Wednesday, June 29, 2005

This will I now sing deftly to please my girlfriends.

--Fragment 11. Sappho

I had a World Lit class when I was in 10th grade. Mr. M was one of my favorite teachers; a terribly nice, lisping man who always refered to us as Miss Last Name. I remember reading Buchi Emecheta's The Joys of Motherhood that year, which is an awfully harrowing novel, and probably the first time I had seen a depiction of motherhood that wasn't all warm fuzzies and Victorian greeting cards. We also had a big anthology of world lit. I remember clear as day when we were assigned to read Sappho to ourselves while he graded papers:

He is more than a hero
he is a god in my eyes--
the man who is allowed
to sit beside you

who listens intimately
to the sweet murmur of
your voice, the enticing

laughter that makes my own
heart beat fast. If I meet
you suddenly, I can't

speak -- my tongue is broken;
a thin flame runs under
my skin; seeing nothing,

hearing only my own ears
drumming, I drip with sweat;
trembling shakes my body

and I turn paler than
dry grass. At such times
death isn't far from me.

Poetry geek that I am, I loved this poem. I read it several times, just savoring it. And then I had this lightning bolt moment, when I realized that she's addressing a woman. I was completely and utterly astounded. A woman poet writing a love poem to another woman. I didn't know you could do that. I'd never heard of it. I looked up at my teacher, grading away. He hadn't said anything about Sappho. The textbook didn't mention anything unusual about the poem. I re-read it again. You would think someone would have mentioned something about it. It was a baby dyke moment, to see feelings and emotions I spent most of my time trying to bury and ignore, condensed into poetry that everyone in the class was reading. I felt terribly exposed and confused. I decided that it must be some sort of literary device. She couldn't possibly be saying what I thought she was describing. I really, really should have been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer instead of The X-Files.
Needless to say, this news made my day: Lost Sappho love poem published after 2,600 years

you won't fool the children of the revolution

Emma Goldman mugshot!
You are Emma Goldman! You are the mama of
Anarchist/Communist feminism and you inspired
millions to embrace the labor movement. Without
ever directly saying so, you directed efforts
toward saving wymyn and children from
exploitation. Oh yeah, you were also a total

Which Western feminist icon are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

ooh, sexy pince-nez! and a mug shot! aw yeah. This is, surprisingly, a very good quiz.

Monday, June 27, 2005

post Pride Fest reckoning

Queer friends I went with: 2

Cameras I forgot to bring: 1

Daily temperature: 100 degrees fahrenheit in the shade

Number of gorgeous dykes/bi/queer girls: 10812374982734101923801983012983029

Number of gay guys in various in various unfortunate states of deshabille: 12918273982734

Number of posters I saw advertising PrideFest at bus-stops: 5

Percentage increase from last year: 100%. Take that, backlash!

Percentage of women with shorter hair than the men: 95%

Percentage of jewelry on sale that was marketed for guys: 95%

Dogs with rainbow bandanas: 500

Photos taken with cardboard cut-out of our Ignoble Leader: 1

Log Cabin Republicans in matching white polo shirts (motto: "We're here, we're queer, we're sorry!"): 2. Definitely the straightest people there.

Times I wished I had a girlfriend so I could take advantage of the opportunity of holding her hand in public freely: 5000000

Times I took a flyer/sticker/leaflet because I thought the girl handing them out was cute: 10

black tank with "LESBIAN" on the front: $10

"Sorry I've missed church; I've been busy practicing witchcraft and becoming a lesbian" bumpersticker: $1

"The Christian Right is Neither" button: $1

Realizing that this town does have a queer community, if only for two days out of the year: priceless

R, who's majorly into astrology, says that Librans (such as myself) in general have same-sex tendencies. And we saw a booth at PrideFest for a vitamin supplement my mother made me take in high school. Obviously "IT" isn't genetic. You get it from a fatal combination of astrological ignorance and gay pills.

et ma grandmere est en flambe!

Which Eddie Izzard line are you?

brought to you by Quizilla

Right, I don't think the picture is going to come up (fucking quizzilla), but my result is the line: "La souris est en dessous la table. Le chat est pres de la chaise. Le singe est sur la branche." Which is wonky French, but that's an English transvestite comedian for you. Go here to take the quiz, What Eddie Izzard line are you?

So, guess who finally sent in her visa application to the French embassy today? aw yeah

But wait, there's more! Up next, Pride Fest blogging.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

merde is such a dumb ass cuss word

but it's the only French curse word I know. Well, there's putain, but that hardly fits the situation. Baiser I think can mean "fuck", depending on how you pronounce it (furiously trying to remember sophomore year French).

I have to get up at 8 AM tomorrow to call my contact person in France. Definitely haven't spoken French in over a year.


