"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

Thursday, April 30, 2009

the best day, 143 characters at a time

today was probably the best work day i've ever had.

amazing, b/c there were so many things that could have gone wrong (supervisor's visit, day one of my test preparation unit, long work day – 7 to 6, junk food) but it all magically went right...

the day retold in 143-character twits:
  1. today, i *finally* feel like a genuinely competent teacher. this makes me feel ah-maaaazing!
  2. still @ school, waiting for parent conferences to begin. chuckling while reading student essays. oh kids. so cute (sometimes...)
  3. just met my student Niria's mom and baby brother Jonathon, who is the cutest 6 year old w/ a mohawk EVER.
  4. just met Ruby's mom. when i told mom Ruby talks too much, mom drew her hand across her mouth and, with her limited english, told me "TAPE!"
  5. 1 of my students from the very beginning of the yr came to visit me. i heard him excitedly screaming down the hall, "LET'S VISIT MS. LEE!"
  6. the night school teacher just came in. good to put a face to the entity that destroys my desk formation, steals my pens, and never cleans up
  7. i finally got to tell Jose's mom a/b her son's predilection for gum-chomping. still, a pleasure to tell Mom her son is a delight to teach.
  8. well, that's a wrap. it's been fun live-tweeting my Parents' Open House. now to go home and wrap up these grad school finals...

now i'm gonna change out of my suit, fix some dinner, and hopefully write a paper!

excited for a short friday and pilates class, then a busy busy weekend of writing grad school finals.

so much love and excitement,

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


"you cannot live on hope alone,

but without it, life is not worth living."
- Harvey Milk

i have got to give it up for this video:

great graphic design and editing, highlighting excerpts from Harvey Milk's speech "You Cannot Live On Hope Alone" (1978). i got chills just watching it, and an itch to take to the streets and fight for something, fight for everyone's right to love whoever we want.


another speech that will absolutely move you to tears: Dustin Lance Black's Oscar acceptance speech for his original screenplay for the film MILK (2008).

what a senseless world we live in if beautiful people like these must be told they are anything less by our government and corporatized media.

finally: if you haven't seen it yet, you should definitely watch The Life and Times of Harvey Milk (the original documentary on which, i'm assuming, Milk was based, and Hulu has it for free!) i watched this as a sophomore in college, in a gender and sexuality in literature class, and remember crying for hours after, wondering how i'd gone my whole life without knowing about Harvey Milk, and feeling so sad that people like this, brave and beautiful ppl, are taken from us before they can do all the good they can.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

in the no

i hate supervisors, supervision, and surveillance.

if i had super-vision i would use my powers for good, not annoyance or fuckery.

(just saying. this is why i'm ill-suited for the traditional work environment.)

Monday, April 27, 2009

bodily science

there comes a moment in every night, or every day (depending on when you woke up and started working) when you reach yr saturation level. yr body can't take any more and you have to stop what y're doing, get up, move around, turn up some loud music and jump jump jump, trying to escape yr skin and bones, trying to break gravity.

that moment for me is now. it's been 14 hours straight working on this, stopping only to piss, weep, drink, and clear my shower drain. matters of plumbing, both bodily and external. apparently the second most pressing task of the day.

i cleaned my room, moved things around. re-arranged the furniture. got off the bed, where the springs are creaking now (oh you old man). i am now ensconced between a chair, a desk, and a wall, there are tiny pieces of paper and trash confetti'd round, and it's no wonder i can't think, all the pieces fit together and spell out little mosaic messages

reminders of to-do's and grocery lists
dinners with my parents that were set to laughter
post cards stacked up waiting to be scribbled on and sent
flyers for apartments waiting to be visited and dreamt about
a camera with 1 G of phot-oooh's so long ago taken i forget why this array of leaves was so captivating in the first place

and empty bottles of red red wine, from summer days one year ago! how long before i realize that i'm one year older and somehow survived.

i think in some ways days/nights like this remind me i'm an animal. working thru the day, with no sense of the future really, just doing what i can to survive one moment at a time.

what strange sleep-deprived, underfed, chlorine-induced haze is this?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

bold [sic] hate - ha ha

shield yr eyes!

