Saturday, December 31, 2005
Yeah, there's a lot to write about, and I might write about it later tonight. Tahoe, Reno, Vegas, Barstow, all that plus a sack of hangovers. But now, I need to stuff my belongings into a few well-chosen satchels and ready myself for the long overdue flight back to New York. Climbing back in the chyrsalis, oy.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
So last night was family time. [I'm loathe to write now because I just finished half a journal entry about this exact same topic, and the public-private collusion now takes the shape of writing ambidextrously, the right hand scripting out extremely illegible purple prose about the state of my household in a $7 black notebook and the left hacking out a semi-intimate blog entry about the same damn thing. It's is simultaneously redundant and incomplete, and it ruins my lifelong quest for one-stop shopping.] Anyway, long story short...I made what one might euphemistically refer to as an "apple pie," with improvised crusts that turned out to be sinusoidal in two ways - (1) lumpy up-and-down profile and (2) first high, then low, then moderately high, then extremely low, then decently high expectations/fruition - and ultimately tasted like a shortbread-apple sandwich. Not too bad, in the end. We stuffed our faces with all manner of unvegetarian animal matters. I managed to eat animals from all dominions, including a mysterious orange fish whose eyes I depressed firmly in the supermarket while whispering kaddish, a couple of squibs of beef that I could not be bothered to remove from the winter bamboo stir fry, and chicken in the form of clear amber broth for the daikon and glutinous fish balls. [Today at lunch I blithely jawed through a couple of broccoli beef flaps, having all but given up on the idea of vegetarianism while in the vicinity of my merrily carnivorous family.] We chatted amicably and I attempted to describe, to glazed-over eyes, exactly how clinics function in the context of a legal education, and Richard attempted to convince us that the "Two Buck Chuck" sauvignon blanc we were drinking from Silicon Valley software company logo-emblazoned demitasse glasses had a "nose" of pineapple. I greeted his wine snobbery with utter class, saying things like "It all tastes the same" and "It all comes out the same in the end anyway" and sabotaging his attempts to blind taste test the Two Buck Chuck against another bottle of muscat dessert wine by holding the platter of fish under his nose while he did it. I've reserved a special place in my heart for the bullshittery that is wine tasting - did I say "heart"? I meant "heart of darkness," the antipathy heart, my hater's heart, the heart that I keep around for things like wine tasting, antiquing, conversation with most Harvard alumni, Rapture forecasters, that disgusting condescending snaggletoothed Frenchman named Boris that another friend forced me to meet one forgettable night in Montmartre, Harry Potter, and - for the 355 days of the year that I am not driving - all cars everywhere.
Anyway, sorry for the tangents. Long story short, right...eating, chatting, wolfing apple pie, watching Simpsons DVDs, and walking over a little square of apple pie for my grandma. I stayed up too late manipulating words in a variety of incomprehensible ways then paid the price for doing so this morning at 7-something, when my mom woke me up to plunder the outdoor malls of the mid-Peninsula. I finally bought the law-talking lass's obligatory black pantsuit, the absence of which earlier in the year prompted my lawyering professor to pointedly comment "You looked nicely business casual" during a critique session for which biz cas meant frayed black Goodwill sweater, frayed blue Goodwill shirt, frayed gray Goodwill pants + home haircut + scribblings all over the back of my left hand.] I also learned today that at Nieman Marcus a mink stole (she says, pretending she knows what a "stole" is) will set you back $675, but a diamond encrusted Minnie Mouse watch will cut a $2,750 hole in your pocket. We went into Nie Ma only on a lark, not to actually buy $675 mink (which is actually dyed golden retriver fur) stoles. Mom pointed out that Nieman Marcus is referred to in Chinese as "Ni Ma," Walmart is "Wo Ma," and Target is "Ta Ma." This translates, roughly, into "Your Mom," "My Mom," and "F*k Your Mom." I also scored the bourgiest clothes (pink, lime green) I've ever owned besides that tennis-whites sweater I got on the discount rack at the Gap in 1992 when I despaired to sartorially ape the soccer-playing Rachels and Jessicas of Jordan Middle School.
Blah, blah, blah. BLAH. The only thing I really want to remember of this day is taking my grandma to see The Chronc - What? - Cles of Narnia at the Century Googleplex in Mountain View. I noted that she had The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe on her bedstand last night and invited her out to the movies. The last one she saw was "The Lion King," which meant that it had been eleven years since she'd been inside a movie theater. I'm always bugging my grandma to go out - the joke that I attempt everytime I see her involves me saying, "Grandma, I know you want to go dancing and get smashed with me" and Grandma chuckling in return...seems like it would be mean to say this to an 83 year-old woman with low-to-no mobility but she knows I'm just teasing. Anyway, so I bugged her to come to the movies and she happily assented despite my parents' protests that she would be too infirm to go. But grandma is not an infirm woman just because she has a faulty hip. This belief was reaffirmed by the fact that, when we got settled into the theater today, she methodically and gleefully demolished a quarter of the bushel of popcorn that we bought. The movie itself was a wash - I stretched my Chinese to the limits (remembering the word for "Bible" but forgetting (or never knowing) the word for "allegory") in my attempt to explain that the movie's plodding pace and uninspired direction might've been a result of its origins as Christian fable. As in, how many gawdam times must we watch little Lucy cry? But the experience of watching the movie, with my dad leaning over to say "What a great choice of movie!" and my grandma leaning over to say "The lion looks so real!" was so novel and fantastic that despite all my anti-sentimentality sensors I'm going to call it beautiful.
Sorry, dear readers, this blog has been roughly 1,300 words of bilge. I am now officially hallucinating from sleep deprivation. I'm going to put a coconut husk over my head and press on my eyeballs until visions overtake my mind. No more blogging until I get back from the Nevada excursion. Dear readers, wish me luck and pray that I don't accidentally pitch headfirst off a steep snowy slope or get strafed in Las Vags. GAAAAHHHHHHH
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Okay, time to take a weeklong nap. Bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye.
Friday, December 23, 2005
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Readers Share Their Commuting Stories - New York Times
I set my alarm clock for 3:30 a.m. to begin my walk from Fordham Rd, the Bronx, to my office near Wall St. on Maiden Lane. I could have taken a cab to save some of the trip but the lines were stretched around the block, even at this hour!
A young man passing by on a two-seater bicycle offered to give me a lift some of the way downtown, and I accepted figuring I could use a little company. We started pedaling our tandem bike south, while I alerted fellow pedestrians of our presence with the sounding of the handlebar bell. We made it into Manhattan and were on the sidewalk of the FDR when the bikes chain snapped. A nice man fishing off the pier told us he would fix our chain for 20 dollars. I told him to keep fishing.
We pushed the bike for the next few miles and during that time I became aware that I had not said more than two words to the man who pedaled 50% of my load from the Bronx to Manhattan so I broke the ice by asking him his name. He said his name was 'Alejandro' and he did not speak 'so much English.' He was heading to work in a fish market where his job was to take the eyes off of fresh fish heads and put them in two-day-old fish to make them look fresh. He said he went to school for this in his country. When we got to his job he told me to keep the bike because he stole it. I did not know that the bike was stolen. I left it outside a police precinct and walked the remaining blocks to work to find out that we were closed due to the strike. I do not know the politics behind this MTA strike but feel that it has made me do things that I would never do if the buses were running.
mandy, i don't know what's happened to you -- your blog has become so
hilarious and worth reading. it is making me laugh a lot.