Why do I have to call her? BECAUSE SHE WON'T ANSWER MY FUCKING EMAILS!!! And there's some info I have to have to finish my visa app. I can't buy a ticket to France without a visa, and I can't get the visa without a ticket or an intinerary stating date of arrival, etc. And I don't know when the orientation is.

merde merde merde merde merde merde merde merde merde

They are one of the most unpleasant races in the Galaxy--not actually evil, but bad-tempered, bureaucratic, officious, and callous. They wouldn't even lift a finger to save their own grandmothers from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal without orders signed in triplicate, sent in sent back, queried, lost found, subjected to public inquiry, lost again, and finallly buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighters. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

::reminds self that she likes the French, even if they are fucking Vogons::

Monday, June 20, 2005

Horblower and the Atropos ~ C. S. Forester

When I first started Horblower and the Atropos, I couldn't help feeling that Atropos is an odd name for a ship. Atropos is one of the three Moirae, the Fates, in Greek mythology; she's the one who cuts the thread of mortal life spun by her sisters Clotho and measured by Lachesis. It would be fitting for a big frigate or ship of the line, an intimidating man o' war. But Hornblower's got the smallest ship in His Majesty's Navy; he spends most of the book avoiding trouble because he knows his ship is no match for the Turks and the Spanish in the Mediterranean. Naming it Atropos just seems to be, well, tempting fate.
But then, the whole theme of the book seems to be how he can't avoid trouble or outwit Fate. Things just go wrong for the poor guy the whole way through. Just when he gets out of one scrape, he lands in another. He's got to orchestrate Nelson's funeral while his wife is giving birth, the coffin's barge almost sinks in the river, he's saddled with a 12 year old German prince for a midshipman (Horblower, very sensibly, addresses him as "Mr. Prince"), the ship's doctor gets into a duel and nearly kills a Very Important Passenger, he spends three chapters or so getting chased by a Spanish frigate, ends up losing his ship to the slightly crazy Sicilian king, and comes home to find both his kids have smallpox.
As always, I find myself torn between feeling bad for the poor slob and wanting to smack him upside the head. He's such an infuriating and endearing person, which is probably why I like the series so much. Swashbuckling adventure on the high seas goes a long way as well. Because really, there's a lot a pacifist radical feminist hippie chick like me could take issue with (the less said about Forester's depiction of the Ceylonese pearl divers, the better). I did spend most of the first time I saw Master and Commander dissecting the discourses of masculinity informing the story, after all (don't worry, I spent the second and third time just relaxing and watching shit blow up). But Hornblower himself belies what an act the whole stiff-upper-lip-patriotic-sea-captain bit is, because he's got a truly awesome inferiority complex and basically is just PMSing all over the place. He's very good as a sailor, but he's not very good at being an impassive macho dude, and he overcompensates as a result. Forester gives us a few scenes of Hornblower being a dad that betray what softie he can be:
Little Horatio was sitting up in a highchair. His face lit up with a smile as he caught sight of his father--the most flattering experience Hornblower had ever known--and he bounced up and down in his chair and waved the crust he held in his fist...This was happiness again, fleeting, transient, to have his little son tottering towards him with a beaming smile.
All together now: Awwwwwwww!! The BBC/A&E sure as hell better make some more episodes of the series, I'd love to see Ioan Gruffud playing this scene.
But, now, the big news is I finally get to read Beat to Quarters, where Horatio meets his Twue Wuv Lady Barbara. Much angst-ridden pacing of the deck and hand-wringing, I'm sure. I think I get a bit of a kick out of watching him torture himself.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

shameless knitting pic

I don't have a digital camera, but Shithead does. ::wicked grin::

Just to give you all something to look at while I finish up Hornblower and the Atropos (halfway there).

So, without further ado, here is The Sweater:

Image hosted by

Which, considering I'm knitting it on 8" needles when the pattern calls for 16", is pretty damn impressive, I think. The camera washes out the color a bit; the ribbing and darker stripes are purple, like my hair. Yes, I know it's a lame-o picture, but you try holding your knitting with one hand, taking a photo with the other, and not looking stupid, all at the same time. This was the best I could do.

Hm. Now I've made the template all whacky. Well, I gotta update the links anyway...

Oh, and Batman Begins rocked my socks off.

Back to your regularly scheduled book blogging.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The road goes ever, ever on...

...and so does the Job Hunt. So far I'm 0-8. Going to spend tomorrow hitting the pavement after 5 more possibilities, and buying tickets for Batman Begins, which I'm going to see with Straight Guy Friend.

Finished Son of the Shadows, which was good except for the whole Rake Reformed By the Love of a Good Woman trope, which is not only annoying and cliche but a bit dangerous in my opinion. Still, it's summer, I'm not reading anything heavy-duty. Currently working on Hornblower and the Atropos. I really do have quite the love/hate affair with that man. But I'll save my thoughts for later. Bought a collection of Anne Sexton's poetry, Erica Jong's Sappho's Leap, James Baldwin's If Beale Street Could Talk, and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, all for 2 bucks. Damn you, Second Hand Table at the Library, damn you to heck!

