"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, February 26, 2010

sweet justice

sea world: 2. humans: 0. this has not been a good week in the battle between man vs. nature.
an aquarium in the Dubai mall containing 2 million gallons of water and some 33,000 marine animals is beginning to crack. shark attack!

also, last week a 12,000 pound orca whale named Telly "dragged a trainer into the pool by her ponytail" and effectively killed her. in 1999, a man, who snuck past Seaworld security, and "either jumped, fell, or was pulled into the water" also died, possibly from hypothermia, though his body was found "draped" over Telly's head. the Seaworld PR people are now trying to keep blame away from Telly:
In an interview with CNN on Thursday, Chuck Tompkins, Sea World’s head of animal training, insisted that the orca was getting a bad rap, saying, “those two incidents really don’t have anything to do with this and to mark him as a killer is very unfair.” [via]
damn right it's unfair! look, we're talking about a giant swimming KILLING MACHINE. have we forgotten that orca whales, in nature (where they NATURALLY BELONG) are huge, swift, powerful, blood-thirsty BEASTS who hunt BABY SEALS and EAT them? i'm guessing these deaths are due to a number of things (like, THEIR MOTHER FUCKING NATURE TO LEAP OUT OF WATER, SOMETIMES THROUGH ICE, TO BITE AND KILL AND EAT THINGS), none of which amount to "revenge," which is what the media is (ridiculously) trying to call it ("there was no reason to believe that the orca had turned on its trainer out of anger").
i'm sorry, but when it comes to animals and humans, i'm almost uncompromisingly pro-fauna. if you put a bunch of fucking SHARKS in a tank with a tunnel thru it in the mother-fucking MALL for the sake of spectacle/thrill/etc. you deserve to lose your shit once that tank starts cracking and leaking water. and if you put an orca whale in a pool, feed it nothing but little fish and expect it to learn tricks for your amusement, you're damned right it's gonna leap out and eat you if you're not looking. it's not revenge, it's poetic justice.
it infuriates me how often the media covers these animal encounter stories and side unequivocally with the humans. i mean, i know it's common practice to be anthropomorphic, but dang, can't we just get over ourselves from time to time and see from another perspective? it seems that for the supposedly "most intelligent" animal, and the only one granted with reason, that we can be extremely unreasonable and myopic.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

avocado couch

i opened an etsy account the other day, because of recently developed aspirations to start crafting from home instead of working a 9-5 job (this is because, more than likely, i will no longer have my teaching position at school next year due to budget cuts, and due to a lack of interest in devoting myself full-time to graduate school, will most likely be living at home, not “at home” as in with my parents (not that there's anything wrong with that b/c my parents are exceedingly lovely ppl), but in a home, that is, a dwelling-place, or, what i imagine to be just one large room with carpet and a window (because that's all i need), so, anywhere really).

ANYWAY! the etsy shop i opened is called Avocado Couch, and when/if it opens, will probably specialize in random things made of felt, hand-bound books, t-shirts with strange animal pictures on them, stationery, and who knows what else. i think mostly i just want to stay at home (/”inside”) and sit on the carpet, and cut paper with knives and sew things. that would be nice.

this will be my banner!



!edit! i just realized that etsy requires a registration fee, and considering i have no start up money to speak of, no "products" to sell (yet), and no customers (yet! haha, i kid!), it seems unwise to pay a website for services i could more or less undertake myself. so! for now, or, in the future when this finally comes to fruition, i can post things i make on this website you are currently staring at and taking the time to read (thank you!) and i'll include my contact info and we can hassle each other over prices and all that performative business-talking bullcrap on the phone or via email. really, it would just be so wonderful to have little creations of mine wandering around out there. that's what i'm really in it for, not the money, or the fame, i just want to make things. livin' the dream y'all!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

yuckety yuck cluckety cluck

i'm ready for this year and all its drama to be over. i think the school years are just too long. it is difficult for me and my students to sustain our enthusiasm when we all know we're just faking it til we make it to summer. mutual appreciation and kindness has digressed into fulfilling duties and obligations to each other we entered the year with.

sense of duty, huh, let's ponder that. at what point does obligation to fulfill one's promises cease to be courtesy and kindness and become obligation for obligation's sake, or an obsession with obligation?

i am reading this book of essays on No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and am going to write a paper about it. it's been a fantastic read, though very one-sided, but then again, i find it hard to find any compelling arguments in favor of NCLB (in favor of its intentions, of course, but never in defense of its actual practices). it's actually exceptional practice for me, since it's been a while since i've done anything particularly stimulating as part of my higher educational experience, and since education reform is one of those things i've always cared about but have had little opportunity to actually write or talk about since i've started teaching. anyway, reading this book and planning my response has made me realize what a horribly fucked up job America is doing of maintaining its public school system. i have lots to say in this regard, but i should save it for the paper. suffice it to say: NCLB was supposed to deliver on the promise of free and equalizing public education, but has instead managed to dismantle our schools and bleed resources out of our most needing communities, those schools that serve low-income students and students of color, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities.

and this just made it all the more apparent: my life is so full of fail right now.
it seems that all things around me right now are all about good intentions – upholding promises, fulfilling obligations – but doing a really shitty job of it. in my teaching, in my personal life, in education policy, all these things i care about are coming to an ugly head right now and i regret to say i'm not so excited for the fallout. you ever pause from your busy life to think about how old and dusty the world is, and about all the plastics slowly building up on our earth's surface and realize the earth will probably never be clean again unless we dredge all the oceans and sift thru all the land and collect all this trash from the whole of human existence and build a rocket-ship big enough to blast it all into infinite space and even then we'd probably eventually clutter the universe with all our shit? i just feel, like, "so what do i dooooo???"

