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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Zane's LiveJournal:

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Sunday, September 16th, 2007
11:16 pm
Rollick's Spider Advice
It's comforting to know that I'm not the only one who tries to explain the rules to the spiders ("You're allowed to live in the corners of the laundry room, but if you enter the bathroom I must kill you."). I don't want to hate and fear the spiders, so negotiation seems to be the best tactic to reduce my anxiety. I do have a very nice golf shirt covered with little spider icons--I wear it as both a protective totem and as a symbol of my courage.

Current Mood: Brave
Saturday, September 15th, 2007
12:13 pm
One way only?
I have searched all over for a version of "House of the Rising Sun" sung to the music of "Amazing Grace". I can only find versions going the other way. I am not interested in redemptive lyrics to music of despair. I want to hear the words of devastation sung in false uplift.

Am I alone in this? Heh.

Current Mood: mischievous
Thursday, February 1st, 2007
3:40 pm
Lightness
I was driving on 90 through downtown Cleveland today, and Skynard's Freebird came on the radio. It was as if the sun had come out. I drove the rest of the way to school zooming along.

I know. Freebird isn't a great song. But sometimes it's enough.

Current Mood: cheerful
Wednesday, August 9th, 2006
2:10 am
The Comics Curmudgeon...
is the best. Funniest line I've seen all day: "Ia! Ia! Mary Worth fth’agen!"

Back to writing. I've got to finish this paper in four hours so I can get on the plane to Montana.

Current Mood: working
Thursday, June 15th, 2006
7:01 pm
I'm adjusting to this damned summer session, I think. I've slipped back into school mode. But by the time Thursday rolls around, I'm tired of all the research design, theory building, and so on. Today, after school, I went to eat dinner at a Middle Eastern restaurant and read Allen Ginsberg's "Howl".

It's the first time I've read it. I really liked it. And I wondered, not for the first time, if I'm in the right field. It's clear I'm not in the right time.

Current Mood: calm
Tuesday, March 14th, 2006
10:42 pm
We are pleased.
Grammar God!
You are a GRAMMAR GOD!


Congratulations! If your mission in life

is not already to preserve the English

tongue, it should be. You can smell a

grammatical inaccuracy from fifty yards.

Your speech is revered by the underlings,

though some may blaspheme and call you a

snob. They're just jealous. Go out there

and change the world.


How grammatically correct are you? (Revised with answer key)
brought to you by Quizilla

Current Mood: sedate
Saturday, November 19th, 2005
4:09 pm
Winter's come.
Thursday, September 22nd, 2005
7:50 pm
Shook
I was driving through a complex, busy intersection today. A major street intersects an Interstate. There are on- and off-ramps and 7 lanes of traffic (including turn lanes). We're all moving at about 25 miles an hour. Then a few cars in front of me I see a small flurry of movement. As I approach I see something lying on the road. "Someone's hit a dog," I think. But as I get closer I can tell there is a fawn splay on the road. It lies flat next to a mercury-like pool of thick brown. The cars passing on either side of it part in order to get by, and I inevitably have to pass within feet of the dying animal. As I do, it lifts its little doglike head and I see the face, blood pouring from its mouth. And I pass by.

"Oh god." I hold my hand over my mouth in a reflexive acknowlegment of horror. "Oh, oh, oh!" I moan in distress as I enter the on-ramp for the Interstate.

Current Mood: shook
Tuesday, August 16th, 2005
10:28 pm
Fuck.
It's been my dream to return to graduate school. For those who don't know, I met my partner, Vic, when I was completing my BA and he had just completed his PhD. Before we'd met, I'd planned to go to the west coast and get a PhD in sociology. After we met, of course, things changed. He got a job at the University of Iowa, and I followed a semester later when I'd finished my BA. But I didn't like Iowa's sociology program. I ended up entering the PhD program in geography (my undergraduate major), as the department was both more respected and more interesting. Nevertheless, after two years of graduate work, and the completion of most of the coursework, I realized I was unable to force myself to write a dissertation in geography. I was burned out and unhappy with the program I had drifted into. I quit the PhD program.

