Archive for December, 2006

Retroactive blogger, 1188 A.D., Wales

From the introduction to Gerald of Wales’ “The Journey Through Wales” (translation and intro by Lewis Thorpe):

He was intrigued by every place they visited, and familiar with quite a few of them. His personal enthusiasms seem to have had no limit: local history, local topography, folklore, animals of all sorts, clothing, language, weapons and warfare, religious houses, food, weather, demoniacal possession, mountain scenery, forests covered by the sea, silver mines, quicksands, geneologies, music. A witty exchange overheard between two monks who were laying table could set him roaring…

If you were with him for more than two or three days and he thought that your interest was worth cultivating, he would present you with copies of his books and expect you to start reading them straightaway, asking you each morning how you were getting on… If a golden oriole flew out of a bush, he made a note of it. If he saw a dog without a tail, he wrote the odd circumstance down… Before you knew where you were, he would have given a copy to Henry, Richard, or John… and then all your peccadilloes would be noised abroad.

Wow, after reading this I’m totally in love with Gerald of Wales. I can tell he’s going to be enthusiastic and cranky and bizarre.

I peeked under the bandana at my hair; it looks splendid and the hot pink colors seem very bright. I’m leaving it in until tomorrow. My pillowcase will suffer.

Tomorrow – maybe going to the airport museum in San Carlos as there’s some kind of kid-focused party… New Years’ at Noon….? And then a kind babysitter will come in the evening, I’ll do my hair straight up and go punk formal to the 007 party at Halflab; I like the idea of progressing to what would likely be insane squalor at the Transfer, downtown, but that probably won’t happen. Other option is to end up at RJ’s house. Moomin’s friend Hamster is probably going to share the babysitter and stay overnight. Then on the 1st, to Debbie’s, hijack my charming friend Jam from out of town and bring him back here. I’ll put him in the hot tub, wind him up by asking him a question about That One Protest or the best route to bike entirely around the bay area, sit back, and enjoy… Maybe we’ll go to the Mint and take a dorky tour the next day?

Oh Gerald of Wales! I love his craggy eyebrows (as described in the introduction) and his obsession with becoming Bishop of St. David’s!

Today after I got home from extended errands & shopping, I went to lie in bed and rest my legs while reading. Moomin came in suddenly, leaped onto the bed, and threw himself into my arms. “Thanks.” he said, almost sobbing with heartfelt emotion. “What… I love you too… but thanks for what?” “The mmmmmbbblembmml.” What? “The CEREAL.” I had bought a big box of 10 different kinds of sugary cereal in the tiny boxes… like they have in hotels. Oh! The cereal!

Undying love, for only $5.99 and a Cosco card!

And so to bed.

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Breakin’ with Sir Badger


repurpled, underneath
Originally uploaded by Liz.

We all just watched the movie “Breakin’” and were dancing around like fools. A stuffed rattlesnake joined us… “Snakin’”!!!

Terrycloth wristlets and sleeveless shirts were worn! Butts spun upon! Moonwalks walked! Rook knows how and has some background and talent in dance, so he gave Moomin a moonwalk lesson.

I bleached and purpled my hair today, and so had it up in a bandana with a hat over it, since heat makes the color stick better. At the drugstore I realized people were not sure of my gender and I enjoyed that more than I thought I would. Then at Cosco (the 1 millionth errand of the day) I got called “sir” at the checkout stand. The dude corrected himself a minute later, but still, I was pleased! Actually “pleased” doesn’t begin to cover the insane and disturbing surge of happiness I felt. And they say I can’t be butch… HA.

In my butch drag today (loose jeans, tshirt, flannelly shirt, too-big jacket wtih hood) I realized that as a guy, the pressure to smile was gone. People got out of my way more. Other short guys seemed to look at me as if sizing me up. It was different.

Oddly – it is just what I normally wear but without any girly touches if you don’t look too close at the boots. That’s all it takes to default to male. Not smiling was incredibly important and I wondered how much of my smiliness and head-cocking is gender based placating behavior and how much is “just feeling smiley”.

