Wednesday, November 22, 2006
>> 4:50 PM
"A day without Depeche Mode is a day wasted." -- local radio dj
>> 4:33 PM
Hmmm. Tomorrow is Turkey Day already. What have I been doing all November?
>> 7:29 AM
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
I've whiled away the afternoon without getting much work done. I got to campus in time for the luncheon meeting I had to attend, only to be waylaid by three students (two current, one possible future student interested in the Asian American literature course I'm teaching next semester). I got to the lunch late, ate a moderately better vegetarian meal (the last time they had plain white rice and vegetable lo mein which was essentially plain, unflavored noodles), and then came back to my office. I met with a couple students in the past two hours and ordered a book via interlibrary loan but have done no reading, grading, or lesson planning as I had hoped to do.
In a half hour I am interviewing an applicant to my alma mater.
That's about it.
>> 4:04 PM
Monday, November 20, 2006["It's time for a dumpling revolution"]. I mean, yes, there are definitely dumplings that are yummier than others, but he doesn't have to make his argument about improving the quality of American dumplings the way he does.
>> 11:36 AM
>> 10:50 AM
I am eating dark chocolate M&M's and drinking coffee this morning. I get to sit in my office all day talking to students one-on-one. I rue the day pedagogues in English studies decided conferences were a good idea though of course I agree.
>> 10:40 AM
Sunday, November 19, 2006[Community responds to Taser use in Powell]. A UCLA student gets stunned by police with a Taser multiple times. The article has a link to video footage of the incident.
>> 1:59 PM
WHAT ARE YOU DEAF I SAID NO MORE COFFEE SHOP
Oblivious to the dog's demands.
The Dairy Queen across the street.
>> 1:35 PM
Oh woe is me. I can't stop sneezing. Is this the onset of a cold or something else?
>> 12:29 PM
Saturday, November 18, 2006
"I thought I told you no more coffee shops!"
>> 10:55 AM
But really, I'm not advocating the use of "it" in these situations. My simple solution has always been to use the female pronoun form. Because women rock way more than men do.
>> 9:42 AM
Friday, November 17, 2006
At the restroom of the church (concert venue).
The concert was wonderful. I loved how the orchestra breathed together and how the conductor seemed to be dancing with the sounds that came out of the instruments. The performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 was especially exciting. My favorite moment in the piece, played to perfection by the orchestra and pianist, is the transition from the second to the third movement, when the melody hovers softly and sustains this almost unbearable tension before the piano crashes into the playful rush of the opening measures of the third movement. Unfortunately, but only slightly, the pianist flubbed the middle chords in that opening run. His performance was delightful and playful otherwise.
After the concert, I waited around twenty minutes for the cars to clear out of the parking lot. I hate dealing with traffic of any sort, especially when there are also pedestrians involved. The drive only took 25 minutes each way. I guess the Twin Cities metro area really is quite compact. This church was two suburbs out of Minneapolis in Eden Prairie, but really 25 minutes is nothing when it comes to travel time in major cities. I'd definitely make the trip again for another concert.
. . .
[Cat-dog a reality?]
>> 10:52 PM
At least that doesn't irk me as much as the use of "they" as a gender-neutral, singular pronoun (or "their" for the possessive case).
And now I am off to venture into the deep suburbs (Eden Prairie) for a Beethoven concert by the [Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra]. I hope I don't get horribly lost.
>> 6:37 PM
Thursday, November 16, 2006
I first checked out Common Ground Books, the new bookstore opened by Garrison Keillor. The store was cool but really tiny. I didn't browse long. I went upstairs to Nina's Coffee, and I think that's where my mood shifted dramatically. My experience there was perhaps colored by my coming across [this review] of the place before going. The baristas were somewhat incompetent, taking a long time to make my latte and filling the orders of people who came after me first. They also gave me an overflowing mug (easily solvable by dumping out some coffee before handing it to me) which I then proceeded to dribble all over the coffee shop out of spite. I am quite mean-hearted, and I hate that about myself. As I sat there drinking my latte, a man with an annoying voice sat nearby talking out loud to himself. I wanted to kick him.
And then it was off to the U of M campus for a lecture by Adrian Piper. As I was driving to Minneapolis, I was thwarted at every turn, on every block, by a number of annoyances like the squadron of school buses discharging their passengers, the people in parked cars along the road swinging their car doors WIDE open into the lane, pedestrians blocking traffic for no apparent reason, broken-down cars in the middle of the road, and so on. I finally got to the U and parked next to the building for Adrian Piper's lecture. I got there a half hour early, and already the room was beginning to fill up. By a quarter till the starting time, the room was overpacked (I wanted to call the fire marshall), and the organizers were vainly still trying to squeeze more people in though the crowd straining at the doors was clearly far too large. At half past the starting time, the room already heated up too much with all those pressed-together-bodies, the organizer announced that we were all going to move to another space across campus. We trekked over. The room was a dining hall with horrible sight lines to the screen.
