Wednesday, December 22, 2004

(sigh of contentment)

I just spent a lovely week in Tucson with Anna and Erica, and now I'm back in Flagstaff for the actual holiday. It is going to be so hard for me to go back to Evanston now that I've been surrounded by mountains and friends and a sense of belonging again. When I was driving to Tucson, I was just awestruck at the beauty and emptiness of the land around me. Even though I have done that drive an ungodly number of times, I hadn't realized quite how beautiful it really is. I haven't seen such a span of empty-of-people-and-related-things space in so long! We went up on Mt. Lemmon while I was there, and ate lots of good food (Sher-e-Punjab, Zemam's, the new pizza and wine place downtown), went to Bentley's, watched lots of Sex in the City and basically just hung out. Probably the low point was going to an "ugly Christmas sweater" themed party wearing these hideous turtlenecks and vests from Savers only to discover that nobody else was dressed up at all. Bah! But otherwise it was great.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


I'm heading home tonight. I can't wait to see all of my friends and family, to be somewhere with mountains and much less humidity. It's so nice, to think about being somewhere familiar again after several months of personal upheaval. I can't wait to leave this cold windy place and go home for a little while.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

stepford discrepancies

I just watched The Stepford Wives, hoping for a little light entertainment. I find that my light enertainment turns into anything but these days, and this proved to be no real exception. I admit that I am out of the mainstream, so to say, and would probably have not known that this movie had been made except for the fact that I have read the novel and watched the old movie, and the name consequently caught my eye over the summer.
The novel version of this movie is creepy but slow. The old movie is creepy and utterly terrifying in the final scene. The new movie is amusing and ends completely differently from the other two. If you ever want to watch or read the older versions and don't want to be surpirsed, don't read this post.
So, you probably know that this movie is based around the concept of a town of men who turn their wives into robots in order to make them perfect housewives. Both the novel (by Ira Levin) and the old movie take place kind of near the end of second wave feminism, and as such are bitter indictments of the reactions of men and women towards feminism, as well as a nice picture of stereotyping and such. In both of these versions, there is no happy ending. The women all become robots, the end. In the old movie, there is a particularly terrifying final scene where the real Joanna confronts the robot Joanna and realizes that the robot has these huge nipple-protruding breasts. I knew exactly what was going to happen (having read a movie synopsis) but was so freaked out that I had to turn on all the lights in my house and read something happy. (Although there was one awesomely funny short scene where Joanna tries to organize a feminist consciousness-raising meeting that turns into this bizarre slo-mo discussion of household cleaners...)
In the new movie, there is the obligatory happy ending, which was not so surprising in and of itself. I was, however, shocked to find the blame behind the robot women shifted from the main evil male character to his wife. What does it mean, that the older versions of this story saw fit to leave the male characters as the bad guys, while the contemporary version shifts the blame to a woman? That the bad guy is, in fact, a bad girl? I am somewhat creeped out by this. This probably didn't really demand a post of this length, but I really was shocked by the whole thing. What does this say about the consumerism of movie watchers? Did somebody somewhere decide that the male-negative ending of this movie was to harsh?
Up 'til that point, I thought this was actually a really funny movie. There are lots of little jokes that go by if you aren't watching, and maybe the overall humorous approach was the reason that they decided to make the ending different. I don't know. Anyway, that's way too much writing about this.

Monday, December 06, 2004


So I've been reading about transgender stuff lately. It amazes me constantly that no matter how much I have thought about binarism, gender ambiguity, all sorts of things, I somehow frequently don't really understand them or bridge the gap between the thought and the acceptance, the real understanding. It is easy to read about how we binarize sex into male and female, but can you honestly really understand how fully we take that to heart? I am reading Gender Outlaw by Kate Bornstein, who was born male and became female and doesn't really seem to indentify strongly as either. I read, and I know even as I read that I can't fully grasp this. Neither? I can't even talk about this book, because I get bogged down in my pronouns because there is no word for neither that is avalaible for me to use. This is not my only problem/conundrum/essential inability to fully express this feeling. Here are my questions for the moment:
Can you even begin to imagine somebody who doesn't call themself "man" or "woman?" I mean, really. Can you hold that in your mind as a concept and feel that you understand it as a potential reality? I want to, and I can't seem to just yet.
Can you view transgenderism as something other than going from one biological "sex" to another? This is a variation of the last question, I know, but we so frequently catagorize within transgender as MTF or FTM. How about as something to something else?
This is directly from Bornstein:
-Do you think you have it in you to be a man?
-Do you think you have it in you to be a woman?
-Have you ever thought what it might be like to be neither for a day? An hour? One minute?

We read, and even understand, but we don't always know. At least I don't. There is understanding in a logical analytical sense (which may or may not be crap, depending on your feelings about that), and understanding something in a way that makes it personal to you, makes you feel it in a way that will make you laugh or cry or both, that will make you really truly get it. If I can't imagine myself without this social construct called gender, how can I understand what a transgendered person feels? It is hard to align with something that you can't understand. I don't know where I'm heading with this. I guess I need to sort out my own thoughts and feeling a bit more.
A few years ago, a girl asked me to write something for a zine she was making on "what it meant to me to be a woman." I wrote this crappy thing, I don't even remember what-all was in there, but I ended by saying that I didn't think of myself as a woman so much as I thought of myself as a person. That might be the closest I've come to this concept. A person is ungendered, in the purest sense of the word at any rate. We are all people, yes?

I (heart) RuPaul

These are my two favorite quotes so far this week:

"Definitions have their uses in much the same way that road signs make it easy to travel: they point out the directions. But you don't get where you're going when you just stand underneath some sign, waiting for it to tell you what to do."
-Kate Bornstein, from Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us

"Like I've always said, 'You're born naked and the rest is drag.'"
-RuPaul, taken from Transgender Warriors by Leslie Feinberg

"The problem with revolution, of course, is violence. It would be neat to take part in a non-violent revolution of inclusion, whereby the revolutionaries simply have a good laugh, and welcome anyone else to dinner."
-Kate Bornstein again

Sunday, December 05, 2004

turn turn turn

As soon as I finish and turn in my pedagogy paper tomorrow, I am done for the semester (or "quarter," as they say here). Thank god. I am ready for a break already.

Friday, December 03, 2004

robotic voices for peace

When I use my AT&T calling card now, this is what I hear:
(sad woman's voice): To donate calling minutes to your US military troops, press 1.
(happy woman's voice): Want to learn more about Sam's Club? Press 2!
(neutral woman's voice): To place a call, press the star key.
It used to just ask me if I wanted to make three way calls or some such thing.

In other news, the Book of the Week for me has been Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg. Just simply for its portrayals of things that I've never imagined myself inside, like butch-femme bar life in the 60's pre-stonewall or what it was/is probably like to try and pass like a man and to be transgendered, it's worth reading. It was terrifying at times, sad enough to make me cry a lot in many different places, and just overall mind-widening. But alas, sometimes a little unbelievable in a few of the scenarios that occur. Well, no book is perfect. Still well worth it for the overall effect. S/he's also written a bunch of other books, including one called Transgender Warriors about trans history that I'm going to read next. Leslie Feinberg's website is if you're interested.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

it's my party

Woo, it's my birthday! However, since I opened all my presents this morning and I don't really have any friends here to celebrate with or anything, I think the birthday part of today is already pretty much over and now it's just a day. But whatever.
I had a really crappy couple of days since Anna left, including many many many boring orchestra rehearsals, a recalcitrant quintet coach, and somebody crossing my name off of a sign-up sheet for make-up viola lessons. Also just marathon days at school, not coming home for 12 hours and things like that. I don't like that. So as long a today is better than that (which it promises to be) I am relatively happy.
In an attempt to negate the crappiness of yesterday, my roommate Josh made me a birthday "cake" out of a tofutti cutie with frosting and a candle. He's such a nice guy, it was really cute and made me feel a lot better.
So everybody who might read this, have a great day in honor of the twenty-third anniversary of my birth. That's all, I guess.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Dorothy Allison

Bastard Out of Carolina will make you absolutely cry your eyes out. Then read her essays.