Yeah. At the moment I'm tired and discouraged. Time for a book meme:
A list of 110 banned books. Bold the ones you've read.
The Bible
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
The Koran
Arabian Nights
Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
The Prince by Niccolò Machiavell
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin
Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
Essays by Michel de Montaigne
Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
Ulysses by James Joyce
Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
Candide by Voltaire
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Analects by Confucius
Dubliners by James Joyce
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
Red and the Black by Stendhal
Capital by Karl Marx
Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Jungle by Upton Sinclair
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Diary by Samuel Pepys
Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X
Color Purple by Alice Walker
Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke
Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Confessions by Jean Jacques Rousseau
Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais
Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
The Talmud
Social Contract by Jean Jacques Rousseau
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence
American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
Separate Peace by John Knowles
Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Red Pony by John Steinbeck
Popol Vuh
Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith
Satyricon by Petronius
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Black Boy by Richard Wright
Spirit of the Laws by Charles de Secondat Baron de Montesquieu
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

Metaphysics by Aristotle
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Institutes of the Christian Religion by Jean Calvin
Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse
Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
Sanctuary by William Faulkner
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
General Introduction to Psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud
Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Alexander Brown
Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines
Ãmile by Jean Jacques Rousseau
Nana by Ãmile Zola
Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck
Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Hm. That's a pretty poor showing. Looks like I've got some work to do...

Saturday, June 04, 2005

"knit two, purl two, knit two, fuck"

Been spending the last couple of days working on The Sweater, valiantly warding off every impending disaster somehow. It's a bit, well, unique, but still going strong, and I don't think I'll have to rip it apart and start over.

(Is this going to turn into a knitting blog? Not much point without a digital camera...)

Also been working on my visa, which is a pain in the ass. I like the French but personally I sometimes suspect they were the inspiration for Douglas Adams' beaureaucratic Vogons (better poetry though). Finished The Watsons. All this half-written Austen is breaking my heart; but at least we get the outline of the plot. Started Lady Susan, which is rapidly giving Northanger Abbey and Persuasion a run for their money as Favorite Austen Novel. What a nasty piece of work she is; I love her. Also working on the second part of Juliet Marillier's Sevenwaters Trilogy, Son of the Shadows. Went to a Ren Faire last week with L., it's given me a craving for fantasy. And bought a brand-spanking-new hardback copy of An Instance of the Fingerpost for 50 cents. I guess it's just as well I'm unemployed, I don't have time for a job. Too much to read.

Number of Books I Own: At least a hundred, easy. Haven't counted them up in a while. I wish I had a proper set of bookshelves, I've been itching to rearrange them all lately.
(Shut up. It's fun. Yes, it is.)
Last Book I Bought: Child of the Prophecy, Juliet Marillier. Thus breaking my Book Buying rule for the umpteenth millionth time (Thou Shalt Not Buy Books Until Thou Hast Read the Books Thou Already Ownest, Unless It Be From the Second Hand Table at the Library). But I think I'm justified; I mean, I gotta find out how it all ends. And I can stop whenever I want to!
Last Book I Read: Mm. I think the last book I finished was James Baldwin's Another Country, for class. I kind of half-assed my way through the rest. I'd never read Baldwin before, but Another Country was astounding. Simply knocked me off my feet. So prescient, I can't believe he wrote it in 1962. He anticipates so many aspects of the civil rights and the gay rights movements. It's a beautiful novel; it's like a gift. Just go read it.
5 Books That Mean A Lot To Me (in no particular order):
Rubyfruit Jungle. First dyke book I ever read, at precisely the right time that I needed to read it, because it's got a spunky heroine who's unapologetically out and proud.
Mrs. Dalloway. The only Woolf novel I've read, I fell in love with her with this book, a passion that will last me the rest of my life I'm sure. It's like a prose poem more than a novel. You can open it up anywhere and find gorgeous writing.
A Wrinkle in Time. Meg Murray was my alter ego growing up. I thoroughly identified with her in almost every way. It got me through some lonely times and pretty much opened up all of literature to me.
Pride and Prejudice. Like everybody else, this was my intro to Austen. It actually wasn't until the second time I read it that I got the Janeite bug, but I've been in love with Lizzie ever since. I even tried my hand at some fanfic, which I titled The Courtship of Mary Bennet, of which I thankfully only finished one and a half chapters.
The Golden Treasury of Poetry. This got me hooked on poetry when I was too young to know that you aren't supposed to read poetry for pleasure. I opened it up to look at the illustrations and found "The Outlandish Knight", "Robin Hood and Allan a Dale", "If No One Ever Marries Me" (baby dyke moment), Blake's "The Tiger", Chaucer's "The Knight's Tale", Shakespeare's "Queen Mab", Keats "La Belle Dame Sans Merci", Tennyson's "Lady Clare", Longfellow's "The Secret of the Sea", "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod", "I Hear America Singing", everything that a grade-schooler is supposed to be unable to comprehend. So, yeah, thanks, Mr. Untermeyer.