Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cross Posting Short Girl(s)

I don't do New Year's Resolutions. I don't do New Years, and I don't do Resolutions. It's two different things, really:

New Year's
I am totally willing to go to a party on New Years. I like parties. I like dancing. I like drinking. I like making noise at midnight because I like making noise. But New Year's doesn't hold any meaning for me besides a night that people have parties and make noise at midnight. If everyone in Iowa City started celebrating Canada Day then I would go to Canada Day parties. (No offense, Canada, but I don't really care about you.) There are days that mark the beginnings and endings of things—the first day it feels like a new season, the first day of vacation or the first day of school—those are days that prompt an evaluation of my life, those are days that something changes. Even my birthday, which might be considered an equally artificial marker, feels like a more significant change than the switch from December 31 to January 1st. There is nothing that I want to do or not do on January 1st that I wouldn't want to do or not do on December 31st. Except, perhaps, sleep off a hangover.

A resolution is a promise that I make to myself. And I don't believe in promises, not the way that people seem to use them. I think that a decision is either the best decision one can make given known information, or it isn't. If it is the best decision, then it should be made regardless of promises given or not given. If a promised action is the right action then the promise doesn't make a difference. It only makes a difference when that promised action isn't the best action, because then the promise only serves to enforce the wrong action. We make promises based on our belief in future events. Sometimes we're wrong. Not every goal is attainable, and sometimes we can be harmed by attempting unattainable goals.

It's not that I don't believe in goals. I believe in ever-evolving goals that reflect the best we know at any given time. There are things that I want, that I strive for. Sometimes I reach them. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes I decide that I'm better off if I don't try for that goal. And I never decide if a goal is helping or hurting me, or if a decision is a good or bad one, because of a promise I made.

(written as a guest post at

Friday, December 30, 2011

Heat Transfer

Every time the water turns back, past my ankles and into the opening mouth of a coming wave, it pulls away the sand under my heels, digging little depressions for me to sink back into. The longer I stand, the further entrenched I become. It’s as if I am fighting back the pull of water; the longer it pulls, the deeper I plant myself into the sand.

I always come back to this.

It is the day after Christmas, and my father and I are standing ankle-deep in the Pacific Ocean and talking about heat transfer and temperature. Did you know that if you stood in a room where the air temperature was 34 degrees, but the walls were 80 degrees, you would feel warm? It takes a specialized temperature control set up, but scientists have tried it and it works. It has to do with radiative versus conductive heat.

I wonder what it would be like to live in perpetual sun again.

The ocean tugs at my ankles; I am aware of the metaphor. It pulls me westward, homeward, California-bound. I am surprised to hear myself say, homeward. I lived here for seventeen years. And then I stopped. But here I am, fifteen years later, and the word comes, unbidden. Home.

Friday, November 11, 2011


The last time I walked on the old Arts Campus was the day after Tom Aprile died.  I was on a date with Other Dan, and we were taking the long way to the theater building to see No Shame Theater.  As we passed the old sculpture classroom--the workroom, not the trailer--he said huh, wonder what was in there.

In the little office at the back of room 350 was a clear push pin holding a ripped piece of paper with the phone number for home.  Today, I took the paper down, rolled it up, and put it in my pocket.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

light switch and sink

I needed to tell you this

I needed to say how terrified I am.  And I can't tell the people around me because I'm busy projecting confidence.  Or at least, projecting more confidence than I feel.  I mention that I'm worried.  And then I laugh and shrug it off.   Because what I'm terrified of is showing how lost I am, how little and scared I feel, how ignorant. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011


I have read your comment(s).  I have tried to reply.  So far, all I have managed to write in my head is thank you.  And it is not enough.  There is gratitude, and pleasure, and embarrassment, because I have been well-trained to feel embarrassed by praise, and also there is wonder and awe, at your kindness, and your words (which I do read, quietly and without comment) because I also like your writing, but I feel funny saying it because it sounds like I'm just saying back what I hear.  Well, technically, I am, but it's not like that, it's not.

Thank you.

(And also my address is
nine fourteen dearborn street
iowa city IA five two two four zero.)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

more things

Objects from my grandparent's house.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I lived in Oakland for three years, but always as a transient.  I was from somewhere else.  I was going somewhere else.  I just hadn't done it yet.  Oakland was never mine, and I never loved it.  I complained about weather, and BART hours, and politics, and weather.  And then I did leave, four years ago, and I stayed gone. 

And yet I find now that I am from Oakland, as much as I am from Poway or Baltimore, or when I travel these days, and say that I am from Iowa.  The place is embedded in my history, my habits, my expectations of the world.  When something happens in Oakland, to Oakland, I take it personally.  Even from 2000 miles away.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Palm Trees

You know how sometimes the last thing you said starts echoing in your ears until it's unrecognizable and awful?

So here is Mission Beach, San Diego.  Look!  Palm trees!


Doom Girl 2: The Return of The Doom

What I'm trying to say is that just because I am insecure doesn't mean that I'm wrong.  

It's not a unique position, but it's not universal either.  Some people have insecurities that relate to other problems.  Some people go out and think "I look hot," and mean it.  They might doubt their social skills or intelligence or worth as a human being, but they know that people find them attractive.  Some people doubt their appearance, but with far less reason.  I think that my attractiveness to other people is below average, which by definition means that half the population is better at it than I am.  So that half of the population either knows it, and feels less doubt, or doesn't know it, and their doubt is less rational.  Either way, it's not the same thing.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Doom Girl

He texted back immediately, and I thought so maybe it's not over.  And then in the 30 minutes since then I have managed to convince myself that it really is over.  Because, obviously, a 30 minute wait between texts = doom.

This is, apparently, my MO.  I predict doom.

I wish it wasn't.  It's kind of tiring, really.  All this doom.  Or rather, the back-and-forth between maybe-he-wills and no-he-won'ts is tiring.  I wish I could stop.

Except I don't think I'm being entirely unreasonable.  Thinking that THIRTY MINUTES WAIT = HE WILL NEVER CALL AGAIN is silly.  But the only reason I think that is because the underlying trust isn't there.  And I'm not sure that's unreasonable.  I think that my odds are slim.  I think that existing trends do not support the hypothesis that things with Alex will work out.

And trust?  Trust is just another kind of faith.  I don't have any of that kind, either.

coffee table

I made this today.  Well, some of the handle I made yesterday.  But I made most of it today. 

Still needs a lot of work.

Friday, October 14, 2011

this post is in dire need of a conclusion

They are going to take the tooth.