After the sirring and a whole Cosco of people who didn’t expect me to be the one to move out of the way, I thought of all the times people have touched my body disrespectfully. I thought of dressing rooms and people’s comments on my being bulgy or fat. And then thought, that would not have happened if I had been male. I would have gotten punched in the face and had to play sports, or something, but for a moment I had a glimpse of the privilege men have of not having their bodies objectified and sexualized and demeaned, and their body images fucked with, and their whole being reduced to whether they are sexually pleasing enough to men…. and it looked sweet.

I looked around me today and saw all the other short men. They were wearing jeans, tshirts or sweatshirts, hooded jackets that went down long to cover their butts and kind of to disguise that they have butts at all. Their loose big jeans even when not falling down conceal the curve between their butt and the top of their thighs. They all had baseball hats on like mine, many with equally absurd slogans. They stood still and did not fidget or smile. They seemed aware of each other in an odd guy way – I think it is assessment of physical ability as if they are always keeping in mind who could kick who else’s ass in a fight; who would be dominant, who to be aware of – the same way that girls know who the hottest girl in the room or the queen bee is and pay subtle attention or deference to that. Not like violence or a beauty pageant is going to bust out in the middle of Long’s Drugs – but it’s still there underneath.

I looked at all the guys today and saw them as women in drag. All of them had some flaw that might mean they were really women… maybe a little too much body fat or a round-ish jawline, or arms that weren’t very hairy; everyone looked ambiguous.

I thought, “If I were a guy, then wearing the scruffy jeans and ratty tshirts and big jackets I normally wear when I’m not in girl-drag, that would just be normal. No one would be giving me shit for it and saying I have to ‘grow up’ and be ‘realistic’. The guys are putting on a bit of an act, but it’s not as much of an act as women with makeup etc… and it’s cheaper.”

Anyway.

As soon as I take off this ludicrous “bad to the bone” hat and my new-bleached straw like hair explodes in brilliant purple spikes I will revert to femmy butch again and will signify my acceptance that I’m a girl and my attempt to play with all that in the illusion of breathing space that I have to do that in.

Am disgusted with the WHOLE THING. I would so much prefer to be an alien or a robot.

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Blogger out of beta and up my grill

Blogger non-beta looks fabulous, except that now I can’t log into it with ecto because the api point thingie broke. Why, why, why! It doesn’t seem to care whether I try the old login or the new google login – both of them return the same error:

Error NSURLErrorDomain: -1012 A list of blogs could not be retrieved. Please verify the account you have created.

Blah!

*** Update – I think that upgrading ecto fixed this – and using http://www.blogger.com/feeds/default/blogs for the api endpoint. So if you’re having the same problem, try that url.

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Let the great book overhaul begin!

I’m seriously tackling book organizing and weeding. So far there’s two huge bags of books to give back, give away, or get rid of! I swear that by the end of the day my books will all be on shelves and at least in the rough area where they’ll end up living.

Moomin and Hamish made Pokemon cards for their stuffed animals. I enjoyed watching their pokemon fight. “Wildrock, use tail whack attack!” “Ratatat, use Avalanche!” (*sound effects*) They like the idea of having cards, stats, and attacks with cool names, but they haven’t grasped the idea of making a system that actually works, with rules to follow.

Now they’re making each other “Mathematics books”. Moomin being a bit pompous about how he “knows about tens and ones”. Why “mathematics”?

I should take a break from my book organizing and play Heroscape with them, with rules! But it’s so nice to have a bit of time to myself.

I have looming grant deadlines and should write about 3 book proposals, but first I need to be able to use my office, which means cleaning up all the books and papers and buying a bike lock so I can move the bikes out of there. It would also help to get the heater working in there.

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Hard at work again

All is well in the Badgerian uterus and universe once more! It’s a beautiful sunny day, my joints feel almost normal, my kid has a playdate with his buddy Tomas, and I’m at the public library writing some stuff for a possibly paying job. What could be nicer! Later this afternoon I’ll make tea for Tomas’s mom and we’ll hang out, and maybe I can go visit Jo or take her kids for a while, the better to indoctrinate them in the Heroscape way.

