Monday November 20th 2017, 11:44 am
Filed under: can't make that shit up,HelLA,holidays,nextish Tags:

Well, I missed a month again. I suppose, in my defense, I’m busier than I ever imagined busy being. But there have been a few times I’ve wondered about coming here. Just back from a final spin class – they’re closing. Moderate sadness over corporate failure – there was, in fact, a community, and even rarer for HelLA, an unprecious atmosphere of real people doing real exercise, the lumpy alongside the glossy, and, for the most part, a sense of collective encouragement.

Thæs ofereode, thisses swa mæg.

Speaking of which, the disturbed young woman who has been stalking me off and on since accusing me (falsely) of all kinds of shit re-appeared, first by email a few weeks ago, and then in my office on Thursday. Fun for the whole family. Oh wait. Even my cop-loathing self got the cops involved (who, true to form, managed to insult by asking, meaningfully, “does your wife know”?).

Time flying; deadlines blown; things passing around again; holidays and 90 degree heat projected for Thanksgiving. Just the season to leave the oven on all day. Sigh.

Thursday September 28th 2017, 9:19 am
Filed under: nextish,teaching Tags:

One louder, one more year, one more fall, one more class, one more bunch of bright-eyed, ever-younger students wondering why the fuck anybody reads Chaucer.

Stress, and grief

She said, to answer my question what points she was working on. Also, where your spine meets your ribs, so, a major parenting spot. Not really an empty center. And her “hot hands” (shared, apparently, by her 11 year old daughter but not her 11 year old son) healing. And also disturbing, working through old and newer ambitions and desires, aspirations and intentions. A Greek meander left to right, hyper rational and logical, and all I am, a Celtic knot, mystical and magical and all I’m not very good at being and have, frankly, neglected. And a not very empty center.

Platitudes and Attitudes
Sunday June 18th 2017, 10:39 pm
Filed under: Berkeley,myjobfuckingrocks,nextish,seasonal,summer Tags:

20 Fucking Years. 20 years ago, it was outside, in the Greek Theater. A hot fucking day, particularly by Bay Area standards. I don’t remember much – the guest speaker was one of the founders of the ?Center for Independent Living, a heavily disabled man in a full body respirator who had finished college. It was inspiring, in principle, but very difficult to understand. Add a flask of vodka and the buzz of it all on a hot ?late May day, a party which followed, and some complicated, possibly questionable decisions that followed that, followed by a paper on medieval religious history, followed by a series of even more complicated, definitely questionable decisions over a summer neither weird nor good, just next (oh! And a lost pair of expensive sunglasses! At Wall Berlin, no less), and, comparatively, today was much easier. Dog poop, child poop, trains and duplo and kicking a ball around, a few speeches, a handful of hugs, a commute on freeways through a city I still resent but have also grown to appreciate, rely on, inhabit. Fancy medieval clothes in scarlet, a sense of pleasure on behalf of the students and families.

Is it enough? We certainly try to justify it to ourselves as such. That what we do is much, much more than doing nothing. More than buying things, selling things, building things, fixing things, marketing things, or organizing or negotiating some aspect of any of those activities. I’ve no idea, really. It makes it easier to sleep, thinking the university matters, the public-ness of it matters, that teaching them to read, speak, and write critically about words and ideas matters. (Or, trying to. I don’t need them to love what I love. I do need them to care about something.) Everything rings a bit hollow on these days, overshadowed by the realness of the experience they’re having. So grown up and so young, so excited and so somber. Was I wearing the pull-chain choker? Or the one made out of nuts and bolts wired together? That picture with the Campanile in the background the last known whereabouts of those sunglasses. Gone. Like this impossible year, and like that summer 20 years ago, things happen fast.

This Great Big Hill
Sunday April 09th 2017, 9:31 pm
Filed under: birthday,can't make that shit up,nextish,Work Tags:

(Nearly) [42] years of my life and still / trying to get up this great big hill / of hope / for a destination.

Or something. I’m suddenly in the absurd situation of having 8 months to spend a grant that can only be spent as research money. Which is lovely, but I had wanted to _not_ do research this summer, and instead get some fucking writing done. Instead now scoping trips to improbable locations in September. My life is weird.

Which I suppose was the point.

Not that I give that many fucks any more. The glory of the forties, really. The fucks not given.

Once more with….
Saturday December 31st 2016, 11:45 pm
Filed under: Boozy,holidays,nextish Tags:

…something. Exit, 2016, pursued by a [Russian?] bear.

Fuck that shit. Thankfully, 2 year olds are super easy.

