"Fire is motion / Work is repetition / This is my document / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all defenses."

- Cap'N Jazz, "Oh Messy Life," Analphabetapolothology

Friday, May 30, 2008

reader rescue

all the things now missing from my life. but you can help me! read on...

in light of the recent death of my external harddrive (R.I.P. Jannik the swedish harddrive, 2007-08), i have been doing everything i can to try to fill in the now gaping holes in my life.

the most pressing thing, since i am such a huge audiophile, has been trying to recover my music library. i think my music taste exploded dramatically in the past year and a half, and i accumulated hundreds upon hundreds of albums, many rarities, which i am sorely sorry i didn't back up more regularly.

the last 24 hours have been a struggle to retrace my steps, racking my brain for lists of favorite artists and albums, trying to remember a faint and distant tune and trying to locate its context. it's like trying to recreate a complex recipe from the few scraps of leftovers you have from the night before. all i have are memories...

i grabbed lunch with my ma and bro today and when they flitted off to doctors' appointments, i wandered around the UK campus, where i was grossly ogled by a campus police officer as i walked by a drug bust (weird), and then i made my way to the independent bookstores. i only meant to go for a walk, but my sadness and desperation were too much and my will power was destroyed. i succumbed to some retail therapy and blew 50 bucks at CD Central in an attempt to fill in the gaps and now i'm ten albums closer to happy again (hey, i have no regrets. the albums were used. AND it's a local record store. i'm a sucker for supporting local independent businesses, especially if it means i can pop some Grizzly Bear into the cd player as soon as i get home.) alas, soon there will be holes in my pocketbook... (i need a job! i think after i'm done sorting thru my old clothes i'll make little bags and purses out of them. that sounds like a fun project. not necessarily lucrative, but i need to do something with my hands!)

oh, anyway, the real purpose for my post today is that i have a request to make of you, dear readers. my friends, with all my music now gone and possibly irrecoverable, the blog is, once again, my only way to retrace certain memories and their audio accompaniment. just looking thru the posts labeled "MP3" on the blog here, i can already identify several songs i would LOVE to have in my possession again. i'm assuming some of you took advantage of the downloads i put up for a time and now have them at your listening convenience? lucky you...

see, the beauty of this blog is that it often gives. and now, you, dear, precious, esteemed, good-looking reader, have the opportunity to give back. you have the power of edification in your hands! you can help reunite me with some of my favorite songs. you could make me so intensely happy, the waves of good vibes i will be sending you across the internet and geographic space alone will be enough to justify your trouble.

here's what i want: if any of you have mp3s of the following songs, please leave a comment below and we'll be in touch. (links are to blog posts in which i originally shared them with you)
"At the Hop" by Devendra Banhart
"Are Birthdays Happy?" by Jens Lekman
"Tonight, Tonight" by the Smashing Pumpkins
"The Idea of You" by the Neo-Futurists
the avocado couch podcast i did on covers
"Little Brother" by Grizzly Bear

thanks in advance. and have some preliminary good energy waves:
"Disarm" [mp3] by the Smashing Pumpkins

x's+ o's

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

THE FUCK?!!! (part deux)

i come home from school and begin the tedious process of unpacking all my shit just so i can repack it to move out to L.A. to begin my stint as a teacher.

and what do i need more than anything in the world right now? well, to be back among friends and some hugs, ideally, but i'll settle for some comfort music (the one song i can't get out of my head right now is "tonight, tonight" by the smashing pumpkins, and another S.P. song i don't know the name of but that i know i would recognize it if i could only hear it again, because i was overwhelmed with a feeling of forwardness, of no-looking-back, of immediacy and now, that flooded out the words, all i could hear was the beat and the swell of violins, a tolling bell, as i drove around in the infinite dark and expanse of cornfields in northern illinois, clutching the hand of someone i love, wishing we could drive forever and ever into that blackness and this song would never end and i would never have to let go, never have to say goodbye or even goodnight)

but i come home and plug in my harddrive, and what do i hear? an awful clicking, the whir of a struggling fan trying to bring my computer to life, and then the tinny sound of a clunky alert on my computer, telling me it can't read the disk and to eject it. wow, i want to vomit. this is the same sickening feeling i got in my stomach about a month ago when this happened the first time. and why should i be surprised? of course this would happen, i'm karma's biggest bitch. i want to vomit all over Bill Gates and Steve Jobs' faces right now, for inventing my dependency on technological happiness and for turning my life into invisible data, so easily corruptible and so easily lost. bastards!

