"no day but today" | tuesday | december 13, 2005 | 8:38 am
ONE AT LAST. Done at last. Well, not completely
done because I have grading to do this week, but my own coursework is finished. I turned
in my seminar papers yesterday. The stress of the end of the quarter is abated. Thank
goodness. I am starting to realize that the writing of papers is really anxious and
distressing for me, and it doesn't seem to be getting any better or easier -- I probably
should rethink my line of work. As I told my students, "I really don't like writing
papers. I like turning in papers." Hah. I like the feeling of accomplishment,
whether the paper is good or not. How masochistic is that?
(I'm not sure what's going on today. The universe must be a little freaky because I've
just gotten two "wrong number" calls in the past half hour and it's not even thick into
the morning yet.)
My first quarter of my PhD is at last complete. It's too bad that I have three, maybe
four more to go. Drat all of this coursework! I have to do it. It's the only way I'll
actually get to know some professors to work with down the line. Plus, I really need to
be honing my question, my project, my issue -- whatever that might be? I guess I should
start thinking about it in detail. The past three months have been all right, a lot (and
I mean a lot) of up-and-downs. As you can see, my
November was so overwhelming that I didn't even have
a chance to write a thing for my site. Sad, really. I just need to find some way to
balance out things, to take back some of my life from all of the things needing attention.
Don't get me wrong, I like school. I do. I have to or it would be unbearable. That's not
to say that I don't grouse, complain, growl, guffaw, bitch, moan, groan, and freak out about
school. That's exactly what being a grad student is all about, right? But I do
think that this is the place for me right now. (Who knows in a year?) But school does
tend to consume most of my time, energy, space, and mind. And then my heart and body are
over -- here. I need to integrate better, or develop adjacent pursuits. I moved to Seattle
because I wanted to pursue more than just my doctorate. I want to have a life, build a
life, make a home, find a community, meet a partner, work on my writing, grow as a person.
Maybe there just aren't enough hours in a day for me to do everything. Pity, eh?
"the narration crackles and pops with incendiary wit"
But, as the quarter comes to a close, the year comes to an end, and the future shimmers in
the distance, it is the perfect time for reflection. Here goes. It'll be all in bits
and pieces. Think of it as montage, as flotsam, as bricolage, as pastiche, as chunky
stew. I really wish that I had had the time to keep things under control. I'm sure
there are tales that I will not tell with enough detail or stories that I've forgotten
in the mists of time. Ah well. I will do my best. The mother of all recaps is about
to begin. As Bette Davis says,
"Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night."
"well take my hand we're gonna howl
/ out tonight"
I have always tended to play hard when I'm stressed out about school and such. Sometimes
that leads to a wee bit of exhaustion. But as I said earlier, I want to try -- try being
the operative word -- to not let school be the only thing going on with me. I'm not sure
I'm doing a very good job. In the first couple of months here in Seattle, I used to go out
pretty often. But, with the onset of a busy academic life and the realization that money,
in fact, does not grow on the trees on campus, I had to cut back. I used to go to
Neighbours on Thursday
nights, which has now been replaced by going out to happy hour with the school gang to the
College Inn Pub.
Thursday nights are fun; they are our end of the week and the start of the weekend. What
started out as a few beers and a couple games of pool became lots of beer and drinks and
nachos and lots of pool. But I do miss going to Neighbours for 80s night (and I plan on going
For the most part though, other than Thursday nights, I tend to be a home body (when I can
actually find a bit of peace in my apartment). Tuesday nights are all about coming home
from a long day at school and watching some TV -- specifically Gilmore Girls and
Supernatural, which I am
starting to like more and more (though the first season of creepy, paranormal, weird
shows tend to pretty formulaic and get better in the second and third seasons, cf. X Files).
I have been able to pop out every now and then. Over the past few months, I've been to a
night of men's fashion (one of my friend Julia's grad peers in the fibers art department at
UW held the first of three final project shows)
. I have had dinner with friends from
school. My friend
invited me to their new pad (they moved up a floor in their building) for some lasagne,
wine, conversation, and to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Flux Capacitor! It
was a fun night, where I was introduced to the amazing-mesmerizing-slightly disturbing
Katamari Damacy, a PS2 game.
(Please note that the King of All Cosmos on the website has his 'special package' draped
over but in the game it's in full-on David Bowie in Labyrinth there!)
What else? My friend Melanie dragged me (willingly of course) to a couple of live music
shows. We saw
The Juliana Theory
and a few other bands at the
Paradox. We also saw
Hot Rod Circuit at
El Corazon. I really
liked the shows (even though they were weird because they were all-ages, but at least
El Corazon had a separate bar area). I particularly liked Hot Rod Circuit; I even
shook the lead singer's hand (who is shorter than me in real life, but looks so
tall on stage -- it's strange). I hope to hit a few more shows at some point (since
Seattle is a music town). Melanie and I, it turns out, have very similar tastes
in music -- she being far more knowledgeable about it than me -- and tend to gravitate
toward emo. Besides shows, I
have gone out to places like the
a couple of times. I have even gone to the
Wild Rose, a lesbian
bar in my neighborhood, for Friday night karaoke. I sang once, in a group, standing
in the back; we sang Cher's "Turn Back Time." Oh, the humanity!
