katekat: (Default)
I, like everyone in the netflix!verse it seems, have been watching Gilmore Girls with the housemate. We're totally bonding, which is great, because she giggles at pretty much all the jokes and it completely endears me to her. And the show itself is still as much fun as I remember it when I mostly watched it in rerun a couple of years ago.

Funny thing is that part of the reason why I love it is it's the TV version (not, but sorta, but not) of my childhood. Me and my mom lived in a quirky small town with all kinds of interesting characters as locals. It was just her and I, with a relationship where we were often blurring the lines between friends and mom and daughter. My mom had a series of relationships, but there were signs she'd never gotten over my dad (hello Lorelai), she was estranged from her parents (though of my grandparents weren't well off, and lived in Kansas, so we didn't have to see them very often). I was geeky and too smart and carried a book with me everywhere I went. Of course our lives were real life, and were nothing at all like Gilmore Girls, and yet. There's a certain feeling of nostalgia when I watch it that somehow feels more invested than maybe some other people. A nostalgia for a life that is the dramatized version of a life I might have sort of lived. Of course, it's also just that for all it's faults, it's also an awesome show that centers around two women.

I'm also planning a Halloween Murder Mystery party for Saturday next week. I know, it's actually post-Halloween, but I think it's going to be fairly epic. The theme is Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Asylum! So that's cool!

I'm having trouble getting work done, so tomorrow I'm disallowing myself the use of netflix to get some actual work done. I spent a lot of emotional time last week getting an application done for a fellowship, and now I'm moving into applications for tenure track jobs, so that's also freaky. Trying to illustrate how I'm an interesting candidate and different from everyone else is an uncomfortable process when I have to write a bunch of documents attesting to it. It feels really awkward to go over and over again "look at me! i'm special! no, really!"

I've also been watching Criminal Minds a million years later. Which is deeply problematic, but also compelling for a lot of structure-related reasons that I will write on someday, I'm sure.

but now? off to dinner.
katekat: (WC_neal hat)
I have been *buried* like a crazy person in all kinds of things. Not bad things, not at all, just lots and lots of things one after another.

So I give you life, in photo form (well, and some things that i forgot to take photos of, because i have trouble that way)

A visit from one of my very favorite people in the world, Tebo. )

Two of my friends got married, and this is when we took them out to dinner to celebrate after they'd done the ceremony stuff )

I presented at a Japanese pop culture conference in Minneapolis on Sept 27th! )

My second chapter, on Japanese magazine covers in the 1960s, got turned in on October 1 )

I got to go to a departmental faculty meeting and pretend like I know what I'm doing. No, kidding. But I did talk about our upcoming graduate student conference )

I had a birthday! I am older! Like by a whole year! )

And since then I've started a writing workshop to transform a written piece into an article, assembled my portfolio so I can apply for the 3 (yes, 3) jobs in the U.S. for Japanese literature and culture professors, applied for one of the most prestigious national fellowships available to ppl who work on what I do (and trust me, that was a pain, including two different research statement workshops and one rewrite of a dissertation chapter), had another friend come to visit for 4 days (he doesn't like pictures, but we talked about our projects, watched a ton of movies and tv, and found yummy local places to eat on the cheap), and watched a TON of Gillmore Girls with my housemate.

And since Halloween is coming, I have one more image for you:

2014-10-20 18.31.55

this is a skeleton flamingo. to be found in the yard up the street that brought us the two-joseph chreche at Christmas time (found in this picspam about 2/3rds of the way down) I love them. They are awesome. I just need to find a way to make them my friends.
katekat: (TeenW - derek strung up)
i sent myself a package from Japan - an entire box of magazines and books, including one library book I couldn't fit in my own luggage (because i was worried about weight limits).

Got a package from Japan today that clearly had my packing label on it, but was half the size. I'm missing said library book, half of a two volume first edition of Komatsu Saikyo's Japan Sinks, and a bunch of materials that are probably irreplaceable.

