previous posts
Goombas on the 50 yd line.
Now in color!
Halloween's most frightening skeleton.
Election Day mayhem.
Xmas lists.
And I'm in!

October 2005
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January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
August 2006
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October 2006
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October 2008
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Friday, March 31, 2006

Where my head is.

School has been kinda odd this past week. I feel like I'm on top of stuff, and then I realize I have some big thing to do last minute. It's like a stress rollercoaster. I dunno why I'm so disorganized. Spring fever, maybe?
The weather is warming up; my crocuses are blooming, and the daffodils and tulips have broken the surface and their blooms are not far behind. I've had a pretty fabulous few days, with pits of anxiety and highs of warm sunshine. Hopefully the girl who's been hacking up her lungs piece by piece behind me in my First Amendment class isn't contagious. That would suck.

Speaking of that class...
Yesterday, we had almost a whole class on the word "nigger." Seriously. We had to watch a documentary and then discuss whether the word should be banned from television since it's not currently. The whole class is white, by the way, with one exception. Personally, I can't imagine how uncomfortable it must have been to be that one black guy on that particular day.
We broke into two groups and discussed the matter. I was the discussion leader in my group and took notes on what we talked about. The question of whether it was okay for one group of people to say the word and not another group came up. In terms of the law, I said that any regulation attempting to bar one race from the rights of another would fall under suspect classification and be subject to strict scrutiny. One person disagreed. Guess who?
Also, in the documentary we watched, one man was asked why black people use the term when white people's use of it is so abhorrent, and this was the response, "I say it because I know white people say it behind my back."
Um, WTF? Seriously? Is it me, or does that seem a little racist? Maybe it's the part of the country I live in, but I've never heard anyone say that word in real life. Black or white.

edit: I am reminded that I have indeed heard the word used irl by the husband of a friend who lives in the south. I was shocked, which he apparently thought was funny and assured me that his black friends don't mind him saying that word. Um, okay. Totally different part of the country, so what do I know?
posted by hilary at 11:27 AM | 4 comments | links to this post

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Bad Poetry Night: inspired by Roy.

I've changed a lot since I wrote this in high school, desperate to look like I belonged in the coffee house and not at all realizing that, at the time, I did.

Some Change Left
some change left,
don't know how much.
the coffee was a buck
oh six. and the stank
led the pen to my hand
as i comprehend the drink.
pen on pad, i fit in
with the misfits.
even though i don't play
chess and my hair's hue
is not unnatural. even
though my clothes have
only had one home and
my skin is unmarked by
man's art. i can pretend
that i am a misfit too.
and fit in. even though
i don't and my pen is made of
posted by hilary at 8:27 PM | 1 comments | links to this post

Embarassing moment of the day.

I step onto the elevator at the first floor to go up. It goes down to the basement and lets on this huge, disheveled, panting guy. Before my fight-or-flight instinct kicks in, the doors close and we are whisked away to the second floor. Why is he panting? I don't know. I hold my breath just in case he's got something airborne I don't want to catch.

The doors open on the second floor. My lungs are urgently reminding me that the body doesn't work properly without a constant supply of oxygen. No one is there. Panting Man stands, hulking, between me and the Close Door button. If I get off here, I have to wait for it to go all the way up and all the way down before it picks me up. I have to get to class, so I decide to stay where I am.
Finally, the doors close and we continue our slow trek upward. I can make it to the fourth floor sans breath if we don't stop.

We stop. He's still panting, standing in the middle of the elevator. My lungs finally give out as the door opens and I gulp in a stuttered breath of elevator air.

The doors open for the third floor passenger, who is greeted by a giant, panting man, and a gasping girl. To make matters worse, he chooses that EXACT moment to make room for our new passenger by quickly jumping back to the opposite corner of the elevator. She eyeballs us and steps onboard with obvious trepidation.
You just KNOW she thinks she caught us mid-coitus or something. Ugh.
posted by hilary at 10:59 AM | 1 comments | links to this post

Friday, March 24, 2006

Santa take note.

I spent yesterday in a first grade classroom at a city magnet school as part of an enrichment program. These kids were some of the most fun, interested, outgoing children I've ever had the pleasure of being involved with. I felt completely trusted and accepted, even though I hadn't seen their smiling faces since Christmas when I helped them build gingerbread houses out of graham crackers, frosting, and used milk cartons.

