Tuesday, May 31, 2011

we don't care about our own faults

I have had an exceptionally good weekend.

On Friday, Christie, Ross and Peter came into town. We had poboys at Parkway, where I'd never been. Ate a delicious but regrettable roast beef poboy (I know better than to eat that much red meat. Ugh.). Being around Bayou St. John always makes me a little nostalgic, because when Ravi and I first started dating, we went to Voodoo Fest together. We stayed in a church with a friend who was working there for Americorps and we'd cross the bayou everyday when we walked to and from City Park. That weekend has always been one of my favorite memories of Ravi (we also saw Smashing Pumpkins that weekend, a teenage favorite of both of ours that added to the idyllic situation).

After Parkway, we briefly went to Cooter Brown's for some pool and ended up at Snake and Jake's. I was incredibly tired, having been up since 6 that morning and I don't remember much about being there except that I was hurting myself in an effort to stay awake and talk to people. I'd dig my fingernails into my upper arms, bite on my fingers, scratch at my wrists...thank god Snake's is as dark as it is, because I probably looked like I was having some kind of psychotic fit. We finally left and sat around listening to Two Gallants, drinking tea and talking on my porch (because of course I got a second wind).

The next morning, Christie and I hung out at Z'otz while the dudes went to watched soccer at Finn McCool's. We wandered over to Maple St. for some Thai food and a visit to the Maple St. Patisserie. I spent part of that day texting my teacher, who has no concept of appropriate behavior. He assigned a book to us without buying it himself. He asked if he could borrow my copy and then, after a failed attempt at meeting up, he asked if I could bring it to his house. Apparently he lives quite close to me. While I was negotiating this, Christie and I walked back to my place to meet up with the guys. Everyone left and I walked back over to Z'otz to do some schoolwork. On the way there, as I crossed Spruce St. (of COURSE it was Spruce St. Teacher lives on Spruce too. I might make a blog tag for Spruce St.), a peacock emerged from a yard and strutted down the sidewalk. I followed it for two blocks until it reached Hickory and took a right. Then I called the police to inform them of wild, wandering peacocks. Around 10:30, Ross called to ask me if I could go pick up his debit card that he'd left at Snake's. I did and walked home down Lowerline, singing Emily Jane White songs and dancing along the sidewalk in front of the Carrollton graveyard.

Sunday was an excellent lunch at Theo's with Alyson and Cain, followed by Pinkberry after a failed attempt to get drinks at St. Joe's (because in our boozy quest, we kind of forgot it was 3pm on a Sunday). When I got home, Shelby was rewiring the lights on our front porches and hanging some lanterns we bought at a yard sale awhile back. I helped him with that (and learned how to rewire a light and met our neighborhood drunkard), then we decided to have a dinner party. Because I live with teh gays, nothing can ever be simple. I came home from Rouses to find that they'd put the upstairs neighbor's dining room table in the driveway, covered it with tablecloth, china, candles and flowers and had a lamp overlooking the whole shebang. We had dinner of lemon chicken, filet mignon, rice and broth, salad and a dessert of chocolate dipped strawberries, while Dave Brubeck blasted from Taylor's speakers (through his open window, which his friend's cat escaped from and caused a brief interruption while we all tried to coax the cat into not jumping off the roof).

I had Memorial Day off. I started it by walking over to my professor's house to furtively drop that book on his porch. That whole situation cracks me up and made me think of B's old jokes that I was fucking the professor. People are totally going to think so if shit like this keeps happening. Amusingly, prof. seems to have no understanding that it would be considered strange in most circles to ask a student to come by your house to drop off a book you assigned because you couldn't be bothered to purchase said book. After that, I went back to the grocery and then spent most of the day in the kitchen, baking wheat bread, banana/cherry/almond/bourbon bread, cooking up some chicken sloppy joe mix, making an incredible potato salad (I subbed in spring peas for the sugar snaps and asparagus and green onions for spring onions), and soaking the remaining dried cherries in some leftover vodka I had (we'll see how that turns out). My friend Mike, who has been in the Marines for 4 years, called to ask if I wanted to go out that night. We ended up back at Cooter Brown's and I made the mistake of drinking 4 beers...3 of which were Andygator. We closed down the bar and then I came home and apparently did a bunch of stuff, including slicing that loaf of wheat bread and slicing my finger open in the process. I must have been too drunk to realize it, because I went to sleep with my bloody hand and woke up with blood all over. Also, with an intense hangover that didn't let up until well into the afternoon. At one point, I texted Blair to tell him what an exemplary employee I was, after I fell asleep at my desk. hoo boy.

