Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Weather Outside is Getting Frightful

But inside, I put up my Xmas decorations. Have been incommunicado on the blog the last couple of months because I've been both sick and slightly depressed. The ailment I chronicled this past summer is still afflicting me. I've spent untold amounts of money on doctor's visits, tests and medications and I'm still piecing together what exactly is wrong with me.

Oh and I hate my job. Like seriously hate the fuck out of it. Every. Single. Day. To quote a character on one of my favorite TV shows, "it's becoming a cemetery for my soul."

But on the up side, I put up some Xmas decorations (pictured below).





Monday, October 12, 2009

Letting it Be

Ever since I first began blogging in 2005, I've had an inferiority complex about my blog offerings (this is my third). Specifically, I've been insecure about the fact that my blog isn't about a particular subject (e.g., movies, gender issues). It's just whatever interests me at a given moment, or it's about shameless self promotion; or something I want to rant about.

And I was feeling guilty about that. For several reasons. For starters I'm a frequent reader of many well written and put together blogs - ones with lots more traffic than mine. Naturally, I think, if I'm going to be putting my voice and opinions out on the Internets, I should be doing so in a similarly coherent way.

Also, in the past, I've had certain readers of my previous blogs have subtly lamented its lack of cohesion. So this has made me self-conscious and led to feelings of guilt about not being a better blogger.

Yeah. So done with that shit. For one thing, feeling guilty and inadequate takes more time and energy than I currently have. Moreover, I considered the words of an author I interviewed who called her blog (one of the five oldest on the Internet) a "bricolage."

That's basically what I've got going and it ain't so bad. Even if it is, it's mine. My words. My voice. Take it or leave it, but I'm going to let it be.

They're baaaaaaaack.....Sort of

By they, I mean Massive Attack, one of my favorite bands. As a prelude to their next album, the duo released an EP last Tuesday called Splitting the Atom. Here's an excerpt from my review of it for Consequence of Sound. You can read the whole thing here.
This brief collection contains all the hallmarks of classic Massive: ghostly vocals, behemoth bass, and crunchy sonic effects. On “Psyche,” the stunning collaboration with Topley-Bird, the marriage of the band’s atmospheric soundscape (loping percussion, dark synths) and the singer’s spooky vocals is breathtaking. It manages to exceed the inevitably high expectations accompanying the pairing of two trip-hop heavyweights. This is the song fans will obsess over – and one that’s bound to end up on more than a few film soundtracks
Of course, the band is working at its typically glacial pace, so who knows when the new album will be out. But Atom provides a nice teaser.

Friday, October 9, 2009

My Review of The Mountain Goats Latest Album

Here's my latest review for Consequence of Sound: The Mountain Goats' Life of the World to Come.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I Am Not The One

So yesterday I had a lovely birthday. My family sent me flowers at work, and I went out for drinks with some girlfriends of mine after work. Friends and laughter. That makes a great birthday for me.

On a less positive note, I've had a post simmering in my brain for a while. It has to do with workplaces. Not one in particular, just the modern workplace in general (Disclaimer: I've worked in offices most of my life, so that's the perspective this is being written from). In the 8 or so jobs I've had since graduating college, I've had I've noticed several similarities that mark the contemporary American workplace as a truly soul crushing play.

Subtle (and not sometimes not so subtle) Bullying. No matter how rigorous an employee's work ethic or commitment, the threat of termination always hangs in the air, implicit and used to keep everyone beat down.

Bribery. Based on the - I promise you false - idea that occasional treats like food and drink, can make up for yearly slashing of pay and benefits. Speaking of...

Shit Benefits That Get Shittier Every Year. All this does is reaffirm my belief that health care coverage should not be tied to employment. Because insurance companies and employers have proven they SUCK ASS at providing comprehensive, affordable coverage. In fact one of my major gripes with the so-called health care reform being proffered by the Obama administration is that it doesn't eliminate employer-provided health coverage in favor of coverage for all. Yeah, SINGLE PAYER. That's right. I said it. Deal.

Bargain Basement Salaries
. I realized the other day that I'm a bargain for my employer. Because even after I've officially clocked out, I still have to stick around and finish work if there's a deadline to be met that day. But do I get paid for working after hours? Surely, you jest.

Goal Setting (Remember, they must be SMART)
. *headdesk* So on an afternoon when I could be, you know, doing work, I have to sit at my desk and input into a database my goals for the end of the year. To quote Amy Winehouse, "What kind of fuckery is this?" The kind that says employees have to think up and meet goals all with the end result being LESS pay. Fuckery, indeed.

Team Building. *headdesk II* Cuz we're all part of a team in case you haven't heard. That's why as an employee, I can be lanced like a fucking boil when my meager salary becomes too much for the company's bottom line. As the kids today like to say What. The. Fuck. Ever.

Back in the 90s, there was a raft of shootings committed by postal workers. I remember being appalled and wondering how they could do such things. What could drive otherwise mild mannered folk to such extremes.

I get it now.*


*And no, I wouldn't engage in such activity myself. I'm simply stating that I now understand a lot better the level of frustration and desperation that would lead an individual to take such action.

My Latest (and Greatest) for Consequence of Sound

Here's my latest article for Consequence of Sound (kidding about the "greatest" part).

New post coming tonight, I promise!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tired

A few weeks ago I wrote the following in my journal.
I hate my ass. It's big and protruding. It's not curvy, it's just round and ugly and flabby. It was that way even when I'd slimmed down. I hated it then, too. I even hate it more than the pouch of my stomach or my saddlebag thighs.

I remember the first time I became self conscious about my ass. I was maybe 15 or 16 and a bunch of friends and I were at a pool party. My friend Mary and I were in our bathing suits and our friends teased us about how big our asses looked in them. It was all in fun, but I remember thinking "Fuck! A big ass. One more fucking thing to be self conscious about." Cuz being teased about having nappy hair for all of grade school and high school was not enough.

I've tried to make piece with my ass. But it's difficult, because I Still. Fucking. Hate. It.
Like everyone, I have days of body loathing. I also have days when I don't hate my body. But I hate my ass pretty much every day. Did I wake up one day and decide to hate my ass? No. But I got the message early on that my shape is unacceptable in the eyes of society. It's a message about 99.999% of women get and we all spend our lives coping (or not coping) with that reality.

Earlier this year, I decided to stop dieting. Up to that point, I'd been dieting for 7 years straight, which, of course is nothing compared to the lifetime of yo-yo dieting others have dealt with . So, 7 years wasn't a terribly long time to be dieting, but looking back, it was a fucking eternity, because it turns out that dieting fucks you up both mentally and physically. Every day (and I do mean EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.) was spent worrying about what I ate, how much I'd eaten, whether I'd exercised to make up for eating too much. And after 7 years of doing that, I'd started to gain some of that weight back. So, I said fuck it. I was tired - fucking TIRED - of feeling like shit about myself every fucking day. So, I decided to ask my body what it wanted - in terms of food and activity. NOT what I needed to do to make my body smaller, but what my body needs to be strongd and healthy. And no, thinness does not = health. And frankly, I'm tired (there's that word again) of people acting like they want everyone to get thin so they can get healthy. If you're gonna get your fat hate on, at least own it.