The only other thing I've done is a couple of
Guerilla Queer Bar Seattle
events. We had one in October and one in November. The December one is coming up soon.
So far, the response has been pretty good. Hopefully, it'll continue to grow. Leave it
to me to find something to start up and run in the midst of having too much to do already.
But it's been fun. About half the people that go to GQBS are my friends from school (most
of them are queer friendly) and the other half are people from the city. I'm hoping that
the next few events will grow our group a bit as word spreads.
"how do you document real life / when real life is getting more / like fiction each day"
In a break with tradition, I did not compete, participate in
National Novel Writing Month this
year. It makes me sad to think about it, actually. I just did not have the time
or the energy or the frame of mind to write 50,000 words in the month of November.
I was writing thousands and thousands of other words for school. I signed up and
everything. I started to troll the NaNo message board. I was hoping to meet some
Seattle Nanos. But, alas, my 5th consecutive year was not meant to be. I had originally
planned to retire after last year. Four years under my belt is a pretty neat feat.
But since I was in a new city, I figured I'd Nano at least once here. Well, there's
always next year.
"and one pasta with meatless balls"
I was a holiday orphan for Thanksgiving. It was a good weekend, though. Most people I
knew were off doing family or partnery things. Fortunately, my friend Sydney invited me
over to her place to have turkey day dinner with her, her partner David, and a handful
of other orphans. My friends Cat, Rania, Su-ching, and her friend Edward sat down to a
lovely, filling meal. I made my world-famous bruschetta to add to the table. Other people
brought food. Sydney provided the turkey and the works including crab cakes made from
Maryland crabs (since she's from Baltimore). Delicious. We all ate way too much, but
it was yummy. We made the mistake of sitting down and watching Legally Blonde II. God
it was an awful movie, though there were a couple of funny spots. Then I discovered that
they had Katamari Damacy. That was it. We played that for a while. Then Rania, Su-Ching,
and Edward left. We didn't know what else to do. So, we decided to get liquored up and play the
Golden Girls Drinking Game.
Sydney and David had a DVD of Season 2 episodes. The game is hysterical and quite fun.
We'll have to have a reprise.
The rest of Thanksgiving weekend was spent hanging out with my friend Eric, who flew up to
visit from San Francisco. Eric got in on Friday afternoon. We hung out, had dinner, and then
went out for a few drinks at the Madison. He was treated to my upstairs neighbors being
super loud and partying that night. Saturday, we hustled north in his rental car to
Anacortes (pronounced a-na-COR-tes
not a-na cor-TEZ) to catch the ferry over to the
San Juan Islands to visit
a friend of Eric's. It's about an
hour-and-a-half drive north of Seattle. We started out a little late, got stuck in traffic,
dodged around really slow drivers (our east-coastness was showing), and other minute
shenanigans. The result was that we got to the ferry terminal, parked, jumped out of the
car, and got to the ticket booth just as the ferry was leaving. The next one wasn't for
two hours. So, we had a lovely lunch back in Anacortes at the
Rock Fish Grill and Brewery.
I had a lovely burger, which was quite tasty, and sampled the local brews, which were also
quite tasty. After lunch, we walked around the historicy, main streety, shoppingy part
of town. Then trundled back to the ferry to almost miss it again (because of their stupidity
Eric's friend's family lives on the first of the San Juan Islands, Lopez Island. Lopez Island
is called the Friendliest Island or some such. It is a requirement, it seems, that you
wave to everyone you see when you pass them. So, people are waving from their cars,
from the street, from their front porches, from their houses. It's a little creepy (to
this east coaster, city dweller). Lopez is mostly farm and residential; it's downtown is
all of two streets and like a dozen buildings (though the locals are very excited that
a Papa Murphy's pizza franchise has opened up). Our first stop was the local winery --
Lopez Island Vineyards --
to do a tasting. The wines were all right; the fruit wines they had were very good.
After wine, we drove to Eric's friend's family's house. (Now, I must interject that this
friend is a pseudo-girlfriend of his and we were originally going to just have lunch and
see the island and go home. But, since we missed the ferry, we ended up just going to
her family's house. It was a "meet the parents" moment that Eric did not want to do at all.
His friend is very much more into him than vice versa. I was just along for the ride to
cock block or be the excuse to leave or something.) People were nice. The house was
beautiful, complete with holiday cottage out back that they rent out to tourists. Since
Lopez is a "getaway," it means there's really nothing to do except sit at home, by a fire,
and relax, it seems. We ended up looking at slides of Eric's friend's trip to Africa for
two hours! Two hours! She's a botanical buyer or something. So it was two hours of
flowers and rocks and more flowers. Then there was the requisite Papa Murphy's pizza for
dinner. And then it was back to the ferry, "back to America" (as the locals say), waving
all the way, and back to Seattle. Interesting trip, albeit socially awkward.
