Friday, October 29, 2004

Working like a dog . . .

I've been working on stacks and stacks of student papers this week, so the blog's been on the back burner. I've also been staying up late watching the World Series. I'm glad it's over! Now I can get on with my life and become a full-time football fan. Anyway, I'll be in New York City this weekend, hanging out with fellow bloggers, Aimee Nez and Patrick Rosal. Check it out! The event's listed below.

7:00 PM
Asian American poetry: The Next Generation
The Asian American Writers' Workshop
16 West 32nd Street, Suite 10A
New York, New York 10001
$5 suggested donation
Victoria Chang, editor of Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation (U. of Illinois Press) and an exciting lineup of emerging poets including Jennifer Chang, Tina Chang, Oliver de la Paz, Timothy Liu, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Adrienne Su, Monica Youn and Suji Kwock Kim. Part of Intimacy & Geography: The National Asian American Poetry Initiative, funded by The Ford Foundation. Book signing and reception to follow.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Kundiman's new look!

Kundiman's got a hot new look. Check it out! I can't tell you enough about this fantastic organization. Sarah Gambito, Joseph Legaspi . . . miracle workers. Give 'em your support, folks!

Fall Classic, indeed!

Here's Boston Red Sox ace, Curt Schilling. It's not hard to understand why fair-weather fans like myself return to the old game once the leaves start changing their hue when the weather is not so fair. I spurned baseball when I was a thirteen, having been plunked by too many fast pitches in Babe Ruth little league. I was the type of batter who'd come up to bat with his eyes closed . . . I was that scared of the baseball. Even so, watching the playoffs on television transports me back to the days when I was even younger . . . eight or so. The ball didn't scare me then . . . losing did.

Last night's Game 6 had it's own brand of poetry, a type of Epic if you will, spanning from 1918 to present day. No team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to tie a series up. And yet, the Red Sox did that very thing on the powerful right arm of a pitcher who was hobbling around on one-leg for the better part of four hours. Schilling's performance was brave, his ankle clearly bleeding through his sock . . .. That was a clear symbol for someone such as myself who fishes for symbolism in almost everything.

I had the opportunity to see the Yankees take on the Red Sox last summer with my mother and father. It was their first baseball game. Mike Mussina and Pedro Martinez were facing each other. Hell of a game. It was hot in Yankee Stadium. We were sitting next to a bunch of Red Sox fans who howled the entire game. My parents were thrilled . . . not with the game, but with the fandom. The Red Sox lost in the ninth inning, but the contest between the NY/Boston fans continued well after the game was over, down the stairs, the exit ramps, the streets, and into the subways. There were no fights, but there were several near-fights. There were lively conversations about the game people had just witnessed. My father was particularly tickled about the game. We all came out of the subway and got to our hotel, quite burned from the afternoon sun. My father had a clear line that divided the top of his forehead from the bottom of his forehead from where his baseball cap had been. My mother kept smearing him with an ointment, but she couldn't wipe the grin off his face. We had all seen 55,000 people rapt with passion and shared in that passion for three hours. If you don't understand baseball or sports, surely you understand that one thing.

So when I watched the little bit of blood trickle out from Schilling's sock as he left the game in the seventh inning, I knew that the place to be on this Tuesday night was out at Yankee Stadium, mist from the moisture adding to the already chilling 46 and cooling temperature. There were still more innings to go and I was ready for them.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Band Geek Reborn!

Yes, that's Tommy Lee, former drummer of Motley Crue.

Lee is in Lincoln filming an NBC-TV reality show for which he is taking classes at Nebraska, including chemistry and the history of rock and roll.

Can you imagine having him as a student in your class?! Talk about major distraction . . .

Monday, October 18, 2004

from "Poetry and Abstract Thought" by Paul Valery

" . . . Poetry is an art of language. But language is a practical creation. It may be observed that in all communication between men, certainty comes only from practical acts and from the verification which practical acts give us. I ask you for a light. You give me a light: you have understood me.

But in asking me for a light, you were able to speak those few unimportant words with a certain intonation, a certain tone of voice, a certain inflection, a certain languor or briskness perceptible to me. I have understood your words, since without even thinking I handed you what you asked for--a light. But the matter does not end there. The strange thing: the sound and as it were the features of your little sentence come back to me, echo within me, as though they were pleased to be there, I, too, like to hear myself repeat this little phrase, which has almost lost its meaning, which has stopped being of use, and which can go on living, though with quite another life. It has acquired value; and has acquired it at the expense of its finite significance. It has created the need to be heard again . . . Here we are on the very threshold of the poetic state. This tiny experience will help us to the discovery of more than one truth."

--Paul Valery, Oxford University, 1939

Sunday, October 17, 2004

"Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him Horatio . . . "

Yup. Tragedy. The good news is that John von Bergen agreed to help us patch the poor man together. I'd rather trust the repairs to a sculptor than put the thing back together with Elmer's Glue.