I'm bummed. and broke.

and for some reason my dog decided today that she was going to pee on the floor of my house. i have hardwood, so it's not the disaster it could be, but why did that happen?

we're in the middle of a heat wave too, and i don't have air conditioning.

and i rolled over my kindle charger with the vaccuume cleaner yesterday, and it ate off the plastic coating, so i'm afraid to charge my kindle.

i'm ready for this day to be over.
katekat: (Default)
Most days I don't think about it, at all. Most days I just adore this ridiculous being that I need to take out for walkies. Most days I'm focused more on if she ate, and remembering to refill her water bowl, and trying to decide if I should vacuum up the tumbleweeds that are her hair covering my living room carpet (and couches, and clothes, and pillows, and bedspread, and in my shoes, and heck, even on tables --- because her hair can float when the fan is on).

But sometimes I look over and marvel that humans figured out how to live with fuzzy beings. I look over at her fuzzy face and realize we communicate all the time but we don't talk. That I've lived with this other entity for 6 years - structured my days around her, adapted to her, modified my own behaviors while I was trying to modify hers - without knowing what goes on in her brain. I mean, not really. Sure we communicate in gesture and look and body language... but it's two beings speaking two different languages. And I'm sure there are many things that simply don't translate.

When I hang out with my friends who are afraid of dogs, I'm actually reminded again that my puppy can seem terribly threatening. Her bark is pretty fierce. She actually does snap bones when she's given them, so her jaw is incredibly strong. She's fast too. Whip fast (when she wants to be). And still I'm not scared by her at all and I never have been. Ever. I put my head right down next to hers and play with her.

And so sometimes I'm made aware that those of us that have fuzzy friends who live with us, well, it's a kind of miracle. It's a miracle that my dog is excited when I'm excited (most of the time), and is happy to see me when I come home and sad that I leave. It's a miracle that she can tell me that she's hungry, and thirsty, and bored. It's amazing that we trust these creatures to cuddle with (and doubly amazing that they want to cuddle with us). It speaks to something amazing not just about human experience, but about lived mammal experience, has to do with love. I love her. So completely and utterly and totally and it makes my heart feel full. Even when I'm cleaning up her poo, or trying to get her to be quiet, or cleaning up after the aforementioned hair, I love her. But still. Pretty weird that can happen, isn't it?

katekat: (Default)
I'm in love with the new XKCD comic about practicing literacy, which I'm sure you all already saw. There's nothing wrong with practice, nothing.

Other links:
01. 50 Years of NHK Television (this is the national television station of Japan - it's cool stuff)

02. 7 Black Women Science Fiction writers everyone should know. I will straight up admit I need to read many of the women on this list.

03. Millions of Scanned Images - this is an amazing resource AND a way to literally lose hours of your life. (or it links to the flickr album that will suck your time but delight your eyes) I searched Japan and found scanned photographs of Japan in 1900. So cool. Like this one:

Image from page 200 of "Hildreth's "Japan as it was and is" : a handbook of old Japan" (1907)

And with me? What have I been doing?


a. started looking for new housemate (my current is moving to San Diego for a job)
b. classes started and while I'm not taking them, I am going to school for talks
c. probably am trying to go on the job market this fall if I can get another chapter written by October (which I will do, because my dissertation writing group needs something to read, and I have to mail it to them by the end of September).
d. am single. not in an apocalypse kind of way, though, hopefully.
e. went back to the Getty and the Norton Simon museums, so I feel all full up on art
f. guided a friend through her qualifying exams while she stays with me (she's moving to France for a year and needed a place to crash for the month between the end of her lease and her move)
g. rewatching Teen Wolf with friend from (f). She noted, and I agree, that show is sometimes smarter than it knows. And often dumber than it wants to be.
h. translated the most important piece of scholarship (so far) I found in Japan
i. have gone to breakfast parties, and walks out to Santa Monica, been out for drinks to celebrate (f)'s birthday, had a party at my house to celebrate her passing her quals
j. participated in nostalgic photo posting on facebook last night that led to a three hour conversation with my college roommate, who i dearly love. and who is moving to hawaii and contemplating buying an island.
k. bought a bust of Apollo for my mom for her birthday present, a side table for my living room, eaten out, made a lot of chicken (A LOT OF CHICKEN) and started reading the Discworld Sam Vimes books again for fun (and to make me fall asleep).

