Thursday, September 24, 2009

Staffordshire hoard

Possibly the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon artifacts in history has been unearthed in Staffordshire:

Monday, September 21, 2009


Positive things so far about GLEE:

1. A gay boy with an Hermes bag.
2. Overachiever raised by gay parents.
3. Manipulative use of Journey and Grease
4. A first kiss scene that actually reminds me of high school
5. Critiques of the United States education system
6. Adolescent singing fantasies (I still have them)

You could really watch it just for Jane Lynch alone.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Maddow and Jones

Cleve Jones talking on Rachel Maddow about Diane Pelosi's speech regarding political violence in the United States. Jones calls several arch-conservative protests "well orchestrated and well-funded by [Republican] consulting firms." Ouch.

Paula as Ellen

So, Paula Abdul impersonated Ellen Degeneres on the VH1 'Diva' Awards. I've included a link rather than embedded content because Yahoo is savvy and won't allow me to snag an embed-code. There's a version on Youtube that I recommend watching, because the mise-en-scene is even more trashy.

I'm wondering what Abdul's trying to accomplish here. At first I thought it was a kind of negative drag act, but if drag is deeply satirical--politically satirical--than the impression is dead-on. Abdul is almost a Drag King in her attempt to parody Ellen, and it's only more richly complicated given Abdul's pretty solid gay fanbase in the late-80s, as well as her current gay fanbase that re-coalesced after she took the American Idol job. Personally, I remember the video to "Opposites Attract," and I think it may have made me gay, or at least contributed.

The idea of media parody opens up so many interesting discussions about the place of queer celebrities. Is parody an in-road, a form of public acceptance? Or is there a more invidious under-current of homophobia, if that category in fact even has the power to contain every single act of resistance towards queer life. Which it probably doesn't.

Is Ellen being critiqued as a comedian, an actor, a host, a lesbian, or for all of these various spaces and affective networks within her life? Is she donning a form of drag whenever she steps in front of an audience of mostly-straight middle-aged women? The video that she did recently, interviewing her partner, Portia di Rossi, in the middle of their huge back yard, is like a fascinating cinematic docudrama. Queer women at home, interacting. Is this an exercise in the construction of homonormativity on television? *See, we play wacky games on the grass, just like straight couples* Or is it just all improvisational, like queer jazz?

Eiher way, there's something very Dietrich-esque about the way Abdul wears a pant-suit. She's trying to be cynical, but she can't help appearing very sexy as well. As a viewer, you're confused, but also a little aroused. And maybe that's her intention.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Queer Canadian Hall of Fame

Sandra Thomas, Vancouver Courier

Published: Friday, September 11, 2009

In the past five decades West End resident Ted Northe has been recognized by federal, provincial, municipal and international governments for his charity work and fundraising efforts.

But Northe, who spells his name in lower case, told the Courier this week he was most honoured recently to find out he'd been named as an inductee to the first Canadian Queer Hall of Fame, which will be based in Vancouver. "I never expected this," said Northe. "This is a real thrill because it's Canadian and I am a very proud Canadian."

Northe and four other inductees will be recognized Sept. 19 for their significant contributions to human rights and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Canadians at an event organized by the CIBC Pride Network and Qmunity. Formerly known as The Centre, Qmunity is a resource centre for the queer community located on Bute Street. The hall of fame ceremony runs during an inaugural red carpet gala, Q-Ball, at the Westin Bayshore Hotel.

(Read full article)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sabor de Soledad

I'm adjusting to living alone again. I haven't lived alone since the second year of my PhD, and in the intervening years, I got used to co-existing with people. I'm not saying I co-existed well. But I get used to the fact of living with others, and now it's very strange to be alone in an apartment again. The nice thing about having a cat, though, is that you can entirely justify talking to yourself. You're not crazy. You're just having an interspecies dialogue, like Donna Haraway is always encouraging us to do.