Sunday, we got up and had a very good (though a little pricey) breakfast at
(429 15th Avenue E). Then we hung out in the city. Then we hung out at home.
Then after dinner, we went to
R Place for drinks,
where I got really really drunk on Long Islands. Eric took off on Monday morning, and
my hungover self had to get to school work.
That was Thanksgiving.
"well, i'm thwarted by a metaphysic puzzle / and i'm sick of grading papers--that I know"
So, life has been mostly about school. It's all right, as I said above. I'm getting
along. I'm probably getting along better than I think. But it's hard to see when you're
in the thick of it. I liked my two classes this past quarter. They were challenging
and hard in very different ways.
My ENGL537: Sexuality and National Belonging class
was really challenging, but I got to read all sorts of things and talk about a lot of
different ideas. I have come to the conclusion that I am "good" at theory, at lit
crit, but I don't think I will ever be "great" at theory. My mind just doesn't work
in that way. I will be a soft theorist, not a hard theorist. I will be a public
intellectual, not a member of the elite academy. The kinds of jobs that go to people
in theory are way out of my league. I think about writers and theorists that we've
been reading and I don't see myself as one of them. No way. I think I may need to
go back to a more literature-based program of study. I think I might be happier or
at least more at ease. We'll see. I keep threatening to just become a medievalist
(not that such a thing isn't respectable and difficult in its own ways).
I wrote my seminar paper for ENGL537 on
Another Country, his third novel, and applied theories from
Outside Belongings, Ahmed and Stacey's Thinking Through the Skin, and
vision of queer world-making in order to think about the way Baldwin constructs and
The paper is entitled "'Have You Ever Wished You Were Queer?': Tracing Circuits of Desire
in Baldwin’s Another Country" and here's an excerpt:
Another Country offers us an opportunity, albeit conflicted, to imagine, conceive of,
and render a positive and possible queer(ed) domain, citizenship, subjectivity, and what
Michael Warner calls a queer “world-making.” The text and characters of Another Country,
imbricated with the personal, public, and political textures of Baldwin’s history and
the history of the time, invites unsettling identity, invites unlinking and relinking
and crosslinking affinities, and invites interconnectivity between selves and subjects.
Baldwin argues in “Everybody’s Protest Novel” that individuals, identities cannot be
fixed, proscribed, fossilized by time, nation, or ideology. He argues that an individual,
as far as such a label can (or should) be made to cover a self is “something more...something
resolutely indefinable, unpredictable. In overlooking, denying, evading his complexity...we
are diminished and we persish; only within this web of ambiguity, paradox, this hunger,
danger, darkness, can we find at once ourselves and the power that will free us from
ourselves” (29). Though Baldwin himself would quarrel with the post-identity politics
use of the word “queer,” his novel can be read across the grain to conceive of the
positioning of the body, the negotiation of the skin, and the ways we can interpret and
theorize the text to find and encourage queerness. Calling upon separate but not
necessarily disparate theoretical interventions--Elspeth Probyn’s work on queer belonging,
Sara Ahmed and Jackie Stacey’s feminist theories of embodiment and “thinking through the
skin,” and Michael Warner’s critique of normal and normativity--the bodies, the touches,
the skins, and the relationships in Another Country allow us entrance into identities
in nexus, subjectivities at the intersection of race, gender, class, sexuality, and
nation. It allows us a way shift away from “deep” readings of Baldwin, which attempt
to categorize or unify even condemn his (and his fiction’s) world view, to “surface”
readings, which hope to be particular (without particularizing) yet overlapping, scattered
yet coalitional, and unfolding. It is a way to think about how Baldwin sketches and
traces what Douglas Field in “Looking for Jimmy Baldwin” calls “complex circuits of
desire” (458) and how his technology and economy of desire desires queerness.
There are larger bits of my paper at my academic site
Queer View Mirror, where
once again I've used a non-traditional space to compose and write my seminar paper.
The passages on QVM are highly unpolished and disconnected, but they give you an
idea of the trajectory I was tracking. The paper needed only be 10- to 12-pages. I
like the shortness of the assignment (especially for a class that's only 10 weeks long),
but it doesn't give me much room to build in everything I want to talk about. But
it's done now and out of my hands.
My ENGL567: Theories and Practices of Composition class was mellow compared to my
other seminar. ENGL567 served as an extension of the teacher orientation I attended
at the end of summer. It's a pedagogy practicum and we read a lot of composition
theory, wrote a bunch of short responses and reflections on our own teaching, and
talked about what it was like to be in the classroom and to be teaching
Even though I taught composition at the University of Maryland for eight years,
I still learned a lot about teaching, about a different program, and about my
own skills, issues, and practices. As part of my final work for ENGL567,
I decided to put my short papers online:
ENGL567 Short Paper Portfolio.
