"april full moon" | monday | april 2, 2007 | 4:15 pm
ONIGHT IS A FULL MOON. It's also the beginning of
Passover. Easter is only a week away. Spring is definitely in the air like all of the cherry
blossom petals everywhere. I am struck sometimes by the poetry of my life -- how much this
Washington is so much like or reminiscent of the Washington I left -- particularly in details
like cherry blossoms at springtime.
I'm one week into the new quarter. Things are all right. My schedule is definitely different
since I only have to be on campus three days out of the week. But I still haven't yet figured
out my reading routine, my study routine. I suppose that will come in time (or default once
the deadline nears). I got a new draft of my lists and rationales off to my committee chair.
Hopefully, I can get that finalized soon. I'm supposed to be meeting with him this week to
talk about it and to talk about who I'm going to select to be my third and final committee
This past week has been pretty busy, actually. First week of class. Getting settled into
my new group of students, who are pretty talkative, a good sign. My Spanish reading class is
getting harder by the minute, and I really should devote more time to it than I do. Last week,
I went to the first grad pub of the quarter, met a really neat prospective student, and drank
too much. Spent much of Friday doing work and not going out, though I did do a trip to
Costco and to dinner. Saturday was more work and then my friend Andrew's (now) yearly
grad English kegger. I provided the snack food. There was much drinking and revelry.
It was pretty fun (even a little embarrassing), and I didn't get home till after 3 AM.
Of course that meant Sunday was hungover and very, very slow. I did get up at a normal
time. Then my friend Jason and I ran errands and drove around Lake Washington. I was
pretty much a zombie, but it was good to fight the hangover. Then I went to bed early.
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• • •
"beatrix evelyn" | tuesday | april 10, 2007 | 11:01 am
VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO BEATRIX EVELYN. She was
born yesterday to my friends Cate and Andrew. Congratulations to the whole family. Now I
have to send all sorts of stuffed animal bees to their house! Best to everyone.
• • •
"woebegone" | thursday | april 12, 2007 | 9:58 am
EFORE I FORGET, I HAVE TO WRITE IT ALL DOWN.
The past week has been really full. Both in terms of things I had to do and things that
have been on my mind. Crazy, actually. Some good, some bad, some ambivalent.
Last weekend was a marathon, which of course starts Thursday night at
grad pub. I wasn't
supposed to stay very long at the pub, but of course I did. I drank more than
I should have given the fact that I was due to leave for a conference really early
the next morning. I got home from the pub around eleven, which is early in my defense.
But I needed to pack. And then for some bizarre reason (read: drunk), Jane and I wanted
to listen to
so we went online and watched random people singing songs on
YouTube particularly the selections from
Derek & Diego. Ha!
So I didn't get to bed till well after midnight.
Friday morning, early, I got up at four, cleaned up, finished packing, and then waited
for my friend Megan to pick me up to take me to the airport. Megan was supposed to get me
at 4:45 AM so we could try to find coffee before heading to Seatac. Alas, she was late (the
fault of her phone, which for some reason doesn't believe in Daylight Savings Time). For
a city that loves coffee, there certainly isn't really anywhere to go at five in the morning
to find some. Megan drove me down to the airport. I got there in plenty of time. There
was a bit of a crowd, but security wasn't a problem.
The flight wasn't too bad, only two and a half hours to Riverside, CA. I flew into Ontario
Airport, which is close to
University of California-Riverside. It was
my first visit to Southern California, which is basically still a desert no matter what the
people living there might think. I was attending a two-day graduate humanities conference called
(dis)junctions): Malappropriation Nation.
I got to Riverside, checked into the lovely Comfort Inn on University Avenue, changed, and
walked to campus. I got there in time to see my friend Lauren, who is also at UW, give her
paper. Then there was lunch. Then more panels. I gave my paper "Looking for Ophera Windfury:
Imagining Race (and Sexuality) in World of Warcraft" on
WoW that afternoon.
I was part of a panel on "Race and Video Games." It went very well. Though I didn't know
the other presenters and hadn't read their papers, we all meshed well and there were useful
resonances in all three of our presentations.
After the keynote and dinner, I went around trying to find people to go out. I didn't know
anyone really at the conference (Lauren headed out early). So, it was up to me to make plans.