With St. Patrick's Day having recently passed, there was a holiday themed class project on their bulletin board. The teacher had given them pages starting with, "If I found a pot of gold, I would..." and the children wrote in the rest themselves.
Not being a particularly eye-catching display, it was easy to overlook. At one point during some downtime, however, I found myself reading their answers. It almost made me cry.
Every single child made unselfish requests. I counted:
House for their family: 6
Car for their family: 4
Food for their family: 3
Give money to poor people: 2
A park so they could play with their family: 1
A toy for their sister: 1
Give the money to their family: 1

I really wish I'd have copied a few of the answers verbatim. They were so sweet and sincere, using words like "love" and "trust."
The reason this was so heartwrenching for me is that collectively these kids have absolutely no hint of depression or poverty on them. Their inner desires and their outward attitudes seemed incongruous to me.

On a less philosophical note, it was great to see the class only had 18 kids and that the writing exercise was done with excellent penmanship and only a few grammatical errors.
posted by hilary at 8:00 AM | 3 comments | links to this post

Monday, March 20, 2006

Censored verse.

Due to the abundance of subject matter, I'm continuing with Roy's bad teenage poetry theme today.
In high school, we had a literary magazine that the students put out with help from faculty advisors. Students could submit artwork, photography, prose and poetry to the magazine committee, which would then convene to go over submitions and choose what was deemed good enough to add. At least, I think that's how it worked - I was never a big participant in committee type things back then.
My sophomore year, I had a friend who attracted the very worst sort of guys. Honestly, (and I hope I'm not offending any feminist sensibilities when I say this) she seemed to want to find relationships with boys who would beat the crap out of her. I watched her provoke and needle and nag until, finally, the idiot would reach his snapping point and just haul off and smack her upside the head (or kick her down the stairs, or pull her around the room by her hair, etc). Maybe she liked the drama? Maybe she was into S&M but was too embarrassed to admit it in the bedroom? Who knows why we do the things we do.
Anyway, watching her get smacked around inspired my poetry. The subject matter is a mish-mosh of my just having discovered e.e. cummings and growing up influenced by after-school specials. Here's what I submitted to the magazine committee that year:

he loves me!
he loves me!
he hit me, but
he loves me!

he loves me!
he hit me.
but he loves me.
he loves me.

he loves me.
he hit me.
he loves me?

he loves me not.

The day after the committee meeting, I was approached by the faculty advisor and told that, while the students wanted to include my poem in the magazine, the faculty wasn't sure it was appropriate. I guess they didn't want to send the message out to the parents that one of their pampered private school daughters was getting the shit beat out of her on an apparently regular basis. When questioned about the inspiration for the poem, I admitted that it wasn't me I was talking about, but I refused to divulge the name of my friend. They weren't sure whether to believe me or not, so to cover all bases, they brought in a private counselor/investigator and had him give 15 minute interviews to every single female freshman through senior. In addition to the interviews, we had a morning assembly meeting in which the faculty addressed the issue of abusive relationships and how they're bad. "Just say no! to beating your girlfriend."
All because of a little poem, which ended up getting censored from the magazine anyway.

At the time, I was sort of proud of the big stir my little verse had created, and when word got out that the faculty had censored a poem, of course everyone wanted to read it.
Looking back, however, I am sort of sad my poem didn't get published. The rest of the Bad Teenage Poetry published in the magazine that year will live on indefinitely in the school's library and in whatever issues people kept as they grew up and got on with their lives. Mine, however, became the poor poem that strut and fret its hour upon the stage, and then was heard no more.
posted by hilary at 10:41 AM | 8 comments | links to this post

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Angst & Graphite.

Roy is doing this whole "bad teenage poetry" thing over on his blog and I, having written oodles of the stuff myself, wanted to participate. Looking for my old poems, however, I came across my old drawing notebook. Oh the angst contained within! Here are a few selections:

The first is a sketch I did after seeing dadaist John Covert's "Will, Intellect, Sensation, Emotion" in an art museum. I was impressed with the idea of seemingly random lines creating specific sense. So I drew some cats. The last one is a sketch of mine in the same vein from a Picasso detail.

I was really into drawing figures. The third one on the top has the figure I'm most proud of: man slumping on bench. The first one on the bottom, I think I must have been feeling a little life pressure. Let me explain the next one. It looks like a commentary on abortion, doesn't it? It's not. What I did was draw the figure of a woman in stirrups, but then my prudish sensibilities kicked in and I put a question mark to hide her lady parts area (how demure!). Completely embarassed by the whole thing, I added a wire hanger to explain the whole mess to any future viewers.
Next after that is my attempt at fashion design. I'd recently been to a DJ/rave store and was shocked and interested in the clear vinyl clothing they sold. That's what I came up with right before I decided I had no desire to attend FIT.

