"hi" | wednesday | june 7, 2006 | 10:39 am
AM STILL ALIVE.
I just have been completely beside myself with the end of the quarter hullabaloo. Things
are settling down, though, and all I want to do is be a total slug. I want to just do
nothing for a while, which means that I don't even want to update my website when I know I
should. Soon. I promise. Right now I just need to finish up the quarter, get a few
loose ends tied up, do a bunch of grading, and sort out my apartment some. Then I can
enjoy a long, long update, which I know is due.
read footnotes |
• • •
"slug" | tuesday | june 13, 2006 | 8:29 am
HERE TO BEGIN?
Since Tuesday is "patch day" for
World of Warcraft, I can't
just go right to playing this morning. Instead, it forces me to do other much needed
things like clean the apartment or finish clearing off my desk or putting away all my
quarter's detritus (e.g. graded student portfolios, notebooks, file folders) or finally
writing an update.
Let the bullet point madness begin:
• When last we left this intrepid Seattle adventurer, it was my birthday. The big
three-six. I had wanted (much like last year) to have a big party or some fancy deal,
but settled on just spreading my birthday goodness over a whole week. EDstravaganza
2006 started on a Thursday night at the
College Inn Pub
(our usual Thursday grad pub night). That was fun with a whole lot of drinking.
Then Friday night, a day early, I had my birthday gathering at
Purr Cocktail Lounge.
That was fun with a whole lot of drinking. Here are a few shots:
We tried to head from Purr to a new dance club called
which has recieved some bad press as of late, but the line was way too long and the
attitude at the door was way too unnecessary. So, the EDstravaganza crew took it
up the street to the much chiller, much more friendly, much less pretentious
Cuff. Again, there was more fun
and more drinking. (After closing time, everyone went to eat. I went home. In part
because I was kind of ditched by my drunk ass friends who thought I was "right behind them"
but I had to wait for my friend Rachel, who was in the bathroom. Home and sleep ended
up being the right choice for me that night.)
Saturday night was the final part of EDstravaganza 2006. A friend from the program, Caitlin,
and her housemates were throwing a house party on the actual date of my birth. Since they
had planned the party and I didn't want to compete, I decided to do my thing the night
before and then continue my celebration at their party. It was an interesting mix of people
that night: English department kids, Physics department kids, and Theatre department kids.
Crazy. The physics crowd was quiet and wallflowerish, the theatre group was wild and
crazy, and the English contingent just stood back and watched and "read the text of the party"
and talked about everyone. It was fun. There was much drinking. Witness some of the
In the end, I had a good birthday week. It was nice to hang out with friends and to startle
them with my age. There was much too much partying for my age -- one day I'll actually learn that
lesson for good. Ironically, the original plan for EDstravaganza was to do thirty-six bars
in one night. We wouldn't all have a drink at each bar but would have a rotation of people
drinking. We'd have a drink in ten minutes and leave, stopping to lounge at cool places. Alas,
that idea was ixnayed and we settled for a more sensible program for the evenings. Maybe
when I'm forty I'll take up that challenge.
• The quarter is over. My first year of my PhD program is done. Only three more years to go.
I'm exhausted. I really am. I think my reasonable desire to do absolutely nothing is a
sure sign that I did way too much in the last ten months. Moving, learning a new city,
taking classes, teaching, writing papers, making new friends, fighting noisy neighbors,
drinking a whole lot, walking around, riding the bus, adjusting to the rain -- it all added
up. I'm just glad to be finished. I actually surprised myself this quarter by writing
my two seminar papers really early. I turned in my Late Modernism paper two weeks early.
And I turned in my Queer Geography paper a week early. I just had to get them out of my
life. Now, grading is done. I've turned in everything. And I am a happy sluggy camper.
I got two 4.0s this quarter -- my first quarter to earn a 4.0 -- which brings my cumulative
GPA up to a 3.95. How I hate the dratted 3.9! No worries. I really am not taking the grades
that seriously. It's just needling. But I am making more than "satisfactory progress" in
my program. I suppose I should go look at my comment book. I don't know if the University
of Maryland's program has such a thing, but at UW, the English grad program maintains a
public "comment book" where professors are invited to write things about you. I have never
gone to see if anything is written about me. It's kind of scary and intimidating and weird.
But maybe I'll take a looksee next quarter.
I submitted my formal letter of "application" to the PhD program committee this quarter.
