I'm at work again. But this time, I brought along my long-overdue financial aid forms, this week's New Yorker, John D'Emilio's The World Turned: Essays on Gay History, Politics, and Culture, and several CDs: some Callas, some Blondie, and, of course, my husband. But right now I'm making it gay disco hour here as I watch the electronica videos on Launch. I just watched the video for Beyonce's "Baby Boy," which is just convincing me further that she should really be a gay icon - or at least more of one than she already is.
Christopher came by late last night and stayed with me, writing an email to Joe and listening to the commentary on Rufus's new CD. He was actually here until the building closed, which was so nice, because it gets really, unbearably lonely here late at night on the weekends - and it's also painful to watch everyone traipse around outside, from parties to home and back again, or whatever.
This morning was approached what might be a perfect fall morning. I woke up at 11 and, after helping Sara move some of her stuff from Scott's place to her dorm room, made myself breakfast (scrambled eggs, toast, a banana) and read the paper. All the while listening to, of course, Ms. Maria. Then I curled up underneath a blanket in my living room and finished Terror and Liberalism while drinking a cup of tea. The sun and the clouds had something of a fight all morning that the sun eventually ended up losing, and all I could think was, "well, it's fall now."
Then I remembered that I had to go to work and couldn't lay on my couch all day reading.
I'm still not sure what to think of Terror and Liberalism. I found it a thoroughly interesting read, to be sure. It certainly started out with a lot of promise - Berman's analysis of the innate illogic of totalitarian movements - their antirationalism - was pretty dead on. He also did a good job connecting that irrationalism to a broader understanding of the human condition - totalitarian movements can rise as a response to the rational liberal project precisely BECAUSE humans are not innately rational creatures. There's something deeply conflicted and violent way, way down there (i.e., our lives are dominated by uncertainty). I also enjoyed his connection between the 20th-century European totalitarian movements and what he calls Islamo-fascism. But what I don't buy is his attempt to deny that any kind of clash of civilization really exists. He argues that a kind of ideology like that is what the Islamists buy into and want to perpetuate, but that, basically, the liberal/Western project cannot do so because, as he attempts to show, and shows well, the sources from which Saddam Hussein and Adolf Hitler, for example, drew their theory and practice are very similar. What I also find disturbing is, after all his talk about irrationality (or at least how rational analysis simply can't explain things like the rise of Pol Pot), he can maintain so much faith in the promise of the liberal project. That promise, of course, being to produce a relatively equal, tolerant, educable Eastern world.
David Brooks's column today includes a quote from my adviser in Fundies, Mark Lilla. It describes him as a "politically unclassifiable" professor. Which is hilarious and true.
P. called me today about us getting drinks, which we've been talking about for awhile, but I have been dragging my heels about for fear of being rejected and out of laziness, as well. But we made plans, which I think means I HAVE to sleep with him right now, especially because HE called ME. And not the other way around. (BTW, I'm tired of doing all the work all the time)
Someone said to me a few days ago, "You know that feeling, around the middle of the evening, say 7 PM or so, when you're at home alone and you have nothing to do? It's really lonely when there's no one that's going to come home later to take care of you or do anything with you. You know that feeling?"
And all I could say was, "Yes, I'm very intimately acquainted with that feeling."
Friday, September 26, 2003
Recently overhead by the ATM machine: "That's exciting. Darren, the Australian dollar is up!"
Yesterday I got a phone call from Christopher saying that he had checked himself into the hospital. It turns out that he's okay. He has an intestinal infection of sorts, and I spent a considerable amount of time with him last night. He insisted that I go home to sleep, and I went back this morning. We spent some time watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and then I escorted him home this afternoon.
Someone today, and many of you who read this will know who I'm talking about because you were there, called UT a "cult." Which statement made me visibly cringe. It is also probably true, but saying so is only going to perpetuate said negative stereotype. On the bright side, despite the fact that everyone seemingly cared only about auditioning, three people did ask me questions about SPP.
