"blue's clues" | saturday | january 6, 2007 | 6:00 pm
WEEK INTO THE NEW YEAR. I still feel like
I'm firmly stuck in the last year. I guess because very little has changed even though
I've done a bunch of things. In order to try to perpetuate tradition (started just
last year), here's my list of 101 things I've done in 2006. (Remember my
2005 list?) Again, it's not exhaustive, but I
think I hit on all the highlights and low points and everything in between. I hope
this coming year is a bit more interesting, a lot more exciting, and way more
101 Things I Did in 2006
1. I survived 2006.
2. I took a class on
3. I taught my thirty-second section of composition (the thirty-first was the quarter before).
4. I took an introduction to postcolonialism class (where I learned that I really like
5. I started the year with a lingering upper respiratory infection.
6. I went to my first (and currently only)
Alice B. Toklas-themed
party, where I ate a single "special" Toklas brownie to no effect.
7. 2006 was finally my year, Year of the Dog, which has not really played out significantly
for me in any way, at least to my knowledge.
8. My sister came to visit for a bit. We celebrated Chinese New Year together and made
9. I tried to keep
Guerrilla Queer Bar Seattle
10. In the first half of 2006, I was still living at The Kahala and still battling my
noisy, noisy upstairs neighbors.
11. I lost a lot of sleep this past year.
12. I went to the
Volunteer Park Conservatory
for the first time.
13. I hung out with friends, mostly from school.
14. I wrote a paper called "Persistence of Specularity: Hacking “Race” in Paul Gilroy, William
Gibson, and Paul DiFilippo."
15. I started "The Great Archive," which is a spreadsheet and filing system for all of
the articles, photocopies, essays, research, and papers I have collected in all of my years
as a grad student. Basically, I wanted a system where I could keep track of everything.
I still have stuff to archive (and will continue to acquire more stuff as my academic life
16. I made a number of excursions out to the local gay bars in my neighborhood.
17. I combined GQBS and St. Patrick's Day at an Irish pub called Murphy's in Wallingford,
where a codger of an Irish singer complimented me on my hair.
18. I took an excursion with friends to explore the lands south of Seattle.
19. I had fish and chips at Alki Beach (in West Seattle).
20. I saw
V for Vendetta.
21. I discovered the awesome
99 Ranch Market, an Asian grocery
store (part of a chain).
22. I experienced a city, a neighborhood in shock and amazement after the "Capitol Hill"
shootings; I lived just streets away from where it happened.
23. I took a class on late British modernism. Yep, still love
24. I took a class outside of my department, in geography, on sexuality and space.
25. As part of the my geography class, we took a class trip to the oldest
existing gay bar in Seattle -- the Double Header.
26. I went to my friend Andrew's "kegger."
27. I saw the band
The Samples live.
28. I also saw
Band of Horses live, whom
I really like a lot.
29. My friend Andrew introduced me to the
George and Dragon Pub in
30. I had, survived, and was vindicated in my first grade challenge by a student at UW.
31. My friend Nancy came to visit, and we had fun running around the city.
32. I taught my thirty-third section of composition.
33. I met
N. Katherine Hayles, who
was very nice.
34. I went to my friend Calla's housewarming party.
35. I met and made friends with a miniature dachshund named Lolita.
36. I turned 36.
37. My birthday "EDstravaganza" lasted a whole two weeks.
38. I went to see Silent Hill. It was creepy.
39. I went to see a midnight showing of X-Men III. It wasn't very good.
40. I finished my first year of my program.
41. I wrote a paper called "'We Are Minor in Everything But Our Passions': Queer(ing)
Desire in Elizabeth Bowen’s The Death of the Heart."
42. I wrote a paper called "Guerrilla Queer Bar Seattle: The Reappropriating, Performing,
and Flexibility of Space."
43. I decided to work with
as my dissertation chair, and he said yes.
