Sunday, October 30, 2005
Saturday, October 29, 2005
And I will no longer invite viruses in through Outlook Express.
And I will cut down on blogchecking time.
(If you are offended that your sitefeed is not listed, notify me and I will fix that as soon as possible. I just barely set this up so I might have missed some blogs I frequent.)
Oh, and don't forget about the party.
Sethillama introduced me to this masterpiece of a music video last week, and, frankly, it concerns me that I hadn't heard of it before. How many people in the world are suffering because they haven't seen this and don't even know it? Hopefully my little act of missionary work here will help rectify that problem. Please, my friends, once you know the beauty of "Just 2 Guyz," spread the love.
DISCLAIMER: Knowing me and seeing something called "Just 2 Guyz" linked from my blog, you probably think you know what it's about. It's really not. I promise.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
If you are reading this, you are invited*. Dinner will be served at 6:30 pm and after that we'll party like it's 1999 until 11 or 12. Meaning we'll sit around and talk, and if we get bored we'll pop in a Simpsons dvd. You are welcome to come and go as you please. Unless we tie you to a chair, in which case you won't be.
The party will be at the Fobcave--not this blog, but the place where Foxy J and I live in the real world. (Click on "Fobcave" to find the location of our secret hideout. I've used a special html tag to allow only true fobs to open the link--if you are an eob, it will crash your computer.)
Following are the rules:
- No gifts. Many of you hardly know me and many of you are poor college students, and I don't want anyone to feel awkward because some people brought presents and others didn't. My birthday is just an excuse to get all you random blog people together in the real world.
- Wear clothes please. We'll save the nudist party for another time.
- You may go by your real name, or, if you prefer to preserve your secret identity, wear a mask and go by your online alias.
- If you want to contribute to the hardy partying, feel free to bring munchies.
- RSVP in the comment section so we know how much food to make.
*If you live in California, Arizona, Hawai'i, Barbados, England, or anywhere else that's not Utah, buy a plane ticket and I'll reimburse you just as soon as that Nigerian prince I gave my bank account info to gets those millions of dollars to me.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Heaven?Too many people, I think, wait until they're grandparents to recognize this. It seems silly to spend your parenting years waiting for your kids to grow up, then spend the rest of your life after that wishing you had little children around. I'm determined to enjoy S-Boogie now, while she's young. Days like today, when she's in a good mood and she does cute things like insist Mommy and Daddy kiss before either leaves for work or school, that's easy. Days like yesterday, however, when she has five-minute temper tantrums banging her toy cash register against the bookcase and yelling, "No no no no no no," it's not so easy. I'm glad there are days like today.
Heaven is being Pops.
Heaven is spending the day with your grandchildren,
Listening to their voices when they laugh and play,
And then at the end of the day we hug, we kiss, and slowly they walk away,
And then suddenly they turn and rush back to me and hug me round the knees.
Yeah, that's Heaven to me.
So Sister M, Sister T, and Eight-Year-Old Nephew are walking down the sidewalk at the beach. A couple locals--meaning people who look local because they have brown skin and at least one-sixteenth of their ancestors may have been native Hawaiians--are sitting under a tree maybe five feet from the sidewalk. And as Sisters and Nephew are passing, Local 1 looks at Nephew, then at Local 2, and says, "F***ing patriotic haole."
Sister M shot them a nasty glare (or, as we say in Hawai'i, "stink eye"). To say that about--and in front of--an eight-year-old!
When Sister M told me about this, I was furious. If I had been there, I thought, I would have done more than glare. "What the hell is your problem?" I would have yelled. "You stupid f***ing racist!"
And then Sister T would have reprimanded me for using such language in front of her child.
And, truthfully, I wouldn't have really done anything more than give them stink eye because I'm much bolder in my imagination than I am in reality.
Segue to this past Monday evening. Tolkien Boy and I are in the locker room after another buffifying session of weightlifting. A white dude walks by the brown dude cleaning the shower, then stops, looks at Brown Dude's t-shirt (which I assume said something about Mililani High School on it), and says, "Ho, brah, you went Mililani High School?"