I've noticed that the quality of aloneness is different, though, when you have a partner and you're involved in a long-distance relationship. When I was single, being alone was something that I both accepted and invited. I enjoyed living by myself. Now I'm not so sure how I feel about it anymore. I used to think there were certain things--Secret Single Behavior--that you could only do if you lived alone. But then I discovered that there are people who will actually let you do these things in front of them, without judging or complaining. In that sense, living with a partner/loved one can become like an exchange of secret behavior, where each person tries to up the ante slightly over a period of time, until one finally discovers a limit. Now that I'm living alone again, I find that I have nobody to gross out or mystify with my OCD behavior. It's just not as fun, and the cat gives very little feedback.

As I get older, though, I am starting to notice subtle shifts in the way that I live alone. I clean more now, for instance. At 20, there's a certain perverse satisfaction in letting your own filth accumulate. At 30, it's just annoying to see dishes in the sink or a dirty carpet, so you clean it for aesthetic purposes. When I live with someone, I generally need to be prodded to clean, but once the suggestion's in my head, I'll clean anything. When I live alone, I find myself cleaning even more, simply because there's no possibility that the cat will actually clean anything herself.

I do hate carpet, though. I find it impossible to go from hardwood to carpet. Hardwood gets dirty, but all you have to do is wash it. Carpet gets gross, and there's always the fear that you might spill something on it. Hardwood makes a room appear lighter, more inviting, whereas carpet just reminds me of how many shades of beige there are in the world.

I'm also concerned about the strange fissures in my ceiling, but that's probably just paranoia.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Regina Week One

Well, I've survived my first week here. So far, Regina reminds me a lot of Chilliwack, where I grew up. It's a city with a small-town vibe. It's hard to get around here without a car, but the walking is probably doing me good. I've heard that it's actually a form of exercise.

Today was a big day. First class, which I think went well. It's a small group, which will help with discussions. Finished the manuscript for Book 3 last night and handed it in after midnight, so I guess that was technically today. And then the movers finally delivered my stuff (only five days late, plus an extra nine hours, since they were supposed to deliver it in the morning but didn't actually arrive until 6:30 this evening). Had a surreal conversation with one of the movers about how difficult it is to find a girlfriend in Edmonton. I wish him luck.

I'm still getting used to the fact that I have an office of my own. It seems kind of pedestrian, but you can't underestimate the importance of a space that's actually yours and only yours. Essentially, I have two offices, one in the apartment and one at school, the only difference being that I actually have to get dressed before doing work in the office at school. I do like to take my shoes off, though. Because...hey, I can. It's my office.

Here are some things that I've learned so far about the university:

1. For some reason, every food vendor closes at precisely 5:30. Even on the busiest week of the semester, when the campus is full of students attending night classes, everyone suddenly closes up shop at the same time. This can leave you with only the vending machines to choose from, unless you're willing to leave campus. In this case, I recommend a Snickers bar above all the other confections. At $1.40, it's still a rip-off, but at least it delivers peanuts, chocolate, caramel, and that mysterious food-group called 'nougat.'

2. Campus is larger than it seems, like Hogwarts. You can burn a lot of time just walking from the Humanities building to the Riddel Centre, where all the food is. And why is the science faculty always so close to the food? In every school that I've been to, science students seem much closer to all of the food places.

3. Librarians are awesome. Their powers are limitless, and they can do nearly anything for you if you ask nicely.

4. Mosquitos will follow you inside. They don't just attack you outdoors. Here, they'll actually swoop through an entrance and keep trying to suck your blood while you're running in the opposite direction. Not that I run. Seba knows. I don't.

5. A university is probably the best place to work while dealing with a long-distance relationship. People are tremendously supportive, and actually try to take care of you, feed you, and make sure that you're surviving.

More to come after the Great Unpacking, which is still in progress. And mom, if you're reading this, thank you for including the cutting-board that's shaped like a cat. I love it.