I've had teeth pulled before; I'm already missing eight of them.  But this is my fucking front tooth.  (Fig.1, tooth #9.)  I'm going to look like a six year old or a meth addict.  And, yes, they will make me a (horribly named) "flipper," which is like a denture for a single tooth.  And it will match my much-yellowed existing teeth.  And eventually they're going to drill a new tooth directly into the bone.  But I will be toothless for at least four months, maybe more.  The entire process is expected to take about nine months.
                                            fig 1: YOUR TEETH                                  
And speaking of drilling into bone, I'm getting a bone implant from a dead person.  Which, according to the literature, should be tested for disease.  I'm faintly disturbed by the fact that not only will the literature refuse to claim with certainty that my dead-guy-bone will be disease-free, they won't even claim with certainty that it will have been tested.  Seriously?  My periodontist assures me that the bone-procuring procedure is totally ethical and safe.  Despite rumors I may have heard.  No Chinese prisoners. No diseases.

(I actually think the dead-guy bone implant is pretty awesome.  I'm more bothered by the literature than the actual procedure.  Or, rather, I'm bothered by the procedure because it involves knives, and me, and being conscious, but not because of the dead guy.  Just because it doesn't hurt when being cut, doesn't mean it doesn't feel awful.  And then there's the later, which does hurt.  Dammit.)

I think I have to stop biting my nails.

My periodontist is Dr. M.  She is young and pretty, with cold, slender hands, and sleek brown hair.  My endodontist tells me in the hallway that they are dating.  I think he was trying to say something about how he wants to save teeth.  He really wants to save teeth.  But my tooth can't be saved.  Also, he's dating Dr. M.  Apparently, she is not good for his ability to make coherent transitions, because I have no idea what those two things have in common.

Dr. M was actually the second of three periodontists I met yesterday.  After Dr. M was the head of the periodontics department.  Then I met the director of the prosthodontics department.  (Are department names considered proper names?  Someone help me out here.)  And then there was a second grad student who came to take some extra pictures before I left, because they'd be great for teaching.  I have an appointment next week with another prosthodontist, but I haven't met him yet.  And I'm pretty sure that department heads, capitalized or not, usually don't come to look at everyone's teeth.  I asked my endodontist if my tooth was unusual in some way, but he looked at me earnestly and said that no, this was perfectly normal.  I asked Dr. M, and she gave me the same answer.  I think that they think I want to hear that I'm normal.

I don't want to be normal.  If I'm going to go through a nine-month, $4000, treatment plan, I might as well have a freakish reason for it.  If I'm going to get 3rd degree burns I'd much rather them be from a flamethrower than a campfire.  Instead I'm getting a nine-month, $4000 treatment plan because I knocked my front teeth when I was 12 or 13 which caused a slight horizontal fracture in my left front tooth.  For 19 years the fracture has been extending and expanding in an un-savable-fashion.  My tooth was doomed almost from the start, I just didn't know it.
fig 2: 14 years old

I'm sure there's some sort of metaphor to be made here, about things we unknowingly set in motion years ago, or how we never really escape our childhoods.  Maybe something that plays into the whole teeth-falling-out-insecurity-dream that I've heard about but never actually experienced.  I don't know.  I am relieved to think that this isn't my fault, not in a way that matters.  I may have tripped and fell.  I may have accidentally walked into someone's elbow.  It wasn't even really me who was so clumsy or accident-prone, it was some other, earlier me.  Someone I don't have to take responsibility for.

Because there's something embarrassing about sitting at the dentist as he points out what is wrong with my body, see, here is where the bone is losing density, and here is the crack that is causing it.  All medicine is kind of embarrassing.  Andy says I shouldn't replace the tooth;  I could learn to whistle.  Instead, I am getting teeth-whitening strips in a last-ditch effort to give my mouth some respectability. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Speaking of how I got from there to here.

Almost a year ago, I was approached on OK Cupid by a 19 year old who wanted to improve his oral sex skills, and would I help him practice?  I turned him down, but offered some advice for the future.  Such as: start with women who are interested in casual sex, and try to not sound like you're looking for a second-rate girl to practice on so you can get the first-rate ones.  There was much thanking, and apologizing, and occasionally he shows up on IM to say hi, how's it going. 

Skip forward a bit to a month ago.  September 13th, to be exact.  I am going out of my mind with unfulfilled lust.  And I know, because I've tried, that casual sex doesn't make me happy, but it might get me through the night.  And there's something appealing in the idea of having someone there to do exactly what I want.  And I do want.  All I am is want.  So I message him to say that I might be interested, if he still is.

A week or two passes, and I have written a video essay about online dating.  I have written a fantasy dating montage that shows a multitude of relationship scenes, including a "making out in bed" scene, and I can't think of who I would ask to film it with me.  And I think, Babylingus (as Cassie has named him) makes kind of a perfect choice.  There's no risk in asking, because he's not a friend.  And because he's not a friend, I don't have to see him again.  He's nonthreatening.  He's already expressed interest.  He's already made a crazy proposition, why not match it with one of my own?  I can do him a favor, he can do me a favor.  Quid pro quo.

I proposed.  He dithered.  I explained.  He disappeared.  He came back with conditions.  (The boy has some spunk!)  I refused them.  And now, we are negotiating.

plotting the curve

I am trying to remember how I got from there to here. I know that twelve years ago, I was miserable, and I know that I am not miserable anymore. But I don't know how, when, why, that changed. Was it an even upward slope? Was it imperceptible for years before sweeping quickly up in a surge of sanity? I have points I can plot on that graph, but they are few and far between.

Marking the lowest point: Sitting on a sidewalk in Rome, in July of 2000, my back pressed against the side of a building. Trying to make myself small. Most of my memories of Europe are memories of the photographs I took, and so I don't know what that street looked like. I fill in the holes with the images I do have: pale gray columns in Venice, curved and elegant, lining gray stone steps. Gray cracks in a gray sidewalk in Berlin. I shot everything in black and white. I have three rolls full of the Roman forum in splendid despair, and half a roll of the Colosseum. But the only photo I have of the Vatican is a quick snapshot while crossing the street, the dome of St. Peter's bright in the distance. I spent that day crying on the sidewalk, cross-legged with my camera bag in my lap, determined to never be happy again.

(Jeriah tells the story differently. He charts "rock bottom" a week or two earlier, in Paris. We were on the fourth or fifth floor in a cream colored apartment building in Monmartre. He says that there were days when we never left the building because I couldn't bear to uncurl my spine. But all I remember is a little white-walled room where we ate bread and cheese and I read Stardust aloud at night. I'd forgotten to reset my film speed, so in my memory, the room is always overexposed, almost too bright to be seen. I have no memory of being sad in Paris.)

