Saturday, September 24, 2005


"...[T]he library card, to me, is the most magical and dangerous power in the United States. Why aren't librarians treated as the visionaries they often are? They know, as I do, that voices stay with a reader long after a book is closed (consumption being the assumption). Unlike echos, their voices rarely fade away."
-Rane Arroyo, How to Name a Hurricane

Thursday, September 22, 2005

mayhem and bedlam

School has finally started, and it's already been really busy. I had my audition on Tuesday, and since it was Anna's birthday we went out to dinner that night. Yesterday I had my first actual class, a string class pedagogy thing where I am going to get to learn bass, which should be fun. I also had my first lesson, and found out that I got third chair in the orchestra for this year. Along with all this (which doesn't sound like much but really has been quite overwhelming), I've been getting up with Anna at 7 instead of 11 like we have been for the last few weeks. That'll make you tired, I find.
I think things are finally settling down for a little bit, anyway. I was talking with another violist today about how this year is different than last year and he told me I seemed much happier. And I think I am, really. It took me by surprise because last week I was feeling bad about my quartet, but I really think that things will be better this year. I feel like I have a right to be here, unlike last year when I was secretly convinced that it was all a huge mistake and I wasn't supposed to be there at all. That combined with having Anna here with me is making all the difference in the world.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

a long and distinguished tradition

I've been reading this guy's masters thesis on punk zines and how they function as organizing tools and a means of resistance, and it's fascinating. His name is Jason Kucsma, the thesis is titled Resist and Exist: Punk Zines and the Communication of Cultural and Political Resistance in America, and it's the second thesis in something called the People's Papers Project vol. 1 that I got at a booksale last week. It's all about the history of the underground press and its relationship to political dissent, and how zines frequently address (in different, less formal ways) issues such as antiracism that are also being discussed in more "respectable" venues. He recommends a book by Stephen Duncombe called Notes from Underground that I'd really like to find and read. It's got me all riled up about the radical potential of self-publishing. Here's a nice quote:
"...The world of underground publishing is primarily anti-establishment. Whether the messages of certain publications are overtly radical or not, the act of publishing your thoughts and distributing them for people to read is an affront to corporate-controlled mainstream media that privileges passive consumption of news, entertainment, and politics."

Friday, September 16, 2005


Oooh, apparently Democracy Now! is going to have a big interview with Hugo Chavez on Monday. Exciting stuff, I tell you. You can watch or listen to it on their website.
Is anybody else incredibly frustrated by how John Roberts totally wouldn't say what he felt about almost anything? I am kind of skeptical that anybody can be a truly bias-free judge, and in fact I feel kind of distrustful of people who claim that they can.
Anna's birthday is on Tuesday. I think we're going to breakfast and maybe a farmer's market in Evanston tomorrow, since she just finally got a bike today so we can ride together. And tomorrow night, the pirate party will be re-visited at the house of my old roommate. I'm going to paint my toenails black and put little white-out skulls on them, and I'm baking vegan rum balls right now to bring along.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


The state of Texas executed Frances Newton today for allegedly murdering her husband and two children 18 years ago. She totally didn't get a fair trial or a competent attorney, and now she's dead. And all you see on internet news is about how Britney Spears finally had her baby. Jesus.

Monday, September 12, 2005

wild purple

I'm thinking about replacing one of the dead-white-european-male-composed pieces on my recital with a piece by a living woman composer, and it's got me all excited. Greta and I spent a fair amount of time a few years ago learning about women composers and planning a (never realized) concert of all female composers' music. It would be a shame for me to know that music like this exists and not play it at my recital, wouldn't it?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

sinking feeling

I went to my first quartet rehearsal, pre-school-starting, yesterday. It left me feeling really inadequate, which is something that I want to attempt to feel less frequently this year. Apparently, I'm not off to a good start. Something about this school just makes me feel unworthy, ungood, like I don't work hard enough or play well enough to really deserve to be there. It's kind of soul-deadening.
I also am being continually accosted by liberal groups trying to convince me to either give them money or volunteer, neither of which I really have to offer right now. They don't ever have anything you can sign, no petitions or statements of support or whatever, and if you tell them you have no money they just kind of walk away. It makes me feel like a bad person, but honestly I don't really want to give $8 a month to the HRC, even if I had the money.
We got up early this morning (early for us, so 10 am) to go to the nearby farmer's market and try to get basil, but it's really small and they didn't have any. So now I feel tired, disillusioned, and just kind of all-around crappy. It's the little things that just make me want to beat my head against something.