Tired. I am tired of being told by everyone under the sun - my peers, society, advertising, product manufacturers - that I am not good enough the way I am. Fuck you. FUCK. YOU.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Reviewed the Beatles!

I know. Where do I get off reviewing legends, right? LOL.

Read my review of With The Beatles here.

I also reviewed Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson's Break Up album. And you know, it's not half bad.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Eight Years Ago

It's hard to put into words my thoughts on this 8th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Below is an excerpt from a journal entry from Sept. 24, 2001. (Disclaimer: It's raw, somewhat incoherent rant, so bear with its imperfections).

Is it possible to do justice to everyone's grief? Those who lost loved ones. The rescuers. The people who survived? I feel my own pain, but I always believe it is less important than the grief of those who suffered far more than I did. I feel inadequate. Helpless.

I cried for those who were lost like they were my own.

And they were.

As human beings, we spend our entire lives trying to separate ourselves from each other. It takes something like Sept. 11 to remind us that, whether we like it or not, we are brothers and sisters.

I hear lots of talk about encouraging world leaders to work together.

NO SHIT, YA MORONS! We have no choice. We have only one planet! We destroy it and each other and we're fucked. Fucked.

Back to the grief...and the guilt. Others are grieving. I am too, but it's infinitely easier for me to carry on. I've thought of little else since but it doesn't consume me as much. My heart weeps for those who don't have it so easy, and I feel guilty. True, it's a selfish emotion, but also an inexorable one.


So much has happened to the country - and to me - since then. In many ways, 2001 feels a lifetime ago. I moved out of New York two years ago. I'm in another big city. In some ways we've learned a lot and in other ways, we've either learned the wrong lesson or nothing at all.

Yet, even now, with so much time passed, if I close my eyes, I can easily be transported back to that day. I remember what I was wearing. What I ate for breakfast. The weather. That day - and the lives lost on it - will never leave me.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Another Review & Some Catching Up To Do

Here's a review of múm's album Sing Along to Songs You Don't Know.

I have been delinquent in my blogging of late for two reasons:

1. I moved last week and am still in the process of unpacking.

2. The US Open is on and, frankly, when Grand Slam tennis is on, I cease to do much else.

In any event, I promise to be better at the blogging in the future. In the meantime, off to watch tennis!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Album Review: Ingrid Michaelson's Everybody

Happy Thursday. Here is my latest album review from Consequence of Sound.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Black Women and Eating Disorders

Author's Note: This post is for Arynne :-)

Hallelujah! Someone has finally written a book about black women and eating disorders. Playwright Stephanie Covington Armstrong has written a memoir of her struggle with bulimia called Not all Black Girls Know How to Eat. I learned about this book via a post on The F Word blog.

Like millions of American women, I have struggled with disordered eating and body image issues. But being a black woman has meant that my struggles with said issues are (not surprisingly) often dismissed or ignored. Needless to say, I've been waiting for a book like this (and have actually thought about writing one myself). I may run out and buy it this weekend. And I'll definitely post a review once I've read it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Shutting Down My Life

That's what packing up to move feels like. The actual move takes a few hours (at least that's my hope), but replanting your life after uprooting it takes weeks, even months. Moving day is tomorrow and every time I think about it, my stomach churns violently.

Anyway, as a result, I'm probably going to be offline for the next week or so. At least then I'll have an excuse for not blogging.

My latest article on Consequence of Sound is really just an excuse to gush about one of my all-time favorite albums, The Roots' Things Fall Apart.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Hatred of Moving

It is strong. It is constant. I'd been stalling on starting to pack, because I wanted to delay for as long as I could the act of turning my house into a war zone. But that's kind of what has to happen when moving. So I bit the bullet and got packing in earnest yesterday and today. It's flippin' exhausting, but whatever. It must be done, and there's no packing fairy who's going to come do it for me. I think after every move, I've blocked how difficult it is to uproot my existence from one place and move it to another. Well, I'm remembering now.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Writing Project and More

My latest articles for Consequence of Sound are up. You can read my review of the Garden State soundtrack here as well as my snarky take on Michael Jackson's "Liberian Girl" video.

I have been remiss in blogging over the last week because I've begun preparing for my move at the end of the month. For a while, I had been in denial that it was actually happening. No, that's not exactly true. I wasn't in denial that the move was happening; it was more a refusal to accept that I alone would be doing the packing. But in the last week, I've had to buckle down (which has meant packing a total of maybe 6 boxes - but it's better than nothing).

In other news, my dear friend and fellow blogger, GardeningJo have decided to try a co-writing project. I'd love to describe what that entails, but si nce we ourselves don't yet know, that would be a bit difficult.

Happy Wednesday, y'all!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

On Susan Boyle's Makeover

Cuz God forbid the woman walk around the world looking like she always has. UGH, right? After being deemed to ugly to sing well and debunking that bullshit assumption, she was deemed to ugly to be in the entertainment business. So, for the feature on her in Harper's, she's been made over to be made palatable to the rest of the world. Just in case we needed further reminders that being yourself isn't enough, that you must outsource your beauty and self-worth in order to be deemed acceptable. And we need such reminders, don't we? After all, it's not like we're not inundated with them every. fucking. day. I mean, if we're not reminded that we were all born ugly and need a stylist and a trainer and a nutritionist to make us look good, we might actually cultivate self-esteem for more than 5 fucking minutes.

[/sarcastic rant over]

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Last Word on The Raveonettes

My review of their Saturday night show at the Empty Bottle.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Raveonettes at the Empty Bottle

As I mentioned in my Lollapalooza post below, I had the chance to see Denmark's Phil Spector-meets-Velvet-Underground group, The Raveonettes both at Lollapalooza and at the Empty Bottle, a local Chicago club. I preferred the gig at Empty Bottle because it was more intimate. Here they are doing "Attack of the Ghost Riders" from 2002's Whip It On EP.

Lollapalooza 2009: A Big Ass Mess of Fucking People

That's a direct quote from a festivalgoer, and trust me when I say it was no exaggeration. The first three pictures tell the whole story: a sweaty, dusty sea of humanity and scorching heat. In the midst of a summer that hasn't felt like summer, Mother Nature decided to save the two hottest days of the year for the Saturday and Sunday of this year's Lollapalooza festival. It's probably a good thing that I didn't know there was a heat advisory in effect for most of the day. That certainly wouldn't have helped my heat coma or my dehydration headache. It was one of those sticky hot days where everything that blows on you stays on you - all day long. About 4 hours into the festivities, I started dreaming about when I'd be able to take a shower.

