Wednesday, December 26, 2012


So, I am submerging myself in a pool of job postings. It's not a sea, really, because there aren't all that many, but it's definitely a pool. Right now, I'm doing my best to find gainful employment as a musicologist in Washington, DC, because damnit I like living in one place at a time, and damnit I like living in the same apartment as my boyfriend instead of 3,000 miles away in a different time zone. As all you academics out there know, this locational specificity shrinks the pool.

First on the Washington-area docket is the Smithsonian postdoc application. I haven't the foggiest idea whether this is competitive and cutthroat or unknown and therefore relatively gettable. All I know is that once I navigated the labyrinthine web of dead links and unfortunate font choices that is the SI website, I found some amazing collections and fascinating-looking scholars (their research looks fascinating, that is) that/who seem like they could be really helpful with my next book project. Fingers crossed.

Next, paid summer internship at the Library of Congress. Also awesome stuff, awesome people, but sadly limited to just the summer. Le sigh.

After that, I think it's adjunctville for a while. I haven't finished looking for other academic things to apply to, not by half, but I need to get into the adjunct market as soon as I can to make sure I'm on everybody's list for someone to hire to teach anything and everything related to music, theat-er/re, comedy, teh gay, gender, writing, and soup. I'd love to teach a "Why is Soup so Awesome?" class. That would be delicious.

And then, non-academic jobs. There are lots of those in DC, comparatively speaking; we have an economy there. Hooray for local pork? Maybe teaching music lessons after school somewhere? Maybe the vegan bakery is hiring? Maybe a library needs a shelver or a circulation desk worker, or a used bookstore needs an anything, or a local theater needs an inexperienced dramaturg(e). Temporary work is fine, and any of these could lead somewhere fun eventually, or be fun for a while. Yes, boyfriend, I know I need to further my career; don't worry. I am definitely going to work on doing that even if it isn't my job. Publishing my work, presenting at conferences, editing the dissertation into a book, etc.

I don't need to reassure my father; he doesn't read the internet.

If any of my lovely internet friends knows anything about work I could do in DC, preferably in the musicological sphere, let me know. After the academic job deadlines I know about pass (mostly January 7th and 15th), I'll be looking for more things to apply to.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


The only thing keeping me from tearing my hair out while I grade is Ella singing Cole Porter. Here, you can keep your hair too:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bright spots

So, grading is happening. You know what feels great? When a student who resisted your advice for weeks (months?) and who rolled her eyes constantly and who was certain she had nothing to learn but then later despairs and becomes intensely frustrated by her own work turns in a damn good senior thesis because she actually absorbed what you were saying and used the sources you recommended and ended up really caring about what she was writing and put all that research toward her own ideas.

It's nice to remember that I chose this field because I love teaching. Sometimes they learn, and sometimes you can see that they learned because of what you did for/to/with them. That's what it's for, right?

Maybe she's just sucking up to the guy grading her, and doing it really well. She did cite my dissertation. But I choose to believe that she's actually learning and thinking and growing. And I believe that in 1978 God changed his mind about black people.

Wait, that wasn't what I believe. That was a quote from The Book of Mormon. Close enough. That's my grading soundtrack.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Dead ends

My youngest cousin has graduated from college. He finished school and moved home, at loose ends for a while, trying to become an environmental journalist in an environment hostile to (print) journalists. He managed to get an internship at the Sierra Club in San Francisco, CA, which I believe he will start soon. Unless he's already started. I'm excited for him, and I can't wait to see what he does with his adult life.

My youngest cousin is from Newtown, CT. He has an amazing adult life in front of him, because he was not shot and killed when he was five, or six, or seven. He went through his entire childhood without once being brutally murdered for no apparent reason by a total stranger. I hope he goes through his entire adulthood the same way.

My second youngest cousin is his brother, also from Newtown, CT. He has been an adult for some years now, and is happily living in New York with his girlfriend. I don't know quite what he does, since he's in the big blank world that I do not understand called Business (or is it called Finance? Banking?), but he has an independent, adult life that he enjoys, because, as a child, he was not brutally murdered for no apparent reason by a total stranger.

Their parents, my aunt and uncle, still live in Newtown, CT. My aunt teaches at Sacred Heart, and gave a final exam today before she knew how bad things were. My uncle is a pediatric pulmonologist at Danbury Hospital. According to my aunt, he went to the hospital as part of their emergency response team, but they didn't have much to do. Because there weren't wounded people, for the most part. The children and the adults who were shot were nearly all dead before they could be taken to the hospital.

Before today, Newtown, CT was unheard of. The center of town in Newtown is the flagpole. There are more UCLA undergraduates than there are residents of Newtown. Now, Newtown is on the map,  because children died there, violently, needlessly.

Do you know who else lives in Newtown, CT? Suzanne Collins. She's the author of the Hunger Games trilogy. You know, those books about children dying violently, needlessly. It's not ironic, but it's eerie. I can't help but think of those fictional children, since I don't know the names or faces of any of the real children.

This isn't any kind of reasoned argument. This is a list of statements, because I am beyond thinking. Children are dead. Adults are dead, at least some of whom died trying to protect those children. None of this had to happen. All of it did happen.

I talked about weeping blood in my last post. I would cry tears of blood every day for the rest of my life if I could undo this. Painful, burning tears. That would be no price at all to pay.

