sábado, diciembre 31, 2005

Sayonara, 2005

Things we did in 2005:

Got two jobs
Resigned two jobs
Painted a pink dining room beige
Sold a house
Drove across country with two cats
Started two jobs
Taught eight courses
High Tea at the Fairmont
Painted a white bathroom lilac
Crocheted six ponchos and three shawls,
Knit four caps, and some scarves
Put together a composter

jueves, diciembre 29, 2005

teaching and technology...

I'm thinking maybe I should use Blackboard instead of Moodle this semester. The gradebook in Moodle--or lack thereof--drove me absolutely insane. It's challenging using a system the first time and with a class that you're teaching for the first time.

WebCT and D2L both had gradebooks you could set up ahead of time, where you could weight all items appropriately. Moodle doesn't appear to have a gradebook. When you set up assignments you can specify how many points each assignment is worth but I have yet to find the meta-level where you can deal with the grades, weight them, et cetera.

So at the beginning of the semester, I thought Moodle was perfect, because I was able to upload readings, organize the course either by topics or by weeks in the semester, look up individual students and see whether and how often they were visiting the class site. Grading was not something I worried about until midterms.

Now that I'm in the thick of grading, I actually gave up entirely on Moodle. I exported the data to Excel, downloaded a standard gradebook spreadsheet and tweaked it to fit my class. It's beautiful, it's easy, it's transparent. I still have to manually enter my grades into the university's system, but I'm not spending my time cursing software.

Although, they're currently installing the most recent update of Moodle in the schools system...maybe I should wait till it's operational to see what the gradebook looks like?

The thing is, L* has been mastering Blackboard in the Fall, and she never had any trouble with it. (apart from the standard mac browser problem, which I had with both D2L and Mozilla: For some reason, they want us to use MOZILLA as the web browser. I don't much like Mozilla, but I'm stuck with it. The education technology people are not particularly responsive on this issue: it's like telling them "I'm a vegetarian" and they say "okay, so just don't eat the meat.")

okay, i'm being geeky. i know i am...

miércoles, diciembre 28, 2005


Seven things I plan to do before I kick the can:
1. Buy a casita with L*
2. Cook something in a solar oven
3. Write a novel
4. Take in a kid
5. Read a book written by a former student
6. Speak Spanish well enough to assist una viejita
7. Teach a creative writing class

Seven things I can do:
1. Crochet
2. Knit
3. Bake Bread
4. Pigeon Pose
5. Racewalk
6. French braid my own hair
7. Finish a project

Seven things I can't do:
1. Color coordinate (without help)
2. Realistically assess how long a project will take
3. Keep my mouth shut
4. Shop without a list
5. Make everything alright
6. Move back to the midwest
7. Work a room

Seven things that attract me to another person:
1. Intelligence
2. Humor
3. Strength in own identity
4. Silliness
5. Ability to love another creature
6. Kindness
7. Knows how to lead

Seven things I say most often:
1. Good maluchi! (or, alternately, Poor Maluchi!)
2. I'm filled with love for you!
3. Lovely!
4. Sleepytime thoughts
5. Ouch!
6. I love Oakland
7. Pinches gabachos stole our land

Seven people to do this little blogger game:
1. Wily Filipino
2. La Brown Girl
3. Lorca Loca
4. Artichoke Heart
5. Hysterical Blackness (though i don't think she does these, plus she's at MLA)
6. La Bloguerrera
7. And La Poeta en San Francisco

martes, diciembre 27, 2005

Familia, Pope Rat, and Practical Saints

Don Fon likes to give me "assignments" when I talk to him: something for me to research and then get back to him. So my assignment from our X-mas day conversation was Los Santos Inocentes.

Look, it wasn't for nothing that I won more holy cards than any other kid at St. Gertrude's (1970-1978). I know the Santos Inocentes are the children killed by Herod to prevent the coming of the Christ child. But I think what Don Fon wants me to look up are traditional Latino celebrations of this day.

But instead, I am thinking about los Santos Inocentes in the age of Pope Rat, the "election" of a man who was instrumental in the coverup of child sexual abuse by the [one Holy and Apostolic] Catholic Church.

And all those "inspiring stories" we were told in Catholic school. You know, like of Saint Dominic Savio eating nuts in bed so he could leave the shells and suffer mortification of the flesh. What did stories like that do to the true Holy Innocents--the children molested by Catholic priests, the children who found a way to speak out, only for the multi-national corporation that is the church to play a shell game of their own to shuffle around the players.

(Sadly, New Mexico was ahead of the curve in the church-sexual-abuse scandals, because, as a largely Catholic region with a majority-minority population, it was a convenient place to send priests who were child molesters).

Inspired by Pat Mora's poetry, Aunt Carmen's Book of Practical Saints, I've been imagining my own queer book of practical saints. (I promised Xolo an entry on San Pancracio)

So, for el Día de los Santos Inocentes, I offer you Coyolxauhqui, who died in her attempt to stop the god of war from coming into her world.

Geez, what does a girl have to say to be a Sprightly Elfin Femme?

I actually got a tie-breaker question, where I had to choose between Betty Paige and knitting. (sigh) You can see which way I went.

