Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Confession . . .

So . . . I love Project Runway.

Meredith and I are addicted. We both loved Laura's cocktail dress. We both were shocked when a French citizen egged Michael Knight's couture gown. We both think Jeffrey's an ass, but we liked his couture gown.

Help. It's being TiVoed right now and Mere's not home. I want to sneak a peek, but . . .

Friday, September 22, 2006

Fall Cometh

Meredith and I are enjoying the last of our Summer vacation. The weather has gotten palpably colder, and the sun has been setting sooner than I've been used to. I've also been feeling sleepy at 10PM. That's a sure sign to me. We've been trying to watch X-Files Season 3 DVD's and I've been falling asleep through some of the episodes (I've already seen all of them, but I need to stay awake to field questions from the significant other).


Many folks have been talking about the Best of American Poetry series. To be honest, I stopped buying the series years ago. I'm less interested individual poems, these days, and more interested in what an artist does over a long series. Anyway, what's evident is that poetry, or for that matter, the arts, is operating in a patron/patronage system, and many people wish for a more democratic system. Rather than the wealthy or the nobility commissioning writers/artists to create a portrait or write an ode, nowadays we have grant-giving institutions issuing monetary grants--mentors bestowing blessings upon their betters. We hope that such an institution, again, would be more democratic but often the selection committee members know of a dude who knows a dude. What we need to be clear about is that the arts and many other ventures function under a gift economy (quid pro quo). I do like what what Charlie has to say about this whole affair.

To be sure, I've participated in this gift economy. I've told friends to check out this journal or that reading venue. I've also been solicited by friends to submit work to journals, anthologies, etc.. At the time I've done these "favors," I didn't see them as "favors," but as community-building. Would I like a system that allows for a broader democratic participation? Of course. I would also love more acts of charity as well as humility. Meantime, I'm going to continue writing, sending my work out to journals, filing my rejections in a large folder, filing my acceptances in a small folder, and I'm going to do my best to model my understanding of what it means to be a writer.


I've been cleaning up my office. I finally hung up some curtains. They're quite ugly and they don't fit correctly on the posts. At least I won't have the administrators staring at me while I surf blogs . . .

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Woman Warrior at 30

The Woman Warrior @ 30

September 29, Friday
1pm-5:30pm panel discussions
NYU Kimmel Center
60 Washington Square South, Shorin Performance Studio, 8th Floor

7pm Reception at the Asian American Writers' Workshop
16 West 32nd Street, 10th Floor (between Broadway and Fifth Ave)

RSVP by Tuesday, September 26 to (212) 992-9653, or
online at APA

Join the afternoon panel of writers, artists, scholars, and the author
herself as they pay tribute to the legacy of Maxine Hong Kingston's
seminal 1976 semi-autobiographic novel The Woman Warrior. The afternoon
panel topics include: The Woman Warrior, Literary Forms and Other Genres;
Women and The Woman Warrior; and Politics, Immigration and The Woman
Warrior. The tribute culminates in an evening reception at the Asian
American Writers' Workshop.

Panelists include:
Meena Alexander
Christine Balance
Fay Chiang
Luis H. Francia
Gloria Jacobs
Susana Lei'ataua
Sunita Mukhi
Crystal Parikh
Cyrus Patel
Sheridan Prasso
Kate Rigg
Svati Shah
Karen Shimakawa
Ellen Wu

In collaboration with the Asian American Writer's Workshop and the
National Book Foundation

For more information:
Alexandra Chang
Events Coordinator
Asian/Pacific/American Institute
New York University
41-51 East 11th Street, 7th floor
New York, NY 10003
212-992-9651 office
212-995-4705 fax

Friday, September 15, 2006

The end of summer

Yesterday, Meredith and I went shopping for decorations. We've redesigned parts of the house, most notable being Meredith's office. It's a cute little cubby, but she needed flooring and bookcases. Anyway, it rained almost all day and it's slated to rain for most of the week. I suppose it's fitting that the last days of Summer serve as a transition into Fall. A part of me is grateful for the rain because it means I can start planting trees to patch up some of the dead spaces on the grounds . . . the other part of me dreads the coming Fall because I know it means the long rainy season is upon us.

