Thursday, February 26, 2004

you piss me off, bush, and there's no two ways about it

here's some stupid stuff you said.

"The union of a man and woman is the most enduring human institution, honoring -- honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith. Ages of experience have taught humanity that the commitment of a husband and wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society."

Okay, I'll cut right to the chase, because all y'all know how I feel about same-sex marriage. I can argue til I'm blue in the face about the rights of people to...have the same rights as other people, but many have done it far more eloquent than I. What I'd like to rant about is how offended I am by this "time honored man-woman" bullshit rhetoric.

Marriage's "ages of experience" is a long history of patriarchal man-woman relationships. Women were property, and marriage was a business contract. This commitment of men and women to "love and serve each other" gave men the right to beat, rape, behead, and otherwise abuse their wives, and it gave women the right to...make (male) babies. In some countries and some religious faiths, it was perfectly alright to have many many many wives, just as it was alright to condemn women who tried the same sort of sexual freedom as whores. You may think that things have changed, that marriage has become a truly loving and endearing commitment of one person to another. Men will do chores now, and women work. You know why this happened? Because people fought to change it..somewhere back in the turn of the century, women began to get a glimpse into the true oppression that is gender roles and double standards. They fought against it. It happened in the 60s, too, believe it or not, after things regressed back to medieval standards (in the name of the American Dream). Marriage is not the same as it was "ages" ago, and we have feminism to thank for it. So when I hear talk of "sanctity" and "time-honored" I feel sick. I don't intend to get married until I can get married in a society that doesn't define marriage for me. I don't want to get married because I don't want to face the assumption that I will have kids, or leave work to take care of them, or take my husband's name and do his dishes. I want to marry because I love someone.

Isn't that why anyone wants to get married?

Fuck you, Bush. You're afraid. You're afraid of what will happen to your cookie cutter shiny happy marriage if gays and lesbians are allowed full legal access to marriage in this country. You're afraid to be emasculated, to have to define your own actions instead of having gender roles define them for you. You're afraid to think for yourself. Who will do the laundry if two men get married? Does that mean you might have to do the laundry someday (after we kick you out of the white house and you're dirt poor with no Hispanic maid to do it for you)? Does it make you feel like less of a man to see two women together, who have no interest in your, your penis, or your daddy's money? You're afraid, plain and simple. You know what? I don't have to say "fuck you" because you'll do it to yourself. Give me back my damn country, asshole.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

i is tired

Blogging from the Music office at Loyola University, where I am spending a few days with Val before my flight to Montreal (friday). Sad and tired. Sad because I miss the Jerry already, and tired because I got little sleep last night and then got up early. Uneventful bus ride, although Grant was there. Val met me downtown and I sang with her choir. It was quite entertaining, and I actually read pretty well for not being much of a singer. When I'm back at school, I will definitely make an effort to either be in a choir or take voice lessons. The idea being, my trombone playing improves. Hrm.

Definitely feeling nostalgic, pensive, and poetic tonight. Madison is home. I imagine that in the fall I will have a new place to call home, a solidified existence that's all my own. For now, returning to Madison is like putting the pieces back together. I know my way around, I know who to see, where to go, and what to do. I became myself there. It sounds corny and all, but true. Until the next stage of my mental/emotional development takes place I am inherently attached to Madison. I want to go to school again. I'm tired of feeling bullshit like this. I mean, not that feeling Madison is home is bullshit, but that I don't have a place to truly call home and therefore must be silly and nostalgic instead of getting on with life. Sigh.

Tired, like I said. Want sleepies.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

oh how quickly the time passes

I'm alive, I swear. I haven't got much to post. On Wednesday already I am going back down to Chicago to spend a little time with Val, and then Friday leave for Montreal. I'm excited to go, but I've been incredibly lax with practicing since my DePaul audition and am hoping all will go well.

Only two more full days in Madison, and with Jerry-pants. Hard to think that when I leave this time we have no guarantee of when we will see each other next. That's a little scary, but I know I can handle it this time. If all goes well I will probably spend the summer in Madison, Jerry will move to New York in the fall and I to Montreal, and we will see each other much more frequently. Dreamin' again. Really, though I am mostly looking forward to being in a new place, meeting new people and creating a network of friends again. It will all be twice as good if I can be near to Jerry and escape to him for comfort or friendship if necessary.