That said, my friends and I still had fun. The best part of the day for me was seeing Danish rockers The Raveonettes at the PlayStation stage. They rocked as hard as they had the night before at the Empty Bottle. I managed to get a couple of photos (#3 and #4 below).

Inexplicably, it began to get windy and cool in the interval between Snoop Dogg's set and The Killers' show-closing performance (The crowd for Snoop Dogg and The Killers was INSANE. I don't remember it being as crowded last year for Kanye West's performance - and he's a native Chicagoan.) The sun was replaced by dark clouds and I felt a couple of rain drops. Though I would have welcomed some rain, my cloth bag and blanket would not. In any event, the rain never materialized and I ended up leaving half an hour into The Killers' performance. Not that it wasn't good, but by that point, my heat headache was overpowering.

Anyhoo, if you want more in depth info on this year's Lolla, check out Consequence of Sound, which had great Lolla coverage all weekend along.






Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Pre-Move Purge Has Begun

This morning, I started going through some of my stuff in preparation for my move at the end of the month. I hate moving. I hate going through the stuff I put away so I wouldn't have to deal with it. It takes hours and always exhausts me. I only got through two shelves in one closet and started packing some books. That exercise yielded THREE bags of garbage. After taking those bags down, I was too tired to go on-lol. This is gonna be a pain in the ass.

I hate moving.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Album Review

Hey all. Here's my latest article - an album review - for Consequence of Sound. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Good Hair?

Below is the trailer for Chris Rock's documentary Good Hair. The film purports to take a comedic look at black women's hair - the perms, the weaves, the angst. I'm simultaneously intrigued by and wary of this film. On the one hand, it'll be interesting to see an issue that affects millions of black women addressed in a film. On the other hand, I'm getting a whiff of more stereotypes being perpetuated in this trailer. "Oooh, let's point and laugh at the women who are obsessed with their hair. Hardy har har." Yes, let's laugh without unpacking the why.

That said, I'm reserving final judgment till I see the movie. Watch the trailer and judge for yourself.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Latest So-Called National Conversation on Race

Frank Rich says it best in his latest NYT column:

THE comforting thing about each “national conversation on race” is that the “teachable moment” passes before any serious conversation can get going.
The one thing Frank doesn't say in this column and the one thing I keep thinking every time we have one of these "national conversations on race" is that until everyone is ready to have an honest conversation about race, everyone can shut up about it. Until everyone can start the conversation from the premise that structural inequality, institutional racism and skin privilege exist and govern much of what happens in this society, everyone can shut the fuck up about it. Seriously SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP.

Because trying to prove to a disbelieving person that these things exist and exert influence over everyone's lives every. single. day. is like trying to reason with the birthers. It is an exercise in futility and a good way to drive oneself insane.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Blog Roundup

Ever have one of those days where you're just like "What the fuck? Seriously. WHAT. THE. FUCK." I don't want to say today was bad. Work went well. The weather was nice. I may have found an apartment. But other things that I needed to go right, did not. And I'm struggling not to let it piss all over my weekend.

Anyway, this post is for me to share some of the blogs that have been consuming a lot of my free time lately. I've been feeling radicalized on three related subjects: feminism, fat/body acceptance, and racism. In my net travels, I've stumbled onto a few blogs that I felt were giving voice to feelings I've had and some I didn't know I had.

While doing research for a school project, I found the feminist blog Bitch PhD, which led me to Shapely Prose, a fat/body acceptance blog that opened and then blew my mind. Reading that blog was the first time I came to see fat acceptance as a social justice movement. Reading SP also led me to Fat Nutritionist, Angry Black Bitch, an awesome blog about many things, but mostly about some of the affects of racism. ABB led me to Racialicious, which bills itself as "the intersection of race and pop culture," and features an awesome podcast called Addicted to Race. I actually don't remember how I found out about Jezebel. I must have seen it linked elsewhere. It's an excellent blog that takes on sexism in the media in the snarky voice of its parent, Gawker.

So, this is where I'm spending a good portion of my online time. Read. Agree. Disagree. Or Ignore. It's your call.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

On Viewing Myself Through Others’ Eyes - Or Am I Really That Intimidating?

I rarely post pictures of myself here, but this one is germane to the post I’m writing today. Because this post relates not just to how I look, but I how I look to other people.

True story. Back when I was living in New York City, I went with my best friend and then-roommate, E to a birthday party for one of our good friends, C. At the time, we lived in the East 90s and C lived in the West 100s (this makes sense if you’ve ever lived or worked in NYC for even a short period of time). In any event, we made our way across the east-west chasm to C’s apartment building. I remember two things about that night. 1) I was wearing incredibly uncomfortable heeled sandals; and 2) the reaction of the person who opened the door when we got to the apartment.

As E fumbled in her purse, I rang the bell. A young Asian woman, who I later learned was C’s roommate opened the door and greeted me with a look of fear. It lasted mere seconds, but I remember it as clearly as if it had happened yesterday. Her look seemed to ask: “Who invited the scary black girl?”

My initial impulse was to laugh. Me? Intimidating? My mother and sister would bust a gut laughing at the very thought. They’ve spent most of my life telling me that I need to be more assertive. So, the idea that someone would look at me and find me remotely intimidating is, as I noted earlier, pretty laughable.

But the fact that I am the least intimidating person you could ever meet is beside the point. Perfect strangers see me and my skin color, my hair and goodness knows what else screams “SCARY!” to them. It would be laughable if it weren’t so disturbing and sad.

The experience of seeing the look on that woman's face drove home to me - once again - that the meme of African-Americans as scary and inherently threatening is one we've all internalized to one degree or another.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Music Got My Head Spinnin' All Around

Every now and then, I go a little nuts and listen to a bunch of music, when I should be doing something more productive, like finishing my book or writing my review that's due in two days. Tonight is one of those nights. So, here's what I've been listening to.

The Roots
Medeski, Martin & Wood
Jamiroquai (of course-lol)
Roots Manuva
Radiohead
Lo Fidelity All Stars
Modjo


Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Datsuns

So, last Wednesday, I went to see The Datsuns, a New Zealand rock band, at The Empty Bottle (a local venue in Chicago). I was covering the show for Consequence of Sound. It was kind of a fish out of water experience for me. I only recently discovered the band (as in, a week before the show-lol). Anyway, here's the review I wrote for the website. Enjoy!

Why Didn't I Read This a Week Ago

I could have saved myself and my blood pressure a lot of agita by following the simple Judge Sotomayor Confirmation Hearing Preparedness steps. Ah well, live and learn as they say.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Feature on Consequence of Sound

Here is my latest article for Consequence of Sound. This one is a profile of a local live venue, Schubas, which is in the Lakeview neighborhood in Chicago.

