Monday, January 28, 2008

Dear Mom

Sometimes, I dance around like this down the streets of Bayside--with maybe just a skoach less panache.

On being awake before the sun is

It's 6:05 AM, and I have been wide awake since, like, 4:15. I had weird, sad dreams about old loves and lost books and radiator monsters. So I got up and washed the dishes. I also thought about today's lectures, class activities, and errands that need to be run (pick up the shoes, find somewhere to donate car, take computer to the IT folks on campus, manicure/pedicure, maybe a haircut--you know, serious stuff). Now, I am all ready and dressed for school--my lunch is packed and my shoes are on.

The bus does not start running until 6:35 AM.

What the hell.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


How old is Rambo now?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Possible readings for Rhetoric and Pop Culture

1) Chuck Klostermann “Sex Drugs and Cocoa Puffs”
2) Jake Halpern’s “Fame Junkies”
3) Maureen Orth’s “The Importance of Being Famous”
4) Ilene Rosenzweig and Cynthia Rowley’s “Swell: A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life”

I'm looking for non-textbook books to get the students thinking about the shape and size of pop culture--how it makes us see ourselves (as consumers, as girls and boys, as members of a collective or as individuals against the grain)... and how it makes us see others in similar (or not-so-similar) ways. We're probably gonna read a little JB, too. Because he's awesome.

Any suggestions?

Ou est le biblioteque?

In North Carolina, I have a dear friend who, if he were Francophile-king of the world, would live in this video. Awesome.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

So I'm trying not to be bitter

About trying to get essays ready for submission. You see, I have this old essay from a couple of years ago that I like. It is about the ideology of teaching--particularly in relation to the pedagogical claims made by Civil War reenactors. One of the things that they say, as they are talking about the places that they are standing and the materials they are holding, is that they are trying to teach history right. And a lot of them are pretty good teachers (just fyi, never get into an argument about historical details from the Civil War with a reenactor. You will lose).

That being said, there are myriad problems with the "truths" they claim to express--ranging from method to performance to subject to style... So, anyway, I want to send this essay somewhere, but I can't until I make the citations right. Because I don't want to look like some turnip-truck escapee who doesn't know the difference between Chicago and MLA. Although, if you really want to know, um, I don't the know the difference between Chicago and MLA.

So, as I struggle with re-formatting and relocating commas and citing sources in the correct manner, I am trying not to be that guy in Office Space who obsesses over the stapler. And I am having trouble with it, I"m not gonna lie. Because, while it is super-important that we give credit where credit is due and appropriately reference the sources of good ideas and smart theory... it is hard not to get lost in the stupid little details of where commas are supposed to be places and whether or not the author's name comes before the date and whether or not we're supposed to put Ibid or something else Latinate and abbreviated.

And, so, in honor of these formal lamentations--which are not new and I am certain are not going to go away--here's a yummy quotation from one of my favorites: Phil Wander's "The Third Persona: An Ideological Turn in Rhetorical Theory."

“What do we have to show for our faith in method? In rhetorical studies, in communication research, and in various other fields, the result has been work which speaks only to the professional concerns of technically trained scholars. Techne has become an end in itself. It is no longer related to a product. McGee’s argument here, and it is an important one, is not that we have been cursed with bad criticism, or that rhetorical studies has become too specialized, or that the field has not yet matured, or that we need a more 'holistic' approach. It is that what is now called “criticism” is the result of an established order willing to tolerate work which is morally, socially, and politically meaningless so long as it reproduces forms associated with technical reason. It is the product of a system which asks not why is this subject important, what does it add to human knowledge, or what is its emancipatory potential, but committed to technocractic solutions, what is the ‘text’ or object of research, what have other researchers said about it, and, above all, what method or methods are going to be employed?” (from "Contemporary Theory: A Reader" 364)

I know he's not talking about parenthetical documentation, per se. But it still makes me feel a little bit better.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Atreyu, you sneak

This song has been stuck in my head all day long.

You're welcome.

Monday, January 21, 2008

It's too bad Bell Blvd. isn't there anymore

Because I drank it.

Here are the things that happened yesterday:

1) Climbed through a window at school to get into my office because all the outside doors were locked.
2) Did some work, IMed with E!, talked to some far away friends about the Giants-Packers game.
3) Went home in the frigid cold (last week, I think, I was just telling a friend that I didn't think New York winters were anything to get all bunged up about... Um, yeah, I spoke too soon.) The HIGH today is, like, 26 or something ridiculous.
4) Went to the bar at about 5:45 to catch the last quarter of the Chargers-Patriots.
5) Started drinking martinis at 6...
6) Chatted with some peeps at the bar.
7) Had some dinner with friends.
8) Drank my weight in red wine.
9) Argued with some Ukrainian about whether or not I knew football (seriously, the dude asked me if I knew what a fumble was. My response? "It's when you drop the fucking ball." He must have liked my answer because he asked me for my number. Ha!)
10) Cheered lustily when the Giants won a very exciting game!!!
11) Got walked home by my friend, T, because she was worried that I might wander off somewhere. Sometimes I do that.

