Monday, May 31, 2004

Time Immemorial

Today several branches of my family tree were grafted back onto the main trunk. As my sister Becky & I walked across the Wilson Chapel Cemetery (she donated the new flags in the photo), she recounted little known, almost lost details from family members I vaguely remember ever knowing anything about: my great-grandmother Cynthia Ann Pipes (b. July 3, 1891; d. January 18, 1945) who raised two children alone after her husband deserted her; my great-uncle Everett D. Pipes (b. March 22, 1910; d. November 18, 1935) who fell out a two-storey window and was placed in a mental institution until he undoubtedly died of brain damage. I also learned of my grandfather's secret family in Dallas where he lived and worked for several years after the cotton fields were abandoned while my grandmother continued living on the farm in Peeltown with her own horde of children.

Then we moved on to Mount Olive Cemetery (which was in horrible shape) to visit our grandparents' graves as well as our Uncle Frank's, who was killed in Vietnam. We finished our trek through this cemetery by visiting the graves of our great-grandparents Joe & Thirza Garrett.

Ah! more names and more information to run through my searches in hopes of finding more about my family.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Inwood Lounge

Drank a couple of whiskey sours at the Inwood Lounge last night with Kris & Stephen as we raked several people over the coals of our discontent. Later, had a beer with the Serb posse at Spike. All that alcohol (as well as the heat & humidity & breakfast cheesecake) did me in as I tried to jog in the neighborhood late this morning. I won't be doing that any more.

This day has been fairly uneventful, but tomorrow we're going out to Becky's; and together we're going to the cemetery in Scurry to decorate the family graves.

Very pleased with the new CD. I'll call this week to schedule a time to get it mastered; and after I finish the design, it'll be available for purchase online.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Wal-Mart Fall Apart

When we were kids, everytime someone said "Wal-Mart," it was obligatory for the listener to say "Fall Apart" immediately afterwards. It was one of those bizarre, linguistic games that only kids and Swedes can get away with. (Someday I'll tell the tale of Morgan, the liguistical Swede....)

Now when I think about such games, it seems like an attempt to work some word magic, like when repeating a word with a "shm" prefix: happy shmappy. Love shmove. Job shmob. You are eroding the power of a word by SHMessing it up, SHMucking it up to where it no longer holds sway over your life.

After shopping at Wal-Mart last night with the great unwashed masses of South Dallas (of which I belong, at least geographically), I pray this meager magic eventually works: Wal-Mart Fall Apart!

Friday, May 28, 2004

Is There Any Class in This Fish?

Thank god there's cheesecake in the house or I'd simply go berserk trying to re-decipher student loan applications & processes after so many years not having to think of such things (except, of course, remembering to debit my bank account every month for the money the Dept. of Education takes out to repay itself for my lovely education that has gotten me to this most honored, respected & privileged position in my life). Ah, the scent of Ivory Towers fills my nostrils once again!

Speaking of scents, I finally heard the lyrics to the new Outkast song "Roses": "I know you'd like to thank your ---- don't stank...." Brilliant!

Marianne Faithful's cover of John Lennon's "Working Class Hero" still gives me the chills: "You like to think that you're classless & free, but you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see." I'd like to see Marianne Faithful wrestle Stanley Fish to the death ... at least theoretically.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

To the Power of Z

Jot to the zet, Chickie-chickie Boom Boom!

Droga (wewnętrzna): Ta taka mała notka to tylko dla Ciebie. (Like how all those Ts tickle the tongue, no?) Sto lat! Mleczna Joleczna. You bring the power of Z to me!

Happy birthday. I love you.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

No Other Troy

While I was working out this afternoon, listening to my MD entitled “Angry Women,” I kept thinking of Todd and how we had a relationship that lasted for years based solely on the fact that we never had a relationship. It all started backstage during Our Town during the late autumn of 1988; lasted through some minor kissing & groping parked in his car after a couple of wine coolers; the reappearance in spring 1991 when he searched me out to apologize; when he wrote a letter from Memphis in winter 1993 declaring himself queer, out, and proud; in spring 1997 when he introduced me to his wife Laramie; until I finally wrote him a letter while I was living in Japan (spring 1998) with these fateful words: “How is it that we’ve managed to have a relationship based solely on the fact that we’ve never had a relationship?” That was seven years ago. And since then, not a single word. Funny, eh?

