Saturday, December 30, 2006


As is par for the course, my life seems to be running itself in circles. It always seems that many endings synch up with each other (beginnings also) but I can't ever quite discern an actual pattern. Anyway... Here's a end-of-year quiz that Erica and I both filled out last year (The title is "Ah, Nostalgia"). Goodbye 2006! (Yes, WTF indeed.)

1. What did you do in 2006 that you'd never done before?
Rode my bike at 6:45 in the morning (I've probably done that before, actually, but never just for the hell of it), got a graduate degree, saw my parents in Chicago, had actual conversations with my sister... Probably lots of other things.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I generally don't do resolutions... Or I do them in the spring, when I actually feel full of life again. This year, my resolution would probably be not to stress out and act like a maniac all the time.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
I don't think so...

4. Did anyone close to you die?
not that I know of

5. What countries did you visit?
Wow, none. That hasn't happened in a while.

6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?
A sense of self-worth and self-understanding, a "real" job at some point

7. What date from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Ummmmmm... October 30. And it's personal.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
My ability to recover from blows. And actually talking to my little sister.

9. What was your biggest failure?
My inability to break through my apathy

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
i had a terrible cough for most of the winter, but other than that not so much

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Fuck if I know. Cheese?

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
All of my friends who came out of the woodwork when i needed somebody.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
politicians, certain people in my life, myself at times

14. Where did most of your money go?
food, rent... Not toooooo much else really

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
finishing my graduate recital, spring, warmth

16. What song will always remind you of 2006?
Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah, the Dresden Dolls (both albums)

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: happier or sadder? Happier, I have to say
thinner or fatter? maybe a little thinner unfortunately, but probably about the same.
richer or poorer: not sure. momentarily richer perhaps but we'll see how long that lasts

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
practicing. talking to people. yoga. cooking.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
going out and drinking too much.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
in flag with the family.

21. How will you be spending New Years?
a potluck and then either a fondue party or something else as of yet undecided

22. Did you fall in love in 2006?
it's a constant flux

23. How many one-night stands?
not ready to tackle that one

24. What was your favourite TV program?
i have to admit i did occasionally watch Project Runway, and the L Word of course, but that's about it. So they're favorites by default, i guess.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
there aren't many people I hate, so no.

26. What was the best book you read?
Wow, ummmm... Li-Young Lee's "Rose", Margaret Atwood's "The Blind Assassin", a lot of others that I can't remember. Lots.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Dresden Dolls, Tegan and Sara

28. What did you want and get?

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
I liked Shortbus a lot

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
played a gig in Waukegan and had dinner and drinks with friends. 25.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
i would have liked to enjoy my freedom from school a lot more than i did

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005?
about the same as always, with perhaps occasionally more tie-wearing and a recent influx of thrift clothes

34. What kept you sane?
the internet. music. people. text messages. alcohol. ice cream.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
did i fancy? what a weirdly-worded question. i don't know.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
what a question...

37. Who did you miss?
all my friends from other places.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Wow... Tabitha, Beck, Louise, Sarah, Carolyn, I'm probably forgetting some people

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006
I can get through anything if I need to. Sometimes people don't tell the truth.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
"hate to break it to you but its out of my control
forces go to work while we are sleeping
if i could attack with a more sensible approach
obviously thats what i'd be doing"
-Dresden Dolls "Gravity"

"Well baby I've been here before
I’ve seen this room and I've walked this floor
(You Know)I used to live alone before I knew you
And I've seen your flag on the marble arch
And Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah"
-Jeff Buckley, "Hallelujah"

Sunday, December 24, 2006

mountains and phallic substitutes

I had a lovely lovely hike today, most of the way (I think) up to the Elden summit lookout. It made me so almost unbearably happy to be outside (sans coat!) and headed up... Very good. Tiring though, what with the lack of oxygen and my lack of in-shapeness... But I didn't fall once. I've decided I'm a much better hiker when I'm alone.
The other major point of note today was something I heard on NPR on the way to the trail about a video game called "Guitar Hero". Not thaaaaat interesting, just a game where you basically play a guitar and are judged on your performance. What was interesting was that the reporter took special note of the fact that women absolutely love this game. She seemed perpelxed as to why this would be so, and used it to defend an opinion that women aren't less coordinated, just less interested and that's why they are so less likely to be gamers.
What this made me think about was that women are not really pushed to play certain instruments: drums and guitar are maybe the two most noteworthy, at least for my purposes here. (The term "cock rock" was coined for a reason.) I've read so many interviews with women rock stars like Kathleen Hanna where they talk about being discouraged or teased for having an interest in learning to play "boy" inbstruments in their youth, and how much that influenced their ability to create their music for years. (I also once read an article about how it's much easier and more comfortable for women to play with their guitars held high because of their breasts, but few women do because that's not the way men hold theirs and that's the only example they have to work from. Grrr.) So why the hell wouldn't women be thrilled to have this low-pressure opportunity to try out something that maybe they wanted but never managed to actually pursue? Just a few afternoon thoughts.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

a flagstaff day

I forget sometimes how much I like it here. It snowed today, while it was raining in Chicago, which is kind of funny, and I loved it. I saw Erica, had tea at Macy's, wandered around downtown, bought moderately embarrassing cds, and ate more Christmas cookies than I should have. Nothing insanely exciting, but a nice sense of familiarity that I appreciated without finding it cloying. We'll see how I feel in a week, but for now I am happy.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

mi casa

I'm headed home to Flagstaff on Thursday, for about a week. No Tucson for me, sadly, but it will be nice to be among mountains, friends, and family for a little while. Before that though, I am playing with my string quartet at a coffeeshop open mic here tomorrow night. We're playing Shostakovitch's string quartet 8, dedicated to the victims of fascism and war (and, oddly, paired with the Black Angels on the Kronos recording I mentioned earlier this week). It seems like an interesting choice for coffeeshop fare, but it's a leadup to our actual concert in January, and plus the piece fucking rocks and I think that might come through in any venue. Hooray for good music and good concerts!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

tension and release

I saw another concert today, by the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, a group started by Daniel Barenboim (Israeli pianist and conductor extraordinaire) and Edward Said (Palestinian literature scholar) in 1999. The idea is interesting; a bunch of students from different areas of the middle east and Andalusia get together every summer, play and talk and learn about each other, and then give concerts. As Barenboim said, "People call this an orchestra of peace. (applause from audience) It isn't. (laughter) But it's a way for young people to get to know the Other, to talk and share this beautiful music."
The concert itself was very enjoyable, if not always electrifying. The program was Beethoven's "Lenore" overture, Mozart's Sinfonia concertante for oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, and orchestra in E-flat, and Brahms' first symphony in c minor. The Beethoven was not my favorite of his works, by any means. It seemed long and kind of needlessly repetitive. But I guess not everything can be a late string quartet or a symphony... The Mozart was nice, and the soloists were excellent. I know Mozart makes you smarter and all that, but I prefer playing it to listening to it usually. The Brahms... Brahms is always always fun to listen to; he was so into making beautiful noise, and so freaking good at it. We played this symphony last year in Civic, so I know it pretty well, and I had a great time just revelling in the harmonies and tension and release that he is so masterful with. My main problem with the concert was just that... I felt like there was some hesitation in the orchestra. Like people weren't always hitting cadences at the same time, like there was some confusion. Only a few times throughout the concert, but enough to throw me.
After the set program, Barenboim gave a short speech (which I paraphrased part of earlier) and then they played Wagner's Prelude and Liebestod (lovedeath) from Tristan and Isolde. It's a very moving piece; the opera has a theme that never ever resolves until the very end, to symbolize the death of the main character (think all you want about sexual metaphores about prolonged leadup to a release). It's beautiful. It's also totally taboo in Israel, presumably because Wagner was a racist anti-semitic asswipe. So it was, generally, an interesting and rather ballsy way to end this particular concert.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

war is bad

Rules of Engagement

Today I was told that the words
"War is bad"
Make for
Bad poetry.
Then consider
This poem
As uranium,
A poor poem,
A colored poem,
But not finished,
Out on a missing
But a little ink
Shed in the killing
Fields of university
Writing workshops.

