Archive for March, 2005


What the heck is that giant fire in SF? It looked really huge from across the bay in Bezerkely and coming across the bridge. It looks like it’s in the richmond or presidio area…

buscando al punto G!

My latest research into how to talk about sex in spanish… Yes, it’s for class! I also really need to read some brazilian tranny porn.

It’s my homework! I swear to god!

secret identity

Look! Someone made this great picture of my true inner self! I can’t believe it. I may have to stop pretending to be the Continental Op. Now I’ll just be this dude on the vespa in space.

Behold my jaunty coattails! My insouciant horn-honk! I’m so suave.

here’s the photo…

I’m such a praise-whore!

Really, I’m just not so irritated tonight because I had a nice day. That dude from my Bezerkeley class, Umber, hung out with me for an hour and a half going over every word in a couple of my Perlllongher translations. He was so helpful and nice and we were in some ways on the same wavelength. Can I possibly describe my supreme happiness as he confirmed my timid suspicion that this one thing in the poem was actually about the hanky codes? Not that he is necessarily right either, but him also thinking that made me feel more confident. He also zeroed right in on the places where I knew I was floundering a little, and knew lots of good slang and could tell me things I had no clue about – like certain words that have slang double meanings for being turned on, or coming, or whatever…

That was the perfect useful critique! And I backed down from some of my neologisms.

And the talk on Borehays was nifty, with a thoughtful handout. Afterwards Prof. F. pulled me forward thru a little knot of people and shrieked in her charming shrieky way, “You HAVE to meet BADGER who, SHE knows how to trannslate Perlllongher!” belatedly realizing she had just rudely not introduced a bunch of other people. I blushed hotly and stammered something rather stammery… Can you imagine me in the full, tender blush of consternation and fluster-flummoxhood? That’s where I was! I had nothing to say for myself! Alert the press, for I became tongue-tied! Bashful, diffident Badger made a rare appearance! If only I had said something witty and brilliant… my mind went blank… Oh well, it did not matter…

Then in class someone had brought a tape of Perlllongher reading! It was so cool! I love him more than ever; he was a great and dynamic reader.

And then on the break F. waved around some copies of my own poems that I had given her and nicely pointed out specific lines that she liked and then argued with me about others and seemed to be of 2 minds whether they “fit” or not and whether I meant what I was doing on purpose…

So you see why my mood is great.

It wasn’t raining… there was not much traffic on the bridge… sunny and beautiful with the light gleaming off molten skyscrapers…

The most irritating girl in my Bad Class presented her trannslations, and her process was not all that bad, but she is just so wrong-headed that it was clear she missed the whole point. But… strangely… I could see that she was terrified I was about to dissect and destroy her efforts, and this mollified me, so I didn’t. I waited a while and then just said that I read the possibilities differently… and I scribbled out my own version, but didn’t read it… the thing is, she read the poem with the women being these passive, sad, rape victims…. I very quickly read alll the rest of the poems that went with it (in translation) and… it was much more about violence and ma3nids and the blood-smeared women, it was left very deliberately ambiguous who did what… just as easily a jostling throng of lesbian rioters. So I retranslated it by pushing it too far in that direction just to make myself happy.

Then afterwards this one dude complimented some stuff i posted last week and wistfully said he wished he could write poetry like that.

It takes very little to feel that all is well with the world… I worry about myself a little that I crave constant praise and attention but… a little goes a long way actually. Sorry that this is heinous boasting…. but I’ve been a little bit lost with my work in the last few weeks and just trying to run on the fuel of somewhat shaky faith in myself.

I feel so confident about the translations now and I can totallly do it! I’m so inspired to work like mad on it!

What am I going to do when I don’t have weekly contact with the brain of prof. F anymore? Will I survive? Can I be friends with her somehow, or show up for her classes occasionally anyway and get a fix? It’s a good thing I have this Treetip jury for something to sink my teeth into in the fall.

I should alsomention that reading all these short stories is making me start to write short stories. Expect some soon.

to be fair…

And yet actually I like the prof – he is kindly and insightful, just … sort of slack. I’ve never seen his work….I can’t bear to look until after the semester, in case it’s awful. The students are not hopeless. If they pushed to read in depth and think critically, then —- well, what then?

