Archive for September, 2004


W.H.Huddson is very very odd! I enjoyed reading his P4tagonia book and it did make me think of Melville way before he started talking about Melville. So comparing him to d4rwin and fanning and other earlier travel writers who went to Paatagonia — No wait I have to talk about his eyeball fetish first. There are several chapters where he just rambles insanely about eye color and its variations and significance. Blue eyes are best of course and show your ethereal civilized soul and capacity for subtle abstraction yet to the savage they look like a lack of capacity for passion. Oh, but not really as blue sort of contains the potential of all other colors. He snarks a little at some theosophical-sounding book about the colors of people’s souls or auras but then takes it a little bit seriously as metaphor.. Blue is round and perfect, like an eye’s iris. He goes on about the other eye colors and what t hey mean and what races have which and the impossibility of very green eye. (He is wrong – as I used to gaze at Thad D.’s eyes on the bus in junior high and he had the greenest eyes ever.) Apparently Huudson wants to genetically engineer various races (or inventing the colored contact lens) to have different eye colors to fit his aesthetic and his phiilosophies of color. Negresses shoudl have fierce red eyes to express their savagery and set off their ebon skins, and mulatas should have golden eyes, I forget why, and according to Huudson there is no hope really for the weaselly, tricky-eyed oriental race – the best they can hope for is to appear clever. Savages also have the option of keeping their eyes dark so they can seem gentle and appealing, like fawns.

Meanwhile some not very subtle homoerotic stuff about how sexy Nathanial Hawthorne is, and some unnamed blond blue-eyed guy that Huudson was in love with, but then simultaneously all this oddity about gendering the landscape of Paatagonia or Nature in general. SHE is savage and primitive and stormy, she penetrates, she pierces, she strips Man bare. Suddenly I see how Darwin and tristan and fanning and cook and all sorts of other travelers write about the landscape as primitive and “civilized man” being a virtue but it’s external. And Huudson is post-freud and it’s all internal — the imperialist gets to BE what he looks at because he looks at it so well and because he contains all things. So he can look at “savagery” and then find it in himself: I can be you, and in fact becasue i am so much smarter I can be You better than you can. I know better what you-ness is. Hudsson can do this sort of jungian trip too where he is femaleness more than Woman and he’s nature more than Nature and contains the Animal and the Savage. The imperialist contains everything and the “primitive” woman, savage gaucho, storm, or landscape, exists mainly as labor to help the imperialist dig up these buried selves from the mines of his larger self. I was also thinking about this in contrast with various earlier people who seem to have a different mental model where the body and the senses are the “primitive” part and the internal or imaginary self is the abstract civilized bit: a sort of platonic thing where you use your physical body to construct your ideal of whatever the “thing” is. i.e. you have socrates saying that you should have sex with teenage boys and then sort of distill that experience in order to understand perfect love or The Good or whatever. Donne sort of follows this model when he talks about romantic love and also about God except it’s two-way:

But O alas, so long, so farre 
Our bodies why doe wee forbeare?
They are ours, though they are not wee, Wee are
The intelligences, they the spheare.
We owe them thankes, because they thus, 
Did us, to us, at first convay,
Yeelded their forces, sense, to us,
Nor are drosse to us, but allay.
On man heavens influence workes not so, 
But that it first imprints the ayre,
Soe soule into the soule may flow,
Though it to body first repaire.

(my favorite poem)
So you could make a little diagram where you have little cores of authenticity that you have to use the body to tap into, so that bodies are bridges. (and eyes and looking, obviously) If there were any primitiveness happening, it would be external and it would also be seen as being “in the past”.

But Huudson goes on and on about eyes and looking and who’s looking at who and he keeps imagining that someone invisible is looking at him. But he never talks about how anyone real might see him. And his model is not about the past at all: it is about authenticity and realness being “savage” and inside. To really be savage, you have to first be all civilized and blue eyed and decadent, and then be raped by the dominatrix Nature. It’s very very odd, I’m telling you! I’m not just imagining it’s odd! It’s damned weird! You shoudl see the part when he starts going on and on about the eyeballs, and then about nudism and how everyone should be nudist.