Goals: Finish thesis proposal. Hang chandelier that Shelby gave me. Pay off credit cards. Don't eat out in June. Look into new bed set. Rearrange dining room to accommodate shelves that someone randomly left on Shelby's porch. Make curtains. Make A's this summer. Have more fantastic weekends.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

false apathy

(from a friend who works as a DJ at a shitty shitty club)

Travis: 40 year old women line dancing to kesha
kill me
whole bottle of xanax couldn't cure this

me: hahahhhahaahaha
find the humor in this
the empty sad humor

Travis: one day i will write a book
and it will be called Even Alcohol Can't Make Me not Hate People
alternate title
Why I Started Shooting Smack: The Travis L. story
first sentence
"When I was a kid, I thought heroin was the last thing I'd ever do, but I've come to realize it's the only thing that prevents me from detonating all the bombs I've been building in my basement in misanthropic hypomania."

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sometimes I'm reminded of how awesome the people in my life are and it's pretty hard to get down when you've got an iron clad support network. Over the last few days, I brought Blair to the airport so he can spend 2 months in France, moved most of his belongings out of his apartment, cleaned it, got a migraine, locked my keys in my car, had my phone die. But I also have an amazing boyfriend who has gone through great pains to make sure he can talk to me everyday, who tells me I'm beautiful and assures me of his adoration and respect. I have, in Christie, this wonderful friend who gives me free reign of her apartment, who doesn't make any demands of me and is willing to let me borrow her car and veg out on her couch and kvetch and then says we should go get sandwiches and coffee. I have friends who will call and invite me to hang out, friends who will help me try and break into my car and laugh at me when I rip the weather sealing open with a coat hanger. Parents who will drive across town to unlock my car when I call them and tell them I don't have enough money in my checking account to call Popalock. Friends who will drive over to bring me their phone chargers because mine is in my locked car, friends who will help me get my boyfriend's phone to him across the Atlantic. Friends who will apologize after being kind of jerky and offer to buy you dinner because they've upset you. Having people like that in my life makes me want to be as good to them as they are to me. After I'd moved Blair's stuff, cleaned his kitchen and vacuumed, I was scrubbing black marks off the wall with a magic eraser and my head was throbbing. I laid on the floor, my arm over my eyes, and thought about how much this sucked. Then I thought about how stressed Blair had been over trying to finish finals, get ready for France and move out, how much harder this would have been for him and I felt grateful that I was able to do him this kindness, that I could do something good for someone I love. So I got up and scrubbed some more before stumbling blearily downstairs, driving to Christie's and locking my keys in my car.

So despite my boyfriend being 5000 miles away, having about $20 in my checking account and a mountain of schoolwork, I'm happy. I'm going to try and start this Insanity workout tonight, making some chicken broth and bake a loaf of bread. I've been working on a meal plan to eat better in general, based on food pyramid guidelines. I'm working on thesis stuff. I'm working on not being stagnant.

still the same

me: i've spent all morning listening to bob seger on youtube
last night, in conversation, I brought up new additions to the scrabble dictionary and quoted the book of deuteronomy within 5 minutes
I am everyone's lamest friend.
Erin: you're the wonder killer

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

everyone's a winner


this is especially wonderful after the grueling 30 page paper I did for my independent study that comprises the basis of my thesis research.


101 in 1001- March/April update

I'm way behind on my updates, due to a pretty insane school schedule this past semester. Hopefully I'll be back on track for May.

18) Read 10 books from the Bloom Canon.
3) Mark Twain A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court April '11)
I've read much less Twain than I should have. Oh sure, I've read excerpts from Huck Finn, but the only Twain book I'd read in its entirety before this was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Connecticut Yankee was absolutely terrific--funny, biting and deadly serious at turns.