so far, that'll do.
katekat: (Default)
When I got ready for the trip I kept just thinking: it's only for a month. I'll go, I'll hit up bookstores, I'll try and do some research, and maybe if I get my act together I'll try to email those professors I need to. It's going to be weird to be there for such a short time, but before I know it I'll be heading back home.

now, about how I was going to get enough money to there...that's another pain in the ass )

Unexpectedly great things:

Housing: instead of staying at a Guest House like I've done in the past, I found and reserved a room through Airbnb (which is sort of like a do-it-yourself rental place with everything from couches to full houses - all over the world). The woman who ran the place I ended up at, Sayuri, had actually gone to highschool in California, and was super sweet. She's a jazz singer. The place itself was great - a three bedroom (2 bath) apartment where I got my own room with air conditioner (so necessary!) and a washer/dryer. The room had the bare minimum: a bed and a shelf - which made sure that I went out every day into the world (so good, otherwise I probably wouldn't have). It was in the north part of Tokyo, but on the Yamanote line, so everything was pretty easy to get to. Sayuri was there most days doing clean up/checking in new people/etc, so we had great chats about food and books and stuff, and she invited everyone in the house to her place for the Natsumatsuri (Summer Festival) - she lived in an apartment on the Sumida river, right where they let off fireworks. For an hour and a half (or maybe two hours)! It was so much fun. So two thumbs up there!

Yokohama friends: One of the friends I'd made when I was staying for the long program was still living in Yokohama, and she invited me to hang with her and her husband a bunch. Even though we only ended up getting together twice, it was great to see them both, and pretty perfect both times. The first was when a friend of theirs was visiting, so they came up to Tokyo and we walked through the Imperial gardens and then went to the Japanese National Museum of Modern Art's Crafts building (which displays the modern masters of craft wares - like laquer and kimono and pottery). the second I went down to Yokohama to their place for game night (though it was mostly talking with an uno-like card game thrown in just to keep socially lubricated).

Random lectures: I'm on a bunch of discipline-focused mailing lists, and the first night I was in Japan I sat down and went through to find as many public lectures as I could since people always send out these notifications that start out, "If you're going to be in Tokyo on the 27th...."

The two most productive were the Media Mix & the Sophia Lecture, but I went to one other )

The Two Scholars: The two scholars whose work has most inspired me are actually husband and wife. Tatsumi Takayuki is actually an english lit professor, but in his spare time he has published like half a dozen books on Japanese SF, been active in both US and Japanese SF fandom and academic circles, and is like a powerhouse of theory. Kotani Mari, who is a public intellectual, though I think she does some seminars from time to time at Meiji University, wrote this book called TechnoGynesis which is all about the intersection of monstrous and feminine in science fiction and fantasy (American and Japanese) and she goes to Wiscon every year because she's fascinated by cosplay and yaoi (Japanese slash, kinda) and fanworks and fan community. So I emailed Tatsumi and wasn't sure how I was going to get ahold of Kotani because she's notoriously bad at emailing back... but luckly I'd made friends with that women at the open lecture, and she generously invited me along to a dinner she was having with Kotani to catch up!

ok, so it's really intimidating sometimes to meet people whose books you have read when you want them to like you )

there were other really good things: food, and the Literary Museum (which had an SF exhibit), and my bra-shop still being there, and ordering from Amazon, and the thing I found when I went to the SF second hand book store. But I'm going to have to save that for another day, and another post, because this one has already gotten way out of hand.
katekat: (Default)
A friend of mine posted a link on facebook to this excerpt of Joss Whedon's biography on io9, and reading it just made me want Firefly goodness like nothing doing.

So I went and rewatched. While reading all kinds of things about Firefly.

Including this personal post by a fan who tried to ask Joss at a con about the lack of actual Asian characters in his ensemble even though the entire verse was explicitly about a future that had been heavily influenced by Chinese culture. Racism, or white privilege, or whatever you want to call it when Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indian, etc. traditions are coopted as the site of the "future" without actually including representation of the people who actually live in and create those cultures is something of an interest of mine.

