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 (http://www-b.oedilf.com/db/Lim.php) 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.