm, to work my students. A handful of responses on the course message
board (which alas is not public -- I didn't have time to set up a public blog) has
been very positive. Again, who wouldn't want a teacher with a bright orange mohawk?
I also had classes of my own today. I have my 'sexuality and national identity' seminar
right after teaching. It's taught by the head of the graduate English department.
It's a full on theory course. As per usual, I feel totally unprepared, naive, and
fraudulent. I actually hate the feeling. There's sixteen people or so in the class.
We all sit in a long seminar room. The professor is really friendly and super smart
and opens the class with the question, something along the lines of, "So, both Foucault
and Butler are talking about a metaphysics of substance. How are they similar? How
do they diverge?" Unfortunately, no one really knew (or seemed to know) how to
respond. It was crickets. Eventually, the silence forced someone to say something.
Anything. The class went all right. I wish there had been a bit more direction, a
bit more something. Lay down some key concepts and then I might be able to scaffold
(damn, that's a
English 131 term
that has seeped into my brain) my way to a decent answer. I talked, of course. I usually
do. Even if I don't say the most cogent thing, I got some face time. Participation
points. It's all about participation points.
I guess I just hate the anxious feeling that a new semester brings. There's a lot of
work, but it's not too much work. I am still getting used to the quarter system
and the fact that I only have ten weeks to get things done. And I still can't help
but wonder if this is really what I want to do, what I want to go through, what I
want to consume my time. I really don't want my life to be just about grad school.
Anyway, after my first class, I have a two hour break. I think I may use it for office
hours. Not sure. I may want to use it for some decompression time. But, being the first
day, I didn't hold hours. Some of my classmates and I wandered
Red Square, where there
was all sorts of tents and booths of food and campus organizations. A couple of people
wanted to go to 'Catfish Corner', a restaurant booth that sold fried catfish and
hush puppies. I had to have a few hush puppies. Then my friend Deborah and I walked
to The Ave in search of our course packet (which is huge) and good Thai food.
(4543 University NE @ 45th) was suggested to us, and it was delicious. It's a tiny
hole on the wall and reminds me of the little dive Thai place in the Mission in
San Francisco. The food was really good.
After food, I had my second seminar. All of the new TAs have to take English 567, which
is 'approaches to teaching composition'. It'll be an all right class. The work is mostly
reading some teaching theory and reflecting on our own teaching experience. But even
this class gives me some
Prong Two: I am lonely. This is related to the first prong in that I moved to Seattle,
I decided to go forward with my schooling, with the notion in mind that I would work on
the other areas of my life that have been long neglected: home, love, art. Some would
argue that being a PhD student is a fulltime job. Well, I don't want it to be. I spent
two years in my MA really just pushing through school. I had a great time, but where I
was living, what time I had, what people I surrounded myself with all were mainly in
the service of school. I guess I see people who are in relationships, who have homes,
who have lives outside of academia, and I want that very much. It's a lot of work, too.
So, I guess the main thing is that I think all of this flailing and self-flogging
I call the PhD would be more bearable, less myopic if I had an 'outside' focus.
And I know that a relationship isn't the perfect answer. I still want it.
The club tonight was fun. The bartender, the only woman that works this night, knows
me now that she gives me shit for changing my drink halfway through the evening. It
wasn't super crowded tonight, probably because of the drippy weather. My friend Lonnie
did not make it out but his friends did. I did not run into any of my objects of
affection tonight. But I did end up dancing with a guy with spikey, black and blond
striped hair named Jared (I think). On my way out of the bar, I fell in with a pack
of tall, macho guys who were walking home. Two of them were going my way. I don't
recall their names, but they were nice and complimentary. All of the men I ended up
talking to tonight were straight. The guys that I walked with were military guys
and explained to me that they liked going to gay clubs because the straight women
tend to be more open. (A strategy that I have often recommended to cool guys who
don't want to slog through the usual meatmarket.)
Anyway, it's time to sleep. More later.
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