Because you could say that part of my interest in Japan actually came from cyberpunk. And lord knows, from Blade Runner to Neuromancer, there are any number of writers and directors who are incredibly happy to use these cultures as window dressing. Hell, living in Tokyo this summer while it was raining and thunder storming, I could absolutely see exactly where Ridley Scott created the atmosphere of perpetually rainy future-LA with it's glowing signs and pyramid buildings. It was uncanny how close I felt to Harrison Ford's flight through the city standing in the rain waiting for a friend to come and meet me for dinner at Yoyogi station, watching the night sky electrified with a blue haze as the lightning flashed flicker-fast through the sky, and the thunder drummed and grumbled in the distance until it slammed down on our heads in percussive waves.

But that's no reason for Joss to keep doing what Ridley Scott did, or for me to be comfortable with it when he does. A rewatch reminded me of so many of the things that were added in the individual episodes that they bothered to get ... right? or wrong? From the Buddha sculptures in the foyer of the great hall in Shindig, to the Chinese shadow play in Heart of Gold.

And then I went and read the wiki.

Did you guys know that Inara was terminally ill??????


or, at least, that was the intended canon?

BRAIN BLOWN. Like ten years and three or four Firefly/Serenity rewatches later too late. but wow.
katekat: (Default)
Decided again last night that I was going back to the sushi place - in part because apparently lots of restaurants in my neighborhood are reservation only (or are filled with reservations) on a Friday night. Which, hey, cool! It means I'm not the only one that thought the food was good!

And of course I had to bear the horrifying burden of getting to eat fish again for dinner. I wish I could have taken pictures of these oysters, omg. You don't even know.

So, productivity wise, things have been very achi-cochi (back and forth). On the same day (tuesday) of this last week I met with BOTH the professors I wanted to meet with who are specializing in SF.

The first for about an hour conference where he told me someone had already written a book on Japanese artwork (terrifying) but then also told me about a current fanzine he and others put together that includes all kinds of speculative essays and the like. And told me that the artist I'm writing on is still alive and I should probably get a hold of him (also terrifying, but true). We had a great conversation about theoretical definitions of science fiction, where I called him on his use of rhetoric that made it very much like a discourse (a point he conceded). He also said that our talk was very interesting, and put some emotion into his voice as he was saying it, so I think in the end I made a good impression. And while I don't agree with all of his readings of things (hey, that's the point, I'm a grad student, i disagree with everything slightly), it was still really cool to meet him.

And then, that evening, thanks to a friend I made at the first Media Mix lecture, I got invited to dinner with the *other* scholar (and a woman who writes SF who was doing a guest lecture herself). It was awesome! We talked more about manga than about SF, though a bit about that too, because my friend is doing a history of manga. But that's ok, it was still a foot in the door, which was great. And this woman (the scholar I wanted to meet) was curious about my work and also knows one of the authors I'm thinking of using in my third chapter! So that was pretty damn cool (since she offered to introduce me).

Also this woman works on fanfic and the like too, and had run across her first Omega!verse fic, so we had to explain about that too, which was fun and thrilling and a little bit bizarre. BUT SO COOL.

So, with all of that, I've also gotten my hands on the book that's ostensibly on SF Art and discovered it's short bios of every major Japanese SF artist. Which is cool and all, but NOT what my project is doing. YAY! So that was a huge sigh of relief. I still have to contact the author though, and introduce myself, and explain what it is I'm working on.

I've also gotten a bunch of SF magazines (I had an orgy of spending on Sunday last week), a first edition of Komatsu Saikyo's Japan Sinks, which is probably one of the most famous SF stories in Japan (and one I've never read - it's a bit daunting at two books, but whatever, I have no life). One magazine actually has a roundtable discussion about SF art that I've been slowly making my way through (about a page at a time, but hey, it's better than nothing). It's from the 70s, and is a casual discussion between artists and scholars, which is pretty cool, and I'm actually translating a couple of sections not just for use in the paper but because they're kind of interesting statements about how SF Art is being conceived of, and given a kind of history, in Japan.

