Saturday, February 21, 2004

Not entirely unlike buttah 

Corel's Painter 8 has me crippled in front of the computer. Holy cow, it's Photoshop plus, like, paint! Ah, no brushes to clean, no hassle switching from a red to a white with the same brush, no 6 months before varnishing, infinite palette, blah blah blah blah. Whatever. My back is arched forward into the monitor.

In the meantime, dig the techniques it can mimic. Here's an acrylic Beef Stuart (playing Playstation and talking about H.P Lovecraft), an oily double rainbow, and some fun non-objective watercolor.

Amber--I hope that you fulfilled your afternoon plan. As you can tell I certainly have.


Friday, February 20, 2004

To the girls of Japanese poot fetish videos: 

Thou art my muse. Tanoshinde farting, kudasai.

Day off 

Woke up at six for the pleasure of waking up again at ten / Cleaned the kitchen pantry / Emptied the guest room closet for Goodwill consideration / Got groceries / Washed the car / Watched "A Thousand Clowns" / Fell asleep in the sun outside / Finished my taxes and filed FAFSA. Damn, I do love an aimless day.


Thursday, February 19, 2004

Nikki Giovanni, please step down 

Listening to Nikki Giovanni speak in person was frustrating and oppressively sad.

You know that disappointment that comes when one realizes that an idolized poise is nothing but posturing? This was the let down. Nikki Giovanni is, all things being equal, nothing more than an unpleasant personality with a knack for the written word.

Giovanni is an academic, that I will yield, but she is no intellectual. I'm even tenuous in my appraisal of her academic quality; amongst her blatant errors are her 'facts' that the International Space Station does nothing other than prepare humanity for Earth separation and that only black Americans can understand the kind of total separation from one's home that we will encounter in distant space travel.

Perhaps the honorable authouress ought read some books about Brazilian slaves in Portuguese camps, Irish indenturates, and criminals sent without notice or reference to New South Wales. Perhaps as well she ought discuss her opinions of the space station with the scientists designing the experiments that are executed there (especially as a receipient of radical medical attention). Lest, of course, her ignorance reach any more intense a luminosity.

Some of the nice (non-white) folks at NASA might also be a little irritated to learn that she thinks that NASA only came to her to inquire about a speaking engagement because she is "the token black writer." Uh, first, ma'am, someone probably just liked one of your books, and, secondly, thou art NOT the commensurate author by any measure. Try some new material. Mocking white people without making eye contact with them hearkens back to the oppresion that you seem to hate so much. On that note, stop tarting up the propogation of prejudices as glittery liberation; one poem on that front is interesting commentary, but a dozen is, surely, just fucking dull.

Giovanni became especially giddy in poetry recalling the great revenge of mother earth (?!) casting a forceful ice age upon Europe. I at least get the small internal victory of knowing that, with this appraisal, Giovanni reveals her own superficial understanding of global events, how and where they manifest, and to what extent physical effects ricochet throughout the ecosystem. Aside from that thought, I simply find it bizarre that Giovanni would not realize how masochistic and ignorant it is to applaud an ice age as an event to supress loosely similar white Europeans.

Furthermore, Giovanni made it expressly clear in her talk that she has made a clear decision to recognize the equilibrium of people's characters based solely on those peoples' skin color. Tupac Shakur was brilliant, Carnegie was a monster. Does she not recognize that these were both brilliant monsters? It's neat (really neat) that you got a "thug life" tattoo on your forearm in his honor (Shakur's, that is, not Carnegie's), but do you honor all of him or just the better parts that are easy to praise? Test yourself this way: expound epically on his courageous banging days (and, sure, mock my gerunditive "-ing" in front of your next audience).

I almost hate to say that my Nikki Giovanni books are all going up for excahgne at the used book store now. She's a tired old girl with a beautiful sense of the manipulation of the English language. But I don't hate to say it entirely because, in listening to her speak, the fog has dissipated and my eyes clearly see her bigotry. Sorry, Giovanni, you're too unbalanced for your pedestal, and I, as you accused me without making eye-contact, was naive enough to not have seen it for years.


Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Elevator Jason and office politics 

Leaving a disappointing Ottenheimer library session with a tutee this evening, I ran into a most pleasant young gentleman on his way to class named Jason. He asked if all was well, I said that they were about to get much better, he laughed, I laughed. He gave me two pieces of gum and one piece of wood.

Marjorie doesn't need the Peabody to get rocked.