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Favor for Nikola

Does anyone out there know Frederica from Italy with a dog named Sascha and a grandmother from Croatia who hangs out at Torrefazione on Travis Street in Dallas? If so, my friend Nikola would like to see her again before she moves back to Italy.

More Reasons to Love Dallas:

  • #1 in crime (again ... for the 6th year in a row)
  • its citizens recycle a mere 4% of their waste (and I'm convinced that I do most of that!)
  • 3rd fattest city in the US

They need me here!

Walked/jogged 7 miles yesterday. Took a break from that as well as many other things today. Joined Nikola for coffee at Torrefazione in the late morning. I complimented him by saying that he's one of my few friends who has decent friends.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Photographing the Disaster

As Maurice Blanchot reminds us in his The Writing of the Disaster, there can be no experience of the disaster simply because the disaster always happens after it has happened. September 11th has little, if nothing, to do with the terrorist attacks in the US on September 11, 2001: September 11th is all about the aftermath of that disaster, as we futilely attempt to recreate/represent/reveal the truth of that experience in a continual recreation/repetition of it. This is precisely why there will be no truth coming from any 9/11 Commission.

Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ is equally laughable in its arrogant attempt to represent any passion of any Christ, let alone one that requires determinate articles. You cannot get at the disaster by trying to recreate the disaster because the disaster is untouchable by mere human efforts, even if humans created the disaster.

The Holocaust cannot be represented. Despite the filmed and photographic archives, this disaster was so much more than emaciated faces staring through barbed wire or bulldozers plowing through a pile of corpses.

The disaster speaks of the absence of the disaster: “When all is said, what remains to be said is the disaster. Ruin of words, demise writing, faintness faintly murmuring: what remains without remains (the fragmentary)” (33).

Like the fat American nonchalantly looking at his hands that all too often has been cropped out of the photograph of the Iraqi prisoner standing on a box, with a hood over his head, with wires attached to his body--a photograph of the disaster depicts the absence of the disaster. What is not shown is closer to the disaster: the terror and abuse of a human against another human all in the name of saving humanity. (But which man here is more dehumanized? The Iraqi prisoner? The fat American? The photographer? The president who ordered the war? Or any other countless participants or spectators?)

And yet still it is not disaster but a mere shadow of it.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Whiskey Sour

Stayed out last night with Stephen, Douglas, & Shannon until after 1:00 AM drinking whiskey sours at Barbara's Pavilion. Then crawled out of the apartment at 10:00 after initially waking up around 6:00. Insomnia is my new best friend. Went to El Jordan for Mexican breakfast and bumped into . . . Douglas & Shannon. We all haven't socialized in months (probably close to 9 months!), and now we've spent all evening and all morning together.

Bought vegetables and fruit at the Farmers Market downtown after breakfast. Splurged on two baskets of raspberries at a $1.00 each. Met Kris around 6:00 for a one-hour walk on the Katy Trail, then came home for gazpacho and potatoes and the season finale of The Simpsons.

Strangely compelled by today's Doonesbury strip: it was censored in the Dallas paper because of the decapitated head even though it was actually written before the Nick Berg incident. What a strange world this is: the Dallas paper also printed a photo of Mr. Berg's head held up by his murderer, but that too was censored . . . but with only a black box over the head. And now this comic strip--that doesn't even reference the event & is often censored by the editors of one-horse town's newspaper--always already references the Berg murder and therefore requires censoring. All this is enough to make me, too, lose my head....