An example of me being mean. I'm not sure what happened - I think I let some girl I vaguely knew draw in my notebook - but when I saw the smiley faces, they sickened my angsty sensibilities. The resulting added figure was my nonverbal way of telling her what I thought.

I'm think the words in the first one are mine, but I couldn't swear to it. The second two are, I'm fairly sure, Junkpoet's.

My attempt at drawing actual people, all temporary friends of mine from my latter teen years. The first guy looked dead after I drew him, so I filled in the coffin pillow and exaggerated the death theme.

I got some nifty colored pencils and experimented. The dog is my personal tribute to Rodrigue's Blue Dog, which I was obsessed with in my teens. The last one with the balloons, I dunno. I have no explanation for that.

The picture on the left is an example of me doodling. I get a little obsessive when I doodle, and if left without a reason to stop, I can fill pages and pages with this kind of connectivity stuff. You should see my JRN 101 notebook.
The last image is that of the last drawing in my notebook. It seems like after that drawing, I put down my pencil and didn't pick it up again, despite having left several pages blank.
posted by hilary at 12:48 PM | 3 comments | links to this post

Friday, March 17, 2006

Please pass the Neosporin.

Rarely does one ponder the similarities of meat within the animal kingdom more acutely than when one slices deeply into one's own flesh while washing one's exceptionally sharp Wusthof knife that one was just recently using to similarly slice the flesh of fresh chicken cutlets.

posted by hilary at 12:41 PM | 5 comments | links to this post

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Pi Day.

Happy Pi Day!

I'm by no means a math head, but I think the idea of celebrating Pi on 3-14 is a clever one. Yay for Pi! :)

In other news...

Several semesters ago (Spring 2004, I think), I had an amazing professor for a Brit Lit course. The class was wonderful, and I received excellent remarks from him on each of my papers. The comments he made were so flattering and meant so much to me, that I've kept each of the papers I wrote for him, including one on Frankenstein for which he urged me to pursue creative writing.

"Keep in touch with him; you might need a recommendation some day!" my father suggested. So, of course, I haven't seen or spoken with the professor since.
Today, walking down the hall on the way to class, I saw a familiar face. I'm terrible with facial recognition, so it took me a second to recall the face I'd admired so much two years ago. "Oh, it's him! He won't remember me," I thought.

"Hi Hilary, how are you?" he smiled.

Woohoo! I'm not sure whether I'm happier that I am apparently memorable, or that I've got another recommendation letter I can count on.
posted by hilary at 9:10 AM | 2 comments | links to this post

Monday, March 13, 2006

Kung Fu PJs.

When getting dressed for bed, do you ever whip off your clothes and twirl them around real quick, pretending you're Jackie Chan capturing the villan's fist with a quickly removed shirt?
Or is that just me?
posted by hilary at 2:02 PM | 3 comments | links to this post

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Rainbow on the corner.

On my way to school in the morning, I pass through an urban neighborhood with pretty houses along a tree-lined avenue. If I catch it at the right time, I get to see the residents of the neighborhood with their children waiting for the school bus on corners. One corner in particular looks like a Benetton advertisement - out of four family groups waiting for the bus, there are four distinct ethnic groups represented: a black family with two kids, an Asian family with three kids, a latino or filipino family, and two white Jewish kids.
The prospect of living in such a diverse community really appeals to me, although the bars on the first floor windows of the pleasant looking houses speak to my fear of living so close to rougher elements.

I'm a suburban girl who has grown up in a homogeneous society. After a while, I think maybe one loses the ability to find belonging in a community different from their own, even if one harbors a desire to do so.
posted by hilary at 9:00 AM | 1 comments | links to this post

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Interracial relationships.

There's a gaggle of geese that hang out on the bend in the river down the street. I don't know how they can stand the subfreezing temperatures, but they look pretty happy. I'd get a picture of them, but the spot where they like to congregate happens to be right next to an unforgiving bridge where cars toodle along at 60 mph around a curve.
Generally, my life is more important to me than a picture of cute geese. In this case, however, there is one odd gaggle member that just begs to be photographed. It's a pure white goose, the kind you see on Christmas cards with holly around its neck, or being eaten by the Cratchit family after Ebeneezer's epiphany. Classic white goose.
Nothing so odd about that, except the gaggle he belongs to is one of Canadian geese. Canadian geese are not at all white with their black necks and heads and brown feathered bodies. Whitey sticks out like a sore thumb, an Ugly Duckling who just never found his biological family but was taken in by kindly strangers anyway.

(The below represent the appearance of the geese in question, though my neighborly rainbow family of Branta canadensis remains unphotographed.)

Canadian GooseWhere "Honkey" came from?

posted by hilary at 12:02 PM | 4 comments | links to this post