Badger bag - messy, surly, full of books

"She has been called, and rightly so, the Boswell of the Octopus."
Dastardly Dan needs help, he is back from the "big house" and if you can spare a little cash for him give it to me and I will pass it on.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

random bits and pieces while writing paper

- Just so I don't lose track of this...
venez. song lyrics.

- Listening to Tatu. I still love their bubblegum melodrama pop music, lezploitation or not. I think I just coined that word. Blaxploitation, lezploitation. Ha. No, wait, someone else thought of it but it's spelled lesploitation.

- I love Stanislaw Lem but he can really be a pompous ass. Also so, so, so unspeakably sexist. (Am pulling quotes from Microworlds essay on SF for my paper)

- it is really hard to concentrate. I need a "paper-o-thon". Continuity... writing more than 2 paragraphs before crapping out and checking my email for the Nth time. I could blog or write memoirs and random tangents of thought all day long without breaking a sweat but formality and structure make me itch, itch, itch.

- I feel so, so, so guilty at all the moomin-caring that Rook is doing this week and I'm sure all of next week too until I finish my papers dec. 15th.
No, it's not enought that he support my ass financially for 2 years straight, he also gets no free time to himself. Why am I not superwoman? Why was I thinking of having another baby? Am I completely crazy?

posted by badgerbag 11/30/2003 01:19:00 PM comment

Saturday, November 29, 2003

fabulous art

I am reminded to go look at SLJ's page by B.'s boggling of her name last night. And oh what beauty! I love the images and writing on her pages about Libby Pace. Especially the part about the grammar of art and the importance of making sentences.
“There’s my painting, ‘the birds fly up over the blue city,” I said.  And, ‘the viola handle reaches achingly toward the bare tree branches.’  That’s a sentence.” 

“I don’t know if my work makes sentences at all,” said Lib. 

“Sure it does.  ‘The baroque, organic pattern of the stencil slowly disappears to reveal the formal perfection of the spheres within,” I said.  “While doing so, it creates infinite refractions of the light and the space around it, suggesting meditations on the nature of inner versus outer beauty, the natural world versus human constructs, and the timeless nature of spirit.’” 
Steph, you are so hilarious and right on! And your curating is noble and wonderful!

B. and V. I still hate you for buying Vietnamese Restaurant I because I can't have it, but on the other hand I love you as long as you keep letting me into your house to see it.

posted by badgerbag 11/29/2003 09:42:00 PM comment


It's usually hard for me to fall asleep in the daytime. That little nap I just had was like a fabulous gentle ocean smoothing away all troubles.

Dr. B.'s kid turned 3 today and we had a great time at the party. She seemed tense in general and I wonder what to do to be supportive...I realized all of a sudden that her mom/parent friends are somehow not around. Suddenly it really hit me that her whole social network fell apart when she fell off the lesbo wagon after, what, over 25 years of wild uberfeminist impurity, moved in with boyfriend and got knocked up. And I'm talking the extreme lesbo wagon. No, the XXXtreme. Where are they? Some of them lingered on until the baby shower. They don't seem to be around now. Does she have no network, but only the boyfriend? so wrong.

I am the only person here from her checkered past. I thought of books like "Passing" which I read long ago. She passes amongst the preschool moms, if she is careful to show only a very superficial skin.

Meanwhile, Moomin was bouncing off the walls with excitement at a whole indoor playground in a huge gym with only 6 other kids in there. He shared toys. He wore a cute hat. He was bold. He boasted that his race car went faster than mine. He talked to other kids. Huzzah, my gentle flower in blossom!

I played on the floor a lot when I realized no one else was.

And huzzah for Rook who also leaped in there to play and make merry. And drove and then dropped me off (dying of sciatica gritting teeth in car) and took Moomin grocery shopping.

thus the nap. the very, very welcome nap.

Sciatica hit me like a hammer in the middle of the party. My leg still has that horrible tingly feeling like hitting your funny bone in your elbow, but all the way down into my foot, and without going away. It makes my foot cramp. Sometimes it prickles or weirdly feels like needles inside trying to stab their way out. Sometimes it is just tingling and an ache that goes all the way from my butt to my foot. Whine, whine. Post nap, I now feel like I can be a normal person without making a giant effort.


To: Badger's brain, Control Center of Body and Empress of the Known Universe
From: Badger's sciatic nerve or whatever the hell it is somewhere deep in the pained ass or tailbone of Badger

Do NOT attempt to pick up million-pound 3 year old child who has fallen in ball pit and is floundering and flailing. Do not lift and twist. Do not do this while also standing in ball pit on round slippery multicolored ping pong balls. Afterwards, do not sit on floor playing trains.


One more indiscreet thing about my friend Dr. B. Not for the first time in lo these many years, I found myself staring at her abstractedly and thinking "My friend, for an XX year old woman, you have the Best Ass on the Planet." Musing on this to Rook, who somehow had not noticed.

posted by badgerbag 11/29/2003 05:09:00 PM comment

mind-boggling hustle

I love drunken Boggle... I was out-nerded, I think, by V. who was in top Boggling form. Minnie's boyfriend T. seemed to find the rudest words. Minnie brought the notorious pumpkin cake that drove her to despair the other day as she set T.'s kitchen on fire and ripped his oven door off with accidental super-strength. It was really good cake. The hustle was hustled and technical terms such as double trouble shadow turn, jelly roll, "in the slot," and "doin' the pony" were thrown about like confetti over the heads of the kinesthetically challenged (me).

Actually I am here at the table with the ruins of boggle before me and could preserve some choice pieces of wit:

Me: glom. glob. spathe. yoni. cully. lares. y-quorpt. wether. glifty. rothe. torr. fettle.
Rook: moans. septet. miser. dross. shadow. quailed.
T: shat. fart. shag. scat. condom. romeo. condor. mated. spats. rutted. fidgy.
Minnie: zines. second. slit. nifty. scrim. spent. drays. molar.
Val: fleer. arse. orison. romesco. grist. trances. senator. romances. cress. cubit. finis.
B: snitch. mold. feces. ream. fate. lien. elans. stephs. gipter. mote. sincere.

Can you detect the bullshitting people who love to make up words? And the made up words themselves? A challenge.

posted by badgerbag 11/29/2003 11:07:00 AM comment

Friday, November 28, 2003

thanksgiving hijinks

Bounced on trampoline - cooked overly garlicky and possibly partly unwelcome yet delicious italian delicacy - made hand turkeys with crayons - ate and ate - marched while playing ocarinas and recorders - loafed - wondered vaguely if the bald guy was schizophrenic - thanked lucky stars that this was someone else's family not mine and so I did not have to be aware of any seething undercurrents - listened to football - visited some other guy's house that I don't know and met some artist guy whose name I immediately forgot - ate 2 kinds of pie - drank a little - provoked a 10 year old into eye-rolling sarcasm and experienced a hilarious sudden parental generation lack of coolness "Uh, no, dude, I'll pass, I had a traumatic experience with drawing hand turkeys in 1st grade" - pushed by this charming lunatic in a large jogging stroller into oncoming traffic on a dark suburban hill - received a finnish moominmug meant for Moomin and appropriated it as my own until he is Of Age - fun had by all!

posted by badgerbag 11/28/2003 03:07:00 PM comment

the craziness

Here is what is going on with my paper, FYI:

Parageography of J. de Ibar poem that I am talking about as a thing in between science fiction and the pastoral. The triangles are messengers between worlds.

There is another world map where I locate her names. She had at least 6 different names that signify various allegiances. I guess i should take this to the Ibar blog as I don't want to be googlesniped.

Need a word for that: being accidentally found - not on purpose (webstalking or googlestalking) - and not through the injudicious use of your own name - but by what you are writing about. Something like being caught accidentally in machine gun fire.

posted by badgerbag 11/28/2003 02:11:00 PM comment

Thursday, November 27, 2003

due to the magic

Due to the magic of my particular psyche and probably some sort of sanguine chemical balance of my brain and ability to forget and deny, this morning I no longer loathe myself (as I did last night). Whew. I can't even go into the horribleness and depth of the sudden self-loathing that came over me. But now in the sunlight it looks like a far distant hell, rather than my doom and my destiny.

This morning all is jollity, dragons sleeping on heaps of golden pennies, unicorns being ridden by handsome ostriches, rat princes and princesses, benevolence, pound cake, and coffee.