I can't think of anything else to say. Zilpha Keatley Snyder wrote the Green Sky trilogy over thirty years ago. These children died before they were old enough to read it. That breaks my heart. Read it, please, to your children, or to any children you know. Teach them about corrosive violence. If they live long enough to hear you.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Moving forward

So, the dissertation is (for now) done. That means it's time to move into job application world for the next few days, until the students turn in their last senior thesis drafts on Friday, and I go back into grading world. Since job applications are so soul sucking and demoralizing, I'm jumping at the chance to work in any other way, and I'm actually looking forward to grading world. Sad, isn't it? Right now I'm enthusiastically helping a former student with grad school applications because I'd rather help ease her soul-sucking demoralization than leap headlong into my own.

The next job application is pretty easy, since it's just a slightly different version of the only one I've done so far, a postdoc teaching first-year writing. The one after that is incredibly easy, since it's just emailing a CV. Once those are done, however, it's full-tilt musicology job applications until I weep blood.

Okay, that's obviously a melodramatic presentation of my situation. I have actually wept blood before, on three occasions (eye surgery is soooo not fun), and this will be far less physically uncomfortable. However, I think I would prefer physical pain and discomfort to this process. I'm not particularly good at competition or at telling people why they should want me. I'm much better at telling other people why they're awesome, and at coping with pain. Not really related skills normally, but both reasons why I don't wanna do this.

Anyway, time to dive in. Wish me luck. Listening to Turn of the Screw is going to keep me focused on the task, I hope, and not distract me like all the Audra McDonald I just listened to...

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Yesterday, at 12:40 PM Eastern Standard Time, I submitted my dissertation to my committee. It feels very strange to be done with it. I celebrated by unpacking the kitchen stuff in the new apartment.

That's all I've got right now.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Changing planes

Just a quick hit to let y'all know that I have moved to DC. Thanks to heroic efforts by the boyfriend and some of the greatest friends in the world, my move out of the old place was a snap and my move into the new place is well underway and seems easily within reach—I got to skip the moving to Arlington step in my moving progression!

Right now I'm sitting in the delightful Coffy Café a few blocks from my lovely new home, grading students' rough drafts of their senior theses. I had to take a break to announce my arrival because Microsoft Word crashed just as I was saving one student's comments and edits and I got very irritated. I regraded her, and am about to start the next, because the sooner I finish the sooner I get to go to go to Smoke and Barrel for teatime lunch!

I'll post for real once the grading and dissertation are done.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Internet friends, I have been absent from the blog for a while. Things have happened since then, things I intended to write about. Like a big national conference in my field that I went to. Like a really important election. A lot of things happened.

But now instead of writing about those things, I am writing about these things:

1. My dissertation needs to be done, edited, footnoted, coverpaged, signed, sealed, and delivered to my adviser by December the 7th.

2. I need to move out of my apartment and into the Mysterious X's apartment here in LA by December the 1st, out of her apartment and into the boyfriend's apartment in Arlington, VA by December the 4th, and out of his apartment and into the new apartment in Washington, DC that the boyfriend and I will share by December the 10th.

Those are the things. You will note that within the span of ten days, I have to move three times and finish the dissertation. There are no other things. Except that on the first of those ten days, I also am singing in a concert. And before, during, and after those ten days, I have a lot of grading to do. And for eight days before those ten days, I will be traveling to the east coast and cannot be packing up here.

This is why I have eaten a lot of Tootsie Rolls and have drunk a lot of tea and have not done a whole lot beyond writing dissertation in the last week. I'm about ten to twenty pages shy of a first draft, and I have about three weeks to get from there to done with a last draft.

Donations of brain cells and sanity gladly accepted. Also please take my furniture and household goods. They are free.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I'm here about the voting

I just got my official Sample Ballot in the mail. It made me think some things.

1. Why did nobody tell me that I can vote for ROSEANNE BARR for president!? Peace and Freedom Party, you just made my day.

2. Despite my worries about the new open primary system, my senator and representative are both in one-on-one Democrat v. Republican races. That is reassuring and also depressing.

3. Hooray, there are no judges to vote on! No hours of painful internet research!

4. BALLOT MEASURES OMG. We have eleven state measures and three county measures. I still don't understand how they label these: Propositions 30-40, A, B, and J. J is the confusing one; why not C? I haven't read through all of them in detail yet, but initial thoughts are:

30: Yes. Increased income taxes (and, sadly, some sales taxes) to fund public education? PLEASE!

31: I have no clue. It seems needlessly complicated. I'm guessing it's bad, since it includes the phrase "decreased...revenues of $200 million annually."

32: HELL FUCKING NO. This is the "unions can no longer make political contributions but everybody else can" measure. Do I even need to explain why that is a huge problem?

33: No. It reads like insurance companies saying "Let us charge you more money for your car insurance. We swear it'll be good for you."

34: YES, YES, YES. Repeal of the death penalty. I collected signatures for this one. There are so, so, so many reasons why the death penalty is morally indefensible, from racially biased sentencing to its inherent abandonment of the entire concept of rehabilitation and human improvement. I didn't support the assassination (without trial, no less) of Osama Bin Laden, and I don't support state-sanctioned assassination (with or without trial). There isn't even an actual God; there shouldn't be humans playing God in His infinite absence.

35: Yes...? Human trafficking is bad. That seems to be the point of this, but I can't quite tell what it claims to do about that fact.

