Tuesday, April 30, 2002

How can the least self-confident person I know (me) be an INTJ?

David Horsey's Earth Day Cartoon, courtesy of
the Seattle P-I
This is what I get for not having a best friend. Remind me to keep my personal life to myself.

Monday, April 29, 2002

The riots started 10 years ago today. And, although I don't often let myself, I can feel like I'm right there again. I remember the initial feeling of disbelief when I realized how close I had been to walking by the intersection of Florence and Normandie, the initial feeling of relief that even though I had been out on the streets alone, no one had bothered me or acted as if anything was happening. I got my paper bound just fine, and luckily decided not to walk to school and turn it in.

I remember the deep thudding in my chest every time the Marines helicopter went over my building. In my sleep, I could distinguish the difference between the news helicopters, the police helicopters, the military helicopters.

I remember standing at my window in my dark room--breaking the rules because we were supposed to stay down to avoid sniper fire--talking to Chong on the phone and being so angry I never wanted to talk to her again. Angry that she'd trivialize the situation, angry that she'd think I was out on the streets contributing to the violence, angry that all she wanted to talk about was her job when I was standing there watching a building on the next block burn down. Angry that she didn't care enough to even watch the news.

I remember being told to come off the roof--it must have been the first day--because the police were going to fire on us if we didn't. And being disappointed because it was the best vantage point to watch how close the fires were getting. Watching the billows of black and grey and yellow smoke between us and campus and wondering what would be left and how close everything would come to us.

I remember the empty parking lot next to our building, empty for the first time ever because people were afraid to come to work.

I remember looking down onto Grand Ave. and watching the police cars move in a V-formation, taking up all the lanes.

And I remember the absolute silence and stillness between police patrols. Rationally, I know there must have been sirens and noises and murmurs, but all I remember is that none of the noise of my life was there anymore. Everyone was gone, no one was on the streets, no one was moving, and the silence was the most impressive thing I've experienced in my life.

I was afraid to leave my turtle in his aquarium for fear I'd be on the ground floor when we were evacuated and wouldn't be allowed to go back up and get him.

I was angry at USC for not providing for us, for leaving us without food for the entire time, for not bringing us anything. And I was angrier still at all the USC students who fled the campus and went back to their safe havens and ignored the entire thing. I hated USC for throwing its gates closed and leaving us outside and not taking care of us.

I updated my answering machine every hour so if my parents called, they would know I was still okay. I didn't like to be alone in my room with the curtains drawn, I couldn't stay there, I had to be out in the building somewhere. Jen and David called every couple of hours the first day or so, to talk to me, to apologize for not being able to come rescue me. They couldn't get through to downtown LA from Culver City, and I didn't want them to try. I remember talking to Doyle, he joked about my answering machine message for my parents.

We tried to hold a meeting of teaching assistants, only to be distracted by the noise in the streets. We crowded around the window, watching a chicano/latino man break the window of the Foot Locker across Grand Ave. Where did all those people come from? The streets were empty, but almost before the glass landed on the sidewalk, swarms of people were in the store, gathering up the shoes. I wondered what they would do with the shoes if they didn't fit. The police showed up, maybe there was a silent alarm, and everyone got away except one poor woman. The cop handcuffed her to a tree and left. I didn't get to see what happened when he came back or how long she stood chained to the tree. I was embarrassed about everything, and sad.

I was impressed by the damage, the burned stores and buildings I walked by on my way to school. I was afraid to take photographs (but I did, sneaking my camera out of my pocket when I thought no one would see me). I was afraid to walk by myself by the Korean stores. I was either amused, impressed or embarrassed by the first billboard I saw asking if we could all get along. I still don't know how I felt (but I took a picture of it).

The fury at USC's hypocrisy. I walked to the one grocery store in the area and had to sidestep a fully-armed national guardsman to enter. The commencement ceremonies on campus were repeatedly interrupted by military helicopters (the Coliseum was the staging ground for the armed forces responding to the riots) and national guardsmen were everywhere. And the president of the university gave this speech about USC's role in the community, and how much it meant for the university to get out amongst its neighbors, and I wanted to stand up and yell, "Yeah, then why'd you lock your gates, you bastard? Why did all your white kids go home to their Beverly Hills adjacent addresses and bury their heads in the fucking sand?"

I was confused by my role in all of this as a white gay female--disempowered in some areas, but privileged because of my skin. L.A. wasn't my home, and I didn't even understand most of what was going on. I didn't know what role I had in the black v. asian conflict, and if it was any of my business. I just didn't want to get shot.

And two weeks later, when I was called a white bitch by those guys who backed me against that fence, all I could think was how stupid it was to kill me just because I was white, just because I was female. And after I was safe, I thought what it must be like to feel that feeling all the time, and wondered if I would hurt someone with less power than me just because I finally could.