19) Read 1 unassigned book per month.
March '11-Terry Moore Strangers in Paradise, Vol. 2
April '11- Milan Kundera Slowness

I actually didn't finish reading SiP2 until mid-April and I've barely begun Slowness, but I'll be playing catch up this month!

24) Learn 1 new word a week.
Ruth- pity or compassion
Metalepsis- a figure of speech in which one thing is referred to by something else which is only remotely associated with it
Pellucid- clear in meaning, expression, or style
Gravamen- the part of an accusation that weighs most heavily against the accused; the substantial part of a charge or complaint
Aphanisis- denotes the disappearance of sexual desire
Jouissance- (French) denotes "pleasure" or "enjoyment."
The term has a sexual connotation (i.e., orgasm) lacking in the English word "enjoyment"
Abnegation- to refuse or deny oneself
Hale- free from disease or infirmity; robust; vigorous
Obdurate- unmoved by persuasion, pity, or tender feelings

26) Take all my medication exactly as directed for 2 months. (April '11)
This one was helped immensely by the fact that the amount of medication I have to take was drastically reduced (no more twice-daily injections! No more 2000 mg of pills!) but I still want to include it because thinking about this goal has helped me to remember to take things like my birth control (a good reminder when one is driving between cities every weekend and putting oneself in the line of pregnancy fire [yeah, I went there]).

31) Have a slumber party. (March 2011)
Over the Mardi Gras holiday, Christie, Ross, Blair, Peter and Eddie all stayed at my house. We stayed out 'til all hours of the night, ate noodles at 4am, slept in, ate Bud's on Mardi Gras day and took naps on the floor together. I think that counts as a sleepover. :D

85) Attend at least 1 music festival a year.
2011- Festival International (April 2011)

88) Go to all the major Mardi Gras parades.
Endymion (Mar. '11)
Thoth (Mar. '11)
Bacchus (Mar. '11)

94) Visit family graves once a year.
2010 (April '11)
(*reminder- I'm catagorizing a year here from July-July but "2010" is an easier designation)

96) Attend 10 cultural events
1) No Exit (from the Zombie Apocalypse)
2) Macbeth
I'm amending this entry because I realized I forgot to put No Exit when it happened back in December.

full list here

Saturday, May 7, 2011

academic agency

Yesterday, I turned in an ethics paper on liberty, pornography, and female agency entitled "Give Me Liberty, Give Me Porn!" In it, I brought up a discussion of mainstream BDSM. I think I've outed myself as the freak of the MLA department. Truly a high point in my academic career.

ETA: He gave me an A on it, which means I currently have straight A's. Just have to get an A in indie study now!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

these things will kill you

I'm walking down Carrollton, approaching Spruce and a grizzled man, with one leg, in a wheelchair. He stares at me as I walk up and as I step onto the sidewalk, he glares.
"It's poison."
I take one earbud out. "Excuse me?"
"That's POISON," he hisses, pointing vehemently at my headphones with one hand, taking a drag off a cigarette with the other.

Good things never happen to me at Carrollton and Spruce.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

a favorite

Happiness by Raymond Carver

So early it's still almost dark out.
I'm near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.

When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.

They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They are so happy
they aren't saying anything, these boys.

I think if they could, they would take
each other's arm.
It's early in the morning,
and they are doing this thing together.

They come on, slowly.
The sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.

Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn't enter into this.

Happiness. It comes on
unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it.

he sez, thesezzz

After waiting and waiting and waaaaaiiiitttinnngggg, I finally heard back from the chair of my department that my English classes count toward my MLA degree and that, if I take 2 classes this summer and 1 more in the fall, I can do my thesis in the fall semester. That resulted in the following exchange of emails:

me to professor:
Hi Tom,

I'm following up on the voicemail I just left you, but in case you haven't received it before you read this, I was wondering if you would be interested in being my thesis advisor.

I spoke to Dr. Burger and asked her if it would be okay if I asked you, since you don't teach in the MLA department, but she said it would be fine if you were willing. I don't know what your schedule is like in the Fall, but if you would be willing to advise me, I'd be thrilled, since you're familiar with my work and my research interests.

