You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2008.

65 pages since Monday at 9 am.

20 more before tomorrow at noon?

yes. I’ll call you when I’m free. I promise. 4/11.

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The purpose of our project. To link the word and idea of gentrification to something insidious and terrifying that looks like it might be able to turn the world into a drone-run planet (despite the incredible power of Will Smith.) That way, when you are about to make “easy” decisions about where to eat (eh hem, Bloc 11) or where to live or where to put your hipster-infant-clothing store, you will be bombarded not with guilt, empathy, or ethics.. but with terror of colonization and dominion.

The method: Pavlov, Youtube, Blag tip-offs.

Without further ado…..

we ask that you please VISUALIZE GENTRIFICATION



*if this works, I’ll be looking for suitably terrifying videos to pair with other malicious problems.

** for a more productive evaluation of the video, see lolAJ. but don’t keep linking between us. it’s gross.

I’m running an hour a day already.
I don’t know what to say then. I would have suggested exercise. I suppose you could do it more.
Yeah.
What about swimming? I find that really helps me out.
Okay.
Baths. Meditation. It’s hard at first but it gets easier.
I think I’ve reached the bath daily limit.

Forget the earth. I don’t know who for.

These aren’t medical suggestions. The only medical suggestion is medication.
Hmmm.
I think you’re too fragile for that right now. These are just some things that work for me.

I don’t want to yell at her. I want to bring her red bean rolls and glow-in-the-dark plastic dinosaurs. Last week I hallucinated stand-alone radiators popping out of ever puddle of light in the periphery. I was sure that the drinking water was poisoned. I kept buying bottles of juice and then decided that the water in juice was bad, too. I would have to keep hydrated in other ways. Through osmosis. A fresh water mountain well. Where are the cacti of my home?

Colorado, I want to cut off your spiny top and drink from you.
Colorado, can I scurry along your desert ridge at night– undead, eyes yellowed?
It’s my year after all: Year of the Rat.
You wouldn’t know it: at this rate.

And not only that, I also felt love, emanating from a stuffed elephant. That’s right. I silently enumerate them on my fingers. 1) Hallucination. 2) Paranoia. 3) Love.

NC used to collect those little stuffed things. She thought they were so cute. I thought we might as well throw them away. Now I take them out, line them up, pet them. I would get rid of them but they’re loving me. It would break their batting hearts.

What is the cute threshold?
Is it fuzziness?
I don’t know. Is a tennis ball cute?
I think it’s eyes.
A tennis ball would be cute if it had eyes.

She talked to her friend in a cab on the way uptown. I was against the window in a a black skirt and boots.

What do you think? She asked me.
Oh I couldn’t hear you guys. By which I meant: you never explain yourselves to me and it’s so often a test.

Later someone asked me about that skirt. I bought it on one of our first dates when my zipper broke at Urban Outfitters.

Why didn’t you just ask for a safety pin or a staple?

What and idiotic question.

Three times in six weeks I have had fevers at night. Once for four days. Then a week. I’ll let you know when this one ends.

It’s too painful to lay still. I complain that my breath is burning my lips.

What will I do with all of this? I ask her.
Why are you so attached to going to graduation? Maybe you shouldn’t go.
It occurs to me that I only want to go so that I can walk around kicking over mothers’ purses into the wet grass, accidentally knock over brothers when I turn too quickly, step on men’s feet.
Maybe she’s right. Maybe I have too much resentment to graduate.

At a party, a week ago, I descended the stairs in lead of 6 butch dykes to find tens of white college boys lined up along the stairs. I was in sage sequins, high heels, rage.

Wow. Look at all these pricks.

I announced only for their benefit.
There was a muttering.

Of/to other cretins: perhaps, since you feel so perfectly capable of seduction, I will seduce you. It will be just like Hard Candy except I Really Will cut them off. I will be your very last lesbian, honey.

Colorado, let me spill his into a stringy masses on the plains. Opaque– I hope. Something wet to look at over the meadows. Or perhaps I’ll just wipe my hand clean, unceremoniously on a row of library books. Castrato al dente.

Colorado, I miss you, baby.

Strange* advertisement for a Lesley University summer semester

on the subway.

The copy reads “Passion, Potential, Purpose.

Enhance your skills– enrich your world!”