Rook's dad just called and bent my ear about how the family in K---a loved the geneology that I sent them and he somehow made a ton of money while there (consulting? weird investments? what?) and wants to take us all, and when I say us all I mean like 20-30 people, touring Mt. Paek---an next year, and I cheerfully agreed, although I have no idea how the motley troupe of us would get into (china? N. K---a?) It sounds like a total nightmare - a group tour! with completely insane relatives! in the axis of evil! with toddlers and babies! aaaaaah! - and yet in the light of morning, full of fairy tales and coffee, I nodded and smiled and thought it might be an Adventure and an Expotition.

have just been reading some other guy's diary of his hiking about the border up there. It seems to involve running into guys with AK-47s. I also recall with a shudder the line "As usual, the store was empty except for some cans of sea cucumbers." Mmm. Canned sea cucumbers. In heavy syrup.

posted by badgerbag 11/27/2003 10:49:00 AM comment

Wednesday, November 26, 2003


I am completely incompetent with money and have fucked up royally and forgot to pay any bills this month. Yes, I was sick, yes, I was out of town, and yes, I have all the usual excuses, but it remains that I am a fuckup. even when my life is easy i am fucking incompetent in every way except the imaginary things that don't matter for shit.

posted by badgerbag 11/26/2003 07:54:00 PM comment

working hard

I worked hard on one paper today and did some homework too. It is a bit goofy. I plan on using some of whump's old notes from the parageography course and I looked up how to cite them. Heh. As I go through them I am in awe of their hilariousness and oddness. "The Pagan Pastoral: Music, Love, Death, and Goats." The final exam has to be seen to be believed. Or disbelieved.

posted by badgerbag 11/26/2003 05:18:00 PM comment

very bad poetry

From the book Very Bad Poetry, edited by the siblings Petras:

An Elegy to a Dissected Puppy

Sweet Dog! now cold and stiff in death,
What cruel hand enticed thee here?
Did toothsome crust of juicy bone
Allure to stretch on thy bier?

... ruthless hands of alien race
Are opening up thy quiet breast,
With prying eyes they peer within,
Explore the contents of thy chest.

fragments of a poem published in 1907 in the New York Evening Post

posted by badgerbag 11/26/2003 09:40:00 AM comment

so vile and yet... I keep reading...

After around 10pm I can't concentrate on any really thoughtful reading. Trash reading lately has been these vile and silly victorian porn books. I got a bunch of them for 50 cents each - all "wordsworth classic erotica". Teleny was really good and I would believe the rumour that it was written by Oscar Wilde. Two Flappers in Paris - ugh! but... Hmmm! The one I am reading now, Venus in India, is the grossest and stupidest but also the most like reading Flashman. Note to Captain Charles Devereux: "tumultuous bubbies" is just silly. I keep reading it because it makes me so uncomfortable. The narrator so casually talks about rape and esp. all the gross molesting of 13 year old virgins... the casual racism... but here is the model for Flashman. The nymphomaniac's story was interesting. The book about the photographer was more enjoyable - lots of crazy decadence - but I can't find it and can't remember the title.

They seem to share the same ideas about women's... ahem... spending... and how the size of a guy's balls determine how many times he can fuck. Also they all agree that too much fucking is bad for the health - especially the man's health - but that there are ways to make it less dangerous. I am unclear on what those ways are! Also, getting pregnant seems to depend on a) the woman 'spending' and thus opening the doors to her womb b) the guy burying his john thomas up to the hilt right at the crucial moment.

posted by badgerbag 11/26/2003 12:03:00 AM comment

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

boozy girl

Banubula's post:
Flann O'Brien's At Swim Two Birds
This is the book that Dylan Thomas was referring to when he said "This is just the book to give your sister if she's a loud, dirty, boozy girl!"
Very cool, now I know what to give Minnie for xmas!

I'm grooving on banubula/vacapinta's writing and thoughts. I too have read that Medical Anomalies book, and think of jumping out of airplanes, the pleasure of foggy states of mind, and the potential of the moment all in one breath.

posted by badgerbag 11/25/2003 09:50:00 PM comment

Moomin gets the Smackdown

Don't know what was into Moomin today but he was temporarily horrid. I was too. He started sobbing in the truck on the way home, giving various reasons.

"I want to stay and play with Mills. I want to go to Mills' house. I want to go to Izzy's house. Mama I am so sad because Mills teased me."
Me: Stop crying and whining, I don't like it and it isn't nice. (my standard thing to say).
Moomin: I don't want to stop crying!
Me: I'm sorry you feel bad. Maybe we can play with Mills later. But you can't now. We have to go home. You can chill out a little while and have some orange juice.
Moomin: No! We aren't going home! We are going back to play with Mills!
Me: Sorry, we aren't.
Moomin: I want to play with Mills! (sob, sob, howl) Mills hit me! Mills bumped me!
Me, the monster Mama: I don't think he did, it sounds like you are just repeating the things that the other kids say when they are tattling and crying for no good reason! Quit it!
Moomin: Waaaaah waaah waah! We are not going home! I am not going to stop crying! My shoes are muddy! My shoes are wet! Mills teased me!
Me: Please try to stop crying. Here is a kleenex.
Moomin: I don't want a kleenex. You are going to Mills' house right now. We will play with Mills. waaah waaah. Izzy hit me! My shoes hurt!
Monster: For gods sake. I can't believe you are crying over nothing. You must be really tired or something. What's up?
Moomin: Waaah!
Mama: Come on! It's not very nice! [God! make it stop!]
Moomin: Waah! Miles! Izzy! Playing! Waaah!
Mama: Jesus H. Christ. This is just no fun. Let's tell stories or think about something happier.
Moomin: Waaah! I don't want to be happy! I don't want to have fun! I don't want stories! I don't want to do ANYFING!!!!!
Mama: Come on in the house. Arrrgh. Come on. You can walk.
Moomin: [dragged] Waaah! [grabs my sunglasses out of purse]
Mama: You can't play with my sunglasses.
Moomin: But I want them! I want Mills! I want the glasses! [grabs sunglasses in wrenching killing way]
Mama: Noooo! You know you're not supposed to grab those! [grabbing match]
Moomin: They are mine! I am going to grab them! You are not going to grab them from me! Waaah! I want my mommy!
Monster:: Aaaagh! I'm really disappointed. I'm not happy with you Moomin. I'm really mad.
Moomin: [chokes back a sob] Okay Mommy. Let's be nice.
Mama: Okay. I'm not mad anymore. Thanks for stopping crying. Do you want a hug?
Moomin: Yes.

I have no tolerance for this sort of thing... he almost never has a freakout tantrum. I just can't stand it! Sorry, world!

Is this where he gets all crazy and un-docile? I guess I have it coming.

After K. left this afternoon, Moomin and I had a really normal time. We played unicorn. We played blocks. We wrote letters and made alligators wrestle handsome princes and rat princesses and flying dragons. I sneaked off to mess about on the computer every once in a while. I read about a million animal fables. We spent a while looking through grown-up books for the story about kangaroo and "along came dingo, yellow dog dingo." Eggs were scrambled. (Rook is off doing the hustle this evening.)

Then I mentioned bathtime... Whoa nellie! Instant mad!
Moomin: No! You are not talking. I am talking. You are listening.
Me: Ooookay. I'm listening.
Moomin: I am NOT taking a bath and playing in the bath, because I don't like it, and I really, really, really dont' want to take a bath.
Me: The rule is that you have to take a bath before bedtime. And it's bedtime.
Moomin: No. I am locking the door. [closes bedroom door - I am in there with him, so not the most effective of gestures] You are listening and I am talking and you are NOT TALKING. We are going to play unicorn.
Me: Um. [what the hell ?]
Moomin: [face wobbles catastrophically]
Me: Um, I'm guessing you're really mad right now.
Moomin: Yes I'm very mad because I don't want a bath.
Me: So what happens when you have to take a bath and go to bed and don't want to, because you want to keep playing?
Moomin: I am really mad. It's my rule and I am just playing, okay?
Me: I don't mind if you skip your bath tonight. But it is still bedtime. Can you take your socks off or do you want help?
Moomin: Okay. I will open the door. You can help me with my socks. [proceeds to calmly take bath, play for 40 minutes in there, and go to bed]

Funky... what I am getting from this is that he needs more independence somehow. Or set some sort of rules himself? I have no idea what that would be. It's not like I have a lot of rules. Maybe the Rules need to be more clear and what's flexible needs to be more clear?

At the same time I want to get him to quit using sippy cups and learn to wipe his own butt. You'd think that would help.

posted by badgerbag 11/25/2003 07:54:00 PM comment

Monday, November 24, 2003

museums again

We also went through a bit of the Asian Art Museum - I will write more later but it was so far inferior to the peabody essex museum...

So, about the Asian Art Museum in SF. There was some neat stuff, but I noticed how dead and museum-like it was. "Early Japan" "Korea 1320-1900" "Ancient Korea" etc. etc. Stuff in glass cases with some labels, arranged by time period. Sometimes there was an attempt at a theme, like "Warriors of Japan" with some swords and armor. Endless green pottery.

But it did not come CLOSE to the goodness of what was going on with the PEM exhibits in Salem. What was that goodness? I was trying to put my finger on it. PEM was postmodern in the best possible way. It wasn't just the mixing of periods and of "low" and "high" art, though that was part of it. It was the feeling that there WAS an underlying theme or plan or vision to each exhibit, and that vision was, in itself, a complex work of art. The curators clearly had thought interestingly and laid out exhibits that made it possible to draw multiple connections between the paintings and objects displayed. I feel like writing them some kind of fan letter.