Thanks, AO! How...nice?...of you? The reason my blog is suddenly so funny is because I have sublimated all my offensive sexual desires into a couple of words well-chosen to tickle you exactly the way that you want to be tickled. (You $&%*ing NERD! You wonderful, wonderful nerd.) Everyone wins in this situation: I write, you laugh, and barnyard animals everywhere can rest easier--I'm doing it for Christmas, really, manger solidarity and all that.
In under 24 hours I wil be DONE DONE DONE with my first semester of law school. Since it seems like the transit strike will continue at least through tomorrow morning, looks like I'll be taking the exam as a take-home. So plans to drink myself to death downtown have been changed to plans to drink myself to death uptown. AO, if you're around, I think that spot that used to be Cannon's Pub has pitchers of fizzy piss for under $10.
You wanna, Fauna? Right here, on the floor-a? Kiss my aura, Dora. Mmm, it's real angora. Y'all want some more-a?
Two battles now, M.H.H. v. Civ Pro and M.H.H. v. Julius, both of which I've given up for lost. I'll concentrate on the western theater for a while - i.e., fuck you, New York! I'm going to Vegas! (Apparently, that's not just me blowing air - me and my parents and my brother and my brother's Taiwanese-Australian gf are gonna spend Christmas driving in a cramped bean car from the Emerald of the Bay to the Dessert in the Desert. [That's Palo Alto to Las Vegas, for those who don't trust euphemisms.] These are the trips that give occasion for Christmas day meals at Denny's, with mom ordering steaks, dad and Richard in bloody fisticuffs (oh yes, it's happened!), and me wondering whether the slow service and shitty food is due to racism or just run-of-the-mill Denny's shittiness. Can't wait, folks, intense family plus gambling for the extremely parsimonious and risk-averse. I already got my money on a racehorse named Delicious.)
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
The mouse trapped itself in a space between the sink and the tub, and here Laura was my real hero/butch. The hero/butch act involved a command ("Hand me my gloves") and some no nonsense barricading (Boo's water bowl and the spray bottle of Fantastik and me a couple feet behind clutching my copy of Steiner/Alston's International Human Rights, 1st Ed., since it was the biggest flexible book I could find that might afford 1) quick crushing capability or 2) better barricading than the concave water bowl). As she reached for the mouse, it lept away from her begloved hand and right into the water bowl with a little *splish." Laura scooped it out and held it while I rummaged indecisively but furiously through our tupperware cabinet looking for something suitably disposable/gross. Now we have a little wet guy with a rat-like tail in a mushu tofu takeout container that's capped off and weighted down by the Essential Foucault Reader (it's never seen better use). I'm to take him to Central Park so he can roam the mean city streets, where roving gangs of toughs will cheat him of his meager savings until he gets hard enough to join them and prey on the apartment castaways that come after him.
Actually, I've been told that mice have a two-mile return range, and in order to be truly rid of this guy (henceforth "Julius"), I'd have to take him to the Chuchifritos on 116th and Third Avenue or the Museum of Natural History. I don't think I'll do either - it's cold, and I ain't biking with a motherfucking mouse on my back - so what Laura (who has sharply castigated me for shaking the tupperware to see what the mouse will do, saying "I don't see how you could be so cruel") doesn't know is that after she goes to bed, I'm going to stab steak knives into the tupperware until little Julius squeaks, "Et tu, Man-te?" and collapses into his toga. Then I will flush him down the toilet, chuck the gristly tupperware into the airshaft, and pretend like none of it ever happened.
Spent the last 45 minutes in Morningside Park watching 60-70 pigeons doing loops between the big beautiful building with arched windows at 114th/Morningside Avenue/Manhattan and the tall, denuded beeches at the north end of the pond. Grey backs and white wings alternating, could've sworn it was morse code. They touched down on the rooftop but never stayed longer than a few seconds there; some spirited bird would inevitably lift off the eave and trigger another tour of the familiar circuit. I could hear them ducking and darting in the branches. Looked like fun.
Someone had exploded a coconut and thrown the meaty shells all over the frozen surface of the pond, which was itself lightning-cracked with all the thaws and refreezings. I can't tell if it was actually warm or if I had overdressed or if I'm just giving off delirium heat but now I'm back in my cave with a streak of sweat down my shirt. Now I'm going to tilt my head back and funnel lunch down my throat before starting, finally, to crack forum non conveniens.
Monday, December 19, 2005
tail->next = NULL;//breaks circularity of list
tail = NULL;
temp = head;
head = head->next;
Early warning signs from a vocabulary assignment from freshman year of high school (October 25, 1994)
After incinerating our house, my parents spoke to me with slight disapprobation.
auspicious-37,1-promising a good outcome, favorable
After burning the house down, I don’t think the chances of my parents buying me a fancy car are auspicious.
arbitratary-42,3-to act according to one’s discretion
I arbitrarily burnt down the house.
I parceled out candy on Halloween in our burnt house.
Mr. Thompson could hardly be called benign, since he placed needles in my Halloween candy.
hitherto-47,5-up to this time
Our house had hitherto been painted white.
edification-54,4-to instruct, or benefit morally
Besides instructing me in property value, I don’t think burning down the house proved to be too edifying.
vigil-67,3-remaining awake at night, especially to keep watch or pray
I held a vigil last night to commemorate the first anniversary of burning down the house.
obstreperous-90,5-stubbornly resistant to control
I found my ordinarily obstreperous mule surprisingly eager to please.
invective-92,1-insulting or abusive language
Being quite unpopular, invective is commonly directed at me
After the marathon edit-fest, Lo and I took a jog around the reservoir. I felt like a million bucks, like a springbok, like Brad Pitt doing his totally unthreatening Achilles special-move leap in Troy. I coulda run for hours. Now that I'm more than halfway through I can taste the [gallons of tequila I plan on consuming] freedom. It's palpable. After this is through, I promise to 1) cut my nails, 2) cut my hair, 3) make amends, 4) make friends, 5) return my summer roll skin back to non-transparency, 6) read the six issues of New Yorkers mouldering on the bedstand, 7) read a coupla novels, 8) make my muscles huge, 9) visit my relatives in Flushing, etc. I'm getting excited by the prospects. Humanity...it looms!
[Now, still sallow, still long-fingernailed, she turns back to the books.]
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Also, though I'm struggling like crazy to understand civ pro (and as it verrry, verrrrrry slowly coalesces into coherence in my gummy little head), I'm also seeing why understanding procedure might be a public interest lawyer's highest calling. Law is the domain of the elite--its structures are accessible only to those with very specialized educations, credentials, and vocabularies. [I don't think this necesssarily has to be the case, but explaining that would entail a much longer blogpost about the relative merits of plain-language law.] Substantive law doesn't necessarily need much explaining--we all understand why backing over a little boy on a bicycle because you're talking on your cell phone and not watching where your Escalade is taking you might expose you to crimnal or tort liability. Procedural law, however, is totally inaccessible unless you know how to plow through the statutory/common law language, and how the hell are people going to know if their suit is governed by 28 U.S.C. §1391(a) venue in diversity jurisdiction cases or 28 U.S.C. §1391(b) venue in federal question cases by reading through those statutes? So even though there's this gross trickle-down patriarchy feeling to it, a lawyer's real contribution to her client is finessing the fine procedural points in a way that would not be possible for non-lawyer to do.
This seems grotesquely obvious as I write that down so I'll shut up and just go to sleep. This thought did entail a bunch of frantic scribbling in my civ pro hornbook to the effect of Prometheus and torchbearing and therefore perstare et praestare ["to perservere and to excel" (in bullshit union-busting hypocrisy) NYU's motto]. It's all bullshit. I gotta go to bed so I can wake up in six hours and fuck up my contracts take-home. Wish me luck, y'all.
