"groundhog" | friday | february 2, 2007 | 11:01 am
PHIL SAYS SPRING IS COMING!
It's about time. Hopefully that means that Seattle will actually warm up and dry out
a little bit. Such is life in the City o' Emerald. I'm totally ready for nicer,
brighter weather. The days are getting a little longer, now, but it's still gloomy
when I get up and gloomy when I come home from school.
Here's some snaps of the UW English Department's
Graduate Student Organization
(GSO) winter social. We went bowling (and drinking)!
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• • •
"pub-licity" | friday | february 9, 2007 | 11:01 am
ERE ARE SOME MORE PICTURES.
I don't have a lot to say, but there's been a lot going on behind the scenes.
The pictures will have to do. A photo essay. Snippets of my life.
These happen to be taken during
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• • •
"fear" | saturday | february 17, 2007 | 3:07 pm
F YOU ASKED ME RIGHT NOW WHAT I AM FEELING, I WOULD
SAY, "AFRAID." It took a few groggy hours this morning, right after waking up from a really
long night, after getting woken up actually by my roommate knocking around the apartment, to
figure out that I might be tired, I might be stressed, I might be anxious, I might be
concerned about school, teaching, writing, but in the end, I am all sorts of afraid. I think
I am stuck in it, pinned down by fear, and I just keep hemming and hawwing and doing nothing
about it. It's irrational, I know. And I think I was getting comfortable with just not
knowing what to do next or what was really going on in my brain, in my gut. I kept looking
for the root of it all in the symptoms rather than the cause. A splinter in my mind...
Where did this revelation come from? It's not new, really. I've been afraid a lot of my
life. And it's not the pee-your-pants kind of fear. Rather it's the kind that is slowly,
sometimes insidiously rationalized, internalised, and articulated over time. You can't
see it head on, but you can detect its flecks and shivers when something -- a person, an
event, a question, a wrong turn -- shines a light on it. It's the kind of fear that hides
itself under insecurities, dilemmas of the heart, crises of faith, and bad dreams. In other
words, I'm my own worst enemy and sometimes I don't even know I'm kicking myself because
I've been down for the count for so long. Plainly, I'm afraid to change, to fail, to
succeed, to really live, to live really, to let anyone get too close, to be alone. It is
a fear born of contradictions, ambivalences, and I got a glimpse of it last night. Only
a glimpse. And what I remember this morning is already fading fast.
I need to make some choices, and I need to make some changes. I think the strangeness and
stress of the past few months are getting to me. I just don't feel comfortable in my world
right now. I don't feel comfortable in my home. I don't feel comfortable in my program.
I don't feel comfortable in my skin. That's a lot to not feel comfortable about, and I
do think that part of it is because I am afraid of what it all means and perhaps afraid
that it may not mean anything at all. As much as I try to resist the impulse, the pressure,
the self-critique to make my life amount to something, I just don't know how things add up.
So much is just swirling around: getting older, still in school, struggling with what I
want to do with my life, eternally single, body issues, medical issues, sexually frustrated,
socially frustrated, creatively stagnating, missing family, missing love, wanting more out
of everything, afraid to risk anything. All of this circumlocution doesn't get me anywhere,
Maybe I'm just sad. Depressed. Seasonally affected. But my life is going through some
shifts, some of them unsettling, some of them disruptive. My overall health is all right,
thankfully, though I think my blood pressure's been a little high, my hives still won't
go away, and the blood condition is a reminder that the days of invincibility (if I ever
had such halcyon days) are coming to a decidedly grown-up close. School is school. I'm
finishing up my last bit of coursework. And then I stare at the chasm that is my exams
and reading preparation for the next year -- a whole year -- and I feel like I'm going
to pass out. Registration for classes started yesterday and I didn't have to rush to
register before something filled up. I was an outsider, suddenly, because I wasn't in
the pre-registration "what are you going to take? what classes are there? is so-and-so a
good professor?" conversations and musings that many of my friends are in. I have
the second quarter of my Spanish for reading class but that's all. My time is to be
dedicated to reading and preparing for my Ph.D. exams. I have to find some way of creating
a schedule, a routine, and motivation. Not to mention the whole project seems woefully
overwhelming, scary, and I am concerned that my enthusiasm is underwhelming. It doesn't
bode well if I'm not looking forward to reading and getting things done. I really want
to finish my degree before I turn 40. I know that's a completely artificial deadline,
and there are plenty of folks happily in grad school forty and plus, but I just balk at
the idea of being the perpetual student. I'm tired of being broke. I'm tired of not
doing my thing, whatever that might be. I really want to settle down. I really
want to be partnered. I really want to have a family, even if it's just me, hubby,
and a cat. Extended family is good, too. I want to get on with things, enjoy the fruits
of my labor. There's been too much deferral and disappointment for me, and it's totally
Again, where did all of this deep thinking and soul searching come from? Well, as with
many things, the switch that flipped had to do with a boy -- or a man rather. Nothing
big, really. But last night was the first
Guerrilla Queer Bar Seattle
in some months (I had put the group on temporary hiatus since the end of last year) and
we decided to take our happy selves to the
(4507 Brooklyn Ave NE @ 45th), a swanky little nightspot on the ground floor of a hotel.
