"the day before the ides of march" | tuesday | march 14, 2006 | 8:56 am
REALLY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO SAY TODAY.
I've been lax. Very lax. And my poor website has lapsed into sporadic paragraphs of
vague mumblings sprinkled with the occasional hurried recap of something or another.
I have just been way too consumed with other distractions (read: school, school, and
WoW). I need to make
sure to be better about things, other things. Till then, there are some fun and
funny things you can look at over at my LJ:
google image meme,
engrish menu fun,
my johari window.
read footnotes |
• • •
"day one of spring break" | monday | march 20, 2006 | 10:49 pm
FFICIALLY, TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING BREAK.
I have been done with classes for a week now (last week was finals week), as well as
done with writing papers and grading as of last Wednesday. And I have been enjoying my
time off since. But today I had to wake up at a relatively usual time to head
to campus to turn in my grades for my students. They were due today by 10 AM. I could've
turned my grades in last week, but I was turning in a set for a friend as well
(and didn't get them till last night). Why bother with two trips when one will do?
So, now, I am on break--short as it will be.
Last week has been spent primarily just enjoying the unfetteredness of this limbo
time between quarters, which has always been vaguely disconcerting for me. I think
for others, too. My routine has been broken and I wake up a little disoriented.
What should I do with all of this time and opportunity? Last week I had some grand
plans, a couple of projects that I wanted to work on while I had some "Ed" time.
As completely nerdy as it sounds, I started the process of archiving and organizing
and filing all of the piles of essays, articles, photocopies, excerpts, stories,
and poems that I have collected over the years in (grad) school. My original
"system" was to keep them organized by course. However, the number of pieces of
paper have multiplied to the point that I can no longer remember accurately where
anything is or if I even have it. I've created a pretty simple spreadsheet
arranged by author but take into account fields like title, source, course,
term, folder location, and keywords. I archived just a set of nearly thirty articles
for my postcolonialism class of this past quarter. Now I just have to repeat the
process for dozens more. I won't get it all done over break, but I think it's a
good project to work on especially as I get closer and closer to my exams and
dissertation. Like I said, it's pretty nerdy but strangely satisfying to my
very Apollonian side.
My other projects have not fared so well. Though my desk is almost cleared off of the
great piles that have sedimented there over the weeks. My refrigerator actually has
stuff in it for once. But my goal of reorganizing my closets (again, totally dorky
lame but would really be nice) or solidly finishing the revisions to
Tellings are still
pending. Ah well. I have a little time left.
I am tired. I have been for weeks. I know it's in part because of the weather and
the chill. I know it's in part because of the wear of the quarter. But I also
know that I am not eating particularly well or wise as of late. I need to get back
on the ball there. I also know that I really need to find a way to get some
exercise back into my life. The walking around the city is a good thing, but even
that has been limited because of school and work and laziness.
I am also tired because of all the end of the quarter partying. Everyone's been ready
to just cut loose. Unfortunately, my friends have been ready at different times.
Last Wednesday, I went out with my friend Sydney to
The Wild Rose
(1021 E. Pike) and had a few drinks with the lesbians; she had wanted to do
karaoke but somehow we managed to just hang out, drink, and chat with people.
Last Thursday night a bunch of people and I went out to
80s night and dancing. We front-loaded at my place and then walked down to
the club. It was really fun to be out at Neighbours again, to dance, to see
my club friends, and to just be out. I forgot how much I really like going out.
That was a very drunken night that ended with going to QFC to buy food and
walking home in the wee, wee hours of the morning.
Then last Friday night, was St. Patrick's Day and also
Guerilla Queer Bar Seattle.
We went to an Irish pub in Wallingford called
(1928 N. 45th Ave @ Meridian). It was mad packed and crazy. Unfortunately,
very few people showed up for GQBS or were scared away by the crazy line, the
crowd, and the cover. So, it was myself, my friend Andrew, my friend Jay, and
my friend Jason for most of the night. I had a good time, though. It was super
straight and fratty and bourgie. But there were some damn fine guys there that
night. We bought overpriced pitchers from a really fun but trashed server and
sang drinking songs all night. I think it would have been totally more fun if
there had been a strong contingent of queers and queer friendlies at the bar.
This past weekend has been a little slower, but I still have managed to go out.
