"pain" | monday | june 11, 2007 | 11:13 am
HAVE SO MUCH TO CATCH UP ON.
I really have no idea how I'm going to be able to cram it all into one blog post. I suppose
the ye olde divide and conquer is the plan. Whatever happens, however glossed it may be, I am
not leaving my computer until some sort of run-up is finished. I feel like I am working on a
seminar paper. Put the seat belt on. And just get it done.
My overall state of being, mood, biorhythm, aura, energy, frame of mind, whatever you want to call
it since at least
my birthday has been pensive. A certain indistinct apprehension,
anticipation. I know I worry too much and usually about things I have very little actual control
over. I think I am just trying to figure out the usual stuff: school, teaching, work, end of
quarter, exam list, home, friends, loneliness, life. But I mark my birthday because I have this
annoying sense of impatience and disappointment that I'm beginning the tail end of my thirties and
I look around me to see that I have only "made it" so far. Of course the yardstick that I'm
using is not of my making or choosing -- just the usual cultural expectations and societal baggage
that keeps reminding me that I'm not successful enough, I'm not responsible enough, I'm not
rich enough, I'm not pretty enough, I'm not skinny enough, I'm not ambitious enough, I'm not
cool enough, I'm not young enough, I'm not man enough, I'm not working hard enough, and I'm not
trying enough. Take on the added layers of the various subcultures that I'm aligned with: I'm
not punk enough, I'm not queer enough, I'm not gay enough, I'm not creative enough, I'm not
writing enough, I'm not liberal enough, I'm not activist enough, I'm not Seattle enough. Those
are a lot of "nots." I don't genuinely hold myself to all of these things, but there are moments,
hours, days, weeks where it does weigh on the body, mind, and soul a bit.
To add to my recap of Detroit, we got an email
from professor Geoffrey Sirc saying: "Just want to thank you brilliant people for one of the
best times I had @ C&W. The energy in your room was crackling. So glad you touted me on your
session." Awesome. In fact, he liked our panel so much that he wants to take us all out
when he visits Seattle this month. Double awesome. We actually made some amazing connections
at the C&W conference; we might even get some publications out of it. It's nice to hear
that we are "brilliant" and "crackling."
School's been okay. the last few weeks of the quarter were pretty light compared to quarters
past. But this was the first quarter, officially, that I did not have any final seminar papers
to write. I did have a Spanish final. But after that, I only had to do my students' grades
and that was it. I'm done with my language requirement now. I got a 3.7 this time around.
Oh well. It doesn't impact my GPA, but I thought I did a little better than that. Hopefully,
I won't forget it all. I'm actually hoping to practice some conversational Spanish with
my friend Megan over the summer. Grading was fine. I think I gave out some pretty nice
grades. It must be my old age. But this was the last quarter of composition that I will
teach (hopefully). Next year, I move on to teaching 200-level literature classes. Finally.
I've made progress.
My ENGL 111 class on
Harry Potter made it into
the school newspaper:
"Harry Potter Goes to College."
The article was written by a former student of mine. I also recieved the department's
"Joan Webber Outstanding Teaching Prize" for a second-year 100-level English TA. My first
teaching award at UW, and I get some money. It's a nice way to round out my 36th section
of teaching college composition.
I've also made progress on my PhD exam lists. They still need a little tweaking and spit and
polish. Hopefully, before the summer's out, I'll have a final, locked down version. I secured
my third committee member, who is actually the partner of my committee chair. Once again I will
venture my next academic challenge with a "couple" on my committee. It should be more than
fine, though. And now I just have to get reading and reading and reading and reading and
reading. I did manage to finish one book on my list, William Burroughs's
The Soft Machine,
which I really liked though I didn't really understand it. Now I must move on. Faster.
I have re-discovered the distraction that
television provides me. At least
right now. I think it's an easy procrastination fix since the usual
WoW distraction hasn't been
too distracting. With season at an end,
Gilmore Girls at an end, and
Heroes on summer break, I've been catching
up on shows in rerun or in syndication. For example, I had forgotten how much I really liked
Star Trek: Voyager.
(There's talk of a
new series being pitched.)