Life is hard you know. But some beautiful things are happening that make me feel good. Here's one of them.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

i spent money

Here's what I got:

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. A graphic novel about the author's childhood during the Islamic Revolution in Iran. SOOO GOOD. I finished it in about an hour. And I cried.

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. In keeping with my readings on Iran and the women affected by the regime in power. So far, it's intense. As I see more and more how our view of the world is jaded and twisted in America, I desire to understand what it's really like.

Body Outlaws: On Body Image and Identity edited by Ophira Edut. Looks interesting. The "barbies I'd like to see" is hilarious.

Tori Amos Tales of a Librarian and the new Ani Educated Guess. I'm set. And broke. Cheers to that. :)

Monday, February 16, 2004

are you at home now? with your kitty-kat?

it's not my home and it's not my kitty-kat, but it is now. Or something. Davis is off to school and I'm just hanging out in her apartment, playing with Maggie, who is hilarious and frisky. A combination that is quite entertaining in a young cat. She's bored, I think. She keeps climbing up on my leg and mworwing, but she has food and she doesn't want to cuddle. We've played. We've petted. I can only do so much, cat! ;)

It's nice today, to be relaxed and have some time to myself. I think I will do yoga and practice a little. Not too much. Mark Fisher gave me some great advice on breathing, and I will just warmup enough to reinforce that (if you're curious: I've been told to treat my horn as if it were a breathing apparatus, ie similar to a BERP, because I am not translating the work I do on my toys to my actual horn. Also, to make a LOT of noise when I breathe, and not to "apologize" for breathing. It's fantastic advice, and I'm eager to put it to work at my McGill audition). Mostly I've just been catching up on blogs and such. There are two posts at WHB that I would love to address, but it might be a while.

Davis has an insane amount of feminist books, and I'm itching to steal them. Mwahahaha. However, I will pay a visit to A Room of One's Own whilst in Madison, where I want to pick up Derrick Jensen's A Language Older Than Words, some Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Shere Hite, Robert Graves' The White Goddess and anything else I can get my hands on. For limited cash. It would actually be cheaper at Amazon, so I will make a list of stuff I didn't get and add it to my wishlist. Sigh. If only I had a rich benefactress. Exclusive Company is also on the shopping list, with the new Ani album and Desert Sessions on the list.

Okay, the cat is freaking out. Wow.

And I'll tell you a Buddha Stew secret. I'm excited to go to Montreal and find one of the sex shoppes that makes Canada so cool. Stop dissin' Canada everyone (who has recently dissed Canada to me-Mr UMich Marching Band guy on the train to Chicago, that means you), because Canada rocks. Anyway, I suppose I could always go to A Woman's Touch in Madison (and doesn't Madison just kick serious ass for having both AROOO andAWT? you bet it cuntlovin' does), but Montreal! Sex Shoppes! French speakers! Hurray!

Places I really really really REALLY must be this year:

March for Women's Lives in D.C. April 25th. MUST GO! Marisa called me on Thursday to say I had to go, as she is. Well, good for you, being an eastie and driving there. Argh. Anyone want to donate money to my cause? No credit cards please (I'm half serious. Send me to DC and you'll never regret it!) only checks or cash. Man, if that TJ gig hadn't fallen through it would have been no problem. I WILL get a job when I return to CA. WILL. MUST. Argh.

Rafael Mendez Brass Institute in Boulder June 7-13. Davis is going with her quintet. I wish I had a quintet, or a bone quartet. I know I asked about it already, but if you want to form a group...please let me know. It's cheaper if you go pre-formed. Perfect for me. Nuttin' but brass chamber music all the livelong day. So I either need three trombones or two trumpets, a horn, and a tuba. Anyone, anyone?

*Sigh* So much excitment in the world, so little money. I'm toying with the idea of going for broke and just doing everything I want to do...because what else would be the point of a year off? I'm taking time off to...have time. Time to do the shit I want to do before school weighs me back down. Like March for justice and intensely practice chamber music. The money can be made later, and really, how important is it to be secure financially when it's just as fulfilling to have great experiences, books, music, and conversations over deep mugs of chai?


Sunday, February 15, 2004

k-a-l-a-m-a-zzzoozzoo i gotta girl...

a quick update from the road. Three auditions down, one to go.