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Served Chilled

My 16-year-old nephew Timothy came up from the hinterlands of East Texas late yesterday afternoon to spend the night before heading to a party this evening. We sat around most of the evening talking before eating pizza at Vitto in Oak Cliff's Bishop Arts District. Afterwards we walked around, then settled at Nodding Dog for tea and live music.

After an even lazier morning around the apartment, we went to Torrefazione for coffee and muffins, Virgin Megastore for music (and virgins ... but alas, none were to be had!), and White Rock Lake for a walk.

Since he left, I've been working/reworking a song I entered in a contest several months ago. The original version used copyrighted material from the contest sponsors, and since I didn't win (BOO!), I've been rewriting/recreating/reworking/replacing that material with my own. It's kind of fun hearing this newer, even more original version of something I finished back then. The title is "Rusted City (History is A...)," and I'm planning for it to end my next CD: an EP entitled Harm, which will also include the following soon-to-be club hits: "Harm," "Satisfied," "The Dream Beyond," & "False Starts." The tracks will be mastered in early June and probably released around July or August. Stay tuned here for updated information as it becomes available.

Finally, I'd like to wish my 12-year-old niece Felisha a very wonderful & happy birthday.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Deals with the Devil

Chalabi's Seat of Honor Lost to Open Political Warfare With U.S. NY Times

Happy to see that Ahmad Chalabi is finally paying the devil his dues. Remember: he's the Iraqi who fed American intelligence agencies "information" regarding weapons of mass destruction recently described as "useless at best, and misleading at worst." After thousands of deaths. Now if only his cabal of like-minded war-mongers, including Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Cheney would lose favor in this administration.... I can think of several other ways to spend the over $33 million in American tax money freely given to a petty crook, not to mention the billions spent on an illegal and immoral war.

On a lighter note...

Voted on my favorite comic strips this past week. Here are my top 5 choices:
  • Ballard Street
  • Bizarro
  • The Boondocks
  • Get Fuzzy
  • Pearls Before Swine

The Dallas Morning News is revamping its comics page. If you read the DMN, go to to cast your own vote.

Successfully completed the Katy Trail 5K last night. My official time was 43:39.65, so I did meet my goal of being under 50 minutes--which was no small feat considering the humidity & heat, the crowd & traffic, and the uphill climb on a new trail with an empty belly. I'll do even better next time.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Views of a Beheading

In memory of Gloria Anzaldúa, who died yesterday:

Living on borders and in margins, keeping intact one's shifting and multiple identity and integrity, is like trying to swim in a new element, an "alien" element. There is an exhilaration in being a participant in the further evolution of humankind, in being "worked" on. I have the sense that certain "faculties"--not just in me but in every border resident, colored or noncolored--and dormant areas of consciousness are being activated, awakened. Strange, huh? And yes, the "alien" element has become familiar--never comfortable, not with society's clamor to uphold the old, to rejoin the flock, to go with the herd. No, not comfortable but home.

--from the Preface to Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza

The video of Nick Berg's murder has surpassed Internet searches for Britney Spears. And since I can't imagine that a new subset of the populace has turned to the Internet in hopes of gaining unfiltered information, it seems that those who were previously disposed toward celebrity gossip and scandal-mongering have turned their attention toward the (other) grotesque. Having already seen and experienced so much pain and torment firsthand, I have no interest in watching any type of violence, whether it be in the form of Mel Gibson's bloody depiction of a crucifixion or a terrorist snuff video.

Nor can I throw any support behind the argument that we must see it in order to "know our enemy." Viewing Mr. Berg's murder has as much to do with civic responsibility as Ms. Spears' music has to do with art and originality. Our enemy is not a band of murderers in turbans but rather our own murderous proclivities. When we humans watch a murder, we focus on the act, on the actors committing the atrocity, on the face of the other, refusing to notice amid all this objectification that his face is but a reflection of our own fear and hatred.

Moreover, I don't need to watch this video to recharge my "righteous outrage." I always already know that it's wrong to murder someone. The trick is to continue working toward a world that values all life without any notion of self-righteous vengeance to aid in one's pursuits.

