Friday, February 29, 2008

Some disconnected thoughts

1. I spent several hours with Lindsay and Eric cleaning out the seminar room. It made me feel very useful and productive. Usually when I go on these cleaning binges, I do it alone, but both Lindsay and Eric seem to share my bizarre compulsion to overhaul storage spaces. This is a wonderful thing.

2. It occurred to me out of nowhere, a few minutes ago, that I need to revise my long-held definition of nerd-dom. I had believed that nerd-dom relied on obsession with any one thing that wasn't sports or sex (or maybe politics). For example, a band nerd is obsessed with marching band. A scifi nerd is obsessed with Star Trek or Robert Heinlein. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Some would call this geek-dom or dork-dom; for the moment the terminology is not what interests me. What interests me is that I have discovered another exception to this general law: gay men are allowed to be obsessed. In fact, gay men are expected to be obsessed with something. Ketchup knows every episode of Golden Girls by name and season; this doesn't make him a Golden Girls geek, but instead a Golden Girls queen.

This puts me in a strange place. I am a scholar studying musical theater. This makes me a musical theater dork. I am also a gay man who obsessively devours musicals. This makes me a musical theater queen. Which identity is the most relevant one? How do I align myself?

Also, does this similarity indicate something deeper? Is the parallel between gay and nerd stereotypes reflective of some underlying feminization? Normally I'd be happy to uncover another layer of patriarchal oppression, but I don't think this stereotype applies to "women" in general, so I can't see how it's a feminization.

3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer may be the greatest achievement of television. I just re-watched "Teacher's Pet" from the first season, and I'd forgotten some of the details. It's brilliant: a perfect blend of comedy, horror, and careful emotional manipulation. Buffy's brief touching moment with her science teacher really punched me in the gut; that's what teachers should do. And then he got eaten by a preying mantis.

To inject a bit of musicology into my Buffy watching: when Miss French first enters, the music is drum heavy, not in a rock way, but in a generically pseudo-African tribal way. Perfect for her image as Exotic Other, the unfamiliar sexy woman with untraceable accent and vaguely non-white features. Sigh. Reminds me unpleasantly of yesterday's Messiaen class, but also really shows how much the whole Buffy creative team knows what they're doing.

Okay, I just looked up the actress who played Miss French. How's this for an irony: she's actually South African. She doesn't just look foreign; she comes from the "Dark Continent." What an amazing personification of all the things that supposedly threaten a young, white, straight, American man: a sexy, older, African (not black, sadly) woman stranger, suddenly in an authority position. The actress is a dancer too; that just adds another layer of physicality to fear. And of course, she eats virgins and bites their heads off. Vagina dentata much?

4. I think it's time to 'go public' with this blag. I need to go back and clean old posts of incriminating names and situations, and then I can add this website to my facebook page. I think I've reached this decision because I feel far more emotionally comfortable than I did when I started. Thanks to Leila, Claudie, Amy, and Xandra for getting me there.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Open up

I talked to Claudie online tonight. It was the first time in a while that I've talked to people who are not me about how I'm feeling. Now I'm crying. I think this is a good thing.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Does the thought count?

Some of my friends have given up silly things for Lent, like refined sugar and all forms of chocolate. This saddens me. I decided to make cookies that they could all eat, sugar free and chocolate free. Of course, I had to make things difficult and try to make chocolate chip cookies without chocolate through the miracle of carob.

Bad idea.

What nobody seems to have tried before is combining carob chips with honey-sweetened cookie dough. What results is spongy cookies with burned carob chips. Totally, totally gross.

I'm on the fourth small test pan now, and pan #3 was at least edible, after adding agave nectar to decrease the sponginess and increase the sweetness and adding aluminum foil
to decrease the burned-ness.

But still, all they do is make me want real cookies. Can I, in good conscience, feed these to people I actually like?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Unrelated thought

Moments later, I return with an unrelated problem.