But Z did come over today and talk Laura through his hibernation habits (a couple of weeks of complete inactivity per year, mostly lying in bed with eyes closed, sometimes with the radio on) and they tried it out on our bed. Laura said it was not a hibernation state but rather just a meditative quiet for her, and she got excellent sound on her minidisc recorder since the baffling of the down comforter absorbed what would have otherwise been the harsh jangling of garbage cans and dull thrum of the exhaust vibrations from the restaurant that expells its aural waste into our alleyway. I would have been curious to see their hibernation experiment but I was doing one of my own, with my favorite soporific Sam Beam in my ears again to drown out the alley noise, curled fetal in the guest bedroom trying not let the rice porridge I ate in the mid-afternoon rise too far into my salty throat. Despite a frantic ingestion of two-years expired Imitrex, I lost a battle with a migraine that started at 11am--it felt like a syringe (thick, the kind used to administer sedatives to big game animals) plunged straight through my cornea, iris, retina, and optic nerve, and releasing about six cups of poison into my frontal lobe--and instead lay groaning in various beds and soft surfaces until I finally shook myself partially out of my stupor at 4:30 to start procrastinating from some last minute Contractz studying.
Which, as you can see, is proceeding very, very, very successfully. SH, who is quickly becoming my favorite puck, sprited some pulpy beta carotene-filled concoction over from the cafe downstairs where she had been filling a quad-lined notebook with indescipherable notes that include words like "contraindications" and "decathecting" about indescipherable library books that she dutifully declines to scribe marginalia into (compare: me with red pen ruining what I could of Widener's collection--what the fuck, two million books, they could stand to have some ruined). I got dinner, Laura and I loaded up the house with snacks from the health food store for my 8-hour Contracts take-home tomorrow, and Boo gave me some fuzzy love. Now, finally, I'm ready to start Contracts.
"double kneed carhartts"
"consternation math puzzle"
"marijuana causing bags under the eyes"
"critical legal studies"
Saturday, December 17, 2005
"bonne poire": Fr., sucker
Usage: Bijou was a real bonne poire, and even hapless, stupid Tiger was able to convince her that night was day. Alors!
Contractz home stretch. This bonne poire is becoming a devotee of oral contracts--you can make a promise without signing a damn thing! Law is so sensible.
Friday, December 16, 2005
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Now my hands seem unable to function, but all sorts of things in addition to the incessant typing are causing me carpal tunnel these days. Since this month has driven me a little closer to the not guilty by reason of insanity defense, let me just say that I'm blaming all my woes on a fictitious pixie who lives in an airshaft, speaks in tongues, smells like parsley, steals my hours and distracts me from Contracts. Sort of like the apartment gnome who makes your house keys/cell phone/wallet disappear or the office troll who makes your office supplies evaporate, except my pixie is a whole lot weirder than both.
Double ew tee eff am I saying? Civ Pro upcoming, y'all.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Monday, December 12, 2005
That's a lie. Astute readers and Encyclopedia Browns will deduce that the presence of spaces in this blog entry means that I continue to have workable thumbs. But if I am not handicapped by thumblessness, I am at least set back a ways by my new mulletless auto-do, which makes me look like what my favorite femme J. Stern would so appropriately call a "medieval page boy." So I'm primitive in many ways, and after the haircut I decided to really get in touch with my earth mother by finally stripping off the Super Mario Bros. t-shirt that has kept me just shy of indecent exposure for the last four days and stepping into the shower for the first time since...last Tuesday? It's been a while, folks, seriously. My hair was getting to that Soul Glow stage, where it looked like a lacquered arm of a chinoiserie chair and felt like a deep fryer. Even loving, non-judgmental Laura suggested that I "lose the hair cap." But alas, the water pressure's been down since March, when phase 700 of the interminable construction project at Frederick Douglass Circle apparently choked the pipes with cholesterol, or something, and *really* down since November, when the rats flooded underground for the winter and clogged the flow of freshwater with their millions of knotted tails, or something--point being, nothing less than a weak old man's urine stream was coming forth from the showerhead, so I had to take the three-gallon cooking pot and a plastic cup, fill it with water, squat over it, and take a good, old-fashioned bucket shower. It was AWESOME and SATISFYING just like a kick in the crotch is AWESOME and SATISFYING.
Right, so the state of being: mullet-free, not studying for crim, contracts, OR civ pro, nicked on the thumb, sore in the knees, back to wearing the same fetid Super Mario Bros. t-shirt that I've been wearing all weekend. I'll just say here what I often find myself saying at discos and bars all over the city: No need to push, ladies, one at a time! There's enough Man for everyone!
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Friday, December 09, 2005
Saw this at the closing installment of Rooftop Films in Brooklyn this summer - some genius found and restored this footage. Just wait for the English lessons:
Arnold: I teach you some English. It's "biting."
Brazilian Hootch: Baating.
Arnold: Good. It's "biting."
Arnold: Good. The next one is - do it again. No biting now...like this...yesssss...
DevilDucky - Arnold Schwarzenegger: Carnival in Rio
[As long as my blogposts only reference amusing links, I think pre-exam blogging is A-OK.]
Vincent Gallo Merchandise | Miscellaneous: "Vincent Gallo's Sperm
Price includes all costs related to one attempt at an in-vitro fertilization. (A $50,000 value) If the first attempt at in vitro fertilization is unsuccessful, purchaser of sperm must pay all medical costs related to additional attempts. Mr. Gallo will supply sperm for as many attempts as it takes to complete a successful fertilization and successful delivery. Sperm is 100% guaranteed to be donated by Mr. Gallo who is drug, alcohol and disease free. If the purchaser of the sperm chooses the option of natural insemination, there is an additional charge of $500,000. However, if after being presented detailed photographs of the purchaser, Mr. Gallo may be willing to waive the natural insemination fee and charge only for the sperm itself. Those of you who have found this merchandise page are very well aware of Mr. Gallo's multiple talents, but to add further insight into the value of Mr. Gallo's sperm, aside from being multi talented in all creative fields, he was also multi talented as an athlete, winning several awards for performing in the games of baseball, football and hockey and making it to the professional level of grand prix motorcycle racing. Mr. Gallo is 5'11' and has blue eyes. There are no known genetic deformities in his ancestry (no cripples) and no history of congenital diseases. If you have seen The Brown Bunny, you know the potential size of the genitals if it's a boy. (8 inches if he's like his father.) I don't know exactly how a well hung father can enhance the physical makeup of a female baby, but it can't hurt. Mr. Gallo also presently maintains a distinctively full head of hair and at the age of 43 has surprisingly few gray hairs. Though his features are sharp and extreme, they would probably blend well with a softer, more subtly featured female. Mr. Gallo maintains the right to refuse sale of his sperm to those of extremely dark complexions. Though a fan of Franco Harris, Derek Jeter, Lenny Kravitz and Lena Horne, Mr. Gallo does not want to be part of that type of integration. In fact, for the next 30 days, he is offering a $50,000 discount to any potential female purchaser who can prove she has naturally blonde hair and blue eyes. Anyone who can prove a direct family link to any of the German soldiers of the mid-century will also receive this discount. Under the laws of the Jewish faith, a Jewish mother would qualify a baby to be deemed a member of the Jewish religion. This would be added incentive for Mr. Gallo to sell his sperm to a Jew mother, his reasoning being with the slim chance that his child moved into the profession of motion picture acting or became a musical performer, this connection to the Jewish faith would guarantee his offspring a better chance at good reviews and maybe even a prize at the Sundance Film Festival or an Oscar. To be clear, the purchase of Mr. Gallo's sperm does not include the use of the name Gallo. The purchaser must find another surname for the child.