After three nights straight of drinking, the days have been spent pretty much just
relaxing, recovering, and hydrating. But last Saturday night, Jason and I met
up with some English folk at
(300 E. Pike Street), which I thought was nautical themed but turns out to be named
for some six-armed Indian goddess (probably
I only had a couple of drinks that night. I just couldn't take it anymore. Though,
after Six Arms, a contingent of folks walked up the street to
(707 E. Pine Street), but not before my friend Kevin and I stopped in at the
Manray. The Manray is
a trendy, futuristic, all-white (in more ways than one) gay video bar. It's not
very big, but it's swanky. The majority of men there are attractive, fashionable,
tall, and very mainstream. It's a place that I feel out-of-place and generally am
made to feel out-of-place because the guys there rarely pay me any mind. But Kevin
wanted to do something "all gay" for a little bit. It was fun people watching. And
then we went to Linda's. But I managed to make it an early night and went home around
Sunday was supposed to be a day dedicated to rest. Really. I ended up going to
the grocery store. Then I joined a group of friends on a trip to Edmonds (a town
north of Seattle) to
99 Ranch, an Asian supermarket
for some much needed supplies. Pacheree, Crystal, Christian, Michael and I ran
around the store talking about all the different kind of foods we liked or remembered
or wanted to try. Asian markets always remind me of shopping with my mother. And
seeing all the colorful packaging and out of the ordinary delicacies and products
really took me back to my childhood. It was a fun excursion and I managed not to
spend too much money. Sunday evening was spent in until Jay called and asked if I
wanted to meet up with him and another MFA student Zach and Zach's friend from out
of town. Of course, I went. We went to
The Comet Tavern,
a grungy, divey joint where a lot of live-music happens. Fortunately, Sunday
nights it was totally quiet and nearly empty. We played a little pool, talked
about school and art, and then had a late night snack at the Broadway Grill.
(I had met Zach before--he's been out to a GQBS and to grad pub--and I think
he's totally cute, though straight, and his friend Walker--a great name for an
artist--who is also totally cute, though straight.) Then home.
Today, the beginning of vacation, started a little slow. I didn't sleep very
well because my upstairs neighbor was being extra bumpy and thumpy in the middle
of the night; he kept waking me up. But I got up, got cleaned up, and as I said,
made my way up to school to drop off grades. I ran into a bunch of people also
turning in grades; it was nice to be on a very quiet campus. Then I went home,
played some WoW, and then made plans to do "something" to enjoy the much
coveted sunshine. Jay came down. Jason picked us up. And we decided to explore
the local geography. We made the decision to visit Georgetown (a little neighborhood
south of Seattle tucked in an industrial part of town), which is supposed to be
up-and-coming with tons of artists and new businesses and
We found it--at least the strip along S. Airport Way. There were a bunch of little
storefronts, bars, restaurants, and a huge art studio complex in the old
But it was really quiet in the middle of the day on a Monday. I wonder if its more
fun and feisty at night on a weekend. We stopped into a tiny little cafe called
The Two Tartes
for some coffee and to make a plan. The two hipstery kids working there--he with his
moppy hair and tattoos and ratty clothes and she with her two-tone hair and earrings--confessed
to not really knowing how to use the espresso machine (though the attempt was relatively
successful). They recommended a couple of places in the area to go and revealed that
Georgetown is pretty quiet generally. They were cool and didn't charge us much for
coffee. From Georgetown, we wound our way to
(no, not in Iowa), a local neighborhood (incidentally where our Two Tartes servers were
from) know for its waterfront. We stopped first at
Saltwater State Park
and walked on the shelly, gritty beach. Now we could say that we went to the beach for
spring break. It was really lovely to be near the water (in this case the Puget Sound,
but there were little waves). Then we went to the
Des Moines marina.
Jason has a fascination with marinas. It was pretty quiet. There were a few people out.
A couple of windsurfers. A couple of older men fishing off the end of the pier. And a really
scary guy parked, lights on, by himself, near the public bathrooms, sitting in his car
reading the bible. After the marina, we took a scenic drive northward (through West Seattle)
to have dinner at
which is directly across Elliot Bay from downtown Seattle. Alki Beach, as Jason puts it,
is like a tiny stretch of the Jersey Shore in Seattle. The beach is supposed to be very
popular in the summer (even though it's tiny, tiny, tiny). There was a certain beachfront
swank to the area. The views of the city are amazing. We walked along the beach and then
decided to have fish and chips (for which there are many establishments in Alki) at
Spud Fish & Chips (2666 Alki Ave SW), which was pretty yummy.
Our little mini-vacation, which was really nice to get out of the "usual" terrain of
the city even for a short bit, ended with going to the movies. We went to see
V for Vendetta. I
liked it. I am amazed that it was made given the current political climate, and I am
amazed it's being shown and watched. I was entertained and I think there were some
interesting things going on in the film. I'm sure someone will write about its
construction of gender and sexuality.