Well, not many people showed up, to my chagrin. But a handful of my friends came -- bravo
to them -- and a handful of new gay guys that I had met at grad pub -- bravo to them, too.
Service at the Lounge was terrible. The place was packed with nouveau wannabe yuppie kids.
There was a mediocre jazz trio playing. But we managed to hang out, have a few drinks,
and somehow didn't get charged for a lot (the universe was looking out for my credit card).
Then we decided to down the street to
Earl's,a college dive often populated
by the thick-necked and short-skirted. It's fine and the owner, a lady of some years,
really likes me. Drinks were had. Many songs were played on the jukebox. And I got to
know one of the gay gays, whose name will be withheld for the time being. Suffice it to say,
I thought he was cute enough and he thought I was available enough. And by the end of the night,
he said that he wanted to go home with me, a battle plan that very rarely ever happens. But
some instinct said that it wasn't a good idea. He seemed to just want a warm body, a bed to
sleep in, a battle plan with anyone, probably the most convenient. There was a lot of
discussion like merchants haggling over price, but I knew that the price would be too high
for me to pay. I didn't want to be a convenience lay. I didn't want to be a shitfaced lay.
I didn't want to be a pity lay. There was a little making out, a little joking around, and
a little frustration. It just didn't seem right; he just didn't seem right. And I said
to him that the next time we get together -- and we're supposed to since he owes me a
few rounds -- we would go into the night with the plan in mind. Who knows if it'll ever
happen. But at the time I just wasn't ready. He seemed off, aloof more than interested.
So I spotted him twenty bucks, poured him into a cab, and sent him home. Then I grabbed
a cab myself and went home. Alone.
Then something struck me: I was more than just not ready, I was more than just taking the
moral high ground, I was afraid. That instinct that said it wasn't a good idea was probably
fear. Fear of being the right place, the right time, but not necessarily the right guy.
Fear of actually letting someone want me. Fear of letting myself want someone else. Fear
of intimacy in all senses and flavors of the word. Fear of having sex. Fear of it meaning
nothing but that. Fear of it meaning more than that. Fear of my own inexperience. Fear
of my own desire. Fear of my own fantasies. Fear of getting hurt. Fear of hurting someone
else. Fear of missing out. Fear of taking things too seriously. Fear of letting go. Fear
of being a bad person. Fear of just for once fucking doing it. When it comes to men, I have
Why am I so afraid?
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• • •
"pig" | sunday | february 18, 2007 | 2:11 pm
APPY (LUNAR) NEW YEAR! WELCOME THE YEAR OF THE
PIG (OR BOAR IF YOU WANT TO SOUND BUTCH).
Given the timbre of my last post, you can understand why I'm really not feeling up to making a
gazillion dumplings this
year. Besides, as my circle of people I know expands and want to come over, I find that I
simply can't produce enough food. So, this year, Jane and I are having a "Take-Out Pot Luck"
instead, asking folks to bring over their favorite Chinese (or Asian) take-away food. I think
we're going to have way too many people crammed into our little apartment. It'll be fun
(if not a bit overwhelming).
What about the forecasts for this year?
For general readings, head to
Shelley Wu's or
Chiff's site or
Crystal-Vaastu's site or
AOL's chinese new year
Marie Diamond at
AOL, my year for my sign will mean: "You've felt out of control in the last few years, but in this Pig year
you gain power and control over your life, finances and business. You will finally attract the success
you deserve. As your outgoing flow of money last year was larger than the incoming flow, you fear the
same will happen now. You'll be pleasantly surprised as new career and investment opportunities present
themselves and more responsibilities will be given to you. Your social life will be full of surprises,
especially on your birthday. Old friends will come back into your life, and new friendships will begin
as well -- most likely through creative ventures or channels. Dance and use your voice to find
inspiration. Your romantic life will be based on trust and confidence; just don't forget to
compliment your partner." (Out of control, eh? Irony, anyone?)
says this for a Dog like me:
"2007 appears to be a prosperous year in love, romance, and relationships for the Dog. You can
expect good things in this area for the incoming year 2007! Your constellation is brimming with
the energy from your ruling stars, which means that you are likely to find many exciting prospects!"
(Well that seems to bode well. I had hoped that this past year, which was Year of the Dog, would
have been better for me. But it wasn't this dog's day.)
"Moreover, the site says: "2006 held many new things for Dogs. The Year of the Pig will be one
of change for you, and in fact, is one filled with bright energy and fun! To begin with, you have
the opportunity to become much richer, in both status and money, this year. It all depends on how
you manage various issues that will arise. If you handle them well -- all good things will come
to you. If you handle them poorly -- you will not move forward, though you likely won't be any
worse off than you were to begin with.