I have really liked most of the people I have met over the quarter in my classes,
in my department, and via friends and faculty. This year's cohort seems to be
pretty friendly, outgoing, and happy to get to know one another, particularly
the new teachers. I have a bunch of neat colleagues and neat friends. Hopefully,
we'll continue to see each other, hang out, go to happy hour every Thursday
night at the College Inn, get together for food or grading parties or going dancing,
and just maintaining
our sense of community. Shout outs to: Andrew, Andy, Arnie, Cat, Caitlin, Christian,
Crystal, Deborah, Emily, Jane, Jason, Jay, Justin, Melanie, Nadine, Pacheree, Rania, Sarah,
Of course, it's the end of the quarter and all I have left to do is grade. I really
dislike the doldrums of grading. It just takes so much time and returns (most often)
so little. But I've gone through a handful of my students' portfolios (they're being
graded at the end of the quarter on completed, revised work) and so far they have
been better than the work they've done in the past. That's a good thing. I'm still
getting used to this whole
numeric grading system.
I really like letters. There's less slicing up of a grade. What's the difference
between a 3.7 and a 3.8? It's going to be an interesting thing to learn and get
used to. I have to have grades done by next Monday. So, it shouldn't take too long
to get through a stack of twenty folders. That doesn't mean I'm not resistant and
whiny about it. Fortunately, I don't have to make any substantive comments, which
should speed things up.
Then I can look forward to a couple of weeks of (relative) peace. Then the next quarter
begins on January 3. Back to the grindstone, folks. I am currently signed up for
two theory-based seminars (yes, yes, don't hit me) that promise to include a bit more
literature. I'm taking ENGL535A: Introduction to Postcolonial Studies and ENGL541:
Posthuman Narratives: Technicity and Ethnicity, which has now been dubbed "the robot
class." I'm taking the PoCo class because my director recommended it that I take it
and I probably could use some formal exposure to post-colonial theory; supposedly
we're going to be reading a novel or two but the current course description is
lacking. The "Technicity and Ethnicity" class is with my would-be advisor, Tom Foster,
a new hire in the department, and the course description looks very eclectic and
This course will be organized around a particular critical question: how can we
articulate racial and ethnic formations, histories, or political and intellectual
traditions with postmodern technoculture studies and its claims about the increasing
technological mediation of embodiment in general within the contemporary media ecology?
We will be interested both in understanding, critiquing, and redressing the relative
lack of attention to questions of race within technoculture studies, while also
considering the critical potential for work on race and ethnicity of the kinds of
cultural changes associated with new media and communications technologies. The course
will situate popular narratives and speculations about an emergent “posthuman”
condition alongside postmodern critiques of humanist and liberal subjectivity. The
readings for the course will be drawn from cyberpunk and post-cyberpunk science
fiction, with a particular focus on interventions by writers of color, along with
the responses of multicultural writers to new technologies and technocultural
narratives. While the primary focus will be on American writers, we will include
readings that open out onto global and post-colonial formations. Key critical texts
for the course might include N. Katherine Hayles, How We Became Posthuman; Paul
Gilroy, Against Race; Lisa Nakamura, Cybertypes; and Troy Duster, Backdoor to
Eugenics; along with essays by Donna Haraway, Stuart Hall, Harryette Mullen,
Philip Brian Harper, Wendy Chun, Emily Apter, Alexander Weheliye, Hans Moravec,
and Andy Clark. Fictional texts will most likely be chosen from the following
list (please note we will not be reading all of these texts): Samuel R. Delany,
Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand; Octavia Butler, Dawn; Gwyneth Jones, White
Queen; John Wright, The Golden Age; Geoff Ryman, Air; Bruce Sterling, Distraction;
Ishmael Reed, Flight to Canada; Gerald Vizenor, Hotline Healers: An Almost Browne
Novel; Guillermo Gomez-Pena, The New World Border and/or Dangerous Border-Crossers;
Colson Whitehead, The Intuitionist; Ruth L. Ozeki, My Year of Meats; along with
stories by Ted Chiang, Mary Soon Lee, Nalo Hopkinson, Nisi Shawl, Jonathan Lethem,
Paul Di Filippo, Charles Stross, and Cory Doctorow. We will spend some time on
visual culture, possibly including films like The Matrix and Greg Pak’s Robot
Stories, graphic novels such as the Transmetropolitan series, and some examples
of new media art by Alex Rivera and/or the Mongrel collective. We will probably
also spend some time on music, using Paul D. Miller/DJ Spooky’s book (and CD)
Wow. That's all I can say. Maybe I'll get a PhD project out of the class. That would
"can't sleep in the city of neon and chrome"
Neighboraruckus! If there was an Unforgivable Curse that made your neighbors
act like jackasses and wake you up at all hours of the night and give you no peace
during the day to think (much less watch television), then someone's cursed me
over and over and over and over again. Since the reports over the last few months
about my neighbors, things have not gotten any better, really. My downstairs
neighbor tortures and titillates me now and then with loud sex. But the real
culprits are my upstairs neighbors, who chronically disturb and frustrate me. I
thought things were going to be better when one of the guys upstairs moved out --
he was the loud one, the one that like to play music at full blast at all hours --
but it only removed the most obvious problem. Alas, the situation did not go away
completely. Damnit. That's the peril of living beneath a group of young men
who spend most of their leisure time smoking, drinking, cavorting, and hanging out
with other young adults who do exactly the same thing. (I am turning into a crotchety
old man. I've said this before.) I have done my best in the past to head up
there and let them know when they're bothering me (usually when they're cardboard
box surfing or blasting anything through their massive subwoofer) and they quit.