I'm really getting into this writing-regularly-for-pleasure-and-not-for-a-grade thing.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I've Got Your Flat Stomach Rule Right Here!

I need to rant for just a minute (ok, maybe a little more than a minute). I cannot be the only person who is sick and tired of seeing those flat stomach ads on every damned website I visit. If I never have to lay eyes on the words "1 rule to a flat stomach: obey!" it will be too fucking soon.

First off, I hate the use of the word "obey." It has not escaped my notice that this word is always placed above a once-fat-but-newly-svelte woman. Obey. Because clearly that's the problem plaguing women, all of whom apparently need to lose weight - at least that's the assumption. And there's the ever-present assumption that fatties are too morally and emotionally weak to lose weight, so they must constantly be scolded like disobedient children. Until they get their (fat) asses in line and OBEY, fatties aren't entitled to respect and dignity.

This is the implication behind ALL diet literature - even when the diet isn't called a diet. If they make you feel bad enough about yourself, you'll be bullied into losing weight, damn the consequences to your metabolism and your psyche.

Having dieted, I know this is how all diet programs work. But something about these flat stomach ads sends me over the edge more than the average Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers shilling. Maybe it's the body objectification that SCREAMS "your self-worth is tied to the flatness of your stomach." We're not whole people anymore, we're slabs of flesh. Fan-fucking-tastic!

Maybe it's the fact that, once again, women are singled out as most in need of weight intervention, because heaven knows, we voracious females need to have our appetites reined in.

Or maybe it's the fact that just as some of us began challenging the notion that weight loss should be a lifelong obsession, the diet industry roars back with ads basically saying "screw you and your attempts to maintain self-esteem, regardless of your weight!"

It's true. At $55 billion a year, the diet industry isn't going anywhere. But then again, neither is the fat/body acceptance movement. So, here's my one rule I need the diet industry to obey - go fuck yourselves!

Monday, July 20, 2009

What's it called when race-based preferences benefit white men?

Oh right! When race-based preferences benefit white men, they're called the status quo. In today's NY Times columnist Ross Douthat scolds the proponents of affirmative action for perpetuating race-based preferences. He hopes affirmative action can be eliminated by 2028, because obviously, the entrenched and institutionalized racism and sexism that has been part of this country's history since its founding will all be over.

And he's serious, too, writing lines like this with a straight face.
As this generation rises, race-based discrimination needs to go. The explicit scale-tipping in college admissions should give way to class-based affirmative action; the de facto racial preferences required of employers by anti-discrimination law should disappear.
The best thing about this op-ed are the rockin' comments that follow it, because some of my everyday fellow Americans do an admirable job of ripping this dipwad a new asshole.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What I Want to Write

When I woke up this morning, I decided that writing a novel is not my ultimate goal as a writer. Instead, I want to write a long - maybe 20,000-word - essay or magazine article. One that I have to research for 9 or 10 months, interview hundreds of people, read tons of books, newspaper articles, research papers, etc. Maybe I'll get to the novel eventually.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Latest Article and Catching Up for the Week

Here is my latest article for Consequence of Sound.

On the catch up front, I had a minor flip out today at Screenz, the local Internet cafe/fax & copy center. I had to fax something and was already feeling annoyed that I had to go somewhere and pay to do it. So I wasn't in the best mood when I got to the store. When I gave the clerk my debit card to pay for the 3 pages I was faxing, he told me that there was a $5 minimum for faxing. That's when I kind of lost it. I didn't yell at him, I just muttered that it was irritating that I was now going to have to leave the store, find an ATM, get money and come back. I stormed out of the store and cursed all the way to Walgreens. I was convinced that this $5-minimum rule was being invoked just to annoy the shit out of me. Which is ridiculous of course. But, as I said, I wasn't in the most rational mood. Also, I hate it when customer service people parrot dumb rules that inconvenience me, then stand there like blocks of wood while you try to reason with them.

In happier news, I saw the new Harry Potter movie today and I loved it. I realized it's been years since I finished reading the series, and I miss the characters and the story. Maybe it's time to revisit them - you know, when I'm done reading the 15 books on my "to-read" list.

A New Name?

One of my readers says the title of my blog is too negative. She suggests a new name. Do others agree? I called the blog "I Hate Writing" because when I'm in the act of writing, I do hate it-lol. Fellow writers, y'all know how I feel.

But maybe the name isn't projecting a positive enough image. And contrary to my various rants here, I'm generally positive.

So, readership (all four of you :-) feel free to post suggestions for a new name in the comments.

And Happy Friday!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My Least Favorite Words in the English Language

"Our computer system is down," which is usually code for "we can't do what you need us to do because we're paralyzed with out the holy, all powerful computer" and "you can't be mad at us, because it's the computer's fault."

These words just make me want to slap people into the ground. FUCK YOU and your computer system. Honestly, what the fuck did we do before computers? Did we get work done? For fuck's sake. UGH.

I have heard that phrase entirely too much in the last few days.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Roger's Tears




Federer cries during the 2009 Australian Open trophy ceremony.







Per Wikipedia
The term crying (pronounced [ˈkraɪɪŋ] from Middle English crien or Old French crier [1]) commonly refers to the act of shedding tears as a response to an emotional state in humans. The act of crying has been defined as "a complex secretomotor phenomenon characterized by the shedding of tears from the lacrimal apparatus, without any irritation of the ocular structures"
I got thinking about this when the tennis media reminded us that back in January, Roger Federer was in floods of tears after losing the Australian Open final to Rafael Nadal. Boy, did he get a lot of grief from the there's-no-crying-in-sports brigade. He was also accused of stealing the spotlight from Nadal, which was, nonsense of course. But I digress.

I've always loved Roger's tears, because a) he cries whether he wins or loses, and b) his show of emotion tells us how much it means to him to compete at the highest level of a sport he loves. Plus, Roger's Melbourne Meltdown led to one of my all-time favorite tennis photos.

In some ways, crying is a strange physiological phenomenon. It is the body responding to workings of the mind and heart, territory even the most advanced scientifc research still struggles to explain.

I have no other big statement to make about tears (lol), this post is just an observation about how they're sometimes perceived by others. I'll end with the poem below about tears.

Tears, idle tears,
Stop!
Tears, soulful tears,
Start!
Tears, helpless tears,
Continue!
Tears, determined tears,
Reach!


Before I accepted
The life of aspiration,
My tears were the tears
Of real sorrow.
Now that I have accepted
The life of aspiration,
My tears are not tears of sorrow
But tears of real joy.


I like the tears
That flow from the depth
Of my helpless despair.
I love the tears
That flow from the depth
Of my dawning aspiration.
I adore the tears
That flow from the depth
Of my Liberation-sea.