It certainly leaves me wondering what these summer classes are all about. Black and white photography? Ethnographic research?  Diversity?

*By strange I mean weird.**

** By weird I mean racist.

Correction: May March! 28. Incentive. A whole new country. So share what you know.

Echo1

(She isn’t used to it! It hurts her paws.)

(I hope Pedigree only helps good dogs. Divorce victims etc.)

J keeps asking me to write about providence.

“Write about Providence,” she asks me. All the patched asphalt spots in the street have sunken over the winter and we are bumping violently in her truck. Down town. It’s all because that morning I came up with a new description of the city.

“It feels like we’re actually in a huge factory and all these buildings are actually in a bigger warehouse. And not a good one. Something out of a Kurt Vonnegut book.”

At first I keep it vague. As if I, for some reason, mean to allude to all Vonnegutesque factories. I don’t. I don’t know very many. I’m referring to Player Piano, a not-very-good Vonnegut book (if there is such a thing anyway) that we used to have and I spent the better part of my child-hood reading the opening (factory) scene of. So one could argue that while I don’t have great breadth of knowledge, my detail is pretty reliable in this case.

I am particularly pleased with this last explanation of the city which fortells an eventual factory worker in the dystopic future because it is my latest analogy and therefore my best. Also, if they made a movie of it, maybe they would find a technology-filled room full of full-grown humans gestating in pink goo.

J likes it too.
“I dare you to write a story about Providence. Can I do that?”
“I don’t know.”

We’re at Borders in the Mall on our way to the Apple store so that I can find out which way I’m not covered for repairs this time. My computer hinge is broken. I can’t write a story about Providence if my computer keeps falling flacidly open or closed on me. Especially not in Providence. It’s too over-determined.

The factory analogy has replaced my assertion that Providence is the place I would be least surprised to see a zombie (tied with Ward, Colorado.) Before that, I called Providence a staging ground for a city. It was something out of Columbian magical realism: the city-dwellers (a dynasty of super/supra-human caretakers of town and myth) spend all their time and magic preparing Providence. It is a festival set. A place where a city is about to happen. Either that or it is being polished and honed by commercialism so that it won’t be surprised with Metropolis happens overnight (like DUMBO, now).

But I’m not going to write about Providence because I’m too smart for that. If I do, it will eventually be used against me. Deployed mid-fight by J who will have indexed documentation about how I feel about the place she lives.

I won’t write about it because, at times, I love it. No qualifications. No kidding.

But mostly I won’t write about it because I know you guys. You read my stuff and sometimes you laugh. I say it tastes bad and you immediately go out and buy some to eat. I mean, you pay money for the pain.  Believe me. I know. I try hard to prevent you the pain. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from goodreads.com is that I can write the most discouraging, pained review of my life and an hour later at least two of my friends will add it to their to-read list. Then a few months later someone will inform me,

“Femmephane, I read Charlotte Gilman Perkin’s Herland, and it was terrible”
“I know. It starts out as interestingly terrible but then it gets really old really fast. I stupidly decided to write a paper about it once.”
“Yeah. I remember. You should have warned me.”

“Aren’t we good reads friends? I do all of my public warning on there.”

I know.

So when it comes to Providence I’m warning you: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.

My mother subsidized her nursing school living expenses by selling her class notes. She reminded me constantly of this when I was in elementary school. Of course, this was before it was so easy to attach and send those notes you’ve taken on your computer. Which brings me to this current anguish.

One of my classes (Tantra) meets once a week. That means we only get 12 sessions in a semester. The professor has a long-standing, strict attendance policy: if you miss more than two classes, you get half a letter grade taken off your final grade. I’ve experienced his sincerity.

Two students (let’s call them Brian and Brian) have now missed every class for the last month without even contacting the professor, despite the fact that the syllabus said that the midterm would be distributed two weeks ago and due last week. They just went ahead and missed those without warning, too. No prob.

So then last week Brian sends an email to the class listserv asking for someone to find it “in their heart” to give him a copy of all their notes. Brian replies-all: Ditto.

“These guys have missed four classes and they expect us to to give them our notes? None of the men ever come. The women always do.”

“I can’t believe it. ‘Ditto?'” Right.

Then I remembered my mother.

