Wednesday, May 25, 2005

books, books, books!

This is a quiz that my friend Jesse told me I had to fill out :-) Luckily, I have some free time tonight, so I was able to think in depth (or something) about my relationship to the books I love.

1. Total number of books owned: Umm, a lot? But not anywhere near as many as Jesse. In my room here in Illinois I have about 97 books, not counting library books or zines, and I have a crapload more that I left in Arizona. Maybe between 3 and 4 hundred total, I'd guess.
2. The last book I bought: Probably Male Impersonator: Men Performing Masculinity by Mark Simpson, for my gender class. Not a huge fan of this book, actually; I felt kind of ambivalent about a lot of his analysis, although I was hugely amused by his painstaking descriptions of all things masculine. An example from a description of the film Masters of the Universe: "...the baddy [Skeletor] is coded as a queer threat to He-Man's heterosexual virility: 'I'll have He-Man kneeling at my feet!' he vows, and plots to steal his gigantic sword... the key, it might be added, to control the universe. He-Man wins the day and thrusts his sword into the air, shouting 'I have the power!' as white lightning squirts out of its tip. This was kids' entertainment in the 1980's (26)."
3. The last book I read: Midnight Hour Encores, by Bruce Brooks, for relaxation in between other more serious things. It's a story about a self-sufficient (kind of) 17-year-old prodigy cellist, and her contentious relationships with her dad and her mom, who left her with her father when she was a day old. It's all about her trying to learn about hippies from her dad so she can understand her mom (who she's about to meet for the first time), and about playing the cello. My mom and I both read this books when I was maybe 13, and we've been arguing ever since about whether the main character is a bitch or just trying to keep her own best interests in mind. I love this book, as silly as it sometimes is, because every time I read it it gives me new ways of looking at the main character, which I think reflects on the ways I myself change in between readings. Plus some of the descriptions of classical music make me want to be a musician all over again.
4. Five books that mean a lot to me:
Number 1: In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens by Alice Walker. When the war in Iraq started, I had a period of total freakout brought on by the tensions between the pro-and-anti war people, the fact of war happening even when we tried so hard to stop it, and the fear that everybody I knew was going to wrongfully end up in jail. I read this book, and even though much of it isn't terribly happy it made me feel like everything was going to be okay. I love Alice Walker, she always brings me a sort of peace that I don't quite get any other way.
Number 2: Cunt: a declaration of independance by Inga Muscio. Damn, this book made me look at a lot of things in a whole new way. It inspired my first zine, and it made me respect my period and my body. It also has some very helpful reference lists in the back.
Number 3: Contact by Carl Sagan. This is another book I read when I feel like I'm losing faith in humanity, although I'm not entirely sure why. It's a kind of adventure novel mixed with the idea that there is a purpose to the universe. Some days, I need to think about that, I guess.
Number 4: Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey. My parents introduced me to The Monkey Wrench Gang sometime in high school, and I didn't much care for it. Then I read this book, and it just made me understand so many things that the other book left out or took for granted. I learned to love the desert very vicariously, through Abbey and Kingsolver and other people, before I learned to love it in person, and this was really influential in that process. I stole my parents' copy and bring it with me whenever I move.
Number 5: Waltzing the Cat by Pam Houston. The first story in this collection, "The Best Girlfriend You Never Had," is probably my all time favorite short story right now. Pam Houston makes me want to laugh and cry and throw up my arms and dance all at the same time. She's another person who made me love the outside world, and damn she's done a lot of hardcore stuff. She is a beautiful, beautiful writer.
5. Tag 5 people and have them fill this out in their journals: Umm, everybody I know with journals has already been lsited by Jesse. I guess if Lauren in California wants to do it, she can. Erica is, as Jesse noted, in Alaska, and thus exempt unless she feels like it and has a lot of internet time one day. I guess I pass on this one.
Yay for books! I love reading, I wish I could do it all the time. When I was in second grade, actually, I spent a lot of time trying to come up with a profession that would just pay me to read all day long. Thank you Jesse, for passing this quiz on.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