Now I'm at work, exhausted from all of my hospital-hopping, unwilling to finish looking at the sitemap for the Class of 2008 Admitted Students Website, unable to continue Terror and Liberalism because of my droopy eyelids. But I am, oh I quite am, able to sit outside and watch the movie-star trailers get carted by on the streets for the filming of Proof, which starts on campus tomorrow. Even though I STILL haven't gotten any emails about my UofCstalker, maybe I'll have something to contribute tomorrow. Or for Monday, since this is a weekly thing, yo.
I popped the new album by my husband into the CD player at work, and it leads to a secret website (secret in the sense that you have to be among the thousands who purchased/will purchase it to get there). You can listen to dvd-style audio commentary for the first six tracks. At one point he says, "Oh, I just took a drag off my cigarette," and I thought I was going to faint in pleasure/pain.
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
I bought it! I bought it!
I bought batteries at Walgreen's afterward, put it in, turned it on, and walked briskly across the Michigan Avenue bridge, holding my hat so that the breeze wouldn't carry it away. The clear blue sky and the buildings of downtown Chicago towered over me, the green river below, and I almost started crying.
I am SO IN LOVE.
Also, I'm totally going to see this movie (saw an article about it in the NYTimes, but this link is via Queer Day).
Monday, September 22, 2003
All right. So the plan was for me today was to go to the gym (leg lifts, motherfucker. Don't fuck with me). Then to go to campus and do some work at UT. Both of those things were accomplished. Ideally, I would also have made a trip to Admissions to get some work done there, seeing as the big board meeting is on Sunday morning at my apartment. That will have to wait until tomorrow. The plan was to continue with my returning to my apartment, watching the Simpsons, That 70s Show, and the Simpson's again, and then making myself a nice marinara sauce with the leftover basil, garlic, and strained tomatoes from last night's dinner with Christopher. Then to go to Showtunes. However, while mid-way through the second of two Simpson's episodes, I got a call from my boss here at the Reynolds Club. He informed me that I was supposed to have been at work at 4:30 - apparently I wrote down the day wrong in my ghetto-tastic, printed-from-Outlook-at-the-MCA-when-I-still-worked-there-and-subsequently-left-by-the-window-during-a-rainstorm calendar. So I came here.
The plan was modified, of course. It became: listen to a variety of musical things tonight: the new Dandy Warhols CD, some from my French husband Benjamin Biolay, a little Leonard Cohen, some Coldplay, and maybe, just maybe, some Neko Case. Of course I was distracted by the possibility of watching music videos instead and playing around with the special features on the new DW CD (thanks to Parker, by the way, for turning me on to them originally). I was also supposed to do some work that doesn't require my various offices and continue reading Terror and Liberalism (which I am enjoying, by the way - it's not, despite Berman's supersupersuper lefty creds, about liberalism in the conservative v. liberal framework we're used to nowadays - he points toward the entire liberal project, liberalism in its original sense; and, as a result, the entire Western project, in a way). But I got distracted by weblogs instead.
It appears, furthermore, that I have become something of a pariah in my family. I called my parents Saturday evening and they haven't called me back yet, and my sister still hasn't called me. Even after I got her phone number from my parents (I had to ask for that about four times before they actually did it, too). But now, since I have a new phone, I don't have her number, since my phonebook died when my last phone did.
Today a few first-years stopped by the lounge. I, of course, have no problem talking with them - I wouldn't be working in Admissions if I did. But when one puts more than two theater people together in a room, one has the tendency to create a dangerous, ego-stoking, mutual theatercock masturbation society that can often become intimidating. It's not that I don't want to say anything to them, but I do have work to do, and o-week is intimidating enough without a lot of people breathing down your shoulder about "well, I was so-and-so in so-and-such last year, and x in y the year before." Or more like, "well, I am qualified and priveleged enough to deign, from my position upon high as an experienced member of this group, to MENTOR you. Yes, you!" If our point as an organization is to increase student involvement (which it is, since we're a largely student-run theater) and counter the public relations problem that theater people invariably have, then we must do a better job of simply being ourselves and explaining, straightforwardly, what we have to offer the people who are interested in participating in our group. Because yes, I am an elitist, faggy, fashionista snob, but I also work, and have worked since the age of sixteen (in a grocery store, as a teacher, as a tour guide, as an admissions assistant, as a production manager), in an environment where it is absolutely necessary to understand deeply the needs and motivations of the people around you, and to understand the sensitivity required to work within the complicated-ness of other people. That is why, for example, the previous years' fifteen-person panels, which have devolved into mutual joke-telling and inside-story-telling in an effort to show people, "Look! We're fun! We're friends!" only succeeded in alienating people because we were not effective enough in expressing a real desire to invite people into our world and, as a consequence of that invitation, alter our world upon their arrival - because any kind of dynamic system must change based on the flux of the personalities that make it up.