It's something we have to write to narrate our progress, to identify our potential project,
and to name our dissertation chair. It's perfunctory, but I suppose it is an "out" for
the program in case they need to let someone go. I just got my response letter saying
that I was clear to continue in the program. Go me. Now I just have to figure out what
the heck I am going to do. I met with my dissertation chair and talked a little bit
about the next year or so. I need to put together my "reading lists," basically lists
of books, articles, texts for three areas of study for my PhD exams. I hope to take my
exams next-next fall (in 2007), which gives me a year and a half to get my lists together
and to do the reading and study and prepare. It should be enough time. I figure that
I'd rather get my exams done in a timely way to give me a little more leeway with how
long it takes to write my dissertation.
• My first year of teaching at UW is done. I think I learned something from teaching
English 131, which was different enough from English 101 at UM that allowed me to use
different skills. I continue to have high hopes for my students and I really hope they
learned something from the class, from me. Next year I "move up" and get to teach
which is still a composition class but literature-based rather than
critical theory-based. I am not sure what I am going to teach, what kind of literature
I am going to do. I have all summer to think about it and to create a new syllabus.
I know I want to teach a couple different kinds of classes -- maybe one with
new media, one with film, and one with queer stuff. It should be an interesting
challenge and experience.
• My first goal for the summer is to move. I am completely, utterly, totally done with
living at the Kahala. My neighbors, bless their hearts, have just worked my last nerve.
And though they have been "better," the continue to irritate, infuriate, and inconsiderately
impinge on my sleep, my concentration, and my well-being. My landlords know it, thankfully,
and have been very sympathetic (though they have not done too much to make sure that
the bad behavior stops). My lease is up at the end of July. I am ready to move out
by the beginning of July, overlapping one month to give me ample time to move.
My friend Jane and I are going to move in together. I think it will be all right.
We talked a bit about the subject. We have similar living habits, cleanliness styles,
and study needs. Plus we get along. I know its risky to move in with friends (given
my rather tempestuous past roomie situations), but I think we can make it work.
Besides, we're fast becoming the Asian "Will & Grace." It's totally funny.
In fact, I used the schtick for
ad on craigslist.
I'm looking for a 2- or 3-bedroom house right now (since Jane is in California for
the summer). I just want to have my own space. Separate from everyone else. Quiet.
Clean. Restful. A home. Hopefully, I'll find something in the next few weeks.
• The next goal for the summer is to get some writing projects done before I return
to the grind of next quarter. I have a couple of things lined up including the final
Tellings, the finishing of one of my
NaNoWriMo novels, and the
putting together of a couple of conference papers for the fall.
Speaking of writing, my friend Jay and I put together a literary zine for our program
this spring. We invited graduate students from English and Creative Writing to submit
to B-13. There wasn't a graduate publication to showcase the work of current
students. Since I like designing and putting together things, I figured people would
enjoy it and support it. Jay thought so, too. Our first issue was 32-pages long and
a big hit. A number of people told us that they didn't think we were serious about
putting out a good magazine and were very surprised at the result. Right now, B-13
is just photocopied and hand-folded and stapled, but soon there will be a web version
(another summer project).
• I originally was going to go back east to Maryland for about a month for a teaching
job at UM. But my former employer (through a mishap of miscommunication) ended up giving
the job to someone else. I am bummed, mainly because it was really good money and fun.
So, now, I am going to go back for less time, I think. Probably a couple of weeks instead.
I hope to head back at the end of July. It will be really good to see my friends.
It won't be so good to have to deal with the summer Maryland weather, though. I will
probably also do a week in San Francisco (since I haven't been back in years); my
sister should be ensconced in Berkeley by then, too.
• I applied for a summer teaching job at UW. It's to teach a 4-week bridge class for
incoming freshmen to prepare them for the rigors of college writing. In fact, it's very
similar to the job that I did last year for UM (and the job that I was supposed to get
this year, too). I find out this week whether I get the position. I hope I do. I
have a bit of money saved up and probably can eke through the summer. But I'd rather
work some (not all summer) and be comfortable, especially with traveling and moving
incurring all sorts of added expense.
• I cannot help but feel the usual post-quarter depression. Everyone I know from school
is going through it (at least those that are not traveling around doing crazy fun stuff).
It's just so hard to go from busy, busy, busy to nothing to do. The structure is gone.