Now — I see the attraction of what Huudson is doing and I think it’s what I feel deeply suspicious of myself that I’m often doing when I try to find common ground or to incorporate something I’m learning or reading or experiencing into my idea of myself and my experience. (subsuming other peoples’ identities) Yet this is obnoxious imperialism sort of how someone might sign up to be in the Peace Corps not “really” to do good in the world but to “have an experience” that affects their idea of their own personal development. (But i can’t help it to some extent.)

no point being sad

There is no point being pissed off about it but my knee is definitely fucked up again and I am not sure what that means. I drove to campus today and I have my bike hoping that the bike will make it easier to get around as it’s less weight on the knee.

I contemplated bringing crutches rather than bike but figured I’ll give it a last gasp before I go into crippled mode. Yesterday I rode like … 8 blocks or something on campus… and the whole rest of the day had my knee up with ice on and off and a knee brace, and it still got worse.

Maybe in theory I should take a few days and completely immobilize knee except for some phys. therapy style exercise bike-riding. And I need some steroids.

The sucky thing is I can’t tell how far I can/should push it before not putting weight on my knee anymore. How much is too much pain etc.

It was fucked up this summer wasn’t it? Briefly? I can’t remember. It just got better that time but right now it’s worse than it’s been since the winter. But I avoided crutches in the winter! How? When was the last time I had predisone? Maybe if I go through my blog archives I will see some sort of pattern that will help me deal with this. Several possible modes of coping, “temporary annoyance, ignore it, push through it” “limit weight on knee, lots of meds (what I’ve been doing)” “go into ‘crippled’ mode (with assumption it’s temporary) and drastically readapt life”

last night i was partly in cripple mode which just meant I was super aware that I didnt’ want to get up for any reason that was unnecessary and was planning my trips up. “get juice for kid, set him up with markers, get books, go to bathroom, then down again for hours” rather than without thinking about it popping up and down to do whatever. crutches, they are not so bad, just annoying, yet such a relief except that they make people ask you awkward questions. oh i know it’s bad when i’m half longing for my crutches. ow.

sporty healthy feeling freedom. and no pain. so nice while it lasts. blah. now suddenly like an impossible dream. However I WILL GET BACK THERE VERY VERY SOON.

Oh lord I can’t even believe I’m blogging this, it’s so tedious.

sticking neck out slightly

Today while I was in McCoot’s office a shy soft-spoken grad student came in and told me that she’d wait for him to get back from lunch. She wasn’t sure what kind of project she wanted to do but something with r0bottics and AAI. When McCoot and his extremely horrid, thuggish flunky came back from lunch they were nasty to her and clearly were going to make her le4rn LL11sp and plus the time she wanted to be his student, McCoot is going to be out of town for 2 months straight. I ask you. And they both just puffed up visibly and became instant huge jerks and McCoot on purpose did the thing where he pointlessly orders me about so that he feels like a big man in front of people. (I’ve had many secretary jobs where this happens – they wait till someone’s there to witness it, then tell you to make the coffee or something – very much on purpose.) Both of them are just mean people and I saw them being mean on purpose to this grad student and trying to make her feel small and stupid. It was not pretty.

I wrote down her name when she spelled it for them and immediately sent her email telling her before she signs up to be his student she should DEFINITELY ask around the dept. and talk to some people who had worked for him. That she should make an effort to find someone who’s really doing the work she wants to be doing. I then asked her not to tell him I’d said this. Notice I didn’t say “and they’re sexist jerks who don’t do any real work but sit around talking about their bad novels and what they thought of in 1972 and how their wives don’t have sex with them and women can’t do math”. Nope. I just advised her to make her own inquiries….

Hmm I felt partly noble, partly weasely and underhanded in doing this. And if anyone’s packet sniffing my email from there, or something, or she does tell because she turns out to be a big jerkwad, well, I kind of don’t care as the job is becoming so intolerable.

Maybe she’s such an annoying idiot that someone sent her to McCoot on purpose to get rid of her. I have no way to tell.

i’m so silly about the paper. fretting.