"Nah," says Brown Dude. "I went Kam. But I grew up in Mililani. Why? You from Hawai'i?"
"Yeah," says White Dude, laying the Hawaiian Pidgin accent on thick. "I from La'ie. Our house stay on Naniloa Loop, right across da temple."
They proceed to talk about people they know in each other's church wards. Following are Master Fob's thoughts:
"Who does this haole think he is? There's no way he talks like that naturally. He's just trying to impress the brown dude."
"I bet he's not even really from La'ie. His dad probably did a teaching exchange at BYU-H so maybe he went to two years of high school there. He's probably really from Utah."
"He's not as cool as I am. I was born in Hawaii."
I really don't want to raise my children in Utah. There are things you can learn in a culturally diverse society that you can't learn in a place where everyone looks, talks, and thinks like you. But I really really don't want to raise my children in a place where they'll learn that there's something wrong with having light skin.
Monday, October 24, 2005
Actually, this goes beyond a pat on the back for me. As I tried to figure out why I was catalogued, I found a lot of other books and articles about homosexuality and the LDS church that were double-listed in the regular stacks and in special collections. So apparently the BYU library is making a special collection of materials on gay Mormons. Which is a way big step in the right direction for an institution that has traditionally tried to pretend that homosexuality doesn't exist. I'm happy for BYU--I don't care what your stance on the issue is, at least be willing to talk about it.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Forgive me if you're way hipper than I am and you already knew about this (it's about a year and a half old), but I just discovered it yesterday. A DJ well-known in underground hip-hop, Danger Mouse, took the a capella vocals from rapper Jay-Z's Black Album and remixed the songs exclusively using samples from the Beatles' famous White Album. I'm not really into Jay-Z--his lyrics usually seem kind of silly to me--and although I like the Beatles I can't say I'm a fanatic, but I think this is the coolest concept ever.
EMI and Sony--the people who own the rights to the Beatles' music--however, didn't agree. They threatened to sue Danger Mouse and anyone who carried his Grey Album on the internet (it never made it to an official release due to the legal conflicts, so it exists only as an electronic bootleg). But thankfully there exist organizations such as Stay Free!, who sponsor the Illegal Art exhibit, including a history and complete download of the album in order to protest laws that don't recognize the difference between stealing and sampling. I suspect that if Shakespeare were alive today, whoever wrote the original versions of Hamlet, Macbeth, and Romeo & Juliet would sue him. I mean, c'mon, people, this is art. Be flattered that someone used a few bars of your music to make something entirely different and move on.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Undoubtedly there is a right way of reading, so it be sternly subordinated. Man Thinking must not be subdued by his instruments. Books are for the scholar's idle times. When he can read God directly, the hour is too precious to be wasted in other men's transcripts of their readings. But when the intervals of darkness come, as come they must, — when the sun is hid, and the stars withdraw their shining, — we repair to the lamps which were kindled by their ray, to guide our steps to the East again, where the dawn is. We hear, that we may speak. The Arabian proverb says, "A fig tree, looking on a fig tree, becometh fruitful."As I've been reading the Bible this week--Matthew with Foxy J and Timothy on my own--I can't help but see it this way. Paul, no doubt, was a great man. He was inspired to write a lot of wonderful things. One scripture that I have been thinking about a lot is from 2 Timothy 1.7: "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." God doesn't intend for us to live our lives based on fear of consequences. He wants us to be courageous and loving and wise. He wants us to think for ourselves.
"Brain Washers" by Blackalicious:
Brain washers[/Musical Interlude]
It's when you think how they wanna think
Speak how they wanna speak
Livin' in defeat
When you don't wanna question what they teach
As the truth
With no proof
With the fear of burnin' in eternal heat.