Faux-din sans tete

Faux-din sans tête
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
However . . . when we were driving home, we heard a loud clanging noise coming from the back of the car. Because I drive a truck, we decided to assist a friend with his furniture. His furniture apparently rammed into the sculpture, severing the poor man's head.

Une autre image avec la tete

Une autre image avec la tête
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Many people bid on this Faux-Rodin.

But Meredith won the day and got it for a steal.

Image avec la tete

Image avec la tête
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Ah, the spoils of the CHAIRity Auction! As #146, Meredith successfully bid on this lovely Faux-Rodin sculpture made from terra-cotta. It looks bronze, doesn't it? Well . . . there's a story to be told. . .

Saturday, October 16, 2004

"You've put me in an uncomfortable position, sir."

It's Saturday and Jake, Meredith, and I have been tucked away in our office. It's the only room with a space heater which has been making all of us drowsy. I'm particularly drowsy because my knee's sore. Sprained it early in the week climbing up a mountain and then stupidly going to the gym to "stretch it out." So now it's swollen like Jake's eyes in the photo here. Also, tonight's the night of the Sculpture Space CHAIRity Auction. Got lots to do, so the knee probably won't be getting much rest. I'm going to be a salesperson this evening. . . "Yes, sir, those are limited edition sculptures. It's one of 30. Please buy them all." Anyway, it should be fun. Much drinking and revelry to be had, but for the time being, I might sprawl out on Jake's blanket and nap.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Oliver, who is the "You" in your poems?

1. If "You" = "Me" then you are a narcissist with major sexual issues. Oliver, you're compensating for something that has happened in your childhood that you don't want to directly address. Why is that? I mean, come on! You're an attractive guy.

2. If "You"="God" then you are yearning to return to the Roman Catholic church. You are tired of confessing to people that you are a "Mediterranean Catholic" and that you only go on Easter, Christmas, or when you're guilted into going with mom.

3. If "You"="A Lover" then you are one hot dude. See #1.

4. If "You" = "The Reader" then you are trying to get to #3 by writing poetry. That, my boy, doesn't always work. You'll be better off speed-dating at the Hotel Utica on Valentine's Day.

5. If "You" = "Death" you should go to church and start writing poems that relate to #2.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Got no time to read the Classics?

Then read the ultra condensed Book A Minute versions! I just read the Lord of the Rings series in condensed form before meeting students for conferences. *giggle*

Monday, October 11, 2004

Author photo that never made the cut

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Not my best feature.

A view from a moving train

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.

"Me n' Mariam" or "Weekends Without Television"

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
This past Saturday while all of you were watching college football games (Aimee), Meredith, Mariam, and I took a ride on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. The leaves are at peak colors in the Adirondack National Forest.

Anyway, Mariam is a Somali Bantu refugee. She had never ridden on a train before, so she was extremely excited. Meredith is Mariam's mentor in a program that's sponsored by the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Writing on the fly . . . flying to write

It's October and that's roughly the middle of my semestral calendar. It's at about this point in time when I should be adjusting to the rhythms of academia. But I haven't. Many things are on my plate. Many hats are on my hat rack waiting to be rotated into use.

Sally Keith, a fab poet, came by to give a reading down here in Utica and we had a long chit-chat about writing, jobs, living as a writer. First off, she doesn't have a television . . . or at least, she doesn't watch television unless it's to watc movies or something. I've known many artists/writers who have no television. How many of you turn off the tube and keep it off? Meredith and I have a MEGA television perched in a pine-shrine at the corner of our living room. When we get home from our long days of teaching, we kick off our shoes and veg in front of the screen. But Sally's chat with me is making me think that I need to re-think that ritual. Trouble is, I love TV. Particularly SportsCenter in the morning. I watched the VP debates last night, despite Meredith's groans. Earlier, I had watched In a Fix on TLC. When I lived in Gettysburg, PA, a ritual of mine was waking up on Saturday mornings and watching This Old House. I don't know if you consider what I watch to be crap. I don't know myself. All I know is after I'm done teaching, advising, going to meetings, grading . . . I'm dead tired. But I also know, that's a perfect time to be doing something active.

That leads me to this idea of writing. I'm usually multi-tasking all day. Not only am I preparing my classes, but I'm also doing things behind the scenes in terms of the cultural programing at my school. I'm basically at school from Monday to Friday. When I'm not in school, I'm doing things for school. So when do I write? I had thought to make a rigid writing schedule which had me waking up early in the mornings everyday. That failed miserably. I wasn't getting enough sleep. I knew this because my left eye-lid would twitch all day when I did this schedule. I then thought to write exclusively during the weekends. That bombed too, as soon as the papers started pouring in.

So now, I'm looking for an end to excuses. I'm designating one day a week. That's all, but I need to hold myself to that day. What do you fellow multi-taskers do? Do you designate a few hours each day? Do you designate a particular day? Do you resign yourself to not working until you have a holiday break or something? Give me some ideas.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Jake and the Deer!!!

Jake and the Deer!!!
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Old Forge

Old Forge
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
As I said earlier, Meredith and I went up to Old Forge. Here's a picture of the lake and the leaves turning.