At the same time, I realized I had no usable skills for the job market. So, I got my MSW (Master in Social Work). After 9 years in college, I could be employed.

I've been employed for a social worker for 12 years now. I'm finally at a point both economically and motivationally that I can return to graduate school. I've been evaluating just what it is that I'd like to study. I've considered going back to sociology, but I'm no longer the same person I was 18 years ago. I've really become interested in history, and decided to investigate history as a discipline.

Today I had meetings with two different faculty members at two different history departments at Cleveland universities. Not to apply to their programs (both only offer the MA in history) but to get a feel for the discipline and to review what I need to do to prepare to enter graduate school again.

They were both very nice and interested in assisting me. They gave good advice about preparing for history, about applying to programs. They both also told me that my age was a problem. In fact, that was the first thing that each of them told me. Because a PhD would take at least 5 years to complete, I wouldn't be on the job market until I was 44--at best. Colleges would be most interested in hiring faculty members who would be in place for a longer period of time. History is already a field with more PhDs than jobs, so entering the job market in my mid-forties is a big hurdle.

A possible corollary to this, unspoken by either professor, is that PhD programs might be less willing to admit or provide funding for a potential student who faces an uncertain employment future.

I knew that I would find barriers to getting into and out of a doctoral program. But I had seen those barriers as having more to do with my lack of a BA in history, or my current lack of foreign language skills, or a problem finding academic letters of reference when I've been out of school for 12 years. All of those kinds of problems can be overcome. But I can't change the path I've already taken in my life.

I can't make myself younger.

At the moment I'm quietly devastated by this news. I waited too long.

I'm not sure what to do now.

Current Mood: numb
Thursday, August 4th, 2005
4:03 pm
en francais
I'm in Montreal. We've been here for almost a week. I have this intense, powerful desire to speak French. I want to so much that I feel an ache. I'm inordinately proud of saying, "Parlez-vous anglais?"

Current Mood: discontent
Friday, July 15th, 2005
10:03 pm
The only victory is survival
Anger writhes inside,
snake in a sack.
I know what to do--
swallow it back.
9:46 pm
Five favorite current songs
1) "The I Love You Song" from The 25th Annual Putnam county Spelling Bee cast recording. When I saw this show and heard this song it was a magical moment for me. I got goose bumps. Then I forgot about it. When the cast recording was finally released, I listened to it and was hit all over again. What a wonderful song. Just goes to show that William Finn can write music that is both beautiful and whip-smart.

2) "Weird World" by the Backstreet Boys. I can't explain why I like them, and so I won't try to explain why I like this.

3) "American Idiot" by Green Day. Sorry, I know it's popular right now, but I love it anyway.

4) "Coin-Operated Boy" by The Dresden Dolls. "Made of plastic and elastic, he is rugged and long-lasting. Who could ever ever ask for more?"

5) "Coast to Coast" by Elliott Smith. Took me a while to love the song, but what grabbed me right away are the parallel delusional sermons(?) at the end ("...you held out to me in the palm of your hand. Emanate your presence and let me strive in the indigo shadows for your tolerance. The fog rolls in, the cloud invokes your selfless wings feathers...") over which Elliott finally says "That's why."

Current Mood: calm
Saturday, July 2nd, 2005
7:57 am
Here
The house is blissfully empty of guests. This weekend is only somewhat booked with social activities. I feel a sense of calm returning.

It's been a long two weeks.

Current Mood: sleepy
Thursday, June 16th, 2005
6:29 pm
Purty Colors!
I've got this defensiveness. Because I was raised oilfield trash in podunk towns in places like Wyoming, South Dakota, and Oklahoma, I wasn't exposed to things like art and music as a kid. In most of the places I lived the only place to buy books was at a grocery store or drugstore. Local radio was invariably Country. I never entered a museum until I was an adult, never saw a play until I was well into college, and never even went to a concert until I was in grad school (not counting Charlie Pride with my parents when I was in 7th grade).

At the same time, I craved knowledge and culture. I read anything I could get my hands on. My big childhood dream was to go to a town big enough to have a zoo. A zoo! I thought I was a city kid at heart, but had no city experience.

