that seat’s fucking gold
Thursday May 28th 2009, 11:50 pm
Filed under: Boozy,memory,Music,reminiscence Tags:

five days of on.  Two consecutive conferences, nice clothes and all, starting now.  Gilead dog-eared, despite being a mere 22 pages in, the soundtrack to Bleu in the background, unlistened to for years, a glass of scotch on the table, my computer in the other room busily downloading the BBC series The Earth in HD while I write this.  A soundtrack taking me back years and year, to a Thanksgiving showing of Blue, White, and Red at the now-condominiums Berkeley Theater, and to a still earlier showing there of just Blue.  With NY was a hippie now a lawyer?  Probably.  A viscerally meaningful soundtrack, the dialogue, “attends, attends, attends” in the midst of an appallingly simple theme that resonates more deeply than its twos and threes  have any right to.  Preceded by an exam, tomorrow, of a student with whom I’m less than impressed.  Who wants to avoid an entire field because it might be too much work.  A field she acknowledges I know something about because I studied with the woman who knows pretty much everything about it.  Well, yeah, but I know something of my own, too, and in particular that you can’t skip it, gloss over it, or diminish it, but if you buckle down, you can read _all_ of it in just a few months.  Trust me.  Back to Gilead, as I don’t really have much time before Tuesday’s dog-and-pony show, the culmination to the five days of on, featuring geographers, a candidate who didn’t get the job (but I’m no Blagojevich), a geeky Englishmen who makes my geeky English friends look like Richard fucking Gere, and did I mention the ex?  She needs a nickname or euphemism, really.  I’m sure I’ve tried before, but nothing sticks in my mind, so surely wasn’t good enough.  The music elicits the calm and the need, the drive to go go go, to move, to be, to live.  Late nights, blue bottles of vodka, and beauty greater than I can handle.  It’s why I wake up at all, and likely why I wake up tired most of the time, stretching out the last few hours of the day, hoping to find something bigger than me.  Living by the beach would be nice, if only for the ease of doing just that.

another title in another hall
Wednesday May 27th 2009, 12:28 am
Filed under: Boozy,libraries,New York,Rubbish,self-indulgent,tempest in a teapot Tags:

Just finished Obama’s first book, Dreams from my Father.  Powerful shit.  I might have enjoyed it more if it weren’t a work read, a trained bear gig for some dinner for those who donate, the ladies who lunch, in just over a week. A follow-up ready to contextualize Obama’s books – Gilead, and maybe Netherland, and if I get really desperate, some Shakespeare – for those who lunch.  It’s not how well the bear dances, it’s that the bear dances at all.  And thus I’ll choke myself with a necktie, do the gel-based equivalent of brushing my hair, and appear as a bright-young-thing for the donors.  Got my NY tickets, so those of you reading there (don’t think any, actually), open a slot in your calendars, as I’m there to work (once I apply properly to the fucking Morgan.  Tomorrow.  Really.) and there to drink and wander and even be a little alone.  Once a year, maybe, last time to Ingerland a few weeks before YCT (YCTNW? Yummy Co-Teacher Now Wife?) arrived for weddings et al, and we gallivanted, most pleasurably.  (Apologies to the grad student who gets sputtery everytime I accuse her of gallivanting when visiting home.  It’s so uncharacteristic yet so apt as to be irresistible.)  Alone.   Not that I’m ever alone, nor that I really want to be alone.  Merely that there’s so much me that sometimes some time without the safety of the us to return to is necessary.  Having lived so much of my life without a safety-net (not that you’re safe), that the seemingly simple act of walking a sidewalk without someone to turn to, immediately, is a reminder of all that came before, all that’s both past and infinitely formative.  I don’t know if I can describe it, babe, and I know you’re likely reading this, or will eventually.  It’s like music, I think.  I don’t create it all the time (and certainly not as often as I’d like, but that’s a different fucking story), but when it strikes, it’s something I have to chase.  For the certainty of the uncertainty, if anything, for the knowledge that I’m unjudged, there, excessive commas and all.  I can work on the manuscripts, drink and dine with the friends, and wander familiar landscapes alone and unalone at the same time, and it’s not that it’s more me, there, not that I can find something I don’t have, but rather be reminded of the vibrancy of all that I do have, of the validation of all the decisions I made and make and believe in.  He says, putting “London Bound” from the album “Black Fingernails, Red Wine” on.  (And, could you ask for a more me title, a more me album?  Hah.  Fuckers.  That was mine. You owe me one.)  I dunno.  A bottle in but only lightly tipsy, a day of petty productivity, but productive nonetheless.  The poor shadow of philoboozo tomorrow, a solid theory book a chapter at a time with a solid friend, but lacking, somehow.  He’s up to it, I’m up to it, and it lacks all embarrassment or self-consciousness, but it really needs a third to give it that swing, and it just ain’t got it quite yet.   “Englishman in New York” says random.  Nicely played, random.  And thus to bed, really, a book down, a day older, tickets to a place that is a past but not The past, even as belief in such a thing slowly fades and is replaced by the impossibly beautiful present of The now with love, Love, and everything in between.  I go not to find, but to remind and remember, I go not to be judged, but to continue a life that I don’t need to judge.