You scored as The Granola Dyke. Your love for the environment and passion for your beliefs can be a bit overwhelming at times, but your friends and family know you mean well.

The Femme Fatale


The Granola Dyke


The Sprightly Elfin Femme


The Surprise! Dyke


The Student Dyke


The Stud


The Vaginal-Reference-Making Dyke


The Bohemian Dyke


The Magic Earring Ken Dyke


The Quasi-Gothic Femme


The Pretty-Boi Dyke


The Hipster Dyke


The Little-Boy Dyke


What Type of Lesbian Are You? (Inspired by Curve Mag.)
created with QuizFarm.com

Ooh, if I'd gone the other way on Bettie Paige, i would have been a Femme Fatale!

sábado, diciembre 24, 2005


KPFA really knows how to put you in a good mood when you're driving through heavy traffic. They played Cheech & Chong's Santa Claus and His Old Lady and Adam Sandler's The Hanukkah Song. I haven't been so amused since they played "Homeland, Homeland, Uberalis" for the 4th of July. (Can't find those lyrics online, so no link)

For those trekkie's out there:

You don't need "Deck The Halls" or "Jingle Bell Rock"
'Cause you can spin a dreidel with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock (both Jewish!)

viernes, diciembre 23, 2005

Toys, Holidays, and White Supremacy...

On Sunday L* and I rushed off to a Target (store++), to get groovy girls for the four little sobrinitas. Alas, there appeared to have been a run on groovy-girls-de-color: There was one Bindi, with warm brown skin, dark brown hair with purple-red streaks in it, and all the rest were blonde. We decided to buy the one Bindi for the sobrinita who's far away and try again for the threesome.

I did look online, for groovy girls, but the shipping would've cost more than the dolls.

(See, the whole idea is that I crocheted ponchos for the sobrinitas, and I wanted to give each one a groovy girl with a matching crocheted poncho. It took me several failed ponchos, but I finally invented the right groovy-girl-poncho-pattern. And so I went looking for more dolls)

I tried the Toys R Us in Emeryville (practically Oakland), where I discovered they don't carry groovy girls. No biggie, right? there's got to be other dolls for people of color. Well, there may be, but they weren't there. Maybe 5% of their dolls were African American and all the rest were blonde haired, blue eyed....What's the deal? Is every Anglo child in this nation blonde-haired- blue-eyed? NO! So why this racial hegemony at the toy store? I look around at all the people of color around me who don't want to buy this peach-skinned flaxen haired plastic babies for their children to hug. I'm roaring inside. Oh, right. That's the point. We're supposed to see that the world is made for blonde barbies and blonde baby-dolls, and we're not in the picture. That's right. It's supposed to be an alienating experience.

There were quite a few African American baby dolls in the "Lots to Love Babies" line, which I guess were extra-plump? the baby dolls all had those little old man pechos.

(I was walking along muttering to myself "All I want is a doll that's not all about breeding or blondeness)

(There was one intriguing doll named Maya, who seems to be part of a Maya and Miguel team. She was the right size, but I can't get all three sisters the same doll. Plus her ponytail bobbles were supposed to light up, and only one of the three dolls in stock still worked)

(I'm also not counting all the Bratz dolls, because, while they come in multiethnic variety, the Toys R Us seemed to have blondes, blondes, and more blondes. Only a couple purple-haired Latinas and African Americans)

This evening I was at the Walgreen's at Foothills and Fruitvale Avenue. Now, their toy section is just a couple of half-aisles--less than the greeting card section**. But they had several "11.5 inch fashion dolls" of Jayna an alternative line, Integrity Toys. They also had something akin to a Cabbage Patch kid. Now it looked like their stock was about 50% white dolls and 50% brown dolls, but that a lot more of the brown dolls had been purchased. Maybe Toys R Us deals strictly with Mattel.

++I felt the need to clarify that we were running off to the store, because to say we ran off to a target makes us sound like professional assassins.

**Speaking of the greeting card section, they have a Mahogany line and a Latino line of greeting cards. I especially liked all the Virgen de Guadalupe christmas cards designed for Mamas and Abuelitas.

Students are blogging up a storm!

In my Queer of Color class, one of the requirements was that the students blog regularly. The last ten days have seen a mad flurry of writing over on the class blog. Check 'em out!

When things go serious

L* has checked in a couple of times from the southland. Things are serious and intense. The familia is holding together the best they can. It's hard for them not to do too much, I think.

It's too hard to blog at times like these. The inanities of everyday life are so overshadowed. All old behaviours and reactions are right here, right now. Gotta do what we gotta do.

jueves, diciembre 22, 2005


My beloved L* is on her way to LA today to deal with a family crisis. It's pretty complex sorting through histories and feelings and necessary actions and plans for the future. I light my candle and pray for the emotional and mental well-being of my L* and of her familia.

It's Here!

Book Cover for WITH HER MACHETE IN HER HAND by Catriona Rueda Esquibel

A big box of books arrived today from UT Press.


miércoles, diciembre 21, 2005


Hurray! I'm alive! I'm with my true love!

