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O. fragrans

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4/13/06 01:57 pm - Hmmm...

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4/7/06 12:29 pm - Welcome to my early afternoon rant....

So there's a Women's Conference at my alma mater this weekend. I'll be going to a few workshops before heading to work tomorrow.

Anyway, I had an interesting night getting stuff ready for the conference, drinking wine and playing rummy before we hit one of the local college bar hang outs---about a dozen of us all wearing "This is What a Feminist Looks Like" t-shirts. It's amazing how on-edge college boys can get when a bunch of women and a couple fags wearing such shirts invade their watering hole. It’s a little strange to me. The first time I went to college back in the mid-90s there were so many political and social subcultures. Freaks abounded, but nowadays, at least at smaller schools like SUNY Cortland, the feminists are the hippies and punks and indie kids and the homos and the fact that a group of kids wearing very tame political slogans can actually draw a lot of attention is alarming and sad. What happened to youth rebellion? Most of the kids I know who are still in school want to work for not-for-profit orgs. They’re not champions of world socialist revolution or lesbian separatists (unfortunately).

It makes me wonder about the average-joes/janes. Has youth culture ever been so manufactured and straight-laced? I suppose in the 80s Yuppies ruled and marketing focused almost exclusively on them. But now teenagers are on the frontline. Advertising focuses much of its attention on their social and cultural development. Colleges are full of little stepford consumers. Armed with charge cards, they all wannabe Jessica Simpson or 50 cent to some degree.

It extends into the classroom ass well. A friend of mine was talking about one of her upper-division math classes. A girl in the class didn’t understand what a variable was. The professor explained it and tried to continue with the lesson, but she still didn’t get it. The professor explained that maybe, if she couldn’t understand something as simple as a variable, she shouldn’t be in the class, and he couldn’t spend any more time explaining it to her. He had lessons to teach the rest of the class. The student raised hue and cry over how she was paying for the class and therefore the professor, as her hireling, was duty-bound to meet her needs. Finally, my friend chimed up, “I know what a variable is and I’m paying for this class too, and I want to go on with the rest of the lesson.” Evidently it shut her classmate the fuck up and the lesson continued.

There are innumerable similar examples. Since when has the cost of attending college dictated the parameters of a class? Who the fuck gave these kids that impression and how does one squash that thumb-sucking logic?

A friend of mine who taught at Cortland for 30 years was recently fired for yelling at some students who shared a similar attitude. He retired last May but took an adjunct position to teach a drama course. A couple girls in his class were not doing any of the work and thus received failing notices at mid-term. They came to him and asked if there was something they could do for extra credit to bring their grades up. He offered to let them workshop some of his one-act plays at a local coffeehouse. They agreed then never followed through with the assignment. They came to him later and said that they thought he was using them because they were to workshop plays he had written. Finally the damn broke and he tore into the students for being lazy and not doing any of the work but still expecting to pass the class. He said “fuck” in the course of the conversation. The students filed harassment charges against him and he was subsequently fired. I don’t know if the professor who replaced him passed those students, but it’s yet another example of why college is completely meaningless and no one should be hired based on whether or not they have a fuckin’ degree.

4/5/06 11:17 pm - April is National Poetry Month. Here's a haiku:

Mopping up the mess,
You are the toilet paper
in a world of shit.

3/31/06 04:45 pm - Iowa

Movement hampers memory:
measuring moments
by accomplishments,
paper certificates,
and cloisonne pins.
The signature's the same
but the histories are diff'rent.

commercialCarpetSkin
tinderstickScratchIngredients
erectNewFoundations

Pedigree apple trees
come from clippings
A single tree begets an orchard.
Seeds are unpredictable,
laced with posion.
Seeds are regretable,
Shed seeds.

MovementMeansClipping
rootlessTinderstickFoundation
shedScratchIngredients

Embrace chafed skin
and commercial carpeting.
Shed hardwood pizza boxes.
Shed Chinese takeout.
Shed chaos and embrace calculation.
Random seed theory produces bitterness.
Shuffle off randomness
and sinkfuls of dirty dishes.

recyclePiecesAssimilate
steerOffBackroads
embraceHighWays

Balance art and commerce,
pinned wall clippings,
well-appointed office,
an orchard of certificates.
Maintain momentum
embrace significance.

3/30/06 09:49 pm - Pontillo's

Eight hours of standing with no breaks; no food. My back hurts; arms and fingers are sore, but, almost incomprehensibly, I feel better. It’s work. It’s not sitting for hours in front of a computer screen adding commas to a report redressing the scientific classification of one moss species through scanning electron microscopy. It isn’t weeding my way through a 12 page, byzantine style sheet—the chronicle of a particular production editor’s grammatical peccadilloes—in order to make some scientist look like a writer. It’s sweat, and it’s grease. It smells alternately like active yeast, garlic, and french fries. And considering I’m not getting enough hours with my freelance copyediting job, which requires a college degree but only pays a couple bucks more an hour, it’s mandatory.

