Thursday, June 30, 2011

Do It For Detroit

So there's this fundraiser to build a neighborhood to bring Detroit's young people back to the city.  As a young person who loves the idea, there's a part of me that is so proud to see people organizing and doing something positive.
But then there is the part of me that feels like raising money isn't going to be enough.  What needs to happen is that there needs to be a complete overhaul of all business is done.  The auto industry sucked the city dry by trying to keep labor as cheap as possible, and then when they discovered cheaper labor pools, moving their factories elsewhere. 
If there's going to be real change, it's going to have to involve reworking the entire city. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Atari Teenage Riot

This afternoon I discovered a new band called Atari Teenage Riot.  It combines the anger and politics of punk with techno beats.   

After I watched this video, I was totally intrigued.

I really love this song "Revolutionary Action." I love the screaming. I love the symbolism of so many of the workers losing their faces.

There's something much more metal about this song, espeically the intro, though they seem to be doing their classic punk screaming and techno beats.

When it comes to "Dead For Me," there's something about the bass guitar that reminds me of Good Charlotte. (Good Lord, I haven't listened to that band in ages.) I really like that there's a woman in this band. One of the many critiques of punk rock was what a men's scene it is, and so even having one girl around is better than nothing. I don't know who did one of the girl's makeup, but I love the huge almost a black lightning streak going through her face.
It's like the politics of The Matrix was transferred into a soundtrack.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Toronto Women's Bookstore

Found this intense looking Women's Bookstore in Toronto.  They look really cool.  I totally wish I could go there and volunteer, but alas, I have no plans to go to Toronto anytime soon. 

Poetry Slam

Went to a poetry slam.  I went early because I was friends with some of the people I knew who were putting it on and I wanted to be helpful, but when I got there, I discovered there wasn't much for me to do.  I fooled around with the music that was playing before the slam.  Someone had made a mix CD years ago, but the intern couldn't get it to actually play on the laptop, and neither could I.  We tried to get to play, and it was playing, but we couldn't get any sound to come out. 
The poet they brought in was really nice.  He walked in with Freddy, who I hadn't seen in a few weeks.  Freddy said hi to me and then wandered off.  I actually didn't realize this was the poet, because he looked so different from his pictures.  He was shorter and his hair was neater.  He was really skinny and totally dressed like a hipster.  And he stuck out his hand and shook mine. 
He had lived in New York City and Portland, and was currently in Austin.  He talked to us about living there, and there was a part of me that was totally jealous. 
I then realized as we were getting seats together that I had no idea if Mark was coming or not and hadn't even thought of him.  Sacre bleu, I found myself thinking.  How could I?
I texted him, asking if he was coming.  A few minutes later he texted back, saying that he was coming, but was going to be two minutes late.  I laughed, but was totally surprised to discover that we have an injoke.
Mark sat with me, but he talked to one of the other inters, who he was in a playwriting class with. 
Stephanie introduced him, mentioning that slam poetry was often political and that was fine and good, but it was nice to have slam poets who saw the beauty in life. 
He's like the Mary Oliver of slam poets, I thought.  Stephanie loves Mary Oliver, for reasons that sometimes escape me.  I think she's an okay poet, but she always writes about the same thing, nature, and I've never read anything of her's that struck me as extraordinary, just fine.  Stephanie always talks about how Oliver is so interested in joy in her poetry.  Maybe I'm a miserable person but her poetry never makes me joyful and it frequently bores me. 
The performance was amazing.  The poet had all this amazing imagery.  I loved his voice, which sounded so ordinary but powerful.  I'm still not sure how he managed to do this, because usually when poets read they have their "serious poet reading serious poetry that is going to change the world" voice, and he just sounded like a storyteller from a mythical place. 
He told stories in between his poems.  He talked about how his Mom use to run a bookshop, which might be the best Mom job ever.  He would go there every day after school (again, so jealous.)  And that he loves to find new independent bookshops because of that.
He talked about how he read one of his poems once, which had a mermaid tattoo coming to life, and was interpreted to be about crack.  Which is really funny but kind of horrifying.  It sounds like the unnecessary freaking out of my own mother. 
He also talked about how much he worked and traveled and performed his poetry.  He said that if he was a musician he wouldn't have a chance in terms of making it, but that people were willing to shell out money for poetry. 
"Poetry," he said, imitating people.  "Yeah okay?" 
This gives me hope that maybe I could make it has a poet one day.  I always worry that there isn't really a market for poetry, because I swear to God that is the number one article I always read concerning poetry.  "No one reads poetry except poets, and not even them" type of headlines.  But maybe it's not all doom and gloom.  Maybe there are people out there who will listen and read. 
I realized as he began his last poem that I had heard of this guy before.  A while back, Austin showed me a video of this poem being performed, and I was totally stunned to hear it. 
I don't remember how, but occasionally Austin and I would hang out and talk poetry.  He showed me videos of slam poets.  He was always into slam poetry more than I am.  I think slam poets are amazing, but I have no talent for doing what they do.  Austin, however, did. 
Austin eventually left school, for reasons I'm still not sure of.  I was sad to hear he left, because he didn't say goodbye.  And it meant he didn't graduate. 
After the last poem, the poet took questions, and the first person asked:
"What do you dream about?"
"Seriously?" I said.  Mark laughed, but he was misinterpreting my words.  As crazy as that question was, it wasn't really that I was having trouble with: it was the voice. 
It was Austin's. 
As the poet answered (which was not terribly impressive.  I think he might have said something about fishermen), I scanned the crowd.  Austin was on the other side of the room.  It was too dark to see clearly, but I thought I could make him out.  He seemed to be wearing the same long black coat that he had always favored in the time I knew him and a knit cap, again, that he had always favored. 
No way, I thought. 
There were other questions, mostly about what the poet read and symbolism.  After he stopped answering questions, he sold and signed books and gave people hugs.  He came over to the side of the room Mark and I were sitting at and we sat there and talked.  Stephanie came over to tell us that she was taking all of us out for a late night snack. 
"Why not drinks?" I asked. 
"Not everyone can drink," she reminded me.  Oh yeah.  I forgot that she had interns to watch over, who were fairly young. 
Mark and I sat there waiting, and eventually I saw Austin.  One of us hailed the other, I don't remember. 
Austin came out saying right away that he was getting along again with a particular professor I knew.  I was sort of surprised because that was so not the first thing I was concerned about.  I mean, not that I don't want Austin to be picking fights or anything, but what I wanted to know was what he had been doing. 

Gay Bar History

I spent part of today reading up on the history of gay bars.  The worst thing about reading this kind of stuff is how much it makes me want to actually go to some of these places.
I really want to check out The Atlantic House, even though I can't imagine a reason why I would ever be in Massachusetts.  It sounds like a really fascinating history: it's existed since the 18th century and it was a regular haunt of artists like Tennessee Williams, Eugene O'Neill and Andy Warhol.  
(As a sidenote: will I know that I have made it as a writer when people are aware of where my regular haunt is?  And is it a problem I don't currently have one?)
One of the worst things about reading this article is I found myself thinking about how much I would love an excuse to go to these places.  
And as a last note: How disappointing is it to hear The Double Header isn't much of a gay bar anymore? 

Hipster Wedding

I'm not really interested in weddings, but I stumbled across these photos from what looks like one of the most hipster weddings ever, and I kind of fell in love with certain things. 
I really love the bridesmaid dresses, even though they didn't seem to flatter all of the women in the party.  I want each of these dresses, honestly, just for myself to wear wherever. 
And I'm totally a sap for images of people loving each other.  I'm trying really hard to resist, but to no avail. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

General Culture

Read this really interesting article on why general culture isn't important
For myself, I'm not sure if I have general culture in the first place, though there are a lot of things I'm interested in that would fall under general culture.  (Well, I guess.  The writer never defines what "general culture" is, and I've never heard the term before.)  The writer talks about how someone talking to him about German poetry makes him want to scream.  But I guess that leads me to the question of "What does he talk about?"  There's never much of an answer, though he implies relationships are what most people want to talk about.
Reading this article, I found myself imagining going on a date with someone like this, and I was struck by how boring talking to someone like that is.  If I wanted to talk to someone about relationships, I'd probably do so with my friends, where they already know me; I don't want to talk relationships with strangers and certainly not on a date. 
I agree that learning practice skills are great and that some people are maybe emphasizing the wrong thing when they focus on learning things for the sake of other people instead of learning about something because they care, but the entire article strikes me the wrong frame for the problem.  I don't know anyone who knows things just to know things and I would much rather talk to someone about what they like because then I'll actual know something about them.  If someone isn't interesting, then I'd rather figure that early on, and then move on.
Of course, the entire point of that guy's website is how to manipulate people, but then I'm not interested in wasting my time on an endeavor like that either.  