36: Yes. Three strikes law applies only for serious or violent felonies. There are, again, many reasons to doubt the efficacy of the prison industry in "keeping us safe." It's all a question of who is included in, or excluded from, the word "us." I favor a more inclusive "us," and a less populated prison.

37: Yes/No? I have no idea the "specified ways" in which plant or animal genetic material needs to be changed for this law to come into effect. My friend the plant geneticist is highly skeptical of GMO labeling in general. My favorite LA restaurant is actively supporting this proposition. The use of the word "natural" in food marketing already nauseates me; restricting its use seems good, if only for my personal gastrointestinal equanimity. I need to look harder at this particular one.

38: No. This is the other version of Prop 30, but it excludes funding colleges, and doesn't specify the taxes it will use to raise the money. I am deeply suspicious.

39: Yes! Requires businesses in California to pay taxes in California! Uses that revenue for clean energy projects! Please, please yes!

40: Oh, who the fuck knows. Approve the redistricting maps of the entire state? What if I don't like the new 33rd district? Do I vote no, or do I decide that the other districts all look good and that outweighs one bad one, so I should vote yes? I will probably vote yes because I like maps, unless somebody can give me a compelling reason to vote no or abstain.

A: Should the county assessor be appointed instead of elected? I am asking honestly; I don't know what that job even does.

B: Better sexual health for porn actors? Sure! Condoms for everybody!

J: Sustain the sales tax already increased in 2008 to fund the expansion of subway and light rail? If I'm reading this right, YES PLEASE! I'm going to see my sister when she's in Pasadena next weekend solely because there is now the Gold Line that will get me home. I support the idea of turning the twenty-year project into a five-year project. That means it might be done within the next ten years!

Those are my thoughts. Please explain to me which ones need more work; most of them are only half baked right now.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


It is set. I am defending my dissertation on January 7th at 9 AM Pacific Standard Time. Now it feels real.

If you are free (and in Los Angeles) on the evening of January 7th, join me at Eleven in West Hollywood for Musical Mondays aka chapter three of my dissertation.

Eleven is the place, not the time. The time is something like 7 or 8. We can work out those details later.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Taking steps

Two big things.

1. I emailed my dissertation committee to schedule my defense. The date isn't set yet, but two of the four have already replied with their conflicts, so picking a date seems imminent. Yikes.

2. I emailed my landlady to tell her I'm moving out by December 1st. I'll still be in LA for a few days after that, visiting my dog friend Boomer and his human companions, but I have an official move out day. Yikes again.

I can see the next phase of my life looming in the distance, staring me down. I shouldn't have talked with my advisor about Westerns so much yesterday; I keep wondering who will shoot first. For now, I'm going to do what I need to do to prepare for leaving/defending, which means writing my last chapter and gradually sending things I don't need to Dad's house or to the boyfriend's apartment. And dealing with the irritation of someone hacking my debit card to buy protein supplements.

Whoever got my debit card number spent $277.55 at a nutritional supplement website. All I can think of is this. And some giant body builder in a tacky velvet jacket whispering sweet nothings to his Jay Robb brand strawberry flavored egg white protein (which is a real thing that website sells). I hope they're very happy together.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Go West

Hey, west coast friends--I'm here!

I landed at LAX this afternoon right around the time that the space shuttle Endeavour also landed at LAX. I got to ride inside the plane; Endeavour had to ride on top. I guess it never heard of checking in the day before.

No real news to report other than that, which was awesome. Also, I got my Hugo's ginger lemonade fix, which makes me very happy. Ginger + lemon + sugar + water + ice = perfection.

If you are reading this and are also in Los Angeles, we should hang out! Call/text/tweet/email/carrier pigeon me.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Back to the Blag

Hi, hypothetical readers of my moribund blog! Today I "finished" the first draft of my fourth dissertation chapter, the one I was reading for when I last posted almost two months ago.

Four down, one to go! If I'm on top of my shit, I should be able to have a "complete" draft of the dissertation by the end of October. That is my goal.

You'll notice scare quotes around "finished" and "complete." My dissertation is about musical comedy and the absence of conclusion, so it's really hard for me to wrap things up. Also, I keep thinking of other things to add but I don't want to add them until the dissertation is accepted as a dissertation. There will probably be interludes in between chapters in the final version, or at least the chapters will be much longer.

Long chapters make things academic, like long words or long, scraggly beards.

I am going to celebrate sending this chapter draft to my advisor by investigating the forthcoming fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons because shut up I get to choose how I want to celebrate. Then my boyfriend will come home and we will have celebratory dinner or something. Tempeh and mizuna, maybe. And Scotch. Shut up again; it's my party and I'll have strange tastes if I want to.

Monday, July 23, 2012

But you don't have to take my word for it

So I've been doing a lot of reading for my dissertation. I'm working on the chapter that I've been dreading, Chapter One, also known in academic circles as the Theoretical Grounding for everything else I write. That means reading what other academics have written and explaining why what I'm writing is totally based in their Very Important Ideas and not just being Pulled Out Of My Ass.

In the course of reading the Very Important Work On the Meaning Of Laughter also known as Rabelais and His World by Mikhail Bakhtin, I have discovered:

jokes about asses (both donkeys and anuses)
snark about Stalin disguised as snark about the Catholic church
grand pronouncements about the Renaissance as the pinnacle of all laughter throughout history
funny old-fashioned translations ("gay" for "happy;" "swab" for what I believe should be "douche")
odd asides about the campiness of pre-16th-century monastic humor
irritating uses of the royal "we"

It's not as bad as I thought it would be, though I have a constant desire to remind the translator that Bakhtin is discussing jokes about shit and sex; is "the material bodily lower stratum" really the best phrase to use?

