"rockstar scholar" | monday | october 10, 2005 | 10:05 pm
LL I WANT TO DO IS SLEEP.
And I think I am going to do just that pretty soon. But, the hour is still relatively
sane. I have actually finished up a whole bunch of work, packed up my school bag,
and am just lounging till it's time to head to bed. (Hopefully, the peace and quiet of
the evening continues well into the night, the week beyond.)
It's been a heck of a while since I last wrote about anything. I'm not even
sure I know how to condense it all into something sensible. The bottom line is that
life has been pretty darn busy. School has got me keeping pretty regular hours,
teaching a new course means I have to always be extra prepared, and trying to hang out
with people has me stretched pretty thin. I have always played about as hard as I
work. And the harder I work, the harder I tend to play.
Classes are going all right. My theory seminar, ENGL537, on gender/race and national
belonging has been challenging. I cannot imagine taking this class completely cold.
I count myself lucky that at Maryland I took a class on 'queering citizenship' and
my last seminar of my MA on 'the intersections of race and sexuality'. Both classes
overlap a great deal with this current class. Of course, as much as I am prepared,
I feel like I'm totally asea without a compass. Theory is difficult. And I keep trying
to figure out why I keep hurling myself against it. Our very first class opened with
Foucault and Butler. Crazy. The professor opens the discussion with a question about
the 'metaphysics of substance' in both A History of Sexuality I and Gender Trouble.
Discuss. I think the class must have sat there for five minutes in complete silence.
I thought I knew what she was talking about, but panic set in and everything flew out
of my head. A couple of weeks have gone by. The readings are a bit more concrete.
And we have some primary texts mixed in. I have already written two short response
papers. We'll see how I'm doing when they come back. Of course, I signed up for the
very first class presentation. I present tomorrow on Benedict Anderson's
I spent the whole weekend reading the excerpts, formulating some discussion questions,
and writing a response paper. Hopefully, everything will go well.
My other seminar, ENGL567, on approaches to teaching composition is all right. I took a
similar class at UMD. Plus, all of my years teaching English 101 help. The class is an
extension of our summer training, and we're reading a little bit of composition theory,
pedagogy theory, and such. It's very relaxed compared to my high theory course. I like
it because I get to hang out with the other new teachers. The work is much less rigorous.
Most of our class discussion becomes a sort of therapy session for the new teachers or a
gripe session about how restrictive English 131 seems to be. I guess I'm past many of
the anxieties people feel. And I don't mind having structure in a curriculum. I will
figure out a way to loosen things up, make it my own. I'm starting to earn a reputation
of being the "veteran" of the group. I have more experience certainly, but I think every
new batch of kids presents new issues, problems, highlights, and experiences. I don't
mind talking about my teaching philosophies and methods, though. Our first reflection
paper is due tomorrow, which I also wrote over this past weekend. I have just been a
very busy bee.
Teaching has been all right. I am still getting used to the way English 131 is structured.
We're halfway through the first sequence of assignments. My students seem to be doing
all right, though they are having some significant trouble with the reading. Most of them
are not used to close reading, to rhetorical reading. The essay, Lister & Wells' "Seeing
Beyond Belief: Cultural Studies as an Approach to Analysing the Visual," isn't too
terribly theoretical or full of jargon. But, it does require them to really think through
some of the methodologies and ideas put forth. Hopefully, they'll get it more or less.
The thing about 131 is that we are trying to teach students to read for writing's sake,
which means they need not fully, totally comprehend something in order to write about what
supports their argument. I suppose I do that with my own work when I'm grappling with
theory. My class's dynamic is still pretty low-key. They let me do a lot of the talking.
I hope they warm up a bit before the quarter is over. They have been pretty positive so
far. I am going to try to work in some of the stuff I've done in the past including a
couple of video days and some extracurricular exercises on things like race, gender, and
sexuality. I spent most of today 'commenting' on their close readings of Lister & Wells.
They were not stellar -- mostly summary rather than analysis and identifying key claims --
but that is what practice is for. I'm still getting used to the whole not giving grades
thing. I comment and evaluate in terms of their ideas and process but do not assign a
letter (or number) grade. The rationale is that students will focus less on grades and
more on development, improvement, and revision. At the end of the quarter, they will submit
a portfolio of 4-6 short assignments and 1 long assignment, which they revise, to be
graded. This way they are graded on final work, on revised work, and on work they've done
after they've been taught what to do and practiced what to do.
School takes up a lot of my time. I like my Tuesday-Thursday schedule, but the slide from
Tuesday to Thursday is really rough. I have to get all of my work done in only two days.
Though, the long weekend is nice. I have tried to balance school with keeping social. I
hang out with folks, mostly school people, whenever I can. I have made a few pretty good
friends, so far. We mainly hangout after classes or meet up for drinks during the weekend.
