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mazkp [userpic]

2. High pass! Even under conditions of extreme insecurity and anxiety, I did it!
27. Bought myself the diamond ring with the money I earned from my Chronicle article. When I broke things off with Scott, he told me to keep the ring, and I had been toying around with the idea of getting the stone reset. Then, one of my friends broke off her engagment, and she had not yet recieved a ring, so I sent it along to her, and bought myself a smaller new stone instead.
28. Rocky Mountain National Park was amazing--climbed Deer Mountain, got a ton of amazing pictures, saw some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
65. Had a lovely party for my exam passage on the newly-rearranged and awesome porch.
81. Check! That shit's hot!

mazkp [userpic]

To explain, this is lifted entirely from signalandnoise , who is doing something very similar. I wanted to post this, then post the update of what I have accomplished thus far.

1.      Do a photo essay of some person with whom I am close.

2.      Finish reading for exams, take them, and pass them. 

3.      Get a fellowship for 5th year.

4.      Finish Top Heavy.

5.      Finish the manuscript for These Apparent Prodigies.

6.      Start and finish dissertation, tentatively titled Gutter Love: Comics and the Mediation of Trauma.

7.      Read Gravity’s Rainbow finally.

8.      Make regular trips to the art museum for shows I’m interested in.

9.      Make regular trips to the Museum Center for exhibits I’m interested in.

10. See another IMAX documentary.

11. Learn more about carpentry from Daddio.

12. Visit Mamia at least once every two weeks at school.

13. Start horseback riding again, and make it up to jump level by an autumn. 

14. Re-watch Deadwood in its entirety.

15. Buy and read the latest of Walking Dead, Hellblazer, DMZ, etc.

16. Visit Emily and Darrell Ulm, and Daniel Taylor.

17. Visit Jesseca.

18. Visit Lara.

19. Visit Lucia when she moves to Chicago.

20. Visit the Museum of Dental and Surgical History in Chicago—haven’t been since 8th grade.  

21. Visit Megan.

22. Visit Michelle & Phil.

23. Buy completely random books of poetry at least once per month and read them.

24. Buy myself flowers once a month.

25. Buy the cats new toys every season.

26. Go to Yellowstone National Park.

27. Buy myself a diamond ring.

28. Go to Rocky Mountain National Park.

29. Visit New Orleans.

30. See the Redwoods for the first time in my adulthood.

31. Go to Australia.

32. Go to somewhere in Africa.

33. Get my TESL certificate.

34. Brush up on conversational Swahili

35. Brush up on conversational French (by which I mean: get beyond the basics).

36. Learn conversational Polish.  

37. Go on another road trip with Mamia to New England.

38. Go back to San Francisco and contact at least 2 friends who now live out there.

39. Use at least 5 of my Enjoy the Arts coupons.

40. Try out archery (totally lifted from Michelle).

41. Attempt to get entirely out of debt (I currently owe $7000 on student loans—total).

42. Stop spending so much goddamn money on jeans ($100 is plenty fancy, no need for the $200 pair—you just fuck them up anyways).

43. Go one entire class time without either swearing or saying “uuhhh” and looking at the ceiling.

44. Get a tattoo with Michelle.

45. Get a tattoo with Megan.

46. Get that damn tattoo I’ve been talking about for ages and never pony up for.

47. Call three friends per week. 

48. Do more random photo-postcards.

49. Get into the photo lab and print the photos of Daddio’s football team.

50. Do another awesome calendar.

51. Go one entire day without sarcasm or irony of any kind to see how normal people feel.

52. Attend my 10 year high school reunion, and restrain myself from punching anyone in the face, throat, stomach, or nuts. Also, be happy to see all those I’ve lost contact with, whom I miss.

53. Eat with my fingers more often.

54. Start and finish that collected edition Allison and I have been talking about.

55. Wear a strapless dress for the first time ever.

56. Wear skirts or dresses at least once a month (yes, you are in fact a girl. You know it, I know it, everyone else knows it).

57. No more cats. It’s embarrassing enough that your gifts are starting to reflect this.

58. Plan a surprise for Mamia.

59. Plan a trip for Daddio.

60. Call Uncle Ralph at least once a month.

61. Finish the poem for Sarah’s daughter Chloe, and make a broadsheet to hang in her nursery.

62. Make letter boxes for friends, and put at least one letter in them.

63. Allow self to be “taken” out on a normal date for once—dinner, movie, pleasant but awkward conversation.

64. Stock liquor cabinet and invite people over to partake.

65. Clean up and set up porch in a manner conducive to comfortable visits.

66. Make a plan to worry less, and implement it.

67. Learn the accordion, and make a band with Michelle.

68. Buy at least one new comic series per month.

69. Cook at least one new recipe per month.

70. Get into the habit of making my own bread.

71. Garden more—your parents put your piddly herbs, corn, onions, and tomatoes to shame. C’mon. Respect your heritage.

72. Take at least one hike a month, even in winter.

73. Go camping at least once every four months.

74. Get drunk—actually drunk, not just kind of tipsy and sleepy—at least once.

75. Learn more about pathology.

76. Keep a journal again, in whatever format suits.

77. Get another snarky article published somewhere.

78. Save $100 per month.

79. Walk to campus, even in shitty weather.

80. Get tan legs (seriously, you don’t have to wear pants all the time. I know you like them, but they are not the only form of covering available).