On the other hand, it's not as good as Wayne Koestenbaum's The Anatomy of Harpo Marx, which is ridiculous and has pictures and uses the phrase "duck-mouth" a lot.

Having made it through the first 150 pages out of 450 (introduction and chapter one), I am putting down Rabelais to start Bakhtin's Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics, which promises to be just as pleasant and just as annoying, from what I recall of it. At least this book wasn't his dissertation, so it hopefully won't have as many long arguments with everyone who has every written anything relating to the author he is discussing.

I would like to point out, by way of advertisement for my own dissertation, that it will not be 450 pages long.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mood swings

This past weekend I attended the wedding of my first friend in the world, and I performed the wedding ceremony of my best friend for nearly two decades. It was a pretty magical, if hectic, weekend. I think they both found amazing life partners who have become my friends in their own right.

Today I heard that Grandma's cancer has taken a turn for the worse.

I'm not sure I can handle another death yet. Am I allowed to say that? It's been less than two years since Mom died. I don't want to lose her mom, the matriarch of my family for as long as I can remember. I don't know how to handle that.

I know self-pity isn't useful or justified, but couldn't I have had two days of happy after the weddings? Maybe I'm overreacting; maybe things aren't as bad as they sound. But they sound bad.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Slow, unsteady, but winning the race

I have sent a draft of chapter two to my advisor, and he has said to put it aside for now and look at it when I review the whole dissertation! That means that three out of five chapters now have "complete" drafts.

I am slightly behind my planned schedule, but I think that's ok. My advisor also okayed turning an old seminar paper into the germ of chapter one, which means I'm about ten pages into it before putting metaphorical pen to digital page! I'm imagining it'll be about forty pages when it's done, so that's a quarter of what I need. The next step is a lot of reading, which is easier, in many ways, than writing.

My progress has been in fits and starts rather than a smooth, even flow of prose. No matter how I try to adjust this, it seems to be how I write. Work, work, work for a few hours—then take a day off. Oh well. I think it's accomplishing what I need it to accomplish.

My plan for chapter one is to have a complete draft by August 15th, just over a month from now. We shall see if that happens. After that, it's chapter five all the way until it's done. Hopefully on September 30th. Then I will return to each of the extant chapter drafts and see what I have wrought.

This incredibly dull blog post has been brought to you by academia. Now, for something lighter, you should watch this video again, because it is the best:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Into the Archives!

This week (Wednesday to Tuesday) has been about learning to use the Library of Congress. Have you ever used the Library of Congress? It is fucking amazing. Even when I can't find what I want, it is amazing! An example:

I am looking at published piano-vocal sheet music from the 1913 musical, The Tik-Tok Man of Oz by L. Frank Baum. The Library has 18 songs out of an unknown number (I think 19, actually, but I haven't quite figured that out), but it doesn't have a script. The New York Public Library has an early draft of the script, but it doesn't match the songs. What does the helpful librarian in the Performing Arts Reading Room suggest to me, when I ask about a script? Look in the copyright deposit. In the same building, a few yards away, they keep the actual copy that was dropped off when every single play was copyrighted (copywritten? copyritten?). All of them! Every published drama for the history of this country supposedly has a copy of its published script somewhere in the Library of Congress.

Sadly, the one I wanted seems not to have been submitted when the copyright was filed. In 1909. In Chicago. Under a different title. And yet I still was able to definitively find out that the copy wasn't submitted. And simultaneously find out that on the same day that L. Frank Baum submitted The Rainbow's Daughter for copyright (February 23rd, 1909), he also submitted for copyright a work called The Koran of the Prophet, a musical extravaganza.

Sadly, the work that in my head is already retitled Koran: The Musical! was also copywrote without depositing a printed copy. What a loss to the world! Or perhaps what a gain! Can you imagine what a white midwesterner in 1909 would have written on the subject? I can't. But now I'm trying, all thanks to the Library of Congress!

Next week, I will (hopefully) examine their photos of Charlotte Greenwood playing Queen Ann Soforth of Oogaboo in The Tik-Tok Man. You may (and I certainly do) remember her as Aunt Eller in the film version of Oklahoma!, forty-two years later. When I started this chapter, I had no idea that Oklahoma! and Tik-Tok of Oz had anything in common, beyond having played two too large roles in my childhood. Research is a fascinating business!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Eastern seaboard

Internet friends, I'm sorry I haven't written more. It's been a crazy few weeks. After my last post in NY, I went to a wedding in Vermont, had a week of camp in Massachusetts, and drove (well, passenged) through five other states to DC, whereupon I subwayed to Virginia where I am now living for the next few months. In honor of my grand eastern tour, I invite you to head over to Twitter and check out the hashtag #famousforyou. The overlap between musical theater fans and Rhode Island fans in my followers is fairly impressive, though unsurprising. And in case you didn't know, pencils come from Pencilvania, vests from Vest Virginia, and tents from Tentesee.

Monday, June 11, 2012

You know you're back in NY when...

