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.