But these encounters have not taught them, in the
sense, that perhaps they should think before being rude. Inconsideration due to
ignorance is no excuse.
Most recently, during this past weekend of paper writing
hell, they had a party that lasted well into the night. Not only did they not
warn me (or invite me), they got louder as the night progressed. I actually
went to bed around 10 PM, turned on my little fan (for white noise) to high, buried
myself in my blankets, and managed to doze off. They woke me up a couple of times.
But at 1:30 AM, the dreaded karaoke started. Off-key singing, AMPLIFIED, at the
top of their lungs is not fun. I went upstairs and it took me nearly twenty minutes
to get them to come to the door (since they couldn't hear me knocking or ringing the
bell). Mind you, I have no idea what they were singing but someone was shouting
"I HAVE DRUGS AND I'M GOING TO SMOKE IT WHEN I GET HOME!" over and over again
to the music. That's smart. Finally, when I get the door to open, I talked to
the neighbors and asked them to keep it down. Their first response was, "You have
to work tomorrow?" I said, "Yes, in fact, I do. School waits for no one." But,
what the hell? Whether I have to work on Saturday or not, being offensively loud
at any time is not acceptable. I asked them to cool it. They hedged. HEDGED. It
was the first time they intimated that they weren't going to stop (because,
ostensibly, they were having too much fun and it was the weekend and a single
sleepy guy can't stop a majority from having fun). So, I responded, "Look, you do
what you gotta do. I'll do what I gotta do. I can only ask you to keep it down."
And I left. Well, they turned it down from 11 to 10. And half an hour later, at
around 2:15 AM, I called the landlords and left them an official complaint. Then
I managed to fall asleep out of sheer exhaustion.
Now, I must say that I have been resisting calling the landlords because they are
very quick to overreact. Very quick. And I knew that calling them would precipitate
a chain of events that I wasn't really ready for. (Calling the police does no
good, really, and tends to draw resources away from more important things, I think.)
So, I get a call the next day from my landlords, who leave me a message. And they
say that the neighbors have been warned and told that if they keep it up they'll
be given notice to leave. So, zero to scary in less than sixty seconds. I don't
want anyone to be kicked out. I just want respect. I just want understanding.
But, hopefully, that will cool things down. I hate calling in "the man." Of course,
the never next night, the apartment was quiet. I had finished working on my paper.
I went to bed. But at 3 AM, the guy whose room is right above me comes home
with some people and proceeds to listen to weird wailing guitar music. Of course,
it wakes me up. I was not pleased. I didn't call the landlords, though. I could
have. But I heard them smoking on their balcony and just called up for him to
turn it off, which he did. Why, why, why? I'm cursed.
"a lovable, droll geek"
One thing that I hope to work on during my break between quarters is seeing if I can
find the gaming community in Seattle. Like San Francisco, Seattle does not seem to have
a very apparent role-playing game scene. I don't even know if there's a gaming store
in the city. But I'd like to get a group together and play
Tellings again. I very much
miss gaming. It's a favorite hobby. I also have to finish the final, final revisions
to the rulebook. All in good time. In the meantime, I've been playing a lot of
WoW. A lot. But it's
fun and diverting and lets me get my mind off of stress, school, crappy neighbors,
"it's not that kind of movie, honey"
So far, the late year movie season has been quite fun and promising. I rarely have time
to go to the movies (or rarely have anyone to go to the movies with -- since I hate going
to the movies alone). The first movie I ever watched in the theatres here in Seattle was
March of the Penguins.
Then months went by.
But since then, I've seen
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,
which was rushed but very fun. Everyone's growing up so fast! They're all kind of cute.
(Stanislav Ianevski) is still my favorite -- way hot. (Everyone seems to be for Cedric,
who was cute, but I like them a little rougher-looking.) I was very much entertained by the
film, and it was visually beautiful. (I saw it twice, actually.) Again, it was packed
with plot and the tournament that there was little room for much else; the extended
version might play out the drama between Harry and Ron and Hermione a little more. My
favorite line is still: "Boys!" All those teenage emotions and hormones and hetero-
and homo-erotics flying all over the place.
Too cute. The death of Cedric hit me
much harder in the film than it did int he book; I think simply because the film
actually lets you see him and "interact" with him more. The end with Voldemorte and
returning from the maze was powerful. It leads me to wonder: first, if they'll actually
finish out the series with all of the young actors getting older, and second, whether
the fifth movie will be too hard to do since it is so dark, so angsty, so traumatic
that it might not make for an appropriate "kids" film. Who knows?
I hope they do.
I need to keep having my Harry Potter fix.
The second movie I saw was
RENT. I went with
some school friends, one of which -- Jason -- is a real afficionado. I liked the film.
I was entertained. I think everyone did a good job. But there was something weird about it.
I saw the Broadway show a few years ago, and I think the film captured the spirit of the show.
