n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Saturday, November 21, 2009

call me old-fashioned

Why does this creep me out so much?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

feeling somewhat better

Well, taking a little time to house-sit in the middle of nowhere with no Internet and a fire stove, a dog and three cats... well, it can be good. I read a book, all the way through, with the wind whistling and trees groaning all day. In the morning a woodpecker came and looked through the window. Seriously, it lifted itself up on its legs and looked through the glass at pretty much everything it could see. It came back twice to make sure. Herald watched the woodpecker curiously, but didn't get up to scare it off. And I realized it's time I stop looking towards my failures to explain existence (particularly when I'm feeling low). It's not enough to notice that life is about change and entropy, without adding an addendum of some kind. And it's not okay to only note how people drift and that relationships that once were thick, or seemed to be meaningful, become thin and so fastly fleeting. I know that's true too, but I thought: if the meaningful mostly becomes superficial, then maybe the opposite is true too. Or maybe some day another, more mature meaning will fit in there - without me looking to find it this time. Anyhow, it felt nice to stop flogging myself and just to read and enjoy the wind.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

the half moon

don't know why but a slow depressed feeling crept over me today, slowly, starting with the morning being happy and positive, washing the dishes and tidying the house, more comfortable, orange juice and my english muffin with artichoke tapenade and smoked gouda, and then taking h on a walk in the partial skies with my mom, the dog park which is one of my favorite places, out for lunch with mom and h, then the day started descending. went to pick up my car from the shop (it died again on the freeway on monday, me coasting with my heart in my nasal passages, praying that the coast doesn't get me run over but to the side of the road), and the repairs cost over my "high estimate," which I make purposefully high to prevent the surprise from depressing me, but whoops, so I leave and have to park outside a store, but accidentally put a quarter in the meter forgetting that it's veteran's day, but the store is closed, and then when I go to start my car it won't start. I wait for a few minutes, try again, nothing, punch the seat and call cr to ask if he thinks it's normal. it starts when he tells me it's normal, and then I'm off to comment on papers. figure I'll try something new and use a program everyone at college has been raving about... that captures the screen and your voice, saves it, uploads it and gives you a link you can send your students, all of which I do, except that it doesn't save me time like I've been told - it takes me at least 3x as long to do everything, and then once I've uploaded all the vids, and I click on them, they don't work (they only show 1/4 of the screen at best, so you can't see what I'm pointing to). all that fucking work. so I drive home way after hours, and start to feel really sad on the way home, thinking of all the money and then time I've blown with nothing to show for it, and how little it counts, and how the only money I've wanted to spend recently is turned down, and how disconnected I am from all my friends, and how there doesn't seem to be any way to repair all the drift and inevitable entropy of our connections, and it just really hurts all of a sudden that I don't feel (knocking around somewhere inside me) that closeness to anyone, although I love many and am in a sense close to my mom but I don't mean like that I mean to someone who is not related, but I wish for that closeness but haven't felt it for years and it seems harder and harder to keep people near me almost like I have to hold them away because I never see them. every time I've started feeling close, something has clued me into the falseness of that impression, and people have gotten harsher in their disconnection, more absent in their silence. when I got home, mom could tell I was upset and made me eat a little spaghetti and told me that at least h quivers and waits by the door until I come home. it made me smile and hug him, but then I was stupid and read e's blog, even though I know I'm not supposed to when I'm sad, and it's always affirmation, things that can't be about me pretending to be aware; I was barely even noticed, so how could I imagine a part? sometimes I feel like we traded fate, or maybe karma. so now I'm all tired and weepy (leaking), and I have to get up early tomorrow and come up with a solution for my students, and then a lesson plan, and then tutoring, and then a means of getting through the other five piles waiting for me this weekend, and I was hoping to have Friday to write, but it's looking like a lost cause. maybe it'll be sunny again tomorrow. at least that part was perfect.

Monday, November 09, 2009

I was going to anyway, but now I have to!

If you are interested in the idea of Remembered Maps, check this out. It's a project that my friend Jess Wigent has been putting together for the past few months, with an exhibition going up in December that will include creative responses. Obviously, I just sent in my piece and there it is at the top of the page (smug little me grinning all pleased).

But I think there are going to be some wonderful pieces and if you're interested, you should absolutely participate. I can think of several people in this town and beyond who would have unique ideas related to this project...

Sunday, November 08, 2009

that time of the quarter, and rainbows

rainbows-n-suchlikeI'm at that stage in the quarter when the students start complaining about everything. Probably later in Fall Quarter than it is during the rest of the school year.