Guggenheim Museum - Exhibitions - Russia!
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Cause I'm getting pissy and depressive when I make a move toward the "Blogger" button and but hold myself back, softly whispering, "Contracts, Crim, Civ Pro, Contracts, Crim, Civ Pro..." but just the fumes from the Bananarchist URL gives me a little shiver of pleasure, a taste of the drug, and the whispering becomes, "Give me more, more, more..."
Instead of writing in my blog, I just obsessively check other people's. Now, what's the use of that?
You will all be happy to note that my prediction for what grades I'll be getting this semester has notched upward, from a projected "D" in all subjects to this current evaluation: D for Civ Pro, C- for Crim, possibly a C+ for Contracts. Small (and self-deluded) victories, people!
Monday, December 05, 2005
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Saturday, December 03, 2005
It’s that horrible instant now, knowing of failing your one undeniable belief. An ordinary, basic, agreeable offer: I accept my surrender only remember receiving yours.
2) What the fuck is wrong with my eyes that they focus better on close range things without glasses and on long range things with glasses? Myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia? Don't tell me I need bifocals at the tender age of 47. I mean, 25.
3) Transamerica: what's all the buzz about? A.O. Scott, I never trust your pinny little head. I should have known better than to have gone to a movie about a transwoman on a road trip with her recently discovered urchin/hustler/fantasy-con-wizard-t-shirt-wearing/Adonis son with a title as painfully punned as this one. Many reasons to complain about this film, but the best is that its screenplay is an almanac of banalities, generalities, and cloying feel-goodness hiding behind the guise of showing the human face of transgender America (or something like that--A.O. Scott calls it "affirming...dignity"). Let's see what tropes were used to generate each blip in the predictable narrative: the kind matriarchal black woman speaks in Truths about a character's past; a couple drunken hillbillies either (1) stare predatorially at the protagonist transwoman's behind or (2) pummel aforementioned hustler/Adonis when the latter insinuates their history of homosexual sexual abuse; a road-faring charismatic blond hippie who gits all sexual with one of the two desperate heroes and then steals a vital possession from them (a la Brad Pitt in Thelma & Louise); a sagacious, gentlemanly Navajo man whose mellifluous intonations suggest gravity, history, and spirituality; etc., the list continues.
The movie also commits several familiar cinematic trespasses. The plot requires some stratospheric suspension of disbelief. The sweeping vistas of transamerican scenery are corrupted by overzealous soundtracking. And just as the "Little Red Riding Hood" metaphor in The Woodsman was belabored to irrelevance, some of Transamerica's were--hm, let's see, smelted, poured into gutter spike molds, and pounded with a sledgehammer into the viewer's head. The fatherless hustler who thinks his biological dad is half-Indian buys a baseball hat with a stylized Indian head on it, only to have it replaced by a real-live Indian who gives him a cowboy hat. (That's a metaphor.) The fatherless hustler confused about his identity calls the transwoman a "fake" and a "liar" while he is wielding a gimmicky "Indian" axe sold at "Sammy's Wigwam." (That's a metaphor.) The fatherless hustler tries to make out with the transwoman he doesn't realize is his father. (That's polymorphously perverse and a reference to important ideas.) (There is a nice opening scene with lowered voices and a slowed record player, I can't begrudge that.)
And, what the fuck, there are no transgender actresses to play this role? I mean, how many transwomen parts even exist in distributed movies, so why'd they go and give this one to Felicity Huffman? She's decent and passable but fundamentally fraudulent. I'm not suggesting that only actors whose identities mirror their roles can play those roles, but there's something almost Mickey-Rooney-plays-Mr.-Yunioshi perverse about it. And finally, there's definitely plenty an English doctoral student who shirks at the traditional Foucaultian medico-juridical narrative of transgender subjectivity can say about this movie, which begins with the heroine's quest for reassignment surgery and ends, happily, with said surgery.
Okay, that's all I have to say. I've successfully put off subject matter jurisdiction for an hour. Go see this movie and tell me why I'm wrong.
(Once again, the folks at Slant Magazine are smarter than me and say everything I want to say.)
Thursday, December 01, 2005
She deserves, at the very least, a water bottle filled with candies from me.
I will deliver (she promises, inviting a K based on reliance and then expectation damages [water bottle, candies, lost profits] or reliance damages [pain and suffering] or restitution damages [refunding my upturn in self-esteem that comes from giving other people gifts] when she breaches).
See ya in the 'Tractz.
At the press conference, we all said our schpiels. 49 Houston is poorly illuminated and also leased out by a guy who collects antique European bars (yes, entire bars) and resells them to collectors for tens of thousands of dollars, so the interior decorative scheme inside is a mash of haphazard activist kitsch and signage, broken found furniture, and advertisements for very expensive hand-lathed barstools. We stood in front of it all, at an ancient podium, with spotlights from Channel 1 dully reflected in the mahogany veneer and into our eyes, and told our disoriented sob stories. When it was my turn to speak, I tried that self-loathing educated-activist strategy of overbilling myself and being hyperarticulate--I think I said I "worked near Wall Street" just to glean whatever capitalist cred that could get me, though 90 William Street and a little queer non-prof isn't exactly Merrill Lynch. Z. got up, talked about being pushed around by cops, and insisted on using his weird one-word nickname instead of his proper name. Afterward, we shook hands with Norman Siegel and congratulated ourselves on jobs well done. Laura, Amy, Vincent and I walked down to Chinatown for pastries and bubble teas.
I haven't anything about Z. since then, until yesterday. Laura used to live with Z. at Casa del Sol, the South Bronx squat I mentioned in a previous post. Laura's doing a story about hibernation for Weekend America, and she remembered a story Z. had told her about lapsing into a trance-like hibernation state for a spell, five winters ago. She wrote to mutual friends trying to reach him, and one of those friends forwarded a message Z. had sent earlier this week. An excerpt:
I know of no way to end war, disorder and this world of human disaster (thoughLaura forwarded this to me, and I'm still trying to piece out my reaction to this. I guess I feel an obligation to stop him, but nevermind that I don't know how I could stop him, I don't even know if this feeling is born from a genuine desire not to let this man hurt himself or from some socially-conditioned urge to condemn all attempts at self-injury. The latter feels closer to the truth, but it also feels disingenuous or, well, immoral. Is it callous to admit that I have no relation to this man other than a couple of heady hours in a police van and a police station, and therefore my first reaction to his suicide letter was concern for the other people who might be injured in his attempt? And do we have some unconditional duty to stop suicide if we believe it is imminent, or can we respect the autonomy of an adult who has decided that his life is no longer worth living?
never fail to amaze at its beauty).
...In the spirit of Crazy Horse, I
plan to jump from a very high building this coming New Year, demanding that the
current rulers of the world's most powerful and disingenuous regimes pledge an
immediate end to arms and towards a truthful commitment to non-violent conflict
My social conditioning has been so thorough that even asking these questions feels like depravity. I'm not really sure what to do.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
As long as we're articulating reasons, I'd love to see someone articulate why my
liberal values should prompt me to support a corrupt Union that's lost its
mission and has come trolling for revenue and a bunch of people with every
social advantage in the world complaining about what I can only see as generous
funding of a good education. I'm sorry, but in this case, I feel that liberal
values and ideology have been disingenuously co-opted for a self-serving and
petty cause. To me this campaign feels, at worst, like a very painful satire of
a movement and of values that I care about deeply, and at best like a horrendous
waste of time.