As you already know, I want to use the theory of performativity in my thesis. More to the point, I'd like to examine performances of gender and sexuality in characters written by Southern female writers (as there is a strong emphasis on a more conservative lifestyle and traditional femininity in the South) and examine how they work within and outside of these constraints and norms. I'm not yet decided on authors I want to use, but I think I'll limit it to three. Dr. Burger is willing to be a panel member and I'm planning on asking either Dr. Horowitz or Dr. Howard to be the third panel member, since I've had classes with both.

Since I just got the news that I could write it today, this is as far as I've gotten (i.e. no proposal yet. I plan to work on that in the next few weeks, after finals). If you are able and willing to advise me, I'll pull something together and try and get it to you by mid-May. If you're not though, I totally understand and I really appreciate all the help you've already given me with this.


professor to me:
Hi Mandi,

Congratulations on being approved to write your MA thesis. That’s really exciting! I’m glad you’re going to have an opportunity next year to do a longer, more elaborated research & writing project on your gender & performativity topic.

And thanks for asking me to be your advisor for the thesis. I would certainly consider saying yes, but would have to know more about the amount of work & of time commitment this will require. I don't know anything about the MLA program or its requirements for its MA theses (and for its thesis advisors), so that’s one thing we would need to talk about. I’m also not a specialist in southern literature or American literature, so that’s another consideration.

By when would I need to let you know? I would prefer seeing a proposal before making a definite decision about whether or not I could say yes. And we might want to wait until the end of the semester & the end of the exam, grading, and commencement season before meeting to discuss the thesis & your ideas for it & the possibility of my serving as your advisor.

So what I would say for now is that I will definitely consider doing it, but will want to talk with you & to know more about the project and also about the nature of the commitment I would be making. Does that sound good? Of course I want to help you & support your work & mentor your project. But because of my administrative job in the English department, my time is pretty limited (as you know) & so I would want to make sure that I can make the kind of commitment to your project that it deserves.

So let me know about the timetable for getting a definitive commitment from me & we’ll take it from there. For now, congratulations on getting the clearance to write the thesis, and good luck with finals.

It was fun having dinner with you & Stephen the other night. Warm regards, Tom

me to professor:
Thanks for the quick response!

I understand your concerns about the time constraints and the topic. My understanding is that I would probably need about 4-5 meetings over the course of the semester, as well as time for the defense. I would probably also email you my chapters as they were written, should you agree. Nevertheless, I've emailed Dr. Burger with those questions and asked her if there are specific requirements for MLA thesis advisors.

I am fine with waiting until the semester ends before diving into this. I plan on drawing up a proposal soon and I'll submit that to you at your convenience. Since I wouldn't be defending until the end of the fall semester, I probably don't need to know for certain if you're available until July or so. I'm happy to meet with you when you have some time so we can discuss further. Hopefully by that time, I'll have answers from Dr. Burger. In the meantime, I'm going to finish up my performativity paper!

Thanks again :)

So now, whenever I finish up this blasted paper for him, I need to get cracking on writing a thesis proposal. I have two examples from the department, as well as Alyson's so I should be okay on that front. I need to pick out and read my novels. I definitely want to use Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina and I'm also thinking of Shirley Ann Grau as a potential author. Alyson suggested I use a woman of color for my third author and I think that's a good idea if I want to explore the performative aspects of race...but I'm not totally certain I want to do that yet. Keeping it in mind though. The topic would definitely work with both those authors.

Cross your fingers that Tom says yessss. I need to bake that man some encouraging cookies. Gender performance at its finest.

Monday, May 2, 2011

run like hell

On Saturday night, I ran into my abusive ex.

Blair and I were eating at Louie's around 2:30am. We'd just finished up and I was explaining to him how I knew the girl who had just said hello to me, the one who was now sitting by us at the bar. As I was talking, the door behind us opened and he (let's call him A for Abuser) walked in. And sat next to me. And started talking across me to the girl I knew.