-Demetria Martinez

Halleluia, I went to an amazing amazing concert tonight. The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) performed George Crumb's "Black Angels" and Luigi Nono's "a floresta e jovem cheja de vida/the forest is young and full of life", both about the Vietnam War. The concert took place at the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago, amidst an exhibit of (what else) photographs of soldiers and training bases taken by a vietnamese photographer. I believe the idea was that she had taken photos of real soldiers and bases and some sort of fake posed "soldiers" and the pictures were placed randomly with no commentary to distinguish them.
The concert itself blew me away. Rarely have I felt so emotionally engaged; I was practically vibrating with tension during parts of each piece. The first, "Black Angels", is for string quartet and various other instruments played by the quartet members. I've listened to it many times over the years (there's a very famous recording by the Kronos Quartet) but I mostly didn't know what it was about or understand what I was hearing. The piece is divided into three major sections (Departure, Absence, and Return) with thirteen smaller movements, and is based around religious and spiritual imagery. The performers play maracas, gongs, wine glasses (filled at different levels to produce chords and played using bows drawn over the glass rims), and speak in different languages during the performance, among other things. Sometimes effects like that can be distracting to me, or at least begin to seem like conceit, but this piece is so beautiful and intense and powerful that it still held together as an experience. I felt like I was vibrating, I was so focused on the sounds, and when it finished I felt the tension dissipate. I love it when composers just create new sounds that are so interesting to hear... It makes music into a whole new thing.
The second piece was very different. It was for multi-channel tape, soprano, clarinet, three people speaking, and five percussionists beating on huge metal sheets. The musicians were spread between two galleries, and people could walk back and forth between them and you could hear everything everywhere. The speakers and the singer read lines from various protesters, freedom fighters, and the like, while the tape had music and sounds (of speaking, screaming, crying and other things). It was interesting, but long and kind of unstructured, which tends to make me space out. But near the end, as the tape and the percussion became more fervent, the speakers began saying "is this all we can do?" (a quote from an anonymous Berkeley protester) and crescendoed until they were all SCREAMING it. I felt the hairs rise on my neck. And then it was over.


Apparently, if you live in Australia and google "girls in ties" I am the very first link to come up. I am perhaps overly excited to be the first link from any google search (internet validation anybody?), but more so for ones involving drag.

Monday, December 11, 2006

childhood's end

I know it's boring to talk about the weather... But it's back up into the 40's here and even supposed to get into the 50's later this week. Wow.
I've been reading one of my brithday presents, "Lost" by Gregory Maguire (the guy who wrote "Wicked"). It's quite good, and I've always been kind of a sucker for fairy and folk tales (I adore the brothers Grimm to this day, and I miss my mom's Italian folktales book very much), and this book is kind of a story combined with nods to many of these tales. It's about an author writing a book (of course), and she talks a great deal about how what we read as children is a) very important, and b) sticks with us.
"The person who would become a lifelong reader should stumble upon very rich stuff first, early, and often. It lived within, a most agreeable kind of haunting."
I've been thinking back on my early reading. I characterized my reading life to my friend Carolyn last night as follows: Pioneer stuff and things my parents read to me (Oz, Narnia, and Laura Ingalls Wilder, who I loved beyond measure for several years), Sci-fi and Fantasy and Horror (oh my. Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey, the folk/fairy tales again, anthologies, and Stephen King), "serious" fiction in early college, and then theory and politically relevant stuff now. These also seem fairly clean-cut in retrospect, like there wasn't a lot of crossover (except I always had a thing for "serious" fiction, I think partly because it was my only form of bragging, like "oooh, look what I'm reading!" Plus it's great.). I wonder if that order means anything, and if what I learned first influences me to this day. Did Narnia and Oz fuel my (sometimes) obsession with folklore? When I was in Alaska, for example, how much of the inside of my head was thinking of "The Call of the Wild" and "Julie of the Wolves"?
If anybody else would care to let me know thoughts on this, or what they read as a child, I'd be very interested to hear it. I'd kind of like to go back and mix and match my periods, see if there is still allure to the things I've abandoned. And when I'm home for Christmas, I think I'll read me some Italian mythology.

Friday, December 08, 2006

do not love the priest instead of god

From my original poet buddy Aaron.

Sex Without Love
by Sharon Olds

How do they do it, the ones who make love
without love? Beautiful as dancers,
gliding over each other like ice-skaters
over the ice, fingers hooked
inside each other's bodies, faces
red as steak, wine, wet as the
children at birth whose mothers are going to
give them away. How do they come to the
come to the come to the God come to the
still waters, and not love
the one who came there with them, light
rising slowly as steam off their joined
skin? These are the true religious,
the purists, the pros, the ones who will not
accept a false Messiah, love the
priest instead of the God. They do not
mistake the lover for their own pleasure,
they are like great runners: they know they are alone
with the road surface, the cold, the wind,
the fit of their shoes, their over-all cardio-
vascular health--just factors, like the partner
in the bed, and not the truth, which is the
single body alone in the universe
against its own best time.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

sexy food

I stayed up late to finish "Julie and Julia" last night and I couldn't resist dogearing this passage:
"Somewhere along the way, I discovered that in the physical act of cooking, especially something complex or plain old hard to handle, dwelled unsuspected reservoirs of arousal both gastronomic and sexual. If you're not one of us, the culinarily depraved, there is no way to explain what's so darkly enticing about eviscerating beef marrowbones, chopping up lobster, baking a three-layer pecan cake, and doing it for someone else, offering someone hard-won gustatory delights in order to win pleasures of another sort. Everyone knows that there are foods that are sexy to eat. What they don't talk about so much is foods that are sexy to make. But I'll take a wrestling bout with recalcitrant brioche dough over being fed a perfect strawberry any day, foreplay-wise."
It reminds me of this Dorothy Allison story (called, I think, "The Lesbian Appetite") (which is maybe why somebody who googled "lesbian cooking" got my blog?) in which all of her sexual encounters and flirtations involve food, including one incredibly hot scene with some eggplant... Anyway, I don't know how incredibly new or original it is to be looking at the confluence of food and sex, but I certainly enjoy it. For me, I don't know if it is always sexual (maybe just sexual in a less-recognized way?), but I love cooking for other people so much more than I enjoy cooking for myself. Granted, when it's only me it's not such a big deal if everything ends up tasting like ass. But I love working so hard to bring somebody something that will make them happy and full, that tastes good and that they will appreciate and hence validate my however-many hours spent preparing it. Perhaps for me sensual is a better word than sexual. Although never underestimate the erotic power of a good cheesecake...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


I got searched today for both "lezzie" and "sadomasochism" (from Beijing!). Interesting

Friday, December 01, 2006

(see title below)

So the book I'm reading that I described below is pretty good so far (which is to say that I've only read about three chapters, and I'm enjoying it). It's called "Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously", by Julie Powell. My favorite part so far is the second chapter, where the author writes about first finding her parents' copy of "The Joy of Sex" and then soon after reading "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and realizing (at age 11) how similar the two books are. Excellent.
I made my potato leek soup tonight, and as promised it was fantastic and had barely any ingredients. Here 'tis:
about 3 cups diced potatoes
2-3 cups sliced leeks
2 quarts water
2-3 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste
(In reality, I used two largish potatoes and, um, enough water to cover them entirely with some to spare. Also I probably only used like half a cup of leeks, maybe a little more, because I wasn't sure I wanted that many. But whatever.)
After peeling and dicing the potatoes and leeks, put them in a large pot with the water and salt and boil for about 45 minutes to an hour. Mash them up with a fork or spoon (I used a potato masher), leaving the soup a little chunky but not too much. Add the pepper and butter. If it's going to be a while before you eat it, let it cool uncovered and then bring it back to a simmer before serving.
Here's what Julia had to say about it: "smells good, tastes good, and is simplicity itself to make." True.

the road to hell is paved with leeks and potatoes

It snowed last night. There were all these dire warnings on the weather channel: "foot of snow... everything's gonna be shut down... 50 mph winds..." but it's not really that bad. Not that I've been outside...
My birthday is tomorrow, no big plans but hopefully I'll see a few friends and all that good stuff. Anna bought me a book about a woman who decides to revitalize her life by cooking every recipe in a Julia Childs french cookbook, and now I'm really craving potato leek soup, which is odd because I'm not that fond of leeks. The power of suggestion is huge.
I guess that's it. I don't have anything too interesting today.