Monday, November 29, 2004

a decade too late

I had my playing final for my orchestral excerpts class today. I played semi-decently, and the teacher told me that (a) I did a good job learning the excerpts and (b) that I play better than I should with the physical problems that I have. Then he spent 10 minutes or so comparing my playing somewhat unfavorably to his 12-year-old daughter's. Prompting again the question: why exactly am I here?
Incidentally, my birthday is on Thursday, which will put me 11 years behind instead of only 10.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

before it gets so cold that this rain turns to snow...

It was reasonably chilly yesterday, but nothing special. Now, all hell seems to have broken loose. It's 31 and supposed to get down to, I think, 21 and it's snowing like mad outside, with that famous Chicago wind thrown i for good measure. I wonder if people put off their daily business when the weather is really bad, or if they just continue on as if nothing were wrong?

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

a few weird scenarios

I was riding the shuttle today, and a radio ad for health insurance was immediately followed by an ad for McDonald's McRib sandwich. The irony did not go unnoticed.
Somewhat more strange was this conversation I had at a lesson recently. My teacher is this very nice little older middle-aged man, slightly prone to somewhat strange analogies. We were discussing tension that I have while playing a particularly difficult exercise when he said this. "So, you get tense when you're doing something difficult. Suppose... Suppose you and I were forced to fight to the death. You'de be pretty tense, right? I think I'd probably win. But if you were forced to fight to the death with a four-year-old, you'd be totally okay, and the four-year-old would be really tense." I was cracking up, but he was totally straight-faced. It was so strange.

Monday, November 22, 2004


I reread "Like Water for Chocolate" yesterday after picking it up at the booksale, and came across this line: "...Pedro went to her, pulling her to a brass bed... and throwing himself upon her, caused her to lose her virginity and learn of true love." I know it's translated from spanish, but damn that is passive. "...caused her to lose...?" Jeez.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

the long weekend

Well, this weekend seemed to stretch on f o r e v e r. I did volunteer training at the LGBT community center from 9:30-3:30 yesterday, then went to move boxes and boxes and boxes of books to help clean up the booksale. Then back at the center at 9:30 this morning, left at 2 to go play a quintet concert in downtown Chicago, home for about 20 minutes, then back to school for a rehearsal for a completely different quintet. It was really really cool doing the volunteer training and helping out at the booksale, but damn I'm tired now. I think I might work on the phone helpline for the center, which is a scary but potentially really good thing for me to do.
It was funny, because I think gay people have kind of a mini-stereotype of being vegetarian, but I was the only person who was vegetarian (much less vegan!) at any of my volunteer activities. I ended up eating pizza twice yesterday because I didn't want to make waves. It made me feel gross, all that cheese after so long without. I also drank lots of soda. It made me think about how other people eat and drink every day. I felt so ragingly unhealthy, just from that one day, but that's what most people live like all the time. Funny to think I was just like that for so long and now it seems so totally undoable to me.

Thursday, November 18, 2004


I am not a big fan of vegan cheese in general. It tends to be gross, doesn't melt right, tastes nasty when it does melt, is just generally not a good idea. But I caved and tried a new brand I'd never heard of yesterday, and actually liked it! I made a quesadilla last night, and although it was definitely not cheese, it tasted good and I really enjoyed it. It made me really happy for some reason. I wonder if my tastes have just changed to include this new thing? When I started being vegan, I realized that I forgot what certain things, like milk and sour cream actually tasted like. When I do have them now from time to time, I usually don't like them anymore, even though I did before. Strange. So maybe the rest of you would still find this "cheese" super gross, I don't know.
In other news, my roommate told me the other day that a group of people are putting together a dictionary with all of the definitions in limerick form! They are calling it "The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form." You can visit their website ( and submit limericks for appropriate words, or just read other people's limericks. I think this is a very strange but cool idea, probably started by people with waaaay too much time on their hands.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

train karma

A few divine rules of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), if you will:
1) You will always be approximately one block from the station when the exact train you need pulls up the the platform. You will consider running but will instead continue trudging and watch the train pulling away.
Amendment: Sometimes, you will miss the train by a narrower margin, particularly if you are running late or it is very cold or late at night. On special occaisions when all three of these factors are in play, you may even be able to pound on the train's side as it pulls away, leaving you behind.
2) If you have to transfer trains during the day, there will always be one waiting for you right there. However, if it is again late at night, very cold, or you are behind schedule, you will have to wait for long periods of time, sometimes twenty minutes or more. Sometimes, when you get on the train, it will sit with open doors for about 5 minutes while you shiver.
3) If you are waiting for a train, at least two trains going the opposite direction will pass by while you stand there impatiently.

Yeah, I hate the CTA sometimes.

In other news, I updated my profile and found out something a little weird and kind of funny. When you view a profile, you can click on any interests and the computer will show you other people who listed the same thing in their interests. So, of course drag kings were one of my interests, and so I decided to see who shared my feelings. There is only one other person on blogger who has listed drag kings, and that person is from Tucson! It's this 20-year-old guy named either Cosmo or Matt, and he's also way into Bentley's and various other things that mean I should have run into him somewhere, but he doesn't really look familiar. Does anybody know who this person is? If you look at my profile and click "drag kings" it will show his profile and a picture. I want to know if it is somebody I know and am just not identifying, or if it's some total random guy.
Incidentally, Dorothy Allison is way cool.

Friday, November 12, 2004

moment of silence

I just finished Haymarket, by Martin Duberman, which Jesse was kind enough to loan me. Damn, that was a sad book. The four men who were hung for alleged collaboration etc. in the Haymarket riot died on November 11, aka yesterday, in 1887. A moment of silence, please.

random weirdness

On a patch of grass near my house, there is a now a giant blow-up pink gorilla, maybe 20 feet tall, wearing a blue polka-dotted skirt and bra. It has a sign on it that says "Happy Birthday Big Boy!" Huh?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

i don't know anymore

This has been a bad week for me, too busy and nowhere near enough sleep, and depressed about the election. Last week, I was angry and shocked. Now I just feel tired. I hear that Bush elected a guy to run the FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee that thinks women should pray and read the bible when they have PMS, plus there's crap in Iraq as always. I guess some people got shot with pellets and peppersprayed in Tucson at a protest, and the same newspaper that ran an article about reformed homosexuals on National Coming Out Day had a headline yesterday that asked whether the push for gay marriage was what had cost us the election. I feel blamed, and scared, and just saddened by everything.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

in other news...

The chicago transit authority is trying to get funding from the general assembly here, and if they don't then there will be no el service to Evanston after 10 pm! In January! This is hardcore bad for me, as I didn't bring my car here and am entirely at the whim of the public transportation gods. So I'm trying to decide whether I should only buy a one-way ticket home for thanksgiving and drive back here, or what. I am finally making it without a car, I don't want to suddenly go back to just driving everywhere, and it'll probably be too cold soon to walk very far. Hopefully they'll get the funding... At least I technically have the option of having a car, what about all the people who don't?
There are a lot of weird signs here, just like any place. There is a hardware store that I saw the other day called the Crafty Beaver, which I have contemplated using as a permanent zine title but can't decide whether it's funny or just dumb. And yesterday, riding the el, I saw a billboard that I wrote down because I didn't get it and found it bizarre. It was a picture of a car, and the caption was "The four crotch crotch rocket." What does that mean? And it seems like some sort of major marketing faux pas to say "crotch" not once, but twice, in an ad.
I saw Le Tigre on Friday, and man it was awesome! They have so much energy, and I screamed my head off the whole time. It is always so excellent to see a band talking about things like butch visibility and how feminists have endured "fifty years of ridicule." I was afraid it would be a bummer, because I know that they were so vociferously anti-Bush, but it seemed like they just used that to their advantage. Kathleen Hanna was really my first feminist hero, so it was great to finally see her perform. If they come near you and you can, you should go! They were great.
I also went to a school rally on Friday, which seemed a little shallow to me. I mean, I guess it is frequently in the nature of rallies to be a little surfacey because you're talking to so many people, and just because of the emotional dynamics and such, but still it just seemed like a lot of making ourselves feel better. And people kept making fun of the republican protesters, which made me feel kind of weird because of what I said in my last post. They were being annoying, true, but it seemed like more of that unbridled animosity that springs up in place of an attempt to talk to each other. Whatever, I'm still not sure how I feel about all that...

we all need a little understanding?