So when I grew up and had the opportunity to do "cultural" things, I was intimidated and ignorant. It never occurred to me that I might like art or enjoy a museum until I was pressured to go to the Chicago Art Institute by my boss during a conference. It was a revelation.

So now I love art. But I'm out of my depth talking about it. When I try to communicate about art, I feel like the annoying kid who corrects his parents' grammar. I have some knowledge but very little experience.

I feel defensive about the art I like, as though someone truly cultured would think my choices gauche. Or even if I like "good" art, that I like it for the wrong reasons. I worry that I'm getting above myself when I talk about going to Europe, or discuss paintings, or write about a novel I read. Because it's all so new to me, I have a hard time overcoming the sense that I have nothing useful or interesting to bring to a discussion. I'm the hick pointing and saying "purty colors!"

At the same time, I want to talk about these things. I want to discuss so I can learn and know more. But I don't know how to make that happen without a painful awkwardness.

Current Mood: eager and embarrassed
8:04 am
Poet
Just saw the new NIN video.

Trent's looking mighty fit.

Never thought I'd think he's hot.

But I did, I did.

Current Mood: waking
Saturday, June 11th, 2005
12:13 pm
Poseur?
I see that the plan to increase the pretentiousness ratio in my posts is going quite well.

Sadly, this is how I really am.

Current Mood: dorky
10:49 am
I'm stuck.

While in Vienna, I saw a number of paintings by Anton Kolig, an Austrian Expressionist who lived from 1886-1980. I really liked his stuff (and not just because of the male nudes, heh), and wanted to find a book of his art. I couldn't find anything in the museum stores, so I decided I'd just look around on the web once I got home.

Well, there's not much to be found. The only place I can find anything is at an Austrian museum shop online (here). They list two books and show the covers but there's not even much German text for me to figure out if these are books of prints or just artcrit in German.

I've emailed the museum, apologized for my lack of German, and requested additional description about the books, and that's the limit of what I can do at this time.

What do you do when you want to track down information about lesser-known foreign artists?

Current Mood: frustrated
Friday, June 10th, 2005
10:12 pm
Twenty
Twenty Questions (by zaratyst)

1. If you were to live as a cartoon character, who would you be?
Mr. Peabody. The Wayback Machine would make me godlike.

2. If you had a wish that could let you either end poverty or end war, which would you choose? (Assume the way it would work would not be some scary, horrible dictatorship or something else that happens in stories where people make wishes).
Poverty. Research on child abuse and neglect shows that while child abuse gets the attention and intervention, serious child neglect has even more devestating consequences for children (not to minimize child abuse). By analogy, I suspect that poverty is more damaging to humanity than even war. More people are killed, more lives destroyed by poverty than by war.

3. Froofy or Sleek?
I don't know what froofy means, but I suspect sleek isn't right.

4. Do you have siblings? If so, where do you fall in birth order?
Yes, I have a younger sister.

5. Do you tend to have more friends of your own gender, or a different one?
Different. Ever since college, most of my friends have been female. A stark contrast to my childhood, of course. ;)

6. Would you ever want to live in a country other than the one you live in now? If yes, which and why, if not, why not?
Of course! I'd live in the Czech Republic or the Netherlands. I'd live there not only to experience another culture, but also to live outside of an empire. I'd like to live in a country with a communitarian worldview combined with the idea that tolerance is a virtue and an expectation.

7. High school, horror or highlight?
Horror, though a quiet one.

8. Theoretical or Practical?
Both.

9. Space Programs, an important step towards the future, or a waste of funds?
Important.

10. If you could be an animal for a day, and retain the memory of the experience, what kind would you like to be?
Wow. I guess a raptor of some sort. Gliding high above the prairie on a sunlit day would be very nice.

11. Do you cry?
Sure.

12. Name 3 of your talents.
This kind of thing is always difficult. I don't know if I have talents. I have nice features: I have a handy breadth of knowledge. I have a strong intellectual curiosity. I am easily entertained.