Then I’d feel like it was education and not a hippie encounter group, I suppose.

snarky snippet

from the Bad Class:

Student, giving presentation: So it’s like, when you put words, in a system, of a language, they become commod1fied?
Other student: Hmmmm, can you give me an example?
Presenter: It’s like the way, Duch4mp? comm0difies, the commodity?
Other student: Oh, yeah. Interesting.
Presenter, warming up: Like, the way, with translating? Like when the N0va car was, like, “No va”?
3rd student: Right, I heard about that.
Prof: Which is like Walter b3njamin, and like, the whole world is included in the commodification… so the idea of Babel… and B3njamin’s ‘pure l4nguage’….

O dear lord! Shoot me now!

farewell, tree

This morning as I worked at my desk I watched the tree dude and his son chainsaw down our tree. Even though I hate the tree for the month and a half of unbearable allergies when it flowers I was sad to see it go. Birds ate the berries… it was nice and shady…

Now the house looks very plain and sad. We need a new tree soon!

bad academics!

This one super heinous bitch from the “Creative Writing” dept. — okay fine, the bitch who was the only person I could find last semester to sign on as my second reader — just wrote me the coldest email! It’s true she signed the form while making it completely clear that she didn’t want to do it and wasn’t willing to give me any actual help or meet with me once in the semester while I was writing the thesis and doing the translations….Okay, that’s disappointing, but fine…

But UGH! she now says that she didn’t understand that she was supposed to come to my thesis-defending thingie. Hello… one hour of her time is all I ask. I offered to accomodate her schedule in any way! And give her a copy of my proposal-to-be-defended in advance. But no! She just sent me the snippiest email. They don’t DO that in HER department. She thought all she had to do is “sign off” on my thesis. The bitch, I’m sure she would not even have cracked the spine.

So mean and cold! And so unprofessional! Way to make me feel like my degree has any meaning, validity, professional value! I’ll just wipe my ass on the pages – that’s what they do in HER department. Then they don’t even have to read it – they can sign off on it just from the smell.

I don’t even care how overworked she is at this point. You’d think someone doing work similar to yours, fairly rare work, cool feminist work, dedicated work… ACTUAL work… would make her want to be a part of it? (And need I mention that the Crappiest Class in the Universe – the worst class I’ve not walked out of, ever – is “taught” by her husband? )

How is my work supposed to be improved by membership in academia or whatever, in being in a public sphere or in the fucking discourse if nobody will even discourse with me? Fuck a duck, man! It sure makes me appreciate the friendliness, the hard work, of the profs in my own department. They rock my world forever! They have what it takes! They walk the walk! They make me feel like they see my flaws and virtues; they kick the ass of my flaws and pat me on the head for the virtues – they suggest extra reading – they read and grade my papers with many useful comments! They must be so incredibly overworked… I hope they don’t burn out. Nothing could be nice enough for me to do to pay them back for their help… I have sort of said that to them a couple of times, diffidently trying to express it without looking like I’m asskissing. And they just go, “Well that’s our JOB” and look sort of noble about it. I love them both!!!

Rook points out two nice things: one that my fabulous geniuslike skills will still produce a good work even without the input I am longing for to make it better and fantastic and beyond fantastic. And that also, this prof is such a damned stupid bitch that I should not at all want her anywhere near my work.

Once again I resolve firmly (Like a Roman and a man… no, wait, like a San Franciscan and a wom) to not ever have a giant attitude and always be helpful to enthusiastic driven articulate people who are doing the sort of thing I’m doing when I might be able to help. It’s not like anyone’s clamoring for my help, of course. But to me a person who really wants to teach will be full of that enthusiasm for criticism, will listen to your vague ideas and leap up from their desk, rummage through file cabinets and bookshelves and know just the perfect thing that will help your ideas take off, who will ask you challenging questions… who are up on what’s happening now in the field… It’s like a fucking wet dream to have real mentors, even if it’s just for a few hours a year! (I think of how I showed up in J.F3lstiner’s office with a giant fistful of translations – and he just shrugged, said somethign like, “well what do you expect me to do to help you? you can pay staffnord to audit my class if you want – it is 5000 bucks.” In his place I would have at least pointed the person to professional organizations and suggested the names of some magazines that publish that sort of thing. How hard would that have been for J.F. to do? Big Man. Fucker.)