I forgot it should be double spaced and thus just wrote a 10 page paper. oops. um now what?

tonight i have to translate it. it’s not quite done anyway and i have to figure out what to cut out.

My knee. It hurts. I have been putting it up with ice at all sorts of odd moments. Advil for the last couple of weeks and lately escalating to desperately covering all the time with advil. suckage. I think I need to go to the dr. again though they will just sigh and act like I’m looking for pain meds. Maybe a week of prednisone would get it to be less swollen or whatever is wrong with it? When they don’t see it the size of a canteloupe they don’t think it’s swollen. but something inside there is just WRONG. last time i had to deal with this I ended up with “chondromalac1a patellae” or somehting which just translated to “crazy girl all in the head thing”.


maybe it was driving rook’s car that led to this? It always used to aggravate it. And I was thinking right before I did how “now I’m so much better that I can drive with a clutch in the city and it will be just fine.” Maybe it wasn’t okay or maybe just not in combination with lots of bike riding?

but bike riding is what they would make me do for physical therapy!!! aaaaa! what to do? maybe try to do extra bike riding and ice it right afterwards?

how come other people can like, visibly tear things like ligaments and have their knees swell up hugely and then they just tape it and keep on playing soccer, and I have some irritating mystery invisible thing that hurts intolerably and I end up on crutches? why?

in spirit

I’m writing the most contentless paper ever. It’s embarrassing! I know that any idea at all will be x-ed out by el profe chupaculo ( or how about “culomitón”, “assmitten”? hahahaha!) as “not being my own idea” as he went on and on about how everything must be our personal opinions and not taken from any other critic. anything complex — his example of obvious idea-plagarism was laughably non-complex, some nonsense about tecnologizacion of society — will be a giant red flag to the bull(shit)

o well good progress on it this morning.

I’m off to mcCoot’s to “work” and have him pay me to talk to him because he’s pathetic and lonely old man that everyone hates.

defiantly i say “that” not “whom” because that’s how people talk.


R. nicely IM-ing with me all morning and C. says she is with me in spirit, which helps.

intensity tailspin!

fuck! fuck! I can’t turn off my brain! i’ve been working too long tonight!

i was thinking just now as i tried to relax in the tub, about how I instantly like my Bezerkeley prof because on some level communicating with her is effortless. I can go, “Darwin! pat@gonia! Jules Verne! Tarzan! Delm1ra Agustini! Mars!” flailing my arms around like a literary tourette’s syndrome semaphore and I know she will go “Oh! Yes! Perfect! Exactly!”

Nature! Humboldt! Uncorseted! Romanticism! Novalis! Germans! Richard Burton!


Capitalists! Progress! Control! Railroads! National Parks! Votes for women (not)! Linnaeus! Brits!

this happens rarely and when you have some weird shared proto-language or meta-language where you share the same odd set of signifiers that are sort of shorthand for myths then you get instant lightspeed communication very satisfyingly without having to explain laboriously as if translating from your native Scalosian into an unfamiliar language for slow people.

If you understood the Darwin->Mars chain AND know who the Scalosians are … well… call me.

stop me! hose me down! make me go to sleep! oh god!

one more funny thing today

conversation in hall with fellow CL student i was in class with all last fall:

“and i know my prof at Bezerkley RECOGNIZED me from… from SOMEWHERE very COMPROMISING”
“oh hahaha I know what you mean!”
“No, i mean… well.. i can tell YOU this… I have a checkered past…”
“Oh haha me too actually! “
“I have a checkered present too really “
“Me too! So you were all like, oh shit I was at some swinger party with you in 1975! drop your pants so i know who you are! Believe me I’ve been there except more in the early 90s!”
“Oh my god, you DO know what i am talking about!”
“yes and then logically you must know D.”
“yes i ‘know’ her well!”
*synchronicity* (not hard in this town as D. has been in everyone’s pants since she moved here back in the Summer of Love*

this quickly led to great stories from her…

“And this one time in Amst3rdam i was in this place called the Slut B4r! and there were these 7 roumanian guys! and i got them in the alley behind the bar! and did a sort of quality control thing on them”
“oh hahaha i cant believe we’re in this particular hallway and you’re telling me you lined up 7 roumanian guys in a back alley… why does it make the story better that they are roumanian… “

