Sunday, December 27, 2009
Books I've Read--
The Great Blue Yonder- Alex Shearer
The Lovely Bones- Alice Sebold
Elsewhere- Gabrielle Zevin
The Afterlife- Gary Soto
Be With You- Takuji Ichikawa
Maybe there are more. I just can't think of them, maybe. Hrm.
Other stories I may want to read..
What Dreams May Come- Richard Matheson
Winter's Tale- Mark Helprin
Saturday, December 26, 2009
What is she doing? Drowning? Swimming? I don't know, but it is pretty...
I posted this one pretty recently, but I'm putting it here as well. It is so pretty!
Creepy doll. I posted this one last time, but I still really like it!
Fairy! Also from last time...
Kiss on forehead! Cute and perfect for winter :)
Love and lanterns. Sigh!
Kinda creepy, but I love the color!
Love between a fish and a seagull. This one is not new, but I will always love this theme. Love love love stop using that word gah!
Hard to fit because of the size, but worth the effort! I like how they used the dark squares.
Edit: 12/29-- Crossed out,
Female Masculinity- Judith Halberstam
From my readings for next quarter..
I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala- Rigoberta Menchu
A Series of Unfortunate Events: Book the Fifth: The Austere Academy- Lemony Snicket
A Series of Unfortunate Events: Book the Sixth: The Ersatz Elevator- Lemony Snicket
A Series of Unfortunate Events: Book the Seventh: The Vile Village- Lemony Snicket
-- at which point, I will only have six books in the entire series left, and really ought to begin the search to find a new series!
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas- John Boyne
The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life- Michael Warner
And, being optimistic...
Bleak House- Charles Dickens
The rest of the Lemony Snicket books!
Kinsey's studies on the man and woman
Some sort of women's studies intro text >.<
Is that nine books in nine days? Oy!
|1||Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual|
|2||Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual|
|3||Equally heterosexual and homosexual; bisexual.|
|4||Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual|
|5||Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual|
I guess I would situate myself somewhere around four or five but really, sexuality is something to explore, not to set rigid rules for! Oh, Kinsey, you understand me so well- I should get your book from the library and watch your biopic again. :)
Monday, December 21, 2009
The Crow- Dennis Siluk
Heavy he leans his feathered head
Gazing at the blood red mist
Tired, -- his face shows time has past
And on his tarnished-gray wings-
The world rests...
Has God forsaken you-?
To grief and pain:
To love the sparrow instead?
Are you not the largest of the perching birds?
Crowned with a grayish hood-;
Or are you just a crow...the farmers hate
Your breath has left you
My feathered friend...
Too week to lift your head again?
What separates you from man?
Is it the sky and land?
Or the road each must go?
Each unto his own...!
It seems to me,
Life's a test for you as well?
But man must ponder on,
What is the question you ask?
I see, within the stare
Of your silent dark eyes:
"Who are these masters who rule the land-?
Give back to me the sky!"
However,--will you fly again?
Touch the heavens?
Light your wings on fire
From the scorching sun?
Glide with the wind until dawn?
Within...but then, you are not made in His Image,
Monday, December 14, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Race rant... begin!
For one thing, my main objection to being seen as white versus Latina is that I personally identify MYSELF as a Latina. That is to say I was raised mostly by my mom, who is from Chile, and I feel like I am culturally Latina. I'm not just identifying it as my race, but my culture. And if I have to have labels, which it seems like I must, I want to make them myself.
Plus.... I'm continuing this tomorrow. Just that much wiped me out. Hrml.
Anywho, the novel was called The (Mostly) True Story of Ms. Bertha P. Collins, Grandmother, Showman, and Sometimes Usurper, as Told By the Terribly Unfortunate, Blister-Thumbed, Hortensia Higgory Hernandez, Volume 1. Yes, it is rather silly.
Here is the summary:
The biography of Miss Bertha "Bertie" Prudence Collins as recollected by her greatest enemy, Hortensia Higgory Hernandez. Miss Collins is best known for the unfortunate watercolor incident, by which she entered the land of Tyzkule and sparked a revolution. But that part really isn't interesting at all, is it? What readers really will want to know is, does she find love?
Here is the preface, which is by my fictional narrator, Hortensia Higgory Hernandez. It is unedited, so be kind:
Greetings from Hortensia Higgory Hernandez. Yes, it is true, despite my immeasurable fame and uncountable wealth, I have been drawn in to the not-so-noble art of biography writing. I may as well tell you, as it will certainly appear in the latest tunes of the gossip troubadours and besmeared upon the walls of even the humblest of courtyards, that I have been forced to undertake this task- yes, compelled against my very will!- to compose this, the first volume documenting the life of one Miss Bertha P. Collins, grandmother, showman, and sometimes usurper.