I guess I’m extra mad because it’s just the crappiest icing on the cake of massive stone-cold indifference and hostility I’ve always gotten from EVERYONE in the CW department! hanging around the P0etry center – trying to chat with the people who run it – no one cares, because you’re not in that dept. The one person who ever WAS ‘friendly’ was a creepy guy who immediately shut the door to his office and put his hand on my knee and started talking to me about, I forget, Henry James naked or something. So they don’t care if you write poetry every second of the day; you’re not in that department. They’re fools!

I’m lucky. If I didn’t have such nice profs in my dept. I never, ever would have stuck out school this long. It wouldn’t have been worth it. I mean if I’m just going to be teaching myself and writing in isolation and sending it out into a void, I might as well save the tuition.

Class tomorrow will be hell: more “discussion” of Duch4mp. I put something up on the class bulletin board this week with the title “Why Duch4mp is Irritating”. Then my lesbian-feminist translation of a very modern1smo poem… Oh, THAT’ll make me popular. I’m going to make my ideal tr4nslation class syllabus someday…

Also I think I will head down to the women’s studies dept and the english dept and throw myself on the mercy of anyone who seems vaguely feminist and poetics-aware. Screw this prof and her refusal to do anything interdepartmental.

well… cooling off slightly… I think of all the cold-call approaches I made to various translator-people, 5 years ago… it took me a lot of calls but finally someone was nice and recommended 4LTA which is a marvellous organization full of all the nice people. Finding out who was rude or just responded very stupidly or unhelpfully was often a clue to who really sucked: for instance M. Aggg0sin and J. F3lstiner were particularly discouraging and assholy, and then later when I saw more of their work I realized it was no coincidence. And think who was nice: John O., and S.K., and F.F., and my old prof from Texas, Naomi L. So just for a moment of sweet satisfaction, take a look at… oh, dear, if I link to it, she might trackback from her stats. Hmm. Take my word for it – it’s astonishingly sucky and pretentious!

Now seriously, would you want this person in the room as you explain your sincere attempt at making a cool anthology ? I sure don’t!

I’ll write an icy polite letter to the chair of the department after I’m not anywhere near them anymore, this fall.

It’s just… it’s like… it’s the ultimate “fuck-you” of the patriarchy, people like her and like F3lstiner who won’t even allow a moment of communication – of human contact – without you being in their hierarchical structure… all they care about is the structure and the credentials… that is the ultimate unfeminism… So it pisses me off on every possible level, personal and otherwise… Not in my department! Give me 5000 bucks! I won’t give you the time of day! Fuck off! What a sad, sad thing.

Let’s rant!

Today I was trying to remember a certain article I read a zillion years ago. Finally I remembered and found it online. It’s interesting and infuriating all at once!

Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?

pressure syndrome

As usual with intense pressure and its release I sat down to work on the thesis and ended up suddenly writing 2000 words on a probably forever unfinished novel in progress. This is the one about me and a friend driving through the southwest, the contrast between my life in CA as part of the r4dical f4erie community (weird right? or was it) and this strange tense life on the road which ended up being heterosexual marriage (short lived, and weirder than the faeries really).

It could end up interesting but mostly I’m just embarrassed at its autobiographicalness and I wish I could write about something else other than myself. At the least I demand of this not-quite-novel that the other people take on real life and changes and reactions so that it’s not just me me me me me (snore.)

I thought maybe I could write some more chunks of it and then overhaul it completely and rewrite it as 3rd person and try to fictionalize everything. But I hate it when people are obviously doing that in fiction and it’s lame. So I would have to really, really, really, really rewrite it and make it not me anymore.

Or, to hell with that and make it me and put everyone’s names in it and piss everyone off all the way.

Fiction seems like a quite attractive way to discuss my own experience, the things I’m thinking of as “unbloggable”. This is pretty interesting when I combine it with that book on lying by Sisela Bok (in which she concludes that lying is (almost) never okay, not even a white lie).

Anyway. I was feeling bad about spending time on the most useless project possible, but then it charged me up and I got a ton of work done on the thesis in a burst of focused productivity!