Marking the highest point: Walking down Jefferson Street in January 2009 with John Englebrecht, the sidewalk treacherous with secret icy patches and lumps of iced-over snow. I told him that I thought I could do anything I wanted.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


I want to think that I'm grumpy for some other reason.  Hormones.  Or drugs.  But I don't think it's hormones, and I think I've remembered to take my drugs.  I've decided, for no good reason, that Alex is over.  Which I have decided before, but this time I care.  This time it makes me sad.  And I'm sad-eating, which makes me feel un-want-able, to go with the feeling of being un-wanted.  And I'm totally annoying, even to myself.


Chicago, broken-down car, blues dancing, strangers asking me for a dance, Jeriah and Malibu Black and orange-pineapple juice and lives that didn't happen, dim sum with carts like a proper restaurant, plotting the curve between Rome in 2000 and today, new car, for reals, new car, Alex, Andrew, wedding, Alex, Alex, Alex

Monday, September 26, 2011

10 days

Thursday, I went to a strip club for the first time. We brought a picnic basket and wine. Saturday I went to knitter's breakfast, saw a movie with Kenda, had dinner with Janel, and saw a movie with Alex. Sunday I had Benedictos Banditos for breakfast, learned how to re-format my T3i footage for FCP, went to a picnic in the park, and mixed a first draft (storyboards and screen capture only, so far) of The Video. This week I am putting together Instructional Equipment Requests, and Friday I am going to Chicago for blues dancing and photographing and city beaching and dim sum and possibly filming. I MIGHT be able to spend a few minutes each day NOT obsessing over Alex. Maybe.

After the movie, he kissed me. Hallelujah.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Obviously, still very much a work in progress.  But, hopefully, watchable this time.

(re-uploaded 9/26)

Friday, September 23, 2011


Proof of concept.  Don't watch.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tagged: art, sex, video

Quid pro quo.

This morning, I offered sexual favors as a commodity for trade.

I'm not talking about the somewhat publically acceptable dating contract, where men pay for fancy dinners and drinks and eventually are rewarded with sex. No, I'm talking about a casting couch, except I'm the one offering sexual favors, and he's the one who might agree to be in my video. So, I guess I'm officially a prostitute. Or at least a sex worker.

I am very aware of that line I've crossed. I am aware that I am supposed to feel ashamed. But I'm feeling confident, and in control, and a little bit mischevious. I'm surprised at myself. But I'm not disappointed.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

the question

Sometimes I think that being white is looking white, and I am just clinging to some exotic self-image because I want to be different.

I never really passed until I came to Iowa.  All my life, people, upon meeting me, would eventually ask some variation of the question, "what are you?"  More than a few have guessed Latina, and a boyfriend once told me that I looked like an Eskimo.  While I worked in a photography store in Berkeley,* a student asked me if she could photograph me as part of a series of portraits of people of mixed-race.  It happened twice.  Here, I have friends here who say they never guessed, they never even thought that there was something to guess.  And no one asks me that question anymore.

So I'm photographing Chinese restaurants in Iowa, but it's not really about the restaurants.  It's about our living room with it's hard, heavy chairs and grandly absurd dragons.  It's about the stone lions that I begged my friends to steal.  It's about this cultural heritage that I don't feel I can claim, even though it's the same heritage that made us different.  I don't think I want a survey of restaurant decor.  What I want is bigger and less well defined.

*still the Best Camera Store Ever

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Golden China Restraunt

His text said "maybe tomorrow." No chat or flirt or smile. I'm feeling the brush-off. Whatever.

The point is that the above paragraph is NOT the point of this post. The point is that I am starting to print final versions of my new State Fair images. The versions online are only stand-ins, quick and easy and good enough. The prints are not good enough. They are good. They are lush and large and beautiful and I love them. They feel like home. I've been away far too long.

This weekend I am going to photograph Chinese restraunts, because there is something wonderfully kitchy about Chinese restraunts in America, especially Chinese restraunts in Iowa. It's as if someone put a dozen or so elements in a hat and pulled out a few for each restraunt. Mix and match Asian flavor: The painting with cranes. The painting with fish. The painting with horses. The name, which contains two or three of the following words: China, Szechwan, Shanghi, Hunan, village, palace, jade, dragon, golden, and lucky. It isn't that these things are inauthentic. I have been to Chinese restraunts in Hong Kong and China, and they had carved lion statues, too. Like the ones my mother put in front of our house. The embroidered tigers and cranes hanging in our living room were not any more or less authentic than the ones hanging at Golden China Restraunt.* But context matters, and we as Americans are not totally over our Orientalism, and so the statues and embroidery take on an air of absurdity that they don't have in China.**

Also, Taste of China has PINK walls and awesome pot stickers. I can't wait.

*I made that one up. See how easy it is?
**Our living room, on the other hand, was entirely absurd.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday

Monday night was a twin bed in a tiny efficiency appartment, lying on our sides, and--oh god--his hand pushing and kneading at my breast, pulling at the small of my back. But I did not have sex with him, I was too timid for that.

Tuesday was hope and want and anticipation, my nipples hard and sore, distracting. I don't really know what I did all day. I couldn't manage to care. I wanted back on that bed. I told him so. But he never wrote back.

And it is only Wednesday now, but hope and want and anticipation have limits, and I have reached them. Hope doesn't float, it flails and splashes desperately, and it's exhausting. I can't afford to not give up.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I would like to sell you real estate

Black and white means I'm serious.

I needed a head shot. Blah.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

gauntlet thrown

text message sent 10:20pm

ps- in case you hadn't noticed, I think you're charming and I like you. Good night. :)

Not really a gauntlet. More like a sock or a hair tie thrown. Something with a lot less panache and a lot more internal squirming.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I am trying to not ask What did I do wrong? What do I do wrong? What is wrong with me? Honestly, I'm trying to not talk about it at all, because it seems like a lot of noise over a very little event. I'm blowing it all out of proportion. But the problem with writing one-hundred-and-eleven messages, is that they accumulate. This isn't one rejection, it's all of them, or at least it's sitting on top of the leftover packaging from all the other rejections, and so takes up much more room than it would by itself.

I could start an entire spreadsheet, solely for categorizing and tracking rejections. There are the most common kind, the rejection-by-silence. Over 50% of my messages never receive a reply. Close behind are the single-response rejections, where I get one reply, out of courtesy, perhaps, but with no interest fueling it. Within that category are two sub-categories, the replies that explicitly state their purpose, and the ones that do not. I greatly prefer the former, but when the roles are reversed, I rarely write them.