Monday, November 27, 2006


My mom sent me cookies for my birthday :)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

androgynous theosophy

I love how, even when I've read something many times, I'll still find passages that I like that i never noticed before. This one is probably only really appealing because I like the phrase I used for my title (and the one that follows that), but here it is anyway:
"This was the forty-fifth trip down the Grand for Smith, and so far as he could measure, its pleasure was not staled by repetition. But then no two river trips were ever quite alike. The river, the canyon, the desert world was always changing, from moment to moment, from miracle to miracle, within the firm reality of mother earth. River, rock, sun, blood, hunger, wings, joy--this is the real, Smith would have said, if he'd wanted to. If he felt like it. All the rest is androgynous theosophy. All the rest is transcendental transvestite transactional scientology or whatever the fad of the day, the vogue of the week. As Doc would have said, if Smith had asked him. Ask the hawk. Ask the hungry lion lunging at the starving doe. They know."
-Edward Abbey, "The Monkey Wrench Gang"


It's currently 3 am, and I've been reading "Affinity", the only Sarah Waters novel that I hadn't read yet, all day long. It's really good, and I only have 45 pages left (out of 350), but I've decided I just can't cut it tonight. If nothing else, i hear there's a plot twist upcoming, and I don't want to read it and get all hyped up and never sleep again. I do like staying up reading, though; I have very vivid memories of my mom reading me books aloud until the wee hours of the morning when I was in elementary school, and it was a huge bonding thing for us. She once read me the vomit scene from Stephen King's "The Body" (the book version of "Stand By Me") at probably two in the morning, and I don't know if I've ever laughed that hard.
But anyway, other than the fact that i want/don't want to finish right now, I really like this book. I've read her other three books ("Tipping the Velvet", "Fingersmith", and "The Night Watch") and enjoyed them all, but this is probably my favorite so far. It's set on a fairly small scale, primarily just these two women interacting in a prison with a bit of backstory, which I'm discovering I really like. Epics have their place in my heart, but many times a more constricted setting or plot or whatever will really let me enjoy something so much more.
Okay, bed. I'll finish in the morning (er, maybe early afternoon).

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy tofu day!

Whew, it's only 11:30 and I'm already all stressed. I decided to make vegetarian moussaka for Thanksgiving, which is basically a greek casserole layering baked breaded eggplant with a tempeh-white bean-tomato-mushroom filling and a bechamel sauce on top. It was fantastic the last time I made it, but it also took many hours to prepare. Every step takes so long, and you're trying to coordinate making all the different parts at once, plus today I'm trying to tidy up and shower and blah blah blah... Stress. But some friends are coming over tonight, and I finished the vegan pumpkin pie cheesecake yesterday, and by god I'm cooking at all, so there are many things to be thankful for :)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

re: read

I'm currently rereading Haruki Murakami's excellent book, "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle". It's incredibly detailed, so much so that when I read it last year I felt very much that I was actually inhabiting this world that he had created. With most books I'm drawn in, but with this one I was living it completely.
It's a little different this time. I'm not quite so overwhelmed, which is fine. That kind of entrenchment can be a bit much. It's interesting how little I remember of this book also; I remember things as they happen, but up until they actually occur I can't imagine what will happen next. I wonder if my memory is just getting worse? I still remember things I read a long time ago in great detail, but I forget a lot of things I've read more recently. And this isn't like Inga Muscio's latest book, which I talked about blocking out because it was a traumatic reading experience; I genuinely liked this book a great deal. I don't know. I get the feeling I'm in for a lifetime of rereads of things I want to remember well.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

christmas cheer before thanksgiving

So yesterday I was in kind of an icky mood, and I had to go downtown to work. I walked to the train, cursing as I barely missed one, and climbed up on the platform. I saw another train coming close behind the first and was pretty happy and then it pulled up and it was the Holiday Train!
Every year the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) decks up a train with fake North Pole-related ads, candy cane poles, and Christmas-y seat covers. There's also an open car with a bunch of trees and people dressed as Santa and co. They run it on different lines for the month or so before Christmas, and I just happened to catch the first run. They played carols over the intercom, and a small girl in elf shoes gave me a candy cane.
There was actually this big fuss about the Holiday Train the first year I was here, because the CTA was having finance problems and was going to have to fire a bunch of people and cut service and raise prices. People raised a huge fuss, and they eventually reinstated it. I felt like it was something I shouldn't like that much, but the truth was it put me in a much better mood than I had been in before.
The best part, though? Watching the faces of people as we pulled into each station. Think bemusement plus horror plus confusion in the majority of cases. Good times.

Friday, November 17, 2006

fizz no more

In response to the previous entry, my friend Aaron (a big wine buff) sent me the following email.

your wine could be "fizzy" for a couple of reasons.

(1) secondary fermentation. this happens when there are left-over
sugar and yeast in the wine when it goes into bottling. it's common
practice for champagne and sparkling wine (hence the pop when you open
the bottle, and all the bubbles when the wine is poured). it's a flaw
if it's in dry, table wines. unless the bottle is super cheap, even
then it's a semi-rare occurance. i highly doubt this is the problem.

(2) this is probably the explanation. it's common practice in wine
making today for winery makers to add a little CO2 to the wine to help
keep it fresh while it's bottled. (it also adds a little kick to the
wine which some drinkers like.) anyway, sometimes the wine makes go a
little overboard with the CO2, add too much, and create "fizzy" wines.
unlike secondary fermentation, which actually changes the taste of the
wine, "fizzy" wines are not flawed. to correct them, simply pour
yourself a glass of wine (this glass will stay "fizzy"; there is not
way around this). seal the bottle with your cork, give a nice good
shake, take out the cork, and let your wine "de-fizz." it should be
fine after that.

So now you all know.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

unwanted bubbly

Also, I bought some wine tonight and it tastes fizzy. WTF?


I just got a new, expensive-style haircut. Usually I just figure that because my hair is short anyway I don't want to pay a lot to get something that would look similar to my cheap Supercuts 'do. But I wanted to look different this time (I need some change, and hair is a good place to start), and I think I do. It's hard to tell from pictures. Plus I suck at trying to take pictures of myself. Anyway...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

modern moonlight

You can always tell when I have a lot of time on my hands because I post lots of little things. But anyway, I just got the new Dresden Dolls cd, and there's this song that seemed appropriate regarding what I was saying about text messages and how they distance us from having to actually talk to people. So here it is.

presenting modern moonlight just as advertised
coke and pepsi finally found a compromise
how can they complain that we're all fucked up kids
when they keep on changing who our mother is?

like it all you want it's fruitless
night is in the way of progress

retinas are bleeding for the enterprise
surgically wired into paradise
yesterday I dropped in at the MKB
everyone was messaging like it was going out of style
(it was just the cynic in me)
god, I love communicating!
I just hate the shit we're missing...

everybody join in the magnificence
yes! everything is absolutely making sense…
every time you turn around your soul gets sold
to the highest bidder
then they turn around and merger and they merger
and the merger and they murder and they murder
the one who murders most will take it all...

fight it all you want it's useless
night is in the way of progress

we're gonna take your cities one by one
catch your cables cut your cords and spoil all your fun
we're gonna make your lite a living hell
cause stripped of your equipment you'll be forced to face yourself…

wire cutters of the world
you know what to use it for
spread the word to all the tightrope walker boys and girls
brace yourself for miracles
you're in for a nasty shock
when the war is over
you can read the paper

a change of pace

Today, I am actually really happy. And yesterday I was quite cheerful also, at least most of the time. And... I'm practicing! For the first time in months, really. Maybe my music degrees aren't going to just languish in my dresser forever. I also think I'm going to cook tonight, another skill that has just been sitting in my head waiting to be used again.
In other news... I also got a search from statcounter for "lesbian cooking", which made me happy. At least happier than the neurotic one. Also a search for Pam Houston's "The Best Girlfriend You Never Had" from Amsterdam. Interesting.

Monday, November 13, 2006

i knew it

I too am now using, which is excellent. I found out that somebody in Boston looked at my blog because they were led there by a search for the word "neurotic".

Sunday, November 12, 2006


A few months ago, I was walking with Anna and we found a box of free books that somebody had left out on a sidewalk with a written plea to take what was wanted. Most of it wasn't spectacular, but I did find a copy of Li-Young Lee's "Rose". I was struck because the first time Anna and I met (or didn't meet, but saw each other) was at a poetry reading by Lee at the university.
Yesterday, I read the book for the first time. The sweet melancholy was overwhelming. It's a beautiful book.