Oh my god, if ever one has deserved a swift sidekick to the crotch, then that one is him and that time is now. I love how these law-dems get so defensive about their precious "values," which must be safeguarded and judiciously wielded only by the wise, the prudent, and Joe Lieberman, but then retreat to their little library cubbyholes, sit on their hands and while entire careers away furiously thinking up ways to beautifully contort words so as to excuse themselves from ever having to act on aforementioned "values." And then there is this whole defending one's values from the values-misappropriating barbarians trope, which comes out of a fundamental insecurity over one's grip on one's values. You wouldn't be afraid to share your values if you weren't afraid that your own adherence to your values was at risk. You wouldn't be afraid that people who aren't on DLC message will ruin your utopian values vision with their messy chanting and homemade posters, incurring (gasp!) not-exactly-on-DLC-point publicity for you, if you had any faith in those values in the first place. There's a neat name for this: SELF-LOATHING. As one ex-girlfriend said to me in one particularly messy break-up, "Where's your balls?"
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Monday, November 28, 2005
Deep Thought #1) "We wish to take down what will continue in all events to rise. We wish not to be erased from the picture. We wish to picture the erasure." I'm re-reading Jorie Graham's "The Taken-Down God" and finally, after a head-scratching first reading, understanding the titular double/triple entendres: "taken down" referring to the removal of a Jesus sculpture from the wall of a chapel; "taken down" as opting out of faith, declining the sculpted Jesus, the hand-made representation of the possibility of ascendence; and "taken down," meaning Jorie Graham sneaking into a chapel on Easter Sunday and surreptitiously documenting the removal of the sculpture, taking down the event on a pad and paper, finding alternative means for apotheosis through the creative act of writing. Whoa. All of this is meaningless to dear reader, but I needed to write it down. Remember, blog = journal and journal = languishing in disuse!
Deep Thought #2) Thinking about Eric Murphy-Chutorian’s terrible misreading of a poem in 12th grade. He constructed a tragically poor analysis of the line “In the pocket/shingles” (or something like that) as an apostrophe to a moth named Shingles, whose texture and flightiness resembled that of the dollar bills pressed into his pockets. No he di'int! you say. Yes, he did. Reading poems and thinking about Eric Murphy-Chutorian (who is now lining his own pockets with Shingles, I mean, with fat wads of Internet cash) got me thinking about using poetry as group therapy. Or not as group therapy, but rather, as an ice-breaking game during a corporate retreat.
Here's how it would work: Someone (not even necessarily a Poet!!!) would write an exquisite corpse poem. Everyone would then gather round, pore over this meaningless string, and each person would give a quick interpretation of those words...and the breaking of even the coldest of metaphorical ices—dry ice, even—would ensue! It’s like a Rorschach, except the author of the string would have even more fun than the author of the inkblot. Plus it’s easy to remove inkblots from signification but with language you are forced to contend with prior meaning and context, so the author has to be clevererer. Like, you can draw a round mound and reasonably expect a large proportion of your subjects not to associate that round mound with words like “mammary” and “purple nurples” and “brassieres.” However, if you write the words “red-breasted robin,” you can imagine the puerile majority responding with big-boobs associations.
This seems convoluted, so perhaps the best thing to do is simply try it out. For example,
Prometheus go habit item school ministry line carded best creamy boxy pinprick
Executive A (mergers and acquisitions) says: This is a story about the fall of man, his origins in fire and his end in bloodshed.
Executive B (human resources) says: The moral of this story can be loosely translated: ‘The early bird gets the worm.’ Let’s blue sky with this one, people.
Executive C (the CEO) says: Why must it always come to this? Why must his every move be hounded and criticized? Leave him alone, you animals, let the man live! Nothing is perfect! Let he who is without sin! Let glass houses! Let goddamn! Goddamn!
Executive D (the vice president) says: This is an inappropriate exercise for a professional retreat.
Deep Thought #3) I wish there was a slender but tough fiber glued to each one of my epidermal cells. And there was a threshold tension at which a cell, when pulled, loses its bond with its neighbors and is pulled off the body. And all of these fibers were simultaneously pulled to just below this threshold point. I just want to feel what it’s like to be about to burst.
Current ability to endure anxiety is low and ebbing. Uh-oh.
So this is what I remember from November 27, 2001: Casa del Sol, the abandoned tenement turned almost-adverse-possession squat on Cypress in Mott Haven/Hunt's Point, Laura's former home, eventually taken over by young crusty punks after the RNC last year but shut down after the FDNY and NYPD set it on fire December 2004; crazy guy named Bueno, crazy guy named Bernard, an angel named Lisa, a saint named Harry; stumbling off the 6 train looking for the Cherry Tree Garden; chopping up logs in the South Bronx with a dull ax and moving all the mulch in a wheelbarrow; a single toilet bowl in the center of an otherwise empty room, water flowing in a stream from the ceiling, a bare bulb next to it; Culebra the cat and her kitten Unguento; a kitchen sink rendered useless when a crazy guy accidentally boiled a chicken in candle wax and poured the wax down the drain in an attempt to save the chicken; no electricity but an old European payphone and candelabras; a dried elephant's leg used as a wastebasket/umbrella holder/hat; six floors of abandoned belongings, suitcases full of porn, 26 tuxedos, Naked Color Spectacular; dozens of rooms with nothing but drafts, rooms shuttered in plywood, rooms with homemade stoves and vents; a four-seater bicycle car in the vestibule; a "gallery space" with no illumination; a day-long fast; an abstinence from water; Sam's silver fixed gear with brahma bars; a dusk to dawn Navajo tipi ceremony led by two Arizonans named Keith and Melvin; a tipi no bigger than a bedroom seating 52 with a blazing fire in the middle of it and a tiny hole at the apex for the smoke to escape; two concentric circles of 26 each; starting in the inner circle but hating the heat; moving into the outer circle and losing my shirt and freezing next to Laura; watching a heat blister the size of a baby corn bubbling up on Aresh’s bicep as he endured the fire; kneeling until kneeling was no longer possible but being bitched out by Keith for being unable to overcome physical pain and instead all of us sitting sidesaddle like weak women; 52 wingnuts in a tipi projecting their own misfired visions of Native American religiosity onto actual Native American religiosity; 52 fools taking turns saying what was on each of their minds while a troubled man beat a drum filled with water; pulverized peyote by the fistful, spooned out of Skippy jars with a tablespoon, the powder reaching under your teeth, into your throat, up your nose, gumming your mouth, difficult to swallow, impossible to disgorge, clouding your judgment, echoing the water drum, protracting that strung out woman across the fire’s rendition of “What the World Needs Now” between four and six in the morning; politely bypassing every opportunity to chant or say prayers; watching the Latin American guy heave and vomit next to the fire, which we learned then was a sacred symbol of “ancestors,” watching the same guy later reach dazedly for an ember only to be swatted away by the huge Jamaican man tending the fire and reprimanded by Melvin—in his own defense the Latin American man saying, “It ‘twas a FEE-ling”; Lawrence, dirty old white man with white beard and white hair, laughing at Keith’s militarism, hooting at Keith’s declarations of patriotism and his support for the war in Afghanistan in which his daughter was fighting; Keith screaming at Lawrence and implying the whole history of European-on-Native American violence; Keith screaming at us and implicating all of us in the same history; a break at 3 a.m. standing swaying in the garden with Aresh sprinting around the block for energy and yelling “Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!”; Melvin leaving the tipi during a lull to pray aloud outside, his voice pitching, breaking, howling some kind of high lonesome toward the Bruckner traffic, trafficking