My roommate told me yesterday that he's considering going to a college republican meeting. Not because he's republican, the opposite is far truer, but he says that he feels like we are just making each other more and more alienated as we continue in our respective campaigns, that the left people are just pissing the right off and if we don't understand each other's opinions nothing will ever really happen in terms of representation. What do y'all think about this (all 3 of you)? I feel like there is at least a grain of truth in this. His example was the war, and how it just made people hate us more and so was counterproductive to the "war on terror." Are we alienating the right so much that they will never see our point of view, or us theirs? Would it be helpful to us if we understood each other more? Or would that run the risk of making us all moderates who didn't always uphold the morals of either side? God knows I'm not conservative in practically any way I can think of, but obviously a lot of people are. Are we mistaken in not trying to see where they are coming from? Let me know what you think, please.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

i am not just your issue

Anna told me yesterday that she went to a young democrats meeting in Tucson, and that some people were trying to say that they should back off on things like "the gay issue" to win voter support.
Fuck that. I am not just your issue to manipulate to win voters. Anybody who talks about that should be fucking slapped. We are all human, important, crucial for the sake of all of us. I want to give up everything to advocate this right of basic humanity. Even though I know I won't quite yet, just know that I am a person, not your fucking issue. I don't even want to get married, but damned if I want to be prevented from it if I did want it. Fuck that.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

fear and loathing in america

We all know what has happened. I feel like I am dreaming, that this has not really happened. I mean, shit. Eleven states outlawing gay marriage, Prop 200 passing, another four years of Bush... I keep remembering being at the Cesar Chavez march about a year and a half ago. The guy who kind of set it all up was giving his opening talk, discussing the size of the anti-war movement and such, and the crowd was getting all hyped up, and all of a sudden he just said "And we failed." I could almost feel the people in the crowd realizing that yes, despite all of the efforts all over the freaking world, the war still happened. This feels a little like that to me, like we've all just been slapped in the face with the fact that, despite all of our best efforts, he STILL got re-elected.
We all know this sucks. I feel like a piece of me has died, a little bit of my faith in the ability to change things. So I've been trying to bolster myself. It is even more important than ever to keep doing the things we have all been doing, and indeed more. Do you all remember when the war started, and it basically seemed to immobilize the ability of activists to talk about anything else? I think it harmed or slowed down a lot of movements,groups, people, because we simply couldn't cope with a war and everything else all at the same time. This could do the same thing. I know it's only been a day or whatever, but I hope that we can all move forward and kick some ass for our futures.
When I'm not crying and feeling shitty, I feel this immense anger that could be profitably directed at something. I was talking to Lauren on IM this morning, and we were talking about how some good things, like public awareness and involvement and organizing skills, were potential side effects of all of this. And when I said that good things could come from all of this, Lauren said, "Like... revolution!" Thank you, Lauren.
I am sitting here listening to Le Tigre, who I am going to see tomorrow (more on this later, I guess). I imagine that it will be a very very pissed-off angry sad group of people. But anyway, here's a few parting words from them.
"I'll just tell you now
Cuz I don't think you know
The things you tried to kill
I found a way to grow
I'll just tell you now
You may have made your mark
But I'm still here today
Knowing who you are
I'll just tell you now
You're not the City of God
You can't strike me down
From your mountaintop..."


I'd never cried over an election before this. Now I have. How can this be, tht we would elect his person again? This is painful, awful, terrible. I love this world so much, to see myself set against it is almost too much.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

and again

I never actually thought Bush would win this election, in my heart of hearts. It is shocking to me. I'm glued to my computer, checking CNN's damn website every 2 seconds to see what has changed. There's only a 7 electoral vote gap right now, but Ohio is probably going to give us another 4 years of texas jokes and fear. I can't sleep, but I think I'm going to turn off my computer anyway because this is killing me to watch.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

election jitters

Wow, I am really nervous about this election. I am trying to reassure myself that only 56% of the votes are in, and there's not very much of a gap between Kerry and Bush right now. But I'm scared. If Bush wins, I will lose a lot of faith in this country; if we can vote for somebody who I hate so much, who has done so many horrible things and stands for all that I dislike about politics and ethics and everything, what can I think about that? It will be like almost everything I believe has been negated by the majority of the people around me.

Friday, October 29, 2004

i must have done something really bad recently

Bah, Jesse's bad luck has rubbed off on me long distance. My alarm didn't go off this morning, so I missed my shuttle and consequently my class, and I spilled hot coffee all over my hands and floor while I was trying to prepare to catch a later shuttle. So I gave up. I left my viola at school last night, so I'm heading out in a little bit, but for now I'm just going to drink too much coffee and mope.

perplexed and soggy

So I've stayed up late doing laundry (I figured I wouldn't be able to sleep anyway and Anna's coming tomorrow and I wanted to wash my sheets), and have been outfoxed by the dryer. I'm not exactly a washing guru or anything, I mostly just stick things in and push the button, but I've never actually failed to at least end up with clean dry clothes at the end. Tonight, however, I put my clean wet clothes into the dryer and turned it on and went upstairs to clean my room. When I came back down, the door had fallen open and there were two minutes of time left. I let it finish, and when I opened the door, everything was just about exactly as wet as it had been when I put it in! What happened in the intervening 45 minutes that used up all the time but failed to dry anything? It's too late to do it again, and plus I'm out of change, so my closet is full of wet clothes. I also have no sheets, so I guess I'll be wrapping myself in the quilt for the night. Bah.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

i miss SAS

I went to an editing for the campus feminist magazine last night. It was kind of weird for me; practically everybody else was a freshman, and they were all super hyped up and really trendily dressed and giggly and squealy. Not that there is necessarily anything particularly wrong with any of those things, and they all seemed nice enough, but it just kind of overwhelmed me because it wasn't what I was expecting. I don't know what I did think it would be like, maybe just a little less talk of funny puns for various sections of the magazine and a maybe a little more talk of things beyond the scope of the articles at hand? I think that is what I was looking for--debate, discussion, something like that--which is silly because all we were really there for was to edit other people's stuff. So anyway, I edited articles on the lack of promotion of female indie musicians (this girl was way pissed at Liz Phair for selling out to make money), the power and clout wielded by First Ladies, and how much one girl admired and adored the lead character from Kill Bill. Not that these are all bad topics (although I was not a fan of the First Lady article so much; too much emphasis on facts and not enough emphasis on alternative ways of being powerful other than just marrying somebody), and not that mine was much better (an article/personal narrative on the societal pervasiveness of shaving), but a lot of it just seemed kind of superficial. Nothing new, or particularly interesting and thought-provoking, nothing that smacked of revolution, just the facts ma'am. I don't think I'll be doing this again. I don't like magazine writing anyway, it's too formal for me. It makes me nervous :-)
Anyway, the low point of the evening was when we tried to relocate to a locally-owned coffeeshop and it was full. One girl turned and said, "So, Starbucks then? Unless anybody has something against corporations, or something?" (There was at least one, if not more, other locally owned places fairly nearby.) I never felt so far from SAS.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

i strongly dislike Alan Keyes

I don't know what kind of splash this is making in the country at large, but it's this big deal here about who is going to win the Senate seat here, Barack Obama or Alan Keyes. Keyes was in the spotlight a bit back for saying Mary Cheney was a "selfish hedonist" because she's a lesbian. He has also told people that if Jesus were alive, he would be voting for Keyes because he doesn't support gay marriage. Most recent, and perhaps most weirdly, Keyes stated that "incest is 'inevitable' for the children of gay and lesbian parents (from the Windy City Times," Huh? Apparently he means that because the children won't know who one of their parents is, they will somehow be drawn to sleep with their unknown and unknowing brothers and sisters. I hate to tell him this, but 1) the world is full of kids who don't know the identity at least one of their parents, and 2) I would assume that a fair amount of children of gay and lesbian parents do have access to that information. What a baldly offensive and unsupportable statement to make! What a jerk.
I believe, in happier news, that today is the first annual intersex day of awareness. Yay for that, it's about time.