The next category is perhaps the most frustrating. The several-replies-followed-by-silence. With each successive communication, I am a little more revealed. And with each successive communication, I have a little more at stake. We play poker, and the chips are hope. But I don't see his tells, and when I lose, I am bewildered. I never see it coming. And I can't fall back on maybe, maybe he actually has a girlfriend but never deleted his profile. Maybe he doesn't want to date someone so old or fat or far away. Maybe it's not something I said. But the several-replies-followed-by-silence-reject-or is someone who appeared interested. He either feigned interest, for some unknown purpose, or he had interest, and then lost it. These are the messages that I read over and over, looking for turning points, looking to find answers in something I said, looking for moments when I lost, I just didn't know it yet. I never find them.

Out of one-hundred-and-eleven messages, only five have made it to a meeting in person. Of those five, three of them I slept with, one I never pursued, and one allowed a kiss before ending things the next day. So there is no category for this. Perhaps that's why I can't let it go. It's strange, that after one-hundred-and-eleven messages, I've never seen this one before. And so I keep asking, even though I know that the answer, if there was one, which there isn't, would do me no good. I ask anyway. What did I do wrong?

It all makes sense, now

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

There are Giants in the Sky

He smelled like aftershave or deodorant, nothing special. It only matters that I could smell him. He was close enough for that. I thought that maybe I could stop reading florid sex scenes in romance novels in favor of actually having sex. Not immediately, of course, but soon.

I am very aware of the empty rooms inside me. There is the room I had filled with his aftershave, and the room where I watched Into The Woods last night, where Jack's song still paces across the floor, echoing. I want to be Jack. I want his soaring, bright-eyed song. But, even more, I want to write that song. I want that moment, and I want to write something that makes someone else want it. I want you to feel something. I can't make him want me, but I want to make someone want something.

two kisses

Yesterday, it was soft and sweet and just long enough for my hands to find themselves behind his head and his hands to rest on my waist. I keep thinking about that, his hands on my waist, light pressure, encircling.

Today, he turned away. I kissed his cheek instead and went inside.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

oops, forgot this one


The Iowa Review is in Prairie Lights.

I made a few more work prints from this year's state fairs.

I got into in a show in California.

I arranged to have coffee with Mandy from OK Cupid on Thursday.

I arranged to have dinner with Voldemort on Sunday. He's going to make tacos, guacamole, and margaritas.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

I should be sleeping but I'm reading over and making small edits to old writings instead

I remember a photograph of myself at four years old. I am sitting on the floor and smiling with my arm around my new puppy. I am wearing a green checked dress. The puppy is a light fawn color with a white nose and white belly. We are roughly the same size. There is a Christmas tree behind me and the legs and feet of adults at the edge of the frame. I have no memory of this event; in my earliest memories we already have a dog. His name is Caboose.

Except it’s not entirely true that in my earliest memories we had a dog, because he isn’t present in most of my memories. I remember the fact that he existed at that time, but he wasn’t there. If each memory were a photograph, he would be, always, outside the frame. We kept him in the backyard, to be eventually joined by first one, and then two, black cats, and an escaped rabbit.

When my parents tell the story, they say, We got you a puppy because he was small, and you were small, but we should have gotten a small dog instead. The puppy was rambunctious. He scared you. It’s a reasonable explanation. I don’t know if it’s true. I only know that I never loved him. None of us did.

I don’t know if I had asked for a dog or if he just happened. With two parents, a brother, and a white stucco ranch house with a fenced-in backyard, perhaps the dog was simply a necessary part of what I would later learn to call our nuclear family. Other necessities included family trips in the summer to the Grand Canyon and day trips to the mountains in the winter. Dutifully, I learned to make snow angels and sled down small hills. My attempts at making snowmen were less successful. Afterwards, we would get back in the van, wet and shivering, and drive back home.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nerd Soapbox Time

"Dynamic range" refers to the range of luminance between the brightest and darkest parts of an image or scene. A film scanner, for example, might be praised for having a high dynamic range, meaning that it can register detail in both very high and very low density areas of a negative. Human sight is capable of processing a very high dynamic range, as demonstrated by the fact that I can sit in a room with a window and be able to see detail in both the couch in front of the window, and in the bushes outside the window. Most other recording and displaying media have much lower ranges. Negative film has a higher dynamic range than slide film, most digital cameras, and photo prints.

In traditional darkroom photography, the difference between the dynamic range of a scene and a negative can be dealt with by manipulating the exposure and development times to handle a greater range of light. The difference between the negative and the print can be dealt with by selectively exposing the print so that the darkest areas are exposed for less time than the lightest areas. This makes the dark areas a little lighter, and the light areas a little darker, compressing the total dynamic range from what it was on film to what can be captured in a print.

With digital photography, the sensor in a camera can't be manipulated to have a greater range than it is naturally built with. So in order to compress the dynamic range of a scene into that which can be printed, usually more than one exposure is taken, and those exposures are merged together selectively on the computer, much like selectively exposing a print in the darkroom. This can be done "by hand," which can be a very easy or tedious task, depending on the image. There are also programs and plug-ins that will take several exposures of the same image and merge them automatically. Both these programs and the images they create are generally called "HDR," which stands for "High Dynamic Range." The name is a bit of a misnomer, because they are actually turning scenes with high dynamic range into prints with lower dynamic range. The range is being compressed, rather than expanded.

Many of these HDR programs compress the dynamic range on a micro level, so that not only are broad areas of light or dark in a scene flattened out, but the individual highlights and shadows on every object in the scene are also flattened out. This process produces a look that often resembles video games and other computer generated graphics. That look has begun to be called "HDR," even when it wasn't created from a scene or set of files that had a high dynamic range to begin with.

So when someone takes a photo of a scene that has a medium dynamic range, and all areas of the scene are adequately exposed in the image, and then processes that image to look as if it had been put through an HDR program, and then calls that image an HDR image, it's wrong on multiple levels. It's a mislabel of a mislabel. The photo, first off, wasn't actually given any treatment to deal with a high dynamic range in the scene. And even if it had been, calling the final result a "high dynamic range" image is also a mislabel. The final image doesn't have a higher dynamic range, it has a lower one.

This is why I hate the term HDR.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Also, I have more film to pick up (rolls 8-11). Yay!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


This is what I do.

Iowa State Fair, 2011

notes for essay: now in screenplay form



Between April 15, 2009, and August 9, 2011, I have written 108 messages.
Each message leaves me anxious but hopeful. I am full of wait and want.
I am constantly on the brink of something.