What I want to know: Are there any low-level comp classes that don't include this state of affairs? Are there actually jobs where people, as a whole, spend as much time noticing what they're being given as they do crapping on those who don't give 'enough'? Is this an American thing? (My ESL students always seem more confused and frustrated, but more grateful in the end when I care enough to do as much as I can... more careful to balance saying "I don't get it" with "I appreciate your time.") Why is it predominately the guy students who give me grief (unless I call them out, which I don't enjoy doing), especially as they get older? Are the female students just less forthcoming about their dissatisfaction? Do they think I am crappy too, but are just conditioned not to say it? Or maybe it's about the age difference, but if that's so, how am I supposed to cater to the intellectual necessities of those my own age (and thus capable of their own intelligent engagement) and those of children not even out of high school, all at the same time? I try to capture what might interest me, my friends, and those I respect who are different from me, but certainly I can't speak to everyone.

I can't help remembering how even a girl I dated reported 'circulating rumors' of my class being all busy-work, and useless.

How am I supposed to gauge the effectiveness of my pedagogy when I'm supposed to help students achieve really difficult tasks that have little immediate reward, but all in a short period of time? Maybe I am a bad teacher... but how would I know, for real? It's so confusing, and for awhile it's satisfying because I like the material, and I believe in the form of awareness, but then students rebel, and I find myself searching their writing for signs of movement just to determine my own worth, which is silly, I think, because their writing is their own. Their decisions, their thoughts, their attempts. Not mine.

But if they are frustrated and unsatisfied, how am I supposed to see my own involvement: as just another part of their frustrating, time consuming process, or as a well-intentioned person who comes short of providing the learnin' they need?

And I want to whine a great deal about how close, despite my two grad degrees, to the poverty belt I get paid, about having to work two other temp-jobs to earn basic money that would get me nowhere if I weren't living on my mom's property. But the truth is that the second grad degree I took was totally for me, selfish-like and in love with learning, and the first grad degree maybe only partially offset my ridiculous bachelors degree in something I didn't really want to follow (I could've made that one work, but would have had to put at least partially aside the creative part of myself, although I suspect that in the long run the diligence might have been rewarding). It's not the student's fault that I'm not clear on whether this is a professional choice or a default choice, and it's not their fault I always feel pulled in so many directions.

But how do people find it possible to work as an adjunct for so many years, when neither paid well nor respected for their service? Or attempts at service, as I often feel.

Are all jobs at least as demeaning as they are rewarding? Is it inevitable to find a majority of people willing to tell you you've not spent enough time? Is this the Truth of working? The futility, the grasps towards meaning, the anger at not enough of you being used, for what you really have to offer? When I think about it, most of life seems thankless, and it's up to me to find meaning within all that, but how do people find enough within them to care and keep on trying despite all the failure and criticism, or even sometimes compliments that pass on by because I'm tired, trying to do so much on my own (I have CR and mom behind me, sometimes others, but rarely is anyone else here, involved, which is what ultimately makes it worthwhile), and sometimes even the compliments don't register as pleasure.

I mean, I'm not talking about anything difficult, I don't think. Most people need to feel needed, a part of things, helpful, at least not ignored, wasteful, ignorable, useless. Etc.

My tutoring student today, whom I so adore, told me not to "take it personally" after I told her I was having difficulties being criticized, then went briefly over her reading/writing with her. As she walked out the door: "don't take it personally." If I were to take it impersonally, what would that look like? I mean, how would I mark the line between my contribution and theirs? How would I know if I were failing (or succeeding) if everything were to be impersonal?

I realized the other day during Artwalk, when nobody showed up except the woman who co-runs the gallery next door: meeting people happens bit by bit, and sometimes you're in the middle of feeling sorry for yourself about the past, but there in your present are the beginnings. I always feel like that here, like maybe things are about to change. Damn the cycle though, damn it for making it hard to feel anything that might be here. All I had to talk about with that women who stopped by was how both of us were trying to work with, and make, and understand, what might be here. And in the midst: I like her. So does that count towards making connections? Or is that chatting with someone in the hall?

I went out to a gathering/hoedown/bonfire/barn-concert last night. Saw the Sheila (ex-employer a la sculptor woman) and was a little weird. Flirted and skipped town like a true social fuck-up. But enjoyed myself and the trains and the rain over embers, and the long line-up of hippie food, including so much bread and hummus and line dancing you'd swear that patchouli and pot were the new underarm deodorants of humanity. Good times, and I'll refrain from making any overall commentary, other than to note that it took two glasses of red wine to get me feeling moderately comfortable in all that, even if I'm trying to be more tempered these days.


Happy Birthday, little Goddaughter-sweetie! I sent a small present out the other day, and I will send a hello package this month - with an actual, real, xoxox letter.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

downtown Bville Halloween thriller dance