One of my roommates had a guy over last night who was Israeli. I had a visceral reaction against this stranger, without knowing anything except where he was born. I don't want people to have that reaction toward me when finding out that I'm from the United States, but I still have it toward anyone identifying as from "Israel." I also had absolutely no desire to discuss this prejudice and perhaps have it dispelled; I didn't want to talk to him at all. We eventually conversed on the very safe topic of hedgehogs. Very few people I've met have opinions about hedgehogs that offend me.

Me no read good

I am having a bit of an identity crisis.

All my life, I've thought of myself as a reader. I've read everything from classics of literature (haughty sneer here) to boxes of cereal, with a lot of things that don't even fall between those included. No matter what I read, I have always been able to get something out of it. Sometimes trashy books really make me think; sometimes ads in magazines imbue me with righteous anger. It doesn't matter what the reading material is; I can glean something of value from it.

This weekend I've been reading Gayatri Spivak and Jacques Derrida, both considered well worth reading. Plenty of people whose opinions I respect love these writers.

I am getting nothing out of this reading. Nothing. Not a damn thing. I have pored over pages multiple times; I have scanned quickly over sections; I have thought about each word as it comes, looking things up in dictionaries if I thought I might be misunderstanding them.

After all of this, I feel like my knowledge has not increased one whit. My thoughts are not more complex than they were before; they are not simpler either. Nothing has been elucidated or mystified that was not already lucid or mystic. I have a headache and insomnia, but I don't consider those productive effects of reading.

What am I doing wrong? Why can I find nothing useful here?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Midnight. Not a sound from the pavement.

Taking a break from talking all about myself, I want to talk about some of the other people in my life. A certain person is uppermost in my mind, because I've just been listening to one of his high lectures on philosophy. That's high as in marijuana, not high as in I'm-a-snob-and-think-philosophy-is-better-than-regular-thought. I may not be a psychologist, but I'm worried about his emotional state. He went on a long diatribe that led to the statement that you should never depend on anyone. It's hard to be mad at him when he so clearly displays some sort of emotional wound and doesn't seem to even notice that he's displaying it. I just wish he wouldn't take it out on me. Okay, so I can't resist talking about myself for three sentences. Deal; this is the inside of my head.

A friend came over tonight. I've known him for almost 6 years and I can't really tell what's going on in his head. I wish I knew that he was dealing well with the not going to grad school thing. We cooked and ate together; sometimes that helps more than talking about feelings, but sometimes it's just a way of avoiding talking. I think tonight was the former, but I can't swear to it.

I spoke with C and A on the phone and L on IM. They reminded me of what it's like to have real friendships. None of them was in the best mood today, for various reasons, but that didn't matter. We still talked. Very few people here are at the talk-to-me-even-when-unhappy stage. I think part of that stems from my emotional inaccessibility. Which I've been working on for a while now, and it's getting pretty good.

I need to stop. This is one of those nights where writing doesn't help, but just reinforces bad feelings. Bah.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

My foolish ego

Tonight my apartment-mates came out of their room and we watched a few Golden Girls episodes together before they went out to a bar. The fact that they spent time with me first made me far happier than it perhaps should have. I hate feeling like people despise me, which is what I've been probably irrationally feeling recently.

In my autopsychoanalysis, I trace this all-too-frequent feeling to finding out that someone I thought was a friend despised me in junior high (or was it high school?). I am very ready to believe that people like me a lot less than they claim to. In some cases, they don't even claim to like me; they just ignore me. That regularly makes me incredibly depressed and irrationally angry. I feel like Rose Nylund discovering that there is no way to make Roger like her.

In positive news, I spent a good few hours cleaning out the TA offices at school. It made me feel productive and useful, despite someone's pronouncement that nobody will care. I like cleaning and throwing away crap. And rearranging furniture. What a stereotype I can be.

Xandra and I are going to a Chinese food place called Mao's this weekend. I will enjoy this extravagantly. It will give me a break from reading Derrida and Spivak. Derrida, interestingly, is recognized by Firefox spell check; Spivak isn't.