And then Adrian Piper was disappointing. Her presentation was called, "Passing Beyond Passing," but the work she presented was nothing new. She showed a few video clips -- the Rodney King beating video with a Marvin Gaye song and some audio clips of Bush sending in the National Guard; one video loop of children dancing in front of a store with three Billie Holiday songs playing; the video installation of Piper addressing a white viewer about passing; and six clips from Hollywood movies with characters who variously deal with the issue of passing and being black -- and then read for awhile from a piece about blackness that reiterated her decades-old video installation piece's argument about white privilege and the stakes of inadvertently passing as white. I hoped that she might address some things like growing movements of multiracial identifications or cross-racial solidarities (not that new as an idea, really). But she didn't. And from the Q&A session, it seems like she really just doesn't care to consider changes in conceptions of "passing" in the past couple of decades. She just keeps forcing everything into a black-white system with no nuances (one of her points is that all other non-white groups quickly become white in the American racial hierarchy).
And then I went downstairs to the U's bookstore only to find it closed. In despair, I had to get myself another latte even though I had already had two coffees earlier.
And then because of all the delays, I ended up having to pay $8 for parking instead of $4. Grrrr.
But now I'm home. And it's warm and comfortable inside.
>> 7:18 PM
Giles trees a squirrel.
This morning, we took our morning constitutional at the dog park. Or, more accurately, I took a walk around the park while Giles did his best impression of hell on wheels, limbs all helter-skelter as he dashed around at top speed. We entered the park with a pug named Rupert. Rupert was quite confused about what this thing was that kept dashing by him. Giles was a good, spazzy puppy. He didn't try to fight any dogs. His hackles went up a bit when he was surrounded by a couple of big dogs. But I called for him, and he came running towards me away from them. Giles was a little slow following me to the gate when I was ready to leave. He wanted to stay for sure. But he did follow me to the gate and sit to let me put the leash on him. When we got home, I gave him a dental stick treat. He ate it before I left the apartment, which was not really the way it's supposed to work. Also, he gobbles those things without really chewing, which is really not how he should be eating them. Oh wells.
Giles licks his lips.
>> 10:54 AM
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
PS Giles would like to assure his canine and anthropoid (he doesn't really distinguish between various primates, sorry) friends that he is alive and well, though perhaps a bit blurry and bored due to lack of sufficient attention paid to his furry highness by the lowly servant duck and frog. Ahem.
>> 11:27 PM
On days I've had an extraordinary amount of contact with people, I'm always very exhausted, even if I haven't been thinking hard or working on complicated projects. One could probably chart my level of energy on a graph in inverse correlation (is that the correct term?) to the number of people I talk to each day.
Is this so unusual for a bookish academic? It's hard to tell. I have friends who assure me my experiences are common. But these are often friends who are the life of the party and who are extraordinarily outgoing in organizing people for events (both formal and informal). It's less convincing when someone like that tells me she feels the same way I do.
The question I usually end up asking myself, though, and answering in the negative, is: Should life decisions be about harmonizing "personality" with work and play? As I've noted often, I'm often actively placing myself in situations where I'm socially uncomfortable when I could just as easily have hidden myself away. And in other ways, I've usually made choices that deliberately grate against this solitary side of me. Is it because I hate myself? Is it because I want to punish myself? Is it because I enjoy the anxiety? I wish I had some answers, or in the mode of critical thinking I love, I wish I had some other questions to ask -- one's that might get at this whole, stagnating topic of me and social life in new, transformative ways.
On a tangentially related note, I got to repeat the word [epithalamium] many times in class today as we were discussing Hisaye Yamamoto's short story "Epithalamium." Such a curious word, and in the context of the short story, such a provocative title.
On an unrelated note, I just heard back from the applicant I'm to interview. Not only is he a math and fencing person but also a theatre geek! It remains to be seen whether he is part of the a/v crew, a thespian, or other support staff.
* Incidentally, it was a really good movie though it probably shouldn't be called a zombie movie since it is not really a horror movie in any sense. And speaking of horror movies, if you haven't seen the trailer for Office Space that recasts it as a horror movie, go watch it now on [YouTube]. YouTube videos are appearing more frequently in my dissertation than I expect will be appreciated by my committee. Alas, you write what you know, yes?