I can't sleep again, it's 1:06 am and I'm just sitting here thinking about body hair and gender as a performative concept and on and on. I'm really tired, but in that restless state where sleep seems almost impossible. It's especially frustrating because I know I have a really long day tomorrow also, and the less I sleep the harder it will be to stay focused and do the things I need to do. So bah, humbug.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

put your obsessions to work

Well, I'm sure everybody has noticed that I'm a tad bit obsessed with drag kings lately. So what I've decided to do is this: make a zine about it, using texts, personal stuff, and hopefully some interviews or written statements from actual drag kings. I was going to make my next one about hair, both having short hair and not shaving, but it occured to me today that I could, in fact, cover multiple topics if I so desired, and also that these things are kind of related, a little bit. Being hairy places you outside of conventional femininity, and dragging certainly does the same thing, if in a pretty drastically different way. That's kind of tenuous perhaps, but it works for me.
Here's a performers'-eye description of a performance at the first IDKE that I read today:
"Jay wrote text that reflected a theatrical version of his experience as a transgendered/transsexual man. Sarah wrote text that represented her history of gender ambiguity and confusion. We then performed each other's texts, and eventually merged the two stories into Act I, scene v from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night."

In other news, I visited a feminist bookstore in Chicago called Women and Children First today. I had heard that it was something like the biggest feminist bookstore in the country, but it seemed roughly comparable to a more-poorly-organized Antigone's to me. At any rate, I had a hard time finding anything. But I got some books, which always makes me happy, and it seemed like a nice place. And it was good to get out and just walk around, too. I know that cool places exist here, it's just hard to know where to find them. I should try to do more exploring before it gets cold.
In a moment of natural irony, it apparently snowed in Flagstaff sometime in the past few days, but it was about 70 here today, sunny and warm enough to go out in just a t-shirt.

Friday, October 22, 2004

the man of the house?

While I was talking with Anna last night, the Republican party called her and asked to speak to "the man of the house." She told them never to call again and hung up, and then w laughed and griped for a bit. The thing is, they called a couple of months ago and asked the same question to Tracey, the other roommate. She told them that she was the man of the house and that we were all a bunch of hairy pro-choice lesbians and to leave us alone. You'd think they'd get the hint. Who goes around asking for "the man of the house" anyway? Jeez, that's so 1950's.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

not exactly worthy of the paper chefs

I had my first somewhat-disasterous cooking experience in a while tonight. I was trying to make basically fake ground beef, potatoes and fried tofu in vegan cheese sauce, which sounds like something you would find on a school cafeteria labeled "cheesburger casserole" but actually tastes pretty good. I made everything and was just finishing the "cheese sauce" when I realized I was out of the most important (indeed indespensible, as I would find out) ingredient, nutritional yeast. So instead of just putting everything away in tupperware and finishing tomorrow after I bought some yeast, I decided that maybe I could morph it into a vegan cream sauce, and started just throwing things in, like majoram and sour cream and all of my potatoes and tofu and beef and such, and of course it tasted awful. It has officially been shelved until I make it to the Whole Foods tomorrow and buy some nutritional yeast and fix it. Bah, I say.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


I am feeling unfocused, so here are some random thoughts/events/images.
Number 1:
Overheard yesterday on campus, a guy walking past me and talking to a girl: "...and (mumble) will improve, and culture will improve..." What could improve culture, and how would you measure that improvement? I spent a while thinking about that. Culture can change, yes, and certainly I can envision a culture that I personally would prefer to right now, but the term "improve" still bugs me a bit. It seems that perceived improvement of culture would be a personal opinion, not a fact that could be measured. Not that all true things have to be factually measured to be true, but still. My perfect culture would be somebody else's nightmare.
Number 2:
Outside the gym where I go for yoga are two statues: A woman in flowing robes holding a book, and a naked man (with his genitalia nicely hidden by the tail of the belt that he is wearing to hold up his imaginary pants) holding a football that has wings and stepping on what I presume is a fallen opponent. Huh.
Number 3:
From the Kathy Acker book that I'm still not sure how I felt about but finished anyway:
Mr. Fuckface: "...Let them all kill themselves. We'll take their babies."
The capitalists lie down on the ground and make love to each other. That is the only sex we know nowadays.
Mr. Blowjob: "Our love is here to stay."

Now that is an image I have been unable to banish from my head since I read it. I would redeem myself from passing it on to you by posting a really hardcore picture of two drag kings kissing, but I'm not good with computers and can't figure out how to post it. I'm sure it's really easy, but whatever.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

the pinky is my enemy

Just a few notes on being a music major. I know that all majors probably involve doing something that seems really pointless or silly to the outside viewer, but honestly. I am spending up to two hours a day right now focusing all of my energy and will on trying to keep my left pinky finger curved when I put it down. Two hours of my life spent watching it come down, over and over, and flattening out the wrong way almost every single damn time. And the worst part is that the harder I try to correct the problem, the more tension I hold in my hand and the more likely it is that the pinky will flatten. It is totally messing with my head.

drag heaven

There are some things which are just utterly beyond description, and I have to say that International Drag King Extravaganzas are one of those things.
I am so completely honored that I got to attend this event. I can’t really explain what it is like to see the song from The Full Monty performed by drag kings in flesh-colored body suits complete with fake chest hair, or to witness the sheer mass of 180 drag kings on stage all at once, dancing to their final bows music. But I can say this, certainly and forever: It is hella cool.
Last night, I went to a kind of amateur drag night, for amateur locals and conference-attenders who weren’t in the showcase tonight. It was so crowded I couldn’t see a damn thing, and I ended up leaving early feeling lonely and angry and tired. But tonight, everything was different. A bigger venue, a stage that you could actually see, and lots and lots of very happy people with a crowd vibe to die for. There were about 30 groups, ranging from one-person acts to full-on group performances. One guy, who has written and produced his own drag opera, sang with a sock puppet (choose your pronouns as you wish). The Tucson group kicked some major ass, as did a group from North Carolina that gave a super powerful performance focusing on oppression. The Chicago Kings, who hosted, had trampolines in their act, and silver tutus. There were Beastie Boys, Savage Garden, and the first drag act I’ve ever seen who actually sang instead of lipsynching. The finale of the first half was about twenty women from Seattle who danced frenetically to Pour Some Sugar on Me and poured glitter, honey (oh my god) and water all over themselves and the audience, then stripped down to pants and nipple tape and licked honey off of each other and basically just made out like crazy on stage. I will never ever forget the sight of all those women suggestively pulling honey bears out of their pants. Jesus.
This is maybe the most fun I have ever had at a single event. A few firsts for me: I had a drag king buy me a drink (I think because I complemented her act, not because I won her heart or anything) and the woman next to me told me I was really cute and hit on me. I was so totally excited by the range of people and genders and sexualities that were evident, with girls wearing ties and straight men moaning over the lesbians, and gay men and straight women just feeling really really confused.
Next year, the IDKE is in Winnepeg, Canada. Dear god, if you have the money, GO! It will be worth it.
The Chicago Kings website is, and the conference website is, if you want to see what was up. Go, all of you (all 3 of you or so), next year. In the name of all that is holy and queer and awesome.

Friday, October 15, 2004

drag kings!

Tonight is the first night (for me, anyway) of the International Drag King Extravaganza! The Chicago Kings, Chicago's drag king troupe, put on a conference every year and drag kings come from as far away as Australia and all over the US and Canada to talk and perform. Tonight is the kind of amateur show, and tomorrow night is the real deal. I know I have talked about this to anybody who might possibly read this, but I'm so excited I just had to say it one more time. Yay for drag kings!