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Out with Jack

Went out with Jack for a drink.  I think maybe we were just nostalgic, because we talked about some of old friends and the memories we had. 
Jack is one of those people who views high school as an okay experience.  Since Jack and I went to high school together, this is a view that kind of boggles my brain.  He was such a nice guy, but occasionally people were awful to him, and he witnessed the same injustices and problems that I did.  I guess I am less easily impressed. 
As much as like Jack, sometimes he does this thing which indicates he's either not listening or he doesn't want to listen.  He always does this when I state how happy I am, which these days is anywhere from moderate to almost perfect.  I'm not sure what this is about, exactly.  Maybe he thinks I am lying about my happiness?
...I have to admit that I haven't been as happy recently as I once was, but happiness is a lot about attitude and not necessarily what you do or do not have.  If you make it a point to try to be happy, it makes a big difference to how you address the unhappy circumstances in your life. 
And this attitude is a change for me, at least in comparison with my high school self.
This is the one thing that I think is preventing me from being closer to Jack.  I want to get closer to him, but I suspect he doubts my honesty.  It hurts a little, to recognize that.  And it hurts to realize that he's probably keeping me at arm's length. 

Baby Shower

I went to a baby shower with Madison, Lisa, Tori and Ashley.  Well, actually, at the beginning, it was just Madison, Lisa, Tori and I.  Ashley is notoriously late for things, and although no one was particularly surprised, no one was terribly happy about it either. 
Since the party was around lunch time, they served us salad.  There were different types of salad, and at one point Madison and I decided to switch like an old married couple.  A woman we didn't know who was sitting at our table thought this was really funny, even though Madison and I have been friends for ages. 
Madison talked to us about going on a road trip with her boyfriend soon and Lisa talked about her new job.  Tori, who was helping out with the party, was mostly too busy doing stuff to really sit and talk to us. 
Ashley finally showed up after most of the food had disappeared.  She was an hour and forty minutes late.  Tori had even lied to her and told her the party was starting a half hour before it really was, and which means she thought she would be two hours late.  Tori went and got her a salad. 
I understand that everyone has off days.  And I get that sometimes life gets in the way, and sometimes traffic's bad.  But Ashley is always late.  I don't remember anything that she hasn't been late for.  And I think she's gotten to the point where it's just insensitive. 
When she was late to this party, she told us that there was someone at the house visiting her sister and she decided to "visit with them."  I can't believe Ashley was dumb enough to say this, because it sent the very clear message that the party and her friends weren't as important.  She would have been better off not offering an explanation at all. 
Also, she was dressed exactly as I was: green shirt and black slacks.  The only difference was that I had on scarf too. 
When it came time to open gifts, Tori helped move them to the new Mom and Dad.  Their nieces, who were both pretty young, were helping her with the small gifts.  They danced around and got in the way of the aunt who was taking pictures.  At one point, the younger niece had a ribbon stick to her shoe.  I got her to come over to my table. 
"Can I have your foot?" I asked.  She lifted her leg up and I tore the ribbon off. 
Tori watched all of this and commented "I can't believe you think you're bad with children." 
I don't think I'm always bad, but I do hate a lot of children.  I know that sounds really terrible, but I have low tolerance for adults who are mean or stupid; why should I like children who are the same way?  I realize some children grow out of these things, but less than you would think. 
I think I would with raising a child in certain circumstances.  I think I'd be okay adopting a quiet child who could keep themselves entertained.  I'd prefer a girl because I'd be mortified if I raised a son who treated women badly.  And if I was raising my child with a partner, especially a male partner, I would want to emulate genderless behavior.  So, I would want to be more like a father, in charge of things like punishment, and not always the nurturing parts given to moms and women. 
Obviously, this is all very specific.  And probably would never really work out in real life.  So thus, I don't really want children. 
At one point, the new Mom pulled out a baby outfit that was stripped with two types of green, and I commented that the baby would look like Steve from Blue's Clues, which made Madison laugh. 
After the party was over, we stayed around to help out.  I threw away trash and then took the tablecloths outside to beat out the little bits of things. 
There was a ton of left over ribbon, which I took.  I don't know why, but lately I've been thinking I want to tie my hair back with ribbon. 
Tori got these great frames decorated with Noah's Ark and all the animals on them, and put a picture in it for everyone.  This was a totally great idea.
After the party, Tori invited us back to her apartment for drinks.  The previous occupants had apparently left behind alcohol, and she wanted us to try it.  It was wine, which is not something I really drink, but I was fine with that.  Free alcohol is free.  
We sat around the kitchen table and drank.  Madison played some music and I sang along with her at parts of songs I knew.  

Latinos and Latinas in Hollywood

Reviewing an article on actors who "you didn't know were Latino" today, and finding myself sort of worried about the things said in the article. 
First, I'm always bothered when actors "pass" as white, because it sends the message that their actual race or races is unacceptable.  Raquel Welch, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, members of Jersey Shore and especially Alexis Bledel have all made careers out of playing white or coded as white characters.  Bledel played one of the white main characters in a alarmingly white town of Gilmore Girls and the Greek American character in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.  Fergie may or may not be passing, depending on who you ask.  I suspect most of my friends think she's white, but she's made a point of working with other people of color. 
Benjamin Bratt is quoted in the article as being disappointed at the lack of roles that Latino men have, which is part of what makes passing so bothersome.  Passing as white often just marginalizes people of color more than they already were, and in a world were they are always being marginalized, this is problematic. 
The other thing about this article is that it reveals the complicated nature of identity.  Harry Shum, Jr., despite being coded as Asian, was both from Chinese parents in Mexico. 
As a last note, I don't feel comfortable about the statements made some of the actors.  At one point, they mention a particular singer got his talent from being Honduran.  This kind of stuff is based on stereotypes, and even a positive stereotype can have a negative effect on people. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Read this article on busks, which were one of the many devices used, mostly by women, to make their clothing stiff. 
I realize this is a totally historically accurate thing, but when I read stuff like this it makes me want to throw up.  I complain all the time about my jeans being tight; when I see women wore things like this I think "there's no way I could handle that." 
There's mention in this article that one busk has a love message on it.  It might make an interesting detail of a romance story.

Minute to Win It with Grandma

Went to visit my Grandma.  She was excited to see my Mom and me.  And she was reading a sports magazine when we found her.  Among other things, it had an article about next year's Final Four.  They postulated that next year it would be the traditionally good at basketball schools, including MSU, which was on the cover.  (They were also big fans of North Carolina.)  I read bits and pieces of the article after she abandoned it, including anything on MSU and Butler.  Paul, Jimmy, Nate and Danny talk sports a lot, and I always feel lame for not knowing as much as they do.  (Though I honestly don't know if anyone knows as much as Danny does.)  So I try to keep up with the basics. 
Grandma wanted to watch this show called Minute to Win It, which I've never seen before.  I have to say, it's not really my kind of show.  I tend not to watch game shows, and when I do, the ones I like are trivia games, which is why Paul and I once had a standing Jeopardy watching date on Mondays.  (I still watch it occasionally, and I like to play along, because blurting out stuff and using my brain are both my cups of tea.) 
Anyway, the show is mostly silly and strange things, involving household items, like stacking cups in a certain way or throwing ping pong balls.  I wasn't really impressed, but I feel like the stuff on the show would make fun games to play with friends at a party.  Possibly they'd be even more fun with alcohol. 
The show had a young male teacher and an older Mom, and they were pretty cute together.  Then the next contestants were an older Dad (who looked weirdly German) and a cheerleader for some Atlanta team.  The cheerleader reminded me vaguely of Amanda.  The guy was kind of creepy.  A lot of the energy felt false and contrived and there was something about most of the contestants that mostly made me think they just wanted to get on tv. 