UMich-pretty good. Liked the school, the people, the professor. Seems like a good place to be. Good to see Grant and Jennii. Ran into Clay Wacholz (sp?) and Emily Robida. Audition was okay, better than ASU but perhaps not the way I expected to play. Ah well.

DePaul-super. Looooove Mark Fisher. Would love to study with him. Didn't really get a chance to talk to or see much of the school, so I'll have to be in touch with the grad students I have emails for to get more of a feel for the place. My audition was more like a lesson, and I took a lot out of it. I hope he likes what he heard.

Met up with Davis and we headed back to K-zoo, which is where I am currently. Tomorrow I will meet Ann Hoppe (HURRAY) for dinner, and then head to Madison on Tuesday. I can't wait to see everyone! Youngblood on Friday night and cuddles with Jerry-pants. Relaxation until I head back to Chicago, see Val, and then go to Montreal. I'll try to sneak a lesson with James Campbell in while I'm in town. I'm glad to be almost done, and to have a reprieve from the traveling.

and now...back to Ocean's Eleven.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

if i'm a sucker for anything, it's gotta be...

the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Yep, that's right. I love me my dog show. Not just any ol' dog show, the big 'un. Dogs dogs dogs. Rockin'.

This year's Best in Show is "Josh", a Newfie. He's pretty cool, but I wanted the Ibizan Hound to win. Ah well. She's a winner in my heart.

So, the dogs are great and all but I really have to admit that sometimes I just watch it for the way the announcer guy says "antiquity." It gives me a moistie. Okay, not really. But it does remind me of the Flight of Dragons and how much I absolutely adored that movie as a kid. I still do. Plus the chick's name is Melissande. That's sweet. Too bad the hero isn't Peleas. Well, you can only ask for so much out of life.

I leave you with these beautiful thoughts for the next coupla days. Bright and early tomorrow morning I am off to Ann Arbor, auditioning on Friday. Then I'll be in Chicago, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids (maybe), Chicago, Madison, Chicago, Montreal. But I'll see you before. Blogging will occur in one of those cities. I promise. Schmu schmu, I love you.

Monday, February 09, 2004

fighting vainly the old ennui

i'm bored-ish. no real desire to look up exciting/infuriating news on the internet, can't stand to play my trombone another minute, can't finish packing until i've done laundry, have the irrepressible urge to type in lower case. i've cruised through a couple of old bs entries (a journey into the wayback machine...the stew is almost three years old! and how far we've come since that long post where i sang sean odenwalder's traffic lights song. sigh. it's such a beautiful thing). in the spirit of 510 n henry street, madison, wi 53703 (home of corporal zulu and hairgel eating) i give you a taste of the old stew, in all its glory.

the other night i had a dream about ryan. hahahahaha! i laugh. ryan. how silly that whole thing was, and yet how essential to the development of my character today. i don't recall the specifics of the dream. it just got me to thinking. what's ryan "i'm afraid of girls but i think i'm really cool" smith up to these days? is he still in new york, writing bing-bang-zoom-whoosh music? is that smile still infectious? if he randomly called me one day, would he call me the nickname he gave me?

mostly i'm feeling pretty ambivalent about the whole thing. i have forgiven my prior self for being girlie and crazy and maybe even a little psychotic. this is past. i still regret the loss of a very good friend, the first person i truly felt comfortable around at college. but, it's past. gone-o-roo-la.

in response to davis' questions about grad school and alex, i initiated a rant that i had a hard time getting out of. but in the end, it made a ton of sense (at least, to myself). all that time i spent moaning and bitching about ryan i was blaming him for something i brought on myself. i'm not totally freeing him of responsibility, because he certainly didn't do anything to rectify the fact i believe his reaction was to run away and never speak to me again...but. but but but. i was amiss in thinking he was responsible for my happiness. no. only i am responsible for my happiness. other people merely help the process. ryan was in no way required to date me, fuck me, or otherwise employ my emotions just because i liked him. nay, was infatuated with him. i can ask that of no one. attraction must be be attraction. any bitchin', moanin' or whinin' i did was my own choice, and i was not grown up or self-realized enough to stop these things and move on for a long time. true, everyone recovers from unrequited or requited or whatever crazy donkey love at their own pace, but i'd like to give myself much more credit that i actually did. i'm grateful that i can look back the experience with new tools of analysis and perspective. yay, girl power. women rule. boys drool. or something like that.

i'm growing up. and i like it. moon goddess strong woman radical feminist riot grrl riding valkyrie reigning fire down from valhalla. weeee, muthafucka, weeeeeeee.