i can't even begin to contemplate the scope of what i lost this time. (gag reflex). just about everything of value to me was on that stupid little lunchbox-sized piece of machinery, all of my writing, all of my plans for future writing, drawings, photos of friends and video projects (many still in progress), concert videos, memories of friends, lovers and family, and so many, oh so many good albums i may never be able to recover again. funnily, the only thing of huge value i did manage to save on my laptop was my recently completed senior project. and i don't even care about it, because i have dozens of hand-bound copies lying around my room right now. the materiality of it makes me ill. (gag).

i'm going to go the library now, i guess, to try to find a copy of the Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. and then i'm gonna put Billy Corgan on full blast on my half-blown speakers and proceed to drown my sorrows in lemonade and whiskey. and when i sober up again, i'm gonna invest in a typewriter. perhaps i shall become a luddite.

[edit: i go to the library website and find that, of course, both their copies of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness are lost and/or missing. such is my life these days...]

[edit #2: after looking at smashing pumpkins downloads, i realize that the song we were listening to in the car on the ride home was "Disarm."]

with infinite sadness,

Thursday, May 22, 2008

actualizing a dream

i'm glad that this year allowed me the pleasure of realizing my dream of hand-binding my senior project. i can't tell you how fulfilling it is to look back on the original idea and see that i followed through with my original intentions.

it was the perfect way to wrap up my years as an undergraduate, building a bookpress from raw materials, enlisting the help of my friends in getting the copies made, printed, and assembled, then spending my last few days in oxford, sitting on the floor of my friend's house, binding books to gift to everyone i've met since my freshman year that has had any help in making my project a reality.

so, as a close to this chapter in my life (haha, a book analogy!), i have pictures of the book-binding process, AND, a promise to never talk about senior project again!

hahahaha, i'm done, friends! I AM DONE!

over and out,

loose copies:

the binding station (that's my home-made press!):

the class book (you can see my personal note to my thesis and class mentor):

actualization! hand-bound copy of my thesis (you can see the note written on the inside cover):

for those not lucky enough to receive a hand-bound copy of the original edition of 25, my senior thesis is available in digital copies, to read and annotate, via Ohiolink.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

the long goodbye

pictures from graduation, post-graduation Mac N Joe's excursion, mother's day brunch, and the last weekend in oxford with friends... [click pic's to enlarge]

hamming it up in Yager with Tom and Mikey J:
favorite moment:
Tom - "Hey Provost Herbst!!"
[Provost and President look over, wave, grinning like idiots]
Mikey J - "YOU SUCK!!"


Western graduation:

on Peabody steps

the strappin' Tappan tutors (and Davida...)

singing "Anyone Else (But You)" with Brandon

me, getting the Miller award

candle-lighting ceremony



later that night, at Mac N Joes:

Ben and me

Pulkit and me

me and Matt Huelsenbeck

L to R: Karmen, me, Sudie, and Nicole


the next day, Mother's Day brunch:

the following weekend, me with Britt and Ashley before moving out

oh good times in familiar climes,

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


just goes to show that we can always challenge the existing relationships of power and domination, even those we assume to be "natural."


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

a short and recent biography

i learned last night, right after we put a wrap on the class i've been teaching for the past semester, that i've been awarded the Miller Award for the Western College Program.

as the email notice describes it:

"You have been selected by your peers as the winner of the Miller Award.
Stephanie, your award is given to the student who most embodies the spirit of Western College. Congrats to you! As part of the WCP tradition that goes along with the Miller Award you will have your name embroidered onto the graduation gown worn by Ms. Miller. The Western College Alumnae Association expects that you wear "the regalia" to both the main campus commencement, as well as to the Western commencement. As such, please plan to attend the campus-wide graduation on Saturday, as well as joining us in Kumler Chapel. It will make for a long day, but you are now firmly enshrined as part of Western's rich history."