Poe Movie

I love this classic picture of Poe because he looks so self-aware and mocking about how crazy he is.
 Apparently there's going to be a movie of one of my favorite poets, Poe!  I'm pretty excited for it. 
I'm still a little iffy on the casting of John Cusack.  He's such a light personality and I usually associate him with comedies, not the sort of horror and tragedies that Poe wrote.  (I know that Poe didn't write tragedies in the classical sense, but many of this stories ended on a note of despair, with families destroyed or people locked up and starving to death or in an obsessive quest for gold on an island.  Even poems like "The Raven" are about being haunted by a dead love one.  Hard to see that as cheerful.) 
When I think about who they should of cast, my first instinct was to go with Johnny Depp, but as I think about it, I feel like Stuart Townsend or Robert Downey Jr. would be great choices too.  Of course, I'd really like to see Brandon Lee do it, but, unfortunately, we'll never see him do anything anymore.  (R.I.P. Brandon!) 
But guess I'm going to have to eat crow (...oh, Brandon Lee!) on this one because I just saw some pictures of John Cusack as Poe and I have to admit, I'm impressed.  He doesn't really look like Poe, but he does look like a BAMF, a gothic, wizardry BAMF.  And it's making me intrigued as to what this movie is going to be like. 
I really love that Hollywood appears to be on a slight Victorian kick, with movies on Sherlock and Queen Victoria. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Party at Erin's

When I first got there, I was surprised by how few people were there yet, as I came fashionably late.  I wasn't intending to be fashionably late so much as I got talking to Paul, Jimmy, Nate and Sam and then realized I was late.  
Jamie was there, and I decided to sit with her, which immediately Erin made an issue of.  Erin thinks something strange is going to with Jamie and I, which is ridiculous.  I mean, I like her, obviously; we're friends.  But Erin just gets really weird about the two of us talking to each other. 
Last year, the three of us, (Erin, Jamie and I) were in a class, and Jamie was always quiet.  She almost never talked.  Most of the other (predominately girls) were untalkative too, but because I knew Jamie, I spoke to her before class.  Erin did mention once that I was the only person who ever talked to her, which was sort of the point.  Jamie is nice, but shy.  Just because someone is shy doesn't mean they should be ignored.  I make it a special point to try to engage shy people, especially shy girls, because I know how hard it is in a new social setting with people you don't know.  It's easy to let your be unheard. 
I think one of the other problems was that I walked in and there happened not to be any chairs available, which wasn't necessarily a big deal, but a young man (thankfully, sitting next to Jamie) got out of his chair immediately and offered it to me.  I don't need men to always do the chivalric thing, but I try to be appreciative when they do.  I think the fact that I was dressed in a white dress with black curly designs all over it annoyed Erin too, because this wasn't necessarily the sort of party to come dressed up to.  Whatever.  I need more excuses to be dressed up for, and I'm happy to take whatever I can get. 
One of my many frustrations with this party was that I couldn't get a straight answer out of anyone about it.  I was invited, but no one could tell me when it was going to be.  Or where. 
So I was a little annoyed to discover that this party was BYOB, because seriously, no one said anything.  I had to nag Erin just to get her to tell me what was going on.  (And then happened to run into someone who actually did tell me what was up.) 
This is like in March when I went to a party with her and Carrie.  Before I got there, Carrie gave me three different addresses to the place, all of which turned out to be other places.  (I walked in on another concert, and when I asked about the event, the people there thought I was mad.)
Liz, who, for some reason was there, implied that I was stupid not to know better.  I actually could have brought something for myself, as I passed multiple stores in my walk over.
Liz isn't part of this group of friends, though obviously she's friends with Erin.  She's been hanging around a lot lately.  Erin told me in March that Liz had broken up with this guy that she's been with for years.  I felt bad for her because of the circumstances Erin described, which made it sound like this guy freaked out on her.
All that said, sometimes Liz can be really snarky, and I'm not sure how to react.  I always try to be nice, though it's a struggle for me sometimes.
Jamie very sweetly stepped in and offered to me some white wine, which sounded good to me.  We trooped downstairs to borrow glasses.  (I get the distinct impression Erin didn't plan much for this party, as the only thing she mentioned doing was cleaning.  To be fair, the cleaning probably took a long time.)
The basement is where the kitchen is and the huge table everyone eats at.  I'd been down here a couple of times before.  As Jamie and I trooped down there, we found one group of people trying to study.  (Someone later mentioned that Erin had probably pissed her housemates off by having this party at this time of year.)  When we turned into the dining area, there were Marguerite and Virginia.  I said hi to both of them, kind of surprised to see Virginia but not so much to see Marguerite as she lives there.  They both looked like they were working on homework, Virginia with her computer out.  Marguerite was working on an art project.  Part of her project was to illustrate some things, including a poem I had offered to let her use.  I asked her if that part was done, and she said not yet.
"I love that poem!" she gushed.  "You said some very true things and I love that you used a snake!"  (The snake was part of an image in the poem.
I was totally touched that she liked it so much.
Jamie and I got our glasses and headed upstairs.  We cheered and drank.
I got to talk to Anne, who I haven't seen in ages.  Anne was wearing this really tight, really short shorts.  The way her body was shaped and the way the chair was designed made it look at various times like she wasn't wearing anything on the bottom half of her body.  I knew what that felt like because I feel like I have awkward fashion moments all the time. 
Part of the time, I sat outside with Bobby and talked.  Bobby told me about the novel he wrote while he was in high school, which was apparently about unrequited love.  He implied heavily that it was written from personal experience.  Bobby is not physically attractive, but he's so great to talk to that I find it hard to believe some girl would be dumb enough to turn him down. 
While we were sitting outside, some friends coming late to the party came up and said hello.  Mostly they just drank and fooled around, and thinking Cory was done with whatever bad poetry reading he was doing, we headed back inside. 

Now the Story of a Wealthy Family

Speaking of Arrested Development, I found this nice little article talking about the show and how brilliant it was
I just watched a first season episode last night, and it totally cheered me up.  Arrested Development is my go to cheer me up show.  Usually when I'm feeling down or just need something that won't depress me, this is the show I watch (though I must admit I'm starting to watch episodes of Parks and Rec for the same sort of thing.) 

Awards Night

So, Erin was lucky enough to win an award, so I (with some of her other friends) went to support her.
There were all sorts of awards.  Bobby, for example, won an award for an essay he wrote, though he wasn't there to receive any praise.  Another young woman I occasionally talk to won an award for an essay she wrote on Pacific Islander fiction, which I know nothing about.  I'm particularly proud of Bobby, because he once told me that I had a positive influence on him.  When I first met him, I didn't think anything like I'm going to positively influence this boy, but I guess that's the way life worked out. 
For prizes, in addition to money, they gave away seed packets, which I really liked.  It's almost it's own metaphor: at school, teachers and books plant ideas in you; now you have seeds to literally plant.   
I had classes in this particular building, and at one point, I heard the nearby bell tower chiming, and it reminded me of one class I had.  It was in the morning, and I remember how much I enjoyed the quiet walk there, and how I was usually the first one there.  It was so warm in this room, I would usually go over to the window and open it up, and somehow, this was unintentionally timed to correspond with just about the time that same bell tower would chime. 
Erin got an award for creative writing, and she read a short piece about herself.  It was about how she doesn't like to be touched.  (I need to write on this same topic, now that I'm thinking about it.)  She read really fast, and honestly, I don't think anyone in the audience really got all of it. 
Erin tends to write longer pieces, which aren't really conducive to the format.  (Other winners, including Lia, were reading poetry or performing small pieces from a longer play.)  Erin needs to pick shorter pieces and she seriously needs to slow down.
I did get to see the professor in charge of screenwriting.  Erin had complained, in passing, that he wasn't much of a creative writing teacher but more of a public relations/advertising kind of guy.  The moment I saw him, I whispered to Erin "Seriously?" which made her choke and laugh. 
After the ceremony, Erin revealed that her parents and uncle were in town.  And she hadn't invited them to the awards night.  This surprised me a little and then it made me sad.  I would give anything to have my parents come to something like this, but they wouldn't.  Not that I'm ever going to win an award, but I would never not tell my parents about something like this, especially given that they were here anyway. 
They were at the coffee shop across the street, so a group of us walked over there.  I had never met Erin's parents before, but some of the other friends in the group, like Liz and Jon, had. 
Erin has told me a lot of stories about her parents over the years, so I thought I would know them better than some of my other friend's parents.  And there wasn't anything about them that struck me as a lie on Erin's part, but I had always imagined them differently. 
For example, I had always imagined her Dad to be tall, almost entirely bald, and had little tuffs of white hair, which he wouldn't comb and would stick out all over the place.  I imagined he'd wear glasses.  And be overweight.  Basically, I imagined George Bluth, the Grandpa, from Arrested Development
Instead, he was shorter.  And his hair was sandy, and possibly he had a comb-over, because it looked strangely similar to Donald Trump.  His face was wider instead of longer.  He didn't wear glasses.  And there was something Hobbit like about him. 
The other thing about him was that I imagined he would speak like Erin spoke, which is to say, like me.  But he had a distinct accent, something I've heard people refer to as a Yooper accent.  Erin hates that term, and I can understand why.  I would describe his accent as sounding something similar to a Finnish American. 
I imagined her Mom would look almost exactly like her, only older, but she was shorter and very slim and her face was longer than I had imagined.  She actually looked similar in appearance to Erin's brother. 
And her Uncle looked a lot like her Dad, except he had long hair.  Come to think of it, he looked a lot like I imagined Erin's brother would look like, before I had met him.   
This is a good example of why I want to meet people's families.  I want to know everything I possibly can about my friends, and their families are an important part of their lives.  And because my imagination is clearly off. 
Erin introduced us, and her Dad clearly remembered Jon and Liz.  We spoke briefly.  There were some awkward pauses, which I guess I should of expected too, but there was something about having the quirkiness of Erin's family confirmed that made this funny to me.  Erin was right, they were different, but in ways that I hadn't considered.  They were looking for somewhere to eat, and someone suggested one of the local bar and restaurants, so we trooped over there.
It wasn't really that late yet, but the bar at this place was totally full.  We had a big group so we got a long table for ourselves.  I sat near Carrie, Erin's brother, and Erin's Mom.  I ordered a burger and some drinks. 
I tried to make conversation.  Carrie and I talked about future plans.  I tried to talk to Erin's brother about what he was studying and where he lived, since these were some of the few things I knew about him.  He was sort of hard to talk to, not because he was mean, but because he didn't offer much.  I was hoping maybe he would talk about his program, since I had friends who were part of the same thing.  I asked him if he liked where he lived, but he didn't have much to say on the subject. 
I racked my brain for other things to talk about, but I really couldn't come up with much.  I remembered Erin complaining about the Bart Stupak controversy last year, and remembering something she had mentioned about him, I asked her Mom about it.  This turned out to be a mistake because Erin's Mom did not have the same political views as Erin, which I thought she did, because of the way Erin talked about her family's politics. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lunch Outside