Overheard at the Metro North station in Hartsdale, NY, while on my way into the city from Grandma's:

"Bubbe's taking me to get her name tattooed on my butt."

This was followed by a conversation about how many other relatives either didn't know she had any tattoos, or also wanted their names on her butt ("my butt's big, so I can fit all of them").

It's nice to be home?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Advances in malt technology

Go here. Read the recipe. Duplicate it at home. Revel in the joys of the malted whipped cream mousse studded with Whoppers.

That is all.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

True confessions

Sometimes I am so lazy that I can't be bothered to stand up to take a Golden Girls DVD out of my DVD binder. That's when I scour YouTube for illegal uploads of full episodes. Google keeps takin' 'em down, and devoted fans keep puttin' 'em back up. I just watched "Blanche and the Younger Man" for the umpteenth time, while eating egg noodles in vegetable broth. I am an old lady.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Twice in one day

Posting again! I will make up for my lack of posts with a barrage of them now.

Jury duty is complete. I held my breath with hundreds of other people while they called out names for a more-than-a-month-long trial, and I was not called. I have a shiny new certificate that says no jury duty for a year!

Unrelated news:

My class at UCLA is four people. The first of us, the only one to start the program with a Masters degree, defended her dissertation today. She is, of course, a rock star (now Dr. Rock Star). The rest of us (or at least I) can now hear our academiological clocks ticking. Ticking. Ticking.

It doesn't help that I've been writing a lot about Tik-Tok of Oz in this chapter. I feel like Captain Hook.

The slave of duty

I'm off to jury duty this morning! I'm not sure if I want to be selected for a jury or sent home immediately. I know I don't want to sit around waiting to be selected (or not selected) for a very long time. I know I do want to take the Metro downtown because it's like living in a normal city for half an hour.

Sorry about the scarcity of blog posts lately. I've been busy much of the time, and watching Star Trek the rest of the time. Whoops.


I have crossed the halfway point in my dissertation! Two chapters drafted and one that is more than 50% done out of five total! I AM A SEXY SHOELESS GOD OF GRADUATE SCHOOL!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bah, humbug

Yesterday, my boyfriend left to go back to the east coast.

This morning, Maurice Sendak died.

This afternoon, the rescue dog my dad was hoping to adopt was diagnosed with a pancreas disease that makes her unlikely to be adoptable.

This evening, North Carolina passed an anti-gay constitutional amendment.

On the positive side, I wrote four pages of dissertation and did some other good things today. I'm trying to remember that, but it's hard.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The perils of physical media

Like an idiot, I went and scratched my An American Tail: Fievel Goes West DVD so badly that it won't play. Anybody know how to fix that? For free or free-ish?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Quick Smash

So here's the thing about Smash, which many people on the Internet love to hate.

It's about a new musical that is in workshop. It has people who shouldn't be in it, a ridiculously uneven book, and sub-plots that really need to be dumped, plus a few really great songs.

It is itself a new musical that is in workshop. It is the ultimate Broadway insider show, delivering up piping hot meta-theater for those who love the theater. New musicals generally suffer from all of those problems.

Yes, the boy playing Leo should find a career that does not involve acting at all ever. Yes, there are more plots than one show can handle. Yes, the "Iowa" lead actually looks and sounds like every single young woman who is trying to remake herself into the Platonic ideal of the next Hollywood star.

These things will get worked out over time. The show has some great songs. And Anjelica Huston. And Jaime Cepero standing and looking pretty, as long as he isn't talking. And lots more gays and people of color (and at least one gay of color!) than most TV shows are willing to risk, with sex for the gays and plots for the people of color.

If it would just give Ann Harada some goddamn screen time and musical numbers, it could eventually be something excellent. Do you hear me, Smash makers? MORE ANN HARADA. I suggest a scene where none of the various Marilyn's show up to rehearsal and Linda is forced to step into the role. Then she does it as Judy Garland instead of Marilyn and everyone is stunned except Derek, who tells her she has the wrong diva.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


My only goal for the day is to stop being sick so that I can fly to San Francisco tomorrow as planned.

So far, the goal has not been accomplished. More tea, more soup, more rest, more Advil!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


A month! A whole month has gone by since last I posted anything here, and that was barely a post. I am sorry, internet friends. I will endeavor not to abandon you for so long again.

My spring break fell within that month. I finished a chapter draft in that month. I started a chapter draft in that month. I found a summer subletter in that month. I visited my boyfriend and my dad in that month. I did so very many things in the last month that warranted posting. And yet I posted nothing.

To re-inaugurate the ol' blag, have some brief not-really-reviews of the shows I saw on Friday!

Working, at The Production Company in Hollywood, was uneven. I love the music in the show, and whoever taught those singers those harmonies did an excellent, excellent job. I actually enjoyed "Un Mejor Día Vendrá," a schlocky disaster of a song written by a composer who obviously did not speak Spanish, because the three men singing it sounded beautiful. Also because the soloist was pretty, and he stared at me through the whole show. Gotta love small theaters. I was seriously disappointed by "Millwork" and "It's an Art," both of which featured soloists who weren't up to the task. They included "I'm just Movin'," which I like a lot, and they dumped that idiotic newsboy song, so that was a good thing.

You'll notice that my review is basically just a list of songs. That's sort of how the show is, and the songs were generally better than the monologues, which were a mix of well done and forgettable. If you know the show, you'll also notice that I've left out the best song, "Cleanin' Women," which just wasn't a highlight the way I wanted it to be. I think Lynne Thigpen spoiled me that number and nobody else does it for me. Oh well. The direction was aimless and seemed to want to make some point about the current economy but not know what that point was.