81. Buy leopard print bikini and wear it.

82. Get Victor and Megan to record a rendition of Randy Newman’s “Political Science”.

83. Have another banging Halloween party.

84. Read all of the books that I wanted to put on my lists, but didn’t because there was already too much.

85. Research the Tasmanian Aborigines’ genocide in more depth.

86. Eat a cheeseburger in every town I visit.

87. Drink champagne and talk graduate studies with Allison.

88. Go to karaoke night at either the Comet or the Tavern and embarrass myself by singing.

89. Work on the recording project with Lucia, in which we record our fathers and uncles talking about the heyday of American performance poetry.

90. Take friends to the Netherland Plaza for the Sunday brunch.

91. Make another creature, like Daddio’s—a skeleton constructed from multiple different animals.

92. Wash and bleach deer vertebrae, and hang over the mantle.

93. Make the “Wall of Skulls” in the living room.

94. Find a place for everything. You have plenty of room, but too much stuff.

95. Keep up skincare routine so you won’t be haggard at 30.

96. Wear heels at least once a month.

97. Go to at least one more overseas conference.

98. Learn more about the concepts of “witness” and “trauma”.

99. Pick the tarot back up.

100. Have one good, hearty laugh per day.

101. Do something physically interesting.

mazkp [userpic]

1. Pass comprehensive exams.
2. Try my hardest to get fellowship for next year.
3. Visit signalandnoise , MC in NC, LF in Columbus, Uncle Bobby, Aunt Camille, Emily, Daryl, and Daniel in Kent, Aunt Jan and Uncle Richard in Cleveland, and Uncle David in Michigan.
4. Go on a trip for fun alone--hopefully to one of the big ass state parks. I really want to see Monument Valley and Glacier National Park (especially before the next Republican administration for the latter).  
5. Get Mom to go on a trip to New England again--every year, we start planning the trip, and every year, we fail to get things done in advance.
6. Send more postcards with stories.
7. Learn more about carpentry from my Dad.
8. Go at least one week per month without complaining (an exercise I heard about on Double X)
9. Get through more of the This American Life archives.
10. Try to keep house relatively clean(er).

mazkp [userpic]

There is a site I love, Sociological Images, that recently had a fabulous post on right-wing pundits overuse of the rape metaphor. Now, the site is primarily devoted to questionable images and commercials, and the extent to which they are "teachable moments"--i.e. ripe for analysis. It's one of the few sites that I not only read the articles but read the comments, because the discussions are extremely interesting and often build significantly on the issues briefly addressed in the blurb. Case in point:Politics and the Rape Metaphor, a recent post and discussion on the topic. I started giggling at one particular comment (which has no context unless you watch the video): "Well, I have news for you Obama. This private sector is past it’s rape-by date and you may rape no longer." 

"Rape-by date" just struck me funny. But at the same time, I have always been horrified by the use of the "rape" metaphor in essentially any context, even those used by fellow liberals, where rape is clearly valenced as a negative (this is much like my argument against the use of "Hitler" as a metaphor for anyone). Now, there are several reasons for this:

1. Rape (and Hitler) metaphors are lame, rhetorically. They have none of the grace and power of real argument. For metaphor's sake, the use of these metaphors is to other metaphors in an argument as a mace is to a net and trident. Both get some sort of job done, but while the former requires nothing more than an ability to swing, the latter requires some skill.

2. Rape (and Hitler) metaphors are stupid because they are generally used by people who have no access to the actual experience of trauma undergone by the victims of rape (and the Holocaust). If you have never experienced a particular trauma, you have no right to use its potential metaphoricity. Use of these metaphors by people who have not undergone the trauma is, well, a lie.

3. Rape (and Hitler) metaphors are unbelieveably offensive. Part of this is due to #2--experience of trauma gives the victim/survivor access to an experience that is unimaginable to those who have not undergone these kinds of tortures. But in addition to the simple fact of experiential naivite, is the real fact of their offensiveness: these are metaphors composed out of experiences that are unmetaphorizable. You can tell people what happened to you, during your rape, in the camp, but you can never adequately describe it. Because trauma, the trauma of rape victims, of the concentration camps, etc., is beyond words--the point of trauma is that it cannot be adequately described, and so founders for a metaphor (which are, after all, composed of common experiences that create links between experiences).