"Your constellation is brimming with the energy from your ruling stars, which means that you are
likely to find many exciting prospects! Also, the star 'Star Tian Xi' is residing in your Life
Palace (Life constellation), which indicates many happy moments and a flourishing outlook for
the next year. Even so, do not count your chickens before they are hatched, Dog, because the
stars are not showing this to be enduring or continuous. While the ruling stars are providing
energy within your constellation, it is not powerful enough to have a lasting affect. In
addition, you do not have a powerful sentinel to lend their influence and encouragement to
you. The result is many joyful events will occur, but few, will be for the long-term.
"Many Dogs will not be able to let any possible prospect pass them by. Even with the knowledge
of potential negativity, they step up and grab these opportunities whenever they arise. But,
it is important to realize that 2007, the Year of Pig, is all about creating the structure that
will be used in the future. This takes tenacity and focus, and is not about enjoying the fruit
from the past! It is essential for Dogs to act immediately whenever they are called upon to
make a choice. If you cannot make a decision quickly, then you may face negative consequences.
Think fast, think clearly, and move with action!
For those Dogs already in a relationship, 2007 should see you growing closer in mind and body,
with a good deal of fun thrown in! If you are single, keep your eyes open and stay optimistic,
as there is a strong probability that you will begin a new relationship this year!"
(Woot, a new relationship! A strong probability! Well, let's hope I don't miss the
chance. Keep my eyes open, check. Stay optimistic, check. I can try anyway.)
And finally, according to
which is very detailed (even though I have no idea what some of the 'fixes' are and the
wording is a little strange in places):
"2007 is a transition year after you offended TaiSui last year and had many bad turns. The
clouds of negative energies still linger but things will start changing from May onwards.
You will face increased workloads and stricter time schedules. But with your inherent abilities
of co-operating with others, drawing from your inner strengths and with good team spirits, you
will be able to take steps forward. Obstacles will still haunt you every step of the way, but
you will deliver with the help of others. Sieze every single opportunity, however small or
big and make use of them. You will assume many new responsibilities, make many new friends
and helpful contacts. However, do not be impatient but be tactful. You will be adventurous and
would like to explore unkown territories and pioneer new products. This year, males will
perform much better than the females. If you have anything to do with organising happy events
like marriages, birthday parties, etc., you will do very well. If you are employed and have
decided to stick to your employer with loyalty you will be rewarded; if you migrate to another
job, you will get better opportunities but with extra workloads. Install the statue or a
genuine photo of Green Tara to tide over the many obstacles.
"Money is somewhat stable and definitely better than last year, but still not sufficient enough
to support you in style. You will be forced to make a lean budget and adhere to it strictly.
Short term financial schemes will attract you but be wary lest you loose all. You do not
have any windfall luck this year, so avoid any type of gambling. Resist the urge to take
loans to spend luxuriously, but rather wait for better times. Make a thorough check when
you have to sign any financial papers or you will regret it later.
"Tiredness, fatigue, depression and lack of sleep from work pressures will be frequent.
Frequently indulging in party foods and beverages will bring gastro-intestinal problems
and digestive disorders. Some of you have the extraordinary luck of getting a short-lived
weird disease that no one has ever heard of. To suck out the sick energies prevailing,
hang a natural original Chinese Hu-Lu by your bedside. If you were born in 1946, you
will be accident prone and could injure your joints or muscles below the hips; you might
also lose your life partner. If you were born in 1958, you should pay attention to your
blood pressure. If you were born in 1970, drive safely and strictly follow the rules of
"Male singles will enjoy good romance luck -- many of them will marry and settle down.
Female singles will continue their fruitless search for stable relationships. In general,
singles should strongly resist impulsiveness or might end up with unwanted pregnancy. If
you are married, your love luck is still quite high, but volatile and unstable. Some of
you could fix high and unpractical expectations and your mate might not be in a position
to satisfy you. Caution : Be realistic and control your sexual urges - it is easy this
year to have affairs and undergo illegal relationships but the final results will be
devastating, later. Good marital bliss could also be ruined by gossips brought in by third
party raiders. Display the statues of Combined Dragon & Phoenix and a Rooster in the South
West of your bedroom.
"Self created moods, pressure for getting into upper ranks and lack of confidance keep
increasing your tensions. Do not take any crucial decisions without taking advice from
elders or parents or teachers. Relax and attend meditation or yoga classes. For the first
time in your life, a fatal encounter might insert a romantic crush in you. Do not take
it seriously, for nothing stable will come out of it."
(There's a lot there to sort through. Who the heck is
TaiSui and how did I offend them?
Looks like there's work to be done (hello, Ph.D. exams!). I'm not happy to hear that
I'm still going to be tired. And I'm supposed to watch out when I drive? Glad I don't
have my car here. Romance seems to be on the up, which is good. And I have no idea what
"a fatal encounter might insert a romantic crush in you" means at all! Wish me luck!)
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• • •
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