Each message is an imagined future, the beginning of a story that -might-
happen. I have written myself one hundred and eight different lives.
(Music begins- “Friday I’m in Love”)

None of the montage images are clearly focused on the couple, and Angela IMAGINARY BOYFRIEND's faces are seldom visible in the frame. Imaginary Boyfriend changes in every shot.

--Angela and Imaginary Boyfriend walk across campus, holding hands. They stop and kiss.

--Angela is in the same place, holding hands with Imaginary Boyfriend.

--Angela and Imaginary Boyfriend walk into ice cream parlor, Angela walks out with a different Imaginary Boyfriend.

--Angela is with a group of people at a bar, they are talking and laughing, and she is half-sitting on Imaginary Boyfriend's lap.


Each message is a different version, not only of my future, but of myself. I have
written to one hundred and eight different people, and each one of those one
hundred and eight people have seen a different me.

--Angela and an unidentified person are snuggled on the couch watching TV.

--We end with Angela and Imaginary Boyfriend making out in bed. It is night, and the room is lit by the computer screen and a small lamp on the desk behind the bed. END MONTAGE


We are seeing through Angela’s POV. The bathroom is bright. Angela washes her face and brushes her teeth. She takes medication. (Occasional fade to black, such as when washing face.)


I am confident. I am optimistic. I am happy. I am short, fat and half-asian.
Some days I'm also funny and intelligent and cute, although I don't know if I
ever manage all three at once. I am often entertaining. I seldom kill people.
I can't drive somewhere 2 hours away without wanting to keep driving for
another 6. Sometimes I yell at cats. I’m totally frazzled and anxious. I’m neurotic.
I’m way too old. I do not live in St. Louis. I am not reading a book while riding
a bike in a library. I have never been to a roller girl match, and I’m not quite
sure why. I haven't ever made a prank call. But I did once call every dirty 1-800
number I could think of, to see if they all actually were what they sounded like.


Still through Angela’s POV, looking through the closet, picking out clothes, trying them on. The view in the mirror is blurred or far away.


Reading them later, I sometimes can’t believe the things I've said, out loud
(sort of) to total strangers, although I know that really, this is only possible
because they are strangers. They aren’t real people, not yet. Until they write
back, they are only the people I want them to be. While I write, I am the
person I want to be. And every time I write to someone new, I have a
new chance to try again. Every message is a first message and a new start.



I’ve actually tried to quit, more times than I can count. But I can’t stop.
I need the waiting, and the hoping, and the wanting. I don’t know what to
do with myself without it.

Monday, August 15, 2011


80 East over the Mississippi. A stack of CDs on the passenger seat, holding down a ripped out sheet of notebook paper with my directions written down. 80 to 88 to 39 to 43 to 894 to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In two hours I will check another state off my list. I am 27 and counting.

I remember what joy feels like. All the little disappointments, the boys I tried for and missed, they fall away. They never mattered in the first place. None of them felt like this. I want someone to be this road, right now, this sun and sky and music on the CD player. I am flinging myself across state lines and singing loudly and raucously and THIS is what I want, THIS is what I am worth.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

notes for essay

I write these messages to strangers on dating sites at two-thirty in the morning, half-drunk with exhaustion, and half-drunk with drink, giddy and hopeful. I write them when I wake up, and in the minutes before work or class. I mull them over for hours or days, typing and retyping the same sentence. I write them without thinking at all, almost on accident, I trip and they fall out of my hands.

Between April 15, 2009, and August 9, 2011, I have written 108 messages.

I write them to far away people I never expect to meet, and people in town who I want very much to meet. Sometimes, when I spend a lot of time thinking about a message, I begin to feel as if we've already met. I get along so well with the person I imagine that I can't quite believe that they wouldn't write back. After all, we're such good friends--or we will be, I know it.

Every message is an imagined future, the beginning of a story that could happen.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011


A girl. It only took me, oh, two hours to write...

one oh five and one oh six

This one is scary because he's going to be a real person which means there's another level of accountability. I wanted to come off as "just saying hi and being friendly" and not "hey there I'm hitting on you."

I think it kind of looks like everything else I write, which either doesn't bode well for my plan, or means that I always just sound friendly.

What's the point of having a boyfriend if we're never going to go out for sushi?

where to start

I might have a new reader. It might be you. And so I want to be interesting and eloquent and witty and wise.

I want you to like me. I want to appear as if I think about things other than this chronicle of unanswered messages. But I think that would be a lie. It kind of is all I think about. Also, yarn. Dating and yarn. Dating and yarn and the song Rabbit Heart, by Florence + the Machine, which has a very rousing chorus that sounds like groove is the love and groove is the life, but according to the lyrics is saying who is the lamb and who is the knife, and if you listen closely, is really saying who is the llama, who is the knife. And since llamas make yarn (with my help), I suppose I'm back to just dating and yarn again. And weight loss, and shoes, and oh my god I think that if I performed "female" any harder on this blog I might turn the entire internet pink.

I am trying to write a video essay about the dating project, not just about the dating this time, but the project as a whole, the spreadsheet and the graphs, and the things I have learned, and the things I haven't learned, but I don't know where to start. I don't know what the story is yet.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


If I love myself just the way I am, then there is no need to make changes. If I want to be someone who improves myself, then I have to not-love some aspects of myself. At least, I have to think that I will love the change even better. The harder the change, the bigger the difference needs to be between how I feel about what I am and how I feel about what I could be. The desire has to match the difficulty.

Losing weight is really, really, hard. And the only way I can do it is if the gap between how much I like what I am and how much I like what I could be is really, really, big. And the only way to widen that gap enough is to hate what I am, to make it so I have to change. Because if there is any other acceptable option, I'd take it. And that's a problem.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


It's 3:36pm and I can't eat again until 6. I chew on the fleshy part of my right index finger between the knuckle and the first joint. I pull at my hair. I can't concentrate. It's August 3rd and I've been hungry since June.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

101 & 102

Things with Devin did not go well. They went very embarrassingly not well. Looking at other people, writing other people, helps me stop dwelling. I'm still feeling pretty doomed and unkissable. But at least now he is not the one hope that is failing, see, there are other maybe-hopes over there...

more charts

I do not have internet at home. There's not much else to do.