How have I, Hortensia Higgory Hernandez, the greatest thumb wrestling champion this world has ever seen, been strong armed into such a dreadful position, you ask. Well, dear friend, come closer, and I shall whisper it in your ear.
It was all that no-good Bertie Collins’ fault! Though my brief interlude in this the first section of this rather too long work does, in fact, spoil the very ending of this text if read as a narrative tale by revealing to you that, yes, the accursed Miss Collins does yet live, I promise you that the suspense has not been relieved at all! For, I will tell you here, on risk of once again becoming imprisoned on a stinking naval ship, that I have every intent of destroying the Collins woman’s very existence before my pen scribbles the final letters, final punctuation marks, final spaces, if one can write such things, within this ridiculous book.
Hear me well! And by “hear” I mean “read, and understand in the very core of your miserable being!” Come along with me and see the terrible creature that is Bertie Collins, for though my pro-Collinsian editor has ruined, I tell you, RUINED the essence of my work by omitting many truths as to the nature of Collins’ wicked existence, I have very cleverly managed to include subtextual references to her true character.
Be not fooled by the propaganda or the kind words of her silly friends and family. It is on account of Collins that I now sit here with blistered thumbs and cracky knuckles. How, after such an ordeal, can I ever defeat even the weakest foe in a tournament of skill, true skill, of the thumb martial art?
You have been warned.
-Hortensia Higgory Hernandez
Now then, I am waiting for your congratulations. Impatiently. :( BTW, this is my third successful year in a row- yayz!
The color is WINE and it is limited edition. Oh, and I checked, and I got it on account of I renewed my subscription. Yes, I do pay $50 per year to play this game with all the features. It is totally worth it because sometimes the only thing that can kill stress is a good video game. Ahhh!
Anyway, here my character is in her new slutty outfit, because I got the shirt as a gift, and it's slutty, so the rest had to match, didn't it? Seems an awfully dumb outfit to wear on a pirate ship, but the pants just looked silly, as did the boots, with such a scandalous top.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Anywho, here is the list. I will include the reviews if I've written them. Unless I get bored. Am worst blogger in history. Then again, they're pretty new, so really I haven't got much to be put against have I? Anyway, it's newest finished closest to the top. And, by the by, I do not include books I'm rereading on this list, though I reread a lot, so be impressed, punk.
12/1/09 Summary- Thirteen books! Be amazed! I'm a grad student, after all, so this is in addition to course readings. Okay, so... (am mathing in another place) about twelve weeks have passed since I started. Twelve times one is twelve (yes, I really did just think that out- see how I love you, I update when I am exhausted.). Which means I'm one book ahead! And I'll probably finish Five Children and It before the real twelve weeks hits (Thursday). Feeling good! Plus, I plan to read pretty much the whole Series of Unfortunate event series (redundant much?) after the quarter ends. Yay! Optimism!
June 8 2010-- Well, I finally am getting around to updating pretty much everything I read extracurricularly Winter and Spring quarters. Wow, a lot of updating to do...Will probably be getting a lot more reading done now that I'm out of the school- rah! ... except I'm researching so much this sum-muh.
edit note: though I did do summer quarter... done tomorrow!
August 27 2010: oops, apparently I miscounted at some point -- So, hurrah- am done!
Kafka on the Shore- Murakami
Nine Pound Hammer- Bemis
Break of Day- Colette
Never Let Me Go- Ishiguro
Hate that Cat- Creech
Cabinet of Curiosities- Preston and Child
Teaching to Transgress- bell hooks
Critical Race Theory: An Intro
Slow Fat Triathlete- Jayne Williams
The Stranger - Albert Camus
The Problem of Pain - C.S. Lewis
The Old Man and the Sea- Ernest Hemingway
Maisie Dobbs-Jacqueline Winspear
Goodbye, Mr. Chips - James Hamilton
After Dark- Haruki Murakami
Eat, Pray, Love- Elizabeth Gilbert
House and Philosophy: Everybody Lies- Ed. Henry Jacoby
Girls in Peril- Karen Lee Boren
Polyverse- Lee Ann Brown
History of Sexuality Volume 1- Michele Foucault
How to Train Your Dragon- Cressida Cowell
Geography- Kelli Russell Agodon
The Cancer Journals- Audre Lorde
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo- Stieg Larsson
Ghost Boy- Iain Lawrence
Moon Opera- Bi Feiyu
The Bluest Eye- Toni Morrison
Disquiet- Julia Leigh--Creeeeepy!
