Thursday, November 30, 2006

cough. hack. still sick.

what's that kind of sick where you touch your eyeballs and they ache?
or the kind of sick where, when you cough, everything feels like it's going to be forced to explode through your ears?

yeah, i'm that kind of sick and i'm back home.
i had every intention to go in to the office, and i did. then i nearly coughed up a lung and my boss said, 'you sound like crap. maybe you shouldn't be here.'

so i agreed and then decided to go to a lunch meeting for a bunch of women working to do some public education around wage equity. i almost tore my face off it was so unproductive. no, it wasn't unproductive. i just wasn't in the mood to sit in a tiny office and listen to stuff.

so now i'm home, plugged into my office email, 'working' and making myself lunch.

viva la inferma!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

i'm sick! i'm sick!

like a kid in elementary school, i'm home sick today. i never get sick. maybe a head cold or a tonsil thing but not the kind of sick where i have to leave the office early (ok, i left at five but i didn't feel good about it!) and then go straight to bed, tossing and turning with weird aches and pains.

(last night i dreamed that the canadian prime minister was fake and no one knew but me and my roommate and no one would believe us and the canadian secret police were after us. he was made out of parts! we saw him being put together!)

so after asking my roomie what one does when they're sick (it entails bundling up and watching tv surrounded by vitamins and tea and romance novels) i think i'm all set for a wonderful, rainy, gray day on the couch under a comforter.

you call in sick, too, ok?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

oh, canada!

Random thoughts on being out of the country during this most American of holidays:

1. MontrĂ©al has a wonderfully silent airport. We shooshed down the people mover and it was eerie – so quiet, so clean, so…Logan’s Run. Fabulous.
2. I tend to freeze like a deer in headlights when spoken to in French. I can’t help it. I didn’t practice any phrases. I could only smile, shake my head and answer in English.
3. It is a city one can crisscross on foot in one day. And, by golly, we were going to do it until my footwear gave out. Old Montreal, Latin Quarter, Ste. Catherine, the business district, the riverfront - very charming.
4. Our shopping is better. It just is – in variety, depth, and style our shopping in Chicago is better. It’s not to say that they don’t have nice things but I didn’t really see anything extraordinarily different or that screamed Must Have! I was hoping for a really great avenue of boutiques and while Mont Royal was nice it was just…meh. However, their winter boots kick ass – stylish AND functional. And, apparently, from Iceland.
5. Being out of the US during a US holiday is incredibly freeing. No blather about shopping or turkeys or worrying about the food or who’s cooking it. It was just about waking up, finding a place for breakfast (an unpleasant sight of the waitstaff eating off of a plate they were clearing meant no breakfast at the hotel), and then walking around. It is the best kind of anonymity.
6. The men are short. And dour, with a kind of existential despair thrown in while also being over-coiffed. Strange. We wonder how the men are in Toronto.
7. Their news is more serious than ours. Quebec nationhood is a big thing. It was everywhere – as well as what looked like the biggest mafia bust in Canadian history. But roomie and I were wondering, Ok, so you get your nationhood – how do you support your new nation infrastructurally? I mean, if Texas wanted to be its own country, I think we’d all be saying Good luck with that.
8. Dinner at Les Remparts was out of this world. Try the tasting menu, if you can. Fabulous. The sommelier, when asked if we should bother getting a bottle of wine with dinner in addition to the wine pairings with dinner, said in his best French-ish accent, ‘You will each consume a bottle of wine with dinner on your own.’ We said, ‘Score.’
9. We had a freaking good time. We planned our days around our meals, took our time with everything and just relaxed. Everyone should go.

Now. Do it. Go.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

roomie and i are on our way to montreal for the holiday!
to all five of my readers, have a great thanksgiving.

i wanna hear all about the going home drama when i get back.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

wow. a bad week for race relations.

a list, in light of the Michael Richards/Kramer and UCLA student taser thing:

1. when talking about the use of the N-word, let's have a basic understanding that no one should be using it.

2. yes, some black folk use it. not all of us like that but that doesn't mean everyone gets to.

3. (similarly, yes, some gay folk also use the f-word when they speak with/about one another, but that's not going to make it ok for me to say it. it's bad manners.)

4. (just the way it's bad manners to whine about why certain people get to do certain things that seem naughty and you can't. you just can't. deal with it. if you're burning with a desire to say a naughty word and you're mad that people will think you're a racist if you do, then you have a problem.)

4.5. (and if you ask if that's fair - what are you, five?)

5. and besides, that's not the point. whether or not you are a racist is not the point. who cares if you're a racist?

6. the point is, Richards used it in a really really problematic way. you get a few racial demerits for saying the N-word but you flunk the whole test when you start referencing lynching.

7. and that's what's ugly. when we use the word racism *properly* we are to understand that there's a whole history and cultural tradition supporting it and giving it life; we understand that history isn't in the past - it's now, it's flowing forward, everything we do make us part of it and we inform it just as we're informed by it. history and cultural/social practice make racism real and Richards basically sickened himself and his audience when he vomited that history all over the stage that night.