If only I could make cookies, go hiking, write articles, blog, read poetry, and burn CDs all at the same time!

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Cramps and poetry

Today I was writhing in pain in bed, with the nastiest worst cramps and most sudden-onset gusher of a period, ever. It started abruptly in mid-morning and by 4pm I think my entire uterus had turned liquid and fallen out. I was finally able to get up for real and eat something around 2. Somehow until then I kept Moomin amused, or he kept himself amused. The batcomputer came in for heavy use. He wrote some thank-you notes with only minor spelling help (“guess” and “laugh”).

Since christmas day itself I’ve also been in pain from my toes, fingers, and knees, typical winter joint pain for me, but until now I thought I had escaped that hell! Dammit! What happened! It can’t be the rain because it rained a lot this fall and nothing bad hit me.

Anyway, worst cramps ever, and mostly i just lay in bed groaning quietly on a heating pad and trying to distract myself by reading book after book.

On the other hand….

The last few days have been good for poetry-writing and translating.

I’m in this pleasant haze of being around other people, parties, enjoying hanging out and getting to see everyone.

Last night it was nice to hang out with Caraja – book sale, writing in a cafe, nice korean food, and we watched some more animated star trek – which, as I remember how much I liked it when I was little and how intense I felt about the short stories, makes me feel extra happy. I was thinking how much I wanted to be Spock, and about my male-identifiedness and how misogynist i was as a little girl. I hated girls, girliness, and all i knew was, spock was the antidote, he was my hero. If I could be spock, or obviously spocklike, no one would mistake me as someone who would have those loathesome girly qualities. I went around talking about how emotions were stupid (including happiness).

I thought a bunch about blogging, and love, and relationships, and old girlfriends from college, and the ways that places take on personality and hold memory so intensely.

A moment this week in the rain when the streetcorner suddenly looked like I think it would 40 years from now in my memory — I could feel my future self there in the completely different place looking at a photograph or a memory of how it looked to me right at that minute. IN other words, my current reality looked old fashioned. It was like pre-nostalgia.

Poems are going on in me in response to reading lots of Carmen B3renguer and Maureen Owen while also deep into the “Women writers of the middle ages” book. B3renguer’s poem “Mala piel” is mindbreakingly broken, excellent and weird. She’s so verby!!!! I need to write her back but I’m feeling really shy about it.

Tomorrow I’ll pull it together to write some job-type things (assuming the cramps will let up.)

Rook’s reading “She-Hulk: Single Green Female” to Moomin in bed. Oh, a highlight of today was Moomin’s delight in some Chip & Dale cartoons. He was completely destroyed by them, rolling around on the couch helpless with laughter.

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Fabulous loafing holiday with feasting and loot


mmmm, spats!
Originally uploaded by Liz.

Someone was working, but it wasn’t me. I laid around playing board games and eating tons of great food cooked by other people. My brother in law was the master chef today…

So, messing with computers, looking at books, movies, and just hanging around. It was so nice. And also yet another day of being around people who appreciate each other and how nice things can be.

Plus I’m in a 100% great mood because not only did Minnie make me the flowered spats, which fit my boots perfectly… there is also a great pink and black fleece hat with pompoms. And as I was walking out the door I was like… “Um lend me some of this book series? That our mom just got you for christmas?” and she was like “NO WAY are you insane? I want to read them” and then I pointed out that she’ll be down here in 2 days and I’ll have finished them by then. So now I have temporary custody of the first 6 books of some series by Marion Chesney… “Refining Felicity” and more extremely awful looking regencies. Hahaha, I’m off to take a midnight bath and rip through the first one. I have the extra pleasant feeling of having gotten away with something outrageous.

Moomin and I tested out a Heroscape combat and I think it was good for him to see how you can learn the rules as you go, even when they’re too confusing to understand right away. Then we tried a more complex setup. And then Rook joined in and we had a massive battle! I can see it will be fun to play around with… It’s Warhamster Jr.!