(or keep em peeled! this shit changes real-time, bitches. so you can witness my minute-by-minute struggles with this jackass mother fucker. and warn me of broken links cuz this shit is wired to hit the fan...)

i have been up since 7 am working on this stupid piece of shit for my grad class, the last two hours spent trying to figure out how to format the fucking tables in the rubric section so it's not all bold.

fucking google docs.

nothing like a webquest to make you hate google, the internet, and life.

also: no food, no company, no time. low sleep, dirty hair, and my muscles wanna go for a ruuuuuuunn nn n n na nun.

there was so much else i could have done but instead this. and more.

still one unit plan, one lesson plan, and a fieldwork journal to write.

and i'm wondering about the state of nature and (hu)man. if the birds, cows, monkeys, and fleas all want to kill us, and the pigs now too, i think it's proof my hero was right:

"Your planet's immune system is trying to get rid of you."

fly high, fly straight. into the sun?

Monday, April 20, 2009

serenity now!

i attended a teacher training once where the session facilitator encouraged us to teach our students anger management. she suggested we have our students imagine "black balls of hate" inside us, between our stomachs and our hearts, and squeezing that ball and expelling it with deep breaths.

the problem with this strategy is that it reminds me too much of the episode from Seinfeld where the characters are encouraged to say the phrase "serenity now" to deal with their anger and frustration, but all they end up doing is suppressing it until it explodes violently in eruptive, pressurized catharsis.

when i think about all the teachers who get fired for accidentally hitting kids, or for disorderly public conduct, or for writing extremely critical blogs, i think about all the ways in which these teachers probably weren't receiving the support they needed, and about all the bullshit they were probably told that didn't help them.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

comparing urban experiences

a portrait i took on the bike path from Hyde Park to upper downtown.
this photograph always exemplified the entire chicago experience for me: contented solitude in the midst of vastness.

you know, it's funny. my friend asked me the other day why i love chicago so much. and i really didn't have a compelling reason for him, aside from the obvious: public transportation, access to concerts, Millennium Park. beyond that and i'd have to go into a longer history of my interaction with that place.

it's not like Chicago's weather is even that great. when i lived there in the summer of 2006 it was sweltering hot and humid, and i lived without a.c. i sucked it up and refused to pay for such extravagance, knowing that strength and endurance emerge from a furnace. when i spent hours in the hot summer sun at Pitchfork and Lollapalooza that year, i hardly even sweat it (idiomatically speaking, that is). when i think back on it, i don't even recall being uncomfortable with the heat. i wore skirts a lot that summer, cut my hair real short, wore bathing suits under my clothes on the weekends. i sweat a lot but learned to not mind so much.

and it's not like life was easy. i worked two jobs, one at the Field Museum and the other as a field journalist/videographer for an indy news group. it was a 9-5 gig with on-call jobs over the weekends and sporadic meetings in the evenings. i remember hating the desk job at the museum at first, but then learning ways of using the space as a resource and finding my own projects to work on. i was never bored and never felt overworked. in fact, i recall working all day on a net neutrality video on a Saturday, from the 1 o'clock lunch with a co-worker that inspired the need for action, walking home writing a script (/rant) in my head, getting back to the apartment, starting up the camera, and recording/editing until 3 am in the morning, just for fun, because the project meant something to me. there were endless reports and meetings to do at the Field as well, but they were always fascinating and exciting and diverse enough in nature that it never became stifling.

it was the first time i'd ever lived in a big city, too. and i was by myself, without a car, without any friends or family in the city, no knowledge of how public trans worked. i was scared to take buses and trains at night. scared to leave the apartment after sun down. it was the first time i'd lived in an apartment (and in the worst part of town!) it was my first time grocery shopping for myself, the first time cooking (or attempting to) for myself. it was my first time using a gas stove, and i was afraid of gas leaks so never ended up using it. this is how my diet came to consist of mostly cold and raw foods for 3 months of my life. i was practically a live vegan, but i ate a lot of cheese and crackers. it was the first time i was overwhelmed with the possibilities of so many things at once, and i was so completely new to the experience of all of it.