How much changes in 10 years?
Well, Diane thinks I was being insensitive, and she said if she was Catherine, she'd have been really mad at me. I just can't help the way I feel. I feel bogged down and trapped, like nothing is ever going to change, like for the rest of my life I'm going to wake up and have to face the same thing, over and over. I just want us to grow and develop a little instead of becoming so completely complacent with our lives. And I realize this is my approach to life, not Catherine's, and I'm imposing it on her, but somehow it seems that when we got together, this was more of what she wanted, too. I just feel like I'm always looking for new things, new ideas, new places, and then I have to drag her along because it doesn't occur to her to do the same.

My workouts are for me. If she wants to be a part of them, she can't make me sacrifice anything. If she doesn't want to run when I do, she should run on her own. If I need two hours, and she only needs one, she should arrange transportation home. It's not my fault she doesn't drive, and I am so tired of waiting, waiting, waiting, every day. It never changes.

This is not how I envisioned my life turning out.

Sunday, April 28, 2002

26 [erasure] selling out.

Friday, April 26, 2002

don't write yourself off yet
it's only in your head you feel left out or looked down on
just try your best
try everything you can
and don't you worry what they tell themselves when you're away

hey you know they're all the same
you know you're doing better on your own so don't buy in
live right now
just be yourself
it doesn't matter if that's good enough for someone else

it just takes some time
little girl, you're in the middle of the ride
everything everything will be just fine
everything everything will be all right

do your best
do everything you can
don't you worry what thier bitter hearts are going to say

Thursday, April 25, 2002

I'm going to be really embarrassed if anyone comes around the corner of my cube and sees me rocking out to this song.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

I guess that murder in Bellingham disturbed me more than I thought. This morning, I woke up out of a nightmare in which a teenaged boy was strangling me. Once I jumped awake, the first thing I thought of was that poor little boy and how awful it must have been. I like to think that you can control--at least partly--the violence around you by surrounding yourself with people who aren't likely to pull out a 9mm assault rifle and shoot you. I think it's very unlikely that anyone with whom I work or anyone with whom I live will ever crack and go on a murderous rampage. But how do you protect yourself from "random" acts of violence? In the case of this boy, I guess it wasn't random, since it was his neighbor w/a criminal record. But how do you protect yourself from coming across people who seek just to damage you?

I think I'm still a little shaken from being chased by those two guys the other day. I think we're lucky they didn't kill us. They certainly could have. I don't know what anyone could have done to stop them if they'd walked back to our car and pulled out a gun. Even if you wanted to stop something like that, how could you even think it would happen? We weren't doing anything when they came into our lives--how could we avoid them? They were looking for something to destroy before we even crossed paths.


Reading back over the last week, it sounds like all I've been doing is fretting. Actually, things are going much better than they were. I'm feeling positive about working with BRI, I'm caught up on my physics homework (and hey, I'm even getting an A in the class, Mr. Johnson would never believe that I turned out to be a little smart in the end), I've got a lot of research done, and I've picked a topic for my next architectural brief (Port Sunlight). The weather is great, and I only have one more week of teaching.

But, ah, am I waiting for the other shoe to drop? Maybe that's just my personality.

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Damn, my back hurts.

I had another weird spider dream last night. I dreamt (dreamed?) that there was this spider hanging over the stairwell at my parents' house that was so big, it had caught an abalone in its web. And I had to walk underneath it as it was lowering the empty shell to the ground and it freaked me out. I have some seriously fucked up phobias.

Monday, April 22, 2002

Well, I have an appointment for 9:00 Thursday to talk to the director of BRI. I'm not sure why I didn't do this earlier, maybe because it's not quite the field I thought I'd be in? Anyway, he definitely wants me to volunteer (stroked my ego a bit), and even mentioned they would be looking for part-time help in the future. If it works out, maybe I can leave this full-time job for that part-time job. It sounds stupid when I type it out, who would give up a steady job? But there it is anyway.
Sunny has stopped by twice today, completely stressed out over her group presentation. I could write a book about the relations between Koreans and other Asians just based on what I see from her and what I used to see from Chong.

I never thought I'd hear my mom use the words "genetic drift" in a sentence. She can even distinguish it from "gene flow," which I can't do without looking it up.

My back is killing me. I don't know if it's from the driving, sleeping in a strange bed, or just being generally tense. I had an awful nightmare about being covered w/spiders last night, followed by another one I can't remember, so I must be stressed about something.

Tomorrow is ANZAC Day. I should read something about Gallipoli.

Found a great Civil War site for our trip in June: Civil War Traveler
I'm thinking my proposal for the SCA isn't going to work, but I haven't given up yet. I'm a little swamped with make-up work this week (that's what I get for going out of town), but I'm going to try to dig out as many primary sources as possible between now and Saturday, then get to work and see what I really have. Thank god for e-mail, it gives me a few extra days to work on it.