Friday, July 29, 2011


17 strangers read every message and rated it on a weirdness scale of 0-4. This is the mean weirdness score of each month, translated into a percentage (1 weird out of 4 = 25% weird) and then plotted onto a graph. I made the lines curvy because I like them; I do not really have that many data points. (Click through to see larger image.)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I have a maybe-date tomorrow and it's all I can think about

It might seem like I'd date anything with a pulse, and it's true that I'm not picky. But it's because I'm genuinely not picky, rather than because I'm putting up with someone I'm not interested in just because he or she is willing to date me. It's because I don't see flaws, rather than because I put up with them in order to have or maintain a relationship. I'm not staying with people I don't like because it's better than being single.
But I do want someone more than I want any particular person. I get excited about the prospect of a date, but the person I'm dating is interchangeable, replaceable.
I wasn't always that girl. It used to go the other way around. FIRST I started to get excited about seeing someone. I'd enjoy their company. I'd look forward to talking to them. THEN I would start to want more out of it. It was about the person, not about what he or she could lead to. Now, the person is a means to an end, not the end in itself, and I don't know how to go back. But how do I decide to not want something? Or, having decided, how do I go about DOING it?

Monday, July 25, 2011

917 Dearborn

I'm blogging a lot these days, which mostly means typing them up in separate text documents (I hate Word, it always does terrible things when I try to copy/paste into blogspot), and waiting until I can take the accompanying photos or the next time I have internet access. Sometimes, after staring at the sad, yet-unposted, little things, I change my mind. Nothing to see here. It's not like I have grand revelations just waiting to unleash themselves on the world. I have nothing important to say.

I have a headache. Dehydration and poor sleeping habits, most likely. More the latter than the former.

I finished the books I was excited about, and am reading something I'd forgotten I owned back in Poway. It's sort of self-absorbed and whiny, or at least the narrator is, so it both suits and annoys me at the moment, since I am inclined to self-absorbtion and whinyness myself tonight.

I took measurements of my room so I can play around with different layouts on the computer at work tomorrow. I am putting off any unpacking until I decide on a layout, although I did put together the bedframe.

I have a skylight and more closet space than I can comprehend.

I think I'd like to paint a few walls. I've never painted walls before. It doesn't seem that difficult. The carpet is a light denim color, the walls are honey-colored wood. The ceiling only barely reaches above my head, which is why I get it, even though it's the biggest room in the house.

Our kitchen cabinets have been distributed by order of height. Kenda at the top, followed by Cassie, followed by me. It was Kenda's idea. I am grateful.

Fenna is gone. I wish we'd had more time to adventure.

Cassie will be back soon. I am glad.

This time

Waiting really isn't the hardest part. No matter how acute the anticipation of pain or pleasure, it's still only the shadow cast in advance of the real thing.

So this isn't the hard part. It isn't even the shadow of the hardest part. I have so little at stake. His name, this time, is Devin. I am waiting.

Friday, July 22, 2011


I'm the girl with the fucked up family. That's the story I've been telling as long as I can remember. We were some sort of sad parody of suburban America. Statistically, we were perfect: two parents, two children, a boy and a girl, occasional pets, living solidly middle-class lives in a sunny suburb in southern California. But I always felt that something was off. We didn't look right, for one, with a Chinese mother and ambiguously-ethnic children. And our furniture was always a little shabbier, our clothing not as nice, not because we were poorer than everyone else, but because we didn't have the tastes that should have gone with the lifestyle. And my brother and I were never very interested in that lifestyle. We went along on summer vacations to the Grand Canyon, we sat at family dinners. But I always felt like we were pretending at something, at a family dynamic we didn't actually feel.

And maybe this is because I saw it all through a thick haze of angst. Maybe our family was closer than I thought, or maybe it was just me sticking out, me who wasn't connecting. But I didn't connect. Not with my mother, who struggled with me since I was old enough to reject bedtime lullabies. Not with my brother, who I treated like a roommate, cordial but distant. Not even with my father, the only one I speak to these days. We enjoyed each other's company, but we didn't share. I kept my conversations carefully curated. (I attempted to curate conversations with my mother as well, but never as successfully.)

And now, I'm the girl who doesn't have a mother or brother. I know they're there, still, in a different sunny suburb, but there's a no-fly zone between us.

So, when I started to describe my trip to San Diego, it was a surprise to me to find myself saying "I like my family. It'll be good to see them."

It surprised me because it was true. It wasn't a platitutde to pretend that everything is fine. It wasn't something I said to sound normal, so I wouldn't have to explain why I only have half of my original family, or where my disconnect comes from. When I redefine "family" to mean "the family I have connections to," I find myself with a surprisingly healthy, happy, well-adjusted group of interesting people. Some of them I just met for the first time. Some of them have gone from 8 to 19 years old in the time since I'd seen them.

This newly-defined family is a family of teachers and engineers, from multiple ethnicities, countries, and cities. We are one professor of math, one professor of education, one high-school Spanish teacher, one middle-school P.E. teacher, one high-school shop teacher, one gardener, two mechanical engineers, two engineering students, one still-undecided college freshman, and three high-schoolers still exploring their interests. We talk shop around the dinner table: when and how students should specialize in their interests, the sad state of education funding.

My cousin Cora is coming to visit over spring break next year. I can't wait for you to meet her.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


This post is a placeholder for the more cheerful one I will write later.

Friday, July 15, 2011

What We Are Doing Here

When I tell people about my trip to San Diego, I put a good face on. My grandparents are fine, I say, we're just getting things settled. I forget the reason I asked if I should come home this summer. I wasn't sure that if I waited until Christmas that they would both be here. I said, I wasn't coming home because they were unwell, I was coming home to pack and carry.

They're not well.

My grandfather is frail. His cheeks are unshaven and his face is strangely still, the muscles slack. And there is something I can't recognize in his eyes.

We are not well.

My father tells us how, once when he left the house on Rolando Knolls, the house he grew up in and now is a caretaker for, the toilet did not stop running, and it kept running for two weeks until he came back and discovered it. His hands were clenched in front of him and he didn't look up.

I am not well.

We are sorting through the house to separate items with sentimental value, items that we would be interested in taking back to our respective homes, and items for the estate sale people to handle. I am going into acquisition mode. Look, stuff! I can have stuff! It's pretty cool stuff. There's a shiny gold purse, a silk brocade tablecloth, quilting books, a blue gingham apron. And then I feel guilty for coveting stuff, because it shouldn't be about getting stuff. This is the dismantling of my grandparent's lives. I want to be generous. I want to be helpful. I don't want this pile of stuff with a pink sticky note that says Angela. I don't want to want it. And I hate that I do.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

screen printing is like magic

Okay, so I haven't had a chance to take the photos I want to take. But here's a webcam shot of me at work in the shirt I screen printed yesterday evening before pub knit.