So ends, then, I guess, my call for a revitalization of our - yes, our, because as much as I have distanced myself from the organization as a whole, it is still something I work in - practice of relations with real human beings. As well as what appears to be a complete theory of human interaction, as well.
And one of the longest rants I've had in a long time.
Slate's got an interesting article about the Clark campaign's attempt to gain momentum. The speech they cite from at the end sounds pretty impressive.
All right, kids. I know that at least some people out there read this, and I put up a post a few days ago about the launch of my UofCstalker and I have YET to receive responses. So the first issue of the stalker will be authored completely by me.
- Seen at the Reynolds Club and, frankly, all over campus for the past two days: all of the first years! I walked up to the building on Saturday (move-in day) and both doors swung open and two of the gayest gay kids stormed out and nearly collided with me, mothers in tow.
- Nobel-prize winner James Heckman trying to avoid who I'm presuming was one of his grad students while walking up to the second floor of Harper.
- James Redfield walked past me while I was at work in the Admissions Office on Friday. I don't think he recognized me.
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Oh, one more thing. Among the signs that I should drink less: while incredibly drunk after eight hours of drinking, I lost my cell phone. This was the second phone I'd had since I got a phone in MAY.
I woke up at 3 AM today because Darren had to be out of the house by 4 so that he could catch his 7 AM flight at O'Hare. He absolved me from escorting him on the train, thank goodness, so I was able to go back to sleep at 4 before I had to wake up at 8. I'm at work at the Reynolds Club right now, where I'll be until 9 PM. Tonight is Pam's "Ghetto Fabulous Birthday Party," with a trip first to El Taco Veloz, then to Margie's Candies, and finally, maybe, to Sonotheque.
I just got back from sitting at the front desk for almost four hours. I got to watch people from the furniture rental place move things from their truck into the dining hall/commons area upstairs. Chairs, tables, stanchions, a dance floor, and some curtain-like things. It was hot stuff, let me tell you.
As Ruthie rightly points out, orientation is about to start. Move-in day, if I'm correct, is Saturday for the incoming students. She also speculates that some of her incoming students (she's an RA) might have done some internet homework and found her blog. In which case some of them might have used that handy-dandy link to my page to find out what's going on in my rainbow-colored neck of the woods. At which point they will not respect me ever again as the student coordinator of teaching programs at UT or as the chair of PSAC and will never apply to teach for me or give tours or anything like that.
Needless to say, if you have done so, welcome.
Andy told me, about a month ago when we went to the beach, that I should adapt my page to the format of a "seen and heard," a la the Gawker stalker. At first I balked at the idea, but now I'm beginning to find it intriguing - especially since I sort of do it anyway...case in point, I guess: the Martha Nussbaum parking story. But I need your help to do so, my U of C (and even Chicago friends): study the Gawker stalker if you haven't already, and then email me with sightings. I'll have it as a feature at the beginning of posts. I don't know if it'll be big enough to be a daily feature. But we'll try. Again, my email address is jrquinn AT uchicago DOT edu.
I have recently (as in, the past fifteen minutes) decided to make today "gay disco day" here in the office, as I'm listening to the electronic/dance videos on Launch, and I think I've heard every single one out dancing before.
