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Showing posts from November, 2008

gracias

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1. the recipe When I was a kid and Thanksgivings were usually spent eating precooked turkey loaf around our motorhome’s formica table (seriously, my mom did an amazing job in that tiniest of kitchenettes, and the precooked turkey loaf was always moist and delicious), someone started the awkward tradition of going around the table and saying what we were thankful for. Saying “family and friends” or “good health” is predictable. Saying “my expensive new car” is materialistic and braggy. But as a sixth grader who was painfully self-conscious around everyone but my family, none of this worried me. I just answered honestly: “I’m thankful that I’m pretty, smart and nice.” Well, sort of honestly. I had frizzy hair and a nose that had recently enjoyed a growth spurt; I got good grades but came up short in the emotional intelligence department; and I think my answer speaks for itself regarding my thoughtfulness towards others. But I had recently decided that these three traits were the re

just call me a hero for hope

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Right now my left knee is creaking like it wants to tell me a storm is brewing. And according to the weather report, one is (finally!), but I don’t think my knee is psychic. I think it ran 6.2 miles yesterday, which, creakiness aside, I’m quite happy about. AK, Meg and I decided to do the Heroes of Hope for Brain Tumor Research 10K on Sunday not so much because we’re against brain tumors (although we are) but because it was being held on a flat stretch of street next to Dockweiler Beach. AK and I had trained mostly on hills and occasionally on days when the air in the L.A. basin was thick with bits of smoldering tires. “Like altitude training!” I suggested. It was not unlike when I did the Manhattan Beach 10K a few years ago and was happy to discover that, unlike my practice runs, I wasn’t slowed down by trying to hide from packs of stray dogs roaming the streets. Urban training—I sort of recommend it. But if you already have knee problems, here’s a book I recommend too (I’m not t

local, organic, artisanal literature

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This is for you, you frequenter of farmer’s markets. You eater of organic free-range pears. You drinker of fair-trade, shade-grown, puttin’-a-Mayan-child-through-college coffee. I know you read. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t know how evil regular coffee was. But why do you think it’s okay to order a book off Amazon when you’re such an activist in every other way? As if the fact of its book-ness alone made it revolutionary. And while I’m sure Barack Obama’s father’s dreams were really fascinating, there are other people out there who have interesting things to say. They’re just saying them a little more quietly. Meaning their books might not be face-up on the bargain table two feet into Barnes & Noble. You might have to work a little bit. And I know we’re all tired and busy, but if you can’t work your ass off around the holidays, then when? A group of booky folks and I have been talking periodically about how small press publishing should have the aura of indie music—i.e., the more

tops, bottoms and sneetches

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The gay marriage/interracial marriage analogy is an easy one (and a valid one, I maintain), but this article AK sent me points out that maybe we should spend less time talking about how the controversy is like racism and more about how it is sexism—and how it reflects our culture’s deep passion for gender roles: http://www.slate.com/id/2204661 . In other words, for all you ladies who’ve had the privilege of answering the question, “Which one of you is the man?” from some confused relative, yes, it all comes down to tops and bottoms. God, there are so many dissertations to be written here! The Judith Butler -y one about how butch/femme roles highlight the fakeness and slipperiness of straight gender roles. The one about how everyone wants to claim the civil rights movement for themselves, from the people who say, “You stole my right to get married” to the ones who are like, “You stole my right to not have to see you get married,” to the point where it’s all star-bellied Sneetch -ish.

ghosts of christmas present

I think everyone should give books this holiday season, so for a second I had this idea that I would present a series, recommending what type of people to whom you could give all the books I read between now and Christmas. Then I realized that will probably be like three books. Nevertheless, for the ghostbusters and gender benders in your family, I recommend Jennifer Finney Boylan's I'm Looking Through You, a memoir of "growing up haunted." Boylan , who transitioned to female in 2000, spent the latter part of her childhood in a crazy, creaky 200-year-old mansion in Pennsylvania. Strange noises and full-on apparitions were as much a part of her daily life as the nagging feeling that she--then he--was supposed to be a girl. Flashing back and forth between decades, Boylan drives home the message that you can be haunted by literal ghosts and metaphorical ones, ghosts of the past and--to her surprise--ghosts of one's future self. Such themes are right up my lit

flowers are pretty (a post that's not about prop. 8)