I also lost like three hours yesterday in the Asahi Shinbun (newspaper) online archives trying to figure out what were the most popular magazines in the 1960s ... which IS actually directly related to the chapter I'm ostensibly writing. This is both good and bad because it means I have even MORE to read.

Somehow I managed to lose my electronic dictionary out of my bag while traveling, so I've got an app on my phone I'm limping along with.

So all that adds up to a kind of work, for sure, and the gathering of materials that I honestly wasn't sure I was going to really do much of while I was here. so... YAY!

It does not, however, directly relate to page counts or words written. Which I'm almost an entire month behind on. That part is hugely frustrating, and while I'm slowly working towards the info I need to get past it, it's still a ways away. So I'm at a coffee shop again, writing this instead of doing the reading I need to. But I wanted to check in too, since that's mostly what I've been doing every day -- sitting at a coffee shop somewhere, be it the coffee shop in my neighborhood or the coffee shop in Jinbocho, or the coffee shop near Meiji Daigaku... a coffee shop somewhere where I can spread out and attempt to do work.

See, this is me, going to do work!
katekat: (Default)
For the first time that wasn't on a class jaunt or a trip to a fast-food like kaitenzushi restaurant, i had sushi. I had yummy, yummy sushi.

This was in celebration of me showing up at a talk given by the husband of one of my advisors - it was part of a translation studies group run out of Sophia University. Really interesting talk that was basically preliminary findings on newspaper discussions of Japanese books translated into English in the 1800s, but the really cool part?

The talk's organizers practically offered me the space to give a talk myself when I get my research together. Because they're that interested in science fiction translation. OH YEAH baby. that's pretty frigging cool.

So as a way to celebrate getting something "done" in terms of networking, I tried the local neighborhood sushi restaurant. Thing is, it's a tiny place, and I ended up at the counter. now, for those not in the know, when you're at the counter you're supposed to actually order directly from the sushi master. And you kind of need to know what you want so you can order it (oh, sure, there's a "menu" of things up on the wall, but if you're me and you hardly ever pay attention to the names of the fish you eat, you don't remember what it is you like). So I explained that I hadn't really eaten at this type of restaurant before and the Sushi master graciously fixed me a sampler set. Which was nummy, totally nummy.

But the best part? THE OYSTERS. I had looked over and seen the man sitting next to me had them on his plate, and for some reason I've been *really* into oysters lately. So I asked if I could have some of them... they are kane. And they were SO good. Oyster afficianados will note these suckers were huge (like the meat was actually the size of the palm of my hand... nice and big), and they only had a little dab of onion and something else a tiny bit spicy in the middle. Fresh and pure tasting, not salty or bitter, they were DELIGHTFUL.

Adventures in Japan today? Feeling pretty good about them. I should know sushi is always a win!
katekat: (Default)
Ok, so the weird thing about being in a media conversation is that people come into it at different times and different ways. The public opening lectures for the program that I didn't get into in Tokyo on Media Mix were on Monday, and so I went. There was one anthropologist talking about anime production and the forces that drive it as communal effort (he wasn't ignoring the commerical aspect, but the people who create Japanese animation aren't making buckets of money off of it, they're doing it in tiny paper-filled offices tucked away on the second floor in some commercial area in Tokyo, not in ritzy sci-fi like spaces with touch screens or anything). There was a French-theory trained ... I think he was a sociologist? Who was simultaneously dismissive of the Media under consideration in this context and far too deeply embedded in it in his work group's projects (one of which was a kind of twitter-based rating system that you could use during conferences to elevate back-channel chatting to a whole weird critical evaluation level). Made for lots of food for thought though, and it was fun to get to see my friends who are at the conference and meet with the professors running it. And one of them sort of suggested that I could sit in on the classes if I wanted (though only him, and I don't want to cross the rigid Japanese-led organizers who categorically said no, unless i get TRULY bored).

Today I met up with another pair of friends who have been living in Yokohama since I did my program there (with one of them), and we went to the Craft Museum of the National Museum of Modern Art, which was sort of insanely awesome.