After Working, I saw the 11 PM production of Fellowship! A Musical Parody of the Fellowship of the Ring, which was delightful. The songs suffered from that thing that always bugs me about parodies, in that each one seemed more like the idea of a song than a whole song, but they were great ideas of songs! I had "Happy Birthday Bilbo" stuck in my head for days afterward.

The show includes a lot of improvisation, which is dangerous because, as you probably all know, bad improv comedy is THE WORST THING ON STAGE EVER, while good improv comedy is hilarious. You'll be glad to know that this was good improv! I laughed a lot! I didn't notice that it was past 1 AM by the time it ended!

I appreciated that most actors who played two roles played a male role and a female role. Gandalf/Galadriel was the stand-out performer in the ensemble, but everyone acquitted hirself well. Understudy Pippin was wonderful. Frodo looked exactly like Frodo should, with enough hints of Elijah Wood to satisfy film fans, but not so many as to be a parody in and of himself.

There you have it, internet friends. My return to blogging, through two terrible non-reviews of musicals. I expect that once I am back in the habit I will make more sense.

I hope that holds for dissertation writing as well.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I just ordered two DVD box sets on the Internet. One is a collection of the Lifetime Intimate Portraits of all four Golden Girls. The other is the first two American Tail movies.

Both are for my dissertation. I love my job.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Musical extravaganza!

Friends on the Internet, I have exciting news for you. First, this:

That would be Ethel Merman and Mitzi Gaynor doing a mother and daughter naval drag duet in the 1954 film There's No Business Like Show Business. Did you see those sideburns!? You're welcome.

Second, that film is just stupendously fascinating from a queer perspective, and I encourage everyone to see it. It stars, in addition to those butch boys in the clip, Donald O'Connor (of Singin' in the Rain fame), Johnnie Ray (of 1950s pop star fame), Dan Dailey (of very little fame), and Marilyn Monroe. Gaynor, O'Connor, and Ray play the three children of Dailey and Merman—and they're all in a family Vaudeville act, The Five Donahues. Monroe plays the up-and-coming competition who steals their material but falls in love with O'Connor.

That's basically all you need to know about the plot, because the point of the film is the fabulous musical numbers (the exact same tight brown pants and poofy blue shirts that the chorus boys wore in Call Me Madam one year earlier! Inexplicably worn here in "Alexander's Ragtime Band!" But for some reason with slightly different Lederhosen tops!) and the subplot about Ray becoming a priest. That subplot features what might be the best coming out scene I have ever seen in a Hollywood film. Tearful Ethel Merman reassuring tearful Johnnie Ray that she will always love him despite his perverse desire that she just doesn't understand? Absolute cinematic gold! Especially considering that real-life Ray was gay (and oh boy does it show!) and real-life Merman was not very nice to the gay people around her. It's like she's trying to be redeemed for that nastiness by accepting her fake son and embracing him! So complicated! And so Technicolor!

Third and last, I have finally finished a draft of Chapter Three!!! I get comments from my advisor in a few days, then incorporate those while I also finish the last few pages of Chapter Four that remain unfinished. By the end of next week, I should have two chapters totally drafted and should have begun on my third chapter, Chapter Two! I am kicking my timeline's ass right now!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Tonight I invented a pasta sauce. It was mostly red wine and all of the vaguely Italian spices I inherited from my friend who moved away the same weekend I moved here. That would be the last weekend of July, 2011. Which partially explains why, when I say "all" of the spices, I don't just mean "some of each" of the spices.

Goodbye, ancient paprika, oregano, basil, and nutmeg! You seem to have done more to texture my sauce than to flavor it, but at least you have given me an excuse to go back to Penzey's and spend basically all of my food budget there.

The next phase of my use-all-the-old-spices game will be Mexican food. I'm imagining something black bean-ish, with vast quantities of epazote, cumin, and coriander. And cocoa. That should use up everything except the dill...

Monday, February 27, 2012

They'll none of them be missed

In my current occupation, I am required to be a recipient on several email lists. As far as I can currently recall, I am on a departmental graduate student list, a departmental dissertators list, two lists from other departments I am not in, the Society for American Music list, the LAGLC donor list, the Vote for Equality volunteer list, at least half a dozen different UAW 2865 lists,,, the list for my family summercamp, my fraternity alumni list, and the list of people who get invited to my friend's place for dinner on Wednesdays. Some of these are lists that don't permit list-wide discussions (LAGLC, VFE, Change, Move On), and are basically fine. Some others have only excellent discussions about food. Okay, that's only one list.

I think I will attempt, once I have finished with school, to find a job that does not require me to be on any lists. I have decided that I will only be accessible by email on an individual basis unless I am contractually required to be on a list. Plus the summercamp and fraternity lists, which I subscribe to by choice and which rarely receive emails at all.

The rest of them are gone as soon as I am reasonably able to be shed of them. You want to have a formal discussion with me? Email me directly. You want to have a formal discussion with me and some other people? Email me directly and I'll schedule an in-person meeting or a Skype call. You want to have a pissing contest and force me to watch? Invite me to attend in person and I will gladly piss on you.