But there's something about how a rock opera translates to the screen that is weird. I
think it was the cutting from song to song without much ligature, without much transition
(like it would happen in a stage show) that seemed too artificial. Musicals are artificial
to begin with, but the movie just seemed too choppy. They tried to frame the movie with
the opening number "on a stage" and then with Mark's documentary. They should've done more
of that. I still liked it and will probably go
see it again. I particularly liked the
numbers "La Vie Boheme" and "Take Me or Leave Me" and "Tango: Maureen" and Jesse L. Martin's
performance in general. I have been listening to the soundtrack for days now. (In fact,
if you haven't noticed, my recap of the past months is subtitled with song lyrics.)
I am looking forward to going to see Ang Lee's new film
which looks really good and really hot. Who can say no to
Heath Ledger-on-Jake Gyllenhaal
action? The previews make me all sad and gushy. My friend Tyler, who got to see it
already (the bastard), says it's really amazing, really beautiful, and tasteful. He
says the chemistry of the cast is spot on. I'm so excited. Plus, I really like
Anne Hathaway and Michelle Williams. (All people the gays love to love.) Hopefully,
I'll get to see Brokeback Mountain this weekend. I also want to go see
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,
which will probably be so-so (plus it's got one of the infamous Edmunds in literature that
I can never live down). I also want to see
Aeon Flux, which is probably
just all eye candy and that's fine by me. I also want to see
The Producers --
yay, another musical! I love the end of the year as studios try to cram in some good
films for the Oscars race. I'm sure there are movies that I need to catch up on that are
now out on DVD. Maybe I'll actually get a chance to see them.
"christmas bells are ringing / somewhere else
/ not here"
That's that. I think that's most of it. Any pertinent details have either been
forgotten or omitted to protect the guilty (and the innocent). All I have now is to
get through this last week. I have training to go to on Wednesday and Friday (blah)
because I'm teaching my class in a CIC (Computer Integrated Classroom) next quarter.
It'll probably be really boring, but the experience is good for my CV. I also have to
finish grading. Then, I am free for sure. At least for two weeks.
I am not going back East for the holidays. A) I dislike the airline industry so much
that I avoid flying whenever possible. B) I dislike flying even moreso during the holiday
season. C) I am poor, poor, poor. So, I figure I should spend at least one holiday
season and New Year's here in Seattle. I really miss folks back East, particularly my
father and my sister. But I'll manage. I've been invited to a couple of houses for
holiday stuff (the benefit of being a holiday orphan). So, that'll be fun and nice.
Later this week, I'm going to see my friend Sydney perform in a burlesque show, then
make my return to Neighbours, and hold the third
Guerilla Queer Bar Seattle
on Friday night. Even without school, I'm busy, busy, busy.
Hope everyone has a great holidays! Best wishes!
read footnotes |
• • •
"i wish i could quit you" | saturday | december 17, 2005 | 4:24 pm
NG LEE IS THE BEST. The bomb. The shit.
The whole sandwich and a bag of chips. He really is one of my favorite directors (at least
when it comes to dramas). He has a certain pace, patience, grace that I really enjoy
in his films. (Granted, I have not seen
Hulk, but I gather it
is a departure from his usual films.) If you haven't guessed by now, I just got back
My friend Jason from school and I went to see it. The theatre was packed. We sat in the
second-to-front row. But it was all right. My god, what an experience. Both of us knew
we would be bawling our eyes out by the end of the movie. It's beautiful. Very sad.
Touching, nostalgic, brooding, a little violent, and awkward. But the pieces add up
without having to sum up (as
Homi Bhabha once argued).
I like that the film is imperfect, yearning, and a little bit broken like its characters.
I haven't read the Annie Proulx short story. I'll have to track it down. I think
both Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal carry their characters well and there is definitely
chemistry there; Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway are also very good (plus you get to
see them in a whole different way than their Dawson's Creek or Princess Diaries days).
Whoa. Of course, now I'm completely depressed and weepy and bemoaning my own lovelorn
state. I have more to say about the film, but I'll let people get a chance to watch it
first. Go see it. In droves. The movie, like I said, isn't perfect -- nor is the picture
it paints of queerness -- but it's worth the last 45 minutes and the very last shot of
the film. Beautiful. Totally Ang Lee. I love it.
read footnotes |
• • •
"happy birthday to you" | wednesday | december 21, 2005 | 11:00 am
APPY BIRTHDAY TO MY SISTER, ALENDA. I hope
the day treats her well and she gets lots of fun presents. I'm sorry I'm not back
east to celebrate it with her and to see her for the holidays. But my thoughts and
love are always there in spirit.
Happy winter solstice or yule, too!
• • •
"winter cleaning" | thursday | december 22, 2005 | 8:35 am
O MUCH FOR SLEEPING IN.
No matter what time I go to bed, I always somehow wake up somewhere between 6:45 AM and
7:30 AM. My internal chronometer is pretty assiduous, which is a good thing, I think.
But it does make it difficult to actually sleep the morning away when I want to.