in redemption, begging forgiveness for the 52 idiots crying in the tipi and all the people they’d ruined; all of us sending prayers to unreal things, me included, overcoming skepticism to see the unstoppable momentum of faith, nothing but faith, faith naked and blinding, faith as a speech-act that invokes itself and makes itself true; Lawrence laughing in spite, Lawrence and Keith again fighting; Lawrence standing up in tree pose, saying nothing, holding the pose, then leaping out of the circle for a derisive dance around the sacred fire, and plunging through the oilskin hatch and guffawing in the garden and 52 suddenly depressed idiots feeling then that all the collective goodness we thought we thought we believed in were illusions masking unstoppable isolation; the night continuing into pre-dawn twilight, into dawn, into day; breaking the fast with venison and corn palmed out from pewter bowls; drinking water for the first time in twenty-four hours and consequently feeling as if flying; mouthing prayers, thinking prayers, trying so damn hard just for one moment in a lifetime of moments to live prayers; thinking the unthinkable thought of leaving the tipi; drawing out the ceremony until seven; then a processional around the fire and through the oilskin hatch; a giddy processional outside around the tipi; racing with Laura into the building, up past the sixth floor, onto the rooftop, past the skylight Amy ruined a pair of secondhand overalls attempting to caulk, leaning on elbows against the sloped tar of the roof berm and watching Aresh contort and flex and turn cartwheels and yelp with pleasure and watching the slow Thanksgiving boats pass under Hell’s Gate and the parade of shining cars on the Bruckner hurrying to feasts and families, seeing New York in slanting light from Yankee Stadium to the Gowanus to office canyonlands to wake waves lapping on the Jersey shore, shivering from the unexpected generosity of a late November sun, thinking this is it this is it this is it, this is the closest I’ll ever be to transcendence; the unmanageable urge to hold everything in my arms, in my mouth, streaked in the fibers of my muscles, laced into my eyelashes, balanced on the bunched up tips of my fingers; leaning over the edge of the roof and monitoring the bustle in the triangular wedge of urban agriculture below; returning to the garden, sampling a root roast, beaming, hugging, and finally taking a reluctant leave to the 6 train again, first stopping by Laura sleeping in a wheelbarrow to pat her feet goodbye, heading to the Lower East Side, to Rivington Street, to a 24-hour bagel store to search for Cynthia from D.C. but instead finding her outside on a bench facing an empty basketball court littered with potato chip bags, taking her back to the apartment; and finally, sleeping the deepest sleep ever slept in a filthy sleeping bag on a borrowed bed in a tiny room in a shared apartment in a noisy neighborhood in a wild city in overfilled with love.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Me, sitting at computer puzzling through Contracts Part II: Um, I do.
Dad: That's so sad.
Me: I don't mind.
Dad: You should get someone else to cut it. Thin it out. It looks like a hat. It's like Queen Elizabeth.
Me: You say the nicest things.
Dad: [returns to rooftop to rummage around with pipes and hammers]
Me: [immediately starts blogging, hanging hair/hat in shame]
I’m really goddamn tired and not confident in my own ability to write or think clearly. I got home about two hours ago from second Thanksgiving at Emma and Brian’s in
I ate myself to nausea with assorted vegetarian namkeens then still managed to impel another slab of peach cobbler into my distended belly. Ex ante and ex post weigh-ins on the bathroom scale suggested that I successfully gained five pounds over the course of the evening (see “Goals for Today,” below). But I was 138 lbs with my jacket and boots before the meal and 143 lbs without my jacket after the meal; where are my structural engineers to tell me what that means? After the binge we warshed the dishes, warshed the tables, covered the remaining cranberry sauce, stroked the cats, examined the coral for signs of the emerald crab, and returned misplaced things to their proper homes, including me and Laura via a long midnight drive from Oakland to Palo Alto down I-880 to the Dumbarton Bridge across the saltwater flats of the mid-Peninsula. The drive felt more familiar and poignant than it ought to have, though all my heart throbbing was broken up by loud, imperfectly pitched twin renditions of “When Doves Cry” and Erasure’s “A Little Respect” (that you give me no that you give me no). We came home, cradled our respective newborns (hers an iPod, mine a little less sleek but more bang-for-buck) and lay side by side in bed listening to Edith Piaf and the Pixies until Laura fell asleep. I transitioned into Modest Mouse, which prompted me to climb out of bed and post the latest entry in this public/private conflation I like to call Bananarchist.
The lessons drawn from the day (or, as my Contracts outline would put it, the takeaways) include: 1) I don’t need conservative queers in my life [re: a brunch conversation about “growing [one’s] money”]; 2) the promise of a digital music library in one deck-a-cards-sized contraption unleashes rabid consumerist urges in me; 3) honest and kind people continue to defy all odds and exist in this fucked up city/state/country/etc., and I am blessed by something, possibly the Cuban-Mormon God, with being friends with them; and, finally,
4) I have all but given up writing in my journal for writing on my blog, which is all well and good until it comes time to document things that I don’t want broadcast over the Internet. The easier option would be to just write in my journal instead of or in addition to blogging, but de facto what happens is that I blog faithful literal descriptions of my sensations—the weather today was chilly, the sequence of events I experienced today was X then Y then Z, I saw shoulders with tightly-corded muscles and lapsed into a pleasant train of thought—and then struggle for ways to encode the actual aggregated meaning of these sensations within my blog. Instead of keeping the public public and the private private, I make the private public but write in mirror script. (I thought about writing in C++ or LISP but both are widely understood languages and besides, I’ve forgotten all about programming anyway.) What this means is I leave markers that I think only I will understand in the hopes that they will trigger those neurological sequences that lead me to my desired memory, and here I will cop and misuse a word I did not understand until a week ago and call this autointertextuality, happening somewhere in the liminal space between my head and my blog. What’s bad about this approach is that it is a house of cards because I’m embedding memories into trigger words but without documenting what those trigger words mean, recognizing the strong likelihood that I’ll forget all these inside jokes for myself. So here we go again with the physiology of scars and memories that erase everything worth remembering, and here I am again complicit in the shittyness of my documentary.
Now with this uncalled-for exegesis on proper methods of remembrance, I’ve forgotten everything that I wanted to write about/encode on this post.
Half of what I say is meaningless, but I say it just to reach you.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
1) Gain five pounds at Alternative Thanksgiving in Oakland.
2) Open Contracts book and appear productive.
3) Fill new MP3 player with poppy hits.
4) Avoid ramming dad's car into any more curbs.
5) Avoid drinking, driving.
6) Avoid putting off writing today's goals until 4:52pm.
Friday, November 25, 2005
The immigrants' child once again casts herself as victim, hangs her head begging sympathy, and keeps an eye peeled to make sure she's getting it.
Finally made it to a Hu family Thanksgiving, after two years of conspicuous absence. I didn’t realize how long it had been since I’d seen my family until they started asking me things like “So, I heard you were teaching!” (I haven’t been in the classroom for a year and a half), started saying things like “You’ve lost weight!” (weight hasn’t changed since Fall 2002, when I was roly poly from a year of living in exerciseless Kathmandu, Delhi, South Bronx) and I vigorously avoiding introducing my platoon of non-Chinese friends because I couldn’t remember the names of my cousins (there’s either two Stephens or two Andrews—which one is it? I think this was an LSAT puzzle). Eventually I remembered everyone’s name and had a bunch of awkward conversations with the cousins with whom I’ve spent almost every Thanksgiving in memory: “You’re in...college?” and “You study...public health?”