Tuesday, September 16, 2003
Sorry that I haven't posted in awhile. I've been distracted by Darren's visit, the drinking that accompanied that, and the new it-boy of the moment. (scroll down and try not to drool uncontrollably)
Friday, September 12, 2003
Johnny Cash isdead at the age of 71. Rest in peace.
Thursday, September 11, 2003
For awhile I was in this pattern of posting once a day, which was much more healthy than my hour-by-hour, blow-by-blow blog accounts of my days during my long building manager shifts. But here I am working one of those long shifts again. The world has truly come full circle on this day - first Admissions, now back in the saddle here in the basement. Anyway, I'm posting because of two things I found on the internet just now.
I'm currently listening to "I Don't Know What it Is" off of Rufus Wainwright's new release, Want One, which you can listen to yourself at his site. Less than two weeks! I've been waiting two years!
Also, Gapers linked to this Telegraph.co.uk travel story about Chicago. Yes, that's right. It's MY city.
I'm here at Admissions. I was scheduled to give the 10:30 tour but no one showed up, which is, ultimately, not that surprising. It kinda freaked me out a bit because I was here two years ago when everything went down. Enough about that, though. Thesetwo said it much better than I could.
Today, nonetheless, has been a beautiful day. I woke up at 8 and listened to WBEZ and made myself breakfast and coffee. At the island in my kitchen, clad in my bathrobe, I sat on my roommate-assembled IKEA bar stools that I've had for a couple of months but promptly left sitting in their boxes on the floor of my dining room. While eating I read this article on US intervention policy. It was, in my opinion, a very thoughtful and well-reasoned articulation of the problems with the current intervention policy, or lack thereof. Then again, I've always been a fan of Brookings. Then I showered and shaved (in THAT order, people, because that's how you do it!) and walked to work. I think I am definitely ready for fall to start - today I am wearing a polyester shirt and cords. Actually, that could be just a sign that I need to do laundry.
Margo found the link to that MSN story about the best academic institutions in the country. Here it is.
Last night I went up to Heidi's to feed the cat and water the plants. As I was parking the car, my mother called me. Among other things, I told her about Christopher's CarsonSighting. She had actually seen QE, which is surprising enough, but doesn't like it, feeling that it reinforces many people's wrongly-held beliefs that all gay men are like "that," and that it presents an uncomplicated picture of gay life (when we all know that human being's lives are much more than hair, clothes, food, furniture, and CDs...wait, they are?). Interesting, and maybe accurate criticism by my mother. But I just can't get over the fact that it's so fun.
Then I exercised some of those cable muscles and watched Totally Gay on VH1. Which is. Exactly. What. I. Am.
Oooh, I just lost another post. I'll try to recreate it when I get back from my tour.
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
Today I'm at the museum (or at least all afternoon I've been here). On the way up I transferred from the #6 bus to the #157 bus, which serves this neighborhood - it's a very yuppie bus. Anyway, it goes past the Northwestern Memorial Hospital, which is where Governor O'Bannon is convalescing (here is an update on his condition). The hospital is undergoing construction, and on Fairbanks just north of Ontario there sits an empty lot; news organizations from Indianapolis and around the Midwest have taken over the gravel-strewn lot with their newsvans and newsjeeps and newscars, keeping their own kind of vigil for him.
In other Chicago-related news, our own H & M opens on Friday. Pam and Chaz are going to the party tonight.
MSN had a link on its homepage of the top ten studious colleges in the country (I can't find the link now). Yale was first, Princeton second. We weren't even on the list. Now that, kids, is fucked up. Reed and the military academies made the list. Now, not that those are bad schools, because they aren't, but there was ABSOLUTELY NO mention of the University of Chicago. I definitely, definitely study a lot and this is definitely a high-quality academic institution. And I even know people who study on Saturday nights. Something, my friends, is up.
Last night's Quest for Carson failed. We got to the bar and Bill told us that he had stopped by last night. So we didn't even go anywhere else in Boystown. It was fun, though, and I got to see Elizabeth again. And after my hellish afternoon I needed some calming down. My boss actually CALLED me on my cell phone AFTER 5 to ask me why I hadn't come in. And I had sent an email to Connor about why.