Ok, so it just looks like a pretty box right? the thing to notice is when you get close up to it (LIKE CLOSE UP) the color variations are created because the person who made the box put layers of colored lacquer on the box, then carved away parts of the layers to get to the properly colored one. There were a couple of examples - all pretty amazing.
katekat: (Default)
It's 11 pm local time, and I've been in Japan for all of two days, and I'm so glad I'm back! I got off the plane and the air was so humid I felt like I had to chew through it, but I'm slowly feeling more and more acclimated to that crazy humidity (well, and it's fluctuated a bit so I don't think it was quite 90 degrees with 90% anymore either).

I always have the most ridiculous adventures the first night I'm here - last time I ended up spending most of the night huddling in a corner outside the Yokohama train station because I'd forgotten to book a hotel. This time I managed to set up my stay just fine, and since it was in Tokyo I'd even communicated to the woman who runs the house (it's a bit like a private hostel) when my plane was going to get in and how long it would take me to get to the city. I forgot, however, to let her know I had gotten in and was on my way. And I hadn't yet gotten a cell phone.

Thus when I arrived at the proper train station, went out the proper exit, well... I couldn't find the apartment. This is in major part due to the fact that Japanese addresses do not work like American addresses. In fact, they mostly don't work as addresses at all unless you're both holding a computer navigation system in your hand and you're also used to the way this shit functions. Because unlike most American addresses that work off of city blocks (and roughly go up one direction and down the opposite), Japanese addresses go around a block. And the block numbers go around each other too. Oh, also, there aren't good street markers because most of that information is grafted to telephone polls or embossed on a plaque on the side of a building (no ridiculous street signs here!). So I sorta could tell from the map at the train station that I was probably heading in the right direction, and mostly even in the right set of blocks. see, Japanese addresses go: city, district, sub-district, block number, then a house number. (no street names, because it doesn't work). I'm staying Tokyo, in the Bunkyo district, in the Honkomagome sub-district. And the #s are: 5-66-10 These numbers are also in descending order -- so I'm in the 5th Honkomagome division, on the 66th block, looking for house #10.

Hilariously? There are actually 2 House #10s on this block, and I couldn't find either of them

Ok, so the great thing about my Japanese-fresh-off-the-plane adventures is that I get shown over and over again the awesmoeness of Japanese people. This time it was in the form of a woman having a quiet smoke on her front step. Someone who lives at 5-66-7 ... who willingly walked me around the entire neighborhood, then actually called my landlady person for me, to get directions to the place I was staying. Also though, just think about that - someone who lives 4 doors away had no idea how to locate an address that's supposed to be on her block. Of course that's because her block is shaped like a leaf, and the 5-66 applies to all of it, but still. This is one reason why I love Japan.

Also a reason why I wish I had a smart phone though. Sadly I'll just be navigating through life here on the skills of other people. It's ok, I actually don't mind that much, and it gives me a reason to practice my Japanese.

After all that I did get settled in, had lovely discussion with my landlady, who went to highschool in Pasadena. My room is the bare basic of a bed on the floor, and an airconditioner, which means I'm not spending a whole ton of time sitting here (which is good, i shouldn't be). So far I have walked all through the shopping streets connected with my neighborhood (it's a couple of miles all told), went to the neighborhood famous garden Rikugien (六義園) -- a place I'd actually been to visit in 2008, hit up the 100 en shop (like the dollar store, but with Japanese cheap stuff, YAY) for a laundry basket and other random things, had sushi in Ikebukuro, met a friend from school who is also here for omo-rice in Shibuya, found the awesomest little coffee shop in the neighborhood called the Charles that has a chandelier and plays jazz (and have already been back once), done a couple of chapters of research, tried the local Indian food place AND an asian fusion place where I had a salad that was so spicy I had to blow my nose.

I'm going to be eating out pretty much every day because the kitchen, while perfectly decent for one or two people, is currently hosting 5 people, and it's simply not going to work. The good part is my budget actually can deal with that, so, um, YAY. And who knows, maybe I can figure out a way to cook with the people I'm "living" with. though so far signs aren't good - I've had sorta conversation with a Taiwanese woman who is here doing a summer internship, and sorta weird conversation with the two french women who just got in today. Hopefully they were just jetlagged, and will be more interesting later.