Rape, Hitler, genocides, etc., are never appropriate metaphors, because they are something that is necessarily beyond common experience--metaphors rely linguistically on common signs, and as common as rape unfortunately is, it does not qualify under the "common experience" rule. This is for a couple of reasons: first, that the overwhelming majority of rape victims are women, and that the overwhelming majority of rape perpetrators are men--when a segment of the population is disproportionately directly affected, it is not "common"; and second, thankfully, the majority of women have not been raped--most figures cite 1 in 4 or 1 in 6, which is appalling, but does not create the same potential for metaphoricity as, say, sun shining on a window, a punch in the gut, or heartbreak.

Elaine Scarry's The Body in Pain does an extremely good job of linking the experience of trauma with the breakdown of language--trauma is something that necessarily silences, because the experience of pain, both physical and psychological, of that magnitude cannot be expressed through normal means. In addition, different people react differently to horrific experiences, so there isn't really even any intrametaphoricity.  

mazkp [userpic]

"Disneyfied Vaginas Questioned by Cranky British Researchers"

I'm actually in favor of most plastic surgery--I've had a breast reduction after all. While I went under the knife primarily to relieve the pressure on my back and shoulders created by a gigantic chest set on a small frame, I have to admit that the prospect of having perky boobs for once in my life was not exactly a deterrent. And god, they are glorious. One of the sections I'm working on in Top Heavy concerns the fact that I had to actually life my breasts into the bra cups, as the shortened shoulder straps and minimizing bra created an illusion of a less expansive chest.

I'm not in favor of any female genital mutilation, however. If I had had sensitive breasts, I might have thought twice about the surgery--of course, I could barely feel a hand on them before. One of the amusing parts of this article is the whole "interfering with pants-wearing" thing, but I think that's partly a result of the different construction of men's and women's clothing--there was an ecellent article on Sociological Images not too long ago in which a teacher asked her male and female students to try on one another's pants so as to better demonstrate the way in which the body is fit into a gendered type via clothing.  

mazkp [userpic]

Well, after having spent $300 on Amazon, my "To Read" pile of books now dwarfs my "Have Read" pile. I'm actually loving my reading year--it's my big chance to catch up on all of the things I've been feeling like I should have already read (yes, Michelle, Gravity's Rainbow is on my list, I swear). Every now and again, I mention a book on my list to my father, and he gives me this shocked look that I have not in fact yet read *insert great work of American literature here*.

We had a lot of books around while I was growing up, and I read almost constantly--most of my childhood memories involve me hiding in my bedroom reading. What was I hiding from? Yardwork! My parents have almost an acre (within city limits, no less) that they use to grow a rather large percentage of their food. In addition, the house is about 175 years old, so when the yardwork is done, there's always maintenance. But I figured out early on that no one would bother me if I was reading, which I later found out was also how my dad avoided work on his parents' farm--he read an entire set of encyclopedias in pursuit of this.

But I read essentially whatever was around. When I was younger, I rarely researched authors or asked for recommendations based on books I liked--I just read what was within easy reach. I got through the Clan of the Cave Bear saga, as well as a number of books on art history, medicine, tree identification, Dr. Spock, encyclopedias, Fine Woodworking magazines, etc. I read a lot of poetry that my father published on his press (Bench Press) in college and in his 20s. I read enormous amounts of fantasy and sci fi, as well as food writing, which was my mom's contribution to the library.

I missed a lot of capital L-Literature this way, although it was beneficial in terms of lending me a bizarre, haphazard, and broad frame of reference.  

mazkp [userpic]

A brief collection of my student T's most memorable lines from the quarter:

"You know, they call me a slut, and I'm like 'that's how it is'" [exaggerated shrug]

"See, I've had some experiences, and to experience what I've experienced, well."

"See, you have 'romantic' relationships where your interested in what the person has to say, and then you have relationships where talking ain't got no place" [gives dap to student sitting next to him]

I really like this student. His work is not brilliant, his classroom comments are not brilliant, but he provides this glorious levity to the classroom--nothing is out of bounds, and we are not allowed to take anything too seriously. I'm highly enjoying his situation in the classroom as well--he sits next to one of the most intellectually engaged students, both in the back row.

mazkp [userpic]

Well, some good news. I just had a paper accepted to a collected edition on graphic novels and pedagogy! I'm essentially developing some theoretical boundaries for the use of comics in the Composition (and low-level Lit) classroom in terms of multimodality. A lot of this is drawn from my students' work, as they have been producing phenomenal projects over the last two years in which I've been using at least a comic per class--it just seems to spark their analytical potential, even if they nominally assert that they hate comics. Most have changed their minds by evaluation time, but it's very interesting to see the distribution of preference and ability. In addition, some of the best work I've had out of ESL students has been based on a comic as a primary text--this in itself seems like a valuable observation, never mind the fact that native speakers suddenly have definite critical lenses at their disposal the second a comic is approached. I taught a course themed "Vigilantes and Anti-Heroes in Comics," and had a disproportionate number of ballerinas in the class. Since the project was multimodal, they were able to connect their literary analysis to interpretive dance and choreography, which resulting in some really fantastic viewing for me, and some real strides in analytical ability for them.