The deleted post from Friday was about this, but I actually like how quiet the neighborhood is right now. It's very empty and everyone's in this weird anticipatory state about school beginning in a couple of weeks. But I think I'm starting to get restless.
Monday, September 08, 2003
I really need something to do with my time. Case in point: right now, my friend Heidi is out of the country, and whenever she goes away, I get her car in exchange for taking care of the cat and watering the plants. So on Saturday I drove up in her car (which is a Toyota Prius, a/k/a The Car of The Future - it gets an average of almost 50 mpg) and fed the cat and watered the plants and then thought to myself, "Wow, I still have four episodes of SIX FEET UNDER to watch." [I watched most of them during Wisdom Tooth Weekend] So I sat down on Heidi's bed and watched one, and one turned into two, and then I'm starting the third episode and eating ice cream and talking to the cat, and then it's past sundown and the fourth episode is halfway over and I realize that I'm in the middle of a FAR FROM HEAVEN/THE HOURS-housewife-esque moment.
But it WAS kind of fun.
Today I'm on campus. I was supposed to go to the museum. But here's what happened (I'll probably excerpt this part in a post for today): I woke up at 8:30 and went downstairs for a breakfast meeting with my neighbor Lakshmi, who also works with PSAC (Prospective Students' Advisory Committee, the student group that works with admissions). We had our little breakfast meeting and then I went to the gym. I ran into sexy older guy who drove me home one night (but didn't sleep with me, but I SO would sleep with him), which was a little awkward, because when I'm at the gym, I'm all about the trashy 80s mix I'm listening to, getting sweaty, and not being bothered by anyone. So I flirted with him a bit. Anyway, I came home, took a shower, and grabbed my CTA card to get on the bus to go to work (I have to take the 55th street bus to the Red Line, and then the Red Line takes me downtown). My card didn't have enough money, and I couldn't talk the woman into letting me ride, so she dropped me off at the next stop. I went home, scrounged for change, called Lakshmi, and asked her if I could borrow $2. She asked if it was for the bus, and when I told her yes, she told me I could use her Chicago Card (a "permanent" transit card that you just wave in front of the turnstiles). She told me that it might not have enough money on it, but that it will go into debt and that everything would be okay. I asked her if she was sure, and she said yes. So I took the bus to the train and as I was trying to get onto the train it wouldn't work because I didn't have $.30 for a transfer on the card. I asked the woman working there if it was supposed to go into debt and she said yes, but that it would get me on the bus only and then I had to pay the fare at the turnstile. But I had NOTHING on me. So I started to walk home (through a not-so nice neighborhood, and a walk that would take me about an hour). Then I realized that I had my phone and that Mel was on campus, so I called her and she sent another friend in her car to pick me up.
Needless to say, I just decided not to go to work.
Anybody watch the President's address last night? Well, I sort of listened to it on the radio on the way to Sex and the City, which was much more important, and I might add, OH MY GOD IT WAS AN AMAZING EPISODE AND BLAIR UNDERWOOD IS SO HOT. Someone hose me off.
I am more insanely jealous than I have ever been in my life, because last night Christopher ran into Carson from QUEER EYE on the street and ACTUALLY STOPPED AND TALKED TO HIM AND GOT A HUG FROM HIM.
And, finally, Margo gets credit for my last link from Craigslist. Many apologies.
Friday, September 05, 2003
Fuck it. I just spent an hour writing a relatively long post. And then I tried to put it up, and now it's gone. Oh well. Anyway, I'm about to go lock up the building because tonight I'm going to First Fridays at work.
And I sign off reminding you that, as he suggests, gay marriage should be between a man and a woman.