And there you have it. Just another day in this humid, ridiculously green, wonderfully Japanese country (that now has me in it for another 17 days)
katekat: (WC_neal hat)
I was a fan not of her writing, but of the Sword & Sorceress series that she edited because it did something so few fantasy writings I'd picked up did: required that the main characters be women. I think at one point I had actually purchased a good chunk of them (into the 20s). Apparently she was also one of the founders of SCA, an organization I enjoy hearing about, even if I've never joined.

But I did not know that Marion Zimmer Bradley was evil.

Her daughter has opened up to discuss how her mother abused her. [again, trigger warnings - there's not graphic stuff here (except in comments), but there is emotional stuff that is pretty bad]

I'm sickened. I'm glad that there is a different kind of conversation in fandom now than there seems to have been in the 1960s around the "Breendoggle" that was her husband's pedophilia.

I know it doesn't stop violent people (and that's what it is, it's violence), but I also know without language, without language making clear that this is not acceptable, without voicing, putting into words, discussing, reading, sharing, and describing these things, no one is helped. At least with language changing, with the conversation changing, with words like abuse, and violence, rape, pedophilia, power and powerlessness, we have different definitions, we have names for these acts - names that help define them and conversations that help defined them as evil.
katekat: (XMFC_charles/erik steps)
I'm in the middle of a two-week visit to family in N. California.

It's a family immersion! This week I've spent the days chatting with my stepmom (on everything from porn to my dog's digestive situation), the evenings taking short dog walks with my dad and getting to hear him talk through his current trial (he's a defense attorney), gotten to hang out with my little sister two days running, and my elder sister for a couple of hours. I've burbled at (and been burbled at by) two grand-nephews (yes, my nephews are old enough to have their own babies). I helped my nephew fill out his divorce papers yesterday, had lunch with him and his brother and his brother's girlfriend and their little boy, and dinner with one of my other nephews and his wife and their little boy. Saturday is an afternoon picnic (or maybe early dinner) with another nephew's girlfriend and her family (and our family). Oh, and Dad and I washed cars on Sunday, a weekend activity we've been doing together for like 20 years.

It sounds exceedingly busy but it's also been a lot of hanging out, drinking coffee, watching the dogs, and eating.

Sunday I head to my mom's house, where I assume there will be gardening, and more talking, hanging out, watching (my) dog.

I love these visits. I suppose for some people this kind of summer vacation would be weird, or filled with conflict, and I'm really grateful that I have a family that (while dear god we definitely have plenty of conflict) is happy to see me and have me as a lounger in their house when I can.
katekat: (Default)
2002 summer kelly1

This is Kelly. She's an old friend of mine who died last night after a year's struggle with some fairly large and debilitating medical problems. Kelly was a Sacramento girl through and through - funny, generous, down to earth, and the life of the party.

When I first met her I was intimidated - she was best friends with my then-boyfriend's previous girlfriend, the woman he'd almost married, and I assumed the two of them, both beautiful, sparkling, and thinner than me, were going to judge me and hate me on sight. But Kelly didn't. Instead she became someone I genuinely looked forward to seeing every time we traveled to Sacto, someone who would drive down with her sister to LA at the drop of a hat, with a smile and a will to party.

When Ryan, my then-boyfriend's best friend, came to live with us while he found a job in LA, I got the chance to see a lot more of Kelly (she and Ryan had an on again off again we're always friends kind of relationship) - we had so much fun together, took road trips, went to weddings, watched movies, partied - every time I saw her she reminded me that I wasn't a dead fuddy duddy but someone who could turn on some music and run around and have a grand time. She lived life like a fire cracker.

Eventually Ryan decided to move back to Sacramento, and after the ex and I broke up I pretty much only kept in touch with both of them through Kelly, who actually kept a facebook. They got married a couple of years ago - set up a house together and adopted cats and although they settled in, I don't think they ever settled down.

