March 1, 2014 § 2 Comments
Looking through all our old Nathan photos for that last post pulled me into a nostalgia rabbit-hole, which brought me to the below video taken this past summer up in Spokane. So, please enjoy Chris’ mashup of two very excellent songs (music starts at 1:24) that for a hot minute I was thinking we’d use for our wedding processional. Ultimately we decided against it, because in order to appreciate the mashup you have to be familiar with the two songs and we didn’t like those odds, so decided to go with “Dirty Paws” because of Reasons.
Here are the two songs, and now I’m going on vacation whee!
March 1, 2014 § 2 Comments
Chris has been teaching himself different Photoshop tricks and treatments, and yesterday decided to tackle the “vintage poster” look. Here, for no reason other than I like it, is his first attempt, featuring an image of Nathan tucked into bed, because yes we tuck him into bed, and yes he sleeps on a pillow (see below).
Here’s another pic, because you can never have too much Nathan.
All I can say is YAS, and happy weekend!
February 28, 2014 § Leave a comment
Over the last few
months years, some of you (or none of you, whatever) might have noticed that I’ll post a flurry of material here, only to go dormant for a week or two. I wouldn’t say anything at the time, but what that silence always meant was BRB WORKING ON BOOKSHIT. This past week was no exception, although the difference was that these revisions were light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel revisions — only one round left to go after this (let me tell you, the road to publication is……circuitous). I’ve since sent the revised manuscript off to MIT, and am eagerly awaiting my final reader comments. Once I’ve got those, I’ll have until June 1 to get everything buttoned up, including the little nitpicky formatting details that will likely make the last two weeks of May absolute hell. There are still miles to go before I sleep, in other words, but at least I now have a concrete endpoint.
This is an odd proposition, since all I have wanted for the last six years was to be done with this project. On the other hand, I’m also noticing a strange kind of denial that the end is indeed nigh (“What will you do once the book is finished,” Chris asked the other night. “THE BOOK WILL NEVER BE FINISHED,” I hissed, transforming into a vampire bat). I’ve been told by many people, my mother most vocally, to expect this sort of reaction. Weird things happen to people when they finish things, she’s reminded me again and again, usually in the context of marathon runners who end up feeling depressed after completing whatever race they’ve just spent months or even years preparing for — however well they end up doing. I remember this feeling quite well from my competitive running days, and as a college and graduate student experienced something similar at the end of every semester. There’s just this SILENCE where once there was a cyclone of activity, which to me anyway has always been deeply unsettling. Have to fill the void with something else, have to find a new project, have to keep moving because to stop moving is to…I don’t even know what the fear is, all I know is that it’s there.
Given that weirdness, what’s been happening to me physically these past few days isn’t terribly surprising — which is why I’m writing this post, actually. Starting about Sunday, I started feeling a bit under the weather. But I had revisions to make, so I kept trucking, kept trucking. I managed to finish the revisions a day early, and sent them off to my editor late Wednesday evening. At which point I got hit SO HARD with whatever thing I’d been fighting off, and spent all of Thursday in a sneezy, feverish, cough-monster haze. I am currently drugged up to the gills (hey America’s teens, do you know what you’re wrong about? Robotripping as a fun recreational activity), and am half-convinced I got run over by a truck last night, somehow, while sleeping.
This is very interesting. It’s awful, because being sick is awful, but there’s absolutely no way that this isn’t psychosomatic. Hence, interesting. Even science approves of that theory, sort of; there seems to be a correlation between completion of a large project and illness, though no one fully understands why. White blood cell misfiring and autoimmune shutdown brought about by disrupted sleep patterns and humoral freakout, or something.
So I don’t know, I’m tired and feel like crap. But at least it’s normal? Sure. I’ll go with that.
February 14, 2014 § Leave a comment
Earlier this evening, Humboldt State University’s Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs sent a bulk email to all staff, faculty, and students regarding the University’s Response to Reports of Sexual Harassment and Violence on campus. Unlike the patronizing, regressive emails I had grown accustomed to at the University of Oregon, this email avoided the use of victim blaming language or advice. You know the kind, like “ladies, don’t walk anywhere alone” or “ladies, use the buddy system” or “ladies, don’t take drinks from strangers” or “ladies, don’t get drunk” or “ladies, try not to drink at all,” all of which are just a half-step from the imperative to avoid wearing short skirts, or leaving the house.