"you must be girls. let's date."
"i'm totally crushing!" --teen girl squad

I am a Hippy

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Sunday, February 08, 2004

no place more humbling...

than the desert. The great wide expanse of land that isn't empty, no, not in the slightest, but full and resounding with beauty with life with energy if you know where to look.

And I encourage you to, indeed, take a look. I will go with you. It is a place I feel safe in traveling through, the last great uncontrolled (by human hands) environment. Freedom. Oh, were I but a lizard on your sandy red boulders, dearest desert. What times we would have.

Back across the desert, up up the mountains and down down to the sea, I return to you. I am feeling poetic as if it were a hormone injected into my blood or injested along with macaroni and cheese. It comes from listening to Ani incessantly and reading Cunt voraciously. And the joy I get from the raw, wild desert.

However, I imagine my audition was less than poetic. It was not bad. Maybe not good enough for a potential graduate student. I have no idea what they expect to hear. I no longer care what it was actually like. The next will be better. Besides, all I could ask for was that Valkyries went off without a hitch, and it did. Schmu.

I reconnected with an old friend. Sommer moved to Phoenix in middle school, and since our communication had died to a mere murmer. Yet we met this weekend, and got caught up. She has grown into a woman I am very proud of, and there was no difficulty in feeling like buds again. A beautiful thing. Should I indeed go to school there (if my audition was better than I suspect it sounded) I will have a connection and a very good one, at that.

So, now I must prepare for my big travels. The one that might require my entire inventory of underwear (and long underwear). That might find me stranded somewhere in Detroit or Chicago with a large suitcase and a trombone, or it might go off flawlessly and effortlessly. We shall see. I get to go to Canada! I get to wear scarves and hats and mittens! I will meet and befriend new people! I will impress amaze and astonish three more professors of music! Life is beautiful!

I'm very tired. More tomorrow. Happy Sunday, all.

Friday, February 06, 2004

on the road again

I'm off to Arizona today! Wish me luck! I'll see y'all on Sunday night.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

what's the last thing you want to be doing on a sunny afternoon?

For me, it's going to have to be cleaning smouldering palm tree nuts and rat shit out of my car engine.

A little background information: I park my car (the steadfast '99 beige Contour lovingly referred to as ED) outside as my parents' cars get the garage. We have three palm trees in the front yard, Katie, Jenn, and Lorn are their names because when we were young (and oh so sweet) my best friend, her sister and I declared them to be arboreal manifestations of ourselves. We also have a colony of roof rats.

I myself have never seen the roof rats; I know Jerry has, and my dad found a dead one once. I only know of their existence because at 2 am they get especially frisky and run about merrily on the roof above my bedroom. They sound HUGE. Fuckin' huge. They eat palm nuts.

Not too long ago I had my car tuned up. When I went to retrieve her, I was promptly scolded by the repair guy for "letting the rats leave a nest in my engine." In my defense, I had no idea this was the current practice of our resident roof rats. My parents did, however, because it happened to the Cadillac (may she rest in peace) when it was parked on the street. A discussion insued as to how to halt the nesting instincts of roofus raticus but we reached no formal conclusion. I declined to have rat poison under the hood as I would be disgusted to have dead rat present in my car at any period in time. Parking it in the garage is not an option as leaving another car outside would subject it to a similar fate. Talks ceased, and life went on as normal.

Today I was blithely on my way to Hidden Valley Middle School to teach. The birds were singing. The sun was shining. The sharp, aromatic smell of wood fire was in the air. It remained in the air all the way up to Escondido, at which point I realized my engine was smoking.

The palm nuts were buring. It's a nice smell and all, but it's a little disconcerting to suddenly have your car turned into a giant incense burner without your prior knowledge.

So, instead of coaching (and let's all shead a tear for that 70 bucks that was not added to my checking account this afternoon), I spent the time scraping nuts, rat shit, and snail shells out of my engine. It was not pleasant, and I don't recommend it. For now, my car is parked across the street in the hopes that the rats will be confused and not be able to find it.

Ah, the trials of living.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004


La Cucaracha is especially fitting today.