My fortieth birthday was a wonderful day! I now have a fabulous pink turkish bath robe from my sister, two great wardrobe-builder pieces from my mom (a black with red and white geo-design sleeveless top, and a beautiful black swirly skirt with a couture hemline). L* took me on a What-Not-To-Wear shopping spree. She played Fashion expert Clinton KellyClinton and I played dress up and we went through an amazing number of clothes.

I can't wait to show off my new outfits, and girls, my boots! We stayed at the Triton hotel off of Union Square in San Francisco, and were in the Woody Harrelson room, where i learned all about his environmental activism. We ate dinner at Ponzu which has most amazing dishes (the chile calimari! the tamarind prawns!), and we had a little tasting lesson in sake. This morning, more shopping. I am blessed with a loving partner and loving family. My dad, Don Fon sent me a really sweet message which I will post. (please note that I am not 50!)

martes, diciembre 20, 2005

From Don Fon

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 12:30 PM Pacific Time
40 years ago today was the first, or second, or third, most wonderful day of my life.

aunt tina and i were at kaiser permanente hospital in paramount, california. lunch hour had just past, but neither of us could eat at a time like this. we were waiting for my baby daughter to be born, (pre-arranged) by cesarean delivery.

i was fasinated that tina was the one waiting with me, at first, then i remembered that aunt tina is our,([Leora] and i) godmother, as a wedding madrina.

the next thing that i remembered is that [Leora] was very busy, and that is why tina and i were alone.

[ktrion] was late, (as usual), cause she was scheduled before noon, and boy were we concerned.

finally, welcome home ktrion!!!!!!!!!!!today, 50 years later, you are still my baby!!!!!!!!!!! welcome home!!!!!!!

with all my love, thank you [Leora],


don Fon

lunes, diciembre 19, 2005

Oh, fooey

You are Woodstock!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

I was aiming for Lucy, which is what Lorna Dee is. It woulda been way easier for me to get Marcie.

DMV days

I have just discovered the secret to the DMV: knitting. If you've got plenty of knitting to do, then, rather than fuming over the wasted time, you can sit in chairs la-la-la working on a foofy hat.

Actually, I think the whole DMV situation has improved dramatically, since they got the whole chairs-and-numbers routine set up. I clearly remember standing in a line at the SF DMV, sweating and counting how many lines were open and how many people were ahead of me, and my head would just start to pound.

Most of the other people in chairs with me today seemed to be pretty mellow as well. Though none had the "I hope I finish this row before they call me" attitude of mine.

The lady who graded my test was in a really good mood, too. She complimented me on my Frida Kahlo earrings, and we talked about Frida. I almost failed my exam, because the alcohol-level law is .08, not .1

But now, I am once again a licensed California driver, and I even got my same driver's license number, since my old California ID only expired 2 years ago.

Even our car--la caja de amor-- is now registered. Well, interim-registered. Still need the smog check.

sábado, diciembre 17, 2005

But What About Mxi?

Whenever L* and I are carrying on a conversation which doesn't include her, our younger, plumper cat Mxi cries out "Mrrrunh!" which we interpret as "But what about Mxi?"

Older sister Nxi gets all the attention because she has us once again living "under the cat's paw," which is an archaic and more refined way of saying "pussy-whipped." Yes, Nxi and her litter woes once again have us trying to grasp the concept of serenity and trying to take it "one day at a time." Today is the day that Nxi gets her 7-day chip.


Positive Reinforcement

I walked again this morning, again, too late to join the Lake Merritt racewalkers. Accidentally-on-Purpose, since meeting new people is scary for me when I'm at my best, much less when I'm not made up and sleepy. And given that it takes me an hour and a half just to wake up, if I went for the make up it would add another hour to my start time. (L* doesn't call me "La Pokey" for nothing).

Perhaps next time I'll have a beer instead of a mixed drink the night before.

X-mas xnitting

I was designing my own deep rib skully hat last night, but decreased way too quickly for the crown and ended up with a very warm baby hat. Which is a good thing to produce. but not when you're trying to get out those presents for nephews teenage and pre-teen, and niece who is all-that foofy. (I have in mind for her this knit cap with an attached tiara).

i spent a fair amount of time last night whining about the fact that it was a baby cap. thought about it while falling asleep. Sure enough, in less than a minute I was able to cut the ombligo, unravel the crown and now it's ready for a second try.

Apologies to L* for the whining. She's my design consultant on what-not-to-knit.

Felicidades to La Doctora 8a!

Last night we went to El Rio in the City to celebrate the newly minted Ph.D. of La 8a! It was a cold night, but she was full of that warm and happy gleam that says "I am done" and "No one can take that away from me!" What a glorious space to be in! (It doesn't hurt that she's on her way to DF)

viernes, diciembre 16, 2005

Translations, Part I

After meeting the director and cinematographer for Pura Lengua describe their phone conversation with folks in Colombia, L* and I have decided we'll stop referring to our Pocha Spanish and start calling it Fucked Up Spanish

We all come from the la Diosa
and to her we regresar
Just like a drop of rain
flowing to the m-a-r

jueves, diciembre 15, 2005

Thanks, Lotería Chicana

Read this Open Letter to Gwen who ripped a Picture of La Virgen in half.

Still in Process...