13. Are you vaguely embarrassed about any of the music you own? If yes, you can share it or not, it's embarrassing! Release it!
Certainly! I do really like Barry Manilow. I deeply love the Backsteet Boys. The difference is that I've been to a Barry Manilow concert. I'm too embarrassed to consider going to a Backstreet Boys concert.

14. What is the most recent movie you've seen? Was it worth your time and money?
Star Wars the Recent. Sure. It wasn't bad.

15. What is inherently funnier Badgers or Cows?
Cows. But not because I think cows are especially funny. Badgers are just so scary...

16. If tuition and time were no object, what are 3 classes you'd like to take?
History of the French Revolution. Art History. Some sort of American Literature course.

17. Bald Dudes, sexy or off-putting?
Not sexy to me. This shames me, not least because my own forehead is getting larger. I envy the young their hairlines...

18. Do you put salt and pepper on before you taste food, after you taste food, or not at all?
After I taste it, if I do at all.

19. Set aside the "mustn't brag about things" programming. What could you brag about, if you wanted to? (feel free to go ahead and brag, or just name it)
Haven't I already? "I have a handy breadth of knowledge. I have a strong intellectual curiosity. I am easily entertained."

20. PONY?
No thank you. Unless I have to take a badger instead.

Current Mood: sleepy
8:59 pm
Book Meme
Here is the Book Meme from Melanie. I'm finally settled at home and have a chance to do it.

Please note the spiffy html features, btw. Finally.

1. Total Number of Books I’ve Owned:

I have no idea. Thousands.

2. Last Book I Bought:

Croatia: A Nation Forged in War by Marcus Tanner

3. Last Book I Read:

I'm gonna cheat here. While in Europe I read:

Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History by Robert Kaplin
The Stone Fields: An Epitaph for the Living by Courtney Angela Brkic
Iron Council by China Mieville
Crowner's Quest, The Sanctuary Seeker, and The Awful Secret, all by Bernard Knight
the first two of the Commissario Brunetti mysteries by Donna Leon
and I started Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia by Rebecca West, which I'm still reading right now when I'm not reading Paris: 1919 by Margaret MacMillan

4. Five Books That Mean A Lot To Me:

The first three are truly good books, the last two marked moments in my life and so left a strong impact on me.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. What a book! I still reread it. I know why she never wrote another novel. How could you ever do it again?

Dahlgren by Samuel R. Delany. I read this mind-fucking thing in a weekend, pausing only to eat and sleep. It changed my brain.

How We Die by Sherwin Nuland. Nuland writes a wonderfully readable science, about something most of us don't want to think about, and does it with humility and humanity. I finished it with profound admiration for the author.

The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey. It isn't my favorite Pern book, and the later ones have become far less interesting to me than the earlier novels, but it was the first Pern book I read. It was a lot of fun and also the first fiction I read that hinted at homosexuality among its characters. It gave me hope when I was a kid in Wyoming.

On Being Different: What It Means to Be a Homosexual by Merle Miller. I don't remember much of the content, but it was the first book I read by a gay man about what it was to be gay. I found it in the library when I was in tenth grade. It was one of things that helped me hang on for little longer.

Current Mood: completed
Thursday, June 9th, 2005
6:37 pm
Shame and the War
I'm reflecting on our drive in Croatia from Plitvicke Lakes to Split. We saw uncleared minefields and destroyed and damaged houses and churches resulting from the war in the 1990s. I wanted pictures of these things, but when I would get ready to photograph them, I felt odd and furtively photographed only a few bullet-splashed or exploded buildings.

Part of the reason I was reluctant was that I didn't want to be the worst kind of tourist -- gawking at others' pain. There was also a sense of embarrassment at seeing something shameful.

But that's not entirely correct either. I did take some pictures. My desire to document overcame my sense of shame or embarrassment. I wanted people to see this, to know what has happened, what still happens, and what might happen.

Maybe the answer is that the awfulness of the situation has left no correct thing to do. It would be wrong to turn away out of embarrassment. It would be wrong to tourist on other people's pain, grief, and misery.

And mine is the smallest of quandaries. I didn't have to live through the events of this civil war, this ethnic war.

Current Mood: okay
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