And I want to link you again over to Green Fairy because I don't want you to get any false notions about how great America is. We could be. If we'd stop fucking things up. That is to say, if the people in power would stop fucking things up and start listening to what people actually think.

I am frightened by the ability of hate groups (masquerading under positive names- "Pro-Life" is a nice way of saying antiabortion. To be truly pro-life, however, you would have to concede that a a life. I know that's a big step. Let's take it slow here) to mobilize quickly and effectively, to use religion to convince people of the wrongness or rightness of something, and to scare politicians and policymakers into submission. I don't think the majority of Americans believe abortion should be illegal, but those voices are overpowered by the angry ones, the people who are threatened not by the loss of life (because then they would have to consider more than just the fetus as a live) but by the loss of power. Fear is the greatest motivator. Go on over to Echidne and read her post (jan 30) on "The Manly Art of Politics." Some talking heads are afraid that politics is over femininzed. It goes hand in hand with Bush's stance on machoism and revenge: power! greed! punishment!

And that's where I get lost in the debate. Why should politics be "masculine" when half of the population is "feminine"? Shouldn't they have everyone's best interest at heart? Don't laugh. I'm serious. Which is why I find myself feeling more and more lost and hopeless in this big, bad-ass, macho country. I understand that the majority of Americans are not extremists like anti-abortionists, and so at the same time I understand that not everyone's a radical feminist. I just like to hope that most people swing in that direction when it comes down to talking rights, improvements, and actions.

This is good news though: Massachusetts High Court rules for Gay Marriage.

just tired, that's all

I had a power lesson with Sean tonight in which we ran all of my excerpts, the Bozza and a little of the Stevens. Last Wednesday when we met I felt like a new trombonist; he helped me get over my weird playing issues and start on a strict diet of positive thinking. Tonight was just the same-so much invaluable advice and teaching. He's an amazing teacher because he has worked so hard to be a good player, and put in the time not just in the practice room but into research as well.

I said positive thinking. Instead of blogging, I should be going to bed, sleeping well, and waking up refreshed to start working all of the things he suggested. But I'm blogging, because the positive thinking isn't so easy right now. I'm so excited to go and do my auditions and to experience all the possibilities of the schools I have chosen. But part of me is unable to quell this fear that I'm just not good enough. That a graduate student should be some sort of super trombonist who never cracks notes and plays everything in tune. Silly. I know this. It's not entirely true. Of course, no one in a perfect world would ever crack notes. But I do. A lot. Is there a redeeming quality to my musicianship that will stand out at auditions? I've worked hard. Should I have worked harder?

No. It's best that I sleep. There's still time for improvement, and I am a good musician. The parts that get in my way...are all in my head.

Still, every now and again a good cry helps. Like any spell of depression, misery loves company, and my misery over music is joined by my misery over missing my support group of musicians who understand. Hey Kids...I miss you guys. I can't wait to see you.

I maintain, as I always have, that the greatest part of music is the people you meet. Sweet dreams, friends.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Dear Federal Communications Commission,

Like many Americans, we were shocked by the exposure of one Ms Sun Jackson at the halftime of this year's Super Bowl. While we too feel the episode is deplorable and saddening, we would urge you to exercise caution during your investigation of this matter.

Too often in our society the blame is placed on a breast or breasts for actions, or exposure such as this one, when the real focus should be put on the ways in which breasts are otherwise exploited and maligned in our culture today. We do believe that Ms Jackson should be responsible for her actions, if indeed she had a hand in the proceedings, but that in many ways she has acted out of influence from popular media and should not bear the full front of this investigation. We here at the National Ova and Breast Representation Association (NOBRA) feel that you should take certain societal factors into account as you research the incident.

In today's society, misbreastgeny is at an all time high. Breasts face oppression, high standards of perfection, and contradictions in regards to activity and appearance. Culture has dictated that all breasts must garb themselves in the constricting and concealing attire of bras, but there is a high market for free breast pornography. With such contradiction in the media, young breasts today are growing up with a sense of low self-worth. They are broken down into two confining stereotypes: that of the "good" breast, and that of the "slut." These stereotypes often do not originate in behavior; something as trivial as size may determine the social status of a breast. This dichotomy is especially damaging as it does not allow for free reign of expression and experimentation in young breasts today, and many grow up without coming into a true sense of self. Combine this with the constant barrage of media attention to this perfect breast or that, never showing a true spectrum of breasts, and you have a recipe for disaster.