Here are the things that are happening right now:
1) I am eating a pizza bagel from Bayside Milk Farm.
2) IMing with E! about wedding plans.
3) Drinking glass after glass of water (I'm a husk).
4) And thinking about you.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Why do the chickens have human arms?

Oh, man... This is for Z and those in peril on the snowboard.

If you want to watch another one, check out blogos. You're gonna laugh. Promise.

Friday, January 18, 2008

I do nothing.

In between re-writing conclusions and reformatting stupid citations for an essay about ideology and historical reenactment, I have been playing a fun new Internet game.

1. First, you need a band name. Visit - the first article title on the page is the name of your band.
2. Second, your debut album needs a title! Visit - the last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album. PERSONAL NOTE: You may have to make the page generate another list - I got the exact same page a few times when I clicked this. Avoid "From Ever Doing So."
3. And finally, we need some cover art. Check out - the third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
4. Use your graphics program of choice to throw them together, and you're set!

My band is named "Valeriy Petrakov" and the title of the album (artwork to the right) is "Group of Human Beings."


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Arguing with People

My friend, Steve, says that blogs are a stupid place to argue, but I disagree.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Really does taste a little bit like dirt. In a good way. But I don't think I'd eat it all the time, if I had my druthers.

Also, it's been, like, ten years since Matrix came out, and I have seen it many times. But that part at the beginning, when Trinity is running from that agent, still takes my breath away.

The key to enjoying Matrix? Simple--in my family, we do not acknowledge the existence of the third Aliens movie or the third Matrix movie. Hence, no dead Ripley, and no bum revolution.

We prefer to dwell on possibility.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Today is Saturday

And I stayed out too late last night. So much dancing, so much East Village, so much eighties music. And then the Stupid LIRR.

But never fear... I am making borscht (with the beets that came in my veg-in-a-box produce delivery yesterday), and I am listening to "Our Hearts Don't Slide" from The Hood Internet. (Thanks to BV for the rec.)

Careful... it's addictive.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Snakes in a doorway

One of my very earliest memories
Is of the king snake.
It had gotten into our house, somehow—through
The air conditioning vents, the boys told us—
And it was relaxing in the dark coolness.
I was young, three or four,
I was walking from the hallway into a bedroom,
And I saw a colorful scarf lying in the doorway,
Catching the sunlight from outside.
I reached down to touch it
And it slithered through my toddler hands
To escape behind the door.
The king snake is a good snake,
The boys said later…
The boys that my mother called to catch the snake.
It is a hunter of bad snakes and rodents—
Eating poisonous things,
Rooting out scavengers.
I have vague memories of the king snake…
It was beautiful,
Lounging in the doorway
And then, two days later,
Stretched in a front window,
A living letter S between the glass and the blinds…
Arcing up into the sunlight,
Ancient and determined.

I touched the snake,
And I am afraid of it, still,
That strange, cold muscle,
That single-minded undulation.
But, every once in a while,
I recall the primitive beauty of the snake,
Its delicious, seductive foreignness,
And the way the boys spoke so breathlessly,
Of its quest
Into the abyss.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Things that are happening Right Now

1) I am cleaning up my old computer for my mom. I gave her my laptop for Christmas (I know, I know, what a cheap bastard I am... not even buying my dear mom a new computer for the holiday. You try buying new computers for the holiday on a New York Assistant Professor salary there, big talker). The cleaning up means several things: first, I must arrange and name her new bookmarks. Second, I must walk her through some of the differences between Macs and PCs. Third, I must re-locate my music from this computer to my new one... which is an exercise in frustration and four letter words. It took me FOUR HOURS last night to transfer music from my Mac-formatted iPod to my PC. Oy. And now the music does not actually have any names... just weird codes. My rose-tinted Apple crush is rapidly mutating.
2) I am deciding how to get various Santa-granted goodies from Alabama to New York. There will be some mailing, oh yes.
3) I am admiring pictures.
4) I am pretending I am 10 years old again, hanging with my super-cool-I-wish-I-could-be-as-cool-as-they-are cousins, and listening to this band. Yum.
5) I am looking forward to being back in the North. But I am going to miss my mom something awful.