"I want the rain
to follow me, to mark me
with a strip down my chest and belly,
to darken my skin, and blacken my hair.
I want to be broken,
to be eaten by the anonymous mouths,
to be eroded like minutes and seconds,
to be reduced to water
and a little light.
I want to rise,
the doors of the rain to open,
I will enter, rain alive
among my fingers, embroidered on my tongue, and brilliant in my eyes,
I want to carry it in my shirt pocket,
devote my life to the discovery of its secret,
the one blessing it whispers."
-Li-Young Lee, from "Rain Diary"

this is how i'll get repetitive stress injury

If anybody's interested, the second entry down from this one ("i do other things, too") has been getting a lot of comments. I always laugh when I get such heavy and unexpected response to something like a rant. It's funny because now I realize more fully that not only do I always get the same questions, but it seems like many professions elicit repetitive responses also. Are we all walking around with a set of questions for whatever profession we might happen to meet?
Today I'm more interested in something that's been taking up an inordinate amount of my time lately: text messages. Do people use those so heavily in other places? I don't know if it's Chicago in general or just my friends, but we are text messaging machines. I think it enables our ability to avoid interacting with people in a spontaneous way; most people I know will admit to some level of phobia about talking to real live people on the phone. But anyway, what I'm really interested in is the feature that most phones have where it kind of guesses what you're typing and chooses the correct letter from each number punch. Like I press "43556" and get "hello". (Without this feature on, I get "Gdkm".) I'm super fascinated by the level of accuracy, and also by the words that are and aren't included in my cell phone's brain. (My only large complaint is the lack of swear words and the fact that instead of "me" I always get "of". Maybe "of" is more common in normal writing, but "me" is definitely a big one in texting. Also the lack of contractions is annoying.) Nobody else seems to be, but whatever... I'm a little obsessive right now.
So I've been trying to type in various words and see if they show up. Shit, fuck, damn and dang aren't included, but hell is. Lesbian, gay, the ever-popular homosexual and even queer (which surprised me a little bit) are, but dyke and fag aren't, more's the pity. Bible is, but so is atheist. (Actually, initially I misspelled atheist and got buggest in the phone and felt really vindicated. Like, it's all a right-wing corporate scandal to subvert our texting because we're too lazy to manually type in atheist or dyke!) I'm kind of running out of things to try and I'm not sure it means anything anyway, but it was interesting for a few minutes.
So yeah, that was boring, but whatever... I've got a lot of time on my hands to think this shit up.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

your love is like a rollercoaster, baby

Ugh, what an up-and-down week. A few things I wish:
-I wish that my bike tires were not flat so that I could go on a ride, because the weather is fucking gorgeous right now and who know how many more times I'll be able to say that this year?
-I wish that my friends still used AIM. It's kind of silly, but I log on a couple of times a day and nobody's ever on except my buddy Aaron (who's in Japan, so my night is his morning and he eats lunch when I'm trying to fall asleep).
-I wish I had some cheese. I also wish I felt like cooking, so I didn't have to live on take-out and frozen food. I'm a lame-o.
-I wish I could just lay in bed and listen to angsty music all day (like Dresden Dolls and maybe some angry Ani), but I'm far too restless.
But aside from pointless wishes, I wanted to say to everybody I've talked to in the last two weeks or whatever: Thank you. You are all wonderful fabulous people and I'm so lucky to have you all as friends. I don't know what I'd do without you.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

i do other things, too

I know I've probably complained about this to everybody who might possibly be reading this, but god, I'm so sick of having the same conversations over and over. As soon as somebody finds out I'm a musician, it's either a rambling soliloquy about how they played the tuba in elementary school or the same damn string of questions that I always get.
"Is that a violin/instrument/keyboard?"
"How long have you played?"
"Are you, like, a professional?"
"Do you play in the CSO?"
I had both of my least favorite conversations with some talkitive guy on the bus today, and also at a bar last night. I'm just so sick of talking about it. I remember in high school refusing to write personal essays or give class presentations about music because even then I was tired of that being all people saw me as. Because this is what I do, it is utterly mundane to me, but unfortunately it's fascinating to everybody else. And I should be glad that people are so interested, but dang, sometimes I'd rather talk about literature or food or something.
Okay, rant over.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

chrome jellybeans

Here's a picture of the giant and much debated "Cloud Gate" sculpture in Millenium Park that my parents took last week. Neat, huh? A lot of people are pissed off because it cost a zillion dollars that probably could have gone to something more socially conscious, but it's still really cool to look at.
(Also, that building in the back that has the diamond-shaped face? Apparently it was designed to represent a vagina by a female architect who was sick of all thos damn phallic buildings in the world.)

Friday, November 03, 2006

kiss my lezzie ass

So I've been a bit down lately, and most of the books on my shelf are, as always, either a bummer or just way to freaking dense or I've read them approximately 5000 times. So I went to my neighborhood feminist bookstore today in the hopes of picking up something funny and not too intense to kill time tonight.
What I ended up with is a book called "Kiss My Tiara: How to Rule the World as a Smartmouth Goddess" by Susan Jane Gilman. As a rule, I'm not big on books like this: young feminists hoping to advise and inspire other young feminists on how to make their lives better, usually packaged with a cutesy title and some sort of femmey signifier (in this case, a big pair of pink lips) on the cover. But... I have a hard time just picking things up in bookstores. It seems like I've either never heard of it or it's too expensive (the book I wanted to buy, Nina Hartley's "How To Have Sex Like A Porn Star", was $26) or whatever. And I have Susan Jane Gilman's other book, a collection of personal essays titled "Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress", and I love it. It's one of my few "funny books" and as such I've read it until i want to puke.
But this driving me crazy. There are funny moments (one of the chapters is called "Niceness: Barf"), but I'm getting really annoyed by her repeated use of certain phrases and quotes from her elderly and feisty grandmother. (Her grandmother sounds like a hoot, but any sort of repetitive device like that gets on my nerves after a few chapters.) What's really driving me up the wall is this particular phrase: "we all, straight or gay, man or woman, want (insert topic here)." Aside from the fact that it feels like she's saying this every other page, this book is patently not for at least queers. I can't speak for men, but I am queer and this book is resonating zilch with me in terms of practical advice or telling me anything I didn't already know. If she's truly trying to write a book that is trying to reach any of the demographics other than "straight female", why are all the pronouns indicative of straight female perspecitive about partners? I don't know why exactly this is pissing me off so much tonight, but I guess I really just hate false inclusion. It's fine (or at least not a huge sin) to write a book for straight girls, but stop pretending it's something different.
Anyway, I'm on the verge of the token "lesbian relationship" chapter, which I suspect will not improve my mood. Ah well. Perhaps I'll try and trade it in for something else tomorrow.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

But I've never even been there...

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: Philadelphia

Your accent is as Philadelphian as a cheesesteak! If you're not from Philadelphia, then you're from someplace near there like south Jersey, Baltimore, or Wilmington. if you've ever journeyed to some far off place where people don't know that Philly has an accent, someone may have thought you talked a little weird even though they didn't have a clue what accent it was they heard.

The Midland
The South
The Northeast
The Inland North
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

good-for-nothing tenderness

I'm not even going to get anywhere near my actual life right now. All I have to offer is a picture from my Civic Halloween concert, where the viola section dressed up as the cast of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory". Sorry it's so tiny, I'm inept with electronic pictures.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

hard in the best kind of way

I just saw Inga Muscio read at Women and Children First (a wonderful feminist bookstore down the street) from "Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil." Here's what I had to say about it from last March:
"I also have been reading Inga Muscio's new book, "Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil," an examination of racism and how people constantly partake in and perpetuate it. It was a good read, but one that was somewhat emotionally devastating at the same time. I spent all day on Thursday basically sitting on my couch immersed in the horror of police brutality and public complacence after an intense reading session. Combined with the fact that I just finished Malcolm X before this, I'm at least feeling better informed if not as proactive in antiracism as I should be."
I had been consdidering re-reading this book, partially because I knew she was coming to read here and partially because some things I have to read many times before they compute and I can remember them. As I'm sitting here thinking about this, I realize that fiction is very easy for me to remember but horrifying truth is very difficult. Why would that be? Why can I remember the names and emotions of fictional characters many years after I read them, but this book that I read in March that dealt with atrocity and blindness and self-confrontation is almost a complete blank? All I remember is the experience of the utter annihilation I felt under the weight of so much new and almost unbearable information. Maybe I'm blocking it out as a painful experience?
None of this is to say you shouldn't read the book. Even if you don't agree with what she says or already know more about what she's talking about than I did (do), give it a shot. I will, when i feel ready again.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

on a lighter note

You can read Anna's reviews of all the films she saw at the festival, including "Shortbus", here.