Thursday, October 14, 2004


Just for the record, I read some more of the Kathy Acker book and it has started to make more sense to me, and I'm enjoying it much more. So sorry, Kathy Acker, wherever you are.


I hate it when I read something and feel like I just don't get it. I've always heard that Kathy Acker is just awesome, but she's one of those people whose name I always forget just as I get to the library. But, eventually, I managed to check out Blood and Guts in High School last week. And now, as I'm reading it, I feel like I'm just missing something. If I had been the first person to read this book, I don't know if I would have classified it as excellent or awful. I mean, not to diss Kathy Acker, because I'm sure she's awesome and I just haven't "gotten" it yet, but I have read some crappy crappy books before that in some ways remind me of this.
Can you recognize genius if it doesn't resemble anything you've encountered before? It's easy to classify something unfamiliar as crap. How many works of art, songs, books, poems, been disregarded that, in truth, contained something new and original that could have changed the course of art and literature as we know it? And on the converse, are there things that one person has decided are genius because they are different that are not as potentially world-shaking? Do you think that there are things that people have just decided are good, and everybody else just agrees with them because they don't want to look like they don't "get" it?

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

I thought people were supposed to be smart here?

On a slightly lighter note, here is a rough approximation of a conversation I heard at a shuttle stop last night:
(Frat boy, hitting on two sorority girls): So, why do girls go to the gym anyway? You can get the same results by just not eating!
(Sorority girl): No, it's not the same. It's to make you feel good, to make you feel better.
(Frat boy): I don't know about that.

Do the clothes/surroundings make the man/girl?

When I first moved here, I was going from Chicago to Evanston every day, and every day in dowtown Chicago I passed a men's clothing store that had this embossed on all of its windows:
"In the professional world, man is judged on the basis of his appearance."
I hate that store, what a load of crap to have to carry around with you every day if you have to live in that professional world!
I was also worried a little bit when I first moved here that I was going to change, living in such a big place. Would I become less nice, more bitter, unable to deal with the overwhelming knowledge of poverty and hunger and sorrow that exist here? Would I feel insignificant when faced with the absolutely unknowable mass of city and the gazillions of people in it? It is depressing to live in a huge city and feel totally alone.
I am still afraid that I am changing, and not in ways that I like. I do feel bitter, a lot of the time, and alienated and helpless and angry at myself for being so utterly incapable of finding a niche here. I'm searching for a place to belong and just failing so miserably. Is it possible to spend two years somewhere and never find a community to call your own? Physically, I'm sure it is, but what are the mental repercussions?
So my question remains: Has moving here changed me for the worse? I don't believe that the clothes make the man, but do I believe that the surroundings make the girl?

Monday, October 11, 2004


Today is National Coming Out Day, so of course there is a Chicago newspaper with this headline:
Gay No More
The article is about a guy making a movie about "ex-gays," people who used to be gay and now consider themselves straight. It is supposed to show, I believe, that homosexuality is a choice and that if people really really wanted to we could all be straight. Gah! It seems like such a travesty to print that story on this day. People seem to be so blocked into this binary notion of sexuality anyway, like there's just no way in the whole world that you could change or (god forbid) not feel like gay or straight really describes you fully, that we have to be just one way foreverandeveramen, and I'm sure articles like that are no help. I mean, I don't really strongly feel inclined to think that sexuality is entirely choice or entirely not, but there's that binarism again that seems to say it must be one way or the other so make up your mind already.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

butternutfingers and the NBA

Maybe everybody else in the world knows this, but I discovered today that when you cut up a butternut squash, your fingers get weird and super dry and peely and generally gross. Good to know, now that I think I have effectively nixed any practicing that I might have done tonight.
I spent the day in Chicago at a pedagogy conference. Overall, it was just kind of boring, but the lecturer did say one thing I would like to ruminate on. She was talking about the physical side of playing, and how repetition is really important for little kids, so that they can really ingrain the feeling of playing things correctly. She kind of illustrated her point by talking about gymnasts and how those little kids do the same routine for years to learn them so well. It reminded me a little bit of something I read in a book a long time ago. The character in the book was talking about basketball, how when you see some guy in the NBA make a perfect swoosh-type basket, you know that he is simultaneously reliving every basket he's ever made while creating something totally new at the same time. She called it the divine inspiration of the NBA, and said that it was crucial for musicians to feel that in their music-making. I've always really liked that, the concept of playing with the divine inspiration of the NBA.

Friday, October 08, 2004

drip drop

It's raining here today, not hard but just enough that I feel slightly damp all the time. But still, it's pretty warm, and I walked by the lake today on the way to my yoga class and it was just really nice. The trees are changing colors, but only a few of them so far. You'll be walking by this long row of green green green trees, and then all of a sudden one will be totally redyellowgoldorange and it's a little breathtaking. I've underestimated the beauty of that particular facet of nature a little maybe, but I certainly appreciate it now. I assume at some point all of the trees will do that. I bet it's amazing.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

A little rant

I'm reading James W. Loewen's fabulous book, Lies My Teacher Told Me, a book about how awful high school history text books are (they actually make students more stupid than they are before they read them!). So far we've covered Columbus, the first Thanksgiving, the fact that Helen Keller was a socialist and Woodrow Wilson was a white supremacist and both fact have been covered by their "hero" status, and now the textbook treatment of Native American culture, society and impact on Europeans. Specifically, textbooks treat Native people like ignorant savages, when in fact Europeans derived or possibly derived zillions of words, foods (from chili to soul food), names, medicines, and even a large part of their original concepts of democracy from Native people! American democracy can be believed to be a syncretic (coming together to form something new) of Native American and European ideas, which is always totally totally ignored by modern textbooks.
I had a truly excellent US history teacher; she was probably the best teacher I had in high school, and taught me a crapload about social justice and did a fair job of presenting different sides of history. We certainly did not revere Columbus in my history class. But still, we worked from a textbook like these. We learned all about Andrew Jackson, president, and I did not discover until I did a report about him that he was a total inhuman monster that killed so many Native American people (especially during the Cherokee's "Trail of Tears", when he forced then entire tribe to walk from their lands in Georgia to a reservation in Okalahoma, and 25% died along the way) that I can't even comprehend, and that he still has hate websites up against him today. That's pretty hardcore, considering how long he's been dead, but I think that his Native American policy probably got a paragraph or one of those special little "insight" boxes and then wasn't mentioned again.
All of this is just pissing me off. Why aren't high school students reading Loewen's book, or Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, for god's sake? Both of those books have ripped my heart apart countless times, and yet we are still allowing kids to work from textbooks called things like The American Way and Triumph of the American Nation, letting them believe that "Americans" or anybody substantially connected to the formation of the way things are now never did bad things? It's absurd.
I guess I'm done. For more information on Jackson, go to
Also, my interesting website for yesterday was, if you're interested in what seems to be an at least decent alternative news source.
One last thing: John Marshall, a Supreme Court Chief Justice who I always kind of admired in high school, basically allowed Jackson to move the Cherokees by saying that, while the Native Americans had rights to the land in Georgia by dint of "occupancy," white enroachers had superior rights by dint of "discovery." Can you live somewhere without first "discovering" it? Another "hero" down the drain.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Okay, so I was a bit melodramatic. I just get lonely here, and now it's cold (there's a freezing warning for tonight, and it's currently supposedly 41 degrees out there) and blah blah blah. But happily, that seemed to be the simultaneous zenith of sadness and nadir of ability to cope wih it, so things have been much better since then. I am going to try doing some volunteer work in the LGBT community, and maybe helping with some aspect of the campus' feminist magazine. Both of these ideas have positively revitalized me. I am also going to attempt to learn about things that I don't know very much about, and read good books. I have all this time right now (although that may change) and it is so wasteful to spend it moping around my apartment. (Technically it's a condo, but I for some reason feel really pretentious saying that, so I'll stick with apartment.) Anyway, another part of this experiment is looking at some of the interesting websites from the Cuntlovin' Guide to the Universe from the back of Inga Muscio's Cunt. Today's most interesting website was:
This is a fake mail-order bride/asian porn site run by a very pissed-looking chinese woman. There is a Harem of Angst, Memoirs of an Anti-Geisha, and also something they call Bitchy Kat which is essentially what they think would happen if Hello Kitty had a mouth. Interesting.
In other good news, I felt like a real musician today for what seems like the first time in forever. I don't know why, but that part of my critical brain just clicked back on and I was all on top of things. It was a great great feeling, one that I hope will continue.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