I've also been trying to catch as many episodes of the new regeneration (well not so new anymore now) of
And with the new season of
Top Chef about to
begin, Bravo has been airing a lot of Season 1 and Season 2. Yummy. Finally, yesterday, I watched
the entire first season marathon of
Kyle XY, which is
pretty good and about to launch its next season tonight. Pretty furrow-browed boy aside,
the show dramatises some interesting things about technology, information, bodies, humanity,
and desire that seems valuable to me and the work I do with post- and transhumanism and
which seems to be hot in the TV and movie markets (cf. Heroes or
or the upcoming
All of these shows are wrangling with questions about technology and culture, technology and
bodies, and technology and desire that on the one hand is progressive, subversive, even
queer, and on the other hand uses the technology as a way to stabilise, shore up, and pinion
normative and stereotypical definitions, categories, and values. And I want to be right
there on the front line writing and teaching about them.
A couple of weekends ago, I went to see
Monster Camp, part of the
Seattle International Film Festival
this year, which is about fantasy live-action role-players. The film documents a group of
NERO players in the Seattle area.
(It's fascinating this is another film about this particular subculture in recent years
Darkon, which I saw in February.)
It made me, makes me miss gaming a lot. My attempts at putting together a gaming group
here in Seattle are still fraught with scheduling conflicts, lack of players, mishap, and
disappointment. I'll keep trying, obviously, but it just sucks. And I miss playing
Archaea a lot, too.
Tellings and Archaea are formative
to me as a person. It's sad that I have neither in my life right now. There's a part
of me that wants to take all the hours of footage I have from Archaea games in the past
and make my own little documentary, retrospective. I need more fantasy in my life.
Love. Life. Nil.
Seeing my ex Josh in Detroit unsettled a few settled things like sediment at the bottom
of a beautifully aged bottle of red wine. It wasn't a bad thing to see him, and I
really appreciated that he made the effort. We hadn't dated for very long, but it
was certainly intense while it lasted. And we were friends afterward, which was a
good thing for sure. We talked about what we had been up to since The City. We
didn't dwell too much on the past, though we both missed San Francisco. And he
didn't mind me introducing him to my friends as a former boyfriend. But like I said
there's still stuff there. I really liked Josh and I still do. He's still seeing
his old girlfriend on and off again. I doubt he and I could actually have anything
without actually being in the same city again. We flirted and held hands and hung
out for just a few hours. It was safe, with clear start and stop boundaries. So
we just enjoyed it, and he made me feel like I was cute and desireable.
That's what we all need now and then.
I have been able to get out the last few weeks. I've been going out dancing at
Neighbours and such.
Neighbours is undergoing some strange transformation (with the adding of a new stage
for live drag performances, go-go dancers in cages, and new bartenders). The music
and the crowd, for the most part, are pretty much the same on Thursdays still.
My favorite bartender is no longer working there, though. It's been nice to go out
and dance and see club faces. I have made friends with a shavy-headed, musclely,
gothy-dancing guy about my age, who looks like he should be at the Eagle instead.
He's nice, sarcastic, down-to-earth, and we share similar sensibilities about the
scene around us. And he's partnered. But it's still fun to have someone to
I did go out one week and a very nice guy, whom I've talked to in the past year or
so out and about, actually hung out with me at Neighbours for most of the night. We
chatted and danced and there was the exchange of numerals. Since then, a few weeks now,
I've gotten one return call, plans to make plans to make plans, and that all too
familiar sinking feeling. Well, desperation springs eternal. I won't hold my breath.
Maybe he'll call and we'll actually get to hang out. That'd be nice.
Other than a few brushes with the gays, I am pretty much still a celibate shut-in. But
there are plans afoot. And I will continue to put myself out there as much as possible.
Though I probably should layoff the excessive drinking (ever since I got back from
Detroit, I haven't quite had the stomach for overdoing it).
Speaking of San Francisco, I'm flying down next week for a week to visit my sister in
Berkeley and to try to restomp some of my old stomping grounds. It's been years since
I've been back to the Bay Are and I'm pretty psyched. It's going to bring back a lot
of memories. And it's going to be even harder to have to say goodbye again and
come back here. It'll be fun to see my sister's new place and see what she's been up
to. I want to tour Berkeley. I want to catch up with old friends, like
Rob, but many of the people I know have since fled to parts beyond. And
it turns out that I'll be in SF for
gay pride. I hope it'll be a
great week. Maybe I'll even get lucky.
The reason this installment is called pain is because my whole body hurts. I
foolishly have taken up exercising again, mainly in the form of running. I suck at it.