Thursday, September 04, 2003
My landlord is crazy. He called me this morning as I was heading out to work to ask about rent. I hadn't paid him yet, and Chicago law says that tenants have until the 5th of the month to pay before they are considered "late" in their payments. He doesn't really believe in that regulation, though. Anyway, I didn't tell him that one of the reasons that I didn't pay him was because I didn't have the money (I do know, thanks to some help from L). I told him that there was some kind of miscommunication between Subletter and I about when he sent the check/where he did, which is sort of true. He said that he wanted the money today and I told him that was fine, that I could bring a check down as I was on my way out and that I would leave a note for Aaron to do the same. He said that no, he didn't want to do that, he didn't like getting the checks separately (! - we're all in the SAME building and he's got five apartments to collect from). I told him that we'd have to take care of it tonight, then, since Subletter was asleep. He told me to wake him up: "Well, wake him up. He disturbed me all weekend over the holiday." Excuse me? A) You knew he was moving in and B) You oh so recently disturbed me with your roof work and C) Are you twelve? and D) I'm not going to do that! So I just told him that I didn't have time because I was running late for work. Subletter calls him the friendly curmudgeon. Sometimes he's not so friendly.
Alas, I fail in the rule of threes. That's all you get.
Wednesday, September 03, 2003
I'm back on campus, where I'm slowly plotting my financial return. Sort of. Working for two hours a day isn't exactly going to do it, but it's more than the $0.00 I have right now.
Anyway, some belated links:
Rufus Wainwright! (and that picture is going up on my wall, by the way).
That's all I have today, folks. I'm not feeling too creative with the linkies right now. Last night was GAYTV night for the finale of BMB and another episode of QE. We (Joe, Christopher, Katie, and I), that BMB was not a very good show. And I kept getting text messages from Ann Marie about who would be the choice, which one was straight, and so on. The boys and I were a little disappointed that Franklin was straight. We had another amazing dinner and chatted and drank until 1 AM. Joe is leaving on Friday and I, frankly, do not know what I'm going to do. It's really, really hard for me to realize that he's going to be gone for three whole months. Today I woke up at 6:30 to drive Katie to the airport, spent WAY too much time in the car in AM traffic, went to the gym (oh, yeah, you like it, don't you), talked to Margo for an hour as she drove to work, took a nap, walked about, came to work. After I leave I'm going to try and get some muscle out of the last $20 that I have.
I have a slightly embarassing (or "'fun' and 'spontaneous,'" as Molly put it) photograph of me from the porn party. If you want it, email me.
I still have a lot to say about travelling, but I haven't really had a chance to collect my thoughts properly. I actually want to write a good post about it, instead of something rambling.
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
I am home. Many, many thanks to Molly, her roommate Lisa, and all her wonderful friends for taking care of me while I was there. I am on campus right now, taking care of some of my business, but I hope to return home soon to continue avoiding my landlord (he's going to ask me about rent, which I don't want to talk about) and reading Revenge (by Stephen Fry, who played Oscar Wilde on film).
I still have a lot to say about my trip, but I'm pretty tired right now what with my flight getting in at 5:15.
As I was just telling Ryan, though, I had a pretty good morning:
My flight left Phoenix at 12:30 AM Phoenix time and arrived in Chicago at 5:15 AM Chicago time. And I don't think I slept
very much, even though I don't think I had a very coherent concept of the passing of time. Anyway, I landed, I took the bus back to Hyde Park, I dropped my stuff off at my empty and oh so quiet apartment (it was cold, too), I walked to Dunkin' Donuts and got some coffee, I walked to Walgreen's and bought cigarettes, and then I walked to the lake, drank my coffee, smoked a few cigarettes, and watched the sun rise over my city.
Then I came home and read for awhile, eventually falling asleep on the couch. Here's where it gets a little mortifying: I decided, since I was alone, that I needed some naked time in my apartment. Then I got a little cold, so I grabbed a blanket and wrapped it around me - note I did not lay underneath it, I coiled it around my midsection. Then I fell asleep and somehow managed to worm my way into the blanket so that my legs were sticking out. Next thing I know, my subletter (who I've NEVER MET BEFORE) and his friend are moving things into the apartment and walk into the living room to find a groggy, frightened me. I was so shocked I couldn't fall back asleep.
So yeah. And I'm poor-ass, now. My summer of fun has caught up with me.