"i know what you did last year" | sunday | january 1, 2006 | 11:01 am
APPY NEW YEAR!
I will begin with the usual exclamations and protestations that I cannot believe
another year has rattled by and that I am astonished by how fast things seem to be
going. Tempus fugit and all that. I am usually prone to abyss-like
introspection during this time of year (though it would be more accurately called
this time between years), and this time is no exception. But, I think I have been
so busy and caught up with the trials and discombobulations of my move to Seattle,
my first quarter at
UW, and just trying to
catch my breath before the new quarter starts (on Jan. 3, if you must know) that I
haven't been able to get properly melancholic, wallowishly what-have-I-done-at-all
this go around. I recognize, of course, that certain traditions and expectations
must be maintained lest the universe collapse on itself (which might not necessarily
be a bad thing). So, I figured I would channel some of that neurotic energy into
something productive like a list. It's not the same as a pity party but the
universe deserves a right wobble these days. This list may become part of a new
tradition. Meme at will. It isn't exhaustive per se nor should it be treated as
a form of weights and balances, checks and minuses, but more of an exploration,
an accumulation, an adding without adding up (a phrase I keep borrowing from Homi
Bhabha). So, ta da.
1. I survived 2005.
2. I taught my 30th section of English 101 at the University of Maryland.
3. I taught my 2nd section of UNIV100 at UM.
4. I took my last semester of classes for my Master's in English.
5. I worked my last semester (and summer) as an academic advisor for the Division of
Letters and Sciences at UM.
6. I made some new friends at work, at school, and out on the town.
7. I went to DC's Guerilla Queer Bar (GQB) at The Pour House.
8. I went to Remingtons, a country-western gay bar in DC, for the first time and two-stepped
(badly) also for the first time.
9. I saw the movie White Noise.
10. I played the board game Spinergy for the first (and only time) at Nancy's,
for which I wrote the following haiku: "infinite bar tab / grapefruit squeezed
with cold vodka / hits me like a truck."
11. I went to my first hetero (meaning for men) strip bar/club called Nightshifts.
12. I attended a roundtable talk called "The Education Arcade" about game studies at UM.
13. I took a theory class on the intersections of race and sexuality.
14. I did an independent study on the writer Charles Williams.
15. I attended my friends' yearly Anti-Valentine's Day party (without partner) and
was captured on video phone singing about chest sizes to the tune of
"Don't Cry For Me, Argentina."
16. I did my best to keep the live-action role-playing game Archaea running and going.
17. I went to GQB at The Rhino Bar in DC.
18. I hung out a College Perk, traditionally on Sunday mornings.
19. I anxiously awaited responses to my PhD program applications.
20. I decided to use my paper "Birth of a Cyberqueer Manifesto" for my MA project after
changing my mind a few times beforehand.
21. I attended a great talk by Irshad Manji, who spoke about being queer and being Muslim.
I was rejected by UCLA first.
23. I was rejected by Berkeley.
24. I was rejected by UC Santa Cruz.
25. I was rejected by NYU.
26. I was rejected by USC.
27. I was rejected by UTexas.
28. I worked and revised my MA project paper.
29. I defend my MA project on April Fool's Day and passed.
30. I attended an interesting talk by Martin Manalansan about queer studies and
31. I was accepted by the University of Washington, but was given no funding for my
32. I hemmed and hawwed but finally decided to accept UW's offer and to find a way
to get out to Seattle and pay for school.
33. I attended College Perk's May Day party (for the second time in a row).
34. I jumped over a bonfire.
35. I turned 35.
36. I went to a "Sexo de Mayo" party on my birthday.
37. I ran and play a lot of Tellings.
38. I participated as a panelist at UM for the screening of the documentary
Dangerous Living, which is about being queer in the developing world.
39. I developed a pretty big crush on my friend Mike, who was unattainable.
40. I stressed a lot about a lot of different things.
41. I retired from running Archaea and ended the current campaign.
42. I played a lot of World of Warcraft.
43. I visited The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore (with Cate, Skinner, and Tig) for the
very first time.
44. I saw the movie The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and enjoyed it.
45. I managed to wheedle and win funding from UW to teach for the whole of my
46. I wrote my very last seminar paper for my Master's on the film Powder,
which brought closure to a whole trajectory in my grad school career.