I’d forgotten what it’s like to work with other people, and while I go through my first shift without striking up a personal conversation with anyone, it’s nice to know that I could. Sitting in front of a computer all day with no one else around, I lost the one thing I liked about all the crappy service jobs I’ve had: my co-workers. As much as I could complain to friends about my “professional” job, there’s no one I can commiserate with. You can’t really gripe about the boss when they’re your only co-worker, so I mostly talk to her about the weather.

Through the years I’ve made a number of good friends through some really shitty jobs. I don’t know if I will make any new ones working at this particular pizzeria (though one of my friends works there already), but at least it’s not adding commas to meaningless crap. People dig pizza. I dig pizza. And we make some damn good pizza.

It’s also nice to have my mind back to myself. At least a few hours of every shift are slow enough that my mind can wander. You don’t need to concentrate to chop celery, mop floors or roll dough into fist-sized balls. Also, I carry around a little notebook stealing snippets of conversations between co-workers or customers. I mull over lines in a poem I’m working on or ideas for short stories. I can’t really do that with my “professional” job. I have to stay focused or I’ll forget to fix someone else’s errors. It’s sort of amazing to think about how for only a couple dollars more an hour someone can buy such control. It feels as though I’m selling off my imagination or at very least control over it for a few hours.

3/27/06 10:46 pm - I wrote some haikus for kids...

kind of a cruddy scan, but you get the ideaCollapse )

3/24/06 06:49 pm

I've been sick for the past two days, some sinus thing. No fun. Between falling asleep every couple hours I managed to read Capote's Answered Prayers though. I suppose I don't know enough about the idle rich in the 40s-60s to figure out who everyone is, but Capote's portrait of Tennessee Williams is pathetic and from the bios I've read on Williams, Capote doesn't seem to be exaggerating all that much.

Started Douglas Copeland's All Families Are Psychotic. It's interesting how he slips things into the plot and they work. You don't question them later, as preposterous as they seem in trying to describe the book, e.g., the daughter, Sarah, being a thalidomide baby born with one arm and now an astronaut w/ NASA.

I'm trying to plow through all these books I've been meaning to read, ones that won't make the trek west. It's going to be difficult deciding which ones to ship out and which to give away.

3/22/06 05:46 pm - Suspect

Evidently Osama Bin Laden's niece is going to be on a reality tv show.

I don't even know where to begin with how twisted that is. But, I suppose after Paris Hilton made her way to the upper echelon's of "celebrity," should we have expected any less?

Are there people who still think America is a meritocracy?

When they start looking for people to colonize Mars I am so there. At the very least I'll have a few years before the billboards go up and American Idol is beamed into the colonies.

3/22/06 01:15 pm - Well, the sucker part is correct.

Hmmm.

So I'm watching Thumbsucker for the second time. I watched the short documentary on the "special features" earlier. I suppose I just want people to know that I do give this kinda shit a try. I go out of my way to try to understand, to find some deeper meaning in something before I cast it aside or tear into it. That having been said, this movie is simply garbage.

Thumbsucker is about accepting our personal quirks or embracing our personal drama. Director Mike Mills shows the audience how the thumbsucker, Justin Cobb, tries to deny his desires and this leads him down the dark, lonely path of debate club champion and later smoking the pot.

What kind of shit is this?

Fuck Mikie Mills and Walter Kirn and anyone who thinks this movie is profound. Justin is a seventeen year old who sucks his thumb. Boo-fuckin'-hoo. Why does he suck his thumb? Cus he can't find a willing dick? No. Cus he eventually kills his father and marries his mother? No. Cus he was a crack baby? Uh...no. He sucks his thumb because he has ADHD.

Boring, middle-class people who lead boring, pedantic lives were bound to make movies one day, and Thumbsucker is one of them. Think of it as a companion piece to Garden State. The star-crossed love story of a boy and his thumb, but don't fret; in the end, they are reunited. Somebody probably gave this film an award. Find out who and kill them.



(All right, so it isn't that bad. I'ts just boring.)

3/21/06 03:03 pm - Paragraph 175

See this movie.

It's about the exepriences of homos in Nazi Germany and has interviews with 8 of the 10 living (at least in 2000 when the movie was made) surviviors.

Did you know....

  • Over 100,000 gay men were sent to concentration camps.
  • Only 5 women were arrested and sent to concentration camps for being lesbian. (I assume this has to do with the fact that lesbianism was never criminalized as the Nazis "cherished" women as baby-making machines.)
  • Nazi opposition repeatedly portrayed the Nazis as a bunch of violent fags, attempting to use anti-gay hysteria to build anti-fascist support.
  • Paragraph 175 criminalizing male homosexuality was not repealed in East Germany until 1965 and West Germany in 1969.
  • While jewish survivors were liberated from concentration camps after the fall of the Nazi regime, gay men were still considered criminals and (some) went to prison.



I'd cry if I weren't so outraged.
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