Normally I'm against blogging for the sake of blogging, but I'm also against being awake at 9 a.m. on a Saturday, and I'm doing that right now too. I figured it was time I say hi and not talk about Prop. 8 (although there's a protest starting in an hour, which I'll be missing because I'll be in a meeting held in an icy basement). So. A couple of random updates. I just got back from an inspiring work trip to San Francisco, where writer Jewelle Gomez reminded a group of us that art is about faith and activism. When the economy sucks as profoundly as it sucks right now, art seems both more difficult and like our only hope. On the way home, AK and I stopped in San Luis Obispo , where we saw her college friends Ryan and Sarah, and their daughter Hattie. Last time we saw Hattie, she was a small pink nub of a human sleeping in an infant seat. Now she's a busy, blonde -haired one-year-old who likes to present people with her favorite toys and do impressions of f

no more mr. nice gay

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I didn’t realize what a rule-follower I was until I started hearing about all the Prop. 8 protests happening around the state. They kind of took me by surprise—you could do that? I’d been under the vague impression that when there was a contest, you should do everything you could to help your side, but when you lost…well, the other side won fair and square, right? Except maybe there are some things, like, say, civil rights, that shouldn’t be put to majority rule. Maybe protesting is what you do when you’ve tried everything else. Maybe there is value in a community throwing a collective tantrum. Because, as AK pointed out based on an article she read, “They’re going to keep coming after us if they think they can get away with it. Next time it’ll be our adoption rights.” And while I wasn’t down with every sentiment on every sign—I mean, look, I get that it’s irresistible to point out that farm animals gained rights on Tuesday while queer people lost them, but personally I think animal

up for grabs, down for keeps

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I’m feeling a little less crazy now. Not that that’s always a good thing, but still. It helped to read about everyone else’s righteous anger on Facebook and my favorite blogs (yes, I’m actually saying that Facebook heals). I also kind of forced AK to reassure me that she loves me, wants a future with me, etc. and that made me feel better too. That’s what I hate about Prop. 8—that because I’m insecure, it makes me question my relationship in some small but perverse way. I mean, it’s not like AK and I got married when we had the chance. But marriage is a marker of where a relationship is, and even though it’s often an inaccurate marker (consider never-married Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins vs. Britney Spears’ five-minute marriage in Vegas), it’s our culture’s shorthand for seriousness, for family. So when it keeps flitting in and out of the realm of possibility, a girl can feel confused. I’ve been thinking about how mainstream culture has called our bluff. For years the queer movem

bittersweet

I was hoping this would be the first major election in eight years that didn’t make me cry—and for a few minutes, I was just crying because I was happy. Seeing Obama up there, looking thrilled and tired, thin-necked, big-eared, shockingly human under the weight of all that history and all those hopes; thinking about Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. and his grandma looking down on him…for a few minutes, America was everything I needed it to be. When Obama talked about how his election isn’t the change we seek but just the opportunity to continue seeking it, when he gave a little shout-out to the gays (and how many presidents have done that in their acceptance speeches?)…for those minutes, I thought, “Yes we can.” And then California decided it was all about deciding who exactly got to be included in “we.” As in, “We can get married, but you can’t.” As in, “We can use the constitution, which should be sort of a secular bible, to put into practice all the whimsical and shitty

i’ll take obama and a tall nonfat latte

Starbucks took my suggestion about offering free beverages for voters . Consequently, the line at the Eagle Rock Starbucks this morning was as long as the one at my polling place. I love America.

dias de la comunidad

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Long ago, my mom taught me that all the best Halloween costumes (if by "best" you mean "cheap and easy but still homemade") start with a pair of sweats. Throw in a couple of styrofoam eyeballs, some break-and-bake cookies, one plastic trash can from OSH and voila, Cookie Monster... ...and Oscar the Grouch. Some of the other best costumes, though, start with an Afro wig and a cardboard palette. When we met up with our friends at Akbar, Lee-Roy was recognizable to fans of Bob Ross as the PBS art icon fond of painting happy trees. He was so popular, in fact, that he was runner up in the costume contest. But there was a bit of a scandal when drag queen emcee Lila chose to announce Lee-Roy's win by saying, "PBS! Get up here, PBS!" Her dominatrix cop assistant decided this meant Oscar and I, who were representing another PBS show. The next thing we knew, we were on stage accepting Lee-Roy's drink tickets. But since we were all weaned on cooperation