By: Sri Chinmoy

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Current Musical Obsession: Gotye

Pronounced "gore-te-yay," Gotye is Melbourne, Australia-based musician Wally De Backer. His second album Like Drawing Blood has taken over my life in the last few days. Below is the video for the awesome song "Learnalilgivinanlovin," which comes on like a lost Motown outtake - and sounds nothing like the rest of the album. Released in 2006, Like Drawing Blood (so named for its arduous, two-year recording sessions) is a pastiche of pop music, with alternative, electro, indie, ska and reggae all making appearances. The schizo inclusion of diverse genres actually works. I'm just in love with this guy's music.

Friday, July 10, 2009

On My Mind

It's been a strange week. I came off a truly great weekend with my best friend, who came to visit for 4th of July. It's amazing how, even though we no longer live together, we can just pick up where we left off when we did. Hanging out with her was wonderful, especially since she got to meet some of My Chicagoans (I'm very territorial about them :-) So, overall, I was feeling good when she left on Monday morning, even though I'd already begun to miss her.

Then, Monday during work, I started to feel awful. I've been suffering from dysphagia on and off for the last year and a half, and this week, it really became uncomfortable to the point where I couldn't eat properly. The gastroenterologist I saw last month had scheduled me for an endoscopy (scope of the esophagus) at the end of this month, but I felt so terrible earlier this week, I called and got my appointment moved up to today. I'd had an endoscopy done before (in 1999) for the same reason (difficulty swallowing brought on by acid reflux). The procedure isn't fun. You have to be sedated (obviously, if they're putting a forearm-length scope down your gullet), so you have to have someone drive you home. Luckily, my friend Brook kindly agreed to do this for me.

So, we set off at the ridiculous hour of 7:30 this morning for Oak Park Hospital. The procedure itself isn't the hard part. The hard part - as I was reminded today - is finding a vein in which to stick the IV needle for the anesthesia. I never thought my veins were that small, but apparently, they're not only small, they were playing hide-n-seek with the nurse who was trying to find them. I hate needles, but I haven't cried at the sight of them since I was a teenager. Today, I came close, because after being stuck with one needle for 15 minutes, having it hurt and then being told the IV wasn't dripping into the vein, I was really about to go nuts.

Anyway, someone from the anesthesia - a nice man with a comforting Southern accent - came down, numbed my hand and found a vein. I vaguely remember feeling the scope go down my throat, then being wheeled out to recovery where I took what felt like an extended nap. Brook really was a doll today, driving me home and picking up food - jello, Gatorade - that I could try to ingest. I took another loooong nap when I got home, only waking up when my body decided it couldn't stand the starvation (per doctor's instructions, I hadn't eaten since Thursday night) any longer.

So that was the craziest part of my week. I did manage to crank out a review for Consequence of Sound.

Other things on my mind this week - Roger Federer, crying and self-hatred. I will get into each in subsequent posts.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Numbers

15 - Major titles accumulated by Roger Federer between his first Wimbledon title in 2003 and his sixth acquired yesterday afternoon at the expense of the always game Andy Roddick. No other male player has more Majors to his credit.

1 - Ranking Federer took over (again) after winning Wimbledon.

Congratulations, Roger!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Real Article...By Me...Published [UPDATED]

Update - 2:08pm I had my other article published and - for the time being - it's on the front page of the Consequence of Sound site. It's the article titled "Guilty Pleasure: Jamiroquai A Funk Odyssey." You can read the full article here.


So, I started as a writer for the music Web site Consequence of Sound last week. Here's a link to my first article. Since it's a music site, I get to obsess about my favorite bands, and not have people think I'm weird. In this case the object of obsession is Massive Attack, specifically, their 1996 performance of "Safe From Harm" in Phoenix. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I Twittered or Tweeted or Whatever You Call It

While watching Andy Murray's match on Monday at Wimbledon, I tweeted my reactions. Here they are. The most recent posts - i.e., those at the end of the match - are first.

murray really did show heart in this match. i heart him.
2:41 PM Jun 29th from web
and kudos to Wimbledon. the roof was clearly worth the $400 million
2:39 PM Jun 29th from web
good on Murray to win that tough, tough match.
2:39 PM Jun 29th from web
Holy crap! This match is insanity.
2:35 PM Jun 29th from web
deuce!
2:30 PM Jun 29th from web
the roar of the centre court crowd is literally deafening.
2:28 PM Jun 29th from web
i have to to stop investing so much emotion in tennis matches
2:26 PM Jun 29th from web
sigh - brits, you didn't think this would be easy, did you?
2:24 PM Jun 29th from web
on my screen i am having a hard time distinguishing murray and wawrinka
2:15 PM Jun 29th from web
fuck. I'd forgotten how well murray returns
2:13 PM Jun 29th from web
hot damn! murray just killed a backhand!
2:09 PM Jun 29th from web
night tennis at #wimbledon. whoda thunk it?
2:07 PM Jun 29th from web
shit! murray just broke
2:06 PM Jun 29th from web
I actually love that wimbledon has a roof now. Would be nice if the US Open got one too. The French will never do it, because they're French2:04 PM Jun 29th from web
It's like Wawrinka got a second wind at the end of the 4th set. How'd he do that?
2:01 PM Jun 29th from web
besides, what would grand slam tennis be without 5-set matches?
1:59 PM Jun 29th from web
i heart john mcenroe. that is all.
1:57 PM Jun 29th from web
Fifth set for Messrs. Murray and Wawrinka. It had to be this way for the first full match played under the $400 million rooft at Wimby.
1:54 PM Jun 29th from web
I feel a fifth set coming on
1:53 PM Jun 29th from web
hmmm...first full match under the roof at Wimbledon and boy is it a barn burner

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Making a Joyful Noise








The above pic is from the Gay Pride Parade I went to with my church's peace and justice group (the t-shirt reads: "We are here to recruit you.") I had never been to a pride parade before, and I was struck by two things:

1. How much it felt like being in church: joyful singing (check) hands raised in thanksgiving (check).

2. The response we got from parade revelers as we handed out postcards about the church. People seemed surprised, and then excited to see us out there. Christians do not always have the best reptuation for inclusiveness, especially when it comes to sexual orientation. So, I was pleased when a young man stopped me and said, "Thank you for doing this!" That was the highlight of my day.

The other highlight: Flashing peace signs at the anti-gay protestors who yelled to us that we should be ashamed of ourselves. For only the second or third time in my life, I felt like I was really, truly doing God's work.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Pics from Pride

Went to the Chicago Gay Pride Parade today with a group from church. Lots of fun, but I'm exhausted. I may even have had heat stroke.

More pics here.












Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Live Performance

In recent years, I've become a huge fan of live musical performances. A transporting live performance with incredible energy is like medicine: you actually feel physically better for having experienced it.

So, I thought linking to a live performance by Michael Jackson (from the 1987 Bad Tour) was a good way to honor the legend's passing. I can't really add to what's already been said about MJ and his impact on the worlds of music and popular culture. His music was an integral part of my childhood, as it was for millions over the past 40 years. It's tragic that his life ended as it did, and I pray he's at peace now, and my heart also goes out to his family.