Alternative plan: all email list discussions must be about Dungeons and Dragons, Star Trek, or musicals. If I have to be on a list, I will derail every single thread with an email about one or all of these acceptable topics.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I made a meme

So this meme that I accidentally invented over on Google+ a while ago has probably run its course in being adopted by about three people in comments over there, but after I stumbled into it, I never actually did it myself, so here goes.

When I type the letter "a" into my Firefox address bar, I am prompted to go to
B: Google Books
C: (It starts with h, but c figures prominently in the title.)
D: Google Docs
E: (Okay, this one confuses me. The event takes place at Eleven, so I guess that's it?)
F: Facebook
G: Gmail
I: IMDB (For a long time this took me directly to the IMDB page for Maude, but I guess I've diversified my browsing lately.)
J: ("The Man That Got Away - Judy Garland - A Star Is Born - Multiple Takes." The J would be for Judy, I assume.)
K:!i=1505755840&k=dTqnCtQ (photos of a wedding I performed!)
L: LA Times
N: (Shut up. I read dumb erotic stories, okay? They're better than the LA Times, so judge me for that one instead.)
O: (A repeat; I guess I don't go to sites that start with o.)
P: Google Plus
Q: (my Google Reader "Queer" folder)
R: Google Reader
S: (Pictures of cute guys in scifi/fantasy/horror shows!)
T: Twitter
W: (Dungeons and Dragons online tools. For the tabletop gaming nerd who also is a computer nerd. This one was the thing that started the meme, when I pointed out that having this not prompt me to go to Wikipedia was a nerd achievement.)
X: XTube (my boyfriend is 3,000 miles away, okay?)
Y: YouTube
Z: ("Liza Minnelli - Ring Them Bells." I love that Firefox knows that it's from Liza with a Z!)

If anybody wants to divulge their browser alphabet in the comments, feel free! Mine change somewhat regularly, so I may eventually post an update, if for no other reason than to send folks to an awesome new site I've discovered in the meantime.

I have to say, I'm a bit creeped out that ten of the twenty-six are owned by Google. As is this site.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Life offline

Hi, the internet. Sorry I haven't written in a while. I kind of fell off of all of my healthy routines for the last two weeks. Turns out that writing on you is part of my healthy routine. Who knew?

As of this morning, healthy routines are back! I had a lovely, rejuvenating weekend in Boston with my boyfriend, caught up with some wonderful old friends, saw my dad and my sister, met some new friends, and got a new hat. Thanks for the hat, boyfriend! I also ate way too much delicious food. Bostonian vegetarians, I recommend Veggie Galaxy! Space-themed fifties-ish diner that is all vegetarian and has lots of vegan options! As the Mysterious X put it when I sent her photos, "in the actual 1950s, the only people eating vegetarian food would have been COMMUNISTS."

Technically, I should be recommending it to Cantabridgian vegetarians, but I figure Bostonian ones can cross the river.

I also took the boyfriend to Harvest for late birthday/slightly less late Valentine's Day dinner. It may win life in the "side dishes that most exceeded expectations" category. Damn good roasted root vegetables over farro risotto and also smoked Gouda mac and cheese.

As part of my get-life-back-on-track weekend, I ignored almost all of the emails I got for three days. That was even better than the food—and you know how much I love to eat. Getting back into the electronic swing of things isn't fun, but it's necessary in my various jobs. However, I have decided something about listservs, Twitter, blogs, Facebook, Google+, LiveJournal, and any other constant information drip service I subscribe to but have forgotten. For the foreseeable future, if I am disconnected from my drip for any period of time, I am going to pretty much skip that dose and just pick up where it left off and assume the intervening flow is expendable.

This is a fairly uncontroversial position, common to almost everybody I know, but it's hard for me. I suffer from what my friend Sally (real name; too tired for nicknames) taught me is called FMS: Fear of Missing Something. FMS means that I want to make sure nobody told a really funny joke while I wasn't listening, or came out of the closet as I blinked, or got a job when I was in Boston. FMS means I want to get up earlier and stay up later than everyone else in the world, just so they can't do something awesome without me. FMS means the Internet is highly addictive to me; there is always, always, someone doing Something that, if I'm not careful, I might Miss.

(Relatedly, FMS is why I love New York.)

For now, I'm going to feed the hedgehog and go to bed. You all can get by without me for the rest of the night. I'll see you when I see you, and hopefully it won't be another two weeks before I come back to the blog. If it is, look for me in the real world, trying to move slowly and just pay attention to the small portion of Something that is happening here. And in DC. And in NY. And in SF. And. And. And...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Cake or death?

I made a cake this weekend that was so large it has already fed a party of six, a party of four, and a party of two and is still nearly 50% of it's initial size. I have eaten five slices of it myself, as part of each of the parties listed, and I feel ill. The usual battle between tongue and stomach was joined on Saturday night and, as usual, tongue won and caused me to eat more than stomach wanted.

One result of too much cake is a total void of energy. So little energy that even though I found out a day ago that Eddie Izzard is doing two shows at the Largo at the Coronet this week, I didn't buy tickets. I just felt too tired to stay up late enough for Izzard on a week night. And too tired to go to the gym this morning. And too tired to wash the cake dishes. And too tired to revise dissertation chapter.

Tonight I will muster up enough energy to grade a few student assignments. Tomorrow I will not eat any more cake. Then I will have enough vitality to go to yoga, revise and expand the chapter, do laundry, and cook a real (non-sugar-based) meal. Accomplishing those tasks will make tomorrow officially a Good Day.