L* and I have been talking more about the peregrinación. We both really liked it, but also would have liked it to be more visibly queer. even a little less orthodox.

In the Visibly Queer department, I think we needed the kinds of banners that you hold up on poles. You know, the kinds that say "Legion de Maria #347, Peñasco" or something like that. Maybe with a photoshopped image of La Virgen de Guadalupe wearing a PFLAG t-shirt that says "Yo [heart] mis hijas lesbianas." (Note: check with IM to see if her Mexicana digital divide workshop could play with this).

In the less orthodox, the Letanía should have included,

Nuestra Señora Tonantizín
Nuestra Señora Coyolxauhqui
Nuestra Señora Coatlicue
Nuestra Señora Yemayá

Madre de Ambiente
Madre de los Otros
Madre de los Vestidos
Madre de los Desmadres

Madre Cariñosa
Madre de Amor
Madre sin Prejuicios

Finally, I think that it would be good to have something at the end where our queer community raises its hands and gives the blessing to the gay priests, (there was a gay priest at the ceremony at the end). To acknowledge the pain and emotional violence they experience in their place of work and place of worship. To acknowledge their efforts to work against the messages of hate [that come from Pope Rat, etc.] I understand the impetus to have a gay priest officiating, and at the same time, I think what we who are reconstructing our spirituality envision a community-based (not hiearchically structured) model.

miércoles, diciembre 14, 2005

More on the Death Penalty in the US

Read about Ruben Cantú executed in Texas.

Thanks to La Bloguerrera for this one!

lunes, diciembre 12, 2005

Other songs we could have sung, but didn't...

Note to Ktrion and L*: Translate these into Spanish before our next queer peregrinación

We all come from the goddess
and to her we shall return
Just like a drop of rain
flowing to the ocean

Dear friends, Queer friends
You have given me such pleasure
Let me tell you how I feel:
I love you so!


Madre de la Jotería
        Ampáranos, Señora

Madre de los Maricones
        Ampáranos, Señora

Madre de las Marimachas
        Ampáranos, Señora

Madre Soltera
        Ampáranos, Señora

Madre Desgraciada
        Ampáranos, Señora

Madre SinVergüenza
        Ampáranos, Señora

Madre de los Indígenas
        Ampáranos, Señora

Madre del Condenado
        Ampáranos, Señora

Madre de un Prisioneros Politico
        Ampáranos, Señora

Madre de un criminal ejecutado
        Ampáranos, Señora

Madre de la Comunidad
        Ampáranos, Señora

Madre deshogada
        Ampáranos, Señora

Refugiada Political
        Ampáranos, Señora

Mujer Marginalizada
        Ampáranos, Señora

Torre de la Esperanza
        Ampáranos, Señora

Rosa de Merced
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra la Neo-Colonización
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra la Injusticia
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra la Violencia
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra la Homofobia
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra el Movimiento AngloAmericano Supremecia
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra el Asesinato ordenado por el Gobierno
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra el Femicidio de la Frontera
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra la Violencia en la Calle
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra la Violencia en la Casa
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra la Guerra del Imperialismo
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra la impunidad de los Criminales de la Guerra
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra el Acuso Sexual
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra el Acuso del Género
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra ellos que no nos quieren
        Ampáranos, Señora

En la oscuridad desesperada
        Sé nuestra guía

En la oscuridad intolorente
        Sé nuestra guía

En la oscuridad del odio
        Sé nuestra guía

Modelo de riesgo:
        Sé nuestra guía

Modelo de apertura:
        Sé nuestra guía

Modelo de la perseverancia:
        Sé nuestra guía

Modelo de la confianza
        Sé nuestra guía

Nuestra Señora de Altagracia
        Ruega por Nostoros

Nuestra Señora de Caridad del Cobre
        Ruega por Nostoros

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
        Ruega por Nostoros

[Liberal borrowing from La Letanía de Maria de Nazaret por Juan Wolbert, OSB, Pax Christi, USA. Reprinted on the website of the Misioneros de la Preciosa Sangre]

El Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe

Schwarzenegger denies clemency

Arnold is making a statement right now about how he has denied clemency to Stan "Tookie" Williams.

CNN last night had a poll: "Should Stan Williams live or die?"

Could anything better represent the callousness of the state-ordered killing?

I oppose the death penalty primarily because it has never been "fairly" applied, but is a lethal renactment of the race and class disparities in this country. It is wrong. It is horrible, and it continues the devaluation of life--particularly the lives of people of color.

By solely focusing on Williams, the Governor and others are ignoring the fact that the system under which Williams was convicted is so broken and flawed that it calls into question his conviction...

I read some of the letters for clemency that were sent to Arnold, saying things like "I'm not a pansy-ass liberal. I believe in the death penalty. But Williams should be granted clemency because..." Those letters made me really mad (on the one hand) and on the other hand I thought "maybe that's the way it needs to be put to Arnold."

The news media started circulating reports of "threats of gang violence if Williams is executed." I don't believe them. Or rather, I believe that these reports circulated to give Arnold an ultimatum which would push him to prove his machismo by ordering this state-murder.

Tonight we're going to a peregrinacion, a pilgrimage to La Virgen de Guadalupe, to protect LGBTQ communities against hate crimes.