I sent an email to the whole class:

Dear Brian and Brian,

I’m sorry you have missed class. I do have all of the notes typed up on my computer. Two of the days I was even careful to record almost everything the prof said because I was taking notes for friends missing the class that day. I would be happy to sell you the notes for $10 per day.

Take care.

Brian wrote back immediately: He wanted them. He was good for it. I know him. He is. So I sent them on, with a copy of the midterm and some friendly tips for writing a paper the prof would like.

And THEN I heard from Brian:

Hey,
I can’t pay you for the notes, I don’t have that money. Knowing that I won’t graduate in
May if I don’t get those notes maybe you can hook it up..
Love*,
Brian

Now. I think I’m empathetic to not being able to pay. If he had, say, made me another offer or something, I would have gladly accepted it. After all, I’ve spent many weeks at Tufts deciding how many classes I can afford to go to and how many days I should skip to go to work. It was the entitlement in that second sentence that got me. Knowing that you’re not going to graduate in May, maybe you could have hooked yourself up with attending.

I haven’t written him back yet. Although I did discover immediately after I sent the notes to Good-Brian, Bad-Brian emailed him asking if they could split the cost. He was happy to pay Brian 20, but not me.

I guess I had failed to appreciate how my hard work, attendance, attention were the least I could do to facilitate this guy’s graduation in May. So I started snooping. I stopped, enraged, upon opening his Facebook page and immediately reading his Activities: “chillin with the bums on my way to fine restaurants.”

*I cannot make this shit up

Rage has compounded itself into utter dejection. And so I have failed to blag what/when I should have. If only I could be like AJ, tireless in my tiredness. A fierce reporter of— lolcats, Dowd-antics, and injustice. Instead I have been beaten by it.

First, there is a white, Harvard man in my life who is currently making a film about how his friend group is “post-race.” The ten-minute film follows two black characters (one based entirely on the filmmaker) as they sleep together in the wake of the female-lead’s queerness. (She is/was queer and troublingly keeps leaving another dyke’s arms/bed to finish herself off with the lead.) Oh, right, did I fail to mention that the film is also supposed to about how his friend-group is post-queer? I have no idea why the filmmaker has cast himself as a black man. (Well, I mean, of course I do, but he hasn’t, like, justified it or anything.) Whatever. I’m so post-him.

And then at my own disaster of a University.

A few choice excerpts from class.

In a classroom conversation about the film The Apostle:

After several students egged each other on about how drunk, stupid, and lazy Southern people are, we finally made it to this Gem.

S. I just think this movie is outdated. I mean, it’s like 15 years old. Race doesn’t work like that anymore. I think we’ve moved beyond race. It’s more about class now.

Professor. Really? What do you mean by that, S? In what way?

S. [Confident in the flawless logic of her illustrative example] Well, has everyone seen Erin Brocovich ?

Students nod. Some express worried faces.

S. Well, that movie has a really beautiful, classy, movie star playing this totally trashy, white-trash, whorish character and the audience really likes her. That’s what I mean.

[World fails to implode. Betelgeuse does not expire, engulfing us all in darkness and death. Unfortunately]

A week passes.

In a classroom conversation about the film Malcolm X:

S. I’m not sure I really understand the Nation of Islam. Could you explain it to me using an example white people can understand.

Presentation-leader. Uh. Well…

S. I mean, would it be equivalent to, like, the KKK?

A Number of my readers have been barraging me with requests. Femmephane! they entreat, When Will You Have A Blog That Teaches Us Valuable Life Skills? And if not that then they want to know, When Will You Use Your Far-Reaching, Considerably-Influential, Web-Forum to Help Humanity? Or, they plead, When Will You Take Cue From The Bespectacled AJ and Invite A Lesbian to Write Guest Column Answering Age-Old Questions For Someone’s Benefit?

The time is now, my friends.

For several fortnights I have watched my friends and loved ones gear up for imminent disaster. Hoarding like I’ve never before experienced it. Since I was too young to enjoy the fruits of Midwestern El Niño panics, too late for the Cold War shelters, and too far from California to adequately prepare for Hale-Bopp, I’ve gotten a late start.