For those who are curious, the cake in question was the Grand Marnier Chocolate Mousse Cake from the Frog Commissary Cookbook, and it is worth the ridiculous amount of effort, time, money, and egg it takes. If you are attempting it and wants tips on how not to make the genoise, I am happy to help you learn from my mistakes!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Curmudgeonly goodness

If you have not yet done so, run immediately to watch Stephen Colbert interviewing Maurice Sendak. It's in two parts, one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday, and it is AMAZING. Sendak is possibly the greatest curmudgeon I have ever seen, plus they talk about In the Night Kitchen, which I loved as a child.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday, Sunday, Someday!

Today I am wearing the Tunisian jebba that I received as a Chanukah gift in 2010 and have not worn since. I tried to look up the word for it, but the usual source failed me and I had to synthesize information from both Google and Wikipedia to lead me to the Google Image Search that confirmed the proper term. Research is hard!

It turns out that the garment that barely squeezed over my hooded sweatshirt thirteen months ago is now actually quite loose and baggy when worn on its own. Very comfy, and also very not-wearing-this-out-of-the-house-until-I-am-more-used-to-how-it-looks-on-me.

Had a lovely weekend (so far) with various friends from college and from UAW. Went to Santa Barbara for the first time yesterday, where I got to be the timekeeper at a six-hour meeting. Bundt cakes and string cheese made it all fairly pleasant. Playing with adorable kittens upon my return made things first more and then less pleasant (itchy eyes! bad!), but in the balance, a good weekend—especially since I went to a different farmers' market today that still had blood oranges. I think the thing I will miss most about living in LA when I leave will be blood oranges. Or bok choi. Something from a farmers' market.

For the rest of the day I plan to read some student writing and then some stuff about nostalgia for my dissertation chapter, listen to all the podcasts I've skipped this week, and watch some Golden Girls. Anybody who wants to join me, come on by! Pardon my jebba.

In re: the title of this post—I think I will never get tired of Homestar Runner references.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Tonight I am my mother. I made a cup of tea, sat down on the couch, and completely forgot about the tea for the next four hours. It is now cold, over-steeped, way too caffeinated for this hour, and entirely unappealing. Pretty soon I'll start discovering half-empty cups in the bathroom, in the microwave, all over the house...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Money, money, money

From the New York Times' interactive graphic on household income, I learned that my annual income from TA-ing, plus summer research funding (optimistically assuming I receive some), plus money from Mom's life insurance actually puts me in the top half of Flint, MI.

By way of comparison, that total puts me just barely above the bottom third in Los Angeles, CA (where I live), and New York, NY (where I lived until July).

In Washington, DC, where the boyfriend lives, and on Long Island, where I grew up and where my dad still lives, my income places me squarely in the bottom fifth.

If I did not have money from Mom's life insurance and relied entirely on my income as a graduate student, I would be in the bottom 38% in Flint, bottom 24% in NY, bottom 21% in LA, and bottom 10% in DC and on LI.

Forgive me if I don't have much compassion for some of the folks in this article who are uncomfortable discussing their magnificent wealth with a reporter.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thursday, Thursday

Today I did a good job. I went to yoga class, fed some cats (not just random cats; cats I am supposed to feed until their owner returns), re-read a chapter of a book that needs to go into my current dissertation chapter, met with my advisor for tea and scheduled our next meeting, made specific plans to attend a musical event next week that needs to go into my current dissertation chapter, set up the new hedgehog wheel, and did all the dishes. I am about to go volunteer at the Gay and Lesbian Center, then going to feed the cats again.

Tomorrow: first discussion section, first meeting of the Early Music Ensemble whose vocal portion I am co-directing, and hopefully writing up the portion of my chapter based on the book I read today. Momentum is happening! Must keep flossing!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

New year

I am back on the blog for the first time this year. Feeling ready for the quarter that starts tomorrow, and feeling excited about being back in warm LA with its bountiful opportunities for outdoor exercise. Not that the east coast was cold at all, but LA has canyons! With dogs!

Also, LA now has my hedgehog, successfully smuggled over the border on the train, in my backpack. It is very nice to come home to an apartment with a living creature in it, instead of an empty one. As long as that living creature isn't a fruit fly.

Goal for the year: finish writing dissertation and be done with graduate school. Remember that goal, Internet. Hold me to it.

Other goal for the year: participate in shit-ton of weddings. So far signed on to be best man, bridesman, officiant, and (potentially) cellist, in addition to attendee. Super excited about these things. Hope the as-yet-unscheduled one doesn't fall on the date of any of the others.

Third goal for the year: keep up the good health habits I've started. Flossing daily, for the first time in ever. Trying to exercise at least every other day (fell off of that wagon over the holidays). Not eating ALL THE JELLYBEANS IN THE WORLD when I feel stressed. Not drinking when home alone (still 100% on this since moving back here, if you don't count finishing a mostly-drunk beverage after guests leave).

Fourth and last goal for the year: be awesome to the people in my life who are awesome. Which is most of the people in my life. I know it's the wrong holiday (okay it's not any holiday at all because this is late), but I am so very thankful for my colleagues, my friends, my family, and my wonderful boyfriend. Y'all are what make life worth living.

Well, y'all and the chocolate mousse marsala crepes from Hugo's.