The best thing that I saw in the Asian Art Museum was the fake archeological dig of the korean dog sculptures. That was incredibly great! A whole history of an ancient mythical kingdom called Yiseoguk - and it was very unclear what was made up and what wasn't, but the artist, Cho Duk-hyun, buried a bunch of metal sculptures in the mud in the yard when they were building the museum, I guess, and they "discovered" them and came up with a bunch of speculation on how they got there in San Francisco and were put in a cellar and forgotten. Great photos of archeologists in the mud with the pit all roped and staked out into squares.

posted by badgerbag 11/24/2003 03:27:00 PM comment

public cuneiform

Yesterday while Rook and I were wandering about SF I noticed the statue of Ashurbanipal in the U.N. Plaza. It boggled my mind that it was there at all - I was already wondering, "Why Simon Bolivar?" So... why this dude who as far as I know rode around with a bunch of warriors and chariots slaying and conquering?

The Ashurbanipal statue had an inscription in what looked like arabic script, in english, and in cuneiform. Yes -- the extreme of public nerdiness! I was pleased beyond belief. Photos will be posted soon (of the inscriptions, not of the rather sexy statue).

posted by badgerbag 11/24/2003 03:20:00 PM comment

bad night

I kept waking up. Maybe I drank the real coffee by accident? Now I can't remember the thoughts that tortured me at 4am, but they were probably of work not done and foolish things said.

I also have a horrible suspicion that I'm getting a cold, right when I need to work like a maniac on this paper that's due Dec. 3rd.

posted by badgerbag 11/24/2003 09:01:00 AM comment

Sunday, November 23, 2003

medusa's head

I dreamed that Rook and I had Medusa's head. She was quiet and a bit bitter though usually smiling. She liked to see new things. I felt really bad for her but also she was a not-understandable ancient powerful alien so I had to be careful not to think of her as if I understood her. I managed her head, carrying her around and tying her blindfold and lifting it up, because I could see her eyes and not be harmed. Rook and I were diplomats (actually he was the real diplomat and I was just the person who could manage Medusa) in Europe but the sort of Europe that James Bond moves in, a mixture of fancy hotels, casinos, governmental looking places, and oddly, my old housing co-op in Austin, which I guess looked enough like a ski lodge to qualify as a James Bondy place.

The co-op had gone downhill; it was dilapidated and no one seemed to know how anything should be done - the meetings, the different positions like menu planner or kitchen planner, and small jobs like being the 'dinner alice' setting all the tables an hour before dinner. I explained a lot of how this should work and fired somebody up to try to get it going again. Meanwhile I had to keep fixing Medusa's blindfold, which slipped often.

There was a book sale that I had to set up before leaving the country on an afternoon diplomatic trip, and smooth heavy foreign currency, I think german pfennigs, and in the desk drawer where I found the cash box there was also a porcelain box full of my grandfather's old tiepins in the shape of rhode island, roosters, beer mugs, and anchors. My reaction was a bit like the guy who found the box of his childhood stuff that Amelie figured out how to give him.

I had also painted this whole series of medusa paintings - sometimes they were huge collages - not just paint on canvas but paint with extra stuff incorporated for texture. Someone saw them and started saying "but why don't you put these up in a show somewhere, they are great" and I explained I had no idea how to do it and didn't have time.

Medusa on the trip began complaining loudly to everyone that we didn't treat her right.

posted by badgerbag 11/23/2003 09:41:00 AM comment

Friday, November 21, 2003

I fail the 80s, but still marvel at percent of brain wasted

posted by badgerbag 11/21/2003 09:26:00 PM comment

the gift of babysitting

My mom is giving me a month of paying for moomin's preschool for xmas. It is really nice. Not only is it a jesusfuckload of money but i am touched by the gesture of her supporting me in going to school.

A gesture which of course Rook is making EVERY month...

posted by badgerbag 11/21/2003 07:24:00 PM comment

hmm, that was fun

Well, I did that lecture. My notes came out to about 35 minutes (and I thought it would be too long!) and then there were tons of questions people had, and I felt like I fielded them pretty well. They asked hard questions with no real definite answers. Beforehand, the other TAs asked me if I felt nervous, and I realized that I did not. I was all prepared and also felt that they had to listen to me anyway, so there was not much I could do wrong as long as I kept my head.

I felt a little embarrassed at my inability to focus the overhead projector, which was unnecessarily hi-tech. Otherwise, a sense of heady power infused me. Muahaha.

The class all applauded afterward! And they asked good questions and seemed excited, like they wanted more discussion.

The one really anxious girl with all the thrift store punk outfits and eyeliner who seems like she is maybe not doing so well in class and never understands the simplest parts of the reading came up to me to tell me how unfair she thinks it is that medusa was just minding her own business and got raped and blamed for it and then was powerful and got her head cut off 'by that dude'. She said it was just like her waitressing job. We then discussed the necessity to bond with other women and write NEW myths. I liked her but could feel this amazingly strong aura of neediness coming from her, like she wanted many answers and hoped I could give them. The weight of professorly responsibility then settled on my shoulders. I liked the scary feeling.


posted by badgerbag 11/21/2003 07:01:00 PM comment

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Photos from trip

The library where I ritually encountered The Manuscripts of The Author.

People at U. of chicago used to look miserable and tense. People at Harvard look smug. There are no people in this photo - you will have to imagine them.

As if it's automatic? Would it were true.

A scary stone lion. I like the faint greenness of the leaves around the top of the urn.

Happy happy conference hotel! Me and my homie.

An ivory lobster with moving joints (I could see them trembling inside the case)

The lobster's tail close up

Happy happy girly socialism. I thought I took a photo of the flip side - the dark, forbidding, scary oil painting of the old woman feeding silkworms, but no, it's not in my camera.
I have often seen USians appreciate these socialist posters as if they are ONLY political and ONLY maoist and ONLY kitsch or must be appreciated in some uncomfortable ironic way. But this painting is incredible art. The girl is so clearly and perfectly proud of herself for competently sewing. Maybe she is sewing on a button for the first time on a jacket her mom has made. The older woman is proud too but a different nuance of proud - indulgent and mature. It enobles a daily activity, a homey scene of domestic life. Yes, you could just call it a "propaganda poster" but you could probably say that about many paintings we now think of as high art. I don't know what I'm talking about here but I'm thinking of paintings where all the guys in it are actually like the minor town politicians or something, wearing dark velvety coats, 3 musketeer style hats and those big neck ruffs.

Battleship as seen from the harbor ferry

The battleship again

From the back of the boat

I get all arty with the back of the boat and the wake and the curvy rail

I don't care if it IS 40 degrees and windy and I am sticking my head out into the salty spray with no hat like a fool tourist on the commuter ferry. I am having fun.

Downtown from the ferry, just getting ready for sunset

posted by badgerbag 11/20/2003 10:02:00 PM comment


I know I'm being nauseating going on about my cute kid... but I've been away from him for a while and just spent the afternoon and evening with him. Instead of setting him going on something and then sneaking off to work for 20 minute intervals, I made an effort to just pay attention to him the whole time.

What I saw was that his attention, or maybe the attention I required to watch him at work, was very much like an opera. He would declare he was doing something, and then keep repeating it. "Cyrus Orca, I'm going to whack you with my beak, you bad orca," (animals swim about fighting) then repeat for around 3 minutes, then move on to "Tacky Penguin, I will fight you! Crash!" "Penguins, I will save you! Get up on the ice!" Three minutes stretches to eternity when you are listening to someone repeat "Penguins, I will save you". I imagine that if it was opera singers belting out these lines in some other language, with some really great music, I would feel it was deeply meaningful and would happily listen and imagine the fighters' profound emotions. In fact I assume that is what's going on in Moomin's head - grand opera.

We played bathtub fight, bathtub muppet show with shower curtain, frog introductions, songs from each animal. We played animal school. We played indian warrior guys riding unicorns rescuing a kitten from a tree with a fireman's ladder. We played airplane to the other side of North America, airplane to Mexico. We played spaceship to the Moon, spaceship in orbit, spaceship to the Sun. We played school (him asking me what comes after 21 in a voice uncannily like his teacher's, and patiently correcting me with just a hint of gentle amusement). Beds were bounced, cats were coaxed and petted, books on pirates read.

It was fun but I am exhausted... it is a lot of opera for one day.

Am ready for tomorrow when I will resume my usual pattern of paying attention for 5 minutes and sneaking off to the computer for 20.

posted by badgerbag 11/20/2003 09:08:00 PM comment

signs are signs

Moomin went into an extended philosophical riff today in the car. He has done this a bit in the past but this was all the way from the park to our house. At a stop sign I whipped out my notebook because it was getting really good.
Leaves are leaves. And trees are trees. And red is red. And green is green. And buildings are buildings. And platypuses are platypuses. And cities are cities. And skyscrapers are skyscrapers. And owls are owls. And signs are signs. [pause] Signs are signs.
Not bad for a very small poet.

posted by badgerbag 11/20/2003 05:05:00 PM comment

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

feeding silkworms

The Peabody Essex Museum was great. It seemed like the curating was especially great. Sometimes museum exhibits annoy me by not having enough information - this was true of the PEM too.