Monday, February 18, 2008


I did not physically attack that guy while he was here. This is an achievement. Hooray!

Sunday, February 17, 2008


I have friends. That makes me so very happy.

Today, Kate and her boy are coming to visit. Also today, Adam and Shula called and told me that they're moving here. Things are totally wonderful. Even the towering filth that is Friedrich Nietzsche can't get me down right now.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tipsy Post!

I've had a few drinks. Let's see how that affects my coherence.

Xandra is single-handedly making my life in LA possible. If she doesn't move to my neighborhood next year I will be quite sad.

I finally talked to Allison for real tonight!! I have missed this immensely, far more even than I thought I would. I usually hate the phone, but Allison has crossed the boundary that few have crossed, and I now enjoy and look forward to talking to her on the phone. She and I both had encounters with guys between our last conversation and now, and we got to gossip a bit. That was fun.

Adam said that it is quite likely he and Shula will be moving here next year. I am unspeakably excited about this. Real friends! With prefabricated history and shared experiences!

I have accidentally invented Scotch-flavored vodka. I love it.

I have a strong feeling that Ron didn't get into UCLA and it makes me very sad. I have no real basis for this, but he hasn't heard yet and I think Ray said they've already contacted the first 8 people for interviewing (the final pool). We'll see.

OK, it's back to drinking I go. Even if nobody reads this, I am benefiting from writing my bizarre late night thoughts. Go, go gadget journal!

Monday, February 11, 2008


I am having a problem. A certain fellow, in my estimation, doesn't see me as a human being unless I force that perspective on him. He sees me as either a service or an inconvenience, depending on the circumstances. I can't handle that for much longer, and I think I probably need to talk to him about it. I have no idea how to do that.

Leaving that aside for the moment, I can now process Saturday. The big deal really was that I spent the night with someone I don't know all that well and am certainly not dating. While it was fun, I don't want to repeat it; I need more of an emotional connection.

Earlier on Saturday I went to a fun panel discussion and saw an awesome movie with Xandra, had lunch with Shula, and watched British comedy with Ron. Fantastic day. Not to mention Adam indicated that it's quite likely they'll be moving here next year. I think I'm a little too invested in that possibility.

Continuing backward through the weekend, I saw Rip and Pat on Friday. It was fun, and it was nice to feel able to converse and associate comfortably with people from my previous life on the east coast. It does feel in many ways like another life.

I think that's all I've got for the moment. I'm reading a new Robin McKinley book and it makes me happy.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Crazy, crazy night

I'm still processing yesterday. Too many evenings happened in one day. I know it's been almost a week since I posted, but I don't have the coherence to post right now.


Monday, February 4, 2008

Just another depressive Monday

Bad day today. I couldn't sleep last night (not sure why) and so I slept in this morning, got a late start to the day, couldn't get any reading done at school, didn't enjoy the reading that I brought home, and totally failed to do the writing assignments.

I'm trying awfully hard to like myself. It makes it much harder when I don't really have support. I talked with a friend about being unhappy, which is a step in the right direction, but although it felt good at the time, I'm not enjoying things right now. I hate feeling like such a third wheel.

My sense of self is so uncertain that every event that isolates me in any way leaves me totally adrift. I wish I could just get over this shit.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


Today was remarkably productive. I liked that. Let's see if I can keep it up tomorrow.

Today also was marked by a notable lack of depression. There were some moments of pensive pondering, and occasional exasperation, but none spiraled down. This is very good.

In self-analysis today, I wondered if my aversion to hearing people say my name is connected to my antipathy toward spending time in my own room. There isn't necessarily a link, but they seem to be signs of something similar.

I had a wonderful time last night at the Normandie Room. I met a third bartender, Nikole, watched Mame with Xandra, ate pizza with her, Zarah, and Zarah's Lauren, and drank more than I should have. It was quite pleasant.

That's really about it for tonight. Brain isn't vomiting much, and I appreciate it.