By the end of the first day, people were coming up to me to ask me about where everyone was
going out. We ended up at a place called Frank's, a local watering whole con seafood grill
con karaoke bar. It was fun, though a little slow. I met some cool, sassy people. Drinks
were had. And then I really wanted to go out to the
Menagerie, one of the two gay bars
in Riverside. (I found out later that it is currently the oldest existant gay bar in Southern
California.) Only two other people were willing to trundle down to the "bad part of town" (I'm
always finding myself in such environs) to do a little more drinking, a little dancing, and maybe
get into some trouble.
The Menagerie was fun, small, and kitschy. They played really cheesy videos, but people were
friendly. I had a good time. I was a little shameless in hitting on one of the conference guys
that came with me (but he kept buying me drinks and then saying he had a long term boyfriend).
The night was fun, and I'm totally glad that I made it out to the gay bar. Late, late, late in
the evening, we put our third in a cab back to the hotel, and the guy and I decided to stay out.
We met up with a couple, a man and woman, at the bar. They were totally wasted but hysterical
and fabulous. They asked us if we were going to make it into Los Angeles. We said no since we
really didn't have time. They said that wasn't acceptable and we all piled into their car
and they said they'd show us all the hot, gay places in LA. So, I got into a car with complete
strangers and drove an hour to LA. Drunk, no less. But wait. We didn't quite make it. When
we were minutes away from the city, the guy's wife totally passed out and he said that he should
take her home. So we turned around, stopped at a random Denny's so I could pee, and went all
the way back to Riverside. We got dropped off at our respective hotels, and the night ended
safe and sound. It was still fun, though. Crazy.
Saturday, I woke up late. But I did get up before noon. Headed back to the conference. Took
in a couple more panels. Then decided that I really just wanted to go home. It was too bad
because Saturday night was the "going out" night since the conference would be over and people
would want to cut loose. I decided to head to the airport early, just in case I could catch
an earlier flight back to Seattle. Turns out that there were no such flights, and I sat in
the airport for four hours (though it wasn't too bad because it was totally empty and I snoozed).
My flight back to Seattle left at 9:30 PM. We got on the plane, everything fine, and then
were delayed for almost two hours by a little fuel spill. And I mean little. They had
to check this and that. Then they decided that they would empty the fuel tank and refill it.
Everything was fine (and it's good that they check these things), but I was annoyed at being
stuck on a plane. Eventually, I got back home. It was really nice of my friend Jason to pick
me up at 2 AM.
Sunday was a slow day. I just wanted to recover and rest. I spent most of the day lounging
around and playing an obsessive-compulsive web game
Desktop Tower Defense.
The past week itself has just been busy with school, teaching, and trying to figure out what
the hell I'm doing with my life. Even though I am not in classes per se, my time still gets
eaten up. I had to grade papers. My Spanish class is kicking my ass, since we just learned
like six new verb tenses. I just don't feel like I have the time to do anything really, really
thoroughly. It also doesn't help that in general I feel lost, sad, frustrated, and lonely
most of the time. The whole PhD exam process is getting me down. I know a lot of my friends
and peers that are in the same boat are going through similar ups and downs. Right now, though,
I'm mostly in the down mode. I saw my advisor last week. He wanted to make some significant
changes. He made some great suggestions. But now I look at my lists and just wonder if I will
ever get it done (as in finish the lists themselves and actually read everything and know it
for a three-day written and oral exam).
I don't have the structure, the deadlines to force me
to be disciplined. I have to learn how to do that for myself still. I feel like I never see
anybody. And, mostly, I feel like this whole process is eating away at what's left of my
life outside of school. All school and no play makes Ed a dull boy.
Ah well. Ups and downs. Downs and ups. I will figure it out, hopefully sooner rather than later.
All I can say right now is that thank goodness is pub night.
read footnotes |
• • •
"let's go, hokies" | tuesday | april 17, 2007 | 7:15 pm
THINK I'M DONE. (That statement means so much
at this very moment, layers upon layers of meaning.) What I mean is I think I'm done trying
to follow the news about the
Virginia Tech shootings.
Any time -- any time -- there's an incident that involves schools, young people, and violence,
I am immediately apprehensive, edgy, sad, and angry. And like my reaction to the
Columbine shootings, I feel these
things in response to the gall and the predation of the news, the media. I'm shocked, of course.
This comes just weeks after a
shooting at UW.
And the media frenzy, the speculation, the buzz, the culture of fear, the rumormongering flew
then as it does now. Only hours after the shooting, the national media with nothing really
concrete to say spends hours upon hours in recapping, in rehashing, and in playing "what if"?