One good exhibit - Men Plow, Women Weave. I especially liked the juxtaposition of the super 60s socialist poster of the woman and girl happily sewing together with a happy sewing machine. Next to it was a humonguous oil painting called, I think, "Feeding Silkworms". It was a view from above of an old woman holding a tray of silkworms and leaves. The background was very dark and her dark black clothes blended in with it. Really all you could see of her was the top of her head of white hair pulled back into a bun, her dark and wrinkly forehead, and her forearms and hands, which were so dark and wrinkled that they looked rather like dried up cow patties. Her hands and forehead were pretty much black and dry and calloused and crusted with dirt. Her head was bent over the silkworms. The painting itself shocked me but it was especially great in contrast with the happy red jacketed glossy haired pink cheeked proud young girl and her mom at the very modern sewing machine. I can believe in both of these socialist worlds - that they co-exist. I have photos of both these paintings I think and should post them here... I don't have the artists' names though.

Anyway many of the exhibits gave me a happy feeling that postmodernism is working, at least in museum curating school. The exhibit could have been just a bunch of stuff with labels on it. Instead it mixed ancient and modern in a way that gave some insight into gender, the division of labor, china over time, socialism...

There still could have been way more text explanation.

I also dug the giant scrolls. These things were so amazing. They were two scrolls out of a series called Journey to the South from the 18th century. (Again, how about some more info... and on the web site.. not even the emperor's name or anything.) The cool thing here was that they had copies of the scrolls on fabric on a table, so you could roll them out. I don't k now how long they were, but longer than would even have fit in the room - maybe 100 feet? Very long.

At one point C. was slowly reading some chinese characters off the scroll and I might have been feeling just a bit wildly jealous that some people can read chinese and I can't. Grrrr. I asked him, "what does this mean..." and rather hilariously he said "Hmmm... I forgot... " [pause] "No. What am I saying. I never knew, I DON'T KNOW." This was funny as I do this all the time ... sometimes I really have forgotten, like, I had read most Dickens novels before I was 13 but can I remember anything about them now? No. But sometimes I catch myself saying "I can't remember" when actually, I know perfectly well that I never knew. S.H. used to do this a lot too.

The exhibit of New England decorative and costume stuff was good. It had old stuff, colonial stuff, native american stuff from way back, native american stuff from now, other stuff from now... a deliberate mix... There was a case I liked a lot with women's shoes from the 1600s to the 1960s. There were sculptures from the 80s, and useful looking boxes, and victorian mourning rings, and furniture, and paintings all together from a mix of times. But it still felt like a coherent exhibit - maybe that it tried to tie everything together with a sort of geographic myth. With the awareness that it WAS myth-building (i.e. not pretending that any of it was "just the way AMERICA is").

posted by badgerbag 11/19/2003 11:22:00 PM comment


I now have more homework than I can humanly handle. I had never caught up after having strep throat, and then left town in a stupidly carefree manner and missed class.

It is hard to shift gears and stop thinking about translations and do all this other reading and analytic thinking.

Am panicking about hero myth lecture. I am not prepared. But I just realized I don't have class Thurs. so maybe I will have time to pull it together to do this lecture on Friday.

Random thing invading my brain: Redburn and 'mentioning' canonical texts. Redburn and imagining a future ideal land ie Chris's description of Aegypt. Race and empire and decolonization and Fu Manchu novels. Must somehow rid brain of all these thoughts. Why Redburn, why now? I don't know. Maybe the idea of Boston and all those paintings of sailing ships, combined with my studying of maps and built-up Notions of what my trip would be like. Arrgh. I would like nothing better than to write about Redburn and parageography for several hours but it is not to be.

posted by badgerbag 11/19/2003 09:37:00 AM comment

back from boston

Boston was all crisp and cold and blue skied with leaves blowing around against the glowing red brick buildings at sunset. I liked it. Despite staying up until 2 or 3 am every night I strode about healthily and briskly between train stations, beaming in a pink-cheeked-golly-gee-i'm-a-tourist midwesterner way. Yay! Here I am on the exotic Boston subway, looking out on the bay where the water is also crisp and blue and fall-looking, and the marsh grass looks like real marsh grass and the ocean smells correct. Here I am taking photos of some weird urn and gargoyle things on Harvard buildings!

Here I am in Chris's pleasant attic office drinking beer, looking at books on magic and the occult and philosophy and the history of religion and listening to chris explain the levi-strauss way to read our Vinland role-playing game, and nearly weeping at the mildly buzzed 3 am greatness, the perfect notes of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Reading his essays on rpgs and magic gave me the wild urge to nibble on his ear or something, but that would be soooo not right on so many million levels. Restrained myself from doing any such thing. I will save my ear nibbling for my homies who seem like they'd welcome it... He and S. made me dinner and gave me all their blankets and took me to the excellent museum in Salem. I became very fond of S. after I saw her tornado-cleaned office and also that she puts books upside down.

N. at the conference talking about starting a press to publish translations and telling me a sweet thank you for encouraging her. She has good plans! Met other nice person, the Lion, at conference, then ended up going with her to the emergency room. but I did the wrong thing and left and as soon as I left they did some expensive cat scan on her and she is going to be screwed with a huge bill.... arrrrrgh! Her translation was really good - a really hard book, the hardest kind of fiction to translate and it was done with amazing artistry. It will be nice to make friends with this rather young and sweet lion who has travelled all over and had hilarious tragic adventures. Must help her find a job.

On the plane I worked like a dog on my presentation for thursday. this morning and yesterday, some thought s on j. de i. and I also read 3 Fu manchu novels and about half of the Fire and Sword one. My roommate from the conference translates from polish and she laughed at me quite a lot - nice laughing - for reading that book.

posted by badgerbag 11/19/2003 01:07:00 AM comment

Monday, November 17, 2003

slow modem to nowhere

yesterday: hung out with Chris and Sarah, reading and eating pumpkin butter on toast. Went to fabulous peabody essex museum. (many notes and thoughts on this later when I have speed again) Stayed up way too late talking about levi strauss, vinland and lagakin (LOTS of notes)

Books, books, books making me drool. staying up way too late listening to very silly dr. demento songs and now Bela Fleck & Flecktones playing bach. Browsing through giant biography of Baden-Powell and "The Jesuits: A History" by Christopher Hollis.

posted by badgerbag 11/17/2003 10:35:00 PM comment


having a good time here... missing everyone... missing my own house and fast net connection... Enjoying libraries, museums, conference, good train system... silly accents...

posted by badgerbag 11/17/2003 02:27:00 PM comment

Friday, November 14, 2003


Update from Boston: I have barely left the conference hotel. I have barely had 5 minutes to myself. There is always something good happening or someone fun to talk with. I am alternating between bold sociability and exhausted shyness.

posted by badgerbag 11/14/2003 01:13:00 PM comment

Tuesday, November 11, 2003


Tomorrow very early I will wake up and see the grey wispy foggy dawn - or pale stars in a strangely clear sky - and resolve to wake up early more often to see the empty day before it fills up with people and things and happenings...

I will call a taxi.

Coffee will flow into my veins, very strong coffee that is like licking a metal fencepost, and liquid gold, and the musty smell of very old books. I will un-wither like a plant getting watered, like in that guy's time lapse video of the wilted coleus magically perking up.

I will be on time at the airport. In fact there will be time to get a bagel. No snoring, cologne-wearing, elbowiffic, falsely jovial guy will sit next to me. I will not be unnerved by the plane taking off. There will be vegetarian food that is not completely gross.

The translation conference will be perfect. They will find space for my reading that got left off the schedule. My roommate will be nice. When I go to the Harvard library to see manuscripts, no one will be snotty, and I will not feel a nasty pang of regret that I did not go to a fancy university. People will give me free books. I will not stammer during the Declamación. "Composite" will be praised. F.F. will like my translation of Las mujeres de mi generación. The guy who translates Agustini will give me all sorts of helpful historical notes for my homie J. de Ibar. My idols will have lunch with me. All shall love me, and despair!

Missing Moomin and Rook will just make me appreciate them more in every way. (I will diminish, and remain a simple geek maiden, and pass into the West...)

And the hotel will have wireless.

May it be so!

posted by badgerbag 11/11/2003 10:38:00 PM comment

i smell like a horse

Spent the day working for McCoot. Wow but I love reading that wacky stuff about social engineering and creating a utopia run by machines. Moomin came with me and played quietly on the floor for 5 hours. He played the piano and sang to entertain us. There was a brief interlude of screaming after he bumped his head on the piano bench, but otherwise, he was a walking advertisement for why it's really not so bad to have kids.

As a sort of reward I took him afterwards to the Webb Ranch. We watched little kids riding around. I explained the posting trot. We watched a horse get groomed. We petted some ponies. Moomin was very excited that he was "going to find his horse, Chester". Every time he saw a brown horse he'd take off running with his face all lit up like christmas, cooing, "Chester! I'm coming! Oh Cheeeester!" It was sort of sad because most of the brown horses didn't respond too much.

Apparently in Moomin world, my horse is named Storm.

Now he is asleep and I reek of the ranch, horse sweat, and green slobber, because some overly friendly horse tied up to the corral railing was nibbling and nuzzling and whuffling my entire right side including my hair. After tolerating this insane workover for a while, I finally figured out that it wanted its head scratched underneath its halter.

posted by badgerbag 11/11/2003 05:06:00 PM comment

It runs code

I think you have to be of a certain age to get this, but...