I just read about a Texas inmate who committed suicide the day of his legal execution. The spokesperson for the criminal justice system said this: "He had made no indications that he was contemplating suicide, nor has a note or other explanation been found." I mean, really. He was about to be executed for something he said he didn't even do. Isn't that enough of an explanation?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

reality cinema

Anna and I went to see "Shortbus", John Cameron Mitchell's followup to "Hedwig and the Angry Inch", at the Chicago International Film Festival last night. It's a look at the (sometimes tenuously) connected lives of a handful of confused New Yorkers who mostly interact at a club called Shortbus, a performance space/club/constant sex party hosted by the lovely Justin Bond of New York's Kiki and Herb. If you've heard about it, you've probably mostly heard about the fact that all the sex (and there's a lot of it) is real. It's interesting, because Mitchell effectively blurs the line between (as one of the actresses put it) porn and non-porn but also because it seemed to me that by showing all that sex it just became another part of people's lives. It makes me reconsider what porn might be defined as, whether it is characterized by its explicitness or by the erotic effect on the viewer. Two of the main actresses, Sook-Yin Lee and Lindsay Beamish, were at the screening and answered questions afterwards, and Lee pointed out that although there is a lot of graphic sex she didn't think that most of it was particularly sexy, and when I think back about it I feel like she has a point. Not that there weren't extremely erotically charged moments (and really, if you can watch a sex party and not feel something than you might be a bit jaded), but when I'm remembering what really struck me it wasn't so much the acts as the moments of tenderness between people. Sometimes those occur at the same time, but not always.
The other interesting thing to me was the presence of the penis. The first shot of an actual person contains a penis, which is a pretty good indication of how things are going to go in terms of nudity. It reminded me of how infrequently you see that in film. I read something last year about how, in terms of rating stuff and things like that, showing a woman's breasts is barely considered nudity at all anymore, but show a penis and you know all hell's going to break loose. (I could go on about how this is because the people rating and judging things are mostly men and male nudity opens up the male body to way too much discussion, not to mention the same kind of criticism and value systems that are routinely attributed to women's bodies, but I won't.) In "Shortbus" there were some breasts and some cunts, but most of what we were seeing was full frontal male nudity. Because it is something that I'm not used to (unlike naked women, which sometimes seem to be plastered everywhere in media and advertising) it was a little shocking to me. Behind my theory, it still is so startling to me to see male bodies so exposed to the viewer but it's also kind of exciting, to see men in the way that normally I would only see women. I felt positively voyeuristic at times.
When I looked this movie up on IMDB, one of the comments by a viewer was "Should we also use real bullets onscreen?" All I could think was wow, that person really missed the boat.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


I saw Ani last night for the third time, which was awesome. I think every other time I've seen her perform, she's either been a)angry at the audience for being to noisy or b)kind of tense and unhappy seeming. But last night she seemed up and really into it, talking at length about politics (she compared the US foreign policy to pretending there's not an elephant in the room, if that makes any sense)and pilates ("medieval torture devices"). And although there was a lot of audience noise at times, she took it well and even played some of the requests that people were yelling out. At one point a girl yelled "Ani, I want to be your baby's daddy!" and Ani responded that if said person could make her a pair of pants that she could stand to wear (she was visibly pregnant) she would call them daddy herself. The playing was also great, of course, and even though I am not all that fond of the new album Anna rightly said that she liked the new songs a lot better live than she did on the recording. Her playing was very energetic and energizing, and although I haven't been spending that much time listening to her lately I was very much reminded of how much her music has meant to me over the past few years.
Anyway, here's the set list.

78% H2O
Done Wrong
In the Way
Independance Day
Reprieve (poem)
Alla This (unrecorded)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

those canadians...

My funny email title of the day: ratio undressed.
It's all drippy and cold out, and the heat hasn't yet been turned on. Brrrr.
I must say I've really been enjoying my Margaret Atwood lately. I remember reading "The Handmaid's Tale" in about 10th grade and being blown away (also very embarrassed, as I had to give a class presentation and at that point it was hard for me to even say the word "sex" in front of people, much less talk about it), but after that we had kind of an uneasy relationship. In the novel (Cat's Eye) and the short stories (Bluebeard's Egg) I read always felt like she was saying something really important, but I wasn't getting it. It made me feel kind of left out, if that makes any sense. But earlier this summer I reread "The Blind Assassin", a great interwoven novel that blends an old woman's present and past together with a science fiction love story written by her younger sister and published postumously after said sister's early suicide. There is such a tender treatment of aging (the first time I read this book was perhaps the first time I actively understood a little bit about what growing old might be like; it scared the shit out of me), and the science fiction story, which initially seemed like an utterly bizarre thing to include, actually ends up being very illuminating and touching.
Then, over the last few days, I read "Alias Grace", a novel about a real happening and its aftermath. Grace Marks was convicted at the age of sixteen of participating in the murders of her master and his housekeeper and spent about thirty years in prison. Atwood takes the extremely uncertain facts of the case and adds in fictitious details to create a complex narrative, presenting Grace as an enigmatic figure who is not even certain herself of her guilt or innocence. There are other details--a young doctor, his unorthodox landlady, the uncertain historical narritatives that Atwood quotes--that make the story much more interesting than it otherwise would have been and left me feeling unsettled and questioning when I finished.
Next up: Murakami. I've only read one of his books ("The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles"), which was utterly entrancing and wonderful until the ending, which was such a letdown for me. But I think I'm going to borrow "A Wild Sheep Chase" (mostly because I like the name) from Anna's roommate and see if it's more entirely satisfying.

Monday, October 09, 2006

my window

This was the sunset from my window the other day. Nothing on Arizona, but not too bad.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


I found these never really tell me that much about myself, but they do make my less-than-stellar qualities stand out quite visibly.

My Personality
Openness To Experience
Test Yourself Compare Yourself View Full Report
Find your soulmate / pysch twin

MySpace Layouts, Mortgage Refinance Information and MySpace Layouts by Pulseware Survey Software

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

email, interrupted

I recently noted on a friend's blog that I have a tendancy to write about nothing much. So today I'll focus mostly on a book I read recently, with an intro consisting of something funny in my bulk mail folder.
I have to say that I love looking at my spam, because it's so funny and obvious. You know, mostly I go like this: "Hmmm, I have an email from Rebecca Turgid titled "You want to please your woman all night long", I think I should open that one!" But lately mine have been coming with really weird titles. Here's a compendium of titles from my bulk mail folder today:
"disfavor shrapnel"
"mother collie"
and my favorite, "backwoods clergywoman"
I recently read the memoir "Girl, Interrupted" by Susanna Kaysen. I'm assuming most of you remember the movie with Winona Ryder, and maybe even that it was based on the true story of Kaysen's almost two years in a mental hospital during the 60's, but I saw this in the library and decided to pick it up on a whim. Wow. Kaysen not only chronicals her life inside the asylum (which from what I remember of the movie basically functioned as the plot) but gets to work analyzing our medical and cultural definitions of mental health (and lack thereof), our ways of dealing with deviance, and what it is like for her even now to question what happened to her and what it means. For all that her stories of life inside are frequently funny, entrancing, and fascinating, I feel like the true strength of the book lies in this analysis. Kaysen scrutinizes her medical records, places the definition of her "problem" (borderline personality) within the context of her life and finds it lacking as a critical look at herself.
"My chronic feelings of emphasis and boredom came from the fact that I was living a life based on my incapacities, which were numerous...
"My self-image was not unstable. I saw myself, quite correctly, as unfit for the educational and social systems.
"But my parents and teachers did not share my self-image. Their image of me was unstable, since it was out of kilter with reality and based on their needs and wishes. They did not put much value on my capacities, which were admittedly few, but genuine."
I got the distinct feeling that Kaysen still ponders this diagnosis and its truths and lies on a regular basis.
The book also contains some very interesting meditations on mind vs. brain in the control of behavior and the ways in which illness is consequently treated (think psychoanalysis vs. hormone therapy), and her personal observations of how she and those around her functioned in contrast to what they "should" act like. Mostly, I took away that craziness is a relative state. Maybe sometimes it's only in the eye of the beholder, a side effect of the lack of tolerance for deviant behavior or even just a desire to protect people from the pull of things outside the norm. (At one point Kaysen speculates that the doctor who sent her to the asylum--after seeing her for twenty minutes--justified his action as saving a young girl from the countercultural influences of the late 60's.)
I'll leave you with Kaysen's summation of her inital statement about mental illness as an alternate world, a place enough outside that you can look in and be frightened or fascinated by the contrast between where you are and where you were.
"Every window on Alcatraz has a view of San Francisco."

