Archive for August, 2004

my day

Up at 8. coffee. email. make Moomin’s lunch. Dress him. Chivvy him about.
(Rook takes him to school and goes to work)
Make list of things to do. Read blogs a little. Write something.
Laundry. dishes.
Errands (today: phone store. Non-productive.)
I was at school by noon. There’s nowhere to park. Tried to register. Nope! Stood in 3 lines. Sucky!
To the library! Much research.
Class at 4. Fear and loathing. Rook picks up Moomin!
Home around 7:30. Moomin spastic, hyper, wants books and attention. Sit next to Moomin while he bathes himself, lamely on laptop blogging about school. Feel guilty for faking attention. “Oh! Wow! Cool! That orca is pretty tough!”
Laundry. dishes. pick up crap. put things away.
Typing up notes for school. I can see that I will want to quickly summarize each class and get started on what I’m supposed to do while it’s still fresh in my mind.
Moomin just called me back into his room. “You forgot to turn out the light!” Oh yeah.

I listened to him tell me about his day. It was way longer than usual! He can tell about his day infinitely instead of just looking lost and saying one or two sentences.

Tomorrow is the preschool potluck but it is also my department’s annual fall party and I really want to go to this. I’m hauling Moomin to San Fran to a boring cocktail party and he can fall asleep at 9:30 in the car on the way home, poor little bug. Not that I will not enjoy taking him and showing off his cuteness.

The beginning of every month will be somewhat strained as I want to go to 2 readings – Kv3tch in SF and W@verley in Polo Alto. (Friday and Sunday) And as Rook will be at his game con… does anyone want to babysit for Moomin? Especially for Sunday? Friday I can take him with me and leave early (again).

Such shall be the life of the young son of a poet?

He told me tonight: “You have grownup school in San Franc1sco. And you have books and you learn about books. And I have M9ntessori school that is kid school and there are bookshelves there and I have books too.” Yes dear…. That is how it is!

I’m going to haul him to the game con for one afternoon, too, even if I can’t play anything — he might enjoy walking around. Next year he will get to go to W1scon and he might be almost old enough to enjoy it.

tomorrow: mcCoot all day. then the potluck. then the department party. *gasp* will I survive? I think if I plan on leaving mcCoot’s half an hour early, and I write poetry in the campus cafe or in my truck pulled over by the side of the road (as is my wont) then I’ll feel much more sane about everything.

Now: should be reading 100 Yrs in spanish. Am instead downloading cumbi@s. bad!

Okay… I read a few pages somewhat lazily and laboriously… Words learned recorded here as a motivational tool for myself… Actually I think it will get vastly easier once I get going and trust myself more and don’t look up damned near everything.

Note to self. There is no way I’m going to be able to read all this and write papers. this is how people feel when they’re all like “i just can’t keep up with the reading” and “how can i fake my way through the papers and discussions?” and I’m wondering what the hell. I am now at that point. This has never happened before… will I catch up? I fear not. I realize suddenly that it’s bugging me unbearably that I will not automatically be all brilliant in class. I like to kick ass at everything. And here I just won’t. I am a huge huge dork. and what a bratty thing to have haunting me at this point in life when i should be long over such things. I’m just confessing to this because it’s in part the point of this blog to make myself admit uncomfortable things even if they maybe don’t need saying in part because they’re obvious to everyone but myself.

read and subscribe!

An article on other magazine — subscribe to it! Because I told you so!

estoy tímida pero todo está bien!

It’s good for me to experience being shy. It’s not like it happens that often. Plus, I can have more empathy for Squid’s daughter in her new immersion 1st grade.

Anyway I was *terrified* of this class. I was afraid the prof would fire off some complicated question about my degree requirements or adding the class and I’d freeze up and not be able to answer, and he’d throw me out of the classroom!

Nearly everyone was a native speaker and the prof talked incredibly fast. I’d say for the first half hour I was just desperately concentrating on:

a) being invisible so he wouldn’t call on me
b) not fleeing to the bathroom to burst into tears

But then like magic I began following what he was talking about or maybe it’s just that he stopped talking about registering, waiting lists (lista de espera…okay that one wasn’t so hard…) and how the class will be graded, and started talking about the books. Now, waffly-ass crap about universalismo I can get. As soon as I started understanding him I realized I disagreed painfully hard about everything said. But I think that will be okay.

I got it that he is old school new criticism, latinamerican style, which means (to me) you can ramble on forever without defining your terms and just say anything as long as you make it sound highfalutin’. Also, old school automatic sexist, but not a mean sexist: literature can be feminist and feminine, and feminine lit flowered in the 20th century, and the best woman writer is M.L. Bombal because she is guapissima.

And yes. I must be tormented by 100 yrs of Solitude. Arrrrr matey! But I can take it. Yes! I am tough! El profe then wrote the 5 main points up on the board: We must notice (and talk and write about) how 100 Yrs. is:

1) a perfect expression of creative tropicalism. (which means…?! nada)
2) the expression of perfect musical language.
3) It shows the personal development of the characters. Which makes it so that women are important.
4) something I forgot
5) It’s regionalism that is also universalism.

I thought this was hilariously meaningless. In the middle of writing the 5 points, the prof told us lots of stories about medicinal uses of pot, and what his favorite cumb1a is, and what it was like in Berkeley in the 60s, and how he got diarrhea in the airport once. Fortunately I understood that all this was his personal life and didn’t take notes on it as having anything to do with Garc1a Marquez.