It's embarassing still. I feel judged and laughed at all the time. I couldn't imagine
a worse form of public humiliation. But I am still doing it. Because, in the end,
fuck them. Go me.
read footnotes |
• • •
"i'm coming out" | wednesday | june 13, 2007 | 10:43 am
AM OFFICIALLY JOINING THE BLOGOSOPHERE
(not that I wasn't already part of the buzz, buzz, buzz). Hey, I give good link.
But I'm being fashionably late and am now just creating a
And if you didn't know, today is
"Blog Like It's the End of the World"
• • •
"el verano" | saturday | june 30, 2007 | 11:01 am
UMMER IS HERE.
Post-solstice and everything. The last couple of weeks have been full. And tiring.
But in a good way. I've been busy doing a whole lot of nothing, hanging out,
watching TV, reading, running, traveling, drinking, being a slug, organizing, and
I had a really good trip down to San Francisco last week. I went down to visit Alenda
and Brian for a week. They live in Berkeley, just blocks from the
Cal campus. I hadn't visited
SF in so long (something like five years or so). It was really, really nice to
be there, to be back in a city, The City, I adore and miss. when I booked the trip, I
didn't know that it was going to be
Pride in San Francisco; so that was
I flew out of Seattle on a Tuesday. It's less than a two hour flight down to Oakland.
I love short flights. By the time you get settled on the plane, read a little, get up
and go to the bathroom, snooze, and read some more, you're at your destination! No
muss, no fuss. Brian and Alenda picked me up from the airport. We headed back to
Berkeley. We stopped at
Crixa, my sister's favorite
coffee spot for a little pick me up. We got some groceries at the nearby fancy
(and slightly frenetic)
Berkeley Bowl. Then we
went back to their little house, of which they occupy the top floor.
I've probably said this in the past, but it's worth repeating: I really like being
close to my sister (and my family in general). There's only myself, my sister, and my
father on this side of the planet, and it's hard when we're not in the same vicinity.
So, it was really nice to see her and hang out with her. She's the same. I'm the same.
We're old enough now that we might grow some, change some, but deep down we're still
the brother and sister we've always known. It's comforting. (And sometimes a little
For the first few days, I just hung out in Berkeley.
When I lived in SF, I didn't really get to explore
Berkeley much (mainly because I didn't know many people in the East Bay and because
it was a bit of a trek, even on BART). It is definitely Berkeley--it's own planet.
My sister showed me around, and we did typical Berkeley things: we walked around
the Berkeley campus, I sat in on my sister's intensive Chinese class (which was fun),
ate at local eateries including the famous
The Cheeseboard Pizza Collective,
walked around the neighborhood, tossed a frisbee around at the
Berkeley Botanical Garden.
I did get a chance to meet up with my friend
Dustin and his fiancee at a place
Over the weekend (of Pride), I wanted to go into the City as much as I could. Friday day,
Alenda and I metroed into SF and transfered to the N Judah (amazing how much I remember of
my bus routes) and headed for the ocean. I love seeing the ocean. It was something I
regularly did when I lived in SF. It's just amazing and humbling and grounding. (Seattle's
surrounded by water but it's not the ocean itself.) After the ocean, we walked to my friend
Lauren's house, which I hadn't
seen yet since she bought it years ago. Lauren's got a great place, very nicely done up,
with a great garden. We got to chat and catch-up a little (even though we talk pretty regularly
via instant messenger). I'm glad I got a chance to see Lauren face-to-face (and I am
nostalgic about our old
After Lauren's, my sister and I walk to catch the 48, which should take us from the beach
all the way across town to the Mission District, my old neighborhood. My sister needed
to go to her friend's bridal shower-type thingy in the Mission. Alas, we waited.
And waited. And waited. Finally, we managed to walk up to an intersecting busline and
asked a bus driver about the 48. Turns out: it doesn't run all the way out to the ocean
after 7 PM. Bastards. Clearly, the lowly, huddled, non-downtown masses (re: poor and
brown) don't get much transportation support. It might have been nice to have a notice
for something important like that. So, we get directed south a bunch of blocks to the
L line, which will take us to West Portal where we can transfer to the 48. We get to the L.
And wait. And wait. And wait. Four outbound cars go out before a single inbound car
comes around. (Of course, I told my sister that if I ran to get us a snack from the
corner shop, the train'll totally come. And it did as soon as I was out of sight.)