Monday, February 22, 2010

self-fulfilling prophecy

"Stephanie Says"

stephanie says that she wants to know
why she's given half her life to people she hates now
stephanie says that she wants to know
why it is that she's the door, she can't be the room

but she's not afraid to die,
the people all call her alaska
it's so cold in alaska, it's so cold in alaska


how does it feel to be so exposed?
how does it feel to be so alone?

they don't know me...

a marxist's idea of love

"Love you will find only where you may show yourself weak without provoking strength."

-Theodor Adorno

hm... i need to think about this. i'm sure there's something clever i could say to connect this quote, and the idea of love, to the Frankfurt School's theories on culture and capitalism, but today i feel sick and don't think i'm in any kind of place to wax philosophical on love or the implications of this quote.

suffice it to say, the balance between weakness and strength has been a challenge to maintain lately. the act of negotiating desires and wills is risky business.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

pshuh duh!

i need to delete my facebook account. every time i use it, it makes me want to smack myself in the face. i originally joined because i thought it would be an interesting sociological experiment, which i will admit it can still occasionally be, but it's generally just too much drama.

"people say i look like Lucy Liu all the time"
"dead ringer! but that's not fair... don't all asian people look alike?"
"@Ruth: you're so right! i've always thought all white people look alike too!"

i couldn't resist being a sarcastic bitch on this person's profile today. i really fucking can't stand people who think all people of a certain race look alike. if i can distinguish all the WHITE people apart, i think you can at least *pretend* to tell 2 people of color apart (esp. if both of them look NOTHING like each other).

when i trolled through this person's profile, i was sadly not so surprised to see that she is a Campus Crusader for Christ at Miami University. y'all, that school was so white bre(a)d.

i must commend her, though, on posting one of the most self-righteous-quotes-from-the-Bible-i've-ever-read as her "religious view." she practically parodies herself.

but, after further consideration, i feel i may have been too harsh on this certain sad individual. it seems her own friends can't tell her apart from an animated animal, so maybe i should forgive her inability to tell two people of color apart?

"you know this looks a lot like you!"

i always thought these "find the differences" puzzles in the weekend paper were a waste of time and insulting to people, but now i see how necessary they were.


whoo. alright, back to some grad school work. 'sbeen fun.

Monday, February 15, 2010

gong shi

such a wonderful day.

woke up and made yummy breakfast wraps while listening to chinese language podcasts. cut a cantaloupe (a pleasurable activity for the senses, olfactory and tactile – a cantaloupe provides just enough resistance to warrant the use of a large knife, while maintaining ease of motion) then took a bike ride down to the beach (the ride was also a perfect blend of challenge and leisure at the proper moments, the breeze was salty-sweet and not too blustery on the way towards the ocean, allowing us to make record time on the path). ben and i spent an hour on the beach, splashing in the water and racing each other on the sand, watching the waves crashing in huge gusts as they hit the sandbar formed from weeks of rainwater draining sand into the ocean.

came home to clean up and drive east to celebrate chinese new year with my uncle and aunt. a fragrant pineapple in the backseat. eating lots of noodles and sticky rice cakes. playing bingo with 50 chinese gentle men and women, one drunk bingo rabble rouser and one elementary kid who kept winning all the prizes. we were in it to win it (a mini braided bamboo plant, that is).

driving back to the apartment, teaching ben how to count in mandarin, thinking to myself the whole time how happy and lucky i am, to be surrounded by such good people.

i feel sometimes that i can never cease in my amazement of how much beauty lies in the world around me. i see the grace of bodies, the delicate lines on faces and how they reveal smiles and the way people walk, or use their hands when talking, the way they put on a shoe or brush the hair out of their face or the way they chew their food and the way people laugh, and i think of the babies that we once were and i dunno, it just seems like such glorious probability that everything works out to such perfection. it overwhelms me with such marvellous awe that sometimes i mistake it for sadness. it makes life seem so precious, which is really something to be grateful for, even though being aware of it makes everything seem so precarious.

look! i am teaching ben how to speak mandarin!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

if "single ladies" were *really* a women's empowerment song, the way it was intended

i cried at the end of the Little Mermaid. and you know what? it wasn't because i was deeply touched by the love story or so happy for Ariel and Prince Eric or so relieved that Ursula was defeated. no, it was because i was absolutely TORN UP that Ariel had to transform into a human and leave her dad behind in the sea. that last frame right there, had me bawlin'.

even as a kid, i thot it was totally effed up for a girl to have to leave behind her family and change her identity to cozy up to some dude who was too stupid to tell the difference between two girls with the same voice.

ladies, amirite?


this probably explains why i was a tomboy my whole childhood and never dated anyone til i was 18. still, i feel like a winner.