44. I submitted my official "let me into the PhD program" letter and was accepted.
45. I finished my first year of teaching at the UW.
46. My friend Jay and I started an English and Creative Writing grad student literary
zine called B-13. We published our first issue in Spring 2006.
47. I went to a "dessert party" at my friend Sarah's house.
48. I survived one year in Seattle.
49. I went to the
50. I went to
Seattle Pride, which
moved its parade/march off Capitol Hill to downtown for the first time; it was also
televised for the first time.
51. I also went to an alternative Pride parade on Capitol Hill.
52. I saw
Superman Returns. Brandon
Routh is hot.
53. I saw Pirates of the Carribean II.
54. I completed the
Tellings revisions. Now to do
something with it.
55. I found a new apartment. I left The Kahala in consternation. My friend Jane and
I decided to move in together. I now live in The Victoria Court apartments.
56. I took an extended trip back East to visit family and friends in the Maryland/DC area.
57. I watched a lot of toddler TV whilst in Maryland.
58. I watched
Donnie Darko for the first
59. Most of my friends were gone for the summer. I hung out with my friend Jay a lot.
We started a weekly dinner-and-TV night.
60. I burned my arm on the oven door while helping Jay make braciola from
61. I went to Shakespeare in the Park's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in
Volunteer Park in Seattle.
62. I became wholly addicted to
63. I taught a summer class called "Writing Ready" for incoming freshmen, which prepares
them for the rigors of first-year composition. It was a fun, intense four weeks.
64. I have spent a lot of time learning to live with a roommate.
65. In the new school year, I got to teach ENGL 111, which is still composition but
composition with literature. I designed my first class called "Imagining Cyberspace."
66. I was a workshop leader for the ENGL 131 orientation and training for new TAs.
67. I got a lot of good feedback from new teachers that my experience and particularly
my handouts were very helpful.
68. I read the entire Chronicles of Narnia series.
69. I bought a new bed. It's the biggest, most adult, fanciest bed I have ever owned.
70. I was depressed for most of the autumn quarter.
71. I had a very bad year for men. See "Fucking Men: An Inventory."
72. I took a class called Cyborg Democracies.
73. I took a class called Genealogy of Black Cultural Studies.
74. I got a number of emails from former students who thanked me for being their teacher.
75. I started attending the MFA reading night Castalia.
76. I went to a Halloween party and dressed up as a punk rock, goth pumpkin.
77. I saw a documentary about
Gilles Deleuze called
Mille Gilles -- A Thousand Gilles.
78. My friends and I saw a
very small improv group
perform "Camp Death", an homage to teen slasher films.
79. I tried to once again complete
National Novel Writing Month but
only managed to start it. I came no where near finishing.
80. I participated in a photo shoot for an ad campaign to help the
Seattle HIV-vaccine trials. I even
got interviewed for the
81. Jane and I had a "Happy Turkeyhousethankswarmgiving" dinner at our place. We had sixteen
people crammed into our tiny apartment. I made many yummy foods.
82. I started eating better, eating really low-carb. I lost some weight, which is good.
83. I met
who was smart, cute, and geeked out with me about World of Warcraft at lunch.
84. Speaking of which, I played a lot of WoW.
85. I met
Lisa Nakamura, who
gives me hope for my scholarly future.
86. I wrote a paper called “'Making Us All Queer': Queering Transhumanism in Doctorow’s '0wnz0red,'
Ryman’s 'Birth Days,' and Gerrold’s 'In the Quake Zone'”.
87. I am now thoroughly addicted to
88. I went to a sushi-rolling party for my friend Pacheree's birthday. I made pretty
good rolls for a complete beginner.
89. I have developed a curious and recurring case of hives.
90. I went to the doctor, who believes its most likely an allergy. Dust mites most likely.
91. My sister and her boyfriend Brian drove up from the Bay Area to visit. I spent
Christmas down in Olympia with her and Brian's extended family.