Here he is doing "Beat It" from the Thriller album.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Think I'm in Love








Her name is Leymah Gbowee, and she was instrumental in helping to end the decade-long civil war in Liberia. I first heard of her through Bill Moyers. She appeared on his show last week and talked about the documentary film Pray The Devil Back to Hell, which chronicles the peace movement she and other women in Liberia formed.

I can't put into words how amazing this woman is. So, watch her two-part interview with Lynn Sher: part one and part two. Also interviewed is filmmaker Abigail Disney, who made the documentary.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Unpopular Opinion of the Day

A part of me feels bad for Mark Sanford - a very small part, to be sure, but it's there, nonetheless. I will be roundly booed for this, but hear me out.

For those not paying attention, Mark Sanford is the governor of South Carolina. He is in his second term. He is a Republican. He has been AWOL from his job for the last week. According to his remarks at a press conference today, he spent those seven days "crying in Argentina" on the shoulder of the woman he's been having an affair with for the past year.

My first thought is: ho-hum, another politician cheated." Cuz really, we shouldn't be THAT surprised. We shouldn't even be surprised when it's Republicans. They talk a good game about being the party of family values, but, hey, they're human and capable of fucking up, just like the rest of us. It's just that they're usually the last to figure this out.

There's also the fact that Sanford abandoned his job for a week, not even telling his staff where he was. (Well, that's not entirely true. He lied that he was hiking the Appalachian Trail to take his mind off the battle over Federal stimulus funds. You cannot make this shit up). I mean, I can't leave my job for one day without telling my boss I'm not going to be there. This dude is gone for a whole week, and still expects to keep his job (he resigned from his role as head of the Republican Governor's Association).

But I digress. Here's why I feel bad for Mark Sanford. In addition to being the latest in a long line of pols hoist by his own self-righteous petard (hi Sen. Ensign), his whole life is on display for all to see. The State, a South Carolina newspaper has published some of the email exchanges he had with his lover. After skimming one, and feeling like a Peeping Tom, I got to thinking about the way we as a society deal with sex and sexuality. We make it this big bugaboo that's hidden away in a closet (no pun intended, really!) and then Mark Sanfords or Eliot Spitzers bring it out into the open and suddenly, we're shocked shocked that this kind of thing is happening. It then becomes easy to act like these things are ONLY the province of guys like Sanford, and we don't have to examine anything about ourselves. Convenient.

Now, I'm no Sanford fan, nor am I condoning or excusing his actions. IMO, the worst thing he did was leave the state he was elected to serve unattended for seven days. That's irresponsible and that is the reason he should resign.

But man, oh man, am I tired of people acting like ZOMG! Men have affairs! Powerful men have affairs! OMG! OMG! This shit hasn't been news since biblical times. Just once, I'd like it if we in this country could approach matters of sexuality - and while we're at it, human frailty - with something resembling maturity.

Steelworks & Heat

The first two pictures are of a sculpture called Steelworks, which sits outside the Nature Museum on the corner of Fullerton and North Cannon Drive. The second pic is a reminder of how jacked the weather can be here in Chi-town. Barely hitting 70 degrees last week, now we're in the middle of a heat wave. Even though I have no AC in my apartment, I am so not complaining.










Things That Make You Go Hmmm...

I realize that the title of this post may be lost on those who didn't go to high school before the year 2000, but I couldn't think of another one. For I just stumbled onto this post from the On the Whole health blog that sounds a warning about the increasing entanglement with health journalists and pharmaceutical companies.

HealthNewsReview.org publisher Gary Schwitzer has expressed concerns that the drug company Pfizer is funding National Press Foundation fellowships on cancer issues and that the Society of Professional Journalists is orchestrating a tour of Eli Lilly corporate headquarters including a "professional development session on the reporting of mental health issues" and a "networking reception with Lilly's leaders."

Lilly makes the psychiatric drugs Cymbalta, Prozac and Zyprexa. Pfizer's website indicates it makes several medications for treatment of cancer.
Conflict of interest doesn't even begin to cover it. This reminds me of the incestuous relationship between Wall Street and the Fed (*cough* Henry Paulson *cough*).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

We Now Have 3 Seasons

Summer

Winter

Construction Season.

Apparently, there's no in-between.

But I am so not complaining that summer is here - rabid humidity and all. It took long enough to get here-lol.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Going Green

The sculpture below is called "Going Green," and, unfortunately, the name of its creator escapes me now. It's part of an outdoor sculpture initiative called Lakeshore Sculpture Exhibit, which is happening courtesy of the City of Chicago. Oddly enough, I can't find any website for it. A quick Google search for "lakeshore sculpture exhibit" yielded no results. I did find the city's public art site, but even that makes no mention of it. Hmmmm.....

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Misogyny Never Gets Old Does It?

Just ask the good folks at Bacardi, who came up with this gem of an ad campaign aimed at women. The premise? If you want to look good, take an ugly girlfriend of yours out with you - for a shopping spree, to a club, etc.

So. Much. Hate.

As always, the good folks at Shapely Prose - this time it's Sweet Machine - do a stately smackdown of this revolting campaign.

Seeing stuff like this is so disheartening when you're: a) trying to be positive about your body, and b) trying to spread the word about body positivity for all women. But it just makes me angry enough to keep trying. Because I am so sick. and. tired. of being told that my only value as a human being is how much I weigh, or how big my breasts are, or my ability to attract a man. For fuck's sake! My Creator put me on earth to do more than that.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Actual *Summer* Weather

This is what summer weather looks like. I'd almost forgotten.


















More random Chicago sculpture - Tin Man on the corner of Lincoln & Armitage.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Chicago's Not Supposed to Have Monsoons

Well not to my knowledge, anyway. And yet, we have been enduring our own rainy season, coupled with cold temperatures better suited to Spring (not that we had spring this year, but that's another post).

I looked up monsoons on Wikipedia and saw the pic below. I'd swear we saw clouds just like this just before the skies opened up an hour ago.

Oh well, at least it's supposed to get to 80 degrees today (this I'll believe when I actually feel it). According to local weather sage Tom Skilling, summer arrives big time next week, with temperatures in the 80s and 90s and humidity. I don't have AC in my apartment, but I won't be complaining. Summer has already taken too damned long to get here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Online Giants to Congress: We Can Regulate Ourselves

Me: Jigga WHAT?!?!

From today's New York Times' Media Decoder blog.

Congress today summoned executives from Facebook, Google, and Yahoo to inquire about how they are tracking consumers for advertising purposes. The hearing signals an increasing interest on Washington’s part into what online companies are doing with all the data they have on their customers.

It’s a joint hearing between two House subcommittees, one on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, and the other on Communications, Technology, and the Internet.