I perhaps spoke a little too optimistically in my last post. I was excited to start school, and I'm still happy with how I did on that audition. But in other ways, this has been a not very good week. I don't have very many classes, so I don't meet very many people, and in orchestra everybody is very clicky, it seems. Also, we have two hour rehearsals without breaks so the opportunity to meet people there is very small. I've tried going to meetings of a few groups on campus, and I'm trying to contact people in charge of community outreach etc. in some programs, but am having very little success so far. It's getting pretty cold for me to be walking around at night now, so I can't go out even if I had anyplace to go without paying a couple of bucks for transportation. Plus, I have a wicked cold right now, and I've felt all woozy and crappy for about three days. So, basically, it's a Saturday night, I'm here alone in my condo with no friends and no possibility of going anywhere, feeling very very alone and sniffly. I hope to god things get better. I refuse to believe that I am incapable of making friends, but at times like this I'm holding onto that by sheer faith, not by any recent factual evidence.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Well, I got fourth chair in the grad student orchestra! Between that and passing out of remedial music theory, I'm actually starting to feel like I belong here. In other news, Anna is visiting this weekend! I'm going to a meeting about a conference on human rights here (focusing on the US policy on the AIDS epidemic), and then taking the train to pick her up at the airport. Who-hoo!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Whew, just finished my placement audition! It went pretty well (I was nervous), and now I just get to wait and see where I end up in the orchestra pecking order. I passed out of theory (I'm glad my 2 1/2 years of UA theory weren't totally wasted) and I just found out last night that I have to teach 3 nonmajor viola students! I'm freaked out that they'll be unhappy, because I've never taught before really and at least two of them sound pretty good. Whatever, I guess I just have to pretend I know what I'm doing...

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Well, I'm all moved into my new condo in Evanston, IL, right outside of Chicago. It is hella humid here, which I don't really appreciate, and while it is fine to live in Chicago without a car it is quite a bit harder in Evanston. The El is about 3/4 of a mile from my house, which is a bit when you have groceries with you, and the bus system is so far a mystery to me. However, I have hope that things will improve. I am practicing more, which is really good, and Anna is coming to visit soon so I'm looking forward to that. It's so weird, all the trees and squirrels running around everywhere! And I accidentally ran into a Great Lake today in my search for the library.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Goodbye Arizona! I'll miss you, but I'm off to flatter places with far less cactus. :-(

Friday, August 20, 2004

Well, so I suck at updating. Sorry, to anyone who tried checking this in tha last month, but I was plagued by a severe lack of internet availability. So I'll try to give a short rundown of my adventures.
Good food, but pricey. I liked the parks and that I could understand what people were saying, but disliked living on the sixth floor of an expensive but crappy hostel/hotel that had bedbugs that bit Anna all over. We had to catch a 6:50 am plane to Austria and decided not to pay for another hotel night, so we spent a day or so homeless. We tried to sleep that afternoon at the British Library, a large imposing building, but you needed a pass to go into the reading rooms, so instead we ended up at Borders, where Anna slept and I read a lot of "Nickled and Dimed" and drank coffee. We spent our last actual night there in an incredibly cold airport sitting on a concrete floor.
Due to the sleepless night on the floor and the stress of getting from Salzburg to Vienna and then trying to find our hostel using the incredibly bad directions from, I was a wreck by the time we got to our destination. We passed out in our teeny uncomfortable hostel beds at about 4 or 5, I think, and slept straight until about 2 am, and then again until 7 or so. We went in search of breakfast, but everything was closed. Finally, we found this excellent cafe by a fountain and a cool gate thing, and had our first Viennese coffee, which is very very wonderful stuff. It comes with a cup, a coffeepot, a pitcher of warmed-up milk, and a glass of water for your throat, and it's delicious. We spent the day going to museums and parks, and eventually getting horribly lost and walking two miles to a place that no longer existed for lunch. In fact, I think we visited 3 or 4 places trying to get food, all of which were either closed for Sunday, under renovation or closed entirely and replaced with buger joints. That sucked. Then, the flea bites Anna recieved in London came on full force, and we had to go to a hospital because she was totally freaking out that she was covered in inexplicable red itchy bumps. After a few hours, some ER doctors saw her and gave her some cream, we went home and went to bed, and left the next morning, somehat disgruntled at Vienna in general. I'm sure it's a lovely place, but it didn't do good things for us. One interesting thing: the Freud museum, in his old house, with a ton of pictures and a really really strange computer program with no basis in anything I could see.
Budapest, I really liked. It's beautiful, and some of the things there were some of my favorite things on the whole trip. It was my first run-in, this trip, with a place where I couldn't understand a thing anyone said (Hungarian is crazy), which always takes a bit of getting used to. Budapest is actually two cities, Buda and Pest, with the Danube running between them. In the middle of the Danube is a small island, called Margaret Island, which I totally loved. It was the first thing we did there, and it was totally beautiful, covered in amazing parks and gardens and people out enjoying the beautiful weather. It was my favorite thing, maybe even better than Berlin for me because it came when I needed something good to happen. Other things we did include going to the biggest indoor crafts/food market I have ever seen, with a million booths all selling exactly the same chess boards and stacking dolls (do they think that all tourists are obsessed with chess? I don't get it), and going to a thermal bath. We chose to go to an older bath, because it was closer, and no one spoke english at all and we couldn't figure out what to do, and finally this tiny little old woman who spoke a little english showed us all over the place. So that was fun, once we finally found it, albeit filled with old men in tiny speedos.
Prague is a beautiful beautiful city. I was there last year, so I knew a hotel to stay at for cheap and where things basically were, so that was nice. We mostly wandered around and ate, sad to say, but it was excellent. I tried absinth again, and still hated it. We saw a few touristy things, like the outside of the Prague castle, Charles Bridge, and the old town square, and I remembered things I learned last year about the "Velvet Revolution" when the people peacefully overturned the communist government. Lots of tourists, but I think better than last year. It was a good end to the travel leg of our journies.
Spent most of the first three weeks of Poland teaching, which was sadly not such a good experience this year. Students were surly or just bored (I actually had a student that had been nicknamed "bad Mateus"), and frequently didn't come to class, and there were some majorly stressful moments when another camp of 100 students and 20 teachers moved in for the last week and kicked us out of all of our classrooms. There were good things too, and it was really nice to be in one place for a while, but still. I forgot how weird things sometimes seem to outsiders there (for example: one night, there was a mass wedding where everyone dressed up and got married to each other, and apparently this is traditional camp behavior. Also, there were two lesbians there, very blatant, even got married, and on the last night told it it was all a big, three-week-long joke.), or how disorganization is a given. The guy who organized things told us one night when we were out drinking that "in Poland, plan A is damage control."
After teaching was over, we got to go on a free week-long trip of Poland, which was awesome. We went to Krakow, one of my favorite cities ever, and a small town called Zakopane which reminded me of Flagstaff. We climbed in the Polish Tatras (amazing) and went down 300 meters into a 700-year-old salt mine full of sculptures carved by miners in their free time. There was even a huge cathedral entirely carved out of salt, with chandeliers of salt crystals and evgraved frescoes in the walls. It was awesome. However, Poland's disorganization was also present on this trip. One night Anna and I totally got left behind in Krakow because our tour person thought we had talked to him and told him we were staying in town for dinner, which was totally false. He also couldn't remember that we were vegetarians and that no one present could eat fish. We were driven around by a nice guy named Marcin who drove like a maniac, and his van frequently had to be push started. The highlight was, after hiking about 18 km, we returned to the van and had to push it up a mountain road to try and start it.
We left Pulawy at 4 am, and took a train to Berlin. Our hostel was in the middle of the Grunewald, a big forest outside of the main city (we had to go on a dirt path to reach it), so it was pretty but far away and kind of scary at night. But, I loved Berlin. I'm not totally sure why, but it really made me happy to be there. We saw a big section of the Berlin Wall, all covered with graffitti, and went up in the the huge glass dome of the Reichstag, the building where the reunification was enacted. The only bad thing was the bees. The bees there are totally crazy, and would follow us menacingly until I would just start running for a block to get the hell away. It sounds humorous, and it was, but also a huge pain in the ass. But anyway, I loved it, and it really seemed like somewhere I could spend a lot more time in.
So that's the update, sorry I didn't write before. I hope it satisfied everybody's burning desire to know how I spent my summer vacation. :-)