- Grandma, 83, the matriarch from Ningpo in whose house we feasted and watched Chinese historical fantastical soap operas, who taught me the literal and metaphorical Chinese translation of “Thanksgiving” tonight [cue poignant music] as I sat next to her in the corner spooning her rice porridge into my mouth, and her five sons:
- Dà bó [check out my awesome attempt at pinyin, a totally foreign language to someone raised on bopomofo], the oldest uncle, of whom my earliest memory is my mom saying “They have a whole acre of land in Los Altos Hills!” and me subsequently scratching my seven year-old head in consternation at the foreign measurement terminology
- His wife, dà bó mu, a woman who paints neo-Surrealist landscapes that hang up in the living room of her Los Altos Hills home
- Their sons:
- Peter, the oldest cousin, who kept the family gatherings lively for me, Richard, and the others of my generation first in the 1980s by making up Dungeons and Dragons-esque labyrinths on graph paper for us to move characters through, and then in the 1990s by giving us math puzzles (e.g., white hats and suicides on Hatland island) to think about between dinner gorgings. Peter is currently winning the coolest job competition with a plumb FPS video game programming job in Palo Alto.
- Dip, his South Asian-via-West Virginian doctor girlfriend
- Stephen, who is one day younger but got 40 points higher on the SATs than me, who is second place in the coolest job competition with a plumb spot at Google, where apparently the staff is treated to, among other perks, a volleyball court. Stephen has grown his hair out and is also growing a short goatee. The exact words his mother used to describe this weird phenomenon were “yang fa,” which means not to grow hair but to nurture it into existence, like an herb garden; then his mother said that Stephen’s next move in the growing-things-on-his-face plan was to “yang bí tì,” or nurture snot until it hung in tendrils down his face. My fourth uncle asked him how long the “Jesus Christ Superstar” act was going to last.
- Alan, a senior at Berkeley who tells me, fingers crossed, that he doesn’t know how to read but wants to be a lawyer
- èr bó, my dad’s second older brother, a really funny skinny dude, of whom my earliest memory is him doing twenty-five pull-ups without stopping on the chin-up bar in the hallway to the kitchen (which I eventually broke with an acrobatic flourish in 1996)
- His wife, èr bó mu, whose name is “Sue Hu”
- Their son, Anthony, the youngest cousin who I barely know whose birth was preceded by much hand-wringing re: his parents’ fecundity. I was to “tutor” him in “English,” not the language but the art, while I was in high school and he was in middle school, but that never panned out and now I don’t know him at all.
- My dad, the spry middle guy in the Hu family tree, who told me on my wedding night how his father was an abusive gambler who sent him (and only him, among the five sons) away to live with strange relatives in Kaohsiung when he was eight because he was so disliked by his father, who begins stories by saying things like “there was a Chinese guy with a Ph.D. who drove his car off a cliff in Yosemite and they didn’t find him for three days,” who taught me the meaning of improper sleep patterns and who comes to my room when I’m working bearing cubed Korean pear bits so that I won’t starve in front of the computer screen
- His wife, my mom, who I so stupidly and misogynistically dismissed for so many years as a hysterical worrier but who has stunned me a thousand times over with her perspicacity and sensitivity, who is also a really great cook and a person whose happiness I want to preserve at all costs
- Her sister, my aunt, a yí, who looks exactly like my mom except about fifteen pounds skinnier, a retired high school teacher/administrator who just this year moved to the Peninsula while her husband and two kids remain in Taiwan (they’re not separated, she’s just the first to cast her line to America)
- NOT Richard, my older brother, who is finishing his second year of dental school at U. of Sydney in Australia with his Taiwanese-Australian girlfriend Aimee in tow, who is also 5’3” and really into FPS video games
- A fumbly, malodorous, perpetually disaffected homunculus named Mandy who can’t ever seem to find a comfortable place to put her hands or the right anecdote for the occasion
- My life pardner Laura, possibly the most virtuous human being who hasn’t been sainted, radio producer extraordinaire, triathlete, well-coifed androgyne, Scrabble champ (at least one of every three times), all around nice guy who instructed all the interested cousins tonight on the function of “royal jelly” in beehive maintenance
- My college pal Deepa, a new Californian, an intrepid and prize-winning education reporter for the renowned Sacramento Bee, a siren with a siren song, a fluent Tamil speaker with whom I once rode un-A/C’d night trains in Kerala looking for the lentil cutlet monger or the statues of Kannyakumari, whatever comes first, who tonight added “Grotesticles” to the line of erotic cereals we’re scheming, which includes “Fellati-Os,” “Cunniling-clusters,” and “Penis Flakes”
- My college pal Bernadine, the former “hooker” and captain of the Radcliffe Rugby squad, a fireplug whose laugh coaxes even grumps to laugh, who came from Oakland bearing a huge box of “Korean” pears that later elicited a lengthy discussion comparing “Asian” to “Korean” to non-Asian/Korean pears (presumably the former two are better at math?), who played four hands piano with me today using pieces Mozart wrote at age six for two baby hands, who also looked at a picture me sweatshirt-clad on the piano from 1995 and declared that I looked like “Jabba the Hutt”
- Her college pal Sam, a Deep Springs guy (the designation sticks for life, I think) who wore double-kneed Carhartts and a backpack with hiking boots dangling from the bottom (for the Yosemite hike tomorrow) and a pair of orange boxers of an indeterminate pattern (Deepa: “Pumpkins? Shark bites?”)
- sì shū shu, the fourth brother, the only person whose family lives in Los Angeles, the last brother to stop smoking, the guy who accused Stephen #1 of looking like Jesus Christ Superstar
- His wife, sì shěn shen, someone with whom I studiously avoided conversing because I am not confident enough in my Chinese to communicate nuance and I was afraid I would have to
- Their daughter, Jen, a Stanford grad with a masters in English who commutes to the Peninsula from San Francisco to teach English to spoiled brats at a private school in Palo Alto, whose politics are more closely aligned with mine than anyone else in the family. She said tonight, “It’s just us cousins here, plus significant others and boyfriends, they come and go, etc.”
- Her younger brother Stephen #2, a junior studying who knows what at Berkeley, who seemed really interested in bees tonight, who when asked why there were two “Stephens” in this generation of the Hu family said, “Dunno, I think my mom was playing mahjong when I was born and she just said, ‘Oh! Um—“Stephen”—whatever!’”
- xiao shū shu, the youngest brother with the second largest head (after my dad), of whom my earliest memory is petting his twin terriers in his Fremont home
- xiao shěn shen, his wife, who is extremely young-looking and beautiful despite being nearly fifty, about whom my grandmother told me, “She looks young because she exercises a lot. She does group dancing—and they travel overseas together. They took a cruise to three Mexican islands last year!”
- Their daughter Alice, a junior at Berkeley, who is taking her MCATs in April in order to do a M.D. with a public health focus in order to work in a clinic or for Doctors Without Borders, or something, she says, to whom I mailed Beloved and Dharma Bums right before I left for college in an effort to expose her to the right half of the human brain for fear that she was turning into a left-half kind of Hu, who sat on the floor of the living room tonight and made funny remarks about the historical fantastical Chinese soap opera that was running on the widescreen TV all night
- Her brother Andrew, who must be in high school now, maybe in his first year of college, who the hell knows?
