Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hackers in Area! Adore

Thanks to AWS for the rec. You are awesome.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Philosophy of Auntie Mame

1) The Seeming and the Being are Not As Far Apart as People Like to Think
Yesterday, in class, we talked about the hyperreal. I have become the simulation lady, and my students, poor poor things, are all sort of strapped in for an adventurous ride through imaginary land. The thing that we have to talk about, of course, is how these Disneyland adventures have material consequences. The fun house is not always so much fun, but, by damn, it is never boring.

2) Good Songs Speak the Truth
This is my new favorite song: I'm Just Lookin' For a Good Time by a band called Lady Antebellum. Seriously.

3) F Scott Fitzgerald is More than the Sum of His Desires
Although he often gets dismissed/caricatured as that sniveling poor boy at the rich kid party, FSF had alot of soul. You don't see NYT claiming that "Old Man and the Sea" is a perfect novel. Plus, without FSF , there would be no John Hughes movies, no Mickey Rourke in "The Wrestler," no Slumdog Millionaire, no Corey Feldman, and no Gossip Girls. The form of desire, the absolute personification of unrequited love, performed and presented by that desolated man--that is the stuff of dreams. And pop culture.

4) When in Doubt, Use a Word Associated with Food to Get Your Point Across
Some possibles: morsel, tasty, shiny, salty, voluptuous, sumptuous, sharp, buttery, moist, rich, delicious.

5) The Moral Majority Wishes They Were as Delicious as We Are
So, go ahead. Have another sidecar.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Alias Actually Is Capt. Jean Luc Picard

Hey, Honey, I'm Home

So, How's things? Good? School started yesterday = Awesome. I am teaching three classes this year--public speaking, persuasion, and an independent study about the sophists. And my good friend and colleague is teaching an independent study about feminist rhetoric, which I have asked to sit in on, from time to time. It promises to be an adventurous semester.

Totally unrelated (perhaps, perhaps not), I found an old CD the other day: "Cool on the Inside" by a band called farmer that I think no longer exists. We stumbled, literally and figuratively, upon this band in our hazy days at the U of Alabama. As I remember it--and people are free to correct/embellish--it was the afternoon. Most likely, I was skipping class. And so we went to drink at one of the bars on the strip. This band was playing, and, for some reason, we just totally dug them. So, I bought a CD--and proceeded to listen to it over and over again for a short period of time. And then I put it away.

Listening to it again, for the first time in, like, um, 13 years? 12 years? Was a powerful memory-pull--almost physical. I regret that this is one of the only CD's I still have from that time. The disappearance of favorite college bands is a sad, honest truism. Some other disappeared favorites: PLAID, The Refreshments, Pain, Follow For Now, Vova Nova. I'm sure there are many that I am forgetting.

I looked for some clips from farmer on youtube. No dice. Still, I did find some stuff from Follow For Now. Therefore, in the spirit of re-memory and re-vision, here's to unattended geography classes and bourbon-soaked discovery. Go ahead and mosh around your office/cubicle/living room. You're gonna want to... and nobody's watching. Promise.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I love you best of all, The Wire.

But, even in the most loving of relationships, there are bumpy times. Right now is one of them. I am currently watching Season 5, and honestly, The Wire, I am sort of angry with you for several reasons which I have thoughtfully listed below.

-I do not like Marlo, and I fear that he will win.
-I do not like McNulty, and I fear that he will win.
-I gotta baaaaaaaaaaaad feelin about Omar, my favorite avenging angel.
-The end is coming. I can feel it, and I generally frown upon things that end.
-You are making me have creepy drug culture, police home invasion nightmares. Seriously, I am awake right now because I woke up convinced that marauders were in my house looking for some sort of stash.
-I miss Stringer.
-I could not figure out a way to incorporate Season 4 into my Persuasion class this semester, and that pisses me off.

Oh, The Wire, I sound more angry than I am... you know that. But still. Why you gotta go and be finite?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Dear Martin

Below is the last post in a failed attempt at long-distance book clubs. Still, though, it's a pretty neat-O dream:

Last night, I dreamed that I was making out with Sigmund Freud in a subway station. We were waiting for the S Train (which I am not sure exists), and he was wearing a vinyl overcoat... kinda like an Austrian Neo. In the corner of the station was a rowdy group of historians and construction workers (I don't know why we knew this, we just did). They were very loud, and we kept looking disapprovingly over at them to try to get them to shut up.