I was all remembering how insane I was at around Moomin’s age to have anyone at all play Risk with me. & then how awesome it was a bit later when my dad would play Panzerblitz or that sort of game with me.

Rook, Moomin, Minnie, and I also played the Dragonology board game, which was lovely in design but extremely boring to play and not much strategy; a bit like “Sorry” with nicer props. In theory also you might learn a few things about a world map. It is also one of my pet peeves of games when they are so overdesigned and snotty that they don’t put an explanation on the card of what the card does, even when it would be like 1 sentence. Instead you have to read and reread the rules until you remember about steamboats vs. hot air balloons, or the technicalities of using the Master Claw card. I can picture some designer saying that the text would make the card look ugly or too cluttered. Anyway, it has all the trappings of a good new-style or german-style game, but without the actual thought or interestingness, alas. Better to play zum kuk kuk or Lost Cities or Kahuna. Moomin liked it though, and he especially liked the little figurines of the dragons and dragonologists.

I can’t even remember a nicer christmas. It was actually relaxing. Next year maybe we’ll host and I’ll have to haul ass on the cooking and cleaning and everything, and Minnie and Vim will have a squalling young sprog maybe crawling all over the place and vomiting on my couch, and I hope it’ll be as nice for them as it was for us today.

Peanut was especially cute dancing around on the big red rug, and locking herself in the bathroom though that made me go crazy with worry… two and going “i’m going to lock all the grownups out so they can’t open the door!” yes, in that complex of a sentence. Ha! She knew how to unlock it but it still freaked me out; though, I imagined, if there were some freak accident and she hit her head and passed out on the floor in there, Vim would easily just cut a hole in the wall, because he’s handy like that, and anyway, I was being neurotic so it didn’t matter. She was awfully sweet. She seemed to like the remote control snake that Moomin got for her.

We all wore our new pom pom hats made by Minnie as if we had just joined a cult of silly hats.

Best quote of the day: Moomin at dinner, giggling, incredulous, saying during a lull in conversation, “Did you just say “Merry Fucking Christmas?!!!” I forget who had said it. Awesome! Hahahah! There’s no way around it since I swear all the time without thinking. As long as he realizes not to cuss in school or you get in trouble, and not to call people names.

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Being surrounded by people who love people you love

I had a really nice time today and felt a huge surge of affection for D. I’m so happy that her new place is so perfect – and now I get why she was freaking so hard at the small details holding up purchase. It is so HER… perfectly in the woods near a hiking trail in the area she loves & very… D-like. Even the carpets are her color and it felt like a roomy labyrinth with baroque recursive corners and repetition, like a house in a celtic knot. D. was being at her sweetest (and is always at best when in a crowd of people who appreciate her – who isn’t – but she is especially that way)

I had a lot of moments of being deeply happy that I was in a room full of fabulous intelligent interesting people who love and appreciate her as I do and who know her well, who have maybe played scrabble with her and eaten her asparagus and red pepper omelets, who like her books and her sonnets, and who might sometime be annoyed by the things that can be … if you love someone… strangely endearing even if they drive you up the wall. And for a very slutty person who is also very sweet and loving and complex I think it is heavenly to be surrounded by people who have loved you a lot over time and who understand you well and accept your many levels of being.

I liked D’s short speech about getting all the things she never thought she would get in life – degree, professional career, house, and wonderful friends – I thought of fears of getting older without having a partner and how she has faced that and yet, how many people do you know who are older, have a partner, and are still lonely, who have a partner to live with but no real companionship of mind or interests or soul? That seems so common. Anyway, there we all were feeling family-ish and appreciating each other – to me the feeling was very clear in during all of the party. It was an incidence of mass compersion so strong that it could have started another earthquake this weekend!

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Hey doctor, it hurts when I press this button

A few nights ago in SF a little light flashed on my dashboard, “MAINT REQD”. Was something wrong with the car? Did I forget to change the oil? (No.) I added oil anyway and then the next morning, got another oil change. The light didn’t go away. So this morning at the Toyota dealership I was told the light would come on every 5K miles and that I had to pay 90 bucks to get the “service”.