By the way, if you were more offended or horrified by Mr. Berg's decapitated head than the children murdered by the Israeli army in Gaza or the pile of bodies from the Iraqi wedding party or African victims of AIDS, you, my friend, are less a moral being and more an ideologue. Or worse: a racist. And from my own personal experience, it's damn hard not to be either.

Disclaimer: No deities were crucified or otherwise harmed in the creation of my morality.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

In My Jumbled Thoughts Today

U.S. Citizen Murdered in Yerevan

A friend of a friend.... There but for the grace of God go any of us.... Words fail me (knowing perfectly well that I, too, fail words ... and deeds).

Joshua was a 33-year-old peace activist & environmentalist who also traveled the world teaching English. He was one of Tetsuya's friends from Kitakyushu.

Sometimes it's hard to have connections with others around the world, especially when the emotional distance is not quite as large as the geographical. Coupled with my acute empathy, it's a wonder I've been able to keep moving on emotionally ... or geographically. I wish I could be in Fukuoka to comfort my friend who has lost his friend.

My greatest concern is that by referencing Joshua's death I've somehow exploited him or been somewhat guilty of self-aggrandizement: look at me! see how I feel! That certainly is not my intention. I have Sandra Bernhard's comments on Princess Di's death always in the front of my mind when I talk/write about others' tragedies: nobody should care how Tom Cruise felt when he heard the news.

But after a night of poor sleep, I'm too much in my own head today. After blowing off all those emails from my students for yet another day, I'm going to force myself to work out and then head to a coffee shop to read some in Che Guevara's The Motorcycle Diaries.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Vegetarian Times

Realized this morning that I've been vegetarian for 1/2 my life now.

Total mileage yesterday: 5.5

Today I'm taking a break from running to give my ankles, shins & hips a rest before beginning again tomorrow. The 5K is Thursday.

6/12* Lemon Grass "Ice Cream"

  • 2 cups yoghurt

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1 stalk lemon grass

  • Chop the lemon grass & blanch it. Mix ingredients. Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions.

    Feel free to substitute all dairy ingredients with non-fat or non-dairy. Or substitute sugar with maple syrup or some other sweetener. I prefer to use vanilla-flavored rice milk & soy yoghurt for a vegan dessert.

    * This recipe was inspired by a similar version served at Cafe Zurawia 6/12 in Warsaw, Poland.

Congratulations to my queer brothers & sisters in Massachusetts who were (finally) granted legal marriages yesterday. One day, and the world has not ended yet ... unless you're considering what's happening in Iraq (the Iraqi Council President was murdered by a suicide bomber) or Israel (Israel attacked a Palestinian refugee camp and murdered at least 12 people). But those things have nothing in common with queer marriages in MA . . . unless you consider that the administration(s) that brought about the situations in Israel & Iraq is/are against queer marriage--which must mean that queer marriage is a good thing. As one of my more insightful students argued: sometimes the slippery slope slides up.

I'm sorry, Mr. Bowie, but you will just have to find someone else to make your intolerably unlistenable last album interesting. Your Reality is sad & poor.

Almost ready to release my new site to the world: Skajlab V. I started 5 years ago this month during my last few weeks in Japan. And now it's all sleek & exciting (I hope), and much more interesting (I hope). If not, tell me! I'm a much more interesting person in-person than I've ever been online. And I'm a demon in the sack....

Monday, May 17, 2004

Mundane Things

The concerts Friday night were very exciting: the experimental/techno-friendly Tree Wave, the alternative rock Sekiden all the way from Australia, and the ever techno-erotic industrial/synth pop The Lovemakers. If anyone lives in the DFW metroplex, I highly recommend the Rubber Gloves venue in Denton: good space & great crowd that was so goddamned Molly Ringwald circa 1985 it made my tits hurt. Picked up Zoran & Dragana a little after 10:00 PM and then drove the 40 miles to Denton. Even the chill in the air helped make the perfect night out. We didn't get home until after 3:00 AM. We crashed until after 11:00 the next morning and couldn't/didn't do much Saturday, being in recovery for not having gone out clubbing for several months.