The Possession- Annie Ernaux
Beauty Salon- Mario Bellatin-- Hauntingly interesting. Highly recommended!
A is for Alibi- Sue Grafton
A Single Man- Christopher Isherwood
Gentlemen of the Road- Michael Chabon-- Don't be fooled! Even though it's by the fabulous Michael Chabon, this book is TERRIBLE. Possibly the worst book I've ever read. I want to buy and burn it, but then I'd be financially supporting this crap. I'm not even linking it because it is so bad.
Letter to My Daughter- George Bishop Jr.
The Malady of Death- Marguerite Duras
Newcomer Can't Swim- Renee Gladman
A Picture-feeling- Renee Gladman
The Activist- Renee Gladman
The Yiddish Policemen's Union-Michael Chabon
A Mercy- Toni Morrison
Shutter Island- Dennis Lehane
Little Women- Louisa May Alcott
Hard Times- Charles Dickens
Geography Club- Brent Hartinger
Empress of the World- Sara Ryan
Ash- Malinda Lo
I, Rigoberta Menchu- Rigoberta Menchu
Frame Structures: Early Poems: 1974-1979- Susan Howe
Juice- Renee Gladman
The War- Marguerite Duras
The Lover- Marguerite Duras
Trans-Liberation- Leslie Feinberg
The Jungle Book- Rudyard Kipling
A Series of Unfortunate Events Book the Fourth: the Miserable Mill- Lemony Snicket
The Gates- John Connolly
Five Children and It- Nesbit
The Afterlife- Soto
A Series of Unfortunate Events Book the Third: The Wide Window- Lemony Snicket
Crossing the Wire- Hobbs
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days- Kinney
Slaughter-house Five- Vonnegut
Esperanza Rising- Munoz Ryan
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society- Barrows and Shaffer
Peter and the Shadow Thieves- Barry and Pearson
Border Crossing- Cruz
It's nice to find a book out there dealing with the experiences of multiracial children, but this book was only decently written. Sometimes, it felt more like a lecture than an illustrated lesson, and the coincidences were a little too far-fetched to be believable. Plus, there was a pretty noticeable typo regarding which country San Diego was in- at one point the narrator gets off the bus in San Diego and is suddenly in Mexico. Overall, though, the novel covers themes not expressed at all or at all effectively elsewhere and fills a gap with mediocre skill.
Love That Dog- Creech
Told through the poem's enclosed in a boy's school journal, Love That Dog is a story of loss, healing, and artistic awakening. One of the most original children's stories I've ever read and uniquely beautiful among Creech's plethora of gorgeous works. A wonderful book to introduce to young artists not yet mature enough to take on Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet.
Let Me In- Lindqvist
While many literary critics quickly associate the voice of John Ajvide Lindqvist with other more well-known writers of the horror genre, Lindqvist should be noted as a young artist noteworthy for his particular distinctness of story-telling and narrative. In an era that has seen the violent vampire myth turned into a romantic topic of teen angst, Lindqvist imagines vampirism in its darkest hours, weaving a tale of murder, sadism, and everyday suffering, in which it is not so much the vampires as the humans who are the monsters.
Lindqvist's take on the necessities for the modern vampire's survival is innovative and disturbing; the vampire-girl Eli lives in the body of a 12-year-old and thus depends on a middle-aged pedophile to support her need for blood. She is too young for work but cannot survive in a modern world without financial assets, and so takes money from her victims. As a vampire or vampire-like creature, she does not kill for pleasure but purely to survive, and the author clearly illustrates for readers that most people-turned-vampire cannot make the choice to kill, and instead commit suicide.
While the story primarily focuses on the extended life of Eli and her new friend Oskar, a viciously bullied 12-year-old boy, it also shows how their situations affect those around them. Vampirism is treated as an epidemic that Eli attempts to contain but which somehow continues to spread throughout the novel, creating on particularly terrifying character both in appearance and mannerism. The town of Blackeberg itself becomes a character, treated as the Transylvania of the Bram Stoker novel.
This reading got me thinking about locker rooms, and how such gender-specific spaces can lead to additional problems. No, I'm not going to go off on how much the above situations could be worsened in the context of a locker room. I could, because I imagine these scenarios are much less pleasant, if that's at all possible, with nudity involved.