Lucy's doctor 

Amid the weekend hubbub, I seem to have forgotten to mention entirely the Friday lecture presentation of Dr. Donald Johanson. Johanson was mostly focused on promoting his own nolble-ish endeavors, namely a course he'll be teaching in Italy this summer and his flagship Becoming Human organization, but he had the coutesy to speak at our small university for a relatively mild five thousand dollars. If you don't already know the name, Johanson is the paleoanthropologist whose team is credited with the discovery of the mineralized skeleton, named "Lucy," of our australopithocene evolutionary precursor.

The good doctor spent little time discussing the science of his research, which, in hindsight, seems only slightly appropriate with respect to the general admission audience in attendance. I seriously wanted to ask him a couple of pointed questions about his science, but I eventually that those inquiries would be better presented in a written format rather than in front of a disinterested audience. I wish I'd been aware of this before I'd gotten myself pepped up for some hardcore science, but I can't complain. He still showed some great slides describing human ontogenic morphology, not to mention his incredible photos of their excavational camp in the Olduvai gorge.

I was also impressed with Johanson's urgent inclusion of political rage in his talk. His obvious distaste for Bush erupted many, many times, and not only in jest. At one point a man in the audience asked if Johanson was concerned about leaving Lucy's fossilized remains with the "misfit rebels" in Ethiopia. This dick was probably thinking that he was kissing the doctor's ass with a low-ball volley like that, but instead (thank god), Johanson ripped him up, albeit politely. Johanson pointed out that the 'rebels' kept him and his team alive while in camp and that, in all seriousness, we should be much more afraid of the kinds of invasions demonstrated by our own president. The audience beyed a weak mixture of cheers and boos (but I was among the cheering, laughing).

He also confirmed, finally, in my presence, that he did indeed name the fossil after "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."


Monday, February 16, 2004

Nicorette experiment 

As my willpower seems to be shaped like a cul-de-sac, I'm finally going to take pharmaceutical measures and buy some nicotine gum (unless Steven donates his unused pack). Maybe that tingly gum will help me kick what began as a beautiful routine and has become a burdensome habit.

My first cigarette was given to me at the 1996 Olympic Games by my 8.3-fingered cousin. I didn't smoke again until I started working in 1997 as a telemarketer, where I would smoke an occasional clove cigarette (Sampoernas only) as an excuse to get away from the phones. I also liked that it made my nasal voice sound a little huskier. I turned 18 about a month after I graduated from high school so, of course, I went off the deep end immediately. The freedom of commuting to school and going out to raves got me out of the house long enough to be able to camoflauge the smoke smell. I started with Marlboro Reds, not knowing that there were more diluted varieties. After a series of crippling nicotine headaches, I switched to Marlboro Mediums, the legendary cigarette that I crave to this day. It was delicious, but still a pleasantly hard smoke. I then followed the predictable downsteps from Lights to Ultras with the occasional Parliament tossed in for measure.

There I've been stagnant for the past two years, occasionally quitting for a couple of months here and there, invariably returning to the lightest tobacco blends I could find. Of course, I consistently blame (thank?) Europe for having made me into a smoker. The first time I went overseas, in Cambridge, I met a guy who introduced me to his preferred brand of cigarette (whose name I've since forgotten). It had a filter that could best be described as a tiny, wispy ball of cotton and had tobacco so wet that it stained the paper brown. I made it halfway through it before I felt my blood pressure go through the roof. Italy was worse--I actually think that a half-pack is the state-sanctioned lunch.

Things I will miss the most: the infamous post-coital cigarette (or, you know, three), a cigarette with an espresso, long drives with nothing but music and smokeables, smoke rings, Marlboros, Lucky Strike Lights, and Parliament lights.

Things I will miss the least: burning my eyes with hot smoke, accidentally lighting the filter, accidentally smoking the filter, accidentally catching on fire, accidentally bruning my car seat, morning-after lungs, and cigarette kisses.


Sunday, February 15, 2004

Indian engagement ('gemcho, saluche') 

Sapan looks grown up and finally understands humanity, sister Sima is a freaking beautiful young adult, it's fun to drive with friends in the snow, there are hot Indian guys [dots not feathers] aplenty (so I should make a habit of these samajs), and my sister and her husband can totally throw down. To top it all off, we, surprisingly, got a three-inch blanket of gorgeously fluffy snow. Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

On a serious note, congratulations Sapan and Rachna; you have completely convinced me of the depth and sincerity of your bond.

The best part is that, midway throught the ceremony and stumbling about, simply not knowing the protocol for what we should be doing from one moment to the next (and separated from all of our friends participating in the ceremony), an older gentleman approached us with a smile and said, "First the bride's family will come to the stage to give gifts for blessings, and then they will first file into the dining hall. After they have been seated, we all go in together... it's very informal!," welcoming us with a grinning laugh and an arm on my shoulder. Kick ass.


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