It's all still pretty new, but fun and comforting. Suffice it to say, the last two weekends
have been very full and very exhausting. The week before last, I went out Thursday night
to Neighbours, Friday night to the
for drinks with my friend Deborah and Andrew and some of the English grads, and Saturday night
to my other friend Deb's house for dinner with some of the Antioch crew (which ended in
drinks and karaoke at a little dive bar). This past weekend, I went out Thursday night
to Neighbours, Friday afternoon to the English Grad reception, drinks with the kids
in the University District afterward, even more drinks with people on Capitol Hill
(counting the reception, I had drinks at 6 different locations that night), and
Saturday night to a fashion show with Julia, Steven, and Deb, which also resulted in
drinking free wine and beers at a little fancy bar called
(moreover I tried to go home early and get to bed but alas my upstairs neighbors
decided to wake me up at 2 AM singing karaoke in their living room -- what is up with that?).
I need to figure out more things to do other than just going out and drinking all the
time. Or not. Hopefully, this weekend will be a bit more chill.
That's it in a nutshell. Hopefully, details to follow. Or just ask me about something.
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• • •
"wish i were a rich man" | tuesday | october 18, 2005 | 10:33 pm
S YOU WELL MAY HAVE NOTICED,
I haven't really posted a lot. In fact, I have only been able to manage a post about
every two weeks. Sad, really. I have a lot to write about. I have a lot to keep
track of. I've even doddered off of my pen-and-paper journal. But, I have been
captured by all that is school and all that is not school. The last few weeks have
been very involved. I am not overcommitted per se. It's just that I try to make
use of almost every moment I've got. And a dichotomy has developed that I want to
shake. When I'm doing school stuff, I'm doing school stuff. It takes up most of
my energy and time. And when I don't have to do school stuff, I do everything possible
to leave it all behind, tuck school stuff away, and play pretty hard, sleep pretty hard,
veg pretty hard. That doesn't leave me much middle ground. So, first on the list:
more middle ground. With that, I should get ready for sleep. Tuesdays are a bear.
I'm in the twilight of consciousness (a pretty cool phrase, if you ask me). I should
be using it to write a short paper. But that can be staved off till tomorrow.
read footnotes |
• • •
"guerillas just wanna have fun" | saturday | october 22, 2005 | 2:38 pm
AST NIGHT WAS THE FIRST GUERILLA QUEER BAR SEATTLE.
A couple of weeks ago, I hadn't planned on getting started on
at least November or December. With school and teaching and the apartment and everything,
I figured I didn't need another project in my lap. But, being the overachiever that I am,
I made the decision to just try. It was a litmus test. I have no idea if GQB can be
sustained in Seattle. There have been incarnations in the past, another group called
Seattle GQB in 2001 (and the order
of words makes a difference) and a more recently updated
Seattle GQB in 2005. But the last
even was in April. Plus, if you look at their logo and their sign-up form, it seems to
be predominantly a queer, male group. GQBS (the letters in our order) makes no said
Last night's inaugural event was at
(707 E. Pine @ Boylston), a sort of western-themed saloon. It was a fun night. I first met up
with a couple of guys from my program, Andrew and Jay. We went downtown because I needed to
buy a pink tie (because the 'theme' of the evening was to wear something pink as signal to
other guerillas). I was a little nervous because I really wanted to the night to go well.
I want people to have fun. I know I had fun in DC with GQB. I wanted to recreate that
community in Seattle. We got to the bar a little early (after having a slice at Hot Mama's).
We hung out till other guerillas started showing up. The whole pink thing worked. I
ended up spotting a group of women who looked liked they were searching the crowd. I walked
up, my tie a blazing, and asked them if they were looking for GQB. In total, about 24 or so
people showed up. About half of the group were people I knew. The other half were total
strangers who had heard about GQBS. Most of the crowd were women, interestingly enough.
Hopefully, future events will attract a more balance in gender. Most of the night was
spent hanging out, drinking, talking with people. I met some really nice ladies. Of course,
lesbians totally love me. All of the attention I got last night was from women. It was
very sweet (but I totally need some manly attention).
There was some critique about
choosing Linda's as our first venue because it's in the heart of Capitol Hill and is
already pretty queer-friendly. But my rationale was to pick someplace 'easy' at first.
Plus, Linda's might be friendly but its clientele is primarily straight. There are still
lessons to be made and learned even in 'safe' places. Case in point: there was a guy who sat
down next to Andrew, Jay, and me. He was cool, Scottish, with a really deep brogue, cute,
and straight. But unknowingly he turned to us and told us that he just met another guy
across the bar who turned to him and asked him, "Are you a faggot?" Point blank. The Scottish
guy rebuffed the other guy. The other guy commented, "Everyone around here seems to be faggots."