At any rate, that was a digression. The point I was getting to is that, besides these wonderful, inspired things Paul said, he also says a lot of really stupid things. The man is a sexist and a homophobe. Sure, that was probably the norm for his time; I'm not trying to say he's a horrible person, but that he's a human being. Not every word he wrote came straight (or even indirectly) from the mouth of God (who, I might add, cannot possibly be a sexist and a homophobe and still be the God I pray to).
This being the case, I have to wonder what then is the point of holy scripture? Or prophets, for that matter? If we can't trust the Bible to be the literal word of God, why bother reading it? Why would God call people to teach his children if he understands that these people he calls are imperfect and bound to say some pretty stupid things? Which is where Emerson comes in. Prophets and scriptures don't replace our ability to "read God directly," but remind us where to look when we forget how to read God. They point us in the right direction, but after that it's up to us to figure out what God is telling us, rather than rely on the words of "young men in libraries."
I can believe that Matthew and Paul were good men who were inspired by God, despite their failings. For that matter, I can believe that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and Gordon B. Hinckley were/are good men inspired by God. What I'm unsure of is, once they've reminded us that we can talk to God and get personal direction directly from him--a principle Joseph Smith's story demonstrates beautifully--what then is their purpose? Once a prophet has successfully turned my attention to God, what then can he tell me that God can't tell me himself?
Monday, October 17, 2005
This book did make me appreciate my husband more. As I was reading the part where he finally tells her he has had affairs with other men, I looked over at [husband's name]. He was sitting there, yelling and screaming at the TV because his football team was losing, and I thought, "Well, at least he's not gay."
Tolkien Boy once told me that if he had invented a fictional character as complex as I am, he would be proud of himself. I took it as a compliment. He was referring, if I recall correctly, to the fact that I am a politically liberal married gay Mormon who listens to rap music, writes angsty young adult literature, and reads comic books. A renaissance geek, if you will.
I remember the first comic book I bought. It was Batman 476, cover date Apr 1992 (though it actually came out in February--that's just how cover dates on comics work), written by Alan Grant and illustrated by Norm Breyfogle (to this day one of my favorite writer/artist teams). On the cover, Batman unmasks himself to Vicki Vale. The character Vicki Vale had only returned to the comics in the past couple years, in response to her lead role in the popular 1989 movie Batman. The movie was also what had sparked my interest in Batman and led me to make the walk down Keeaumoku Street to Jelly's Comics in search of a Batman comic. Sure, I had watched the old Batman show from the sixties, as well as Superfriends, when I was a kid, but that was kidstuff. Tim Burton's appropriately gothic vision of the Dark Knight convinced me that, as a twelve-year-old, I could still think Batman was cool. The comic books I started avidly collecting after that first one reinforced this belief.
You see, the majority of comic books--superhero comics, at least--are written for adolescent boys. Meaning they are written with such a level of maturity to convince teenagers who think they're mature that the comics they're reading are written for adults. The ploy worked on me. I read comics because I loved pointing out to the naive who believed comics were for kids that, hey, the Joker just killed twenty people and Batman said "damn" so of course these aren't for kids.
I could easily psychoanalyze another half a dozen reasons why I read comics as a teenager: they were filled with buff men wearing tights; Batman and Superman became my father figures; the DC Universe, a complex landscape populated by literally hundreds of fictional characters with interweaving backstories, was a fantasy world I could escape to when real life was less than ideal; as an unathletic geek I could live out power fantasies through the aforementioned buff men wearing tights; high school didn't challenge my mind enough so I filled it with trivia such as Superman's height (6'3"), Batman's first appearance (Detective Comics #27, May 1939), and the Elongated Man's secret identity (Ralph Dibny). Okay, I think that was only five, but I could easily come up with a sixth one if I really wanted to. I just don't want to.
At any rate, one has to wonder why, as a going-on-twenty-six-year-old, I continue to read superhero comics. Part of me still wants to insist that comic books are a genuine literary form, just as valid as any other genre or medium. And they are. Some comics, at least, really are written for educated adults. But when I read those comics it's mostly just to prove a point--that such things exist, because I believe they should. The comics I read on a regular basis and look forward to every month are superhero comics, which, no matter how you look at it, are written for teenaged males.