In contrast, the HSU email provided rape crisis contact information with notes on mandated reporting requirements, a bulleted list explaining what these policies meant for students, and links to other campus resources. “HSU’s goals in implementing these CSU policies are to link survivors of sexual violence with support,” it explained, “and to hold accountable those who choose to harm others.”
The most amazing thing about this email was its link to HSU’s Stop Rape initiative, which was even more surprising than the email itself. And I mean this in the best possible way. Quote:
This website is the product of HSU’s Sexual Assault Prevention Committee (SAPC), which is comprised of faculty, staff, students, law enforcement, and community partners, including advocates from the North Coast Rape Crisis Team. The SAPC is working toward eliminating rape and all forms of sexualized violence. This website works within a survivor-centered framework in order to prioritize the healing and safety of the survivor.
Sexual violence is any physically or emotionally coercive sexual contact, including, but not limited to rape, sexual battery, unwanted touching, verbal harassment, and stalking. Such violence can happen to anyone. Most violence is perpetrated by someone the survivor knows. Perpetrators, not survivors, are responsible for sexual assaults, and only a potential perpetrator can prevent a sexual assault.
We use the word survivor, rather than victim, in order to recognize the agency and strength of all people who experience sexual violence. We support the right of survivors to define their own needs; there is no one right way to heal from sexual trauma.
Sexualized violence works in conjunction with sexism, racism, classism, ableism, transphobia, homophobia and xenophobia: efforts to end sexualized violence must be grounded in an anti-oppression framework.
This is the only way to talk about sexual violence. I immediately forwarded the message and links to my former PhD advisor Carol Stabile, who –with uncanny timing– responded with an emphatic “Wow” and link to an article she just published with Ms. Magazine on this precise subject.
As is always the case with these sorts of conversations, it is so important that they are happening, and so disheartening that they are necessary. It’s hard to know what else to say, really, other than…good. It’s a start.
February 14, 2014 § Leave a comment
January 30, 2014 § 1 Comment
Lately I’ve had books and writing and writing books and writing about writing books on the brain. So, when my friend and fellow PhD-guy Patrick reached out asking for dissertation writing tips, I was happy to oblige. In the process of obliging, I realized I’d never written anything about my writing process, or even the act of writing generally, on this here blog. And that’s too bad because boy do I have some thoughts on the subject!
The following is a modified version of my response to Patrick, and forwards four tips that might be somewhat helpful to those just embarking on the road to dissertation glory, and/or any large or otherwise daunting writing project. But a caveat: I’m not saying any of this is the right way, just that’s it’s my way. The right way is whatever way works for you, you special snowflake!
December 23, 2013 § 3 Comments
I can’t remember how Katie came across that first copy of Jack Frost. I can’t even remember the year. Were we in high school? Community college? If it was community college, she would have been working at this truck stop video store just off the 5 in beautiful Castaic, California, which in addition to having the funniest selection of porn I have ever seen (it had me at “Anal Princesses”), is likely where the mutant killer snowman first caught her eye. If however it happened in high school, I have no idea. I do remember watching the VHS tape in my childhood home, so taking into account the film’s release date, our first viewing could have been anytime between 1996 and 2001, when my mom remarried and we moved from Awesometown to a still-rural part of Castaic, just a few miles up the freeway. Not very helpful. Then again, I like that those details escape me. I quite literally cannot remember my life before Jack Frost, lending a cool time immemorial quality to our fandom.
Which is to say — our fandom isn’t just about the movie itself. Don’t get me wrong, the movie itself is a cinematic achievement, as the following clips will attest:
But beyond the razor-sharp dialogue, terrifying special effects, and salacious sex scenes (“looks like Christmas came early this year!”), Jack Frost is special because Katie is special, because I have laughed more with her over the years (decades, actually) than I have with anyone. I’ve written some about our longstanding Martha Stewart fandom (fandom which precipitated my exploration, and ultimate rejection, of the term “anti-fan”) in this post, an edited version of a much longer essay written as Katie’s engagement present. The longer version is more personal, and places our Martha obsession in the appropriate context — we were taking many of the same community college classes, ran together on the cross country team, and spent much of our free time giggling about our various classroom nemeses, including one million year-old, shark-eyed, predatory English professor who had, let’s say, taken an interest in me. This last thing was actually pretty traumatic, but that just made our jokes about him funnier. Somehow references to Martha Stewart Living got woven into these proceedings, and when things got really creepy with the Dark Lord (as Katie and I half-jokingly called him), Martha’s star text functioned as an odd sort of lifeline. It gave us something to latch onto and laugh about. What can I say, Martha just fit in, which is an inside joke you probably won’t recognize (oh fine, here).