In the car this morning:

Moomin (conversationally): My bwud is wunning code, mama.
Me: Hmm. Interesting.
Moomin: My BWUD is wunning CODE.
Me: Really? (huh?)
Moomin (sings): My bwud is wunning CODE, my NEMOWI has just been SOLD, my angel is a centerfold, angel is a centerfold. Na, na, na na na na, na na na na, na na na na na na, na na, na, na na na na, na na na na na na na na na NAAAAA.

Thank you Rook! Could you teach him "Isn't it awfully nice to have a penis" next?

posted by badgerbag 11/11/2003 12:44:00 PM comment

Monday, November 10, 2003

black like I thought I was

For only $158 you can find out your approximate ancestry... This guy found more than he bargained for... You know, if it was 20 bucks I would send off my DNA out of curiosity.

People on the mailing list where I saw this are making good points about race not mattering for, say, chances of getting sickle cell anemia, while the genetics do.

posted by badgerbag 11/10/2003 10:53:00 PM comment

things I want

new translation of all of proust
more silk long underwear
more decleor 'ylang ylang' perfume
those leather converse hi tops that are knee high
an old portable typewriter (in books people always have smith coronas, which I have never seen, but I liked the Royal okay)
a time enhancing device as used by Hermione
a double mocha

Hmm that last one is easy, maybe I will do that. Actually the 2nd to last one is also not too hard.

Note to self: do not actually buy any of this stuff. continue wanting it. except the last 2.

posted by badgerbag 11/10/2003 09:30:00 AM comment

to do list

make the damned composites
make composite #2 flyer?
email / call chris in boston
print directions to conf. hotel, chris's house
eradicate fruit flies somehow (obtain flypaper?)
eat something
quit waffling around in bed with 16th century polish guys and blogs

posted by badgerbag 11/10/2003 09:26:00 AM comment

early morning torment

Unable to stop thinking of my grandparents early in the morning. There must have been some dream... which I can't remember...

I had good dreams too, one where I was walking down a path on a giant mountain with Jo. We had been to some kind of seminar. It was nice just to be hiking along companionably. We were analyzing all the other people who had been at the seminar. It was spring - birds twittering, very green alpine meadows, everything idyllic as if heidi and her goats were about to frolic past us.

In another one I was visiting B. and Val, but I was actually some kind of computer program or simulation. The main computer, my protector, kept sort of pinging me and offering to remove me from the situation, which was apparently dangerous, by running a backup of my brain. I kept refusing the backup. I didn't want to be pulled out as I was having too much fun.

When I wake up thinking of my grandparents it is very difficult. Once I start thinking of them and re-playing events in my head I can't go back to sleep very easily. This happens fairly often: the ambien saves me from it happening when I am trying to go to sleep, but it can't save me from the early morning. Rather than groggily read bits of "With Fire and Sword" while trying to squash down these thoughts, how about writing them down, at least a little bit.

I think of all the things that happened when I made the fateful set of whistle-blowing phone calls - the few things i can remember saying and being said. If I go look at my notebook of that time, I'm sure there will be more details than I can remember, but I am chicken to look.

I have no idea what I should have done differently, if anything.

I had to do something... I went round and round about what... my girlfriend at the time, m.m. was very supportive along the lines of listening to me for countless hours and saying things like "you should do what you need to do but take care of yourself also". She would often go into mental tailspins about her own family. She could not deal with her own situation and in fact when she went to try to deal with it in therapy, the psychologist, a Dr. Specter, of Austin, may he rot in hell forever, molested her further. It is amazing that she was so helpful to me.

But back to the echoes of my long dead phone calls. I thought of my aunt's attitude. I thought of the 13 or 14 years since that time, and the halting contacts between me and them: my grandma's terrible phone call to me a year later, my near inability to answer the phone (for years), all my odd fears that my grandfather was just going to show up (I'd round a corner and he'd just be THERE walking towards me ready for confrontation), my other nearly intolerable phobias which I still live with and hide, my grandma's sad and guilt inducing yearly xmas and birthday cards where just seeing her handwriting on the envelope made me want to throw up, but I would cash the check... my somewhat silly agonies over how or whether to invite her to my wedding, well actually weddings... There being no solution to it: either not invite her/them, invite them both and suck up the psychic damage, invite them both and they dont' come anyway, or invite just her, which is what I ended up doing, with the feeling of ann landers looking over my shoulder and tsk-tsking. She refused, calling me to say, "I don't feel I can come without my husband." Fine, that was her decision, I agonized over whether to have any contact with her at all, and she is refusing to deal with the conditions offered... But she did start signing the xmas cards with only her name and not his too. My poor cousin and her complete craziness. 4 years ago and then 1.5 years ago I went there on purpose to try to have some kind of relationship or maybe even closure of a sort - to have some adult perspective on them maybe. Again I am not sure: How did that go? Should I have done it? It was awful, but I think I am glad I did it. Why do I bother? I hate her as well as him. My hatred for both of them is complex, mixed with love and guilt.

I keep thinking of how they will soon die and I will write their death dates in my genealogy papers and that will be that, no more chance for anything, no more chance for any of us to know anything, I will be left with only my ghosts and these endless replays.

posted by badgerbag 11/10/2003 05:30:00 AM comment

Sunday, November 09, 2003


Went up to the city to good vibrations with the geek girl crew. Did not quite keep mouth shut about ex boyfriend's former mating habits. But also did not quite say anything all that embarrassing. I should just out with it.

got a "jupiter" and a thingie that amazingly attaches to one's hitachi magic wand. and a neurological testing wheel. (like you wanted to know this?)

I was tempted nearly to madness in antique shop by a small portable royal typewriter in a case.

Minnie commenting on how she was at an art show and suddenly noticed that everyone looked like san fran hipsters and she also looked like that. I like being in the mission where my uniform of jeans, converse, silly hair and nerd glasses makes me blend in like a guy in a bowler hat in a magritte painting. I will go to boston and people will look at me and think "oh, that chick is from san francisco". Yet here in exile in the suburbs, no one else dresses like this.

Yesterday: giant kid party at Squid's house, for Leelo's birthday. Crazy chaos! Bouncing in the rain! Kids flying about like ping pong balls!

Rook spent the morning demonstrating "The Hustle" to me, as he was given a lesson last night by B. and Val who endured the kitchen/dining room fruit fly infestation (which is oddly unnoticable until people are over, as I generally eat dinner in bed). We watched mononoke hime... Val lent me "fire and sword".

Rook doing the hustle is very funny - he looks all suave rico, slick and sleazy. There are definitely good times to be a ham actor and clearly doing this hustle is one of them.

posted by badgerbag 11/09/2003 06:14:00 PM comment

Saturday, November 08, 2003

recurring post-apocalypse fantasy

For the past year my disaster fantasies have been focusing around my neighborhood. I think it has something to do with the dumb fights with our neighbor over the zoning and the fence. Also with my feelings about authority and taking authority.

In my scenario, there is some disaster that means there is no gas, no electric power, etc. It's not like anyone's dying of smallpox, or radiation. But infrastructure is cut out for some indefinite time period. There is radio, but that's it.

I marshall up a few people and explain my plan to gather everyone on the street/block out in the road for a meeting. We go around knocking on doors. I give a successful speech explaining how we should organize things: sanitation, food supply, health, communication internal and external, policing. People say what they know how to do or can do that would be useful to the community, and then also what they need, and all this info is recorded. People divide up into committees and elect deputies.

I am just a short, unskilled, purple haired, freakish gringo girl who, pre-apocalypse, did not mow her lawn often enough, but because I have thought about what to do, and know how to galvanize people to do those things, and am really articulate, I am basically the leader. I have a bunch of aides de camp with notebooks that help me accomplish stuff. We write up a short description of how to organize, copy it, and pass it out to other neighborhoods. I am che fucking guevara.

All sorts of stuff happens: we have foraging parties, gardens, latrines, we have to make laws, we get invaded, other blocks petition to join our successful organization, etc. Usually somewhere in there, a super horrible warlike macho guy challenges my authority, but my people support me because they can see that I have some sense in my head.

posted by badgerbag 11/08/2003 12:30:00 PM comment

making coffee

Last night I was early to the reading, and 3 people were dithering about unable to make the coffee. It was unbelievable. "Badger we're not sure how to do this... do we fill them up now, or during the break?" I filled up the coffee pots, plugged them in, and left them to it. 5 minutes later they were still discussing it and making limp, ineffective movements about the coffeepots. "They don't seem to have anythng to put the coffee IN... I've never done this before... Badger do you know?"

They look about like geese wondering if breadcrumbs are about to drop from the sky - breadcrumbs in the form of helpful instruction manuals, or Competence in the form of Youth (that would be me). I flip open the places where the coffee obviously goes. "Oh! Hahaha, I'm so stupid!" they chorus. I move off (Moomin was with me, at my feet, talking about armadillos). 5 minutes later. "Badger we can't figure out how much coffee to put in, and this pot doesn't seen to have a place to put it, just an empty hole." 2 steps away from this gaggle of idiots is a sink and a dish drainer with the filtery parts of coffee makers. I hand them the filter thingies. I hesitate to admit this, but I meanly, cruelly left them to assemble the filter part and put the filters in. They failed. I returned to finish the job. "But how much to put in?" "The can of coffee SAY how much, by the way. Why don't we just put a bunch in there, at worst, we get some sucky coffee." I turn on the fucking coffee makers.