>> 10:29 PM
I ran into the new psychology professor on my way home. She lives just a few blocks from me. I want to be friends with her because she seems cool (she has a dog, too, and is vegetarian). But everytime I talk to her, I babble inane things. I don't know what the problem is. She asked me if I have Thanksgiving plans, and I responded with some garbled statement about how the only friends I know staying around are meat eaters who might not be happiest with an all-vegetarian feast. And when she said she and her boyfriend were going to cook up a big vegetarian feast and asked if I would like to come along, I said something incoherent but definitely not an answer either way. Why do I suck so much?
>> 6:02 PM
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
We just discovered that Giles likes being bounced in Rob's arms.
I rented a French zombie movie, [They Came Back]. I am going to settle into bed with some hot herbal tea (Red Zinger) to watch it even though it is a school night.
>> 9:43 PM
Cold. So very cold here. My neighborhood coffee shop was very busy so I defected to the corner Starbucks. Mmm.. liquid goodness...
I ate this snowman cookie...
>> 5:15 PM
Monday, November 13, 2006
>> 2:59 PM
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Change of scenery.
>> 4:57 PM
>> 4:02 PM
Your counterpoint is just fine. The melody is a little too symmetrical: all of the odd measures have the same rhythm (in the R.H. alone, and taking the two together), and likewise for all the even measures, except the last. It is alright as is, but you might want to try to improve the construction of the melody line.I barely remember any of the work we did in that class. I wrote a couple of analysis papers, too, and the writer behind them seems like a stranger. In the final paper for the course, which I wrote on Mozart's Sonata in F Major, K. 332, this other Paul wrote:
. . .
While the diminished seventh chords of mm. 25-56 lead to the tonic of d minor, the diminished seventh chords of mm. 29-30 are of a different key, and instead lead to c minor, a seemingly distant key. It is a sudden change, since mm. 27-28 are similar to mm. 23-24 except for an inverted arpeggiation of the left hand. The change to c minor thus creates greater tension in the piece. The upward arpeggiation of the melody line no longer halts and backtracks with eighth-notes. Instead, it flies upward and hits the upper C repeatedly with ease. Yet the harmonies under which the arpeggiation bubbles upward change. First, there is the c-minor tonic harmony in mm. 31-32. Then there is an Ab Major harmony in mm. 33-34, followed by a dominant seventh harmony built upon the Ab Major chord. This technique of building a dominant seventh chord on a previous chord usually leads to the tonic of that seventh. However, Mozart instead takes the harmony to G Major, the dominant of c minor, rather than to Db Major as expected from the given seventh chord. The spelling of the dominant seventh chord with an F# rather than a Gb, however, clues the performer in to the possibility that F# is a leading tone to the coming G Major chord.
. . .
This third phrase (mm. 71-93) stays in C Major and is similar to the first phrase of theme B in its simple chord progressions. The reprisal of the syncopated rhythm of phrase 2 in measures 82-85 leads to a coda for the exposition which extends the tonic and ends with a resounding perfect authentic cadence.
The development section which follows the exposition has a tonal plan that mirrors closely the plan of the exposition. The development starts out in the dominant key of C Major, then moves backwards through the parallel minor (c minor) to d minor, then to an implication of its relative major key, the home key of F Major. In this way, the harmonic structure of the exposition and development is like a palindrome.
The paper goes on for seven pages. SEVEN pages of this stuff. Ha ha. And to think my students can't even fill three pages analyzing a novel.
>> 12:21 PM
For a moment, they paused at the door as Paul fumbled with the buttons on his winter coat. Hat, bag, no gloves. Through the storm door, the cold but still outside air waited. "Okay, let's go." Paul pointed through the opening door. Such a beautiful, sunny morning. If coffee, if coffee, then. The dog ran down the front steps, pausing at the end of the leash. He looked back, his body poised to dart further down the steps. Faster. This slowness when all that is necessary is speed. And the wind against your face.
Paul closed the door behind them. Five years ago, he would have locked the door, but now, is it trust? Or laziness? The three-times daily walks, a warm body at home, the quietly comfortable neighborhood, neighbors working in their yards. On such a cold and early morning, the plaid jacket. The man hunched over, drawing some gardening tool over the dirt. Scraping. This early morning. Some would be in church already. The streets were still lonely. The dog darted back and forth from one side of the walkway to the other. His nose intermittently up, then down. The weaving motion drew Paul's hand out from the sleeve of the coat. "Giles, steady. It's cold." He wrapped the leash around his hand twice. A makeshift glove to shield him from the cold air. Five years ago, it was his first time teaching. The stomach pains and the stressful dreams. Were they returning?
They crossed the street and continued along their morning walk. Paul could feel the cold air creeping into the warmth of his coat. For the last year at least, he thought, those stressful dreams were constant. Not always about teaching now. No, not now. More general. Perhaps random. What might they mean? And the dog had taken to sleeping on his legs.