After the movie, the three of us were pooped and called it an evening. We had all
week for further adventures. And with that it is time for me to sleep. More soon.
read footnotes |
• • •
"stunned" | sunday | march 26, 2006 | 11:10 pm
That's what I am this morning. Completely caught off guard by events. In this world.
In this city. In my neighborhood. I woke up, groggy and tired and anxious (from a
week of pushing my body too hard) to find an email from a friend from school reporting a
shooting in Capitol Hill.
Just a handful of blocks away from me. My friend, sadly, knew some of the victims, and I
can only imagine what it must be like to lose someone to violence of the most pernicious
sort. I am grateful that there were some that made it to safety. I am saddened by those
that did not. Condolences and best of wishes to those that have lost or were lost.
It further astounds me whenever these awful shootings happen (and it seems that there are
more and more, symptomatic of something larger, deeper, more awful that our society has
yet to address in any way adequately, some sort of malaise) that the media response is
so formulaic, almost jaded, spinning the language and culture of fear to its own ends.
We have the script now since
Columbine and the discourse is eerily similar.
There is the fascination with and repulsion by youth culture. The reports fixate on
the victims attendance at a rave, a "goth" themed rave, on counterculture, on
possible links to drugs and alchohol, on the hedonism. Curious and deeply
rhetorically savvy details are included like that the killer was wearing all black
or a quote from my friend mentioning the film V for Vendetta is used or
the weapons are specifically described as used for "hunting people" (as opposed to
what in this case?) or that the shooting is characterised as "execution-style" (like
it's a flavor of sauce, again opposed to what other kind of meditated killing?).
Taken individually, the details seem innocuous, all part of the first rule of journalism
to get details, to be telling. But the details add up in a curious way that is
specifically designed to evoke a certain kind of pathos, to re-remember for us
past shootings. Really. I don't think anyone should be allowed to use the word "terror" any
more--it's become a worthless, banal word.
Motives haven't been ascertained (or released yet). The shooter's spray painting
of the word "NOW" on the steps of the building is strange, foreboding, and evocative
of some sort of imperative, a call to action. For what end? By what impetus? And who
should answer the call? The stereotypical response in me is that this must be
hate driven (of the legalistic, identity-politics, multiculturalism-as-failure variety),
perhaps by some radical, neoconservative, neoreligious, homophobic, privilege-threatened
man. I don't know. I know that it's probably complicated. But there's a trend here.
The lack of mention of the victims' race or class or sexuality is problematic (even though
Capitol Hill is a predominately queer area of town). Only the killer gets identified
as white, late twenties,
"big and beefy,"
"quiet and humble."
Why are all killers so often described as quiet or humble or unassuming or average?
The rhetorical answer is of course that the antithesis of quiet versus violent, humble versus
wrathful, average versus obvious creates more fear, more shock, more distress, more
"I can't believe it..." The story
"Ravers Flock to Web for News"
is another good example where the rhetorical choices are problematic. Here, young people,
labeled "ravers," are (in)advertantly
characterised as childish, silly, or crazy
by their use or the reporters use of their "rave" names. "Onixx" or "Slinky" or
"Trixxi" or "White Rabbit" show solidarity for their friends, for their community,
but for a mainstream audience also rhetorically evacuates any sense of authority
from these people. They're cartoon characters, caricatures that have little impact.
It's a choice that should have been handled differently.
It's all just fucked up. I know. I wasn't there. I didn't know anyone there (that
I know of). But it is startling to realize that I could have been there, I might
have known someone, I could have been walking down that street minding my own business,
I might be a target one day because I align myself with certain subcultures. I want
events like these not to happen, but because they do, I want them to be handled
better, more justly, more critically. Murder happens all the time. Killings happen
all the time. Time, space, geography, demographic, and rhetorical situation decides
whether it is right or wrong, good or bad, reported or hidden. I really hope some
solid details come up soon and are reported as clearly as possible without all the
slick spin. I hope that the fixation on subculture is not more harmful than helpful.
I hope that this case of another white, male, "lone gunman" does not simply buy into
the narratives so deeply ingrained in our society (narratives which tend to focus
solely on the heteronormative white male and erases or forgets stories like this
that happen to brown, female, queer, poor people all the time).
I am sad. I am also fucking angry that I am afraid. I know that there is some healthy
fear underneath all of the societal- and media-fabricated fear, so I want to keep
things in perspective. Again, best to those whose lives have been changed. May hope and
healing and wisdom be swift.
read footnotes |
• • •
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