Part of the reason I enjoy superhero comics still is the same reason I got addicted to watching Days of Our Lives with my older sisters when I was ten. No, not sex. It's the serial nature of the genre--when I read a book and I get into a character, I hate to see the book end because I want to know what happens next. I really like that over the past thirteen years I've watched Tim Drake, the latest Robin (as in Batman & ...), grow from an unsure fourteen-year-old to a slightly less unsure sixteen-year-old (I'll save time and aging in comics for another post).
Another part of it, I'm sure, is the nostalgia factor. Reading comics brings me back to my youth. But then, considering how much I enjoyed my youth, I'm surprised I'm not running away from it as fast as I can. Maybe it's just that I'm still a teenager at heart. Hence the writing angsty young adult literature thing, and possibly the rap music thing--the media librarian I work with insists that hip-hop is primarily for adolescents despite my insisting to the contrary.
Then again, maybe it's just that I like shocking people. "You have a master's degree in English and you read comic books?" But I hope I'm not really that shallow.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
But on the bright side, I'll probably call in sick to work today in order to take care of the sick child while Foxy goes to class, which means I'll have more time for grading papers.
Monday, October 10, 2005
12:00. I am awoken by bloodcurdling (though I admit, my blood didn't really curdle; would that give me cottage cheese blood if it did?) screams from the next room. The screams don't stop, so I go in and rock with S-Boogie to help her go back to sleep.
1:00. I'm not quite awoken by the sound of someone trying to turn a door-handle in the next room. In my not-quite-awake dream the noise comes from the bathroom, where a mysterious man is about to head over to the next room and kidnap my daughter. I'm not quite awake, though, so I can't do anything. My body does not respond to my command to jump up and attack this mysterious man. Instead I moan very loudly. The moaning wakes me up. I suspect the knob-rattling was S-Boogie but I don't hear it anymore so I go back to sleep.
3:00. I'm awoken by a small person standing next to my bed, saying, "Hi." I pick up S-Boogie, hold her in bed with me until I gather the energy to get up, then go back to her room and rock with her till she falls asleep.
7:00. I'm awoken by more doorknob-rattling. Then knocking coming from the inside of Boogie's door, and a little voice calling, "Come in!" (She usually performs both parts of a social transaction lately; i.e. "Thank you you're welcome.") It's time for me to get up anyway, but it's not time for Boogie to get up for another hour. Foxy stumbles into Boogie's room, tells her it's not time to get up yet, rocks with her, and puts her back in bed.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
2. I am in the midst of grading 78 4-to-6-page personal narratives and my brain hurts. Not because my students are horrible writers, though admittedly a few of them are. I don't mind the bad writing because most of them have interesting stories to tell and interesting insights, bad writing or not. And they're learning to be better writers--that's the point of the class. It's just that I'm a slow reader and this is taking me forever. And it does really bug me when students ask me to read their drafts ahead of time but then they don't bother to make any of the changes I recommend, not even the simple typos and grammatical errors I mark clearly for them. Grr.
3. It occurs to me that the concept of #1 is not all that original. Surely someone has done it before. So I rescind any cleverness points I gave myself for coming up with it. But I'll post it anyway. Naked women.
Go here to download "Take It Easy" by the Fugees.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
Here's the problem: it all sounds the same to me. I'm sure it is not all the same, but I don't speak the language of the genre, so it's like how Spanish sounds like indiscriminate noises to people who don't speak Spanish, how all Asian people look like indiscriminate Asian people to people who don't know Asian people, and how all hip-hop music sounds like indiscriminate beats and swear words to people who don't listen to hip-hop.