scary librarian
Tuesday May 26th 2009, 12:44 pm
Filed under: HelLA,library,myjobfuckingrocks,myjobfuckingsometimesdoesntrock Tags:

Dammit, I pissed off a librarian.  I try never to piss off librarians, given how much fucking power they hold over me.  I learned the hard way, really, with Roberta of the ford of Oxen, who to this very day cannot see me without glaring through her thick-ass glasses, her mousy frizzy wild gray hair somehow looking accusatory and indignant at the same time.  And, I don’t think she even realizes I actually lost volume one of the library’s leather-bound Thousand and One Nights, as I hid the paper slip before the computerized records were introduced.
Anyway, I have a research assistant (i.e. grad student photocopying bitch, which I would have given anything to be, if only for the paycheck), who has what the library calls a “proxy card”, to check out books on my behalf.  The system is all kinds of fucked up, not really linked to my account, functionally invisible to me except when the overdue emails arrive, and set up in such a way that the assistant can recall books from me, for me.  Which is just dumb.  I tried to suggest there was a better way, but oh, I should know, not to fuck with the system as it stands, when it is the province of those who make it all go.  So now I’m running scared, afraid they’ll revoke the exception that allows me more than 200 books, which would lead to a repeat of Roberta’s punitive “I want em all back” experience of 2001-3.  Sigh. Sorry Ms. Blonde Librarian Who Used To Like Me.  I didn’t mean to suggest you suck, only the current system.

fear, hope, withdrawal
Tuesday May 26th 2009, 9:53 am
Filed under: change,friends,libraries,New York,politrix,seasonal Tags:

The endless nicotine dance continues.  Starting a little bit earlier for a few days, then fighting to hold it back until later.  A tiresome cycle in so many ways, but most of me doesn’t really want to care.  I’d rather just keep the fight going, get fit Mondays and Wednesdays and smoke Thursday through Sunday, pay the piper as and when appropriate.  Oh yeah, gotta refill my asthma drugs.  Moron.  Speaking of, fucking CA Supreme Court.  Supreme Courts generally, in fact, piss me off.  Since they don’t agree with me, always.  Didn’t you know that was the touchstone for whether a judicial institution is doing its job?  Agreeing with me.  Funny how so many people seem to implicitly agree with me on that one.

