Thursday, December 25, 2008


Happy Mom's Birthday, everybody. Hope yours was as foodful as mine. Here's a menu:

Spiced Christmas tea with Walker's shortbread
Delicacy Three Vegetables and rice with green tea, crunchy noodles, fortune cookie (hold the pineapple)
Curried apple bisque with minted yogurt
Orange ginger bok choy
Stir-fried wild rice
REAL apple cider
Cointreau chocolate mousse cake with custard sauce
Homemade caramels

I think that's all, but my angry stomach is telling me that there was more that I crammed into it against its better judgment. Whatever, stomach; my tongue and I agree that it was worth it.

Sad to see you go, Eartha.

Monday, December 15, 2008


5:00 PM on 15 December 2008.

The paper is turned in. The student grades are finalized. The plane ticket is printed. The birthday present for my mother is wrapped. All the remaining tasks are simple and pleasant: eat dinner, watch Star Trek: TNG with Z2 and the Mysterious X (and possibly the She God, if her grading allows), pack a few clothes, wash a few sheets, maybe make some muffins, maybe drink some whisky.

Head pressure is letting up. Shoulder tension remains. Hopefully the vacation will fix these things without adding too many other stresses. I have high hopes. I know for a fact that the people in NY whom I want to see are people who also want to see me. That makes all the difference.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Keep on truckin'

20 student papers remain. Of those, three are already graded in my head based on previous encounters with the students' work. That leaves 17 to grade, all of which can hopefully be graded during the final exam tomorrow. Huzzah!

My own work has been put on hold until the grading is done. I guess that means that tomorrow I'll be getting back to that...

EDITED: Done!! 9 AM and I have finished grading! Woohoo!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ender's End

I pretty much gave up on Orson Scott Card when he came out with Empire. I have never read a less pleasant political screed, and I've read several Terry Goodkind novels. It was just purely offensive crap, mixed with a couple of interesting sentences. Bah.

And now, two years later, I am giving up on him again. This time, it has to do not with his novels, but with his assertion that gay marriage is a sign of the end of democracy. Anti-sodomy laws should remain in force, he says. Gay Mormons need to feel that they are sinning; being comfortable with their own orientations is unacceptable. Check out this article, especially the title.

So now I have a problem. Card remains the only fiction author I've ever read who has created a character who speaks Old Church Slavonic. Speaker for the Dead is still a fascinating book, as is the rest of the Ender series (I admit I have not delved into the "Shadow" companion series). But the author of all of these ascribes to views I cannot condone.

Let me clarify: I don't have much of a problem reading works by conservatives. I read William Safire, ferchrissake. I do have a problem reading the writing of someone who considers me to be sinful by my very nature, and who demands that I give up my sexuality in every natural form in order to achieve grace.

I know I am not the only queer to read Ender. I know the queer sci fi community is rather larger than one might expect. Hell, reading sci fi at all is tantamount to being caught giving another boy a blowjob, in terms of elementary school social hierarchy (I do not, by the way, condone blowjobs for ten-year-olds). Queers-of-the-mind and queers-of-the-body need to stick together, especially for those of us who are both. In fact, full disclosure: as a child I masturbated to the cover art of Prentice Alvin. Too much information? Yeah, probably, but if he wants me to be ashamed of my orientation, this seems like a great way to push back.

So, I am choosing to engage in personal censorship. It won't have any effect on my day-to-day life, as I haven't read Card in years, but it will affect my rereading eventually. I want to reread these books (well, not Empire). And yet, I know that if I do, I will constantly be remembering that the mind that created these words has no use for me. Prentice Alvin would probably try to "heal" me, not reciprocate my affections.

Et tu, Ender?

Closer and closer

75 student papers left to grade! SO CLOSE!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Musicology

This is the fault of the New Musicology. We will now take all the credit for the slow but inevitable crumbling of the patriarchal cultural empire. You can thank us later.

Oh, and all of you Freemasons and Theosophists can now start preparing for even more complete societal irrelevance. Take that, Madame Blavatsky!