Just got back from the annual meeting of the SAH. There's so much to wonder about I don't even know what to write. I was completely stressed out about going, afraid someone would realize how badly my career has tanked, but luckily, that didn't happen. I talked to Christine a bit about my "research," and Terry never really asked, probably because he hates his job, too. I could completely sympathize. I was eaten alive by envy for all that Christine has managed to do. I guess that's what happens when you have a passion for something, instead of a vague interest (like me). Anyway, I made various career-related decisions over the course of the week. I'm going to join the Recent Past Preservation Network (thanks, Christine!), I'm going to try and volunteer for BRI and get some hands-on experience, I'm going to try and figure out a way to work 1/2 time so I can finish my design technology degree and get the hell out of here, I'm going to just keep plugging away w/research on a couple of topics that interest me and see if I can't come up with some paper proposals.

So, the conference was good. Richmond is a neat place, at least the part of it I saw. I understand parts of it are less appealing, but that's pretty much how cities work. I know I should be appalled by the southern-ness of the place, but I found parts it quite sweet. The guide at the Capital Building won me over and


I used to think people who specialized in the history of the Civil War were all weird. Now, I wish I had done it. Either that, or World War I. If I could do that history degree over again, I'd be a military historian. I was thinking it would be an interesting paper to study informal Civil War scuffles in the western states, or at least monuments in the western states. I found this bit of an e-mail on the web and it really got me thinking:

"Sir, It's commendable that you are embarking on a page for California in the War of Northern Aggression. But what about the actions fought IN California? The Rebs were about to launch a privateer from SF bay when they were surprised by a US Navy ship who captured them all.... What about the Battle of Volcano in which the Union garrison turned back a group of Southerners by threatening to fire a cannon loaded with iron scrap, nails and broken glass? The cannon is still in Volcano, CA."

I saw the cannon when I was in Volcano in high school. There must be more things like this out there, especially in California since so many Californians fought in the eastern and western theaters. I guess Washingtonians did, too, even though it was only a territory.

Beyond history and architecture, we had an interesting time staying with BR. I am so confused about the whole weekend. I find myself caught in this trap all the time. Whenever I meet someone, I want to be friendly and open, because I know other people take it personally if I am quiet and shy. After a bit, though, I just want to pull away and protect myself and stop telling people things. This is what happened this weekend. It's stupid, because BR is the genuine article, and I don't expect any malice or duplicity from her. For that matter, it will be a long time before we see her again, so why would I even worry about what she knows about me or what I've said? I just felt like I needed to hide after awhile. It always happens like this, and I hate it.

I guess when it takes you 13 hours to drive home, you have a lot of time to analyze your personality. I don't know what this push/pull thing is. I want to get to know people and share bits of my life with them, but when I do, I instantly want to end the friendship. At the very least, I pass the friendship over to Catherine and make her do all the talking. That's what happened again this week. I tell myself to just get over it, but then, I worry things will end up like they did with Todd, and I can't go through that again. Luckily, Catherine doesn't have these hang ups, and she manages to keep in touch with my friends for me.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Oh, and bad news. My teammates are going to Rusted Root with me, but Catherine can't, because of class :(
Well, I had an idea yesterday that I think might bring me out of my depression. I've actually got a pretty workable plan for submitting a paper proposal to the SCA. I'm not sure if the paper will get accepted, but I think it's a sound topic, and I have two weeks to write a 500-word abstract (of a paper I haven't even written yet!). I did a lot of research today, just superficial, but covered a lot of areas, and I think I can come up with a good thesis and outline. So, that will hopefully give me something new to put on my CV so I don't have to be ashamed of the fact that I haven't done anything useful since dropping out of grad school. I'm trying not to think big, but if it gets accepted for the SCA conference, I don't see why I can't refocus it and submit a new proposal for the SAH annual meeting. I am an adjunct faculty member, after all. At a tech school, but still....

Monday, April 15, 2002

While I'm in the blogging mood:

1) 2 months after my father's heart attack, I'm still completely pissed off at my brother. Or, my former brother, I should say. How does he get to be such a complete jerk? I swear, the angry things I'd like to say to him....

2) I'm not sure how to handle problem co-worker A. I can't just keep being surly; on the other hand, I'm not sure how I'm ever going to prevent myself from being surly. I'm just waiting for her to make some sort of comment about my weight (oh, look, I used homonyms), then I'm going to unload on her. 'Cause it's coming, I know.

3) On the plus side, I've finished 2 of my 4 philosophy questions, and started the 3rd one about Kant's synthetic and a priori judgements. It's taking me an hour to do one question.

4) I hope my teammates want to go to the Rusted Root concert with us next month, it would be nice to do something with someone else for a change. We're going to try and get together with Terri before she leaves town, too. Considering I do absolutely nothing with my life, it's sure hard to schedule face time with other people. And next term I don't want to teach on Mondays. I'm missing Margaret Cho tonight because I have to teach. And it really interferes w/March Madness, so that's got to go.

5) My Russian is stressing me out, it takes me an hour to write a 3-sentence letter. What's up with that?