8. this history claim - does this mean that we don't recognize other histories? (i.e., the history of the english oppression of the irish, the genocide in darfur, the spanish decimation of the native american and the indigenous. those histories.) no way. but that's not the context of this particular conversation or incident.

9. and don't try to divert the conversation into another direction. it would be great if the folks who always use this gambit when they get super defensive about race/racism actually wanted to talk about other imperialisms and colonialisms and how they inform our contemporary culture and make our current race issues so frakking complicated. they say, 'what about this oppression or that oppression? are you saying that only black people have suffered, only black people have suffered oppression??' no, brother; i'm not saying that. let's DO talk about other people's suffering and oppression! i'd love to, but you're not going to like it. history ain't pretty. you really don't want to go there.

10. but if you do, maybe we can talk about this guy from UCLA (my alma mater!) who totally got tasered for refusing to show school ID and told some campus police to frak off. he probably has some ideas about why it happened.

Friday, November 17, 2006

is he kidding? jonah goldberg can kiss my minority ass.

so here's his piece: Racism by another name is `diversity' | Chicago Tribune

and here's mine (perhaps to appear in a newspaper near you sometime soon):

Mr. Goldberg is probably correct; if all children, across all economic and racial strata, had access to the basic building blocks for stability - adequate housing, nutrition, health care, family support and quality early childhood education from the start - then perhaps affirmative action would be moot. But we all know that hasn’t happened, yet, and perhaps Mr. Goldberg should look outside his own privileged background and take a reality check.

While we work towards a level playing field – and to date, other than to suggest black people should be happy with less challenging schools, Mr. Goldberg hasn’t offered a single recommendation how to make that happen – let’s ask ourselves what our universities and colleges would look like without affirmative action now?

To answer that question let's look at California; ten years since affirmative action was banned in California minority enrollment at the state’s best schools has plummeted. In 2000, nine African American first year law students enrolled at UC Berkely; in 1996, that number was twenty. University-wide numbers show that since 1995, African-American undergraduate enrollment dropped to 4,780 from 5,016 while white enrollment remained steady, hovering in the 50-55,000 area; in 2005 at UC Berkely alone, there were only 829 African-American students enrolled compared to the 1,200 back in 1995. In contrast, during that same period, White student enrollment remained steady.

If the white student population has not been significantly affected, why call for less opportunity for students of color? (It's not true that if you make room for Black Joe you take away from White Tom. In fact, what you've just done is make White Tom the default.)

There was a hope that eliminating affirmative action would force us to change the way we pipeline underrepresented students into higher education – we hoped that improved K-12 education would eliminate the need for so-called racial preferences. But that hasn’t happened, either. Disadvantaged school districts still lack the AP classes and counseling necessary to boost even their top students’ GPAs to the level of a student from a more privileged school district. In addition, recruiting students of color is now illegal under the California law, making it even harder to put students of color in the pipeline for higher education. And so, ten years after the California Prop 209 initiative, we can see that the desired affect has been reached; there are practically no students of color on any UC campus and Michigan wants to do the same thing in their state.

(Of course, Michigan also has a long tradition of being a racially segregated state so perhaps they're just going back to their roots. After all, it is one of the remaining states with bunches of sunset towns still operating in them.)

The privileges of the upper/middle class should be enjoyed by everyone. While affirmative action is an effective tool to give access to opportunity to students who need it, it's important to continue to ensure historically underrepresented populations have those basic building blocks necessary for a full and autonomous life – economic stability, family stability, physical and educational stability.

Maybe those who don’t like affirmative action can work on that.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

the universe hates me

at first, today was normal: morning meeting (cancelled), busy work at the desk, pressing list of things to do and figure out, work work work, lunch, more work.

then comes the afternoon planning meeting for one of our major events next spring and i look down at the tentative schedule of events and see something that makes me sit up, squeak and loudly say, Holy shit.

remember last night? i'm cruising around B-'s archive of writing; i'm thinking that it's sad i didn't get to know him that well; i vaguely register a photo of him and his heretofore unknown well-known sister on his website.

why is this significant?

because she's going to be performing at my organization's event next spring with her nationally recognized spoken word troupe. that's why.

things i never knew about the man i knew

B- sent me an email today. it was a link to his newest article, a review of nbc's 'earl'. i don't think it was sent to me, personally, as some kind of sign or anything. it was probably just a mass email to folks he has in his address book.

but i'd never really read his writing in any close way. since the link was there, what harm would there be? what could i discover about B- since we'd stopped sleeping together?