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Well, I'm in my somewhat final destination: Pulawy, Poland.  I had my first class this morning, basically just introductions, and this afternoon we plan rousing games of Horse (basketball) and Go Fish (cards).  I'm glad to be a little settled finally; I've grown a bit tired of trains lately.  All's well, in other words.

Friday, July 09, 2004

I haven't written in forever, but my location has drastically changed and I wanted to update. I'm in London right now, flying to Salzburg early tomorrow morning, and then taking a train to Vienna. Hardcore. I'm really liking it here, except it's kind of cold, but they have excellent food and museums, plus tons of nice parks to eat the good food in, so I'm happy. Okay, more later from a different locale.

Monday, May 24, 2004

I hate moving.

Friday, May 21, 2004

School is over, and my U of A career is at an end. In the past few days, I've made a 24-hour zine with my friends, gone to Nogales for really the first time, and been to a cowboy party! Or cowperson party, as the case may be. So, a new recipe, made especially for this party.

Vegan Chili

You need:
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
1 package SmartGround soy meat, taco and burrito style
spices (I used sage, black pepper, cayenne pepper, salt, oregano)
a little oil, vegetable or canola

Chop up the onion and garlic, and saute them with the spices for a few minutes in a saucepan with the oil. Then just mix it all up in a pot and heat it up!

Friday, May 14, 2004

Blar. I turned in my last paper today. Then I graduated. It's a very strange feeling, overall.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

I have been feeling really creative and full of energy lately, which is a pleasant change from how I have felt for the majority of this year. I made a zine last week, my first ever, and it was amazingly fun. (If you'd like a copy, email me at I've finally started really cooking again (hooray for that!), and today I sewed an extension onto the bottom of a skirt that was too short. I'm starting to want to play my viola again also, which is the biggest benefit of all. I want to enjoy what I do again, and I think I needed the space to rediscover that enjoyment.
So tonight I went to an awesome concert of student-composed electro-acoustic music, aka music with an electronic element and a live instrument element. It was so much fun! It was so out-there, and made me reconsider the roles of composers and performers in the process of music-making. For instance: the first piece was just a tape, no live musicians at all. Basically, everybody just sat and stared at an empty stage and listened to this tape, which consisted of snatches of songs (like a radio tuning in and out of stations), static, underlying harmonic drone, and phrases. It was so weird; I never considered the concept of a concert without a performer, or that a composition could be called a composition if it actually can't be performed, only played back. I was thinking about whether most people would consider it to be a piece of music, as legitimate as Beethoven's 9th in it's own way, and I don't think they would. Another piece was based around tones from the composer's handheld Simon videogame; someone stood onstage and played the game while the musicians played. All in all, very fun and interesting, as well as a little inspiring.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

I just got back from Cajun Cooking Night with the paperchefs. Tons of fun, assuredly. I tried okra for the first time in probably at least a decade, and discovered I don't hate it completely anymore. I took and excellent picture of Erica with a large clump of celery sticking out of her mouth, which I will try to load later.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Sigh... I hate it when I feel depressed for no real concrete reason. I feel really down tonight, thinking about how little I actually do in any concrete sense and how little of an idea I have about any sort of realistic action I could be taking about anything. Mostly, I just feel tired; I don't do anything, and then I feel depressed that I don't do anything, and that makes me just want to sit at home and mope (ie, do even less). It's a vicious circle, and I just don't have the energy right now to break out of it.

Amaretto Sour

1 shot amaretto
4 shots sweet and sour mix

Pour in a glass and drink

Monday, April 05, 2004

Well, it's semi-official; I'll be going to Northwestern, in Evanston, IL (basically Chicago) next year to study viola. It's the teacher I've always wanted to study with (Roland Vamos) and what seems to be my perfect program of study (with orchestral and chamber music emphasis), so I guess it's all good. Still, I'm more than a little bummed to be leaving Tucson, the southwest, my loved ones... I know life always has to move on, but it seems like you never leave until you desperately want to stay where you are.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Ah, I'm in Flagstaff for a short period of about 36 hours, just long enough to become very tired trying to get everything done. Thank god I don't keep in touch with more people here! Not really, I guess, but even keeping up with a few people is a lot of work. Okay, here's pesto lasagna, tested by me and Greta the other night and very yummy.

Pesto Lasagna
You need:
Pesto (a lot), see last entry
veggies (we used eggplant, spinach, mushrooms)
some tomato sauce, or crushed tomatoes
lasagna noodles
fake ricotta (silken tofu mashed with a fork, mixed with lemon juice and soy sauce)

Cook the noodles. Put some tomato stuff on the bottom of a rectangular pan, the a layer of noodles, then veggies, then ricotta, then noodles, then pesto... Layer until you run out of stuff, with a little tomato stuff from time to time. Sprinkle nutritional yeast on top. Bake at 350 for maybe 45 or 50 minutes. If you use eggplant, make sure and cut it really thin so it will cook. This recipe turned out really well for us, but I've only tried it once, so I'm still somewhat skeptical. But it was good, so by all means go for it.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

I'm back! I've actually been back for almost a week, but it's taken a while to get back to "normal" life. All of my auditions were okay, although I wouldn't deem any of them spectacular. So it goes, and no all I have to do is wait around for letters or big envelopes from everywhere.
I made pesto pizza with my friend Maria when I was at Yale. Pesto smells so unbearably good when you are making it, it's like the cooking equivalent of an orgasm. Anyway, I suggest putting this on pizza or pasta. If you go for pizza, it's good with tomatoes, olives (black or green), artichoke hearts, and feta if you eat cheese.

2 1/2 cups fresh chopped pesto, tightly packed
2 large pressed or chopped garlic cloves
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, almonds or pine nuts
1/2 cup parmesan cheese or (if you're vegan) parmesan cheese substitute
1/2 cup olive oil
salt to taste

Just grind everything up in a food processor. It's easy! Then put it on pizza or put a big dollop on a plate of pasta and mix it up.
That said, I should note that these amounts are fairly arbitrary. Last time I made this, I just put stuff in until it looked good, and it worked fine. I suggest using LOTS of garlic, and I haven't tried using any nuts except pine nuts, but they're bloody expensive so feel free to experiment with a less pricey nut. And I highly, highly suggest chopping the basil and garlic by hand and inhaling deeply. I am positively smitten with this scent. Mmmmmm... Kitchen ecstasy.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Well, I'm going to be in an audition-based frenzy for the next week and a half or so, flying around the country and trying not to make an ass of myself. I'll be hitting two schools, Rice and Yale, as well as the Civic Orchestra in Chicago, all in the space of about 4 days. Jet lag, here I come!

Thursday, February 05, 2004

The pirate party was amazingly fun! I never knew pina coladas could taste so good... And for some reason it makes me absurdly happy that I have friends willing to dress up in pirate drag to come to our party. In other pirate news, I saw someone on campus today with a shirt that said, "Kiss me, I'm a pirate" and it totally made my day.