Friday, September 09, 2005

yay for underpants!

We just spent several hours volunteering, setting up a book sale at the nearby LGBT library. For our efforts (mostly trying to sort books into catagories like "Hollywood" and "Pets" and the like) we recieved several free books. I got two more Dykes to Watch Out For books and a zine containing two masters thesis, one on the contradictory role of white Southern women in the civil rights movement and the other on punk zines and the communication of cultural and political resistance. Anna got a book of erotic stuff (not sure about what this is yet exactly) and a book about the history of underwear! I'm really intrigued by that.
My friend Jesse is super cool, and wrote some really good stuff about the California same-sex marriage resolution and about Katrina in his blog today. Also about Tibet, although I am not sure what part of campus activism tends to be "Tibety" as he put it. Yay Jesse!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

it's a place called won't be there

I've written and deleted several posts in the last few days; it seems I am at a bit of a loss for words. I'm so angry and upset about the hurricane, but I feel like a lot of the discussion is beginning to sound like some sort of childish "who-has-the-worst-story" type of thing. Did you hear...? The administration did this? Barbara Bush said this? Did you see that picture? All of this is important, of course, and I'm certainly not belittling the spread of information. I simply don't know what to write without falling into that mode of communication, and I don't feel like doing that here.
Things are slow here, with little to do and a lot of time to do it in. A few days ago, I painted my toenails bright purple, just for kicks. Anna and I are both falling into this really terrible sleep pattern where we don't go to bed until at least two and don't fall asleep until at least 3, and then neither of us can rouse ourselves before noon most days. Tonight we're going to help set up a book sale at the LGBT library, which is conveniently only about a ten minute walk away. Last night we watched Secretary, a movie where I honestly don't really know what I felt about it. Was it good, because it showed sm in a positive light? Was it bad beccause it suggested that sm might be a good solution for self-abusers? (Actually, I recently read that sometimes controlled sm play can be helpful for abuse survivors, so maybe this isn't entirely off the mark. But maybe it is.) Was it bad because it lost its dark but powerful indifference near the end? I am annoyed that a movie that pulls so few punches in the first hour ends with a nearly totally generic "happy ending." Eh.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

So, Carol Queen is really cool. We did make it into the talk tonight, and although I felt somewhat out-of-place among the mostly leather population who all seemed to know each other, it was pretty interesting. For anyone who isn't familiar, she is a doctor of sexology, a writer of fiction/erotica and nonfiction/theory, a former sex-worker, the president of Good Vibrations, and very dedicated to making it okay and safe for people to have any damn type of sex they want to. She talked about the Woodhull Foundation, a group dedicated to trying to allow people more sexual freedom by doing things like opposing oppressive legislation and compiling a list of sex "crimes" nationwide so people will know what can get them arrested in various states. She also talked about the Center for Sex and Culture, a kind of archive and space in San Francisco that she and her partner started. Then, she read from some of her own writing, some theory interspersed with what she called "smut." Some of it was leather oriented, given our location, including the beginning of her book The Leather Daddy and the Femme. She then read about a bisexual threesome, first announcing that it was a true story, and the last piece was a very disturbing sm piece about having sex with a knife blade. I kid you not. It feels odd to be alternately turned on, interested in the theory and her explanations, and freaked out by the intensity and disturbing-ness of the last story. Anyway, it was really enjoyable and I'm glad I got to see her speak again. Also, the Leather Archives has a wicked auditorium; the stage has a wooden painted cutout of a huge muscley half-naked leather man with his pants half unzipped at the back, and the auditorium itself is completely adorned with the Leather Pride flags (black and blue and, I think, white stripes with a big red heart in the corner) and more paintings of leather scenes. Hardcore, indeed.
Incidentally, I just learned how to use the links option, so sorry if I've gone a little overboard :-)