The Perfect Breast must never sag or be oddly shaped, it must be round and full, with the nipple in proper position. It must be hairless, smooth, and tanned. In many cases, it must be altered in size in order to more genuinely titillate the senses of the penis. It is a sexual object at the same time that it is confined to the "traditional" and oppressive roles of motherhood and childcare. The two are mutually exclusive; a breast cannot be sexy at the same time that it is nursing because this creates anxiety and disgust in the opposite sex. You can see how these divisions seek to contain the freedom and rights of the breast, and allow for further degradation in the media and popular culture.

We ask that you review the case of Ms Jackson with a few questions in mind: Was she reacting to certain cultural dictates that say she, as a breast, can only make news by being sexy and controversial? Was she betrayed by these forces into thinking that it was a proper response? Ask yourself how this case might be different if the breast in question had not been black. Do we assign different standards and stigmas to breasts of color?

Most importantly, should not the hand, which played an important role in the event, also be questioned and held accountable? To many viewpoints, ours included, the incident resembles a sexual assault on the part of the hand, and this is why it is offensive. The breast is too often used as a sexual object controlled by the objectifiers. If we had a healthier outlook on breasts, their rights, and freedoms, perhaps this episode would not have happened. Being a breast is, after all, not something we can help. We are just as nature made us, and it is time for us to stand up and be proud of who we are for individuals. It is time also to reject the standards that have been set and make new ones that reflect a proper and reasonable response to episodes such as this. We ask you to forgive Ms Jackson her "blunder" but remember that she is an adult capable of making her own decisions. Thank you for taking the time to hear our case,

Yours sincerely,
Hildegard and Clara H
Co-Presidents, NOBRA

southern california: it's not just for weather-wimps anymore

Went over to Borders for my Monday Night Chai, plunked myself down in front of the "women's studies" section (in quotes because some things don't really belong there, and also, they are too lazy to alphabetize it. tsk tsk. Shoulda hired me when you had the chance, bitches....I mean, you still can. I need a job. Please hire me!), and found a very interesting book: Indigenous: Growing Up Californian, by Cris Mazza.

Mazza's life, in the pages I flipped through, parallels mine in some pretty crazy ways. She grew up in San Diego, which was my first draw to the book. She played trombone in marching band, one of the first girls in her school to do so. The way she talks about gender politics as it relates to band ring true for me, and she deftly describes what it's like to be a "girl among trombonists"...I would love to read that section in depth. She went away to the Midwest (Chicago) for school. While there, she dealt with all the stereotypes I dealt with (do you miss the weather? do you surf? is everyone blonde? do you see a lot of celebrities?) and was equally as frustrated. She also devotes a chapter to the San Diego Symphony, its financial woes, and how America views the arts. It's fascinating. I've added it to my wish list (oh, if I could read everything I wanted to) because I'm just stunned at our similar lives and her insights on being a Californian.

My friends in Wisconsin will attest to how annoyed the following question made me: "Why in the world would you come here when you live in Southern California?" The implication is that weather determines how great a place is, and that once you've lived there, you can't live anywhere else. Incidentally, the questioner would always follow up the statement with "I could never live there. I like seasons. Plus, what's Christmas without snow?" thus annoying me further. We have seasons, bitch. It's raining right now. Because it's winter, and that's what it does. Oh, but you're right, we don't have any Christmas spirit here. We suck.

Anyway, my responses to this question got more creative with time (usually I would invoke a stereotype of Wisconsin just to get back at them: "I like the smell of cows" "I wanted to see how much bratwurst I could eat in four years" etc). The truth is, I love Wisconsin. I love San Diego. I love being from both places. Well-rounded character traits and all. While I will play along with stereotypical jokes about either locale, I retain the right to ignore anyone who is genuinely insulting or ignorant.

There are of course downsides to both locations. I am not enjoying my year here in SD because I have few friends, am dependent on my car, and live in the suburbs. Were I in the thick of the action downtown, I would in all likelihood feel differently. San Diego frustrates me with its conservatism (it is after a military town with a high population of retirees and ex-Midwesterners) and its racism (you can quote diversity statistics, but the truth of it is that Hispanics get a very, very, very bad rap here). But Madison could similarly frustrate me with its little hypocrisies as well. Any place is like that, because people have different viewpoints anywhere you settle.