92. I had many Swedish foods for the first time. I just can't remember their names.
93. I had my first raw oyster. And a second. They're interesting, not what I'd go for
94. I met the thinnest, skin-and-bones, oldest cat in my life named Johnny Cat.
95. I survived the "Deadly December Storm" that completely freaked out Seattle for weeks.
96. I shopped in a near-dark Target after the storm that managed to run the emergency lights
and cash registers on a generator. That's capitalism!
97. I completed the first draft of my Ph.D. Exam Reading List.
98. I taught my first quarter of ENGL 111 and decided to redesign the class for the winter
99. I made a king-sized duvet cover for my friend Jason as his holiday present. I made them
out of curtains from
IKEA. It came out really well. I felt like
Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.
100. I planned and went on a bar crawl for New Year's Eve with my friends.
101. I spent a whole year (and then some) in Seattle without getting laid. It's time to jump
off a bridge.
read footnotes |
• • •
"este y ése" | sunday | january 28, 2007 | 3:38 pm
OUGH, COUGH, COUGH.
It's finally happened. After months of dodging, bobbing, weaving, and doing a pretty good job of
avoiding the various plagues, malaises, and phlegmminess going around, I am sick. It's not too
bad. Just a little cough, congestion in the chest, and a wee bit of a temperature. Hopefully,
I'll fight it off before it progresses. Suffice it to say, though, I'm out of sorts and
groggy from the cold medicine.
Nearly a month has gone by and I have been way too distracted or otherwise engaged to do much
writing here. I know I said that I would try to keep up. But the excuses are many: school,
work, television, sleep, friends, food, and worries of wide sorts. Frankly, after the turn
of the year, the new quarter started and I just haven't had much of a chance to put the breaks
on till now. Have I said how much I dislike the quarter system? There's just not enough time
in between quarters to decompress.
What have I been doing lately?
Mostly just living, just the daily grind, everyday business. School is all right. I am only
taking one grad seminar this quarter. It's the last class I have to take to complete my coursework.
I'm taking a class on "Visuality and Race." It's pretty neat, though I'm still trying to
figure out what it is we are doing. Basically, the gist of the class is looking at how visuality,
in particular the technology of photography, has changed culture, subjectivity, and our
understanding of modernity, race, and self. The class is focused on the early part of the
twentieth century in the US, but I hope to be able to use some of what we are thinking about
and talking about in my own work. Actually, I hope to write a paper on race and video game
visuality, particularly in
World of Warcraft. Not a whole
lot has been written about video games and race, at least in any real sustained and critical
way. Hopefully I will be able to get in on the vanguard of work just now coming out.
The other class I am taking is a Spanish for reading class. To satisfy my language proficiency
requirement, I have to take two quarters of Spanish. These classes are specifically for
graduate students, and we focus on reading comprehension more than perfect translation,
writing, or conversation. A lot of my friends are in the class, so that makes it fun.
But it's a totally different experience than what I'm used to now. It's like being back
in undergrad again. I have to learn how to study, memorize, and such. I have homework,
flash cards, worksheets, quizzes, and exams. I haven't taken a quiz or a test in so many years.
I'm having fun, though. And even though it's been a few weeks, I am surprised how much
everyday Spanish I can piece together and read. I was on the bus last week and could
read much of the signage written in Spanish. I didn't know every single word but I
could tell the meaning. It's cool. Of course, the class requires cumulative knowledge
and it's already starting to get more and more difficult to remember everything.
Compared to last quarter, this one's pretty light. It is strange to think that after this
quarter I don't have to take any more seminars. I'm supposed to take reading credits and
spend the next year reading and studying for my PhD exams. I just find the prospect of
just doing that a little alien and lonely. In fact, my friends that are in that process
now are complaining about how isolating it can be, particularly those who are not teaching.
At least I will be teaching during the process. And, because I'm an overachiever and
a glutton for punishment, I will probably also audit classes that are interesting or
are of use to my exams studying. I'm about to start the "grown up" part of my degree.
I still don't really know exactly what I'm going to do for my PhD project. I guess I
will figure it out, sooner hopefully than later.