I decided to take lunch outside because it was a nice day.  I sat on a park bench, swinging my legs like a little kid, and just marveling at how beautiful it was. 
And then Jimmy happened to come up behind me.  He was dressed in a fancy suit because he had to give a presentation for a class.  He had mentioned how much time this presentation and the project was taking and now it was finally over for him.  He seemed relieved, and also tired, since he was up at six. 
And then Jane walked by and she excitedly told me about how she was at this Indian restaurant and how one of the waiters had admired her yellow pants, which lead to a conversation, which lead to a job. 
I could almost hear my Mom in the background, yelling "Ask her if she could get you a job!"  I might ask her eventually, but maybe I should wait until she has some actual pull at this place.  And you know, to make sure she likes it.  Might be a miserable job for all I know. 

Writing Workshop

Mark invited me to a writing workshop he was holding. I brought a poem because that was what I had written the day before, and I mentioned this to the other writers because I wasn’t totally sure about the poem in question (which is a good reason to ask people what needs to be changed.)
After I read my poem, Kean said “You wrote that yesterday?”
Er, yes. Actually, I probably wrote it in about a half hour, maybe forty minutes if you could fooling around with the line breaks. I usually write poems without regard for line breaks, and then experiment with them later.
Everyone was mostly supportive of the poem. Kean mentioned that it sort of spun off on a tangent fairly early on, and the more I look at it, the more right I realize he is. So, I’m cutting that bit.
Mark did give me a wonderful compliment though: he told me I have amazing catalogs in my poems. That made me feel wonderful. I must admit, I’m sort of obsessed with catalogs, so I was happy to hear that.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hanging with Jon

Jon and I hung out.  We went to this courtyard where we use to brainstorm ideas and talked about things going on in our lives. 
Jon has recently gotten engaged, which was the big news.  He told me about how he and his fiancee are planning their wedding. 
He also showed me some art he's been working on.  Apparently something he and his fiancee do.  It actually looked like stuff similar to the stuff my Mom likes to make. 
While we were sitting there, Nate and Sam walked by.  Nate complained that I hadn't been by to spend time with him enough.  It was a surprising thing to say, because I don't usually feel needed by anyone, and sometimes I get the distinct feeling people want me to go away. 
Which is not to say I mind.  Years ago, I complained about boys being too needy, but I don't feel that way about Nate.  It might be because he's not a needy person, or it could be that I like the Nate's neediness.  It makes me feel needed but not like I'm under emotional siege.  (Which was the problem, back then.  That and he was never very giving, in all senses of the word.) 
Jon and I continued our talk, and I gave him a gift.  Jon's been complaining about having writer's block, so I collected some cool quotes from writers and gave them to him.  He thanked me. 
I also saw one of my favorite conversational friends, but he was on the phone and just waved at me. 
Jon and I went into one of the buildings nearby and dropped in on an art gallery party.  Just because.  They had these really bizarre mini rolls.  They were like spring rolls, but smaller, and covered in this clear, kind of squishy film.  It sort of made me imagine the larvae of some science fiction alien monster, which meant that I wasn't really into them.  I felt like they should have been trying to move out of my hand as I ate them. 
Afterward, the party ended and we dropped in on a poetry reading.  I was mostly going because I had some friends who were going to be there and two who were reading, so I wanted to go to see what would happen. 
Bobby and his girlfriend were there.  I've actually never met his girlfriend before.  Unfortunately, I didn't really get a chance to talk to her.  But Bobby seemed good. 
Bobby also formerly introduced me to his best friend, Cory.  I actually met Cory last year, though I don't think he remembered me. 
A couple of different teachers introduced the reading.  Lia read first.  She read poems mostly in the style of Mary Oliver, who, if I'm remembering correctly, she likes.  She had one poem about shopping the grocery store late at night.  There was something about it that was very calm, very dreamy.  If I was writing that poem, it would be more scary or, at the least, fraught with a sense of how strange being under florescent lights late at night in a desolate place. 
Then Cory read.  Cory was more formal in delivery.  He felt more like listening to a professor.  He talked about his girlfriend, and how they didn't get along right away.  The poem he read that sticks out the most in my mind was about a pistachio.  No kidding.  It made me brainstorm another poem for myself about a similar subject. 
This is one of the many things I like about poetry readings: they always manage to make me want to write more. 
There were more people reading, but Jon and I had to leave because we had to go to Virginia's concert. 
(Like I've said I've been super busy.  Three events in one night.)
Virginia plays harp.  The night before, I had proofread her list of songs.  I'm embarrassed to say that, since she was playing mostly classical songs, I didn't recognize much that was on there. 
The concert had a lot of friends that I hadn't seen in a while: Dean, Jane, Marguerite, Erin, and Amanda were all there.  Jon sat with his fiancee.  I think I briefly shook her hand.  Marguerite was reading a sample of poems I sent her and complained that I didn't need to send sixteen pages.
"Yeah, but there was only five poems," I said in reply, which made people laugh. 
Virginia's parents and old teachers were there, which was nice to see.  Virginia's Dad was older than I imagined and Virginia's Mom looked more like a typical Mom than I imagined.  I sort of imagined that Virginia's Mom would look more like a hippie than she did.  Her teacher there seemed like a sweet old lady. 
Despite knowing Virginia for years now, I had never seen her play.  It was really nice.  I've always had a soft spot for harps.  When I was little, my favorite instrument was a harp.  I had a computer encyclopedia program and I would play their samples of harp music all the time.  (I also played the violin, piano and guitar samples a lot, which I guess is pretty telling too, in terms of my musical tastes now.  I love violin, especially when it's used in with a heavy beat, since that's uncommon.) 
Harp is such an impressive instrument, partly because of its size but also because of the detailed finger work one has to use.  Virginia also had a piano player accompany her and then later on, another harp player.  Erin and Marguerite really wanted pictures of this. 
During the intermission, I turned to everyone and said "I don't mean to brag guys, but I'm going home tonight with the musician."  This got laughs from people.  Obviously, since I was living with Virginia, I was literally going home with her, but the implication I was making about sleeping with her was false.  Virginia luckily thought this was funny, and she laughed and put her arm around me. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Expat Aid Workers

I came across this blog today called Stuff Expat Aid Workers Like.  The title is probably a joke on Stuff White People Like and talks about various humanitarian programs.
I've gotten skeptical about charities in the last six months or so.  I've been reading things about them that bothers me and have made some observations about others that I find appalling.  I was saddened, but not surprised, to read this tongue in cheek piece about how aid workers have to live away from the people who probably need the most help.       
I find this entire thing so depressing.  It makes me feel like even if I am compelled to do that right thing, by giving my time or money to an organization, it's being wasted. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dinner with Gary