London bound
Tuesday December 06th 2016, 11:28 pm
Filed under: Boozy,can't make that shit up,holidays,nextish,politrix Tags:

In a bit. Not quite. One TA mired in depression, bits and bobs of work to juggle, a little boy who won’t stay asleep too many nights. An inability to read the news or make any sense of a world I thought I had, broadly, sussed.

Narrative. Good red wine. Better music. The occasional non-occasional poem. Himself. YCT. Sorted.

Eleventh Fall
Monday September 19th 2016, 9:24 pm
Filed under: calendars,can't make that shit up,nextish,seasonal,tired Tags:

Having been shopping for child seats for a bike, not a great title, perhaps. But so it goes. 10 fucking years. 11 fall quarters. Thousands of students. And today, the 8th volunteer day, sorting canned goods at a food bank. The kids are alright (though, I know I wasn’t a kid at 18. Nope. Not at all.). Amusing that one of them was a junior-year-abroad from London, via TCD, who when I was describing my current book to a crowd tilted his head and said “Ashburnham House”?

Playing with the finally-upgraded new version of Logic, messing with vocals from North Oxford two? three? life-times ago.Double-tracking, re-pitching for harmonies and counter-lines, fiddling with pitch and timing for realism. Oh, the things you can do. Technology. Kids today. Etc.

Mostly, tired. But I try to begin fall with something more than the baseline of requisite enthusiasm. A few days in DC getting actual work done were a nice push to slough off the summertime sadness of another 6 weeks sold for money in a compromise I will always resent. Gonna be a busy year. It always is, but this one looks like more work and less ohmygodchildicanthelpfuckitivegotanexcusesorrybye.

headphones, and a few days
Thursday September 01st 2016, 11:53 pm
Filed under: nextish Tags:

Good-ish ones. Loud. Thumping with Massive Attack from 20 fucking years ago. Disconcerting for it to be so loud in my head and so quiet in the house. A sense that someone must notice how loud it is, someone will wake.

Redwoods. A grove. Needles and resin and leaves crunching underfoot amidst not-too-well-groomed paths. The smell Proustian, powerfully evoking a not dissimilar grove 400 miles away. Minus the Marlboro Reds to cut through the nature. Minus the girl in the wraparound skirt. Plus the little boy with mischief in his happy bright eyes.

A movie. Bad. A hero wearing eyeliner and a stony sulk.

A girl. In a little black dress and oxblood Docs, with a cigarette. Early 20s. It made me want to wear a gauzy black skirt and Docs and have a smoke. Though the lack of pockets always foxed me.

A friend, one of the few added late. Lapsing, losing, lost. So it goes. A visit apparently too much for the relationship to bear.

A friend’s wife’s teenage daughter. Wondering about scholasticism and syllogistic logic, humanism and the introduction of paper, trying to see a way through an infinite number of trees (or, more accurately, linen rags) that died for a contested God and were promptly printed upon. A spiral. A gentle suggestion that confusion means you understand what’s going on.

A wife. Offered a career. Years of building and doing and creating. Earned on her own, for her self, by her self. In a space that was mine but has become, limitedly, ours. But will with this become equally ours. Mansplaining, departmentsplaining, and churlish possessiveness not helpful. Champagne required, repeatedly.

A future, a little less contingent than the thin loose edges of contingency I prayed for. How things change. I should ride my bike and take the train, even if it means showing up to work a bit sweaty. Better sweaty than soulless, yielding the last few screams of protest against everything that’s wrong with this city. This city that it will be a long time before I don’t live in. This city that I can never quite escape.

Maybe a gauzy skirt, some eyeliner, and a bicycle. Or maybe a way of making sense of all the happinesses. The peace of the redwoods and the crunch of his little feet in green shoes on dried oak leaves. A California day that made sense, even though it always feels like I’m just visiting it against my will.

Less nostalgic than usual
Friday January 01st 2016, 12:16 am
Filed under: calendars,himself,holidays,nextish Tags:

Perhaps because of the radiator I bottomed out while pulling on to the Angeles crest highway, or the 4 plus hours I spent waiting for a tow truck (YCT and himself having been rescued at the 2 hour mark) on Tuesday, or the two grand I sank into keeping harmony amongst familial factions last week, or the very very bloody cut in his gums that he managed to inflict upon himself this afternoon, I’m pretty chill with this evening being a year passing. His birthday seemed more momentous, a year in his life, and only secondarily mine. The school year has always outweighed the calendar year, and I guess they’ve slipped to third and fourth.

So. Lo. Hwaet. Not much to see or to say. Endured? Enjoyed? Enlightened? No need for summary, or redacted reductiveness, so that’ll be that.

Farewell again to the dead, hello again to the newly living.