Like Mazza, I too can discount any of the stereotypes people have of southern Californians just on the basis of people I know. The friends who were born here, raised here, and consider themselves San Diegans are the least stereotypical of all. Many times at school I felt myself slipping into stereotypes just so I could get some attention, but the truth of it is I'm not a surfer, I'm not blonde, and I don't rollerblade with my poodle (but I do have a, it just occurred to me what a jip poodles get. That is a damn stupid name for an otherwise wonderful dog). The surfer exists, and I'm not knocking it. Someday I too would like to be a surfer, because it looks like fun and I like the ocean. The characteristics I love best about San Diego and San Diegans are the most often overlooked. The ocean is great, but you can't deny the beauty of our mountains, our canyons, and our deserts. San Diegans are some of the most fit people in the country (and that is a stereotype), because of the nature of our environment. Hiking, biking, swimming, and just plain walking are so enjoyable here because of the things you get to look at while you are doing said activities. If a friend comes to visit me, I will take them to Torrey Pines because it is breathtakingly beautiful, but I will also take them to Los Penasquitos to get a true feel for chaparral and canyon wildlife (friends who visit me will always be taken hiking. You cannot escape it, do not even try).

Well, there you have it in plain english why RW: San Diego pisses me off so much. There is a nightlife here, sure. But it ain't all we do, and those idiots will be sorry they didn't ever get east of the airport (quite a task, I assure you; the airport being almost on top of the harbor). But more than that, I hate to see my pretty city get stereotyped and pigeonholed. Pan your camera over the Mission Beach boardwalk all you want, but that ain't the half of it. I think the wildfires surprised some people back east because they didn't realize how much wild land San Diego County actually includes. That before the palm trees and well-manicured lawns it was all scrub brush and cactus. Fire is a way of life. Many of us despaired to see our mountains and canyons go up in flames almost as much as the devastating loss of homes and lives. Those of us with common sense do not appreciate the Governator. Electricity is not a thing to flaunt. Water is precious. Punk rock is sacred.

So, a word of warning to the haters: the note of scorn I hear in your voice when you say "California should just drop into the ocean and do us all a favor" better damn well fuck off, and you too. Because it's my home, and it's more than just a bunch of blondes and surfers and suburban rich kids. Maybe you should come here and give it a try. Hopefully we won't break off into the Pacific while you're here.

Monday, February 02, 2004


My tuba players quit on me today. Well, I wasn't surprised that Amanda quit, because she always made it quite evident that she didn't care. But, I admit that he had a lot of work to do, and his knowledge of fingerings left something to be desired...but he was a good kid, and he worked hard.

It's all part of being a teacher, I guess. There are ups and downs, and you can't always tell what your kids are thinking. Sometimes you don't even know if you're making a difference. I wouldn't survive as a full-fledged band director for many reasons, but that's the biggest. Does it really matter what I'm doing? Am I including everyone in this progress? Are they all having a good time?

Now that you're all in a somber mood, go on over to Green Fairy and laugh your ass off about death. Go on. Do it.


I found a bag of M&Ms my parents had stashed tonight and was all weirded out when I saw that they were black and white. Okay, so now those commercials with Judy Garland make more sense (I never pay attention to what commercials are selling, in an effort to not feel obligated to buy anything ever). Apparently you can help the M&Ms find their color. I dunno. I like the black and white scheme. It reminds me of that awesome scene in An American in Paris with the black and white party. There's some cool ass shit going down there. Wouldn't be surprised if people were crack addicts either. Gene Kelly looks kind of dumb, but everyone else is dressed up all wild (it's mostly the costume he's wearing. I mean, if you're going to a black and white party, a joker's costume is like the easiest thing to do. Let's hear it for some black and white creativity, people. Ostriches. Zebras. Pineapples). It's pretty hip, and I'd have liked to have been there.