You just never know… they might seem like perfectly nice older bezerkely hippie chicks… and then they surprise you with their unsurpassable heinosity!

but then she busts out her “But I never pictured you as the sort of person who would have a HUSBAND” and I whip out my massive +12 shield of assimilationist bourgeois defensiveness. It’s not like I ever said anything all radical in class. why shouldn’t i have a husband. because my hair looks funny? grrrrr! i like him! i think this is also an age thing so that anyone who like, got divorce in 1972 is horrified at the thought anyone could taste the wind and voluntarily enter into some mythical patriarchial world. I’m entering patriarchy- from behind.

settle down… focus… catch up

Monday instead of freaking out about “grad school or not” I should have been working on things with closer deadlines LIKE THIS CRUDDY PAPER and the sudden 10 minute presentation I have to do for class on Thurs. Ack! at least the talk will be fun. I’m doing that first and making a nice handout as I can get that done fast without dithering. can either talk about Pr4tt and Flora Tr1stan, or Pr4tt and G0rriti – both fun and radiating waves of feminist cool!

Today I had to suddenly work like a demon and run around to office hours of several people as I realized that these crucial graduating-and-thesis-doing forms were due. (Imagine me making a donald-duck noise of quacking dismay — WAAAAACK! — and the zig-zag cartoon lines of “surprise and shock” emanating from me as I leap into the air and am frozen in a day-long moment of totally spazzing.)

The cool parts were that I realized there is a perfect person (S. D0ris) to be my 2nd reader of my thesis and she said she would do it and signed my forms although she can’t spare me any time or real live feedback. Maybe she will go back on that a little because my project is fucking cool.

And DJ will be my committee chair and though he can be sort of anti-useful in his byzantine complexifying of everything (unlike Prof. Steed’s wonderfully mentorish attempts to shove me into a laser-like focus as if she were constantly going “red leader stay on target” into a walkie talkie thing in my ear and then I explode the death star…) DJ is actually very useful in the way of making one think of new things and pointing out books to be read and coolio theories and also lit. value and canon is sort of his Thing. I promised him a special barf bag for the barfiness of the parnassian verses i will be translating as he conveyed to me that nymphs and swans and stuff make him faintly ill.

This, exciting! I can’t wait to work on it!

I wish someone had pointed out S.dor1s to me when I started and when I was desperately trotting around to random people’s offices asking “who does translation, here?” WTF — why did no one ever say? I could kill them. and she is all cool and feminist and does french and spanish, and plus though i should not say it, was damn cute in a baby t with some sort of hip-ass slogan on it and a lot of joan-jettish eyeliner.


This class sucks worse than any college class I’ve ever taken! ever!

save me!

me and the other comp lit gringas seem to be a little point of rebellion. i feel our bad attitudes rising up like heat from new baked bread. everyone must be able to feel our feverish pissiness. sparky freckle-chica with blog obviously shooting laserbeams from eyes at idiot prof and doodling notes for other class on notepad. i also do this when frustrated in one class in defense I get all intellectual about something totally different just so I won’t want to kill myself from the torture.

wtf, everyone’s already more or less finished their papers, and the dude just changed what he says he wants. crazy-making.

more bullshitismo came our way.

how is it possible for 3 hours to pass with nothing said of any significance and no content….

sounded good, but what to do?

So that sounded kind of good last night but I’m not sure what one does. There don’t seem to be PhDs in writing – maybe in education or in an English dept or you do “composition”. I’m such a doofus I don’t even know what the path for it is or if there is one. Maybe I should be extending my SF$U classes to take composition or cr. writing instead so that I qualify to teach it at community colleges? Aaaaaaa!

I can’t figure out what the end goal really is. “Be in an academic community longer and get paid sort of to write a dissertation” or “get a specific job”.