Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Before you even read this, just know I'm already judging myself for over sharing and posting something so seeping with juvenile sentimentality and emotional manipulation. But that said, this part of September always knocks me flat on my ass, and when I try to stand up and look around again, I see so much of that younger me trying desperately to wade through this shit. So maybe some adolescent sadness and angst is appropriate right now?


When I was a kid, I used to visit my grandpa in New York City.
When I was 8, I decided my dream was to live in New York City, just like my grandpa.
When I was 13, my grandpa was the first close loss I'd ever suffered [9.22.01], only 10 days after he watched the Twin Towers fall [9.11.01].
When I was 14 and dreaming of NYC, I was at Littleton HS and had finally made my first friends ever.
When I was 17 and accepted to a school in NYC, I had to tell my first ever boyfriend I was leaving.
When I got to NYC, I hated it. It broke me.
When I got to NYC, my first ever boyfriend, whom I loved so much, broke my heart [9.22.06].
When I was 22 and had overcome those losses, one of my friends in the group of my first friends ever took his life [9.17.10].
All of those things happened within the less-than-two-weeks between the 11th through the 22nd of September, over the span of 10 years.


And yes, I've lost a lot of other people outside of this stupid beginning of the fall season. And I've come so far from where I was on that last date of loss. Farther than I thought would ever be possible for someone as angry and depressed and pessimistic as I used to be. And even though I used to repeat this narrative to myself over and over as some sort of justification for my bullshit, I now repeat it only as a reminder for my brain what my body is remembering, out of respect for those things and people I lost, and out of respect for the part of myself that grew through it and came out on the other side.

Monday, September 24, 2012

I drank too much Bhakti Chai too late at night and now my body & brain are so stirred up, I can't even sit still. When this happens, my compulsive need to categorize and organize takes over. So, you know, here's a comprehensive catalogue of the art on my walls.

From a roadside shack in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Made in Guatemala.
From my friend, A, in Salt Lake City. Made by her friend in the book arts program at the University of Utah.
From a bookstore in Austin, TX. A cropped page from an old book with animal images.
From artists at Ink Lounge Creative in Denver. Celebrating the 2011 UMS.
From my friend, M, in Austin. A letterpress postcard depicting the Congress Ave bridge bats.
From a roadside shack in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Made by Tzopelli.
From the streets of La Boca, Buenos Aires. Made by an Argentine New Yorker whose name I can't recall.
From the 2012 UMS in Denver. Made by an artist at CrawlSpace Squared.
From my best friend, P, from an artist on etsy.
From photographer Lesley Brown in Marfa, TX.
From photographer Lesley Brown in Marfa, TX.
Forever my favorite piece of art that I own. Made by my best friends' [P&R] grandmother.
From P&R's mom, J.
From a Chicago photographer showing his work in Salt Lake City.
From the San Telmo street fair in Buenos Aires. Drawn by C├ęcile Perret

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Really simple things like this always make my day

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I've chosen Friday as my no-work day each week. Since this isn't possible when in a PhD program, "no -work" really only means no seminar related work. Instead, my Fridays are for the following:

&] reading for USC's chapbook press
&] writing and finalizing my own work for submission
&] perusing different conferences and considering their calls for papers
&] imagining what projects I might pursue this semester
&] finding beautiful examples of digital and analog technology that question their respective media
&] exploring texts, etc that I have compiled on a long list of "shit I need to know more about"
&] looking for and scheduling events related to my area of study/interests
&] investigating various digital humanities related organizations, publications, conferences, etc.
&] updating my seminar blog re: digital humanities concerns
&] updating my own blog re: personal concerns, nonsense, sunsets, boring daily activities, street art, my apartment, my cat, things other people say, things other people do, things that make me sad, things that make me happy, things that annoy me, other things, travels, the desert...

&] locating myself in this massive academic landscape that actually isn't a landscape but a giant ocean with jellyfish and turtles and sharks and things that eat their own babies and schools of shiny little assholes that dart past you and change shape before your very eyes to avoid being eaten by something hovering just above the water.

&] wondering what the hell this means

Friday, September 21, 2012

The 5D Institute held a design summit this Friday & Saturday at the School of Cinematic Arts at USC.
It was pitched in the following way: "We are a group of world builders - designers, scientists, artists, creators and educators - who like talking about learning about making new stories."