Monday, December 8, 2008

New York State of Mind

Yes. A Billy Joel quote. Deal with it.

In eight days I return to the fabulous Winter Wonderland known as the New York Metropolitan Area. There are three primary reasons why this is amazing, in ascending order of importance:

1. Weather. Dear God do I miss having actual weather. My fingers are starting to get chilly and immobile at temperatures upwards of 60 degrees Fahrenheit; this is unacceptable. I demand to see my breath, and not just when I stick my head in the freezer to figure out where the hell those strawberries went.

2. End of the quarter. This academic quarter, as noted elsewhere, is made entirely out of shit. Soon, it will be flushed. And followed with the mental, metaphorical equivalent of Drāno. After which, the toilet in which this process took place, along with all affiliated plumbing, will be removed to an undisclosed location, which will be carpet bombed.

3. People. Most of the people I have so desperately needed to see are in or around NY, or at least within hailing distance. People here are very nice, for the most part, but I have known them for less than 18 months, and that can't quite make up for years of accumulated familiarity. If you are in/around NY, or will be between 16 December and 2 January, please let me know. I want to see you. If you are also Jewish (or otherwise available), I want to eat Chinese food for lunch with you on Christmas Day.

Aside from the big three reasons, there are many small reasons. Free food, for one. Homemade candy. Corduroy pants, which are currently in deep storage in the parents' basement. Etc., etc., etc.

Before NY:

I have begun the Final Paper Grading Process. The number of papers remaining is smaller than 120 now, possibly smaller than 110 if the number of non-submissions is substantial. Details will not be posted, of course, but you are free to imagine what you will about the quality of writing.

Today I am going to grade another 25, I hope, and then go to tea and walk along the beach with The Mysterious X, Violesbian, and 'Nald. After tea, we will be returning home to experience one, two, or all of the following: Zardoz, FART: the movie, and that perennial seasonal favorite, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Gris, Z2, and the She God of Shark Reef will be joining us, as will Glen Moray, a new addition to my whisky collection, courtesy of Z2. This looks to be a good day.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Meme time

So I've been meme-tagged, and I need to pass it along. The rules request that I link to the various blogs of my friends and acquaintances and ask them to link back here, but in the interests of preserving the shreds of my anonymity, I will refrain.


The rules:

1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.

2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog - some random, some weird.

3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.

4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs.

5. If you don’t have 7 blog friends, or if someone else already took dibs, then tag some unsuspecting strangers.

7 facts about me:

A. I have undergone eye surgery three times, the most recent being ten years ago. Each time, I cried blood for a while afterward.

B. I am astonishingly good at Tetris, due to a complete lack of social skills in elementary school.

C. I have an extremely sensitive stomach, but I like food so much that I don't care. I therefore get frequent horrible stomach aches.

D. I am much more willing to do things if I feel someone else will be upset with me if the things remain undone. Left to my own devices, I laze.

E. I have a near-pathological fear of roller coasters and all other high-speed conveyances, because I am a control freak at heart and those are not controlled by me. I don't trust them not to kill me.

F. I despise the sound of my own voice, but I adore singing.

G. My personality and tastes change drastically depending on my surroundings. Especially if I find you attractive, I will usually adapt to your preferences and pastimes. I don't see this as dishonest; my desires actually do change to blend better with my companions. I do see it as a problem sometimes.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to duplicate this meme on your own internet diaries: Rainbow Brite, Trousers, une pipe, Gris...oh, anybody who reads this. Please don't link back here though; I want to keep snooping undergraduates from having any way into my sanctum sanctorum.

Also, in case you were wondering, things ain't so hot right now. I may post on this at some point, or I may not, but I could use some happy thoughts coming my way. Or some happy whisky.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Anger management

Today I want to punch things.

No, not things--people.

No, not people--person.

Unfortunately I will instead be attempting to turn this impulse into witty prose. I imagine I will cross the line from witty into bitingly sarcastic rather quickly, followed immediately by a descent into witheringly acerbic. My goal is to remain in that zone, instead of ending up in embarrassingly self-involved.