I sort of left you there with my last story.  Again, every time I try to sit down and write, I get interrupted by life. 
Dinner with Gary was nice.  We went to this sushi place.  I've only been there a few times, but it was the first place that I was introduced to sushi about four years ago (with Stephanie and Lia.)  Last summer, when Nate and Dean and I went there. 
I had my usual and Gary had something adventurous.  We mostly ate and talked like old times. 
Gary's been doing well.  He has been having lots of career related successes lately, and I'm really proud.  He was invited to a political rally to speak and he's always getting invitations for fancy dinners and conventions.  I'm so proud of him.  I always knew he was smart and passionate, but I didn't guess he would be this ambitious.  Good for him. 
He also told me about one of his favorite hobbies, genealogy.  He's talked about researching his own family before, and it has lead him to learn lots of interesting facts about his family and even to finding lost family.  More recently, he's been working on a website version of a basic genealogy guide, written for people who are just getting started. 
"I've always wanted to do something like that," I said.  "But I don't really have the time and I wouldn't know what I was doing.  It sounds like a good project for you." 
He told me that he did research for other families, and I told him my family would probably do that.  "What do you charge?" I asked. 
"Oh, no, I wouldn't charge," he said.  "I would do it for free." 
So maybe one day I'll ask Gary formally.  One side of my family has been thoroughly researched, but the other side is fairly dark.  And I'm sort of curious as to what Gary would find. 
Gary was even sweet enough to pay for part of my dinner. 
The only bad thing, at the end of the evening, was that my computer fell off a chair.  I was worried it was going to be damaged, but so far there's been no problem. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Muppet Doppelganger

Yeah, I'm bringing sexy back. 
A couple of years ago, Tori, Ashley and Lisa got into it over the show The Muppet Babies, which is one of those shows I remember watching as a kid but could not really tell you much about, other than they were baby versions of Muppet characters. 
After being asked what Muppet I resemble most, I have to say it: Animal. 
It's only a shocker to some of the people who know me.  If you've ever seen me get emotional (in good and bad ways), you know I can express a lot.  Also, as a kid, I had unceasing energy.  I might have been a regular old perpetual energy generator.  I am all bitter that I lack the kind of energy I had as a kid. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tea with Mark

Went out for tea with Mark.  He had finished a class in the early afternoon, and I figured that he would have another one in the late afternoon or early evening, but he didn't, so we talked about about four and a half hours.  There are so few people in my life I can talk to for such long periods of time, and Mark is definitely one of them. 
As usual, Mark and I spent a ton of time talking about poetry.  He and some other mutual friends are all right now into Ann Carson, and Mark showed me one of her books.  I had heard of her before, but I had never actually seen any of her poetry.  And I could see why he was showing it to me.  There was something very prosy about it, but also something inherently intellectual and academic.  They were tight little pieces.  He had borrowed the book from a friend, and we both admired her handwriting, which decorated the margins. 
We also talked about book design.  There's this one cover for a poetry book that we both thing is miserably bad.  I told him my idea for an alternative cover, one that did a better job of displaying the title poem and looked prettier. 
"Well, do you ever think about what you'd want your poetry books to look like?" he asked. 
Oh, of course.  I fantasize about it all the time.  I don't think I'm silly enough to believe I'll ever publish a book of poetry, but I think about it. 
"I usually think of the art for the book as being highly related to the content.  So, I'm working on some science-related poems, and I'd like the book to be decorated with old school science drawings, the kind you see in old textbooks." 
Thinking of it, I'd really like to see some of Mark's poetry.  It's been a while since I looked at anything of his, though, the more I think about what I saw, the more impressed I am by it. 
We also reminisced about classes we took.  I confessed that Emily was sort of turned off by the way he use to talk, which maybe I shouldn't have told him.  I followed it up with "But I defended you because you had just changed your major and we're probably still finding your feet," which was how I felt at the time.  Plus, I honestly felt like Emily was being a tad persnickety.  I love Emily, but this was one of the few times I disagreed with her.  Mark wasn't that hard to understand.  
I might have also admitted my momentary annoyance with Mark.  When we first met, I didn't really have any thoughts on him either way, because I didn't know him.  Then he started always sitting with me in class, and because I had lots of friends in this class I found myself wishing he didn't.  But after a week or two I realized I really liked him and that he was my friend.
This this weird tendency around here for things to be super intense super quickly.  Natalie once described this happening to her and Mike.  They met and BAM!  They were best friends.  This was what happened to Mark.  We spent very little time between acquaintance and mutual adoration. 
It was mostly quiet in the tea house, but this punk guy sat down near us for a while, while I probably talked poor Mark's ear off.  
Mark told me a little about his upcoming trip to Germany.  He told me that he had wanted to go to London, but because of the price of hotels, he decided not to.  Instead, he's going to live in a tiny town near the French border.  What exactly he's doing academically, I'm not sure.  He apparently speaks very good German, so I'm hoping that in addition to the usual fun travel stuff (getting to know a new place, meeting new people, speaking the local language) maybe he'll be studying German literature.  There's a lot of important work that was done in both German romanticism and expressionism. 
While we were sitting there, Justin's roommate, came in and said hi.  He recognized me because I had met him recently.
"Are you two dating?" he asked. 
It seems like Mark and I have been getting that one a lot lately.  Mark said no. 
"We're more like work partners," I said, thinking about how frequently we worked on various projects together.  An idea occurred to me.  "We're more like partners in crime," I said.  Justin's roommate sort of chuckled at us for saying that. 
Eventually, I had to cut our chat to an end because I was meeting Gary for sushi down the street.  When Mark had originally asked me for tea, I thought that I would have plenty of time in between tea and sushi.  I was going to go lock myself in a study room and try to write.  But clearly, Mark and I were having so much fun, I almost lost track of time. 
Gary wasn't going to let me though.  About ten minutes before my sushi date, he texted me that he was going to be two minutes late.  That's right: two minutes.  I found this weirdly funny, because I can't think of anyone who texts to say two minutes.  I don't even know if it's necessary to text if it's five, because it seems like everyone I know runs on a minimum five minute late schedule of some kind or another. 
Mark thought this was funny too. 
Three minutes later, Gary texted again to tell me he was going to be on time, and Mark and I both found this funny. 
"He's like that.  One day you'll have to meet him," I said.  I had already told him tons about Jimmy. 


I had to move my stuff to Virginia's, who was kind enough to take me in after my previous plans fell through.  Because I didn't have a car, I had to carry everything myself.  It took me seven trips.  It was about a fifteen minute trip to walk there, and then fifteen minutes back.  And I had to pack inbetween.  So, obviously, it took me a long time.  
The good news was that I had a couple of suitcases on wheels, so I mostly wheeled stuff back and forth. 
There were sort of the normal annoyances with moving.  Getting the maximum space in your suitcases, for example.  But then, of course, you have to be careful not to pack too much because then you're moving it, and it'll get too heavy.
Virginia gave me a key to her place, and the second time I showed up (after she had left to go practice), I realized it was the wrong key.  I had to call her, and she came right over, apologizing a million times to me.  But really, I felt bad for having to call her.  She was working, and I don't like to interrupt people, even for something important like this. 
And after a while I got tired, and cranky.  My feet hurt.  I was sweaty and gross. 
I found myself getting angry about why my original plans fell through.  Mostly, it was a principal of the issue, and I vowed, as I heaved stuff to and fro, that I would have a short chat with this person about everything.  I tried to keep my anger from bubbling over, and I was certain if I just spoke to this person reasonable and did stuff like say "I feel..." and then filled in the blanks, they would apologize.  And if I could have an apology, I'd be fine. 
At the end of the day I was exhausted.  I skipped dinner because I was too tired.  I took a shower at Virginia's, who had showers I wasn't used to.  The ground was weirdly sloop like and I got my shower bag, filled with my shampoo and whatnot, wet, because there was nowhere good to put it.  But once I got clean I felt better. 
Virginia let me sleep in Jane's bed, who is apparently never home anyway because she's always hanging with her boyfriend.  Jane's bed might be the best bed I have ever slept in.  It has gigantic covers and the mattress is weirdly soft, and everything is warm fleece.  I was so tired that I didn't struggle to sleep at all.  And it felt so good to lay down. 
Later on, Paul asked me why I didn't just ask for help, and I told him that I felt bad about making everyone else responsible for my stuff.  I think the easier way would have been now to say I didn't want to be a bother. 