I attended because one of the panelists was Mark Z. Danielewski. I've written a lot over the past few years on MZD's House of Leaves and his work continues to be some of the most interesting codex-based work in the contemporary American scene. I also attended because I'm obsessed with architecture, I'm a Digital Humanities student, and I love design. Unfortunately what I got from the evening can be summed up in the following photo:
A group of undefined people [not undefined in their identities but undefined in their presentation of their exact purpose or contribution relating to the event] sitting in a freezing cold room in front of a screen filled with disjointed, half formed audience questions that the panelists couldn't not easily see and that drew the audience's attention away from the panel and instead to voting for or against questions. This problem didn't necessarily ruin the event, and MZD & Hernan Diaz Alonso contributed some interesting insights, I just wish those insights could have been explored more in depth, and not superficially. It especially drove me nuts to hear panelists and audience members talking about the multi-authored narrative without defining what the fuck that means & multiplicity of voices as if it were a new thing. As if they'd never read nor cared to read Bakhtin. I know that's an unfair, English Lit PhD snob biased opinion for me to have, but this is my blog and I'll have any opinion I want.//I suppose this kind of thing always happens when you have a group of people talking at cross-purposes about a giant, undefined theme like "story" or "narrative" or "city." So I opted not to return to the second night of the conference this evening, though if I had, it would really have only been to see this guy talk about story spaces...
"I'm extremely suspicious of words like 'story' and 'narrative.'"
Interesting bits from the event:

"Architecture could do what people want if people knew what they want." - Hernan Diaz Alonso, architect
"We don't really know what the new narrative is." - MZD [which seemed to be the consensus of the panelists]
My favorite moment was when MZD was talking against books as containers and instead spoke about how books can be uninhabitable. Ghostly. Parts of House of Leaves came rushing back to me in a plesantly unpleasant manner.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Listening to a new song in the midst of this second time that sounds like an old song that I used to listen to in the midst of the first time. Listening to a band that's only ever meant less to me than anyone thinks it has. Songs that meant more to me than anyone could ever think they do. And for reasons I wouldn't explain.

There are so many things I can't say. Can't know how to say.

& now this...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Even though seasons don't change much here south on the pacific coast, I'm deciding it's time to put Summer to rest and move on to what the rest of the world calls Fall. The only way I've ever really marked these transitions is through music. Goodbye to my summer mix, my summer love. It's been indescribably wonderful.
1. We Are the Tide - Blind Pilot
2. Province - TV on the Radio
3. Untitled (Love Song) - Counting Crows
4. To the Black (Firefly Theme) - The Browncoats
5. Ghosts - The Head and The Heart
6. Civilization - Justice
7. DLZ - TV on the Radio
8. Cats and Dogs - The Head and the Heart
9. Half Moon - Blind Pilot
10. Side With the Seeds - Wilco

Sunday, September 16, 2012

There are so many things to do in this city at all times, it's overwhelming. And exhausting. I'm trying to do everything all of the time because everything I've done since I've moved here has made me so happy, but I'm thinking I need to calm down, cut back, and maybe take a nap. But since I haven't done that yet, I'll just give you a little blip of what my grad school life is like here in LA. This week--

Monday: Take artwork to be framed by Mario at Silver Lake Custom Frame. Buy two rusted blue metal porch chairs from a convenience store on Sunset Blvd for $65. Buy cactuses at my local Sunset Junction cactus boutique [for real]. Mail letter to former student who now lives in England. Yoga. Eat oysters for dinner with R, and B&M at N's restaurant, Blue Plate Oysterette, in Santa Monica.

Tuesday: Reading. School. Reading.

Wednesday: Reading. School Reading.

Thursday: Reading. School. Dinner and drinks with the 620 crew at The Lab Gastropub, which is a science lab themed restaurant right off the USC campus.

Friday: Organizing. Cleaning. Reading. Organizing. Aimee Bender reading at Beyond Baroque in Venice. Dinner with fellow first years at Mao's Kitchen. Graffiti finding.

Saturday: Beach. Swimming. Graffiti finding. Phone calls. Yoga. Reading.

Sunday: Reading. Having to miss movie night with first years at S's place so I can keep reading.

All of which is interspersed with pasta eating, GLPress reading, various episodes of Sports Night, Arrested Development, and Louie, street parking, and occasional sleeping. The soundtrack to the above has been the four Houses seasons EPs.

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Los Angeles--

Our Los Angeles--

Closing the circle we opened 3 and a half years ago. Opening the circle we started 4 years ago. Learning things about circles. Learning things about love.