My "Women in Comics" course over the summer had an astrophysics major tackling V for Vendetta in a Platonic framework, as well as a Nursing major connecting the concept of the "Black Family" with Fun Home. For my "Disease and Monstrosity" course last winter, I had students with visual aids for their psychoanalytic readings of Black Hole, with little tinges of white studies and feminist theory. I mean, I introduced the basic methods by which one could analyze these texts, giving them as much in the way of lenses and frameworks as I felt could be reasonably handled by undergraduate non-majors, and I was awed. No one was quoting Zizek, but their facility with central concepts of various schools of theory was really quite impressive when they were working with images as well as text. They didn't go for the easy answers either, which I think may be one of the benefits of teaching a politically liberal discipline in a liberally valent department at an overwhelmingly conservative university in a Red town. They won't take me at my word that anyone is particularly oppressed, but they will interrogate the extent to which the visual component of identity can be problematic.

Anyways, I'm teaching an intermediate level comp course right now themed around "Visual Culture in America" (although I've been playing a little fast and loose with geographical boundaries). The students are great, and grudgingly handed in their identity maps about a week ago. Their first paper, a visual literacy autobiography based around particularly memorable images and a rheotircal analysis thereof, is turned in tomorrow. I'm optimistic, given that I've already had discussions with students about an ex-girlfriend weeping on the lawn after finding out about a new lover, a politically ambiguous tattoo, an ethinically popular ring that necessitated a revisionist vantage point, and the influence of anxiety on perception of RGB color.

mazkp [userpic]

I had actually forgotten about this account. I had occasionally posted to my "reading blog," vanity_wayfare, and to another journal I set up for less-than-admirable reasons (honestly, that was the one I updated most). In any case, since Michelle is back to blogging, I suppose I better get my fanny back in the game as well.

A Short List of Major Life Events Since the Last Update of This Blog:
1. Broke up with Scott, my boyfriend of nearly 6 years, after a rather disasterous trip to Greece for our 5 year anniversary and the ensuing 6 months of therapy it took to work up the balls to get out.
2. Started dating another guy, who gets angry every time I mention him or post a picture of he and I together on the internet. Moved in with him. "Private life": yeah, whatever.
3. Acquired another cat, Gravy. 
4. Acquired a third cat, for whom I am looking for a good home, as I cannot be a weird cat lady whilst still in my 20s. Gimpy is the most affectionate and lovable of the three. 
5. Significant amount of travel. Oxford, England; Athens and Pireaus, Greece; Philadelphia, PA; Boston, MA; Orlando, FL; Louisville, KY; Columbus, Portsmouth, and Dayton, OH; San Francisco, CA. 
6. Started PhD program at University of Cincinnati. Yes, my fears about being stuck in Ohio forever were apparently not without merit. 
7. Finished coursework at UC, started reading year. 
8. Finished and distributed a calendar of "tree porn". 
9. Finished a photo essay on my mom's kindergarten PE class. 
10. Working on a photo essay on my dad's junior high football team. 
11. Got accepted to a lot of conferences, and went. 
12. Got a couple of papers accepted for publication, including the one that was accepted today to a collected edition on Graphic Novel Pedagogy!!!
13. Got *a* poem accepted for publication. Oddly enough, my least favorite of the bunch.
14. Fulfilled my New Year's resolutions of becoming more eco-friendly, cleaning up the apartment more than once a week, exercising every other day, and not throttling the passive-aggressive. Did NOT fulfill the resolutions to quit smoking, eat regular meals for a year, or lift weights. 
15. Ate a lot of cheeseburgers, chili-cheese fries, bacon-chipotle cheddar fries, barbecue, and cotton candy flavored ice cream. Maintained 122 lbs. by not eating when angry and exercising. 
16. Finally got that breast reduction I've been talking about for 12 years (34C is awesome--34E sucked). On a related note, continued to work on autobiographical graphic memoir, Top Heavy.
17. Started first poetry manuscript, in spite of dearth of publications. 
18. Started dissertation. Kind of. 
19. Learned a bit of woodworking from my father, including how to work many of the terrifying machines in the basements. 
20. Didn't hate the player.    

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