Afterwards some folks plan to go to the vigil at San Quentin.

domingo, diciembre 11, 2005


I've just finished the first third of Alejandro Morales's The Rag Doll Plagues. Set in the Nueva España of the late eighteenth century, Morales's book brings back to me the pleasure of Graciela Limón's Erased Faces. Both novels deal with the repetition of events and people (I think) and with what we'll call "the supernatural." Rag Doll Plagues might also include alternative futures or time-travel (too soon to say).

Krafty Xicanas and their Kats

Sonrisa Moreno knit a scarf for her kitty, Kachito. I told L* about this, and she asked me to make one for Mxi. The exact same day she said this, I saw that Cracked Chancla has also crocheted a sweater for her gata, Mina! [Sorry, no picture there]. If it happens, you'll be the first to know.

A Fruitvale Day

After my walk yesterday, I came home and hung out with my cute and sleepy L*. I told Mxi about the cat sitting with a guy on a park bench. (note to self: most guys on park benches are not runners taking a break)

I headed back out to scope out some yarn stores, because L* admired an angora scarf in the second Stitch 'N Bitch book. Remember that I have tried and failed on my previous yarn expeditions. The first store, YARN, in Alameda was cool (pricey!), and full of ladies looking for this or that gift or taking lessons. I didn't like any of the colors of angora yarn they had (I'm worried about were they find those rose and navy bunnies!--not to mention the variegated). I noticed a definite preference for that "Irish" yarn that comes from Chile (ahem) in the stock, and none of what I consider the basics: Brown Sheep in zillions of colors.

So I decide to pass on a purchase and zoom all the way back up Fruitvale to Park to Montclair (and, by the way, realized that Yahoo directions to Montclair are totally whacked, since they have you go way (east? south?) and then go way (west? north?)

I felt like I was seeing all of Oakland's "little villages" which are o so much whiter and soccer-mommy than la Fruitvale.

This yarn shop, THE KNITTING BASKET, was the one that had the effrontery to be closed when i hiked up there on a monday. It was huge, and their yarns were sorted by color (not by fiber) which made it really pretty. Again, very pricey! Again, no brownsheep (they tried to sell me Manos de Uruguay instead, which at my old yarn stores was one of the priciest yarns in the shop). I bought only the angora for the scarf and the navy wool for the cable skully on my list. they bagged the two different colors of angora in two different bags so "the bunnies don't mate".

L* mentioned I was getting grouchy around noon, so after that I had a gatorade and some cacahuetes "japoneses" and felt more civil. I dropped her off at an Urban Teahouse, and went to Chelo's for a (long overdue) haircut. Again, in the hopes of banishing my blues (maybe if it weren't six months since my last haircut, I would feel more pretty)

My Spanish skills pretty much abandoned me at Chelo's iNternational Hair Salon, so I ended up getting just a wet cut (I had just taken a shower so my hair was clean and wet) rather than a champu, cut, and style. My participation in the conversation was pretty much "si," as the lady lamented the state of my ends, calculated the months since my last cut, pointed out the high percentage of new growth (all those trenzas must produce a high rate of breakage that I hadn't noticed) admired my natural hair color, and re-shaped me into clean, presentable lines.

Then off to the Cesar Chavez branch library, where after searching the fiction shelves unsuccessfully, I had to go ask the librarian where the Chicano literature was. THEN I found my copy of Alejandro Morales's THE RAG DOLL PLAGUES, and returned in triumph to the Urban Tea House, where L* had graded all of her exams and a chunk of the essays.

I had parked in front of Saint Elizabeth's, where, in celebration of La Virgen de Guadalupe, they had made a screen of fresh flowers for the front of the church, just like they do in Mexico. The Urban Tea House was also rich with images of La Virgen: paintings, prints, t-shirts (I should have asked where they got the t-shirts, 'cause they were really nice ones!)

After all that, we were lured to have dinner around Internacional, but made an unfortunate choice, as a muchacho who had had too much beer was making una escena, and wouldn't leave until the police came and cuffed him. (With handcuffs, I mean: I just realized that "to cuff" means both "to put on handcuffs" and to smack around. hmm)

Keep on walking!

Gotta walk again today!

Yesterday was cool. I didn't make it in time to meet up with no racewalkers (though by the time I was finishing up, the gay runners and walkers group was warming up). Since I ended up walking alone, I was wishing I had some tunes or a story.

There were kazillions of people walking and running. Lots of ladies: you know they're gonna be spending the rest of the day taking care of everyone else, so they're out early to take care of themselves.

I love Oakland!

I thought a lot about Bird Flu, since there were so many birds!

Aside--I always wonder why homeless people aren't roasting those big-ass geese on a spit, but then I saw a government-style sign:"All Birds are Protected By Law". And then I thought again about--was it Ruben Martinez?