Or something to that degree. The Scottish guy replied, "Well, I'm not, but what if I were?"
The other guy clearly did not realize that he was in a bar, ostensibly straight, on Capitol
Hill. But that very moment, even if it didn't happen to one of the guerillas, shows that
even safe places can be potentially treacherous. It was a good night. I, again, drank
probably a little too much (considering the night before was spent drinking up a storm at
happy hour with grad friends and then at Neighbours). I'm glad I decided to get GQBS started
so early. I hope the next one is bigger and better.
read footnotes |
• • •
"bootacular" | monday | october 31, 2005 | 10:01 am
Hopefully, everyone has had a pretty darn good Halloween weekend. It's too bad that
All Hallow's Eve is on a Monday this year. I really can't do anything too crazy today
or tonight simply because I've got work to do for an early day tomorrow. Plus, the
general vibe here has been pretty mellow. I almost don't want to spoil it.
The past week or so has been okay. Life's been mixed. Good for the most part. Sometimes
weird. And more recently, a little sad. I feel like I'm in mourning, and I'm not sure
exactly over what. I suppose my past, my last life, my last home. I don't know.
My dreams have been anxious, though not necessarily fearful. I have been sleeping
poorly as a result. Plus, the weather's changing pretty rapidly here. The light
isn't as strong. I usually get up in half-darkness, go to school, and come home
in darkness. It's also getting chillier and wetter, though I am still wearing shorts
at least till November.
I have a lot on my plate. I have been doing a lot, sometimes too much. All last week
was full of school. I had conferences with students on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
I teach and normally have class on Tuesday and Thursday. So, it felt like I was living
Teaching is going
fine. I've finally learned my students names, even though the quarter is half over.
They turn in their
first major paper
tomorrow, and we start the next assignment sequence. My own classes have been going
all right. I've been doing a lot of writing of short, response-type papers. Now, I
have to look ahead and get started on my seminar papers.
I've cut back a little on socializing. I pretty much only go out on Thursday night,
after a full day of classes. My grad friends have taken to going to the
College Inn Pub
(4006 University NE), which is a little divey and smokey but fun. We play pool,
drink $2.50 rails, and hang out. It is supposedly the "grad student" bar on
the Ave. The graffiti in the bathroom is pretty high brow including statements
about modernism and proverbs in Latin. It's a good way to blow off some stress
and to get to know my classmates a bit more.
This past weekend started with happy hour at the College Inn. Then I skipped going to
Neighbours, which is
unheard of I know but I had to give my liver and my wallet a rest. Friday was a sort
of grey foggy blur. But Friday night my grad friend Melanie picked me up, we had
dinner of pho, and then we drove over to Ballard to go to a show. She's really into
emo, so we have that in common, but she's got way more knowledge about the music.
We went to the
Paradox, which is a pretty
nice and small venue. The night was pretty laid-back. It was an "all ages" show, so
there wasn't the usual smoking, drinking, and shenanigans. In fact, Melanie and I felt
like we were chaperoning some of the kids that were there. There were four bands on the
line-up: The Fury (whose keyboardist was really cute and like 12 years-old),
June (who are from Chicago, I think),
Jamison Parker, and
The Juliana Theory
(who were good but the lead singer is way over the top). Melanie really likes TJT.
I like their CD, but live shows are always strangely "different" from your CD listening
experience. A girl we were walking behind summed up the experience perfectly: "I really
like the music, but I can't stand watching that guy." I had a good time, even though
I felt like I was going to keel over. Plus, my left shoe decided that it was tired
of the world and tried to lose its sole. Saturday day was spent goofing off, reading a
little, playing WoW. Then I scraped together a costume to go to my friend Deb's
birthday/Halloween party in Wallingford. I decided to cobble together some of my old
Archaea garb and go as
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
The party was low-key. It was nice to hang out with Deb and her friends. Some of the
costumes were pretty funny. I did have this strange interaction with a very straight
(self-professing straight) Russian guy, who seemed really intrigued by me and kept asking
me all sorts of questions. Pictures are forthcoming.
Sunday was a lazy day. I did some more reading. I goofed off. I also sat around
feeling really sorry for myself. Again, not sure why. I ended up watching
The Goonies, which I love.
Chunk still amazes me -- his lines are perfect -- what a precocious comedic genius.
"They say 'be careful' while Data is falling." Also too funny. Then I got sucked into
Heart and Souls,
which always makes me cry. Cheesy, I know. But there's something about the scene where
the ghosts decide to leave little Thomas that just stabs a sharp penknife into my
own abandonment issues. Plus, I love
Alfre Woodard in
this movie. The rest of Sunday was spent working on my English 131 stuff and then
going to sleep.
Today begins another week. And tomorrow begins another month. Time is chugging along.
Daylight savings is back.
I just hope I can keep up. More later.
read footnotes |
• • •
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