Reading up on Hemingway today.  I always associate him with a certain type of misogyny: one that's big on display but really has nothing substantial to support itself. 
But I learned some interesting facts from this article, including:
-George Orwell actually fought in Spain, until Hemingway. 
-Hemingway's dispatches were mostly fictional. 
-He wrote a play years later where he clearly puts himself in the place of a hunky spy pretending to be a war correspondent. 
As to the mystery of why Hemingway killed himself: he collapsed under his own ego.  I see this so often with men who paint themselves as larger than life, but there's nothing about them that his large.  All there is just facade, there's nothing even so wonderful behind it.
I would also note it's pretty telling that Hemingway's father killed himself.  Suicides have an unfortunate habit of running in families (Kurt Cobain, the infamous musician, was the fifth suicide in his family.) 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Doctor Who Comics

My love of Doctor Who has been well-documented the past two months.  It's gotten to the point where I have been asking "What am I going to do without new episodes?"
Apparently the answer is to read comics featuring Doctor Who combined with various other aspects of pop culture

Sexual Identity and the Online World

Reading this article today on how two straight men have apparently been reverse outed after it turns out that they were not the lesbians they claimed to be online.  I find so much of this article to be offensive.
First of all, I hate the comments from various people that no one would listen to a white man.  It's such a whiny thing to say.  White men always have space in the world to talk to the point where they dominate the conversation.  Marginalized people wanting a space to talk to one another and about the issues important to them is a perfectly legitimate desire. 
The article also ignores whether or not anyone would need to hear the views of these two men.  Is there some reason I should want to hear MacMaster observations of Syria?  Has he been to Syria?  Is he an expert on the Middle East?  (It mentions he was in graduate school, which could indicate he has some intellectual background to talk about things, but otherwise, who knows.) 
What really frustrates me about this whole thing is that when actual lesbians, especially those from a nonWestern country do want to talk about these issues on the Internet, people will dismiss them as potentially frauds. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

The History of the Purse

Here's a lovely brief history of the purse
I must admit that I hate purses sometimes.  I don't like always being expected to carry one.  I don't like how bulky they can get.  I generally hate most of the designs out there.
So, that said, if someone wants to buy me ridiculously huge skirts out there so I can hide stuff under there...let me know. 

Trade Off

Once, I was hanging out at Katie's room, and we heard a noise outside.  We poked out heads out of her place, and down the hall (which was only a few doors down,) we saw Rita and a few others looking out the door.  We went over, and there was a guy, pounding on the door, howling in this really low voice.  He was extremely belligerent and almost certainly drunk.  It made me think of werewolves.  He wanted someone to let him in, and Rita told him no.  At which point, he beat in part of the door, making a big enough hole for him to just open the door himself. 
At which point, we scattered into various rooms, and then locked the doors. 
I bring up this story because I was wandering down the hall late one night, wet from a shower, and I heard a similar noise, and I found myself wondering if someone was, once again, trying to break into a building. 
Oh God, how I had wished someone was trying to break in. 
Because of the potential danger the last time, I was edging down the hallway very slowly, ready to turn and run if danger should arrive.  About halfway down the hallway I realized the sounds, which was low, was coming from inside the building.  Inside?  What the heck? 
And then, right before I came around the corner, I heard a woman's voice and it hit me.  A couple is having sex.  Loudly.  And from what it sound like, potentially very painful sex.  Seriously, the guy's voice was really loud, and made me think of a monster, and like I said, I mistook it for a drunk. 
This was the part that ended up really surprising me (yes, there was a part that surprised me even more): standing in front of the offending door was a young man I knew.  He immediately signaled me to keep quietly frantically, and I think I whispered "Do you seriously think I want to draw attention to myself at a time like this?"  Oh hell no. 
It wouldn't have mattered if I had just walked over there, because the door I needed to go in was just across the hall anyway, so I would have to hear stuff anyway, and I would have seen people anyway.  I went into the room, locking the door behind me, wondering what the heck was going on and why God felt the need to punish me. 
I laid down in the bed, but I could still hear them. 
I went to the peephole, and saw the young man standing outside go inside after the noises inside stopped.  He didn't wait long, and he basically knocked on the door as he was opening it.  That indicated this was something they were all use to. 
I went back to bed but had trouble sleeping. 
I've been finding myself really lonely lately.  And then I feel guilty for feeling lonely, because I have tons of friends (how many people have I mentioned on this blog alone?  I don't even know.)  But I think all the changes in my circumstances has me wishing for something more stable. 
When I was younger, I never spent time with people outside the places I was forced to socialize (school, but also after school activities and other things like that.)  There were lots of people I liked and I had a lot of respect for certain individuals, but I didn't really want to spend more time with time.  What I wanted to do was read books and write stories and go out for walks.  I was alone, but after a certain point, I stopped getting lonely.  And then I spent years not being lonely. 
Sometimes I wonder if becoming a social person again was worth it, because I was emotionally tough in ways that sometimes I don't feel now.  And like I said, I never got lonely.  Even after I got social again, in those first few years I only got lonely once every six months at most.  I'm not sure if this was such a smart trade off. 

Weinergate 3: The Prequel

So, apparently this controversy still won't die, because now people are at the stage where they chronicle past politician affairs.  Mostly, I've been avoiding this, because I don't need to be encouraged to look down on politicians anymore than I already do.  But then someone decided to chronicle women in power who have affairs, and since I am interested in the history of women, I had to at least read this. 
The woman who piqued my interest the most was Victoria Woodhull, a presidential candidate in 1872.  I guess my ignorance is really showing, because I didn't even know we had women running all the way back then.  (And how awesome we did: women were running before they vote.  Try to tell me now that women didn't care about politics.)  The only women I could think of who ran were Jeannette Rankin and Shirley Chisholm, both who ran during the last century.   
Also, I need to research more on this crazy case involving Aimee Semple McPherson. It sounds like a Lifetime movie set at the turn of the century, though I find myself sympathetic, because she campaigned for William Jennings Bryant, and there's I love about that guy. 
Some of the behavior does strike me as rather stupid, such as Jacqui Smith apparently claiming pornography on an expense report.  Er...that's a bad idea.  A even worse idea?  Taking the blame for what was apparently really the husband.   

The Bar Crawl, part 2

Near the end of the night, I ended up at a bar I was familiar with.  I sat with Carrie, Jonathan, Zack and Erin, who had found her way to us.  It was nice to sit and chat and steal food from Erin, who had made the mistake of ordering curly fries and saying we were welcome to have some. 
A professor I knew was in the bar at the same time, and he came over to say hi.  I think he might have been there with some other students.  (He was sort of holding court with them.) 
As I was leaving, I was having trouble putting on my coat, as I could find the arm hole.  When I finally put it on, I heard a ripping sound, but didn't really think anything of it. 
Carrie was nice enough to walk me back part of the way.  It was colder than I thought it should be, especially for this time of the year.  I shivered and regretted not bringing a warmer coat. 
Carrie and I parted way at a street light, her going on to her house and I turning so I could go back home.
When I got home, I was disheartened to see my coat had ripped in the back.  It had ripped along the seam, so it was fixable, but I was still annoyed.  I love this coat and how I look in it, and I don't really have anything else good to wear right now.  The only positive thing I could think of was that I hadn't paid much for it. 