Friday, September 29, 2006

before and after

So I've been doing this sleep study at a nearby university, I think something to do with the ways in which insomnia is diagnosed and subsequently catagorized by doctors. Anyway, it hadn't involved much except filling out sleep journals every morning (which ask me in one question how much anxiety I felt the night before and in the next question ask me about how much worry I felt. I spend a larger-than-I-should amount of time wondering about the fine distinction between worry and anxiety when I'm trying to fall asleep at night.) and wearing a motion sensor watch for about a week. But last night I had to sleep there, and I will again tonight.
I wrote this angsty blog entry yesterday that wouldn't publish about how I was nervous and I didn't want to go and blah blah blah. But it was okay. I went there after rehearsal, around 7:30, and sat in what looked like a slightly medicalized hotel room until about 11:30 writing letters and reading a book. At that point a technician came in and fixed electrodes all over me, mostly on my head (the back, sides, my chin, forehead, up my nose...), with goo. Then I laid down, she turned out the lights, and I attempted to sleep.
As she was fixing all the stuff on me, I said "Wow, I bet all this stuff makes it hard to sleep." Duh. And she laughed and said that everybody says that and then they fall asleep in five minutes. WRONG! I feel like I was up all night, trying to turn over without ripping half my skin off or choking myself on a cord. Whatever. Maybe I'll sleep better tonight.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Now on to more serious things... I am such a myspace nerd, but I posted a new picture of myself wearing a cowboy hat and I'm trying to think of a funny song using the word "cowboy" (or cowgirl, although for some reason that seems a lot less likely). All I can think of is "Papa was a rodeo" by the Magnetic Fields (it's not on there) or "Where have all the cowboys gone?" by Paula Cole (which might be way too cheesy). Any suggestions?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

are we clear on the meaning of "condemnation"?

I was reading a book of Audre Lorde essays the other day called "A Burst of Light" which contains an interview called "Sadomasochism: Not About Condemnation" from the summer of 1980. Reading the title, I was like "Cool, an article about how S/M isn't the devil, right?" Wrong. It was actually an interview about how s/m is inherently bad and wrong and shouldn't be practiced.
I think the crux of the article is really stated in this paragraph: "Sadomasochism is an institutionalized celebration of dominant/subordinate relationships. And, it prepares us either to accept subordination or enforce dominance. Even in play, to affirm that the exertion of power over powerlessness is erotic, is empowering, is to set the emotional and social stage for the continuation of that relationship, politically, socially, and economically.
"Sadomasochism feeds the belief that domination is inevitable and legitimately enjoyable."
This argument really only holds if you take a few specific beliefs to be "true": "Power inequalities are something that we can rid society of" and "the bedroom is completely and totally tied to the rest of life" are perhaps the most obvious ones. Lorde states during the interview that she believes both of these things, but I'm not so sure. I think that many of the power dynamics that are evident all around us are generally fucked up, but I am not sure that a world without any sort of power differences is possible or maybe even desirable. For one thing, it seems kind of simplistic to take the idea of "power" as a single monolithic entity without distinguishing between different types of power. I think that in general power is an unexamined catchall word that doesn't acknowledge that we all have strengths and weaknesses that could fall under the catagory of power/powerlessness, without which the world might be pretty darn boring. Lorde is using the word in its most explicit (in the context of the feminist essay) meaning, that of subordination and exploitation. In the context of S/M this might not be entirely out of line (although I imagine a lot of S/M people have a much more, um, playful take on subordination that Lorde does), but I still have a problem with the generalization that "power inequality is inherently bad."
The second belief, that the bedroom is totally connected to everything else, is more complicated for me. I do think that my bedroom and the rest of my life are tied together, and I do think that they inform each other. What bothers me about the way Lorde treats this one is that she assumes that the acting out of S/M desires in the bedroom means that you will unwillingly continue to act out sadistic domination or whimpering subordination in your everyday life. She seems to feel that we can't analyze our bedroom play to inform our lives, that instead we will continue to act out our power plays like robots and oppress or be oppressed by those around us without a thought in our heads. She says "Those involved in sadomasochism are acting out the intolerance of differences which we all learn: superiority and thereby the right to dominate. The conflict is supposedly self-limiting because it happens behind bedroom doors. Can this be so, when the erotic empowers, nourishes, and permeates all our lives?"
Maybe it's because it's 2006 and I've spent too much time reading Pat Califia and Carol Queen and Kate Bornstein (why are so many people I admire so very into talking about S/M?). I just don't buy that. I think that, if anything, people who are at least aware of the way it feels to be consciously subordinate or consciously dominant might be more able to recognize and rechannel those tendancies in the rest of their lives. I don't believe that S/M play is self-limiting, but I don't buy that all of its effects, at least for careful and aware practitioners, are negative. For instance, Kate Bornstein writes quite movingly (to me, anyway) about how some s/m practitioners are way more willing to envision genderless indentity or flexible gender identity because they are more willing to "play" with other things that we take for granted, like power. She writes "If living gender-free can shine a light on personal identity, than living with S/M can illuminate inter-personal dynamics. S/M as a sexual preference is an alternative to the gay/straight dichotomy served up by this culture."
The article did make some good points, about anti-progressivism in the gay white male community in particular and about the capitalism that is tied into S/M as it is into everything. ("Who profits from lesbians beating each other?" Lorde asks.) It would be interesting to see if Lorde would have said the same things today as she did in 1980, since there seems to have been a huge overall shift in theory about sadomasochistic behavior and perhaps about sexual behavior in general (but like I said, maybe it's just who I read...). I'd like to think that our understandings and interpretations of such things only become more nuanced and open with time, instead of being so... condemnatory.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


You should all check out Erica's blog about Steve Irwin, I thought it was interesting and maybe a different perspective than most of what I've been hearing. Oh, and Anna wrote a feminist critique of "The Little Mermaid" in her myspace blog, take a look at that too while you're at it :-)
I started reading a book by Zakes Mda while on the plane ride to Arizona. He's a South African author that Lauren L-H recommended to me, and I read and very much enjoyed another one of his books ("Ways of Dying") a month or two ago. This book, "The Madonna of Excelsior" was just not doing it for me, though. So when we got there, I stopped reading it and started something else. Yesterday, I started it again, and somehow it's now really interesting. Was it just that the plot picked up? Or am I just more ready to read it now?
Anyway, to add to the randomness of this, here's some pictures of Anna and her mom.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Also, here's some quotes I liked in the books I've been reading this week:

"The French are connoisseurs of sadness, they know all the kinds. This is why they have bidets."
-Margaret Atwood, from "The Blind Assassin"

"A norther has blown in. Un norte, which just makes me think of a tall Mexican in pointy boots and a cowboy hat, people like Mother's family. But a norther here in Texas is a mean wind from up north. From Chicago. And in Chicago it means a wind from across Canada. And up in Canada it's the North Pole wind, and who knows what people up in the North Pole call this. Probably summer."
Sandra Cisneros, from "Caramelo"

and i think that i sometimes must have wished/ for something more than to be a size six

I thought this article was rather interesting. A major fashion show forcing designers to hire models who look more like real people? Such a concept. A few weeks ago, I watched "Project Runway" with a bunch of friends, and the night's contest was to design clothing for each other's mothers and sisters. Most of the designers had no idea how to begin because most of the mothers and sisters weren't proportioned like models. But anyway, the above article made me a little happier.

Monday, September 04, 2006


It's 4 am... I'm still awake. My mind is full of bullshit. Let's see... I loved Arizona. Even seeing mountains makes me a happier person, so why do I live where they don't exist? It's necessity, I tell you. What else... I had a secret published on Postsecret recently, but I'll never tell which one. It made me feel famous for a moment, but in a totally anonymous way. Damn, it's too late. That's all I have.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

personality, schmersonality

I took this personality test, recommended by Erica. Here was my (not frightening, but perhaps disheartening) result.

The agreeable nature and quiet personality of INFJs makes them particularly vulnerable to hurt feelings. Distress within close relationships can shatter the INFJ. Like all NFs under stress, INFJs feel fragmented and lost — as if they are acting out a part rather than simply being themselves. This disassociation can be related to physical symptoms for the INFJ, whether real or imagined. Feeling split off from their physical natures, INFJs may become virtually immobilized by repressed feelings.

Although INFJs may feel like remaining still and stationary until the chaos and confusion of a stressful situation dissipates, it would be best for them to actively sort out their needs from others. Being excessively cooperative and agreeable, the INFJ has a tendency to adopt values and beliefs of others as their own. When external conflicts grow, so does the INFJ's sense of personal disharmony. Disassociating themselves from others takes a great deal of effort for the INFJ.