New York trip plans afoot – a few mss there I actually do need to see, along with a few friends I fancy seeing, and some time to visit before it feels lost to me.  I wonder if that’s what’s behind some of the urgency of the rapidly conceived (and shortly to be implemented) trip – NY feels like it’s fading, a bit, like I might stand and wait at a street corner rather than just crossing the damn street, that I might not know how to change my walk ever -so-slightly between the UES and the LES and points in between.  That its impossible, complex, polyrhythmic rhythms might elude me, or feel strange, or even find them imperceptible or incomprehensible.  So, I call the travel agency, slap it on a not-yet empty account, and off I go.  London feels more recent, even if it has been since last August; we’re planning a return in Dec, as well, a timely if not hasty retreat from the relatives of blood and “I do” who might not remember that I’m me, and not always prone to playing along.  But NY, much longer, and of the four great locations of my life (here, up there, all the way over there, and there), and the shortest of the four, it needs tending. Like a fucking garden.  I have my reasons.  Trust me.

for fucking feather
Saturday May 23rd 2009, 3:45 pm
Filed under: friends,HelLA,memory,New York,nostalgia,reminiscence,seasonal,self-indulgent Tags:

I sometimes stalk those who got away.  There aren’t many in that category, really, and I’ve dug up most of them over the years.  As against those who dug me up, an entirely different category that almost immediately disqualifies them from a position of interest.  (I generalize, so don’t get your knickers in a twist.)   Anyway, of the few who got away, one has been generally localized, several years ago, but a new one caught my fancy not all that long ago.  It was proving difficult (which is to say, on at least two or three occasions, late at night, and drunk, I tried googling around, scraping the obvious sites, and nothing came up).  But a little extra elbow grease (what does that look like for keyboard-based activities?) turned her and her music career up, not unexpectedly, in New York Fucking City.  So I’m on the delightful and frustrating edge of nostalgia for multiple times – the very last moments of the me before Berkeley, already at work on becoming Berkeley me, and New York me, the first moments of after-Oxenford me, the first moments of job-having, the last moments of pre-YCT, the first moments of YCT.  And to her infinite credit (well, exploiting the rather charmingly fey middle name is savvy, but the radical de-Jewing that goes along with that choice a touch disappointing) she seems to be living the dream.  A teenage girl, strumming a guitar, and singing along to the Beatles and What’s Up at the top of her lungs, now a woman, strumming a guitar, singing her own songs.  I have no idea what her life looks like, of course, and knowing the gulf between the lyrics and the lyricist I fight the urge to analyse all the words until I can backfill 17 years of silence.  It cheers me to know she’s out there, doing something she so obviously loves.  It cheers me to know I’m here, doing something I so obviously love, but it’s hard to express that love sometimes, hard to find ways to communicate it.  Particularly when the job itself dissolves and devolves into so many sub-parts, many of which suck.  I remember still another mentioning that I never talked about my work, and certainly not with enthusiasm.  In part, it doesn’t lend itself to ready conversation, but that’s not entirely true – there are enough people I do share my work with who aren’t academics to disprove that.  An unwillingness to overcommit?  The constant of my adult life, the suppression of unseemly enthusiasms for ironic detachment, or at least passions appropriate and inappropriate carefully chosen for carefully chosen audiences.

I think I’m going to try to write more, here.  The list-making of the year-to-come might be conducted more publicly before it becomes that-was-the-year-that-was.  Not quite summer, but the anxiety of time passing, of chapters to write and work to do, but also the fear that I’ll fuck it all up, stress about work without getting it done, and not get anything else done in the stress.  I imagine finding out when she has a gig I can somehow get to, showing up, stand leaning against a wall or a post or pillar, drink in hand, and wonder if recognition would come, what it might look like in her brown eyes, eyes I remember staring into from inches away one long, and long ago, and very short summer.

more work
Monday May 04th 2009, 4:12 pm
Filed under: blah,myjobfuckingsometimesdoesntrock,self-indulgent,whingeing,Work Tags:

oh yeah, that shit.  I’m fooling myself into writing the non-book by writing a non-talk for a local audience for Wednesday next.  Cuz, yeah, that’ll work.  Though, as a friend asked, “what are you doing working on something due in 10 days’ time?”  Alas, the answer is that I’m hoping my book isn’t merely a string of all-nighters pulled, as a significantly non-zero part of the dissertation is.  Whatever.  I’m glum and grumpy and moody.  Must be Tuesday. Or, shit, Monday.