I usually can turn over and roll back into sleep, but not for very long. I am just
a morning person. As soon as it gets light out, which for a Seattle winter means
a dully grey versus black grey, my body wants up. I figure since there isn't much
daylight these days (though now that the solstice has passed and days are getting longer)
I might as well be up to enjoy as much of it as possible. (Hell, today's sunrise
was 7:55 AM and sunset will be 4:20 PM.) I don't mind really.
I have been enjoying my first week off from school. I know that I have to get back
into the swing of things come next week. (Yet another reason not to totally screw up
my sleep cycle. The winter quarter isn't that far off.) The past week has been
seeing people before they took off for whatever corner of the world they were headed
for the holidays. For myself, Seattle is my corner.
Last week was finals week for
UW. Fortunately, I did not
have any finals. I finished my papers for my classes relatively early and turned
them in at the start of the week (to get them out of my hands and my life). Monday
morning was spent hanging out in my office for my last hours of the quarter waiting
for my students to turn in their final portfolios. All of them came. All of them
turned in their work. Then I tried to go to a "grading party" with some friends,
but that did not last long.
Tuesday of last week was dedicated to the
norming session, where all of the new TAs brought 3 sample portfolios and we sat
in a big computer lab and graded sets of papers and logged them in a database to
see what the grade distributions were like. What I was confirmed for me was that
I am a pretty hard grader. There were portfolios where my grade was very close
to other people's grades. But there were portfolios where my grades were significantly
different. For example, someone gave a set of papers a 3.7 (A-) and I gave them
a 2.6 (B-) and the tie-breaker gave them a 3.3 (B+). Letter grades are so much
easier since there aren't many, many slivers of possible grades. I mean a B- is
not a bad grade, but a 2.6 seems horribly low. I can only see the numeric
system encouraging grade inflation. So, about four hours was spent to grading.
Each portfolio needed to be graded twice, which means each of us had to grade
about six to get the whole kit-and-kaboodle done. I managed to grade 11 and 2
tie-breakers. Crazy. But I've had a lot of practice.
Tuesday night, I went over to my friend Deborah's apartment (she lives on the
other side of Capitol Hill in a fancy loft space with fantastic windows). She
was having a little holiday gathering--baking cookies, watching
Elf, and drinking
a mulled wine recipe from Sweden. It was very low key. A handful of
people came over. I made some holiday sangria. Cookies were eaten.
Drinks were imbibed. Elf was viewed. I had fun. Then I was very, very sleepy (as wine
tends to do to me) and walked home in the fog.
The rest of the week would have been spent away from school, but alas, I had
training (yes, training) to attend on Wednesday and Friday afternoons. I'm
teaching 131 next quarter in a
Computer Integrated Classroom
(CIC). So, the handful of us in CIC needed to be oriented and shown how to
use the rooms. The trainings were all right and it will be interesting to
work in the computer classrooms. It's also good for my CV. Fortunately, CIC
is arranged so that one day of the week you're using computers and the other day
of the week is in a traditional seminar room. I do not like teaching solely
in a computer classroom. So, that's a good thing. Hopefully, it'll be a good
class. But now I have a ton of stuff to do to get ready to teach in CIC. That's
for next week.
Most of the end of the week should have been dedicated to grading, but I goofed off
a lot instead. I've been playing a lot of
WoW. I even played a
little of the new
Dungeons & Dragon's Online stress
test to see what the game was like; I'm not sure I like DDO, but I will wait to
pass final judgement once I have seen the release version. Thursday night, I met
up with my friends Pacheree and Arnie and went to dinner at the
Elysian Brewing Co. Pub
(1221 E Pike St.) in Capitol Hill. We had some good beer and some very tasty
fish and chips. Afterwards, we walked up the street to
Chop Suey (1325 E. Madison), a
little club and live-music venue often populated by hipster gay men, to see a holiday
burlesque show called a "Twirly Burly Christmas" put on by the troupe
BurlyQ. Our friend Sydney,
AKA Ginger Snaps, was performing in the show as a special guest. We met up with
other people like our friends Emily C., Deborah, Cat, David, and Jason. It was my
first burlesque show ever, and it was totally fun. The numbers were very funny
and sexy and whimsical. Of course, there was much drinking and frivolity. After
the show, some of us walked down to
Neighbours for some
dancing of our own; it was 80s night after all. I was supposed to meet up with
some other friends from school (but they never showed up). Fortunately, I ran into
my club buddies, whom chastised me for disappearing. It was good to see Chris
and Derek and folks. Oh, what a night! (But, no juicy details, though).