The Bar Crawl

I decided to go on this bar crawl, which was my very first ever.  I was a little reluctant to go, because I wasn't sure who I would talk to and I find myself trying hard to not make a bother of myself.
I had dinner first with a group of girls, some of whom I had taken classes.  I even got a few hugs.  One of the girls sitting next to me had won a study-abroad scholarship and was going to Spain in the fall. 
Then we went to this massive bar that was clearly meant for the frat boy set.  At that point, I had found Carrie, and we walked in together with the larger group.
I guess like everyone was on a bar crawl, because pretty much everyone had on some shirt or another that indicated they were.  Even though it was only six in the evening, the inside was about seventy percent full, everyone crowded around the bar.  I decided not to get a drink because I hate pushing through crowds and waiting.
Instead, I went outside, and I was almost immediately greeted by someone really drunk.  He wasn't mean or anything, he just got right up into my face and then when he spoke to me, he smelled of alcohol.  He was very friendly. 
His friend, who appeared to be babysitting, put in a preliminary apology.  I told him it wasn't a big deal. 
Drunk boy, on the other hand, was sort of lazily dancing (there wasn't any music.)  He handed me a flask, and just seeing it made me smile.  I know people carry flasks, but there's something so old school, so cowboy, so bad boy in a film noir about it that I just always want to ask people "Seriously?  You have one of these?  Do you enjoy being a cliche?" 
He wanted me to take a drink.  I'm almost always up for a free drink, so I took a sip.  Drunk boy clapped.  I have no idea what it was, but how strong could it be, as it didn't burn.  Maybe really watered down vodka, because I couldn't taste much either. 
I talked to Carrie, and later Jonathan and Zack, who had come in after her.  There was talk of eventually finding Erin, who was her usual MIA.  (When are people going to show up on time for things?)  I asked Jonathan if he was going back to France, because he loves the French language and because one of my old classmates had gone there to teach for a year.
"Where's Erin?" I asked.
"Who knows," said Carrie.  She got out her phone and started texting.  "She said she was going to come."
That's what Erin had told me.  I had specifically asked her if she was going because things were always more entertaining when she was involved. 
After hanging out for a half an hour, we decided to move on to the next place, an Irish pub, one I had passed by but had never gone into before.  As we walked over there, I happened to turn around to look back.  Up against the wall of the bar we had just been in stood drunk Guy, his back to the wall, his babysitter, and another young man.  It looked like the babysitter and the other one were attempting to put drunk Guy's teeth back into his mouth.  I had just enough time to wonder what was going on. 
At the pub, they took us in a large side room which was obviously meant to hold the college crowd.  It was relatively quiet when we walked in, but it seemed to get steadily more crowded and louder.  Here, I walked up to the bar and bought myself an amaretto sour.  I only had twenties, and I had been in bars where paying for twenties and gotten me glares, so I apologized right off the bat. 
"No worries," the bartender said as he got me change.  As I waited, I noticed how wet the actual bar was.  It was basically soaked. 
Drink in hand, I headed over to a group of friends, Carrie and Jonathan, plus a couple of other people I recognized but couldn't remember the names of.
Eventually, a redhead wandered over to us.  Again, I remembered her because we had a conversation about virginity at one point last year, but I just could not remember her name.  She was younger than everyone else, so she couldn't drink, but had come along.  Possibly because she had designed the t-shirt. 
"Can I stick around with you?" she said.
"Sure."  I got the feeling that maybe she was like me, a little out of her depth. 
I ran into Maddie, and it was good to see her.  She had changed her hair cut but it was still its normal black and she looked really good.  We had a class together once.  I asked her what she was up to and she said she was working at a community center, and I marveled at how much the people in this group were doing things to really help the world, and I mean that genuinely.  Pretty much everyone was working for organizations like the Red Cross, or a food bank, or with immigrants, or raising money for public television or at halfway homes.  I have a lot of friends whose work centers around them saving money for massive corporations and making lots of money for themselves, but these friends and old colleagues were actually helping people.  
"How goes the poetry writing?" I asked. 
"Oh, I don't have any time for poetry or art these days because I'm so busy!" she said, half yelling because the room was pretty loud. 
That's actual too bad, because she was a decent poet, and I remember thinking she had interesting life experiences to draw from.  And now, given her work, she'll probably have even more interesting things to say. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Staying at Karl and Jimmy's

I stayed with Jimmy and Karl a couple of nights, and I was grateful that those two boys let me stay with them.  I was hoping it wouldn't be awkward for them, and mostly, I think it was fine. 
I was shocked at how quiet Karl could be in the morning.  I couldn't even hear him.  At one point, I happened to open my eyes, and there Karl was, standing at the door.  I think maybe he thought I was freaked out by him watching me, so he closed the door quickly, kind of like when someone turns away fast because they don't want you to know they were staring at you.  Maybe he thought I would be angry at him for staring?  Honestly, if it was certain other boys, then yes, I would be, but Karl's trustable, and I saw how he was looking at me, and it wasn't filled with lust or a desire to control or anything. 
The only bad thing about staying with those two are the alarms.  Those were actually very loud.  (Karl had early classes, which made me feel terribly sorry for him, because I hate early classes myself.)  At one point, after an alarm went off, I said something really sarcastic to Jimmy.  I think I asked him something along the lines of "Are you trying to get up on time or are you trying to break the sound barrier?"  Jimmy just sort of vaguely mmph'ed at me, and possibly turned over. 
Both of them snore, which didn't surprise me because boys notoriously sleep on their backs and that encourages snoring.  It was incredible quiet snoring, though, for both of them.  If anything, it was like loud breathing, and I found myself a bit conscious about the fact I was sleeping in the same room with them.  But at the same time I was struck by both the intimacy and how peacefully nice it sounded.  It made me revel in how calm everything was.  I found myself thinking about how I need to get a boyfriend, because these soft noises were definitely something I could enjoy waking up to. 
One morning Karl got up before Jimmy and I and head out to a class.  Jimmy and I got up around the same time.  Jimmy left for class and I went out for a walk.  It was a beautiful day, and I put in my MP3 player and admired the day.  And then ran into Karl, which surprised me, because I expected him to be on another part of campus, given he's an engineering major.  We spoke briefly.  He asked me what I was doing and I said I was out enjoying the beautiful day, which it certainly was.  The sunshine was making me smiley.  I was unsurprised to see he had coffee.  I think he was impressed by my choice of music that morning, which happened to be punk.  When I pulled my earphones out, he could hear how loud it was. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Michael Sheen's Twilight Fanfiction

This is from a while ago, but the Internet manages to push this on me several times.
Given that there are all these dramatic readings (one of my favorite involving a dramatic reading of Lady Gaga's "Poker Face"), I'm kind of wondering if this should become a normal thing for actors to do.  It might be interesting what randon texts people choose from. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Poetry Reading

So, picking up where I left off on my last little story, I went to the poetry reading and did manage to surprise this professor.  It was sort of a relief to finally have achieved this surprise without too much ruining it. 
There is always this table in the back to the theatre where they sell poetry books and sometimes other stuff, and I was back there talking to Stephanie and Lia.  At one point they both looked over my shoulders and said "hey Mark!"
I turned around and, indeed there he was.  When I saw him last, his hair was a light blonde and it was close shaven.  Now he had grown his hair out, it seemed darker, it was highlighted, and he had a goatee.  I was kind of surprised by this change of look, because he had changed his look not that long ago. 
"Hi," I said, a big grin spreading across my face.  I was very happy to see him.  "You're looking very Renaissance." 
I mean, obviously he wasn't wearing the tights and those poofy pants that Shakespeare rocked so well, but I think he understood and took it as a compliment. 
Mark was surprised to see me as well, which was unintentional, since I wasn't even sure if he was going to be around tonight.  But I was glad he was.  We got to talking, shuffling off to the side to let people in.  We did the usual small chat and then talked about a teacher we had together.  I had seen this teacher recently and I reported to Mark that said teacher remembered him. 
This was not the whole story, but I was reluctant to tell him the whole thing.  When I saw this particular teacher, he had asked about Mark and I.  And by asked, he simply said "So, how are you and Mark?"  There was this terribly awful pause and then I realized this teacher thought we were dating. 
We aren't. 
The truly bad thing is that this is not the first person or even the first teacher to comment on Mark and I, which makes me a bit uncomfortable.  It's one thing when your friends know you like someone.  That's normal, especially when you make your preferences to them known.  But it's another thing entirely when it's just people you work with or teachers.  My feelings aren't meant to be so obviously to the world. 
As Mark and I were talking, Lia came over to commend us for not talking so loudly.  This was a problem I had last year.  (Actually, it's been a problem I've had forever, but it became of particular issue last year.) 
Derek came by, and it was my turn to be surprised.  Derek graduated ages ago, and although it wasn't a complete surprise to see him, it hadn't crossed my mind that I would.  He sort of looked at the two of us strangely and I realized that he was probably thinking the same thing as everyone else. 
I guess it's a good thing I didn't pursue a career in acting?
Mark and I decided to sit together.  We walked down to some seats near the stage.  As I sat down, I noticed another teacher from a few years back sit down.  He was surprised to see me, and I nicely waved at him. 
On a whim, I turned to Mark and said "So, how's your girlfriend?"  I couldn't remember her name, though I remembered she was a redhead, very pretty, and very slim. 
Mark looked a bit surprised and uncomfortable, but he said "We're not dating anymore."
"I'm sorry to hear that."
This was sort of a lie.  On one hand, I've had enough bad breakups that I know it hurts like hell, and can actually make things between other friends miserable.  (And has gotten to the point where I'm usually apathetic towards dating.  It takes a lot to get me interested in a guy to the point where I want to date him, and frankly, liking him isn't enough for me anymore.  I have to trust him, and the vast majority of guys I like never pass into trustable.) 
On the other hand, I do like Mark, and she was the reason I didn't pursue him earlier.  He was already dating her when I met him.  It was sort of a disappointment, but I promised myself years ago that I would never encourage a couple to break up.  If the guy really does like me, he'll realize it isn't fair to date someone else, and he'll do the breaking up on his own, regardless of whether or not he knows I'm willing to date an unattached version of him. 
The reading was starting up, so I didn't question Mark further.  I don't know if there would be that much to say either.  I think I would have just graciously offered to hear Mark out if he needed someone to talk to (always something I've needed post-breakup) but then also make clear he was under no requirement to talk to me if he didn't want to. 
The reading went okay.  I really like this professor, and the poetry she has been writing the last few years has been super intense and Wallace Stevens like.  I've been very impressed by it, especially since it was such a departure from her earlier work. 
Which is why I was kind of disappointed that she read her less challenging poetry.  She read more of prose stuff, not her deep image stuff.  She read one poem about sheep blocking a road, and I thought about how that was the sort of poem that would please non-poetry people. 
After the reading, I introduced Mark to Derek.  Mark and Derek both happen to be big fans of Arrested Development.  I told Mark about how Derek and I use to refer to one another as "Hey Hermano," which is a reference to the show.  (There's actually a slightly longer story there, but one I won't bore you with.)
Mark and I continued talking, slightly in the corner.  I told him about my roommate fiasco from a few months ago.  I told him about how I was raised by a master of passive aggressiveness, who was also raised by a master of passive aggressiveness, so really, I was quite good at being that way. 
"I can make anything sound passive aggressive," I said.  "Even something like 'yeah, okay.'"  I emphasized the words so that they sounded the opposite of "yeah" and "okay."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Wild Side