What time is it downtown in L.A.
when the LAPD raids the sanctuary at La Placita?
And in the city that bans Santeria sacrifices,
a thousand Pollo Loco stands notwithstanding?
What time is it where little Saigon meets little Havana
meets little Tokyo meets little Armenia and we all meet
the sea speaking in tongues.
Ruben Martinez, El Otro Lado

I thought about the serial killers profile of "killing animals as a child," and children who grow up on farms where you have to kill the animal, and wondering why this carniverous country can be so hypocritical as to say "private companies may slaughter animals by thousands" and "private individuals who kill an animal are criminal"

Back to the birds: Canadian geese, two different kinds of cranes (one fluffy), mallard ducks, other ducks, gulls, white geese, and something that looked like a waterfowl with turkey ancestors. (it had all that lumpy red stuff on its face like a guajolote).

Do they have h5ni? they look pretty healthy to me. Though, either there are a lot of one-legged birds around here, or some unlikely characters like to stand on just one leg when they're hanging out.

Okay, so why am I up early again, if I'm not joining no group to walk? I liked the energy of the morning crowd. I think the parking will be tougher once the church hour approaches, and it made for a really nice day.

sábado, diciembre 10, 2005

Walk, Doña Ana, Walk!

I'm up early (for me) because I want to get some exercise at the lake this morning. Of course, one could just go walk at the lake any old hour of the day--why get up early on a Saturday? Well, there's racewalking at 8am. Either the sense of community or the sense of competition should be enough to keep me coming back.

After using my running gloves in the garden last weekend, I forgot to bring them in and wash them. Last night I dreamt I found my pair of white wool running gloves. (In real life, I have no white wool running gloves). This greatly relieved my anxiety.

(I also dreamt of a new Harry Potter movie which showed the homoerotics between Harry and Ron. I remember being surprised it hadn't caused more controversy.)

My running shoes are thickly crusted with dried mud, as a result of the same little bit of yardwork. There's a brand new pair of shoes sitting in a box in my study (right next to my chair, right this minute) trying to tempt me, but I have sworn to mail them back, because I would be ever so much happier with a 9.5, which will give my toes room for their inevitable swelling.

I'm swiping one of L*s hoodies for the morning. I traded mine to doña Leora after the Turkey Trot. Hers didn't fit her right and I was pretty sure it would fit L*, and mine had the embroidered logo from my previous employer. Of course, I have not yet replaced it. (sigh)

Perhaps this the appropriate time to remind myself that if I were in Ohio right now, it would be 22 degrees, but feel like 10, and that weather forecast for the week varies between cloudy and mostly cloudy, with a pretty good chance of snow every day.

I'm hoping the exercise will pull me out of my pms/pre-birthday funk. I'm very good at feeling sorry for myself this week. (what have I got to complain about?) I'm turning the big 4-0, and consequently feel that I will never again be cute. Does this make sense? I was so excited when I was turning 30. of course, that was ten years ago.

viernes, diciembre 09, 2005

Note to the galley: Romulan ale no longer to be served at diplomatic functions.

In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Rosana DeSoto does a tremendous job in the small role of Azetbur, the Klingon Chancellor's Daughter (later Chancellor in her own right). I just love her: she brings Aztec Princess and Klingon together. (it's amazing she isn't killed at the end)


Ve do not impose democracy on

others. Ve do believe that every

planet has a sovereign claim to

human rights.



"Human rights". Even the name is

racist. The Federation is basically

a "Homo Sapiens" only club.....

[SPOCK reacts to this. CHANG is amused.]


Present company excepted, to be sure...

Mix it up at the Office Party

Is the "Holiday" Music starting to get to you?

Do you feel like it's "Merry Christians" and the rest of us can like it or lump it?

(Were you at the party the year they explained that they had looked for Hanukkah and Kwanzaa carols but couldn't find any?)

Then burn a subversive CD for the office party. Include something like Johnny Mathis' "In Winter it's a Marshmallow World," which is very gay, just like Johnny, and won't raise any suspicions. Melt some snow with Eartha Kitt's classic Santa Baby (which will make everyone feel smugly naughty). Bring the house down with Pansy Division's Homo Christmas, which has most explicit lyrics about what should be done under the tree.

jueves, diciembre 08, 2005

BART morning

This train car is full.
There are twelve women in purple jackets and red hats
Four at the end, four near the doors and four more behind me

I know the poem,

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.

I don’t like what they’ve done to it
Anglo women in a particular uniform
of uniform bourgeoise eclecticism

they’re quite pleased with themselves.
they disembark at Powell street station,
perhaps to tea, or to brandy

CNN inanity

"A suicide bomber strikes again!"

Sci Fi geeks come out of the closet

All the sci-fi geeks in the college are coming out of the closet to me because of my new class. W-M tells me about a SP Somtow and whaling, and Japanese ancestry (oh my gosh, this is just like the Carp in Bless Me, Ultima! and, was it Alejandro Morales's The Rag Doll Plagues that posits that only chilangos will be able to survive the lethal pollution to come? She also shares insights on Aeon Flux. The historian of race and social movements tries to talk me into showing Blacula and Blade (we started out talking about Fledgling and the African vampire episode from the X-Files, season Three).

I'm taking zillions of notes and now trying to track down an episode of Deep Space 9 (time travel/science fiction writer) and Voyager (Chakotay's tattoo).

Love Letter to L*

When I am with you I am nothing I was before
I am everything I ever wished I could be and more
So it's not just for what you are yourself that I love you as I do
But for what I am when I am with you.