Friday was relatively uneventful, though I did manage to finish grading and turn
my grades in. I went to part two of my CIC training (a little hungover). Then
Friday night was the third
Guerilla Queer Bar Seattle
Fado Irish Pub
(801 1st Avenue, Pioneer Square). I got down there a little too early, stood around
watching all the fraternity and sorority and financial banker types staring at me,
and nursed a Guinness till others showed up. (Though, the bartenders were really nice
to me, since I clearly did not look like I was part of the usual crowd.) Alas, GQBS
was really, really small this month. Only a total of seven people showed up -- all of
them my friends. But we had fun nonetheless. We cornered a table. Our server was an
awesome woman. We watched the frater-soro-banker types going crazy. It was a total
meat market. One of the highlights of the evening was a group of "sorostitute" women
(who my friend Andrew was convinced were on E or something) who were all clinging on
one another, making out with each other (to the lascivious delight of the men around them),
and then making out with the guys nearby. It went too far when one of the girls, who
must have been 21 or 22, started making out with "Mr. Miyagi," an Asian gentleman probably
in his sixties. It was crazy. I think they were eventually shooed out for being too
drunk. The rest of the night was not as exciting after they left. Even the
cover band playing that night wasn't that good. But it was still fun. I got to hang
out with Andrew,
friend Megan, Calla, Son, and Christine (who stayed for like a split-second). There was
much laughing, chatting up the server, and of course, drinking.
Saturday continued the post-quarter romp. As per my
previous post, I went to see
on Saturday with my friend Jason. It was moving, haunting, beautiful, and painful all
at the same time. I am still going to withhold my thoughts till I get to see it again.
I think I am ready to see it again. Maybe tomorrow night. (I know, I'm a masochist
when it comes to melodramas about queer cowboys.) Saturday night, a friend of mine
from Neighbours invited me out to his housewarming; he and a friend just moved
up the street from my place. I invited Andrew to come with. We started the evening
with a few drinks at my house and then walked up to Chris H.'s apartment. When we got
there, people were already well into their cups. It was a cool gathering of people.
There were all types, a few on the geeky side (which is a good thing). Then the party
got too loud and the landlord (one that clearly cares about the building) shut it down.
We all moved to the nearby
More drinks were had. By closing time, I too was well into my cups. Andrew, myself,
and two women (one of which Andrew befriended) came back to my place for a nightcap.
Eventually, around 3 AM, I was beat and sent them home. Andrew was a litte miffed at
me for calling the night over, but he got over it.
Sunday was spent being totally quiet and chill and restful.
Monday was pretty quiet, too. In fact, now that I don't have a ton of work to do and
I'm not stressed out of my mind, my neighbors have been very quiet. Ironic, huh? I hope
it stays this way for the rest of my lease. I knock on wood. Monday night, Jason and
I went out to see
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
The night before, I read the book to refresh my memory. I forgot how short it was and
how much of a children's story it is. But still fun (albeit christological). I really
liked the film. It was very entertaining. I thought it was pretty true to the book.
I liked the characters, the animals, the witch, and the end battle was very cool. The
CGI was really well done (except for the one part where they used green screen and it looked
terrible). The kid who plays Peter (William Moseley) will be very cute when he gets older.
Edmund (Skandar Keynes) was cute, too, but I always have issues with him since I'm named
similarly and he's such a snotty jerk (which caused me frustration when I was younger).
Of course, in order to not be such a perv, I really liked Mr. Tumnus (James McAvoy),
who's very cute. (I guess it's kind of pervy to like a faun.) And
the centaur isn't so bad either. It was a fun movie (not Lord of the Rings, mind you, as
so many people have been trying to make the comparison).
Tuesday was quiet as well. Then, Tuesday night, I took the #43 to the #66 bus to get
to my friend Andrew's place in
which is east of Green Lake. I hadn't been to his house yet, plus he wanted to take
me out to dinner for the holidays before he left the area to see his family. It was
a very wet day. I made it to his house, which is really nice. I wish I lived in a
little detached house (except not so far out in the Seattle burbs). It was nice and
quiet. We sat, drank wine, and talked about the quarter, about break, and about
next quarter. Then we walked down to
Pies and Pints
(1215 NE 65th Street) for dinner. We had yummy meat pies and beer. It was pretty good,
though the pies are a little small for the price. We got to chatting with the bartender,
the server, even the cook. We played pool, we ate, we drank, and had a lot of fun.
Andrew and I get into all sorts of adventures together. We actually ended up closing the
bar and staying with the staff after hours hanging out and drinking and goofing off.
It was a good, good night. Andrew even put me in a cab to get me safely home.
Wednesday was more of the same. I probably should start doing something useful
with my time. Though I get up early, I don't do much. I just hang out at home,
play on the computer, and otherwise do mindless things. But I can worry about school
stuff next week, right? Wednesday night, last night, Jason and I went out to the
movies again -- third time in a week -- to see
Aeon Flux, which was pretty much
brain candy and fluff. It was all right. Stylish, with a couple of good sequences.
Plus, it's got
Jonny Lee Miller, who
isn't aging as beautifully as he could. Maybe it's just the character. It was fun.
Now it's the weekend again, a holiday weekend at that. This holiday orphan will be going
over to a couple of friends' houses for dinners and such. It'll be nice, relaxed,
and hopefully fun and warm. I look forward to eating good food and getting to know
some of my Seattle friends a bit more. Tonight, Thursday night, is of course a
Neighbours night -- though it's raining cats and dogs out right now -- so I'll probably
venture out on the town on my own. Maybe I'll run into some people I know or maybe
I'll run into some people who want to get to know me. It's time for more adventures!
What do you think?
read footnotes |
• • •
last month |