Oh- there’s more. The exemplary Lat. Am. novel – which is (can you guess which novel it is?) is exemplary because:

– it’s universal
– it expresses a regional tradition that is timeless
– it is pioneering
– it’s the triumph of the ultimate expression of the pure, true language
– it creates a sort of sacred mythical voice of a region
– it has universal themes that are tied to the geography of Lat. Amer.
– it has a voice that’s utterly independent of the author

This was all outlined on the board as if it were meaningful…

Um. Yeah. Can you hear my stage-whisper mutter of “whatEVER” from where you’re sitting?

There WAS one interesting point which is that 100 Yrs. is very much like C0lombian v@llenato music. And that actually made sense. Yay! I can write a paper on that without wincing too hard. And I will lamely translate that paper into spanish and make my dad correct my awful grammar.

i need a phone

What phone should I get? I would like a camera phone, cheap as possible.

Good but not required: no flip-top, because I’m klutzy and might break it instantly.

ruffly butts and stripey wrists

My witty post about trendiness was lost in the ether. So I’ll just give the short version which is to note that suddenly lots of people on campus are wearing ruffly, stretch cotton retro80s miniskirts over their jeans. I like it! It’s heinous yet bodacious!

Leg warmers too, please.

Noted and giggled at: what i’ll be doing while you’re at burning man

another good book lately

The Spoken Word and the Work of Interpretation by Dennis Tedlock — fascinating. This is the guy who did the good translation of the P0pul Vuh. He talks a lot about pauses, body language, word emphasis and accent in Zuni and Mayan storytelling and how wrong it is to write it down as prose, and how inadequate prose (and poetry too) is for conveying the meaning of a story that’s told out loud. What looks like boring or meaningless repetition when transcribed might have been wildly meaningful when spoken. The stories and his interpretations are great. Especially cool – his poetic rendering of a speech he gave at some academic conference.

reading lately

Magic Mommas, Trembling Sisters, Puritans & Perverts. Joanna Russ talks about the sex wars in a series of punchy articles.

Memoirs of a Spacewoman. Naomi Mitchison. Odd communications expert. I wonder (again, I think) if G. Jones paid homage to this book in White Queen?

Love without Limits. Wow, but this sucked.

Asimov on Physics. I’m still halfway through – it’s next to Asimov on Chemistry next to my bed as my nighttime “boring book” to put me to sleep. Last night I was vastly amused by an essay in the chemistry book that mentioned cryotrons, or superconductor replacements for transistors. “.. a giant computing machine of the future may well be desk-sized or less if it is entirely “cryotronized”. The only catch is that for such a cryotronized computer to work, it must be dipped wholly into liquid helium. ”

Since we’ll need a fuckload of helium, we’ll have to colonize Jupiter and mine its helium. Manifest destiny! To the stars… and beyond! Earth needs your helium! Asimov predicted that if the space program wasn’t funded, civilization would collapse because of the lack of helium. And little kids wouldn’t get to have floaty balloons, and no one would get to talk in a squeaky mickeymouse voice. Maybe they’d get the balloons but they’d have to use hydrogen and little kids would be exploding everywhere!

This had me giggling wildly around midnight.

Also read a couple of Carl Hiaasen novels — why did I bother? And once I started, why did I continue? I had this one day of feeling crappy and lying in bed with cramps or something, and the books were free from Ep’s garage sale. But they were SO UNBEARABLY BAD. Ew.

“Emotion and Focus” by H.F. N1ssenbaum. A random discarded book from McCoot’s office overflow. It’s neat! I’ll say more about this later in detail.


Anyone want a gmail account? I just noticed I have a bunch of spare invites lying around. I’m finding it very handy especially for mailing photos and sound files.

closer to done

Well, one project closer to being done! I sent the first draft of Z.M.’s 2nd poem-cycle to her. A day of hard work.

I also wrote another big session of one of the long poems in progress. If I could send out another submission today I’d be satisfied with this progress…

I think tomorrow I’ll try to send her a 2nd draft of the first group of 22 poems. I can either do that or I can spend the morning in the library doing research and writing up the annotated bibliography for the panel in October. It would be such a relief to have one of these myriad projects DONE before school really starts. I’m sure tomorrow at 4pm I’ll have more reading and homework than I’ll be able to handle.

Also I am frankly terrified of being in a grad level class taught in Spanish. I’m so lame that I should probably think of things that I’ll likely have to say, such as some kind of introduction of who I am (if it’s that kind of round-robin class) and questions about things. Perhaps some strategy is in order. Lord. All my life I can just wing it in nearly any situation. But I just know I’ll clam up, and when people talk fast I’m often lost.

Maybe I should force myself to sign up for J.O.S.’s teach-translation-in-the-schools project. Sink or swim…

It might be time to declare my cell phone as officially lost. I will be in the city! and at work! and what if Moomin’s school needs to call me? I’m gonna go buy one in half an hour or so.

I’m not sure why, but I feel oddly down today and had to force myself to concentrate on work — probably I’m just tired. It was a day where I would have rather laid in bed reading trashy science fiction novels than do any sort of thinking!


I think this is incredibly vile… hot sauce as discipline