>> 9:04 AM
Saturday, November 11, 2006[Minneapolis Musical Theatre] production of Chess. It was fun to get out of the apartment and catch a live stage performance.
I still need to order books for my courses next semester. I've pretty much chosen them but want to sit down and make sure the amount of reading I'm assigning is reasonable before I ask the bookstore to order them all. A few days ago, I asked a friend how people used to put together course syllabuses and choose readings before the internets. I mean, seriously. Though I am mostly assigning things I've read before, it was immeasurably helpful to troll the web for insight into how people organized their courses and chose texts. I also found a few texts I hadn't heard of before.
I started reading one of them -- Sia Figiel's where we once belonged -- today. The book is published in the US by [Kaya Press], a pretty cool little press (with, unfortunately, some difficulty keeping up a consistent publishing schedule because of lack of resources). I'm not sure I find the novel particularly impressive, though the blurb on the book positions it as a kind of narrative that should interest me:
One of the most promising new voices on the international literary scene, Figiel uses the traditional Samoan storytelling form of su'ifefiloi to talk back to Western anthropological studies on Samoan women and culture. In doing so, she weaves an honest--and sometimes brutal--coming-of-age story that combines poetry with an unflinching humor to describe the ambiguities of adolescent desire.There are also glowing recommendations by authors Lois-Ann Yamanka and Junot Diaz. It kind of reminds me of another book published by Kaya Press -- R. Zamora Linmark's Rolling the R's (Dennis Cooper and Eve Sedgwick blurb this book).
I had a cupcake today -- the Cup o' Mud, a delicious dark chocolate covered topped with chocolate mousse and a grainy chocolate topping with a gummy worm sticking out of it.
Giles is being a spazzazoid puppy right now. He doesn't like being left alone at all. He pounced and bounced around for a half hour after we got home before finally settling down.
>> 10:59 PM
Friday, November 10, 2006
It's snowing! It's snowing!
>> 9:12 AM
>> 4:04 AM
Thursday, November 09, 2006[this web comic with a duck and a dog]?
>> 9:52 AM
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
I also realized in Chicago that I no longer have a city person's walking pace. I'm slow!
>> 6:50 PM
>> 5:40 AM
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
"I voted" sticker and a mini-pin with a monster holding a cupcake.
Stickers are the best. In some ways, getting a sticker after voting is more exciting to me than the act of voting itself. I asked Parick if this is a bad thing. And he said they probably make the "I voted" stickers for people like me.
>> 10:10 AM
Sunday, November 05, 2006[Colma: The Musical] in Chicago this past Friday at the gay and lesbian film festival [Reeling]. The sound quality was bad -- the bass made everything murky. I wasn't overly impressed with the film. In part, I was just in a cranky mood after standing in line for 45 minutes waiting for the theater to let us in. But the story of the film wasn't very compelling. It was definitely very suburban-angst -- what three friends go through after high school graduation, trying to figure out what they want to do and feeling a conflicted need to escape their small town while mourning the end of things as they know them. Perhaps it was because the sound quality was bad overall, but I didn't think the singers were that great, either. The songs were okay.
>> 9:36 PM
Saturday, November 04, 2006
From an article about [dog pets in China].
The article is kinda disturbing. On a happier note, at dinner Thursday, I explained to my tablemates why I am studying the establishment of dog parks. Mae Ngai told me that she has heard of these dog parks in China where lots of dogs live. And what humans do is visit these parks when they want to play with a dog. She said it's like a Socialist version of pet ownership.
Poster for [Gorey Stories], a musical based on Edward Gorey's stories.
>> 7:12 PM
Service people in Chicago are really surly.
>> 2:13 PM
Waiting for the shuttle to the airport. Am very ready to get home. Not the greatest seminar experience.
>> 12:22 PM
Friday, November 03, 2006
Me=geek. Spent 3 hours in the Seminary Coop. Bought two books. Stopped in at the university library. Yay Friday night!
>> 6:43 PM
This could ultimately be a mistake, but I'm headed to the Seminary Coop Bookstore right now.
>> 2:13 PM
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Ah, Chicago. I have no idea where in town I'm staying. I also am only vaguely sure that I'm waiting in the right place for the bus.
>> 9:17 PM
The weather forecast for the next few days in Chicago says it will be like ten degrees warmer than here each day. :)
>> 4:02 PM
- Send off a conference paper proposal for "Diasporic Counterpoint: Africans, Asians, and the Americas."
- Post midterm grades for two classes.
- Pick up cash from the bank.
- Pack for the trip.
- Hang out with frog and dog.
>> 3:02 PM
atom site feed
asian american writers' workshop
the new york times
jon carroll @ sfgate
the village voice
let bygones be...
the old stuff