a few things

I've been pretty busy lately, so I haven't been updating so much. But here's some things that have happened to me lately:
  • Anna will be here on Thursday to do job interviews/help me move/hang out. Yay!!! There's going to be a fetish-themed drag show on Friday, which we will certainly be attending.
  • I picked a topic for my gender final paper! I'm going to discuss several iconic-type men who presented a somewhat unorthodox masculinity (Elvis and John Travolta for sure, and someone else not yet picked) and then examine drag performers of those men and what that entails.
  • Every friend I made here this year (all two of them, when you define friend as "someone I regularly schedule into my life and hang out with in some non-school capacity") is moving away and won't be here next year. :-(
  • The last time I got my period, I counted six weeks ahead and made a prediction of when I thought I would get it again, and I was on to the very day. I don't know if my mind could prevent my body from having it until I wanted it to or something, but I was really amazed by that.
  • I went to an exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry called "Body Worlds" that was basically a bunch of cadavers treated with plastic and displayed to show off various organ systems and things like that. Somewhat disturbing (some things really grossed me out, like the man holding his own skin), mostly I just felt really bothered by the way things were displayed. There was some weirdness in the different portrayals of men and women, and I just felt odd looking at these sometimes-humorous corpses, like it was voyeuristic and not serving the purpose that perhaps the makers intended. This is the website, if you want to know more:
  • I picked out my recital program and approximate time for next year! For anyone who cares, this is what I'll be playing: the Eccles Sonata (baroque-ish), the Stravinsky Elegy, Brahms E-flat Sonata, Schumann's Fairytales, and La Campanella by Paganini. Whew, all from memory, that will be a trip. I'm planning on the end of February, as that is basically my month off from Civic orchestra.

Basically, things have been good, just busy and sometimes stressful, which I guess is the nature of school. Many things are kind of ending in the next few days, and then Anna will be here an it'll be a whole different kind of craziness. But good, and I'll make it through this to the summer.

Saturday, May 14, 2005


Anna graduated yesterday, which was happy because she's done! but sad because I wasn't there. I really wish I could be in Tucson right now being all happy and carefree, instead of here with lots of homework that I am not doing. I am glad that I won't be here much longer, I've about reached the limits of how long I can stand to be away from so many people and places that I love so much. It's just kind of a blah night, I guess, full of impossible wishes. It refuses to stay warm here for more than two days at a time, and I miss Anna, and I just want something good and comforting to happen to me.

Monday, May 09, 2005


My sleeplessness has reached rather historic proportions this week. On Saturday night, I went to bed at 11:30 and just lay there sleepless until 5:30. Then someone called me at 9:15 the next morning. So yesterday had it's moments of suck-ness, and then last night I couldn't sleep again. I ended up falling asleep around 3, I think, and then sleeping through straight until 11:53. I missed my morning class, and basically still feel like shit. It's like my body is turning against me; this past week, I've had a cold, some unpleasant swelling, an almost infection, and now a complete lack of ability to fall asleep. But I just went and got a sleep aid tincture at the homeopathic store down the street, so perhaps that will help. I assume this can't continue forever, anyway. Can it?

Friday, May 06, 2005

the blues

"The door opens and closes again quickly. I hear the lock click. I knock at midnight, miles from my reservation and years from forgiveness. What can I tell you? What treaties can I sign now? I'd hold you to all your promises if I could find just one I know you'd keep. America, I can see you outside my window, just beyond my doorstep, fading past the battered lawn. America, I hear your voice, your song every night before I fall asleep, at the end of another broadcasting day. america, I played Little League baseball. But I should have learned to dance. America, I have memorized the Pledge of Allegiance. But I should have learned to dance. America, I know the capitals of all fifty states. But I should have learned to dance. America, I follow your footprints, glowing in the dark. I followed them through the grass, up walls and across ceilings. But I should have learned to dance."
-Sherman Alexie, Red Blues

Thursday, May 05, 2005

i knew cell phones were no good

I was riding a shuttle today, and the same crappy smooth jazz station that plays every day was on when I heard this super weird song. It was kind of that touchy-feely soulful songs that guys sing sometimes, hyper emotional voice wavers and everything. It started with him waking up in bed and someone kisses him but then he "opened my eyes and saw it wasn't you" and gets all upset. So he gets dressed, tells the woman he has to leave to return to his wife, and she says (here's where it started deviating a little) that he has to get in the closet because her husband is right outside the door. So he gets in the closet, and she and her husband start kissing and making out and clothes start coming off when his cell phone rings. He "reached down and turned it to vibrate" (big voice waver here), but it's too late. The husband searches all over the room, and comes up to the closet door, and... The song ended. No conclusion. I thought I heard the singer say something like "I reached down and grabbed my Beretta" which would not shock me too much in the context of this song, but I think I just misheard. So imagine all of that sung in hyper-overdone vocals and all. Very odd, I must say.

Monday, May 02, 2005

spring is laughing at me

It fucking snowed again today. Happy May!

Sunday, May 01, 2005


This is Phallus Week in my gender class, and I found this lovely little tidbit in one of my books, The Male Body by Susan Bordo.
"The penis, far from being an impenetrable knight in armor, in fact wears its heart on its sleeve."
She also notes earlier that Pat Califia (a lesbian theorist) suggests that men experience "dildo envy" more than women experience penis envy. I like taking classes where I get to read things like this.