Sunday we got up at 4:30 AM to pick up Shayne from the airport. There were no coffee shops open as we neared downtown, so we continued all the way to Kaufman, where we spent the entire morning and a chunk of the afternoon sitting in her garden chatting.

Last night I did 2 miles. This morning I did another 2 miles and lifted weights.

Today I haven't been able to concentrate on my music very much. Thinking of ditching the mash-up contest since the deadline is in two days. I'd much rather rework my own "Rusted City (History Is A ...)" in order to have my next EP mastered early in June.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

And Spring

Last night--in order to begin taking back my weekday evenings--Stephen & I went to the Inwood Theatre to see Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ... and Spring.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Take Back Thursday Evening

It's only been one week since the demise of Ross (at least in the nightmares I was having before the conclusion of Friends, that's how the series ended: with Ross dying of severe brain hemorrhaging in Rachel's arms), and I've felt so free since his death.

Training almost every weekday for next Thursday's 5K; yesterday I ran over 3 miles and walked another 2.

Had lunch with my sister Becky at Napoli in Terrell. Then we shopped together before I drove back to Dallas. She bought a necklace; I bought a toothbrush.

Friday, May 7, 2004

Fictional Encounter #1

Lori:  Frank, this is my Finn, Dorsal.  Dorsal, this is Frank.
Frank:  Good to meet you.
Dorsal:  Same here.

Fictional Encounter #2
Lori:  Gil, these are my friends Dorsal & Frank.
Gil (to Dorsal):  Haven't we met before?
(Calypso music begins playing in the background.)

Real Encounter #1
Professor:  I can't accept this paper.
Student:  Why?
Professor:  Because it was plagiarized.
Student:  Well, what are my options?
Professor:  Uh, not to plagiarize.

...and I will love you . . . (whispered) forever....

Wednesday, May 5, 2004

Today I will wear white . . . forever....

Played 3-D Hop Scotch with my life last night just to see the present & future ramifications of my decisions, specifically the decision I have to make this summer regarding my move to London.  My life without a PhD looks withered and worn and less as I attempt to look forward looking back.  And who knows if the worst case scenario would even be a factor when it's all said & done?  I have almost 3 more months to ponder these questions & so many more.

No te dejes! indeed.  Dear Sonia, I had (erotic) dreams about you last night, except you were much younger and I was more fit.  It was Lolita meets Soniacita, good 'nuff to eat cha!  I guess I'm having more anxiety about your wedding than you are.  I just don't want to lose a soul mate & fellow traveler through marriage.

Training for this 5k is killing me legs, y'all!  Did 5k on the treadmill this morning after a full session of lifting weights (upper body).  But I'll be happy to jog it under 50 minutes come May 20th.  Now I can get through about 1/2 of it jogging and walk the rest.

Thursday evening I give my last exam to my government class.  Grades are due Monday, and I'll be free to spend all my time on my music until summer II begins early July.  I'm looking forward to this next phase.

Sunday, May 2, 2004

Well, it's already May 2nd and the Pope hasn't died yet.

There's an article in the Dallas Morning News regarding new research among baboons:  once the aggressive males were killed off (thanks to TB), the females groomed the males that were left (as well as the new males that joined the group) and taught them to be less aggressive.  Now they're a bunch of peace-nik commie baboons.  So I was thinking:  we either need to have a freak strain of TB... or Laura needs to put out more.

Last night after talking with Zoran & Dragana, I started thinking about Clinton's appeal regarding the US involvement in bombing Serbia.  He convinced me, I remember, because he made a sound argument that addressed me as an intellectual & interested party.  Oh, why can't we bomb Serbia again?  <sigh>

The sentence about my president that made me smile:  "his lack of scholarly achievements other than a basic MBA, and an absence of any body of work which could be studied on an intellectual basis."  Nothing more than a basic MBA, indeed!  Finally my disdain--if not pure hatred--for that degree is validated.