I realize they are in a bind because there are 3 different coffeepots of different designs. And I was used to this sort of behavior from 'users' when I was fixing computers. But these are 50+ year olds, 3 of them, with coffeepots. Their helplessness ASTONISHES me.

posted by badgerbag 11/08/2003 12:19:00 PM comment

tonight's reading

It was good and as always, wild variety. I love the format of 30+ people, 1 poem each. Ignoring my sore throat, I read the long frankenstein one - whenever I read that - aloud or to myself - I think, "WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?" and am a bit in awe.

A. liked it, and obviously GOT it, which was very gratifying because I admire his poems extremely. Once again I tried desperately to pry some poems, some xeroxes, some audio tapes, out of him because he is a fantastic poet and every time I hear him, I fear that he will die in a car wreck and it will all be lost, ephemera in the history of us 'minor poets'. He is a bit mad, in a good way, like G.H.

Back when Rook was trying to get me to clarify what was going on with me and poetry and writing, I remember getting all tweaked and worked up about it, talking for what must have been hours [poetry is useless, no one cares about it, it's elitist, i don't want to write it, but do all the time anyway, i want to write novels, blah blah] and then coming to a moment of clarity:
What I wanted was to be respected by the people I admire and respect.
It is easy to get attention or even respect - but is it being respected for the 'right thing'? Is it respect from the right people? I want Marge Piercy to ask me to sign my book for her. Ditto for Bly. I want Octavio paz and Jack Kerouac to fucking rise up from the dead and write me fan mail. Actually I would like to stay up talking all night with Kerouac and maybe go out together and commit some ludicrous crimes in the dead of night with some spraypaint, or wheatpaste and flyers like me and Ami used to do. That is about it. It sounds embarrassingly arrogant and also like unrealistic hero worship if you take it badly, but the basic principle still stands. In order to get to that point, you have to actually enter the gladatorial arena, or get on the stage, or whatever metaphor floats your boat, but the point is you must be under the scrutiny and judgement of other people, you have to be engaged in the whole system of things.

posted by badgerbag 11/08/2003 12:49:00 AM comment

political compass

Well, this comes as no surprise:

Economic Left/Right: -5.88
Libertarian/Authoritarian: -8.21

I'm right down there in the lower left with the other fruitcakes. I'm now very curious to browse the blogs of my fellow sub-quadrant members.

It irritates me extremely that they say "Libertarian" instead of "Anarchist". I can barely bring myself to allow the word 'libertarian' to sully my keyboard. 8-)

Take the political compass test!
Also - here are the results graphed by Deltoid.

posted by badgerbag 11/08/2003 12:18:00 AM comment

Friday, November 07, 2003


Minnie has inspired me to write of stuffed animals and blankets.

My blanket was called Blanket-Horse. It could fly and was sort of noble and heroic. It was (is) a rather unattractive texture with those nubby things that form on sweaters. These could be picked off while watching cartoons.

I have the uncomfortable feeling that if my mom thought of it, she could google me from these names. But the main animal was Baloo - a sort of squashed flat, flounder-like hippo with both eyes on one side. He was (is) super wise and noble and protective and sort of mysterious.

Sarah is a very large lemon drop colored mouse, teardrop shaped, very fat, with red and white polka dotted ears. She is a queen. Her daughter, the princess mouse, whose name I can't believe I have forgotten, is perpetually asleep, with long eyelashes, grey fur, and pink and blue plaid ears. She has imaginary long hair and likes to have it brushed.

Eeyore - donkey. was my mom's. very beat up looking and sad. Old. Needed lots of protecting.

Whale - A very sad princess who always had to be with Zebr. My uncle R. won her at a carnival and gave her to me. He had a matching whale. Mine is like stained glass, all different colors with black trim.
Zebr - The sad prince. I got him at the Smithsonian. Blobby, with non functional legs and a small frill of mane. Must be with Whale at all times.

Mr. Dogafoot - small hard plastic dinosaury looking monster with a long pointy nose, which I chewed on during Saturday morning cartoons.

These animals had no order of sleeping, except Baloo had to be next to me. The others took turns being close to me and then being far away and cold.

There were many other animals so it was a crowded bed.

Every morning I would meticulously make my bed and arrange the animals on top of Blanket-Horse, who would act as a sort of magic carpet. It was important that they all be comfortable and be able to see, in this arrangement....

I could write about this forever but it is probably kind of boring. Maybe later.

Moomin spent a lot of this afternoon "looking things up" in imaginary books. This impressed me... he would ask me, "Does a moose live in North America? Oh, let's look it up." "Hmm, what do you think Moomin?" Then he'd flip some imaginary pages. "Once upone a time, a moose lives in North America, and a polar bear. Then on the last page, there was a walrus. The end. Yes mama, they do live in North America."

posted by badgerbag 11/07/2003 05:58:00 PM comment

the world has righted itself

I went to Savers thrift store - found a great brown corduroy jacket with all pockets and rather ugly elbow patches - another men's jacket that is wool but nicely lined, brown plaid - 2 silk shirts - 1 button down shirt - and a rather silly scarf with leopards on it for Moomin - $45 total. I can return the mall clothes. My sanity has been restored.

Minnie bleached my hair and it is resplendent. the back of my head is not all mangy and spotty with bleach. The front (forelock? not really bangs) is still brown with my rather attractive and dignified silver-grey hairs intact.

I ate an incredible lunch at Main St. I did not mention this but for the last week I have barely been eating (diet of soup, bisquick coffee cake, popsicles, and tapioca) from the sore throat (and the dyspepsia brought on by too much ibuprofen). Yesterday, somehow, I completely forgot to eat until around 5pm. I think that factored into the craziness! After class, at 9:30, Minnie fed me waffles and I felt like a new woman.

I got the paper for Composite and the copy place is going to do it for me for 4 cents a copy... B. and Val are going to help me fold them...

I read all the readings for next week's class (which I will miss from being at the conference).


And I am going to wear my damned $6.99 brown jacket a lot in coming months to remind myself not to be swept away by crazed consumerism - remind myself not to be an asshole... I leave the preceding entry as a warning to anyone who shares my rich cultural heritage of suburban mallsvillitude.

posted by badgerbag 11/07/2003 12:50:00 PM comment

termination shock

No, not a pink slip! This is really neat - and I have never heard of it in all my years of science magazine reading.... A good article about termination shock: A glowing discovery at the forefront of our plunge through space. It never occurred to me that as the solar system goes into denser or thinner areas of dust, this would compress some kind of shock wave... changing how much radiation various planets get... Nifty. Now there must be some people trying to factor those kinds of changes into geology/paleogeography.

I remember a bunch of profs at the geo library at UT (a happy, happy place) one day all holding up the new "Impact Geology" book and making fun of it. "He's Loopy!" "Oh yeah! Giant meteors! Hahaha!" There was some back slapping and some bad "dead dinosaurs" jokes. I believe I took the book jacket and cut out some of the glossy photos of dinosaurs and hurtling giant meteors.

But later... somehow... the book was vindicated... accepted.

I'm falling asleep... can't I work in my favorite word in here somewhere? "Veliger". Hmmm.

Like a free-floating veliger wafted by deep ocean waves, I drift off to sleep - and adventure.

posted by badgerbag 11/07/2003 01:11:00 AM comment

Thursday, November 06, 2003

lost: one trilobite

I wish I could find my trilobite bolo tie.

posted by badgerbag 11/06/2003 04:11:00 PM comment

Me and the mall

Normally I am a skilled expert of malls (much as with the Octopus).

Okay. I forgot several crucial things:

1. just because I feel a surge of energy does NOT mean I am all better. I am still sick.

2. dress nicely when you go to the mall. do not wear jeans that are too big, and forget your belt, and then realize suddenly that your hot pink boxer shorts are pretty much hanging out of your pants. Because not only will the skanky facelifted saleswomen in nordstroms follow you around way too much, perhaps suspecting you are fixing to shoplift a belt, but it will also be depressing when you see yourself in a full length mirror.

3. Next time I go to the mall I will bring my digital camera, because some of the ludicrous outfits I saw must be documented for all time.

I have learned many things from my delirious whirlwind tour of the mall.

Bloomingdales: No. get out. quickly. Do not look back.

Banana republic: eh. am not going on safari. and if i were, it would not be in white, pink, or tan.

Talbots: beyond nasty. Why did I go in here?

J.Jill: seems good in theory, but is not. Everything is for tall, willowy people. it also requires that it be hand laundered by dainty elves.

Ubercrappie and Bitch: If I wanted to play dance dance revolution i would go to an arcade. turn down the crappy music you hobags!

Nordstroms: There is some sort of a sale. It is hell. Everything is all ahoo. Saleswomen are in your face as if they make a commission.

Nordstroms mens dept: Nice, silver haired gay guys cluck tongues at bad, grotesque ugly paisleyness and flimsiness of women's clothes. They will inform you that you are not the first woman to come looking for a nice jacket. They will find a 36 short, and tell you of the free alterations, and that the collar can be specially lined so your neck will not have an allergic rash to the wool. The jackets are nice, and expensive (350-700 bucks).