Fashion Week part III: Crazy-Crafty-Hipster-Girl


love bright colors. I love clashing colors. I love:

red and cyan
orange and cyan
purple and orange
lime green and orange
magenta and yellow

I love t-shirts that say something cool because I want people to think I'm funny and interesting. I love Natalee Dee and Threadless. I have a t-shirt with a pair of skyscraper-people scraping the sky, a shirt with a Leica M6 on it that says "Think Negative," and a shirt with a skull that says "I live inside your face."

I have t-shirts for:

Rock Island, IL
Akron, OH *
Oakland, CA **
Iowa **
Looking Glass Photo, Berkeley CA *
Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland OH *
El El Frijoles, Sargentville ME (my friend owns the restraunt)
Home Ec. Workshop, Iowa City IA **

* I've visited here
** I've lived here

I go for the crazy-crafter-hipster look. I go for clothes that look like they might have been home-made. I want to look crafty but not in a 70's kind of way but a knitter-on-the-NYC-subway kind of way. A tongue-in-cheek-kitchy kind of way. I just made a t-shirt that says "I'm being ironic." It is always true. I love dressing-down pretty skirts with old t-shirts. I have a baby-pink shiny-satin skirt that I like to wear with a battered gray "Akron: Where the Weak are Killed and Eaten" t-shirt. I have a blue satin brocade skirt I like to wear over jeans. I pair everything with my one pair of walk-around shoes which happen to be hot-pink-glittery Converse. Because I hate shoes without socks, the socks are neon colors and usually not matching. If my first reaction is "oh god that's AWFUL," it's usually followed by "I LOVE IT."

This post was originally intended to contain photos of said clothing. But there are some practical difficulties involved, so you will probably have to wait until I get back from San Diego.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Fashion Week part I: Introduction

Maybe it's because Fenna's been doing it, maybe it's because I've been sewing madly for the last few weeks, maybe it's because I've been having this what-can-I-wear-to-salsa-that-I-would-ever-wear conumdrum. Maybe it's just because if I don't talk about clothing I'm going to talk about what it means to have tried and failed at something 100 times, about perseverance and failure and how that makes me feel. (It makes me feel shitty.) So instead I've decided to write down my fashion manifesto.

I talk a lot about how I don't care about my clothes. I'm a sloppy seamstress, I don't bother to hem, I cut my own hair with dull scissors in the bathroom, and I only own six pairs of shoes. Five of those pairs are speciality shoes that I only wear on specific occasions. Like snow boots or interview shoes or jogging shoes. But when I say "I don't care," it's not entirely true.

The thing is, everything is a decision. Even if it's the least important decision in the world, even if it doesn't "mean" anything, I still picked THOSE shoes over THOSE shoes, over THOSE ones. There is still a personal, individual, taste that appears. This is similar to what I tell people who are struggling to write an artist statement. They say "I just make what I like, that's all." And I say, "That's true. But there is more than one true story about your work. You make what you think is beautiful, but your sense of beauty is not mine, or theirs, or anyone else's but your own. So what are the things that YOU are drawn to? You have a sense, you have a style, you have interests, even if you choose them unconsciously."

For a long time, I made those decisions based on a desire to not be seen. I wore plain, baggy, t-shirts in gray, black, or navy, and baggy jeans. It wasn't that I didn't care, it was that what I cared about was hiding. Seeing myself was painful, so I avoided it as much as possible. In the last few years, I have been addressing that hurt, confronting it, pushing at it. I started wearing brightly colored baggy t-shirts. Then I lost some weight and started wearing brightly colored better-fitting t-shirts. I still chop off my hair myself, haphazardly and with little concern for straight lines or proportion. I don't care that my hair is uneven and my clothes are ragged, but that doesn't mean I don't care at all. I do pay attention to how I look and dress. I care about those things, but I'm working off a different set of values. So the next few entries are about those values. Why I wear what I wear, what my goals are, what I'm drawn to and why.

It may actually take more or less than a week, but for the sake of a good title, welcome to Fashion Week at Things I Might Forget.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

he could, he could

So I'm giving up on Vic writing back. It doesn't really change anything, because my actions when I believe, and when I don't believe are the same. Either way, there is nothing to do. Except now I'm not waiting while I do nothing.

And people say, "You don't know why. You can't interpret and guess at every little thing, it's not necessarily anything to do with you, he could be busy, he could have a life, he could..."

But the thing is, none of it matters. I don't really care why. He doesn't write. What difference does anything else make?


I did a re-count, and there was one extra message I'd sent. I didn't post it, because it was just a "psssst... here's an answer to a question you ask on your profile," and not anything designed to get a response back. But it still counts, since I'm also counting the messages I write to far away people that I'm not trying to meet, either.

Which means I've now written 100 messages.

I feel like something should happen now. I don't want to do anything, but I'd really like it if the Universe could come together and make something happen to commemorate this. 100 fucking messages. 100 people I've reached out to, trying to make a connection. What I'd really like, is for guy #100 to write me back.

According to my artist's statement,

Between April 15, 2009, and July 3, 2011, I have sent 100 first messages in response to personal ads on and
These messages are an expression of self. More specifically, they are expressions of the self I want others to see. They are expressions of hope. Each one is a love affair I might have had. I look at them, together, and wonder what they add up to, all those lives I imagined. I try to catalog them, categorize them, study them. I am struggling to make sense of them. I believe that I am here, somewhere, in these messages, in all this data, if I only knew where to look.

In the two years since I started, I have gone from 29 years old to 31. I have finished graduate school. I have lost, and gained, and lost significant amounts of weight. I have gained, and lost, and gained significant amounts of confidence. I moved twice, worked six different jobs, had sex with six people, and visited six new states. I made new friends, grew closer to old friends, began writing again, and spun a LOT of yarn. I have started growing gray hairs. I have, slowly, and haltingly, started to refer to myself as a woman.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

broken up

It feels so good to have a name for the way things are. A reason. I am transitioning. I am coming to grips, after a year, that I'm not in school anymore. I am moving on. The two long-term relationships I ended each took a year for me to start trying to date again. Apparently, when I said I had recently "broken up" with school, I meant it more than I knew. I was waiting my year in limbo. And now I'm not.

Tonight I had appetizers and fizzy, smoking, brightly colored drinks with a friend I like a lot. She's a resident at the hospital, and a mom and in several romantic relationships, some of them long distance, so I don't see her often. Sometimes, when she gets time off, she calls me. And that makes me happy.


The dancing instruction I hate the most is "don't _____ until/unless I tell you to."

No shit. You lead a move and I follow it. So since I _____ed, OBVIOUSLY it's because I thought you were leading it. I'm totally willing to own to making a mistake, but it's a different mistake. It's "I misread that signal," not "I have no idea how social dancing works." Fuck you.