We were stacking wood that I had chopped earlier in the evening and the cedar smell was reminding me of my first days of school when I was a kiddo. I loved getting those packets of #2 pencils. I'd have 'em all sharpened that evening. WWU's first days are coming. I've got meetings, etc., that come with returning to campus. I've been slacking with my course prep, partly because I've taught the classes before. However I am using a new text for my Introduction to Poetry Writing. One thing I know about the students I've taught is that they're nowhere near as well-read as they THINK they are. I had taught the earlier classes with a handbook (thin with no examples/poems) and three collections by poets. The students weren't taking the time to actually read the collections, even though their grades depended on their discussions and analysis of these collections. I suppose they hadn't learned how to read a collection because they hadn't seen enough variety. This time I'm using a thicker handbook with more examples by other poets. It's so difficult choosing a "good" textbook for an introductory class. Most of the time I supplement a great deal of the resources.


Currently spinning in my iTunes: Before Night Falls soundtrack. Thank you S.B. and A.M.


Also bought seasons 2 and 3 of The X-Files. Meredith is hooked. We were watching DVR's of the X-Files from TV, but they were out of sequence and she was getting confused. It's funny to see the transition in Gillian Anderson's appearance. At the start of the series she's dowdy and her hair's fairly long. By the end of season 2, she's glammed up. The camera's panning closer to her face, her skin's flawless and her hair and her clothes are much more fashionable.

Meanwhile Meredith has fallen in love with David Duchovny. That's okay, I suppose, if you like tall, dark-haired guys with good abs, conviction, and intellect with a deep emotional scar that fuels their passion . . .

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Busy day

I was an industrious little bee today. I mailed off manuscripts to contests and spent nearly $200.00 in the process. Why are these things so damn expensive?


After my month of rapid writing, I'm feeling kind of tapped. Out of the flurry, I think I wrote about ten or twelve pieces I can revise and submit. And I need to toss them out of the house soon or I'll go mad.


Reading Ann Lauterbach's book of essays as well as Steve Scafidi's new collection (thanks Pat).

Check out this poem by Mr. Scafid from his book For Love of Common Words:

The Boy Inside the Pumpkin

At five hundred and thirty pounds it won the blue ribbon
at the Fredrick County Fair and because all such vegetables
are too bitter to eat something had to be done--

and it was decided to haul the pumpkin to the river and the boy
inside the pumpkin meanwhile lay curled in the dark mash
while they rolled it to the edge of the tailgate and heaved it

to the ground and he must have been in there all spring and all
summer and through the long hot hours must have grown
restless in the goop although he looked almost peacful lying

naked by the river among the broken leaves and the seeds where
the ambulance drivers stood on their knees amazed
beside the boy opening his eyes as the slow Potomac moved

to the Chesapeake bay and the ocean where the waves make
their way to every coast in the world and the boy inside
the pumpkin lies quietly in this world like a fact of the unlikely

and the most unlikely things happen everyday in this world
and we go on unchanged and a body was found
on a baseball diamond in Frederick Maryland last spring

wearing only a t-shirt face down with both arms underneath
the body and the details are listed in the Metro Section
of the Washington Post and so when you read about the child

you learn he was only nine years old and had a faint birthmark
the exact shape of Kentucky on the small of his back
and could talk like a duck when he wanted to and you learn

the most unspeakable things in the slender Metro Section
of the Washington Post and it corrupts your sense
of the world to know how often the impossible happens upon us

without mercy and it is not the fit subject of poetry and it is
offensive to redeem the horror of that boy's last hours
but I can't stop trying to salvage something from the murderous

and the poisonous and last spring some small ordinary blossoms
grew suddenly more gigantic everyday and the boy inside
the vine became the boy inside the pumpkin who became

a turning in the darkness no one noticed although for a week
hundreds of people at the fair stroked the fat sides of
the pumpkin and were amazed and a boy leans up on his elbows

now in the moss beside the river and looks around bewildered
and asks for his mother and his father and they are delivered
amazed and these things never happen. They happen everyday.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Lesson #8573

iTunes store purchase+ dial-up connection = 5 hours downloading a single album.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Wait for it . . .