Most of my time has been filled with sundry distractions, diversions, and discombulations.
I mean I have a bit more time than I did last quarter. Teaching takes time but I redesigned
my class this quarter so that I would have a little more flexibility and so that grading
would be less of a burden. My class,
ENGL 111: Everyday Media,
is going well; it's been a little less heady for the students than fall quarter's class on
The course description for this quarter's class is:
A central requirement for this class is a well-developed curiosity about the world,
about the culture we live in, and about the cultural productions we imagine, produce, and
consume. Here the definition of literature is expanded to include more than just written texts.
In addition to writing, photographs, advertising, television, websites, and film will be our artifacts,
our texts of study and meditation and analysis. We are surrounded by, bombarded with, and often
uncritical participants in “everyday media” and their concomitant technologies. This class, in
broad strokes, will investigate and interrogate and make visible the ideological, material,
and cultural manifestations of “everyday media,” primarily in the US, through the lenses of
cultural studies, visual literacy, and writing. Lister and Wells, authors of “Seeing Beyond
Belief,” argue for a curiosity, a methodology for unpacking cultural productions; they say,
“Cultural Studies allows the analyst to attend to the many moments within the cycle of
production, circulation and consumption of [a text] through which meanings accumulate, slip
and shift.” They argue that our understandings of identities, meanings, and power, as well
as the intersections of cultural and social locations like race, gender, class, and sexuality,
can be excavated through the analysis of the texts we create and consume. This class will
spend the quarter reading, thinking, writing about “everyday media” and how and what these
texts argue, reveal, narrate, hide, perpetuate, and complicate the world we live in.
My students are all right. Second quarter students generally are -- they've figured out a
few things, learned the "genre" of college. Plus, I have a smattering of second years and
even a senior. But, as per usual, most of my students are resistant to the cultural critique
the class entails. They want me to leave their MTV and reality television and Abercrombie &
Fitch and politics (if they even can articulate that they have politics) alone. It's all
right, though. Some of them will thank me later for the rigor. Most will have learned
something but just not quite how to put it to use right away. I can live with that. (And
what about the few few who take nothing, leave nothing? I can only wish them the best and
hope they don't own a gun, bear children, or run the country.)
So, if it isn't school, teaching, reading, writing, or work, what else is there? Sadly, I
find myself coming up short on the "balance" part of my life. Granted, I know that balance
isn't a good word. Things shouldn't be 50-50 with school and other stuff. But I think it
should be proportional -- that's a better way to frame it. I hang out with school friends
mostly. I still go to our weekly
English Grad Pub every Thursday.
There's usually some sort of social happening going on over the weekend. And I even hit
the neighborhood every now and then (usually with my most recently befriended drinking
partner, Lindsay). But I am finding that as much fun as these excursions are, they cannot
take the place of a more developed, more diverse, and more functional "life outside of school."
I'm working on it. Or trying to, at least. But life has been strange and worrisome as of
late, in a general sort of way. As I said earlier, I'm in a transition phase in my education.
But I have been having other concerns as well. My health has been an issue since last quarter.
hives still plague
me. I've been to the doctor a couple of times now, and we're still in
the process of trying to figure them out. They are most certainly caused by allergies to
something, probably dust mites or animal dander. I'm on allergy medicine, which is helping.
But I'm trying to figure out other things that might be causing such a reaction, including
foods. While getting bloodwork done to make sure the hives weren't symptomatic of something
more serious, the doctor discovered I have a hereditary blood condition called
(minor), which means my blood does not produce hemaglobin normally. The condition is
not serious at all. It shouldn't impact my daily life in any way. I probably should
be more aware of my general health and well-being, though. The doctor was actually
surprised that this hadn't come up sooner. The whole situation has got me thinking, of course,
and freaking out a little. I am getting to that age when my body might start showing
the signs of age, the signs of stress, the signs of distress more. Ah, mortality.
I really need to relax, figure out a few things, and take care of myself. I just wish I
knew what that was and what I really want. Age old questions, right?
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