On another note, I was pissed off about the MTV/Real World alleged sexual assault when I heard about it, but now I'm just damn pissed off at the whole show (wait before you say "just now?"-I was a great fan of RW Seattle, but then again some of those people had common sense and intelligence). Drunken idiots. Making a mockery of my pretty city. Get the fuck out. Either that, or have "Real World: Tijuana" so we can have some more positive images of race (sarcasm alert level: elevated). See how they like living in a tin shack and dealing with Montezuma's curse. Prediction: a cast member will be hospitalized during the first week of shooting after being run down by a Mexican taxi driver. We will listen sympathetically while several other cast members describe the hardships of being in a non-english speaking country, and the anguish they suffer at being laughed at and called "gringos" before having their wallets stolen. The cameras will pan over decrepit neighborhoods as a cast member's voice over states: "It's so be in a place where the people have nothing. It's like, you have to reevaluate everything you've ever thought. The other day I..*sniff*...oh man, this hard...I saw a roach. In our kitchen. I mean, this is extreme poverty man. I'm going to be such a stronger person, as a house we'll be so close...because we survived, man, we are survivors."

Remind me never to watch MTV when I'm feeling snarky and sarcastic.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

it's redesign fever!!

Pamela Ribon, author of the totally awesome book Why Girls Are Weird, has also done site overhaul today. How exciting. I am trying not to be scared by the gross thinness of the girl's arm. You should check her out; she's quite quite funny.

And to Jerry: well, now you don't have the same blog layout as Pamie. Therefore, you are lame. You should get Trogdor, because it is beyond awesome. Trrrrrrogdorrrr!

blog overhaul

Buddha Stew gets a new look, for the first time in three years. Excitement!

Still playing with stuff. I can't figure out how to get my title in there, and what do to with all the extra space at the top. In the original design, which can be found at Lex Designs, there was an image of a waterfall. In my dreams, I see myself replacing that empty space with a thangka of some sort, but I don't even know where to begin with image html. I need the help of my computer types, Shaun? Dan? For now, just tell me how to get rid of that blank stuff. Arrgh.

What do you all think? Yesno? I like it. It's very much something I'd like to play with more, and design my own site. All in good time, which means after auditions. Huzzah.

*update* I put the image back in, for now. Hopefully I won't get in trouble for covering my little ad bar up there. I'm not crying about it or anything.

follow up topic: relate all you just said to today's society

An answer April's question "What do you think keeps movements apart today? Is it conscious (or unconscious intervention by the patriarchy/How Things Are), or are the members of each movement now primarily responsible for disregarding other movements?"

It's a little bit of both, I'd say. The Powers That Be still keep women apart today through backlash politics. I mean, many young women are afraid still to call themselves feminists, even if their viewpoints fall right in line with women's rights. Feminists are still "femi-nazis," ugly, fat, hairylegged dykes that hate men. Of course this may be true of a handful of feminists, but this characterization came about from constant misinterpretation and whining on the part of white males who felt they were losing their advantage in the workplace or social sphere or whathaveyou. Still, it was and is extremely effective at keeping women apart. Patriarchy also keeps the women's movement apart with religion, holding certain beliefs (whether they be God-sanctified or not, you can make that shit up anyway) over women's heads who might otherwise support a woman's right to choose or a gay's right to marry. Your religion forbids it, they say, so you wouldn't be a "true Christian" to support it. Also with gay rights, I feel sometimes that the media's representation of lesbians vs gays keeps those two groups apart as well, or could easily serve to. Lesbians have to fight against objectification (of all the lesbian kisses on TV nowadays, how many of them are NOT geared toward the erectile fantasies of heterosexual men?) while gay men have to fight just to be recognized (Queer Eye being a distraction from the real cause, falsely leading people to think that a great leap has been made).

On the other hand, movements keep other movements away as well. I know that homophobia is strong in black communities who feel that it's a white "problem." I can't link the statistic, but I remember reading somewhere that the majority of people opposed to gay marriage are black males (please correct/quote/help me out if I'm wrong). You can examine many reasons why this is so, and I think it ties into what bell hooks has to say about sexism in black civil rights movements as well. Years of fighting has made machoism and control key for young black men, and while a gay man can be both macho and in control, this is not the prevalent stereotype of gays or women (which you could say comes from The Way Things Are and thus furthers to keep the two movements apart) and therefore their rights are second to black rights as a whole.

There you go. I've come full circle. The Way Things Are tries hard to keep people from mobilizing through stereotypes, media enforcement, and political change, while some groups prevent others from joining because they feel their cause is less or not a problem they have, which in turn stems from media representations and prevalent stereotypes. I think my head just imploded. I might need to go cry, fetal position, in a corner, for a while until I feel like I can come back out into the Big Bad World which has none of my interests at heart and seeks constantly to drag me down. Goddammit.