47. I attended one of College Perk's infamous "singles nights" (and continued to
48. I went to GQB at Rumors in DC (in part for my birthday and proceeded to get
roaringly, puking-in-the-Metro drunk).
49. I barfed in the Fort Totten Metro station.
50. I graduated from the University of Maryland with a Master's in English.
51. I also attended the Lavender Graduation ceremony and reception at UM (to which
I should have also invited family and friends).
52. I went to an end-of-the-semester cum graduation party where I helped burn
a lot of 101 student papers.
53. I completed my 26th pen-and-paper journal.
54. I watched and enjoyed Star Wars: Revenge of the Jedi.
55. I witnessed my friends Ryan and Tina get married.
56. I completely redesigned my website.
57. I watched a lot of CSI.
58. I went to late night at Franklin's in Maryland a lot (with my friend Margaret
59. I went to GQB at Fado Irish Pub in DC.
60. I went to my friend Nancy's "couchwarming" party.
61. I visited Seattle for the second time ever in July to look for a place to live.
62. I saw the Space Needle.
63. I spent 4th of July in Seattle and watched fireworks over the city from an
overpass on I-5.
64. I got sick with the plague.
65. I ran a really complex, overly-produced, but inestimably fun three-session
Call of Cthulhu game.
66. I went to my last (for now) GQB at Madam's Organ in DC.
67. I attended the requisite Big Gay Mansion party in DC hosted in part by my
68. I welcomed my sister Alenda home from a year spent abroad in Taiwan.
69. I watched the movie Bewitched.
68. I met a really hot mathematician.
69. I saw the movie Batman Begins.
70. I taught a three-week instensive summer class for the STEP (Scholastic Transitions
Educational Program) for L&S.
71. I signed a lease for an apartment in the Kahala Building in Capitol Hill in Seattle.
72. I packed up my life into little boxes, into bigger boxes, into one big
box to be shipped across the country.
73. I launched my scholarly blog Queer View Mirror.
74. I cut 278 books from my collection for the move.
75. I moved across the country to Seattle.
76. I cried.
77. I explored a lot of bars in Seattle and got drunk a lot at those bars with new
friends like Deb and Steven.
78. I met my noisy upstairs neighbors.
79. I went on the "booze cruise" called "I Sunk Your Battleship" in Seattle.
80. I attended the 35th annual Bumbershoot arts festival in Seattle.
81. I saw Dashboard Confessional in concert.
82. I got my Washington State driver's license.
83. I saw March of the Penguins.
84. I met Laura, who is the best friend of my friend, Jess.
85. I hung out with my friend Dustin from SF, who came to visit for a long weekend.
86. I saw the Fremont Troll.
87. I attended the two-week English 131 new TA training and met a lot of great people.
88. I started my first quarter (yes, the quarter system is evil) at UW taking a
seminar on teaching composition and a seminar on sexuality and national
89. I started a regular "happy hour" with grad school friends on Thursday nights
at the College Inn Pub in Seattle.
90. I went to "An Evening of Men's Fashion," which was a show of a grad art student's
91. I started Guerilla Queer Bar Seattle (GQBS) and our first event was at
92. I went to a couple of live shows with my friend Melanie, who loves emo way more
93. I saw Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire twice.
94. I saw RENT.
95. I saw one of my colleague's penis.
96. I visited Anacortes, rode the ferry, and hung out on Lopez Island (part of the
San Juan Islands north of Seattle) with my friend Eric, who came up to visit
97. I saw Brokeback Mountain twice and cried both times.
98. I went to my first queer burlesque show.
99. A very cute guy hit on me, gave me his number, and has yet to call me back.
100. I spent the holidays in Seattle with friends from school, which was very nice.
101. I finished my first quarter of school and teaching at UW.
Obviously, there's more to it all. But the gist is there. So much. And so much more.
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• • •
"27 days of rain" | sunday | january 15, 2006 | 11:01 am
OOKS LIKE OUR STREAK OF RAIN MIGHT BE BROKEN. Sunday.