But I'll survive and manage and make my own structure. I am sad to see all my friends
leaving the area, though. Many of my cohort is heading "home" for the summer. I consider
Seattle now my home. So I'm here for the most part. There are a handful of us left
in the city, which is good. The past week has been spent seeing people off and wishing
them a safe summer and hoping to see them again next quarter. They've been totally
I leave you with one of those moments: I went to a "dessert party" at my friend Sarah
and her husband's house. A number of people from the English, comp lit, and French
grad departments were there. There was a lot of sugar. I made chocolate covered
strawberries and cherries; half were regular semi-sweet chocolate and the other half
were hot spicy chocolate (I mixed in hot pepper powder). It was all delicious. I even
got to make Bananas Foster for the very first time. I had a ton of fun. The food
was good, the Irish coffees were flowing, and people were very cool. My favorite part
of the evening was when Sarah's husband James got out his guitar, my friend Emily's
boyfriend (also) James got out his violin, and my friend Andy (also on guitar) decided
to jam together. It was really nice and amazing. I even did my drunken rendition
of "The Entertainer" on the piano, to which everyone joined in. Then we proceeded
to play a lot of 80s music. James and James played along to Bon Jovi and Journey
and Tiffany and Madonna and the Indigo Girls -- it was amazing -- I am totally impressed
by people who are musically gifted. I think I showed a side of myself (the hilarious
but drunken closet-stand-up side of myself) to people who had never witnessed it
before. Here's some proof:
There were some classic moments that night. The best was when Journey was playing
and I got Sarah to come dance like we were at prom together. We slow-danced in the
middle of the living room floor. It was just like prom. Then to make sure it was
the complete, uncensored experience, I sort of pulled away saying, "I can't get too
close to you!" She asked, "Why?" I replied, "Because you'll feel my BONER!" And
that's when I broke Sarah. That picture of her laughing her ass off is right after
that joke. It was hysterical. Then were was more drinking. I was making whiskey
sours with fresh orange juice and limeade. They were delicious. Of course, I had
to meet and make friends with a really, really cute guy named Matt (as pictured above),
who is straight and has a girlfriend. He's cool, though, and totally didn't mind
flirting and I even got his digits. Hah.
I'm sure there's things I've missed in this update, but that's enough fodder for now.
read footnotes |
• • •
"ocelot" | wednesday | june 14, 2006 | 11:01 am
APPY BIRTHDAY to my friend
Dustin. I hope he has
a great, great, great day. One day I'll be able to just hop on a plane and hang
out with people on their birthdays, like Dustin, no worse for wear. One day.
• • •
"woes of the weary" | tuesday | june 20, 2006 | 8:06 am
HAVE BEEN HAVING VERY INTENSE AND ANXIOUS DREAMS AS OF LATE.
I am not sure exactly what the root of these dreams are or why they are happening now.
All I know is that the past week or two on most mornings I wake up very tired and
stressed with the last remnants of a dream still spinning in my head. They are not
restful dreams. They are tinged with doubt and anxiety and misgiving. Fortunately,
after I shake the grogginess and the worry and get my day started, I'm usually fine.
You would think that now that the quarter is over I would actually get a chance to
relax and dream of better things. But I guess it makes sense: the opportunity to
turn my mind to other problems and issues and concerns is now when I'm not totally
preoccupied with school or teaching.
I only remember fragments of dreams. One was about my old roommate in San Francisco.
One was about teaching fourth grade, but instead of getting a bunch of kids on the first
day, I got a classroom full of surly parents; and later I was in class led by my
geography seminar professor and no one in the class would listen to me explain what
happened with the parents. One was sort of action-adventure about the world's first
mutant who was being hunted down to be killed.
I cannot remember this morning's dream. It's already faded away. But though the
images and the details are gone, I'm still left with the lingering deflation, dejectedness.
I suppose it didn't help that last night, just as I was preparing to go to bed, my
upstairs neighbor right above me decided that he would play music and be annoying.
It was midnight. He was perfectly quiet up until midnight. Then decided that it
would be a good time to be a jackass. So after some pounding on the ceiling, calling
my landlords, I finally went up stairs and rang their doorbell enough that it woke
one of the other guys that lives up there. I told him to tell the guy above me to quit
it, which he did.
I am so ready to get out of this place. The search continues. So far I have not found
anything near "perfect" yet. I have a couple more weeks before things become desperate.
I suppose wanting to move and all that is part of my underlying stress. I think the
transition from super, crazy busy school year to totally aimless, structureless summer
has me in a spin. I just don't know really. At least not exactly. I just want to
find some and make some and live some peace.
read footnotes |
• • •
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