I actually felt kind of sad after reading that. It's like way too many of my faults laid out by an impersonal test.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

the skipper too...

This is Skip, the lovely cat who alternately cuddles and terrorizes me.

Friday, August 18, 2006

one small step

Also, I just read something that made me kind of inexplicably happy. The Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, which has a womon-born-womon (or maybe womyn-born-womyn or whatever) attendance policy that excludes transwomen and has triggered the formation of Camp Trans, a trans-friendly space outside the festival walls, has apparently ended this policy. From what I read, a transwoman paid for a ticket and was allowed into the festival, and next year that's going to be how it goes. It's kind of a small thing, I guess, but it makes me happy to hear that at least some things are changing.


Anna and I are headed, unexpectedly and last minute-like, to Arizona next week! We'll be in Flagstaff from about the night of the 27th to partway through the 29th, and then Tucson from the night of the 29th through partway through the 1st. I wish it was longer, but duty (in the form of the Civic orchestra) calls me back to Chicago on the 2nd. Anyway, anybody who's going to be around, give me a ring :-)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

oh my

"Okay, now this is just wrong, y’all. It’s not the kid’s fault his parents accessorize him in the latest from Pimps ‘R’ Us. The September issue of Esquire has named little Sean Preston Federline the “Worst Dressed Man in the World” on its annual Best and Worst Dressed Men lists.
"Regarding Britney Spears‘ less than stellar wardrobe choices for her son the magazine says that “being the offspring of a hyper fertile backup dancer and prematurely wilted flower is no excuse, but being 12 months almost is…As soon as you gain some dexterity, straighten out your hat.”"
-from US magazine's website

It does seem a little harsh to attach that to somebody who really has no control over his own outfits, but it's still kinda funny. I especially like what appears to be a furry coat paired with a Newsies hat.


We have a cat living at my new apartment, a cute and spastic guy named Skip. He likes to run up and down the hallway skidding into things on the hardwood floor. Today, he did this to me as I rounded a corner carrying a glass of oj and a large bowl of popcorn. Since I startle so damn easy, I promptly lost the bowl, scattering popcorn from hell to breakfast (isn't that a wonderful expression?) and losing a little bit of juice along with it. Oy.
In more literary news, I just finished Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "The General in his Labyrinth", a fictional account of the last seven months of Simon Bolivar's life. It follows Bolivar on his last voyage down the river Magdalena after his expulsion from office and widespread vilification, and it's a beautiful and terrible picture of political and bodily decay as well as a fascinating partial history of South American independance and of Bolivar's life. I like Marquez because it often seems that plot is not the main goal; I appreciate what I see as a dedication to story. It's fiction so I'm not taking it as the gospel or anything, but I very much enjoyed the portrait of Bolivar and South America that Marquez gave me.
And now, I've moved on to my next book. (Lauren, thanks for the comment about reading and understanding a lot of books, but in truth I think I read too fast. Lately I've even been reading things twice in a row if I think I'll get more out of it the second time because I feel like I miss so much.) Next up is "Weight" by Jeanette Winterson. It's a re-writing of the myth of Atlas and Heracles. (There's also another book in this series by Margaret Atwood called "The Penelopiad" that sounds interesting.) I just started, but I'd like to end with this great quote from the introduction concerning truth and fact.
"Autobiography is not important. Authenticity is important. The writer must fire herself through the text, be the molten stuff that welds together disparate elements. I believe there is always exposure, vulnerability, in the writing process, which is not to say it is either confessional or memoir. Simply, it is real."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

say again?

"Vice President Dick Cheney called Lieberman’s loss “an unfortunate development” and said it would possibly encourage “Al Qaeda types.”"
Excuse me? What does that even mean? I read this several times and never made much sense of it. Whenever I just don't understand something, it makes me feel like I'm just missing or something that would make it at least logical, if not correct. If anyone can enlighten me, I'd be interested in hearing it. Does he mean that Al Qaeda is keeping track of... public dislike of the war? Or something?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

my morning

A view of Belmont harbor. I went on perhaps my last super-early bike ride today and intended to take pictures, but it was foggy and my camera runs out of batteries almost as soon as I turn it on so this was all I got.

A creepy stone face sticking out of a wall behind my house.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

out with the old

I successfully quit my shitty job, and this afternoon I interviewed for a teaching position at this independant teaching studio in a suburb. The interview went well, I think; the director and I have similar views about accessibility to music and about creative, flexible approaches to teaching. The thing that might do me in is that I haven't had a lot of experience, and particularly not a lot of experience teaching young students or total beginners. But I still felt really positive about it, and I should find out tomorrow whether or not I got it.
I've read a lot of good books lately. After "Sixpence House" I read Zadie Smith's "White Teeth", then re-read the chapter on cyber-relations and textual subjectivity from Juana Maria Rodriguez's "Queer Latinidad", which still just rocks. Oh, and also I read "Persepolis", Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel account of her childhood living through Iran's Islamic Revolution. Wow. It was so powerful, it almost brought me to tears on the bus and did make me cry later that day in my room. Anna is currently reading "Reading Lolita in Tehran" which I as far as I remember is about the same time period, but told from an adult perspective and through the lens of classic english-language novels. I remember reading that book and just not getting the historical aspect of it; I only vaguely understood what she was talking about, and it lessened the power of the book. I want to read it again now. "Persepolis" really made me think about the graphic novel format, and how it has the potential to clearly and viscerally make things understandable that are maybe harder to get in a purely textual format. It has the potential to be such a concrete and interesting genre, and I hadn't seen that as much before as I did yesterday.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

my new digs

The view from my bedroom window. This is Clark street, just south of Foster.

My new living room. Look at all the light!

Monday, July 31, 2006


The move is, thank god, pretty much done. We picked the hottest, nastiest weekend to move all of our possessions up to third-floor apartments. Even now, just sitting on my bed typing this, I'm sweating. I truly hate humidity.
I'm reading this amazing book that a friend recommended to me: "Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books" by Paul Collins. It's an apparently true account of the author's move (along with his wife and infant son) to a small town on the Britian/Wales border called Hay-on-Wye. The town is overrun with booksellers, with 1500 inhabitants and 40 bookstores. Collins, who is an antique book lover, blends his experiences trying to buy a house there with anecdotes about being an American moving to Britain, a first-time father, a passionate reader of books, and also with amazing amounts of fascinating arcane trivia. I love it when people exhibit an evident love of knowledge, especially if it doesn't seem to be at the service of any practical need. I was grinning ear-to-ear last night after reading the first 25 pages. Highly recommended.

Friday, July 28, 2006

coincidence, or something more?

Two nights ago, I couldn't sleep and for whatever reason spent significant amounts of time thinking about two movies, "The Langoliers" and "The Blair Witch Project." Yesterday when I woke up my friend Lauren had posted a blog with a Longoliers reference in the title, and last night I had conversation about the Blair Witch movie with a friend at a bar. I haven't thought of either of these movies in a long-ass time, much less talked about them. Weird.
Tomorrow's the move, or at least most of it. It's going to be like 95 and humid, and I'm not done packing yet. Good times.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


I just quit my job! Haha! That's a record for me, I've only worked three days and that was enough.

Monday, July 24, 2006

i have no cohesion lately

Anna got published again, on an online Chicago lesbian website! Her article is the review of the Lynnee Breedlove show we went and saw last week, it's right under the Gay Games pictures. Yay Anna!
I cooked tonight for almost the first time in the last few weeks. That's right; I, who normally will cook meals that require two hours of concentrated effort in order to relax, have been experiencing cooking apathy. We've been existing with the help of frozen foods such as crinkle-cut fries and veggie potstickers. No good. I've also wholly succumbed to a brand-new addiction: Haagen Dazs. I'd never had it until a few months ago, and now I eat at least half a pint every damn day. The mango ice cream is excellent, I must say.
We're moving this coming weekend. Anna finally found a place happily located only about a block from my apartment, so now we can have a little more space but not have to travel long distances to see each other. Girlstown, here we come!