Saturday, January 31, 2004

Pirate party tonight! Why are parties so much more fun when you get to dress up? Here's my vegan biscuit recipe to go with our pirate stew.

vegan biscuits

• 2 cups flour
• 3 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast flakes
• 1/3 cup margarine, softened
• 3/4 cup soy or rice milk
In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, nutritional yeast flakes and salt together.
With a fork, blend in margarine until mixture is crumbly. Stir in "milk" until well blended.
Drop biscuit-size spoonfuls of dough onto a lightly greased baking sheet.
Bake at 450-degrees for 10 to 12 mins. until golden brown. Serve hot.
Serves: 15 biscuits
Preparation time: 10 mins.

I haven't made these yet, but the website i got them off of says they are very yummy.

Erica pirate party quote: "This is what I want to do forever. Just dress up and eat stuff."

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Today I feel crazy, like driving-somewhere-far-far-away-for-no-reason crazy, or maybe just spend-the-night-contemplating-life crazy. Maybe that seems contradictory, but I guess that's what makes it crazy, right? I feel confined by life, but at the same time ridiculously happy about where and who I am and everything that's been happening lately. I am a walking contradiction today, aren't I?

This brownie recipe is frankly amazing. It is super easy, too. I'm making these for my next quartet rehearsal at my house, yummm...

Vegan Brownies

You need:
2 1/3 cups flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegan margarine
2/3 cups cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Mix 1/3 cup flour with the water in a saucepan; stir constantly on medium heat until it's thicker and boiling or almost boiling. Let it cool. Melt the margarine and stir in the cocoa powder. Beat the sugar, salt, and vanilla in with the flour/water mixture, then add the cocoa mixture too and stir well. Mix the flour and baking powder and mix it all together. Bake in a 9" by 13" pan at 350 for 20-25 minutes. I think I usually grease the pan on general principles, but to each her or his own. You can add things like cherries, raisins, or crushed-up candy canes (I've never tried, but the recipe says that it's good), but even alone they are awesome. I usually sprinkle powdered sugar on top while they're still hot. Seriously, these are wonderful. I can't wait to try them again...

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Ahhh, it's late at night (er, early morning) and I am not sleepy at all but am meeting a friend for an early breakfast tomorrow. This seems to be always the case with me; I am sleepy when I need to be alert and alert when I sincerely wish to be sleepy. At any rate, another recipe for your enjoyment. I hear Bianca made the curry stuff recently and liked it, so that validates the whole "blog experience" for me. Yay Bianca! This is one of Meredith and Erica's favorites, and it's super simple.

Aubergine and Chick Pea Ragout
You need:
1 eggplant
1/2 cup olive oil (or more, if you need it; i usually just dump a bunch in)
2 cans of garbanzo beans
2 cans (12-14 oz) or 1 can (28 oz) of crushed tomatoes
some dried mint to taste (at least 1 tsp)
as required salt (sea or other) and ground pepper
1 onion, if you so desire

Cube the eggplant and coarsely chop the onion. Sautee in the olive oil until
everything is soft and you can easily poke a fork through the pieces of
eggplant. Add everything else and cook over low heat for half an hour. Serve
hot or at room temp (it's a Greek dish, and traditionally served at room temp)
with rice, couscous, pasta, or crusty good bread.
Note: I usually make this without onions, but it doesn't seem to make much
difference in the taste one way or the other.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Due to a lack of anything interesting that I'm willing to talk about on the internet, here's another recipe. The wine makes an amazing amount of difference.

Tomato-Garlic Soup
You need:
Tomato broth (I used this to use up half a box, but you can make more)
2-3 cloves garlic (or more, if you’re a garlic fiend like erica)
some red wine
cayenne pepper
some olive oil

Put the tomato broth in a pot. Press or finely chop the garlic. Sauté the garlic in the olive oil for a minute or two, then add some cayenne pepper and basil. Dump this mixture into the tomato broth after a few minutes. Pour in some wine, not a whole lot but maybe ¼ to ½ a cup. Turn the heat on; I brought mine to a slight boil, but I think just heating up is okay. I don’t know at what point the alcohol leaves, which is why I brought it to a slight boil. I didn’t feel tipsy, so I guess it worked or there wasn’t enough wine to bother me. I suggest serving it with brown toast. It can be quite spicy if you put in lots of garlic and cayenne, so watch out! You can also add potatoes or other vegetables, just cook til soft.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

So, I've been cooking a lot over break. I'm vegan, so cooking is really really important, because otherwise all I ever end up eating is salads. Anyway, I've started typing up my recipes (both ones I've made up and particularly good ones from cookbooks), and am going to post them here every once in a while for anyone who cares. Here goes with the first recipe, which I just made up tonight (hence the lack of name).

Curry-like stuff
You need:
1 can peas
1 can garbanzo beans
some spinach, (maybe around a cup crushed), preferably crushed in a mortar and pestle or ground up in a food processor or blender
1 cup dried lentils
spices (curry powder, ground cumin, turmeric, ground coriander, ground ginger, cayenne pepper and sea salt)

Cook the lentils until soft (use 3 cups of water and a little salt, bring to a boil and then simmer about 30 minutes, or just to taste).
Put the cooked lentils, can of peas, can of garbanzo beans, and crushed spinach in a large pot. Stir well.
Put two cups of this mixture in a blender with 1 cup of water. Blend well. Return this mixture to the pot and stir well.
Add spices to taste. I suggest being careful not to overspice, especially with the turmeric, cumin, ginger and cayenne pepper. I actually only added a dash of the last two. Be careful, stir and taste before adding more of anything. Stir well.
Heat everything up over medium heat for 10 minutes or so, however long feels good to you.
I suggest serving over couscous (made with lots of butter or butter substitute) and mixing in some vegan sour cream (or real sour cream, if that’s the way you go). It would probably also be good with that garlic-spiced yogurt stuff, but I didn’t have any plain soy yogurt and so didn’t try it.

Friday, January 02, 2004

bell hooks
You are bell hooks (no capital letters)! You were
one of the first black wymyn to discuss in
public spaces the differences between being a
black womyn and being a black man or a white
womyn. You are the mother of intersectionality
and you couldn't care less about identity
politics. Thanks for making feminism accessible
and calling the white, middle class wymyn on
their bullshit!

Which Western feminist icon are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

I love bell hooks! She was the first theorist I ever read, and totally changed me forever.
It's been good times since finals ended. I went to Flagstaff for Christmas and saw my family, which is always nice (at least for a few days), and basically have just hung out other than that. I had a brief obsession with Gone With the Wind that was inspired with my friend Anna, and now I'm reading Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon, which is good and a fast read. I went and ate dinner at Tucson's notorious Yankee Doodle Italian Cuisine, a truly bizarre place; it's half bar, half restaurant, and the decor includes pictures of George Washington and pasted up stickers of cartoon characters on the windows.
New Years was fun and somewhat embarassing at times. Anna and I went to FLagstaff to see the pinecone drop. Every year, they drop a giant pinecone-like object off the roof of a hotel downtown at midnight, and everybody gets drunk and cheers like mad. Anna and I bought two bottles of wine, a really bad cabernet sauvignon and a bottle of organic white zinfindel, to drink beforehand. We intended to drink all of the first and part of the second so we could leave some for my dad, but instead we drank all of both and stumbled downtown for the festivities. As we were walking, at one point I keeled over on a church lawn and lay on my back for a minute or two, which Anna found way too funny. We finally got downtown, watched the pinecone drop, and headed home because it was very cold and we were rather drunk.
The next morning, we walked to Macy's to meet friends for lunch and coffee. I found a bottle of ibuprofen and a pen that had fallen out of my bag on the church lawn during my laying-down session the night before, provoking more laughs from Anna. We met the friends, walked around for a few hours, and went home to eat again and hit the road. There, we discovered that we had not drunk our organic wine as we had thought; instead, we had downed an entire bottle of my dad's wine. It's rather embarassing to be noticably drunk in front of my family, and that mistake kind of added insult to injury. Ouch!
But New Year's was fun. Yay for the pinecone!