On one side are the privacy advocates, who see this online monitoring as intrusive. “We are being digitally shadowed online,” Jeffrey Chester, the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, said in prepared remarks at the hearing. “Our travels through the digital media are being monitored, and digital dossiers on us are being created—and even bought and sold.”

On the other side, the industry argues that any privacy regulation would be a huge blow to commerce. Online advertising revenues dropped 5 percent in the first quarter of 2009, the sharpest decline to date, according to a recent Interactive Advertising Bureau report. (One of the stated goals of the bureau, a trade group whose members include AOL, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and most major online media sites, is to “fend off adverse legislation and regulation”).

The industry groups are arguing for self-regulation.
Whoa! BRAKES ON! Industry self-regulation? Why does this sound familiar? I'm pretty sure the last big go-round of an industry regulating itself was an epic fail. I'm also fairly certain that said alleged self-regulation resulted in the financial crisis we are all enduring and paying for.

So the Congressional response to Facebook, Google, AOL, Microsoft, et. al's self-regulation schtick should be HELL TO THE NO.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Seven Sunny Days in June

Have we even had that many? Sorry, this weather is driving me batty.

Enough about that. I'm still in a quandary about which album is my guiltiest pleasure. Sleeping on it last night didn't help, nor did pondering it today. I guess this is what happens to your brain when you're done with school.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Guilty Pleasures

Per Wikipedia:

A guilty pleasure is something one considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt for enjoying it. Often, the "guilt" involved is simply fear of others discovering one's lowbrow or otherwise embarrassing tastes, rather than actual moral guilt. Fashion, music, and food can be examples of guilty pleasures.
Recently, someone asked me to think of a "guilty pleasure" album I own. I had to give this subject a lot of thought because I gave up feeling guilty about what music I liked back in 11th grade. I'd spent too much time prior to that trying to fit my musical tastes into some arbitrary standard for what a young black woman should listen to.

In any event, after poring over my music collection, I came up with these titles:

Born to Do It by Craig David

Songs About Jane by Maroon 5

A Funk Odyssey by Jamiroquai (What? You thought I'd make a music-related list and not include Jamiroquai? Pshaw!)

Choosing one is proving difficult. Technically, the Craig David album is probably the most egregious one, especially since I saw the guy live. But Maroon 5's is more recent and therefore, fresher in people's minds, no? Funk Odyssey is probably the album I can write most about since I've been listening to it a lot recently; but will anybody outside hardcore fans know what the heck I'm talking about-lol. There's also the fact that I don't really feel guilty about owning any of these.

Ah well. Time to sleep on it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Random Chicago Sculptures

Said farewell to the fam today. I miss them already. It was so nice having them here with me the last few days. We really had a great time and didn't get on each others' nerves too much.

I took today off just to calm myself down. It's been a whirlwind 4 or 5 days, so I needed time to decompress. I took a 3-hour nap, which I haven't done since before Spring quarter started. Also wen out for a bit and took some pictures of sculptures around the city. For some reason, I'm noticing how many odd-looking sculptures this city has. I've decided to capture as many as I can. Here are three I took today.


Outside Rush University Medical Center


















The famous Chicago Picasso (yes, we have our own!)


















Another odd one I noticed on Clark Street (near Lincoln Ave.) It's a bit blurry because I took it from the bus.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Whew!


















What a day it's been. Despite some angst caused by getting lost on the way to East Jabip (also known as the Allstate Arena) for the ceremony, I finally graduated. The pic above was taken before I left for the ceremony. We're not allowed to keep the graduation "regalia." In fact, after the ceremony, we literally strip off the cap, gown and sash to return them.

My family - my dear, sweet family - are such troopers. They endured getting detoured for 20 minutes, having to park in the Target lot (and walking from the lot to the arena), and, of course, sitting through the 2 1/2 hour ceremony. God Bless them. I am so very lucky to have them in life.

Truthfully, the ceremony wasn't as long as it could have been. Don't get me wrong: it was long. My one friend brought a book to keep himself occupied.

But I was glad I did it. It was great seeing my friends, those who were in the trenches with me the past two years, all the wonderful people who let me bitch about this class or that professor. THANK YOU!

I've been so used to having classes and homework, I actually don't know what to do with myself now that it's over. Well, that's not exactly true: I'm going to love doing exactly nada next weekend - no library, reading for my own pleasure, not someone else's.

But seriously, having been consumed by school the last two years, it's like, who am I if I'm not a student?

Ah yes, someone who has to pay off student loan debt.

More pics here.

I Can't Believe This Day Has Finally Arrived

(Note to uptight profs: I used passive voice in that subject line. Deal with it!)

Graduation day is here! YAY! And it's actually SUNNY (thank you, Mother Nature). What a difference it makes when the sun actually shines. DOUBLE YAY! It feels like it's going to be a looooong day, but I'm totally ok with that, because I've worked hard for this one.

I've been really pleased to have my family here with me the whole weekend. I've missed them a lot. I couldn't have done this without them!

Will post pictures later if I'm not too tired.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sick of the Rain

It's June, right? So why am I wearing jackets and layers (albeit light ones). And what is up with all the damned rain? I better not hear one word about drought whenever it finally warms up. The Des Plaines River has been in danger of flooding for like 3 months. ARGH! I love Chicago, but the weather? Can go piss up a rope.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

Since I didn't get a chance to do it on Facebook.

1. I find travel guidebooks tyrannical.
2. I have never understood American football.
3. I hate winter.
4. I have no TV or cable, but still manage to watch a lot of TV.
5. I like to read odd news stories.
6. Joan Didion’s sentences make me happy.
7. I will always be a soap opera fan at heart.
8. I love to get new notebooks and journals.
9. Radiohead will always own my heart.
10. I can spend only an hour/hour and half in a museum.
11. I still think cheese is one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind.
12. I love to buy new notebooks and journals.
13. If there is one atom of cold to be felt in a room, it will invariably find me.
14. I have allegiance to only one sports team: the NY Yankees.
15. I don’t know what I’m doing once I graduate and I’m surprisingly upbeat about that.
16. I’m in love with Lake Michigan.
17. I can go months without eating ice cream, before a craving hits; then, once I indulge, I go another few months without it.
18. Ditto on chocolate
19. Laughing is my favorite activity.
20. As a Libra, I have a hard time hiding my emotions. This means if I’m pissed at you, you’re gonna know about it.
21. I’m addicted to buying shoes and handbags.
22. Tennis is my favorite sport to watch, but I’m loath to try playing it.
23. I’m one of those people who really need sunshine to be happy.
24. I’ve been obsessed with the music of Jamiroquai for the past 5 months and it shows no signs of ebbing.
25. I don’t know how to swim or ride a bike

In More Cute Picture News

How adorable are these two?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Few Days Late

But congratulations to Roger Federer for winning the 2009 French Open and completing a career grand slam. Still, this remains my favorite recent picture from the world of tennis.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Jamiroquai Song Obsession of the Month: Shoot the Moon

Here's hoping they put this crackin' tune on their next album.