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Check this out! As Anna said, a lot of lesbians are probably heartbroken right now.

drama drama drama

I feel very traumatized by my dreams this morning. As I told Anna (via email, since she's still hopefully sleeping peacefully-- it's not quite 8 in the morning), my dream was not outwardly very bad. It involved, truth be told, elf lords and sacrificial death. Also short little people on horses. I think maybe it was Lord of the Rings inspired, or at least influenced by that entire genre of stuff. But regardless of the cheese quotient, I woke up very upset. I'm still feeling a little disoriented from the whole experience.
I have to go to work again today, but only for four hours. That I think I can deal with.
We are moving out of our apartment in about a week. It seems ridiculously crazy to me that we've been here a year already, but we have (almost, anyway) and I guess it's time to move on to apartments with sunlight and adequate heating. Lately also, we've been overrun by giant spiders and all sorts of other creepy crawlies. But anyway, I'll still miss this little basement apartment with all it's idiosyncracies and drawbacks.
That's enough from me.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

it's all right...

I'm attempting to figure out what exactly constitutes early 90's fashion so I can go to my friend's theme birthday party this weekend in style. While doing this, I found a picture of the guy who used to play Screech in "Saved by the Bell." Whoa! I never would have guessed that one. (PS any fashion tips would be appreciated)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

dancing queens

So work was bad, but not impossible. I spent five hours trying to get people to buy overpriced pictures of themselves in front of this giant captured German submarine. Afterwards, (and after my hour-and-a-half trip home) I basically collapsed. I forgot how tiring it was to do mindless customer service work!
But last night, we went over to a friend's house and had a super fun six-person queer dance party in the backyard! We got there around 9 and had a few beers, more people came, the music got turned up and people started grinding on each other. I managed, for perhaps the first time I can remember, to sustain the exact level of drunkenness where I'm still functioning but also still loosened up enough to want to dance for HOURS. We left finally at about 3:15, at which point we stopped at a 24-hour mexican place for a veggie burrito and then immediately caught a bus home (a small miracle). I had a ridiculously good time. And now, we're going out to breakfast. Hooray!

Saturday, July 15, 2006


I have to go to my first day of actual work today. I am unmistakeably nervous. I went to orientation yesterday, which was mostly just really boring, and went to get my uniform. I was under the impression that we would buy shirts and provide our own shoes, black pants, etc., but no. It's all regulated. I'm surprised I don't have to wear special underwear or socks. The pants fit terribly; one pair fit better overall but was too tight around the waist to tuck a shirt into, so instead I ended up with pants where the crotch hangs down to about mid-theigh. And the shirt is huge on me! It's a small, and they didn't have extra-small, but it's huge. The best part of all this? It's ridiculously expensive. They pay for 1/3 of the uniform, but the whole shebang supposedly costs somewhere between $150 and $200 dollars. What?!?!?! Probably because I had to buy a leather belt and shiny leather shoes. Anyway, my question is what happens if I hate it and quit right away? Will they send me a bill for this ugly, ridiculous uniform?
Anyway... rant rant rant. I'm working at the museum today at least, and only for five hours. And if I quit today, I have enough money to pay for the damn uniform anyway.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

grumpy randomness

I feel incredibly bitter tonight, for no good reason and not even about anything in particular. I just wish I could sleep. This is fucked up.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

khaki-clad and at your service

It's 7:51 at night, and I'm totally wiped out. I can't believe the sun is still up.
I got a job today. In fact,I kind of got two jobs. It's a record! Anyway, this morning I went to a kind of lame interview for this photography company that takes pictures of tourists at a few places around the city, and a few hours later I got a call saying that I was "invited to work for them." I have to pay for 2/3 of my own uniform: a khaki button-down shirt, black shorts or pants (do I have to buy new ones of those?), and black shoes. My workplace options are Navy Pier, outside the John Hancock Building taking bluescreen photos of what it would look like if you were standing at the top of the building instead of the bottom, and the Museum of Science and Industry. I'm heavily wanting the museum job, even though it's the furthest away; it would involve dressing people up in funny period clothes and making them ride a fake Model T. Definitely better than whiny people at a ferris wheel, in my opinon.
My second somewhat-job is teaching this student of my teacher's for the summer. We're planning on meeting twice a week. She seems very nice, but today we spent most of the hour talking about how stressed out she is about the future and how she has no one to talk to. She's already super worried about college, and she's only going to be a junior this year! I felt bad, but I tried to tell her things that might be reassuring. It felt more like therapy than a lesson.
Anyway, so I'm employed, at least for the time being. That photography job, though... if it totally sucks, I'm out of there, even if I still have to pay for the damn uniform.

Friday, July 07, 2006

mysteries of pittsburgh

Lately, I feel confused as to whether a lot is going on, or nothing at all. Last weekend Anna and I went to Pittsburgh to visit (this is mildly complicated) a friend from Phoenix who was visiting this guy from Pittsburgh that she'd met recently and really liked. He let us stay on his couch cushions arranged in a bed-like fashion on the floor for about three days, which was super nice of him considering he didn't know us at all and Kara only somewhat. But anyway...
Pittsburgh was nice. We went to a lot of bars, a lot of restaurants, kayaking, on a picnic, saw live-band karaoke and a Violent Femmes concert for a dollar at a summer festival. I also saw my friend Raquel, albeit briefly, for the first time in about four years. Ironically, she lived in Pittsburgh but was moving to Syracuse the day after we got there.
This was perhaps the funniest thing for me, or at least the one I'm most able to remember. We were taking a cab to the karaoke place; it's impossible to get cabs there without calling ahead apparently, but we snagged a woman who was filling up at a gas station. After we got in the cab, she called somebody and told them she had picked somebody up and he was going to have to eat dinner on his own. Here's a rough transcript:
(cab driver hits curb with rear tire as we turn)
driver: "Sorry! I can't see for shit at night!"
(We all give slightly nervous laughs)
me: "Are we making you miss dinner?"
driver: "No, that dickhead just wants me to sit there while he eats. What a fatass dickhead!"
(general laughter)
She continued like that the whole way to the bar, calling him a slew of pejoratives and enjoying our appreciation of her language. Perhaps it was because we were all exhausted, but she was hysterical.
Anyway, since we got back, things are back to the norm: checking my email, checking craigslist for job and/or apartment openings, and eating. I'm a lazy bum. But Lauren H-L is coming tonight to visit, which is incredibly exciting! I also haven't seen her in maybe four years or a little more.
Yesterday I got a whole new box of checks that have my current address on them. I'm moving in less than a month, and it takes me about three years to work my way through a box. Excellent.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

dancin' in the streets

As Erica pointed out in her blog, much of my "readership" is currently in China and can't look at blogspot sites. Ah well. Does it matter? Not too much.
Pride has come and gone. Anna wrote a good review of her thoughts on the whole thing in her blog, mostly about her insane desire for free beads :-) It was overall a pretty fun experience (I keep telling people mostly because we could drink in the street, which is probably true; standing outside for three hours or whatever watching politicians roll by would be a lot less fun without alcohol) but not entirely what I expected. It seemed like the queer community was out-represented by the aformentioned politicians and companies that were just using the parade as a way of advertising themselves. Both of these groups function in the same way: they hire a bunch of hot dancers who run around holding signs and/or giving away cheap crap with the company or politician's name on it. I wonder how many of the people in the parade were actually queer and how many were just hired to be there. Not that I have anything against straight people of course, but this damn parade is supposed to be about pride, not advertising. I guess I just wanted it to be more radical than it was. I wanted people to be in crazy costumes and radiating political awareness. Maybe I was just on the wrong street :-/
But still, there was booze, there were hot dancers (regardless of why they were there), I hopefully made some new friends, and it was goooooood to see so many happy people. Everybody was just thrilled to be there, you could tell just by looking around you. I'm sure I'll be there again next year, yelling my head of and drinking something with a high proof out of my water bottle.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

"I like to be surrounded by...women."

This is Pride weekend for Chicago. We missed this last year because we had already started on our road trip, so this is actually the first Pride either of us has been to. Today is the Dyke March, and tomorrow is the actual Pride Parade. I'm excited, but also unsure of what exactly to expect. I mean, I know Prides everywhere have generally become a giant corporate whore-off (a few years ago SF pride was sponsored by Budweiser and they even used their corporate slogan for the festival motto), which I don't particularly appreciate. But I'm still excited to see all the parts of this community showing off for once, and just to be surrounded by so many people with at least one interest in common. Isn't that always a bit exciting?
Anyway, I'm also going out in just a few minutes to my very first solo apartment interview. It's right on a main street in Girlstown, which would probably be handy and fun. I hope I am chatty and nice and not chatty and neurotic. It can be a fine line when I'm nervous.
Finally, my favorite thing read on an internet profile recently (I'm sorry if I go on about these, but they crack me up): "I'm flawed, but I'm intelligent, so it's alright." Go you, I guess.