We catch the L, manage to get a 48 right away, and after walking and waiting and walking
and huffing and puffing, we get to the bridal shower--two hours late. But it was still
going. Of course, I was the only man there. Not to worry: Ed's gay and he'll just
keep this lonely bottle of Grey Goose over here company.
We stay at the shower for a little while and then my sister heads home on the BART. Meanwhile,
I head from the Mission to the Castro to meet my friend
Rob. I was really tired from walking
all over the place. So, I caught a 14 (my old bus line) to the 22. I got to see how
Mission Street has changed and not changed. My old apartment was still there, right above
Roberto's Tax Service. I get to the Castro and meet Rob at
Daddy's (which I had never gone to
in my SF days), which has updated its image and is now called a much younger, cooler,
sexier 440 Castro. Whatever. The place was packed, de bote en bote as it were.
Pride weekend, of course. I squish my way through the bar to my friend Rob, who is
up on a dancer's block with a friend and a leather boy. Many drinks were had. I was
totally trashed, especially after drinking the vodka hours before. We headed to
Moby Dick's for even more
drinks. Can we say, "Druu-unk! Really drunk." Eventually, we headed out, had some
food at Orphan Andy's, and then headed back to Rob's house, where I proceeded to crash.
Saturday morning, I headed back to Berkeley. Hungover. Saturday day was spent lounging.
My sister took me to breakfast at a neat little place called
Guerilla Cafe, where everyone
was kind of a hipster. It was fun.
Saturday afternoon, Alenda, Brian, and I packed up all of the computers in the house
into the car and drove down to the South Bay to their friend's house for a nerdy
LAN party. It was fun. Seven people in a room, each on a computer, playing
Warcraft III. It would've
been more fun for me if I actually knew how to play the damn game! I left the LAN
party, took the
Caltrain up to San Francisco
to go to Pink Saturday, the big block party in the Castro. Pink Saturday has been
going on since like forever, but is still considered "unofficial" (I even heard that
the city tried to tone down the advertising of Pink Saturday in order to suppress
the number of attendees). It's basically a big giant area of milling, drinking,
dancing, prancing, swilling, swinging, singing, sometimes naked, crazy gays and
friends. I got to the block party around 11 PM stone cold sober. It was not fun.
Even after waiting in line to get into a bar, the
Midnight Sun, down four
drinks in like 15 minutes, and it still wasn't fun. Oh well. I did run into two people
I knew from Seattle. But after being jostled around and standing around totally by
myself, I headed back to Berkeley, to sleep.
Sunday, I skipped the parade. I've been to Prides in a bunch of cities, and they're all
pretty much the same, just different in scale. I really was crowd-ed out. I just kind
of wanted to be mellow. But my friend Murphy called and wanted me to come into the City
to meet him. So I did. I met up with Murphy at the big Pride festival at the
Civic Center/City Hall. We walked around a little bit. Then he wanted to head to the
Castro to sit in some open-air cafe, have a couple of drinks, and boy watch. We did.
At Harvey's. (Now, Rob and Murphy used to be together. Like forever. But the split
in the last year or so. They're still friends, they still own the house on Haight,
but they're living in different cities now. I kind of felt like I was a child going
through a divorce. I got to see them both, but not together at the same time.) Murphy,
as always his usual generous self, paid for everything, which meant that one drink
became two. Then we moved on to
The Bar on Castro. Third drink,
fourth drink. We hung out a little, met a really really hot guy who wanted to have
nothing to do with me, and Murphy played the role of twink magnet (which he usually is
anyway). Then Murphy had to meet his friend at Zeitgeist, one of my favorite bars
in SF. There was a pitcher of beer involved. Then Murphy and his friends were off to
a show, and I returned to my sister's house. Drunk.
The rest of my stay in the Bay Area was pretty chill, particularly after a pretty full
Pride weekend. Monday, my last day there, we just hung out. We went out to dinner.
I was supposed to meet up with my friend from Seattle Noah, who was in town for a
conference, but he couldn't make it up to Berkeley. We had farewell drinks at
Triple Rock Brewery, which
was eeriely similar to
Big Time Brewery in Seattle.
Dustin stopped by for a couple of pints and we got a chance to talk, catch up. Then
the next morning I was off to Oakland Airport and a plane back to Seattle.
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