Day of sun. There was a little sun today, in fact. And any little bit of sun,
enough to light up a room, make the trees look warm and green, dry up a little pavement,
gives most Seattleans cause to say, "Today was such a nice day." Even if the rest of
the day was rainy. There is a tight economy of sunlight here, particularly since
it's rained every day fort he past 27 days. The record is 36 days in a row set back
in 1953. If it doesn't rain before midnight tonight, the streak will be broken, which
will be a crying shame. I mean if it's going to rain for days and days and days then
it might as well break a damned record! Here's to some precipitation tonight.
The past couple of weeks have been a blur. The new year began and with it the
new quarter and instantly I was back in the mix, in the surf, trying to find my
stride. Slowly, the comforts of routine are beginning to take the edge off.
But for how long? In ten weeks, I'll have a very short spring break and then
a new quarter will start. Who invented this maddening system and can he or she
be tried for war crimes or something?
Most of my time has been spent on school or being sick or both. Classes are going
well enough. I really like my posthuman narratives class. And my postcolonial theory
class is all right, too. So far I have just had a lot of reading to do. But some of
it has been quite fun, especially for the posthuman class. I forget -- a lot of the
time it seems -- that I really like reading literature. We're reading a lot of short
stories, sci-fi, even graphic novels. It pleases my inner geek. A lot. The postcolonial
class, of course, is all theory but interesting in a different way. The best thing about
this quarter is that both of my professors are new to the quarter system, too. And
both have scaled the work to a manageable load; it's still a lot to do, but I don't have
a ton of reading on top of response papers on top of end of the quarter seminar papers.
I only have two short, five- to six-page papers for my posthuman class and four three- to
four-page critique papers for my theory class. Not to bad.
I have already done my presentation for my postcolonial class last Thursday. The readings
for the week were
"Overlapping Territories, Intertwined Histories" (from Culture and Imperialism) and
Gayatri C. Spivak's
"Three Women's Texts and a Critique of Imperialism." I just had to come up with a
relaxed presentation of the texts ideas, situating them in our class's discussion, and
then come up with some provocations for the seminar. The week prior we had read some
Aime Cesaire and Frantz Fanon, who both were fans of the theatre. So, in that spirit,
I decided rather than a simple sheet of pertinent quotes, I would arrange the quotes in
a little one-act play called "He Said, She Spivak."
I think it went over pretty well. We did a little table read of the play and then
discussed my questions. I don't think my professor had quite seen anything like what
I came up with. It's a little nerdy, but I thought it was fun. The only hit was that
for some bizarre reason in my list of questions I used the name
instead of Spivak. We weren't even reading Kristeva. I have no idea where that
confusion came from. So now I'm convinced that some pro-Kristeva force was trying
to infiltrate my mind to some Kristevian agenda. Overlooking that snafu, I am done
with one requirement for the quarter. Now I just have all the little papers to
write, one of which is due this coming Wednesday.
My students this quarter are either sophomores or second quarter freshmen. They are
older and wiser and so different from my first-quarter freshmen. But, as with most
composition students, they are entirely too apathetic and resistant to a class
that not only is a requirement but also challenges them on fronts they would rather
keep neatly unbothered. So, the task of chipping away at eighteen or so years of
dominant ideology begins. My class is far more gender balanced this quarter, but it
is skewed in an entirely different way -- nearly half of the class is Asian. I have
already encountered a bit of dismay over the kinds of cultural critiques we're
doing in class. A student has already written in a short paper one of the most
racist things I have seen in a long while. But this is the work that I do and love.
Hopefully, they'll come around and I won't go crazy with frustration in the process.
Teaching in the Computer Integrated Classroom has been good so far. Tuesdays we are
in a regular seminar room. Thursdays we are in the computer lab. It's an interesting
mix of pedagogical strategies. For example, in the computer lab there is no
central desk or teacher's podium (in that whole decentered classroom thing), so
I tend to walk around the room a lot more while talking. It's been a good experience
so far. I am hoping to find ways to employ the technology in useful and relevant
The rest of the past weeks, like I said, I've spent being sick. I'm sure it started
off as allergies, probably to mold and mildew (yay, dampness). Then it metamorphed
into the upper-respiratory creeping crud that has been going around -- sinus pain,
stuffiness, swollen glands, sore throat, congestion. After a week and a half of
yuckiness, I actually took myself in to UW's health center, which was very nice, just
to make sure I didn't have strep or something. The doctor said it was the viral thing
everyone had and that it seemed particularly lingering this winter. I really hope
my body adjusts to the ecology of Seattle so that I don't have to go through
this every rainy winter. Just as things seemed to be getting better, I had a bought
with some forty-eight hour flu-ey thing. I'm not a hundred percent, yet, but I hope
to get there soon. I don't do lingering yuckiness.