you know how you read certain authors and you instantly have a sense of where they come from - they're authors of a Place and you'll always associate them with that? like, flannery o'connor is a southern writer; edith wharton is new york; steinbeck is california. well, B- is san antonio. you read him and you can taste the tecate, you feel the dry heat, you smell the dirt. his writing about his hometown should have been all the conversations we never had. the holes in his biography were filled: his sister is a well-known poet and spoken work performer and activist; his father was not just a crazy vietnam vet; he was raised by his staunch baptist grandparents; he may have been well-educated at stanford but he was in contempt of it all. he has a soft imaginative spot for petty criminals, con men, hustlers and winos.

there's nothing about me - and there shouldn't be. but there is a short piece called 'hello, walls,' roughly around the time we stopped seeing each other, and i can't help but remember this day we spent together.

anyway. i thought that was interesting.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

brill-yunt: bush years as hook up

yes, i'm still riding the high of seeing the dems actually win something (see what message discipline can do??) so here's an apt metaphor for the past 6 years:

Listen, we've all had the questionable hook-up. We get it. Bush didn't seem at all crazy when you met him at the club. And sure you dabbled in faith-based stuff, and maybe his foreign policy was a little naive, but come on -- sexy, sexy tax cuts.

But then things got out of control, and kinkier and kinkier and next thing you know you're in a war with no occupation planning and no exit strategy and being told that's okay and back off; and people are being tortured, and then not allowed to talk to their lawyers because they might reveal the secrets of their torture; and the one dude who had oversight on the corruption in the war is fired in secret; and you have record deficits and record spending and Congress meeting over Terry Schiavo and warrantless wiretaps and faith-based anti-science and the end of separation of Church and State and troop families in food banks and the most venal Congress in history and Abramoff and K Street and Young Republican college students in charge of Iraqui reconstruction and fucking HORSE LAWYERS IN CHARGE OF FEMA and bing bang boom you got a whole American city, just lying there dead, no explanations, no excuses, just stunned at how the hell you got here. Exactly like our questionable hook-ups, just substitute "waitress in Provost" for "New Orleans" and "all that vodka and blow" for "Hurricane Katrina" --

But let's not get distracted. Point is -- questionable hook-ups. We, as ordinary citizens, all know how we get out of this: you stop returning the crazy person's calls. We promise never to bring it up when drinking. Several years from now, when everything's scabbed over the two of us can joke about our mutual lapses in judgement while sharing a fine Rolling Rock beverage.

if any metaphor for our political process is going to sink in, it's the metaphor of the inappropriate one-nighter.

h/t: wasp jerky

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

post-election fallout

what an amazing day so far.
the senate is still up in the air, with montana and virginia the deciding factors.
the house is ours.

and donald rumsfeld is stepping down.

i'm sorry. was that a pig flying overhead?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

i couldn't do it

Eric Zorn, loathe as i am to admit it, expresses what happened to me in the voting booth this mornng.

though i liked rich whitney a lot (flaming ex-socialist that he is), i just couldn't do it. i couldn't vote for him. i actually stood in that steaming hot polling room and felt my hair curl as i debated with myself to vote for rod (gag) or vote for whitney, thereby putting topinka (gag) one step closer to the governor's mansion. and so i couldn't do it.

these days, voting is like a scene in sophie's choice, you know?

Monday, November 06, 2006

roomie and i are silently counting down until we can pack up our passports and get on that plane to montreal for thanksgiving. we're both sorta tired and being in another place for the beginning of the family holiday season makes us really really happy.

really happy.
it has given us a reason (uh, excuse) to shop like we're crazy women.

two pairs of black pumps, a black/white chain print wrap dress, and a bottle of marc jacobs body lotion (YUM) later, i can say that shopping is the *perfect* antidote for not having a boy around.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

counting down to another nervous breakdown: politics

Green Party vs. the goliaths | Chicago Tribune

the blagojevich/topinka ads are turning my stomach. can't a girl watch 'dancing with the stars' in peace? apparently not.

so my gaze turns toward a candidate who's been running so far under the radar, when i mentioned him at a work meeting, my very politically astute coworkers went, 'Err?' ralph nader pissed me off but i think i could probably go for a Green governor. and if you check out his profile, rich whitney doesn't sound totally crazy. ok, his gun policy is weird, but i can overlook that. i'm from los angeles.

(my rubric for political candidates is quite simple - don't sound like a nutbag.)

change has to start somewhere, right?
speaking of commercials, why don't the GOP just come out and call poor tammy duckworth a 'legless satan worshipper'? it'd cut through all the crap and make their ads so much more interesting.
talking to roomie on the phone yesterday, i realized that approximately 2 years ago, bush won his second election, i had a political nervous breakdown and began the shaky process of giving my boss the finger. it's an anniversary of sorts.

so maybe it's rather apropos that senator john kerry (hereafter known as The Supreme Dumbass) says something just ONE frakking week before elections that seemed almost calculated to make the Dems lose any chance of winning back the House, thus leading to another second political nervous breakdown.

so, uh, john. when i quit my job while in the throes of a massive depression and end up living on the streets, shall i blame you?