Y'all know how important Johnny Mathis has been to my racial and sexual identity.

miércoles, diciembre 07, 2005

Fruitvale Avenue

A dropsite
because you know someone else will find a use for it

  • a box of children’s toys
  • appliances that are cheaper to replace: a coffee pot, a television, a vacuum cleaner
  • a neatly folded stack of men’s clothes
    (do they no longer fit the man? does the man no longer fit the home?)
  • what does it mean, that dragged out sheet that looks like it’s just been stripped from a child’s bed?

how different this is from that new house in the new subdivision

  • titled “estates” because each house is as big as an apartment building
  • each back yard complete with playground, more spacious than the urban play parks
  • children’s toys left on the lawn, secure in the knowledge that they’ll be there when the next desire to play strikes

10 years ago, 5 years ago, 1 year ago, yesterday

10 years ago
San Francisco
on the verge of the big 3-0. best friend Joanie plans my first birthday party in decades. I tell the students in my sexualities class "Women are Dogs!" in a tone little more than a growl. It's my fourth year of the Ph.D. program. I've just finished my play. I'm flirting with L*, this little fella, though I think we're both too shy to pull it off.

5 years ago
Las Cruces, NM
Second year of my first job. Overwhelmed, I sit in the bathtub and fantasize about drowning. But I couldn't leave L* with the mortgage, stranded in the middle of nowhere. A surprising pleasure is racewalking. Finished my first race five months ago and now I've got the bug. Racing in the Reindeer Run 10k in Roswell. A runner in his sixties comes in right before me. Don Fon wants to know why the old man gets a medal and I get a medal even though other people finished a half hour ago. "There's age categories and race categories" I explain. "I understand," he replies. "Everyone's a winner." For my birthday, L* gets me a racewalking lesson in Alamogordo! L* is on the job market, with interviews scheduled for the next three months. She buys a down parka online. How will we live with this pressure and uncertainty.

1 year ago
Columbus, OH
I get an email from a certain CSU telling me my file is incomplete. I call and tell them the letters were sent a month ago. They track them down and suddenly I'm scheduling a flight and a job talk. I practice the job talk with L*. We're both on the market and going muy loca. It is another grey day, and I hum "California Dreaming" to keep my eyes on the prize. I skip the quarter's last meeting of the College diversity committee in celebration of the upcoming job talk. I promptly run into the Associate Dean (who's on the committee), whose friendliness is one of the few rays of light. I feel so busted. It begins to snow. How will we live with the pressure and uncertainty of the next four months?

Oakland, San Francisco, and Oakland again
There was frost on the grass this morning, and my eyes water from the cold. I meet with grad students, several of whom are so together, they bear no resemblance to Ktrion-as-grad-student. Others promise a full draft by next week and then duck away from me in the hall. this is more familiar. I dawdle at the office and L* calls expecting me to be on the BART. I run up the hill, miss one shuttle, pay for the bus, run up the escalator and ride off on the Fremont train just as the next shuttle pulls into the station. I make it home in record time, and L* and I are off to our CORE training. We are infuriated by the instructor when she says "It's against the law to bring animals into a shelter." when the big ones come, will some burly fellow claim that the law allows only heterosexual families? How do we engage in community preparedness and yet balance our DEEP suspicion of the "the law." The class teaches me that L*'s whacked out preparedness steps are, in fact, extremely well thought-out. I covet the crowbar for our kit. I wonder if I could keep boxed water in my desk at the office without drinking it in the day-to-day. The instructor tells us if we work in San Francisco and take public transportation, we'll be stuck in the city for at least 2 days after the Big One. So, what? We should buy a second car and I should pay thousands of dollars in fuel and tolls on the chance that I'll be able to drive home after the Big One?

lunes, diciembre 05, 2005

too much genealogy for today

It's time to take a break when the information becomes too contradictory, even for me.

Our family lore is that my grandmother Libradita's parents were Elfego and Juanita. Juanita died and Elfego married Escolastica and they had three daughters together.

The records I have from a fourth cousin, show that her grandmother's parents were Elfego and Escolastica, and they had something like ten children together, some of whom appear to have been born before my grandmother (that is, while Elfego was married to his "first" wife).

This would suggest that Elfego had two families simultaneously, and that when one wife died, he and the other wife raised all the minor children together.

However, Escolastica also appears to have had another husband, Luciano, and her sons with him seem to be about the same age as all the other kids.

So while I can accept two simultaneous families (even though this contradicts my family lore) it's harder for me to imagine these three leapfrogging simultaneous families.

you know what this means. i'm bound to find Libradita's kids marrying Luciano's kids in the next generation. it is new mexico, after all.

Genealogy Software

I am fascinated by genealogy software. That is to say, once you start using it, you realize the whole ideology behind it. Most genealogy software defines "a family" as one man, one woman, and their children. What's wrong with that?

My mom has two half sisters. According to the genealogy software, she and her sisters are not from the same family. It's very frustrating trying to chart family stuff when you can't get all the siblings on the same page.

Surprisingly, a lot of the programs seem to allow for same-sex partners. There's not necessarily any politcs behind this, since they also let you list pets and extra-terrestrials.