Everyone Has a Right To Self Esteem

Of course, the people at Shapely Prose make this strong argument so much better than I could.

Monday, June 8, 2009

I Am Officially Done

The last final exam is over. I am done with grad school. It's not real to me yet. I think it will become real when the first student loan bill shows up.

I knew when I started this program, these 2 years would fly by; but it's still hard to believe how quickly they did. I couldn't have done it without the support of: Erica, Janis, Carmel, Brook, Jenna, Jenny, Arynne, Megan, Maylene, Terrence, Stephen, Gwen, JoAnn, Elizabeth, Arminda, and many other people whose names my brain is sadly too fried to remember at the moment (do please forgive me if you are one of those people).

Thank you all. When I am more coherent I will write some more.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Library = A Subway Car at Rush Hour

I could barely get a seat today! Damn, DePaul has some overachieving students :P. There was definitely a feeling of desperation in the air. The library is open 24 hours a day every day till the end of finals on Friday. Mercifully, today was my last day there.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I Have Been Close To Tears A Lot Lately

I think it's because everything is so pent up - so much stress about school and uncertainty about what happens after. Yesterday, while at the student center buying dinner, I saw one of the university's chorus groups singing (I was drawn by the dulcet tones of Britney Spears' toxic). They were taking such joy in their singing, I was almost overcome with tears. Seriously, it came out of nowhere. I reminded myself that a) I was standing in the student center and b) they were singing freakin' "Toxic!"

Today, I spent another day in the library. I swear, sometimes it feels like this last weekend of studying is going to end me. I feel depressed and ugly and insecure about everything. I just want school to be over. These are the longest 3 days of my damned life.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Chillin'

When I officially graduate, I want to dance to this song.

Threshold

Today, I went to the release party/reading for our university's literary journal, Threshold. I didn't have any pieces in it, but I did participate as a reader. I helped read some of the fiction submissions that got picked for publication. Never done that before, so that was an interesting experience.

Anyway, listening to people read their pieces, I realize how many talented writers are in my program. I'm lucky to have actually worked with some of them. Hopefully I absorbed some inspiration from them.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

One Down, One To Go

That's right, folks! I am officially done with one of my classes in this, my final quarter of grad school. I still have a final to complete (and a paper to hand in before the final....GRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!) But at least I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Am watching old Star Trek episodes. Damn, that show was cheesy goodness!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Why Don't I Trust Myself?

This isn't really apropos of anything going on in my life right now, but the other day, I realized that I really need to start trusting myself, specifically my own instincts more. For some reason, I was thinking about times when I've gone against my instincts and allowed myself to be convinced of things - whether it was believing a certain thing, or taking an action. It was usually friends trying to boost my self-esteem or get me to take a risk. This isn't about blaming my friends. They're a loving, well-meaning lot, nor am I feeling like blaming myself. Blame's a bad word here (Trust me, I can justifiably blame myself for plenty of other shit).

The message from my instincts is always the same "This doesn't feel right!" So why don't I listen to them? They're right 99.99% of the time, but I don't trust them. Seems illogical (Egads! now I am quoting Mr. Spock). I never trust myself to heed them. I always assume other people know what's best for me. no one knows me better than I do - except my Creator. It's time to start trusting myself.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Can you guess what it is?

I took this picture without taking time to find out the title of the sculpture (ah, the laziness strikes again). Anyhoo, this sculpture stands at my least favorite intersection in the city (Lincoln/Fullerton/Halsted).

Jamiroquai Song Obsession of the Month

So, my Jamiroquai obsession continues, only now, I'm fixating on individual songs. For the last few weeks, it's been "Space Cowboy" (video linked below). This song about the joys of cheeba smoking, has a mellow groove and some nonsensical, but fun-to-sing-along-with lyrics. It's from my favorite Jamiroquai album, The Return of the Space Cowboy. Enjoy Jay Kay's goofy dance moves!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Thanks again, Kate Harding

She deftly takes to task all those so-called journalists fueling the bigoted anti-Sotomayor ravings of the right.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Schadenfreude - Making the World a Better Place

One of these days, I really will write a real post, with my own carefully crafted thoughts (read: ramblings). But for now, I want my readers (all 4 of them) to feast on this post from The Atlantic about the importance of tolerance.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Judge Sotomayor

Update 9:00 p.m.: And people wonder why I hate the New York Times. This is what passes for reporting in that rag.
But to detractors, Judge Sotomayor’s sharp-tongued and occasionally combative manner — some lawyers have described her as “difficult” and “nasty” — raises questions about her judicial temperament and willingness to listen. Her demeanor on the bench is an issue that conservatives opposed to her nomination see as a potential vulnerability — and one that Mr. Obama carefully considered before selecting her.
Hmmmm...I wonder if Judge Sotomayor's questioning would be viewed as a liability if she wasn't a Latina. I'm thinking no.

I love that the GOP is saying she's shown bias on the basis of gender and ethnicity. Their lack of self-awareness is kind of staggering.

Writer and Columbia prof Trey Ellis wrote the following on the Huffington Post, re: the right's reaction to Pres. Obama's Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor:
Nothing gets the right wing's panties in a bunch more than a hyper-qualified person of color. And if that person happens to have a vagina...? Fuggedaboutit.
Yeah. Nothing to add.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

WHY WHY WHY!

Did you ever have one of those weeks or days or months where multiple things decided to assault your body? I've already chronicled the ongoing left calf saga. Then there are the chronic sinus issues, which this week are being compounded by some sort of vague cold-type thing. And let's not forget the ever-present acid reflux, which even acts up if I just eat oatmeal.

Will this nonsense stop if I just say "Uncle!"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Nightcap

Posts like this are just one of the reasons I love Kate Harding's Shapely Prose blog. I love how she artfully lays the smack down on Purantical (not to mention hypocritical) diet-related bullshit in our culture; while also being sensitive to people with actual eating disorders.

She's my hero. If I were a more enterprising person, I'd stalk - or at least cyberstalk - her. Alas, my legendary laziness isn't news to you fair readers.

The Red Bull Diet

Sad, but true - and not all that surprising. I came across this story on the Fat Lot of Good blog. I don't really have much to add, except what I already put in the blog's comments:

I wish I could say I was surprised reading this, but I’m not. Our societies obsess over and reward thinness, so I can see how it’s easy to rationalize doing whatever it takes to get thin. It’s sad and disheartening how pervasive this kind of thinking is.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

It's been dreary all day here, which is fitting, since I couldn't go outside. I was, once again, stuck in the library doing school work (YAY! Oh joy!) But at least I got a lot done. Have I mentioned lately how I hate school?

Shout outs to those serving in the military and those who served in the past.

Thank you.

Sunday, May 24, 2009