The End

Friday, January 16, 2009


You lean well.
I like the stretch of your long arms
And the slant of your shoulders as you lean--
Up against a car door,
Across the dark wood of a bar,
Over an expanse of warm, flushed skin.
We began in conversation,
Accidental and unplanned.
You expounded upon the development of noise rock,
The link between politics and art.
I talked to you about kairos.
You argued with me,
And I liked that you argued with me.
Sometimes, it seems, people are not so eager to engage.
But you, leaning like lightning,
Got angry with me,
Detailing the limits of education
And questioning the value of certain long-held truths.

I did not notice, at first,
That I had begun to lean like you.
That I was eager (more than eager) to practice
Such shoulders-taut positions.
I did not notice how much ground I had given.
I forgot my distance,
My diplomacy face,
And I fell into those long arms,
Seduced by ambling arguments and
Languid laughter.

This sentence is false.
I knew it all along.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Thank you for the snow. You can have it back now.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

I drove from Alabama to New York

In a little white pick up truck, and it was fun! I had forgotten how much I enjoy driving. Honestly, the time sort of flew by--until I reached the George Washington Bridge on the second day. It was snowing, and I don't really know my way around these parts. So. That was an adventure.

But I made it back. And have spent most of today alternating episodes of "The Wire" with episodes of cleaning.

I've got two things for you:
1) Thoughts on our Small, Symbolic Universe -- It is the New Year. Last year was the Year of the Rat (and oh how ratty were some of the things that occurred!!!) This is going to be the Year of the Ox. The thing to keep in mind here, people, is that these yearly descriptions are all about attitude. Interestingly enough, 2007 was Year of the Pig--which coincides with the end of the financial bubbles--and leads right into the panic some might feel in Rat years. The Year of the Ox is all about fortitude--so the East is not telling us that things are going to get all better, all sudden-like. But there is some hope. And we can see that in the upcoming festivities planned for our delicious President-Elect.

2) Thoughts on the Holiday -- My favorite Christmas song has always been "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." My reasons, however, for loving that song have changed. When I was younger, I liked the song because I liked the sincerity and bravado. Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Neil Diamond, with those throaty, careworn voices, bravely putting forth a good front for the lost and the lonely. But I didn't get it. I romanticized the sorrow in those words, and I imagined that the singers were only in a rough spot. For me, that song was all about a moment--a quick thought, a short memory, a brief reference--and then Hooray! Look at all the shiny presents and the twinkly lights!

Now, I still love to hear Frankie murmuring "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". But nowadays my love is tempered by a more solid grasp of that song's soul. It is not a temporary moment of sad; it lingers. It is an adjusting song, an acknowledgment of the ephemeral, and a paean to the very thing that such ephemerality makes possible: Joy. Holidays are all about the Wabi Sabi, baby. And, I think, for that reason, it's a damn good thing they only come around every once in a while.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

new year's meme

This list was inspired by DH and is dedicated to E! who has been waiting very patiently for some sort of simulated entry.

1. what did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?
Went to Tokyo. Walked in a doctoral graduation. Got bitten by a dog. Made out with a fireman.

2. did you keep your 2008 resolutions, and will you make more this year?
No. And Yes.

3. did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes. Hooray for Drew! Hooray!

4. did anyone close to you die?

5. what countries did you visit?
Japan. The Bronx.

6. what would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
Places to swim.

7. what was your biggest achievement of the year?
Reconnecting with several old friends.

8. what was your biggest failure?
Not kicking that fucking dog over the fence.

9. did you suffer illness or injury?
Well, there was a dog, and he got a bit bitey.

10. what was the best thing you bought?
Graduation gift for E!

11. whose behavior merited celebration?
Jay Smooth.

12. whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
People who voted in favor of Proposition 8.

13. where did most of your money go?
Books, Shoes, Airplanes. Not necessarily in that order.

14. compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
a) Happier (The job and the shoes help).
b) About the same (maybe a little bit thinner from the walking).
c) Poorer. Definitely poorer.

15. what do you wish you'd done more of?
Swimming. Writing.

16. what do you wish you'd done less of?

17. did you fall in love in 2008?

18. what was the best new book you read?
It's a tie. "Erotic Mentoring" or "Wanderlust, A History of Walking"

19. what was your favorite film of the year?
"Tropic Thunder" = Awesome.

20. what kept you sane?
My mom. Strategically placed martinis. E!. Hobbits.

21. tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
Everybody gay once in a while.