what an absolute honor! i was so breathlessly thrilled when i first read the email, i had to re-read it twice, just to make sure it was intended for me and not some other stephanie. but, the sender made sure to send it to all three of my email addresses, so i guess he knew what he was doing, too.

as part of the award, i had to submit a story about "me and my long, long life" (the dean's words). here's what i ended up writing:

In her time here at Western, Stephanie has immersed herself in community life, tutoring in both the Windate Writing Center and the Tappan Computer Lab, serving on Community Life Council (CLC) for her first and second years, and serving on the Traditions and Transitions committee for the preservation of Western College traditions. Stephanie has also extended her community involvement beyond Miami. She has volunteered at the Community Arts Center and with the Earned Income Tax Credit program in Butler County. As a Campus Progress Advisory Board member, Stephanie has helped to organize campaigns and training workshops for student activists all around the nation.

Among Western's many traditions, Stephanie holds the tradition of social justice most dear. As one of the organizers of the group Students for Staff, Stephanie has been continuing the work of Western alums who started the Fair Labor Coalition in 2003. She has spent the majority of her undergraduate years working alongside fellow students to campaign for a living wage at Miami University. And, when word about Western's possible termination leaked to the Western community, Stephanie was at the forefront of the movement to "Keep Western Whole." She demanded a meeting with the administration, and, along with a group of Western students, cancelled their Spring Break plans to stay in Oxford and meet with Provost Herbst and defend the Western Program. They would also raise opposition to the administration in University Senate, where they demanded greater transparency and student involvement.

Her experiences in both Students for Staff and the Keep Western Whole campaigns greatly influenced her to write her senior project on the importance of democracy and community in fostering empowering education. As part of her project, she designed and taught a Western seminar called "Education for Social Change," in which students developed community-based projects that would hopefully transform their educational experiences, as well as those of the people around them. She also built a book press so the class could hand-bind copies of a book they wrote together.

After Miami, Stephanie will be moving to Los Angeles, CA to teach special education as a Teach for America corps member. She hopes to get involved with more labor organizing or community-building projects in LA (she hopes to unionize the teachers in her school system - after her time in TFA) and plans on going to graduate school for cultural studies or public policy. She plans on devoting the rest of her life to educating revolutionary leaders and teachers who will transform the world of education, and dreams of eventually taking office as Secretary of Education and making democratic education the norm in schools all over the nation, and then coming back to Oxford to reinstate the Western College Program as she knew and loved it.

Of all the time she's spent at Miami, and of all the people she's met and things she's done, she's going to miss the moments spent with Western the most. This has really been her second family and second home for the last four years, and she wonders how she ever got by without this beautiful community. Thank you so much for giving her the opportunity to be so incredibly happy.

-- that last part made me tear up a little bit.

bidding you a fond adieu,

Monday, May 05, 2008

"... Institutionalized desublimation thus appears to be an aspect of the 'conquest of transcendence' achieved by the one-dimensional society. Just as this society tends to reduce, and even absorb opposition (the qualitative difference!) in the realm of politics and higher culture, so it does in the instinctual sphere. The result is the atrophy of the mental organs for grasping the contradictions and the alternatives and, in the one remaining dimension of technological rationality, the Happy Consciousness comes to prevail.

It reflects the belief that the real is rational, and that the established system, in spite of everything, delivers the goods. The people are led to find in the productive apparatus the effective agent of thought and action to which their personal thought and action can and must be surrendered. And in this transfer, the apparatus also assumes the role of a moral agent. Conscience is absolved by reification, by the general necessity of things."

-Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man (1964), p.79 (in the Beacon Press copy) 

amazingly, online here.

read this book

(a note to Self:)

read this book: 
The Suppression of Dissent: How the State and Mass Media Squelch USAmerican Social Movements 
by Jules Boykoff

it uses "squelch" in the title! (my descriptor of choice!)

-stephanie now

post-thought: also these books...

STUDENT DISSENT IN THE SCHOOLS (eds. Irving G. Hendrick and Reginald L. Jones)