but, that was the year i walked everywhere. and, when i got tired of walking, i found a couple who was willing to lend me a bike for the summer, and i rode along Lake Michigan and explored the city beaches. that was the year i joined Critical Mass and made 1,000 friends at once. that was the year i did yoga after work on the floor of a Maori house exhibit in the museum, and again in Millennium Park on weekend mornings, saluting the sun thru metallic beams. i spent afternoons walking thru art museums or photographing street performers. i read a book a week. i drew! i wrote poetry and listened to music. i danced. i took 30 minute train rides to chinatown to eat mango fried rice from a bamboo bowl. and that was the year i accidentally stranded myself in the worst part of town when the trains stopped running. it was the year i learned to make salsa from scratch and all-natural ingredients, and the year i fell asleep listening to Band of Horses' Funeral almost every night.

it's amazing to me to remember all of this, and there is still so much i could say. and though i have a penchant for reminiscing, this is hardly nostalgia at all, memory imbued with illusion from the passage of time. for though i never ate warm foods, and never had a.c., and was always working and walking and alone, i never felt unhappy, unfull, uncomfortable, or hungry. i was restless for more, but always well-rested, my skin was glowing and i felt young and alive and vibrant.


compare with now: i live with a childhood friend, but we hardly talk. i feel alone most days, even though i have many friends in the city and family nearby as well. i have a car but i'm terrified of driving it. LA traffic scares me and driving with the windows down is no longer considered part of a pleasurable experience. i lament missing good concerts b/c the venues are far away and the shows expensive. i have a fully functional kitchen and though i've gotten good at making fod for myself, i don't enjoy it, and hardly have the appetite for anything i make. still, i feel constantly hungry, go to bed hungry some nights. i don't sleep well, i toss and turn, waking up worrying it's 7 am when it's not even 3:30 am. i watch a lot of tv, hardly ever read, and even though i am always working or preparing to work, i never feel i've accomplished anything.

and LA's weather is fine, but i hardly ever enjoy it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

plans change

if you could sail the ocean blue, where would you go first?


i think i'd go in search of the Bermuda Triangle. i want to see what all the fuss is about.


hm, but i remember now, i'm afraid of pirates...

ocean travel: not what it used to be.

Monday, April 13, 2009

anyone in the LA area want to give me a job editing film?

or even if it's just a job "getting coffee for the guy/gal who currently edits film," i don't care.

i'd be good at that, too.

i just don't want to hate my job any more.

qualifications? sure. some of my past work here. and a CV here.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday

i woke up this morning feeling a little closer to death.

the past few days i've been trying to get over a freak bout of shingles. i saw two doctors and a dermatologist, none of whom could provide me strong answers or explanations for what was going on. shingles was the default answer that inspired little confidence.

they poked and prodded, brought in colleagues to look at my skin, ran labs on my bloodwork, and

they put me on three different medications. the first made me sleepy, like narcoleptic sleepy, so i stopped after the first day. the other was a topical cream that cost $45, so i didn't even bother filling that prescription. the last was free, came in little silver individually-wrapped packets, and the doctor gave me just enough, he thought, to get me thru it. so, i took them, every day, for 4 days.

i get home last night from 8 hours of travel, my stomach hurting, it's 11 pm PST and i haven't eaten or had anything to drink since 2 pm EST b/c of my stomach, and i'm noticing something isn't right with my body. i won't give you details, no "TMI", but suffice it to say:

i've been up since 7 am PST, calling doctors, clinics, looking up causes of my particular condition, checking drug side effects (of which i think i exhibit the SEVERE REACTION), looking up health insurance policies and trying to understand how much this might end up costing me, and

feeling extremely tired, alone, confused, and scared.

i want to be anywhere but here.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

behold, the beach!

it seems appropriate that the poetry books of my personal library are stacked together and held in place by a basket of seashells. adjacent, a pair of felt animal ears, the remnants of a 3rd grade informational performance about raccoons.

my two friends and i, as Montessori youth, had co-written and directed a 5-minute long presentation about raccoons for an autumnal pageant in the woods behind our principal's house in the country. each group of 8 year olds picked out one plot of woodland to do what they wanted.

i was the hip-hop raccoon. i rapped about our nocturnal lifestyle while wagging my tail and c-stepping.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

look at banner, Michael!

i spent a portion of my evening avoiding grad papers and redesigning some banners for this here blog:

i think i was dreaming of the summer when i made these (can you tell?)

the new look makes me excited for spring, and swimming, and the green haze of the outdoors!

let me know what you think?