About a year ago Kelly started having medical troubles - loss of feeling in her fingers and feet, and trouble walking. She was diagnosed with a fairly rare disease and she had to take off work and spend time at the hospital, then time at home, because she wasn't physically up to much else. Ryan took great care of her, and actually over this last month she'd been slowly in the process of returning to work part time - it seemed like she was getting a handle on what was happening and was moving forward. But three days ago she had some kind of a major liver or kidney failure and was back in the hospital. She didn't return home. Last night she passed away.

M called me this morning to tell me what had happened - we all got notified over facebook from Kelly's little sister (they were best friends as well as sisters). M and I were both sad, but a little removed. Kelly was someone we'd both been close to, but hadn't seen in the every day for years. She's someone we're sad isn't in the world anymore. We both want to reach out to Ryan, to give him support, but he's the worst communicator ever even during the good times. I've got his number and I'll be calling him in the next week or so.

There are many lights in the world, and Kelly was one of the amazing ones. The world is a little darker place now that her light has gone out.
katekat: (Default)

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katekat: (Default)

now, for all the wittering about it )

I repaired my favorite chair! That utterly and totally broke on Sunday.

ok, i am in no way qualified to do upholstery or furniture repair )

I am pretty sure I've achieved a new housemate!

this after interviewing only 15 or so people this time )

Southern California is Burning!

ok, I think LA is mostly just experiencing a heat wave )

I have been watching Agents of SHIELD, Supernatural, Hannibal, Arrow, Elementary, Person of Interest, Game of Thrones, and FINALLY Veronica Mars

(but I am too tired right now to actually expound on them (except I did like the Agents of SHIELD finale too). Oh, and yes, Veronica Mars is awesome. :)
katekat: (Default)
I don't often curse, but holy shit you guys - I just managed to edit myself from 15 pages to 32 pages today!!!!

Admittedly this is the combination of a bunch of older things that I wrote for my qualifying exam responses, and then another piece that I wrote for my prospectus that I jettisoned because it was too much information at the wrong time (but never delete anything, for it will come in handy, i say!) and YES. In other words, I'm ahead of my 5-page (edited or written)/day page count goal. I was hoping by this point to be at 20 pages. Maybe I was ready to write this thing after all!

All this after interviewing three possible prospective new housemates - I'm in the market for a new one, since my current one has run out of money and hasn't found a job. She's moving back to New York at the end of the month. There's no super rush since she's paid up till the end of the month, but it would make her happier to have someone come in earlier, and I wouldn't mind the process of getting used to a new housemate. So far only one woman has applied, which is weird, but there's definitely two possible candidates that I feel good about, so that's something.

And I did succumb to the whole Star Wars thing a bit and am (re)watching the movies. In Episode I - Episode VI order. (of course I started late in the day, and you know, did other stuff, so I'm only on Episode II) I am reminded that there is very little that is good about the early episodes. But it has made grading papers (which I'm also doing - got about 10 done today) bearable. The bad dialogue is just about as bad as my student's writing.

and onto the meme thing: what I'm afraid of )
katekat: (Default)
ok, it's a Ray Bradbury Quote:

"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you."

Words to live by. And be lost in. And somehow I always imagine being drunk on words means being consumed by them, letting them flow over you in a crazy wave that gets inside your head and spins it around. Much better than the mundane dramas of the day to day that threaten and cajole and steal attention and brain power and will.

Also, from Dune, the litany against fear:

"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing....only I will remain"

Which is just awesome, I mean, seriously, I've actually said it to myself on occasion. And it does kind of help, or at least I've found it so.

I just wish my favorite quotes weren't kind of a sausage fest. But I did also mention Anne McCaffrey in my last post, so, you know, the ladies are here somewhere.

BTW, this post is actually brought to you by sleep deprivation, as I'm going on two nights running with only 5 hours sleep. And I caffeinated two hours ago, so while the part of my consciousness that lives right behind my eyes has gotten fuzzy and a little mentally hurdy-gurdy, the buzz will probably keep me awake till 3 tonight as well.

It's the heat. We're in our second of four days of 95 or better degree heat, and while it has cooled off at night, it hasn't quite done it fast enough for my body to feel sleep ready. I'm going to have to switch back to taking a shower at 11 pm, just before i go to bed. The Japanese way.

cut for dissertation blather )

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