But, besides for that, salsa last night was a lot of fun. I still don't like the music as much, but I'm starting to feel less like a swing-girl putting up with salsa because it's the best she can get, and doing a clumsy job at it, and more like someone who wants to learn something new. Next time, I bring my character shoes.

The theme this summer seems to be paradigm shifting. I feel like I'm stretching, and it's not comfortable, and it's weird, but it will settle eventually.

I'm going to be the kind of girl who knows her way around heavy machinery. Who has metal chips in the soles of her shoes.

I'm slowly watching as old habits stop functioning, and social groups drift. Or, they stay the same, and I am slowly drifting. For the last year, I've been trying to hold on to the life I had, and it isn't working. I like the Iowa Underground Art Scenesters. But I'm not one of them. I'm realizing that I need to stretch out, and call people I don't usually call. I need to make my place here.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I was fine writing you out. But, yeah, I'd love to write you back in. I'm trying to not be excited. Please. Don't fuck with me.


p.s. John Waters says hi

Sunday, June 12, 2011

letters #97 and #98

getting really close now

Friday, June 10, 2011

I have secret knitting plans.

Madeline Tosh + beads + SECRET KNITTING PLANS + knitty + etsy = WORLD DOMINATION.

My plans are coming along quite nicely.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

2 1/4

It's looking like I'm going to have enough cleared off my credit card to buy a camera in time for the fairs this season.

In honor of that, I've got a few scans left over from 2009:

Nebraska State Fair

4th of July carnival, Coralville IA

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hey look I did a thing

I don't remember the last time I've had enough hair (and the inclination) to do anything with it.
It's messy as hell, but I'm down with messy.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The answer is highlight clipping. Do it.

Thursday night. Working on glare (lens flare) and caustics (light reflections off shiny objects).

Looks pretty good.

Trying it out on glass materials. Nice caustics, no glare.

Trying again.

Trying again.

Trying again.

Still not working. Maybe it's the caustics in the way?

Still not working.

Maybe it's the glass. Back to chrome.

Still not working. Completely unable to replicate image I made a few hours before.

Friday morning, glare is back. And on glass!

Now glare with caustics?


Just glare again?


Caustics first, then glare?


Friday evening. I am still trying.

And it WORKS. Everything. All together.

It even works TWICE IN A ROW, from scratch.

I had my exposure curves set to preserve highlight detail. Except for glare to work, there needs to be blown-out highlights. I must have adjusted it once, without remembering, and never set it back right.

The end.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


I think that most of the people I know are better friends with each other than they are with me, and it makes me sad. It isn't because of them. They like me fine. I think I'm not doing things right. I keep people at a distance. I feel like, I lived so long in such isolation, just me and Mike, that I've forgotten how to do anything else. I thought I'd changed. I go out; I have friends. But I didn't change enough because I'm more honest in this blog than I am in real life. In real life, there is always the shrug and eye-roll, the veneer of nonchalance.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Now and Then My Country

My apologies. I am nostalgic tonight.

A series of events:

At 9:30 this morning I listened to a student explain to his class what a “mosh pit” was.

A line in a play. My voice with no air behind it, just my heartbeat pushing it through.

Feeling the limits of motion I have made for myself. I am so timid these days.

I traded in, traded up, grew up. I no longer wear home-made shirts that declare
BEWARE OF GOD, but I also don’t raise my voice, not intentionally anyway. When I stopped looking at my body, I also stopped doing anything that might cause anyone else to look. I discovered inhibition and called it restraint. I wasn’t always afraid of looking stupid. I have taught myself fear and called it reason.

At 11:45 I realized that my 10 year college reunion will happen this year.

A girl with long, straight, hair, and her shirt buttoned just one button off. I am stuck with an image of myself, jeans and a flannel shirt and no shoes. The shirt is a reddish-brown plaid, heavy and slightly scratchy. I took it out of my father’s closet; it is too small for him and too big for me. I am not wearing a bra. I still think that no one can tell. I feel such a strange, wry, affection for this girl, who I envy and pity, who just doesn't know yet.

Friday, April 15, 2011


That's why I am so offended when I am told that I am the "least motivated person [she] knows." Because everything that I am proud of, everything that I care about, is wiped away by that sentence. They no longer exist. If, as I believe, success = motivation + willpower + forces out of our control, then without motivation there is no success. First one must want, and then one must try, and then, if one is lucky, one gets. Without motivation, everything I have done is something that simply happened. It was not willed or wanted, it just was. So all of the things I am happy about today? I didn't do anything to make them happen. I didn't even want them.

All of the things I am proud of from the last four years -- the going back to school, uprooting my life and making a new one, trying over and over, despite constant failure, to date, learning how to confront substantial addictions and eating disorders and be healthy for the first time in my 30 years of life, finding the courage to show people the ugliest parts of myself because I think it should be done, graduating with the best grades I've ever gotten in my life, trying and trying and trying and finally succeeding in getting a job in my field in a place I'd like to stay, in a community I've built around me-- I believe that I wanted these things. I believe if I didn't want them, they wouldn't have happened.

To suggest that I am unmotivated is to negate all of that. Either it didn't happen the way I think it did, or it happened, it just isn't very much. It shows motivation, but so much less than everyone else. So my accomplishments aren't negated, just diminished. They are worth less, somehow, than those around me. I am diminished, and I do not like it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

twinkle, twinkle, stomp

Yesterday Felicia told me that she's been using one of my essays in the class she teaches, and one of her students wrote an amazing essay in response to mine, and when praised, the student said, "I only did it that way because Angela did it that way."

Today I finally got the code figured out. I have a subway system that knows when you're underground, and if you're underground, it knows what car you're standing in, and can take you with the car when it moves, and let you get off the car at the next stop. I figured it out by myself, by putting together badly written on-line tutorials, and guessing and checking and guessing again, because everyone else -- including the professor -- said it couldn't be done. And I fucking did it. Have I told you how much I hate coding? I stayed late, and I came in on weekends, and I CODED that fucker.

And when I showed Monica, she said, "You know, in a few years we're going to need a new faculty member. You should start putting your work out."

I finally got through to the parts of File Maker I needed, so now I've got that started. And I've been redesigning the categories and it feels like a fresh, better start. I already have a dozen more charts in mind. I think it's going in the infographics fad kind of way, and I think I'm done fighting it.

At HSF I remembered what it felt like to feel really, bodily, good. So I've been tweaking back my bedtime and tweaking forward my waketime, and adding more walking to my day.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011