. . .

(looks around for muse)

. . .

Patrick Tickling the Ivory

Patrick Tickling the Ivory
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Patrick came up to Bellingham/Maple Falls for a visit. We had pizza at the North Fork Brewery. Then we took him up to see views of Mount Shuksan and Mount Baker. He was quite freaked. :D

Later that evening, he played some piano. After dinner, Meredith and I scared him with our stories of coyotes, bears, snakes, and brown recluses.

So if you're ever up near Bellingham, look us up. We'll give you acrophobia and then we'll talk about all the scary wild animals in our wilderness.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Doodling . . .


Let me prove it to you. I’ll sit here
and look you in the eye with a knee
to my back and blood
dripping from my nostril. I’ll batter
my head against a brick wall, cut
my knuckles on teeth and bleed
a few more ounces. I’ve been knocked down
more than once. I’m sick
enough to know not to quit.
I’m not tired just yet. Listen, I can swing
like a windmill. I’ll ground you
to powder. I’ll not bat an eye
or blink at your flurries. I can take it.
I can stick my chin up and receive
the grace of your upper-cut. Lord,
is that all you can dish? Are you not
heart enough? Are you not ghost
enough to give me a lickin’? Quick,
jab my nose. Kick my shin
and toss me to the ground. Shovel
the dirt on me. Split my lip.
Crack my rib. Spit on my grave.
I’ll fight filthy.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Farewell to Andre

I watched Agassi's last professional tennis match. He fell to B. Becker. I thought it was rather amusing that he would lose to an old nemesis. *wink* Anyway, Agassi looked old and tired. As someone who has experienced back pain from tennis, I could sympathize with poor Andre. He was wincing in pain when he had to bend down to tie his shoes. Anyway, I was hoping he'd get into the quarter finals or semi's to top Jimmy Connor's last run at the US Open, but alas. Outside of that, Steffi Graf was looking good and I wish Andre well in his retirement.


My parents were here for the weekend. They were quite impressed with the modifications we've made. Last time they came to visit, the house was dark, unkempt, old-looking. My folks are looking for a retirement house. They've JUST realized that their market for houses is not the same as THIS market for houses. Mere and I rode in the real estate agent's car with my folks. I could tell the agent was getting frustrated, so Mere and I took it upon ourselves to explain the differences between desire and availability. The tours weren't fruitless, though. We saw some items we'd like to integrate into our own living spaces.


Writing day today. I had to put the desk on hold while the parents were in town. I've been really into this poem series . . . So far, about ten drafts of poems that I'll need to tidy-up. I've also got a couple of essays I need to spit out soon.

I spoke with Adrian Matejka and Stacey Brown the other day (HI! If you're reading). It was good talking to them. I'm alone with my thoughts on poetry for most of the time, so I enjoyed talking to them about the state of poetry these days.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Country Boy

Fear my blade
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Yes. That's me chopping firewood. Cue the fiddle and the banjo.

Got my bloodwork done . . .

Therefore I will eat many cheese thingies with butter, salt, and sugar. And I'll make sure to deep-fat fry them. Also, I will eat lots and lots of red red meat and chitlins and pork rinds and salted nuts with salted buttered popcorn sprinkled with molasses and sugar. And I'll eat M & M's coated in fried twinkie bits, fried in fried chicken with eggs. And I'll add to all that a turducken with toasted and fried chicken fried steak and eggs with twinkie bits and salted pork loin with melted butter on top. And then I'll fry my chocolate bar in red meat with lots and lots of egg yolks, basted in a turducken, grilled, seared, and blenderized with Butterfinger pieces, then re-fried with Cherry Garcia ice cream. After that, I'll polish my meal off with a chocolate milk shake fried in pork fat and lard, smothered in a turducken with lots and lots of twinkie bits, a kielbasa, and some bacon.

I'm going on a fried-food bender. Scrape me off the carpet when I'm done.


I just finished watching the Agassi vs. Baghdatis match. I was screaming at the television. Meredith kept wondering what the hell was going on.


Revisiting books by Frankie Paino and Killarney Clary.


Mere and I have been watching much homeowner porn. Design Star is great.