Macys mens: The sales guys snort in disbelief and derision. There are only 2 ugly 36 short jackets.

Macys normal women: don't bother. What were you thinking, Badger?

Macys petites and its many subcategories...
Alfari: whores! whores! whores!
Claiborne: old ladies!
Charter club: really old ladies who should be at mervyns
Inc: whorish! but sometimes cute
jones ny: strangely good. everything is purple, maroon, brown and black. it fits.
ralph lauren: also strangely good and the pants fit my ass.

Recklessly I bought a sort of brown suit type thing. it is just some brown pants that are not quite jeans. There is a brown jacket with a faint stripe. The brown jacket has wool in it, but does not make me itch right away. It is a nice brown. I dont feel like I'm in some sort of power suit. Yet the jacket (unlike nearly every other jacket in here) does not have flounces, frills, buckles, lace, pleats, weird buttons, or velvet. It has front pockets. Hurrah!

but.... Should I have done this? I'm feeling qualms... maybe should return them and wear old blue wool jacket with jeans....

Because I picked merely the thing that was closest to what I imagined I wanted, and the thing that was the best available in the stores at that particular moment, does not mean that it is really what I want! Arrrrgh!

This is why i just wear jeans and tshirts all the time. I don't want to be at this conference feeling all new and strange.

Really i want a men's jacket with an inside pocket. and I want it to go with everything.

I nearly got some black flowered velvet jeans, but resisted. really what I want is black flowered velvet overalls.

Tomorrow I will go to Savers thrift store, and they might have the perfect jacket, and I will buy it for 5 dollars, and go return the cute brown suit that makes me feel like a little brown bird with purple trimmings.

posted by badgerbag 11/06/2003 03:09:00 PM comment

clothes for conference

i am off to the mall. say a prayer for me. Though Minnie gave/lent me many pairs of jeans, I want to have black pants or jeans, because I am under the sweet illusion that black jeans are formal, while blue jeans will make me look 19 years old.

May everything not be in ugly pastel colors, or paisley, or ochre plaid.

May I find the professorial corduroy blazer of my dreams. With pockets. Not wool. And sturdy like something you would wear hiking, so that I won't ruin it instantly.

My mom wears things she wore 20 years ago... she is careful with her things...

I remember when i got my truck, I resolved firmly not to ruin it and crap it up. It was so expensive! And shiny! I would keep it shiny for always!

Riiiiiight. It is all dented and scraped and rusty and moldy and full of trash.

While on the one hand I fret about looking somewhat professional, on the other hand I am wondering: re-bleach my hair and re-purple it ? Or just re-purple it and leave the 5 inch long brown roots?

posted by badgerbag 11/06/2003 11:26:00 AM comment

i wish i had not had that coffee

Small cats who are usually aloof to the laps of fidgety people with laptops - they are much, much more tolerant and affectionate when it is Cold.

posted by badgerbag 11/06/2003 12:18:00 AM comment

Wednesday, November 05, 2003


I am also digging extremely the book In 1926 by Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht. It is savory... a cool theory put into practice - i.e. why study any particular moment or time? Gumbrecht ("HUG") chose the year arbitrarily and wrote a bunch of interrelated essays on various topics including airplanes, boxing, gomita (brillantine or hair gel), endurance, authenticity vs. artificiality, male vs. female. Especially highlighted are ties between Europe and the Americas - how they see each other - esp. how Europe sees Latin America as opposed to the U.S. - quoting magazine advertisements - movies - 'literature' - journalism. Very nice. I could read one for every year... for different places... I have a pleasant sense of understanding the time... I think of my great great aunt Gertie come alive through the 1930 census as a stenographer, and the rest of the family in the factories... what they would see in magazines, the trolleys, the news, the cultural air they breathed...

My mind IS a bit boggled as to how to assimiliate this loveliness in a way that makes it easier for me to write my paper on de Ibar and her 1929 'consecration'. I don't have time or resources to do the research, but DJ was absolutely right that this is the sort of picture that I want to have of her and her time(s). Oh for a few days uninterrupted in the Stfd. library basement among the unretroconverted Dewey section! The stuff no one has checked out since 1952!

(J., I particularly wonder if you would hate this book and run screaming, or if you would dig it. I suspect either a scream or a shrug of wounding indifference.)

posted by badgerbag 11/05/2003 11:56:00 PM comment

there's more there, there

I feel a bit more awake and alert, though I still can't talk worth a damn. Hurrah, I can think today! The gears mesh and fall pleasantly into place. My thoughts leap about like spaceships frolicking in the Elysian fields of hyperspace. For a while there it was like being the guy in "Flowers for Algernon". That nap and then coffee in mid afternoon might have helped.

I took Jo's idea and ran with it - presenting my mini-homework in class by plugging my ibook into small speakers and doing the robot voice thing. I am cyborg, hear me roar! It was good for a cheap laugh - I picked the following passage from our reading (Cixous Coming to Writing)
They shut me up. Muzzle her. Silence her. There’s something wrong with this organism. I’m sick, punish me. So, says the doctor, we want to write? A bit of a sore throat, I say, hoarse with fright.
The 'cheap' laugh I got was also a noticeably nervous laugh from the collective. (If you're too sick to talk, shouldn't you be home in bed? Yeah whatever, I feel okay unless I talk, and am bored in bed.) I meant more than a laugh, though:
The Law: the Sick person should not let their sickness be seen, should not emphasize it or expose it. Disability should hide. Sickness should not call attention to itself. It is a thing of shame, like anxiety, uncertainty, suffering, grief, death, madness, poverty, or femininity. To bravely endure and overcome is to deny. To expose is to be weak, attention seeking, hysterical, and inconvenient. This is true whether the sickness is the temporary disability of laryngitis, or a chronic or permanent difficulty like AIDS or multiple sclerosis. Sore throat sufferers of the world, Act Up ( but without breathing on anyone and infecting them). The infection is not germ-based. Seeing the sick inspires the infectious fear of mortality and catastrophe.

posted by badgerbag 11/05/2003 11:44:00 PM comment

raging writing moms

I am digging this magazine, Literary Mama, that Spanglemonkey pointed out... a bit like Hip Mama and Brain, Child. There is plenty of room for more of that.

posted by badgerbag 11/05/2003 02:36:00 PM comment

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

ping pong pit

Hmmm, for 25 bucks I can get a gross of ping pong balls. Don't ask why I need this.... I need maybe 3 gross... am having trouble picturing how many that is. Must calculate area of ping pong ball...

Lowest prices so far: 19.95 - 15.95 and 9.57/gr if you order 20 gr

posted by badgerbag 11/04/2003 09:54:00 PM comment


Minnie brought me the new Phillip Pullman book "Lyra's Oxford" yesterday and it is a thing of great beauty.... the writing is great... the book itself is lovely... the map! ah the map! Wonderful.
They might have come from anywhere. They might have come from other worlds. That scribbled-on map, that publisher's catalog - they might have been put down absentmindedly in another universe, and been blown by a chance wind through an open window, to find themselves after many adventures on a market stall in our world.

All these tattered old bits and pieces have a history and a meaning. A group of them together can seem like the traces left by an ionizing particle in a bubble chamber: they draw the line of a path taken by something too mysterious to see. That path is a story...
This is my cup of tea... the imaginary archeology of the insignificant.

posted by badgerbag 11/04/2003 11:41:00 AM comment


Last night that disgusting mole was all puffy and black and super painful. I began thinking of gangrene. This morning, it was even more black but shrivelled up, and oddly less painful. Not the whole mole, but just the top half.



posted by badgerbag 11/04/2003 11:07:00 AM comment

Monday, November 03, 2003

my son the massage therapist. hoarded treasure.

Dear Moomin gave me an amazingly competent scalp massage. I was in bed and he was playing quietly in Rook's bed with some animals and he began patting the top of my head. I asked him if he would pretend he was washing my hair. "Your head feels like a porcupine, mama. I'm washing a porcupine's hair!" It was very nice and as he was happy to do this fairly indefinitely, I reaped the benefit of his long attention span. I told him the story of how me and Rook and Minnie were at the zoo and there was a porcupine show, and I got to feed an apple to the porcupine and pet its quills. (It is true.)

Later (in one of those intervals between episodes of Mr. Rogers videotapes) I pulled down my big wooden jewelry box and told him it was pirate treasure. He was really impressed and tried on all the necklaces and rings and bracelets. You know I have been hoarding all this crap for pretty much this exact moment. I really liked pawing through the hoarded and mysterious stuff of my relatives - mom's jewelry box with its apple seed hippie crap (where did it come from? wish I knew) my grandfather's weird tie pins and cufflinks and my great grandma's postcard collections and china objects or Aunt Gladiola's foreign coins (her house was pretty much one giant hoard of useless, strange, quirky, intriguing crap).

When I was little I resolved that I when I was old I would be like her. I would putter. I would serve tea to small children and take them seriously. I would have several cats with funny names. and I would have odd things that had stories.