I suspect it's because I'm racist. See, I'm white but I grew up in Hawaii where it's not good to be white, and I still have that mindset so subconsciously (and occasionally consciously) I try hard to not be white. So I listen to Black and Latin and Asian music (okay, I admit, the closest thing to Asian music I listen to is rap music by Lyrics Born, who is a Japanese American from California) and occasionally I dye my hair black or dark brown because I don't like light-colored hair and when I go back to Hawaii to visit and I'm talking to locals I try really hard to subtly drop a local expression or two or even a slight local intonation (without attempting to speak full-blown Pidgin, which would sound stupid coming from me) in order to make sure no one thinks I'm a (heaven forbid!) mainland whitey. (It never works, by the way. They take one look at the color of my skin and they assume I'm from Nebraska.)
So, being aware of this self-racism, it makes me happy that I can listen to Tori Amos and enjoy it. And unhappy that I cannot distinguish between one song and the next. FoxyJ has Tales of a Librarian: A Tori Amos Collection on her Amazon wishlist, which I think is a good solution--I'm not going to run out and buy every Tori album if I can't tell them apart, but it'll be nice to have some more of her music in the playlist to help me accept my white roots.
I suppose I could compromise and start listening to Eminem, but I can't bring myself to it. Eminem is who white people who like hip-hop listen to.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
And please don't visit my blog less now that you know I know you're here.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Today I decided to show an episode called "Itchy and Scratchy and Marge" (in which Marge fights to censor the cartoon Itchy and Scratchy but later fights to stop censorship of Michelangelo's David) to my classes in order for them to "read" the episode rhetorically--to analyze the authors, the audience, the genre, and the angle of vision presented in the episode.
I even brought my own DVD player because I wasn't sure if each of the three classrooms had one. As it turns out, all three rooms have a DVD player, but none has a remote. (And I forgot to bring my own.) Which means that you can't select the episode you want to watch from the menu--you can watch the first episode and that's it. "Itchy and Scratchy and Marge" is the third or fourth episode on Disc Two, which means I was pretty much screwed. Being the quick thinker I am, though, I looked at the other discs to see if I could use any of the first episodes, and found that "Homer vs. Lisa and the Eighth Commandment" is the first episode on Disc Three.
This episode, though not quite as ingenious as the one on censorship, worked quite well for my purposes--the students could talk about what angle of vision the creators of the show were taking on stealing cable.
So despite my initial panic it all worked out. Then I got to my second class, realized that the DVD player is bolted into place such that the plug doesn't reach the outlet, and was glad I'd brought my own. Next time I'll bring an extension cord and a remote.
Monday, October 03, 2005
So now that she's napping and I have time to write, I need to figure out what to write. It's always strange and exciting to be done with something I've been working on for a long time. Suddenly, I can write whatever I want. There are new things stewing in my head I could take a stab at, but I think it would be wiser to go back to some of those things I've finished that need revision before I can do anything with them. I think I'm in the mood for cleaning up the formatting on the epistolary novel Theric and I are working on (which, if you count, brings my total up to six). The working title, though I seriously hope we come up with something better, is The Sophie Saga. It needs a lot of work, but it has potential. If I try hard enough, I can get excited about revision.
Sunday, October 02, 2005
The thought of no more naps terrifies me. Monday and Wednesday afternoons while Foxy J is at school and S-Boogie is napping is when I write. If she stops napping I don't know when I'll write. I suppose she still does go to sleep at night before I do and wakes up in the morning after I do, but I'm generally not disciplined enough to write in the mornings or evenings. That's when I randomly roam the net, read people's blogs, and if I'm feeling particularly motivated I blog myself. But more importantly, if S-Boogie stops taking naps I fear Foxy J and I will lose our sanity. Don't get me wrong--she's a very loveable two-year-old. But ten hours a day between the two of us is about all we can handle of her high-energy loveability. The time she takes to sleep ensures that when she wakes up we'll be excited to see her.
Really, I fear that I'm too selfish to deal with a nap-free toddler.
P.S. She just stopped kicking the door, opened it, brought her blankie and ducky into our room, and said, "Hi."
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Now everyone take my word for it and run out and buy all these albums.