I ddin't really register what he was saying. My words started to run together as I tried to explain what was happening to Blair. I think I said something along the lines of, "and we used to go to church together *glance up* oh my god oh my god that guy that just walked in is my abusive, horrible ex, oh god he is sitting next to me." Blair, for his part, handled things wonderfully. He didn't try to question me or soothe me. Instead, he said, "go. go to the car right now. I'll take care of the check." I grabbed my things and walked out as quickly as possible, trying not to make a scene. As soon as I was out in the parking lot, I ran to the car and hid behind it. And shook.

Honestly, I was surprised at my reaction. The thing is, I've seen him since the breakup. I even talked to him casually for awhile after it happened. It took therapy to realize how much he'd fucked me up. It took being in an equal and respectful partnership with Ravi to realize how horrible that relationship had been. It took reading A's blog to realize what an awful and sick person he was. We've communicated twice in about 3 years, one time being this (about 2 years ago):

I was reading though my friends list today and came across your post titled, "Hmmm, so THAT'S how it's done! (according to the experts)." After I read it, all I felt was disgust. I thought about commenting but I figured its probably not worth doing. I just don't understand how its "humor," to quote your tag on the post, to compare torture to sex.

But the thing is, I realize I feel disgust or anger a lot when I read your posts. Part of it comes from an inherent disagreement with a lot of your content, part of it stems from my own feelings about you in general, specifically knowing what I knew of you. People change, of course, but those feelings are deeply imprinted and many of the things you write on your journal only serve to reinforce them. That's not to say that I think you are an inherently "bad" person (
ed. note: this has since changed and I think it wasn't even something I believed at the time), just that I have many fundamental disagreements with your stances and how you have chosen to conduct yourself in the past.

That said, you are who you are and, of course, many people like you just the way you are. I don't feel that publicly tearing you down is beneficial for either one of us, even though I think some of the things you write, such as the aforementioned post, are worthy of it. Also, more than that, I'm just tired of feeling disgusted and angry. I also feel that someone that I have those kinds of feelings towards probably isn't someone I want reading the more personal details of my friends-only entries, which are becoming increasingly more common. I just don't think we're really "friends" anymore, despite our very occasional conversations. I don't feel like we really know each other anymore.

So, I think the best option is to remove you from my friends' list. I wish you no ill will and hope that you continue to enjoy your life, as I am enjoying mine. Feel free to continue reading my public entries if you wish, though I certainly wouldn't blame you if you removed me from your friends' list as well.

I'm struck now by how polite I tried to be to him. Like years of being told I didn't matter, that I was "neurotic," that I didn't count, years of being thrown against walls, of being slapped, pushed down stairs, humiliated, screamed at...years of that and I still tried to be polite to him. After awhile, as my relationship with Ravi continued to grow, as I slowly built my psyche and self-esteem back up and learned to push parasitic and cruel people out of my life, my disgust and anger at him grew. It cemeted itself into this firm little area of my brain that I try not to access too much because the rage there is too much to deal with at times. What I didn't realize was how much fear and anxiety I still held there. That's what came out Saturday night, not a fear of him physically hurting me but a fear of being spoken to, of having to confront someone who did that much damage to me. A brief and sharp reliving of all that pain. It was like I had tunnel vision when he entered...I sort of remember seeing Blair's face, but the periphreal went black and things started to spin. All I could think of was "run."

I shook, hiding behind the car with my knees pulled to my chest, until Blair came out and held me, told me I was safe and that A couldn't hurt me. Even then, I was scanning the parking lot, terrified he would walk out, that he would speak to me and cut me down with some pithy, shitty remark. And I hated myself for letting him still control me that way, for having the ability to drive me out of a public place for fear that he would hurt me again.

Later that day, my sweet younger cousin called me about a very brief but shitty fling she had with some dude. The dude came over and my grandma chased him off, yelling at him to "get! get out!" J and I laughed about it but I told her, "That guy is going to get sober tomorrow and he's going to call you. Don't answer. Don't listen to his bullshit. You deserve better than that." It's something I need to keep reminding myself of. Even when horrible people come around, I too have people who love me, who will defend me and chase those people off. Who will help me remember that I don't have to listen to that bullshit.