I was also inspired by a book which I have never come across again. In it, a girl came to live with an old lady who was sort of strict and unloving. But in a dim upstairs room or maybe a locked parlor, there was a cabinet with 365 drawers, one for every day, and on that day only that specific drawer would be unlocked. Inside was some interesting object- I only remember a shell and a fan. Perhaps there was also a locket. Either the object had a story and the old lady would tell it, or there was actually some magic that sucked the girl back in time to see the story around the object. And I think in that magic she realized gradually that the fascinating young girl - whose objects they were - was actually the young old lady. (It sounds more and more like an Andre Norton book, but that may be because I'm mixing the book up with others.) There might have been a scene during a thunderstorm where she tried to open the drawer that she was not supposed to open and the old lady caught her and sternly admonished her that some things were not to be pried into. I think I've written about this book before. Maybe I should just rewrite it.

I would like to have this cabinet - or just an old card catalogue of many small drawers - and fill it with my hoarded Mysterious Objects.

Me and Great Aunt Gladiola never had any particularly earth shattering conversations. I did not know her very well and only saw her a few days a year until... what.... until I was 12 or so? But the important thing was just seeing how she lived her life. She seemed amazingly sane. The thought of her would often cheer me up at random times.

I hope Moomin will have cool memories of looking through my treasure chests of sparkly pirate jewels.

posted by badgerbag 11/03/2003 07:43:00 PM comment


Still sane and functioning. Moomin is being particularly saintly. Between videos, he plays a bit and ten I go play a board game with him or draw some pictures. I can do this! I have even had a nap. Actually I am not half dead like I was yesterday, when even walking jarred the glands in my throat in a horribly painful way so I was cat-footing about the house like a ninja, if ninjas ever shuffle in their squalid housedresses. Today I can at least walk about.

Minnie brought my prescrips and played with Moomin some more, and brought me the latest Lemony Snicket, which is brilliant and fabulous.

Part of my embarrassing and burdensome hypochondria stems from those long afternoons in the allergist's office. While waiting to get my shots, and then waiting afterwards for them to check my arms and make sure I was not dying of anaphylaxis, I would read Readers Digest cover to cover. (The other two magazines guaranteed to be there were Highlights and National Geographic. "Highlights" was only once a month and a quick read. Nat. Geo. I woudl have already read at home.) The jokes were often of the "Lockhorns" variety of "women drivers" or "she burned the dinner again" to where I had to read them several times to understand what the fuck was meant.

But it was the medical 'inspirational' articles that brought on the serious paranoia. Someone was always having a perfectly normal day: "It was an ordinary day like any other as 29 year old Edna Maples washed the dishes with her children playing happily at her feet and the golden retreivers romped happily in the snow wearing their new red mittens after Christmas dinner..." and it would build up with some lavish description of ludicrously wholesome midwesternness, like a mixture between a Norman Rockwell painting and Plain Layne, until Edna Maples felt a slight headache which she of course ignored and then she'd have a cerebral aneurysm and collapse into a permanent tragic coma.

Well... you read that stuff every week from age 7 onward and see where it gets you...

You can imagine my unnerved and furtive medline plus encyclopedia-ing of the possible horrible outcomes of strep throat, all this weekend, since I was convinced I had it.

This paranoia has not been helped by realizing that doctors, while they often make mistakes, also do not like it when the patient has any irritating amateur medical knowledge. For instance the Bulgarian from last week, after we discussed my festering throat, was not happy when I argued with her over another issue. (I hope no actual Bulgarians are reading this and become insulted - I just chose a random eastern european country... out of my own bigotry...) Issue #2 was a minor problem - a skin tag which somehow got really painful. Not to get too gross here but it's like a very sticky-outy mole, which got some thread wrapped around it and it turned all red and black. I asked her to cut the damn thing off.

She looked at me like I was completely crazy. "This is a wart. Put wart medicine on it."

"It's not a wart, it's a skin tag. I know it's harmless but it is under my arm and it's hurting."

"Is wart. You can get wart medicine over the counter."

"It's not a wart, but you think that will work? Won't it be a bad idea to put acid under my arm when it's already all chafed?"

"Is not ACID. It will be fine. If you cut a wart off it could bleed and get infected."

"Wart medicine that I've seen is salicylic acid..." (this is not good, but i can't keep my mouth shut)

"In my country, they just tie string around it and POOF! pull it off."

Um. Yeah. Yes, she actually said "In my country..."

posted by badgerbag 11/03/2003 04:25:00 PM comment

stupid fuckers

This morning: I can't even go into the stupidity of what happns as I call my doctor's office. Suffice it to say that they are idiots.

2 hours later their lab nurse calls me and says i have strep throat. I feel strangely vindicated in all my doctor-going. Allergies and post nasal drip, indeed.

is zithromax for 3 days really going to do it for the strep throat? after a week of cefa-wahtever-clor, that fucking bazooka of an antibiotic, didn't fix it? Mine is not to question but to obey the brutal misdiagnosing bulgarian. i am somewhat dubious about the power of zithromax. maybe i will go call my regular doctor again and leave a message for her nurse asking this question.

I miss my good doctor at u. of chicago, who would answer my emails, and was not disturbed that i knew the difff between various kinds of antibiotic.

posted by badgerbag 11/03/2003 10:21:00 AM comment

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Hymn of Cleanthes Codeine

"Thus dost Thou harmonize into One all good and evil things, that there should be one everlasting Reason of them all."

Ahhhhhhh. Much better. All is well with the world again. There is definitely a time and a place to abuse one's leftover prescription drugs...

posted by badgerbag 11/02/2003 03:14:00 PM comment

losing it

i'm kind of losing it... time for one of those hoarded old codeine tylenols. its the behind the jaw glands driving me absolutely nuts and i guess i have a fever. can no longer deal with reality... every time i blow my nose, my swollen throat glands kill me, and forget about swallowing. someone please come over and apply a vulcan neck pinch to me. i am in tears.

Moomin just solemnly asked me if I was okay.

want solitude and silence, but also pity and service.

posted by badgerbag 11/02/2003 02:05:00 PM comment

in bed

I'm still in bed. 6 Bobbsey Twins books later...

Lying here reading Swiss Family Robinson for the hundredth time - here are my exam questions for part 1:

How do you tame a wild onager?
How do you make cassava bread?
How do you tame a wild eagle?

True or false:
1. When monkeys and birds eat something it is safe to eat.
2. The bottom sections of giant bamboo make capital little casks.
3. Sharkskin makes very useful buskins for climbing up the sago palm.
4. Mangrove trees are fabulous places to live.
5. If you need to preserve some larks, place them half-cooked in a tub of lard or butter, and they will be fine, although you are living near the equator.
6. It is a simple matter to attach a couple of lead bullets to the ends of a rope to make bolas, a useful throwing weapon.
7. Penguins, jackals, potatoes, cassava, acorns, sago, rubber, bananas, cotton, rice, fir, mangroves, flamingoes, kangaroos, water buffalos, agouti, peccaries, ruffed grouse, flax, sugar cane, salt caves, pearl oysters, porcupines, capybaras, giant turtles, great apes, onagers, ostriches, angora rabbits, muskrats, beavers, elephants, walruses, polar bears, boa constrictors and a platypus can plausibly be found all on one small tropical island.

posted by badgerbag 11/02/2003 12:04:00 PM comment

Saturday, November 01, 2003

wholesome family fun?

Wow, a strange coincidence, but I just grabbed a Bobbsey Twins book off the shelf and here on page 102 there is a Halloween party. They are bobbing for apples of course.

And get this - "...Nan watched over a large pan of flour in which dimes wrapped in wax paper were hidden. Such sneezing as the children went through to pick up the money with their teeth!"

Whaaaa? It was funny reading it, but typing it just made me crack up again. I bet they were playing it with cocaine. Daddy Bobbsey's "lumber" business" was a front.

posted by badgerbag 11/01/2003 04:04:00 PM comment

out of control

Please note that the only way I have been functioning in the last few weeks is by constant popping of large amounts of advil. My sore throat never got better. This morning it is out of control awful. I woke up at six - every time I had to swallow it was a minor catastrophe. 3 advils and an hour later i was coherent. I just napped but now it is like the whole upper throat is all swollen too and my ears hurt.

Yesterday morning some bitch of a random bulgarian doctor was peering down my throat and telling me I have allergies and post nasal drip. "I KNOW I have allergies, I have had them my whole life, this is different." She gave me the little superior smile that doctors from eastern europe and, say, pakistan, always give one, as if to say, "You damned, fat-faced, overly well nourished, soft, spoiled child of a yankee, this is not sickness. This is annoyance. Don't bother to come to us unless you are half dead." I had to force her to swab me again for strep just to check. "Is waste of time. You have allergies and had antibiotic two weeks ago, why I do not know, but antibiotic will kill everything, everything, and it is allergies" (said while doing a particularly brutal, ham-handed swabbing).

Yeah okay. However, I just coughed up little specks of blood.

What the fuck is wrong with me? I am now in so much pain that I consider taking some hoarded codeine. Am sending Rook out for Tylenol, soup, and frozen things.

posted by badgerbag 11/01/2003 10:41:00 AM comment

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Ranting, complaining, speculating, confessing from Badgerbag in an extended Crossing the Line ceremony.