The one good thing about being back in the quarter is that I get to be reunited with
my school chums again. Winter break was very quiet. Not quite solitary. I had a
couple of very nice, very filling dinners over friends' houses -- Christmas Eve with
Emily C. and the gang, Christmas Day with Jason M. and friends (after which a group
of us decided to go out dancing and drink too much). New Year's Eve started at my
apartment for some gumbo and starter drinks (including the ever popular Golden Girls
Drinking Game). Then the party moved to
Chop Suey for their
"New Year's Sleeze" party. It was a fun drunken night (even though half of our group,
mainly the women, left to go to a lesbian bar and never came back). I drank
entirely too much, danced a lot, and even got to smooch on a cute, punky kid (and
I mean kid) at midnight. The cute, punky kid invited me back to his and his friends'
hotel for a post-party, but I decided discretion and the need for sleep was more
important. Since the start of the winter quarter, we've had a couple of Thursday pub
nights (always fun), an "international foods" night at my friend Pacheree's house,
"Alice B. Toklas" themed
birthday party for Deborah K. (complete with Toklas's famous, special brownies).
It's been good to be around fun, happy, familiar people again.
Now, I just have to get over this icky illness, get through my reading, write my first
papers, and balance out a few things in my world. Then I'll be much, much better.
Till next time. Adieu.
read footnotes |
• • •
"year of the dog" | sunday | january 29, 2006 | 11:01 am
INALLY THE DOG GETS HIS DAY. Well, at least, I hope
this dog gets his day. Happy Lunar New Year! Happy Chinese New Year! Whatever you
want to call it. I have a ton going on (as usual). My sister Alenda flew in yesterday
afternoon. I made a ton of Chinese dumplings. Many, many people came over bearing
food and drink. It was a great evening. Recap to follow. The week will be busy with
school, hanging out with my sister, walking around the city, and hopefully seeing the
sun once in a while.
For now, here are some projections for the Year of the (Red Fire) Dog:
"The Dog is rich in Chinese history and tradition. Whether shown guarding ancient Buddhist temples or
depicted as protector of sacred buildings and a defender of law, the Dog is known for it's
loyalty, tenacity and watchfulness. Many times displayed in a powerful guarding position, the
Dog was the protector of peace and serenity in the sanctuary it was guarding.
"The year of the Yang Dog teaches the lessons of watchfulness, defense of the weak and fair
play. International justice will be the order of the year. Causes, protests and the righting
of wrongs defines Dog years. Out of intense complexities, intense simplicities emerge.
"What to avoid in 2006:
- Guilt-trips (would have/ should have/ could have's)
- Pity-parties (I'll just sit here in the dark by myself)
- Pride ("cutting off one's nose to spite the face")
- Hanging on to dead-end anything (from relationships to clutter)
- Excessive worrying
- Panic (and it's ugly sisters -- anxiety and worry)
"What to hold on to in 2006:
- A cause or special purpose
- Old friends who have stood the test of time
- Your Principles
- The Family Circle
"The Dog year and those under it's influence are protectors of morals and defenders of the
weak. Causes, revolutions and human-rights are on the agenda for the Dog year. The watchful
Dog keeps us one step ahead of those who would harm us. However, while a single dose of
anticipation is healthy, a double dose can be toxic and result in paranoia, expecting problems
around every corner and jumping to conclusions throughout 2006.
"Parents can expect to pull their offspring out of a scuffle or two this year. In like
kind, these same parents may have to exercise herculean self-control at the workplace when
the office bully flexes their muscles. Loyalty in relationships becomes more important than
ever this year and best results are achieved by taking the high road in any given situation.
Best results are acheieved when worry is transformed into advance thinking and planning."