What! 90 bucks every 5000 miles? You’re joking.. Is this necessary? To his credit, the perfectly nice dude working the service booth started laughing and said, “No… it’s a scam.” The amazing Dealership Service is a tire rotation, brake inspection, and oil change.

Then he performed the real service, which was to show me how to start the car up while holding down the odometer button. Doing that turns off the MAINT REQD light.

My agenda this morning is to loaf a bit and to clean the house. I made Rook breakfast in bed (french toast) and read a bunch of the “Hey Kidz” book I borrowed from Squid; it’s a very good book!

Last night after vgqn and her partner’s xmas carol-singing party I fell asleep reading an excellent book that Caraja gave me: “Women Writers of the Middle Ages” by Peter Dronke. Oh! It’s got a beautiful, excellent preface! I will be typing up bits of that preface and praising it to the skies. It’s the sort of preface that makes me feel way, way less alone in the world and in how I view things. I now have a swoony intellectual crush on Peter Dronke because at every paragraph I was like “Yes! Exactly! Neatly said! I must jot all of that down! You read my mind! We are on the same track! Hey, wait a minute, did you read my preface?” And much of it applies beautifully to blogging; the bits about immediacy and being outside established genre/writerly communities/literary scenes, especially. He mentions the attempts to say that Hrosvitha was a man, or a hoax, and ditto with Hildegard of Bingen. (Relevant always but particularly right now while Louise Labe’s writerly existence is under attack.) And I loved the testimonial of Perpetua from something like 200 AD. That’s as far as I’ve gotten in the book.

C. also sweetly gave me a hot pink tshirt that says “Word to your mother” with a sort of retro chick on it holding what might be a gun or a steaming plate of food; it’s hard to tell – And some more books and a pile of comics. Some of my presents I got for people are still not here (I went a little nuts on Etsy, very easy to do) and I ahven’t burned my solstice CDs yet. Think of them as “winter holiday CDs” and expect them sometime next week!

This afternoon we are driving in my NOT BROKEN car that didn’t need any service, up to Marin to Doss’s tree trimming where I am super excited to see her and Dr. Beth and my friend and lizard-sister Id3xa who I not seen since like 1996 or so. She has 2 kids. I think Doss’s idea of treetrimming will satisfy Moomin’s new aesthetic tastes. (He admired Ep’s tree very much and also vgqn‘s, and pointed out again to me gently that our tree Sucks and is not as it Should be.)

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Happy Global Orgasm Day!

It’s definitely the holiday season!

It’s a good day to enjoy schadenfreude as we read the email exchange between slimy Republican Congressional aide Todd Shriber and some computer security dudes as Todd tries to hire some hackers to change his GPA! And upon request, sends them two photos of squirrels in his front yard, to prove he’s not an FBI agent. Oh, happy holidays… our government is full of lying jackasses.

It’s also a good day to watch Dick in a Box in which Justin Timberlake parodies himself.

But in more horrible news, we are still in an enormous scary war that looks to be growing.

Meanwhile. It was a bit stunning this morning to open my newspaper and see an article with blacked out words, sentences, and paragraphs. It’s an article about the US and Iran. I hope other newspapers being censored by the government will start following this practice of publishing with the blackouts included. The thick black lines are very effective in conveying the violence done by the state to freedom of information.

I emailed that NYT article to some people in hopes of having it pop up on their front-page “most emailed” list, perhaps even above the articles about how there’s a lot of baby boomers (this is news?), how pancakes are cool, combatting clutter, parenting, exercising, and kiddie therapy. If every glurge article forwarded to me were about the horrors this country is committing in the war then … well… then I’d have some political email in my inbox other than the sometimes useful moveon.org spam.

We provided the following citations to the board to demonstrate that all of the material the White House objected to is already in the public domain. Unfortunately, to make sense of much of our Op-Ed article, readers will have to read the citations for themselves. (See links at left.)

It really makes me think about “difficult writing” and the baroque – here is a perfect example of how baroqueness, by putting truth in the corners, in the tips of fractal branchings, can get around authority & censorship.

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