But there’s no putting it off any longer. The threat of a Zombie-plague is upon is. Or is it the threat of an alien invasion? The point is: you don’t know either. I have watched as two to four loved ones have maxed out their credit cards stockpiling items they mistook for necessities. For your safety I have compiled a reliable list to prepare you for the possibility of attack. These are things you SHOULD buy and keep in your home in order to save yourself when the time comes.

Tools To Protect Yourself Against Zombies

1. Black-Out Curtains, Barricades. You need to be able to lock yourself into some place. If the zombies see you moving around in there after dark they’re liable to come after you. Think about installing large, rolling, steel doors in your pied-à-terre. Keep some plywood on hand. In a bind, shopping carts can be stacked up to block stair cases. Shopping carts make zombies totally crazy for some reason.

2. Love. There’s no telling if this one will help you or totally fuck you over. But you should get yourself some on the off-chance that your honey will want to pull out of serious peril.

3. A vaccine or a cure. If you can’t find these then you might as well befriend some geneticists. But try to get some really built ones or ones with other skills. Otherwise you’ll be sorry later if you try to ford the river and your scientist dies.

4. Bob Marly. It would be very unrealistic if you didn’t know who Bob Marley was.

Tools to Protect Yourself Against Aliens

1. Rock Music, Water, Oxygen, Homosexuals. The key to aliens is this: aliens have a weakness. You just have to figure out what it is. The best way to figure out the alien weakness is to ask yourself: In this situation am I the protagonist? If you answer yes then you should try to distill your most annoying quality into a weapon. For example: Are you into The Eagles? Are you a former high-school diving champ who’s given up the pool after a tragic accident? Do you indulge in sodomy? If you are the protagonist and you have answered yes to any of the questions, you may already know the alien weakness.

2. A Very Short Introduction to Chaos Theory, Quantum Mechanics, and Post-Colonialism. If the alien weakness isn’t the essence of humanity then it’s bound to be the essence of alienity. If this is the case you will find that their technology will actually be the way to their Achilles heel. Be on the look out for misuse of the golden ratio or the metric system. Consider tearing the conversion chart out of a Five Star five subject notebook so you can have it on hand.

The 5 Most Important Tools Effective Against Both Zombies and Aliens

5. Elaborate Pulley System.

4 . Flamethrower or ample accelerants.

3. Bacon.

2. Flame Thrower.

1. German Shepherd.

FAQ
You may be asking yourselves.

If there was a national emergency, wouldn’t Superman come to save us?
No. And don’t even bother asking about Batman– there’s no way he’d leave his bat-hideout.

But Femmephane, what about a demon invasion?
Good question. I refer my readers to Revelations for the overview on that inevitability.

Are German Shepherds effective against the forces of Skeletor and/or Voldemort?
I’m glad you asked. The answer is 1) Skeletor: If he’s the one from the cartoons, Yes. If you’re dealing with the one from the 1987 film Masters of the Universe, no way Jose. 2) Voldemort: Don’t be naive. Only if the dog’s imbued with the power of your mother’s love.

How do Zombie and Alien invasions intersect with issues of race in America?
It’s so good we have time for this one. Zombie-plague and Alien-Invasion are the true equalizers. Invasions and plagues are color-blind. By that I mean, being undead actually turns everyone pretty chalky and aliens will gestate in any body they can catch. Once you’ve been turned into a zombie or inhabited by an alien, you actually don’t see race anymore because your eyes don’t work in the dark. But this doesn’t mean that racism is dead. Racism will always live on in the hearts of the healthy.

Who would the Zombies support in the primaries? What about the Aliens? Do Zombies and Aliens caucus? Do they have opinions on superdelegates?
I wish I could say. The only thing I can tell you for sure is that we would probably be Republicans or Libertarians before we could arm sufficiently to prepare for either scenario.

Purebred dogs are expensive and I’m allergic to animals with fur. Can I get a Shepherdoodle from the shelter instead?
It’s your funeral, man.

Is it true that Stevie Nicks is the universal alien kryptonite?

It’s hard to say. If I were going to make an alien movie about Fleetwood Mac I would cast Drew Barrymore to play Stevie, Steve Buschemi, Jennifer Tilly, Tilde Swinton, Matt Damon, and Macaulay Culkin. In the end I would probably have the Aliens win–No, the humans–No, Alan Rickman–Oh, I don’t know.