The one I use--Reunion 8--even allows you to list both birth parents and adoptive parents and to make one set "preferred." Very useful when charting those complex intra-family adoptions.

sábado, diciembre 03, 2005

Race and Science Fiction

Students will be signing up for classes next week. I really need to get some posters up for my class on Race, Gender, and Science Fiction. I'm still tweaking the syllabus. I ordered two Butler novels and I'm going to put together a reader.

I was tempted to use the first Dark Matter anthology, which is excellent, but I would still have to make a reader to include the Latina/o, Native American, and Asian American authors I want. Definitely want Guillermo Gomez-Peña in there. and Sherman Alexie.

Last night, L* and I watched John Sayle's 1984 film, Brother from Another Planet. It has aged much better than Lianna

L* thinks it's more speculative fiction than sci-fi. That's prob'ly true. A lot of what we'll be reading is not "hard science fiction," but speculative fiction, supernatural horror, magical realism, and folk tales. It's about redefining science fiction.

I have been reading George Schuyler's Black No More, which is excerpted in Dark Matter (I). The satire is so wicked sharp: it's like Twain in Letters from Earth. Don't know if I'll teach the whole book yet. I'm in the middle of reading about the Nordic Knights (yikes!) and an ex-Black man's involvement with them as a most promising graft.

I'm thinking of showing Man Facing Southeast (Argentina, 1987), but will have to figure out how that will work in the context of the class. (all the other fiction and film will be North American).

Teaching Inspirations

Just read Barbara Jane's blog account of the culminating experience in P/Filipino Literature. Wow! What an inspiration! What a challenge! I know I walked past that classroom every week, and the energy and enthusiasm was just amazing. It's what everyone wants her lit class to be like!

Really has me rethinking my lit classes, which are, perhaps, too centered on the novel. I tried to include a poem-of-the-day. But I didn't have it fully structured.

One thing I'll need to overcome is my resistance to printed readers. I guess in my head, I've really been wanting to do the whole "electronic reserve" thing, where the students can read the works online and print them out (or not) themselves, rather than paying a copy place to xerox the whole packet. And they don't spend a wad of money on a book that they can't sell back.

I guess there's no reason I couldn't still do that, and make the reader available for purchase.

Because with a reader, you can include a wealth of short fiction and poetry.

I do love novels. But I do have other options. I really gotta think about this.

jueves, diciembre 01, 2005


So, yesterday I found out I received the mini-grant I applied for, so I’ll be working on the anthology In the House of the Tortilla-Makers in 2006.

And you know I recently posted Nana Minnie’s tortilla recipe.

El Xolo commented that real tortillas are de maíz.

Which reminded me of a couple of passages from The Hummingbird’s Daughter by Luis Urrea. The first passage occurs when the community discovers their patrón is moving to Sonora, and thus they must move with him.

Eggs and tortillas became a new astonishment. The Sinaloans had heard that Sonorans indulged in the unspeakable atrocity of eating flour tortillas. Flour! Any human being knew that tortillas were made of corn. So they regarded their pieces of tortillas with sorrow--serving as spoon and fork and napkin all at once, their humble little maíz tortillas, with their loose skins and their delicious burned spots, had revealed themselves at last to be family members more loyal than sisters or brothers. Long after a fight with a brother, even after a funeral for a sister, you could scoop us some fried beans with a tortilla de maíz. And when you didn’t have beans, a pinch of salt in a tortilla was a great meal. How could you eat salt in a wad of flour? Did not Padre Adriel say they were “the salt of the earth”? Nobody was sure what it meant, but it clearly related to the tortilla. (105)

The second passage occurs when they have arrived at the ranch in Cabora, Sonora, only to find it razed to the ground.

Huila [the medicine woman] had sent clay bowls full of beans and nopal cactus fried in eggs to the men at the ruined ranch house. Some of the locals had provided weird huge flour tortillas, and the men at the main house ruins suspiciously wrapped their beans in these wads of what seemed to them to be wet laundry. Segundo [the foreman] found the tortillas de harina squishy and deeply improper, though by his third bean and cactus burrito, he started to enjoy them. Their rich taint of lard felt good and greasy in his mouth.
Tomás [el patrón] chose to remain loyal to his little corn tortillas. There was only so much he was willing to concede to el norte. (163)

Now, I come from what Jose Antonio Burciaga describes as a mixed marriage: Califas and Nuevo Mexico. So my mom, whose mother is from Sonora, dislikes new mexican food: the rice is soupy and the tortillas are bready. She grew up with the large thin tortillas de harina of Sonora. The legend goes that a good woman of Sonora could roll her tortillas so thin that you could a) see the moon through them or b) read a book through them. New Mexican tortillas de harina, by contrast, are closer kin to pita bread.

Reading Sonrisa Morena had me looking for champurrado this morning!

What a goofball!

Remember that it’s my first semester on the job. So, I just missed a college faculty meeting and a holiday party. Not really my fault, since I am teaching today, and the college faculty was added as a memo to the email about the holiday party just last week. Oh well. I spent all day yesterday in meetings. Surely that should count for something.

I’m hoping that the state of my office is a indication that my office mate also forgot about these things. Slackers love company.