In other words, a massive Hu gathering, with friends and more. I would enumerate our numerous dishes but I’ve exhausted my capacity for outlining, what with my above participant list and the three minutes of Contracts outlining I managed today. After the festivities, me, Sam, Laura, Bernie and Deepa walked the half block back to my parents’ house where we sat on the only sit-able piece of furniture in the whole damn freezing place (my bed, eliciting my dad’s “We should get a bigger bed!” comment) and told jokes about girls named Eileen and guys named Skip and told stories about teachers name-called “Princess Wrinkles” and guys who threatened to chop preachers with axes in Washington Square Park. All in all, not too shabby.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
You Remind Me of Something
You remind me of something
I just can't think of what it is
You remind me of my jeep, I wanna ride it
Something like my sound, I wanna pump it
Girl you look just like my cars, I wanna wax it
And something like my bank account
I wanna spend it, baby
It's something about your love that's got me going crazy
Baby, you know I want you real bad
And girl I really like your freaky style
How can I be down with you?
So get a little closer to my ride
I wanna get to know you lady
And hip me up on how to get inside you
Listen, pretty baby
Whoa! In unrelated news, Circuit City is telling me that stores will be open at 5am tomorrow. I love that the only time that daylight savings time is applicable to the lives of workadays (and nocturnal students like me) is Black Friday. Now it is time for me to eat some steamed vegetable buns. Sorry for the incoherence of this post. I'll make more sense once my glucose levels return to something simulating normal.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
It's early in California but late in New York. I've been falling asleep in all the wrong places today--waking up to a fortutiously preset alarm clock at 1:57pm, three minutes before Contracts, with the imprint of the corduroy of two crossed jacket sleeves herringboning my face and a thin film of drool spreading on the study room table underneath my head, imminently confused, looking for daylight to give my fucked up circadian rhythms a point of reference, finding context-free fluorescence and a laptop screen filled with haphazard notes on something called "impracticability" instead; sleeping through four consecutive hours of infant howling on Continental Flight 427 on a folded airplane pillow I kept thinking was a piece of cocobread in a dream of Jamaican patties eaten on an unseasonably warm autumn day in Washington Square Park with someone I loved to the point of agony on a patch of grass next to the public restrooms where the stalls have no doors and the rats have free reign. [I'm full up on prepositional phrases because I'm in a movement-filled phase of the insect life cycle. Now fill your head with images of chrysalises rent and new wings unfolded.]
Sleep, sleep, sleep. Delirium plus. I am too lazy/stupid to write acrostics now but believe me, I'd write them here if I could. Instead I'll leave off for now and leave the pornographic catalog of my predicted Thanksgiving foods for tomorrow afternoon. Here's the unpornographic, totally appropriate catalog of expected feasters--me, L, my folks, my dad's four brothers, their wives, their eight children, my grandma, hopefully my cousin's South Asian girlfriend, hopefully my favorite two people from college, hopefully Jesus Christ the only child. I'll also leave you with the words of wisdom my dad just imparted upon me: "Brush your teeth. If your teeth rot, that's really the end."
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
The upchucked bolus of half-eaten asparagus, the Diet Coke-cum-urea, the coppery tampons and post-party diarrhea, then, all come spilling into the bowl. Some are especially careful never to sit on the seat, some acrobats only flush with their feet, and some enter and exit bathrooms having touched nothing more than toilet paper and, through that thin piece of two-ply, their own asses. We wipe what’s left on our bodies with sterile paper. Everything is flushed through the pipes and disappeared. We emerge, surreptitiously avoid eye contact, wash with antibacterial creams, dab our pinkies at the corners of our lips where our makeup has smeared. The door closes loudly behind us with satisfying, ironclad peals of assurance. We are purged and perfected. We are.
That is, only if we have not accidentally left shit on the rim of the toilet.
Monday, November 21, 2005
Why does this pile of unread Contracts readings stretch on und on? Oh, goddammit. Ah, goddammit. I gotta get my ass in gear. Nevermind all the whining, folks. I'm just in low law period. But it's so pleasurable to whine! And I do it so well! One whines because one must! Believe in the power of the high-pitched whine! Acknowledge the value of the well-timed complaint! OH MY GOD I need to get to work now.
So weird! I found a magnetic poetry generator! (Gentle readers, read on gently):
Though hail is sluicing into streets, my yellow self perserveres. Every existentialist collects, harnesses, and collates time: let only vagabonds escape!
Puzzled? So am I. Now y'all know what Contractz is like.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
AO, gimme some of your Ivy League Ph.D. insight here. Define: diacritics; intertextuality; ontology; discursive management; neo-Marxism. Wouldja? Do “deontological” while you’re at it, because that one’s a real doozie too. (Unrelated: DOOZERS, L's bingo for 94 points last night.)
I think I’m going to read about simple things, like homicide, now. (Then I'll make sense of intertextuality in a less embarassing, less public forum, she promises herself.)
Tyra Banks experiences obesity through a fat suit; Vanessa: A day in a "fat suit"!
The secondary source:Green Days
I felt pinches of disappointed self-discovery when, after the first day of fruitless hunting, I realized that I was just pursuing my old jacket and was still imagining scenarios for its return to me--maybe under a dumpster here? Maybe the Oakland police? Maybe it'll be swept up in a Bay Area updraft and carried by a flock of migratory birds to the East Coast, where a hot gust of gulf stream will startle the birds, who will serendipitously drop my old coat into my arms as I hold them out in coat-desiring prayer? Stupid, vain, unimportant thoughts. Here the regular host of anti-consumerist messages crowds into my superego and stomps around: why buy new things when used things abound and new things are crafted by the supple fingers of enslaved Asian children who make $.001 for every $35 the manufacturer makes and shipped by ununionized workers and stocked by the unhappy urban poor and the UHO folks ringing the bell outside the store doesn't get my money but this cordoruy jacket gets a bunch; why join the pre-Thanksgiving throngs on 34th Street, why put myself among the ranks of those folks who, on the subway ride uptown, comb jewelry catalogues pointing to the fistfuls of stripmined monopoly diamonds they wanted to stud their teeth with, why give a damn about the way this jacket looks or feels or keeps or doesn't keep out the cold? And more metaphysically, why desire material things? And why hold onto lost things?
All those questions were quieted by the Big Broom of Capitalistic Fervor, which swept out every dirty kernel of these thoughts in favor of more pleasant thoughts, like the smoove holiday jazz playing in Old Navy, or the artificial watermelon scents emanating from the Body Shop, and I got my jacket anyway and laughed my way to the bank. But the hand of God also strikes with perfect comedic timing. A little later, while biking in a frenzy to the South Bronx to see friends and the cutest, smartest, friendliest punk rock 2.75 year-old ever, I rolled over a plastic bottle and went flying onto 114th Street. No, no, that's too magnificient. I was neither biking in a frenzy nor flying. What I was actually doing was slowing to a stop a 114th and Lenox when I ran over the bottle, watched in slo-mo my tire sweep sharply to the left, attempted in vain to put down my foot, fell anyway, thudded onto my elbow and rolled onto my shoulder on the asphalt. The dozen or so teenagers standing fifteen feet away from me offered assistance in the form of comforting exhortations, including "HA HA! HA HA HA HA!" and "AHHHH HA HA HA!" In classic nerdery, I bolted upright, said something blustery, patted my pocket protectors, checked my tail and headlights and biked away with my face burning in shame.
I didn't check my body until I got to Amy's. I was perfectly fine. My jacket and gloves absorbed most of the fall. Skin was neither broken nor bruised. The jacket was scuffed but that only added to my [butch] authenticity. My bike is making funny noises, but then again, it's always made funny noises. God bless winter spills.