For those born under Dog: "2006 brings a period of growth and development. Steps taken this
year will set the stage for the next two years and lead to noticeable improvements. The
time can be spent usefully redistributing assets or reorganizing expenditures. The astral
climate dips somewhat during the Ox-ruled month of JAN and a bit of caution is in order. It's
all work and no play for a while as your workload gathers momentum. The financial benefits
from this come as a lovely surprise next month. FEB's Tiger-ruled month combined with the
energies of the New Dog Year make for a 4 star month! If every Dog has their day, then
2006 will indeed be yours. Enjoy!"
"Paradoxically the year of the Dog will bring happiness and dissent in the same boat. The
Dog's domestic auspices will bring harmony to home life, patriotism to one's country and
unwavering fealty to whatever cause you wish to support.
"On the other hand, his rigid willpower and unbending sense of justice will also lead to
major confrontations with the weaker side getting the upper hand. It is a year in which
controversial issues will be awarded a hearing and unconventional but effective changes
will be introduced. Equality and liberty will be advocated by the Dog's noble influence.
"We will become more idealist in our views, shedding some materialism by doing charitable
acts or otherwise championing some worthy projects, It is a year in which we will shift
away from the pursuit of the almighty dollar and become a little more reflective. A perfect
time to reassess our sense of values, polish up our virtues and go on crusades against
tyranny and oppression.
"In spite of the Dog's dismal outlook, he brings stability because people do not usually
date to challenge his authority when they see how intent he is on keeping the peace.
The year of the Metal Dog is more feared than others as he is said to bring war and calamity.
"Needless to say, the Dog's resoluteness and intensity will cause clashes, upheavals
and rebellions of all sorts, but it will be his good sense and largess that will also
smooth things out in the end. His unselfishness will predispose us to be more bighearted
than we normally are.
"This will also be a year in which we will wish we could relax more without the cynical
Dog constantly casting worries on our minds. Then again, perhaps it will be the Dog's
ever-watchful eye that will be the main force in keeping this time calm.
"Aside from this feeling of uneasiness, there should be no cause for alarm. We can go about
our business as usual since the Dog makes the perfect sentry.
"The Dog's year will lend integrity to our intentions and make us act in good faith.
Nothing should concern us so long as we stick to the righteous path.
"HEALTH: One should try to view life from a different angle and perhaps instigate a new approach
to living that could lead to a soul-searching journey. Hopefully with an inquisitive mind, one
should be able to find certain answers at an early stage. The physical body will suffer pain
and agony under stress, fatigue or exhaustive conditions together with lack of rest, unless
one heeds certain early warning signs. Ignoring such signs could eventually lead to
more complicated symptoms at a later stage.
"LUCK: One's good intentions could easily be mistaken followed by an accusation that one
might live to regret at a later stage. Hence be wise and only respond when asked. During
the year, there could be quite a lot of "back stabbing scenario", either due to sheer
jealously or intent to jeopardize one's career or reputation. Those dealing in the
property or share markets are facing a very challenging time and it is certainly not
suitable for the faint-hearted type. One could be disappointed by the reward at the end
of the day despite an aggressive approach. A word of caution, "Try not to overdo things
merely to impress others", for whatever the motive, it will be exposed sooner than you think.
"MONEY: Good news from afar is certainly going to cause some delight and excitement to a
few, especially those that have been waiting for quite a long time. Do take things one
step at a time and digest the facts and figures thoroughly before committing to any form
of contract or agreement. One should lay low rather than showing off one's possessions,
for you never know what others' intentions could be. Do remember that money does not grow
on trees and one has to earn it through one's industrious effort. Achieving such success
is not easy and the individual has every right to be proud of such a moment.
"ROMANCE: Lovers' quarrel might escalate to a higher level involving family members, friends
or colleagues. Things will not improve unless both parties are willing to calm down, come
to their senses and discuss the issue like grown ups. A large part of the problem is due
to pride and concern over one's personal feelings. For single parents or those unattached,
one is quite occupied with various social activities that one does not have immediate
thoughts for establishing a new relationship at the moment. As long as one does not rush
into it, provided one believes in faith, letting destiny take its own course."
read footnotes |
• • •
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