After the shock wears off, my next reaction is to wonder how they are going to construct,
to rhetorically and metaphorically paint, and imagine the killer. What tropes are they going
to use? What analogies? What histories are they going to rip willy-nilly from the past
to lash to the present?
Of course, now, the identity of the shooter (interesting whether they call him a "shooter" or a
"killer" or a "murderer")
has been released
and the headline from The Washington Post is "Shooter Described as Eccentric Loner by
Students, Teachers." Tropes of "strange" and "quiet" and "loner" and "keeps to himself"
and "disturbed" abound. Clearly, evidence was uncovered that the shooter was troubled.
I wonder if they'll pursue whether that "trouble" had been adquately addressed by the
institution and culture he lived in as much as they'll pursue how that "trouble" clearly
marked him as a (potential) killer. I wonder if other usual suspiscions will get played
like cards: did he play video games? did he listen to heavy metal? did he do drugs? did
he play Dungeons and Dragons? did he get picked on at school? did he have a "life"? did
he have a "soul"?
I have to say that I find it repulsive and
frankly disingenuously sensationalizing when a news reporter asks of an
acquaintance (again, does this person have the credibility and authority to speak about a
person they have never bothered to know) whether they thought he was the "type" to go
on a violent rampage or whether they were "surprised" to find out it was him. The
answer "He didn't seem like the type" only further entrenches the culture of fear
that "anyone" could be a killer (well, of course, no shit Sherlock); and the answer
"He totally fit the profile" only further reveals how much we want to map our fears
and perhaps insecurities on to another body and to find a way to divert attention
away from the fact then why didn't you do anything about it if he totally fit the
Too much to say,
but not enough to say.
I cannot even go into the field day that some people are going to have with the fact
that the shooter is racialized, Asian (finally evidence that it isn't just fucked up
middle-class white boys that go on shooting sprees), and is not a citizen of the US. This
of course is carefully framed and set against the "bucolic" and "small town" and "once safe"
setting of Blacksburg, Virginia and the university campus. Such a rhetorical move only
further distances the shooter from us, from the dorms, from the classrooms, from the
town, from the culture that till hours ago thought nothing of him, thought him part
of the community (he has no record, was legally given entrance into the country, was
seeking naturalization), or failed to see him as a threat, as in trouble, or more
importantly, as a friend.
As with Columbine, I make no excuse for the choices, the desperation, or the psychoses
that drove the shooter to kill thirty-three people and injure dozens of others. And I cannot
minimize the pain, shock, suffering, stress, disillusionment, and honest fear that people
are feeling right now. But I want to know what the next steps will bring and I am afraid
that they will fall short of any kind of critical and informed and useful reactions,
responses, and reparation that address more than just surface, more than just skin deep,
more than just the hype.
read footnotes |
• • •
"blah" | tuesday | april 24, 2007 | 1:45 pm
HE ONLY THING DIFFERENT ABOUT THIS WEEK IS THAT IT'S THIS WEEK.
I seem to be in a bit of a rut. I don't have any motivation to do anything. All I want to
do is stuff that has nothing to do with what I should be doing. The usual things that keep me
busy or make me happy are lackluster. What's that called again? Oh, yeah, right, depression.
I think I'm in some mid-mid-life crisis.
I keep expecting the next day, the next morning to be when it all turns around. I guess that's at
least a good sign, a ray of hope. But so far all I can do is sit, wallow, gnash, and sigh. Oh,
and cough, too. I seem to have developed some sort of upper respiratory thing again -- must be
the tree pollen busting out all over right now -- and what started off as a scratchy throat
turned into losing my voice (the full day of student conferences did not help), which then
was exacerbated by drinking and me pretending to be
hawking Sleepnumber beds instead of
Lindsay Wagner, which then turned into
a hacking, phlegmmy cough that won't go away.
I would say that I need a vacation, but I think that's just indicative of my desire to simply
cut my losses and run away. I don't think that it would solve anything. I don't even think
it would make me feel better. I just need to muddle through (or maybe machete through) it all.
What makes it is worse is that I cannot articulate it very well since it's a mishmash and
Jacob's ladder of things. And I my attempts to talk about it with people seems to just frustrate
me more. Perhaps that is a sign that words aren't the solution.
Anybody say, "Action!?"
End of line.
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