I could especially because, while some facilities include"family" bathrooms*, there aren't any "family" locker rooms that provide single-occupancy changing facilities. True, there are individual, draped showers and changing rooms within the men's and women's locker rooms, but one must travel through a locker room, past the naked people, to reach them. The "family" changing room, at least at my local YMCA, is multi-family oriented, which means that anyone can walk in on you at any point and really offers zero privacy. I'm not entirely sure what their points are, to be perfectly honest.
At any rate, I'm not going to pursue any of those lines of inquiry at this particular time, as I am more interested in an issue that I feel troubles me more personally. Instead, I am going to go consider the awkwardness of same-sex sexual attraction in the locker room.
(At this point, and for the sake of avoiding awkwardness, I advice my dearest mother (aka mi mamacita fantástica) to discontinue her perusal of my always riveting text and instead go buy herself a lovely double latte. Cheers.)
Below is an excerpt from my novel for National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) last year, entitled Dedication.
“So, tell me about yourself. Any terrible disappointments? Daddy rape you? Mommy hit you?”
“No, nothing like that.” I blushed lightly, and tried to come up with something slightly unpleasant and far less private than what she was assuredly asking for. Of course there was an obvious thing I might've said.
I’d grown up almost when things turned bad. I was probably fifteen, radiant perhaps, and young and awakening, when everything turned sour quite suddenly.
I’d begun training at the local gym to try to thin out my wide latina thighs and rear-end a little bit, hoping to look at least something like the girls my age that somehow made it onto television shows and into magazines. Every morning I went running at my gym until I thought for sure my muscles would burst out of my legs and abandon their sadistic mistress, and later made sure to take a shower before school.
Of course, showers tend to be where these sorts of things happen, these sudden inspirations. One of the other women cleaning herself must have been a trainer herself or something, or at least someone who exercised a rather lot, for she had toned her body so that it was as firm and shapely as a sculpture. Her skin was as dark and shined beautifully beneath the water, which must have been cold too chill the heat of her exercise away, for her nipples were wonderfully erect, like a pair of Hershey’s kisses. Her eyes were closed in ecstasy as the water washed over her, pouring from her forehead and catching at her crotch before dripping into the drain. Her legs were parted ever so slightly, probably for balance in the slippery shower room, and she leaned back against the wall for support. Her face wore an enormous smile, and she sighed contentedly from time to time.
I just stood and stared, and I knew. I could feel myself suddenly come to womanhood in that moment, and I didn’t even try to fight the way I felt, however wrong it might be with my parents or God or whomever (5).
The trouble is, apart from a few cheap thrills, which, honestly, if you don't know, feel really cheap, it can be awfully awkward to have to avert your eyes from every nude person you come across when in the locker room. I must continuously avoid catching the merest glimpse of a naked lady, one to whom I am attracted or not, for fear of falling into self-loathing as an unpleasant after effect.
And, I am no prude. I enjoy pornography and erotica and "adult" materials immensely. Looking at a beautiful naked woman who has not undressed herself for your pleasure (or money, I suppose) is entirely different, however, for she is simply, in this context, going about her business cleaning herself. She is meant to feel safe in the company of woman, and I feel myself coming to shame for betraying her trust. Then, I feel like a pervert.
Now, this just isn't fair.
I really shouldn't feel like a pervert, right? It isn't my fault that I'm attracted to her and that I haven't been successful in my continuous efforts to avoid looking at her. I feel awful for feeling perverted, because the further implication is that homosexuality is perverted, which, though I do not believe when considering the sexuality of others, I always worry about falling into believing when considering myself.
It is hard enough being a lesbian and a feminist! I find myself reading about the "male gaze" and worrying that I am contributing to the subjugation of women simply by agreeing with the heterosexual male sexual attractedness to women. Here, I think, is the difficult issue, and I hope to find a scholar far cleverer than myself who has tackled it in the near future.
*Note: Apparently, the UW Seattle's Q Center has a unisex bathroom campus map available! Now, I haven't visited these restrooms... or at least haven't knowingly visited any of them, but the next time I go to campus, you can bet your butter I will investigate whether these restrooms are actually "unisex" or secretly "family" bathrooms. Anyway, in the meanwhile, I will provide you with the link: Unisex Bathrooms!
Halberstam, Judith. "An Introduction to Female Masculinity: Masculinity without Men." Female Masculinity. Durham and London: Duke U P, 1998. 1-43.
hooks, bell. Reel to Real: Race, Sex, and Class at the Movies. New York and London: Routledge, 1996.
Martin, Amanda. Dedication. Unpublished.
P.S. I will take you to court so fast you lose your socks if you try to steal my sexual awakening short autobio piece. Just saying...