In my last post I mentioned I read Urban Fantasy.  And then today I found this amazing cover of a new Urban Fantasy novel.
Can I just say how much I love it?  I don't know exactly what it is, but I really love it when a woman holds a gun.  I especially like it when the man doesn't have one either. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I Am a Failure at Surprises

One of my old professors was giving a poetry reading, and obviously I wanted to go.  She hadn't seen me in a while, so I decided I should try to surprise her. 
The problem with me trying to surprise someone is that it often gets ruined. 
I decided to go that afternoon to a study room to do some reading and writing.  I frequent this particular study room, and it's usually pretty quiet on weekday afternoons.  At most, I've seen one person in there at this time of day, and even then, it's usually someone who just looks in and then walks away. 
I went in and, for about an hour, worked.  And then Chelsea walked in. 
I hadn't seen Chelsea in a long time either.  I was trying to remember the last conversation I had with her.  I vaguely remembered talking to her about four years ago about a book series we both liked.  I remembered this conversation because I didn't really know a lot of people who read this series; my best friend had introduced me to them years previous to that, and I had only spoken about the series with a man in a library once who read The Dresden Files, which I was also familiar with and was similar.  I think during that conversation Chelsea also mentioned that she was really good at interviewing for jobs and that's why she was always employed.  At the time this had impressed me because I had always felt like my interviewing skills were terrible.  (I am happy to report now that I've learned better interviewing techniques and that I think I've even impressed some people.)
But Chelsea didn't really acknowledge me.  She just sat down and read something.  Oh, I thought.  She must not remember me. 
Not that she really should remember me.  We were really friends of friends and I mean, I'm sure there have been more important people out there. 
We sat in silence for another half hour, I continuing with my work.  Then she looked up at me. 
"Have you ever read Foucault?" she asked. 
I had, but it had been a long time ago.  And because I had found him frustratingly difficult in English, I had looked up a passage in the original French.  It had been easier to understand, but that was all I remembered. 
Chelsea talked to me about some of Foucault's ideas.  She mentioned being in a particular class, which Kristina was also in.  (And had mentioned I should come to just to see what it was like.) 
Chelsea, as a fellow feminist, was not so sure she liked the ideas of Foucault.  He said some problematic things about women. 
"I always interpreted Foucault to be saying simply what is and not how things should be.  I don't think his statements are meant to be interpreted as him endorsing that view, just observing it." 
She nodded her head, looking far away.  "That sounds like something Foucault would say."
I smiled.  Now that was a compliment.  Alex had liked Foucault.  It was one of the things we had talked about in the interview.  Alex had said how beautiful she found his writing. 
I suddenly realized that I had a question for Chelsea.  "Are you one of the people from that feminist organization that recently formed?"
"I'm not really part of it.  That's Bianca." 
That surprised me.  Bianca and I had been in a class together last year.  She had been relatively quiet.  Despite this, it had been obvious to me she was thoughtful and way cooler than I am (though, I would argue pretty much everyone is cooler than me.) 
I made a mental note, if I ran into Bianca anytime soon, that I should tell her how much I had admired her work.  Erin had told me all about it. 
"Are you going to the poetry reading tonight?"  So Chelsea must have known more about me than I anticipated, because she remembered that I worked with that professor. 
"I am, but she doesn't know I'm coming, so don't tell anyone I'm here.  It's a surprise." 
Seeing Chelsea was really nice, but I had to go over to Nate's to get some stuff and to have dinner, so I said goodbye and left.  I was turning the corner on the stairway, thinking merrily of how much I liked Chelsea and how I was going to get to see people tonight at this reading, when I was startled to see Stephanie, three steps down from me, staring up at me.  Her eyes went wide.
And this wasn't just Stephanie my friend.  She was also Stephanie, the assistant to this professor. 
She hadn't seen me in a long time either. 
Oh shit, I thought. 
"Don't tell her I'm here!" I said, slightly loud.  "I don't want her to know I'm coming tonight!  I'm trying to surprise her!"
See what I mean about surprises?  Hours before the surprise, I manage to run into two people who actually could blow it.  This was especially annoying considering how long I'd been planning this. 
Stephanie sort of laughed at me and was happy to see me.  She gave me this great big hug that made me feel great.  (Oh, to have a thousand friend hugs that I could store in a chest somewhere.)  She wanted to hear what I was up to, and we talked briefly before both of us had to be elsewhere. 
I went over to Nate's.  It had been his birthday recently, and he had all sorts of coupons for free food.  That night, he was taking me out for pizza. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Weinergate 2: The Reckoning

So, I guess after all the poor maneuvering from a few days ago when this story first broke, it's nice to know Representative Weiner has at least stop lying.  And really, now that has happened, I'm ready to move on. 
You know, if Weiner had made a career off of morality campaigning or talking about the importance of marriage or something like that, I would call him a hypocrite, mourn for how there are no politicians who live their ideals, and move on.  If Weiner had used government resources like computers and email accounts to send those messages and tweets, I'd call for an investigation and mourn the same thing as the last scenario.  As it stands, I just really want to move on.  I'm bored, frankly.  And from what I hear, so is everyone else
Can we get back to talking about something important?  We had a long list of military operations that we need to address, and prisons that need reform, and education that needs reform, and the environment. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tea with Christine

I went out for tea with Christine and her aide.  She took me to this new teahouse that recently opened.  Christine had apparently been there, but I had never even heard of it until maybe March or April. 
I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this tea house.  I had a giant chi tea, which was really good once I added about eight packets of sugar to it.  Christine just got herself some Earl Gray, which is notoriously her favorite.  I have to admit that I like Earl Gray too (there are few teas I don't like, just things flavored mint or peppermint, which I don't like anyway.) 
Christine sort of caught me up on all that's been going on in her life.  Mostly, this means Doctor Who.  I'm grateful that I love the show too, because with her it is almost all she talks about.  Even Dave, one of out mutual friends, has mentioned this, and I know he doesn't watch the show.
Christine loves Matt Smith and she talks about what she thinks of the show.  We theorized about who River Song is.  (This was before the recent episode, which did answer some questions, but not all.)  We talked a little about Sherlock, another show Christine loves. 
Christine almost always has someone around taking care of her, and her aide was a young woman training to be a nurse.  She was nice.  She talked about being from Grand Rapids and how driving to and from there was miserable.  When she saw the purse I had with me, she asked if I had been on a trip recently. 
It's not as strange of a question as you would think.  The purse is usually sold to people going abroad.  I use it mostly when I have to. 
I sort of hate carrying purses, mostly because they're such a womanly thing.  I usually would just carry a big bag, like a tote or a backpack or a messenger bag.  I want to carry a wallet like guys do, but I am increasingly suspicious that women's jeans are designed so that you can't fit a wallet in them.  (Maybe this means it is time to invest in men's jeans.)
Christine and I also talked poetry and this upcoming conference she is going to.  She actually helped set it up with some mutual friends.  It sounds like it is turning into a really big thing, because she said they had tons of people they had to turn down both in terms of speakers and attendees.
I sort of wish that I could do something like that in English, because it sounds like a lot of fun.  I don't know where I would even begin with something like that.  I've never even worked at a conference or convention or anything equivalent.  I think I would want to get some experience doing that first before I dove into something that huge. 
Afterward, Christine, her aide and I walked home together.  Christine and her aide dropped me off near my place.  At the front door, a whole group of my friends were standing outside, taking pictures.  It made me smile to see all of them.