And it’s the same with Jack Frost. Our giddy declarations that fucker’s a snowman, or that I only AXED you for a smoke, and jokes about antifreeze, Snowmonton, and State Execution Transport Vehicles are actually references, however indirect, to all the serious real-life shit Katie and I have navigated since first meeting in 1993. Like the time (one of the times, jesus christ) I got my heart broken in graduate school, and Katie hopped on the next plane to Eugene so we could laugh at old episodes of Dawson’s Creek (Dawson: “Dad, will you teach me to kiss?”) and Beverly Hills, 90210 (Kelly, smelling her mom’s newborn baby: “mmm, toast!”). Or the time she called while I was living in Boston and told me she’d just gotten engaged to her now-husband Brent — after which I happy-cried for like an hour. Or the time she IM’d when I was sitting in a coffee shop in Eugene and told me she was pregnant with her first baby — after which I happy-cried for like a day. Or the times I’ve sent her deeply disturbing Christmas presents designed to gross out her husband, for lulz (I do it because I like you, Brent). Or all the times I’ve emailed her about my most recent poor life choice(s), and she’s talked me off the ledge, usually by making a Jack Frost or Martha Stewart joke.
What I’m saying is, the sort of antagonistic, or at the very least highly ambivalent, laughter that accompanies these sorts of fandoms –any fandom, really, including/especially the ones that strike non-fans as weird– are actually quite sweet, in their own way. Because ultimately, they’re about connection, shared memories, even communitas if you want to be fancy. This is even true, or maybe even especially true, when the people engaging in this sort of laughter are separated by geography. The texts we engage with ground us, and make distances seem less far. So it makes perfect sense that this Christmas eve eve, Katie and I will be simultaneously streaming Jack Frost and ichatting that shit to shreds. Frankly I can’t think of much else I’d rather do this holiday season. Well except maybe cuddle up on a couch with my family and play Dirty Unwrapped (i.e. watch The Food Network’s Unwrapped, a show that goes inside America’s food and candy factories, and yell “lol he said X” whenever host Marc Summers makes a reference that could be interpreted as sexual and/or scatological). Try it out for yourself! Because candy cane “trees,” sure.
And with that, I bid you all a merry night before night before Christmas. Later this afternoon I shall prepare a pitcher of antifreeze (pumpkin liqueur mixed with bourbon; also spoiler alert), get Katie on the ichat, and cue up Jack Frost on Netflix. It might be weird, but it is going to be perfect.
December 1, 2013 § Leave a comment
Two biographical points: back when I was a teenager a wee bit over a decade ago (wait that can’t be right), I applied a perhaps unfair litmus test to new acquaintances. Specifically, were you a Friends person, or were you a Seinfeld person? If you were a Friends person, I would judge you.
Second, Arcade Fire’s Reflektor has been haunting my soul for weeks; it, and especially the second disc, is what happens when the 1970s fall into a pot of internet, boil to a smoke point alongside an old XXX neon sign, and after being poured onto a chilled concrete slab get smashed into a thousand pieces by a hammer made from David Bowie’s face. Basically, you should go listen to Reflektor; Porno is a good place to start (don’t worry it’s SFW, you babies).
Anyway the above mashup is the least likely thing to ever happen and also exactly right. Happy 25 shopping days till Christmas everybody!
November 14, 2013 § 1 Comment
November 10, 2013 § 5 Comments
Take a quick peek at my “About” page, and you’ll notice a few significant changes to my bio. The first is my academic affiliation, the details of which I just finalized — I am now associated faculty in Sociology at Humboldt State University, which means I’ll be giving guest lectures in various Sociology courses as I await my course assignments for the 2014-2015 academic year. The second and much more significant development is that I’ve accepted a position as the Assistant Director of the Cultural Department for the Wiyot tribe, and will be responsible for a combination of research, community outreach, and grant management.
Had you asked me this time last year what I thought I’d be doing the following year, I can pretty much guarantee that I wouldn’t have suggested either option. In fact, neither would have been on my radar, with very good reason. I was on the academic job market; I was going to be a tenure track Professor (or at least Visiting Assistant Professor), because…just because. Because because. Because that’s what one does.
The following is an overview of how I got from there to here.