Sunday, December 28, 2008

There was this baby shower

And me and my mom were, nominally at least, in charge of throwing it. It has been a dicey Christmas around these parts, so we were not looking forward to the stress of the mingling.

But I'm glad we did it. It was a baby shower for an old, old friend--and she seems well. Plus, she is one of my three best friends from high school, and the other two showed up--and that was my favorite. They are all beautiful and accomplished, doing smart things and taking care of lovely families. After the shower, all four of us went to dinner. We drank margaritas and laughed and gossiped about the people we used to know... which leads me to a topic I'd like to re-address: Facebook.

I am obsessed with it. And we talked about it quite a bit. Because, as you may or may not have noticed, dear reader, people be gettin on facebook. Over the last three months, I have friended, de-friended, and re-friended many an old friend/acquaintance/lover. And, despite the ease with which we ridicule those-who-would-be-cyborgs, there is a certain seductiveness to the electronic drama that is facebook.

So, these four dear friends and I (one of whom I am in touch with again ONLY because of electronic things) discussed the benefits and drawbacks of good old FB. Below are a few of the highlights:

1) It is like an electronic grappling hook to the past--digging into memories and giving us some leverage.
2) It makes friendship seem easy.
3) It allows for virtual contact with people we might never have seen again.
4) The format (chat, status updates, messages) gives us time to seem clever and funny--sparring verbally with others who seem clever and funny.
5) It includes zombies.

1) It is like an electronic grappling hook to the past--digging into memories and giving us some leverage.
2) It makes friendship seem easy.
3) It allows for virtual contact with people we might never have seen again.
4) The format (chat, status updates, messages) gives us time to seem clever and funny--sparring verbally with others who seem clever and funny.
5) The unfamiliarity of the communication style makes us harder. We say sharper things more often because we are not standing next to warm human bodies. We need to learn the body-ness of this beast before we imagine ourselves to be experts.

{I was going to make all five be the same both times, but honestly, I'm pretty certain that zombies are an unmitigated awesome.}

This facebook juggernaut is a double-edged sword, pal. As unavoidable as it is slippery, it is a techne, a world-changing rhetoric. I am so thankful for FB in many ways--the reconnection factor (for about 5% of the people on there); the closeness of it (my students and I can communicate via FB in much cooler ways than used to exist); and the bendiness of it (that's right, I said bendiness). I am also wary of it.

But it sure does make for some yummy dinner conversation.

Friday, December 19, 2008

70 degrees and HD TVS

Some notes:

1) I am home in Dixie for Christmas, and it is good. There is snow in New York, but here, there is only 70 degrees and HD TVs.
2) My new favorite holiday phrase is Christmas zombie.
3) I have dear friends who send me poetical facebook notes. Thanks, J. You are truly a blessing.
4) Got my hair cut and colored yesterday, and now I look like a frakkin rock star. That's right. Be impressed.
5) I have chill friends who send me old (AWESOME) pictures of President-Elect Obama, and that makes me happy, too.

You know what he's thinking, right?

70 degrees and HD TVs, bitches.

Monday, December 15, 2008


I've got a bone to pick with you... WHERE IS MY SNOW?


Sunday, December 14, 2008

What grace is given me

It's Hobbit Day in New York, and we are spending some time in Middle-Earth. A wonderful way to rest and rejuvenate at the end of the semester, Hobbit Day was sort of invented by several dear friends at Texas. Watching these movies, listening to the language, witnessing the gorgeousness of the imagery and the magnitude of such an undertaking--makes me happy. And sad, too.

Because I am missing Austin very much today. I miss my intrepid fellow-Hobbit freak and that tall Californian. I miss snarky comments about the mention of October in a story far from Julian calendars. I miss smiling summaries of the Lord of the Ring: "some super old guy falls down a hole; chaos ensues." I miss the comfort of Hobbit Day and the projector. I miss the crepes and the declaration that Samwise is, in fact, the MVP!

Here in NYC, Hobbit Day has taken on a different character, but the history is still there, coloring new faces, new scenes, new commentary with grace--both given and received.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Coming back home to you

In a week, I get to go home to this place, and I am very glad about it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Not too long ago,

In a galaxy not so far away, one of my [many] crushes told me, "james, you are a drag queen trapped in the body of a woman." And I could not agree more.

I don't know where the deviance began, really. It might have been with my early and heady love affair with words (most of which were penned and claimed by men). Or maybe it was the strong and powerful women in my life--who did all sorts of strong and powerful things while wearing awesome shoes. Perhaps it was John Missile, my toddler friend, whose ability to pee standing up (and completely destroy rooms in his parents' house without getting yelled at) made me so jealous that I turned pink.

Whatever it was, I was always interested in playing "both" sides, if you will. And I don't mean that in a dirty way (naughty reader), I mean it in a nimble way. I enjoyed (and still do) the surprise/dismay/disapprobation on people's faces when I did or said something that went against their soul-crushing, body-torturing, mind-numbing social restrictions.

Choosing a career in the academy, in a field dominated by men? That seems to be a part of the trend. Living alone in a bag "scary" city, and being pretty jazzed about it? Again, part of the trend. My relentless crush on Neil Patrick Harris? Totes.

Speaking of Doogie, here's another aspect of my drag-ness: I am drawn to people who are different varieties of bendy--sometimes out loud (like dear NPH), and sometimes more quietly... the people whom I most admire are almost always in disguise. And, contrary to most of Western philosophical thought, I don't think that's an automatic and unmitigated bad thing.

[Quick sidenote: of course, this isn't always easy, and there have been heartbreaks because of it. That being said, though, Breaking Big Rules and Being Heroic are intimately related. And, as we all know, heroes are sort of made to be broken. Poor heroes.]

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is some delicious bendiness:

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sometimes, I put things off

And then, when I am sitting in my office, thinking about all of the things that I have put off, I get sort of sweaty and hyperventilate-y and nervous and heart-beating-too-fast-ish. This is a new development. I never used to be like this. And, honestly, it has only happened twice, really.

Makes me feel, I mean SERIOUSLY feel, for people who suffer from anxiety more often than not. It is a miserable, powerless, crushing feeling. And, luckily for me, it goes away after a little while--after I send off the first response I should send, and finish editing the paper I should edit, and apply to the summer workshop to which I ought to apply... and hear from dear friends who send me notes like this:

Deep breathing. Nothing can happen that is so bad that it would make you disappear.

Please, dear Universe, watch over our Small Symbolic Order.
Oh, and one more thing, dear Universe, please let that note be true.